Thursday, September 26, 2013


i'm sick.  like, for real.  wth?

I guess it's been awhile.  i'm a little out of practice.  I was so tired yesterday.  and then, when I went to bed, I just laid there.  I prayed.  yes, I do that.  a lot, actually.  it's weird.  like talking to someone with words who doesn't answer in words.  and you have to be still to understand the answer, or else you'll miss it.  and don't make grocery lists in your head, either...that makes it hard to get the answer, too (although, if you're like me, those grocery lists just make themselves sometimes).  last night I prayed for my oldest and his missionary team...for guidance, for courage, for humility.  I prayed for teens who commit suicide and their families and their communities...for healing, for strength, for peace.  I prayed for my nieces who don't really talk to us anymore...for love, for counsel, for wisdom.  I prayed for my husband, for my kids.  I like to say all of my oldest's team members' names, all of my small group of high schooler's names, and then all twenty-five of my middles schooler's names.  that usually wears my brain out.  I prayed for catholics distressed by the mainstream media's coverage of the pope's recent interview...I prayed for those encouraged by it...mostly, I pray for love and healing when it comes to the church.  I prayed for those who hate the president, and I prayed for the president and his family because that seems like a lot of hate to shoulder.  I prayed for a friend whose family has made the decision to put their grandmother in an assisted living place and no longer primarily provide her care because I think that's a brave and difficult and love-filled decision.  I prayed for all moms...because that's a hard job.  then I prayed for dads, because i'm ashamed at how they always come second in my mind, but at least I've got them in there somewhere consistently...  I prayed for my sister and her partner, on their anniversary, and their kids and the family they all make.  I prayed for all teens, because I just think that's such a hard time and I wish them to feel loved by someone who loves completely and perfectly and totally and without expectation.  then I prayed for young adults, because that's also a hard time and I wish them to find confidence in themselves and not get stuck trying to please others, because I believe we all have that voice inside of us that will take us where we're meant to be, if we can only ever find it.  I prayed for myself, too...for health, for selflessness, for trust and surrender.  I prayed for each of my kids...offering up whatever was on my heart for each of them...gratitude, concerns, requests to be open to their individual beauty, or just sitting there letting my perspective be guided or shaped or changed by the God I was praying to. 

last night, it took awhile to fall asleep, so there were lots of prayers.  I still feel pretty junky this morning.  I think a cold has settled itself pretty securely in my sinuses and head.  yesterday, all I wanted to eat were frozen fish filets (gag, right?) with lots of catsup.  today, I feel so hungry but don't want anything.  blah.  i'll try more coffee and a hot shower.  I probably shouldn't try to pop my ear drums to release this crazy, painful pressure in them, huh?  see, I haven't lost all sense.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

words can be powerful...or not

at book club last night, one of the mamas said she hated how when school started and the season changed, it was like everyone got sick and by the end of fall, she was hating all of her activities that get them out in the community that shares its germs and makes them sick.  (I paraphrased.)  she was laughing about it all, but I remember thinking that I never correlate illness with the season.  I think my last fleeting thought, as I got distracted by the next thing, was that my family really had not been sick much this summer.

then I woke up this morning.

I think that friend of mine sent me a little curse...or sick juju...or something.  I hit snooze and snooze and snooze.  I was really working on getting out of bed.   (baby girl's leotards made it in the wash yesterday, but had to be put in the dryer this morning...I had stuffs to do!)  but I could feel my throat swollen.  I kept trying to relax my neck...hoping it was just a muscle cramp I could work out.  but then i'd swallow, and I knew it was no neck cramp.  my head hurts so much this morning.  and i'm a little achy in the joints.  I am hoping Tylenol, ibuprofen, coffee, and some soup later can kick this.  we shall see.  I see an early bedtime in my future.

but...the fourteen year old made his cake yesterday.  with some help.  from all of us.  which is sometimes not as much help as you'd hope.  but he did it.  it was awesome.  we put it in a bundt pan and it ended up looking kind of like a rainbow.  it was super cool.  he was really excited.  I love that kid.

