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, October 23, 2018

Bekah's Senior Trip

A few weeks ago, we took our final "Senior Trip," a tradition in our homeschool that started out rather unintentionally, but became something of a rite of passage for each of our high schoolers. 

Here is how our Senior Trip tradition began:

The summer before Kristin, our oldest child, was a senior, we decided to take a family vacation to Niagara Falls. It is something that we had been wanting to do for a while. But we suddenly realized that this particular year (1997) should be the year because who knew if we'd have the opportunity  to travel together after Kristin graduated?
Kristin's Senior Trip to Niagara Falls, 1997
(We do not know the lady wearing the red shirt. 😄)

So two years later as Ryan was heading into his senior year, we asked him if there was anywhere that he would like to go. He chose a trip to Skyline Drive, Luray Caverns, and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
Ryan's Senior Trip, on Skyline Drive, 1999

Between Kati's junior and senior year, she spent the whole summer living with Ryan and his family in northern California. They traveled some while she was there, including a camping trip to Crater Lake in Oregon. Even though we did not share this experience with her, we considered it her senior trip!
Kati at Crater Lake, 2010

And now, of course, Bekah is a senior!

When you are the baby of the family (and that family has an age span of nearly 21 years!), there are  plenty of things that your older siblings have done that you have not!

You've never been to an amusement park, Bekah? Are you sure? 

Remember the time we went to the Museum of Natural History? Oh, you've never been there? 

You mean you haven't done      fill-in-the-blank   ?


So when it came time for Bekah to choose a senior trip, she wanted to stay closer to home and grab some of the experiences that she had only heard about! And she didn't want day trips. She wanted to hang out in the big city (cities) and fill the days. We were going to visit museums . . . as many as we could do in three days!

On Day One, we visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore, located on the beautiful Baltimore Harbor. When we arrived, we were surprised to learn that we qualified for "Maryland Mornings," a limited time offer in which Maryland residents who purchase their tickets before noon on Monday through Friday receive a substantial discount. Yay!

A view of Baltimore Harbor, seen from a window in the National Aquarium
Photo by Kati

We spent our day exploring exhibits of a tropical rain forest, coral reefs, and "extreme" creatures of Australia. We saw jelly fish, puffins, a sea turtle, and rays. We watched a dolphin training demonstration. We all loved the multi-story shark tank where you see several species of sharks (and other fish) swimming up close! 
Photo by Kati

Photo by Kati

After we left the Aquarium, we meandered across the foot bridge over to a large Barnes and Noble . . . not for the books, I'm afraid, but for some cold, liquid (and caffeinated) refreshment at their Starbucks cafe!

Photo by Kati

On Day Two, we went into Washington, D. C. via the Metro. Bekah had big plans for that day. She wanted to tour three different museums!

Photo by Kati

We began at the International Spy Museum, this one new to all of us, not just the "baby." We spent several hours learning about the world of espionage through exhibits about disguises, famous spies, codes, and much more. There was also an entire section dedicated to the fictional James Bond. My favorite part of the museum was the gallery called "The Secret History of History" where we learned how spy activity impacted history, from Moses to the Trojan horse, from Harriet Tubman to Elizabeth I.

Photo by Kati

From the International Spy Museum, we went to the Museum of Natural History. Bekah had researched the galleries ahead of time, and had chosen the ones that she wanted to visit. We explored the Mammals exhibit and the Ocean Hall on the first floor. (I am still amazed at how evolution theory is presented as fact in the exhibits at this museum. Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I am. Yet another reason that I am glad that we homeschooled our children!) 

Photo by Kati

Upstairs, we spent some time at the Live Insect Zoo, which made Kati happy! (She loves creepy crawlies.) We made a quick pass by the mummies and the dinosaurs, and we saw the Hope Diamond. The girls had gotten (free) tickets to walk through the Live Butterfly Pavilion, but the time slot they had would have meant that we would miss the last museum on the list for Day Two. We let Bekah make the call and she reluctantly chose to move on.

Photo by Kati

Our last stop of the day was the National Air and Space Museum. Due to limited time, we made sure to prioritize the things we most wanted to see, but we ended up seeing quite a bit! We began with The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age, but we saw The Spirit of St. Louis and we  visited galleries on Early Flight, How Things Fly, Sea-Air Operations, World War II Aviation, and the Great War in the Air.

Photo by Kati

While looking at the WWII planes, Bekah asked me a question about one of the planes. While I struggled over an answer, she said, "No. I'll ask Dad." 🤣

Dad supplying a knowledgeable answer. 

Day Three took us back into DC. Our first stop (which also ended up being our last) was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ron and I had been to the museum before, but this was a first visit for both Kati and Bekah.

There is so much that could be said about this museum. It is incredibly, incredibly moving . . . from beginning to end. It mind-boggling to see the rather rapid evolution from tolerance to persecution to  absolutely unspeakable horror. It was a somber visit. Much to learn, much to ponder.

Photo by Kati

One of the most meaningful parts of the museum for me was the little theatre area on the second floor where you can watch a video of Holocaust survivors sharing their own stories. (You can actually see some of these interviews . . . and more . . .  ~here~. Heartbreaking and inspiring.)  

