Catholicism, Life, religion, Unschooling

Filling that page

Sitting in Mass on a Saturday in January. Reading the reflection provided by Father.

With what shall I fill the page of my life, my year?

With whatever it is that God wants.

“I think of this new year as a white page given to me by Your Father on which He will write, day by day, whatever His Divine good pleasure has planned. I shall now write at the top of the page with complete confidence Dominie, fac de me sic it vis, Lord, do with me what you will, and at the bottom I already write my Amen to all the proposals of your Divine will.” Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit.

That is the excitement of a new year. The not-knowing.

It can be frightening, I know. Yet it can also be freeing. Being open to His will, and being open to serendipity, can mean that our lives, and the lives of our family, are strewed with possibility.

In prayer and contemplation I like to think of adding something to our lives. Many resolutions at this time of year are riddled with don’ts or I won’ts or I musts (eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol, give up carbs, not be grumpy or angry or despairing..). It is freeing, however, to give these don’ts or wants in prayer and to think of things to add to our lives.

Turn on music. Hire some DVDs. Go to the library for new books. Declutter and see what amazing new-to-you, once forgotten, discoveries you make.

Dance. Sing. Cook. Enjoy a home-cooked meal or salad, eaten slowly, with family or with friends or even on your own with a good book.

Find movements that make you smile, that make you feel like a child. That makes you feel tough and cool and oh so athletic.

Start a family journal or scrapbook or blog or animoto or iMovie.

This is not the year for shoulds and musts and don’ts. This is the year of being with Him and of where that takes you and of, in the meantime, strewing your life and the life of your family with interesting things.


Life, Unschooling


It’s December, it’s Advent, it’s nearly Christmas. It’s time to take stock of the year. It’s time to think about the new year, that word for the year.

It’s a bit like starting a new school year. I loved that as a child. This was going to be the year that I would always be neat in my book, always be perfect. I loved opening a brand new, pristine, as yet untouched exercise (school) book. It felt like a new slate.

It’s also a bit like having a new baby. Ah, this time I will get it right, I’d think. This time I would be that perfect mother, do everything well, feed my baby and myself only natural foods.

That’s how I feel about a new year. A chance to do it right.

And even though I know there is no right, even though I know I will mess up and be me and that is okay, even then I still feel a small thrill. And a small sense of dread.

In taking stock of a year, we can grieve. We can smile.We can remember hurts and sorrows, we can remember the joy and smiles.

If something is not working, we can change it. Often times, it is a change that helps. Doing something replaces the inertia. “If it can be done now, do it now.” (Ruth Fields, in the book GYST).

If things are flowing, go with the flow. “A good life, a really productive life, exists because of all the action taken daily to sustain it.” Ruth Fields, GYST again.

For me, that means the little things that sustain. Little things like prayer. Reconciliation. Mass. Exercise. Smiling as a conscious act. Saying hi to a son and texting a friend. Lighting the Advent candle. Having dinner with whomever is home. Decorating or cooking for the liturgical year.

For while waiting for big things to change, or waiting to instigate change, or even when big things can’t change, the little things can sustain us. In taking stock of the year that was we can remember the little things. In planning for the new year, we can remember the little things.

They count, they count towards the year that was. They count towards the new, even if slightly smudged, slate.

They count. They count.