Monday, July 26, 2010

Words of Hope

It's easy for me to be discouraged in my spiritual walk. Progress isn't usually visible to me. I feel dutiful rather than personal in my relationship with Christ. Today's meditation in Magnificat (by Father Bede Jarrett, O.P.) really spoke to me:

Faith is the basis of life, and charity is its crown; but hope is its greatest need. Most of the difficulties of life come because man is so prone to lose heart. His distractions in prayer suggest to him that he was not meant for such high acts. His weekly tale of sins at confession seems to imply by its almost identical repetition that it is useless for him to continue his efforts at "a firm purpose of amendment." His faltering attempts at perfection disconcert him from any very persistent or long-continued service. . . The whole of life tends to depress a man who is at all conscious of his capacities, his responsibilities, and his failures. He is, then, a great sinner? Not at all. He has lost his faith and love? Most certainly not. What, then, is wanting to him? Hope. He has given up hope; he is disheartened; he is too discouraged to go on. He is very human; oh yes, but he is very foolish also: for when hope has gone, all is over. Failure counts for nothing; defeat, disappointment--these matter nothing at all, so long as only hope sits patiently, stirring the embers, watching and tending the fire, coaxing the flame, never despairing and never leaving the wind to work its will. That the clouds should come up over the sky, or that darkness should encircle the earth, brings no real terrors, for we are sure that the dawn will come out again and that the sun will break through with its golden glory.

That image of hope tending the fire and stirring the embers is beautiful, don't you think?

Friday, July 23, 2010


Daniel's engineering program is NOT at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (in MD), but at (metro accessible!) George Washington University. Here's a description from the program's website:

Intermediate Engineering GEMS:

A two week course for rising 9th, 10th and 11th graders that focuses on design, prototyping, and analysis principles of engineering. Students work in teams to create solutions to real-world problems. Students are exposed to more rigorous mathematics and physics and work with the near-peers to achieve the goals of the projects. Students are also expected to present their work, introducing them to professional communication and building leadership skills.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Me and My House--July 2010

We enjoyed a wonderful week at Saranac Lake in upstate NY, arriving home Sunday. The party celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary came together nicely, and included seven surprise guests, a delicious catered meal, and a slide show put together by my dad.

Here's what's new:

  • I'm easing back into a routine--laundry, groceries, cooking, etc. Must move on to something beyond the basics: school planning? blogging? daily mass (went today, anyway)? weight lifting?
  • Len has plenty to do at work. Summer is his busiest time and there's lots of paperwork to catch up on, too.
  • Lauren stayed at my sister's house in MD (on our way home) to spend a few days at her internship. Now she's in Richmond packing up the apartment in preparation to move out Friday. Next week she may go visit another sister in NY. Quite the traveler, not even counting her September departure for EUROPE!
  • David visited SMCM (with Len and me) yesterday for a "New Student Day." Parents and students had mostly different schedules, but I was glad to spend time on campus. My only other visit had included the homeschoolers, when we spent our time at historical sites instead of at the school.
  • Daniel is now taller than Lauren; he'll pass me soon. Next month he'll begin a two week engineering internship at Walter Reed in DC.
  • One of Joseph's best friends has been living in Singapore for a year and half. He's in the USA for a short visit, eagerly awaited by Joe. Next week he'll (J) be off to NC for Boy Scout camp.
  • Marianna went straight from Saranac to Mimi and Granddad's house to continue visiting with her FL cousin. We expect her back this weekend, just in time for Irish Dance camp.
  • Rebecca is still in vacation mode, staying up too late and not practicing piano. ;-) She's been sleeping on my bedroom floor since her roommate is out of town.
  • Dusty is extremely happy to be back home with us (wagwagwagjumpjumpjumpwrigglewag). Len just took him out for his final outing of the day, and he ran right past a skunk! There were a few tense moments while we waited to see if he'd come in by the (safe) back door. All is well. Whew!
  • Emma is her usual cat self: out and about or lounging inside, and nearly always aloof.

Summer is never as mellow as I expect, but we're enjoying our less structured life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Air Conditioning on the Fritz?

You might want to check the capacitor. This blowout was so dramatic that even the repairman took a picture of it! :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Small Successes: the Vacation Edition


Ah, the slow pace of summer...

Actually, it still feels hectic here some days, but there's no school and few official activities. We spent a few days at the beach and will soon be on our way to a week at Saranac Lake, NY. In addition to sharing a house and hikes and water activities and company with my whole family plus a few (~32 in all!), we'll be celebrating my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Maybe life isn't so slow after all...

My recent successes are indeed small, but make me believe I'm still getting something done now and then:
  1. I followed through on a Fourth of July craft: painting fireworks t-shirts.
  2. I inventoried and organized the big freezer. We also ate a dinner that used up dribs and drabs of five different frozen entrees!
  3. I reviewed all seven of our library accounts, renewing or returning everything due between now and our return from vacation, changing 8 due dates to just 2.
  4. Bonus accomplishment: I organized a trip to the pool, including inviting Becca's best friend, without being asked.
How about you? Are you enjoying a successful summer? Read what other moms are up to at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fireworks Shirts

We spent several glorious days at the beach last week, although Lauren and David stayed home to work (selling fireworks and repairing bikes). The weather was fabulous, the company was grand (cousins, siblings, aunt and uncle), and we enjoyed sand, water, and ice cream. Refreshing!

Inspired by JoAnn (via Elizabeth), I brought supplies for decorating t-shirts. Marianna remembered the project on our last evening. I'm glad I was urged out of my chair, because this ended up being a lot of fun!
I made stamps from pipecleaners, and we used fabric paint to create the firework designs. We had red, white, blue, and silver glitter paint. I'll try to get around to taking a picture of a dry shirt--the glitter looks so much better now.
Len had to work Monday, so we drove home Sunday in time to watch our local display. God bless America!