Wednesday, December 31, 2008

At Home with Grace

Today is New Year's Eve, the day I have traditionally shared my theme for the coming year. God revealed it me a while back and I’m just very happy with it. My theme is At Home with Grace. Sound familiar? Ten years ago when I was trying to think of a name for our homeschool, I saw one of my books titled Mothers & Daughters at Home. I loved the thought of staying at home with my beautiful daughter, spending time together making memories. We did pretty well those first five years. Then, along came Dulcie. I didn't do nearly as many special things with her. Does any mother with her second and subsequent children? Holland and Dulcie share the middle name Grace so it just seemed perfect to name our school Grace at Home, reminiscent of that book on my shelf.

This past year or two, things have just gotten away from me, life is passing us. Our time spent away from home is far too great but I don't see that changing much. However, the time we do spend at home has increasingly become more stressful. Even our time in the car isn't as special as it could be for us. Scripture tells us that children are a gift of the Lord. I believe this and yet, I often live to the contrary. This year, I am seeking to change the nature of our time together. I decluttered many things from my life in 2008 but I want to do more. For example, my time chatting with friends on the computer will be limited so that I can focus on my gift of Holland and Dulcie. My time devoted to my little women will be more intentional. There is so much I want to accomplish with my girls before they marry and move away from home. The window I have to do so is becoming shorter and shorter. Our days are not a dress rehearsal. I do not want them to be a day to get past just to reach another, a more special day. I want each day to be special, memorable, time well spent. Not that every day has to be a tea party day but I do so want to find joy in the small things and to create lovely moments everyday with my girls. I see how quickly time has flown by for my sister and her three daughters. But I also see how close their family is and how my nieces are devoted to their family, much the same way I am to my parents. I want this for myself and my daughters. So much time has already passed and well, I would do it different if I were given the opportunity. I don't want to have that same thought ten years from now though. I want to look back and be able to say that I am pleased, to know that God is pleased with me as a mother. I want this year to be a Creative Memories year so to speak, full of shared moments preserved in our hearts, quality time, quantity. I want to make the most of each moment I have with my beautiful girls. It is my prayer that I can keep first things first. My first love will always be God. I want to obey him as he spoke to me to keep Holland Grace and Dulcie Grace, my gift of daughters, a priority each day. I want to honor him as I focus on my daughters at home. At Home with Grace.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to my lovely and cherished friends! I wish you all a beautiful day with your loved ones, celebrating Jesus' birthday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary! It's been a hard past few years for my mother but God is faithful and she is doing better. My daddy has been by her side through it all. They are a beautiful example of the sanctity of marriage. I am so thankful to them for all they have done for my sisters and me and the love they have shown to their granddaughters. I wish I could have been there with them today but my sisters and I are planning a belated celebration. I sent them a large, beautiful Christmas poinsettia from Calyx Flowers to show them that I am with them in thought today, if not in person. God bless you Momma and Daddy. I love you dearly!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saint Nicholas Day

The girls awoke this morning to find clementines, natural candy canes, and chocolate coins in their shoes they left on the marble hearth last night. There was also a ring of tiny ornamental balls which jingle! Now, with their every gesture, I hear the faint sound of jingle bells heralding in the Christmas season.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Red Shoes

Have you read the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson? It centers around a peasant girl who is adopted by a rich elderly lady. The girl tricks her mother to buy her a pair of red shoes, which she wears to church every Sunday and doesn't listen to the priest. When her adoptive mother dies, the girl attends a ball instead of the funeral and there begins to dance. Once she begins, she never ever can stop. Then there is a dark part to the tale but in the end, the little girl confesses her sins of vainness and well, I don't want to spoil the story for you so I'll permit you to read it for yourself while I go to warn Dulcie to listen in church tomorrow while wearing her new red shoes...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tea for Two?

