Category Archives: Louise

Odds & Ends

1-IMG_4953-001Long time, no blog, eh?  :-)  I think this almost two-week break is unprecedented in my seven-ish years of blogging.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Celebrating–we celebrated Louise’s 9th birthday both with an at-home family party and a trip to the Huntsville Botanical Garden (after lunch at our favorite Mexican joint).



DSC_0182Yes, we did make the six-layer birthday cake I linked to in my last Menu Plan Monday post, and yes, it was delicious and worth the trouble.



Last Saturday I flew out to Colorado for CBS Leadership Training.  This was only the third time I’d ever flown in my life, and the first time I’d ever flown by myself.  After a long day of travel (including a missed flight in Dallas), I finally arrived and had a wonderful, edifying, encouraging time with several hundred other Christians called to serve God through the CBS ministry.

DSCN1249Our accommodations were beautiful, but the intensity of our training didn’t leave any time for sightseeing.  Mostly I looked out the windows to see Cheyenne Mountain, which looked clear and inviting when we arrived but looked like this on our last full day there:


This is how we left it on Tuesday morning:


The surprising weather (at least for this Alabama girl) notwithstanding, it was such a blessed time, and I feel so humbled to be a part of such a ministry.  I’ve learned a lot, mostly about what I need to improve upon, and I’m eager to fulfill the role God has given me for this time in His Kingdom.

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I came home to the glorious mundane:  laundry (and lots of it), grocery listing and shopping, disciplining and nurturing, and so on.  Finding balance in all of these callings isn’t easy, but I keep plugging away at it and praying for grace and strength and endurance and wisdom.  I came home to a little boy very eager to begin reading, and so we just jumped in.  He has read the first five Bob books and is very excited about it.  :-)

DSC_0261I also did something new:  I gave my first haircut. Well, it was actually my second, since I did buzz Steady Eddie’s hair once a few years ago.  This time, though, I actually attempted a clipper and scissor cut after watching about five tutorials on YouTube.  I just realized that paying for four haircuts (mine plus the three fellows here at the House of Hope) every month to six weeks is getting expensive!  I can’t say I did a fabulous job, but I suppose I’ll get better with practice.


What I haven’t been doing is much reading, and honestly I’m not sure how I’m going to manage to fit in everything I have going in.  My blogging may be spotty here in the next few weeks and months, and if it is, you’ll know why.

I’m thankful for and humbled by the doors God is opening in my life.  We are so blessed!






Odds & Ends

  • 1-IMG_4953-001I’m got up super early this morning (at least for me on a Saturday!) thanks to a lengthy nap I took yesterday after a medical test I had done.  (The test came back all good.  Thank you, Lord!)
  • My night wasn’t exactly restful because, well, we have a new baby in the house yard:


