Showing posts from August, 2010

First Day of School

There are days that glow in the memory, such as the first day in the school year,   when the excitement and anticipation of newness create treasured pictures  that nestle in amongst the best of times in a child’s memory.  

I am so extremely thankful for this good day,  knowing that it is all from the gracious and merciful hand of a loving heavenly Father.
He is blessing our efforts to put Him and His word first,
as we begin each day gathered around the big table a study of Proverbs.  In our Charlotte Mason approach, we utilize Kevin Swansons’ book to do our copy work, vocabulary, handwriting, as well as learn the foundational truths concerning wisdom and understanding. My dear husband commented, as he came in to find some lunch, that the white board might be helpful, which in deed it was.   I treasure this Proverbs study, because it declares the Truth against the worlds hollow and empty promises in a way that reaches each one of us in practical life situations. 

Our second hour was spent largely o…

Family Gatherings

Every summer, as long as I can remember, relatives have flocked to my parents home for a family gathering.   Potato salad, garden fresh tomatoes, watermelon, grandma’s baked beans and my mom’s apple pie, the best you can find anywhere, are only some of the favorites that bury the kitchen countertops and nourish our frames as we visit and catch up and relive past experiences.

 Family is always family.   They will always be there.   Friends may come and go, but relationships with relatives last.
The cousins splash and giggle in the water all afternoon, the adults sprawl leisurely across the house.  Old stories mingle with new, laughter and snoring mix together as uncle or grandpa takes a snooze.   It is all familiar, nothing exciting, always the same, and that is the very reason these times are special, relaxing and looked forward to.
It is the simple things in life that I appreciate the most.  It is the sameness of life I recall most clearly and dear to my heart, how grandma always had pickl…

What To Do With Preschoolers

Welcome to our practical Saturday post of large family living.  This is where and when we will address some of the helpful things that have helped us along the way to raising a large family, things I wish I would have known years ago, when I was struggling to adjust to a bigger family, like around child # 5.

Undoubtedly the question I get asked the most often about homeschooling, is:
What do you do with preschoolers???
We have been homeschooling for 14 years.  In that time we have always had at least one preschooler tagging along with us.  Since our school is life oriented, the toddlers, babies, and 4 to 5 year olds just get to do everything we are doing.  We read to them, help them memorize Scripture..this is done matter-of-factly while combing their hair or tying their shoes.  All capable children help with household chores.

Small children love to feel big enough to be helpful.  They tag along with me doing laundry, making beds, stirring dinner, feeding animals, etc. in as much as …

Illuminate Sessions

My niece participates in Virtual K-12 schooling.  I was talking with my brother about this the other day, and he mentioned the “illuminate sessions” as being particularly important.   An illuminate session is where the student both sees and hears the teacher via an internet connection.   I nodded my head and we visited for awhile. 
My mind has been sitting on this for a few days now, slowly forming connections to spiritual realms.

When we meet with God to pray and read His Word, we have the opportunity to participate in an illuminate session with Him.  I have noticed in my life, that this doesn’t just happen.  Several things have to be in order before I genuinely enter His presence and commune.   First, I need to be of a humble heart so that I am teachable, ready to take in the lesson for the day.  Secondly, I must be looking in the direction of the teacher, so that I may “see” Him.  My thought here is that often times, I am so consumed by myself that I don’t see the Who of God, trying t…

The Power of One Woman

President Theodore Roosevelt summed up the effect of  family upon a nation in his 1907 address to Congress when he said, "When home ties are loosened, when men and women cease to regard a worthy family life,  with all its duties fully performed and all its responsibilities lived up to,  as the best life worth living,  then evil days for the nation are at hand."

