Lent Overview


A couple of friends have asked me about what we are doing, if anything, to observe Lent. In light of their interest, I thought I would post a list of the resources I plan to use. Notice that I say “plan” to use. I am the first to admit that we don’t observe Lent perfectly. And that’s probably a good thing. It concretely points us to the purpose of Lent–to remind us of our inability to do anything perfectly, to earn our salvation, of our desperate need for Christ’s coming as the ultimate sacrifice.

A note about the slap dash list I’m about to share:  several of the family activities are being done during our daily Morning Meeting. We start a new Morning Meeting “term” every 4-8 weeks, depending on holidays, trips, et cetera. Each term has new materials for memorization, scripture study, and other ways to experience the true, the good, and the beautiful. Our new term happened to be on target to start around Ash Wednesday, so I went all in and did a “Lenten term”. I don’t think a family that doesn’t do something similar would be able to put all of this into a season. I’ll mark the Morning Meeting items with an asterisk*.

Family activities

Personal practices

Online you can find and abundance of wonderful and potentially meaningful ideas for observing Lent. I spent a lot of time sifting and brainstorming and looking at what would be worthwhile and doable for our family. Some things that I loved didn’t make the cut for this year. For example, “Sunday Love Letters” from this book. It’s a beautiful idea about building relationships through word of affirmation. However, after looking at the calendar, I realized The Roadie would be gone for several of those Sundays and I would have to help my non-reader/writer, Jet, and the newish reader/writer, Pearlie-girl, through the whole process. Alone. On Sundays, which are my plan & prep days for the week. Nope. Maybe 2018…

If you need or want any additional ideas for Lent or Easter, I have a Pinterest board full of them. What about you? Do you have any special plans or activities for observing Lent? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

About the picture at the top:  Artist unknown. Temptation of Christ by the Devil, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56104 [retrieved March 5, 2017]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_cloisters_miracle_of_christ.jpg.


Aspiring to…Classic Literature


I love books. I always have. And I can spend enormous amounts of time shifting between Goodreads, Audible, Librivox, Amazon, and my library’s website, just clicking and adding to wish/to-read or listen lists. We won’t even talk about turning me loose in an actual bookstore. However…

As I have “pre-read” (audiobooks are my friends) the books my kids are assigned as part of the curriculum we use and I have been intentional when choosing read-aloud material, I have begun to grasp how anemic my literary exposure is. I have realized that, while I read a lot in my younger days, I read a lot of crap. And, although I can’t go back and change the past, I still have time to catch up some. I’ve been doing this slowly anyway, just because of my commitment to my kids and their exposure to classic literature. And because it’s really difficult to know if your nine year old is anywhere close to accurate when he narrates unless you’ve also read Heidi, Swiss Family Robinson, or The Railway Children. None of which I had. And movies don’t help…

However, I sometimes need a little guidance or prompting to try something outside my norm for my own personal reading. So I’m unofficially participating in a reading challenge: the 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge.

Although I had never come across it before, the challenge has been going on annually for a few years. Each year there is a new list of categories and you choose books to fit into each one. Since I’m unlikely to actually officially sign up and do book reviews, etc., I’m not going to commit to anything, but below is a list of my likely candidates for each of this year’s categories. I’d like to get through at least six categories, although more would be a happy surprise.


Sharing our sketches :: Teatime

We’ve been regularly participating in Sketch Tuesday, which is hosted by Harmony Fine Arts. And, by “we” I mean Tank & Pearlie, although moms can participate too. Each week there is a new topic to contemplate and sketch. Follow the link to see all the creative contributions for this week.
Sketch Tuesday - Tea Time

2017 Aspirations


aspiration :: a strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I won’t even use the actual word “goals” for this post. However, as I mentioned, I do have some plans for things I would like to do during this calendar year. Life has taught me over the last few years to consider, imagine, brainstorm, and dream, but not to get too upset when circumstances keep things from happening. Hence no “goals” or “resolutions”–it’s just too much pressure.

While none of it is terribly profound, and much of it is not quite measurable, here’s what I’m aspiring to for 2017…

  • I want 2017 to be the year of dates–date nights with my hubby, Saturday morning breakfast dates with each of my kids, game nights with our family friends, hang out nights with my girlfriends.
  • I need to engage MORE in creative pursuits.  More sewing, intricate coloring books, crafting with my kids, really learning to watercolor paint, writing. I’m not sure how this one will play out. (Please note that I did not say “engage in more creative pursuits.” That’s different. I don’t need to start anything new that I don’t already have the supplies for.)
  • I am determined to read more GOOD books. The longer we homeschool, the more I realize how little classic literature I’ve read. So, while I’m not likely to sign up for the actual challenge–I don’t love doing book reviews, which is a requirement–I’m unofficially participating in the Back to the Classics reading challenge. I also plan to continue to read books in other categories, so we will see how far I get. I’ll share my booklist on another day. Somewhere on the sidebar is a peek at my Goodreads “currently reading” list.
  • This is the year I switch to bullet journaling as my paper planning method. I will always love paper over digital, but feel like there’s a lot of empty space on each page of my current planner that some tree died for. My bullet journal will be a bare bones version–no doodles or stickers, and probably no washi tape. My current planner goes until sometime in the summer, though, so I have a while for this one.
  • I hope to get back to blogging more frequently this year. Once I hit “publish” for this post, I will have twice as many as in 2016. Success! And we aren’t even halfway through January. 😉
  • I also need to get back into my morning routine of doing personal devotions. I’m not sure when that fell apart, but it needs to be resurrected.

Do you have any ambitions for 2017? Or do you make resolutions??

Delayed on the Launchpad

Hello, January 2017 and a dreary winter day! Wait, what?!? Where did 2016 go?

