Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Conversion

Hey....My conversion story, the short version, is up at Caffeinated Catholic Mama's blog!  Let me know what you think!

Edited to add (2/29/15): Having randomly decided to click those links today, I have removed them because that blog no longer exists in the same form. It's an Arabic website that has nothing to do with Catholicism.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lenten Daybook


Outside my window...
It's cloudy and moist.  It's a perfect Lenten day.

I am thinking...
About how God takes your Lenten sacrifices and intensifies them (if you were on the right track to begin with) or just changes it up altogether.  Which one has happened to you this week?

I am thankful...
I am always thankful for the seasons that the Church in Her wisdom gives us, expecially Lent which offers this intense, prayerful retreat before Easter.

From the learning rooms...
We've added Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints to our daily reading.  The stories are hard to read in one sitting because they're long, but we're enjoying it so far!

I am wearing...
Old jeans and a cozy sweatshirt which are perfect for a drizzly day.  No earrings and less makeup as I seem to have given them up for Lent.  I attach a lot of importance to the right earrings for the day and the outfit.  It's a little thing, but it means a lot to me to give them up.  I'm also wearing less makeup (no foundation).  I figure if I go entirely without people will ask why I look sick or tired, which is a conversation I don't want to have, so I'm just wearing less.  Not that I usually wear a lot anyway.

I am knitting...
I started a little sock yarn shawl, but haven't worked on it much yet.  I finished the bulk of my homeless sleeping mat yesterday and I just need to add shoulder straps to them and I'm ready to give them away!

I am going...
Nowhere today except to pick up late this afternoon after school

I am reading...
I have a pile of books to read.  A couple of new ones that were recommended by ladies at the church yard sale this weekend, but I can't read those until I read the 2 scheduled for book club.  Somehow it seems as if I should have given up book club for Lent and should be focusing on more spiritual works.  Thoughts?

I am looking forward to...
My conversion story is going to be published tomorrow over at Caffeinated Catholic Mama. Stop by if you want to read it.  Naturally, after turning it over to her, I had all kinds of doubts about how it sounded!  It needed to be kept short, so it's naturally a little incomplete. If you're interested, I'll publish a longer version in several parts here, later.

I am hearing on my ipod...
Lots of Jimmy Akin these days.  The Among Women podcast. This local parish has 3 excellent homilies every week by their priests.

Around the house...
Several painting projects waiting to be done; waiting for me to have the time and the inclination.  We got rid of about 8 bags of trash and clothes last week by cleaning out the rooms of just 2 kids.  We donated the good stuff to the annual church yard sale for St. Martin de Porres.  I don't think I came home with as much as I donated....I had to really hold myself back.

One of my favorite things...
Children who awaken feeling industrious and get their independent work done quickly in the morning.  Not that it happened this morning, but I love it when it does!  :-)  I read to them for 45 minutes this morning and my voice is tired, so now I hear them taking turns reading Famous Men of Rome to each other.  Cheerfully, no less.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
I think I'll be singing at a funeral with the choir tomorrow, and it may be the last time I sing with them.  :-(

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Working on a sleeping mat

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, February 23, 2012

That Was Rough!

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, was a difficult day.  I imagine lots of you had a rough day, too.

When I felt the headache coming on in the morning, I took 2 ibuprofen.  I know from past experience that if I just try to tough it out, it will get worse and ibuprofen won't help at all, and I'll be miserable all day.  Not eating is hard enough without adding a splitting headache to it!

One of the things I gave up for Lent is talking to/yelling at/griping about other drivers.  Wouldn't you know that every. single. time. I was out in the car yesterday (which was a lot) there was a person going 10 miles below the speed limit in front of me?  It gave me lots of opportunities to be reminded of what I gave up.

Mass was difficult yesterday.  It was so hard to pray.
Choir rehearsal was difficult last night---there's so little joy there anymore.  
I really need to pray during this Lent to find out what God's will is in this area.

On the happier side of Ash Wednesday:

I went to a playground with Meg and Pip after Mass, right next to the church, and we discovered that it's not a playground but fitness equipment.  We had fun working out and evangelizing the maintenance guys who wondered why we and others down the road all had smudges on our foreheads!

