Gathering my Thoughts


I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

I just really wish it would snow. It's cold. It flurries. But no real snow at all.

::listening to 


::clothing myself in 

Jeans, long-sleeved t-shirt, cardigan. The winter uniform. 


::talking with my children about these books

We are realllllly meandering down the Alphabet Path. It's "I" week right now. Please don't tell me how "behind" I am.

I is for Laura Ingalls. I so love these little picture books! Years later, Nicholas still knows them all by heart.

Winter Days in the Big Woods

Christmastime in the Big Woods

A Little House Birthday

Sugar Snow

Dance at Grandpa's

Going to Town

Summertime in the Big Woods

The Deer in the Wood

Going West

Prairie Day

A Little Prairie House



::thinking and thinking

Katie and Karoline have become obsessed with the indoor climbing wall at the gym. They're trying to scramble up every chance they get. Katie took a class before Karoline event attempted the wall and discovered she's quite good at it. When it was Karoline's turn, Katie was all about offering pointers and encouragement. Katie even quickly scrambled up an adjacent wall the first time Karoline looked like she was going to make it to the top. She wanted to be right beside her when she reached the summit. I've been thinking about Karoline's approach. We like to go when no one else is there. The wait is non-existent, but also, if it's quiet I can hear Karoline encouraging herself all the way up the wall. "You can do this. You are strong and you are getting stronger. You've got this. Don't give up. Don't look down. God will help you. Keep reaching higher." She's never taken a class. I have no idea where she learned this.  The things this child teaches me...

::pondering prayerfully

 On the days of Lent, from morning until the end of the third hour let them apply themselves to their reading, and from then until the end of the tenth hour let them do the work assigned them.  And in these days of Lent they shall each receive a book from the library, which they shall read straight through from the beginning. These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent. ~from The Rule of St. Benedict

I plan to use Consoling the Heart of Jesus again this year. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It's life-changing. I read it last year, on an unexpected and unusual "retreat," and I shared these thoughts:

I spent Holy Week reading Consoling the Heart of Jesus. There are a small handful of books in my life where I remember exactly where and when I read them because those times and places are turning points. This book is one of those. It is easily at the top of that list. This incredibly readable volume makes some of the most beautiful truths and devotions of the Catholic faith understandable (at last)  and accessible (even to busy mothers of large families).  Fr. Gaitley brings together fine threads of several spiritual traditions and weaves them into a beautiful and exceedingly useful tapestry of a do-it-yourself retreat. It is Ignatian spirituality made accessible. It is the Little Way of St. Therese for all of us. It is consecration to Mary and devotion to Divine Mercy explained in plain language and made clear to little souls. Mostly, it is a rich volume of Merciful Words that brings Merciful Love to its readers. You don't have to have a weekend to make the retreat. You can just read a little each day until you are finished. If it's your heart's desire to get to know and understand Jesus better, tell Him.

I'm so looking forward to re-reading this book this year.

::carefully cultivating rhythm

We're definitely in our winter groove. But the emails are arriving, announcing that soccer practices are no longer optional and the pace is about to quicken palpably. I have major conflicts in transportation. I'm trying not to lose sleep over it. So far, I'm failing miserably.

::creating by hand

Someone please give me permission to put away the flannel nightgowns and begin sewing Easter dresses. I have three to sew during Lent. I hate the pattern instructions for the nightgowns. I'm stuck. I wanted to sew those before anything else, and so, I'm not sewing anything.


::learning lessons in

teenagers. I am not a quick study, but I do think I'm making progress. 

::encouraging learning 

Last week we began our study of Matthew.The verdict from the kids is that it's awesome. They really, really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

And I'm all in with Primary Arts of Language. Almost everything I ever loved about teaching reading and writing in early childhood, all well put together in some tidy packages. All good. Dovetails very nicely with the Alphabet Path.

::begging prayers

for all the intentions of our prayer community.  

::keeping house

Up this week: Reorganizing the linen closet (It's been a long time since it looked like this, but I have photographic evidence that it once did, so I'm motivated). Also,  the storage room in the basement is in need again. Last time I did, it was a big emotional epiphany. I don't have time for epiphanies this week. I just want to clean it up. 

Fact check: I did neither of the above last week. But I made it to the gym six times. In my defense, laundry is all caught up and things are acceptably clean--just no deepdown projects.

::crafting in the kitchen 

Now that I have a reliable standby that I know won't challenge my digestive system in place and I know I won't starve or eat something I shouldn't, I'm really looking forward to beginning Heather's workshop. It's time to learn some new things and to sweep away some bad habits. I love that it will coincide with Lent. I intend to fully immerse Mary Beth in the workshop and to fill in here with some very intentional, hands-on grocery shopping lessons. I hope she'll have her driver's license by the end of those two months, as well. And she'll be all set to become the family's primary grocery shopper.


::loving the moments

When I have a chance to spend some time with a child one-on-one. My friend Jan called unexpectedly last weekend to let me know she was in town with her 16-year-old daughter for a dance competition. Mary Beth and I took the opportunity to sneak out for a quick dinner and to meet Jan for the competition. We had lots of time to talk in the car and I even squeezed in a little shopping at Athleta.

::giving thanks 

for a husband who knows best. I did not want to join a gym. I was not interested in adding more things to our day. I was just a wee bit resentful about being pushed. Unequivocably, we are all loving it. We're there together. There's something for everyone. I can avoid all the hardcore, competitive pounding, pulling, and pushing of the male component in this family and still challenge myself. And take care of myself. I honestly believe we are all getting healthier. And for some of us, that's long overdue.

living the liturgy

This week is all about preparing for Lent. More thoughts here

::planning for the week ahead

Just an ordinary week. The last one for awhile, I think. They're so rare. I'm going to relish it.