Amo Amas Amat…

Amo Amas Amat…

Well, now that we are well into Octo­ber  Novem­ber, how’s your home­school­ing going?

We’ve been plug­ging along. It’s been a great start to our year. The chil­dren are apply­ing them­selves, not drag­ging their feet too much at the thought of work­ing hard.

I’m teach­ing Latin to the girls together. I had taught my older boys Latin. It sort of dwin­dled over the last sev­eral years, but I picked it up again this year for my girls. Obvi­ously, they are on dif­fer­ent lev­els of grasp­ing it at 7, 10, and 13. But, it’s been so fun hear­ing Faith con­ju­gate her verbs. It amazes me how much young minds grasp and remember.

And it’s been won­der­ful watch­ing the older girls coach Faith and drill her on her vocab­u­lary. Lit­tle do they real­ize, but it helps them remem­ber the words at the same time.

We have been learn­ing “O Come All Ye Faith­ful” in Latin. The girls can sing it now with­out the words in front of them. And they can play it on the harp. I love see­ing them inte­grate their harp into their Latin. {I still have to have the words in front of me!}

We’ve been exper­i­ment­ing with a new sys­tem of record keep­ing. It seems to be work­ing. Keeps us all account­able daily for our work. And I mean us, because I have found that if I don’t have a sys­tem in place, that I get all off track and con­fused about who has done their gram­mar that day and who is hid­ing their sci­ence. They can be sneaky like that, you know, if they really apply them­selves to it. I’ve been try­ing for years to find some­thing that works for me, that is a quick and con­cise sys­tem. And I went back to our very early days of school­ing and pulled out that sys­tem again. Hello? I guess I can be slow some­times. It was right in front of me the whole time.

I was look­ing for some snazzy iPhone app or some­thing more mod­ern. Good old note­book with printed pages for check marks for the win!

I think the babies and the tod­dlers over the years really chal­lenged me. I never knew what the next 10 min­utes were going to hold, and it frus­trated me. Now my baby is 7. I have no more excuses. Mamas of lit­tles, hang in there. It is hard going some days. I know. Just get­ting all those bod­ies fed and clothed with brushed teeth and hair is about all we can man­age on some days. Let alone the laun­dry and vac­u­um­ing, dust­ing, mop­ping, shop­ping, school­ing, and PLAY. Yes, the chil­dren ought to see the sun dur­ing the week. It’s so easy to cram every­one into the base­ment for work, totally for­get­ting their frames and their need for nat­ural Vit­a­min D.

I guess I just want to encour­age you today. I want you to know that you won’t always have dirty dia­pers, runny noses, naps, and nurs­ing babies demand­ing your atten­tion. Say­ing good­bye to those days has been hard for me. I hoped for years that the Lord would give us another. But, after a cou­ple of mis­car­riages and the cal­en­dar flip­ping so rapidly, I have come to accept that we most likely won’t be hav­ing any more babies in our home. So, even­tu­ally they come to an end, and you have more time to focus on spelling.

So, we embrace today. We embrace the grow­ing, learn­ing, con­ju­gat­ing Latin verbs that can now pick up again. And embrace it with JOY.

Wher­ever you are in this jour­ney of your life, embrace where the Lord has you today. Today is your gift. We have no promises of tomorrow.

It gets eas­ier, in some sense of the word. The phys­i­cal sense, I sup­pose. And it gets harder, in that the chil­dren start ask­ing really hard ques­tions and push­ing lim­its and bound­aries (other than how far away from Mommy can I walk and still be safe). They start think­ing log­i­cally, they start ques­tion­ing the why of the rules. They start won­der­ing about doc­trine. They have opin­ions (other than the famous two year old “NO!”) and well thought out ideas. They ask ques­tions that we don’t know the answers to.

Pride has to be set aside if we want to face this stage well. Humil­ity is on the menu daily. Cry­ing out to God for a whole new type of strength is our only hope. I go to bed at night some­times won­der­ing how I did. Did I ade­quately address the heart of my daugh­ters who are strug­gling with con­tent­ment? Did I react with frus­tra­tion at the bick­er­ing? Did I show my chil­dren hope in my inter­ac­tions with them, or was I too busy with the sched­ule that I squashed oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth, and instead chose to bark out orders to pick up toys and set the table? It’s a con­stant bat­tle between get­ting things done in time for the next dead­line and truly liv­ing out the day, accept­ing the inter­rup­tions of life as God’s prov­i­den­tial gifts to us.

