Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Nineteen..

At Home

Last week's reflection post is late because I found my tribe, as they say. I had the absolutely remarkable pleasure of attending CiRCE's Winter Regional Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Ruben and I rode with another homeschooling mom and her son. We drove nine hours Thursday, arriving in time for the evening reception at Highlands Latin School at their Spring Meadows campus in Kentucky. It was a lovely evening, featuring hors d'oeuvres, bourbon tasting, piano music by Dr. Carol Reynolds, a school tour, and a full curricula display by Memoria Press. Participants were gifted a copy of Cheryl Swope's book, Simply Classical, A Beautiful Education for Any Child, which highly excited me since it has been on my list to read.


Friday and Saturday, the conference held an engaging array of speakers including Andrew Kern, Martin Cothran, Christopher Perrin, Carol Reynolds, and Andrew Pudewa.  On Friday, there was also an afternoon breakout session with talks from Matt Bianco, Hank Reynolds, and Brian Phillips.  Friday's festivities closed with an evening of Wendell Berry, novelist, poet, essayist, and farmer, reading an original story. Being a third generation farmer myself, this was a highlight for me. I'm currently working my way through one of Berry's novels, Jayber Crow.

While in Kentucky, we stayed at the historic Seelbach Hotel. The weather was fabulous with temperatures in the mid to upper 60's, which is a real treat for Wisconsinites in January.


At the conference, Ruben was fortunate enough to win the complete audio collection of the 2015 National CiRCE Conference in South Carolina so we can continue to glean knowledge of truth, beauty and goodness from CiRCE presenters for some time to come.


Overall, the CiRCE conference afforded a wealth of information and wisdom to contemplate. Many of the talks affirmed my thoughts. It felt like I found my people. I'm still processing and look forward to a chance to discuss what I learned with The Farmer while reviewing my notes.  I will most likely be posting a follow-up or reflective articles in the future.

Around the Web

I didn't spend much time on the web last week given our trip to Kentucky, but a fellow homeschooling mom sent me a link to an article that I did read titled Homeschool Graduates in College ~ From the Professors’ Perspective. I love hearing success stories of homeschool graduates and beyond.

We also listened to The Classical Homeschool Podcast #4, The Homeschool as Monastery, while enroute to the conference as the subject matter was linked to Dr. Christopher Perrin's CiRCE Conference talk, The Monastery School: How Classical Education was Preserved and Extended for Almost 1,000 Years (And What We Can Learn from It).  Dr. Perrin's talk was fascinating and gave me much to ponder.

Added to My Reading List

While at the CiRCE Winter Regional Conference, I purchased the books pictured below and can't wait to dive in...


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2016-2017 Mid-Year Reflections - Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ...


We are half way through our 2016-2017 academic year so I thought I'd give an update on Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ, which I am using with Ruben.  I really liked the way the year started out.  However, after eighteen weeks, we are getting bogged down.  So far for history, geography, and bible, we've read...

The Story of the Ancient World - I read aloud (finished)
The DK Illustrated Family Bible - Ruben is reading this independently
Genesis - Finding Our Roots - I am reading aloud, but we are starting to skip sections as spending a whole year on this book is way too long
A Child's Geography Vol II.  - I read aloud and was really enjoying, but Ruben was getting very overwhelmed so I decided to set this book aside after finishing the first country. We may return to it down the road.
What in the World? Vol. 1 Ancient Civilizations and the Bible - Ruben is listening to this independently and narrating upon completion after each lesson.
Dinosaurs by Design - I read aloud (finished)
The Golden Bull  - I read aloud (finished)
Boy of the Pyramids - I read aloud (finished)
Hittite Warrior - I read aloud (finished)
Jashub's Journal - I read aloud (finished)
God King - I read aloud (we read half so sporadically that we lost track of what was happening and decided to quit)
Within the Palace Gates - Ruben started, but didn't finish at my approval

Last week, we starting moving on to studying Greece.  However, after looking at the HOD book list, I decided to make some changes. Rather than buy more books, I opted to use books we already own. Also, we have previously read a couple of the books used in the HOD study so we will not be re-reading them.  Over the next six weeks, I will read aloud...

