We found a small wonderland behind our fence Monday.
A whole world of mystery right there behind us!
There are umbrellaed trees and a flowing stream.
What a little gift this is!
I believe there will be many more tea parties and expeditions happening there.
A year ago, I had NO idea I would be here or that I would be anywhere different than where I was for that matter.
So, for all our family and friends, near and far, here you go!
This is where we landed.
It’s our place.
Looking out & Looking in.
Baby Bear wanted a picture.
My favorite room.
This is where we learn & play.
This is where it is just “us” and books and art!
Little parts of the dining room.
Peeking in the half bath downstairs.
I am in love with this print my mom and I found antiquing last weekend.
“The Shepherd” 1909
Also, you can see my funky curtains from World Market on the right.
Left: Looking into the kitchen
Right: Looking over our dining room table into the living room.
(Notice how convenient it MIGHT be to put your kids at this table for lunch and turn on a cartoon for them to watch. I mean – only if you were that sort of mom
I finally found something to do with all those old clay jars I had laying around…
I can’t believe I didn’t photograph my pantry.
You can see the first door to the right in this photo. That is it!
It very big and amazing. This is my first actual pantry can you tell?
I love it!
The second door is the laundry room which leads to the two-car garage.
Corner of living room.
Just found this old bookshelf mostly for kids novels and a few of my favorites.
Now that Roman is really reading, I love collecting all the classics for him.
Did I mention how appreciative I am of this laundry room?
It’s right off the kitchen and when I do laundry, (which is much more often now that my washer & dryer are indoors) it smells like warm fluffy lavender all over the house.
It may be the widest, longest hallway I’ve seen.
Apparently, this is good for nightly kickball tournaments.
I’ll pause here and mention how incredibly blessed my kids are at this moment in time.
This playroom is amazing.
Upstairs Hall again on the right.
A gigantic walk-in closet in the playroom full of toys.
Plenty of space inside for sleeper sofas, huge outdoor playhouses and wrestling matches.
(Don’t ask me why Roman is wearing Estella’s bib in this photo. I’m pretty sure Jude is feeding Roman pretend baby food.)
Guest bathroom/Kids brush my teeth space.
(This would be the kids bathroom altogether but it seems that everyone would rather bath in my large jacuzzi tube.)
(I’m reminded of the “Master of the House” song from Les Miserables right now.)
It really is wonderful.
David made this headboard for me. Isn’t it beautiful?
Oh why didn’t I remember to pick up candles to fit in those lovely vintage candles stands?
Do I dare show you our closet?
Well, just a peak… I cleaned it up just for you!
It is truly the size of a small bedroom.
Roman and Jude’s room.
Could these boys fit any more stuffed animals in their beds?
By the way, my husband made these headboards too.
“The Stolen Kiss”
I found a little treasure today digging through some old books.
When my grandmother, Margie, passed, she left behind some medical books that were passed along to me.
I think this may have been lost among those.
It is called God’s Minute: A Book of 365 Daily Prayers Sixty Seconds Long for Home Worship.
Published in 1916 and written by 365 Eminent Clergymen and Laymen.
Within the first pages there is this poem written by Blinton Scollard.
A CALL TO WORSHIP
Let us put by some hour of every day
For holy things! – whether it be when dawn
Peers through the window-pane, or when the noon
Flames, like a burnished topaz, in the vault,
Or when the thrush pours in the ear of eve
Its plaintive monody; some little hour
Wherein to hold rapt converse with the soul,
From sordidness and self a sanctuary,
Swept by the winnowing of unseen wings,
And touched by the White Light Ineffable!
It’s remarkable to read words written nearly 100 years ago, knowing they were worshiping the same God as I.
They were seeking guidance from the same Bible.
They plead with us regarding the importance of spending time with God in their words left behind.
Many of the writers are now with Jesus eternally.
And who was Mamie Billups that lived on 906 Bellemeade Av whom this book belonged?
I may never know but I’m glad this little treasure somehow landed in my hands.
(Interpretation)God is stronger. God is stronger than anyone else in the universe – like the Hulk or Superman or anyone else you know. God is loving and kind and he is great. I love my God. He died for our sins. I pray all the time. Sometimes I cry because I love Him more than anyone else in the world. Actually, I’m crying right now and praying right now. The end. From Roman. Made April Tuesday 9, 2013
You can imagine how my heart melted just now when I found these printed words.
Roman, my 6 year old son, typed and printed this with no prompting or assistance.
It isn’t the spelling or grammar that is so stunning.
