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.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Amazing What You See While Running Errands


Earlier this week we were running some errands in town, and had a bit of time to kill between appointments. Never ones to miss out on an opportunity (insert sheepish grin), we headed to Dunkin Donut for some iced coffee. While sipping my mocha-java deliciousness, I decided that we would take a ride around town and admire some of the older neighborhoods.

I adore older homes in established neighborhoods. Now Ron is totally against living in any neighborhood--he is a rural man all the way. But I grew up in neighborhoods, and can imagine myself living in many of these older homes--ones with interesting architecture or an octagonal window or a wide inviting entryway or masses of shrubbery and flowering plants or windows with many panes of wavy glass. Ahhhh....

As we meandered, several homes begged to be photographed, so we slowed down as we rode by, rolled down the window, focused...and hoped that no one would peer out of those wavy glass panes and report a stalker!


Kati loved the inviting gate opening into the garden,
and named this one The Secret Garden House.




Note the octagonal window. :-)



Love the transom windows, the black door, and the gorgeous wreath!



Wavy windows



Sweeping entry (and another beautiful wreath)



Okay, get ready to change channels. (And, Mom, stop reading! Yes.)

Later, our errands were completed and we were driving home. We were at a stoplight, getting ready to turn onto the highway, when out in the roadin the road, people...on the dual highway!—stood a man! The traffic was stopped at the time, but nevertheless, it is not everyday that you see a man standing in the middle of the highway! He was holding a plastic grocery bag and a long stick. What?!

Sleuths that we are, we quickly deduced his purpose for standing somewhere between life and death. There was a l-o-n-g snake (Kati says it was a kingsnake), also defying death in the middle of the highway. And the man was desperately trying to get said snake into the plastic bag and off of the highway. Oh. My. Goodness. He was poking at the snake with his long stick, trying to encourage it to move toward the median (which the snake did not think was a good idea). Then the man would attempt to lift it onto the stick so he could put it into the plastic bag (another idea that the snake did not like). And then, the light turned green and the traffic began to flow again, while man and snake continued their struggle in the road and large vehicles swerved to avoid running over the man.

In the meantime, I am frozen, still at the intersection, and, despite my total aversion to snakes, I cannot take my eyes off of this terrifying scene! I am wondering what kind of idiot will risk his very life to rescue a snake...and at the same time, I find myself rooting for the idiot! What is wrong with this picture?

After what seemed like hours (while I probably missed a few right-turn-on-red opportunities and frustrated the motorists behind me), my light turned green and I knew I had to proceed. At this moment, the rescuer had managed to wrangle the snake near the median, he himself was on the curb, the snake was dangling from the stick, and it was heading toward (although not without a lot of wriggling) the bag. The girls were able to keep watching a bit longer (as they were not driving), and they think that the snake was eventually bagged.

As I finished the journey home, I thought about this man's act. I certainly would not have risked my life for a snake. And then I thought that what this man did was not so unlike what Christ did for me. I was ugly, not worthy of His favor and mercy...but He gave His life for me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

My daughter Kristin has begun a new feature on her blog. It is Thrifty Thursday and it will run throughout the summer.

Hmm...I wonder if this counts...

Marry a do-it-yourself-er.

Really. We have saved scads of money over the years due to the fact that my husband, Ron, is a jack-of-all-trades and is willing to try almost anything before hiring it done. We bought a fixer-upper house (although I have to admit that I was less than enthusiastic about the purchase), and spent many years turning it into a beloved home. Ron makes almost all household repairs, and many auto repairs, himself. He has crafted much of our furniture, changed the oil in our vehicles, put the siding on our house, painted inside and out, built our porches and his shop, and cleaned the chimney. (If he isn’t sure about something, he’ll ask someone who is.) I can’t imagine what the dollar value would be in savings over the years!

