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 29, 2015

Tuesday Bits and Pieces

These "Bits and Pieces" are not in reference to my daughter's blog. Although her Bits and Pieces is a fine place to visit. These days there are bits of baby talk (they know the gender of their baby now!) as well as pieces of book talk and homeschool talk and running talk.

Ron returned to work today. Yes, I had to drive him, and yes, he is wearing a "space boot," but I think he is ready to leave the recliner and the world of Gunsmoke and Bonanza and Wagon Train. We praise the Lord that he is doing so well. 

In other news, today is National Coffee Day! That is my kind of holiday! I am planning on celebrating...maybe a couple of times. Will you celebrate?

graphic via Sandra Boynton's Facebook page

It took a little finagling for all of us to get to see the eclipse on Sunday night. Ron used his walker to get to the end of the sidewalk. I drove the van curbside, and then backed up to a good moon vantage point. Then he got out and into a patio chair that Bekah retrieved because he couldn't see very well through the tinted windows of the van. But we were all rewarded by a few fabulous between-the-clouds glimpses of God's amazing handiwork!

This is one of the photos that Kati took...

~ photo by Kati ~

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork."
Psalm 19:1

And just because this post is already random...

Have you been enjoying any autumn-y foods lately? Kristin brought some yummy apple cinnamon scones on Sunday.

I have been Pinning some recipes on my  Autumn! Pinterest board. I am eager to try the Pumpkin Crumb Muffins. Perhaps it was the  fabulous photo that drew me in! Take a look

Come to think of it, one of those muffins with my coffee would be an appropriate way to celebrate National Coffee Day! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Recovery and a Fall Supper

At least part of our busyness during the past couple of months can be attributed to the fact that Ron was scheduled for foot surgery. Knowing that he was going to be (literally) off his feet for several weeks, and knowing that after this foot heals that he will be undergoing the whole process again on the other foot, has given urgency to the to-do list. He finished building his pole shed, did yard work, hauled wood, and cleaned the chimney. He helped me clean out the refrigerator. This week, he got his teeth cleaned and he got a haircut. (I suppose he wanted to be a neat and tidy patient!)

Today was the day of the first surgery.

The surgery went well. And tonight the patient is resting in his recliner, watching Andy Griffith, and feeling chipper!

I had expected to make a "sick" dinner tonight, maybe some chicken soup or something.

Nope. Not for my patient. Instead, he wanted some fall comfort food and he asked for this dish. :)


4 or 5 bone-in pork chops
canola oil
21-oz can of apple pie filling
1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix

Preheat oven to 375°.

Brown pork chops in oil.

While chops are browning, make stuffing according to package directions.

Spray 11x13 glass baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Spread apple pie filling in bottom of pan. Layer pork chops on top of pie filling. Spread stuffing mix on top.
Cover pan with foil.

Bake covered for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on thickness of chops).
Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

It was flavorful fall comfort food and it made my patient happy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Morning Time {Autumn Term}

My poor blog has taken a back seat lately. There are just so many things that clamor for my time and attention, not the least of which is getting back into the groove of homeschooling a high schooler! It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. Kind of.

The best of times because I love having a teenager in the house, so full of life and blossoming talents and personality and plans. It is a time to build on the foundation laid carefully in the early years. A time to reap friendship with my young adult.

The worst of times because there's just so much to do!

We are continuing to find joy in the journey of homeschooling amidst the busy days.

We are making adjustments in our schedule for high school. Bekah and I worked together on planning the schedule and she has decided that she needs to do her math and her science work at the beginning of the day when she is fresh. That means that "Morning Time" is almost always in the afternoon this year. Regardless of when it is, it is still important to me to make time for these heart-enriching, mind-enriching studies.

Our Morning Time for this autumn looks something like this...

We began this year with the book of Malachi because that is where we left off with our ancient history studies. We are now reading the book of John and will continue to read books and passages of the New Testament that will relate with our walk through history.

First passage of the year: John 1:1-13

We are learning "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" by Scottish hymnist Horatius Bonar.  We aim at memorization which usually takes 6 to 8 weeks per hymn.

Each of us recites the poem we're memorizing. Bekah is working on Hamlet's soliloquy. I have chosen "Crossing the Bar" by Tennyson. (Confession: I learned this poem several years ago, but I need a refresher!)   

I choose a poet to study for a time. We read a selected work of our chosen poet two or three days in a row and sometimes read a biography. Our poet for this term is Lord Alfred Tennyson. We have read biographical information about Tennyson in  Poetry for Young People: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and we are finding his poetry in almost every book on our poetry shelf!

This term we are listening to the music of American composer George Gershwin. After watching Mr. Holland's Opus this summer, we decided to make Gershwin our first composer of the year. Along with listening to many recorded versions of his songs, we are also watching movies like Rhapsody in Blue (the story of Gershwin's life) and An American in Paris.

