Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My desire

"Do I serve God only when good people surround me or my faith is profitable and respected? Do I love the Lord only when worldly comforts come from His hands? If so, then I am nothing but a shameful hypocrite and, like a withering reed, I will perish when death deprives me of outward joys. Can I honestly say that when bodily comforts have been few and my surroundings have been hostile to my walk of grace that my integrity has been maintained? If so, then I have hope of a genuine, living, godliness in me. A reed cannot grow without moisture, but plants of "the Lord's right hand" (Psalm 118:15) can and do flourish, even in drought. In fact, a godly man often grows best when his worldly circumstances decay. He who follows Christ for his money bag is nothing but a Judas (see John 13:29), and they who follow him for loaves and fish are children of the devil. But they who follow him due to their genuine love for Him are His beloved ones. Lord, let me find my life in You- not the muck and mire of this world's favor or gain."
Look Unto Me: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon

These truths have been on my heart. I know I am guilty of holding on to the treasures and successes of this world too tightly. I often set my scope on money, outward beauty, recognition, comfort, and reputation- but most often on comfort. I don't want sickness, debt, confrontation, or discord. I don't want to fight a single battle- good or bad. I don't want a single bump in the road that I so desperately try to keep straight. And I am even more fearful of a bump in the road with my family.
But my ultimate need, Lord, is to love you with all of my heart.  I want my desires to be Yours.  Make me more like you, Father, and hold me close. Meet me in Your word and prayer this coming year and use me for your glory.  And when I feel exhausted, unappreciated, or unloved at the end of the day- set my eyes on you and the joy of knowing the Maker of the universe. Fill me with Your presence and give me a fullness in heart and mind that will be unwavering! Thank you for your "boundless stores of grace"!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A long year

I can't say it's been the easiest year, or the year I had imagined. But God is at work, as always, and I am leaning in.  The first half of the year I was devoting my full time to the second half of homeschooling all 3 children- Jack in 9th, Josh in 7th/8th, and Lydia Joy in 3rd.  The children had a wonderful school year.  All three managed to make all As and were very good students.  I was amazed at how self-motivated the boys were in school, developing really excellent habits and skills.  Jackson formed some very close friends, Josh seemed more comfortable in his own skin, and I had some much-needed time with Lydia Joy.  Our craft time and baking time forged some sweet memories for both of us!  We needed that time together!
Around May that peaceful year came to a crashing halt as we decided it was time to move out of the house that we were renting from my parents.  The late spring was filled with looking at houses, house plans, properties, etc.  At the beginning of June we moved and our summer of unpacking and house projects began!
We absolutely love being nearer to our church and school communities!  Our house is on a 3.5 acre lot which suits us all so much better!  We love the farmhouse style of the house and have enjoyed making it ours!  No doubt that a move is stressful and time-consuming though.  We had a very bad experience with the previous owner.  He bought this house at an auction as a foreclosure.  He made promises that were not kept and was very difficult.  When we finally- after months of unnecessary drama- made it to closing, he withheld our house keys for several days.  What an ordeal!
After about a month of moving in, the property to the side of our house- several hundred acres-began being developed.  So the almost PERFECT house for us is now next to daily construction.  The noise has been really disappointing, but we are adjusting. The house itself and property, along with our neighborhood, is really wonderful and we are thankful.
One of the most exciting aspects of moving has been having friends in our neighborhood!  By God's grace, we live next door to two sweet girls that are close to Lydia Joy's age.  Having friends to play with outside after school has been a new, very fun experience for her!  We are all thrilled for our very extroverted girl! In addition, we know five other families who live in this neighborhood and have those friends to enjoy, call on when we need help, carpool with, and get together with from time to time. It is a very sweet gift!
Overall, the house has been an enormous blessing. We love being more available for fun get togethers with friends, closer to school- Lydia Joy wanted to go back to her school, and in closer community with our church.  I am praying that this home and area will continue to feel more and more like ours and soon we will be completely settled.  Very thankful to our gracious God for these gifts!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

First Christmas event

 Lydie's school Christmas program kicked off the Christmas season! She was excited to have a small speaking part.  The music was beautiful and we continue to feel richly blessed that she is able to attend a classical, Christian school with a loving staff!

Best friends

She adores her teacher!

And the Christmas season begins!

