Friday, September 16, 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday: Mind, Body, and Soul

This week, I've been thinking much (in the background, while I work) about how I need to tend to the needs of my family's mind, body, and soul. I've felt discombobulated--off my game--lately because I can do one thing really well at a time. If school is going great, I'm neglecting the cooking. If I'm back to exercising to get my body healthy, I'm unable to put in enough time to school. If I'm doing my morning holy reading and mental prayer, I don't have time to write in my twice daily Light Weigh journal, but if I wrote in my journal, I don't have time for reading and prayer. I could go on ad nauseum, but you get my point.

So, this leaves me thinking about what comes first. Soul and body need to come before the mind in our family at this time. Therefore, I've been thinking about my duties as blocks of time and about having met some of those needs, which makes me feel like less of a failure, even if our routine is still 'off' or 'evolving.'

Meeting the Needs of the Soul


For years--having learned of this practice from a mother of ten--I had the children join me in doing some holy reading and mental prayer first thing in the morning when they woke. Then I had Baby #5 and that fell by the wayside, only finally now to be resurrected. (It should have been one of the first routines I replaced, after laundry and cooking.)

I created a little corner at my old desk in the den: I posted some instructions of what to read and pray, posted our family prayer intentions, put out some of our favorite books for this purpose, and I even printed and laminated some of the best prayers so they would be even more easily accessible to children than they would be found in a book of prayers.

The children are to read one chapter from their chosen saint book--reading a chapter a day, think about how many saints they could read about in a year!--then complete about five minutes of mental prayer.

So far, it is going swimmingly. Some children are docile, some outright enthusiastic, and I'm developing anew the habit of morning prayer as well.

Margaret (5) reading a saint book


Meanwhile, during night prayers, Chris has taken it upon himself to teach the children how to do a "minor silence," which is something a priest told us is done in houses of religion. The children sit with Daddy and are silent for five minutes.

Think of the benefits of their slowly learning and expanding that skill!


After reading a rousing and inspiring monthly article from Rosie Gil's husband (I recommend so highly her posthumous book!) about the lost arts of creativity, both for women and men, I felt moved to introduce more creativity into our lives. Nowadays, most of us live our lives passively receiving information, or working, or purchasing things, but not actually creating. How many of us play an instrument fluently enough to make our own music, instead of popping in a CD? How many of us write stories or essays? How many of us are expert chefs for pleasure, or sew (clothing, quilts, baby blankets), or dance? How many of us carve wood or build furniture?

I certainly feel like a drudge most of the time, doing an endless cycle of work, and that is not the ideal of how a homemaker should feel. Where is my pride as I look at this haven I've created, with my husband's support, around us? God shared the power of creativity only with humans: in what ways am I using it? (Well, one way is this blog.)

I have an extreme limitation of time, so I hesitate to learn anything new right now. I decided to try my hand again at cross-stitching, which I did passionately from childhood through my early 20s. I still have many supplies for it as well.

Mary is seven, so the perfect age to join me. She began working on her own creative piece with an eye to learn proper counted cross-stitch next. Throughout the week, she raced back to her stitching every chance she got: upon waking, in lieu of playing outdoors, instead of watching a television show, and every time I would read aloud.

I need to buy some more fat, plastic needles so Margaret (5) can learn on something bigger than a needle and embroidery thread. She is so eager, she can hardly stop talking about it.

I had my father send me a photo of my largest cross-stitching piece, a framed lighthouse that hangs on his wall:

Meeting the Needs of the Body


Two hawks together in the early morning hours

Siblings walking hand-in-hand

The children declared their second week of Scottish dance lessons, "the best Scottish dance EVER!"

Little siblings dancing with abandon on the sidelines

We mothers had a lovely time chatting--albeit in high temperatures--at the playground while our tots played. I packed a picnic for my family to eat afterward while letting rush hour traffic pass before the 45-minute drive home.


Meals of the Week 

. . . shared to show that "My career is homeschool mother, not gourmet chef!"

I totally reorganized and cleaned up my pantry this week, which felt great. I've been trying to cook more mindfully lately, even though that adds its own complexities to life.

Peach milkshake mustaches

  • Saturday
    • Wilde rice blend with ground beef and onions, leftover roasted veggies, but for kids: chicken nuggets and pasta
  • Sunday
    • Restaurant after Mass
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
    • Chili (picked up from Wendy's around the corner), hot dogs, mac-and-cheese out of the box, leftover squash and zucchini casserole
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
    • Picnic dinner of sandwiches at Scottish dance class
  • Friday
    • I'm planning something with acorn squash, but I don't know what.

Meeting the Needs of the Mind


Typing out her own presentation on Akhnaton for CCE
Should I place mentions of music under Mind, Body, or Soul? It goes under all three! Anyway, I was touched by this moment when Margaret was struggling with "Chimichanga Cha Cha" and Mary sat by her to teach her, and I noticed my two long-haired maidens were dressed the same that day.

Sisters, teaching piano

Again, do I consider outdoor school meeting the needs of the mind or body? Both!

Doing the fourth grader's book work outdoors

The 13-month-old is so active now, and he weeps and flings himself to the ground when he sees his bigger siblings go play outside while he must stay in with me. So, this week I tried doing some school outside so I could let the toddler play in the yard while I supervised.

The two little boys enjoyed getting very muddy!

Muddy piggies

Apparently eating mud too

I asked Joseph to smile for the camera, but he replied, "No, Mama, I'm too busy chopping mud."

More muddy piggies


Family Books of the Week (in progress or completed)

  • Read-alouds
  • Mama
  • For Connecting with History:
  • John
    • Listening on CD to "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson
    • "Mad Scientists Club"--again!
    • "St. Thomas More" (Pauline Press)
  • Mary
    • Listening on CD to "Alice in Wonderland"--Finished
    • "Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati" (Pauline Press)
  • Margaret
    • "Harry, the Dirty Dog"

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

1 comment:

  1. There is such pressure to have a pinterest-able life, and I appreciate your honesty in how balance is a struggle. I need to think more intentionally about meeting the soul needs of my family. Thanks for sharing! :)