Showing posts from 2010

Ready for it to be done

Well, I don't know about you, but SweetPea and I are ready to get back to a schedule.  We decided this morning that neither of us does very well with too much free time and no limitations on things like eating, computer, etc.  (I can't believe I'm saying this.)  Seems like we default to the laziest and easiest thing--which is really wonderful, don't get me wrong.  We needed it after such a busy semester.  But now we're both, shall I say eager ?, for school to begin again. We had a wonderful Christmas with our snowy-mountain getaway with family.  Got to get my fill of the darling baby, enjoy our traditional Scandinavian food, and drink in the incredible scenes everywhere.  I'm sorry my whole family couldn't be there, but as we usually have no one with us for Christmas, this was very special. If I were an unschooler, I would say that SweetPea did school nearly our whole Christmas break.  She's been on a photography frenzy...setting up a new photography bl

Lessons from 2010

Maybe it's a week early, but this morning I thought over the lessons God has been teaching me this year.  They've come through illness, parenting, homeschool challenges, family issues, decision-making and more.  But it was a good exercise to see the strong threads of training the Lord has been at with me. First and foremost would certainly be the utter Truth of God's Word.   He said cannot fail...I can have complete confidence in it as I take it as mine, mix it with my faith, and wait in certainty and patience that He is bringing it to fulfillment in His time. I cannot and should not live one day without having spent time with Him and in His Word.  It is my very life, health, counsel, wisdom, peace, and blessing.  Daily, early, I need to be praying in the Spirit, fellowshiping with Him, inviting His Lordship into everything, waiting on Him. His Word on my lips, declaring His will over every situation, is the Sword of the Spirit.  It will accomplish what He sen

'Twas the week before Christmas...

...And I'm ending the day with a scattered brain...still lots to do for Christmas but I'm not sure what...too many things going on...the to-do list too-long...yawn. BUT!  God is so good and that's what I want to have as my final thoughts of the day--His never-ending goodness and blessings. Thank You, Father... for bringing my brother-in-law home safe today from several months in Afghanistan!  What a wonderful Christmas gift to the family. for keeping us in good health. for giving SweetPea a fun Christmas party today with support group friends. for helping me get my packages shipped on time! Tomorrow is a baking day--lefse, a Norwegian soft bread like a tortilla only made with potatoes, cinnamon rolls, and some more cookies.  Our family is Scandinavian so we have all sorts of fun food at Christmas, the only time I can be persuaded to make such labor-intensive goodies.  How did those ladies of long ago have time to do this daily ??

Working at rest

I've been doing pretty well in my goal to be cool and relaxed this Christmas--no stress (right), enjoying all the sweet and special things of the season.  But I can feel "acks" creeping in around the edges...Ack!  We don't have our family photo taken yet.  Ack!  I haven't even begun our letter or Christmas cards.  Ack!  I've done no baking and have nothing ready in the freezer for those quick gifts.  Ack!  It's only two weeks until Christmas and I haven't wrapped our shipped my out-of-state gifts.  Or finished my shopping. But one of my Big Lessons for 2010 has been to learn to be at Rest and let the Lord manage all the 'stuff.'  Hard to do, but so rewarding when I'm doing it right.  I determined in November that I was going to have a simpler Christmas this year, so I'm bravely facing all the "I haven'ts" with "He will--I just don't know how!"  In keeping with this lesson of Rest, my philosophy is

Why do I have hope? Because...

...God loves me: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) ...I am chosen: ...but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.   (I Peter 2:9) ...when the world seems to have gone crazy, He is still God: In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.   (John 16:33) ...when I fear for my future, He says, Fear not! For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   (Jeremiah 29:11) evil purpose can stand against me: The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and wi

Thanksgiving in the slow lane

What's Thanksgiving without family? Quiet. Hubby got slated to work the whole four-day weekend, and the only family we have within a few-hour radius left the state for the holiday, so it's just us.  SweetPea and I are having a very quiet--and restful!--holiday weekend.    And you know what?  This year I don't mind.  The weeks have been so full for so long, that it was actually euphoric to think that we could just kick back for four days, without schedule and demand, and catch up. We did the traditional meal thing yesterday, eating late when Dad came home, and watched an old movie by a crackling fire.  Today I tackled some major mess in the basement and made significant progress--there's now room to wrap Christmas presents.  (Groan.  Don't you feel like you're hurtling to the next holiday at warp speed?)  This afternoon SweetPea and I got a two-hour start on the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice , a garage-sale find with four hours left to go.  Very fun. Toni

