Monday, October 8, 2012

A little late.... (Day 5 & 6)

Intention. It is a wonderful thing. It gives purpose, direction, and helps establish a path to your goal. It can also be an added stress. Occasionally we (read "I") can allow important things to fall by the wayside in order to reach a goal or to follow through on an intention. This is going too far in the other direction. If you lack intention, you drift aimlessly. If you overdo the purpose, then you begin to ignore other important tasks or activities. I am a little late on this post.

I am writing in the wee hours of the Friday night / Saturday morning. I am writing now because follow through is important. In my hustle and bustle to get ready to come on this retreat, finish Friday's school work with the girls, leave something in the crock-pot for their dinner, etc, I did not get to my intention of writing and scheduling posts for days 5, 6, and 7. I was feeling pretty emotional about this earlier, then like a bolt of lighting, God said "Did you live with intention today? Did you leave your family cared for?" WOW. Yes and yes. I think, when I take on a goal like this or losing weight or whatever, I can be too single minded. I can get so focused on that specific purpose that other things fall by the wayside.  Today I chose not to wear myself out.

So my lesson for Day 5 & 6 is relax. Being intentional is important. It is also important to be balanced in our activities and choices.

Lord help me to be balanced today in the choices I make. Caite

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Hurry Hurry Bird (Day 4, 31 Days of Intention)

Photo credit: Dan Pancamo 2010
    He is called a Sanderling. These funny little birds are all over the beaches in North Carolina where we vacationed. I love watching them. They scurry urgently down the beach between waves and hunt for tiny mollusks and crabs in the sand. When the next waves rolls in they rush back up the beach away from the water. It was fun to watch them. They made me want to laugh! As we watched I made up a little dialog in my  head.

   The little bird goes running down the beach thinking:
  "oh oh oh hungry hungry hungry"
 The wave starts to break.
 "Oh Run run run! Whew! I made it."
The wave recedes,
  "oh! hungry hungry hungry!"
"Run away, run away!"

He reminded me of me. When I am fretting.

   I give things to the Lord then I hurry, hurry out of the way of the next wave taking my "things" with me. "oh wait," I think, "I meant to leave this with Him." Hurry, hurry back to Him. Back and forth over and over. Why is it so hard to trust? Why do I insist on doing it myself? Nature, I suppose, a lack of practice trusting. God's word promises so much. Worry and doubt steal our peace.

    But there is more than that at stake here. The Bible says in James 1 that she who doubts is "double minded" and "unstable." I must ask in faith doubting nothing, because those who doubt can expect nothing from the Lord. Our small group just began a study of James. Over the course of the discussion this subject of doubting came up, it is in verse 6 and 7 by the way. I was a little shaken by this idea. I have known that we need to trust God fully. But unstable, because of doubt?? Really? One of the guys in our group said "God wants to be our plan A, period. There shouldn't be a plan b." Talk about needing to trust Him in everything.

   I, as a western Christian, have much. I have freedom, privilege to learn, comfortable home, etc. These things actually do stand in the way of trust sometimes. I am so used to be able to do it on my own that leaving my cares at the feet of Jesus is challenging. Each time though, Jesus calmly takes them from me and reminds me that they shouldn't be my burdens but His. 

  As I focus on being intentional this month, I desire the closeness with God that comes from the intentional choice to trust Him fully. I am getting pictures of the hurry, hurry bird to put up around the house to help remind me that God is in control of my circumstances.

   Lord, today I give you my worry, my fretting, my concern for the future, and myself. You are the director of my play. Lead me. Strengthen me to have no plan b, but to look to You every minute of every day.  Caite

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Steps - 31 days of intention