I got 2 new books in the mail for Lent:

(for the middle schooler and high schooler)


(for the kids and myself)

I heard/saw lots of good reviews for these books and thought they would be a nice addition this year.  Ablaze has lots of saints that I have never heard of, so we'll have to read that together!  And Welcome Risen Jesus is on a higher level than I expected based on judging this book by it's cover and $1.99 price tag!  I think it will be well worth the money---even more, in fact.

I did not give up blogging or reading blogs for Lent, but I'll try to keep my posts on a higher level when I'm here.  I did give up reading the many blogs that don't "feed" me.  I'm not unsubscribing, just daily going through my reader and marking as read posts/blogs that I read for fun not formation.  Decorating or organizing blogs, for instance.  I'm skipping those in favor of the bloggers that regularly touch my life in a more meaningful way.

Finally, I decided to renew my consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary which we had done several years ago.  I was at the mechanics getting an oil change, and listening to an awesome podcast---Pat Gohn's Among Women---which was all about getting ready for Lent.  She and her guest, Mary Lou Rosien, were talking about Catholic Family Bootcamp, which sounds great for Lent or any other time of the year.  I don't think you have to purchase it, you can do the daily task on the website if you want.

Anyway...I was talking about the Total Consecration to Mary....because while I was sitting there with my preparation book in my purse, I thought, "There must be an app for that!"  And there is!  I can't find a link for it right now, but I found it easily on my phone by searching "total consecration".  It's only $.99 and it has a counter which starts the first time you open the app, but you can change it if you already started the prayers, or if you want to start later.  It gives you your daily prayers so you don't have to flip through the book to find them, and you can have it with you if you unexpectedly have free time where it would be good to do the prayers!  I love it.

Well, those are some of the highlights and lowlights of my Ash Wednesday.  How did yours go?

Have a blessed Lent!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lenten Preparation

It was such a bonus that yesterday was a holiday---we should always have a holiday on the Monday before Ash Wednesday because we can use that time for making preparations that generally get left until the last minute Ash Wednesday.

I was able to go around the house and gather the items we've collected over the years for Lent.

I got a bunch of our Fr. Lovasik books that are suitable for the season.  I gathered up all the blessed palms from around the house---we'll either deliver them to the church today for burning, or burn them ourselves tomorrow.

I found my Lenten front-door wreath and the "crown of thorns".  Would you believe I left the bowl of stained toothpick "thorns" on top of the refrigerator for an entire year???  The children filled the wreath with thorns this morning, and I'm happy to say they felt a little guilty putting thorns in Jesus's crown.  So, we had a little teachable moment about how we need to make reparation and remove the thorns during Lent.

I found our Lenten calendar and the box full of "ornaments" to go with the daily Bible readings.  I'm pretty sure I got all the ideas and the scripture readings from Shower of Roses.  Oh, yes, look here.

We're all set except for pinning down some of those sacrifices.  I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Book Club

I just got back from my monthly book club where the book under discussion was The Touch, a story about a skilled surgeon who stops operating when someone dies under his knife.

I think that during the 3 hours we were there, we spent maybe 15 minutes talking about the book which was an enjoyable read, though we all felt it wasn't "deep" enough considering the subject matter.  We didn't feel connected to the characters.  Someone described it as being on onlooker to the action which is very interesting considering the writer is a writer of screenplays.  He also wrote Braveheart. 

Our book club is always a lot of fun.  We covered a great many topics today----

the 2nd reading at Mass today
pediatricians & prenatal care
a couple of Diana Gabaldon's books
painting houses
the HHS mandate and birth control
conversions (mine)
eating wheat-free
food issues and picky eaters
people who can't smell
marriages and convalidations
adoptions from China

---I'm sure I'm forgetting some!  And several of those topics went on for quite a while; I couldn't even begin to tell you what happened in the side conversations I wasn't privy to!  

Our next book, which was also one of the topics (because some people have already started reading it!), is 
The Snow Child: A Novel.  Have you read it?  Was it good?

