Friday, October 31, 2008


We went to a marvelous Halloween party tonight. I wish I had taken pictures of my friend's house. It was amazing, everything she creatively puts together is. With more than a dozen families that we love, we enjoyed good food, a bonfire, desserts, cocoa and trick-or-treating. Some of our favorite people were there! What a FUN night!

Lydie's little Halloween dress. She looked almost as cute in her dress as she did in her costume.

Jaybird inherited my sweet tooth. The boys happily helped me make a dessert for the party.

My Toot loves to cook with me.

Pumpkin shaped rice krispy treats were on the menu. They were so yummy!

Kissing the cook.

My boys HATE to have their picture made!

But my girl doesn't mind at all! This is Lydie as, and I quote, "Tinkbubell". Hope you had fun tonight, too!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Off to find a pumpkin

Be all there

“Wherever you are, BE ALL THERE! Wherever you are, be entirely present to God who meets you in that space.”

Jim Elliot

Lord, help me to live a life that it is all for You. Give me the grace to serve You well, for your glory and not my own!
Pictured above: My girl, who forces me to be "all there"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1/3 of the way through our school year

We have finished the first 12 weeks! Some days we've soared, others we've just survived. But I honestly LOVE this adventure!
Here's what fill the moments (around 4 hours a day):
~The Jesus Storybook Bible
Warm up Hands activity/ Lydie Joy's learning time
Calendar timeCircle time
~Memory verses, poems, hymns, Jaybird's spanish flashcards, and Toot's speech exercises
Jaybird (2nd grade)
~Saxon 2: 3x a week (On lesson 36)
~ I Love Math! cd-rom: 1 or 2x a week
~ practice on math websites: occasionally
~board games: at least 2x a week

~BJU Press English 2: 3x a week (Dropped First Lang. Lessons this week. On lesson 3- LOVE IT!)
~Creative Writing in Journal: 3x a week
~Creative Writing at co-op: 1x a week
~words chosen from science or history lesson: 3x a week

~suggestions from Veritas Press and Sonlight's 3rd grade list + my own fun finds: 4x a week
~How To Report on Books, 1-2 grades: 2x a month

~Spelling Workout B: 4x a week (On list 13)


~Story of the Orchestra: read 2 pages 1x a week

~piano lessons put off until next year

Art history

~Come Look with Me: read 2 pages 1x a week with a picture study

~Sister Wendy's Story of Painting: read occasionally

~I Can Do All Things: 1x a week (On lesson 13)


~The Mystery of History, Vol. 1: 4x a week (3 lessons, 3 projects, 1 day of review/timeline/folder/maps) (Dropped Tapestry of Grace, on Lesson 13)

~Christian Kids Explore Biology: 2x a week (1 lesson, 1 project) (On lesson 10)

~Geography songs cd: 1x a week
~Cantering the Country at co-op: 1x a week
~Discovering Maps: read 2 pages 1x a week
~Mapping of ancient sites in history: 1x a week
~Lessons at co-op
~Exercise cards: The boys pick 3 a day and mark the chart. When they have marked all the numbers, they get a trip to play mini-golf. They have 10 exercises to do, 10x a piece.
~Running and playing and trips to the park all the time
~Basketball starts in November
~Swim lessons: 1x a week
Read Alouds/ Misc.
~Books from Five In a Row- bake 1x a week
~Seasonal art projects
~Chronicles of Narnia at bed time

Toot (kindergarten) (Only the differences)
~Horizons K: 3x a week (Lesson 80- we started last year)
Grammar/ Writing
~First Language Lessons (Lesson 33)
~Zaner-Blozer first grade (Lesson 30)
~Veritas Press first grade list and comprehension guide
~Spelling Workout A (List 12)
Fun trips together

Field trips
~the art museum, pumpkin patch, apple orchard, farm
Parties with our group
~back to school, fall, Halloween



~Mystery of History, Reading

Not so favorite

Overall, the year has been a lot of fun! We found our groove in about week 5. Lydia Joy has adjusted to not being the center of attention better than I imagined she could. I am disappointed that I have not been very enthusiastic about science, especially because my husband is a scientist! Maybe we should not save it until the end of the day. But overall, the kids enjoy their school work and I am seeing them grow! I am honored to be a part of it all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A fun outreach

One of my dear, inspiring friends had a vision for our church this year. She wanted to have a follow-up outreach ministry to the visiting families from VBS. So she took her dream and gave it to God, and He shared the passion with the rest of us. It was very exciting last night to see it all come to fruition in our first fall festival. It was a raging success! We sent personal invitations to everyone from VBS and invited the rest of our community, as well. We had new, happy faces around every corner. I can't wait to see how God uses this event for His glory!

