Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Looking back...


With each new year, we look forward to the one ahead, full of the unknown, full of hope.  Yet I think in order to fully embrace the year ahead, we have to look back first.  In looking back, we can see the areas that flourished and those that need some extra attention.  I spent the last few days of 2016 answering these questions.  I was convicted, challenged, and honestly, a little depressed by the answers I gave.  

Last year was my year of survival.  On the outside, those around me may not have seen anything amiss. Yet inside, the struggles were some of the most difficult I have ever endured.  God is gracious and as this new year rolls in, I am more clearly seeing His hand as He holds me up when I can't.  I praise God for my husband who is my constant comfort when my emotions come crashing down.  I am daily thankful for my girls who are more than I deserve.  So I say all this to reiterate what I've tried to say in the past, my life is not perfect.  I have struggles just like everyone else.

So what does this next year have to hold?  Rest.

I pray for rest in my home, in my marriage, in our daily school life, and most of all, in my soul.  Over the last few weeks of January, I hope to share more of what I pray this rest will look like, but for now, this is what I pray...


I pray for slow mornings centered on God's Word, sprinkled with time in good books, music, and art.  I pray that I'm not producing little Pharisees in my girls, but sisters in Christ who desire to know God more and learn with ferocious appetites.



I pray this beautiful new room (built by my wonderful husband) will be a haven over this next year, a place of retreat to dive into our studies, and focus on the calling God has placed on our family.

 

I pray for more time with this man of mine.  Whether it's a quick date out or some quality moments at home, I pray that our marriage will only grow stronger.



I pray for more time at home around nourishing meals, time to cook with girls.


I pray for rest in the great outdoors, for time spent in our favorite books, laughter on our new zipline, and lots of marshmallows roasted around the fire pit.
 


I pray for new adventures with these people I call mine. They bring such joy.  May I too find such joy as I once had.


Last, but not least, I pray for daily rest in God's word.  I pray for the strength to get up, to find a place of quiet retreat, and for God to do a new work in my life.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Count the blessings...


Count the blessings... Even though tomorrow is officially Thanksgiving day in the United States, I need the reminder every day to count the blessings.  


- for the privilege of teaching my girls at home


- for resources to assist me in teaching things 
outside of my knowledge.


- for oil changes that press pause in the day


- for neighbors and community


- for thoughtful gifts from friends


- for weekly poetry tea time


- for this man of mine, who treats me better than I deserve


- for opportunities to live missionally with my girls


- for my history-loving girl


- for days of rest that are truly restful


- for a free country and a God who is the same 
yesterday, today, and forever


Monday, October 24, 2016

Overwhelmed!


Overwhelmed... I remember repeating that word over and over before and after we moved last year.  The song, Overwhelmed, by Big Daddy Weave played on repeat in my mind.  I was overwhelmed in many ways.  We moved again after a long and hard season in our life.  We had said many goodbyes, felt alone at times, and simply exhausted.  Yet, God was still faithful.  Our church graciously gave us a week away at the beach and it was the most restful week we've ever had.  


A year later that same word fills my head again.  

Overwhelmed... 

Webster defines it as "to affect someone very strongly." Marty and I are overwhelmed with gratitude for our church family.  October is "pastor appreciation" month, and while we already feel appreciated by our church, they have gone over and above to express it to us and our senior pastor's family. We are overwhelmed, undeserved, and humbled by it all!  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Back to School


Back to school...  We've been back in the groove of homeschooling for over a month now.  Honestly, we're still trying to find our groove. Even though this is our eighth official year of homeschooling (not including "preschool"), we are still working on our schedule, determining the right curriculum in certain subjects for each individual girl, and looking forward to having a real schoolroom again.  



Our littlest is now in 1st grade!  Where has the time gone? She loves to read, has an official science notebook like her sisters, and has already memorized two poems.  She loves her classes at our homeschool co-op!  


Our little middle is now in 4th grade!  Time really does fly! She loves to write in her journal, draw, and is fully embracing her cooking classes at our local community center.  She took classes through the summer and is eagerly awaiting her upcoming ones this fall.  She too loves her co-op classes (writing and studying the wild west).


7th grade?  Now I'm starting to cry.  Our oldest is doing a lot of her school work on her own now.  Pre-algebra is on the computer (thanks to Teaching Textbooks!) and she diligently works through her grammar, spelling, and writing homework on her own.  My only challenge is keeping up with her supply of books from the library.









We are looking forward to embracing our beautiful yard in the upcoming fall months using nature notebooks and spending much of our school days outside.  Bike riding and now training for a 5k are part of our PE regiment!




I have to confess that this year scares me more than before due to teaching three grades.  Last year included kindergarten, which I probably didn't take as seriously as I should have, partly due to moving at the beginning of our school year.  Our principal (aka Daddy) has been working hard over the summer to finish our school room above our garage.  We are eager to move our books from the dining room to a space designated for our home education!





Field trippin' is such a special part of homeschooling.  Even a quick trip to the beach can be such a learning experience! We have a few field trips on the back burner, and our girls could not be better travel companions!  They put up with their crazy picture-taking mama and love being anywhere with their daddy!  Our girls are a gift that I too often take for granted.  They bring so much joy to our lives, and I truly consider it a privilege to not only be their mama, but also their teacher. 

"Teaching our children should not be so much about academic goals being reached as it is about the people they are becoming in the process." - a fellow homeschool mom

More blog posts to follow concerning our curriculum, personality types, what's inspiring me, homeschool dads, and busyness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reading through the summer



This summer has flown by (as it seems to every year)!  I had hoped to blog more, organize more, travel more...  oh well!  But one thing we did do was read more.  We didn't tour as many libraries & bookstores as I had hoped, but our weekly visits to our local libraries brought a lot of good books home, thanks to some great resources and reading guides.


This reading guide & excellent resource is simple, yet eye opening. Families are encouraged to read just one book from a certain area of the world each week.  The book gives a plethora of books to choose from and reserve from your local library, as well as printable maps, videos to watch, etc.  Some of our favorite books have been The Journey that Saved Curious George, One Hen, My Librarian is a Camel, and Adele & Simon in America.



Another incentive to encourage my growing readers was the easy summer reading program though Barnes & Nobles.  Just walking in the store gives me thrill, not sure if it's the smell of books and coffee or the memories of the many dates with Marty before kids. Only 4 books are required to be read in order for them to get a free book!  (It's not too late.  The program ends September 6th.)





A great blog that I've mentioned before is Modern Mrs. Darcy.  She puts together a great summer reading guide (for adults).  It has helped me branch back a little more into fiction as that's something I rarely read just for myself.

In the past, I've mentioned our family's love of audio books, especially in the car.  We have enjoyed almost the entire Little House series, listened to new books that I've never even heard of, laughed hysterically over Ramona the Brave, and wistfully imagined ourselves on the shores of Prince Edwards Island with Anne Shirley.  Below is a great blog post concerning audio books.

For the Love of Audio Books by Greta Eskridge