31 July 2011


"When I was younger, 
I could remember anything, 
whether it had happened or not; 
but my faculties are decaying now 
and soon I shall be so I cannot remember 
any but the things that never happened.  
It is sad to go to pieces like this 
but we all have to do it."
~Mark Twain

I just love Mr. Twain!  And this quote makes me laugh about something that otherwise would overwhelm me: my mom's alzheimer's disease.  Yes, it is sad.  Yes, I miss her.  Her disease is so far progressed that she doesn't communicate at all any more, and she lives 2000+ miles away from me anyway.  I have heard that some people get grumpy or even mean with dementia, but that was not the case with my mom.  When I was last able to visit her she was so funny.  You see, my mom had been a worrier, a perfectionist, a control freak, and at times somewhat critical.  I think she may have even suffered from depression, especially after my dad died in 2002.  But the alzheimer's took all of that away.  She was like a very sweet, silly child. 

This has been a good reminder for me of two things:
  1. I can be a lot like my mom used to be, and I do not want to wait until I get alzheimer's to let go of all of the negatives and allow my family to see a sweet, silly, child-like side of me!
  2. This earthly life and body is only temporary.

30 July 2011

I think I'm ready for autumn

It is no great secret to anyone who knows me that I do not like the heat.  This year has, of course, been particularly hot.  So, what have I been obsessing over thinking about?  Making bread . . . and soup . . . and baking.  Yep, that's it; I'm done.  Ready for summer to be over.

29 July 2011


Be still and know that I am God.

You're still the one.

Listening for that still, small voice.

Why do i still struggle so?

Will you please be still?

Are you still working on that?

We're still in debt.

Peace, be still.

Be still my heart.




28 July 2011

Thankful Thursday

counting my blessings

  • Music
  • Art
  • Poetry
  • Mountains
  • Oceans
  • Trees
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Sun
  • Moon
  • Stars

27 July 2011

fit by fifty

In 101 weeks and a day I will be 50.  I was fit when I was 20.  I was fairly fit, but slightly overweight when I was thirty.  I was more overweight when I was 40.  I am now very overweight; I need to lose at least 80 pounds.  My goal is to be at my ideal healthy weight before my 50th birthday.  So, I am going to start posting my plans and progress here on my blog.  

My first steps will be:
  1. walk or swim at least 3 days a week
  2. do the 100 pushups training program
  3. eat a healthy breakfast w/protein every morning

26 July 2011


I have a homeschool post percolating in my mind, but it has been a long day, and I am very tired.  I hope to get to that one later this week.  

For today I will leave you with this link: http://allfororphans.com/knit-a-squillion/,
which I found out about over at Handmade Homeschool.  What a great project.  I can certainly knit a square!  One of the things on my just-do-it list is to teach my 9yo daughter to knit.  Then she can knit a square, too!  I wonder how many squares we could manage to finish by the end of 2011?

25 July 2011

Christmas in July

Maybe the heat has finally just gone to my brain!

Christmas is five months from today.  I love Christmas.  I was married two days before Christmas.  For the past couple of years I have thought that I would like to set aside some time on the 25th of each month to prepare for the season.  I didn't have anything in particular in mind: maybe buy a stocking stuffer for one of the kids, set aside some money, work on Advent plans; I don't know.  Well, the 25th of January came. and went.  Then February. . . March. . .and now July is here, and I still haven't done anything.  However, while working the last three days so much in my kitchen (I am almost finished, yay!) I came across a little Christ Child votive candle holder that I bought last year, so during my prayer time tonight I lit it and prayed this prayer entitled Not Only Christmas Day:

Lord, this is my prayer
Not only on Christmas Day
But until I see You face to face
May I live my life this way:

Just like the baby Jesus
I ever hope to be,
Resting in Your loving arms
Trusting in Your sovereignty.

And like the growing Christ child
In wisdom daily learning,
May I ever seek to know You
With my mind and spirit yearning.

Like the Son so faithful
Let me follow in Your light,
Meek and bold, humble and strong
Not afraid to face the night.

Nor cowardly to suffer
And stand for truth alone,
Knowing that Your kingdom
Awaits my going home.

Not afraid to sacrifice
Though great may be the cost,
Mindful how You rescued me
From broken-hearted loss.

Like my risen Savior
The babe, the child, the Son,
May my life forever speak
Of who You are and all You've done.

So while this world rejoices
And celebrates Your birth,
I treasure You, the greatest gift
Unequaled in Your worth.

I long to hear the same words
That welcomed home Your Son,
"Come, good and faithful servant,"
Your Master says, "Well done."

