A Joyful Family Journal:: 31 August 2010

Outside our window…

Lots and lots of sunshine… for now. We’ve got a major hurricane headed our way.

Around the house…

Still catching up with laundry, cleaning tasks, and putting away from our Kentucky trip.

On the farm…

Chickies still laying a few eggs, they’re getting better at finding hiding places. Found a large clutch of eggs under the lilacs. 🙂

Inspiring us…

The coming of autumn! There are acorns on the ground to be collected. Apples are ready to be picked at the orchard and made into quarts and quarts of baked applesauce. I even saw a whole bunch of sugar pumpkins at a farmstand this morning which has me dreaming of making pumpkin butter and other goodies.

Our children…

Getting ready to start a new homeschool year at the end of September. Lesson plans are completed, we just have a few more books to gather, as well as a few supplies.

James is getting some more words. This week, he managed “belly” and something that sounds like “monster”. 🙂 He’s also learned to make a tiger’s roar.

Right now all of them are working on their “Treasure Island” unit study which Cat has designed. GREAT fun!

On our table…

A bouquet of bright pink roses.

Something very light and likely cold for the next few days. It’s HOT and humid. With the storm coming, we may lose power which means non-perishables or restaurant food.

In my workbasket…

Lots of pretty things for the baby. Today I’m knitting a peaked pilot cap in a pretty shade of pink, and there is a newborn sleep sack on the needles also – in violets and greens. Scrummy!

On the nightstand…

At the moment, I’m feeling a little homesick for England. So I’ve pulled down one of my favourite Rosamunde Pilcher titles –September

In our prayers…

  • We continue to pray for all of those families struggling financially, especially for the unemployed.
  • Colleen and her family as they approach the first anniversary of the loss of their little Bryce.
  • A friend who is undergoing some medical tests
  • Prayers of thanksgiving for the arrival of a healthy baby girl for the Tapp family
  • Our young friends who will be returning to school this week
  • For everyone in the path of Hurricane Earl – especially for orchardmen who may suffer terrible losses from the wind and rain.

A moment in time…

James at the ball game.

This photograph is so illustrative of our entire summer. Sunshine all of the time.

Busy signal…

We’ve arrived home safely from our working vacation. We fell in love with Kentucky and I’ll post more about our trip soon.

Jack and James checking out the view on the farm we looked at

For now, I’m working really hard on getting the kids’ lesson plans done for the year. I have a feeling it’s going to be an extremely busy one. Hopefully that includes a move halfway across the country. 🙂 It certainly includes the arrival of a new baby girl, another princess to add to our growing little kingdom.

I have a deep need – more than ever before – to get as much of life organised and settled before the baby arrives. To make life as simple as possible so that I can just enjoy her, and enjoy whatever other changes are ahead for us this year.

I am managing to get my lesson plans posted to a whole new website, though the current theme is making it difficult to navigate (no drop down menus). You can see some of my progress at Sonnet Education.

We’re all going on a summer holiday!

*Cue Cliff Richard*

We won’t be taking a red double-decker to France, we’ll be driving a beige 15 passenger van that has been affectionately dubbed “The Squirrel” to Kentucky.  And we won’t be completely off work – Brian will have to keep up with things at his business for the first week while his partner and family take a much needed and well-deserved holiday themselves.  And we’re not going for pleasure alone, we’re going to look at farmland and to see if relocating to the Bluegrass State would be a good idea.

We’re building in lots of fun things to see and do in between checking out towns and properties.  Our first few days will be spent in the Louisville area where we’re planning to see the Speed Art Museum , the Louisville Zoo, and Churchill Downs .  Then we head over to Lexington, which looks the most promising property-wise so far.  We’ll take breaks to see the Mary Todd Lincoln House, the Kentucky Horse Park, Pleasant Hill Shaker Village, the UK Arboretum, and maybe we’ll get a trip in to Berea to check out the artisans there.  But the place I’m most looking forward to visiting is Gethsemani Abbey in Bardstown.  You probably already knew that Gethsamani was once the home of Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis), but did you know that Br. Joseph (Ira) Dutton was also there for a time before leaving to help Father Damien in Moloka’i?

So this week has been spent cleaning and maintaining the van, having it inspected and tuned up.  We’ve picked up emergency supplies, a DVD player for the car, books to share aloud, and family films to watch together (or listen to).  I’ve been sewing almost non-stop for two days to make outfits for as many of the children as possible before we leave.  I say “almost non-stop” because my trusty Kenmore machine decided to ruin its reputation right in the middle of day one.  The reverse-stitch button just *quit*.  I had to send my oldest two out to fetch the Pfaff from storage, and it’s been working like a champ – quite uncharacteristic.

