contentment on a monday...

:: noticing God's glory
after a week of 100 degree temps pretty much everyday, a cool front came through last night. Now it's only in the high 80's and this morning we had rain. You can actually breathe when you go outside. It's a beautiful thing. The garden is going crazy, in particular our cherry tomato bush. 

These are the beautiful little jewels I picked this morning (yes, in the rain). They make me smile. Such wonderful provision from a little plant that cost $2.99 at the nursery in May. Our family has benefitted greatly from the garden this year. Now if I could figure out how to save the fresh herbs I would be happier.

:: listening to
This morning I was singing at the top of my lungs to "Passion: Everything Glorious" featuring Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Matt Redman and the Dave Crowder Band while I cleaned the bathroom. It features some of my favorite praise and worship music. You may think me a bit daft for playing such music while completing my icky task, but it made a horrible chore much more pleasant. I kept offering up every disgusting little blech for whomever God decided needed the prayer support most in that moment. It's funny...once I was done with the chore I realized that I had had a very Mary/Martha morning. I was praising while I worked. Not a bad way to start a Monday.

Right now there is sweet silence. Miss Courtney is curled up on her mat sound asleep. I truly do love nap time.

:: clothing myself in
At the moment I am in denim capris, blue and white polka dot flip flops and an orange and white knit top. SO happy we have a little break in the heat. Makes me almost giddy.

:: thinking and thinking
So much pondering these past few weeks, about life and what the future holds for me and my family. SO many transitions to make all at once within our family. As is typical it's me who is having the hardest time making them. My boys are not huge fans of change either but they do adapt after a time. Me...just think human yo-yo.

So I took a look at everything in my life, what commitments I had made, the state of my home, my ministries at church, my marriage and my relationship with my eldest child as well as all the needs Miss Courtney has on a daily basis and I will admit here and now I wallowed in some serious self pity these last few weeks. SERIOUS self-pity! Oy Vey have I been a whiney cranky-pants. I mean I really have struggled with a few of these transitions and I had begun to wonder if I would ever feel happy or peaceful about how things were going.

Then this past weekend, my hubby and I slipped off to Mass by ourselves, just the two of us. Think of it as a spiritual date. We went to confession, then made a holy hour together and finally shared in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It was wonderful from start to finish. It was also very enlightening for me. You see this past weekend Gospel message was a simple but quite veracious lesson.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to [a]torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

As I was praying after communion I very distinctly heard God speak to my heart and it wasn't particularly lovey dovey.  "Hey Mary, stop being such a whiney-pants and get with the program...I have given you a tough job but certainly NOT impossible...So you have to give some things up. So you have to actually STAY home and care for someone besides yourself...Yes, I know you have dreams, I gave them to you...Yes, I know you can't work outside the home need to trust me with this one girlfriend...There will be enough to do what I need you to do...Yes, I know you're an extrovert who enjoys being around people...remember that I made you that way... Yes, I know that this is the hardest thing you've ever had to deny yourself and serve another...everyday...all day. Yes, Mary...I know your scared of losing friends and being forgotten...I know that this will challenge every part of you, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually...but for now, this is where I need you to be. This is your cross to bear...always remember my grace is sufficient...lean on me and I will carry you through. Courtney can't do what I need her to do without put on your big girl pants and lets get to it...shall we...

Yeah, I know. God always sound a bit sarcastic when I have been pushing him away. Testy isn't He?

Oh wait...that's me that's being testy...sheesh...humiliation thy name is Mary...

Anyway, I am finally coming to accept the imperfectness of my day and have been blessed by the Lord in the last two days to actually see the joy in what I am being asked to do. Yes, it's physically challenging and emotionally draining but it's not everyday you serve a saint, even one that can be a bit temperamental from time to time.

My friends, I am weak and worried and tired and trying to smile and find my laugh once more, but one thing I do have is HOPE that wherever the road takes us...HIS grace will be sufficient...and there will be enough caffeine to sustain me along the way.

:: giving thanks for
#1046 - #1077
*alarm clocks that sing to you making 5:30 a.m. seem like a decent hour to arise
(even though it's so NOT!)
*smiles and more smiles and the bluest eyes that crinkle when she smiles
*tangerine orange - a color that makes me happy
*homemade take-out that makes my boys gleeful
*roasted red peppers
*a clean kitchen floor
*new books from the library
*praise music blaring while I do housework
*a garden filled with delicious healthy veggies
*sunflowers spilling sunshine all over my kitchen table
*Blondies freshly baked from the oven filling the air with a delightful aroma
*a family game of Clue
*Sunday night fun with dear friends with lots of singing and "dancing"
*games of "Stratego" between the generations
*the arrival of new quilting fabric
*dishes cleaned and draining in the dish rack
*a full menu plan for the next two weeks
*a full freezer filled with healthy things
*prayer time shared with the one who holds my heart
*mail that isn't a bill
*a sunrise watched from my front porch while holding on to God's word
*homemade iced green tea with mint
*a box from Amazon
*iced coffee
*working air conditioner
*power throughout the house
*an afternoon without seizures for my girl
*a clean bathroom ready for company
*kisses from my sweetheart
*bed sheets fresh from the line
*warm towels waiting to wrap you after a cool bath
*my son whose heart is as big as his appetite

