...in which I do some catch up blogging and get reacquainted with my camera:-)
Outside My Window
Everything is in full bloom. Our Bradford Pear looks so beautiful in its white lace splendor (too bad those particular trees absolutely stink while in bloom). The cherry trees are lovely and the crabapples have my little ones looking expectantly for Mrs. Applebee. My tulips are budding and blooming, too. And...a little bird told me that the bluebells have begun to burst into color as well. There is nothing, nothing in the whole outdoors so wonderful as bluebells in Virginia.
I am wearing
capris and a poplin blouse. Hooray for the return of the "summer uniform!"
I am Thankful For
Mike's safe return. He didn't get home until 7AM Easter morning, after driving all night. There was a very serious accident just ahead of him on I95 and he sat and sat and sat in traffic. He's been gone two weeks. This trip was a long haul for both of us and I'm so grateful he's home at last.
I am Pondering
these words, passed on to me by a wise friend:
Child of God, what have you done up to now to help the souls around you?
You cannot be content with that passiveness, with that idleness of yours. He wants to reach others through your example, through your words, through your friendship, through your service.
-- St. Josemaria Escriva -- The Furrow #880
I intended to finish it during Holy Week, but Holy Week ended up being very, very active, not much time for reading. So, I'm going to finish this week. This is a slow read, only because every page holds something worth stopping to think and pray on.
From the Kitchen
Let's do some menu recording here:
I do not even remember. I functioned on three hours sleep that day.
Gyros made with the leftover lamb. I love this meal and every year I wonder why I don't do lamb more often.
salad with roasted beets and goat cheese and pine nuts
roasted sweet potatoes
chocolate cake with mint filling and mint ganache
edible easter baskets
ice cream bar with hot fudge, strawberries, Easter candy, whipped cream
I am Thinking
about silence and conversation. About boundaries and embraces. About activity and stillness.
I am Creating
a social network for kind conversation. Hmmm...those words look strange here, even to me. I wonder at the events that took me to this place. But it's true, together with my big kids (who are the resident experts on such things), and some dear friends, we're creating a place of beautiful conversation. More news and an invitation very soon.
On my iPod
The Holy Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet with St. Faustina. This is beautifully done and so appropriate for this week where our focus is in His mercy.
Towards a Real Education
Lots of nature study and watercolors in the plans. We are also going to begin a multi-age Bible study together. We're finishing up most of the purchased curriculum (grammar books, science notebooks, etc). I'm looking forward to a spring of mostly Bible study, Shakespeare, nature and art. And we'll take a literature-intensive look at Asia.
Towards Rhythm and Beauty
I love the way that the gold ALLELUIA letters sparkle on the mantel this morning. It was a long Lent. A long, fruitful Lent. Easter shines in my house today. Baskets line up on the knee wall in the kitchen. Candles and baskets grace the tables. Our book baskets brim over with the spring term: books on birds; books about Easter; bible story picture books; books on China. There is a familiar beauty in the things around me and I can see clearly--if only for the moment--how the beauty of this place supports its rhythm and how hat rhythm is the heartbeat of our lives here.
To Live the Liturgy
Wood and felt. Felt and wood. Around my living room, there is a miniature representation of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, a table with a tiny cenacle, and another table with cross and tomb. Over and over again, my children are drawn to the wood and felt as the gospels come alive in their hands. The liturgy lives here, in wood and felt.
This week, we are praying the Divine Mercy novena and lulling small children to sleep at night with the chaplet, sung over and over.
I am Hoping and Praying
for Christian, who gets thrown curve ball after curve ball (and he's not a big fan of baseball). We need some solid answers from doctors this week. Pediatricians, cardiologist, surgeon--I’m praying someone can figure this all out. Hmmm. this remains the same as when I first wrote it two or three weeks ago. Not good.
and for my Aunt Ida, who fell and broke her hip last. She's 92; she doesn't "bounce back." She is however, the antithesis of a sour-faced saint. She's joy personified. I think that's why she's lived so long.
for Elizabeth deHority to have the time and the strength and the peace to do the important things.
In the Garden
There are still too many weeds. I also saw peony shoots yesterday. I pruned the roses (why does this always hurt me so much?). They look very healthy and I'm looking forward to a summer full of blooms.
Around the House
The house sparkled from top to bottom yesterday (well, the basement didn't exactly sparkle, but it was much better). I worked around the clock (literally) to get it to this point. And it was no small challenge. Mike was gone. Paddy was gone. Christian and Mary Beth were sick (really sick) and so all the routines were worthless. I never realized just how much my normal routines integrate those big kids into everything we do. But I did it! Mike came home to a perfectly lovely house and after working the way he does, he deserved to be as blessed by this home as we are.
Now, to keep it this way.
On Keeping Home
At the beginning of the week I told a friend (who is a truly gifted and creative homemaker) that I wished I had a homemaking fairy to come and rescue me. In my mind, this fairy looked a bit like the Flylady logo. My friend replied that her homemaking notebooks are her fairies. I whined a bit about how my notebooks are out of date and I didn't have time to stop and update before rolling up my sleeves. Then I remembered that whole "Sharpen the Saw" principle and I stopped and made a serious list. I wrote down everything that needed to be done. I worked backwards from Easter Sunday and thought about a logical order. I committed it all to paper. And then I lived that list. Now matter what happened. No matter who got sick. No matter how tired I was. The list ruled. It probably isn't the greatest strategy for everyday life, but it was my survival strategy and in the end, my wise and beautiful friend was right: those notes are the Homemaking Fairy. This week? I'm going to work on the Homemaking Notebook. It's been far too long.
One of My Favorite Things
Sarah Annie this week
She is talking up a storm and signing right along with her speech. (Mike says it's the Italian thing; talking with her hands.) Her favorite sign these days is "outside." She's pretty insistent. If she's inside, she's signing "outside." As it should be; the weather is just beautiful and the whole world is in bloom for her. Outside. Outside. Outside.
A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week
The bluebells are in bloom. Around here, that's all the news we need to plan our week.
A few more pictures to share:
I have no pictures of the Basilica to share this year. We attended all the Holy Week and Easter services our neighborhood mission had to offer. All week, I reminded myself how utterly grateful I am that this mission is healthy and holy again. But I did so miss the big church. Because of the blessing of a local mission, I was able to stay home with sick children and send well ones across the street to the local elementary school gym or leave for just a few moments with well children to attend stations on the town green. I wish I could wax poetic and tell you how beautiful it was despite the lack ofa a church building. Instead, I can report that when Nicholas walked into Mass Easter morning, he exclaimed, "Man! I wish all these people would show up just once when I play basketball here!"