Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for September, 2009

The annual South Carolina Fall Break trip

29th September 2009

Just a quick glimpse from our trip. On our way home after a couple lovely days just outside Clemson at our favorite bed & breakfast farm. Horses right outside our house to feed with our bag of baby carrots, 100-mile ride for Brian, sentimental visit to where Brian proposed to me, last swimming of the year for the kiddos, hiking at Whitewater Falls, bags full of fresh apples from my favorite orchard, and lots of good food. Here’s a fun pic of the boys testing out the binoculars at a viewpoint looking out over the South Carolina hills. And, yes, we do tell Josiah he’d see better if he turned his “binocuwars” the other way, but he prefers to make things look farther away 🙂

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Book Review: North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

17th September 2009

I just finished reading Andrew Peterson’s latest book, North! Or Be Eaten, and it was amazing! Before I get into the details of my review, here is the summary from the back cover in the edition published by Waterbook Press in 2009:

First they found themselves On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.  Now they must make their way North! Or Be Eaten

Janner, Tink and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past.  but now they know they’re really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them.

In order to survive, the Igibys must flee to the safety of the Ice Prairies, where the lizard-like Fangs of Dang cannot follow.  First, however, they have to escape the monsters of Glipwood Forest, the thieving Stranders of the East Bend, and the dreaded Fork Factory.

But even more dangerous is the jealousy and bitterness that threaten to tear them apart, and janner and his siblings must learn the hard way that the love of a family is more important than anything else.

I undertook this latest book after having recently completed a re-reading of the C. S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series and the J. R. R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings series. I would definitely include the Wingfeather Saga alongside the works of these great authors, and I am already anticipating the day that Peterson writes and releases the next book in the series. This book is addressed to a more advanced audience than C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, but without the deluge of history and details that sprinkle Tolkien’s novels. Peterson gives just enough detail to let the reader know that the places and towns the Wingfeather’s find themselves in have a rich history without taking away from the nonstop action and exciting adventures that befall the Wingfeather family. In fact, my one complaint about the book is that there never is a good time to set it down!

If you like The Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings series’, I highly recommend the first book in this series, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (book 1 in The Wingfeather saga).  Be sure to have book 2, North! Or Be Eaten close at hand so you can just keep reading this great story. In fact… Andrew Peterson’s site has both books (signed!) listed for $20.

Andrew Peterson is the author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book One in the Wingfeather Saga, and The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats. He’s also the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist of ten albums, including Resurrection Letters II. He and his wife, Jamie, live with their two sons and one daughter in a little house they call The Warren near Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his websites: and

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16th September 2009

The most influential people in the world are those who pray big in Jesus’ name. The second most influential are mothers. –Tweet from John Piper

What a powerful thought!  May I be a mother who prays big in Jesus’ name!  I’ve been mulling over the what influences I specifically I want to have on my children…

  • Grace… yes, there’s discipline, but I hope when they’re grown my kids will remember that they could find grace in our home and from me.  I will love them no matter what, a reflection of the amazing grace I’ve been given by my Savior.
  • Patience… yes, Mommy will get mad inevitably, and surely more often than she should.  But I hope and desperately pray that I can grow in patience so that in the end, my kids won’t remember my mad moments, but they’ll remember grace-filled patience.  (Currently working on Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself study on the fruit of the Spirit… I could spend the rest of my life in this study, I think!)
  • Faith… When I think back on my own walk with Christ, I think of an adventure.  I pray that our lives would be filled with one adventure after another of learning to trust God and seeing the amazing ways He’ll provide, from big adventures like trips to Nicaragua to little adventures like praying and believing for something.
  • Love… In this day and age, divorce is everywhere.  I know how much I cherish the fact that Brian and I both have parents that can celebrate nearly 40 years of marriage.  It’s the most joyous thing on earth to be married, but it’s also HARD WORK.  I hope that Brian and I can display grace and love to each other so that down the road, Analise and Josiah can learn from us and put it into practice in their own lives.
  • Prayer… Definitely an area that ebbs and flows in my life.  But I want my kids to see me praying, to hear me asking God for His will to be done, to know that we can specifically, to know we can pray together for needs in their lives.  If they know from the earliest age that their mom prays confidently and boldy, they will learn that they, too, can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).

Lofty goals!  But the quote above should inspire me to press on daily, reminding me that EVERY day I’m a mother, I’m leaving a legacy even beyond my children and grandchildren.

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” –Deuteronomy 7:9

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Another First… this time for Josiah…

8th September 2009

Today was the start of 12 years of having 2 kids in school.  Whew… that seems overwhelming!  But more importantly, it was Josiah’s first real day of school.  He’ll attend Lakeside Baptist’s 3-K program on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Analise asked  yesterday what I was going to do, and she said over and over, “You’re going to be so lonely!”  Indeed, sweet girl… I was.  For about 5 minutes in the car, when I realized that I was embarking on a whole new chapter of errand-running by myself, with my choice of music or podcast or nothing at all.  There was a twinge of loneliness, and then I remembered how much fun Josiah was having, and I was reminded that we’re both winners in this situation 🙂

Without further chatter… I present my handsome little preschooler…

A sweet smile outside, holding the cute (and tasty!) apple-shaped cake pops we gave his teacher, Miss Kaylor.

A sweet smile outside, holding the cute (and tasty!) apple-shaped cake pops we gave his teacher, Miss Kaylor.

"Ok, Mom... let's get on with it!"

"Ok, Mom... let's get on with it!"

Analise was excited to see Josiah was using her old backpack... and he was super proud to tell his teacher he was using his sister's backpack.

Analise was excited to see Josiah was using her old backpack... and he was super proud to tell his teacher he was using his sister's backpack.

And yes, the 4 hours flew by.  I barely had time to get to Curves to workout, grocery shop, get everything put away, grab lunch and check my email.  At which time I found an email from Analise’s teacher sent at 8:30am that she was a bit upset because I’d forgotten to send her nap mat back to school after washing it.   UG!  The ONE day I don’t look at my computer until noon is OF COURSE the day that I really needed to get a message early.  It was too late for me to make it over there before nap time, and amazingly, Analise said she “got to” sleep on the carpet.  I love how kindergarten teachers make everything – even a back-up plan – feel like a great experience!

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Lots of Learning!

3rd September 2009

Wow… life as a kindergartner is amazing!  Earlier this week, Analise came home telling me she had learned to spell.  She explained how if you sound out a word, you can figure out the letters to spell.  We proceeded to spell 10 three-letter words.  It was so exciting!

I explained to her how reading was almost the same, sounding out the letters on paper.  I picked up some Dick & Jane books from the library, and today after school, she wanted to read.  So we sat down, and just like that… she was sounding out words and reading.  It was amazing!  She read 14 pages from her book by the time we called it a night.  Amazing!  I’m just in awe at watching the lightbulb go off and seeing her put it all together.  And as much as I love to read, I know this is just the start of many, many, MANY more books to come!

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