Friday, August 20, 2010

Cherishing the last of these summer days...

even with massive kitchen (and drywall and siding and roofing, oh my) repairs
looming on the horizon.

Oh, the last of these lazy hazy summer days!
We're breathing them in SLOWLY...
one scrumptious day at a time.

Tomorrow we're off to the beach (hallelujah!!)~
so happy end-of-summering, and I'll see you in September!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You know you have a problem when...

*** you hear cries from the kitchen at breakfast time, "Mom, the ceiling is leaking!!"

*** you open the pantry door (after placing a towel under the leaky spot) and immediately notice a very large puddle on the pantry floor, three shelves that no longer hold DRY cereal and cracker boxes but splattered and soaked ones instead, and a steady stream of water dripping from THAT ceiling... drip, drip, drip.

*** you assume a bathroom/pipe leak directly above and call the plumber, who in turn slices a hole in the kitchen ceiling to take a "peak." This, in turn, results in a gushing waterfall of sorts-- straight from kitchen ceiling to kitchen floor. Evidently = no minor leak. And this of course, inspires your favorite two-year old to happily proclaim, "Mommy, it's raining!" Yes... outside AND inside. What fun.

*** that same plumber climbs into the overhead storage space (in the adjoining hallway) and all you hear him mutter is, "Oh, wow."

*** you (along with the plumber) realize it's NOT a plumbing issue at all but a roofing one instead. So as a result, you call the roofer. Once he arrives, he carefully examines your situtaion (with a look of profound confusion on his face) and then slowly declares, "I don't know HOW that happened."

*** you then continue to hear words from the roofer (and his coworker-- the one he's since called to come join him in the search for the source of the leak) such as "puzzled," "I don't know," "I'm baffled," and "How on God's green earth did it GET there?"

Yep, that's when you know you've got a problem. A BIG problem.

Funny that I would know :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not Back to School Blog Hop: Student Photo Week

During the month of August, Heart of the Matter has been hosting a Not Back to School blog hop, and boy oh boy, there's been lots of good stuff to read! Unfortunately, I came in a bit late on the whole thing and missed posting our curriculum plans for week 1, and then, since I don't have a designated school space in our home, I decided not to participate in the hop for week 2. Now, however, that it's the middle of the month, and now that week 3 is upon us, I get to finally chime in because I DO have students... and they're the best part of it all!

As I searched for a few recent pics of my crew to share in this post, I automatically looked for a few nice, traditional poses... but after pausing for a moment (and after uploading a few recent shots from the backyard), I opted for a few slightly less traditional ones. So with that in mind, here's my crew... my favorite little people in all the world... AND my curriculum plans for next year (I had to get them posted some way or other!)

Bub (11): my rising 6th grader
my swimmer extraordinaire... my compassionate & thoughtful, honest & loyal,
happy-go-lucky, always-loves-the-limelight boy

Math:: Singapore Primary & Intensive Practice 6 A & B; Challenging Word Problems 5
Life of Fred Decimals & Percents (my son BEGS to do more LoF~
I cannot recommend it enough!)

Writing:: Institute for Excellence in Writing. We took a break from IEW this past year; I'm very glad to be returning this fall.

Latin:: finish First Form Latin; start Second Form thereafter

Grammar:: Rod & Staff 6
Daily Paragraph Editing 6 (an excellent 3-minute-ish drill each day...
very, very worthwhile)

History/Geography/Literature/Church History:: Tapestry of Grace Year 4
(Love, love, love Tapestry-- definitely the highlight of our last school year!)

Science:: Rainbow Science (biology) through co-op

Bible/Devotions:: still deciding on Bible.
Logic:: Mindbenders, Perplexors, and 5-Minute Mysteries

Art & Public Speaking:: through co-op

Noh-man (9) on the left: my rising 4th grader
my second swimmer extraordinaire... my tender-hearted, adventure-seeking,
determinedly hardworking, book-loving boy

Math:: Singapore Primary & Intensive Practice 4 A & B; Challenging Word Problems 3