A "CCC" week

CCC? Catch-up, Creativity, & Cooking! I decided we just had to take a break and regroup--the house, our schooling, but most of all, our inner selves.  When I melt down over little things, that's a sure sign I've got to stop and fill my well.  I've been doing too much 'melting' lately, so I made the executive decision (O, wonderful freedom of homeschooling) to have some fun and rest time...and it's been wonderful! Catch-up on home tasks, paperwork, gifts to mail, raking leaves, phone visits, rest, thinking, reading, talking Creativity - some space just to play...piano and guitar, writing, jewelry-making, photography Cooking - I'm having SweetPea shadow me in the kitchen, something that seems to get bumped a lot of the time due to other priorities. I even had the blessing of attending our ladies Bible study yesterday, something I usually can't fit in.  Since most of the families in the church homeschool, the kids do their independent school studies

A lament

I've decided I don't like busy weekends!  And I'm stumped at how to avoid them.  By late in our week, I'm having visions of all the stuff I'm going to get done on Beautiful, Unstructured Saturday...long quiet time, cleaning, paperwork, yardwork, know.  But by the time we have our family waffle breakfast, run errands, whatever, it's dinnertime and I didn't get anything done on my list.  Again. Is it only me, or do you find if you're gone half a day, you're catching up for two?  I was gone half of Saturday, then church yesterday with a potluck lunch, then a long, gorgeous hike in the afternoon with my honey while SweetPea had a youth event at church.  Such a beautiful day.  But I hit Monday morning unprepared for our school time, tired, wondering what we were going to have for dinner, not liking my cluttered home, and considering just going back to bed. The only fix I can see right now is to be more organized during the week, do more pl

A day of praise & thanksgiving

In keeping with my old testament readings lately, I am declaring today a Day of Praise & Thanksgiving to the Lord for all He is and has done for our family!  It's good to remember the mercies of the Lord and to proclaim that His goodness endures continually. So with all my heart, I thank You, Lord, for... Knowing You, that somehow in the billions on the planet, I was blessed to have the gospel told me at a young age My beloved husband, my partner in faith and dearest earthly friend My precious daughter who came as a miracle and continues to bless my life in more ways than I could have imagined My home, our sanctuary, and lovely yard; flowers, peaceful neighborhood, and lovely places to walk My husband's good job Hot showers, clean water, good food, warm beds, washing machines & dryers, books & libraries, cars, telephones, and all the thousands of comforts that make life so blessed My mom's arm healing so well after a nasty break, and that it wasn&#

My homestead moment

Guess what I did today?  Dehydrated cranberries...lots of them! I've been waiting for them to come in again for the holiday season and was delighted to find them at Costco this week.  I'm on a fairly strict candida diet right now, but have discovered the cranberries are a low-glycemic fruit.  I cook them up with stevia and even though it's not quite the same, it's great to have a treat like this.  Off season they're pretty expensive so I'm experimenting with some ways to preserve them.  Anyone ever tried canning them with stevia instead of sugar?  I called the Ball company consumer rep today to ask them about it, but they said there hasn't been any research done on canning with stevia where they can definitively say, yes, it works and is okay for you.  I might boldly go where no professionsals have gone before. Did I mention that it takes a long time to cut that many cranberries in half??  I might just be content with freezing them from now on.

Scheduling a teen's life

A couple of weeks ago, I finally made the decision that I should no longer be micro-managing SweetPea's schedule.  I've been trying for a couple of years now to really get her to see the 'big picture' of our week and month, to learn to plan ahead and take ownership of what she needs to get done when--with little success.  So I put together a planner for her and told her that from now on, she's responsible to keep it up-to-date.  (Bold move!) I give her a pretty new 3-ring notebook, added a bunch of blank tabs and notebook paper, then gave her some time to do an artsy spine and cover to insert, and to personalize the dividers.  I went to Donna Young's website  and printed out big double-spread calendar pages on card stock, front and back, then had her spend some time putting in all the important dates from my calendar for the coming year. You know what?  She loves it!  It's now her "Life in a Notebook" and I have successfully passed the baton!  :-) 

