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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well, hello, world!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. We sure did. It was filled with the kind of sparkle that I want it to be for my children. I hope yours was too!



The day after Christmas the flu hit us! We are under quarantine here until further notice and all New Years Eve plans with my unlinkable best friend and family are not happening. This is a disappointment, but we would much rather ring in the new year not "blessing" someone else with our sickness, right? :+) I honestly feel thankful that we are as recovered as we are. It is a nasty bug and I am grateful for the health I know is right around the corner.



It is times like these that I start thinking - oh, I miss doing school! I miss reading Mystery of History together, I miss reading Exploring Creation with Zoology 2, I even miss doing math! I think I just miss learning. I hope that we are well enough to begin again next week. It would be so fantastic to get back to business. :+)



I love the Christmas holidays - I love almost everything about them. I love the focus on the advent of our Savior. I love knowing every year that He came. It is a beautiful thing to celebrate. But. I am ready for regular life again. I am ready to read books together on the couch. I am ready to learn together. I am ready to walk our neighborhood and enjoy our winter days. I am ready for the next season.



And you? :+)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tick Tock, Busy! Busy!

Just a few days from the Big Day and we are excited and happy and hoping no one gets sick. Grin. Our son had a fever yesterday, but it seems to have abated. He is normal today so go figure. I just hope it stays that way for our family events of excitement this weekend. :+) I love Christmas!


 


Do you enjoy the holidays? We sure do. I love the music, the lights, the advent books we read, the expectation of the children, the baking, the treats--all of it! We have been very busy and thus no blogging. I thought I would share some of the fun things we have had going on.


 


There is no way to see all the food in this picture, but we had a Redwall Feast in honor of our dear friends' birthdays. Twins it was and twins they still are and celebrate we all did. It was so wonderful! All the kinds of food a mouse could desire were there with the mouse mother, Tamara, at the cooking helm. We contributed only a few things and she slaved away for us! What a mouse mother!


 


We have also been fantabulously busy with our dear co-op gals. We had our Christmas crafty day with cookies, ornaments, fellowship and lots of loud beautiful children. :+) It is amazing how many small people will fit into one's kitchen when one tries to fit them. :+) Who knew co-ops could be so fun? Here some of us are after our ornamenting. I love our co-op!


 


This past weekend we had our early Christmas with my mother. She gifted us a wonderful day at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. WHAT a place! It is the ultimate in hands-on for the children. Every single child, from age 5 to 13, loved it! My little ones were saying, "This is a really fun museum, Mama!" I love hearing that - it is like music to my ears. :+) This  picture is SO great. I just love it. They were having so much fun.


 


Afterwards we walked through the Palace of Fine Arts.




What a lovely lovely area. It is no wonder we saw a wedding party taking their pictures in front of it!


 


Oh, and remember that wonderful birthday surprise I wrote about before? Well, here are the astoundingly fantastic ladies.


 



 


And here are a few of us up close, Mrs. Circle of Quiet on the left and my dear friend Nancy on the right. I am the cheeseball in the middle.  :+)

 


And last but not least, is our Christmas picture. As always, I don't like it of me, but I never like pictures of me so why start now? :+)



 


Now you may understand why I feel SO blessed. I truly am and I am so grateful!




Enjoy the beautiful children in your life. Enjoy the season. Give thanks! For we have so very much to be thankful for! God bless your Christmas.


 


 

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This and That

This landed in my inbox today and I thought it was worth mentioning for those of you with aspiring writers of high school age!


Sylvan Dell Publishing Announces
2008 Picture Book Writing Competition


for Homeschooled Students


 


Sylvan Dell Publishing is proud to announce its 2nd annual Picture Book Writing Competition for Homeschooled Students. The winning author will receive a $200 prize, and the manuscript will be seriously considered for publication.

Sylvan Dell owners, Lee and Donna German, homeschooled their three daughters for five years. The couple admits to a warm spot for homeschooling families, and they hope that this competition will encourage teens to research and write.

Students wishing to submit manuscripts should follow the submission guidelines posted on the Sylvan Dell Web site,
www.sylvandellpublishing.com/HomeschoolingComp.htm.

A brief summary of the guidelines is provided below:
Eligibility: Homeschooled students working at a high school level.

Manuscripts should subtly convey an educational theme through warm, engaging story. Sylvan Dell’s current catalog focuses on teaching science and math through literature.

Manuscripts should be written for one of the following age ranges: 3 to 7, 4 to 8, 5 to 9, or 6 to 10. Authors should be mindful of age-appropriate words.

Microsoft Word’s “readability statistics” can be used to estimate themanuscript’s reading level. Manuscripts should not exceed 1,500 words. Picture books are typically less than 1,000 words, so novels and short stories will not be considered.

As this is a writing competition, illustrations will not be accepted.

Electronic submission only. Manuscripts must be attached to an e-mail message as a Word document. Submission e-mails should be sent only to
MaggieStuart@SylvanDellPublishing.com between March 1 and March 31, 2008, with “Homeschool Writing Contest Submission” and the manuscript title in the subject line.

Students must include their name, date of birth and contact information in the e-mail. The winning manuscript will be announced via a post to Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Web site,
www.SylvanDellPublishing.com, in late April 2008.

Questions about the competition should be directed to Homeschool Market Liaison Maggie Stuart by e-mailing
MaggieStuart@SylvanDellPublishing.com. For complete rules and guidelines as well as frequently asked questions, please visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com/HomeschoolingComp.htm.



**********************************



If any of your students enter, do let me know!

Here is a little something a sweet friend gave me a long time ago. It is the *best* caramel popcorn I have ever had.

Caramel Corn

2 C brown sugar
2 cubes butter
½ C White Karo Syrup
½ t cream of Tartar
1 t baking soda
5 quarts unsalted popcorn (popped) :+

Boil first four ingredients, stirring all the while, for five minutes. Remove from heat and add soda. It will bubble up and become foamy. Pour over popped corn and mix well to coat. Put into buttered baking pan. Bake at 250 F for an hour stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Break apart when cool.

Enjoy!

