"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Climbing High

We had some great entertainment at our house on Monday when some tree trimmers came to take down a dead pine tree. It's amazing how long the boys were captivated by the tree removal.
It did put a little glitch in our school day, but I embraced the interruption. I'm so thankful that Luke took his math test right away when he woke up at 6:30am. This is a perfect time for him to concentrate without the noise his brothers create. I'm so thankful that God gave me soft words as I coaxed the boys back to their school work once the men were gone. 
Yeah for a great start to the week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


When I woke up this morning, Aaron was not upstairs playing with his brothers as is typical. As I wandered around looking for him downstairs I heard lots of crinkling behind the couch. Of course I grabbed my camera and found this little monkey having a feast of raisins hiding behind the couch. Silly boy! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Puzzle Land

In addition to all the wrestling, bike riding, climbing and destructive energetic play that is typical around here, we also had a great time building puzzles this weekend. The boys woke up Saturday morning determined to put together every puzzle they could find. It was fabulous!

It was hard to pull them away from the puzzles to get to church on Sunday morning. 

All the floor puzzles got pushed into the dining room to create "Puzzle Land." 
I'm thankful that they all participated joyfully in this -- each at their own level. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Do you ever find yourself hiding from God? Sounds completely foolish to say because we all know that is impossible. However, I am certainly not the first to try it out. Remember Adam and Eve in the garden... they had just taken a bite of the forbidden fruit after giving in to the temptation from the serpent.
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; 
so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God 
as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, 
and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden." Genesis 3: 7-8

The last several days I've been hiding from God and it has been miserable. I have been full of fear and shame. I'm struggling with the habitual sins of selfishness and anger. I spend my days sinning, repenting, sinning, repenting... round and round. Praying each day that somehow God would change me. Sometimes hopeful and sometimes not, but calling out to Him in the midst of it all. And then this week hit. I majorly gave into my selfishness and anger WITHOUT a repentant heart seeking Him. I was harsh with my children without apologizing. I was harsh with my husband without repenting. Feeling justified for my unkind words because "my life is just too hard and I've been hurt."

Each day that I avoided dealing with my sin and acknowledging my sin, I felt like each ounce of joy I had was getting snatched from me. Do you know how much effort it takes to frown all the time? I struggled to really read my Bible. I felt empty as I listened to my Christian music. I was distracted during the sermon at church. Bitterness began growing in my heart. How could I hear the promises of God and all that He has done for me and still hold on to this weight I was foolishly determined to hold onto? But, just like God came looking for Adam and Eve, He has not let me rest in this black place.

     "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion." Isaiah 30:18 

As I finally came before Him in repentance this evening and wept and prayed, I felt so relieved. He knew what I was struggling with all along. He knew that I was hiding from Him and yet He welcomed me into His arms. Oh how He loves me! Here is what He is revealing to me:

A lot of my anger comes from my selfishness. Things didn't go how I wanted. The boys aren't listening to me. People didn't meet my expectations. This isn't how I planned things to go. Me. Me. Me. UGH! I read this quote tonight from Sally Clarkson and almost choked. "Selfish self-absorbed people are never happy." It's true! When all I think about is myself and my disappointments and my plans and my day, it will surely zap my joy.

What is the example of Christ?
"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." John 13:34

 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 

The New Testament is full of stories of Christ serving others, washing their feet and most importantly laying down His life! He is humble, loving and self-sacrificing. Shouldn't that also be my goal? Can the Holy Spirit help me to serve my family sacrificially thinking first of what is best for them instead of what they can do for me? Yes. Isn't that what it means to love them? Yes. Oh, how I have lost my focus! Can I believe that God is good and let that propel me to serve them with a joyful heart even when the circumstances don't go just as I planned? Please Lord!

When I think about being a mom and particularly a home school mom, I am challenged by this quote from Sally Clarkson:

"And if the reason we are staying home is to serve and train our children for His glory, then we must always understand, He is at the center, and His kingdom work is at the center of our lives. Our children are not a big enough goal, only serving Him is big enough for a work of life." 

