Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Woman of the Year?

I was in and out in five. The grocery store, that is. Just needed a few necessities to round out the Christmas leftovers. As I stood at the checkout, I noticed the cover of People Magazine. The current issue declares Sandra Bullock to be "Woman of the Year." Hmmm... I thought, I get that. She's had a year in which heartache and joy, success and defeat have all been intertwined. I don't know her personally, but she seems to be keeping a stiff upper lip. I find her to be likable and decently talented. I have nothing at all against Sandra Bullock.

But Woman of the Year? Really? Another sad side-effect of our celebrity-obsessed culture.

What about the young mother, diagnosed with cancer after giving birth to her 3rd child, finding joy and strength in the Lord as she walks through cancer treatment, struggling to care for her family? Or the devoted mother, still grieving the loss of a son, caring for the special medical needs of another son with the same disease - yet keeping her sense of humor amid the ups and downs of 24-hour nursing care? Or the single mother of four, barely scraping by on a teacher's salary, committed to raising her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? These, my friends, are Women of the Year! Yet no one puts their faces on a magazine cover and celebrates their faithfulness.

What about Christian mothers everywhere, with no serious trials to walk through, but who faithfully perform the duties the Lord has given them each day - even when discouragement, stress, and isolation knock at their doors? As they 'give thanks in everything' and do the next thing by Christ's strength, are they, too, not Women of the Year?

What about the single women? Married women longing to bear children? Widows? Empty nesters finding new ways to share their gifts? Grandmothers and great-grandmothers? Women from all walks of life serving the Body of Christ tirelessly in myriad ways? As they contentedly work in the vocation - the calling - the Lord has on their lives at this moment, trusting that His will for them is perfect -- they are Women of the Year!

So while Ms. Bullock may be a beautiful face, an award-winning actress, and all-American nice gal, I think it may be a slight exaggeration to label her Woman of the Year.
"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

Just my two cents. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Counting Blessings

The Balm of Gilead for me today....

A lovely 3.5mi jog on this trail was the perfect way to reset my mood and my energy level after a busy week. School is in full swing, and we are all still adapting to the new lifestyle. Part homeschool / part classical dayschool ... all making me feel a little bit like I'm perpetually in fast forward . But blessings abound: A(6yo) and M(11yo) are thriving at their new school - a fact that is evident each afternoon at carpool when they hop in the car chatting away, eyes bright and hearts merry. We've had our struggles - A somtimes is a bit teary in the mornings for drop-off; and M is adapting to a rigorous workload and nightly homework. These are very light afflictions, however, when compared to the joy and blessing of having them in such a godly, like-minded school!

(gotta love the dead plant in the background. sign o' the times.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010


As I've hinted before, my homeschool journey is taking a new turn. Lord-willing, if all the details (like financial assistance!) continue to work out, M (11) and A (5) will be attending a classical Christian school next year. The Big Boys will attend the same tutorial they did last year: in class one full day, working from home on the other days. And little miss K (4) will be home with me full-time.

I'm not kidding myself into thinking this will be an easy year - I know better. It will be a time of transition for us all: getting out the door on time, doing homework, making lunches ... a different kind of stress. But my burden will be lifted, and that's huge. I've been stretched so thin these last couple of years, juggling so many ages & stages, managing our home, and being a helper to a hubby busy running his own business. There are cracks. Big ones. Stuff is falling through. I'm looking forward to knowing, for all four of my students, that education will be moving forward for them even when life is crazy for me.

I've been down this road before - Christian school - and had somewhat of an identity crisis. When M was 4, she was very sick with her blood disorder and the boys went to school for a year and a half. It was a very big blessing to our family, but a confusing time for my psyche. I had only ever been a "homeschool mom" and felt a bit like a failure.

This time is different. I don't really think of myself merely in terms of "homeschool mom" anymore. And if I did, I'd be sorely disappointed at my performance, lol! No, my dh and I really feel the Lord leading us to go in a different direction, to remove some of the load off my back so that I can more faithfully attend to ALL the duties the Lord has given me, not just school. I'm ready to be a happy mom again. I'm ready to have the margin in my life that allows me to minister to others in need. I'm ready to breathe.

