Friday, October 14, 2016

"Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified."

What if it takes more faith to believe God will see you through your difficult spot, than it does to believe that He will remove it? Some of what I write in this post is a reiteration of what was shared at our IGo ladies meeting this week. It spoke right into some of  the things I'd read, heard, and been thinking about lately.

Sometimes we think that having enough faith will make something happen. Like faith is the magic potion, just gotta have enough of it.

Perhaps coughing up enough faith to get us a one time deliverance is easier than believing day by day, step by step, that He is faithful to see us through. More faithful than our fickle feelings. More faithful than we can see with our human eyes.

Just maybe the good things He has for us don't include deliverance from health issues or a strained relationship or a financial crisis. Maybe the path is through this, not away from it.

I think we often get this idea in our heads about what we think His will is. And somehow, if we don't have enough faith, then He can't complete His will? Huh? Isn't that reducing God's power to the size of our faith?

Jesus asked the Father to "Remove this cup from me." God could have. He could have even figured out a different way. But He didn't because death on the cross was the most perfect and beautiful way--even in all of its ugliness.

And God didn't remove Paul's thorn in the flesh either.

Can God heal us, or deliver us? Absolutely. Jesus did lots of healing in the New Testament. But if He chooses not to heal you, do you still believe that He is good? Can you fathom the fact that maybe in His love for you He is allowing this situation?

We often define a blessing as a good thing: healing, success, positive answers to prayer. Many circles talk about the need to "claim promises" in order to unlock these blessings. Some will even refuse to acknowledge doubts for fear of contaminating the word of faith they are speaking. But perhaps a too-narrow definition of "blessing" is contaminating our view of faith.

I'm still thinking this all through, but I fear that this whole idea of naming and claiming things puts redemption in a box. And redemption is something that I get excited about. I watch for it.

Of course our world is fallen. But we sure think we know how to fix it sometimes. Shame on us! That's the work of Jesus. Let His will be done for our good and his ultimate glory.

"...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..." And how can I share in His sufferings if I always demand He removes suffering from me?

And that's the other thing. Psalm 106:15 "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Is that what we're after? "

Seriously. There are more New Testament promises to indicate physical hardship and trial in the last days than there are indicating ease. But the promises of His presence and our being blessed as we endure are there over and over. Go check it out for yourself.

The amazing thing about God is that He can take the broken and painful, and in the end bring something beautiful and amazing out of it--something that could not even have been, had the painful situation never come to pass.

"What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?"

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Wagon Ride

I asked my man this question this morning: "Where is the fine line between knowing what you can handle and (responsibly) saying "no" to situations and opportunities that you know would stretch you beyond your limits, and being willing to hold your life with open hands and taking on really hard and seemingly impossible stuff and clinging to His grace, knowing it's sufficient. How do you know when to say "no" versus when to say, "I am being asked to do the impossible and I have no clue how to do it but God will have to be enough."

I think another way of asking this question is, "Is 'no' a responsible answer or is it the response of a soul that lacks faith...and how do I know the difference?"

I think God can use whatever decisions we make for His glory and His will isn't such a big puzzling thing to find. Might take some waiting, but God is more gracious than to tell us what He wants of us in riddles.

I do know that the grace of God is bigger than our answers to Him and when He desires something of us, He gently steers us in the right direction until we are there. I mean, not only does He direct our footsteps, He also guides our hearts until they are in tune with His will and desires.

When I was 15 years old, Dru was not cool. (Mildly put.) He was headed to the mission field and who knew what else...he was a tad um, weird.

I'm nearly 30. I married Dru. I have four kids. I've lived in Thailand for eight years. I don't like change, the city, overt adventure, or coming out of my comfort zone in general, but here I am.

I smiled to myself as I thought about this today. God has a way of putting you where He wants us, not only in our circumstances but in our hearts. Aren't we glad?

So I tell myself again today, "It's time to get on the wagon and hang on tight. Married to the man I am and having the God I do, there is no telling where we'll end up. Might as well figure out how to enjoy the adventure."

Meanwhile, I'm realizing that there is some terror in my heart about this next year. Quietly moving to Hat Yai without that interim step in the States would be a whole lot easier and safer feeling.

