Weekly Wrap-up: Gratitude for the Routine

at the park

at the park

Our week was slightly less than ordinary. Nothing grand or spectacular. Our schooling schedule endured constant daily interruptions…but nothing unexpected. Little things like a trip to the store for needed groceries, an outing to the park and, a book we couldn’t manage waiting any longer to finish. We were supposed to finish reading The Bronze Bow (Elizabeth George Speare) next week. We finished it today and I wept at the very last line. Why wasn’t I introduced to books like this as a child? The book is part of Oldest’s ancient history curriculum from Beautiful Feet Books.



I discovered something new about myself this week. Truly, not something a woman in her forties can say often. After completing four guides from Beautiful Feet Books I am suddenly able to pull assignments from a literature book for my crew. We’ve wrapped up BFB’s History of Science but I decided to tack on The Mystery of the Periodic Table (B. D. Wiker) at the end. We have been reading two to three chapters a day and I have given several assignments and notes for them to put in their science notebooks (even an art project!). We are truly enjoying this wonderful introduction to all things chemistry. A few of the scientists mentioned are old favorites from the Michael Faraday biography (C. Ludwig). Somehow this year, I managed to move from terrified “I’m going to ruin my children’s future” to a newly realized trust in my ability to do this enormous task God has asked of me. I really can homeschool and I won’t destroy my children’s future. I must add this is a humbling revelation and not a jubilant one. The responsibility is far more enormous than I initially understood but one I have the grace through Jesus to accomplish.

puppy pile

puppy pile

I am deeply grateful for ordinary days this week. Not because our schooling experienced interruptions this week. I’ve learned over these three years that interruptions are actually…rather ordinary occurrences. My husband travelled to Lexington last Friday. Usually, his leaving is an occasion for wailing on the children’s part (and mine too!). This time they all looked forward to piling into the big king sized bed with me. They slept well like a pile of puppies. I don’t rest well sleeping like a puppy on the bottom of the pile. We were all delighted to see him Saturday evening and I especially loved tucking them all into their own beds. For the most part this week was about Littlest and his preschool class. Today, I sat in conference with two high-school girls about Littlest. I expected the conference to last about fifteen

Steve from Animal Tales with Monty the python, Middle Boy and Oldest

Steve from Animal Tales with Monty the python, Middle Boy and Oldest

minutes…it took an hour. They had a lot to say about Littlest and his unwillingness to participate in the generally accepted preschool activities. The beat he follows is his own…he is neither a follower nor a leader. I often tease my husband that Littlest is his little doppelgänger. But I think he is more like me than his father sometimes. I too, couldn’t care what anyone thinks of me…well…that isn’t entirely true. I deeply care about my husband’s opinion…and his alone. I understand my youngest child’s independence and the price he will pay for it and the freedom such solitude brings.

sweet, ornery  Littlest

sweet, ornery Littlest

The conference with the two high-school girls was long today and not because they needed to tell me about Littlest. They are grieving. Their teacher has been absent for a while and we all learned last night that she has lost her husband. She is beloved in this small community and we all grieve for her and with her. So I let the girls talk about Littlest and his antics and the teacher we all missed. At the moment, I am grateful for ordinary days…when all is as it should be and all of my loved ones are here with me. Tonight, dear reader, I pray all of your loved ones are safely tucked in for the night. Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


The Power of a Mother’s Words

I’ve never reblogged before but his broke my heart and encouraged me at the same time. I love reading to my children and will likely read an extra story with them today. Personally, as I watched this I remembered cuddling with my grandma as she read Scripture to me and cried my heart out…

A Homeschool Mom

Yesterday morning, a discreet email came addressed to my inbox. A young gentleman who was homeschooled along with his four sisters has recently completed a short film called “What She Taught Me”.

I found his film encouraging and heartfelt. It was a subtle reminder of the importance of what we do.

To explore more of Shaun Lichti’s work, please visit his website HERE

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Christ of the Mountains

I grew up in two worlds…in various military towns and in my grandparents home in the Appalachia foothills. We moved frequently from Washington to Louisiana and many places in-between.  I loved the mountains because everything remained as it was between stays. My early years were with my grandparents…up until about three and then off and on through the years depending on events I have little knowledge. I spent all my summers and winter breaks in the foothills and moved in again at about the age of ten.

My parents were agnostic at the time and eventually my father became more atheistic. He really hated God so I am not sure you could really call him a non believer since you have to believe in something to hate it so much…sadly my brother has followed him into the same nonsensical conclusion. At this point I honestly have no idea what my mother believes…if anything. Well, all of this background is to let you know that my grandmother took it upon herself for my religious education and training. I didn’t mind because she and Papaw were the closest I ever had to a home until I married my husband.

