Monday

{morning glimpses}

 
 
 

 
I'm listening to Indie Holiday radio on Pandora,
wearing some stretchy pants with an oversized long sleeve shirt and
brown crocheted shawl and my hair
is adorned with mini braids.

So far my morning has consisted of coffee,
cheddar jalapeno bagels,
reading books to beautiful young children,
tickling and laughing with a handsome three year old,
an emotional talk about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
after Layla finished the book and watched the movie on Netflix.
I'm just about to settle in to my cozy rocker with
a second cup of coffee,
a well loved book,
{time for a fiction break after the deep reading I've been up to lately}
and a peace that is overwhelming.

The kids are occupied with books, legos, movie making
and homemade play dough. 

The day is starting off beautifully.
Hope yours is too.

Peace,
amy

Thursday

{why I stopped reading your blog}

If you are my friend or a blog reader, I read your blog.  I may not comment all that often but
I do read.  I enjoy my friend's words, photos and the encouragement and/or thought provoking material
that they offer.  I also read a few blogs of people I adore for various reasons, though they don't read mine or know me. 

But,
there are a few blogs,
popular blogs,
that I have stopped reading.

I am not naming names but I am going to tell you why I no longer read your {their} blogs.

You make me feel like crap.

Seriously.  I'm a mama of 7 that homeschools.  My husband works a full time manual labor job and God always provides for us but so often we are just scraping by.  We rent our house in a neighborhood with a hoarder across the street who walks around outside in his underwear all day long.  I dream of living in the woods or having a farm, being able to allow my children the freedom to roam around our property, but that's just not going to happen in any foreseeable future. But you have that.  Your photos sing of the beauty I wish I could give to my children. 

You always have the answer, are always able to bring peace and I am desperate to do so and yet I fail way too often.  I read books and blogs for encouragement but I am no longer able to find that on yours.  The only message I hear on your blog is you are not enough.

I can't travel, can't offer much to others, it takes all of my energy and resources just to pour out peace, grace, love and gentleness to my own children and husband.  And I believe, for this time in my life, that is enough. But when I read your blog I walk away feeling like it isn't.  And I don't want to feel like that anymore.



 
So I no longer read your words or look at your photos.  I know that you encourage many people and I am very glad that they find a kindred soul, a source of peace, in you.  But I don't.  I have my own life to live, my family to care for and my God to draw near to.  I wish the best for you.

Peace,
amy

edited to add: My issues, being made to feel like crap, are not your fault.  I am under no illusion.  It's me, comparing myself, feeling like I don't add up.  That's my issue, not yours.  I don't read your blog anymore but that's not your fault.  It's the fault of my insecurities. 

{this crazy, restless, dreaming soul}



 


 

You guys.
Thank you so much.  Your comments on my last post really,
truly made my heart soar.  So, okay.  I'll blog like this and
there may not be much rhythm to it but it will be what it is.

I spent yesterday in a deep, contemplative mode.
My meditations were all over the place,
from church to education to parenting to culture to
why am I so strange and different from everyone else?

After a bit of complaining to God for how odd He made me,
then a bit of thanking Him that He made me unique and
not like everyone else {I know, bipolar conversation with God},
I decided to stop dwelling on it so much and just let things be.

Because you know what?
God made me who I am, He made me one to question the status quo,
He put a sense of wonder, mystery and beauty in my heart,
cultivated it,
made my desire for these things so strong that they just could not be quenched and
He set me down in the time and culture that I am in and
told me to live, to love, to be,
to question, to ponder, and
not to settle,
keep moving forward,
keep pressing on,
keep digging in deeper and deeper
to Him.

And sometimes that means leaving behind everything you have known and
what everyone else accepts,
sometimes that means stepping forward even when people you love
turn their backs.  Sometimes that means loneliness.
Sometimes that means heartache.
But always,
always,
it means knowing His voice and not letting others block it out.

I dream in color,
He paints the mural.
And when others look and see a mess,
He sees His masterpiece coming together,
perfectly,
beautifully.
And so I will be different.
I claim this heart, this mind, this personality, these values, these insights.
They are mine. And I share them with you.

