Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lenten Daybook


Outside my window...
Cool and clear.  The sun is rising on what promises to be another gorgeous spring day.  The days have been simply fabulous from my perspective as I'm not an allergy-sufferer, but I know it's pretty horrendous for others when my eyes start to itch!

I am thinking...
About The Hunger Games...re-reading it and seeing the movie again.  Karen Edmiston has a great (spoilerish) post up about the books today.  It's very deep stuff, not just an excuse for violence as so many books and movies can be.

I am thankful...
That I made my Consecration to the Blessed Virgin on Sunday.  I planned all along to make it on Sunday, the 25th, the traditional date of the Annunciation, but then I started hearing that the Annunciation was on Monday because it couldn't be on a Sunday in Lent.  I saw conflicting reports over the weekend, finally deciding it was actually supposed to be Monday, but I still made the consecration on Sunday.  I'm glad I did.  I was alone in the house and had some time to myself.

I'm also thankful it's still Lent.  There's always room for improvement and I have a couple more weeks to buckle down and learn to really sacrifice myself.

From the learning rooms kitchen table...
We're happily finishing up some books and filling in the gaps with other things.  Meg has finished science for the year, so we're working on science-related American Heritage Girl badges, something we don't have enough time for usually.

In the kitchen...
I need to go to the store, but I'm tired of eating after 2 big dinners in a row.  I'd like to move to more Lenten meals.

I am wearing...
Workout clothes, but it doesn't look as if I'll be working out this morning, after all.  I forgot that my Vibram 5-fingers are in the laundry!  And I decided to blog a bit, so I'll just do some weights later in the day, in addition to the usual mile or two with the dog.

I am knitting...
Not a single thing.  I'm starting to feel withdrawals, but I can't decide what I want to do.   Maybe it's time for some simple dishcloths while the kids do their schoolwork.

I am going...
To pick up Tom right after school today!  His spring musical is over and we're all done with after school activities for the year!!!!  Happy.

I am reading...
Style, Sex, and Substance.  I don't know what I expected, but I didn't expect this.  I. love. this. book.  It's such a great collection of essays from very normal Catholic women who tell authentic stories about being an authentic Catholic woman without being preachy or too saintly.  It's very readable and it's for every Catholic woman no matter what her state in life.

I am hoping...
To get my library finished today.  Or this week.  ;-)  I made some progress on the clutter in the living room yesterday, so now I can concentrate on the clutter in the hallway.  I'm still trying to find a decorative file box for our files that need to stay down here.

I am looking forward to...
Spring Break.  Next week.  Not going anywhere, but not going back and forth to school is a huge vacation.

I am hearing on my ipod...
Lots and lots of Jimmy Akin podcasts, because once I discover a podcast I like, I have to listen to all the old episodes.  Thankfully, he only started podcasting about a year ago.  I almost never listen to music on my ipod/iphone.

Around the house...
Library clutter and laundry.

One of my favorite things...
Having a half-dozen kids in my yard with my kids, watching them run around enjoying the outdoors.  Even if they are busy making a Hunger Games movie.  Even if they are venturing into the woods where the coyotes live.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Choir, AHG, piano.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, March 23, 2012


After my whiny post the other day, I got some great feedback from my 2 friends, Barbara and Barb (LOL), who said that I'm "just" experiencing spiritual warfare.  I think I knew that, but since it was in a slightly different form than I'm used to, I didn't recognize it.  The evil one certainly knows how to exploit our weaknesses!  Reading Barbara's post that she reminded me of was very helpful.

Somehow, just knowing what's going on diminishes Satan's power and enables me to keep going.


Yesterday morning as I was walking the dog and listening to a podcast, I had a half-formed thought that it would be nice if the Total Consecration prayers and readings were in an audio format.  I immediately dismissed it as unlikely.  God is so good, though!  Later that day, one of my dearest friends called (she's such a treasure!), and during our conversation she told me that the Rosary Army had done the Total Consecration prayers in podcast format!  Greg and Jennifer Willits are delightful to listen to; they do a great job with the readings, and the litanies go faster with their team praying together.  I wish I had found this earlier, but I guess it came when I really needed it!  Anyhoo, I'll get through the next couple of days, and I've downloaded them all for renewing the Consecration again next year.


Yesterday was a good day.  Maybe I needed to get that whining off my chest, but maybe I just got a few graces I sorely needed.    Had a nice talk with my friend.  My AHG meeting went well, and I think we have all the leaders we need for the coming year!!!!  That's a huge burden lifted!  Some special and important people are transferring to a new troop, which is a huge loss, but I am excited about the leadership team we're putting together.  Maybe I can manage to hang in there another year!


