Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October Daybook

It's been FOREVER since I last posted and so many wonderful things have been happening!  I've had such a fun-filled summer of beach days, nature walks, reading (always reading!) and just finding much-needed peace and renewal, after a difficult Spring.  And this Fall has been filled with so many new and wonderful experiences!  I figured it was high time for a bloggy update!  And what better way to do that, than with a nice long daybook. :)  And so, I bring you, the October Edition Daybook:

Outside my window...

The leaves are exploding color all around, which is a glorious sight!  It makes me want to just drop everything and go on a nature walk!

I am thinking...

Lots of things have me thinking about the importance of relishing the present.  I love that idea that we can experience joy, peace, love...God right now.  One of the ways I've been able to live this out has been through my gratitude journal (which I'm better about writing in at some times than others!).  But there is something truly sacred about pausing to give thanks for the right this minute. I was fortunate to hear a speaker several weeks ago, Kevin Hines, who shared his experiences battling mental illness and surviving attempted suicide.  He ended his talk with the quote he lives by each day: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that's why it's called the present."  Upon hearing it, I immediately thought of eucharisteo.  I love how God speaks to us through bits and pieces of experiences we have, all with a common message.  In the past week, so many conversations I've had and passages I've read all have echoed this theme.  Um, I think God is definitely trying to tell me something!

I am thankful...

For the reminder to not hurry past eucharisteo.  I've been trying to intentionally set aside time each morning for my gratitude journal--it's something I've gotten a little lazy about. It's funny how the same life lessons keep whispering to our hearts over the years.  It reminds me of that metaphor of one's spiritual life resembling a spiral staircase...looping around and around, but always ascending.  It's so true.

In the spirit of eucharisteo, some of the other things I've been thankful for lately are:

The crisp autumn days along with the coziness (and yumminess!) that fall ushers in.  Pulling out the sweaters, busting out the fall-scented candles, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, hearty soups and steaming mugs...LOVE. IT. ALL.

The gorgeous butterflies fluttering all over our butterfly bush in the backyard.

The bounty of fresh garden produce our neighbors have been sharing with us, especially appreciated since we didn't plant any veggies this year! 

A smooth start to a new homeschooling year.  Such a blessing to see the progress each of the kids are making.  I think I've finally figured out a more "slow and steady" pace, which is a very good thing!

All of the new things my little Thomas has been doing each day!  Walking!  Talking!  Each day he's doing some new cute adorable thing! (Although his new favorite pastime is sneaking up the stairs to play in Megan's room when no one is looking...not loving that new skill! Time to invest in a gate!!)

For the Fall fun we've been jam-packing into this short season!  Apple picking!  Hay rides!  Painting Pumpkins!  Halloween parties!  Jumping in the leaves!  Farm trips!  Apple cider!  Donuts!  (Especially donuts!) I am just loving every minute of this golden season.

This little girl just celebrated her 5th birthday!  She was one happy little lady with her ice cream cake!

In the kitchen...

As I just mentioned, I've been all about the Fall recipes!  This Rachel Ray Pumpkin Pasta is to die for. Broccoli Cheese soup will be happening this week and I've been craving me some hearty chili!

I am creating... 

I've been gradually pulling out the autumn decorations.  I've also had fun putting together a Halloween mantel!  I'm thinking a new wreath for fall would be nice, too.  Time for some Pinterest perusing!

I am going...

To Salem, MA in a couple of weeks.  It's been several years since I've been there--I just love all of the history of the place, and how it looks like Halloween exploded all over the place!  I'm planning to do a unit study of the Salem witch trials (albeit very simplified, since my guys are still pretty young! No Arthur Miller read-alouds just yet for my crew!).

I am wondering...

Whether my older kids can do the adult version of Rosetta Stone Spanish.  Has anyone had any experience with their children using the adult course? I just started the program a few weeks ago and LOVE it!  I always loved Spanish classes way back in high school, but sadly, never really used it since.  Over the years all those lessons on boot verbs and tenses have mostly slipped away.  I figured it would be nice to get them back.  I had heard wonderful things about Rosetta Stone and loved the idea of "immersion and intuition" it employs, so I decided to try it out.  It's been SUCH a different way to learn, and one that I love much more than memorizing word lists!  It's so much fun.  I had Luke try out a lesson last week, which he enjoyed, but also found somewhat difficult.  He did ask to do the next lesson, though, so I figure we'll just see how it goes.  Maybe I'll sit down with him and help him out whenever he gets stuck.

