Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Things I’ve Heard This Week

 

Cabin fever sets in pretty fast in our little house. This winter seems to be particularly brutal for about the whole country. One of the upsides of a small house, kids with cabin fever and a need to keep an ear on thing if not an eye on them is the little tidbits I overhear. These are some of my favorites from this week.

Hope after wrapping Bree in a blanket, “Mommy you’ve got a big package over here.” “Is it something I’ll love?” I ask. “It’s Breeley!” Hope announces. Breeley crying, “But I wanted to be a little unicorn.”

Breeley came up to me the other evening, “Mama, Hope and me are gonna play. Don’t ruin it all up with bedtime, okay?”

Older child: “Mom, do you ever hear God talk to you during the day?” Me: “Sometimes, if I’m listening.”  Child: “Well, sometimes I hear God talking to me and sometimes it seems like Satan is trying to get me to do the wrong thing.” Me: “What do you do about that?” Child: “I just say’ Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’”

Hope and Breeley quibbling over a toy, Hope: “Bree I had that first.” Bree: “Ask real quiet for it back like this, ‘quiet whispering sounds.’” Hope whispering: “Bree can I please have it back?” Bree: “I can’t hear you.”

I wouldn’t trade my stay at home life for the world.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When Things Get Crazy (Homeschool Update)

As I mentioned in the last blog post, there was a whole lot of crazy last year.

A lot.

And that meant there were changes all around to keep some sanity going. Especially in the area of school. I had been using pretty much the same thing for years. The same curriculum, schedule, expectations. After all, consistency is good, right?

At the start of the 2012-2013 school year I made a major change trying to adjust to homeschooling with a toddler on the prowl. It was a good curriculum, Charlotte Mason style (which I love) and I was so excited to dive in. It was all good until I realized my kids hated it. Seven weeks into the school year and my kids were already threatening a coup. Oops! So we went back to our old way of doing things as I researched some options to bring more of the Charlotte Mason style that we loved to our school hours again.

This time, it worked. Can you say blessed peace again. :) I'm still making some tweaks here and there. As I continue to get more experience, I'm learning more about the kids learning styles. Homeschool curriculum has exploded. There are so many choices and that it's almost daunting at times. I'm grateful to have the chance to explore new curricula and find what meets my child's learning style.  Math has proved to be our hardest area to find that. I was a devout user of a mastery style math program that emphasized manipulative. There was so much I liked about it until about 3 grade. We tried to struggle through it, but the two oldest went from liking/excelling in math to really struggling. Ty is now using Teaching Textbooks and Becca is using Saxon.

I am in love with our new history program. The Mystery of History has shown me, a self proclaimed history geek, how little I knew of ancient history. We are loving going through the first book that features traditional ancient history along with showing where Biblical characters fit in. It's honestly a little hard for me not to get too far ahead of the kids in reading the book because I love it so much. We absolutely love the activities and ease of lessons. She gives a huge amount of detail in short segments that are easily remembered. And for my craft loving, kinesthetic learners the activities provide wonderful reinforcement. The short writing exercise everyday helps jog their memory for tests and quizzes while leaving room for originality.

We are using Apologia's 6th Swimming Creatures this semester. It's going to make our spring break trip so much more fun having new found knowledge of the ocean. I can't wait to check out the local estuary for the first time. We have used these books many times as references for other studies we were doing, but this is our first time to jump in and work through the whole book. The kids love the activities and the gorgeous pictures throughout the book. The younger two enjoy listening to the stories and leafing through the pages as well.

For English, we have jumped into Winston Grammar and All About Spelling. We are using the same literature book that I read through. It's so much fun to revisit those stories. Currently we are working through Robinson Crusoe. Since we have had such frigid weather this winter, we love to grab a huge blanket and snuggle on the couch as we take turns reading. We also journal or do copy work daily.

