Sunday Afternoon in the Park (Walk With Me)

I took a walk around Roger Williams Park on Sunday afternoon.
I really only walked a small part of the 435 Acres, but I drank in the foliage and enjoyed the beautiful natural exhibits. I had intended to see more – especially my fave, The Temple to Music, but my little feet were begging to stop, as I had worn boots instead of sneakers. Of course, this is the time of year when the very popular Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular happens, and there are always many things going on at the Roger Williams Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, The Museum and more…but I was just meandering and taking in the exquisite sights freely offered up on the grounds. Walk with me…

I believe in living like a local tourist! 

BUT with a few words: 

Best Summer Moments Captured (#1 Mystic Aquarium)

In June we visited the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, with fellow Homeschoolers for our end of school field trip. Pictured above My Girl with one of the Beluga Whales that resides at this beautiful aquarium.
So, this Monday is the Monday that officially ends Summer. Unless you live in Narragansett, Rhode Island, in which case, the end of Summer is celebrated locally with an appropriately named beach gathering: Summer’s End Festival. Until then, I have decided to take a fond look back on my favorite Summer moments and share them here. Since I live like a local tourist, one never knows what (or whom) might be captured with my random, wandering lens! 
This Summer we visited Mystic Aquarium, and while my hubs and sweet girl wandered off to the Stingrays, I lingered snapping hundreds of photos of the Beluga whales. One of the funniest, cutest moments I caught on camera, by happenstance, occurred when a group of middle school aged boys approached the glass to observe and photograph the giant, gentle creatures. I continued to snap away, but what made this memorable was the Beluga’s response to the boys. One boy in particular who was wearing an orange cap, caught the Beluga’s attention. Captured below is the photos in order of occurrence. The Beluga seemed to have something to say to this boy, or perhaps he was opposed to orange. Either way he continued to circle, each time singling out this boy and gesturing a vocal-less scream! The first time it took everyone by surprise, since they mostly swim, smile and wink as they circle. It was just such a great laugh and memorable moment. I wish I could have caught the boys response better- they all got such a kick out of it and were taken aback with outrageous glee. 

Counting on…
472. We made it through the first day of homeschool AND LOOK- I even squeezed a blog post in- Woohoo!
473. Yard sales!
474. Meeting so many nice folks while selling my junk  treasure… junk...STUFF!
475. My Dad making it through two surgeries wonderfully so far with one to go – maybe? Answered prayer. Amen.
476. A smooth first day of homeschool. Apparently I am going to gloat on this one for a bit. Thank you, Lord. I will not fear tomorrow. I will not fear tomorrow…
477. Oh, sweet Word of God.
478. Freedom bringing, joyful giving OBEDIENCE to His will! The power, presence and authority to do as He wills.
479. Grace for the day. Enough.
480. The beauty of releasing stuff that no longer serves me. Learning to really LET GO. Because I do not need every single piece of paper my daughter has ever written on since birth. No really, I don’t. Amen. But saving a few. 😉
481. Beautiful Summer memories
482. Our SUmmer was not perfect, we had some really challenging and NOT fun moments.Thank you, Lord that your grace IS sufficient for all of our moments. The good, bad, ugly and not so perfect!

 
Titus 2 Tuesdays @ Cornerstone Confessions

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Maine Vacation 2012 Repost (Maine Photos)

The best things are nearest: 
breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, 
flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, 
the path of God just before you.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
This is a Re-Post from our Maine Family Vacation last year (2012) – I hope you enjoy the pictures!

*******************

We returned just about 11:30 PM on Saturday from our Maine vacation.
Yesterday, I had an overwhelming urge to sleep which I just couldn’t shake. 
Even though my Pastor’s message was about one of my favorite Bible characters (David) and his teaching and preaching right on, I caught myself nodding between notes and quotes!
 It was all I could do to stumble home to bed after. 
I am feeling re-energized today and have been tackling the laundry, organizing, unpacking. 
Well although I had  My Maine Bucket List, the week was overflowing with God’s own Bucket List for us. 
Oh, friends, I am richer today because of my week away, which was a sweet gift from God. 
I am grateful for the prayers of those who lifted us and we were blessed in so many ways.
Here I will share some SNIPPETS of our Maine vacation.

