Tuesday, September 22, 2015


“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” 
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

If you would have told me that life could get busier with Faithie graduating High School and starting college, I wouldn't have believed it.  I was pretty sure that I was as busy as I was going to get.  But the truth is, as I have ventured into a new season with three teen girls at home, I am busier!
Faith was accepted to a local Christian college.  I'll have to share more about that soon.
God, in His wisdom, has created seasons for us.  Seasons in nature, seasons in ministry work and seasons within the family.  

When I had a houseful of little ones, I have to admit that I was a little fearful of the next season.  I was enjoying this time of cuddling up for read alouds, baking cookies and facing hurts that could simply be kissed away.  I wanted to ignore the next season...  maybe it wouldn't happen (fingers crossed). 

The teenage years seemed to loom ahead, like the Bermuda Triangle, where all sorts of families go in but not all families come out.  The "Teen Zone."  Creepy-- and no thanks! 
But of course, this was spring thinking.  I was in that first season of parenting and let's be honest, it is just hard to see life as being better than spring when we have only experienced spring.  New babies and fresh tasks are exciting things that fill us with hope and passion.  Seeing little inklings of life pushing up through the soil can be so thrilling, but God intends us to enjoy the pleasure of fruit that is still to come!  And you don't pick fruit in the spring. 

This years official homeschool class!

In hindsight, I wonder now if part of the fear I felt about moving into the "Teen Zone" was the idea of not having control.  I know that wasn't the entire picture, but when children are little we mommies have a lot of control.  We train our little ones to come when we call, to wear the clothes we want them to wear and to do what we want them to do.  That is good.  That is proper in the spring.  Its also easy- once the training is done anyway.  But having parental control is not the final goal. 
I am sure you watch people like I do.  You've met parents who want to stay in that place of control forever.  Their child is twenty something and they are still telling them (arguing with them over) what movies to watch, what clothes to wear and when to go to bed.  And by doing so, they fail to launch themselves and their charges into the next season.  The sad truth is, that rarely ends well.
Then there are other parents who may also want to stay in the season of spring, and seem to launch or check out way too early, focusing instead on other "spring" projects that bring them the excitement parenting used to.  They go completely hands off with their teens as they focus their attention elsewhere.  That also usually spells trouble.

The goal is not that we will have absolute control over our charges, or that we will have no input in their discipleship, but that we keep pointing them to Christ.  We continue to walk with them, desiring that our children be constrained by the Holy Spirit, not by us. 

The Jews who were without the Spirit required law to constrain them.  And even that law was not enough.  But the Believer in Christ has the Spirit, Who is called the Restrainer to guide and direct him.   

Parental control is not the goal, Holy Spirit control is.

I find that inasmuch as we made the aim in our home to establish Christ and His Word as the ultimate authority, we have been thankful.

We have had to make a few tweaks here and there over the years, steering away from "we say so" to, "Well, what does the Word say?"

We have had to be willing to lay down pet doctrines that could not be supported by Scripture.  And in laying them down, God has grown us in grace as well.

We have chosen to make concessions over little things-  to shrug off a pair of jeans with a cosmetic hole or an old t-shirt; to say ok to a movie that may not be our favorite style (thank you, Dove Reviews and VidAngel!) and to learn to make recommendations to our older children. 

This doesn't mean that the teens just have free reign so to speak, but we are transitioning into the summer season of life, where the older ones are reading a movie review and telling us that they don't want to watch something that doesn't champion biblical principles, and so on.  It's becoming an internal constraint and not a fight against parental law. 

We are doing our best, God helping us, to treat our young adults with respect.  And they have continued to treat us in kind, considering our desires and feelings over their own. 

We have simply not found that we need to rant over movies, clothing choices and bedtimes.  But we have also found that we need not go against our consciences. 

It is a sweet season.

Little Lyddie is 10.

Michaela is 16.

Sarah turns 14 next month and the countdown is on over here!



Hailey is 7-- can you believe it?

Faith is 18.

In the season of spring, our children were nourished by the pure milk of the Word, and now they have matured, they are ready for meat.  We are so thankful to get to be the ones to hash things out with them.  That was always the goal.
Even Faith comes home from college ready to talk through the issues of the day and we ask one another, "Well, what does the Word say?" pretty much every night.   
Now I don't want to give the impression things are perfect.  They are not because we are not.  But the "Teen Zone" hasn't been nearly as scary as we once thought.  In fact, I think we are going to live to tell about it!  

Blessings friends,

Have you tried VidAngel yet?  We love it.  :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

GOD IS MERCIFUL (pass it on!)

Last week the girls and I read the book of Jonah.  It is a pretty short book, only four chapters, but such a beautiful picture of God's love for the Gentiles.

I have wondered in the past why God ever chose Jonah for the job of missionary.  He was in fact the first missionary to the gentile people.  But he wasn't the guy with his hand up. 

In fact, it seems pretty clear that sheer enthusiasm for the job was not a requirement in God's book. 

We read what may be the key in chapter four, where Jonah said:

I know that You are a gracious
and merciful God,
slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness,
one who relents from doing harm. 

- Jonah 4:2

God may have sent Jonah, not just to show us the lessons we often pull from it-- that we should be merciful to those we do not like, or that we cannot run from God-- but because Jonah knew God's forgiving nature which actually made him a really good representative

He believed God and took Him at His Word. 

In fact, God used him to lay out the truth of the One true God "who made the sea and dry land" on his way to the sailors who were likely followers of Baal, the sky god. 

And following Jonah's early exit from the ship, the men offered sacrifice to God and took vows-- indicating that Jonah told them more than was recorded for us. 

God has always wanted clear representation. 

