Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Colonial day in fifth grade::Joshua

Days like these make me feel so thankful for our wonderful school!  I could have never provided these wonderful experiences at home!  Josh loves history more this year than ever before!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Andy and I had an extraordinary weekend together.  The children spent Friday night with their cousins at Mimi and Papa's house.  We decided to stay home, avoiding the Valentine crowds, and cook our own meal.  We had a delicious meal together with candlelight and wine.  I am so thankful for this special evening together, really enjoying one another romantically.  We need this type of time together as often as possible.  It was pure bliss.  We recounted that this was our 21st Valentine together.  Not all Valentines have found us in such a sweet place in our relationship.  But by the power of Christ alone, our marriage has been and continues to be strong and true and I am looking forward to moving forward together.

Saturday night my sweet teacher-friend had us over, along with three other couples, for a Valentine meal and "The Newlywed Game".  She and her husband served us all night long.  Her entire family is such an example of godly servanthood!  We had such a great time with friends!  And then the newlywed game was hysterical.  Haven't laughed that much in a long time!  It was such a delight to see my closest friends' husbands getting to know one another and laughing together.  They all got along well and seem to have a fun night together!  Andy and I put on our game face for the newlywed game, but came up short.  Our sweet friends won the grand prize- a $50 Bonefish Grill gift card!  So generous and fun!

Last night I came home thinking about how lonely I was just a year and a half ago.  I felt completely misplaced when we left Atlanta for the farm.  And here I am, surrounded by a group of amazing, godly, FUN friends!  This is a good reminder that I can never know what a difference a year will make and to press on through adversity! Praise God!  I am so thankful!

"Love is the greatest refreshment in life."
Pablo Picasso

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Special Valentine: Don't want to forget!

My 13 year old melted my heart on Friday at school.  When the bell rings to dismiss him for the day, he always come down to my classroom.  This day I was in a friend's room with a couple of teachers.  We were talking, along with a girl from his class.  He walked in with a smile on his face.  He said hi to the girl from his class.  Then he said, "Mom, happy Valentine's day!  I bought this for you!"  It was a Diet Coke from the vending machine.  Melted.my.heart.
Here he is, that morning, with a little gift from us.  Sweet, sweet boy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unexpected: 5 snow days in 2 weeks...in Alabama

The kids with our sweet friends who left us spend the night when we were stranded!
Do snow angels EVER get old?
Our trip home after spending the night with friends- ALL of these cars are abandoned on the ice!
Our house in the ice and snow

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Community: Jack's friends

Best buds, these guys are iron-sharpens-iron buddies
Three other kind boys who are lots of fun!
Most of the 7th grade boys.  Very sweet boys from godly families!
Are there words?
These pictures represent prayers answered.  Community was the first and most important reason we left homeschooling.  And God has blessed exceedingly and abundantly!  I love Jack's friends.  There are some amazing, godly families in our school.  And Jack's class is particularly dear.  So thankful and happy for Jack to have these boys in his life!

Little steps: Jack's Cotillion

There are so many things that I admire about my oldest boy.  He and I are so different and it is wonderful.  He has so many qualities I never will- calm, collected, witty, loves the unknown.  This year was his second Cotillion.  There were no nerves.  It was old-hat now.  All fun, no worries.

Just before we left him for the night
We made shopping for his outfit a family affair at the mall.  He was slightly more opinionated than last year, but still mostly just had a "whatever you think, Mom" kind of attitude.  It was fun.  We thought maybe a bow tie this year would suit him well.  But ultimately, stripes it was.  He decided his uniform khakis would do just fine.  We borrowed a sports coat.  So off we were to buy shoes.  I really love what we got.  A little different than the norm, rugged but classy, good-looking.

The girls waiting to fill in their dance cards and be asked to dance
Beautiful tables
Sprucing up the gym
Our school does an excellent job of training the children in ballroom dance and etiquette before the dance.  They spend a couple of months in p.e. class learning the basic dances.  And they spend time during school learning table etiquette.  When they get to the dance, the students have a dance card at his or her seat.  Half of the dances have assigned partners.  There are 5 or 6 blanks where the boys have to get the cards filled before dinner begins.  Jackson was off with his friends, taking pictures and talking about the food they would eat.  I noticed everyone had almost gotten their cards filled and he hadn't even looked at his.  No worries, I'm sure he thought.  Or most likely, he hadn't even noticed.  But I told him, just in case, he might want to get to work.  He disappeared for 3 minutes and came back with a full card.  Perfectly Jackson.  By this time, the faculty and chaperons asked the parents to leave and come back four hours later after dinner and dancing.  I have a seventh grade, thirteen year old.  It's really surreal, and so is leaving him at a dance.  But off we went, and he didn't even notice or care.

i ::LOVE:: this boy

In the car...excited!
The redeeming factor?  He is a kind, well-mannered, innocent boy.  I really love his friends, who know and love the Lord, as well.  So off we went feeling a little emotional, but mostly extremely happy and confident that he would have a wonderful time. The younger kids were invited to go to a movie with their Poppy. So Andy and I found ourselves on a date.  Alone.  These are good days.

