The God of the Living, with the Queen of Bizzaro

me and the boys, out walking yesterday at Point Lobos

Occasionally, I think about how bizarro some of my steeped-in-the-Bible thoughts may sound to my non-Christian friends that read this blog.

Even more occasionally, I exercise! And today I did both! I went running, something that I used to LOVE, but never do anymore.

Don’t you do the best thinking and praying when you are out walking or running? I certainly do.

Before I went running, I was reading Matthew 22. That’s all part of my plan to study Jesus in 2015.

Have you ever noticed who argued the most with Jesus? Not atheists. Did Israel even have atheists? Surely so, but maybe they didn’t openly admit it to others. Sometimes I wish my pastor friends would read my blog and fill in some of the blanks for me!

No, it was not the “sinners” (but truly, we are all sinners) arguing with Jesus.  The outcasts of their society were the ones following, listening, and seeking Jesus for help. The ones who disliked Jesus were the CHURCH LEADERS.

You know, some things haven’t changed much! It seems like we still argue amongst ourselves too much.  Why can’t we focus more on encouraging one another and working together to solve the world’s problems???

Thankfully, there are a ton of non-profit organizations, run by Christians, that are desperately trying to help the world’s poor. So we aren’t entirely missing the mark, but we do need to remember to support them! Organizations like: Hope International, Compassion International, and Samaritan’s Purse. Those are three of my personal favorites. Oh! And the Salvation Army does so much, right here in America. Alan and I are careful to support these groups, but I’m sure we could always do more.

We all have Pharisees in our life! They try to trip us up with “hot topics” of our day. If we focus too much on those things, it can steal our joy and make us ineffective servants.

Servants?  Yes, servants! Jesus came serving, and that’s what he wants from us too: to serve mankind.

We tend to focus a lot on what Jesus can do for us ETERNALLY, but let’s not forget how much he can change our lives right here on Earth. And because of that, he can use us to change the lives of others, and it all starts right in our own families.

Home schooling (because it has been a challenge for me) has made me cling to Jesus more than ever. I don’t know how I would get through this without the Holy Spirit. He truly is the God of the living.


32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Matthew 22:32-33


The words of Jesus are so refreshing:

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:34-40


my son, Daniel’s, prayer, almost every night:

“Me love you, God. No me hate you God. Me love you, God. Me love Mama, Daddy, brothers. Me love you, God.”

from the mouth of babes  🙂

I’d better go! There are children to love and to teach and showers to be taken!


What did I expect this to look like???


BOOM!! bounce bounce bounce

The school day is done, and I was answering blog comments, and I heard this loud noise. Don’t worry. All is well. I ran to check it out. I scanned the front yard. No one there, but it sounded like someone had hit our house with a basketball!  Weird!

Just then, Joshua barged in the back door and proudly proclaimed, “I just kicked a soccer ball OVER the roof! I’ll go get it!”

Big boys. I am lovin’ it. Babies and toddlers are adorable, but big boys are WHERE IT’S AT!


BIG week for Joshua: #2! He scored 5 points for his team on Saturday!!


They wipe their own bottoms, they still do hilarious things, they can get their own snacks (but then you have to guard your kitchen), and best of all, they only require minimal supervision. No, actually, the best part is that they can even help with their little brothers!!

“Ew. public bathroom. Here, Joshua. Take Daniel to the bathroom with you, and make sure he washes his hands.  Thank you!!!”

They earn their keep for sure.


It’s a hazardous role.


but oh, so rewarding

One thing that is often mentioned in my comment section, especially yesterday, is that I am too hard on myself.

This is true. I am waaaay too hard on myself. I’m going to try to give myself a little more grace. Even my kids pick up on this.

Joshua looked at me the other day, as I was struggling to teach through the bronchitis, and said, “Mom! Go lay down!”

I adore them. Hang in there, Moms of only little bitties. Our work will pay off!


Are you afraid they will fall? 😉 They didn’t.


It’s ridiculous that we are so hard on ourselves, because if you step back and look at it, it’s all pretty cute and hilarious. I mean, the kids are cute and hilarious. Actually, our expectations are too!!! (She thinks she can home school 4 boys, update her blog daily, AND have a clean house, isn’t that cute and hilarious!??) Or maybe it’s just me….surely someone can relate…

We are raising four boys here. What did I think that would look like????  Ha!!!


Seriously, Mom. What did you expect?


