We Built This Nest

As has become our custom, I took a walk with my children yesterday. We went to a nearby park where we had heard sightings of amazing birds, including Bald Eagles. We began our journey walking around the lake, scrutinizing the nearby woods and trees for anything of interest.

The park, being a popular walking trail in our town, was scattered with many other pedestrians doing the same. Several paces in front of us, an older couple was squinting through binoculars into the nearby trees.

It was that couple who pointed out the nest to us. It was the largest, most breathtaking bird’s nest I have ever seen. My snapshot, did it little justice.

“It is a Bald Eagle’s Nest.” The sweet lady commented as we came close. My children gasped in awe of the magnificent nest towering in the tree beyond us. I had never seen a nest so big. According to my Audubon Bird book, Bald Eagles’ build the largest nest in the entire world! It really was breathtaking.

We watched carefully for a bit to see if we could catch a glimpse of the creatures inside the nest, but never saw the eagles.

As we admired the home of the eagles, the sweet older fellow beside her, commented:

“He built his lady a nice nest.”

Without missing a beat, his wife corrected him.

“I think they build it together.”

I smiled at those comments as they unknowingly sunk in my mind. Later, as I pondered our afternoon walk, that image of the amazing Bald Eagle’s nest brought a sense of deep awe, combined with the words of the sweet older lady that “they built it together.”

Eagle’s Nests are Built to be Permanent

Back at home, I looked up the facts of Bald Eagles and their nests in our Audubon Bird book and learned that, yes, indeed, both birds gather sticks to make their nest together. But the female eagle is the one who weaves the sticks together to form a sturdy home.

The nest is not built for a season and abandoned forever. Mr. and Mrs. Eagle build their nest with the intent that it will be the primary place for them to raise their young throughout the years. The nest is built with thought and care, catered to the needs of the eagle family. The nest is build to weather not storms for one season, but storms and seasons for many years.

Both Eagles Build the Nest

I let a sigh escape my lungs. What a beautiful example of teamwork. But even more, the fact that both eagles were needed to build a secure home.

Both eagles gather sticks. That does not mean that mama eagle would choose the same sticks as papa eagle. Or that he would choose the same as her. But both gather the sticks that they perceive will be suitable for the formation of a large, sturdy nest. Not only teamwork, but both eagles have the same goal of building a strong nest. My Audubon book tells me, that the female eagle is the weaver. She will use both the sticks she and her mate have gathered to form a sturdy home for their growing family. The male is more of the protector and provider. One might say that they have a very traditional family life.

Eagle’s Nest Building is Never Done

As the Eagles spend time in their nest, and bring up little ones, the nest needs constant upkeep. Leftover food and droppings are covered with forest leaves, ferns, or moss. The eagles are constantly perfecting and moving the nest sticks around to keep their home in good condition and comfortable. Sometimes, an Eagle will build more than one nest, so there is another place to live when the first nest becomes to dirty. They will move back to the first once nature has cleaned it.

I leaned back to ponder these magnificent creatures that God created. And then then looked around me at the nest my husband and I built together. I see many similarities to my Bald Eagle friends. Both my husband and I are different people. We both have different ideas about what it takes to create a strong, lasting nest. But it takes both our thoughts and opinions, woven together to do the job. Both my husband and I have the same goal, and we both take responsibility for the various necessary jobs in the building of home and raising of family. Teamwork, support, using our gifts, and striving toward the same goal are essential in the making of a strong, lasting home.

But one more thought grasps my mind when I think of the great birds. One more personal, and needful.

That the existence and sustenance of a Bald Eagle would be impossible if that bird had not been created with intent and purpose to work out their God-given nature.

Each bird is also completely dependent on a Greater Provider for life, as seasons come and go and food must also be replenished.

In the reliance on my Creator, is the real lesson for my heart. Without God creating me to be the exact person I was meant to be, I could not do what He has given me to do in life. And without His ongoing provision of all I need to thrive in body and spirit, I could not exists.

“Consider the birds of the air, how they neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much greater value than they are?” Matthew 6:26

3 Ways I used Chat GPT this Week for Homeschool


I recently began using Chat GPT to help in my homeschooling journey with my children. I am still discovering ways technology can be useful to me as a Charlotte Mason Home Educator, but as the new year begins, the tool of Chat GPT has already proven itself a wonderful tool.

