Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where, oh where, art thou?

"Spring being a tough act to follow,
God created June."

--Al Bernstein

And yet all too quickly...

it's gone.

Will someone please tell me where it went??!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So this morning, after rushing my boys out the door for an early morning swim practice,
I sat down with my Bible and my study (plus a not-quite-ready-to-greet-the-day furry friend),
and I opened up to Day 05 (I'm just getting started). Here's part of what I read:

"Many times I've gotten so discouraged by Satan,
my own weak flesh, or another opposing entity,
that I've finally resorted to speaking out loud the the truth of Scripture.
Audibly praying and reading Scripture is a wonderful discipline to employ,
especially when you are overwhelmed (p.28)."

Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Overwhelmed.

Hmmm. That one got me.

And here's why::

A few days ago, my bff sent me a few questions to answer.
You see, we're doing this study together (even though we're separated
by a couple hundred miles) with Beth Moore's summer group, and before starting,
we needed to answer a few simple questions. You know, the basic stuff
along with What do you want to get out of this study? AND, in a word,
describe this season of your life.
Immediately, I responded.... overwhelmed!
(and felt quite sure this was the BEST and most appropriate choice for now)

Why overwhelmed? Because that's what I am.
Even though it's summer, and
even though I'm supposed to be relaxing,
I'm not.
I'm stressing over my mile-long to-do list and the calendar that's racing by,
and I'm having trouble-- very real and heart-thumping trouble--
because I simply cannot see the forest for the trees.
Yes, I'm overwhelmed, and for many days now I've been lamenting that fact.

So back to this morning. I finished my lesson
and hopped out back for some garden time before my littlest two awaken
[with no rain over the past several weeks and temps reaching the mid-90s,
watering my gardens has turned into a non-negotiable daily chore],
and with my iPod attached to my hip (because I agreed with the author--
what I needed now was a ginormous dose of Scripture...
in my ear, to my heart, over and over and over again),
I set forth.
I toted jug after jug after jug of water,
and I enjoyed a few Holy Spirit-inspired dances along the way
(thankfully, we have a privacy fence :)
and then an old favorite came on and... BAM!
It stopped me, dead in my tracks.
Because the Lord had spoken.
Through these words-- through His Word--
I got the message, just as He intended.

Give me one pure and holy passion.
Give me one magnificent obsession.
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You...

To know and follow hard after You
To grow as Your disciple in Your truth
This world is empty, pale, and poor
Compared to knowing You, my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after You
Lead me on and I will run after You

-- Mark Altrogge

How 'bout that?!!

Meant for me? Yes.
Today? Yes.
Did I listen? Yes.
And did I get it? Yes.

And then I thanked Him for His gracious reminders and changed my tune.

So... history plans? Yes, they're important.
Those 3000 pages on the 20th century in review? I'll try.
A new paint color in my bedroom? Sure, it would be nice.
Veggie and flower bed survival? Oh, I hope so.
New recipes and adventures and bread and more? Perhaps... and hopefully.

But when it's all said and done, what matters most?
How should I really spend my spare time, my energies, and my attentions?
And what do I want to teach my children, even during these lazy days of summer?

To know and follow hard after You,
and to grow as Your disciple in Your truth...
Lead me on, and I will run after you.

So today, I'm resubmitting my answer.
No longer overwhelmed.
Today, I'm set free.
Free to be faithful and obedient and grace-filled and more...
because He who started this good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
All I need do is follow.

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

Monday, June 28, 2010

1000 Gifts: On the farm

The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty,
let all the earth rejoice,
all the earth rejoice...

--Chris Tomlin

Amazed by His grace and overwhelmed by His goodness, I give thanks.

tree-lined drives and deer-filled fields

bright blue skies and split rail fences

the arrival of summer

and the Creator's generosity

a slower pace, a quiet life


a fieldtrip with friends, an opportunity to explore

and like-minded families who share, encourage, teach, inspire

loving arms-- never too tired to hold

and a loving heart-- never too full to give more


patience and persistance

and the opportunity to help another

a home

bottle-fed babies

and very best friends

chickens to chase
and the thrill of the catch

childhood delights

"O, LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!"

