Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Power Outage and a Podcast: Summertime Adventures

I was sitting in a restaurant the other day and noticed an advertisement for "Fall" milkshakes. Shocked, I realized that even though it's still toasty outside, summer is winding down as falltime (hopefully) begins. It's amazing to look back on the past several weeks and see what God has brought our way. One exciting moment was the chance to be on a podcast! I was interviewed on a recent episode of Homeschooling Saints ("Building a Network when your Children are Small"), so if you want to hear what my voice sounds like and/or want to soak up the wisdom of Lisa Mladinich (the podcast host), you can give that a listen :) 

[Though to be completely honest with you: After that interview, I was filled with anxiety and doubts. I desperately wanted the recording to somehow be misplaced or deleted, because what if what I said came out all wrong? What if people take my words the wrong way? What if....what if...After some prayer and letting myself calm down, I realized that all of my anxiety was unnecessary. God is in control, and if he wanted this interview to happen, then maybe someone else needs to hear it and experience solidarity.] 

In other news, I chopped off my hair! I was sick and tired of having long hair, and I love not having to deal with it anymore. Especially since we had a big adventure coming our way. First, some relatives came to visit for a day/to take care of the kids while we packed...because then we went to Arkansas for the first time!

We were signed up to attend an 8-day "family retreat" with Domestic Church, an awesome Catholic movement from Poland. But, we went to Arkansas a day early so that we could dig for diamonds. We did not find any diamonds (though I read that FOUR were found on the day we were at the park), but we had a pretty good time. It was hot at first, but then we discovered that we could just hang out by the shaded "wet sifting" troughs while my husband scurried around, filling our bucket with dirt. The kids loved playing in the muddy water, and I loved meeting the random people who were all sifting and sorting through buckets upon buckets of dirt. 

Crater of Diamonds State Park is literally a big field of dirt where you can 
dig and dig all day long. It's a kid's dream come true!
The next morning, we attended Mass at a wonderful parish operated by the Fraternity of St. Peter! We don't attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass very often (the Latin Mass), but we love it and it was just so beautiful. Plus, the people at the parish were extremely welcoming! After Mass, many of them introduced themselves, made sure that our tummies were filled with a pulled pork lunch (our firstborn even got some ice cream!) and they chatted with us and many of them took turns holding the baby. I've read both The Benedict Option and Building the Benedict Option, and this parish struck me as a vibrant and living example of what I've read about. 

From there, we journeyed to a wonderful site tucked away in the Ozarks for several days of prayer and fellowship with about 20 other families.  We stayed in multiple-family lodges (there were 7 or 8 total families in our lodge), the schedule included sessions of community prayer, sessions separated by ages, and "family time," and it was so awesome. It was also very awesome/exciting that I did not have to cook/think about meals or do any housework for several days in a row, outside of doing the laundry onsite once or twice. It was fabulous! We didn't do many of the onsite activities, since our kids still need naptime each afternoon, but we did feed the animals (we loved the lemurs) and we went on a hike together, which was tons of fun.

Now that we're back home, small adventures are continuing to come our way. My husband's work schedule changed drastically (in a good way), so we've been adjusting to that. A massive storm came through Oklahoma a few nights ago, and even though there wasn't much in the way of tornados, the winds were up to 80 or 90 mph and lots of trees were knocked down. We didn't have any damage on our property, but our power was out for about 44 hours or so. It wasn't unbearable (and our kids rather enjoyed using the flashlight at night), but we were all SO EXCITED when, during dinner, we suddenly heard the A/C go on. 
I have to confess, though, that part of me liked the simplicity that came with not having electricity. We didn't make our lives unnecessarily hectic taking care of things online because we couldn't. Plus, it brought the neighborhood together. One neighbor who did have power made coffee and invited a few of us over. Another neighbor-who I hadn't ever met or seen before-wandered down the street because she needed some solidarity and wanted to see if anyone knew when we'd get power back. Some other neighbors, who we've never been around much, were outside with us because it was cooler (and brighter) outside than inside our somewhat stuffy/warm houses. I am grateful that the power came back on when it did, so we could rescue most of the food in our fridge/freezer, so we could run the very full dishwasher, and so we could do the diaper laundry (we were getting close to the end of our clean diaper stash). However, there were some good things that came from having no electricity. 

I should get to some books that I have laying around (a review post is coming soon!), so I'll end here. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend, and a fabulous feast/memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist! 


  1. So awesome that you guys were able to have a great family retreat together! Sounds like a wonderful and toddler-friendly adventure!
    I think you have a better attitude about power outages than I do. I rely on our ceiling fans...when the power is out and there's no air movement in the house I realize how brutally hot it really is here and I don't tend to be very cheerful about it. :P

  2. Your hair looks cute!
    It sounds like a lovely trip. I, too, enjoy the break from housework and cooking when we travel.

    1. Thanks! Low-maintenance, short hair is awesome and I'm loving it :)
      It was such a nice trip-I think it was our first big trip as a family of 4 that wasn't "to see family," and I think I'd definitely like to do those more regularly (while I love seeing family, it's nice to have a brand-new adventure too).