Sunday, March 19, 2017

We ended up with about a foot of snow from the storm on Tuesday. As far as winter storms go, it really wasn't so bad. The rest of the week was fairly cold and sunny with beautiful skies. Although the landscape is white and wintery, about half the snow has already melted.

My Christmas cactus has been providing me with constant blooms and cheer since the end of October. I do believe this is the last blossom--it almost made it to Easter!

On the day of the storm, daughter no.1's work was cancelled, so she got to stay home and bake gingerbread cats and bears from this recipe--oh, so yummy!

My 85 year old writing desk. This year I am using an A4 size planner for my daily diary. I've written in it faithfully since the day after Christmas. Each morning I write down my thoughts about the day before. Here is my entry for yesterday, March 18th:
A beautiful day weather wise-45° + bright sunshine. There is still a ton of snow, but its slowly shrinking, and I can see a tiny patch of grass on the Lunds' hill. I did the bills this morning, and then the girls, L and I went to the movies! We had free tickets to a private showing of the new Beauty & the Beast, complete with a breakfast buffet, courtesy of one of our doctors.. The movie was entertaining. L rated it 6 out of 10. However, if I was a little girl, it would have frightened me; the imagery was grotesque-- but not the Beast; he was beautiful. Liz sent me a lovely card. She is worried that I'm sad. Am I? I don't know. Just out-of-sorts I guess. We watched Poldark last night + Francis died. In the past few months I have felt surrounded by death. Perhaps it is always here, but I'm just now more aware of it.
The moon this month has been particularly lovely, large and luminous. Now it is waning, but I still step out into the cold to look for it every night.

The gentle lilac light of the eastern sky at sunset sometimes holds my attention longer than the dazzling brightness in the west.

Daughter no. 2 made delicious, fluffy bread on Friday. Warm out of the oven with a bit of butter, it tasted better than cake.

No matter how much I dislike March, its skies are gorgeous.

Last night I had to rip back 12 rows on my nap blanket because I was one stitch off in the pattern. One stitch weirdly skewed the whole thing. So. Frustrating. But, I am no less determined to finish the project despite the constant set-backs. In fact, I really wish I would have used different colors for it. I have in my mind a solid gray background with color shifting leaves in the "lake front" colorway (Knitpicks' Chroma yarn) so, a second afghan may be in my future. : )

I read a thought-provoking essay this week by Phyllis Theroux on the topic of 'home'. She included a quote by Dag Hammarskjold which caught my attention:  
"To have humility is to experience reality, not in relation to ourselves but in its sacred independence."  
This is an idea I have contemplated often over the years, especially in becoming Catholic, which was a bewildering decision to many of my friends, but thankfully, not to my family since they are used to me doing things they don't understand: abandoning my 'career', having 'too many kids', practicing extended breastfeeding, bed-sharing, home schooling, having too many animals, living in a too-little house, etc., etc. My friends, however,--several of whom I lost over this decision--could not come to terms with why I would enter into a religious tradition historically steeped in scandal and which included some things I did not fully comprehend or embrace. The priest who gave me my first sacraments was confident that I understood and believed all I needed to in order to enter into full communion with the church. "The rest will come in time", is what he said. 

I stopped protesting the Catholic Church when I began to 'experience reality in its sacred independence'--when I began to acknowledge that if I really wanted to know a person or thing I had to relinquish my attitudes and beliefs and see it as it really is. It didn't happen overnight. It took about three years of inquiry, study, prayer, and living before I took formal steps to enter the Church. I can admit that fourteen years later there are still things about the Faith I don't understand or fully embrace (just as there are things about my husband I don't understand or embrace . . . but he is thee, and I am me, and together we are We). But I can also admit that it was only when I began to see God as having a will and life outside of my will and life--as sacred and independent--that I understood reverence, and my heart was stirred to the longing necessary for be-longing. 

