Monday, March 31, 2014

Moments Of Grace

Joining with Jenny over at Plain Grace for today's journal!

Moments of Gratitude:

* Sunshine and finally some warmer weather.  It isn't supposed to last long, but we'll take it!
* Finally getting to re-pot some indoor plants
* Ticket sales finally picking up
* Having our driving schedule work out without much fuss
* Although it is now over, having the older three girls home a bit more last week for their Spring break
* Ms 22 yo making breakfast for us on Sunday

Praying For:

* Our upcoming performance.  Whenever we do a performance such as this, the devil is always out to cause trouble.  There has been a lot of it lately.  If you wouldn't mind joining me in saying a prayer that some necessary items that are lost be found in time.  Thanks! 
* Discernment on a few things

Listening to:

Mr 8 yo trying to find someone to dry the dishes for him.  His dish drying partner isn't home right now, so his pleading for help from his other siblings is falling on deaf ears.  Oh wait, I now hear help coming in the form of his oldest sister!


What I saw yesterday that made me sad.  I was in the narthex of a very large Catholic church near us during one of their Saturday evening Masses while we were waiting to sell tickets after Mass.  Right after communion, a good 50% of the people left the church.  Another 20% left after the final blessing but before the priest walked out.  I was amazed and saddened that people were in such a rush to leave and have been pondering what, if anything, the solution is to that type of mass exodus (pun intended :)


I'm trying to get into St. Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle".  To say it is slow going is an understatement.  (that actually sounds funny the way I wrote it...I'm not trying to get into HER castle, although I'm sure it is amazing there, but into the book she wrote about it!)

I'm also re-reading "The Pain of Christ and the Sorrow of God" by Gerald Vann.  This is an excellent book and I try to read it all the way through every Lent.

The Week Ahead:

* We have our co-op photography class and it looks like we'll get to be outside taking motion pictures!
* This week is also our last writing class.  This class has been such a blessing to me because Ms 15 yo and Mr 13 yo have gotten a lot of instruction in writing and I haven't had to grade one paper!!!
* Three, count them, three practices this week with the first performance on Saturday.  I'm tired already.
* For some reason I have a lot of phone calls to make this week.  Hopefully they'll be fruitful ones.


I was messing around with my camera the other day and I took this photo of my lamp.  What I liked about it is that I got the effect by underexposing the picture, which made the background black.  There was enough light, however, to light up the glass part of the lamp.  In this picture, I changed it to black and white as the original had that yellow, lamp tinge to it.

God Bless!

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

And The Winner Is.....

Clare Dick ·

Spring is my favorite season. Spring starts out like winter in my part of the world and ends like summer. I love the fresh air in spring and the days getting longer makes me feel more energetic. I know summer is a great time of year and spring allows me to know that summer is not here yet, but it will soon be on its way. 
Congratulations, Clare!  I'll mail your CD and soap out this week!  
So, I know I had quite a lot of problems with the whole comment thing and to say I'm frustrated is beyond the truth.  I switched to a new comment program so I wouldn't keep having problems, but many people said they couldn't leave a comment, which is why you see them copied in under my name.  Ugh.  If anyone has any insight into this, I sure would appreciate it.
Anyhow, despite the problems, it was fun and I know Clare is going to love that CD and the soap!  Thank you to everyone who participated!
God Bless!

Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes Remember the Giveaway!

Welcome!  This is a great week to visit here because you have the outstanding opportunity to bring some joy to your senses; specifically your ears and your skin.  I'm holding a giveaway of a CD of beautiful music and a great smelling bar of all-natural soap, so take a second to leave a comment here and then come back.  It's okay, I'll still be here when you get back :)

Aren't you excited?  I think you'll LOVE both the CD and the soap.  My personal favorite is the Banana Berry Almond.  I love almond and the smell in this soap is subtle and wonderful!  As for the music, well, it is very soothing so I suppose you could pair the two together, if you have music playing abilities in your bathroom, and be soothed in two ways while you shower!  