I saw on my friend Jill's blog, Praiseworthy Things, that Teasta is offering two complementary samples of tea. The girls and I drink tea almost everyday and are always wanting to try new flavors. I ordered an Earl Grey Cream, because I love Earl Grey but have never tried the creamier version. It has oil of Bergamot in it. Also, I ordered a wild blueberry green tea. You may want to visit Teasta while the offer is good. Also, The Republic of Tea always sends me a sample along with their newest catalog. If you want to try different flavors of premium teas, ask for them to add you to their mailing list. Jill, thank you for allowing me to piggyback your past two blog posts. :)
The Grinch

Charleston Ballet Theatre is presenting The Grinch this season as part of their Children's Series. It was held at their small downtown studio instead of one of the performing arts auditorium which made it seem more cozy. The scenery was simple but the dancing as always, was superb. Holland is performing in the shows this weekend but she wanted to see one too, so I took her and Dulcie to one of the shows this past Saturday. It was wonderful! This particular performance was just for the families of the Charleston Ballet School and we had front row seats. Perfect seats! I think Holland enjoyed watching her friends dance and I know she liked being a spectator for once instead of always being on the stage. After the show, there was a Who-Pie party where naturally, pies were served. I caught Holland sneaking a second slice, by the way. ;) The professional dancers were there to greet the audience which is always fun. We took pictures of some of our favorite dancers. Below is one with the Grinch and his faithful dog, Max. I'm hoping to get a good picture of Holland this weekend in her Who-Girl costume. If I do, I'll be certain to post it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Autumn Swap

Holland, Dulcie and I recently participated in an Autumn Swap within a group of other mothers with daughters. My friend Kim from Graceful Girlhood, and her sweet daughters, drew our name. We were so blessed by their gifts.
After receiving our parcel, we didn't open it right away. I wanted to wait until we were able to truly enjoy the time together opening it and not be rushed because of ballet or school or this or that. Finally, we opened it Thursday. My girls were beside themselves with anticipation! The box was over the top with lovely and creative things. Kim had crocheted each of us the most charming teacup and saucer and the girls have been having tea parties with them ever since we opened the box, along with the faux pumpkins and gourds that we will use on our nature table. The teacups were beyond adorable. Holland & Dulcie have been enjoying them with their dolls and we may hang them on a tiny Christmas tree in our homeschool room. Kim made a commonplace book for each of us, just like the ones Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson kept, to preserve things such as special recipes, lovely poetry, proverbs and prayers, thoughts we want to remember, etc. Sometimes I see a new word that I want to tuck into my memory but often forget it. This will be the perfect place to write down those words! Dulcie's book is almost filled already (giggle) but Holland and I are being more discriminatory with ours. We each received a personalized bookmark (something we will certainly use as we all love books). We also received a pretty recipe card of our own. Holland will soon start her own recipe collection and this will serve as her first one. I told Kim I was saving Dulcie's for another year until her penmanship improved a bit. :) Kim also made me a CD with other recipe cards and stationary, etc. on it. I told her that I felt like I had been given a treasure box! Oh and she made each of us the sweetest tiny gift enclosures. As we first saw them, we knew which one was for each of us, almost as if Kim and her girls knew us as well as we know ourselves.
We will treasure these gifts for a very long time and will always remember your kindness. Kim, Boogie, and Boot Scoot, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your sweet gifts. You have given us a very special memory for this favorite of seasons. We will always remember your thoughtfulness.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The 12 Days of Holiday Homemaking!

What a fun way to welcome the holiday season! My friend Jill told me about this. Would you like to join us in these free downloads from Seasons at Home? Visit Joyous Home for the 12 Days of Holiday Homemaking!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today, our tiny family of believers began the process of becoming a formal church by signing a petition to give to our presbytery. Each founding family member was asked to write their signature on this paper which will one day be a historical document for our church. Mark and I looked on as each of our daughters penned their name, first Holland and then, Dulcie. We watched with pride as Dulcie carefully wrote her first name. Then, we watched as she began to write what we thought was an F for her last name. Dulcie had another thought though. To our chagrin, she drew a heart! Oh dear! Perhaps one day, her great grandchildren will find it endearing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Raising Maidens of Virtue