:+)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Joy

Joy is a splendid thing when it is found amidst a difficult week. We have had a tough time living. Do you ever have those times? Those periods where you think -  am I doing *anything* right at all? I felt so discouraged by the end of yesterday. Then God gave me, just at the time I needed it, a "Mom's Night Out." The ladies in my co-op are four of the dearest people. Three are relatively new friends and one is golden - we have been friends now for quite a while. Our husbands work together and we know a lot about each other and one another's lives. It is nice to be able to say something and hear her giggle and know she knows what I am talking about. She is a dear treasure and I am grateful to God for her.



The other three are wonderful ladies - put in my life at just the time God knew I would need them. That sounds selfish of me, like it is somehow all about *me*, but I don't mean it that way. I feel honored to know them and honored that God chose me to be the beneficiary of such friendships. I need these ladies. I need their friendships. I don't know that I ever realized just how blessed a woman I am. When I feel overwhelmed and in a tight spot--they are there. I see them almost every week and it has enriched my life. I have learned so much from each of them and I am truly grateful. Who knew that a co-op would offer so much to *me* at the same time it offers so much to my family? What a God of blessing we serve! It is joy amidst the daily to do.



Tonight was another blessing of joy. Joy with my daughters and in their pleasure. My husband and son are Cub Scouting tonight in the belly of a WWII submarine. Sleeping there and making merry with a loud group of fellows. They will likely have little sleep, but overflow with memories. I am so happy for them!



This left me at home with my beauties. We decided to celebrate the season with the rest of the locals and headed out with gloves and coats to watch the city light the Christmas tree. Not only did they do that, but the city provided a bounty of excitement for us. From making ornaments to frosting cookies to bounce houses to rock walls to bubble snow falling from the sky. It was all free and a complete surprise to the girls. To watch their faces as three of them successfully climbed to the top of the rock wall--on the first try! To see the utter joy and happiness emanate from them as the "snow" falls from the sky while listening to the Christmas carols being played - it was joy out of a movie scene. I cannot describe it adequately because we were filled with laughter and there is no way to convey that here. It was just a wonderful night.



And then to come home and have the pleasure and honor of my two eldest daughter's company as we discuss some of the weighty issues on their hearts. It is joy to me to know I hold this place for them. I do not have the words to express the feelings in my heart. It is joy to know that God is *this* good to me.



"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." I am so thankful tonight.

Monday, December 03, 2007

If I had a million dollars...

I am so happy with what we purchased for Christmas, but then I discover that other really wonderful thing - do we need that too? Oh. My. Goodness. It is easy to spend money on things that are high quality even when you don't need them! Why is this so easy? It just IS. Do you find that? Here are some things I really *wanted* to get, but I am NOT getting. I am NOT. :+) 

Some of them are not available to ship until after Christmas, but these are exceptionally good prices and may be perfect for the future for a birthday or other gift occasion. We really love books on CD or tape here and that is just what these are. I hope you find something you like. It is hard for me not to like them all. :+)


A Christmas Carol: Focus on the Family Radio Theatre-Audiodrama on CD
By Tyndale Entertainment

It wouldn't be Christmas without Mr. Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim---and that's no humbug! Vividly bringing Dickens's characters to life, this family radio drama highlights the timeless struggle between earthly gain and eternal treasure, and challenges you to examine your own heart to re-evaluate where your treasure lies. Two CDs, 90 minutes total.


Mozart's Magnificent Voyage - Audiobook on CD
By Classical Kids / Children's Book Store Dist.

The Story: The Dream Children are about to be written out of Mozart's most famous opera. In the hopes of changing their fate, they enlist the help of the composer's young son Karl. Together the children embark on an incredible journey that takes them back in time to Mozart's childhood and ahead to the future. Along the way, Karl comes to understand his father's legacy of timeless music. The Music: More than 2 dozen excerpts of Mozart's music, including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Clarinet Quartet, Flute Quartet, Horn Concerto, Symphony No. 1, Ave Verum Corpus, Piano Sonatas, Concerto k.467 and "twinkle" Variations, plus several excerpts from Mozart's best loved operas.


Classic Children's Tales Volume #8 - Audiobook on Cassette
By Edcon Publishing Group

A delightful excursion into the wonderful world of make-believe, where fairy tales and old favorite stories come vividly to life. Children will be inspired by expert narrators using dramatic dialogue, music, and exciting sound effects. This volume includes Penny's Travels, Puss in Boots, and Mother Hulda, Epaminondas, Br'er Rabbit's Laffin' Place, and the Little Red Hen. 1 Cassette.


Great Stories Volume #1 - Audiobook on CD
By Your Story Hour

Your Story Hour is proud to prsent this great new collection of dramtized stories. The role models in these wonderful stories will inspire and teach important values so necessary in the development of good character traits for today's youth. Kids of all ages will enjoy listening to these recordings over and over again. 6 CDs.


Ben Hur - Focus on the Family Radio Theatre audiodrama on CD
By Lew Wallace / Tyndale Entertainment


An unforgettable account of betrayal, revenge, redemption, Focus on the Family Radio Theatre’s production of Ben-Hur tells the tale of a nobleman who fell from Roman favor and was sentenced to live as a slave--all at the hands of his childhood friend, Messala. Once nearly brothers, any hope of reconciliation is dashed after Messala is seriously injured during a vicious chariot race won by the vindictive Ben-Hur. But what makes this adaptation of Lew Wallace’s best-selling story unforgettable is the changed man Ben-Hur becomes after seeing Christ on the cross. Recorded in London with film-style sound, this action-packed production shares that compassion is the true path to redemption.


Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie Series #2 (Audio book on CD)
By Laura Ingalls Wilder / Harperchildrensaudio

As a young man, Almanzo Wilder will meet a brown-eyed, brown-haired girl named Laura Ingalls and fall in love. But as a young boy, Almanzo has no time for girls! His life is about farming and chores, and most of all, about wanting his own horse. Before his dreams can come true, Almanzo must prove to his father that he is ready to take on more responsibilities--and this is harder than he ever imagined. Unabridged. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Read by Cherry Jones. 6 hours. 6 CDs.


At the Back of the North Wind- Focus On The Family, 2 CD Set
By George MacDonald / Tyndale Entertainment

In this Radio Theatre audio drama adaptation of George MacDonald’s classic story, a beautiful woman known as the North Wind blows through a small village in Victorian London, and everyday lives are mysteriously enveloped by a power and a glory. Along the way, she visits a poor stable boy named Diamond and takes him with her on her journeys. At the Back of the North Wind explores the place of death in our lives, social injustice, and our deep need for love and forgiveness.