D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths - Sonlight and Beautiful Feet recommendation
The Golden Days of Greece by Olivia Coolidge - Truthquest History recommendation
The Trojan War by Olivia Coolidge - Sonlight Recommendation
Alexander the Great - Landmark by John Gunther - HOD Extension Package
Cleopatra by Diane Stanley - HOD History Interest Package

We are almost two weeks in to the first three books and it's going well.  In addition, Ruben is coloring Life in Ancient Greece by John Green while I read. He narrates orally after each reading and I've added some map work as well.





Regarding science, we are continuing on with HOD's science recommendations.  So far, we've completed Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 and Birds of the Air by Arabella B. Buckley.  Ruben and I both enjoyed the Buckley book over the Apologia book.  We are just beginning to read Plant Life in Field and Garden, which is also by Buckley.

Overall, it's been a good year thus far.  Ruben is gaining independence in his studies, which was the goal.  I'm not sure at this point whether or not we will continue with Heart of Dakota next year.  Again, I like the look of some of the books in the next level, Resurrection to Reformation, but I might just patch together my own thing.  I'm also going to take a serious look at Beautiful Feet's Medieval Intermediate pack and may put Riley and Ruben back together for history. I'll let you know when the time draws closer.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2016-2017 Mid-Year Reflections - Beautiful Feet Ancient History


We are mid way through our 2016-2017 academic year so I thought it'd be appropriate to update you on Riley's Beautiful Feet Ancient History Intermediate study.  So far, Riley has read...

Streams of Civilization 
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
Tales of Ancient Egypt
The Golden Goblet
Pyramid

Below are a couple of notebooking pages from her Egypt study.  You can see more of her early notebooking pages in this post from week eight



She has since finished her study of early civilization and Egypt and is presently working through Greece.  Riley is currently reading D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and The Children's Homer.



In addition to the Beautiful Feet selections, I've added Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus, both by Rosemary Sutcliff  as well as The Story of the Greeks by H. A. Guerber.  She writes weekly narrations on the Sutcliff books and simply reads the Guerber book for additional information.



Overall, Riley is really enjoying this study.  She is working independently, but I do look over her notebooking pages and read her narrations. Also, since Ruben and I are studying the same time period, albeit with different books, we are able to have meaningful family discussions as we go.  At this point, I wish I would have chosen Beautiful Feet for Ruben as well. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Eighteen....

At Home

We are at the half way mark of our 2016-2017 academic year here on Drywood Creek.  I've been looking back at my Homeschool Audit trying to decide if I'm meeting my goals and where to go from here. Overall, I'm pleased with where we're at. The schedule seems to fit and we are on target as far as time. The kid's planners are working well. They are progressing academically. Riley has shown great responsibility and is loving her independent study. Ruben is gaining independence. He wrote a written narration this week 100% by himself that knocked my socks off. Also, it feels as though he and I are having less conflicts this year.

Unfortunately, our schoolroom did get out of sorts, but we worked on it yesterday and got everything put back in its place. We are not loving some of our scheduled books and activities so I'm making some changes there. I'm working on ideas for simplification next year which I aim to share in the coming months. I'll also be posting mid-year reviews on Beautiful Feet Ancient History and Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ next week.

For more on mid-year reflections, I recommend reading Tristan's Mid-Year Check-Up: 3 Questions to Direct the Rest of the Homeschool Year and Purva Brown's Are you practicing sustainable homeschooling?  Both of which have given me food for thought. For further thought on mid-year assessments, you might consider Marianne's How to Make a Quick and Effective Mid-Year Homeschool Assessment and Danika's Reassess Your Homeschool Mid-Year .

On the Table



My kids love Trader Joe's Soft and Juicy Mango, however, the closest Trader Joe's in over 100 miles away from me. I've bought dehydrated mango at other stores, but it was rather expensive and often times, there are additives. Just before Christmas I hit an awesome sale at Aldi on whole raw mangoes, so I snatched up six and thought I'd try to make my own dehydrated mango.

After the mangoes ripened on the counter top, I peeled them and sliced them in long strips. I laid the strips on my dehydrator trays and followed the manufacturer's instructions for thickness, temperature, and time. A few hours later, we had our own soft and juicy mango! The kids loved it. It was easy and inexpensive. The only downside was it didn't last long. I stored the dried mango in a glass jar, but after 24 hours, it was gone. This week mango happened to be on sale again at Aldi so you will find six more ripening on my counter for the next batch of soft and juicy mango.


