Friday, January 30, 2009

7 quick takes friday


I'm back to trying out this fun meme.  Thanks to Jen at conversion diary for hosting it.  She has a very thought provoking blog that I enjoy following. Especially when she talks about her drastic conversion from Atheism to Catholicism.   This post about her marriage too is absolutely worth a read.


Jelly Telly is becoming a regular fixture in the house.  It's done by Phil Vischer, the guy who started veggie tales, and it never ceases to amuse the kids.  A plus for any of you americans: they show a condensed version of the Drive Thru History (american history series) every Tuesday. This week was on Benjamin Franklin.


Speaking of Jelly Telly, we have also been enjoying their Movie of the Week.  This is a family friendly movie that they show free of charge every sat/sun.  You can watch it on your computer/laptop, or if you have a connection to your tv like we do, you can watch it right in your family room!  This week's movie is Gigi: God's little princess


We are on a pretty tight budget this year, usually running out of money before the next paycheck comes in.  Since we are avoiding the use of credit, we have started looking into other means to supplement our fun money.   Sean wanted to look into airmiles, so I did a bit of calculating for him.  If we bought all of our groceries with an airmiles visa each month (that's $700 every two weeks, or $16,800 a year), we would only have to collect points for a mere 14 years to get enough for one ticket to Rome!!  So that means, we can celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary there because in another 30 years we'll have enough for 2 tickets (of course I suppose that's not taking into account inflation... hmm maybe it will have to be our 50th. I hope they still take airmiles by then).

Setting our sights a little lower, I calculated how much we would need to get a free Ipod Touch: Not bad... only a mere 8.4 years.   So all you people out there who always have airmiles to fly you to these fun vacations you keep taking... How do you do it???


On that note, I've added some booklists from to my sidebar.  I'm trying to keep a list of the books that I find particularly helpful in homeschooling, family life, crafting and faith life.  If you see any you want to buy, you can help support our homeschooling fund by buying your books through the link on the side.   Maybe if enough of you buy books through here I can get to Rome with the kids for a field trip before they graduate?  


I've been inspired from Lori at Camp Creek Blog to gently encourage my kids to get more excited about learning...  Monday and Friday afternoons around here have become designated as 'project time'.  (i need to work on a more creative name, but it works for now).  The kids can choose whatever they want to learn about and I'm going to help facilitate their exploration into new topics.    They were so excited by the prospect and came up with a million things they wanted to learn about.   Z (5 year old) was set on 'sheep' of all things, but decided to copy his big sister, so now they are learning about Butterflies.  


This idea that they can learn about whatever they want inspired them onto further projects this week.  THey are both working on their own chapter books.  I'll have a post on them later in the week because they are so cute.  Z's first book was an autobiography, and the newest one is entitled 'Super Dog and the Return to Earth'.  His inventive spelling is like a secret code you have to decipher while reading. 

E's book is called Imagine Land and is about a little girl with a big imagination.

I love that in homeshooling we can work around some of these creative impulses and let them write for 2 or 3 hours in a row, saving the math for later in the afternoon.  It's amazing to see the concentration and detail that they are capable of when they are excited about what they are doing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I love this magazine!

I love beautiful things, and I love making things with my own hands. It's the little creative child in me that has never grown up... and thanks to the state in life I'm in (stay-at-home-mom) I am able to do a little bit of crafting now and again. 

Mostly I just craft in my head and dream of all the fun things to make, and this magazine is so inspirational for that. I've seen it at Chapters a few times, but mostly I've just heard about it online. On their website they have a section called 'Craft Room' where they have free patterns and beautiful photos to inspire you. Lots of these crafts would be fun projects to do with your kids.

Spring 2009
Spring 2009 Cover
You'll learn how to make these warm and fuzzy bunnies, and grow grass for them!

Dear Subscribers,

The production for the Spring 09 issue is finally complete and at the printer's hands already.
I just wanted to take the time and thank you for subscribing, and give you an update on what's coming your way at the end of February.

