This week I am incredibly thankful for the gift of being able to stay home. I relish being my own master (sure, I have four children and a husband to think of, and of course, my Divine Master), of deciding when my day will begin, how it will be organized, when I will take breaks. There is a TON of work to be done in keeping house, cooking meals and homeschooling children, but it’s on my clock, my schedule. I am thankful that my husband works hard to ensure that I can stay home. And I’m thankful for the gift of being able to homeschool my children, even though I complain about it and feel unappreciated from time to time.
This week, despite my post yesterday, I am thankful for sickness. Yes, sickness. It’s forced us to slow down, to show especial care to our more difficult family members, and to appreciate the gift of health. We’ve had to cancel some activities and play dates, but we’ve read together, played board games together and taken elderberry syrup together. 🙂 We haven’t been running in a hundred directions, which has made the first week of school flow much more smoothly. Yes, I hope my children and husband return to health quickly, but I’m grateful to God that He’s given us this time with few outside distractions to remind us of the importance of slowing down and being together.
This week I’m grateful to have all my family back under one roof. My husband was gone for about 6 weeks while training with the Air Force in June and July. Then Stepford Son was gone nearly the entire month of July to different camps. Now we’re all together again. The grocery bill and consumption of food has drastically risen, but I’m so glad to be back in our routine of eating dinner together followed by reading aloud from our current book.
This week I am thankful for seeing the delight in my child’s life and being able to share it.
For the Little Martyr’s birthday this year, we bought her a week of horse camp. She has loved horses for years but never had the opportunity to ride or be around them. This year, I found out about a non-profit, Christian-based organization that rescues horses in New England. They offer an affordable camp teaching horsemanship, hard work in the stable, and a love of Christ. Children get to ride and care for horses, and the farm gets free labor for a week. Win-win.
Her face, her eyes, the excitement in her voice brought me a great happiness. I’m so thankful I can make a dream of hers come true, and that I can share in that excitement, too.
It’s been over a week since I wrote last. Mea culpa. In that time, my husband came home from 6 weeks away; we went camping as a family in the loudest, most miserable campground in New England; and I taught 5th-6th grade at a local Vacation Bible School. Yikes. Oh, and yesterday I had every intention of posting something, but we came home from VBS to a fly infestation in our house. We spent the next 9 hours killing and cleaning.
This week I am most thankful for the challenges God sends my way. They quickly demonstrate how far from perfect I am and how much in need I am of God’s strength and mercy. I need that reminder. Ever so often, I feel like, “Hey, I’ve got this!” That’s when God says, “No, actually, you don’t. It’s only by My grace.”
The biggest challenge this week was teaching VBS. It’s my second year as the 5th-6th grade teacher, and the second year was definitely not easier than the first. I think I was a bit more organized but still not prepared to handle three boys with the demanding diagnoses of various forms of autism, PTSD, etc. That’s in addition to the other children in class. Every day I was taking one to the director.
After the first day, I prayed every morning, “God, I come to You empty-handed. I have nothing. I can do nothing. Only let me do Your holy will and whether I succeed or fail does not matter.” I also asked for the intercession of St. John Bosco, patron of troubled youth.
Did I succeed? Well, there were moments perhaps but also epic failures. As it comes to a close I pray only that I did God’s will and planted at least a tiny seed of God’s love into the kids’ hearts.
This week I am thankful for several things. First was lunch out with my dear friend/mother in the faith at a local restaurant with locally sourced, organic foods. I ate ricotta gnocchi with tomatoes, mozzarella and chicken. We talked for a few hours on a lovely patio, not even breaking for a passing thunderstorm.
Next, an enormous party in honor of my friend and running partner, on furlough from a missionary trip. Let me tell you, there is no party like a Catholic party. We all brought dishes from different countries and ate ourselves silly. Children definitely outnumbered adults. I got to see almost all of my friends from our previous parish, and my oldest got to attend his old youth group. I really miss that community. It’s where I feel truly at home, where I belong.
Finally, my husband came home after 5.5 weeks away! I missed him terribly but am thankful we were still able to communicate daily. And now, I have my partner back, so we can continue walking together the road of faith in this life.
I’m attempting to start a recurring theme–Thankful Thursday–to cultivate more of a life of gratitude. In a book by Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, the author speaks of the connection between gratitude and joy. Gratitude leads to joy, and the opposite of joy is not sadness, but fear. Replacing fear with gratitude produces joy.
Many of the circumstances in my life have brought about fear and anxiety, so I’m going to combat them with gratitude.
I’m particularly grateful this week for a friend who asked me to coffee when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with a family situation. She was not aware of the stress. God sent her to me to bring relief and empathy.