Timing myself!

Revisiting a post written several years ago …https://i0.wp.com/www.simplysmartliving.com/assets/images/pg-kitchen-timer.jpg

Before we started our Lucerne Tree business, before I joined Facebook … before our having to discipline our teenage daughters’ computer and cell phone times …

I  wonder just how quickly the boundaries shift or “vanish”  …  and realize, again, that my habits set the tone for the family, and set an example for my children.

Just after we started our homeschooling, I re-evaluated my schedule. I realized that things were not in balance. I went to pray.  The Lord really convicted me about my time spent on my computer.

I realized that I spent hours at my laptop every day. I love to read, and research, create and write. I love to read new posts on my favourite blogs. I love to receive emails and write and encourage others.

Isn’t this my “ministry” while I live on a farm so remote and far from everyone?

But I spend too much time here everyday.

So, I committed my time to the Lord anew. I took my handy kitchen timer and placed it on my desk. I now limit my computer time to 1 hour for the day. For everything. Emails, posts, writing, reading, creating my own pages, whatever. When that bell rings, I must stop.

Shut down.

Walk away.


My hubby is glad. My children are very glad.

This is right. And I am so grateful that the Lord stirs my conscience and urges me to hear His soft voice. May my use of my time honor Him.


Away and Return

Some of my readers asked where I have been as I have not posted any new posts in the last weeks …

I have been away.

My dad became ill in May, and again early July and following several days of hospitalization 2 weeks ago, he became paralyzed. The eventual diagnosis was spinal TB or extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.

At the moment he is still in ICU following a really long and complex spinal fusion.  Doctors hope that now that his spine is stabilized, the nerves will eventually recover.  It may require up to 18 months in rehab.

My mom is traumatized by the sudden dramatic events and she faces many huge decisions.  She will have to pack and sell, give away and donate their things and sell her house.  We visited the retirement complex she has reserved and trust for God’s perfect timing to move there.

My dad’s treatments and final recovery is uncertain. Medical aid will not cover the many months of rehab. He has lost his job as the company has had to replace him, and at his age, he probably will not be able to return when he recovers.

I took an 19-hour bus trip to be with my parents and support my mom.  We spent many days sorting out dad’s legal affairs and accounts.

We visited him in hospital.

We cried many times.

We prayed constantly.

My mom’s church, the ladies in her quilting group, her dog therapy group and many of her patients (she’s a physiotherapist) and family have rallied around mom and dad.

Although we live far away, I am in constant contact with her.

In the meantime, I have returned home to my family and our farm.  My eldest daughter approaches her  prelim exams in August and matric final exams in November.  I have committed to driving her to the exam center and supporting her in these last few important months of her schooling.

I will so appreciate your prayers.


Here are some sites you may wish to view if you have any questions regarding extra-pulmonary TB:


Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my daughter’s questionnaire.

She received the required number of responses to work with the data.

I hope that she will manage to collate all the numbers, create graphs, make comparisons and form some correlations in her study.  It should be really interesting …

As a thank you, I have included a free download ~

Titus2 young woman

Titus 2:4 poster for a young woman ~ Titus 2v4 Young Women


Beautiful Mama Blog Award

This blessing came my way …

Beautiful Mama Blog AwardMarie at My Mom Thoughts  shared this encouragement,

thank you so much!

She wrote ~

“To accept the award, please do the following things:

Click the above award image, save it and use it in your acceptance post.
List 3 things you love about motherhood.
Nominate other deserving mamas; you may choose as many as you like. (And let them know of the nomination)”

Normally I tend to keep family issues private on my blog, but please let me share a little more about my being a mom …

Right from the start of my marriage, I was a step-mom to 2 boys. It was not always “beautiful”.  When the boys lived with us for seasons, we were a blended family and I felt secure, but their coming & going has been the most challenging aspect of parenting.  Currently one son, 22-years old, lives and works with us on our farm.  The eldest, 25-years old, is planning to join us here too.  … coming and going …  and learning to love with my hands and heart wide open. 

I always wanted to be a mom and when I fell pregnant with our first child, I prayed for mentors, attended La Leche League meetings, read books.  I wanted to do motherhood well. I was a breastfeeding-baby-wearing-attached-parenting-co-sleeping kind of mom and it was natural to continue nurturing her and start homeschooling.

Four years later I had my second child.  We had an amazing home birth and I thought that I would parent her as I had before,  but everything seemed different.  She was different.  She loved to sleep on her own, in her cot, and thrived on structured routine. My parenting style with her changed dramatically.

