Camden's Blog

Camden's Blog

Blog Owner: [ Camden Spiller ]
Contributors: [ Sarah S. ]
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"This is the true joy in life, to be used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, to be thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap. To be a force of nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am a member of the community and as a member it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can before I die. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch that I want to make burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
- George Bernard Shaw

“[T]he tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.... It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for."
— Benjamin Elijah Mays

… so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:5

"Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true."
— William Inge, American playwright (1913-1973)

Our trouble is that we have established bad thought habits. We habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the reality of any other. We do not deny the existence of the spiritual world but we doubt that it is real in the accepted meaning of the word.

The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent and self-demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam's tragic race.

At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian's faith is unseen reality.

Our uncorrected thinking, influenced by the blindness of our natural hearts and the intrusive ubiquity of visible things, tends to draw a contrast between the spiritual and the real; but actually no such contrast exists. The antithesis lies elsewhere: between the real and the imaginary, between the spiritual and the material, between the temporal and the eternal; but between the spiritual and the real, never. The spiritual is real.

If we would rise into that region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth we must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen. For the great unseen Reality is God. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." This is basic in the life of faith. From there we can rise to unlimited heights. "Ye believe in God," said our Lord Jesus Christ, "believe also in me." Without the first there can be no second.

- A. W. Tozer, 1897 - 1963
The Pursuit of God pg 56-67

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand
- In Christ Alone

Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Blog Started 02/15/05
Total entries 143
Blog Age 5490 days
Total replies 1182
Visits 70768


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Gen2 Conference - see you there?

Wed Jan 28, 15 10:56 pm

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Sarah and I are going to be at the Gen2 Conference this weekend, so come see us if you can. I'll be joining at least one of the panel discussions on Saturday, so be sure to say hello if you'll be there!

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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Time to breathe some new life into HSA

Thu Aug 08, 13 11:53 am

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Reunions are always great, and I always look forward to them, but in many (good) ways, this feels like the first Reunion all over again - so I'm particularly looking forward to this one.

We have a lot of new people coming out, and a need/desire to define/redefine and communicate the work of Homeschool ALUMNI. Our purpose remains unchanged, but how do we unpack that and make our work more effective in the second decade of Homeschool ALUMNI? And who is going to join us in that work, and what roles will they play? We started in 2005, and it's time to breathe new life into this thing. I think we'll begin to see some of that take form in this year's conversations and discussions.

One thing's for sure, the more we talk about it, the more I realize that the every-other-year schedule for the Reunion is not enough. We've tried that for 2009, 2011, and 2013, and it's been okay because it's given our staff (and yours truly) some much need time between events. But to keep this thing moving forward, we need to come together more often than that.

If you've been thinking about getting more involved with HSA - don't miss this one. I'm particularly looking forward to our discussions about the past, present, and future of Homeschool ALUMNI.

See you there!

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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what the gospel requires vs. what it produces

Mon Jul 22, 13 12:03 pm

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Just came across some notes from a really solid sermon I heard sometime back... wish I could find the recording or remember who it was from...

You get the gist though.

A simple message, but so much at the heart of the heart itself. It's so easy to err on one side or the other; both our own lives and in the way we raise our kids.

Perhaps it's just a stage-of-life ("coming of age") kind of thing, but it seems to me that so many homeschool graduates I'm talking to these days (particularly in the 18-25 age range) are reacting (overreacting?) to what they perceive was an "overly conservative" upbringing by running headlong into the ditch at the other side of the road.

Also see:

Your thoughts? Which ditch do you most homeschooling grads falling into these days?

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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5 years ago... Pacific City, OR

Wed Jun 05, 13 10:02 pm

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Pacific City, OR - Five years ago we were just getting to know each other. Her family had invited me (or did I invite myself?) to spend some time with them at the beach. And so it was - the first time I'd really spent any time with my future wife and family.

I had the sense even then that we were making a bit of personal history, and now, 5 years later, we took our two kids (and some dear friends and family) to the same beach for a little weekend gateway.

Life is good.

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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Family Photo

Thu Apr 11, 13 10:53 am

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Both Henry and Jack were too tired to crack a smile after church the other day, but we coerced them into an obligatory family photo nonetheless Smile

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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Quote: "If we suffer the neglect of this..."

Fri Mar 08, 13 4:17 pm

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One of my favorite quotes.

    "The life of religion, and the welfare and glory of both the Church and the State, depend much on family government and duty. If we suffer the neglect of this, we shall undo all."
    - Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

It's easy to see problems with the Church and/or with the State, but when you realize it "depends much" on the work you do in your own family, it really hits close to home. I think this realization is particularly salient for fathers, as the heads of households, but for fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters, it's a good reminder; If you want to change the world, this probably your place to start.

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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Cousins Photo 2012

Tue Jan 01, 13 1:02 pm

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A family-first at our New Year's family gathering this year; the cousins photo!

