Friday, August 31

laboring

Over Labor Day weekend, my labor of love will be meal preparations for about twenty family and friends. Hopefully there'll be some relaxing mixed in there, too! LOL!

May you, too, have a special labor of love for others over the weekend!

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men"~ Ephesians 6:7

See you after the long weekend!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a *two* bonus

When we arrived home last night, we had in our possession a bonus...a two year old grandchild (see, I didn't say baby...I'm trying not to say that because she really is a little girl now). I thought it would help her mama to have a couple of days to work on settling into their new apartment before they travel here for the long weekend.

It's been interesting to see that she remembers certain things at grandmama's house this time and will go right to different spots in the house to find her favorite things...like where the yellow Barbie "bug" is or the play kitchen or the girls shoes or the pink princess chair or her favorite trouble spots like grandmama's bedroom! She is VERY busy and was up VERY early and she gives me a VERY big smile as she's such a little character.

Off to get a shower while she eats breakfast with her aunts :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 30

lost in the city

My garden is in the midst of the big woods. I love this quiet spot where my home is hidden away from the world.

:::the bell tolls:::

This past week we have traveled to two US metropolitan cities as we took one son to college and helped another son and his family move. Once again I've been startled right out of my serene little haven to the reality of the world. The magnitude of so so many people as they are coming and going in millions of cars on the freeway. All the zillions of windows lighted in apartments and homes as you drive down the streets. People watching at various places we'd stop along the way...some in the latest fashion, others pushing a grocery cart filled with their life's possessions. ALL needing a Savior. MOST not knowing Him.

:::the bell tolls:::

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" ~ Romans 10:14-15

The enormity of the cities shocks me into thoughts of the enormity of the lost. However, souls are won one by one. My prayer is that my son on the secular college campus will be a light pointing to Jesus. My prayer is that my oldest son and family who have moved closer to their church in order to be more effective in ministry will be a light pointing to Jesus. My prayer is that my daughter and husband working out in the world will be a light pointing to Jesus.

And my prayer is that even in this quiet little haven I can be a light pointing to Jesus for even here are souls lost in the woods.

May you, too, be a light to the lost wherever your garden is planted!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, August 29

it's a fleetin'

I saw it with my own eyes as I pulled the coffee off the top shelf of the fridge this morning...a caramel apple! I always know autumn is on the horizon when my husband starts indulging himself in such a favorite treat. Yes, the calendar is pointing to the last days of August and the fleeting season of summer. Enjoy these days while you can!

I'm off and running on the this early morn! Catch up soon :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 28

counting to sixteen

A little over ten years ago and shortly after our family's internet adventure originally began, I found my way to an area about homeschooling on AOL. It was a discussion group that was set up through Mary Pride's Practical Homeschooling (PHS) magazine which included many different message boards. I kept getting drawn back to the "Homeschooling a Houseful" group. What fun! As a group of Christian homeschooling moms of many children - although some moms only had one or two kids - we were in the midst of the challenge together. When AOL shut down this area, we gravitated elsewhere as a group and continued enjoying fellowship. When that area was changed, we found a new spot on the web and became a members only group. When that area was having more frequent glitches, we moved to where we are now with a group of about 70 to 80 members with around 40 to 50 quite regular posters from around the country. There continues to be wonderful fellowship as we laugh, cry, pray, vent, share, surprise, exhort, rejoice, advise, you name it....we do it together....as a group of Christian women of all denominations in all sizes, shapes, and ages. It's interesting because when the group began many were still having babies and learning the ropes of parenting as well as exploring the whole realm of homeschooling. Now we are witnessing graduations, marriages, and grandbabies amongst us! We have exchanged Christmas cards and pictures through the years as a way to expand our friendships as well as enjoyed opportunities to meet one another as we've traveled with our families.

In traveling to take our son to college this weekend, our family was able to meet another family of this group who had traveled to take their son to college. And, if I've counted correctly, this is the sixteenth mom I've had the privilege to meet. It is quite amazing how comfortable it is each time to meet one another. Perhaps it is because we have gotten to know each other in such an unusual yet open manner through the internet. I don't think my family still quite understands the camaraderie we share with one another. But that's okay. I think perhaps it's a girl thing as we thrive on fellowship with one another just as if we were face to face :-)

All I know is that this home on the internet has been an incredible blessing in my life and I thank God for each one of these precious women :-) And what fun to expand friendships now through blogging. It's neat how God connects us to be an encouragement to one another!

o/ :::waving to Dawn whom I just met:::

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

two

Every morning when I wake up my laptop there is the wonderful picture of an hours old pudgy cheeked sleeping newborn grandangel. Best known and beloved to me as Miss Abigail.

Just this morning I was chatting with someone about how our love for our grandchildren is different than our love for our children. Oh, both are wonderful kinds of love of which there is no doubt! But different. The love for a grandchild has a sweetness and delight like no other. I can't even put it into words. I just know it brings tears to my eyes if I think about it too long!

On this day I wish a blue-eyed dimple-cheeked curly-blonde-haired singing dancing chattering beautiful sweet angel a happy second birthday :-) Grandmama loves you!

And on another note...sorry it's been so quiet here. Life is moving rapidly with lots of changes which I'm trying to process in the midst of coming and going. Success in putting it all into words eludes me at the moment, but it will come...

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, August 26

the same

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." ~ Hebrews 13:8

Praising God that He is never changing in our ever changing lives!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 25

the robin sings

Last night I heard a robin singing in the rain,
And the raindrop's patter made a sweet refrain,
Making all the sweeter the music of the strain.

So, I thought, when trouble comes, as trouble will,
Why should I stop singing? Just beyond the hill
It may be that sunshine floods the green world still.

He who faces the trouble with a heart of cheer
Makes the burden lighter. If there falls a tear,
Sweeter is the cadence in the song we hear.

I have learned your lesson, bird with dappled wing,
Listening to your music with its lilt of spring--
When the storm-cloud darkens, then's the TIME to sing.

~Eben E. Rexford

Just a little reminder to a friend that though the days may be difficult and rainy, face it with a heart of cheer for there is sunshine on the other side of the hill to make your song even sweeter. God has a plan which can be trusted completely! This comes with a hug :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

one green bean...

...and all his green bean friends are more than ready to be canned...NOW!

I confess to ignoring the garden all week. The weather was gray, gloomy, drizzly or rainy, and I didn't feel like going out to the garden since there was so much to do indoors with such ideal weather. Oh, so foolish was I! Last night I thought I'd run out to get a meal of beans for supper and :::thud::: there are beans everywhere. Don't get me wrong. Those beans are a wonderful wonderful thing as we eat many jars worth all winter long. However their timing could not be worse. My plate is full to overflowing and not with beans and not with things that can wait.

