Breaking Words

I need to break.

This blogging has got my mind tied up. I think about it too much. It seems like such a good thing…these words I write here. And they are…good words. But He is only concerned with heart motivations. What motivates me?

Audience.

No, I don’t need a huge audience. I’m not trying to “grow” my blog. But I noticed a subtle change of shifting thoughts. As my posts ruminate in mind words I’m thinking of others reactions. This space has gone from a sweet capturing of my littles to a me space. A space where I promote my own thinking.

This has been a place I’ve been running from for a while now. For almost nine months I’ve heard His voice quietly beckoning me awayaway from here and back to my littles…back to my household…back to life. My first gut reaction was to delete. Delete the blog. Delete the internet from our life. But that is not dealing with my heart any more than staying is. Blogging is not wrong. Yes, it may be a bit narcissistic but there is good here in this world. There are lives touched and information shared and it is a good thing. Technology is not bad.

I think of the verse ~

Everything is permissible ~ but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible ~ but not everything is constructive.” ~ I Corinthians 10:23

I think on Jenny’s very poignant post and the listening she did. She heard:

It’s not the blogging…It’s the browsing

It’s not the writing…It’s the wandering

It’s not the time spent…It’s the time wasted

She listened and her blog A Minute Captured is a beautiful thing because of it. So then I thought maybe I could blog just a little bit…put up some boundaries. So I scaled back. My posts were fewer. And that time back did help. Things started coming together around the house. I was thinking again. Not about what others think but about what I should be doing for my household.

But still I heard His voice. Scaling back is not what He is calling me to. And isn’t that what it’s about? Listening to Him? For Jenny it was about writing and ridding of unnecessary distractions. For Elizabeth it was about her gift and not burying that talent. But for me? My season of life has me raising six littles who have very tender receptive hearts that need lots of mommy. I have a household full of toddlers who are right in the midst of training and need structure and routine. I have a house that is in utter chaos and needs habits laid down. I have work to do right here.

I love this space and all the information that is here for the having. I really don’t want to give it up. There are some who are called to share and help others learn. There are some who are called to take up the fight and politically or socially start grassroots uprisings. But it is not for me to share. It is not for me to uprise. This is not my season. My place is here…now…as mother.

This blog has been such a beautiful outlet for me to share my favorite hobby of photography and it is not a door forever shut. I will be back. There will be a season where it will be my turn to share. But I need to turn my camera inward. My babies are looking at their scrapbooks I’ve done for them. And I realize my art is there. It is art with meaning by the only audience who matters. My kids care that I scrapbook. They care that I take pictures of things that are important to them and me. They want to see them finished. They want to see their life chronicled in a way that will matter when they are older and start forgetting. I can always reread a blog and remember. But for them, they need the heft of that real book in their  hand to turn pages and smile as they remember and ask questions about what they don’t. And those are the stories I need to tell. The real that needs to be passed down.

My blog will stay put for now. I will be utilizing my Homeschool Free Resources page often as I continue this homeschooling journey. I will continue to answer any comments that happen to come my way. I will be visiting other blogs during scheduled free time to read of other wise words who should be here right now. I will continue to learn and grow. I will be back one day as a seasoned homeschool momma with loads to share.

But for now I am going home to my babies. For now it is simply necessary to let this blog go in order to focus on my necessaries.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.  ~Proverbs 14:1

~ MY STORIES ~

Many people have said to me ‘What a pity you had such a big family to raise. Think of the novels and the short stories and the poems you never had time to write because of that.’ And I looked at my children and I said, “These are my poems. These are my short stories.” ~ Olga Masters

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{House L.O.V.E.}

Moving day weather was a gift from above. A spring-like 64 degrees, sunshine, wear-a-T-shirt kinda moving weather. Just perfect. Being bone-tired and only three of us, a fourth of the move ended up in the garage. Not quite as planned but we were officially moved in. The next day’s weather held out as boxes were slowly dragged inside from the garage. Not too many left, I thought to myself patting me on the back for all the work done.

Than my husband came home with news of a winter storm a-brewin’. So out to the garage we went in the drizzle and dragged in the remaining boxes. Then we woke up to this…

Almost 12 inches of snow came down in a fairy tale blanket of sparkles. I said a mantra prayer ~ thank you, thank you, thank you ~ all morning long as I continued to unpack boxes in the cozy comfort of a heated new home. Only a gift from above, that timing! He is amazing!

We are settling in nicely here. All boxes are unpacked. Pictures are hung on the walls. The place has felt instantly like home from the first night. No night trauma transitions of littles. All is well and one is even sleeping better. Every morning I wake up to my colored walls and revel in the small details of my home. It’s these details I love the most. They are the architectural details that people won’t notice first but make up the bones of why this house feels like a home to me.

