A Place Called Home

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

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Location: Wetumpka, Alabama, United States

I am a wife of 38years and a mother of six, mother-in-law to four, and grandmother to twelve. I just completed my 24th year of homeschooling. I have lived many years of my adult life in Italy and Greece.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Getting Ready

We are back home for a day, getting ready to leave for Europe. We drove the boys to Katie's Sunday after church. When we arrived she had a big surprise for them. She had taken pictures of them from the past two soccer seasons, blown them up to poster size and then had them laminated.They were all hanging on the walls, along with a World Cup soccer ball in a net hanging in the middle of the wall.There were about a dozen small soccer postcards mounted on painted clothespins as you walked in the room. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me. She really made them feel special. I talked to her after we got home last night and she had already taken them to the library for some new books.The guest room is now referred to as the boys room:)I've not been without children for 26 years, so it does feel a bit strange to not have children to care for.I'm heading out to do some last minute weeding in the yard, vacuuming of the stairs, etc. I don't mind living in a messy house...I just can't stand to come home to one! I will probably be unable to post for the next three weeks, but then I should have a lot of catching up to do!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sweet Pics from VBS

Friday, June 23, 2006

Busy Days

We left yesterday afternoon to go see Chelsea in Memphis for the evening. Her store was having their grand opening and it went really well. I enjoyed all the words of praise for my hard working daughter, and, of course very important to me, the food was amazing!I love visiting in my children's homes. Their apartment is really cute. We spent the night and then came home this morning. I spent the day getting things prepared for our trip and for VBS. The boys helped me color and cut out MANY fish for our story on the Sea of Galilee.Tonight was the first night of VBS and it was alot of fun. It did dawn on me that there was a good chance that this would be the boys last VBS for a while since we would not be here next summer if things go as planned.Of course, none of us knows what tomorrow holds.VBS is such a fun part of childhood. Booster, Booster, Be A Booster...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Classroom

Today I am trying to prepare for my new school year as I know that it will be more difficult to do upon our return when we will hit the ground running.I have been so blessed this past year with a separate classroom for our schoolwork. We still spent many days around the kitchen table (especially during the cold months), but it was so nice to have a place to display the boys work and store all the school "stuff".I have Jon to thank for that. He turned half of our garage into a separate room, including two closets and lots of outlets for the TV, computer, etc. It has been such a gift. Just organizing the books made me get excited about our upcoming schoolyear and all the new ideas we will study and all of the great books we will read. I love being a home educator.

Sharing a Meal

Last night, several of my friends got together and shared a meal as a celebration of friendship. Our dear friends, Mike and Nancy, are moving this week and will be greatly missed.Dana, as hostess, had prepared a wonderful meal of steaks, potatoes, and salad--topped off with an amazing cheesecake with strawberry topping. We ate until we could barely move! After the meal we all piled on their flatbed pulled by a tractor, and rode around the hillside. After bogging down in a wet field we had a short walk back to the yard.The cabin sits at the top of the hill, and with its lit windows, as the sun was setting, sent such a message of welcome.Watching the children play out in the fields was especially sweet. Between the four families represented, we share 16 children. Well, technically it's 15.85 (Julie is due in 5 weeks:) We all viewed the two new nests with eggs that were in the porch rafters, and then moved inside for a time of sweet conversation.Heaven will be such an amazing place with such sweet fellowship.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Traveling Shoes

I've spent the morning gathering things together to pack the boys for their stay at Katie's.This next week is a busy one with packing, getting the house ready for our absence, teaching VBS, and a good-bye dinner for Nancy. I am getting excited about returning to Italy.I realized in church yesterday that in only two Sundays I would be worshipping in Florence with Luigi, Liliana, Gianfranco, Robbie and Mona. That's so exciting.I'd be even more excited if all of my children were going to be with us. I know the older ones would really love to be getting on a plane and going home again.Lord willing, that day will come sooner rather than later, but in the mean time...these pictures are for each of you.And yes, I will bring you each a Kinderegg!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

The children all came on Saturday to celebrate Father's Day. We had a wonderful time cooking steaks out on the grill, eating and then watching the USA vs. Italy in the World Cup.The kids gave their Dad a new Ipod that will hold 1000 songs. They do know him well! He has wanted one for a long time, but I know he would never have gone out and bought himself one. It should arrive in a few days, just in time for him to totally tune me out all through Italy!Justin and Chelsea had to leave early, but the others were all here for church this morning, and then lunch out at our favorite Mexican restaurant.The weekend would have been perfect if only I wasn't sitting here worried about them driving home in terible weather.I think it's just a Mom thing.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Tonight we fulfilled our reading contract with the boys. They kept charts, and after 20 hours of reading each, they were promised a trip to Chuckie Cheese. They had a really good time. Afterwards we went to Target for some last minute items before we take off on our trip, and we bought them the "I Spy" game for their "Leapster". They only have one game for that, and they play it all the time.They are a bit pricey, but a great way to keep them motivated in their reading.My favorite part of homeschooling has been the days we curled up together on the couch and read for hours.Right now we are reading"Follow the Leader" about a young boy dealing with blindness.We just finished "Henry Huggins".It's great fun to re-read some of my favorite children's books.