Friday, May 20, 2016

End of the year recognition: Lydia Joy, 3rd grade

And now for the final part 3. Lydie was kind enough to humor me and leave her beloved school for 1 special year with me. She is over the top excited to return in the fall. But I would not trade anything for our year all together. I think some precious seeds were planted.
She and I have spent most every day side by side. She had to put in a lot of effort to earn all A's in third grade! Her biggest strides have been in writing and math. She is this beautiful mix of wild energy ...and intentional self-control.
With these gifts she excelled in gymnastics this year. She also loved singing and dancing with Summer and Holiday Show-offs.
I deeply value her gift of encouragement. If we kept all her love notes and encouraging words they would require a room of their own! She loves the Lord and is learning the power of prayer this year. We are so proud of our FOURTH GRADER! May God be glorified for every way she reflects His beauty and goodness! I am so thankful for this year with my 3 precious children!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

End of the year recognition: Joshua, 7th & 8th grades (!)

Awards day, part 2. Our Joshua did a pretty remarkable thing this year. He decided to work on 2 years of math as a 7th grader. By February he was finished with Pre-Algebra and by mid July he will complete Algebra. He did this in order to skip 8th grade! His final averages in school were 95+. He is a gifted student and hard to challenge.
Joshua was the first to start and finish almost every day. He took the high school level national Latin exam and received a cum laude award. He is the most affectionate hugger I have ever met. Quiet, deliberate, dry wit, well-mannered. What a joy!
He ran cross-country for the first year and learned so much about endurance. His faith has grown exponentially this year and his prayers melt my heart. THANK YOU LORD- for this sweetheart and his gifts and talents. We adore our FRESHMAN!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

End of the year recognition: Jackson, 9th grade

This is my version of Awards Day since we homeschool. First up...Jackson. This amazing kid earned all A's this year as a freshman. He took 3 honors classes and scored 92,95, & 97 on those. His final average in Biology was 101! He ended the year with a 4.18 GPA.
In addition to his consistent study habits, he woke up every single morning and spent 20 minutes working on ACT prep, and he is only a freshman! He scored a 27, no doubt a result of his dedication! We were absolutely overjoyed!
He earned around 40 service hours this year, some through involvement in Key Club, and others through church involvement. He ran cross country and slashed nearly 5 minutes off his personal record over the course of the season.
He has been a joy to teach. I never have to tell him to get started or work harder. One of his most valuable assets to our family is his kindness and compassion. And when things get difficult or chaotic he reminds us, "It will be ok. God is in this with us." May God receive EVERY OUNCE OF THE GLORY for this sweet soul! We are so proud of our SOPHOMORE!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hard worker

Sweetness of the day: My 13 year old taking care of the yard work for us. I pray these boys will always value and embrace a hard day's work.  They are amazing boys-always willing and offering to help.  Such humble, servant hearts they both have.  Dear future daughter-in-laws- you are lucky girls!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Lydia Joy was invited to a very fun birthday party.  There was actually a hair stylist, manicurist, and catwalk for modeling after the make-overs.  This was a pretty dreamy time for a girly 9 year old!  She is pictured above with the birthday girl in pink and below walking the catwalk.  This girl sure does love the spotlight!

Monday, May 09, 2016

The beginning of the end of our school year

The end of the school year is drawing near, and what a special year it has been!  Here is Lydia Joy by her timeline wall. Each card-most of which are not pictured-represent a history story that we learned together. Our lessons spanned from Creation to the Resurrection of Christ!  What an adventure we had together...on our sofa!

 The end-of-the-year Expo with our Cooperative was a fun time.  Lydia Joy made a history display.

 And Joshua made a science display.

Jackson was not required to make a project, but I think he benefitted most from his Biology class. He made some wonderful friends!  They all enjoyed Thursdays, as did I!
The funniest thing about this night was during the closing prayer.  I bowed my head and was wide awake one minute...and DROOLING the next!  I have been so exhausted from preparing to move to a new house that I fell sound asleep in a matter of seconds.  When the "Amen" was said, I snapped up, discovered that I was drooling and proceeded to laugh to the point of tears. My friends were then informed and they proceeded to laugh. It was really hilarious!  I need a good night's sleep. Obviously.

