Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Color Affection Yarn Along

Oh, it's Wednesday....Other than the fact that my kids are home today from their hybrid school, I've had my nose in a book or my knitting most of the day, so I forgot all about blogs and blogging, and what day it is!

Here's my gorgeous Color Affection.  I really am going to have to make one of these for myself after this is finished and finds a new home!  It's so hard to tell what it looks like while it's all scrunched up on the needle....I can't wait to see how it looks when it's finished!  I just ordered another, longer, needle because this one is running out of room. That said, I'm freaking out a little that the ball of yarn that is the main color (the variegated) is so much smaller than the others.  Most shawls and scarves allow you to simply stop when you're out of yarn.  Not this one.  So, I think my panic is going to build with every row of that color!

As for reading, I've been plowing through HP & the Half-Blood Prince for the past few days so I can get to the last one that is on my phone in audio...and it's due back at the library Friday.  I just started it an hour ago, so I have a lot of listening to do.

In the car, I'm listening to

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

 on CD.  It's a fascinating (sometimes) book about the periodic table of elements.  There are stories about the discovery of each element, plus other, interesting stories about how they've been used for good or for ill.  If you're a fan of the elements, you might enjoy this book.  I would never have chosen this one on my own, but it's for my book club.  Plus, I'm game to learn a little about the periodic table since it comes up regularly at trivia!

Happy Knitting!  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Prayer Tips

A friend said the most amazing thing to me the other day---that she admired how I was so good about praying novenas and the rosary and sticking with it!  If that's what it looks like, I'm happy, but I know that is not at all the reality.  Any stick-to-itivitness that I've shown in recent months is purely grace that I would have to associate with having completed the 33 Days to Morning Glory and Consoling the Heart of Jesus retreats.

The other key to any progress in my prayer life is ROUTINE.  Without a routine, my prayer life goes exactly where you expect it to:  nowhere.  When I'm on vacation, or even having a busy weekend, I'm not usually saying any extra prayers beyond a morning offering and consecration renewal at bedtime.

I have completed several novenas in recent weeks, and that surprises me to no end.  Again, Grace. But I have done a couple of things differently.

These days I'm trying, really trying, to sit somewhere besides the computer when I first get up and I don't feel like interacting with "live" people.  It doesn't always work, but it's better, and it helps that the morning prayer books are in the same room as the computer, so I can just take my habitual direction and just go 2 steps to the left, instead of the right!  There are mornings when I really long to talk to Jesus, and I don't, and it shows.  :-(

Fives days a week, I have to get in the car to take people to school, or pick someone up, so I've gotten into a pretty good habit of making that first trip out Rosary Time.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don't do it on the first trip, I probably won't get to it.  Sometimes I pray it with the kids, but not always.  The rosary should be the priority, but I also like to give them time to talk to me.

I also try to pray the rosary when I walk the dog around the neighborhood.  For various reasons (like I'm a lazy slob!) that hasn't been happening much lately, but I've been driving, so it works.

The dog always needs a shorter walk in the late morning which has become the time that I pray novenas.  Yes, I walk and keep my nose in the prayer book!  I prefer a book to praying at the computer, but Pray More Novenas is a great resource if you don't mind praying at the computer or don't have the particular novena booklet at home.

Basically, tying certain activities to prayer has been the greatest help.  Weekly adoration has helped a lot, too.  There are times (ha!  every week, almost!) that I don't want to get up and go, but on the days I give in to my laziness, I invariably lie awake feeling guilty.  So, just do it.  God is good enough to make everything else work out during the day.

Another mom who was part of this conversation, lamented that they can't consecrate their home to the Two Hearts because they won't be able to follow through with the subsequent requirements: 

Frequent Holy Communion
Daily Family Rosary
Monthly Holy Hour
Daily Renewal of Consecration
(These are the requirements listed on our family certificate)

I can't keep the 10 Commandments perfectly, but I haven't give up trying!  I think the most important thing is to make the consecration and keep working at perfect fulfillment of the rules.   It is my fervent hope that the graces we've received will make up for the inevitable gaps in my parenting skills and prayer life!

I'm not surrounded by little ones anymore, so maybe this is all due to my age (urgh!), but that doesn't mean we didn't try when they were little.  There's never a perfect time that makes it easy to pray!  I have a good friend who used to pray more than one rosary per day as she did it while lying in bed with small children who wanted her with them as they went to sleep!

