Gathering my Thoughts


























{{I got a new camera the day before Easter. I haven't clicked it once, yet, but Mary Beth played with it yesterday. All pictures above are hers and are entirely unedited.}}

I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

My garden is overrun with weeds all of a sudden. I am hopeful that warm weather this week will beckon us outdoors to make it all tidy.

::listening to 

birds chirping. And chirping and chirping. I awoke to that sound. Seems appropriate for Easter Monday.

::clothing myself in 

Christmas pajamas and a UVa sweatshirt. I was cold last night. Whatever works, right?


::talking with my children about these books

I chose three of the girls' favorite books for their Easter baskets. These were books that they couldn't bear to return to the library.

For Karoline, it was Mossy. This is the first full book she's read all by herself. It's lovely. I am very fond of Jan Brett's books and this one is my favorite. Karoline told Kristin yesterday that "It's a nature story, but it's a love story. And there's drawing in it, too." What more can you ask for? And what does it say about my girls that they get all starry-eyed and romantic over a love story about turtles?

For Sarah, I chose Cinderella. This version is a 1955 Caldecott winner. The language is rich and nourishing. (For instance I had to explain that the "haughtiest woman" was not the "hottiest woman." My little girls live with five big brothers. That's all I can offer by way of explaining that confusion.) Sarah absolutely loves this book and much prefers this version to the Disney version, though she is definitely campaigning for this video. She likes the songs. Hard to argue with that.

For Katie, I got The Penderwicks. This book is Mary Beth's all-time favorite book. Her copy is the original paperback. And it's falling apart. When she saw that it had been republished in a beautiful, hardbound deckle edge version, she begged one for Katie. As I write though, I'm wondering why I didn't get two. Mary Beth has often said that this series is one she wants to keep forever. Hmmm...

::thinking and thinking

About renewal and Lent and how it all played out this year.


::pondering prayerfully

So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish. ~~ Pope Francis

::carefully cultivating rhythm

I have no rhythm. I've been trying to find it the entire school year. First, there were renovations (of home and heart) and wedding planning. Then, advent and a wedding. Then we worked the gym into the winter rhythm and didn't drop anything else. We have had two bouts of the flu. (The kind that tests positive in the doctor's office. Thank the Lord for Tamiflu.) There was college kid spring break that didn't coincide with my planned spring break. Then there was neighborhood kid spring break; again, not with my spring break. And now it's nearly Bluebell Week, which actually is my spring break. 

There is one common thread. With every wave of rhythm disruption, I've dropped more time in front of the screen. There is only one social media app on my phone and I'm flirting with the idea of dropping Instagram, too, except I do really like it. My Facebook time is nearly nil and after a brief little foray into conversation yesterday, I'm remembering why I've so drastically reduced it. Ain't nobody got time for that.

I like to blog, though. I like to have a pretty place to capture memories and think thoughts. However, with screen time super scarce, I find myself rarely reading blogs. I check in a few times a week and read blogs of good friends and that's about it. And I wonder, can one have a place in a blogging community if she rarely communes? I've never been very good at hanging out with the cool kids. I don't really like a crowd. It's taken me a long time to recognize that one can easily place herself in a crowd online, without even really recognizing it, until suddenly she's overwhelmed by the voices. I remember Amy Welborn once wondered aloud about introverts and homeschooling. She really got me thinking. At the time, I think I had eight children and they were all at home all day long. It had never occured to me that the people in my own house were ruffling my introverted feathers. But her musing raised my consciousness. Now, I wonder, is there a place online for those of us who are Quiet? And if a house full of children are zapping an introvert's energy, can she possibly allow herself to get online and expose herself to more noise?  How does that work into what is preferably a quiet rhythm?

::creating by hand

Easter dresses. More on those on Thursday. And an unfinished Tiny Tea Leaves sweater, one that would have been just perfect for Katie yesterday, but didn't get finished. More on that, too, no doubt.


::learning lessons in

Food. For real. Heather’s class has me thinking and re-thinking. I’m definitely tweaking hard.  I tend to learn by total immersion and I’ve been reading incessantly. The problem is that reading about whole foods is always about two clicks away from reading about cancer. And reading about cancer is about a click from reading about late effects of chemo and radiation. And that's a really bad rabbit trail for me to travel. One can overthink food. I just did. 

::encouraging learning 

A happy not-spring-break learning lovely: Mary Beth's friend Morgan hung out around our house during the public high school's spring break last week. She gathered everyone into an impromptu reading/production of "Midsummer Night's Dream." The boys and even the littlest girls were all into the story together.  Love it when things like that happen.

There will be a decided shift in the next few weeks. We've wrapped up our writing courses for the year. I'm going to hyperfocus on math and nature study. My kids will be thrilled about the latter. The former? Recently overheard from the "magic" corner of the sunroom, where the dollhouse and fairy treehouse live: "And then my father died and the evil stepmother made me do math!"

Prevailing sentiment not withstanding, I have a math plan.

::begging prayers

For the repose of the soul of Kristin's grandfather.  Also, of my friend Katherine's grandmother, who died yesterday. May the peace of the resurrection comfort those who grieve.

::keeping house

The Triddum found me filling prescriptions for Tamiflu, racing to get BIG buckets to put under the gaping hole in the living room ceiling, answering a frantic early morning phone call when my father-in-love hit a deer in the dark, sending my best help off on a trip to Pittsburgh to see Paddy play (Mike and his dad, Mary Beth driving!), amazing seats at the Elite Eight (not me, two lucky boys), driving back and forth to every Triduum service so that healthy boys could serve, trying to finish that sweater, and shopping and cooking for dinner for twenty. None of it was as I pictured. I fell exhausted into bed last night, but I learned that there really is a rather wide, forgiving margin for imperfection when it comes to celebrating holidays. Who knew?

::crafting in the kitchen 

Leftovers. Oh, how we have leftovers! I will reinvent Easter dinner for a week. (Oh, and there were some memorable chocolate mustaches;-)

::loving the moments

when we fill the whole pew at church, but only because the "overflow" is serving at the altar and Sarah is asleep on Mike's lap, otherwise, we'd need to spill into another row.

::giving thanks 

for sunshine.

living the liturgy

We're focusing on Divine Mercy.

Easter is a season. My intention is to live it as such. Throw open the windows; let light flood our lives. He is risen! And we, too, can run and leap and shout for joy:-). So let's get after that...

::planning for the week ahead

Ballet and soccer are in full swing. The driving demands do not all fit. They just don't. My first task today is to figure out a way to get everyone where he or she needs to be. And then, I need to find a way to be sure that I work out, too. And to find time to write. And now we're back to that rhythm thing again. My plan is to go outside and weed the garden and talk to God about it all and hope He answers loudly. 

Instagram recap:




Fast. Pray. Give.


Do you have a talent? Remember to give God the glory. "The sole thing in myself in which I glory is that I see in myself nothing in which I can glory" (St. Catherine of Genoa)


Repeat a short prayer while you do the dishes today: "O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours!"


Invite a friend for lunch. Don't worry about making the house look perfect or cooking fancy food. Be truly present to her.

Fast. Pray. Give.


After you complete any essential morning tasks at the computer for the first time today, turn it off. Do not return to the computer today unless/until it is essential for the running of your household or the care of your children.


"The silence is so great that I look and do not see, Listen and do not hear. The tongue moves in prayer, but does not speak"(Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).


"It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving" (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

With every "gift" of service that you give today, give a smile too.