Monday, July 27, 2009

Southern Comfort Daybook

This is my own Cajun Cottage version of the Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my Window...
Morning Dew on the Window...promise of a balmy day

I am thinking ...about school lesson plans. Isn't everybody?

I am thankful for...
the opportunity to share Louisiana with so many friends.


From the schoolroom...
Deciding where to put computer desks and PCs. I want them all out of the living room and kitchen...but not in the bedroom. That leaves...hmmm!

From the kitchen...
Monday: eating out after last soccer game
Tuesday: spaghetti & meatballs
Wednesday: Garlic/Herb Chicken Alfredo & Salad

Thursday: Meatballs/ Rice & Gravy
Friday: Tuna Salad

I am wearing...
Lime green nightgown w/ green ribbon at neckline

I am creating...
not so much creating at the moment but thoroughly enjoying this creation.

I am going...Son's soccer game.

I am reading... emails

I am hoping...
15-yr-old Luke Diller is found safe and unharmed.


I am hearing...
the overhead fan turn...slowly.

I am praying...
for dear little Matthew Snow and Luke Diller and his family.

Observing the Liturgical Calendar...
Praying the Thanksgiving Novena to St. Anne, my patron saint

Around the house...
Wanting to paint and rearrange my living room...planning in session

One of my favorite things... peaceful mornings.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

Monday: Final Soccer Game
Tuesday: SPAR w/ Christy and her girls
Wednesday: Bday party at SPAR
Friday: Swimming party and root beer floats @ Eva's

Saturday: Mother's Organizational Retreat

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Annie with Gumbo Gator!

Friday, July 24, 2009

But for the Grace of God...

Last October our family lost Aaron...nephew, cousin, godson, ring-bearer in our wedding.

My family has encountered death quite a bit this past year. This past July 9th was a year we said good-bye to my father-in-law. This past week we buried a good friend. I guess death is on my brain lately so, at a time I should be cleaning and decluttering my desk but wish to do anything but, I am, instead, reading a timely, poignant post.

My good friend Wendy wrote here about the loss of her nephew Corey. Everything she wrote hit strangely close to home and I'm grateful to her for opening her heart and sharing her thoughts about addictions and young nephews who fall prey to this disease.

Death simply is not the time to judge, ridicule, cut-down, and condemn...least we be judged, ridiculed, cut-down, and condemned. No matter what the circumstances, death is the time to pray, embrace, console, and forgive.

Addiction can, and does, happen to every family, good or bad. And the children who cause so much grief and sorrow are still loved and valued. This was evident at our nephew Aaron's funeral. The good memories we all had and shared of Aaron transcended the mistakes he had made those past several years. The love we had for him, the desire we all shared to see him recovered and whole again, out-weighed any past hurts. His indention in our lives was a clear impression that we are all one body...one body in Christ.

About her nephew Corey, Wendy wrote:

"He desperately wanted to change his life and had been studying the Bible. He longed to "win back his girl", marry, and raise a family. He sought and accepted the guidance of his parents,...He was weary and ashamed of his inability to kill the tiger that daily tormented him."

So was Aaron.
Aaron's family knows how much he longed to be whole, well, loved, accepted, guided, forgiven.

Wendy also shared a picture of her nephew taken at the last family get-together in January/December. And she writes:

"He had a hard time going to such things, as he did not feel worthy of love. After his death, Beverly found that he had written inside one of his ball caps, "Just for today". It is a phrase that he learned from Alcoholics Anonymous."

Aaron did too.
Like Wendy's nephew, Aaron had also withdrawn from the family. At his funeral, one aunt spoke for the family and shared how distant Aaron had become. My oldest son often commented how distant Aaron was. I fear my son took it personally at first. It helped when another cousin, then another, mentioned the distance they felt with Aaron as well. Aaron was harder on himself than any of us could be. Aaron felt the displeasure. Aaron understood the discomfort. Aaron sensed the disappointment. Despite the love we all had for him, he felt he had betrayed the family and he withdrew. We loved, accepted, and forgave. Aaron did not, could not. And the disease grew stronger. Yet we never stopped loving him and now his son Benjamin is the recipient of that love.

