"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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beauty All Around

 I am loving Spring.  This past week we have gone from having 80+ degree sunshiny weather to a mostly cloudy 70 degree day.  It feels quite chilly out.  Everywhere I look there is something beautiful to look at.  My favorite peonies in my cottage garden are coming along nicely and will bloom in the next few weeks.


 Lottie was wandering around, too.  We met up in the driveway.


 Tim is grinding stumps out in the pasture this morning. This area is going to be an arena for the girls to ride and train the horses.  Lindsay will also use it for giving riding lessons.  I am thankful for a husband who is able to do many things.  I know our kids are too!


 I love the wild violets that grow in our yard.  I know that many people will think I am nuts, but when you live in the country you can't keep out every weed from your yard.  I love the way the violets look.  Very sweet.

 A few years ago we planted hostas and irises and other plants along the creek, tucked into the trees.  It is really pretty all summer, and even now in the Spring even though nothing is in bloom yet.


 This is a beautiful white climbing rose.  The blooms are small and sweet.


 My lilacs are in bloom!  


 My two bushes have the pale purple blooms, but in the future I would love to get the deeper purple ones.  What ever the color, they are all beautiful and smell divine!

I hope you have a wonderful day!  Enjoy!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 180

 www.allposters.com

Today we hit our official 180th day of required schooling.  I have a love/hate relationship with this.  Part of me loves it - "WooHoo!  We're done!"  But actually that is the reason I hate it as well!  I don't want my kids to have the mindset of being 'done' learning.  

Actually, we have until June 30th to turn our evaluations into the school district.  And our evaluations are going to be May 25th.  That is a whole month away.  In the meantime, we are going to continue to read, finish up some math, pull together our portfolios, print off our reading lists, decide which art projects we want to show our evaluator, etc.

I do love being finished before our state homeschool convention, which is next month.  That way I can focus on next year.  Some years when we are not finished before the convention, I am so excited thinking about next year that I don't want to finish up what we are working on!

I am going to do more of a year round learning schedule starting this next year.  I found this year that sometimes when life comes along, you need to feel like you can take some time off, and not get behind.


We went on a Behind the Scenes tour at Sight and Sound yesterday.  It was really fun, and so interesting.  Afterward, we had lunch at Sonic so that will serve as our celebration for finishing up!  And tonight, my sweetheart is taking me out on a date - so that will serve as a reward for me!

I am already thinking of what we are going to study next year, what books I want to find, what kinds of field trips to focus on next year...I love it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Garden In April

 I planted Ranunculus in my red pot for my porch to give a bit of color out front.  I really like them.


 This is the lone yellow tulip that shows up every year!

 Lindsay transplanted Strawberries yesterday, from the front flower beds to one of our raised beds.  We really need another one just for Strawberries.


 Our Italian parsley and cilantro...coming up from self seeding last year.


 Lindsay made our arches, for our pole beans, out of some birch branches...


 Our creek has been flowing beautifully this year.



 Trees in the pasture...


 Sandy in sunlight...


 While I mowed yesterday, the girls weeding all the flower beds, front and back and Tim brought home mulch.  They spread the mulch while I made our dinner last night.  


 These are some of the Strawberries that still need to be moved.  The peonies are some of the most gorgeous I have ever seen.  They get very large and smell like old fashioned roses.  Can't wait until they bloom next month!

 This front garden area is a delight to me.  When everything is blooming it is a great cutting garden...


 This is a sweet area too, by my lamppost.  The spirea "Gold Mound" is pretty with it's chartreuse leaves and it gets pretty pink flowers on it twice a season too!


 Irises, Shasta Daisies, Daffodils, and more...

Everything is so beautiful at this time of year!

What is growing in your garden?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pondering

I am sitting on my bed, cross legged, which is my normal way to sit on my bed.  I have my computer propped on Tim's pillow and I am thinking of what it is I want to share with you.

Spring is here in full force, but instead of beautiful weather we have had a lot of rain and chilly weather.  We are due now for some days of 80 degree weather and more thunderstorms.  However to think about the beauties of Spring, the dogwood trees are blooming, our Cleveland pear is is flowering, the tulips are pretty, and my lilacs are just about ready to burst out with blooms.  The scent of lilacs is so lovely.  I adore cutting them and bringing them into the house.

