Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's late in the day.  Our holiday has been spent cooking, eating, and visiting.  We're cozied away up in the woods with my parents' place.  It's been good; the baby has even been sleeping well since we arrived a few days ago.   We have talked, played games, had fun outside.  We even saw a moose!
And so, at the end of this day we set aside each year to offer thanks, I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm especially thankful for this year.

I'm unspeakably thankful for my fantastic husband Jeff.  He is such a fun, wise, tender, loyal, sexy, capable, gracious, compassionate, and godly man. I am blessed to be his wife, and so grateful our children have this amazing guy for their father.

Today I am thankful for my boys. They are full of fun, sweet, smart, inventive, and - they love Jesus. I'm so honored and humbled at the blessing of raising them to be men of God!

I am so very thankful for my daughter. She brings such a sweet richness to my life, and I enjoy spending time with her more than I could have imagined! Our little girl absolutely lights up our home; she is such an amazing blessing.

I'm thankful for my sweet and considerate parents. They researched a whole host of gluten-free recipes (including pie crust and other Thanksgiving goodies) then went out and bought almond flour and coconut flour, among other things. I am blessed!

I'm thankful for my brother - my only sibling.  He's grown into a man I'm pleased to call brother, and it's a delight to know that he is a wonderful husband and father.  It's so fun to say that even aside from family bonds, I genuinely like him and my sister-in-law.

I am thankful for my women's Bible study group. This autumn marks 10 years since I began meeting with them. Some individuals around the table have come and gone, and the faces of those who remained have changed over time. Yet I am so grateful for this group of encouragers and the incredible difference they have made in my life!   

I am thankful to those who paid the ultimate price for my freedom.

And I am ever-so-thankful that kombucha is gluten-free!

I am so thankful for our homeschool co-op. The ladies there have been such a source of encouragement to me on this journey, and it's really good for my kids to spend time with other children who are educated at home. What a blessing!

In these uncertain times, I am so thankful to know Who knows the future.

There are so many things I am thankful for today. Love, family, friends, food, health. But the main thing, really, is simple. I am thankful for the matchless grace of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

why "What I Wore Wednesday" isn't fair

Have you heard about What I Wore Wednesday over at the pleated poppy?  The blogger Lindsey Cheney writes an explanation of the concept: 
...after years of staying at home with my kids i began to “let myself go”.  i started this to motivate myself to just get dressed – put a few minutes into myself to feel better for the whole day!  if you are finding yourself in this same situation, i want to encourage you to join us –  this really works!  take a look at all the other ladies joining me – real women wearing real clothes!

I like the idea, I really do.  I've even considered joining in the blog hop myself, but I had a teensy little problem.   Just an itty bitty one.

Here's the deal:   Wednesdays don't work for me.  You might say I have a bit of a conflict.  You see, in my life, in my world, Wednesday is sweatpants-and-slippers day.

I realize that this appears to fly in the face of the very spirit of WIWW.  Truthfully I have made an effort for years now to limit my sweatpants-wearing to one day a week.  In a silly little way I felt I needed to help raise the standard for stay-at-home moms everywhere.  Mightily I resisted the siren call of wearing sweatpants and pajamas every day of the week.  After all, one must make some effort, right?  And a thing like that can be a slippery slope.

But I did keep one day.  Wednesday.

You see, many days of the week I get out of the house.  Saturday is shopping day.  Sunday is church.  Monday is homeschool co-op.  Tuesday, Bible study, the milk run and Awanas.  And then comes Wednesday.

Wednesday.  The first day after a long stretch when I don't have to go anywhere.  When this homebody can brew a hot drink, snuggle up with her little ones and read the day away.  Wednesday is just perfect for sweats (or shall we use the more flattering term "yoga pants"?).   A cozy, comfy, "the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful" day. 

Perhaps things will shift a bit now that Monday School is finished for the year.   Maybe Monday will become my comfy day.  But...I don't know.  I couldn't say.  There's something about that midway point, that halfway-day in the midst of all those weekdays, that just speaks to me.  That says...

Relax.  Unwind.  Take a deep breath.  

Just be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I won't be "Mother of the Year" in 2012.

This week already feels a little different.

Monday School finished up this week.  Henceforth Mondays will be our own again, and I fully plan to crack down and get a lot done on those mornings.   History, Bible, Math, Language Arts, laundry, you name it.  I can hardly wait to get going.

This Friday night is our homeschool co-op's Showcase Night.  Three of my children will be taking part in presentations.  There will be Spanish recitations.  Owen's class will be singing.   There will be tables displaying class work - such as a board game my son helped create. Their teachers will be present.  There may be a video montage.  It will be a chance for the to show off what they've been doing and learning this term.

And I will not be there.

