"Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” ~ Jani Ortlund
Day is done...
Gone the sun
From the lake...
From the hills...
From the sky.
All is well...
God is nigh.
Dims the sight
And a star....
Gems the sky....
Falls the night.
- Major General Daniel Butterfield
Thank you Grandpa William for Iwo Jima, Thank you Grandpa Al for being a tank destroyer driver in Europe. Thanks Uncle Raymond for your naval service. Thank you to my great uncle who was shot down in WWII and spent time in a German Prisoner of War camp. Thank you Dad, for Viet Nam, and Uncle Jim for your service, too!
How blessed we were to have you all return home.
Thank you to all who served in the armed forces and to those who gave their lives while serving. We owe you a debt of gratitude.
Here is the result of the sneak peak I showed you. I LOVE it! We hung it on the arch that leads into the small garden at the front of the house.
Here is what it looks like from further away - We painted the picket fence today and the arch got a fresh coat of paint as well! It was very hot and humid, but with Tim, Emily, Lindsay and I all painting it went fast! A few months ago, Lindsay, Rachel and I painted the picket fence with primer so we were already to go!
I think my lamppost needs to be painted next! I also did some other spray painting today as well.
This is one of the projects. I bought this 'cottage' sign at JoAnn Fabric two weeks ago on clearance. It was marked down from $19.99 to $5.99! It originally was white but as soon as we hung it I knew it needed to be red!
I know it is hung a bit oddly, but it is hiding a hole in the siding. My parents are going to be adding an inlaw quarters on to our home, in the next few years, and so we need to wait to reside the house. I like being able to use something I like to disguise flaws.
Here you can see the new flower pot for the front stoop. Don't really have a porch, yet...oh, and you can see a few of the strawberries that we are starting to harvest from our patch.
So, I have been having a bit of fun with the outdoor decor. Tune in sometime this weekend to see what else I have been painting!
When we were in Missouri my brother in law saw that I liked this hanging sign. So he was sneaky and bought it for me. It was very kind of him.
I knew right away that I wanted to paint it - I thought at first of white or black and then even the daring thought of red! I knew I wanted it to hang outside. Tim and I were at Lowe's the other night and I found Rust-Oleum's Hammered line in copper!
I like it as it is a subtle change, but so much better! I have several projects in the front garden that I am working on...this is just a sneak peak, of course.
Kayleigh and her dad have spoken and worked things out. They will be moving back to her dad's home tonight, with better communication and understanding. I will let you know the news regarding the ultrasound tomorrow.
Oh, and since it was so hot already by time Lindsay finished with her riding student, we went to Hershey Chocolate World! It is free, air conditioned and you get a free candy when you get off the tour ride! Kyle had never been there and he loved it! He went on the ride 3 times! Such excitement and fun!
Thanks for your encouraging words and prayers. We could still use the prayers and the encouragement was a real gift to me. Thank you!
and so I have a choice. I can fight it or I can accept it as His good will for my life.
I have been feeling drained lately - not so much physically but emotionally and mentally. It is pretty typical for me at this time of year - finishing co-op, finishing our school year, the month of May is filled with birthdays, well, you get the idea!
Just when I am thinking that it would be great to have some down time, we got a call from my son and his girlfriend. Their living situation with her dad deteriorated and they needed a place to go. So guess where they are? It makes it sticky for us because they are not married so we will not let the share a room, so my son is on the couch right now. It looks as if he is going to be getting a job with a power washing company that should start in a few weeks.
They had a weekly check up this morning, she is 38 weeks now, and since she hasn't gained any weight the last 3 weeks, they have ordered an ultra sound for tomorrow. Their is some possible concern about the amniotic fluid being low. We are getting excited about meeting our granddaughter - Kyle asked this morning "When can I see Kamryn?" He is happy to be an uncle very soon!
We need wisdom and grace during this time - we want to give good advice and to encourage them in making right choices.
