Friday, April 30, 2010

Letting go a little at a time

I'm anxious about Dd#1's 8th grade graduation ceremony. It's a lovely ceremony in June that our Catholic homeschool group puts on for 8th and 12th graders.

I don't have to do much of anything, so I'm not anxious about that.

We've had Confirmation and we've been preparing for high school -- and you'd think both of those things would make me stress more than some little (although beautiful) ceremony.

At the park, a friend nailed down why I'm anxious (thanks, Dawn.)
It's a finality. The childhood part of her life is really closed.
You're ushering in the transitional years to adulthood.
That's it. That's why I'm anxious. I know the next 4 years are so very precious and they'll fly by. I have such a short time left with her -- and so much to do -- so much to teach -- and what if I do it wrong. It's less about academics (although that's part of it) and it's more about helping her become the woman God means for her to be. Woman. The word makes me woozy when used in context of my little girl. I yelled too much when she was little -- I'm better about that, now, but I can't go back and hold her on my lap and read her a quick story to make her know how much I treasure her.

I feel like I lost some of those precious years. I was tired from having babies. I was overwhelmed from learning how to do my job. I was still growing into my vocation. I can't get those years back. I have such a short time to teach her the tremendous dignity of her femininity and the balance of submission vs. standing up for what you know is right and when to do which. I have so few years to help her internalize how to treasure her own heart before she gives it to someone else. If God calls her to be a nun it will mean an even bigger sacrifice to me. I give each of my children to Him for His purposes and trust Him -- but it's hard.

I feel like my relationship with her will be forever changed when she's an adult and then when she leaves our home. Even if she lived at home for college, she won't really be mine, anymore. Not mine to scoop up and toss in the air for a giggle and dance around with. I'll have given her to the world -- and to herself. Her decisions, her time frame, her activities will all be her own. As it should be -- but she won't really be mine, anymore. It's more like I'll be hers. Hers to spend time with when she can fit it in. I'll be her mother in the capacity that she'll allow.

This is really scary stuff and I can only cry out to God to help me grow the virtues she'll need, so I can help teach them to her.

8th grade graduation seems like such a little step, but it feels like I'm taking one more step to a fast approaching destiny that I only have so much control over. My time is now. And the time is so precious; as precious as she is to me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Highland Dove Overview of Curriculum

I've been wanting to share this with you for a long time. As I was preparing to teach high school, I needed to wrap my mind around:

  1. What's important in our school - sort of where we've been before we we can figure out where we're going.

  2. Knowing I'd need to start all over again for Ds#5 in 4 years or so, I didn't want to forget what/how we've done school so I had to reinvent the wheel all over again.

So, I created a visual overview of our school for K-8th grades. I polished it for our local Curriculum Share last January (so, if you were there, just skip this post) but I really made it for my ever-forgetful mind.

Highland Dove Curriculum Overview

I'm guessing this won't help you as much as it helps me, but I'm pretty pleased. Now....marching on to wrapping my mind around high school plans......

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blue and Gold game

"Jenn, was it worth it to sit in the rain, drive 2 hrs there and then 2 hrs back to watch ND play itself in an exhibition game?"
I'll let Dd#1 answer this one

Friday, April 23, 2010

Confirmation 2010 - Congratulations, Dd#1

Some homeschool moms who were hanging out

Beautiful Cake!

Dd#1's Confirmation Sponsor -- Kathy was WONDERFUL!! She should give lessons!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obedience in Exercise, revised

Do what God wants me to do and find a way to like it.

Lenten Lessons #4 1/2 - Exercise is God's Will for me -- so it's His job to make it possible for me to accomplish.

So...exercise is about the blechiest thing I know. One of the things I hate about it is the futility of it. What a waste of energy when I need all the energy & time I can get my hands on.

So, what can I do to exercise that helps me accomplish my goals rather than drains my much needed energy?

I found this set of articles -

How to turn housework into a workout 19 Articles

I read about half of them and figured I could do it. I left the other half for when I lack motivation.

So, along with paying myself to exercise, I've also found a way to do it that helps me do my job.

Doing what God wants me to do and finding a way to like it.

Links - Lenten Lessons #1 / Lenten Lessons #2 / Lenten Lessons #2 1/2 / Lenten Lessons #3 / Lenten Lessons #4

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's on YOUR nightstand?

