Karoline refuses to leave the Colonial studies for the Pioneer studies.She spends all day and night totally in character. And she insists we call her Felicity. Felicity's best friend is Elizabeth.
Karoline: I need to talk with Elizabeth.
Mary Beth: What do you need to tell her?
Karoline: I need to talk to her a LOT! I'll just e-mail her now!
I'm reminding myself: You don't "get your groove back." You find a new groove. And the finding is a journey. And the journey is every bit as important as arriving at the destination. Babies don't keep. Find grace in the moment, because the moment is all too fleeting. Peaceful mothers rest in the knowledge that His grace and strength are sufficient to do His will. His will is that we are gentle, quiet mothers and holy wives.
Vatican, Jan. 23, 2009 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI has wholeheartedly embraced the use of new communications technologies, with his message for the 43rd World Day of Social Communications. Although he cautions against the dangers of the internet, the Holy Father strongly encourages Christians-- and especially young people-- to use the new media fully as a means of spreading the Gospel.read the rest here
Posted at 06:29 PM | Permalink
| | | | |
Kristen's back. I'm so glad.
Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink
| | | | |
Yesterday, Katie showed me a tiny scar on the inside of her thigh. She wanted to know how she got it.
Katie's carseat buckles between her legs. When she was little, I accidentally caught her skin in the buckle when I fastened it. She screamed. I cried. Poor baby.
Sarah Anne's carseat buckles at the belly button. Much safer, right? Well, not really.
Sarah Anne has an umbilical hernia, also known as a "super duper, mega outtie." Her belly button is bigger than my thumb and sticks way out. And--you guessed it--I managed to catch it in the carseat. She screamed. I cried. You'd think I'd learn after twenty years of buckling carseats, but seriously, just as I was getting good at avoiding thighs and such, now I get thrown a belly button curve ball?
I'm including a picture here. When Sarah Anne was really tiny, I kept bothering Mike about the belly button. He thought I was overreacting and it would look normal just like everyone else's. I thought otherwise, but I had a hard time googling images that looked like what I was seeing.
So, if you're a new mom out there looking for pictures of your sweet baby's "super duper mega outtie," it's an umbilical hernia. And don't worry too much, Mama dear; they usually resolve all by themselves in a year or so. But do watch that carseat buckle!
A few months ago, Mary Beth read Karoline a story about the moon. Karoline, who is two, was enchanted. Not long after the covers of the book closed, she declared, “I want the moon.” She was very matter of fact and saw absolutely nothing exceptional about this desire to possess the moon.
Every night, on his way home, my husband calls to see if we need anything. He’ll stop at the store and pick up a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk or … the moon? Karoline answered the phone when he called that evening.Read the rest here.
Why do we blog? Wrong question. I can't answer that. I don't know why some people blog. There are as many reasons to blog as there are people, I suppose. Why do I blog? I've been trying to articulate the answer to this question for myself. I'm considering the answer in light of the quotes from Thomas a Kempis that Colleen shared in this post. I've made a note of those posts for the sidebar here on my blog. I like them there: they encourage me to share, but to do so with thought and care and caution and prudence. But what do I share?
Do I share the bad days, the ugly underbelly of life with lots of people? Do I share the failings, kind of like a virtual confession? Do I share the plans gone awry and the sin that ensues? Do I share the fear and the illnesses and the general muck of life? Sometimes. But when I do that, I do it with an eye towards something else. I might share the grief, but only to get to the glory. Because it's the glory that's of Him!
I blog to share the joy.
And there is joy to be had in every moment of every day. Rebekah writes :
In the pressing moments of the day, where sorrow, sadness, and disappointment may dwell; where thoughts and fears fill the heart, there is beauty...there must be. That is why this corner of the blogworld is mine. There is a need for the soul to look toward the sun, to find the tiny bud blooming in the cold, to hear music through the noise. Beauty must be sought after, although at times it reveals itself without warning or announcement. I will purposefully run after it and dig for it if I must. It is small and simple, huge and glorious...everywhere it is. There is beauty in my day, joy in the moment and in each breath. It waits around a corner, smiles beyond the glass, and whispers with tears.
