Follow our family's journey as we seek to nourish our souls with music and literature, good company, great cooking, time spent in nature, and always, the love of Christ especially through the sacraments of His Church.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Joy In The Morning

This week, I'm joining Elizabeth and her readers in taking Small Steps toward joy! It's the virtue of the month in her latest book, Small Steps For Catholic Moms. It's on my wish list still, but I am along for the ride in trying to focus on the joy to be found in today.

Oh, it's so easy during these long, dark winter days to lose our peace, our patience and our joy! A disagreement with a friend or spouse, an online debate, financial struggles or health issues, all can take their tolls. Negative talk takes over our brains, and sometimes our lips. It takes some intentional effort to change the direction of our thoughts. Sometimes, joy doesn't happen on its own.

The trouble is the effect that those of us who are mothers at home have on the little (and big) ones in our care when we lose that joy. No denying it - I see clearly that it's my job to set the tone for the day here, regardless of the personal challenges that may make it difficult. I do want my family to remember our days at home being cheerful and joy-filled, and some days it's pretty clear those aren't the memories we're making.

So, sticky note on the screen: Today, I will choose JOY. Those other thoughts of fear, worry, impatience and discontent: in His hands for today. Choosing joy at the beginning of the day might help start some momentum in the right direction! Stealing some thoughts I read from the other joy-seekers on Elizabeth's page, mixed with some plans of my own, here are some other small steps I will take to harbor joy:

~ I will greet my children cheerfully when I first see them in the morning
~ I will put on joyful music as the soundtrack to our day
~ I will make an effort to respond with joyful patience to small requests
~ I will set times through the day to turn to God and ask for His help
~ I will conduct "smile checks" during the day to make sure my face is on board with the program!

Anyone want to come along for the ride?

Here's a small joy from this day, which found me under the weather. I'm sure I don't have to tell you all, it's no small thing to have this privilege:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter White

What a beautiful snow we had today - we so enjoyed watching it fall all afternoon! We don't get too many snowfalls in an average Kentucky winter, but this year has been an exception. Here are a few snapshots from our yard.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random Thoughts

Thoughts in no particular order:

I got a strange and unfamiliar burst of energy, creativity and optimism yesterday. I have been patiently waiting for this since, oh... Christmas or so. Maybe Thanksgiving? I'm jumping on it. No telling why it happened, or when or if it will ever happen again!

It's true what I've heard - in one day, it's not possible to cook from scratch, homeschool and keep the house clean. Two out of three is great. If you do happen to get all three accomplished, please don't tell me about it!

There is nothing better than a sleepy "baby" crawling up in your lap and falling asleep. It hurts my heart to think this might be my last go-round. She is so, so big already.

Yesterday was a good day because we kept the TV off almost all day. Then I assigned some EWTN kids shows and a science show as "school". Ahhh. I am a genius.

I've decided the school/activity/play room is my office. I will be checking in after breakfast and making it my base until before dinner time. If I am busy in there, everyone else wants to be in there too. I am a genius, again.

We made this chicken recipe last night - fast, easy and completely delish. I couldn't use all that butter but it says you can use chicken broth. I didn't have any, so I just made less sauce. Did I say it was wonderful?? I was a rock star (and a genius).

We are getting a nice snow storm today! I'm looking forward to getting the kids outside this afternoon. It might mess up my office hours (see above). Oh well. Snow Day!!!! Jeff got around it nicely last night and will sleep through it all day. Hopefully the roads will be cleaned up some before he has to drive back tonight.

Sweet hubby texted me a link to a Chicago mail-order pierogi store. He has a lot of nerve to send me that in the wee hours when I am starving. Drooling...

Well, that's my Wednesday morning! Hope it's a good day where you are.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ordinary Time

Oh, hello again, lonely blog! After the merry mayhem of the holidays and the richness of the liturgical feasts that defined them, we are ready for the wholesome simplicity of ordinary time, with its rhythm and predictability. The problem is that I can't seem to find a groove to get back into here! The past weekend was devoted to organizing and packing away. I'm hoping it's given me a little momentum to retake control of our home life, even though I haven't started to feel it yet. Monday is always hectic here. Tuesday, things usually settle in again. We'll see what this week brings.

Ordinary time brought a definitely non-ordinary outing here. The kids were blessed with the opportunity to visit the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati over the weekend with Auntie Ann and Grandpa. It is so expensive that we haven't been able to make the trip previously. Even though Jeff and I couldn't go this time, we were happy the kids got to experience such an adventure! We heard all about it in the evening, and new recollections keep popping up through the day. What an amazing place...

We are so thankful that our generous family made it happen for the kids! Jeff and I had the house to ourselves for about 8 hours, which was definitely strange for us. We were ready for everyone to come home!

In other exciting news, a new nephew made his appearance January 9th. Jeff's sister and her husband welcomed their second child, Joseph. We were able to meet him last Saturday and visit the growing little family. Such a dear baby, and it makes those newborn days seem really far away for me - can you believe it's been two-and-a-half years since I was the one holding a lil' peanut? He sure is a sweetie:

The rest of this week I am planning to hunker down and focus on our learning activities. We have had tons of fun since Christmas, lots of building kits and "fun" learning opportunities. I'm hoping to bring back a little stronger emphasis on literature in the coming weeks. For now, check out this great new game we picked up on a recommendation from family friends: Blokus. We can fit it into the math slot, or call it thinking skills, strategy, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, or whatever you like. Really it's just a barrel of fun for all ages, and we're all addicted. Fun, fun!

Hope everyone is having a good week! Come back soon for more updates.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


When there is so much uncertainty in life, how do you know how to step out in Faith? Which way to step? Sometimes it feels like all the balls are in the air, nothing is in your hands. Truthfully, it's always that way, but sometimes the Lord lets you feel it more acutely. And when a new year starts that way, you have to wonder where you will end up in 365 more days. That's where I am. Standing in the doorway of 2011, wondering. Baffled.

I have been trying to come up with that word... a word to hang on to for the year, to work toward, to be guided by. I still don't know. I'll let you know when (if) I figure it out!

Am I being annoyingly vague? Sorry. It's just how our life is right now. If there's anything I feel sure of today, it's that we must more and more closely tune our ears to the Voice that whispers to us on a "need to know" basis. We must constantly think in terms of His Will. Where do you want me now, Lord? What work can I do here, with this challenge? Show me where my next steps should go. Better yet, carry me, Lord. Only You know the way. 

We have been here many times before, but not perhaps so completely. That feeling of control we so often take comfort in? It's just an illusion. When it's stripped away, that awful feeling is really a blessing in disguise. Then we really live in truth, the knowledge of our dependence on Him for our every breath. It's OK not to have all the answers, if we put our confidence in God.

I'm stealing this spectacular scripture quote straight off a post from Flower Patch Farmgirl, because it is so powerful for these moments we all face sooner or later.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.
-James 4:13-16 NASB

Wow. I don't know about you, but that makes me really uncomfortable, yet its truth resonates. So I'm choosing to also hang on to another verse which, together with the one above, gives me the security to forge ahead with the expectation of unknown blessings in the year ahead.

'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.
-Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

Praying for unique blessings and a knowledge of God's care to carry us all through 2011!