Friday, December 2, 2016


Five minute Friday, writing prompts, crave, fellowship, community

Today's Five Minute Friday prompt is: crave


When we first hear the word crave do we immediately think of food - chocolate, steak, fresh fruit - things like that? But what do we really crave? What do our souls crave?

This past week I was blessed to get to spend a good chunk of time with two of my dear friends and during both conversations, several themes kept coming up. The things it seems we crave in our souls are: forgiveness, fellowship, honesty, and community.

Forgiveness begins and always ends with what Jesus did for us on the cross. We cannot truly forgive others, until we have come to understand our great need for Jesus' forgiveness, and how free we are after we have accepted His gift.

Fellowship is something I hear more and more in conversations these days, both in one on one talks, and through online discussions. Our souls are weary of this world and we crave true, authentic fellowship where we can hear others share from their hearts, and where we feel comfortable sharing from ours.

Honesty is a hard thing sometimes, but without it, we cannot get the other thing our souls are craving: community!

Community seems to have been lost over the past 20 years or so as we Americans spent too much time chasing a dream and not enough focusing on God. Now that we have begun to experience community again, we want everyone to feel this joy that comes from having others in our lives.


Only five minutes, and the floodgates have just opened! Stick around because I'll be sharing more thoughts on these four things all month.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Field Trips and Stuffed Birds ... thought from Home Sweet Life

Do you ever wonder what kind of a sense of humor someone had? I have wondered that several times recently as we have seen some unusual things on our field trips this year. Did you know that apparently keeping stuffed birds used to happen a lot in Indiana? Why else would Gene Stratton Porter have a stuffed Eagle and T.C. Steele have a stuffed peacock?

What? Are you wondering why those things stuck out to me from our field trips? I was too, until I realized that we all see things just a little differently than the person standing next to us. Sometimes our family will have been on a field trip and when you hear us tell someone else about it you might be thinking we went three different places because we describe it so differently.

There were so many, many wonderful things to look at when we went to T.C. Steele's studio and House of the Singing Winds in Brown County, Indiana, that I hadn't even remembered that there was a stuffed peacock in the house until I went back and looked at my photos again. How could that be, wasn't I the one taking the pictures? I was! Yet, when we went to Gene Stratton Porter's home in Geneva, IN, back in the Spring I easily remembered the stuffed eagle.

Perhaps it was the stories that went with the stuffed eagle that made it more memorable, or maybe I was just in a different mood that day. Whatever the reason, I don't think I'll be surprised by seeing stuffed birds anymore in a historic home.

Why was I thinking about Field Trips anyway? I was reviewing the things we had done together this past 12 months. Emily is getting ready to graduate High School next month and I will be the first to admit we have managed to fit an amazing amount of living into the past 12 months! We did some bookwork too, but I'm hoping she remembers the other things more. Here is why: I graduated High School 25 years ago. So very, very little of what I learned from those books in High School has been crucial to my adult life.  And yet, having graduated gave me a freedom to explore the world that would have been lacking if I had not spent time on those books and graduated.

How can we provide our children a balance between the book learning they need to graduate and the real life adventures they want? Field Trips! Our life has been full of field trips since before the girls were even officially old enough to count their schoolwork.  If you're feeling burnt out by the bookwork, why not spend some time planning some field trips. They need not cost much. We have first hand experience that field trips can be done on a shoestring budget. 

Some of our favorite field trips for High School include historic homes, but there are so many great places to visit. You may need to investigate to find the most economical way to take your trips, but please, please - take them! Many sites have family caps on entrance fees or a free or reduced evening each month. Do your research, and then get going. Pack a lunch, grab your coat, and get moving. There will always be time for bookwork. There are only so many opportunities to fit in the outrageously funny, unique, or interesting memories you will make with your children on field trips, don't miss them!

Dear Mom, your children will grow up before you know it. The days are long, but the years truly are short. Appreciate the gift of having your children at home with you while you can. 

If you're stumped and need some ideas for a field trip you can take right now this week with your High Schooler, why not start with art. Visit an artist's home (history) visit an art studio (current events or social studies) go to a local frame shop and ask questions (shop) or visit a textile studio (home economics.) Need more ideas? Go to your local art museum or art gallery and ask questions of the docent or gallery owner (art appreciation) or visit a paint shop (science.) 

