Monday, September 15, 2014

The Facebook Fast: Two Months In

It has been two months since I decided to take a break from social media, on a nine month fast.  The nine month mark will hit in April, and while it's a little bit of irony that pregnancy (supposedly) lasts for nine months, that is not why I chose that period of time.  I chose that time because a) it's a long time, the better part of a year, and b) it seemed more like a "novena of months" while I prayerfully discern whether I want to stick with it or not.

I still feel like I miss out on a lot.  There are friends I primarily kept up with and maintained contact with via Facebook and I miss not knowing what's going on in their lives.  There are family members that I never get to talk to and I have virtually no idea how things are going for them.  Social media (especially Twitter) was my main form of news information, so I have been behind in knowing about a lot of news.

What is interesting about what I'm "missing" is that I am ok with it.  I don't need to know all the tiny details of my friends' lives.  It is SUCH a joy to see them, or text with them, or receive an email from far away friends and hear about how things are going.  I love the intimacy of sharing real life with my friends, no matter how near or far, because when we converse with one another, the level of trust is infinitely higher than when we "like" Facebook posts or tap out something small and insignificant that doesn't actually bring others, truly, into our lives.  For a multitude of reasons, not just this social media fast, I have seen my relationships with friends blossom lately.  But I think that this plays a huge part, mostly because when we talk, we go deeper, when we see each other, the quality of time is richer, even when we text, we ask "how can I pray for you?"  While I often asked for prayers using social media (and blessedly received them!), I can promise you that I never shared the deeper, real needs for prayer. Being vague, across the board, is not friendship.

As far as news goes, I am careful to protect myself from certain news and I have been for a long time.  If you catch me watching the news, you should take my pulse.  When I read Searching for and Maintaining Peace for the first time, I was able to finally understand something significant about myself.  I empathize to a fault.  I internalize other people's feelings, I take on burdens into my heart that are not mine....and then I fall into desolation.  Desolation is not from God.  Sadness is not something He wills for us and it is easy for my imagination to go wild, way too wild.  Before I had the huge realization that God does not give us the graces to handle certain situations unless we are in them, I had many sleepless nights.  I worried endlessly about people I knew and loved, about our government, about situations around the world, about human rights issues that I was helpless to correct by myself.  These things would unduly burden me, and I would loose joy.  I would loose hope.
Indeed, we live in "a valley of tears."  As one of my dearest friends commented, we are not living in Eden.  This world is wracked, wracked, wracked with evil, and suffering, and so many people walk through life feeling completely hopeless.  Social media was one of the main ways I encountered various political nonsense, heartbreaking news stories, and projections about the status of the world.  But here is the thing: I refuse to live in fear.  My hope is in the Lord.  I don't live with my head in the sand.  I know, in broad terms, what is going on in the world.  I pray all the time for our government, for our country & culture, for those around the world who are suffering, for those close to me who are suffering.  My responsibility is to remain at peace.  It is to allow myself to be transformed by the Faith, by my hope in Heaven, to not wallow in sadness, to not fear suffering or death - because it comes for us all.  My responsibility is to affect what is within my reach.  It is to love well.  Constant bombardment of the media on Facebook and Twitter did not aid me in Joy.

Many years ago, I stopped drinking Cokes.  Then a few years ago, I quit Diet Cokes.  Around the same time, I made a commitment to not eat fast food (uh, Chick-fil-a excepted).  These little absences in my life led to healthier lifestyle in general - I'm not a nutrition guru, but we don't eat a lot of junk.  You won't find me on any Paleo diet, but I can't fathom the thought of putting things into my body at which I used to never bat an eye.  I'm thinking that two months into this little experiment, I may have already made up my mind.  The thought of getting on Facebook now feels like driving through McDonald's for a cheeseburger and a coke.  Quite off-putting.  It's surprised me!  I feel more whole.  More healthy.  And very grateful.