The Spring 09 issue will bring you a fun gardening craft to do with your children, growing your own spring grass, making bunnies, knitting up a classic shirt, learning about the latest in the organic fabric world, sewing an organic doll quilt, and a blanket for your own child, felting a sun hand-puppet, knitting a baby sling, learning how to wash wool, weaving with childrlen, making a wooden pencil holder, felting flowers, and much more ...
Another issue to enjoy the organic and natural crafts, and the art of connecting the heart and hands!

Pardis Amirshahi, Editor
Make this Knitted Baby Carrier!
Make this Knitted 
Baby Carrier!




It causes me to want everything to be just so.  Everyone to be just so.  Myself to be just so.

Just so what?  I guess, just so the way I think it should be.  

What makes me the expert?  I'm not entirely sure.  I've just always grown up thinking that I was.  Self-confident?  I guess.  A good 'self-esteem'? On the surface.   I was taught all about that in school, and by my parents.  Not afraid to tackle any new project.  Not afraid to give out advice as though I was the expert- on everything.

Unfortunately, I was never satisfied, because this idea of perfect that saturates everything in my mind is unattainable.  No one person will ever live up to it.  No cashier will be my perfect cashier, no child the perfect child, no husband the perfect man, no doctor, no dentist, no teacher, no driver in the lane beside me...   For some reason, I have always been able judge all of these people, as if I knew all there was involved in being a doctor or a dentist or even anything at all about their own personal lives.  

And myself.... my poor little self that hides inside always trying to live up to these ideas of the perfect wife, mother, homeschooler, catholic.  Only since I have  begun to really listen to the Real Perfect in the world, have I been able to breath a little easier and relax and learn to be in process.

The problem: I always just wanted to BE perfect.  

Now I realize that I have to become perfect.  

And I suppose I have to learn that everyone around me is on that journey too.

Not just my version of perfect either.  A perfect version of perfect that is beyond anything I could come up with.  Yes, it might involve clean floors and organized cupboards, and freezers full of precooked meals... but it also involves love, sacrifice, generosity, kindness and a lot of flexibility and patience.

Subtle, but it makes a world of difference in how I approach my day.  
It matters not if you fall a thousand times, as long as you love the fight and not the fall. It therefore makes no sense to get discouraged, especially when you fight alongside Christ. The effort that a sustained battle entails can be more pleasing to Christ than a cozy victory achieved at no cost (From a letter of Fr. Maciel,July 18, 1975, Founder of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is a gift!! You can open it tomorrow morning at 6am!

I've blogged about this book before by Fr. John Bartunek (The Better Part) and how it has changed the way I pray in such a beautiful way.  I"m so happy to see that there are three entire meditations online for free.  Take a break, listen to God for 15 minutes and pray with me.  You can even get up at 6:15 tomorrow morning and use one for your own prayer time. 

Of course...

Sitting at the supper table with the kids:

The preschooler H is sitting beside me:

Pointing to her shirt, she gushes, "Mommy, I love these princesses!  Which one is your favorite one? This one, or this one or this one?"

"hmmm," Trying to sound interested and enthused about this.... I've been immersed in Disney princesses for years now, it seems... "I like them all!  They are all my favorite sweetie!!"

"Me too!!" she is happy!

"Oh great! We are the same!!"

" NOOOOO Mom! We are NOT the same. You are wearing a green shirt, and I am not wearing a green shirt. I am wearing a princess shirt, " she is looking at me like I am so so stupid.  

Sometimes when she's talking to me, it feels like an adult looking down on me.  What a monkey!

