Tuesday, June 2, 2020

These Days: June

To Emily Brimlow on Spotify and Farmhouse Chic on Podcast. 

Homeschooling Bravely by Jamie Erickson
The Art of Homemaking by Alison May
FULL by Asheritah Ciuciu
One year Chronological Bible ( currently in Proverbs)
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Reading to my children
Ocean Anatomy by Julia Rothman
How Great is our God by Louie Giglio

Sourdough toast with farm fresh fried eggs

Watercolour books for the girls and I. Hoping to do lots of painting and note-booking over the summer.

to fascinating discussions on the Dave Rubin show, and speeches by apologist  Ravi Zachariah 

My favorite chicken Pippin.  

To wake up up before 7:30. It’s SO hard to motivate myself. 

To spend some time learning how to play some worship songs. I have to relearn how to play so many chords that I have forgotten. 

To start using a book called Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Nature Journalling

Just wanted to share a few photos from a nature journaling session we had the other day. 

Making room

I thought it might be pertinent to share a post I wrote some time ago - especially in light of all that has transpired in the past couple of weeks.  I initially wrote this blog post in November when I felt the Lord beginning to speak to me about homeschooling my children. I thought I would share a few of my journal entries and give you a peek into the internal dilemma I was having during that time.

November 15th, 2019

"While painting our walls I was listening to a podcast called "Courageous Parenting".  Every single podcast challenges me to disciple my children from a biblical perspective.  While I have not listened to all the episodes listened on their webpage, I have intentionally avoided one entitled “11 Reasons Why We Home School Despite Initial Doubts”. My initial thought was "NOPE I am done with that chapter in my life. I did my time"!  I knew that if I listened to what they had to say, I would agree with them. When I finally had to guts to push play, my suspicions proved correct. Oh help me Lord!"
November 20th, 2019

"I am often astonished at how much work is required to get everyone out the door at an appropriate time. I start the day at five am and feel as though there is heaps of time only to find myself breathing deeply when Levi is playing with his digger in the mud instead of buckling himself into his car seat. Lunches, socks, breakfast, hair, shoes, teeth, car seats, (deep breath), squabbling in the car, untied shoes, and a  forgotten backpack. I drop the children off at the bus stop, smooch them goodbye and apologize if I raised my voice. Afterwards I typically cry out of pure frustration or relief that I survived another morning. I then listen to REALLY loud worship music on my commute into work. I arrive at work wearing my big girl heels and suit and breath a sigh of relief as I settle into my work chair armed with a hot cup of coffee. Did I mention that I get to sit? All day.  I also get to think without being interrupted AND take an hour long lunch break. It's almost wrong that I get paid to do something that I am good at. In light of what I just wrote, it is ludicrous that that I am entertaining the prospect of homeschooling my children next fall - all three of them! I think that I am insane! 

December 15th, 2019

"I just dropped my kids off at the bus stop a few minutes ago and now I am sitting here with a cup of cold tea in hand, writing out a list of reasons why I should home school my children. My heart is in my throat. The very thought of being responsible for all three of my children’s education makes me want to burst into tears. It makes me want to slump against a wall and wail.  However, long ago I committed my life to serving the Lord.  I told Him that when he called me to something, I would obey. I want to live a life that is Christ led, not self led. I do however want quiet, space, time to pursue my hobbies, interests ect. I thought this was my year. I thought that I had “arrived”. All three children in school, Hallelujah! The first two months were all I had hoped that they would be: I worked, grocery shopped, helped my hubby renovate our fixer upper and even started trail running again- all without children underfoot with their relentless requests and interruptions. Bliss! I started to imagine all the things I could do once spring arrived. I was enjoying leading moms’ group and finally had time to adequately prepared for our discussions."

One day I was  having a rare day home alone when I to the song "Make Room" by Jonathan McReynolds. I had a huge realization: If I truly believe in God, believe that he knows what is best for our family and children, then who am I to question what He is asking me to do. If I believe that God calls us to instruct our children in His ways then I need to step out in faith and obey. When my faith is nothing more than theory, it isn't worth much. It's easy to say "trust God" until He actually asks you to sacrifice something you value.  I realized that I believe in ETERNITY that sacrificing a few years of my life to educate my children is an investment that could have eternal significance. It could be the difference between them choosing to serve God or not. I realized that I must MAKE ROOM for what is truly IMPORTANT and stop filling my life with what I think is important. I want to raise my children to KNOW the word of God, to store up scripture in their hearts, to see their parents live out their faith on an hourly basis, and to KNOW their purpose in life.  Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it". 

