Gathering My Thoughts


I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

I still haven't put that layer of topsoil on the front bed. I'm sure the girls didn't dig six inches to plant those tulips. We're going to have a "wintry mix" momentarily. I'm going to be so bummed if those tulips don't come up in the spring.

::listening to 

Christian teasing Sarah Annie incessantly. Music to my ears...for about the first hour. Now it's making me crazy.

::clothing myself in 

Layers. Lots and lots of layers. The wind chill was 7 degrees Sunday when Nick and I were hanging out together for soccer at sunrise. I wore running tights that are as old as he is under my jeans. And boots and two pairs of socks. I even wore a wool sweater for the occasion (and wool makes me itch and wheeze). Baby, it's cold ourtside! 

::talking with my children about these books

We fnished The Mysterious Benedict Society over the weekend. And we began the sequel, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. I admit, I'm hooked. On the drive to Ginny's (when we didn't have the boys with us and didn't want to get ahead of them with those books), the girls and I listened to Caddie Woodlawn. I'm sure this is the fourth time listening for me. It never gets old. 

::pondering prayerfully

"Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.  Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty." ~Marmee in Little Women.

::carefully cultivating rhythm

I've been well pleased with our  November rhythm, even though it was sorely tested and most definitely rocked. We will hold to the same basic plan through Advent. 


::creating by hand

Monday was a happy, creative day. I began early. Mike had a very early flight and I awoke with him. By 5:15, I was stitching my way around some pretty pink tulle. After that project was completed (I'll share it with needle & thREAD on Friday), I started working on some sweet, scrappy hostess gifts.  Then, with a fire roaring and Karoline begging to watch Little Women (again). I actually sat still in the middle of the afternoon and merrily knit away while Jo figured out the Professor Bhaer was a great catch. I like Professor Bhaer better in the movie than I do in the book. I really, really like him in the movie;-).

::learning lessons in

tutus. Plotting with one of the girls' teachers for the ultimate girls' weekend.

::encouraging learning 

Stephen is sprinting to the finish of the November Novel Writing month. We're reading Thanksgiving books just now. Mary Beth is back at work in the Delegate's office, helping to draft legislation before the winter session.

::begging prayers

For my friend Megan and her family and for the repose of the soul of her beautiful mother, Cynthia McMullen.

For our dear friend Shawn Kuykendall, who is suffering terribly, and for his family and friends. Please get to know Shawn a little better here. Leave it to Shawn to get The Washington Post into the National Cathedral to consider God.

For Elizabeth DeHority who kept her Tuesday chemo date today.

For the repose of the soul of Eldo Merlin Foss.

::keeping house

Today's the day: the final scrubdown before the first Sunday of Advent comes with all its decorating splendor. Total clutter elimination and a washing of every wall are the goals. We did the basement walls a couple of weeks ago and now I'm obesessed with wall washing. My poor kids are not fond of my obsessions. 


::crafting in the kitchen 

I'm making cinnamon honey butter today, to combine with the scrappy hostess gifts. It's in the experimental stage right now. I'll let you know how it goes.

::loving the moments

Mike has been gone for most of the last week. He was home for a few hours Sunday night and early Monday morning. I'm grateful for those few moments we had and I'm very much looking forward four days off. We need every minute of those four days.

::giving thanks 

for my husband, who is steadfast and strong. He's carrying a heavy load right now and doing it with determined holiness. He thinks it goes unnoticed. But I notice. And I'm so grateful. 

::living the liturgy

I've been prayerfully considering living liturgy almost every waking hour for the last few weeks. My own personal connection to living liturgy is the Liturgy of the Hours, more than anything else. It's real and accessible and such a gift of the Church. It's always there and I bring away something new every time I pray with the universal Church. I've brought my children into my private time with the Hours more and more this season, maybe because I recognize that this practice is enduring, no matter what, no matter where. 

I love the feasting and fasting of the Domestic Church, though. I have poured heart and soul into creating and preserving traditions with my children. The struggle between the secular calendar and the liturgical one becomes more pronounced as the children get older, not because the children are becoming more "secular," but because they have obligations to outside elements. Their worlds grow wider and so, ours do, too.

Soccer tournaments. College exams. We try to create a climate of peace and holiness within our homes, but then... there is also the call to go to them. To be at the big game, and so to forego decorating the tree on the First Sunday of Advent. To hold off on St. Nicholas Day treats and to send exam week care packages instead. To let the little ones have the same hands-on liturgical experiences as the big ones did, while still considering the fact that they might not carry them into their own homes when they are grown after all. And somehow, to do it all without feeling like the purposeful intentions in the heart of the young mother are not slipping through her fingers in middle age...

::planning for the week ahead

Tomorrow, Michael and Kristin have invited me to take a glimpse at the greatest blessing imagineable. And hopefully I'll know whether to trim that tiny white cardigan in pink or blue.

Thanksgiving lunch at my sister-in-law's house. This Thanksgiving will feel odd, at best. Patrick and Zach have to stay in Charlottesville. The soccer team is not allowed home even for the day. Uncle Mac won't come from Michigan as he has every year I can remember since as far back as my husband's 21st birthday. He came for the funeral. He'll come for the burial at Arlington National Cemetary. A third trip this fall isn't really possible. And, of course, Granddad won't be there. The empty places at the table loom large.

Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house. I'm grateful to my sister, who seems to know whenever I have dissolved into tears lately. She has a sixth sense about that, probably cultivated long ago in the dark of night when she was supposed to be asleep in her own room, but crawled into my bed instead. She's planning a lovely evening, complete with birthday cake for Mike, whose birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day this year. 

It will be different. It will be good. 

And then there will be soccer this weekend in Charlottesville...