"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Conquering the Basement

So, this last week's big project has been to regain some control of the basement storage area. And it hasn't been a quick, easy job. We have a variation of what is called a "Michgan Basement" so it's very rustic to start with and the walls seep melting snow at this time of the year.

I had to start with confession and repentance at having let it get so bad and then dug in with my trusty paper bag and Sharpie sorting method, a spin-off from Emilie Barnes' sorting. Some bags are Sharpie-labelled "Give Away;" some "Throw Away;" and some "Put Away." 

Just getting started
In process
 I'm amazed at how many ice cream buckets I found down there. Sigh.

Much better!  Labelling everything to make maintenance easier.
 After I got the shelves neatened and everything labelled, I brought some of the messmakers down there and showed them how to MAINTAIN the order. That's our worst enemy: not maintaining the order once we have it. So that's goal: to build the habits of putting things where they belong.
 Now I'm on to the sewing nook. But this week we need to get back to our school schedule, too, so progress might be a little slower.

This past week, the girls have been doing the regularly planned spring cleaning. I had listed all the jobs that we think need doing in each room and over the whole house, ie. washing floors, washing windows, putting in screens, rotating mattresses, etc., and then I had divided it all into the five days of the week with each girl and me being assigned certain jobs according to ability and height. Since that was all done on the computer, I just have to print up a copy/checklist every spring and don't have to replan the whole thing.

I'll tell you about the sewing nook clean-up soon. And, hopefully, show pictures of a wonderfully organized and delightfully inspiring area. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, 
and accept Thy will for my life.
 I give myself, my time, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
 Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt,
 work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, 
now and forever.

(Prayer of Betty Scott Stam, martyred missionary to China)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Five in a Row Party

Today was the first of our Five in a Row get-togethers. We had a great time making a craft to go with the Peter Rabbit story, which I chose for our first gathering because it's a pretty well-known story and I figured everyone would be familiar with it and  I've loved Beatrix Potter stuff forever. Our craft was to paint a clay pot and then Princess helped everyone to plant a parsley plant in their pot. The children seemed to really enjoy the creative painting time while the moms enjoyed visiting and helping their little ones.

Then while the children played, I explained how the boxes of books will work to supplement the Five in a Row main titles and how we'll do the check-out process. And then we enjoyed snacks, played and visited for awhile. A very nice time!
Peter Rabbit food of celery with peanut butter or cream cheese  and cucumbers with cream cheese, a parsley leaf and half a grape tomato ("ladybugs")
I wish I could take credit for the whole Five in a Row supplemental books in tubs idea, but the credit goes to Michelle Miller of Truthquest History who had a library of these kinds of tubs in which we had a membership where we used to live. It so helped our "studies" while I was having a trying pregnancy that I thought the same type of thing might be helpful to others also and I wanted my younger children to have the benefits of this that my older ones did for a time.

Tomorrow we begin the spring cleaning and reorganizing that I usually try to do before Easter. Oh, well, better late than never and I hope that I won't feel rushed and will be able to do a more thorough and maintainable job.

I'll try to share any great revelations and ideas that come our way as we go through the process.

And if you have any ideas or words of wisdom to help us along, feel free to comment.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Do you ever feel like you're just skimming through life? Like skimming over a book?

So often I find myself skimming over someone's blog post because I don't have much time to read blogs. Or skimming through a book because, again, I don't have much time to read. Or skimming through housework. Or homeschooling. Or a conversation with my child. Or dinner out with my husband. Or skimming over important remembrances such as Resurrection Day.

How much more valuable it would be if I concentrated on fewer things and did them with more depth, focus and wonder. How much better it would be if I totally absorbed what I'm reading and read with more discernment. How much more deeply loving it would be if I gave eye contact and maybe snuggles as my child talked with me. How much deeper and wiser I could be if I spent more time and thought as I read my Bible and prayed.

Some of these thoughts come from beginning to read the book "Long Wandering Prayer" by David Hansen. In one sense he proposes just the opposite of what I'm advising myself to do in that he says that a wandering mind can actually be God's call to pray about other thoughts that come to mind than what's actually on our "prayer list," but he has also caused me to think about how little time I spend in communion with God, disciplined or wandering. He suggests just setting aside time to wander through nature, both physically and spiritually, speaking to God about whatever comes to mind. I must say that lately all that comes to mind is the next thing on the to-do list. Sad.

So I encourage myself and anyone else who reads this to think over priorities (a recurring process) to see if life has become too scattered to concentrate on the important. Am I spending concentrated time on the things that should have full concentration? Am I skimming through life too quickly to catch the wonder of the small things - ladybugs, gorgeous sunsets, lilac buds, butterflies, eyelashes, hugs, parsley, freckles, laughter, piano pieces, fingernails, green grass, the wind blowing through my hair, freshly ground coffee, silly games of Scattergories, cat tails wrapping around your legs, wiggly worms, tweezers, braiding daughters' hairs, Easter chipmunks bring Cadbury Cream Eggs in cute little tin pails...

God has blessed us with so much; it's a shame to skim over those blessings. Decide which are the best for this season in your life and fully immerse yourself in them.