The Voyage of Life: My Favorite Art Works in D.C.



We lived in D.C. (both inside and outside the Beltway) for 5 years, and during that time we always had at least 2 preschoolers, sometimes 3. If it wasn’t at the ‘Space Museum’ or the ‘Dinosaur Museum’, we couldn’t stay long. Art museums were terrifying to even attempt with them, so like most parents, we just didn’t.

One year I sent the boys to stay with their grandparents for a week, and I had the rare opportunity to wander the District alone. It was a BLAST!! I adored every minute of it.

That was the year I walked into a genealogy conference at the National Archives and became hooked. It was also the year that I discovered the under appreciated jewel that is the Smithsonian art galleries. My favorites were the National Gallery of Art, located on the Mall, and the National Portraiture Gallery, located closer to Chinatown.

While browsing through the National Gallery, I came across Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life Series. I was frozen to the spot, studying each individual painting. It’s a series of 4 enormous canvases, packed full of meaning and inspiration. » Read more

The Weight of the Choices that We Make

the weight of the choices we make

Caleb drew it. We all colored it. This is a tradition that we enjoy.

Wow! What an election year, eh? Alan got to be in Washington, D.C. for election night, but it was not just me and the boys here. Nana came over too! We had an “election party”, which is basically where we feed the boys Oreos and let them fill out the electoral map with red and blue markers as the results come in. Of course, most of it had to wait until the morning.

I always stay up as late as I possibly can to watch the results. I only made it until midnight this year. Parenting takes it out of you. Doesn’t it?

The whole election thing got me thinking about choices.

Choices, choices, choices.

They are constant aren’t they? So many decisions all the time. Some of them harder than others. We’ve all made our presidential choice. Check. Phew! Done. But there are so many choices left to make.

Today I had several messages on my phone to answer. I had house cleaning that I’ve been neglecting (as usual, because bleh–house cleaning). I had this absurd need to watch news anchors discuss the election with the experts. Then there was John David, wanting to be taken outside. I had a blog that needed updating. And I have growing boys that need me. Every minute that I spend doing or not doing anything is a choice that I make that says something about my priorities.

I try to always start my day out with God’s Word and prayer because when you put first things first, everything else should fall into place.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”   Matthew 6:33

I loved this quote from Beth Moore:

“You may have many different things that you want to do, but they may not have anything to do with what you want your life to be about.”

I wrote it down and stuck it to my wall. I need that reminder. Am I trying to do every little good thing and ending up stressed? We can’t do ALL the things. We have to do some picking and choosing somewhere.

OR am I carefully choosing to focus on what it is I want my life to be about?

Just a little food for thought on this sleep-deprived-post-election day. What is your mission in life? That is the most important question here.

I want mine to be about serving the Lord. I want to walk in peace with Him, serving him by serving others through the ministries that He has given me. I want my boys to feel cherished and to know what is important. I want my husband to have a wife that builds him up and is a trustworthy companion. I want my blog to be a gospel-sharing ministry that brings joy. I want to live a life that is in line with God’s plan for me.

How about you? What do you want your life to be about? What things do you say ‘no’ to in order to focus on your mission?




P.S. Congratulations are in order to Angela, of Missouri, for winning the bamboo cutting board!!!!  Hurray!! Want your own? Go here to order one. Want a sweet deal on it? Try one of these coupon codes!




Those codes will only work for the first 3 customers to try them, but I have more for those of you who ask! That’s a $5.00 DISCOUNT!! So try the coupon.



Click on this picture to read the Veteran’s Day article I wrote for Monterey Premier.


Happy Veteran’s Day! Hope you all get a day off!

What I Learned from Our Time in Monterey

9th move

The boys will miss the California drought side-yard of this house.

There are 3 things everyone should do the week they are moving:

  1. Throw away as much junk as possible.
  2. Sell and giveaway as much junk as possible.
  3. Cry and hug people.

So that’s what we’ve been doing.

We’re officially under contract on a house I’m excited about too. Wahooo!!!  It has ZERO carpet in the living and dining areas. The master bathtub is gigantic, and so is the fenced backyard, so let me tell ya. I am happy.

Am I sad to leave? Nope! There ARE lots of people I loved here, and I will miss you all. I’ve been feeling melancholy about that for sure. I LOVED my friends at CC and my neighbors and our sweet, sweet church family. I will miss all of you.

The thing is that I will unfortunately always associate Monterey with 2 things:

What I Learned from Monterey

1. Homeschooling and how I felt like such a failure at it



2. The ocean and the delightful whales, otters, and seals that I loved so much

Well, okay, also #3…


3. My little health crisis (psoriatic arthritis-ugh!), which was mostly due to the stress of #1 and not visiting #2 as much as I should have.

There are so many if-onlys. But the positive is that we persevered. The past cannot be changed, but the future certainly can.

And so that is my best take-away from this little detour we called grad school:

Do not neglect fun. Do what you enjoy.

Having fun is far more important than I ever realized. The life that I am setting up for myself at our new house will look much different than what I was doing here.

Photo on 5-31-16 at 5.27 PM #2

Don’t I look goofy celebrating over the end of home-school? Let’s never speak of this teaching and trying to do too many things at once experiment again. I am not a teacher.

Next year the boys are going to go to school, where they will be taught by people who (hopefully) enjoy teaching. Our house will be so close to Dan and Caleb’s school that we can walk there. And I am going to make more time for being out in nature with the boys because that is what I love to do. I will also have more time to write because that is my calling.

God created this big, beautiful world. It is a healing thing to take time to enjoy it. Our creator also bestowed us each with different gifts and talents, perspectives, and leanings. He does not wish for us to be idle, but he doesn’t want us to spend all our time fulfilling other people’s callings. We each have our own calling. We all have work we are capable of enjoying.

We are most happy when we are doing what we enjoy and teaching our children to do the same.

But we should not work ALL the time. I’ve always been good about taking vacations, but the past two years it was very rare for me to do anything fun DURING the week. I was not a “fun mom.” I was so busy trying to wear all my hats. I forgot the importance of ever just having fun.

That was a mistake. From now on, I am making more time for fun, even begging, borrowing, and stealing time for fun. This summer you won’t see posts on lesson planning or self-improvement. You are going to see posts on Disney World, baking, getting my Southern accent back, and shenanigans, shenanigans, shenanigans.

And as for those people who may be disappointed in me for not home-schooling anymore? Oh well. I only hope that they know that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and our family needs to skin our cat in a way that doesn’t make me feel like poking my own eye-balls out.

All I know is it’s time for our family to start having a little more fun again. Wait. That’s not quite right. The boys have been having fun all along.

Photo on 5-31-16 at 5.24 PM #3

It’s time for me to start having fun again.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5


9th move

Daniel at Caleb’s last baseball game



While I was learning to lighten up, the boys were learning the value of hard work. Those are hard-earned medals and trophies, not at all like the participation sports medals. All three boys received book awards, for finishing their entire books, a big accomplishment. Joshua even earned TNT Clubber of the Year! So proud!


Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift.   1 Timothy 4:13-14

From now on I’m going to focus more on the gifts I do possess and forget about the ones I’m lacking. Those things will be stealing my joy no longer.

Let’s all have a little more fun!!


Be still and know that I am God

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10






1 2 3 5