Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Outdoors...rain, rain, rain. April showers...we have just a few more days of April showers and then it's officially a miserable spring. But, actually it was sunny almost all last week so I can't complain, and I'm really not. You know me, I'm a rainy day girl.

I am thinking about...what I said in my last post about pulling back from blogging. Actually, pulling back from sharing so much, actually online and in real life with people I just don't really know. 

I think that I need to explain myself a little bit more. 

When I started homeschooling, in this not-terribly-Catholic-city of Columbus, Ohio, I felt very isolated. There is no one in my neighborhood who I can relate to, none Catholic, none with children home during the day. There was a Catholic homeschool support group when we started, and they were in the midst of a big split, and in all honesty, they were very unkind to each other, these Catholic homeschooling women, and I was very turned off from  both groups (the old group and the new one forming from the offshoot). I decided not to join either group and ever since I have been alone, really. I had a very close friend who really got me into homeschooling, by sharing her curriculum choices and showing me that it was not a weird life, but actually very holy. And for a few years we did a lot of things together with the kids, and just the two of us, and it was not so isolated at all. But then, she put her children back in school, and now it's just Faith and I at home and I feel very isolated. 

Faith has a lot of friends. She has neighborhood friends now (after school) and she meets girls in dance two days a week, but the dance moms, at least the ones who stick around during the lessons, are very dance involved, and I am not -- I don't think this is going to be a lifestyle for Faith. 

So, I feel very alone a lot. Which brings me to why I really grabbed on to blogging. All those friends I would have in this not-so-Catholic-city are all over the country. And they are online. They are just like me, but because they are all over the country, I only know them from a web page. Yes, that's weird. But, is it so weird today? I don't know. I am old mama and I guess it's sort of true about old dogs. I have a hard time, often, accepting these friends as real friends, even though I think they are more real than real friends in many ways (like Jennie said in the comments of my last post). Online friends tell me what's going on frequently, whereas the real friends I have are busy with their busy lives and we only catch up occasionally and then it certainly isn't what's going on daily.

But there is the whole "online" thing I worry about. So, you might notice that I am not sharing quite the details I have been sharing. But, I'll try. I read a passage in Shirt of Flame last night (at the bottom of this post) and I felt like I knew exactly what the author was saying. And I think that I am looking for too much affirmation from the online community, affirmation I should be looking for from God. The problem is we don't always feel that affirmation from God and instead we feel alone. But, I suppose that is part of this world.

I am wearing...a denim skirt, a black v-neck top and a cardigan sweater, and blue suede loafers. 

I am reading...I am still reading Shirt of Flame, but listening to Elizabeth Berg's Dream When You're Feeling Blue, a great story about WWII America, specifically through the eyes of an Irish Catholic family in Chicago, and read by the author.

 Coincidentally I also started watching a show through Netflix called Bomb Girls, about women working in munitions factories during WWII. It's a good program, a little racy for the day (though it was produced recently), but nothing compared to most television. It is actually set in Canada.

I am creating...a Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan, but I leaned on my acrylic KnitPicks needle (which they don't sell any more. wonder why? urg) and it snapped, so now I am waiting for a new needle. I am switching from the KnitPicks' needles to Knitter's Pride -- the needles feel stronger.

In the meantime I have knit a washcloth and a half for the kitchen. It's good practical knitting and I love it.

I am waiting on parts for several rosaries, but I'm not working on any just now. I am starting a consecration bracelet for my mother-in-law who lost hers somewhere in Florida. Anyone in Florida find one?

At the school table...we had spring break last week and yesterday morning Faith woke feeling miserable. She either has a bad cold or the worst allergies I have ever seen. She is only allergic to one thing -- maple trees -- and they happen to be in full bloom, so I can't rule out allergies. She sneezed a lot, even in the middle of the night, but she doesn't have itchy eyes so I really think it's a cold. Either way, she is still sleeping and I doubt we'll have a productive day.

On the table...I cooked all weekend, so last night I pulled some chili from the freezer. Tonight, however, I think we'll have Guiness Beef Stew (made with something other than Guiness). I've been investigating some budget cooking, but I am having a really hard time finding recipes my family will eat. It's not budget cooking if it all goes in the trash. Any suggestions? 

