I went  to Johnson City today to spend the day with my two oldest joys on Friday.  Taylor had a medical school tour at my very own alma mater and then a spring concert (he’s in choir at ETSU.)  It doesn’t hardly seem right that he could be old enough to be applying to med school.  It only seems like yesterday that I was starting myself but I guess time only flies.  His journey down this path has always seemed inevitable to me.  He looked perfect in that seat when he was four years old, tagging along with momma.  Caiti’s been studying so hard and often brings her books home to study anatomy and physiology in the workroom.  She thinks that room has magical powers but I think the 106 she made on her last test was a lot of hard work and study time.  I’m so proud of them both and it was beautiful having them home for Easter and spending the day with them yesterday.

Spring has been glorious in these parts.  There’s been lots of sunshine and plenty of cool-ish nights which make for perfect lazy evenings by the fire reading and talking and watching the sunset.  We are still putting the finishing touches on our landscaping but I’m so happy with it.  I’m planning a post, once we’re done, to tell you all about it.   Right now, I’m preparing to plant a ‘kitchen’ garden of herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. in an otherwise wasted spot by our garage.  I can’t wait to show you—it’s almost ready to plant!

In other news,  the chickens and ducks are HUGE and eating me out of house and home.  We are still trying to decide exactly what to do but I think we’ve got a plan.  We’re going with a smaller, less expensive coop for now, until we see how it goes.  They’ve been so much fun and I can’t wait until we start collecting eggs!  We take the ducks down the lake everyday to swim and they are hilarious, diving under the water and playing!

I’ve been in a homeschooling slump of epic proportions.  Too much distraction, too little patience,  a bad case of spring fever, full plate,  no passion.  Oh, it’s been bad.  So, my first little sign that we could possibly be moving through the pain was this.  Ummmm, why is there  whipped cream randomly sitting on the table in the middle of Monday for no justifiable reason?  No one confessed but I’m pretty sure they were just squirting it right into their mouths.  Whatever it takes to get through Monday, I suppose.  And that’s about the time I found Andrew Kern’s website CIRCE and proceeded to listen to some wonderful podcasts  and this wonderful interview with him on classical education that were just the shot of whipped cream inspiration I needed to keep on trucking.  I’d love to go their annual meeting this summer if I can work it out.   Homeschooling is not easy and I’ve been working from a place of stress and compulsion rather than from  a place of rest and compassion.   He made a statement in one of his talks saying that,  “The goal of education is virtue and repentance.”  Wow.  My kids needed me to hear that.

After reading, listening to, rereading, and seeing Hunger Games, we’re committed fans.  My girls have made bows and arrows out of sticks and string and finally made the smart move to ask their dad to get them  a real bow.  He had that thing ordered before you could say deer jerky.  So we headed to Sneedville to our farm to pick up the girls from Grannies’ today and Stevie taught the girls (and I) how to shoot.

I think I  could totally embrace a  ‘live off the land’ lifestyle.  I’ve always had a secret fantasy of being Ma Ingalls.  I could raise my own chickens and goats, churn my own butter,  bow hunt and make homemade wine.  Except for the part about no internet and no artificial hair color and no indoor plumbing.  Otherwise, I think I’d be just fine:) What about you?  Aren’t you smitten with country life?

My girls did NOT want to leave the farm.   They had a ball and made their daddy tell them the entire story on the way home of how he bought the farm 10 years ago and spent countless hours of planning and labor to design the pond and house.   It was a wonderful day, unplugged.  I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have phone or internet for nearly an entire day.

And those are my random thoughts for the weekend. Hope yours is turning out to be perfect, full of the things and people you love with lots of whipped cream on top!

p.s  There are two new posts up at lifeingrace girls;  a movie review of ‘Beware of Christians’ (and Lelia is giving away a copy of the movie!) and a post about turning your ‘can’ts’ into ‘cans’!  Go check them out 🙂

33 comments on “Life, lately”

  1. 1. i had no idea both your bigs were heading to med school. that’s awesome!
    2. i’m on book 2. my older girls are commited fans
    3. we’ve not had target practice yet
    4. i feel sorta fancy knowing the last “thing” of whipped cream in my kitchen, i actually whipped. edie, you bought canned? gasp
    5. your calves are smoking
    6. love you

    • well, it still surprises me that they both are interested in medicine (taylor in med school and caiti in nursing) but it’s also kinda neat! forgive the ready whip but there’s just nothing better than squirtable whipped cream. it just makes life better. all drinks should have it, no?
      and the calves are vestiges of too many years of gymnastics. i wish i could say it was the running but they’ve looked like that since i was 12. really, i should just say thank you 🙂 and love you too.

