28 December 2012

Rest

We both took the week off.

Some down time with each other;
Some down time with the kids.

We're celebrating 24 years of marriage;
Celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

Dicecapades, holiday movies, reading Dickens aloud;
Staying up late, sleeping in, napping.

Rest for our bodies and rest
for our spirits and rest from
the stress of a working-week life.

"Come to Me, all who labour...
and I will give you rest."

This is my first time linking up with Adrienne for:
Please click on the button to read more.

18 December 2012

Keeping Advent: All Is Well

So many thoughts are in my head.  I am not nearly so eloquent as many others, but I want to try to get some of those thoughts out, so here goes.

I was raised by parents who had experienced the sudden, tragic loss of two of their children.  Two years before I was born, my mother and sisters were in a terrible car accident.  My sisters, 3 and 4 years old, were killed, and my mother almost died herself.  In fact, the doctors said that her survival was a miracle ~ words not used lightly by emergency room physicians.  Both of my parents often told me that God sustained them through their grief.  Their faith gave them hope to go on, peace that was beyond human comprehension, and brought joy into their lives again.

On Friday, the day we all were reminded of the evil that exists in this world, I got a phone call from a friend.  She called to ask if I would like to sing in the choir with Michael W. Smith at his concert on Saturday.  Of course I would!  One of the songs we sang was "All Is Well." 

All is well ~ in this broken, fallen, violent world, because of His love for us.  This world was broken, fallen, and violent 2000ish years ago on that night in Bethlehem when not one selfish person would give up their room to a young girl in labour, and within 2 years of the Messiah's birth, a cruel, power-hungry man would order the slaughter of who-knows-how-many innocent children.  Yet the angels still said:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
All is well ~ because He came to that world, He comes into our hearts and lives, and He will come to take His bride home.  I had forgotten all about this song until I sang it on Saturday.  I have been singing it frequently since; It has been a source of comfort to me.  Perhaps it will be to someone else as well.



I am linking up with these lovely ladies throughout Advent:


Advent 2012 Button

10 December 2012

Keeping Advent: Daily

To see all of my Advent posts click on the banner:

This post is simply an explanation of how I am attempting to keep a peaceful focus on Christ and prepare more room for Him in my heart and home on a daily basis.

In the morning:
I awaken very early, plug in the tree lights, put the kettle on, and settle down to my morning prayers using Praying Advent.

After these readings and reflections, I turn on my Advent playlist, fix my tea, and sit back down by the tree to spend some time peacefully pondering what I have read.

After the sun is up and my husband and children are awake, we gather around the tree, pray the Advent Prayer to Jesus, open our Advent box, take out that day's ornament, read the scripture, and hang the ornament.

At some point of the day:
I have made a list of one thing for each day.  It may be a family outing, a special craft or activity, an act of charity/service, or even a seasonal movie or tv special. 

I try to keep Advent music playing whenever possible.

I am really trying to be watchful and open to ways of loving and serving Him through loving and serving others.

In the evening:
We gather around the Advent wreath, light the candle(s), and read the prayers and scripture passages.  We spread the scripture readings over a few evenings each week.

Before I go to bed:
I sit down with the tree lights again, and pray St. Andrew's Novena.  
This is something completely new to me.  I have never prayed a novena before, but I am really hoping that it will help keep my focus where it needs to be during this season.  I have found the following video helpful:


I am linking up with these lovely ladies throughout Advent:


Advent 2012 Button

Please visit them to read about how others are keeping this beautiful season.

06 December 2012

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Loving God, we thank You for
      the example of Saint Nicholas,
      who fed the hungry,
      brought hope to the imprisoned,
      gave comfort to the lost,
      and taught the truth to all.
May we strive to imitate him
      by putting You first in all we do.
Give us the courage, love and strength
      of Saint Nicholas, so that, like him,
      we may serve You through loving
      our brothers and sisters.
Amen. 

