A change

So I've been contemplating a move.  A little more anonymity as I've started posting on some different groups.  So I've got everything moved and a slightly new look.  Sorry if this messes anyone up.  Grandma - I'll get the new site set on your computer when I come visit!

So those of you who have me on your blog list will need to do a little updating.

I am now  Embracing His Plan


You Make Me Smile

Looking through pictures last night and found these that made me laugh.  I love these boys!


Reflections on the Childlight Conference

So I've been home a week from attending the Childlight Charlotte Mason Conference and had some time to process. 

It took me a week - and I'm still processing.

There was sooooo much information and so much going on in my brain and heart that it is difficult to put into words but for my sake (and anyone else who cares), I really want to write out some of my thoughts.  Bear with me as this will not be a smoothly flowing post but more chunks of thoughts.

First of all I have to admit that part of my excitement at going to this 4 day conference was eating 9 meals that I did not have to cook, clean up or serve and got to eat while the food was still hot.  Not to mention that once I sat down to eat I did not have to get up again unless it was to get myself more dessert - which I did several times.  I did not have to remind anyone to eat with their mouth closed, tell anyone not to put their feet on the table or explain why we do not use a green bean as a mustache.  To those of you who are mothers you will understand my sheer excitement at this aspect of the conference. Mealtime bliss!

I was also excited to be with two of my best friends and be around other women who share my obsession passion for Charlotte Mason. 

Funny thing - I thought I was passionate.  Some of these ladies were official Charlotte Mason groupies!  :)

So after the first group lecture, which reminded me how long it has been since I have had to actually stretch my brain and understand words bigger than 2 syllables, we went to hear the teens/college students talk about their experiences growing up with Charlotte Mason.  My hubby particularly wanted me to go to this event as he wants to make sure our kids don't turn out looking too much like the Duggars (I however would love my kids to be like the Duggar kids - think they would just adopt our family? - what's a few more?) 

To say we left there blown away would be an understatement.  These kids were articulate, poised, funny, down to earth, thoughtful in their speech and excited about their home education.  They shared their love for books, authors, their families, extra-curricular activities and education.  They answered our questions and encouraged us.

The biggest thing I took away from them was the one thing that ALL the college kids said - the biggest help to them in college was NARRATION!!   Now I have poured over book lists, nature study ideas, composers, timelines, foreign language - all trying to make sure I am well prepared when it comes time for us to start school.  But narration?  I just thought of it as what we will use to help make sure the boys understand what they are reading - almost like the quiz at the end of the passage. 

Boy was I wrong.  The kids all talked about how important their narrations were and how as they listened to a professor talk they would narrate to themselves.  They didn't need to take a whole lot of notes or have crazy cramming sessions before exams because simply by narrating to themselves they were fermenting the information into their brains and rewording it so they could understand and remember.  They talked about how growing up with CM and learning how to listen and read passages (which got longer as they got older) and then narrating the important and meaningful parts to their parents or themselves or in their notebooks had prepared them to listen to long lectures and retain the information.  I cannot stress enough how much importance they put on this!  I am definitely going to research the narration thing a little more and make sure I understand.  Actually, in several sessions I attended the instructors had us narrate and since we haven't started schooling yet, it was particularly helpful for me to get an idea of how narrations works.   I discovered the whole read it once and narrate thing is harder than I thought it would be.  You really have to pay attention!!

Another session was about Paper Trails - all the various notebooks that Charlotte talked about.  This session was somewhat overwhelming and would have been nice to have in a longer session as there was sooooo much information.  It was great to see examples of some of the different notebooks instead of just reading about them, however a little stressful to think about doing all those notebooks.  Luckily most are geared towards the older crowd who should be able to do most of them on their own.  The biggest "aha" for me in this session was the time line structure.  I love time lines and comparing different people and things that happened at the same time - making those connections.  However the instructor talked about how to start our kids in the time line/book of centuries process and it made sooo much sense!!  When the child is 8 or 9 make a horizontal time line on a poster size piece of paper that starts with their birth year and goes to the current year.  Then put in important events in their life that had to do with them, then add family events, then local events, then national and international events.  This helps the child see where they are in relation to (1)their family, (2)community, (3)country and (4)world.  You can then possibly make a larger timeline that goes back maybe 50 or 100 years and add in events.  This takes the child from what they have experienced (their life) to what they have read about.  It's all about helping them realize their place in God's plan!