We are enjoying the art of Vincent van Gogh. Currently, we have a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of van Gogh's The Starry Night on our dining room table. I have found that a puzzle is an excellent tool for studying a painting closely! (Now if only we are able to complete it before Sunday's family dinner!) 

There are also some engaging children's picture books about van Gogh, including Katie and the Sunflowers, Katie and the Starry Night, Vincent's Colors, Camille and the Sunflowers, The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin Side by Side. I have found that a well written picture book is a great teacher, so we'll read through as many of these as time allows.

Before school started for this year, I heard Kati asking Bekah what artists she was going to be studying and what composers and what poets and hymns, and then she said to me, "Sometimes I wish I was still in school." Then she qualified that by saying, "Actually, what I really want is Morning Time."

Morning Time continues to reap benefits!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Recipe For Mushroom Lovers

Bekah and I both love mushrooms. So when I knew we were going to be on our own last weekend, I bought a box of criminis knowing we would use them for something.

The "something" turned out to be Mushroom Toast. If you don't like mushrooms, feel free to click away. But if you do, then make yourself a promise to cook this...soon! We ate well last weekend, but we both declared this to be THE meal. Oh my.

~ inspired by this recipe @ Angry Chicken ~
serves two

4 slices of crusty French or Italian bread, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
10-ounce box of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in medium frying pan. 
Add onion; saute until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms to pan; saute an additional 10 minutes.
(If pan gets dry, add a splash of oil.)

Stir in cream and rosemary. Heat through.

Spoon over toast. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Ooohh and aaahhh as you eat this delectable concoction.
Plan when you'll make it again.
(Because you will want to eat it again.)
(If you like mushrooms.)

Most people have definite opinions about mushrooms. Are you a mushroom lover or hater?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekend Snapshots: Just Us Girls

On Friday, Ron and Kati pulled out of the driveway for a long weekend away, leaving Bekah and me with several days to hang out together. 

Among our activities...
Pet sitting for Kristin and family who were also away
First ever manicures
North and South
Slowness...x 2
Window shopping
Birthday shopping
Late nights
Good eats
Cooking together
Michael Card concert via YouTube
Sunday afternoon lunch with Gammy

We missed Ron and Kati, and texted and chatted and exchanged pictures all weekend. And we were slightly envious of their weekend (a mix of attending a Michael Card conference and visiting with Ryan and family). But I am thankful for our own weekend of girl time and memory-making. I love this precious girl who is growing into a beautiful young woman. She is a gift to me. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Simple Centerpiece

The zinnias are summer weary. It's too early for mums. But I wanted something with color to brighten the table for our last summer ice cream party.

On the way home from church, Ron pulled over to the side of the rural road we were traveling. Along the ditch banks as far as the eye could see were these cheerful yellow wildflowers! 

"Want to pick a bouquet for the table?" he asked. 

One of us was afraid that critters were lurking in the blooms, but the rest of us clambered out of the van and began to pick. Within a couple of minutes we had enough. I gave them a hearty shake to leave behind any possible critters before I laid them on my lap for the drive home. 

Turns out we had enough to fill two Mason jars, so we put a jarful on the island and another on the picnic table.

Sunday lunch with family. Ice cream party in the afternoon. Game party Kati hosted for friends in the evening. Simple centerpieces for all!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gathering the Moments of August

August was a whirlwind of comings and goings, anniversaries and birthdays, and not a lot of white space on the calendar. Although my normal comfort zone has a greater proportion of white, who could say no to the wonderful opportunities that the Lord provided this month? 

It was a month to say yes

At the end of the whirlwind was our first day of school...August 31st, our earliest first day ever! Both student and teacher were ready. September promises to be a full month too, so we're trying to get a bit of a head start. 

As I reflect on all that has been, I can only be grateful for all of His gifts. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Changing Seasons

We made a trip to the sea here at summer's end. Oh, I know that summer isn't officially over yet; the sultry air outside my door today assures me that it is not. But we started back to (home) school this week and my thoughts are changing direction. It seemed fitting to soak in the summer and the sea and the salt air before moving on...

Water play. Lunch on the beach. Long walks along the shore.


Collecting shells. Catching baby clams. Returning them to the water. 

Talking. Planning. 


Ron and I sat in our beach chairs and we watched. We watched a young man who suddenly looks long and gangling and not so much like a little boy. We watched Kristin, her tummy growing with new life. We watched all of the children, growing and learning, showing us their treasures, sharing their knowledge of the sea creatures. Even the youngest two were brave in the water with their daddy beside them.

The seasons are changing. 

Summer into autumn. 

Boyhood into manhood. 

Middle school into high school. 

A family of seven into a family of eight. 

Changes all around us, whether we are ready or not. But this is our stability:

"For I am the Lord; I do not change."
Malachi 3:6

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning."
James 1:17

Before I totally move on, I want to gather the moments of August. I'll be back in a day or two to share my gatherings...

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