Archive for the tag “homeschooling”

{i didn’t pray enough}

during Lent one day as  i was praying the stations of the cross, i meditated on Jesus speaking to the women of JerusaLem and His words struck me Like a reed. they struck me Like a reed because at that moment, which had to be one of His most painfuL because not onLy was He physically tired. bLoodied. bruised. faLLen…the weight of our sins coupLed with the weight of the cross was aLmost too much for even the Son of God to bear…and YET….and yet….He impLores the women to weep not for HIM…to weep instead for themseLves and for their chiLdren…

this afternoon as i foLded Laundry i did just that.

i cried because there is a piLe of cLothes that isn’t being cLaimed….there is a piLe of cLothes someone is not going to come and get, and take up to his room because he is not here….

this piLe of cLothes beLongs to my biggest boy. who after numerous chances. upon numerous chances. refuses to keep curfew and foLLow a few simpLe ruLes.

and this afternoon whiLe my sister-in-Law texted me a how-are-you-doing text {because she knows me too weLL} i found great peace in being “guiLt-free”. for 18+ years i have given that boy every good thing i knew how….the homemade birthday cakes and haLLoween costumes. stories and trips to the park, beach, etc. baseball and basketball seasons. piano and guitar Lessons. summer camps. pancakes with siLLY faces. green eggs and ham. icecream sundaes for dinner and shadow puppets….but then it donned on me….after….after i cLimbed off my pedestaL….and set my haLo down….

there was one thing maybe i didn’t do….maybe i didn’t pray enough.

when  a woman is deep in the trenches of motherhood it’s hard to pray.

when one is deep in the homeschooLing-mother trenches it’s even harder to pray.

i raised my first 3 kids with Little to no internet connection *gasp* {no bLogs. facebook. pinterest. twittering. etc.}  there weren’t a Lot of distractions. it was REAL. it was raw. it was bLoody, heavy and faLLen….and in retrospect….which is aLmost aLways 20/20….there are pLenty of things i didn’t do weLL…

but i am not posting this to get sympathy {aLthough there is nothing quite Like a famiLy catastrophe to get me writing again}….

i am posting this to say: weep and pray for yourseLves and your chiLdren.

we benefit from that weeping.

they benefit from that weeping.

read: sts. monica and augustine.

Our Lord, in HIS bLoodiest hour demands that we do so…..

and doing it whiLe you’re foLding the Laundry gets you credit too….that’s another thing i’ve Learned aLong the way…

“the ONLY thing that matters in Life is doing the wiLL of God…once you are doing the wiLL of God, then everything matters. But apart from the accepted wiLL of God, nothing has any Lasting reaLity. So if God wiLLs that you shouLd be bowed over the sink instead of over the pew in your favorite church, then washing dishes is for you, now, the most perfect thing you can possibLy do…..You wiLL be tempted to say that it is impossibLe to serve God whiLe worrying about the upkeep of a house; you wiLL teLL me that you get so irritabLe that you cannot see this principLe of substituting your present duty for the envied prayer time; you wiLL point out your inabiLity to direct your intention toward God when you are so exhausted that you cannot think….but none of these things disquaLifies….it can onLy be repeated that your WHOLE business is STILL to Look for God in the midst of aLL this…… ~HoLiness for Housewives

good-bye friends…i’m off to LOOK for Him…

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her heart just wasn’t in it…

“mrs. wilcox did her best with algebra, but her heart just wasn’t in it…”

that’s me these days…i am mrs. wilcox.

my heart is not feelin’ the algebra…

in fact my heart is not “in” a lot of things.

newsflash: my children are driving me nuts. they don’t wanna listen. they don’t wanna do school. they bicker. bicker. bicker. they don’t wanna pray. my house is constantly messy and noisy. i am constantly grading papers and tidying messes.

and it all makes me not wanna be the mama.

it makes me wanna run far. far. away. take a three hour nap. read a pile of good literature and have someone bring me copious amounts of coffee and delicious foods…possibly for days…

“without the suffering Mary, mothers who feel the sting of sorrow over their children would have lacked a model. mothers should not forget the trials and loneliness of this Mother during the public life of her Son, her anguish on Calvary, and those long years after the Ascension in which she waited to join Him in heaven. suffering and anguish will surely come to Catholic mothers because of their sons. let mothers look to and pray to the Mother of Sorrows, the Queen of the Afflicted.”

her heart was in it.

and so every. single. morning. i start my day with: i believe….

it’s like my own little magnificat. my weak little soul’s way of magnifying the Lord…

and then the good things shift into focus: a little stamp collection started by the baby, with some help from sissy. a kitty in the kitchen. a successful fractions lesson with scones.

