Monday, March 31, 2014

Does Your Posture Affect Your Prayer?

Sitting in the choir section at Mass, I have an interesting perspective since we're in the front, right corner of the church. I'm sitting perpendicular to the pews, so I look out over the first third of the congregation if I look straight ahead. The altar is at 2:00 from where I sit; my family is usually in front of me at 12:00. When I'm tired of turning my head to look at the priest giving his homily, I look at the congregation.

What I see when I look out is a wide variety of postures and clothing. The ones that strike me the most are the people who are casually dressed, or dressed very inappropriately, and they are not necessarily one and the same. I'm also struck by the poor posture of some, especially my own teenager, who sit with elbows on knees, chin in hands, and eyes facing the floor. I do understand being physically exhausted or terribly sleepy on occasion, but every Sunday?

I've noted before that this posture is disrespectful, to say the least, but I've been looking for an opportunity to bring up the subject again, as I keep thinking that if we habitually practice such a poor posture, that it would begin to have an effect on what we think and believe. I also thought that I might be a little off-base there...until I read Fr. Barron's lenten reflection this morning. Do click over and read the whole thing if you haven't subscribed (it's short!), but here's a snippet:

It is not so much keen feelings of devotion that force us to our knees as kneeling that gives rise to keen feelings of devotion. If you're having difficulty in prayer today, try kneeling, or bowing, or making some sort of reverent gesture. The body often leads the mind into a deeper spiritual space.  

When I was not in the choir, and sitting with the rest of the family, I was always adamant about their postures. Kneeling with one's bottom against the pew is not acceptable in a normal, healthy individual who is not otherwise weakened by a stressful camping trip or recent illness! Proper kneeling and sitting or standing erect during the various parts of the Mass show respect for the people and the activity. I can't help but believe that it actually affects how much one actually respects and cares about the sacrifice of the Mass! I

In a similar vein, we're pretty adamant about a certain standard of dress for Mass on Sundays. No jeans, no shorts, no short skirts or otherwise inappropriate clothing. Though I will confess that skirts as long as I would like can be hard to find for my growing, lanky girl! We may be found in jeans at a weekday Mass, but they're on the nicer side; boys wear collared shirts, etc. We have our own standards, but we try not to judge others! I understand that sometimes people are legitimately late, or decided on the spur of the moment that Mass & receiving Jesus took priority over anything else that day! But, as a rule, shouldn't one's dress for Mass indicate that we're going to a banquet with the Creator of the Universe?

I've noticed the same thing in family prayer. Normally, we say a decade of the rosary, and most of the time, everyone can handle staying on their knees that long. But we don't pressure them to do so all the time. For Lent, we've been praying the whole rosary, and there's much more sitting. Even lying down and playing with the rosaries. And my youngest is 12, folks! There's no reason on God's green earth that she can't kneel for 16-17 minutes! I don't think we want to apply undo pressure so that family prayer becomes a huge burden and a battleground, but I think sitting respectfully and using the beads is a minimal requirement.

What I'm talking about here is our habitual posture and dress for Mass and prayer. Maybe you don't think it's a big deal today, but when it becomes a habit, are we revealing how we feel about the activity we're participating in? If you don't think so, do you think it might affect how one feels about it later, after years of slouching and assuming a bored posture? Like a teen...who acts bored every Sunday at Mass...even if he says he isn't...and then goes to college where he suddenly has the freedom to decide if he goes to Mass or not, and maybe he remembers that attitude because, now, he thinks he really was bored? Heaven forbid.

What do you think about this? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

PHFR Spring

round button chicken


The owners of this house are lucky enough to have THREE Cherry trees in their yard, and I'm lucky enough to drive past them every time I leave or come home. My favorite couple of weeks of the year is when they're in bloom.


These two kids are very happy together, and they looked great for their senior prom last weekend! Starting tonight, they're in their final drama production of their high school careers--Cats. I can't wait to see it; it sounds like its going to be fantastic. I'm happy for them, and sad at the same time because another one is getting ready to leave my nest.


