Gathering my Thoughts in the Waiting Room

Outside my window:  Charlottesville is coming awake. It’s early and I’m sitting by a sunny window overlooking the Corner. Ill be here for the next hour and a half while Patrick is back in surgery.


Listening to: the noise of competing waiting room televisions. I’m contemplating going back to the car to get my earbuds.


Clothing myself in: Jeans, a poet’s shirt, walking shoes.


Talking with my children about these books:  The girls have begun a dance alphabet writing project, using T is for Tutu.  For Sarah, it’s a dictation and drawing project. For Karoline and Katie, the longer sidebars will be source material for IEW-style writing and springboards for further research.

In my own reading: The last couple weeks, much of my reading has been with Mary Beth. She’s just about finished with a complete semester of college. This was to have been the final semester of her senior year in high school, but she got going early, so the transition definitely had its bumpy moments. Her reading is interesting and we’ve done a lot of talking about her subject matter. All in all, I’m well-pleased with the experience and she’s done extremely well.  I spend a lot of time talking to my college kids about what they’re studying. A habit cultivated when they are little and their education is my responsibility, it has grown with us. The real goal of home education is to develop a learner who wants to learn, who is eager and self-motivated. I think, like so many things in life, a love of learning and an appreciation of education matures as we age and it goes through a series peaks and valleys.  As I peek into their books and discuss their papers, I learn so much! I’m well aware that dialogue of this sort is not commonplace. That’s a shame. We are all benefiting from the education afforded the older kids.

Thinking and thinking: Time management. The last two months have been all about time management and every last bit of my brain power has gone to figuring out how to make it all work—to stretch ourselves to meet the needs of many children at various ages and stages without stretching to the breaking point.

Pondering: “The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and have, nothing more, and nothing less, would set our hearts at rest and we would discover the simpler life, the greater peace. “–Elisabeth Elliot

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Rhythm has been elusive. I miss the easy rhythm of last summer when morning walks gave way to morning runs and days unfolded with purpose and with time. The last few months of have been relentlessly demanding. Mike has been away far more than he has been home. We’ve fallen out of long-established rhythms together.  The children have numerous unexpected happenings which have disrupted rhythm. I’ve begun to think of rhythm in the context of much smaller increments of time. What will just this moment look like? Does it have a rhythm? Can I at least adjust the rhythm of my breathing and slow the rhythm of my heart? What about the next hour? The coming gloriously beautiful afternoon?

Creating By Hand:  I made a couple more journal covers over the weekend. Katie made one for a friend as a confirmation gift and she was so pleased with how it turned out. I’m bringing some hand work with me this weekend. There will be plenty of last minute dance sewing as well, no doubt. 

I have recognized how much it means to mean to be able to create with my hands. I'm making a list of creative activities I want to pursue this summer. Bucket hats for little girls are first on the list. This little love is still a bit bald. 


Learning lessons In: Self care. I've been listening to The Highly Sensitive PersonI have to listen in very small doses. This book is sort of troubling and as I listen to her lay out the formidable challenges to people who are highly sensitive, I admit to be a little overwhelmed. But, in my highly-sensitve way;-), I'm processing it very slowly. One thing is certain: I really do need to take good care of myself, particularly in situations that are noisy and crowded, and that's kind of tricky when I'm the person in charge in a large household. 

Encouraging learning in: Pacing oneself. My college students are navigating all the end-of-semester deadlines. But each of them has some special considerations thrown in. Patrick had to finish up early in order to have surgery. Christian is shooting a movie next week, so he’s had to navigate exams and papers around the myriad of pre-production details.  And Mary Beth had a dance competition last weekend and another next weekend. Her final week of school was condensed to four days this week. She’s got to get it all done before we hit the road. I’ve learned that planning to fit those school deadlines around the rest of real life does not necessarily come naturally to high school- and college-aged kids. It’s learned. And coached. It’s also a very necessary life skill. I am forever moving things around in calendar squares in order to adjust and adapt. 

Keeping house: I’m in Charlottesville today.  I’ll be home midweek and quickly regroup in order to leave for the dance competition. We’ll have a long weekend of late nights and early mornings. Then, on Monday, Christian and his 18 person movie crew will move in to shoot part of the movie in my house.

I’m not a bit worried about housework. Nah. Not a bit.

Crafting in the kitchen: Last week, I packed a cooler full of good things to eat at dance. Some of us ate decently. Others barely ate. This weekend is trickier. The girls and I will be staying in hotel. In Baltimore. We won’t have a kitchen in the hotel. And I don’t think we will be wandering the neighborhood, looking for restaurants. Our hotel is connected to the venue and I think it’s going to be a pretty hunkered down affair. So. What to eat? Right now, I have no clue. I’m open to suggestions, though, so let me hear them!

To be fit and happy: Sigh. It's definitely time to clean up some bad habits that have crept into my days. Exercise needs a regular daily time of its own again. I've learned the hard way that when it gets bumped, it doesn't happen. And I'm super glad to see the produce department at my grocery store come alive again. Nothing inspires healthy eating quite the way fresh bounty does. I'm re-reading (for the fourth time) Better than Before and trying to implement some of the great strategies there. It's time for me to be out there, collecting the sunrises and the sunsets again.

These sunsets happen at soccer practice almost every single day. Pure gift.

These sunsets happen at soccer practice almost every single day. Pure gift.

Giving thanks: For my second son. Christian celebrates a birthday on Wednesday. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the very gift of his life. 

Loving the moments: When my little girl falls asleep in my arms. I know those days are numbered, but she still likes to be snuggled to sleep and I'm sure glad she does. (Psst: I got a text last night telling me she hit a major milestone in the life of a six-year-old.)

Planning for the week ahead: So here's the deal: Dance competitions are daunting to me for a myriad of reasons. I'm always a little nervous to travel alone with the four girls. That whole "fear of the marketplace" thing gets the better of me. The schedules for these things are relentless, mostly because I have children spanning every age group, but partly because they start ridiculously early and they run ridiculously late. They are loud and indoors--two things that trip my highly sensitive triggers. And this time, this one, is in Baltimore. 

Baltimore isn't exactly at the top of anyone's list of peaceful places to go this week. Last week, I was carefully following the news, watching and listening and trying to understand the situation. Then I realized that being sucked into 24/7 cable news was really making me crazy. And rather unhappy. So, I've moved away from that constant monitoring and resolved to wait until Thursday to research any of it further. <<---sigh. So, I wrote that this morning in the hospital. Now there's breaking news.