what my school BOOK plans look like, 2021-22 edition

I’m about to send in my IHIPs for this coming school year (iykyk), and am fond of having a record here of what that plan looks like — at least the bare bones of it all!

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Jameson will be entering 10th grade. His work load will look like Teaching Textbooks Geometry, Apologia Chemistry, Memoria Press Logic I, Beautiful Feet Ancient History+, computer building and programming, and piano.


William is starting 8th grade. He will do Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra, Answers in Genesis Physical Science, Beautiful Feet Ancient History+, computer programming, and guitar.


Beatrice will be in 5th! Crazy. She’ll do Teaching Textbooks Math 5, Beautiful Feet Ancient History++, Spectrum Language Arts, handwriting, and piano.


Fiona is going into 3rd grade. She’ll do Bob Jones Math 3, Beautiful Feet Ancient History++, Spectrum Language Arts, Getty-Dubay Italics C, Child’s Garden of Verses copywork, and piano.


Cecily is officially beginning! I’m going to try The Good and the Beautiful for language, although I bought the pre-K bundle. I am just not a fan at the speed with which kindergarteners these days are fed language. She will also do Bob Jones Math K, some Explode the Code, and Beautiful Feet Ancient History++. She is so excited!


Enid has her own little collection of mazes and flip books and colorforms that she doesn’t know about. She will be in heaven!

The little plus signs after Beautiful Feet? I’m excited about doing much of my own thing, once again, with our history/literature/writing and even science unit study. (The girls will have their science included in Ancient History as we learn about climates, animals, geometry and physics in pyramid building, preservation in mummies, etc.) I’m going to lean heavily into BF’s structure and reading list, which follows a 2-prong intermediate and high school approach, and tie us all together with one-room-schoolhouse read-alouds and projects. Figuring out how to manage the various levels is feeling more and more like juggling fine china, but finding a way forward that balances independent and intense work with the warmth of family gathering moments is my goal!

pleasant places

When I was 14 or 15, or maybe 16 (what a blur), Andrew Eastmond recorded an album that was on repeat for an entire summer, and made a regular reappearance for many years after. Beautiful songs that were more than just songs — lines of scripture that did exactly what the Word is meant to do: bring life. I’m laughing at the memory of extension cords strung together so that we could listen to music while weeding gardens or painting front porches. Clumsy technology, but it worked, and so did that Living Word. It divided, like a sword, my emotions and motives. It lit up shadows, exposing garbage and imparting the grace to toss it out. It renewed my mind, washing away false ideas and leaving behind the strength of truth. And it became Rock I stand on, am defined by, decades later.

And all to beautiful melodies that I’ll never forget. Music is such a powerful way to memorize scripture.

The one that stands out, that has hemmed me in so beautifully through so many moments of my life, is from Psalm 16.

“O Lord You are — you’re my portion and my life
You’re my inheritance and cup.
You maintain my lot,
And the lines have fallen to me
In pleasant places, oh my God.”

When I was 14, 15, 16 — the oldest daughter of 8 (at the time), called upon to serve every day. A young disciple making decisions to follow Jesus, regardless of what others chose to do.

When I was 18 and trying to discern which way to go, which path to follow.

When I was single, in my 20s, following a step at a time on a unique journey.

When I was in labor with my first baby, trusting that life is a gift from the Lord and He would walk with me through every step of this endeavor.

When seasons of pressure and difficulty came, and it was tempting to wish for their lot rather than mine.

Over and over, when things went differently than I’d imagined or anticipated, instead of wondering why, there was this bedrock in my soul: “You maintain my lot, and the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” And not only is He governing the days of my life, creating something unique and beautiful through my surrender to Him, but — how wondrous is this! — He is my portion!!

God Himself. My portion. My life.

And now I am raising another generation, lives formed and created by God, just as I believe mine to be. Called to love Him and serve Him, whatever path that may lead them on. But not just someday — now. I can look at each of them and confidently say, “The lines that have fallen to you today are good, and Jesus is here to be found.”

Oh Jesus, You are and always will be enough.
“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”



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joy in repenting

Following Jesus is choosing a life of repentance. Truly, it is one and the same.

But what does that look like? Maybe you immediately assume that is an ongoing sense of pietistic self-abhorrence. Or, in plain language, walking through life feeling bad about yourself and mumbling, “I’m sorry; forgive me,” under your breath at every turn.

Oh, it’s so much deeper than that. And so much better.

It looks much more like this:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding.;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,

and He shall direct your paths.”