A writing lesson

A story I wrote was recently accepted for one of the Chicken Soup books, and while gratifying, the real 'meat' of this experience was what I learned about writing.  I wrote this story a number of years ago, had it rejected by a magazine, and filed it away.  When I began to reconsider it for the CS book, I saw that it needed major rework on many fronts.  It was 500 words too long for their needs.  I was guilty of two major no-no's in writing:  writing passively instead of actively (too many "was's"--I had six in one paragraph!), and telling instead of showing. But the real problem showed up when I faced the daunting task of cutting 500 words.  That's a whole page of typewritten material, double-spaced.  And since this was a true, personal story, I just couldn't see what I could cut without damaging the flow and interest of the story. So I went to work with some experimental slicing and dicing.  What gradually became apparent was a more subtle problem i

A great writing curriculum

Honestly, I can't believe how I've let my blog slide these past few weeks.  Chalk it up to that old 'busy' excuse--truly.  I take solace in noting that others around here are in the same boat! We've finished up our second week of school.  Wow, those first few days were tough!  Neither of us wanted to do it.  But we've finally hit our stride again, not finding it so hard to get up early, discovering once again that we really do better with a schedule.   I have to give a huge thumbs-up for the WriteShop curriculum!   I'm very impressed.  It's very detailed, leaves nothing for you, the teacher, to have to figure out, even to check-off lists that enable you to grade each assignment objectively. Best of all, I love the process it leads you through, beginning to end.  The student must not only edit their own work--at least twice per assignment--but they must know why .  It requires a thoroughness that I can see will develop excellent lifelong writing habits. 

Blogging? What's that?

I'm so disconnected right now from posting.  But the dust is settling around here so I'll be getting back to a routine soon.  As fun as our summer has been 'away' from our usual efforts, I think both SweetPea and I need our schedule. In these last couple of weeks before school begins again (AACK!!! I can't believe I'm saying that), I'm trying to focus on the big "O" word--organizing.  School prep, the last of our shed and yard projects, the basement (this one is a permanent sticky), etc.  I'm trying to finish up an article I'm writing, work in some visits with homeschool friends before they disappear off my radar when school starts, schedule dental check-ups, etc.  I would love to work in some of my own catch-up reading, but I try to preread our Sonlight literature--SweetPea's readers--and I haven't even begun yet.  I figure I'll attend to my catch-up list sometime after 2014! And on the fun list is our ongoing sewing class with

More vacation...

It's been a very fun week and a half so far of our stay-at-home vacation!  We have some dear friends that do this and I have to admit, it feels more like a packing or travel hassels, all the comforts of home (!), sleeping in, simple meals, spur-of-the-moment shopping or whatever.  This week we took a couple day trips to take in a railroad museum, a picnic in the forest, and a geology museum.  I'm having a hard time, though, with letting myself play.  This house is my place of work, 24/7, and I'm challenged to just let the projects and housework go in favor of getting it done while we're not doing school!  (Can you tell I'm a Type A?)  Yesterday while SweetPea was at friends working on our support group's yearbook layout (a bit late this year), Hubby and I shopped for home improvement stuff--you know, the kind of trip you never seem to have time for that needs both of you to make a choice.  We needed to pick out keystone, check out plastic lattice v

Sew nice

I'm excited to finally be accomplishing a goal I've had for SweetPea for years...sewing! God's timing is perfect, too.  She's old enough to really want to do this, and it's worked out for us to do it as a little class with our dear friends, a mom and two girls.  I'm teaching what I know and using a wonderfully helpful book, Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing as our text.    Man, this book has everything!  I'm learning a lot of new info myself and getting freshly inspired to sew again.  I used to make most of my own clothes, but then I started homeschooling...   In our first class we covered all the tools of the trade, setting up our sewing baskets, going over terminology, etc.  We learned about patterns in our second class and took our measurements to see what size we wear.  And yesterday the fun really began--we took a 'field trip' to a fabric store to get the lay of the land, and chose fabric for the apron project we'll begin next t