So I'm turning my day over to the Lord and meditating on "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"

You plate may be full, too, although not necessarily with green beans! Keep meditating on Who your strength comes from!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 24

about the green

My apologies about the green.

I had things I had to print out recently, so that meant leaving my laptop behind and heading to the family computer where the printer is located. While waiting on the printer, I checked on my blogsites and was very surprised to see how differently the colors looked. Our family blogsite is in my favorite color - pink - and you just can't go wrong with pink no matter what shade it is. At least I don't think you can! (spoken by a true pink lover) But this blogsite *sigh* I'm not typically a green person but went with that color due to the garden theme. And on our family computer the color was GREEN. A dull green. A yucky green. On my laptop it shows up as a beautiful shade of blueish green. And I can use different variations of that shade and still love the color. But the green on that computer....oh dear! Granted, it is a much older computer so the color palette may be very different, but still....

And then I was thinking that perhaps THAT green is someone's favorite color and they hate my green. And there are probably family members who look at my pink each day and sigh. Color preferences are as individual as individuals, aren't they? Our world would certainly be boring without the tremendous variations of colors that God has created for our eyes to see.

This certainly is an odd ramble this morning, but it may be my way of avoiding THE LIST which sits on my desk. Time to face reality and get moving on tremendous variations of activities that God has created for my day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 23

a cabin

Is there somewhere
--anywhere--
a little lonesome cabin
lost among the forests
on a wild, deserted shore;
an empty little cabin:
rough hewn, worn, and solid
with a dandy drawing chimney,
books, and windows--nothing more?
I'm tired of noise and traffic,
people pushing, phones and letters,
dates and deadlines, styles and headlines,
pride and pretense, nothing more;
and I'm needing such a cabin,
near God's masterpiece of mountains--
such a lost and lonesome cabin
where a tired soul can adore.

~Ruth Bell Graham

With the exception of the mountains, I could have written this poem in recent days. And when my husband came home late yesterday afternoon and mentioned that he had a handful of jobs to look at which would put us about thirty minutes from our little cabin in the woods...and wouldn't it be nice to spend the night there since there was nothing pressing for his work the next day, well, let's just say I didn't argue!

It's been very busy and there's much on our calendar in the days ahead. We both perhaps were feeling the drain of life. What a blessing it was to have a little unexpected retreat! Quiet, serene, peaceful, and an opportunity to catch up with one another without a single interruption. We are seeing the blessings of a new season of life in which we are able to do this without little ones needing our total and undivided attention plus adult children able to babysit. And more and more I'm seeing the benefits of these brief moments taken to nurture our relationship.

The picture was taken from the deck of the cabin as we were heading out. Good bye, lake! Hope to see you again soon!

May you, too, have quiet moments with your mate to refresh your relationship!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, August 22

influences

This morning during the window of time which I have to blog, blogger was down. I checked a couple of times...nada. So, I got busy with my day and came back now to see if I could post, so here I am. However, what I was going to write about this morning is no longer relevant and I've been chewing on something else all day which I'll put down in writing instead. You know, that really is a challenge some days. There's a variety of things I'm thinking about, but it's making the choice of what to write here....spiritual journey, family, garden, friends, schooling, kitten, etc.?

Anyway, I've been pondering a portion of today's devotional by Oswald Chambers:

"Which are the people who have influenced us most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us. In the Christian life the implicit is never conscious, if it is conscious it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring."

It's always easy to think of people who most likely knowingly influenced us or who we are influencing. There's no doubt that a mother has a huge influence on her children. But are there those in our life who we are having an impact on - and hopefully a positive one! - that we are totally unaware of? Who are they? Perhaps we won't know until eternity?

And on the flip side, are there people today who are influencing us - in a positive way - who could receive a note of encouragement from us that would arrive as an unexpected blessing? It reminds me of so many funerals where people stand up and give thanks for the person who is now gone. The stories are tear jerking. And I always wonder, did this same person let the deceased know what a blessing they were to them while they were alive? Perhaps it's not necessary? Perhaps I tend to be an encourager anyway and can see the importance of it NOW?

Ponder influences in your garden today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, August 21

push-ups

Tonight I wandered downstairs to see what the kids were up to and sunk to the floor because the cushions are busted plopped down on a couch by the girls to see what they were watching on TV. My 15 year old son walked through the living room and suddenly dropped to the floor to do push-ups. A younger brother, then an older brother passed through the room and dropped down to the floor to join him in doing push-ups. Pretty soon the girls were on the floor doing their own attempts at push-ups. It only took a moment to start some competitions and by the next moment we were all laughing. I wish I had my camera there when they were all doing it. What a random moment of goofiness! It's these times that I will miss when they all grow up someday! :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

by the cradle

Hush! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy Angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

~Isaac Watts

Just a little while ago I returned home from attending my second birth this summer as a birth doula. I once again stand amazed at the miracle of God's creation - yes, babies are a miracle, but to me God created women's bodies in such an incredible way to bring forth life. The intricacies of the labor process once again astound and awe me...God is just so cool!

And rather than ramble and make no sense in my state of non-sleep, I think I'll leave it at that. I have a salad luncheon today for young moms, you know, so I had better get busy before the adrenaline wears off! Now to remember that I have one less place setting to put on the table as one mom is snuggling a newborn :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 20

I Want a Principle Within

Last spring our goal was to complete our schooling before the wedding in mid-May. Although the kids did quite well with that goal, I got busy with wedding details and never did get back to finishing my correcting :::gulp:::

Yesterday my graduate and I sat down to write out thank yous, finalize his senior pictures, make lists of what he needs to get together this week for his trip to college this coming weekend. In the process, I realized I hadn't finalized his transcripts and sent them off to college yet :::another gulp::: Basically everything was done except correcting a few of his final composition papers for English 12 to give him his final grade in that subject.

Today I finished it all up and will run into town yet this afternoon to drop his final transcript into the mail. A successful student bound on the next leg of his journey. A wonderful son leaving home :::sniff sniff::: Hey! I've done this before! Where are these sudden emotions coming from?

As I read through one of his memorized hand-written poems that needed to be graded this morning, it seemed like a good send-off thought for him. He does have a solid Christian foundation, a people loving personality, and did well out among the world through his growing up years. People knew where he stood and if he had a pet peeve, it would be youth who claimed to be Christians within the church's four walls, but didn't walk the talk when they left the building. My prayer is that he will be able to walk the talk as he leaves the walls of our home, that he will continue to have a sensitive spirit toward the Lord's leading and guiding in his life, and that he will make the faith he grew up with his own as he more fully understands God's grace, forgiveness, and abounding love. Anyway, here's the poem:

I Want a Principle Within

I want a principle within
Of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin,
A pain to feel it near.
Help the the first approach to feel
Of pride or wrong desire,
To catch the wand'ring of my will
And quench the kindling fire.