So as I'm sitting on this wagon, as it hurtles down the hill, I'm realizing that it's both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. But even as I enjoy this ride, I shall be periodically screaming at the top of my lungs nibbling my fingernails nervously and pensively. I'm wondering if we'll stop smoothly, with a few bumps, or just crash--leaving the wagon in shambles. I'm trusting that in the worst case scenario, God knows how to fix wagons--even when they're in splinters. He put me on this wagon, I'll trust Him for the ride.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Jumbled Thought Fragments

I keep trying to blog. Something profound and expressing all of my jumbled thoughts in a concise manner. But it's not coming out right--or not coming out at all. It's a combination of mommy brain and everything that's going on in our lives right now. Too much data on a slow computer, if you know what I mean.

I am thinking about how in the world I ended up with coffee shop going, city kids. Kids who don't know where carrots come from and what a whole sky full of dazzling stars on a dark night looks like. 

Thinking about communicating with my husband--I mean, we are communicating. But I'm processing the process. Because people change and life goes on and you forget the rules and have to review them. And make some new ones as our vulnerabilities shift. 

Thinking about having two babies right now. One with big serious eyes that are used for communicating with me because talking just ain't happening with words much yet. The other baby smiles even giggles some already. There isn't much serious about him except his need for food and more food--in case you couldn't tell by looking. The two of them rack up quite the diaper bill. I counted the other day--I changed eleven pampers.

Thinking about dreams and what to do with them. And wondering if they really are free after all. Depends on how you hold them, I guess.

I'm thinking about all of my earthly belongings and wondering which ones to store, which ones to take back to the States, which ones to pitch. Wondering how vulnerable I'm going to let myself be in the process. 

Thinking about Melinda coming in two weeks and all of the visiting and trotting around the city we're going to do. And wondering if we'll be able to stay up late and visit into the wee hours or not.

I'm thinking about my Mom and Dad coming next month for the first time. I'm still pinching myself to see if that's real. 

I'm smiling right now because my black board says, "Impossible is nothing for God". I went to a coffee shop and they had, "Impossible is Nothing" on the wall in black lettering. It made me think about it in a different way. So I came home and wrote it on the black board. Dru says it's bad English. It messes with his mind. Which makes me giggle gleefully. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pictures and Prayer Requests

The Lord really gave us some answers and a lot of peace when we were in Hot Yai a week ago. We are so thankful! Yet, we still have a few more answers we’re looking for. One of the things we’re working through right now is how long should we spend in the States, knowing we need to spend some time there. So we’re in communication with our home church on this issue now. Meanwhile, it’s hard to leave people here.


Mae Wahn is really struggling with letting us go for a long period of time. The idea of moving to Hot Yai was hard enough to get used to. She knows she can handle six months of us being away—but more than that? We are her family, this is hard, especially with her mom passing away this year. After telling her the other night that we could spend a couple years in the States, she seemed to get sad and quiet for the rest of our time together.


I told Mae Wahn that my prayer is that she would feel peace in her heart and direction in her own heart as to what we’re supposed to do. So that when we come to a decision, she could be at peace and know that this is right for us. I’m asking that you who pray for us, could pray for this for Mae Wahn too. Pray for her to be comforted and have peace—whatever God leads us to do.

We really don’t know how our next two years or more are going to play out. Please, pray for us, and our brotherhood back in the States, durring this decision process.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Let's play a table game...

Actually, as a general rule, I'm not much into table games. So I'm making one up that I think I'll enjoy much more. Here is my table. I'll tell you about it. Then you tell me about yours.

First off, the flowers are from my man because today is Thai Mother's Day. He also brought pizza home for supper.

The napkins I've collected over the years. I like cloth napkins. The silver napkin rings I found at a second hand store. Same as two of the cloth napkins and the bird cage.

The bird cage I've been threatening to paint white ever since I bought it but haven't done so yet.

Inside the bird cage are dried flowers from my mothers garden far far away in America. I have a collection of them, but am running out. They make me all happy and nostalgic. It's my mom who taught me about pretty tables. Go on over the Stone House Scribblings and you won't browse for long before you see one of hers.

