Still waiting to hear back from Megan as to whether or not her company would like to partner with me on my recent fashion post. Breaking down the week in seven while I sit and twiddle my thumbs.
1. I recently finished the book ‘Daily Rituals’ by Mason Currey. I’d learned of it via Modern Mrs. Darcy awhile back, but kept holding out hope our local library would get in a copy. That never happened so I was happy to receive it for a Christmas present. While reading, I made several observations.
- Before the 20th century, women didn’t raise a family and write or do anything creative. It seems that women needed to be single or born after 1900 to have any chance at creating literature, art, music or poetry. One female author did manage to support her family by rising at some early hour and putting in a few hours before preparing breakfast for her family and caring for her sick husband, but she was a rarity. Notable exceptions not included in this book would be the numerous Catholic religious women who wrote. Other exceptions you know of?
- Creative types historically took lots of walks and lots of breaks during the day. Many only wrote for 3 or less hours a day, or would only write when inspiration struck. Compared to the workaholic schedule many people embrace nowadays on the road to success, some artistic geniuses seemed downright lazy.
- Many people had to dedicate lots of time to entertaining guests (or fans.) People would visit on a daily basis. I don’t know anyone that entertains regularly nowadays. Is it because we get all our desired social interaction online? Or because most people don’t have servants who can whip up food for a crowd on a whim? I even surmised that today, dropping by someone’s house unannounced to visit would be considered downright rude, where as in the past, it was the quickest way to get in touch with someone. Can you imagine if you showed up at someones house without so much as a text to let them know you were coming?
2. I was on Jenifer Fulwiler’s radio show this week chatting about our hosting experience. She recently shared her own orphan hosting story on her podcast and made the poignant comment that ‘The culture of life, is the culture of mess.’ I realized how well that summed up our hosting experience. It was messy! Physically, our house was trashed because it was so hard to communicate cleaning up or “Please put this away before getting something out”. Emotionally, I was a mess; I knew these kids needed a loving mother figure, but I was so frustrated at times! Plus, I was trying to give more attention to Bart and Lisa, then feeling guilty and trying to give more attention to my own children. And then they had to leave and I was sad, despite how hard it had been. Mentally, I was at my wit’s end. Everything I knew about parenting was being tested. The training and the books could only help so much in figuring out how to help these kids in the short time they shared with us.
And Jen added that the culture of death promotes the idea of not being open to life unless everything is perfect. Exactly. If we waited until everything was perfect in our home before hosting orphans, or trusting God with any leap of faith, it would never happen. I thought that a lot of my selfishness had been stripped away through the years with each new child and medical diagnosis, but I found it was still there, just under the surface ready to tempt me with lies that this was too much, not necessary, and a job for someone else. But that voice was wrong. Our house wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t the perfect mother, my kids weren’t the perfect siblings but hosting was worth it. Perfection isn’t necessary for God to do His work in your life.
3. In case you’re wondering, for a variety of reasons, we’re still in limbo about hosting Bart and Lisa over the summer. It’s a combination of summer planning, finances, and lack of information from Project 143. Trust me; when we make a final decision or learn anything, you guys are the first to know.
4.Lent is in 12 days. Are you ready? Does that sound like a threat? I feel threatened! This year I learned about the Nineveh 90 program which started this week and goes until May 13th (the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima). While I’m not doing that program, it helped inspire my Lenten sacrifices and it encouraged me to get started during Septuagesima to ease in, rather than suffer with sugar withdrawal for the first week of Lent.
5.The biggest difference for me this year will be a focus on spiritual reading and prayer, rather than fasting. I’m still going to fast, but rather than focus on following some crazy strict diet, I’m picking up several spiritual classics and prayers to read/ recite on a regular basis. Plus, while I’ve joined an online accountability group, I’ve also got a local friend with whom I can check in with and discuss my readings. While I’m not going offline, I like having a support option that I can meet with over coffee rather than just over a keyboard.
6.Oh, but I am doing one crazy thing (it will seem especially insane if you really know me.) I will be taking cold showers and exposing myself to the cold weather (i.e. go outside in just a sleeveless dress to do some chores, take my daily walk with less layers or no coat). I’ve been reading about Wim Hof, and as someone who HATES being cold I like the idea of toughening myself up, but it’s the kind of thing that requires a Lenten commitment so I don’t wimp out. Not sure what my end goal is (Sit in an ice bath without cursing or just long enough to free 2,320 souls from purgatory??) but I’m already gradually building my tolerance on some of these cold, windy February days. It’s made my least favorite month seem a little less dreadful and more like an enemy I can beat!
7. Last night, I went out with my college roommates for the first time in five or six years. (I can’t remember if Teddy was born yet or not.) There was a lot of laughter, cheesecake and selfies. We all received degrees in creative fields, and today, while we’ve taken some side roads, we’re all trying to bring a little of that creativity to our daily lives while still meeting the needs of our families and other jobs. I’m using my photography and journalism skills to maintain a blog of ridiculous selfies and Quick Takes. Another friend makes beautiful mandalas. One is teaching yoga (just outside Philly if you’re local). The fourth has just started a party business. It was great to catch up and see that while life has made us older, wiser and extremely busy, we’ve all maintained a devotion to creatively expressing ourselves.