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Gratitude - making it count

  101  | fresh summer salads
  102  | slow moments
  103  | siblings playing together
  104  | a very small garden finally planted
  105  | new bedding
  106  | dishes in the sink - a time to reflect at the kitchen window watching the sun set
  107  | a well with water
  108  | the cool air from the swamp cooler
  109  | buttered popcorn
  110  | a bit of "me" quiet time alone
  111  | hot coffee topped with whipped cream & cinnamon sugar brought to me in bed
  112  | bare feet and painted toe nails
  113  | peanut butter & jelly - quick & easy meals
  114  | helpful little hands {carrying laundry, sweeping floors - all without asking}
  115  | ice cream cones topped with chocolate chip cookie dough
  116  | a friend sharing a Bible verse
  117  | a restful moment reading Life Beautiful magazine cover to cover
  118  | a walk with my family through the garden section of a store
  119  | a lunch date with my husband
  120  | the opportunity to serve a neighbor {show her love}
  121  | having hot tea in pretty cups with my youngest daughter
  122  | being spared from a down power line fire really close to our property
  123  | sobering moments that bring a flood of thoughts and prayers
  124  | worship songs playing in my head throughout the day
  125  | thoughts of my favorite season {autumn} to come
  126  | the smell of freshly cut basil
  127  | secretly watching my daughter squat down to water a young strawberry plant  
  128  | fellowship
  129  | little printed books of memories
  130  | daughter's safe travels
  131  | braided bread prayers
  132  | family traditions
  133  | friends sharing a book with me
  134  | wild huckleberry tea

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of the God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

{restored from 12th June 2016 & 10th November 2016}

3.5.2017 journaled thoughts

  • In my life this month…

  • I am trying to add some exercise back into my life in hopes that it will improve the chronic pain that I suffer with from ruptured disks in my lower back. I am using a Fitbit and counting steps to inspire me to be in shape enough to hopefully be able to walk outdoors when the weather allows it.  I overdid it this week and I am feeling the pain.  I need to be careful and ease into this a little more slowly.
  • In our homeschool this month…

  • We are working hard on a biographical approach to learning American History. We are enjoying each and every book and are making read-aloud time a priority.
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

  • We started off the month with a "no school" week for a birthday. It was filled with the magic of Disney and beautiful smiles all day!
  • My favorite thing this past month…

  • February brought many days of needed rain. I loved listening to it and watching it turn from raindrops to snowflakes as the temperatures dropped.
  • What’s working/not working for us…

  • Happy dancing that everything at the moment is working for us. I love having the girls learning together again and have been able to find ways to challenge them at their own levels.
  • Homeschool thoughts I have…

  • Because everything is running smoothly at the moment, I am thinking that we will just continue moving forward and advance to the next levels when the time comes. I'm currently looking through Life of Fred math to add as a supplement
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

  • Smiles from Disney!

Gratitude - Making it Count

  51  | more days of real spring weather
  52  | lots of warm blankets to wrap up in on cold mornings
  53  | waking up next to my husband
  54  | frozen homemade spaghetti sauce for a quick meal
  55  | soft tissues for a runny nose
  56  | grand baby play dates
  57  | memories of becoming a mom 23 years ago
  58  | a friend across the miles caring enough to try to help my health
  59  | much needed sleep
  60  | a clean/organized homeschool room
  61  | hydrangea flowers
  62  | colored pencil markings in my Bible
  63  | cars that take us places
  64  | Trader Joe's lollipops
  65  | a large capacity slow cooker
  66  | quiet time
  67  | a prayer wall
  68  | moments to pray for others
  69  | beautiful thunder storms
  70  | praise & worship music
  71  | hard working farmers to bless our hunger
  72  | book boxes arriving in the mail
  73  | a spirit of empathy
  74  | an electric tea kettle used several times a day
  75  | flip-flops
  76  | productive days without pain
  77  | another new morning
  78  | moments in nature that teach us about life (even when they end sadly)
  79  | my grand baby girl being okay after choking, an ambulance ride, & trip to the ER
  80  | a mother-daughter date day {with 3 daughters}
  81  | Sun Tan scented candles
  82  | contact lenses & glasses to help me see
  83  | sunglasses
  84  | well-behaved children
  85  | fellowship meals at church
  86  | a pastor teaching on the Old Testament feasts and fulfillment of the Savior
  87  | delicious seasonal fruits
  88  | listening to my girls read - so rewarding!
  89  | homeschool discounts
  90  | safe travels
  91  | a printer
  92  | lots of pillows to sleep with
  93  | uplifting text messages
  94  | cheesecake frozen yogurt topped with strawberries & granola
  95  | paper plates
  96  | the sound of leaves blowing in the wind
  97  | an unexpected drizzle of rain in the sunshine
  98  | ice
  99  | homemade apple-berry cobbler
 100 | the clouds in the sky 

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of the God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

{restored from 21st & 29th May 2016}

Why we Homeschool?