The little yellow bird is from my sister Francis. I treasure it. Francis is one of my biggest prayer warriors as well.

The candle I bought at Hobby Lobby last time I was in the States.

My cousin Lorinda sent the JOY wall decor over with Joelle. For now it's on my table. Some days joy is a decision, and that's the truth! Thank you Lorinda. One day, if I ever get a chance I would love to sit down and have a lovely visit with you and pick your brain about motherhood, marriage, and life in general. You once wrote me a lovely email in response a blog I'd written. It meant a lot to me and I still remember how it spoke wisdom to me in such a good way. Thank you.

Last but not least is the little dish of sea shells and star fish. It was found on the beach last Sunday. A rain storm was whipping into Naratiwat that evening but I said I had to put my feet in the water. So they let me. Dru and Rennie came too, but ran for cover when the rain started coming. Dru had told me to collect some shells for the children. The sand stung my skin as the wind whipped it up from the beach. The rain started falling. I realized I really would have to retreat to the truck. But I still needed the shells for Jube and Havilah. I was so tickled and happy to find those three star fish as well. I could have stood on that beach and just let the rain soak me through and the sand sting my face and arms until it was over. Someday I will. I'll stand in the warm driving rain on the ocean beach while the sand zings about and the waves bring in treasures of shells and starfish--and know that God is big and I'm in his care. Because that's what I felt that day on the beach. I left very reluctantly.

So what are the stories on your table?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Psalm 3:3,4


“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.”


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

About Grace I Guess

I don’t know how to start this blog post. I don’t know how vulnerable I IMG_2331want to be. I am vulnerable right now. Not overly stable. But I know it, and so does my man, so we’re dealing with it alright I guess.
Dealing with making a huge life decision while I battle through my fears, insecurities, and selfishnesses. I’m hoping that my feeling incredibly weak of brain and soul  and very dependent on the grace of God, is exactly where I’m supposed to be in this process. I wonder if this weakness I feel is a good thing or not. I mean, should Christians feel this way all the time—I mean, I don’t always feel like I have that sound mind I’m supposed to as a Christian. But I do battle the fear…lack the love…and the power… So while I feel pretty vulnerable, I realize I’m thrown smack into the mercy and grace of God because there’s nothing left.
I do realize that I can’t continue like this forever. I’m not sure if how I’m feeling is Biblical or not but thankfully God is bigger than my feelings.  I read Romans 8 the other night and it said that all of this is for a purpose and that I’m in good hands. My part is to walk in the Spirit and keep on. I was amazed at how many ways it says in that chapter that God has this thing, this “thing”, being me.
And us. My family. I don’t like to say it, but I was questioning it. I wondered what God was doing with us these past two years and why He didn’t give us clearer direction in the past. Where was He and did He really care about us in a personal way? Could I depend on Him for our future?My man said yes, and reminded me how God was there for us in the past two years and all the blessings He gave.
He did bless us. I can cry on two counts simultaneously. One, that it did feel so wandering and depressing for us. Two, that He did hand me personally so many good good things to see me through. There were times that Dru was pounding his head against a proverbial wall as he struggled through  work, relationship, and discipleship issues, and depression. There were feelings of failure for both of us. Weakness. Yet Hannah has been here to help us twice in the past two  years over the times that God blessed us with baby boys. Dru has been able to help support us with his job. Adam came to visit. Bob and Yai were baptized. Amy was here once. I got to go visit the States once. Dru’s teaching at School of Promise was a fulfilling and happy thing for him. God was good to us.
I shall now make a bold statement: I think that many young couples and newly weds move to the mission field—not because they are super spiritual—but because they are rather more naïve. This is not in anyway to minimize their calling. It is to say that it is very IMG_2279hard to count the cost when you have no idea what the price tag is. I’m pretty sure God does this on purpose sometimes, fully aware that He’s going to have to cover the difference with His grace. Did I know when I married Dru that I would be moving far, far away from everything I knew and held dear, other than him? Yes. Would I have prayed harder, and wrestled more with it, had I known all of the ramifications? Absolutely. However, the circumstances that precluded my courtship with Dru left me sure, without a doubt, that it was His will for me to marry that man. That can not be shaken in my mind, and for that I have been thankful many times. So my calling here is sure, but I came naïvely.
What does that have to do with  where we are at now? Well, for me the question is, now that I’m not naïve anymore, am I still willing to stay? Still willing to be where my IMG_2328man feels called? Still willing to find my calling along side of  his? Because now we’re at a crossroads and there are about three different options up in the air. The easy option for me does not seem easy for him, and visa versa.
But by the grace of God, I’ve come a ways from a month ago. We’re visiting Hot Yai this weekend to see what there is to see down there. Back to Hang Dong is another option. Then there is also Hayward. Truly, what we want most of all is peace and very clear direction as to the will of God for our family.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Rian Seth