I am going to...do laundry and iron and probably not teach school today.

A few of my favorite things...
...rainy days...soft, steady rain
...cream of wheat for breakfast
...knitting washcloths
...Every day in May for Mary (coming soon!)

Prayers sent heavenward for...
...my husband and children
...all those who are sick and alone
...my youngest son, for whatever God's plan is for him and for Him to know what his part is
...our priests and religious, especially our parish priests, and Fr. Howe
...all the babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion this week, for a change of heart

Thought for the day...

[The woman] will need great courage if she is to recognize and confront the half-conscious plotting and scheming of the animus in order to get her own way or to prove herself in the right. Thus she enters on the quest for her true identity as an individual woman. The way will bring her into darkness and loneliness, through fire and water, but at the last she will begin to discover consciously that unpossessive love between persons brings renewal of faith in life itself and finally the agape of wholeness.

The "agape of wholeness" never means indifferent or cold; it simply means walking our own paths while leaving our loved ones to theirs. Agape means that we refrain from projecting our unworked-through issues upon the folks around us. Agape means loving people for the simple fact that they exist. In fact, fully living his own life, and giving with no expectation of return, was the way that Christ conducted all his relationships.


  1. I'm the same way about rainy days. I love them. My husband and I are the same...we enjoy all kinds of weather, and a sunny day is great, but we enjoy cloudy and rainy days. I think some of it is that we are light sensitive....

    I haven't read that book, but I know God gives that gnawing alone feeling that can only be remedied through him. And it's a gift that you are in tune with that still small voice.

    I am doing some discerning about some things and part of it is deciding is the social media a necessary evil to expand in different areas?

    1. Jenn, I am light sensitive, too, so I imagine comfort plays a great part in our love for rainy, grey days!

      Ya know, whenever I sit back and evaluate my online time, I come back to the "necessary evil" you mentioned. And I mean that in the way that if we sat back because establishing online relationships was uncomfortable or caused anxiety, we would allow "ol' hairy legs" to move in and take our space. I just can't, in good conscience, take some glimmer of good, however minuscule, away.

  2. I read your last post but didn't have time comment. But I Get It. Honestly. In some ways, I can totally relate. Being a homeschool mom can be (correction is most days) a lonely journey. There are those days where I down right thirst for adult interaction (not at 5pm when my hubs walks in and it happens to turn into my bewitching hour due to the long sometimes lonely days with my kids.) at any rate, I get it. This was a lovely post and I'm glad you shared. It puts others' feelings into words that they may have a hard time doing so. Enjoy your day and I hope Faith feels better very soon!

    1. Thank you, Patty. I put you on my list of wish-to-be my neighbor. Iced tea on the porch or coffee in the kitchen would be so fun.

  3. I can relate to your explanation. I think a lot of us can. The loneliness. I find women are so busy that most don't have time to invest. And yet we women need some type of friendship with one another ... It is really hard. I think this online community serves a great purpose, but it is limited because it's not face to face (for most of us). I like what Jennifer said about the loneliness drawing us to God ... It's been raining here since the weekend. Sometimes pouring. I hope Faith feels better soon! Can't wait for "Every Day in May for Mary!"

    1. I agree, Sarah. I wish we lived in the age when we had chats over the clothesline! Now we never even see our neighbors, sometimes for a week or longer. :-(

  4. I don't know that loneliness is necessarily some kind of a gift. God made us as social beings. Even cloistered religious live in community! Only a very few feel called to a solitary life of prayer. I don't think looking for friendship online is seeking affirmation so much as it is seeking companionship. Some people are looking for that affirmation, but I never get the sense that's what you're about. It always feels more like kitchen table chat, just sharing our triumphs and sorrows and our common hopes and longings as women. Don't be afraid of these relationships. THAT would be to let "ol' hairy legs" win. .Speaking of which, I haven't shaved my legs in weeks. ;-)

    1. I don't think it's loneliness that God wants, but the ability to live without the need for affirmation that we are loved. We need to love each other without burdening another for "feedback." Know what I mean? I do love the kitchen table chat that comes from blogging, but when you're at the kitchen table, your friend never just gets up and leaves without saying goodbye and that is a form of affirmation.

