Sunday, January 29, 2017

Black and White

I have always been drawn to black and white photography. In the days of actual film cameras, I would regularly buy a roll of black and white film.

Maybe it is my love for old things, antiques, a gentler time, a slower pace of life.

In the Woody Allen film, "Midnight in Paris", this theme of longing for the old days, thinking them better than the current situation, is explored. I really enjoy this movie and have watched it many times.

In fact, as I am sitting here, writing these words, I have classic Bluegrass music playing in the background. The beautiful, haunting harmonies and the amazing picking of banjo strings call to me.

Black and white seems to eliminate all the extra noise and really brings the simple moments into focus. Those simple moments are where I find the greatest joy in my days.

To me, the images harken back to an era where hard work was something to embrace. One labored for the things he had and did not feel entitled to that which he did not earn. Not to be indebted to another was a virtue.

A good old-fashioned work ethic is what I want to instill in my children. Saving for a rainy day.

Helping others when we see them in need. The small kindnesses that make the biggest marks on those around us. Living the way we want to treated. These are the important things, really.

Sometimes I forget that in the hustle and bustle and the really trying moments. But I will remind myself and try again.

For these people are those that are closest to my heart. I owe them my best each day.

They are learning from me in my good moments, and, I am sad to say, in the not good ones too.

May God grant me the graces to be more for my family and the strength and courage to endure through the hard times.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

sewing lesson

She wanted to make a new dress for one of her dolls. We wrapped the fabric around the doll and cut it to fit. Now she is working on the running stitch after I showed her how. And she was a nice subject to photograph, sitting so still and all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yarn Along

I never really thought about how much I do relies on the use of my hands. That is, until I broke my arm. The simplest tasks were no longer simple. Preparing meals for my family. Cleaning the house. Writing out assignments for the children. But of all those important daily jobs, the one I missed the most was the ability to create. Knitting was not possible. I started knitting as grief therapy after the loss of our son. There are very few days that go by that I do not knit at the very least a few simple rows. I can feel the tension and sadness fade as I take a strand of yarn and transform it into something entirely different.

The joy of knitting is mine again. I finished and sent to my niece a new blanket for her new baby who is due to make her debut into this world any day now. I am also making another stuffed animal for my sister, who is expecting her first baby.

I am sad to say that I only took a finished picture while it was still blocking and only on the Ipad!

While I was recovering, I found I could crochet before I could hold both knitting needles. My daughter Anna and I have been making little squares out of scraps of yarn. The fact that it is a project we are working on together endears it to my heart even more.

As for reading, I just began reading "Signs of Life" by Scott Hahn. I friend back in the states and I are going to read it together and have a mini book club of sorts.

Our current read aloud in the schoolroom is "What Katy Did" by Susan Coolidge. I can tell that they are enjoying it because I never have to remind anyone to be quiet.

Joining Ginny for the first time in ages!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Musings

The other day, I went to the library in search of specific books that were recommended for Therese's curriculum. I honestly should have gone searching way before we started back to schooling, but I did not. I found what I needed and was about to make my way to the check-out counter, when a book spine caught my eye. It turned out to be a collection of writings of the Ingalls family. It has kindled in me a fresh spark for putting down our days not on paper, as Laura did, but here, in my own little corner of the web.

Immediately upon perusing this book, I read that their family used to have a circulating letter among family members, each one adding the news in their part of the world, and then sending it on to the next family. In these days of instant messages, facetime, etc., it would seem that this would no longer be necessary, but I disagree. There is something magical and exciting about receiving a hand-written letter in the mailbox. Before my mother-in-law passed away, we would receive a weekly letter from her with all the news of the family, along with coupons, comic strips and whatever else happened to strike her fancy that week. I miss going to the mailbox and seeing the manila envelope full of news and surprises. What if I started such a letter? Would it bring those distant in miles closer to the heart?

This morning, we gathered for Morning Time, which I have come to cherish these last months. We pray, we journal, we listen to stories, we sing. Together. Together is hard to accomplish once the day progresses. Today, we began a new story, "What Katy Did". As I read to the kids, I immediately saw part of myself in one of the characters. It was not a part of me that I am proud of, and the kids instantly recognized it too. Oh, how I have been turning this around in my heart all day!

When one sees their faults laid out so clearly in print, one wants to apologize for those faults, fix those character flaws, and then strive toward who they long to be. At least this one does.

In closing, my goal is to record more of our daily lives, those moments that I want to recall with fondness in the years to come.