This three and three-quarter year old is going on thrity-two and three-quarters.  I have got to get her trained up on how to cook and do laundry, because I can tell that what she puts her mind to, she will finish.  Now about  convincing her that it's her idea to do it....  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Butterfly in pastels

We started having regular 'project' time on monday and friday afternoons where the kids can choose to learn about whatever they want.  Currently it's butterflies.  E (age 8) decided to draw a picture of a butterfly with pastels. She was loosely basing it on a photograph in a magazine.

day two of my life post-silence

Oh blessed silence... where did you go?  

Having returned from a week of silent retreat, I have been plunged into the crazy noisy everyday life that God has given me.  Oh my.  There is so much noise in the world.  Most of it around my house is truly beautiful though (depending on your perspective, I guess).  

Right now it's rather quiet.  The twins are both sleeping, the preschooler is sucking her thumb reading a book on the rosary (looking at the pretty pictures), the kindergartner is playing with an old microscope we inherited from a neighbor, and the oldest one is writing her own chapter book. She's been writing all day since about 10:00am and is onto chapter 4 now.  

Earlier in the day, we had the noise of evil laughter as the twins chased each other through the house, the washing machine whirling our clothes through sudsy water, the dishwasher doing my kitchen chores for me, the phone ringing and kids stampeding down the hall to see who it might be, latin prayers chanted, math facts recited, silly songs sung with great gusto, and the timer on the stove calling us to the table for lunch.

I am craving some quiet, but I am so happy to be amidst all this chaos.  It's so much easier, now that I realized I don't have to strive for this perfection that I had envisioned.  Now I realize that I only need to strive for God's perfection... and all that involves is loving.  In each moment that I live, I need to love those around me. Giving myself as a gift, asking God for help, and not always thinking about the next moment or the next project.  

Yesterday I didn't manage to get to my morning prayer time until about 9pm at night. hmmm... I set the alarm for 6:15 and got up as I said I would.  I had a lovely shower, got dressed and headed down the stairs to pray, but one of the twins decided to join me, and then 3 other kids crept down the stairs to investigate.  It's hard to really pray when there are 4 people sitting on you and another one crying in his bed upstairs.    I did manage to pray my rosary in the afternoon and that was a lovely break.  

This morning, I decided that I would pray first and then get dressed.  I crept downstairs, and savoured 30 minutes of quiet... but I should have looked at the clock because by the time I was done praying, everyone was waking up and I didn't have time to get dressed myself.  In fact it's 3:30 and I'm still sitting in my jammies!! I did get my rosary in though, and I managed to bake some cookies, get all the schoolwork done and type this blog post.  I'm sure I'll get it all figured out one of these days. 

This afternoon we are going to have tea time at 4pm, so if I want to be presentable for this anticipated affair, I suppose I need to go get dressed.  

Enjoy your noisy houses and savour your quiet pauses throughout the day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

That's just so.. her

Oh, what a lovely picture sweetie! What is it?

"Mooommm. It's a skin-colored square!"

Oh right. I knew that... how silly of me.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Silence and Simplicity

What would God say to you if you gave him 6 days of silence to speak to you?

Some of you will be envious of me, and others of you will think I'm crazy (it's the story of my life, so don't worry, I'm used to it!)... but I just came home from a very special 6-day silent retreat following the Spiritual Exercises as laid out by St. Ignatius, preached by a very intelligent and holy priest.  

Six and a half  full days of silence, with two days of travelling made for eight days of retreat away from the cares and responsibilities of being a very busy wife and homeschooling mother of five small children. phew! I really needed it!!

God was gracious enough to move mountains for me to be able to attend this retreat:  the great financial generosity of a friend (thank you!!!!) and the unexpected two week holiday that my husband so selflessly agreed to use to let me go.  He took care of homeschooling, housework, cooking, carpooling and bedtimes all week.  For these gifts I am eternally grateful. 

Not only did I have eight days of meals made for me, dishes washed, freedom to read what I wanted and think without being interrupted... I also had overflowing amounts of time to be silent.  To have the room and time in my mind and soul to let go of the daily concerns that occupy me and tune into what is truly important.