It is the heartfelt words of my sweet boy who knows the love of Jesus.
He said that these are the lyrics to a song he wrote and wants to sing on the microphone.
I asked him if he really cried and he said “I had one little tear.”
Of all my days as a mommy, today is one of my most happy and thankful so far.
This morning, Estella and I were eating breakfast at my mom’s harvest table.
The sun shone through a windowpane and a bird sang right outside.
It warmed our skin and our hearts.
Estella loved hearing the bird’s song. She gasped each time and repeated “bir bir.”
The morning sun whispered to us the secrets of the day to come.
It would be an unusually kind winter day.
I’m a sucker for wide open spaces, cool breezes, flocks of swarming birds and unspectacular farm houses.
I love when the sun makes my children’s skin glow and their eyes sparkle.
Simplicity is the best.
I thought I was strong enough.
Turns out I’m not feeling strong at all. I’m going to need His help this time.
Just when I thought this move was going to be easy, the weight of my thoughts and life press down. I’m the type of person that believes God has a plan. I believe His path always leads to somewhere great. I’ll give up anything to follow Him. But, this time, it’s harder…
I keep pressing forward even though my heart hurts. I’ve shed some of tears. By no means are they tears of regret but, instead, a sort of realization.
It’s a realization that familiar takes time and I don’t want to wait.
It’s a realization that I’m homesick. Although, I’m not exactly sure what home I’m longing for. There is nowhere I long to return. Yet, home hasn’t settled here in my heart either. So, I stand here, somewhere between where we were and where we are going. Displaced.
It’s a realization that family is far away and that isn’t going to change. I want them here to love my kids, to embrace them and warm their little hearts.
When things are out of sorts, everyone feels it. My kids feel it and I can’t fix it. I show it and they see it on my face. I’m having a hard time disguising my thoughts. Roman said, “Mom, you look sad about something.” My general countenance seems to be taking a toll even when I’m not aware.
The problem with all this “realization” talk is that it’s admittedly self-indulgent.
We all have the right to fall apart every now and then, right? It’s times like this, in my vulnerability, that I recognize Jesus reaching out to me. After all, in the Bible, Jesus didn’t typically run around helping those who had it all together. He was moved by people who knew they had needs.
Psalms 61:2 “I will cry to you when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”
The solution is not found within myself. The answer is not the resolution of all my concerns. I can’t even suppress my fears with the power of positive thinking.
I simply need a Rock (Jesus) for shelter from my little storm. I need a higher place, higher than the floodwaters.
To achieve peace, I need to anchor my mind and heart on Jesus Himself. I know that He keeps His promises. I know that He loves me passionately. Now, it is time to trust that He’ll save me, even if there is a storm raging inside.
It’s safer to stay anchored to Him than to drift off on my own.
Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Give thanks unto Him and bless His name.”
This scripture is a call to rise and look, in faith, to the God who loves us. It’s time I fill my mouth, heart, and mind with praise; I have a feeling that I’ll find that God’s presence is right there, ahead of me.
Very uncharacteristic of late December in Kentucky but very appreciated.
We ran and played on grandmother’s farm for Christmas this year.
We finally got our hands on growing baby Violet who is almost 6 months old.
They help us to settle down.
Recent changes have been a little more difficult on me than anticipated.
Cozy & familiar are nothing of the sorts.
As a mother, a sense of security in my children is important.
I want them to feel at home and peaceful within.
I place a lot of value on this because it is important to me.
With our move, as expected, things were turned up-side-down.
They still are and will probably be for a while.
Why have I been struggling so much with that?
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
I have to re-evaluate.
Is my security found in myself?
Does my peace come from control and perfection?
Are my eyes really fixed on the Lord?
I have to ask myself these questions and be transparent with myself.
Did you know we can lie to ourselves?
It’s called denial.
The answers are not what I wanted to hear.
So, here we go Jesus.
I’m having trouble trusting You.
For some crazy reason, I’m finding myself more capable than You, my creator.
This mindset looks like a lot of disappointment and heartbreak for my future.
So, let’s talk about changing it.
Show me how to let go.
I don’t want these frustrating feelings in my heart and now I know why they are there.
I am Yours.
My heart is Yours.
My mind is Yours.
My life is Yours.
My family is Yours.
My days are Yours.
I do not know what is best, You do.
I’m setting my mind on You.
Every moment & every second.
Thanks you Jesus that you love me so much that you show me how to feel better.
This week at my mom’s house in the country has been a gift.