The Mother’s Heart is the Child’s Schoolroom

My heart wants to guide my children in the ways of the Lord. It’s the place I silently whisper my prayers and seek advice to stay focused. My heart is filled with love, creative juices, and gentle learning. I store the Scriptures deep within the crevices and hope they pump outwardly in every action as an example for my children to see.

My heart is their schoolroom.

We call our schooling method “HeartSchooling“.

What is HeartSchooling?

In the words of our dearly loved and greatly missed Missey Gray*:
It is more than just “schooling” — more than imparting academic knowledge to our children. It is so much more.

In all our homeschooling efforts, let us not forget our children’s hearts. Let us tie many heart-strings — the more the better — through daily interaction, creating special memories, binding our children to us through love and caring. And let us not forget to guide their hearts toward the Lord, to set their hearts and minds on things above.

The academics are important, but the heart-set is even more so. That’s why I like to say that we are “HeartSchooling” — it puts my focus back where it ought to be and helps me keep my priorities straight.

I hope you will come to enjoy my little blog. I will post more as I can. 
 Keep loving on your little people!
*Unfortunately HomeschoolBlogger took down their site and Missey's words are gone in writing, but have been etched upon my heart forever.

Our Homeschool Philosophy

“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
Deuteronomy 5:29
We believe that the home is the best place for the education of our children. A safe place of love, discipline and nurturing, so that our children will daily, hourly and by the minute experience His Word through not only lesson plans, but by example and hands-on doing and living in His Word.

"And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Isaiah 54:13
We believe that the responsibility for training and educating our children rests with the parents and that we are capable by God’s grace to accomplish this task.

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:7 
Educating our children is a continual, year-round process and that textbooks only account for a portion of this education. Living education through field trips, chores & responsibilities, and socially interacting with family and friends is a vital piece to year-round education. We encourage our children to learn everyday and not value the term “vacation” as a break from using their minds and hearts to expand their knowledge and wisdom.

We believe that the ultimate knowledge that can be brought in home education is the salvation of their souls. This belief is the basis for ALL areas of training our children and not just in the subject of Bible. Instead, Bible is the subject in all our subjects of education - Language Arts, History, Science, Fine Arts, et. al.

“Train up the child in the way he should go:
and when he is old,he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6
We believe that it is our responsibility to protect the Hearts of our children from excessive or unmonitored negative peer pressure, various fleshly temptations, and ungodly role models during their formative years - (the years in which our children lack a thorough knowledge of “right and wrong” — the years in which our children are deceived by the hidden sin of temptation.) These formative years we define as the years living in our home, but will always be important as long we call them our children in our lifetime.

“Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
We believe that our reward in following His instructions for training the hearts of our children will yield the peace of the Lord in their lives and a joy beyond our dreams to see our children living firmly in His truth.

“I have no greater joy, than to hear my children walk in truth..”
III John 1:4
We look forward to reaping this harvest of joy!

"God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every  Branch of  literature and Wisdom."

{Established in our 3rd full year of homeschooling 2002}

I wrote this back in 2002, after our homeschool journey began.  We didn't start homeschooling for the reasons above, but Our Father Above changed this vision and His 'beauty full' plan unfolded.  He blessed me with mentors, like Missey, that shared His light.  The past several years have been full of such struggles, that I forgot to keep this vision at the forefront.  Add to that, the pull of all the wonderful homeschool resources (too much) and the glimpses the internet brought into other homeschool rooms, and I allowed it to taint the plan the Father had already put upon my heart. (Comparison truly does steal joy.)

I am choosing to RESTORE this area.  It didn't come without learning the hard way - again, but the Father is gentle with me.  It's being restored only after 2 curriculum changes mid year, prayers, some tears, and encouragement from close friends.

~I'm loving on my little people! 

Gratitude - making it count

Count your blessings.  Count them one by one!  This is an area of my life that I want to restore as habit.   I do believe that "gratitude turns what we have into enough", but a step further into beautiful abundance.

