Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the first twelve

In just hours our eldest sweetling will be thirteen years old. Born on Dad's birthday, she came into the world with the new year. I cannot think of a more appropriate, welcome, or amazing gift than to meet your first sweetling on the first day of a brand new year.

What a joy and a privilege beyond telling to be her mom. If you know her at all, you know why ♥ She is cool blues and sweet greens and lavenders and yellows. Her heart is gentle, enormous and so, so joyful. She loves riding horses, reading books, writing books and letters, drawing art and comics, being outside, riding bikes, playing with our lab, and spending time with special friends. Her younger brother and sister are her constant companions, and she cares for them with laughter and grace. She walks with the Father, earnestly, openly and carries such hope for the world in Him.

Ah, well, I could go on and on -- but I am the Mom, and she is my heart. Watching her, seeing her, listening to her, being here as she becomes is more than I ever dreamed of or knew to ask for, but I am simply blown away by all that was-- is-- and is yet to come.

Happy Birthday Eve, Sweet Girl ♥

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ordinary

We are made to walk in the light of brilliant moments in ordinary ways and daily days. We have seen, and we know. Love wins. Hope reigns. Faith lives. How blessed we are! What joy!

Christmas Gift!
Happy, Happy Christmas Eve ♥
1 John 4:9

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

seeing Paige

I want to tell you about my friend, my sister. I could spend days and years in the telling and never touch on all there is to say, but this is a glimpse that the Father impressed upon my heart today...

She loves. She reaches out. She ministers. She sees with the eyes of the Father and has a measure of compassion that reminds me so of Him. If there is someone hurting who touches her realm of acquaintance, she cares very much, and you can see her tender heart as she tries to help. Finding joy is a gift of hers, as well as hospitality and sharing the hope we have in Christ.

If you met her, you would love her immediately. It is a uniquely marvelous experience to be present as she takes someone new into her life and heart.

She is a miracle.

Broken and bruised and really quite alone she searched for Life in Christ. For you see, true Life is only found in Him. Find Him she did - and what a story she can share about God's mercy and grace. She will do just that if you have a moment or if you have a few hours, she will tell you the story of His love for her and how He is keeping the moments of her days. The truth is not easy to hear, but sharing it comes easily for her (and more and more so as the years go by).

With clarity of heart and purpose she will explain that she is no longer the person she once was. With laughter and with tears she will tell you of her imperfection and the way there is yet to go. You will also find peace and assurance in her words and in the gentleness in her eyes.

She is walking with the Father, you see, and praising Him is her life song ♥

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born

If you have sweetlings in your life to whom you love to read, I have a recommendation for you ^_^ This gentle, lovely back and forth rhyme is a great favorite of ours every year. The children are captivated by the verse and by the wonderful pictures. We have been enjoying our copy since 2004, when "Mrs Susan" gave it to Meredith for Christmas.

My favorite page is the one with the star and the earth...
"This is the earth all round and bright
that glimmered with hope that first Christmas night
at news from a town called Bethlehem."

You'll have to ask the sweetlings what their favorite pages and verses are ^_^ and it's very likely that they will ask you right back ♥

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born
by Rhonda Gowler Greene
illustrated by Susan Gaber

Thursday, December 18, 2014

and after?

"Surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but of the will; when that is done, all is done. There are very few crises in life; the great crisis is the surrender of the will. God never crushes a man's will into surrender, He never beseeches him, He waits until the man yields up his will to Him. That battle never needs to be re-fought.

And after surrender? The whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God."

In my thoughtful spot today with Uncle Oswald ♥

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

the very idea

It's simple today. I am absolutely blown away to know and love the One who came up with the idea of gift giving. A joy beyond all telling, it is ♥

Thursday, December 11, 2014

jack's heart

Hi Sweet Friends ♥ Thanks so much for the wonderful response to our request for prayer for Belle. I have an update for you today (below). Please continue to lift Belle and her precious family up with us and add them permanently to your prayer lists. I will update as often as we hear news. Love to each of you ♥

From Kelley this evening...
"We spoke with the kids Tuesday night. Taylor and Emily were really upset; Jack didn't say much except that he was going to keep asking God for a miracle. For 5 years we've always come up with a plan of attack even when we were in uncharted waters. It's hard to accept that there's nothing left to do even when we knew this day would eventually come.

Belle went back to school today, and I returned to work. We are going to keep things as normal as possible until we can't anymore. We are not going to say anything to Belle at this point, if at all. We don't want her worried or scared. We want her to continue enjoying life to the fullest everyday.

Please continue to pray for us. Pray for Belle to have peace and comfort. Pray for us to have the strength and courage to face what's ahead. Thanks for your continued support, love and prayers."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

oh, please pray...

You may remember my mentioning our precious friend, Belle, who is seven years old. She dances, she sings, she plays, she is in the first grade this year, she is a miracle! She is also battling cancer and has been since she was two. Her latest scans were yesterday, and we just received news from them. Belle and her family need our prayers tonight. There are now three tumors visible in her brain.

The last word we had from the summer was that Belle has had all of the treatments that she can. I do not know at this time if that has changed, and Kelley made no mention of it in her note.

Please pray with us for Belle, her daddy and mommy (David & Kelley), and her sisters and brother (Taylor, Emily, and Jack). They know the Father, and they trust Him --and they are in great need of our prayers right now.

Thank you, friends ♥

storybook joy!

Oh, how we love books around here ^_^ and one of our favorite traditions with books is the keeping of the Christmas bookshelf. All year long, our Christmas books sit on the tip-top shelf waiting... for December to arrive! We take them down, sometimes all at once and sometimes a few at a time, to enjoy all the month-long.

We have decided to take a few down each day this year, so I have created a space for them on the "what we are reading" tab here on my journal. I added a few titles to our individual reading lists at the top and the rest will be added daily to the read-aloud section at the bottom of the page.

What are your favorite reads at Christmas-time?
We would love to add some of your favorites to our shelf this year ♥

Monday, December 8, 2014

in the morning

When I wake in the morning these days the first thoughts that come to mind are a prayer for the hours closest at hand. As I considered sharing about them here, it occurred to me that the things for which I ask the Father most privately and most particularly for our daily days are the very things I say all day long to the sweetlings. The very things I want so much to teach them are the very cry of my heart for myself as I grow alongside them.

I ask Him to give me a heart for my family
to help me be a blessing to them in every way possible in the coming day.

I ask Him to help me to really see them, hear them, know them
to help me be sensitive in the details of what they encounter as they are becoming.

I ask Him to help me be joyful, kind, and gentle
knowing that only with His help will that be so as the hours unfold.

I ask Him to jolt me to silence
when my voice begins to grow loud, when the challenges come.