Does it really say something about you? I'm not sure about that. I like my nightstand FULL -- all my stuff is convenient if I can't sleep through the night (which rarely happens). I also like multiple options depending on what I feel like reading that night.

Back Row :

  • A cup with : pens, pencils, highlighter, sissors, scrap paper, Burt's Beeswax foot creme, diaper rash creme, an often read Elizabeth Foss article After the Nativity , thermometer, and baby lotion

  • Mary Kay facial lotion, baby powder & a candle (high enough that Dave won't think the flame is in danger of the other stuff on the nightstand
Reading Material :

By the way, this is Dave's night stand. A sound machine and an alarm clock. Never anything else. What does that say?? (Utility and order are more important than self-expression? He doesn't find the luxury of lounging in bed exciting enough to hang out there?) I'm just saying, it's worth pondering.

What's on YOUR nightstand?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obedience in Exercise

Lenten Lesson #4

Remember when I said exercise was to be part of my Lenten journey? Well, Dave and I visited a gym he was interested in joining and I didn't have peace about it. Not about spending extra money, not about more time away from the kids for that on a daily (or semi-daily) basis, not
about sweating in front of people, not about the fact that I shouldn't have to pay someone to do
something I should be doing on my own, none of it. I continued to pray about it during my
bad cold (in which I couldn't have exercised, anyway) and came up with this -

It might not look like much to you, but I'm hoping it will represent obedience to God and the motivation to take my bitter pill and exercise. I've wanted the Fontanini Life of Christ pieces for YEARS! I want the Good Friday scene most of all. I'd love to get the Easter scene, Holy Week Scene, Wedding at Cana scene, & Last Supper scene eventually. They cost like $100-$150 for each scene. It's just an extravagance I can't justify. I've put it on my Christmas and birthday list for years -- still don't have it. So...I thought I'd pay myself to exercise. I got the idea while reading Carol Brainer's watermelon book (serious Lenten lessons -- 'ya wouldn't think it.)

If I pay myself 5cents a minute, and exercise roughly 30 minutes a day, I'll be able to buy this scene in around 5-6 months. Exercising regularly for 6 months would be reward enough for some people -- I'm thinking I'll DESERVE to buy myself something extravagant after an accomplishment like that. So... that's my Lenten revelation.

Do what God wants me to do and find a way to like it.

Links - Lenten Lessons #1 / Lenten Lessons #2 / Lenten Lessons #2 1/2 / Lenten Lessons #3

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More Thoughts on Patience

Continuing living out my Lenten Lessons in an Easter Life, I thought my search for patience was just the beginning.

Lenten Lesson #2 1/2

Since St. John Chrysostom insists that I need to go to the scriptures for patience...I did.

My question to God:
Where do I get the STRENGTH and resources for patience?
Proverbs 19:11 A man's wisdom gives patience.

I took that to mean that my patient response to the frustrations of my family comes from or is drawn out of the well of my understanding of the situation. Not my understanding of the situation as it exists in reality, but in eternal terms.

One touchstone I use to gain an eternal perspective is death. (Weird, I know, but it works for me.) How would I view this situation in retrospect if tomorrow I was at the hospital worried about my child's well-being? Sometimes I determine that the child needs the knowledge that his behavior (for example lying) breaks our relationship down and my anger is helpful, therefore the most loving thing I can do to teach the child. Other times, I see that I'm just venting my frustration about a previous encounter with a different kid and this kid doesn't deserve/need my anger at all.

So, my understanding of the situation, not in the heat of the moment, but with an eternal perspective, gives me the wisdom to exhibit patience -- no matter what my emotions at the moment. (Let's just see how well I live that one out.)

Links - Lenten Lessons #1 / Lenten Lessons #2 / Lenten Lessons #3 / Lenten Lessons #4 / Lenten Lessons #4 1/2

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Boy Cousins

As I pray for my cousin who I grew up with and is presently fighting cancer, it does my heart good to have the kids enjoy their cousins with gusto!

