Friday, May 19, 2017

Bits Of Random

I'm not feeling very wordy these days. We're in the midst of last-week-of-school busyness and getting ready for all the out-of-school adjustments and I'm not feeling very wise or philosphical about anything. I'm mostly feeling like I need to figure out how to do this all better instead of just living in survival mode.

Anyway. Thought maybe I would just flip back through pictures and give you a little {mostly} wordless post. Let's see what we find.

Him. I'm going to miss my days 
with just him!

The girls and their 
woodland houses!

Check out these homemade clothespins?
Love it.

There are scads of these bushes in the woods, anyone know their name?

Isaac turned 15 on May 11.
How that is possible
I do not know.

This Miss can now see the world 
clearly again! 


The dream of quilts for the girl's beds has not completely died.

Covered diaper boxes

Make great little storage containers!

First on the To Do list once school is officially out? Go through your song folder and sing every song 
at the top of your lungs! 
Christmas program included.

The weather this week felt like summer. I caved to the pleading one day and we made a quick lake run after school!
The water was fa-reezing.


Just my favoritest wall in my house...

Go enjoy your moments this weekend.
Snap a few pictures while you're at it!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Three Cookies

The skies are quietly weeping this morning. In the distance, fog is rolling in over the hills. My bright, airy house with it's row of big windows which often means I don't need any artificial lighting, feels dim and dreary. All of this matches my mood.


There are numerous reasons for the drippy, grey mood; one of them might be the weather itself. Another, undoubtedly, is the flurry of busyness and the coming and going of the past several weeks. A smaller one, is that today my oldest son turns 15 and that knowledge suddenly pierced through my brain fog last night and with it, the realization that we had planned no gift, no nothing for today. The compilation of all these things could possibly be to blame for my irrational annoyance with my husband this morning over a container holding only three cookies.

I have four school lunches to pack every morning, see. Any of you fellow lunch packers understands the ongoing difficulty of keeping lunch packing material available. I do my best to keep homemade cookies or bars in the freezer so there is something quick and easy to grab for desserts in lunches. Once the baked goods are in the freezer, they are not available for non-lunch-box consumption unless granted specific permission.

Unless you're the husband, and you like to consume frozen chocolate chip cookies by the stack.

There were three left in the container I so confidently pulled out of the freezer this morning, three. Three is not enough for four lunches, no matter how you try to stretch it. Those three cookies put me over the edge. So annoying. Just utterly thoughtless. I'd told him before that I didn't care if he ate them but I needed enough for lunches! And he didn't even say he was sorry.

I knew it was silly and I finished the lunches and he went out the door with a kiss but it was tinged with annoyance that colored my outlook on the day. Then I read the blog post. "Pray for my husband. Headaches. MRI shows a growth. Quite possibly cancer."

Suddenly I thought I would choke on my breakfast. The granola that had been so delicious was too sweet and the coffee nearly made me gag. All I could think of was my uncalled for annoyance over three cookies in a container.

Why do I take life so for granted? The third anniversary of my mom's sudden death was only days ago; I have first hand knowledge of how fleeting life is. I'm the one who thinks about death and knows that it is not if, but when I will need to say goodbye. Still, I take life so for granted.

I suppose it is just human nature to get caught up in the dailyness of the now. Still, there are people who have learned to better cherish each moment and they live their lives a bit differently than your status quo; I want to be one of those. Sometimes it takes startling news to give us a reality check. None of us are immune; one day the startling news might be a phone call of my own.

I hope I remember that, the next time I pull out a container with only three cookies.


Two years ago I shared Gina and Ed's "How We Met" story. Gina and I have never met, except through email and blogposts, but I feel like she is a friend. They are currently facing the reality of a growth on Ed's brain and, I'm sure, would appreciate your prayers.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Five Minute Friday: 10 Tips For Teaching Little Children

*This post is the result of a rather unusual Five Minute Friday prompt to tell the group something you are knowledgeable about or good at. We discovered how hard it is to just honestly talk about something we think we're good at!

One of the things I told them was, "I know quite a bit about handling young children and am pretty good at keeping a class of 10-12 kiddos quiet, orderly and interested." Then I got to thinking it might be fun to come up with ten tips. 

These come from years of teaching VBS and Sunday School as a youth and I'm feeling quite shy about sharing them but here goes:

#1. Expect them to behave. A lot of people expect little children to be a naughty, unmanageable handful. Guess what? They get exactly what they expect! Children live up to what is expected of them.

#2. Be firm; don't make empty threats. Children will test your boundaries. They figure out very quickly whether you are going to keep your word. I was once a young, VBS teacher to a little boy who simply wouldn't listen. I told him if he talked again he would need to sit with the superintendent. He talked. It took all my gumption to carry out my threat but that little boy was as good as gold the rest of the two weeks of VBS. Guess what else? He told me he liked me!