I went to several other great sessions - Drawing for Dummies, Handicrafts, Natural History and Geography and others, however I'm going to end with putting two sessions together as they sum up what I came away with.  Dr. Carroll Smith (a professor at Gardner-Webb and the engineer behind this conference) spoke about the principles of a Charlotte Mason Education and Nancy Kelly (love her blog Sage Parnassus) had a session on Citizenship.  These two sessions really clarified for me why I love Charlotte Mason's education philosophy. The quotes are loose quotes based on my frantic note taking.

It isn't about filling up my children's brains with information.  It isn't about finding the right curriculum.  It isn't about whether they can score well on standardized tests or rattle off the President's names in order or know all their capitals.  It's about "awakening our children with the knowledge of God, Man and World and turning their minds and souls towards truth."(Dr. Smith)

This is the basis of Charlotte Mason's philosophy and where her educational theories differ from other philosophies and curriculum.  She believed that children were born persons, images of God and that our responsibility was to awaken them to this concept.  All our books, activities, curriculum choices, field trips - they should all build on this concept of awakening our children to who they are as a child of God, not telling them, but providing them with books that allow them to come to these conclusions on their own - much more meaningful than having an adult tell you it is so!  The literature they read should "improve their thoughts and ideas and language as it relates to knowing God, others and themselves." (Dr. Smith)  What they learn, this knowledge, is "information touched with emotion" (either Nancy or Charlotte :)   I believe it was Charlotte who said, "magnanimity is the proper outcome of education" (Magnanimity as defined by Noah Webster in his 1828 dictionary - Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.) 


This is why I love Charlotte Mason.  When I felt God calling me to homeschool I did not feel inspired at all.  I thought, "Well, I guess I'll look at different curriculum and choose one to use."  That did not excite me.  I am so thankful that before I wasted any time God put Charlotte Mason in front of me.  I will never forget that evening that I first started reading about her and her ideas.  I was on a high.  I was in love.  I was excited to homeschool.  This is what I wanted for my boys - to love the Lord, love to learn and love good books.  To love their fellow man, their country and their duty.  I don't want to just educate them, I want to watch God shape them into magnanimous men.  

I can't wait.

Thank you Charlotte!! 



Yes, I've been MIA.  I've been busy - baby showers(giving not getting), conferences, VBS.  And yes, I'm also lazy.  I've been too tired at night to drag my lazy rear end down to the computer to upload pics and so I've just neglected to post. 


I'll try to get back on track.


For now - a Carter quip.

Today I was telling the boys that Sunday was Father's Day and that we needed to do something special for Daddy.  We talked about what we might do and what we might get him and about how we had already had Mother's Day and then Carter paused.

"When is Kid's Day Mommy?"

He just wants a present.


Encouraging God's GIfts

I don't want this to sound like boasting because that is NOT my intention at all.  This has NOTHING to do with anything I have done or not done.

But I really believe that God is in Carter's heart.

Now having said that, I always "poo-pooed" people who claimed their 3 year old had accepted Jesus in their hearts.  Not that I don't think God can do that - He can.  I just believe most 3 - 5 year olds don't have the understanding yet to know what they are doing but some parents want that assurance of salvation for their kids and so they push them to "pray the prayer".

However as a good Presbyterian (PCA), I believe in predestination and election.  I believe that God has chosen those He is going to save from the beginning of time and works in their hearts and lives for His will and purpose.

I see God working in Carter's heart.

He is so attentive to his Bible stories and in Sunday School (at least when I was in there yesterday) is focused and listening and answering the questions.  He remembers and has even told me stories he learned in Sunday School that I had to look up in my Bible because I didn't remember them!