Nothing better than good boys all REALLY enjoying themseveles!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Reasonably Clean House

(This is the dresser I've had since I was a teen. My first boyfriend stripped and refinished it for me. I still love it.)
I just found this blog Like Mother, Like Daughter and I REALLY like it. I like it so much, that I followed her advice and Cleaned My Room. I loved her theology behind why my room should be the first room to be cleaned.
I also had the added benefit of of giving Dave a clean room for his 43rd birthday on Tuesday, April 13th. It doesn't sound like much of a birthday present, but if you had to live with me for a wife, you'd be as happy as he is.

I could have snapped the "before" pictures -- but I didn't want to embarass Dave if he happened to read this on his 43rd birthday. He's a little touchy about our messy house.

This is Dave's dresser & nightstand. It ALWAYS looks like this...

And this is MY nightstand.

and, YES, that IS CLEAN!!

Mary Moments

Lenten Lesson #3 - Living in the moment

It's time, again. It's time to re-discover and appreciate living in the moment. I've put on the hat of Martha and learned some of her skills, but I need to find my Mary-ness.

When are times when the rest of the world fades away and I am captivated by the moment? When do I find joy?

Mary Moments
  • Having a conversation with a baby who's barely talking and figuring out what they're "saying" by their non-verbal cues.

  • Noticing a gentle response from my child during an annoying situation.

  • Being able to soothe a hurt just by nursing a crying baby.

  • A cup of coffee with a friend and finding that it's an hour later than you expected.

  • Starring so deeply into Dave's eyes when were engaged that the checkout girl said, "Wow. You really adore him, don't you?"

  • Watching a child I've taught to ...(read, cook, sew, etc.) reading to a younger child just for the enjoyment of the other child.

  • Noticing please and thank you coming from my children, even in play.

I think the first step is knowing what joy I'm looking for. Finding it will come with prayer and seeking.

Links - Lenten Lessons #1 / Lenten Lessons #2 / Lenten Lessons #2 1/2 / Lenten Lessons #4

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Interuptions - Patience

Lessons in Lent #2

The interuptions to my day feel like they're killing our time. When I have a full day of work ahead with planned teaching and grading and housework and errands, the interuptions (a kid asking me the 7th science question that I don't know the answer to, someone else wanting to plan their birthday party in 4 months, is there life on other planets?, ...) - these interuptions cause me much frustration...but they also help me "become." They transform me from using Martha's very helpful checklist and workload to living like Mary in the moment. They allow me to be swept away by the wonderful. This is truly siezing the day - Carpe Dieum.

Delight Driven Homeschooling is not something I usually strive for. I try and make my lessons fun, but if they choose not to have fun in them, that's they're choice. I'm the teacher and set the agenda. I'm the adult and have decided the body of knowledge they should be exposed to. However, in my effort to find more balance and live in the moment, I can see value in striving for some of the child's delight to lead some of the decisions. Delight Driven Homeschooling teaches the unspoken lesson that learning is fun and exciting, how to research & follow-up, that information needn't be spoon-fed and regurgitated but attacked, discovered and pursued with delight. It teaches an enthusism for life and study. Waht a gift to give our children.

So, first of all I see the need to lessen the interuptions to our school day.
  1. We will not answer the phone unless we're on lunch break or done with school
  2. I will turn down the answering machine.
  3. I will continue to remind the children when they've walked into a room talking rather than waiting to see if a conversation is already taking place.
  4. I will continue to insist that the children not yell for me from another room -- (see above.)
  5. I will have a "Save It For Later" notebook for the kids to jot down un-school, un-chore related conversation that we can have after our work is done

Then, I need to figure out how to obtain some patience and allow the children to participate in some of the leading.

The scriptures enable patience - CHRYSOSTOM:

These things were written so that we might not fall away, for we have many
battles to fight, both inward and outward. But being comforted by the Scriptures
we can exhibit patience, so that by living in patience we might dwell in hope.
For these things produce one another—hope brings forth patience, and patience,

HOMILIES ON ROMANS 27.– From: Bray, G. L. (1998). Romans. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture NT 6. (354–355). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

So, I'll memorize a bible verse on patience :

James 5:7-8 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.

What this verse means to me - the precious fruit I desire is virtue; the land I plant in is my children; making my heart firm is the act of will I exert in acting gentle and patient whether I feel it or not; the coming of the Lord is the fruition of my desire, the reaping of my investing in my children.