#3. Choose your battles carefully. Children are little people; they are not going to act like adults. Don't pick a battle about everything but stick with the battles you choose.

#4. Come to class fully prepared. It's easy to think you don't need to study much for a class of little children. The better you know your material and the more organized you are with your plan, the better your class time will go. Children recognize a lack of confidence and will take every advantage of it.

#5. Be as creative as possible. The more visual aids you can come up with, the better. Children love interactive lessons. Never read the story to them, tell it with great expression! Bring a Bible story tape if you have one; help them act the story out; find an object lesson to pique their interest.

#6. Make learning fun. Whisper the verse three times; say it with your eyes closed; make up motions to go with it. There's no reason for learning to be boring.

#7. Take an interest in their stories. Little children love to talk. Try to give them an opportunity to tell their stories; listen, and ask questions. They are little people who love to be heard.

#8. Reward good behaviour. This doesn't have to mean candy or stickers, although those are sometimes good incentives too. Let the person who isn't clamouring to go first be first in line. Ignore the person who yelled the answer and choose the one who raised their hand. Ask the quiet child to pass out the books.

#9. Have fun together. Sometimes we're trying so hard to be in charge that we forget to have fun. I remember a particular class when a child wanted my sticky tack, so I showed him how far it could be stretched and we ended up taking turns stretching it across the room and laughing.

#10. Keep it orderly. Children can be orderly but they aren't naturally that way. Have them line up at the door and pretend to be a train when they are dismissed; a sleeping train. If you need to walk together somewhere, take a rope or string and have everyone take hold and march. If it's getting loud, have everyone whisper for a bit or have them all be quiet enough to hear a pin drop on the table.

I enjoy little children and the challenge of the naughty ones usually makes them the most endearing to me ☺ 

Now, go think of something you're knowledgeable about or good at and give your Creator some praise!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sentiments From A Busy Weekend

After a busy weekend spent hosting family, I am left with piles of dirty laundry, bleary eyes from lack of sleep, tired children who overslept this morning and came home from school in various stages of complete meltdown and a heart full of warm, sentimental feelings. 

For some reason, in the quiet left after the hubbub of activities and meal prep and chatter, I am left with a deep impression to cherish the moment.

We only have today. Truly. Are my petty grievances and annoyances really worth it? Are my to do list and my appearance and my house really that important? 

I'm not promised unlimited time with these people that I love. Am I loving them well? Do they know that I love them?

I'm not promised another chance to make good memories. Am I making the most of the opportunities I have? Am I taking notice of the gift of today? Am I placing importance on the most valuable things?

Someday these little people will be the big people. Someday today will be the past; the heritage my children look back on. My time here is short and fleeting.

What I do today is important. It might not seem like much in the moment but it is a whole string of todays that make up the future. What I do today will matter.

I might not get another chance to stop and listen. I might not get another chance to do something special. I might not get another chance to say I love you.

Don't take today, and the people who are in it, for granted.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Spot In The Woods

One of the things we have enjoyed about our new house, is space for the children to roam outdoors and use their imaginations. We don't have much land but the bit that we have has already provided hours of playing in the woods.

The girls love to make trails and houses and uncover the beauty amidst the brambles and bushes. I love that they love it. It brings back many happy memories of my own childhood and the hours I spent doing the same.

Several days ago, my imaginative ladies surprised me with something
 very special - 
My own little spot in the woods!

They are constantly begging me to "come look at something",
So I thought nothing of it when they said they had something to show me. In fact, to my shame, I was too busy to go look at it until a day later.

It's hard to take pictures that 
do the little spot justice.
Under a low hanging tree, they cleaned out a spot and cleared a path to it. Then they provided me with a woodland seat.

Across from my perch,
they wove vines to make a little wall.

Over my head there is a lovely roof of green leaves with delicate, white flowers blooming profusely.

My nine year old didn't stretch it a bit when she gushed, 
"It's just like a dream!"

I think I like being a mom.

PS. If I go missing, I might have decided to just move to my hideout.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

For Real

We talk about social media and how it paints everyone as perfect. We sigh about how it places unrealistic expectations on mothers to make the Pinterest worthy cakes and birthday parties because, evidently, that's what all the competent moms are doing. We shake our heads at the pressure it creates to have picture perfect houses where everything matches and all the chippy, shabby chic decor is cool DIY projects that the good moms somehow find time to do.

Like this picture, you have no idea what is really behind all the 'perfect' things you see.

I don't know if my blog has ever made anyone feel the pressure associated with social media but I'm guessing it might have. I try to be honest and real here but it's just a fact that it's more fun to share the pretty side of life. If it is ugly, I want to have some tidy little lesson to tie to it that makes it all beautiful again.

Well. I'm here this morning to show you the real side. I'll probably still end up trying to tie the lesson to it because I need a lesson this morning but this is reality and I'll prove it with the pictures I took this morning:

This is how my basement looks. Remember when we moved, how we just brought the essentials and planned to slowly move the rest? Here's all the nonessentials that are finally coming over. Seriously. How do we accumulate so much stuff??!