—by Amy Welborn
found at the St. Nicholas Center

02 December 2012

Keeping Advent: Week 1


Advent Prayer to Jesus

You are our eternal salvation,
The unfailing light of the world.
Light everlasting,
You are truly our redemption.
Grieving that the human race was perishing
through the tempter's power,
without leaving the heights
You came to the depths in your loving kindness.
Readily taking our humanity by Your gracious will,
You saved all earthly creatures, long since lost,
Restoring joy to the world.
Redeem our souls and bodies, O Christ,
and so possess us as Your shining dwellings.
By Your first coming, make us righteous;
At your second coming, set us free:
So that, when the world is filled with light
and you judge all things,
We may be clad in spotless robes
and follow in Your steps, O King,
Into the heavenly hall.

~Unknown Author, 10th century

Tonight we lit the first candle on our Advent wreath: the candle of Hope.

Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come,
that by thy protection we may be rescued
from the dangers that beset us through our sins;
and be a Redeemer to deliver us;
Who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end.
~Amen


O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
desire of every nation, 
Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell among us.

 And I made a "wreath" cake for us to enjoy.

Linking up:
  Advent 2012 Button

30 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 30

Thank You, God for my son...with his blonde curls and big, blue eyes.
I am thankful for his kindness, courtesy, and compassion.
I am thankful for his height;)
I am thankful for his dry wit.
I am thankful for the honour and privilege of being his mama!

Happy 15th Birthday!

29 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Days 26-29

Thank You, God for:
  • candlelight
  • tea
  • music
  • prayer

24 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 24

Thank You, God for my son...my tow-headed, green-eyed, introverted boy. 
I thank You that he is not too big to cuddle...or too cool to say "I love you!" 
I thank You for his sense of humour, his easy-going way, his thoughtful nature.
I thank You for the precious gift that he is in my life and for the blessing of being his mama!

Happy 13th Birthday!

23 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Days 17-23

Thank You, God for:
  • my home
  • the church
  • my mama ~ she was 82 on Monday.  She is in the advanced stage of Alzheimer's and lives 2,000 miles away; i love and miss her.
  • rest
  • work
  • enough food to eat ~ and then some
  • my family
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!
For His merciful kindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!
~Psalm 117

16 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 16

Thank You, God for a wonderful, loving, godly father.

Happy Birthday, Daddy; I miss you!
16 November, 1926 ~ 26 September, 2002

15 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 15

Thank You, God for autumn.
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

~Emily Bronte

14 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 14

Thank You, God that we are all safe and healthy.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
~Psalm 33:18-22

13 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 13

Thank You, God for a magnificent sunrise.

~Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.

~Psalm 119

147 rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.

~Psalm 143

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

~Isaiah 58

Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

~Lamentations 3

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

12 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 12

Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!

I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.

The works of the Lord are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
His work is honorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
He has declared to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of His hands are verity and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They stand fast forever and ever,
And are done in truth and uprightness.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has commanded His covenant forever:
Holy and awesome is His name.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.

10 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 10

Thank You, God for my amazing husband!
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God;
and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
~1 John 4:7 & 16

09 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 9

Thank You, God for naps.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
~Psalm 4:7-8

08 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 8

Thank You, God for friends, football, and fun.
Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
~Proverbs 27:9

07 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 7

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
 
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

06 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 6

Thank You, God for my nation and for the privilege of having a voice.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

05 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 5

Thank You, God for Your amazing work of creation.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
~Psalm 8:3-4

04 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 4

Thank You, God for a wonderful day of rest and worship.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
~Psalm 27:4

03 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 3

Thank You, God for a wonderful family day.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.
~Psalm 128:2-4

02 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 2

Thank You, God for my weakness.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

01 November 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks: Day 1

Thank You, God for my life, today, right here, right now.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~Psalm 118:24

04 September 2012

Read Alouds

I Love Read Alouds!

