Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

The deal with growing

Many years ago, I was hospitalized with a bad case of pneumonia. Traveling around the country for 10 months can do that to you.

In response, our small church in South Dakota graciously bought me a small rubber plant to brighten the hospital room.

Normally, I'm a lover of bright-colored, audaciously gorgeous flowers, but since this wee plain plant was given in love, I took it in and gave it a home. smiley

For years, the plant did nothing. Sat there with its two or three boring leaves, just taking up space.

Then we moved to the Pacific Northwest—books, musical instruments, plants and all. For about four years, my rubber plant sat quietly, unobtrusively, tucked away in the corner by the dog food container. That's what I had come to expect from it. Though it was the least interesting of all plants I had ever seen, I love growing things, so I didn't actually mind watering it and giving it a bit of space in my home.  Honestly, however, I wasn't at all impressed.

And then something changed. Neither of us has any idea what happened inside that little rubber plant's system, but for some reason, it began to grow. . .and Grow. . .and GROW.

After three years, we noticed that the crazy thing had branches coming out the side, new leaves constantly unfolding, and was completely outgrowing its little pot. As it took up more and more of our dining room space, we kept looking at each other, wondering what on earth it was planning to do. When our kids would come home for a meal, they would frequently stand and gape, distracted by its huge increase in stature. "Uh, Mom, what's happening to this plant???"

Now, I'm not always real quick on the uptake. Real gardeners might have realized years ago that the poor thing needed more dirt, more space, more support and structure. But as we were walking through a hardware store yesterday, I was suddenly inspired with the idea of transplanting it into an old pottery outdoor pot, whose previous occupant had sadly frozen and died last winter. All we needed was some potting soil, and a water catcher underneath to protect the rug. For under $15 and about 15 minutes of my time, our rubber plant—which has now morphed into a tree!—received a new lease on life. A welcoming place to be rooted and grounded, and, as they say, a place to stretch its wings.

Now, here's the question:

Is there anyone in YOUR home that needs a little time and attention?  Maybe you've noticed one of your kids, who has always been quiet and unobtrusive, starting to bloom, talk, and be social. I encourage you to give them room and encouragement to become all that God has set within them—even if it's different from what you thought it might be.

Or, perhaps it's you that is unexpectedly growing, having new, healthier responses, finding interests in increasing areas, I applaud you! And, as one who just learned something valuable last night, I would encourage you to make space to become all that God has set within you. Give yourself permission to grow and change.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

Psalm 1:3


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Eyes to See

Last Saturday, my husband and I took a boat trip from the harborfront in Seattle, through the Ballard Locks, and into Lake Union. What a treat! It was a beautiful afternoon, and I had my camera ready and waiting for some gorgeous shots.

You know, living in the Pacific Northwest means that we have rainy mist and clouds for much of the year. Mt. Rainier, which is our premier mountain, is often invisible due to weather. But when it shows itself, the sight is spectacular!

Notice the difference between the photo on the left and the photo on the right.  What is missing?  You can barely see the outline of Mt. Rainier on the right. In fact, if you didn't know it was there, you might not even notice the "smudge" that is a mountain.

So what's up with that? Where did the mountain go?

It's something I'm learning about my camera. If I hold the lens in a certain way, I can capture the lighting just right, and the photo will be amazing. If I hold the lens less carefully, the view is completely different, pedestrian, and even boring.


And, yet, it is a fabulous analogy of how we view our own lives.

When I look at my current circumstances, if I hold the lens of my heart just right, I can see God's fingerprints, His goodness shaping my experience.

If I hold the lens of my heart less carefully, the view is completely different. In fact, it might seem as though God was nowhere in sight.

I had a similar experience two weeks ago.

We went to Gasworks Park in Seattle, to celebrate my son's birthday. I had hoped to get some spectacular sunset shots on this gorgeous evening, but my first attempts were less than satisfactory.

As I kept fiddling with my camera, trying different angles to catch the light, I found that if I was very careful, with my camera turned to the right exposure, I could actually capture something breathtaking.

