Confessions of A Hoarding Homeschooler

Confessions of a Hoarding Homeschooler








It all started when I went to look for a literary analysis book. One trash bag full and three boxes into the job, I started finding things. Treasures, really.

We must keep the carousal horse and other drawings, and the book Drawing With Children. I would be happy with only the drawings, but my daughter insists. What if she needs that book for her kids?


This binder says right on the cover Mind Twisting Stories which means it is a titled work, so it cannot be discarded.


Little sister even decorated it.

little sistercontribution

Most of our materials and assignments come with decorations of some sort, be they toddler explorations with marker, coffee rings, important reminders (reschedule dentist, pay water bill, need 27 styrofoam cups and toothpicks for gumballs) or even teeth marks. My youngest literally teethed on Shakespeare for Young People: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


I like to think that makes her sound smart.

I tossed that chewed on copy, but when my middle son came by to visit he noticed the boxes. “But mom, I was in this play! TWICE.”  Since he has his own house now he was welcome to dig through the boxes to his heart’s content.

When I was in the midst of the juggling act, I never realized how precious all those spills and scribbles would be someday.

We must keep the Book of Jokes. This is slap full of things nine year old boys find hilarious. Or HE-larry-US.














Obviously, these cannot be tossed out.

I adore reading his jokes and remembering that boy laugh. You know the one. The one that makes you laugh along even when nothing is funny. For a second I hear it again. I picture that grin and tousled up hair. It’s so present I can practically smell the little boy smell.

Also making the cut we have a songbook and cassette tape of Down By The Creekbank, a few original one of a kind, hand-designed space themed board games, and a smattering of materials we may actually need sometime next year.

I offered to keep the dissection kit (It’s in perfectly good shape) and order some extra specimens to do for fun.

The girl said, “No, thanks. I’m good.”

Party pooper. Truthfully, I am not so sad to say goodbye to that stage of my homeschooling mom career. Frog guts. Ugh.

Eventually, I loaded up boxes with a bunch of materials, some brand new. I think you may be able to discern why sometimes busy moms end up with duplicate unused workbooks.

My cabinet looks better now, but some old books are still firmly entrenched in the Stone Family Collection. Yes, those are ancient Abeka and National Geographic books. My kids loved them. Old books are friends.


I did find the book I was hunting, but after I skimmed through it I discovered it was not exactly what I was looking for.

I found something better. Messy, hoarded memories and plenty of room for more.

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Celebrate: My Word for 2015

My word for this year is CELEBRATE.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Psalm 150: 1-6 ESV

I’m fixing to get loud up in here.

I will celebrate the Lord’s goodness to me. His faithfulness and constant love. I will celebrate the results of pruning and pushing, until I can celebrate the actual thorn, keeping trust that He is faithful to work it out. One way or another. Knowing that He will provide me the faith to believe even when I don’t feel it at all and I say, “I just can’t even” not even able to complete articulating what it is I can’t.

Before, I have always earnestly chosen high sounding words that smacked of self-improvement. An action certainly commendable and always sorely needed in my case, but I do believe it is time for me to take a moment or a year to simply be. A time to celebrate.


I will celebrate my existence on this earth, and the fact of my well-earned age. Healthy indulgences will not be denied. Naps will be taken. Songs will be sung. Loudly.

Citing the rights endowed me by experience of years; I will try to not let protocol keep me from expressing what I think. Already I sometimes say things that I am not sure I really meant to. They pop out of my mouth, thoughts leaping out of my cranial cavity to dance across my tongue before they gleefully escape into the open to cavort. And get this; they are words that only mildly surprise me. Did I say that out loud?  And instead of being embarrassed, I laugh.

I have become more fully me and this I will celebrate with extreme stubbornness.

I will celebrate milestones reached and hurdles overcome. There’s been a bunch. There’s more ahead. Might as well practice celebrating now.

I will not ignore or deny the hard and terrible days that pound against flesh and crease the soul, leaving worn places, but in the midst I will search out and celebrate things no one else notices. Things that those blinded by high clouds think are inconsequential. I will turn the glass around and upside down to get a clearer view of truth. The smallest hill is a mountain when you have to crawl on your hands and knees. Every step forward deserves recognition.

On the darkest of days and nights, I will determine to remember and celebrate that He celebrates me, imparting life where there was none, reviving and restoring what was lost.

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:23-24 ESV

I will celebrate all these gifts and more.


What about you? What will you celebrate?


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Through a Glass Darkly

“What you see is real, but you can’t see it this way with the naked eye. It is the result of thousands of 20-30 second exposures, edited together to produce the timelapse. This allows you to see the Milky Way, Aurora and other Phenonmena, in a way you wouldn’t normally see them.”

Temporal Distortion from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

There are times and situations in life when you can’t see anything but the same old empty sky. A hard marriage, a needy child, bills, old conflicts that keep repeating themselves. You pray, work, and wait for change; but nothing ever really seems to happen.