Born July 3, 2016

9 lbs 13 oz

21.7 inches long

37 cm head circumference

Five minutes old and checking out his world already.



We like him. Even Rennie is deciding he’s nice.

I’m recovering nicely but lost even more blood than I have before it seems, so I’m not doing much. We’re thankful for Hannah’s help.

God is good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Waiting Game


Yes, we’re still waiting.

Just for once, I think Dru is nearly as anxious as I am to get this baby out.

Meanwhile, life goes on.

Little boys still need their showers.


I still find the occasional ragamuffin in my yard:


The beaters still must be licked:


Now and then we try a bit of school:


Or play in the rain and get all wet:


Washing baby clothes and packing bags doesn’t seem to hurry anything along…


So we try birthdays instead:


Overpriced ice cream has no effect:

And Hannah’s arrival didn’t help either. (Although having her here is already amazing.)

So we’re still waiting…

Monday, April 25, 2016

Happier Things

It took me a while to wake up this morning. Breakfast was quite late…but then again, that’s usual around here. I sat in front of my fan at the dining room table and contemplated my state of affairs. It was decide between the three of us—me, myself, and I—that although I was very draggy and feeling rather slow, coffee would, in the very least, help me to feel happy. So I made myself an amazing coffee and it was, well, amazing. Soon after, this came to pass:

And this: 

And this:

But not the huge pile of dishes in the kitchen.  So after a time I rallied myself and the troops. Jube and Havilah got the laundry together and while Jube was sorting it,  Havilah tried her hand at peeling apples. But her hands were too little in spite of her willing heart.
So Jube took over… and things kind of got carried away from there. In one way I suppose you could say that wisdom would have dictated that I just put the peeled and cut apples in the fridge. However, since he was having such a good time I decided to let him run with it. So Jube made apple pie today.

I did core and slice the apples. He read the recipes himself though and did most of the measuring. He learned how to use the scale. I didn’t let him handle the caramel in the saucepan though. (I use Grandma Ople’s recipe. Google it if you’re curious.) We doubled the caramel recipe so I had him think that math through.

I was disappointed that the pie crust didn’t behave as well as I would have liked, but that’s kind of normal for me. I ended up having to do a lot of the rolling out, but he pieced it into the pie pans then. I did a good part of the first one to show him how, then went out to hang up laundry while he did the second. He was a little worried that the one he pieced all by himself wouldn’t be up to snuff, but it was just fine.

He liked the fork part. I thought about doing something a little more elaborate, but with the way our crust was acting, this was best.

We fled the kitchen once the pies were in the oven. I needed some quality time with the air conditioner by then, but we paused the documentary we were watching to come give the pies an egg brushing and sprinkle some caramel flavored rock sugar on top.

I did end up needing to give them one more egg brushing that Jube doesn’t even know about. But he did a good job and we made happy memories.

He was disappointed that his crimping wasn’t tight enough and some caramel bubbled out the edge on this pie. But seriously…would that keep you from eating it?

It always amazes me how pretty pies look, as varied as they come, made by master cooks or amateurs alike.
Another happy thing that happened today is that we had water for most of the day. It did go down to a trickle at one point and was off for just a bit this morning…but I did a lovely amount of laundry today. So thankful for that.
And now it’s bedtime. Goodnight.

Friday, April 22, 2016

When I don’t blog…

I can’t call myself a writer. I can write. I like to, generally.  But a real writer writes when they’re happy ‘cause they just must. They also write when things are rough, just because that’s what they do…it has to come out and they have to process this way. Not me. I quit writing.