I ask Him to help me choose the best words, give me His words
as I try to help young hearts learn to love, to serve, to mend, to grow.

I thank Him for the privilege of being a mom though it still scares me to absolute silence sometimes. I lie there, waking, silent, hoping, trusting in the fact that He has given the sweetlings into my care with His for a while. And I end up back at the thankfulness - aware of the awesome privilege - and there is peace to continue.

I ask Him to give us the opportunity to bless someone in the day
to help us allow Him to live and shine as we visit with those precious ones who cross our paths.

And as the day begins and passes, I find that I need every single thing for which I have asked ^_^ and I see Him there in the moments with such love and such faithfulness answering and answering and answering ♥

Saturday, December 6, 2014

o Christmas tree

The tree is up! The tinsel and lights are on! It is a beautiful tree, lovely in shape, just right in height. It was delivered a few days ago by our own precious Santa. Wayne, it is glorious! Thank you ♥

Over the next few days we will add the ornaments - all of the colors will go on, except for the reds ^_^ They come last (always) to balance the colors and make the tree pop.

We will laugh and chatter, the sweetlings will dance, and Jamie and I will tell the stories again of the people and places who have brought such sweet memories and special additions to our tree.

We will listen to Evie sing, "Come on Ring Those Bells,"and I will tear up as Christmas present takes a sweet moment to enfold itself in Christmas past...

After all is finished, we will turn the lights off except for the tree, squish onto the couch, and carol. Just we five ^_^ and it will be the heart-song of Christmas.

What joy ♥


Friday, December 5, 2014

two hundred forty three

Heartbroken today. There is a precious little brick house beside Elizabeth Church on the map of my heart. When I dream of home, it's the one I dream of most often. We lived lots of places growing up, but that one is, for me, the place where "us" resides. Jeff, Jane, Quinne, Paige. So many funny, wonderful, hard, precious memories there. The faces of dear family and friends - hours spent around the table laughing and loving and becoming together.

I remember Mom re-making the bones of that house - even with the old, green, shag carpet. Before we even knew it, our "new house beside our new church" became home. Dad's workshop was set up, Paige and I had our spaces defined and personalized ^_^ and Mom had the whole place singing "welcome" with her "just a little something" touches.

I learned more about hospitality there. Living right beside the church, across the little grove, driveways linked -- it was a crossroads of sorts. And I watched my mom and dad welcome everyone. My definition of life in Christ grew as I watched them gather in whoever came to call. Precious ones from our church family come to visit, dear hurting ones come to ask for prayer, a word of encouragement, sweet old friends from far away come to say hellos and to deliver long-missed hugs, wonderful family come to laugh and play and stay and celebrate.

I remember when the church decided to remodel the house - lol! Waking up before 7am to men on tall ladders outside my bedroom windows. Bidding farewell to that awful, adorable shag carpet. Having permission to choose the wallpaper for the upstairs bathroom - Paige and I chose very well (and very colorfully), to be sure - and the laughter that crazy wallpaper brought every time we proudly showed it off.

Yellow ribbons on the trees welcoming Dad home.

Cooking in the kitchen and laughing till we cried with Mom, Paige, Grandmother, Grandma, and Sarah.

Meals innumerable with the Blantons and the Selfs.

Racing across the grove to church, because no matter how hard we tried, though we lived so close, we always seemed to be running late for church - lol!

Hours in the yard, helping Grandma.

Raising a tiny little goat barn in the backyard with the neatest crew of friends ^_^

The trees around the yard in the spring... in the fall... and dancing for joy over how they looked with piles of snow on their bare branches.

This coming Monday, the house will be torn down. And every time I stop and think for a minute, that fact pops to mind and I am in tears again. Honestly, until I heard the news last night, I had no idea how many of my heart strings were still firmly anchored to that place. I do understand that it is not the wood and brick that hold my heart, but it is the home that was made there. And home is where the people we love are. I think it's just saying farewell to the "us" that still lives and breathes and is so, so gorgeous there in my heart and mind.

To each one of you who helped to make it so, I am sending love today. Thanking God for the time there and the ways that He can make every single thing beautiful and good ♥

Thursday, December 4, 2014

o little crafty one

Cutest sweetling crafty comment so far this week...

"Mom, I just finished my new project, and don't worry! I didn't use up the blue, 'doesn't pull the paint off the wall' tape --just like you said. I used the butterscotch tape from your drawer."

Now I have been using scotch tape for years, and it nevah had a better name than it does now ♥

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Josephine's Cranberry Apple Casserole

What wonderful memories are tucked into this dish! Grandmother made this at my request every Christmas, and even thinking of it shouts her name to my heart and brings such sweet memories to mind.

I made it for the first time this year and peeled apples and cried as I shared some special stories and memories with Ila. For example, Grandmother could peel apples more precisely (and quickly) than anyone I have known. She managed to visit with us, to allow us to help, and to peel all at the same time -- removing just the peeling, none of the fruit. Her apple peels were almost see-through they were so thin, and they made wonderful jewelry ^_^ as well as great treats for the birds and squirrels.

Another new experience for me was baking with fresh cranberries - neat! The cranberries and I stared at each other for a while as I tried to decide what to do with them. Should I pre-heat them with sugar as I do other fruits? Should I forget about them and just go with canned? How I wished for Grandmother! In the end, I figured it out and the result was just as I remembered. I hope you will enjoy it, too ♥

Josephine's Cranberry Apple Casserole


apples (4 granny smith, 1 gala), peeled & chopped
2 cups fresh cranberries, washed
2 cups sugar
1+1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup plain flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Mix chopped apples with cranberries.
Spread fruit evenly over the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Pour sugar over the fruit.

Mix oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, pecans, and margarine.
Sprinkle evenly over the fruit and sugar.

Bake for 1 hour. Can be served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Notes:
• Do not chop your apples too finely, they should be chunky.
• I like the above combination of Granny Smith and Gala best, but you can use whatever apples you like best. You need 3-4 cups of chopped apples.
• You don't need to do anything to the cranberries ^_^ just wash them and pick out any yucky ones and add them in just as they are.
• I am an old fashioned oats person, but quick oats really do suit this recipe best.
• This recipe sounds like it will be super sweet, but the end result really is a good, tart fruit casserole with a gently sweet crumble topping.
• An excellent pairing with tea or coffee for a snack, it also makes a wonderful accompaniment to roasted turkey or chicken. It can be topped with vanilla ice cream and served as a dessert, and it would be a scrumptious addition to a holiday breakfast table ♥

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

roads


Perhaps you know the roads as told by our dear Tolkien and Baggins?

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever, ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Still ’round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the moon, east of the sun.