Ms. Theroux writes about 'home' as a place in time. She identifies 'home' as the 'center of our universe', and the places where we live as "circles within circles" in time. She goes back to the place of her childhood where she "knows and is known by people whose memories are long enough to tell you how much around the eyes you look like like your grandmother" and who provide "a deeper context than you can give yourself." She writes about a beach that is the place of many important memories in her life. But, midway through her visit back 'home' she feels the pull of the place that is currently the center of her universe and longs to return to it. "I have sometimes viewed my house as a kind of exterior brain cavity, my thoughts contained within the folds of the curtains, leaves of the books, and dents in the sofa cushions." 

At the end of her essay Ms. Theroux asks, "But tell me this: Is the circumference where you grew up or where you're growing now?" This is an interesting question to me because it supposes a forward trajectory of growth in the human person. I don't want to make anyone's head hurt, but having experienced significant set-backs in the last two years, I just don't know if human development works that way at all. In every age I see myself trying to make sense of what I hear and see and feel while attempting to love and live peacefully with those around me. Sometimes I do all right, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I think I did better in another time and place than I am doing now. There were certainly times in my life when things seemed clearer to me. But, oddly, despite my uncertainty, there has never been a time when I have felt more at home. 

Until next week. ♥


  1. But it is precisely the difficulties that make us grow. (or not.) Think of pruning! It's the same concept. And as for you not feeling like you have been growing - we would not always necessarily be aware of that. Hopefully, after this period is behind you, there will come a time when you'll see that maybe you have more patience, or more understanding, or more of something that you've grown in, due to this thing you've been going through.

    We recently had a Lenten mission at church, and one night the priest said he forbade us for that one day to pray for others. He wanted us to pray for ourselves. He said it wasn't about being selfish, but I think he was trying to get people more aware of what they need from God, and to get us to depend more on God's help for more things. It struck me, because I don't often do that. I know that St. Therese said God knew what she needed, so she didn't pray for herself (after she was a nun, I think) but I think the practice makes us more childlike, and that's a good thing.

  2. I think we carry with us what we learn. Maybe this is what growth is, but I tend to think of it more as an expanding file. Do we go back and use what we've learned? I don't know. Maybe not always. What I DO know is that our vision expands and maybe THIS is what growth is. Kind of that thing where the more we know, the more we know how much we don't know. This gets in the way for me.
    I can never seem to pick a side and I end up being a chronic fence straddler.
    Is home where you hang your hat or is home where your heart is? Is home where they know your story or is it where your story is being created? Yes, Yes, and all of the above.
    And yet - maybe home is where my heart is at peace and I just bring my stories with me, as painful and joyful and embarrassing as they may be.

  3. I write in my journal every morning, an entire page :) This lenten season I've engaged in some various bible studying and have been enjoying this "class" of sorts. I am meeting new people in one and the other two are virtual (on my own).

    We are always growing, seeking, questioning, and experiencing. That is what life is all about.

  4. I always enjoy your pictures. That bread does look so good. Good white bread really does something special. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your faith. There are some things in my life that are like that. I don't think we could every fully embrace very many things (or anything at all). Maybe when we do that, it is our time to go. . .

    Those thoughts about home and growth. Those are nice, too. My children don't know it yet, but so much of what we do together and learn together is about spirals and circles. Round and round, always coming back. Thank you for what you bring here.


  5. So many wonderful thoughts. I only have a little while to answer as I'm taking a short tea break before delving back into housework. Therefore just small comments ... I too think warm fresh bread is nicer than cake ... and I love best the eastern sky at sunset, it is often more beautiful than the west ... and that episode of Poldark was sad, wasn't it? Have a beautiful day.

  6. Wow - there is so much to ponder in this post... starting with, "Sue must take good care of her Christmas cactus if it wants to bloom for months and months, when mine blooms for a few weeks...."

    You make me consider baking bread today - it's the perfect rainy day for it, and I agree that your bread looks better than cake.

    All your musings about home and growth stimulate so many complicated feelings in me, too. It's probably best not to do too much self-assessment, because it distracts us from pressing into God, and also, how do we know "how we are doing"?

    When we don't have the strength or faith or whatever to Press Forward, at least we can enjoy His gifts, be thankful that we can be like children cozy at Home, even if we are home sick and not getting on with our lessons.

    Thank you for a good read. :-)