And just two and half years later my youngest arrived, also with an intimate home birth.  She fitted into our lives so smoothly.  I could pop her in my sling and continue with the family.

I love seeing each child open up like a flower and discover themselves and life around them.  It is a privilege to homeschool them and spend our lives together.

I am so grateful to be a mom.

Here are 3 things I love about motherhood ~

  • Every age and every stage of the child is utterly unique and special.  It is sometimes so beautiful that I tell myself to soak it all in.  Sometimes it seems so hard, even ugly.  Grace to a child in transition and grace to a mom who doesn’t know how …
  • Every child is unique and one style does not fit all.  All my ideals and standards have been challenged.  Grace.  Grace to others, and self-grace to the ‘different’.
  • All truly great parenting is done on bended knee in prayer. Keep praying, looking to Him,the author and perfecter of our faith, the One who K.N.O.W.S. all.

Other amazing moms who inspire me are ~

Pop over to their blogs and websites and be encouraged and inspired.

Blessings and grace to all you beautiful mamas!

Thanks to You!

I love Word Press’ 2012 annual report.  They presented all their clients with a gorgeous stats report that really made me smile!

Somehow their “stats monkeys” compared visits to blogs with numbers of passengers on a Boeing 787, or visitors to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, or even how many climbers make it to the top of Mount Everest!

You all came with me to Liechtenstein!  :)

Blog Report 2012And you all made this happen!

Blog Report 2012 2Thank you for your faithful friendship and love and support!

May 2013 be a wonderful year for all!


Miss.L’s Picasso art featured!

Out of the blue, I received an email from the University of Arizona requesting permission to use Miss.L10’s “Picasso Inspired Violin and Guitar” collage for their Sacred & Profane Arizona Choir & Symphonic Choir concert.

I was shocked and stunned, but of course, said, “Yes!”

Miss.L10 was delighted!

She was even more thrilled to receive copies of the poster and the program.

What an honor to have her art selected from the millions of children’s artworks published on the internet!

Thank you, Ingvi.



I am inspired by Ann Voskamp’s Holy Experience.

Have you seen her ‘new look’?

These words in her post today spoke right into my heart ~

Your free download ~ Self-grace

Blessings and much grace,

Humble Thanks

For all your kind wishes

words of encouragement,

advice and healing tips,

amazing love and support,

I am truly grateful.

Thank you for your comments and prayers after my accident.

I am so grateful.


An Accident

Although I tend to share only a “peep” into our homeschooling here at Practical Pages, and do not expose all the personal details of our lives, I really appreciate your cyber-friendship and your love, encouragement and support and want to share a little of our (my) current reality ~

Last week Wednesday evening I was quite badly burnt.

There was an accident in my kitchen where a large bottle of methylated spirits my hubby was using caught alight.

My attempts to cover the flames on the floor with a blanket somehow caused some flaming meth to shoot out onto my leg and I now have 2nd and 3rd degree burns from around my ankle to just under my knee.

I am sitting, dressed and working from my bed and homeschool has moved to my bedroom.

My youngest was really happy to snuggle under the blankets and do her schoolwork with me.  My laptop is a wonderful tool, with all our hymns, audio books and pictures to view and discuss.  It is actually really quite snug and cosy.

Nature study has been from my bedroom window.

But yesterday was really rough.

It was my first wound care treatment.

I was quite unprepared for the pain and the trauma involved in removing the dressings.  Pain management is an ongoing problem.  And I have realized that this is a slow process to recovery.  Areas on my leg may require skin grafts.  Please pray.

Today there is no school.

I am so grateful that we homeschool.

That we can take time off,

take things slow,

leave out the unnecessary,

and focus on the important.

Life is teaching me right now.

And I seem to be a slow learner.

I still need to find out what these life lessons are all about.

Blessings and thank you for reading,

Winter Break

I’ve been away from my blog these last 2 weeks

because …

my laptop died on the operating table …(sad sigh)

we’re on our winter school break … (relieved sigh)

visitors have filled our house … (happy smiles!)

I had hoped to start my normal routine this coming week,


our heaviest winter cold front this season rolled in on Friday

and our rivers are flooded,

our farm roads are impassable.

My older daughters are still away visiting friends who are also flooded in …

so, I guess there is no “normal” this week either …

until I can drive out to fetch them.

Until then,

Be blessed,