Hopefully soon I'll get some more pictures edited and then  I can tell you more about some of our favorite field trips from this year. In the meantime, go have your own adventure!

Have a fun-filled, field trip-based week!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Home Sweet Life ~ Week in Review

Steelers football, homeschool highlights, week in review

Has it really only been a week since last Friday? It seems much longer than seven days since I wrote the last weekly wrap-up, but the calendar says its just been a week.

Our week included a lot of the changes to our loose routine that a holiday week usually brings, but that is ok, because we expected to take the week least I did! :)

Saturday morning found all four of us hard at work going through the house and adding things to the giveaway pile. When everyone pitches in this goes so much faster! While we have a designated giveaway spot in our home, at least a couple times a year we make an effort to dig deeper and declutter on a bigger scale. 

Since it had been 75 on Friday, and we woke up to about 28 and some spitting snow on Saturday, our plan was to bring down the cold weather clothing from the attic. Besides the things we each knew we needed to find in the attic, we also took time to go through all the clothing totes and see if there was anything to add to the giveaway pile. 

Saturday afternoon Emily treated us to a movie.It is kind of weird when your children get older and get a paying job away from home. They end up with a little spending money of their own. It was really nice to be treated to a movie. If your children are still little, just trust me on this. It is different when they grow up.

On Monday, Arlene and I loaded up the car with the donation pile, heap, mountain and took it to our local Christian Center for their homeless outreach and resale shop. We hope others can be blessed with the warm clothing we no longer wear. Then we headed to the library. Arlene is studying Indiana history during this, our Bicentennial year, and some of the history books she is reading are reference books and cannot be checked out from the library. That is OK with me because the special Indiana reference room is usually pretty quiet. I took my laptop along on our trip and used the time to crop photos and get some posts ready for the blog.

That afternoon Arlene cooked our turkey. We knew we were not going to be home for Thanksgiving dinner, but who wants to pass up turkey for only $0.79/LB?! We have had plenty of leftovers to enjoy all week long!

Tuesday found us at the gym again so Arlene could get in some more swimming and I could work out. We really enjoy the blessing of being able to swim indoors year round, even if it is a bit of a drive to get there. When it gets cold, my joints have an affinity for the hot tub, even if I do have to wash my hair and skin twice just to get the chlorine smell out. After the gym we headed to my Mom's for lunch and them picked Em up from work on our way home. 

Are you getting the idea yet that this was a non-schoolwork week, because I am-LOL! That is pretty normal for us around the holidays. I've been enjoying my time off work this week, and I'm pretty sure Arlene has enjoyed a few days without her schoolbooks. That is one of the simple joys of home education - scheduling a vacation break when it fits your schedule, and not having to follow a schedule laid out a year or more in advance.

Wednesday was a baking and cleaning day for the girls. I spent a good amount of the morning working on getting things ready for the blog. Because my time off of work is limited, I wanted to make sure I got a few things ready to schedule out, but I wanted to do it when the girls were busy with other things so they wouldn't feel like they were competing for my time. We all enjoyed a slower day in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Thursday was not out typical Thanksgiving dinner with our extended family because Kurt had gotten us tickets for the Steelers/Colts NFL football game that night. Our Thanksgiving dinner was at the tailgate with a couple dozen other Steelers fans we know. The weather was cold, but the food was delicious. (Yes, we still had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.)

Since this was the girls' first time to attend a regular season game, and because it was getting downright chilly, we went ahead and packed up the tailgate party a little early and headed to the stadium. Our girls had never been in Lucas Oil before, although we've driven past it numerous times  when we visit Indianapolis. It was really fun to watch the Steelers win - even if we did get home really late! Part of the way through the night Emily commented about how much different it is to watch the game live versus seeing it on TV.

Today we slept in - hooray! Well, Arlene and I slept in. Kurt and Em headed to work. Arlene and I had already decided that there was not anything in the local Black Friday ads to tempt us to get up early after being out late, so we just took our time this morning. I'm actually writing this after lunch while waiting for the oil to be changed in my car. 

Nothing extraordinary happened with Arlene's schoolwork this week, but we made lasting memories with both of our daughters instead. That is something to be Thankful for this week!

We hope you had an great week!

Steelers football, homeschool highlights, week in review

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