This has been a great favorite wandering melody of mine since we were first introduced ^_^ And I do love to try my hand at adding a verse now and then. Here's one of them ♥

Oh yes, forever, ever on!
Making way toward heaven-home
From frothy sea to aged oak
Till finally wrapped in trav’ling cloak,
Shedding frailty, age and time
His face, just there, His hand in mine
I meet the Master. Oh joy! That day!
And journey then the perfect way.


Monday, December 1, 2014

for my ladies

Our ladies group meets tonight ~ we will be celebrating together, and I am excited! Over the past month I have been planning and preparing for this time, and today all of the final details are clicking into place ^_^ I am jotting down notes, re-reading my plans, and baking like mad. What a joy to make things ready! What a privilege to prepare to share with these precious women who touch my heart and the hearts of others in so many ways.

Pray with me? Specifically that this evening will be a gentle refreshing for each one of them. A time of joy and love and laughter and sweet, sweet celebration with the One in whose name we gather ♥

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

little note


A treasure in my email today...

Hi sister!
I'm in my kitchen making biscuits & corn muffins for tomorrow's dressing.
Missing & loving you so much. 
P < 3

Knowing she is there making the wonderful old recipes in her kitchen while I am here making the very same ones in my kitchen is a blessing. Oh how I would love for us to be in the same place - minus the missing - working together ♥


Happy Thanksgiving Eve, friends!

Friday, November 14, 2014

the blue button

A couple of nights ago, I dreamed I was searching. I was in a country where English was not the first language, and I did not speak the language of the area. As the dream began, I had been searching for quite some time. I walked into a cafe and there, sitting at a table together, were a little boy and girl of around five years old. They had rich brown hair that caught the light (his straight, hers in ringlet curls), and beautiful chocolate eyes. Bright, sad, lonely eyes. I walked over to them and immediately they stood and took my hands. As we left the cafe, the little boy pulled us to a stop. He held up the hand that wasn't holding mine. He was holding something tightly in his fist. Slowly he opened his hand, and there in his palm was a royal blue button. He placed the button in the corner of the cafe floor just inside the door and said, "Until today, this button was the most beautiful thing I have seen. I know that now that you are here, I will see many more beautiful things. I will leave it here for another to hold onto and hope with." And with that, we left the cafe.

How can you miss someone you have never met? This dream, those sweetlings are so real, so close to my heart. So I am lifting up two little ones who are waiting, hoping -- though I do not know their names, where they live, or for what they wait and hope. Will you pray with me? ♥

Monday, November 10, 2014

discipleship

"Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple...

Whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an "IF," never with an emphatic assertion -- "You must."

One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit." ~OC

The difference, then, is knowing Him, following Him, choosing Him --reflecting His life, His heart, His glory ♥

Saturday, November 8, 2014

cream of broccoli soup

It has been a while since I have shared anything from my kitchen, so here is a favorite! I know the sight of this vegetable sends some screaming from the table and even house for that matter, but trust me on this: this is a scrumptious soup.

I think it makes a marvelous family supper with grilled cheese crusty bread or with a salad. It's also a wonderful girlfriends luncheon or heavy tea addition. 

As for the sweetlings... Meredith has loved it since she was tiny. She has always called it "broccoli stew" (Do you know that Sandra Boynton book? lol) Samuel and Ila are undecided, though they always eat a small portion -- interested, without complaining, but just not ready to commit ^_^

Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 cups broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 stick of margarine
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk

Steam broccoli until tender. Drain, keep liquid.
Chop into coarse or fine pieces to preference. Set aside.

Melt margarine in a sauce pan over low heat.
Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.
Add milk, stirring constantly.
Add liquid from steamed broccoli; use whisk to blend.
Continue stirring until bubbles appear.

Combine with broccoli and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Notes: I always use fresh broccoli for this recipe (saving the frozen for casseroles and such). The "continue stirring until bubbles appear" step takes some time. It's totally worth it not to rush the recipe at that stage. This recipe makes a very small amount. Two dinner portions or four appetizer portions. The base is an excellent starter for other "cream of" soups. Enjoy ♥

Friday, November 7, 2014

with amazement

Am I continually saying with amazement to my common sense life
--why do you want to turn me off here?
Don't you know I must me about my Father's business?

Am I simple enough to identify myself with my Lord in this way? Is He getting His wonderful way in me? Is God seeing that His Son is formed in me, or have I carefully put Him to one side?

Oh, the clamor of these days! Everyone is clamoring --for what? For the Son of God to be put to death. Is there no room here for the Son of God just now? No room for quiet, holy, relationship with the Father?

Spending some thoughtful time with Uncle Oswald today ♥

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

there

This evening... I would love to be on our balcony at Yonahlossee all wrapped up and holding hands with Jamie. Having just spent a lovely, quiet day together and a wonderful dinner at the Trout, we would be snuggling there listening to the wind in the trees and looking at the stars. We would be talking a little and just enjoying being. When I sit for a moment and think of us, I see us there.

I love where I am. The Father has done a great work in my heart and life in the area of contentment. He has brought such richness into "home" for me, and I will praise Him for that every day I live.

Tonight, though, I am there. And Jamie is with me. And that is perfect ♥

Friday, October 31, 2014

daisies, maple leaves & teeny, tiny pumpkins

Oh, how this gorgeous weather affects us ^_^ My artful, bake-ish, decor, and celebration genes stir more mightily than usual and move into overdrive (lol), and I am discovering that at least some of them have passed along to the sweetlings! We are all about the crafts every day these days, and the sweetlings are so ready to make our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans (I am not quite there yet). We are keeping pie crusts in the freezer and ingredients for pumpkin pies at the ready for the bursts of bake-ish fun that come along.

My littlest one is totally into the decor. She has big plans for when I allow her into the Thanksgiving box a little later next week! And she is working hard to remain content by keeping the windowsills and mason jars in the kitchen brimming with things she thinks are "just so beautiful, Mom!" Right now, she has a mason jar filled with the weedy baby daisy plants found by the side of the road and has mixed that with a pretty orange-red leaf from a sugar maple. The big windowsill in the kitchen has a row of tiny bright orange pumpkins paired with a sprinkling of more pretty fall leaves.

It is such a joy to see some of these wonderful inclinations I learned from precious ones in my life manifesting themselves in my sweetlings. I hope that they will be blessed by these things all their lives long. So thankful ♥

Thursday, October 30, 2014

'til You

We stutter and we stammer 'til You say us
A symphony of chaos 'til You play us
Phrases on the pages of unknown
'Til You read us into poetry and prose

We are kept and we are captive 'til You free us
Vaguely unimagined 'til You dream us
Aimlessly unguided 'til You lead us home

By Your voice, we speak
By Your strength, no longer weak
We are no longer weak...

