Sunday, August 24, 2014

College Catholicism

This book was given out by the Catholic center when we went to orientation in July. It's a really nice prayer book! I didn't expect anything quite this nice from a university---excuse me----Institute. ;-)

Tom accidentally left it at home when we took him to college, but I'll make sure he gets it back! I used it at adoration on Wednesday and I just love it! It's a lovely little prayer book full of a wide range of useful, beautiful prayers.

I'm following the priest, on Facebook, who is assigned to the Catholic center and I'm very impressed with what I've seen. He is a blessing to this college community.

What experiences do you have with the Catholic community at universities where you attended or your children attend?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes - A Bucket List


I am excited about the ALS #icebucketchallenge and the attention that ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is getting from it. It's a stupid gimmick, but those are exactly the kinds of things that go viral in the world we live in. This is bringing attention to a horrible disease, and I hope, quite frankly, that people are actually looking it up instead of just dumping ice water on each other.


In case you're new here, or you've forgotten, my mother died from ALS 7 years ago. As much as I hate the fact that she is gone from this world and I don't get to see her or talk to her anymore, I think she was one of the "lucky ones" that her form of ALS was fast moving and she sped through all the stages in only a year. I can't imagine how hard it is on the people (and their families) who have to live with ALS for many years.

Here's a link to a heartbreaking video that shows a little of what it's like to live with and care for someone with ALS. And this young man has it himself! (Major language warning there! Don't watch this one with your kids!)


I'm moderately excited about the more than $20,000,000 (that's 20 MILLION!) that have been donated in just a few weeks. At first, as I was watching all these videos on FB, I was under the impression that everyone was just dumping the ice water and not giving, but I was very wrong! ALSA has raised $53 million since July 29, 2014, compared with $64 million in all of 2013. Other research institutes are also benefitting from the ALS ice bucket challenge---like the John Paul II Medical Research Institute. I've given to the ALSA before without thinking about whether or not I find their research ethical. Now, having looked at the graph of where their money goes, I think there might be better options out there. In my opinion, not enough of those funds go to research, regardless of whether it's ethical or not, and even less goes to support the families living the ALS nightmare. But hey! JP2MRI will direct your funds to ALS research if that's what you want!

UPDATE: I guess I wasn't very clear about the issues Catholics face with donations that fund embryonic stem cell research, which is why one would choose to give to the JP2MRI, but my sister pointed out the ALSA position on stem cell research which isn't as bad as I thought. I believe Catholics can donate to them in good conscience and even note where they would like their donation to be spent. Personally, I'd still like to see a higher percentage of funds being spent on research and patient support.


The Kimberly Kim Foundation is one option for helping those families. 

Although the Emory ALS Center was the initial beneficiary of funds raised, the Kim family quickly discovered how much families living with ALS need financial assistance. Home modifications, wheelchairs, handicap vehicles, and communication devices are but a few of the expenses families face. While insurance provides some help, a large portion is not covered; the financial burden over the years of living with the disease is enormous. The foundation will search for ways to ease this burden. Families living with ALS have enough challenges to face.

A cure would be awesome, so would some kind of treatment, but for those who may not see either of those things happen in their lifetime, the support of local organizations or ALSA chapters in providing all those things listed above is invaluable.


Do you know someone with ALS? Supporting those families might be one of the hardest things you ever do, but your help will be greatly appreciated.
  1. Meals for the family. 
  2. Babysitting while the ALS patient goes to the doctor. 
  3. Housecleaning. 
  4. Sit with the ALS patient while the caregiver gets out for a much-needed break. It might be a little daunting, but the person you knew is still inside that malfunctioning body! 
  5. Visit with the ALS patient even while the caregiver is home. Make them laugh. Talk. Read aloud.
  6. Offer to help and keep coming back. It just gets harder and harder for the family, and the support system gets smaller and smaller.


My baby participated in the challenge today after being nominated by her cousin. 


I hate this disease. A lot of people hate cancer, but at least they have an arsenal of drugs to fight with. ALS has nothing. Just time---will it be fast or slow? Who knows, but it will be a death sentence, and not a gentle one. 

