Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our Day in Richmond

One of the aspects of homeschooling that I love the most is being able to take a day and head out on a road trip. We love living in Virginia because there are so many options for road trips. We live near the mountains, near D. C., not too far from the beach, close to five other states, and on and on go the possibilities. And in Virginia, alone, there are multiple cities and sites to explore. 

Last Friday the kids and I hit the road for a long-overdue excursion to Richmond. It was our first time to visit, but it will most certainly not be the last, as there is so much to see and experience. Just check out the Richmond Region promo video:  

I had done a little research and had a couple of places in mind, but the first stop we made was to the Bass Pro Shops. None of us had ever been to one, and I knew I would score some major Mom points with my guys. I had also noticed that there was a Richmond Visitor's Center in the store where we might find maps and brochures to possibly assist in our adventure.  

The second stop we made was to the Historic Polegreen Church. I had recently seen a photo of it online somewhere (I cannot recall where), and it piqued my curiosity. What a unique structure. What in the world was the history behind it? 

Polegreen Church is considered the birth place of religious freedom. Wow! I had never heard of it and wanted to learn about the people and reasons why it was so important. The history is fascinating and I have been thinking a great deal on the impact this one little church and its people had on the religious freedom we have known in America. I encourage you to research and read more about it if you, too, had never heard of it until now.

Moving on, it was after noon, so I pointed our Tahoe in the direction of downtown Richmond, and we made our way to Jefferson Avenue and Alamo BBQ. It had been a little difficult to come to a decision about where to eat, because Richmond has so many enticing choices. I knew that we wanted something local and unique, and when I came across Alamo BBQ, I knew it would be something the kids and I would enjoy. Being from Texas and also knowing how we like to barbecue our own brisket, we have pretty high standards. I forgot to take photos until two of the kids went back for a second order on Brisket Tacos and then remembered to snap the one below. These tacos were delicious! The JalapeƱo Mac and Cheese was also a hit. Yum! It's probably good that we live too far away to make weekly trips to Alamo BBQ. 

After lunch, we headed to Agecroft Hall for their Homeschool Day. Agecroft Hall was the main reason we were in town, and it was another fascinating part of our day. This beautiful 15th century English Tudor home was originally located in Lancashire, England. It was purchased by successful Richmond businessman, T. C. Williams, Jr. in the mid-1920's, dismantled and brought to the United States. The house sits in a quiet neighbourhood overlooking the James River.

We had a wonderful docent and learned so much about British culture and the two specific families who had made Agecroft Hall their home. We weren't allowed to take photos inside the manor, but one of my favourite things to see and learn about were the lantern clocks. There is only one hand on the lantern clock because hours alone were marked in the 17th century. People were not as concerned with exact time as we are today. Something else to ponder.

After our tour of Agecroft, the kids really wanted to get a closer look at the James River. I ducked back inside to ask our docent if she had any suggestions for us, and she immediately suggested we head to Tredegar Iron Works. She said we could take a tour of the Iron Works (and the American Civil War Center, if interested), as well as access the river from there. It was a lovely day to walk along the river and canal and to cross over to Brown's Island.

"The Headman" statue on Brown's Island

The James River

We had a fabulous day, learned so much and look forward to going again. We have several places already on our must-do list for next time, including Maymont, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and the Science Museum of Virginia.

Have you been to Richmond? What are your must-see places?

Blessings and love. xo

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Unhurried Homeschooler: a simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling {review and giveaway}

{Disclaimer: I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my very own. This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you.}

Hello Friend,

I'm sharing a wonderful resource for you today, Homeschool Mama. 

Homeschooling is a wonderful, worthwhile pursuit, but many homeschool parents struggle with feelings of burnout and frustration. If you have ever felt this way, you’re not alone! Most of us need to be reminded of the “why” of homeschooling from time to time—but The Unhurried Homeschooler takes parents a step further and lifts the unnecessary burdens that many parents place on themselves.
Drawing on twenty years of homeschooling her eight children, Durenda Wilson gently reminds parents about the things that really matter, as she offers a clear portrait of what a life-giving home life can be during the homeschooling years. Reading The Unhurried Homeschooler is like having coffee with a trusted friend. You’ll be encouraged as you learn to do what God has put before you. This book will lighten your load while helping you learn how to raise life long learners and ENJOY the homeschool years with your kids.