::pondering prayerfully
"Perhaps we sometimes have a particularly vivid experience of loneliness, weakness, or tribulation: If so, seek the support of him who died and rose again. Find yourself a shelter in the wounds in his hands, in his feet, in his side, And your willingness to start again will revive, and you will take up your journey again with greater determination and effectiveness." 

"Sometimes in the course of our lives we too have caught glimpses of generous aims, aims of sincerity, of perseverance..., and yet, it seems as though we have, in the very depths of our soul, a sort of radical infirmity, a lack of strength, an obscure impotence..., and this sometimes makes us feel sad and we say "I can't". We can see what Our Lord wants of us in that situation but perhaps we feel weakened and exhausted by the trials and difficulties facing us. Your intelligence - enlightened by faith - shows you the way clearly. It can also point out the difference between following that way heroically or stupidly. Above all, it places before you the divine greatness and beauty of the undertakings the Trinity leaves in our hands."

from "In Conversation with God" by Francis Fernandez

:: creating by hand
I have knitted four washcloths and I really like them. It took me that many tries to get the sizing right. I am also working on the blouse and skirt I shared with you on needle and thREAD last week.

:: in the kitchen
I finally made a menu plan for the next week. I used to do this every single month but have gotten away from the habit in the next few years. I have to say with everything changing so quickly with Miss Courtney's care, I appreciate being able to take this daily question off my list. Whenever anyone asks "What's for dinner?" I point them to the menu planner.

Since the cherry tomatoes are taking over the garden right now we will be making Angel Hair Pasta w/ Roasted Tomatoes and Shrimp. It has quickly become a family favorite. 

:: living the liturgy
In the next few weeks there are two major feasts. The Transfiguration which also happens to be my 24th wedding anniversary and the Feast of the Assumption on Aug. 15. I really would like to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine as I have done over the past three years since Miss Courtney's birthday follows close behind on the 18th of August. Our Blessed Lady has been my co-pilot for many years and I am looking froward to spending a little more time in her presence.

So here is a question dear readers...what's your favorite book on Our Lady? I would love to read something celebrating her over the next month so send along your recommendations. Thanks!!

:: keeping house
I have finally made a "master list" of daily chores that must be accomplished as well as one for the weekly chores. I know, you would think I had done this before but alas, I have not. I have worked off a "to do" list for years. Now I have everything in one place and I am already seeing positive results both in my decreased stress level and in the state of my home. A clean home is a happy least for me.

:: planning the week ahead
This week involves a dentist visit and hopefully working out 4-5 days. There is some serious sewing to do as well and I hope to be able to plan out a quilt. I have visitors on Wednesday and Girl's Night Out on Friday. Yea! It has been too long since I have done that. Then Saturday there is more visiting and spending time with friends/family. Another yea for me!!

God is good in His provision for very good...

:: learning to
*be patient with myself as I work my way back into a daily exercise routine. Oy...the progress is slow but sure. I need to be physically strong to care for my girl.
*take time for quiet...actual quiet without any distractions. I think I could learn to love it.
*I really want to learn how to use Photoshop Elements. So far I am more confused that educated but I know that I will get it in time...lots of time...

:: loving the moments
Where my family is together and playing board games, or watching episodes of our favorite show "Castle" or cooking together in the kitchen. I appreciate that our son will not be living with us forever so I want to take every opportunity to enjoy our family time together. This is not to say that time apart isn't just as edifying but while we are together...peace shall reign.  

:: Miss Courtney's World
The seizures are back and they are complicating life just a little bit. So far Miss Courtney is handling them well. It's hard watching her suffer but I know she is never alone in her moments of suffering. She is such a brave strong young woman, much more so than her mother.

The other thing we are struggling with is sleep. As in she isn't sleeping well. So after a few weeks of keeping notes on our daily activities I realized that she wasn't moving as much as she did while in school. So back to the drawing board with the daily schedule we go, adding in more activity for my girl. Hopefully this will help...prayers are always appreciated.

Please join Ann Voskamp @ A Holy Experience to celebrate the little gifts given each day by the ONE who loves us most!