By Your wounds we are healed

Passed over and passed by until You claim us
Orphaned and abandoned 'til You name us
Hidden and closed 'til You expose our hearts

By Your death, we live
It is by Your Gift that we might give
That we might give...
~NNordeman "Healed"

Re-discovered this today and thought it might bless you, too ♥

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

hours daily

"...There is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay, by his own observation, a wide basis of facts towards scientific knowledge in the future. He must live hours daily in the open air, and, as far as possible, in the country; must look and touch and listen; must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast bird, or insect; the manner of growth of every plant. He must be accustomed to ask why - Why does the wind blow? Why does the river flow? Why is a leaf-bud sticky?"  ~CMason

Taking some time to read and be encouraged by our dear Miss Mason. There is certainly no perfection in any particular method, but her eye to children's hearts and the joy of leading them in learning is as grand a thing as there ever was ♥

Saturday, October 25, 2014

the telling

I think sometimes we forget that one part of our great work is not in telling people who they should be but who Christ is. Our purpose is not to make a realization come or to effect a change. Our purpose is simply to bear witness.

In our words, in our actions, as we love and pray and hope and walk alongside -- we share what Christ has done and is doing for us.

God makes the way. God changes hearts and re-shapes lives. He heals. He restores. He has done that and is doing that for me! And for you! What a privilege, what a gentle burden, what a joy to bear witness to His grace ♥

Friday, October 24, 2014

notion your mind

"Notion your mind with the idea that God is there.

If once the mind is notioned along that line,
then when you are in difficulties it is as easy as breathing to remember
--Why, my Father knows all about it!

It is not an effort, it comes naturally...

God is my Father, He loves me
I shall never think of anything He will forget,
why should I worry?"
~OC

In my thoughtful spot today, enjoying the way OC chooses his words and fashions his thoughts. Taking delight in the encouragement placed here, and thanking God for the gift of not having to worry ♥

Thursday, October 23, 2014

first there was laughter

I have been looking forward all month to sharing with my ladies again in the first week of November. Just after our meeting ended last month, the Father gave me a single idea for the upcoming month: laughter. Now talk about a wonderful kick-start ^_^ I have been so excited about what is to come, while having absolutely no idea how things would flesh out. (If you are like me, that is a combination "YAY!" and "YIKES!" situation as the days pass and time draws near - lol).

Over the past three weeks, little flashes of ideas have been popping to mind to join the "laughter" that was the beginning of what will be. "Hats" was the next word. Whoo! I have been trying to piece together laughter and hats now for days!

Well, tonight! Just now, I have the picture! And. I. am. excited.

It doesn't look like what I'd first imagined. It won't be anything like what my ladies may be expecting two Mondays from now, but the possibilities! Oh, the joy of the possibilities when the Father gives an idea and begins to write the words and ways on my heart. How thankful I am to be a part. How I pray that He will be glorified and my ladies will be blessed.

Please pray with me? Thanks and ever thanks ♥

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chunky Chicken Salad

Well, time is flying and it's getting a bit late for chicken salad, but I can't resist making it every now and then even in the cooler months ^_^ The base for this recipe came from Mom, of course, and I have adapted it for what we like best. It is one of our very favorites, and I hope you will enjoy it, too ♥

Chunky Chicken Salad

1.5 to 2.5 pounds of white meat chicken, cooked
four to eight eggs, hard boiled and then chopped
four to six Gala apples, chopped
one cup of pecans, chopped
Miracle Whip (to taste)

• Cook the chicken (can boil on top of the stove or bake with water, margarine and a little salt and pepper). Cut or tear cooked chicken by hand into bite sized pieces (we like it either way, but not torn so that it is stringy).

• Boil the eggs, cool, remove shells, and chop.

• Chop the pecans.

• Peel, slice, and chop the apples.

• Mix all of the above in a large bowl, and add the Miracle Whip - mix well.
(start with a cup or so and add if needed until you have the consistency you like)

• Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.

•Enjoy!

Notes: I use a hand chopper for the eggs and pecans, and I chop the apples by hand. We do not like the ingredients chopped too finely - "chunky" is better ^_^  hence the name.

My Mom was a die-hard Miracle Whip fan, and this recipe is delicious. Jamie is anti-MW big time, but he agrees that MW is best in this case. So, be brave and try MW in this one!

You can substitute ingredients for the seasons! We like this combo all year round, but you could sub grapes (halved) for the apples in the summer. You could add some cranberries to the above ingreds for fall. It is good without the pecans if you are not a nut fan.

We like this plain on a plate as a main entree, in sandwiches, on a bed of baby spinach leaves, and on crackers ^_^ I have never tried "melts" with this one, but I am guessing it would be scrumptious!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kenny and the Dragon

Hi Everyone, this is Samuel. I am helping Mom today by writing to tell you about a book I just read. The book is Kenny and the Dragon, and it was written by Tony DiTerlizzi.

It's about a little rabbit named Kenny, who goes on an adventure with a dragon. The dragon's name is Grahame. They have to go stop their friend, George, from killing Grahame.

The problem is, the king has told George to go and destroy the dragon. Everyone thought the dragon was a devil who would burn down their crops and destroy their houses. And the truth is that Grahame would never do that!

Grahame is a very nice dragon. Instead of killing a princess, he would give her a bouquet of flowers. He'd like to invite a knight to a game of checkers, and he just loves to read books.

Kenny has lots of plans about how to stop George (and a very upset porcupine) from hurting Grahame. At first, Kenny's family is frightened, but then they trust Kenny and want to help.

I really like this book and have asked Mom to get a copy for our bookshelves here. One of my favorite parts was when Grahame has the hiccups (lol). There are so many funny parts to make you laugh, and the adventures are great.

Well, that's all I can tell you without spoiling the story!
I hope you will enjoy the story, too ♥

Monday, October 20, 2014

never leave

No promise is for private application.
Whatever God has said to one saint, He has said to all.

When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink. When He opens a granary-door to give out food, there may be one starving man who is the reason for it being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed too. Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses matters not, believer; He has given it to you as one of the covenanted seed.

There is not a high blessing too lofty for you, nor a wide mercy too extensive for you. Lift up your eyes now to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is yours. Climb to the mountaintop, and view the utmost limits of the divine promise, for the land is all your own. There is not a brook of living water of which you may not drink. If the land flows with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are yours.

Be bold to believe, for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." In this promise, God gives His people everything. "I will never leave you." Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us.

Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on behalf of them that trust Him.

Is He love? Then with loving-kindness will He have mercy upon us.

Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on your side.

