Friday, April 27, 2012


Five Minute Friday Gypsy Mama


I am at a loss as to how to write about this Friday's word.  Community.  I have never been good about or involved or plugged into a community.  I am much more social in writing words than in speaking them in a face to face encounter.  And given the choice I find myself much more comfortable in one on one situations rather than a group setting.  Especially if coffee and a scone are involved. 

But then the more I thought about the topic of community the more that I began to ask myself questions.  What if I approached my local community not from the perspective of what can I get from it, but what can I give to it?  Could I serve some where and in some way to lighten someones load or brighten their day?  What if my children and I spent an afternoon a week picking up trash?  Making neighbors cookies?  Rounding up our old coats and stuff and take them to the local homeless shelter?  What if we started a flower garden with the sole intent to take bouquets to every person on our street at least once?  What if I dusted off and worked on my crochet skills and then put them to work making blankets for others, especially those that are going through a rough patch or are alone and feel forgotten?  Would I be a little less self conscious and a lot more service conscious? 

I really don't know how to wrap up today's post, however today's word will leave me thinking long after I am done writing.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Days

I do just about every single thing I set out to do wrong.
I grumble and whine and complain and think things like "this isn't how it is supposed to be" or "this is TOO hard, too much, too heavy to bear".
On those days it becomes all about just making it through.
Then when it is all said and done and everyone else is tucked in, the guilt sets in.
I re-read my journal entries where I detail my ideals and values and goals and I sit there in utter defeat realizing how far I am from where I desire to be.
What then?
What do you do when your day or week or month or even year is not measuring up to what you set out to accomplish/become?
You start reminding yourself of the truth of Who God is.

When I cry at night sitting beside my husband with words that are barely coherent he picks me back up. He uses his words to lift me up and encourage me. He points out how far we have come, not how far we have to go.
And he inevitably says something to make me laugh.
The blubbery, snotty, red eyed laugh of someone who just spent the last hour crying :).
And he says something along the lines of "this is our rebuilding year". This always brings a chuckle, because we have had a rebuilding year for about three years now :) - but lately I have begun to realize that is what life is.

If you read the Bible and believe God is who He says He is, then aren't we always rebuilding? Tearing down the areas that do not honor or glorify or even reflect Him and rebuilding? Isn't that why He reassures us over and over that His faithfulness is great? His mercy is new every single morning? That His love is unfailing. And His willingness to forgive us unparalleled?
Because when those days come that we see how far we are from where we need to be, we need hope. Not hope that tomorrow we will get it right, but hope that no matter what tomorrow brings He is. He is the hope. We need reassurance of His great unfailing love and His mercy that springs forth fresh and new every single morning. Because sometimes all you can do is make it through that day. And we need to know that He is bigger than any mistake we can make. We need to know that when it is all said and done and we take our final breath here, we will be able to launch ourselves into His arms waiting wide. He is holy and pure and so so good. He is very serious about His Word - His Torah, His Shabbat. He is also very serious about loving us, being patient, kind and full of mercy. I have so much to learn about Him, so much I do not know, but one thing I am sure of is this - He is my portion and that in and of itself is overflowing awesome.

Monday, April 23, 2012

This verse make me stop and think...

Ecclesiastes 11:6
6. In the morning, sow your seed, and in the evening, do not withhold your hand, for you know not which will succeed, this one or that one, or whether both of them will be equally good.

Because although God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), I have no idea what things that I sow will go on to be successful or which will not amount to a hill of beans. I too often try to second guess what will work and what will not instead of sowing that which I know to sow and leaving the results up to God.

He is God, I am not.

He alone can provide what is needed for something to grow and prosper, I am just called to do all that I can do and then rest in Him. That last part is harder than the first part. It is easier for me to do what I can do than to rest once my part is over.

But it is pride that makes it harder.

Oh how I wrestle with pride. It is sneaky and awful and trips me up constantly. It takes His Word to crack open the hard parts of my heart, to humble me, and to cleanse me from the tenacious hold sin has on me.

So I came up with a little reminder for me, a sort of safety net to catch me when I want to wonder off to the right or to the left.
Read It. Pray It. Memorize It. Apply it. Trust it.
Read the Bible. Pray the Bible. Memorize the Bible. Apply the Bible. Trust the Bible.
My guard rails are in place, now let me go sow those seeds.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Five Minute Friday Gypsy Mama



You and I make a great team.