Being a mother, a truly Godly mother, is so hard. We can’t just live for us. We must live for God. We must draw our strength from Him alone. May the Lord give us wis­dom as we plot out our days and make room for the inter­rup­tions that always come. One day we’ll get back to the task we thought was so impor­tant before life took over. And hon­estly, I miss those sweet baby days, the foun­da­tional days, which make con­ju­gat­ing Latin pos­si­ble in the later days of our children.

Routines and Flying {by the seat of my pants}

Routines and Flying {by the seat of my pants}

We started back to school last week. It felt good to get back into a rou­tine of sorts. The chil­dren seem happy to be back, and eager to learn their new sub­jects. Mostly any­way. Latin has been fun.

We’ve been using the same cur­ricu­lum since my old­est was in sec­ond grade. Our sixth child is start­ing sec­ond grade this year. And as far as we can tell, she’s our last. So, it’s the last time I will be going through this par­tic­u­lar rou­tine. It’s odd. And I find myself get­ting some­what sen­ti­men­tal about the whole thing. We put the phon­ics cur­ricu­lum away for good. The girls asked if they can use it with their chil­dren one day, so I’m keep­ing it. That just made me smile. They liked it quite well.

Faith is learn­ing his­tory for­mally for the first time. She loves it. I’ve been down this road a few times. From Cre­ation through present day (we go chrono­log­i­cally through his­tory). So, I am savor­ing the teach­ing, watch­ing her see what new hori­zons are out there.


Faith working on her math.

Faith work­ing on her math.

I’ve been sort of on autopi­lot for the last cou­ple of years. You know, same song dif­fer­ent verse. Just do the next thing and keep going.

I recently asked on The Vir­tu­ous Wife Face­book page if peo­ple sched­ule their week or fly by the seat of their pants. I’m curi­ous about how peo­ple attack life (or ease into it, as the case may be…). Some­one flipped it around on me and asked what I do.

Ha! I don’t feel quite so “vir­tu­ous” by my real­ity. I like the idea of a sched­ule, but in all hon­esty, I tend to fly.

This year is dif­fer­ent though. I’ve returned to my old days of school­ing: I have a plan mapped out. Days on the cal­en­dar. Check­lists. The whole shebang.

And con­trary to what I assumed it would be, I find it to be quite lib­er­at­ing. I feel more in con­trol and like we can actu­ally do this thing well. No more guess­work. No more check­ing at the end of the year to make sure we schooled enough days {and run­ning into July to fill those missed days}. I know what we have to do. THEY know what they have to do. And they are as excited as I am. They love the idea of check­ing off their lists (I made lists for them also.). I feel like I actu­ally have more time in my day to do the other things that are impor­tant to get done. Like laun­dry. And cook­ing. And a host of other things that are impor­tant to the run­ning of my home.

So, what was my impe­tus to get orga­nized? Hon­estly, it is my desire to honor my hus­band. He is the clas­sic Type A guy. Super duper orga­nized, pre­pared, straight­for­ward guy. And he mar­ried a stacker, an “I’ll get to it later” girl. And, as patient as he is, I know it dri­ves him crazy. I know it. And I’ve ignored it most of our mar­ried life. Oh, I have dreams and desires to be more orga­nized. But, when the rub­ber meets the road, I’m busy fly­ing from task to task, hop­ing I didn’t for­get any­thing majorly impor­tant. Like din­ner. {They really do like to eat EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. What’s with that?} And I know that, while I get a lot accom­plished in a given day, I don’t get as much done as per­haps I could if I had a plan.

So I have a plan.

I orga­nized my laun­dry room and school room this sum­mer. It makes the task of putting things where they belong so much eas­ier, cut­ting out wasted time in search­ing for that one thing I can’t find because I don’t quite know where I put it. I can breathe again.