Writing:: Institute for Excellence in Writing

Latin:: finish Lively Latin 1; start Lively Latin 2

Grammar:: Rod & Staff 4 and Daily Paragraph Editing 4

History/Geography/Literature/Church History:: Tapestry of Grace Year 4

Science:: Christian Kids Explore Biology through co-op

Bible/Devotions:: with Bub

Fine Arts:: (to coordinate with the Tapestry curriculum) through co-op

Big Man (5): my rising kindergartner
yet my third swimmer extraordinaire... my belly-flopping, cannonball-diving,
fearless-flopping, gymnast of a guy~ funny and wild and bright

Reading: finish First Reader by Phyllis Schlafly
Nora Gaydos Readers, Pathway readers
Explode the Code 2/3/4

Writing:: A Reason for Handwriting A
copywork, Scripture & poetry in particular

Arithmetic:: finish Horizons K; start Horizons 1

Bible/Devotions:: with his brothers plus AWANA

Literature and activities:: Five in a Row at co-op and at home

Lollipop (2): my ever-present companion... with her bathing suit on backwards.
But she didn't mind-- she put it on all by herself :)

She's my little tiny guppy, my favorite candy on the shelf
(as my sister-in-love likes to call her)...
my pretty-in-pink-and-loving-every-second-of-it gal

The plans for her year~ play, play, play

Not Back to School Blog Hop

And that wraps it up here.

Be sure to hop on over to Heart of the Matter for inspiration and encouragement,
and of course... for a peek at all the other students who will surely
be heading back to school in the next few weeks...
ready or not :)

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.

~William Butler Yeats

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our weekend in pictures

2010 Eastern Zone Long Course Age Group Championships
1209 athletes from Virginia to Maine
Rockville, Maryland
August 11-14

Noh-man came.
And swam.
And conquered.

And had an absolute blast.

#1 nine-year old in my heart, that's for sure.

And now... now he can rest.
'Cause the swim season is over.

At least for the next 3 weeks, that is :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

1000 Gifts: Summer fun

"But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.
If you keep to my path,
I will reveal to you the salvation of God."

Psalm 50:23

And so I add another page to my journal and offer thanks to the Giver of it all~

a return trip to the farm... Farmer Bill's generosity and Mrs. Cynthia's warm welcome

a chance to meet Shrek and a few of his friends

and a graduation (with honors!) from Goat Milking 101

sunset on the horizon

with family

the chance to get up close and personal

and our renewed appreciation for life on the farm

a quiet lazy week without a single committment for days

a drop-in visit and pizza with our cousins

leisure time in the garden

and a pool date with friends

Big Man's success-- his deep-end "survival" test... passed!

so now dive after dive, flop after flop... in water 11 feet deep.... his new favorite domain

shopping for school supplies on a tax-free weekend

new binders and crayons, pencils and glue

plus 10,000 sheets of printer paper-- I don't think I'll ever run out!

5-year old enthusiasm: "I can't wait for school to start!"

and the tags cut off... the new backpack stuffed full and ready to go, even though co-op doesn't start for 5 more weeks

the anticipation of our vacation yet to come and dreams of days on the beach

a moment to rest and reflect, renew and refocus, and mentally prepare for what's to come

God's all-sufficient grace

and His strength... made perfect in my weakness

"But He said to me,
'My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.'
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:9-11

holy experience

and the list goes on...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Still. learning. one. day. at. a. time.

Alrighty. Earlier this summer I made a confession:

I was stressed. I was overwhelmed. I was plumb tuckered out. BUT God, in His infinite grace-full-ness, spoke a word over me, infused me with His power, and set me on the straight and narrow... resting in Him, secure in His provision, quiet in heart... free!

Now, however, on this 6th day of August, it's time for another confession:

I've wandered from that lovely place... from that burden-less straight and narrow. And I've wandered far. Yes, that wonderful feeling of heaven-sent peace that washed over me those many weeks ago... it's gone. Of course, not because the Lord removed it from me, but because I chose to stray in my own weary fashion... and yes, my OWN weary fashion looks nothing like His perfect one.

And as a result, I've fallen prey to those same struggles yet AGAIN.

I've stressed AGAIN. I've grumbled AGAIN. And I've allowed myself to return to that oh-so-ugly place of panic one. more. time.

Because school is quickly approaching. Along with a course in 20th century history (a class I'll be co-teaching for junior high students). And of course-- the end of a lazy hazy summer that's been anything but.

And that... well... that makes for a rather frazzled and frizzled mama (instead of a loving and generous and patient and quiet and tender and full-of-grace mama), and as most of us know, when the gal in charge is in that sort of state, stand back.

