Crying, Cooking, and More: Collage Friday


It's been two weeks since I returned from Ecuador

I'm finding myself feeling helpless and sad. I know these are normal feelings to have after a trip of this magnitude.  I think I've cried more in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years combined. 

My husband and children have been so patient with me - I think the trip affected all of us in untold ways, too. (You'll see an example of that later in this post.)

May I tell you a funny/sad story?  

This past week we were sitting in a very crowded orthodontist's office. Anna was getting her braces adjusted and Grant and I were in the waiting room. He was playing on my phone - but the only app I have on there remotely for kids was the "Elf Yourself" app.  You know - the one where you grab a bunch of faces from your camera roll and then they are turned into elves dancing.  

It's very cute.

Well, Grant showed me his Elf Yourself creation. He had used pictures of the children from Ecuador - pictures I still had from one of the orphanages on my phone. Grant thought it was so cute and funny. He thought I would like it. As I watched the video tears streamed down my cheeks. I told Grant I wasn't mad at him, but it just made me sad.

About a minute later a friend of mine from Classical Conversations walked in the office and said, "How was your trip?" 

More tears. 

I apologized to her and told her a little about the trip but promised I would tell her more later - when I wasn't going to cry about it. 

I also gave a brief presentation at our church about my trip to Ecuador (I showed the video from my trip - have you seen it?). 

More tears - this time from me and everyone that was listening. 

So, while I am very happy to be home with my family, I'm also sad because I feel at loose ends. Shouldn't we be doing more to help children all over the world? Don't people realize what a SELFISH culture we live in? 

The pictures on Facebook of people's Christmas trees STUFFED with presents just made me ill. (I had to just stop looking at FB earlier this week).  The debate surrounding Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty made me ill. The trivial things of our culture hit me hard this year. 


The trip was a game changer for me. I'm reading Orphan Justice (on the recommendation of my friend Ami who is adopting a beautiful little girl from Ecuador), and I'm learning so much. 

I don't know what to do with these feelings, but I see lots of quiet time listening for God in my future. 

{Just an aside, my friend Melissa is hosting a no spend January challenge and our familly has joined her. We will only be spending money on ESSENTIALS this month. We live a debt free life (my husband has worked for a debt relief non profit agency for 16 years!), but we feel the need to be more aggressive with our savings.}

Christmas Traditions

We have some simple Christmas traditions I love. 

One evening we go to Chick Fil-A and get Peppermine Chip Milkshakes. Then, we drive to look at Christmas lights. There is one place in particular near us that goes FULL TILT with their lights. We listen to Christmas music and sip milkshakes. Everyone looks forward to that night.

Decorating Gingerbread Men is another tradition. Even daddy gets involved (and he's not crafty!) - but he loves this tradition, too.

Christmas Eve/Day Traditions

We never travel on Christmas.  This year we saw my family on Thanksgiving and were at home here in Georgia as usual for Christmas.

Christmas Eve we always attend church, then go out to eat with dear friends from our congregation. We've come to think of these friends as family and are blessed by their friendship. 

Christmas Day is always spent at Granddaddy's house with more family. 

See my husband and his father carving the roast?  Those men are two peas in a pod, and when Grant is nearby, it's like three peas in a pod. VERY cute.

My sister-in-law made all four of us EACH a quilt for Christmas. I can't even begin to imagine the time and work that went into each quilt. We love them!

Resources and Randomness

We have started back to school (lightly). Anna has work due for their first day of class (1/14) and Grant and I are reviewing memory work from weeks 1-12. 


1. We ran A LOT of errands this past week - lots of doctor appointments, trips to GoodWill, and just general running around. I caved and let Grant watch movies in the van - normally it's music or CC CDs, but he was watching The Chipmunks instead!  

2. I spent much time writing SQUILT curriculum. If you are in Classical Conversations, I will have a SQUILT volume to coordinate with Cycle 2 ready on January 6. If you are awaiting Volume 3: Romantic Composers, it's in the works and coming soon!  

3. I cooked much more than usual over the holidays. The favorite thing I made (well, other than the Monster Cookie Dough Dip on New Year's Eve) was Zuppa Toscana.  This is a knock off Olive Garden recipe and is a new family favorite!

4. My sweet Anna BUGGED me everywhere we went to check the sale sections for Operation Christmas Child box items. What a smart, compassionate girl she is. Between Target and Hobby Lobby we got many good items for boxes!  Anna doesn't often exhibit her feelings through crying or strong bursts of emotion, but she takes ACTION when something is important to her.  These boxes mean a lot to her. 

5. Of course - lots of LEGO building was going on this Christmas. Grant received Big Ben from his aunt, and also...

6. MINDSTORMS!!  (from Santa -- that Santa is really smart and surely MUST know someone at LEGO Education.)

7. We've been reading The Fate of the Yellow Woodbee. This is a story about Nate Saint and Jim and Elisabeth Elliot in Ecuador.  It has special meaning for us this year. I love all of the Trailblazer Books!  


Getting Back on Schedule and SQUILT Update

Our Classical Conversations community resumes on January 14, but we are planning on resuming our normal school "schedule" January 6. 

I love a holiday, but I think I love getting back into a routine more!

What about you?

I also wanted to share a FREE SQUILT lesson with you, and also let you know that SQUILT for CC, Cycle 2, is coming out on MONDAY!  


Visit the SQUILT website if you are interested in learning more about my music appreciation curriculum. 

Please join me for Collage Friday!

If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
  • Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!