I don’t read one-on-one with the girls every week, but I always love when I do.  Something about reading a book together is just so perfect.  Mack and I read together almost every day.  And we are all reading a biography on Paul Brand at lunch time.  I read our History out loud about four times a week.  I read from our Bible book every morning. I have to wonder if these kids get tired of hearing my voice because between reading to them and just generally directing their day with what is next on the to-do list or what chores they need to do, it can be a lot of words coming from my mouth.

So today I made sure that I would have time with each of them in my bed, reading or listening to them read. The kids like to be in my bed. Plus, it gave me an excuse to not make my bed today! The books they are reading these days are good ones! I am particularly enjoying The Hobbit. Mack gives me constant commentary on what was in the movie and what wasn’t. I have to tell him that the book came first and is the right way.  Debbie/Gran would be appalled that Josh let Mack watch the movies before reading the book.

So, I am thankful for this day of school work….of reading…of bonding…of making progress in our studies.

Happy Reading to you!



Sometimes living in this world can leave you feeling like this:


I read encouraging truth this morning and found comfort in knowing I am not alone in my groaning here on earth.

I read Romans 8.

Creation groans.

I groan.

The Spirit groans.

“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

Creation groans under the brokenness of earth. Every spring we see it trying to becoming new. Blooms. Green leaves. Life. Yet, every autumn, creation ushers in the beginnings of winter. Death. Disintegration. Creation will one day be made new, delivered from the consequences of sin. Until then, we will have thorns and earthquakes.  Hurricanes and tornadoes. Fires and floods. Lord, as the seasons change, help me be reminded that one day this earth will be set free and made new and cry GLORY to Your great name!

“And not only this, but also we ourselves groan, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

As a Believer, I groan. Even with the Holy Spirit alive in me and the fruits of His presence, I still groan for the redemption of this body.  I groan for sinlessness–in my own heart, first and foremost.  But also for every broken person walking this planet.  Have you watched the news lately?  Horrific stories spewed out at us day after day with no signs of letting up. Mothers killing their own children. Overdosing on drugs in staggering numbers. Hold-ups in every kind of neighborhood.  There are no safe places on this earth.  Broken people everywhere you look.  I groan when I think about the world my children are growing up in. I didn’t grow up in Mayberry, but it was a far cry from where we are today.  This is why hope is such a big deal. Hope in God. Hope in His promises. This world is not our final home. All things will be made new.  Lord, give me eyes to see what I cannot see and to live with contagious hope in You.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

How comforting. He comes alongside creation and His children in their groaning. The Spirit provides us with the ability to hope, to live graciously on this earth. The Spirit helps God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We humans need Him in every way….to endure this broken world, to overcome discouragement, to find victory over sin, to submit to our husband, to love our children well, to be a good friend, to serve the less fortunate, to praise Him. We need Him for all the obvious reasons and for so many that we cannot even see.  He prays for me according to the will of God. I am thankful He groans for the day of complete restoration. Lord, Thank your for the Spirit who intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Help me find comfort in knowing that the Spirit groans for the spiritual welfare of all believers, and that includes me!

I am encouraged by The Word in Romans 8.  I am encouraged in my groaning to continue to HOPE and to wait eagerly for the day when all is made new and perfect–when The Lord establishes His kingdom of peace here on earth.

Romans 8:31 “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”

Weekend of Friends

This past weekend we had some Georgia friends come for a visit.  It was so good to see them! We did pretty much nothing but talk and talk and eat and talk some more.  The boys watched lots of football. The girls snuck away to talk and laugh most of the time. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I just didn’t.

Today we went to church and then grabbed lunch and ice cream.  Fun times on a beautiful day in Charlotte.






Time with friends that are like family is good for the soul. I am grateful they came!

Plugging Along

Dorminy Academy of Higher Learning (ha!) is plugging along. I think we are in week 7 of school, and I am enjoying our days.  It is not a strict schedule, but more of a loose routine. Got to stay flexible!!