Whether the book is good or not, I'll be looking forward to book club next month anyway because of the wonderful time spent with my friends!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pinning it Down #4

For this week's Pinning it Down, I took my inspiration from the Domesticated Lady.  Her wreath is much cuter than mine, but I used what I had with the exception of the wreath form which my dear daughter picked up for me when she was buying her own Valentine crafty stuff!

 I wrapped it in burlap strips after pulling out all the possible fabrics I could use.
Hot glue is a necessity for this project.

After a bit of research and false starts, I decided to use this method of making flowers.  My felt comes from a sweater that a friend bought for me and felted, so it's super-thick.  After cutting it, you just start rolling it up from the inside out.  Then cover the bottom of it with hot glue and stick it to a circle of felt to hold it all together.  Super simple and quick, even with thick felt and crummy scissors!

They're very cute!

A few more flowers, maybe some out of pink, would have been nice, but I think the neighbors are just glad the Christmas wreath is finally off the door!  Since I was on a roll there, I also took the holly-sprigged tablecloth off the dining room table, replaced it with white (and a burlap runner) and some red and pink dishes.

What did you pin down this week?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Musings

It's Monday, and there are lots of thoughts rolling around inside my brain.  There's the week ahead and what needs to be done.  There's also the HHS mandate from the government and how shocked I am that children, the greatest gift from God, and the ability NOT to have them should be a "free" gift from the government.

We don't have a future without our children.  Do our children know about this issue?  How do they feel about it?  How would you feel if you knew your parents rushed out and got sterilized almost as soon as they found out you were on your way?  Would that make you feel wanted?  Or as if your parents thought:  Darn, we let that one slip by.  We won't let it happen again!

That alone makes me very sad.  The fact that our president wants to take away our religious freedom is downright alarming!  Has everyone forgotten our history studies?  I guess I've been studying/teaching history for so many years that it's pretty well ingrained that our country was founded by people who fled Europe seeking religious freedom.  Remember the Pilgrims?  It's the very definition of the word.  It's one of the things that has made our country so great.

pilgrim |ˈpilgrəm|nouna person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.• (usu. Pilgrim )a member of a group of English Puritans fleeing religious persecution who sailed in the Mayflower and founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.

Scary picture of the inside of Gus's mouth.  Makes me think of the scary jaws of the government seeking to control us.  

Looks like he has a little bug trapped between his teeth.  Could that be the Catholic Church?

He's so adorable when he's asleep.  Makes you forget how very naughty and misguided he can be when he's awake.

Sometimes he's downright dangerous when he doesn't get his way and uses his teeth!

When I started this, I thought that I would just show you pictures that my kids have taken instead of ranting about the government because I'm definitely not a political blogger, but I guess it needed to come out after all.

Sorry.  Maybe a rose will make up for it?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


round button chicken


Meg did all the requirements to earn her Sewing achievement badge yesterday and today by mending a shirt, sewing on her badges, learning to use the sewing machine, and by making one of these holders for my knitting needles.  I made one at the same time so I could make the mistakes first and show her what to do.  She did a great job!

We could file this under {happy} too since I'm beyond thrilled to have a better way to corral my needles.  I've been dying to find the time to make these rolls, and I was finally able to get the project done while helping Meg earn a badge at the same time.


The dog cuddled up on his legs/backside while he studies.

{Happy} is also friends apologizing and trying work things out.


Using a drill to open up the coconuts, and then drinking the water.  Meg didn't love it, but I did and drank that one.  We just had to get these when they showed up at our store for the first time ever.


My freezer was driving me nuts, so I went on an organizing spree.  I had already gotten the little basket on the top shelf for "health food" stuff like coconut flour, and then I bought 2 more baskets.  One of them holds different types of pork or "other" meats while the lower one holds all beef.  It's so much easier to see and find things even though there is still too much in it!

My pantry and drawers were driving me crazy, too, so they look a LOT better than they did.  Now that's capturing contentment!  I function so much better when my spaces are organized and uncluttered----a fact which might surprise certain people who live here, since I'm not perfect by any means.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny to see what everyone is knitting and reading!

