Snippets from my journal and prayers on a Monday morning

It's Monday morning. I'm heading into this week weary and feeling overwhelmed.  This is Mark's long work week (no day off), and I really wish I was starting this week feeling rested, but that's just not the case.

I went walking early with my mom, then came home through the back door to find Mark loading the dishwasher for me before he left for work.  I sat at the kitchen table and drank a glass of water and he asked me how I was, and then listened to me while he worked, and I told him of my weariness.  He took time to pray for me before I saw him out the back door.  Then I snuck into my room, trying to avoid all the creaky floorboards, closing our old door just so; so that it won't click noisily, hoping and praying everyone would stay sleeping so that I could begin this day quietly.

So here I sit on my bed, under the warmth of an electric blanket. A little bit ago I pulled out my journal and started telling God all about it: my weariness, how there are so many demands on me in a school week and I'm feeling a little pouty and slightly resentful, even, that I will run around today and this week meeting everyone else's needs but would really like someone to take care of ME.  (Does anyone else ever feel that way?  Maybe I'm just especially selfish.  ;))

Even as I'm writing that prayer to God, I am thinking of this verse, which I then anchored to the page of my journal and to my mind for the day:

from my journal pages this morning
Yes.  I am trusting Him.  He knows me, He cares for me, He sees me.  He is my God and He will supply every need of mine according to His riches.  I can trust that while I am looking out for everyone else's needs this morning and throughout this day?  He will attend to mine.

And I can see the ways He's already doing that today...

~He gave me the gift of going walking early with my mom: exercise and fresh air and adult conversation for a half-hour! (5406)

~Coming home to find Mark in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher.  His kindness in loving me through practical service to me.  He knows I like to begin my day with a clean kitchen, and he got up early-- sacrificing his own sleep-- to do so. (5407)

~Mark praying for me as he cleaned the kitchen (he told me when I came in he'd been praying for our day), and aloud, with me, before he left for work. (5408)

~Mark, who faithfully works hard to provide for our family. (5409)

~Passing Isaias on my way to my room, as he's heading outside to do his morning chores.  So thankful for my kids and the work they do so faithfully around the house. (5410)

~This sweet time of quiet God just granted me-- a whole 40+ minutes of time to journal and pray and rest in the truth of His word while He kept the kids sleeping. (5411)

~The coziness of our home and my bed (and the warmth of the electric blanket!) (5412)

~His word, which is so precious to me. (5413)

~My chatty little Audra (6), who was the first to come into my room, snugging up beside me and talking, talking, talking, always talking.  How I love her and how thankful I am for this girl, the gift that she is to me, the miracle of her.  (5414)

Praying now that my eyes will continue to be open to see the goodness of God today; to see Him so richly and personally providing for my every need.

Blessing to you, sweet friends, on your day!  May each of you see Him in his rich provision for you, too. 

School days and a read-aloud recommendation

I really wanted to write here on the blog today, but I am having a sinus headache and finding it a bit tricky to type with my rice bag propped on my forehead. ;)  We'll see how long I can manage this.  


Not long, apparently, since I've already moved it to the back of my neck.  Oh well, that hurts, too, so we're good to go!


We're finishing up Week 3 of school around here and it's going so, so well.  I'm just loving it.  And so are the kids.  I am so thankful for the privilege of schooling our kids. 

We've been battling sickness (flu, cough, colds, sinus pressure.... argggh) for the past few weeks, all of us at various times... virus #2 now cycling through our home :(, and even though we are sick and weary, there has been great peace in our schooling, and for that I am thankful.

One of the things that has been a great blessing to me is that we REALLY pared down our evening engagements this year.  We have one thing each week in the evening.  Same night, every week.  And that's it.  So our evenings have become a time of rest again, which is so good and was so needed.

Last year I felt like we were running here and there and everywhere- always hurrying to make dinner and then eating it QUICK!  We have to leave in 20 minutes! and trying to get out the door and then home to the mess of the kitchen and late to bed for everyone... and this year we just said no.  To a lot of things.  And I am so thankful.  Now we're home, eating dinner together and then cleaning up together and then retiring to the living room for read-aloud and puzzles or play.  It's been a sweet gift to us all.

Speaking of reading-aloud.  We just finished reading this one:


We started it while we were on our road-trip; it was our vacation read-aloud.  And honestly?  At the start I was unconvinced.  I have heard oodles about this book/series and had picked it up several times and read a page here or there at various bookstores and at the library, and I always ended up putting it down, thinking, "Eh.  No."

But... we needed a new read-aloud, so I finally decided to give it a go (and trust all those who had recommended it).  It only took us a couple of chapters and the kids LOVED THE BOOK.  We all do.  We actually finished it last night and are on to the second in the series.  There is a bit of sailing jargon to get through-- which was maybe what was off-putting to me when I'd looked at it before?-- but it will definitely rank in the category of our favorite family read-alouds.  [And oh, Titty.  How I adore you.]  (She is going on my list (the list that only actually exists in my head) of favorite girls in stories.  You know, along with Anne Shirley and Jo March and Laura Ingalls?  Yes.  Also: Able-Seaman Titty.  I love her spirit.  :))

I wish I would have snapped a picture of the "boats" we had in our back yard when we got back from vacation-- one flying a Swallows flag and the other an Amazon flag.  And all the adventures the kids were acting out from the story.  They are so engaged with it and it has been a great delight to read it aloud.  :)

So there you go.  A hearty recommendation of a fine book.  Any recommendations you'd like to toss my way?