As I was writing this, John David needed attention, so I stopped and sat with him on the porch. I love the little balcony I have in my bedroom, and so does J.D. I asked him if he’d like to read, and he did, so we went inside to the book corner. I pulled out several books.

He insisted on Old McDonald Had a Farm. It has good pictures. Plus, I sing that one.

I finished, and I tried to move onto Richard Scary. Nope.

JD scowled and handed me back Old McDonald. I sang it again. Daniel heard and came running. He wanted Oh, David next, so we read that.

JD scowled and handed me back Old McDonald. I sang it, half hoarse, thanks to the lingering bronchitis, for the third time.

That made Daniel think of his Old McDonald game, so he begged me to get it down for him until I finally did so.

JD scowled and handed me Old McDonald.  The only way I was finally able to get out of singing it for the sixth time was, “Hey, JD, do you want to go eat a snack!?”

Food works for everything. Food is our most powerful bargaining tool as parents, well, I mean, besides guilt (also effective bwaaahahahaha). I am not ashamed, besides, it was 3:00, and I was starving.

Three o-clock has to be snack time. Who in the world can go from 11:30 pm to 5:30pm without eating?

Well, it isn’t good for your metabolism either. 🙂

Apparently, JD was hungry because he consumed a ton of Greek yogurt, which he, of course, insisted on feeding himself. I’ve just recently let him do that, and he is really good at spoons now!


As I sat there, just watching Daniel and JD eat yogurt, I couldn’t help but notice the yarn strewn across the floor. Caleb had been “building” something. The school books weren’t put away yet. The sink is still full of dishes. I unloaded the bottom rack of the dishwasher, but I didn’t make it to the top rack before someone needed something. Two baskets of clean laundry to be put away stared at me from the stair landing.

Most of all, I noticed their adorable faces, the way the yogurt falls from their spoons to the floor sometimes, and most importantly, the way they smile at me. They love and appreciate me with their whole little hearts!

It all made me think of this blog, and yesterday, and how uptight I probably sounded. Ha! Clutter! Mess! Yogurt faces….

What a beeeeeeeautiful mess. Glorious. It all means one thing. It means that I get to spend all this time with my four favorite little boys, and at the end of the day, my favorite man comes through the door.

Wow. I am so blessed. WHY am I being so hard on myself? How ABSURD! People often use the term ‘hot mess,’ and I think that more applies to a young, attractive person that doesn’t have their act together yet.

What we have here is abundantly more exciting than that. A house full of growing children. 

Now that’s what I call success. 🙂 That is what a beautiful mess actually looks like, and I LOVE it.

Perhaps I need to chill a little bit and embrace these gifts.



Review Olympics. Hot Lava Required.

hard at work

Any science project or craft attempt done by this momma/teacher has to be brain-dead simple. This is an atom we made from fruit loops and pipe cleaners. Beautiful? nah. Fun and easy? absolutely.

We had a surprisingly fun day of school today at Ants in Our Pants Elementary School! 🙂

We introduced all of our new memory work for the week, and then we spent about half an hour on reviewing work from past weeks. I’ve been wanting to do this game that’s been floating in my head for weeks, and we finally did it today!

The Review Olympics!!

It’s more like a centers relay race, only I had the boys do it together. It’s so much less confusing that way.

We did this in multiple rounds. They started at the board. They had to answer the question and then do the assigned P.E. type task. I alternated between math and grammar questions at station #1:

Fill in the blanks. Then crab walk from the kitchen sink to the garage door.

They loved this. Then they had to go to station #2: Sing the assigned history song. That’s their favorite memory work. They love that part. I hear them singing history songs all week long, all over the place.

Then do 10 push ups.

They love this stuff.

Then to station #3: Color the listed geographical features. Shew! They struggle with the mountain ranges and lakes. I think it’s so easy, but we are all different.

endless possibilities with sentence strips

Then to station #4: Latin

The first time, they had to match the Latin to the English and put them in order.

The second time, I put them on the floor, and they had to hop across, reading them as they hopped. Don’t fall off!!  The floor is lava!!! Hot lava is always popular in learning games!!!

He can’t actually read the Latin sentence strips, but he does everything they do, so he sure does enjoy the hopping.

Then to station #5: Timeline Chairs. They had to sing the time line song, switching chairs for each subsequent event.

The chair game could be used for anything. You can’t move to the next chair until you’ve said each part. For example:

Protons, hop chairs, Electrons, hop, Quarks….