Finally arriving…
A delicious gift was delivered to our cabin by our
 thoughtful Maine-iac friends!Yes, it was Good!


I adored this mug and drank from it every morning.
Quiet time by the lake, gazing at the mountains…


This was our very own private beach (more or less) 
and I sat here in the morning and listened to God’s voice
whispering sweet peace to my heart through His beautiful Creation.


My Girl standing in Coos Canyon: Byron, Maine


This is Angel Falls- we hiked in and it was quite a nice hike.
The falls are deep into the woods- a hidden gem.
Afterwards we enjoyed, ice cream and milk shakes
 at the Coos Canyon Gift shop.
Yum. Vanilla milk shake for me. Just fessing up. 


We enjoyed some canoeing.
Although when Hub and I do stuff like this,
it really should be filmed for “How Not To Communicate” OR
a horrid Sit Com about marriage.
The banter is such that I am
 grateful God didn’t tip us just to teach us a lesson.
We got it together. Eventually.


Relaxation – a whole new level. 

A barn turned bookstore. 
Treasures here, I tell you!

Visited my favorite garage for treasures and bought these!
These were for making my first Altered Books.
 I thought the girls needed a craft for a rainy day-
 Although rain did not come,
we still started our Altered Maine Books 
which I will share in a later post!


My Girl and I enjoy a sunset canoe ride.



Bike ride to Mt. Blue Trading Post for some…what else- Ice Cream!
My Hub and Girl ride-I walked and picked flowers on the way back.
God also gifted me when I surprised a White Tailed Deer- much to my joy!

My Girl, The Duck Whisperer…

Final Sunset…Friday the 13th.
Last moments on the beach with friends before leaving.
Tubing and Jet Skiing…so much laughing.
One final view of the cabin as we left…

See you next year! 

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Mass Hope Home-School Convention Highlights and Multitudes 2013

Nothing holds back the sista-hood! We are His girls! 
I had planned on attending the Mass Hope Home-School conference ahead of time. I bought the tickets and anticipated going, but other than knowing it would be my first BIG Home – School conference I did nothing to prepare. These days are lived teetering at the edge of a cliff. I walk along this current path, veering straight into joy on some days and other days I wonder if jumping off the edge is a valid option. I listened to those who gave me tips and warned me in advance not to be overwhelmed by the volume of vendors. I anticipated blessings because I was repeatedly told I would be blessed and encouraged if I attended. I asked some sweet sisters to be sure and pray for me at the last minute when I had a rough couple of days. I prayed, and waited like a second string player sitting on the bench awaiting for a turn to play, not really quite sure what to expect once actually in the game.

The day arrived and I was off to the DCU Center in Worcester Massachusetts with my dear friend Natasha, her son and my daughter. We arrived at the hotel, and descended upon that conference center Friday later than planned, yet perfectly on time. You know it’s all grace, friends.

How shall I describe it to you? 
Let me see, wall to wall books, books and more books. Needless to say, I was in my very, very happy place. I spent hours perusing the curriculum at the various vendors. I quizzed the reps and volunteers with a myriad of questions, sometimes returning after another question came to my mind. Yeah, I am that person.

I was impressed with a number of the curriculum choices and not overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to check out a few specific vendors based on my own prior experience and exploring. These were Sonlight and My Fathers World.  I had gone to the local Home School conference a month earlier and knew I wanted to check into Classical Conversations, based on a lengthy conversation with a couple of  moms who communicated their satisfaction with the program and patiently answered my multitudes of questions. Although I knew there would be good speakers and topics, a table full of books is tough competition, especially once they are within my reach.

A few notables were A Beka, which I had dismissed somewhat but since my daughter seems to like it – I may be considering implementing it. What appealed to my daughter I think was that it looked like enough work to her. She is quite traditional in her expectation of Home- School and feels secure with specific assignments and structure which A Beka clearly models. I did like the cohesiveness, yet I am not sure if it might be too rigid? I stumbled upon a Language Arts curriculum that completely intrigued me, called Total Language Plus. It utilizes classic literature with a focus on critical thinking and communication skills. Both my daughter and I were very interested in this program and probably will try it (at the least) regardless of what else we choose.