I am going out this morning to ride my John Deere lawn tractor and mow our property.  It takes me about an hour and a half and I really enjoy it.  I put my headphones on and pick out things to listen to on my ipod.  It is such a great time to listen to sermons and other messages, to pray, to think through issues.  It is mostly uninterrupted time, which as we moms know is so rare.

I am in need of that time this morning.  We have been going through some challenging things.  In it all we have been seeking to honor the Lord in our responses to these challenges, but we are human and sometimes our flesh wants to lash out.  God has been so good to give us grace, and to teach us things about ourselves as well.  He is so good to use all things for our good.  Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."  While painful at times, it has been so good to walk through it together and to grow together.  I have received sweet, encouraging notes from some of the ladies that I go to church with and they have been a tangible way of seeing God's love for me.  Such a blessing and an encouragement!  It is a good reminder of how God works through us to minister to others - a reminder to write those notes, send an email - whatever - to those we are prompted to send one too!  We can be God's hands of encouragement to others through doing this!

We had a beautiful weekend, starting Friday night with a family dinner at Tim's brother's house.  They are missionaries in Senegal, West Africa, and we don't often get the chance to spend time together.  It was a lot of fun, even though Lindsay and Emily had to miss it.  They work at a Christian theater and the whole week - because of Easter - was sold out, and they were needed.  Sunday was great with a short service of singing and prayer by the pond at a local park and then breakfast all together at church.  Later in the day, after an egg hunt in our yard, we went into Maryland to a dam and riverside park to look for bald eagles.  It was rainy then so we didn't see many but we did see one perched on a tree.  He gave us a great view of him, turning his head to profile so we could look at how majestic his is.  Beautiful birds.

Emily's graduation is coming up in a month.  This year has flown by!  She has a few more papers to write and then she is done! Our evaluations are scheduled for the day before graduation so then she will really be completely done! We only have a few more days of school left until we finish our required 180 days of school.  My younger girls will continue to work on math.  They don't love math, though they are doing well, and I am thinking that I may have them work on math over the summer and do some other learning as well.  This would give us opportunity to take other breaks during the school year.  We also want them to always have an attitude of learning and not just stick to an artificial time table of when it's time to study and learn.
Kyle is doing well with addition and with his reading.  He is my youngest reader.  He loves to learn and I want to keep that love alive!

Well, I am just going on endlessly. I have missed chatting here, but the break was so good for me.   In our lives we are not promised freedom from trials or pain, but we are promised that He will be with us, and will be working on our behalf.  What great love.


 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking A Break

                                                                  www.images.google.com

to focus on Easter, and it's deep importance in the life of a Believer
in Christ.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
 
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.


So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.


To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

 
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

 So, so thankful for what Christ has done.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Williamsburg Love

The photos are horrible but I wanted to show you my watercolors that I bought while visiting Williamsburg. 
 
These prints are very reasonably priced at about $15 and then I buy the frames at Williamsburg Pottery. It's a lovely way to add art to our home and to be able to view different buildings in one of my favorite historical places.
 
The angles are weird because I was trying to avoid the glare on the glass...
 

This is a real watercolor painting that is of one of the taverns in Williamsburg.  I found it at Goodwill last year for $6.95!  I love it!

Thanks for dropping by today - hope I don't scare any of you away with my terrible photos!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday


Psalm 107:8-9

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, 
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Thanks Jewels and Melissa for your thoughts this morning!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Longwood Kind Of Day

 Sunny, nearly 70 degrees yesterday, we took ourselves to Longwood for the afternoon!  


 It is such a gorgeous place - 


 There is beauty everywhere...


 Flowering trees are in bloom, so were many tulips, daffodils, violas and pansies.


 This little Miss, enjoyed the sunshine and being outside!


 The vegetable gardens are one of my favorite places at Longwood.  I love the structures they use and the fact that they plant flowers among their veggies too!


 Kyle and Sarah ran through the paths reading the plant signs.


 Kamryn and Auntie Em...


 Nate enjoyed going along with us yesterday, too.


 I could have sat and looked at this view all day...



 In the Summer these arches are filled with climbing roses...


 Forget me nots' up close...



 Gorgeous tulips along the garden walk...


 Flowering trees...


 Lovely water features...


It was a lovely day...I am thankful to my husband for the family pass, every year, that allows us to head out for just a few hours whenever we are able.
And I am thankful to the Lord for such awesome beauty.  

All photos by Lindsay Rabe Photography.  Do not use without permission.