Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spirit of Service: Passing on Old Clothes

One of the Works of Mercy is to clothe the naked. A very simple way of sharing the love is by donating. We donate our old, unused, or unwanted clothing and household items. It's not a big thing, but as St. Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa say,
 "Do small things with great love."

A way to stretch our family's money, aside from shopping sales and scouting the clearance racks at department stores, is by frequenting our local thrift stores. Just about all my maternity wardrobe from this last pregnancy was purchased from them. We've also been very blessed to have a number of friends pass around their daughters old clothes to us. Not to mention donating, buying used, and passing around clothing and other items is a superb, easy, green way of helping the environment through reusing.

I am in the process of doing some house cleaning and organizing. This stash of clothing is headed today for CCAP, a local needs assistance center that gives out clothes without charge to those who need them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spirit of Obedience: What I'm Reading (from the doula book list!))

For the Childbirth International doula certification, you must read 3 books. I have begun reading my first book choice, Heart and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth by Elizabeth Davis.

I purchased this book a few months back when I was dying to read it but my local library didn't have it. I was delighted when I came across it on the reading list. Now I don't have to feel quite as guilty for buying my own copy since it benefits my doula endeavours ;)

**A little side note, only 3 more days until I shadow my first prenatal doula meeting. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Staycation Day 3 ~ Skyline Drive

Our third day of staycationing was spent at the beautiful Skyline Drive. It's one of my family's favorite places to visit and come here frequently. It has some spectacular views!

I love, love, LOVE the Appalachian Trail. A portion of it runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah National Park.

I've always said, in another life time if I couldn't be a Trappist monk then I'd walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. I touched that dream briefly, when my family got out of the car and walked a very short portion of it (lots of small kids make for short hikes!).  Here's the sign of the trail!

Here I am touching my beloved trail :) Sorry, I have a bit of a sense of humor and we were having a good time! AT love <3

Anything for the trail.

We ate lunch at one the many picnic sites and took loads of pictures throughout the day, too many to bore you with here. We had a fantastic day and wonderful time together as a family out in nature. Another one of the Goad family's special days to remember always.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spirit of Service: Prayer Intention Board

 "I entrust to your infinite mercy, O Lord, those who have asked for my prayer, those for whom I have promised to prayer, and those for whom I should pray."
 ~Excerpt from LMC Morning Offering Prayer

Prayer is a part of my life as an LMC.

I love souls and I love praying for souls. It's a spiritual work of mercy, in fact. One way to assist the poor is through the service of prayer.

There are so many people in need of prayer. The list is forever getting longer and my heart and prayer goes out to each and every one of them.

One thing my family has begun to do recently is to create a Prayer Intention Board. It's simply a cork board dedicated only for people we're praying for. In this way we can keep them in our hearts and minds, being reminded of them each time we look at the board.

When the time affords me, I'd like to glam it up; maybe decorate the trim or something. Right now our intentions are written on a sticky note pinned to the board, but I'd like to create heart or angel shaped cut outs to give it a little special touch.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Spirit of Obedience: I'm a Doula-In-Training!

I took the first step!

I registered with Childbirth International to train and certify as a birth doula. I'm now officially a doula-in-training :)

To add a cherry on top of this wonderful news a dear friend of mine, who is herself a doula and childbirth educator, has offered to allow me to shadow her! A client of hers has agreed to allow me to observe and train during her pregnancy. Baby is due in October and the mother is planning a birth center delivery. How exciting and beautiful. Many prayers for this new little family. I am thrilled as I start on this new journey of service~assisting mothers and babies!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spirit of Poverty: Birthday Crown FINALLY

Last year I began making a Waldorf-style birthday crown for my daughter, Julia-Ann, for her first birthday. I designed it, bought all the materials, sewed on the designs. . . pretty much the only thing left to do was to sew on the elastic portion of it.

. . .and then I got pregnant.

When I am pregnant, in the "morning sickness" phase of the pregnancy, I get some really strange quirks I'd suppose you'd call them. Instead of getting physically sick I get a very 'gross' feeling. The best way I've been able to describe it is as being green under the gills, but even that doesn't do the feeling I get during early pregnancy justice. It's not like a 'I'm going to get sick' or 'I'm nauseous' feeling, just a very icky, gross feeling. And it's not so much foods or smells, per se, that make me sick as it is visual and tactile stimuli. Pretty much I develop an aversion to anything I  was doing or interested in at the on set of my pregnancy.

