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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

{31 Days of Hospitality} Day 1 ~ Not to Impress, But to Bless

(Click ~HERE~ for an index to all the posts in this series.)


Does the thought of inviting someone into your home strike dread in your heart?  Or does the idea of having people over excite you?  Or are you, like most of us, somewhere in between those two extremes?  

Or maybe, just maybe, you love the idea of opening your home and sharing with people, but when you plan to do just that, you worry about it for days.  You stress over the menu and your house and where you're going to seat everyone.  You make your family miserable and you make yourself miserable, and you wonder why you've done it in the first place.  

And may I confess that I could answer "yes" to all of the above questions at one time or another?


What stops us?  What holds us back?  And what keeps us from being relaxed and making our guests feel at ease when we do open our homes?  

I humbly suggest that we have missed our focus.  

We must open our homes, and our lives, not to impress, but to bless.  

If my intention is to impress, then I will fret over the menu and worry that I am not a fabulous cook.  

If my intention is to impress, then I won't be able to invite them over until I get new living room furniture or have my carpet cleaned or move into a bigger house or have a collection of matching dishes.  

If my intention is to impress, then I must wait until my schedule allows plenty of time to make my house perfectly clean and I must wait until my children are older and there are no messes.  

But if my purpose for hospitality is to bless...oh my, well that sheds some new light on it, doesn't it?  

If my intention is to bless, then I will be more concerned with making my guests feel welcome than with an appearance of perfection.  

If my intention is to bless, then why would I worry if my toddler spills his milk or there are a few toys in the kitchen floor?  

If my intention is to bless, then I will swallow my pride, ignore my worn furniture, and open my doors.

If my intention is to bless, then I will take the time to reach out, even in small ways, to make someone feel wanted and loved.

I am linking up with The Nester (and lots of other bloggers) 
for the entire month of October!

Click ~here~ to get to the party!  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

31 Days in October...

Click the button to access all the posts in this series!

During the 31 days of October, I will be sharing my thoughts about hospitality, my own journey into the comfort zone of hospitality (and I am still on that journey!), and some practical ways to feel more at ease in opening your home.  

Will you join me?  

I'll be linking up with The Nester and lots of other bloggers for the entire month of October!  Details ~here~!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shakespeare's in the House

Today the farmhouse kitchen was filled with people.

Homeschooled students (ages 7 to 15), moms, and a few grads gathered for a reading of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.    

We began by reading  a "retelling" of the play from the book Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, to familiarize ourselves with the story and with the characters. 

Then parts were assigned, and off we went, into The Bard's world of Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena, Oberon and Titania, and the mischievous Puck.  

We read through the morning, took an hour for lunch and play and chatting, and then read into the afternoon.  

It was a time of drama and daring.  Daring to take a role, accept a challenge, pronounce (many) new words, risk a mistake.  

It was a time of learning and laughing.  Learning to engage with good literature and a great author's mind.  Learning that "school" doesn't always have to come from a textbook.  Laughing at Puck's antics and at lavish declarations of love as read by our own friends.  

Today, Shakespeare was our cup of tea.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Note:  The idea for Shakespeare reading days (this was our third) 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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn in the Farmhouse

Autumn.  The season in which I feel most at home.  The season of refreshing and beauty and warmth and stunning displays of color.  The season of crisp mornings and orange pumpkins and soup simmering and ambling walks with leaves crunching beneath feet.  

I am so in love with autumn, that I must bring it inside and surround myself with it.  

I decorate for other seasons.  A summer seashell on the table by the back door, geraniums in the window boxes. Touches of green for spring, a rabbit, forsythia branches.  Winter berries and vines, a few paper snowflakes, lots of warm candlelight.  

But no other season finds its way into every nook and cranny of my home.  

Here's a peek into some of my nooks and crannies...

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."
~ Elizabeth Lawrence 

Linking up here...

