Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Privilege And A Blessing

Over the course of my years of home educating my children, I have read some wonderful books.  Books that helped me greatly to be freed from educational methods that were burdensome to both myself and my children.

Karen Andreola's book "A Charlotte Mason Companion" and Clay and Sally Clarkson's book "Educating The Whole Hearted Child." are two key books that saved me in the early years when I had a child who couldn't stand fill in the blanks, and a child struggling with phonics.  We all cried daily.

Those books showed me a better way.  A gentle way of educating my children, that got to the heart of real learning - not just rote memorization or learning something until the test is over.

I have found another resource that is, I believe invaluable for home educating families.  Actually, I should say that the resource found me in the form of a blogging friend Sherry, from Large Family Mothering.  I no longer remember how I met Sherry, but when I read her blog it was like finding a like minded friend.

A few months ago, she asked me if I would read her new book entitled "Homeschool Sanity Guide," and I quickly said "yes!" knowing it would be good.  However I did not anticipate how busy I would be with the store and getting the online store open.  It has taken me forever to get to her book - poor thing she has been so patient with me!  I am so glad she has been because this book is wonderful. 

In the beginning she shares how she came to the method or way that she homeschools.  She points out the different methods, and their pros and cons.  Sherry shares what she found as to how each of these methods worked or didn't work for her large family.

She then talks about some of what she has learned about education in general and why and how we have come to the current public school model.  

When I ran a local homeschool co-op I would spend hours every year talking to new to homeschooling moms and veterans.  All of them seeming to understand that what they are trying, whether it be public school style but in the home, or an eight hour day schedule with a kindergartner, just wasn't working.  They wanted home education to work but were struggling.

I wish I had had this book to point them to.  I do believe that I will be purchasing some of these books for my own children to read and to learn from.  That way they can be prepared for home educating their own children.

This book has so much in it that I am going to break up my review into several posts over the next week.

The main hope is that you would take away the fact that home education is a lifestyle...we can make it enjoyable to learn for both our children and ourselves.  It doesn't have to be torture! :)

Thanks, Sherry, for your patience with me.  I am savoring the reading of this book.  I know you will too.  What an privilege it is to read this material and to still learn after 18 years of home education in our home.

You can find out more about her book "Homeschool Sanity" here!  If you purchase "Homeschool Sanity" you will receive four of her other wonderful resources for FREE!  Go check it out!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Today Is The Day!

Well, half of my family leave today for an amazing trip to Senegal.  They will be there for the field conference, and get to visit the village that Tim grew up in, staying overnight with one of the families.

We hope the girls capture the big picture of God being at work in the world.  All of history is HIS-tory.  

I'm excited for them - thrilled that the girls can take this trip with Tim.  He has not been back to Senegal since he was 12.  I am going to miss them though and I am feeling emotional this morning.  The rest of us will be holding down the fort here...their are lots of fun things planned for the younger set, including a trip on a train to the capitol.  

We took Rachel, Sarah and Kyle out to lunch yesterday for something special to do with Daddy before his trip.

They will have access to the internet for the first week, at least, and I hope to hear from them and to get some photos.  I will share them as I am able.

Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Popping In To Say Hi And To Request Prayer!

The week is going well.

We got Tim's shoes.

All the host/hostess gifts are purchased.

I am asking you to pray for a new thing.  No sickness.  They start their anti malarial medication tonight, I believe, and we've found out that since they will only be in the country for 2 weeks they do not need any other shots.  This is good, and we trust that they will not pick anything up while in country.  Our request is that they will not get sick now before they go or take anything with them.  We have managed to not get a stomach bug for over a year, and are so thankful.  We had a little boy at church on Sunday who got sick and had to go home because of it - his only lasted a day, but my friend Becky got sick on Monday and is now on Day 3. I feel bad for her!  Please pray!

Also if one of them becomes sick right now, it would not be good.  We are a little over 48 hours until they leave, and I have to be in our store while they are gone.  So please pray that none of us get this dreadful bug. At all.

I appreciate it so much.

We've worked out our schedule for the kids and I.  It is workable, and I am grateful to my Mom and Dad for being willing to be so flexible and such a help.  The only way it could be better for the kids, is if it were summer and they could swim everyday!  

It is going to be a break in the routine for all of us.  The kids will still do school but it will be a lighter schedule.  We have 27 days left on our school calendar, so we have some flexibility.

I promise that one of these days soon I will get back to my normal posting....I am going to paint my hall bathroom while they are gone, and do some sewing too.

I should go, I am in our store today.  Thank you for your friendship and your prayers for our family!  Oh, and for praying for Becky.  I know she will appreciate it.  No one else in her family is sick.  They are thankful for that.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Busy Week Ahead

Elections were peaceful in Senegal, West Africa yesterday and that is an answer to prayer!  That also means that the trip is on full steam ahead. 

