Friday, January 27, 2012

Literary Living

~Best Quote of the Week~
 Recidite plebes! Gera rem imperialem!
Stand aside, little men! I am here on imperial business.

Speaking of which:

Saw this on FB so not sure where it originated.

It was a week of sick days. Feeche soldiered on with a full schedule of math, A & P, Writing, Pre-Law, etc, along with play practice while Cub, Flower and I spent hours listening to CD's. This week's feature was Mystery of History Middle Ages. We also started Susan Wise Bauer's tome of The History of the Medieval World. We are reading it out-loud. It's hefty, at over 500 pages, so we are taking it one chapter at a time. It's Story of the World on steroids, baby. Feeche is loving it. Flower is too and told me that The Other Side of the Mountain was boring, she wanted to read the Medieval Ages for her bedtime story. One chapter of each.


Watched The Help with the fam. Loved it again. Lots of questions from the younger set regarding just what Hilly's problem was, why Mae Mobly called Abby her "real Momma" and who invented Jim Crow laws.
 First day of my freshman year in public high school in a northern busing town, police and ambulance were called in to break up the fight that got a couple of kids pretty beat up; broken bones beat up. I remember learning about "race riots" the year before, when we were safely ensconced in white suburbia, before our move to a large city. We moved 8 weeks before the end of my 8th grade year and I went from an all white school to one where I was one of 13 white kids in the entire middle school. That was a paradigm shifting year.

Stories from Shakespeare

Cub and Flower re-discovered the Usborne Shakespeare book and have been consuming it this week. Cub's been reading it to Flower, she's been reading it over his shoulder and while he works on Latin, she's been creating scenes from As You Like It on huge pieces of cardboard. It's brought back lots of questions about MacBeth, which they watched Feeche perform in this past summer. Men in kilts, Hivers, were what our boys were, but out of respect for their personage, I defer from posting pictures.

The dishwasher was on the outs this week but we did get the cupboards re-arranged. Started with a leak in the kitchen bathroom. Leaked, made a mess and we cleaned up, really cleaned up as we re-did all 3 bathroom cupboards, plus the kitchen. Not a leak since. While we were doing that, the tracks for 2 drawers came completely off. Loose screws in the kitchen have been a problem since moving in. We've been filling holes with wood filler as we re-attach the runners. And then the back door knob totally blew; won't work at all. As in you can't open the door at all. In addition to knocking back cough and cold meds like we were addicts. What is up with all of that?!
In conclusion. Though it bugs me that stuff is so cheaply made anymore that extended warranties are necessary, I'm glad we had it for the dishwasher. Back to our regularly scheduled sloshing and washing.

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Call me easily amused, but the above is my kinda humor. And you can buy them as magnets. Gotta get me some of these!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Educational Influencers

Here's my incomplete list of educational influencers. I wrote a Master's Thesis years ago on "Why Parent's Homeschool," hence Summerhill. Crazy man. But his school and ideas are still going strong, thanks to his dd. Different strokes. And, too, he was creating a liberated space in a stuffy and staid culture. Instilling a clear sense of freedom is a lot of what I'm about too. I've read most of the books many of the following folks have written. And many of them have web-sites, resources, pod-casts and on-line stores. They all have something to add to your life as an educator.  Dig in. Enjoy!

