As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Green, Cyber Woes, and a Homeschool Story

As beautiful as winter can be--the fresh whiteness, soft blankets of snow, the glitter of icicles, even the somber gray skies and landscape-- I am craving green. When I was in Marshalls last week, this little green (faux) plant called my name. I brought it home and set it in a yellow ware bowl, where its little green self reminds me that spring is coming.

Now I will whine talk a little about cyber woes.

1) I've had some lovely visitors here at Thinking About Home and I'd like to pop over to their place and visit them too. BUT...if these visitors have a Google+ account (I don't), it is next to impossible to find them! And even if I am able to find their blogs, I can't leave a comment because I would need to sign up for a Google+ account to do so. I find that very frustrating as I want to be a good neighbor. Has anyone else met the Google+ roadblock? 

2) For some reason, I am no longer getting all of my blog comments directed to my email. What is up with that? It is not just new commenters. There are folks with whom I have exchanged emails over and over again and suddenly, there they aren't! I have checked all of my blogger settings and they are the same, so why the change? 

3) Henrietta, poor girl. After recently replacing her hard drive, only to be dealing with more and more issues (Henrietta seems a bit hormonal...she is so temperamental!), I have decided that I won't sink any more money into hormone replacement therapy repairs. My new helper, Heloise, should arrive sometime this week. May we have a long and happy working relationship. 

Several days into March already, I am still working on Gathering the Moments of February. (Refer back to my discussion about computer woes.) 

I may have to wait for Heloise to help me. Henrietta keeps shutting down at the most inopportune times. Like when I have all of my chosen photos loaded into PicMonkey. ** Poof! ** And then they're gone again and I don't have the heart (or time) to start over. 

If you were a fly on the wall at our house, you might observe scenes like this...

Bekah is preparing for our homeschool History Fair. I am helping her to put the finishing touches on her presentation and I am teaching her methods of engaging her reader (listeners) with her opening paragraph...a question, a story, a quote, surprising statistic...

ME: So, Bekah, what do you want to do to get people's attention?
BEKAH: Wear a cute outfit. 

What's going on in your world today? More importantly, are you wearing a cute outfit? ~smile~

Thursday, February 26, 2015


When we first learned that our faraway family was going to be moving much closer to us, we looked forward to weekends when we could all be together! We had the first of those weekends recently and oh, the memory-making moments!

Through the years, the Lord has taught me to see the present as His gift.

It wasn't always that way. When I was younger, I was constantly looking ahead. To growing up. Getting married. Having the baby sleep through the night. Improvement in our finances. Next week. Next year.

But somewhere along the way, He taught me to be still. To savor.

And on this weekend, I savored.

Calling Papa at his office

Papa's home!

Operation French Toast

Baby Paul meets his great-grandmother (Ron's mom)

A Family Gathering

Gampy (my dad) and his great-granddog Lucy :)

Aunt Kristin meets Paul

Four generations

Four generations being silly!

the DJ's

"Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not clearly see what is required of me now."  (Elisabeth Elliot)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sunday Snapshots: Snaps, Slaps, and Chaps

A new favorite, snap peas disappear from the vegetable tray too quick to talk about! Who knew?!

We didn't even play our regular Apples to Apples this Sunday. We did play Battle of the Sexes and several card games...Fib, Spades, and Slaps (new to me).

Our guest, Rob (Kati's friend and coworker), was the chap who taught us the new game.
And then Maddie brought along THIS (huge!) chap who just kind of hung out and read the comics.

After a week of harsh winter weather, we decided to label this week's cups with our dream vacations!

What is your dream vacation?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"And who would leave the Fountain Head?"

Take a little time to read this slowly...let its message sink in...and then spend some time in the Book of treasures...

The Sacred Hour
William Blane

O tell me not of worldly lore
And treasures of the earth!
To him who draws from Heaven’s store
They can be little worth.

I sail a sea of Love divine,
Unfathomed and unbound;
I search a deep and wealthy mine
Where gems of Heaven are found.

The Spirit’s breezes gently blow
That I may sail this sea;
His is the light to search and show
God’s deep, deep things to me.

O Book of wondrous depths and heights,
Of wisdom ever new,
Which in ten thousand various lights
Brings Jesus into view;

Whatever truths in thee I trace
New aspects meet mine eye,
And of His glory and His grace
Page unto page doth cry!

Of Science and Philosophy
I’ve heard the spreading fame;
They’re broad and deep, and urged, they say,
By many a pressing claim.

‘Tis said Philosophy hath charms
Which prove celestial birth;
That Science, with distended arms,
Grasps heaven in grasping earth.

I know not; neither have I tried
Their claims to disallow;
A trusting heart is satisfied
With neither why nor how.

They come from God if they be right,
If true they lead to Him;
But who would shun the noonday light
To grope in shadows dim?

And who would leave the Fountain Head
To drink the muddy stream,
Where men have mixed what God hath said
With every dreamer’s dream?

How dim is every earthly light
When suns celestial glow!
No earthly visions lure the sight
Where God His face doth show.

‘Tis sweet in prayer on God to call
While He my voice doth hear,
But sweeter when His sayings fall
Upon my opened ear!

For this I leave the paths of men
And shun my friends’ abode;
No earthly claims can stay me when
My spirit pants for God!

O not for wealth, nor fame, nor power,
Nor love, nor truest friend,
Would I forego the sacred hour
Which with God’s Word I spend!

I steal it from the hours of sleep
If leisure be not given,
For only this the soul can keep
In touch with God and Heav’n.

