I'll be taking a blogging break for awhile...

Blessings to each one of you!

Still memorizing...

I know I haven't posted my verses in awhile, but I am still memorizing two verses a month- through the initial encouragement over on Beth Moore's blog. [For those of you unfamiliar with this, it's a goal to choose two verses per month of the year to memorize, totaling 24 verses for the year.]

I love this habit, although I have found myself struggling to actually memorize these past several verses.

What usually happens is this:

>Find an appropriate (meaningful) scripture for the two-week period? Yes.

>Write it down in my journal? Yes.

>Post it up in my shower, where I'll see it every morning? Uh... I haven't posted a verse since Verse 13. I'm now on Verse 18, so clearly I'm lagging behind.

>Recite the verse over and over again? Not if it's not posted in front of my eyeballs in my shower, I'm finding.

So. I could choose to get very discouraged about this and throw in the towel (Considered. Rejected.) OR I could tell myself that I'm doing much better on the memorizing front than I would be if I weren't doing this, and I am thankful for that. AND regardless of whether or not I know these verses by heart, I am meditating on them and praying through them, [at least initially]. I just may need a few extra months to get them actually memorized. :)

Oh, and at least for the time being, I'm posting the current verse I'm memorizing on the sidebar of my blog.

Hymn study

One of the things we've enjoyed doing for school the past few years is Hymn study. Our church doesn't sing many hymns, and yet we really want our children to know the great hymns of our faith.

This is what we used for our first year, in addition to our hymnal:
Hymns for a Kid's Heart

We also checked in at the Cyber Hymnal site a few times. Yes, the sound is a bit tinny, but it does come in handy if

a) you're not familiar with the hymn- or even part of it, and need to know the tune, or
b) you're not skilled at reading music

Another great resource I purchased was the book Then Sings My Soul, which provides the stories behind several hymns.

Perhaps my favorite season was when it worked with our schedule to join the "Hymn Sing" with some members of our church. Our family would join several elderly members of our congregation who led hymns at a nearby nursing home.

This year, I had the idea to ask my parents and Mark's parents what *their* favorite hymns were, so that we could be sure to learn those. I simply asked my mom one day, and she told me hers and dads, but since Mark's parents live further away, he suggested that Ella write them a letter and ask them what their favorite hymns were, and why it was their favorite.

She did, and a couple of weeks later received a beautiful letter from each of them, telling what their favorite hymn was, and detailing why- verse by verse.

What a treasure! We're adding these hymns to the repertoire for the year, in addition to any others that Mark and I select for our children to learn. And once again, I am so thankful for the legacy of faith in each of our families!

ABC hunt

Apparently I was SO wrong about my earlier comment of not doing anything with Isaac for Kindergarten.

Last week I discovered that he wants to do school.


And here I thought he'd welcome the opportunity to play.

Well, then.

What to do?

I'm a little unprepared for what-to-do for Kindergarten, since it wasn't really on my radar.

I hurriedly printed off some worksheets for letter practice that he can do while Ella does her own writing/math, etc at the table.

And, um... each day so far I've tried to come up with something- for him to do that we can call "Kindergarten".

Then my mom had the brilliant idea to choose a couple of days a week for Isaac's Kindergarten days (so that I don't have to come up with something for him to do every day).

So Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the white board, it says "Isaac: Kindergarten".

This morning it said "ABC hunt" beneath that.

Which intrigued all three older children. All morning long they were asking what an "ABC hunt" was, and when did Isaac get to do it, and could they do it, too?

Here's what it was: while I worked on school with Ella, I asked Isaac to write down all the letters of the alphabet. He did this, in his careful, oh-so-cute capital letters. (Don't you just love the way your little ones form their letters? They're so wobbly and cute.)

And then his task was to go through the house and hunt for all the ABC's. When he found each letter, he was to circle it on his paper. He *loved* this, and was so creative in scurrying about the house, finding letters (boxes/cans in the kitchen, CDs and books, notes and magnets on the fridge, etc). The only rule was that he could only find one letter per place (ie: No standing in front of the world map and circling every letter of the alphabet, or finding ten of the letters from one book. You get the idea.)