The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter Audiobook on CD
By Beatrix Potter / Tantor Media Inc.

Hear Peter Rabbit outwit old Mr. McGregor and Squirrel Nutkin come within a tail's length of being an owl's dinner. Listen as a family of mice save the kind tailor of Glouster and how Peter and Benjamin Bunny battle a barn cat. Learn how two bad mice and one fierce rabbit are set on the road to honesty. Beatrix Potter's amazing universe of animals dressed in human clothing has taught and entertained children for nearly a century. Her love of animals and children is apparent in each of these twenty-one tales. 3 CDs. 3 hours, 31 minutes. Unabridged.

Adventures in Life, Your Story Hour Volume 8, Audiobook on CD
By Your Story Hour

These fully-dramatized, true-to-life, character-building adventures exemplify the high moral values so necessary for successful living. Your child will not easily forget the impression made and the lesson learned as they listen to these exciting stories. Complete with sound effects and music, enacted by a professional cast. Exciting, educational, and entertaining! 12 CDs.


Classic Stories for a Girl's Heart: Focus on the Family Radio Theatre--CDs
By Tyndale Entertainment

From the award-winning Radio Theatre team comes a trio of beloved stories for young girls! Featuring soaring musical scores and riveting performances from world-class actors including Gemma Jones, Mae Whitman, and Joan Plowright, these productions of Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and The Secret Garden will captivate your entire family. Nine slipcased CDs, approx. 10.5 hours total.

Jonathan Park Volume 2: No Looking Back, Audio CD
By The Vision Forum, Inc

Tune in to listen to the continuing adventures of the Park and Brenan families. Captivating for listeners of all ages while it teaches the truth of biblical, 6-day creation. Each adventure is based on real places and scientific discoveries! Each episode is approximately 26 minutes, plus a free study guide is included! 4 CDs; 312 minutes total run time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Music Minutes

I often work at night and when I can listen to music without too much disruption to the household, I enjoy a wide variety. Some nights I love my beautiful movie soundtrack CDs from Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, The Lord of the Rings I, II, and III, Master and Commander, and even Pirates of the Caribbean. Tonight though, I was enjoying a new-to-us CD by the Newsboys: Shine: The Hits.  I know they might be too "rockish" for some, but they have some of the most powerfully positive lyrics--they really touch my heart sometimes! This was the one tonight that got me and if you follow the link you can hear a portion of it after scrolling down.



Joy


You give me joy that's unspeakable and I like it, and I like it, yea
Your love for me's irresistible, I can't fight it, I can't fight it


If life is water I was dry as Tilson dirt
If it's a gamble I've already lost my shirt
If it's a journey I was dazed without a clue
I flipped a "U" back to the first love I ever knew


You give me joy that's unspeakable and I like it, and I like it, yea
Your love for me's Irresistible, I can't fight it, I can't fight it
You carried the cross, You took my shame.  I believe it, I believe it
You shine Your light of amazing grace.  I receive it, I receive it


If life's a battle the invasion is complete
If it's a rhythm I have found the perfect beat
If it's a Renaissance I've got a new birthday
The world don't give it and the world can't take it away


You give me joy that's unspeakable and I like it, and I like it, yea
Your love for me's Irresistible, I can't fight it, I can't fight it
You carried the cross, You took my shame.  I believe it, I believe it
You shine Your light of amazing grace.  I receive it, I receive it


I'm bowed and broken.  Everything's new
All that I need, You're like water to seed
And how Your love rights everything wrong
And in my weakness You're ever stronger
You're pulling me back where I belong


You give me joy that's unspeakable and I like it, and I like it, yea
Your love for me's irresistible, I can't fight it, I can't fight it
You carried the cross, You took my shame.  I believe it, I believe it
You shine Your light of amazing grace.  I receive it, I receive it




God is so good to us! I rejoice in music that lifts my spirit. God is GOOD.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quickly stopping in...


I wanted to share a success for us this week. I love things that streamline our life and this helped start the day out right! On Sunday night I put together the following:

Easy Crockpot Oatmeal or 7-Grain Cereal Recipe




2 C dry steel cut oats (not instant or rolled oats)
OR
2 C dry 7-Grain Cereal (9-Grain is fine too)
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ C brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 C raisins

Spray or lightly wipe down crockpot with nonstick cooking spray or butter. If you are planning to cook the grain 8 hours or longer, use 8 cups of water. If you want to cook it less than 8 hours, use 6 cups of water. Put ingredients in sprayed crockpot and cook on low. Just before serving, if you like them, you can add chopped nuts or sprinkle with a little more brown sugar if desired. We also added milk. :+)

This was an excellent way to get the day going quickly and easily! After we ate it I saved the leftovers in a covered plastic container and soaked the crockpot. It cleaned quickly after a soak of a few hours.

Right after breakfast (lasting a whole of twenty minutes) we jumped into the day. It was so refreshing not to be standing over the stove! I just thought I would share. :+)  

 guess I just cannot stay away for too long. :+) I have had a lot going on and was feeling a bit overwhelmed when I posted the last post. Do you ever just feel like life is a tad overbooked and you cannot figure out how it happened? That is sort of what I have been feeling. I feel like we are coming out of a fog, but we are finally seeing the way. :+) That sounds much more dramatic than I really feel, but I am just so relieved that school is going well and that we are back to learning full time without sickness! Sickness is such a downer, isn't it?

OK, well, that is about all for tonight as I have to get back to reality. I hope you have a lovely week! I will try to be here more often, but thanks for your understanding if we don't connect as often. I appreciate your comments and kindness!



Saturday, November 24, 2007

We interrupt this life...

I am sorry I have not posted in a while. I have not been very motivated to do so. We have had more than enough of sickness and just a very busy life. I think I am going to take a planned vacation from my blog as well as my online poking-around. I have found myself focused on things that really don't have much consequence to my home life and it needs to be reversed.

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and I will come back and chat again in the future. Thanks for understanding.

Warmly,
Kate

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'll take the life behind door number five.

