Monday, October 10, 2011

Progress here, progress there, a little progress everywhere...

The carpet has been installed in the new master bedroom.  There's still a bit of trim needing to be put up--there are no baseboards yet, and the door trim needs to be nailed up.  One of the window frames needs to be painted, and a little bit of paint here and there on the walls needs to be touched up.  The handles on the doors haven't been changed, and in fact, the doors don't stay closed at this point.

But--I absolutely could not wait.  We moved the bed in on Thursday, thanks be to God!

Before My Darling picked up Frog and Pickle from cross country on Thursday afternoon and returned home with them, I had moved the bedside tables and lamps, my striped chair and footstool/ottoman, Gingersnap's little bed, and all of the bedding.  We were able to move the bed easily, and I very soon had it made up.

Over the weekend, we moved the credenza into place, hung pictures, and brought in the little things that make it the quiet, welcoming, relaxing place I need it to be.

There are still a few things that need to be moved, but for now, I am very pleased.  Five years is a long time to wait and plan and work toward a specific goal!

One thing I've been thoroughly enjoying is the decision-making during shifting things into the new room.  What things do I truly need/use/want/enjoy?  What things have I been holding onto out of habit, sense of guilt or obligation, or greed?  What things could benefit someone else, or be used to make someone else happy as a gift?  I'm trying to simplify, to not hang onto the false need of having something in every corner, nook and cranny.  We are so blessed--blessed in abundance, for Pete's sake, and it's a fine line between abundance and excess.  I don't want this beautiful room to be turned into a storage unit, so I'm taking the time now to discard junk, donate things I don't need, and remember to give thanks for the things we have.


This past Saturday was the last cross country race of the season.  The kids were satisfied with their performances--which were a bit slower than the week before, because the week before it was cold (which is perfect for runners), and Saturday was hot.  The team has a banquet coming up on Friday, where they will receive rewards and recognition.  It's been an incredible thing to watch my children learn, improve, meet and surpass goals, and constantly challenge themselves.  It's been difficult in some respects--watching them give every ounce of effort they can and sprint at the end toward the finish line, dripping with the sweat of their effort is bittersweet.

One of my favorite things about these races, though, is seeing the kids who don't finish in 17 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever is the average.  The kids who take 30 or 35 or even 40 minutes, but stick it out and still finish the race, are the ones that really get me teared up.  Those kids are pillars of the virtue of perseverance.  They're not in fantastic shape, and they cross the finish line after everyone has left the course sidelines.  Their teammates have already had their shoes off and their water bottles refilled again and again.  But when they come toward the finish line, everyone gathers again by the chute and hollers and whistles and claps and cheers for them as they finish!  And that's their goal--not to shave of 10 seconds from last week's time, but just to finish, for Pete's sake!  It's incredibly humbling.  It's also a reminder that I don't even have the guts to start one of those races...

...until now?

At some of the events, after the various heats have been run, and while the time judges are tallying the results, there is an open race--open to coaches, parents, spectators, basically whoever wants to run--and some of us Mamas decided that we want to run next year.

This is a very silly thing for me to commit to.  I cannot run.  I do not run.  I walk very quickly when I need to get somewhere fast, but I do not run.  I used to run.  I used to do lots of crazy things.  But I am in no shape to run.  Especially not the course in question: it's fraught with hills, and is definitely among the more challenging of the courses for the year.  There is no way I can do this.  I don't have the guts to even stand behind the start line.

But that's kind of the point--I'm not in good shape at all.  In fact, I'm not in any kind of shape.  I'm just kind  That's not good.  I'm tired, I'm sluggish, and Sloth has gotten hold of my ankle and is yanking with strength.  Pile on the guilt factor, and it's just not a pretty picture.

So I spent $10 and bought the 30 Day Shred video.  I've heard good things about from people I actually know.  I've seen some tremendous results from those same people, and I'm hoping that it will help me, too. I don't know how much I weigh, because we don't have a scale.  But I do know that I could stand to lose some inches just about everywhere.  I figure I can hack a 22 minute workout--at least time-wise!--and hopefully it will give me the boost I need.

I definitely need the endorphin boost that I know exercise will provide, too.  Even if my body aches and my muscles scream in protest, if my moods improve, it'll be worth it.

And so, as soon as my little ones are asleep for Quiet Time, I'll open the box that's had me trembling since Wednesday, and see what I can do.  I might even do "before and after" pictures.  I'll wait to post those though....


Prayer requests:

*In thanksgiving for the Ordination to Transitional Deaconate for Deacon Mark!  Thanks be to God!!