Lots of people were mortified on FB that Pip wanted something more exciting for target practice than a target, or an apple. If it upsets you, you'll be happy to know that the arrows all bounced off this well-stuffed teddy!


One of my least favorite parts of spring---where people whack off the their flowering trees to such an unnatural degree that they look awful. I'm not sure what kind this is, but it started to flower, and, of course, there's not much to see. It will be the end of summer before it has acquired a half-decent shape, and just before it blooms again, they'll whack it off to nothing. I'm not a landscaper nor an arborist, but I think God probably had something better in mind!

Monday, March 24, 2014

How I Got my Daughter to READ! (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1, it's HERE.

The rest of the story isn't so much due to my aforementioned brilliance as it is to grace of God. Oh, and a little credit goes to the hybrid school. Really, though I always felt that if we could break the screen addiction, and she had some incentive to read on her own (haha, tickets for TV-watching, of all things!), she would learn to appreciate it.

Since Meg has a lot more time to read, now that the screens are gone or off, I suggested she read a book for Lent:  Olivia and the Little Way.  We had started it ages and ages ago, as a read-aloud, but didn't get very far. Well, she picked it up a couple of times, just to get a ticket, and finally ended up staying up waaaaay past her bedtime because she was enjoying it so much!

Also, Meg just had to read Anne of Green Gables for school, which I thought was a bit of a challenge for her, though I knew she could manage it if she kept up with it in the assigned, bite-sized chunks. She did get behind and ended up finishing it by listening to a Librivox recording. (Thank you, Amy Caroline!) She enjoyed it, though, and I think she wants to read the others, which would thrill me because they're some of my favorite books on the planet. I don't think I've read a single L.M. Montgomery book that I haven't loved! Have you read them????

Our hybrid school uses this program called Writing with Ease which takes selections from a wide variety of literature for reading, narration, and dictation. I particularly enjoy the exposure to different works, which I think is a great idea if you want to spark the interest of a child.  (If you'll recall, that's where I first heard about Dickens' A Child's History of England that I started reading.) Last week, our excerpt was from My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, and after much raving from me about how awesome it is (along with her Julie of the Wolves series), she decided to read it! She must be enjoying it since she's taking it everywhere she goes.

Now, I don't want you to think that I've never raved about a book before, because that would hardly be true, but she's never wanted to read anything I've recommended. The Little House on the Prairie set that I bought for her? Dusty and, mostly, unread. What little girl doesn't love those? I think it's time to re-introduce her to Betsy, Tacy, and Tib.....because she does like them a lot.

My daughter, like many other kids, I'm sure, just needed the right incentive to improve her reading habits: tickets for TV and exposure to good books. She had enough incentive to read the entire Hunger Games trilogy in the last year, so I had no doubt she could be a "reader" if she chose.  I'm hoping that she'll keep up the habit and that I won't slide back into lazy parenting that allows too much screen time. (Where's my fingers-crossed emoji for iMac?)

Let me know if you have any book suggestions for a 12 yo girl that will keep her reading.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you use them to click through to Amazon, I will receive a tiny percentage of the sale, and you pay nothing extra. If you choose to use them, thanks!)

Friday, March 21, 2014

How I Got my Daughter to READ! (Part 1)

Somehow, God gave me a couple of children who don't care for reading, even though The Genius (or should he be the Georgia Rambler?) and I were both English majors in college, and we have a huge collection of books. Evidently, I got into trouble for always reading as a child. I'm sure my mom didn't want me watching TV; she probably wanted me outside playing. And it's not that I don't want my kids outside playing, too, but if we're going to be indoors, books are better than screens.

Meg, as the youngest, came along in the age of smart phones and ipads, so she has a screen addiction worse than any of the others. I take a large part of the blame, but it is way too easy to turn on a tv, or take a small screen into another room where you can stream hours and hours of Disney Channel or Food Network! Screen addiction + no desire to read = Trouble with a capital T.

