Mom, You are Priceless (seeing yourself through the eyes of your child)

{I shared these words back in 2011, when speaking at an event for a gathering of mothers. I hope these words encourage you today. We had a break in the cold weather recently and Katelyn took these pictures of the girls in the pine needles and sunlight. Neither of these girls were yet born when I first shared these words.}

All of us here today have at least one thing in common, and that is that we are mothers.  We have been privileged to bring at least one life in to the world, and the well-being of that little person has been completely committed to our care.  It’s a miracle and an awesome privilege.

I am expecting my fifth child in just a few months.  It’s a boy, which makes four boys with one girl right in the middle.  I am thankful to God for blessing me with these children, and for ALL that He has taught me through it.  I do not stand here today as a mother who “has it all together.”  I am not a super-mom. Continue reading “Mom, You are Priceless (seeing yourself through the eyes of your child)”

It’s OK to live a cluttered life (there are many things worse).

I have just emerged from the basement, where I am making a valiant effort to de-clutter.  I almost drowned in a sea of game pieces, puzzle pieces, stuffed animals, dress-up clothes, wooden blocks, trains, dolls, legos, and everything in between. I have lived to tell the tale, but the clutter is not conquered. I would say I made a dent in it.

Minimalism. We see it talked about all over the place. And hey, I get it. Materialism has taken over America. Americans seem to live to get more things, and then need time to take care of those things, and then need time to get rid of things, Continue reading “It’s OK to live a cluttered life (there are many things worse).”

Homeschool chit chat: readiness of the child, state laws, and the question of October birthdays

This blog post is going to be conversational in nature. That’s because it was an actual conversation that happened via texting recently, between myself, my younger sister Rachel, and my Mom. Rachel’s first child is not yet school age. My sister-in-law Esther pops in at one point as well! These ladies have kindly given me permission to publish our conversation here. 

Rachel: Mom and Jennifer, what age did you start first grade? And did you do a year of learning to read before first grade, or did they learn to read in first grade? Continue reading “Homeschool chit chat: readiness of the child, state laws, and the question of October birthdays”

How to Begin Training Good Workers (spoiler: Don’t say “Go clean your room”)

An adorable little freeloader enters your world. First, he creates mounds of laundry and dirty diapers. Not long after, dirty dishes begin to multiply. Then suddenly, the entire kitchen floor becomes sticky and grimy in 1.9 seconds of your back being turned. Books and knick knacks litter the floor, because your little freeloader has also become a little ten-month-old tornado. Continue reading “How to Begin Training Good Workers (spoiler: Don’t say “Go clean your room”)”

Golden Tones of Late Summer (with kids crying in the background)

The loveliness of the Shenandoah Valley welcomes the change of season a little more each day; days of late summer mixed in with days of early fall. Katelyn and I have been enjoying the scenery on the drive to and from the farm where she and Ethan work on a butchering crew.  So we took a drive out that way the other day, to try to capture some of it on her camera. Yellows and golds are some of my favorite color tones, both inside my home and outside of it. Goldenrod may be Continue reading “Golden Tones of Late Summer (with kids crying in the background)”

Getting started, and two delightful books

And we’re off. Another school year is underway. The getting-ready phase is always a crunch and a scramble, a holding-of-breath type of phase, and then when we actually arrive at the first day it’s like a sigh of relief. It’s like we can breathe Continue reading “Getting started, and two delightful books”

God of the Very Small

{I wrote this several years ago. The photos were taken by Katelyn during a family day at the Blue Ridge Parkway, although not the same day referenced in this article.}

“Look at this, Mom!” My daughter ran up and handed me a lacy green fern leaf. We both gazed at it for a moment, a delicate and detailed specimen.

Our family was enjoying a day together with friends on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had just gazed Continue reading “God of the Very Small”

Teaching Beginning Reading in the Homeschool

Toby and I had a fun year last year. I use the word “fun” carefully. Of course we had plenty of chaotic and crazy moments. It was stressful at times. But it was also a pleasant experience, as I watched him learn and worked with him for about an hour every day.  Teaching Toby to begin to read last year in “kindergarten” was one of the highlights of my homeschooling experience thus far. I ended up really liking the approach that we took. I have tried various things over the years, and kind of landed here last year. So let’s just get practical! I do love talking philosophy and theory, but there is a time to say, “What did you actually DO?”
Continue reading “Teaching Beginning Reading in the Homeschool”

Keeping the Joy in Mothering – Part 1

A young mother of three little ones recently asked me, “How do you keep the joy in mothering?” Ah yes… such a question.
_MG_3144

Those days when you go from changing a dirty diaper, to breaking up an argument between the toddler and the four-year-old, to nursing, to looking for shoes, to getting a snack, to nursing again, to wondering where your little boy found those knee-length pink socks he is wearing, to trying in vain to find a clean kitchen towel, to helping the kids do something creative and then wondering why you did it because it only entertained the kids for about 3.25 minutes Continue reading “Keeping the Joy in Mothering – Part 1”