Thursday, September 15, 2011

twice in one week!

i met my cce class last night. sixth graders. i was a little intimidated. but i shouldn't have been. they were great. i think we'll learn a lot together.

speaking of learning...i've been reading a book called "rediscovering catholicism." i felt, when i first bought it, like a cheater of sort. i wasn't born catholic, so i didn't know that i could actually claim to be REdiscovering catholicism. i always feel like i'm just discovering it in the first place. but it turns out that this is a pretty perfect book for me. i am enjoying it very much.

so here are a couple of quotes i harvested from part 1...

"The cause of much of this confusion is the unprecedented proliferation of words, symbols, images, and every manner of communication in the latter part of the twentieth century. People are tired; they are worn out, overloaded with information, and overwhelmed with the social, political, and economic climate. They are not striving to thrive; they are merely trying to survive. This is a tired culture." (p31)

"Love is the core of Jesus' philosophy. But in order to love you must be free. For to love is to give your self freely and without reservation. Yet, to give your self--to another person, to an endeavor, or to God--you must first possess your self. This possession of self is freedom. It is a prerequisite for love, and is attained only through discipline." (p45)

i also really liked that the author divided our legitimate needs into four categories: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. it really meant something to me so actually read emotional needs as a legitimate need.

oh, i also really liked this quote..."Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the strength of character and the self-possession to do what is good, true, noble, and right. Therefore, freedom without discipline is impossible. Strength of character is not stumbled upon in life's moments of need and temptation. Character is built little by little, over days, weeks, months, and years, with thousands of small and seemingly insignificant acts of discipline. Self-possession is not an unearned right; it is the privilege of the few who build it, defend it, and celebrate it by disciplining themselves." (p44)

i guess these quotes alone sound really a drill sergeant or something. but the book is really full of a lot of hope and inspiration.

i guess these quotes just stood out to me because i do feel worn out and conflicted and sad about modern culture. not because i think we're all headed to hell in a hand basket because i don't believe that. but because of what that first quote talks about...the surge of communication...and for me, when i look at this culture, particularly the advertising. so much of the communication seen today, by adults and children, is put out there by someone trying to make a profit off of the emotions they're able to appeal to. and while i don't think that's particularly wrong, i do think it can be dangerous. especially when children today often can't tell the difference between a commercial and fact. i know some adults who can't, myself included. and i don't believe it's a question of intelligence. daily, i work through things i've believed that weren't true...things i "bought" from some company who wanted my money. i don't believe those companies ever meant to influence who i am at my core. but because the communication is so pervasive...because we are surrounded by those messages...some of those messages reach further than our pocketbooks.

i know i have referred to my brain before as a spider monkey on speed. so trying to wrestle with it as it flits around all of these images and messages...trying to find some way to control it rather than just deal with the fall out of all that jumping around and sampling and tasting and trying on...that's where this book is helping me. i don't have all the answers yet...or even a couple of them. but i'll sit and read, i'll pray, i'll exercise, and i'll love. i may never be an extremely learned or accomplished woman, but i will master the basics.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

small check in of sorts

i wish i had time to write the blogs that come to me at night. but i am just too tired on most nights. tonight i am tired. but i am up because my husband went to the hospital for the delivery of a mama who ended up having a successful vbac. now he's waiting on another mama who's at 6cms and plus 1. he'll catch up on dictations and sleep at the hospital until she's ready to have a baby "in her own time"...those were his words. and i respect him so much for saying that. believe me, as the wife at home, with the five kids, who's not seen much of him in the last 24 hours, i can't help but think about all those things that doctors use to augment labors...speed 'em up, make 'em stronger. as a woman, a mother, a birther...i generally find those things suspect. but as the stance doesn't really change. but i'd lie if i didn't say it weakened for about 45 seconds tonight. ultimately, i'm glad my husband is the kind of ob/gyn he is. and i'm thankful for the faith we god, in life, and in childbirth. oh, and marriage, too...i'm glad for the faith we share in marriage.

i taught philosophy today. for the first time in three years. and i totally over shot the kids' ages. went completely over their heads. but luckily, they are pretty good-natured kids and they went along with me. also luckily, i am a fairly flexible educator who is not so proud that i can't admit i did a pretty crappy job of sharing the journey of philosophizing with these kiddos. but we did read emily dickinson together, so i won't call it a complete wash. i am looking forward to next week and laying it out a little differently...i think we will all enjoy it more.

