Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Circle Game and How Time Flies

 Below is an article I wrote for my February 2017 newsletter.  I looked it up again today because I was thinking about how fast the time goes by and how quickly our kiddos grow up.  I hope these reflections encourage someone to cherish their busy days of homeschooling.  

   Take some special time this month to love on your kiddos and family.  I've been homeschooling for 21 years and my first "baby" (26 yo) just drove out of town in a U-Haul, headed for a new job in CA.  It seems like just yesterday that I was teaching him to read!  I look in the mirror and find proof that over 2 decades have gone by, but in so many ways, the time has flown.  And since it is our goal to work ourselves out of a job, our children's success is our success, but it is still bittersweet to see them go.  As I watched him drive away in that big truck with his sweet wife, I was so happy for them and glad that I have no regrets about how I spent my time when my kiddos were young. I'm so thankful that I soaked up every moment with them, practically 24/7, and can look back with such a happy heart to those days.
    Our time with them, in that role of homeschooling mama, is short, even though some of the days seem so very long!  If you are in the season of constantly hearing your name "mommy" called throughout the day, if you are tired of playing referee to bickering little ones, if you feel you never get a full night's sleep, if you feel your house is oh so noisy all the time, if you are weary or find it hard to gather the enthusiasm to tackle another day... do not grow weary in doing good.  I promise you that when you look back in the years to come, you will long for a few of these hectic moments that feel like herding cats.  I pray you will be able to enjoy the sweet memories of a crazy and blessed homeschooling lifestyle that I would never have traded for the peace and quiet of an empty house while my kiddos were gone to school each day.  That is for the next season.
    Yes, even though it's hard to imagine, in the next season, when those teens are growing in independence (both physically and emotionally) and blossoming into young adults, or the way next season, when your children are no longer children at all, there will be plenty of time for peace and quiet where you can ponder and treasure these crazy, busy days. : )
    One of my favorite songs is The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell.  It follows a little boy growing up as the seasons of life go round and round.  It is a reminder of how quickly our children grow up and that we can't go back or stop time from marching on, and that life is indeed a series of seasons.  While it is not a Christian song, it inspires me to make this day count and appreciate the Lord's goodness and faithfulness in each season of our lives. And as a parent, it is one of my favorites.  Watch and listen HERE.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


 I am very grateful for this nation in which I am blessed to live, in spite of the mistakes that have been made or disappointments that sometimes occur at the hands of corrupt men and women.  This poem reminds me of a respect for God and Country from days gone by. 

          HATS OFF!
          (Henry Holcomb Bennett)

Hats Off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:
Hats off!
The colors before us fly....
But more than the flag is passing by....
Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land's swift increase;
Equal justice, right, and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;
Sign of a nation, great and strong
To ward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honor,-all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.
Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:
Hats off!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day 2016