We can claim a spot for ourselves in this blogworld--a spot that illuminates the beauty of the days, the hours, the moments of this life lived in pursuit of holiness. We can persevere in writing about the joy. To do so doesn't deny the ugly, the bad, or the sinful. Instead, to do so is to glorify the redeeming power of our Savior and the goodness He has planned for us in every moment. No one wants to suffer. No one really wants to sin. No one wants to fall or to fail or to falter. But we do. We all do. It goes without saying. I blog to give voice to what comes next. I blog to say that God is good. And He is real and He is present and there is tangible grace and beauty in every single corner of our lives. So celebrate it. Dance for joy! Sing for joy!
Write for joy!
God is good. Tell the world.
This morning, I took Ann's words with me to prayer. And they echoed in my head all day. Tonight, I find myself marveling at how the Spirit provides. I've written about how a baby changes us. I've written about how trauma--particularly life-threatening trauma--changes us. I want that change. I embrace that change. Because with openness to life comes grace and with trauma comes more grace. The grace will change me, shape me, if only I let it.The grace is abundant and it's still there for the taking. What stands in the way?
I've always thought patience was a strong point of mine. I am slow to anger with a child. I can wait for someone I love for a very long time (just ask my husband). What I've learned, however, is that I am not patient with myself.I am eager to move on, to improve, to achieve.And in my eagerness, I miss the grace. Ann tells me why:
Deep breathe. Love is patient. And it strikes me, an epiphany over the fry of bubbling pancakes, “Love can only be patient when it is first grateful for what is right now.”
It is true: I can love only when I am thankful for the now. When I embrace the present as a gift, a time and place not to be afraid of, to resist and fight, but a place to welcome as a wise bestowment from a kind Father.
Love cannot be patient when I am discontented or my fears (of failure, of bedlam) drive me to micromanage. Patience can only grow in the soil of gratitude. Lack gratitude, then lack patience, and, ultimately, lack love.
There is the checklist. The to-dos. The plan. And the neat little tick marks next to each item are proof positive of my successes. Chores finished. Lessons complete. Meals planned. Groceries purchased. Pat myself on the back. I did it. Micromanager me. But what is "it," exactly? The goal is not to conquer the list. The goal is to live my vocation without sinning. The goal is to live in love. And love is patient--even with oneself.
Ann writes that in order to be patient we must be grateful. There's the missing piece. It's not more order, or a better plan, or something else I don't have right now. It's being fully present -- and fully grateful -- for the now.The moment. It's not pushing us all through to the end of the day so that I can rest in the knowledge that I accomplished everything on all three of my lists. It's stopping in the moment and acknowledging its worth. Acknowledging the very gift of time.
When the two-tear-old is spinning pirouettes in a dress she took from her big sister and marshmallows are growing fluffy in the noisy mixer and the big sister is wailing pitifully because she wants that dress back and I'm picking chicken for the soup (that must be made in the 12 minutes marshmallow mix time) and the phone rings and it's a dear friend, I am grateful for all of it.The whole messy moment. I am not pushing past it.I must slow down in it. Finish the call. Turn off the mixer. Set the soup to simmer. Wipe the tears. I cannot push on. I have to stop. We'll sort this out, my soul and me. We'll see that the list will wait and we'll be patient with the process. We'll thank God for the pause, in the very moment of it. If I can get to grateful, He will give me patience. With myself.
The spinning child and the wailing child will both know love. And so will I because He is in the moment. And over a lifetime, a lifetime of trusting Him with every moment, the grace will be abundant. That's the life I want to live.
Posted at 09:18 PM | Permalink
| | | | |
Elizabeth, in your daybook entry you said, "I'm also sensing that we're in for a relaxed homeschooling season--I have a few children who have their own projects they want to pursue." What does that mean? Have you abandoned the plans on Serendipity altogether?
