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.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Morning Time ~ Autumn 2017

Another school year, a new season...and we continue collecting our little grains of sand.

I first wrote about Morning Time here on my blog back in 2010. Kati was a junior
(as Bekah is now) and Bekah was a little third grader, and we had already been doing Morning Time for several years. These many years later, Morning Time remains a foundation of our day. It is a time that has enriched us, one that is well worth the minutes that are sown in exchange for the bounty that is reaped.

Morning Time currently looks something like  this...

We are reading and studying the book of Colossians. We read a chapter to get an introductory glance. Then we go back, breaking that chapter down into smaller portions to read again with some discussion. A third time we read, this time also reading corresponding thoughts from Believer's Bible Commentary by William MacDonald. After we have completed our study, we will listen to a series of messages on Colossians by Dave Hunt. 

We are learning Malachi 3:16, 17.
Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them. So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.  
"They shall be mine," says the Lord of hosts, "on the day that I make them my jewels. And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him."

Our hymn for the month of September is "When He Cometh (to Make Up His Jewels)" by William Cushing. My daughter-in-law introduced us to this song when she taught it to my grandchildren and they sang it for us. The words are beautiful, the thoughts born of the verses from Malachi that we are memorizing.

We're reading the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We began with "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." If you haven't read this in a while, you'll be amazed at how many commons phrases come from this poem!  We will read more Coleridge poems, read some biographical information about him, and perhaps choose a poetic passage to memorize.

This term we are listening to the music of British operatic composers Gilbert and Sullivan. Bekah read H.M.S. Pinafore, a retelling by Opal Wheeler. Then we watched, over a period of days, a concert performance of H.M.S. Pinafore from the BBC Proms in 2005. (Following a rabbit trail, we also read about the Proms.) Next, we'll look for a performance of Pirates of Penzance.

After a couple of brief dabblings (because as homeschoolers, we give ourselves the permission to leave something that doesn't bring "shining eyes" in search of something that does), we settled on Rembrant as the artist for our fall term. 

The Night Watch (de Nachtwacht)
Rembrant van Rijn, 1642

We watched a fascinating video from Khan Academy in which we overhear art historians discussing Rembrandt's The Night Watch while we are looking at the painting in the Rijksmuseum. Special effects highlight and outline the details on the painting while we listen. (Sound boring? Not at all! We felt like "experts" after we listened. We'll be looking for more of these videos!)

This is a new addition to our Morning Time line-up. Certainly not a new thing for us to share a history book together, simply a new place in the schedule. After a couple of years of Morning Time in the afternoon 😉, we have returned to gathering in the morning and it makes sense to do all of our "togethers" when we're . . . well . . . together, rather than carving out a separate time later. Simplify!

Our current history book is The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster (love her books!) which covers the years 1451 to 1522. We read ten to fifteen pages a day as we are immersed in the world of Renaissance and exploration, wars and kingdoms, enlightenment and discovery, spiritual darkness and persecution.

Morning Time continues to be a wonderful way to find joy in the journey of homeschooling!

For more reading about "Morning Time":

An introduction to our own "Morning Time"
Cindy's Inspiration for Morning Time
Kathy's "Morning Stack"
Confessions Regarding Morning Time
Morning Time 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pineapple House | Autumn Living Room

Now it's official. The first day of autumn is finally here! 

Be still my autumn-loving heart!

However, I did not wait for the official first day to begin fallifying my house. Nope. I started taking summery touches away little by little. And then I couldn't help but pull my new wool pumpkin out of the closet. "I'm not going to go all out yet," I told my family. "Just a few hints of autumn."

But after we went to the farm stand, I gave in to all the autumn goodness!

Fall is my favorite! 

Cozy. Warm. Colorful.

I know the trend is decorating with neutrals. I see creamy, dreamy fall homes all over the internet, and they are beautiful. But in my world, fall is COLOR!

The mantle is decorated with a mixture of faux and the real deal. Can you tell which is which?

Every year I say it: "I'm not going to buy any more fall decor. I have enough."

But then this wool pumpkin won my heart and found its way into my cart at Marshalls.

Pinky likes it too.

Autumn potpourri in an old dough bowl.

I am having fun with my new table. It's the perfect place for seasonal decor. (To be honest, I've already tweaked it. This is what it looked like on the day that I took pictures.)

Autumn makes my heart (and my home) sing!

Do you add a little fall to your home? (Or a lot of fall?) Neutral or colorful? 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sunday Snapshots: A September Birthday

This little girl missed the August Birthday Train by one day. But she's okay with that. She gets to ride the September Birthday Train all by herself! 