Our family got all spiffed up for a formal dance with our homeschool group.  A fun night (cranky over-tired toddler aside!) !

Megan did not want to stop dancing!  The boys were being such wall-flowers but she just kept dragging everybody back out onto the dance floor!

I am reading...

I'm on a huge C.S. Lewis kick right now.  I've decided I just might as well go ahead and read every single book of his, since he's Just. That. Awesome. I'm working on The Problem of Pain right now.  It's so good.  More to come on that, I'm sure!  I also have a million half-finished books laying around, as usual.  I borrowed Rediscovering Catholicism from a friend, which I'm working my way through (putting C.S. Lewis on hold, so I can return the book to my friend soon!) and just finished a wonderful piece of fiction, Crossing to Safety.  I found myself so enthralled by the 1930s setting, complete with gorgeous nature descriptions and loads of profundity entwined in a uniquely character-driven plot.  I fell in love with this book.  It's the best piece of fiction I've read in awhile.  I can't wait to read more Wallace Stegner soon!  And, to top it off, I learned a fun new word: lugubrious.  (I'm such a word nerd!)  I'm also trying to finish up a Carol Joyce Oates book, We Were the Mulveneys and a few others that have been gathering dust over the summer! I'm dying to read some of Madeleine L'Engle's non-fiction as well.  I've heard great things about it!

I am hoping...

...my painting of birch trees goes well tonight!  I'm going to a Paint Nite with my sister tonight!  I went to one over the summer and LOVED it!  I've always loved painting, but tend to not really do it much on my own, so I love the idea of girls night out of painting.  I hope I come home with a materpiece! :)

I am looking forward to...

...Halloween!   Last year the farmer down the road from us took all of the neighborhood kids on a hayride to go Trick-or-Treating.  It was a blast!  It was such a nice way to get to know our neighbors better, and some of the people on our street even passed out treats to the adults! (One neighbor had cups of wine for all the grown-ups!  Best treat ever!!)  The night was capped off with a bonfire party, complete with chili, pizza and hot cider.  It was awesome.

No Autumn is complete without making your best "Candy Corn Fangs" face!

I am learning...

...so much from an Alpha course I've been taking at our parish. If you've never heard of it, I highly recommend finding one near you!  It's just such a wonderful way to give your spiritual life a "kick in the pants."  It's an 11 week video course covering the basics of Christianity, along with dinner and good conversation.  The video presentations are wonderful, and just have a way of bringing life into one's faith.  Whenever my small group gets together for discussions, we all marvel at just how good the videos are, and how much more renewed we feel.  I'm so happy I've been able to participate!

At the Halloween party our Parish put on for the kids this past weekend.

Around the house...

...I've been on a major Fall-cleaning kick, just trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff we don't need.  Our basement play area was out of control, so we spent hours and hours yesterday going through every single toy down there, filling up an entire garbage bag with broken junk, and another bag with donations.  Aaaaaaaaah.  What a great feeling!  While I'm not a minimalist, I love the feeling of paring down our possessions.
Luke making one of his favorite meals--Enchiladas!

I am pondering...

What our family will do as a giving project this coming Advent.  Last year, the kids made scarves to sell as a fundraiser for the Philippines.  We all loved this project!  Megan has been asking me what we can do this year, so I'm brain-storming. :) Ideas are welcome!

Caught this gorgeous sunrise out my back window last week.

A favorite quote for today...

" Once we recognize that the Father has given us everything, the focus of our lives changes.  We begin to marvel and live in awe of a God who desires to be so involved in our lives that he shares from his fullness to fill our poverty.  The more we acknowledge him as the giver of all that we are, the less we need to hoard, to cling, to defend, or to fight for what we have.  Ultimately nothing is ours, yet everything is ours." 

Yes, to all of this!  It's a quote from an ebook of homilies I have, Ordinary Grace, that accompany the daily Mass readings. I LOVE these books.

One of my favorite things...

These quirky Sharpie Mugs I made!  Kevin had bought some dishes to replace the many that have broken over the years (it was ridiculous how few we had left!).  The dish sets came with plain white mugs that were just BEGGING to be crafted into something fun!  There are a ton of craft tutorials on how to make these, with tips on how to get the best results.  I highly recommend reading them all first, to get the marker to adhere!  So much fun. :)

A few plans for the rest of the week:

..,Paint Nite, Apha Class, continued purging/organizing, as many read-alouds as possible with the kids (LOVING audio books these days!), make soup, get outside as much as we can to soak up all that lovely autumn air!

A peek into my day...
My little lounging men :)

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