Snapshots & Snippets

Snapshots & Snippets: Happy Valentine’s Week

Welcome to “Snapshots and Snippets”where I share a bit of this and that from our week in hopes that you find something useful or inspiring. 


Sometimes life hands you friendship in unexpected places.  When I started blogging a few years ago, a woman invited me to join a Facebook group for bloggers.  Over time, sharing our knowledge with one another and supporting each other in our writing, relationships grew.  One of the women in the group was Barbie Swihart.  She and I have prayed for one another over the past few years, bore one another’s burdens and most recently she helped me have the courage and led me to many of the resources that launched this new blog site.  Just this week I was privileged to guest blog for her at Whispers of Grace.  I wrote on daring to dream – a post about focusing on what you really want your life to be about and eliminating the barriers to that vision.   


{Field Trippin’}

I grew up in the Midwest {now I’m going to sound really old} in a time when children ran free for most of the day and our imaginations were the greatest toys known to man.  I have this hole in my heart quietly calling out for open spaces most days. 

Drive to the Ranch

My friend Amy’s father just so happens to  own a ranch with a cherry orchard, barn, blacksmith shop, gazebo, a little pond and his quaint home on a hill {which he built from the ground up}. 

Dyer Creek Barn

Short of heaven, it’s a bit of paradise on earth.  We went up there for a field trip with two other home educating families so the kids could run through fields of new, green winter wheat, calling out to cows grazing in nearby pastures, collecting sap nuggets and being perfectly as they should be. 

On the Dock at the Ranch


Picking Wildflowers at the Ranch

The 19th Century British educator, Charlotte Mason, said, “Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and a habit for life …”


{Bedtime Prayers}

We go camping one weekend a month from May through October.  My husband grew up on the coast.  Now that we live over two hours from the ocean, we head that way regularly so he can surf and breathe in the salty air {and cultivate a love of the sea in our boys}.  Honestly, he’s like a St. Bernard going back to the snow.  This mild mannered man comes to life when we get near a beach.  It’s his natural habitat.  We invite various friends and extended family to join us on our camping trips at times.  One year some friends accompanied us and at night we heard the sweetest of moments coming from their tent.  They all prayed together, thanking God for whatever blessings came to mind and then asked God to help various people whom they knew were hurting or had needs.  Simple.  Bedtime prayers.  The thing is, our family had given up this routine when my younger son was born and never quite got the rhythm back.  We hadn’t stopped praying together.  We somehow gave up nighttime prayers.  We recommitted to the habit after that inspiring evening on our camping trip.   Prayer time with two boys can be a bit … rambunctious.  They love God.  They take prayer seriously, but get them together in a 12×12 room at bedtime and a wrestling match or ticklefest or “ouch! hey!” starts up.  We have had to move them to separate sides of the room to keep the peace and ensure we all fix our eyes on Jesus.  Just keeping it real to let you know – family prayer matters and you can’t let little fusses or big life changes keep you from the spiritual disciplines you practice together.

{Making Space for What Matters}

I’m quite sure letting go of one thing makes it easier to let go of others.  I started a daily habit of purging at the beginning of this year.  Last weekend my husband and I had the romantic experience of cleaning out the garage together.  Ok, maybe not so hot, but still, it was awesome.  We filled the entire back of our seven-seater car and hauled a bunch of stuff {someone’s treasure, just not ours} to a thrift store that takes anything and everything.  I seriously grin when I pull into the garage right now.  I know.  Weird, right?  We’re on a roll over here.  It’s not just letting go of stuff – we’re letting go of attitudes and habits which don’t line up with our vision and mission as a family.  I’m shedding the need to have micromanaging control over my teen son.  {Did I really just say that?}  Release makes room for what’s more, better, deeper, soul-filling.  What do you need to let go of?  I’d love to hear about it and pray for you as you become brave enough to take the leap.  And, in case you are worried that my husband and I think that cleaning the garage constitutes a date, rest assured.  We are off to our church’s couples’ Valentine’s supper and dance this Sunday evening.  I won’t wear my yoga pants to that event and he won’t wear the dirty sweatshirt he had on during our garage-cleaning date either.


{Goodies Around the Web}

I take this internet-concierge role I’m assuming on your behalf very seriously.  I’ve upped the number of blog posts I read significantly so I can sift through and find some of the best stuff out there just for you.  Here are some finds for this week:

It’s already Lent!  I don’t know if you practice Lent at all (the forty days before Easter which represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert).  We have had varying degrees and ways we acknowledge Lent in our home over the years.  I have given up all manner of things: Facebook, TV, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, staying up past my bedtime, etc.  We usually end Lent with some Holy Week activities to help us focus on Jesus more completely.  I received an email about the personal spiritual significance of Lent and I thought it was well worth sharing.  If you are so inclined, Ann Voskamp has such a great downloadable 40 day Lenten card set.  You will be challenged to give up some habits of the heart and take on some meaningful practices in their place.  Utterly good.

I am excited to introduce you all to Loretta.  She’s another gem of a writer with a heart for Jesus.  I love how Loretta tells it like it is and keeps us in a bit of suspense in her posts.  She writes this week about pride and finding purpose in the “whatever” you are doing for God, no matter how mundane it may seem.  I promise she’s worth way more than the five minutes it will take you to read her writing.

What’s new in your week?  I’d love to hear from you.  If you have suggestions as to what you’d like to hear about on Snapshots & Snippets or you want to share your thoughts with me, please comment below or on the Hearts Homeward Facebook page

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  • Reply
    Lorretta Stembridge
    February 12, 2016 at 6:37 AM

    Patty! Thank you for carrying my words — the words I sincerely pray are His.– over here to your place. I am blessed this morning by this special “kiss” from God. It’s been a while since I came over here and WOW the blog looks lovely! I’ve been shopping around for a cleaner looking theme and this is seriously beautiful.

    • Reply
      February 12, 2016 at 8:19 AM


      I’ve been a “fan” of yours – your writing and your heart – since we first came across one another’s paths a few years back. I’m so grateful to share the goodness of your writing with those who come here to Hearts Homeward. I found this theme by recommendation of Barbie Swihart. I’ll send you a PM if you want to check it out. I have had the idea for what I’m doing here for years and couldn’t get off the dime to do it because of fear. Plain and simple. I was afraid I’d be in over my head. As I blogged, my “swimming” skills improved so that the transition to self-hosted WP was so much smoother than I’d anticipated. I truly think that is how it is in life. We fear. We leap. We find out our fear was – for the most part – a boogie man. Lesson learned: leap more often, there are arms to catch me. Mistakes and learning curves are worth the risk.

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