So, do you have a plan? Are you super orga­nized? I know some women who are incred­i­bly so. Do you fly from task to task, hop­ing noth­ing major is being for­got­ten? Good thing chil­dren and pets squawk when they are hun­gry, huh?

But, what would your hus­band like you to do? Does he have a desire for your home to be run in a way that is con­trary to how it is actu­ally run? Do you make his pri­or­i­ties your pri­or­i­ties? That’s the hard one. That dying to self and serv­ing oth­ers thing. I resisted for so long because I was afraid of los­ing con­trol over my sched­ule. What sched­ule? Well, the idea that I can meet an emer­gency that arose, or a friend who needed help or time. But the thing is, I was wrong. I actu­ally now have that free­dom because I know where I am. My chil­dren can stick to the plan even if I’m not sit­ting right beside them. They have it mapped out for them.

Don’t be like me. The stub­born part any­way. If your hus­band is ask­ing you to change some­thing in the way you run your home, try it. You might be sur­prised, like me, that his insight is actu­ally very wise and will be help­ful to you.

I’m thank­ful that my hus­band is very patient, gen­tle, kind, not demand­ing . He has never forced his way with this. He has encour­aged, sug­gested, requested, yet giv­ing me the lee­way to make the final deci­sion about my day. He is so under­stand­ing towards my heart in it all. But I wish I had made more effort years ago. He really is a smart guy. I don’t know what I was so afraid of.

Now, let’s see how long I will main­tain this new rou­tine and sched­ule. I pray it will be for good!


Ain’t It Grand?

Ain’t It Grand?

On the sec­ond day of our annual field trip, we ven­tured to the Grand Canyon. Admit­tedly, I was a lit­tle ner­vous. Last time I was at the Grand Canyon, I had three lit­tle boys, aged 4, 6, and 8. Plus a sweet lit­tle six month old daugh­ter who was strapped to my body. Boys and canyons that are opened wide for falling just aren’t a great mix.

I was pleased to see that some mother was able to influ­ence the pow­ers that be in the deci­sion mak­ing and money spend­ing realm of the National Park Ser­vice because this time, they had rail­ings and fenc­ing every­where I looked. A boy would have to work hard to hurl him­self down that canyon to cer­tain death.

And I know it was a mother because a father doesn’t tend to notice such things. In my experience.

Have I ever men­tioned my insane fear of heights?

Seri­ously. I have often con­tem­plated just dri­ving off of a high bridge that I am dri­ving over, just to get it over with. I KNOW I am going to end up falling off any­way. So far, I’ve made it across all bridges unscathed.

Mike rec­om­mends just stay­ing put when I have the option. We were vis­it­ing in San Diego once. He had meet­ings. I had the day to explore with the kids. Huge bridge to get to the beach. Me freak­ing out as we drove over. It was a wild ride. He sug­gested an alter­na­tive plan for the next day…

Any­way. Back to the Grand Canyon.


It was spec­tac­u­lar. The rail­ings were helpful.

But I think that going with lit­tle girls and an older son made it much more peace­ful for me.



We made it safely out of the park. Not even a close call this time. We con­tin­ued our drive to King­man.
And we even got a sur­prise for din­ner:

I feel like a hero.
It’s been a good day.

Poetry by Anne Bradstreet

Poetry by Anne Bradstreet

We have spent a lit­tle bit of time study­ing Anne Brad­street. She was a remark­able woman who lived in Amer­ica dur­ing its early days. She suf­fered hard­ships such as the loss of chil­dren and her house burn­ing down in the night.

I’ve copied one of her poems below, since the thought of fires is fresh on my mind, as a way to per­haps intro­duce you to her writings.

Her son, at one point, asked her for her col­lec­tion of her poetry. Unknown to her, he sent them to be pub­lished. They arrived back to her bound and printed. It was such a beau­ti­ful gift for a mother. And it was a gift to all of us as we are now able to enjoy the poetry of a woman who served her fam­ily and loved the Lord.

I hope you enjoy her poem.

