Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesdays With Words: Patricia's Thoughts

A day late. Sorry. We've been with stomach flu for the past 10 days so I haven't done much reading or commonplacing (I believe firmly that should be a verb!) but I did sit down to read through Patricia's paper for her literature class. She's writing about how heroism developed during the Ancient to Renaissance periods.

Wow- I was just taken back! I'm so thankful for the great books & that my children are studying them now. I'm grateful I get to learn alongside them (or at least try to keep pace with them- lol!). I'm thankful for the amount & quality of literature Patricia's covered this past year at our homeschool co-op (co-op runs Aug-May so we are nearing the end). I'm so grateful to Mrs. Elizabeth Bailey who is teaching our students! I'm am so very, very grateful for the handful of parents & our Pastor who are investing in these covenant children's lives! Our family has been encouraged & it's help aid our educational pursuits. THANK YOU!

Anyway, today I grabbed my commonplace book to write down a few of my daughter's quote. Kinda awesome. First, I copied this one because it's prose just caught my breath:

"As the tide of Christianity lapped on the shores of such remote hearts as those of the Vikings, the tales and culture took a turn for the better."

The second quote I wrote made me smile because she gets that worldviews mater. Ideas have consequences. (Shout out to Dr. Grant there.)

"It is important to remember there is nothing passive about evil. The closing of our eyes is only an invitation to surrender."

Can't wait to read the final paper tomorrow! So thankful for your hard work, Patricia! Be sure to link up with Dawn's blog to see more words:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Landscaping & Pretty Light

Earlier this week, before the stomach flu set in, we began some landscaping in the front yard. I use the term "we" loosely- my part is to tell what I want done & buy the supplies. Eric & the children's part is to actually do the work. :) They've removed half of the bushes in the front (the other half will be removed professionally) & we are hoping to plant this weekend. I want to put a white lattice behind the bushes to hide what it looks like under the porch but we are waiting on "approval" from our homeowner association. Love spending evenings & weekends with house projects:

All of the children enjoyed soaking in the sun & warmer weather. They rode bikes, played in the yard & went for walk. The golden sun was yummy:

Thankful we had a few days of sun & work so we can rest & heal now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: The Mundane

From The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education:

"Indeed, a Christian values every service of God so much that though some may be in the eyes of the word & of natural reason a slight & empty business, beggarly elements, or foolishness, yet since God call for it, the authority of the command so overawes his heart that he is willing to spend himself & to be spent in discharging it. It is an expression of Luther's that ordinary works, done in faith & from faith, are more precious than heaven & earth." (pg. 23)

I've been thinking a lot about this quote since reading it last week. I've always been thankful for the Reformers who brought to light the Scripture's view of vocation. I've been chewing on this idea of a heart that is "overawed" and living one's life so that I'm "spent."

Hm. Motherhood often leaves me spent & I'm sure it does you too. But does it leave our hearts in awe? The mundane is beautiful... even when it isn't. Listen, I'm right smack in the middle of this mothering thing so I KNOW it doesn't always feel beautiful. The reality is, it's often hard & messy & sadly, often messed up because of sin. My sin + eight little others. That's a lot of mess. It's okay to acknowledge that- we don't need to pretend.

But what is beautiful is the offering up, the surrendering, the service, the faith. What is beautiful is the grace of God! What is beautiful is that our Savior delights in us! I'm praying for eyes to see this! And I'm also praying that God will show me how to teach my children to grasp this idea for whatever the Lord directs them to do.

Be sure to link up with Dawn's blog to see more words:

Here's what I'm reading:
Grain Brain by David Perlmutter
Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships by Duggar girls
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Kevin Clark & Ravi Jain
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Full sun fun!

Sometimes fun happens in full sun. It's far from ideal for picture taking- blown highlights, shadows under the eyes, mixed lighting from shaded areas, color casts, white balance... ahhh! While I sometimes wait to grab my camera for a better time/lighting opportunity (ie, I know the same thing will happen again in more favorable conditions), I never want to get where I fear snapshots & I miss catching the joy of these children's childhood! God blessed us with a lovely, warm & sunny afternoon and the children soaked it in:

These two were not even suppose to be keepers- I was just testing my settings- but their expressions cracked me up & I couldn't delete:

Sweaty, warm & happy!