Label crazy

What happens when you give a compulsive organizer a handy-dandy labeller?  Labels, of course!  Lots of them. I had such fun a couple of days ago.  I buy spices, herbs, grains, and beans in bulk from our local health food store, but over time all semblance of order has fallen apart.  Some were in bags, some in jars, some upstairs in my kitchen, some in my basement pantry, and worst of all, some had ancient masking tape labels on them, curled and sticky and gross. But my dear sister gave us the latest, greatest computer-style Dymo labeller, and no one could get lost in my Spiceville now!  I redid a cupboard also to store my beans and grains that don't need freezing, and it has left me wondering why I didn't do all this before!! I used three different sizes of canning jars to bring about this order:  pint-sized for spices, quart for beans, and half-gallon for grains and flours in the freezer.  (I didn't even know they made the half-gallon size, but my friend Lisa found some f

A VBS week

A cool, rainy weekend was just what I needed to 'take me off the hook' for doing yardwork!  Not that I don't enjoy it, mind you, but we had a FULL week helping out with VBS at our church.  If I told you I had a class of 15 6 & 7-year-olds, that might clarify things a bit, huh?  :-)  But as is typical of the goodness of the Lord, He had all sorts of graces and mercies on a challenging few days.  First of all, the kids were great!  Our topic was wonderful--the Covenant.  We had a terrific group of volunteers to make it all happen.  And when I was scrambling to pull together a lesson (I was a last-minute fill-in teacher and so had no time to prepare ahead of time), I was relieved to sense the Holy Spirit's leading...something workable for each day.  Praise the Lord, it got done. I made a funny observation this week.  Every time I needed my group to gather together and head off to our next activity station, there were fifteen little bodies lining up in a flash next to m

Ah, summer...

It's finally here!  We're warm, it's not snowing, and it's very green outside.  You can't tell me that I might still need gloves and boots.  Please. And the other good news is that we finished school!  (Almost.)  We actually met all our state requirements for hours and days, and will just do a bit of wrap-up this month, then truly have a few weeks off.  We're in the middle of our last read-aloud for Sonlight Core 7, God's Smuggler , about Brother Andrew.  My goodness, what a wonderful example of being led by the Holy Spirit, of being truly sold out to Jesus and living every day by His heart.  It's been a fresh challenge to my own faith. SweetPea finished Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra, and we certainly both have to give that program a huge thumbs-up.  She loves it.  And it's a relief to me to have found the right thing for her that we can track with now throughout high school.  Yay! Having already done a big vacation in April, we're looking forw

Apologetics today

We had a great opportunity today to hear Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis) do a presentation for students on defending your faith.  Wow, these guys have certainly done their homework!  I've heard and read much on the topics they present, but it was fresh and so well presented.  My favorite part was the discussion on DNA, how they have discovered that the DNA code is really a language--complete with counterparts to letters, words, and sentences.  God is so awesome! I need to do some more browing on their website, but I'd certainly recommend it as a fabulous resource for homeschoolers.  He told us that very shortly after the news story came out recently on the "we finally created life in the laboratory," they had an article posted addressing it in detail.  The website is: .  Now I want to go see their Creation Museum in Kentucky!

Hangin' loose, as they say

Well, I tell you.  This blog changeover is a bit challenging and providing a good exercise in patience.  Two of my three blogs had their (new) templates deleted, so I've had to start over again.  Not sure they're in their final form--in fact, I'm sure they're not, so please bear with me!  At least the content is the same.  I'll keep posting but we still might be playing musical templates for a while here.  Ah, technology.  Nevertheless, it's a blessing to have a free, high-quality blogging tool to use and I'm grateful. A good thought in preparing my heart for the Sabbath tomorrow: "Oh, give thanks to the LORD!  Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!  Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!  Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!"    (Psalm 105:1-3) Blessings and peace on your day!

A bit at sea yet...

I'm still working on getting my blogs set up correctly...some of our former functionality is gone but a whole lot more has been given us, so I've got a bit of a learning curve.  Seems like we can't use email notifications anymore when we post, so I guess that means you need to subscribe to the RSS feed if you want to be notified when I post.  Otherwise, just check back from time to time. Ah, the world of technology--don't you love it?!

