Thursday, May 24, 2007

Plans and Hopes for Summer...

Don't get me wrong -- I love teaching our four children at home, but it does eat up the vast majority of my time. Not that I'd have it any other way, mind you, but I have so little free time during the school year that I always look forward to summer as a time to relax, rest, and perhaps make some trips to my parents' place at the beach. I do still have to make some decisions about textbooks and curricula for our eleventh year of homeschooling, and I hope to get that all nailed down by the end of June.

But, homeschooling aside, this summer I have plans. Judith and I and our creative arts council will be busy with our "Taste of Art" summer series where kids in grades K-8 will receive excellent arts lessons in music, writing, woodworking, and watercolors for minimal cost (scholarships for those who can't afford even $3 for a two-hour lesson). The program will take place on Tuesday afternoons in July. Judith and I are co-teaching the writing sessions which will be taught in two different areas in the backcountry, plus we'll be helping out with the other artists as they teach in our town.

Judith has also volunteered to help me with a garden area in our yard. In our front yard, we have this very sunny spot where the lawn dies first, where it's just plain ugly. It's the perfect place to create a lovely spot to enjoy the view of the meadow, to soak in the sunshine, and to surround myself with beautiful flowers. So that's another project for this late spring/early summer: one that will aid my creativity in having a lovely place to write.

In addition, I have some leads on my family genealogy project. I will devote some time and energy to that job as well. Finding and copying that Master's thesis on my family definitely will help, but I will have to go back further generations. It will be an adventure for sure.

Plus, my dear friend Kitty and I have an idea for a literary-type small group at Lake Murray; we're still working out the details. I'm really excited about this group; I've wanted to do something like this for quite a long time but haven't had the courage or the physical strength to go forward with it.

I also am slated to be our creative art council's Featured Artist for October which means that I'll definitely have to cobble some poetry together, smooth out some (VERY) rough drafts, and work out some ideas that have been floating around but are not pinned down yet. I really need some feedback on improving my poetry; I have several accomplished poet friends but not really the situation to lay my work out before them for feedback and ideas for improvement. Having some feedback at the last Ad Lib retreat from two writers who edit a literary magazine was so helpful; feedback truly is a necessary ingredient in successful writing of every genre, but especially for poetry.

But besides all these projects, I really want to work on my articles on church practices. I have some ideas for the direction these can go, and I'd really like to be able to collect these later into chapters for a book. This project is the main area I wish for my energy to go for the next few months. Summer is really my only chance to devote a chunk of time and energy into a major project, and this one is so close to my heart; it's a deep passion of mine. I truly desire to end up with something publishable, but I need a very personal angle to balance the research. So I continue to pray, to ask for the Lord's leading. May He bless what He has given me a passion for: understanding and acceptance between Catholic and Protestant brothers and sisters.

I do know that, realistically, I won't get half of these goals done this summer; it's an enormous undertaking for a time period of only two months. But I'm looking for PROGRESS: to make some significant headway in the articles/book project, to do well with the Summer Art program, to nail down the homeschooling for next year, and to get a little done in the other areas.

I also realize that I do need to take time to truly REST during these short months; as homeschooling does really drain me of so much time and energy, I NEED to replenish my stores by just sitting on the beach with my toes dug into the sand, reading the final Harry Potter novel. Rest is indeed a necessity, but I hope I can also make some progress in these plans and hopes for this summer.

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