 I REALLY struggled with my decision to register Levi for school last summer. I KNEW school would be a challenge for him as I suspect that he has ADHD.   I had initially planned to keep Claire home for another year and teach Levi kindergarten but I chickened out.  I don’t believe that every mom should home school. I hold an intense respect and awe for mom's who have chosen to but I also feel sorry for them.  No breaks, no downtime, and SO MUCH PLANNING!!! While it sounds daunting I do believe that if the Lord calls you to something, you need to obey.  All sorts of interesting thoughts had been sloshing around in my heart and mind when I finally decided to listen to the podcast. 

Everything started to shift when I received my first call from the principal’s office a couple weeks ago.  My son had kicked another student. From there his behavior continued to spiral out of control.  My despair over his violent behavior began to pull me into depression.  I started to dread going to the school as the prospect of being seen as the mother of a bully.  I began keeping Levi home on the days I didn’t have to work and focused on spending quality time with him. 

My eldest daughter began experiencing bullying on the school bus and lost count of how many times she had been sworn at my a group of older boys after she stood up to them. She expressed frustration over being in a 4/5 split and not being challenged enough.

Claire is the only one who currently LOVES school.  Homeschooling her last year was HARD but not as hard as I thought it would be. While I struggled, I managed t bring her up to grade level in most subjects. We had to start at the basics and re-learn everything she had been taught. I remember how painful it was for her to write out the alphabet and numbers 1-100 when we first started. Now she loves multiplying numbers.  I am, however, concerned that she has a learning disability as her reading and writing are significantly delayed. 

In addition to all of the above I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with some of the things my children were being taught at school. I had to write a letter to the school to excuse my children from participating in yoga after discovering that it was something that they were exposed to on a regular basis. I kept it short and sweet and to the point. I find it so interesting that the school would incorporate ancient Hindu philosophy  and advocate “union with the Supreme Being” when singing about baby Jesus at a Winter school concert is no longer considered appropriate. Furthermore, I have issue with the  SOCI curriculum the school district is using. While I am passionate about treating people with dignity and respect I do not want my children being indoctrinated to believe that people can choose their gender based on their feelings. *Sigh*

Nevertheless, I said “yes” to the Lord and started to research curriculum, not knowing when he ask me to pull them out of school. I assumed that I would let them finish the school year and then begin the fallowing fall. I began to get really excited about a curriculum written by Rebecca Spooner. She is a RCMP member’s wife (like me), a Christian and prescribes to the Charlotte Mason theory of educating children. She created a fantastic curriculum called Gather Round which allows families to learn together.  I decided to order one of her unit studies to try out with my children over the Spring Break. I thought that it would be wise to see how it worked for our family  so that I could look for alternatives if it didn't. I ordered the North American birds unit just before Spring break and it arrived the day before the school announced that they would be closed for an indefinite period of time. My heart nearly exploded with gratitude that the Lord had prepared my heart in advance. God is good!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Currently: January

the fact that our recent snowfall pushed pause on life. My little one is sick with the flu but we have still managed to enjoy the snow to the fullest extent. 

About garden design and what plants I want to grow. It's a long way off, but I can't help but daydream. I have started hacking blackberry bushes around the area we intend to use as our garden. Hopefully in February we will purchase some piglets and allow them to turn the soil over and clear the underbrush in that area. 

YouTube channels:  Homeschool On: She provides in depth curriculum reviews as well as honest views on the challenges and joys of homeschooling. Roots and Refuge: Mamma of many and gardening extraordinaire. 

to feed my family with only one element, a crock pot and a rice cooker. I have my eye on an Insta- Pot. I think it would make life a whole lot easier!

to start working out in a space I recently carved out in our current storage room. I want to complete the 100 workout challenge I found on my Beach Body app. We recently moved our belongings from our storage unit into a steel bin on our property. During the move I managed to locate my weights and recently acquired squat rack. I still have to convince my husband to put it together. 

the fact that my husband has a myriad of skills that allow him to  renovate our home. It keeps our costs low and gives us the opportunity to work and dream together. Progress might feel glacial at times but I just keep reminding myself that "little by little" gets the job done. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

These Days: November

"Anchor" by Skillet at the top of my lungs

to have a space to work out in and the energy to make it happen

to have  a stove and a semblance of a kitchen by Christmas

my new wool mason jar sleeve

to wake up at 5am

my vintage Givenchy jacket, pencil skirt and tom ankle boots

way too much popcorn, chips, and hummus in the evenings

The Crown and Elliot 

to podcasts by Courageous Parenting and apologist  Ravi Zacharias

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Lord's Farm

A little glimpse of the place we are learning to call home. Sometimes when I am walking the children to and from the school I catch my breath in wonder that our dreams have finally been realized. 

Owning acreage is something that Nathaniel and I have dreamt of for over 16 years. This will be the fourth home that Nathaniel and I have owned, and while I don't think it will be our last, we plan to make this our home for the foreseeable future. We are  thankful that our kids are young enough to enjoy the adventure of transforming our land into something that we can all enjoy for many years to come. 