Every now and again you get a glimpse of a miracle, and hope bubbles to the surface while you hold your breath for the waited upon breakthrough. Then the earth turns and you are back at square one, or so it seems.

I rarely take time to look at the stars. When I do, I only see what my human eyes can bear. There is so much more, even in this temporal realm.

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. 2 Corinthians 12:18

Focusing on the things not seen, those things with eternal weight, helps us to catch sight of reality. Realigning our perspective according to what God says allows us to perceive life as it really exists.

Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!] 2 Corinthians 12:16-17AMP

Occasionally, we receive a momentary revelation of glory along the way, hints of the unseen reality, but it is distorted by our limited vision. Take hope in what you know to be true. God has a plan and is working continually for the good of those who belong to Him, no matter what circumstances seem to indicate. Keep walking in faith and obedience, trusting Him. Soon we shall see clearly and understand.

For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. 1 Corinthians 13:12 AMP

Charity Case

The mail lady honked her horn, announcing the arrival of something that wouldn’t fit into the mailbox. Something that had to be hand delivered to the door. One of the kids went to see. His reaction caused the rest of the young ones to spill out into the yard, carrying their shouts and squeals with them. The dog joined in the happy rumpus, barking and wiggling his way into the pack of children.

Boxes from various states, one for each child, were presented with flourish. The dog did not get one, but wagged his tail and grinned along with the rest. After farewells of “Merry Christmas,” because it was, the jeep made it down the driveway only a short way, leaving a trail of white envelopes, before stopping. In all the excitement, the mail lady had forgotten the letters placed on top of her vehicle.

How our names got on the list all those years ago is still a mystery, although I have my suspicions. There had been many lean Christmases, but a series of circumstances left this one was practically emaciated. And now there were boxes of gifts; clothes, gently loved toys (cookie monster!) and new items, too. The packages were overflowing with shiny love.

These blessings came from unexpected places, arriving at a key time. You see, God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. It may be the physically practical or simply a kind gesture of encouragement from another. If God determines to bless one, or more, of His children you can be sure it will come to pass.

And my God will liberally supply ([i]fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:9 Amplified Bible

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. I Corinthians 3:13 KJV

Reclaiming Holiday Joy

Often times the joy of the season is colored by other emotions. The focus on family and friends accentuates the empty spots.

Every Christmas my thoughts return to those no longer here on earth and special memories of times we shared. They were so important, even if I didn’t realize how much back then. Untangling the happiness of those wonderful moments with loved ones from the sadness of missing them in the present can be challenging.

Even without a specific loss, idealistic images of picture perfect holidays super-imposed on reality can shift attention off of the reason for the celebration and give way to grief over unfulfilled desires. Understanding who we are; the deeply flawed, beloved, beautiful, prone-to-failing children of a gracious Heavenly Father, and accepting that life on earth is not always easy can help get our eyes back on Jesus.

Some losses can be spoken of freely. Others are held close, but all can be brought to Him.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Resources for Help
Depression-Focus on the Family
Holiday Stress-Meier Clinics

The Season of “I Meant To”

This time of year can often become the season of “I meant to” for me.

I meant to handcraft gifts for all my friends and family, but ran out of time. And glue sticks.

I meant to take the kids ice skating, but one of them got the flu. Then the rest did.

I meant to send Christmas cards, but couldn’t find my address book, so I did ecards instead.

One year I completely forgot to make Christmas cookies with the kids, even though we own approximately seventy cookie cutters, if you count all the alphabet ones.

It’s a predictable cycle. I’ve repeatedly tried to establish some holiday family traditions. My schedule says we decorate the tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but schedules have a way of unplanning themselves. I’ve learned to be happy with the job getting done before December 25th.

Sometimes a feeling of guilt tries to creep up on me, but then I refocus on why and Who it is we are celebrating.

And the one thing He asks of me.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NIV

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 NIV

Two of A Kind

“You and your sister as so much alike it’s weird,” pronounced my daughter.

It’s true. We walk the same, we talk the same, and we like the same things.

I saw my sister in the fabric store the other day. She had purchased the identical dress pattern that I had in my box at home without either of us realizing the duplication.

I suppose the most striking similarity we share is our laugh. It is loud and . . . unique. I was visiting at a church one day, and laughed. Believe it or not, an old friend of my sister’s was there, heard me, and recognized my sister in my laugh!

A ten year gap separates us. She was my example when I was a teen and she in her twenties. Maybe because we spent so much time together during my especially impressionable years, natural inherited tendencies became more firmly entrenched.

Key time spent with someone has lasting influence.

What if I gave my most important, most impressionable moments to be taught of Jesus? Would natural fleshy attitudes and actions be changed to a walk more like His, a talk more like His, thoughts more like His?

How wonderful it would be if people could recognize the Joy of the Lord, hear Jesus, when I laugh.