We are all so weak and judge ourselves harsher than anyone else. Yet, as we forgive those we love, I can only imagine how much more God loves and forgives these souls who struggle so mightily...gut-wrenchingly so. Even in times like these, when we think the disease, the addiction, has won, Scripture reminds us that death has no power over us.
"Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the ressurection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5: 28-29)

What was Aaron's personal relationship with Christ? Only he truly knows. We hope. We hope in Christ. We hope in the Resurrection.
Like Wendy's nephew, Aaron also carried a personal prayer card in his wallet which was found after his death. It was a prayer he prayed daily: hoping for God's mercy, clinging to God's mercy. I don't remember the words to that prayer but I saw it repeatedly in his sister's hand, clasped tightly during the funeral. It was a crumbled, folded piece of mortality. Weak in body, strong in spirit. The outer appearance did little to speak for the minutes, the hours, the days Aaron might have held it in his hands, crying out to his Lord and Savior to help him, save him, have mercy on him.
Here is the last family gathering taken July '08 after my father-in-law's funeral. Aaron is on the back row, far right, next to his father. Rusty's other two children are not in the picture. Neither is my oldest son , as well as several other grandchildren. My son regrets having left only moments prior to the impromptu photo-taking. But that is what it is. It is God's providence. This picture is but a piece of family history. It is not the whole story.
I have told my oldest son that God's plan for him might be to live a long life, become a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather and live to be in many, many family settings and pictures. This was Aaron's last photo op. It's a last memory and it's nice to have him in it, under the Cajun oak he once played on as a child. He is remembered. He is loved. He is still part of our family.
It is because of precious souls like Aaron and Wendy's nephew that Christ died on the cross. He did not die for the righteous. He died for sinners. For all of us. It is because of these tortured, suffering souls that I personally cling to and believe in God's incredible mercy and love for us...fallen creatures all....but for the grace of God, go I, go any of us.

Like my friend Wendy, neither do I mean for this to imply that our family approves of or makes apologies for our nephew's conduct, behavior, and any hurt he may have caused others. Neither do we approve of this sort of activity. The addiction must be fought. At the same time, I have compassion for Wendy's nephew and mine and the families who suffer with them, and I forgive them.
It is yet another time in my life I am called to step-up to the cross and look down from it...in sorrow, humility, weakness, and, above all, forgiveness.
But for the grace of God, go I. Go any of us.
* * * *

Wendy's sister Beverly asked that this link be shared. I'm sharing it here ~

Eternal rest grant these souls, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Inviting Summertime Treat

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle is hosting a Summer Week of Food and Fun over at her Domestic Church blog!

Join us there today as we explore how to keep Summer Eats simple, cool, and pleasant, share recipes (do not miss Alice's lemon pound cake recipe), and listen to Donna-Marie chat about her new book.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Cajun Cottage Daybook


This is my own Cajun Cottage version of the Simple Woman's Daybook
(Begun at 3:35 PM. Finished at 11:14 PM.)

Outside my Window
Our yard received a thorough shower this afternoon. My dogwood tree is happily waving at me.

I am thinking

About many, many things.

I am thankful for

The gift of life

From the schoolroom

What school?

Getting down to reality though, our co-op group does have registration for the 2009-10 school year this Wednesday.

From the kitchen

Second-breakfast supper meals.
Tonight it was fried ham & omelets

I am wearing

Black slacks, royal blue blouse w/ lime green in-shirt

I am creating

Class objective sheet to handout @ co-op registration this Wednesday

I am going

Son's soccer game. (earlier)
Bed. (now)


I am reading

Through my old blog trying to move and save old posts before deleting.

I am hoping

Judy and her girls rest tonight and find peace for the long days ahead.

I am hearing

The news on TV. (earlier) The air-conditioning. (now)

I am praying

  • for the Candler/LeBlanc families
  • Sonya M.---cancer
  • Christine B.---cancer
  • Tina & Larry---loss of their unborn baby

Observing the Liturgical Calendar

Praying the Novena St. Anne, my patron saint


Around the house

Lots of comings and goings.

