Friday, September 19, 2008

A Night In the City

Last night I enjoyed a beautiful evening in the city with some of my favorite women in my life. Both of my oldest daughters were there along with my sister and her two daughters and her youngest son. Candace is here for the weekend while her husband is gone on a retreat. Priscilla came down for the evening but had to get back early to prepare to leave at 4am for an out-of-state frisbee tournament. Kezzi was my only daughter who was not with us.

First we sat at the park while Priscilla worked on a drawing assignment. Then we had a wonderfully relaxing time having dessert and coffee at the coffee shop and afterwards walking across the bridge. On the way home we all sang songs to quiet the little ones. It was so nice to hear Candace's voice in the mix again.

It was so nice to be with both of the older girls though it might have made things worse for Annalise who cried quite a bit over having to say goodbye to Priscilla again. Pris is also really homesick, even though she's loving it at school. She keeps complaining about having two lives and wishes we could be a part of her life there. She's been super busy and not getting enough sleep so I suspect that is making it harder for her to cope with her emotions. We are all looking forward to Fall Break, Thanksgiving and a month together at Christmas time!

Lori and I were both commenting on how nice it is to occasionally visit the city with all of it's different sights and sounds. There were two girls on the bridge playing their violins with an open music case full of dollar bills before them. All kinds of people were walking back and forth. Beautiful buildings lined the river banks. People playing in the park - frisbee, football, roller blading. I wouldn't trade my country life for any of it, but it sure is nice to have a little city experience now and then.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thought for the Week

Here's a little note to myself and anyone else to whom this might speak:

Don't dwell on all of the things you can't change. Don't focus on all the areas with which you find yourself powerless to fix. Instead concentrate on the good you can do. That is where your energy is best spent. "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."
Psalm 37:3

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Lake Project

Yesterday we took some time to explore around the lake. We found at least twenty different wildflowers in bloom. I was busy taking pictures to take home and identify. We plan to make a family nature notebook that will contain pictures of specimens from the lake area. I'm really excited about this project. I thought it would be fun for visitors to look over the notebook before taking a walk down there so they would have some idea of what they might see.

Here's a picture of a part of the lake. This group of trees was meant to be an island but that didn't happen since we were stopped in the middle of the project. Now, I'm glad it's not because it's a great place to explore and as it is, you only have to hop the canal which is off to the right of the picture) to get to it. I'm sure we would not visit it as often if it required a boat ride to get there.
This is one end of the wetlands. We were told to expect all of these plants to fill in along the edges farther down.
This is the picture of farther down. It's bare right now with only little seedlings showing up along the shore. It will be fun to see it come alive.

I took many pictures of the wildflowers, but I'll only include one here of this beautiful cardinal flower.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Looking Forward

Things have settled down around here. And my friend was right, I'm adjusting quicker than I thought. However, Pris and I both cried as we hugged each other hello this afternoon when she arrived for her first visit home for the weekend. But we are all moving on and enjoying life.

I feel like I have so much to look forward to this fall. I'm very excited about serving as mentor to the MOPS group at church. I must confess it's excitement one minute, and the next it's a feeling of being totally inadequate. When that feeling comes I remind myself that of course, I am, but HE is not. I'm also excited to be able to help a new homeschooling support group get started in Knoxville. A new group that wants to study Charlotte Mason is forming and I will love every minute of helping them get off the ground.

Our school plans are going well so far this year and we are enjoying all being on the same history topic each week with Tapestry of Grace. Our first topic was John Adams and we've all really been enjoying watching the HBO miniseries on his life. I hated to leave my old favorite, Ambleside Online, behind but I really felt we would all benefit from being together, especially Hope, who as the fourth child has often been lost in the middle. She and I have really been enjoying our conversations on the things we are learning. I'm still using lots of AO books as extra reading, especially with Annalise. She has a basket by the loveseat in my room filled with AO Year 2 books that I hope to read aloud to her this year.

Next week we start two new activities. Our local YMCA is offering PE classes that we are going to participate in. And our little support group is getting together once a week for Nature Study and some more PE type activities. In addition to these active outings, we have been getting together with some other families once a week to play ultimate frisbee and tennis. Luke and Abel are chomping at the bit for tennis lessons and since we no longer have the girls' dance tuition and supplies to pay for, it looks like something doable.

Personally, I am looking forward to the cooler weather. I love fall. I love bonfires on the hill. I love cozy mornings with all the kids drinking hot tea in the living room with the fireplace going while I read aloud. I love walks in the crisp air.

We have some more good news here at Shadybrook Acres. Last year while digging our lake, the government officials shut us down because we disturbed a "wet-land area". We were very disappointed to have the work stopped before we could finish it. After corresponding with them back and forth and then submitting our plan, we have restored the area of concern according to our proposal. The new work also included a walk way around the lake, which turns out to be an even 1/4 mile track. An official came out last week and walked around the lake with Ford and gave his approval! As he walked with Ford, he pointed out and named many of the plants around the lake. He said in a year and a half we wouldn't believe how the plants would fill in and make it a beautiful place. What we thought was trouble ended up being a blessing because we are going to have a unique habitat to explore. I'm so excited to spend time studying nature down there!

So, I'm thanking God that there is so much to enjoy right now and so much to look forward to.

"Every blessing You pour out, I'll turn back to praise..."