To summarize, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven that is not contained in this text--"I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Spending time in my thoughtful spot today with this from Al Begg - just wow ♥

Friday, October 17, 2014

it's a wrap!

Today we completed our seventh week of school - amazing! I am so thankful for the gentle beginning we have had to the year and the lovely days so far. The girls completed their first semester of gymnastics last week and will begin second semester next week. It has been nice to have a little break, but they are oh so ready to begin again and to see Ms Dot and their classmates! Samuel wraps up his fall soccer season tomorrow. He is already bouncing around with the energy that game day brings ^_^ We have had a great first experience with team sports, and he is hoping spring season will fit into our schedule so he can play again next year.

Reflecting on these first weeks is a joy!
I am so thankful as I look forward to the next seven weeks, and the next, and the next... ♥

Thursday, October 16, 2014

waiting for morning

Oh, I am struggling! This week has been "bear down" hard on my heart and mind as I have been working with the issues that are so central to our lives here in these days. I have been in tears quite a bit and angry at times, weary and quite nauseous at my inability to figure out how to walk like Christ in this time. Taking the words from one of my favorite songs, I have been asking the Father, "How do I love the captive soul and rage against the captor?" What does that look like in my life? How does it play out in my every days? How can I be Your hands, feet, heart, and mind?

Last night as I went to bed heartsick again, I prayed that I would be able to fall asleep quickly and that, truly, today would bring a whisper of an answer. God honored my request. I am so grateful for His blessings.

First of all, I woke feeling well. Stress had manifested in several physical symptoms this week, and I find them gone today. Also, there is peace - inexplicably - there is peace. And encouragement! There is gentle joy in this day - being here, doing what I do - without the feeling of oppression by what has been bearing on my mind.

The whispered promise that is the key: hope. Hope!

Not in what I could ever do or say or be, but hope in who He is, what He has already said, and all that He can do. Hope! Be watchful, guard my heart, love others, trust Him and hope. He will have His way - and nothing, nothing can change that.

Added to all of this, I popped in to the book of face for a minute, and my precious Sarah had posted this: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him" from Romans 15:13.

And so... “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” ♥

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the old lamp

A lamp once hung in an ancient town
at the corner of a street,
Where the wind was keen, and the way was dark,
and the rain would often beat;
And all night long, its light would shine
to guide the travelers' feet.

The lamp was rough and plain and old,
and the storm had beaten it sore;
No, not a thing one would care to show,
whatever it had been before.
But no one thought what the lantern was,
'twas the light that within it bore.
~ Author Unknown

A lovely, well-crafted reminder that it is He who is the light, not me ♥

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

games & stories

I wrote yesterday about our games and reading day and received several requests for more info ^_^

So here are some of our very favorite game day school games...

• Magic & Fairy-Tale Dice (story-telling dice game)
• Fancy Nancy Positively Perfect Parfait Game
• Go Diego Go 1 2 3 Game
• eeBoo Fairies of the Field Lacing Cards
• Zoologic
• Candyland
• Fairy Finds
• Hi-ho Cherri-o
• War (a hi/lo card game - regular deck)
• Scrabble
• Wedgits
• Connectagons
• Cooking Cookies
• Wormy Apples

For our games, I choose. Sometimes I target a certain theme or idea, other times I just choose at random. I try to include at least one favorite of each sweetling. The games we use for school game days are kept in my school closet and are not available to them for every day play.

And some of our most favorite reading day stories...

• Mr Putter & Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant
Chestnut by Constance McGeorge
• Patricia Polacco's books
• the Crinkleroot series by Jim Arnosky
• the Hopscotch Hill series by Valerie Tripp
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
The Lorax by Dr Seuss

For our reading, I choose a few and let the sweetlings each choose a few. The books we use are all favorites we have read time and again and are books from our own shelves.We space them out all along the day, and we share the reading responsibilities, too (:

We would love to hear about your favorite game day games and reads ♥

Monday, October 13, 2014

dessert first!

How do you order your days? In our little school here, we portion out our work so that we have a lighter day on Friday. It has always been so, and we all really love it! As much as I do appreciate the way this plan wraps our week, I am also a firm believer in mixing things up a bit from time to time ^_^ The sweetlings enjoy having a schedule so they know what is coming up next, but they are also delighted to know that they never do know just what Mom might do. (insert sneaky winkish grin and twinkly eyes here)

All weekend long a "different Monday" has been bubbling up in my mind, so today games and stories have been the first and only order of business. The world around us has paused, and my sweetling scholars are breathing a fresh, different bouquet of what we call our daily days.

Tomorrow we will jump back into our usual schedule -- taking with us the fresh eyes, hearts and attitudes that are the special gift result of days like today. How thankful I am for the imagination God has given, the time to spend, the freedom to change the plan and bring the joy anew!

Ahhh... there's nothing like having our dessert first!
Hmmm! Maybe we will do that at suppertime, too ♥

Thursday, October 9, 2014

stumbly places

"Faith is not in what Jesus says but in Himself;
if we only look at what He says, we will never believe.
When once we see Jesus,
He does the impossible thing as naturally as breathing.

Our agony comes from the willful stupidity of our own heart.
We won't believe, we won't cut the shore line,
we prefer to worry on... struggle on... blunder on..."
~OC

Oh, the contrast here! It tugs and tugs at my heart. The impossible is completely possible for the One who loves us most, cares for us best --as a matter of fact, for Him it is as easy as taking a breath. But we choose - we make the choice on purpose to stumble on - on our own.

How I want to see Him clearly in those stumbly places! My hands and knees are scarred from tumbling, and I find myself so weary of them. Hoping, trusting ♥

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

guest writer: Ila

Hi friends ^_^ This is Ila. I am writing for Mommy today, and I want to tell you about a very special friend of mine. His name is Odie, and he is a cat. He is beautiful, sweet, and orange. He lives very far away from me, and that makes me sad sometimes. But I think of him and pray for him every day, and that makes my heart happy. I am glad that he has some wonderful people to take care of him (they are VERY special to me, too). Odie lives with Aunt Paige, Uncle Josh, Max, and Halle in Missouri. I'll tell you one thing, Missouri is just too far from here!

I am glad that God had the idea for cats, aren't you? Cats are my most favorite animal of all the creatures. Well, that's all for today! Hope your day is a happy one (:

Love & hugs from Ila & Mommy ♥

Monday, October 6, 2014

quiet spaces

The weekend is over and a new week is underway! I hope this finds you well and having had a lovely beginning. How was your weekend? Ours was delightful ^_^ The time together (priceless), the gorgeous weather (favorite), the slower pace (gift), the precious people (treasure) - all is grace!