successful pumpkin spice scones that taste so very sweet and yummy!

that nature walk the other day with the baby and my dad. we looked at trees and leaves. my dad’s eyes were as blue as the fall sky. and the baby’s hair had a golden red glow like mine!

oh, yes. i’ve missed this space. i miss documenting my life.

not for readership sake. but because every life is a story and i want my kids to know what our story was someday….

for better and for worse.

i really aim to keep up more often. it’s been too long.

i think my heart just might be in it again…..

life according to aesop

sometimes i find myself feeling guilty that we are not more schoolish around here, but then my mind and heart are quickly put at ease when i remember the benefits of our Learning Lifestyle: children that are LIVING and LOVING. learning skills which have long-term effects and not just “sitting at a desk all the day long.” these children are gaining wisdom and knowledge. they are communicating with adults and peers and doing it well. they are learning what REAL life is all about. this is what education is all about. this is the REAL world.

i wish i could give credit to the author of those words. they are not mine. i found them around the same time that i found: fret not my soul, on God rely.

they were words that i needed during this particular point in my day. week. month. year. season.

the season wherein piano lessons and algebra. british literature and american government are added to an already busy schedule.

the season wherein the middle boy struggles to find a clear thesis statement. and the mama struggles with the overwhelming burden of just being the mama.

the mama whose clearest thesis statement would be that homeschooling and parenting are each a daunting task on their own

combine the two and, well, sometimes there is a spontaneous combustion of sorts.

and you just have to scratch everything you thought you knew and live life according to aesop: slow and steady wins the race.

because when everything blows up in your face and you sit amidst the wreakage of your illusions….there comes this wonderful sense of detachment from those illusions.

you know them too, don’t you? the ones of the perfect homeschool. the perfect life. the perfect marriage. perfect meals….a perfect house.

and you get a grip on the reality that is your life. and that life needs work. and unless that work is united to something greater. SOMEONE greater…then you might as well curl up in a ball and die.

so there are sticky oatmeal kisses. and close body contact during story time. an early morning coffee date with the husband. rubbing faces with a stubbly-faced man-child who has the capacity to make your blood boil and heart melt almost simultaneously.

fervor is renewed by seeing the baby walking around the yard with a pick ax slung over his shoulder. observing ants and fallen eggshells.

yes, finding that clear thesis statement is a struggle.

but anything worth doing well is worth the struggle, my father once told me.

a dear priest friend said to me just this morning that there is strength and courage in the Sacrificial Heart.

strength and courage.

more words that aren’t mine. but i would so like to make them my own.

slowly. steadily.

one step at a time.

that aesop!

stops and starts

i wanted to call this post: a nightbook. stealing the phrase from one of my favorite people. but i didn’t. because it’s not fair to steal other people’s ideas without asking first and since she is on the other side of the ocean that might take too long!

besides, given the nature of these photographs and what i wanted to talk about, stops and starts sounded more appropriate.

life is a  lot like these flowers. beautiful. promising. sweet-smelling. and colorful. and then it fades.

and then you wither. die. and end up laying on top of a piano?

no. really i was going somewhere with this. but i am extremely distracted by a new kitty. and the swooshing sound of pens on paper as the two middles lie on my bed next to me and draw. it really is a delightful sound. not distracting in a bad way.

the fact that my allergies are acting up really badly and i am typing with one eye closed could have something to do with the loss of my poetic train of thought.

i guess what i meant to say is when life fades. and loses color. buy a new one?

nope. not that either.

just buy some new flowers i guess.

i have nothing. as my husband says when he is at a loss for words.

except maybe this….

“she endured. and survived. marginally perhaps, but it is not required of us that we live well.” ~anne cameron

not my words. no.

but i like the idea of living well

something good to chew on as we head into a new school year.

a new season of  wonderful dead things which late summer and then fall brings.

a season of stops and starts of all sorts.

picking things up and putting them down again is good for the soul.

always praying for discernment.

for what should be stopped and started.

and for the courage to get back up when you fall down.

liturgically speaking, august began with peter in chains.

and immediately i could relate to those chains. bound. constricted. and many times because of my own pride. 

i can relate to so much about peter.

prideful.

willing to serve our Lord so readily, yet skulking away at the first sign of danger. hiding. denying.  

yet feeding lambs and fishing for souls.

these are all things i do.

or at least i try.

much like this prince of the apostles i try.

to do the will of God.

to say i love YOU with more than just my lips.