No. Actually, I haven't abandoned Serendipity at all, except for the fact that I can't quite get pretty lesson plans up for you all just yet. We're still using it. Remember, we didn't have a baby one day and get on with life as usual the next. We had a baby on Halloween. Then, we spent eight days in the NICU. I had just had a c-section and I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion during those days in an effort to spend as much time as possible with Sarah Anne and to bring her home more quickly. During that time, my children stayed with my sister-in-law and their cousins. Mike's sister did her very best to "make it a party." She offered to go back to our house and get their schoolwork but four of those days were weekend days and two were school vacations. The rest were just plain fun with their aunt. I didn't even try to resume school. Our family was focused on Sarah Anne and on our transition from a very stressful end of pregnancy to life with a premature infant. Real life dictated the lessons, The hours that my children spent learning about their sister or just sitting with me in the NICU were priceless lessons in God's mercy and goodness. Priceless.
Then, we went home. For the first week, we were on our own. I caught up on sleep as best I could and eased back into normal life with my family. I became reacquainted with the parts of my house I hadn't seen in two months (read: I found all sorts of "treasures" left by oblivious children.). I kangarooed. My mother and stepfather came for Sarah Anne's second week home. I did a little reading aloud and everyone did some math every day and then we just hung out with Grandma. And then it was Thanksgiving, followed quickly by Advent.
Advent is planned in our house. We have numerous variations on familiar themes and my children ensured that all those happy traditions were greeted with joy. I deliberately chose not to pursue "school as usual" during this time. To educate in the heart of a home, a family, is to have the opportunity to tightly weave the fabric of our family during times of transition. Having a baby is one such time. No matter whether it's the first baby or the ninth, a baby changes a family. And I wanted to be sure that we embraced and cherished that change. We journaled Sarah Anne's arrival and her meaning to us in words and pictures. We spent hours holding and watching her, just letting her become one of us. And, serendipitously, we did all those things while preparing for the birth of the Holy Infant. It was a beautiful, treasured time.
Then, it was January. I have little time to sit and convey my plans to paper (or your screen) just now. I can't make it all look neat and tidy and pretty, but Serendipity is serving me right now and I hope it's serving you, too. During bedrest, we experienced some -- ahem --issues with kids drifting off and getting super distracted during the day. I wasn't up and about to corral them. So, Mike and I devised a plan. I endeavored to write out the week's goals and intentions and then emailed them to each child and to Mike. At the end of the week, they would present their notebooks for his approval and for discussion. For self-motivated children, the process of writing the plans is a conference. We chat about what they want to do and where they want to take their studies. Within the framework of Serendipity plans, they can pick and choose and alter the plans. And they do so very well. For the children who would prefer to do nothing but play Rock Band all day, we settled upon a format: a math lesson and a subject area discussion and narration every day. So, I covered five subjects a week and I planned reading or videos (or both). I either read aloud or discussed with the student something we'd both read. And then, they narrated. Those narrations (which included drawings, maps, charts, whatever they thought convey ideas) were filed behind subject tabs for Mike to peruse at the end of the week. We continue that format now.
So, how is that relaxed? Good question! I guess what makes it feels relaxed to me is the general atmosphere of our home. Our whole family has gained a priceless treasure. She is at the forefront of our attention.She has changed us and is changing us. Personally, she is the reminder to me that every child here is not mine. They are His. What is important to me is the charge He's given me. I am to educate them in the faith. I am to lead them to Him. And He makes no promises about how long I have to do that. He makes no guarantees that I will have the time to finish a whole week's or a whole semester's or a whole year's plans. (I have often thought about the fact that Sarah Anne has twenty fewer years with me than Michael does.) What He guarantees me is that He will grant me sufficient grace for the day. As long as I am in His will, I can pull our ample resources, make educated suggestions and corrections, work together with my husband, call upon the Lord frequently, and relax in the knowledge that He will ensure the important things get finished.
I've learned not to take pride in saying that we got right back to work the day (or the week or six weeks) after the baby was born. We didn't. We stopped. We exulted in the joy of her. We celebrated and savored the miracle of her. And then, we never went back to the way we were. Instead, we began anew, better for having experienced the joy of new life.