Testing the new system

Our blog host is switching over to a new system so don't worry...if you're looking for me, I'm still here! It'll be a few days before I get the 'look' tweaked, but hopefully I can still post. Will keep you...'posted.' :-)

A May Day blessing

It's May!  Yay! I just had the most astonishing blessing for my May Day.  I was hard at work out by our front entryway, laboriously moving all the small rockwork (one rock at a time) to clean out the pine needles and debris that had fallen over the winter.  A s-l-o-w job. I noticed across the street our neighbors' young grandsons had arrived for a visit and were weeding dandelions in the yard.  I only knew them by sight, and their grandparents only slightly as our paths don't cross very often.  A few minutes later I looked up, and to my surprise, here were all three boys coming up our driveway with a beautiful gift bag.  "Hello," I said, wondering if they were going to try to sell me something. "Hi," they all three said.  The one with the gift bag held it out and said, "This is for you." "For me???!"  I was nonplused.  For a fleeting moment I thought it was a trick, that something creepy would jump out of the bag at me.  I am deeply s

Home again...

Guess where we've been??? Yup, Arizona with all its wonders.  We had a spectacular day at the Grand Canyon--the ultimate field trip--complete with a clearing snowstorm, small crowds, and the utterly breathtaking views.  No matter how often you see it, it is still a shock when first it sprawls before you. We're back into our routine after a busy couple of weeks with family and fun.  I always say I need a vacation when I come home from vacation!  But it was memorable, filled with special moments like...quality time with both sides of the family, holding a new family baby, walks in the sunshine (not to be underrated when you come from winter country!), long talks over coffee, doing touristy things--which for me was fun considering I grew up there.  Some new and some old, great because we were with our loved ones. SweetPea even got to go to public school with her cousin for an afternoon--and I'm happy to report that she's thrilled she's homeschooled!  Even thanked me fo

Honoring the Sabbath

I have learned from hard experience that the Lord had a very good reason for making the Sabbath for man.  We need the rest after six busy days! It used to be that I would do carryover work from the week on Sundays, trying to catch up, but would find that come Monday, I was tired before the new week even began!  Seemed like I could never catch up. But in keeping with a new understanding the Lord has been giving me of walking in His rest instead of my works, I decided to make our Sabbath be more what the Lord intended--a day of rest.  I'm not talking here about keeping Shabbat as the Jewish people do; more the spirit of the Sabbath.  A time to stop and refresh, focus on the Lord and His Word, rest. It's hard!  Church life often makes our Sundays one of the busiest days of the week.  But, together with my hubby, we've decided to keep the decks as clear as possible.  I was reading a couple of weeks ago in Exodus 16 in the account of God giving manna to the Israelites.  They wer

Snow and school

It's a cozy night to stay home...a snowstorm rageth outside (16" predicted over the next 24 hours!)...a fire crackles in the fireplace.  It's a typical Colorado spring snowstorm, wet and sticky and heavy.  Lots of shovelling tomorrow, prayers for Hubby as the makes the trek to work, hot soup and a quiet day of school (if we can concentrate!).  We might need to build a snowman, don't ya think? It's been a good week.  Though all the credit goes to the Lord and His mercy, it also helps to have the prospect of a long and lovely spring break ahead of us.  We're headed for a visit to AZ in a few days to see our families and enjoy that famous sunshine.  All three of us have been showing definite signs of needing a break!  So I can rather smugly smile at the snow piling up and know that it might well be the last one I'll see this winter.  Ask me if I'm sorry.  SweetPea and I have been studying the pre-WWI era in our studies, the tangled and desperate affairs ac

Vanity, thy name is woman

I spent the early years of my life in the sunny climes of Arizona , happily sunscreen-less for years.   I was a poster child for the desert life—bleached blonde hair, brown, glowing skin. Alas, I’ve paid a bit of a price in later life.   My fair skin has developed age spots that no amount of cover-up covers up.   So I was intrigued when our family doctor’s practice sent a brochure announcing their services for all kinds of skin care, including age spots treated by laser. Now I admit I’m really na├»ve when it comes to stuff other than wash-n-go skin care.   I was thrilled in the consultation to hear of a 20-minute treatment where I might feel a sensation of a snapping rubber band on my skin, then voila!   Permanently fixed.   I studiously counted the main spots at home in the mirror and figured on six or seven big snaps.   Piece of cake.   Small price for my return to the flawless glow of youth. I settled back in the comfy chair and gave myself up to the nurse’s pre-treatment facial.   A