Two beautiful teenage girls took our picture, thus the blank looks. Boys lose their cool around pretty girls from birth, it seems.

I still call these "moonwalks", but I was told that dates me. Now they are "bouncy houses". Andy manned the bouncy houses while I manned the kids.

Jaybird's headband was a flashback to Flashdance. He wore it like this all night.

Worn out, but not too tired to jump "one more time".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Regarding your vote

Voting for principle, not a man
“On Tuesday November 4, don’t think you are merely expressing a preference between two men, choosing who you like, who you’d enjoy hanging out with. You’re not voting for a friend, a dinner companion, a dance partner, someone to sit next to at a ball game or to be seen with at a party. Don’t allow yourself to vote as if this were American Idol. In the arena of an unborn child’s right to live, these candidates stand for things far bigger than themselves. And when it comes to the right to life of coming generations of unborn children, they stand for two polar opposites.”
Randy Alcorn

Friday, October 24, 2008

A little goes a long way

Once every other week I go out for coffee alone at night. I use this time to sit and evaluate our family life. This time, along with prayer, does more for my edification in the area of parenting than anything else right now.
I take time to pray and record strong and weak areas for my children and myself. I look at every area of our development- physical, emotional, spiritual, academic, and habits. I also stand back and take a look at our family life and whether we are acting as servants to others outside of our family. This time is critical for me. Because in the blink of an eye, the moments turn into years, and I want to know what to do and how to pray for God's glory in our family while "today is called today". I want to be aware. I want to go to God with our needs and our praises.
This may or may not appeal to you. Maybe it sounds ludicrous or anal or just not worth the time or effort. That is certainly understandable. My love for list-making and introspection is not universal (thank goodness)! But if it peaks your interest, here are the questions I use. (I record the answers in a journal.)

Physical- in good health? fine motors skills? gross motor skills? resting enough?
Emotional- self-controlled? seeing beyond himself/herself? happy? humble? sharing thoughts and feelings?
Spiritual- inquisitive? respectful? kind? speaking of God? fearful? responsible (wants to help)? enjoying learning about God? prayerful?
Habits- at the table? in public? school? chores?
Intellectual- any problem areas? using gifts? working on weaknesses? growing in knowledge/understanding or stagnant?
Family life- daily devotions? praying together? singing/enjoying different types of music together? experiencing new places/ideas together? Talking about Jesus? Appreciating/encouraging one another? Do 2 of us need time alone? Are we all enjoying one another? Are we loving our extending family well? Are we celebrating each day?
Service- How are we serving God's people? How are we serving those "without a voice"? Are we opening our home to others? Are we all attributing to daily chores? Do we grumble/complain when we are working? Are we looking for ways to share the gospel (verbally or non-verbally) with non-believers?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Being imitators of Christ

A few excerpts from Ann's "Draw God" from this week. Go and read the rest!
"God first stretched flesh over Himself in the person of Christ and came among us to show us how to make the God-life come to life. He brought the God canvas close so we might see it, live and in color, that we too might imitate. And now His Spirit perpetually stretches skin over Christ-in-us to show our children, the world at large, how to animate the canvas of a soul with the same God-life. We, who imitate Him, bring our God-canvas close, so others too might imitate."
"I wonder what my children are copying from the life modeled in the daily gallery of my heart, this home? Draw God. Incarnate Jesus. Imitate His Spirit. They're copying our life-canvas. "
Pictured above: wrinkled canvas

Coffee shop talk

Yesterday I was in full survival mode. You know those type of days...children need more discipline than usual, baby is cranky, the beast (pms) is here, etc. I was in a bit of a funk, except that I could keep reminding myself what was in store for me at the end of the day. Last night was my monthly night out with my girlfriends- something I treasure.