Peace I leave with you, My own peace I give to you; a peace the world cannot give, this is My gift to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid...(John 14:27)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

If You are to be Salt & Light, You Need Knowledge

Last Tuesday was our First Day of School.  By the time we started, I had 95% of the planning finished, and 100% of the needed supplies and books purchased, so I figured that's a good start!  I still need to finish planning during what Saint's days we're going to be livin' it up (I'll do that tomorrow - I'll just slightly revise my plans from last year), decide if we're going to try out the "Morning Time" concept (I'm not sure that it won't just add more to my to-do list, but we'll see), and I really need to take my teacher's course for Institute for Excellence in Writing (once I do that, I'll start the girls, but it's not so bad to ease in with everything else and then slam them with a mind-blowing writing program...right?).

a portion of our classroom the night before we started - I love this's a game room (and has a BAR - I joke about putting my margarita machine in there for days when math goes wrong, but I'm just kidding!) and has big beautiful windows facing a golf course and a large tree that is always covered in cardinals
AND it has doors to the back yard so, when the weather is nice, I can send littles out and just leave the doors flung wide open, glorious 
the afore mentioned bar (mostly where I store craft supplies, and children are forbidden back there)
andddd....the printing station/Kindle charging station/people's really cool artwork station
So, there's good news and there's bad news about this first week.  I'll give the bad news first: I'm pretty massively overwhelmed.  In theory I get the "teaching from a state of rest" concept...I know that I'm not under anyone's oppressive or watchful eye, I know that I'm not on a prescribed timetable, and I know that I have chosen to take this on by my own will.  All that's a lot of work this year.  The varying ages of my children requires me to be constantly thinking on my feet while each of them needs something different all at the same time.  My closest friends and my poor, dear husband have offered me great consolation this week - and I have hope that things will improve as we settle in, and as the children become more familiar and comfortable with their curricula.  So, while I held it together: the house stayed reasonably clean, the laundry stayed caught up, and everyone got fed, educated, and loved, I do continue to wonder about how I will sustain this and thrive.  A wise, much more experienced mom I know who has been homeschooling for 23 years continues to warn me against burning out, for *my* mental and physical health.  This is something I can totally see happening as the sweet days of learning how to count and learn shapes and explore nature morph into something much heavier, though very exciting.
The good news: My kids loved their week.  My curriculum choices are spot on as far as I can tell (except I'm bumping Gabrielle to the next level in math).  I LOVE the resources we are using this year to learn; *I* am excited about them and so are the children.  The work is a joy.  People might complain during grammar or math, but that's ok.  The rest is just exciting; we all love to learn.  So, while I am just plain tired, I'm not going to pretend that homeschool is all sunshine and unicorns and roses (yippee!), I am glad to be on this journey and I'm thankful for this precious time with the people I love the most in the whole world.  Each of the children are lovely to be around, and as they grow older I delight more and more in who God has made them.  This is God's path for me.  This gives me joy.

5th grade, Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade
For the sake of my memory (even though I have all of this in Evernote) and anyone's interest, here are our curriculum choices for the year (loosely based on Mater Amabilis):

5th Grade
Literature: books of her choice from my master list for 5th grade, King Arthur and His Nights of the Round Table with the Memoria Press Student Guide, Robin Hood with the Memoria Press Student Guide, The Aeneid for Boys and Girls (free on Kindle), and Shakespeare (I'm using How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, as well as a selection of adaptations, audio, and fun activities I found on Pinterest)
Poetry: The Harp and the Laurel Wreath (always)
Grammar: Intermediate Language Lessons
Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Spelling: All About Spelling
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears: Cursive Success (this will be her last year of handwriting, unless she'd like to learn calligraphy at some point in middle school)
Typing: Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum 5 (she's already a very proficient keyboarder from using this last year, which is remarkable because she doesn't use the keyboard much - I think I"ll let her more for narrations and papers this year)
Math: Saxon Math
British History: Our Island Story: A History of England for Boys and Girls along with some great activities I have planned for her that I created and picked up around the web
Ancient History: Famous Men of Rome, with the accompanying workbook from Memoria Press (I don't know if I'll continue workbooks with each child, but this one likes them), along with a slew of "living books" on the topic and some fun activities planned
*Also for all history, and any music/social studies/art, etc, she is beginning a Book of Centuries.
Geography: Memoria Press Geography I: Middle East, North Africa, Europe (this family LOVES
geography), and Continental Press Map Skills E
Religious Studies: Faith & Life Credo: I Believe, read & narrate Pearls of Peace A Rosary Journey through the Holy Land, her choice of Vision saint's books, and parish CCD (this isn't necessary, but we love it so much that we are willing to go, our parish is really quite exceptional)

