Where I Blog

about the usually ordinary, occasionally exciting and sometimes quite boring daily happenings around here

On ribbon and laundry

Have you ever washed a roll of gift wrapping ribbon with a load of laundry?
I have.

 

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On a whim

On a whim

/(h)wim/

Noun. 1. A sudden desire or change of mind.

I am working on being truly and genuinely thankful for being able to home school my children. I know I should slap myself for writing that first sentence. What I am discovering is this. I am. I am eternally grateful to live in a country where homeschooling is legal, I am grateful that my husband and I decided this is the best educational route for our children. I am grateful for the plethora of resources available within 10 minute car ride, a quick phone call or even at my finger tips. Really it is amazing.

Home schooling is the job you’ve dreamt of your whole life. It is the job with flexibility. It is the job that touches somewhere deep inside your soul that speaks to your purpose here on earth. The job, in which your boss trusts you with immense responsibility, requests your input on important decisions and asks you to help navigate the course for the future of the company.

It is all that and getting to do it in your pajamas some days or your favorite maxi skirt and gold scarf the next. It is sometimes making maple and oat pancakes for breakfast on a Wednesday. It is some days seeing it come together; your curriculum choice, the spiral approach, the classical foundation and the hands on exploratory science. In a moment you see it all come together. It is a moment that needs to give birth to its own enormity, but instead your heart holds it and knows never will you be able to capture the awesomeness that has landed in your life, in the same way you cannot capture the hidden, crystal clear lake, hidden on a three hour hike to the top of Bear Mountain.

A picture can capture this lake, but it cannot hold how much, in that moment, your heart needed to rest here. It cannot capture the peace that washed over your soul in that moment you happened upon it. Whether it is in the discussion that follows a history lesson with your son or the concept in math that finally clicked for your daughter, it is just awesome.

These moments are the same moments you await when you drive 12 hours to a national park, hoping to spot a grizzly bear or mountain goats feeding on the slopes.

This moment is when they see the light bulb. They smile and understand something, and maybe are even surprised at their own excitement.

Some days it is none of this. It is still the job you dreamed of with flexibility, relationship and trust, but some days you don’t see any of it. It is a quick breakfast because you need to get to work. It is a Latin lesson gone wrong….again. It is history, the same old book, unit and subject that does not ever end. But it can’t be! This is the history you vowed to make come alive and Latin; it is the perfect unit study that incorporates so many other curriculum disciplines. It is wondering how the same words you practice are still misspelled. It is a reading lesson that really should be going smoother than it is.

It is on one of these days, because really they don’t come so often. No, they do, it is just some days you handle them and understand that this is life, the continuing, the persevering and the setting a good example, because when the going gets tough…….

On the days when I can’t deal, I say let’s go get Blueberry Pancakes.

 

Or it snowed, again? Let’s research igloos. Or, it is just too nice outside. Let’s go.

I am learning to listen to these whims. I am learning they are essential to our home school. Sometimes, I need to tell them to wait because whims can be impatient. Other times, they must be taken seriously. I greet them like a good host should, ask them if I may take their coat and if they can stay a bit. I’ll put on some tea, Mr. Whim. You sit here and I’ll tend to the details.

Bags must be packed. Hair must be brushed. Matching socks must be found.

Whims can bust a whole days schedule or they can just mess with an hour. They are all very different and each must be treated as such.

So, Mr. Whim, it’s Monday, are you listening? I am.

 

Five Favorites: Link- Up

Thank you, Hallie for hosting. I love the idea of a five favorites link-up. While I am late to the party, I made it.

1. Seasonal Fireplaces


(Image via)

I love our fireplace. We have debated on a few occasions converting it to a gas fireplace, so that we don’t have to deal with the mess and storing the wood. We both have agreed to stay with our wood burning fireplace as we love the sound and the pops of the wood, even the smell. I’ve seen so many cute ideas to fill your fireplace in the off season. Right now, old books is my absolute favorite. I’ve seen others, like a still life of birch wood, vases and candles that are really fun, too.