Calvert- A Child's History of the World. Christian culture despite personal beliefs. The time-line of history as a framework for life.
G.H. Henty- Age of exploration. Find the joy in history. Facts are dazzling diamonds, so it doesn't matter if they are set into the same mold time and again.
Montessori- Kids are not mini adults. Ages and stages, uninterrupted blocks of time to focus, discovery model.
Charlotte Mason- Education is a Atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
Summerhill - Freedom from coercion and repressive cultural ideas; free expression; believe in kids ability to want to learn.
Bill Cosby- Media as a teaching tool, laughter as a teaching tool, example as a teaching tool. Be present. Be cool.
John Holt- Allow your child to follow thier passions and develop their personhood. Life is learning, learning is life. Play is a child's work.
Grace Llewellyn- Liberation. Throw off the shackles.
HSLDA- Strength in numbers- parental rights (vs. state rights).
Colfaxes- We are shaped by the work that we do;  back to the land, live pro-actively, excellence in education.
Raymond and Dorothy Moore- Delight directed education; lay a firm foundation, the importance of basics. Better late than early.
Blumenfeld- Fundamentals of education, lay  a firm foundation; don't expect government to truly educate our country's youth.
Sonlight Curriculum- Literature and Bible based teaching are a powerful combination.
Gentle Spirit- What do you have in your hand? Understand, establish and work with the seasons of life.
Joyce Herzog- to really understand something, start your research in the children's section of the library.
Mary Pride- The hand that rocks the cradle, rocks the world.
Hugh Ross- Science and Theology are beautiful bed-fellows. Intellect and faith go hand in hand.
John Taylor Gatto- Be proactivee. Craft something beautiful despite the norms that seek to entangle you.
Mary Hood- Learning centers, discovery learning.
Above Rubies- Establish a legacy.
Joyce Swann- Accelerated education.
Greg Harris- Establish your kids vocationally; do hard things; live out-loud.
Diana Waring- Joy in the journey, laugh out loud.
Greenleaf Press Press- 4 year history cycle, academic excellence.
Jim Weiss- The power of story-telling
Andrew Pudewa- Power of language; find the expert; give the kids as much help as they need; distill the difficult into simple. Master teachers and excellent curriculum rock.
Robinson Curriculum- Different seasons demand different methodologies; stick with the vision and make the curriculum work for you. The basics ware gonna get you through the night, baby.
Timberdoodle- Toys with a purpose; imaginative, active play; discovery of the world through art, building, creation.
Usborne books- The power of graphics; thinking skills made fun.
Marilyn Howshall-  Lifestyle of learning. Get one.
Beautiful Feet- Unit studies; the joy of connections.
Sally Clarkson- Sympathize with the heart of your child.
Barb Shelton- Delight directed, vocationally oriented. Record-keeping and organization, how to create a course.
Cindy Rushon- Notebooking; journaling with an academic purpose.
Apologia- Textbook as lecture.
The Well Trained Mind- Eat an elephant one bite at a time. Have a vision that incorporates depth and width. Expect more from your kids and from yourself.
Latin Centered Curriculum- Depth vs. Width; simplify, stick with the basics; go far.
Classical Conversations- Train the brain to retain; grammar, dialectic and rhetoric stages.
Logos Academy/ Doug Wilson- The power of doctrine; living according to a clarion call; cclassical ed.
TeenPact- Age doesn't matter in your ability to do great things for God. There is something unique about where you live right now. What/how does God want you to know/do about it?
The New Global Student- the world is (or could be) your classroom.
Marva Collings- Become the teacher you wished you'd had. Know your stuff. Know more. Classical ed, baby, by a class act.
Rafe Esquith- The power of discipline, the arts and passion. Pursue sponsors for what you know to do.
University Model Schools- Combining the strength of homeschooling with the power of community. Win-win.

Who is on your list? Who did I miss?

Right on Time

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cupboard Clean-Out

Between Cub and I we've been sick for over a week now. Just when I think he's better he gets a fever again. I'm actually up and about, thanks be to God and the miracle of $80 worth of antibiotics. We're taking sick days. This has included Chemistry 101 Dvd's an entire volume of Mystery of History CD's and Cub reading Shakespeare aloud to Flower. His pronunciation of names and places is worth the entry fee alone!  Feeche is gone for the day, readying for Tantara on Saturday.

Flower and I are re-organizing the cupboards under all of the sinks in the bathroom and re-arranging the kitchen cupboards. My mil re-arranged the kitchen this summer -she has a gift for space, I do not- but we've lived here long enough now to have some habits established and the need to re-arrange is long past due. Why is it that cleaning makes such an unbelievable mess?  The good news is I'm crossing stuff off my "bugsme2death" list.

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More fun graphics here.