(This by no means implies that I don't still love teaching - and homeschooling. I can see myself teaching again in the future, one way or another. And I'll never be able to shut off the part of me that loves pouring over catalogs and analyzing curricula.)

On Tuesday, A, M, and I set out to the school for placement testing - Lord-willing they'll be in 1st and 6th grades. (I'm sure we'll have some catching up to do over the summer to get there.) We are so excited about the people and vision of this sweet school and I know A & M will thrive there. After testing, we hit the uniform store for the summer sale. Even with the 20% off, I was shocked at our bill! But they will look SO stinkin adorable come next year! That makes the cost worth it, right?

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Good Run

This is VBS week for us. I'm spending my time with a cute bunch of 2- and 3-year-olds. It's a different pace than I'm used to at VBS, a more physically demanding class, but what a blessing! I'm enjoying it so far. My Mom is here cooking and cleaning for us this week, and I'm so thankful for her servant's heart and cheerfulness. I took little miss KL (4) out in the jog stroller for a short run this afternoon, to work out the kinks and burn off some of my Mom's yummy cooking! It was a sweaty run, and the hills were hard in the 5 o'clock sun with a toddler. But it felt goooood to be back out there. GOTTA find time to run more often! Got in 2.5 miles in just under 30 min. Not a great time, but did I mention that it was hot? And that I was pushing a stroller? Uphill?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quote for the Day

Helpful thought for this frustrated perfectionist:

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

-- G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Little Miss K just turned 4. Here's a collection of her funny chatter:

"Be kind, one and another, peacemakers, and your parents." her answer when I asked her "what does the Bible say about how you should treat your brother?"

"When I cry, Jesus cries. And when i don't cry, he doesn't cry, too."

"Mommy, if you put my jammies in the washing macleaner, the will get aaaaall clean!"

"Mommy! Mommy! My balloon -- it went all the way up to the... sk... sk... sss... the roof!" trying so hard to remember the word "ceiling" in her excitement.

Now go visit Not Before 7 for more Tiny Talk Tuesday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Finished with School! (well...almost)

The boys' tutorial ended this week, and I can't even TELL you what a relief it is to have our last assignment sheets for Veritas behind us! Mind you, it's a wonderful program, and their Daddy and I have been very pleased with what they've learned, with the amazing teachers, and with the great group of kids they've made friends with. It's just that it's a lot of work - for them and for me - and we're glad to be able to put it behind us.

I say almost finished, because everyone still has math to work on over the summer, and the boys need to finish their science curricula for the year. But we're taking the rest of this week off (except for summer reading) and enjoying being free.

Daddy offered to take the kids out last night and let me have some 'alone time' at the house. But I really wanted - no, needed - a run, so we all went to the park together. We grabbed $5 pizzas and had a goofy dinner together, then he watched them on the playground while I ran. The run was balm for my soul... 2 1/2 miles of uninterrupted thought (and a little prayer.) I saw a glorious pink sunset, heard some owls, and even Peter Rabbit hopped out and ran beside me for 100 yards or so.

It gave me time to reflect on my heart struggles recently. I've been feeling pretty stressed, and pretty disappointed in myself for feeling stressed. Vicious cycle. But last night, I gave it all to the Lord, remembering again that I can do nothing on my own, but can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Can I get an Amen!? Anyone else feeling this way at the end of a long school year?

What's in store for summer, you ask? (or maybe you didn't. then it's just a bonus.) June is pretty full. There's VBS at church, #2 son's (13yo) youth group trip to Mission Adventure Camp, and the grand finale, our Make A Wish trip. Remember how I told you that our daughter has a rare blood disorder? Well, Praise the Lord she is still doing well, but in the meantime the Make A Wish Foundation granted her a wish, so we're heading to the mountains of Wyoming for a week at a Dude Ranch! yeee haaa! Should be tons of fun.

I'm hoping for a quieter July and some time to enjoy the lazy days of summer, sipping lemonade by the pool . We'll see. Think I've said that before.