One of the benefits of home-education is the ability to tailor methods and materials to each students’  ability and need. I have two students with learning challenges. One of my Daughters is on the Spectrum and has several learning struggles, including what we currently know as auditory and visual processing disorders. My other daughter is dyslexic.

Never has education ever had the ability to be so adaptive. I can create a spelling lesson for my autistic child and ask Chat GPT to make it for a child with auditory and visual processing disorders, as well as dyslexia with a focus on memory retention. Chat GPT can do it…and not just one…many different ones!

  1. So one of the things I did this week was I create my girls’ spelling lessons on Chat GPT. I asked Chat GPT to create Spelling Games, Lessons, Evaluations using the Orton-Gillingham Method, taking into account my daughter’s specific learning needs. I use the standard list from Spelling Plus by Susan C. Anthony. That is the book we have been going through, so I am just keeping on course with it. Originally, I had to come up with all the spelling lessons and aids. Now, I as use those word lists, I can ask Chat GPT to create games for the girls to play together to learn their spelling words! It is such a time-saver.
  2. Generate booklists and ideas to inspire reading. I really emphasize reading in our home. We have a large home-library and go to the library weekly to exchange books. I can ask Chat GPT to find books similar to the ones my children already love. I can ask it to level up or level down the list. I even asked it to give me a list of 200 living books for a dyslexic child in sixth grade. Or I have asked it to recommend heavily illustrated chapter books to inspire my budding readers.
  3. Chat GPT has also served to educate me as an educator. I have asked it to give me the best methods to help a dyslexic child learn to love reading. I have asked it how to help an autistic child, with auditory processing, learn to narrate what has been read to her. I just ask what I want to know and get basic info in a simple summary from Chat GPT.

I am looking forward to incorporating this marvelous tool in our home-schooling process. Yes, technology changes things, and I am sure it will have its detriments in the future of some educational journeys. I am praying how to use it wisely, and look forward to how it can benefit me and my children as we learn together.


Book Reflections from The Modern Miss Mason

I read a LOT of books. I usually have several going at a time. Since we are getting back into the rhythm of our lessons and books next week, I have been letting my soul be inspired by reading Leah Boden’s book, The Modern Miss Mason.

Leah Boden is an inspiring author, and most certainly a kindred spirit to me. I found myself underlining, line after line in her book.

Charlotte Mason can be a daunting educational method for a lot of home-schooling mothers. I think a lot of home-teachers would agree with Charlotte Mason on many accounts, but the six volume set is a plateful of educational methods and philosophies.

I do believe a mother, whether she home-schools or not, should be educating herself on how to best inspire her children to learn, cultivate good habits, and create a home-environment that cultivates godliness and good discipline. Charlotte Mason’s books are extremally pertinent for any parent in my opinion. But it is understandable that time is a huge deterrent for many a mother with good intentions. The other deterrent from reading Miss Mason’s books is simply that they are written in small print with an older style of writing than we use today. Some of the terms or methods are simply not applicable for our time. The last reason I have found is that women often have difficulty understanding the language of the books written by Charlotte Mason. It can be overwhelming and is not light reading at all.

What Leah Boden has done, is a great service to all who are interested in living education. I love that Leah Boden, takes all of Miss Mason’s educational philosophies and methods, and breaks them down simply. Leah shows the reader what the Charlotte Mason Method looks like in a typical home-schooling household.

One of my take-away quotes from Leah Boden’s book is in her chapter on Living Books, p. 92 when Leah writes that: “Charlotte often stressed that these texts have one dedicated writer, as opposed to a group of editors assembling facts alongside appealing photography.” I love that statement because it summarizes the flaw of textbooks with inferring that textbooks are dead books. Textbooks do not have inspired, passionate authors. Textbooks have limits, borders, and fit into the box of what a child ought to know, instead of laying out a feast of beautiful worded stories of information for a child to taste everything the author lays out.

That is just one example of the many that Leah discusses in her book about the Charlotte Mason Method. In one book, a mother can get the general idea of what Charlotte Mason is about.

The book also is a wonderful source of inspiration for the steadfast believers in the Charlotte Mason Method. Now, I don’t believe it is a book that takes the place of the six volume set, but it certainly is a great start for a general overview, or a quick pep talk as to why someone like me is doing what she is doing.