On Sunday, we celebrated Alaine's 7th birthday. Homemade banana ice cream was on the menu!

We had a special guest at our party: Lucy, our granddog, who was spending the weekend with us while her family was on a camping trip. We ❤ Lucy! 

(Okay, maybe we don't all ❤ Lucy.)

We even had some Wrapping Paper Antics. Uncle Ryan would be proud!

I think this face is a sign of a successful party! 

Monday, September 18, 2017


Over the summer, we made some changes around the house. Those changes were exciting. Sprucing up the sun porch, some additions and rearranging in the living room, fresh paint on some of the outside trim. New perspectives. Freshening. 

And then there are the changes of September. Tinges of color appear in the shrubs and trees. The hydrangeas are take on their autumn hues. Days grow shorter, shadows longer as autumn nears.

But life also brings changes that are not so exciting. 

It happens to us all. There is a fork in the road that you were not expecting. Or there's a detour sign and you have to take the long way. Or maybe even the path on which you were traveling suddenly ends. There is no more road and you have to forge a new path, or at least search for another. 

Those kinds of changes are not as welcome. 

And yet . . . 

Change is an inevitable part of life.

When I hit the detour or when the path ends, I have to adapt. If I dig my feet in or refuse to find a new path, I am only hurting myself. I am missing out on the joy that is there in the new path. I am missing opportunities to grow.

All of this, I believe.

But changes came and I found myself looking back. Longing for what once was. Wishing that I could return. Yes, I was looking for the new path, but I was also wondering about how I could find the old one again. Lord, it was such a good path. Why did it have to end? 

One day the Lord showed me what I was doing, how I was responding to an unwanted change. He didn't speak in an audible voice, nor through another person, nor even through His Word. Just one moment I didn't see it, and the next moment I did. I knew then that my looking back was keeping me from the joys of the forward journey.

When such changes come, when a path ends, it is okay to be sad. It is okay to grieve a loss. But in our heart of hearts, there must be acceptance. There must be a willingness to keep on walking.

Can I welcome the change that comes into my life as a gift? Do I believe that my Heavenly Father's plan is good for me? Is there a purpose that I do not see? Can I find the joy that is there in the new path?

Do I trust Him? 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another First Day

Today, we started our "formal" (using that term very loosely, as there is not a lot of "formal" in our school) homeschool year.  This is my twenty-seventh year of homeschooling...and my school now has one student. 

But it's her very first time in the eleventh grade. 

And just because we've cycled through ancient history three times before, and just because the other three children have challenged me to remember those algebra concepts I learned so long ago, and just because the others know geography and sewing and Monet, doesn't mean that Bekah doesn't need to learn all of those things and have a mom/teacher who is enthused to do all those things with her. 

I have often said that "A baby is never 'old hat.'"  Each baby is a new person, a new creation, a new delight.  Each milestone is his/her first time.    When child #3 took her first step, or lost her first tooth, or learned to read, or graduated from high school, it was her very first time, and it was worthy of all the excitement that was garnered by the first or second child's same milestones. 

So it is with my schoolgirl, Bekah, my last child.  And when we delve into our studies, it will be with a sense of wonder and delight at all there is to know and learn, a sense of curiosity about this world and Bekah's purpose in it, and a sense of awe as we see His hand in the midst of it all.  

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I originally wrote this in 2011 when Bekah was beginning 5th grade. (Oh how the years have flown by.) Today, I updated it with current information, but the sentiment is the same. And now I have only one more "first day of school" to come. I can hardly believe it. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Gathering the Moments | August 2017

It seems that I am gathering the moments later all the time! 

Even so, today, eight days into September, is the day for looking back because:
  • Today is our last official day of summer vacation (back to homeschool on Monday!), so I will take a look back before moving on. 
  • My gathering the moments posts serve as my own memory-refreshers! I can't tell you how many times I have searched them to remember when this or that happened. (I am disppointed when I have missed gathering some months.) 
  • When I gather the moments, I always see how God has guided and provided, whether the month has been "good" (from my perspective, that is) or whether it has been full of challenges or sadness or difficulty . . . and it moves my heart to gratitude. 

Remember how I told you we were squeezing summer

We continued to do so!

Typically, I don't schedule a lot of "extras" in August because it is a full month already. But after all of the detours and difficulties of June and July, I determined to say "yes" to any opportunity and squeeze it all in. Yes, it was somewhat exhausting, but oh-so-good! 

