Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting Ready for A Big Tea



I am helping to plan a Christmas Tea for my homeschool group. We are expecting around eighty ladies to come for an evening of tea and delightful finger foods while enjoying Christmas music, a wonderful guest speaker, door prizes and lots of fun. I have been working on the lists of who is bringing what and preparing emails with all the information our members need to know so that the tea will go well.

As much work as big events tend to be, a tea party for 80 ladies, I love to serve the ladies in my homeschool group, Lighthouse Homeschool Association. I feel so blessed to be part of such a diverse and ever-growing group of families all educating their children at home.

Table hostesses are working on creating unique tables with Christmas themes for this evening. I cannot wait to see how everything looks. I will take pictures and post them after the event in December. For now I can breathe a little easier knowing that the plans are in place and begin praying for the ladies that will be coming for an evening of Christmas tea.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back after taking a break

Life has a way of speeding up sometimes, so fast that I get dizzy! I have been taking a break from blogging for just that reason. We have been flying through the months of September, October and now half way through November!

The last few months have been filled with dance and basketball tryouts, choir rehearsals, Boy Scout camping trips, quick trips to the beach and just doing life. We have delved into everything full force this fall. I am looking forward to the holidays this year and the break in activities that both Thanksgiving and Christmas bring for our family. I love settling in with hot chocolate and a good book and hearing the kids playing in different parts of the house or outside in the beautifully colored woods. I love being able to be home for extended periods of time without having to run out to a meeting, practice, or other committment.

So I am back from a break from the blog, but looking forward to the upcoming break to catch our collective breath and enjoy some family time together. Enjoy these gorgeous fall days they pass by so quickly. Before I know it I will look out the back windows at the lovely woods and the leaves will be gone from the trees and more time will have passed quickly by.

Monday, August 30, 2010

School has begun!

We have several weeks under our belts as the new school year gets into full swing. We are getting ready to start week 4 of year 4 in Tapestry of Grace! My oldest has had one meeting time for his Biology and Spanish courses and my daughter has tried out for Nutcracker and awaits the announcement of parts for this family Christmas favorite.

Ready or not, school has definitely sprung around our house. I just keep telling myself to ease into the year and add a few things each week. I am being decidedly fierce about our calendar as individuals as well as a family. This time last year dear husband was in Iraq and we were in a flurry of activity. We also were anticipating his arrival home for R&R. Sometimes it seems like a dream that he is home with us now. I want to make sure that we have plenty of time to just be a family and continue to work on our re-connections as the new school year marches on and more and more things get going.

The kids have made a strong start. They are getting back into the world of schedules, books and reading! Anyone who uses the Tapestry of Grace curriculum knows that there is always plenty of reading to be done. Much prayer has gone into the start of this new school year. I have been reminded to add some interesting field trips and fun elective times into our schooling. I often get so involved in the nuts and bolts of school and schedule that I forget those things. My youngest is eight now and he has done many of those fun field trips as a toddler in a stroller. He needs to get to do them again as a curious eight year old.

I am thankful for the new school year and also thankful for the gentle pushes to extend myself and constantly be examining how to encourage my kids to excellence and fun. It is going to be a great year!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Together At Last!

Dear husband and I are actually together for the first time in three years to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year we are celebrating nineteen years of marriage!

For the last three years he has been deployed in Iraq or training to go to Iraq. We are very thankful to be able to actually be together this year. There is something special about still being excited about our anniversary even though we were so far away from each other. It has made this year's anniversary more poignant in the fact that we made it through those separations and now are reunited.

My prayer is that we never get so use to being "married" that it does not matter to us that we are apart on our anniversary. Happy Anniversary soldier boy! I love you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Try, try again

It worked! After reading Beth's suggestion, I went back to My Live Signature and gave it one more try. Yippee! I now have a signature on my blog. Thank you Beth!

Two Days in a Row

I was trying to create a blog signature after being inspired by my friend Beth at http://nclighthousekeeper.blogspot.com/, but I was not successful! I can't get the background of my signature to match my blog background. Oh well, it was fun trying to get it to work.