      Yesterday, I chose to be very intentional about school. We did ok. Everyday is a journey. Our journey yesterday felt rocky to me. I know that we all have off days and new beginnings can be rough. But, Dang it! I wanted to be able to say "Hey! This living with intention makes days easier, the day has flow, we accomplished all that we set before ourselves to accomplish." Alas, I cannot say those things to you. That would be grossly misrepresenting how our day went.  Yet, in speaking with my girls, their view of the day was radically different from mine. Pixie said "It was a good day, Mama. I liked it." It seems that our first step into being intentional was a positive one in their eyes.
       First steps are always challenging. Babies take one or two steps, then PLOP! on their bottoms. You learn a new skill and the first few times you do it you feel awkward and out of sorts. You start a lifestyle change and you stumble. Then you pick yourself up and try again and again, until you aren't stumbling anymore but walking with confidence. This adjustment time isn't always exciting. It isn't always fun. But it is important. Taking time to commit to a new beginning and to yourself, even through the speed bumps helps to build your confidence. 
       Today is day three. I return to being intentional with our schoolwork. We have a meeting out of the house and piano lessons so getting our schoolwork done will take an extra measure of discipline. Being focused on the task at hand instead of having my attention divided between my stuff and their work will be the order of the day. That always means tasks take them longer to complete because I am not helping them to focus. Today we will do what we set out to. We may also make some time for something fun as well.
Lord I ask for your hand on our day today. Would you guide me, us? THank you for the honor to stay home and teach these two precious hearts. Thank you that you are big enough for my days and my problems. Thank you for reminding I do not have to be perfect the first, third or twentieth time I do something.   Caite

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall is Yummy

Fall is yummy! Many of my favorite recipes are made in the fall. Warm hearty food. Chili and pie, soups and casseroles, mmmm just thinking of it makes me hungry. Christin at Joyful Mothering asked for a fall recipe link up. It is very hard for me to decide but this time I have decided to share my favorite soup recipe. This is fairly healthy and very quick to make.

Ham and Potato Soup 

          12 to 16oz ham cubed
          1 medium onion cubed
          2-3 carrots diced
          2 stalks celery diced
                     (adjust so that you have similar amounts of each of the veggies)
          3-5 Tbsp butter
          1-2 cloves of garlic sliced
          1/4 to 1/2 cup flour
          4 cups chicken stock
          2 cups water
          1-1/2 lbs potatoes diced

           salt, pepper,cayenne - to taste

Melt butter in large stock pot, allow to brown slightly then add diced veggies, ham and sliced garlic.

Saute until veggies are tender. Add flour in to make a roux. Stir in flour until all moisture is absorbs then add cold stock a little bit at a time. 

Allow to simmer while you prep potatoes (15min). 

Check taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed, then add potatoes.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes - until potatoes are done. 

Then mash potatoes lightly with a masher to break them up a little. You can do this to your texture preference.

Remove from heat and add 1 cup heavy cream ( may substitute milk) and a dash of cayenne. 

Serve with crusty bread.

My kids love this stuff and would like me to make it repeatedly I think. I go light on the cayenne when making it for the kids. It is yummy, comfort, food. A dish that makes me happy on long fall nights. Enjoy!


Thirty-one days of intention...


I wasn't going to do this.  But the Lord keeps tugging at my heart. There is a large group of bloggers like me who juggle many, many, hats. They are coming together in October to write for 31 days straight. Their topics are widely varied but the commitment is to tell the story of life based on their chosen theme for 31 days straight. I have to tell you, committing to publishing something readable for 31 days straight scares me. However, God keeps nudging. His small voice saying go on, you can.

Okay "I can."

My 31 days topic is intention. As a homeschooling mom, as a christian, as a wife I want to live with intention. I want to stop drifting through my days and possibly accomplish something.  I want to be intentional and aware of my actions or non actions. I want to be aware of my tone when speaking. I want to be intentional about my relationships. Yesterday's post detailed our long summer hiatus, full of activities and travel. Those things were for the most part planned, lived, and enjoyed with abandon. Now we are returning to a routine that we are still defining. I am asking the Lord to give us clear direction on the wheat and the chaff in our schedule. That we may be wise through His guidance in the use of our time.

Day 2 Today my focus is intentional school. As a home schooler it is so easy to allow morning to drift quietly by and accomplish nothing. Then we are still doing spelling at the dinner table. ugh. Today I got up with my alarm, had a few minutes of quiet with the Admiral before he left for work, and I am now ready to wake the girls. I feel peaceful and prepared to face the day. It is a good feeling.


Monday, October 1, 2012


Time flies...

Just about five months have flown past between posts. What a packed five months it has been!

I find it interesting that my last post was about savoring time together with my spouse and now I am writing about taking a break. I hadn't planned to take a break from Whisper. Life got really busy and I lost momentum. So here is a brief synopsis if my hiatus.