It is a strange thing when your youngest turns five. For those of you who have experienced it, you know what I mean. There are no more babies in the house. There are not even any toddlers! Our Emma is quite proud to be a fiver as I call her. I am happy she is. I kept telling her she would not be allowed to turn five - that I was going to make her stay four. It didn't work. It is a melancholy feeling! We are so blessed to have our five beautiful and most-of-the-time healthy brood. It is tremendously wonderful to see the tides of change, the conversations grow more serious and interesting - the dance of life. But it still leaves me feeling a bit sad. There is that nothing stays the same thing again. But God is *always* good in the midst of it all and I am so very grateful for each and every moment.

Lisa Winton, a lovely woman with a "thinking" kind of
blog, shared some very potent and important reminders last week. It is worth your time to read them. They moved me. Especially this part:

"Example is better than precept. The power of training lies not in what we say and teach but in what we are and do. We train our children not in talking about ideals and lofty goals but by living these out before them. It is not merely our strong desires or theories but our will and our practice that actually do the training. It is by living the Christ-life that we prove that we love Christ and that we are His true followers, and in this way we will influence young minds to love Christ and to live for Him too."

I so needed this reminder! It is just so easy to get wrapped up in the things that are just not that important. I have to remember that there are five small people watching me.



We have had a great deal of sickness here the past few weeks. I am praying it is OVER and done for the entire sickness season. Please let it be so! Here is what my sweet boy did for his sisters while one was quite ill. It is good to have a good reader for a brother!


I have also been experimenting with beans. Do you have any fantastic not-so-high-in-fat bean recipies worth eating? I made what actually turned out to be a truly bang-up white bean soup. I cannot say it was low fat per se, but it was loaded with healthy veggies and so full of flavor!

We also topped it off with homemade biscuits. These are my last minute make-do-for-bread biscuits, but they are just so yummy that I don't know why I look at them that way. I suppose because they are not whole wheat bread. LOL


*Before* we were all so ill, we had been doing history and other school work and I felt like I was on top of the homeschool life that is my world. Here was our living room filled with history timelines in the making!







I was feeling so excited about doing these and then we got sick. Well, this is a new week, right? We are in the midst of a highly enjoyable Mystery of History and life is good. :+) I *am* so enjoying MOH. I mean I don't even know how to write how excited I am about it. It is absolutely everything I was looking for. God be praised! Kendra, a dear sweet fellow homeschooling mother, interviewed the author of MOH and I enjoyed it a great deal. I thought you might too. It is such an encouragement to read about the hearts of the authors we appreciate. :+)

 


We are also going to be starting some excellent (at least I hope they are LOL) read-alouds for history. We have not read a good book together in far too long. This is our line-up for a while anyway:



What Really Happened in Ancient Times



Priceless Jewel at the Well: The Diary of Rebekah's Nursemaid 
(This one is on super sale and looks like it is going out of print. Its sister books are out of print already.)




Hadassah, The Girl Who Became Queen Esther  



Hittite Warrior



Victory on the Walls: A Story of Nehemiah



Within the Palace Gates



The Sign Above the Door
(This one I am especially excited about. This is a newer homeschool-run company and I just love them. This book is a fantastic [and I really mean fantastic] addition to any Egyptian study. Far better than what is out there!)

And I am going to end on something you just don't see every day - such a lovely flower. I just had to share its beauty. It's not every day a freeway daisy looks so lovely. :+)




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A little belated...

But full of love for her none-the-less! My baby turned five on October 29th. Life is going too fast.

Isn't she a a bug of cuteness? We think so. :+)

 

Friday, October 26, 2007

Christmas Finds

Well, it has been a few days since posting and that would be because we have had a wild week of sickness. Ick City! I *think* we are coming out of it. I sincerely hope so! God was gracious to us in that we did not have a terrible time of it, but there was a barking cough scare this AM that turned out to be croup. Who knew a seven year-old could get croup? Always something new to learn! :+) Praise God for health!

The rest of this entry cannot be read by anyone with my last name. :+)

That means you, Hannah and Abigail! :+)

Read no further or be sad sad sad come Christmas morning. :+)

Our family has for years made books a big part of our Christmas. Each child usually gets a stack of books as their own along with another gift for fun and a full stocking. I loved stockings as a child so this is something I do because I just love it.

It has gotten harder and harder to find books that are both interesting to the children, well written, and of solid moral fiber. I know that not all the books we read will have a Christian theme, and that is fine. There are so many more books without a Christian theme available than there are *with* them that I wanted to focus as much on that as I could this year. I think (at least I hope anyway) that I have succeeded. The books below are in no particular child order - they were just the ones lucky enough to be purchased--and now stashed away for Christmas morning. Feel free to share your thoughts!








52162: Adara Adara
By Beatrice Gormley

Adara has always longed to do the things that well-brought-up girls of her time are not supposed to do. She wants to learn to read and write--like men. And she wants the freedom to travel--like men--outside the boundaries of her sheltered life. One day she awakens to a blast of trumpets as the Israelites and Arameans battle just outside the safety of her village walls. Curious, Adara sneaks out to see the battle. Little does she know that this will be her last day of freedom for a very long time. Sold into slavery, Adara becomes a servant to General Namaan and his family and begins a remarkable journey of self-discovery, healing, and redemption--a journey that, in the end, faces her with the hardest decision of her life. For ages 9 and up.










4464X: The Treasure of Pelican Cove The Treasure of Pelican Cove
By Milly Howard

Besides Granny and Hiram, a small dog named Blackie is the best friend Jimmy has at Land's End. Hiram tells a fascinating story about a pirate called Pegleg, and before long everyone is scrambling for hidden treasure. But then there's trouble. Blackie mysteriously disappears and Jimmy is determined to find him. He discovers that Blackie's trail crosses another treasure hunter's trail. What does the man want with Blackie? Will the trail lead to treasure or danger? Ages 7-9










208116: Regina Silsby's Secret War Regina Silsby's Secret War
By Thomas J. Brodeur

Not until she reached the back gate of her father's garden did she slow her pace. Through the shrubbery she bustled and climbed the woodpile to her window. Thrusting up the sash, she tumbled through the opening, gathered up her bed sheet ladder, and banged down the pane once more. After arranging the curtains she tugged off her wig and mask. "Well, that's that," she said with a smile. "indeed?" came a voice from behind her.