I am however successful at posting two days in a row. I don't have anything exciting to update about this morning. I had a nice early morning walk, made a pot of steaming coffee, and now I am going to enjoy a cup out on the deck before it gets too hot today.

We are planning a game day inside for the family. Our youngest is going to get a lesson in how to play RISK on the dining room table. I am not sure what else is in store for our last day of family vacation, maybe a little family ROCK Band. I am going to go make waffles and cook some link sausage now. I think I will make some brownies and some more sweet tea and maybe we will grill out marinated chicken breasts tonight. I have loved our five days of family vacation. Great food, lots of laughter and fun times this family vacation, and all at home! We also got to see more fireworks last night at the top of our street.

Tonight we will top it all off with new episodes of American Pickers and Pawn Stars! Happy July 5th and happy second day in a row blogging!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 234th Birthday America! Our family has been enjoying a "vacation" at home this year over the 4th of July Holiday. We are near the end of our five days of family fun in our home, and I have enjoyed our time together celebrating our great nation's birthday. Red, white and blue are the colors of our vacation. I pulled out every patriotic thing we own and the kids have been wearing all of their red,white and blue regalia. One of our dogs is wearing her own patriotic gear as well.

We have been blessed with swimming in our neighbor's pool while they are out of town for the holiday weekend. We watch their kitty cats and get to swim. What a swap! Last night after swimming, we had some pizza and cheese dip and then a fabulous, free fireworks display, courtesy of our town just a short walk up the street. Our days have been filled with things I remember from my own childhood,talking with neighbors, bug spray, a little sunburn and lots of yummy summer time food. I made a family favorite, blueberry pound cake.

Today, in honor of the official day of Independence, we are grilling out burgers and corn on the cob and having sweet watermelon. Later the night sky will be filled once again with the bright light of our kids running around with sparklers and before that some silly string! The tournament of tailgate golf will continue this evening. Our oldest has pulled ahead, however a rule consultation has determined that yesterday's tournaments may be tossed out because points were not awarded correctly. Competition in our family is fierce!

We have tried to slow down and enjoy our kids and play hard with them the last several days. Honestly, I am pretty tired, but I am having fun and hoping that the kids will remember fun times at home with Mom and Dad. All the aches and pains of pool volleyball and crazy badminton will pay off one day when the kids are sitting around remembering the times we spent together as a family. We are truly blessed to live in a land of freedom and our family is so grateful to have my dear husband home with us to celebrate Independence day. Last year he was in the heat of Iraq away from all things family, it was just another day. We definitely are making up for that this year!

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Busyness of Summer

Well, summer is up and running at our home! A week of summer overnight camp, basketball camp,and hot baseball games are just some of the things that have filled our days so far. We have enjoyed a week at Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS and open house at Sunflower Art Studio viewing our budding artist's creation, throw in trips to the pool complete with picnic lunch,a trip to the beach, NYC and the American Girl Doll Store, and seeing movies on hot afternoons and you have a great start to summer time fun.

Then of course I have all of the time for preparing for our new school year. I have ordered about half of my curriculum and am waiting for the arrival of TOG YEAR 4 on my front porch. I have looked at my 4 inch and 5 inch ring binders and priced out the plastic page protectors. I can't wait until the back to school supplies sale begins. Nothing better than glue sticks and spiral notebooks on SALE!! I am trying to get my resources organized for next year for TOG, a friend of mine suggested having a basket for each Unit and filling the basic with resources I found right now so I don't forget to include them during the units. Great idea!

I am trying to get all of those things on that long list that I make during the school year that I would like to do in the summer such as,organize and clean up our school room, clean up the attic, right down things done from the last school year that never made it in the my notebook, and well you get the idea. I love the promise of summer, long, lazy days of summer to get done all the things I put off during the school year. This year I am making good use of my days...or at least I am trying to so I feel like a had a summer!