*** We finished our first year homeschooling. WOW! I really enjoyed the school year. I am excited about our upcoming year! We are adding a couple of subjects and planning some fabulous learning trips.

*** My folks came for a good visit. Always a good family time.

*** Trip to Goodlettsville, Tennessee for the Annual Gathering of the Advisory Council and Board of Directors meeting of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. This trip is always a little like going home. A two day meeting interspersed with prayer, worship and family time.

*** We did costuming for a local theater group. All For One Productions is a faith based theater company that does great shows. I was privileged to work on "Emma" in January. Then in I also did a costume for "Women of Lockerbie" in April. I enjoyed working on both shows and look forward to future collaborations. This coming season has some amazing shows.

*** "Life in the Spirit Seminar" is a weekend, local church, renewal event. It is one of several such events that are facilitated by Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. I got to serve on a team that went to Woodstock IL in late April. I always go on these teams wanting to give of myself and whatever the Lord is telling me to share. I always come home blessed beyond my imaginings. I love doing this!

*** In May ... Unplanned Surgery. Sigh. I woke up early one Monday morning and my chest burned whenever I would breathe deeply. Off to the Doctor, then from there to the emergency room. You know when your doctor is offering to call an ambulance, you freak out slightly. We arrived at the E.R. and the Doctor there listened to my complaints and said "I think it is your gall bladder." My first thought was " I haven't had tummy troubles?" But sure enough the sonogram showed gall stones and major inflammation. Admitted to the hospital and scheduled for surgery. WOW did that throw me for a loop. Suddenly I cannot even get off the couch without help. Mom came for a week and helped out. I am so blessed by my mom and hubby. They took great care of me, helped with the girls, and generally helped me cope with the upheaval. So for six to eight weeks I was on lifting restriction. Pixie ran around saying " Mama! Should you be lifting that?" " Mama, I need to carry that for you!" "Mama! Put that down!" So I had no chance to push the envelope, I had to behave. UGH.

*** July brought kitchen renovations, Aldersgate conference in Charleston, WV, Mystic Mountain Summer camp for the girls. Camp Blast for T while Pixie went to Camp Powtowatami here in town. Then our friends from Vienna Austria arrived for a few days stay. The next thing we knew it was August.

*** August was full with a trip to Aunt Linn & Uncle John's for the girls and softball tournament for me. I am so glad I chose to play softball with my church's team! I learned a lot and I am looking forward to next season. We also participated in our only living history event this summer at the end of August. Hopefully we will get to do a few more events next year.

*** September rolled in with a roar! A visit from Busia and Grandpa - the Admiral's folks. A sprinkly day spent at terrific air show. Then the next week we left for vacation. which you will hear more about in the coming week.

As you can see it was jam packed summer full of planned and unplanned adventures. Through it all I can say that Jesus walked us through, providing what we needed as we fielded each curve ball. Reminding me along they way of how incredibly blessed we are and how fortunate. We all have hurts we carry, dark valley's we walk through, people we care for who are walking through dark valley's of their own, we can turn to Him. He will carry us through. We can trust Him in every situation good, bad, and ugly. We can give him our pain, frustration, and uncertainty and He will return to us our joy!

Lord help me to turn to you everyday with the small things as well as the big, Help me to trust that you see the big picture and know what is best for my life. Thank you for providing before I even know we have a need. Thank you for giving comfort in the midst of seeming chaos.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Vacation Day One

We are now home from vacation and settling back into our routine. I am getting pictures and my journal processed enough to share with you. Enjoy!


9/7 -8  Vacation is here yippee and hooray! 

Miss T snoozing
Pixie woke bright and early!

We did something a little different this  trip and I think I liked it! We left home late evening and drove through night taking turns. The girls slept most of the way and were not as worn out or grumpy as usual when we arrived.  I like travelling and arriving early day or mid day instead of late. This meant we had time for an adventure before dinner as well. 

There was a wonderful sunrise as we drove through Virginia. We arrived in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina in time for lunch with our friends. Then we hit the beach!

