Thursday, April 2, 2015

On Building a House

This month it has been three years since we took this picture of the ground breaking on our addition with my father-in-law.  We amateur home-builders have learned SO MANY THINGS the hard way since this picture was taken.  And we still aren't finished, but I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane to remind myself how far we have come and distill those lessons.   

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Liturgy in the Home

It was Christmas morning and we were not happy to be around the tree.  I was an early teen and the details of the dissension are fuzzy, but the pall was palpable.  Whether it was sibling squabbles, work and school stress or something else, I only remember that my family could not bear to look at each other, much less celebrate Christ's birth together.  It seemed as if the tension would never end, but then my mom yelled that if we wanted to have Christmas, first we were all going to look each other individually in the face, tell the person that we loved them and give them a hug.  By the end we were all crying.  We each started with the easy person, the one that hadn't been giving us problems.  Some of the tears were a release of tension and some of them were because it was so hard to look at a person who had wounded you and forgive them.  In order to honestly tell someone's eyes that you love them, you have to forgive them.  To this day, it was one of the most difficult acts of will and obedience I've done, but mom was right and we went on to have Christmas with clean hearts.  That morning, we learned the hard way that Jesus came for our reconciliation with each other as well as with God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Journaling

Somewhere in a box in our shed is my first journal.  It is probably next to the first letter I received from a friend.  (She taped peanuts to the top of that letter and no one has sent me anything quite so interesting in a letter since then.)  The only entry I remember making in my scratchy writing was one where I described my concerns with the man my aunt was marrying. The end of their marriage years later confirmed my sixth grade concerns.  

Journaling was a habit I continued through much of my young adult and adult life.  I tried to pen worthy thoughts and find great quotes in my reading, but they frequently were about boys and my mysterious interactions with them.  As I grew in my faith, the entries became like prayers, but I suppose it isn't surprising that once I got married, I started "talking" to my husband instead of "talking" to my journal.

One of the ways I made my journals more useful was to regularly look back through them.  In my heyday, I wrote almost daily, so I would look back one year into the past and read my previous entry each day.  That practice was so encouraging.  I was able to see what struggles had diminished, areas where I had grown, and how prayers had been answered. It was endlessly interesting since humans (and our mothers) are fascinated with our own lives.

I will have been married ten years this summer and sadly, those married life entries fit into only two journals instead of ten.  That is changing.  I recently heard the term commonplace book.   Some people use them to store, in their best handwriting, only meaningful quotes from their reading.  Some include those quotes, their responses to them, their to-do lists, long-term goals, etc.  I've decided to morph my journal back into a "commonplace" type of existence.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A February Daybook

Outside my window...

The snow and bitter cold are encouraging me to keep the window between me and the outdoors.

Giving thanks...

for my dad's successful surgery to repair his broken elbow.  

I am thinking...

that at least one of my kids is an extrovert.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Candice's homeschool day in the life (with a 1, 4 & 7-year-old)

When I decided to consider homeschooling in the middle of last summer, I researched like a crazy person for three weeks before I chose a plan of action.  I am a box-checker who despises construction paper, but loves to read.  I seemed to have the greatest affinity for the principles of Charlotte Mason, so I chose to use the literature-based Sonlight curriculum with some of my own additions thrown in.

I chose the first grade package for my daughter Hazel.  Unexpectedly, every time we settled on the couch to read about history or study the Bible, her brother Jubal was on the other side of me.  He would ask the most pertinent questions and I soon realized that I was homeschooling him too. 

The following was my day on Friday, January 23rd with some notations as what a more "normal" day would entail.

6:45 a.m.  The baby in my closet (yes, you read that correctly) woke up and was ready eat.  In an ideal world I would get up at the same time every morning and have productive time to myself.  In my real world with two children who still get up frequently at night, I get up when the baby gets up.  I struggle with serious crankiness if I don't get a good block of sleep, so I get up anywhere between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. depending on how the previous night went and when Granville wakes up.

I nurse the baby, make my bed, wash my face, put on the same clothes I wore the day before and wipe out my bathroom sink and toilet.  I do not enjoy cleaning the bathrooms and would previously let them go so long that my husband would finally clean them.  Since August, I've been proactively wiping down my sink and "swishing" my toilet when I get up.  Now I never have to deal with bathroom horror because it doesn't have time to get that bad.  (Thanks for the idea FlyLady.)  Jubal hears Granville burbling in my room and gets up to see him sometime while I'm doing all of this.  I move to the laundry room where I start one load of laundry.  Both my husband and I try to wear our outer clothes as long as possible (unless they get dirty, of course!).  It really does lower the laundry requirements and we get away with only doing five loads of laundry each week.  I generally do one load per week day.  I wipe down our main bathroom and head to the kitchen.

7:30 a.m. Since we started homeschooling, I wanted to have better breakfasts than cereal every day because I don't have to put my daughter on an early bus anymore.  I have about ten breakfast meals that I cycle through.  Some are easy and some are more involved, so I can choose based on what we have going on each day.  Thankfully, we had breakfast for dinner on Thursday night so I still have pancakes in the refrigerator.  I clean out the dish drainer, make my tea, get out meat to defrost for our dinner, set out vitamins and our pancakes and bananas.  The boys and I eat, but Hazel still isn't up.