"Again!" These girls didn't want Patricia to stop:

No idea why Jonathan is missing a shoe.

Abigail loves being the big sister:

LOVE this one:

And she couldn't be quiet for long (hmm... wonder where that comes from...):

Time to escape:

I think it's time to get rid of those training wheels, Lizzie!

She asked me to her picture while she put on her hat. Always happy to oblige!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: Commonplace Books... of sorts

From my youngest days, I've always been an avid reader. I can remember my mother telling me to put the book down and go outside. (And now I say the same thing to my own children.) I'm happiest when I can highlight & make notes in my own book. I've always & will always prefer a real, tangible book. Always. I've also enjoyed journaling, often quoting passages & writing down my own thoughts. The problem is, it was often not organized & I'd find (or loose) scraps of paper everywhere.

Several years ago, I learned that process of quoting passages was historically kept in a commonplace book. Recently, Sarah interviewed Andrew Kern on this subject. You can find that webinar here. It's $5 but listening to Andrew is definitely worth it (plus there's an added webinar with home educating mamas on how they keep their commonplace books)!

Sadly, my own personal consistent reading & writing had fallen by the wayside. GASP!!! Yes, a classically home educating mama just admitted that. But only because I've fallen back into my habit. ;) And oh, what joy it's been! If my children are going to value something, they need to see Eric and I value it. If I'm going to teach my children, I need to first teach me. But most importantly of all, one ways I glorify God is to think through ideas. Reading, copying passages & writing help me think. My book is a commonplace book of sorts because it goes beyond quotes- I share my thoughts, outline, write down goals & plans. It's helping all those little scrapes of paper to disappear. :) I have a second commonplace book (of sorts) for my photography where I keep notes on what I'm learning, ideas of what to shoot, people to stalk follow for inspiration, etc.

Does doing all this mean it takes me longer to read a book? Yep, though I won't always commonplace after reading. Am I copying too many passages? Yep but it helps me think. I need a lot of help these days. (9th pregnancy = fuzzy brain) Will life get busy & I have to quit again? I hope not- maybe I can just slow down how much I'm doing. But if I do quit, I can start again. And so can you.

And that's my encouragement to you all! Especially to you busy mamas. I know! You're BUSY! If all you can manage is reading your Bible & prayer, then be at peace. Rest in where God has you right now. But maybe you have time to read a tiny bit & write in a commonplace book. You won't regret it! And if you're a home educator, you'll especially be thankful!

Okay, so all of that is a long intro to share that on Wednesdays (Lord-willing... let's not bring up how bad I am at series of posts), I'm going to link to my fabulous friend's blog series: Wednesdays with Words. Dawn shares "What have you been reading and what has caught your mind? Wednesdays with Words is an opportunity to share your reading and words that have been meaningful to you in any way. Mostly participants share quotes from books they're reading, but any written material (articles, internet magazine, whatever) is great. Sometimes participants share a selection because of its beautiful phrasing, sometimes because of its intriguing ideas, sometimes because of its everyday encouragement. We'd love to have you share with us someone else's words." Be sure to click the link or button to see what Dawn & others have shared! And it would be wonderful if you shared what you're reading & learning! :)

I think I've been lengthy enough for one post, so I'll just end with what I'm reading right now:
Grain Brain by David Perlmutter
Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships by Duggar girls
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Kevin Clark & Ravi Jain
- The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
- Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stepping out of my comfort zone!

One of my photography goal's this year is to take at least one self-portrait each month. I do not like being in front of the camera! I made it a bit easier on myself by chopping off my head. :):) I was excited to get my first copy of Click magazine. (It was a gift from a fellow photographer on the Clickin' Moms forum!)

And then, just to push me WAY FURTHER from my soft, comfy place... I decided to take a picture of my baby bump. Because at 16 weeks 5 days, I'm feeling really big already. And I have almost zero pictures of my pregnant. And I think baby will enjoy seeing some pictures (even if my head is cut off) when he/she is older.

I think most of us mamas struggle to get in front of the camera. If I can do it (& share my growing belly), so can you! :) Maybe next month, I'll venture to show my face. :)

Monday, March 09, 2015


If you're the eldest sibling in a large family of home educators, you must learn the fine art of multitasking. :) I walked by the living room to find Patricia completing her lessons with Katherine on her lap:

Katherine believes she has lessons to do also. And it's serious business: