Friday, December 15, 2017

- LOVE -

- LOVE -

Thursday, December 14, 2017

- DO -


Wednesday, December 13, 2017


    -  DO  -

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

He cares for you {gracelaced}

In my limited quiet time (an area I really need to increase), I am enjoying Ruth Chou Simons book gracelaced.  It's beautifully written and illustrated and gently speaks to my heart in so many ways.

The storms of life have been abundant lately.  Whether we are struggling with them literally in the wake of the recent hurricanes and new ones still yet coming, or a life situation that clouds our days, this verse was timely.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."  

1 Peter 5:6-7

I'm pausing today, to do just this.

Monday, September 4, 2017

On the table - transition to Fall

I try to keep some kind of flowers on our table.  I started this tradition, when my health required me to live away from home.  Each week, I would venture out to Trader Joes and I fell in love with their flower selection - thus a tradition was born to add beauty during a hard time.  I've now been back at home for over a year, {{giving praises}}, and I've just continued to try to keep this going.

Sometimes it's a store bought bouquet, sometimes it's hand picked, sometimes they are a gift, and other times, I may have nothing, but I thought it might be fun to document what is on our table over the weeks ahead.

This week's flowers are a bouquet that I'll call "transition to Fall".  I am so ready for my favorite season and it's coming soon!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

First Day - Heart of Compassion Experience

Happy 1st day of school!  

I shared earlier that I wasn't ready to start school when I had planned.  I had the best of intentions and even ordered flowers to be delivered to the girls on the first day of school.  Ironically, the flowers didn't arrive on time either.  Despite all the little setbacks, better lessons unfolded and our hearts were filled beyond any other first day that I could have planned.

We took a field trip, out of town, to embrace heartschooling and partake in the Compassion Experience.  It was beauty full and just the perfect start a new school year.  We stepped inside the classrooms of those in foreign countries.  I watched as the lessons unfolded and the hearts were touched beyond just words; the sweet tender hearts and salty tears that stung the eyes.  "This is sad," whispered my youngest daughter.

It was over 105° on the blacktop, and while Compassion tried to cool things off with fans and such, it was sweltering.  It was deeply humbling.  We take for granted the places we can go to escape the heat and this very experience reminded us and grounded us in the blessings we don't deserve.  The lumps grew in our throats.

There was a message of compassion, a message of need, and a message of hope that gently spoke through the headphones with the each story of a life changed.

Years ago when we started sponsoring through Compassion, I had this mind set that we could make a difference in their lives.  Little did I know then, that they would greatly change our lives.  We've connected over the years with these beautiful lives through their letters and drawings and they've stretched me and grown me in ways that I cannot explain, but after this experience, I pray and hope that I can find the right way for these lessons to unfold for my daughters, as they did for me.

My girls helped write letters and draw pictures.

The lessons unfolded . . .

God can lift you from nothing to something.  

And, that was the end of our first day of school!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A 'lesson unfolded' in Scripture

a lesson unfolded - wisdom tucked into scripture to embrace in our homeschools. . . . 
Philippians 4:8-9

 whatever is:

true - Bible, Scriptures, Hymn Study
honorable {noble}- Character, Habits
just {right} - Mathematics & Logic
pure - Health, Physical Education
lovely - Art & Music Appreciation, Handcrafts
commendable {admirable} - History
excellent - Languages, Literature, Poetry
praiseworthy - Science & Technology

. . . learn & receive, hear & see, and practice these things

 "and the God of Peace will be with you!"

Memorize and meditate and whisper these Words and may peace abound in our daily homeschool lives.  We are called to HeartSchool His gifts entrusted to us.  May I be reminded of these verses every day - the good days, the hard days, the fun days, and especially the days I fall to my knees in despair.  "The God of Peace will be with" me.  ~amen

{Blessed by Alle for sharing this encouragement.}

Friday, August 11, 2017

Our School Year Planned

Our school year has begun!  Each year is similar, but a little different because I've gained wisdom in each year as a homeschooling wife and mom, and I'm still learning.  I've tried different schedules and planning methods and tried year round vs. traditional and found that we need a visual schedule of sorts, but need flexibility more than anything.  The true beauty lies in this very special freedom. 

 lessons unfolded- I am still learning and planning is something I
 love + do + think about

How did I plan this year?