I gained a painful but good amount of self-knowledge on this retreat.  To have that many days in a row of complete silence (except for a few talks given by the priest each day), and no work that needs to be done, you have a lot of time to think and pray.  A lot of what I was thinking about was who I am, who I have been given to take care of, and how I am doing at it.  

I realized, with great surprise, that I have been so prideful in my life.  I have always wanted to be and worked towards being the smartest, the most knowledgeable and the best at everything I do.  I have such a drive to be perfect.  Not to compete with others, and not to judge others...  I love other people, and I have always taken great joy in helping others...  Just this drive to compete with the expectations that I have for myself.  I am never afraid to start a new project... I can take on homebirth, homeschooling, gardening, gluten free cooking, writing, music, drama, chemistry, math, ancient history, latin, running an entire Vacation Bible School with only a few weeks to prepare... you name it!

This perfectionism is a curse though, and it causes me to have a hard time trusting other people. I want to be in control of everything all the time because I want to make sure that everything in done just perfect.  I can often come across as very judgemental and stubborn.  I guess I am sometimes LOL.

It turns out that it's ok not to be in control of everything, for everyone, all the time, and everything doesn't have to be perfect all the time.  In fact, my idea of perfect might not even be God's idea of perfect (surprise!), and it's probably not my husband's, or my children's idea of perfect either... so I have to relax a bit now and then so I don't drive all of them crazy when they try to live with me.  

I also learned, that all this time being a 'Christian', I had missed the most important part of it.  That God loves me for who I am, for who he created me to be, and that he wants to talk with me, to love me and to help me one day at a time as I go through this life trying to be perfect.  

All this time, I was just trying to be a good Christian.. because I love trying to be perfect, living all the rules and knowing all the knowledge.  It was like learning math, or another language... or how to play a really cool game.  But it turns out, that God is so much more than just a bible story or a game book.  He is the author, the creator, as well as the one playing with me.  Not my opponent, but on my team, whispering the answers in my ear.  I have finally learned how to hear his sweet voice. How quietly he hides, waiting for me to seek him out.  My heart is full of wonder and joy!

One of the most life giving things that I realized, and that I will keep in my heart like a precious treasure is that I don't need to go away into solitude to find God!    He is always there, waiting for me to turn my gaze to him, and each morning that I take a small part of my day to greet him and listen to him, I grow closer to his love.  

If I consistently spent as little as 10 minutes each morning for even 2 weeks in a row, truly coming to Him as a child, knowing he has something to say to me, wanting to learn from him how to love, giving more of myself bit by bit and basking in his genuine love for me... I would come closer to him than if I spent another entire 6 days in silence with him.  

How is that possible? Especially in my crazy, noisy, busy days with five small children and homeschooling to boot?

It is in our very lives that he wants us to find him.  Our daily routine, our families, our work, our friends.  For me, it is in learning to love each of my children even when they are all crying for my attention at the same time and supper is boiling over again on the stove.  It is in learning that each one of them is a gift to me from God and a little candle that I am to care for and shield from the harsh winds and freezing cold.  It is seeing in them, a reflection of myself, and learning how God takes care of me.

When Jesus came to the earth, he summarized all of his teaching into two 'new' commandments that encompasses all of the bible:  

Love your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, and
Love your neighbor as yourself.

You can't separate them. They come together.  As a mother, praying on retreat is a wonderful break and chance for renewal, but it is only half of the picture, and only half of how I can find God.  I need both!

Where do I find God in the chaos of noise and mess and fatigue?  Sometimes it's very hard, especially when I get weighed down in my heart and fatigue clouds my vision.

He is there though!  In the quiet solitude of my soul as I go about my day.  In the few moments I can find to make time to listen to him, one day at a time, and most especially in that time I take to enter into a conversation with Him one morning prayer at a time.  

So, I am home.  I am where God wants me to be, and I am happy.  I am setting my alarm for 6:15am each morning to save the quietest, most peaceful part of the day for Him, and I am listening and trying to follow.  

