Gathering My Thoughts


Outside my window:  Nick is warming up to play the sixth soccer game of the weekend. I’m sitting in the car, collecting myself before venturing into a world of relative strangers and forcing myself to be cheerful. Michael and Kristin are not far from here at all. I’m a few short miles from the airport and planes are taking off overhead. One of them will carry their little family to California. I’m not yet ready step out of the car and into the company of people who say things like, “Good thing you have eight more. You won’t miss the one.” Um. No. That’s not how this works. Not at all.


Listening to: Traffic. Game noise. Airplanes. Some random radio turned up way too high. At least that guy has fairly good taste in music. [edited to add: This game is at a church. I just realized the church is broadcasting praise and worship music. I am so grateful.]


Clothing myself in: Jeans, a cabled sweater, and NorthFace fleece jacket that doesn’t belong to me, but most likely belongs to Kate, the neighbor who frequently sleeps in my basement and always wanted to be Kimmy when she watched Full House;-).


Talking with my children about these books: Going West. We had a good cry. Now, we’re going to tackle all the chapter books together.


In my own reading: I’m going to tell you all about my reading later this week. It’s time for a big reading roundup booklist. I’ve got some sewing to report on as well.


Thinking and thinking: about how special my relationship is with Kristin. In some ways, we’re a lot alike. In many ways, we’re very different. Our differences complement each other though and I have learned so much from her in these past couple years. I know that the way she was in and out of my home, so often and for such long stretches, is a rare and extraordinary gift. I’m glad to have gotten to know her this way. Neither of us knows exactly what these long distance relationships will look like. I have a hunch I’m going to learn some valuable lessons from her in the next few months, though.


Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Kristin and Lucy have been living with us for a few weeks and so our rhythm has revolved around them. It will certainly be strange to wake up tomorrow morning to the quiet. Neither Kristin nor Lucy is quiet.

As Michael’s family was leaving, Christian was arriving. Christian is very quiet (and Nicholas and Sarah and I will welcome him to our ranks). On Tuesday, Patrick will be home and he’ll bring a friend. The house will shift into big boy mode. I need to do a rare mid-week grocery shopping:-). I’m so grateful for the timing of this spring break. My Nicholas needs his big boys. Rhythm will be off, no doubt. Paddy always bring his own energy into a room and Christian is a night owl, but it will be good. 

Creating By Hand:  I have some costume sewing to do. I really, really have some costume sewing to do. And layette sewing, too. .

Learning lessons in: With a nod to my 100 day cough, I ordered some of these for everyone from Sarah to Nicholas. It’s a little bit of change in the way we approach literature-based learning. There are typos that drive me nuts. But for the most part, the structure and novelty of someone else’s very loose plans are good for us in this season.

Encouraging learning in: We are in full-blown midterm mode. The away college kids bring papers and deadlines home. Mary Beth has a boatload of work to do this week and Stephen has begun two dual-enrollment classes. We’re all about academic writing. (Psst, I like academic writing;-).

Keeping house: My house looks like a toddler got to do whatever she wanted wherever she wanted for several days in a row. It’s time for spring cleaning. It’s also going to be 70 degrees outside, so windows wide open, yay!


Crafting in the kitchen: Whatever those big boys want. Seriously. I’m taking orders.


To be fit and happy: I’m going to begin walking distances again. I’m still coughing quite a bit and I honestly don’t know how my lung capacity will be, but I’m going to try to build up again to the healthy habit I know I need.


Giving thanks: for the messages that have filled my phone since very early this morning and how grateful I am for good friends who pray when they say they’re praying. Grateful, too, for a dear girl in Charlottesville who popped in at just the right moment and reminded me with her presence that these big kids leave, but then they come home again, sometimes bringing people we grow to love. I worry about all the goodbyes my little girls have to say, all the time. Then I remember the friends they have found in people like Kristin. And Lexi…

Loving the moments: when Lucy raids the costume box and dances in the kitchen with Sarah for hours and hours and hours.

Living the Liturgy: Some days, I see striking resemblances between my backyard and Gethsemane.

Planning for the week ahead: We still have some very steep hills to climb this Lent. I know that. Last night, I talked to my friend Martha for an hour and half. This is remarkable because I still don’t really have a speaking voice (that 100 day cough and all). But I needed to be heard, and even more, I needed to hear someone who knows me forever, who walked with me through valleys, who understands what language it is that tunes my heart to hope. We have steep hills to climb. Martha reminds me to take baby steps to the elevator and that the elevator is going up. 

Pondering: When I pulled up here at soccer, this song was playing over that broadcast system. And then, when I got in the car to warm up during halftime, this song was on the radio. I never buy music on iTunes. But I bought this song right there and then. I'm going to listen to it before I do anything else every morning for the forseeable future.