Monday, May 02, 2016

My resident biology expert and his sidekick

These two were the tour guides for the 2nd grade field trip to Ebenezer Swamp. Pretty amazing to have a biologist husband who can walk through any forest in the Southeast and randomly name the native plants and their uses.  He is pretty knowledgeable about animals, as well.  What an amazing gift.  According to the parents, they were a big hit!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Gymnastics Showcase

Lydia Joy seems to be pretty set on focusing on gymnastics/cheer and singing for hobbies.  She is still a beginner gymnast, but works very hard. She has beautiful lines and extension.  I sure would love to see her pursue dance with those gifts.  But this is her sweet journey, not mine! She is free to do whatever her heart desires, and I will enjoy watching her enjoy her pursuits!  We were proud parents at her Spring Showcase and look forward to seeing all the important life lessons she will learn through gymnastics!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Path of righteousness

I asked Lydia Joy to write about what she wants to be when she grows up.  I love that she ends her thoughts with, "but I am going to let God "leed" me in the path of what I need to do." Well said, love! And what an wonderful adventure you will find, right in the "shadow of His wings"!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The zoo in the spring

Her favorite- the flamingos!  Unique, soft, beautiful and pink, what's not to love?
Nothing like the excitement of a day away from the usual routine! We took the classroom to the zoo today and enjoyed every minute!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

To be (sane) or not to be...

This is a first...I made a casserole for dinner earlier today and put it in the frig. At 5, I thought I put it in the oven. I turned on the timer. The timer just went off and...the oven is empty! I never got the casserole out of the frig! That will teach me to set up an appointment and grade a math test during dinner prep! Crazy mom!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Favorite school moments

The part of school where we sit together and take turns reading is my favorite! Today she starts The Rackety Packety House and then she listens to me read The Secret Garden. Then she reads aloud from her Secret Keepers Bible study on friendships and we talk a while about how to apply those concepts. Then it will be my turn to read a history lesson on the Qin dynasty, which will lead to more reading on the Great Wall of China. And about an hour or so and a cup or two of coffee later, it will be time to shed our blankets and move on to other parts of our day. My special year with her is almost over, and she will return to her school and sweet friends in the fall!  Treasuring these days with her!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Our girl, the encourager

 When your baby leaves a note on our pillow...
"To a wonderful mom and dad you guys make me feel alive you make me happy and silly and joy full thanks for doing that I know it's hard work love, Lyd"

What an encourager!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter weekend- He is risen!

Good Friday we enjoyed a beautiful worship time at our pastor's house. Simple scripture reading and singing together by the candlelight with our families. It was a highlight of our celebration!

We spent Saturday at Dad's property- or "Little Farm". We had lunch on the porch. The kids rode ATVs, dyed eggs, played the spoon race and egg toss, and hunted Easter eggs. It was a really fun day to be together!

And on Easter Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful service with more music and a sermon. I could never with a million words describe the gratitude and awe I have in the sacrifice that Jesus made for me. My sin is so utterly overwhelming- but his grace and love are bigger still! He lived and gave me his perfect record. He died and took on the wrath that I deserve for my sin. He arose and defeated death for me!  Hallelujah- what a Savior!

Singing at church

Monday, March 21, 2016

Puberty cliff notes

Fifteen year old Jack said after shuffling through the Bible, "You know what the Bible doesn't address? Testosterone. It would have been nice if Jesus's teenage years were recorded." Bless. He just wants cliff notes for these puberty years. Sorry, buddy. I feel your pain!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Girl time

Always new hair styles
This little one and I spend so much time together. She LONGS for a sister! But she's stuck with me! :)  I hope and pray that all of our time together will be the foundation of a lifelong friendship where God will use me to serve and bless this precious soul!  And I can't help but pray that she will have a daughter too, some day! I love these three sweet children so much- they are JOY givers!
Her sweet encouraging words

Both missing Andy desperately when he travels and sending goofy texts to him together!

Sewing class with her friends


Learning side by side...day in and out!

Roommates when Andy travels

Those cheeks have collected more kisses....

The mall with these darling girls!
While I was gone to dinner with friends recently, Andy took the kids out shopping to spend some of their Christmas money. Lydia Joy bought these matching necklaces with her money. When she gave them to me she said, "Mommy, you're my sweetheart Mommy and my best big friend." This girl! So full of love!