Gathering My Thoughts





















I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

Our rose garden is overrun with weeds. Patrick is home for a few days, so I'd hoped he'd conquer it. He went out, took a look, and came back inside and said he doesn't have time. Ah, well. Perhaps I can do it next week. Kristin has big plans for our gardens. The weather is fine these days. I'm hoping we can get out it in it together and do some serious planting.

::listening to 

Coffee shop noises. This soccer season, I haven't spent much time writing in coffee shops. I haven't spent much time writing at all. This afternoon, with two hours to catch up a bit, feels like such a gift!

::clothing myself in 

Jeans, T-shirt with lace, lightweight cardigan, light dangling earrings. The spring and fall are my favorite months for clothing.

::talking with my children about these books

Heaven is Here- -Mary Beth and I are sharing this one. I found it to be a wonderful book to hand off to a teenaged daughter. 

The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secret Behind What You Eat, Young Reader's Edition. ---Nick and I are reading this one

We are going to take on this reading challenge this month. Actually, I'm making it a writing challenge, having my kids share their little bookshelves with you here. I'm going to take on the challenge at Instagram (where I'm already behind) and the children are going to write here. Soon. I promise;-)

::thinking and thinking

about a little bit of a miracle in my overactive brain. On April 29th, I marked 23 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. That day, I noticed that when a friend (Hi, Jen!) posted to Facebook about a local wine and farm event that featured an awesome fundraising cause and her spectacularly awesome (priest) brother as an auctioneer and my favorite vineyard, I did something I have not done in 23 years. I said I couldn't make it this year, but I was a definite for next year. In 23 years, I've never let my brain go there, never assumed next year. Of course, none of us knows if we'll be around next year. But normal people do say, "I'll see you next year" or "Let's plan on next year." I never have. 

But I just did.

I think that might be progress. Maybe. What's amazing to me about this whole thing is that I've had a super hard time getting out from under the shadow of cancer the last few months. I've had to do some hard work reconciling survivorship in my own soul. It's not like one day you have cancer and then you're cured and then life rolls on as normal. Physically, nothing is the same again. I'm aware that I'm in uncharted territory. Treatment for my particular disease was changing so rapidly when I was being treated that there are just a handful of us who make up this cohort of survivors. Most people I know in that cohort have some pretty significant longterm effects. I have definitely been spooked.

Part of renewal for me has been confronting this fear and then working to weave a positive strategy of care and realistic awareness into my days. So, hey, chemo destroyed my gut and it's still messed up 23 years later. OK. Time to learn to be assertive about what I can and cannot eat in order to protect myself. And yes, I have a one in three chance of getting breast cancer because I was radiated. But gosh, if pregnancy and extended breastfeeding are protective measures, show me someone has has more of those than I do;-).

And, somewhere, deep down inside, I just had the confidence to say, "Next year..."


::pondering prayerfully

“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” 
― Henri J.M. NouwenThe Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

::carefully cultivating rhythm

I'm here to tell every mom trying to "balance" (hah!, what a joke) work and home, that it's possible to ask God for direction about one's professional life every day for nearly a year. And then, in a fifteen minute time span, have Him make himself abundantly clear. I feel more at peace in my skin and with my plans than I have in a very long time.

::creating by hand

The girls need some summer clothes as soon as possible. My sewing mission is critical.

::learning lessons in

community. I think that a lot of my notions of community, both online and in real life, have shifted dramatically over the last couple years. I'm very grateful for the insight. And I'm very grateful for a genuinely diverse community.

::encouraging learning 

We are finishing up Karoline's First Communion notebook this week. May is going to be all about math for everyone. I have some very lofty goals for the month, but if we can achieve them, I think I'll call the year a huge success.

::begging prayers

these prayers are still very, very much on my heart:

For a child of mine who needs big infusions of grace. Please pray with me?

For my friend Barbara's new grandson, Isaac. (So far, both our homeschooling-friends-grown-up who have had babies have named them Isaac.)  He was born three weeks ago, by emergency c-section, six weeks early. He and his mom are doing fine, but his time in the NICU just keeps extending. Your prayers for recovery and growth and NICU grace are very much appreciated.

And for Rick Warren, his son, and his family.

and a new one:

Mary Beth sustained a significant injury to her Achilles last weekend. It's never fun to be injured, but it's especially difficult when you train all year for a very short competition season and you find you're going to miss a huge chunk of it. Please pray that she will have the strength and grace to bear the crosses that come with this time of stillness.

::keeping house

One must be home in the house in order to adequately keep the house. That is all.

::crafting in the kitchen 

Paddy is home for a few days to study between the end of classes and the beginning of exams. Hence, I am free to drive to soccer and sit in a coffee shop with you. He is at home making a trademark chicken fried steak dinner. 

::loving the moments

When a faraway friend calls just as some interesting things are happening in my inbox and she is able to help me make sense of it in real time.

::giving thanks 

for hope.

living the liturgy

Karoline will receive her First Communion this weekend. I've never seen a child more excited about Jesus! Please note: it's Thursday as I write and she still has no dress, veil, or shoes. I hate that this seems like an eighth child kind of thing. I care very much about this special day; I'm just having trouble making decisions and I absolutely detest shopping and my favorite Catholic store has gone out of business...That flower girl dress is looking like a very good option.

::planning for the week ahead

My precious second son will turn 21 on Monday. This fact astounds me. I still can't get over the miracle of him. I will never get over the miracle of him. ...