Sometimes School Looks Like This

Sometimes School Looks Like This…

Little girlie was not feeling well today… congested misery. She came down early from her nap and I was busy tending to some things- turned around, and this is how I found her. My, how she adores that big brother of hers. (that’s Apologia Physical Science in his lap…) She missed him this weekend when he was away. He soothed her fussiness and tucked her in next to him. Look at those adorable feet. Love.


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Flashback- Friday! (Fifth and Final Day Celebrating 500 posts!)

Flashback Friday!

The fifth and final day of blog celebration!

So, some photos for you and for me. Photos that I have never yet posted on this blog.

Easter 2014

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 String Project Spring Recital 2014


 And…. drumroll… a big, leap backward:

Spring 2007 in Tennessee… seven…7! years ago… a trip back to PA from NC. This was our first Spring in the mountains and our first trip back to PA. Look at my babies! Look at those mountains!


Just lately- I have been missing those mountains. Missing the mist curling round my ankles and the huge expanse of sky. Missing the clean fragrance of air and the way the breeze felt against my cheek. Missing the overwhelming gorgeousness of autumn… a feast too great to swallow… when I close my eyes, I can still smell and feel North Carolina. And I have a suspicion I am not the only one in this precious family of mine to feel this way…

And yet…how kind…how kind, God is. Just today, I was driving up a highway home…and I was winding up through rolling hills of trees beginning to turn. The sunshine was golden. The only sight to be had was a winding road and trees. And, O, it reminds me of North Carolina. There is so much beauty here. There is gorgeousness everywhere to grasp with both hands and take hold.  Then- this evening, on a short jaunt out with my little ones- I beheld an amazing sunset – with a slip of a moon lighting up the sky and a star twinkling beneath. Huge expanse of sky stretching over beautiful, well cared for farmland. God has been very, very kind to me in Maryland. I am grateful for the beauty. It is an unexpected, much appreciated gift.

And…Before any of my dear ones in real life feels all of reality bubble up in their hearts and minds and worry that I have romanticized our sojourn in the mountains and forgotten much. I have not. I have not. (Even as Todd just reminded me…not missing the longer hours. No. Not missing that at all. Overwhelmingly grateful to be in a different season now.) It is hard for me to articulate the dream and vision in my heart. I have been so surprised by Maryland. It is hard to give words to the grace that we have here. It is like a blend of NC and PA, with its own hyper over-achieverness (that some of us could do without- or at least a little less of… 😉 ) but as we would drive the countryside last year… and the landscape revealed itself to us… and there were expanses of land with pristine fences and well cared for horses. Well, it was everything I thought North Carolina would be. And we are better here. We are much better cared for in so many, heart-felt ways. Thank You, Lord.

But we are still finding our place… we are still finding our place.

All’s grace.

Thank you for celebrating this week with me.


Thankful- Thursday

…Sisters…late evening…

and here is where I put any perfection aside

and just put my heart out there–

because I think

these photos still capture the love, and the joy, and the heart

– blurriness and all.

Thankful forever for these sweet girlies… thankful for sisters. thankful for sweet smooth hair, curling in pony tails. thankful for giggles and hugs. thankful for little dears who love the bath (unlike other little dears who still do not have such affection.) thankful for “I play ‘my kitchen.” thankful for the Mama Dog and the baby Puppy.thankful for a cooling fall day and outside for fresh air.thankful for “animals ‘n’ bubbles. thankful for these faces pressed closed together. Abundantly more than I could ask or imagine…. (and there is a story about that…for some day.)

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What’s On My Mind- Wednesday

What’s On My Mind- Wednesday

So, I worried that I bit off more than I could chew when I set myself this little goal to blog every day this week. And I wondered… what was I thinking?? with so much already going on. But… I guess I am the type to just rashly jump right in- and so I did. And here I am. Keeping my head above water. Barely.

I always want to grasp life with both hands and celebrate! Rejoice. Thanks be for the day, the season, the milestone. I have found fatigue and weariness can really impact how rejoiceful I feel and what I experience- and even what I am capable of… but I continue on. I am pressing on.

Something that has been on my mind a lot- particularly in relation to this blog- is homeschooling a large family and homeschooling high school (while schooling with younger ones). O, how I have longed for deep, encouraging blogs on those two topics. They are few and far between and the writers often post with long, deep silences between. And my, do I understand! I do. Even so, it is a hope of mine to be able to share little glimpses and little encouragements and be a small voice in these areas in this place of mine on the web. I hope I will be able to birth and breathe flesh to this longing. I long! But the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak.

It often feels to me that I discover someone… only to have them shortly announce that they will no longer be blogging. Most recently- this was Ordo-Amoris. I stumbled upon her website last year- and how can I express my eagerness? Mama to 9 with eight of those being boys! Majority graduated- successfully having navigated college… a literature lover, located in Tennessee- (ever so close to where we used to live)… ah, I could go on. But I won’t. She blogs no more. And I was sad. (I will say that some of her writings of wisdom can still be found through the Circe website and also at MorningTime Moms- but it is not quite the same… it is not.)