Then there's Pip who was spending far too much time "socializing" with his friends via the Xbox.

Something had to be done! The first thing we did was hide the ipad. No one misses it.

Then, I had the brilliant idea of rewarding 20 minutes of reading with 1 ticket that is worth 15 minutes of screen time. I got kudos for the brilliance of ensuring more reading than screen time. I printed out a bunch of tickets that I found on Pinterest on card stock, and they each have an envelope on the bulletin board where their tickets are stored.

We've been listening to the New Testament in the car on the way to school, so now they each get a ticket for that. It seems to make them more inclined to pay attention instead of sleep! They also end up getting one or two tickets each night for reading in bed. I forgot to mention that 20 minutes of outdoor play (or a workout) counts for a ticket, too.

The system definitely has its flaws. It's a bit more labor intensive than I would like--constantly checking on their reading or watching time, giving them tickets, taking tickets when the tv is on, etc. But, let me tell you, behavior has changed dramatically! Meg doesn't read all the time now, but she's not using screens, either. She's coloring or finding other creative activities to do. And she plays outside more, now that the weather is getting better.

Y'all...the screens are hardly on at all anymore!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lots of Knitting!

~ 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! ~

First off, a couple of photos of the finished and blocked A Drop in the Ocean.  It looks so much better once it is blocked, and I just love the size! I can wear it wrapped around anyway I want, or I can use it as a shawl since I made it wider.  The colors are awesome and match today's turquoise skirt perfectly.

Still on the needles is my Color Affection.  Note the size of the remaining yarn balls.  The light blue and brown are scary small!  I had this same problem with my original CA for my sister, but there was plenty of yarn.  With this one, I'm not so sure.  I didn't double and triple check the wrappers when I started, nor can I find them, but I have the distinct impression that the navy blue is actually a thinner yarn (dk vs. sport?) than the other two. So I really, really might not have enough of those two smaller balls.

Finally, I started this crazy Sock Yarn blanket thanks to the generous donations of friends.  It's fun to make the little squares, so far, but I haven't tried attaching them yet, or weaving in the many ends that are going to accrue!

Reading has been audio for the past few days. I'm listening to G. K. Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World, though I've taken a break for Nicholas Sparks' The Longest Ride. It's a pretty long ride, and it's been kind of depressing and intense, so I really hope it's not one of the usual Sparks books that ends with a death! Right now, it seriously looks as if there may be TWO deaths.

I think there is a huge difference between Chesterton and Sparks.  Which way does your pendulum swing?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Do You Suffer From BRF?

Do you suffer from Bitchy Resting Face?

Is everyone always asking if you're okay?  Do you feel well?  What's wrong?

Is the answer always nothing?  I'm fine.  Really, I'm fine.  No, I'm not sick.

You may have Bitchy Resting Face.  I do.  A couple of my children have inherited it from me, and they're learning to deal with the constant inquiries from concerned friends and teachers.

(mild language warning!) And let me just say that I think this is hysterical, right up until the ending, which I don't like at all.

Lent is probably a good time to practice smiling so people can stop thinking you're a b....

Do have this problem or know someone who does?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chesterton on Marriage

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.


This past week, I've been listening to the Audible version of What's Wrong with the World.  I had the (free) Kindle version, so the Audible was only $.99!  It makes getting through the book a lot easier.

It occurred to me during my listening that Chesterton is so quotable because he speaks in sound-bites. I've tried to find the thread of his argument in this book and have failed, repeatedly. He doesn't so much state a thesis and support it as he tells stories that illustrate his points. My husband, The Genius, wholeheartedly supported my theory when I explained it to him, so that makes me feel better. I thought I was a bit of a dunce and Chesterton was too big for me to comprehend. I think this revelation will make listening, or reading, a bit easier.