     I'd like to share some thoughts on motherhood.   I know I've addressed this before, but I can't help but mention a few things regarding Mother's Day.  While it is a very special day, I am aware that it also can be a painful day.  For many of us, Mother's Day can be shadowed by grief regarding the loss of our own sweet mothers or mother-in-laws, or the longing to be a mother or have more children.   I have experienced both.  Or perhaps a season of a prodigal child brings pain to "Mother's Day".   The Lord has met me in my place of sorrow and longing and He has reminded me that He sees my pain and has given me joy in the midst of it and answered many motherhood prayers.  For those in a wounded place this year, I pray you will hear His voice as well. 
    We are adoptive parents as well as biological, so I have experienced both gifts of motherhood.  For those adoptive parents out there, I want to celebrate with you, the special miracle of adoption.  It seems normal that we would love our bio children beyond measure.  But adoption is this amazing other miracle of loving a child not born to us, just as if they were!  In addition to the gift of motherhood, adoption gives us a glimpse of God's love toward us, as He adopted us into His family.  He has been faithful over and over and I pray we each feel His presence and peace as we celebrate both our own mothers and the blessing and privilege of motherhood.
    As I mentioned, I am one of those "not so fertile Myrtles". For many years, that was understandably a painful part of my life. Then God blessed me with the GIFT of motherhood. He happened to do that through a pregnancy, and gave us our son. ( He could have given me that GIFT through an adoption... but that was to be a later GIFT!).
Having spent many years longing to be a mommy, I milked it for all it was worth. I was in no hurry to potty train. And I nursed him so long, I thought I was going to be nominated to be the president of the Leche League . : )  ... just kidding... it was actually only about a year and a half... a little long, but well within "normal limits". : ) But I knew I might never have the chance again to enjoy this season, so I took it slow. That is still my motto... while I enjoy and celebrate the milestones and growth of my kids, I am in no hurry to see them grow up too quickly. I enjoy them so much, I often wish I could just stop the clock!
   I enjoyed every minute ( both the hectic and tranquil) of motherhood, savoring my time with my little guy, not wanting to hurry through any of it. When we began thinking about school, I didn't know just how it worked, but I knew I was going to homeschool. Among other factors, there was no way I was going to miss out on spending all those hours in a day with my child.
    The Lord didn't open my womb again, but He did open the door for adoption, and gave us our 2 darling daughters. My cup runneth over! I found myself thanking the Lord for the "gift" of infertility!! As a result of that condition, I have the 2 children that He planned just for me, and they are a perfect fit. For many years, I prayed for the "miracle of healing from infertility", but the Lord had the "miracle of motherhood through adoption" planned for me instead... who knew!? What a good God, and we can trust Him. "For I know the plans I have for you... ".
    Like all moms, I have crazy days that seem overwhelming, and I get weary, overwhelmed or side tracked and my joy can be diminished when I lose sight of the incredible blessing and honor of motherhood. On those occasions, when I examine the cause, it usually lies with me. My priorities are askew, and I am not devoting my time to my role of wife and mother. When I seek the Lord, asking forgiveness for allowing myself to become distracted, He restores my vision for my family, helps me reset my priorities to reflect my heart's desire for my family, and renews my strength and my joy.  God is always faithful to give us what we need.
   And now, here I am in a new season of motherhood.  I am a mother-in-law. And I have much to learn before I can write in depth about this new role.  But I've already learned that not only does this add a sweet new daughter for me to love (and I do!), it changes my relationship with my son forever, in a way that God designed, so I know I can look forward to the many blessings that will come from this new chapter in our lives. 
   I am so grateful for the Blessing of motherhood. Sometimes we tell our kids that the hardest day with them, is still waaaaaay better than the easiest day before them. They complete us. I can't imagine my life without my children... each one Hand picked by the Father, and given to us as a treasure to enjoy.
A lifetime won't be long enough. 


This familiar article on being a mom is rewritten here by Tracy Klicka (the widow of HSLDA's  Chris Klicka,) and adapted to reflect the heart of a Christian, homeschool mom.

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of starting a family.
“We’re taking a survey,” she says half-jokingly. “Do you think I should have a baby?”
“It will change your life,” I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.
“I know,” she says, “no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations.”
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.
I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, “What if that had been MY child?” That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.
That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish clothes and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of “Mommy!” will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.
I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. I hope she decides to become a stay-at-home mom so she can savor every moment of motherhood. Those moments will become some of the richest treasures she will ever have on this earth.
She may choose to continue working, however, and arrange for childcare, but if she does, one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at a fast-food restaurant will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and customers talking all around, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
Every decision she makes regarding the well-being and safety of her child will somehow feel like the most important decision she has ever made. However decisive she may be anywhere else, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.
Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.
That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but she will also begin to hope and pray for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor, a visible trophy of motherhood.
My daughter’s relationship with her husband will change, too, but not in the way she thinks.
I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who walks a fussy baby in the wee hours of the night, who never hesitates to play with his child and who kisses his children goodnight.
I think she should know that she will fall in love with him all over again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing her child learn to ride a bike or hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time.
I want her to feel the joy so real it actually hurts.
My daughter’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I finally say.
Then I reach across the table, squeeze my daughter’s hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the women who will find their way into this most wonderful and holy of callings.

“Motherhood,” attributed to Dale Hanson Bourke, Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul; adapted by Tracy Klicka MacKillop, 2013

Visit HERE for a previous post on Motherhood, sharing two beautiful poems by Edgar Guest.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Used Curriculum Fair

CHEE Used Curriculum Fair is being held again this year at the same location. 

June 7, 2016
10am - 2pm

Free Admission

 Join Us!


A favorite event is coming in June...a Used Curriculum Fair!... where oodles of resources (curriculum, books, educational games, puzzles, etc.) will be available to browse and purchase. 
If you are looking for books, curriculum and other resources to purchase for your upcoming school year...

