Gathering my Thoughts












I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

These have been some very cold days. That’s really okay with me. I like an excuse to stay inside and make soup. Today (Sunday as I write), though, is much, much warmer and the sun is shining after a very dark and rainy Saturday. The world does seem a little happier all the way ‘round.

::listening to 

the comings and goings of cars and boys in the parking lot at soccer. Again.

::clothing myself in 

Yoga pants, a long sleeved T-shirt and warm boots. I really do hope to actually get to the gym today.

::talking with my children about these books

Whatever Stephen is reading. Stephen loves to have conversations about books. I kind of love it, too.

::thinking and thinking

About burnout and recovery. About running oneself ragged and about self-care. About renewal and surrender. I have enough thoughts and ideas and lessons learned here to roll them all into a very practical and hopefully healing workshop. And your notes and emails tell me that might be something you’d be interested in pursuing with me in the late winter and early spring. So, I’d like to work on that. As always, “spare” time is not abundant. It’s going to take God’s provision to carve the time and space for such a project. I’d be so grateful if you’d pray for that provision.


::pondering prayerfully

“Our culture has filled our heads but emptied our hearts, stuffed our wallets but starved our wonder. It has fed our thirst for facts but not for meaning or mystery. It produces “nice” people, not heroes.” ~Peter Kreeft

::carefully cultivating rhythm

The rhythm of the last few weeks has stretched me to my limits. My house has been full to bursting. Temperaments and personalities have been colliding all over the place. There have been mountains of laundry and mountains of groceries and mountains of dishes. And all that sounds rather like complaining.

I don’t “do” complaining, so let’s just leave it there.

Monday morning will bring with it fresh lesson plans, fresh chore charts, a menu plan, and emphasis on restoring order and cleanliness with certain vigor and alacrity. I’m looking forward to relative quiet.

::creating by hand

I have some flannel pjs to finish this week. After three Boyfriend Scarves, it’s time to get back my Honey Cowl. The scarves were knit in bulky yarn and they were a quick knit, to be sure. After that, I have serious doubts this Honey Cowl will be finished while it’s still cold enough to wear it.

I did sew a very quick scarf last week. Mike and I had a date night for my birthday and managed to whip up another of Anna Maria Horner’s airy layers scarves on impulse in under an hour. It might be my favorite one yet. So perfect with jeans...

::learning lessons in

Photography! Well, not yet. But my dad and Barbara gave me Ashley Ann’s SnapShop workshop as a birthday gift. I’m so excited about this opportunity. This WILL be the year I shoot in manual mode. Promise.

::encouraging learning 

It's  up and at 'em bright and early Monday morning. No more distractions.

::begging prayers

for Shawn and for Elizabeth DeHority and for all the people who love them. Cancer is a hideous, horrible disease and watching it devour someone you love is incredibly painful.

for all the intentions of our prayer community.

For college students, beginning a new semester today.

::keeping house


Christmas is all tucked into boxes, save for the nativity set on the piano. We'll leave that until Candlemas. At least.

There are fresh flowers in my house. Birthday flowers came along just in time to take the place of Princess Tea flowers. I really do like flowers scattered here and there. (I never shared Princess Tea photos, did I? This week...)

::crafting in the kitchen 

So, I set about to do a Vegan Whole30. I’ve done this before, actually for way more than 30 days. When I faltered recently, I reset at Whole9life, to begin again. I noticed when I did so that the word “failure” was in the URL for the reset. That irritated me. Somebody coded that; did they have to use the  word “failure.?” Actually, in terms of Whole30, those times when you diverge from the prescribed plan are usually good lessons, not failures.


I Instagrammed the screenshot and the Whole30 folks chimed in and told me (very politely) that a Vegan Whole30 was an impossibility. Since I did it for probably closer to 120 days last spring and summer, I know they’re wrong, but the conversation gave me reason to rethink the nomenclature of it all.

It’s nice to call it “Whole30” because then you get instant support. It seems the whole world is doing Whole30 lately (very much unlike when I first did it in spring of 2012). What is healthiest for me, though, really isn’t Whole30. It’s kinder and gentler in its philosophy. I’m just not the Type A nutrition/exercise type, even though I definitely lean Type A in other places. Upon further consideration, the older I get, the more my children grow, the more I consciously try to let go of Type A…I'm not all that Type A anymore...

So, I decided to come up with my own hashtag--#eattonurture2014 and to invite community. The whole idea is to create an encouraging climate of self-care without divisive nutrition dichotomies. Are you eating in a way that nourishes and nurtures your body? What works for you? Tag a picture on Instagram and tell me about it. I’m interested. I really am. Later this week, I’ll share some pictures here and tell you about all the lessons “failure” taught me and how I’ve fine-tuned accordingly. I’ll also share how nice it is to have even one good friend who will puzzle out all the nutrition questions with you and support you in a journey.

::loving the moments

about 14 years ago, Major League Soccer signed a sixteen-year-old to play for DC United. Such a move was unprecedented at the time. We just didn’t do things like that in America. But they did. And this boy needed a place to finish high school. He was on his own, didn’t even have a driver’s license yet when we met him. He came to us, to learn with us. Michael was eleven at the time.

I had no experience mothering teenaged boys. We taught each other quite a bit. Eventually, he left here for the English Premier League. He traveled far and wide, fell in love, took a wife.

She’s darling and we love her.


Around Halloween, he sent me a video clip of a sonogram. And he called me “Grandma.” That baby is due just a few weeks after Michael and Kristin expect to welcome their baby. One little girl. One little boy. The plan right now is for me to be with Bobby and Sloane when she delivers. Logistics could be tricky but we’re surrendering that…

So, I’m loving these moments while Bobby and Sloane are here. They’ve left Toronto and not yet reported in New Jersey. They arrived here the day after Christmas and I’m grateful to have Sloane perched on a stool at my kitchen counter chatting all sorts of things while Bobby riles up the boys and whips the atmosphere into a frenzy, while they play endless games of FIFA on the Xbox and some of them remind others that they actually did play in the real live World Cup, and while they eat pizza and mozarella sticks at whatever time of day while watching video clips of "the greatest match ever" (noting they were in that match), while they hang little girls (Bobby's three nieces have come to play, too) upside down by their ankles and swing them until they squeal, while they make a contest out of everything imagineable and truly get their feelings hurt when they're not the winner. They are loud and rowdy and they bump up against each other. Sometimes it makes the hair rise on the back of my neck and it grates on my nerves like fingernails on chalkboard. My husband keeps reminding me that boys will be boys. These are some very big boys! Admittedly, the noise and frenzy has been bigger than I am, but it is nice to see them all together again and to see how they are a band of brothers.

(And did I mention how much I love visiting with Sloane, talking babies and mamas and all the things that go with them? I do so love that...)





I can’t help but remember how sad I was when he left for Reading and how worried I was that he’d walk out of our lives forever. They come back. I need to remind myself of that now and then.


::giving thanks 

for the opportunity to make a fresh start. At there was this proposition for the year’s beginning:

This year, instead of resolving to finally get it right,

let’s resolve to walk with Him as He makes it right.

Instead of determining to get better,

Let’s determine to get close to Him through His word.

Instead of making a list of all that we will do on our own,

Let’s notice all that He is doing and let’s join him in it.


Yes. Let’s. And let’s be grateful that He makes all things new.

Let’s surrender.

living the liturgy

Time to order beeswax, to think about Candlemas. I going to keep it simple this year and to pour jar candles. And I think I’ll republish my thoughts on candlelight…

::planning for the week ahead

I’m just going to focus on peacefully settling us all into the new schedule.

 On this day last year: Cravings: a Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God