Did I earn such a gift? Probably not.
But God loves me despite whether or not I’m deserving.
Good things are happening in Chattanooga…
Things are currently a bit of a whirlwind
and I’m just along for the ride.
You never know what a day may bring.
But, God is so completely faithful.
This is the beginning of something I can’t see
but feel in my heart.
God is up to something fantastic!
Today, we say goodbye to this house.
It’s only a house.
But, it has held us for six years.
Roman was less than a year old when we first moved in.
We celebrated his first birthday party down the road at a local park with family and friends.
Two years later, our Jude was born.
We brought our little red head home and watched him grow.
Two more years went bye.
Lovely Miss Estella won us over as she became a part of our family last year.
It has been are such a warm cozy place.
I know it was the love & family within that made it what it was all along.
And that will be with us wherever we go.
It is moments like this,
when people bring cards & food & hugs & love & tears,
when goodbyes are really hard,
that cause you to realize just how rich life can be.
Many of you have heard that we are moving to Chattanooga to pastor a church.
One of my greatest heartaches at this moment is over THIS group of girls.
Never in my dreams could I have known how I would LOVE these students so deeply.
They have inspired me beyond words.
They’ve changed me in some way each time we’ve met.
Their desire is to show God’s love, become more like Him and humbly inspire others.
I could write a story about all the things that have happened among us over the years.
I’ve seen their hearts.
They are beautiful, honest and genuine.
I’ve watched many of your grow from children into young woman.
The openness among this group is something truly remarkable.
They listen to each other and encourage one another without judgment.
They have inspired me to love and not judge, to embrace life to it’s fullest and trust God wholeheartedly.
The time I’ve spent with them will forever hold a special place in my heart.
To all those who are a part or have been a part in the past:
Girls, I love you dearly.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.
I’ve loved every moment.
I cannot wait to see the amazing path unfold that God has chosen for each of you!
Call me. Text me. Facebook me.
I’m not far away!
I’ll miss you.
We’re so thankful for all our family and friends
who came and made estella’s 1st birthday so very special.
Gatlinburg, TN 2012
I wish this barn was sitting in my backyard… and that these horses were mine.
I wish that every day was appropriate for afternoon explorations.
I wish for nothing more than exactly what these photos depict. Peace & love & happiness.
(This horse was particularly fond of Estella.
She was giggling here because it was sniffing her neck and tickling her!!)
My husband made these ADORABLE invitations and they made my day!
How lucky am I to have such a talented husband?
Our baby girl is turning 1 next month.
Oh – how moments are just flying by.
Within the past two weeks, she has discovered so many new things.
I LOVE when children suddenly understand that there is a greater reality than what is right in front of them.
They look out beyond the trees and into the sky.
Their eyes search to find the barking dog across the street.
Their arms flail out to feel the movement of the wind as it presses against them.
Their eyes follow a bird coasting along it’s path.
Last night, Estella reached up to the sky and wanted the moon.
Her little fingers moved in & out motioning for it to come near.
“Ooooohhhh” she said. (code for “wow” in Estella’s language)
I remember each one of my children “finding” the sky.
I love the night’s sky. Maybe that is why I remember them each finding it so vividly.
I imagine their world’s suddenly expanding.
How overwhelmingly extraordinary it is to be reminded of our creator.
To be reminded that there is more that what is found within.
My world is small but His is immeasurable and ceaseless.
Homeschooling has been such an unexpected journey.
I began very unsure if it would be something I would continue. I held many false preconceived notions.
If my words were enough to describe the moments of love & learning being shared in our home, you would understand.
I love the “togetherness” of us – our family.
I love that we learn and read and grow together.
I love that I can teach them what I please and reinforce Godly habits in their lives.
I have a love/hate relationship with the chaos of a crazy messy house until 3pm every day.
I love that my 1st grader knows way more than I ever did about the hunters & gatherers, ancient Egypt, famous composers & artwork.
I love that he corrects my grammar and pronunciation.
I love that we all pile up with blankets and read classic literature.
I love that we were reading a Bible story and when the word “Mesopotomia” appeared, my son knew exactly where it was and that is was the first documented city on Earth.
I love that my kids have the opportunity to grow intellectually and spiritually in this way.
I love so much about it all. Especially, I love that the end result of such a challenging task is worthwhile.
Little bug with his two favorites.
#2 4th generation hand-me-down micky mouse pjs.
10 months old and she finally has teeth to brush.
She’s Oh So Proud!