My husband will be taking the kids by himself, hopefully taking videos of what I'm missing.  He'll be navigating the crowd with our brood in tow, tending to bathroom emergencies, finding seats, reminding them to listen quietly, c lapping for them, and then taking the lot home and getting them into bed - without me.  Did I mention I won't be there?

Nope.  Instead, I will be resting in a cozy beach house at the coast.  I'm taking the baby (who would apparently starve if I wasn't around to nurse him regularly) and heading west with a group of friends for a weekend of relaxation and encouragement.

I'm excited, looking forward to it, anticipating...and feeling a little guilty.  I don't like the idea of missing their presentations.  I feel bad that Jeff will be playing the single parent while I'm away (though I know he's more than capable; he is such a great dad).  Still I am choosing to go.  I want to go.

I want to bask in the wisdom and perspective of these mamas - did I mention they're all homeschoolers?   I want to get away for a few days, to have an adventure, to enjoy the company and fellowship of other women.    And I want to soak up the encouragement which I'm sure will slow.  The reminder of why we do what we do.  The reason(s) we're on this crazy journey.

And I think it'll be worth it.

So I'm taking the leap, going out on a limb, stepping out of my comfort zone.  And yes, I'll be missing Showcase Night.  Still, my kids know I love them and am praying for them.  And when we get back I will snuggle up with them and watch the videos of the presentations I missed - hopefully a more relaxed and even happier mama.

Here I the salty sea air, the sound of the waves, the murmur of women's voices and the pleasure of being away from home.  Here I conversation, laughter, food, and most of all, encouragement.

Worth it?  Yes...

Monday, November 12, 2012


Recently I've been making my way through the Old Testament prophets.    Sobering words indeed.  Those passages have always been difficult for me to read.  So much tragedy!   Such foolishness for Israel to turn away from the Lord God, who'd been her Champion for so many years.

When I read those ancient words in light of the modern world, it makes me shudder.  This culture in which we live, it has turned away from the Lord.  
This is what the Lord says:“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’  But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
Therefore hear, you nations;
 you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them.19  Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.
Jeremiah 6:16-19
There are so many more passages that caught my attention and made my heart skip a beat.  It all sounded so eerie in its similarity to our present economic  political, and cultural climate.  I am afraid.  Afraid for my country, afraid because I see the fruit that's coming of the choices our nation has made - whether intentionally or through silence.  

I don't know what the future holds, but it seems we can't go on this way.  We are on a path to destruction, plain and simple.   Whether it comes next week, next year or in 50 years, it frightens me.


I worked out the above words a few days ago.  And here we stand today.  Truthfully, I must tell you - I'm more afraid than ever.  What will the future bring for my country?  What will it look like for my children?   Lord, come quickly...

I fear that God has allowed America to have the leadership she deserves.  I fear for what may happen in the months and years to come.  I fear that many in my country are about to have a very rude awakening, one for which they will not at all be prepared.


I don't think the Lord wants us to cower in fear.  I don't think He would have us paralyzed with anxiety.  My feeling is that He would have us move forward as best we know how.

What does that mean?  I'm not totally sure at the moment, but I think...

Speak the truth.  We must not turn away from what is true, and from working to protect the unborn. We must teach our children according to God's laws above all else.  And we must not twist the words of the Bible to support what we want to say.   Truth is absolute, unchangeable.  It is.

Prepare.  To me this means to be ready for difficult days ahead.  We must be aware, we must keep keep up our supplies.  We must think about hard things, for the sake of those we love - our families, our children, and eventually our grandchildren.

Pray.   This one brings tears to my eyes even as I type the words.  Oh, to be a better pray-er!   We must pray for our nation, for the hearts and souls of our people, for our pastors, for our churches, for revival.  We must pray for our children, our spouses, and for our own hearts to be strong.

We must pray, too, for our president.  Whether we agree with his leadership or not, we must pray.  We must pray for him to make good decisions for this country.  And this morning I was thinking...let's pray for his salvation.  Wouldn't it be something if he really, truly came to know Jesus?  It would be tremendous, monumental, better than any novel ever written or the plot of any movie ever made.  It would be a game-changer.

It could happen, you know.  God's specialty is transforming hearts; he is mighty to save. Think of Nebuchadnezzar.  Think of Saul, later to become Paul.  Think of the Roman Emperor Constantine.  Is anything too hard for God?

I think not.
In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.  (Proverbs 21:1)
So there is hope.

And even if it all falls down around us, even if the worst happens, we who believe know the end of the story.

Our Redeemer wins.

Monday, November 5, 2012

6 things I learned homeschooling my kids last week

1)   The more I teach math, the better I'm getting at doing math.  It's amazing to me, but I am re-learning this stuff, and learning much more efficient methods of handling numbers.  I love it!  And I love watching my 4-year-old develop an appreciation for math as well.  Math, fun!  Who knew?