Think over your day and find those routine moments that lend themselves to prayer.  Keep track of Hail Mary's on paper throughout the day.  I sometimes pray Memorares for individuals, one at a time, while I'm pumping gas.  I'll pray for family members as I fold their laundry.  And no matter what your age, whenever you're awake in the middle of the night, pray.  Someone needs it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes on Gratitude


We had another morning reflection this week given by a great priest on his day off.  Thanks to his good friend the Holy Spirit, it was timely and repeated a theme that I had already been thinking and reading about!


The reflection was based on the story of the 10 lepers, which I'm sure you know.  Jesus healed the 10 and sent them to show themselves to the priest, but one came back to express his gratitude---the Samaritan, the one least expected to do so.  Jesus questioned where the other 9 were.


Jesus was offended that only one came back.  He was offended because He loves us so much, and it hurts when the gifts He gives us are ignored.  Don't you feel the same way when you work hard for your family and it goes unnoticed and unappreciated?  I know I do.  

A lack of gratitude is a sin against Charity.


Some obstacles to gratitude:

  • We are too busy to notice or acknowledge those moments when we've been given a gift or protected from something bad happening.  How many times have you passed a pedestrian on the edge of the road and realized that if you had been reaching for your phone or your coffee you might have hit them?
  • We have a sense of entitlement.  We receive gifts day in and day out, and we begin to expect those routine gifts.  
  • We have "pending issues" with God---perhaps we feel that there was a time in our lives when he abandoned us.
  • When times are good, we are not thankful.  Refer back to that sense of entitlement---we get used to things being good and we think they should always be this way!


How to form gratitude:
  • Be grateful to others.  Take time to notice and say thank you.
  • Spend 15 minutes once a week thinking of things that people have done for you.
  • Write thank you notes---with a pen! on real paper!
  • Spend your time while in line for communion thinking of things that God has given you.  You are about to receive a little piece of Heaven; it's like being in line to enter the Pearly Gates, so be grateful!


Some fruits of gratitude:
  • It makes us more humble, and that sense of entitlement goes away.
  • It takes off some of the pressure because we are not so independent, which makes us feel as if we are alone in the world with no one to lean on.
  • Relieves stress


Work on cultivating gratitude in yourself and your children.  Your spouse can help by reminding the children of all you do for them---just as you should be reminding the children of the hard work of your spouse!!

Thank YOU for stopping by to read!  And thanks to everyone who comments also!  Have a great weekend.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn Yarn Along

It is such a fall day!  It's cool and clear out, but it's breezy and I can hear the leaves blowing across the yard as I sit by the window and knit.  There aren't too many leaves....yet...because it has just now gotten cool enough at night that the leaves are starting to turn.

I've been working hard on the Color Affection, and I just started using the forest green and doing the short rows.  It seems to be going quickly, but these "short rows" are going to get pretty long, pretty soon!  And now that I'm juggling 3 yarn balls, it's no longer a car project.  That means I need to find another car project, pronto, to give me something to do in all those spare minutes!

Today, I'm cold, cranky, fighting off Meg's cold, and would be perfectly content to sit in the armchair with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the arm while I knit.  (It's 99.9% straight knitting which I can do without looking.)

I'm reading Harry Potter simply because I've been checking out audible books from the library, and they had The Goblet of Fire.  I listened to that, and now I have the last one, Deathly Hallows, already downloaded, but I've got to zip through Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince before I listen, because you can't just skip 2 years, right???  I'd really like to know what the librarian, who ordered 3 of the 7 books in audible format, was thinking!

I would be reading Allegiant, but I must have gotten distracted when I pre-ordered it, and it's just been sitting in my shopping cart....waiting.  It will be here tomorrow...only 2 days late.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lazy Friday Quick Takes


I'm going to write a blog post because I'm too lazy to get up from the computer to go knit on the sofa!  I've been here all morning---since I got home from carpool---alternating between reading blogs and compiling news for the school newsletter.  I'm done with that for now, and just can't get up.


I'm not the only one with that problem, I guess.  She dragged herself out of bed the 2nd time I woke her up, and did her schoolwork, but she can't seem to make any further progress.