I need this pin re-written to say: Both can't get done, it's homeschooling or the house!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Weather House Arrest

I don't know what the weather is like where you're at, but it's the dead of winter here. Cold; I mean really. Sub-zero and single digits coupled with ice and snow. I like the theory of winter and the thought of 4 seasons but it's done with a vengeance up here and, frankly, it's just not my thing.
I wonder why people moved here as pioneers. I mean, it's pretty brutal out here now, with running water and indoor plumbing and everything, but what we've read is that historically, families sold everything for the promise of land. Once they got here, they had no way to get back and often no where to go back to, since they'd sold it all for the promise of something else.
Dh read "The Children's Blizzard" this week-end between responding to students on-line and, weather nerd that he is, he found the weather in the book fascinating. We went to a lecture, sponsored by NOAA last year about if The Long Winter (by Ingalls Wilder) really was, and yes, it was. My response to all of this fascinating weather info and reality is to feel depressed. It intrigues me to a point, and would even more, if I didn't live in it (both stories took place in the Territories, right around where we reside). Give me green, blue and warm any day over white, glare and ice. Lots of warm.

Really, I'd rather be here:
photo courtesy of
What's the temp where you're at today?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reading Rx

 I've spent the week-end nursing a raging head-cold and killer sore-throat. Between dozing I've been reading.

Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back  -     
        By: Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent

First up was Heaven is for Real. This was really recommended by a friend whose Mom died last year. She found a lot of comfort in it. I thought it was a good review of the basics but it wasn't anything earth shattering.  My only issue with the book was how the parents didn't trust their instincts about how sick their kid was and how long they took to get him the medical help he needed. Cub read it after I did and thought it was good.

Product Details

An Amish Wedding- 3 novellas written by 3 different authors using the same cast of characters. I didn't realize that there was a whole "Amish genre" out there but if you enjoy that genre, you'll like this. It definitely veered into cheesy romance. I'm not sure I buy that whole portion of it in regards to plain people.  My grandparents were Plimoth Brethren and grandma's cousins were Mennonite; their take on life was pragmatic to the nth degree. Simple, easy read.

Dust Jacket for Jonathan Cape Edition

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. I picked this up because MeEwan figures highly on the list of reads that King recommends. McEwan is definitely a master story teller.  This is the telling of a young English couple in the early 60's, thier engagement and their disasterous wedding night.  Realistic characters, interesting touch on family systems and the tragedy that occurs when our inner dialog shuts out the realities of the people in our lives. A bit of a tragedy and very, very earthy.

Looking forward to good health, a clean house and

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Into the Heart of Winter

Best Pin of the Week

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GREAT, right?!
 You owe me a joke!  ; )

Writing With Skill is just so good. Jesse Wise is actually on my Hero's list. Susan too (we love SOTW, too!)  but Jesse's higher up on the list. I'm still an IEW lover to the core, but Peace Hill Press just might have scrunched them over to a smaller corner of my heart.

The Complete Writer: Writing With Skill Level 1 Student Workbook
Lamott was fun but I'm done with her for awhile.. I have a whole list of "how to write a book from Robin's to check out. But I'm thinking a good novel might go down well. I have a whole list of notes from King's On Writing to get out of the back of the book and he mentioned several titles. I'm going to try one of his non-horror. And no- I won't do a horror book. I'm quite capable of scaring myself. I need no help. Trust me on this.

Chemistry 101 by Wes Stafford is supplementing McHenry's Intro to Chem for Cub adding another dimension to Feeche's Prentice Hall Chem 1 from last year.
I wouldn't count it as a full high school credit but it's worth at least 1/4 or a 1/2 depending on how you'd beef it up.  It's made along the lines of Tiner's History of Medicine, et al. Lots of good stuff, experiments, the history of the field. Feeche mentioned it's helping clarify some of the more difficult concepts he vaguely understood last year. I'm recommending it- just not as a full chem credit.

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Lego League is cruising along. It's been a great program, the kids have worked on problem solving, info gathering, planning field trips, all in addition to getting the robot to do what it's supposed to do. I'm usually hauling kids around town or teaching an English class while LL is going on so I feel pretty out of the loop. But our coach, Mrs. I, former engineer and woman of patience extraordinaire, has done a GREAT job leading our local pack of bandits.

It's cold 'round here. Single and sub zero temps with blowing snow. I am a warm weather kinda gal. There were certain aspects of California and New Mexico that I did not appreciate but the warmth was something I loved about both. Why does God hard-wire us in certain ways and then thrust us into circumstances, marriages, parenting roles and environments that totally mock our hard-wiring. Seriously?!