From left to right: The newest addition, Camille and Andrew's daughter Estelle (7 weeks), then me and Sarah's sons, Henry (2 and a half), and Jackson (7 months).

Happy New Year!

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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2012 so far

Thu May 24, 12 6:23 pm

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Can you believe the year is almost half over!?

I haven't blogged in a while so I wanted to share a few quick personal updates... Gosh were do I start? I guess I'll just briefly hit three highlights...

Relocation: After changing my employment arrangement to allow me to work exclusively from home, Sarah and I made our move from Greenville, South Carolina back in November. And after a few months of renovation projects (some of which are still ongoing), getting settled into our local church, getting to know the neighbors, and lots of Craigslist furniture shopping (Sarah has mad Craigslisting skills) we're finally feeling like we've completed the relocation. Portland/Vancouver here we are! 

Graduation: In February, I spent the month back in Boston/Cambridge finishing up the last session of my three year program at Harvard Business School. Even though I've been looking forward to that for a number of years, it was a bit surreal to walk that stage at the graduation ceremony. I know there are other Homeschool Alumni that are also HBS Alumni, but as far as I know I was the only one in my class this year. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to go. 

And saving the best news for last: "Procreation" Wink That's right, we're expecting a baby toward the end of June! Henry is doing great and we couldn't be more pleased to be welcoming a little brother or sister into the family. We're planning a home-birth this time and Sarah absolutely loves her midwife team here.

It's been a good 2012 and we're not even halfway done!

More to come...

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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Traveling Light

Mon Nov 28, 11 2:23 am

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Lot's of developments around the Spiller house these last couple months...

A few Saturdays ago we said goodbye to the vast majority of our earthly belongings. We hammered our "Moving Sale" sign in the yard at 7:58am, opened our doors at 8am sharp, and for the next four hours carted sofas, bookcases, nightstands, bed frames, chairs, and tables out of our house and into the waiting vehicles outside.

That evening we went to bed with a very slightly thicker wallet and a much emptier house... From Craigslist it came, and from Craigslist it doth return. And Henry loved all the extra space to toddle around.

We've always known that we would ultimately want to settle and raise our family near grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins... and in an area with a local church/community of other families that share our faith, lifestyle, and values as well. We always thought that would be a few years down the line, and kind of prayed about it as one of those distant "someday," kind of things.

But then some things changed at work, and I found myself with the opportunity to work from home again. And not being tied any particular office any longer, it also gives me the freedom to relocate anywhere in the States. It came with a bit of a pay cut and a career redirection, but as we stepped back and evaluated the situation, and where we wanted to be, we once again realized how faithful God is to answer our prayers and direct our steps. And so we began preparing for those steps in earnest.

That was earlier this spring, and after about six months of planning and preparation, we settled on the Northwest as our location of choice and began the house search, ultimately purchasing one here in Vancouver last month (another story I'll have to tell sometime) and moving just a couple weeks ago.

Sarah's extended family is already up here, Mac is moving out here with us, and we're hopeful that my parents will be joining us out here before long as well - that's going to be so great for Henry to grow up with them near! I'm hoping, but don't know if any of my other siblings will join us all the way out here in Portland/Vancouver, but Andrew and Camille and Emily and Bradi are in Denver now, so that at least puts us a couple time-zones closer!

I'm sure some of you guys have experienced this as well, but I think the geographic distance between the siblings in my family has manifested itself in more relational distance than I'd like to admit... not that geography is everything, but it's hard enough to keep those adult sibling relationships strong and healthy when you're near, let alone thousands of miles apart when everyone has jobs and lives of their own going on. In the back of my mind I'm still hoping that it's in God's plan for us all to all end up living in relative geographic proximity again. Cell phones, email and holiday gatherings are great, but you really don't get to share life in the same way unless you're really there sharing life ya know?

Anyway... Greenville was very sweet chapter in our lives, and we look forward to getting back there to visit, but we're looking forward to what the Lord has for us as we make a life here in the Northwest.

If it comes to mind, keep us in prayer as we get settled in and begin to establish our life out here. We're very excited to be starting a new chapter...

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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First Steps

Mon Jul 18, 11 8:46 pm

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Henry took his first steps on July 5th!

Part of me thinks he's been cable of walking for several months now, and that the debut was only delayed for want of an audience of sufficient size.

Sarah and I were just hanging out the living room (resting up from 4th of July festivities) with siblings Emily, Bradi, and Mac, and Joe, Caleb, and Heidi when little Henry pulled himself up, stood there for minute so as to call everyone's attention and then proceeded to wow us all with those first few paces. Needless to say he was well-congratulated by the aunts and uncles gathered 'round.

I captured a second attempt on video a couple days later with my iPhone on the kitchen floor:

He isn't a full-fledged biped just yet... but all those months of holding on to furniture and shuffling around the edges of walls are beginning to pay off!

And yes... that's me with the camera... (obnoxiously) cooing and baby talking like the over-adoring first-time father I am... haha.

Posted By: Camden Spiller
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