What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, July 29, 2014





 Saturday we hosted our annual "Christmas in July" picnic for the Newman side of the family.  40ish people, some all the way from Virginia, were anticipated.  We did get a surprise guest though- right smack dab in the middle of the party, Andrew (who has been on constant watch) came running from the woods saying "The calf is born! The calf is born!"

I thought he was joking because, well, he's done that a time or two.  ;-)

But sure enough- the whole party trekked through the woods to discover a little fawn-like calf curled up next to her robust Mama.

(Because, you know, hosting a bunch of people for an afternoon isn't eventful enough.)

All week Matt had been out of town and I was petrified that Penny would give birth during that time- and her being a first-time heifer, I was certain there would be "issues" (which I was certain I would be completely inadequate to resolve by myself!)  Needless to say, I was more than a bit relieved when Matt came home and no calf had been born.  And more than a bit relieved when, as the calf was born, all worked out without a hitch.  We weren't even there.

  After nine months of waiting- the last two being almost unbearable for the boys in this family- Penny had her calf.  (A good sized calf, too!)  Without any problems.  She cleaned out perfectly fine.   She is just an angel at milking time- she stands still as a statue and never kicks or dances around.

The calf was having a few issues with scours but she is on the upswing now.

We've gotten 16 pounds of milk at each milking (about two gallons)...making four gallons a day.  I really wish we had pigs right now to feed the milk to since a calf can only drink so much colostrum and I sure won't!

Oh- and by the way... her name is Ellie.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lily Week

We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.  

~ H.G.Wells

A Review~ Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms

When I signed up for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I knew I would get to review homeschooling products but I never considered that I might be able to review a product only for me! But I have that pleasure today with Apologia Educational Ministries' new book called Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate.

Mary Jo Tate was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of four boys when she was suddenly left to care, provide for and homeschool her four young boys all on her own back in 2001.  I can't imagine the pain and worry and fear that such an upheaval might induce not to mention the practical concerns of earning enough money to provide for your children and home while still being at home and homeschooling.  How does one do it?!

Well, clearly, by God's good grace and a hearty dose of wisdom- she not only got it done, but FLOURISHED while doing so.  She is now an international editor, a book coach, author of several books, and is the host of the “Flourish at Home” show on the Ultimate Radio Network. She manages to accomplish all of that, while also caring for her household and homeschooling her children going solo...she even makes time to encourage single mothers on an individual basis.  She, of all people, could offer some incredible insights in how to flourish in a hectic, busy and stress-filled life...and she does just that in Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms.

"Find peace in the space between the ideal and reality." 

The book is chock-full of practical wisdom and tips, gentle nudging, encouragement and examples on how to take control of your life instead of it being in control of you.  Scattered throughout are wonderful quotes- so many of which I have previously written in my inspiration book- making me feel quite like Mary Jo may just be a kindred spirit.  :-)

At the end of each chapter, a TAKE ACTION! box includes questions you need to specifically ask yourselves and ways to implement the lessons she has shared in the chapter.

The Chapters:

1. An Invitation to Flourish
2. Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
3. The FREEDOM Toolbox
4. Where Did My Time Go?
5. Aim High: Setting Goals
6. What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
7. We Interrupt This Program
8. It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
9. Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
10. Training Your Children
11. Making Memories
12. Managing Your Home
13. All of Life is Learning
14. Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
15. Home Business
16. Moving Ahead

At the end of the book, Mary Jo includes many resources, sorted by topic, that she has found helpful.  Also at the end of the book are a number of planning forms like a Time Log, Yearly Review, Weekly Plan, etc. to help you on your way. Printable, customizable forms are available on her website for those who purchase the book.

She writes as a homeschooling mother, but as a successful business woman as well.  I appreciate so much her thoughts and advice on working from home in addition to the daily responsibilities she has as a homeschool mother.  The book can be enjoyed by homeschool mothers, single mothers, work-at-home mothers...or any Monkey Bread Mother, really.  What is a monkey bread mother? Mary Jo explains...monkey bread mothers are mothers who get many fingers pulling off and devouring little bits of us throughout the day until we are all but gone.