The way our hearts are wired, and the way His Spirit leads — well, those are in direct opposition. And as we simply trust in Him, and acknowledge Him with each step, we are in so doing “repenting” and following. Repent, really, means to turn and walk the other way. The impulses of anxiety, pride, envy, selfishness, anger, jealousy, hatred, malice — those things are repented of, moment by moment, when we continually choose to acknowledge Him instead. A continual turning of our hearts toward Jesus means, of course, turning away from the impulses that seek to rule us.

“What is Your thought on this, Lord?”
“How does Your truth change the way my soul responds right now, Lord?”
“What are the words You are speaking that I can echo?”
“What is important to You in this moment of overwhelm?”

“…because I trust You, Lord.”

Suddenly a life of repentance sounds much less like self-flagellation and much more like turning your face toward the sun on a perfect summer day. It sounds like joy.

June, and making it count.

June is over. This one, anyway — the one where Jameson was 14, Percival a baby, and the others fell somewhere in between. We’ll never get to do that one again, and oh my, isn’t that sobering. You only get to live this day once, and what comes to your mind as you think that? Perhaps, like me, the first mantra is, “…so make it count.” But that can be so ambiguous and so misleading. Make it count for what? You? Me? Them? Warm fuzzies, checklists, Instagram? Run yourself ragged fitting in all the things?

Yesterday morning my wonderful mother, never flagging in her focus on the Kingdom of God, was commenting on just this thing — June being over — and her instant response was to the idea of only getting to live this day once was, “So let’s do it for Jesus!”

Y E S

Yes.

That is clarity, simplicity, and truth. That is a burden I can bear, a yoke I can in.

How can I honor Jesus today?

I read Galatians this morning: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” If you were brought to life by redemption through the blood of Jesus, and His Spirit breathed into you, then walk every day by that Spirit, following hard after His leading. Don’t go back to futility! It’s His life we are called to, in every moment.

What an amazing invitation. Today. Let’s do it for Jesus.

*****

celebrating NEW

The sun keeps rising and setting, the earth spinning over and over again. Seasons repeat in their familiar pattern, life in its age-old way. You could certainly say, There is nothing new under the sun.

And yet, there is: the mercies of God, fresh, clean, enough, every morning. God is a God of faithfulness, unchanging and certain. And yet, He is a God of new — and one day He will make all things new, but for now, we delight in the glimpses of that “new”. We could miss it, dismiss it, be bored and tired and uncaring, or we can notice and delight and be refreshed.

New: the theme I couldn’t help but see in the recent weeks’ photos.


New bathroom, so close to done.


New shoes needed, and the sweetest note.


New opportunities for a new generation of worshippers.


New babies to love.


New accomplishments.


New discovery in our backyard of new birds.


New blooms.


New toys.


New braces!


New guitar.


New braids.


New bows made by friends.


New treasures for Mama.

sacred moments

I had a moment of vivid memory last night: a sacred time in my life, the place startlingly clear. An almost tangible presence of Jesus, with me, meeting me. Exhaustion graced with joy as His strength filled my weakness.

It was in a little kitchen — dark oak cabinets and yellowed tile counters, faux-brick linoleum floor always dingy no matter how hard I scrubbed. A tiny table, barely big enough for three, and washer and dryer hidden behind louvered doors.

That kitchen was holy ground.

There, at that table, I read my Bible morning after morning. My 18 month old baby learned to join me without whining for food. I’d never had an 18 month old before, and that was all new for me. He learned — Mama is reading, and you may join quietly. We shared many, many special mornings together.

I bent over that washer hundreds of times, switching loads, filling a basket with clean diapers to hang in the sun. The back door was open with the two year old running in and out while the baby clung to my legs.

Dishes were washed over and over, cupboards filled with the staples from Trader Joe’s after a morning of errands, the very first chore chart developed and displayed on the fridge for a growing little boy to use.

But mostly, just minutes and hours and days of pouring myself out till there was nothing left, and then faced with two little boys who still needed more, crying out to Jesus. Singing as I washed, singing as I laundered, singing as I simply held them and swayed, not sure what else to do at times.

And not for a moment did He leave me. In that kitchen, I knew that I knew that God was equipping me and providing me with the grace for that sacred moment of service — and He would do it again in the next moment.

I love the season of life I’m in right now. But I’m not gonna lie — there was something so raw and real about the way God walked with me when it was just me and a couple of babies. The demand on me was so intense and completely unlike anything I’d experienced, but the profound (and incredibly simple) way in which I met Jesus in those moments of my deep need was incredible.

That linoleum was really pretty hideous, but somehow it has found a place in the treasure chest of my heart.