3rd Grade
Literature: books of her choice from my master list for 3rd grade, Lassie Come Home and Charlotte's Web with corresponding Memoria Press Student Guide, Classic Myths to Read Aloud (I read this aloud to Gab and Colette, we all love it!)
Poetry: The Harp and the Laurel Wreath
Grammar: Primary Language Lessons
Writing: IEW
Spelling: All About Spelling
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears: Cursive Success
Typing: Typing Instructor for Kids
Math: Saxon Math
Social Studies: Our United States from Catholic Heritage Curricula (I am super excited about this one, we enjoy CHC geography and social studies a lot - this one comes with all sorts of activities, field trips, and interesting stuff!)
Geography: Continental Press Map Skills C and geography themed books listed in Mater Amabilis mixed in with her literature books
Ancient History: read and narrate The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, and we also have a whole slew of other books on the topic that the girls love
Religious Studies: Faith & Life: Our Life with Jesus, read and narrate from our collection of Once Upon a Time Saints books, memory work from the Baltimore Catechism, parish CCD

2nd Grade
Literature: lots of read alouds and books of her choice, The Courage of Sarah Nobel and Little House in the Big Woods with corresponding Memoria Press Student Guide (we use the guide to discuss, at this point, I don't make her write down answers), Classic Myths to Read Aloud with Gab
Poetry: A Child's Garden of Verses (this book is SUCH a treasure)
Grammar: Primary Language Lessons (we'll start mid way through the year with this, I want her a fair way behind Gabrielle)
Spelling: All About Spelling
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears: Printing Power Plus
Typing: Typing Instructor for Kids
Math: Abeka 2 (this will be the last year we use Abeka, even though it's done well for us over the years...more on that another time)
Geography: Explore the Continents from CHC (SO fun so far!), Continental Press Map Skills B
Ancient History: Ancient Israel - we are just reading and narrating from the Old Testament starting with Moses, to start, but then we'll move on to some other resources
Religious Studies: Faith & Life: Jesus Our Life, read and narrate from Once Upon a Time Saints books, memory work from the Baltimore Catechism, parish CCD

(I take a massively hands-off approach to Kindergarten, if she wants to work and I have time, we do it.  If she's not up for it, we don't do it.  I skip pre-k homeschool altogether.  I think 3 and 4's should work by playing, listening to books, and hanging out with their mamas.  So, we ease in through K and 1st grade.)
Reading: story books
Poetry: A Children's Garden of Verses
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten
Math: MCP Kindergarten Math
Religious Studies: picture books, children's Bible, coloring pages, Coloring with the Psalms, and Our Catholic Family Paper Dolls

Things we all do together as a group: 
Latin: Song School Latin (I'm over caring whether or not my kids can ever speak Latin.  I hope it can be familiar to them, that they can understand how words are derived from it, that they can pray the prayers of the Church if they need to, and then move on to what I think is WAY more important: Spanish)
Science: Apologia Astronomy with the Student Journals (I didn't spring for these last year and I regretted it) and the experiment kit from Home Science Tools (Apologia science leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion, I don't love the heavy-handedness with which the Christian perspective is used; ironic I know.  As Catholics, we don't always agree with some of the things we come across in the Apologia science books - for example, we are not hard core "creationists."  It's a tricky subject.  Anyway, I DO like the subject matter in the books, I like the depth to which they can learn it, and I am *not* a slave to a textbook, it works for *me*, so if I want to skip something I don't agree with, I do.) 
Nature Study: we have planned nature walks, nature experiences at home, and nature books, and our nature journals, we are also attending monthly Nature Class with our homeschool group
Earth Science: we are all doing the Mater Amabilis Level 1 Weather Unit together, it's not time intensive and I think they'll enjoy it!
Art: Picture Study from Simply Charlotte Mason - right now it's Botticelli, then I think we'll do Monet
Music: How to Introduce Your Child to Classical Music in 52 Easy Lessons - this will be cake to do together with Spotify and YouTube.  I am SO crazy excited to get started with it on Monday.  We love our classical music around here. ;-)
Etc. : the three bigger girls are in ballet, and if time permits I'd like to continue working on Sewing with St. Anne and pick up some knitting or crochet with Handicrafts Made Simple DVD's (I'm thinking I might give them these DVDs, some supplies, and some free time after I have the baby and see how they do!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pregnancy & Vanity, The Way, and Cereal on the Floor