Thank you, Melissa, for hosting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Morning Time: Autumn 2012

A new school year, a new season...and we continue collecting our little grains of sand.  Morning Time is one of the most gratifying parts of our day, a time that has enriched us, one that is well worth the minutes that are sown in exchange for the bounty that is reaped.

(If you're not sure what I mean by "Morning Time," scroll down to the bottom of this post and follow some of the links.)

Morning Time currently looks something like this...

This year, we are reading through the second chart of the Daily Bible Reading Plan for Children, found ~here~ , which features Bible stories and truths that every child should know.  

We will learn more verses in Romans 8.  Last year's goal was to memorize the entire chapter, but we only learned the first thirteen verses.  We're at it again.  Let's see how far we get this year!  

We are learning “Arise, My Soul, Arise”, by Charles Wesley.  I had never heard this hymn until a couple of years ago when my friend gave me  Classic Songs From the Hymnal.  But I love the music of Charles Wesley, and this hymn on the CD is a soul-stirring choral arrangement. (If you'd like to hear a snippet from my CD, click ~here~ and turn up the sound!  If you'd like to hear a different arrangement of the entire hymn, play the youtube video below.)

Bekah: “Sick” by Shel Silverstein
Mom: Ummm...still deciding...

We're reading Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear.  Each book in this series introduces children to a poet, beginning with a few pages of biography, and quickly proceeding to a plethora of that poet's  works.  We have been surprised to learn that Edward Lear, writer of "The Owl and the Pussycat" and other nonsense verse, made his living as an artist and was a painting teacher to Queen Victoria!

This term we will be listening to the amazing music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and we will read Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher's Mozart, The Wonder Boy

To accompany our American history studies this year, we are looking at the art of early American portrait and landscape painter, John Singleton Copley.

Copley's John Hancock, 1765; Paul Revere, 1770; Watson and the Shark, 1778

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For more reading about "Morning Time":

An introduction to our own "Morning Time"
What Is Morning Time? by Cindy Rollins
Cindy's Inspiration for Morning Time
Kathy's "Morning Stack"
Confessions Regarding Morning Time

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Snapshots: Too Many Visitors and a Fall Photo Shoot

We had too many visitors today. 

Too many, you ask?

Photo by Kati

My dear daughter Kristin and her family were back today after a two week absence.  We had missed seeing them during those two weeks in which people were sick or traveling.  It was good to see those five sweet grandchildren again and could they really have grown in two weeks? Alaine (2) has certainly grown in vocabulary; she says anything she wants.  In sentences.  

No, they were certainly not the "too many visitors."

My parents (known as Gammy and Gampy to all of their grands and great-grands) stopped by for a little while, bringing treats for all the littles.  

Did that make for "too many visitors"?  Absolutely not.  We are always happy to have Gammy and Gampy visit.  

So who were the unwelcome visitors? 

As I awoke and came downstairs this morning, I felt like I was in the great outdoors!  A cricket was chirruping somewhere in my kitchen.  When Ron rose shortly afterward, I asked him if he was joining me at the campsite.  He looked around, but the insect ventriloquist would not reveal his whereabouts.  Eventually, the chirping ceased (or we quit hearing it).  

Later, Bekah was upstairs getting ready for church when she suddenly rushed downstairs, still clad in her pajamas.  She had picked up yesterday's jeans from her bedroom floor, and a cricket fell out!  (Let's just say that this did not please Bekah.  One bit.)  Ron went to exterminate, but the cricket had seemingly disappeared after Bekah had fled.  After church, a cricket was discovered on the stairs, it was exterminated, and we assured ourselves that it was Bekah's jeans cricket who would no longer lurk about her room.

Then this afternoon as we were cleaning up the kitchen after lunch, Kati looked up to see another cricket, mocking us as he chirped on the upper cabinet ledge right over our heads! Again, Ron's exterminator services were called upon.  He stood on a kitchen chair and slapped and smacked and beat around until he cornered the mocker and killed it with his bare hand. (Ewwwwww!)  