My favorite part of this year so far is our morning time. I get up before the kids and enjoy coffee and time in God’s Word, leaning in to Him for help and guidance.  Then, I start waking up the kiddos so that we can all be at the breakfast table some time between 8:30 and 9:00.  They like plenty of time to wake up and make their beds, brush their teeth and get ready for the day.  We start with Bible (using 30 Days to Understanding the Bible…though we are taking more than 30 days!). Today, after reading about Paul’s epistles and trying to memorize the main theme of each book, we went into the living room to watch a video from the Bible Project on Philippians.  Love those videos! After that, we played a game to review what we had learned at the breakfast table.  Then, we watched CNN 10. Ten minutes of news with some discussion.  After news, we jumped into History where we read excerpts from Christopher Columbus’ daily diary as he explored and eventually landed on San Salvador.  We then watched a video on how Columbus treated the Indians he found on the island–quite disturbing.

After our morning time routine, we went upstairs to do Spelling (Phonetic Zoo) and Grammar (FixIt!).

These are quick and easy parts of the day that I love. Power punches in Language Arts that I think are quite valuable!

Next, we switch gears into Math.  Mack and Molly each have a test this morning. Ruby continues her Math with Mr. D and is really enjoying Pre-Algebra! Last year in 8/7 Saxon math, we both had our struggles.  I would get frustrated when she didn’t “get” a concept because then I would have to figure out how to teach it, and I am NOT a math teacher.  I would find youtube videos to help and would ask for Josh’s help if it was an emergency.  We decided to not go on to Algebra 1, but instead to use this year for Pre-Algebra.  I want her to be confident in the concepts before we just move on because “most 8th graders are in Algebra.” Our goal isn’t for Ruby to be like “most 8th graders.” It is to guide her and help her to be the Ruby that God made her to be! And if that means Pre-Algebra in 8th grade, then so be it!

This week we worked more on a writing project about a natural disaster.  We chose Hurricane Maria and how it changed Puerto Rico.  We watched news videos, looked at maps, read some articles and charts together and discussed photographs.  Then, we took notes–making lists of the most important facts. And lastly, they each could do anything they wanted to present the information.  Molly focused on the effects of a power outage. Ruby stated facts and then highlighted some of the relief efforts. Mack created a 3-D image of the flooding of someone’s home.

We bought some pumpkins so that they can draw or paint on them for fun.

The girls practice piano and chorus daily, and I want them to practice typing every day, but it seems to get forgotten a lot.

Mack has been sketching a lot lately.  He also jumps into creative writing quite often, and I love to read his stories…even if they are mostly about football.

I often hear Molly strumming away on her guitar and singing.  Love that.

Our weeks seem to fly by.  Don’t know what or why or how to explain it, but these days seem to go by much faster than the elementary days. Some times, despite the fact that I home school and am under the same roof as my kids most of every day, I wonder if I am spending enough time investing in them. I don’t want our relationship to mostly be telling them what to do next or what math problems to correct.  I want connection with who they are as a person….that is not always as easy as it might seem. It takes intentionality and time.

So let me jump off this laptop and go find one of the children to be with. 🙂 Happy Thursday!

If you give a house new shutters…

I was telling my mom about why we were painting our house, and she said it reminded her of that book If You Give A Moose a Muffin. You know, if you give a moose a muffin then he will want some jam to go with it. Then, when he will eat all the muffins and want some more…the moose wants to go to the store and when he steps outside, he realizes he needs a sweater…that’s when he notices the button is loose, so he sews it on and then he is reminded of how his grandma made puppets, and he will want to make some puppets…and on and on and on it goes.

Yeah, that is pretty much how we ended up having our house painted.  It was a very creamy colored painted brick…read: yellow. We didn’t love it, but we were choosing to live with it. One day we got a new front door installed. We thought we should get new shutters to better compliment our front door, so we did. But, the shutter color was ugly with our house.  It made the yellow more yellow. In certain light the shutters even looked reddish. Ick. I couldn’t even see our front door for all the ugliness going on.