You are the husband, I am the wife.

You are thoughtful, I am impulsive.

You are funny, I love to laugh.

You hate coffee, I LOVE it.

You watch adventures and science ficiton, I watch Anne of Green Gables and Pride & Prejudice.

You are steady and strong, I am flighty and love to start something SO much more than to finish it.

You see the absolute best in everyone and everything, I could whip out a report of the worse case scenario and how it might happen to us in three seconds flat.

You work out of the house, I work at home.

You work with adults, I work with children.

You are their Daddy, I am their Mommy.

You like to drive, I like to be the passenger.

You like Dr. Pepper, I like Coca-Cola.

You like to stay up late and sleep in, I like to go to sleep and wake up early.

You sum up what you have to say in three words or less, I say it in four hundred words or more.

You are consistent and I am not.

You are my very best friend, I am yours.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the beauty of each moment

I have noticed something recently. We will have a string of hard days that will seem too heavy to bear for one reason or another. But right as we reach the breaking point where I think we cannot handle one more thing added to our load, the most beautiful, awesome day springs forth.

Today was one of those days.

The beauty of each moment dripped heavy like honey and sprawled forth before us. As I sit here tonight helping our children fall asleep my mind recounts the way their eyes sparkled and their giggles sounded. Gooney Bird Greene read aloud under the tree line on a blanket, the sounds of "the Lark Ascending" and the comfort of a favorite book during reading time. The last of our books arriving today for the next segment of school. Hot cinnamon coffee and cool cream, having my husband describe us a line of clowns when I asked him what it must look like when we get into and out of the car :). Reading a sweet message of encouragement my husband left unexpectedly and so sweetly for me to discover this morning. My sweet email friend that always knows what to say to either encourage me or take my mind off of what is weighing me down.

All of this and more, freely given from His hand just because. Beautiful.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Five Minute Friday Gypsy Mama


Oh how I want to say good-bye to these extra baby pounds.

But in order to say good-bye I need to first say no.

No to the chocolate, baked goodies, and french fries.

No to the desire to stay in bed in the morning instead of lacing up the tennis shoes.

No to the voice inside me that says its ok to see that number on the scale, because really it is not ok. It is not healthy and it is not ok.

Usually I hate good-byes. The gut wrenching sadness of wondering when or if I will see this person again. This person that was such a huge part of my life for so long, now separated by hundreds of miles.

But to be able to shed this baby weight, to say good-bye permanently to the extra 30 or so pounds I have carried, that would be a welcomed, celebrated good-bye.

The kind that I will shout from the mountain tops or the very least our front yard. The kind that I will email everyone I know and a few that I do not to share the news.

That good-bye will come, the day will arrive, I just have to work for it and say no to all of the extras that I love. But to let go of one to achieve the other - SO worth it.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

our journey to homeschool part one

Homeschooling is a deeply personal journey for each family. When I began this journey I would spend hours reading books, blog posts, and comments from other families trying to gather ideas and schedules and book lists and methods so that I could turn around and put together a method and form a routine that would fit us and allow our children to learn and grow. I have learned a thing or two a long the way and wanted to share it here in case another mom or dad comes along looking for an idea or an answer to a question or some encouragement at the end of a very long, hard day :).

1) Each year and each child is different. I am not sure this is the case in every family because there are mom's that I know personally that have homeschooled for years using the same curriculum and the same schedule and it really works for them. But for our family I have found that each year I am back at the drawing board re-assessing everything. Does this work for us now? Are we using it? Is it adding to our day or do I find ourselves slogging through it? Is this an impetus or a stumbling block? And many, many times that means searching for something new that works. Whether it is math, science, language arts etc;. Our major struggle was in the early years finding a phonogram/early reading program that worked for us. We finally stumbled onto The Writing Road to Reading and LOVED it. For early writing and grammar we discovered that Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons worked VERY well for us. But it took us sitting down and trying new things and then evaluating if that particular path worked for us or not.