Only one problem.  The chirruping did not cease.  

There was another cricket!  

More slapping and smacking and beating around, and the chirper was silenced.  

Too many visitors.  

It was a gorgeous day, and Kati beckoned everyone outside for an informal photo shoot.  

Here's a (very) small sample.  Maybe she'll share some more on her blog.
(Edited to add: Kati shared many more photos ~here~.) 

Photo by Kati

A row of cuteness
Photo by Kati

Saturday, September 22, 2012

An Autumn Saturday

Up early(ish),
out to breakfast,
and then on to the farm stand for some autumn bounty.

photo by Kati

photo by Kati

photo by Kati

Back home to beautify the yard,
everyone doing his/her part...
taking pictures.

Do you see Bekah's little friend, hanging out on her dress?
She didn't know he was there...

...until later. 

Then a little time out in the shade.

A satisfying September Saturday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

An Easy Peasy Autumn Craft

When it is September, and it is my turn to host our small homeschool co-op, and the hosting mom plans the craft for the day, what do you think I do?  Plan an autumn craft, of course! 

Besides the fact that it shouts autumn, this craft had a few other things going for it.
  • It was inexpensive.  Most of the supplies were things that I already had.
  • It was pretty.
  • It was flat.  That is appealing if you have five children as my daughter does, and you do not always want to bring home five large things for which you have to find a home (or throw away in the dark of night while praying that Benjamin doesn't ask where his fill-in-the-blank is). 
  • It was simple.   So simple that even the youngest sibling (Alaine, age 2) could make one.

The week before co-op, I gathered our supplies (black construction paper, colored tissue paper, and contact paper), downloaded the template, and began cutting.  I cut out the black outlines and Bekah cut out the tissue paper pieces while we were watching old episodes of Murder, She Wrote.  Easy, peasy.  

On co-op day, all eight children made their leaf sun catchers (complete instructions and downloadable template ~here~), and took home some loveliness for their windows.

I think Bekah and I will make a few more, so we can hang a bunch!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Note Card Party: Autumn Beauty

I only briefly considered my theme for Vee's seventh note card party.  It is September, after all, and to me that means fall is here!  (My regular readers will know that I wait all summer long for autumn.  ~smile~)

The easy part was settling on a theme.  The hard part was looking through four blogging years of fall photos and choosing only four.  (Or was that the fun part?)   But I made my selections, and here are four photos from my blog that I would send to say Autumn Blessings to you!

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

~ George Eliot

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22

Do you have a blog?
Then you can join this month's party
over at Vee's Haven!

(Click the button for details.)

A Haven for Vee

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Island Experiment

Ron has promised to make an island for the newly remodeled kitchen.  Actually, we have been planning an island for years (and years), but the recent renovations have brought the plans back into the forefront, so after he finishes Kristin's second bookshelf, the island is the next thing on the list.  (I hope.  Hint, hint to Ron if he's reading.)

We definitely want a freestanding island.  We like the flexibility of adding a work/serving surface while also being able to move it about if necessary for a gathering or project.  So when I saw Melissa's post about freestanding kitchen islands, my wheels started spinning.  

The "freestanding" part is definite...but little else is.  Shelves or not?  An open feel, or solid with doors and drawers for coveted storage?  A place for cookbooks?  Butcher block or old wood?  Painted or stained?  

So today I experimented.  

How does one "experiment" with an island, you ask?

I robbed this table (made with old wood) from my living room... 

...and brought it into the kitchen.  Just to see if the "open" feel is what I want.  (I suspect that it is.  I don't want to hide my new farmhouse sink with a closed-in type of doors-and-drawers island.)

I can't leave it here.  Ron and I would miss it there in the living room between our chairs.  Where would we set our cups of evening coffee?!  Plus, an actual island would need to be a bit higher to be used as a work surface for Kati and me.  We're too tall for this one.  

But what do you think?  Does it look at home here?  

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