I believe the church she grew up in was called an Old Regular or some would say Primitive Baptist. I liked going to church with Granny and Papaw when I was a kid. Papaw always sat on the back pew very close to the door. I remember being scared to death for him one Sunday when the preacher told us that Old Satan always sat on the back row. I don’t really remember the point of that preaching but I tried several times to get Papaw to sit on the next row up. Granny always sat on the third row from the front, on the left side next to the isle. She said only “show-offs” sat any closer. I liked sitting there because the Candy Lady always sat in front of us and I got a piece of cinnamon gum every Sunday. Granny said “show-offs” always had candy to give away too…

Preachers are different in the mountains. Most of the preaching I was exposed to was not from seminary trained professionals. The mountain preachers had other full time jobs and were not paid by the congregation. (Granny always told me to never trust an outside preacher without a real job.) Usually a plate or hat was passed around after the service for the preacher or sometimes preachers. Sometimes there were more than one preacher and those meetings (we didn’t call them services) could get really long. One of my favorite times was when we’d sing the preacher down. Singing the preacher down was when someone in the congregation (usually a Deacon) would get up while the preacher was talking and start singing. Then someone else would join the deacon and then the rest of us would sing along. These would usually be in the style of shape note singing (I think that is the name of the style). A hymnal wasn’t used  when this happened. Most of the time these happened at the big mountain top graveyard but occasionally during a meeting.

The preaching sounded different too. I’ve never heard the sing-song chant style outside of the mountains. Some even held the Scriptures to the side of their head in order to better hear the Holy Spirit’s message. Most of the sermons were about either hellfire or the Lord’s triumphant return in the final battle when everything will be made new and the dead will get up out of their graves. Some of the sermons I remember were about the dead waiting in their graves for new life and the sound of the victorious trumpet to awake them. I wandered what that must be like for the dead and eventually for myself…all that waiting.  I asked Granny about it once and she told me the good souls went to Jesus and the bad souls waited in their graves for the Great Judgment Day. I still wander about that when I visit graveyards today. Mostly I just stay away. Such thoughts and beliefs made it easy to believe in omens, dreams and visions which were common discussions on the front porch as summer evenings settled into night. Some nights Papaw would tell us a ghost story…

The Jesus I came to know as a child is very different from the Jesus I’ve come to know in modern churches. The Jesus my Granny taught me about was fierce, terrifying and wild. I often imagined Him with flames in His eyes and carrying a flaming sword. He could not be tamed or understood by us regular folk. Looking back it seems I must have heard many sermons on Revelations. Jesus loved children and repentant sinners and He had a dreadful knowledge of right and wrong. I understood that I had to walk the line when my childhood was over because He wouldn’t love me anymore unless I was repentant. I remember very clearly the day my childhood was over but that is a story for another time.  God was very real when I lived in the mountains and we sang hymns while working in the garden and feeding chickens. When I returned to the modern world with my parents I kept my Wildman Jesus a secret. I wasn’t allowed to go to church or ask questions about God. Eventually, my father found my Bible and I never saw it again. But I still remember my Bible. It had a colorful picture of Jesus with children on it and it zipped shut.

I like the modern church I attend now even though it would be nice to “sing the preacher down” sometimes. Jesus seems very friendly and personal in modern churches…so much so that I think we can forget He is Deity. But no matter how Jesus is preached in these modern churches I will always remember He cannot be tamed by anyone…modern or mountain.

Yeah, this post is kinda long and different from my usual sharing. I miss my grandparents and am sad to know that their ways are becoming distant memories, forgotten and stereotyped by shows like Justified. Life and death were hard and faith was breath but it was a good life. Fall is around the corner and that is when I really miss my mountain home…something that is only in my memories now.

Emotional Episodes

My beloved Bible Study group quit meeting last month after nearly five years. I wasn’t ready for this group to end and kept hoping for an email or call that my friend had changed her mind and we would be meeting again. The note never came and my hope withered into sorrow. When Friday morning came I felt the loss and separation from the group rather sharply and cried. I would have to find a new Bible study group.

This past Wednesday night I started with a new group that meets at church. They are currently working through the Precepts inductive Bible study method of Hebrews. I must admit to being a little frightened about the intensity of the study but…oh well…I NEED a Bible study and this is available. Despite my hesitation at the new style of learning and study I dived right in…and nearly drowned.

I underestimated my emotions. I started to speak in class and fell apart. The situation is too new and I failed to give myself time to adjust. Sometimes I think I am more emotionally stable than I truly am. I had an episode…as I call them…one like I haven’t had in a long time. My heart beat so fast I could barely hear my own voice and my blood had that awful pins-and-needle feeling that traveled from my heart all the way to my fingers and toes. I shook so bad I could not write during the rest of class time and gripped the desk so hard my hand is still sore…all I wanted to do was run.

Hopefully next week will go a bit smoother.

Quiet and Broken

Hello my friends. I know it has been kinda quiet on here lately. I hope to be getting back to posting more than just reviews in a few days. My brother’s care is consuming a bit of my time these days. Just as we were adjusting as a family to having him around our mother showed up…sick. Why she couldn’t wait until she felt better…not sure. She just had to see her son right now. The ironic thing is they haven’t said twenty words to each other since she got here on Monday and they haven’t seen each other in nearly four years. My family is so broken.

When my husband’s family gets together there is noise…lots of wonderful noise, talking, laughter and hugs. I love watching when they get together. I usually find a corner and sit back and watch them all enjoy each others company. There is so much beautiful life in the room when they are together…even when they grumble at each other. Sometimes I find it overwhelming…but comforting. I usually find a safe corner to watch from or hide behind my kids.

When my family gets together it is silent…silent like the grave.