Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes on Apps


In the wee hours this morning at Adoration, I had the idea of blogging my 7 favorite apps today. You know how it is----God didn't really mean that.  It was just my lame idea.---But I haven't come up with anything better, so, here you go....cheating and all, since now I have only 6 takes left.  ;-)


The Confession app.  I like the very thorough examination of conscience, and the fact that multiple users can sign in.  You put your age and vocation in the profile, so my 12 yo daughter doesn't get the same questions as her married mother!


Divine Mercy app by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.  It even has Fr. Michael Gaitley praying the Divine Mercy chaplet which is very listenable and prayable, if you know what I mean.  Sometimes apps you pray with are awkward for you to use---too slow, too fast, strange accent.  


The Mary app.  Same guys.  What's not to love?


Etsy.  I love Etsy, and I just love scrolling through the stuff that's available on there, sometimes.


The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock.  I've told you about this.  I still love this thing.  The latest update also tracks my steps---if I carry my phone with me constantly and let it drain my battery.  ;-)  I don't really need that info; I just love the way it wakes me up.


My Mobile banking app. (I won't give you the name; you have to get your own. :-) Wow.  I used to go to the bank, which is close, but never convenient to my day, and make deposits or transfer money into the college kids' accounts, but now I can do those things AT HOME.  In MY CAR. In MY BED.  WHEREVER I AM!  In seconds.  Boom!  Done!    This particular app has flaws that people don't like, but it does what I need done, so I'm happy.


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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is it Spring?

round button chicken


That's not the prettiest picture, but we are very {happy} to see the redbud trees in bloom!  They just burst into bloom when the temps got up to 70 for a couple of days.  I saw daffodils, too!  It looks like spring here, even if we're still having cooler temps.  I can almost believe that winter is over, even though folks farther north can't say the same thing.

 Do you see those green shoots coming up?  That's garlic that I asked one of my sons (who shall remain nameless) to plant in the fall.

Right now, there are just bare sticks next to it, but do you notice what's funny about it?  They are behind (as in between the bush and the house) the Knock-Out Roses.  If you click that link, you'll see that in the summer, my garlic won't get any sun!  

Why did we plant it there, you ask?  Well, we didn't...although I guess I have to take the blame for it.  I asked him to plant the bulbs "behind the rose bush."  See that empty space down there, where the barrel is?  That's where I wanted them to go.

Oh, you want to know about the plywood barrel?  It's a leftover prop from a long-ago escape from Mirkwood forest when our homeschool group performed The Hobbit.  Don't ask why it's outside; I don't even know anymore.

 I was imagining that he would stand here ^, in front of the house, and plant the garlic on the other side of the roses.  I never dreamed that he would, yes, wonder why I wanted them behind a bush where they won't get sun, and still proceed to plant them there!

(Eventually, all those sticks will be roses and hydrangeas.)

My heart aches this morning for a little boy who was struck by a car as he crossed a very busy intersection on his way to school.  He was on his motorized scooter when he was hit by a car turning left.  I have no doubt that the sun was in the driver's eyes, but, praise God, the boy was able to get up on his own and stagger to the median where good Samaritans were already there to help him.  
I don't know yet if he's one of our students or one that attends the school we share space with.  Not that it matters; I've been praying for him all morning, and for all the children who have to be out on these dangerous streets.  I hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Yarn Along & 7x7

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

It's getting late in the day, and I have to force myself to sit down at the computer (again) to put up today's post.  I've spent too much time on the computer already today, simply because I had nowhere to be except here.  And it's not laundry day.

#5 on yesterday's list should have been to cut way back on computer playtime because it makes for a much more peaceful day!  I've noticed lately that the days I just don't feeel like being at the computer, I'm more peaceful and chores get done in a more timely fashion.  It's also very likely that I'll branch out and do something different that I've been meaning to get to.  I love those days!

I have spent a lot of time knitting yesterday and today, but I just can't seem to finish this silly Drop in the Ocean.  That's it's new name.  I'm almost there, though!  I might be able to get it done tonight ---- aack, no.  Choir practice.

I worked on the Color Affection quite a bit Saturday while I watched a movie about J.K. Rowling. Despite my son complaining the whole time that it was a bad movie, I enjoyed it.  Now, every time I pick up the shawl to work on it, I have a strong desire to read all the Harry Potter books again!

I picked up a new book last night off my TBR shelf.  It's one of the few works of fiction on that shelf, and I'm feeling a real lack of fiction in my life these days!  My brain is a bit tired from trying to plow through G. K. Chesterton. 