I used to ask myself what God would say to me if I had a whole week of silence... feeling sorry for myself that I couldn't ever get that much time to myself.  "Why didn't I become a nun?," I would ask on those especially noisy days. When will I ever be able to find God in this chaos?

Now I know to ask myself a different question... 

What will God say to you  if you only had 15 minutes of silence a day to listen to him?

A beautiful resource for morning prayers can be found in the book "The Better Part" by Fr. John Bartunek LC. It has reflections on the gospel readings for each day, and aids to starting a deep conversation with Christ.  I have grown more in my prayer life since using this book, than I have in my whole life.  His opening chapters on the basics of prayer are so so helpful and inspiring:
"Prayer is Christ speaking to you in your heart, revealing himself to you in accordance with what he knows you need to discover, to know, to see.  At the same time, prayer is your attentive listening to that revelation, your response to what he reveals, and the trusting, reciprocal revelation of your heart -- your needs, your hopes, your desires -- to him."  - Fr. John Bartunkek, LC, "The Better Part: A Christ-centered resource for personal prayer".

He teaches that before we start any sort of prayer, we need to take a moment to recollect ourselves and remind ourselves of the presence of God. Traditional catholic teaching calls this making an act of faith, hope and charity.  What it really is, is reminding ourselves that God has called us to himself.. that he wants to talk with us, and that he has something to say to us. It reminds us to listen more than we talk.   To remember that we need God. We are not just saying rote prayers and being a 'good' Christian.  .  I used to do this quite often.  He suggests some opening prayers that you can use to help you in your own prayer life.  I think they are quite beautiful, and I encourage you to find this book and read it!  

Pretend with me...

Pretend with me for a minute that you are a little child again... go on, just humor me.  

Remember back to the time when you were'nt steeped in the cares of the world: your job, your bills, your investments, your things.  

Pretend you are a small child looking up into the night sky with great wonder at the vastness before you, or at a rainbow spanning the horizon- one of those double rainbows that seem to go on forever - each color fading into the next.  Who made these wonders?  
Who made you?    

Before we grew up and were jaded by the fast-paced careless world... before we were let down by others and hurt and disappointed in big things and small did you ever wonder about God?

Who was he to you?  Who did you hope he was.. know he was?    It was so easy to believe, to wonder, to dream when we were little, wasn't it?  I see it in my own children.  I envy it, and at the same time want to cherish that innocence and protect it.  It's part of what draws us to children, I think. That openness they posses about life... God.. people.  They aren't afraid to hope.

Where is that little child in us? Searching for someone to trust, someone who can make us safe.  That feeling of security even when things are rocky around us... like when a loved one is very sick and close to death, or there is a bad storm and you are driving in it, or when your smoke alarms start screaming in the night and smoke is pouring out of your basement.  Our hearts cry out for someone to save us. To take care of us.  

 I know we all grow up eventually and we gradually become the responsible ones whom little people look to for their own support, but most of us never lose that little child inside who wants to be taken care of.  Don't you long for someone to love you as though you were a little child and simply desire to care for you, smile at your quirkiness and love you just as you are? Someone who will, out of great love for you, call you to grow... to become the best you can be?

Look for a moment beyond the modern ideas of God, the rules, the 'religion', the 'morality'.  Look beyond the hypocritical Christians you may have met and the cliche bible verses that don't mean anything to you.   Look beyond even the very words 'God', 'Jesus', 'Church'. 

Look only within your own heart, deep down.  Even very far far back if you have been hurt many times in your past. Somewhere, deep inside, does your heart not burn within you, desiring a love to watch over you? Don't we all want to be taken care of, be comforted and know that everything will be OK.   That we can hope?

You might think me crazy, but I have found that hope.. because I have found Him - or rather he has found me. 