  • I started with a school calendar and chose the August - July which resembles our private ISP.
  • I then outlined all days that I know we won't be doing school.  Some of these dates are birthdays, holidays, family vacations, etc.  I also try to respect our local school district's calendar to try and avoid any issues.
  • Using a highlighter, I started highlighting possible school days.  We must have 180 days, so I count to make sure that I have 180 days highlighted.  We started on Friday, August 4th, and our targeted end date is by the last day of May 2018.
  • ... and without the girls knowing it, I have a few fun "just because we can" days planned!

The flexibility comes to play in knowing that these are only "planned" and not absolute.  {For instance, we've already had a rough week of school which took us to Urgent Care twice and a diagnosis of mono for our daughter.}  We must be flexible!!  I have no idea what the days ahead will bring, but I now have a few options -- one we can add some additional highlighted days for our missed days and extend our school year into June, or we can cut some of our planned days off, or I can just mark them as "absent" from school and do make-up work just like the public schools.

It's visual, doable, and fits the flexibility to do school over a full year, if needed, as life tosses out things in the homeschool adventure ahead.

Let the 2017-2018 adventure begin!

{School Calendar is from}

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I'm NOT ready for school to start!

I woke up this morning and looked at the calendar.  The date, August 1st, was circled as our 1st day of school.

 I'm not ready for school to start!

Yes, the books are ordered and are here, but things are not in order.  My heart is nudging me to accept the beauty of homeschool and move our starting point a little later -- like maybe Friday instead of Monday.

My Bible time is not in order and it needs to be.  I haven't been reading the Word like I should and I know it causes the shift of peace to chaos.  My goal today, is to pick up my Bible and find a time slot, just for me, to do this special Bible time.  I'm not a morning person, but as I get older, I'm not the night owl I used to be either.  I'm finding too many things taking up the few good hours I have each day, but something has to change.  It got me thinking about the hours in a day.

I realized that homeschooling hours have to change.  They have to be more doable and relaxed, yet scheduled/focused enough so that the pages turn and the work progresses through the school year.  After much thought, I came to the idea that trying to fit in every subject - every day, was NOT working and dragged on our days and school year.  I had one of those light bulb moments and a bit of wisdom came to mind - I should schedule it like our Five in a Row days!  Block Schedule the subjects and give the days time slots to one particular subject.

Thinking out loud in a visual chart format . . .
I wanted to keep our days to under 4 hours, have light Fridays, and have a time slot to allow for any unfinished work or even projects that we may want to do.  I think I've accomplished all those goals and love that we can start our weeks off with Bible, Hymns, and Character training on Mondays to apply throughout the week.  We will do Language Arts, Math, and P.E. every day, and then use the blocked time schedule for the remaining subjects.   I plan to really try to stick to the allotted times rather than try to lesson plan out in detail -- example:  if Lesson 1 in Math only takes us 30 minutes, then we will move on to Lesson 2 in that hour and go as far as we can.  And, in reverse, if Lesson 1 is dragging on beyond the 1 hour, then we just stop at the hour mark and pick it back up the next day.   Beyond the schedule, the girls will be reading independently (that correspond to our lessons)  and I need to pray about adding in the library days, field trips, and the fun "just because we can" days!

Things I still need to do:
  • School Calendar - (re-do with new start date)
  • Teacher Prep - (Pin It! Maps, organize books, & supplies)
  • Organize home
  • Write out ideas for field trips & "just because we can" fun days

It looks good on paper, so far, and I feel one step closer to being ready to start school.  Implementing it, is an entire other ballpark, but that's where my heart and my Bible time, will need to stay prioritized.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Our School Room

The Mother's Heart is the Child's School Room

We do not school just in a room . . . we truly homeschool everywhere in our home.

. . . sometimes it's curled up together reading a book

. . . sometimes it's tasting new things even when they are "yucky!"

. . . sometimes the dining room table is turned into a laboratory

. . . sometimes it's on the floor learning with toys

. . . sometimes it's hands-on with a basket of quilted letters and a sweet book

. . . sometimes it's finding a quiet spot

. . . sometimes it's a FUN field trip!

 . . . sometimes it's mixing an exciting concoction wearing a lab coat & goggles

. . . sometimes it's making a mess together in the kitchen 

. . . sometimes it travels with us - like visiting Nana & Papa

 . . . sometimes it's having someone to love beside you

. . . sometimes it's finding something to do for P.E. like ice skating

. . . sometimes it's pausing and having something to think about

 . . . sometimes it's exploring nature  

and drawing in our journals

. . . and sometimes, it's discovering squishy mud and making mud puddle soup!