I am learning, by real life experience, just what it is these Mamas face, are going through, and how the seasons change- so much- as the children grow. I understand why their spaces sit silent. Quiet. I know on the other side- it is anything but quiet. It is busy. It is stretching. It is demanding. So demanding. It is full of so many changes and shiftings. At least it is for me. So- this is something that has been on my mind.

Something else that has been on my mind is this: my family and our traditions and family culture. I still feel like I am tossed on a rough ocean. Navigating the waters of teens and toddlers… along with a whole different homeschooling culture in our new state (which is not altogether bad- but it is different… and O! it is demanding). Plus high schooling…and trusting my heart and instinct to the Lord as we make many choices for each year. I have a picture in my home. It is currently not up on the wall… but it is of my six older children when my oldest son was ten. The twins were a whisper in my womb… there but unknown to me! and Norah- not even a glimmer perceived. And I cupped those days, and I cupped that photo with the knowledge- that childhood would be soon shifting for some of these precious ones and soon they would be lengthening into young adulthood. And here we are. Here we are. And the beat of my heart is still discipleship and it is still relationships. I am still trying to find my way.


Top Ten For Tuesday ( a day late)

Top Ten For Tuesday

My top ten website links for soul nourishing, mind invigorating encouragement and inspiration:

and number eleven- a bonus link for you:

If I was  not such a very busy mama, I would actually have links to specific, excellent articles from each of these blogs and websites. I am regretful that I have not created a little folder with my favorite articles that would make it easy to link them here for you. Be assured that there is much goodness, beauty, and thought-pondering virtue reflected here. Just clicking on some of these links will open to breath- taking beauty. These websites are worth a little time and the easiest way to benefit- is to simply paste them into a feed reader- and voila! They deliver right to you. 🙂 However, you will not experience the perfect ambiance of the web pages if you utilize a feed- reader. Being all about the words, a reader works for me!



Words of Wisdom For the Mom with a New Baby-Monday

Day 1 of celebrating 500 posts!

I will share my top three “words of wisdom” for a new mom- as shared at a baby blessing this weekend.

Words of Wisdom for A Mom with a New Baby (be it first or tenth!)

1.) Nourish yourself. Drink water, take your vitamins, rest when able, and eat well. I fully admit to having been very poor at this item. This does not negate its importance!

2.) When the days are hard and the nights seem unending, remember that this will pass quickly. It truly will. It will even if you have 5 babies in just under 6 years. I know. I have lived it. Soon and very soon, that warm, fragrant baby snuffling against your neck will be reaching out to take the world in his own two hands. Cup those days, and don’t make haste. And know this, sweet Mama, know this: it will be alright. It will. Remember – there are answers. Your answers probably won’t be my answers. You will write your own story. But, whatever your struggle is- baby sleeping, baby feeding, whatever…keep a learning heart and seek. You will find. I say this,too, from experience. It might not be easy, but it is true. Real life.

Psalm 145: 18

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

He truly is. I have lived it.

3.) And finally. When you welcome that sweet baby, remember you are welcoming a precious soul to train for God. A new member to join your family, adding their uniqueness while carrying some of yours. What a privilege it truly is to minister to your child’s heart and raise them for and in the Lord. Love that little one who will soon and very soon be O! so big. Treasure their heart. Remember that…

Matthew 10:45

“… whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Keep a high view of that precious, precious child. All the mundane tasks of motherhood that can weary the soul and body to the bone…let them push you deep into Jesus and His Grace. Deep. He is there and He has much in store for you. Treasure your children. Treasure the gift. Even in the ugly- hard- He is there. There is gold glinting in the dark. I pray you find it by His grace.


Endless Gifts

The sky stretching out ahead…gold tinged and pink-lit

His heart-light. His soul- encouraged. Light juxtaposed strikingly against dark. One year ago…remembering the dismayalmost exactly to the year-, that!. I think….is it time to raise an Ebenezer? I confess a skeptical soul. But I have learned…and I am learning…my God is greater… (than my skeptical,  trust – hurt soul)

Flickering gold candlelight, my sister, my friend, her sister,  her friend…and O! The laughter.  Side splitting goodness.

A GPS. 😉

Driving home for an overnight only – to mark a grace in a treasured friend’s life….and wishing I had my knitting in tow – making progress! And counting grace that we could do it…(the journey – that is)…and life, routine carries on…

Trying my hand at blogging via my phone….

Watching my “little” brother’s littlest girl play with my littlest girl…and they are only 4 months apart. And that is grace.

My niece…above said brother’s “big” girl – almost 4 arrives at Ama’s and declares: the cousins are here! The cousin truck (our big white van) is here! We pretty much love being known as the cousin truck. (Grin)

Reorient – centering myself again….

Love is a verb. It is.

Her sweet, curly mop

Her sleeping…Instead of puking – thank You, Lord (car sickness..)

A full heart, a full life