Porcelain roses on my very own chandelier…hinges that hold up story-book doors…vintage lights that look just as lovely with a cobweb or two…filigree holders for the everyday things…knobs that look like antique buttons…key holes to spark little imaginations…

My mother-in-love called the other day just as a friendly reminder to my husband that a gift was in order for this Valentine’s Day. I love her dearly but when he told me I just laughed.

“What could be a better gift than this house?” I said to the man who gave up his farm dreams to give me this Victorian girl dream. “I mean, even the walls of my favorite room are the perfect Valentine red!” And they are…deep, rich jewel-toned ruby red. And I am in love with them.

And who needs temporary flowers that will wither away in a matter of days when right on my very table I already have something that is lighted perfectly by the morning sun? I am reminded of a tiny blog post I ran across the other day at pea soup. She said,

Dear Universe,

fewer major life events, more pretty light, ok?

Yours, Suse.”

Perfectly said! (You must go visit her. Pictures are divine!)

Just look at this beautiful family of mine sitting in this beautiful room eating breakfast for dinner! What could be more perfect?

Later as I was soaking in this amazing tub I was reminded that most people pay a lot of hard-earned money to vacation away in a tub just like this! I am luxuriating in warmth, soaking my cares away. Little voices sound far away as my husband gifts me again with an alone bath.

It is these selfless acts of love that grow us. I was reminded of that as I read my Starbucks cup this week. The world we live in tells us to be just like this Starbucks heart. All arrows point inward towards ourselves. But it is when we reverse these arrows in an outward direction towards others that love actually grows. This is what I want to contemplate this Valentine’s Day.

Happy Heart Day, everyone!

Slow Reading ~ The Gentle Art of Domesticity

As sometimes happens, I am walking along the bargain aisles at Barnes and Nobles hoping to catch that great homeschooling find when out of the corner of my eye I spy this cover.

I know you are not suppose to judge a book by it’s cover but I am a visual person by nature and, unfortunately, this is too often the case with me…at least with books! And this one didn’t disappoint! It’s all in the title: The Gentle Art of Domesticity {Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & The Comforts of Home} by Jane Brocket. What’s not to love? For $10 I found a homey book that I can curl up with at night or on the weekends and enjoy in my new home!

Sometimes in this bloggy world we adults develop a bad case of attention deficit disorder. We get so used to perusing and looking and envying that we never take the time to stop and read and do the things we are looking at. Or is that just me?  I often need to force myself out of this destructive pattern. This book is a breath of fresh air in that department. It’s like reading a blog (beautiful pictures married with wonderful content) but in long form. Instead of sneaking a 5 minute reading blog break, you can take an hour and read on the comfort of your couch.

This isn’t a how-to book so much as a how-I-got-here book. It is all those homey ideas I want to ruminate in for a while. And her take on our culture is spot on. Take this excerpt for example.

For the gentle arts are just that: gentle. They do not demand to be practiced. No one is obliged to pursue them. They have not been taken up by any government department and regulated and repackaged with health and safety messages and warnings. They are a matter of individual and personal choice. They can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest and the ability to thread a needle, break an egg, choose a color or wield a pair of scissors. They don’t require complicated skills, qualifications, training or equipment…What they do require, though, is a consicious choice to do something ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘quaint,’ to choose not to buy and consume endlessly, but to make and create for a change…It’s the awareness of the worth of the gentle arts that counts, the ability to see that the feminists of the 1970s were misguided when they thought that teaching young girls to devalue domesticity constituted progress.” {emphasis mine}

Wow! And this from an author who was, herself, a proclaimed feminist! It was her journey through that process of attaining a family and struggling with careers that landed her in this ever-so domestic world. I love this for two reasons. One, the book reads like a blog journal ~ interactive with you while at the same time maintaining that personal awareness and growth that only comes with writing things down. And two, you don’t have to be that traditional Martha Stewart-y crafty girl to enjoy this book. You can be that career momma or retired grandma with time on her hands or even the mom who longs to do crafts but is up to her elbows in a dirt-colored-snotty-nose season of life and still resonate with Jane’s writings on domesticity. It is that inherent domesticity in all of us women, designed by God himself, that connects us as a collective whole despite our individualistic bents.

I long to recapture my own domesticity amid the potty training, homeschooling, disciplining, and laundry pile ups.  I know this art will take intentional slowing down on my part, as well as intentional thought about how I want our home atmosphere to look and feel. It’s not about the keeping up with the Jone’s I’m interested in, it’s the comforting feeling of hospitality I long for my family and guests to feel when they step through my door. I’m excited to glean some valuable nuggets of truth in this area from Jane’s book. I hope this one stays on my shelf for years to come!

