On the start of this New Year 2017

This year’s notebooks- mine included, all loaded and ready to go for Monday.

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I am starting my 13th year of homeschooling.  I am starting my first senior year. I began when my darling(now seventeen) was four and his eager, precocious mind will forever be bound with mine as I cherish the memories of wonder and everything new. We are knit together in stories, in words, in love, in life. It has been a journey we all take together. I am grateful.

 

This year, more than any other, I find myself apprehensive. I am finding myself purposefully having to turn my heart and mind. I am finding myself full on in a season I could have never predicted or understood. Just like every season, really- as I recollect.

 

The world is spinning and I am spinning with it. Forever. Unending.

 

I find myself crying. I find myself choked. I find myself stretching out and breathing in the boundary places the Lord has established for me. I find myself rising up, determining to keep living priorities of my heart.

 

No one could have/can prepare me for the college applications, the classes, the world expanding life of these years. No one could have prepared me for letting go. Is it easier because there is still so much life in this home to nurture, to educate, to raise? To disciple, to influence, to mentor? To build traditions, to strew beauty, to love? No. It is not easier. It is one hard, each day daily walk.

 

And as I let my heart expose and as I reckon all the feels-

I know the only place for me is in Him. Forever stable. Forever refuge. Forever known and to know. All the riches and treasures of life. In Him. No matter the season. No matter the year. No matter the day at hand.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 16:5-8 NIV

This year, I have been confronted with a life outside my own in new ways. I have seen the visual of a calling other than mine. And it takes a lot of will to turn my gaze back at the messy beautiful that is mine. And breathe deep. Embrace.

 

This year, I need a fresh infusion of vision and a single-eyed determination.

 

As I struggle with the weight of all my life, I need the wherewithal to be still and small at the Lord’s feet.

 

Homeschool Mama, be with me as we step into this new year?

It helps to know I’m not alone.

 

How are you feeling at the start of this new year?

-Rebecca

 

Endless Gifts

The roll of thunder outside my window and the comfort of my quilt

Morning Meeting plans and weekly schedules coming into focus

Quiet time with 66books

A year later wellness visit -and all the strength and joy in my girl

One last week of summer and it is okay; it is good

Meters on the rower – again, again

Finally, podcast listening…little bit by little bit

Orientation night and friends; time with Todd

Face to face and keeping it real

A day with my Mom; a day with my little nieces and nephew

The rising anxiety and heart cry pressing me to pray and seek God’s face; the deep things rising- I feel choked. I feel it. And this is a gift- because it presses me to Him; because the rising witnesses the waking and the waking is real; not numb; not dull and deadened. Tingling, albeit painfully, and alive.

promise of provision

inspiration toward home

raspberry tea and chocolate chip cookies; Girl Club

A heart toward books…

sticky rice in the rice cooker

A full pantry

Finding these gifts has shown me hurts and missing; lack of center and settledness- I write them anyway and I press on.

Psalm 138:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

 

 

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Endless Gifts

 

66 Books and More

I am at 66 books today… with some thoughts on ambush and illumination.

Judges 21; Acts 25; Jeremiah 35; Psalm 7; Psalm 8

 

Multiples Illuminated Vol 2 -from toddlers to tweens released Friday, August 4. It then rose to number one bestseller! My essay is published in this anthology. Squeeeeee!

Just released

I am still writing and (planning) to post Mentoring Monday posts- even though I have missed a Monday (or two)…

I am delighted to share that Nathanael is posting on 66 books once a month and you can find his first post here:

Judges 19; Acts 23; Jeremiah 33; Psalms 3,4

 

I recently completed the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson in a whirlwind read -fest. Quarantined with pink eye helped the cause. I really enjoyed this series for three reasons. 1.) My son (Asher) absolutely insisted that I read them and then discuss.  Forever endeared to me for that reason alone 2.) I have been encouraged, inspired, and blessed by Andrew Peterson’s work and was intrigued to explore his fiction writing. 3.)The books were mind-expanding.

Some fearful/scary elements, violence, suspense, and loss are featured- so herein is my disclaimer and parental heads-up.

I want to read them again. More slowly this time. Good talks on story structure, world building, consistency with characters, and more…not to mention the multi and many layered world to explore and learn in more depth and detail.

Some Endless Gifts…

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Pool days

Todd’s visit with grandparents

A Canvas screen that shows a grade of B! M. Tax.!?!?

the four of us; late night in chairs and memories…and the laughter

Visiting Colin’s house and the thunderstorm; time on the porch

The sweet weekend treats

Delicious dinners

Meals around the picnic table

a long talk on the front step

Celestial Seasonings Chai- Indian Spice (Decaf) – so good

Melodee- and her truly amazing skills with the Nintendo Switch.  And I ponder: what giftedness and skill set is reflected here? She holds her own with all ages.  She is a champion.