I took a little break from reality last night and took the youngest 3 to see the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.  We arrived at 11 p.m. which was a little late, I guess.  By the time we got into the theater, it was packed.  Meg and Pip sat in the last row in the far corner while Tom and I braved the front row.  I don't know if it was this particular movie, but I couldn't handle it.  I was nauseated within 5 minutes!  I think it was a combination of the camera work and the action and being so close.  I don't like movies filmed that way, anyway, but to be so close was a misery!  (I know, I'm lame.)  After a little while, I moved back 6 feet to the last seat I saw:  a handicapped seat.  It was just enough distance to make it bearable, but I was sick through the whole movie!  I'd like to try it again sitting in the back where I might catch all the stuff I missed!  I had to close my eyes alot when the camera was panning quickly across the action.


In spite of my lamity, I enjoyed the movie (as much as you can enjoy a movie about a fight to the death between 24 teenagers).  I read the book a couple of years ago, so I didn't catch all the stuff they changed or left out, but I thought it was an excellent retelling of the story.  It did, however, leave out a lot of the effects of the oppression of the people by the government which I thought would be interesting in light of today's political situation.

Have you seen it or read it?

I know you're probably wondering how on earth I could take my 10 year old daughter to that movie.  (See 5 & 6 about being lame.)  After buying the tickets weeks ago, I had lots of buyer's remorse and second thoughts.  And then she ended up sitting in the back with Pip and not me, but he had thoroughly devoured the book, again, recently, and made her close her eyes all the time.  Evidently, she was so diligent about closing them that she missed long stretches unnecessarily.  lol.  


So, so, so ready for the weekend!  Maybe I'll get the rest of this clutter cleared out and we can start afresh on Monday:  clean house, clean soul, and newly re-consecrated.  (Sounds to me like a recipe for a challenging Monday!)  


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Would you like little cheese with that whine?

All that peace of a couple of weeks ago has evaporated.  It's busy around here, and I'm tired.  The house is cluttered, and I'm tired.  My head is full of negative self-talk, and I'm tired of it. It could be that the busy, clutter, negativity, and tiredness are all caused by the same thing:  painting and reorganizing our library.  Or it could be Lent.  You decide.

Last Saturday, I had finally had enough.  The ladder was still out, and I had a free Saturday with the help of my dear Katie to start painting.  Even though we were going to take it slowly and paint "one wall at a time,"  after 2 walls, we realized everything else had to come out of the room so it could be finished or it would drag on for weeks.  We had to empty 2 seven-foot-tall bookcases that were overloaded with books, move them, paint, and put them back in new spots.  We also had to move out the computer armoire to replace it with the goodwill desk that also needed to be painted.

Ugh.  The painting is all done and the furniture is in place, but the ladder is still out, and so is a bunch of stuff we removed from the armoire.  It all needs new homes, or to find its way to the trash.

All this clutter really affects my thinking; I do so much better with clear spaces (so you'd think I'd be better at maintaining them, right?).  I decided to get out of the house yesterday when my afternoon was free-ish (ignoring the ladder, right?) to do a little shopping.

Why, oh why, does shopping for clothes have to be so demoralizing?  Why can't stores light their dressing rooms the way I light my home?  Or is that the way I really look to everyone else? Why can't they have funhouse mirrors that make everyone look thin?  And subdued lighting that makes your skin glow while eliminating fine lines and wrinkles?

I'm deep into the Total Consecration to Mary prayers these days.  A good 45 minutes of prayer/reading daily, including the rosary.  It's hard to get it all in.  Yesterday, I prayed at adoration, and you would not believe the negative, uncharitable thoughts that were going through my head during the rosary.  Right there in front of Jesus!

Tell me that this is Lent and the Consecration prayers.  It's not me.  I'm not the Loser Satan is telling me I am.  I'm not the Loser I'm telling me I am.  {Not that you'd know, because most of you don't know the real me, just the online me.  But you can tell me, anyway.  Maybe I'll listen.  ;-)  }  Everything is a struggle, right now, and I want to quit all my activities/responsibilities because I'm not good enough.


Cast your vote for the cause of my problems:  Lent or Library!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Playing with Leila and her girls at LMLD today!

 My newly painted and decorated bathroom!  It used to be, no lie, 'grape jelly', which I loved for years, but we needed a change.  Now it's kind of hydrangea; the pic on the left is a little bright, though.

My lovely daughter Katie bought the paint and painted it for me.  I painted all the frames, and my Pete painted the ceiling.  The artwork is "Celery Art" from Pinterest.  I'm sure you've seen it where you cut the bottom off the bunch of celery and use it as a stamp.  