All my little chicks are in their nests. That makes it a good day!

One of my favorite things

This daybook!
A few plans for the rest of the week
Tuesday: Athletics Club meeting
Wednesday: Co-op registration/Soccer game

Here is picture thought I am sharing

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

L.E.A.R.N.



The book Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully is perfect for all educators, parents, (especially home educating ones) and children to read at the beginning of the new school year. This book illustrates what Bellini, the high wire master, instructs Mirette to do and we can all live, learn, and love this lesson:
  • "Never let your eyes stray.
  • Think only of the wire, and of crossing to the end."

As home educating parents, it helps us to "never let our eyes stray" from our goal in order for us to keep "crossing to the end." We should use these last summer months to think about, pray about, and read about what we want our focus to be.

Write that focus down, develop a plan, and don't let your eyes stray to the plans, blogs, excitment, or even the focus of other educators.

Think only of your wire, your focus, and of crossing to the end.

Sounds easy in practice but it's a different situation in production, isn't it? How do I do that? you ask.

My friend Kimberly Kane shared this tip in a talk one year. If you follow these 5 rules (keep in mind the word LEARN) and memorize the Scripture quotes supplied, you will be better equipped to persevere in your schooling so that the ending will resemble Mirette's: "As for the master and his pupil, they were thinking only of the wire, and of crossing to the end."

LEARN

L---leave your defeated attitude behind you. Paul urges the Philippians to strain towards what's ahead. Straining means it won't be easy but we are to continue striving towards what is ahead.
"Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3: 13-14).

E---educate yourself. We are instructed not to run aimlessly but to run to the prize, the crown. Decide on the path to follow. Look ahead at the prize (the goal) you seek. Run towards it.
"Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly..." (Cor.9:24-26)

A---actively pursue help through a community. Remember the "body is a unit" and the church resembles the body of Christ. We are here to serve one another. Just as a little toe is important in helping us keep our balance, we are all important and needed no matter how small a part we represent. If you're a little toe in the homeschool community, then be the best little toe you can be! That little toe is extremely important for balancing the whole body.
"As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
R---realize you'll never do it all. We're made to be a community. God did not intend for us to do it alone.
N---never give up.

"It is God himself, in his mercy, who has given us this wonderful work [of telling his Good News to others], and so we never give up." (Philippians 4: 1-9)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Beached Blue Toenails & Rose-Colored Glasses


My apologies from the get-go. I read illustrated books, I work with illustrated books, I enjoy illustrated books, I study illustrated books, I adore illustrated books. It's quite natural for me to sit in a lawn chair the beach and view my world as an illustrated book.


Some scuff and say, "She looks at the world through rose-colored glasses."


Probably I do. Yes, I do. And I've learned that it's a much better way to look at life.
Some are born with perfect vision. They see the joyful, rosy hues that are fleeting and scattered like rose petals off the rose, on the ground. Some are prescribed these magical glasses early in life. Others are prescribed these glasses later in life and, when the Great Optometrist hands out these prescriptions, many reject them. Glasses are a nuisance, afterall, and other people judge your appearance. But those who accept that their vision is less than perfect and wear these glasses will see things more clearly and be grateful for the clarity God has given them. Because they wear these glasses they see this brief life as magical, holy, endearing, worthy...not less precise, but more illuminated.


Those who choose not to see life with an illuminated precision can leave their glasses in the sand. That's okay...for them...but don't throw sand in the rest of our eyes. We will simply wipe our glasses clean, replace them and be happy that we can find the beauty in all the things that God has made un-ugly...right down to the blue toenails in the sand.







And the rosy-red sweetness of watermelons on the 4th of July.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Beautiful Toledo Bend Lake/Dam

Playing cards in the A/C.
Keeping cool on ice...
...and popsicles.

Fishing.
They learn to drive a boat young in Louisiana.
And playing on the lake.

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