When Ella finished her work, she wanted to do her own ABC hunt, so I tailored it a bit for her: I asked her to write down all of her letters, uppercase and lowercase, and then find an item in the house that began with each letter of the alphabet. Then she was to write the word on her paper next to the letter. Heck, she could have even drawn a picture, too- but we didn't get that far.

Okay, so now you get to tell me what you're doing (or have done) for the Kindergarten (pre-reading) age, because clearly we're not doing this every day, as fun as it was! :) Comment away on your favorite Kindergarten resources, would you please? I could use a little help!


I feel compelled to get a little transparent with you today, so bear with me as I try to sort out what I should say.

There have been times when I have alluded to struggles with one of my children before. I have not said much more than that here on the blog- for several reasons- which is truly ironic because it is a major part of my life and thoughts and prayers and cries to God. My journals are full- for the past couple of years- of prayers surrounding this boy and my relationship with him.

In a nutshell, there is a lot of pain and hurt in him. Our relationship- especially his and mine- has been rough, to say the very least. Mark and I are convinced that he has some level of attachment disorder and it is a difficult road.

I am quick to become fearful of what lies ahead. From one of my journal entries this past year:

"So often when I look at this relationship and the distance there and the lack of affection, I feel hopeless. I feel discouraged and I give in to all the fears and the what-if's and all the negative what-it's-probably-going-to-look-like-in-the-future in addition to the frustration of me not getting it right, ever. Why can't I be transformed? Why can't I actively obey and love and hold and be affectionate and simply BE what I don't FEEL? And I feel guilt and doubt and sorrow and the despair that things will not get better."

That brings me to the reason for this post.

God has been so faithful to me; to us, through this journey. A couple of months ago I was running errands and a song came on and He used it to speak to me about His power.

He reminded me of who He is. He is bigger. So much bigger than all my what-if's. He reminded me of His faithfulness so many other times- not only in Scripture but in my life. He woke me up to the reality of Who I'm dealing with, of Who holds all of this. And, for the first time in a long time, I felt buoyed. It was like, "Yeah. Look who I've got on MY side! Look who is here, fighting on my team."

And hope crept in.

The challenge for me is to remain there, in that place of trusting Him to accomplish what He has set out to do.

[As a side note, it seems an incredibly crazy thing that He has chosen me to be a part of whatever He's going to do, here- because I am a pathetic excuse for a team member. Nothing in my life has brought me more humility than my role as a mother to this boy. I royally suck at it. I cannot seem to do it well or right or God-honoring, ever. You might think I am exaggerating, but I am so not.]

Anyway, as I was saying- it is a continual challenge for me to remain in that place of trust. The enemy would have me stay in that place of doubt and fear- and often I listen to the lies and tuck myself away and remain there in that place of discouragement.

I have to fight to keep that hope and hold it close. I want to claim it and proclaim it: that He is mighty to save, that He will do a good work here- in me and in him and in us.

One of the first verses I felt led to memorize this past year was from Isaiah 43:
Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
"Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert.

(verses 18 and 19, NAS)

Today, again- I spent time asking God to show His glory in this troubled relationship. I repented of my many, frequent sins- and asked Him to speak to me, and the above passage is what He reminded me of all over again.

That I am not to dwell on the past- on the heartache of what has been. That He is going to do something new. That He can make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. That He can do the impossible, the miraculous. That nothing is too great for Him to accomplish, and that no one is so sinful (even me) that He can't use to accomplish it through. He reminds me of His power and His might and His ability- no, His willingness, His desire- to do just that.

And hope is right there.

That's where I'm at today.

I don't know where you're at, or why I feel like God wanted me to share a little of this today... but I hope that somehow you'll be encouraged that whatever your situation is- it is not too difficult for God. He can do all things.

I am trusting in Him, waiting on Him, and remembering to *hope* and not to lose heart. He is mighty. I am expectant, and I am anticipating what He's going to do in this situation. Surely He has great things ahead.

