Sunday, November 29, 2015

Woman ...

I'm officially a woman. 
Well...I guess that actually happened for me the summer of 1996, but then I just felt like a confused girl. I'm a woman now...I can prove it.
 I bought yellow rubber gloves the other day at Target and they have transformed my cleaning experience. My mom always had some, I wasn't really sure why. Now I know. Water can basically be so hot it doesn't have a temperature...yet I don't feel a thing. Wet rag? I no longer cringe when I pick it up to wring it out. Scrubbing? I can scrub 10 times as hard now. Rubber gloves hanging over my kitchen sink are a sure sign I have crossed the adult threshold.

 We've been watching The Voice on Monday nights and every time a contestant sings anything Fleetwood Mac or Creedance the judges will say "wow, you have such an old soul." Well, since that's basically the only genre of music that i know by heart, I now know what to call myself. Plus I have the rubber gloves, and I've taken up quilting. And no, not the modern day "everything matching" kind of quilt - the crazy variety. The old t shirts and dresses cut up into scraps, backed in a sheet from my closet.  I think that's pretty much "old soul." I'll also add in here that I prefer the company of almost anyone that is about 15 years older then me. Like I said before, officially woman.

 I've started hanging up my Christmas cards. Woman. 

If Pandora isn't playing James Taylor, it's on old hymns, Allison Krauss, or bluegrass. I also have a small obsession with snow globes and anything "miniature " - proof of my growing womanhood. Don't even get me started on dishtowels, mason jars, or comfy socks.

I have actual Christmas plates, tin cans, and glasses. 
Showing my age...all 31 years of me. 

My style is my own now and I'm completely unashamed. See that bear necklace? That's an amazing piece from New Mexico, circa 1998 from my mom. I love it now. When I was a teenager I wouldn't be caught dead in a  bear necklace. 
Growing confidence, accepting who I am...woman.
(grey hair and laugh lines? Check and check)

I'm responsible for pulling off holidays for other people - woman.
P.S. Thanks mom for all those "carefree" holidays everyone had except you. I get it now.
I have a cast iron skillet and have learned the art of seasoning it and actually using it. I don't follow recipes...they are all in the ol' thinker. Saving a buck is one of my biggest passions except when it comes to helping poor people...then my heart is generally bigger then my wallet and I cry. Woman.

As the rest of the family snacks on cocoa and has grilled cheese I drink peppermint tea and eat my veggies. That's because I'm a woman and supposedly need to be healthy in order to take care of my peeps ~ just one more little "notch" in my woman belt.

I assemble the tree, wrap the ribbon...get hooks in ornaments before little kids can enter and decorate. Then, way after they are done and I've "oohed" and "ahhed" at their work, I rearrange. 
I buy all the presents, wrap all the presents (happily mind you) because I'm the mama and am responsible for wishes coming true. I hang the stockings and stuff them. I guess santa could possibly be a woman? I set up the nativity scene and through my story telling help my children to fall in love with little baby Jesus. My heart melts when they do ... probably because I'm a woman.

I look at calenders and cross out days and it hits me that time is going by too fast. My eyes grow rather misty when I look at baby pictures - a clear sign I'm all grown up. I sneak into the littles' rooms some nights just to look at their faces and smell their hair. I make them pose for the 19th time that day so I can document every snippet of their changing journey. I'm a woman ... I create the memories and then keep them for everyone. I feed the growing bodies then mark down their heights on the wall. I buy the clothes and then pack them up for the next kid in line. Sometimes I become a blubbering idiot when I do this...that's because I'm a mom.

 I go now to make a cup of tea, put on an episode of the Waltons and start folding my fourth load of laundry today. I love being a woman. What I love most about my womanhood is the opportunity to  be a mother. 
Someone told me yesterday that they never wanted a child but then they got one by surprise. They love the baby but through the conversation it was clear to me that the little boy is an inconvenience. I was inspired to look at my own kids, my own "duties" and to remember that they are pleasures. They are gifts and they have made me a who I am. Almost everything good that is in me I attribute to them. Service, love, kindness...pouring myself into beautiful things and beautiful people is fulfilling when I can look at it as a whole picture. Chapters can be rough...consuming and terrifying, sometime dull - often so exciting you can't close the book. It's the story that matters...the last sentence that brings everything to a "wrap." 
Clean dishes or dirty dishes, crafts laying laughing and sometimes crying...that's a home. All of it makes something great. All of it has created something great in me. I think it's called "purpose." 
Yah, I love being a woman.