Pre-Revolution Boston walks a tightrope. Will the townsfolk continue to appease the king of England, or preserve the freedoms he is bringing more and more under siege? Regina Silsby seems to have taken up arms in defense of freedom. But how can that be? She has been dead for thirty years. 248 pages, paperback. From Journey Forth.












227454: Regina Silsby's Phantom Militia Regina Silsby's Phantom Militia
By Thomas J. Brodeur

The British army's worst nightmare becomes a reality when rumors spread that the legendary ghost Regina Silsby has return to defend pre-Revolution Boston. And the situation grows even more grim for the redcoats when they begin to believe that she is not alone this time. Even the brash Major Cauldon gets nervous as he sees his ranks thinning under this well-coordinated, and apparently well-connected menace. Young adult readers will thrill at the daring feats and foibles in this magnificent sequel to Regina Silsby's Secret War. Softcover, 280 pages.










421438: Martyr of the Catacombs: A Tale of Ancient Rome Martyr of the Catacombs: A Tale of Ancient Rome
By Anonymous

This classic work describes the factual persecution that early Christians experienced as they lived out their lives in the catacombs beneath Rome. While the characters depicted are fictional, the work follows the historical sequence of Roman persecutions and accurately portrays the brutality and cruelty that early believers suffered.










0848343: The Lost Prince The Lost Prince
By Peggy Downing

Segra longs to find her parents, who have been missing since Exitorn's revolution against Emperor Immane. Brill has promised to help her, but he also wants to search for the lost prince of Exitorn. As they journey across Exitorn and beyond its borders, they encounter robbers, shipwreck, and a greedy king. But, thanks to Segra, a beautiful meladora bird named Stargull comes to their aid. This sequel to Brill of Exitorn is recommended for ages 7 to 9.










0847363: Brill of Exitorn Brill of Exitorn
By Peggy Downing

Brill's adventure in the palace of Exitorn begins when he's chosen for a high position in the governmet. Forced to leave his mother and their little farm in Grebing, Brill journeys to Palatial Island where he will serve the royal family as a companion to selfish Emprince Grossder. Brill discovers that he must keep the Emprince entertained at all times or risk being thrown to the dinogaters. This prequel to The Lost Prince is recommended for ages 7 to 9.










5765: The Tanglewoods' Secret The Tanglewoods' Secret
By Patricia St. John

In a struggle to learn to overcome her fiery temper and selfish spirit, Ruth is led to the discovery of a very important Shepherd who can and does teach her how to be good. The story contains beautiful and uplifting examples of what can happen when we let ourselves be found by Him.










628686: The Princess and the Kiss The Princess and the Kiss
By Jennie Bishop

A loving king and queen present their daughter with a gift from God--her first kiss--to keep or to give away. The wise girl waits for the man who is worthy of her precious gift. Where is he and how will she ever find him? The surprising answer in this marvelous parable will touch the heart of parent and child alike.

The Princess and the Kiss beautifully portrays the ageless message that "love ... comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5 NIV). Recommended for all ages, especially ages 6 and up.












170793: The Squire and the Scroll: A Tale of the Rewards of a Pure Heart The Squire and the Scroll: A Tale of the Rewards of a Pure Heart
By Jennie Bishop

Little girls worldwide have embraced Jennie Bishop's best-selling morality tale The Princess and the Kiss--and ever since its publication, parents have been clamoring for a companion book for boys. Here's the answer! This captivating adventure follows a young squire who travels a long, dangerous road beside his brave knight on a quest for their king. The action builds until the final face-off with the monstrous, evil dragon. Only then does the Squire learn of the secret beyond the cave that ends in a joyous celebration for the entire kingdom.

Children will gain valuable insight as they learn, along with the young squire, what it means to face the dangers of temptation, and what it takes to guard one's heart from all that is impure. Recommended for ages 6 and up.












690781: The Lightlings The Lightlings
By R.C. Sproul, illustrated by Justin Gerard

In The Lightlings, Dr. R.C. Sproul weaves an allegorical tale that captures the essence of the biblical story of redemption in a manner that will fascinate and delight children. A race of tiny beings known as lightlings represent humanity as they pass through all the stages of the biblical drama--creation, fall, and redemption. In the end, children will understand why some people fear light more than darkness, but why they need never fear darkness again. With richly detailed illustrations by Justin Gerard, this picture book also has discussion questions and Scripture references that will help parents guide children into the deeper meaning of the story. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.










56334: The True Princess The True Princess
By Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrated by Diana Magnuson

Once upon a time, a king embarked on a journey. Before he left, he hid his precious daughter in a bakery shop. She soon discovered that life outside the castle was different. Would she learn to care for others? A wonderful tale about a child who realized that a true princess serves her people and God. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.










37019X: The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow
By Allen French

After Hiarandi is unjustly slain, his sixteen-year-old son Rolf is made outlaw by the same murderous neighbors. Rolf flees Iceland with his faithful cousin Frodi, only to be enslaved in the Orkneys by proud Grani. However, when the marauding baresarks arrive, master and slave alike must fight for their lives-and Rolf is the only man who can string the mighty Viking bow. Allen French's tale of Iceland told in the classic saga form, is an exciting story of Christian versus pagan values, forgiveness versus pride. The way Rolf comes to terms with his enemies in the face of injustice creates a suspenseful, thought-provoking book dificult to put down. By the author of "The Red Keep". Ages 10 and up.










200043: The Escape: The Adventures of Three Huguenot Children Fleeing Persecution The Escape: The Adventures of Three Huguenot Children Fleeing Persecution
By A. VanderJagt

A tale of the Huguenots in 1685-1695, for readers age 12-99, this tells of a family who endures tough times. The mother dies, early in the story, and the father is banished to a slave galley for life on a war ship. In spite of threats and punishment, 16-year-old John and his 10-year-old sister Manette, refuse to give up the faith they have been taught.










40991: The Tinker's Daughter: A Story Based on the Life of Mary Bunyan The Tinker's Daughter: A Story Based on the Life of Mary Bunyan
By Wendy Lawton

John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim's Progress, mentions only one of his six children in his memoirs--Mary. Born blind in 1650, her story still intrigues us nearly 350 years later. When her father was imprisioned for unlawful preaching, it was 10-year-old Mary who traveled the streets of Bedford each day, bringing soup to her father in prison. Mary developed a fierce determination for independence, after spending years proving that she was not hindered by her blindness. Only when she admited the she needed help did she turn to the Lord; the Source of all strength.










