Endless Gifts


Red flowers, rain-misted; I have always loved the brilliant colors and starkness of branches against grey days, against twilight- falling, shining in the rain, flaming in the almost darkness

Hot “trimmy” tea; Pu-erh or Oolong with a bit of Great Lakes gelatin

My hand in his

Sunlight after So much Rain

How she spontaneously thanks me in her little voice… and kisses my cheek




Gathering round the table, everyone sharing, and how I suddenly realize how full and rich my days have been… so many good things. So hard to pick just one. (So I don’t!) Building richness each relationship at a time.


Their eager workbook requests and diligence


Stories, with her, tucked in my lap, under my chin… and O! how I need it,  how much I miss full arms. So, I pull them to me. Working toward rhythms that will enable me to tuck that sweet head more often. My sweet Melodee.



Just rocking, my little blondie girl. The day after a day when she just… really struggled. And when her tears began… again. I just scooped her up. Scooped her into my arms and we rocked-on the brown chair- where we rocked for hours and hours when she was so small… those first six months… my feet pounding the floor in a unrelenting rhythm… and I tucked her there, tucked round with her well worn pink blankie, and a wee little pink bunny clutched in her hand. I rubbed the bunny between the ears with my thumb. She loves the little things and the Mamas and the babies…And we rocked and I whispered to her of those days when she was small… and her heart was soothed… and mine was, too.





Answers to prayers…


The day I took a call at noon. The day I found out heart- safe news about the house and…that our children could get the bunny that they’ve saved for these last three years. How some of us cried with happiness and some of us shouted with glee and some of us high fived and fist bumped! How all through that day… and now forever… the whispers ripple down through…”We can get the bunny!” What a day!


Todd in the kitchen,  garlic in the air, sizzling pans on the stove, Matt Maher from the speaker

She shares her treasures with me… and I am so surprised by how much I am in them… little things we made together. She’s kept. For all these years.

The utter grace of a new friend… first friend I have ever had with my same personality type- and O! it almost feels like we commune rather than just share thoughts. Heart to heart. A sister in Christ. And so much to learn… so good.




Another sweet sister in Christ, who answered my cry for prayer email with comforting Scriptures that gripped round me in the darkness. And held me there.

How, even though my mind swirls round, and my heart rests unsteady… ultimately, I know I am circled round, underneath, above, round about, held together.

Psalm 91:4

He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Deuteronomy 33:27

The eternal God is your dwelling place,[a]
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.[b]


Trusting and resting in God’s kindness to me in Christ Jesus.

Counting Grace Gifts,


Photo credits- myself and small children 🙂








This year, my girl was almost vibrating with anticipation for her special day. I am happy to say that I think she felt loved and appreciated in all the ways I hoped.

A Birthday Interview when Twelve

1.) Favorite color- Dark Green

2.) Favorite animal(s)-Golden retriever, goldfinch,cardinal, bluebird

3.) Favorite food- Chicken Nugget gallery (her words- our big family spread with nuggets, tenders, fries, etc…all the fixins’)

4.) Favorite Song- Restart by the Newsboys

5.)Favorite Hymn- O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing

6.)Favorite Scriptures- John 3:16 and Psalm 23

7.)Favorite places she’s been- North Carolina and Pennsylvania- Ama’s

8.)Favorites things- Photographing birds, building Legos

9.)Favorite School Subject- Personal Reading

10.)Favorite Books- Beloved Rascals, Robby, Cricket in Times Square

11.)Favorite Day of the Week- Saturday

12.) Favorite flowers- roses and rhodendron

Bonus one to grow…

13.) Something special she loves…- Daddy’s Brunches

Happiest birthday, my daughter!

2 Peter 1:2

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.




My Joshua turned eight on Mother’s Day this year. So precious.

His interesting perspective and original remarks add such color to our lives!