On the sly, stealth-like rowing on my Dad’s Erg

My Mom- taking me to Urgent Care and helping me.  Thanks Mom-  dealing with the stress of finding an appropriate place to go and then relocating in the midst when one place was actually not covered by insurance.

Cousins

Precious friends to share Saturday

Good/normal test results

Little girl dance class with Nikki

An Eagle Project in progress

melty hot cookie bar with chocolate chunks and a cup of coffee

Getting ready for a new school year.

A 100 Chart Complete- Yay! Joshua!!!

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Tomorrow there is soccer practice, high school co-op orientation, twin wellness appointments, and evening dance and 3 on 3. On, on.

Pondering life, slowness, commitments, and a new school year. Bible time, water, exercise, and finances.

This is an email newsletter that drops into my inbox with a well of refreshment, encouragement, and comfort. Middle Mercies.   It has been grace to me.  I know I am fully in transition as the seasons of my life have irrevocably changed.

-Endless Gifts-

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things They Say

I

I am settling little girls to rest time… sitting on a chair in the office, task focused to get everything settled- when suddenly, a little blond girl pops up…. hair rumpled, blue eyes alight… and she says,

“Mommy, that’s Joshua! Joshua’s fluting!” Sure enough… strains of flute music practice can be heard over the air purifier and the music am I trying to start on the computer..

“Fluting” – The Things They Say

II

Driving down the last road before the turn of our development, several of us have been delighted to observe ground hogs. Big ones, and babies. Tucked in the grass, on the roadside. Munching.

Recently-  two teens …one newly fledged and one, the oldest… and Joshua… passing by this spot with me as we head home:

Suddenly, delighted exclamation:

“Look Josh! A Beaver!!” And the sweet one really meant it.

Oh!!! How we laughed and laughed.

The little husky ground hog was upright munching grass. Our beaver.

The Things They Say

The Things They Say

I am at the coffee pot and it is a morning flurry. The day before a trip. A day full of running teen-agers places: jobs, lessons. I have dough in the mixer and a fresh blueberry cake in the fridge. The counter is a crumble. Little girls are spinning through the minutes.

It is time to go and I am hurriedly making a coffee travel cup. Last minute sunscreen applications are happening. Littlest one decides to ride with me on the first venture of the day. She gathers her juice; her snack… and then I hear…

her confident voice rising,

“Let’s move it!”

(Did she really just say that? She did!!)

She’s ready and she’s rallying.

How I laugh! And we laugh.

“Let’s move it!”

The Things They Say

 

Six!

Our twins are six! There was a request for a snowflake cake. There was a request for a rainbow cake. There was a request for a “…rectangle cake, Mommy. Not a small cake. A rectangle cake for each of us.” Grin. We had fun decorating these beauties. I found rainbow decorations at Target. Perfection.

Twins Dinner
Hot dogs (pigs in a blanket), carrots, special sauce, chicken nuggets, french fries
“Snowflake Cake”
Chocolate cake with white snowflake icing
“Rainbow Cake”
Chocolate cake with strawberry icing and rainbows and strawberries

James 1:17 NASB

17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or [a]shifting shadow.

 

Sixteen!

Nathanael turned 16 on July 3rd, while at Scout Camp. We celebrated together the weekend afterward.  This is the second year in a row for a birthday at camp for him.

We have honored this milestone birthday with some special plans and gifts suited just for him. 🙂

Birthday Dinner:

Roast, Potato Wedges, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon, Iced Tea, Sprite

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing; Vanilla So- Delicious

 

Nathanael is delightful and an incredible blessing and help.

1 Timothy 4: 12 NASB

12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example [a]of those who believe.

Note: As an aside- I had a major issue with my cell phone during this time and am adjusting to the different camera on the new one. My summer photos reflect this.

 

Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

Sometimes the Lord allows circumstances so difficult and sparse, that life can feel desperate. These desperate times, when forced beyond myself and my own resources, allow me to see that it is the Lord’s Hand that has saved and still saves me. Through His Mighty Power and Outstretched Arm, the victory; the overcoming; the provision; are obtained. Life is more than dust and flesh. It is more than food and clothes for the body. And sometimes, it takes a desolate place to draw my heart to His.

Read more here!

I am at 66books today!