I should not be at the center and my children should not be at the center. God must be at the center!

Oh Lord, please help me to "...walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [I] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:1-2

"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 
You know when I sit and when I rise; 
you perceive my thoughts from afar. 
You discern my going out and my lying down; 
you are familiar with all my ways. 
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 
You hem me in - behind and before; 
you have laid your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
to lofty for me to attain. 
Where can I go from your Spirit? 
Where can I fee from your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
When I awake, I am still with you." Psalm 139:1-8, 18b

Friday, November 18, 2011


Who would have thought that out of three boys we would only have one sports fanatic? It's amazing how much Aaron loves sports. He's obsessed lately with wearing "sporty clothes." We have a VT football jersey hand-me-down that neither of his brothers would wear (too itchy, too hot, etc.). 
It is one of Aaron's favorite shirts! He is constantly changing into something "more sporty." 
Last week, he found a pair of cleats I bought for him at a yard sale and he was in heaven. 
He asked me to take all of these pictures of him.
This is his football pose.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nature Expedition

We enjoyed a field trip with Grammy and Poppy on Monday to Pocohontas State Park. The boys loaded up their back packs with their sketch books, pencils, crayons and a magnifying glass. 
It was a gorgeous day! One of the awesome advantages of homeschooling. 

 This little rascal spent a lot of time on my shoulders and back. Oh to be the third child...

The boys found a snail!

There is just something about boys and sticks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soak it in...

In the midst of some really wonderful happenings, there has also been some yucky stuff going on that I can't share on this blog. (Which is partly why I haven't blogged since Sunday.) But again and again, God is  faithful to encourage me and remind me that He is patient with me even when I don't follow Him closely and I stubbornly try to do things my own way. Here are some quotes and scripture that He has used to convict and encourage me. I need to meditate on these truths. 

To quote the lecture at Community Bible Study today... some heavenly math:
God's faithfulness > my failures  
"God's faithfulness is greater then all of my failures." Praise the Lord! 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:6-7

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

"We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, 
but because of your great mercy." Daniel 9:18b

"Remember to thank Him when you know everything is going to be all right. And remember to thank Him for His love and care when things aren't going as well as you'd hoped. Thank Him for His blessings, thank Him for His promises, and thank Him for His abundance. When we choose to focus on the Lord and His greatness, we draw closer to Him and are filled with His peace." CBS take home children's program paper.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Half Marathon

On Saturday I ran in my first half marathon. I'm so thankful for the support from my fan club! 
We had some intense sign making on Friday night with Poppy and the boys. 
Poppy came prepared with a role of Tyvex that he and Darin attached to pvc pipes with duct tape. 
The boys helped to color and decorate the sign. This was definitely not a whimpy sign! 
Of course, it was top secret from me until I saw it along the course. 
 Me and my training team running buddies spotting my family 
and the sign for the first time along the course. 
One member of my bundled up fan club. It was 33 degrees! Brrr...
Isn't that an awesome sign? LOVE IT!! 
After they saw me around mile 4.5, they quickly loaded up their stuff and walked 
to mile 9 to cheer me on there. I loved watching for them along the course. It made me so happy!
Mile 9 - I saw them again and ran over to give high fives. 
Darin jumped in the race and ran with me for a little while to see how I was feeling. 
I love that he did that. Although, Luke was worried that he wouldn't come back. :) Of course he did. 
This is about the time when my toes fell asleep! 

I ran the next 4 miles having a hard time keeping up my previous pace. Who would have known it would be so hard to run without the feeling in your toes? Thank you Jesus for giving me the strength to push through and even finish with a pretty good time. It may sound silly to some, but I know Jesus was with me and I think He cares even about a running race. To Him be the glory!
I have to admit that around mile 11 I was pretty sure I'd never run another half marathon. 
I was tired and sore, but then I crossed the finish line and was overcome with joyful emotion. 
So thankful for my fan club (the cutest boys on the sidelines!), my parents coming all the way from NJ to cheer me on, for my good friend coming out to cheer me on from the sidelines with her kids, and for my new training team friends! Can't wait to sign up for the half marathon again next year!