The ocean always amazes me. I live my life day to day and pretty much feel confident in my own ability to handle 80% of what life throws at me. Then I visit the ocean. It takes my breath away to watch God's creation and know that the ocean's awe inspiring power is minor is the face of Almighty God. This humbles me. our friend Larry and I braved the waves, but not for very long. The surf was rough and roiling. The girls played in the waves rolling up the beach. There is a small beach bird that I found out later is called a Sanderling. We called him a "hurry, hurry bird." When the waves would recede he would run down the beach and drive his beak in the sand over and over looking for food. When the next wave would crash in the little bird would turn and hurry, hurry away up the beach so as not to get caught by the wave. He was so much fun to watch. I will write more on him later. Returning from the beach we found that Grandma and PapPap had arrived YAY! We helped them unpack and then went for a beach walk. The girls and Grandma returned with lots of fun shells.

What a great way to start vacation!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


     It has been roughly five months since you've heard from me. I was shocked when I looked and saw how long it had been. So my apologies dear friends. Yet, as I listened to my pastor last Sunday preaching about rest, I realized it had been a very busy spring and summer. I've needed the rest, now I'm ready to begin.  We have rolled through some serious challenges, through it all God keeps meeting us where we are and carrying us through. So this period of respite has been busy, calming, and yes even restful.

     Returning from my writing respite finds us headed out on our family vacation. In fact I am writing this on my Droid as the Admiral drives to the sounds of Beauty and the Beast. This app that lets me write on my phone is pretty cool. This the first time I've tried it. The rain is cascading down creating a soothing cadence with the wipers. I'm reveling in having finished ninety-eight percent of the laundry, all the dishes, and the fact that my house is reasonably neat. It will be welcoming when we arrive home again.

     I feel a little strange beginning to write again now as opposed to after vacation or three weeks ago when we started our school year. But there is no time like the present. God has taught me much this year about rest, trust, and listening. I cannot wait to share my stories.

    We began our homeschool year in late August. It has been a very good three weeks. The girls have grown so much. Pixie is reading everything she can get her hands on and T is reading a lot and creating her own compositions on the piano almost every week. I was/am so excited about our homeschool this year. Last year I think I was too nervous to be excited. This time I am much more relaxed. I am also more confident with a year under my belt. I'm looking forward to sharing our adventures with you.

    Over this week I plan to write a bit about our adventures during the past five months as well as chronicle our vacation. Upon our return home I think my goal would be to post to you 2x per week. That could be a tall order. Yet I think it is a good goal. I am asking for you to let me know what you think, give me feedback, and most of all keep me accountable to the goal. In advance- Thank You.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a blink of an eye........ Poof!

This year marks some milestones. We set aside some days as special...class reunions, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. As I look back at my anniversary ( Jan 17th - 14 years) and forward to my upcoming class reunion I am surprised, overwhelmed and shocked. Can it really have been 20 years?

 I have now lived in this place longer than I lived at "home". Part of me still feels like that foolish eighteen year old trying on the new grown up me that I was inventing in my first year of college. Part of me is very glad I am not her anymore. The journey is important. Each day brought me to the place I am today, I would not give them back. If I had just blinked and gone from there to here She, from 20 years ago, could not handle my life today. She would not have the history & experience to function.

I am so grateful for God's hand on me, preparing me for the challenges I will face.

I look at my daughter's face and wonder where the baby girl went. *Poof!* There are these people with strong opinions and individuality. When did that happen? I mentioned this to my mother. She quipped " How do think I feel when I look at you?"

The strange reality of life is we keep growing, changing, discovering. God designed me for this. Who I am today is not who I was, nor is it who I will be.

I think what I want to say is everyday is a milestone in some fashion. Marking some days as special does not mean the others are less than special. It mean we are choosing to remember, choosing celebrate life and that is  good. Do not write off any day without thankfulness for it. Because *poof!* it is gone forever. Look for Him in the ordinary. Seek Him and know He is with you for the whole journey, not just the mountain tops. Be Thankful.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Get up and Moving

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

I have been lollygagging... What I mean is I have been getting up, eventually. Then put-zing around and eventually making breakfast. We might start lessons before lunch- maybe. These are my top ten reasons to get moving.

#1. Less confusion. When we get going in a timely manner in the mornings my girls know what is expected of them. This is far less confusing than playing for awhile, then doing a little bit of work then off to make believe. Then getting "rudely" called back to lessons. This is the way our days have been going when we do not get a solid start. We just sort of float along. Not good.

