Friday, June 29, 2012

Andrew & Alicia's Wedding

Foto Friday

Below are a few pictures from Andrew & Alicia's wedding last month. There was so much happiness, it was infectious! I'm glad they let us be a part of their special day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Looking for a new house?

Thoughtful Thursday

The housing market might be down, but here's a deal worth looking into.

I was talking to a friend tonight about what Jesus did for us. She just doesn't feel worthy of that kind of amazing love. She feels like she needs to be a better person first.

The conversation rolled around to visiting other people's houses unexpectedly when they're messy. She said, "Honestly, I don't care what their house looks like. I just want to see them."

And that's how it is with Jesus. He wants us. He doesn't want us running around hiding the dishes in the sink and throwing away the trash first. He's knocking, and He wants us to answer the door and let Him in.

We laughed together that then, He cleans the house for us, but in reality, He actually gives us His house! That's justification, my friends!

And then, as we grow to look like Him, we learn a thing or two about house cleaning. That's sanctification.

So if you're looking for a new house, look no further than to Jesus. He's offering us His perfect, sinless home by believing in Him. That's a deal in this market that is too good to pass up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's such a long way home

Words for Wednesdays

Have you heard Steve Curtis Chapman's new song, "Long Way Home?" Although the tune is light and beachy, the words are heavy and deep. So today, enjoy the words like a poem. Knowing all that he has been through, I'm so amazed at the grace of God in his life.

I set out on a great adventure
The day my father started leading me home.
He said there gonna be some mountains to climb
And some valleys we’re gonna go thorough.
But I had no way of knowing
Just how hard this journey could be
Cause the valleys are deeper and the mountains are steeper
Than I ever would of dreamed.

But I know we’re gonna make it
And I know we’re gonna get there soon
And I know some times it feels like we're
going the wrong way,
But it’s just a long way home.

There's some rocks in my shoes, some fears I wish I could lose
They make the mountain so hard to climb,
And my heart gets so heavy
With the weight of the world some times.

And there’s a bag of regrets
'I should have beens' and 'not-yets'
I keep on dragging around,
And I can hardly can wait till the day I could lay them all down.
Well I know that day is coming,
And I know it’s gonna be here soon.
And I know I won’t turn back even if the whole world
Says I’m doing the wrong way,
Cause it’s just a long way home.

And when we can’t take another step
The father will pick us up and carry us in his arms.
And even on the best days
He says to remember we’re not home yet.
So don’t get too comfortable
Cause what you really are is just pilgrims passing through.

Well I know that day is coming,
And I know it’s gonna be here soon.
I’ll keep on singing and believing
What all of my songs say
Cause our God has made a promise,
And I know that everything he says it’s true.
And he promised he would never ever leave us
He’s gonna lead us, He’ll head us home
Every single step of the long way home
So keep on - we’re gonna make it!
We’re just taking the long way home
Keep on we’re gonna make it!
I know we’re gonna make it.
It’s just a long way home.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trying to create a flexible school plan

Teacher Tuesdays

It's summer, so don't expect any real depth of wisdom on Teacher Tuesdays.

Right now, I'm gathering books, cleaning off shelves, making lists, and brainstorming what will make this year PERFECT.

Isn't that funny? I am actually chuckling to myself about that last statement.

I'm a planner. I love lists and color-coded charts. I love fitting life into boxes.

But I'm not a follower. I don't like following the strict schedules I make for myself. A week into a plan, and I'm ready to bust out. (A growth area I'm working on.)

So, I'm trying to plan a flexible plan this year that will make me feel like I'm in control, and not tied to my own self-made agenda, and yet still fits everything in.

Does this perfect plan even exist? :)

Maybe I'm dreaming. But it's still fun to see it start to work on paper.

How do you plan for fall? Do you like to plan more than implement, like me? Or would you rather someone just give you a plan that you can take and run with?

Monday, June 25, 2012

All Grown Up - Now What?

Mommy Mondays

In 3rd grade, I wanted to be an executive secretary for IBM. I loved filling out my pink “While You Were Out” forms and taking imaginary phone calls for my brother.

Other career aspirations were: Hollywood Actress, Singer on Broadway, Famous Author, Voice of a Disney Heroine, Missionary.

But the number one settled desire of my heart was to be a mom. When I imagined myself all grown up, I was living somewhere nice with 4-6 kids, playing games, making lunches, and going to parks.

And last week it hit me – I’m there.


Our girls, 11 and 8, just came back from their first week-long summer camp, and even though they crawled in at 10 PM, we sat and talked in their room until well after midnight. It was enchanting, seeing their faces light up as they shared the hilarious, embarrassing, inspiring, and entertaining events of the week. I went to bed with a contented smile.

Our four kids are all potty trained, we’re past the constraints of nap time, and I usually get a full night of sleep. (Hallelujah!) They love being together. Games have moved beyond Candy Land and into those that stimulate my brain cells. We draw together, paint together, read together, do laundry together, jump on the trampoline together… it’s a memory-every-moment kind of life right now.

I’m not talking perfect – we’re still on this side of eternity – but you get the idea. This life, where I am right now – underneath the laundry and dishes and Cheerios on the floor - has been my definition of “all grown up.”


The question posed before me this morning is:

“Now what?”

Pastor Nate Irwin spoke this week on Psalm 39, Show Me the Measure of My Days.

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days;
      let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, 
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!     
And to quote Benjamin Franklin:

“Dost thou love life?
 Then do not squander time, 
for that is the stuff life is made of.” 

It’s time for some vision planning. Hmmm… will this require a trip away to a cabin in the mountains, a luxury I often imagine that all writers indulged in? Ha, not a chance. It will consist of a cup of coffee, my Bible, and the early morning before they start to stir.

