Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy 13th, Olivia!

I did it. I blinked. And now I’m the mother of a teenager!


She keeps promising me she’ll be a good teenager. And I believe her. Why? Because of what I see in her life.


She is growing in her relationship with the Lord. She has so much to learn, and her love for Him drives her to keep learning it all. I love watching her mind process and evaluate and search and grow as she learns more about Him and His Word!


She loves her family. She gets annoyed with us at times, but she really does love us.


And she loves discovering who God has created her to be. Not who  her peers think she should be. Not who anyone else thinks she should be. Just who God created her to be.


That’s why I look forward to these teen years. It’s uncharted waters, but we can’t go back. Why not delight in going forward?


But, a look back is fun now and then, don’t you think?


In the last year, my sweet Olivia has changed her favorite color a few times. Purple is still nice, for those situations when she needs to choose a girly color. And camo still ranks pretty high as well. But royal blue tops the list now. A certain Doctor might have something to do with that.


Yes, Olivia has been sucked into Doctor Who fandom. She is currently enjoying David Tennant and getting to know Martha. I’m looking forward to seeing her face during one particular episode. I won’t say which one…spoilers! But let’s just say a really awesome mystery will be revealed. One she won’t even begin to expect. Heehee. So much fun! But, she’s also learned that she loves fantasy of all sorts. And mysteries. It’s been delightful to find new books for her!


Olivia has discovered another love this year, something you’ve seen fruit of here. My precious left-brained child who has always HATED anything having to do with writing is now writing for pleasure. A novel (or maybe a series). Blog posts (coming soon). Reviews (which you’ve already seen). I never expected her to pick up my love for writing. I never wanted to push that on her. But I’m so excited to unexpectedly share that love with her!


This year has also seen the beginning of intentional piano study. But she’s not learning piano simply because she likes it, although she does find it enjoyable and relaxing. She is learning piano as a way to focus on learning music while she waits for a chance to take violin lessons. We’re definitely praying over that one!


The silliness, of course, has not changed. As I type, she is sitting in the recliner near me reading the middle of a new book. “I don’t like reading the beginning because it’s too slow.” When I argued that she wouldn’t know what was going on, she told me that she just makes it up. Oh, this is all after she reads the end. Goofy child!


Olivia, no matter how silly you get, you are a delight to me! I’m so thankful for you, and I’m excited to see who you become through your teen years. You are a treasure. Thank you for being who you are!


Happy thirteenth birthday, Sweetie! We love you!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, May 19, 2014

In the great outdoors...beautiful sunshine! Just yesterday two of our farmers were discussing the need for just a little bit of sunshine to get them where they needed to be today. I’m smiling at God’s gift and provision.

Within our four walls...quiet and calm as everyone tackles their responsibilities this morning.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the sunshine, for a lack of summer heat, for peace, for God’s Word.

A heart of prayer...the farmers, as always; a 17-year-old girl from church going in for back surgery this week; her family as they care for her in the coming weeks and months; our upcoming trip.

Random observations...I wonder if Olivia finished off all of the Choffy.

My silly children...never cease to make me laugh. Let’s see…yesterday Angela commented that Ursula from The Little Mermaid is the Jabba the Hutt of the sea. Um, yeah, that works!

Thoughts from the Too many people talked about pizza at church yesterday. I have no choice but to make it for lunch today. My taste buds will accept nothing else. Fortunately, we have some Italian sausage in the fridge just waiting to be used. And some olive oil dough that needs to be used up. Yum!

On my bookshelf...many books crying, “Read me next! You haven’t read me yet!” Which to choose? Which to choose?

Projects...I actually finished Olivia’s birthday present over the weekend! YAY! I ditched the bag idea…never did come up with fabric I wanted to use. Went with a gown instead, which is something she really needs. Now on to the next birthday gift. Will I be able to beat the “last minute” curse with the next two? Probably not.

Sounds of the moment...proof that even a rock fan can thoroughly enjoy opera, even if it is in a rather bizarre fashion. (And now Olivia wants to learn violin.)

From Hibbard Academy...NO SCHOOL THIS WEEK! We only have a couple of days left, although we’ll probably be a little longer finishing up read-alouds. But that’s okay because those are fun. We will probably find something to read aloud together over the summer anyway.

A favorite thing from last week...felt better for the first time in about three weeks! I took my last Mucinex Saturday morning…or was it Friday night? Either way, I feel better. And the fence is almost finished (just needs the gates) and looks great! SO incredibly thankful for the men who put in a lot of hard work on that.

The planner...graduation!! Words cannot express how proud I am of my husband for his perseverance and persistence despite many, many obstacles. Yep, very proud.

Of course, when you ask Steven about the plan, he doesn’t talk about graduation. He only talks about going to Legoland Discovery Center. Graduation? What’s graduation when there are Legos?