#2. More Momentum. Starting early or on time gives us good momentum to accomplish much throughout the day. Starting late means playing catch up all day.

#3. Different Energy. I have observed that when I am up and at 'em and have school pre-planned. I am able to stay positive even when the girls are frustrated with a lesson. I am excited about teaching and can give them excitement about learning. Not so much when we are behind.

#4. Better Attitudes. When the girls know what to expect there seems to be less shove back, less arguing. Their attitudes are more positive and we have WAY more fun!

#5. More time.  I know everyone has the same 24hours. However our best work gets done in the morning. If we do not start until eleven... we run out of quality focus time.

#6. More Fun. IF we get our book work done, there is time to make cookies, do extra science experiments, make special arts projects. Getting moving means more things that make Home school a blast!

#7. Flexibility.  Planning ahead allows me to have the flexibility to plan special days, or more relaxed days.

#8. Better eating schedule. I am working on eating healthier. However I am rarely hungry when the girls are especially when we eat breakfast late. This is a challenge. Getting up and getting breakfast earlier really helps me keep a healthy food schedule.

#9. Sense of Accomplishment. When I am on top of things and we get our schoolwork done with time to spare I feel like we have conquered something. We have accomplished the goal I set out. That is a terrific feeling.

#10. I feel better. Satan likes to beat me up when I "fail". Let's face it I beat me up too. He just encourages it. So my number ten reason to get up and get going is it makes me feel successful and not overwhelmed by the bigness of the job.

Getting up and getting moving, Just do it.

 Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Random Questions

So My friend, Aurie, at Our Good Life did a random questions list. I thought this was fun. So I am in :)

What is your guilty pleasure? Today - Homemade Caramel Popcorn with Cashews 

If you could speak another language besides the one(s) you already know, what would you chose? WOW I don't know. I would love to know Spanish, Hebrew, Greek, Gaelic. 

What one area of your life do you wish you could hire someone to do for you? Cleaning. I'd much rather make the mess! Create, Play, Cook, Sew!

When’s the last time you wrote a snail-mail card to someone when it wasn't their birthday? I wrote my Mom and my Grandmother this month. I like making cards I do not always use them. I like writing letters I just don't do it very often.

Do you prefer active (traveling) vacations or lazy (stay at home) vacations? I like both. It feels more vacationy when we travel. But home is good too.

Would you rather watch television or read a good book? Sigh. I like crime shows. but I absolutely LOVE to read, but I am irresponsible with books. I get sucked into a novel; the dishes go undone, children fend for themselves, I get no sleep. Reading is a wonderful outlet. One for which I am thankful. It is also one I must be wary how often I engage in. Short answer: Good book

Which do you prefer, large shopping centers or small mom 'n pop stores? Mom 'n pop stores all the way. Yes, many things are cheaper at the bigger stores. I have come to believe that paying the extra price is an investment in local business. In my hometown the local grocer contributes to all three churches youth groups, the Girl Scouts, the band, the Lions club, the Boy Scouts, and the little league, as well as others. Supporting this business man supports our community.

Which did/do you like better, math and science or arts and crafts? Arts & Crafts, anything creative. Math is confusing. Science is interesting but takes math. History is wonderfully full of stories.

Which do you prefer, online or real flesh and blood friends? Friends are blessings, regardless of distance.

When was the last time you did a special deed without sharing it either off or online? I rarely share ... God leads I try to follow.

Do you like or hate brushing your teeth? Brushing is cool. Flossing not so much. Both serve their purpose.

Here are some extra questions I thought up.

What hobbies do you cherish engaging in? Bible study, Living History, edged weapons, reading, sewing, scrapping, cooking, and singing.

What is your favorite book of the Bible? I am study Proverbs. We are using it as our copywork for homeschooling. Right now I have to say it is my fav. There is so much wisdom there. I understand it better now that I am grown up. I am also working to translate each verse into language my girl's get. This helps get the verse ingrained in my head.

Dishes... wash 'em a little at a time or wait til there is a full sink? Wait till there is a full sink. I'm not sure why. I'd rather do it all at one time. Same with Laundry. I can see the wisdom in doing a little at a time but I rarely manage to do it that way.