On a different note - it is going to be a beautiful day - hot though - so we are planning an early trip to Longwood for a few hours then home to the air conditioning!
Twenty one years ago, I became a mother for the first time. What a blessing motherhood has been to me. I have learned so much, and especially I have learned so much through this man who is my firstborn.
How is it possible that you give birth one day and the next day that baby is a man who is about to become a father himself? Time goes by so fast. Our lives are truly a vapor.
It is our job to faithfully raise, the children the Lord gives us, to adulthood. We want our children to be mature adults and faithful parents, themselves. They have to learn to rely on the Lord for guidance, just like we learned to do.
God is so faithful.
Nate is excited to be father and we are praying for him and Kayleigh that God will be their help and give them wisdom as parents.
We had a lovely day today. We really enjoy our church so much, especially the sweet fellowship with our church family. A bunch of us went out to lunch and then we came home to rest, the little ones having been up late Saturday night.
Lindsay, Emily, and their friends, Chelsea and Mindy went outside to take photos and have fun. It is precious to me to see them have a great time together.
Tim works this weekend, crazy hours, so he went home to bed after Sunday School, and will get up soon to head back to work. He really dislikes working on Sunday.
Rachel, took all these photos this week - I guess I have a budding photographer on my hands!
She will be 11 soon, and is such a sweet spirited girl. She is at that in between stage, not only a little girl, but verging on young womanhood. She is a delight to us.
I am trying to live one day at a time, taking it all in, enjoying my time with my husband and my children. I want to live my life in a way that honors the Lord, that brings Him pleasure.
Brenda wrote about Bliss and shared her list with us. One of my blisses is my garden and the beautiful flowers that bloom in it. Sometimes I don't have words to express how their beauty makes me feel.
Emily cut a bunch of these roses yesterday and since they are a climber they have short stems. She put them in a cut crystal candy dish filled with water and they are stunning. I will try to get a photo tomorrow!
If we have fine weather this week, I think we will take a day at Longwood Gardens.
After attending a great graduation last night, I have spent the morning working a wee bit in the garden and mowing. It takes about an hour and a half to mow the grass areas we have here on our property. Thankfully we have a riding mower, or I would never finish the mowing!
A benefit to doing this besides getting out into nature, is that I plug in my earbuds and listen to my ipod. I have lots of good music on it, as well as a lot of good sermons and conference speakers. I listen mostly to messages, things that are harder for me to listen to in the house without being interrupted. Music is always playing in our home or car and that is easy to listen too, even when little people want to tell you stuff. This is why I got my ipod.
This afternoon we are going to a family thing, and then it is supposed to rain. This will be good for our garden.
What ever you are doing today, I wish you much joy in the doing!
Time for our yearly check ups. We really like our Optometrist. He is funny - he convinced our friend's sons that he was actually a dentist filling in for the eye doctor! That still makes me laugh!
I think my prescription has changed - hopefully for the better. For some reason, last year, after warning me for years that I was going to need bifocals, my prescription improved. Apparently my astigmatism flattened out some.
So we shall see. The kids all have their dad's great eye sight, though he is now using readers. Our kids who have worn or do wear glasses only have had them for focusing muscle issues. The year Emily didn't need them anymore was a sad year for her! She wanted new ones! Poor girl.
This morning our two kittens died. Fiona started to not do well yesterday and struggled through the night. Dickon however was running all over the house yesterday, so his death is a surprise.
My girls are sad. It is alot of work to try to care for kittens that have been abandoned. They worked so hard everyday to feed them, bathe them and give them love. We have had litters of kittens before so we knew the signs to watch for indicating development and tried to follow that. Sigh....
They may have had some internal issues that we did not know about - they were abandoned, after all. Or perhaps they had not been well cared for initially, I guess we will never know.
Tim is out digging their grave, and the girls are cleaning up the space where they cared for them.
