Friday, September 20, 2013

TUAR Rambling

This will be a Landscape of My Mind post rather than a List of Events.    I have two lives going on, or so it seems.  There is the exterior life, what I do and what happens, and then there is the life of my reading and thinking and writing, my inner life.    My goal is to get them to work together, but it still isn't very smooth.  Too often they run on parallel tracks and then intersect unexpectedly and crash into each other. 

This is a long post and I don't have any pictures to tie in, so I will intersperse gratuitous photos from our drive up to a Giant Sequoia grove near our house. 

Giant Sequoia Trunk

On the exterior front, my college kid has just gone back to college, which officially closes the summer.  Nature seems to reflect that.  There is a chill in the air, though the sun is still bright.  

We are almost in full swing of homeschooling, though it keeps getting interrupted.   I plan for five days a week of homeschooling, but generally, only four happen, because almost every week Something Comes Up.

We now have a year-round schedule.... a term is 2 months long, and there are six weeks to a term, leaving the possibility of three weeks off, but in reality, the vacations come in the form of interims, like a couple of weeks ago when we went up to Oregon for a week.  I planned to do some homeschooling, but it didn't happen.    The end of September is the end of our first term. 

 For once I have been able to simply keep going with my plans with only tweaks and adaptations, which is major.    This must mean that Memoria suits me, which I suppose is not odd.  It is simple and classical, my favorite modes.   We know when we are done for the day, and then we can just have fun the rest of the time.  Our leisure time has become a bit richer. 

Life of Fred also helps.   This has been great for Paddy.    Maybe I will write some more specifics about homeschooling progress in another post. 

Giant Sequoia, fire-scarred and hollowed but still standing strong

Now on the interior front...

After we studied Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers together last year, I got very interested in Benedict's Rule, and joined a couple of email lists that posted daily quotes from the Rule along with reflections.  One list was run by a Benedictine Oblate, one by a Benedictine brother.   Both were really good.   I also started reading Opus Dei's daily messages.

I also started making a Rule for myself.

When Pope Francis was elected, a Jesuit! it revived my longstanding interest in Ignatian things.  I determined to run our homeschool on more of an Ignatian model this school year. 

I studied the Kolbe booklet called Implementation of Ignatian Education in the Home.

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and had one of those psychic storms (you get them too, right?  it's not just me?) and realized that I was spending too much time on the internet.  I went on a fast for several days.   During that time I could not read my usual devotions online, so I started collecting physical devotional resources -- ie books.   

This turned out to be a very good thing for me.      It slowed me down.   I made a commonplace book -- where I wrote down passages of Scripture and quotes from the saints.   I found I had an easier time sticking to what I had planned for the kids if I limited my online hours and made any new ideas pass the Test of Time.  That is, when I do visit my message boards once a week or so, I write down ideas and resources if I really think they will be useful, but I save them for the next term, which is a natural filter.

Aidan and his Dad

A few weeks ago I started studying St Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises.   They are supposed to take a month and be done under the supervision of a spiritual director, but I don't have the latter and since I am continuing my normal life I don't have time to spend hours a day on the meditations, so they are taking me more than a month.

Benedict and Ignatius have really helped me.   I love them!    Funny, I love St Francis de Sales and St Therese for their personalities as well as their wisdom.   I love St Anthony because he helps me find lost things so often.   I don't love Benedict and Ignatius so much personally,  and their books are not so much inspiring and encouraging as say, St Francis's Introduction to a Devout Life, but I feel like they are my teachers.    Ignatius is like a personal trainer.   He is blunt, simple and yet so on target with everything.  He cuts straight to the chase every time. 

Other than this kind of thing, I haven't been doing much reading.   I am presently reading Don Quixote, struggling along on my halting Great Books Self-Improvement Plan.   I am also slowly reading Dante's Purgatorio, because it is often referenced in Father Barron's Seven Deadly Vices, Seven Lively Virtues which we were studying in our local Catholic Bible Study. 

I am also reading things aloud to Paddy --  Farmer Boy, Return of the King, Famous Men of the Middle Ages, and St Patrick's Summer.   

A while ago I read Stratford Caldecott's Beauty in the Word.   I read a LOT this summer but never seem to find the time now that we are in full homeschool swing.  

I think that brings me up to date on life around here! 


  1. Your way of dividing up terms seems natural, simple, and flexible. I think I'll steal it. :) I also really like how you say the Test of Time is a natural filter. Writing down good ideas to save for next term (not too far away, if they are two months long) would curb my bad habit of impulsive tweaks and purchases. Good idea. I've been writing in my Commonplace Book too. I was considering moving it to digital format, but I do think there is something to slowing down the mind through the physical act of writing that would be lost if I typed it instead.

    Anyway, I always enjoy your updates!

  2. Willa, you are inspiring me. I need to focus more on my spiritual life. I have gotten myself very busy. I think out of fear of an empty nest. But I should be more attentive to things of the spirit than I currently am. I tried to do a simple mediation with St. Ignatius and I just couldn't figure out what he was talking about!!! He seems so stern to me and abstract. The book I was using was one of the Take Five series that Mike Aquilina did. I had so enjoyed the one focused on John Henry Cardinal Newman. But I just couldn't get into the Ignatius one. Right now I am slowly reading The Imitation of Christ but I keep mislaying my book because my house has become (once again) terribly cluttered and things keep getting swallowed up in the quicksand of clutter!


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