. . . yet oftentimes, it's snuggled up under a blanket reading lots of books!

But, we did organize and create a learning space in our home . . .
which houses all the goodies we use to keep learning FUN!

we may just school in here, too! 

"Our School Room" originally posted August 10, 2014, but has remained the same over the years - 

my heart is their school room.

Friday, July 7, 2017

7.7.2017 Journaled Thoughts

Pieces of my Heart

  • In my life this month…

  • I'm home again!  I've been on a month long adventure traveling with family in an RV.  I've got piles and piles and piles of things to catch up on and July is already proving to be super busy.   
  • In our homeschool this month…

  • We've enjoyed lots of learning moments during our travels.  The lessons unfolded naturally.  We went over the rivers, and through the woods, with grandparents' house in tow!   Lessons unfolded among the trees, on the beach, with family, and even within the walls of a castle!

     On the agenda is to finish up year-end reports and decide on final curricula choices for the next school year ....ACK!!!-- next month already it starts!
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

  • I'm thoroughly excited to see my family back at home.  I missed them greatly while the two little girls and I were away. People and places-- I'm really hoping to keep it minimal with home and church and the usual grocery store runs. We do have grandparents coming to visit in a few weeks, too.
  • My favorite thing this past month…

  • I've encountered so many special things this past month that it is far too hard to choose.  The time spent traveling with family was an opportunity to really see and do things that otherwise I may not have ever had the ability to do.  The beautiful Redwood forests, the full rivers once again flowing after the years of drought, the sand between our toes on the beach, a petrified forest, and so much more.  It was all a blessing and I'm unable to choose one favorite thing.
  • What’s working/not working for us…

  • Everything is working at the moment, but I know that things could be working better.  We are still on summer school rhythm which is always easier than the longer homeschool days, but I know that I want this relaxed feeling to carry on throughout our learning days and not just over the breaks.  I'm just not sure 'how' to make things easier, right at the moment, with all the piles surrounding me from our return home but I know when the time comes, a new home and homeschool rhythm will unfold and a routine will once again fall into place.
  • Homeschool thoughts I have…

  • Books have now arrived and final choices still need to be looked at and prayed over.  I read a something today that summed up my heart:

    1. Always put God first, all things must line up with His teachings.
    2. Actively seek His will.
    3. Develop and foster meaningful relationship within our community.
    4. Pray over, Seek, and Pursue interests.

    My heart's desire is to not only start strong, but I prayerfully want to finish strong.
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

  • These are the lessons unfolded that I want to keep etched on my heart and mind . . .

    An impromptu map lesson between a child and grandparent.  There was  . . .
"someone to love; something to do; and something to think about."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

10 years later

When a child loses his parents, he is called an orphan. 
When a spouse loses his/her partner, they are called a widow or widower.

When parents lose their child,

there isn't a word to describe them.

I am one of these parents without a word.

I remember the day of his silent birth.  It was 10 years ago today. The hospital room felt so empty with just my husband and I present.  I felt the nurses' pain as they were terribly saddened and knew that I was there to give birth to a baby that had already been carried in the arms of eternity.  We all were solemn and the grief hung like a dark cloud brewing in a storm.  I was numb and living in complete disbelief that I had lost yet another baby so late in pregnancy.  My body was ever so weary from the severe morning sickness that lasted all day and endlessly for months and months.  The thought of laboring a baby I would never hear cry, seemed impossible, but it happened.  He was born so tiny and so perfectly formed.  Just as I had done with my other babies, I counted all 10 fingers and 10 toes.  His body was so frail and I was afraid to touch his thin pink skin.  Every detail was being etched in my memory and treasured, because I knew I would have to say the final goodbye to his earthly body that was silently resting the palms of my hands that shook so violently.

It was such a dark season in my life.  One, that despite having loving support, felt like the loneliest moments I've ever experienced.  I deeply wanted to mourn his little life and the siblings lost before him.   I wanted to feel the pain and really mourn this horrible loss. These babies deserved the full attention of the broken pieces in my aching mama's heart.  Each piece felt shattered beyond repair.  It wasn't depression as in the medical sense, but instead it was a vast ocean full of grief that had waves that crashed unexpectedly.  My faith was pulled out to the drowning ocean waters on many occasions.  I cried until I had no more tears left.