We met at the usual coffee shop. I asked everyone to bring their wedding albums. On any given get-together there is between 2-10 of us. Last night there were 4. It was a wonderful, intimate group. We are supposed to meet and talk "shop" about homeschooling, but we seem to be more interested in building friendships, which is nice. My friend Liz is even coming along for the fun, even though she doesn't homeschool. I love that! Not only did I get to see what all of my friends looked like 10-12 years ago on their wedding day, but we shared much more. Engagement and wedding stories led to love stories. We giggled and laughed as we talked about how we met the loves of our lives. We oooed and aahhhed over the beauty of each bride. We laughed at the way our brothers and sisters looked. We were sad to see grandparents that were so happy and healthy then, and have now passed on. We listened as each one of us told of God's providence in bringing each family together and blessing us all with children. It was so much fun!

Before you know it, the coffee shop man was putting the chairs on the tables. And then he was locking the doors. And when we still didn't take the hint, he politely kicked us out...and so we stood in the parking lot shaking from the cool wind, still gabbing about "our stories". So just for fun, invite your best friend(s) or a new friend over for some coffee (maybe with some pumpkin pie or coffee cake) and share wedding pictures. You won't believe how much more you will know about one another when the night is over!
*Pictured above: Some of the girls back in September

Monday, October 20, 2008

A verse for Monday

Psalm 90:17
"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands."

Friday, October 17, 2008

A week of gifts

To most outsiders, the past week would look a little grim. With Granddaddy's death and my husband's back issues, it hasn't been a breeze of a week. Andy attempted dinner out with us tonight, his only time out of the house in 8 days except for one failed attempt at teaching and three trips to various doctors. He has been in the bed for over a week! Thankfully, he can get a lot of work done with the laptop. But he really hasn't seen anyone outside of our little clan and not much daylight.

I can't pretend to understand the purposes for these tough times. Andy had to turn down two jobs for early next week, which is unfortunate for our budget. He had to miss important functions at church. He missed teaching biology on Monday, or at least most of it, as well as a speaking engagment at the beach. And he hasn't been able to sit through hardly any family meals. No, I can't pretend to understand exactly why things like this minor setback, much less major ones happen.

But I can choose to focus on the blessings we have received. I think I will list them, just to remind myself of God's faithfulness. These records will become faith-builders for times to come.
~Our new sofa was delivered on Wednesday, a gift from my Mom and Dad.
~Andy's parents sent us an unexpected financial gift. Not a loan, a gift. What a wonderful surprise!
~At the beginning of each day, I have had more energy than I can describe. Almost every night, I have put the children to bed with the same amount of energy at the end of the day.
~Two senior high girls called and offered to come and help me with whatever I needed this week, free of charge. I had two and a half hours to run errands alone one of these days!
~Dozens of people have shared that they are praying for us right now.
~A group of kids from church decorated Andy's office with balloons and encouraging notes.
~My Andy bought me flowers on his way home from the chiropractor.
~I have felt God's presence in undeniable ways this week. His love and grace is more than enough.
~God gave me two opportunities to "pay it forward" with other friends in need this week.
Colossians 1:11
"May you be made strong with all strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pumpkin patch day

Perfect, fall weather.
Good friends.
Teaching little Beau how to bury a pumpkin.

The hayride was a little bumpy.

Our group- minus me, the photographer.

Tractors never get old.
Yummy apple cider before we head out for pizza.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I could not make these things up

Today we were driving down our street and Jaybird spotted an Obam* yard sign. Very perturbed he said, "Why in the world would anyone vote for Obam*?" When I didn't reply he said, "Why do people think that government is the big answer? Don't they know that only the One True God is the answer?"

That's my boy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not so nimble

My Toot gave me a belly laugh yesterday. He ran up to me in the kitchen and said, "Mommy, let's see who can jump the highest." I agreed, "Alright, but I'm pretty sure you are the highest jumper!" So we jumped, he trying to touch his toes in mid air.

Afterwards, I said, "See, I think you were highest." He replied sadly, "No, Mommy. It's gotta be you." "Why, me?", I asked. He said, "Because girls have nipples. They must jump higher."