This is where I was between 4 and 5 a.m. today.  I just love this adoration chapel and the crucifix, so much so that I had to snap a picture with my phone.  I was afraid the shutter would click, but it didn't with the phone on silent.  However, it's a bad picture, so I may have to try again.  I enjoy just sitting and gazing at this crucifix---sometimes that's easier than trying to pray words because my mind wanders very quickly when I'm tired!  Though, honestly, sometimes I do find myself wondering why Jesus has a red velvet-lined pie plate behind Him!


Here are my 3 fabulous skeins of yarn that I won.  I finally decided to knit a Color Affection.  It's going to be a lot of knitting on small needles!


I have a lot of knitting to do, and my elbow hurts.  I don't think it's Knitter's Elbow, because it's on the bottom and hurts when  I rest my forearm on the table, and it doesn't hurt when I knit or do anything else, but I've no idea what it could be.


Is everyone else craving yummy, creamy, pumpkin-y coffee beverages?  With the onset of cool weather I can only assume that our bodies are encouraging us to get fat for the winter scarcity.  As if.


My brain is very tired today from lack of sleep, so it's hard to come up with 7 takes!  There is also something weighing heavily on my heart which I could use some prayers for.  I'd appreciate it!


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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Is it too late for Quick Takes?

Whether it's too late, or not, here they are!


I was busy yesterday morning shopping for 8 girls going camping.  For the first time, ever, I'm not taking Meg to the AHG family camping trip!  I sent her, staying home to see my high school senior in his last, and first, performing arts festival.  


Pip is canoeing with his scout troop.  Or kayaking, but whatever.  There might be 'gators.  They were supposed to go to the Okefenokee Swamp, but it's closed thanks to the government shutdown.  


It's very quiet here, which is lovely after a very long week.  Just hanging out with my love.


Remember I told you about the Shop Hop?  I was totally thrilled to find out that I won the prize from one of the shops.    Last night, I was having so much fun winding my 3 skeins of yarn into balls (well, sort of, because there were lots and lots of tangles).  It's gorgeous, and the 3 colors are absolutely not me, but I do have a plan for them because they ARE perfect for someone else!

And if you clicked that last link, it's my BKF (best knitting friend) who won the grand prize!  I'm so excited for her!


My oldest son was here for the week while the floors at his apartment were refinished.  We had a little time to visit between carpools, and we went to see Gravity together.  IMAX 3D, folks.  That's the way to see it, if you can.  It was great---very intense and emotional.  A lot to think about.  


My house is a mess, and I'm so not interested in cleaning it, today.  Yesterday was mind-numbing, and behind-numbing, in terms of time in the car.  I just want to mellow out and enjoy my weekend.  Tuesday, when the kids are at school, I can overhaul it.  Or at least start.


And play with yarn.  Tell me what you're doing this weekend!


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

Thursday, October 10, 2013


round button chicken
~Also linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along if you want to see what others are knitting and reading!~

One of the few perks of getting out on the road before dawn is that you get to see some awesome sunrises while sitting at traffic lights!  This was a particularly pretty morning.  Don't you love the 'caption' at the bottom of the photo----"WE BUY GOLD"?

This yarn is also pretty---more than pretty; it's stunning.  I love the colors, but I'm kind of regretting the pattern I chose.  I like the pattern, but not with the yarn which is merino and silk.  It's super-soft and silky, and it has a sheen (can you see it in the ball?) that is totally lost with the garter stitch.  Kind of sad about that, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to rip it out and start again. 

Last week I was reading Divergent, and pretty much immediately ordered the 2nd book in the trilogy, Insurgent.  I read this one in less than 24 hours.  Another YA post-apocalyptic distopian society, but I found it intriguing that one would organize a society based on virtues.  I'm glad that the 3rd book comes out this month, so I don't have to wait a year to find out how it ends!

She finished her first big research paper with accompanying display without pulling an all-nighter!  Kudos to her awesome teacher for spreading out the work and giving them a good lesson in doing a big project like this.
Haha!  Self-explanatory.  But the next one is not:
We were at a cross-country meet east of Atlanta, and there were giant bird tracks next to hoof prints.  I should have put a coin on the ground so you could see the size of these.  They were not quite as big as my hand, but larger than any I've seen before.   I could just imagine an unsuspecting rider enjoying the morning with pterodactyls silently following behind!  
Maybe they belong to a crane or a blue heron, but we weren't near water, so I didn't expect to see such large tracks in a field.  What do you think?
It may not look like much to you, but a neat garage that we can walk through, and makes room for dh to park his car, is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
At least until it gets messed up again!