     
Around the Web

Did you hear Oxford Dictionary's 2016 Word of the Year?  It's heartbreaking! That Truth exists and is knowable is one of the central tenets of classical education. Reading the article brought me back to notes I made while watching a Restful Teaching seminar last summer.
The object of education is to train our children to perceive truth, so when truth is the Lord, they recognize Him.
Content is less important than Truth. Truth exalts content to its honorable place as a servant, but when content raises itself to the position of master it renders everything meaningless.

Truth is way more important than skills.
Take Up Your Cross and Read Hard Books spoke my language, especially since we just read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn back in October.  Huck Finn is such a fabulous story partly because it is difficult to read about the injustice of slavery. Twain addresses racism head on. It is through his story that you fall in love with the characters and see how wrong and unjust racism really is. In her post, Heidi White writes,
We feel the injustice of racism through To Kill A Mockingbird. We read about it in newspapers, but that does not engage our moral imaginations like literature. If we want people to feel what we feel, we must give them our stories. Without stories, our inner worlds remain small. Stories develop compassion. They awaken our latent capacity for redemptive action. If we care about overcoming racism, we should run as fast as we can toward, not away from, Huck Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird.
I couldn't agree more!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reflections from Consider This - Chapter Four....



Chapter Four of Consider This, Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass ties directly to Charlotte Mason's Principle Three.
Principle 3: The principles of Authority on the one hand and Docility on the other are natural, necessary and fundamental;...
If one aspires to be teachable (having docility), one must have power (authority) over one's own mind. In other words, one must be humble to be teachable.

Charlotte Mason wrote much on the quality of humility throughout her six volume series, dedicating a whole chapter in Vol, 4, Ourselves, to it. First she begins in Chapter I of Part III, Book I, writing about The Ways of Love. She says, 
Love, like a king, has his Lords in Waiting––Pity, Benevolence, Sympathy, Kindness, Generosity, Gratitude, Courage, Loyalty, Humility, Gladness.
From there, Charlotte dedicates a chapter to each of these qualities. In which, Chapter X of Part III in Book I, is solely about humility. She begins,
Pride of Life.––The Apostle points out three causes of offence in men––the lust of the flesh, that is, the desire to satisfy the cravings of what we call 'human nature'; the lust of the eye, which makes the pursuit of the delight of beauty, not a part, but the whole of life; and, the pride of life. Of the three, perhaps, the last is the most deadly, because it is the most deceitful. People born in, and brought up upon, principles of self-control and self-restraint are on the watch against the lusts of the flesh. The lust of the eye does not make too fascinating an appeal to all of us; but who can be aware of the approaches of the pride of life? Still, Pride, mighty as he is, and manifold as are his forms, is but the Dæmon, the more or less subject Dæmon, of a mightier power than himself.
Humility is Born in us all.––Humility is born in us all, a Lord of the Bosom, gracious and beautiful, strong to subdue. That is why our Lord told the Jews that except they should humble themselves and become as a little child they could not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, the state where humble souls have their dwelling. We think of little children as being innocent and simple rather than humble; and it is only by examining this quality of children that we shall find out what Humility is in the divine thought. We have but two types of Humility to guide us––Christ, for 'He humbled Himself,' and little children, for He pronounced them humble. An old writer who has pondered on this matter says that, as there is only one Sanctification and one Redemption, so also there is only one Humility.
Glass writes, "Sometimes we consider humility a spiritual virtue, but it is an intellectual virtue as well." (p.28) There are many biblical references to humility.  However, upon combing through, there are several that particularly relate humility to wisdom and intellect, including...
Proverbs 11:2 (KJV)
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
James 3:13 (KJV)
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Psalm 25:9 (NASB)
He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
Later in Chapter 4, Glass says, "Humility is not a lesson that can be learned from a textbook or a lecture, but if we want to make the traditions of classical education our aim, we must find a way to instill this attitude in ourselves and in our pupils."

