Our Nature Tree

Fun For the Classroom!!

DSC_0699[1]

This lovely lady painted me a “nature tree”.
Over the years I have used a paper one that is old and worn.
Now, at our new house, the tree is on the wall,
and we are ready to explore our seasons and all things nature.

DSC_0705[2]

Didn’t it turn out cute? 

and because she knows me so well,
she signed her sketch of the project
and left it for me.  “love” it!

DSC_0704[1]

Just sharing a little joy in my days…

L.I.F.E. Academy~ 1st Day of 2014-15

IMG_2628[1]

KEEPING THINGS COOL

I decided to keep things simple this year.  We always have something fun cooked up on our first days of school.  So I tried to be creative, yet keep things easy.

I served them pancakes/German pancakes, some w/ chocolate chips, some plain.
My “hint” was on the board… they didn’t know it.

IMG_2630[1]

BIBLE

We opened up our day talking about the Fruits of the Spirit.
I decided since we’ve had a few attitude-ish moments the last few months, that a lesson on each of the characters would be beneficial.  We had some flat rocks from a previous beach vacation, so I thought using them as “faith” rocks would be fun.  I was hoping for a tool to engrave the small stones, but that didn’t happen, so the kids just wrote on the rocks with markers.

SERVING

As a service of good deeds the kids went outside to do some outdoor chores; sweeping the deck and driveway (we live in the woods, it’s daily task, lol), stack wood, scoop poop (aren’t puppies cute, ha), and rake tree debris.

RECESS

recess

We ran down to the local park and played for 30 min.
Tag always seems to be the game of choice.

TREASURE HUNT

When we got back to the house, I led my kids on a treasure hunt.  The clues let them discover things about our property that had gone unnoticed… an apple tree, grape vines, and a pear tree.  They also got led down around the the trail to the (now very little) creek, which led to our fire pit, where I thought it was brilliant to have hotdogs and s’mores for lunch!  I mean, how cool is that, right?  Mmm, it was nice idea, but the reality was a little bumpier than that.  After sending TJ up the ravine a few time for matches, plates, etc… and me not totally prepared; can’t ya just grab a stick and slap the hotdog on?  uh, no, one must carve the tip off with the knife that is in the house which leads to another trip up the ravine!  Did I mention it was 90 degrees?  *giggle, snort*  Of course it was TJ, who carried the puppy down, ran up and down the hill 3 times, and now I am asking him to build a (small) fire.  Can I admit he wasn’t thrilled?  (oopsies).

IMG_2620[1]

The younger boys loved their lunch, Katie enjoyed it alright… and once the fire was going and the sticks were whittled, and things calmed down… the most priceless gift came from this senior student of mine… that quiet still moment followed by…

“thanks Mom”.

The School Room and More Books

Give and ye shall receive?

I went through my schoolroom this past spring.

I gifted my whole set of Abeka (Kindergarten through 6th grade) set to a new homeschooler in the community.  I don’t know them, I haven’t met them, but I did hear about their need.  So I boxed up 3 large boxes and sent my husband on the “surprise” drop off.

Then I heard about someone really desiring Sonlight for their 2 young boys (7 & 9).  I happened to have what they needed, so I boxed up 2 years worth of books and sent them on their way.

Next was someone who needed leggos; yep, we have an overabundance, so we shared!

These are things that a person really could have made money on, but my heart really was to “bless it forward”…

SO….

imagine my surprise when I became the recipient of a gift of BOOKS!

IMG_2096[1]

8 boxes of classic literature, history novels, nature books, and more!

I received (I do believe!) just about the whole entire set of
American Landmark series-
The Landmark Books are a series of non-fiction books published by Random House in the fifties and early sixties.
Simply put, the Landmark series is the best collection of children’s histories ever written. ~ Exodus books

My cousin and his wife have finished homeschooling their daughter and, like I mentioned above, wanted to “bless it forward”.
Thank you D.T. & Leola!  I am SO excited!! 
People have joked about me having my own library, however, I now believe I just about do!  *smile*

Here’s our SCHOOLROOM:

IMG_2138[1]

All those cubbies on the right contain classic literature and history books.
-below is a small view of them.

IMG_2135[1]

Then we have readers.
These shelves are more for *free* reading interests.