Obviously I did not launch into regularly writing blog posts again during 2016. There’s always hope for this year, though.  There were a couple of relatively significant life events that have delayed that launch last year.

First, the Roadie got a new job last spring. I would consider changing his pseudonym to “House of Worship Business Development Guy”, but that’s too cumbersome.  So, he shall remain “the Roadie”. This new position could possibly be called his “dream job” and it’s been very exciting, but it has taken some adjustment. He now travels a couple of times a month and offices out of our bedroom when he’s home. This creates both precious and precarious moments for our homeschool family of five.


The Roadie getting in on teaching how airfoils work–one less thing for me to do! Yay!!

The other event that caused some delay wasn’t nearly as happy or exciting. My dad passed away quite suddenly last April. While the Roadie (and his parents) have been wonderfully supportive and helpful, it’s a long process to get everything taken care of. And, of course, it’s even longer when life keeps rolling along with kids and school and a new job and…and…and…


My dad with Tank & Pearlie-girl. The picture is a few years old, but I recently received it from my sweet sister-in-law and it was easy to get to. 🙂

However, the year has not been a complete failure to launch, despite my lack of public, bloggy documentation:

After years and years of it taking up space, I finally committed to learn enough about hand sewing to start piecing together a quilt my mom and I had planned and purchased fabric for.  I had a good thing going for a while, but took the summer, fall, etc. off. I think I have 4 whole blocks done!


And, to keep the creative streak going, I also took to my sewing machine for the first time in six years to put together two flannel rag quilts for the twins that made me an aunt this summer. (This may not seem like a big deal, but I honestly never thought of “Aunt” as a title for myself. Maybe it’s an only child thing…)


And, of course, there was potty training the child who would, if allowed, stay in diapers forever.


At the beginning of August, we decided we’d had enough of the extra pounds and our eating habits making us feel yucky, so the Roadie and I dove into the Trim Healthy Mama plan. It’s been going pretty well–we feel better and have seen results in clothing and on the scale.


As we sorted through the stuff in Mom & Dad’s house, I came across a collection of teach yourself piano books I only kind of remember purchasing. Enrolling Tank in a homeschool band program this fall motivated me to take the time to begin working through them. Although, that–like so many other things–fell off in November and hasn’t resumed. The holidays are such a time suck…


So, that’s where 2016 went. It wasn’t a complete bust, but it’s also still lingering. We are still cleaning up Dad’s estate and still learning & adjusting to the new way of eating and new & ever-changing schedules, and I’m trying to resurrect some of that creativity I felt last year. But 2017 doesn’t feel like it got the fresh, clean, new start it deserves–there are just too many things still left untidy.

I guess that’s just life. Messy, unkempt, and wild. So, welcome to 2017 and all the wild it brings. I may not be able to tame it, but I have plans. We will see. Maybe I’ll even blog more than once this year. 😉

One Word for 2016



I am an only child.

I was a good student and stayed out of trouble.

I have a great marriage and healthy, happy, learning kids.

I love Jesus and know that He loves me.


I am a recovering perfectionist.

I often don’t begin things because I’m afraid to fail.

I see this same issue beginning in my kids.

(Failure to launch.)

I want this to change.

I want to be creative & impulsive and not so anxious & daunted.

I want to be unafraid to waste time, energy, materials, etc. pursuing something interesting or creative that might not turn out… because it’s NOT waste!!

I want to be more of the creative, unique person my creator made me to be!

Launch. My word for 2016.

Menu Plan Monday :: October 5-11


I had grand plans and schemes for this month’s menu plans. Huge, I tell you! You see, I have a well-known secret — I am a Pinterest junkie. I love to sit and browse and pin and browse and pin… And I’ve become very likely to go searching there when I’m in need or desirous of a new recipe. However, this is in direct conflict with my beloved collection of cookbooks. So, I decided I would challenge myself to really use the cookbooks for the next few weeks. Now that the weather is turning cooler, I’m especially drawn to my Christmas idea books. So, my plan had been to limit myself to only those books for any new recipes. Tried and true family favorites will not be eliminated–I’m not trying to give myself a nervous breakdown, people!

Gooseberry Patch books

But, even as fantastic as my idea was, life happens. Last week didn’t go as planned and so there are menu items being carried over to this week. Also, The Roadie left on a work trip this morning. This means I will have to “adult” by myself with our three kids for about six days. To maintain sanity, I need simplicity–in both preparation and executing mealtime, which means choosing foods I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my kids will eat. The Roadie being gone also just generally means less food is necessary. If I’m not careful, I’ll have so many leftovers that things will spoil before they’re eaten. There are a couple of ideas up my sleeve from my beloved Christmas books for this week (maybe–low expectations, remember?), but really diving into this challenge will have to wait until next.


:: Monday ::

  • Cinnamon toast & yogurt (we didn’t have any bagels, as I hadn’t shopped yet)
  • PBJ, cheese cubes, grapes, bell pepper strips
  • Slow cooker chicken noodle soup (a family favorite and something I can reheat for lunches this week)

:: Tuesday ::

:: Wednesday ::

  • Waffles with blueberry syrup
  • Cheese quesadillas
  • One pot Cajun chicken Alfredo, broccoli (a carry-over from last week)

:: Thursday ::

  • Baked oatmeal
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Sloppy Joes, oven fries, veggie sticks (another carry-over)

:: Friday ::

  • Odds & ends
  • Leftovers
  • Frozen pizzas (not normal, but easier than messing with carry-out by myself), salad

:: Saturday ::

  • Eggs & toast
  • Burgers
  • Chicken–either grilled or in the slow cooker

:: Sunday ::

  • Cereal
  • {fill in the blank}
  • Pancakes & sausage

I’m linking up at orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday.