Gathering my Thoughts









I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

Mike and the boys really got after it yesterday in the yard. I need to follow up all their hard work with a trip to the herb store. It's time to get some things growing.

::listening to 

birds chirping outside my front door. My friend Courtney noted yesterday that birds know no other way to greet the day except in song. We would do well to take our cues from the birds.

::clothing myself in 

Pajamas and Patrick's letterman blanket. It's itchy but I'm too cozy to move to a more allergy-friendly fleece. Besides, I miss him.

::talking with my children about these books

We are still reading Civil War books. Gripping illness and babies being born have delayed our planned field trips.

::thinking and thinking

About being alone. There are very few women who have nine kids. There are even fewer who have nine kids and the youngest is five and they are also grandmothers. 

 There is a palpable shift, even in online communities, towards encouraging women to seize all the opportunities that await them outside the confines of home and family. That's someone else's life. I'm still finding that even adequately meeting the needs of my people and their varied commitments and relationships is more than I can do well most days.That other stuff? Out there? I can't even begin to go there. At least I can't and still do this even close to well.

Way back in the beginning of this life together, my husband and I heard a calling to cultivate the lives entrusted to us and the space He so graciously granted to the glory of God. More than 25 years later, that calling remains the same--only it's way more complicated and demanding. 

Interestingly, the support for wholehearted mothering and homemaking seems to have diminished just as my family has grown and the challenges multiplied. It's curious to me that the same faith community that so vigorously promotes openness to life expresses a vague condescension towards those women who must dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the care of those lives in order to faithfully fullfill the vocation to motherhood. Not sure what's up with that, but I am assured that God is faithful, that He called us, and that He walks with us still on this journey.

::pondering prayerfully

“During the day we practice what we have resolved to do in the morning. We also have to bestir ourselves to expressions of love, gratitude and humility toward God, ask Him for as many graces as (we) may need. Let us always remember that God is our Father, and we are His children.” ~St. John Bosco


::carefully cultivating rhythm

As we head into soccer tournament and dance competition season, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the extra-curriculars from overtaking the academic necessities. We lost so many days (and our spring break) to illness. It is imperative to stay disciplined in these final spring days.

::creating by hand

I have been up to my eyeballs in all sorts of dance costume alterations. I love to create in a dressing room with a grateful girl. I really do enjoy getting to know these girls (and a handful of boys) and being a part of the hard work that goes into this art. These are the people who fill my daughters' days; I am privileged to know them well.

I'm eager to make a quilt soon, though.

 ::learning lessons in

What matters most. I loved the Restore workshop. It was by far my favorite thing to have ever done online. Someone recently noted the quiet here on my blog and asked if Restore had burned me out. (Ultimate irony, right? Being burned out by the burnout workshop?) The reality is that Restore was written in February. I wrote 90% of it before opening registration and I blogged here and actually was brimming over with creative ideas. So, no, the workshop didn't burn me out, nor did it take me away from here.

What took me away was living the spirit of this blog. We faced some sad burials. My kids were sick. Even my kids who are bigger than me needed me. I traveled back and forth to Charlottesville. I came home to the same serious infection here. What came with it was mountains of laundry every day for weeks on end (every fiber they touched had to be washed every single time), children who needed continuous care, a total disruption of the regular rhythms of our home.

And then I also got to spend sweet, thoughtful, irreplaceable hours walking and talking with Kristin in the weeks before Lucy arrived.

I wondered often how other people manage such things--people who have many commitments  outside their homes. I wondered often, but I didn't often wonder long; I was too focused on doing the work of being mom and making home to have much time to ponder the philosophy of it or to write about it.

I write in the margins. It's what I do. And some seasons there are no margins at all.

::encouraging learning 

We haven't finished our math for the year. Why is it always math that's the issue? We will do math all summer long...


::clicking around

Hah! Not much of that happening. 

::begging prayers

For people who are lonely and feel forgotten.

For people anxious over health tests.

For Elizabeth DeHority and Lisa Tobin.

For new mamas and the babies they love--and for mamas who will meet their babies any moment.

::keeping house

I'm going to be doing some furniture rearranging this week. My sister is sending some treasures my way. My big boys have some apartments to furnish. It could look like a warehouse around here for a few weeks as we sort things out. In the end, I like what's going to happen.

::crafting in the kitchen 

We had strawberries and asparagus yesterday. I dearly love spring. And summer? I'm so ready to cook from the Farmer's Market. Bring it.






::loving the moments

Karoline and Nicholas had to wait a week after Lucy Shawn was born before they could finally hold her. For both of them, the wait was by far the worst part of being sick. They are both being aggressively treated by an eye specialist and we hope to minimize the longterm damage, but the active infection is finally gone from my house. (Nine, ten weeks later? I've lost count)

They were overcome with sheer joy when the moment finally came for them to hold the sweetest baby on the planet. I'm not entirely sure that Nick has actually seen her still. But the blurry baby sure felt good in his arms. There really are no words and even the pictures can't quite capture the elation.

::giving thanks 

for mostly healthy kids.

living the liturgy

It's still Easter! Every evening, during Night Prayer, Sarah marvels that it's still Easter. This is seriously the longest day ever, Mommy.

::planning for the week ahead

Trips to visit the opthamologist.

Some loving on Lucy.

Nick has a State Cup game midweek deep into the next county. We will sit in traffic for a couple hours before arriving at the game site. Those kinds of games don't usually end well. The home team has a ginormous advantage and this home team is formidable anyway. Your prayers for an exception to the rule would be awesome. This kid has had a ridiculously hard year and I'd dearly love for the tide to turn. He's healthy enough to play and he's eager. I'm kind of holding my breath.

Christian's birthday is Tuesday. He'll take an exam to celebrate.

Christian returns home Wednesday. Patrick will spend the summer in Charlottesville, regaining strength and endurace and, no doubt, preparing to come back to the pitch better than ever!

The weekend holds lots of soccer and dance. Karoline has missed three weeks of dance. When you're seven and not a little ADHD, three weeks is an eternity. She got back in the studio last night and did some good work. She's going to have to be very focused in order to remember all she's forgotten before she dances this weekend. And it would be really great if her peripheral vision were just a wee bit better. 

The week holds lots of organizing and orchestrating in order to arrive at the weekend both efficiently and peacefully. 

My mother is arriving towards the end of the week. She has a new great-grandchild to get to know.

I'm more than a little overwhelmed as I grid in everyone's everything. There will be lots of prayer. And maybe some coffee.