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FOR TODAYMarch 17th, 2011

Outside my window: the sun is struggling for supremacy in a washed-out sky on this spring-like day.  Temperatures are to be quite mild today – perhaps after accomplishing a few unpleasant chores, we’ll venture to the creek for a real “sharin’ o’ the green” in honor of the Feast of St. Patrick!

I am listening to: my four young ones…at play…sounds like a lego battle…

I am wearing : blue jeans and a back linen blouse.  A sweater for now…hope to shed that later!

Gratitude list:

hugs from my second oldest child, too long away…

laughter and babble from a precocious two year old boy, my precious grandson…

chickens cackling in the yard, a raucous greeting whenever we return…

propane that lasted just long enough…

buds and sprouts all around…

seed catalogs…

rich and heady aroma of coffee scenting the cold morning air…

the Divine Office…Matins…

the wisdom of Archbishop Fulton Sheen…

the right words at the right time…

little girl in princess garb and crown…

little boys digging holes and building waterways…

big boys laughing over shared, private jokes…

hot soup and crusty bread…

I am reading: (re-reading) The Song of Bernadette.  On the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I found a vintage copy of this precious book by Franz Werfel, at one of my favorite thrift stores.  Thank you, Blessed Mother!  I love you…

From the kitchen: hot coffee and oatmeal.  A quick and easy lunch, perhaps outdoors.  For the Feast of St. Patrick:  Irish Beef and Guinness Stew served in crusty bread bowls…Irish Soda Bread…and Guinness for the adults…perhaps a green punch for the children…

I am thinking: about homeschooling cooperatives.  This question is currently before one of the homeschool groups to which I belong.  Do we or don’t we?  What do we really want?  I know what I want…something I had long ago…wonderful, supplemental programs, beautifully organized, inexpensively accomplished with special programs for the encouragement of home educating moms.  I was the Assistant Directors of a cooperative that did those things, so very well.  I just don’t know if I could head something like this again, or whether I’m being prideful in desire to see such programming again.  Last year was a really hard year…we missed so much, so many opportunities, not to mention fellowship.  And the group’s vision may be decidedly different.  I’m very interested in seeing what comes from all of these discussions…and I praise God for the creativity of home educating parents!

I am creating: our 40 Days of Soups for Lent is going very, very well!  I’m so glad that many of you have found our menu plans and posted recipes a blessing in your own lenten journey.  I’ve gained so much more time, our grocery bills are not nearly as high and I’ve lost six pounds!  What seemed a mortification and sacrifice, has been a real blessing for this mom…

On my iPod: playing Words with Friends with my daughter, Caitlin…fun!

Towards a real education: we’ve been doing quite a bit of creative writing and, praise God, I’ve discovered that one of my sons is actually…*gasp*…a writer!  It is truly humbling for this writer to have to struggle to impart the joy that I experience when writing.  I’ve felt like such a failure in this arena.  My first three girls all write…poetry, prose and journals…but my last six?  Only under duress…there’s been little I could do to entice them to write for sheer joy.  So…I eliminated their handwriting lessons and replaced them with creative writing…still focusing on letter formation and good penmanship, all while using writing prompts and story starters…no more copywork.  It’s working!  And the children are really stretching themselves.  Their 12 yr. old brother has discovered that writing is not the demon he once thought, and that he has the gift of creative expression.    This has, in turn, inspired a bit of healthy competition and I’m only too happy to witness this happy turn of events!

I am hoping and praying: for all my children…particularly my adult children…that they may seek and find God’s will for their lives, that their hearts be turned wholly towards Heaven, that they feel the love of God and family no matter where they are…that they know that they are beloved of God and family…

In the garden: I think I may start my herbs seeds today…it’s such a lovely day.  The grow table is beckoning and the garden is slowly beginning to awake from its long winter slumber….

Around the House: outside cleaning.  A shed that needs clearing out.  Junk from the garage that needs to be hauled away…bits of branches and debris to be picked up and taken to the brush pile.  Oh, how I long to do a deep, Spring cleaning.  Or do I simply hold out until our Easter Cleaning?  Hmmmm…

On keeping home: I’m considering moving the classroom back upstairs.  I don’t know…the playroom stays in a constant state of disorder…do I really want all the toys and legos back in their rooms?  A quandary…

One of my favorite things: order, not chaos.  I need more order right now…

A few plans for the rest of the week: Write down Holy Week and Easter plans.  Shop for Easter dresses for the girls.  New white shirts for the boys.  Plug away at school.  Order assessment tests.  Enjoy the improving weather…

A few picture thoughts I’m sharing…images from the past couple of weeks:

When she's not playing in the mud, she's comfortably attired in princess garb...
Is Cirque du Soleil looking for a "princess contortionist?"

Official gear for "mud season" in Ohio...
Contrary to popular perception, a teenage boy's usefulness far outweighs his appetite!

Hey chickens...I found your egg!
Chickens...you can have your egg back, if you want!

Blessings,