You remember when Moses was told to speak to the rock in the wilderness, but chose to scold the people and smite the rock instead?  That did not go over too well. 

What God said:  "Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield water..."  Numbers 20:8

What Moses did:  "And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, 'Hear now, you rebels!  Must we bring water for you out of this rock?  Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out..." Numbers 20:10-11

Hear now, you rebels?  Not the representation God wanted. 

God chose to make his servant Moses the example instead (Numbers 20:12:  Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."). 

We must believe God and represent him as Jonah did.

God is merciful.  God is gracious.  He is slow to anger and He relents when we repent. 

Jonah needed some heart correction to become more like God (just like you and I do all the time!), but he knew God.  And he knew that God is merciful.  Pass it on!


Thursday, February 12, 2015


... when read by a sister.


I recently bought a little sign for our house.  It says:
Enjoy the little things in life
because one day you will look back
and realize they were big things.
I think there is a lot of wisdom in that.
May you be blessed,

Monday, February 9, 2015


Charlotte Mason said that children need: 
 Something to do,
Something to love and
Something to think about. 
 I think that is true for all of us.


Our best to you,

Friday, January 23, 2015

CELEBRATING ART {with eric carle}

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I think it's also a really good teacher. 

To study Eric Carle's contributions to art, I had the girls copy the method he uses to illustrate the popular children's books we love.

First Mr. Carle creates unique art pages using multiple colors and movement.



Then, when the art pieces are dry, he cuts the designs from those art pieces and glues them onto a new piece of paper. 

The fact that he uses irregular shapes and imperfect lines made this a fun project for kids.  The pieces don't need to be perfect to create an uplifting piece of art. 


And it wasn't messy at all-  ha!

Blessings friends.


When I am feeling less ambitious, we also enjoy studying art by purchasing black line drawings, then seeking to match the artists colors as closely as we can to the original paintings.  I love this type of exercise because it helps us to experience the paintings and the color choices made by artists I love. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Winter "camp in" date:  S'mores Ingredients, Movie, Homemade Cookies for Pa, Air Mattress, sleeping bags and PJ's.

You've heard me talk about our camp ins for years, right? 

Camp ins are like a camp out, but without the outside (a personal plus in my book!). 

We love having them anytime, but we started to especially enjoy them while prepping for Christmas.  Unfortunately, with all the sickness, we missed doing it at Christmas this year, so we rescheduled for this weekend. 

The kids were so excited.  It means all sleeping together in one room Little House on the Prairie style, watching movies and eating s'mores.  Easy peasy on the parents and super fun for the kids.


Indoor s'mores cooker-- from the thrift store for under $5.



Everyone had so much fun, we decided to camp in two nights in a row!





Avoiding dirt since 2008-- Our first camp in.  :)


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CHRISTMAS {not according to plan}


I'll be honest, things did not go according to plan this Christmas. 

Well, maybe I should rephrase that.  Things did not go according to my plan this Christmas.  

I had so many lovely pinned and planned Christmas ideas that simply remained undone as I was unproductive and in bed sick with a terrible cold.

Even as I started to get better, my energy was sapped and my brain was foggy.

Like I said-- not my plan at all.  But God.  How good to know that He is in control over all things and working all things together for our good.


One of the few crafts attempted just a night or two before Christmas.  Seasonal "Chalk boards" made from 69 cent black poster boards and a chalk pen.  Now hang in my laundry room.

As I listened in on big girls working with little girls on Christmas projects without me, I was thankful that they had the opportunities to manage things that needed doing.

And as I recovered slowly, I found that I spent more time in the Word as I had little gumption to move.  Maybe there was a blessing even in that simple fact? 


Covering a paint plate in Saran Wrap is always step 1 around here.  Makes for quick and easy clean up when the troops are done. 
James says to "count it all joy" when we fall into various trials.  Whatever those trials are.  And David puts skin on the reason why in Psalm 27. 

Little girls kept busy post Thanksgiving making homemade wrapping paper from Dollar Store rolls of brown mailing paper and cut sponges.
Because when all is stripped away that would otherwise preoccupy us in happy distraction, trials make us single minded for God.
After David unfolded his trials (evil men advancing against him and foes attacking), his focus had become this:
"One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek Him in His temple."
~ Psalm 27:4
One thing.  Single minded.  Fixed upon knowing the LORD now and in this life.
What is it to dwell in His house all the days of our life?  It is having that intimate knowing that only comes when we are living that closely with someone else.
Maybe our trials are not due to physical enemies-- usually our battles are not against flesh and blood.  Maybe our battle is spiritual, or with the flesh.
We all have them.    
But as much as I long to be single minded, I know that I also desire to avoid trial. 
"My heart says of You, 'Seek His face!'
Your face, LORD, I will seek"
~Psalm 27:8

My little napkin folder extraordinaire!
Our hearts tell us to seek His face, but trials seem to change our priorities.  "A little later" and "tomorrow" are not good enough when trials hit us.
Count it all joy.
Girls making food.  It all barely happened!

You have to love how David ends his Psalm.  Even in the throws of trouble, he knows he will see the goodness of the LORD, because he knows that he can trust God.

And he ends with an encouragement to us!

"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD."
~Psalm 27:14  
Our ten minute photo session.  Photo snapped, cards ordered and some of them even sent out- all at the very last minute. 
Twice in verse 14 David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, "wait" and it sounds to me like he is saying-- you have troubles?  Just you wait and see what God is about to do! 
Things are not going according to plan?
Your prospects seem bleak?
You are being attacked on every side?
Be strong and take heart!  Just you wait.  You are about to see what God will do on your behalf.


Life's not perfect.  And even our "perfect plans" are not perfect.  But GOD. 

I know He is working all things together for our good. 

Just you wait and see!