From Thee that I no more may stray,
No more Thy goodness grieve,
Grant me the filial awe, I pray,
The tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make!
Awake my soul when sin is nigh
And keep it still awake.

Almighty God of truth and love,
To me Thy pow'r impart;
The burden from my soul remove,
The hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain
My reawakened soul,
And drive me to that grace again
Which makes the wounded whole.

~Charles Wesley

a lesson in contentment

Okay, I have been really good, haven't I? You haven't been bored to tears with daily kitten pictures which would be so so easy to post. Nope, I've spared all of you the delight of this little kitten that everyone who stops here wants to take home. My husband and I have decided he's been the easiest kitten we've ever had although he is getting into a bit of trouble with my plants...grrr! But, I couldn't resist this morning.

My littlest goes kitten hunting as soon as she hops out of bed every morning. And pretty soon she comes wandering in by me with a kitty in her arms. And does that kitten ever purr while she's holding him! She loves to hold him and we've taught her how to hold him so he feels supported. We've also instructed her to let him go when he starts wiggling. But you know, he doesn't wiggle much with her. He purrs. He's happy. He sleeps in her arms. The older siblings are often complaining about how much she holds him and how she's holding him and perhaps she shouldn't run with him in her arms and the spinning has to stop (she told us he gets so so dizzy when he spins! yikes! we did tell her absolutely no more spinning). But you know what? When he's with her no matter what, he purrs. He's happy. He's perfectly content. He's secure. He can rest. Purr. Purr. Purr.

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." ~ Philippians 4:11

Can I say the same? Am I content with daily life? When it feels like God is running with me to a place I don't know where I'm going? When life is spinning around me? When I'm in an awkward position? Am I wiggling to go off on my own? Or am I content whatever the circumstances to stay put in His arms? Purr. Purr. Purr.

Honestly, I can say that through all the different things the Lord has been through with me where He has constantly revealed His faithfulness in innumerable ways...yes, I can trust Him. Yes, I can rest in His arms. Yes, I can be content. Not perfectly as it may take me a moment or two to get my balance, but yes, contentment is present in my life. And I'm certain I will get more opportunities to practice contentment in the days ahead!

Purr. Purr. Purr.

May you find a place of contentment in your garden today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, August 19

a lakeside glimpse

Gray. Gloomy. Very cool air. But it was still a blessing to witness a family being baptized this afternoon in our lake as members of our church family gathered together. After they got dried off and dressed, we all enjoyed cake, coffee, and punch while we fellowshipped in the yard.

It was a good day. A very good day :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

joy and sorrow

"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." ~ II Corinthians 6:10a

This verse fits life that happened two years ago on this date.

In the wee hours of the morning and after hard labor, I was present as a dear friend brought forth her fifth child - a beautiful baby boy! We rejoiced at his arrival and after a couple of hours I went home to catch a few hours of sleep. Upon waking up, I then made my way to relieve other family members of their night watch at my father-in-law's bedside who was in his final days. I was now holding someone else's hand in mine and again it was an opportunity to pray. When they returned, I said my good-byes and headed back home for some lunch. That was my final good-bye to my father-in-law because within an hour he had made his passage to heavenly places. My heart was filled with sorrow and joy, an odd combination. And yet, as my devotion timely spoke this morning, although there is great sorrow at the death and agony of Jesus on the cross, there is also great joy at His great victory over death. Both represented love, didn't they? Love beyond measure.

This afternoon will be another reminder as our church family will gather at our home for a lakeside baptism. One by one people will be dunked under the water (brrr!) as a reminder of the death of their sins through the sacrifice of Jesus and brought back up out of the water to rejoice in the new life that Christ gives each one of us. Again, sorrow and joy. Provided by love beyond measure.

May this day of worship cause you to reflect on the sorrow that our sins bring to our Lord, yet the great joy that comes in His forgiveness!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 18

that rushing in of stuff

"The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life coming flowing in." ~ C.S. Lewis

Isn't that true? When I open my eyes in the morning, I immediately have to figure out what day of the week it is and mentally go over all that needs to be done in the day before me. A majority of the time when I open my eyes, my husband is sitting in the chair next to the bed with his first cup of coffee. It gives us an opportunity together to go over the events which are scheduled for the day. After doing so this morning, we went back to a topic which we seem to keep re-visiting. How do we simplify our life?

When you are newly married and have a young growing family, there is a lot of accumulation, isn't there? All the things needed for children. Needed for your business. Needed for schooling. Needed to more efficiently run your household. Needed. Needed. Needed. And then one day when you are older and hopefully wiser you say, "What IS all this stuff, how did it get here, and how do we get rid of it?!" It seems the more stuff we have, the more cluttered my mind is, and trust me, my mind does NOT need more clutter at this age of my life! But where to begin?...that is THE question of the day!

But even pondering the topic of simplifying is like a rushing in of stuff to my mind because it is a topic that is completely overwhelming. Especially to ponder first thing in the morning. It takes a moment to turn from all the thinking that comes with opening my eyes in the morning and turn toward my Heavenly Father. To listen to His voice. To commit my day. To rest for just a moment in His peace. And then to leap out of bed!

May you take a moment away from that rushing in of stuff to take a moment toward your Heavenly Father!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 17

shiver me timbers

Have we turned the calendar page again and I've missed it?! It is brrrr cold here! It began yesterday and I just checked our extended forecast and our high temperatures aren't expected to get out of the 60's until maybe next Tuesday! Yikes! However, I do see a benefit in this weather. We have some yard and lake work to get done over the next couple of days and there is no way anyone can complain about being too hot and therefore spending more time in the lake rather than holding a rake.

On a completely different subject, last night my husband and I traveled an hour away to a business appreciation dinner. It was a nice evening in many ways. We rarely get time alone, so to have two hours in the car together was wonderful. We rarely get out to dinner, so to have a delicious dinner was a treat, too. It was also nice to meet people that he's done a lot of work for throughout the years.

The surprise of the evening was traveling through countryside that I hadn't been to but once a couple of years ago. It is just so picturesque with lots of woods and rolling hills and much quieter than the area we live in now. There was just a brief tugging on my heart of "I could live here". Yes, that thought startled me! My husband built our home the autumn before we met - 30 years ago - and we've always lived in the same place. Never moved. Never had a desire to move. This is the only house the kids have ever known as they've all been born and raised in this spot. Most likely it was just a fleeting thought never to return, but I'm still a bit astonished that my heart was even open to the thought of moving to a new place.