All through my journals there are quiet periods from time to time. I can probably tell you why there is a missing period of time in my journal, but I will most likely say, “I don’t remember much of it, just that it was dark, but I forget details.” I still do this. I found my journal this morning when I was looking for something else. I don’t know when I wrote last.

Now I see it happening on my blog as well. Sometimes a hole in the journal means nothing more than that I’ve been writing on the blog instead. But holes in both mean more than that.

One thing that has changed though is that I can talk when the going is rough. I will tell certain people. Melinda used to accuse me of not talking. She was right. I’d tell her later that I’d been really struggling two months ago. Then the pieces would fall into place as to why I responded in one way or another back then. I talk now. Not to everything to everyone, but a little to several and more to a few. I’m sure, too much to others as well.

So, why haven’t I been blogging? I’m seven month pregnant and the temperatures are well above 100 degrees everyday around here for the last several weeks. We’re in drought and at our house, we run out of water for periods during the day. Somewhere along the line I’ve picked up a sort of cold that has my sinuses full and makes me dizzy. I’m still trying to get the iron back up where it is supposed to be. 

Most of you women probably understand the ramifications of this. The nagging knowledge of what isn’t getting done while you drag yourself through  your house, accomplishing only the bare necessities. The dirty bathrooms and floors, the kitchen with all of it’s uncleaned crannies, the syrup that’s been spilled at the bottom of the refrigerator and pooled under the veggie drawer—and it’s been there for two weeks—all of these things do not qualify as bare necessities.

I try to get laundry done around the sporadic water schedule. Dru bought me a big blue jug to sit by the kitchen sink and store water. Now I can do dishes in the morning, before it gets too hot to be in the kitchen. I sweep the floors now and then. And I do make meals—but not all of them. Sometimes I say, “I am not cooking tonight.” And poor Dru either cooks, takes us out, or goes to buy rice and bring it back to us.

Then there is the guilt that I should be feeling for what I am not getting done, but really I’m not feeling guilty much. Why waste perfectly good emotions on that which guilt can not change? I tend more towards despair and even resentment. Actually, even when I’m not pregnant, I can tend towards anger when it’s so hot outside.

So why be blogging? You just saw my whine list? It was neither very uplifting or encouraging to anyone. I didn’t mention the other hard stuff we are facing right now and I’m desperately hoping Dru can find peace in his heart for, once and for all. And here is the fatly pregnant, tired lady-- who doesn’t even do a good job of praying through all of that. Now  enters the guilt. I fell asleep last night when I had decided to spend some time praying before sleeping.

So, to those of you who pray for us, now would be a good time to pray.

And I will try not to blog again until I can think of happier things. There are still happy things in our lives. Like Rennie is a lot of fun right now. He’s decided that he’s not a baby but a little boy. We’re enjoying all of our kiddos these days. Maybe in the end, it’s the kids that we press on for. In their own little ways, they provide a goal and a glue through it all. I know that they’re what make me get out of bed every morning anyway.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hear the bells ringing…

This past Sunday Dru began our Easter by playing this song:

That morning I wrote portions of it on the board. Here’s a picture that could have been taken better, but I didn’t.


The children came out of their room and wanted to know what bells had to do with Easter. So Dru played the song for them. That led to a discussion about what it means to be “born again.”

For Jube it’s been thought provoking, leading to a discussion with his dad about it. “I want to be born again,” he said. We came to realize that it’s time to be discipling him more purposefully towards this commitment. We don’t want to keep the little children from Jesus, so to speak, but we want to lead him to Jesus and this big  commitment. He needs to better understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and what baptism is all about. Meanwhile, he was relieved to hear that Jesus could forgive his sins even today.

Havilah was a little blown away with the idea that we’re all sinners. We’re Christians, right? However, although she didn’t understand really what it mean to be born again, she did understand that that would somehow fix it and so it was okay in her little heart. Havilah is the little bird that keeps the Easter bells ringing for us here.

