I’m Surrounded

     I am surrounded.  Not in the bad guys have me cornered and there’s no way out sense, but in a far more beautiful, yet just as intense, sense. 
I’m surrounded by a beautiful, ready for harvest countryside.  I can travel in any direction from my home and see feed corn ready for harvest or the stubble-filled field where the corn has already been cut.  The roads are littered with the dust and chaff that blows from the open trucks transporting the corn from field to silage heap at the local dairies. 

     The predominant crop in my immediate vicinity is wine grapes.  The giant grape harvesting equipment has begun to roll by at least once every day during the daylight hours, and we can hear the machinery moving along the roads and working in the surrounding vineyards all night.  It’s loud, but it’s pleasant and something I’ve grown to love about fall.


      Within my home, I’m surrounded by all that I hold dear.  My family, of course, and what a lovely thing that is to me.  One virus or another, or maybe the same virus in various forms, has kept me from seeing Corin and my grandbabies as much as I’d like.  My parlor seems lonely.  The tea set atop my grandmother’s trunk sits idle.  The doll Dani crocheted for the girls, named “Sappy”  by the four year old, waits patiently for their next visit.  The very old, hand painted coal bucket is filled with a few special “girl” books and a hand painted paper parasol for each of my granddaughters.  I DELIGHT in having the two old enough to enjoy the parasols bring them to me to be opened and watching as they twirl them about, and I only cringe a little as the lamps teeter and totter as the parasols pass by. 


     We were all together, though, for Dani’s birthday earlier this month.  I snapped this picture of her on the afternoon before her 26th birthday, shortly after she came home from having her upper ear pierced –  a gift from Copper and I for her birthday.

     We were all at an in between stage with the virus that has plagued both households,  so we managed to be together for an entire evening on the 11th, the day before Dani’s birthday.  Family. Dinner.  Cake.  Ice cream.  Presents.  And laughing.

     I’m blown away sometimes at how much Dani looks like my late mother.  This picture, in particular, catches it for me.  I’ve an old picture somewhere of my mom looking down at a cake.  The pose and expression are almost identical to Dani’s in this photo!  What a lovely thing that is, the passing along of physical characteristics from generation to generation.  Some of it (like pear shaped bodies) I don’t appreciate as much, of course; but what a sweet reminder of our family members and of God’s placing us in families.

     I’m a bit silly about Dani today, I think, because she’s away for a week, traveling with a family from our church.  We all miss her when she’s away.  Will always wants to sleep in her bed when she’s gone.  He doesn’t like being in a room by himself, generally, but I think he likes feeling closer to Dani while she’s away.  He even did his math there today.


     However, most of what I’m surrounded by these days are the trappings of homeschooling.  We ramped things up a bit for the fifth grader this year, as well as for the high school junior.  Nothing major for Will, but a few more substantial changes for Aaron.  The changes have kept me spending the better part of most every day in our schoolroom or wherever else we land for various subjects. 

     I think that a lot of homeschooling moms make the mistake of not spending nearly enough time with their kids during the “school” portion of the day.  Yes, yes, yes, homeschooling really is a 24/7 lifestyle, and I embrace that wholeheartedly.  In this instance, though, I’m talking about the actual “lessons” and “bookwork” times of the day.  The children need help throughout the day, and even when help isn’t needed, an encouraging word or thoughtful act is a help, too. 

  • Small custard cups filled with peanuts for a between meals protein boost. 
  • A rub on the shoulder of a boy stooped over his Algebra II. 
  • A smile at another boy who is laboring over prepositional phrases. 
  • Smiley faces drawn even on the high schooler’s assignments. 
  • Baking a just-sweet-enough Buttermilk Bundt (recipe soon) cake in the middle of the week just because,….
  • ….. and then offering slices to just-sweet-enough boys in the afternoons. 