This is Gus these days.  He's tethered to someone all the time to teach him that we're dominant and he has to go where we go.  He's typically sleeping at my feet.  He also flops down immediately upon coming into the house because it's suddenly so. freaking. hot!


The ladder is still in the foyer and the paint is still in the bathroom.  Days later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Checking in...

...After that Quiet Wednesday, it has been a little busy around here!  That's what I get, right?

....I had AHG last week, followed by the Fish Fry on Friday, along with Stations of the Cross which was very nice, but I had forgotten how much it hurts the thighs!

...Saturday I spend all day with 10 American Heritage Girls on an "Adventure Day" where we did team building activities, 3 hours of archery, followed by rock climbing.  Even though I didn't participate in the archery or rock climbing, I was exhausted and sore the next day.  We'll assume that was from the Catholic gymnastics Friday night, and the really steep hills we trudged up and down on Saturday---not from standing around doing nothing.  ;-)  I was amazed to hear that Meg was not sore after all that archery and climbing the 56' tower twice!

...Sunday was unusually busy because I had to catch up on the laundry and give haircuts to my college boys who came home for spring break.  One was super-shaggy and I could hardly wait until I could take the scissors to his flowing locks!

...I'm not doing any knitting, and not much reading.  I've got Style, Sex, and Substance on my nightstand, and I want to stay up all night to read the whole thing!  But it's so good that it's much better to read just one chapter, savor it, and think about the questions it brings up.

....Another busy day begins now with the first of my 2 daily one-mile walks with the dog....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Quiet Wednesday

I'm not sure why, but life has been a bit quieter lately.  I don't believe that it's because we're doing less stuff, though.  The only difference that I know of is prayer.  There's definitely more of that going on since I'm getting into a better routine---not perfect, but better.  I already mentioned that I'm doing the 33 days of preparation for Total Consecration to Mary, and I'm trying really hard to read Divine Intimacy every morning.  Aside from that, as a family we're adding a decade every week to our nightly decade of the rosary so that by the end of Lent we'll be doing the whole thing every night.  That's a practice I'd like to continue after Lent.  With the "baby" being 10 years old, it shouldn't be that hard to pray a whole rosary!

We got the little book Welcome, Risen Jesus!, by Sarah Reinhardt, for Lent and Easter, and we're enjoying it a lot.  The Action for the other day was to put a cross in your pocket and every time you touched it you were supposed to pray for someone.  As I put a little "tenner" in my right pocket, I thought that I wouldn't end up praying for anyone that day because I'd never stick my right hand (I'm a leftie) in my pocket.  Well, my hand seemed to be in my pocket all day!  I prayed Memorares and Hail Mary's for people all day.  A couple of sick people kept coming to mind and got many prayers that day.  I was sad to find that one of them died the next day, and I hope my prayers were of some comfort to him.  May he rest in peace.  I think that's a practice I'll try to continue because it's an easy way to remember to pray for people.

Tom has been having drama rehearsals until 5:30 or 6:00 every day for a while, so picking him up seems to free up more of my day.  I'm not dropping everything in the middle of the day to go get him.

I finished reading our current book club read---The Snow Child---which I'll probably tell you about soon.  I got Style, Sex, and Substance in the mail yesterday and I'm dying to sit down to read it, which I'm going to do for a few moments as soon as I post this!

Oh, more quiet time might also be associated with giving up 75% of my blogs for Lent.  :-/  I thought that would be hard, and I kind of hate "marking as read" those posts with furniture makeovers, but on the whole, I don't really miss them.  I've never been a huger pinner on Pinterest, either, but I've been looking at it less, and pinning much less (since there's not so much to pin on the more spiritual blogs) what with all the hullabaloo in the blogosphere about it.  I've gotten several new followers that I don't know in the past few days, but there won't be much need to follow me when I delete my boards!  I might as well.  I don't want to infringe on anyone's proprietary material, and I don't want to spend the time to clean up my boards just in case.  So I might as well cut the cord completely.

Aah, it feels so good to detach.  Even if it's only a little bit for a little while.  But I hope I can keep detached after Easter comes!  How about you?  Are you feeling good about having detached from things during Lent?

Friday, March 2, 2012

7 Quick Takes


My kids are lying in their new "house" watching old episodes of Cyberchase as I type.  The house is a large washing machine box that they  decorated the inside of and hung a zebra-striped curtain over the door.  Fortunately, they can use Daddy's ipad to watch TV since the magic-marker TV in the house only shows Chopped, and it's not very exciting to watch static televsion.