0843481: Bracken Trilogy #1: The Bridge Bracken Trilogy #1: The Bridge
By Jeri Massi

Princess Rosalynn is pretty, spoiled, and childish. She gives no thought to the men and women that protect her father's throne. Then one day, invaders from the enormous kingdom across the river storm across the Bridge and conquer the royal castle. Alone and in danger, Rosalynn sets out on foot to find her father. Driven by fear, she finds the Bridge and crosses it. In the enemy kingdom, she meets an unexpected friend--a woman who has discovered a secret way to save Rosalynn's kingdom. Together Rosalynn and the wise woman face enemy soldiers, wicked outlaws, and the wilds of the river on their quest to save her tiny kingdom. Their goal is the Bridge itself and the secret that it holds.










45262: Priceless Jewel at the Well: The Diary of Rebekah's Nursemaid Priceless Jewel at the Well: The Diary of Rebekah's Nursemaid
By Anne Tyra Adams

Eleven-year-old- Alisah goes to live with Rebekah to aid her aging nurse, Deborah, and raise money to support her family. Through Deborah's stories, Alisah learns of Rebekah's generous spirit and faithful love and records the details in her diary. She writes about Rebekah at the well, her travels with Isaac, and the struggle between Jacob and Esau for Isaac's blessing. Young girls will enjoy this beautiful story of following God's will, learning from mistakes, and loving completely. Recommended for ages 8 and up.










45262: Tom Watkins' Mistake Tom Watkins' Mistake
By Emma Leslie

Tom Watkins' Mistake realistically illustrates common temptations encountered by young people today. In a day of situation ethics, this relevant story speaks volumes. A brother and sister, enticed by material gain, forfeit their good reputation. A little boy realizes that true character is built by always telling the truth.










45262: Tom Watkins' Mistake Saved By Love
By Emma Leslie

Elfie is streetwise, rebellious, and a liar. She is convinced that nobody could love her because her sin is too great. She meets Susie who finally convinces her that no sin is too great for God.



Whew! In my searching and purchasing I discovered that it was *less* expensive to buy from Christian Book and pay shipping than it was to buy from Amazon with free shipping. The prices at Christian Book were just so much better. (Even *without* the coupon code I am giving you below! They were just that much better!) And here is that coupon code. I am not sure it still works, but in case you are in the buying mood, here it is: 251442AA

If you try to use it and it no longer works, please let me know. I will take if off this post. :+)

I love finding treasures! Don't you? What have you found so far in your Christmas hunt?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Favorite Hymn and CD

When we first sang the hymn, "Of the Father's Love Begotten," at church I had absolutely no idea how to sing it! The notes were much too difficult for me to sing - at least on first try! It stuck with me though, because of the words. I just love the words:

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

1. Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

2. Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

3. O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

4. This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

5. Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

I liked the way this version sounded so much that I bought the whole album. (The album is only $10--not the $100 version I linked to above--but you can listen to the whole song at the link and I just love it. The album has the beautiful version with a bunch of absolutely gorgeous songs as well. :+)

Do you have a favorite hymn or album? I love finding new (to me at least) music that feeds my soul.

Oh, and I will get to that Christmas post soon. Too tired tonight! :+) I did get to review a really lovley book, First Snow in the Woods. They also sent along the *cutest* little plush fawns! My little girls will love them. :+) The photographs in this book are so beautiful. It is one of those books that you will return to again and again.

I wrote in my review, "As the fawn witnesses the changes his mother shares, “All things change. All creatures must prepare to follow their heartsong.” I like this way of putting it. I believe that it is God that places that heartsong in all His creatures – that He is the one that gifts His creatures with those “distant memories.” Even though the book does not state this implicitly, it is evident in all His creation and the book displays this well." I love that even books that are not expressly Christian still give glory to the Creator. I was very happy to review it and happy to recommend it.

Do you have any new-to-you Christmas or winter-oriented books? Or fall books for that matter since we have only just begun! I look forward to hearing your favorites.


 

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So Much Goodness!

Well, there are just too many things going on and so much kindness - I just have to share it. I had a lovely birthday, thank you all for your comments! It was a *very* nice day topped off with my lovely friend, Jo, sending me the prettiest gorgeous roses, as well as Kathi, bringing over the nicest tray of cheese, hummus, and crackers, wine, chocolate covered coffee beans, dark chocolate and grapes. It was a lovely tray and the fellowship was sweet. There were so many roses they were in three places in my house! I felt so special!



AND my dear husband gave me a $50 gift card for Bath and Body Works and I have been enjoying their Lavender and Vanilla lotion as well as a whole bunch of deliciously smelling fall and Christmasy candles. YUM! My house has never smelled so good. :+)



AND then on Friday night my husband and two dear girlfriends planned a COMPLETE and TOTAL surprise party for me with all my dearest local girl friends. I was absolutely stunned. I turned white and got all shakey and teary! My goodness, what a wonderful special marvelous night. Thank you *SO* much, Mark, Heather, Grace, Diane, Anne, Tammy, Nancy, Tamara, and Kathi! I felt so honored and loved--you made my year! Your gifts of love and laughter help make my life the treasured blessing that it is.



AND then my curriculum arrived! My Mystery of History is in the house! We began it today and boy, I already love it! It starts out with an intro/overview to a section of lessons and then with what they term a "pretest." It is not supposed to be used as a test and we had a great time discussing the questions and seeing who knew the answers. It is a creative way to get their minds working towards the lesson and it worked for all of us. :+) The curriculum is written an a very friendly and engaging way and I love the author's manner towards her intended audience. What a blessing. We are going to do the Wall of Fame Timeline and the Memory Cards. By the end of this year I may be 100% hooked on MOH. :+) I am finally excited about what we are using and the children are too.



AND then I was given a bunch of beautiful clothing for my birthday and some birthday money to select a few choice items for myself, and some very pretty new brown shoes. Some of the items are still on their way and I am giddy when the mail guy or UPS comes. LOL I love new clothes. I don't often buy them, but they sure are fun when I get them. :+)



AND then I went Christmas shopping for the children. I have been spending hours pouring over certain things for them and I will list those in another entry when I have proper time to link to all the goodies I found. I also want to give them a heads up that they are not to read the next entry on pain of death! LOL OR, they will be seriously disappointed come Christmas morning. :+)



AND it has been super fallish in weather and I have been enjoying those candles so much and enjoying the rainyish weather and the lovely air that comes with it and have been enjoying life. I feel so very blessed--so much so!



