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The Whole of Our Lives

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This view caught my attention on Friday morning after a full week of schoolwork teaching the whole person, a day of cleaning, and many hours of creating. 

It holds space for the fullness of our whole life.

I captured our mischievous pup snoring, where he is not usually allowed to rest in a room that took all day Thursday to clean. 

Pillows tossed and out of place. 

Even though, for the most part, everything about our week fell into place. 

Mornings greeted me with light and a crisp hint of fall, filling this space. 

Big love always captures our attention while Jesus is in the foreground of everything.

It may have taken a whole week to get through the to-do list as long as the dust was thick in this room. 

This week is one for the books—the ones we are trying to get through and the ones we like to hold space to remember. We are reading Mansfield Park, The Hiding Place, and many other gems.

Triumph and heartbreak.

Accomplishment and sadness.

We made it through a new schedule of enjoyable and challenging lessons for the high school ladies. 

I am here for it. 

They are here for it. 

Jon is here for it.

The last two Septembers have had rocky starts.

One (2020) started with a 6-week schedule of 42 days straight of daily chemo/radiation treatments, then another (2021) ended with an unexpected surgery requiring long rehabilitation (read more here and here) Our autumn season last year was lost in the shuffle of all of it.

I will probably hold my breath until we get through this one too, and another MRI at the end of the month. These dates carry so much weight. 

Please pray. We are still praying the Pietro Molla prayer daily for our medical miracle, and God’s Will is what we Trust is best for us.

I am grateful we could school at home during these rough Septembers.

Tending hearts were as much a part of the lesson plans as was algebra and literature, history and art, geography and study of the gospels and saints these last two years.

There are immeasurable gifts in learning this way at such a time as this. 

It may not be for everyone, but it is for us. 

It is for Jon. 

Schooling at home provided the most valuable backdrop and beautiful landscape for ongoing rehabilitation while surrounded by different stages of learning and never-ending conversation while wrapped in unconditional love.

While Jon chose to focus his time on staying the course, resting between therapy and oncology appointments, MRIS, and Infusion treatments, we weren’t afraid to adapt to new things. We are still learning what is best.

We are teaching a love for learning while learning to live (and love) exactly where we are—it is about the whole of our lives.

We have come to value that life doesn’t happen in a bubble. Learning and living can be woven together in many different ways. Allowing us to focus on the whole person individually.

Along with completing a great week of school, I celebrated some long overdue accomplishments—I checked off many boxes while tackling an accumulating to-do list. 

We’ve also been making great strides in walking and in a creative endeavor where words are a matter of the heart. I look forward to sharing more about this when the time is right.

All happened while hearts broke at the news of a local mom gone much too soon and Queen Elizabeth, who lived the whole of her life serving others. 

Both beloved ladies will leave behind a legacy, each in her own right.

Both with loved ones near and far who will mourn their significant loss.

Hearts are breaking over other things, too—more private matters of the heart. But we keep going and praying. 

I taught a few things this week, but this week taught me more.

Duty is everything-whether long or short. “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Gratitude opens our eyes and hearts.

Loving and serving others in the name of Christ shifts our purpose and perspective. All Glory to God.

Letting go—of painful things, old beliefs, bad habits, and unrealistic expectations—is complex. But when we open our hands to give it to God—the Prince of Peace—we find freedom and rest in His mercy and grace.

Give yourself grace and give it to others too. Everyone is carrying a heavy cross, even those who wear heavy crowns.

Embrace the suffering; it is your road to sanctification. 

Life is short—embrace the moments. Laugh when you feel like crying. And let the tears flow, for they cleanse the soul. 

Don’t take things or people for granted. We are all nursing wounds; sometimes, they cloud our judgment and hurt our chances of seeing the truth about those we love. Be sure we are in the state of grace.

Reach out to those you love. From the fullness of the heart, let your mouth speak.

Forgive the hurt.

Accept responsibility. 

Mend fences, but honor boundaries.

Listen intently.

Be good.  “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.”Luke 6:43

Be willing to see things from another side. We are all one body in Christ. 

Give your heart and devote your life to your duties and caring for those entrusted to you. And when you make a mistake, start over. God promised new mercies every day.

Give others a soft place to land in your words and actions, especially if they just need to rest. Because we all know life is hard.

And by all means, let the precious pup lay on the sofa among the tousled pillows. It’s not a battle worth fighting. In fact, it may touch your heart. 

“I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion.” Queen Elizabeth at her 1957 Christmas Address

Speaking of battles.

I am saving my strength (rather than fighting the pup who just wants to cuddle) for other things like a rat who does not realize what it is up against. Like our graceful but wicked fast pup, Bonnie, who is known to flush out and retrieve those yard visitors. What is it with the varmints trying to scare us away? First, a bat, now a rat. 

Truth is, it’s all a spiritual battle. It won’t wear me down. These battles will only make me laugh and strengthen my resolve. Funny how rats are known to threaten the foundations of houses. 

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,” but not do what I command? 
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground 
without foundation.
When the river burst against it, 
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.” Luke 6:46-49

In Podcast News

Sophia and I have return to the mic and recorded two new episodes for this season. Update – Podcast News for 2023, we are set to resume our podcast for the new season starting with a Advent Series. We can’t wait to bring this your way.

We had a summer wrap up and conversation about several encounters throughout the summer. And we also had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Jeff Cortese a graduate of Franciscan of Steubenville, a former FBI Agent and Author of Public Corruption in the United States. He is a nationally recognized nonpartisan law enforcement analyst who has seen the fingerprints of God on his journey.

Pondering Short Reflections I shared this week

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  1. Re-reading this part again: Forgive the hurt.
    Accept responsibility. 
    Mend fences, but honor boundaries.
    Listen intently.
    Be good. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.” –Luke 6:43
    Be willing to see things from another side. We are all one body in Christ. 
    Especially the listen intently part!
    Thank you for the reminders!

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