Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

Something about Today…Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It’s chilly. I love it!

Something about the Week

It’s mostly routine. And I’m discovering something about these routine weeks. After several months of chaos, my brain is having to retrain itself to handle routine. Work and the to-do list are no different, but it seems like the press is a little lighter. There’s room to breathe in routine weeks. Which is an odd feeling. And that can cause the brain to have to readjust in order to maintain productivity. Yes, that is definitely the struggle in these routine weeks.

But I’ll take it. Because I really like the routine!

Something I Have Observed

I make little notes and use abbreviations in my planner. They seem perfectly logical at the time, and I’m certain they will be perfect reminders when I return to look at them. Except that when I come back, they aren’t so logical. Instead, they look like they are written in a foreign language or an unbreakable code! You’d think I’d learn, but no. I keep on doing it.

Something I Have Read or Heard

“If you want to steward every season and derive the full benefit of each, give thanks in all things, and give thanks for all things. Train yourself in this. It doesn’t mean pretending everything in your life is good. It means trusting God, trusting him always, that he is able and willing to work all things, even the worst things, together for good.”

- Mark Buchanan, Spiritual Rhythm

It’s not new. It’s not earth-shattering. But somehow I need to be reminded constantly of this truth.

Something on My Mind

Hurricanes, wildfires, needs of friends, miscellaneous family needs

Something I’m Thankful for

The coolness of the last two weeks, growth, family togetherness

Something about My Kids

I really need to do more jotting down the funny things they do. Olivia did something last week that was so funny! We enjoyed it immensely. Now I’ve forgotten it. Oh how I love my big kids, though!

This was a cute thing. We had a little friend over for a little while last week. Steven helped him with homework while I worked. He came over a few minutes into it and said, “Wow, Mommy! It’s been a long time since my work was that easy!” I couldn’t help but laugh!

2017-09-05 16.16.46

Something I’m Working on

Rethinking the fiction writing. I have missed it so much – it’s been months since I’ve touched it. But I also want to get back to being more regular about writing on my blogs. It’s just a matter of choosing to spend fifteen minutes even when I don’t want to touch it unless I have an hour or more. I just won’t have that amount of time in this stage of life.

Meanwhile, I’m determining what I’m going to make for Christmas so I can get started on that. So many fun things to do!

Something from Hibbard Academy

A couple of weeks ago, I was overwhelmed. Still so much to do on the kids’ school planning. Then I made a discovery – I had not noted the things I’d already completed of Steven’s planning! Then, one night I got a lot more done than expected! As of right now, I have one thing left to plan: Olivia’s second semester of literature. That’s it! Ahhhhhh!!

Something That Makes Me Smile

“I have a birthday gift card! And it’s on sale!” – Angela

2017-09-07 10.02.16

Something Coming

We get to participate in an encouraging “Date Night” activity at church this weekend. Looking forward to it!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy 14th, Angela!

How does a child grow up so much in one year? This year our sweet Angela has definitely become a young lady.


For nearly two years, Angie explored sides of her personality that somewhat obscured the princess side of her nature. She was no less feminine, but she wasn’t doing nearly as much dressing up and showing off her prissy side. In the last few months, though, the experimentation has settled and she has learned to merge the new discoveries with the princess that has dominated her nature since birth.


Angela’s love for anything sewing related has continued. When she outgrew her last antebellum dress, we went to buy several yards of hot pink fabric so she could make a new one. And make it she did. I intended to help her, but she had it done herself in no time!


She still loves quilting and is constantly creating new designs. But, she’s waiting for it to get cooler again before piecing a new one. In the meantime, she is constantly knitting or crocheting something. Her hope is to experiment with creating items she can sell for various fundraisers, whether for camp, mission trips, missions giving, or whatever other need arises. After seeing how much other people charge even for simple patterns, she’s realizing she might be able to create and sell patterns as well as products. It is fun to watch her and her big sister put their heads together to plot such endeavors. She has also explored writing, especially songs and mysteries. But, her primary love will always be the sewing, I think.


Cowie, who is also celebrating her 14th birthday, is now quite the matriarch. Angie and Cowie manage a rather large herd of stuffed cows. Somehow they ALL fit on her bed with her!


Our princess would still rather curl up with a book than interact with a group (Her reading goal for this year, including school books, is nearly a book a day! Yikes!), and enjoys a few close friends more than a party. But, she is learning more and more how to be social and interactive – and how to handle those moments when she needs a recharge but also needs to be around people.


Pretty flowers are attracting Angela’s attention more and more. She actually enjoys keeping the iris bed clear of weeds and has been brainstorming ways to improve it. And, she wants to begin learning about other flowers and how to grow them well.


She has never before been one to care about taking anything apart or discovering how things work. But, she’ll explore a flower, analyze a sweater, or devour a new quilt pattern, considering how she can incorporate the beauty or design into her own creativity.


