Saturday, April 30, 2011

sun shining

What a few weeks.  It amazes me when the fog starts to clear out after it has been hanging around so long you did not know the sun could still shine!


Today was a sunny day in our home.  By choice I realize, although I do not want to admit that I need to choose that more often, or it will not be here. 

The parenting journey lately has been a bit treacherous, lots of moving backward instead of forward.  And that is no fun for this mom.

Today though, I decided that I needed to change my heart.  So we played.  We worked too.  A little work here, some playing there, a bit more work, some more playing, and so on.

So often, I fail to realize that my kids are great.  Last night Robert went out to help set up some booth for Guardian for a Corsicana Festival (or something).  And here I am thinking my kids are terrible.  So lost.  So confused.  {Throwing the cat in the pond will do that to you.}

Book review : Becoming a Family that Heals

Oh my, it has been so long that this book has been on my shelf awaiting my review.  Life has gone through many ups and downs in the past 2 years – and I am now getting to my review.


Becoming a Family that Heals: How to Resolve Past Issues and Free Your Future (Focus on the Family)

This was a very good read.  It is a book that should really be used as a great resource to help dig into family problems that you want to address, resolve, or simply change. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

gratitude in the grit

When we hit a wall -

When we don’t know what else to say -

On a day that starts well, but ends …less – where do you go?

I tried to avoid the internet, but no tv – and my book, it raises my anxiety.  So to the internet…

then a link, posted by Kristen -

to here : Building the Blocks

And she says words my heart needs to hear…

(so much better than I could have said it too!)

She points me back to the only place I should be…

A place of thanks, offering my gratitude -

#813 – thank you for these children, who are not perfect but are wonderful – (please Lord, remind me how wonderful they are – offer them grace, often!)

#814 – thank you for more clothes than we need (despite the fact that my children cannot keep them off their floor)

#815 – vegetables thriving (so well the gopher cannot help but keep eating them)

#816 – Thank you Lord, that I can home school my children – even if picking out curriculum can stress me out a bit

#817 – thank you for sitting outside in the breezy evening enjoying the view

#818 – for a sweet stray kitty who may have found a new home (he sure likes the food we serve – even if Aravis does not like him)

So, Lord, thank you for more than enough, for all the many blessings I have, and help me to delight in all aspects.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the journey continues

This parenting journey is a hard one. More uphill than down, I think.  Or is it that the down hill parts are so much easier that we take them for granted?  If that is the case, I really want to try not do that.

I cannot count the number of conversations my husband and I have been having regarding parenting, goals, philosophies, and strategies.  I am struggling BIG TIME!!  A friend told me yesterday that maybe it was not just the parenting issues, but more like a spiritual attack, that is going on.  One that makes the issues seem so much larger, takes my focus off the important, long term, real issues and places them on the little, insignificant, temporal issues. 

After she said that – about the spiritual battle, I can see it.  I can see how Satan gets under our skin, like  a sticker in your shoe!  You may not even know that is what is causing some discomfort until you take off your shoe and then, there it is!


Monday, April 25, 2011

It’s Monday

And here I am, counting, counting, counting

I am always counting.  Counting heads of little people in tow (especially at Wal-Mart!).  Counting eggs from the coop.  Counting chickens to make sure they are all there.  Counting dust bunnies on the floor.  Counting meals I need to prepare each day.  Counting.

But most of all on Monday I try to count the things I can say Thank you for.  The little things.  Because if we do not stop and count, we can lose sight, forget, or worse : not realize that we have lots to be thankful for!

So, today, here are a few things I am thankful for ~

{#0801 – 0812 of my 1000 gifts}

~ A beautiful CD that can pull me out of a funk (here is a video)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Name It!

It never ceases to amaze me how sneaky the lies creep in.  You never see them coming.  All is well, things are rolling along, and then all of a sudden, there they are staring you in the face.