I have just attended a two day leadership retreat for my homeschool support group. That has gotten me all fired up about this coming school year. I am getting ready to talk about Organization for a ladies group at my church and I am preparing for a Resource Fair and Used Curriculum Sale that my homeschool support group is sponsoring at the end of July. I am also going to host a small group of ladies at my home that are just getting started on homeschooling to try to offer them some encouragement. I am going to help with a Homeschooling 101 type meeting my support group is holding at the beginning of July as well.

I am getting ready for our "down and dirty" all day, Tapestry of Grace co op meeting this upcoming week. The leader of our TOG co op group is having us to her home for planning. The moms in the group will sit down together and prayerfully plan our year of Tapestry. Expectations for the kids as well as for the moms will be discussed. We will plan the Unit Celebrations and the calendar and then each team of teachers will get together and start collaborating on the plans for co op activities each week. I am very excited about the new school year already!

Summer time and all of its promise is upon us, and I want it to be a relaxing and productive summer of 2010!

Busy, busy, busy, but still it is summer and time for some fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seize the Day! Remembering Gracie



And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. ~Abraham Lincoln

Over the course of the last several days I have been reminded once again of a very important lesson that I began to really understand over 2 years ago and that is the lesson of living each day to the fullest.

My sister and her husband just had to put their precious Golden Retriever, Gracie, down late last night. The dog was not yet two years old, but in her brief time with them she had lived large! She was so well taken care of and went everywhere with them and touched many,many people's lives and hearts. She was gentle and sweet and intuitive. One of my lessons from this loss for our family is to remember to love deeply and live each day completely. Also, to do the things you dream of doing today or begin to make a plan to do them right now.

I heard a story about a man who was dying from cancer and he scheduled a trip that his family had always wanted to do, to swim with the dolphins,only after realizing he was going to die. The host of the show that interviewed this man went out the next day and booked the same trip for his family not wanting to wait another day for the some day to arrive to take this dream trip.

My dear daughter and I are traveling in a few weeks to NYC to realize a dream she has had to visit the American Girl doll store...soon, before I am ready she will have left her dolls on the shelf and be moving on to other things. I don't want her to miss out on this dream.

So, I encourage you to seize the day! Carpe Diem! God has blessed me with another day of life and I am going to fill it to the brim. Live your life in largeness.You will not regret it!

To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions. ~William James

May you live all the days of your life. ~Jonathan Swift

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coming Together

Our family participates in a homeschooling co op specifically for Tapestry of Grace. We are currently finishing up Year 3 Unit 4. It has been a year of blessings and challenges with the curriculum and the co op. As a co op we have areas that need to be tweaked to get back on track, such as clear expectations and accountability for everyone and a renewal of commitment. We just had our first Mom meeting to begin planning for our Year 4. We took a look back at the year and what we accomplished and how to move forward stronger.

There are some challenges to being part of a co op. One such challenge is getting our school work accomplished in four days rather than five days so that we can attend co op. Part of that challenge is deciding what to cover for the week and what not to cover because the curriculum is so rich. Another challenge is staying disciplined. Discipline keeps us moving through the study, on task and even includes making the effort to arrive on time for co op. I believe God placed me in this co op to help me stay on task and to create accountability in our homeschooling. Then of course there are challenges to working with many different families, but all with like minds. We mesh a diverse group of personalities together and through God's grace it all comes together like a beautiful dance.

With all of the challenges co op brings, for our family,the benefits far surpass them. Co op enables us all to stay on task, pulling us along sometimes kicking and screaming, but we are out of the early American history era and still moving forward!. Co op provides invaluable fellowship with other families and for me, moms who "get" me and understand what it is that we are trying to do for our families. Crafts abound for the younger ones in co op which is a good thing since one time I hot glued myself to a light switch cover! I know very well that all of the glitter,glue, clay and paint would not come out often at our house. I am thankful that craft time and all the planning that comes with it, is a part of our co op.

We also have Unit Celebrations that just would not be the same done with just our family. We have had a Square Dance and potluck supper, gone on a field trip to see a Civil War reenactment, experienced a South American Fiesta complete with a guest speaker who is a missionary in Brazil, and will soon be traveling back in time to Ellis Island during the time of the great immigration to America.