Anyway, I picked up Mr. Blue, (not an affiliate link), who is a joyful chap despite his poverty.  He remained joyful when his rich uncle died and left him $2 million dollars which he happily spent in a couple of years.  I'm anxious to see how he gets on after that!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Simplicity and Holiness

Yesterday, I said we'd talk about how to accomplish your to-do list and be holy at the same time.  I don't know what I was thinking, because I'm pretty sure I don't know the first thing about being holy, except that I'm not, and I have a long way to go.  I can probably give you a few tips on what NOT to do.

When I went to Confession last week, the priest asked if I were a homeschooling mother (I don't know how he could tell).  When I said yes, he said that I should not take on any extra responsibilities, but that my duty is to be holy for my children.  Be the excellent example that they need because that is the task that God has given me.  I tried to explain that life is much easier now with only 2 homeschooling, and they're doing that out of the house 3 days per week, but he wasn't interested in that!  He insisted that I do everything I can to bring peace to the home and be the kind and loving wife and mother I'm meant to be.

My "penance" was to ask the Blessed Mother to help me in my task (every task!) before I begin, whether it's cooking dinner, doing laundry, teaching school.  For one week I was to do this.  Since I've managed to ask for her help only once or twice, I think I have to continue trying.

Here are some of the tips that I've gleaned over the years, and that I think are helping me (or would have been awesome when I had 6 children at home!).

  1. Begin and end your day with prayer.  I have my Morning Consecration prayer and my Renewal of Consecration sandwiching my day.  I also have an alert on my phone for the Angelus and the 3:00 hour.  The Angelus is super short, and if I'm not praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet (which is most of the time), I say a short prayer remembering Christ's passion. I also try to get in a rosary during one of the dog's walks.  
  2. Spiritual Reading and meditation.  Try for 15 minutes in the morning.  If you want to pray the Divine Office, you can do that.  At the end of this session, you make your short, 3-4 item to-do list for the day, because, hopefully, you are in the presence of God and he's guiding your thoughts.
  3. Keeping your To-Do list short goes along well with this post from Jennifer Fulwiler.  Take a hard look at the daily schedule of the Missionaries of Charity and see how much time they give themselves for the ordinary events of the day!  Life is always much more peaceful when we allow ourselves ample time to eat and clean up.  If we don't allot enough time, either we don't do it, or we do it ourselves because it's faster, when it is a perfect opportunity to do it slowly, with the children, teaching and talking as we go.
  4. Eat a Saint Diet.  Jen talks about that (and scheduling!) here.  Y'all, can I just tell you how much calmer, more peaceful, and, yes, happier I am since I cut everything out of my diet?  (Scroll down to Physical goals for the year.) Oh, and that list doesn't even include dairy which is gone now, too.  Now, if I could just get rid of PMS.....
There it is, folks.  My short list of helpful tips so that we may all grow in holiness.  I don't do any of these things all the time, but I keep trying, and that's the goal:  to get up and start again each day.  Better yet, just like when you've blown your diet, you shouldn't wait for tomorrow or Monday to try again, start again NOW.

Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, I trust in You.

Monday, February 24, 2014

7 Posts in 7 Days - What?

Frankly, I think 7 posts in 7 days is asking a bit much from someone who has so little to do with her time that she can't find the time to blog more than once or twice a week!  Maybe what I need is a little motivation, and....I don't know...a deadline?  Or seven.


Today's theme is SIMPLICITY.  It might end up being the theme for the whole week.

Simplicity is something that is easy.  Easy to understand.  Easy to do.  Natural.  My life, and maybe yours, too, is often anything but simple.  I like things to be very straightforward, and to know what my responsibility is.

I often find myself tearing my hair out because there are so many things to do and I don't know what the Most Important Thing is.  It's a little easier now that the kids are older and 3 of the 6 are out of the house, but it still happens.  Pip was sick this weekend and was in bed for almost 3 days. Having a sick child suddenly crystallizes my thoughts.  I know what I'm supposed to be doing---taking care of him!

Unfortunately, I can't expect someone to always be sick (and who would want that?).  So I have to simplify my life on my own.

One suggestion which I like, and have not done enough of, is to ask what God wants from me for the day.  After morning prayers is a good time to start focusing on the day and find out what God wants for that day.  Write down 3 or 4, but no more than 4, things to accomplish during the day. Laundry, Mass, carpool, groceries. That could be it. It doesn't seem like much, but you'll likely get it all accomplished. You can check them all off, and anything else that gets done is a bonus!

Having said that, I'm checking off Blogging, so I can head to the post office, and fold some laundry.

Tomorrow, I think we'll talk about how to do that and be Holy, too.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I finished the 4-hour scarf!  It took way more than 4 hours....just sayin'.  Who comes up with those time limits?  Knitting champions?  Maybe if I had used the size 11 needles instead of 10.5, but still.  The pattern is from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts which I really like.  I've made several things out of it.  This was a super easy knit with luscious yarn.