Here is before:


BIG SIGH. {And just to be clear, this was the best lighting…in person at most any other time of day it was U-G-L-Y.}

We decided that maybe we should paint the shutters.  But if we were going to hire a painter, why not have him paint the whole house a color we actually liked? Soooo, we did. And here is AFTER:


And now that we have a new door, new shutters and a freshly painted house, it is painfully obvious that we “need” some serious landscaping.

If you give a house a new front door, you’re gonna need new shutters.  And when you see how ugly the shutters are, you’re gonna need a painter.  And when you hire a painter, you’re going to decide to paint the whole house.  Once you paint the whole house, you’re gonna need to install better landscaping….

In short, if you give a house a new front door, you’re gonna need a lot of money. 🙂

Football Coach Leash

For obvious reasons, I do not make comments about football.  Winners or losers or favorite teams or upsets or coaches, etc.

However, as I have watched more games this season (we recently got a television with actual access to shows and games after about ten years), I am baffled with this notion that a grown man/coach that expects his players to always be in their correct position on the field cannot keep his own body off the field. Instead, they have this other grown man pulling on their shirt or pants for a majority of the game to keep them from getting a penalty. I don’t get it.  Don’t bother trying to explain it to me with actual reasons because I likely wouldn’t buy them.


I immediately think of a toddler on a leash.  No judgement if you actually used one of these, but thankfully, I never had to.



Happy fall football day!

Bright spots

Sometimes the week is so “interesting” that you have to remind yourself that there were bright spots.  That your home school is actually working, even though it doesn’t always go smoothly or without so. many. opinions. from these kiddos. So, after coming out of my Hurricane Irma addiction (Am I the only one who watched and watched and watched some more? Josh would say, “They are just saying the same thing, Kristy. They’re gonna say the same thing in the next 20 minutes as well.”), I led us in our home school week, but somehow it was just a wonky week. I thought sharing our bright spots might encourage me!

#1) Mack read his math lesson and made a notes sheet without my prompting.



#2) Mack and I finished Danny, Champion of the World and started The Hobbit.


I have to admit that I haven’t gotten into The Hobbit before now—I know, I know. Crazy. But I am very much enjoying this book!

#3)Our Bible curriculum (that I bought for last year, but we never got to) has been amazing.  We gather around 8:45 at the breakfast table and eat and talk and then dive into a chapter of this book.  I highly recommend it!




#4) The kids are loving church!  Youth group is a highlight, and Mack is enrolled in Awana for the first time in his life. *GASP* Bless his baptist heart! Wednesday nights were overwhelming for me for a season, so I opted out for a few years. This year Mack is in choir and Awanas. He is still unsure of choir, but we’re gonna rock along with it because I think he will grow to love it. Josh and I are helping in 11th and 12th grade Sunday School. We may have lived here over a year, but we are still making strides out of our comfort zones.  Every week there is something that stretches me here in our new place!


#5) The perks of home schooling far outweigh the challenges. Right now Mack is watching The Hobbit, and we will be discussing the differences we find between the book and the movie.  The girls are singing choir music upstairs.  They both joined a home school chorus called “King’s Chorale,” and I think they are going to love it.  It’s more formal than either of them are accustomed to — a far cry from Toby Mac and Jamie Grace–but they are jumping in with both feet! Mack and I enjoyed reading outside this week.  I read while he swung on the hammock. He gets to practice corn hole often so he can try to beat Josh. The many words that come from the kids can sometimes be overwhelming…they always have a story to tell me or someone to tell me about that they met at church….no one simply takes my orders and does their work compliantly and quietly.  They get along sometimes and other times they argue so bad I wonder if they’ll ever be friends, but overall I think the time we spend together is a good thing. I like what we are learning in History, Bible and Math. I like the music elements of piano and chorus. Language Arts feels complete and strong.  And I love that the kids are making friends at church.



We’re making it! Finishing up our fourth week of school and feeling good. Tomorrow we will use our Friday morning to do yard work! Kind of like P.E., but not.

