books · food · kids · learning · seasons · winter

Long Cold Winter

“Ho, Mouse!” says Hare.
“Long time no see!”
So they pop white corn. 
And they brew black tea.
            -Bear Snores On
books · family · homemaking · seasons

Homemaking Inspiration

I was able to steal away for a couple of hours on Monday after I dropped my older girls off at drama practice.  I went to my favorite book store and bought the second Madame Chic book with my birthday money.  It is a really soft and yummy read.  I love homemaking books…and cafe lattes.

Throughout my homemaking journey so far I have discovered a few inspirational resources that I return to over and over again.  I love my home…but I have not always loved it like I should. In those times of drudgery I turn to my library.  Today I thought I might share a few favorites with you.

The Spirit of Loveliness   Emilie Barnes.  Anything by Emilie Barnes is good when it comes to homemaking.  However, this book is my favorite.

Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman  Anne Ortland.  A classic, but written in a more formal style.

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy  Sarah Ban Breathnach.  This book is wonderful for reviving the seasons and learning to love the everyday little things.  However, I do not ascribe to much of her religious philosophy in this book.  I read it for seasonal inspiration.

My Lady of Cleves  Margaret Campbell Barnes.  I love the womanliness of Anne in this book.  She is the fourth wife of Henry VIII.  If you enjoy Tudor drama…you will love this book.  This historical fiction is well written and always seems to draw me in.  The myth of beauty is debunked in the portrayal of the woman Henry VIII called a Flanders Mare.  Anne’s beauty is what I consider true beauty, and too bad for King Henry that he did not appreciate it. She would have been a wonderful wife and queen.

 The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Woman’s Work”    Kathleen Norris.  This is a very introspective and spiritual look at a woman’s vocation.

family · fun · kids · play · seasons

Birthday Season

August- Samuel- Age 1
Blue icing cupcakes and a simple evening with just us.  Birthdays at this age are always spent at home with good food and cake!

November- Sophia- Age 9
Strawberry cake and a sleepover.  Sophia got a a real bow, and she loved it.
December- Caroline- Age 13
Chocolate cake and a dance party.  30+ of her friends and family cut a rug in our shop.  Bonfire and Nacho bar.  It was a big one for the new teenager in the house.  See was gifted a harp from her Amma and Pa Glen.  
Birthday season at the Sexton House.
books · faith · family · kids · learning · Nativity · Orthodoxy · parenting · seasons · winter

A Few Nativity Pictures

A collection of Christmas books.

Wrapped up to be a sweet surprise for the evenings of December as we prepare for Jesus to be born.

Our Jesse tree.  We have since abandoned the hanging of the ornaments.  Brother Bear seems to have decided that all paper products should be torn to shreds.  We are reading, praying, and lighting a candle.  However, I often find myself praying this prayer, “Lord please accept this very imperfect prayer.”  Evening prayers are interesting with a toddler and baby.  The interruptions and noise make me feel like we are just scraping by sometimes.  But, we keep practicing.  Glory to God for all things.

fall · family · friendship · fun · · kids · play · seasons

Happy all it’s gory!

Hope everyone has a safe and fantastic Halloween.  Don’t eat too much candy!  
Fun Fact:
My favorite candy treat is a Butterfinger.  I steal all of them out of the trick-or-treat bags every year.  
fall · fun · · seasons


Well, I have freshened things up a bit!  I will most definitely not be able to post everyday…maybe not even once a week, but I am opening up my blog.  I hope to reconnect with many of you and meet new friends as well.

The Michaelmas Daisies are blooming in my flowerbed.  I love October!  It’s good to be back.

family · fun · poetry · seasons

In Flanders Fields

Van Gogh, Field of Poppies
 In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.  
John McCrae, May 1915
May everyone have a blessed Memorial Day as we honor those who gave so much.  And to those who are serving…to their families.  Thank you.

faith · fall · family · food · · nutrition · seasons · Spring · summer · winter

The Farmer

To all those farmers praying for rain…
Who make a living, or not, depending on forces out of their control…
To my brother, who as a child the farmers would call and say, “Ask Josh to pray for rain.”  And it would.
To all the animals who search for food and shelter in this hard drought…
To men and women who leave clean and come home dirty…
To my grandfather, who died tragically doing what he loved…farming.
To those who fill my tummy from the work of their hands…
To God who established seed time and harvest, and who makes all things grow, and who knows best.
Thank you.  
family · fun · Orthodoxy · parenting · seasons · Spring

Spring Made Me Do It!