And thus to hearken unto Him
For one sweet, fleeting hour,
Is balm to wearied heart and limb—
Restoring grace and power.

Dear Book of treasures all divine,
My precious, priceless store!
How rich I am since thou art mine!
How poor I was before!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Homeschooling: Sharing the Burden with Your Child

I think it goes without saying, but a primary goal of teaching is to facilitate learning

Makes sense, right? 

The goal is not to make learning "hard," nor is it to stump our students on a test or quiz! (As in "Ha! I gotcha!!") But you would not believe the number of times that I have seen that concept among homeschooling parents. Not the majority, for sure, but the fact is that that idea exists for some. Perhaps it is a throwback to our own education when we perceived the teacher as the enemy who was determined to make life miserable? 

Ahhh...but one of the glories of homeschooling is that we are a team! I want my students to succeed! 

Thus, another one of my rudimentary teaching tips is this:

Share the burden of learning with your child.

We've all been there. You make what you consider a reasonable assignment, but your child seems lost or has that glazed-over "I have no idea what you're talking about" look or is even overwhelmed. (This is different than being lazy or not wanting to rise to the challenge.) 

In my experience, pushing is counterproductive. The student may complete the assignment, but not really understand it. He may do the work, but the foundation will not be there for going on to the next level. She may lose her joy in the task. 

Instead, try sharing the burden of learning with the student

Don't force him to sink or swim, but come alongside and walk with him.

What does "sharing the burden" look like?

If your student is having trouble beginning to read an assigned book (and you know it is a living book and is on his reading level), read the first chapter aloud to incite his enthusiasm for the story.

She is writing a story and doesn't know how to begin. Sit down with her and brainstorm topics together. Help her with a plan or even a basic outline. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

A beginning writer may have a difficult time with the physical action of writing. It takes a great deal of concentration to get the words from the brain onto a page, all the while using correct grammar and spelling and organizing your thoughts. (That's a lot to think about for a young child!) Instead, allow the child to dictate his thoughts to you as you write them down. This allows him to think about the content without being distracted by the physical action of writing.

You are not providing your child with the easy way out! You are not encouraging him to be intellectually lazy! But when you see that he is genuinely struggling with an idea or skill, you are helping him to learn by sharing the burden with him. As you share the burden, he will learn, build confidence, and move on to the next level. (Just because you are taking dictation from an 8-year-old doesn't mean that you will be doing it through his high school years. You will be sensitive to his abilities and encourage him to take the next step.)

A Real Life Story:

Recently, Bekah was introduced to the concept of adding algebraic equations with both constants and variables. Although she is a good math student, this concept looked like Greek to her. I could see that she was overwhelmed with understanding the steps and also with remembering them from one day to the next. So I decided to share the burden of learning with her. When I told her that we would do those problems together until she understood them, I saw a visible look of relief on her face.

Each day, we would tackle those overwhelming equations together. After a few times, I'd ask her "What do we do next?" Another day, I'd hand her the pencil and she would take the lead with solving the equation while I followed along, helping only if necessary. She has made great progress, and any day now she'll be confidently working those problems alone.

Something that had once seemed overwhelming has become completely attainable.

And that is what can happen when we are willing to share the burden of learning with our homeschool students.

For other posts in this series...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Best of Times...

Winter may have tried to mess up our plans for the weekend {chilly Farmhouse, a frozen pipe or two (thawed within a couple of hours, no damage), wild wind, and snowy-slow travel} but...

we were together
so we won!!

Today, I am thanking the Lord for
memories made,
joy shared,
babies held,
stories read,
games played,
long weekends,
hugs given and received,
meals and (lots of) cups of coffee shared,
happy children,
good health over the weekend,
warm food,
an abundance of blankets, quilts, throws, and Snuggies,
cousins playing,
four generations,
tulips on the island,
warm fellowship,
the joys of being older,
safe travels (oh, so thankful!),
and the rich, rich mercies of God.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Sweet Way to Say "Be My Valentine"

I'll be away from the blog for a few days, still working on those bright spots for the weekend. I plan to be back early next week with some weekend snapshots and a new Homeschooling: Finding Joy in the Journey post.  

In the meantime, I'm pulling this recipe out of the archives, because I thought you might need an easy-peasy idea for a last minute Valentine treat.  This could be it!

♥ Valentine Shortbread Cookies ♥

Cream together 2 sticks (yikes...yes that's 2 sticks!) of butter with 1/2 cup sugar.  
Beat until light and fluffy.

Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour and mix until dough holds together.

Add 4-5 drops of red food coloring to tint the cookies a Valentine-y pink.
Mix thoroughly.

Roll out about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut out cookies with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

Bake at 300°F (lower temp than most cookies) for 15 minutes.

(These cookies do not brown.  When you take them out, they will look much the same as when you put them in.  Do not be tempted to leave them in longer or you will get a hard cookie, not melt-in-your-mouth shortbread goodness.)

Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes; transfer to cooling racks to continue cooling.
When completely cooled, drizzle with melted chocolate chips.
(I melted some chips in the microwave, placed the melted chocolate in a baggie, and cut a tiny hole in the corner.  Then I squeezed the bag as I made a simple back and forth motion.)
Allow chocolate some time to harden.

You can fill a cellophane bag with cookies and give them to your Valentines.

Or serve them at a party.

But be sure to keep one or two, so that you can enjoy it (them) with a cup of afternoon tea or coffee.

Do you have any special plans for this Valentine/Presidents Day/Arctic blast weekend?

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