Meanwhile life goes on, as it always does. The work of life must continue. Lindsay and I planted our garden on Monday. Four kinds of tomatoes, 3 kinds of sweet peppers, lettuce, bush beans, purple podded pole beans, nasturtiums (both for edible purposes as well as bug repellers), French baby carrots. We will plant our French melons next week as well as our potatoes. It is all a big experiment to see how everything grows. We are trying things we like and a few things new to us.
Lindsay gave a riding lesson this morning. I am working on co-op membership. In a bit I am going to take my ipod and go out to mow. I like this time every week - I get about an hour and a half to listen to good things and think my thoughts!
Here are my Mom, myself and my girls at a Mother/Daughter tea that the Women's ministry team from her church sponsored, on Saturday.
It was lovely, held outside at a beautiful home
The tables were simple yet pretty - white tablecloths, a bit of pink tulle, and peonies cut from someone's garden. The placed a couple of pedestals on the tables with chocolate covered strawberries, brownies, lemon bars and rice crispy treats.
They also had chilled strawberry soup - it had an unusual spice added - cloves! I had never thought of using cloves with strawberries before. I don't care for the strong flavor of cloves so, it was not a favorite with me. Bummer! I love strawberries!
It was very bright and sunny - so we all had our sunglasses on!
It was also my sweet Momma's birthday! She is 39 years old. She says the scary thing about being 39 is that she is now younger than her own children! Amazing how that happened isn't it?
On Sunday I threw a baby shower for Kayleigh. My granddaughter is due in 4 weeks! It is getting close!
You can see here Emily's Bitty Baby dressed up in a onsie that I embroidered for my granddaughter, and I also knit her wee little cap. The crib is a gift from our family and my parents (the great grandparents!) to Nate, Kay and Kamryn! It is a mini convertible crib. So, so cute! It converts to a toddler bed then to a single bed instead of a full size bed. It fits their living space much better than a full crib yet it has all the beautiful styling and design of a full size crib. It uses portacrib sheets which were hard to find so I bought fabric at JoAnn's and made one! It is that cute brown and pink polka dot item the dolly is sitting on. The brown and pink blanket you see, I made to go with the sheet. I am next going to attempt to make a crib bumper using the left over brown and pink soft material! What fun to sew for my wee grandgirl who is coming soon!
Of course the girls and I did my usual sweet and savory tea. Scones, mock Devonshire cream, homemade lemon curd, mini quiches and Emily's amazing Lemon Bars. They have an unusual topping that makes them divine, in my opinion! I will get her to post the recipe and then link to it for you!
Here you can see they pretty table - I used a vintage looking floral fabric on our huge table and added a smaller lace tablecloth on top.
My girls are so sweet. They bought me red Converse for Mother's Day. Lindsay and Emily both have cool converse, Emily got to do a "design your own" as a 16th birthday gift from Grandpa and Grandma, and Lindsay bought a pair of lime green Chuck's low tops. Every where we went on our vacation they took a photo of their shoes at the location - very fun stuff! Rachel and Sarah have the cutest 'converse like' shoes. Rachel's are brown with color polka dots and Sarah's are the cutest ever, with a red madras plaid pattern!
Well, while we were on vacation we were in a Target (of course) and we saw these red Converse, the ones with the star on the side. I mentioned "Hey, those are cute!" Because of course, I am a fan of the color red.
So, now I have red Converse. I feel 17 years old again!
Here are Fiona, on the left, and Dickon. They are bob tails though in this photo it looks as if Dickon has a tail. They are eating well, and are growing! They like a lot of attention.
I am going to have a few hours to myself today, so I am wondering which of many options to do. Do I do some sewing? I should plant some flowers that my friend gave me out of her garden. The problem is, I won't get to half of the things I want to do...at least I am never bored!
Later, I will take some photos of the crib sheets and blanket I made for my granddaughter to be's crib. We are having a small family shower on Sunday. Kayleigh has already had a huge co-ed shower given by her sisters. I am hosting this one here and I promise to have my photographers take lots of photos!
