Off The Bookshelf (Giant book dump)

Wow, I have not made an "off the bookshelf" post in a long time...probably because I've been too busy to blog. But I haven't been too busy to read, so here's a summary of books I've read in the past 9 months or so. Some of the summaries are short, since there are so many. Every book was great, and I recommend each of them!

1. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Fiction- Antebellum rural Virginia, immigrant orphan, slavery, drug addiction, bad marriages, freedom. Great story and characters. Need to read the sequel.

2. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Non-fiction. Memoir about growing up in the low-income/blue collar ruralish America, the importance of family connection, and a commentary on a number of social class and political issues. I found it super interesting, from a human services standpoint. Read in 3 days.
3. Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World by Kristen Welch

This book helped me in realizing how easy it is to raise entitled kids, and encouraged me…

Glory Unfurling

"God made our children strong-willed, so that once they put their faith in Him and submit to His will, they will not be detoured. Those iron wills will not fail. Strong-willed children were designed to cling tenaciously to the strongest will of all...the will of God." -Wendy Speake, Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses

Mother's Day 2017
Today was a hard parenting day. Hard, hard, hard. I wish I could say that we handled it well, with grace and wisdom, but in reality, we stumbled through, grasping for peace. From sun up to sun down, we struggled, apologized, started over, apologized again. We asked, why is he so hard? Where did we go wrong? Most importantly, when can we put him to bed? There were certainly physical factors (field day yesterday, then woken up by brother at 6 a.m.) and emotional factors (school almost ending, doesn't handle transitions well). But what we know is this: strong-willed kids grow into strong-willed ad…

Valentine's Day Confessions (I love who God made me)

"February Thoughts...Valentine's Day Confessions..." February seems to be a month of introspection!

Ah, the day of love. The day of 30+ Spiderman or Minion valentine's cards from the Dollar Store. The boys actually did super well sitting and carefully writing their classmates and teacher's names on each card. Patrick did at one point throw a pen across the room because "S" is hard to write. I feel ya, bro.

Behn and I have never been big on Valentine's Day. When we were dating, we had a tradition where we got Chinese for dinner and called it a cheap date. We don't even do that anymore (it's Taco Tuesday up in here. Thanks for the budget, Dave Ramsay). Every year, I think, 'Next year we will do cute cards! I'll make pink heart shaped pancakes for breakfast! The kids will send cards to all cousins and grandparents!"

Oops. Forgot again. Honestly, I only remembered classroom cards because I got multiple reminders with kids names on l…

February Thoughts

In just 5 weeks or so, the spring peepers will be singing from the creek beds. The past few days reminded me of that, with the warm breezes and open windows. Today it is winter again, and I'm sipping tea, reading, and embracing quiet.

Last week, we traveled to Delaware to celebrate the life of Behn's grandmother, Ruth. She was a lovely lady. I'm glad I was able to know her these years that I've known Behn, and that all 3 boys knew her, too. I'm glad we are within driving distance so that we could be with family.

The house is 'decorated' with Lego toys and Star Wars ships. The boys have played well lately. Samuel is pulling himself up to stand. It won't be long now, before he's walking and the baby year is over. I'm sad about that, but I do love to see him crawl quickly around the house, trying to keep up with his brothers. This band of boys is a gift. You can't help but live life when life pulls you out of bed each day, life has constant nee…

Happy January!

Happy new year!

The year is already 2 weeks old. After a dark (for me, personally) December and a lot of sickness in our home, I'm finally feeling myself again.

In the quiet of the dark mormings, God has been waking me, meeting me. I treasure these mornings. Fresh cup of coffee, the crocheted blanket given to me by ladies from our church in Lexington (a prayer shawl), the hum of the heater. And His word, freely given. A good friend sent me the She Reads Truth book as an early birthday gift and so these past weeks, I've been in John. These mornings have been a saving grace.

A new year before us, the details unknown. But, of course, not unknown to our God. I feel humbly brave - today at least.

The boys, other than having had colds, are doing great. Graham's pretty much reading now; I love practicing with him in the evenings. He skips into school each day. The 2 week break was both good and hard for our structure-craving boy. We are still growing together. Patrick is also doi…

He's My Bart

When I was a horse-crazed teenager, I was given the opportunity to free lease a horse named Bart for a year. I had been a rider for years, and confident in my ability. I could gallop around, jump, handle the occasional buck. I'd ridden dozens of horses, had countless lessons. I thought I was a good rider.

And then I got Bart. He was a stocky, strong, dark bay (brown) quarter horse, stubborn and strong willed. It didn't take long for him to establish who was in charge. He was sweet on the ground, but once I was riding, I couldn't control him very well. We'd be doing great, and then he'd whip around, get the bit in his teeth, and pull my skinny 16 year old self back to the barn. I created lesson plans and exercises, trotted him in circles for hours (until he got bored and pulled me back to the barn), and read articles about how to train a stubborn horse. He'd buck out of no where (as I'm typing this, I'm wondering if his saddle fit right...maybe there was…

One, Two, Three

Baby Sweet Samuel is now almost 7 months old. When Graham was our one and only, we documented so much. I made these little monthly updates with his weight and all the things he could do and pictures. Poor Sammy has had little of those, though he does make his way onto Instagram fairly often.

Anyway, we've had 3 kids for about 7 months and we are not only surviving, I'd say we are generally thriving (don't remind me that all three were up at 5:30 this morning. Stupid Daylight Savings Time). The summer was hard- all day, every day, three kids on not enough sleep, very little community, and not much to do in our area. But this fall has brought a sweetness and change with the school year and refreshing season. Behn and I love having a baby again. He is growing so fast, sitting now, babbling, and thinking about crawling. The big boys are also maturing and are more independent...sometimes. They can set the table, get themselves dressed, help in small ways. This isn't without…