Gathering my Thoughts

Some babies are allowed to sit on my dining room table. If I'm not careful, I'll be one of those overindulgent types of grandmothers;-).

::outside my window

My garden is a neglected mess. Today, we'll see what we can salvage.

::listening to 

silence. My new rhythm puts writing time at 5AM. Pretty much guaranteed quiet.

::clothing myself in 

a tank top, running capris, a jacket (it's been cool in the mornings) and some shoes that need replacing. The plan is to head out around 6:30. 

::talking with my children about these books

Mary Beth's youth group girls are reading Lies All Young Women Believe. So that means I'm reading Lies All Young Women Believe. Because then we can talk.

:: in my own reading:

I've been listening to audiobooks in binges lately, logging lots of  miles on foot, with a book in my ear. While listening to The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, I kept thinking that much of the relationship guidance had relevance in other relationshps beside married ones. So, I went on to read The Relationship Cure. This one is a must-read for everyone over about 16. Such good wisdom. If  people understood the principles here, the world would be a better place. Certainly, if families operated along these principles, they'd thrive. The problem with books like this, of course, is always that one person reads them and it's not always easy to get anyone else interested...

::thinking and thinking

about productivity. After the  The Relationship Cure, I went on a rabbit trail of reading. My Fitbit really has changed my exercise habit in an extraordinary way. So, I've started to consider other habits and how they could be refined. I'm naturally a very disciplined person, so it isn't so much a matter of will as it is a matter of education. The digital age has changed so much about the way we work, the way we relate, the way we rest--everything is touched by digital media. I've been reading extensively about studies done on the effects of media in general and smartphones in particular. Right now, I'm listening to Manage Your Day to Day. I highly recommend it. I'm also re-reading parts of The Shallows.


...between digital technology and rising complexity, there's more information and more requests coming at us faster, and more relentlessly than ever. Unlike computers, however, human beings aren't meant to operate continuously, at high speeds, for long periods of time. Rather, we're designed to move rhythmically between spending and renewing our energy. our brains wave between high and low electrical frequencies ,  our hearts beat at varying intervals our lungs expand and contract depending on demand. It's not sufficient to be good at inhaling. Indeed, the the more deeply you exhale, the calmer and more capable you become. --from Manage Your Day to Day.

::carefully cultivating rhythm

The rhythm is being rocked in a big way. I'm deconstructing my day and then very deliberately building it back by 90 minute increments. There's a new book project I'm working on. I still have to move this blog and fire up the new things I have planned for it. I'm very excited about the new twist on The Storybook Year set to launch in my own home momentarily. And, I'm super-committed to having firm boundaries in place for computer and smart phone use. I mentioned on Instagram last week that we've been having issues with magically disappearing data on our shared family plan. As I've carefully tracked everyone's data usage, I've noticed things about mine. Admittedly, my first big crime is merely leaving windows open when not in use. But still, I'm seeing that I do have a tendency to just "pop in for moment" and I'm learning that those moments are really robbing me of peace and productivity. 

Last week, I sharply curtailed data usage by taking a four day sabbatical from screens and surfing and social media. It was excellent and will be repeated without hesitation. 

Here's to exhaling deeply and creating space for the things that matter most. (Feel free to take both the image and the hashtag.)

::creating by hand

I finally finished those Quick Change Trousers for Lucy (the ones I cut out before she was born)! And Kristin and I have several more projects lined up for this week. Lots of reading and lots of sewing. Stay tuned for a big edition of needle & thREAD on Friday.

::learning lessons in

Data usage and my iPhone. I asked on Facebook and learned so much!  There are some very infomrative links in that thread.

::encouraging learning in.

Karoline politely declined a playdate yesterday, saying "I was at the beach for a week for dance and then I had dance camp and Stephen had Nationals all last week. I haven't been home at all. I just want to stay home and read."


Good girl. I shall carve out lots of time to just hang out and read.

::begging prayers

for Sarah Harkins. Twenty-one weeks pregnant, Sarah went into anaphylactic shock yesterday. She is in a coma in very critical condition. Please storm heaven on behalf of Sarah and everyone who loves her.

Please, please pray hard. 

::keeping house

Ugh. My house looks like I've been gone for two weeks but other people have been here. Today and tomorrow--major cleaning happening. 

::crafting in the kitchen 

Before any cooking at all, these tents are being pitched. Oh my stars, the moth population is out of control.

::to be fit and happy

I'm certain that I've logged more than #150milesinJuly. I'll report official numbers later this week.  I'm working that walking program. It's benefiting me in ways unimagined. Truly, the Fitbit was a brilliant investment. Just brilliant.

::giving thanks 

for a beautiful week with lots family and lots of treasured friends gathered. Stephen's team lost in the semi-finals of the U. S. Youth Soccer National Championship. It was a heartbreaking loss, but the tournament was exceptionally, incredibly great and this group of boys is truly a gift. It was good. Remember this time last year? All the angst over moving the boys and making big changes? It's all good. In the picture above, Stephen's best friend from his old team is there (with his little brother, Nick's friend) to watch Stephen play great soccer with some very good new friends. In the tent picture at the top? Siblings of soccer teammates from several teams, both old and new, all gathered happily. And, remember that magical team of Patrick's? There were guys there from that team, too, on Saturday. And Nick's former coach was there. And the manager from Paddy's youth team, who also happened to be the mom who swooped in and took care of my children on the scariest day ever. Such community.  

I couldn't have scripted it better. So grateful. 

::loving the moments

when Mike and I are both home and both relaxed. Rare moments lately, but they happened this weekend and I'm grateful. 

living the liturgy

We celebrated St. Anne on Saturday. Sarah Anne called the shots, even though we share the name day. There was sushi and chocolate ice cream. Good girl.

::planning for the week ahead

I talked with Ginny late last night and told her I'm all hers this week. There's been a terrible local tragedy. I have no plans except to be there in whatever way I can. Please, please pray.