Monday, January 31, 2011

Learners Permits, Homeschooling, and Snow Days...for lack of a better title.

I am foregoing my Gratitude post this Monday.

I will double up next Monday.

This Monday I have some things I don't want to forget.

It has been brutally cold here in Tennessee the past two months.

Not to mention the fact that the Lord must have stamped some heavenly document declaring the Volunteer State an official snow state.

I can only pray that this means he also decided to take us off of the official tornado alley list.

With all the bitter cold and white stuff falling we have spent the majority of our days inside in our pj's where it is warm.

It is too cold to even want to leave the house.

So when I have to, I thank the Lord for a teenager that is in love with the idea of getting to start the car for me.

Can't remember the last time I had to get into a cold car thanks to this kid.

Speaking of teenagers and cars...


Looky what now sits atop my son's desk.

Hmmm, wonder if he realizes I have no plans of ever letting him get behind the wheel of a car as long as I draw breath?

Unless it is to heat it for me of course.

Seriously could somebody just shoot me now please?

Or send a bottle of little blue happy pills?

Lord have mercy I have no idea how to navigate these teenage years we are entering.

They scare me.

To death.

Jesus take the wheel.

Did I really just say that?

Yes I did which is a good indicator that it is after 9pm.

The great dork within cannot be caged past this hour.

Remember Teen Wolf?

Well it's kinda like that...except I snort at myself till I nearly pee my pants instead of growing hair on my face.

On the bright side, I'm thinking it will be kinda super when the kid can run to Publix for some milk.


"There's only one bad thing about homeschooling mom. We don't get snow days." -Maggie

The kids are no longer enamored with snow or even reports of snow in the forecast.

The Snow Bird report doesn't mean that much to a Homeschooler.

Most kids get to go out and play in the snow.

My poor homeschooled children put black construction paper in the freezer then head outside with a magnifying glass to see if it is true that no two snowflakes are alike.


They loved it.

Shhhh! Don't tell them they are learning ok?


This kid made all A's his first Semester of High School.

We offered to reward him for his efforts and achievement.

He is now the proud shamless owner of a Pillow Pet.

I kid you not.


**If you have an iPad you must check our Mathboard (which Tyler is trying to solve a problem on here) and Spellboard. I HIGHLY recommend for homeschoolers.


Maggie and Aidan signed up this year to write a book for Celebrate Literacy.

This is a program offered on a County wide level to encourage students to write.

They make the books.

They write, edit, and illustrate the story.

All by themselves with no help allowed from parents.


Maggie and Aidan both used my iPad to search words in the Dictionary and Thesaurus.


Maggie's story was about a mouse that could not find a home and made friends with the least likely of characters. A cat.


This was her "About the Author" page.


And her finished product last week as we headed in to Tutorials to turn them in.



Aidan decided to write about a starfish that loved to take adventures...he loses his sticky things on his belly and a sea turtle helps him find them and they become best friends.

So darn cute.




It was early and cold in these pictures and they were not happy with the lady behind the camera.

It was hard not to want to correct mistakes I saw but in the end they were creative and genuinely enjoyed each step in the process of making these books.

That's all that matters to me.

If they love the process they will want to do it again and again.

Which in turn will only improve Spelling and Grammar.

They will get these back on family awards night and will be presented with an award for participating.


A couple of weeks ago Adam and I we were blessed with a little grown up time (Holla!) as we helped a friend and former neighbor celebrate the big 40 by having dinner at Maggiano's in downtown Nashville.

Fantastic food.

Fantastic friends.

Fantastic food.

Did I say that already?


"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Squirrel!" {Sweet Shot Tuesday}


Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gratitude {#31-40}


#31...Friends that pray for me and encourage me.

#32...Feelings of Hope.

#33...The smell of fresh cut garlic on my hands.

#34...Nights in the living room watching tv as a family.

#35...Music in my kitchen while cooking.

#36...Peppermint Patties

#37...Cup of hot tea in my turquoise mug.

#38...Scarlet sunrises

#39...Authentic Worship.