Tuesday

{all sorts of stuff}



 

 
 
 
nights are cold. 
snuggle deep under quilts and close to the babe and husband cold.
waking up to afghans and coffee, cocoa and candles and a fire in the fireplace.

days are cooling.  not as cold as i would like,
but hey, it will never get that cold here.
but still,
i can wear a cardigan all day without sweating,
that is saying something.

work is slow for the husband and so we are having to be quite intentional
with our every move, every purchase, every meal.
we are used to living frugally but it is much nicer when you are simple and frugal out of
desire than because of need.
and yet,
with a roof over our heads and a meal on the table each night,
we are blessed.

i finally finished the vests for the twins and they adore them.
i love wooly children.
i also love natural learning.
hannah has taken off reading, really all on her own.
her twin sister ruth can read a bit but typically says,
"i'm just not ready to read yet,"
and that is totally okay.

i have been struggling lately with the direction of this blog.
i started out just writing, telling stories, talking about faith and parenting.
now i veer to daily snapshots and rambles,
mixed in with the stories and
i feel like this blog is all over the place.
i'm wondering if i should just write stories,
just write daily stuff,
delete this thing and start something brand new or not at all,
or keep being a crazy, random blogger with no rhyme or reason.
i don't know... what do you think?

hope your tuesday is grand.

peace,
amy


Thursday

{being needed by God, my Father}

Everyone says God doesn't need us.
It's this common Christian saying and
I get it. Technically, no
God doesn't need us.
Without us , He would still be.
Without us, He could still work.
But aside from that I wholeheartedly disagree.

God has given us the parent/child relationship as
a shadow of His relationship with us.
And you know what?
I desperately, achingly need my children.
Yes, I know, technically I could exist without them.
But now that I have known them,
it would be an empty, painful existence.
I need them.
I need them as I need breath.



God, the Father.
God, the Artist.
God, the Potter.
God, the Shepherd.

A father needs children, an artist needs a canvas,
a potter needs clay and a shepherd needs sheep.
Though yes, without those things they would exist ,
they might even find different tools for their craft but
the passion, the beauty that permeates from the harmony of
the two meeting for their intended purposes,
it would be lost .



Yes.
I need my children. I need my husband.

I need them to be who God created me to be.
And call me blasphemous if you will,
but I believe that God needs us.
He created us to be needed by Him.
He created us to be in harmony with Him,
to walk hand in hand with Him,
to be His children so He can be our Father.
Does God need us so that He can exist,
can work,
can create? Of course not.
But He does need us so that He can shower love,
paint life stories,
be loved.



I'm going against all I have been taught
(that's not new),
but Oh yes,
I desperately need God and, I think,
He needs me too.

Wednesday

{sometimes: a story of being stuck}

Sometimes you are just defeated.
Sometimes you can't see the end of the rocky road,
can't even imagine it.
Sometimes it seems everyone else is succeeding,
everyone else is overcoming,
everyone else is moving forward and
you somehow stepped in wet cement
and you couldn't figure out how to lift your feet and get out of it
and it dried, hard, with you still inside and there you stand,
no way out,
while everyone you know just runs by.

Some never stopped, they pressed on and made it through on their own.
Some were ignorant like you and stepped in that wet cement but
figured out how to step out before it dried.
Others stayed, just as you did,
cement holding them fast,
until something amazing, something miraculous,
grabbed their hands, pulled, and broke them free.
With tears flowing down their faces, they ran on,
not understanding why they were helped out but
so very grateful that they were.
And as you watched them go,
you whispered gratitude too,
so happy for them and yet, swallowing that lump in your throat,
ashamed at the bit of sorrow and why not me too?, you were feeling.

Time goes on, more pass by and typically,
you stand strong in that cement,
cheering on those who run by,
noticing the beauty surrounding you in the place you are stuck.
At least there is an oak tree nearby,
offering you shade and a bit of loveliness.
A nest inside brings shades of blue,
jays returning home after their flight for food and
at night the stars shine so brightly they sing.
Yes, typically you make the best,
count your blessings and stand.