And may heaven welcome others
Who will join with me in praise
Because I lived for Jesus Christ
Not only Christmas Day

~Mary Fairchild

I now return you to the heat wave.

24 July 2011

Sunday citar

“Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb."
~ Deuteronomy 32:2

In the Garden was one of my daddy's favourite hymns.  He used to sing it to me at night to try to get me to relax and fall asleep; frequently, though, he was the one who fell asleep, sitting on the floor just outside of my bedroom door.  We also sang it as a duet more than a few times at church with my best friend accompanying us on the piano.  I sang it to him the night I said good-bye.  It is a beautiful song, and I have always found it comforting, even more so now.

23 July 2011

a bit of this & that

I only have 2 children at home tonight. two!  My 17yo daughter is spending the night at my 20yo daughter's apartment.  My 15yo daughter is spending the weekend with a friend, and my 11yo son is spending the night with his friend.  That just leaves my 13yo son and my 9yo daughter.  It feels very odd!

Today I decided to completely clean and reorganize my kitchen.  It has been a long time coming.  I just hope I get it all done and put back together; finishing projects is not my strong suit.

While taking a little break for something to eat earlier today, I happened to see a post on the-book-of-faces that Barlow Girl was giving a concert in our town at the baptist church just a couple of miles from us.  I mentioned it to my husband, and an hour later he and my 9yo were on their way.  He is such a great daddy!  They had a terrific time and got home just in time to watch Dr. Who.

Tomorrow I am taking my oldest daughter to lunch after church, and then I will finish my kitchen.

I hope everybody else is having a nice weekend.

22 July 2011

July Daybook

today i am...

many new blossoms on one of my African Violets
finches in the peach tree

the dryer
mourning doves

candles left from my daughter's wedding

Constant Commet tea
wheat bagel with apple butter

water & sun at the pool later this morning

for my elementary class at History Quest

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, 
but worldly sorrow brings death." ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10

for Addison, a friend's 4yo daughter who was badly burned earlier this month
for rain and a break in the heat

21 July 2011

thankful thursday

counting my blessings
~1,000 by my 50th birthday in 102 weeks~

  • 11.  Emmanuel & Benjamin, two little orphan boys in Kenya that we sponsor through our friend's ministry.
  • 12.  good health
  • 13.  parents who loved God, each other, and me ~ in that order
  • 14.  friends who get me and accept me ~ especially M. & S.
  • 15.  my new son's family ~ who are now a part of my family
  • 16.  that God already knows everything
  • 17.  trucks that bring Washington cherries to uber-hot Texas and grocery stores that put them on sale ~ a little taste of home at an affordable price
  • 18.  read alouds with my kids
  • 19.  my crockpot & microwave
  • 20.  the neighbourhood swimming pool

19 July 2011

10 things that make me happy

(other than naps;-)
  1. strong Irish tea with milk and just a bit of sugar
  2. milky way candy
  3. wild daisies
  4. the book of Ecclesiastes
  5. skirts
  6. museums
  7. sunrises
  8. long walks
  9. babies
  10. sandalwood candles

18 July 2011

I do enjoy naps

I have had a nice four-day weekend from my part-time job.  
  • Friday morning I finally took the kids to the pool.  Afterwards we had a treat of biscuits and jam.  Then I took a nap.  
  • On Saturday my husband & I went to a friend's daughter's wedding and had such a fun time together.  
  • Yesterday I went to church for the first time in three weeks then came home and had a lovely nap.  
  • This morning I took the kids to the pool again, and while we ate lunch I started reading Carry On, Mr Bowditch aloud.  I don't think we have done read alouds for about a year; I have really missed it!  Then, this afternoon I took another delightful nap.  
  • Tomorrow I have to work at 2, but I am hoping to get quite a bit accomplished in the morning and still have time for a short nap after lunch.

17 July 2011

being consistent

This quote is from the Deputy Headmistress at The Common Room from this post about teaching diligence.
This word consistent is often a discouraging word, isn't it? But let me share that if you aim for consistency and fail you will still have far more successes than if you throw your hands up in despair as soon as you see the word and decide not to even try. That sentence was for me, Gentle Readers.
(Hmm...it seems to be in much the same vein as last week's quote.)

16 July 2011

Trying to find my blogging voice

I am half-way through my month of daily blogging.  I have done quite a few memes and link-ups, mostly because that helped me with deciding what to post and I wanted to interact with some other bloggers.  However, I do not want that to be the majority of what I continue to write.  I will, of course, write about homeschooling and mama things.  Next week I want to do a series of posts introducing each of my kids.  I also want to write about my relationship with God.  And I am sure there will be posts about my ongoing struggle with housekeeping, clutter, and organization.
For the most part I guess I am still:

"trying to find my blogging voice."