my kids had a great time at co-op today, though. all four of them. (sniff, sniff...i will admit here that it does make me a little sad that my oldest isn't there. i know we all made the right choice in changing his educational path. listening to him talk about the things that he does in a day, the decisions he faces, the opportunities he's been given since last spring...and hearing him say that even though these things stretch him, that he feels like he's gaining discipline...i know it was the right choice. even though i still miss all of us learning and living together.) i have to say, i think the youngest had the best time of all. she loved playing on the playground, she loved singing songs time, she loved snack, and when it was just playtime and mama had to go teach, she kissed me "bye" and kept playing. she was also pretty darned cute before we even got there, all dressed for her day at co-op, sitting at the table eating her oatmeal. and she fell asleep before we were even home. (and proceeded to pop wide awake when we got home...i guess she wanted to be sure we didn't bring home more co-op and risk missing it?...) it was a good day.

also, my oldest has been going through some things in his personal life. that place we all visit sometimes where we are so over scheduled with things that mean so much to us individually, but sometimes pile up and we can't even remember why the hell we signed up for so much anymore. plus a girlfriend. who is in a similar place. (make a this just first month of school is behind us and the newness has worn off and reality is settling in? must watch for this next year...) but he really opened up through a lot of this. young relationships are so interesting. i've learned so much being able to watch his from this perspective in years. remembered things from when i was a teen. realized things that impacted my reality that i had absolutely no awareness of at the time. and craziness of all craziness, he's actually wanted to hear some of my thoughts. (i guess when we're down, we'll take anything that someone might offer?

i also wanted to write down that yesterday was september 11th. we went to church. the readings yesterday were all about forgiveness...pretty challenging readings about forgiveness. and our new priest, who i have so much respect for, didn't back down from the message of the day. it was challenging and powerful. i wanted to post the readings, but i'm not organized enough for that. but i will say that fr. james talked about how the church didn't choose the readings for that day. how our readings are laid out in a three year cycle. he said how some people may say that those particular readings falling on september 11th was coincidental. but he said it was providential. i am grateful fr. james has come to our church. i see every member listening to what he has to say as he speaks. it is awesome to have a leader we are all following. but he always reminds us that we are journeying with him and we have a responsibility to him as he does to us. it's been a powerful two and a half months that he's been with us. i hope he stays for awhile.

and that's about it. i mean, there's more. but it's late. later than i've been up in awhile. and i still have to bring my dogs in. and tomorrow is a new day.


Thursday, September 8, 2011


the winters where i'm living now have made me realize how hungry i get for green by the end of them. we don't have particularly harsh winters...a lot of people vacation here for winters. but the grass gets brown, the leaves fall off the trees, and it gets pretty desolate if you're looking for some green.

i guess the green means life to me. lush. wet. succulent, even. it smells good. it blows in the breeze. and during the winter, when i run on my treadmill and look out my window, i am thirsty for green.

but this summer, we've been in one of the worst droughts in our history. it's so dry, we've had wildfires burning acres of land, houses. there is not a whole lot of green outside right now. there are still leaves on trees, and they blow in the breeze that often feels like a blow drier on its hot setting. but there have been trees whose leaves are wilting...trees dying because it is so, so dry.

so while i thought i had learned to appreciate the winter as a fallow time, a time that made me treasure the not-winter time (come on, this is texas...two seasons and all that jazz), this year has been just a fallow year for the most part. there have been some small oases of coolness...we're in one right now. and those days almost make my toes curl with joy at how pleasant it is to be outside.

but i have to say, the weather has made me (as most things do) reflect on life. my life, since it's the handiest and the one i have the most experience with. it's been some dry times around here...emotionally, financially, emotionally. but during this time, i have to say, i have found a faith that has sustained me. not a faith that has made things the cool breeze that blows in the morning and night right now. but a faith that has simply sustained me. it didn't keep me from being irritable. it didn't keep me from saying and doing things i have to make amends for, regain the ground i lost during, find a new rhythm because i completely lost mine. but it kept me grounded. and it has kept me centered to the point that i feel like i can keep going. (and believe me, the beer i was using for awhile to make it through the fallow was not leaving me feeling much like i could keep going. the anger and frustration and blame i was leaning didn't leave much light at the end of my tunnels either.)

so while i don't believe the weather was constructed just for me to learn this lesson...i'll take what i've been given...the light...the peace...the love...and the breeze, oh, the breeze...