Openingby Marlin Detweiler
Feature Article “Gratitude” by Patch Blakey
Educational Helpsby Laurie Detweiler
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November 2011


We’re a bit late in getting this edition out, so I wanted to bring our Author’s Study on November 2nd to your attention. See the announcements below.

Feature Article


 I was the last commanding officer of USS Patterson (FF 1061) out of Philadelphia before the ship was decommissioned in September, 1991. During my tour of duty, the ship’s executive officer (XO), who had become a very close friend as well as professional confidant, would fly home to Virginia Beach every couple of weeks to see his wife and family for a weekend because they lived apart from him during this particular assignment. After returning from a weekend at home, the XO told me the account of his recent travels.

He had departed from the Philadelphia airport without incident, but on making the landing approach at the airport in Norfolk, the pilot abruptly gunned the plane’s engines a hundred feet just before touchdown and circled the airport. The plane made a second approach but this time it was past the tower and it did not land. The plane made a second pass by the tower but still did not land.

By this time, the XO had reasoned that the landing gear on this commercial flight had probably not extended down into the locked position. He did not know if the plane would try to land without landing gear or be diverted to a holding pattern while the plane’s crew tried to manually lower the landing gear into place. In the midst of all of this, he said that his life passed before his eyes, and he wondered if this might be his last flight to Norfolk.

Then, he said, it dawned on him that he had experienced many wonderful blessings in his life, including his wife and children, his naval career, many close friends, and much, much more. But he also had the thought that he had never thanked God for any of these blessings ever in his life. The XO was not a believer at the time.

The day before this departure, we had met in my stateroom aboard ship and discussed the personal aspects of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. That next Monday after returning to the ship, the XO told me that our discussion had really gotten to him. He told me that normally in circumstances that initially rattled him he would go to the Officers Club and have a drink, which would settle him down and give him some perspective. On this occasion, though, he told me that he had had two drinks, and neither had calmed his thoughts. He departed Philadelphia the next day with the claims of Christ troubling his mind.

Back to the landing in Norfolk, the XO, for the first time in his life, thanked God for His abundant mercy and grace to him and asked His forgiveness for never having thanked Him for all of his generous blessings, including sending a Savior for him. The XO was now prepared to meet his Maker if the landing should not go well.

By the grace of God, the plane landed on its next approach and taxied safely to the assigned jetway. The XO deplaned, again with a silent prayer of thanks on his lips to the great God who had saved him and all of the other people on his flight. That night, he told his believing wife this story, and she rejoiced because her husband had now also been drawn to Christ. She told him that he had to tell the captain the story when he returned to the ship the following Monday, which I am thankful to report that he did.

Part of my reason in telling this brief “sea story” is to point out how much an attitude of thankfulness can do to help set our hearts at peace. But this is just what the apostle Paul told the believers in Philippi, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). It isn’t enough that we just pour out our concerns, fears, and doubts to God. No, we must do it with thanksgiving, with gratitude. But why?

First, it is instructive to note that those who deny the existence of their Creator have no one ultimately to thank. In their view, they are mere beings of chance, without any ultimate meaning or purpose. But Man was made to acknowledge his Creator, having been made in His image.

Our first parents fell because, in part, they were not thankful for all that God had given them, but instead coveted that which He withheld from them for a time. God had taken seven days to create all that exists from nothing — a glorious paradise of water, land, sky, and beyond the sky, as well as amazing and incredible creatures to populate each of these earthy domains. In the heavens He created the majesty of the stars and planets, the sun and the moon. On the earth He created an even more splendorous garden in which He placed the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and provided them with a vast cornucopia of edible vegetation and trees. We cannot begin to fathom the wonder of it, but it must have been glorious.

Yet sinless Man was not thankful, but took now what God had intended for him later. And this became the general pattern for most of his sinful, thankless descendants.  Cain was not thankful for his lot in life and slew his brother Abel. The sons and daughters of Seth were not thankful for the godly women and men that were in that faithful lineage and married the ungodly women and men from the line of Cain, resulting in the Flood and the destruction of the world except for Noah and those with him on the ark.

Jumping ahead, King David was not thankful for the many wives he already had, but coveted and lusted after his neighbor’s wife, resulting in adultery, murder, and deception. But the descendant of David, Jesus Christ, came to turn the hearts of men back to their Creator. He was the example of true gratitude personified, “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you’” (Matt. 26:27)

Because he followed Jesus Christ and said we are to do likewise, the apostle Paul commanded the Church that it was to give “thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). By giving thanks to God in every circumstance and situation, we are reminded that God is sovereignly superintending all that happens, even the difficult things in life. We are forced to think of God, which results in transferring our thoughts from our own inward, selfish hearts outward to our gracious Creator and Provider. God-directed gratitude is transforming. It sets us free to be the men and women that God intended us to be, acknowledging every gift from His sovereign hand, and leaving us with His peace.

May we all strive to follow Paul’s admonishment to give God thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Patch Blakey

Patch Blakey graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and for the past 15 years he has served as the executive director for the Association of Classical & Christian Schools (ACCS).


