Friday, October 22, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

Would you like to read more quick takes? Go visit Jen.


I think we've been outside for the last 4 days straight. It's group class week in the studio (aka a very light schedule) and the weather is gorgeous so we took a fall break of sorts. Pinecones, acorns and a collection of leaves have all made their way inside.


My mom asked last week if I had already made or bought her Christmas gift. When I told her no she pulled out a bag with 6 skeins of Claudia Handpaint yarn, a pattern and even the needles! She has requested a prayer shawl.

So... I told her I'm already a little concerned about my Christmas crafting list, but she says she'll be very understanding if I'm not quite done by Christmas. I cast on last night- how could I say no to such yummy yarn and an adjustable deadline?


Speaking of Christmas crafting, I actually looked at my list again the other day and I've already had to revise. After looking through some "back issues" of Knitty I'm making Kernel for my mother-in-law instead of Summit. It's much more her style. I'm using the same yarn I'd planned for Summit, but the lace will suit her much better. The hat for my brother-in-law is going to become one of those "if I can squeeze out a hat in the 3 days before Christmas" kind of things because I just can't bring myself to leave something off of my kids' lists.The 4 total sewing projects are going to take me 1 total day- it's the knitting that has to get a move on! I've given myself a deadline of Sunday to finish mittens and then Monday is the first day of hardcore Christmas knitting.


Yesterday I told Ender that I was planning to work on their pajama pants. Last year I made the boys each several pair with very deep hems to be let out this fall. I asked if he wanted to learn to use the seam ripper and he declined. I was *really* surprised because he's been dying to get his hands on that seam ripper for a really long time! I asked why and he said,

"I'm really more of a crafter."

Upon further discussion, I found out that he didn't want to be involved in taking something part, just in putting it together.


Thank you so much for your kind words earlier this week. These last few months of change have been some of the easiest and some of the hardest as we step forward in faith and try to live differently than we have lived in years past. I feel like I'm kind of waiting for everything to fall apart, but at the same time I'm feeling pulled together- not because of any special thing I've managed or designed, but completely by God's grace, particularly in this last week. He is so very faithful.


I picked up the newest Rick Riordan novel at the library this week: The Lost Hero. The writing is so much better this time around and it's been a fast little read so far for being 550ish pages long. I've been really floundering in my fiction reading lately- nothing is really holding my attention lately and I've been a little frustrated by lack of adult fiction to read. I found my way back to YA last week and I brought home the next few Lemony Snicket (since they're so quick and do get better as they go) and I also grabbed a few Mark Twain Award nominees that I'd never heard of before. Hopefully something in that stack turns out to be interesting. Suggestions?


We're off this afternoon on a little trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend, so we gathered up a few audio books. We finished reading Wizard of Oz earlier in the week and we're ready now for Peter Pan!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


We search the world for truth. We cull
The good, the true, the beautiful,
From graven stone and written scroll,
And all old flower-fields of the soul;
And when seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.

- John Greenleaf Whittier

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stepping Into the Word

In the morning hours pages are blurry and my words stumble.

I was not made for the morning.

I'm still building this habit, and now that it's getting colder and we're in the midst of furnace wars I have to admit that getting out of the warm bed is terribly difficult.

I convinced myself a long time ago that as long as I ended my day with God I didn't have to try to manage an early morning meet-up. After all- meeting daily is really great, right? But reading Scripture and devoting time to prayer at the end of my day didn't really work- I was exhausted and spent the time half-heartedly, and I must admit- eventually there became no time at all as other things seemed to take over. I had only given God the crumbs of my time and my soul.

I struggled to find a place for His Word somewhere and then realized not too long ago that that was precisely the problem. I was trying to squish my relationship with God into some place in my life, rather than setting my life around my relationship with God. I'm not sure exactly when all of that tangled up and shifted out of balance, but it was clear: something had to change.

Enter the new morning habit, which grew into a serious hunger for The Word, and now into a day defined by hard stops and a focus where it should be: reading, learning, absorbing, praying. In the middle of all the things that must be done we stop for the Book we cannot live without. It is still difficult at times as we are still learning this new lifestyle, but slowly I feel a change in my heart to seeing what truly must be done: time in The Word, time to hear God, time for a continuous conversation with Him. Suddenly laundry and dishes and the other "musts" seem so much less important.

pray His Word in the in-betweens, I read and learn on my own in the morning and with my husband in the evenings, we stop our day mid-morning and mid-afternoon for prayer and Scripture memorization. We feed our kids The Word of God along with their meals and pray together.

Ann Voskamp invites us to write about feasting on His Word this week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October Daybook

Outside my window... It is cloudy and wet. I'm hoping for a bit of sunshine today.