I am sitting here just now considering this new week hoping for, anticipating the joy that will be tucked in there. As things crank up and the busy-ness begins to tug at peace, I want to remain watchful. I don't want to miss a single thing that God has for me in the moments and days of this new week. The joy and blessings flow through all of the hours at His hand, but it is in the quiet spaces - the time I set apart - that I can really see and come to understand all that He gifts to me.

May it be a most blessed, joy-filled, purposefully watchful week for you, too ♥

Friday, October 3, 2014

detail by detail

Circle... take her measure... gaze long... climb...
Then you can tell the next generation,
detail by detail,
the story of God.

For this God is our God, for ever and ever;
He will be our guide even to the end.
~from Psalm 48:12-14

Rejoicing today with these beautiful words dancing in my heart ♥

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

beautiful grapes

My sweet friend, Tammy, left me a note that got me thinking about grapes ^_^ and that led me to remember this wonderful bit from Uncle Oswald...

"If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, 
but what He pours through us that counts.

It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes,
but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us.

Spiritually, we cannot measure our lives by success,
but only by what God pours through us,
and we cannot measure that at all."

Our great work is keeping our eyes, minds, hearts focused on the Father,
and as we go, walk, rest, live... he pours and pours and pours ♥

Monday, September 29, 2014

hello, sunshine!

Cutest mommy / sweetling moment this morning...

I came downstairs wearing a yellow sweatshirt that Ila had not seen on me before. She took one wide-eyed look and giggled and said, "Mommy, you look like sunshine! I think it suits you!"

Tucking that love note away with joy ♥

Saturday, September 27, 2014

sweetlings, tea & celebrations

Have you taken any time for tea lately? It occurs to me as I sit to write this afternoon that it has been quite some time since I have taken time for tea. The sweetlings and I usually share a cup often, but we have not done that this month that I can recall. Nor have we shared a tea party since the spring - wow! I am amazed, but what a wonderful challenge to make sure that we do take some time for tea this coming week :)

While we are on the subject, I thought I would share a few of our favorite "tea times" with you. I hope that you find here an idea that will bless you - along with lots of joy and love that we always bundle into our tea time baskets ♥

Breakfast Tea – The sweetlings and I love to combine tea time and breakfast time. This is a favorite meal of the day, so they always have some scrumptious ideas for what we can serve. Sometimes we go a bit heavier with eggs and breads, other times we just do English muffins or bagels or muffins with yummy toppings and always some fresh fruit on the side.

Afternoon or Evening Tea - This is a very special time for us :) It means that we have invited someone we love to come and share tea with us. We get out some of our loveliest china and linen and set a celebration table. Then we bake and slice and arrange - usually we serve a homemade cake of some kind, a fruit cup, and some tiny tea treasures (like cinnamon flowers or lemon pastries). Adding to this, we like to have flowers and candles on the table and a little gift for our guest.

Heirloom Tea - This is a theme tea, and it makes for a wonderful party. You can use this idea for a birthday tea or a mother-daughter tea. You set the table with a different china pattern at each place. Use a lovely mix of serving pieces as well. Bake treats from your recipes and from those of your mother and grandmother, etc. As we share in an Heirloom Tea with our guests, we share the story behind the china and serving plates, and the story of the foods, too.

Teddybear Tea - M's first birthday was celebrated this way. We did a nursery tea - using small cookies and cakes and cambric tea (milk with a splash of tea) for the littles. Each guest was invited to bring her favorite childhood teddy bear. This tea included friends from the age of one and a half to eighty something, so the guests could share about their bear if he/she was no longer with them :)

Family Time Tea - This is another very special tea time, as this is the tea that we prepare for when Jamie arrives home from work. The sweetlings and I set the coffee table as our tea table, and we usually use one of their small tea sets for this. We serve blueberry muffins and fresh fruit and something chocolate (since Jamie loves it). We do our best to keep it a surprise, and J is always delighted to come home to Family Time Tea.

Christmas Tea - My sister, Paige, and I hosted several of these, and they remain some of my very favorite tea time memories. We invited ladies who had blessed our lives in special ways. Each lady was asked to bring her own tea cup and saucer. It is a marvelous time of sharing and remembering and tea :) For Christmas Tea, we always serve several types of tea, family favorite cakes and breads, and lots of holiday tea time goodies. It is all quite dressed up with our finest china and silver and linen.

Under the Tree Tea - This is a tea for two :) It is simple and elegant and is especially meaningful on Christmas Eve. Everything for Christmas Day celebrations is complete. We turn off every source of light except the Christmas tree and brew a pot of tea. We share tea time cuddling and sipping and just being... lovely!

Friday, September 26, 2014

never can measure

"You never can measure what God will do through you
if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ.
Keep your relationship right with Him,
then whatever circumstances you are in,
and whoever you meet day by day,
He is pouring rivers of living water through you..."
~OC

Spending some time in my thoughtful spot today with this quote from Uncle Oswald. We never can measure (no instrument of measure can contain it), the possibilities are endless (and that is endless to a degree that we cannot get our minds around), whatever, whoever, wherever, whenever...

And we also will not ever know here and now all that He is accomplishing in and through us - someday maybe we can sit with Him and talk it all over, seeing as He does (joy!)...

But what we know, what is certain is that we keep that right relationship.
In His power and by His grace ♥

Thursday, September 25, 2014

this moment

It's a brilliant, cool day. Fall is so welcome! The breeze is dancing in the trees outside, and there is a hint of rain to come. The sweetlings are joyfully working with their subjects, pausing to giggle at the story Poppy (my dad) is reading to Ila in the living room (he makes the chicken sound effects, and we all are delighted). Lunch is simmering on the stove. We will stop to share a meal together in a little while. The talk and laughter will feed us just as much or more than the food.

I am here at my desk, taking a pause to record this moment
with such a grateful heart. It is priceless ♥

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

five years

I have written before about our sweet, sweet friend Belle and her mommy, Kelley. You can find more information about them in the "online friends" tab of my journal. Today marks the fifth anniversary of Belle's diagnosis. Amazing! A miracle! It's a day worth celebrating for sure ^_^

A very special lady, Aunt Jen Jen, has written a special tribute here - a collection of joyful notes and things Jen has observed and learned alongside Belle the past five years. Pop over and read if you have a moment!

And then, lift a prayer of praise with me? For Belle's life, for the joy she brings, for the Jesus she shines, for the fact that she is still here... dancing, singing, loving ♥

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a psalm for fall

I'm glad to see this morning
Because the day is so fair,
And I feel God's presence so keenly
About me, everywhere.

The heavens declare His glory,
The trees seem to speak of His power,
And I see His matchless beauty
In each small, growing flower.