Ms. Mason proposes, "We are all born humble. Humility sits within us all, waiting for pride to be silent that he may speak and be heard. What must we do to get rid of pride and give place to Humility?"

In Ourselves, Book I, Part III, Chapter X, she then answers her own proposed question and declares the way to humility....
The Way of Humility.––In the first place, we must not try to be humble. That is all make-believe, and a bad sort of pride. We do not wish to become like Uriah Heep, and that is what comes of trying to be humble. The thing is, not to think of ourselves at all, for if we only think how bad we are, we are playing at Uriah Heep. There are many ways of getting away from the thought of ourselves; the love and knowledge of birds and flowers, of clouds and stones, of all that nature has to show us; pictures, books, people, anything outside of us, will help us to escape from the tyrant who attacks our hearts. One rather good plan is, when we are talking or writing to our friends, not to talk or write about 'thou and I.' There are so many interesting things in the world to discuss that it is a waste of time to talk about ourselves. All the same, it is well to be up to the ways of those tiresome selves, and that is why you are invited to read these chapters. It is very well, too, to know that Humility, who takes no thought of himself, is really at home in each of us:––
"If that in sight of God is great
Which counts itself for small,
We by that law humility
The chiefest grace must call;
Which being such, not knows itself
To be a grace at all."
––TRENCH.
Glass closes Chapter 4 of Consider This with...
...We do not list "humility" among our school subjects or put it on a transcript, but that is actually the little secret of classical education.  The things that make it truly classical, truly worthwhile to pursue, aren't school subjects at all, but principles that add depth and cohesion to everything we study in all areas of the curriculum. 
Chapter 4 of Consider This prompted me to ask myself whether I approach every object, person, or book as if I can learn something from it. Humility is a necessary component to education. The opposite of humility is conceit, haughtiness, and pride. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride comes before destruction. If one believes they already know it all, the mind is closed. Learning cannot happen. We must be humble to be teachable. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Little About Us...



Hey, I'm Melissa, welcome to my corner of the world! Here I blog on the banks of Drywood Creek about education, Charlotte Mason, homeschooling, books, daily life on the farm, and whatever else ails me.

On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I totter between ENTJ and ESTJ.  It's a fine line, but either way, I'm down to earth, decisive, and a recovering box checker. Because I didn't find a community in my area that supported my homeschool vision, I created one. I love bringing like minded people together to ponder a plethora of ideas. This is how I came to lead a Charlotte Mason Study Group, where we contemplate what it means to be educated, not only through the methods of Charlotte Mason, but also classically through christian principles and the ancient tradition. In 2016, I also started a local Schole Sisters group.

Some may like to know that I am a native of my community. I have deep roots and yet, I wander. I long to follow Jesus and find comfort in His grace. I am also a self proclaimed bibliophile, who's motto is "never too many books, but rather not enough shelves". I aspire to be the change I wish to see in the world.

We're currently in our 10th year of homeschooling our kids! We have a homeschool and public school graduate. You can find our full Homeschool Journey here



This is definitely my better half of sixteen years, affectionately know as "The Farmer". He is the third generation on this land, through which, Drywood Creek flows.

Farming is in his blood. He loves making hay, raising cattle, being out of doors, and spending time with family. He keeps me grounded when my lofty ideals could potentially carry me away.



The Farmer and I were blessed with three children by birth, whom I love spending time with. We read many living books and muse much.

RileyAnn is currently in 7th grade.  She enjoys animals, baking, reading, softball, and all things American Girl. Riley also loves the outdoors and is our nature study aficionado.  She works, both on and off the farm, raising calves, babysitting, and house cleaning. 























Ruben is in 6th grade.  He enjoys hunting, farming, baseball, football, and the 4-wheeler he was able to purchase with funds from a summer job.  He continues to work a few hours a week on a neighboring horse farm. He graduated from the Children's Dyslexia Center last May and has made great gains in his studies since.


Levi is an unofficial preschooler since I don't believe in scheduling early childhood. He provides us with our daily dose of entertainment. Levi enjoys tagging along with The Farmer and Ruben, hunting and farming. He is also a big help in the kitchen and loves to snuggle up with a good picture book. You can often find him barefoot or with boots on the wrong feet playing outdoors.


