2.  Bicycles in the Bathroom.


                                                        (Image Via)

We will soon be embarking on re-doing our basement bathroom in penny-pinching fashion. If we had the room, this would be my first choice. I love. Love. Love it. However, it would entail reworking the plumbing and moving the shower, thus no longer a penny-pinching project. It would be perfect in our basement bathroom because we rarely use it for showering and such. So, we really wouldn’t need the under–the-sink storage. When we had guests, we could fill those baskets with towels, cute soaps and lotions. Okay, now I’m sad again and maybe this shouldn’t be on my Five Favorites.

No, it is so one of my favorites.

3.  Mumford and Sons.


This is my recent cleaning up the kitchen, making dinner, unloading the dishwasher music. Love it.

4. This quote by Fulton J. Sheen

Simple Things

“Humans live by their desires, but it is possible for us to choose whether we will desire things of the spirit or of the world. The person who can look back on his day and count five times when he has refused to yield to some minute whim is on the way to inner growth: He has held himself back and rejected the slavery of things.”

5. The Joy of Hate

 By: Greg Gutfeld


This book is funny and witty. It’s also a quick read. The author takes to task the issue of media bias in a hilarious style. Super funny.

Happy Monday (really never a favorite),

Jennifer


Ceramic Casserole Dishes and the Body of Christ

I love to do me some thriftin’. When you thrift you find things like small, ceramic owls, disco balls, and funky glassware.

The other day when I was out doing some non-thrifting errands, I discovered a consignment store that only accepts and sells used dishes and entertainment-ware.

I visited with the owner for a bit after I browsed her cute selection of ceramic casserole dishes, cake stands and three tiered serving stands. It was a great store that I am going to keep in mind next time I host a large gathering and need that certain dish or tray and don’t want to spend too much.

She said her idea came from friends who were retired and wanting to downsize. They no longer had room for these things in their cupboards. These were things they had tried to give to their children or grandchildren, but they had no interest. Thus they were here awaiting their next owner. She went on to say that it has been so much fun to watch newlywed and other young couples leave her store clutching their newly found treasures. She said she often wondered if some of these people were the same people that had said no to a previous offer.

When I left there I couldn’t help but think of what I wanted to pass on to my children. Not so much dishes (at this point anyhow) but the truths of the faith, the rich history and traditions of the Church. It made me think of how important our community is. Someday when my children might not accept a gift I really want them to have, maybe they will accept it from someone else. A friend, a Godparent, aunt or priest.

It made me realize the importance of praying for people in my life that would also want my children to have these gifts and not mock or make fun of them. Also, to say thank you for those amazing people already present in my life.

All for now,

Jennifer


Theme Thursday: Happiness/Joy Link-up

I am only loosely linking up with this week.  Very, very loosely.

Happiness is…..when there is no one in the zoo’s Imax theater for a Monday afternoon showing of Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure 3D.

….when your kids play along.

…when I get to use my Hollywood director’s voice. And accent?

And we’re shocked……

And we’re frightened…….

And we’re laughing…….

And we’re sleeping……

You’ll be surprised to learn that my children have no background in acting. I sense that your face looks similar to photo number one. But ’tis true, my friend. ‘Tis true.

Thank you, Cari for hosting.

Architecture: Theme Thursday link-up

Last week I wrote about needing to categorize my overflow of ideas. I decided Theme Thursday was something I needed to do. I honestly have no idea what I am doing in the world of photography, but love experimenting.

Thanks, Cari, for being the inspiration I needed to just give it a try.

This theme was a lot of fun. We live about 20 minutes from the Cathedral, so it immediately came to mind when I read the theme for the week.

I got there a bit later than I had hoped so wasn’t sure what the lighting would be like. Due to it being an older (and gorgeous) neighborhood, getting shots without power lines was a bit tricky.

Between the photos of the front and the side, it looks like an hour or two passed – but it was just a few minutes.

I love the birds.

Does your neck hurt from all of that looking up?

There was so much beautiful detail near the windows I tried to capture, but the sun had set and I was not having any luck. Makes me want to go back and try again.

Head back over to Cari’s and feast your eyes.

Happy Thursday,

Jennifer

backward breakfast

This idea was born out of self pity on a morning I was feeling unappreciated and ‘no one ever says thank you and they just expect me to….’ The day was bound to suck for the kids as I was determined to find a pile of evidence in support of my claims. I am so good at that.