We are rapidly approaching our first performance this year of "The Seven Last Words of Christ".  It has been an interesting ride, as it always is.  A few weeks ago we did a photo shoot of some of the actresses.  We've blown up some of the photos into poster sizes and use them at the ticket selling tables at the various churches.  Here is one of my favorites:


It is supposed to be 60 here on Sunday.  Did you hear that?  60!!!!  We might all go out and sunbathe.  It will be a veritable heat wave.  Of course then we drop right back down into the 40s but we'll take what we can get.

Lent.  It never is what I think it is going to be.  I was really going to try to do some spiritual reading but I just can't get into the mood to do it.  I've got quite a few books lined up but just can't seem to get started on any of them.  Actually, it seems to be more often than not that I can't read a book.  I really love reading, but for some reason I have long stretches of time where I just can't do it.  Anyone else ever have this problem?  What do you do to get out of it?  Do you just let it run its course or do you force the issue and read anyhow, even if it is only a page or two?

We began discussing summertime around here last night.  I know I don't want it to be like last summer where we were going from one weekly event to another, but the kids all seem to have their own desires about which camp and activity they would like to attend.  Also, with four people gainfully employed, picking a week off together is looking like an impossibility.  Really?  A family vacation without the entire family?  I know it has to happen sooner or later but I'm voting for later!
This weekend is the calm before the storm.  Next week is three days of dress rehearsals and a performance so that means busy, busy, busy.  Please, if you would, say a prayer that all goes well with this performance?  Thanks, and have a great weekend!

God Bless!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Theme Thursday - Hear

I know that God speaks in a quiet voice, so that means that it has to be quiet around me and inside me in order for me to hear Him.  (Note:  I thought this week was "hear" and not "word" so just kindly add in the word word where you see hear.  Okay?  Thanks!)


This is where I go to hear His Word.  Usually it is quiet.  If it isn't, I kick the offender out and shut the door and then it is quiet again and I can hear what God might be trying to say to me.

Wait,  before you go, as long as you've stopped by, can you take a minute to check out my giveaway?  You can just click here, check out the awesome CD and soap I'm giving away to one lucky person, enter a quick comment about what you like about Spring and then you're done.  The winner will be announced this coming Sunday evening, this way people who are only on the internet on Sundays during Lent can have a chance to enter, too.  Thanks, I think you'll be glad you took the time.

Now, you can go over to Clan Donaldson for more "hear" or "word" pictures, whichever you might be doing :)

God Bless!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Double Giveaway! How Exciting!

I found myself the fortunate recipient of an extra copy of "Ineffable", the new CD from my good friend Simonetta and her four lovely and talented daughters.  I have a copy so they told me to "Give it to someone!" so that is exactly what I am going to do.

This album is the first recording project of Simonetta and her girls singing together.  It is "a collection of beautiful, Catholic, sacred polyphony sure to lift your spirits."  If you like sacred polyphony you will love this CD.  If you don't know what it sounds like, you can go here to get a sampling.  (Just scroll down till you see the store).

I figured this would be a great CD to have playing in the background for the upcoming Holy Week.

And, to make the giveaway even more enticing, to celebrate Spring (even though the weather doesn't seem to want to) I will throw in a bar of one of our new fragrances from The Goat Milk Soap Shop.  You can choose from Grapefruit Margarita, Banana Berry Almond, Midnight Jasmine or Lavender Oatmeal.  All of our soaps are hand made from all-natural ingredients.  

With this giveaway you get a little bit of Lent and a little bit of Spring in one great package.

Just enter a comment below about what you love most about Spring and on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm cst I'll pick a winner.  Nothing fancy about entering, I'll just use a random number generator to pick a lucky winner.  

So go ahead and enter a comment and then share this with others so they can join in the fun.

Good Luck!

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Feast Day!

A blessed Feast of the Annunciation to you!  I've been really getting into icons lately so when I found this one of the Annunciation I was thrilled.  I found it here along with a great explanation of the different parts of the icon.  Of course, I have yet to buy myself an icon, but someday I will because I just love the intense colors that they use as well as the fact that everything that is on an icon means something.  Nothing is random.  I like that.

