Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moments of Grace

I have been bent low by the spirit of discouragement lately.

So many needs to be met, and only little ole me to meet them (or so it seems to me many an exhausting day). So many valuable relationships in my life, and they all need tender, loving care.

My eldest, my 16 year old son, is a bit of a mystery to me. Mystery in no way connotes a negative reality. The best part of my existance is wrapped in Mystery, so this in and of itself is not discouraging. But miscommunication between a middle-aged mother and her adolescent son can be exhausting. I struggle to decide what part of his attitude to absorb, what part to ignore, what part to respond to. Whether he knows it or not, I know he still needs mothering, but in a way I am entirely unfamiliar with at this point in my mothering career. So I am feeling my way through this, like a person walking down an unfamiliar hallway in the middle of the night, enveloped in darkness, feeling for the walls, curling the toes, hoping not to walk into a wall or a chair, or into the wrong room.

Conflicts arise, reprimands are given, defensiveness rears its ugly head. Where do I find the gaze I remember in his eyes, the look of trust, of connection?

I try not to notice him too much at church. He feels the weight of my scrutiny, I know, so I try to give him his privacy. I hope he is engaged, I hope the Liturgy still speaks to him, the Holy Mysteries still sustain him, body and soul together. I pray for him, for me, for my husband, that we can navigate these waters without any permanent injuries to our relationships.

I get distracted by a fussy baby, go downstairs to feed and change her, and with a sigh, return to the Liturgy, join in singing many "Lord have mercys". Then it is time for the "Our Father". We sing it together as a faith community. I am praying for our Daily Bread.

I notice a deep, harmonizing voice behind me, as I lean against the wall, standing with my squirmy wee one. As we get to the line, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us", the harmonizing voice is blending ever so nicely with my own. It is soothing, soft, true. Without really thinking, I glance over my shoulder to see who I am praying with, to see who it is that it assisting me in elevating my prayer to Our Father.

It is my son. He is the harmonizing, blending voice, the soothing sound I had been relishing. We met there, at Divine Liturgy, praying in unison, praying for mercy and forgiveness. I am certain he has no idea what that shared prayer meant to me today, but Our Father did.

And so we go on, loving, building, moving.

And so very grateful for moments of grace, encouragement and the timeless communication of praying with those that we love, to The One Who Loves.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The saga continues.

Okay, so, things have changed once again around here. My oldest son, the one that went to boarding school last year, tried home school/community college last semester and hated it. The schedule was erratic and left him with far too much unscheduled time. His time management skills just weren't developed enough for that system to work for him.

So now, he is at the local Catholic High School. We are on week two.

I am happy to have some help with his education. The transfer process was simple, respectful, and gave me some peace about this decision.


Last night I see he has been assigned "Catcher in the Rye" for his honors English class.


Not what I would have chosen for him to read.

After thought and discussion with my husband, we decided to guide his learning about this book and find out more what direction his teacher at school is taking it. We have an already planned meeting with his teachers in a couple of weeks, so we can share our views on Literature and Great/Good Books and learn about his teacher's objectives.

There is no easy way to educate your children. It is like childbirth. Home schooling to me is like giving birth without an epidural. Intensely painful, but rewarding. Sending kids to a brick and mortar school is like birth with an epidural. Less intensely painful, but a terrific accomplishment none-the-less. With an epidural, birth does not become painless, easy, or non-complicated. There is no way to give birth without experiencing pain, sacrifice, and suffering. The same goes for educating your children. I may not have to interact with every moment of my son's education now, but it is still going to require work from me, interaction with me, and probably some suffering from me.

So, any opinions on "Catcher in the Rye"? Words of wisdom? Salvageable study points so this book isn't just a waste of time for him?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I couldn't sleep a wink last night. Partly because I stayed up late to watch a movie alone. I had to stay up til 1:00 am to get the house to myself. Crazy.

So, I watched a movie, tried to go to sleep afterward, and all that happened was my brain began to churn and churn, and my heart rate picked up, and I was as awake as I wish I could be during the day!