Before I go, I wanted to share an article called "Joyful Parenting" by Peter Leithart. A friend shared it with me, and it was both convicting and encouraging. Here's a tease:
Joy in parenting is a gift of God. It doesn't come naturally. It is not a product of the flesh. Wherever you find a joyful Mom, you can be sure you're seeing the Spirit at work.

I'm praying the Lord will help me be a more joyful mom. Find the rest of the article here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Nothing exciting to blog about today. Hit library storytime and then spent the day running errands with the redheads while the big boys did school work at the office with dad. One of these days I'll write a post about our experience being in Nashville during the historic flooding.
But for now, here are some photos that I've taken recently, just playing around and trying to improve my mad photography skillz. ;)

Monday, April 26, 2010

just hangin' around

The weekly contest theme over at iheartfaces is "Smiles." I like the wry smile on K's (3yo) face in this photo. She knows she's cute and she's proud of her amazing upside-down feat. It makes *me* smile.

Go visit iheartfaces to see more adorable smiles!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Schedule, Routine, Legalism, Grace, Self-Discipline

What do those words have in common? They're all floating around in my head as I try to sort out some of the discouragement I feel and adopt a strategy for finishing this school year on a positive note.

I think the problem is that I'm legalistic by nature. I'm wired to like organization, schedules, and order. That was pretty easy to accomplish when I only had 2 or 3 kids, and only preschoolers. Wait - let me rephrase that. It wasn't "easy" - it was a lot of work. But you know what I mean - it was more, shall we say, "doable." It was also very tempting to be proud of my accomplishments, of my skills - and forget that it was only God's grace, blessing my feeble efforts.

Fast forward a few years - and 2 more kids. Life is far busier. The hyper-organized, scheduled-to-the-minute lifestyle just doesn't work as well. I'm frustrated, burned out. I decide (this was back in 07 or 08, I think) that schedules are out and we'll just have a 'routine' and fly by the seat of our pants. I won't worry about the house being all clean. I won't stress about the little things. Let's lighten up & chill out.

The problem with that was it went counter to my own personality and I can only handle being laid back for so long before I completely lose it and go on a cleaning rampage and turn our house into military school, lol. I believe my God-given temperament towards being orderly is corrupted by sin and pushes me into legalism. I need to show myself grace in this area. But I'm coming to realize that, though corrupted, it IS a God-given temperament. It's foolish of me to try to operate counter to my personality, warts and all.

That brings me to the present. I work the best, and am the most at peace, in a somewhat ordered atmosphere. I obviously need to pray for the grace to be flexible and adaptable to the unexpected (something that admittedly has challenged me.) However, not only does my personality gravitate toward order, but God is a God of order, not confusion. In the past, I may have taken that to an unhealthy place. But I (hope) am a little more mature now, and can use order as a principle and not a taskmaster.

To that end, I'm eagerly anticipating the arrival on my doorstep of a new book: A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot. My childhood friend and blogger over at St. Theophan's has recommended it often. Now, I'm not Orthodox or Catholic, but I believe as sisters in Christ we have much to share in order to encourage and be encouraged. I've not read the book yet (obviously, duh! just ordered it today with a B & N gift card left from Christmas), but my understanding is that the author applies some of the principles of Managers of Their Homes with a more spiritual focus -and I think, more grace in understanding how a schedule serves a higher purpose, and serves US - not the other way around. Applying a 'rule' of regular times of prayer and praise and Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven."

Charlotte Mason put a lot of emphasis on developing good habits. Like laying the tracks for the trains to run on, she said. I think applying some of the principles in A Mother's Rule will help me develop a habit of praise and prayer, not only in myself, but in my children. Hopefully at this point, I will have the discernment to apply the principles as a blessing, and not allow them to become drudgery and rote.