For example, sweaters. It was winter when I became pregnant with my 5th daughter. I was out shopping, looking in the clothing department and there were sweaters EVERYWHERE. I felt so nasty I had to leave that part of the store! At home, I had to pack away all my sweaters so I could no longer see them or touch them. . . .or really even think about them. It's silly, I know! I'm not sure where that came from or why I get like that. Warm, thick blankets have set off the same response. And with this last baby I had what I term "pregnancy induced hair highlights". My natural hair color has gotten rather dark over the years. Never bothered me before, in fact, I kind of liked it. Oh no. While pregnant, looking in the mirror and seeing my dark hair made me sick. So sick, I went and got some highlights put in to lighten it up! Yeah, God left a screw loose in the "pregnancy department" when He made me.

So as I was saying this time last year I was making this really great Birthday Crown. I had found some natural wool felt at the craft store. I loved the stuff! I thought I was so lucky to stumble upon it. And I was making progress in the sewing department, only a little to go. No doubt in my mind, I was going to have the crown finished in time for her very special first birthday.

Well after getting pregnant and entering that morning sickness phase I could no longer stand to touch the wool felt. Or look at it. I tried to pick it back up and finish it--push past the ickiness--but I couldn't stomach the feeling. I had to resign myself to the notion it wasn't going to get done, despite what little I had left to do. It was tucked away.

Now that her 2nd birthday is rolling up on August 16th, it was time to complete it. I hate an unfinished craft. It makes me leery of starting another one. It' sits in the back of my mind, haunting me. Well, I'm happy to say I can scratch this one off my list!

So finally, at last, the year long Birthday Crown~~

The instructions for the Wool Felt Birthday Crown can be found on the blog Frontier Dreams by clicking here.

Sunflowers and butterflies symbolizing her bithday season, summer, with her intials.

Her Guardian Angel.

Fireflies, again, a summer symbol.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Spirit of Chastity: 10 Year Anniversay Surprise

10 years.

That is how long my husband and I have been married already.
Amazing how fast the years can go!

I'm planning a little something special for him on our upcoming anniversary on August 26th.

I have done lots of commissions and drawn a number of portraits of other people's kids.
And while I've done a couple pictures of our daughters as infants, I have yet to do a portrait with all of them together. He's mentioned in the past that he'd like one to put up on our wall.

That is my gift to him!

With summer staycationing, beginning a new year of homeschooling, and, well, just life in general with 6 kids, I wasn't able to start my portrait in time to have it completed by the day of our anniversary.
But it's the thought that counts.

And the old saying goes:
You can't rush a masterpiece!

So stay tuned. . .when I'm done I'll share the finished product :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Staycation Day 2 ~ Visiting Civil War Battlefield Sites

The area we live in holds a lot of Civil War history. One of my family's growing interests is the war and the history that took place right here in our own backyard, so to speak. After all these years of living here it was only recently, on our second day of staycationing, that we got around to checking some the sites out. 

The Opequon Presbyterian Church, original structure circa 1736
Read it's history here.

The church's cemetery.
Having a passion for praying for souls, I took a moment to pray for the souls resting here.

The Kernstown Battles.
Info here.

One of the Kernstown battlefields.
It is mind boggling to imagine the battles actually taking place on this very field
 and men losing their lives.
You bet, I prayed for their soul too.

We tried to visit the historic Pritchard House across the way. Sadly we visited on a weekday and they are only open on weekends. More on them here. Supposedly they have a great self-guided field tour you can walk.
They have a gift shop, too, which I was looking forward to visiting.
 We'll have to save that for another time.

We stopped at some other roadside markers.

Packed with a cooler of water bottles and basket of snacks, we were good to go!

We stopped at a beautiful park spotted along the way.
We ate lunch, played with bubbles, and the kids stretched their legs on the playground equipment.
 It was short lived, however.
A summer thunderstorm rolled up on us quickly, sending us packing and running to the car.

We had a great time together as a family and learned a little something too.
That will go down in the book as another special day!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spirit of Service: Passing on the Legacy

There is nothing that makes this mama's heart sing louder than watching her own children practice the spirit of service. Instilling my six daughters with a servant's heart is one of my goals as a parent.

This summer my oldest daughter, who is 12 (soon to be 13~eek!!), had the opportunity to volunteer at not one but two Vacation Bible Schools. There was more involved to being a camp assistant than I first realized. She was required to attend numerous prior planning, training, and set up meetings. Faithfully she attended each one.

