Jan. 18, Feast of St. Prisca, a child martyr captured by the emperor Claudius and tortured. She glowed with light like a star, so the emperor ordered her thrown into an amphitheater with a lion. The lion licked her bare feet. In the end, Claudius had her beheaded.
It's kumquat season. These oblong citrus fruits populate a tiny area in an only slightly less tiny town. So tiny that it doesn't even have its own zip code, and its mailing address adopts the name of a nearby town. It's neat to see how identity and location is wrapped up in something so . . . little. But something quite distinct. It's not an orange, and if the orange was the primary crop of this little hamlet, it would not be what it is, but a different place altogether. As different as if the French had won the war to keep North America or electricity had never been invented. Identity, and significance, is tied up in specifics. In the being of one thing and the not being of another. The town is the town it is because kumquats are not oranges.
The biggest local event (held in the nearby town) is upon us in a week. The Kumquat Festival draws impressive crowds for our area, and the people who travel, sometimes for hours, to attend want their fill of kumquat: kumquat ice cream, kumquat soda, kumquat jam, kumquat salads, and, of course, a slice of kumquat pie. So the childcare center has been making pies like mad this past week, to sell at the festival. That means more working hours for me (good) and less time to recoup and recharge and rest (not as good).
I feel guilty that this steady, nine-to-five (technically, 8:30 to 5:30) working pace drains me so and leaves me frazzled and strained. I tend to torture myself with mental lectures about how so many people do this, and do it gratefully, and don't feel sorry for themselves. But the reality is that I'm not one of those people. For better or worse, my limits are what they are. And beating myself up about not having a larger stress capacity is useless in the the most final and unalterable way. The best I can do is to manage as best I can, and let myself be for what I'm not capable of.
So I'm looking forward to the slow-down (a week? two at most? I hope!). To getting back into rhythm, which is as nourishing as a healthful, home-cooked meal. I ordered one of Mama's Notebooks and am looking forward to using it. I'll try to remember and find time to share how I like it. I'm sure I will; it covers everything, from meal planning to spiritual growth. And if I'm not the poster child for clearly setting things out and referring back to the guidebook to accomplish the simplest of everyday tasks, I don't know what is!
I've enjoyed reading everyone's hesitant-but-hopeful aims for this year. And of course I've incubated a few of my own, even when I didn't realize I was doing so. So I might as well punch them down here. Changes and/or continuances I want to execute in 2014:
- I'm anticipating being a place where I can Mass other than on Sundays. I don't feel brave enough to say daily Mass yet. If I aim for just one daily Mass and then manage (through the grace of God, always!) six, I'll feel very happy with the situation!
- Join some close friends in praying daily the Divine Mercy chaplet.
- Adding regular exercise back into my life. Walking briskly with Afon in stroller or else by myself when I get the chance; maybe even adding running. But that's a big maybe and will take a tall can of energy drink beforehand.
- Go back to frequent grocery shopping; this will tie in with meal planning, for which I intend to utilize my new notebook of power!
- Pray first thing in the morning.
- Continue my self-education in cloth-making, and close the gaps in the process by familiarizing myself with all the steps, from spinning to finished crochet/knit project. Maybe, if I'm feeling up for it, learn to sew patterns with a machine.
- Write daily.
- Attempt a daily schedule. Something like: prayer, exercise, dress, breakfast, Mass, writing period, lunch, grocery shopping, park time/play time/play group with my son, dinner, leisure for internet, crochet, reading, etc. (As I type this out, I find it very intimidating!)
- Five first Saturdays--will this be the year for a plenary indulgence? I hope so!
It's a bit overwhelming, but I draw armfuls of comfort from this little online blogging community, and the prayers I know that get irretrievably tangled with each complex and overlapping electronic relationship, and the graces cast down from heaven as a result. Thanks for your friendship. Thanks for being a presence on the internet for hurting, weary women to find the Body of Christ. Thanks for writing your blogs, and updating them, and remembering them again after a half a year. Thank you for reading mine.