Friday, July 25, 2008

It's blueberry season!

And we LOVE fresh blueberries! So much that we picked over 12 pounds this morning! We had such a great time . . . here, let me show you . . .

Now isn't that just DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Words that made me think . . .

I recently read these words on another homeschool mom's blog . . . they were yet another reminder for me to be PURPOSEFUL in everything I do with my children. They are mine but for a short time and I need to carefully steward every moment that I have with them.

Find Your Wings
by Mark Harris
It's only for a moment
You are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I want to know
You're walking in the truth
And if I never told you
I want you to know
That as I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep your strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh but more than memories

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

It's not living
If you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

Lord God, help me to see my children every moment of every day as the precious gifts from You that they are . . . help me to see my job as a mother to help them grow to be secure in Your love for them and confident to use the gifts and abilities that You have given them to serve those in the world around them. I don't want to waste even a moment of the time that You have entrusted to me in raising my children -- help me, Lord, I pray.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's been a while since my last post . . .

. . . because we've had a very busy week! Lael went to summer camp at Twin Pines ( for the first time last week -- she was there from Wednesday evening to Saturday morning! It was a big step for her (and for her mommy and daddy), but she had a wonderful time. Three other little girls from our church attended with her, which made it all the more fun for her. She loved swimming in the pool, riding the paddleboats, seeing the animals at the nature center and learning more about Jesus.

While she was gone, Jaden had special times with Mommy and Daddy, including a camp-out on the living room floor with Daddy, special art projects with Mommy and movie nights. In spite of all the fun, Jaden definitely missed his best friend and was VERY glad to have Lael home again!

Then on Saturday, Nana and Papa arrived from Massachusetts for a weekend visit! We were up to see them at Christmas time, but we haven't seen them since . . . and their last trip down here was last summer right after we moved. So, we packed our time full of shopping, reading stories, eating yummy food and making lots of memories! Sunday night we went to a special outdoor church service with a Christian ventriloquist -- his ministry is called Ryan and Friends ( )! He had us laughing alot, and he had our daddy up front helping to tell the story of David and Goliath! That was pretty cool (at least Lael and Jaden thought it was cool . . . I'm not sure that Daddy felt the same way)!

All in all, last week was great -- now this week I need to really get planning for our upcoming school year. Back-to-school time will be here before we know it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our wonderful anniversary get-away!

Last week, my wonderful husband took me to a beautiful bed and breakfast in Lancaster County to celebrate our ninth anniversary . . . we had such a great time!

Twin Pine Manor Bed and Breakfast

View of the front of the house taken from the gazebo

View of Lancaster County farms from the rooftop deck

The back of the bed and breakfast

Brent enjoying the beautiful piano

The rooms are all unique and utterly gorgeous . . . you can check them out at their website if you want. (We stayed in the Victorian room.) The grounds are spectacular . . . I was captivated by all the amazing flowers -- probably because I don't do so well at growing them myself! The food was just delicious -- both at Twin Pine Manor as well as the various restaurants we visited during our stay!

We listened to the tape of our wedding, looked at a scrapbook of our engagement, wedding day and honeymoon, and savored the memories. But the best part about our time away was the time we had to reflect on the past nine years of marriage and look forward with anticipation to what God has in store for us in the future.

I love you, Brent . . . thanks for a wonderful get-away! I look forward to next time!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I did it!

I'm a "published" homeschool unit author! I submitted two literature-based units to Homeschool Share for consideration . . . and both were published! I'm so excited (in case you couldn't tell) . . . you can check them out if you'd like! One of the units I did was for preschoolers and focuses on helping them to learn basic concepts like colors, numbers and shapes . . . all through play -- which is the best way to learn!
The other unit was based on one of our family favorites: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It has a lot of weather vocabulary, which made it a great springboard for a unit:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy 9th Anniversary!

Reflections on July 10, 1999

July 10, 1999 . . . a day that changed my life forever! It was the day I became Mrs. Brent Martin -- one of the happiest, most longed for and prayed for days in my life!

It's hard to believe that we are on the eve of our tenth year of marriage, yet it's even harder to remember what life was like when we were single. Being married to Brent is such a gift, and every day I'm more and more thankful that I am so privileged to walk through this life with him.

I remember sitting alone in my apartment on East New Street after our rehearsal dinner nine years ago, spending time with God and just thinking and praying, so excited for what the future was going to hold, so looking forward to not having to say "goodbye" any more, but just "good night". I was going to be a wife -- not that I had a clue what that would be like, but I was looking forward to the adventure!

Our wedding day was absolutely perfect -- a celebration of our God and His awesome work at bringing the two of us together. We led worship together at our wedding, received words of exhortation from our pastor as well as two of our mentors . . . I even surprised Brent by singing a song to him! It was an amazing day that so reflected us!