They started out on my Zephirine Drouhin rose bush.
But look beautiful in a little glass holder, with the sun streaming through the blinds...Did I mention they smell heavenly? They have that classic, damask rose smell.
This is one of my peonies. I don't know the name of it, but it smells like my roses above! The flowers on this peony get enormous! I can't quite capture the color, it is darker and richer than it shows here.
I love this time of year, in the garden.
Song of Solomon 2:12 -
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land
Motivational speaker Charlie "Tremendous" Jones used a saying that my husband likes to repeat "You will be the same person in 5 years except for the books you read and the people you meet."
I have found this to be very true.
I was thinking of some of the books that I have read that have influenced me and shaped my thinking.
Going back to the beginning of my married life, I would say the biggest influence on my home and how I thought about the home was Emilie Barnes.
Her book "The Spirit of Loveliness" was a huge inspiration to me. The chapters include "The Spirit of Welcome", "The Spirit of Creativity," "The Spirit of Hospitality." Emilie's books stirred up a desire in my heart to make my home a warm and welcoming place, both for family and for friends.
Her book "Things Happen When Women Care,"
challenged my heart to reach out to other women.
Helped develop my love for tea and how to use tea to reach out to others.
I have many of her books, including ones written for girls.
I have used this book for teaching manners classes to students in our homeschool co-op! It has helped me know things, too! As Emilie says, "Good manners are a way of showing love to others."
I think I may do this "Books You Read" post as an ongoing weekly series. I have so many more authors and books to talk about!
So, let's talk. What book or author has influenced you and why?
Standardized tests…..it's kind of funny...now, not so much then.I'm Liz's mom.Liz, 18 years old, is one of six children - number 3 in the line-up. We homeschool.
Last year I was worrying because my youngest wasn't doing as well as I thought he should on the 3rd grade standardized test.My evaluator heard me and dug out the standardized test that Liz took in 3rd grade.Their scores were almost exactly the same.My evaluator smiled and said, "Don't worry.This is how all of your children test at this age. They are slow to get going but once they do, they really take off."Boy, was I glad when I received that encouragement.
We didn't push math with Liz.She was just able to do it and we just moved along as she progressed.Yes, she’s in Calculus.Calculus was never my goal.It was just the next in the line of courses.Not all of my children are “gifted” in math and math is not the only “gift” Liz has. She can make a fine 4 course gourmet meal with ingredients that blow my food budget. She loves to knit and play the piano.She will graduate from home schooling this year and has been accepted to a college for nursing that had a required minimum SAT score.She would like to get married and have 10 kids.
Our second child, Liz’s older sister, Becca (2006 homeschool graduate; 2009 college graduate) is not gifted in math.(She also has trouble making an apple pie but can out-drive most boys in a manual 4-wheel drive.Yes, they’re sisters.) She would do the math that was required but didn’t enjoy it or retain it.Becca’s gift is in writing.She was paid for articles that she wrote for magazines while she was still in high school (homeschool).That’s something her Lancaster Bible College English professors hadn’t done.No one told her what was normal for a high school-age student, so she did things that others don’t normally do. She graduated with a BA in English in 3 ½ years this past December.It took her less than 1 month to find a full-time job in her field.(A field that has been hit hard in this economy - newspaper journalism.)
Our oldest son, Lewis (1999 homeschool graduate), did not go to college.He took a college class at a local college in high school (homeschool) but decided it wasn’t for him.Instead during his high school years, we encouraged him to do what he was interested in.He took private pilot lessons (actual flying and schooling, he was the only one under 18 in the class) and in his senior year took a field trip with a group of homeschoolers led by a Christian young earth biologist through the United States.They hiked mountains, had permission to dig for fossils on private land, studied/visited petrified forests, visited Mt. Saint Helens, went cave spelunking, etc... all from a young earth perspective. These things he paid for from his own money that he earned with a part-time job.