also, our book club book this past month was called the snow child.  and I really loved that book.  it did this incredible job of marrying the real worldliness and the mystical-ness of parenting in unlikely parents...who long so deeply, but find themselves clumsy.  and really, aren't we all clumsy as parents?  some of us just seem more at home because we have this delusion of knowing what we're doing that is ripped down in pieces as our kids grow.  but maybe this was just my experience.

an old friend of mine called last night.  (this line cracks me up...because my friend will be fifty-four next month and I think she'd make a big hassle about this statement and her age, but really, it's because we realized, as we were talking last night, that we've been friends for twenty-two that's why she's an old friend...but we're both a helluva lot older now, too...)  anyway...she is a special ed teacher.  which is how we met.  working at a camp for special needs kids.  she gave me a confidence in instincts I was discovering and was just someone I shared the joy of using those instincts with.  we both enjoy sitting and trying to figure out what a kid is perceiving, what their world is like, what they might be responding to, how to bring them a smile, give their world more meaning, create a bridge from their world to the world around them that they often have no idea is even there.  (i'm talking about working with kids who are deaf and blind here...those kids have always had a special place in my friend's heart)  anyway, she works on an indian reservation in Arizona.  in special ed.  actually, her kids are preschoolers...three and four years old.  there is not a lot of money out the families or in the school.  and people seem to have...attitudes.  and my friend...well, she's kind of weird in that culture.  I mean, a grown woman wearing a fish hat and a dinosaur shirt, with pumpkins on her shoelaces and whatever else she has on for the week....she sort of stands out.  (I know this because I got to go to work with her once.)  like, last night, she was telling a story where one of her four year olds told her "sit down" and she did.  and another adult said, "well, that kid has you trained, doesn't he?"  and my friend responded, "he talked!  if he'd have told me to take a shit, I would've, just to let him know I heard him!"  which almost made me have a wreck, I was laughing so hard.  well, last night, she called because she was writing her principal a note.  apparently a huge box came in through the office and was "claimed" by different teachers, making its way around the school, and my friend wanted it.  but the box ended up in a bitchy computer resource woman's room that my friend said she does not mess with.  so she asked the principal to please get her the box.  I don't think she expected the principal to succeed.  but, at the end of the day, the box ended up in my friend's classroom and my friend was all emotional about it.  so she wrote a note to the principal and called and shared it with me.  she wrote this note from a student's perspective.  the student she wanted the box for.  she had the student explain their disability and how my friend was going to make this sensory box to help this three year old student meet her goals and interact with the world around her...and world that is difficult for her to access and understand.  she thanked the principal.  it was a really sweet note. 

over the last few years, it has become so easy for me to see the world just from my perspective.  to define the world in categories of "this pleases me"/"this doesn't"/"this makes me feel good about myself"/"this makes me feel like crap"/"this is hard for me"/"this is easy for me"...and it's all about me.  I often forget, on my own, without being asked or drawn into a story, to try to see the world from another's perspective.  I've forgotten the magic of quietly watching and learning.  it was awesome that my friend called last night.

and now I must go retrieve leotards from the dryer.  and stand in a hot shower and let the water pour over my face and work some magic. 

have a good one in your neck...
(of the woods...but it sounded funnier just like that...)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

another day in paradise

i'm sitting here, drinking my coffee....after hitting the snooze on my alarm for an hour...I've finished catching up on daughter just pointed out a pretty good sized "stick bug" on a window that she noticed as she was eating breakfast with the tarantula my guys caught in the garage and decided to home...the roadrunners just ran by....yes, there's two...they're a family....they like running all over our front yard, sometimes perching on our cars, eating hopgrassers and such.  last night, when we got home from my middle son's fourteenth birthday dinner, there was a fox in our driveway to greet us.  but he didn't run when we got out of the car...he just stood there, looking at us.  as he did run off, I noticed a deer sitting in the grass...her head just visible near the tree with the swing in it.

who's life is this?  really?  mine?  weird.