SO, that is all for now. But that is *so* much, isn't it? :+) God is SO good to me.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Celebrating Life

I have been given the gift of life--37 years today. I just want to thank my Savior for those years and pray for many more. :+) I also wanted to share with you the joys of my life. Since I cannot put a picture of God here, you will just have to understand that He is first. :+)



Here is the best man alive, my husband Mark.


 



 


Here are the best children in the world:


 



 


And even our dog, Annie.


 



 


And our sweet psychotic kitties, Pip and Caspian:


 




For all these and so very much more,


I am just incredibly thankful today.


It is indeed a very Happy Birthday to me. :+)

Monday, October 08, 2007

I school therefore I file...

So today I filed my Private School Affidavit with the State of California. It is fairly easy to homeschool here, and I am grateful for that. It is not easy to *homeschool* necessarily (grin) but it is easy to get yourself established as a homeschooler. I have heard of the many state-mandated hoops that other families must go through outside of CA so I am grateful for our system.

I sort of dread filing the Affidavit though, and I don't really even know why. I think I just dislike having to have anything to do with the state. I guess I just believe that we ought to have the right as parents to school our children without involving the state, or notifying them, at all. They don't feel that way though so in order to obey the law, we file the affidavit. Have you California ladies filed yours yet?

What about you other state mamas - what hoops do you have to jump through?

We have having a better week - starting out right and jumping in.
Total Language Plus is going well and we are enjoying it very much. Do you ever find that what you think your children might not like, they end up really liking? I was not sure if all the different worksheets that are inside TLP were overkill or if they helped the children. They have Vocabulary, Grammar, Dictation (which I use as Copywork), Spelling, and Reading Comprehension. I was thinking that it was overkill. I spoke my thoughts and the children almost drowned me out with protest. :+) They really enjoy the worksheets because a) they are done in a pretty interesting and engaging manner, and b) they really help them learn the words they are studying. The vocabulary and spelling words are the same so they study them from many angles. Abigail had some difficult words last week and she aced her spelling test. I was very happy (and so was she!)

We have been using
Lamp and Quill for Bible study for the last nine or ten weeks now and there are many thoughts rumbling through my mind about it. I love the focused study on the sections and subjects and that it is systematic study. We are studying the days of creation and have been all over the Bible--not just in Genesis. I like that she makes us think, asks questions that don't always have one answer. (And then of course, there are the questions that do.) :+) I like that I am studying the same things with my children, but I have limited it to the oldest three. Currently the two youngest are with us listening and coloring, but the questions we are discussing are often really over their heads.

Their books are not like ours, and are, of course, on a more simplified level. This study is so so good for children who can really comprehend it, but I have been less impressed by the usability of the younger levels--at least within the scope of family Bible study time. This is not because the quality of the materials is any less, but more because it is very difficult to teach this subject to so many different levels at once. It really is not possible to teach the same material to a 13 year-old and a 5 year-old, at the same time, and have it be meaningful to both.

So, I am not 100% sure if I will continue to use the study with my younger ones, but I am 100% sure I will be using it with my older ones. If all I had was younger ones I would consider it, but I would also want to see samples of the questions to see if my children could really do the assignments. There are several that are quite over my seven year-old's head and her book is designed for a child her age and even a bit younger. At this point I have ordered the
The Child's Story Bible for my two little ones and we will enjoy reading that together. I will likely continue using the First Catechism with all of them too. (Search here under that title for a hardcopy and here for an online resource.)  

I would be interested in hearing how it is going from any of you who are using Lamp and Quill with younger aged children alone. Since that is not my situation, I would really like to know how it is working with your family. I think if I used it at a separate time with my little ones it might work better here. I may consider that and give it a "go" as well.

So what are you using that is new this year and how has it been working so far for your family? What are your "must have" products for this year? :+)

May your week be a blessed one.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Middle Mark

Yes, we are half way through the fall birthday bonanza. My wonderful husband of fifteen years is turning 38 today. Happy Birthday, love! You are precious and wonderful and we ALL appreciate you!



We have two more birthdays left until we have a family break. We group our birthdays here (fall and spring) and we didn't even plan that! We plan to head out to dinner and a movie tonight. I hope you enjoy your own evening! :+)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Doings and Thinkings

Well, here we were all healthy and wise for lunch, eating my homemade hummus with whole grain crackers and cucumbers and red bell pepper for dipping, and what do I go and do this afternoon? I made chocolate cookies. I mean I have a serious fat tooth. No, not a sweet tooth, but a fat tooth. I love butter. It is just so bad, but I do. I so rarely make cookies that my children were utterly gleeful that they would actually get to eat them after I made them. LOL I guess I am not the picture of home baking bliss.  :+)


 


I am super excited. I just had an email from Maggie Hogan (www.BrightIdeasPress.com) and I am going to be blogging my Mystery of History experience. I have never used this program, but have heard untold positive things about it. I was using The Story of the Ancient World, but it was not covering all the things I wanted it to cover. Its subtitle is "A Revised and Expanded Edition of 'The Story of the Chosen People'" and I did not realize that when I bought it. I was looking for a blended version of Bible history along with ancient history and this is just not it. Sooooo, we will begin again at the beginning with MOH. :+) Yippie!


 


I have been reading one of the most fascinating books, The Curate of Glaston, by George MacDonald. It is actually three books under one binding. The Curate of Glaston, The Lady's Confession, and The Baron's Apprenticeship. MacDonald is mostly known today for his books for children, The Princess and the Goblin, and the sequel, The Princess and Curdie. This is a whole different animal and a very engaging story. There have been so many quotable portions that I have been hard-pressed to share only the few I will below. I hope you enjoy them. You can expect more to come!



"There are those, like George, who believe men will be happy to learn there is no God. To them I say, preach it then, and prosper in proportion to its truth. No; that from my pen would be a curse. Do not preach it until you have searched all the expanse of the universe, lest what you should consider a truth should turn out to be false and there should be after all somewhere, somehow, a living God, a Truth indeed who has created and governs the universe. You may be convinced there is no God such as this or that in whom men imagine they believe. But you cannot be convinced there is no God."