#40...Snow in the forecast....again.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Approval Addiction. {Remembering Why I Started This Blog}

My computer crashed.

Just like that.

Working one minute.

Screen of death the next.

No warning.

Guess who owns an external hard drive but failed to take the time to back up the last two years of her life?


We tried the Geek Squad.

Apparently they are not the computer gurus they claim to be.

Sobs upon sobs.

My mind can not help but think of Edie.



Take it a step further and print them out even.


Our last resort is to send my hard drive to a lab.

Please pray that this works.

I really don't care if I can recover everything else on it...just my pictures.

Lord please let me get the images of my precious children back.


Our Disney trip in October.


And where were the pictures from when my kids were Junior Docents for a day??

Why were these pictures not on my blog already?!


I began to ask myself why on Earth I would have failed to write about such major events in our lives.

The answer to that question has revealed a few ugly truths about my blog.

And myself.

I lost my Disney pictures, and failed to post about Junior Docent Day, because I put off posting about those memories in order to "keep up" with all that goes on in this fast paced world of blogging.

To get my post up on time for "Mr. Linky".

To join in on the latest greatest "meme" of the week.

Get my blog "noticed".


What started out as a way to preserve the memories of my family somehow became a place for me to generate approval.

Fit In.

Feel accepted.




High School all over again.

I know.

The approval junkie teenager is still lurking deep down looking to feel like she belongs.

I almost break into hives just thinking about it.


The more followers I got, the more concerned I became about pleasing them instead of being true to myself.

The more pressure I felt to make my blog sound interesting.

Impressive even.

The more concerned I became with writing about what my followers may enjoy reading instead of writing about what I may one day enjoy remembering.

The more obsessed I became with the rush that came every time the numbers went up.

Every time a new comment was left.

The high of validation.



Please do not misunderstand me here.

I make no judgments about blogging or how each individual chooses to blog.

I am evaluating my own reasons and speaking solely for myself.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting my blog to grow.

Be noticed

Be popular.

There is nothing wrong with using my blog as a means of income for my family one day should I decide to.

Or using different methods online in order to accomplish that.

But there is something very wrong with selling myself, my goals, and my memories for the approval of others.

Feeding the addiction.

And that is where I am.

Weeding through my motives.

Checking myself.

Getting back to basics.


I genuinely love the community I have found here.

Treasure the friendships.

Appreciate every single person that has taken the time to read my mindless ramblings.

And pray that you will stay.

But I need to be ok with the fact that you may choose not to.

That one day I may have a blog that no one wants to read but me.

I need to know that when my children are no longer children and my mind has slipped a bit...(no snickering)

That I was faithful to write about and capture now what I will most want to remember then.

If I can know in my heart that I am staying true to that, then I will count every Mr. Linky I get to be a part of...bonus. :-)

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In the Looking {#21-30}


Oh this counting.

The looking.

The finding.

I never get tired of it.

In fact, I live for it.

More peace than I can remember.

More happiness.


More of Him.

More of that word.


I am thankful...

No longer ungrateful.


Tearing down my house. {Proverbs 14:1}


Won't you join me?

We all have so much to be thankful for.

So much we take for granted.

So much to be seen.

In the looking. taking time to say thank you with pen and paper

#22...peanut butter straight off the spoon

#23...rubbing Aidan's little feet at bedtime

#24...tickling Maggie's back every single night

#25...Dinner with girlfriends

#26...hand prints on windows


#28...snotty runs in cold weather

#29...God's voice in the quiet that inspires me

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Homeschool Conference Giveaway

I came across a giveaway today that as a homeschooler I am selfishly tempted to keep all to myself and pray that I win...but it is such a valuable resource that I decided it is too good not to share.

I'm nice like that.

Head on over to the fabulous Darcy's for your chance to win a family conference pass to one of these four Homeschool conferences of your choice.