*Special thanks to Grammy & Poppy for taking the photos so I can remember this special occasion.*

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daddy can fix it.

In our house, Daddy can fix almost anything. It is a huge blessing to our family. The boys learned early on that if they accidentally broke a toy, "Daddy can fix it." And it is true. He is an expert at fixing toys with super glue, clamps or whatever needed for the job. He is patient and methodical. He's even been known to get out his soldering iron to reattach wires on remote control cars. The boys are always breaking little things and at their request, he is graciously following right behind fixing whatever is broken.

Here's where it gets tricky...
The boys have gotten so confident in their Daddy's fixing skills that it seems as though they are less careful with their toys and belongings. Now that they are bigger and stronger, they aren't just breaking little toys either.

Items broken recently: (and I will not mention names... but each boy did their fare share of breaking)
* lamp shade in family room
* lamp shade in guest bedroom
* lamp shade in master bedroom (are you sensing a trend?)
* hole in wall made by the thrusting of a vacuum attachment
* towel rod ripped from wall in half bathroom
* curtain rod ripped out of wall

Maybe we should have just thrown away the broken toys as a lesson when they were little?

Don't worry... the boys have been charged a $ fee in order to replace many of the above items. This seems to be painful because they are saving for some special lego sets. Now let's hope they'll remember that pain when they are tempted to give in to their acrobatic impulses.

One other note... it only takes seconds for one of these incidences to occur. oh my! And often I am standing right there in the room when it happens and I can't react fast enough. Does this happen to anyone else??

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Preschool - Plan C

I posted a while back about my elaborate plan for filling Aaron's workboxes for our school day. I was a slave to my schedule for 3-4 weeks before I realized it wasn't working. I was overwhelmed by the time I spent "planning" out his boxes and he wasn't necessarily interested in the things I was putting in them.

So, plan B was to be lazy. I let him wander around and play quietly or listen to a book on CD with headphones. This would work for an hour or so,  but then he would get antsy and disruptive. It finally occurred to me a couple weeks ago that I needed to refocus myself and come up with a plan C.

I'm back to being intentional about loading his workboxes without the elaborate schedule and planning time. It has worked well over the last several weeks to load the boxes at the start of the week with more creative items and only switch out the boxes that he had exhausted somewhere mid-week. I literally just grab whatever might interest him that he hasn't seen in a while and pop it into the box.

I thought I'd share a peek at what's in his boxes this week.
Rod and Staff 3 year old beginning workbook

Lacing upper and lower case U

putting wooden dowels into cheese container 
This is a favorite, but it's been in hiding for a while.

Umbrella shape matching

plastic shape sorter

sorting upper and lower case U's

moving feathers with the tongs into the ice cube tray compartments

stringing noodles onto lace

transferring dried navy beans from one container to another

wooden animal tiles for matching

I'm sure there will be a plan D, E, and F before the year is over. Can this rigid and uptight Momma be flexible and laid back? This is certainly the test! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So it's been brought to my attention that my blog persona is not my true identity. hmmm...

Perhaps that is partly true, but not entirely true. As I've been mulling that around in my head, here is what I think about that. In "real life" with a couple close friends and my spouse I tend to be more of a negative venter. In the heat of the moment, I get caught up in my emotions and spew and spew. ugh.

As I've been processing by writing on this blog, I've been more prayerful about what I've written. I've looked at scripture and through that lens I've been more hopeful. Kind of obvious now that I think about it, but when my response to challenges is centered on God's promises and truths I am less tempted to despair. When I complete a post,  I often feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. However, when I process verbally to a safe friend I can get spinning round and round and forget those promises (unless I am reminded of them by whoever is listening to my rant.)