 Finally finished the Dalek hat which Pippo is thrilled with!

That long strip is somehow going to be sewn together and then felted to make a slipper.  I hope I'll get them both done before winter ends!

 I just started reading this Teresa Tomeo book that a bunch of us in AHG are going to read together and discuss.  So far, it's all about how the media portrays women and how we respond to to it.  Looks like its going to be a great read!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Don't Look at Me; I'm not in Charge!

It has been a long week---one of those weeks where you're busy, but it's doable, and then things happen and your perfectly timed plan goes to pot.  

For instance, on one busy day, I had it all planned out, all my comings and goings in the car.  We had just bought a tie out for the puppy to spend some time in the backyard (because he likes to be out so much that he's constantly ringing the bell, asking to go out!).  I was out there with him on an important phone call, and I watch the dog throw up a dozen times in 15 minutes!  Thank goodness he was outside, but then I had to work in an expensive vet visit on my already full day.  (And he's fine; he seems to have eaten flower bulbs which are generally toxic, and I don't know how or where he got them.)

I want to tell you what happened that evening, but it doesn't seem fair to everyone involved. Suffice it to say it was a huge lesson in humility for me, far more difficult to bear than messing up while cantoring at Mass (which happened last night!).  I'm not the only one sick about what happened, but it's my behavior I have to be concerned with.  

I've apologized; I've been to confession; I've been praying lots of prayers of "God, help me." You know, when you don't even know what you're supposed to do next, and He has to lead the way?

And in the end, I'm not sure what will happen, but I see people being hurt no matter what, and a group of people I love torn apart by unnecessary division.  It's not me and my behavior that's going to cause the division, but the issue at hand.  I don't know what to do.  I am in charge, but very much not in control.  

It's a good thing today is Sunday and there's yet another opportunity to go to Mass!  What do you do when these things happen in your life?  I'd love to know what I can do better!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What He Said

round button chicken

My little princess in her medieval princess dress for the Father/Daughter dance.  

Happy to be going out with her favorite guy in a pretty dress.

Or should it be {real} that you can see the collar facing sticking out in all the pictures?  The hem tape didn't hold and I was just over that dress!  It was a total nightmare from beginning to end.  Well, the shopping for fabric and the right amount was the nightmare.  I really wanted to used crushed velvet, not satin, but we won't go into that.  I'm scarred for life, I think.  Miraculously, I didn't have any real problems making the dress; it's just a lot of long seams with slippery material.  By the time I did the hem (it took nearly 30 minutes to sew around that hem!), I didn't have the stamina for handsewing the details.  Maybe I'll get to it before she wears it again.  And she will wear it again because it's plenty long and loose enough!

Fr. Jay Finelli said on his blog exactly what I've been saying for the past week.  The Church, and when I say "the Church" I mean especially the American bishops and priests, has slacked off on teaching the hard truth.  The universal Catholic Church has never changed her teachings, but they have been watered down immensely in the past 50 years.

The Church has never changed, never wavered in Her teachings.  But we have wavered.  And now everything is collapsing around us.  This is just the first step in taking away religious liberty for everyone in this country.  If Catholics, and our Protestant brothers and sisters, don't stand up now, we'll all pay the consequences.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Exterminate Hugo Cabret!

I'm approaching the blessed end of Pippo's Exterminate (Dr. Who) hat.  I'll be so glad to see the end of this project!  

I'm reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  The kids saw the movie with their big brother, but I didn't know anything about it---other than that the book has gotten some coverage in the blogosphere of late.  So when I saw it on the shelf at the library, I snagged it, figuring it should be on hold for someone but I could have it without waiting.  I was right; it should have been in transit to another branch, but they let you have it if you find it shelved.  I started it last night and am 1/3 of the way through it since it's about 3/4 pictures!  I'm enjoying it immensely as the mystery unfolds.  I love the way part of the story is told in pictures.

Stop by to visit Ginny at Small Things to see some more yarns!


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