Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite Posts of 2013

Creating a school space in our living room - utilizing this room and finally feeling like I found its right fit!

Thoughts on slowing and really, any Slow Day post is always a favorite!

Roots & Reason Art plus a number of posts sharing about CC:

 This photo: swoony!




I had such fun looking back at posts from this past year and imagining all the beauty that this coming year will hold. Happy New Year, friends!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Book List

Books I read this year - my goal was two per month and I am so pleased that I surpassed that!

Inspired You
Cleaning House
Back Home Again
Going to the Chapel
Home for the Holidays
The Spirit of the Season

Spring is in the Air
Recipes and Wooden Spoons
The Long Winter {finished reading aloud to littles!}
Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids
Song of my Heart

March: {starred was my favorite read this month}
Echo in Celebration by Leigh Bortins
Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Where Willows Grow by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade*
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

April: {starred was my favorite read this month}
The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen*
Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson
The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury
The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

May Books:
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen
A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Greer
The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Fit To Burst by Rachel Jankovic
The Chance by Karen Kingsbury
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty McDonald {a read aloud that gathered lots of laughs!}

June Books:
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder {this finishes our reading aloud of the entire series!}
Large Family Logistics
Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander
Thicker than Blood by CJ Darlington
The Busy Homeschool Moms Guide to Daylight by Heidi St. John
Love Finds You in Deadwood South Dakota by Tracy Cross
The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter
Within my Heart by Tamera Alexander

Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate
Usborne Illustrated book of Grimm's Fairy Tales - read aloud
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander
Mystery of History Volume 1 by Linda Lacour Hobar - read aloud we just finished!

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Heroes in Black History by Dave and Neta Jackson - read aloud
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater - read aloud {we loved this one!}
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Song of Annie Moses: A Musical Quest, A Mother's Gift
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White - read aloud {another one we enjoyed!}

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
Homeschooling the Holidays by Lee Binz {got a couple of good ideas, mostly geared towards high school and even college bound students}
Betsy ~ Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace {Emily read it and loved it and wanted me to read it!}
The Ark, The Reed and The Fire Cloud by Jenny Cote

The House That Love Built
A Simple Change by Judith Miller
Find More Time by Laura Stack
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley
Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Friends! It’s a November afternoon as I am sitting down to write this letter and too warm outside for my liking! I love this time of year when we emphasize gratefulness, giving and reflecting on God’s gift to us in the form of His Son, Jesus.

As we approach this season, my heart and thoughts have been on the idea of slowing. I think this will be my word for 2014 and so I’ve begun thinking a lot about what it means to slow. So far, I have realized that it is more than just a speed of living – it is a state of mind and heart, it is a result of choices and a conscious decision. 
I’m eager to explore this idea and learn more about living slower and would love to hear any ideas of yours on this! As I was thinking about this letter, I was anticipating opening up to Luke 2 and looking for evidence of slow and hoping to bring some of that to our lives during this busy season and culture. 

In some ways it is hard to compare the events of the Bible with today’s hurry scurry world. But in reality we all know they had distractions and challenges of their own that may have been visibly different from our but bring similar feelings and struggles to our lives. 

The first thing that comes to mind is that some may say God's timing is slow, but I know He is never late.  People had been looking for His Son for decades and one very quiet night the time arrived. Even though generations came and went without seeing the Messiah, God was not slow but right on time for His eternal time table.

Secondly, I’m finding that when I think of slow it sort of brings a quiet appeal with it. A heart that is at rest and at peace enables oneself and others to slow down a bit. As I read about the stable and the place where Mary and Joseph found themselves on that amazing night, it brings a slow feeling into my soul just to consider the simplicity of the surroundings. 

As the shepherds hurried off to find this new King they’d heard of, it shows me that if I’m going to hurry – let it be in seeking my Savior, obeying Him and being about His business and not to the detriment of others.

And, finally – Mary and the shepherds all took time to praise God. Especially Mary who, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I guess another way of slowing is to make sure that I’m focusing on the right things and using my time wisely for eternity.

As a family, we are grateful for the opportunity to home educate our children and pray they, like Jesus,  would  “grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man” and I am so thankful that I get to spend my days investing in them and our home. Looking forward to exploring slow with you this year! Merry Christmas to each of you!