Time for a breather

     Busy month around here...anyone else?!?  (So much for the it's-winter-and-I'll-get-caught-up-on-projects idea.)      Let's see, we've spent a lot of time in the car getting from here to there.  Sweet Pea's done gym classes, an oral report skit with required practices, drama class with final performance, piano lessons and special practices for a performance, five most-of-the-day sessions of a free enterprise mock-town experience, a Valentine party, hang-out times with friends, church and church get the idea.  Then there's the round of colds that went through our family (SP's on her second one).  Oh, yeah, and we did school.      So I think things are settling down a bit, at least for a couple of weeks.  It's time to get well and get back to our routine.      I have to give a wonderful recommendation for an audio version of Great Expectations that we listened to from the library.  It's a BBC production and is narrated by Martin J

Mid-winter doldrums

February tends to be the month where I would like to pack my suitcase, get in the car, and go anywhere (except where it's colder or grayer).  I'm daydreaming about yard work, Vitamin D that comes from the sun instead of a bottle, vacation destinations, no school, birds singing, and the glories of spring. It's not that I don't like winter; it has it's own beauties.  I like the lack of yardwork and outdoor projects so I can get caught up on indoor stuff.  I love the beauty of snow, the coziness of slippers and afghans and hot tea, of the fireplace crackling of an evening.  Today God shared a special winter scene with me.  I was out for a walk circling a frozen lake in the thin mid-afternoon sunshine, and there, spread before me on the lake, were hundreds of Canadian geese, all fluffed out and settled down for their naps on the ice--and all facing the same direction.  So peaceful, so striking with their dark heads and markings against the white ice.  Behind them, the

New efficiences

Well, in keeping with resolutions for the new year and all that, I've taken myself in hand to clean out, clean up, and generally deal with the piled-up disorganization of my home. Due to some health issues this past year, I just did not do a good job of keeping up .  Know what I mean?  Drawers, closets, shelves, cabinets, basements, all in desperate need of some serious attention.  As I've decided that a fundamental truth of a homeschooling mom's life is "Ten Minutes at a Time," I need to tackle this mammoth job in bite-sized pieces.  FlyLady would be proud of me (a.k.a. "baby steps")! Today it was washing and sterilizing the kitchen trash can between bag changes.  Yesterday it was the pegboard of miscellaneous stuff in the basement stairs.  Saturday it was bathroom blinds, screens, windows, curtain, and rugs (yes, more than ten minutes!).  But it's been very encouraging to see that it's working .  I can point to Progress. Here are some changes

Some good stuff in school

It was slow going last week trying to get back into the mental mode of school, but we did it.  Both SweetPea and I are glad to be back at it--we just seem to do better with a schedule. We finished a very interesting book last week, Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster .  It's the story of smallpox, the ghastly impact on our world over the centuries, and the discovery of the vaccine that literally conquered this "monster" and changed the world.  I highly recommend the book even as an adjunct to a science program.  In fact, it's a fascinating read for anyone, and certainly throws a different slant on history. I've said it here before, but I'm really delighted with our math curriculum, Teaching Textbooks.  I hear comments regularly from SweetPea of how much she likes the pace of it, the clear instruction, and how well she is understanding the foundational concepts of each topic.  Thank You, Lord!  This is music to my ears after a couple of years of curriculum-hopp

My new blog

Just wanted to invite you to visit my new blog, Feasting in the Word.   You can find it here .  It's my place to talk about the good things about the Lord that I'm learning.  Do stop by when you can!

Ring in the new

Happy 2010!  My prayer for you is that you will know the "blessing of the Lord which maketh rich and adds no sorrow to it"! We're already enjoying the sense of new beginnings around here... ...A new patio roof is about halfway done, with our Christian builders diligently working whenever it's not too cold to do so.  I think they're taking off Thursday; do ya think 13 degrees for a high is too cold to work outside?! ...Back to school today (yay! three cheers for Routine!), with some new directions before us. ...Some new and improved kitchen organization is making things better and more enjoyable in the cook's department, and I'm loving my new over-the-sink cutting board with hole/strainer basket.  How did I ever live without it?? ...And of course the excitement that comes with new goals.  I love that about the Lord, how He is ever able to make all things new.  I don't know about you, but I'm really ready for His renewing touch on a lot of things. I