It's not even funny. It makes me want to vow I'll never go to the Goodwill again! Except I know I would break my vow.

This is how my kitchen sink looks.

And this is how my laundry pile looks.

I could give you reasons for those piles but then, there are things that just always look this way and have nothing to do with any excuses except being real.

Like my son's bed.

And my daughter's bedroom floor.

And this rug that belongs inside the basement door but is constantly thrown in the corner on a heap.

And this child's cars that he has way too many of.

We are real people in this house. We make messes and hurt each other's feelings and don't feel like saying we're sorry. Sometimes we spend too much time trying to keep everything looking good and we forget to enjoy each other in our messiness. We get grouchy and say we love each other but forget to act like it. We are real people around here.

I like to have a clean house and I enjoy DIY projects and creating beauty. I like doing special things for my family and making memories together. Those are the things I tend to grab my camera/phone and take pictures of but the truth is, we are ordinary, common, messy people. I just wanted you all to know that this morning. I also wanted you to know that God loves us, mess and all. He loves you too, don't ever forget it!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He Is Risen!

I slipped out on the porch this morning,
and was greeted by a
spectacular sunrise that 
I wasn't even looking for!

The Lord Is Risen!

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Saviour.
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord.

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus my Saviour,
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus my Lord.

Death cannot keep it's prey,
Jesus my Saviour.
He tore the bars away,
Jesus my Lord.

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph
O'er His foes;
He arose a victor from the
Dark domain,
And He lives forever
With His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah, Christ arose.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

In The Morning, Look Up

"My voice shalt thou hear
 in the morning,
O Lord;
In the morning
Will I direct my prayer unto thee,
And will look up."
Psalm 5:3

What do you do when you wake up in the morning? Does your mind immediately start going over the list of things to be done? Do you sigh wearily and roll over, sure that you will fail today before your foot ever even touches the floor? Do all the worries and cares of life come rolling in with the opening of your eyes and all you wish is that you could just close them and go back to the one place of complete rest?

Do you ever Look Up 
first thing in the morning?

 I confess, when I open my eyes in the morning, more often than not I have a strong urge to roll over and close them again. It's not just because I was up too late the night before or because my night got interrupted by children. It's because anything I'm worrying about and all the things that need to be done immediately come rolling in and I don't feel like facing it all; I'm sure I'll fail before I ever start! 
What a poor way to start a day.

I want to learn to intentionally 
Look Up
first thing in the morning.
Even if I don't take the time to have a full fledged devotions first thing,
Even if I don't crack open my Bible right after I crack open my eyes,
Even if I don't have time for long, intercessary prayer,
taking the time to intentionally Look Up can make a big difference
 in how I head into the day.

I am not a shining example of this.
But I want to learn.

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2

Friday, April 7, 2017

Birthdays And Other Things That Make Me Smile

The birthdays at our house cover every month from February to June, then take a jump to September. We just celebrated two, eight days apart - Jennifer,
who turned nine March 30 
and Charles,
 who is four today.

Jennifer got her much longed for
Birthday party 
which her mean mom
(or is it more of a lazy mom?)
never let her have before,
and a lamp to put beside her bed.

Tea party
(except it was Apple Cider and
Hot Chocolate...)

And pie in place of cake.

We celebrated Charles in super simple fashion last night because little boys don't care so much how big the celebration is, as that it is about them and that they are the center of attention

The picture showed a yellow bus cake but he wanted Blue,
so Blue it was...

He got a book and some candy
wrapped in brown paper
and he passed out candy and
re-listened to his book with 
whosoever would
and thought it was all amazing.
Little children are so 
easy to please.

Things tumble around in my brain these days but they are the kind of things that only seem thing-ish when they're in my mind, so I will leave them there to tumble and churn and develop and show you some light, surface-y things that make me smile.

This view never gets old.
Before we moved into our house, I thought I would like it best when the leaves were on the trees and I was hidden away from view. Now that we're here, and I'm looking out at this every morning, I'm not so sure.

There was snow in the air this morning; some of it even had the audacity to stick to the ground. But Spring is here! I love watching the green creep into the landscape on my drive to and from school every day.

I'm having fun slowly turning 
our house into a cozy home.
There's something about putting pictures on the wall and making a space yours that just makes my heart happy.

I'm loving this canvas for 
the boy's room!

But then, I'm also loving these plates
in their wonky little cluster.
Maybe because I've had them tucked up in my cupboard for years and they deserve to be seen after all this time.
I picked up the two small ones years ago at a yard sale and the other two belonged to my grandma.

I need to run along and take
 care of mundane things like 
laundry and dishes. 
I hope your weekend is full of little things that make you smile.
Like a child, it might be the smallest gifts wrapped in brown paper!