Now that you know a little more about me - I'd love it if you'd answer one of the questions so I learn more about YOU!
Happy Saturday!! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ten reasons to take a break!

I recently had an amazing experience! A dear friend who frequently watches the girls for us when we have stuff asked the Admiral and I if she could have the girls on a weekend when we did not have anything planned. I had to think about that... "what?" Her reply " You need time together. Just the two of you." Me- "ok..." Then we went on to pick a weekend. What was originally a weekend turned into " bring them down Wednesday night... Send schoolwork I'll handle it." What a blessing! Then the Admiral decided he was taking Thursday and Friday off work. Wahoo!

A friend asked so what are you doing fun with all this time? No Plans. None. Just being together. It was sweet. We talked and talked and talked. We played and were silly. We folded laundry and watched movies. We visited with friends. This break from being Mom and, for him, from work was wonderfully rejuvenating. So Here it is my top ten reasons to take a break and BE together with your spouse.

#10. Dinner Out... and lunch. In fact, I didn't cook for 5 days. We ate out, or ate leftovers from going out or at at a friends house. This may sound spendy and impractical. However I am back at life feeling revived and excited about cooking for my family.

#9. Shopping together. We shopped for food, a car, new glasses for me, some clothes, shoes, crafty stuff, etc. Some were things we had put off  to do together. Let's face it you don't shop for a car without your spouse. Some things were just spur of the moment because we had no time constraints.

#8. Time to visit friends. We have 2 couples we have been trying to connect with for a while. We shared a meal with both of them! No worries about getting home to the sitter or feeling rushed. Just relaxing, grownup conversation.

#7. No need to hire a Sitter. We shopped. We dillydallied. We more or less ignored the clock.

#6. No bedtime and No Alarm clock. ( well on Sunday we used the alarm ;) ) Sometimes being without schedule can really throw off your system. This time, I felt refreshed. Refreshed that it was ok to stay up watching a movie til way after midnight. I had no guilt when we snuggled til almost noon on Saturday. Bliss.

#5. "Stay-cation". We didn't go anywhere special. We didn't spend months planning this. We lived our life. We still went to worship team rehearsal. We still met the financial planner, etc. But we were hand in hand for four solid days. No pressure, just time together. We chose to be intentional about not ending up on our respective laptops puttering around near each other. We chose to be together.

#4. Cuddle time, intimacy. So often it feels like we shoe horn in time to be intimate. I think this season of life can be that way. After all there are only so many hours when little ones are sleeping and we aren't. This break gave us a chance to be without those restraints.

#3. Flirting. This goes with #4 My hubby is so cute! We do flirt when the girls are around but carefully, more restrained. How fun to let loose and enjoy each other!

#2. Talking. We didn't just inform each other. We TALKED. We discussed, we batted ideas around, we shared concerns and worries. Talking when we were rested and relaxed. Sharing our hearts with each other. This happens regularly, yet we tend to squeeze discussions in between the stuff of living. It was great happiness to be able to talk whenever.

#1. Hand in hand, heart to heart for 4 days.

So there you have it friends. Take a break, renew your relationship, and over all, HAVE FUN!

Top Ten Tuesdays is now hosted at Many Little Blessings. Head over there and check it out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Today is St. Valentine's day.

Lots of folks are being mushy and gooey and oh-so sweet about their life, their love, their kids, their faith. I think that is all well and good, even excellent. I just don't have it in me today. I am not really sure why I am so out of it.  I am having trouble engaging my brain. Today is good. I am Loved. The Admiral got me an amazing bouquet of flowers. I LOVE Tulips and these red ones mixed with deep purple iris made my day! I just don't feel all romance-y. ( I know - not a word.) I feel normal. We are doing school.

Here is something we are learning today. I thought it fit.

"Valentine of Rome (d. 269) A Christian priest in Rome, Valentine was known for assisting Christians persecuted under Claudius II. After being caught marrying Christian couples and helping Christians escape the persecution Valentine was arrested and imprisoned. Although Emperor Claudius originally like Valentine, he was condemned to death when he tried to convert the emperor. Valentine was beaten with stones, clubbed and finally, beheaded on February 14, 269. In the year 496, February 14 was named as a day of celebration in Valentine's honor. He later became the patron saint of engaged couples, beekeepers, happy marriages, lovers, travelers, young people, and greetings."