      PS I think when you have a newborn you get a pass on shaving.

  5. The Catholic hs mom group in your community really may need your gifts, talents, and insights. I know monks in community will often share they do not particularly like each monk brother, but they are called into community with them. I know this may be difficult, but it is helpful for showing the family how the Body of Christ can function. Some of those irritating habits of others (even mine) have been eventually transformed by God's grace and love. Start small and be consistent with one activity with them. Maybe it is meeting at a park once a month to say the rosary together.

    1. I agree that we each play a part, but as an introvert it would take some mighty work to get me into a homeschool group at my age and place in my life. But thank you for planting the seed.

  6. I also understand what you're saying. I sometimes question if I am sharing too much. I have laid my heart out there online to people I don't know, but as far as I can tell it has been a blessing to me and I hope to other people. I do wonder sometimes about keeping my struggles between me and Jesus, but aren't we supposed to pray for one another?
    See, I am all over the place with this! I do see both sides. Praying Faith feels better soon?

    1. Kirsten, remarkably I have been blessed by so many positive exchanges on my blog and on others. That is, indeed, something to remember.

  7. the only reason to pull back from sharing on line, is if it has replaced the desire to go out and make in the flesh connections. Because truly, nothing compares to that.

    But I would never suggest NOT sharing your faith on line. That would be just what Satan wants. The on line world needs your voice.

    1. Thank you, Laura. Sharing my faith journey, and evangelizing is truly the one thing keeping me in this space. It does not replace real relationships, but those are few and far between in this busy life mothers have today. No one has time to stop and chat like the old days when we (stay-at-home mothers) had coffee on the back stoop or chatted over the clothesline. I am old enough to remember my mother in her apron chatting over the fence with the backyard neighbor, or have an iced tea on the patio. I long for THAT!

  8. Hi Barbara...just one more idea (forgive me).
    I am the oldest mother of my hs group. I have found it satisfying to invite a couple "newbies" over and share with them. My daughter gets a chance to practice babysitting skills for a couple hours under a watchful eye. You have so much to share...I would have jumped at the chance for an experienced mom to send out an invitation to learn to knit and drink coffee when I was younger. (Titus 2 talks about mentoring)

  9. The loneliness . . . oh boy, has that almost swallowed me whole this past winter. I can't even explain it, but I both crave and loathe the computer at different parts of the day. I know you get it, though. Can I please move into your imaginary neighborhood of online friends? Please? I'll bring all the screaming kids. :)

    1. Oh, Aimee. Isn't that so true? Even amongst all those little people who love you and need you, you are alone. I often wonder if Mother Mary was alone, but I doubt she was. She lived in community, in a world that was not so diverse as ours. At least her world was not. Why is it that we have left each other? Where are my sisters in Christ? Or are we so busy trying to achieve some worthless goal? I wish I knew. I wish you were right next door, or at the farthest one street over, and I'd always have clean sippy cups in my cabinet and cookies in the jar. :-)

  10. I just returned this book(Shirt of Flame) to the library without reading it. Thank you for posting the quote. It seems so appropriate to me right now, especially w/our older children! I'm rechecking this book today.
    Btw, enjoy your blog, so nice to read about someone who has young adults and younger children. It can be a difficult dynamic for us mamas!

    1. Dianna,
      Admittedly, it took a while to get "into" the book but I love reading about the life of St. Therese and the author definitely has some interesting twists on St. Therese's Way in our lives today. That quote was the first that really knocked me on my behind, so to speak. ;-)

      It really is hard to switch gears so quickly the way we need to do when we have young adult children and children who we are trying so hard to protect from the world. I feel like I rarely take a deep breath.

  11. These past 2 days have been a blur...but I got your rosary, maybe yesterday...Thank you so much (I AM paying for it) and will plan a giveaway soon! (it's beautiful)

    I think homeschooling can be very lonesome. I like all the deep thinking you've done, it just shows we should never be content. Our hearts are always restless...so the saying goes.

    Love you so much Barbara, can't imagine my online community without you in it.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!