Our fourth child, Emily, will graduate next year.She loves to garden and has had her heart set on Longwood’s Professional Gardener’s Program for four years now.This year she was accepted to Longwood’s high school internship program.She has asked to study Latin this year.What child wants to do Latin?Em does.She says it will come in handy for learning the botanical names of plants.I waited to see if she was serious (Latin programs are expensive.).She studied on her own with books from the library.We finally broke down and bought a $200 Latin program.
Now, I can't do Calculus.I'm a high school drop out with a GED. (I dropped out not because of grades but because of bad decisions (and the consequences) I made while in rebellion to God and my parents.)The farthest I went in math was Algebra I and Geometry.We have purchased, Liz, math curriculum that includes lectures and video and well….she excels. Her SAT scores showed that.
If public schools were succeeding then you wouldn’t find public school graduates in the remedial courses offered by colleges.Those courses are packed.The truth is some kids struggle with some subjects; that includes homeschoolers, public school children and private school children.Homeschooling works.Many homeschool moms need to be reminded of this.Homeschooling moms are often filled with self doubt.We are told we can’t produce successful, articulate, college-ready, adults especially if the moms themselves don’t hold a college degree.Be encouraged you can!!
What if the children decided not to go to college?What if Liz with her grades and abilities after highschool decided to find a job or get married, how would I feel?Was all of it a waste?Never!!How can the years of getting to know my children be a waste? I have enjoyed watching them learn and grow and discover. Looking back, I have no doubt that God directed our family to home school.I have no regrets in obeying my Lord and Savior.Nor do I have any preconceived ideas on how their lives/careers should go once they’ve graduated.All I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that God wanted our family to homeschool and we obeyed.What His plan is for the rest of their lives is well….up to God and His leading and their obedience.
Part of homeschooling is knowing your children and advancing their curriculum as they learn.Our schooling is low stress, high interest, and God-centered.I don’t have children that are stressed because we advance at their pace. I don’t have children that are bored because along with the “required courses” we seek additional subjects that encourage and fall into line with their interests, not the state’s.We enjoy and feel blessed to have that freedom.
This homeschooling adventure….is not a testimony of my intelligence, education, or abilities.My story is that God is faithful.He is still a God that does miracles. God directed and my husband and I followed. If God has led you to do something, He will always provide – the finances, the ability, and the encouragement.Our family is proof, even if the 3rd, 5th or 8th grade standardized testing says otherwise.
************************************************** Home Education is a beautiful thing. We do it because God has called us to disciple our children. I wouldn't trade the time I have had with my children, 2 who have graduated, 1 who graduates next year and 3 still in school.
What a beautiful weekend we have had! Our homeschool convention was as always fantastic. We were able to buy what we needed for next year. A great thing about home educating for the long haul is that you have lots of great materials from years past! Next year we will be doing American History again, after studying World History for 3 years. I already have everything we need, plus we supplement with good books from the library. I love to use good historical fiction as well as biographies of people from the time period we are studying.
My garden as you can see is growing nicely. I love the spring when my garden finally gets going!
I am not a fancy gardener, I don't have the time to fuss with plants. I do love them though and I love being able to go out and cut fresh flowers for my home!
The strawberries are coming along quite nicely...some of the plants have berries on them but are not ripe yet.
Mother's day was a relaxing wonderful time. My husband gave me two movies I have wanted, plus an amazing note, that made me cry, the good kind of crying! Lindsay and Emily gave me red Converse! They are so cute. Of course I have no photos...we just enjoyed our day and I spent most of the afternoon relaxing on a bed at my parents, with my mom doing nothing, but watching some shows and sharing the day! The rest of the family was downstairs playing wii!
Nate and Kayleigh came by too, please pray for her as she has about 4 weeks left in the pregnancy. She is reaching the uncomfortable stage.
I must go out this afternoon for a grocery run! I haven't been since we got back from vacation. We are in need of supplies!