Friday, October 18, 2013

A Day in the Nation's Capital

The second half of the week, we spent at a second conference at a resort thirty miles from Washington, D.C. The resort was just beautiful, complete with fountains and gorgeous trees. Our rooms had balconies, so Liz and I enjoyed our coffee and tea outside on one of the mornings.

The coordinators of the convention organized a guided tour of D.C. on one of the days for any attendee who wished to go. It was a packed day, but we thoroughly enjoyed it - especially the opportunity to see some of the things we did not see when we were in D.C. seven years ago.

We were all bused in to the city (at 6:30 in the morning!) and then transported from spot to spot. It was so nice not to have to worry about driving and finding places to park! We were blessed to have the tour guide in our bus, so it was like having a live history book narrating as we drove.

:: Smiles from Dad on our early morning ride into the city ::

:: The first view of the capitol ::
(Yes, I am one of those photographers who stands in the middle of a
bustling street just to get a great shot)

:: Liz and Kate after we had crossed the street! ::

Our first stop was supposed to be the U.S. Supreme Court, but we arrived in the city earlier than planned, so it wasn't even open yet. Our group decided to use the extra time to get pictures in front of the capitol.

:: John, Mom, Dad, Aaron, our good friend Kaben H. from MN, and Liz ::

:: Mom and Dad ::

:: Kaben H., Aaron, and John ::

:: Liz, Ariel H., Kate, and Given H. ::

:: Kate and Ariel ::

Once the Supreme Court building opened, we buzzed over there for a quick self-tour before we had to get to the Capitol. The outside of the Supreme Court building was under renovation, hence it did not make for very good pictures.

:: The Supreme Court chambers ::

It was quite an experience to stand in the room where so many momentous decisions were, and continue to be, made. Our country has changed dramatically -- for better and for worse -- as a result of what has been decided by nine unelected justices in this very room. 

:: Liz in the beautiful marble hall leading to the chambers ::

Our next stop was the U.S. Capitol.

:: Looking up in the Capitol rotunda ::

Six large paintings line the walls of the rotunda, each depicting a critical moment in American history. The above picture is General Washington resigning his commission after the American Revolution.

:: Embarkation of the Pilgrims ::

:: The Signing of the Declaration of Independence ::

:: This statue of Ronald Reagan actually contains rocks from the Berlin Wall ::

Following the Rotunda, we went to the old House of Representatives chamber. Scattered throughout the floor are brass plaques marking where famous U.S. congressmen once sat. 

:: The location of Lincoln's desk when he was a congressman ::

Following the Capitol tour, our entire group was taken through tunnels to the Rayburn House Office Building for lunch. We were not told the names of the guest speakers ahead of time, so everyone was shocked when speaker after speaker kept filing into the room. Following are pictures of the some of the notable speakers.

:: Dr. Michael Farris, attorney and homeschool pioneer, greeting the group and introducing the speakers ::

:: Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin ::

 :: Representative Daniel Webster from Florida ::

:: Representative Mark Meadows from North Carolina  ::

:: U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor :: 

Please remember to keep these men and all those in our government that are fighting for the preservation of our precious liberties. They are waging a very difficult battle, with much public and political opposition. As the Apostle Paul exhorts in I Timothy, "That, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (2:1-3).

After lunch, we walked back to the buses for the ride to our last stop. On the way, I took just a few pictures of the capitol. 

For the last stop of the tour, our family chose to walk to the White House. On the way, I snapped pictures of other famous landmarks.

:: The Jefferson Memorial :: 

:: Looking across to the Lincoln Memorial from the WWII Memorial ::

:: The only building in D.C. that dates from George Washington's time ::

:: The White House ::

:: The Ophoven Six (yes, it was sunny!) ::

 :: Liz and Kate ::

On our way back to the bus, we stopped at the Declaration of Independence Signers' Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.

:: The Lincoln Memorial ::

:: Standing on the backside of the Lincoln Memorial looking across
the Potomac to the Arlington Cemetery and the Robert E. Lee Memorial ::

And that was our day in Washington, D.C.

- Kate for the Ophovens

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Our family spent the last week of September in Maryland for two national homeschool conferences. We flew out in two groups, due to school and work conflicts, and then all flew home together (many thanks to the aunts and uncles that got us to and from the airport on time!). The first conference was held at a resort on the Chesapeake Bay in northern Maryland. It was a beautiful spot and the sunsets each night were simply spectacular.

:: The conference center ::

:: The perfect spot to relax ::

:: Mom and Dad enjoying a coffee break between sessions ::

It was a wonderful conference. The setting was gorgeous and the fellowship was a great blessing. We all came away with renewed vision for leadership and encouraging homeschooling as home-based discipleship.