It is my mission to empower other homeschooling families in real life, with real kids and in real time. It may not always look pretty in the day to day, but it will come out the wash as they say. Here you will find ideas for planning your homeschool, book lists for reading, and thoughts about education through daily living. Life is a journey. Won't you come along...

Drywood Creek


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weekly Reflections - Week Seventeen...



















At Home

The tree has come down and at some point soon, the recumbent bike and a puzzle table are going up.  I love puzzles, but because I've had little's for so many years, I haven't done one for fear of 1000 pieces being dumped upside down.  However, Levi is now 4 1/2 and I'd like to give it a try. He's actually quite excited at the prospect because he loves putting his puzzles together. Winter in Wisconsin is a great time for reading, board games, and puzzles. I'll let you know how it goes.

This week we were back to our regular academic schedule.  All went very well. Ruben finished up a couple of books in history and we'll be moving into Greece next week. Truth be told, I'm getting a bit tired of HOD's Creation to Christ. I've already culled some books and intend to switch out a few more during this next time period. I'm opting to add books we already have on our shelves instead of purchasing their suggested titles. I'll be posting a review in the future.

Riley is working on playing catch up in math. Her online class starts back next week.  She got slightly behind with choir falling on the same day as her online math class and then of course, the holidays.  So she's got one week's worth of assignments to do before class on Thursday, which shouldn't be a problem.  I also intend to post a review of her math soon.

Riley, Ruben and I are all reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.  Our Middle School Book Club will meet this week for discussion.  It's a meaty read and should provide much food for fodder.

Levi is still asking about doing school.  He's so excited to participate with the older kids.  The quiet time activity boxes I made for him are working very well.  I just hope his enthusiasm sticks in future years when it really counts.  I will be completing a preschool post as well.

Around the Web

I've been contemplating Andrew Kern's posts on Arts vs. Subjects (Post 1 and Post 2). I think he's on to something here...but then again, Andrew Kern usually is ;-)

Have you seen Mystie and Carol's 2017 reading plans?  Establishing a reading plan has been on my mind this week as well.  I'm still trying to decide whether or not to join a challenge or simply do my own thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed Karen Andreola's lovely biographical sketch titled A Peek at Charlotte Mason's Early Life. I learned a few new details about Charlotte's early life and now I really want to go read North and South.

Speaking of reading, a friend sent me Required reading: The books that students read in 28 countries around the world. I recognized books from about five countries.

Oh so true!.... Physician tells parents, 'You're doing it wrong" is great! I won't get on my soapbox, but go read it and share with everyone you know :)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Prompted By The 2017 Home Organization Challenge...

I showed you one of my closets in How I Intend to Simplify and be Present with Joy this New Year. It's not good! I have vowed to do better. This is the year where the rubber meets the road regarding simplifying and organization.  

A couple of days ago, while drooling over Jennifer Mackintosh's pictures at Wildflowers and Marbles, I came across her post on The 2017 Home Organization Challenge designed by Toni Hammersley. I was intrigued and printed Toni's Free Challenge Kit.  I don't have Toni's book, The Complete Book of Home Organization, but quickly ordered it from the local library.  Unfortunately, I'm behind four other people, but after seeing how beautiful the book looks on Amazon, I just may splurge and purchase it. You don't need the book to work through the challenge.

Toni makes home organization look manageable.  I'm actually getting excited about it.  I love the look of her processes on the free challenge kit! However, some of the spaces included in the initial 14 weeks do not pertain to me, namely the dining room since ours is one big room attached to the kitchen and really has no storage space; and the launch pad, which is more or less divided into multiple spaces throughout our home. On the other hand, I would really like to tackle the basement this year so this is an area I am adding to the challenge.  Also, part of organizing some of my areas are dependent on other areas.  So, I just may switch up the order of the challenge.

I most likely won't be starting the challenge this Saturday, January 7th because I just found it and we have other plans this weekend.  But, I definitely intend to use Toni's challenge ideas as a springboard for my 2017 simplifying mission. Stay tuned for future posts throughout the year regarding my progress.  Hopefully, if all goes well, by this time next year, our home will be whipped into shape!