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I'm doing all of the home-work that I assign to my high schoolers in Creative Writing Class. I'm actually writing a story we've been talking about for years- literally. What a blast. The thing that amazes me every time I sit down to write is that I actually have some idea of what I'm doing. Heck, I'm even good at it. Love that feeling...that feeling of being good at something. Call me shallow or whatever, but it rocks to be competent at something that doesn't talk back.

How was your week?

Can a Post-Modern be Christian?

Still mulling over Lamott's writing. She  intrigues me  because she is a post-modern and a self-proclaimed Christian. She personifies for me the "Almost Christian." I'm not making any judgements on her salvation, seriously, but her Christian-eese, spiritualityismishness gives me pause. And here's why.

She writes and thinks like a post-modern. She talks about the family that she and Sam and Sam's father have created. But the deal is that Sam's father wasn't even in the picture till Sam was mid-elementary, he doesn't live with them, they get together every so often. Family, by Webster's definition means a social unit living under one roof. So,what's a little simple daily living among friends- or family? Well, a lot. Living under one roof together requires sacrifice, attention to detail, consideration, working out conflict, putting up with each other's morning breathe and irritating habits and modifying our own behavior so that we don't end up suicidal or homicidal.

Getting together for week-ends requires very little of any of that. When there is no financial, little social, almost no interpersonal relationship beyond  a walk in the park, you've really become more of a social group, not family. And there in lies the re-definition. If family is whomever, however, wherever, whenever you want, with little pesonal responsibility or modification, consideration or integrity, than what makes it family vs. the people that you work with or simply sit next to on public transit? And in a liberalishness way, that's the point. We are all part of the family.

But in a Christianish way it's not. Christianishness is personal. Very personal. Very defined. Very exact. Very specific. Marriage becomes a crucible, a place of sanctification and can only really, truly happen between two people who give up their narcissism (thereby definition, ruling out homosexual union as marriage) to become more than they were, not less.  Raising kids becomes a participation in creation, not a despair filled hope to god for the best, we were too late for an abortion this time accident.

And more than anything the divine is transcendent. It's mystical and magical and all of that. I'm all for fairy tales and myths and magical. I love that stuff. I mean, seriously, the Brothers Grimm were probably my great, great, great 14th cousins twice removed. This is good stuff, because archetypes tell us about humanity and that's important. But look. Uncle Jesus sits off to the side, like your uncle and mine did. Kinda not participating, smiling benignly , maybe slipping you a $20 every now and then. King Jesus is front and center. Transcendent, all powerful, really big living space. Post -modernism re-defines truth and thinks it's created something better. Truth, as in big, "T" Truth can not be re-defined. It's there, solid and firm, regardless of how we consider or define it. And really, God, the divine, isn't about archetypal humanity. It's about something bigger than that. Something that transcends humanity.

Post-modernism is all about the re-definition, the non-definition, the anti-definition. The fairy tale magic that lasts about as long as the story and then disappears. Christ cannot be re-defined into something manageable and containable. It goes against His nature (using masculine pronoun here, different discussion). He, and God and the Spirit are not definable, except in small little ways, not containable, not manageable. They-HE- are the ultimate REAL.

By definition, which post-modernism fights against, I can not make logical sense of someone holding the post modernist view and Christianity in their heads and hearts at the same time unless one or the other, or both, or greatly compromised. What do you think?

Find other thought provoking writing here:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anne Again...

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
I finished another Anne Lamott book and it shall I say....simplistic. She is still witty and lol funny and irreverent and disarmingly devoted. But often I wondered to what it is she's devoted. She's a 12 stepper and knows Jesus and has a whole lotta love for everybody. Well, unless your last name is Bush, or Rumsfield or Cheney or maybe even if you vote Republican. She is progressive, until it comes to men, and then bits of anger and wrath seep out and shock you. She has assisted in a suicide and had multiple abortions. She's a Rubik cube in dreads. I'm good with that.

What stopped me cold in my tracks as I read Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, was her comment, "I had to share my truth." Seriously. I thought following Christ meant we put our truth aside and entered in to knowing Truth. Like, it's holy, divine, and fall on your face fear inducing.

