slipping into september

September came…

A few weeks with a dear family — continual laughter and friendship and food. What a gift!

And then back to just us.

They love each other. So much.

We’re slipping math and workbooks into the days, but looking forward to one more special guest this week before we break out the new routines. We can’t wait to break it all out — and we’re also loving the fluidity of these weeks.

Soon.

For now, the beauty of transition.

springtime

A month of magic: from twiggy trees and yards of last year’s faded grass, gardens piled with wind-blown sticks and muck, there is the magical transformation of spring.

Leaves.
Emerald lawn.
Perennials waking to new life.

Over all, truest blue skies and softest white clouds.

Fox runs back and forth through our field, hunting for a little den of kits somewhere in our woods. Birds of so many varieties wake us before dawn, a dawn that comes earlier and earlier. Deer brazenly meander through field, somehow keenly aware that this is not the season for hunters.

The world awakes, every year.

This is an awakening I am often watching for so eagerly — but this year, it slips in all around me and takes me utterly by surprise. (Wearing wool socks more often than t-shirts may have something to do with that!)

*****

We turned to May and saw every calendar day of that first week marked PRODUCTION! My four children performed with our homeschool program’s high school musical, and it was the most wonderful experience for each of them. Jameson loved being a part and watching all the backstage workings from an up-close vantage point; Beatrice just loved the camaraderie; Fiona, it would seem, has a great love for this sort of thing and had every line and movement memorized; and William (in a larger role) was just wonderful. He was full of sparkle and life and energy, and worked so hard to do his very, very best all the time, despite how tired he may have been. I was incredibly blessed to watch him come to life up there, with his fellow cast members, in a way I’ve never seen before. The production itself was phenomenal and a testament to how much can be accomplished in a setting where parents and church pour into and value children.

*****

My dear mother in law also came for a visit, long enough for us to get used to her being here, living life with us! The kids were all so sad when she had to leave. The best moments (for me) were looking into the family room to see her sitting on the couch in conversation with a few of the kids, them happily telling her all about something or other, just so happy to be with her.

*****

And now, whew, where are we? Growing children, yearning soul, weed-filled gardens, filling forms for next academic year…

For now, today, just a pause.

I know there are so many things to do — needful things, hoped for things. But these last few days have slowed enough to just breathe, and rather than quickly cram with the next page of to-dos, I’m smiling and laughing and getting off that bad habit of a hamster wheel.

april in pictures

This spring is winning the award for Most Money Spent Heating Our House. To welcome May 1st, I turned up the thermostat. But rain or no rain, this month promises to be bursting with fun and activity. Before we launch into all of that, a quick bit of reflection. April was…

…days of routine at home,


(I love Beatrice’s drawings!)

…bringing the boys to their NYSSMA performance evaluation, where they both did superbly,


(I tried to get pictures of the boys getting ready to perform, but too many nerves to stand still and smile.)

…Easter celebrations!,

…a few mild days that found us running to be outdoors,

…food, of course,

…presbytery meetings at church, and William receiving prayer,

…and shuttling my four little thespians back and forth to rehearsals. Each drive finds them more and more and more excited to perform this coming weekend!

That’s it! April is done. A fresh page today (true, with many squares filled in already), that can be given completely to Him. He’s got a book, too, and all my days are written in it. Comfort and purpose.

november 21

The boys are obsessed with Monopoly.

This week has been Thanksgiving vacation, because I said so. Jameson was thrilled when I told him so on Monday morning, and ran off singing, “I don’t have to do any Ma-ath!” Of course, he then proceeded to set out Monopoly, and has been adding and subtracting ever since. Don’t tell him how much ma-ath he’s doing, okay?

Yes, three mornings in a row. Extending long into the day, when Mama allows. (And a “new” corner, after I went on a little rearranging spree last night.)

Two days of just trying to get things crossed off has resulted in… well, not much. Ha! But regardless of how much gets “done”, there is always living that happens. I think I’m really starting to learn and appreciate that fact. Of course, waking up to a house in a cloud really helps one to just focus on the things (and lives) right here. I think I could use a few more cloud-wrapped days!

Our little house on a hill is wrapped in cloud this morning.

I rearranged lamps last night. And bookshelves. Bringing “cozy” into our home is one of my favorite things, and the highlight of the colder, darker months. Summer living happens outside, and the house becomes nothing more than the refueling station. But now, in these short days and long nights, fireplaces and chairs with afghans and books readily at hand — those things shine. Of course, those things are only tools: What’s really happening is an invitation to come, be together, pause, laugh, talk, rest.

The sun, trying its best.

We are talking about thankfulness lately. (Of course.) Thankfulness is enjoying quite the rise in popularity, as t-shirts and throw pillows and cross-stitched wall hangings remind us to love friends, be thankful for friends, count our blessings, and generally be positive about life. This all reminds me of something I read several years ago: The thing about thankfulness is that it inherently requires a recipient. When the pillow encourages you to “be thankful for family and friends”, who is it you’re thanking?

I want my children to not just see me being positive about the good things in life, but to hear me thanking God for His many blessings. My thank yous need to be addressed to the Giver, not some black hole of positivism.

This song is a favorite, and I’ve been appreciating the reminder to be vocal with praise and thanks.