Peeling it from her hands is a true task.
Oh how I love this hand-made blanket found for only $2 at our local Goodwill.
You will be seeing more of it in Estella’s upcoming 1 year photographs.
Estella is wearing one of many sweet little vintage things also found at Goodwill.
long weekends are good for the heart & soul.
An evening road trip finally lands us at Gran Gran’s house in the hills of Kentucky.
Soon after arrival, Roman ask “Gran Gran, do you like this country water?”
Apparently “well” water is “country” water. LOL!
You know one of the best parts about having kids?
You get to do a lot of silly things (adults normally don’t do) and it’s okay!
The hubs above setting up a tent in our suburban backyard.
He’s a keeper huh?
Little doll baby playing with kitty kitty.
See my new compost pile in the background!
These girls have grown. It’s about laying time!
Sometimes “hollowing” is exactly what I need.
Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
We had a little time off this weekend and decided to cram as many things as possible into 2 days!
First stop: Holiday Drive-In.
(David and I spent many dates here early in our marriage.)
I’ll never forget Jude’s face the first time he saw the BIG screen come on. He apparently had NO idea what to expect. His mouth literally fell open and popcorn hit his lap. I’m sure he didn’t close his mouth for at least 1 whole minute!
Popcorn, Slushies and a little pre-show baseball.
Next Day: Holiday World.
(Both places start with “Holiday.” Weird huh?)
My little diva happily refused a nap the entire day. She wasn’t going to miss a thing! She swam, road rides and had funnel cake & ice-cream with the rest of us!
She was looking a little tuckered out here!
Look Mom! You did ride a ride. We forgot about the old-fashioned cars!!
Estella’s first ride ever! Does she look like she’s having fun?
Our little end-of-the-summer hoorah!
Rain makes puddles,
and I make splashes.
8 months old
On the wall
In the firelight
Let both of
I raise my
And you raise
Your arms, so!
From the wall
To the ceiling,
Just you and
And none else
Ivy O. Eastwick
Nighttime reading leads to dancing! Not so relaxing huh?
I see you my sweet little Estella darling.
This is me as a baby. Look at the barrette in my hair and compare it to the one above in Estella’s hair!
I’m NOT kidding. I took these pictures of Estella this morning. Then, I thought to myself, ”I know I have a photo of me somewhere around the same age.” I went and found a photo and I am wearing the EXACT same barrette!!
Oh my goodness. Now these photos are even more special!
I found these precious little vintage barrettes on Etsy.
They are obviously just like the ones I wore in EVERY picture I’ve seen of myself as a baby.
Ducks & Poodles & Bows.
I love them!
The colors in the vintage barrettes are SO much better than the new pastel & neon ones.
She finally has just enough hair to wear them!
This morning, I took my kids bowling. It wasn’t the bowling alley we typically visit but they were offering “free” bowling for kids. The reason I don’t typically visit that specific alley is because it is a little run-down and the area isn’t quite as nice. On our way in we passed a van of men. They were working hard unloading equipment to the bowling alley. Just as you would think, they looked pretty rough, but not necessarily intimating in any way. When inside, we paid for our shoes and a very nice gentleman got us all set up for bowling. He was very kind and accommodating. Seeing that I had three kids with me, he helped get the game ready to go and brought a size appropriate ball over to our lane. He talked to my little princess and joked with the boys. He was very “rough.” Dirty clothes, poor grammar, dirty hair… Then, he pulled out his phone and showed me a photograph. Yesterday, he became a grandfather to a little “Anthony.” He even said a curse word in front of my kids. Normally, this would anger me. But, today, I had compassion. (Then, I had a simple talk with my boys afterwards which they completely understood.) He said he was going to be a “(insert a d word) __ good grandfather. When we left, the workers were still outside and I quietly passed by without saying a word.
So, who is reaching out to these people? Where do they go to church? Do they know God?
My heart is broken. I feel the Holy Spirit sending me a little reality check. I live in a bubble. I only go to the best places and spend a lot of money on the best things. I know I’m living out “part” of my calling ministering at my church to our students. But, something is out of balance. I should be finding these people who need God urgently. These people aren’t the ones that will voluntarily walk through our church doors. Why would they come? They don’t fit in.
I feel God’s longing for compassion and forgiveness towards this hurting group of people. I sense it in my heart today. I’m thinking of ways I can help. I’m listening to God and serious about changes.
