Tag Archive | contentment

The Inspired Life of a Homeschool Mom

blog 167

The other morning I got up early…well, earlier than everyone else anyway. It was the weekend so Dad was home. It had rained during the night. Really rained so that when I sat out on the porch with my coffee I could breathe in the wet earthy air. After living in the Pacific Northwest for sixteen years I grew to love the rain. I miss it here on the prairie. During the sparkly whiteness of the prairie winter I longed for the gray, cozy Washington winter.

I decided to go for a walk, enjoying the cool grayness. As I walked I thought about how we have lived in the Midwest for a year now. Moving is really hard, at least it was for me. Adjusting to everything being so different, the missing places in my heart where my friends should be. I left behind a life that I loved, fighting resentment, accepting what is. It hasn’t been easy. Grieving the loss of a baby. Sometimes it felt like my heart had grown flat. On auto pilot, trying to live from one day to the next.

As I walked I prayed and thought, along the fields, soy beans, corn, a gravel road. This is my life now. Cows stopped their grazing to look at me. I like them and I say,”Hi, good morning, cows.” They look at me with peaceful eyes, go back to their grass. Milk weed flowers grow in the ditches. They have a wonderful fragrance that wafts out to me in the mist. I pick some so I can hold it my nose and smell it as I go, letting the sticky milk drip onto my wrist. I think how we will be able now to hatch Monarch Butterflies in jars like I did when I was a girl. Year after year my siblings and I lined the pantry window sill with jars. We never tired of watching the life cycle of the beautiful butterfly. We always released them with a sort of hushed awe into my mom’s flower beds.

By the time I turn back the sun is burning away the mist. I can still see our place , even though I’m a good couple miles away. Distance is deceiving here.  You know they say where ever you go there you are? Well, I knew then that it’s true. I am still here. The inspired life that I want to live, full of poetry, music, art, good and beautiful things. Lofty aspirations of educating my children, capturing their hearts and souls. Those things can still be mine. My heart fills with praise because I know it’s true, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can be happy here just as well as there. I will grow here and flourish, I will live the inspired life of a homeschool mom.

And once I am being carried on the wings of inspiration, I know wonderful things will happen! I am planning a literature based study of The United States for this coming year. Not so much the ordinary history stuff but a study of the regions and people and geography. I am thinking of books that capture the hearts of the people that make the deep south, New England, the rugged cowboyness of the Southwest, the amazing, strong women who somehow still laughed and loved and accepted the wind and sod houses on the prairie….. it’s going to be good. We’ll do regional cooking and take field trips in our minds. We’ll make a huge map and a time line. We’ll live through the dust bowl and join the gold rush. We’ll slip away with the runaway slaves, following the drinking gourd.

I have a feeling it’ll be another good year this year. Please, if anything cool came to mind while reading this leave me a comment. The plans are still forming in my mind so I am definitely open to suggestions!

“Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts, bright fancies, faithful sayings; treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb nor poverty take away from you, houses built without hands for your souls to live in.” John Ruskin

blog 162


(Free) Cool Things to Make a Mom Happy

Our dishwasher has been broken for a few weeks now. I can’t wait to get a new one but in the meantime we’re enjoying hand washing our dishes. We’re leaving on a road trip next week so I am forgoing a new dishwasher for a couple extra nights in Yellow Stone National Park. New dishwashers can come later.

So while I hand wash dishes I am dreaming of hours on the road chatting with Blue eyes, our fifteen passenger van stuffed with beautiful children and our good old dog, eating up the miles due east. Listening to the audio version of Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler, again. It is so good, though! Singing hymns, playing A my name is Anna, I feel like a good old fashioned American. Just like we’ll belong in a Norman Rockwell painting……..you know life is good when you feel like you’re in a Norman Rockwell painting!

Anyways, back to hand washing dishes, which has given me opportunity to dream and have some good one on one with my kids. Because I’m a little paranoid about dirty dishes I am pretty much the dish washer and the kids take turns rinsing and drying.

There is something relaxing about having my hands in the soapy water, Mrs. Meyers geranium scented dish soap – my favorite!  It reminds me of the slower paced life of by gone years. It is nice to work along side one or the other of my kids and hear what they’ve been thinking about lately.

One night after a particularly busy day, (Resulting in a huge pile of dishes. I’m sure the housewives from by gone years never let their dishes pile up like that!), Blue eyes even stayed up to do the dishes with me. It was an unusually warm night so the window was open to let in the breeze, we were just talking away, it was as good as a date night. Seriously, I’m thinking about leaving him a note sometime that says: Hey, Love, meet me at the sink after the babies are sleeping. smooch smooch……I could put on a pretty dress and put my hair up;)

I have been reading lately about urban farming and organic locavores. If I had the money I would totally jump right in. I am working towards it in small ways though. I have a garden on my window sill at the sink. There are Johnny Jump Ups, a mother’s day gift from a friend, and a living basil plant in a jar. There’s an orchid, a Valentines gift from Blue eyes a couple of years ago, it has opened on Valentines Day the last two years and it bloomed for four months this year.

I bought some organic mint for flavored water a while ago and I thought I’d see if it would grow roots if I soaked it in water. I’m so happy, it worked! So now I have a bunch of mint to plant in my raspberry beds. I love to put a pitcher of water, several strawberries and a handful of mint in the refrigerator on hot summer days. It’s a great way to get the kids to stay hydrated without any added sugar. I am also regrowing organic celery. Just cut all the stalks off an inch and a half up from the bottom and set it in an inch or so of water. In just a couple of days your celery is growing and ready to snip into stews and soups, or salads. If you are patient and replenish the water you can regrow full stalks of celery over and over. How cool is that?

There are 15 different types of fruits and vegetables that you can regrow this way! I want to try them all. It makes it much more affordable to buy organic produce if you can eat from the same plant again and again. The blog I was reading said that you should never have to purchase these from the grocery store again!

My whole family has been enjoying our window sill garden. As I watch day by day my little plants taking root and growing, slowly but surely, my Johnny Jump Ups get droopy in the hot afternoon sun but I water them and they jump back up again, I am reminded that perhaps life be meant to be lived more slowly. Taking an hour to wash the dishes and reflect on my day, talk with my sons or daughters, is kind of nice. To find contentment in the simple things in life is really a wonderful gift from the Creator.

Road trips aren’t free, but hand washing dishes is free, smooching your husband is free, love is free, being happy is free, salvation is free. My heart is full of quiet peace and praise today. This morning my kids and I read the third chapter of Proverbs. Verse 17 says,”(Of wisdom and understanding) Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” How sweet to walk with the Lord!