The rocks all tell of His wonder;
In the hills His strength I see;
And the birds are singing His praises
In the songs they sing to me.

Oh, I'm glad to see this morning
In a world of beauty so rare
Where the God of Heaven is present
About me, everywhere.
~adapted, author unknown

Welcome, Fall! So many lovely reasons to remember and to celebrate!
My heart is full - how thankful I am ♥

Monday, September 22, 2014

what?

The prevailing question of the day... what can God not do?

Answer: nothing! not one thing!

He can do anything He wants to do,
any time He wants to,
in any way He wants to,
in, through, for anyone He wants to...

What's more, and best of all, His ways are perfect. His plans are marvelous. And by His love and mercy He works all things for good for those who love Him.

Two precious families are on my mind and heart today. The Yopps have just found out that their eleven year old son, Camron, has a rare form of leukemia. The Gilberts have just lost their wife and mom, Connie. Please lift them up with me? Trusting, trusting  ♥

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mom's Signature Sloppy Joes

I have a treasure from my recipe box to share with you today. I remember the first time Mom served these - the combination of ingredients is a little unique - and we thought, "Say what?!" LoL!  Come to find out, of course, these are fantastic. Definitely "Jane worthy"  ^_^

They are super easy and make a quick, fun meal.
I hope you will enjoy them, too ♥

Jane's Signature Sloppy Joes

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 can Campbell's Chicken Gumbo Soup
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Brown beef with onion, salt, and pepper. Drain.
Add other ingredients and let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Notes: You can add tomatoes to the mixture if you like.
These are delicious on any kind of bun, but amazing on onion rolls.
We like them with a little bit of spicy mustard on the bun (just a taste!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

more on forgiveness

To forgive is to die. It is to give up one's right to self, which is precisely what Jesus requires of anyone who wants to be his disciple.

"If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it."

Following Christ means walking the road he walked, and in order to forgive us he had to die. His follower may not refuse to relinquish his own right, his own territory, his own comfort, or anything that he regards as his. 

Forgiveness is relinquishment. It is a laying down. No one can take it from us, any more than anyone could take the life of Jesus if he had not laid it down of his own will. But we can do as he did. We can offer it up, writing off whatever loss it may entail, in the sure knowledge that the man who loses his life or his reputation or his "face" or anything else for the sake of Christ will save it.

Still hanging out in my thoughtful spot with E Elliot ♥

Friday, September 19, 2014

upon the subject of forgiveness

"We don't pray, 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who ask us to.'

We say 'as we forgive those who trespass against us.'

It's not a matter of ignoring what's been done. When God forgives he doesn't merely overlook our trespasses. He doesn't ask us to overlook others' trespasses either--he asks us to forgive them. So that means our Christian obligation (our duty as a Christ-follower) is to forgive anybody who has invaded our rights, our territory, our comfort, our self-image, whether they acknowledge the invasion or not."

Reading a little Elisabeth Elliot today ♥

Thursday, September 18, 2014

easy as breathing

"Contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, 
and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; 
it will not grow in us by nature."
~A Begg

Spending some time with the subject of contentment today. How natural it is in us to complain, to want more, to see that green, green grass just over the fence... it's as easy as breathing. But in truth it is life-stealing, this discontent that is so easy for us.

Life and peace, rest, joy, hope... they are all firmly planted in being content just where we are. No matter the circumstance, the physical location, the state of being, we are to be content.

Striving toward that kind of breath of fresh air ♥

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

grace

My heart is so full. I've had another precious lesson in how kind and gentle the Father is. Perhaps you know what it's like... to see something or reading something or be talking with someone... and you realize that He is speaking to your heart.

God shows you a place in your heart and life that really needs some work. Truly, if the lesson had come first hand, it would have been so, so hard. But with such grace and such love He allows you to see in some other way. I am so thankful for His grace ♥

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

dashing about

Tuesday is a slammed day for us with school, gymnastics, soccer and scouts, but, oh! The fun we have. All of the dashing about leaves us fairly wrecked, but everyone is having such a super time, that no one notices until bed time. The sweetlings are ready for bed when the time comes and asleep almost as soon as they lie down. They will rest so well tonight!

We could not handle more than one day a week like this, and I am very thankful that the schedule is much more even and spread out over the other days of our week.

The best part of all in my humble opinion is getting to be the mom (Jamie may say it's being the dad). We get to see the excitement build as the day grows into afternoon and the sweetlings get ready for classes. They hop and dance and chatter about all that they are looking forward to, and it is an absolute delight to witness.

Then, we get to watch the class. Gracious, was any parent ever prouder? LoL! They are simply gorgeous to my eyes as they enjoy, learn, try, effervesce... what a privilege.

And finally comes the wrap. They share and giggle and explain what happened in class and then try to show each other new things as they buzz around like little bees.

Tomorrow will bring more stories as they remember today and practice and get ready for the next lessons. They will already be looking forward to them. Isn't that neat?

Oh the joy of simply living these days ♥

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ramping up

Wow - I am putting the final touches on our upcoming week of school, and things are really ramping up! I know that this happens in the third week... but I forgot! ^_^ Adding the final subjects in, expanding the work in several subjects, the sweetlings are going to be very busy. I am excited (and a little owl-eyed) at the prospect, but it is all so good. If I can keep my head about me, they will, too, and it will be just super!

Can you guess my prayer request?
No headless days (lol)! Thanks for praying with me ♥

Saturday, September 13, 2014

my big little bulldog

What an adventure we had this afternoon! Samuel's soccer team played their first game today. He was so nervous and so excited for the last couple of days and this morning - counting down the hours and minutes until time to head to the field for warm-up.

We had a wonderful first half and had just paused for half-time when the rain descended ^_^ An absolute downpour! We laughed and stayed to see if it would slack off, but ended up nearly being washed away. The ref called the came and the coaches agreed to try for a make-up game.

We are all already looking forward to our next game.
Goooooooooo Bulldogs!! ♥

Thursday, September 11, 2014

for this day (:

There lives an old man at the top of the street,
and the end of his beard reaches down to his feet,
and he's just the one person I'm longing to meet .
     I think that he sounds so exciting;

for he talks all the day to a tortoiseshell cat,
and he asks about this, and explains about that,
and at night he puts on a big wide-awake* hat
     and sits in the writing room, writing.

He has worked all his life (and he's terribly old)
at a wonderful spell which says “Lo and behold!
your nursery fender is gold!” --and it's gold!
     (Or the tongs, or the rod for the curtain);

But somehow he hasn't got hold of it quite
or the liquid you pour on it first isn't right,
so that's why he works at it night after night
     till he knows he can do it for certain.

                                      * So as not to go to sleep.