I’m thankful my heart comes alive when God speaks to me. I’m thankful that God makes me aware. I don’t like feeling satisfied or overly confident. I know there is an arrogance about it. It’s like we’ve made it. We’ve arrived. God has blessed us so we are going to swim in it and enjoy. I’m guilty. But, what about everyone else? What about those who don’t have it all?
The weekend’s busyness made everything sort of a blur.
Birthday parties, fun & family!
My husband, David, spoke at our Sunday services this morning.
This afternoon, finally, we slowed down a bit.
The boys had a good time jumping on their new trampoline from their Huff Grandparents. It was a surprise birthday present for Roman! He had a big Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked party on Saturday with all his friends. Photos coming soon!
We had our first batch of garden beans for dinner! They were so yummy. The boys were proud since they planted the seeds and the picked the beans!
Jude examining a centipede and rolly polly bug he caught while helping me plant in the garden this afternoon.
The chickens discovered my garden for the first time this morning!
They wondered all the way to the other side of the yard and feasted on one tiny tomato before they were caught!
This afternoon my hubby put chicken wire up around the garden for me.
This is their little portable home.
I planted sweet potato for the first time today in an empty garden spot. I can’t stand to have any extra room in the garden without something growing!
I ended my day putting this sweet little one to bed. Goodnight angel.
We just returned home from a visit to KY!
We love it there because we do absolutely nothing but spend time with family.
This time we were missing a part of our family though.
My husband, David, took a group of students to FL for our annual youth camp. I was quite disappointed I wasn’t going this year.
So, I kept myself supper busy the whole time by heading to KY!
First stop – my dad’s house.
We had a little celebration of presents and cupcakes for Roman who is about to turn 6.
Then, we headed out to dinner where something sort of strange happened.
We met…. um, well I never got their names. But, it is probably the only thing I didn’t get.
This little couple sat next to us.
They were quite interesting and I am glad to have met them.
They would have caught anyone’s attention for a lot of reasons.
He had to literally stand to eat or drink because of extreme deformity in his back. While he stands and eats, his beard hangs down below the table. She only has one eye.
And I have never never seen anyone move quite so slow. I’m talking like a full 4 minute sip of coke without moving a muscle.
She told me all about her mother who had 8 children and bore them all at home. They lived so far into the country that they never once saw a doctor.
She never had children and isn’t currently trying for any. She actually wouldn’t give a nickle for one.
And she really really really thought my Estella to be a good child….
It was a fun dinner.
They posed for this picture but insisted I not use it to scare the crows away from my garden.
This photograph, and the next three, were taken as I pulled into my mom’s driveway.
My little oasis.
Playing croquet with Gran Gran.
She always has the neatest little surprises. She said she just picked up this complete antique croquet set for $6 at a yard sale last fall. She finds interesting things then quietly puts them away for the perfect rainy day.
We ALWAYS have to go on a little adventure when the weather permits. This day was just perfect because the fields were just cut and the hay baled. We could hear the birds chirping and the cows mooing.
You never know what little treasures you will find. This day, it was golf balls! You would be surprised how excited little boys get over a pocket full of golf balls.
This is one funny child. He makes me laugh every single day. Love this little personality.
I forget how grown up this little one is becoming. He has his own little ideas and plans.
Such a good little heart.
Awww. I love this photograph.
I’m still surprised just about every day that I have a little girl.
She bats her eyes and cant resist returning a smile.
But she KNOWS what she wants!
She is developing quite a strong and insistent little personality.
My mom’s next little trick was stove-top popcorn.
Jude wouldn’t go anywhere near it because he was sure it was going to explode.
But, oh my, were they impressed.
We all went antiquing one morning.
Found the PERFECT old toolbox for my harvest table. I’ve been looking for this to use on the table where we have school.
Our pencils and other small things are always rolling off the table. This is perfect for all those things plus will look pretty on my table when school is not in session. $12 = a pretty good deal!
I had to grab this for $.99 when I saw it!
I could not count the amount of times we listened to this growing up. It was our favorite!!
We came home today and sang Christmas music and danced around the house.
Estella cackled in her deep growly voice the whole time!
We summed up our weekend at my sister’s house celebrating Roman’s birthday.
They really planned a special day for us and my boys are going to talk about it forever.
My sister, Tracy, and her husband, Shawn, bought new poles for the boys. Their pond is really really full of fish. The boys literally pulled out one fish after another they entire time.
This is Estella trying to decide if she likes the fish.
Ultimately, she decided to hate it!
After this, she would pucker up and cry hysterically if a fish got within a foot of her. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. It was like someone had hurt her feelings. Then once she stopped crying she would have moments where she “remembered” the fish and would bust out in tears again….
