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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Homeschooling: Rediscovering the Joy

For twenty-five years I have found tremendous joy in the journey of homeschooling.

And then this year happened. A year of health crisis. A year of busyness. A year of change. A year of challenge. 

And, yes, Bekah's first year of high school.

For the first time ever, I found my joy waning. 

Oh, I was never tempted to stop homeschooling. I am dyed-in-the-wool! Ron and I are convinced that home education is the best thing for our family. But I was discouraged about our progress, about my well-laid plans that were going to pot. I was discouraged that I just couldn't keep up. I could not execute my plan. We were getting behind and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it.

I even remarked that I had finally found a disadvantage to homeschooling: the fact that family life affects it directly. If my child is being educated away from home, school continues no matter what is going on in our lives.

But then the Lord used several things to refocus my thinking.

This comment: 

Karen Andreola left these kind and encouraging words when I wrote this post.
The cartoon may reflect how you feel but what the author of "Thinking About Home" says to me (between the lines) is that an impressionable ninth grader is benefiting from learning something valuable - outside of "hitting the books hard." She is Providentially learning what a loving and godly wife is.  
Those words were life-giving to a tired homeschool mama. They gave me perspective that I had lost, a right perspective!

This post

Staying on Track (via Living Books Library). The message was practical and affirming, including this thought...
All those "interferences" are part of my children's education, for the children studying at home are not removed from life in the artificial seclusion of a classroom, but are in the midst of its circumstances.
These distractions and diversions were actually a part of Bekah's education. Of course they were!

And this quote:

Found in one of my own blog posts, written five years ago.
Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life.—We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. ‘Thou hast set my feet in a large room,’ should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking—the strain would be too great—but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy.  

The question is not—how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?
~ Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series, Volume 3

A full life and a large room. That is the measure of education.

It didn't happen instantly, but slowly I felt the joy return! 

Do I still have academic goals for my student? Is it important to me that a high school credit stand for something? Am I still seeking to equip her for the future? The answer to all of those questions: Absolutely! 

But the events that would take place in our lives during this current school year were not planned by me. Our lives are planned by God, the Master Designer and He is in control of all of the details. 

I believe that He planned this year, with all of its ups and downs, for Bekah's good. He knows what she needs to learn. His curriculum is the best. 

I have made peace with HIS plan. And joy is restored!

Saturday, February 20, 2016


It has been a full week. A bit of this and a bit of that. Some family time. Some school time. Some house-y projects.

And a big project in the works that is taking a great deal of time and attention. More to come...and yet we wait...

If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people.  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, February 13, 2016

{Weekend Reading} The Balance of Things


All temporary. We can't take any thing with us. And yet, we do need a certain amount of stuff to accomplish our God-appointed tasks. 

That's where balance comes in. Managing, organizing, sorting our things. Treasuring things with meaning. But not allowing things to own us.

Balance is tricky, isn't it? 

Here's what I've been reading lately...

200 Things to Throw Away

Yes, 200!! That's a good start, wouldn't you say?

8 Rules for Ditching Sentimental Clutter

This is the hardest kind of clutter for me to eliminate, but this writer has some good tips.

Why do so many millennials prefer Ikea to family heirlooms?

This article caught my attention as I am the owner of many family treasures. Will these things be treasured by my children? Is it okay either way? 

This one is more on the topic of managing stuff. (It also goes along with my own rule of thumb: Hide Ugly Stuff.)

What do you think about the balance of things? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Homeschool and the Germaphobe

I am helping Bekah with her algebra lesson. We read aloud this problem:

The number of bacteria increased by 280 percent overnight. If there were 30,000 bacteria yesterday, how many bacteria were present this morning? 

Bekah wrinkles her nose. "Ewww."

And then, "Maybe they're making yogurt."

That's what they're doing. Of course, they're making yogurt.

And now we can move on and solve the (mathematical) problem.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rigatoni with Sausage and Spinach

Everyone came home from church hungry (sound familiar?) and we had an appointment later in the afternoon so we were in a bit of a hurry. "How long before we eat?" was the question of the hour. 

Within half an hour, we were passing the Parm! 

If you're in need of a yummy meal in a hurry, this might be it. 

1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
large bag (10-oz) baby spinach
grated Parmesan

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute onion until just beginning to brown.
Add sausage and cook until browned, 4 or 5 minutes.*

Stir in chicken broth, stirring to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan.
Stir in heavy cream and nutmeg.
Simmer 1 minute; remove from heat.

Place spinach in colander; drain pasta over the spinach.
Return pasta and spinach to pot; toss with sausage mixture.
Serve with grated Parmesan.

* If you like your sauce a little thicker, toss in a tablespoon or so of flour after the sausage is browned.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gathering the Moments | January

A post Christmas gathering / Waiting for Baby

Peeks at the everyday moments

:: Macie Violet ::

:: Moving day ::

Celebrating Brian's birthday

Sweet mommy/daughter moments

Nora's 7th birthday...including the traditional Birthday Dance!

Meeting new niece/cousin

Around our table...

Continuing the celebration

January was a month of new beginnings.

 Ron returned to work after an extended time of medical leave. His health is restored. He feels great.
 Grand #10, our sweet little Macie Violet, joined the family.
 Ryan began a new position, and he and his precious family moved back "home."

We are embracing the changes! And we are praising the Lord for them!

As always, even in the grand and glorious changes, life is made up of moments. Time spent together. Glances exchanged. Baby snuggles. Shared meals. Hugs. Changing a tiny diaper. Coffee time. A long heart-to-heart sitting in the van in your own driveway. Playing "Apples to Apples" with a new reader. Eighteen for Sunday dinner. Watching the snow. A chat on the way to choir. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and hot chocolate mustaches. Joining the Birthday Dance for the first time. Grand giggles. Watching one grandson bounce as his Daddy sings in church. Watching the other grandson play "air guitar" while his Daddy sings in church. 

Moments to be gathered. Moments to be savored. Moments to be tucked away...into the heart. 

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