Friday, July 10, 2020

Favorite Verse Friday

My favorite verse this week

Proverbs 4:23

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance, and above all that you guard for out of it flows the springs of life.

When this summer first started and I knew just how different it would be I felt a bit mixed up trying to figure it out and make it work for my daughters. I don't like change and how I long for a trip that we go on to be all mushed up for a week - a week of exploring, a week on our own, a week in God's beauty, a week discovering, even a week with difficulties because we bring those along wherever we go. Anna doesn't leave home without sensory integration disorder and Abigail doesn't leave home without food allergies. But it's still worth it.

 I knew deep down that God had a perfect plan for beautiful days this summer - I just didn't know what they were yet. And I like a plan. This summer wasn't following our regular pattern. I wanted a new pattern and I just couldn't get my head around it.

When I read this verse I quickly felt in my heart that this would be the verse that I would concentrate on this summer. I wasn't just to "guard my heart". But I was to guard my heart with all vigilance.

Vigilance is "the state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties". This meant that I was to guard my heart by keeping a careful watch. What careful watch?

A careful watch from feeling anxiety because a heart filled with anxiety would not be able to hear God's sweet voice in my heart and He would not be able to lead me into beautiful summer days. 

That verse goes on to say that not only do I have to guard my heart with all vigilance but also that it needs to be "above all that I guard."

We "guard" so many things in our lives. We guard our time. We guard our money. We guard our processions. We guard our dignity, our honor, our work - but God says above all that we guard, we need to guard our hearts. 

I quickly knew that I wasn't at all guarding my heart. Certainly not with any vigilance and not "above all". I was guarding my fears. I was guarding uncertainty. I was guarding my anxiety about the summer. 

Another verse from that same proverb that spoke to my heart:

Proverbs 4:25
Let your eyes look right on with fixed purpose, and let your gaze be right before you.

Such a simple direction, really.

As I guard my heart from selfishness and uncertainty I need to keep my eyes looking straight ahead.

Straight ahead to the day before me. Not straight ahead with trying to figure out 'how to do' this summer. 

And as I guard my heart from uncertainty and anxiety I need to let my eyes look right on with "fixed purpose."

My fixed purpose this summer is raising my daughters.  God has filled me with so many ideas - areas to teach them - how to enjoy them. I've always used summer for a the purpose of teaching, mentoring, loving on my daughters - all with being very intentional. This summer I just get more or that. They are my fixed purpose and I need to keep my eyes right on them with my gaze right before me. 

My gaze at the beginning of the summer was all around - eyes darting here and there - feelings up and down. This caused so much confusion and more anxiety. 

When I began to meditate on these verses I felt the need for control lifting off.

All of a sudden summer days seemed simple.

And here is the promise that comes from that:

Proverbs 4:4

Let your heart hold fast to my words; keep my commandments and live. Get skillful and Godly wisdom, get understanding. 

When I "hold fast to my words" (when I really lean in to what God is leading me to) I will get skillful and Godly wisdom and understanding.

I will know how to structure our days. I will know what to do with my daughters. I will be given ideas for fun and ways to grow even closer with my girls. I will understand and speak to their hearts. Each day will be a precious gift in mothering.


And finally:

Proverbs 4:12

When you walk your steps will not be hampered, your path will be clear and open, and when you run you will not stumble.

I grabbed on to that promise too and loved it so. I think on that promise and declare it for my life each morning. MY steps will not be hampered. MY path will be clear and open (the path for my summer days). When I run (with the summer) I will not stumble.

I took that to mean that God will not allow our summer days days to be wasted. Above all He will use them for His purpose and I know that His purpose, through me this summer is mothering.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Catch Up Thursday

We were home for the first time on the 4th ever in my whole life. It was different but Scott and I were determined to make it memorable. Goodness I wish I took pictures of all of the food we ate that day - it sure was amazing!

We started the evening before when Anna finished her last summer college class {Boston College}. She absolutely loved it so much!!! She finished her last lecture on Friday afternoon in her room and I had a sign in the hallway when she left the room that said, "Congratulation! You finished your first college class!" and it took my breath away. I know it's not really like going to college but gosh that is coming so fast!

While she was in her last class I whipped up a cake {and decided to decorate it for the 4th, since the 4th was the next day}

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On the 4th I decided that we'd get out all of those summertime treats machines that we just don't pull out enough - like the snow cone machine!!! Of course when Scott ran to the store for me there wasn't any of that sugary liquid you pour over the snow cone, so I cooked one up - easy! And so much more yummy!

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She was pretty excited since it had been years since we had this out!

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Here she is back in when we first got it... (2012)

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snow cone collage

Back to 2020

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They really are pretty summertime treats

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Why not go all out?!

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Yes, we got out our ice cream maker too! Now that are not going to forget about - goodbye store ice cream - please if you love ice cream, treat yourself to this machine, trust me!

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Since then we've made chocolate too - be still my heart, so so good!

I also want to remember

watching Hamilton
playing Monopoly
swinging on the porch
the most amazing dinner

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Magical Reading

If you were in my classroom you would know that I looooove books. The 4th graders know that about me before the first day is over. I want them to go home that very first day and when they are asked, "soooo what's your teacher like?" I want them to say "she really loves books!"

In my classroom I read a picture book a day - every single day. I have a whole bulletin board dedicated to something I call "Open The Magic". I also read a chapter book a little each day. Fostering reading in my classroom feels natural to me. Sometimes I pinch myself that each year I get a brand new group for 9 year olds that I get to help them fall in love with reading.

