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, April 30, 2010

And a Few More Poetry Books...

Time for a final installment in this series on this final day of National Poetry Month. I have run out of month, so I am going to just lump a bunch of other poetry resources into a quick review!

The first three parts of this series are:
A Golden Treasure
These are a few more books that have added to our enjoyment of poetry:

The Best-Loved Poems of Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis by Caroline Kennedy
Not only does Caroline Kennedy present the reader with her mother’s favorite poems, but she also lets us in on how this literary mother inspired a similar love in her children.

When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
These poems, written by Milne for his son Christopher Robin in the 1920’s, are just as much fun for today’s children.

Poetry for Young People series
Each book in this series features the works of one poet. A few pages of biographical information are found at the beginning, and the rest of the book has a generous selection of poems. There are a few notes at the beginning of each, as well as definitions of the more difficult words in the poem at the end.

The Classic Hundred Poems: All-Time Favorites edited by William Harmon
An anthology for the older student, this book features classic poems by the great poets (Wordsworth, Shelley, Browning, and others), and also provides brief notes about theme and form after each poem.

The Mouse of Amherst by Elizabeth Spires
I accidentally discovered this delightful children’s biography of Emily Dickinson as told by a mouse.

Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Ted Rand
This picture book of Longfellow’s classic ballad is recommended in Five in a Row Volume 3.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
This picture book, also recommended in Five in a Row, will involve even the very young in its interesting pictorial interpretation. My kindergartner memorized the poem after a week of reading this aloud once a day.

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Monique Felix
Another poem made into a picture book, this one engages us with the Felix’s delightful illustrations of an adorable mouse.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I hope that you will find some of your own treasures as you enjoy poetry!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"All I Want is a Room Somewhere..."

Bekah gave me her ideas for a perfect room. Eyes half closed as she dreamily imagined, she said, "I want a chair to sit in and drink tea and read with a quilt around me and my feet on a soft rug and a table to put my cup of tea and a lamp." (Sounds good to me!)

This was only after I finally covinced her that a room makeover was in order. After all, she still had Beatrix Potter pictures on her wall, and Beatrix Potter stacking blocks beside her bed. And this was just last spring when she was eight years old. Yes, it was time for a few changes...but (ahem) Bekah does not like change and she really does not like to part with Anything At All. So I reassured her that we'd leave the Beatrix Potter pictures in the frames behind whatever new things we put in them...and that the stacking blocks could be saved in the attic for her future children...and enticed her with the idea of having her very own Reading Chair to replace the pink bean bag chair (whose "beans" had collapsed inside, rendering it an uncomfortable blob in which no one sat but an occasional doll or stuffed animal). I think the chair was the jumping off point for her imagination, and inspired the above qualifications for a perfect room.

Having determined the requirements of a dream room, we began to gather the pieces.
  • First was the promised Reading Chair, and we found this very basic one at Ikea which did not break the bank.

  • Then I began the lap quilt, using Bekah's old clothing for some of the pieces. The quilt is not finished yet. I finished piecing it...but Bekah wants it to be quilted by hand, so she and I will work on that this summer.

  • We looked a a blue million rugs (in catalogs and stores), but we kept coming back to this white fuzzy rug from Target. I was sold on the price; Bekah was sold on the fuzz. (Remember, she wanted something to warm her toes. ~smile~)

  • Ron made the table, an adaptation of a simple end table we had also seen at Target. Bekah and I went to Lowe's and selected a blue million paint chips from which we chose this color. (I believe the color is Seafoam Green, but I cannot find the chip. Whatever it was, Bekah loved the color and the name, both of which played a part in the selection. After all, if a color does not sound pretty, one could never live with it.)

Here it is, all put together...and much enjoyed by Bekah! I don't think she even misses those Beatrix Potter blocks!

(The tiny bit of black in the lower right corner is the tip of Pinky's tail.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Thought to Ponder...

"It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout well done to the Christian man."
~ Charles Spurgeon

Friday, April 23, 2010

When Junk is a Treat

Bekah requested a trip to a local zoo and park for her birthday, so we waited for a day when the weather was perfect, took the day off from school (well, most of the day anyway), and made our plans. She also wanted to take a picnic lunch. Tuna sandwiches? Peanut butter and jelly? Crackers and cheese? All of these ideas received lackluster responses. "Well, I guess we could stop at Walmart on the way and get some junk food," I suggested.