Happy almost-weekend!

remembering 9/11/2001

I was wearing a red dress and heels as I finished up getting ready to go to a job interview at Webb Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia.  Josh was home also on that September 11th morning in 2001.  We were both 24 years old and had been married a little over seven months.

My sister called to tell me to turn on the television because a plane had just flown into one of the Twin Towers in NYC. We flipped on the tv to see the second plane fly into the other tower. It was awful. Confusing. Sickening. Disturbing. Scary.

So this morning when I awoke to the date 9/11, my heart was so heavy. We have been praying earnestly for so many loved ones all along Florida and into Georgia in the path of Hurricane Irma– “the hurricane of the century” is what they’re calling it.

I wonder if my heart can take remembering such devastation like 9/11 as I simultaneously view photos and hear stories of storm devastation like I’ve not seen.

Big sigh.

But we must remember. We can’t forget. Remembering together is a very good thing.  We show our perseverance and determination. We remember all the brave heroes that helped so many. Firefighters, police, good citizens, brave people on every flight, and so many brave men and women on the front lines the past 16 years.

As we remember the sadness and loss of that day and continue learning more about the loss of this day, I am reminded of G.Campbell Morgan’s commentary on Psalm 142, a chapter subtitled ‘Prayer for Help in Trouble.’

“It is a great thing in darkest hour to set over against the darkness all the facts about God.  To do so is to triumph even in sorrow.”  

Psalm 142:3, 5 “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path….You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living…”


So today my family will remember 9/11.  And at the same time, we will remember the faithfulness of our God.

And today we will remember and pray for so many affected by fires and earthquakes and hurricanes and floods. And at the same time, we will remember the lovingkindness of the Lord, His ever-present help in times of trouble.


Harvey&Irma&Earthquakes, oh my.

What a wild world we are living in. A wild, broken world– groaning to be made perfect and whole again.  I’ve often thought that I should I have gone to school to be a counselor, and while I still believe that, I also think a close second would be to learn how to be a meteorologist.  I get consumed with weather.  The big unknowns and how they determine where in the world these natural monstrosities will go is amazing.

Anyway, navigating in this broken world is challenging enough when we aren’t faced with flooding and hurricanes and earthquakes, so when these are factored into life, anxieties are tempted to grow like a fungus, taking over every crevice of our minds and hearts. I am so thankful for my relationship with God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, who does all things perfectly. Here is a verse that we talked about this morning in regards to these days:


We also decided that for creative writing today we would write a letter to Irma. They could be polite and ask her to calm down or they could get firm with this off-the-charts hurricane.  Mack was all about this assignment.  Remember, he likes the words.


I think he did a great job expressing his feelings toward Irma! “Instead of ‘Mack, watch out for Irma,’ it’s ‘Irma, watch out for Mack!'”


Dorminy Academy Week 2 Re-cap

It’s Friday of our second week of school.  It’s felt a little bit like a circus around here (again). I awoke to the sound of a large truck and talking out in my driveway. Trash guys are here to take away the debris from our deck demo. I overhear them say they can’t get it all on one trip and will have to come back. Then, Maria shows up around 8:30 to clean my house– she is a welcome sight for me! The kids start waking up one by one looking for breakfast. Then, the doorbell rings and the trash guys are back again ready for round 2, but not until Cat gets some clarification from me. Yes, Cat is his name.  While I am out in the yard, a delivery truck pulls up to drop off some outdoor furniture. They work around the trash truck and get that taken care of.  The kids and I start school in the kitchen while Maria works upstairs.  Then, we go upstairs when she is ready to come downstairs. As we are doing school, I hear the yard guys weed eating and blowing and cutting grass.  A little while later, the trash guys are back and ready for round 3.  I just hope they are done before the firewood is to be delivered.  Josh opted for a load to be dumped on our driveway instead of them stacking it for us because “it’ll be good for the kids to do some manual labor.” O-K.  (UPDATE: The guys had time to stack the wood, so I went ahead and paid them for that because, um, reality. It’s storming and there’s a tornado warning until 10pm tonight. Stacking wood is not on my radar in such conditions.)