Have you been nominated or made a donation? Give your money, but give of yourself, too. :-)

Maybe there are less depressing Quick Takes somewhere else:
Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yarn Along

Still working on my Clapo-ktus because I had to frog the whole thing. I was almost finished, with just an inch or so to go, when I ran out of yarn. With this project, you weigh your yarn, then increase every other row until you've used half of your yarn. Then you start decreasing until you get to the end. I, however, tried to put an extra row or two in the middle before I started decreasing and I ended up running out of yarn with the tiniest little bit to go. So I have started over, but I seem to have run out of knitting time, and I haven't made much progress since then.

One bonus to having to start over is that I was able to increase the size of my needles because I didn't think the original was quite large enough.

No photo of my book, because my book is upstairs on my nightstand and I'm lazy. I just started reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I read a really good review of it on someone's yarn along post last week and I decided to try it since most of my high school students have read it. So far so good. As I'm reading it, I'm trying to remember the movie, which I know we saw, but I really have very vague recollections of what happened in it. So I think it will be like reading a brand-new book.

{PHFR} School Edition


It was a beautiful day when we delivered our son to college. It was a sad day too. I'm sure most moms can identify with the dueling emotions of pride and sorrow. We can be proud of them and at the same time we miss them. We never stop missing them.


These two were happy to go back to part-time school so they could see their friends. I think we're already in the third week of classes----I've lost track already. Even with just two children at home I still have plenty of things to do and not enough time to do everything. Hence, the lack of  blogging. In fact, I started this post last week!


A little bowling trip for my 50th birthday Katie is the cutest bowler! It was fun, but we obviously need to go bowling more often because we're  terrible!


All the stuff ready to go to college! Boys are so much easier than girls---they need so much less stuff in their rooms.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Estate Sales and Thrifting

Last Friday I had a rare, unexpected day away without guilt! I went to a couple of estate sales and thrift shops with one of my good friends. We had planned to just go to a couple and then get back home to the kids, but no one seemed to need us, and we ended up spending the whole day out having fun. I spent more money than I should have because thrifting it's not always thrifty, but it was so worth it because I found what I have been looking for for ages! 

Thistle bookends – which I think were hand engraved by the artist who lived in the house.

A Selection of beautiful linens. Some are hand towels and some are tea towels for the powder room. There are more than aren't pictured here because they were in the laundry. They are gorgeous, and they will probably never be this beautiful again, because I intend to use them. ;-)

The biggest find of the day was a set of my everyday dishes that my mother gave me for my wedding 28 years ago. I had put them away for a long time while the children were little, so they wouldn't continue to get broken. When I finally pulled them out again, I discovered that the pattern had been discontinued and they're very hard to find. So I'm always looking for them at thrift stores. All I really needed was salad plates and bowls (which they didn't have) but I did get the 8 almost complete place settings! Now I'm ensured against future breakages with 19 dinner plates! ;-)

They're just plates, but they make me happy every time I sit down to eat or set the table with them, since it's worth it to me to have all the extras!

Do you like thrifting or estate sales? What do you always look for when you go out hunting?

Monday Anniversary Musings

Where have I been for the past couple of weeks? Nowhere, really. Just taking care of back-to-school business. In fact, I'm blogging this from the oral surgeon's office as I wait for Tom to get his 4 wisdom teeth removed. I started to do Quick Takes on Friday but had to go when I got to 5 and never got back to it.

Saturday was my (and my husband's) 28th wedding anniversary! We lazed around waiting for Meg to get back from summer camp (where she had an awesome time and had to tell me all about the excitement of every day before I was free to go!), and then we went for an abbreviated version of our annual movie day and dinner (we saw Guardians of the Galaxy --yawn---and A Most Wanted Man--gripping).

Time is a funny thing----it has been 28 years since our wedding day, but it seems so recent. It's only when I think of the almost-25 year-old and her siblings that I can fathom how long we have actually been together!

28 years of living with this man, but only 18 years of living with my mom (who died  7 years ago today. God rest her soul!) Outside of God and my faith, he is the center of my life. In an ideal world, our six beautiful kids will grow up and move on with their own lives, and he and I will still be together. I'm sure he'll have to listen to my complaints about aches and pains, but I'm trying to be happy about having raised independent young adults, so far, and look forward to the things we will get to do together. I hope he is, too! ;-)


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