If you have books, resources and curriculum to sell, PLEASE JOIN US!

If you want to sell, now is the time to start going through your resources, deciding what to part with.

If you plan to shop, it is a good idea to start thinking about what you will need for next year, and make a list. Of course, there is always an abundance of resources available that we never think to put on our list, so come on out and enjoy browsing and getting your hands on lots of items.

Whether you are a veteran or a newbie, a curriculum fair is always a fun place to enjoy catching up with or learning from other homeschoolers. So, we hope to see you there! : )
(Please check local support group emails and newsletters for specific location and registration details. ) 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Celebrating Autumn


By Edgar Guest

Days are gettin' shorter an' the air a keener snap;
Apples now are droppin' into Mother Nature's lap;
The mist at dusk is risin' over valley, marsh an' fen
An' it's just as plain as sunshine, winter's comin' on again.

The turkeys now are struttin' round the old farmhouse once more;
They are done with all their nestin', and their hatchin' days are o'er;
Now the farmer's cuttin' fodder for the silo towerin' high
An' he's frettin' an' complainin' 'cause the corn's a bit too dry.

But the air is mighty peaceful an' the scene is good to see,
An' there's somethin' in October that stirs deep inside o' me;
An' I just can't help believin' in a God above us, when
Everything is ripe for harvest an the frost is back again.

By Edgar Guest

Apples on the table an' the grate-fire blazin' high,
Oh, I'm sure the whole world hasn't any happier man than I;
The Mother sittin' mendin' little stockin's, toe an' knee,
An' tellin' all that's happened through the busy day to me:
Oh, I don't know how to say it, but these cosy autumn nights
Seem to glow with true contentment an' a thousand real delights.

The dog sprawled out before me knows that huntin' days are here,
'Cause he dreams and seems to whimper that a flock o' quail are near;
An' the children playin' checkers till it's time to go to bed,
Callin' me to settle questions whether black is beatin' red;
Oh, these nights are filled with gladness, an' I puff my pipe an' smile,
An' tell myself the struggle an' the work are both worth while.

The flames are full o' pictures that keep dancin' to an' fro,
Bringin' back the scenes o' gladness o' the happy long ago,
An' the whole wide world is silent an' I tell myself just this--
That within these walls I cherish, there is all my world there is!
Can I keep the love abiding in these hearts so close to me,
An' the laughter of these evenings, I shall gain life's victory.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall is Here!

Fall is here!  I love this time of year... the crisp air, the cooler breeze, the chilly mornings, the cozy evenings, the beauty of the foliage around the area.  The only thing I'm not too keen on is that it signals the coming of winter, which is sometimes a little hard for me, even after 20 years.  As I've said before, you can take the girl out of Southern California, but you can't take all of So Cal out of the girl. : )
   We are attempting to get into a rhythm for our school schedule, but as usual we find that a bit of a challenge. My oldest dd has only 2 years of formal homeschool left, and I know how fast those years fly, and there is still so much I want to tell her and share with her and pour into her heart.  I realize that technically that role doesn't end abruptly upon formal graduation, but I also know that things do "change" and the teaching role we have as parents definitely changes.
    So I looked at the crazy busy schedule looming before us this year, and realized that not only did it gobble up so much of our precious time at home together, but I had literally overbooked myself to the point of having to admit that we just couldn't do it all.  So after much prayer and soul searching and reevaluating, I dropped some things, (even some worthy things!), rearranged others, consolidated some and regrouped on the home front to allow more time to be ... home. (There's a concept!)
   Even with those adjustments, we are still busier than I'd prefer, but at least we have a little wiggle room for the unexpected and a slightly emptier calendar each week, which translates to more time available to accomplish our educational and family goals.  At least that's the plan. : )
    I'm thankful to the Lord for His faithful guidance as we seek His face and His plan for our families.  Sometimes I get so busy with my own agenda and schedule that I find it difficult to hear His voice.  But as I a slow down, and wait upon Him, He always comes through, leading us, guiding us, teaching us. It's not always the answer I am hoping for, and it's not always in my preferred timing, but as I follow His lead, I'm reassured by the peace that replaces the stress.
   Anyone relate?  I pray you are getting into a comfortable schedule that meets the needs of your family.  And I encourage you to reevaluate if necessary and be prepared to change directions or clear your schedule or hunker down and plow full speed ahead... just be obedient in whatever the Lord is guiding you to do.