The Alchemist by AA Milne 


Ah, well, a glorious day, yes? A little introspection here, a little looking up and out there
and whispering well crafted words to myself as the clock ticks on ♥

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

a beautiful escort

"Obedience is a beautiful escort
into the presence of God."
~B. Adams

This little note was tucked into my reading today, and I have been thinking it over all afternoon. It's lovely, isn't it? I'd never really looked at obedience that way. I tell my sweetlings all the time that the best way we have of showing God how much we love Him is to obey Him. And then today this quote has taken hold in my heart, painting a new facet into the canvas in my mind.

Such a gift to consider all that He has for us ♥

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

end of the world

Cutest sweetling musical moment today: Samuel's eyebrows going higher and higher into his hairline as I sang all of the words to the REM classic. His comment? "Mom, I knew you could really talk, and I know you like to sing... but sing-talking? Awesome!"

Ah, those hidden super powers (lol) ♥

Sunday, September 7, 2014

thinking of Belle

I have our sweet friend, Belle, on my mind today and thought I would share an update with you from her mom, Kelley...

"We appreciate your prayers for Belle and for us more than anything.  Sept. 24 marks the 5 year anniversary of Belle's cancer diagnosis.  These past 5 years have brought many blessings in many ways to our family.  We have had moments full of joy and laughter and made memories that we will cherish forever, but along with the triumphs, we have also had to live in the face of reality and with the fact that Belle's prognosis is not good.  We were reminded of that once again this past summer when yet another tumor appeared.  So it's your prayers for strength and trust that mean the most, as well as, the love that we are shown on a daily basis.  Thank you doesn't begin to express the amount of gratitude that we feel."

Belle is 7 years old and in first grade this year. She has two sisters and a brother, Taylor, Emily and Jack. Her daddy and mommy are David and Kelley.

Though we have never met them face-to-face we love this precious family. Will you lift them up with us? The sweetlings, Jamie and I would appreciate it so much ♥

Saturday, September 6, 2014

miss twinkle toes

Can there be anything cuter than a little one with brand new shoes that sparkle? Our little Miss is the very pleased and proud owner of a new pair of "bops" that not only have a rainbow of colors and glitter but light up as well ^_^ Needless to say the inclination to toe tap and even boogie down a little has increased exponentially around here.

Jamie, on the other hand, thinks he sees lightning every other minute (lol) which increases his stress level -- and makes Miss Twinkle Toes burst into laughter.

Right now, she is rushing in and out of the rooms with no lights on, returning to say that she is setting off fireworks all over the house.

Life at six years is mighty fine, I tell ya ♥

Friday, September 5, 2014

undisturbedness

When our Lord speaks peace, He makes peace,
His words are ever "spirit and life."

Have I ever received what Jesus speaks?

"My peace I give unto you"---it is a peace which comes from
looking into His face and realizing His undisturbedness.
~OC

Treasures from Uncle Oswald ♥

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ready, set, go! first days notes

Ah, well, three days down... and how many to go? LoL! Our new school year has begun wonderfully well. Thanks so much for praying with us ♥ The plan is working, we are settling in well, and all is joy so far. My sweetling scholars are excited, and their attitudes have been lovely. How thankful I am!

Once again this year with our schooling in mind, I am focusing my heart with this treasure: "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him... Psalm 37: 3-5

And this one as I continue with the vision for our family that God gave years ago and has continued to bless: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, just as we told you... 1 Thes 4:11

And this one, a bit more personally just for me: "By the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect... 1 Cor 15:10

I have updated our reading lists in the "what we are reading" tab, and our plan for the year is up in the "our school year" tab. Please do leave a comment or drop me a note if you have suggestions for books for any of the sweetlings. We are always searching for wonderful reads!

On top of everything the Father had already done in this new week, He tucked some special blessings into this afternoon. I delivered Meredith to our precious Jo for her first piano lessons earlier, and it was such a joy to see Jo again - it has been so long! Meredith came in from that lesson just beaming and so excited and looking forward to their next lesson together. Neat, neat, neat!

Samuel, Ila, and I went by the "yellow library" for a visit with Mrs Debbie and to pick up some books, and we had a lovely time catching up. We also were blessed with a way to share some of the materials we have finished using -- and some wonderful new books for our own shelves to keep.

The more I sit still here just now and consider, the more I find I could write ^_^ There are so many things for which to be thankful that I can see in these past three days. So blessed ♥

Sunday, August 31, 2014

surely, surely

...these things I plan won't happen right away. 
Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. 
Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
~from Habakkuk 2

Jamie spoke on patience this morning. What a timely, encouraging blessing to be reminded that God's time is not the same as ours, and that the things He will have accomplished will indeed be so -- perfectly on time.

I look at the miles of planning for the days ahead...
I see the faces and hearts of my sweetlings...
I see my own hopes and dreams, delight in the possibilities, wonder in the promises...
And with a thankful heart I work to remember to practice my patience with awestruck joy ♥

Saturday, August 30, 2014

sweet duet

We are just two days away from the beginning of our school year! How did that happen? I am excited and a little nervous (Ila would say nervous-cited) and really ready to be in it. In the quiet of the afternoon tomorrow, I will put the finishing touches on the beginning with an eye to next June. Amazing to think what we will have accomplished by then!

With quite a few years under my belt now, I know that we can expect glorious days, sweet days, challenging days, meh days and just plain awful ones sometimes, too. But I am determined to be thankful for each and every one of them. What more priceless a gift could there be than the moments of the days to come with my sweetlings?

Setting my heart to the sweet duet of hope & promise ♥

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

firefly

A little light is going by,
is going up to see the sky,
a little light with wings.

I never could have thought of it,
to have a little bug all lit
and made to go on wings.
~EM Roberts

Living the last few days of summer with wonder here ♥

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

greens

I read a little note just now that said, "What inspires you today?" First, I laughed. It has been a cabin fever-ish day for the sweetlings, and I am buried in projects. Not so very much the picture of inspiration around here today ^_^

But then... I stepped into the kitchen to find that I am inspired by greens. Not collard, not turnip, and most certainly not mustard - nope! No way! (I do understand that some of you may find that these types of greens are a source of great joy, but for me they are among the things least likely evah to bring on lofty ideas or any kind of happiness.)

The inspirational greens are those dancing among the branches of the gorgeous trees in our backyard. As I stood at the kitchen window, which covers most of the back wall of the room, I saw the light and the breeze playing with the leaves. The greens are brought to brilliance by the light and they are deep, so deep with the shadows - and. they. are. lovely. Joyful, hopeful, inspiring! How? They bring me once again to the hand, the mind, the heart, the One who thought up colors and leaves and light and breezes in the first place. And once again, I am blown away ♥