It's fun to reminisce . . . but I know that the best is yet to come! Thank you, God, for the precious gift of our marriage, and I pray that we will continue to walk together in love as we raise our children in You and seek to touch those around us with Your love!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Homeschooling Virtual Seminar

Here's a great opportunity to get ready for the upcoming homeschooling year with a mini-conference you can attend from the comfort of your home!

What is it? Let's Get Organized for the New School Year Virtual Seminar!
When is it? THIS WEEKEND--July 11-12
Who runs it? It is organized by Cindy Rushton ( . . . she has an incredible heart for homeschooling and a passion to pour into homeschooling families.

I "attended" an event that Cindy put together back in May. . . the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, and it was just AMAZING! I was so very blessed! I was encouraged in practical issues regarding home management, homeschooling, organization, parenting, and simply my own personal relationship with God and how that should permeate everything I do, especially homeschooling my precious gifts from God.

Another really cool thing about these virtual seminars is that you can attend "live" but your ticket also enables you to access the seminars afterwards and download them to your computer or iPod. That's what I have done with the Ultimate Homeschool Expo . . . I've been listening to different seminars on my iPod while I'm at the gym or running errands. (My husband has enjoyed them as well.) The cost is very reasonable, especially when you factor in gas prices and child care if you were to attend a traditional conference or seminar.

If you are interested in more information on Cindy's seminar this weekend, you can get it here: I know that she will have great things for all who participate (and some freebies and downloads as well)!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We had fun celebrating the 4th of July . . . and fun getting ready for it! We decided to make t-shirts in honor of our nation's birthday.

To begin, we used artist tape and star stickers to prepare the t-shirts for painting. Lael and Jaden each decided where they wanted their stars and stripes to be. Mommy helped with the stripes, and the kids placed their stars themselves.

Then it was time to paint . . . we used sponge brushes and fabric paint.

It took a while to cover all the desired areas with paint!

Then we had to WAIT . . . and WAIT . . . and WAIT . . . and WAIT SOME MORE . . . for 24 HOURS so that the paint could thoroughly dry before we could unveil the finished product.

However, in the end, the wait was worth it! What do you think?


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Keeping busy . . .

Yes, there's always something going on here . . .

From building forts and having adventures

to climbing trees (with Daddy's help)!

Life is good!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What a year this has been!

Here we are . . . Easter 2007, waiting for the adventure to begin!

One year ago today, Brent preached his first sermon as a senior pastor at our new church! Looking back, we had NO idea what we were doing . . . but we knew that God had called us and we were going to obey!

Today I had two thoughts simultaneously: "I can't believe it's already been a year" and "I can't believe it's only been a year". The time has flown by so quickly that it hardly seems possible that a whole year has passed. At the same time, we are so much at home here that it feels like we've been here a whole lot longer than a year!

To all who have prayed for us, encouraged us and cheered us on this past year, "thank you" does not begin to express our appreciation for your investment into our lives. Though the road is sometimes rough and our path at times rocky, we know that we are in the hands of our loving heavenly Father, and we'd never choose to be anywhere else! We are truly blessed and humbled that God is choosing to use us to make a difference for Him!
Easter 2008 . . . one year later! God is so good!

Our week at Vacation Bible School

We were invited to attend Vacation Bible School being held at another church in our denomination, and since our church doesn't have a VBS, we went. What a fun week! (Mommy even got to hang out and join in on the fun.)

The theme for the VBS was "Amazon Expedition" and we spent the week in the rainforest (one of our favorite places)! The Bible lessons took a look at the 7 C's of history -- using the Bible as our history book. What are the 7 C's? I'm so glad you asked! They are:

  • Creation
  • Corruption (the fall - Adam and Eve)
  • Catastrophe (the flood - Noah and the ark)
  • Confusion (the Tower of Babel)
  • Christ
  • Cross
  • Consummation (Christ's ultimate return)

Pretty impressive, right? Here's something more impressive - Lael and Jaden know all of these, they can SING about them, and they know what they mean! (yes, that's a mommy brag!)

The curriculum for this VBS was put out by Answers in Genesis ( and it was so well done! I believe it's so important to give our kids answers to the questions that our culture will ask them so they are better equipped to give a reason for the hope within them. I'm looking forward to checking out more of their resources to help me better teach my children.

We had so much fun at VBS - crafts, snacks, classroom time, skits and contests! Each night they also had a Creature Feature, with some live creatures visiting VBS (a thrill for my animal-loving daughter). We saw a ball python, bearded dragon lizards, a cockatiel, geckos and parakeets. Lael and Jaden both held the bearded dragon, although Jaden quickly returned the lizard when it scratched his neck! All in all, it was a great week . . . check it out yourself!