Upon the Burn­ing of Our House — July 10th, 1666

by Anne Brad­street


In silent night when rest I took,
For sor­row neer I did not look,
I waken’d was with thun­dring nois
And Piteous shreiks of dread­full voice.
That fear­full sound of fire and fire,
Let no man know is my Desire.
I, start­ing up, the light did spye,
And to my God my heart did cry
To strengthen me in my Dis­tresse
And not to leave me suc­cour­lesse.
Then com­ing out beheld a space,
The flame con­sume my dwelling place.

And, when I could no longer look,
I blest his Name that gave and took,
That layd my goods now in the dust:
Yea so it was, and so ’twas just.
It was his own: it was not mine;
Far be it that I should repine.

He might of All justly bereft,
But yet suf­fi­cient for us left.
When by the Ruines oft I past,
My sor­row­ing eyes aside did cast,
And here and there the places spye
Where oft I sate, and long did lye.

Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest;
There lay that store I counted best:
My pleas­ant things in ashes lye,
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sitt,
Nor at thy Table eat a bitt.

No pleas­ant tale shall ‘ere be told,
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Can­dle ‘ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom’s voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lye;
Adieu, Adeiu; All’s vanity.

Then streight I gin my heart to chide,
And didst thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the skye
That dunghill mists away may flie.

Thou hast an house on high erect
Fram’d by that mighty Archi­tect,
With glory richly fur­nished,
Stands per­ma­nent tho’ this bee fled.
It’s pur­chased, and paid for too
By him who hath enough to doe.

A Prise so vast as is unknown,
Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own.
Ther’s wealth enough, I need no more;
Farewell my Pelf, farewell my Store.
The world no longer let me Love,
My hope and Trea­sure lyes Above.



One of my favorite things about our home­school is the journaling.

A few years ago, I started hav­ing my chil­dren jour­nal daily. They are free to write about what­ever they want.

They can draw pic­tures, write just a cou­ple of sen­tences, or an entire story. I don’t grade them for con­tent or gram­mar. Or spelling. I want them to be free to write with­out aban­don. {Is that the right phrase?}

And they love it.

Some­times they com­plain about not know­ing what to write about. I can under­stand that! They always fig­ure it out though.

Other times, they are all writ­ing about some great adven­ture we either just did or they are look­ing for­ward to doing.

The jour­nals cap­ture a snap­shot of their lives, and my desire is that one day they will look back and remem­ber some major and minor events that they thought wor­thy of writ­ing about.

Like trips. And birth­days. And sick­ness and health…Oh, wait.

And fires, or other tri­als that drew them closer to God.

Oh, how I love the pic­tures that accom­pany their entries. I love it how they change and mature and morph from stick peo­ple with crazy hair, to more sophis­ti­cated peo­ple or ani­mals. And their thoughts mature, their writ­ing struc­ture becomes more in depth and com­plex, their per­son­al­i­ties com­ing through more and more.

I do love how skinny she makes me.

I do love how skinny she makes me.


She really does like to go to the den­tist, even though it looks like he is throw­ing up.

At the Dentist

At the Dentist

I do sup­pose some­times the pic­tures are a bit graphic. What can I say. It’s life on a farm.


Look at the guy in the window yelling. So true to life...

Look at the guy in the win­dow yelling. So true to life…

I pray that I am cre­at­ing a way for my chil­dren to look back and remem­ber what was impor­tant to them on any given day in their young lives. How their wor­ries were sim­ple, and their dreams were big. How mommy and daddy were safe and big. Well, not “big”, but you know what I mean.

My chil­dren love jour­nal­ing. Emma just gave me a gift this past week. She thought of it and bought it all on her own with her own money. It was a jour­nal. How spe­cial that was to me.

Are you cap­tur­ing your children’s thoughts? Have you thought about this idea? My boys may not have been so thrilled about the jour­nal, but my girls sure do love it. I do wish I had started this idea when my boys were small. I feel like I’ve missed out on the oppor­tu­nity to cre­ate a love of writ­ing for them. But, we can’t live in regret. I cher­ish what we have, and will con­tinue to do so. Some days my hus­band and I pull out the jour­nals and just roar with laugh­ter. And some­times we tear up at what they find impor­tant or has made an impact on their lives. Trips, joys, ani­mals, loss. All cap­tured by the heart of a child, in their per­spec­tive. Priceless.

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