Next up is the Drop Stitch Scarf that I'm over halfway done with.  Woot!  I like the look, but I find the pattern tedious to knit...not difficult, mind, just slow.  

Would you believe that I've made absolutely NO progress on my Ravellenic Games project, the Color Affection?  I'm 100% certain it won't be finished by the time the Games end (this weekend?) since I'm pushing to finish the Drop Stitch.  But that's no big deal; it's just for fun anyway.

I got a little fed up with Dickens' Child's History of England, and decided to read some Father Brown mysteries.  The children's version of that, too.  They're very enjoyable; I'll probably read the grown-up version next!

I also listened to As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner on Overdrive.  As it is narrated by all the different members of the family, it was hard to follow and figure out what was happening.  (I'm a very visual person, so listening to books is not my first choice!)  I'm afraid I didn't have a very favorable impression of it, even though it's

Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama.

I think I would do well to give it a quick re-read by actually looking at the text before I judge it unfairly.  Let me know if you've read it and what you thought!

Come back next week for (hopefully) a finished Drop Stitch and a little progress on the Color Affection.  If I don't start something else.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Is it Wednesday Already?

We're really confused down here in the south where Winter Storm Pax is making life difficult!  School was shut down yesterday, which turned out to be unnecessary, but hindsight is 20/20.  And we're still a little gun-shy...snow-shy...after the traffic nightmare of the century.  Anyway, I was a little surprised to find out that today is Wednesday and Yarn Along day!

I haven't gotten as much knitting done as I would like since I spent too long untangling a new skein.  (How does that happen???) I've also been supervising schoolwork which doesn't stop when you're a homeschooler.  And, the really fun activity of the day, walking the dog who needs to do his business, but doesn't like the icy, poky grass or the sleet coming down, so he won't do it, and then you have to take him out again when he realizes he didn't finish.  

I've been working on my Color Affection for the Ravellenic Games, but not making much progress since I had to rip it all out and start again because my gauge was way off.  But I'll get there!

I also wound up that new skein today to make a scarf.  It's undyed baby alpaca and feels like heaven.  I'm loving how the color changes!

And then, there's my Drop Stitch scarf which, even though it is a scarf, makes me think that summer may, actually, come again.  Someday.

Books?  Not much reading.  I have 2 books available on Overdrive that I would like to start while I knit, but I don't want to spend the day listening to a book, killing my phone battery, so that when the power goes out (as they say it very likely will), I'll be out of touch with the world.

It's been several hours since I started writing, and it has been sleeting heavily for most of that time.  Please pray for all those affected by this ice storm.  We're going to lose a lot of trees and a lot of power.  I can live without power for a few days, but trees falling on houses is worse.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chesterton on Dickens

Every weekend in 2014, we're digging into the prolific work of G.K. Chesterton with Amongst Lovely Things. Join us! All you need is a snippet- a short quote taken from anything he's written. Blog it and link up below, or share your snippet to the comments on this post.

You can add commentary or photos if you'd like (you know I can't ever resist adding a photo, myself!), but all you need is a snippet. Let's keep this thing simple! Reading even a few lines of Chesterton every week is bound to be profitable.

I've mentioned that I'm reading Charles Dickens' Childs History of England that I got on Kindle after discovering that the copy I got from the library had print much too small for my eyes. Reading it would have exhausted me!  But my Dear Husband looked it over before he returned it to the library, and, coincidentally, found an essay by Chesterton in the front. Chesterton had some interesting things to say about my complaints that Dickens was letting his anti-Catholicism show.

...this book will always remain as a bright and brisk summary of the cock-sure, healthy-minded, essentially manly and essentially ungentlemanly view of history which characterised the Radicals of that particular Radical era. The history tells us nothing about the periods that it talks about; but it tells us a great deal about the period that it does not talk about; the period in which it was written. It is in no sense a history of England from the Roman invasion; but it is certainly one of the documents which will contribute to a history of England in the nineteenth century. (emphasis added)
When I got to the part in the story about Dunstan,  Abbot Of Glastonbury Abbey and the true King of England, according to Dickens, I was a bit surprised, wondering to myself if he was the "St. Dunstan" I had heard of previously, for this priest did a great many things that Dickens did not care for!  In one instance, he "dragged" the newly crowned King away from his wife and mother-in-law back to the coronation reception "because the young King's fair wife was his own cousin, and the monks objected to people marrying their own cousins; but I believe he did it because he was an imperious, audacious, ill-conditioned priest, who, having loved a young lady himself before he became a sour monk, hated all love now, and everything belonging to it.

Dunstan also had the nerve to drive "all married priests out of the monasteries and abbeys, and replaced them by solitary monks like himself, of the rigid order called the Benedictines. He made himself Archbishop of Canterbury, for his greater glory."