By the way, I am also a fan of Mystie Winckler's Simplified Organization. Her no nonsense approach is encouraging.  I regularly check my attitude at the door after reading her posts.

Do you know of any other home organization sites?  How do you simplify and organize your home?  I'd love to hear about it.  Feel free to use the contact form on the right or leave a comment below.


Monday, January 2, 2017

How I Intend to Simplify and be Present with Joy this New Year...

I've been reflecting on 2016 as well as thinking a lot about what I would like for 2017.  You may be thinking I wish for an unlimited bank account, servants to clean and keep order, someone to fan and feed me grapes...ha! If so, you are mistaken...well, partially ;-)

Seriously, I'm talking more about my attitude in the day to day and organizing things that I have control over. Along these lines, I've come up with three words/ideas that I'm striving for in the new year.

Simplify

Our home has gotten away on me. The last couple of years have been challenging for personal reasons, but God has continued to sustain me throughout. I have now reached a point where I think I'm ready to carry on. Over the years, I have collected too much stuff! Closets are overflowing and I'm ready to purge.























I want 2017 to be the year of minimizing.  I am working on goals and a plan to sort through each closet as well as attempting to organize the basement.  I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic so I intend to sell, donate, and gift armloads of items that we no longer need or use.

I also intend to simplify our homeschool.  I'm reevaluating priorities and my definition of education.  I hope to post more about this as it comes together.  2017 will be a year of simplification all the way around.

Presence

I was thinking entirely about this over the holidays.  A couple of months ago, we got a new to us (used) couch. Its vivid 1970's pattern didn't match the quilt wall hanging that hung behind our old couch so I opted to rearrange the furniture.  I love this new arrangement!  I moved the two swivel/rocker/recliners, one of which was my chair, to the end wall in front of the quilted wall hanging and put the couch in front of the windows closer to the TV. I am not a huge TV watcher, but some members of our family are, so this arrangement affords me space at the end of the living room away from the TV, but still present with my family.


















I must confess, in the past, I would sneak away from the family TV watchers to the quiet space in front of our computer.  However, now I am actually present much more sitting in my chair.  We also acquired a new to us (used) lamp stand where I keep stacks of books.  I can sit in the room and read or browse cookbooks while my family watches TV.  Better yet, I've noticed them turning off the TV or turning away from it to talk to me on the opposite side of the room.  As Riley and Ruben get older, I love to hear their thoughts and opinions about various topics. For example, the election gave us much to talk about and it was fascinating to see them articulate their ideas. This new living room arrangement has been more conducive to leisurely contemplation and conversation with them. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Also, I've kept the stack of Christmas picture books by my chair so when Levi crawls up on my lap for snuggle time, I have easy access to a story.  When not in use, they are tucked against the wall behind the chair and out of the way.  This has encouraged more read aloud time for him.  I would eventually like to find either a couple of attractive baskets for book storage or possibly construct some sort of book rail along the wall to display picture books that could be rotated out seasonally.  I'm still thinking on this one, but the point being my presence has been a real present not only to my family, but my participation has been a gift to me. I intend to be more intentional in being present in 2017. The kids are growing so fast and I definitely don't want to miss these moments!

Joy

This has to do with my attitude. I saw a Christmas sign last month that simply said "JOY" and it really spoke to me.  I've been thinking about it since. When the day to day seems impossible, just maybe my bad attitude makes it worse. I have come to see my kids thrive or fail based upon my demeanor. Therefore, in 2017, I aim to improve my attitude and be more joy filled. Don't get me wrong, I know not every day will be roses, but hopefully, by keeping my focus on joy, it can at least be a poor man's orchid rather than thistles.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Nehemiah 8:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Hebrews 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Proverbs 17:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
There you have it!  No resolutions to hit the gym, walk extra steps, or lose so many pounds this year, but rather it is my hope..
to Simplify and be Present with Joy
Do you have New Year's resolutions?  If so, I'd love to hear about them.  Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflecting Back on 2016...

As we prepare to watch the ball drop in TImes Square, Riley requested a year in review blog post with pictures.  So here's to our beautiful daughter...

January


















February























March


















April























May


















June



























July























August


















September




October


November



December





May you be blessed in the New Year,
Melissa