I am listening to... K-Love, very low in these early hours. I'm waiting to hear little feet on the stairs.

I am wearing... Jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt and I've been wrapped up in a blanket while I read scripture this morning. That's becoming an every morning thing lately while we're playing the furnace game- it's not cold enough long enough in the mornings to justify turning the heat on, but it makes getting out of a warm bed quite hard most mornings!

I am thankful for...
temporary work for my husband
two little boys that I love tremendously
the gracious and kind spirit of my mother-in-law even while she waits for difficult news.

I am thinking... About the will of God. How He gives us opportunities to obey, and how often we ignore them.

I am reading... The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Home Learning Year by Year, and we finished our family read-aloud of The Wizard of Oz last night. We're planning to begin Peter Pan this evening.

I am creating... Winter items still. Down to the last bit of ribbing on one of Ender's mittens and then still have the second to go. Hopefully both pairs of mittens will be finished by the end of the weekend, soon to be followed by the hats.

Always learning... Last week we read about trees and why leaves change in the fall, followed by some autumn crafting. This week we're jumping into a few books about our bodies. We've also been learning about Asia and the animals and people that live there, specifically about Korea since my sister C and her husband will be moving there in about a year to serve as missionaries. I'll share more about that unit study when we finish it!

And the thing Ender deems "very most important"- learning to tie his own shoes. He is so very close to accomplishing this task and he's practicing half the time before he's even had breakfast.

Around the house... I hesitate to say this, but . . . I think for this temporary moment I have almost every room organized in a way that makes me feel like our cozy little house is just a bit bigger . . . there are still two closets that need work and I'm sure when I finish there will be somewhere else that needs attention...

I am planning... Nothing. :) Our homeschool has taken on a very nice shape of forward progress in math, reading, writing and religion every single morning, and the rest of our school time is productive even if it isn't predictable. Art, science, our continent plans, it's all happening without a plan behind it so I'm going with it.

Towards a growing faith... Brian and I began reading through the New Testament together a few weeks ago a chapter or two at a time a few nights a week. It is interesting to see these words through his eyes. I was raised in the church and know many of these passages by heart, but he was not, and there is still so much new-ness there. I've also begun a study one night a week with two of my sisters as a chance to talk and pray together with our focuses on our husbands, children and homes.

I am praying... for the new faith and clarity of a dear one. Oh, let this return to God be true and good!

One of my favorite things... stealing a few quick stitches on stealthy Christmas projects now and then!

A few plans for the rest of the week... A trip to donate our "extras" and as much time outside as we can manage since I have a very light week in the studio this week and have 3 free afternoons this week!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Re-Do: School Room

Let me introduce you . . .

To our school room!

It is small and it used to be Ezra's bedroom, but it is working well for us right now and that is the most important thing. The boys moved in together in one bedroom and all of the toys that had previously been stored in their bedrooms moved in to this room along with all the school things that used to reside in our living room. Part of the decision to move all this around came from needing our living room to have a bit more of a "public appearance" since several students and their families come through that area every day.

The other reason? The boys have been *begging* us to share a room!

The little table to the right is for Ezra as he plays and works in the mornings. The two cabinets in the right corner hold all of our craft supplies. The shelves in the left corner of the picture are Ender's Montessori shelves.

Right now we are using a card table for school, but I hope to find a used table through thrifting this fall or maybe in a spring garage sale. The shelves on the left are Ezra's and hold his Montessori work and toys. Under the table is the file crate for my records and materials and our library box and bag for holding the books we aren't currently using.

... and the still in progress portion of the room- toy storage, puzzles, extra books, workbooks, yarn and other stuff we don't use all that often. I'm planning to organize these a little better and hang curtains to keep it looking neat even though it's storage.

One of my favorite parts! The buckets hold our writing materials. Pencils, crayons, glue, scissors, colored pencils, toothpicks, markers . . . pretty much anything we might need on a regular basis! The basket on the end is for loose papers the boys work on. Most often this work is free drawing, but some work is part of school as Ender learns to narrate out loud for me and illustrate his narrations. At the end of each month I go through the stack and put everything in the correct place. I keep a bit of each boy's art work from each month and any of Ender's work that belongs in our school notebook is placed in there.

Our budget? Absolutely zero. All of the furniture was living in other rooms with the exception of Ezra's Montessori shelves. We moved things around to find a fit (and I moved a few other things back out much to my husband's chagrin!) but I'm glad we were able to make this work without a single purchase.

I'm sure you noticed our jagged paint edges after taking down Ezra's baby border- I *am* planning to buy just enough paint to paint a border in there, but I sincerely hope it won't be too long until we're re-painting for a new little one. No, this isn't an announcement, just a hope and another prayer for God to bless us again. So until that day, we have a little school room!
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