So, we have the cold weather which is physically shivering my timbers and we have the surprise thought of moving which will emotionally shiver the timbers of my family (and I'll probably get emails from them wondering if I've flipped my wig?! LOL!)

The key is contentment. "The heart is rich when it is content, and it is content when its desires are set upon God." ~ Miquel of Ecuador

On your garden path today, be content whatever the weather or circumstances are around you. Set your heart's desires upon God!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 16

a tick

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of having a large family spread over many years is having enough time to do everything that needs to happen in a day. The schedule that worked when they were all little is long gone and useless. A day can involve pouring a glass of juice for littles as well as getting them dressed, helping load a dishwasher with middles, starting a lawn mower for a bit older, driving an older to work, talking on the phone with a married one, as well as all the ordinary everyday things moms do like cooking, cleaning, schooling. Time just keeps ticking, doesn't it, and it doesn't stop to wait for us to catch up! I read the following in a book recently which helps put time into perspective:

There was once a clock pendulum waiting to be fixed. It began to calculate how long it would be expected to tick day and night, so many times a minute, sixty times every hour, twenty-four hours every day, and three hundred and sixty-five times every year. It was awful! Enough to stagger the mind. Millions of ticks!

"I can never do it," said the poor pendulum. But the clockmaster encouraged it.

"Do just one tick at a time," he said. "That is all that will be required of you."

So the pendulum went to work, one tick at a time. and it is ticking yet.

~Author Unknown

One tick at a time. One job at a time. As you seek God's will for your day as you rise up in the morning, each task will be what He needs done for that day. And thank Him for the gift of time as we only have this present moment - a tick - which is indeed a treasure!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, August 15

a loss...and found

One of the things I hadn't gotten to all summer was a drive over to visit my step-dad. It just seemed like the calendar was always filling up and it does take a chunk of our day when we go to visit "Silly Grandpa". But our summer was running out and I knew he had things ready for me to bring home, so today the children and I took the time to pay a visit.

My mom had passed away over two years ago and going through her things has been a process. We seem to go through things in stages as he's ready and it always seems to be the right timing. I usually do just fine, but had a harder time today as we sorted through rubbermaid containers. My mom loved to cross-stitch, quilt, sew, knit....and there have been boxes upon boxes of her handiwork which have come home with me. As I looked through so many of her projects today, there was that familiar feeling once again of why? Why did the Lord take her home so early? Why did he bless me with these little girls at the end of our family only to take away their grandma who would have taught them so many things? Their grandma, my mom, my best friend. The tears fall once again as my heart considers the loss.

But a treasure was found on this day in an unexpected place. Something I've been wanting, but we hadn't yet found in our process of going through things in the last couple of years. Her old metal recipe box. It held the treasure of recipes which I didn't have - recipes that had been her mother's and which she made. And there it was....under her bed! It made me smile when I thought about all the things she had misplaced in those days and how we'd laugh when we'd run across something in an odd place. Close by the recipe box was an old Hershey's kiss, another one of her favorite things. We also found the old heavy timer that had been my grandma's. Let's see if the kids can manage to break this one! LOL!

A day of feeling loss....but a day in rejoicing the found! And in the found her memory will live on :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

midway point

"The time will come when winter will ask you what you were doing all summer." ~ Henry Clay

:::::gulp::::: The calendar does not tell a lie. It is midway through the month of August. Ohhh, those days of summer are galloping by! Perfect day after perfect day to play! Ah, but this winter I will look around me and say, "why didn't you do -fill in the blank - when there was time in the summer?" So, my heart is a bit more diligent right now because my mind has been put into action. Perhaps it really comes down to the fact that as a procrastinator I work best under pressure? I like the challenge of working on things as I come down to the wire.

Off to wake up my kids as they are part of today's plan of something I've delayed doing all summer long!

Enjoy your midway point of August day :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 14

a salad

The summer has passed much too quickly and I realized I hadn't done some of the things I intended on doing this season. One was to host "summer sharing salads" at our home. So once I turned the calendar to August I knew it was time to plan them before the summer was over. Basically, I needed to provide the place and the lettuce and all my guests were assigned various salad toppings to bring and share with the rest of us.

My first salad gathering was today and the invitations went out to the pastor's wife, the elders' wives, and a couple other women who are very active within our church. It was my way of saying thank you for their generous serving in our church. I think of all the behind the scenes serving and praying these women do and am blessed by it.

I decided to use the pink rose china that was my grandmother's, then my mom's, and which is now mine. It gave me a good excuse to use my pink tablecloth (yes, I LOVE the color pink, in case you haven't noticed!) and to purchase some pink roses for the centerpiece. I did smile to myself as a friend and I recently talked about colors you shouldn't use in your kitchen because they were comfort colors which caused you to eat more. I'm thinking pink might be one of those colors, but justified using it because it was a light meal of salad, various melons, and a dinner roll - you can't pack on too much extra weight with those foods. And dessert was small pieces of coconut pineapple cake :-)

It was an enjoyable time of fellowship and getting to know others a bit better. And the tidbit of info I learned today was that when my children grow up and leave home and have pets...those pets will be my granddogs and grandcats :-) Yikes! I hope I'm not expected to sew baby quilts for those grands!

Next week I'm hosting a "summer sharing salad" for young moms in our church as a way to encourage them. I'm looking forward to it!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the secrets aren't ours

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." ~ Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things are God's determined, sovereign purpose. Our problem is wanting to know all God's secrets. But our responsibility is to take what God has revealed and work to understand it and implement it with all our heart--and leave everything else to God. ~ David Jeremiah

There is so much in God's Word. I've read through the Bible quite a few times and every single time He reveals something new. There is so much to learn, understand, implement. And yet, we as humans want to know more. Not just from His Word. We want to know the whole picture! Ahh, the secrets! the future! the whys and whos and hows and wheres! You know, curiosity killed the cat. Perhaps that is why none of that is revealed. If we could look into the future perhaps we would be paralyzed enough to not want to move ahead. Fear might grip us. Instead God reveals it day by day giving us the grace and strength He knows we need for the moment. The only thing we need to know is that our future is eternal and as a believer in Jesus Christ we have a heavenly destination. And that is all the information we need to unparalyze us and allow us to live in the present fully and without fear. To do the work He has given us. And to do it heartily!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 13

argh!