Educational Helps

Every year I hear from parents that they are just not the “artsy” type, and they really don’t know how to pull off hands-on projects. If you are one of those people, or if your children love to paint and color and more ideas would be helpful, then these are for you. A few weeks ago one of our book reps sent us these hands-on kits, and they are really fun. Click on the title to go to our web site for details and to order.

Ancient Greece
Knights in Armor
The Revolutionary War
The Civil War
The Wild West
World War II

Laurie Detweiler

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Veritas Press Tote Bags

You've seen the Crocs footwear and loved it. Well, we found some tote bags that are just as great. These bags are “Veritas Press blue” croc material and come with a decorative charm. They’re great for the beach, diapers and other baby things, or just to look cool. They were a huge hit with our Scholars families who attended the End-of-Year Gathering and normally cost $23.45. With an order of $100 in November, you too can be the proud owner of this tote, while supplies last. (One tote per family.) If you place your order by phone, simply ask us to add it to your order. If you place your order on our web site, you may click here or simply enter the item number (#851070) on the Express Order page and click Add to Order.




Q. I've been looking at the diploma program on your website. It seems like if my children did all the courses in the model course of study, we would not have time for some of the things we love, like art, poetry, music, sports, and travel. Is it possible to fit it all in?
A. I don't know what ages your children are or which diploma course of study you are reviewing. We have four levels for secondary age and two levels for grammar age children. The different levels allow for the flexibility each family needs, even for different children in the same family. They even work with parents who want to continue to teach a number of courses at home and have more schedule flexibility. If you call Veritas Press (800-922-5082) our customer service reps can answer your questions. Click here to request more information.

Q. My daughter is 15 and starting to look at colleges. How can I best prepare her for the process?
A. Choosing a college, entrance testing, and the application process can seem daunting. We're here to help. One of the benefits of our diploma program is the additional guidance counseling in the years when a student is focused on choosing and applying to colleges. But we also offer an SAT Prep course for any upper secondary students (10th-12th grades).  This is not a Saturday seminar; this is a semester long course which includes two full-length practice tests. Taught by an experienced teacher, the students receive a comprehensive review of the skills and techniques required to perform their best. You can read more and register here.

Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to



Poetry Writing Contest
The poetry writing contest produced a wonderful number of pieces. We received so many entries that we needed more time to determine the winners, but here they are. Read the winning entries here. Each winner receives a $50 gift certificate. Congratulations!




Grades 1 - 3

Peter Rand

Nashville, TN

Grades 4 - 6

Arwen Cockman

Boone, NC

Grades 7 - 9

Alexander Phillips

Rochester, MN

Grades 10 -12

Bliss Avra

Gainesville, GA

An Evening with N.D. Wilson
Our friend, N.D. Wilson, has agreed to talk about his latest (and really cool) book, The Dragon's Tooth, online with you and your child(ren). We'll meet in our online classroom on November 2nd at 8:00 EDT. To request access, email Cindy in our office and ask to be included. She will then send you instructions.

And to buy the book, click here. Click here to view the trailer. 

New Course Offerings for Second Semester
SAT Prep Course Coming in Spring Semester
Veritas Press is delighted to announce a semester-long course which will help your child prepare to take the SAT test. Taught by veteran teacher Cynthia Jackson, the SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college. The test is just one factor colleges look at when they consider student applications. The SAT Test Preparation course is a comprehensive review of the skills and techniques required to get the best performance results for this college entrance requirement. This course is ideally suited to upper secondary level students. The course begins January 24, 2012. Read more details and register here.

Coming Soon! Math Help Evening Course
Another new offering coming in the second semester is a math help course. This course willprovide help for students in Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry courses with their homework, test reviews, as well as post-test corrections. It is intended for students who would otherwise benefit from having a tutor or some other outside help beyond what can be offered in the regular class. The instructor will follow the syllabi of the Scholars’ Academy teachers, preparing students to deal with potentially troublesome concepts covered during the regular classes. Meeting Monday through Thursday evenings for forty-five minutes from 7:45—8:30 PM ET, the class will be limited to 20 students from these courses, so all will benefit from help on new concepts as well as review of old material. Questions will be answered on a rotational basis going from Pre-Algebra to Geometry. The goal is that all questions will be answered in the time limit per evening. This is a non-graded, non-credit course where attendance is on an as-needed basis. Watch your e-mail for registration details later this fall.

Teaching and Consultant Openings with Veritas Press Scholars Academy
Receiving résumés for Online Teachers and Diploma Consultants!—We have needs for experienced teachers for the 2012 academic year. Teachers can work from home, the beach, or anywhere high-speed internet is available. Send teacher résumé to Bruce Etter.

Diploma consultants are educators who assist parents with their curricular planning in pursuit of a Veritas Press Scholars high school diploma and/or yearly certification for their grammar level children. Like online teachers, diploma consultants can work remotely. Send consultant résumés to Deb Nissley.


Visit us on the web at or call us at 1-800-922-5082.

Browse the Veritas Press virtual catalog online!