Back in March, I took some belly pictures of my little sis who is pregnant with her first baby.
And it’s a girl! (Estella is super excited.)
We all thought she had a name all picked out for that baby girl.
Then, just a few days ago, she fell in love with the name Violet and announced it to the world!
Just today, she sent me this photo.
This is one I had taken back in March of my son Roman holding a Violet over her tummy.
Can’t you just see it all happening!
We could assume Roman choosing a Violet and insisting on taking a picture with it on her tummy was a coincidence.
Or we can choose to see what God wanted us to see all along.
There is so much more to life than chance.
There is purpose.
God had a name picked out for this special baby girl all along.
It’s just a little wonder. Just a simple thing that says so much.
He loves us. He blesses us. He prepares our future before we arrive.
He knows Violet, even now before her birth.
Jesus, I love your beautiful story.
And I love that you make our stories beautiful too.
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5
This is us.
No spectacular happenings.
Just silly bustling hoopla all day long.
Little Momma turned 7 months old yesterday!
She loves her chick chick chicks!! I think someday she might be dressing them.
So, apparently chickens like to take “dirt” baths. They find any dirt they can, roll in it, then flap their wings! Dirt flies everywhere… It is quite an odd thing to see.
You can see my happy green bean plants climbing up the lattice I made for them!
Look at this boy go! I drew the world and he filled in the details all on his own! He added each of the seven continents from memory. I’d say first year Geography was a success!
Oh sweetness! Can I cuddle up in the quilt too?
I love these babies!
Fresh lettuce variety from the garden! It was delicious with our Asian Pork Tenderloin last night!
Every so often, one of these unusually calm days pop up unexpectedly.
Boy, did I need it more than ever!
Everyone was good. No fights. No crying. Things got accomplished. Lots of laughing & silliness.
This little angle is lying on my baby blanket.
I found it this week. It was made by my aunt when I was born and has my initials stitched into the back.
Oh! She is just scrumptious.
When I look at this picture I just want to kiss those little cheeks, make her smile & hold her close.
Learning to use measuring cups in math.
These chickens are cracking me up!
They follow us around the yard and chirp at us when they want something.
Today, I was kneeling down working on something in the yard. One just walked right up to my leg, as close as it could get and started chirping away.
They stay right together all the time. They follow each other around the yard and cuddle together in their coop.
Two hawks were flying overhead today circling our yard though. Doesn’t seem like a good thing… Maybe we shouldn’t get too attached.
Roman was proud today that he finally figured out how to catch one of these fast little ladies.
Roman FINALLY made it up to Super Student in class today!! Big candy rewards for that one!
You can see Jude here playing with his favorite little buddy. The cat’s name was initially “Tigress” but Jude seems to have renamed it “Figaro” since Minnie Mouse has a cat with this name.
This is Hazel. I think she is getting a little too comfy. She found a nice warm spot to lie down…
I’m so looking forward to summer!
Free movies and bowling every week.
Tons of play dates scheduled.
My sister’s sweet baby girl is coming soon.
It’s gonna be fun!
Just a peak into our little day…
It’s merely average, for us.
Probably not so normal to you.
I mean, most people don’t have chickens.
And you might not spend quite as much time in the floor gluing & coloring & reading & making gigantic messes.
Regardless, your day was just as special as mine.
The key, I think, is making “average” special!
Summing up Kindergarten!
First year of homeschooling coming to an end.
We have a whole playroom full of toys and the boys always choose the books and colored pencils over their toys.
They pretty much hang out in the room with the glue & scissors most of the day!
Playing with the chickens.
(Ruby & Lila & Hazel)
Yes! It’s true.
Over the past 2 days, I’ve drug my family all over the country looking at coops & chickens.
(There are some CRAZY chicken people out there in these rolling hills.)
Yesterday, I found the perfect little coop and today, three little chickens.
1 Barred Rock – light brown eggs
1 Black Beauty – dark brown eggs
1 Americana – “Easter Eggs” Turquoise Eggs
They are 7 weeks old.
The boys had so much fun tonight digging up worms in the yard and feeding their chicks!
Now to name them…
My garden is coming along nicely!
I planted seeds a couple weeks ago & left for vacation.
When I got home, I was surprised to find all sorts of beautiful little sprouts!
No greenhouse this year.
I just popped all the seeds in the dirt and there ya go!
That is all they needed…
Just a little dirt and sunshine.