Today is like that.  This afternoon, as we ate lunch, we talked about how the disciples felt on this day.  How God may have felt on this day.  How we should feel on this day.  The day he was separated from all He knew – the day he was suffering for my sins.  The day he was in Hell.

But by late afternoon, I am bombarded with the lies in my head.  Lies of inadequacy.  Lies of not enough.  Lies of if only….

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I have always loved Easter. 




I grew up in a home where going to church was not weekly, but more like bi-annually.  And I know we often went on Easter when I was a child.

But since the change, since I chose to follow Him, Easter has easily become one of two of my favorite holidays.

The gift we were given – the promise he made to us – the freedom offered.  Amazing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Fever vs Next Year Planning

I am so excited about next year.  Honestly I think I feel this way every year at this time.  I want to hurry and get done so I can devote myself to getting ready to start again.  Crazy cycle!

But I love finding all the new books for next year, acquiring them, and then finally, reading them!  I just love it!

Next year, I am adding 2 students to my day, and a few subjects too.  I will officially add the two youngest of our brood to the school table – E has been learning for years with his brothers, and I am a little worried he is going to recall so much of what he learned that he is going to breeze through some of this, but that will be okay.  I think he will do a great job narrating back and teaching A what is expected.  He is a great listener and I think that will help her understand a bit better what she needs to do.  He is going to love revisiting some of our favorite books as much as I am, I suspect!

Monday, April 18, 2011

One by One

Even when I am discouraged, if I stop and think about why I am counting, and it seems to lift my spirits.


So many things to count…

{#0791- #0806   of 1000 gifts}

* vegetables in the garden growing bigger

*  afternoon with friends

*  exploring another school room & recognizing so many titles

*  kids of many ages playing so well together

*  showering in a new shower

*  firming up a plan for next year – so excited

*  being encouraged by those walking a similar path as ourselves

*  repentant hearts in children after tender conversations

*  tile grout going from brown to white!

*  eggs – daily!  Eggs!

*  the fire pit filling up ---> a bonfire is soon

*  happy chickens outside our windows

*  sweet hugs and kisses from children

* finding good books that speak to hearts

* miracle of Easter just days away

*  glorious spring days : sunshine, breezes, & laughter

God blesses each and every day, sometimes we just need to stop and count to realize how very blessed we are!!

Back to the Drawing Board

Oh, our Monday is off to a start.  Not sure yet if it is a good one or not.

The school building is on lock-down again because the kids have been disrespecting stuff in there, making messes & not cleaning up, and in general making poor choices.  This impacts my mornings because I can no longer tell them to go do their math while I clean up – I have to go over when they do.

So I need to get my act together a bit better so that I am ready to go over to school when they are, and I can take care of the kitchen at lunch time or something.  Until then, we will manage to figure things out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up : April 15th


homeschool journal

In my life this week...

we had a good week, more normal than not.  We schooled most of the week, worked on nature displays in the school one day, and ran around one day.  We had 4h this week, which is always fun, too.

Meals & Chores

Finally I seem to be getting a plan again with meals.  It has been so long since I have cooked a nice meal for these people I live with!  I am tired of throwing things together, and I am quite certain they are tired of being served like that.

Tonight I am making a real meal.  A meal that I have not made, but have had the recipe in a file for a while.  Calypso Chicken with Down Island Salas (with asparagus on the side).  Sounds yummy & I even splurged on some strawberries for the salsa!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thinning Plants {life lesson}

Every now and then, as I am working through something in my mind, I get to see it with my eyes.


I have been talking with my oldest a lot lately about not settling.  About not filling our lives with so much good stuff, that we then have to say no to the Best stuff – because there is simply no room.

Two days ago, while working in the garden with Robert, I got to see this truth with my eyes. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Country “killing”

I have managed to gut it out more than I ever expected I would, since moving out here.  I raised some chickens, watched them be butchered, cleaned the lungs out of all of them once home (12 sets – ugh!), and then ate them up.  I am hoping for a few calves next year sometime, and we will raise them, and then eat them.  I am okay with some raising and killing of my supper.