“As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.” 
― John Lennon

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” 
― Nora Ephron

“What would men be without women? Scarce, sir...mighty scarce.” 
― Mark Twain

“No occupation in this world is more trying to soul and body than the care of young children. What patience and wisdom, skill and unlimited love it calls for. God gave the work to mothers and furnished them for it, and they cannot shirk it and be guiltless.” 
― Isabella MacDonald Alden

“I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” 
― Jani Ortlund

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Probably the reason why I love to "beautify" my home so much
Reflections of the past, the present...the happy times and the sad times
The secret artist of my soul, reflected 
The writer in my head, heard
fabrics and photos and colors and light

We are flowing into Christmas this year. Usually I have Thanksgiving and then the next day all of my Holiday Decor appears and Christmas music starts playing.
This year there is more flow.
I brought out the pretty glass bulbs yesterday and placed them in a big jar - Tristan loved hugging the jar and seeing his eyes in the colors. 

Twinkle lights in the window, the night coming earlier and earlier, 
proof of a new season, of passing time.

Our first big snowstorm came this morning - we get a snow day in the best way...lots and lots of time to look at books, to spend two hours on history because the Indus Valley is just that interesting. 
Reflections of what is important to us ... education with purpose.
Brother and sister sitting side by side, learning together...laughing and drawing, coloring pictures of ancient masks and saying things like "can I borrow your gold crayon? Wow, your picture looks really nice. Hey, after this do you want to pretend like we are traveling from California to Portland?"
Reflections of love, reflections of hard work, reflections of creativity, reflections of friendship.

A simple globe - locating where India is and how, long ago , the trading system was set up by sailing the Arabian Sea. Locating the Euphrates River, noticing Iraq...a discussion about Syria and traveling the long journey to Greece together....just a short finger's graze for us, weeks and weeks of walking for them. Out of nowhere my little squirrel bursts into tears, she tells me she is sad for those people and she is sad about Paris because she loves it so much. She wonders if her beautiful Eiffel Tower is still there. We have a long talk about what happened and what DIDN'T happen, we talk about what a loving response is and what we can do as a family to help ... pray, love others even when they don't love us, donate what we can. We talk about how to handle anger in a good way.
Reflections of a compassionate heart.
Reflections of the world we live in. 
Reflections of a little girl's sensitive spirit ... and her love for a beautiful place she has never seen.

The world is soft today. 
The world is white and it feels clean and
I love my home....the little people in it. I love their spirits, 
I love their interest in the world, love it when they say things like
"I'm sad for them."
I love that they find joy in looking at their noses in glass ornaments
that nothing is more special to them than a cucumber sandwich.
 I love that cocoa is just the "ticket."
I love that they feel secure here, and I feel secure with them.
I wish the rest of the world could have what I have today.
I guess they do.
Everyone has reflections.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I love my little photo bombing man. We have one glorious bush in our backyard that turns to the deepest shade of gold during the fall. It makes me happy. It makes the kids happy. 

Everyone needs a gold bush .... to jump in the leaves, to crunch and laugh and know that it is fall. To roll in autumn, relish the changing bliss. Happy glowing, jumping, giggling children - is joy. Waiting for the wind to blow away the masterpiece leaves instead of shoving them into a trash can - appreciation of beauty. God takes care of His work. 

The first bite of gingerbread in fall...

one last geranium, fighting to bloom before winter's snap ...

simple stitches, taking up a lost love ~ these are all just a few of my favorite things.

A little boy and his imagination, running up to me and saying "can I have some paper to make a newspaper?" He works on it for hours, let's his dinner get cold...all for this one single moment...

Showing It To Dad. It's dark outside but the twinkle lights are on in here, and the smiles are getting bigger and bigger as everyone exclaims over the little boy's creativity ... his tired fingers are for naught, he got what he wanted. 

Last night I worked on a little project for my Squirrel Girl. A love note pillow, one side flour sack material that my Great Grandmother made me...

the other side the last little scrap of her baby blankie. She smiled and rubbed her cheek on the soft firetrucks, traced the heart note with her fingers. I could tell she felt loved, and I got what I wanted. 

It's been a really lovely fall ...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Slow Living

Lentils and sweet potatoes, turmeric....a little cilantro, garlic. Simple ingredients, completely satisfying. That's what I love the most about "fall foods" (shhhhh....that I actually eat just about all year round....) They are comforting, warm, simple yet complex, earthy - they make me feel good inside. Find the recipe for this stew here.
I LOVE this youtube channel ... it's so full of good things. Check it out if you have time. 

The cold crept in last night. We woke up to a little dusting of snow and our heater kicked on. It feels right. It's that time of year for a rest, for being settled and cozy, to be focused on gratitude and admiring changing seasons. It feels right.

So, today we will drink at least two pots of tea together, we will begin a unit study on Beethoven and make little turkey crafts, we will go around the room and share a "blessing" and we will remember that life is full of sweetness.