We have a few different events coming up in the next couple of weeks which will be held at our home. Since it is impossible to keep things clean, there are many things I typically don't do until the last moment. But, yesterday was such a beautiful day, I decided I could at least get started on some cleaning projects that the kids couldn't get dirty. Our windows and screens were in need of a good yearly cleaning. So much pollen collects in the screens during spring and summer plus the spiders love to make homes all over them. In fact, the spiders seem to love it when we keep the windows perpetually open as they can build their massive webs between the screens and the windows. Yes, it was delightful to clean and scrub and to clearly SEE once again out our kitchen windows.

Morning came. I grabbed my first cup of coffee and strolled over to look out a kitchen window. ARGH! Spider webs! I checked the other windows. ARGH! More spider webs! Are the critters nocturnal that they wildly weave their webs in the darkness?
It made me wonder if those spiders were sitting along the outside wall just waiting for the perfect opportunity to come back to my windows. It was hard not to feel defeated in a task which I thought would remain done and which the spiders had undone *sigh* My sense of optimism is that at least their webs have been built in clean windows and screens, right?

I suppose it's like those sin areas in our life that we clean out and then overnight a bit of them shows up again. It's as if the enemy waits for the perfect opportunity in our weakness to whisper in our ear, "It's okay, look at how well you are doing in so many areas....this is just a little thing and no one will hardly notice". HA! Yes, no one will hardly notice, just as my guests will likely not notice the new spider webs in my windows when they will come to visit. But I know those spider webs are still there - ARGH! And God knows those little sins are still there in our lives. And it's only with His continued help that we can clean those sins out.

May you check for spider webs along your garden path and clean out what may be hindering your walk with the Lord.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, August 12

Perseids Meteors

If your skies are clear, tonight is the best night to view the Perseids Meteors since the new moon falls tonight giving the darkest of the dark nights. Best viewing time is between 11 PM and 4 AM with estimations of 100 star flashes per hour during this peak time. If you are unable to view them tonight, there should be two more good viewing nights following.

Our family had considered traveling to one of our favorite places to do a meteor shower viewing tonight, but, alas, our schedule would not allow it as it would require an overnight and tomorrow is a workday. I'm not certain that I can stay awake late enough to watch, but I figure when I wake up during the night for a bathroom break, it will be quite easy to tiptoe out of the house and wander into the field next to the house to take a gaze or two at the skies :-)

May you be blessed with clear skies and good viewing of the majesty to God's skies tonight!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

be counting

"I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds." ~ Psalm 9:1

As you come to worship this day, may your heart be filled with thanksgiving as you count your blessings one by one!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 11

stamps

Today I had to make a stop at the post office as I needed some pretty stamps for invitations I was sending out. Knowing what I wanted when I got to the counter, the clerk got out the newest lavender love stamps that I requested. Then I glanced over at the display case and saw these! Beautiful Bloom Stamps! They just came out yesterday and I immediately picked up two booklets. It must be the romantic in me as, ohhh, how I love the pretty flower stamps that come out from year to year.

My husband is a stamp collector so it does tend to be a contest to which one of us can be first to get a newly issued stamp series. He wasn't that excited about these :::sniff sniff::: like he was the recent Star Wars stamps! LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

yet I will

The verses from my morning devotional:

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut of from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation." ~ Habakkuk 3:17-18

Think back. Life's struggles. What is my focus? Me. How am *I* going to get through this? The storm clouds get darker. The wind picks up. And suddenly *I* realize *I* am helpless and cry out, "LORD!" And the burden is released, lifted to His shoulders, and my heart rejoices in God. What's the secret? Just go to the next verse - which was not part of the devotional, but a good reason to always open your Bible to read the verses in context - "God, the Lord, is my strength". When we turn to God, in any situation, His strength is ours.

I know this in my head. In fact, every time it happens I think next time I'm going to turn to the Lord right away! And what happens the next time? It takes me awhile. But I am getting better about it being sooner. I am learning. Perhaps the old expression does hold some truth - an old dog can learn new tricks :-) I just wish sometimes God didn't have to keep practicing this lesson on me!

May you find rejoicing in your heart when the dark clouds roll over your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 10

a new rain dance

Everyone knows that right after you wash the car, it always rains. Always. Well, that method wasn't working at all this summer. We tried it more than once. Not a drop from a single cloud. Let's just say It has been a very dry summer *sigh*

Yesterday at noontime, one of the boys asked if I could still wash and dry his sheets that late in the day. Certainly. Not a problem. Made and ate lunch. Washed a load of laundry including his sheets. Hung them out on the clotheslines with plenty of time to dry on such a warm summer day. Late afternoon the skies darken. Thunder. A bit of lightning. And I was still scoffing that it was probably just another teaser like we've seen come and go all summer. HA! We had a downpour of rain! It was wonderful wonderful wonderful and we were dancing and singing on our front deck. It didn't last long, in fact, soccer practice was under sunny skies at 6 PM, but it was a thorough watering.

Last night at bedtime, one of the boys asked if his sheets were dry yet. :::::THUD::::: I had totally forgotten about the laundry when the brief storm moved into the area. Oh my! Ran out to the laundry and it was still drenched. Way too wet to want to deal with so it could be brought in and thrown into the dryer. Enter a fleece sleeping bag thrown on a bed.

The sheets are now dry and have had the treat of a soft rainwater rinsing. Mmmmm, they smell so good! What a blessing!

So, if you are living in an area of the country which is dry dry dry this summer, try hanging out a load of laundry on your clothesline. I hear it's the newest version of the rain dance! :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Back to Homeschool Week - Day 5


Friday, August 10---Curriculum
What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

(To read other responses to this question, please go to the main page)

Before I even begin this final question, I have to say....WHEW! And double WHEW! I'm so so relieved our family started homeschooling when we did and the choices were few. Honestly, I would be totally OVERWHELMED by all the companies, curriculum, and educational materials available now. I have no idea how new homeschooling families sort through it as everything looks great.

With our first year of homeschooling, we went through Christian Liberty Academy. They supplied everything we needed for both teacher and student and were a good support system for just starting out.

The second year of homeschooling, we began using primarily A Beka Book materials with a couple of additional educational supplies that I picked up at a homeschool conference.

Through the years we've also dabbled a bit with Konos Curriculum, Five in a Row, and Bible curriculum from Association of Christian Schools
(and as I checked for a link I see they have revamped their program - I bought extras a long time ago which we are still using). And, of course, a bit of this and a bit of that....after all, we are homeschoolers!