15 July 2011

Loss & Surrender


At my age i really haven't lost that much.  I think about my mother, who, by the time she was 30 had lost both parents and two precious children.  I am 48.  I have never experienced the heart-wrenching loss of a child.  Yet there are still some losses that i feel deeply.
  • my dream of living again in the Pacific Northwest ~ we moved to Texas 14 years ago, thinking it would be for a year or two; when we bought our house here 10 years ago i felt like a little piece of my heart broke away, realizing that we may never move back.
  • the baby years ~ my youngest is 9; i would have loved to have more, but never did.
  • my daddy ~ we discovered he had cancer a few months after our youngest was born; he died when she was 6 months old.  i was very close to him.
  • being a full-time-stay-at-home-mama ~ i have been working, off & on, first full-time & now part-time since 2004.
  • my mom, who is still alive, but in a very advanced stage of Alzheimer's and living 2000+ miles away ~ i was not as close to her as i was to my dad, but we loved each other.
  • my oldest & dearest friend ~ she died suddenly a month ago; we had been friends for more than 30 years, but i hadn't actually talked with her in a couple of years
 As i said, i feel these losses deeply.  The death of my friend seemed to bring all these others to the surface, making this is a very timely topic for me, since it has been much on my m ind.

God has laid this song on my heart as i struggle to let go:

    14 July 2011

    Thankful Thursday

    counting my blessings...
    1. my lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, without Him i could do nothing
    2. my amazingly loving, kind, and generous husband
    3. my terrific kids: all seven of them
    4. my wonderful new son~in~law
    5. my home
    6. the internet
    7. air conditioning
    8. yellow roses
    9. my job
    10. homeschooling

    13 July 2011

    What's in a day

    I am always thinking about schedules or rather routines.  I have learned that having the perfect routine will not solve all of my problems, especially the problem of sticking with it, but I think a lot about it anyway.  Here is what I am currently aiming at for our mornings this summer:

    • I usually wake up around 5:30.  I go downstairs, put the kettle on, and settle down to begin my morning prayers.  When the kettle boils I pour my tea and then head out for my morning walk.  After my walk, I fix my tea and toast and sit down with my Bible and journal.  I am currently reading through and meditating on Psalm 119.  After this I tidy up around the house, think about supper, and then usually get on the computer.

    • Around 8:30 I take my 17yo daughter to work & grab anything we need from the grocery store.  I need to wake up the younger kids as we head out, so that when I get back we can: go to the pool (M,W,F) or have Morning Time (T,Th), followed by copywork and math, and then lunch & read alouds.

    • This brings us to about 1:00, when I want to have some quiet time before I have to leave for work at 1:45.

    • Except on Fridays, when I don't have to work.  I want to start doing some art activities on Friday afternoons, and maybe have a special treat also.
    This is my ideal.  Of course, it gets off-track when I have to take my son to LEGO camp or my daughter to a babysitting job or something else unexpected comes up, but having it written out should help me.

    12 July 2011

    Paying it forward

    This is a great idea from A Life-Size Catholic Blog

    Holly says, “Pay It Forward” is an opportunity to connect with each other, find new friends, experience new things, learn, grow, and bond with each other.  Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

    Tonia is one of the first bloggers I ever "met."  She left a comment on my second-ever blog post back on 26 July, 2005 on Homeschoolblogger.  I loved reading her blog.  I love reading her blog.  One of my favourite things about Tonia is that she is real; she is genuine.  She is also encouraging, merciful, and kind.  And she is a terrific writer.  Her blog has been through some changes, and she even stopped for a while, which I completely respected.  But I am so very glad she came back.  

    Well, that's enough from me.  If you don't already know Tonia, please visit her at study in brownI promise you will be uplifted.

    11 July 2011

    Back to "normal"?

    Our house guest left today.  There are no more major comings or goings planned for the forseeable future.  I am making some, albeit small, progress decluttering and organizing around the house.  My 13yo son is working a few more LEGO camps, and my 15yo daughter is babysitting two days a week until the public schools start back.  We have seven weeks until we begin History Quest.  It is time to get into a routine.  My first step is to get myself and the kids to bed earlier.  Now, my children have never gone to bed at 7 or 8 o'clock, but these past weeks they have all been staying up until the wee hours of the morning!  I need to get back to my early morning rhythm of prayer and a walk.  I also want to pare back the time we all spend in front of various screens.  I hope to go to our neighbourhood pool 2 or 3 mornings a week.  I want to start reading aloud again, and I would like to have some creative art time on the afternoon that I do not have to work.  These seem to be realistic goals, so I hope I will be able to persevere.