Toot's inspiration:
Jack be nimble (nipple)
Jack be quick.
Jack jumped over the candlestick.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Leading onward

I have talked before about the most difficult time in my life. There have been many trials, for sure, but this one left the deepest mark. Whenever I find myself grieving a loss, I go back to this time. It was a crossroads for me.
A sweet older man from our church called and left a message when my Granddaddy died. He said, "In your pain, you will find joy all around you." I just smiled when I heard those words. A few years ago I would have frowned or maybe even been hurt. But not now because I know he is right. To me, one of the biggest mysteries of knowing the Lord is finding joy in loss. This very joy is swimming in and around me during my current grief.
The only explanation I can propose it that the bigger our need, the fuller and bigger His grace becomes. The more I feel the sting of earthly death and disappointment, the sweeter heaven tastes and the reality of His death and resurrection for me sets deeper. And I want more. More of Him, more of His word, more fellowship with His people, and more time to talk with Him. I want to serve Him and His people well-it compels me, consumes me. The more I have of Him, the more Joy I find...everywhere. It is undeniable, all because of Him.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
In its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love.
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To my glorious rest above.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of ev'ry love the best!
Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
Tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee.

Fallen leaves

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Therapy, southern style

There's nothing like a morning of baking and Bebo Norman music to clear the mind! Remember all of those apples? I only have 6 left now!

Friday, October 10, 2008

An honor

This morning my oldest son gave me a gift. His gift was a brand new perspective. I was trying to settle my husband into a comfortable position with a heating pad, getting my son ready for speech therapy, dry my hair, and make breakfast. With an air of desperation I said, "Could you please go and get the baby out of the crib and help her to the breakfast table?" His response was, "Mommy, it would be an honor."
He had never used this phrase before and it stuck with me. My sweet boy opened my eyes to the truth that should undergird my day. This is an honor. Every single bit of it. And through this one little statement, God gave me a grateful heart. And thankfulness always gives birth to joy.
Psalm 5:11
"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A rotten day

We're back home again. The past few days have been filled with tears, family stories, and many hugs. It certainly isn't all bad to absorb the death of a believer. But it's not all good either, is it?

Today was really the worst of all. With my Granddaddy's funeral behind me, I was ready to come home and rest with my thoughts. Rest: that elusive word! That obviously did not happen. As we were getting ready this morning, my husband strained his back. This happens about three times a year, and it's really painful for him. He can barely walk or sit up at all. I felt so badly for him. He hates to be in need! And I will confess, I didn't think I had the stamina to serve him well.

We made it home, the kids were fed three meals (if a gas station meal of snacks and juice counts), they were bathed, and cuddled here and there. But that's about it. Between the demands that come with traveling and returning home, plus these additional stresses, I was not myself today. I was basically a bear! Thankfully, the Lord and my family are very forgiving!

I'm going to bed. I'm praying for encouragement, strength and peace for tomorrow, none of which I had today. I'm so thankful that those things are not elusive. There is always hope through Jesus Christ, and I'm clinging to it tonight.

Psalm 22:19
"But you, O Lord, be not far off; oh my Strength, come quickly to help me."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Please pray

Please pray for us. My Granddaddy passed away on Sunday. What an amazing man he was! And now my Dad is mourning the loss of two parents (Grandmom died in April). We were very, very blessed to have them both until they were in their 80s. And we were very blessed to watch them enjoy a rich relationship with Christ. We are leaving to go out of town this afternoon.

More about my sweet Granddaddy later...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I must confess...

Since we started the school year, we have had one too many fast food meals. I have been especially tempted at lunch time to just hop in the car and head for Wendy's and the park. Now that we are in a groove, I am ready to cook a little more and eat out less. Between our bad eating habits and the enormous bag of apples, I was feel quite inspired today!

Preparing for the cook fest

A little bit of this...

And a little bit of that (I peeled apples and my husband rolled out the pie crust)...

With some play time in between to watch football with friends We finally have a few home made yummies! (This applesauce is the easiest, yummiest recipe. Maybe I'll post some of these recipes next week.)

We still have all of these apples left! On the baking agenda for tomorrow: apple bread, apple crisps, and butterscotch apple cake. (I sound like Bubba Gump with his shrimp.)