I don’t know what my next phase of growing up will look like, but in the now, I can prayerfully make the most of every moment. "God, what do you have for me today?"

What does this look like in your life? Have you ever reached a point of being all grown up?

At a Family Reunion

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When I'm the Peony

Thoughtful Thursdays

Have you ever felt like a transplanted peony?

I do not have a green thumb, but every once in awhile I go out on a limb and try to attempt something garden-ey.

I recently transplanted a peony bush. It was living a wilted, shallow existence in the shade, and I knew a sunnier location would be good for it. Apparently, it disagreed. It looks pathetic, all bent over, without a single petal left on its branches. 

I tried to tell it, “Don’t worry, little flower. I know this is hard on you, but it’s for your good. Sure, you had to leave the safety of the other location, but in time, when you regain your strength, you’ll find it’s really much better here.” But for the peony, I think it feels like death.

With garden hose in hand, I thought, “I am so often the peony.” God moves the puzzle pieces of my life in some way, and He provides me with water and sunshine, and yet I feel pain. But it’s for my good! Can you relate? If we let Him, He’ll restore us again and our faith will be strengthened, growing stronger than ever before.

So I’ll keep watering my little plant, and I'll trust that God is watering me too. What does this look like for you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Harvest of Rubies

Words for Wednesdays

I know better than to start a highly-recommended book at 10 PM, but that's when the house is quiet, and so this month, I cracked open Tessa Afshar's book, Harvest of Rubies, after the kids were fast asleep, and I didn't put it down until I read the last page in the wee morning hours. It was well-written, gripping, and very inspirational.It even brought a few tears.

When Janet Parshall commented on her program that it was a historical fiction novel based on a cousin of Nehemiah, I ordered it right away. I love books like that. :) 

I want to read it again with highlighter in hand. I don’t want to forget anytime soon the lesson of the grapevine. How often do I hold onto the pruned branch, wanting that life back? I might find an image of a grapevine and frame it for my home.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, you’ll have to read it for yourself. One element that I really enjoyed was that the heroine wasn’t perfect. She struggles with things common to all of us. I’m sure that if I were to meet her today, she’d have uneven fingernails, a stain on her shirt, and she might have misplaced her glasses… a little like me. A little like all of us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Raining Books!

Teaching Tuesdays

Books, books, books! We take a literature approach to history, which means I scour,, and’s used books to find deals on all the books we’ll read during the school year. The ordering has been completed for fall 2012, and now it’s like Christmas almost every day when the mail comes with one book or another. Our mail lady just told me that I needed a bigger mailbox.

For us, the literature approach is the best way my kids learn. At the end of last school year, I asked them to write at least 3 sentences on over 30 topics from our study of American History. It was eye-opening that the events and people that they read historical fiction or biographies on were the easiest for them to recall. When my 8 YO daughter got to Danielle Boone, she wrote four complete paragraphs. She loved that book and couldn’t narrow down what she wanted to say. To me, she gained much more from a good book than a simple paragraph in a text about him.

Of course, the downside to a literature approach is that you can’t possibly read a good book about everything – there just isn’t time! That’s why this year, we’re going to use Mystery of History as our spine and then supplement with literature. I'm also excited about some of the quizzes and activities that will be able to help us review the information.

I’m already flipping through the pages of our new books, eagerly anticipating the adventures that they hold. I’ll post on here our family favorites.

To the other home school moms out there: What does school planning look like at your house?

Monday, June 18, 2012

When Cleaning is Frightening

Mommy Mondays

Cleaning can be a very frightening task. Trust me, I know.

While calmly wiping down the bathtub last week, I pushed away the shower curtain to find something brown staring at me. Not even sure of what it was, I screamed, dropping my cleaning supplies and jumping back. Another quick glance showed it was a frog, so I dashed away, screaming out my oldest daughter’s name. She’s a brave girl. She could handle this problem.

She probably thought the bathroom was on fire, the way I hauled her to the location of the critter. When she saw that it was a frog, she got all ewwy-gooey on me. “Awww, a frog! It’s so cute!” And my 3 YO son was full of excitement. “A baby frog!”

Shivering with disgust, I said, “Please get it out of here,” which they did, to play with it in the backyard. (After I took a picture, of course.)

My daughter knows I mildly tolerate animals and bugs for her sake. She asked, “You mean, you don’t even like frogs?” 

I replied, “I don’t like anything that moves.” 

“Not even me?” she asked while batting her long eyelashes at me, using the sarcasm she got from her father. 

I gave her a gentle shove and clarified, “Only humans.”

There are animal lovers in the world, and I’m glad I have one in my home. I don’t know what I’d do without her. I imagine myself calling her home from college to rescue her mom from a frog. She’s such a blessing. 

As long as her pets are kept outside.

"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal." Proverbs 12:10a

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Look, New Themes!

Hi! My blog has a new look, and with the cosmetic change comes an attempt at theme-days for my posts. I guess you could say I'm going to attempt to organize my random thought processes into nice and neat categories.

Here's how it will work:

Mommy Mondays: The subject matter will be all things related to mothering! Funny things my kids say, favorite recipes, tips and tricks - and anything else I can throw into this category.

Teacher Tuesdays: As a home schooling teacher, I'll add links I like, books we've loved, and other home school goodies.

Words for Wednesdays: I love books! Here I'll post reviews of books I've read recently and possibly even interviews with other authors.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Theology, inspirational quotes, song lyrics, personal reflections.

Foto Friday: Professional or candid, these will be fun pictures I've taken that I can't wait to share.

We'll see how long this lasts, but I thought I'd give it a go. Thanks for joining me on the ride!