It totally reminds me of our lecture last week on Abraham at Community Bible Study. We are studying the book of Genesis and in particular we studied chapter 17 last week. Abraham is now 99 years old and God has promised him a son within the next year. Abraham had faith that God was who He said He was -- God Almighty! He was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised, even though it seemed impossible. Could Sarah really have a baby at 90 years old?

Anyway, I'm barely scratching the surface of this chapter and of Abraham's story but I have two quotes written in my lecture notes that are jumping out at me.

"The blessings of God affected those who were associated with Abraham." 
"Are others happy to be in your presence? or glad when you leave?" 

So here is where I'm challenged... the words I've written in this blog are true to my heart. I mean them sincerely. I pray that the blessings I see from God are in turn blessing those who read. However, I also pray that in "real life," in my unedited state, that the light of Christ is also shining out. It's a lot easier to hit the delete button when blogging then it is in real life. When I spew negative things out loud I can't take them back and they most certainly affect the people around me.

So what have I learned? Blog more... talk less? ha! I think what I am learning is that I need to go to the Lord and His word first before I find myself in a position of negative venting with those around me. It frustrates me that the people I love the most are usually the ones subjected to my poisonous negativity, but I am prayerful and hopeful that God can change me and give me self control. Really, I am. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

5 Days Till Race Day

It is really hard to believe that the half marathon is almost here. Where did the past two months go? I'm super excited for race day and more then a little nervous. I have really enjoyed the training and have kept up with the training schedule. (I'm a little obsessive about that sort of thing.) I think I'm ready!

A week ago Saturday (10/29) felt like the ultimate test for race day. We met for our 12 mile training run in heavy rain, wind and 40 degree weather. I learned a lot that day.

First, do NOT wear cotton blend exercise pants in the rain. Duh! The pants absorbed all the wetness leaving me with at least an extra 3 pounds of water weight around EACH ankle. My legs were so sore from dragging around my heavy pants, but I keep telling myself it was all part of my training plan. :) Surely race day will be easier and I will be wearing dry fit pants!

Second, either I am majorly deficient in rinsing my clothes in the washer OR I use entirely too much detergent. About half way through the run I looked down and noticed soap bubbles coming from my knees. Apparently due to the rubbing of my knees on my pants, it created bubbles from my laundry detergent. By mile 12 the bubbles were sticking out about 2 inches. It was actually a great distraction to look down and laugh at my foaming knees. It's so good to laugh when you are running long distances in the wind, rain and cold.

Lastly, I couldn't have made it without my running buddies. I'm thankful for the new friendships I have made on the training team. Somehow I got grouped together with two really sweet, young women (8 years younger then me). I'm sort of the mother hen of our running trio and I love it. On this particular day it was clear that we have become a team. They stuck by me when I struggled to drag my soapy kneed, weighed down pants the last couple miles. I encouraged them to go on ahead, but they stuck by me encouraging me. I don't expect them to do this on race day, but I was so thankful for their kindness.

So... the countdown is on. My mom and dad are coming to cheer me on from the sidelines and I feel like I'm in high school all over again and they're coming to one of my field hockey games. It makes me happy! I am going to run this race to the best of my ability all for the glory of God! Yahoo!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sacrifice and Blessings

I am struck today by the sacrifice that is made by families who choose to adopt or participate in foster care. However, I am also really encouraged by the stories of the amazing blessings that come with that sacrifice. Today was our Orphan Sunday event at church and I'm so glad I participated in it!

I have no idea what God has in store for us, but I do know that there are many other ways I can also be involved. Here are some ways I'm challenged to be involved:
1) PRAY! Pray for orphans worldwide. Pray for children growing up in foster care. Pray for families who have adopted. Pray for the church to grasp God's heart for the orphan.
2) Give sacrificially to reputable orphanages. Sponsor a child in an orphanage.
3) Support those who have adopted or who are fostering by providing a meal, helping with housework, offering encouragement and prayers.
4) Go on a mission trip to an orphanage.