This is what keeps coming to my heart about the reality of life on this planet. It is like the analogy of the two photos. From one angle:

Difficult things happen.

We may be discouraged, diasppointed, tired, broke.

Life may look dull.

Our prayers may seem to hit the ceiling and splash back into our wounded hearts.

From another angle:

He is faithful.  He is merciful. He is kind. He is good. He loves us completely and without measure. He is wise. And He is working something good for us in the midst of it all.

May He give us the grace and courage to adjust the lens of our heart to see His work in our lives.


     Psalm 34:4-8

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him."


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Permission to Play

Dear friends of ours host a family farm day every year, where literally hundreds of people come to play. Young and old alike enjoy the opportunity to taste, touch, see and experience things that were once a familiar way of life, but now are fast disappearing. If you had come last Saturday, you could have dug potatoes, played tug-of-war, eaten organic beef, ridden on a horse-drawn wagon, sat on hay bales, tapped your toes to fiddle music, and, in general, had an absolutely FUN day. Here's a link to see what they had lined up.

But, the trick is, of course, that you would have had to take the time to actually stop whatever else you were doing and go.

I almost didn't. Too much to do, too far behind, couldn't justify the time expenditure. That's been my thought pattern every year for the past few years.

And then, suddenly, I remembered that these precious and supportive friends took time off to drive several hours to attend my son's wedding. With that in mind, and the thought of catching some golden photo ops for this blog, I grabbed my camera and we dashed out the door.

Of course, by the time we got there, it was basically over. I missed the digging potatoes, tug-of-war, organic beef, horse-drawn wagon, and fiddle tunes. I missed the excited groups of city children playing on a real farm, the happy families enjoying an amazing opportunity, and the chance to actually enjoy the day.

But, I did come face-to-face with the reality that I have relegated play to the lowest priority. As an over-achieving adult, I've believed that play is what we do when we get everything else done. Kind of like getting to eat dessert only after you eat all the brussel sprouts and raw oysters.

What a mistake.

Next year, I plan to show up at 10:00 a.m.—when they open—and participate whole-heartedly in playing on a farm.

If you need permission to play, I hope this blog has provided it.  smiley

Learning a lot,


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Days drag, but years fly

You know, I didn't envision all this when I was teaching my children at home. Just kept putting one foot in front of the other, reading a book outloud and then one more and one more. Life in those early days of homeschooling seemed endlessly occupied with runny noses and running children and running out of steam before math was done. It seemed like the days went by so slowly, like I would live the rest of my life just changing diapers and making beds and correcting grammar. Though I didn't realize it at the time, however, it's amazing what happens when you keep taking the next step and the next step, day after day, month after month, year after year. From the vantage point of parenting for three decades, I have learned how powerful it is to keep on loving, keep on hoping, keep on listening, keep on growing in humility and wisdom as you grow with your children.

And then, one day, suddenly and without warning, they are adults. I know.  If your children are in diapers or in dance class or dawdling through the day, it is hard to imagine. But it happens nonetheless.  Just as a carrot seed grows almost unnoticed underground until the moment you pull it triumphantly out of the soil, so do our children grow in fits and starts through fleeting years. There comes a point when every parent is suddenly startled by the growth they see in their children.  "When did that happen?" we muse.

It's not perfect, this parenting and homeschooling business.  I promise you will not escape without bumps and bruises, and even heartache at times. That was a surprise to me, since I am such a Pollyanna about life. But upon reflection, I realized that I had my own bumps and bruises growing up, my own heartaches resulting from foolish choices. And I learned quite a lot in the process. As a parent, that is a freeing thought to remember.

So, last week, there we were. In a beautiful setting with beloved family and friends. Almost beyond my comprehension, we were in the moment when my son took the next step of his journey, when he and his bride began their own lives together. A time of celebration, a time of reflection. And now, a time to tell you from my heart and my experience that days drag, but years fly. Treasure the moments.


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