Can I get an 'amen'??

Enter Tsh at Simple Mom this morning with this utterly profound, stopped-me-in-my-tracks declaration: Stress is a choice. Yep, that one got me.

"Stress is a choice. Do you buy that? Some people have a hard time with the idea. ...
Yes, bad things happen: The economy sours, our business struggles, the stock market tumbles, jobs are lost, people around us don't follow through, deadlines are missed, projects fail,
good people leave. Life is full of these. But still, stress is a choice
because whatever the 'trigger event,' we always choose our own response.
We choose to react angrily. We choose to stuff our emotions and keep quiet.
We choose to worry. ... Stress is a choice."

~John G. Miller, QBQ! The Question Behind the Question

AND THEN... just 30 minutes later, Kelly Minter (the author of my biblestudy) had to jump on the bandwagon as well.

With regards to Ruth and Boaz and the scene that unfolds in chapter 3, verses 14-18~

[Drawing from Christ so that we can generously pour love on others]
"can be hard to practice because receiving our supply from God isn't always as tangible
as a bag of grain, a fish, or a piece of bread [as seen in Matthew 15:29-37]
that we walk up and take from His hand. It may be something concrete,
but many times it's a supply of patience, forgiveness, love, wisdom, or comfort
that we desperately need from Him so we can pour it out on someone else--
just like Ruth did for Naomi with the grain.
This kind of spiritual supply comes from being in Jesus' presence.
Meditating on the pages of Scripture.
Committing to focused prayer.
Waiting quietly on Him so our spirits can learn his voice.
Ruth knew where Boaz was, she sought him out, and she lay at his feet.
It is not surprising she walked away with something to offer someone else" (page 111).

Nothing new.
Nothing I haven't heard before.
But something I all too quickly forget.

Something I need to hear over and over and over again.

Something I need to LIVE by... every moment... every day... as I shower His Love on my little people... every chance I get... while He meets my every need and enables my stress-free living~

Starting now.

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The end of July, the state championship, fast-food overload, and... EXHAUSTION

So it's August now. I'm not real sure where July went, but I'm told it really was here, all 31 days of it in fact. Somehow or other I just completely missed it. Or at least I feel like I did. Because the calendar flipped to month number 7, and then it flipped once again to month number 8, seemingly overnight. And you know what that means? For all intents & purposes, summer is over. School is just around the corner. And I'm not ready in any way, shape, or form. Ugh~

Anyhoo, putting my grumbling aside (grin), I'll share a few little tidbits regarding our adventures of this weekend past. In the western part of the state we wrapped up (almost) the summer swim season with the state championships at VA Tech. We had a grand time (though the pups did not... prison [aka: the kennel] is NOT their avorite place) as both Bub and Noh-man competed for 4 days straight. And now, as a result, both have many, many, many more things to add to their gratitude journals. A few of the highlights:

Noh-man (as ranked amongst his fellow 9 year-olds):

In the 400 meter freestyle-- 1st in the state.
In the 100 meter butterfly-- 1st in the state.
And in the 200 meter individual medley-- 3rd in the state.

Bub (as ranked amongst his fellow 11-year olds):

In the 400 meter freestyle-- 1st in the state.
In the 200 meter butterfly-- 4th in the state.
And in the 100 meter freestyle-- 4th in the state.

Popping at the seams proud doesn't come close to describing my mental state at this moment in time (well, other than exhausted :). My boys fought and scrappled and did.their.thing. with the best (and fastest) in the state, and though they both had their ups and their downs, they never gave up, they never gave in, and they never sacrificed humility or courage or determination or honor in their pursuit of victory. The Lord continues to work in their hearts and in their lives, and I simply could not ask for more. To Him be the glory... great things He has done!

Now... as for fast-food overload-- I think you get the point. Four days and three nights in a hotel does not for healthy living make. But we survived (and oh, how I still love Chick-fil-a!) and once again have a whole new appreciation for home-cooked meals.

And now... now that we're home... and now that it's August (yes, I'm still trying to get my mind around that fact), we're gonna crash. And crash HARD. Because we're plumb tuckered out. See you when we wake up~ or perhaps next fall... whichever comes first :)

"For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies."

Psalm 108:4