We will listen to music. We will snuggle on the couch and laugh at Ellen. We will read a story. We will most likely organize because that's my favorite "inside thing." We will get our house ready for inside play.

But what we will do most....that I hope we will do love each other and be kind. 

Happy Thursday Friends.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Thank You

Thank you...

for light
for strength
for being constant

for the gift of children
for the opportunity to grow in selflessness
for the opportunity to love unconditionally
to be able to see perfection in what You make

for warmth
for things like socks, jackets, blankets...fires
thank you for a roof over my head
a bed to lay in

for food to eat, everyday...for every meal
coffee in the mornings
tea at night
plus snacks
thank you for providing

Thank you so much God for laughter
for eyes looking up to the heavens
for clouds and sunshine and rain
thank you
for rosy cheeks

for hope, for dreams
for joy
thank you that you are near in the sad times
that you know our thoughts before we even think them
and love us anyway and every way

thank you for family
for a strong husband who is always good to me
for walks and talks and gravel in shoes and scrapes on knees and for feeling that we are alive
thank you for the dust on my hands
the smell of the earth
the song in my head that sings
"Great is Your Faithfulness"
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
"As I Went Down to the River to Pray...."

Thank you for a month to remember being thankful.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
fluttering from the autumn tree.
- Emily Bronte

I've returned to this spot - I missed it. I go in and out of creativity ... the fresh air of fall usually is just what I need for a boost. So, to catch you up, here's what we've been up to :

 ~Free style homeschooling, coon skin caps and quiet nature scapes playing on the tv. If you haven't seen Moving Art on Netflix - you are missing out. The Forest one is my favorite . Watching ice melt and mushrooms mushrooming up from the soil is so inspirational that I literally just sat on my couch with my hands raised to Father thanking Him for this beautiful earth. The music is relaxing and if you are short on travel fare....this is a great way to go to new places right in your living room. Instead of escaping reality it beckons me to be still , to appreciate reality...
~ collage making, Spanish class, character lessons, new math books ... school is going well.

~ we visited a free farm....I didn't want to leave. The chickens cackling and the wood smoke curling up from the little homestead, the smell of hay and the large abundant vegetable garden. Visiting this place just reaffirmed to Zac and I that that is what we want. So...we are still waiting and while we wait...learning. History museums may not be what most young couples base their dreams on - but heck, how can it not?!
~ I've been pinning so many DIY blogs on Pinterest that it would probably take us a 50 years to do all those projects. But, if we find a house to live in for 50 years then that's a good thing I reckon. No idle hands...

~ I'm still obsessed with trees.
~ I'm still obsessed with their branches and their quite praise of life.

~ the kids are all growing and doing fabulous. The boys are all full of quirks (the kind that only high functioning autism can give you) but I'm finding them intriguing now instead of upsetting. They are finding their strengths, their interests are growing and I'm really really happy to be the mother of these very special littles. I feel like each year I'm just growing into "mother." It's a really amazing feeling to know that I am exactly where I'm suppose to be.

~ little squirrel is loving her Options classes where she can join other kids once a week for some awesome classes. She is such a  sweet soul and is very much "8" now. 

~ my kids were so excited for fall and jumping in leaves I had to go to the front yard (where there is a big tree) and rake up a pile and haul it to the backyard so they could jump and crunch to their hearts content. It's the little things.

~ Zac is about 6 weeks away from graduating from paramedic school. It's been a long six months but he has done amazingly well and I'm super proud of all that he has accomplished. It's hard enough going to classes but doing that AS WELL as coming home to a loud house and trying to study and give your kids time and get sleep for early morning wake ups - he has done awesomely.

~ December we get to start looking for a home. I will miss my little bird friends here...and they will miss their bird bath because it's going with me.

~ Our boys are still obsessed with costumes and probably go through about 7 different "looks" a day. Each. As in 21 wardrobe changes. I will be happy for the day that they can all button and unbutton and tie things by themselves. 

~ This photo has no purpose except to document this squirrel's brave run. 

~ and this squirrel had her birthday this past Thursday. She enjoyed having a friend stay the night, a tea party complete with cucumber sandwiches and scones...then Eiffel tower globe making and decorating cupcakes. It was a pretty swell day.

~ She got some "older girl" duds and boots. I think she looks quite fetching.

~ then Halloween, and you are now up to date on the lives of the Corley crew. My house has been taken over by Steve Jobs, Renaissance lady, Buzz and Woody. They are all currently snacking on popcorn and vegan pumpkin mini doughnuts, waiting for all the neighbor kids to arrive to hand out treats. Life has been good and I feel extremely blessed. 

*it's nice to be back*