book list in review!

I’m wrapping up the year in fits and spurts, and part of that, for me, is creating a new book list for 2022. I can’t wait to add titles and welcome any recommendations!

This past year I read:

Letters to the Church, 9/10

7 Men, 7/10

No Surrender, 8/10

Enchanted Air, 8/10

Bruchko, 10/10

First We Have Coffee (many-times-re-read!), 10/10

Wild Swans, 10/10 — BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Daughter of Time, 7/10

Life Not by Lies, 9/10

The Queen of Palmyra, 10/10

Fair and Tender Ladies, 9/10

Rebecca, 10/10

The Meaning of Marriage, 10/10

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 1, 9/10

A Gentleman in Moscow, 7/10

God and the Transgender Debate, 9/10

Mama Bear Apologetics, 8/10

You Who (in progress — so far 9/10)


It is early and yet dark.

The rooms are heavy in silence and I, the mistress, tiptoe as if intruder, hoping to pass through unnoticed, preserving the unbroken sound of nothing.

I raise light with an unspoken apology to Sleeping House, sliding dimmer slowly, barely, silently begging just enough glow to do my usual things.

Candles lit and set by the tree, Bible raised to their light so I might see the red letters waiting on page.

Still silent.

Glow of tree, flicker of flame.

And then, from deep within House, a stirring. Furnace moves air, warming this winter morning, wrapping my sleeping Babes in comfort, guarding between us and frozen chill.

That bulk of ancient metal parts, somehow it speaks poetry in the morning. I hear its low hum and swell with gratitude. I am cared for. I am covered. I am sheltered. I am warm. My soul fills with mercy of provision, gladness of thanks.

Listening, not merely hearing, and a soul catches Word spoken. Eternal wave of sound, echoing Life through the ages, if we would but still. Low hum stills my heart this morn, and in tender moment I cry silently: Oh, to hear the Word and catch it gladly, receive it readily, treasure it forever.

Percival is O N E

Percival Robert.

A whole year with you has passed, and again, I am in awe. How can twelve short months, a string of days, bring about so much growth in a baby? And how is it that you’ve only been here for a year — haven’t you always been a part of who we are? It certainly feels like that.

In the last six weeks you’ve figured out walking — from figuring out how to pick your feet up while standing (that was a big moment!) to walking as quickly as your bow-legged stance can handle. And it’s the cutest thing to see you suddenly arrive around the corner, fists up in the air for balance, wobbling at every turn. But I’ll admit, seeing the rolls on your arms and legs melt away with all of that walking made me sad. You’re growing — and growing up.

I loved this year with you, Percival. How many times did I just laugh over your rolls! And how delightful to see every one of your siblings immediately and completely fall in love with you. You still wake up each morning and from every nap to exclamations of your name as everyone pauses to smile in your direction. For many months, your morning routine was to want to be wrapped snug and tight, held with your head snuggled in my neck, while I walked and bounced around my room — and you’d quietly and quickly drift off to sleep. Oh, so sweet, and a moment in each day when it was just you and me. I cherish that.

Happy, smiling, already working so hard to get a laugh from your adoring fans. I think God’s idea of family is so amazing, as I see you confidently take your place in our world, knowing from the very start that you belong here, you are loved here, and all that we have is yours.

In another calendar change, you’ll be 2 — you’ll spend a few more months wrecking Enid’s play before you figure out how to constructively engage. You’ll figure out how to say “Mama” on purpose, and probably a good hearty “no”, too. We’ll freshen up our matchbox collection and maybe you’ll rediscover Jameson’s beloved trains. Whatever it may be, I’ll be here, soaking it up, wishing it could slow down, smiling at the simple fact that you are.

off and running!

Two weeks since the first day of school? How can that be! Surely it’s been months — or at the least, months’ worth of living!

Oh my, how we dove right into the fall: school books, new and old instruments, cooking lessons, birthdays, lunch dates, dinner guests, apple picking, Eisenhower Locks, dance classes, and special church events. Fortunately all to the tune of gorgeous weather, so at least I haven’t had to add “seasonal clothing switch” to the list quite yet!

summer’s end

Before I could properly get my hands around it, summer was gone. Right from the start, it was flying away faster than ever, wildly dashing in a hundred directions, every day leaping from my grasp. And so I settled for making sure there was food and sunscreen and a smiling mama, and did my best to keep up.

And in the busyness, I realize how much life we lived. No, it wasn’t the life of other years, when days stretched long and kiddie pools kept everyone hemmed in and entertained, when young skinny boys didn’t notice mosquitos and forged their way into the woods for hours, when the house paused with the heat of every afternoon for a book and a nap. I had to look that twinge of sadness directly in the face and say Good bye, time for you to head up into the attic of my heart with so many other precious memories.

This summer, with the plates spinning, was the one God was serving up this year, and like my kids faced with the dinner I put on the table (which, generally, is perfectly good eating), I have to decide that I may as well learn to enjoy the flavor of the season because it’s “what’s for dinner,” so to speak. And turns out, the flavor of this new season is wonderful in its own way. It truly is.

Before hurdling along to a full school year, a quick recap:

Flowers at church and flowers at home.

Strawberries with my two big girls.

Visiting Richville many Sundays and getting to lead worship with my two boys on the team.

The first of two visits from my grandparents.

An anniversary get-away to Saratoga Springs.

Summer nights spent playing frisbee (the boys) and playing in the park (the girls and me.)

A wonderful 4th of July with friends.

Ice cream outings.

A trip to Watertown together.

Ten days at Higley Flow, full of swimming and boating and jet skiing and tubing.

Garden gift for a garden party.

A second lovely visit from my grandparents.

A couple of busy weeks culminating in a show and Jameson’s percussion debut.’

A Saturday overflowing with extended family visits.

Beatrice’s tenth birthday party — a wonderfully special evening with friends.

Fiona’s “friend party” and her long-desired Victoria Sandwich.

Two weeks in one of our favorite spots, Trout Lake — where we relaxed, swam every single day no matter the temp, read tons of books, kayaked, paddle boarded, s’mored, fished, celebrated Fiona’s real birthday, and enjoyed an almost non-stop flow of friends and family.

And suddenly, we were home and the page needed to be turned to September. Candles needed to join the morning ritual, books needed to be sorted and pencils sharpened, and we found ourselves diving into a brand new year of school. But that’s a post for another time.

Today’s is simply to look back on three months bursting with beauty, prayer, walking through highs and lows with friends, big events and thousands of moments — rich and wonderful and threaded through with flowers. Because aren’t flowers the best part of summer?

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!

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!