When I was in school, my favourite time of the day was when the teacher read aloud to us.  When I was in college, preparing to be an elementary school teacher, I looked forward to reading aloud to my students.  When I became a mother, I began reading aloud to my baby.  When I began to homeschool, I continued to read aloud to my children.  When I went to work full-time for a year, I didn't have the energy for daily reading aloud, and I missed it!  When I was able to cut back to part-time, I reclaimed read alouds.

Although they overlap somewhat; I differentiate our Morning Time Reading from our Read Alouds this way:
  • MT Readings are chosen by me to be read and discussed.  I read them in small bits and bites, occasionally even using only portions of a book.  They are more often non-fiction, but not always.
  • Read Alouds are simply me reading out loud while the children listen.  They are usually fictional chapter books which we read through, a chapter a day, with little or no discussion.  Some of them are assigned books from History Quest; some are chosen by me, and some of them are chosen by the kids.
I use picture books for both MT and RA; I firmly believe that there is no age limit for a good picture book!

Here is our current Read Aloud list:

03 September 2012

Our Homeschool Studies

Today I was working on my plans for Morning Time and preparing a post about it.  Well, that post was getting so cluttered up with my explanations that I have decided to do a small series of posts in an attempt to give you a picture of what homeschool looks like for our family.

We have seven children, five still living at home, and three still homeschooling: a 14yo son, a 12yo son, and a 10yo daughter.  My brother-in-law also lives with us.  My husband works from home, and I work part-time outside of home.  We also participate in a homeschool enrichment program, History Quest, where I teach 3rd & 4th graders.  My 18yo daughter, 16yo daughter, and brother-in-law all have jobs but not driver's licenses, so I am in and out a lot, giving them rides.  This means that our routine must be fairly flexible.


Here, then, is the basic structure of my week:
  • Monday~ The younger 3 and I are at History Quest all day.
  • Tuesday~ I am home in the morning, and I work in the afternoons.
  • Wednesday~ I am home in the morning, and I work in the afternoons. 
  • Thursday~ I work in the morning, and I get home a little after 2.
  • Friday~ I am home.


And here are the components that make up our days:
Morning Time & Read Alouds: These are the pillars of our studies, built up of good books; beautiful art, music, and poetry; and thoughtful discussion.  They are what I have always done and will always do.  They are the reasons I homeschool and the reasons I love it. 
Independent Work assigned by me: I try to keep this fairly minimal: copywork, spelling, and grammar for the younger ones; logic and rhetoric for the older ones; and math.
History Quest Assignments: These cover history and geography, literature and writing, science, and cultural arts.
Personal Pursuits:  I try to create time and space for these, and I want to encourage my children in them.

I hope to do a post about each of these, beginning with Morning Time.

Morning Time ~ Autumn 2012

Here are my plans for Morning Time, which we will begin tomorrow. (oops, that should be next Tuesday!) 
We do MT on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.
When the weather cools, I want to include a Morning Walk!
  • Prayer 
  • Hymns:
    • All Things Bright and Beautiful
    • This Is My Father's World
    •  For the Beauty of the Earth
  • 10yo daughter reads from Rod & Staff Bible Reader: Job, Psalms, and Proverbs
  • Scripture Memory: 
    • Genesis 1
    • Psalm 19
    • Books of the Old Testament
  • The Ten Commandments in Verse by Elton Trueblood :
Above all else love God alone;
Bow down to neither wood or stone.
God's name refuse to take in vain;
The Sabbath rest with care maintain.
Respect your parents all your days;
Hold sacred human life always.
Be loyal to your chosen mate;
Steal nothing neither small nor great.
Report, with truth, your neighbor's deed;
And rid your mind of selfish greed.

  • Ambleside Online Poetry selections for September, October, November, and December
  • Watch Latin video (we are using First Form by Memoria Press)
  • Latin recitation & flashcard drill
  • Review math facts & phonograms

Friday Fine Arts Extended Morning Time:
  • Art History: We will be watching & discussing a series of youtube videos beginning with this one:
  • Classical Music:
There are a few things that have been a part of MT in the past or that I want to include in the future, but for now they are on hold.  I do plan to add these at some later point:

01 September 2012

September

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

-   John Updike

~*~*~*~

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.