“not in the multitude of words but in the purity of heart.” ~st. benedict

but sometimes living well means being humiliated.

and even being crucified upside down.

by the world’s standards, no, that is not living well.

perhaps that is something we should all stop.

measuring ourselves by the world’s standards.

because much like that prince of the apostles i, too, am called by God.

to this particular vocation. in this particular home. in this particular family. at this particular point in time.

there are no accidents with God.

i may not be able to relate to the idea of being something solid. like a rock.

petra.

maybe i’m just simon.

without the peter.

nevertheless….”every VOCATION becomes more agreeable when united with DEVOTION” ~st. francis de sales

devotion to a SOMEONE.

WHO makes you believe you can walk on water.

even choppy waters.

cold? wet? tired?

those are perfectly normal feelings.

HE is still there to calm the storms.

 until we are ready to start again.

“Lord, save me!” the rock cried.

that just might very well be my motto for this 2011-2012 school year.

it worked for him after all.

so i sort of  found some of my words.

but now my foot is asleep…which is a hint that the rest of my body should be doing the same thing.

goodnight, friends.

i do so love that rosary, btw, barb.

it was just what i needed.

thank you.

 

glittering summer days

dirty feet. water balloons. a wet kitchen floor.

i am having a staring contest with my messy house.

things get a little bit crazy around here when mama is not feeling well. 

i have slowed way down.

like snail slow….

 when you lose your health (even if temporarily), things sort of shift into proper perspective (with God’s grace).

and suddenly you hang desperately onto something as small as teaching the baby how to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe…because that’s important.

at least it’s important to me.

so what if the stuffing is coming out of the couch….i can deal with that later.

right now we are enjoying these glittering days of summer:

a very empty calendar (by choice!!!) = time to create.

butterfly craft found here.

i had way too much fun punching all. those. butterflies. out!!!!!

and she, well, she is the artist. so there were pages of watercolors…

the pottery…well, that is courtesy of our local pottery shop which holds children’s classes….

yes, this is me screaming…”look how talented my daughter is!!!”

what can i say? i really love watching my children blossom. 

and make things.

(that is a decorative wine-cork-topper btw. a painted button glued into the top of a cork.)

i think it is (one of the many) very special components of homeschooling…dabbling in this and that…

and we do dabble…

speaking of my daughter…she went and turned 12 on me last month…did i mention that?

how dare she!

my june bug.

but what a lovely person she is turning out to be!

donning an apron and whipping up some sort of yummy baked (or not) concoction at least every other day is something that has me in awe these days…i am impressed.

and not just because her peanut butter cookies are so good!

i am impressed because of the little woman she is turning out to be.

useful. joyful. and so faithful.

these are the things i see during this time of pulling back…

and because there are so many things to say “yes” to these days…it is hard.

but i want to say more yeses to these…

these gap-toothed smiles.

and inquiring minds.

so worthy of my attention.

i often feel like there must be some well-adjusted woman out there who i was meant to be

a woman who has her act together and cruises through her days….

but until i find her…i will soak up every moment i can….staring at faces with pink cheeks and scratches from the kitty…reading stories and laughing.

because it won’t be long before these glittering summer days will be gone….

re-cap

teeheeeheee. no pun intended…

what can i say? i have a penchant for cheesy jokes!

i am riding this lull…the lull of no rushing.

 except maybe to Mass yesterday. but a  sunday without going to Mass would be like not breathing…can’t imagine anywhere else i’d rather rush to….

i am so thankful to God for getting us through this school year…for taking care of us…for healing….for miracles. the big ones. and even the not so big ones.

i noticed.

what can i say?

i am a noticer.

notice yourself…if you will…this picture…and how almost 18 years ago this girl was born…

about a hundred miles away from where we live now.

and i never would’ve imagined her place in my life…in our lives.

i am a firm believer in God’s infinite plan for each in every one of us.

i don’t question many things. when i am confused about something i simply ask for the grace to understand.

and if i can’t understand, then at least, i say, “give me the grace to accept.”

it’s as simple and as complicated as that.

so, yes…to answer jamie, she is my step-daughter.

but we prefer the term “half-daughter”.

it doesn’t sound cinderella cruel.

besides she belongs to my better half…and we are one!

i officially salute the grad…”you’ve come a long way, baby!”

and even though you will be leaving soon for college we’ve had a good year.

so many laughs. (and even some fights).

but it looks like you’re gonna be just fine.

and i am here if ya need me…i’ll be there in a hurry…you don’t have to worry…’cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough….

(any similarities to the movie stepmom are purely coincidental!!!)

signing off for now.

i caught an itty bitty flu bug.

that’s what i get for faking sick!!!

