Endless Gifts- October Real

When everything, spirals, way, way down… when you hear the whispers of the neighbors eyeing up your greening gray white fence, when you shudder at the life you can’t call your own, when the heart gets pricked so raw, every splinter just wings its way right home, when the mind gets blocked so miserable tight, its hard to find the goodness, and every snappy overflow just wants to slip right out the lips, when its just face down on the table, when its the morning with all the thoughts run wild, when its all shame, its shame:

(Psalm 44:5 All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face)

remember the gospel, preach the gospel, (what is the gospel?) 

“Forgiveness of sins and justification are good news because they remove obstacles to the only lasting, all-satisfying source of joy: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not merely the means of our rescue from damnation; he is the goal of our salvation. If he is not satisfying to be with, there is no salvation. He is not merely the rope that pulls us from the threatening waves; he is the solid beach under our feet, and the air in our lungs, and the beat of our heart, and the warm sun on our skin, and the song in our ears, and the arms of our beloved.”(excerpt from John Piper’s What is the gospel)

count the gifts. The gifts are the grace, the grace in the days, and no one and NOTHING can take them away…

and that is one reason why: sometimes its a sacrifice, sometimes its a pouring out, sometimes its the every effort to turn the downward face UP. To look with seeing eyes.

To find the pleasure and the beauty and the flaming color in the rain. IN THE RAIN.

(Psalm 50:23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to the one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God!)

Little blue. The sweet, speedy little car gifted for Micah and all Borger children who will be learning to drive. It has been a blessed transit for me, too. And all, all, all the grace there. Thank You, God.

The ginormous slug Abi found and was brave enough to cup in her hand.

Streusel topping on blueberry bread on a wet, autumn day.

The savory smell of Bacon and Bean soup: thrift, nutrition, economy, efficiency, plenty, marvel.

Dark Chocolate covered Almonds

Fig Bars and Granola Bars for hungry high school kids

Lighting candles in my darkness

Oolong Tea

BJs and filling a cart overflowing with my best shopping helper

A flute soon to be refurbished


The yearly visit to the eye glasses store – done. Thank God. I dread that visit so much. It is no fun for me to stare at a hundred frames and try to help children pick with economy and grace/fashion, while little ones wiggle and squirm and everything takes twice as long as we wish it would. And I stand there, thinking of my fashion savvy sister and all her deep delight in these external accessories and how she always puts it all together with sha-bammm. Not me. Big sigh relief. Just have to get through the fitting part. Shew. I am glad it is done. It took me a month longer to get there than I wanted.

September’s Gold

One last Monarch, released – to head south-

A visit from dear friends, and homeschooling alongside each other. I learned a thing or two, too.

Prayers in the car drive and Bible Time on the days I am at home

Abi at Acro

The Instagram feed of Christie Purifoy who wrote this book: Roots and Sky. The flowers! Her photos are a means of grace (Beauty!) in my life.

Preparing for Monday, preparing for hot breakfast and candles, preparing for fancy clothes and tutoring, preparing for grace

Blues skies of October

Woolly Bears on their fingers, Pet Bugs, and its sequel

Handcrafted woolly bear habitat

Three little girls out on the deck with me, to breathe October skies, and pansies (pressed and adorning), their velvet faces still a source of joy and serendipity

an unexpected slightly sleep-in morning

Thursdays. And Fridays. A new found grace in Thursdays.

Leaves down on pavement beneath our feet

The gold turning October, turning warm, red  wine 

on tiptoes for a kiss

How weeks before he would ever choose, I chose Morning Has Broken(he never knew) for a morning hymn, and he chooses it, too. And all that hymn means to me. And this is real, real here – snare drum buzzing in the backround. Piano all full of book stacks. Life.

grace in a community group and broken down walls; conversations opened

Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Pumpkin Spice Tea, black tea, my favorite (well, one of my favorites)

hearing the songs again of Faber 3. So, so glad, heart-swelling glad.

Hot breakfast- the way to their hearts

the full hearted abandon to Jesus and He is more than enough and I lay life down again and again and again and in my fear and in my uncertainty, I seek help. I walk on.

John 1:16 For from His fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace.




An Autumn Bicycle Ride by Owen Barfield

O! I love this poem. Sharing it here, cheers! to October

“An Autumn Bicycle-Ride”

The leaves, grown rusty overhead,
Dropped on the road and made it red.
The air that coldly wrapped me round,
Stained by the glowing of the ground,
Had bathed the world in the cosy gloom
Of a great, red-carpeted, firelit room;
It filled my lungs, as I rode along,
Till they overflowed in a flood of song,
And joy grew truculent in my throat,
Uttering a pompous trombone-note;
For this elegant modern soul of mine
Was warm with old Autumn’s rich red wine.