I checked out a couple of other sets of complete/semi-complete curriculum: BJU Press, Freedom Project Education, Tapestry of Grace. Each of those I mention had points or elements I really appreciated.

As I searched for the ever elusive perfect curriculum, God had graciously appointed a meeting to offer guidance, wisdom and perspective. I passed by the Summit Group Testing Preparation booth without much interest but somehow the lovely lady there caught my eye and before I knew it we were discussing everything from her homeschooling empty nest to my own one chick nest with all of it’s challenges! The company she represents does both online tutoring as well as in home and in school test preparation for SAT, PSAT, SSAT, ACT tests and more. Linda, as I would come to know her was a wealth of information, grace and truth. Plus she gave me chocolate. Now you know that was a truly divine appointment!

I attended the keynote speaker Bill Jack’s excellent presentation Saturday morning and loved it. Bill leads Worldview Academy a kind of leadership camp for youth. His take on “Whatever” and our worldview was eye opening and inspiring. I will never be able to watch Gilligan’s Island without thinking of the 7 Deadly Sins. Thanks for that, Mr. Jack! Not that I um, er…watch that show. Ahem.
Also singing Amazing Grace to the tune of the sit com’s theme song with an amazing correlating lesson was powerful. You had to be there. Or you can get that CD on the Mass Hope web site at some point if you really want to know. 

I also attended Christopher Perrin’s talk on Revolutionary Logic. This was a little rough since it was the last session on Saturday afternoon but I have to admit once he started speaking Latin he had my attention. Fortunately he did not do the whole talk in that language but his comfortable use of it and his wit sealed the deal. He had me at Logos

There were many more workshops but as I said, I was quite the book table tramp.
I had two of the complimentary bags from Sonlight. Yup, I am that person, too. Thanks, guys!

I treated myself to the book The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer  – who I actually am getting to be quite enamored with…she is pretty amazing to me. I am becoming quite a fan.

#436. Safe travel with a beautiful friend and fellowship on the road!
#437. smiling faces on two beautiful children, who are growing up so fast
#438. A hubby who works hard, and deserves a little bit of recliner time, occasionally
#439. Three beautiful gifts of friendship: Natasha, Lauree and Tina. Thank you, Lord for each precious one.
#440. Prayer and workout time in the morning.
#441. free coffee
#442. Meeting Home School parents in the Jacuzzi and talking about Home- Schooling…fellowship and shared wisdom, right there in the foamy, bubbly water!
#443. Singing How Great Thou Art Saturday Morning
#444. Coming home to a Sunday Morning Sermon which was faithfully served up by my very excellent Pastor
#445. Waking up to a crock pot meal made by hubs to come home from church to.

Question for You Home Schooling Friends:

What are your Home- Schooling Preferences?
Do you prefer mixing and matching your own or a complete (more or less) curriculum? 
Let me know what you think.
Don’t be shy…please pipe up!

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Into the Unknown {5 Minute Friday-Jump}

The word jump has me pondering this new year’s expectant start. For the past two years on January first, I have jumped right into the Atlantic Ocean. Baptism by full immersion. Trust me, my dear friend Jen, will not let me out of that water until I have gone in all the way. Which to her means, I must dunk shoulder deep. Some people are so pushy. Really it’s not enough I go in to my waist. No she wants the full monty! Anyway, I suppose that’s what friends are for. This year to my surprise, my daughter joined us. Last year she came and watched. A handful of we, the brave, ran right into that frigid water, anticipating a year of new beginnings. I don’t think any of us could have anticipated all of what was ahead, that was not on the resolution, intention or goal list. But God knew. Somehow I find comfort, strength and peace in the fact that my God is not surprised at the punches I think life is pulling. Better still, He will bring good out of the planned “hits” as well as the perceived “sucker punches” that have taken me by surprise. He fights fair. He fights for me. I’m pretty sure that if I jump, He’ll catch me. No. I know that if I trust Him, He will not let me down. When I walk, jump or take the leap. He’s right there.

Linking with those who dare to JUMP with Lisa Jo:

Five Minute Friday

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