IMG_2145[1]

Thus they fit nicely in our reading area.
We use the cork board for weekly themes for the week,
such as life cycle of a frog, spring trees, farm life, etc.
We actually put a daily craft on there to make a mural by the end of the week.
Schools out, so obviously it’s a little blank right now.

IMG_2149[1]

Next is our nature and science shelves!

DSCN3957[1]

…along with our nature observation window.

DSCN3960[1]

I also have a small bookshelf for early readers.

DSCN3964[1]

Here is the angle of the classroom from the reading area.
It gives a better view of all the history books too.

IMG_2137[1]

We add a small white board to the top of the bookshelf for Spanish/French lessons.  Since we are officially on summer vacation, it is a great time to review and get the younger kids to learn more.

IMG_2151[1]

And to utilize space, I put the older kids workboxes by the wood stove.
It works for now.

DSCN3959[1]

Yes, technically, our schoolroom is really what is suppose to be a living room, but hey, I’m living the dream…
I’m homeschooling my kids,
I have my own library,
and we have nature in our backyard.

Life is good, and I feel blessed!

 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~ Luke 6:38

Juggling My Way Through the Journey

Traveling the narrow road means much to me.

Like following God’s will.

Some days it feels like everything is thrown at me…

and other days it seems as if everything is slow motion.

Each year seems to have it’s own busy days.

In 2008 I quit running my Day Care to enjoy my own babies.
Honestly, I had a hard time letting go of my “other” kids;
but spending some time with my own family was good.

2009 we moved from small town, nowhere, to big city craziness,
as we moved into smaller space w/ Grandma M and Aunt Chanelle.
Some stuff was tough, but we loved our French lessons w/ Chanelle.

2010 we moved to another big city to live w/ my parents.
The place was cozy, relationships flourished, and life was calm.

2011 we moved… again.  Back to small town, no where.
This time without our beloved pit, Asia,
and with much hope, had Grandma M.  move with us.

2012 Grandma M moved into a Memory Care Facility.
This is the year we had our neighbors join our homeschool journey.

2013 has had it’s own year of changes.
I began to work a few hours outside of our home.  Some months were much more hours than others.
As much as I loved who I worked with/for… I remembered why I love being home with my kids more.

Now:

My Baby who was born in 2008 is now 5.  A Kindergartener.
For 20 yrs we had a new baby an average of every 4 yrs…
Our kids are now 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, & 5.  No more babies.

But I love little people.
And I began to pray about what was my next calling.
Foster care?  Adoption?  Childcare?

For this season, foster care and adoption are not options.

However, I have currently been blessed to have a couple of littles join our day!!  Yay!

Peanut is 2.   She is so cute!
Benji is 3.  very adorable!
Both are quite precocious!!

Katie-girl loves helping!  and the younger boys are having fun too!

Some days are crazy, but it is always a joy!

Just today we headed off to the park to meet up with four friends.
Peanut’s big sissy (5) joined us because it was a school holiday.
When we got home to do our Learning Hour with the younger kids,
Shelbee joined us like always (our neighbor girl, 4),
we had another friend join us (Gunner, 5).
and then another friend stopped in (Dustin, 5) to play for a little bit,
and then Katie’s little buddy that she babysits on Mon afternoons came by (Little E, 1).
Needless to say, we had some crazy fun going on!

After everyone went home, another big kid swung by to say Hello.
I had to tell him he missed the party.  *smile*

IMG_0880

What kind of Journey is your life taking?

Motherhood~ Being Called to Serve

I am a stay-at-home mom.

That is my ministry.

I have been called to serve.

IMG_0563[1]

It’s not always easy…

but it is always worth it!

What does my ministry look like?

Well, all my (6) kids are spread out; 5, 8, 12, 16, 20, & 24.

The role as mom is in a different place for each one of them.

At this point, for my oldest 2, I am the mentor. 
Although each one is at a different place in life…
one a newly wed; the other beginning a new career;
they both matter to me.
My role as mom becomes scaled back some in responsibility,
but is still very much relational.  I am still mom,
and they are free to make their own choices,
and I am there for them when they need me.

For my middles, I am a guidance counselor.
They are now old enough to think for themselves,
but I continue to be there for them,
giving them purpose and direction when needed.
I am open to let them make their own choices,
and I am there to make suggestions when I see fit to do so.