Note: This poem was possibly written in 1919 and is transcribed from the typescript at the Bodleian Library (Barfield Papers, Dep. c. 1103).
found at: http://www.owenbarfield.org/poetry/

Breakfast: Oatmeal Bars


For our record, our memories, and my dear friend and her beloved family who shared breakfast with us:

Oatmeal Bars

1 Cup Coconut or Olive Oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 cup coconut palm sugar (can use brown sugar for a less healthy but tasty! alternative)

1/2 TB vanilla

1/2 TB cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 9 by 13 baking dish.

Combine oil, sweeteners, and eggs. Mix well. Add vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add. Mix well. Press into large, glass baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked thru.


Kindergarten and Preschool

I have shared about our Morning Table time and our twice weekly Meeting time.
Now, I will share some kindergarten and preschool resources we are using this year:

The day has two components- a morning academic time, and then a read aloud time.
For learning to read:
100 Easy Lessons, then(when finished) Explode the Code

For learning to write:
Memoria Press Alphabet Books, then(when finished) Copybook 1
Pencil grippers to help with the finger hold.

For Mathematics:
Rod and Staff Level 1

Resources at hand:
Finishing Memoria Press Junior K program:
this includes appropriate memorization, recitation, poetry, and literature (right now Officer Buckle and Gloria. Grin!)
Utilizing Sonlight 4/5 read alouds, Bible, Science. So many tender memories of using this with Jonah and Joshua. Grateful I get to travel this way again.
My beloved home library- including the Billy and Blaze series and the Katie and the… series by James Mayhew along with many other favorites.
Rod and Staff workbooks. (Such a blessing- teaching colors, fine motor skills, and so much more)

They also join in to Preschool on the days we work in that area.


Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven alongside finishing Memoria Press Preschool.
The little series of 4 workbooks designed for 3 and 4 year olds. About Three, etc.

I have to say, I love Memoria Press. It is so soothing and beautiful. The routine every day brings peace and beauty. I love it and I love my little girl, bowing her head, reciting her memorized prayers and little poems with me.

My little girls can recite Baa Baa Black Sheep, Wee Willy Winkie, Jack and Jill, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Love.

All is grace,

Welcoming October (Bean and Bacon Soup)

Welcoming October with Bean and Bacon Soup, Salad Greens, and Crusty, Fresh Bread:

Bean and Bacon Soup
1 pound Navy Beans, soaked overnight
1 pound bacon, baked, then chopped
4 cups (more or less) chicken broth/stock
Filtered water
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large celery, diced
2 TB onion powder
4 cloves garlic, crushed
parsley, salt, pepper, to taste

Clean, rinse, and soak beans in crockpot 8 hours or overnight. Drain.
Bake and drain bacon on paper towels, chop.
Add bacon to crockpot with beans. Add carrots, celery, onion powder (or a whole onion chopped), crushed garlic, and chicken stock. Add water til just under the rim of the crock.

Crockpot on low for 10-12 hours. Season and add parsley(up to two TB dried would work, I think).

This smells amazing and is a wonderful weekend meal to cook overnight for a relaxed Sabbath dinner that still feels special with salad and bread.

I rinsed and soaked the beans early Saturday morning and then late Saturday evening, loaded my crockpot. I woke up in the wee hours murmuring to Todd about the amazing smells filling the house.

All the children kept saying it smelled like Christmas. Love.
This is because there was a strong association with our Christmas Eve Shepherd’s Meal which includes a Potato Soup garnished with Bacon. It did smell like Christmas.

I tossed a salad in our favorite Good Seasons Italian Dressing and had my tall son load our bread machine for a perfect crusty loaf.

Welcome fall. I, for one, am very glad to greet you.

A Poem for September (Sara Teasdale)

September Midnight

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.
The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.
Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.
Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.
Originally published in Poetry, March 1914.
We have been enjoying this poem during our meeting time…and O! I love it so. I pray you do, too.

Morning Table 2016.17 (Homeschool Snapshots)

Every morning

(Lord willing… there is always a day or two gone astray -real life here)

at breakfast, we meet around the table for 30 minutes or less.

We light candles.

We sing a hymn.

We read a Proverb that corresponds to the day or another choice of devotional material.

I pray for the children, our family, people we love, requests that have been given to me, etc.

Twice a week, my high school students miss this time but they are experiencing high school Bible at an outside of the home class. I miss them. I continue on.

2016/2017 resources


All Creatures of Our God and King, And Can It Be, Amazing Grace, Morning Has Broken, We Gather Together, Come Thou Fount, Praise to the Lord

Review Hymns: Lord of the Dance, This is My Father’s World


A Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade (so so pleased with this! short, sweet, and mighty! Strong impact. Love!)