 1  | the gift of grace, because I fall short repeatedly
 2  | days of home
 3  | my mom who shared the "gift" of her faith with her children
 4  | a husband with patience
 5  | children that grew my heart beyond my dreams
 6  | a Bible with everything I need to know - the breath of gratitude
 7  | spring blooms of color
 8  | warm days with cool evenings
 9  | fellowship with a family of believers
10 | past trials that rooted my faith
11 | abundance of food, shelter, & clothing
12 | undeserved forgiveness
13 | freedom
14 | learning together with my children
15 | quiet & slow moments
16 | emotions of love
17 | a camera to capture the beauty around me
18 | acres of dirt
19 | books
20 | the flicker of a candle's flame - remembering our morning candle
21 | words of inspiration on our walls
22 | encouragement from the blog's I read
23 | a growing family
24 | generations of life - grand baby girl
25 | new beginnings
26 | friends across the miles
27 | mother's day flowers - bouquets & a hydrangea plant
28 | daughter's that massage my head when I have a headache
29 | daughter H sleeping in my arms right now  ::love::
30 | a gentle breeze blowing through open windows
31 | a good job for my hard-working husband
32 | little handwritten notes
33 | recent days of rain drops
34 | despite my cousin's diagnosis of cancer - it hasn't spread
35 | a warmed up heat pack
36 | cinnamon orange hot tea with raw honey
37 | knowing that God is my strength . . . Psalm 18
38 | baskets to hold books, cloth napkins, toys, & more
39 | a family room that seats my big family
40 | running water
41 | flushing toilets
42 | soft fuzzy socks
43 | the giggles of girls playing a game together
44 | pieces of fabric sewn together to make a quilt
45 | juicy sweet apricots
46 | dark chocolate covered almonds
47 | spicy thai rice that soothes the palette and gave me a day off cooking
48 | soft pillows and blankets
49 | the sun rising and setting every day without fail
50 | the laundry all done
51 | a blog template that is working again

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of the God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

{restored from 14th May 2016}

One Word 2017 - {Restore}

For many years, I've chosen a Word of the Year that I try to study and embrace.  In December, I usually start my quest to find "the" word.  I received a special package and in it had a book called The Year of Cozy.   I jumped at the the thought of the word cozy.  I imagined warm blankets and flickering candles and the warmth that this word would bring.  But as I pondered it more, it didn't feel like this was the right year.  After so many years of trials, I knew I wasn't in the place to find cozy without some things being restored first.  

The word restore kept coming to heart in the following days and weeks.  I always do a Scripture search while I am choosing my word and when I came across 1 Peter 5:10 it really spoke to my heart.  It spoke of suffering, the gift of grace and the restoration to Him - the confirmation, the strengthening, and the establishment.

I knew that restore was my one word for the upcoming year!

I've already been applying the word in my life.  I am deep in thought and seeking this path of restoration - not only for my health, but in so many areas of my life that have suffered - health, homeschool, our home, our fellowship and worship, and so much more.  I see I not only want the word restore to permeate deeply,  but I need the word restore to be active and productive in my life.  

I never know where my word of the year will take me, but I am looking forward, with excitement, to what restore will bring this year.

My past words are often still part of my life.

2009 ~ Compassion ::we've been sponsoring through Compassion ever since!::
2010 ~ Yearn ::I wanted more of God's guidance in so many areas -- still do!::
2011 ~ Tomorrow ::it always holds the memories of today!::
2012 ~ BeLoved  ::I needed to accept things as they were::
2013 ~ Abundance  ::I saw so much abundance and saw areas having too much::
2014 ~ Be still  ::I needed patience -- oh a struggle to embrace at times::
2015 ~ Nourish ::"I" had good intentions for this word, but God had better plans to nourish me differently ... spiritually.  This required SLOW -- exactly where He wants me to be now.::
2016 ~  Slow ::a year + unfolded with so many "beauty full" moments::
2017 ~  Restore

Pouring out my heart . . . like water

Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!

New beginnings to familiar rhythms.   A blank slate, but with remnants of erased chalk dust.  I begin here now, with what has been placed heavily on my heart.  A small hidden blogging cove full of the inner pieces of my heart and days.  A place to leave a legacy of memories for those I love.  Our stories.  My letters of love.

I begin by kneeling and lifting my hands in prayer . . .

Dear Heavenly Father,

I lift my hands and heart to You.  I am so grateful for the gift of being able to write these words for my family.  May I pour out my heart like water before Your presence and lift my hands for the lives of my children.  I seek Your guidance to keep me grounded and trusting You with my days.  Please help me be the wife that honors my husband.  I'm weary; physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I know that only by Your strength, I can endure.  Sometimes, I'm scared.  It's hard being a wife, mama, homeschool teacher, and grandma.  And even harder to wear all these hats and transition between them often.  I humbly ask for You to be gentle with me because I know I need to improve in all my roles.  

I thought as I got older and wiser things would get easier, but life is constantly changing.  I can feel my own pain, but also the pain of others close to me.  I can only imagine the pain You felt as You hung on that cross.  Thank you for carrying that cross for the undeserving - me.  I reverently accept Your gift of eternal life and want to instill this in the hearts of my children.

The gifts you've given me are only little for so long and I yearn to do the best that You have called me to do.  I know that Your plans are always better than mine.  Help me trust this.  Help me trust You more.  

Most importantly, help me seek You every day and pour out my 

~In Your presence,

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