All in all, co op is a wonderful coming together of like minded families to extend the richness of the Tapestry of Grace curriculum. We are grateful to be traveling through this curriculum with these unique families. It is truly a blessing to come together once a week, even though the effort to do so is tremendous, the reward is amazing.

Lampstand Press - Christian, classical homeschool curriculum for the whole family.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Surrender All....




"If my life is surrendered to God, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!"
Elisabeth Elliot

Thanking God for the peace and surrender that He has allowed me as we finish up our ninth home school year. I am at perfect peace concerning decisions that we will be making in the very near future for dear son's next steps in furthering his education. He is beginning his high school years...and I am trusting God with it all. I love this quote from Elisabeth Elliot, one of my favorite Christian writers and speakers. I am constantly reminding myself to not take back what I have surrendered to God. I know it is not safer in my hands and that He knows what is best.

Over the last 2 weeks I have been in prayer about our oldest and whether or not he should go out for high school after being home schooled the first nine years of his educational career. I am continuing to pray and sit back and watch as God works in my heart and in my son's heart as well,and in our family. Oh, so much I am the richer for it and the surrender of every little thing about it to Him. Instead of pushing my will on my son, God is working His plans out in His time. Instead of nagging and arguing and crying, I have surrendered it to God. Thank you God for your faithfulness and thank you for whatever the end results will be concerning the high school years. In the end, the question of where my son will spend the next four years in school is not important, but how we get to the answer is. Thank you God that at least this time, I followed the call to surrender it all to you, after I began to take it upon myself to "fix things." Now, I can see the long term working of it all and my heart swells at your mercy and your provision. Thank you for growing my faith and the faith of my dear son.

Now if I can remember to surrender everything all of the time...that is the real question and I hope that I can remember how God has met me here and now.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Homeschooling Quandary

"Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:3-6

I am praying over a homeschooling quandary. I am sure that many, many homeschoolers go through this very exact situation, asking this question. I know this because I am hearing it all around me right now. Do I continue to homeschool all the way through high school? My oldest is a rising 9th grader and we are confronting this question head on in our home right now. I have made a mental list of all the pros and cons. We have had many, many discussions. My husband and I have prayed and continue to pray over the answer to this question.

One thing I know for certain, whatever our final decision it will not be one that is made without much agonizing and prayer. I am twisted up inside thinking about the next four years and how they will effect my son in his life long journey. I am not worried academically about how to provide for him. We are so blessed to live in NC and the opportunities available are so abundant. I know it will be challenging to continue through high school. I also know that God is up to the challenge! Either way the questions are much greater than, can I homeschool through high school?

So we will continue to seek God's wisdom. I know that the answers will come and that they will be the exact right ones for our son and for our family. It is just getting there that is the struggle, right? Once again I find myself in the waiting room.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday




Some of us think at times that we could cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" There are seasons when the brightness of our Father's smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ's case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father's love; but the real turning away of God's face from His Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused Him? In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in His case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God's face, but art now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the lustre of His grace; but since even the thought that He has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when He exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The Spurgeon Archive

I loved this quote about the agony that Christ suffered on the cross on Good Friday. Puts everything else in my life into perspective when I think of all that He did for me and the pain He suffered as His Father turned His face away...thank you Jesus.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Let the Spring Cleaning Begin!


I love this time of year. The feeling of newness in the air is intoxicating and has spurred me on to thinking about Spring Cleaning! I love to clean, really I do! I love the feeling of satisfaction I get when I have scrubbed and polished and weeded through all the stuff that seems to accumulate over the long winter. The problem is finding the time to really clean!

I am formulating a plan for my spring cleaning so that I can accomplish the big clean up, but in a reasonable way so that I am not up to my ears in dust bunnies and old projects and clothes that are two sizes too small! I am learning as I get older to tackle things with a little more grace mixed in with my gusto so I don't BURN OUT and not get anything done.