     All that time spent instructing, correcting, going over assignments and encouraging means that I am also surrounded by way too much dust and a few too many cob webs.  That’s okay.  In reality, the house is clean enough.  We are keeping the important stuff clean and sanitary and it would just take us a matter of minutes to make the house company ready.  As for the folks we love and know well enough to just stop by without a lot of advance planning, we know that they are coming to see us and not our house and we’re happy for their visits and don’t make a lot of fuss before they come.  We just enjoy THEM and don’t worry about the cobwebs.  So, ya’ll come!  No guarantees about the nature of the goofballs that let you in the front door, though.

     Looking well to the ways of your household is more than just cleaning anyway. Please don’t get the notion that I’ve let my housecleaning fall completely off the map, though.  As I said, the house is clean enough.  In fact, I thoroughly dusted and cleaned the master bedroom just yesterday and I hope to get to the living room this afternoon. 
    Right now, however, I’ve a ten year old struggling a bit with a new math concept.  There have been tears and some unacceptable attitudes.  I intend for the day to end well for him, whether or not the living room gets dusted.  Mastery of quotients, and winning the battle over sin and against a bad attitude (and not necessarily in that order) beats victory over a dusty tea cart any day in my book.

     So, we’ll all take a bit of a break and enjoy slices of that Buttermilk Cake with a cup of chocolate milk, served on my mother-in-love’s milk glass snack plates, in the middle of the afternoon.  Encouragement.  A loving kindness.  Sharing a laugh over a nonsensical joke told and sharing our favorite lines from a favorite movie.  The math will look differently afterward.  Our hearts will be quieted and we’ll be able to talk about sin and glorifying the Lord in all that we do more easily.

     I’m seeking the Lord in the best ways to look well to my own household this homeschool year.  Join me?

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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10 comments to I’m Surrounded

  • How nice to “see you” on Google before getting off the computer this evening.  Your days sound busy but wonderful.

    It still amazes me that Christopher is studying advanced math at the University.  It took him so long to “get it”.  He bloomed late but when he did, he has an amazing mind.

    He told me studying science helped him understand math.  My son-in-law (who has a PhD in math) was just the opposite.  He said math helped him understand science.

    Your daughter gets prettier each year. 

  • I so loved this post!
    I think our area is getting ready to harvest soon too…
    I have definitely been smelling onions and cilantro…
    I love being in a somewhat agricultural area!

    I am so looking forward to the Buttermilk Cake recipe!

    Wishing you an evening full of sweet and simple joys!♥

  • Ahh…. I was wondering how you were doing!  I hope that nasty flu bug is gone for good!  I like your perspective on cobwebs!

    Momma is anxious to pass her ‘darlings’ along to you. Let me know when things have settled down.


  • Dani is a beauty!!! She just glows with the Spirit of God.

    I agree on your hs techniques. Being there even when they do not need “help” just to encourage is a huge thing!

    Those boys are a riot! Praying for Will…Charlotte is lost in a math concept right now also, and we are taking today to work on it together. Problem is, I teach it to her and she gets it…does great on that whole lesson…and the next day she lost it.

  • What a beautiful post.  I just love reading your words.  They inspire me to slow down and enjoy life while glorifying the Lord daily!  Blessings for your day.

  • so nice to hear from you, and to see that things are moving right along with your homeschooling this year.  those new math concepts can be so difficult.  i struggled in 5th and 6th grade, and even needed a tutor for a short time; but by high school I loved math and carried A’s in algebra I and II and Geometry.  the extra time spent definitely pays off.

    just gorgeous milk glass pieces…so nice to have treasured things to use and pass down through the family.

    and we all love your Dani-girl!    so glad she had a nice birthday.

    praying your weekend is just lovely,
    Obtaining Mercy

  • Sounds like you are keeping busy. Harvest time is a pretty time but a busy time isn’t it? Happy Birthday to Dani

  • Aaaaah!!! You watched it without me?!?!?!?!?!  Was it incredible on DVD?  Our old VHS probably could not have survived being played again

  • @Ex_Goat_Milker – “We” didn’t watch it, but the boys did.  The colors were incredible on the DVD, and the foggy parts of the picture turn out to be not so foggy after all!!