  • Her name is November, and she is Louise’s ninth (get it?  November!) birthday present for her birthday which is coming up in. . . you guess it. . . November.  :-)  This girl has wanted a dog for a long, long time, and so we, her non-dog-adoring parents, have finally given in.  We haven’t had a dog since before Lulu was born, so this is a big step for us!  The baby cried a lot last night, but the girls are up early with her this morning and are already outside playing with her.  I’m not sure how much our neighbors have appreciated the crying baby or the early bird (& excited!) girls, but I’m sure November is glad of their company.  Isn’t she a cutie?
  • We celebrated my older nephew’s sixteenth birthday on Monday night with family.  I cannot believe our little red-headed baby, the first grandbaby in the family on both sides!,  is now a big 6 foot (plus!) tall, red-headed sixteen year old.  The years are flying.
  • In other news, Steady Eddie traveled yet again this week.  I’m sort of getting used to it.  Well, kind of.  I don’t love it, but I survive it.  And that’s the truth.
  • Due to Steady Eddie’s travel and my impending medical test (which required the kids to spend the night at my parents’ house on Thursday night), this week felt sort of off.
  •  Fun Friday consisted of the kids being at my parents’ house, which means way more television and kitchen liberties than they’re accustomed to, so it was indeed a Fun Friday for them.
  • Me. . . not so much, but again, I survived it.  It was almost restful, actually, to be “put under” for a while and then come home and nap.  Oh, and to have lunch (albeit a groggy one!) out with Steady Eddie.  (Did I just say all that?)
  • School is perking right along.  Highlights this week include Louise finishing her third grade Rod and Staff spelling book and Lulu making a connection between what she learned in her Rod and Staff grammar book and one of her 4-level analysis sentences.  She recognized an appositive with no prompting from me.  These little intellectual epiphanies are so gratifying!  :-)  Louise also acquitted herself very well on her first Review and Practice sheet for RS Math level D–she answered all the questions and worked all the problems correctly the first time!  For Lulu this week consisted of learning, among other things, about the Sieve of Eratosthenes.  Neat stuff!
  • We finished Sign of the Beaver as our lunchtime read-aloud and plunged right into The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  I hope to share my thoughts on Sign of the Beaver soon!
  • The DLM continues to beg for school time.  This week we learned the letter sounds for A and H and read appropriate titles.
  • I figured out this week (or last?) that Benny also knows the sound for A!  He was standing up on the love seat (a.k.a. “love couch,” according to the DLM) and pointing to a little sign hanging above it.  I realized he was pointing to the A on the sign and saying “aaah.”  I think we have Leap Frog, in all its electronic wonder, to thank for that.  :-)
  • I’m working my way through my stack of Cybils nominees.  Fun times!
  • The girls have a piano event this morning–hymn fest.  They will play a couple of hymns apiece in front of judges.
  • Besides that, I have nothing but school planning and church on the calendar for the weekend.  I’d like to take a little road trip, but I think that’s not going to happen any time in the near future.

How was your week?

“A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry Friday ButtonFor our first six weeks school term (or more), we are memorizing “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  So far as I know, his works have passed into the public domain, so I’ll share it here in its entirety:

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real!    Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;–

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

I have fond memories of learning about Longfellow as a high school junior.  He was the subject of my first literary research paper.  I recognize the fact that his poetry has really fallen out of fashion these days, but I still like it a lot.  My girls and I were practicing it in the van the other day on the way to Bible study.  This week we’re supposed to know down through the fifth stanza:

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

What a wonderful four lines!  Of course, our recitation necessitated a discussion of the word bivouac, one of the few words I specifically remember learning the meaning of at some point during my education.  This, then, made me think of the Apostle Paul’s enduring words from 2 Corinthians 5:1:

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

This passage of scripture has doubly special meaning for me because it is the passage a beloved pastor used at my papaw’s funeral.  Sharing it with my girls–the literary connection between bivouac and tent–and then the connection to the previous stanza–this encapsulates one of the things I love about homeschooling.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

I also love that Louise pointed out, after considering stanzas four and five together, that Randy Melendy from our current bedtime read-aloud, Then There Were Five, has a particular affinity for funeral marches.

How sweet it is when it all comes together.




Dining room update

I thought I’d give an update on our dining room revamp progress since it has changed quite a bit since the last time I shared.  I apologize in advance for the darkness of the pictures.  I took the pictures in the late afternoon after the room was tidied for a birthday supper for my mom.



I bought this big urn at Hobby Lobby at 50% off and the fall flowers were 40% off.  (This is the third arrangement; I had to make two trips back to return other flowers I didn’t like.)   A funny thing happened when I bought the urn: we were looking at them and I was considering a smaller version of same pot.  Louise piped up and asked me why I’d want a chamber pot for the dining room table!  Another shopper who was standing nearby got a big kick out of that.  ;-)



It turns out that I didn’t buy anything new for the mantle (yet) except for the artificial flowers beside the picture.  I just kind of stuck things up there.  I’ve admitted it already, right?  I’m no decorator.  (Actually, Steady Eddie is the one who handled clean-up in this room while I cooked on Friday evening, so he’s the one who made the tabletop arrangement.  I’m pretty sure I won’t leave it like this, but I sure was happy to have his help! ;-) )


DSC_0039 DSC_0040 DSC_0041We still need something for the big wall (and to move the trampoline–but where, oh where?), but I really like how it looks now.  It’s very warm and cozy, and I love sitting in the living room on the couch and seeing the flowers and the mantle.  After years upon years of having things unfinished, it feels good to really like the space.