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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

{Gathering the Moments} September

The month just began (didn't it?) with a little girl's birthday and a visit to a seaside town and a project kind of vacation. And even an ice cream party! It was summer as September began!

And then we were back to school and back to routine. Back to piano lessons and PE class and Book Club. 

We enjoyed the fellowship of precious friends, and fellowship with family.

Autumn began to peek out of nooks and crannies...

There was change...
from computer cabinet to china closet
from vacation to routine
from 7th grade to 8th grade
from geraniums and ice cream to mums and apples
from summer to autumn

And there are big changes on the horizon...big and wonderful! 

photo by Sarah, my sweet daughter-in-law

Yes, they are moving on!

Our son Ryan will have a new position in November (yes!) and our faraway family, for the first time in over seven years, will be not so far away! We are elated! We're already thinking weekend trips and holidays and grands coming for a stay and so on and so on... 

As I gather the moments of September, I am grateful. 
For the changes. And for the fact that our Lord never changes. 

...the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

Again this month, I am inviting you to join me in "gathering the moments." You may wish to share two or three photos, or several collages, or bunches of photos...with words, or without words. The link-up below will be a gathering place for us to reflect and share and connect. (The link-up will stay open for a week, so you have plenty of time to gather.)

Thinking About Home

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday Snapshots: This and That

It was a grill out, eat in kind of Sunday. Not because it was too hot, but because of the bugs! Good grief. The fruit flies are crazy. Also sighted today: daddy-longlegs, mosquitoes, and a ferocious looking wheel bug. So we kept our hamburgers and hot dogs to ourselves (mostly...some of the fruit flies are inside too) and enjoyed an indoor picnic. 

"Let me in. (I think.)"

Kati read to us about the wheel bug. Ben was right. He is ferocious. 

Kristin brought dessert this week: molten lava cakes


One boy cleaned his plate...thoroughly! "You can just put my plate away," he laughed. We didn't, but we admired his effort to save on dish washing. :)

After time! 

The littlest grandgirl convinced Papa to play the "Maisey Game" with her. And then again. And then "Guess Who." Again. And again. I must tell you that usually Papa is not much of a game player, but he melted and somehow let Alaine talk him into playing five games!

He was rewarded with some snuggle time after the games. I think it was worth it. 

The hardest part of playing games? Trying to keep Aunt Kati from taking your picture. Because why would you want all that cuteness recorded for posterity?

Time for Grandy...

...and the weekly race (a relatively new "tradition") before piling into the van for the drive home.


I have been Gathering the Moments of September. Would you like to join me? 
Feel free to "gather" your September moments...a few glimpses or many, with words or not. 
I'll have the linky up sometime tomorrow, and it will stay open for about a week.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mug Shot

"Don't let me ever buy another mug," I say to my family on the day that I am dealing with this collection during the china closet makeover.  

But look at what I drank my morning coffee from today.


In my defense, I was not looking for a mug. This was in a display at the check out line. (They put things there for people like me.) But you know how I feel about Warren Kimble! And it was only $2.99. What was I to do but add this one to my collection of Warren Kimble mugs? ~sheepish grin~

What would you have done? 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


So a few weeks ago I announce that I am changing a couple of things about my blogging. 

First of all, in order to better manage my time I am going to release myself from so much commenting. that done. Have you even noticed?;) 

Secondly, I am going to increase my frequency of posts about homeschooling. What? You haven't seen any of those? 

Yep, you're right. You haven't seen any of those. I have written a bunch of things in my head. Our own homeschooling year has begun. My thoughts have been swirling 'round and 'round. And I have a whole list of topics in a draft. Then why haven't I started? 

I think it's the whole announcement thing. I intimidated myself by doing that. Now it feels like my First Official Homeschooling Expert Post must be something Very Wise and Wonderful. And where do I start? Shouldn't I start with the most important thing? Well, then what is the most important thing? Should I give this series a title? Should I make a button or a graphic? 

Oh, for heaven's sake. 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

After much ado, and a gazillion chalkboard graphics, and after tormenting my poor daughter by showing her all gazillion of them and asking her opinion (until she was afraid to walk in the room when I was on my laptop for fear of being asked to look at another one), I think I am ready to jump in.

I did make a graphic and I did settle on a title for my series. Homeschooling: Finding Joy in the Journey. Because I think that too many parents homeschool out of obligation or out of desperation, and I want to encourage you that you CAN find joy in the journey!

And, actually, I will begin with something Wise and Wonderful because it is straight out of the Book of books, the Word of God. Many years ago when we were beginning our homeschool journey, this verse encouraged me.

"You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 11:19)

I realize that this passage of Scripture is not about phonics and art and biology. This admonition was regarding something far more important: the Words of the Lord.

As I consider the frequency, the intensity, of this kind of teaching, it is framed in a lifestyle of walking alongside my children.

Although I concede that you certainly can teach your children the Word of the Lord without homeschooling them, it seems to me that a homeschooling lifestyle provides the best opportunity to obey this command. Teaching them His Words as we share our days here at home. Talking about His precepts as we walk (or drive?) along the way. Sharing His goodness around the dinner table. Taking advantage of teachable moments. Being available to answer questions. Searching together for answers in His Word. Learning together. As we go to bed and when we arise the next morning.

Not from a place of perfection, but from a place of wanting to know the Lord and wanting to bring our children along too.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September in the Farmhouse

September is apples, don't you think?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"The Last Time"


A sweet friend shared this poem on her Facebook page this morning. As I read it, I wiped away tears, realizing that most of my "last times" have already come and gone. There are times when I, like the writer of this poem, yearn for one more day of such tender moments.