If you want to read some thrifty tips (or add one of your own!), head on over to Kristin's Thrifty Thursday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Special Boy's Special Day

As grandparents, Ron and I are...well...not typical. I suppose there must be plenty of folks out there who are grandparents and actively raising children at the same time, but it seems like there are more of the other kind...the kind whose children are all out of the nest and who are able to spoil the grandkids. When our first grandchild was born, our own youngest child was a mere twenty months old, and was in the throes of toddlerhood. In a big way. In a way that required lots of diligence and training (for her and for us!). So, although we loved our new grandson deeply, we were quite distracted from grandparenthood by the demands of taking care of our Bekah, raising and homeschooling nine-year-old Kati, and (oh yeah) earning a living. Those were busy days!

Over these past seven-plus years however, we have learned to blaze our own grandparenting trail. So who is "typical" anyhow? We have made our own way as Papa and Gran, and have learned to embrace the things that make us "different". After all, not every child gets to go to Grandma's and play with a houseful of toys and (more importantly) a ready-made playmate! Not every child can get dirty and then dig through their aunt's clothing for something to wear home!

Last spring, we began planning Papa-and-Gran days...a day for each child (no brothers or sisters!) to spend the day with us...just that child doing something special that they would like to do. The children began to call them "Special Days"...and we hope that that's just what they are!

Here are a few pictures of our precious Gavin, enjoying his most recent Special Day.

On our way...


...to the zoo.
Gavin wanted to go to the zoo so that he could use his bald eagle binoculars (a Christmas gift from his Daddy and Mama) to look at the animals.




On to one of Gavin's favorite restaurants!

Then to Papa and Gran's house to play.
(Papa asked Gavin if he knew how to hula hoop. He didn't.
Then fifteen minutes later, Papa saw him hooping like an old pro!)

And a parting gift to end the day.


I wonder who enjoys Special Days more—the children, or Papa and Gran?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Trying to Drink My Frappuccino

Oh no. Mom has her camera out in Starbucks again.



Puh-lease, Mom...I don't want my picture taken.


Okay, maybe if I just smile pretty, she'll put the camera away.


And she did.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making Home a Haven

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.

Last week I had another encounter with a noble idea, tucked within the pages of a living book. It was not a new idea to me, but as I read the words aloud to my girls, the truth of it urged me to take it to heart yet again.

We have been reading The Yearling, written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in 1938. In this coming of age story, the Baxter family—Penny, Ora, and twelve-year-old Jody—live a hard life in the Florida scrub region at the turn of the century.

It is November, and the first frost has come to the scrub. The Baxters are in the “front room”, enjoying the first hearth-fire of the year, Penny smoking his pipe, Ora sewing, Jody lying on the floor in front of the fire, daydreaming.

Ma Baxter said, “Now throw a stick on the fire. I cain’t quite see to foller my seams.”

She had cut down a pair of Penny’s winter breeches for Jody.

She said, “Now take another notion to grow like you done this spring, and I’ll be cuttin’ down your breeches to fit your daddy.”

Jody laughed out loud and Penny pretended to be offended. Then his eyes twinkled in the firelight and his thin shoulders shook. Ma Baxter rocked complacently. They were all pleased whenever she made a joke. Her good nature made the same difference in the house as the hearth-fire had made in the chill of the evening.


There it was. That noble idea that inspired me. "Her good nature made the same difference in the house as the hearth-fire had made in the chill of the evening."

I am reminded that a woman's demeanor directly affects those who live in her home. I am reminded that a gentle spirit, encouraging words, an easy grace, a heart that is not easily offended, can warm the home and the hearts who live here. I need that reminder from time to time. I long to make my home a place of rest, a place of comfort, a place of peace, a place of light and warmth whenever possible.