Garden in review, and some corn

When Mark told me he wanted to plant a garden this year, I said "Let's not." I knew I wouldn't be able to do much (any!) work in it, and I didn't want all the weeding and harvesting and work to fall to him, so I thought we should take a year off. He really wanted to do it, though, so we decided to go for it, but only plant a few things. The few things we planted were: romaine, spinach, chard, butter lettuce, basil, carrots, corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, and butternut squash.

We enjoyed our lettuce whenever I remembered to go out and get some. I love having lettuce in the garden for salads.

We made lots of pesto from our basil.

Our carrots were never thinned and I'm sure there are some out there but good luck getting them out of the ground; they're all so crammed together. *sigh*

Our cucumbers are awfully happy and growy right now. Do you want one?

The pumpkins are coming along nicely, though I think we have fewer than previous years. But the fact that we're going to have pumpkins makes me so happy-that-it's-Autumn and I really am positively glowing about the leaves and the weather changing and pulling out the slippers and the rice bags again and candles and sweaters and boots and tea and cocoa and EGGNOG LATTES!!! and all the wonder that Autumn brings. LOVE it. Okay, total tangent. Moving on...

Mark tells me the butternut squash is growing and I cannot wait, because I love that stuff.

Oh, but the corn? We got two ears for the four full rows we planted. (To be fair, Mark says "there may be more". But they're small and- it's all just a little disappointing.) Ugh. We have had some good corn years, but that's twice now that our corn just hasn't taken well. :(

So my mom called me up this afternoon and asked if we wanted corn. My grandpa plants a HUGE garden of corn every year and he had plenty to spare. I said "Yes!" She brought up six bags- sixty ears, she said- and there is more to come on Thursday if we'd like (yes, we would).

We rounded up the troops and began shucking corn. The neighbor boy came over to play and I told him the kids weren't playing, they were working. But if he wanted to work right along with them, he was welcome to the back yard to shuck corn with the family. He did.

It didn't take long with all of our helpers. [Sans Adelia. When I handed her an ear of corn to get her to help us, she promptly threw it on the ground and said, "All done." That was before she'd tasted it.]

I set to work blanching the corn while Mark followed up by cutting the kernels off the ears. I love this guy. I could never do these things without him.

The older kids played outside with the neighbor boy while we were in with the little girls. Audra was on my back in the Ergo:

(and nearly asleep, here!) and Adelia roamed around trying to take a bite of every ear of corn available to her. Mark told her no several times. After a little while she disappeared and when I went looking for her, I found that she had shut herself in our dark closet with an ear of corn she was happily nibbling on. (Little rascal!)

Into the pack-n-play she went.

Then we called the kids in and sent the neighbor boy home with a bag of corn. Isaias' job was to put the lid on the tubs of corn, Isaac's job was to wipe off the lid (I'd just washed them and they were wet), and Ella's job was to write on the lids. (Guess who was REALLY excited about their job?)

When there was lag time they took the full tubs to the downstairs freezer.

Mark kept cutting, I kept blanching, Audra kept sleeping.

And we let Adelia loose.

(Daddy said it was okay.)


Tackling this pile today...

...and remembering with fondness the days when I actually folded the clean laundry. Nowadays it seems there are always things more urgent to tend to. [Children, for one.]

Folding laundry is my least favorite chore. Have I mentioned that, once or twice or one hundred times, here on the blog? Yeah. Thought so.

But I conquered my Least Favorite Chore a couple of years ago and have faithfully folded the dreaded piles. (It helps when the kids can fold and help put away, too!)

Ever since I had Audra, though, this is a common sight in our house again. Some of the clothes in the picture above have been on this chair (in our living room!) for weeks. That's right, weeks.

Today, though... I'm working through it.

My view this morning

Here's what I've been looking at this morning:

In my opinion, there aren't many things cuter than some chunky baby legs that end in little black Mary Janes.

Especially these chunky baby legs.

According to Ella

Ella, while coloring a picture with three squirrels in it:

"Isaias wanted me to color a squirrel pink, so I colored this one pink and it's the baby.

... And I decided that this one is the mommy because she's fat.


"Wait, WHAT?! Fat? Mommies are fat?"

Ella, not missing a beat:

"Well, mommy. She *just* had her baby."