"I began, but did not that night get even through the first chapter of Matthew. Conscientiously I read every word of the genealogy. But when I came to the twenty-first verse and read, 'Thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins,' I fell on my knees. No system of theology had come between me and a common-sense reading of the book. I did not for a moment imagine that to be saved from my sins meant to be saved from the punishment of them. My sinfulness remained clear to my eyes, and my sins too. I hated them, yet could not free myself from them. They were in me and of me, and how was I to get rid of them? But here was news of one who came to deliver me from that in me which was bad."



"Ah, Mr. Wingfold, what if, after all the discoveries are made, all the theories are set up and pulled down--what if, after all this, the strongest weapon a man can wield is prayer to the one who made him!"



"To tell you all that followed, if I could recall it in order, would take hours. Suffice it to say that from that moment on I became a student, a disciple. Before long there came to me also the two same questions you asked: How do I know there is a God at all? and How am I to konw that such a man as Jesus ever lived? I could answer neither. But in the meantime I was reading the story--was drawn to the Man, and was trying to understand his being, and character, and the principles of his life and action. To sum it all up, not many months had passed before I had forgotten to seek an answer to either question: they were in fact no longer questions. I had seen the man Jesus Christ, and in him had known the Father of him and of me."



"My dear sir, no conviction can be got--or if it could be got, would be of any lasting value--through that dealer in secondhand goods, the intellect. If by it we could prove there is a God, it would be of small avail indeed. We must see him and know him. And I know of no other way of knowing that there is a God but that which reveals what he is--and that way is Jesus Christ as he revealed himself on earth, and as he is revealed afresh to every heart that seeks to know the truth about him."



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thirteen


How did so many years pass? Can it be that I have a beautiful teenage daughter already? She turns 13 today and it is a profound occurrence to me. My oldest baby is 13! I remember measuring at the midwife with her. I remember seeing her on the sonogram when she was as tiny as a kidney bean. I remember all these things like it was yesterday.


 


But here she is today, a lovely beautiful soul full of life and questions and interests on the cusp of womanhood. I am blessed beyond measure by her and even more grateful to God for this wonderful life.


 


Because my life is changing - and my littles are fast growing - I have been reading on and off Paul David Tripp's, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens. I put it does to finish a series I was reading and have picked it up again. Last night I read these words:


 



“We tend to approach parenting with expectations as if we had hard-and-fast guarantees. We think that if we do our part, our children will be model citizens. Yet in a fallen world, this is not always the way it works. We tend to approach parenting with a sense of ownership, that these are our children and their obedience is our right.”


 


“These assumptions pave the way for our identity to get wrapped up in our children. We begin to need them to be what they should be so that we can feel a sense of achievement and success. We begin to look at our children as our trophies rather than God’s creatures. We secretly want to display them on the mantels of our lives as visible testimonies to a job well done. When they fail to live up to our expectations, we find ourselves not grieving for them and fighting for them, but angry at them, fighting against them, and, in fact, grieving for ourselves and our loss. We are angry because they have taken something valuable away from us, something we have come to treasure, something that has come to rule our hearts: a reputation for success.”


 


“It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that these are God’s children. They do not belong to us. They are given not to bring us glory, but him. Our teenagers are from him, they exist through him, and the glory of their lives points to him. We are but agents to accomplish his plan. We are but instruments in his hands. Our identity is rooted in him and his call to us, not in our children and their performance.”


 



These were important words for me to read. I must remember - every day - that these blessings are not jewels in my own crown, but in God's. They are His and only here with us for a short time. Oh, how short it is!

It is just a mere blink of the eye until she will be considered an adult in the eyes of the world. She will always be my little girl though. She will always be that chubby little baby who crawled backwards; that little toddler who tried so hard not to smile for the photographer; that funny early reader making all those endearing mispronunciations; that lovely young lady with a growing desire for knowledge and wisdom. She will always be my girl, but she is His first and foremost. She is His child and deserves the kind of care and love that is my charge to give. May God give me the ability.



Happy birthday my sweet Hannah.


You are a treasure and a blessing and I love you.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Learning Time - for me :+)

You know there are just so many things to learn in this life, aren't there? Do you ever feel like you have a handle on them? I don't. :+) I learned how much I had to learn this weekend in a very special way from a very special woman. Susan Wise Bauer came to speak at our local Classical Christian Home Educators conference. It was a one-woman show as that is the way CCHE does it. One speaker for many sessions. It was tremendous.

The best part about it was that it was so unexpected for me. Not that I didn't think Susan had anything worthwhile to offer (because I know she does) but because *we* have been heading in a different direction and I thought it might not be as applicable to me. Boy, was I wrong. *Everyone* has something worthwhile to share - something to add to your life - and sometimes those things may change your life.

It is hard to explain why seeing and hearing someone in person that you have read is so powerful, but it is. They give a part of themselves to you in a very real way. It is perhaps best explained by the comparison of chatting with someone online and having lunch together in person. There is so much to be gained by that personal interaction. Susan was real and vulnerable and human. She was a friend and a fellow homeschool mom--she was herself. I was so blessed.

She spoke of treating education as part of life and not blocking out hours for "school" - life and school together - education is something for all of life. There will be interruptions in our homeschooling days (when are there NOT?!) and she talked about not throwing in the towel for the day, but picking right back up. Life has so many moments of learning - they don't all come from curriculum! :+)

I appreciated that she cautioned parents to guard their children's social time too. We don't want our children to find out who they are in the faces of their friends. How true that statement is! It is just so easy to give into peer pressures. They are real. This does not mean we don't have peer interaction, but we must guard our children's hearts too--as I have to guard my own.

I was blessed to spend much of my weekend in the company of
Susan, Di, and Suzanne (Peace Hill Press). It is a rich and rare gift to have the kinds of interactions we have on this earth. I think the angels must wonder at our ability to love and laugh and enjoy life so much--to have friendships that endure. It was pure joy to be together and to be living. I am blessed by so much - by my very life, my dearest husband, my beautiful growing children, by the gracious ability and blessing of homeschooling - they are all tremendous gifts. I rejoice in the gifts from the Lord!