Oh, and have I mentioned the braids? Angela has a whole Pinterest board devoted to braids. She tries them out on her semi-willing big sister model. Angela is the only one (other than Mom, of course) permitted to mess with Olivia’s hair, and although Olivia is not always overly enthusiastic about Angie’s experiments, she always allows them (well, except for the big bows – she’s not too happy about Angie’s love for big bows!). Angie can’t do most of the braids on herself, though, so she has gotten Mom involved to ensure that she, too, gets to wear the fancy braids. Needless to say, I’m learning a lot about braids!


The child who used to love dresses had stopped wearing them much for a while, but we eventually realized that it was because she still really loved the little girl styles and hadn’t found a more grown-up alternative. But, lately she has managed to collect a great rotation of long, flowing skirts, thanks to hand-me-downs, gifts, and perfect thrift-store finds. That has become her new style, and I don’t think she’s worn pants or shorts, except for yard work or other such activities, in nearly two months!


But, even if the creative, beautiful, frilly princess is back, the sassy warrior has not disappeared! We still joke that her brain is constantly working to calculate world domination. It’s only a matter of time.


I am so proud of this precious girl who loves to learn, create, and explore, but still struggles to realize just how much talent flows through her veins. As she prepares for high school, she is learning what it means to challenge herself academically and that it is okay to have to work to learn some things. But, it’s obvious that learning will always be relatively easy for her, even if some subjects are less desirable than others.


So, happy 14th birthday, beautiful Angela! We love you, treasure you, and look forward to watching you continue to learn, grow, create, and explore the depths of who God created you to be!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

Something about Today…Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Our plan was to take Angie’s birthday pictures today, anticipating the rain that should start tomorrow. The morning was pretty overcast, so I wasn’t sure how the light would be. But, then the sun came out right on time, and it was perfect! Oh, and we have open windows! Love the fresh air.

It’s life as usual here in our corner of the world, but my heart is heavy for those whose normalcy has disappeared, and especially for those who will have to find a new normal in the coming months.

Something about the Week

The last week of August. Wow! Despite a few “extras” being squeezed into the week, it’s actually a full school/work week here. That seems to be harder to come by than I expected as we have started the new school year.

Something I Have Observed

All of the news of relief work highlights this organization or that, but rarely is Baptist Disaster Relief publicly mentioned. But, they are there doing so much of the grunt work without seeking the praise or acknowledgment. While many were trying to flee Harvey, disaster relief folks were heading south, choosing to face the hurricane so they could be in place to serve as soon as possible.

Something I Have Read or Heard

“I think it’s one of the dirty little secrets of the church of Jesus Christ that many of the things we do are done out of fear and not faith.”

- Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies, Aug 26

Something on My Mind

Those already impacted by the hurricane, of course, but also our beloved farmers. Storms like this are devastating for crops this time of year!

Something I’m Thankful for

The lovely cooler temperatures! Technology that keeps people in touch. Kids that have learned to hold to routine and diligence and get things done. I love that my kids still need me, but that they are also greatly growing in independence in so many ways.

Something about My Kids

Yesterday as we were discussing prayer requests, they all had friends on their hearts. They hungered to find ways to encourage and help strengthen those friends in their walk with Christ. They’ve prayed for friends before, but never quite that way, and it was so precious to me!

Something I’m Working on

I actually sat down to sew on Friday for the first time since Christmas!! It was so fun! And productive! We had been needing better storage for our knives. Actually, we had WAY too many knives. So, we narrowed them down to our steak knives, favorite paring knives, then five other knives. We had talked for a while about making a pouch for those five knives to make storage more versatile.

2017-08-25 14.57.58

So, I dug around in my fabric stash and found some lightweight canvas.

2017-08-25 14.58.14

It wasn’t as heavy as what might be recommended, but I double up the thickness of both colors in hopes of extending the life of the pouch.

2017-08-25 14.59.16

A little ribbon, and we were good to go!

Something from Hibbard Academy

Olivia is taking art history this year, which I anticipated would be an easy half credit. Um, no. It’s a full credit, including three projects, a paper, and an exam each quarter. She doesn’t thoroughly love all of the reading (even though she does enjoy history), but she is definitely engaging beautifully with this course. For her first project she designed a mask and made it from scratch. She just came to me requesting approval for a unique project not in the list – one that stretches her jewelry making skills. I’m excited to see what she comes up with!

Something That Makes Me Smile

Olivia was having issues with her composing software. So, she pulled up her phone for a video chat with her composition “tech support” – aka Benjamin Choate. The kids have absolutely loved having the Choate kids back in the US. We haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to spend time with them because of the many directions both families are going. But, every couple of days I’ll hear sudden laughter and extra voices, and I’ll see that my kids are huddled around a chat screen or two here with Choate kids huddled around their screens on the other end. Even Sarah, who recently moved off to college, has been able to join in for a 3-way a time or two! I love the enduring friendship between the seven kids, and I’m so thankful for the technology that keeps us connected whether we are separated by an ocean or by schedules.

2017-08-25 12.58.21

Something Coming

Let’s see…someone has a birthday coming up soon. The last one of the year. My babies are growing up, and I’m loving every minute of it!