Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heartquakes...Changing and shifting of a plan

     I find it interesting (and scary) how my life seems to shift and settle, shake and ease. Just when I think that I am headed in a certain direction or down a certain path, I find that I need to veer off and go a completely different way. It has happened once again…this time regarding Joe’s schooling. Yesterday, when the physical shaking of the earth happened, Joe and I were on the top floor of his new school. And as the ground shook, my heart was also going through some shaking of its own…..

     At the end of last year, I was absolutely certain that I would be home with Joe and began to form a curriculum. This blog was started. I spent hours, no, H-O-U-R-S on the Internet, talking with friends, worrying, and crying to my husband about what we should do. God bless my husband and his ability to shift so easily (even though this particular trait is often a cause of frustration) because he was/is so willing to decide together what the best option would be. So. Homeschooling it was. I was at peace. It was going to be a fabulous year. We were planning and reading and beginning to find a rhythm.

     Then, Joe handed me his yearbook from Pre-K and said, “Mommy. Don’t get mad. But I want to try to go here. You get to go to church, you know. And pray in CLASS.” 


“Here” was a Catholic School where I had taught for a year.
“Here” was a place that I knew to be nurturing and faith-filled.
“Here” brought back a whole host of feelings that I had squashed for so long…..

     Basically, I left the school to adopt baby number two, but this didn’t come to fruition because our life savings was stolen by a family member in a Ponzi scheme. (This incident in our family is known as “the great deception”. More on that later.) The most important point is that leaving that school continues to be the biggest, most painful regret of my life. But if it can help Joe succeed? Well. We decided that we should at least give it a try.

     So now, somehow, it is as if we are coming home again. The warm embraces from fellow teachers, or parents of children whom I taught were so healing. So redemptive. I cannot believe that despite Joe’s quirky ways, anxiousness, and sensory issues, they are willing to work with him. Work with us. Help us through this time in our lives. He is more excited than I have seen him in a while and yet knows the task ahead of him. It is a challenging curriculum and at times the environment might be a little too loud. But he is willing to try, and that in itself is a tremendous improvement.

My prayer for this year, is going to be this, from Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

     I know that once school is back in session, I will feel the lack of his presence in a new and profound way. After all, I was going to get to spend EVERY DAY, ALL DAY with him. I had started to make connections with other wonderful homeschooling mom’s. (And truly, my extroverted self is already thinking about what other people think about this decision. I hear the whispers of "she couldn't do it" or "she didn't have the nerve".  How crazy is that?)

But I also have to remember what my job as a mother really is:

I am still giving him roots and wings.
I am still his first and best teacher.
I am still going to nurture and teach and explore.

     It’s just that the time has changed a little. I do not regret a single moment that I have had with him this summer, and I am ever so grateful for that time.  I am also quite aware of how blessed we are to have a whole host of people working with us to help mold and shape this young mind and heart.  And if I have realized anything on this journey of motherhood, I need a whole host of others!

     So even when earth and hearts shake or especially when I am beginning to be filled with worry, I must remember to do what I tell Joe to do:

Pray about it.
Recognize how glorious it is to be alive.
Remember to give thanks and allow yourself to experience grace.

(And Joe, that chair in the corner, the one that we set for you? It will always be waiting for you to fill it up with your presence. Our "heartroom" that we put in place? Yes, that is still there for you, too.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthday Multitudes ~ #436-450

     These last few weeks of summer have been filled with life, love, laughter, and friends. For me, there is nothing like feeling the connectedness with other human beings... Maybe it has something to do with turning 39. Recognizing that time is marching on and that I need to continue to remember the people in my life who make a difference. And sometimes, tears happen, too:

Me and Carol
     This is my dear friend Carol...who moved away when we were in 6th grade. (Which, by the way, is a horrendous year to lose your best friend. I felt oh so lost....At school, home, and church, my trusty sidekick was gone.) We kept in touch for awhile and then, well, life happened. Marriages, babies, moves. So thank goodness for technology that allowed us to find each other and reconnect. Reconnect with my first and best friend. Like no time had been lost, even though it had been (gasp) 26 or so years ago.  Chatting like two young schoolgirls while our children played and our husbands talked was a little surreal. (Aren't WE still in the 4th grade?!) I could have stayed up all night reminiscing, and was grateful that they came to my parent's home for breakfast. What a fabulous birthday present. I got to see my dearest friend. Reconnect. And be renewed. Lovely.