We had quite the extended weekend of celebrating with the cello recital, his birthday, Mother’s Day, and Abi’s birthday. 🙂

Eight year old Birthday Interview

1.)Favorite food- Chocolate Cake 🙂

2.)Favorite book- Redwall

3.)Favorite Hymn- Come Thou Fount

4.)Favorite Song- Restart by the Newsboys

5.)Favorite color(s)- Gold, Red, Blue

6.) Favorite day of the week- Sunday

7.) Favorite instrument (this seems to change frequently! this interview took place right after he had enjoyed a visit with his cousin who plays this instrument. grin.) -Trombone

8.) Favorite animal- bunny

And one to grow….

9.) Favorite place he’s been- Ama’s house!

God bless you, my son.

Second Timothy 2:1

 You therefore, my [a]son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.




The Things They Say

Last week, I was driving down the road with a small passel of my children. My girl, picking up a thread of conversation we have all had time and again asks ,

“Do you think a bird will ever sit on my hand?”

To which, I give my standard answer, “I don’t know, Abi…”

There was some mingled chatter  about her birthday bird feeders and getting them set up. Some remarks possibly made about Abi being out and about in the yard, amongst the birds. Van conversation, music playing, windows open. Vents blowing. Little girls in their row. Boys behind.

Then suddenly, from the back of the van, I hear one son firmly direct some advice to Abi-

“You’d better keep your mouth closed!”

My ear twitches. Did this child just say and mean what I think he did?

So… tentatively, I ask…

“Why, why must she keep her mouth closed?”

To which- he earnestly replies, “So they don’t see her teeth and get scared away!” They being the birds as I suspected!

Oh!! Immediately an image pops into my mind of Abi, canines bared. The laughter just ripples through me.

The Things They Say. Joshua.



The Things They Say!

Tonight, I had the fun of finishing the movie Lassie with my oldest girl. Just the two of us. She was quite dismayed, however, at how different the movie was from the book. This past year both she and Jonah read Lassie as required literature reading. She emphatically remarked to me that they ‘skipped’ over this entire part and that was ‘totally’ different multiple times. 🙂

Later, we were downstairs in the kitchen… moving on toward the end of the evening. We were together with Todd and Jonah. Sharing our happy news, details of our girl time, and how cute the ending of the movie was… to which…suddenly, Jonah, amidst the clatter of the dishes  he is diligently putting away declares,

“The movie was nothing like the book… I was outraged!” 

During his most recent illness, he caught up on a lot of movies, including Lassie.

I laugh. And state, “And that’s why you read the book before you watch the movie!”

Todd and I. The outrage. We laugh. I rumple that lovely, buzzed blond head.

The Things They Say. He’s Ten.



Choosing the Good (homeschooling the large family; high school down to K)

I am sharing some thoughts from my heart as I begin to gear up and plan for next school year. I have been blessed and benefited so much over the years from other homeschooling writers who have “let me in” through the window of their words. It can be a lonely road. I give a little peek of what it is like for us, a large family homeschooling with high schoolers heading toward higher education- so, in that spirit, I share here. And the truth is, writing it out helps me lay the burden down. And in that laying down, there is peace and rest. God be praised and I bless His Name.

Luke 6:45(NASB)

The good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth what is good;…

My heart is all in a flutter. It is. I would not be writing in truth if I pretended it wasn’t. I am school planning for next year.



How did these babies get so big to start Kindergarten!



Kindergarten. I am having trouble wrapping my mind around it. Now and again, the realization pops like a balloon in my mind. They are starting K in the fall.




As we stretch into high school, deeper and deeper, and our life shifts and changes to meet the special needs of this important season of life… I find myself- sometimes panicking. (truth here) There is so very much to care and attend for. So very much. And, O, how I sometimes want relief. Relief from planning, attending, teaching, financial burdens, and I grasp at straws. I do. Straws that look like this: what if I just put them all (all 8) students in such and such cooperative? What if I just kept them all at  home? What if I just put them all in everything?  What if I just quit everything? Or, if only I could afford x,y,z. Sigh. Struggling with all the feelings that the this choice or that choice is “better”…


I think it is the heavy weight of responsibility and just of life. It is just like a rock on my chest. How does this align with what I know to be true in Matthew? Where is the easy yoke? I am missing something.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

Ah, blessed words. Rest for my soul.