With a regular work week here for everyone, it is going to get crazy.  Tim still needs shoes, the girls are set, I think.  We need to get some host/hostess gifts for the families that will house them in the village where Tim grew up.

 Tim is the little blond boy!

Have I told you how this trip came about?

Tim's Mom and step dad were going to make one more trip to Senegal - remember she is 90 and he is 88.  We were concerned about them traveling to and from Senegal alone, there have been some issues of lost items and wrong buses etc in the past.  I mentioned to Tim that since my parents love to have the girls travel with them, maybe his mom would too, and they could be such a great help to them.  I KNEW my girls would be totally up for such an adventure.

 Tim's Mom and Stepdad on their last visit to the village where she served for 23 years

We mentioned it to them, and with their excited enthusiasm we contacted his mom and she thought it was a wonderful idea too.  Then a few months later, Tim's mom called to say that she really didn't think she was up to the trip after all.  She is 90, after all, but I think it was also due to her husbands health.  Anyway, after talking to Tim's brother Dan who is still a missionary in Senegal, his mom suggested that Tim make the trip with the girls.  She offered to pay for his ticket to go.   How could we refuse such an offer?

 Photo from their field conference in the mid 1970's

So now, nearly a year later, the plan is in place.  They leave on Friday.  They will spend a week in the capitol with family and they will be attending the field conference of missionaries.  Then they will head south, to the village where Tim's parents worked from the mid - 1950's to the late 1970's.  They will get to see where Tim's brothers are buried - two sons died there.  They will stay overnight with an African family, and travel further south to visit Tim's niece.

It will be a challenging trip in some ways, and we are praying that it will be a blessing to everyone.

Pray for me here.  I am going to have to be in the store everyday, and am struggling with having to have my other children away from me so much.  I need to just rest in the Lord.  I don't fear 
Tim and the girls going to Africa, my main struggle is feeling like my responsibilities are torn in two here at home.  Pray for peace for me.

I am hoping they will be able to send me photos or that they will post them on their blogs so I can link to them so you can follow their amazing adventure along with me!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Garden In March

 Some of the spring bulbs are up and blooming and some are getting close to blooming.  The one thing that was growing profusely was weeds.  These weeds did not die off this past winter, due to the mild weather.

 I started the process on Tuesday and on Wednesday I was in the store.  The kids finished weeding the front beds.  At least most of it is big, flowery weeds that are easy to pull.  I was going to do around the lilac tree outside the kitchen door and around the deck today - but it is that will have to wait. 

 The pressure is on for Tim.  He has a list in his mind of things he wants to accomplish around her before they leave on Friday.  I told him that whatever gets done is great and everything else can wait.

 Lindsay's pile of weeds....I'd like to put some 12x12 pavers in this area and make it a sitting area out front.  

 Sarah's Muck brand garden clogs found at a yard sale for $3.00!

 Kyle gets a hand climbing down from the mower - which is actually a lawn tractor.  We have a red trailer that attaches to the back of the mower that we use to haul the weeds to the compost pile. 
These are Rachel's boots - aren't they cute?  Emily was wearing them...

I am thankful for how hard the kids work to help out around our property.  Families working together is a beautiful thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Glasses

I got my new glasses last Saturday.  It all started about a year ago when I realized that I could see better to read without my glasses.  My eye doctor had been warning me for years that this was coming, so I wasn't shocked.  I gave him a call to schedule our yearly appointments and much to my disappointment they no longer took our insurance.  This is a real bummer because the whole family likes him - he's great with the kids, his office people are wonderful.  Sadness all around on our part.

I decide that I will wait until our friend from church who is an eye doctor opens his new place and then go see him.  In the mean time I stop wearing my glasses and I get very used to that.  The office opens and I start to say "I need to call and schedule my eye exam."  This goes on for months.  Then we buy our business.  Then I say it some more.  Sigh....

Finally I make the appointment and go in.  This is the result.

 Glasses once more, with a progressive lens.  They were relatively easy to adjust too.  I am now officially old.

 This is my epic I look noble?  

This is me laughing after the "epic" pose!

 Here you can see all my fine lines...and the cute sides of my "Sophia Loren" frames.  

Now I am seeing well, and it is scary.  I liked looking at myself with my own 'soft filter' of bad eyesight! 

So now confession time to make me feel many of you have a bifocal?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Note Card Party!

 Vee is having a party today!  We are choosing 4 photos that we have taken and that we would like to see made into Note Cards.

 Echinacea in the garden

This is a favorite photo of mine.

After the Tea Party!