     Still counting...and thankful for:

Carol's laughter
remembering childhood
hugs that you just don't want to end
feeling like a kid again
quart jar of tomatoes from New Jersey
promises to "do this again soon"
watching kids enjoy water play
watching Carol's children dance
sausages and peppers and mozzarella
Tom and Pete corralling the kids
coming home to a friend
dad's breakfast casserole and hospitality
realization of true life-long friendships

The kiddos

Pop Pop and Max

Gratefully sharing here today:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just thinking....and listening...

     When I wrote my belated post on Monday, I really believed that I would be back to writing daily...and I do have plenty of hopes, dreams, ideas to write about. So what is wrong with me? Well, aside from the fact that I have a very busy toddler, (read, into everything, walking, and cute as a button), I am also planning for Joe's schooling, keeping up a house that seems to breed dust and paper piles, and wanting so desperately to catch up with friends and family. The summer lazy bug has bitten, and so my blog just gets put away for awhile. (Not to mention the knitting sitting in the basket or the wonderful ideas for a baby quilt, or the NINE YEARS of pictures of Joe's life that need to be put into scrapbooks........oh dear....)

     How often do we do that, we women? Giving of ourselves until we can barely breathe or even remember what it is that we were doing? I am, indeed, Martha. You know. The sister who was in the kitchen while her sister Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Him. I want to have that beautifully run household, create delicious healthy food for my family (and those who choose to visit this crazy household), but am I listening? To God? To Max who just wants me to play? To Joe who wants to read with me? To Tom who just wants to be with me? How many times lately have I actually said, "Mommy will be with you in a moment. I'm cleaning." I shudder to think that it has been more than once. Don't get me wrong, I do not believe that you should always be at the beck and call of your little ones. No. But. That being said, there are times when I certainly could have just stopped what I was doing. Times when I could have been listening instead of doing. After all, Jesus was telling Martha to not worry about the small things, but to concentrate on what was REALLY important. A lesson that for some reason is taking me longer to learn than I ever anticipated.

     I have several lovely blogs over on my sidebar, but I need to tell you that lately I have truly been thirsty for what my friend Misty has to say. In one of her latest posts she speaks of blogger's block, and really, as the tears came down, I was simply whispering "yes. i know.". 

    I, too, am unsure if I have anything to say that is what others want to hear, and I clam up... (And who cares how many people read it? Well. Sure. We all want to be heard at times....)  I don't really know what the future of this blog will be. It may simply fade off like so many other ventures that I have started. Or it may also be a way for me to stay connected to other Martha's who want to be Mary's. There is strength in others, and I am one who needs others.

     So as I get ready to plunge into the depths of the Fall, experiencing "school" like never before, I am going to be aware of LISTENING. My home may just have to be a tiny bit neglected because the people in it need to be nurtured and fed and listened to.

     We need more times like this:

     And really, who cares if my family room looks like this?

And if someone does care, they don't really understand the love and life happening here...

What matters are these precious faces:

     So I am giving thanks today for all of the ways that God helps me to slow down, listen, and remember why I am here in the first place.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Multitudes ~ #402-435

     Please excuse the randomness and stream-of-conscience writing...there is so much that is rambling through this lazy brain of mine that I just don't know where to begin.  :)   I have been away for awhile... 

     For the past two weeks, I have been so incredibly lucky that Tom has been home on vacation. Relaxing time, play time, let's-just-take-time-to-be-together time. I love that he has such a relaxed schedule in the summer (mainly because it helps me to be comfortable with the fact that we can be summer-lazy together.)  I have also been deep in prayer about friendships...

     We started the vacation at the beach with my sister (my first friend)and her adorable family. Heaven. (And as far as I am concerned, it was way too short a time.) Next up, Tom's 20th High School reunion. Time spent meeting friends again, remembering good times, and hearing stories about the intersections of lives. Then, we took some time to travel and visit some dear friends....I love, love, love reconnecting with people who mean so much. Hopefully, I will round out this week by getting to see a dear friend from childhood who moved away.  Carol has such a tender piece of my heart to this day....

     I mentioned to Tom that I am so utterly frustrated with the way that life is today. The overwhelming busy-ness and distance makes it so hard to really keep connections going.  