Today our mainstay curriculum continues to be A Beka Book. I confess to not using it as stringently as the teacher's guides outline, but I love the organization and thoroughness of the materials. We also made a decision four years ago to do A Beka's DVD program for the high school years. I was having a hard time keeping up with my high schoolers and the younger ones who also needed a lot of my time and this has worked out as an excellent option. Another mainstay we've used almost from the beginning is our handwriting program for kindergarten through sixth grade - A Reason for Writing. After practicing all week, on day five the kids write out their verses, write a letter to someone on the rest of the handwriting sheet, and creatively color their pictures before we stick them in the mail.

Through the years we used a variety of things for our devotional time in the morning. With our one chapter of Old Testament and one chapter of New Testament, we also use a devotional book or series. So, over twenty years there's been a lot of different materials utilized It can be a challenge to find something that will work when there's a wide range of ages sitting around the table. Here are a few things we've used: Little Visits with God; a children's devotional series by CEF; a devotional Bible for kids; Courageous Christians by Joyce Vollmer Brown; the Hero Tales series by Dave and Neta Jackson - this series was a favorite; From This Verse by Robert J. Morgan - a powerful daily devotional more for the older ones which regularly put a tear in my eye as I read it aloud. We are repeating one this year that I think we must have done the first year it came out (1998) as I know it's been awhile. The olders enjoyed it and I'm sure the younger ones will now, too. It's Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson and as I just looked up a link I see this has been updated, too. There's a picture you copy at the beginning of the week which the kids can work on coloring each day as you do the devotion.

That's my curriculum summary which works well for us. It gives me enough structure in a program I know well, yet allows us flexibility when needed.

And this concludes my contributions to Back to Homeschool Week. I do hope that those who have visited this week have found something to encourage them. It has been good for me to think through all these daily topics. When we began homeschooling, that was our family's identity and all I lived and breathed. Now it's a part of how we live life and I forget that we are homeschoolers!

And a big thank you to Randi who hosted this blog week! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has new links bookmarked! :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, August 9

a missed holiday

Oh dear! I was picking up the Sunday paper off our bedroom floor (I know, I know, it's already Thursday!) and I couldn't resist a quick check through the Entree section as there's always a recipe or two that looks interesting in there or maybe a gardening tip. BUT I didn't get past the front page of that section because I read one of the sub-headlines which caught my eye. And then I realized I had missed a holiday :::sigh::: Wednesday was National "Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Night"! How could I miss it? Especially when my zucchini plants are starting to produce so so nicely?

Maybe this counts? This morning I took a friend from my kitchen to our porch to our garden and picked three zucchinis for her. Okay, so maybe it wasn't sneaky and maybe it didn't happen on a neighbor's porch and maybe it happened in the morning instead of at night, but it did happen on Thursday morning when everyone else would be finding their porch zucchini. So, extend a little grace and tell me I can say I've celebrated this important gardening holiday :-)

Here's a nice long zucchini, Queen Terry! You may hold it as your wand :::running and ducking:::

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Back to Homeschool Week - Day 4


Thursday, August 9---If I had only known...
What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

(To read other responses to this question, please go to the main page)

Oh, perhaps I should have skipped this day! My mind is rambling through this huge file drawer filled with folders of what I've learned. I guess I have to hit just a few main points.

Determine a vision! - I like this phrase - "a fixity of purpose". Before you take one step, resolve in your mind why you want to homeschool your children. Write it out. Pray over it. Research it. Pray some more. When you believe everything has fallen into place, move forward with fortitude. And continue praying! Why? Because this decision affects your life 24/7. It is not for the faint hearted. It is a commitment like no other. A sacrifice on many levels. And if your vision hasn't been solidly placed into the foundation of your homeschooling, when the strong storms blow through your life, the whole thing will come toppling down.

Priorities! - Keeping priorities in order is a must. God, Husband, Kids, Others. Always commit your day to the Lord. Don't neglect your husband as he tends to be the one at the end of the list at the end of a long day. Take time to fill each one of your children's "tanks" daily with a bit of one-on-one. Get involved in outside activities only if it doesn't infringe on your main responsibilities. Learn the word NO, in fact, practice it right now :-)

Flexibility! - If you've committed your day to the Lord, then you'll be ready to adjust for whatever the day may bring. A child suddenly sick. A dog with a mouth full of porcupine quills in its mouth needing to go the vet. A husband with a day off. An ailing parent in their final days. Expect the unexpected. Realize that learning takes place even on these kinds of days.

Burn out! - It does happen. When you recognize it coming on, take off the teacher hat and just focus on the things you love about being a mom. Snuggle on the couch and watch a good movie with the kids. Cook a favorite meal for your family. Write a note of encouragement to someone else. Take a bubble bath after the kids are in bed. Skip school. Period. When you are refreshed and recharged, you'll catch up in no time with enthusiasm.

Molding not cloning! - Remember that your children are God's gift to you. They aren't yours. They aren't going to be just like you! In fact, they may be very different than you, and that's okay. Accept their differences and learn to love them just as God made them. Discover their learning styles and work with them adjusting learning along the way. Rejoice in their uniqueness and God's special design for their future which may look very different from what you as a parent expected.

Learning! - What a huge undertaking it seems when you start out. A huge black hole of unknowns. And I think the first year is the hardest as you learn the ropes - what curriculum you love or hate, what schedule works best, how to counter all the questions everyone asks, how to figure out your role of teacher and mom. But in the end, you'll find that your children learn, especially when you aren't looking. And God - in His goodness, mercy, and grace - takes all the mistakes you made along the way and He turns them into something beautiful.

Unique! - Remember, your homeschool experience will look like no one else's because each family is unique. Your best friend may have a great curriculum which would be a disaster for your family. Take the ideas of others and use what you can, toss the rest. There may even come a time when homeschooling isn't working or the right option and new choices need to be considered. The important thing is to have a heart's desire for God's will for your family and trust His leading. And pray some more!

I know that as soon as I hit post, I'll think of other things. And I know this will be a topic that at each blogsite I read today I'll be saying, "oh, ya! that too!"

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, August 8

a book!

With all the gardening excitement today around here, I just remembered my dancing of the morning!

You know, I do have a couple of favorite things in this world like babies, and kids, and puppies, and kittens, and coffee cups, and pretty stationary, and flip flops, and, whoops, I have more than a couple favorite things, don't I? But have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy books?! Yup, it does seem I may have mentioned our recent new addition of old books from the library sale which join wonderful books already found on shelves throughout our home.

So, can you imagine my delight upon hearing that I've actually WON a new book?! Yup, me...me who rarely wins anything. Nada. So, woo hoo! Yup, the contest brought me out of lurking (ohhh, how I detest that internet word as it sounds so so creepy!) so that I could be entered in a drawing at Mels' blogsite...and I won! Actually, it's her other blogsite that I tend to regularly check more often as it's so encouraging if you're working on weight loss (and I wonder if she can hear me cheering her off the plateau every Thursday!). Not only is she an inspiration as she goes through her weight loss journey, but she often has links which have helpful and healthful tips for her readers.

