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 ♥