Oh Labor Day do I love thee?
One last blast before we are in full blown school year mode, but it should be WONDERFUL.
Here's what's on my mind...

So, yay!  I'm pregnant!  My whole family is thrilled, thrilled, thrilled about a new tiny member joining us this coming Spring, but I tell you what, pregnancy is hard on me.  I covet your prayers.
It always seems embarrassing to me to admit how much I just really dislike these 9 months, because I'm not ungrateful for the gift of my children, and I'm not physically sick.  However, I've realized this time around that what I've been struggling with all these years is spiritual attack.  I become very vulnerable while I'm pregnant.  I, admittedly, struggle mightily with vanity, and this is the perfect time to take heed with all the lies in my ear: you're fat, you're ugly, you're worthless, you can't handle all this, you're weak, you are overwhelmed, nobody is going to like you, you're too emotional, and so on.  I fall victim, and I admit, I allow myself to wallow when things aren't going swimmingly; like Wednesday when a 24 hour tension headache bowled me over, or when I'm plain exhausted from the flood of hormones and baby-building, or whatever.
Blessedly, now that I've realized this, I have seen the love and mercy of God in that He has been sending me a river of consolation through the Scriptures, through dear friends, through mentors, and he has given me ears to hear my husband - who tells me all of the truth, contrary to the above mentioned lies.
(All that being said, nobody hold their breath for any "pregnant selfies."  There are exactly 2 photos of me pregnant from the total of 48 months of pregnancy I have endured in my life, neither of them with my permission. Those baby bump pics are lovely for other ladies, but I'll pass.)

Pretty soon, I'd like to do a post about our curriculum choices for this school year.  I know it's not a crowd favorite, but it's nice for me to go back and look.  I've finally got everything together, and just need to wrap up a little bit of lesson planning today.  We start on Tuesday (after Labor Day), even though I had hoped to start 3 weeks ago.  Such is life.  I'm glad to have the freedom to do what's needed.  We're enjoying these last days of summer. (But WOAH, I'm bummed that Pinterest's Autumn hasn't shown up in Houston.  It's still brutally swampy here, with no end in sight.)
the last of our ordered supplies showed up today: a kit from Home Science Tools with all the necessary parts for experiments in our Astronomy curriculum - if I didn't spring for this, there's no way this mama would ever get to the fun stuff.  now all we need is a membership to the NASA museum about 1.5 hours away....wouldn't that be amazing?!
We need a new dog.  You know why?  Because two year olds.
"No mean to, Mama!"
The clean up effort surrounding this child would be so much easier with a furry friend who would follow him around wagging it's tail and gobbling stray cheerios, or entire boxes of cereal when the boy-child takes snack time into his own hands.  Whatev.
(No seriously, this child is so destructive.  He's so lucky he's so cute and I love kissing those cheeks and I think he has the most delightful personality.  Otherwise, it would be hard to overlook the last 24 hours that involved the breaking of one of my favorite bowls, the coloring on leather in the car, and dumping out an entire box of cereal.)
We need another Goldendoodle.  (If you saw my post earlier this summer about the boxer, that did NOT work out.)
"Felicity, what are you doing?"
"I'm mad, so I'm cutting this mail up!"
"Why are you mad?"
"Because, they sent this notice for Bree!  Don't they know he's DEAD?!"
I got to talk to my dad on the phone today, for almost 45 minutes.  It was easily the highlight of my day.