Motherhood is our vocation, as Luther would say, our calling. Whether we homeschool or not, we have a big job. We each bring different gifts, skills, and personalities to our roles as mothers. I think that perhaps this book will fit well with me. It's probably not for everyone, and that's ok. But I'm feeling a lack of focus in our home and our homeschool and could use a little encouragement to get back on the track. I'll let you know what I think!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

-My azaleas are finally blooming! And they're beautiful, if asymetrical due to the fact that a couple of bushes died a few years ago. A(5), pictured above with the prolific blooms, was hesitant to smile the day I took the pic. Just before snapping the photo, I had released our eight-legged friend into the woods next to the azaleas.

-Spring has sprung! It's finally warm enough in the daytime for popsicles and sprinklers and caterpillars. I found some BPA-free plastic popsicle molds on amazon - by Tovolo. We've had fun filling them with diluted 100% juice and with smoothies. I should've bought a second set - may yet do that...

-We spent most of spring break hanging out around home. I needed that kind of break soooo badly! But we wanted to do something fun for the kiddos - something frugal and doable on a weekend. So we went camping in the North Georgia mountains. Of course, the above-average, summer-like temps disappeared the day before we left, and we had freezing temps overnight! It was a long, cold night. We had great adventures during the daytime, though. Including a visit to a section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Georgia. A personal favorite memory for me.

-This has been a hard school year. I mean hard. I love teaching and I love homeschooling. But it doesn't happen in a vacuum. There is a husband to love & care for. There is a home to keep. There are the myriad needs small children (and teenage children) have, out side of just being educated. For most of this school year, I've lived at a point near burnout. I'm not afraid of hard work. I'm certainly not a quitter. But I think a wise person can recognize when they need a little help. My dh and I have always believed that homeschooling is a wonderful educational choice, but not the only one. We feel led to at least pursue a more traditional school setting for M (11-rising 6th grade) and A (5-rising 1st grade) for next year.

There is a wonderful, small classical Christian school nearby that I never thought we could afford, but have always been interested in. God, in his Providence, has allowed us to have several conversations with folks involved there that indicate we may be able to get enough financial aid to make it work. We feel led at this time to at least pursue it.

The older two boys, rising 10th & 8th grades, will continue to go to their one-day tutorial, as well as take online math classes and biology at a local co-op. So I'll technically still be homescholing them. But I'll primarily be overseeing their work, and be relieved of the burden of planning, teaching, and grading - which can be so time-consuming!

These decisions will mean more time in the car, and more money. But they will also relieve a great deal of the burden that is weighing me down so heavily right now and making it very hard for me to have joy in 'doing the next thing.' I don't know, at this point, if all these things will actually work out - we're praying the Lord will either clearly open or clearly close the doors. But I know that I'm overwhelmed and spread too thin - not doing any of my jobs very well. And dh and I feel peace about applying, putting the feelers out, and seeing what the Lord can do.

-School may be rough, but life is good and we are very blessed. Our daughter, M (11), was born with a rare blood disorder and has been transfusion-dependent her entire life. I've never blogged about it because it's just one part of hers - and our family's - life, and we don't want to make too big a fuss about it. But it is a serious disease, and once a month, when she goes for blood, we are reminded of how thankful we are. For blood donors, good doctors, technology, and most of all for the Lord's mercy in preserving her to us. But lately we've had amazing news -- she has not needed blood since January 8th! I don't know what's going on inside her body, but I thank the Lord and give him all the glory! When she was a tiny baby, struggling for her life in the NICU, we chose Eph 3:20-21 as a special verse for her. We are humbled as we see God still do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. We don't know yet if this is remission, or just a long, merciful break. But we'll take it and rejoice!

-Needed to hear THIS today!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wolf Spider

We're going camping this weekend, to wrap up spring break. Daddy got our tent out the other day to make sure we have all the parts, and the kiddos have loved playing in it. Until now. A (5yo) came running in to me this morning saying, "Mom! There's a poisonous spider in the tent! It's BIG and BLACK and DANGEROUS!" I told him I'd come check on it, but not before grabbing my camera. If there was a big, black, dangerous spider in my tent, I sure didn't want to miss a chance to grab a picture! One, because I just love spiders; and two, because M (11yo) is studying spiders in her Land Animals class and would love to show and tell.