Our upstairs is still largely unfinished, partially because we have been stockpiling firewood for the winter ahead. When its not raining, we find ourselves, hiking, meandering down to the pond, or working on the goat shed. 

 For the first time in my life I intend to paint everything white. I am dreaming of shiplap, painted cabinets and a breakfast nook. The pee soaked carpets  been removed and Nathaniel and recently ripped out the existing kitchen. We now have some drywalling to do, subfloor to replace and floors to install. I am going to be giddy when the first section of flooring is installed.

Our land may not like much as it is heavily forested and  irregularly shaped, but it is ours and it is full of potential. 

This is the view from the other side of our pond. We are oping to transform this blackberry, scrub infested section of land into sheep pasture. I envision a little dock here with a rowboat and a willow tree.

Nathaniel is exciting about harvesting some of the mature trees on our land for lumber. Whenever I spot a tree like this I whisper a little morbidly - you are going to be a deck some day :0) 

Bushwhacking is something I have always enjoyed. Growing up in Tahsis I didn't have access to all the programs that children in the city do. So instead of being shuffled around in a minivan to various programs, my sister and I would spend hours hiking in the wood behind our home. I think it developed a sense of adventure, confidence and curiosity.  Armed with a buck knife and a coil of rope, we felt invincible.  I love that I am going to be able to give my girls a similar childhood. 

While aspects of our property are beautiful, others are an eyesore. We have a few derelict sheds on the property, our deck is disintegrating off the front of our house, blackberries have infested the area where our garden will one day be and the doors all need to be refinished. Thankfully the structure of our home is sound. While the roof has a bit of moss, it relatively new. 

What used to be a swimming pool is now an ivy infested hole in the ground filled with bulrushes. 

Needless to say we have had  a lot of burn piles and have filled an entire DBL bin full of garbage.  

I have managed to clear the majority of brambles off our home but I think we will be clearing blackberry bushes for years to come. 

As I sit here and write  I can hear an excavator hard at work fixing our pot hole ridden driveway. One project at a time, one day at a time. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 Cristmas Letter

Dear Friends & Family,
I feel like this is a fairly accurate snapshot of our crazy family, mismatched socks and all. I don’t know about you, but it feels like each year gets busier that the last and I find myself trying to determine what I can cut out.   I wish that I had the time and energy to write each and everyone of you a personalized note. I appreciate each and every card and photograph that I have received.
It has been a year of unexpected surprises. In September, after much agonizing consideration, I decided to homeschool Claire.  I had been considering the possibility for some time, as grade 1 had been immensely challenging for her. I am so thankful that homeschooling is going better than I expected. Being responsible for her academic education feels like a BIG responsibility. 
Another surprise was purchasing a cabin on the gulf island of Saturna. Many of you are aware that we have been actively searching for acreage for the past two years but for one reason of another were not able to find what we wanted. A 650sqft fixer upper practically fell into our laps during a visit with my brother and sister in law, who happen to own a cabin on the land next to ours. We purchased the ½ acre after a week of considering the pros and cons. We invited my parents to purchase the property with us and got it for well under asking price. We were thrilled to discover that the appliances worked despite the fact that the cabin hadn’t been occupied in over 15 years. It has become such a source of joy for us. Not just because the scenery of Saturna island is breathtaking, but because it provides us with an excuse to have quality time together away from the hustle and bustle of our lives in the city. We have already spotted whales, numerous owls , deer and raccoons. We look forward to updating it and making many precious  memories there. 

Nathaniel took Amelia for a hunt earlier this fall and managed to shoot a four point buck with his bow. They were beyond thrilled. Amelia captured the whole experience on the go pro she found  snorkling in the river earlier this summer. Amelia continues to blow us away with her passion for writing and drawing. She has recently become very passionate about preserving the environment and recycling . She is playing soccer again this year and looks forward to raising a goat this year with 4H. I can’t believe she is already wearing a size nine and can almost steal my shoes!  Claire seems so much more confident, creative and talkative these days. She continues to be passionate about gymnastics and is enjoying learning all about bunnies in the hopes that she will get one in the new year. Levi has become incessantly  chatty although we don’t always understand what he is saying. He is obsessed with motor bikes and monster trucks and I know it is only  a matter of time before I am living at the BMX track. He still keeps me on my toes and get up to all sorts of trouble. 
I am continuing to work as a Victim Services case worker at the RCMP detachment two days a week. I find the work meaningful and it gives me the chance to actually sit down.  I am continuing to lead a mom’s group  and Nate and I are still leading a connect group one evening a week.   Sometimes I think we are crazy but doing so makes it possible to pour into the lives of others in a meaningful way. I hope this letter find you well. Merry Christmas! May you experience the love of Jesus in profound and life changing ways. 

Love the Lord Family!