( Taken from "Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 145 by Shane Claiborne) ( Thank you Brother Will for posting this on FB)

Homeschooling is a challenge.  I knew it would be.  There are days my "want to" is missing.  There are moments were I am void of grace and patience.  Lately even when I am on top of things one or the other of my girls has serious focus issues.  This makes me completely insane.   It should NOT take two hours to do two pages of math or to copy ten words three times. Drink of water, stare into space, wander around, do a problem, and repeat.  I do not get it.  Sigh.

Focus is a precious commodity. My job is to teach them the self discipline to focus and do a job well. I get so frustrated. Why? Because my focus is blurry as well. I have just as much trouble zeroing in and getting the job done. I am sure this is not a problem for anyone else. I am the only one, right? That is what satan wants me to think. He wants me to throw up my hands and give up. I won't do it!  I know I am not alone. I know that focus is a skill we have to learn. I know that God is graceful with me no matter what. I am working on becoming the woman He wants me to be. I will be thankful for every day and work to give my precious ones grace when focus eludes them.

Lunch was chocolate chip, heart shaped pancakes because I could and we all needed some grace. Yummy!

 Lord, keep me each day; continue, please, to bestow your amazing grace, that my wretchedness would change into dancing. Thank you for the opportunity to help my children hone their focus.

All pictures are Property of Whisper to the wind 2012.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Blessings of Loss

Have you ever felt the sadness that accompanies loss? The sense of helplessness that comes as a friendship gradually fades or a loved one’s health slowly declines? A sudden loss is a shock, and it has its own pain. But there is something uniquely difficult about being witness to the “long goodbye”, as it is sometimes described. My experience with it this past Christmas felt that way. But there were also blessings I had not anticipated. 

On December 28th, my father's mother passed away. The process that led up to her home-going was long. I experienced very little of the journey first hand, as I live many hours away. I have known the challenge of not being local and able to help, beyond listening.

I was a bit in denial about my grandmother. Of my grandmothers, I really didn't think I would lose her first. From my distance, it felt like she went from lucidity to incoherence overnight. Of course, the reality is that she has been fading for years. Dementia is a long, cruel ending to a life.

However, even in the midst of all of the challenges of watching someone you love die, I have been struck by some unusual blessings. This was not easy for me to acknowledge at first; how can there be good things about dying – especially dying like this? As I’ve reflected, though, I’ve been struck by my memories of that hard time. They’re mostly positive. 

For instance, when Gram's journey sped up in late September, a friend asked me if I was going home. I explained that, because the end could come for any of us at any time, I always make it a point to leave with no regrets, so I didn’t feel the need to run home.  There was little I could do to help. Decisions like that are hard, yet so important. As a result of waiting,  I got to be there at the end to support my Dad and his siblings.  I am thankful beyond measure for my loving husband who made it possible for me to stay at the hospital. I needed to be there during the last vigil. It was a blessing, as strange as that sounds.

Now, this is even more odd to say, but the second blessing was that Gram finally let go. I had not been afraid for her to die, but I was worried about her being trapped in a body that didn't work and a mind that was playing tricks on her. I was relieved when Gram let go. I was comforted that she wasn't trapped in her mind any more. The loss felt huge, but the blessing was bigger. 

A friend told me of her disappointment when her hubby did not get a position for which he had applied. While he had been hired for another position, she was still discouraged. But then, after several weeks, the person who got the original position was let go and my friend's husband was given the position he originally wanted plus a raise. What a blessing in disguise!

All of this is painful. It was hard to watch Gram decline, and I can only imagine how much harder it was for my dad and his siblings. Yet the release that we are all experiencing from pain, from heartache, and from stress – these are a blessing. That Gram is finally with Christ is a blessing. Do we miss her? YES! But we also rejoice.

So often loss is so painful that I forget to look for the blessings in it. I forget that "God will work all things together for good for those who love him". (Romans 8:28)  He does that. I've seen it over and over again; He blesses me in times of loss when I turn to Him. I contemplate what life looks like after such a loss and how the gap will be filled, if it will be filled. I come to no profound conclusions. But I know – I trust – that He will bring comfort, He will fill the gap. God will bless my life and allow me to be a blessing to others. I rest in this promise.