But sometimes.
Sometimes you watch them all walk by,
sometimes the weight of always standing is too much,
sometimes you wonder why not me?,
sometimes you are just defeated.


 

 

Thursday

{staying home, creating home and laying aside the gyspy spirit}

There is this thing right now,
this forsaking of hearth and home and
setting out to travel endlessly,
children and all.
I am not against this in any way,
the families I know who live like this have
a beautiful life, are content and learning and
what they are doing is so very admirable.
No, I am not against this.
In fact so many times I have felt restless and
wished we could buy an rv, pack up and go.



But,
this is not us.
This is not what we are called to.
My gypsy spirit wants to roam but
when it does it returns empty.
Something calls me home,
calls me to a place that I can build life,
love,
memory.
A place where there is comfort and stability,
rhythm, beauty and order.

 
 
I know some who travel and when they arrive home they
feel anxious, restless, dull.
For me it's just the opposite.
When I travel, only for a couple of days,
I return home and sigh in contentment, fall into bed basking
in comfort, feel such joy and gratitude that I have this place,
this home,
to live,
daily.



Beauty.
Rhythm.
Order.
Peace.
Comfort.
Joy.
Legacy.

These are the things the making of a home offers.
These are the words I long to permeate my life.
So while my friends and family,
while other homeschooling families,
travel and experience,
I will lay my gypsy spirit down,
we will stay put in a home which doesn't move,
wherever that home may be,
pressing in, cultivating, blooming.

May beauty grow,
may beauty be reaped. 

Photo: Fire and cocoa, first of the season. #autumn #stayathomemyheartandrest

STAY, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
  To stay at home is best.        5
 
Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
    To stay at home is best.        10
 
Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O’er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
    To stay at home is best. 



 -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday

{resilience}

i am guest posting over at pie jesu today,
writing about resilience...
join me?

Sunday

{homeschooling: from high school to college}

I am by no means an expert on the subject but
having just graduated our first homeschool student and then sending him straight to college,
I have had many questions about what we did and how it worked and
especially how hard it was to submit transcripts and apply and all.
So instead of writing the same message over and over to people wondering,
I decided to do a post on it,
even though this isn't my typical type of post.
 

So. Highschool. We mainly just focused on reading, writing and math in a Charlotte Mason way...
Reading great, living books.
Every subject was studied by reading; History, science, geography, Latin, grammar, vocabulary.
It all came from the reading of great books and the subsequent writing and discussing of them.
He wrote a lot.
Summary and creative narrations,
his own fictional short stories,
copying and rewriting famous essays.
He learned a lot and studied deeply.
He developed a strong love for reading and writing.
So much that when it came time to consider college, he only wanted to attend a liberal arts school that studied the great books.



So he took the SATS, once, his last year of high school and,
with almost no previous test taking skill, he did very well.
He wrote the required essays for the college application.
So used to writing on a variety of topics, this was pretty easy for him.
Then came my job, creating his high school transcripts.
Instead of the typical transcript, I made a booklist.
I wrote down every book he read in high school, divided them into subjects
(such as: World History, American history, natural history, geography, economics - you get the point)
Then, with each book listed under each subject, the subjects were given credits.
I also prefaced the booklist/subjects with a couple of paragraphs about how we learned and
what our homeschool looked like.

I have heard it said that you can't do Charlotte Mason in high school.
That is absurd. A CM high school is intense and rigorous and wonderful preparation for college.
In fact, a CM high school will most likely read many books that are typically read in college.



If you leave a child alone with their books they will educate themselves.
This is true for elementary age as well as high school.
Be there to listen, question and discuss but let them learn.
It works. It really does!
 

Our son was accepted into his first choice with an almost full scholarship.
He read, he wrote, we discussed, he did math.
Simple. Perfect.
My advice?
Don't stress about it. Don't make it a huge deal.
Most colleges today love homeschoolers and make the process pretty easy for them.
Just let your kid learn and enjoy learning with them!
Create an atmosphere where learning is natural,
reading is embraced and
family enjoys each other!
The rest falls into place.