But I was not prepared for the “killing” this morning.

We have 3 cats – the first by accident (if you believe in those :) ), the other two by design.  We hired adopted these kitties to earn their keep around here by cutting down on the snakes, rodents, and anything else they can catch.  However….

Monday, April 11, 2011

Still Counting

Days like today the gratitude list can go on and on.  The sun is shining, the birds are signing beautiful songs, I am hanging out on the porch with a great breeze blowing, blogging & reading.  Who could ask for more?

A few items on my list today:

{#0757  ~ #0768  of my 1000}

~a glorious birthday for a little girl turning 5

~ a baby coming today – Lucas – praying for a healthy momma and baby

~ the sun, but a cool breeze too

~ waking at 3:30 am to the sound of rain – wonderful!

~ watching chickens graze – knowing they are as happy as happy can be

~ holding little hands while going to check for eggs

~ a boy who mows, even when he does not want to

~ flowers everywhere – I love the color all around the yard

~ a lunch of Italians – not quite Amato’s but pretty good

~ little pears on our tree growing bigger everyday!  So fun to see!

~ all the different shades of spring green I see everywhere I look

I love the spring, I love the colors, the new life, the smells – all of it.  One of my favorite parts of Spring – really one of the whole year – is Easter!

What an amazing celebration – remembering the price paid – for me.  For my sins.  That he loved me that much.  I hope to spend the next two weeks with the kids really reflecting on the gift Jesus gave us with his death.  To separate us from our sins – for all eternity so that we can live with him!  What a glorious day!


I love when someone tells me something that I have to “chew” on for a while.  I love thinking about what I believe and why, and how that relates to what I have been told.

This seems to be a season for such things.  Recently my husband and I watched “Waiting for Superman” a movie about the public school system throughout our country and how it is failing so many children, and while we initially assume the low-income families, it is really failing families in every financial bracket.  The movie was amazing, sad, and eye opening.  Everyone should see it – no matter your school choice for your children.

Then I watch video clips like this one

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Back on track

I need to get things back in order.  I think it is the spring bug!  I want to organize everything, I want to get back into a set routine, and I want order.  Ahhh, order – the thought already calms me!

Meal planning has been lacking unless we have company coming, and the family would love some real meals instead of what is on hand – sometimes resorting to ramen noodles (with peas to justify it).  I am ready for some new & yummy meals too!  So I am going to stalk THIS blog (thanks to Jenna) this week and get some recipes to try out with our family.  Healthy, yummy and cheap (relatively on all the above I think).

I need to get my room back to looking like a Master Bedroom and not a laundry room/mud room/man’s workshop like it does right now.  I am taking our bathroom back – I need to fix a spot or two on our walls (sand off the spackle and re-prime the underneath, and then re-spackle) but I can do all that while we are using the room!! So no more showers in the kids bathroom at some point this week!!!  That is the plan anyway!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sweet Saturday & a Surprise

I never “love” the weekend that Robert works nights.  I understand it is part of the price we pay for having him home 3 or 4 days a week.  But it is still not fun.

I usually do not want to do much of anything – weekends are when the rest of the world is a family, so who wants to be the mom out with 4 kids on the weekends without Dad? 

So this morning I just wanted to stay home, clean up a bit, and maybe sew.  A laid back Saturday. 

Well, it was anything but laid back!

Friday, April 8, 2011

behind the clouds

It is morning here – came too early  - 5:00 am wake-up to the wind blowing the blinds.  So when 7am rolled around I wanted to pull the covers up over my head and hide.  But, with 4 little ones, and lots of animals to feed, I finally made it up.