He is starting to apply some of the things we have talked about.  Not listening to Satan when we get angry - i.e. not hit.  Encouraging one another - i.e. help his brother when he gets frustrated.  And yesterday in Sunday School I was holding a little boy who was not pleased his grandparents had left him and we were building a Lego tunnel for his trains.  I said, "Boys, I don't know if we are going to be able to make this tunnel work or not."  Carter said, "We just have to remember that we can do all things through God who strengthens me."


He asks these questions that I don't know how to answer in 4.5 year old terms and heck - sometimes don't know how to answer at all!

I feel very humbled and inadequate to guide this little boy.  I realized the other day that he hadn't been talking about God as much and then realized that it had been  2 weeks since we had had our morning Bible time.  Talk about convicting!  If I want God on his mind and heart then I need to read His Word to Carter daily.

Sound familiar?  I desire to trust God more, to think of Him more, to go to Him in prayer through out the day, to follow His guidance in my life.  And yet my time in His Word has also been missing.

Things God reveals to us through our children!

He is always singing a song (usually about God - LOVE the "Songs for Sapling" CD) and so to end - a made up song from Carter that he sang for me yesterday that luckily I was able to grab a pencil and paper and write down as he was singing.

O God I love you.
We always disobey you.
You love us anyway.
God of Power.
Jesus your son died on the cross for our sin.
Give us the strength to do good and help us to share.
But you just love us so much and you grow fruits and vegetables.

As my friend said, we've got either a minister or a gospel singer.


Kid quotes

Caleb sitting on the big potty lowers himself down into the potty.
Me - Caleb don't do that you might fall in.
Caleb - Then you flush me?

We are all piling in Caleb's bed for bed time prayers and night night song.  He stands at the end and starts fussing.
Me - Caleb, what's wrong?
Caleb (looking at the 3 of us taking up all the room in his bed) - Dere no more parking spots!

We are driving down the road and coming to a 4 way stop see a truck with a canoe on the back.
Carter - Hey there's a canoe!
Caleb - No! It a boat!
Carter - No, it's a canoe.  Wait, you're right, a canoe is a different species of boat.  No, not species - that's for dinosaurs, not boats.

At my niece's ballet recital with my parents.
Grandma to Carter - Don't put your feet up on the pew, this is a church and that's where they put the Bibles and hymnbooks.
Carter with an incredulous look on his face - This is a church?  A ballerina church?


Happy Belated Mother's Day

I hope all the moms out there had a wonderful day yesterday!  Even though this is one of those "Hallmark" holidays, it is a good reminder for us to recognize the women who have influenced us and be inspired to continue our own journey as moms.

So I'm sure your day went the same way mine did.  Huge homemade breakfast served in bed by adoring children and husband.  Showered with cards full of praise and adulation and mountains of gifts.  Attending church with beaming, obedient children by our sides.  Another huge family lunch once again made and served by loving family.  A long, quiet, uninterrupted nap.  Then an evening picnic in a field of flowers with family still praising your virtues and sacrifice.

Wait a minute - that's Hollywood's version.

This is real life.

Real life doesn't work that way.  And quite often our sinful hearts tell us it should and that anything less is not good enough.  We want to be recognized for our sacrifices (especially the ones no one notices) and told what a great job we are doing, that it is all worth the tears and frustrations.  We want to be praised and lifted up.

We want others to see that our family rises up and calls us blessed.

And here is the danger of Mother's Day.  Because when we don't get all that, we feel hurt and disappointed and even angry.

This isn't just about Mother's Day though - we do this through out the year.  We want rewards and praise and by golly even just a little acknowledgement would be nice!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23, 24

God gives us children, makes us mothers to glorify Him.  NOT OURSELVES!  By being good mothers we are serving Him and we will receive our rewards, our praise, our accolades from Him.  And while our sinful hearts don't want to wait for that moment - it will be sooooo worth it.

Christ knows about sacrifice - He knows about not being recognized - He knows about being ignored.

He made the ultimate, unappreciated sacrifice for us.

So the next time you are feeling ignored, unappreciated and unrecognized, realize you are in good company.


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