I like this one too - maybe not a great photo but I like anyway, as it was taken after one of my Mom's Teas.  Good memories.
 Orchids at Longwood

From last year's Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens.

The sky that day was stunning and my photo didn't quite capture it, but it is still beautiful!

So there you have it!  My four Note Card Photos!  Are you playing along today?  If you'd like to join in you can click the link on my sidebar or click on Vee's name above to get to her blog!

Can't wait to see the other ladies photos!  

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


 I think I am the world's worst blogger.  At least I should say that I fail big time at getting good photos for my blog.  Those garden photos I posted were horrible.  Sigh...

See this time though it is not my fault, really.  Lindsay got her hair cut yesterday.  It looks adorable on her - it was nearly all one length and was long.  They cut about 5 inches off the back then did long layers and framed her face as well.  

However, she does not enjoy her picture being taken - at all. So she starts to laugh, and wiggles etc...thus the blurry top photo.

 Here is the back of her hair.  Image 5 more inches!

Ready to head into Fab Fashion for the day!  Wouldn't you buy a handbag, scarf, or jewelry from her? 

I had a sweet friend check on me since my last post was Friday.  She new from her own week previous that sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, but I appreciated her checking.

Saturday we attended the funeral of our dear friends baby.  Brigette was 18 weeks along but after the baby was born, they realized that even though the heart was still beating at her previous appointment, there was something wrong as the baby had stopped it's normal development.  Therefore they could not tell if the baby was a boy or girl, but they decided to name the baby Providence.  Providence was buried in a wee white casket. 

 Family and friends came to honor the baby's life and to comfort the family.  Both things were accomplished.  Becky and I organized the food and keep the table replenished during the afternoon at their home.  That card on top of the casket was written by my friend thanking God for their baby and stating how she was trusting in His 'providence'.

Sunday was an all day affair at church.  Truth Project for Sunday School, a fellowship meal, men's meeting, ladies book study, young peoples Bible study.  We headed home after 6:00pm.  It was a great day.

For the book study we are reading Linda Dillow's book "Calm My Anxious Heart."  This is a wonderful book and is so challenging and encouraging!  Some nuggets from the first chapter:

A missionary woman's prescription for contentment:

- Never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
- Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
- Never compare your lot with another's.
- Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
- Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.

Psalm 16:5 - Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.

"A quiet heart is content with what God gives." Elisabeth Elliot


Tim, Lindsay and Emily leave March 30th and are flying to Senegal, West Africa.  That is 10 days away!  We are praying for it to be a profitable, faith building trip for the girls.

Happy first day of SPRING!  With our mild weather we are about a month ahead of normal in terms of trees in bloom and flowers too.  It is so beautiful here.

I hope you have a wonderful day!


Friday, March 16, 2012


Now I know you are all going to be disappointed.  After all when you saw the title of my post I am just certain that you thought you would see photos of me, well, juggling.

Sorry about that.

The juggling I have in mind is the kind that is keeping tabs on many schedules, and the millions of things to be done.  Thankfully Tim is on second shift for 5 weeks and he is home during the day.

Let me give you a peek into what my week has been like.

For months now I have been trying to get our online store up and running.  It has taken much longer than I imagined it would.  Finally this week the last pieces are in place.  However it was not so on Tuesday when I was in the store.  I had to make a call to UPS and email the account manager and kind of light a fire!  "I really WANT to get this done!"  Getting the account there taken care of is important so that you can buy lots of cute handbags and jewelry from us!

Another headache I was working on was the ordering of one of our best selling handbags.  Suddenly our supplier no longer had them and didn't know when he would have them!  WHAT?!!!! Sigh.

I went online and found the wholesale company that he got them from.  "I'd like to order the spring colors, please."  "Well, first you must jump through these hoops and provide us this information."  Really?  It took me 6 WEEKS to place an order with them.  When I finally accomplished all they wanted, some of the spring colors are not available!  SIGH....However, I am thankful to have them as a supplier.  Our other guy was completely out when we went to the Big City and he mostly has blingy jewelry now.  Crazy.

Our dear friends found out this week that their baby died in the womb and she had to deliver the baby on Wednesday.  This has been hard for everyone.  Sad.  We are thankful that God knows what He plan is.  We are going to the funeral on Saturday, and Becky and I are working on the food for after the service.

Yesterday, I had to go into the store and meet with the account manager from UPS.  Very nice man - he likes our store and what we sell!  Anyway, I had to sign contracts and initial stuff.  Reminds me that we have a real business here.

Today, Tim has volunteered to take the younger ones to the dentist and oversee their schoolwork!  Where will I be?  I'll be out taking Emily to the store and getting groceries.