Azure Standard: What I Buy

This past year, I started purchasing bulk items from a company called Azure Standard. Azure standard is an online based company. Once a month, a customer can place an order and then go pick up the order when it arrives by truck about a week later. Azure standard has truck, drop-off locations throughout the United States, so I picked one that is closest to me. Azure is not a club, so there are no membership fees. But there is shipping tacked on to each order. Sometimes a costumer can build up enough Azure Cash (Pointes earned from purchases that can be used toward other purchases) to negate the shipping costs. I have not made the right purchases for that to benefit me, but I still find the items I buy with shipping is much cheaper than trying to purchase through other means.

I typically buy items in bulk from Azure, but on occasion, I am unable, or just want to try something without the cost of a bulk purchase, so I don’t always make a bulk purchase.

The products from Azure come beautifully packaged in brown paper or bulk tubs and Azure sells most grocery items from produce, dairy, canned goods, dry goods, cleaners, supplements, animal food, and some household items like cleaning cloths or water filters.

So, what do I buy?

My staples are:

MCT Oil, which runs around $23 for a large 32oz bottle

Coconut sugar in fine or crystal form for about $17 for 5#

Flame Raisins for about $14 for 5#

Raw, wildflower honey: a steal at $33 for 12lbs

Canned Salmon cans for about $4-$5 per can (It is really nice salmon and just a little more than Sams)

Coconut Oil for $15 for a gallon (it is cold expeller pressed and good for high temp. cooking)

Organic Canned Peaches without sugar at $32 for 12

Pink Himalayan salt for $7 for 5#

Gluten Free Rolled Oats at $28 for a 25# bag (We don’t eat gluten free, but I do a lot of baking for friends and some of them are gluten free, so it is nice to know my oats are safe)

Frozen blueberries for $13 for 5#

Brown, Organic Jasmine rice from Thailand at $39 for 25# (I am not as happy with the quality of this rice as Lundberg, since there are often husks that need to be picked out before cooking, but for the price it is fair for what it is)

Organic Canned Green Beans for $32 for 12

Carpet Cleaner is about $11 for 64floz

Dish Soap runs about $7 for 32floz

Treats-not money savers-I have purchased would include beeswax candles, Dr. Bronner’s chocolate bars, A2 Cheese, and apple juice infused cranberries (yum!)

Items I have purchased and will not purchase again through Azure are:

Organic White Wheat Bread Flour-it is a good runner up to my favorite Prairie Gold -86, but it just isn’t quite as good, so as long as I can get Prairie Gold, I won’t get Azure’s flour.

Organic Einkorn Flour (unfine)-this was a disappointment since so many other costumers rave about it. It is hard to find a whole grain Einkorn flour at a reasonable price, but Azure’s is a bit too course for all kinds of baking. If one is just making bread, it is perfectly fine, but I do not like the husks in pie crusts or cookies. I will pay a little more for Jovial Whole Wheat Einkorn Flour from Vitacost.

Organic, Lite Coconut Milk is a fair price, but I have had lite coconut milk that it much more smooth than the Natural Value brand sold by Azure. I often use coconut milk as a cream substitute in my tea or coffee, and found in order to make Azure’s lite coconut milk smooth, it had to be blended because it didn’t melt into the coffee well.

Overall, I love my purchases from Azure Standard and am grateful for a place I can get healthy, bulk items at a reasonable price. I expect to be purchasing them for many years.

(I am not paid by Azure for this post, or advertising for them for compensation in any way)

I Called My Grandma Last Night

My grandmother is at the sweet age of nighty-nine. Although her mind is still sharp enough to carry on a good conversation, it takes every effort she has to simply be alive each day.

I love visiting with my grandmother, and always have. She is the living version of Google. I have run into little she doesn’t know, even at her age. While so many of her contemporaries have passed on or become disinterested in learning anything new, She has never let herself get outdated.

My grandma has a cell phone, an i-pad, and was not shy to learn how to use a computer when they became household tools. Last night, as we conversed, I asked her if she had heard about AI and GPT Chat. She not only knew about it, but wasn’t a bit daunted by the upcoming changes artificial intelligence might bring. In fact, she wanted me to tell her how AI could help me with my life.

So many older folks mourn the days of their past and fear the future. It grieves my heart to see my aging friends and family spend their last days in sadness and fear over the world they are soon leaving anyway. My grandmother happens to be an exception to that common trend. I love her perspective of hope and curiosity, and hope as I rest in the Lord for the unknown days ahead, I can as my grandmother does, find joy in each day that He gives.