We sat down to breakfast and I said to the kids, “One at a time, name one person that helped make this breakfast possible. Think backwards – starting with our kitchen, what happened just before we put it in our cupboards.”

We were having cereal and OJ.

Cereal ….The cashier at the grocery store, the person that bagged the groceries, the person that stocked it on the shelves, the truck driver that delivered it, the person that unloaded it, the gas station attendant/cashier where the truck driver purchased gas, the person at the factory where the cereal was boxed, the inspector….

Milk….the dairy farmer, the truck driver, the person that…..

OJ…..the person that planted the seedlings for the trees, the person that picked the fruit, the person that…….

We went on to the bowls, spoons and my coffee that morning.

The list was extensive. Really it was amazing – all of the work that went into this meal. All of the work that made it possible for me to open a cupboard and a refrigerator door and breakfast was served in all of 45 seconds.

At my request, after we ate we said a prayer for each person we talked about that morning.

“We don’t know their names, but you do God. Their work made this breakfast so easy to serve. Thank you. Bless them this day. Help them to know what they do matters.”

God threw me a life preserver that day so I didn’t drown in my own pity. I needed to take myself out of the equation.

We don’t do this every morning, but from time to time we will. If I am in need of a shift of perspective, this always does the trick.

Isn’t It Ironic?

I realized yesterday that I did not take my kids to see a living nativity scene. While it is now the Christmas season, generally the living nativity scenes are organized during Advent – and this year we just didn’t get around to going to see one.

I do like going to see them. The kids decked out in their wise men gear, the hay, straw and livestock. It is always the livestock that really makes it for me. It is quite possibly because I most easily resonate with being a stubborn ass.

But it is ironic, isn’t it? The living nativity. They dress the part and stand perfectly still. We drive by looking for all that is familiar and we miss it. We are the living nativity. We are Bethlehem that is just too full and busy to house this pregnant woman. We are the stable that God the Father finds fitting for the birth of His Son.

He seeks the stable of our souls, but we lock Him out and instead show Him to the Spiritual Study in our lives. We show Him to the room with spiritual books, bible classes and spiritual resumes.
He is unafraid of the filth in our lives. The stench of sin in the dark caves of our hearts is where He wants to embrace us, but our arrogance keeps Him from ever coming close.

It is the store room in the basement. The room filled with things I don’t know where to put and others I know exactly where to put, I am just lazy. I keep it closed and with a baby lock on the outside from when our kids were younger – no one is to enter here. It is full of crap, completely disorganized and just too much to tackle.

The basement in our hearts is similar; stuffed with things we don’t know what to do with and others we just don’t want to deal with. That old wound still hurts. That wound that whispers to me that I am nothing but a whimp to let this old, little misunderstanding still bother me.

It is home to the shame I feel for pushing my kids way too hard at such a young age, being overly critical or hurting another with my prideful words. There is so much in there, too much actually.
It is in the midst of that mess that He wishes to embrace me, but I point Him to other cleaner, more organized rooms in my life. This nudge to open the door in the basement of my heart won’t go away. It is gentle and soft, but ever present.

It is that door He asks us to open each Advent. It is here that He wishes to be born anew each Christmas bringing light to the darkness and dispelling all fear. It is here in the chaos and stables of our souls that He reminds us how much He trusts us to carry the truth, to bring light into the lives and hearts of others, by beginning with ourselves.

We work so hard to ensure our homes smell like cinnamon and egg nog during Christmas. During Advent, we work so hard to ensure the living nativities are perfectly staged and everyone has the perfect costume and knows exactly where to stand. These are good and beautiful ways to recognize and celebrate the liturgical seasons. But we must pray that we are given eyes to see what God seeks to enter into – it is not the holiday scented candles. He wants to come into the shame, the chaos and the darkness. He wants us to stop dressing the part and standing perfectly still. He wants us to stop covering the stench of animal manure with cinnamon and egg nog. He wants us to give Him free reign in all parts of our lives and not lock Him in our Spiritual Study.

Father, this Christmas season give us eyes to see the living Nativity. Be the light in the darkness and restore order to chaos.

Merry Christmas!