The words and bells are still on the board. Whenever she happens to notice them through out the day, she sings, “Hear the bells ringing…” It’s her favorite song right now. So we’re reminded daily that Jesus is risen and we can be born again.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mushy brains and the inefficient homemaker

I am not an efficient person. Homemaking in an efficient way doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m talking the really nitty-gritty efficiency stuff.

I was married for six years until I learned to do dishes. I learned that you stand in one place and wash THIS sink full of dishes—completely—before moving on to find more dishes. My inclination had been to wash a few, remember that I had kettles on the stove, move off to get them, wash a few more, than wander to gather more, wasting lots of steps and time in the process. Then it dawned on me why Mom would say, “Bring me dishes to wash,” while we were working on cleaning up after supper. If she could stand there and wash uninterrupted while the dishes came to her, the whole system worked much more quickly.

Learning to pick it up right away—I’m still dreadfully bad at this. So a toy is laying on my bedroom floor. It bothers me all day because it doesn’t belong there but I’m planning to sweep my bedroom floor sometime today. Rather than picking it up because it’s bothering me, I’m apt to walk past it all day long. One toy on my bedroom floor is a little thing, but those little things that lay about the house all day and are bothering me, add up. Soon there is this whole little pile of things in the back of my mind that are really bugging me and I’m feeling bogged down by the condition of my house.

Bathrooms are still kind of a huge ordeal in my mind. Jube is in training about bathroom cleaning and I still feel like I need training of my own. Oh, I know the steps, but for some reason, bathrooms kind of pile up. Mostly it’s a procrastination issue. Perhaps the bottom line is that procrastinators don’t tend towards being efficient?

I don’t remember how my mom’s house looked when I was a young child.  I don’t remember her slumps over baby times. I’m sure she had her slumps. The only slump I remember is over the summer she had her hip replaced. I think I was sixteen. She sat and gave orders from her chair that summer until she could get in for surgery. Actually, she was technically out of commission for a year, I think. But by that time, we kids knew the ropes of general cleaning. Oh, I know that there were corners that bugged her to beat all and we went at them as soon as she was pain-free, out of the woods, and feeling about ten years younger. But the bathrooms got cleaned and the dishes got done and the bread got baked, because Jenny and I knew the ropes. Our young childhood days, I don’t remember so much.

Okay, Jenny knew the ropes. She didn’t even have to learn them. I bumbled along. Work was frustrating to me. But it was at a time when I still didn’t realized that I needed to stop and think about what my hands were doing. How fast was I moving? My work habits were just as terrible in school. It was no fault of my mom’s either. She realized in part what was going on, and tried to work with it—but I think in some ways the idea that I needed to think every step through consciously was an issue she had to think through in an effort to understand. What she did give me though was a good picture of what the goal was. Something to work toward. That’s why I’m able to actually work on my own inefficiency and procrastination.

I’m thinking about all of this because – hopefully – I’m coming out of a slump of my own right now. Being pregnant in the heat always takes its toll on me physically and emotionally. I move slower when I’m pregnant and feel like I waddle in circles all day long. With three children, I find that I get very little done these days. I just found out last week that my hemoglobin level was down below nine a little. It seems that it always drops around this time in the pregnancy. With all of that going on, my efficiency level drops down below a nine too, so to speak.

I was scrolling through my phone pictures for a picture for this post. I found this one. It says like it is. I think that was a bad week.


But today I felt like I could tell that all my vitamin-taking has been helping. It wasn’t so hot either. Like ninety-one rather than 100 degrees for a change. The pollution wasn’t quite so bad today. I just felt all around better about life and living it. But I realized as I did dishes tonight that moving slowly had become a habit since my brain has been so dreadfully slow and mushy. I realized, “I can do this faster. I can scrub this glass faster. I can walk from this end of my kitchen to that, faster.” And it’s not like relearning, but it is like having to tell myself, “Kick in gear.”

Heat, pregnancy, and anemic tendencies are the perfect combination for mushy brain syndrome. I hate that fog. I suppose fogs do, and will come, for all of us, for different reasons. There is something to be learned in the middle of those times too. Today though, I’m thankful for a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Making Pretty

The other day I told Dru this about myself: “Every thing I am and love, my whole heart is on display here at this my home...” This feels so true right now.