This is only part of the juggling that goes on around here.  Kay is working part time at Subway and so she needs to be taken to work and picked up as well....thankfully the theater that Lindsay and Emma work at is only 10 minutes from my parents home.  They graciously picked Lindsay up after work last evening and she spent the night with them.  They are going to drop her off at work this morning then, I will pick her up later tonight from work.  That is after I take Emma to our store, get groceries, take Kay to work, pick up Emma, and come home for a bit. 

In between here we do school.  Really.  The kids are doing very well.  Tim will do their history with them, they will do their grammar, math, reading, home ec, etc on their own.  We finished our science for the year already.  We have only 36 days of school left.

Did I mention that Tim, Lindsay and Emma are headed to Africa on the 30th?  We will likely take a break from school then, as I will be in the store during those two weeks.  I will have a sidekick or two along - but it will mean more juggling for me....

I think I need a weekend away....soon.

Well, gotta run.  The juggling begins in 10 minutes!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Garden

 These photos were taken a few days ago at dusk...Tim had used his day off to till the garden with my Dad's 40 year old rototiller!  That thing still works just fine!

Lindsay joined him when she got home from the store.  Right now she has been outside for nearly 4 hours planting, with the kids help, corn, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, onions...

 The two raised beds have strawberries!  We had 8 raised beds last year but decided to give ourselves more growing space by just leaving the strawberry beds.

 We learn many lessons in the garden every year.

 Many practical and real life lessons to be learned through gardening.  A big one?  The value God places on growing, and weeding, and watering and harvesting.  

I am looking forward to this years process...

Do you garden?  What do you grow?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I have been pondering a bit again and this time it is about life and the way our culture responds to it.

I saw an article about a couple who was suing their doctor because their child should never have been born with Down's Syndrome. You can read about it here.  It breaks my heart to hear, too, that what some call the Down's 'cure' is actually abortion.  This family's daughter's live was not considered to be of value simply because of her Down's.

Why does it need to be cured?  Having met this sweet family and getting to know them at church, we know that Down's is just different, it's not bad - it actually makes them special!  The link is to an update on Katie, the daughter they adopted from Bulgaria.  She is doing amazingly well, in the three months since they brought her home. 

Also a dear friend of mine has lost her baby at 18 weeks.  Today she must go in a be induced and deliver the baby.  I am heartbroken for them.  This would have been their 6th child, and many people think they have more than enough children! But they have said "yes" to God.  They are willing to love and accept into their family all the children God chooses.

This is painful for them, and I am weeping with them.  My friend Brigette is precious and she says she is learning so much about the Lord through this.  Also at this time her Dad, who has inoperable cancer, is starting to decline.  They wish he wasn't having to go through this, but they have seen how God has taken this man who 'grew up in church' to a man who desires to walk with God!  They are thankful.

Life is precious - we should never take it lightly.  It is a gift.  We must defend it.  I am asking the Lord to help me see the value of each life as He sees it.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Charter Day

 Every year, on the second Sunday in March, Pennsylvania celebrates the receiving of the Charter for the land that was given to William Penn.  We celebrate it by having all the State museums open for free.

 We chose to go to a wonderful local living history museum called Landis Valley Museum.
 They interpret history from 1740 - 1940.

 I love living history amazes me that people who lived without our modern conveniences lived such lovely lives.
 I am particularly fond of the way they cooked and provided meals for their families and others.

 That fireplace behind her has a nice fire and they were cooking a ham to make a pot pie...

 Hence the pie crusts waiting...

 Emily and Rachel were looking at a display of old revolvers.

 This is a trumpet old must it be?

 Herbs on the kitchen window sill

 I also liked the textile building...they were showing flax and hemp.

 This is a photo I took for Debbie - you would have loved this room!
 This loom is from the 1500's...

 This one is from the 1800's and they were making a green and black check pattern - it is going to be a cloak...

 We have many families who homeschool at our church and we enjoyed the day together!  We missed the Barrs who decided to take their boys to the Railroad Museum.  

 The day was beautiful here - in the 60's - perfect to me! 

 This was a very small house - a kitchen, a bedroom, and a loft upstairs...
 Loved this kitchen...

 Warren and Becky were celebrating 23 years of marriage!  We are thankful for such good friends!

 These are friends from church too.  The youngest contingent of the family with their beautiful mother.  Thankful for you Bonnie!  We had fun with the kids on a wagon ride!
 Here is our pastor, Mike and a friend from church Jenny.  The kids all love her and Mike too.  I don't know of how many pastors are so close to the families of their churches.  We are thankful for you Mike!

 I enjoyed the general store...

 This beautiful woman was making Bobbin Lace.  So beautiful and amazing...

Afterward, we all sat around, reluctant to leave each other...but eventually we did leave, got some dinner and came home.  What a beautiful day.

We are so blessed.


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...