It wasn't black, or dangerous, really. Just a wolf spider. I snapped a couple of pics, then shooed him into an easter bucket and carried him into the woods, where he and A would both be happier.

I love spiders. Mind you, I’d rather not be bitten and I’ll kill a black widow or recluse on sight. But wolf spiders are so cool – partly because they look like tarantulas and partly b/c they’re very good mothers – they wrap their egg sac up and carry it with them at all times. Then the newborns ride on their backs until they’re big enough to hunt on their own. I just love God’s creatures and how he made each one to provide infant care in its own special way! One time my friend's son caught a mama with an egg sac and walked up to us with it on his arm. Scared her to death. I took a picture of course! (wish i still had it, but it was on a cell phone that died soon after.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

and we digress...

After dabbling (very casually) in healthier eating, organics, and a natural lifestyle for 13 years, we recently made some radical - and permanent - changes to the way we buy food, cook, and eat. I'm working out a post with more on that for later.

And I know I'm not done with the photo series. But I just had some
Random Kitchen Thoughts
to share and get them out of my system. As if anyone out there cares. But that's ok. It's called venting. Here goes:

 “traditional”, “nourishing”, “slow”, “whole”, “MOKO” (Meat Of Known Origin) – I don’t care what you call it, cooking this way is all-consuming and makes a BIG mess! Every pan I own, and several appliances are dirty – and the dishwasher is full and running.
 When you’re hungry, and in a hurry, it’s sometimes frustrating to look in the cabinet and only find … ingredients. Yesterday I licked a pinch of kosher salt, right out of my hand b/c there were no quick snacks. (and my tamari almonds were in the car) I kid you not. The new weight-loss plan … don’t eat, just lick salt.
 I *totally do* notice a difference in my children’s health & behavior, though, since starting this experiment, so it’s worth it. I've had fewer migraines, too, which is a big deal.
 It’s been almost 4 weeks since I’ve had a diet coke (or any other soda.) That's HUGE, ya'll! Almost had one the other night –took two sips and couldn't stand the taste! (and felt guilty, lol)
 I’m making stock today. The other night, I did a homemade roasted chicken (free range whole chick from TJs – in my new oven. Yay!) As I pulled the leftovers out of the fridge, I said, “now that’s a beautiful carcass!” C (13) pointed out that those two words should really never be said in the same sentence. He’s so funny.
 Lunch was soup & quesadillas. Took a *whole.block* of raw milk organic cheese! ($6 kaching!) in general, I’ve noticed we’re eating less cheese, though, simply b/c it’s so expensive to buy healthy cheese I can live with going in my kids’ bodies. Quesadillas were good, though – we threw in the leftover roasted chicken meat – yum!
 So … for soup, C found an old can of store-brand chicken noodle. Don’t know how it escaped my cabinet purge. He knew enough to ask if he could eat it. We read the label – MSG (spelled out, right there, they didn’t even TRY to hide it in something like “natural flavor”), soy protein isolate, and a dozen other ingredients with chemical names. Nope. Nu-uh. Not gonna do it – into the “donate” pile it went. So … you know what I did? I spooned some broth out of my stock, put it in a small pan, added some of the leftover chicken, and some broken WW spag noodles. Voila! “instant” chick noodle soup – the boys said it was the best they’d ever had. good stock comes in handy for so many things.
 Speaking of stock – as I was prepping it, K (3) said, “Mommy, are you making soup? I will drink the moth.” (she meant broth. Ha ha) We eat a lot more soup these days, homemade with our stock, and drinking the broth is something our kids are still 'learning' to 'enjoy.' :)
 Summary of my day:
o Got out of bed, threw on sweats & went to publx for milk (we were totally out of my local non-homogenized milk and poor little A (5) had made his cereal yesterday with my farm fresh cream -using nearly all of it and not eating the cereal, of course!) and celery for my stock
o Came home, fixed everyone breakfast, did #1 kitchen cleanup, and started the stock
o Yelled at some kids to get their chores done and get to school work
o Did kitchen clean up #2
o started the dinner - beef tips made with 2 big sirloin steaks from our share of a grass-fed cow. **note to self -if I’m going to be a butcher, I need a better knife!** The process did yield two good “dog bones” that I can use to make beef stock later…. ;)
o Did kitchen clean up #3 (partial – just moving things, really, to make counter space for fixing lunch – the popcorn maker and roasting pans are still sitting on the floor, waiting for me to wash them ;-P )
o With the help of the boys, grated cheese and shredded chicken for the quesadillas, started chick noodle soup
o Cooked lunch
o Ate lunch & read poetry to the kids
o Did kitchen clean up #4 and started the dishwasher. There are still a lot of dirty dishes, though – and the floor is NASty!