 

 

shall we?

talk about summer? my evasive little friend…and how a cool breeze is making the vertical blinds sway back and forth as i write…

and how it is cool enough to need blankets. but just stuffy enough so that i need the fan because it helps me feel like i can breathe easier when i am trying to go to sleep.

no, that claustrophobic feeling has nothing to do with my being sandwiched between two snoring forms!

silly you!

or shall we talk about the great pains of getting one’s eyebrows waxed. i was a first timer. yes, i have always taken the tweezers to my brows, but while sitting in the nail/pedicure/waxing/ salon while half daughter got her nails done… i had this wild urge to indulge my eyebrows with warm, sweet wax!

two. words: OUCH! OUCH!

don’t let those places fool you with their quiet, little private rooms so that seem so…well, quiet and inviting

i even silenced my cell phone so middle son would stop pestering me for the new netflix password(which is change every so often just because i CAN!!)

after they were done with me i had the sudden urge to call someone for help.

’nuff said.

i am probably exaggerating.

well, tomorrow is the big DAY.

the half-daughter graduates. we will feast and be merry.

and summer really begins.

i finished grades and all traces of paperwork/ attendance this afternoon while intermittently watching back-to-back episodes of the office on netflix. pretending to be “sick” AND busy so as not to be “bothered” by anyone who happened to need anything.

this terrible feeling of couch-potato-ness swept over me and with the help of super fast internet on my laptop it is all too easy to ignore the laundry….which is a GINORMOUS beast as we speak.

but then again it’s summer……..almost anyway.

and next year i’ll have another senior.

and i’ll be super rushed and flustered then too. again.

and so it goes…this cycle of mothering.

do i look like peanut (our hamster) when he is roaming around the house in his see-thru yellow ball? oblivious. lost. confused. overwhelmed. tired…..????

yes.

but at least i have GREAT looking eyebrows!!!!

just because

who doesn’t love sweet peas?

and because i’ve missed writing.

and sharing.

and taking some time for me.

 

i took some pictures for a friend of her daughter’s first Holy Communion this weekend.

i felt honored that she asked me. and tickled to stick my eyeball in that lens.

i really want to do something further with photography.

my head says, “go for it!” 

i am passionate.

but my heart knows it’s not time.

this is not my season for doing anything other than what needs to be done here.

do you have dreams too?

things you’ve put off because you are a mama to many?

i’ve always coped with this just fine.

why is it bugging me all of a sudden?

burnout probably.

summer is almost here.

we have one. more. week. left.

then that big girl graduates.

sigh.

i really intended for this post to go in a completely different direction.

but my fingers got the best of me.

happy monday, friends.

happy sweet peas.

happy mothering.

and happy dreaming!

 

the right person

meet tom.

his presence in my life is the result of daddy not being strong enough to say no.

 the baby wanted to bring him home from grandma’s.

and bring him home he did!

jenn mentioned something the other day about lack of enthusiasm for school from her little students.

and well, with tom around. the fever gone. and the beckoning tree house….you can imagine our lack of focus as well.

so aside from reading a little archimedes, lego play and math yesterday, we finished rather early.

mostly, but not entirely because that same daddy pulled into the driveway and mentioned something about washing…and truck…and soap….and bubbles….

and…well, you get the picture!

as our year ends…the senior is working on one last big project. the big boy landed a job with the U.S. Forest Service: a paid summer internship (with money for college at the end of the program). the middle boy is ready(and asking) for algebra and formal guitar lessons. the little girl remains my avid reader and fashionista. and the baby…well, i’ve decided to do first grade over again with him next year.

that is probably one of the biggest blessings of homeschooling: paying attention to your mama senses (they are like spider senses, only stronger)…and doing what’s best for the student…no rushing. no pushing. just gentle learning.

after all he is the baby. and i am no longer trying to prove anything to anyone.

not even myself.

the fashionista had an incident with a needle this past week after finishing up sewing something for her barbies. a part of it remains broken off inside her thigh. the x-ray report reads: superficial wound, yet no one seems to want to take it out. words like orthopedic surgeon and anesthesia have been floating around inside my head all week long.

my heart hurts because she hurts.

and yet selfishly….really? a whole week lost in a fog of numerous doctor visits, etc.

last nights’ finale: the baby had three vomiting sessions…while we have three sleepover guests.

in light of all the tornadoes and horrible tragedies happening everywhere it is a shame for me to even put these complaining thoughts into print…yet i couldn’t help thinking that somehow:

“we(i) have taken a wrong turning and come to a wrong place,” said Fr. Brown, looking out of the window at the grey green sedges and the silver flood. “never mind; one can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.”

