Gathering My Thoughts









I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

I love the way the sun sets at the soccer field. It’s happening earlier and earlier each evening. Next week, we might miss it altogether. I am determined to bring my camera tomorrow in order to attempt to capture it. The iPhone just isn’t cutting it.

::listening to 

soccer practice.

::clothing myself in 

Denim shorts and an orange shirt, neither of which I owned last spring. When we first saw possibilities for the cover of Small Steps, I didn’t much prefer the one that was chosen. It’s been a few babies since I’ve felt comfortable in shorts and orange isn’t really my color;-). When I received word that the “shorts cover” was indeed the cover chosen, I went shopping. I try really, really, super hard to be wholly authentic. If my book had a picture of a lady in shorts with an orange shirt and her feet up drinking coffee, by golly, I was going to make every effort to try that whole scene at least once. So, I did.

I still rarely put my feet up. I don’t drink coffee regularly. My couch does not match my orange shirt. And the orange shirt still isn’t really my color. But the denim shorts?

I kind of love them.


::talking with my children about these books

we spent a lot of time talking about 9/11 books last week. The kids seemed to keep revisiting them, much more so than in years past. We haven’t yet talked about the recent D.C. shooting. I put a ban on all television where they might be exposed. I spent a fair amount of time making telephone calls in my car so that I was safely out of earshot. I need to figure out how to approach this one. This time, it’s going to take me a few days to find words.

::thinking and thinking

About God’s unique call. I wonder sometimes at the damage done by a women’s movement that fought so hard and so long to persuade the culture that women can do it all—be wives, mothers, employees, employers, artisans, crafters of the ideal life. No ceiling, no boundaries, no limitations. But there are, aren’t there? Natural law makes it so. There are only so many hours, so much energy. We can’t do it all and we likely will burn ourselves out trying. The culture tells us we can. God doesn’t. God calls us uniquely to live as He created us and He grants us abundant grace to do it. He didn’t create us for burnout. That feeling of being stretched too thin, doing everything halfheartedly and nothing well? That’s not of God.

::pondering prayerfully

Let yourself be seen by all as you really are. Just as we are in the sight of God, so let us be in the sight of all.

~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

::carefully cultivating rhythm

We are in the second full week of the total schedule. I’m finding my writing pockets. Those are like little nuggets of gold. Writing does for me what knitting does—it calms me; it organizes my thoughts; it leaves me feeling full. I get a little stressed out when I’m not sure how I’ll fit it in. It relaxes me to see those golden nuggets of time reveal themselves.

::creating by hand

I did the things Monday that keep me from sewing. I prewashed a whole bunch of yardage. And I traced. I ordered some patterns (that I thought I’d already ordered but apparently in my sleepless stupor last week I never sealed the deal). I’m planning some shirts and dresses for my girls and a little love bundle for the mail. Now, I might actually get to sew!

::learning lessons in

appliance maintenance. Just in case there is someone else out there who doesn’t know: Take the cover off your dryer every month. Vacuum out the inside. I’m not talking about the lint screen. You have to clean that every time you switch loads. I’m talking about the innards, where the heating element warms the drum. Lint gets in there. And it can catch fire. When it does, it causes the thermostat to overheat, igniting the safety valve which shuts the whole thing down. That’s the best case scenario: you get a load full of dried clothes that smell like you had a wild time in a smoky bar and you have to replace the thermostat.

The worst case scenario is the stuff of nightmares.

Really, go vacuum out the inside of your dryer.

::encouraging learning 

We’re hitting that sweet spot between planned lessons and following rabbit trails. I’m not an unschooler; been there, done that, paid a huge price. I have a plan and I have some non-negotiable essentials. But I do love a good jaunt in  an area of interest that reinforces the whole notion that learning is fun and has purpose.

::begging prayers

for the victims of the tragedy in Washington, D.C., both those who lost their lives and those who lived through the horror. My stepbrother works in Building 197. He saw unspeakable things.

for all the intentions of our prayer community.

And yes, for that intention I was keeping quiet; it’s still very close to my heartJ  

::keeping house

I am nearly caught up after being without a dryer for 9 days. Go me.

::crafting in the kitchen 

This morning I made a quick decision to return to Monday Night Football Geography. With that decision, I committed to cooking on Monday nights according to the cities that are playing. Tonight’s dinner was super fun.

::loving the moments

It’s been a rough couple of days. I caught some sort of virus late last week and it has hung on. That, coupled with a lack of sleep, a mountain of laundry, some great ideas that I don’t have time to get into print, an unintentional oil spill and cleanup to rival BP in my driveway, sewing projects that are not yet begun awaiting the magic moment, and the very tragic news of Monday morning had all combined to bring me way, way down. I sent a friend a quick note around midday Monday and she stopped and spent an hour just talking and sharing and understanding. I love the moments when I feel understood. We really need to do that for one another, don’t we? We need to understand.

::giving thanks 

for the safety of the people I love tonight. Really, it’s not to be taken for granted.

living the liturgy

We are approaching my favorite stretch of liturgical feasts. I’m so grateful for the way that the liturgy aligns with birthdays in my life. Five years ago, we began the novena for St. Therese on the September 23, the feast of Padre Pio. I began to bleed that night and the doctor in the NICU told me that birth was imminent. My baby was 28+ weeks in utero. I didn’t deliver. Instead, I spent several days in the hospital and then I returned home where I was forbidden to get out of bed. I surrounded myself with the saints. I’m going to tell you more about that tomorrow. Just know that those saints kept me safe in their prayers. My daughter was born –early, but healthy—on the vigil of All Saints. So very appropriate. And, not long after, when my world crashed and rocked and I began to question the Church because of the people in the Church, I could not walk away. Because I could not leave the communion of saints, I could not leave the Divine Office, and I could not live authentically without living the liturgy.

::planning for the week ahead

I return to the eye doctor Tuesday at noon. I would dearly love for her to tell me that we’ve made progress on this whole warped eyeball thing. I only have one ear. My eyes are working at about 50%. Just know this: I have an incredible sense of smell. So there’s that.

Mike is taking a bunch of boys to watch Paddy play Tuesday night. It’s absolutely beautiful soccer weather. That’s a good thing because we’ll return to Charlottesville Friday and then we’ll begin State Cup for Stephen back here on Saturday and there is a match for both Stephen and Nick on Sunday.

I do love to watch them play.