Gathering Grace: A Daybook


Outside my window:  Spring has burst into bloom. It was beautiful in my front yard on Easter Sunday. I wish I had pictures. I got a few yesterday, with my kids in their Easter finery, but not one of them is a picture that all people in the photo approved. So, you can't see them;-). Today, it's raining. I hope the wind won't blow all the blooms away before I can capture them for you.

(Updated: the sky cleared and Katie got out with the big camera.)

Listening to:  Sara Groves: Floodplain. Highly, highly recommended.

Clothing myself in: Jeans and a sweatshirt. I got up early and I had a good, long quiet time, but I neglected to get a shower before some guys came to work on our house. It now appears that it will be a day-without-a-shower because we have no hot water for the duration.

Talking with my children about these books: Christian is taking a course on mystery writing and literature. I have zero interest in mysteries. I haven’t liked them since I outgrew Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames. However, this is a very poorly executed online course that takes at least two people to figure out, so, reading mysteries it is.  Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Sherlock Holmes, now all in my repertoire. Go me. #neverstoplearning

In my own reading: See above;-).

Thinking and thinking: About the way I spent Holy Week and the way God met me there. On the Saturday before Palm Sunday (the Feast of St. Joseph), our family's good friend, Mike Greiner had a heart attack in the parish parking lot. Though everything possible was done at the scene, he was on life support and things did not look promising for survival by night's end. On Monday of Holy Week, my mother-in-law died after a suffering terribly with cancer. Throughout the week, I was at home, caring for a child who’d had a tonsillectomy. I was at home, welcoming children who came to play with my children while their parents held vigil in the ICU and our friend slipped from this life into eternity with Jesus. I was at home, cooking for lots of people, both in my home and not. I was at home on a week where Monday brought news of my mother-in-law’s death and Saturday brought news of my friend’s death and all the days in between were taken with caring. And for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel burdened in the caring. I felt alive. That’s grace, my friends.

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: This week is Easter Week. As nature would have it, it’s also Bluebell Week. And now, it’s the week of two funerals. It’s the week of hard goodbyes that creep upon me at odd hours. A child who has understood since September that Grandma was seriously ill and who was praying she wouldn’t suffer longer, is suddenly overcome with the idea that she’ll never see her again. My world stops in that moment.  Together we grieve. Then, I wait. For she is not the only child in this large family. Grief looks different on different faces. Grief is carried differently by each of them.  The big ones are off in their own places, reconciling loss and the obvious absence of community who knew… I see cousins who are at the same universities reach out for one another. And a young man on the other side of country, who had braced himself for his grandmother’s death finds himself unexpectedly flattened when his friend and mentor dies, too. Too much. Too far away. 

And yet grief takes on the rhythm of the liturgy. Grandma slipped from her suffering to the cadence of the rosary being said at her bedside. Mike Greiner fell on the feast of St. Joseph and went to be with Jesus just as the churches lit their candles for the Easter vigil.  The rhythm of faith and life and death and hope.

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

Learning lessons in: We shall take the nature notebooks into the woods and draw and draw and draw.

Encouraging learning in: Gosh. Things I so didn’t emphasize in the first 15 years of homeschooling! I’m all about how to take a test these days, and how to write for the rubric, and how to read the assignment and read it again, and how to budget time. And how to find the answers. Yes, it’s very important to know how to find the answers.

Keeping house: We are spring cleaning and I’m nearly intoxicated by Mrs. Meyer’s Peony scented stuff. But I still love Honeysuckle, too. I bought a few bottles of each and now I tell my eager helpers they can choose their favorites. It honestly makes it less of a chore.

Crafting in the kitchen: I made Easter dinner for a bunch yesterday. I like to cook for a crowd. But we delivered. Around our table was just the usual everyday crowd. This fact was super hard. Because the boys are coming home for funerals, they couldn’t come for Easter. And the cousins didn’t come, either. So it was just us. Katie and I cooked up a storm and I delivered to our friends. Sarah delighted in setting our table with china and I let her do the centerpiece. We tried to tell ourselves it was all so fun. Then, we let down our guards and had a good cry—two introverts bemoaning the small crowd and quiet house. Who’d have guessed?

To be fit and happy: We’ve had some gorgeous weather and I’m walking again. Look for #morningrun to return to this space next week. I’m kind of giddy at the idea.

Giving thanks: For the grace of God.

Loving the moments: when ardent, serious, very intense prayers are answered and hope unfurls.

Living the Liturgy: These fifty Easter days: I want to live them fully. Once upon a time, I used to talk to my friend Colleen every morning on the phone. We held each other accountable. We challenged each other spiritually. We lifted each other up. We wiped more than a few tears. Then, she moved to Costa Rica and the daily habit was broken. We still talk and we’re getting better at managing communication into the jungle;-). But now, I have a lovely little volume right next to my Bible chair. Colleen is once again poised to be a part of my morning prayer. Won’t you join us? It’s not too late!! You can get a copy of On the Way: The Road to Pentecost right now and we can all pray along together and encourage one another. There’s a Facebook page for chatting and accountability. It’s going to be good. Come along!


Ebook here: -)

Planning for the week ahead: For all my renewed hope, these are set to be challenging days. Grief is tricky and unexpected. We will lean heavily upon the graces of this holiest week, grateful, grateful to live the liturgy in a community of believers.