~excerpt from the sins of prince saradine by g.k. chesterton

this is my lot right now.

it feels like a disaster because i am weak.

so… may the GOOD Lord give me the grace to be the right person.

and to realize this isn’t the wrong place. just because things are not perfect.

and may HE give me the grace to: to clean up throw up and apply hot compresses with courage and a smile…when i’d really just like to crawl in bed and have someone take care of me!!!

 

of bairns, barns and secrets

the word bairn used to come up a lot in stories i read when i was younger. i didn’t like the word. it didn’t roll off of my tongue very easily. not that i read out-loud to myself but the tongue inside-my-brain so to speak.

but now that i have a whole batch of bairns, i like it.

so anyway, the bairns have been taking up every moment of my life these days. and it seems like the more i give the more they take and if they see me, even if for one minute, sitting with a brightly lit screen pointing towards my face, and they think i might possibly be enjoying myself, they come. they pile. they laugh. they fight. they want this or that. they need to go here or there. and i cannot form a single intelligible thought. on the tongue inside my brain.

speaking of bairns…do your boys leave the door open every time they go outside? because last night when i was cooking sunday dinner and daddy was playing dodge ball with said bairns outside, every.single. time. one of my male children came inside and went outside again. they left the door open! and i heard the girl say: “geesh! so and so, were you raised in a barn?”

and then it occured to me, our house is indeed quite barn-like.

or as my dad calls it: the asylum.

and he really means that in the sweetest way.

he just calls it that because quite often when he telephones me there are screams and noises and general goings-on in the background that might make it sound like we are indeed running some sort of an asylum here.

i just realized yesterday that march was a blur. my anniversary came and went. and i had some thoughts about marriage. a la von hildebrand. but then i forgot to post them. and this morning. as i lay in bed. with the baby’s warm breath on my back. the cold morning waiting for me to get up. i started thinking again…

about how that husband of mine, already up. reminded me of a bookend and how we are like two bookends of a very full library shelf. with all sorts of wonderful stories crammed between us. (uh-oh, the cursor is blinking at me like what next? and i don’t even know where i was going with all this). love perhaps? and greatness. fullness and wonderfulness.

stemming possibly  from that gospel reading yesterday: the one where Jesus says: before abraham was I AM. giving me chills and scattering me all at once.

i start thinking all of these strange deep things that don’t make sense to anyone but me.

and then i have trouble finding the right words because…well, because the baby turned seven last week and now he’s getting ready to make his first Holy Communion. the biggest boy is gone for a week at another fire academy/thing-a-ma-bobber. the middle boy is playin’ the blues on the guitar. the girl is turning 12 soon and after reading this post. i had a revelation suddenly and realized that i am not the crazy one.

at least most of the time.

and then, well, then…. there is the secret of the big girl.

i have shared this with a few of my closest friends that my husband has a daughter. born before we were married. long. long. ago. who recently came to live with us during this oh. so. tumultuous time in her life (almost 18. remember those days?) adding a highschool senior to my roster. another female to deal with. and love. but at this point of boyfriends. and strong wills and sagas. its more dealing than anything. for her. and for me.

with God’s grace. we are finding things to laugh about.

and there is love here.

but i mean, three teenagers? really?

so there you have it… my heart is just swelling from all sorts of stuff.

 and in pulling away from HIS fullness i easily get swept away by my own emotions.

“but such is precisely the value of the trial; it is to the extreme edge of faith that the soul has to be pushed. the life of faith, says caussade, is nothing else than a perpetual pursuit of God through everything that disguises, disfigures, destroys, and if we may use the word, annihilates Him. the case cannot be expressed more strongly than that. in a world of apparent lunacy and false purpose, the soul has to cling to the assurance that Christ has triumphed over material things and that the only reality is serving HIM in spirit and in truth.”

~How to Find God  and discover your true self in the process!

there are probably many reasons why that gentle mama love i so easily felt for my babies flies out the window the minute a conflict arises. it could be hormonal. it could be just a phase.

or i really could be as mean as my kids think i am.

although i never imagined i’d be so edgy and combatitive. it’s just not in my nature.

so in this short period of stepping back (retreating with Fr. Bill Casey). reclaiming our lent. and sort of trying to re-connect with all of the inhabitants of this barn…i had no epiphanies from the Great I AM.

just a few small miracles and some gentle reminders to keep fighting the good fight.

because folks, it is a fight.

and our only hope lies in the HOLY EUCHARIST.

there is REAL strength in HIS Presence.

and that is enough for me.

crazy old me….

who is turning 35 this week….

am i really turning 35 this week?

april will be a blur. it already promises to be.

may and june too.

mercy me!

hope i can find a second wind to keep up with this space…i really miss it here.

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