While we chatted, we decided to run a half marathon at the Houston Marathon in January 2016 together.  He's got several scheduled between then and now being the super athlete that he is, but obviously, I'm down for the count on distance running for a few months.  It'll be just the inspiration I need to get back to it after le bebe makes an appearance.  It'll take me a while to build up to that long of a distance.  I think before I was pregnant, 10 miles was probably my max.

Anyway, it was so so good to talk with him.  It'll keep a smile on my face for the rest of the day.  

My husband is the director of a Catholic conference ministry, and we just went last week to their biggest conference of the year in San Antonio.  
the resort where it was held has a very fun lazy river, pool, sandy beach, and water slide
the children loooove going there

lunch time on the balcony of our suite
It was such a treat to see friends from around the state, our parish, and from Houston.  I didn't get to many of the talks, but that was ok by me since we made it for adoration and Mass.  It was lovely to just visit with dear friends and spend time with the children.  We hardly saw Charlie, poor guy had to work while we played. ;-)  
these sweet sisters live in San Antonio and spending time with them was one of the best parts of the conference
visit their website at if you're ever in the market for really lovely soaps for gifts or for yourself

BBQ, late night swimming, volleyball, and birthdays on our last night
what a way to bring our summer to a close
One of my favorite parts of these conferences is that they always bring a huge Catholic bookstore.  All sorts of wonderful treasures can be found.  I always walk away with a super long list of books I want to scour Amazon used books for - don't tell!  The only ones I'm willing to buy for full price are from Scepter, because they're hard to come by and shipping from their website is rough.  I picked up both The Way and The Forge, even though I had hoped for this copy that has all three: The Way, Furrow, and The Forge.  I often give my copy away and go a long time without one, and when I purchase a new book, it's like being reunited with a dear friend.  
(Two of the books I'd like to pick up that I saw at the conference are Beloved and Blessed: Biblical Wisdom for Family Life (I have the other books in this series and loved them, in fact...I think I should re-read them now that I'm in a new phase of family life) and The Little Book Of The Holy Spirit, from Sophia Press.  Their books are so lovely.)
the men playing volleyball on sunday night
Speaking of Scepter Publishers, one of these days I'm going to start collecting the Navarre Bibles.  I can remember seeing them in my dad's extensive library growing up and had no idea what a treasure I had at my fingertips back then.  Someday, when my phase of life allows for this level of study, I'm going to have to take out a small loan to get them all (I kid!), but they are so beautiful.  I loved perusing them at the bookstore!
(Last and not least, check out these free booklets on Scepter - I've known supernumeraries who have the actual copies to loan, but it's nice to have them in digital form.  My favorites are "Sanctifying Daily Work" and "Bright and Cheerful Homes.")

It's nap time for my 2-year-old, which means I need to make put dinner in the crock pot, fold some laundry, finish a bit of school planning, and return some phone calls.  OH!  And schedule myself a hair cut and pedicure for the morning.  It's gonna be a good weekend!

xoxo my friends

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Friday, August 15, 2014

You Move in the Unseen

You can take my dry bones 
breathe life into this skin....

Wonder of wonders....deep in the dark, hidden from the world, resides a new little life.

With each child, our ability to love expands.  This tiny one, a creation of pure love, is a gift from God.  Each of my children is wonder, beauty, eternal.  And now, I'm happy to share we add to the family another precious one.

Baby #6.

Arriving March (-ish....if you know me, it'll probably be April) 2015.

I can never hide
You are here and You know me 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Birthday Week & Some Reminiscing

Colette turned seven years old on Sunday.