And for my littles, I am the nurturer.
I am to care for them, look after them,
I am to cultivate their individual personalities.
I provide choices and give them room to grow,
and I am there to reassure and comfort them as needed.

The role as MOM does not stop there.  This is where my ministry is just beginning.

God has given me a heart for ALL children.
I most certainly see my own children as precious gifts that I treasure so very much.
Yet all children are valuable; from toddlers to teens, and yes even into adulthood!

I have teens that I am called to reach out to… and I do.
I think I surprise them at times, but they let me into their space in life.
Sometimes those teens live with us for a season,
sometimes I get the opportunity to mentor them,
and sometimes I just love on them just where they are.

I am called to teach littles, beyond just my own.
From my home-based preschool class to homeschool co op to Sunday school to Wed. Stepping Stone class…
I get the privilege of hanging out with a lot of 2-5 yr olds!
I call them my “friends” and they just melt my heart!

Then there is the kids in between, 6-12.  They are fun.
The ones who are eager to talk, share, laugh, be goofy, and talk some more…
I don’t have a specific calling to this age currently, but I enjoy the ones who are in my life right now.
They make me smile.  =)

And here is a newer part of my ministry as a MOM…

…helping other moms!!

And who knew how blessed I would be to encourage other mama’s in their own journey as a mom?!
The joy and love and blessings that come from reaching out to help others; that is priceless indeed!
I do not have all the answers, but what I do know about parenting I that am so willing to share…

discipline
schedules
learning disabilities
education
communication
sibling conflicts
organization
creative activities
etc…

and in turn, I continue to learn so much more myself,
as these young mama’s share the things that they are gifted at with me.

health
nutrition
culture
cooking
gardening
acceptance
etc…

Yes, I am being called to serve.
It is a never ending process…
and I am grateful for that!

The Power of Prayer…

DSC_0484

… leads they way.

Through every challenge we face, God cares.
Through prayer we open our hearts to his healing comfort,
and our minds become more clear of his amazing love for us.

My husband is a man of prayer.  His faithfulness humbles me.

You know how you run into friends,
or talk to the cashier at the store,
or go to family functions?

What is a typical conversation?

“Hey, how’s it going?”

and sometimes you get a simple “good”.

yet most times we get to hear about peoples lives, right?

Like what’s going on at home,
what challenges they face at work,
what physical ailments they may be facing,
or a possible conflict in their lives.

And if we are a decent person, we take the time to listen, right?

Not only does my husband take the time to listen, but he goes straight to prayer.  When someone is finished talking to him, he often says “well, hey let’s pray about this”, puts his arm around the persons shoulder, and prays.  Right there, any where.

We went to a Christian outreach event in our community last week.
We often volunteer our services for such things, like helping with the kids area, or set up, etc…  This year we didn’t.  We felt we were to leave ourselves open for the community, and we wanted God to lead our actions that day:

We were blessed with the opportunity to take 4 extra kids with us for the day.
Special ones whose forever family took them in and loves on them unconditionally on a daily basis.
I see God preparing our hearts for our own future adoption.

As always, we made a point to be kind to strangers that day,
never knowing just who may need a dose of Jesus’ love.

Fred also had the opportunity to encourage a neighbor of ours,
taking the time to listen to another dad who just needed someone to listen, and pray.

I was honored to hold a sweet baby during part of a concert *smile*,
as a lovely young family with many blessings joined us on the grassy fields.
We were surrounded by multitudes of children with an abundance of energy,
including our own of course.

Building 429 was amazing.  They sound better live.  and the gospel message was powerfully shared.

After this event, I found myself stirred, and more revived to just.keep.praying.

Then I saw a facebook post.  How Can I Pray For You Today?
and I saw the quick responses.

So I blessed the opportunity forward on a private group I am on with facebook,
where not only do I encourage others there, but often they encourage me.

How Can I Pray For You Today?

yes, the same phrase I shared on my blog.

and my day was completely blessed with praying for others as they shared things that were close to their hearts.
I was quite humbled at the process.  People thanked me, but truly it is but a simple task to just be willing to open your heart and pray for others.

My hopes is that YOU will bless it forward, and let people know that….

GOD CARES.