  2. Edie-your landscaping looks gorgeous!!
    I love the idea of raising goats, chickens, sheep, etc. Living off the land has always been something I would love to do. But of course, I would want Internet and indoor plumbing.
    Your two oldest seem like wonderful young adults.
    I still want to read Hunger Games but haven’t had time.
    Thanks for the homeschooling links. I need them, too. It’s been a bit of a dry spell here. I’m schooling my youngest through high school. His focus is art. It can be tough to get through the everyday stuff.

    • hunger games is worth a read, miss ruth. and so quick to get through. treat yourself!
      i bet you’re doing great stuff with your son. i’d be so lost trying to teach/inspire an artist 🙂

      • thank you! Definitely a little nervous about this idea, but my husband grew up on a farm and was both a bow and rifle hunter in his “younger” days, and he loves that our son wants to learn to use bow. The kids are used to his work firearm and have a strong understanding of weapons vs toys. Definitely this would be a with-supervision thing.

  3. It’s so funny, how small our world is. I happened upon your blog through Nester, and I’ve been lurking for a while. I am an interior design student who lives in Knoxville, but I’m getting my degree through ETSU. My husband’s best friend teaches voice at ETSU and very likely knows Taylor. Small, small world.

  4. whoa girlfriend ~ your legs are beast!! soooo jealous . . . but that really wasn’t the point of your blog 😉

    my oldest is longing for a bow & arrow not for love of hunger games or hunting. i’m thinking we should wait until he has a little better appreciation & respect for it!

  5. Your kids are smart cookies. I needed to read what you wrote about homeschooling today. And I will definitely be taking a tour of the links you have here. Inspiration, dedication, i need a shot of revival in my school! Thanks. The redi whip on the table is a hoot!

    I have the country girl dream, too. My daughter and her husband aspire to buy a farm and have us all move in with them a la The Waltons. 😉

    Loved the Hunger Games books. I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’m usually disappointed when I see a movie after reading the book. And we have bows and arrows around here, too. I have to make sure I wear the guard or else I bruise my arm every.single.time.

    Maybe I’ll see you at a homeschooling convention this summer!

    • i think you’d like the movie renee, it’s pretty true to the book.
      and yes, we have most of the old seasons of the waltons on dvd!
      and double YES! we must meet someday and hug and squeal 🙂

  6. I totally understand the homeschooling slump. This year I feel like I’ve avoided it a little bit because I’ve had no choice but to begin thinking about next year already. The evaluation reminds me of the “whys” and helps to spur me on.

    Also, Andrew Kern inspires me! I would love to be able to go to one of the CIRCE institute meetings. I was excited to see he’s speaking at our state homeschool conference this year, so I do hope I can work that into my schedule.

    • I don’t know why I haven’t discovered him before, he’s so inspiring! I hope to go to their conference in Louisville this summer. And yes, thinking and planning about next year motivates me and keeps me up at night; finishing this year, that’s a little tougher!

  7. Wow! Med school………. that’s awesome. I’m proud for you. And yes, homeschooling is hard but wonderful. Every year for the past almost 14 years, I have gotten the same “spring fever, duldrums, or whatever-you-call-it” and eventually I get over it. We’ve been trying to follow a classical form also. It’s amazing how much learning I missed when I was in school. So this is as much my education and theirs.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  8. Ohthankheavens. You’re normal. 🙂 I’m so relieved to hear I’m not the only one in a homeschooling slump. “Classical” education around here has been reduced to “classic” excuses to do anything but school! And I’m talking about me….not the kids. (squirm)

    I want to speak beauty and affirmation and encouragement into their home environment. Fall seems like the best time to do that. 🙂 By spring, I’m on an efficiency trail that involves barking orders for cleaning, organizing, and whatever else MY agenda seems to hold. I miss the boat, and need those gentle reminders. It’s not that I don’t want to homeschool…..it’s just that I don’t want to self sacrifice to do it right. Ick. I said it.

    My oldest is living in JOHNSON CITY! She’s attending a tiny liberal arts college there and LOVING IT!!!

    I too have an age range in my family, and the best part of having my oldest home for a visit is the perspective that it brings. I had spring fever when she was little too…and she survived, and is a beautiful, thriving person. I didn’t ruin her forever!

    At least it doesn’t look that way so far. 🙂

    The yard is looking fantastic. Anxious to hear about your landscaping scoop.