“What’s for breakfast in the morning?”

-Sometimes, I read something, and then- suddenly, a here-to-fore blurred image is instantly crystal clear; singular dots suddenly streak together in a true north straight line; 
“the flash” of insight illuminates a common daily occurrence; such was today-

Every night, when I tuck her in… she asks, “What’s for breakfast in the morning?” It is a plea. It is sweet little girl eyes beseeching me. It is a small face looking for something to anticipate. It is a heart’s desire to elevate the every day to so much more. Every day, her heart is looking for the day to come to be infused with special meaning; anointed with a certain golden shine; in some way lifted above the common daily, every day.

I get it. I do. At least I thought I did.

Every night, I have tried to answer patiently and I have tried to pull freshness and creativity from the oftentimes tired depths of heart and soul.But I have been confused, too. Why the focus on breakfast? Why the importance and glad happiness when I answer with something yum?

I have answered patiently and I have tried to elevate our breakfast because I myself have lived with the choking taste in my mouth of a daily round of duty. Swallowing it back is hard. It doesn’t have to be that way. While there are very good lessons to be learned in contentment and satisfaction with things not being ‘special’ and my love (Todd) is so good at this and has taught our family and kids some great lessons in this-

there is still an innate longing in this small girl (and in me, too, which might be why I have traveled this small path toward insight)

So when I manage, (even hot oatmeal is a treat when presented prettily, crowned with brown sugar, and adorned with blueberries)- how she alights and what soul satisfaction! And I have swallowed back (and sometimes failed) just hushing the sweet seeking spirit (sometimes, cereal is all we’ve got and there is naught a candle to be lit)… I have fought this little battle with an intuitive understanding of this quest for “special” and a practical, life experience with “no-nonsense.”

A little insight dawned when I read this little post. It sent me to investigate the enneagram (which I had never heard of) and my brief foray brought me to a chart I can no longer find anywhere. I have not yet read the book she links in that above post. Anyway, the chart had a personality type with a motivation toward needing things to be ‘special.’ This clicked for me. Deep inside, I was suspecting my small one’s questions were coming from some sort of need inside of her and I didn’t feel right handling it ascetically (very interesting to me that ascetic and aesthetic are so closely related in letters and opposite meanings and relevant to what I am trying to communicate here!)

Then, today, I read this(from Winnie the Pooh ):

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
A.A. Milne

And, there, the stars aligned.

My little darling. My little mix of Piglet and Pooh. My little one, asking “What’s for breakfast?” And really, she’s saying, “What’s going to happen exciting today?” and when the day starts off with a soul satisfying breakfast- well! It can only get better.

And Oh! the wise A.A. Milne and suddenly I felt, I knew. It is time to go deep into this book. It is time to soak the words. And I will cry. I felt the mist already. Because somehow, it is all mixed up with Christopher Robin and my darlings starting kindergarten and…the very end of The House at Pooh Corner… and my last little girl who has never seemed like a little girl as she is always keeping right up with her sisters and truly keeping all of us always on our toes. Oh!!!

And I felt again, the deep, deep connection stories and books weave in my life and in our family. And I can’t grab it back… I can’t grab back those days with one small boy up above my shoulder and the other next to me…and hours and hours of reading. But I am so glad. I am so glad. And now, I have one small girl above my shoulders and the other pulled close across my chest… and this is the day and the time is now. And I am glad, grateful that He always leads me in books and that will be for me, for always, small ones or big ones. Thank You, Lord.

I can’t remember when now. It was sometime last Spring, I think. When I started to feel that our breakfast table was very important. When I started to know I was supposed to prepare breakfast for my people, light candles, and read Scripture. I resisted this. I grew up in a fend for yourself for breakfast household. And I have read godly advice over the years where a large homeschool family did teach all the children to get their own breakfast while the Mom walked and got started on the school day.And I have spent many years, very, very tired in the morning, raising wee ones and up in the night.

But, it is a new season and I felt the Lord calling me differently. I listened. And I obey…sometimes very imperfectly. But I do. And it does crown our day. And it has satisfied a place in my soul. A beauty-longing place. A place seeking meaning.I am supposed to make breakfast. So I do. And I open the Word, and we sing, and we pray.

And now, whenever, my little girl asks me “What’s for breakfast?” and “What’s happening tomorrow?” I will orient myself even more whole-heartedly to answer her from a place of life-giving. Tomorrow is a day where there will be love, and something tasty, and books to read: there will be life.

There will be the richness of a storied life.

Thank You, Lord.