Watching her over these couple months, I discovered she has a bigger heart than I first realized and a knack for working with kids (having 5 younger sisters may contribute a little something to that, although she's not always so generous with them!). Her adult leader counterparts on more than one occasion made compliments on how much of a help she was. It was heartening to see her bud and blossom in this new leadership role as she grows into a beautiful and giving young lady.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spirit of Obedience: Binder of Special Days

My summer vacation got me thinking about the need to make--to create--special days for my children. Along with the idea of daily rhythm, that is one of the main aspects that draws me to my interest in a Waldorf -style education. They celebrate various holidays and special events. But I suppose holidays and rhythm go hand-in-hand when you stop to think about it. Waldorf practices daily, weekly, yearly rhythm-- and holidays are those days we celebrate repeated or rhythmically each year.

Wanting to give my children a bit more color, fun, celebration--whatever you want to call it--in their life I decided this school year to 'purpose' more special days into our school year and into our lives. I have wanted to do this for awhile but was never organized enough to implement it. It takes forethought and planning to some degree.

Two book I have found helpful in planning our special days are:

All Year Round by Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marje Rowling

To keep the days organized I have created a binder. I have divider tabs to mark the months of the year (and seasons too--another biggy in Waldorf, observing and celebrating the seasons) and a printed calendar behind each to mark the holidays, events, birthdays, etc. we intend to celebrate. We may not get around to doing all of them, but perhaps three or four a month. Some special days may be more involved than others. For instance some may be all out with crafts and foods, while others may be a simple coloring page to commemorate a saints' feast day.

I intend this binder to be ongoing, to cycle through it repeatedly. So the calendars will remain in there year after year to keep me from having to research over and over again that month's holidays and feast days. I have also started to print copies of coloring pages and activity pages to keep in a page protector to xerox annually. The idea being to do the work once while being able to benefit from it over and over again. I also have a page for notes of activities for a particular day and resources of books or web pages where I found them. Doing similar activities and celebrations year after year instills a sense of tradition.

Something else I've come across and found useful is a "Get It Done" Project Planner sheet I printed out from my book, Educating the WholeHearted Child. Essentially it's just a simple form for helping you plan out projects, i.e. the date you need it by, what materials you need, resources to use, steps to take, etc. It's great for preplanning which was one of my pitfalls in trying to do this before. The day would arrive with little to no forethought. I'd have nothing planned out so I'd let it slide by saying to myself, "Well we'll catch the next special day." But the same thing would happen the next time. No celebrating was getting done.

And now that I have that fantastic, new camera of mine I'll be photographing our specials to record in our recently started The Goad Family's Book of Special Days scrap book I'm creating for my girls to cherish as the days pass and they grow older.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spirit of Poverty: My Birth Story (Part 2)

Last week I told you about the labor portion of my homebirth (My Birth Story Part 1). Today I'll share about the post delivery aspect.

After giving birth to my baby girl on the bathroom floor, I was assisted to my living room couch. The midwives had wrapped up the placenta in one the sterile pads and bundled Christy in a towel, who was being held by her dad and grandmother, before being cozied up next to me on the sofa. The umbilical cord was kept on, not cutting it, until all that wonderful cord blood had drained from it. I LOVED this. One of the first things the doctor did with my 5 previous babies was to cut the umbilical cord and waste all the benefits of the rich cord blood. I wasn't given the choice to have it any other way. With a homebirth it's all choice~you become empowered and encouraged to make your own decisions.

Instead of having a rushed post delivery period, the baby being passed around, poked and prodded at, with this experience everything was taken slow and mellow. Keeping the moment beautiful.

When the time was right, Christy was evaluated.
Her vitals taken.

Measured and weighed.

All done right from my couch. She was always kept close to me.

Both Christy and I were treated with utmost love and comfort.

The midwives stayed for two hours from the time of delivery to ensure baby and I were doing alright. They used the time to carefully clean, sterilize, and reorganize all their tools of the trade. I was given the choice by my husband to have anything to eat, he'd make me anything. I had a craving for french toast! So it was, my post partum meal was a batch of my hubby's scrumptious homemade french toast :)

It was my doulas first homebirth experience as well, so she stayed and watched everything-taking it in and learning from it. I didn't know until after the fact that she was a real godsend to my husband. During the heat of the action of my impromptu bathroom delivery, my husband was left on the outside. From the hallway he could only catch glimpses and was beginning to panic a bit not knowing if everything was alright or not. My doula was able to give him peace of mind reassuring him the process was going normal and all was well. I am eternally grateful for her role in my birth.

The midwives came back every few days in the beginning to check on us and then every week or so until our 6 week post partum check up. I couldn't be more delighted or pleased with my homebirth or my wonderful midwives.