Isn't it fun and so encouraging to read and learn from the home-educating Moms who have gone before us? The Unhurried Homeschooler, by Durenda Wilson, has been a delight to read. I found myself nodding in agreement, page after page. I think you will be blessed and encouraged by her experience and her advice. Don't be burdened by trying to "do school" the way the public school does it or even the way the homeschooling family down the street does it. There is so much freedom in homeschooling. Let Holy Spirit lead you. 

Guess what?! Durenda has kindly offered to give away a copy to one of my readers. Woohoo! See the Rafflecopter below to enter.

By the way, if you are burned out and discouraged, please feel free to email me {scarlettroyce(at)gmail(dot)(com)}, and I would be honoured to pray for you. We can do this, Mamas! We're in this together. Don't give up. God loves us and has a purpose for our lives and our individual homeschools. He will provide all that we need. Put your hope in Him.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blessings and love. xo

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of these books in exchange for my honest review and did not receive any additional compensation. All opinions are my very own. 


What comes to mind when you see or hear that word? 

It will be a myriad of things to each one of us. I have been pondering home a great deal lately, as we prepare to move once again. 

I've been recollecting all the places we have called "home" throughout our married lives (almost 24 years). I'm strolling back through the addresses, cities, counties, states, provinces and countries where we have chosen a dwelling place, moved in and called it home. There have been many, especially in the past four and a half years. I have taken pleasure in making a home over the years, wherever we are, whether a one bedroom apartment, a hotel room or two, a vacation rental, a large home on 3 acres with plenty of room to spread out or quite a few other varieties. I truly believe in the "bloom where you are planted" idea, but honestly, sometimes it's exhausting to think of all those moves.

And in the midst of thinking about packing boxes one more time, I'm wondering what semblance of home have I managed to salvage in so much transition?

When I was recently invited to be a part Sally and Sarah Clarkson's launch team for their newest book, The Lifegiving Home: Creating A Place of Belonging and Becoming, I knew it would be right up my alley. Sally has long been a favourite author of mine. I have read the majority of her books, and I have followed her blog for many years (back when it was "I Take Joy"). I have met her and had the honour of hearing her speak several years ago at a conference in Canada. What I didn't realize was how much The Lifegiving Home would speak to my heart and remind me of all the things I have treasured and hoped to create in the haven I call my home.

I love that Sally and Sarah, Sally's oldest child, collaborated on this project. They have done such a splendid job bringing their family culture to life on these pages. Even if you have never heard of Sally or read any of her previous books, you will know her beautiful heart through this book. And let me tell you how fun it is to hear from Sarah! She is an incredible author (don't miss her others books, too) and has such a poetic way with words. It is absolutely delightful to read words from both of them in one place.

Sally Clarkson is co-founder of Whole Heart Ministries (with her husband, Clay) and serves as its women’s ministry director. She’s the author of many popular books, including Own Your Life and Desperate (with Sarah Mae). As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of mothers since 1998 through her Mom Heart Conferences and small groups.

Sarah Clarkson is author of two books on children’s literature, as well as a book of devotional stories and meditations for young women. She currently hails from Oxford, England, where she is studying theology.

As I've read through this inspirational book, chock-full of stories, experiences, preferences, ideas and ideals, I have been deeply strengthened as well as challenged, once again, to put my hands to the plow. I've realized how the difficulties of the past four, really almost five, years have affected me, and how much I needed a renewed vision for our Royce Family Culture. 

These next photos have been a helpful reminder of what our home has been and can be, in even greater proportions . . . a place of welcome . . . a place of beauty . . . a place of celebration . . . a place where God's Presence dwells . . . a place of coziness . . . a place of belonging, just to name a few.

This quote from Sally puts it succinctly and gives me a place to recommence. 

I also took time to ask my children what they think of when I say the word "home," especially as it relates to our specific family. This is the list they gave me:

Yellow (We've lived in two yellow houses.)
Home church/fellowship nights
Table spread with food

I have a few more words that I hope they will add in over the years, but for now, I think that was a pretty good foundation. I have new vision and even an excitement after spending time praying and dreaming about a new home. I know it will be a place of safety and refuge, of hope and healing, of love and laughter, as well as a place to rest and be renewed. 

I join my voice with Sarah's, as we both seek Father God for ways to bring joy, refreshment and life, as I have the honour of opening my current home and the future new home to family, friends and strangers alike. 

Blessings and love. xo

P.S. As you can see, I highly recommend this book for anyone who has the honour of making a home. Go now to buy The Lifegiving Home and The Lifegiving Home Experience today!

Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate links. There is no additional charge to you to use these links, and I make a small commission. Thank you.