Later that night, the parents were invited to come to the dance at 15 minutes 'til 10 to see the last few dances.  I watched Jack dance, chat, smile.  He was enjoying the girls in his class in the sweetest, most innocent of ways.  I love that he danced the last dance with a girl who might not have otherwise been asked.  He enjoyed the night and remembered that I told him to have fun with his friends, but be mindful of the girls who need a partner and friend.
Last dance with a friend
Some teachers joining a line dance...Ha!
Parisian theme

He said last year was a little more exciting because "everything was new and he didn't know what to expect".  That statement proves again how different we are!  New and unknown does not equal excitement for this Mom.  I love that it does for Jack! His friends ran up, along with a parent that we respect and know well, and asked if he could go to IHOP.  Another Mom friend who was going offered to bring him home.  So we came home, put the younger two children to bed, and fell sound asleep.  It took the sound of the doorbell to wake us up when he got home at midnight.  This sweet boy and his friends and school are every bit a dream come true for me.  While not perfect, and I wouldn't expect so, truly IDEAL. I cannot believe we are at this stage in life.  But I am deeply grateful for all that the Lord has provided for Jackson and what he is doing in His life!  These little steps will amount to big ones, one day.
At the end of a dance, clapping, and then walking his dance partner back to her seat
Another dance with a friend

Monday, February 03, 2014

Note to self from Matthew 13

Today you have the GREAT privilege of entering into kingdom work with the Creator of the universe.  You have been called to sow seeds of the gospel in the lives of your family, friends and students.  When you think about your partnership with Christ, doesn't it make you want to fall on your knees in gratitude for such amazing work?  Have you praised God for allowing you, a fallen sinner, to enter into the work of loving, serving, teaching, and sowing seeds of the gospel today?

Are you dipping your hands in the seed bag?  Is your heart and mind full of the words of Christ today?  Have you spent time enjoying His means of grace so that your hands are full of seeds to plant?  Don't go into the day with empty hands!! 

Are you praying for GOOD SOIL in the lives of those around you?  Only God can make the seeds grow in the hearts of the children you love and serve.  Pray, beg, for the seeds to fall on good soil!

Sow with patience, joy, and love today!  Enjoy your work!  You are so blessed to be a part of it!

Revisiting resolutions

"Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly."
Francis Bacon

I am going to try to "revisit" my resolutions at the beginning of each month for accountability. 

1. Read a chapter daily in the Bible and another book from my book list, at least. Reading is going okay, but not as consistent as I had hoped.  I am fine with less outside reading.  But digging in the Word is a must.  I need to be consistent on daily Bible reading.
2. Use my camera often. Blog at least once a week. I am enjoying taking more pictures and blogging a little more often.
3. Go on some type of date, even for coffee, with my husband once a month, at least. We did have a short coffee date in January.  And we have a night to ourselves, and a night out with friends planned this month!  We are also trying something new: a weekly meeting to discuss how things are going as a couple and family.  This will be precious time.
4. Take one of the children somewhere special once a month. Each child gets four special dates.  We still have not started this plan!  But we will start with Joshua this weekend.  I also have tickets to see SEC gymnastics with Lydie in March.  We have had some WONDERFUL family nights!
5. Follow my fitness plan. (Use my fitband to follow plan. 40 week challenge) I am most pleased with this area.  I have given up time in other areas (reading, art time, etc.), but I am okay with these sacrifices.  I am making my health a big priority this year.  I have lost 13 pounds since the day after Christmas.
6. Be intentional with extended family relationships. I would like to do better.  So glad to revisit these goals and see this area that I have neglected.  
7. Spend more "fun time" with friends. Join a Bible study. We are joining a community group at church this month.  I am also trying to get together a discipleship group.  I may have a fun weekend trip coming up this month with a friend.  And I adore my friends at school, who I am with all the time.  I am SO THANKFUL for my friends!  Oh, they bless me so much!!
8. Try 4 big art projects this year.  This area will be neglected until I get to my ideal weight, probably.
9. Complete at least 5 house projects.  I will work on these projects over the summer, probably.
-Paint powder room
-Hang chandelier in kitchen and Lydie's room
-Hallway collage
-Master bedroom makeover
-Hang more pictures in basement
*Maybe...paint kitchen cabinets* *
10. Complete all papers for level 1 classical education certification. I am meeting with friends this week to work on these papers!

-DAILY Bible reading
-Being more intentional with extended family
-One-on-one time with children