That's the problem I have with progressives and, in general liberals. It's situational. It's little "t" truth. It's grounded in what you can make sense of.

I like Lamott's ability to make people laugh, to tackle hard issues, to write transparently, to be open and full of candor. But I don't like the lack of personal integrity, even when it's coupled with humor. For instance, she writes of "accidentally sleeping with other wives husbands." Back when she was drunk. She acknowledges the hurt this has caused, the ill feelings, the bad ju-ju. But she doesn't acknowledge her part in the action. She drank, she chose, she adulterated.

So, where does that leave us then, really? Anne's a great writer. And she is true to her convictions. She is consistently liberal. She actively embraces the grace of God and the ugliness of life. But I'm looking for something else. I'm looking for something, someOne transformative. A Grace that doesn't leave us in the muck and mire but is truly divine and  transcendent.

I did find this selection of essays less well written. The endings of many of them seemed vague and almost dis-joint.

I'll probably re-visit Lamott in the future but it's time to get off this side-street.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grace Notes

I've been reading Lamott and L'Engle simultaneously. These are both woman who are excellent wordsmiths, committed to faith, service, and love. And yet, my response and take-away to both is so fundamentally different.

When I read Lamott I am pulled into the grit of life, exposed to situations, language and realities that magnify that milk-toast aspects of my own. I relate to Lamott's writing because I was an adult before I considered myself a Christian and besides writing about the raggedy arse conflict of life without faith, she also writes of California, which I love. She writes of Northern California, which I love more. And she writes of working out her faith with fear and trembling. I basically fear and tremble and hope to God my faith is getting worked out. While you won't find that method being touted at seminary,  it's the one most often adapted by humans I know.

I like Lamott's writing very much, though her flippancy with colorful euphemisms has caused me to fall off the potty mouth band-wagon more than once. Don't worry, I'm working my program.

In any of L'Engle's work you will not find one single swear word, one single mention of drugs or illicit sex or working your program. There is an innocence and an elegance that flows through her pen. Her vocabulary and understanding of the deep magic- rooted in theology, space, science and words- leaves you with the feeling that you've touched something golden. L'Engle believed that God's love, His LOVE, welcomes everyone in, and for that her work is not welcome in many Christian bookstores. Not doctrinally sound, you know.  Though if you read enough of her work, you understand that her theology is not casual or flippant or doctrinally unsound but an outworking of her own tremblings.

Both of these women understand grace, get grace, embrace grace, write about grace, serve up grace. I like that in a word-smith. Yes, I do.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Word Nerd

Vocabulary is a fun hobby for me. I love hundred dollar words, the uniqueness and subtlety of one word instead of another, synonyms and word play. I'm reading another L'Engle book; Walking on Water; Reflections on Faith and Art and, as usual, it is excellent. One of my fav authors writes on two topics I'm passionate about; theology and art. What's not to love? In addition, Madeline was classically trained (more good feelings) and she is constantly using words I'm not familiar with (ooh, goody- I actually have a reason to read the dictionary! KB so totally inherited my love of reference books!).

Here's my latest list of didn't know befores:

Paladin- A chivalrous hero- a combination of King's advisor and warrior.

Munificence- very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish;  characterized by great liberality or generosity

Pusillanimous- lacking courage and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity

 inimical -: being adverse often by reason of hostility or malevolence

Numinous- supernatural, mysterious: filled with a sense of the presence of divinity, holy; appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense, spiritual

anachronisticc-an error in chronology; especially : a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other

2 more, courtesy of Lamott
Mensch - a person of integrity and honor
Ersatz - substituting for, and typically inferior in quality to'

Have you discovered any new words in the New Year?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

This is our second week of school coming off of Christmas break, mainly 'cause Tutoring Center started back up last week.  The kids seemed to be suffering from Christmas hangover until just recently, everything disorganized, not enough sleep and too much sugar in their systems to think straight. Or maybe that was me.

This week was better, though Christmas company (i.e. older siblings and friends, you know who you are!) still lingered. They were trucked to the airport last week and this (until spring! We'll miss you!) and we are back to our regularly scheduled programming.