     I need to confess something. I feel a little guilty with how I (unknowingly) made Tom feel. In the midst of traveling (to help settle some of this gypsy soul of mine) I didn't realize that I kept saying "I could live here", "Wouldn't this be a great place for you to get a job?". Unfortunately, he interpreted this as unhappiness. When really, I just miss my people. I am unsettled with having to drive 1, 2, or 3 hours to really reconnect and visit. Truly, I was simply trying to tell my friends how much I miss them, not that I was unhappy with where I am or how my life is. Luckily, the misunderstanding was cleared up, but I did learn that I have to be careful (still? really?) about how I say things. He is where I want to be. Wherever that is. Always.

     So...counting today...

kids covered in sand
bright beach towels
beach reading
conversations with Rae
kites on the beach
helping Joe ride the waves
Max walking with arms raised
Max's third word ~ Joe
Nags Head, NC
reconnecting with Mari Tere
Mass with the Youth Apostles
Ana Marie and Family
Helen and Family
Fr. Jack and Fr. Peter
reconnecting with Beth
Joe and Ellie playing
Lebanese taverna (and Beth to myself)
Joe and daddy day
reconnecting with Paige and family
hearing Paige sing
listening to Molly sing "Cats"
talking with Anna about horses
seeing Beth twice in one week
comfortable silences
watching Tom be silly
reconnecting with Chris and Shelly
time alone with Tom
seeing Joe make a gesture that is his dad's
friendships through time
Max laughing
murals from nothing
painting and laughing with Rachel
Joe's gratefulness for Lego's
coming home to our little world

Sweet girl

Joe and his kite
Gratefully sharing at Ann's today:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ {Whole....sort of}

Today's prompt from The Gypsy Mama is WHOLE...


There really must be something wrong with me.... For I am always drawn to the imperfect. The broken. The missing. Things that appear to be whole, but really, are a mosaic of pieces....
I fell in love with our first home because it was over 100 years old and was 2800 square feet of brokenness. Missing walls. Chunks of plaster on the floor. Electricity from the '30's. And I loved every bit of that hot mess. Together, my darling Tom and I (and a whole host of loving friends and family) built that house back up into a home. And yet, as "whole" as that home became, we never forgot the pieces that put it together....

Maybe I am drawn to the pieces of things because I know that although my home is full  of the people and love that it contains, I can never really call myself....or them... truly whole. For it is all of those broken bits of pain and love intermixed that creates a whole....

For my heart, with it's God-sized hole, is forever being patched and filled and remade...and this journey, this path, is such a joy as each piece is placed.


So come along and join in the fun.... Write for 5 minutes. Pour out your heart. And share some love with others here:


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family Crest ~ From the heart of a nine-year-old

     Sometimes, you just aren't sure that what you teach and try to nurture is actually getting through. Repeating things over and over, gently reminding, reading, and again repeating. And sometimes, the fruits come in unexpected ways.

     This summer, we have continued on a s-l-o-w course of study. We are always praying and talking about faith and at times have sprinkled in some Math, Science, lots of reading, exploring nature, and a little bit of Reading Comprehension.... (Keeping those brain synapses firing is sometimes a challenge, and so a really good bike ride or swim can help as well.) Summer, after all, is about taking a step back, relaxing, and living easily.

     However, I have to share this with you. One of the paragraphs that I gave Joe to read was about Heraldry and coat of arms. He then had several questions to answer and at the end of the page there is a "Think About It" section. The one for this passage instructed him to think about things that are important to the family, and create a crest or coat of arms that would describe them.

     Here is Joe's coat of arms and what the symbols mean:

Hearts:  For love, of course, and each heart represents someone. Mom. Dad. Joe. Max. The two babies that we have lost. The last three are interesting. One represents all of the animals of the family. One represents all family members that are living. One represents all family members who have died.

Cross: "Because Jesus and God and faith are at the center of everything."

Black and White Stripes: These represent the colors of Joe's pets, Cleo and Sasha. 

     Currently, our coat of arms is in our learning room, near Joe's desk. As we go through this next year, learning and growing together, I can't imagine a better piece of artwork to help us in our journey. Somehow, a child who is rather introverted has outwardly captured what it means to live in faith, surrounded by the communion of saints, and recognized the joy of love of family.

     As I read my prayers or when I need a moment to take a deep breath, this crest will help to steady my wildly beating heart. It will help me to remember that sometimes, the things that I say or teach really do get through.....
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