“There’s much that goes to the makin’ of a man or woman into somethin’ better than a brute beast, but there’s three things in chief, an’ they’re the places where life sets us down, an’ the folks life knocks us up against, an’ — not the things ye get, but the things ye don’t get.
– Elizabeth Goudge
Last week was one of those full, good weeks. More than one kid this week took off on a learning adventure ahead of me, which is pretty amazing. There was a lot of inventing going on, too…just…one of those good weeks when you see the wheels turning and learning being applied, which is always such a gift.
For all that, I felt rather behind for most of the week, constantly playing catch up. I haven’t really found my groove with home care and meal prep since schooling began in earnest. It is definitely a case of knowing what the general needs and routine are, but not having enough hours in the day. It’s not that we sit at the table all day long, but with six learners and six different interests (and teaching Latin and Physics to my eldest) I find myself often barely finishing up before my husband returns home in the evening. The children and I all have our basic chores that get done everyday, but a lot of the maintenance type chores (mopping, deep cleaning the kitchen, etc.) aren’t getting done- and with eight in our space, those areas show the lack pretty quickly.
And the groceries- meal planning- ugh. Don’t get me started. I feel like we spend so much time trying to figure out what we can actually have- always feeling a little bit lost- and having such a limited budget- that often, figuring out a meal plan for our family of eight can pretty much bring me near tears if I’m not in the right frame of mind. We had a long discussion on Instagram the other day about it, if you’re interested. There’s quite a group of us in similar situations and it was a deep encouragement that day to know I was not alone.
Through it all, there is so much beauty to be found. Picking up my husband from work one day, I looked up to find an almost Narnian-like scene under a lamp post…so many beautiful leaves…and the last vestiges of our wildflower plot out front. I etched one of the pumpkins in a quiet hour last Monday. It’s all here…good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.
A few nights ago I could tell by the light through the trees that the sunset was going to be achingly beautiful that night, so we made our way down to the river to capture it.
One of my favorite prayers from our Great Vespers service (which happens every Saturday night in preparation for Divine Liturgy the following morning) is when we chant Psalm 140. Here’s the first verse and a lovely recording:
Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Towards the end of the service, we sing O Gladsome Light.
O Gladsome Light of the holy glory of the Immortal Father,
heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ.
Now we have come to the setting of the sun
and behold the light of evening.
We praise God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For it is right at all times to worship Thee
with voices of praise, O Son of God and Giver of Life,
therefore all the world glorifies Thee.
So often now when I see the sunset, these prayers are echoing in my mind and heart. They bring deep and abiding comfort, and remind me to always look for the light.
Turn your face towards the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.
– Maori proverb
(Continuing my photographic exploration of looking for the light yesterday.)
Just a quick note: If you followed along with the Finding Home series, you might enjoy Kort’s series this month about Homeschooling and Working From Home with Ease. It was the series I really, really needed back in the day. While I dealt with the big heart issues in Finding Home, she’s talking about the nitty gritty day to day helps in scheduling, apps to use, and so much more.
Finding the light, October 7, 2015, 5:56 pm.
Any parent of young children can tell you how the hours at twilight can be the witching hours: kids are hungry but dinner’s not quite ready, everyone is tired and in need of refueling, tempers fray easily. Yesterday was especially whiny. I chose to refocus and find pockets of beauty and peace. The light at this time of day is such liquid gold. I love, particularly, how it makes the icons glow. Of course they have their own glow, but the late afternoon light on them is my favorite.