They got a new house because I got a new washer and dryer.  Our dryer died its 2nd death, and we decided that the first resurrection cost too much to attempt it again.  We've had them 16 years and they've been through a LOT of loads of laundry with 6 kids!  I'm excited about the new washer because it is a high-efficiency top-loader---I'll be really glad to save water and electricity, though I wonder about the electricity since a wash cycle takes twice as long.  

I'm kind of "meh" about the whole thing because we have a totally first world problem in that our laundry room is super small.  I can't get fancy front-loaders in the room, and had to buy my machines based solely on size.   A lot of the new machines just. won't. fit.  I seriously think the architect of this house was a single man who had most of his clothing dry-cleaned and did very little other laundry.  There was no consideration for the thought that someone might buy this 4-bedroom house and fill it with actual people that store things and do more than the occasional load of laundry!  


My laundry room is tiny, but at least it's pretty now!  I simply could not face the idea of having the room empty and then putting new machines in on top of the wrinkled, torn, vinyl flooring!  So, when I was out with the kiddos buying the machines, we stopped in the tile section to buy luxury vinyl tiles to retile the floor.  We had a lot of fun moving out the machines with our dolley skateboard, and ripping out the old floor.  The tiles are easy to use and we were proud of ourselves for learning how to cut them to fit.  The last 2 had difficult corners around the door molding, but we struggled through and finally finished after dinner with ONE tile to spare!
Priming the plywood

Installing tile


Of course, once the room was empty, I had to paint it, too.  We had plenty of pretty, blue paint left over from Katie's bathroom downstairs, so we slapped that up on the walls, too.  You know we had less than 24 hours to get all this done?  We worked All. Day. Long.  And then dh had to get out the tall ladder so I could reach the ceiling with the paintbrush.  I was so happy to fall into bed after a hot bath that night!

Oh, and my Dear Hubby was very surprised because while he knew about the w/d, he had no clue that we were totally redecorating the room!


The last time we painted the laundry room, I made the mistake of allowing the painters to paint over the family growth chart.  This time I didn't make that mistake.  I left it intact and unpainted.  I did mask off a line below the shortest measurement and paint below that, though.


Not a very pretty picture of the finished product, but you can see the floor and the walls (and the ugly laundry sorter, but we won't talk about that).  It's sooo much prettier now, and the paint is semi-gloss, so it's much more cleanable and ligh-reflecting.  See how small the room is?  But I'm happy to be able to do laundry again.  Shocking, I know.


For anyone who is visiting from Jen's today, you might want to stop by Caffeinated Catholic Mama's to read my conversion story for a little extra Friday fun.  Don't we all love conversion stories???


Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Priest and the Peaches: A book review

The Priest and the Peaches Book Summary
Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s
Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.
They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
I was given an e-copy of The Priest and the Peaches to review for Tribute Books, which I was very excited about.  I enjoy reading Young Adult fiction, not only for a little lighter reading for myself, but so that I can pass along suggestions to my young adults.  I would recommend this book for teens who are capable of dealing with the harsh realities of children who are suddenly orphaned.

I didn't read the book summary when I agreed to review the book, nor did I read it before I actually began the book!  Consequently, I floundered around a while trying to figure out exactly when and where the book was set, and being surprised that it looked like it was going to be a very depressing book.  I know there are families who try to shield their children from books where the parents die---if you read the summary, consider yourself warned!

The subject matter is a bit off-putting, but I think it was worth it in the end.  It's sad to see this family of 5 kids suddenly thrust into the real world and no longer sheltered by the love of their parents.  Their father's behavior seems less than admirable, but the lesson they learned from him changes their lives.  The priest, Fr. Sullivan, doesn't have a very large role in the book, yet he is an important character as he shares with the children the ways God is working in their lives.  He also helps them understand their father and their neighbors better, and the wacky "LYN" with accompanying hand sign that their dad always used takes on a whole new meaning for them.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of The Priest and the Peaches is seeing how the children are touched by the people that their father touched.  He was not the most attentive father after the death of his wife, but people all over town knew him as a loving and caring man.  There are definitely lessons to be learned from this book as the Peach children pick up their shattered lives and find out what it really means to love your neighbor.

You can purchase it on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Smashwords, or buy the ebook in PDF form.

Larry Peterson's Bio:
Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. A former Metal Lather/Reinforcing Iron-worker, he left that business after coming down with MS. He, his wife and three kids moved to Florida 30 years ago. Larry began doing freelance newspaper commentary after graduating from Tampa College in 1984.

His first children's picture book, Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes was published in 2011. In 2012, his full length novel, The Priest and the Peaches was released and he is presently working on the sequel.

He also has a blog (http://www.ThePriestandthePeaches.com) where he posts weekly commentary. He lives in Pinellas Park, Florida and his kids and six grandchildren all live within three miles of each other. 


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