Blessings to you and yours,

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First Day of School: Morning Time

Yesterday was our first day of school, and we made it.  :)  And: it was all that I had prayed it would be: peaceful, relaxed, and enjoyable.  (Thank you so much, God!)  I was up early, made some cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa, and cooked up some sausage, and then just pulled out the books/things I'd put in a basket to accompany us at the breakfast table, called the kids to eat, and we began our day.

We're easing into our school year with Morning Time only-- which is basically all the stuff we do at the breakfast table.  I feel like God gave me such a great system for this over the summer as I read a few of Cindy Rollins' Morning Time (MT) posts and-- honestly, even MORE importantly, for me: saw a MT schedule of hers.  I just really need a visual for things to gel in my brain, and I am so so thankful she provided that because it gave me an organizational structure to all we've already been doing.  :)

Here is our little Morning Time schedule for October:
(Note: Pretty much everything on the above schedule will change as we move in to other months in the school year (new hymn, new memory verses, new poems, new electives, etc.), but this has given me the needed format for plugging it all in.) I anticipate printing a new schedule for each month, and working from it.

The only change I made to our existing routine was to shift the kids' morning chore time, which had been after breakfast, to now be BEFORE breakfast. This means we can settle in together, first at the table over breakfast, then shifting into the living room (for the Ambleside selections, electives and our read-aloud) without interruption.

As I moved through our morning, I checked things off and made notes on my printed schedule with a colored pen.  (See photo below).  I know there will be mornings we don't get to all of these things, and I'm okay with that.  [For example, when my kids are sick, I always let them sleep in, and we start late those mornings.  Sometimes we have interruptions due to sibling squabbling or disobedience, and it can throw our whole morning.]  I think it will be so helpful for me to have this sheet I've been checking off throughout the week to have a visual of what's been done, so that I can think: "Okay, we've done our hymn 4x this week already.  We can skip that today to save time.


We moved away from the breakfast table after poetry and resumed in the living room-- all sprawled out on couches and the floor-- for some Shakespeare:


And then we ended with our read-aloud and finally some outside time. :) [Which is when I get time to make myself a latte!  ;)]

That's our plan for our mornings.  Next week sometime we'll add in independent work (math, history, copywork) for the older kids, more narrations, and my time with the little girls.  But I'm STILL planning all of that, so we'll get to that when it's ready.  ;)

Prequel to our first day

This year Ella is in eighth grade, Isaac is in sixth grade, Isaias is in fifth, and the girls are both in first grade.  The little girls are doing Ambleside Year 1, Isaias is doing Ambleside Year 4, and the older two are doing Ambleside Year 7.  

That's a whole lot of kids and a whole lot of lesson plans, and it was enough to make me feel pretty overwhelmed (read: lots of tears) when I told Mark two nights ago: "I don't even know how I'm going do this...") 

Because, I just know how this goes.  I know that when we start school, my plate goes from very full to HEAPING.  Everyone needs something from me at the exact same time (or just two seconds later), and on it goes and it can just feel like too much.  And then I still sort of need to be mommy and get meals on the table and the laundry done and the house relatively clean and it's just a lot.

Going into this year, I fear that my older kids' books are too challenging, and that they won't enjoy their reading.  I worry that I will not be able to keep up with all the reading and all the narrations and the correcting.  I fear that I'll be stressed and overwhelmed and tired.  Oh, wait.  I will.  ;)

Mark listened and prayed for me.  I got some sleep, woke up the next morning and prayed and journalled.  I really just needed to talk to God about it all, and then I felt so much better.  I told Him that my desire is that we would learn in an environment of togetherness and interest and pleasure in whatever we're reading and learning; that there would be joy as we *get* to learn about other people and places and times and concepts.  I asked Him to teach me how to be a better teacher this year, and to be a better learner myself.  I asked Him to give me a spirit of joy, and that it would be contagious to the kids.  I asked him to help me to keep up with their readings and to ask good narration questions. I asked for wisdom with what direction I should take with the girls (individual time with each of them or together?  What to use for phonics/reading?  What time of day?)  I asked Him to cause all the pieces to fall into place and I asked for peace to reign in our home.  I asked Him to help me to use my time wisely (less Facebook, less computer time altogether, less shows that we watch too late when we should be sleeping).  I asked Him to help me not to live in a state of exasperation/stress, but to slow me down, give me a restful spirit and a joyful one, and to give me a "let's tackle this together" approach.  I asked Him to create discussions and connections.  Ultimately, I asked Him to lead us, because He knows us and He knows which books we will sink into and learn well from.  He knows our frames, our needs, our lives and interactions and challenges.  And after I'd unloaded all of that, I wasn't an emotional wreck anymore.  I trust Him to lead us faithfully as He always has.  And I'm truly looking forward to it all. 

Later that morning I stumbled upon a blog post that brought encouragement to my heart-- just that reminder that no matter what I've planned, if it's too much, we can pare it down until we get to a place of peace.  And that it's not about checking off the boxes and doing a certain number of books but about choosing a few, and doing them well