 

Saturday

{the hair cutting three year old}

my boy.

if you are my friend on facebook or follow me on instagram
then you have probably already seen this progression.

moses had flowing golden locks.
he took scissors and gave himself layers,
what i call a buttrock hair cut...

Photo: This is the haircut Moses gave himself. He likes the 80s buttrock layered look. #whenathreeyearoldplayswithscissors #gettingahaircuttomorrow

and though we greatly appreciate his self expression,
we decided to take him in and have his hair properly cut...
he came back this amazingly handsome little man,
and seemingly aged two years...

Photo: Goodbye buttrock hair. Hello handsome little man.
the next day he was found with scissors in the bathroom,
and this was the result...

Photo: And then he did this. Guess he didn't like his new hair cut. #whenathreeyearoldplayswithscissors
so.

my boy.

i love him so.

Sunday

{twins}

one is fire,
the other earth.
one breathes passion,
the other whispers depth.
one dances with movement that cries, "you better watch me!"
the other dances in her own way, at her own time,
and could care less if there is an audience.
 

and yet they are joined.
constant.
best friends.
twins.
and different as they are,
the joy they offer our family,
this world,
is the same. 



the beauty in these two is unquestionable.
the awesomeness God has planned for them,
undeniable.



i get to be their mama.
it is truly an amazing ride.

this past weekend we celebrated their sixth birthdays.
when they fall into bed with smiles and giggles,
saying "thank you" over and over and
telling you it was the best. birthday. ever.
you know you've done well.



*dolls and crowns were custom made for my girls by the amazing suzy. thank you, suzy, for helping to make their day perfect. visit suzy's etsy shop, tillytilda.*

to move into a new season


hey friends!
so,
autumn has {finally} arrived and
ian is at college.
we are beginning a new, slower rhythm around this place,
continuing life, minus one.
so my blogging may be sparse for the next month or so.
i will blog.
just probably not much.
and i will be guest posting at a couple of places in october so,
i'll let you know when that happens.

half of my family is returning today from oregon,
i'm ending these few days with just my littles.
so i'm quick getting off here,
going back to those snuggles waiting for me.

peace,
amy

Thursday

to say goodbye

he leaves.
a bit of my heart.
the next phase of his journey begins.


headed to oregon in the morning.
we will miss him so.

Wednesday

to be a fraud and still keep going

I was reading on Amazon about a book on gentle parenting, simple living and whole foods and
one of the reviews was incredibly negative, saying something like, I am this lady's neighbor and
she doesn't practice what she preaches.  Don't read this book, don't listen to her, she's a fraud.

It just made me sad.  Because you know what?
Dear friends, I am a fraud too.
I write here of peace, of beauty, of simplicity,
gentle parenting,
whole life learning, living and faith.
I write of what I believe, of what I know to be true and
I write, hoping to encourage some of you.
 

I write ideals and principles that I try to live by.
But.
I fail.
Often.
Does that make my heart any less passionate?
I know gentle parenting to be true and good,
knowing God, I believe it to adhere to His love and parenting of us.
I write all I can about it,
I promote it,
I tell stories of when grace flows through our home,
our parenting, of when
repentance and love harmonize.
And yet,
too often I resort to yelling.
Too often my resolve is squashed by my impatience,
my selfishness,
and I find myself doing that which I do not want to do.
Too often.



So if you were to meet me,
to spend any amount of time with me,
to live next door to me,
you would probably call me a fraud and
announce to others not to listen to my words.
That is, if you were judging me based on my numerous failings.
 

But I still believe that God is good,
that a simple life is a life well lived,
that compassion, peace, grace, mercy and gentleness need to reign in
our lives, our marriages, in our parenting.
I still believe it.
And I will constantly strive to live it.
And I will often fail but not give up.
For, like Paul,
who wrote epistles filled with what is good and how to live and yet
still called himself the chief of all sinners,
I will write what I know
but I can't live up to it.
Not always. Not usually.
But I'll keep on.


And if you show up at my door and I am speaking too harshly
you can either call me a fraud or
remember that life happens,
that we all fall short
and encourage me to move forward just as
I hope to encourage you.