If you’re here, you probably read my post about my fight with beauty. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that to stifle the only talents I have available to me right now would be not only silly but wrong. I’m at home, pregnant, homeschooling two children. Juggling a one year old. It keeps me busy. What I have time for, or energy for, doesn’t really include anything that means leaving my house much. Dru takes me out on the weekends, usually. But mostly, I want to be at home. Making my home beautiful is an act of love, and in a sense, worship.


Making beauty energizes me. I’m making pretty at the risk of being misunderstood. But I’m really tired of that guilt fest. This is all I have to offer at this point. I can do it at home. I can do it in the cracks of my time. I can share it. Someday, this opportunity will pass. This stage of my life will pass. I’ll be able to reach outside of my home in different ways. But today, this is what I do. Not every day, because I am a mom—but as I can, when I’m not too busy or tired.


I wasn’t sure what Dru thought of my project at first. He wasn’t sure about the extra table set up in the living room. But he doesn’t mind, and he enjoys my happiness in it. I consult him from time to time regarding proper kerning and design. He wants to take the operation to school some day and have the kids play with it too. We’ll see. We both like the idea of giving these as gifts.


Is it perfect yet? No. I still have a lot to learn. I want the paint to dry a bit softer. I still have a lot to learn about simply making a stamp work well. I’m even learning how to deal with hemming without stretching seams as I go. I’d like to work with actual dyes, but don’t want to try that yet, especially with little people. Spilled dye in a rented house would be a nightmare! But I’m a happy amateur, content with where things are at now.

Thanks to all of you who responded to my earlier post about beauty. Marie Clare, for specifically saying to, “pencil it in.” My Mom, and others of you who encouraged me to keep creating beauty. And thank you to those of you who have found yourselves in similar positions and said, “I hear you!” and knew what I was talking about. Thank you so much.

Friday, February 19, 2016

About Homeschooling, I guess

Yesterday I wrote a list of things I had rattling around in my head to blog about. Then I threw the list away. Because I’m just that intelligent sometimes. Now I have some time and I’m not sure where to start.
I’ve disposed of the guilt trips concerning homeschooling. I do what I can, but I’m not letting it run my life. I have other things I want to do too, and Jube my kiddos aren’t very big yet. So we spend an hour or two at the books in the morning, then I make the kids help me with the housework so that I can play too. (More on the play later.) I follow them to their rooms and bark orders at them while they tidy. And I do more of the same in the living room. Jube knows how to empty the drainer and the basics of laundry. Havilah is easily sidetracked but we’re working on it. And although she sees dirt when cleaning, way faster than Jube, I have to teach her the ropes. For instance, when folding a washcloth that’s crunchy from hanging on the line, I have to show her how to press it down so it stays neatly folded and the corners squared. That’s something Jube would get intuitively. It’s interesting for me to watch because I’m just like her. There were tasks in housekeeping that I had to take a step back from and say, “Why am I so inefficient in this area?” and reteach myself.
For school Jube is using Math U See and CLE’s Learning to Read. I’m watching him with Math U See. He needs the manipulatives, but they’re also a crutch. I had this idea that if he truly understood math than he wouldn’t have to memorize his math facts. Humph! I don’t know where I got that but I suddenly realize that he’s got to learn them, without the help of the math blocks. So math is on the shelf for now—the book that is. However, the math facts are on the board, and we’re crossing them out as they are memorized, going to the next one. All day yesterday I asked him from time to time what 2+3 was. He’s got it now. Today it’s 2+4, and how ever more we can get down. And as soon as Learning to Read is done, we’re done for the year, regardless of where Math is at. At this point I’m thinking we’ll wrap up sometime in May. Then it’s time to have a baby the end of June.
Havilah’s doing the Rod and Staff preschool work. Today the Bible story was about when God told Abraham to offer Isaac. Jube and I agreed that that story was hard to think about. She asked why God would ask Abraham to do that. When I explained that it was hard for me to understand, the gears in her head just kind of jammed and I could see her little brain decide she didn’t have to think about that today. Which is exactly what I do with that story. She does well, but again, not intuitively like Jube. Her pencil skills aren’t like his and comprehension is lower. But I like her as my little girl and I’m really happy that she’s slower. I won’t probably even try to teach her to read till she’s six.
All of us are working on how to hold a pencil properly. My mother in law confirmed with me that yes, their pencil grips were wrong. I’ve never held my pencil quite right, but I’ve managed and was letting the kids hold their pencils at least as well as I do. But then we discovered that it was easier to just do it the good old tripod grip. It actually feels good for Jube. We spent some time experimenting with it the other day. And after I talked to my sister later on, who said she makes her daughter hold her pencil the most proper way, I decided we can to! So even I am trying to be sure to hold my pencil differently than I always did, at least when we’re doing school together. But it’s hard to remember. Especially for Havilah—my little girl whose hands must be taught to do everything properly.