Psalm 8:9

holy experience

and the list goes on...

Friday, June 25, 2010


The temperatures are rising as summer has surely staked her claim on our small parcel.
Thankfully, little helpers abound, and our veggies... they're growing!

Lolli's already snatched (and gobbled) a few red tomatoes from the vine
(plus a few that have gone straight to the kitchen windowsill for further ripening :)

and the cauliflower is getting closer and closer to harvesting--
hopefully only another week or two.

The beans are just starting out, and the cucumbers & squash are spreading their wings.

As for me, I'm just praising the Lord for the harvest!

"There, in the presence of the LORD your God,
you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice
in everything you have put your hand to,
because the LORD your God has blessed you."

Deuteronomy 12:7

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The C & O Canal

President John Quincy Adams broke ground for the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
way back in 1828, and due to one complication after another,
the manmade waterway never opened for business until 1850.
It stayed in operation for 74 years, and then in 1971,
concerned citizens successfully convinced Congress to rescue it from ruin
and establish the 184.5 mile-long canal as a National Historical Park.
Open now to the public for "a refuge, a place of retreat, a long stretch of quiet
and peace (Justice William O. Douglas, 1954)," the canal is a delightful setting
for an afternoon get-away... and a fantastic place to experience our nation's history-- alive!

Lil, our ever-gracious hostess (think: mule-power, if you will)
actually pulled us along the water (attached by rope) as she ambled down the towpath,
just like back in olden times,
and one of the locks (think: water elevator)-- it still works!

And let me just tell you... in case you didn't already know
(because it amazed me as much as it did my children)...
to study a lock is one thing; but to experience one, well... that's a whole other matter!

Yep, the C & O Canal--
lovely in every way... and the perfect complement to anyone's history studies!

Monday, June 21, 2010

1000 Gifts: A Father's heart

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from Him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Psalm 127:3-5

Blessed beyond measure, my cup overflows.
And I give thanks~

my children

and their daddy

his commitment, his attention, his sacrifice

and his will-do-anything-for-us kind of love

this precious father/daughter relationship

and sons who long to be just like him

a day with his daddy (and his mama, too :)... plus ice cream sundaes, apple pie, and swimming pools... together

his dad's unwavering support, encouragment, and love

a father/son outing, a Nationals baseball game, and nothing but "junkfood" for an entire evening :)

shade at the ballpark!

shopping with my girl... just the two of us

a Chick-fil-a milkshake... to share

and time in the garden before bed

silliness and laughter

the same old jokes that never. get. old.

this family... this treasure... God's grace upon grace every single day

MY daddy... his time, his example, his always & forever love... his wisdom, his presence, his heart...
my very favorite "Pops" in the whole wide world

and the One who makes it all possible... who blesses and blesses and forgives and forgives.
Who comforts and strengthens and enables and protects.
Who heals and rescues and empowers and redeems.
Who loves-- perfectly, unconditionally, and without limit.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!"

1 John 3:1

holy experience

and the list goes on...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mmmm... bread!

In our continuing quest for healthier (and simpler) living, Chris and I have committed ourselves to making a few needed changes...
to making a few adjustments in the way we live, and most especially, in the way we eat. Our most recent installment--
homemade bread & muffins...

because over the past several months, Chris and I have become *fully* convinced
finally taken the plunge-- we've bought everything we need to start milling our own grains
and baking our own bread.

So tomorrow, while my men are happily celebrating the onset of summer
at a Washington Nationals game,
Lolli & I will carefully move our pile of goodies
from the living room to the kitchen,
and there, with lots of patience (and surely many phonecalls for help :),
we'll start baking our very own bread!!

Wish me luck... and happy weekending, everyone!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My educational goals

Last fall, Heidi wrote an excellent post regarding educational goals...
her educational goals.
Goals that have nothing to do with standardized bubble tests,
achievement rates, and assembly line education...
but everything to do with raising truly "human beings."

I was very impressed by her list and have thought of it often,
especially over these past few weeks as I've been elbow-deep in catalogs and books and plans
for our next academic year.