I am so thankful for all the hard work done by the folks in our Missional Community Group 
to make it happen and very honored to be a part of the event.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." Psalm 68:5-6

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

The boys were excited to represent WEPC Orphan Care Ministry with their shirts. 
It says "Love on a Mission" on the cross and on the back is the verse Psalm 82:3

Friday, November 4, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Until this summer, I paid very little attention to orphans. I knew in my head that there were orphans all over the world, but I saw no reason to concern myself with them. I knew of people who had adopted, but I sort of had the attitude, “That’s great for them. That’s not for me.”

Then this summer, I got to spend a little time with a former neighbor who had adopted two little boys from Taiwan. They had already adopted one of the boys and then later learned he had a sibling, which they welcomed into their home as well. As I listened to her talk about their journey and read her blog, I was struck by her love for these boys that were not biologically hers. God began pricking my heart.

And God continued to work in me. I “met” several women this summer who adopted children for various reasons and from various places.  (infertility, God’s calling, stateside, internationally) I stumbled upon a couple blogs from some women sharing their adoption journey and I couldn’t pull myself away. I found myself captivated and very emotional. Praying for these families with a new compassion I never had before. I don't think it was accidental that I was confronted with adoption so much this summer.

This fall my husband and I were invited to join a Missional Community Group at church.  This particular groups mission is Orphan Care. Isn’t it funny how God works? He was already preparing my heart and I think He knew just where he wanted us. 

This Sunday is Orphan Sunday. Did you know that there are more than 143 million orphans worldwide? Our church is hosting an “Orphan’s Table.”  We will share an "Orphan's Breakfast."  While we have porridge and water (modeling what 143 million orphans around the world will also be served), we will hear from a panel of men and women who are involved in various aspects of orphan care. There will be a large resource table with multiple ways to get involved with orphan care. We will also spend time in prayer for the cause of the orphan. If you are local, would you consider coming Sunday to West End Presbyterian Church at 9am? Either way will you join me in praying for the many orphans who are in need of love?

"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed." Psalm 82:3

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Laundry Piles and Dirty Toilets

Part of my "job" as mom is to deal with the never ending piles of dirty laundry, clean laundry, folded laundry, dirty dishes, clean dishes, dusting, vacuuming, meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparations, dirty sinks, dirty floors and dirty toilets. The list is endless and seemingly never-ending. Did I mention how dirty our toilets can get in just one day? Beware if you stop by unexpectedly. ack!

My house is perpetually dirty and messy. Really. Some of you may not believe me because I'm a fast "quicker picker upper" if I know you are coming over. (That was my nickname growing up.) But this past year especially, I've struggled to keep up with the housework on top of my other responsibilities as wife, parent (referee) and teacher. 

The thing is, I'm generally not lazy. The value of hard work was definitely modeled to me by my parents growing up. I like to work hard, but I keep running out of time. Lately it feels as though I've been getting swallowed by the mess and filth around me and it really bothers me. I spend so much time doing things that get undone in seconds and I wonder if it matters. Is it a waste of my time? Shouldn't I be spending my time doing things that are more important for eternity? What about all the ways I could serve at church? Or all the other mission opportunities, specifically orphan care which has been pricking my heart?

Here is what God is speaking to me in response to this. 

* I'm trying too hard to do everything in my own strength. I need to repent of that. I love a God who cares for me and cares about the details of my life. He cares about the things that feel hard for me. He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) He is fully capable of giving me a peace about the mess and giving me extra energy to accomplish what is truly important. He can encourage me. He can help me to see the big picture so that I don't become consumed with my self. He will lead and guide me if I listen to Him. 