We started the day off with donuts (pretty typical for a birthday in our family), followed by Mass at our beautiful parish (she and Serafina both got to go up for their birthday blessing!), and then, we went out for ice cream and bowling.  It was a wonderful day celebrating this treasured member of our family.
opening gifts first thing in the morning

donuts with daddy

ice cream on Market Street, in lieu of a cake

At 7 years old, Colette is exceedingly generous, laughs easily & loudly, loves babies and toddlers like crazy, and is a big fan of cute Beanie Boos.  She is a graceful ballerina with beautiful stage presence and is the family fashionista.  In fact, she was the first of all of my girls capable of fixing her own hair.  She's always accessorized and looks put together!  While I would say she's an introvert, she's also fiercely independent - she reminds me of myself in this regard.  She makes friends easily.  She most enjoys cantaloupe and draws me beautiful pictures.  Colette is very neat and tidy, she likes to keep her belongings "just so," she is the only one out of the girls that is like this, much to her (and my) chagrin.  Her favorite thing to do is to go to Mass, she asks me all the time to go to daily Mass.  It seemed like such a beautiful gift from God that her birthday was on a Sunday this year, especially after her First Holy Communion.

Colette's birth was crazy.  She was so late (in typical my-child-fashion), and we moved to Colorado the day after she was born.  A great grace, she was the sweetest, mostly snuggly baby - beloved by her big sisters!

all the bowling fun... :-)

Birthday week continued yesterday as we celebrated Serafina turning FIVE!  Five seems like a big milestone to me, and it seems like Felicity was just 5, so it's amazing to me that our littlest of girls so getting so old!

Fina got to open her gifts first thing in the morning as well, she was particularly delighted with her new Beanie Boo caterpillar.  I was able to talk her out of birthday donuts, not being able to stomach feeding them to the children twice in week with promises of going to lunch at Chick-fil-a (it's so easy to please my little ones!).
So after opening gifts and a quick (healthy) breakfast, we headed to the movie theater and enjoyed a fun movie followed by lunch and ice cream.
In the afternoon, she played with her new toys and then we headed to Nana's house for dinner and cake with the cousins!
Charlie was out of town for her birthday (we were all sad :-( ), so we'll continue the celebration today with a family trip to the pool and a pizza party!

birthday cake with the cousins at Nana's house!
Our sweet Fina is truly one of the kindest people I have ever met.  As the littlest of all the girls, she is the most capable at her age.  She's had an amazing vocabulary and mind since she was just a tiny thing, quickly picking up new skills with all of the older children around her.  She is a very helpful girl (in fact, as I type, she is unloading the dishwasher), and virtuously obedient.  Serafina is the spitting image of one of my younger sisters, who is crazy gorgeous, so I have a feeling she's going to grow from being a cute little girl with almost no hair (no, she's never had a hair cut!) to a beautiful young woman.  I have great hope that her goodness and virtue will outshine even her beauty.  Fina loves to do puzzles, read books, and is an excellent swimmer.  She loves spaghetti and grapes, oh, and ice cream of course!

Serafina's birth was easily the most exciting out of all of them, as she was born in triage while I yelled at bossy nurses.  All I can remember was pure and utter elation when she was born, my pregnancy with her was so peaceful, and it all seems par for the course with the kind of person that she is.  Just pure joy. I thank God for another year with this precious one.

Happy birthday to my sweet girls!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Violent Hippos Wrack My Dreams (and answer me this)

I was breathless.  Drowning.  The waves were crashing over my head, I was soaked to the bone.  My friend called out to me, trying to get me to climb up the rope and into safety but the threat of the water kept creeping up on me.  In the mean time, there were foes at the ready.  A brother and sister; he had lots of freckles and evil eyes, she had pigtails and the willingness to do what she was told.  They kept trying to knock us sideways, to save themselves, maliciously, and to let us flounder in the great grey-green waves.
As I finally made it aboard our vessel, giant hippos emerged, violent and thrashing, ready to consume me if I didn't remain steady and on the tiny red and white boat.  The freckled boy turned our boat sideways, and I began slipping, slipping, slipping....back into those ominous waves, that overcoming water, my chest tightening and then...

my eyes snapped open.

Oh.  Just another of my water dreams.