Monday, October 7, 2013

On Beauty

"Why Beauty Matters" is one of the most thought-provoking things I've watched in a long time.  Thank you to the ladies of Like Mother, LIke Daughter who linked to it.  The hour-long documentary briefly touches on many types of art:  painting, sculpture, architecture, music, poetry.  Roger Scruton attempts to explain why we need beauty in our lives.

I probably could not have told you why I find certain types of art ugly or pointless, although some stuff that passes for "Art" these days is really nothing but grotesquery.  It's ugly and vulgar.  Most of us can agree on that.  I also could not have expressed why I find certain types of architecture ugly, and other types, which may be fairly plain and simple, attractive.

My soul craves beauty, however.  When I see a colorful dawn or sunset, I am readily reminded of the Creator and his majesty.  A peaceful landscape does the same thing.  I am reminded of my Lord, and my heart sighs with peace and joy.  And gratitude.  

Going to a museum these days can be a bit of a gamble as there are exhibits of more traditional are that are exceptional and others that are....not.  We can wander from painting to painting, or sculpture to sculpture, admiring the beauty of brushstrokes and colors, or the incredible way that a chunk of marble becomes the glistening form of a person.  Other galleries simply make us wonder how someone came up with the idea of doing whatever they did.  Maybe there are interesting colors and textures in some modern art, but that's not the same as true beauty.  Those galleries may be merely puzzling while others are the ones you rush through because there is nothing mesmerizing, nothing that links you to the eternal.

One interesting part of the documentary is his discussion of love and lust.  Love is beautiful, but lust is ugly.  Over the years I have found myself explaining to one child after another that pictures or statues of naked people are not (necessarily) shameful.  They learn from an early age that nakedness is wrong (maybe some of that is my attempts at teaching modesty, and much is from our culture), and I must explain that the human form is one of God's greatest, most beautiful creations, and that to admire that beauty is acceptable if we look at it that way.  It's all in how you look at a thing.

When I take the time to stop dwelling on the busy-ness of life long enough to look around me and see the beauty in people or things, I can't help but see God.  I appreciate his greatness.  True artists are blessed to be able to share in His creative gifts.

I have to ask why there is so little attempt to make the worship of the God who gave us so much beauty reflect Him?  Why is the (Novus Ordo) Mass so often just an attempt at feel-good brotherly love rather than music and actions that truly lift our souls to God?  That would truly change our culture---to have a Mass whose beauty transcends space and time and transports us to heaven.  In turn, we would carry that with us throughout the week (if we weren't compelled to return for a taste daily!), touching the lives of everyone we meet.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lotsa Yarns!

I'm joining Ginny a day late for the Yarn Along because Wednesdays are so busy around here!  I was supervising schoolwork and trying to organize all my new yarns from the Shop Hop.  

I was also trying to make a little progress on my Hitchhiker.  I'm so excited about this little scarf----I think the shape will lend itself well to wrapping about the neck.  Lots of triangular scarves don't.  Since I memorized the pattern, and I don't have to click the counter on my phone after every row, it's going a bit faster.  And I can take it in the car!!!  

I'm also in love with the colors, which look a bit dull in this early a.m. photo, but it looks like a gray day at the beach where there is just enough sunlight peeking through the clouds to turn the water aqua.

I have some spiritual reading on top, which said some pretty amazing things to me yesterday morning after a bad Tuesday evening.  It's nice when that happens.

I also started Divergent, which belongs to one of the kids, after reading about the author in the Costco magazine.  I have had very good luck with books that I hear about from that source!  They have all been excellent reads---all 3 of them. ;-)  Admittedly, not a very large sample.  I guess I need to read it if the movie comes out soon, along with the 3rd book in the trilogy.  The boys are dying to get the 2nd book already.

As soon as I get back from dropping off the kids at school, I'm going to immerse myself in the Yarn Along (while I knit).  Tell me about your good books and knitting---I need more ideas with all this new yarn!


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