{Update :: The wonderful reason this book feels like a blog in print is because Jane actually has the most wonderful, beautiful blog right here in this cyber world. It is called yarnstorm and is just lovely. Please, go check it out!!! Plus, the book is turning out fabulous. The perfect read to take slowly in bits over sips of coffee during those rare free moments.}

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Orange Clove Winter Stove Top Potpourri

 

winter potpourri

One of my favorite smells in the world is that classic cinnamon spice aroma that permeates the winter season. Most of us modern day Americans run to the store and purchase our Fabreeze or Glade cinnamon plug-ins. Some of us might even splurge on more pricey Scentsy warmers. But my favorite classic is the simple orange clove stove top winter potpourri.

This works especially well in a synergistic no-waste seasonal way as part of your kitchen clean-up. Winter is the traditional time for citrus to be in season and on sale. With a 4 pound bag of oranges at $1.49 a bag, who isn’t going to eat as many as will drip down their chin? So you are in your kitchen cutting up oranges for the kids lunch. What to do with the orange peels?

There is always the classic churn them in your disposal method. A wonderful natural cleaner for your disposal and sink pipes. But a better, more wintery way, is to simmer them on the stove top with some water, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. (Stock up on them when they are half price in after Christmas sales…trust me, they will still be good when the next Christmas comes around!)

Ohhhh…the aroma! Just do as I say, not as I do. Use a bigger pot. There is nothing worse then your husband coming to you wanting to know what that burning smell is only to find your water simmered out and your cinnamon sticks are burning! Big pot + lots of water = lots of yummy smelling, house warming goodness! Enjoy.

Less Screen Time

So I have in my head this great weekly wrap up on the rocks and minerals unit study we are doing right now. (Sorry, you’ll have to check back next week! 😉 But instead I spent much more time doing this…

and this…

and much less time on my computer.

Life is good!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Sometimes it’s in the little things…

Sometimes life is crazy. I can’t help but look around and feel overwhelmed…overstimulated…overworked. The list goes on. And sometimes I just need to focus. My life this week has been crazy. Good crazy…filled with wonderful people crazy.

When I know my littles need my attention on them and not on the million house tasks I see stacked up around me, I need a way to focus my priority. Some people take it to God in prayer. I admit, I do too…a lot. But sometimes I need something much more tangible…something I can wrap my senses around in order to calm me.

For me that is sense of smell. And I know it is still summer and muggy with temps above normal, but I need fall right now. I need warm apple spice and cinnamon permeating my house. With my comfortable 72 degree air conditioning, I can set aflame scents and close my eyes and pretend a cool fall breeze is caressing me through my pretend open window.

My second tangible is music. My music of choice is Pandora…a place where I get to pick my mood and then let someone else do the job of providing the sound. When I am frazzled and I need peace to wash over me I turn to soft jazz, and Christmas soft jazz at that. There is something cathartic about listening to saxaphones and musical offbeats that takes me back to pre-kid days of walking around Barnes and Nobles with a latte in my hand with a whole night to explore whatever I wanted.

This…oh this is a little slice of heaven. It may not be praise music but the Lord doesn’t mind. All music is His and He created it just for this…to delight our souls...to touch us in an inexpressible way like nothing else can. I am wallowing in that today and it feels just right.

Things Unseen…

Note ~ I wrote this post back in August of 2010. I think I meant to publish it or add a photo first before publishing. I’m not sure. But somehow it escaped posting and ended up sitting in my dashboard. While cleaning up I found it, reread and thought this is still just as important to me this day! Enjoy!

BLESSING # 421 ~ That He sees and that is enough

Wow…I am speechless as I read Ann’s lovely words, words that soothed my soul today. Our day was full and there is still more to do. I think about this blog often and have words in my head, sometimes even pictures on my camera. But time slips as my family priority intrudes and takes over. So, for now, I will give a glimpse of Ann’s insightfulness (PLEASE visit her site and read the rest…a balm for your day!) as I ponder my own priorities and the dark recesses of my heart.

Ann’s wise words:

Who can see the spelling lessons? The breakfast made this morning? The next chapter of The Yearling read, the last child rocked early in the morning, the prayers whispered in the middle of the morning? I try in a week and a lot may get done, but the right things?

I think how I want a crumbless, smudgeless, spotless house, a house with empty laundry baskets, empty sinks, empty garbage cans, with floors like mirrors and mirrors like water, and a pantry lined neat like books in the study and pies lining the counter like sweet children all in a row…

I want things seen.

The seen things can be idols…

Too often, sadly, I want product, others to see product, so they can see: I have worth. Stinking idols…

Again, today, I must: Slay the idol of the seen…

I’ll whisper the mantra that orders all priorities:

Unseen. Things Unseen. Invest in Things Unseen.”

~ 2 Cor. 4:18

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

READ THE WHOLE THING HERE ~Thank you, Ann!