After nearly 28 years of  marriage, I got a chuckle out of this statement:

I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.
G. K. CHESTERTON, What's Wrong with the World
The Genius and I are compatible in many ways, but we are, in the end, men and women who are fundamentally different from one another. And God knew best what He was about by making us incompatible, for He made us complementary. We complete each other.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Yay! Quick Takes!


My, it's been a long time since my last post!  I guess the 7 posts in 7 days sort of did me in---even though I did only 5. I've been discovering that the days go really well if I don't sit down at the computer in the mornings.  I can check my mail on my phone, and go about my day Getting Things Done.  But morning is definitely the blogging time, so...


I enjoyed this post over at on overcoming one's Negative Nancy tendencies. Maybe you're not Negative Nancy, but there's probably help for dealing with the whiners in your life there, too.


I'm excited to start this huge project of The Sock Yarn Blanket thanks to the generosity of fellow knitters who gave me their sock yarn scraps.  It's crazy, like a crazy quilt, and it's big, and you have to take it with you wherever you go as it grows, and I may be the only one who likes it.  But I'm making it.  


I made a fun discovery on Amazon the other day!  I was looking up a book I'm interested in, and saw a little note that said I could buy the Kindle copy, and then for just 3 easy payments of $29.95a little more money, I could also get the Audible version. They were nice enough to show me a list of books I own on Kindle, which ones have Audible versions, and how much they cost, so I was able to buy 4 of them for only $0.99 each!  All I had to do was download the free Audible app to my phone. Now I'm 1/3 of the way through Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World.


Speaking of Chesterton, the Weekends with Chesterton haven't been happening much since I a) only blog in the mornings, and b) rarely on weekends.  That and the fact that I'm having a hard time plowing through G.K's work.  There are lots of great quotations in What's Wrong with the World, though, let me tell you!


My Darling Girl has been visiting this week, and we have had lots of time together. I've gotten to see her more than anyone else, and it's been wonderful.  She helped me paint my kitchen the other day---a long overdue project with its outdated 90's faux finish---which I still loved, but it was time. We sanded, primed, painted, and put everything back together in record time, and....I can't stand it. It's a gorgeous blue color, but it's way too cool a hue for the rest of the great room. I love how it brightens the room when I first walk in, but then I see how it doesn't match or "go" at all, and it makes me crazy. Sigh.  What do you think?


Beverley, I'm trying really hard to get rid of my "puddles of white" when I type, but it's really, really hard to break the 35 year-old habit of double-spacing after a period, so maybe the answer is to write really, really, long, run-on sentences so that I require fewer periods, what do you think about that?


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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2nd Day of Lent

Methinks it will be a long Lent if I count each day! It's only the 2nd day and I'm not doing as well as I would like, but I think we're "ready" now.  ;-)  Lent is like Christmas, it comes whether you're ready or not. Thanks to all those dedicated bloggers, I got lots of new (and old) Lenten ideas at the last minute.'s what's up in our house:

I made the annual calendar using Jessica's download.  She's amazing.  It would take me way too many hours to put together all those graphics! And she's super-sweet to share with the world, too. I made my poster re-usable by not putting dates on it, and I didn't permanently glue down St. Patrick's, St. Joseph, and the Annunciation.  Everything else stays the same because Lent always starts on a Wednesday.  That's one good thing about it!

The routine is, usually, to do a Bible reading for the "Jesus Tree" but we haven't gotten there yet.  The box with the foam cutouts is on the table. Waiting. We have decided to pray a whole rosary (instead of just a decade) together after dinner, which we've done twice.  woot!  But I found this really cool method for memorizing scripture via Elizabeth Foss, which we haven't done yet. I simply forgot about it tonight. Maybe tomorrow, but tomorrow is the first Fish Fry....and the plans go awry...but I promise we will get to it because I have wanted my kids to memorize scripture for years and we just haven't been good at it.