Photo by Kati

We had planned to visit the Museum of the Bible on this trip, but we spent a great deal of time at the Holocaust Museum and we had hoped to leave the city before rush hour. We made a quick decision to return for a day trip sometime this spring.

Although our first "senior trip" was a happy accident, these became a meaningful part of our children's high school experience. Senior trips were something to look forward to. They were a rite of passage. They were meaningful times to spend together as a family. And they were times to make happy memories. 

A senior trip was another way of finding joy in the homeschool journey!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Five on Friday

Gathering some big and small joys from the past week with another Five on Friday post! (I may be squeaking in just under the wire, but it is still Friday!)


Perhaps because it had been so hot until last weekend. Perhaps because I am enjoying more simplicity in my decorating. Perhaps because I am not rushing time and am choosing to ease into each season. Whatever the reason, I have not done a lot of fall decorating this year. But on Saturday, I added a few autumn touches, including a pair of wheat bundles on the mantel. It feels simple and just right. 


At a family gathering this past summer, Peter said that he wished he could drink some coffee, so we told him we'd invite him to share coffee with us some Saturday morning.

And if you're drinking coffee, why not have some donuts too? 


We had another of our Shakespeare Reading Days this week. This time we read a comedy, As You Like It. We'll do another play in the spring, and then I'm retiring. 


Ron and I succumbed to this bag of fall temptation. What do you think? Would you try them?


I have watched this video so many times since a friend shared it. (Thank you, Paula!) Beautiful, encouraging, comforting words of truth. Maybe you'd like to listen too . . .

May your weekend be mercy-filled! 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sunday Snapshots: October Birthday Celebration!

Away for the first part of the week, coming back to two days filled with school activities and house projects, we hit the ground running on Saturday morning with a list of things to do in preparation for our October Birthday Celebration. 

However . . . Ron was still "project-ing" and Kati was away for the weekend. Which left Bekah and me to do all the things. And we are the slow pokes. Hmmm . . .

The day kind of looked like this:

1) Coffee and donuts with Peter. (Ron went to get him. I took him home.) 

2) Bake the cake (Bekah). Take Peter home (me).

2) Go to the farm stand to buy a pumpkin for the front step.

3) Come home and start cleaning.

4) Decorate for fall. Because it finally feels like fall and I'm in the mood.

5) Decide the mantle needs wheat sheaves this year.

6) Run to HomeGoods for wheat sheaves.

7) Go to Marshalls for wheat sheaves. (The ones at HomeGoods were either too tall or too short.)

8) Slip in Old Navy so that Bekah can look for a fall dress.

9) Come home and start cleaning.

10) Finish decorating for fall.

11) Bemoan the fact that Kati is not here to keep us on task.

12) Clean!

13) Frost the cake (Bekah).

14) Get Chipotle for dinner because it's getting so late. 

15) Continue cleaning and table setting and party planning until we run out of Saturday. 

And that, my friends, is how I do parties.

And I love it! 

It is so worth it. Every single time.

Gathering with my people. Sharing a meal. (This one was pizza, per request of one of the birthday boys.) Sharing time together. Watching the babies. Sharing conversation and laughter. Often a mini concert. (This time, four piano solos.)

When death comes to someone who is your own age, you are reminded, yet again, that is is important to live and love well. To make good memories with your people. To rejoice in the gifts that the Lord has given. I think that we will never be sorry for the time that we take for people. 

Here are some glimpses of our gathering on Sunday in which we celebrated our October guys: our grandson Ben and my Dad. 

So thankful for these moments . . . 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Five on Friday

It has been a busy week here, and the weekend promises to be full too. I may just have time for quick chat via a Five on Friday post! Some of my blog friends have been doing these and they're always fun to read. Here goes . . .

The first part of the week was spent on Bekah's "senior trip."

We spent several days in Baltimore and Washington, D. C. and visited as many museums as we could fit in. We walked our legs off got lots of exercise, and we learned so much and enjoyed our time together.

(I'll tell you more about our senior trip tradition in a separate post.)

The weather today is deliciously autumnal! After Steamy September and many days of Hot-tober, it is a relief! I am loving it.

Eek! I just dropped my baby Kati (who is totally not a baby . . . but she is to me . . . ) off at the airport. She is off on a weekend adventure. (His name is Andrew.)

With his remaining vacation days, Ron is doing a few projects. He is painting and weatherstripping all three exterior doors. He is also putting a couple of coats of polyurethane on the ladderback chairs that are on our sun porch. A few weeks ago, some of our grands took lunch out to the sun porch and when they went pulled out the chairs to sit down at the table, there was black mildew on them! I told you it was "Steamy September"! This was our third summer in this house and never have we had any problem with mildew before this one. Last week we washed and rinsed the chairs and now they're ready to be sealed.

We are making preparations for Sunday's October birthday celebration!

Ben had his own birthday party last Sunday in honor of his milestone birthday. This year he is double digits! It was his turn to receive a "treasure box" made by Papa and get ten gifts from Papa and Gran. It is such fun for us to do something a little special for each grandchild's tenth birthday. There will be another tenth birthday in January! (Papa had better get to work on the next box!)

So on Sunday, we will celebrate our October boys: Ben and Gampy, my dad, who is a tad older than ten! Good times!

May your weekend be grace-filled!

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