Cincinnati Homeschool Convention

Philadelphia Homeschool Convention

Memphis Homeschool Convention

Greenville Homeschool Convention

This conference is the "cadillac" of Homeschool conferences with an esteemed list of speakers and workshops. Not to mention and HUGE exhibit hall loaded with curriculum you can put your paws on. :-)

Plus if you you win and you pick a location that has Tim Hawkins in the line up, the show is included in your prize!!!!

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Fabulous Finds" Friday

Here are some things and places I've stumbled upon while being snowed in here this week. Go check them out for yourself.

One of the first things I would like to do is introduce you to someone I just met myself this week.


Joanne is a fellow blogger, wife, mother, and homeschooler.

And she is fighting for her life even as I type.

January 11th she was blogging.

January 12th she suffered a stroke while exercising on her treadmill.

She and her husband Toben desperately need your prayers friends.

I have spent some time this week looking through her site and there is a wealth of good stuff there.

Definitely a fabulous find.


Maybe you are like me.

Maybe you are A.D.D.

With just enough O.C.D sprinkled in to make you bonkers.

Needing structure and organization but needing something to keep your brain honed in on the task at hand.


If so meet Tsh at Simple Mom.

Her daily docket and weekly cleaning list have been life savers for me.

Seriously, my laundry room and toilets probably think I have been abducted by aliens.

They have never seen me so much!

Tsh is also the creator and founder of Simple Living Media which also has a Homeschooling site.

If you are a homeschooler you will want to check this out.


This article has left me rethinking a lot of things.

I am not an impulsive shopper.

Ok that's a lie. I am totally an impulsive shopper.

Thankfully I am married to someone that is not. God provides people.

Anyhoo, when I saw this necklace at Funky Vintage Kitchen I did something I never do.

I bought it.

Right then and there.

Mine is turquoise.

To match my new canvas that now adorns my mantle.


I made this Chicken Pot Pie soup for dinner this week.

Do you like chicken pot pie?


Then listen closely...

You listening?

Make this soup!!!

I made Vitalicous corn muffins to go with ours and it was perfect.

In fact, while you are at it, (and while I am being bossy) add this Meatloaf to your menu plan.

Your ketchup will thank you.


I started this two days ago.

I can hardly move my body.

Seriously, it is the same kind of sore that you have after surgery.

Only I feel it in every square inch of my body!

When it comes to workouts I'm a glutton for punishment I suppose.

The harder the better.

If I am going to spend 30 minutes, doing the one thing I spend the entire day trying to talk myself out of doing, I want it to count for something.

This workout delivers.

Highly recommended.


If you are a blogger, you should read this.

We all should.



Speaking of Ann, I cannot post about fabulous finds without mentioning the book that is changing my life.

"1000 Gifts"

If I could buy it for the whole world I would.

That good.


My mom gave us these and this for Christmas.

The kitchen clips are great. We use them on everything from chips to bags of nuts. Very sturdy.

And they double great as hair clips.

Just ask my mom. :-)

She also gave me 2 sets of these

Love these. They are shorter than normal utensils and fit perfectly in your hands when you are mixing and such.


I found this great article on parenting.

If you are a parent. You must read this.

Then print it out and glue it to your forehead so that it hangs in front of your eyes at all times.

Just don't drive.


Lastly, this will so be my next purchase.

Perfect don'tcha think?

Linking up here today:

Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Light Bulb Moment (Sweet Shot Tuesday}

I was having coffee with my love yesterday and happened to catch the reflection of our kitchen light in my Gloria Jeans Butter Toffee.

I thought this was a neat shot so I grabbed my camera and told my husband not to breathe.

This is what I got.

Wish it was a bit sharper but that is one of my goals for this year.

So I am happy for now.

Coffee has that effect on me.


Linking up here today.

Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, January 10, 2011

In the Still {#11-20}

10 06 10_2381

I've spent this week consuming 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Marinating in newfound truths.

Knee deep in praise.

Heart full of gratitude.

For all I have.

For all I don't have.

Eyes that were blind.

Now see.

Restless heart.


It has not been easy.

Old habits die hard.

Flesh creeps in.

But I have tasted.

I have seen.

He is here.