An enthusiastic response.

On our way to Walmart, we passed Chick-fil-A. Now there's an idea. Thinking this would be a treat, I said, "I'd be willing to stop for Chick-fil-A and we could just carry it with us to the park."


"Well...," said Bekah, "we get Chick-fil-A sometimes...but we don't get junk very much."

So into Walmart we went to forage for some junk food. And a junk food picnic it was, complete with Little Debbie's Swiss Cake Rolls for dessert. :-)

Partaking of the junk food treats :-)
The ducks and geese get a treat too!

Visiting Bekah's favorite animal at the zoo

Sisters strolling

Bekah bolting

Time at the playground

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mountain Breezes

Because we love poetry, and because it is National Poetry Month after all, I thought I would share some of our favorite poetry books during the month of April.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The much-loved poetry books that I've shared here and here are children's books (although I don't think you have to be a child to enjoy either!), but today I'm going to tell you one of my favorite poem books for adults—Mountain Breezes.

I dearly love this collection of poems by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India. It is full of inspirational gems! I have never read through all of the poems in this book...there are just so many! I'll tell you the slightly strange way that I approach this book. I begin reading a section until I find a poem that speaks to a deep place in my heart. Then I highlight the title of the poem, both where the poem is within the book, and also in the index. I do this so that I can easily find a poem when I try to look back at it at a later time. I have memorized several of these poems...they are so worthy of the effort.

You may remember me posting these:

Today, I'll share with you one of the first poems in Mountain Breezes that caught my attention.

Amy Carmichael

O Love Divine, if we can see
In our beloved so dear a grace,
When Love unveils, what will it be
To see Thee face to face?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Morning Miscellany

There is just something about a Monday morning. It is fresh and new and promising.
  • Waiting for this coffee cake to come out of the oven...this time made with 2 cups of blueberries and extra streusel.

  • Looking foward to a week with fewer errands and events, more stay-at-home time, lots of reading. Let's see...we're reading Of Courage Undaunted (James Daugherty), A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), Abraham Lincoln's World (Genevieve Foster), and Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren). These are books that we're reading aloud; the girls both have other selections that they're reading for school and for pleasure. I am hoping to treat myself to a reread of a Jamie Langston Turner book this week. (If you have never read any of her books, I highly recommend them. They are not fluff. I don't have time to read fluff. But I will take time for this kind of fiction.)

  • Hoping to get back into some spring cleaning. Cleaning has willingly given way to celebrations this month (Resurrection Day, Bekah's birthday, and a couple of vacation days for Ron), but I would love to accomplish a bit more on the home front before summer arrives. (Summer is normally the time to do "extras" for this family of homeschoolers, but this summer promises to be different from all others. More on that later.)

    But with all of my planning and doing, I pray on this fresh April Monday that I will be sensitive to His voice. That my time will be His...and that I will redeem it. That I will be a blessing to someone this week with a word of encouragement or a listening ear or a helping hand. That I will invest in things eternal.

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Friends and Family

    At dinner not long ago, Ron and I were having a conversation, musing (again) about the passing of time. Having discovered several acquaintances from long ago on facebook, we were somewhat surprised to learn that they were grandparents. (When we knew them, we were all parents of young children.)

    But as we talked, I said, “Why should we be surprised that these people are grandparents? We have six grandchildren of our own!”

    Bekah had been quietly listening, but to that remark, she had something to say. In a solemn but passionate voice she said, “I’m glad you do. Because I don’t know what I’d do if you didn’t.” It was heartfelt.

    Another time, she was considering the wording on the handouts her piano teacher gives prior to the biannual recitals. “It says 'Invite your friends and family,’” observed Bekah. “But it’s the same thing!

    Our family may not be typical. We have wide age spans between our children, and Bekah’s oldest nephew is merely twenty months younger than she. But we are blessed to be family...we are blessed to be friends...we are blessed to be walking homeward together!