We still attend our weekly co-op. Ty and Becca love the art and gym classes there. They also take science and an elective each semester. Hope goes to a few first grade classes as well as the kindergarten class. Bree attends the preschool class. I'm so blessed to have two very dear friends teaching the younger girls. They come home with so new skill every week. This year I taught music first semester and am teaching first aid this semester to 5/6th grade.

It's always a work in progress. I'm learning every season has it's own challenges and those are learning opportunities too. Even if it just means me showing the kids how to put one foot in front of the other on hard days. Or how to show kindness when everyone has been cooped up too long. Or doing your best with the challenges that are in front of you and never giving up even if the results aren't what you hoped for.

I'm so grateful for the chance to teach my children and try to never take it for granted. So many are fighting for the same privilege. I'm trying to treasure these short years through the long days. I'd love to hear from some other homeschooling moms on what works for you!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What a Year!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. About a year ago, I felt I needed to step away from the blog for awhile. I had no idea what the year held for me then.It’s been one heck of a year of growth. One year of unforeseen changes. One year of questions and delayed answers. One year of friendships I never knew could exist. One year of saying goodbye to dreams of friendships I’d hoped would grow. One year of learning how little I know about being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher and servant. One year of learning how great and powerful my God is. One year of seeing things torn away and standing with empty hands and a heart full of faith that He would rebuild and redeem.  And as it unfolded, I knew exactly why God had asked me to lay this down for awhile. It has been a year that required solitude and prayer. A year that changed my life forever.

I’m looking forward to catching back up with some of my bloggy friends and keeping family in the loop. I’ve tried to keep up with you as best I could. I’m hoping to post a few pictures of the past year, but I don’t think I’m going to even try to promise myself I will “catch up.” There is just too, too much. One very exciting change for our family is this!

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Eliana is due to arrive late May/early June. We are beyond excited God has blessed us with another little girl. Ty and Bree are thrilled to have girl. Bree, because at her age girls are in and boys are well, boys. Ty is excited to keep his own room. Although, he has admitted to a tiny bit of disappointment. Becca and Hope were rooting for a boy, but quickly decided a girl is fine too. We all are looking forward to being able to snuggle her!

Hopefully I can keep up a little more regularly since this is the baby book I keep for my kiddos. And Ellie is going to need one!  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fingerprints, Footprints

Doug and I are so blessed.

*Blessed to have found each other.

*Blessed to be parents.

*Blessed to have four healthy kids.

*Blessed to be a part of a loving family.

*Blessed to be part of a loving church.

*Blessed to have great friends.

*Blessed to have a home, a job, live in a free country.

This list could go on and on. I look around and am so, so grateful for the many gifts we have.

Of course we have our challenges too! And right now, we are in the midst of a very challenging season in our lives. As I sat and mourned some losses today, some hurts and worked on forgiveness, I was reminded of a lesson God taught me a few years back.

A close friend of ours lost his mother. It was so hard to see the loss and know that he was grieving. As I sat to write out a sympathy card, I was at loss for words. I had no idea what to say to this couple who were so wise and loving that would be of any comfort…especially since I didn’t know his mother. I remember sitting at the table, pen in hand, praying for words. I clearly remember the words that came into my mind, “You may not have known his mother, but you know him. You know what his life looks like. Although you never met her, you can see her fingerprints in his life.”

As a young mother, those words from the Lord struck deep in my heart. Parenting is hard work and it has life long ramifications for our children. How I love, how I forgive, how I encourage peace, how joyful I am, all reflects in the life of my children. The fingerprints I leave will show in their life.

Never forgetting free will, I am reminded over and over of the chance I get to help set my kids on the right path. The choices Doug and I make will leave marks on them for a lifetime.  Sometimes it’s daunting. Sometimes it’s encouraging.

Our kids are growing up so quickly. I see how much my influence is diminishing with our oldest children. Friends opinions rival ours. They (rightfully) seek out council from people at church, in our homeschool co-op, at their activities. I’m so grateful for each of these friends who helps to shape and mold our children. Their fingerprints will leave marks on my children too. Their hearts will help shape my children’s hearts.