That being said, we added in some stuff so "regular" is relative. We are excited to be taking 3 classes on-line through Landry Academy. Feeche will be taking Copy writing, Pre-Law & Mock Trial and Cub is signed up for intro to Biblical Greek. Class 1 of the semester began on Monday and so far we are impressed. Impressed with the system of delivery (Haiku) as well as the teacher, reading and schedule. The boys are ready to have a blast.

Along with that play practice for our yearly Festival of One Act Plays competition has begun and Feeche can be found in the far reaches of the house memorizing lines. The Festival is the last Saturday in January - good, clean fun!

Our weekly homeschool Tutoring Center is going, in addition to Lego League so one full day a week we are out of pocket. The theme this year for LL is "Food" and our team is working on a project with Raw Milk. This has involved a couple of field trips, including one last night to a Raw Milk Poducers dairy. We stood in the barn at milking time in 5 degree weather wowed by Bessie, Frank and Flower, et al (the cows). We purchase our milk from them, and it was actually pretty cool to see how and where it's all done. It was certainly a kinder, gentler operation than some of the huge thousand head dairies we saw in NM. True story- these farmers treated their cow's pneumonia with garlic tincture- homeopathic cow cures-LOL!

During LL I am teaching my bevy of 3rd grade girlies writing using IEW's Fairy Tales, Myths and Fables, then go to TC to teach Creative Writing and just added Jr. High Writing With Skill. WWS is set up just the way Writing With Ease was. It works systematically and sequentially through writing skills, beginning with narration and ending the year with a research paper. Simple and effective.
 The Complete Writer: Writing With Skill Level 1 Student Workbook

We've moved from Poetry to short story/novelette writing  in Creative Writing. It's interesting to break down the writing process into small bites. I am learning a lot as we go this year. At some point soon, I'd love to work in actual writing time of my own (insert rueful laugh). I just need to get back into a routine that works again, where I get enough sleep and still keep the kitchen clean.

Cub is taking Latin (First Form), World History, Pre-Chem at TC and Feeche is sitting in on Latin. Along with that we are throwing in math, spelling practice every now and then, Shakespeare and Chem DVD's and MoH.
We finished Out of the Silent Planet (the first in the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis). The kids incessantly interrupted but there was lots to figure out with the analogies, sci-fi and language. We went back to the wild on this planet and are half way through My Side of the Mountain. My Mom fed Miss R's love of Craighead George's writing by purchasing almost all 40 of her books and it's fun to introduce my other nature loving kids to her excellent word-smithery.

We finished sanding, staining and polying the door frames for the second floor last week. Over the week-end Viking Man glued and shimmed them in. They still need leveled and nailed but they already define and refine the doorways upstairs. Looks like the girls, dh and I will be staying on the 2nd floor for now. The boys are fine in the basement and everyone appreciates the extra space and privacy.

Miss R and her beau were here during record breaking mild weather, which broke the day she got on the plane. Again, back to our regularly scheduled programming- cold wind, ice and snow. Mr. Fife has never been this far north so we were glad for him that his first intro to the upper Midwest was rather mild. Our daily walks might be over for a while.

Today and tomorrow are full up with play practice, Lego League practice/scrimmage, birthday parties and Bible Study. Not a bad combo, but busy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Phantom Cellist

We had a great lesson in Creative Writing class yesterday identifying the man vs. man, man vs. self and man vs. environment conflicts in the opening of Star Wars. Wish I'd had this playing in the background!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Descending the hill that defines the valley we live in, my youngest, holding my hand as we walked, flashing me her dimpled smile, looks at me, points to the house in the distance and says, "Will we ever leave Home?"
The way that she said "home" was more of a name than a place. My profound response was, "What?"
"Will we ever leave Home?" she asks.
"You mean our house?"
"Yes. Home."
"I don't want to. I want to live at Home forever."
"What if God calls us to move?"
"Then if He does, I will go, but I won't want to. I love Home."

She is speaking of the place she's lived (except for 11 months after the house fire), since she was 11 months old. It sits in a small valley, surrounded by country. The descriptive that is shared by almost everyone who makes the challenging trek out here is "peaceful." (o.k., that and isolated, but perhaps they go together?). The house itself is becoming a place of beauty. The first floor is totally restored, functional, pleasing and light. The basement is so fundamentally different from what was is amazes me and everyone else who knew it in it's former life.The 2nd floor and attic wait patiently for their potential to be fulfilled. It is happening, bit by bit. they too are light and becoming places of beauty.