So in another moment with living books, I am stirred.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
(Proverbs 25:24 NIV)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Thought for Today

Matthew Henry, renowned Bible scholar of the 17th century, was once robbed of his wallet. But instead of bemoaning the fact as most of us would (at least I fear that I would), he found reasons to be thankful. Here is what he wrote in his diary:
Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
This story humbles me. And challenges me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
(I Thessalonians 5:18)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

(More) Moments With Living Books

Sometimes I wonder if anyone enjoys homeschooling as much as I do! I love learning along with my children. I love sharing my days with them. I love watching them grow. I love discovering new things. I love the surprise of uncovering a treasure in a “living book”! (Reminder: A “living book” is one that is rich in ideas and literary language.)

Here’s a recent treasure uncovered while reading Genevieve Foster’s Abraham Lincoln’s World:

It was the mid 1830’s, and four Nez Perce Indians from Oregon had traveled eastward seeking the white man’s Book of Heaven. At the end of a 2000-mile journey, they came to St. Louis, where they were warmly received by General William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark expedition) and his men. They spent the winter there, and were lavishly “wined and dined”, so to speak,

...but they were disappointed. At the farewell dinner in the spring, one of the Nez Perce rose and addressed the company.

“I came to you over the trail of many moons from the setting sun. My people sent me to get the white man’s Book of Heaven. You took me to where you allow your women to dance, as we do not ours: and the Book was not there! You took me to where they worship the Great Spirit with candles and incense, and the Book was not there. You make my feet heavy with gifts, and yet the Book is not among them! I came with an eye partly open for my people who sit in darkness. How can I go back blind to my blind people? I have no more words.”

Isn’t that poignant?

"The book was not there."

We began by learning history; we discovered a treasure.

Here within the pages of our history book, we were saddened by the disappointment of the men who had come to find truth and did not find it. We were inspired to look through spiritual eyes in our interactions with people...and not be so ready to offer them entertainment or earthly treasure, when their hearts are searching for eternal treasure.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Is the Life...

...wouldn't you say?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Focusing the Lens

In A Garden to Keep by Jamie Langston Turner, one of the characters says,

“A mother focuses the lens through
which her children view life.”

Thank you, Mom, for focusing my lens. You have influenced my life in countless ways.
  • You shared with me your love for books, for words, for learning.
  • You showed me that an orderly, well-kept home was a worthy goal, that a lovely table was worth the effort, that traditions mattered to children—that homemaking was important.
  • You shared with me a love for God’s little furry creatures. (And some without fur, such as the spiders that you carefully escorted from our home on envelopes because you did not want to kill them.)
  • But I am most grateful that you focused the lens for me to see Jesus. You showed me an “unfeigned faith” (II Timothy 1:5)...and that has made the difference in my life.
I love you, Mom!

Mom and me, circa 1963

Me, Mom, and Linda--Mother's Day 2009

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Lord is My Help

I've been thinking about motherhood this week, and I have decided to post an article I wrote for my local homeschool newsletter a few years ago. Although I really don't like to give unsolicited advice, I thought that someone might benefit from the things that I have learned the hard, slow way.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. Yes, as many little girls, I considered being a teacher. I also thought about being a writer. But in my mind, these were only things to do until I was able to be a mother. That’s what I really wanted. Well, in this case, God granted my desire, because two years after marrying my high school sweetheart (Ron, who is now my grown-up sweetheart), we were blessed with our firstborn, a darling little red-haired girl, Kristin.

As delighted as I was with my little treasure, I’ll never forget my feelings the night that we brought her home from the hospital. First of all, I felt completely overwhelming love. But a thought that kept coming to the surface was something like, “Now what?!” I had babysat occasionally and tended the church nursery now and then, but this baby was mine! She was my responsibility. There was no one there to supervise and make sure that I did everything right. There was not going to be a parent who would come to retrieve her in a few hours. HELP!