There is nothing quite so comforting as the sunrise after a sleepless, worried night. It does bring hope, relief, clarity.

One of the lovely parts about winter here is the trees are bare, and I get to see the sunrise and sunsets. This morning the sunrise was like medicine to me, and I suspect the sunset will be right about time for me to go to bed!

I have seen people settling on a word for this new year. When I first contemplated doing this for myself, the word was not really fit to print in this family friendly blog. So, I thought better of the entire thing. Then I kept seeing this idea, and I thought for certain "Fortitude" would be my word. But, no, maybe "Patience". No, "Trust". Oh crikey, forget it.

Now, today, the word presented itself. Hope.

And so I will.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Is it too late for Christmas pictures?

St. Nicholas
One of my newest St. Nicholas
Get a load of her hair! We call her fuzzy baby.

Part of my St. Nicholas collection.
Baby's Christmas Dress
Our Christmas Centerpiece, with a 3 Kings addition (don't you love the vintage, homemade out of beer bottles, 3 King?)
More St. Nicholas
Merry Christmas!
A Little Vignette

Friday, January 15, 2010


I am still working on purging. And feeling it. My heart is just aching. But I am determined to keep at it, and let myself feel the sadness, hoping that it will give away to a new hope for a more detached, ordered future.

By detached, I mean clear on what I attach myself to. Not stuff, but people. Not papers but ideals. Not food, but sustenance. I feel as if something is working its way out of me, and it is not comfortable.

By more ordered, I mean ordering my affections, attentions and aspirations properly, in the right order, and with the right weight of my emotions and will. This is no small job, and certainly not one in which I can just will myself to succeed.

So, petty as it sounds, as so many of my fellow humans are suffering so greatly, I must embrace the cross. I want to dodge the cross, hide from it, bury it. But no, the true answer is embrace it, and then hope live in truth and freedom.

Remember that open hand I keep talking about? I feel mine closing, trying to clench, to cling. My prayer today will be to keep my hand open, so God can take out the excess, and that He will save me from my fear of the cross.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I have enabled word verification because I have been getting copious amounts of spam as of late. Sorry about that.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I still have way too much stuff. I am working on it, but while watching an episode of "Hoarders" I did have a bit of an epiphany. "If you get rid of this, what dream will die for you?" Oh yes, that is the question. I don't need to sort my stuff, I need to sort my dreams. Oh, now that makes sense.

One of the hardest things is my children's things. Their little clothes and shoes and papers and toys. When I get rid of them, it seems as if I am getting rid of the younger child they used to be. But I can't (and don't) save it all. I just realized I have to go ahead, feel sad, and go on. I try, at times to avoid the sadness by keeping the stuff. Unhealthy. I also realized something ~ I desperately hate that it is a possibility in this life that one of my children may die. It is possible. It happens to families. And today I realized I save things JUST IN CASE one of them dies, I am so afraid I won't have saved enough of them to have something left. Or maybe it is the realization that they are all going to leave some day. They are going to grow up, and the children will be gone. If I don't have some part of them as children, it will be as if it never happened.

Oh my. I guess I just have to get comfortable with the ache that is there when I realize how quickly they are all going away. Just feel it.

And I need to let some dreams go, so I can actually work towards achieving others. With too much "stuff" to manage, I have a challenging time getting anything but basic daily work finished. I must sort, purge and organize, prioritize, my dreams.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A home school tale

Yesterday, after our home school part of the day was over, I noticed my middle kids (11,9,7,5) walking outside, snow clothes on, full back-packs on over their coats. Around the circle they went, and then back in the mud-room.

"What are you guys doing?" I asked.

"We're pretending to walk to school."

Funny thing, we live on a circle that has hills, so now they can tell their kids someday that when THEY were little, they had to walk to school, in the snow, up hill both ways!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Just when I think I'll have time to blog...

I find myself googling "Who put a dead fish in my clothes washer" and finding the perfect and helpful link here, which led me here.Tell me, what good is doing laundry if it all smells like dead fish when it is clean? Tell me.