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 home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—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 18, 2018

First Formal

Life is happening faster than I can blog! That's not at all a bad thing, but I do want to post a few things for the record. (Do you know what I'm talking about, fellow bloggers?) 

As the school year nears its end, we have had several special culminating activities. We're ending the year with a bang! And there are a few more events to come. Although she is probably my shyest child, Bekah is also one of my most social. Does that make sense? She will likely be one of the quietest in the room, but that doesn't keep her from wanting to do all. the. things.

This spring, Bekah attended her first formal! It was a special evening, hosted by a nearby homeschool co-op. We liked that it was not only open to couples, but to groups of kids as well. 

One of the best parts for me? The hair and make-up session before the formal! Bekah and Maddie, and friends Grace and Lydia curled and sprayed and powdered and polished, with Kati helping too. So much girliness . . . so much fun!

Yes, there was a young man here too. Gavin came along with Maddie and began the afternoon reading his book. Then the two of us went on a coffee run and after we distributed the drinks, he remained at the table with the girls. (Smart boy, huh?) 

And here they are, all dolled up for the formal!
Granddaughter Maddie, 13
(How can she look so grown up?!)

Grandson Gavin, 15 

Daughter Bekah, 17

Grace, 17

Lydia, 14

A beautiful/handsome group! 

Precious young people with so much of life before them.

It was a privilege to be a small part of this "first"!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sunday Snapshots {Mother's Day 2018}

Mother's Day was a sweet finale to a busy week of "vacation"! On Sunday, we had twenty-two people around our table(s), chatting, feasting on a casual meal (chicken strips, my mom's awesome potato salad, fresh veggies and dip, and fruit salad) and, of course, honoring our mothers. Mother's Day is a "pretty" holiday, don't you think . . . an opportunity to embrace pink and roses and all things feminine.

Ooooo . . . dessert. Beautiful white cupcakes, strawberries, and a pavlova bar. Individual pavlovas could be topped with your choice of fresh whipped cream, chocolate whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and chocolate chips.

We took lots of photos. We exchanged tokens of love. (This mama received three live plants! Again I ask, Can I keep them alive? I am going to try!) We had Wrapping Paper Antics. (Kristin received a unique Mother's Day dragon, a limited edition by Gavin created with Mother's Day tissue paper! Did I say "unique"? Yes!) We had a couple of musical selections and a skit. We laughed a lot! The children were singing a song they had learned in choir. It is sung as a round. Well, the first two began and something got them tickled. I mean, so tickled they had to stop singing. They regained their composure and began again. It was going well, and then Maddie's voice cracked and the laughing took over again. The third and fourth attempts also ended in a fit of giggles. You know how it is when the harder you try to stop laughing, the more you laugh? That was it! And the more they laughed, the more we all laughed! It was not the smoothest performance ever, but oh what fun we had! If "a merry heart does good, like medicine," then everyone left the party a little healthier! 

After (an incomplete) clean-up, the four of us went to visit to Ron's mom. Ron was the last of her eight children to pay her a Mother's Day visit, so she said that we "made her day." "Well, that is a pretty easy way to make someone's day," I said, but she insisted that it did. (Thinking it over later, I pondered that perhaps it can be just that easy to make someone's day. Note to self: Try more often to make someone's day.)

We arrived home just before 8 pm, in time to watch the new Little Women on Masterpiece. I had been so excited to watch it. Little Women was one of my favorite childhood books and we have watched every one of the movie/television versions of Little Women, so I was eager to see how this one compared. I loved this version, although it didn't top my favorite (the one with Winona Ryder as Jo).

(Would you like to take a quiz to see which Little Women sister you're most like?)

How did you spend your Mother's Day? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Topiary Love

The subtitle of this post should be "Can I Keep Them Alive?" 

My track record with green things is not so good. In fact, I am the kiss of death to house plants. "You can't kill fill-in-the-blank," I have been told. But yes. Yes, I can. Which is why I am a huge fan of faux greenery.

I love the classic look of topiaries and I have several faux. But when these live beauties called my name in the Walmart garden center, I threw caution to the wind and put two in my cart. 

I put one on my kitchen island . . . 

. . . and the other on the drop leaf table in front of the picture window, both places where they will get plenty of light. 

Determined to do my best to keep them alive, I did a little research. My new friends are Eugenia plants, sculpted into topiaries. According to this article, they need plenty of sunlight, moderate water, and occasional fertilizing. (And a bit of luck, I might add.)