And here is a truth I have learned in the Rough. In the Grit. In the Dark Days. In the Light.

The miracle of the loaves and fishes. Jesus multiplies what the disciples have as they offer it in obedience and it is more than enough. Matthew 14:16-21

My loaves and fishes. They are enough. They are more than enough. And I am stretching out in faith to believe it- because this journey is no where near complete. It is no where near finished. Several months ago, cradled ( for a moment) in sense of relief, I almost posted a happy facebook status. My oldest son has done so so well in all his classes this year and in his writing! O, I was feeling relief and assurance. And then I realized, I have eight more students…. when all those students have performed as well as he- well, then I might have something to say. Not before. And I humbled myself and closed my proverbial mouth. Truth.

As I look in and as I look ahead. I want to choose the Good. And for me, choosing the Good has never been about panic, ease, or escape. It is not about running away. Or not shouldering the calling the Lord has given me. I need to come under that gentle, easy yoke and walk in unity with my Lord. The Good is about walking in the will of God as personally revealed to me.


The Lord always seems to hem me in and guide my choices, my commitments by my sheer inability. Then He SO graciously confirms it in so many settings. Thank You, Lord. Please help me.

I seek the Good.

So- what is the Good? And what is The Lord’s Best for me, in this season, in this life, in these days?

I always circle round to this: The Good is found in me. In me. There is no escaping this reality. And what do I have to give? and how can I give with more excellence, diligence, grace, beauty, and love? Perseverance. O, it is hard. And investment. I think I am finally in the season of life where I can not only recognize but act. Invest in my own heart, soul, mind so that I have something to pour out and give.

When I feel overwhelmed at how vast the ocean of need and how small my little drop of ability, I remember the meager offerings. I am the dirty declared beautiful, forgiven much. I am the poor, unreserved giver.

I am the miracle made enough.

I love Jesus for sanctifying meager offerings as holy, beautiful, beyond price. Again and again and again. I am the woman breaking the ointment jar, offering my fish and loves, putting my mite in the offering. My broken jar, a sweet, rising fragrance.

Next year, my high school students are going to stretch wings and fly. They are going to be busy in academics, in music, in sports, in life. There will be outside classes for both. Essays. Sciences with  Labs. Languages. I will have the PSAT times two, and the SAT.  I might have Drivers Ed? I will have Service Learning Requirements and Credit Hours and Transcripts.They will stretch out on their path toward Eagle and make some important advancements. They will be challenged and I will be busy. Busy caring for their souls. Busy driving them to their places. Busy carrying a lot of life and burdens as I seek to raise them well and struggle with the realities and practicalities and deep heart connections of life.

I have to keep my younger students dialed back and I desire to keep them rich in books. Once, a long while ago, I wrote, “Childhood should be rich in books.” Yes. I still, wholeheartedly agree with this. Now, I just need to order my days, our days, so we are living it. Living rich in books, in love, in relationships, in diligence, in work ethic. And trust, that all the rest will follow as it has in the past. And I need to choose each subject ( and there are eight! required for each student). Right now,  I am consciously seeking to pursue that which will lead to peace and bear peace and  what will work in the realness of my days.


Our  year has been upended by so much. 4 bouts of pneumonia alone… enough said. I am learning from this year and making conscious choices for the Good. The Good fleshed out in the reality of my everyday and what life looks like with two in high school. Two in middle school. Two in elementary. And two babies starting K. And trying to preserve myself so I can run this race with endurance.

It has been a messy run. But, O! It is so good.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (ESV)

I will be taking a deep breath as I plan for each precious student and investing in my own spiritual practices so that I have something Good to give.

Homeschooling Mama, how will you offer your loaves and fishes this day, this season, this upcoming year?