So as I’m watching my kids mature, change, become the people God has created, I’m feeling blessed. I’m watching them make their own place in the world. And I’m remembering a song that Rich Mullins used to sing. My prayer is that as my children walk through this world, they will leave footprints of grace. And go on to leave their fingerprints on the next generation.

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1QqrOfO3E0

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mamaw’s Blueberry Buckle

Yesterday on facebook, I wrote that I loved baking my mamaw’s blueberry buckle recipe in her pan (one of daily use treasures). It was a New Year’s Day tradition to walk the gravel road from our house to Mamaw and Papaw’s for breakfast. The menu was always the same, egg and ham casserole with juice, coffee, or milk and blueberry buckle. She had the best recipe for it. And it appears I’m not the only one to share that feeling. A long time family friend and cousin both asked me to share the recipe.

First though, I have to share a picture. Hopefully one day my kiddos will look over this blog and have some great memories and learn some new stories about their heritage. And I just happen to think my grandparents were some of the most beautiful, wise people I’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing. Just my humble opinion of course!  

IMG_7274

Blueberry Buckle

1 1/4 C Sugar

2T Shortening (I use coconut oil)

Cream these together and add::

2 eggs

3/4 C milk

In a separate bowl mix together:

3 C flour

3tsp  baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

Mix into wet ingredients then add.

3 C blueberries fresh or frozen

Pour into a greased 9x13, sprinkle with topping and bake @ 350 for 1 hour.

For topping, cut together

3/4 C Sugar

1/2 C flour

1 tsp cinnamon

6 Tbsp butter

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It’s super easy and great to make the night before and it keeps really well for a few days…if it lasts that long. Let me know if you make it!

 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Living Christmas Story

Our family is, once again, participating in our church's Christmas program. This year has been a little different from the last two. Although I knew it would be harder this year, I just wasn't expecting this much of a challenge. But, you know what they say about men and rivers right? 

Taking the easy way makes them crooked.


I think God has a little (or a lot) of character straightening that He wanted to do in me this fall.

This year, Hope plays the dead girl. During the scene that depicts Jesus ministry and the many miracle's the final and most climatic scene is of Jarius' daughter being raised from the dead.  It's a treasured part for most of the young girls on the cast and we were pretty sure she would love to have the role.  When asked, we said "Sure, she'd love to." 

Um, we were wrong. Really, really wrong.

For the next 20 minutes or so, Hope shrieked, as we practiced. I knew in my mama heart that she wanted to do this, I just had to figure out what was going on. When we got to the bottom of it, Hope was worried she'd have to die and really need a miracle to come back to life.

We reassured her that she didn't really have to die. That she wouldn't even have to be seriously injured (her next big concern), that she simply must act the part. Lots of practice in her daddy's arms later, she's got the role down and did an incredible job tonight on opening night. 

As I have taken pictures and watched this transformation in her, I've been amazed. Not that my daughter is so great at this role (anyone who knows her knows she has a flair for the dramatic), but at the revealing nature of her fear. Because it's my fear too. 

Jesus assures us that he is there for us. His arms are a safe place for us. That he would rather die than spend eternity without us. He asks us for one thing, complete and total surrender. He wants us to fall on him and die to...ourselves. 

Oh, how that hurts. "Die to myself, Jesus. Can't I just play 'possum in your arms?" "Can't I just be mostly dead?" 

But truly die to myself. Truly fall totally on him. Truly cry out to him every last bit of my being. Truly want him more than I want ANYTHING on this earth. 

Sometimes I would rather scream and cry like a child than

give in to what He wants.

And as I ask myself why, the answer is simple: I forget His goodness.

What he's asking is everything I have and what he's offering is more than I can imagine. Tonight as I sit here remembering the love he poured out for us, I want to throw myself into his arms and surrender to the God who is truly good. Truly kind. Truly loving. 

And who can make my mess straight. IMG_9017