I may decide to put them on the living room mantel. I do think topiaries look nice in pairs. There is not as much light on the mantel though. Hmmm . . .

Bekah gave them their first haircut yesterday. So far, so good!

Do you have any topiary tips for me? 

Also around the house,

Ron is off this week and this is happening . . .

We are painting the north and east wall of cabinets. Yesterday we removed everything from the kitchen that was not nailed down, sanded (ugh), and removed doors and hardware. Today, the first coat of paint!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Growing Older | Preparation

I am continuing this series of quoted ponderings and Bible verses about growing older. I thought I'd be finished by now, but apparently I had collected more than I thought! No apologies, though. I am learning so much as I ponder. I hope that you are too. 

(Click ~here~ to read others.) 

Preparation for old age should begin not later than one's teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement.  ~ Dwight L. Moody

Friday, May 4, 2018

Throwing Open the Shutters

Some deep thoughts for your weekend . . . 

“If God had told me some time ago that He was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world, and then had told me that He should begin by crippling me in arm or limb and removing from me all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing His purpose. And yet, how is His wisdom manifest even in this. For if you should see a man shut up in a closed room idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all of his lamps and then throwing open the shutters to let in the light of heaven.”
~ Samuel Rutherford  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Homeschooling: Finding Joy With Shakespeare (Imperfectly)

We recently had another of our Shakespeare Reading Days, this time reading The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

So. Much. Fun.

I posted this picture of our "Caesar" on my Facebook page and captioned it: We homeschool. 🤣

Seriously, can you have this much fun getting an education? (Yes!)

I have lost track of how many of these days we have had. (Six? Seven? More?) Here's what we do*
  • Read a "retelling" of the play, usually from Beautiful Tales From Shakespeare for Children. (Julius Caesar was not in the book, so I found a summary online.) This is to familiarize ourselves with the characters and the story, which makes understanding the Old English a tad easier. 
  • Assign characters and read Acts I and II in the morning.
  • Eat our brown bag lunches, chat, and play. (Yesterday we had an impromptu concert. That was a first. ~smile~) 
  • Read Acts III through V. 

There is a minimum of discussion. Occasionally someone will summarize a scene if a student (or adult) gets lost. Sometimes we will explain a word or phrase. The past couple of times I have listed some famous quotes from the play before we read it (i.e. "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" or "Beware the ides of March") and have everyone stand up when they hear that line read.

But mostly, we read the play.

My mom and I were having a discussion yesterday about perfection and "good enough," and I later thought about how it applied to our Shakespeare Reading Days.

Do you know that perfection can be paralyzing?

If I thought that the circumstances had to be "perfect," then I would never host these reading days!

  1. I am not an accredited English teacher.
  2. I am not a Shakespeare expert. 
  3. Sometimes, I have not even had time to brush up on the play! 
  4. I do not have enrichment activities planned. 
  5. I do not have control over who does and doesn't come. (Maybe all the participants are good readers; maybe they are not.) 
But . . . 

Always, students are exposed to great literature. Always, we learn things we didn't know before. Always, we push ourselves to read, pronounce, and understand. Always, we become familiar with words and idioms we didn't know came from Shakespeare. Always, we learn stories and characters that we will likely encounter again in literature, movies, and even pop culture. And we usually have some fun along the way!

Even though we have done it imperfectly. 
Here, "Caesar" meets his demise by the hands of the conspirators!

The same principle holds true in many areas of homeschooling. 

Perfection paralyzes. Enthusiasm for your child's learning mobilizes.

Maybe you haven't found the perfect phonics system or the perfect math program. You don't have a separate school room. You're not a highly structured person. (Or maybe you are a highly structured person.) Maybe you don't have a big budget for educational materials. Or you have a toddler who requires a great deal of your attention. You missed Morning Time three times last week. Your child doesn't like science. You don't like science. You don't know all. the. things.

All of this reaching for perfection will keep you from finding the joy in the journey.

Instead, take what you do have and give it a go. Pick up where you left off. Pray that He will multiply your "loaves and fishes." Let your enthusiasm for your child's whole heart take over. 

If you will learn to accept "less than perfect," I believe that you can find joy in your journey of homeschooling! 

(And perhaps "less than perfect" will be the perfect fit for your child's needs!) 

The idea for Shakespeare reading days was inspired by the ideas and experiences of Karen Andreola as shared in A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning

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