Then there was the other day that I said, “I am NOT doing school today.” I had catching up in my house to do. But then the kids were bored so I was trying to think of something creative for them to do—outside. And I remembered the leaf art I had on Pinterest. So I sent them down to the park to collect leaves and twigs and such. Guess who had the hardest time with it? Not Havilah—it was Jube. His little perfectionist self couldn’t handle the artwork as an idea, rather than seeing things exactly as they were. This leaf made the elephant too fat while this one was too small. I did have to help Havilah but she was teachable. She understood that she couldn’t put all of the details on her picture that a real picture would have. But in the end she had a very respectable fish. She was the one who figured out how to put a mouth on him and do the water and sand.

Jube got stuck. It was so bad that I asked Dru if I should make him finish or not. And he said yes, Jube needed to learn this perseverance. In the end he copied my picture—even though “birds are boring.” But he did it!

The next morning some of our leaves had curled. It looked neat on our bird’s tails but Havilah’s fish looked kind of sad and she had been very proud of her fish. But when she saw it she said, “That’s fine!” The leaf art hangs in my living room and I look at it and smile sheepishly to myself. That happened on the day when I had said we’d have no school. Then I lived around the mess and helped them with it for a good part of my day. What am I becoming other than a real and bonafide homeschooling mom?
So I guess this post is about homeschooling as it is for us right now. I still want to post about my latest project that’s been making me very happy, but that will have to wait. I need to make lunch for my hooligans and this post is long enough.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How it came to be

My mom saw a picture of this wall and said I should share how it came to be.  It was beauty created after my last post. It came to be because we needed a place to store coffee mugs. In this house I struggle with not having much cupboard or storage space. And we do coffee around here. When we have company, sometimes we do a lot of coffee. We were going to use hooks, but when Dru went out that Saturday to look for them, he couldn’t really find anything, except for these little white shelves. Now I HAD wanted hooks, but being determined not to be fussy, I said, “Yes, get them.”


I also had the black wire coffee mugs since Hannah gave them to me for Christmas a year ago. I never had a spot to hang them. So they went up by the hooks. I wanted a black board for school, lists, and etc., but that didn’t come until after my cousin Geneva sent the sign at the very top—totally unaware that I was in the middle of this project. It was a confirmation in my little heart that doing this was maybe “okay.” As for the armadillo, my mother in law gave me a whole set of ABCs like this but I was sad because I wasn’t sure how to hang or use them in this house. They’re something she actually took out of a book. All of them are laminated and tough—so far surviving all of the abuse we’ve given them. I was very tickled to think that perhaps I could hang them one at a time as Havilah studies the ABCs…and she’s not going to be nearly as easy as Jube was to teach.

As for that rooster, he was floating around the house and one day landed there. He’s been kind of stubborn about it, so there he stays.

So that’s how the wall came to be…it all just kind of floated together in a logical sequence—I didn’t know how it was going to look when I was done. But I knew I had a wall hanging from Hannah and I needed to put coffee mugs somewhere. That’s where it started. It’s a happy, practical spot for me.

After writing my last post I’ve been thinking about my little difficulty a lot. I’m finding some peace in the idea that I am who God made me and as I can use these gifts to serve and bless others, then that brings glory to God. I also think that there are somethings I need to do better about my decor in that I need to make an effort to make it practical as possible. Something living in this little house will probably drive me to whether or not I was willing.