But back to the book...it is a new book by Mary DeMuth called Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. You can read more about the book and Mary at her blogsite . Cool, huh? :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

my corn update


I know this topic is incredibly boring to many people, but we're excited! Not only have we been noticing lately that our corn is tasseling, but as my corn model is quick to point out - we have SILK! Our ears are growing! Woo hoo!

Now if it would just rain :::::sigh:::::

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

first beans

Here is our day's mission...this particular patch of beans! I'm still amazed at how everything is growing in such dry summer conditions. I did water this area well after we picked beans as it seems if we wrestle around in a wet bean patch, a white fuzzy mold tends to develop. Too many people counting on jars of beans this year to take the chance.
Here's the result of the first picking. And don't let those girls fool you for a moment. They didn't pick a single bean for that bowl. Instead they played a game where they'd pick a bean, run around the garden while eating it, then pick a carrot and wash it off in the sprinkler at the other end of the garden before eating it, come back and pick a bean, run around the garden, etc. They love to play in the garden which I guess is good as they think of it as a happy place. I especially love it when they pull a carrot to use as a microphone! LOL!
Here are the finished canned quart jars from the first batch of beans. Woo hoo! It is neat that we've been canning for so many years that I don't have to instruct the kids as they know exactly what to do. They set up their cutting boards, bowls, and knives, then get right to work. I can get all the jars and lids ready, get the water boiling, the canner all set, and the beans are pretty much ready to be packed into the jars. I'm just wondering how I'm going to do this when my kids are all grown up?! It will be a long day of work for this mama!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Back to Homeschool Week - Day 3


Wednesday, August 8---Getting out there...
Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...

(To read other responses to this question, please go to the main page)

When we first began homeschooling, there were a handful of families just starting out and we met together weekly. It was not only a wonderful resource place, but the fellowship was a blessing, too. As everyone's experience grew over the years, as well as the size of our families, the need for such support faded. If someone wanted to take a field trip, they'd set it up and call others with the information. We'd randomly gather for picnics, etc. and for many years met weekly with a group to play volleyball. There is a homeschool co-op group operating now in our area for younger families.

We've done local sports leagues on and off through the years. Baseball, gymnastics, ballet, and soccer are what come to mind. We tend to be a physically active family anyways who enjoy having friends over to play, so it isn't unusual for a handful of kids to be swimming down at the lake in the summer or a group playing broomball on the lake's ice in the winter.

There's also been piano and guitar lessons for a couple of the older ones and right now I have girls who are interested in violin and guitar.

Our family has also been active in our church's AWANA Club program which covers pre-school through high school. My husband and I have actively served in different leadership roles for twenty years while all the kids have participated. Babies traveled along with us through the evening programming in a backpack :-)

Quite honestly, homeschooling has been a positive social experience for our family. There is automatically a lot of interaction with a large family and I've always told them that if they can't get along with one another, they can't have friends over. So, they do learn how to work through difficulties and I try to only intervene when necessary. And I believe outside of our home our kids can easily carry on a conversation with someone of any age, young or old. Besides, they all have a good sense of humor and love to smile - we all know how contagious that is!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 7

that too quiet feeling

As mothers I think we can all relate to that "the kids are too quiet" feeling. You know, when you get busy with something and suddenly realize you don't hear the kids. And off you go dashing through the house to find them! Oh, yes, those are the times when they've decided to cut their own hair, used markers for a mural on a wall, dumped a box of cereal on the floor which they are now sharing with the dog OR the all time favorite :::drum roll please::: the toddler who has removed their diaper after naptime in their crib....you know, one of those diapers with the brown stuff in it. YIKES!

No, nothing as dramatic as that has happened here, but there's definitely been some things happening in the quiet.

I really haven't been out to the garden since Saturday. Rain was predicted for Sunday - didn't come, for Monday - didn't come, for this morning - didn't come. I should stop listening to the meteorologists who obviously are in the wrong profession and go out and water instead of believing my garden will actually receive an incredible watering from the Father of the Heavens.

Soooo, before supper the girls and I run out to the garden to get a few little yellow squash to steam only to find out they aren't little anymore. YIKES! And WHEN did those zucchini grow? More broccoli ready already? Look at the tassels on the corn! Then one of the girls mentions all the beans as I'm digging through zucchini plants. Yes, I say, we're going to have lots of beans as I glance over at all the blossoms on top of the bean plants. No, mom, all THESE beans as she lifts up the leaves :::thud::: there are a ton of yellow wax beans ready for canning! How did those rascals grow under there without me knowing? I really wasn't planning on canning beans tomorrow. In fact, there's a dentist appointment scheduled for myself in the morning. Oh dear! So once the yellow squash hit the stovetop, off I went to find jars and lids. Tonight after the littles are in bed, I'll bring the canners up and all the stuff that goes with canning.

Yup, always learning flexibility as I'm reminded once again that something is always happening when it seems too quiet!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

about joy

Although the whole devotion was good as it spoke of Jesus being the focus of our life, this came from the end of it which I read before bed last night. The reminder made me smile as I closed my eyes.

"Christian joy isn't always laughing, always having a good, hilarious time. Christian joy is the deep, settled peace that comes to live within your heart when you know that the really important things are all right. Life can be taken from us, but we are going to live somewhere for eternity. You can have joy in your heart when you know everything is all right with you forever." ~ David Jeremiah

I think we can agree that someday every single person on this earth is going to die. No one will escape that finality. The difference between myself as a believer in Jesus Christ and the average person on the street who doesn't know Jesus is HOPE. No matter what storms come through my life, I can get through it. I have the hope of eternity. It gives me joy. It gives me peace. It gets me through daily life. I know this isn't a profound truth from God's Word, but how often we overlook the simple. And then it knocks on our hearts again and we say, "oh ya! YAAAAA!" :-)

May your heart's joy get you through this day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Back to Homeschool Week - Day 2

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?
Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

(To read other responses to this question, please go to the main page)

Ohhh, I'm having problems with today's topic choices. I've written out a couple drafts and deleted each one. Now, that may not be good if you are participating in a blog event, but each were healing for me. To see where I was at the beginning, where I am now. Progress and the spiritual journey it involved without me even realizing it! God is pretty cool :-)

So let's go general - what does a homeschool day look like here? Our day has evolved through the years, but still has basic features which remain. As a mom, I do best with simplicity and structure. It helps keep me organized within a houseful. We get up in the morning, eat, get dressed, and start our school day with devotions at the kitchen table. Schoolwork is done in the mornings with some wanderings to the kitchen for a snack, but we accomplish much schooling until lunchtime which is a fairly long break allowing the kids time to go outside for fresh air and exercise after they've eaten. We tend to start back with our schooling around 1 PM and work until mid-afternoon. And that's it for formal education for the day. My role tends to be working with the littler ones at the kitchen table in the morning which is when they work the best and allowing them to play in the afternoons if we've completed their lessons. That frees me up for working with the older ones in the afternoon if they need help or corrections done. Oh, and spelling tests are always done on Friday mornings so mom can work on her ironing while reciting the spelling words to the students. It's my assurance that our clothes will be set for Sunday morning - hehe!