Mary Jo Tate is a list maker and a goal maker, much like myself.  She advocates for writing down yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals.  She even encourages you to DREAM BIG, nudging you to make a few 'if nothing would stop me' goals that might just be achievable.  My DREAM BIG goal is to write books.  It has always been a pipe dream that I just can't shake~ but it always seemed unattainable for my present reality.  But, in reading this book, I feel very much encouraged that it could become a reality.  Mary Jo Tate's story is not only inspiring but enlightening.

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is available here for $15.00.  It may be just the investment you need to make for yourself, your family, your homeschool and/or your home business.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Who Needs an Air Conditioner, Anyway?

Today it is in the 90's and the humidity is a ridiculous 98%.  And very unlike many of our contemporaries in these here United States~ we have no air conditioner in our house.  Actually, the one in our van broke shortly after we got it almost six years ago, so we don't have one there either.

Today I am hot, sticky, sweaty, grumpy and lethargic.  In very much the same state as many of our summer days.

So I thought as I was dripping with sweat- well, what are some of the GOOD things about not having an air conditioner?  
Think ye on these things, Rebecca.

So I wracked my brain for some reasons why having no air-conditioner is not the end of the world.

But I couldn't come up with anything.

I licked a bead of sweat on my upper lip.  Mmm...salty.

Of course- the savings off of the electrical bill must count for something!  Having never had an air-conditioner, I have no idea how much savings that actually ends up being but I am going to pretend it is a VERY substantial sum.

But surely there must be something else-

It took a few days for me to finally think of another (any other!) reason why it ain't all bad, sweating out the summer and here is what I came up with:

Top 5 Reasons You Too Can Be Cool Without An Air-Conditioner

#5  I save a VERY SUBSTANTIAL sum of money on my electric bill.  Like, A LOT.  ;-)

#4 It is just as hot inside as it is outside- so everyone plays and works outside cheerfully (where there is wind!) which means I don't have to kick children outside to play.

#3 Yogurt incubating on the counter becomes so thick a jar can be held upside down without yogurt tumbling out.  (Fact.)

#2 You don't need to pay to enjoy the sauna!  Besides, a-hem, I might be a few pounds lighter just from sweating alone!  (Tell me that isn't a perk!)

And the number 1 reason not having an air-conditioner can be a good thing...

#1 The children can take their baths outside.  Swimming TOTALLY counts.

Monday, July 21, 2014



The sky made a perfect cloud ceiling just before coming in for dinner, the children were smitten and occupied with two adorable kittens discovered in the truck engine compartment of a visiting neighbor, the bees were busily buzzing around the bee balm (they don't call it bee balm for nothing!) and Matt was just as busily buzzing around the barn cutting, planing, gluing, figuring, trimming, sanding and working on the secret project for me.  As for me, the only thing I remember was wandering around in a bit of a haze.  I am sure I did things- I just can't remember what.  or how.  or when.

That was our weekend, in a nutshell.

The pictures above are making Matt's secret project a little less "secretive".  Am I right?

If all goes well, it will be ready for the big reunion we are having here this weekend... not that it was made for the reunion, but it was certainly just the perfect bit of incentive needed to get it started and finished- though the week has been pretty intense for him!  He is a trooper and would head out there after dinner each evening and come back in at almost 11 pm, plop into bed and do it all again the next day.

I never suggested Matt get it done in time for the party- that was his own doing- but I am just so amazed at what he was able to accomplish in just one weeks' time.  What a hard worker he is.

And for the week ahead:

 I have some serious work to do in preparation of the reunion.  I stopped counting when the mental headcount reached 45 and I was too overwhelmed to finish.  There is furniture to move around.  A secret thing to make room for.  Painting to do.  Cleaning to do.   Food stuffs to figure out and prepare.  (What will I feed these people!?!?)
Three families have not been to this place since Gram was still alive and living here- a place much different than the place that it has since become- so that adds a bit of pressure, you know?

Last month we had a bit of a false alarm with Penny's due date (we were off a heat cycle and miscounted the days) and realizing our mistake gave us a bit of extra time to prepare (though not enough~ the vacuum pump has worked well until yesterday when it went pop, fizz, bang.  Or something of that nature.  Not sure what that is going to require.  Perfect timing, right?).  Her actual due date is this Sunday and I am just praying, praying, praying she doesn't go into labor early this week.

I am pretty sure I couldn't handle that happening right now.