That God of my childhood -- the one whom I knew existed even before I was taught about him.  The one whom my own children believe in with a stronger faith than I.  What joy my heart has in believing that there is someone out there watching over me and calling me to be kinder, more patient, more loving.  What peace I have in my life, even through very difficult times.

Crazy, I know, especially to this modern world, but I choose to let the little child in me win out over the sceptical, intellectual grown-up.  From what I've seen, little children, so trusting and innocent, are far more happy and peaceful than grown-ups who trust so few with so little.  And I am so happy, and so free.  I know that someone is taking care of me, and that is what this little child (who happens to have 5 of her own) really deeply longs for.  

 Let go for a moment of the disappointments and mixed up expectations about life that have put up walls between you and your heart's true hopes.  We don't allow ourselves to hope anymore because we fear we will be let down... or we fear God would want us to change too many things and become this crazy religious person that we don't even recognize.    When was the last time he forced anyone to do anything?  He is a gentle wind, and a quiet whisper, the warmth in our heart.  All he wants is for us to begin to hope.  

Could you dare to be that little child again? Lift your face and look into the sky.  Open the door to your heart a tiny crack and peek out.  

Call me crazy, but I did.  And having found it, I will never give it up.

Will you dare to hope? 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not what I expected to see...

The office in our house, where the computer is tucked away, sits at the front of the house right beside the front door.  If the blinds are open, I can look out the window right beside me to a clear view of the front porch. I often enjoy looking at the birds hopping from branch to branch in our trees scolding me for not filling up our bird feeder.  Other times, I catch a glimpse of the mail man dropping treasures into my mailbox.  

Today, as I was reading gluten-free recipes and  thinking about all the cooking and baking I could do (it's always more fun to think about cooking mouth-watering meals than actually doing it), I was startled when I looked out the window and saw my little two year old JP walking down the front steps wearing his big sisters pink winter boots, holding a tennis ball in one hand and dragging a very large bigger-than-himself hockey stick behind him.  He had a very determined look on his face, and I jumped out of my chair to investigate where he was going and how he gained access to the outdoors without me.

Earlier in the day he had been playing ball hockey on the driveway with his dad and big brother, and I guess he enjoyed it so much he wanted to go play again without them.  He must have very purposefully found his brother's stick, a ball, and then found the nearest pair of winter boots before sorting out a way to get to the driveway.  

He had pulled a chair up to do the door, opened it, moved the chair away and ventured outside.

What will they think of next?  If his brother had been helping him, who knows what they could have gotten into.

Now they are safely in the backyard playing 'hockey' together.  Too bad I can't find my camera, because they are so cute :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Enjoying church?

Do I enjoy going to church each week?  Do I love LOVE love taking five small children to mass with me?  Is it fulfilling? Do I leave each sunday thinking how happy I was to have sat there trying to listen and participate while keeping the monkeys from escaping the pew.......? Sometimes that would be a tough question to answer truthfully.  

I would love to say that I am one of those VERY holy people who never gets distracted at church, always feels those blissful emotions while singing the songs and worshiping the God who made me...  I would love to say that I never wished for that "Get out of mass free card" that I could present on the weeks I just didn't feel like going, and that I felt enlightened and overjoyed each time I left the building.  

Sadly, I am not perfect, and my family is not perfect and life isn't perfect, afterall.

Does this change the fact that I would ever give up my faith? Never. Does this change the fact that I love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strenght? Not a bit.  Does this mean that Jesus isn't truly present in the Eucharist every mass? No!!  

Thank you to  Faith and Family Live for pointing us towards Fr. John Bartunek's new blog Catholic Spiritual Direction where he discusses that very question.  Someone recently asked him:
 "Father John, what is the difference between those who find mass something to be endured and those who find it deeply nourishing?"
He responded with a very thought provoking answer that cuts to the heart about what church really is about, and calms many of my concerns and questions over how the mass ought to be done, and how I should respond when I become frustrated with all those modern variations in liturgy.    