It was my husband who was most turned on to the homebirth experience. In his excitement he told nearly every person he came across our birth story--including the lady behind the Subway counter! I think he's shared our story more times than I have. He was asking me why didn't have a homebirth sooner with our other daughters. Back when we first started having babies he was dead set that babies were born in hospitals, period. Well we sure made a convert out of him!! He even had a buddy at work whose wife was pregnant and considering a homebirth. My husband was sharing with the other guy how wonderful it was and that he should let his wife give it a try if she wanted to. Oh he's come a long ways, my little homebirth advocate!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Staycation Day 1~ Exploring the Caverns

An extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home or in traveling.

A vacation spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

My family recently had a week of staycationing. My husband had a week of vacation time from work, but we really couldn't afford to get away for a true vacation right now. Instead we used that time to finally get around to crossing off our list some of the local attractions we're always talking wanting to do but have yet to do.

Our first day was spent at the Endless Caverns in New Market, VA:

According to the tour operators, the cave was discovered by two boys in October 1879, while hunting rabbits on the property of Ruben Zirkle. The boys cornered a rabbit behind an outcropping of limestone rocks, and began moving some of the loose stones to flush the rabbit from his hiding place. After doing this they discovered a hole in the ground and ran back to the house to grab some ropes and candles. After going into the hole the boys found that there were many chambers and rooms (Wikipedia). The caverns are called endless because explorers have yet to find the end to the many passages.

The scene from the parking lot. Gorgeous!

Just a few of the amazing things we saw:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Service to the Poor: First Visit to MCs

The Missionaries of Charity have three houses in the Washington, DC area:

1244 V Street Southeast ~ Contemplative Sisters
(202) 889-6100

Queen of Peace House ~ Soup kitchen and Home for pregnant women
3310 Wheeler Road Southeast
(202) 562-6890
Gift of Peace House~ Sick and dying
2800 Otis Street Northeast
Washington(202) 269-3313
The cross in the chapel at the Gift of Peace House

My first visit to the MCs was about 4 years ago. I went to the Queen of Peace House because I was interested in the home for unwed mothers since I have my own history as an unwed, teenage mom. However, there really isn't much to do as a volunteer there. So instead I helped out in the soup kitchen. It was a beautiful experience. The Sisters have no problem giving you a chore and putting you right to work.

The Sister Superior noticed I had a car. She asked if I wouldn't mind giving her a ride around town to do some shopping. I hadn't had that in my mind, but sure, I was up for anything I could do to be helpful. They always go out in pairs, so I ended up driving around DC these two little nuns. The Sisters know every dollar store in the city. And come to find out they love shopping. We went to three or four different stores shopping for items on their list. It was such a pleasure to be able to do this for them.

Driving around the city, the topic of the National Shrine came up. I mentioned I had never been before. The two sisters had me take them there and gave me a quick tour. I was so humbled and blessed to be personally accompanied around the shrine by them--one sinner-in-reform with two saintly nuns. I never would of imagined in a million years having this experience.

Afterwards, the sisters took me to the Gift of the Peace House and gave me a tour there as well. They had a brief chat with their other sisters and collected a few supplies to take back to their convent with them. The sisters grabbed me a snack and a soda before we ended the day back where we started.

It was such a blissful day. I thank God for that amazing experience. I went to serve the poor, instead it was I who ended up being served, being blessed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spirit of Obedience: Planning for Another Year of Homeschooling

Amazingly it is already time to think about the new school year as our little summer break comes to an end. I have been busy preparing for our fourth year of homeschooling. I enjoy planning our lessons and organizing our materials. Each year I tweak the previous years curriculum. Our first year of homeschooling I did mainly Classical Education using The Well-Trained Mind. Being a newbie, I felt like I needed to run a tight ship to be sure my children were receiving an adequate education. The second year I had just given birth to my 5th baby in August and felt like I needed a curriculum that made schooling easier. We went with a computer based program called Switched-On Schoolhouse for their major subjects and used Seton workbooks to cover the rest. This past year was our first year of having just two of our daughters at home. My oldest daughter went into 6th grade. We decided, for a number of reasons, it was best to send her back to the local catholic school. Again, we went with The Well-Trained Mind and Seton materials for the other two.

I discovered Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson at the library. I liked it so much I bought my own copy. I have decided to use it as the basis for this school year, coupled with Charlotte Mason and a hint of Waldorf. Now that I have a few years of home education under my belt, I feel like the past few years have been getting "dry". When I first came into homeschooling I loved the idea of using life as the classroom, of making learning fun. This year my goal is to get back to that ideal. While I'm not comfortable with unschooling, I'm confident enough now to use a loose curriculum covering the basics, but leaving room for exploration and creativity.

I'll keep you posted as I continue to gather resources and materials to begin our Homeschool Year 2012-2013!