2)   Reading aloud is really, really hard with a wailing baby in my arms.  Okay, so I knew this one already.  But truly, I am re-learning it.  Don't worry - I think it's just teething issues. But whew!  Not such a great time...for anyone.  Hooray for naptime!

3)   Laminators are super cool.  We purchased a laminator a few years ago, but (and this is so embarrassing  the truth is, I was afraid of it.  I still can't put my finger on exactly why, but that's the way it was.  However, I have recently begun to use the thing and have discovered that I'm crazy in love with it.  Laminating at home: incredibly useful and very, very cool.

4)  My kids are super cool.  The more time I spend with my kids, the more I enjoy them (though I do confess to loving a break now and again.  I do adore alone time!).  They are so much fun!  They make me laugh each and every day.

5)   We are having fun this year!   What an immense blessing.  It isn't always perfect (in fact, it rarely is perfect) but it is actually enjoyable a lot of the time.  I am so incredibly thankful.

6)  At the moment in time, we are actually ahead of schedule.  And it feels good!  I know things will ebb and flow, but this first term was going to be difficult to soldier through.  So it's amazing and encouraging to me that we're doing so well.  But don't tell my kids!  I'd like to save some flexibility for sick days and special stuff.  So...shhh!

Friday, November 2, 2012

who's who? tigger edition *ANSWERS*

Here it is, the moment you've been waiting for!  The answers to Wednesday's Who's Who? Tigger Edition are as follows:

Top left: Ben
Top right: Kyle
Bottom left: Owen
Bottom right: Gabriel

I think everyone who guessed (both on Facebook and in the comments) got one or two right, but the only one to  correctly identify each of my boys?  Grandma L.  Way to go, Mama!  I'm so proud.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We call him Dr. Destructo, and with good reason.

The other evening I was tidying the play area - a little space close to the kitchen with baby and toddler toys, for the little ones to play nearby while I'm working.  The play area'd had a lot of love recently and things were in pretty serious disarray.   Alone in the house with Gabriel, having a few minutes to spare before I would take him up to bed, I thought to spiff it up.  Give us the gift of a nice neat play space in the morning.

I gathered the play food into their groups.  I sorted the magnetic animals and the ring-stacking cone.  I put the car and tow truck in the Little People garage along with their mechanics.   Gabe was happily beside me, and it took me a few minutes to realize what he was doing.

To my dismay, he was coming along behind me and undoing everything.  Unabashedly, without shame.  The clothes to dress the little princess?  Plucked up one by one and dropped off the shelf.  The magnetic animals?  Dumped on the floor again.  His sister's plastic tea set and the tractor set.  And then he went for the real prize: those child-sized pots and pans.

He'd come through like a tiny tornado and disrupted my attempts at order, completely and utterly.

Some times in life are like that - you're trying to put things in order, and you've nearly got it...and then one thing happens and it's all undone.   Without warning, in an instant.  Erased.  Changed.  Undone.  As though it had never been almost there.

Some people in life are like that.  There are those who sweep in and knock us off balance.  Sometimes in a positive way, sometimes not.  And there are children who are like that too.  They come into our lives like little tidal waves: roaring, confusing us, stretching us.    They challenge all our previous experiences, all we thought we knew of parenting.  They leave us a little shaken...and maybe even a little scared.

Gabriel has been that child for me.

He has been a hard baby for me.  I love him fiercely and completely, but he has been hard.   Considerably more demanding than my other children (with one possible exception), a lot more clingy.  He refuses to sleep through the night with anything like consistency - most nights he's up three times.  He consistently yells over my voice when I read aloud for school.   He is challenging, in more ways than I can express here and now.

And I know, yes, I know, that there are parents in far more difficult circumstances.  I know there are so many babies with health issues and intolerances.  I hope and pray that my words do not sound callous or insensitive.  I do not mean for them to be so.

But in my own life, in my family, in my home, in my circumstances, it's been very much a stretching experience.  He has been a stretching experience.  But it's an experience given specifically to me, and I'm growing through it.

I am finding my footing - and finding myself thankful.  Thankful for this past year, the challenging times as well  as the happy ones.  And there have been very happy times for Gabe and me.  We have a great time together, and I think it's safe to say we're crazy in love with each other.

Still, the truth remains: he rocked my world.

He has changed me forever, and it's good.  He is a blessing, and an instrument that the Lord has used to shape, humble and mold me.  I'm so thankful for my little son, for the place he's taken in our family.  Sometimes coming undone makes me stronger in the end.

Whatever the path, whatever the situation, it can refine me.  God can refine me through it, if I let him.  Even through those crazy twists and turns of this journey of life.