I laid in the safety of my own bed this morning, breathing in the new day, breathing out the bad dream.  I've always had bad dreams.  Most of the time they do involve water, but the hippos were new.  Typically if there is an evil villain of a beast, it's a killer whale.  I've never been quite sure of where this fear comes from, especially because I truly enjoy the beach and the pool (don't even talk to me about lakes though...more on that later).  I'm not always the drowning party in my dreams, but someone is typically going under.

I wonder if it has something to do with complete and utter loss of control.  When I feel like my life is out of my own grip, maybe it's akin to drowning.  Maybe there are fears of what is unknown under the dark waters, maybe I feel I'm already bearing so much that I can not take on any more.

Maybe that is why I choked up at today's gospel reading from Matthew, chapter 14:

"He said, "Come."  Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"  Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  After they got into the boat, the wind died down."

"Truly, you are the Son of God."

Again, I need constant reminders that my eyes need to remain fixed on Christ.  When I take my eyes off of Him, everything seems impossible.

On a lighter note, I'm going to join in with Kendra today:

-1- What do you still want to do this summer?
I still want to swim more, workout more, and I'm looking forward to fun at the Hill Country Hyatt in San Antonio for the Fullness of Truth Conference.

I still NEED to finish school planning, clean the school room, take the IEW teacher's course (when am I going to do this?!), buy ballet clothes for my girls, and so forth.

In my dream world, I'd do another triathlon, but that's looking grim.
September 1: we'll be starting school.  I'll be wishing I were doing this instead.
Ah well, such is life.

Other than that, I simply could not ask for more, we've had a FABULOUS summer!

-2-  What's your favorite kind of pie?

Coconut cream pie.

-3- How much sleep do you need each day?  How much do you get?
I need between 7-8 hours, and that's about how much I get right now.  This is a first for my entire adult life, and I don't expect it to last.  It is lovely though.

-4- Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river, or ocean?
I will always and forever choose a pool, for no other reason than I can see through it.  I have some water fears concerning children (see above, ha), so I don't like to take them swimming in natural, non-clear water.  Thinking about it gives me mild anxiety.  I do not kid.

I don't mind the beach as much, mostly because they don't stray very far, and mostly they like to play in the surf/sand.  We had a lovely little beach outing just last week!

-5- Do you know any poems by heart?
I know some, but not as many as I'd like.  I know the ones my younger children memorize, mostly because I work with them on the poems.  That said, I'm always super impressed by the bigger girls' ability to memorize pages worth of poetry.

My favorite poem I have memorized, though, is How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
I know it's cliche.  But I can't help it...

I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith

It still gives me knots in my stomach.  That poem reminds me of the magic of music and falling in love.  I can't even explain it.

-6- Do you use the public library?
I actually contemplated writing about my absolute love for the library recently, but figured nobody else would be interested in listening to me wax poetic about the hours and hours I spent under dim lights among musty-smelling books that towered in the library I grew up in.
Truly, the library is one of my favorite places.  If I had a few hours to myself, I could easily spend them all in the library.
As a girl (an older, junior high-ish, high school girl), my mom would drop me off at the local library with some loose change for the snack machines and to call her to pick me up on the pay phones.  It was my kind of heaven.  I spent hours in that building perusing anything and everything, every topic that caught my fancy.  It was where I first came to love history, where my interest in music took a sharper turn upward, where I first encountered philosophy, where I had access to beautiful art.  I come from a book loving family, so it is no surprise that the library was and continues to be one of my favorite places (I'm talking thousands of books in the house I grew up in, in every room, on every topic.  I feel like I've written a post about this, but I can't find it).
As the mother of young children, and a member of a digital world now, I do in fact appreciate all of the features of ebooks, audio books, and the request system available to us.
But I would take leisurely hours to discover anything I like inside the pages of a book to Google absolutely any day.

Please visit Catholic All  Year to see what everyone else's answers are!

OH!  Also, please go "like" my new page for His Will, My Peace if you're on Facebook!  I'm trying to get rid of my personal profile, so I'm trying this as a way to keep posting the blog to Facebook upon the request of friends.

Secondly, please forgive some of the weird fonts/colors.  I'm working on updating the look of this little blog, but it's something I'm not great at.  It is also something I'm not super interested in learning, it'll get better eventually!