I shed so many tears and screamed at God.  

But, I was communicating with Him and that was most important.  I still believed He was there listening. 

If I had stopped talking to Him, I wouldn't be where I am today.  He listened, and was always there for me despite my toddler-like tantrums and my utter lack of any understanding.  This very lack of understanding is exactly the description of faith.  Believing without proof or understanding and gripping hold in blind trust.

10 years later, I still remember.
10 years later, I won't forget.
10 years later, I feel blessed that I had 22 weeks of his little body carried with me.
10 years later, I know that I was the only one who felt his little movements of life.
10 years later, I still miss my babies not with me.
10 years later, I have a changed heart.
10 years later, I see things through a different set of eyes.
10 years later, I have great empathy for others that share this grief.
10 years later, I look back and feel blessed that I took the time to mourn.

Blessed are those who mourn, because they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

 10 years later, I am blessed by the Father's comfort in this time of mourning.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mercy {Psalm 138:8}

I need to cling on to His mercy today.  I'm struggling to keep up.  This Sunday morning came, and I sadly, just didn't feel like a rushed morning to go to church.  I'm sitting here feeling a burden of guilt for not going.  It's a privilege to go and I gave it up for selfish reasons.  Exhaustion is hard and I need to learn to prioritize better so that our week starts with fellowship instead of ending.  I will work on setting this goal in the upcoming weeks.

Dear Father....
I'm so sorry for my choice.  I know I prayed for so many years to find a family to fellowship with and You provided, and yet I sit here at home.  LORD, please help me regain my strength and give me a burning desire to be among the Body of Christ to learn and grow and praise You.  I trust in Your plans and humbly accept Your mercy that endures forever. Restore me to Your ways.   ~amen

Monday, April 10, 2017

4.10.2017 Journaled Thoughts

Pieces of my Heart

  • In my life this month…

  • I'm "re-trying" the FitBit movement after my last watch started glitching.  I went to exchange it and they were out of stock, so I had to wait for a replacement to arrive in the mail.  Despite the slow exchange, I was excited to be able to upgrade at a very minimal cost special, to the gun metal edition that I had really wanted.  I've had it now for a little over a week and I'm back in motion and working hard to improve my steps.  I hope to have the strength and endurance to go on outdoor walks and tackle some of the nearby trails.  
  • In our homeschool this month…

  • We've been slowly doing the basics while I've been working behind the scenes on finishing strong this year and planning an exciting upcoming school year. It's been hard to keep the concept of "less is more" in the forefront, but I'm really excited to see the layout of things come together!
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

  • At the end of March, we had a memorial gathering in memory of my mother-in-law. It was simple and casual, just as she would have liked. It was nice to meet up with family we hadn't seen in years and catch up on the latest news.
  • My favorite thing this past month…

  • A mixture of weather! Little hints of warm spring days, mixed in with rain and some days with wind that chills to the bone. The wild flowers are painting the hillsides and the puffy white clouds blanket the sky and the promise of a new season is warming the air.  The girls and I love to watch the tall wild grasses running with the breeze on the mountains around us.
  • What’s working/not working for us…

  • My ears are still bothering me, but I am home and that is still something I give thanks for every day. The mountain elevation plays havoc with my energy levels because of the constant ear pressure changes, but besides slowing me down, I am seeing little bits of progress being made around the home and I'm choosing to find joy in each day.

    We didn't get as much read aloud time in the past few weeks as I would have liked, but this coming week it's back in the plans.

    Ugh...the dread of clutter. I'm in the process of going through shelves and closets, and cupboards and trying to help keep things at a minimum. I'm struggling with the weighted decision of what to keep and what not to keep.
  • Homeschool thoughts I have…

  • Books are arriving and box days are fun! My outlook is simplifying the school year ahead and to use more art in our learning.  The girls are so creative and I want that to come through in our days ahead. Both girls have made great strides in reading and we are going to work harder on the area of writing. {Restore} the continuity and rhythm back into our learning days is a top priority, but organization needs to be in place for this to run smoothly and keep the love of learning alive.
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

  • I made candles! ...a mother culture type of moment.
    This was my first attempt to make soy candles and I love the way they turned out. I am calling them "Prayerful Scents" with a tag line "Hand poured with prayer".  I found some Kraft brown labels that turned out really nice and I especially love that they are removable so that I can reuse my jars very easily without having to soak off labels each time.  This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time.  It may just be cutting way back on blogging is making things like this possible again.  ....and to note that it will ultimately be a nice cost saving hobby to my love of candles habit.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

In loving memory

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I place a bouquet of flowers on my table for my sister's birthday.  I pause to whisper, "Happy Birthday" in my heart.  Small tears sting my eyes as I light some candles and remember our childhood days together and realize all the years I've had now without her unique personality and quick wit that she always carried wherever she went.