Each woman is divinely unique, designed by God to Mother with a nurturing heart, to love children.  History tells of the power such nurturing produces.  The life of Susanna Wesley is such a moving story to me.  She surely was one of the faithful who has gone before us leading the way, as Hebrews tells of.  In the 1700's, her day was evil.   Threatened by the English community because of their faith,  some mean spirited folk attempted to burn down the Wesley's home.   Susanna's husband was away much of the time, yet this courageous mother of 11 children diligently trained her brood day after day in the Scriptu…

5 Ways to Impove Your Marriage Today

"Marriage  is intended to bring joy.   The married life is meant to be the happiest, fullest, purest, richest life.  It is God’s own ideal of completeness.  If in any use it fails to be a blessing and to yield joy, and a richer, fuller life,  the fault cannot be with the institution itself, but with those who, under its shadow, fail to fulfill its conditions.”  J.R. Miller, Homemaking pg 13
I adore Chocolate pie.   For years I thought that Cirus Oleary’s chocolate pie was the best of the best.   And then, I had a real chocolate pie, made only with milk chocolate and cream.   It was heavenly.  The taste far exceeded the former favorite.  I was astounded.   I couldn’t believe chocolate pie could be so good.  Such a pure chocolate flavor, no artificial aftertaste, just simple creamy chocolate.  My eyes were opened to purity of ingredients, thus, I became aware of a synthetic taste in my foods.   I began to feel sympathetic toward people who adored Cirus O'leary pie, the poor things didn…

Simplifying Homeschool Days With Easy Cooking

I love simplicity.  Things natural feel simple to me,   When I am cooking, I often think that a simple version of the food being prepared is the best. Food is one of my great delights in life,  so finding a great way to prepare something especially delicious that is also easy is a favorite past time of mine. 
Welcome to our practical Saturday post, where we share some of the things that have made life with a large family easier.  Things I wish we would have known years ago, when I was struggling to adjust to a bigger family, like around child #5. 
Recently, In attempting to bring more simplicity to my life I have come to hold my crock pot as near and dear to my heart.  There is just nothing so wonderfully easy as  putting a chicken in the crock pot on a Sunday morning and coming home to a wonderful smelling dinner, on paper plates, so we don’t have to wash, but can relish an afternoon of quiet, preferably including a nap and some chocolate.  For a family our size, I put two parted chickens in the…


"Are all these your children?" Yes, they are. "Well, you sure have you hands full!" Yes, I do. I have heard it a hundred times.  I am so grateful that my hands are full.  I wish it no differently.
As I stood next to baby Jethro's ICU bed, tubes going in and out all over his little15lb frame I thought, life is so fragile, so very fragile.   Yet, all too often we take each blessed day for granted, living for the moment, and not for eternity.   What else matters when your baby is struggling to maintain life, other than making every moment count and doing your best to help him live?
I could have been an architect. God has given me a talent for it.   I could have been a  teacher. I love teaching and even in high school excelled at it giving equitation lessons.  But I am ever so thankful that I chose to be just a mama. No high paying salary or career of significance holds a candle to devoting my days to caring for and training my children.  But, sometimes, in the midst of cranky chil…

The Most Important Thing

As I sit in the hospital today with my dear fiend, waiting fo her 5 month old son to get out of surgery, I have been much in payer for him.  Prayer has got to be on the top of the list when it comes to parenting our children.
Elizabeth Elliot writes in her book, “The Shaping of A Christian Family”:  “My father, often wrapped in a steamer rug…against the predawn cold, fell on his knees daily beside a threadbare old armchair in his little study to pray for his children.  This was his primary duty, his priestly duty, and he gave it first place in his day.”
This little vignette inspires me tremendously.  Such passion to pray for my children with daily devotion moves me, this is truly the heart of spiritual parenting. My friend Carolyn  always prays the scripture back to our Heavenly Father on behalf of others.   I think this is a great way to pray.   So many times we don’t know what to pray, but there are guidelines to steer us.   For several years, I have used a list of 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray f…

Our Log Home

Here is a recap, for some special people, of the log home our family has been building by hand for 6 years.

6 years ago, a man in our church gave us 10 timbered aces.  From this land, Brian and our oldest son (then 12 yrs old) cut down 120 lodge pole pine trees, which we decked near the house site.  Friends and family helped us peel these 38 foot logs by hand with spuds and draw knives.  All the heavy equipment we needed was generously loaned to us to clear the site, build the driveway, and construct the house.  All our children helped build.  Our older childen can use most any power tool, down to Joe, who is 11.  We had the two year old peeling logs with us, he liked it.  We did not finance with a bank, so it has been a build as you can project, which still is not done, but we moved in anyway in February. 
The porch is the favorite place for the children to play, Brian and I like to sit out there in the early morning sunshine to have our time alone with God.
As you enter the lodge, the…