Friday, March 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes, Purging Edition

Today's 7 Quick Takes will be a purging edition. 40 Bags in 40 days wrap up, so to speak.

1. I have gotten rid of way more that 40 bags so far. And I have so many more places to attack yet. A dumpster is in order for things like the garage, shed, basement and attic. But the closets are getting there, the bookshelves aren't as crammed, and there is a substantial decrease in garbage. I can not believe how much garbage I had laying around. Papers, mostly, but lots of toys, broken things that I was going to fix "someday". The linen closet merited 4 bags to the thrift store and 2 to the trash.

2. Things I am having difficulty purging:
  • a. Drawing from little kids that are now big, especially if they have a heart on it, and say, "I Love You, Mom".
  • b. Drawings from little kids that will be big soon enough, especially if they have a heart on it, and say, "I Love You, Mom".
  • c. baby teeth (??!?!?!)
  • d. My birth giving clothes ( I always bring my own to the hospital)
  • e. A dress my grandma gave me when I was 16.
  • f. Baby comforter one of my kids used that is threadbare.
  • g. Cookbooks
  • h. Lofty, intellectual books I will likely never read
  • i. Spiritual classics that I will likely never read, but should
  • j. Baby shoes
  • k. Lots of "How to Clean Your Entire House in No Time What- so -Ever and Keep it That Way" articles that I have printed out and put in a pile.
  • l. Exercise clothes I haven't worn since before I was expecting Melanie
  • m. Art Supplies
  • n. CDs that I have had "for a long time"
  • o. Items I spent too much money on but never used
  • p. Letters and cards I have received from people

3. I see a trend. Holding on the the past, gripping it with clenched fingers.

4. and dreams for what I might do with myself if I was only
  • thinner
  • more organized
  • using my time more wisely
  • more holy
  • more intelligent
  • more energetic
5. I realized I must continue in this mindset after Lent is over. I must stay in the purging mode for the rest of my days, or I will be drowning in the past and in an unrealistic future, and never live in the present.

6. I must repeat to myself every time I make purging decisions that God Will Provide, and it isn't a sin to get rid of something you might need later.

7. Finally, I need to get rid of the things that I have kept or bought so I can be like someone else that I am envious of. I never knew that about myself, but I see it is true. I need to rest and work in my own gifts and talents, and appreciate others' gifts and talents without coveting them. Wow. Now THAT would be freedom!!

More Quick Takes at Jen's

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good St. Joseph

Since officially becoming an Eastern Rite Catholic, there have been a few items on the Liturgical Calendar that I really miss. Now, I still acknowledge and accept these things, and still incorporate the traditions into my life since really, Catholic is Catholic. But, Liturgically speaking, there are differences in the calendar.

Today is one of those days. In the Roman Catholic calendar, today is the Feast of St. Joseph. My husband and my eldest son, my father and my father in law, all share his name, and look to him for example. I have had a love for St. Joseph my entire life, as he was the member of the Holy Family I could most identify with.

So it truly warmed my heart to read this article today, written by Abbot Joseph, the superior of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (aka Mt Tabor Monastery), a Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic monastic community. It is entitled, "A Man of Faith and Righteousness", and I encourage everyone to read it and to ask St. Joseph to pray to God for us today and always.

A First

This morning my newly one year old is sitting on my lap, eating a few dry cheerios that are placed on my desk for her. After carefully eating 2 or 3 cheerios, she leans over and not so discreetly indicated she could use a little milk. So now she is eating a cheerio, then nursing for a minute or so, then eating another cheerio, then returning to nursing. Even after eight children, I am pretty certain this is the first time one of my babies has had breakfast in this manner. Lucky baby!

(one of the reasons for the cheerios is to keep little fingers away from the keyboard while I am trying to use the computer)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Little One!

Well, this is it. I'll spend all day thinking, "At this time LAST YEAR, I was eating out with my mom, timing contractions." "At this time last year I was deciding if I should take the girls to choir, or stay home and see what happens." Then a mere 2 hours later, "At this time last year I was on the way to the hospital." And finally, at 10:15 pm, "At this time last year I fell in love again."

Happy, Happy Birthday, my little Melanie Christine Patrice Marie! What a lovely, sweet year this has been!

I would like to go on and on about what an unexpected joy Melanie's arrival was. But I will limit it to these words.

What a gift and a blessing to feel such joy, not tinged with the fatigue and overwhelm I had with previous pregnancies. To have the luxury of sitting in my lovely room, holding, nursing, and soaking her in, without the constant interruptions I had with previous babies. To have a true sense of healing some of the tender spots in my soul and psyche, to regain my joy, my trust and my confidence. To heal my memories of previous babies, where I had focuses on my overwhelm and forgotten some of the sweetness. Many, many moments spent caring for Melanie brought exquisite but fragile memories of my other sweet wee ones back to me.

Mostly, I just want to express my gratitude, to The Giver Of Life. Praise God for His generosity and loving kindness!

And May God grant Melanie many more years, in peace, health and happiness!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

owl pellets

First truly gorgeous day of the year, so we got to do our owl pellets outside

We concluded our owls ate between 3-4 animals per pellet, which means they eat 6-8 per day. I have wanted to this for years with the kids, and I am so very glad to have done this project. I found this fascinating, as did all 7 of the kids in the co-op.

A year is 365 days. Or a blink. You choose

One year ago, the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day

This year the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day

What a difference a year makes!