What qualities do I want to see in my children... right now and 10 years from now?
What traits do I want to instill in them?
What do I want for them... in the long run?
When all's said and done, what is the end goal of their education?
For them to be loving, capable, and content? Yes.
But even more-so... for them to be God-honoring, God-following,
God-adoring, God-praising beings... all of their days...
who seek to glorify Him in all they say and do.

So, inspired by Heidi's list and excited by the possibilities,
I decided to write one of my own...
modeled after hers, of course, because she's a creative genius, and me...
well, not so much.

Here's my list:

What I want for my children,
that they might live a rich life:

Love God,

glorify Him, and

hide His Word in your heart.

Serve others.

Give thanks.

Stand for truth & settle for nothing less.

Run with perseverance and

never. give. up.

Learn something new every day.

Ask questions and search for answers.

Read. Read. Read.
And then read some more.

Explore. Investigate. Observe. Discover.

Examine. Inquire. Think.

Play hard and sleep well.

Count your blessings and

laugh. every. single. day.

Learn to be content in all things, and

never forget that character counts.


Plant a garden and watch it grow.

Bask in the sunshine and jump in the puddles.

Manage your time and your resources well.

Dream big!

Encourage one another,

and build each other up.

Practice hospitality.

Think, discuss, and share ideas.

Accept new challenges.

Listen before you speak.

Be kind and honor others.

Defend freedom and

protect the innocent.

Be strong & courageous.


Dwell on the lovely, the pure, and the noble,

and ponder His goodness, every single day.

Seek wisdom.

Show compassion.


Cherish relationships.

Pray without ceasing.

Care for the needy.


And always remember: you are loved.

Monday, June 14, 2010

1000 Gifts: June days

"The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes,
and surely it is in the everyday things around us
that the true life lies."

--Laura Ingalls Wilder

A joy-filled heart, a thankful heart, another week for counting...
the last of the peonies

a wrist full of silly bands... his favorite new collection

chai tea with friends and laughter around the table

play time

our neighbors' strawberry patch... and their wonderfully generous offer to share

the way she says "berries"... they're her "boo-eys"

plans for next year... finally coming together

and shopping for school books-- DONE!

convention companions, shared meals, and homeschool planners

my very best friend-- and an all-be-it brief time together

my mama's generosity and her help with the littles


dinner with classmates-- their kindness, their hospitality, their friendship for more than 15 years

basketball hoops and scooters, popsicles and cupcakes

and plans to get together again-- very, very soon!

"Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name."

1 Chronicles 29:13

holy experience

and the list continues...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Homeschooling benefit #102

The dog is invited to "P.E. class,"

the catcher is allowed to "take out" the batter,

and the outfielder is allowed (& able) to wreak absolute havoc on the game at any point in time.

And the teacher-- instead of dragging said offenders down the hall to the principal's office
for some obligatory disiplinary measure--

is permitted to simply sit back and laugh. And smile. And delight.

Because this is her family, her time, her love....
God's grace.

Monday, June 7, 2010

1000 Gifts: A little bit of June

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise his Name,
I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Counting His blessings... one at a time.
Truly, His mercies are new every morning!

one brother teaching another

and the last few math lessons... DONE!

test results in hand... their amazing accomplishments

and the celebration that follows... their job well done

yes, proud mama moments... too many to count

and this heart-tugging sweetness... her very first "paint"

summer vacation, just a stone's throw away

filled with afternoons at the pool and our best pals, too

a chance to bake bread with a very good friend

and flowers on the porch... the outside brought in

a plastic harmonica, sweet melodies galore

yes, her little girl music from morning 'til night

time with her "Momom" and a big bucket of peas

and backyard excitement... our veggies-- they're growing!

reading success & a chance to fly solo... my 5-year tyke with his nose in a book

haircuts and... individuality!

his gentle reminder, "Mom, it WILL grow back."

motherhood-- I simply can't count it enough

and the joy that comes with raising little men

his boldness to proclaim the Truth that sets him free

God's grace upon grace... His mercies every morning

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.

I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."

Psalm 9:1-2

holy experience

and the list continues...