My little half acre in the city suits my 12 x 40 ft garden just perfectly.
Peas. Variety lettuces. Cabbage. Cauliflower. Broccoli. Carrots. Spinach. Cantaloupe. Cucumber. Eggplant. Squash. Zucchini. Onions. Green beans.
Variety tomatoes & peppers to come.
Every time I visit the beach, I like to sit before the ocean and ask God to show me something amazing.
The grand nature of it all opens up my mind.
He always does, one way or another.
Sometimes its a change of heart. Sometimes a revelation.
Once I said “God, let me find the perfect shell here on the the beach.”
I like to be amazed my God. I LOVE to say “Wow! God that was incredible!”
I walked just a few steps and found a large beautiful Whelk shell unharmed by the crashing waves.
It was the only unbroken shell on the beach that entire week.
I still have it.
It represented God’s great love and His endless ability to do as He pleases.
Sometimes, I simply like to see my children smile.
So, I may give them a gift or tell them something special that makes them look up at me with loving boundless eyes.
It is as if I see all the way to their hearts.
Their love for me, their mother, gleams forth.
I know God does this same thing for me.
He may bring me a gift or tell me something special.
There was no reason to bring me a perfect shell.
Except that afterwards, I looked up towards Him, with all my love and admired Him.
This morning, I stood on the beach.
My children ran about feeding and chasing the seagulls.
I needed not to ask for something amazing.
I saw it before me in those little human beings with golden hearts and pure thoughts.
I remembered the words Jude had spoken to me earlier in the morning.
“Mommy, I’ll never get lost. I’ll always be with you and
Daddy and Bubby and Estella.”
I knew what his words were conveying. He didn’t fear in that moment he was going to be lost. He was safe in my arms.
He was telling me that we are his world. That he loves us so deeply and that he is happy and grateful for his family.
May my boys grow up to be as devoted and honorable as own their father.
May they love their own created families as much as their father loves ours.
May they resist temptation and hold out for the most significant benefits in life.
May they love God with all their hearts and commit to Him always, never shifting.
There is nothing greater than that which God rewards…
I see those great big clouds!
I feel that warm breeze!
I’ve stopped looking for happiness because its here in my heart…..
Everyone is looking for something better. Looking for something to make them happy or something to change their circumstances. God forbid any of us miss out on something good.
The grass seems to always be greener on the other side.
If your grass wasn’t green on your side, it’s not going to be green on anyone else’s side.
We miss out on all the richest and most fulfilling parts of life when we can’t stop searching.
Commitment. Longevity. Honesty. Devotion.
All traits that seem to be evaporating even in the most unexpected people and circumstances.
God gives strength. He makes things great. Without him, no one can last.
But, with Him, we are renewed and life is charming.
Huff family vacation 2012
One room schoolhouse.
Well, not really.
But, we found one room in our house to make a school!
Here are a few of my favorite parts from our new little classroom.
Growing up, it was always my favorite time of year.
Now, I have all the more reason to be happy.
I am thankful.
Honestly, I’ve spend many days completely miserable. I can’t lift my eyes off all the things I need to do. I go about everything half-heartedly. I give everything I feel I have to give while missing out on all the good stuff in those relationships. Who has time for conversation and laughter when misery and chores await you?
I have a free spirited, strong-willed school age boy who NEVER gets tired and NEVER stops talking. I have a stubborn toddler who needs to prove he is in charge of himself ALL the time. I have a sweet baby girl who likes to nurse every three hours and be held and fussed over all the other hours in between. I should be able to manage all three of the children, home educate, cook three meals a day, keep up with the laundry and keep the house tidy very easily right? I didn’t even mention working part-time, making time for my very understanding husband and for GOD!
It’s actually very hard.
I’ve found I can actually do all those things. I can complete them if I set my alarm to get up before everyone else to get a head start. Then, I need to stay up late after everyone is in bed to finish things up. I can not take breaks to REALLY listen to what my children are asking. I cannot stop and play ball or blow bubbles. I can’t go and look when they want to show me something. I most definitely cannot watch a single TV program or even stop to have an adult conversation with my husband.
Here is the problem with that scenario.
There is no laughing or dreaming. Most of the time, if I’m running in super mom mode, my thoughts are scattered. I become physically exhausted. Everything frustrates me. Nothing goes as planned or ever works fast enough. Eventually, things always fall apart…
So, I’ve decided I need an attitude adjustment.
It’s funny how perspective works. I can cause myself to feel miserable or delighted about the same circumstances on different days. It just depends on how I decide to look at my day.