    I ordered the Lutheran Prayer Book and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. Thanks for the nudge!

    Brooke in Texas

  9. Lovely update…sending you lots of wishes and prayers for exactly the rejuvenation you need. Getting back to the land is something we’ve sorta been working on for a few years now, keeping hair color, plumbing, coffee, AND diet coke of course… and 2012 holds lots of promise of big steps! Our biggest change here is raising our own honey and a more extensive herb garden and eating local chicken only. Very excited, so I will be watching your progress too. Enjoy that kitchen garden and egg collecting! It’s all so wonderful. xoxo

  10. dear ma,

    1. watch it-those flowers in the front yard are the stuff they’ll put you in the magazines for.
    2. so if brother boy is in for medicine, what’s sister friend ala smarts in the books for?
    2. your calves look dynamite in the bow shot-your welcome
    3. you are so ma wilder and a little paula dean, *it’s the butt-ah, meets dr. quinn with a splash of jackie o no one makes country look as classy as you
    4. so is it the angle or do we need to talk about the fact you might just have the world’s largest mailbox?

    hugs and love

    • okay darlin’ you still crack me up 🙂 i’d love to have the world’s largest mailbox, but alas, it’s just the angle. sister is studying nursing and (thankfully) at the same school taylor is doing pre-med. i’m so proud of them both and can’t wait to see how they use their gifts.
      hope you are well dearie!
      much love

  11. What a KILLER pic of you holding the bow & arrow!! I think you should frame it & put it on your property with a “Visitors WILL Be Shot” caption underneath! Ha! Soo impressed that BOTH your older children (& I must say your daughter is the SPITTIN image of you!!) are in med school?! Wow!! Says A LOT about you 🙂

  12. So glad to hear I’m not the only one in a slump. This early spring weather we’ve had in Tennessee makes me think we’re about a month ahead of where we really are. Add that to the standardized testing we had to get ready for this year, and I am DONE!

    And I SO want to go to the Circe Conference. I’ve been thinking about it for months, but I can’t talk anybody into going with me. This Nashville girl needs a roommate if you need one, and I mean that in a totally normal, non-stalkerish way 😉 I love to hear Andrew Kern speak on classical education. I saw him at the IEW Symposium at Wake Forest two summers ago and would love to hear him again. He told about writing the book on classical education with Dr. Veith, which was pretty interesting.

    Speaking of Dr. Veith, if you want to really splurge we could go to the Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education in Houston and hear him and Todd Wilken speak. It’s at the same time as the Circe conference, so I’ve been debating over both of those for months. I would LOVE to go hear two of my favorite Lutherans speak, but I certainly can’t find a roommate for that in my non-Lutheran homeschool circle. I’ll go if you go 😉

    • i am seriously thinking of going but i think stevie may go with me. through andrew kern, we found wendell berry and are now completely enthralled with his writing and ideas and he’s gonna be there too! i just got the veith/kern book but haven’t read it yet. and i DID NOT know that wilken was gonna be in texas speaking at the conference. i’d love to hear him too. oh, the decisions!
      keep in touch and let me know if you decide for sure. i’m leaning heavily toward louisville b/c it’s close enough to drive and i’m smitten with wendell berry 🙂

  13. I don’t homeschool, but I have been learning so much from your posts. I just got Bauer’s The Well-Educated Mind, and started Don Quixote yesterday!
    Your landscaping is lovely, BTW.

    Where did you get the set of books pictured in your header?? I adore them!

  14. I know what you mean. I am a city girl, but there is something about country, simple living that intrigues me. I read a book you might like. It’s about a couple who lived the fast life in Manhattan. He was a magazine editor and she….well, I don’t remember. BUT, they sold everything and moved to VA for a year. No internet, cell phone or ANY modern conveniences. NONE. FABULOUS book. I had to order it…It’s called *See You In A Hundred Years* by: Logan Ward. Except for an occasional swear word, I think your girls would like it too. So, so eye opening as to how spoiled we are and how they made it work…for a whole year. It’s amazing. I would mail you my copy but I loaned it out and can’t seem to track it down. Let me know if you read it!

  15. Wow! The goal of education is virtue and repentance. I needed that too. I have been homeschooling by going through the motions and by duty. My grouchiness will ot bring about virtue and repentance. Thank you for for being real and encouraging.

  16. i couldn’t really tell from your photo, but are you wearing your MAC eyeshadow and lipstick??? just wondering. ’cause you know, it’s sneedville. never know who you’ll run into there. 😉 looks like an awesome day…

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