    Owen (3) and Bekah sharing a meal at the "Deery Queen"

    Bekah sharing a book with Gavin (7), Maddie (5), and Owen (3)

    Giving thanks together on Resurrection Sunday

    Maddie (5) and Bekah sharing a book at the library

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Our "Go To" Poetry Anthology

    Because we love poetry, and because it is National Poetry Month after all, I thought I would share some of our favorite poetry books during the month of April.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris is our "go to" poetry book. This is one anthology that I think no home with children should be without! It has 598 pages filled with over 700 wonderful children’s poems. The plethora of poems are arranged in such enticing categories as "My Almanac", "Little Things That Creep and Crawl and Swim and Sometimes Fly", and "Roundabout the Country, Roundabout the Town". Within its pages are sonnets, ballads, nonsense poems, seasonal poems, and Bible passages. There are poems by Shakespeare and William Butler Yeats, by Christina Rosetti and Emily Dickinson, by Sir Walter Scott and Carl Sandburg, by John Keats and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Some of the verses are quite well known, and some neither of us has heard before, but the poems are well-chosen, carefully selected by Helen Ferris—Helen Ferris whose delightful forward to the book is sure to inspire you to create a life of poetry for your family!

    If you have children, I suggest that you buy this book today. If you are a home educator, you need this book. If you are a grandparent, purchase this book for your grandchildren...or keep it at your house and read from it when the little (and bigger) ones come to visit. It will be money well spent.

    Commercial ended.

    (But I honestly don't receive commission from any sales! ~grin~ )

    I will share two poems from the book that my girls chose to memorize: "The Library" (Kati) and "Mice" (Bekah).

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Library
    Barbara A. Huff

    It looks like any building
    When you pass it on the street,
    Made of stone and glass and marble,
    Made of iron and concrete.

    But once inside you can ride
    A camel or a train,
    Visit Rome, Siam, or Nome,
    Feel a hurricane,
    Meet a king, learn to sing,
    How to bake a pie,
    Go to sea, plant a tree,
    Find how airplanes fly,
    Train a horse, and of course
    Have all the dogs you'd like,
    See the moon, a sandy dune,
    Or catch a whopping pike.
    Everything that books can bring
    You'll find inside those walls.
    A world is there for you to share
    When adventure calls.

    You cannot tell its magic
    By the way the building looks,
    But there's a wonderment within it,
    The wonderment of books.

    Rose Fyleman

    I think mice
    Are rather nice.

    Their tails are long,
    Their faces small,
    They haven't any
    Chins at all.
    Their ears are pink,
    Their teeth are white,
    They run about
    The house at night.
    They nibble things
    They shouldn't touch
    And no one seems
    To like them much.

    But I think mice
    Are nice.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Hoped For

    Rebekah Hope.

    For many years, we hoped for another baby, another child to love and to live and to grow with. And then we found out that she was coming at the very time that we would not have chosen ourselves. It was after I had had a very serious illness, and was on multiple long-term medications. And I had just turned forty.

    So then we hoped that this little gift within would make it. Not only were there real concerns about the effects of the drugs I was taking, but I had had a middle trimester miscarriage five years earlier and that fact caused apprehension. Then I had complications in the pregnancy, including one dark day when I hemorrhaged so badly that my OB doctor assumed that I was miscarrying, but sent me for an ultrasound to confirm before performing a D & C. Imagine my elation when the baby’s heartbeat sounded loud and clear! So we kept hoping.

    I’d like to say that we hoped for nine long months, but on a Sunday morning seven weeks before my due date, my water broke, and I spent six days in the hospital hoping that she would stay put a little longer, hoping that her little body would be ready to enter the world a bit early. Then labor was induced, we learned she was in breech position, and Bekah was delivered by C-section at 9:22 on a Friday night. After giving our tiny girl a quick examination, the neonatologist turned and gave us a thumbs-up sign and we breathed a big sigh of relief.

    Bekah spent the next ten days in the NICU, and then came home with an apnea monitor, and then had difficulty gaining weight, but by the end of the summer, she was the plump little baby in the beautiful smocked dress at her big sister’s wedding!

    So today, our little “hoped for” Rebekah is nine years old and we are rejoicing. She is beautiful, bright, tenderhearted, opinionated, musical, talkative, artsy, indecisive, feminine, delightful—a true joy to our hearts and our home!