Holland and I began reading Raising Maidens of Virtue penned by Stacy McDonald this week. It is a beautifully written and charmingly illustrated book that has opened the door for discussion between mother and daughter in our home. The first chapter presents an allegory between beautiful flowers in a garden and how we are often faced with the temptation to not be content with the roles God has given to us but instead look to the ways of others with jealousy and seek to leave behind the perfect will of God for something far less. I was surprised to hear Holland answering the questions at the end of the chapter and putting the written words of Mrs. McDonald into her own sweet ones. She understood how the discontentment of the fence dwellers was a metaphor for what many young girls in our world face as they set aside the joy our ‘Gardener’ planned for them to pursue worldly desires. It is my wish that Holland will continue to blossom in her biblical beauty and femininity and I pray that my young maiden will be blessed by this book as we begin reading the next chapter.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Greetings to Autumn!

I saw this website at Kim's blog, Graceful Girlhood. How fun! Why don't you go and create your own magazine cover?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hospitality & Plagues

Today the girls and I are helping to prepare a dinner for our dear friends who just arrived home after adopting their second daughter from China. We left early this morning to pick up a cookie bouquet which I thought would be festive and I also needed some gruyere cheese from Whole Foods. That is Holland's favorite cheese and we are going to add it to some creamed potatoes. After putting some fresh baked bread into a basket and whipping up some orange blossom butter to go along with it, we should be ready to meet the newest member of our friends' family.

We did have our Bible lesson this morning. We read about the ten plagues God sent upon Egypt and to help Dulcie remember, we made origami frogs that actually jump!

Monday, September 29, 2008

God's Princess

A beautiful thing happened in our home Saturday. My first born accepted Christ as her savior. Holland has always loved hearing stories from the Bible and reading God's word to herself. She's always been faithful to pray. The past few months though, she has been asking serious questions and truly drinking in the answers. I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to her. On a recent Autumn evening, mother and daughter snuggled under Grandmother's worn quilt and just talked and read scripture together. Holland told me she knew she was a sinner and thus, was separated from God. She expressed her desire for forgiveness. She knew that Jesus, God's son, died on the cross for her and rose again to give eternal life. She told me that she trusts Him. I held her while she prayed a sinner's prayer, inviting Jesus to dwell in her heart and I was there when God forgave her and welcomed her to his family. How can one put into words the joy of knowing your child is promised a place in heaven for eternity?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Autumn Meme

An Autumn Meme I found at School for Us, originally written by By Sun and Candlelight. I love answering questions about myself!

When does fall begin for you? In my heart, it begins during summer as I dream of the arrival of my favorite season.

What is your favorite aspect of fall? Everything! I love watching the leaves turn to Autumn colors and fall to the ground, the precious little squirrels scurrying about their tasks. I love back to school. I love the fragrances of Autumn, the crispness in the air, wearing sweaters. I love the memory of being outside as a little girl and hearing my daddy cutting wood for the winter fireplace. To this day, I love the sound of a distant saw.

What is your favorite fall memory? Playing Little House on the Prairie outside with my friends, my daddy near and knowing my dear mother was inside baking wonderful things. I'm not sure why this is an Autumn memory but it is and I love it! The anticipation of the holiday season with my family.

What do you like to drink in the fall? Hot chocolate. Always hot tea.

What's your favorite fall food? Homemade soups and freshly baked bread with butter.

What is fall weather like where you live? I'm sad to say it's still warm with an occasional whisper of Autumn.

What color is fall? Shades of scarlet, rich browns, gold, and of course, pumpkin orange!

What does fall smell like? Apples, Cinnamon, Cider simmering on the stove.

Holiday shopping in fall: Yes or No? Yes. I love shopping for loved ones. I must also confess that I do begin my Christmas decorating in October. But only the interior...I wouldn't want my neighbors to think I'm odd. ;)

If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go? Home

What is your favorite fall sport? Do Nutcracker Ballet rehearsals count as a sport?