Monday, March 15, 2010


This is a re-post from my archives 3 years ago. I just can't say it any better now. I was perusing my archives looking for Lenten recipes, and had to laugh that my discipline back then was to turn off my comments. Don't really need to do that now, LOL. Anyway, enjoy!

"...fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth...when you fast, if your mercy is thin, your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn...give to the poor and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others."

I wrote this out from a book I read a long time ago. I forgot to write down who said it, but it was a saint, I remember that.

Mercy. It seems as if that truly is the key to happiness. With mercy, there is love and forgiveness.

With mercy there is hope.

With mercy there is a soft toughness that is tender to those that need it, and strengthening to those that offer it.

When you offer mercy, you can believe that God will give it to you, like He promised.

When you offer mercy, you can have a deeper repentance for offending God.

When you offer mercy you have a much more difficult time being judgmental; when you offer mercy you see everyone's need for it, rich or poor, well or sick, overwhelmed or lonely.

It seems fasting loosens the soil of the heart, so that mercy can sink in, and take root, and blossom and bear the fruit of more mercy.

Fasting and mercy have to go together.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Love it While it Lasts

This is a nice sight. I can not seem to get photos of my eldest ~ he's not keen on having his picture taken. But one Saturday morning, I happened by and took this shot. It reminds me to be very grateful that all my children are under my roof right now, unlike last year, when this bed was empty most of the time. I am very glad my son is home this year, and very pleased with the school he is attending. Grateful, grateful!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Spring Mantle

A variety of glass enclosed shrines
Glass and light (right to light)
Believe! (from across the room)

Recently completed Visitation (left to right)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

More Ordinary Days

On one of the first above 30 degree days, I looked out my bedroom window and saw these two running around in obvious delight. Spring is coming!

Afterward, I found the usual assortment of sticks.I am glad I got some photos of these, as I have been finding them around the house for a few years now. My middle son is nearly 12, so I assume the quantity of sticks will decrease before too long.

In the boys' room. More sticks, and some vices, used to do a repair for me. Oh, and a sword. I love having boys!

And yet another stick. This is a special stick, and has been around for at least 6 months. And the discarded coat? Epic. The actual mud room is at the opposite end of the house, and the boy in question has 2 hooks with his name on them. But the coat is by the door.

More ordinary days. I am quite aware that someday, I will no longer have sticks lying around my house, and jackets to pick up off the floor. So while I can, I am relishing the abandon of youth. Then I am going to go get that boy and tell him to hang up his coat!

Friday, March 05, 2010

I love...

the weight of a sleeping baby in my lap.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

More Ordinary Days

My 11 year old and I saw this from the window and were enchanted!
Self explanatory
Art supplies and painted paper we use for our nature journals ( in the style of Eric Carle)
Melanie enjoying the puzzles
Our little gerbil
My genius baby, who found a corner to play in and enjoyed the flash cards immensely.
The three youngest girls
The classroom in action.
The medal my 11 year old wears.
My 11 year old.

Letting them grow

It is very enlightening having a baby and teenagers at the same time. I know I have stated this previously, but the moments of enlightenment just keep multiplying.

For instance, last week, I had Melanie down in my basement icon workshop. Before I knew it, she had high-tailed it up the stairs. We live in a ranch house, so she had not encountered any stairs previously. But up she went, as if she had always known how. Now this staircase is right off my (and her) bedroom door. It is part of our addition, and is quite lovely, wide, sunny, and thankfully, has carpeted stairs.

Prior to her stair climbing expedition, Melanie had always crawled right by the stairs. She never took note of them, and kept crawling down the hall, usually to the doll house.

But not anymore. Now she knows there is something intriguing about those stairs, and she is bound and determined to find out more about them. Sadly, she doesn't possess an innate knowledge of how to go down stairs, and when I closely observed how she attempted such a feat, it was head first. She didn't make it even to the first step, because I moved her. But I knew that I had better teach her how to go down the stairs safely, because I wouldn't be able to keep her away from them forever.

So I moved her feet first, and showed her how to go down backwards. At first she just screamed and tried to turn around. After a few times of almost falling (of course I was right there to prevent it) she conceded to turn back around.

Before too long, she had the hang of it, except after going down a stair or two, she would sit back in satisfaction, expecting floor to be there, and since it is a stair case, there was nothing there. Again, of course I was there to prevent her from falling, but I could see the lessons must continue, I must be there with her for some time, and with time, she will successfully and safely be able to navigate these stairs.

As I was doing this task with Melanie, I was thinking about my older children, and my responsibility to do the same for them. They have begun to notice parts of the world that previously they "crawled right by". I need to show them how to navigate these new waters, and I can't just explain something to them once and call it a day. I need to show them, supervise their attempts until I feel secure they can safely and successfully handle it themselves. Sadly the job isn't as easy or as obvious with them as it is with Melanie, but it is a responsibility and a need, indeed a privilege, just the same.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I definitely should have taken a "before" photo, but here is the "after". This took me all day, because I made certain to put everything either where it goes, or in the trash, or in a Goodwill bag. Viola!

And here is the GARBAGE that was on my desk.

So the 40 bags effort today produced 2 bags of trash, and one bag of discards. I didn't do any over the weekend, so I am just now even. I also cleaned out my desk in the kitchen, and basically threw all of the stuff away. It had been there for 9 years, ever since we moved in. Tomorrow, I have a crate of papers I will go through, and I think they will all be garbage, too. Time for a fire in our fire pit, which is must faster than shredding all these papers.

Now, for my ordinary day photos:

Early morning visitors to my room, before breakfast, before bed making, before dressing for one little guy. But he does have his fedora on =).