-  William Wordsworth
 
~*~*~*~

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes

Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,

In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning

The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

 By all these lovely tokens
 September days are here,
 With summer's best of weather,
 And autumn's best of cheer.

 But none of all this beauty
 Which floods the earth and air
 Is unto me the secret
 Which makes September fair.

T'is a thing which I remember;

To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

-  Helen Hunt Jackson

31 August 2012

Autumn Supper Ideas

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am so very ready for fall.  It has been quite a hectic summer, and I have been feeling overwhelmed.  But thoughts of autumn always energize me, and I am hoping to harness that energy and get my house and my life into a pleasant rhythm in the coming weeks. 

Today the kids helped me brainstorm a list of supper ideas:
  1. chicken & rice I make several variations of this
  2. baked spaghetti or other pasta
  3. stroganoff
  4. chili & cornbread
  5. sloppy joes
  6. fish & chips
  7. frito pie
  8. shepherd's pie
  9. roasted sausage, potatoes & peppers
  10. soup & sandwiches another idea with different options
  11. meatloaf
  12. homemade pizza
  13. stir-fry
  14. grill out if we get rain, and the burn ban is lifted!

30 August 2012

Toward Autumn

My favourite time of year is almost upon us!

I look forward to cooler evenings, sweaters, boots, baking, Longhorn football, Thanksgiving, Advent...

Living it Central Texas, we don't have many crisp days or much autumn colour, but at least the triple digit temperatures should eventually come to an end!  I am creating a bucket list of things to do, make, read, and so forth for September, October, and November.

I even have a special devotional book Abundance From God's Heart in Autumn.  I do not remember where or when I got this book, but I love it.  It has thirteen weeks of readings, and I plan to begin on Sunday (even though it will not officially be Autumn for another three weeks) so that I will finish right before Advent.  I am also going to be praying through the Psalms during this time following this plan.

Is anyone else an autumn~lover?

28 August 2012

Tasha Tudor Day

To read more about Tasha Tudor Day 

Here is how we celebrated Tasha Tudor's 97th birthday:
  • apple turnovers for breakfast
  • teatime
  • choosing a new knitting project
  • breaking out the first Christmas book and my only Tasha Tudor book Forever Christmas to begin planning for Advent and Christmas
I would like to have done more, but it was a very busy day amidst a very busy week at the end of a very busy summer.

“There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment.”
 ~Tasha Tudor

29 May 2012

Ten Ways To Love

1. Listen without interrupting.
Proverbs 18:13 – To answer before listening, that is folly and shame.

2. Speak without accusing.
James 1:19 – My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

3. Give without sparing.
Proverbs 21:26 – All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.

4. Pray without ceasing.
Colossians 1:9 – For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

5. Answer without arguing.
Proverbs 17:1 – Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

6. Share without pretending.
Ephesians 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

7. Enjoy without complaint.
Philippians 2:14 – Do everything without grumbling or arguing.

8. Trust without wavering.
Corinthians 13:7 – Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

9. Forgive without punishing.
Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

10. Promise without forgetting.
Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Read more at Ten Ways To Love

17 May 2012

Another Graduate

My 16-year-old daughter is now my fourth high school graduate!  I am so proud of her!  She will begin community college in the fall, working towards becoming a registered nurse.  She will be doing dual enrollment for the next two years, since she is only 16; even though she has already finished all of her requirements for high school, doing this will make 1/3 of her degree much more affordable.  So she is an unofficial official graduate.

08 April 2012

06 April 2012

Good Friday

Jesus, 
may the contemplation of Your sufferings 
move me with the greatest compassion, 
make me hate my sins, 
and kindle in my heart a more fervent love for You…
My beloved Jesus, 
grant that I may never cease to love You, 
and do with me as you will. 
Amen.



O Jesus, 
I place myself at the foot of the Cross, 
help me to understand how necessary it is to suffer 
in order to resemble You. 
Amen.
 (from Divine Intimacy)