Home is a place, for sure and for certain. A physical place. A place to eat and think, read and live, argue, pay bills, deal with hardships, celebrate, live. It is also the place we draw from as we go through life. A place of security and rest. Often, more often than not perhaps, it is a a place to leave in anger and frustration, a place to react against, a place to flee from. Or a place to begrudgingly accept.

One of the most seductive promises of Jesus, for me anyway, is the promise of Home. The promise of a place to belong, to be loved and accepted, to be wanted and cherished, to grow in, to have enough, more than enough of what I want, and more importantly, need, that the world is no longer a scary, lonely place, but a place to walk through with confidence.

The promise of Home is seductive, but impossible to achieve in this world. My hopes and promises of Home, those I want to instill in my children, will always fall short, this side of Heaven. And the security that I want to instill in my children, perhaps because I have felt such profound insecurity, is that, at the very least, there is the Promise of Home. It is real. It is, in fact, the real thing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

52/2012 Kick Off

I'm starting my yearly reading challenge with a couple of books:
Stephen King on Writing. Excellent! If I were into horror I'd read everything he's ever written. His mass following makes sense to me now. He is brilliant!
Love & Respect. Started it last year. I wish the authors had read King's book on writing. I can't stand their phrase, "he/she gets it." Condescending and redundant. The points are excellent and it's a great read on keeping your marriage whole and beyond just o.k. I mean, content-wise, great stuff. Writing wise-  oy vey!

Read-Aloud- Out of the Silent Plant by Lewis. One of my very, most all time favs. Love the Lewis's Space Trilogy. Love sharing it with my kids. Miss R. started reading it to the notsolittles cause she finished reading them Reb and the Redcoat. Everyone hangs around to listen to whomever grabbed it to read-aloud first.

Picked up L'Engle's The Irrational Season (one of the Crosswick Journal's). Love it. The vocab, theology, science, relationships, writing style. I'll go slow with this one. It's mine so there'll be lots of underlinings and notes in the margins.

I'm reading snatches at a time between everything else.
What are you starting the year with?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Late Start

I did notice the New Year rolling around but, have I said before, I'm a muller? I have to have time to mull or I short out (hence, the year long shorting I did during the initial phase of the house re-build - no mulling time, just expensive decision after expensive decision to be made, coupled with a lot of physically hard work and the grief of watching my family dropping dead like flies). But I digress... Here's what I have so far....
2011 Re-cap
Greatest Lesson
Little by Little, One Travels Far (yeah, I knew that already, but this little house project has taken it to a whole new level. I'm hoping my fil reads this and smiles on my behalf!).
Hardest Thing
Patience. The list that has the what I wants and the list that has that what I must, don't always have a conversation. Visual and ordered living space have taken back-seat to getting the house re-paired. Even when we get something done (like the front porch) it is often dual-purposed (like a staging/work area).
Favorite Memory
Time with friends and family throughout the year. Friday afternoon's at Sandy's with the mom's from co-op laughing and sharing, the yearly visit with Mom & Dad N and Miss R's visits. FB mgs's from old friends ; ), Xmas brag letters and pics (love them!)
The 2nd day R was home for Christmas we all met at Sam's to rendezvous (dh had the boys, I had the girls, 2 separate cars, Christmas shoppping). We were all starving and don't love Sam's food ('cept the 12 yo- still digs the pizza), but were hungry enough to eat it anyway. Everyone was full of Christmas secrets and happy R was home and glad to be together. It was sweet.
What I loved most about 2011
Participating in the creation of something beautiful. Learning new skills. Teaching writing classes.

....2012 Pre-cap:
O.k. I've been mulling and sorting and pinteresting through this (Seriously, now. I'm visual, Pinterest is therapeutic helpful).

Reading: 52 books in 52 Weeks (weekly check-ins with the Hive book groupies and over at Robin's at 52 books in 52 weeks. I like Semicolon too (check the side-bar).
Writing Goals: I'm heading over to Robin's (My Two Blessings) for some inspiration. I'm also doing all of the homework that I assign my high school writing class. Beyond spring, I'm not sure. I have 3 books outlined. The one on homeschooling I'd like to get in E-book form by fall.