Yes, He did help. My heavenly Father helped me get through that first night. And the next. And the next. And through the toddler years. And through the addition of another treasure, Kristin’s brother Ryan. And eventually, through the addition of two more precious baby girls and the loss of another. And through the teen years. There were some financially lean years, and some years of heart wrenching decisions. There were times of illness and change. And, no (absolutely no!), I did not do everything right...but oh how great I have found His grace to be!
If I were to name some principles that have guided me as a mother, I would have to include these:

  • PRAY
    I suppose that sounds simplistic (although it is not)...but it really is KEY to raising children for the Lord.

    I learned this from my own Godly mom. Her own family situation was less than ideal and they were not Christians, so her parenting skills were learned “from scratch”, so to speak. So at each decision, big and small, she went to the Lord for His guidance.

    I have tried to make the same habit of praying about everything that concerns my children...from praying for their life mates to praying about specific curriculum choices...from seeking guidance on how to deal with a specific attitude to praying for general wisdom for my husband and myself. After all, doesn’t it make sense to trust the Lord of the universe, the One who created these children, for the wisdom we need in guiding them into His Kingdom?

  • VALUE GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU AS A WOMAN
    As much as I had longed to be a mother, I was not prepared for the possibility that other people would not see the value of that role. Most disappointing was that that attitude was also felt keenly in the church. And so I felt a type of peer pressure to fulfill “duties” that conflicted with my primary duty as my children’s mother. But the Lord brought several “older women” (as in Titus 2) into my life to teach me God’s value of Biblical womanhood...although I have never personally met either of them. They are authors of books and newsletters.

    The first book that I read that opened my eyes to the grand scope of my role was The Way Home by Mary Pride. What a release I felt from “others’” opinions when I read the ideas in this book! I got a new vision for my role of wife and mother. Many myths of feminism (and many that the church has accepted) were diffused in my mind.

    Another author who has “provoked [me] unto love and to good works’ (Hebrews 10:24) is Elisabeth Elliot. Although she is best known for her book Through Gates of Splendor (the biography of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, who was martyred), she has written so many encouraging words for women. The Shaping of a Christian Family, Let Me Be a Woman, and Keep a Quiet Heart have all inspired me.

    I “met” Helen Aardsma through her newsletter. The Mother's Companion was published six times each year, running from January 1995 through December 2003. I subscribed to it for several years, and even purchased some of the back issues, because these were packed full of wisdom that Helen, mother of 10, had gleaned over her years of serving the Lord. (You can visit her website, www.themotherscompanion.org, to read some sample issues, as well as to purchase back issues.)

    Through God’s leading, and the teaching of these “Titus 2” women, I learned total contentment and fulfillment in His plan for me in my role as wife and mother.

  • KEEP ON
    “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (KJV) I believe that those words are absolutely true...for the Christian in general, including the Christian mother. We cannot grow weary and let down our guard; we cannot faint. There is too much at stake. But how thrilling to know that He has promised that, if we do not grow weary, and if we do not faint, we shall reap! Keep praying and teaching and serving, Christian mother. The rewards are eternal.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gigantic Task

"How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness."
~G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Snail's Pace

Bekah is doing a page in her math book. We are waiting for her to finish so that we can eat lunch.

Mom: Bekah, you were going great guns at first, but now you’re going at a snail’s pace.

Bekah: But Mama, I’m always at a snail’s pace.

So true. :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Father's World

During our Morning Time this spring, we have been singing the hymn "This Is My Father's World." As we researched the background to this hymn, we learned of Maltbie D. Babcock, a respected Presbyterian minister of the late 1800's who loved to be outdoors. As he went out for his frequent walks near their upstate New York home, he would say to his wife, “I am going out to see my Father’s world.”

We have been enjoying our Father's world...
  • We planted a weeping willow tree (named Wilma) in our backyard.

  • We observed these delicate flowers.
Bleeding heart
Violets
  • Ron took Kati, Bekah, and granddaughter Maddie on a birding outing. (Kati was there, but she was the photographer.)

  • Bekah met this tiny little pet at her friend's birthday party. (I am now trying to convince her that Pinky and a hamster would not be good housemates!)

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