In my own home, since the moment Anna was placed in my arms I've fostered a love of reading in their lives - a love of books. In fact, in my hands was a board book about rainbows when she was placed in my arms. I was reading to her within the first 15 minutes she was ours. {there is a video of that somewhere}


'Reading on the Couch' is something we do after lunch all summer long - since Anna was a baby. I can remember when baby and toddler Abigail took a nap in her crib in the afternoons and 4 year old Anna made up the words to her Fancy Nancy books. I made a 'nest' out of blankets on my bedroom floor, over in the corner, every day during Abigail's nap time. I read my book and Anna 'read' hers. It was magical.


It feels easy to me to have my 'taught' my girls a love for reading - and simple really. I made it magical. Like this ordinary day:

It was time for 'reading on the couch' one day this week and Scott was working right where we were reading and we had to find a new spot. "Quick girls, let's go up on my bed". We turned on the air conditioning and snuggled under the covers and read.


Abigail was on her last chapter of a very long book and I snuck out of bed, scooped a bit of our homemade strawberry ice cream in a little bowl, added some chocolate chips and we had a little "you finished your book party" right there.


It doesn't take much, really. Just a little magic in an ordinary day to make reading come to life.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A Place for Music, Reading, Chirping

"Throughout scripture, God is referred to as our spiritual refuge. We are told to run to him for safety, security, rest, replenishment, comfort, and never ending love. In the same way, I believe God created our homes to be our physical refuge. He knew we would need a corner of the world to call our own. We go to our homes in hopes of finding physically many of the same qualities God offers us spiritually - a restful place, safe from the storms and stresses of the world, filled with love, comfort, and absolute acceptance. A warm bed, an encouraging word, a tasty meal, a crackling fire all give comfort, security, and love. Home is to be the refuge we run to after doing battle in the world. It should be where we are reminded of who we are, to whom we belong, and what really matters in life. Home needs to be a safe place where we house no only our bodies but our hearts and our souls". Terry Willits

Recently I was looking at our living room wall color and wondering if I should change it. Since I have all white furniture in there it really can be any color. When I brought my ideas to my family, wondering what they thought my girls said, "what about Christmas?" And I knew in an instant that this room that waits for Christmas all year long needed to keep it's light, pastel green walls. For sure.

So I thought about what I could do to changes things up. We had a carpet in our attic that we hadn't used in a while with lots of pink in it. I switched the carpets and knew that I wanted a pink and green room. Easy to swap out at Christmastime, and pretty all year long.

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I kept the mantle simple and I love how the watercolor of my girls matches my new 'theme' in here with lots of greens in the ocean and pink in Abigail's dress.

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I changed the pillows on the couch and Scott painted this table behind the couch white. I filled it with pink books that I borrowed from around my house and added a vintage platter with small pink flowers.

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He also painted this tray that was a dark color a new pretty pastel pink and I knew just the books that I wanted on them. A romantic plant in milk glass and my heart was skipping a beat. 🤍

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The last step was to hang these vintage seasonal plates from Currier and Ives. Perfect. I love them so🤍

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A vintage book that seemed perfect on my tea cart.

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And just by shopping around my home, digging a little in closets, and a bit of paint I have a place I love to be in. What's next?

Monday, July 6, 2020

Tea Time Menu

Explanation of Tea Time is back here
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Tea time almost didn't happen this Sunday because the 4th was the day before and I cooked a bit more than I usually do that day - and all of the tea time treats need to be cooked the day before - but I pulled it off because I was craving sitting there as a family on Sunday so much - I just had to make it work.

This week I served:

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A Cold Strawberry Soup 

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Heart Shaped Cream Scones with Orange 

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Homemade vanilla cake squares 

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and I loved using these bowls 💕

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Paired with SerendipiTea organic black tea with orange blossoms, safflower petals, and tropical fruit flavorings

and Harney & Sons Indigo Punch 

Other tea menu posts are here and here and here and here and here and here and here  and  here  and here  and here 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Feet Up Friday


It was a great week - and now it's time for to start the weekend! (with this yummy food) We are celebrating Anna's summer Boston College class finishing up today... so proud of her! There is a cake in oven for that right now!

I haven't planned in the weekend yet - planning one day at a time here - I love to plan the next day in the evening. I believe that an amazing day starts the night before, and I love that my morning routine starts the night before. Here are a few things I do at night

1. I set out my planner and jot my schedule for the next day
2. I fill up 3 water bottles for the next day
3. I set out my workout clothes
4. I plan the very first thing I am going to do when I wake up in the morning.

72% of Americans head to a screen first thing in the morning. I think it's a huge mistake. It takes away from your productivity as well as your peace. It forces you to look at other peoples lives instead of creating your own. I have a rule to not go on a screen {at all} until I've gone through my entire morning routine. Mine starts with prayer and Bible time - I'm lost without it.


Now that I'm not planning for my teaching - I use my teaching planner for a list of things I want to get done during the summer as well as some professional development ideas I have for myself.


Looking forward to the weekend! 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Book Drop Off

This photo is blurry. Scott just got off the tennis court after playing for 2 hours so Anna wouldn't get too close to him. I only had a second to capture this before the book got dropped off at the high school. But I had to.

H O N O R S Precalculus.

She never could have gotten through it without her daddy. If I could count the hours they spent with this book during her junior year. Late late late late nights.

But she got through it - and did amazing.

I don't think they'll ever forget Honors Precalculus.