-Rebecca

 

Endless Gifts

 

A birthday trip in to celebrate

A night in my childhood home with the kids and Todd in July

Us all gathered round on chairs; a panoramic photo

best chocolate cake with chocolate icing

Enchiladas and Salad; Fruit Salad and Veggies; plans for blueberry crumble

The blessing of being able to pick up and go; the hope of future memories

Roses on her table

A late night chat around the table and laughing

Foley Camp to look forward to

The Summer of Camps for our kids- maybe more on that later. Maybe.

Timbernook

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An Erg in my bedroom

100 Days

Blueberry picking and a double rainbow

Visits at brothers’ homes

A sleepover at Andrea’s

night chats with best friends

Coffee with Ali

A little girl who is eating more and is not as anxious

Swimming

Books

Coffee

An old playlist revived and it is us 18 years ago and onward and we sing our hearts out

A friend to help with art camp (Thank you, Courtney)

Baby ducklings at Art Camp

Hair colors called Truffle and Almond Rocca. Grin.

Summer

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Bounty

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…Endless Gifts…

 

 

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 2 Part 2

Chapter 2 Part 2 of Mission to Motherhood: Beautiful by Design

Here is a link to Part 1 from this Chapter- Mission of Motherhood Chapter 2 Part 1

From Waterbrook Press: 2003

For Thought and Reflection:

These are the four Scripture selections from the Reflection Portion of Chapter 2:

Genesis 3:20English Standard Version (ESV)

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.[a]

Genesis 1:26-28English Standard Version (ESV)

26 Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Colossians 2:8English Standard Version (ESV)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.

Romans 8:1English Standard Version (ESV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a]

 

Colossians 2:8English Standard Version (ESV)

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.

Once again, I am going to respond to the third verse offered in this section. Without going into specific, concrete detail that might cause alarm, hurt, or undue judgment and/or condemnation- I would like to state – and this explicitly- that this verse illuminates a very real and very powerful struggle for today’s woman and family. It is a difficult walk, at times, to discern what is a correct, responsible life choice versus a worldly, vain pursuit. I have been buffeted by this for more than two decades, now, and to not acknowledge it is to not be authentic and real. I truly believe that it is the orientation of the heart and the walk of faith that matters. There is no one size fits all. There are only our own faith choices before the throne, before the cross and God’s Hand upon us and Him in the midst of us. In response to one of Sally’s questions: “In what ways have you been influenced by cultural expectations that conflict with God’s design? What impact has this had on your family ?” (38)

I will just respond and say that cultural expectations have had a profound impact upon my family and there is always an undercurrent of influence. There are ways to minimize the awareness of expectation and the influence. The minimizers do help. This area and issue is a real thing and it is okay to face it head on, acknowledge it, and try to process through it. I also suggest that counter- cultural families and women can be particularly vulnerable and it is good to be aware of that as well. Renewing the mind in the powerful truth of God’s Word and putting on all of the armor (Ephesisans 6) is an important way to stand strong against the pressing waves of culture and the world. Seek to value what the Lord values. Seek to prize what He prizes. Seek to acknowledge, convey and live that what is precious to Him is precious to you (me). And children! Children are precious to Him.

A Personal Response to Beautiful by Design:

1 John 1:9English Standard Version (ESV)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Recently, I had a talk with my Mom.

And just in this moment- let me say- how grateful I am to have her. As different as we are. I love you, Mom!

We were discussing different hurts from the past and love and forgiveness. After I got off the phone, I had the most profound realization of God’s complete and utter- to the depths- love for my Mom.  Personal, Intimate, Unrelenting, and Complete. And with this realization came the understanding- though as in a glass- dimly-  of  the very real knowledge that she was and is fully known- as she is.  And I felt- a whiff- a waft… a breath- of the abandoned freedom that comes from such knowledge… and the awareness that – that love was mine, too. And, in true confession, I have no idea how to share in any kind of powerful way- the experience of that love with her… and also, in true confession, I did not allow myself to really receive the fullness of all that understanding means. God’s Love- not abstract, not distant, but real, personal, pulsing, alive.  However, in this moment, right now, I invite you, with me… to take a few quiet moments and be still. I am. The house is dark and all is quiet and there is the living silence I love so well in these deep alone times. Listening. In the inner quiet of the heart… listen to the Lord, invite Him in, and receive His love. And if you have never known what it is to trust the Lord and have your heart wiped clean and turned from stone to flesh-(Ezekial 36:26) because it is only a living, pulsing, quickened heart that can be alive to this illuminating, to the depths of you- love- well, now is the time and today is the day (2 Corinthians 6)– and that…. is the very first step. Because….He, well-

He is love. 

1 John 4:16English Standard Version (ESV)

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.