The kids are outside for now, and I’m going to get them in a minute and send the big ones back to work and the little ones to a nap. Still on the list for today: making plans for dinners for the next few nights, baking bread, and doing some prep for breakfast goodies and desserts while my mom is here. Not to mention getting the house ready for her visit and getting in a run (NOT optional!)

Man! Seriously – just put me a cot in the kitchen, cause that’s where I’m livin!

I know ya’ll are probably totally NOT interested in this, but I had to vent to somebody. Now it’s out of my system, and I can get back to it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


my firstborn, S (15)
i don't know how we got here so fast...

because i still remember this like it was yesterday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

28/30 & Overheard

"Boys doesn't wear earrings. Only mommys and pirates!" - 3yo K giving authoritative fashion advice.

"Ok, so I need a serious nap this afternoon!" - 5yo A on the way home from church last Sunday.

(in an excited, musical voice) "Ohhhhh, UNd*rwear! Und*rw*ar is soft! I like und*rw*ar!" - K enjoying the warm (and clean, ahem) laundry, fresh from the dryer

"A.C. doesn't like it, but he's persevering." - A (referring to himself in the third person and saying his full name) commenting on my latest smoothie concoction, which went a little overboard on the 'healthy' ingredients, I confess.

For more cutie-pie Tiny Talk, go visit Tiny Talk Tuesday at Not Before 7.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


snow this lovely is a rare treat in the deep south!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


got to meet Spot at library storytime today

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


hill i encountered on my run yesterday evening. the park where i usually run was deserted due to the cold & wind, so for safety i ran on the more public roads - with several hills like this one! the only good thing about running up is that you eventually get to run back down!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


A (5) delightfully entertained by our new popcorn maker, a gift from a friend
freshly popped, organic popcorn beats the nuked variety any day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010


#2 son. 13. on his way to becoming a man, but still very much a kid.

Friday, January 29, 2010


left my dignity at the skate park-trying out C's (13) rip stick. i think i went a whopping 3 feet before this happened:

Thursday, January 28, 2010


my "rose window" - my own little morning gift from God
the sunrise comes through the window in the little sitting room next to our room. often it casts a lovely rose reflection on the wall as i'm getting ready for the day. i love that it's the sun. love the colors the Artist paints, just for me. love the geometry.
i tried to capture it here - took about 20 pictures experimenting with ISO, aperture, and white balance. I think this one was on an ISO of H1. whatever. it brings to mind Psalm 27. it makes me happy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


this photo is from last spring. i pulled it out today because i'm entering this post in the weekly challenge over at i heart faces, a wonderful photography blog i've discovered. the theme for this week's challenge is texture, and in this photo i deliberately let the texture of the azalea behind KL (3yo) be in focus rather than her face - my amateur attempt at artistry, i suppose.
go visit this week's challenge at i heart faces for beautiful examples of texture, and maybe some inspiration. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010


i don't like this picture. wanted to take a better one with my pretty green kitchen wall as a backdrop. but keep forgetting. so here it is,
this is my latest thrift store purchase - 95 cents! not sure what i'm going to use it for, but i like the material and i like the shape...

Thursday, January 21, 2010


enjoying the surprise of 60* temps in January with my new (free) jog stroller
(K (3) does like the stroller, just not the sun in her eyes)
*check the sidebar "Nature Walk Update" for a fun experience on our latest Greenway run

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


enjoying the spring-like weather while it lasts