2) There are several blogs I turn to for encouragement, ideas, perspective and some great reading book suggestions - in no particular order:

Joyful Always

A Holy Experience

Thoroughly Alive

The Journey

Coffee Tea Books and Me

Cottage Thoughts

Lanier's Books

In the Midst of It

Embracing My Cup

I Take Joy

Simple Mom

Gypsy Mama

Inspired To Action

While most of these women have homeschooled or are homeschooling or were homeschooled themselves, the reason that I like them so much is that they each have such beautiful hearts. I have spent many evenings stopping off at these spots for some encouragement and ideas and have received SO SO very much in return. You need to have some tools in your pack that will re-charge you and remind you of why you are doing what you are doing. Whether you are able to join a local homeschool co-op or parents group, or have a list of friends you can email/call, or have a list of blogs you can read, you need something to encourage you and give you ideas.

3) Each child learns at their own pace. And they will go through phases. Weeks and weeks of nothing and them BOOM it explodes and they are off again. Lots of prayer, lots of patience and lots of encouragement are needed. Both for your heart and for theirs. Be all there for that child, work hard for them, and dig in until you discover what works for them. Do something hard EVERY single day that challenges them but end the lesson with something that they have mastered. You want them to know they have further to go and not get comfortable, but you want them to see how far they have come and not get discouraged.

Next entry I will try and compile a list of our favorite books so far...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


sometimes the only thing that can fix today is to have a good cry, kneeling beside your bed, pouring your heart out to God.

Monday, April 9, 2012

the alarm goes off

and I gingerly roll out of bed. The strengthening exercises I did have made my legs so sore I can barely walk. I carefully sneak a glance into the rooms to assure myself everyone else is still snuggled down into bed. I straighten a cover here, smooth the hair there, and soak in the sight of my children sound asleep.

As I quietly make my way into the kitchen and flip the coffee pot to on I stand there waiting for that first cup. The fragrance begins to fill the air. I breathe deep and grab my mug. After my coffee is fixed and I have had that blissful first sip I make my way to Tanner to let him out. His soulful brown eyes are fixed on me as I enter the room and he sticks close as I clip his leash and we make our way outside. I stand there and feel every inch of me begin to come alive. It is cool, the sun is beginning to rise and the trees are alive with every bird singing its heart out. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Do you ever have those moments you would freeze if you could? Like you want to stay RIGHT there for a little bit longer than the second hand ticks one journey around the clock? But time marches on. It does not stop for anyone. Not the grieving families, the angry friends, or the blissfully happy.

Then it hits me.

Why that moment is so vivid, so beautiful. It is because in that moment I am fully there. I could journal a page or two about how the cool breeze is slowly, teasingly lifting my hair. How the smell of the freshly cut grass has dew that looks like drops of diamonds that shimmer in the early morning light. How cool, wet and soggy Tanner's paws feel when he stands on his hind legs and plants the front ones on my leg. How when I breathe deep I taste spring. Sadly I realize this is rare for me. Mostly I can say of the moments that fill our days, I breathed through it and we survived it. The days can be long. And hard. And chaotic. My senses get overwhelmed and I feel myself pulling into my own thoughts.

So I resolved something. I resolved to pick a few minutes many times each day to stop and engage fully with whatever is going on. To stop rushing from one thing to the next and simply stop and to BE ALL THERE. And when I am all there, then I can truly, truly utter thankfulness for what He has bestowed. I am thankful for the silly dog that spends more time eating grass than taking care of his business. His sweet paws that are soggy, cool and wet, well they are sign of life and of a furry animal that loves us seemingly unconditionally. I am thankful for the melody that arches and swoops from one tree branch to the next as the birds fly from spot to spot. I am thankful for the fragrance and steam wafting up from a fresh cup of coffee and the warmth of it in my hand as I gaze across the back lawn. I am thankful for a space to write and the ability to do so. Because life, for me, is more richly lived as ink on paper. The flow of a pen as it races across the page or the tip tap of my fingers pecking a keyboard. This is to me the way I remember, hope, dream, and live this one life I have been given.

Now to go and live that life well...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

As we approach Good Friday and the beginning of Passover, I pray for my heart and I pray for yours. I pray that I can lay down every sin that clings, every desire that is ungodly, every demand, expectation, idea and hope that is set on anything short of God. In short I pray that today, tomorrow and the next are more about Him and less about anything else, including myself. As I pour over the stories in the Bible that tell of His faithfulness to rescue and deliver – I pray to be rescued and delivered because no matter how good my intentions are my reality is less than. My capacity to sin is HUGE and my consistency to be inconsistent is my biggest stumbling block. I pray to remember I am only as strong as my weakest moment, because if I remember that I cling tighter to Him and rely less on me.