Now, after breakfast, sitting, reading The Word – listening to birds sing right out side, and 2 little ones playing quietly with legos down the hall, I am grateful for a beautiful morning of bird songs, sunshine, and happy kids!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Homeschool tidbits

I was recently talking to a friend about what she does for homeschool and what I do – how us homeschool moms get to know each other!

She told me about a website she recently found – and was wishing she knew about it sooner.  Isn’t that always the case?  And then I felt bad because I knew about it already.  (Why do we look for guilt to add to our already heavy load?  Crazy!)

So, I thought, I should post all my favorites – all my go-to websites that help to make my life so much easier.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Still working on counting my 1000 gifts.  Trying to track all the good, and trying to count the good even in the bad.


{0737- 0750   of 1000 things I am counting that I am grateful for}

- sitting on the porch, watching the sun set, reading

- feeding the catfish in the pond

- eating catfish for lunch, catfish the boys caught

- getting back into a routine of school

Friday, April 1, 2011

What a (couple) day(s)!

We had a glorious day in our neighborhood today and yesterday!

more malakoff farm life and a tractor 010

Yesterday, my dad came out to our new home and brought us a riding lawn mower!  This is such a blessing because up until now, J has been mowing for us with a push mower!  He normally cuts about 1-2 acres over a few days – but once he did it the first time, he really has no desire to cut grass!  The appeal wore off the first time!

So we are so thankful for a mower than can cut so much more so much faster!! And needless to say J is thrilled!!

Weekly Wrap Up : April 1st

homeschool journal

In my life this week...

We tried to get back to some semblance of normal – and we were able to get 2 weeks of school completed – which is always great!

We had J’s eyes checked since he is not shooting so well on the rifle team, wanted to rule out vision issues.  The result : he has his father’s eyes – perfect vision!  So now we need to refine his shooting skills!

Robert did take 3 of our broiler chickens (meat birds) to get processed and they are huge!  Much bigger than the last batch!   A good thing since one chicken at dinner is no longer enough for this brood of growing kids!  But if the chickens are bigger we may be okay!!  Next week we take the rest!  yeah!

In our homeschool this week...

We finished the last half of last weeks “week” of school and completed another.  So we are going to get caught up and finish about on time for us I suspect.  I love that I can make school work – get it done a little faster if I need to, or slow it down in we want. 

We are learning so much more than our curriculum will ever show with the chickens and the garden especially.  I know they kids are learning things that they will take with them forever!  So it is fine is we skip a day here or there – real life is a much better teacher than a book most days!!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We said goodbye to Robert’s folks Sunday night, they left Monday morning before we were all up.  Then my dad made a quick trip out here to drop off a lawn-mower and that was fun to show him our place!  The kids loved showing off their chickens, cats, dogs and everything else! 

Then, my uncle arrived Thursday night for a few days to bring us a tractor!! We are so excited about this too!  The kids have been playing on this tractor in his yard for years and now we are thrilled to be able to use it here on our property!!  Visiting with Uncle Ed and his friend Tony has been so much fun, the kids are loving it as much as we are!!

My favorite thing this week was...

making the most everything.  Instead of getting upset when things did not go according to the way I thought they should, we just went with the flow – not my nature!

I enjoy getting school done mostly when Robert is working, and taking the days he is home to be together.  We still do get school done many days he is home (especially when he is reversed out) but we thoroughly enjoy this schedule and having so much more time together to work in the garden, yard or something else! 

In general we are loving our Junior Master Gardener Program we are involved with!!  That has been great to add to our school work!!

What's working/not working for us...

Handwriting is not working for my oldest!  So since he does not want to do the small amount I am asking him to do well, I am giving him more to do.  This week I told him everyday he will do some form of creative writing in addition to copy-work.  Of course there were terrible tears!    But the second day he was good with it.  This resulted in getting his blog updated a bit, and getting him journaling a bit more.  All good stuff – just work!!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...


more malakoff farm life and a tractor 021

My girl with one of our kittens – they tolerate her love so well! 



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