Six birthdays, four anniversaries, two water parks, two trips to the beach, coffee with a friend, lunch with another friend, dinner with more friends, a ladies' birthday lunch, another birthday lunch with family, and a few birthday parties (including a rescheduled party for one of the July birthday girls) . . . there were many moments to gather! 

I have to insert something here. See that guy in the picture below, the one who is flying down that water slide?! That guy is my hubby who had a blast at his company's Associates' Day! At the beginning of the day, I said, "Pace yourself, old man." 😉

No need to have said that. He did it all and still got up and went to work the next morning. 

Clearly, I am the one who is old. (See me in the middle photo of the collage?) 

Also in August . .

Bekah took on a new piano student. Both of the girls got new hairdos. Peter lost his first tooth. Alaine made her first cake to bring to a family gathering. Grands came for a visit. We bought a new hammock, not for afternoon naps, but for the grands to play on. We watched Paul as he listened to an airplane and then a train as we sat on the sun porch. (Oh, those expressions!) 

Truly, life is made up of moments . . . one at a time  . . . one after the other. 

As I gather my moments today, I am aware of others who are suffering. I am aware of how much life can change, even in a moment. I am aware of the brevity of life . . . of our fragile state. 

And that is all the more reason to tend the moments. To choose wisely. To choose people. To spend the moments we are given with eternity in mind. 

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." 
Psalm 90:12

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Changes in the Living Room

So what happens when you "shop the house"?

You get to furnish and/or decorate a new space without spending a lot of money. Like we did when we created our library from our extra bedroom. We pulled the wall cabinet from the dining room, the desk from our bedroom, and the wing chair from the living room. We purchased very little specifically for the library. Other than the materials (wood for the bookshelves, paint, overhead light), we only bought a rug and a mail tray.

But . . . you also create some empty spaces in those rooms from which you pulled!

  • To fill the space in the dining room where the wall cabinet had been, we shopped the basement and brought up three framed botanical prints that had been in The Farmhouse dining room. They may or may not be there permanently, but they're fine for now.

  • To fill the space in our bedroom where the desk had been, we also shopped the basement and used a table that Ron had made for The Farmhouse living room.

  • Alas, there were no wing chairs in the basement. So we went shopping. Not in the house. 

Here is our new chair-and-a-half . . . thanks to the library project!

We went searching for a traditional wing chair, but Ron was sold on this chair-and-a-half due to the increased seating options. Two kids, maybe even a third little one, can sit comfortably. Certainly an adult and a child. Even two very slender adults. I must admit that I had reservations, preferring the more traditional look, but now that it's here, I do love it.

I was happy with how it complemented the other furniture in the room.

But then . . .

On a Saturday that Ron was out of town, the girls and I rearranged the living room.

Bekah and I had tried a similar arrangement a couple of months ago, but there were things we just couldn't figure out so we moved it all back. But I kept seeing the sofa on that other wall (loved it there!) so I kept mulling it over. This time we had another set of eyes (Kati's) and we had all day, so we pulled and hauled everything around again and moved and tweaked some more and we got it!

Here is the wall that I envisioned. (I need to lower that mirror now that the sofa is on that wall. It's funny how photos make things obvious. Have you ever noticed that?) 

Ron has completed one set of shutters for the living room windows! (You may have noticed the two different window treatments in the photos above. We're getting there . . . ) 

Another angle . . .

And then on the opposite wall . . .

As we finished the reset of the room, we made a dash to a local antique store. I remembered seeing a pine drop leaf table there and I had tucked it away in my mind . . . just in case!

It was still there and it had an incredible bargain basement price: $49! When I told the lady who was working that day what I wished to purchase, she said, "I am surprised it hasn't sold before now!"

I love having a more open feel in front of the picture window. It draws the eye to the sun porch and to the back yard. The table also provides a place for seasonal decorating.

A few more changes are in the works.

  • Ron is working on the second pair of shutters. 

  • I am planning to paint the fire screen black. (That was one of my summer projects, but I never got around to doing it.) 

  • Ron is also going to build a taller cabinet for our television this fall. The current media cabinet was intended to be a temporary fix, but with the new living room arrangement, the time is right for this project. Ron will mount the TV in the cabinet with an extension bracket, allowing a greater viewing range. A taller piece will also provide balance with the other furniture in the room. And the doors can be closed when the television is not in use. (Remember my policy of hiding ugly stuff whenever possible?) 

Then the living room will be finished.

(Or will it? Because is anything ever really "finished" if you like house-y stuff?)

Has anything changed at your house lately? 

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