When Dunstan finally died, after many years of controlling the young kings for his own benefit, "the monks settled that he was a Saint, and called him Saint Dunstan ever afterwards. They might just as well have settled that he was a coach-horse, and could just as easily have called him one.

You really have to laugh at some of these!  Chesterton, however, is here to save the day:
...turn to the account given by Charles Dickens of that great man, St. Dunstan. It is not that the pert cockney tone of the abuse is irritating to the nerves: it is that he has got the whole hang of the thing wrong. His head is full of the nineteenth-century situation; that a priest imposing discipline is a person somehow blocking the way to equality and light. Whereas the point about such a man as Dunstan was that nobody in the place except he cared a button about equality or light: and that he was defending what was left of them against the young and growing power of darkness and division and caste.

He does say that,

Sheer ignorance of the environment made him (Dickens) wrong about Dunstan. But sheer instinct and good moral tradition made him right, for instance, about Henry VIII.;

I shall look forward to that section of the book!  I have a ways to go, yet. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes -- From Barf to Buckhead


There's nothing like working at the computer, and then getting up for a stretch and going to scratch the dog's belly, only, instead of the dog, you find a puddle (or two) of barf in his favorite chair.  Said barf is also dripping down the front of your pale, pink chair onto the carpet.



Once he adopted that chair as his, I started covering it with a drop cloth to keep it from getting too soiled, but that came to an end when he started eating it.  What do you do with a dog that insists on eating any bedding you give him?  


This is breaking my heart. I sometimes think about moving to where things are better (in my little world, that equals less traffic!), but it would involve uprooting the family and leaving our friends to go somewhere new.  But we'd still stay in our country.  The Christians in the Middle East have to leave everything---family, friends, country, their entire history, behind in order to escape.  Heartbreaking.


This is what I read this morning from St. Teresa of Avila.  I couldn't help but think of #3.
Alas, Lord, who is it that has dared to make this petition in the name of all? What a poor mediator am I, my daughters, to gain a hearing for you and to present your petition! When this Sovereign Judge sees how bold I am it may well move Him to anger, as would be both right and just. But behold, Lord, Thou are a God of mercy; have mercy upon this poor sinner, this miserable worm who is so bold with Thee. Behold my desires, my God, and the tears with which I beg this of Thee; forget my deeds, for Thy name's sake, and have pity upon all these souls who are being lost, and help Thy Church.  Do not permit more harm to be wrought to Christendom, Lord; give light to this darkness.


One space or two?  After a period, that is. Which camp are you in?  I'm shocked by the people who say two spaces are downright ugly!  It's just a tiny, white can it be ugly? Chicago Manual of Style Online is not very helpful, but very firm.  Slate is unequivocally against the extra space.  Wikipedia, at least, explains the history and politely states that we don't need the extra space.  I don't know about you, but I've been typing and hitting that space bar twice for, at least, 35 years. (Just did it again) (Gah!) Old habits are really hard to break! (Urg!) I think one of these snarky, young, know-it-alls should just get AutoCorrect to delete the extra spaces.  It's that simple.


I never showed you these pictures of cute Meg with her two favorite birthday presents:
Jumping up and down in her coral (uh, orange) crocheted Toms.

Utterly amazed and delighted by Duck Tape.  Go figure.  ;-)


Apropos of nothing, this is just a cool shot in Buckhead  of a rather unusual building reflected onto another.  

Have a great weekend!

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link at Ginny's to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

A beautiful friend gifted me with this equally beautiful yarn the other day.  It's Madelinetosh Pashmina worsted.  It feels simply you might if you were made of merino, silk, and cashmere.  ;-)  I think that's my new favorite combo.  I love the colors, too.  She did good!

I'm knitting a Drop Stitch Scarf though I've made it wider for more of a shawl effect.  We'll see.  I love this yarn, and every time I start to knit this pattern, I don't think it does the yarn justice.  I'm pushing on this time since I haven't been able to find any other patterns I think might work well with it.  My daughter keeps saying it's pretty, so I'll trust her.

I just saw a reminder on another blog that the Olympics start tomorrow....duh, I knew that...but that also means the Ravellenic Games start tomorrow too!  A perfect time to cast on for my own Color Affection since I gave the last one to my sister for Christmas.

Are you planning to join the Ravellenic Games?
As for reading....I'm sort of knitting compulsively these days despite the size of my reading list.  However, at night, I am plowing through Dickens' A Child's History of England.  It's a very readable story, albeit a long one.  I am both entertained and dismayed by the editorial remarks made concerning the Catholic Church.  He has an extreme anti-Catholic bias which shines through this work.  I've read lots of other Dickens before, but either I wasn't looking for it or it wasn't as obvious.  I'm very disappointed, and I don't know how much he'll be on my reading list in the future.  I think looking for the bias will ruin his otherwise good stories.  What do you think?


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