I bet every single CC family does this center. Put these 8 timeline cards in order.

Station #6: Put timeline cards in order. Run up and down the stairs.

They did great today. I was so proud of Caleb’s behavior, I gave him a Twizzler and let them have at the arts and crafts box. They had a BALL.

He says there will be a puppet show at our house tonight.

Resourcefulness: If you flip him over, there’s another puppet on the back:


I did not do so great. I had a total melt down when I lost my dust pan again. I just knew someone had taken it….. Turned out it was right where it was supposed to be, but it had fallen under the extra broom, just lodged in the corner, hard to see.

Mom had to do some apologizing.

This sort of patience-losing that I do always shakes me up and makes me question if I am really fit to teach my children.

Then I remind myself that I have seen plenty of teachers in my day have melt downs too… This is something I need to work on myself. I need to commit it to prayer. No one is perfect. I remind myself of that constantly.

Sometimes I wonder WHY am I doing this??? Why am I home schooling?


1. Have I improved their academics?

Yes and no.

Here are the improvements I feel like I’ve made, academically:

the whole “classically trained” bit

I can’t begin to tell you how much information we have memorized. It’s tempting to say, “But it’s only memorized, what if they forget?” That’s the beauty of Classical Conversations. There are 3 cycles of memory work. For example, if a child starts CC in grade 2, like Caleb, and does cycle 3 in 2nd grade, then he will do cycle 1 in 3rd grade, cycle 2 in 4th grade…….and this is where it gets good:  He will do cycle 3 again in 5th grade, and cycle 1 again in 6th grade. If a kid started in 1st grade, he’d get all three cycles twice. This repetition over the years really sets that info into the memory.

The boys and I made this poster of this week’s memory work.

I love that!

For example, this week we are learning:

1. “In 1889, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders defeated the Spanish at the Battle of San Juan Hill, while trying to help the Cubans win their independence.”

2. more of our timeline song: Japan’s Isolation through The Seven Years’ War

3. Name and label the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior, and Niagara Falls

4. “omnia per ipsum facta sunt”

“All things were made through him.”  John 1:3

5. Name some parts of an atom:  nucleus, protons, electrons, quarks, lepton, and neutrons

6. 10 millimeters = 1 cm

100 cm = 1 meter

1,000 meters = 1 kilometer

7. Irregular Verb conjugation:  to write, write, writes, wrote, writing, written

8. the art works of Georgia O’Keefe

And that’s just this week!

2. Have I helped Joshua in math, as I’d hoped?

YES!!! That boy is SO ridiculously smart. He is easy to teach, and he definitely is not ADD. He is just really good at tuning out when he’s bored, and he thinks school is:



“Yawn City.”

Not just public school, ALL school, my school included. He sure wasn’t bored during my little Olympics today, though. 🙂 Pat, pat, pat my back.

I can teach Joshua anything in just 1 or 2 explanations.

3. Thankfully, Caleb was already soaring in math, so there wasn’t serious improvements to be made there, just plunging forward….

4. Is Caleb reading better?  Yes. Maybe he would be anyway, though. I don’t know if I’ve helped him any more than a regular class would have helped him, honestly. Either way, I’ve enjoyed being with him and watching him learn.

But do you know what my biggest concern was?

My sanity. Am I sane? Can I handle this?

hmmmm Not the way that I’ve been doing it. I’ve been ‘stressed out’ for months. I don’t think the way I have been trying to do so much, all at once, all the time, with no help was healthy for me. The things that I don’t get to bother me too much.

If I am going to do this next year, I have to change a couple of things.


I need to separate the little ones from the big ones for a few hours a day so that I can focus better without getting so frustrated and having such a mess to clean up afterwards. I’m planning to enroll at least JD in a Mom’s Day Out type program. I did that with my little ones, and I wasn’t trying to do anywhere near as much back then as I am doing now!

I’ve also been researching new cleaning schedules. I found a mom who does a once-month deep cleaning, like we used to have Betty do, and I liked that idea.

This is the best advice I’ve seen:

“It’s amazing how clean people THINK your house is if you just keep the clutter out.” That’s not an exact quote, and I have no idea where I heard or read it, but you get the idea.

I was never a proponent of being “super mom”, “warrior woman”, or such. They don’t give out medals for never letting anyone help you. Delegating tasks is wisdom, not weakness.

I would love to hear from other moms how they get it all done without feeling so overwhelmed!!





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