    Happy Birthday, Rebekah Hope!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent [her] to the LORD; as long as [s]he lives [s]he shall be lent to the LORD.” I Samuel 1:27,28

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    A Golden Treasure

    Because we love poetry, and because it is National Poetry Month after all, I thought I would share some of our favorite poetry books during the month of April.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I have wonderful memories of the magical revolving book rack at the grocery store, filled with Little Golden Books. My mother would sometimes delight me with a purchase from that plethora of word-goodness. (I believe that Little Golden Books cost 29 cents in those days. Oh but that makes me sound old!)

    What a golden treasure those treats much better, so much more lasting than a candy bar or a popsicle or even a new toy. Today I can stumble on a book in a used book store or an antique store and it will spark a memory. Then I pick it up and thumb through it, and remember vividly the illustrations and the phrases that I find within its pages.

    Perhaps my very favorite Little Golden Book is A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. What child could not love Stevenson's verses—the way he saw through a child's eyes, and laced the words together in his engaging style? My own children have fallen in love with the same poems that I loved (and still love) and that my mother loved—"The Swing", "The Land of Counterpane", "By the Seashore", "Time to Rise"—and now my grandchildren are loving them too.

    And as much as I adore the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson, I am equally fond of the illustrations of Eloise Wilkin. Her old-fashioned watercolors of cherubic children are endearing, and she somehow captures the innocence of childhood and the tenderness of the adults around them.

    Sadly, the Little Golden Book edition of A Child's Garden of Verses is out of print, so you may have difficulty locating it. Perhaps you'll be lucky enough to stumble on it in an antique shop, or win a bid on eBay! There are other versions, though, that are still published, including a lovely volume with illustrations by Tasha Tudor.

    However you find it, I think every child should be friends with A Child's Garden of Verses!


    Robert Louis Stevenson

    How do you like to go up in a swing,
    Up in the air so blue?
    Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
    Ever a child can do!

    Up in the air and over the wall,
    Till I can see so wide,
    River and trees and cattle and all
    Over the countryside--

    Till I look down on the garden green,
    Down on the roof so brown--
    Up in the air I go flying again
    Up in the air and down!

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Hallelujah! He is Risen!

    That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Phillipins 3:10

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Decorating for Resurrection Day

    Inspired by Jeanne Winters at Inspired Ideas, we've been doing a little decorating for Resurrection Day.

    Eggs with a Resurrection message...

    ...and celebration at our front and back doors!

    here at The Inspired Room where others are sharing their Easter inspirations!

    The Lamb

    Musings about Jesus, the Lamb...

    "Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men?”
    (lyric from the modern hymn "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" by Eric Wyse and Dawn Rogers)
    Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. John 1:29

    Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
    But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
    Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
    I Peter 1:18-20

    After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
    And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
    Revelation 7:9, 10

    Thanking God today for Jesus, the Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed to take away my sin!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    Beneath the Cross of Jesus

    More musings....

    And from my broken heart, with tears, two wonders I confess: the wonder of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

    Oh, what wonders!

    I discovered some of the history of the beautiful hymn:
    “Beneath the Cross of Jesus" was written by Elizabeth Clephane in 1868, one year before her death. It was not published, however, until 1872, when it appeared anonymously in The Family Treasury with several of her other poems. The original poem consisted of five stanzas, but today only three are used in most hymnals.

    It is obvious that Elizabeth, like most Scottish Presbyterians of her day, was an ardent Bible student for her hymn is replete with Biblical symbolism and imagery.

    For example, in stanza one: The reference to "the mighty Rock" is taken from Isaiah 32:2.

    The reference to "the weary land" is taken from Psalm 63:1.

    The reference to "home within the wilderness" is taken from Jeremiah 9:2.

    The reference to "rest upon the way" is taken from Isaiah 28:12.

    The reference to "noontide heat" is taken from Isaiah 4:6

    The reference to "burden of the day" is taken from Matthew 11:30.

    Elizabeth Celphane is also the author of "The Ninety and Nine".
    Elizabeth Clephane

    Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
    The shadow of a mighty Rock within a weary land.
    A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
    From the burning of the noontide heat and the burden of the day.

    Upon the cross of Jesus, mine eyes at times can see
    The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
    And from my smitten heart with tears, two wonders I confess:
    The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

    I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place,
    I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face.
    Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss,
    My sinful self, my only shame, my glory all the cross.
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