Links - Lenten Lessons #1 / Lenten Lessons #2 1/2 / Lenten Lessons #3 / Lenten Lessons #4

Monday, April 05, 2010

Lenten Lessons 2010

During my Lenten journey, I learned, or re-learned a few things

Lenten Lesson #1 - Becoming

Like George Washington writing his Rules for Civility, I've tried to remake myself.

When I was a teen I wanted to have friends. I was quiet and book-ish and very niave. I had little social skills and was the kid who got picked on at school for it. So, I remade myself into a party-girl. Not the drinking kind, but the TP your friends and go back the next morning to help clean up kind. The hang out with the geeky kids and have fun doing it kind of party girl.

When I was single I wanted to find and become the wife and mother that I thought I should be, not what I'd seen -- so my ears would perk up and I'd pay close attention when I'd see a happy family to see what they had that I needed to get. I always wished I could be a mouse in someone's pocket so I could view the inner workings of a healthy family. Now I'm living the life I only dreamed of.

When I had my first child the work of housework and figuring out how to organize and run a house was sooo overwhelming. I was in a foreign country and didn't speak the language. For the last decade I've immersed myself in how to accomplish this job I'd be doing for the next several decades. I'm not a pro, but I've developed enough checklists and survival strategies that although my house isn't always clean, it's usually not more than an hour away from being presentable. I can lay my hands on my schoolwork and systems are in place that keep me from drowning in work.

Some people mistakenly even think of me as a "Do-er, Organizer, Planner." They're mistaken, it's just this hat I've put on that makes me look like it -- really, I'm just a party-girl at heart. Or maybe I'm naturally the insecure kid at school. One of the cool things about transormation is that you don't really loose the parts of yourself from before -- you're more than you were, not just changed, but transformed.

It's time, again. It's time to re-discover and appreciate living in the moment. I've put on the hat of Martha and learned some of her skills, but I need to find my Mary-ness. I used to be great at blowing dandalions. I looked forward to having a life like I have, but I'm not allowing myself to live in the joyful moments.

In reading Carol Bainer's book, If I'm Diapering a Watermelon, Then Where'd I Leave the Baby? I found some surprising answers. This humor look at motherhood doesn't sound like a Lenten Journey book -- but it was. I love her concept of doing what you can to make up for your weaknesses, but appreciating the person God made you ... limits and everything. It was a beautiful reminder to not loose myself in the remaking.

I also love the idea of becoming. Yes, I have many weaknesses. Yes, I haven't arrived. Yes, I probably never will arrive until I'm in heaven with Jesus. However, when I'm becoming something more than I was before, I'm on my way there! It's exhilerating to view my weaknesses and sins in light becoming.

Links - Lenten Lessons #2 / Lenten Lessons #2 1/2 / Lenten Lessons #3 / Lenten Lessons #4

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Basket

The kids' Easter basket this year. We have one family basket. I made the switch from individual baskets when I hit 4 kids. It's been a great switch. I made the boys sweater vests this year. It was my first attempt at crocheting vests. Ds#1 turned out ADORABLE. Ds#2 turned out passable. Ds#3 is NOT GOOD, but he REALLY WANTS to wear it to our Easter activities. I feel guilty letting him look like such a goober, but guiltier about saying the gift of love he wants doesn't stand up to appearances.

Dd#2 got a cross bracelet and a blank journal book. Aldi's, All Saints book store and Dover's clearance section is where I shopped for easter gifts this year.

Ds#3 got a bookmark and a Sacred Heart key chain along with a Dover animal stained glass coloring booklet

Dd#1 got a bracelet with Mary pictures on it and an historical paper doll book.

Ds#4 got a plastic holy water font and teddy grams.

Every child got a box of sweetend cereal and several kinds of candy to share. They each also got their own chocolate bunny. The girls were happy to let me do Holy Week crocheting for the boys this year. As an added bonus, they cleaned their room Holy Saturday and found several shawls from previous years stuffed in their closet.

Happy Easter!!

SERIOUS partying going on here!
My friend Amy was recieved into the Church last night -- BEAUTIFUL Mass!!
I can BLOG!
I can Facebook!
I can ignore my kids -(just kidding)
I ate candy this morning...not feeling so well just now.
I've got so much to share...here's one of my favorites!