If I were day dreaming 10 years ago, I would have envisioned the exact portrait as the one above. My husband took it of my children and me two days ago. I would not change a single thing about my world. I am literally living a dream. Why do I choose to ruin some of my moments with pessimistic thoughts and perfectionism? And even if things weren’t so perfect, there is always good to be found.
I’m slowing down, gathering my thoughts and resting in God.
I recently took some maternity photos for my sister. When I saw this picture I had to stop, admire and smile… This must have been why God created family. This is what it’s all about!
This photo represents all the chaos that having small children entails. No matter how much dirt is under those fingernails – we still LOVE. It’s loud and messy and exhausting. But, to me, there is nothing better. And there is definitely nothing better than the love of Aunt Tracy and Gran Gran Askins shown in this photo.
My sister, Tracy, is so proud to be having her first baby in just a couple months. My Estella in this photo is 5 months old. My sister’s baby girl will be only 8 months younger than my Estella. I’m so excited that Estella will have a best friend in her cousin as she grows up.
Tracy wanted a picture of her growing baby girl with my children. I think it is funny and endearing all at the same time. Look at that tummy right in there with the rest of them! LOL! My babies are messy and dirty and most definitely not posing for this photo. That is what makes it so great!
The sweetest part of this photo is that Roman over heard us saying that Estella and the baby would be best friends. So, he ran and got paper and pencil to write “best friend” on a piece of paper to hold in the picture.
We cant wait to meet you Baby Girl Burch! (Estella is especially looking forward to it!)
Saved – The Christian slang for “going to heaven.” Are you?
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. (Luke 8:4-15 ESV)
After Valiant last night, I came home encouraged by the faith and honesty of our teenagers but frustrated by the sin that tries to entangle them! The topic was heavy. I’m very thankful that the girls feel free to open up and seek advice. I love that they encourage and support one another. We ALL deal with sin. These girls open up their hearts, lay their troubles out and say “What do I do about this?” It’s amazing.
None of us can get through this life without support! It’s too tough no matter who you are. Find a place to get connected.
Let’s face it. Sin is so rampid and enticing that half the time we don’t even see sin as sin or we don’t care. We make jokes about our sin; we welcome it. We bend and mold the scripture to fit our lifestyle and circumstances. I’m talking about us, adults, not teenagers. We are worse because we can logically think and reason. We choose sin and feel no remorse. At least teenagers, generally speaking, feel guilt and desire God’s blessing on their future.
We are numb to sins consequences. We gripe about our lives and wonder why God doesn’t answer our prayers. We wonder why we feel he doesn’t take care of us.
Dig deep, open up your heart, take a look at what’s there.
Let’s call sin what it is. Are you choking yourself by the riches and cares and pleasures of life? Are you letting the devil come and take the word from your hearts so that you may no longer believe and be saved? Did you believe for a while, then after a time of testing, fall away? I think the “once saved always saved” mentality should get tossed out the window after reading these verses. He is boldly saying, “Hey you might have believed once, but that doesn’t mean you will always believe.”
And what is “believing” exactly? In my opinion, believing is living like He said to live because that is what He said to do. Believing is mostly definitely not getting the best of both worlds. It isn’t saying you believe but living like you do not.
This is real stuff! Whether or not we want to take God serious, He is real. He made us. He created our brains. We aren’t smarter than Him. Sin is sin and deep down we know it. We cannot walk around doing everything we want to do and honestly believe it is okay. Do you want to live a blessed life, the one God desires for you? Do you want Him to answer your prayers? Do you want Him to make you happy? Then start following Him wholeheartedly.
Love Him, respect His rules and see what He does for you. Are you saved? Are you going to Heaven? Take a look at your life. Is it centered on God? Do you call sin what it is? Do you see your sin and ask God to forgive you and change you or do you enjoy it too much to leave it behind?
God is good and gracious. He loves us. He doesn’t give us rules to keep us from the good stuff. He is the good stuff! It’s not impossible to live for Him. He empowers us. He gives us strength and shelter. Nothing or no one on Earth will ever do for you what He can.
Do you need help distinguishing what is sin or figuring out how to get on track? Do you need to ask God into your heart for the first time or the 10th time? Do you need a group you trust to help support you through these issues? Message me! I’d love to hear from you. If I can’t help I know a lot of people at The Church at Indian Lake who can. I’ll get you connected with someone.
Don’t wait! God is worth every effort. He is amazing.