… or at least it feels like I have done that. I truly apologize for being so sporadic in posting. I realize this is sort of against blog etiquette, or so other people have said. I started this blog as a way to have some sort of documentation for the fun things we do, connect with other moms and caring souls, and possibly as a way to dessiminate ideas and let me have an outlet for personal reflection. What I have found is that our lives with a young child make regular blogging very difficult. I try not to be on the computer during the day and at night, if I’m lucky, I get about an hour and half to do everything I need to do as well as get a little free time and maybe chat with Tim for a few minutes. So, the best I can do is sporadic, I guess.
This last month has been a bit nutty. Cecily is sick again, and one of the hardest things about having a sensory child get sick is they can’t sleep. Now, mind you, I am going on 5.5 years of severe sleep deprivation. There is something about the way Cecily is wired neurologically that makes sleep very difficult for her and has since she was born–and this is without her being sick. When she’s sick … well, it isn’t pretty. I have tried everything. It’s just how her brain is and all I can is wait and pray, which is not a little thing by any means. Prayer moves mountains. We have always co-slept because it is the only way any of us get any sleep. We’ve done various arrangements. For the last few years since Cecily has gotten bigger she and I have been in one bed and Tim in another. We’re happy like this and Tim and I are both content knowing that it won’t always be like this and in knowing that I’m always right there when Cecily needs something. The benefits for her have really been profound–she has never had a nightmare, she isn’t afraid of the dark, we get lots of touch bonding, and I can monitor her when she’s sick. The downside is that I have difficulty sleeping with someone smushed right next to me (or quasi-on top of me) and occasionally I have limbs fall asleep that I can’t move because that would wake her up, or I get neck aches from having my head turned in awkward positions. I’ve also learned what severe exhaustion feels like–I get terrible headaches from lack of adequate REM sleep at times and I have difficulty remembering how to spell words. I keep telling myself that one day I will sleep again and until then I just pray for my health. So, with Cecily being sick, things have been out of whack.
We are also knee-deep in Lent. I love Lent. Lent and Advent are what I live for each year. Usually during these times I cut back on things and spend more time in Bible study and prayer. This year, however, I’m writing my own Lenten book so that has pretty much taken over my life. We are having to do tons of crafting and I’m trying to write everything up and take pictures. I’m very proud of everything we’re doing–it’s really been so much fun. My only regret is that I just wish I wasn’t having to sacrifice so much family time and free time to put things onto paper. I have stacks of papers and crafting books covered with idea sticky notes, and I try to devote a few nights each week to typing them up, and the other nights each week I devote to coming up with ideas for the next week. I feel like I have been running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace. The really hard thing about Lent is that the uphill comes at the end–Holy Week. I’m sweating just thinking about it. The good thing is that it helps me to more closely identify with Jesus who also sweated a lot more than I have during that same week. Thank you, Jesus. Words can never express our gratitude for what He has done.
So, sickness and Lent have been my life lately. It seems so bald just writing it like that which is why I took you on the detour above to more deeply explain my absence.
On a cheery and non-woe-is-me note, I have two wonderful book recommendations for this time of year. Both of these books I have read before, but I’m one of those people who think of books as friends that I like to revisit often, and this year I happened to visit both of these in unplanned succession at the beginning of Lent, which worked so beautifully. The first book is Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. (http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Hearts-Novel-Sarah-Dunant/dp/0812974050/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302103311&sr=8-1) This is part of an historical fiction trilogy. I have read The Birth of Venus but not In the Company of the Courtesan. To be honest, I did not care for the raw nature of the language in TBoV nor the ending, but I can whole-heartedly recommend SH. It is set in a 16th-century Italian convent. The action takes place from mid-December to Holy Week, and it is thrilling. It also is a great way of understanding the daily, weekly, and yearly rhythm that is at the heart of both monastic life and Waldorf education. I think this sense of liturgical rhythm is what first drew me toward Waldorf. As a Medievalist and as a Christian, I understand sacred rhythm, much more so than most Protestants. Another book that is an excellent companion to Sarah Dunant’s novel is poet Kathleen Norris’ personal account of her life in a monastery entitled, The Cloister Walk. (http://www.amazon.com/Cloister-Walk-Kathleen-Norris/dp/1573225843/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302103905&sr=1-1) Kathleen is at heart a poet so this book combines the emotional depth of poetry with the practicality of each day. It is so well-done. It reminds us to see God not just in liturgy but in laundry, and it helps us to feel again the sacred rhythm of the eternal. Waldorf folks will recognize the pulses of Advent, Candlemas, and the saints’ feast days. Kathleen herself is a Protestant who had wandered away from God for many years before being pulled back to Him. She, like me, has a deep appreciation for the poetical metaphor of liturgical ritual that is so often missing among Protestant worship and so often misunderstood in non-Protestant worship. Neither of the books listed above are preachy in any sense of the word but both are really more about experiencing the sacredness of time and space, and ultimately in experiencing Jesus, who is Lord of it all. It is preachy only in the sense of experience, not in words. I love that.
And, on a final note, I’d like to share something of practical use that we discovered on Ash Wednesday of all days–the day when we recognize how “dirty” we are with sin and in need of spiritual renewal and cleansing in Christ.
How to polish silver without really trying
This is a great way to tangibly demonstrate the effects of baptism—washing away the tarnish of sin and leaving in its place the sparkle of new life. Line a mixing bowl with aluminum foil. Place tarnished silver into bowl. Measure out ½ cup baking soda per each 1/2 gallon of water that you will need (do not combine baking soda and water just yet, though). Once you have measured the appropriate amount of baking soda and water, heat water in a large pot on stove until boiling. Once boiling, move pot to kitchen sink, add baking soda (this will foam so be ready). Once baking soda has been added, pour hot liquid onto silver in mixing bowl. Let set for a few minutes. Use tongs to turn silver over. Once tarnish has been removed, carefully remove silver and pour water down the drain. Rinse silver in lukewarm water to wash away baking soda film. Buff with a towel or cloth.
I wish you many blessings and hope that the pictures that I uploaded will do a better job at showing up on your screen than they are doing on mine currently. If they don’t, I’m sure my techy-husband will know the answer and he’ll get to it somewhere between working on taxes and uploading new pictures from our camera. Without him I’d be blogging on sticky notes.