* Even in the seemingly insignificant tasks of motherhood, God can help me to have a joyful and thankful heart which brings Him glory! "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17) 

God uses music quite often to speak to me. This song by Steven Curtis Chapman has been spinning through my head all day and has really encouraged me. Here are just a few of the lyrics.
Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman
You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you
Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do
Little stuff big stuff in between stuff
God sees it all the same
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you do
Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you
To do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace with every move that you make
And every little thing that you do

Now if I just spent less time updating my blog, maybe my house would be more clean! Ha!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful Tree

In the midst of the craziness of life, I have really enjoyed continuing to add to our thankful book with the boys at meal times. I'm realizing that in the past when we asked them what they were thankful for, they had some standard answers. (God, Jesus, brothers, house, etc.) All really good things, but mostly quick answers so they didn't have to really stop and think. As we've spent more time reflecting on our blessings, they are noticing more and more things for which to be thankful and going just a bit deeper. (Plus it helps a little to distract from the mealtime shenanigans.)

Last year, I read this blog post and just had to copy the idea. I know a good idea when I see it! (Thanks Ali!)  I drew a tree on a large piece of paper and let the boys paint it. Then I cut out simple leaves in five different colors (one for each of us). The leaves look a little bit like colorful footballs but you get the idea ;} Each night we shared 1 or 2 things we were thankful for and taped it to the tree. In the end we had a beautiful fall tree full of blessings from God.

This year, I decided to recycle our tree. Darin had carefully packed it away so it was able to be re-used. I wasn't sure how it would work since we were already filling in our thankful book, but decided that we could never be too thankful. So, last night was our first night and already I see a difference in their thoughts. I had to restrain Luke from not using up every red leaf all in one night. Although in hindsight, I shouldn't have squelched his desire to be thankful. I better cut out more leaves!
This will definitely be our November tradition. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Calling all observers??

A friend of mine who is considering home schooling asked if she could come observe some of our school day on Monday. I was a little nervous for a couple reasons:
1) It felt a little risky... would the boys behavior reflect poorly on me? (Obviously that is wrong thinking, but that is where my brain went.) We've had some rough days... would it be one of those days?
2) We still have so much to learn about schooling at home. I wouldn't want to present an inaccurate picture.  Every family does things differently. 
3) Would I try to "perform" in order to impress her? I'm such an approval addict -- YUCK! 

So God took care of #3 for me. This weekend seemed to fly by allowing little time for "over planning." I barely scraped together my plans for the week on Sunday evening, which is not the norm. I put a little extra care into some activities for Aaron, but went to bed without doing much on my "to do" list.  I intended to wake early and get a few more things done before school since I wasn't planning to exercise. (It was my "rest" day in my 1/2 marathon training program.) 

7:22am... that is the time on my clock when I awoke! If you know me, that is completely shocking. I'm usually up by 5:50am and if for some reason I'm still in bed after that time the boys surely wake me by 6:30. In hindsight, all of this was a blessing from God. No time to over plan. No time to try to impress. No time to bribe the boys to behave well so it reflected back on me. :) No time to be self-centered and I got good rest that my body needed. ahh...

By 9:00 we were off and running with school. 
Ethan is our Student of the Week. 
I couldn't resist taking this picture of him in his patriotic outfit holding the flag. 
Aaron stayed VERY busy this morning in a good and quiet way. 
He played with these beads for quite a while. 
My friend arrived around 9:45. Although, I'm not sure exactly of the time. 
I was so stunned by such a smooth Monday morning. The boys were
excited about our special visitor and more cooperative then usual. 

She sat in the hallway watching and listening while she did her own "homework." 
A few times she walked around to sneak a peek at what the boys were doing.  
Aaron asked me to take the picture above after he sorted his bears. 

I was so grateful for Aaron's focus because it helped me get so much more work done with his brothers. I love that he decided on his own to line up all the bears facing the same way by color. 
(Didn't get to take a photo but he continued with each color.)

She left a little after 11:00 with the bulk of our school work completed. 
What a delightful way to start the week!
(We've been studying George Washington and Luke enjoyed making this tricorn hat.)

After she left, we did a little science, music and then some letter T movement... touching our toes!
All glory be to God for this sweet blessing of a school morning. 

Anyone else want to come observe? (Just kidding!)
I think my friends quiet presence changed the tone of our school day. Thank you TP!!