Even so, I say that from a place of peace. The baby season of my life has ended, as has the toddler season, as has the young child season. I am now in the teenager season for the fourth and final time. May I make the most of these days as well.

Young mother, you, too, will arrive at "the end" before you know it, and if you have taken time, if you have lingered, if you have invested, if you have noticed the moments, if you have been there...all there...with His help...then you, too, will look back from a place of peace.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunday Snapshots: Church Dinner

Last evening, we hosted a potluck for our church fellowship. 
The food was delicious, the weather was early-fall-perfect, but the fellowship was the best part.

photo by Bekah

It was the first time to use the new sandwich board, another of Ron's vacation projects. We had hoped to use it for last week's ice cream party, but we hadn't counted on the chalkboard paint needing a week to cure. 

You're likely to see it again. I am imagining all the things I can write on it for so many occasions. Now to practice my calligraphy and doodling skills...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Personal Photo Challenge {Movement}

This month's Personal Photo Challenge was twice the challenge for me. First of all, I was challenged to learn more about capturing movement in photography and putting that into practice. The second challenge was to do that without my trusty 18-55 mm lens. Oh no!! This lens, the one that I have used the most, is not focusing reliably, and I never know when it will take the shot or not.  Very frustrating. I suppose I will need to look into having it repaired. 

In the meantime, I used a lens that came with my old 35 mm Canon Rebel, a 35-80 mm lens. It's not as good for close-ups, but it did the trick for these action shots. 

(All photos were taken with my Canon Rebel T3.)

I used Bekah as my assistant. I had her ride her bike round and round as I clicked. "Go faster, please." "A little closer." "Can you ride any faster?" "Again, please." She's a good sport! And her front tire was slack, so she was really putting forth some effort to accommodate. I was lying on my belly in the back yard taking pictures when Ron arrived home from work. "You never know what you're going to see here," he says. (Like he's the only man who has ever come home to his wife lying in the back yard while his daughter rides in circles?! Oh, come on!)

I edited this photo in PicMonkey, increasing both highlights and shadow, and cropping for focus. 

One morning recently, I looked out of my back door and saw a mysterious thing in the bird bath. It appeared motionless, meaning it was not a bird. A snake getting a drink? A frog? Why was it still sitting there?

Needing to know what kind of creature was in my bird bath, I put on my glasses. Still couldn't tell. I couldn't remember where the binoculars were, so I ingeniously (ha!) grabbed my camera and gingerly stepped out of my backdoor. I thought that I'd photograph the creature, then zoom in on the image and identify it. Unfortunately, the close-up was fuzzy. But it looked like it might be a grasshopper. Okay, that's good. I'm not afraid of them. 

While I was hyper-focused on my bird bath mystery, something suddenly buzzed over my head! After the adrenaline rush (you can tell I'm a true nature girl, can't you?), I saw that it was merely a hummingbird coming for her breakfast. And since I had my camera, and since the upcoming challenge was "movement," I bravely turned my back on the bird bath creature and took some shots of Mrs. H. B. 

(The bird bath creature remained motionless. Kati went out later and identified it as...a leaf. How embarrassing.) 

Again, I went to PicMonkey to edit. I cropped the image and increased the shadows. 

Thanks to Donna for hosting another photography challenge! 
Next month's challenge is Still Life. (Maybe I should have taken some close-ups of that leaf, huh?)

Click on the button below to see more.
And be sure to visit Donna to see how she met her own challenge this month! Wow!
A Personal Photo Challenge

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Makeover {From Computer Cabinet to China Closet}

When Ron was on vacation last week, the priority project was the remake of the computer cabinet into a china closet.

The two of us had designed the cabinet years ago to house Henry, the desktop computer. Ron had built retractable doors, a sliding drawer for the keyboard, and a sliding platform for the printer. We had intended to add some shelves for computer software and office supplies, but we never got around to that.

Recently, I mentioned to Ron that Henry had aged out. Kati and I both use our laptops almost exclusively, and I thought that the few things that I wanted to save (photos, a few Word documents, our foreign language program) could be transferred to my laptop. What I really needed was space for dishes! 

Ron agreed to do the makeover!

I Pinned a bunch of ideas, we went on a few scouting trips for supplies, and on Day 1 of his vacation Ron started ripping out the innards of the computer cabinet!

Uh oh. Do you know what that means?

It means that all the stuff inside has to be purged or find new homes. Oh no. Ron finished the entire makeover before I finished relocating all the stuff! Ack!!  

Finally, everything was put away, and the china closet was finished and ready to be filled and organized. I had all my supplies: padded containers for The Grandmother Dishes, a rack for platters and trays, and shelf liner.

Uh oh. Do you know what that means?

It means that The Grandmother Dishes and the Friendly Village dishes and all of the white dishes and the Christmas dishes and the mugs (ack!!) and Aunt Lynn's crystal and the platters and trays must all be organized and placed in this very tiny cabinet.

What? It's not a tiny cabinet?!

Oh, you are so right...but it felt smaller by the moment as the boxes of dishes were retrieved from the attic and plopped into the middle of the kitchen floor. (I showed you a picture ~here~.)

And then when we gathered all the mugs from the kitchen cupboards and the various boxes...good grief!

It took the entire day to get it organized (with a lot of working and pausing to think and rearranging...and a bit of purging), but when all was said and done, I was thrilled!

All of my dishes have a home. No more trips up and down the attic with heavy boxes. Easy access to everything. Win-win-win.

So if I want to drink my coffee from a fall mug tomorrow morning, I can do it! And if I want to set my table for Christmas (I don't), I can do that too! It's all here.

Rethinking the function of a piece of furniture (or even a room) can make your house work better for you!

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