As best as I can tell, I've managed to catch my virtual breath. I wasn't sure whether or not I'd ever come back to Thoughts Interrupted. In the end I felt as though I still had things to say.
The time away was nice - to stop viewing life's intricacies and moments as potential fodder for this space. To breathe. To reflect and to remember the value as well as the snags of this increasingly complex realm.
Lately when people have asked me how I'm doing, I've wanted to show them my nightstand and let them decide for themselves. This spring has been especially scattered for me introspectively speaking. Combined, Amazon (used), Paperback Swap and borrowed titles have accommodated my meanderings and enabled me to accrue this nighttime collection.
I discovered this title by way of FB of all places. A woman I really respect happened to post it one day which peaked my interest enough to add it to my wishlist on PBS. My number came up and this title has kept me company off and on this spring. Interestingly enough the author spent a term teaching at Westmont in their English department; a fun and unexpected connection for me. While I can't claim to be riveted thus far I have remained intrigued enough to allow its prose to sing me to sleep over the past few months on occasion.
Three guesses as to why I'm flipping through these pages? Regardless of how we choose to educate our kids I think we can all agree that the environments in which our children are learning these days are both dynamic and taxing. The bottom two titles are especially applicable across the board while the top title is specifically directed toward the homeschooling crowd.
In our schoolhouse I tend toward order, structure and discipline. There is I believe tremendous value in all three. And I'm sensing that we're all needing added dimension to our learning environment - space and tools that will carry us beyond where we've been and into an all together new territory.
Almost three year-olds are fantastic catalysts for bringing about such change.
Interestingly enough, the more I process all of this I'm fairly certain that the added dimension will come by way of simplifying our outside commitments rather than extending them (more on this another day).
While I'm still not entirely confident that I have the pronunciation of Madeline L'Engle's last name correct, I am certain that this woman's work is worth reading. There is a timelessness to her insights, a frankness so refreshing. She reminds me that in life there are seasons - that not everything can or ought to come together now. Her words help me to breathe and to dream deeply, not sacrificing one for the other.
Mimosa: A True Story
I have this friend. We had our first babies within days of each other. We met postpartum in a playgroup. She is entirely my opposite - incredibly artistic, go-with-the-flow and a visionary all wrapped up into one colorful person! Blooming wisteria has brought her to tears and the plight of orphans led she and her husband to adopt a fourth child though the foster care system.
Recently I bumped into her at church. She started talking about this fabulous book group she's in. There was talk of raw food, interesting women, great titles. In the end, she found a place for me in the mix as well - Mimosa is on tap for the first month.
What this book has come to represent for me in recent days is a recognition that I can't possibly say yes to every (or even most) inspiring opportunities that come along these days. This season is calling me to something smaller, something more specific. I think back to L'Engles insights - to the space I have to preserve so that the commitments closest to me thrive rather than merely survive.
And so this week I have to quit the book club I never even started. That feels humbling and like growth all at once.
Here's how Chapter 2 began:
"The relationship of child to Mother at Eight is perhaps more complex, intriguing, and intense than at any other age. This must be clearly understood if a mother hopes to get along with her child in everyday life or in any teaching situation where she may be trying to help him."
And with that I knew I must keeping reading.