~~ Things suddenly arrived at that peace and quiet that summer brings more of. I've actually thought thoughts and felt myself breathing. The mornings are 45 minutes of walking/thinking time. Morning prayer is stretched out a luxurious 15 minutes longer because we don't have to be out the door at 7 a.m. So the fact is, I have been thinking and... I've decided to say for the record...
If we are of one mind and heart, trying to live good, productive lives based on our faith and raising children who do the same, then we are on the same team - allies. It's not a competition! It doesn't matter whose child is endowed with more things, more trips, hipper, holier, more talented, achieving more of this or that. They are ALL incredible, beautiful, precious gifts from God. And each one of them are a mess on any given day. More peace and true happiness is being lost among a great many people, I am noticing, over who is and who is not the perfect parent based upon how or what or where their children are getting or doing or going. I notice that my parent's generation didn't seem to do this as much. Maybe facebook, pinterest, blogs ;) have created this monster. It's hard to say. I know an extended family where much of the love and comraderie have been damaged due to the competition and the judging. Very Sad.
The reality? Joseph and Mary were the only perfect parents.
They, with Jesus, were the only perfect family.
Kids are going to be kids and do kid-like behaviors no matter how perfect, organized, prayerful, or rich or exciting you make their life precisely because they are children. We were goofballs once too. And we were mostly good kids too. So are all our children.
In today's world, so absolutely saturated with one form or another of bad influence, stress, and challenge, we parents should have sympathy and encouragement for one another. No to judgment and criticism, and competition. Yes to banding together in understanding, truthful acknowledgement of how hard it is to raise children, especially in the midst of a culture of death.
~~ This morning was spent with the cleaning and cooking Saturday chores. Weirdly, this is happy stuff for me. Do I dare admit that?? I'm not saying I'm a picture perfect suzie homemaker, but I've discovered I don't have to be. A little attention to our home and it's order go a long way toward making me feel happy and sane. If I had my way, I'd have more time to devote to our home. I used to daydream that once all the kids were in school I'd get to putter and clean and actually accomplish something in the house. Without 4 F-5's coming back behind me demolishing it. I wasn't planning on going back into teaching until they were all in high school. I had it all planned out that I'd have a few years there to get the house in good shape again. Best laid plans, sigh. But I do try to make up for lost time on Saturday mornings. It isn't perfect but it produces some good enough results. For this girl raised in rural Oklahoma by a stay at home mother, it seems a privilege to have time and space to get to practice domesticity.
I know it's kind of hip right now to be non-cooking, non-cleaning, non-domestic but I openly admit to being old fashioned about some things.
I've begun this new habit of making Sunday's meal mostly on Saturday morning and then sticking it in the fridge. It makes me feel like a get more of a day of rest on Sunday. It's great how much you can make ahead. Today's cooking included Spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, and preparing the garlic bread. I also pre-mixed the salad and put it in a Ziploc baggie.
~~ Praying for the Oklahoma people who suffered such horrific losses in the tornado of last week. I cannot imagine losing your child like that. It kept me awake Monday night thinking of those hurting with those empty spaces in their family. But I can understand that horrible feeling of life as you knew it suddenly changing; the shock, the numbness, and then stabs of sharp, painful realization as moments of truth penetrate and show forth the losses.
It must be gnawing at so many reeling from losing their home and life's treasured possessions - the wedding albums, baby pictures, family photos, the pets, the heirlooms from generations past.
I don't use the word 'victims' because I know Oklahomans and they are faith-filled, resolute, strong stock.
I pray for the ones who will have the hardest time rebuilding when a part of their life cannot be rebuilt.
~~ I used that amazon.com gift card I got at Christmas, plus one I just received from one of my students and his mother, to buy some awesome reading material for summer. I was so excited about this last evening. Some of the titles I bought used for 1.59 and 2.68 after having seen them at Barnes and Noble for $25-30 a piece.
These are the books I bought:
* Living the good, long life - Martha Stewart (still love her, again not popular to admit, but I do)
* Rooted In Love, our calling as women - Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle (she's incredible)
* My Sisters, the Saints - Colleen Carroll Campbell (she is my idol)
* I apologize to every teacher I've ever had - Tony Danza (the "Taxi" and "Whose the Boss" actor about his year of teaching high school in Philly)
* 32 Third Graders and A Bunny - Phillip Done (another teaching book for 1.59!)
Fly Away - Hannah Kristin
~~ My younger 3 found a baby snapping turtle at the pond last evening. They are delirious for this turtle. He is tiny and cute right now because he cannot snap at them with any kind of force. They've named him "Circles" signifying how he tends to swim in circles. I have been begged with heartfelt pleas and even tears for permission to keep mr. circles. I've agreed. Was there any other answer possible? I had a turtle exactly like that once when I was 8. Her name was cindy. My brother, being noble towards nature I guess, thought he should release her one day (without my permission). He ended up giving me ten dollars and a blowpop to appease my broken heart.
~~ This sweet older lady living on main street had several houseplants and herb plants for sale in her front yard this morning as I was on my walk. I couldn't resist. So now I have a beautiful fern, a boston ivy, and basil, lemon verbena, cilantro, and oregano. Perfect for that one window. It's the little things they say.
This got very long. Didn't think I had much to say this evening.
Goodnight and God Bless.