Lord, it is good that we are here

It’s been an interesting week here at Das Schmidt Haus. As I reflected late last night, I keep ruminating on a phrase from sacred Scripture — a couple of words Peter said after Jesus took him, James, and John up the high mountain: Lord, it is good that we are here (from the Transfiguration of Jesus, Matthew 17).

— 1 —

Lucy: “Mom, there’s a dragonfly in our house.”

Me: “Uhhh, that’s no dragonfly, sweetie.” {Cue: screaming and scrambling to get out of das haus!}


By the looks of it, we think it’s a hornet. Legend is there was big process involved in order to kill the thing, and I would love to share the details of how Joel saved the day here at Das Schmidt Haus, but since the kids and I got the heck out of dodge and took cover at the neighborhood Wendy’s to enjoy a Jr. Original Chocolate Frosty(™), I have absolutely no clue how he tamed the wild beast.

As for the dead bug, his (her?) temporary final resting place is in a plastic storage bag on my kitchen counter. I’m not quite sure why I feel the need to save it, but I can’t find the motivation to simply give it a proper burial in the trash. Some families mount deer head on the wall. We Schmidts shall forever show off our hornet!

Hornets and all, Lord, it is good that we are here!

— 2 —

All week many beautiful “First Day” and “Back-to-School” photos popped up on my Facebook feed. We have discerned homeschooling for our family this school year, but even so, I wasn’t sure how I would react when the school year began and the reality of our discernment hit me square in the face.

Surprisingly, I felt at peace — peace for Lucy, our family, and peace for many friends who also took their children’s schooling choices to deep prayer and discerned public or private options.

I still feel compelled to share a “Lucy’s First Day of School 2013-14″ photo. On a day when most of her friends headed off to school, we headed out to a homeschooling park outing.


I left the park on cloud 9, thanking the Good Lord for putting me on the same path as the fantastically holy women and families gathered there. As we drove off, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the cute little dirty faces of two very happy and content Schmidt children.


Lord, it is good that we are here in Des Moines, surrounded by such a supportive homeschooling community. 

— 3 —

Then Thursday came. No scheduled park outings. Very few sightings of moms walking the sidewalks with their kids. The UPS or FedEx guys didn’t even stop by to make a delivery. Buses picked up and dropped off kids. Neighborhood cars buzzed back and forth, coming and going, zip zip zip. Last week’s busy sidewalks occupied by moms and kids with strollers, tricycles, and scooters now begged to be used by the neighborhood gang. My heart sank. I began to panic. Our neighborhood’s silence frightened me.

I think it drove Lucy a little batty, too. She made her own fun by setting plastic Chinese lanterns on top of two lit lamps in the master bedroom. Let’s just say those plastic lanterns don’t emit the nicest smelling odor when they catch on fire.

Pity Party: ACTIVATE!

Then my spiritual cheerleader came to the rescue once again. One of my favorite writers who consistently churns out edifying, uplifting posts must have known I needed a pick-me-up at this exact time. For others questioning decisions made and mourning the road-less-traveled, here are some wise words by one Mrs. Elizabeth Duffy on Change and Surrender:

One of the hardest things, I think, about making difficult decisions is the mourning one experiences for all the alternate roads not taken. Down each path is a potential vision of the particular kind of mother I’m not going to be. There goes the home schooling mom in me, up in vapors. There goes the parochial school activist. There also goes the specter of my kids in plaid kilts, or sitting around my kitchen table painting sparrows for their integrated science and art class … 

Read full post here.

Change and surrender. Mourning alternate roads not taken. Lord, even with the difficult homeschooling days ahead, it is still good, very good, to be here. 

— 4 —

So we received the pictured marketing piece in the mail this week from an insurance company soliciting our business. One side of the postcard shares info about the firm and their services; the other side shares Joey’s, one of the firm agents, favorite recipe.

For Jell-O cake.

Jello-O Cake Recipe

Admittedly, I love Jell-O cake as much as the next person who grew up in public schools where it was on the menu every Friday. I’ve even made it for several potlucks and family gatherings. But if I had to pick one, just one, recipe to use in a mass mailer, I’m not sure Jell-O cake … well … takes the cake.

So I starting thinking, What favorite recipe would I share? It’s a tough call, but it’s probably Joel’s recipe for strawberry white chocolate cheesecake. It’s the dessert Joel prepared for the guests at our wedding reception and one he bakes semi-regularly on special occasions still.

What about you? What one favorite recipe from your kitchen would you share with the world?

Lord, it’s good we are here to enjoy both Jell-O cake AND cheesecake!

— 5 —

For you Sirius/XM subscribers, tune in to The Catholic Channel, Channel 129 on Thursday, August 29 and hear Joel and me interviewed by Gus Lloyd’s Seize the Day radio program. It’s a live interview scheduled for 8:15 am/7:15 am central.

Lord, it will be good we are here when the children stay quiet in their rooms until the interview is over! 

— 6 —

Congrats to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist whose debut album, MATER EUCHARISTIAE, topped both the Billboard Classical Overall & Classical Traditional Charts this week! See my interview with Sr. Marie Suso and enter to win a copy of this beautiful work of art here!

Dear Reader, it is good you are here, especially if you haven’t yet entered the CD GIVEAWAY. Now go do that. Here. 

— 7 —

Joel was invited to a whiskey tasting last night. The invite required: 1) bringing a whiskey to share, and 2) wearing a suit coat and tie. Recommended by a good friend who is also a Benedictine monk, Joel contributed Oban (14-year) Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. He tells me it was smooth, yet complex; not too assertive; full-bodied with hints of orange and cinnamon; a welcome respite from the smokey assertive Islays.

Whatever …

I frequently talk and write about the importance of spiritual friendships and “sabbaths” with my girlfriends, and this outing reminded me it’s equally important for men to enjoy the same. What a great opportunity for Joel to spend quality time with a group of fine Catholic gentlemen, including three priests. If there ever was an occasion fitting for the bow tie, this was it.

Lord, it was good for Joel to be there, surrounded by good and holy Catholic men!


Now I’m off to bake a Jell-O cake for a homeschooling potluck tomorrow! For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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  1. says

    I remember how it felt to not participate in those “first day of school” rituals. It felt good. :) Now it doesn´t even register with me, probably because my youngest is high school age. Lord, it is definitely good to be here.

  2. says

    awwww ….. I love you, girl. Will it make you feel a little less stressed if I tell you that we haven’t started our homeschool year yet?? I’ve not felt up to the challenge.

    I’m taking notes on the Scotch. Brett loooooves the Islays, but I think it tastes like nasty wet leaves. (says a girl who loves bourbon) I think I’ll surprise him with one for Christmas.

  3. Andrew says

    Thank God indeed for homeschooling in Iowa; I fear that it’s in Obama’s and/or the liberals’ (in general) sights. Lisa: thanks for your understanding of the men’s night out. Joel: looking spiffy in the suit and tie (a bowtie but literally tie nonetheless) and I realize how blessed I’ll be and how much fun it’ll be to serve as a brother deacon with you. Pax Christi

  4. says

    Love it! If my husband ever needs a gift idea….like for a birthday that might be coming up next month….feel free to point him in the direction of that awesome mug! I remember those first days of school when we chose the different path as well. Now I REJOICE when those days are upon us and the buses wisk all the other kids away because we quite enjoy the silence. It was an aquired taste though, you’ll see. ;)

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