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FOR TODAYSeptember 13th, 2011

Outside my window: delicious breeze tossing leaves, blowing zinnias and impatiens.  Bright blue sky speckled with swiftly moving cumulus clouds

I am listening to:  scholars at work.  Conversations regarding the Constitution and states’ rights…chattering siblings discussing cumulo-nimbus clouds and whether teepees are really waterproof…windchime outside the classroom window…

I am wearing :  blue jeans and a soft ecru j jill sweater…

Gratitude list:  Relief on last Tuesday.  For news that my sweet Abigail does not have an optic nerve tumor.  After a weekend of nightmarish proportions, following a disturbing trip to an inexperienced optometrist, a very thorough examination revealed that the “anomaly” in Abigail’s right eye is congenital Optic Nerve Drusen.  Combined with astigmatism, intermittent esotropia and farsightedness, we now have an explanation for her blurry vision…and one that we can most certainly live with.  We also learned a very important lesson:  when it comes to eye health, an ophthalmalogist is the best bet…we’ll save our visit to the optometrist for filling glasses and contact lens prescriptions.  Praising God for such good news…you never know real joy until you’ve imagined the very worst…thanking my dear friends for all their prayers and encouraging words!

I am reading:  Consoling The Heart Of JesusA must read, do-it-yourself retreat.  I had the extreme privilege of attending a weekend retreat with Fr. Michael Gaitley…it was amazing…life changing.  I feel so very privileged to have had such good spiritual food this year:  from the Dayton Homeschool Conference, to the Christian Mother’s morning retreat and then Fr. Gaitley’s retreat last month.  God is so good…

From the kitchen:  Ah, me.  It appears that I’m truly and horribly wheat allergic.  All those wonderful bread recipes…biscuits, cakes and cookies…are no more.  At present, I can’t even place my hands in flour.  This is heartbreaking, but I’m learning a new normal and so far, so good.  No more rashes and hives.  No more pain and joint swelling…and, yes…all of this came to light after I completed my juice fast.  I tried to go back to my pre-fast diet…changing the quantities, but hoping against hope that gluten or wheat was not the problem.  When I began experiencing hives all over my body, I tried to blame it on everything except the one thing that remained a constant in my diet.  Bread.  Wheat.  This Sunday I received the confirmation that I’d been dreading…so now I’m wheat-free.  I won’t pretend to be “on-board” with this.  I’m so frustrated.  But so much has changed since I’ve cut out wheat products.  So…tonight’s menu:  Meatloaf (no italian bread crumbs…sigh), garlic mashed potatoes, fresh green beans with rosemary, spiced peaches.  No too bad…

I am thinking:  about school.  Two days in now…things are going quite well!  Also…thinking about being a student.  Yes.  I’m enrolled full time as a college student…finally pursuing a degree.  Every time I’ve tried before, life has stepped in.  The last time I enrolled full time, I discovered shortly after that I was pregnant with my second child…and quickly dropped out.  As challenging as my daily schedule is, I think I can manage this…at least I’m going to try.  Most of my courses are online (thank Heaven for community colleges!) and I’ll attend one lecture per week on campus.  St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of students…pray for me!

I am creating:  I can knit!!  I can crochet!!  I can use scissors!! The sky is the limit…since the juice fast and now the elimination of all wheat products, I’ve regained the use of my hands!  It’s wonderful…I’ve crocheted slippers and I’m knitting a super-cute headscarf/neck kerchief.  Oh…it feels so good!

Towards a real education:  Weather units and beginning Latin.  Algebra and Physics.  US History and Composition…and for mom:  Philosophy and Writing…with an ugly dose of Algebra to make it all worthwhile…certainly odd to teach Algebra and take it at the same time!

I am praying:  for continued good health for friends and family.  So many are suffering…so many with children facing so many challenges.  For the unemployed.  For the brokenhearted and friendless.  For our world and church leaders…

In the garden:  my poor, poor garden.  We have summer squash.  We have zucchini and the saddest looking tomatoes, ever.   But nothing else…we lost all to a horrible fungus that took over the garden and destroyed all our other crops.  For the first time in thirty years, we’ll have very little to preserve.  Unless I make it to the farmer’s market and purchase fresh veggies for preservation, this is where it all stands…

Around the house:   a nice, tidy, reorganized classroom.  Everything needs a good coat of paint, but I’m loving the new art center we set up and the functionality of the space.  I realize that I’m truly blessed to have a space devoted to the education of the children.  They spend so much time in this room…even after school.  It seems to invite creativity…

On keeping home:  A new development!  Mom no longer does any kitchen work, other than cooking!  My guys are cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom every night…I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful this is…this is their contribution towards mom going to college.  Everyone chose a task to give me a couple extra hours per day…my heart swells with their generosity!  It makes all the difference…

One of my favorite things:  beautiful, windy, September days.  A hot bowl of ribollita, eaten on the front porch in the midst of this fallish weather.  Delightful!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  continue to establish our daily school rhythm.  And prepare for a good deal of homework…

A few picture thoughts I’m sharing:

Lovely September sunset…


Blessings,