We've had many "seasons" of our routine being disrupted and an important lesson was reinforced during those times - that even when we weren't doing school lessons we were learning important life lessons. Learning never stops. New babies every couple of years. Family vacations in different parts of the country. Flu viruses that would knock our whole family out one by one for extended times. Home remodeling - twice. Cancer diagnosed in loved ones. Death of loved ones. It was during those times that I learned what my real priorities and responsibilities were, developed the flexibility I needed, and received God's perfectly measured strength. It often meant taking off my teacher hat and just simply being mom.

Realize that your homeschool day will reflect your individuality as a family. Find what works best for you and go with it. And always cover your day with prayer!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 6

bird watching

Who says you have to go to exotic locations and hide in a tree to watch birds with binoculars? This is a classic bird watching pose in our house as demonstrated by the little kitten prince and my little princess who have positioned themselves at the door by the front deck. We have a few bird feeders hanging off the top which the birds fly to in order to eat seeds or suet in the winter months. The birds frequently will then fly down to the deck railing to eat which is what these two are watching.

And yes, our poor screen door really looks like that. The combination of dogs, cats, and kids puts the screen in miserable condition. The current screen is unable to be repaired and needs to be replaced. Hmmm, I wonder which one of the boys could be hired for such a job?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

squeeeeeezing

A couple of weeks ago a volunteer organization that works with our local library had their annual used book sale. There are zillions of books that come through donations or off the shelves of the library and they categorize them onto tables in the high school's commons area. It is a book lovers dream to walk from table to table finding books at very low prices. The final day of their sale was only two hours long and was the "all the books you can stick in a bag for three bucks" deal! Of course, by then most of the books are well picked over but there are still treasures to be found :-)

Typically we go through our own bookshelves at the beginning of the summer and find books that weren't a hit from last year or haven't been read or are turning into dust collectors from years of waiting for someone to read them. Into a bag they go and off to one of the donation locations. This summer that didn't happen (as a matter of fact, a lot of things haven't happened this summer, but I think that's a post for another day! LOL!). So, our bookshelves - and we have many bookshelves in various sizes throughout the house - were already bulging when we traipsed over to the book sale recently.

After returning home from a little taste of heaven with our new old books, they got plopped in the kitchen and into everyone's bedrooms. I'm not sure how many books we added to our collection. I tried counting the ones just in the kitchen and my bedroom last night and came up with over 60 books in those areas, but it is hard to track them since they are scattered all over the house. Then this morning I saw a pile I missed in my bedroom. Let's just say there's a LOT of new old books. And where to go with all these books? It is going to take some major SQUEEEEZING on our bookshelves.

Oh, but what fun! I am dabbling in them all as they are on a wide range of topics. So you'll probably see a lot of random quotes here as I get busy chewing on what I'm reading. I even found the perfect book for when I can't think of anything to blog about (will that ever happen?) or on a day that I only have a moment to blog...."Sniglets" - a collection of words which don't appear in the dictionary, but should. Lots of interesting words that make you smile :-)

And I guess the whole reason I'm blogging about this today is SQUEEEEZING books onto the bookshelves is on my TO DO list for the day!

May you squeeeeze something into your life today that you enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Welcome to Back to Homeschool Week

I've decided to participate in a blog event this week. Why? Hopefully to help encourage others, but to encourage myself! It's been such a busy summer with still so many things to do that I'm not ready for fall quite yet and getting into the regular routine of our household. All the books are here and kids are already starting in their favorite subjects while I'm out puttering in the garden! If you are interested in participating or just reading through everyone's posts this week, please go to the main page.

Monday, August 6---What led to your decision to homeschool?
Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?

My oldest had just completed kindergarten in the local public school when a friend mentioned to me that she was considering homeschooling her daughter. I had never heard of homeschooling until that moment in the spring of 1987 and was immediately intrigued by the possibility of such a thing. She recommended books for me to read on the topic and that summer kept me busy researching. A week before public school was about to begin, we made our decision to go ahead and try homeschooling, you know, a year at a time. And here we are today still homeschooling.

There were four main factor influencing our decision. One - My son had changed in undesirable ways in that half day year away from home. He had an attitude toward his younger siblings that had ventured from being best friends to ignored playmates. As soon as he got off the bus each day, he'd walk past his siblings warm greetings and ask to play at a friend's house. Oh, and the bus. Quite innocently he'd repeat things that he heard on the bus (which carried kindergartners through high schoolers). My mouth would drop open at the words he restated. YIKES! Plus he developed a heart of materialism and competition from being with peers. What happened to that sweet little boy? Two - I grew up wanting to be a teacher. I constantly played school with my dolls. I did go to college for one year for elementary teaching, but then my plans got side-tracked and I never returned to college. So, in a sense, God was answering a heart's desire of my own. Three - As rather new born again believers at the time, homeschooling seemed to be a wonderful way to instill a godly foundation in the lives of our children. We could incorporate God's word into every subject. We could pray. We could sing praises. We could serve. Our love for the Lord could be shared in every part of our children's life (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Four - I was blessed to have my own mom home for much of my growing up years. My husband preferred that I was home full-time, too. And I knew such a commitment would keep me right where my heart longed to be with children whom I loved.

That was the start of our homeschooling journey. And our vision continues the same to this day. There are no words as a mother to describe what a blessing it is to know my kids on this level having been with them daily for so many years. Truly, my heart is full. Each one is so uniquely different and talented. Ohhh, there have been many challenges, trials, and sacrifices, but I wouldn't change any of it as I look back. The journey has been worthwhile and God has grown our entire family not just with homeschooling, but with everything we have encountered as a family together.

This fall our fourth leaves the nest as he ventures into college and I do believe that he, joining his older siblings out in the world, leaves with a foundation of faith in the Lord and the knowledge of his parents continued love and support. It is an exciting part of the process as you watch them enter the adventure of life the Lord has prepared for them!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

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