Meanwhile, Doug and I get to meet some of our “previously only known over the Internet” friends, including one of my co-workers. Exciting!

Because visuals are fun... “Did I ask to be your book prop? You’re supposed to be focusing on ME!”2014-05-15 08.13.43

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review-Samantha Sanderson: On the Scene

I typically post book reviews on my personal blog, The Joy of Writing. Lately, though, Olivia has been helping me out with some YA fiction reviews, now that she actually enjoys writing instead of loathing it! (That’s been the big school miracle of this past year!) So, I thought I’d share hers here for those of you who don’t follow my blog!

Samantha Sanderson: On the Scene is a mystery book about Sam, a high-tech, smart, and curious teenage girl. Sam finds out that one of her enemies at school is being bullied. She is not sure whether to help this girl or ignore her.

This book is an easy read. I like how it talks about real issues and not things that are one of a kind type of thing. I also like that there are lessons to be learned from this book and they aren't hiding in the dark. You can clearly see the many lessons to be learned.

There were a couple of things that I didn't like about this book. First of all, it gave a negative view to homeschooling. Maybe I just feel this way because I am homeschooled, but I don't like that. Second, the summary on the back does not line up well with the book. It gives the impression that the bullied girl is mean, but it's really her friend who is impolite and the bullied girl is listening to her.

I think that this book is fantastic for most girls ages ten and older. So dig in!

Mom’s note: The reference to homeschooling was a passing one, showing one character’s aversion to her mom’s suggestion of homeschooling. Olivia mentions it here because she is learning to make sure to include both negatives and positives in her reviews, and that was the biggest negative for her.

This book was sent to us by Harper Collins’ BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Thursday, May 15, 2014

In the great outdoors...deliciously cool for mid-May. Very wet after a great deal of rain over the past few days, but today the skies are clear and the sunshine is beautiful!

Within our four walls...chores being finished up after sleeping in a bit this morning.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the rain; for our church family; for peace.

A heart of prayer...for the farmers as they evaluate field damage after all of the rain, for productivity as the to-do list grows and the time to complete it shortens, for a myriad of requests related to family and friends.

Thoughts from the kitchen...yesterday we got to enjoy soup one more time! We love soup, but we don’t enjoy it when it’s warm. So, we really expected that to be behind us for a few months. Yesterday’s 50’s proved us wrong! Oh, it hit the spot!

On my bookshelf...I finally got to read Draw of Kings, book three in the Staff and the Sword trilogy by Patrick W. Carr. Stayed up too late one night finishing it, in fact. Good series.

Projects...birthday presents! Writing projects! Must get done! 

Sounds of the chattering as they finish up chores.

From Hibbard Academy...We’re almost done! We’re going to take a REAL summer break this year. I need it! I’m so ready!

The planner...tackling everything we can to be ready for Doug’s graduation next week. So excited! So proud of him for persevering through so much to get here!

Because visuals are fun...well, I was going to share a fun picture, but it doesn’t seem to have transferred properly from my phone. So, you’ll get it later!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In the great outdoors...building, burning, and rumbling. Construction is in full swing across the street, and they are finally burning the huge pile of trees they cut down months ago. In the backyard, meanwhile, a fence is going up! Fun!

Within our four walls...finishing up chores and such before school starts.

A heart of thanksgiving...for awesome kids; for men who will give freely of their time to do for us and others; for a relatively normal week.

A heart of prayer...for the Choates as they readjust to life in the village; for a friend who fell and broke his kneecap a second time; for a church member who is very ill; for the farmers; and for the gunk going around our house – gotta love allergies.

My silly children...whisper when they speak to me when I have laryngitis. Every time. I love it! And yes, that is part of my crud this week.

Thoughts from the clue. Nothing exciting. Nothing creative.

On my bookshelf...finally started A Draw of Kings last night. It’s one of those books that has a very complex plot, forcing me to read it slowly to catch everything. It also picks up immediately and doesn’t stop until the last page. That’s why I’ve put off reading it, even though I have been dying to get it read.

Projects...birthday presents. 

Sounds of the moment...rumble, rumble, rumble – hear the prairie rumble.

From Hibbard Academy...independent work only today. Mommy can’t read aloud or teach with no voice. Fortunately, I have great kids who just roll right on with the flow of it. By now they’re used to the fact that I get laryngitis at least twice a year.

A favorite thing from last week...things going more smoothly than expected. That always helps!

The planner...normal week, then to my parents’ on Saturday for a Browning family gathering. No big plans for Mother’s Day. I like that, especially since we’ll only have one more week before May gets REALLY crazy.

Because visuals are’s a bunny for you, Mom! A gorgeous Angora rabbit. She just recently had a hair cut. The lady said that 6-8 ounces of Angora fibers are currently selling for about $50. Feeling this bunny definitely showed me why! She was so soft!2014-05-05 16.53.20