sometimes I wish for the shady, grassy, critter free days of living in a neighborhood.  yes, I had a few snakes in my backyard when I was in the "city."  but never a venomous one.  (did I mention we found a baby rattlesnake in my garden last week?  gag...yuck...grrr!)  I just miss how tidy things felt.  the house could be a mess, but mowing the yard took less than an hour and gave you a cool, shady spot to have a beer and feel so accomplished.  and we never had scorpions or giant centipedes IN.  OUR.  HOUSE.  but then the kids get all excited about keeping a tarantula for a little while.  and the little girl says something like, "can we feed him hopgrassers?"  and "look at that stick bug, mama!"  with such excitement and wonder and, yes, acceptance.  barely a trace of terror.  (in her Disney belle dress...she's amazing, let me tell ya...I mean my daughter...not belle.)  and I think maybe it's okay.  maybe i'm not crazy to love being here. 

things are settling down some around here.  we are getting the hang of our new schedules.  life is developing a rhythm.  we still miss the firstborn...and know he's doing great.  but it's a dull ache that we wouldn't give up for the world and is probably just part of growing up as a parent.  the rest of us are kind of rediscovering each other around his absence.  it's been good.  there has been time for talking, for laughing, for sharing.  I guess this way it'll hurt just as much when each of them it should. 

it's kind of a strange point in life as a parent when your middle child turns fourteen.  like...we're really growing up as parents.  no turning back.  no innocently pleading ignorance.  we're not TEN anymore...  we know better.  the funny thing is, somethings we DO know better...but we also know what's important.  it's the first time I can confidently make a decision I know may not be best in the continuum of choices for that decision.  but I know the continuum of my life and where i'm working to get pretty well.  and that gives me a boldness I didn't have back in the day when I was trying to make EACH.  DECISION.  PERFECT.  it doesn't crush me to have someone say I should've made a different choice.  it may challenge me.  but i'm a little more comfortable in challenge than I used to be.  funny how we start out as adults craving success and being knocked down by the smallest challenges.  and now i'm more comfortable with challenge...less focused on success.  weird.

ok, well, I've avoided being productive til almost ten o'clock this morning.  I mean, I've cut up watermelon for everyone to eat for breakfast and made coffee, swept...talked a few things through.  but that's it.  well, and worked with baby girl on her letters this morning.  but I still need to make a tie dye cake with the fourteen year old to share with his biology group, take two littles swimming while fourteen year old does biology, come home and cook, and go to book club.  in between there, I should work on schooling, check in with fifteen year old, throw baby girl's laundry in (to avoid tomorrow's dirty leotard/pre-dance argument), shower, and other things that will become apparent as I walk through my house.  it's a good thing it's mostly a line...i'd run circles all day if my house were shaped differently.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

a little breathing room

this is our schedule this semester... and pray for high schoolers at 4:30, mass at 5, high school youth ministry til 7:30 from 12:30 til 4ish, sometimes my almost 14 year old will go from there to meet with his biology class for an extra experiment each week, rock climbing from 5 to 8, and the almost 14 year old has choir from 6 to 7:30 (but thankfully his biology teacher has a daughter in choir, so she does that drop off and I just pick up)

Tuesday...pretty much blissfully empty.  sometimes I have book club.  there is a group of mamas that meets for coffee, but we're probably going to make that an every-other type deal just because we're all getting busy.  love Tuesdays! (but this will become the other "extra experiment day" soon...sigh)

Wednesday...try to make it to 8:30 mass, sweet girl has dance from 10:30 to 11:15, all the guys have piano from 2 to 3:30, cce is 6:15 to 7:30.

Thursday...just climbing from 5 to 8.  whew.  we'll also be going to praise and worship on the second Thursday of the month from 7 to 8:30, so they'll leave climbing early for that. from 9 to noon.  we usually eat lunch at the park afterward, but this week, we'll have a friend come over here and eat lunch (and cut my hair!).