His joy.


Every moment.

Every detail.

In the still.

I AM is here.

11. Husband that provides for me fiercely

12. Teenager that remembers to wear his retainer

13. Blue on the weather radar

14. Blankets with plugs

15. Friends that call me

16. Hot tea steeping

17. Butterflies when husband comes home

18. House that shows signs of life

19. Smiles adorned with braces

20. Snow days

I invite you to join me.

I encourage you to search out the moments of your day.

Look for Him.

Find Him.

In all things.

Then put it to paper.

Name it.

Give thanks for it.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Edie {Happy Birthday Sweet Friend}

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one” - C.S. Lewis


My precious Edie.

Today is your birthday.

Friends from all over the map have come here to this place.

Your place.

Commited heinous acts of hackery even.

Just so we can love on you.

It is all some of us know to do.

We may not have the words.

May be fearful of saying too much.

Or not enough.

So this is what we do.

We celebrate you.

That my friend is so easy.

You were one of the first people I met and connected with here in this blogosphere.

Sadly, I can not even remember when it was, or from where, I rabbit trailed into your world at "Life In Grace".

But I am so very glad that I did.

God sometimes positions certain people directly on our path in life.

Knowing they will inspire us.

Make us laugh.

Make us exceptional exhibitors of eye make-up. ;-)

Make us cry.

Make us better.

That is you Edie.

You are a special person divinely placed on my path.

I am thankful for you.

Your words inspire.




Your humility humbles.

Your strength empowers.

The rawness and grace in which you share your life...the good and the bad...moves.

Your yummy recipes make us thankful for the 2% of Spandex in our jeans.

Your ability to say "Blessed be Your name Lord" when so much has been stripped from your hands...

It changes us.

For the better.


May you feel our love today.

May you feel His peace.

May you have all the yerbamate your mug can hold.

May you forgive us for stealing all your photos.

May you be enveloped in the overflow of a life celebrated.


Happy Birthday Sweet Edie.

We weep with you.

We pray for you.

We hope with you.

We love you.


Edie and her family lost their home and entire contents to a fire just 4 days before Christmas. They need all the prayers, love, and support they can get. Please take the time to go here and shower her with your thoughts and prayers. Or whatever you feel led to do for this family. You do not even need a blog to do so.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Year of Joy {Eucharisteo #1-10}

"When it comes to life the critical thing is
whether you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude."

-G. K. Chesterton

As I sit down to think and write about the gift of a New Year, I can not help but look back on the resolutions made this time last year.

While I may have been successful at accomplishing some of these goals...

Losing 25 pounds.

Seeing others throught the eyes of Christ and putting their needs above my own.

Getting a pedicure.

Cutting back on my time spent on computer.

Loving my kids more intentionally.

I also see numerous things I did NOT accomplish within the year.

I look at that list and feel frustration when I see those goals that seem to be unattainable.

Year after year.

Why is it that in light of all the accomplishment I have behind me in 2010...

So many blessings bestowed on me...

So much to be thankful for...

It is still not enough.

I'm left wanting more.

Longing to be filled up.

Drink from His cup.

07 30 10_1957


Why do I continue to wrestle with not loving my husband like I should?

Why am I still promising to make more time for God year after year?

Where is my desire to have communion with Him the way I should?

Why after five years do I still question my ability to succesfully teach my children here within these four walls?

Why am I still struggling with worry and fear and doubt if I am so aware of the grip this infamous trio has on me?

Why am I still discontent with what I have?

Skimming through blogs wishing I could decorate, sew, cook, or homeschool my children even like so many others.

Why do I still lay my head on my pillow at night feeling like a failure as a wife.

As a mother.

A teacher.


Why do I walk throughout my day worrying over a mental list of things I "need" to do that simply have no significance?

Failing to see what is right in front of me in the moment.

A smile.

A laugh.

An a-ha moment during Math.

Missing out on the rich gifts God graciously lavishes on me every single day.



I have been reading "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and it is literally wrecking life as I know it.

Transforming my every single moment of the day.

