I tried to sit down and explain this last night, but it turned into the Library Story instead - related but not exactly explaining the point. In the Library Story, I was trying to express both how exciting the Library Tree success was to me and the value our family has found in "engaging the world" even in little ways.
But there's really a lot more to the story - especially the story of my weekend. It's been a weekend filled with incredible graces and blessings, in my view, surrounding two incredibly frustrating (and rather painful) misunderstandings... as if, perhaps, "someone down there" couldn't be content with all of the good things going on and had to stir up some trouble. I had already noticed this strange roller-coaster I've been on in the last few days (John said last night that, "The world has a neurosis" heehee), but now I have more reason to share the whole story beause of the "punch line" (it's coming, be patient).
Here's the second grace-filled story that touched my life this weekend. It meant a lot to me...
I talked to one of the office-people after Mass on Sunday about the Christmas Eve over-flow Mass in the gym that my friend and I have "adopted". This office-person was concerned about our request for 10 poinsettias because it was for "just an hour" and it seemed like a waste to put too much into it. I politely pleaded that it was a packed Mass - probably 4 or 500 people and managed to secure 4 poinsettias from the YMCA sale rather than the expensive ones from the florist. Really not too bad though the "just an hour" thing grated on me a bit. The beautiful part was, I was talking to one of our church-lady friends in the hall while we munched on donuts about the project and mentioned that I was disappointed, but glad to get at least the four poinsettias instead of the two I had expected (two seemed like such an "afterthought" - especially since the entire background is black and we need a little color). She completely appreciated my enthusiasm and concern for the project and asked if she could donate some money for two more poinsettias instead of to the official Christmas flower fund. I gratefully accepted her $10 (with tears of gratitude and joy - it just touched me so much!).
The third story I just heard about yesterday. You remember that literature class with the anti-Catholic materials that I was helping some teens refute and answer? One of the moms of those students got a call from her yesterday. This teacher said that she's been teaching homeschooled students (including some Catholics) for many years. She's never had any of them stand up for their faith before and she was very impressed with these girls' conviction, their understanding and their charitable tone. She said that, being a Protestant, a number of these things about Catholics were things she just assumed to be true (some of which she didn't even know would be "offensive" to Catholics), but would be dropping some of the readings from future classes based on the girls' answers to the questions. The girls won't be going back for future classes, but it was thrilling to discover that their responses have had such a positive impact. Definitely some good seeds planted there!
Okay, so here's the punchline. This morning I finally (and somewhat belatedly) joined Alice's Cottage of Loreto e-mail group, set-up to jointly pray novenas for different Catholic homeschool families and discovered that the novena for MY family ended on Sunday, December 3rd! Thank you so much Alice and friends!