Saturday...generally open, but filled in with competitions, training classes, any trips we'd like to take

add to that schedule different rock climbing competitions, planning dinners, a homecoming football game we're hoping to attend, the renaissance festival, birthdays (i'm so happy they only come once a year, but at the same time, couldn't we just designate a day of the week as birthday day?  that way you know there's always a birthday on, say, Thursdays, and no one gets forgotten!  it's not a bad idea....), and anything else we'd like to do besides run in the little hamster wheel...and I feel like my brain resembles a colander and things just keep falling right out of it.

cce was good last night.  my team teacher and I are teaching seventh and eighth graders this year.  yes.  we are sharing the gospels and the love of God with seventh and eighth graders.  i'm not sure why I signed up to do this.  it's not that there's anything wrong with seventh and eighth graders.  well, yes there is.  I don't remember a lot of specifics about seventh and eighth grade, but I can tell you that those years have ALWAYS been years I would not, for anything, redo.  anne lamott says she felt those two years were a giant game of farmer in the dell, and that this cheese stood alone.  I don't really remember much about my friends at that age (I do remember Tanya McDonald...she was my friend..), but I know I felt alone.  uck.  and here I am, hoping God uses me to share his love with these twenty kids.  who were absolutely hilarious, playing the name game last night.  it was surprisingly good times.  especially when you consider we had not planned to play the name game, but they suggested it, taught us how to do it, and it was really good fun.  plus, I think they learned each other's names while playing.  think we can just play games all semester? 

my fifteen year old said it was pretty much a zoo in the preschool/kindergarten room.  but they'll split that group next week, so maybe it'll be better.  it was so funny...he said the teacher talked so much, it would've made a good nap time for the kids.  he also had a boy eat a blue crayon.  I often tell my kids that the world is not "like us"....that everyone has different talents.  my almost fourteen year old (only a couple more weeks with that "almost" stuff) figured that out last night when he was explaining the game, and kept losing some of the kids because he was just talking too too much information.  my fifteen year old realized that as loud and crazy as his little sister seems in our house of pretty calm and quiet people, she's really pretty subdued in a group of her peers.  I think it's going to be good having him working with the youngest kids on cce night and me working with the oldest group.  we can trade stories and help each other appreciate where we're at. 

and life continues to plug along.  i'm not ready to reorganize my blog roll yet.  I've got way too much other work to catch up on before that job comes up on my to-do list.  but it was nice to look at my weekly schedule and write for just a few.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

when someone speaks your good idea before you put it to words...

there is so much tidying of things I need to do.  cleaning up my blog list is one of the things on my list.  I also need to organize my folders on my computer with all the different stuff I type up for homeschooling.  one day i'll sit down and do it.  and I think that day will come sooner than it would have had I not read a blog last night (it's not on my blog roll yet...).  but in this blog, they do a "seven quick takes" kind of thing every Friday.  and the one this past Friday was great...I read it last night...which was....Tuesday...but they keep well.  anyway, one of his quick takes was a resolution...a habit more arguing on the internet.  brilliant.  this is an idea I've been I was working to put to words.  but he said it just right.  no more arguing on the internet  it is a huge time suck and it doesn't change anything.  that's what he said.  and I agree.  I lost two days to arguing on the internet.  ok, I didn't argue on the internet, really.  but I read stuff on the internet that had me arguing in my head for two days straight.  total.  waste.  of.  time.  so no more arguing on the internet for me.  it's kind of freeing.

in other news...I got my fifteen year old to drive a car today.  around my driveway.  into a little parking space off of our driveway, then back up, then pull into the "spot" closest to the house.  he didn't even ding the garage door.  he did do that "first time you put your foot on a gas pedal and the car lurches" thing.  and was horrified by it.  I didn't laugh too hard.  because he's my second born.  and he's more sensitive.  he's not going to hop in and act like he knows what he's doing, whether or not he my first born.  but then my first born was asking people if he could drive their car in the neighborhood and move it out of the driveway from the time he was fourteen on.  (and they let him...can you believe it?)  anyway.  the second born needed a nap after all that excitement.  he's only a little mad at me.  (I also took a pic of him behind the wheel to send his older brother...I was extra on his nerves today...)  he also might be a little peeved that I signed him up to help out with the preschool at religious ed this semester.  but he needs volunteer hours for confirmation this year, and really, he has quite a bit of alone time at home during the week...I just didn't feel like it was too big of a stretch for him to come with the rest of us on Wednesday nights.  and he didn't either.  until the first class is tonight, after I made him drive.  now he's feeling a little stretched.