It's become tradition to remember her on this day.  Someone in the family always gets the flowers -- myself, my husband, or my daughters.  This year is was daughter M who picked them out and brought them home.

I wish I had more memories in the making with her now . . .  I miss you, Kim.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

3.5.2017 journaled thoughts

Pieces of my Heart

  • 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!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why Homeschool?

Why Homeschool?

When asked "why" we homeschool, a flood of reasons come to heart and they have been shaped in time through a conviction and the experience of graduating 3 of our 5 children thus far.  It's a tugging on our  hearts and hard to summarize into a simple explanation, but I will attempt to put this feeling into words.

1.  Because we felt a "need" to homeschool - 

This didn't come easily to us.  We had a child in school and the struggle was real.  She didn't fit the mold of the classroom dynamics.  She was gifted, bored, and sadly we watched a child hate the learning process.  Books were no longer exciting adventures, but tormented homework.  Playtime was lost. Over time, this "need" to homeschool has grown into a conviction.  We believe that it is our responsibility as parents to educate beyond just reading, writing, and arithmetic.  There is the heart that needs faith, hope, love, and grace.

2.  Because our children are teaching us!

It's an amazing concept, but they have the ability to gift us a special way to see life through the eyes of a child.  A child-like faith, wholeheartedly, is part of the gift they show us each day and backed by Scripture.
"...unless you change and
 become like little children,
you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 18:3

I'm trying to see the world through a child's eyes and it is amazing when we slow down enough to see all the sweet lessons of life unfolding through our children.

3.  Because application of what is taught is vital to remember and needs to be used.

There is no point in learning something if you don't know how to apply it.  While memorization is a excellent tool, the ability to learn how to learn and use what you learn is something I value more than the rote ability to quote something.   Hands on!  Hearts on!  Apply the lessons in real life together as a family.

4.  Because the world is our classroom.

School gets labeled as basically the only place of learning that is supposed to be - suggesting that a specific age is grouped together and that learning only takes place in this structured environment with desks and chairs and teacher up front.  I believe that learning takes place everywhere, all the time.  Opening the heart and mind to a love of learning brings wisdom beyond what can be taught in a building.  Learning can take place on a nature walk, visiting a neighbor,  snuggled under a blanket reading books, in the kitchen measuring out ingredients, listening to a grandparent's history, or just having a conversation together over tea.  Children should also be taught how to learn and not just told what to learn.  They are naturally curious and will often learn more if we step back a little and allow this curiosity to grow.  Wander beyond the building and let them step out and explore.

"An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing."  ~Charlotte Mason

5.  Because it is our responsibility to know what/when our children learn

Over the years there is a lot of conflict among materials taught in school that inherently are contradicting our beliefs.  For us, the concept such as creation vs. that over evolution was one area, but this is actually minor in the whole scope of morals/lifestyles and oftentimes the outside influences presented by teachers or peers are with the absence of any faith.  Our purpose in life is completely stripped without the Biblical Truths.  Something that was once important in founding the educational system and recited daily in pledge as "one nation under God" is sadly gone.  Non existent.  We personally feel that we are held accountable in raising our children.  How could we send them away for hours a day and give up this responsibility and not know exactly what is being taught to mold their young impressionable minds, let alone the greater burden of their precious hearts.  We can't.

6.  Because learning is not rushed.

The knowledge that comes from slowing down and mastering a concept is undeniably important.  Home Education gives us the time we need to assure that our child has a true understanding behind the lessons.  We can slow down when needed and work on a area that is a struggle or get lost in a really good book reading for hours together.

7.  Because we want to instill a love to keep learning!

Learning shouldn't stop just because a diploma is issued.  It should continue and with a burning desire to learn more because one wants to learn more.  Love it and don't lose it!  Embrace creativity and imagination.  Enable them to dream!

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.

~I'm loving on my little people!


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