Moving: I've been walking again (Praise God!) 1-2 miles several times a week. My goal is 4 days walking a week.
More Moving: I'm putting together a list of calisthenics that I can without stressing my knee ( no lunges, lurches, squats or jogging)  or laying on my back (long story, but can't do it). You know, like the lists that go 1 -10 with different exercises that take about 15 minutes a day. Any ideas?
Logging: I'm also going back to writing down everything I eat in a day. And the no chip, chocolate or coffee (oh coffee, can I make it without you? Actually, I'm not sure I'm going cold turkey on coffee 'till Lent) rule is going back in to effect on Sunday. (Thanks for all of the G.S.goodies, Neil and Laura, Grandma & Grandpa! We've gone through the holidays on a chocolate high! ; )

I've thought long and hard about the B90 program but I've read through completely through the Bible about 6 times, twice in less than a month. B90 takes about 1 hour a day. So instead...I'm going to make a schedule by the quarter, like the prophets in one quarter, the gospels in another, etc.

I'm meeting with a friend once a week. She went through the MFT program with me and is funny and wise and totally honest. We are getting together to talk and pray together. It actually works with my schedule, without leaving the kids hanging; mmiraculous.
Hebraic Fellowship- we are also meeting once a week to worship, study and fellowship. About 3 hours, food and a lot of prayer, laughter and intense study is involved.
TC and co-op.

House Re-build
Viking Man is currently re-building the door frames for the 2nd floor doors (9- we stripped, stained and poly'd them). Next is measuring and cutting the wood trim for the 12' kick boards, the 5" window, door and closet trim and affixing it all. Did I mention that dh had saved all of the trim we pulled from the 2nd floor and stored it in the barn? It's aired out reasonably well so next up is stripping, staining/painting and poly'ing it. We painted the trim to the downstairs basement bathroom white. I like the natural wood better so we might just go with a stain vs. paint. Once the trim is up in the basement, it is finished (though that might not be till next summer). We have a ton of mudding to do in the attic, and 3 sets of stairs to figure out (I have a whole board on "stairs" on pinterest. If you see anything of note, lmk!

I'm still suffering a Christmas hang-over and am so not ready for this semester. Nevertheless, we're forging ahead. I'm posting what we're using by kid/grade on my side-bar. Check it out ; )...though it might take a couple of days to get it posted!)

Planning began a week ago (seed catalogs- yea!). We've expanded the garden and are going to try a whole bed of squash, using black plastic. We also put in garlic (true confessions, this week- it's so unseasonably warm, and I couldn't get to it this fall!). I'm hoping that the berry bushes we planted last year made it, and we put in more grapes. It seemed excessive at the time, and we did can over 75 quarts of grape juice and my epic 2 gallons of wine. Anyway, it's almost gone, so whatever we grow, we'll consume. I met a new friend who is totally into square foot/organic gardening and we have plans to get together to talk organic green stuff.

I've decided to pick 12 for the year (which might include re-build stuff). I have a few in mind, but want to get an organized file going. I'm assuming it will end up like my book list- start with a list and morph- adding and subtracting as I go.

Word for the Year
Occupo- Latin for "to seize" or "to occupy." It's clearly what we're doing to the house and the property and what the kids do as they school. It's kinda what I'm feeling the need to do in my own head. It's been so full of concern and grief and stuff ....time to move on to something else.

How 'bout you? What are your plans for 2012?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

12 Year Old Style

Cub decided it was time for a hair cut.

A few snips with scissors and swirls of gel and he looked like a million bucks!

Just turned 12- isn't he adorable?!

I'm Still Here....

I do plan to update soon. Christmas break went by at the speed of sound, school has started again and I'd rather be blogging, reading, decorating, walking, writing, (polyurethaning, haha, little joke there! I think I'm losing I.Q. points to the fumes!) --pretty much anything else right now than starting this semester.

I've been mulling over last year, this coming year, adding in a writing challenge, and a host of other stuff and have lots to write about....but it will have to wait- at least till later in the day.

Are you back to school yet? How was your break?