The vase is full of ideas to liven up our days if we're weary of the same old sacrifice day in and day out.  There's another great list here, if you still need some ideas.  I think these come in really handy when someone has...say...a birthday party to attend, and that sacrifice of sweets for Lent is suddenly too much to bear.  

I haven't intentionally given up any food for Lent, just for my 50 for 50 Diet.  However, I just realized I have to give up nightshades, too.  I guess that will have to be part of my Lenten fast!

I'm in more of the Do Something for Lent camp, this year. Meg, Pip, and I are listening to the New Testament in the car on the way to school.  I love it.   We will get through far more than the Gospels this year, and we will just start Matthew again when we're done with Revelation. 

I also signed up for the Lenten reflections through Flocknote.  I forgot that I also signed up for Fr. Robert Barron's reflections, too!  So, I'm reflecting a lot, in addition to the spiritual books I want to read. 

It looks as though I have also given up pants for Lent, taking the SkirtUp Challenge.  I enjoy wearing skirts, and I have quite a few, but it may get difficult at some point.  Like when I'm stripping wallpaper off the bathroom walls next week.  I think I need a denim skirt.

Is your Lent off to a good start?  Or have you, like me, bitten off more than you can chew and you're already trying to decide what to keep and what to let go?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pre-Lent Daybook


Outside my window...
It's rainy and chilly after a gloriously warm and sunny Sunday.  I wish it were beautiful again, but I'll keep my complaints to myself since others still have frigid temperatures, snow, and sleet.

I am thinking...
About my weekend and how I failed to finish my 7 posts in 7 days.  I'll count it a success, anyway, since I did post 5 days in a row.  I was up at 5 a.m. and out of the house by 5:40 on Saturday for a trip to Chattanooga for AHG training.  Exhausted when I got back!  And Sunday was... Sunday.  I rarely feel like blogging on my day off.  I try to stay away from the computer as much as possible, then.

I am thankful...
My brother-in-law is home from Afghanistan.  We've been praying for him since early October, and I'm relieved that he is home safely.

From the school table...
My high schooler is in his room re-reading history books and studying for tomorrow's mid-term. My 6th grader is in a puddle on the floor because she doesn't like narrating stories.  So, I'm blogging.

In the kitchen...
A new batch of kombucha today, and no plans for dinner yet.

I am wearing...
A long skirt, because the jeans are all dirty and it's too cold and damp for capris.  I'm considering taking the Skirt Challenge and wearing skirts all through Lent.  What do you think?

What I’m doing with fiber...
I "finished" my Drop in the Ocean, but it still needs a few ends woven in and blocking.  I'm ready to start the 3rd color in my Color Affection, so I really feel like I'm making a lot of progress on that one.  It's time to start thinking about summer knitting!

I am going...
nowhere special this week---just normal errands and schools.

I am reading...I am hearing on my ipod...

Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser.  Good, but there are a lot of charts and graphs which makes for slow reading when you're listening to the audiobook!

I am hoping and praying...
Oh my, the list grows ever longer...

  • Elizabeth DeHority
  • Gus
  • Natalie - who has been in the hospital since 2/20, and is having surgery today.
  • All of our priests
  • an end to aborthion

I am looking forward to...
Ash Wednesday being over.  ;-)  It's always a challenge to be hungry and busy.  Getting to Mass on time and feeding everyone dinner at some point is going to be hard.  I'm supposed to sing in the choir, but that might not happen if I can barely get there in time.  I guess if God wants me in the choir, He'll get me there!

Around the house...
It's quiet.  Business as usual.

One of my favorite things...
Finding a book that's so gripping that I can't put it down.  I haven't had one of those in a while. You know, you spend all your spare minutes reading...while waiting for the water to boil in the kitchen...wherever you find spare moment.  Do you know of any like that?

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Finish up the Lenten prep!  It's Tuesday now...I started this Monday, and I finally got the Christmas wreath off the door and put up the Lenten one!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

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