*For the conversion of our neighbors, who increasingly call us to patience and forbearance.  Thank the Lord we have someone who draws out virtuous effort on our part, all for our sanctification.

*For Joshua P. who is desiring to feel the warm embrace of Jesus as he struggles with terminal conditions, and for his family, especially his mother, who so desperately wants to see her son's suffering end...even though it means she will bury him.

*In thanksgiving for the joyful news of our dear friends, who find themselves preparing to welcome Baby Number 11--with eight safely in their home and two little Saints praying for them in Heaven.

*For a renewed effort to promote respect for all human life, from conception to natural death, during this month of October (Respect Life Month).

*For a renewed passion for Our Lady's beautiful prayer of the Rosary, and for many souls to be brought nearer to her Son, which is all she desires for us...

*For a very specific intention, dear to my heart, which is known to the Holy Spirit and does not need to be given in detail here.  He knows.

I thank you graciously for your prayers on my behalf and for those I love and who are dear to me, and I bring to Our Lord all of the prayers of your hearts, too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For everything there is a season

I'm trying to ease back into the early morning rise routine.  It's actually been easier than I expected it would be, given that nights can be unpredictable and filled with many moments of staring at the clock, wondering when my little Gingersnap will allow sleep to be victorious.  What I've discovered, though, is that the waking up and getting up part is not the challenge: it's staying awake through the afternoon  that's giving me fits.


This Wednesday will usher me into my 38th year, thanks be to God.  (Or for a more common way of putting it, I'll be 37, for Pete's sake.)  I thought I'd feel older somehow, though I'm not certain what that means anymore.  I do remember carrying my little Squash and really feeling like I could never have another baby--he was definitely my last baby!!  HA!  And look what God really had planned!

I have found that with each passing year I find more joy in this season.  The stunning colors peeking from every possible crevace absolutely thrill me in a smiliar way I once felt about fireworks.  And how could it not?  The carpets of muted golds and browns of the fields fairly glow when the sun hits them on the hills.  The velvety red of the sumac is my favorite, but the surprising colors on some of the trees are astounding.  Japanese maple leaves that turn purple at the edges and simmer into a golden syrup toward the center...the plum in my very own front yard which darkens and darkens, from a deep violet to nearly black...the brilliant gold of the birch leaves...the red of the ivy vines, climbing everything in sight and providing such an abundant variety of reds (and I know they're invasive and choking, but they are still quite lovely)...and the noble oak--dropping acorns and a veritable carpet of oranges, browns and persimmony orange leaves--which seasons such a scent into the air that it permeates every breath--how could anyone look upon these things and not be overtaken with praise and thanksgiving for the One who deems us worthy to behold them?

The Saturday morning cross country races have meant that we, as a family, rise very early in order to drive our runners to their venues.  And where we live, we go through very hilly country, providing incredible views.  The early mornings these days always mean sunlight filtered through fog (except for the couple of rainy race days in there for good measure).  It's been inspiring to have so many moments of such beauty before us.

One particular morning as we drove toward the southeast, I was drawn into something of a meditation.  There were layers and layers of fog settled over fields of corn, soybeans and wheat.  The trees still have enough leaves on them to give a full silhouette, and the profiles of houses, barns and silos were prominent in some places, and obscured in others.  The first layer was softened, as though peering through the screen of an open window.  The next layer was like steam-covered glass.  The next was even more obscured, like trying to look through tracing paper.  And the next was like parchment.

I thought how our souls see Heaven was so similar...we have an idea of what Heaven is--everyone has their own idea of what the Beatific Vision will truly be like.  We see in our mind's eye what we think it will be.  And as we learn more and more truth in what Holy Mother Church teaches us, we realize how far removed our ideal is, like the second and third layers.  What it will actually be is so far obscured, like trying to peer through the thick layers of fog.  We can sense the light through the parchment layer, but nothing can be clearly seen through these frail human eyes.

God is good.

Prayer intentions:

Please keep My Darling's Grandma in prayer.  She is old and tired, and some days would dearly love to go Home.  God's ways are the best ways; His timing is always perfect.

Please continue to pray for Joshua P.  He has had some extraordinary days of energy and healing and feeling really good, but then contracted a cold...which can be devistating, or even deadly.  Please continue to pray for miraculous healing, on whatever terms God wills for him, and for peace in the hearts of his family.

Please pray intently for our Holy Father, for our dear Bishop, and for an increase in vocations to the ordained and consecrated life.

And I humbly beg for your prayers for my own needs and intentions.