Lord, God Almighty Help me rest today in the promise you have given to never leave me or forsake me even in times of pain and loss.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homeschooling Thoughts

The adventure of homeschooling has been a blast. I am so glad that we decided to school our girls at home. Here are my top ten reasons for loving homeschooling

#10. Choice of subject material. I control what we learn and if we want to learn about wolves... we can. My girls have lots of interests beyond the three "R"s. This allows us the privilege of going deeper when their interest flares.

#9. Getting along. I was concerned about sibling bickering and Mama being totally unable cope. However that hasn't been an issue. I am amazed. We have some bickering but nothing I cannot handle. I believe that the girls get along better now than they ever did when they were in a traditional school. My theory on this is that they get the best part of each other's day. They play and carry on in the morning when they are fresh. We do school. Then about the time we are all sick of each other it is time for independent work. Has anyone else experienced this? Before when they did a whole day of school and came home they were tired cranky, and no mood to be gentle with sister. This is one of the biggest positives I have observed.

#8. Fun Field trips. So far this school year we have visited the 18th century twice. We have gone to Science Central ( A children's science center in our town.) Taken zoo expeditions. Traveled to KY to visit my sister. While there we went to the Lexington Explorium, Camp Nelson - Civil War Supply depot and training station for the union, and High Bridge KY  where the railway crosses the Kentucky River 700 + feet in the air. On the way home we stopped at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton Ohio! All these adventure are learning and growing school days. Loving this.

#7. Baking, Cooking, & Cleaning all include lessons. Working school into life is so great! My girls are learning to do laundry, cook, and knit.

#6. Sewing! I am teaching the girls to sew. It is so exciting to watch them create.

#5. Creativity. This journey is challenging me to meet my girls were they are and that means exercising my own creativity to solve the problems of making them understand new concepts like the 9 times table. What an adventure!

#4. Sports... Well this is not in full swing yet. But we are working on it. We have started soccer through the Y. We are also looking some other athletic outlets. This was something we never made time for before. Swimming is next :) !

#3. Contentedness. Prior to embarking on our homeschooling adventure I was sort of all over the place. Taking on this project or that one, generally over committing myself to lots of things. As our fall progressed I began to resent the things I had committed to that pulled me away from my kids. I spent some long prayerful nights and let some things go. Things that were dear to me, it was hard, very hard and yet... Amazement! I am loving my life. I love schooling my girls.

#2. Flexibility! Occasionally the Admiral and I both end up on worship team at the same time. This is no longer a problem because the girls can just go with us and sleep a little later the next day. Also when something comes up during the week that needs doing we can do them and fit school around these extra jobs. I do try to maintain a schedule for our schoolwork. But I am thankful for the flexibility when I need it.

#1. Sleeping In. Enough said. ;)

This is my shot at a top ten tuesday. Check out ohamanda she does one every week!


Saturday, January 21, 2012



I make myself and you pretty promises. Then life intervenes. Sigh...

My temptation is to beat myself up over it, like I do when I don't get chores done. However the past is past. Anne Shirley says " tomorrow is brand new with no mistakes in it" or something close to that. I cherish the idea that like a slate wiped clean, today is a new day. I can start fresh.

I did not write a single Christmas post this year though I started several.  In the chaos of holidays filled with travel, an unplanned opportunity, leaving a job, sickness, accidents, death of a loved one, I simply focused on school and getting us where we needed to go. That was good. Now, finally, I am beginning to add stuff back into the mix.

Yesterday we had a get together and sleepover for T's ninth birthday celebration. Hello Kitty cake and just dance kids and giggles and Uno. Super fun. They slept til almost ten! hooray! Today we brave the great white world and head south for a 18th century style Epiphany dinner with our re-enacting community. I even got my dress repaired. I think I may be getting back into the groove again.

Pressing onward toward the goal and leaning on His guidance through each moment. Friends give each day to the Father only He can handle what life is going to throw at you. He wants to be your everything. When life seems overwhelming and impossible give it to Him.

Lord, Take today guide me through that I may be used by you!