So we’re eating meals made up of leftovers, on our laps, in the living room (I’ve commandeered the kitchen table), which should be good preparation for eating on the road.  At some point we’ll have to scrub down the fridge, mix the feed for the pet sitter, drop the doggy off at the vet for his fix-it surgery and boarding – and get a few loads of laundry done.  Maybe sometime after midnight? 🙂

I’d forgotten how much work relaxing is!


People can be cruel.  They say things about you that aren’t true -not caring that what they say and do, not only hurts you, but your entire family as well as other friends that get caught in the middle.  I used to think that people eventually grew out of such behaviour.  Unfortunately, there are some who continue to be jealous despite having so many blessings.  They would rather alienate  someone they view as competition than work together to build the community up.  And there are still adults who make it their mission to hurt someone for the sake of protecting one friend from the perceived wrongs of another – without bothering to reflect with a loving heart and critical mind.

We are taught, as Christians, to offer the other cheek when we are slapped, to suffer with dignity the persecutions of others – even when that persecution comes from people you thought loved you, whom you trusted.

This last year has been a stark, painful learning experience for our family.  My naiveté has been slightly shaken, perhaps I am a little more jaded, but certainly much more aware.  I won’t let it harden my heart.  I have kept my counsel, bowed out of situations that might result in other people being made uncomfortable.  I have been saddened, angered, and prayerful.  Always, and most ardently prayerful.  I have prayed for those who have hurt us – that they would turn their hearts toward us, I have prayed for our family’s healing from this injury, and most of all, I have prayed for guidance.  We have taken every step in slow, faithful deliberation.

My lack of defense to the nastiness being bandied about is not an admission of guilt, my silence is not a show of immunity to the pain.

Friends have drained away.  It has been so quiet.  I miss the kinship I shared with women I respected.  In many circles I feel as though I am persona non grata . Brian keeps reminding me of the passage from Mark, chapter 6, verse 4:

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”

So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.

He was amazed at their lack of faith. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching.

Brian is right of course.  These women are ‘my own kin’, ‘of my own house’, that is to say, from my own Catholic community.  I am still amazed at their lack of faith in me.  Had I not shown love, support, honesty?  Still, people sometimes forget their garments of grace and become bitter, – believing the worst about you even when their experience of you would tell them otherwise.  It becomes more important to be right than to show true charity and see the truth.  In the end, their behaviour is a reflection on them, and not on me or my family.

I have read and re-read messages trying to find a shred of the true Christian charity they purported to convey.  Sometimes with surprising success, often with absolutely nothing.  People who are dear to me have offered wise and holy counsel.  My prayers, and those of my family for clear guidance have been repeatedly answered in the same way.  “Take joy, carry on, this is your mission”.

Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family. Be holy – let us pray. ~ Mother Teresa

Recently, I have felt the stab of pain again – not by anyone’s actions, but by their inaction, their complete and utterly deafening silence.  I will carry on, prayerfully, and with the absolute conviction that Brian and I are answering a direct call on our lives.  He will make all things right, in their time.

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.
I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.
For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God.
I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered.
What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.
And still under the sun in the judgment place I saw wickedness, and in the seat of justice, iniquity.
And I said to myself, both the just and the wicked God will judge, since there is a time for every affair and on every work a judgment.
I said to myself: As for the children of men, it is God’s way of testing them and of showing that they are in themselves like beasts.
For the lot of man and of beast is one lot; the one dies as well as the other. Both have the same life-breath, and man has no advantage over the beast; but all is vanity.
Both go to the same place; both were made from the dust, and to the dust they both return.
Who knows if the life-breath of the children of men goes upward and the life-breath of beasts goes earthward?
And I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to rejoice in his work; for this is his lot. Who will let him see what is to come after him?

There have been a precious few who have reached out to lift me, and our entire family, up.  And that has made all the difference.  I thank God for your love and support, and wish you God’s choicest blessings.

If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive. ~ Mother Teresa

More from the beach

Eastham Windmill.

Beach Houses on the Bluffs

The little kids got quite a kick out of the seagulls - wheeling and screaming overhead.

A little boat anchored near the beach.

The little boat after the tide was out.

GORGEOUS hydrangeas!

Jamie's footprint in the sand.

The tide brought in some gorgeous green seaweed which exactly matched the seagrass in the background.

No visit to the beach is complete without a sandcastle.

The salt marsh at First Encounter Beach.

I'm not altogether certain what these boxes are for. Wildlife? I love the intense blue against the greens and russets.

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