Swim Time

Here are a few pictures from our weekend trip to Chelsea and Justin's. Grandpa and Gabriel really enjoyed their pool time. Jordan and Christian have become a lot harder to throw across the pool!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


We spent almost 7 hours in the car yesterday, in order for Terry to speak for one hour in Tullahoma, and it was well worth it. The drive to East Tennessee is absolutely beautiful. After the rocks of Greece, we both have a real appreciation for green grass and trees.Terry did such a great job speaking on absolute truth. His message was clear and easy to understand, and was a message of such hope. We know that we have truth in a world that tells us that it doesn't exist.The people of the congregation were very friendly and appreciative of our long journey there. The boys were wonderful. Christian became sick, as usual, but quickly recovered.They played Learning Leapster the entire way, giggling and laughing. They are real troopers about travelling.On the way home we did hit a large black furry animal, that made an incredible noise on impact, but neither of us was sure what it was,it happenned so fast.The last hour on the road, passing through Savannah, Waynesboro, etc. was quiet as the boys had fallen asleep and there was very little traffic on the road. It gave me time to reflect on how blessed I was to be travelling through our beautiful country, with a man I love and admire, who stands for goodness and truth, with sweet children asleep in the back--and to be reminded how I have all of this because of the grace of God, and not because of anything I ever did to make this happen. He is so good and I am so blessed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blair's Grandma's Furniture

My friend, Blair ( a former HUF student from 1989), recently moved into a smaller home and had no where to store her grandparent's dining room set. Not wanting her to have to sell it, I offered to store it until they have space once again.It's been a nice change of pace after we rearranged our dining room set to various locations throughout the house. I especially am enjoying displaying my Aunt Rema's violet dishes in the old cabinet.The older I get the more I enjoy "borrowing" instead of owning.It's "free" decorating and a chance to help a friend at the same time. So, thank you, Blair. Just holler when you're ready to have it back home!

Bread Baking

I tried a new recipe for Terry today in my never ending quest for a decent loaf of bread...gluten free. This loaf came out plenty big, but unfortunately it still has the flavor of cardboard:( Terry says it is wonderful, but after two years of no bread he's just grateful for anything that "kind of" tastes like bread. If anyone comes across a good recipe for gluten-free bread PLEASE pass it on. After eating Sheri's wonderful yeast rolls this week I feel incredibly guilty not to be able to offer him something that tastes better. Oh well, I now have a big bag of crumbs to use in his meatloaf!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Summer Days

Belinda sent me on a picture of the boys that she'd taken at basketball camp that I thought I'd share.The other picture is of the boys playing baseball in the backyard. Christian has on his Dad's baseball uniform from third grade. They are growing too fast. We don't have much going on this week, other than a trip to Tullahoma on Wednesday, so we're doing a little reading and writing...and a lot of playing. I am so grateful for the quiet life that God has blessed me with.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jonathan's Birthday Suit

I knew that would get your attention! Our son, Jonathan ,sent us this picture of his new suit. For his birthday last month, both us and his grandparents gave him some money towards buying his first "nice" suit, since he will soon be heading out to make his way in the world. He did clean up rather nicely:) Our Jon is on the right, and his best friend, also Jonathan Edwards, is on the left.As soon as my son-in-law sends me the pictures from our day in Memphis I will post them. He took some beautiful pictures of Gabriel in the pool with his Grandpa. While all the men swam, the girls and I went and shopped. Chelsea blessed both Katie and I with gift certificates to her store, so I now have a beautiful set of cloth placemats and napkins that I just love! We went to a French creperie...incredibly good. It is so nice to be able to spend the day with "friends" and not to have to be continually teaching life lessons:) They are both such lovely women, wives, and Katie, now a mother. It was wonderful to just be able to laugh and enjoy them.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Life With Little Boys

Today was the last day of basketball camp for the boys. They were thrilled with their new t-shirts and basketballs. When I arrived for their skill demonstration , there were still 8 children left in the competition. It got down to two--a boy named Daniel and Jordan. I prayed so hard that Jordan would win. He has had such a hard time this year with Christian picking up the reading and spelling so easily, that I really wanted him to feel like he was able to excel in something. God is so good...Jordan won. And, being Jordan, hasn't mentioned it since, but has had that little bit of extra confidence all evening. Basketball camp was worth every penny. Tonight we took them to see "Cars". It was wonderful! There was even a little Fiat 500 and "Ape" that both spoke Italian. We really enjoy the small town theater...popcorn, drink, candy and admission for $5 on family night. We head to Memphis tomorrow afternoon to spend time with the girls and their husbands. Jon just called and said he might be able to join us. Having time together as a family is something to really look forward to.Hope everyone's weekend is a good one.Seeing the little three wheeled car in "Cars" made me think of this ice cream cart in Italy.I'll be eating gelato in only two weeks!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sheri's Care Package