Do you have a favorite fall chore? Watching my daughters rake leaves and if it's a windy day, wearing scarves around their heads to keep Mr. Wind out of their sweet little ears.

What is your least favorite thing about fall? That it doesn’t start here when the calendar tells it to start. I can't stand tardiness.

What is your favorite fall holiday? Thanksgiving Day.

What's your favorite kind of pie? Pecan. It's an ugly little pie but delicious, especially warm with homemade whipped cream!

What was your favorite Halloween costume? My Laura Ingalls costume from third grade. My mother sewed it for me and it's such a treasure to me, as is she.

What was your favorite Halloween candy? I love anything sweet!

What was your least favorite Halloween candy? See previous question.

Which do you prefer, the Farm or the Fair? I wish I could find a farm to visit. It would be such fun. We do always go to the fair though. We don’t ride much but we love to eat there and see the sights.

Do you have a favorite fall book? Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott, Flower Fairies of the Autumn.

How about a favorite fall poem?At this moment it is Nature XXVIII, by Emily Dickinson. This is Holland’s October poem for memorization. It's such a sweet poem.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Kim, of Graceful Girlhood, one of my most favorite blogs, has created a lovely award to share with friends with whom you feel a special bond. It is the Kindred Spirit Award. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Kim's blog I invite you to hop over there. She has the most beautiful thoughts on mothering and just has bunches of ideas for celebrating the most special of relationships, that between mothers and daughters.

My sweet, English friend Rachel, has awarded me this Kindred Spirit Award! I've never received an award online before and am honored for this to be my first. What a special award it is to be held in such company as The Jacobite Rose. Thank you my dear friend! You have blessed me with your friendship over the years and I'm so thankful for you. Now, I would like to present this to another friend of mine...

Donna lives in Charleston as do I but we first met online almost two years ago through our blogs even though we have been in the same homeschool group for quite a few years. I love her dearly. She is just a lovely person whom I admire so much. She has a sweet heart and is just the most precious southern belle ever. She is a wonderful mother of 8 and the wife of our pastor. Mark and I are very grateful God led us to their church and for their presence in our lives. Donna, I give you the Kindred Spirit Award because you are one of my best friends and we share so much in common. I love you and can't imagine not having you in my life.

If you would like to bless someone with this award, please follow the guidelines below. The circle of friendships I have made on the internet is very special to me and I'm certain you each have befriended someone equally special to you.

1. Copy and save the graphic above, and then share it with a friend or friends.
2. Write a blog post about the award and who you awarded it too.
3. Link back to the original post.
4. Leave a comment on the original post, and let Kim know who you awarded, and don't forget to tell your recipient(s).
5. Check back to see the circle of kindred spirits.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Time Well Spent
The first post of a new blog is always daunting. I think I'll begin by sharing about our tea party. It was a belated birthday present for our beautiful Holland who has shown much patience with Mommy and Daddy while awaiting it for five months. We went to Time Well Spent Tearoom and had a lovely time together as a family. Holland and Dulcie selected Ginger Peach while I had Coconut something. We all sampled peach scones, tiny cream puffs, finger sandwiches and fresh fruit. The proprieter of the tearoom brought out a cupcake with a china teapot ornament on it for Holland. She also presented an ornament to Dulcie, because "everyone should receive a favor at a birthday party." Afterwards, we looked around a bit in their gift shop. I warned my little one to hold tightly to her ornament or better yet, to let me hold it... but no, Dulcie just couldn't let go of it. A few minutes passed before Dulcie learned that mommies do know best. She came to me with the pot in one hand, the handle in the other, and tears in her eyes. Mark paid for a new one but this time, Dulcie agreed for me to hold it until we arrived home. Holland was very happy and grateful for her birthday (and a half) party.

making a wish and blowing a candle

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome to my new blog! I have created this new blog to share about our days here at Grace at Home, our homeschool. My old blog is You may still visit it but I won't be posting there any longer. I hope you come again to Grace ala Maison!