What I Learned this September

1 We swung into September littered with full suitcases to unpack from vacation and a house that hadn’t seen love for a month.  The next day we started homeschooling amidst the chaos.  I’m taking notes for next year. Start school AFTER preparing the home.  Check.

2 Stephanie White is my local homeschooling guru.  “Just think,” she said, “you have three little apprentices to prepare for the world.  And besides, you get to learn alongside them.” That was key. I love to learn. I could nightly put up a cot in a library.  Alongside my kids I get to learn French and memorize the 7 wonders of the world. I couldn’t be happier with my 9-5 world. Who knew?


3 Homeschooling science is more fun when you can poke and dissect and feel grainy pollen between your fingers. My mother bought us orange lilies when she was in town ten days ago and last week Friday they started dropping their petals. We took that opportunity to do science. We memorized and watched videos about pollination and flower anatomy but until we started picking apart the stamen, and holding up the delicate filament to the light, we didn’t learn wonder.  What I’ve learned about homeschooling this month is that I love the days we focus on just a few subjects and dive in deep.

4 In September I decided that packed lunches don’t need to be boring. I’m packing a meal three nights a week right now while Andrew takes all three to Soccer and climbing.  Enter the Monet sandwich straight from the Paisley Park Cafe in Mansfield. Does it still exist? I don’t know. These sandwiches were memorable. Large croissants, ham sliced so thin it’s falling apart, a few toasted walnuts, and a smear of basil pesto on the top and bottom. Three minutes at 425 until it’s a bit crispy. Savory ham and pesto? What could be better?

5 While we’re talking food, let’s talk about the Tres Leches Cake. This was my September culinary aha moment. I made one for Jack Lumanog’s birthday, our friend and the COO of the Anglican Church of North America. Andrew said it was Jack’s favorite. Only problem? I had never tasted one myself.  So, when I’m concerned about a first outcome, I always turn to Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  I have a 90% success rate with Ina.  We moaned through the desert course and decided this was worth making from scratch. We also giggled at how many leches there were in the recipe. One leche baked in and four soaking into the vanilla sponge cake. Whipping cream for on top of the strawberries? One more. Seis Leches! Here’s a link to the recipe for this insanely creamy cake.  Your next birthday cake recipient will thank you.


6  Priscilla Shirer has this beautiful sermon that has been playing in my mind on repeat all month. “When you experience the presence of God fall, you are ruined for church as usual.”


7  I’m watching Madam Secretary on Netflix. It’s reminiscent of West Wing though not as fast or witty or…lovable 🙂 . OK, so it’s not like West Wing, but I still love Tea Leoni as the Secretary of State, her husband as a professor of religion at Georgetown and both of them trying to figure out how to engage with many of the foreign issues we face.

8  Carly Fiorina. I was enthusiastically climbing onto the bandwagon after some insightful comments Ms. Fiorina made at Republican debate until I read this on Red State.  Now I’m concerned with her integrity. Anybody else have better information?


9 These are the books by my nightstand right now. I’ll share the others slowly. Big Magic is the type of book on writing I would read furtively under a blanket with a flashlight. It may be a bit hoaky, (magic?) but it’s an entertaining, well-written, and generous piece of creative midwifery. There should be a picture of Big Magic in the thesaurus under writer encouragement: heartening, cheering up, inspiration, motivation, stimulation, fortification. If you are a creative or an entrepreneur and your War of Art by Steven Pressfield is dog-eared, Big Magic is your next download.

8 My daughter has always wanted to SAVE THE BABIES. When she could barely talk, she arranged her dozen babies on the stairs, one per step, and informed me that when she grew up she wanted to have real babies stacked up to the ceiling. She used hand motions to get the point across. A few days ago she ran around the house searching for change to fill an empty bottle for the pregnancy clinic in our area in order to SAVE THE BABIES. This got Andrew thinking. What if she would take that passion as well as her love for cupcakes and marry them using the Cupcake Kids.  Madeline is busy making plans. Have you seen this simple idea to raise money for imprisoned children with AIDS in Uganda? Do you have young girls? You’re going to want to check this out: https://vimeo.com/85654021

9. So…I was planning on doing a 31 day writing extravaganza on REST and spiritual exhaustion starting today. In fact, I planned and wrote three-fourths of the posts for it. I wrote drafts and perused old blog posts and designed a title page and had a lovely title: Selah: 31 Days of rest for the war-weary. And then Tuesday it seemed to me the Lord said, no, that He wanted the 31 days of rest to be a book on His time. He wanted me fully present this October to be able to move with His agenda.  I’m learning to listen. I’m also learning that I can’t add items to my agenda without taking something away.  Even more important? I can’t add items to my agenda without being willing to provide the intercession support to support the work.  I’m learning. Slowly.


What did you learn through September?

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