My friend, Sheri, called today to tell me I had a care package on the way. This is no ordinary care package...this one contains her famous yeast rolls! In her spare time- when she's not homeschooling her five children- she has had a very successful home business selling her baked goods. Though I was thrilled to hear of her gift, I was even more thrilled to have a chance to visit with her by phone. God brought Sheri into my life many years ago (Spring semester 1986) when she was one of my husbands students in Florence, Italy. Twenty years later we have shared many discussions on children (my six, her five), adoption, homeschooling, missions, and our callings as keepers of the home. Her visits are always such an encouragement to me. She is a loving wife and Mother, and because of her, this world will soon be blessed with five young men and women who will love the Lord with all their hearts, souls and minds. So, thank you, Sheri, for the example you set. And I'll let you know if the rolls were any good or not...I just might need to sample a wider variety! P.S. Jon called me last night and was wanting to make some cookies to snack on. The no-bake chocolate cookies were his favorite to make in high school so he was needing the recipe..thus the post:)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quick Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar 1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. cocoa 3 cups rolled oats (dry measure)
1/2 cup milk 1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Mix sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter in saucepan. Stir over heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly add peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Stir until all ingredients are mixed and drop quickly onto waxed paper. Cool. Makes about 3 dozen.

Speedy Cheesecake

Group 1:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter

Group 2:
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
2 eggs

Group 3:
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Group 1:
Combine crumbs and butter; press into buttered 8 inch pie plate

Group 2:
Beat cream cheese until fluffy, gradually blend in sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Pour filling into crumb crust. Bake in slow oven (325) for 25-30 minutes or until set.

Group 3:
Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spoon over top of pie. Bake 10 minutes longer. Chill several hours.

Both of these recipes are from the old Harding cookbook (the red one ) which has many wonderful recipes. Buon Appetito!

Stitches of Love

My favorite memories of my Mother all seem to involve sewing. I remember sitting and watching her as she sewed me beautiful outfits as a child. My sisters and I always had coordinated Easter dresses. She sewed ballet costumes each year for the recital in exchange for ballet lessons for my sisters and I. She sewed beautiful clothes for my little girls with smocking and lace inserts. In the later years she sewed amazing quilts for each of her grandchildren. I knew each special item was stitched with much love. Today I was flooded with memories as I spent my day sewing little rompers for my grandson. He looks adorable no matter what he wears, but he will look especially adorable in his new romper with puppy dog buttons! And with each stitch I took I said a prayer for this precious child , that he will grow to be a man of God...and always know how very loved he is by his Grandma.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Blessings of a New Little One

We just returned home from a wonderful weekend away. The fellowship with our friends and former fellow workers in Italy was so special. I only wish we could have spent more time singing together in Italian. We enjoyed time together over at our son's house, where he had baked us brownies and ice cream. It brings me great joy to see my children opening up their homes to friends and family and showing hospitality. Our time together with Tim and Katie was so special, as it always is. They go out of their way to be thoughtful and make everyone comfortable. They gave us the ultimate gift this weekend, with the news that they are expecting their second child in February! The whole family is so excited. God has seen what wonderful parents they are and couldn't wait a moment longer to bless them again. Gabriel should be about 14 months when his brother or sister arrives.We missed Justin and Chelsea this weekend but he just began teaching a bible class on Sunday mornings so they needed to be there. We are so happy that they have found a congregation which they love and have made some new friends with some other young couples there. So, with Chelsea's graduation in August, Jon's in December, Brandon's move to Italy in January and a new baby in January..the year seems to be shaping up into a busy one. How blessed we are.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Italian Reunion

We're heading to Searcy this evening, when Terry finishes teaching, for the reunion of former missionaries to Italy. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the older couples that meant so much to me during our early days on the field. Several have had health issues in the past several years. Doris Bybee, Carolyn Moore, Joyce Shackelford, and Frankie Mitchell--just to name a few-- were such beautiful examples of Titus 2 women. My Italian language skills were awful, I had four children under age five, and was thousands of miles away from my family. I'm sure there were many times when they bit their tongue or rolled their eyes that I will never know about! I knew that the one thing that bound us together with our various ages, life experiences, etc., was our love for those Italians that were lost. The Italians are such a warm and generous people, and it still grieves me that Miranda and Antonio, Renata and Lorenzo, Anna, Antonio, Mario, the Bigliotti's- just to name a few- do not have a relationship with our Lord. I love the hills of Tuscany, the slower pace of life, strolling through the weekly market. But what really calls me back is these dear friends that I long to share eternity with.