    10 July 2011


    It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.
    ~ Theodore Roosevelt

    I am learning this.  Little by little.  I have spent so much of my life battling perfectionism.  If I can't do something perfectly, I just give up.  That is part of why I am doing NaBloPoMo, because I cannot come up with the perfect thing to post every day.  Or even most days.  Or today.  I am training myself to just post something.   And I am hoping that by doing it here, it will spill over into other areas of my life.  I am trying.

    09 July 2011

    six word saturday

    Hoping to have a productive intentional weekend.

    i changed the adjective after reading this post.

    08 July 2011

    7 Quick Takes

    1. It is hot here in Central Texas! just. plain. HOT ~ Thank you, Lord, for air conditioning!
    2. My kitchen is clean! ~ This weekend I hope to clear out and organize at least a couple of the cupboards and drawers.
    3. I think I need some extended cocoon time.  My introverted self is flat out done in.  My husband mentioned wanting to visit a friend's church on Sunday, and I practically begged him to take the kids and go without me.
    4. I bought an iced tea maker with a half-off coupon at my local grocery store, and we are quite enjoying it.
    5. I haven't made much progress on my Just Do It list, but I have been slightly more productive overall this week.
    6. My morning prayers have suffered over the past month.  I have not missed them for the most part, but rather I feel like I have been missing from them, sort of going through the motions only.  I need to refocus; these morning quiet times are my spiritual life's blood.
    7. Blogging every day is hard!  My goal, though, is to build a habit, and as I blog regularly I hope that I will have more to say.

    07 July 2011

    pretty, happy, funny, real ~ Sisters!

    Yes, more wedding pictures.  This series of photos of my beautiful daughters is pretty, happy, funny, and real all at the same time:

    round button chicken

    06 July 2011

    Wednesday ramble

    I am very tired.  It seems like it's been a long week, and it is only half over!  I think that I have just been so busy these last 3 or 4 weeks; there have been emotional highs and lows as well, and I am just drained. 

    I have been working in my kitchen the past couple of mornings, and it is starting to look pretty good.  I used my birthday as an excuse to buy myself a couple of small houseplants.  I enjoy looking at them in the morning while they sun themselves in my east facing kitchen windows along with the ivy from my daughter's bridal bouquet that I am trying to root.  We also have quite a few candles from the wedding, which I have placed around the house and light regularly.

    My daughter and son-in-law are somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean tonight on their way to Albania.  They will be there for the next seven months.  My daughter went there exactly one year ago tomorrow to serve as a missionary.  She is homeschooling two missionary kids.  Her new husband, who is a carpenter by trade, will now be helping out with a lot of the physical things that need to be done for the ministry there.  Someday soon I will tell the story of their whirlwind courtship!   

    We have a teen friend from the Seattle area visiting us.  She arrived a week ago Monday and will be here until next Monday.  She is technically my 15yo daughter's guest, but we all love having her here.  I call her one of my eighth kids! 

    My 13yo son is spending his second summer working as a counselor at LEGO camps.  He really enjoys it, and his boss lady tells me he does a great job, and the kids love him!

    I suppose that is enough rambling.  Good night!

    05 July 2011

    Just a couple quick notes...

    • Headed to the airport to see the newlyweds as they come home from their honeymoon before they depart again in the morning for the mission field.
    • Praying for a friend's daughter who was critically burned Saturday night.  Please join me in praying for healing for Addie and comfort for her family.
    Until tomorrow...

      04 July 2011

      In Congress, July 4, 1776

      The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

        Read it here; it will only take about ten minutes of your time.

      03 July 2011

      timely quotes from two of my favourite thinkers:

      "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

      ~C.S. Lewis, from God in the Dock

      "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

      ~Ronald Reagan

      02 July 2011

      01 July 2011

      Just DOing it & NaBloPoMo

      My best friend, who died a couple of weeks ago, and I were both interested in Myers-Briggs personality typing, and we are both INTPs, which means that getting things done is a struggle.  She was forever encouraging me to embrace the process and practice just DOing it.  We were also both summer babies; my birthday being at the end of June and hers at the beginning of August.  There are 34 days in between, so in honour of her, I am making a list of 34 things to accomplish before her birthday on August the first.  I have created a separate page on which to make and keep track of my list here, but the first thing on it is to blog every day in July.  To that end, I have signed up with National Blog Posting Month.

      I have now blogged my first daily post!