Originally, this site was a home school project involving my daughter Janelle and a friend. I'll let her tell you how we chose the American Revolutionary War as the topic ...
I grew up in a community of about 250 people. My parents and others were part of a church that found such unity and love among themselves that they wanted to be together all the time.
So when I was three years old, my parents moved with 35 or 40 other families onto a hundred-acre piece of land. They began with tents and remodeled school buses, struggling to find jobs and build businesses in a new state. (Dad's note: Today, Rose Creek Village is a thriving community, the land is covered with mobile homes—and a couple houses we built—and we've sent missionaries to Mexico, Kenya, and spots in the US.)
Those were such fun days for the children, like myself. While our parents had to deal with the shock of living in tents and buses, with pretty much no money, we children were having the time of our lives. We spent so much time outside that all of our hair, even my dark chestnut hair, was bleached blonde by the sun. We spent all of our time outdoors playing knights and princesses, or cowboys and indians, or on some other adventure. Each evening we never failed to come home covered in mud.
There was never a dull moment in those days. We spent all of our time together. Every night we might have anywhere from three to twelve little girls camped out on the little play ground.
Because we are so far from the light of the cities, we can see hundreds of stars at night. We would lay out there and stare at the stars, and just wonder "How great is our God?"
Through the years we succeeded in getting a little more organized. We joined a home school group called "HomeLife Academy," which helped us figure out how to do school.
During the 2009/2010 school year, our class studied the Revolutionary War. We did a reinactment of the Continental Congress and were able to take trip to Washington DC.
Our class was only girls when we did the Continental Congress. It was very fun. We had to write our own speeches, and when we performed them, we all had to dress like the men of the original congress.
We had a lot of laughs when we looked at each other before we went on stage, and we laughed again when we saw the pictures later.
We had to work very hard to get to Washington DC. Our teachers, whom we knew just as well as the other students, worked very hard to get us there. We did alot of car washes and bake sales. Those were always fun. We went from door to door selling flower bulbs, and we had yard sales.
Soon, from the yard sales, bake sales, car washes, and with support from our relatives, we had enough money to make the trip. It was very fun.
My dad decided that since we had learned so much about the Revolutionary War, we should write papers for him to build a site about it. He offered to pay any of the girls $10 a paper if we would write some. The bummer was that I was the only one who wrote any papers for it.
In the summer, he realized that people were probably not going to write for it, so he brought me and my friend, Pamela, into work with him once a week to work on the site. We had fun with that, and we put a lot of effort into it, but sadly she had to go and get a different job after the summer, so it is just daddy and me right now.
Okay, this is dad again. We built Revolutionary-War.net up to about 60 pages, covering a few famous people, important documents, and about a quarter of the battles of the American Revolution.
Then, in June, 2011, I was diagnosed with an unrecognizable form of acute leukemia. In July I was told it was a very rare leukemia, less than 200 diagnosed cases, called Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN). (Mouthful, huh?)
That was an actual diagnosis by a pathology lab, but when I went to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville for treatment, they couldn't confirm the diagnosis. I had "almost BPDCN," and the term they used was Acute Undifferentiated Leukemia (AUL). Whenever they talked about it, they always used two words: rare and unusual.
I was treated with chemotherapy for six months, and then I used up my life's allotment of radiation, half to my brain and half to my entire body. I received a bone marrow transplant (accomplished with stem cells from two donated umbilical cords).
I could tell you I almost died, but everyone who gets a bone marrow transplant almost dies. Probably at least 30% of those who get them do die.
I didn't, and since I felt like God told me I wasn't going to die, I never wondered if I was going to.
I tried to return to work in the summer of 2012, just four or five months after the transplant. It didn't work very well.
For that entire year and a few months, Revolutionary-War.net languished unattended, though it continued to receive two or three hundreds visits per day and earn enough to pay for itself (thank you, SBI!).
In December (2012) my son approached me to ask if I had a job for his wife, who really wanted to leave her current job. My son already works for me in the warehouse I own, which handles eastern US distribution for an art supply company called Clear Bags, based in California.
I seized the opportunity. The leukemia interlude of a year and a half had left me with a to-do list that I estimated would take me two years to accomplish.
My daughter-in-law's sister had worked for me as a bookkeeper long before I found out that Esther would become my daughter-in-law. I knew her sister loved history even more than I did. I suspected Esther would be the same.
She was. I wrote her a long email with the sort of things I would need her to do, along with being flexible enough to do anything I couldn't do.
She was delighted.
Shortly after she came to work for me, I asked her to write a page on John Adams.
She bought a book on Adams and also researched on the internet for what seemed like days. The product, our John Adams page, was really high quality. I decided not to ask her to be faster.
When I asked her to look at the founding fathers and slavery, she wrote a whole section on slavery.
I loved the theme. Did the founding fathers extend the same liberties they were willing to die for, liberties that they believed were "inalienable" and endowed by the Creator, to non-Europeans?
So the site is revived and thriving. During the school year, it's our most popular site, drawing over 1,000 visitors per day.
I brought back my daughter to work on the site over the summer, so more pages have turned up from her. Unfortunately, we'll probably lose her to her senior year of high school and to a job that is more social.
I want to leave you with what she wrote at 14 or 15 years of age about goals for this site:
She threw in a sales pitch for our web host, which is not a web host, but an entire internet business plan. I'm not going to take that out, but leave it for you.