This stay-at-home-mom gig is a far cry from sitting on a couch eating bonbons.

Not to mention our day yesterday. We had a visit to the eye doctor for Ruby because she wants to give contacts a try and needed her eyes checked again anyway. She had to practice putting them in and taking them out several times.  Can you say ORDEAL???


The next stop was the orthodontist for them to fix something that was broken in her mouth. We scoot home, eat some lunch, then I take Mack to the pediatrician for a check-up.  He is a healthy kid, but he does have this pain in his heels that they call Severs Disease.  It’s just growing pains, basically.  Some kids get it worse than others.  We had an absolutely hilarious thing happen to us while we were in with the doctor, but I can’t share it with the internet because Mack might strangle me one day.  We both laughed and laughed till we couldn’t laugh anymore about it. I’m including it here in hopes it will jog my memory in a few years when I am reading these blogs to remind myself of what life was like.

This morning, in the midst of all the people in and out of our house and around our house, Mack was just being an absolute clown. Words are his jam.  He speaks and speaks some more all day, every day.  They were supposed to be doing math when he overheard me tell Ruby what the topic for “FreeWrite Friday” was.  It had to do with the football game we went to last night, so he stopped with the numbers and pulled out his notebook and got to writing.  Writing and writing and writing.  It is so great that he loves the words, but he also needs to develop some love for the numbers–at least to get him through the basics of high school and college math. Maybe he will marry a math wizard that loves budgets and crunching numbers.

This week we worked on a second part of a writing project that is basically noticing words and writing down words. Then, we wrote them on little cards and randomly chose about 15 and put them together the best we could for a poem.  That was pretty funny as most of them made little to no sense, but if you read them just right, one might think you were extremely artsy and creative.

Anyway, this week we studied a piece of art (as in, the kids told me all that was “weird” or all that they didn’t understand about the painting) and then I led them through some questions and in the end, everyone was to have a poem written about the painting.  Ruby went first.  Hers was so-so, but good.  Molly wouldn’t read hers out loud.  Mack was pretty proud of his, but none of us were expecting much of it, if I am honest. However, he blew us away! I was super-impressed, and he was quite happy that we all were blown away.  Again, words are his jam.




We have been working on spelling a good bit this second week of school, too.  The rule for the week is “I before e except after c– watch the exceptions.” Ok, I don’t know if you have ever tried to teach this spelling “rule,” but it is kind of annoying.


I mean, seriously. Talk about exceptions.  However, we used the rule for most of our spelling words, but not without much commentary on this “stupid rule” from the kids.IMG_2841.JPG

Mack found a golden quote from his reading book:


On another note, Molly never becomes so interested in practicing her piano homework than when it is math time.  That girl gets serious about pounding those notes out when it means she doesn’t have to do math.  Except she does have to math.


The clown with the pianist. Both doing what they can to dodge the Saxon Math book. And when I would give Mack a look that said ‘GET TO WORK,’ he would say, ” Don’t look at me like that. I’m a Christian.”

Don’t ask me what that means.  I don’t know.  And he doesn’t either.

We also went shopping for some hunting clothes for Mack this week. He has grown like a weed this past year and none of his clothes from last fall even come close to fitting him.IMG_2842.JPG

And since I don’t know about hunting so much, this is the pic I sent to Josh with “Is this the right kind of camo???” Because, wow, have you been in a hunting section at the store lately?  Choices galore.

So, second week of school, you weren’t as productive as the first week in actual books and projects, but there were definitely some lessons on time management and schedules and over-booking of ones’ life in there. From birthday dinners to eye appointments to grammar lessons to many people in and out of the home…..I am hoping and praying for a restful Labor Day and maybe a “NO PROJECTS” commitment for the fall and winter.

Oh! And here are some photos from a fun Thursday night at a pre-season Panthers game.





The times when the camera caught people dancing was my favorite part by far! So funny.


I saw my cousin, Austin, at the game! Small world.  He is a huge Steelers fan, so he left happy last night, I am sure.



Sweet little moment with Josh and Ruby.  These kids are blessed to have him.