Here's part of his response, but do go and read the whole thing. It's worth the time.
Some days when we pray, we spend the whole time fighting distractions or sleepiness, and we don’t feel God’s presence at all.  Yet, that prayer, if it was sincere and if we were struggling to seek God’s face and renew our love for him, was just as valid, just as fruitful, and just as pleasing to God as the one during which our emotions were high.  In fact, the more difficult prayer may have been even more pleasing to God, because love in a fallen world is always more evident in sacrifice than in enjoyment.

Btw, Fr. John is the (very handsome, LOL)  priest who worked closely with Mel Gibson on the set of The Passion, and wrote the very beautiful book "Inside the Passion".    

He has also written a book that I use extensively in my own personal prayer called The Better Part that is a daily guide to Christian prayer, using the Gospels.  I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone who wants to grow in prayer from absolute beginners to people who have been praying for years.  Both protestant and Catholics alike will love this book.  It has taught me in so many ways how much Christ loves me, and how much he wants me to grow in love for others.

Friday, January 09, 2009

7 quick takes friday



We've had such a wonderfully restful and peace-giving holiday... I had such a lovely time with my family that I hardly gave even one thought to my neglected blog.  It was fun to spend time with real people, instead of just writing about them on my blog LOL.


Christmas eve was spent at mass (oh please can we go to midnight mass next year?? I really really want to try it one of these years).  Christmas morning was very fun with the kids this year.  Our little snapdragon (the three year old) was the most excited.  She has really blossomed over the past year into this delight-filled curious and lovable little girl.  She doesn't get into nearly as much trouble as she used to and is giddy with joy when anyone gives her a gift.  She was a treat to watch.  She also got all the coolest toys that were envied by everyone: a whoopee cushion, a beautiful singing barbie, princesses to dress up and many other fun things.  All five kids have taken to playing with her toys... and she is so happy to share with them.

Christmas morning was spent with sean's parents and brother for brunch, and the afternoon and evening were spent with my crazy side of the family.  Come bedtime, we were ready for sleep!


A gluten-free Christmas was much easier than I expected.  In fact, I hardly notice that we have a different diet anymore.  It's the same lesson in life I have been forced to learn over and over since the twins were born:  

Change your expectations about what 'perfect' is.... live each moment one at a time, and do not worry beyond that moment.


I've been reading a book by Matthew Kelly this past month for a book club that I joined and I'm finding so many truths in this book.  The book is called The Rhythm of Life.... and it has brought to my mind many ideas about how to find even more joy and peace in my life.  That sounds really cheesy, I know... but ... well I think it might be true. 

One of the things he speaks about is how our life is the culmination of all of our choices.  We chose to be exactly where we are by all the little choices we made along the way... and we shouldn't allow ourselves to become 'victims' and feel sorry for our self if we aren't happy with where we are. 

The key, is that to say YES to one thing, necessarily means that we say NO to others.... for me, this made me think of sleep.  I know that I need 8 hours of sleep to be a happy, well-functioning person full of energy and joy.  To say YES to sleep, means I need to say NO to staying up late.  

I can't stay up late and then feel sorry for myself the next day when life is dragging and I don't want to do any of the things I'm supposed to.  I chose it.  hmmm... lots to think on here.


On that note, I have also decided to say YES to homeschooling and being an AWESOME teacher and mother... which means I have to say NO to the computer and NO to lots of blog reading and gathering of very good and interesting ideas.  I simply can't do both in the ammounts that I would like.


Homeschooling has been going GREAT this last week. We took most of December off to focus on advent and getting ready in our hearts and our house for Christmas, and now we are back in the swing of things with an updated schedule, seating arrangement and fresh attitudes.  There is nothing like homeschooling through the dull grey winter days to teach you perseverance.


Here's your token Christmas photo:
From Christmas 2008
From Christmas 2008
From christmas 2008
See Jen at Conversion Diary for more!