Besides, spring cleaning my home I feel God's prompting to get my spiritual house in order as well. I have lost some of my "shininess" as I put it! I have been running so hard with so many balls up in the air with my dear husband deployed and gone for us for 15 months, that my quiet time, and my seeking of the Lord has been a brief happening each day. I am cleaning out my schedule this spring too and where others may be increasing their schedules as the warmer weather is ushered in, I am trying to weed out the things that are not necessary so that I can carve out time to spend on my most important relationship with my Jesus. So many things creep in to my daily planning and before I know it they have taken over the sweet garden time I have with Him. No more! Time to start pulling weeds and cutting back the overgrowth of a over-packed schedule. The great thing I know is that when I do that, every other area of my life falls into order. I love order! Order in my relationship with Christ, order in all my relationships, order in our homeschooling and order in the house!


I love Spring time!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March is Here!


Well, where in the world did February go? In and out and without a single post from me! We are so thrilled to have dear husband home for good from deployment in Iraq in February. He came into Kinston and I actually was able to find the armory on my own with directions from Mapquest. The kids had posters and eager, happy faces to greet him as he climbed down the stairs of the bus that brought him home from Ft. Stewart, Georgia. Words cannot describe the moments that came next, seeing his face and feeling his hug and seeing the children and their reactions to having him home for good. It was a wonderful, cold Saturday afternoon!

The family is humming along now. Getting used to our "new" old normal of having Dad in the mix once again. It is warm and sunny today, although the weatherman says winter will make a run at us again tomorrow. Dear husband is looking forward to warmer weather. He just cannot get used to how cold it is here. He really enjoyed the 110 degrees of Iraq! I am looking forward to those gentle warming days of springtime as well.

We have dear husband to ourselves one more week, and then he will start back to his normal routine. Today we are going to try a movie at the theater. We haven't been to see a matinee as a family for at least 2 years. Should be fun! Dear husband is taking one of our 3 out for their special lunch with Dad first and then we will all meet up for the movie.

We are trying to be intentional about our time together and do some fun things as a family and couple before really getting back into the swing of things. There are so many lessons learned from our 15 months apart. These are the things that I want to hold on to the things God taught us as individuals and as a family. I want to work hard at not taking one another for granted and for living each day to the fullest. .

I am thankful that this March our family is once again complete! Welcome home darling!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cetainty in the Uncertain



I am reminded today again of what we can be certain of even in the uncertain times of life. We can be certain of God's care and provision. We can be certain of His strength to make it through the unthinkable and insurmountable. We can know without doubt that Jesus intercedes for us and knows what we are going through and can even put it into words when we are unable to do so ourselves. We can know that we are loved with an everlasting love that will never die. I am so thankful that I can remember these certainties and hold on to them when life spins out of control around me.

Starting this period of final count down for dear husband's return is wonderful. Thinking of all the what ifs before his time of departure and return to our family is not. Trying to get the kids back on track with school and schedules feels like walking through quicksand right now to me. Dealing with an unknown health problem with one of my children with no answers yet, just lots of questions, that is uncertain. Everything is hard. Then, some dear friends and fellow military family are suffering, with their dear husband and dad having unexplained severe head pain and being flown to Germany from Iraq. So unsettling for everyone and so devastating for their family. All of the unknowns, the unanswered questions have stirred up inside of me fear. Fear of the unknown of the coming hours,days,weeks and months.


I know that I need to regroup, or thanks to our Tapestry of Grace Year 3 unit 2 study, "circle the wagons". I need to go back to what I know is TRUE. God is in control, God loves me, God has a plan, and God is sovereign and makes no mistakes. Oh yes, that is what I need to go back to and hold on to and remember right now. God is good. Thank you dear Lord for your reassurances.

"Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped." Psalm 28:7

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year! It is the first day of the new year and the new decade. Just typing that makes me realize how fast the years are slipping by and how much I want to make each day count. This year I am praying to make sure I treasure each day whether it is filled with the things I thought would happen or not. I have learned by God's grace over the last several years that time is so precious and once it is gone you cannot regain a second of it. I pray for God's direction as 2010 begins and for consistency to seek His face daily and walk closely with Him so that this new year can be all He has for me and I can serve Him and bring glory to His name.

Happy New Year! Don't let a second go by that you are not living completely and thanking God for the gift of a new day.