It's that powerful.

It is also a complicated read for me.

Kinda like the book of Job.

Fascination meets trepidation.

I love that story God.

That's amazing God.

But please don't ask that of me God.

Please do not test me in this way.


Through the words on these pages I have experienced a startling awareness of what I have been lacking.

Something I lost my grip on along the way.

Something the enemy has been all too eager and willing to snatch from me.

A deficiency of the soul.

The answer to all those "whys".

11 28 10_2817


A small word really.

Read it a million times.

Never fully understanding the significance.

It is everything.

It is essential.

Without it I am restless.


Full of carnality.


The foundation of joy?


It means "Thanksgiving".

"But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God." Psalm 50:23

Joy is divinely connected to thanksgiving.

When I reach that place where I can give thanks in all circumstances I experience Him in His fullness.

His joy.

10 06 10_2396

Why does my marriage feel so empty at times?

I fail to be thankful for all that my husband is and choose to focus on all that he is not.

Why do I feel so discontent?

I fail to unwrap and accept the gifts God has already given.

Placed right in front of me.

I choose to place the gifts I want on a wish list.

Why do I doubt my ability to successfully teach my children?

Because I let the world's definition of success creep in and define what I am doing here.

I compare my kids to other kids.

I compare myself to other moms.

I forget that this is not simply a choice we made.

But a calling we accepted.

I forget that His strength has always been enough.

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2Corinthians 12:9

I lose sight of the goal here.

Not to raise Harvard graduates.

But to raise children that fear the Lord.

Point them to Him.

Teach them His word.

To have compassion for others.

To be hands and feet.

Love with His love.

Point nations to Him.

Why do I worry?

I forget that God is sovereign.

That He alone knows me best.


He alone holds my world in merciful, loving, powerful, all knowing hands.

08 12 10_2143

I choose to take on arrogance.

Think that somehow I am better suited to be in control.

Withholding from Him those things that I clutch closest to my heart.

Full of fear that He may take them from me.

Fear that He will ask me to raise my hands like Job and say "Blessed be Your name".

Truth be told I am terrified even as I type this.

Why is He revealing this to me?

What will He expect of me now?

Why do I have no time for the time giver?

I fail to see the time He gives as a gift.

Never unraveling the ribbons...

Removing the lid...

Cherishing the fragile contents in my hands.

07 24 10_1774

I choose to fill time with things that simply do not matter.


To-do lists.


Pleasing others.

Lesson plans.

This blog.

My agenda.


I was inspired by Ann to begin "naming" my years.

Love this idea.

And this year will be "The Year of Joy"


I name it.

I declare it.

I claim it.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12

My one and only resolution this year is to live a life of intentional thanks giving.


To live fully.

To be all here.

Hands raised to bless His name.

Giving thanks when He gives.

Giving thanks when He takes away.

In each and every moment.

To not only accept the gifts I am given.

But to baptize them in ink and put them down on paper.

"Because all of life flames with God." -Ann Voskamp

And I do not want to miss one bit of Him.


Every Monday I will come here and work my way towards listing 1000 gifts.


Dogs that insist on jumping into bed with us

The hum of my humidifier as I sleep

Street lights that cast shadows on my bedroom wall at night

Boys that share a room and conversation

My tattered old pillow beneath my head

Dogs that insist on jumping in bed with my children and staying there all night by their side.

Gray hair that tell of 34 years of life

A headache that lets me know I'm still alive

Ticking of clock on living room wall in still of the night

My Grandma Margaret's handmade blanket to cover up with on my couch

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

iheartfaces: "Best Face Photo of 2010"

This week’s theme at iheartfaces is “Best Face Photo of 2010.”

This is my first time joining in.

If I had to pick what I would consider my best face shot of 2010 it would be this one of Aidan.

This was taken this summer while outside playing in the sprinkler.

The water droplets.

Wet eyelashes.

Perfectly painted freckles.

I love the look he is giving in this photo.

It is Aidan.

I get this look often.

So I feel like I really captured him in this photo.


"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

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