Hello…it’s been two months since I posted here.  I’ve missed you.  I thought I would just drop by and post an update on  the happenings around here.  Truth is, I really enjoy writing and sharing on a regular basis.  My mom suggested that I just pop by whenever I get a hankering to write, even if it is just a few sentences. Maybe she is on to something. 🙂

  • I am loving the warmer weather.  This winter has been one for the record books.  I have been struggling with a case of postpartum depression, and winter weather seems to make my struggle all the more difficult.  So, I say, bring on SUN, and the thunder, and lightning, and the southerly breezes, and the mid seventies! (OK, I can dream…in reality it’s mid eighties.)
  • Our a/c is out, in fact it has been out for a week.  This is a really big deal around here because on most days our house is a bit on the chilly side, we like to keep it cool.  Everyone says we live in an icebox.  It’s interesting how living with modern conveniences dulls the natural sensations of the changing seasons.  Today, Caroline commented that yesterday the house was cold and today it was really hot.  I said, “That’s Texas in the spring.”  It has been good to go without…to realize that we can.
  • I have been sleep training Sam for the last few nights.  I know this is controversial, but this Mama was just plain tired.  The first night was difficult, but the second night Sam slept for 12 hours straight!  I slept so hard that I woke up with a headache.  We saw some friends of ours this evening when we were out and about, and my girlfriend commented that I looked tan… like I had been on a vacation.  I laughed so hard, I even gave Slade a high five.  I told her that I was so gorgeous thanks to the first six hour stretch of sleep I have had in over a year.
  • The girls and I made a spring bucket list yesterday.  Some things include:

A Greek picnic in the park.
A trip to the Botanical Gardens.
A Texas Rangers baseball game.
A trip to the local Farmer’s Market.
Star Gazing in the backyard.
Strawberry picking.
Pascha weekend with Amma and Pa Glen.
Easter egg hunt.
Rock painting.
Perfect our vanilla cupcake recipe.
Fly kites.
Have a family picture made.
Have a backyard barbecue with a few friends.
Plant our garden.

What a fun list!  What are your plans for the Spring?

  • I am slowly coming around as far as my health goes.  Pregnancies are so hard on me, for what ever reason, God knows.  After this pregnancy I have noticed this place in my heart that feels like a wound, I feel an intense vulnerability.  I am not as strong as I used to be…or should I say strong willed? I hope in some small way I am made perfect in my weakness.
  • I just finished a book entitled People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil.  What a fascinating read for Lent.  Every time I put the book down I vowed to just tell the truth about myself.  It is fascinating to understand the psychology of confession and self examination.  True repentance is the medicine for the sick sick soul.  And true humility has everything to do with telling the truth.  And it’s ok to be transparent because God is so loving and compassionate.
  • Addy turns 14 tomorrow!  Wow, what a wonderful year we have had.  She is finishing up her online Classical courses and is training for a summer job teaching a teen Zumba class at the gym where we workout!  She is a great dancer, and her instructor is so excited to have her on her team.  She is gearing up for the local rabbit shows, and writing a speech for 4-H roundup.  She debuted her vocal talents at a local eatery last Saturday night with a mean rendition of Make You Feel My Love by Adele…it was karaoke night!  We laughed so hard and had a blast!  I love teenagers…who knew they would be so much fun! May God grant her many years.
  • We spent an entire day last week at St. Arsenius Hermitage cleaning and organizing. It was so nice to be able to spruce things up for Pascha.  Father Gregory placed a new icon in the church courtyard of Jesus with the children.  Another family who came to help planted flowers all around it, and it turned out beautiful.  Father Gregory said that because so many children come to his monastery he would like to have a special icon for them.  My mom and sister-in-law came to help as well, and we cleaned like nuns!  🙂  It was a great day.
  • Piano lessons are in full swing!  I am so happy for Caroline.  She loves to play the piano, and I believe the new teacher is just what she needs.  I like hard nosed piano teachers!
  • Sam is sitting up, and rolling over, and saying dada, and being as wonderful as ever.  He has my heart.  He is ALL boy!
  • Elinor told me the other day, “Mama, I don’t like to pray.”  I said, “You don’t?”  She replied, “No, I will just say Saint Helen pray for me in my bed.”  With that she exited the laundry room as if she had just signed a treaty.  She makes me smile!
  • Sophia is spending the week with Amma and Pa Glen.  She is away from home without her older sisters for the first time.  I know she is having a blast, but she misses us, too.  She is at that stage where the older girls are just a bit too old, and Elinor is just a bit too young.  It’s hard, this business of growing up.

Well, I could go on and on, but it’s late and I need to take advantage of the sleep Sam is giving me.  I hope your Spring is filled with life!  

I pray for Good Strength for the rest of our Lenten journey. Below is a quote that I am chewing on…enjoy.

Nothing is more opposed to God than pride, for self-deification is concealed in it, its own nothingness or sin. Thus more than anything humility is acceptable to God, which considers itself nothing, and attributes all goodness, honor, and glory to God alone. Pride does not accept grace, because it is full of itself, while humility easily accepts grace, because it is free from itself, and from all that is created. God creates out of nothing. As long as we think that we can offer something of ourselves, He does not begin His work in us. Humility is the salt of virtue. As salt gives flavor to food, so humility gives perfection to virtue. Without salt, food goes bad easily, and without humility, virtue is easily spoiled by pride, vainglory, impatience – and it perishes. There is a humility which a man gains by his own struggles: knowing his own insufficiency, accusing himself for his failings, not allowing himself to judge others. And there is a humility into which God leads a man through the things that happen to him: allowing him to experience afflictions, humiliations, and deprivations.  St. Philaret of Moscow