Today is also our consecration day.  We started doing this every year at this time back in 1999.  Wow, that makes this our 15th year of following the St. Louis de Montfort formula for the consecration to the Blessed Virgin.  I didn't realize it had been that long!  We use this book (this year I have mine on my Kindle and boy is that handy!), so if you've never done the consecration and are interested, the next series starts on March 26th with a consecration day of April 28th, St. Louis' feast day.

God Bless!

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our Imperfect Prayer

It's been awhile since I've posted about praying the rosary and I thought of it again last night while we were praying it as a family.  At one point, I looked over and my husband had draped a blanket over his head monk-style and was kneeling down and praying.  This, of course, cracked everyone up and the solemn moment was interrupted. 

"WAIT, hold on!  Solemn moment???  When is there a solemn moment when we pray the rosary??"  "You're right," I thought.  Even though the kids are older and quite capable of praying reverently, our rosary still is fraught with distractions, conversation and a giggle or two now and again.  

Many times our intentions go on for 20 minutes because they become a time for discussion of current affairs, as in, "I pray for the situation in Venezuela."  "What situation in Venezuela?"  At which point a sometimes lengthy discussion will ensue about what is currently going on in the world.

Or, "I pray for Great Aunt Zelda that she gets out of the hospital soon."  "Wait, when did Aunt Zelda go into the hospital and what is wrong?"  At which point a sometimes length discussion will ensue about what is currently going on with Aunt Zelda.

I don't mind this because it really has proven to be fruitful in terms of discussing current events as well as bringing everyone up to date on really important things they might have missed while they were out.

What bugs me, however, are the constant mini-discussions that go on during the rosary.  Just because your kids get older, don't think they're going to stop talking!  Mr 8 yo still squirms and gazes out into space during most of the time, which requires me to poke at him to bring him back down to earth.  My husband still prays, on occasion, the rosary of the "person who has been up early and worked a long day".  You know the one, "Hail Mary, full of grace, therkh;jddfjklskhf  iahou la;jf;l......" Mr 13 yo old has entered that phase of leading in that fast paced, mumbled way, saying something about the fruit of wine and cheeses. 

You know what, it isn't perfect, and that's okay.  While it would be nice to have an entire rosary prayed on our knees with perfect meditation and recitation, more than likely it ain't gonna happen.  But, and here's what I think is most important, as imperfect as it is, we still gather every night to try again.  The kids still come willingly and make sure to ask what time we'll be praying so that they can structure their evening around it.  So even though we are full of faults, I believe that the important thing is that we keep on keepin' on.  May there be abundant graces in the trying and not just in the perfecting!

God Bless!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Catching Up

It really wasn't my intention to back off on computer usage during Lent, but somehow that is what has been happening.

Life has been speeding along at 100 mph faster than normal.  This shouldn't be a surprise to me since that is how it usually goes when we are in the midst of preparing for a big performance.  It does, however, make Lent seem to zoom by.  Is that a good thing??

Here, in pictures, are some of the things that I have been up to the past two weeks and that I had intended on writing about but just haven't gotten the time.  I'm in between driving and other chores for today, so I thought I might try to tackle them.

I had the awesome opportunity to visit my parents in Arizona for a much needed mental break.  It was in the low 80s, need I say more?  I think Arizona has been in some kind of weather bubble so far this year; as the rest of the country gets walloped with horrible weather, AZ is having warmer than usual temps.  Oh well, I was certainly glad to be there for some of it.  

I've never been out west, so we took a road trip one day to Sedona.  I loved it - well all except for the New Age portal section.

We continued on through Flagstaff - the only place we saw very minimal snow.

And on to the Grand Canyon.  Oh how a camera does not do it justice.  It was awesome to stand there and see how incredible God is in His creation.

It was even warm enough to swim.  I spent two afternoons in that water and could have stayed for more!

I also got to photograph the interesting vegetation of the area.  This is my favorite kind of succulent!

 Then a few days after I came home, we had this again.  Fortunately it is all gone right now.  Will it be back??  Who knows, but it is possible!

One of the places we went to in AZ was In-N-Out burgers.  All I can say is that I should have listened to my dad when he said to order the double burger.  Had I done that, I think I would have enjoyed it more.  What I tasted was good, just wish I had done the double.

I did get some hats to bring home and now Mr 13 yo wears his whenever he cooks or sweeps the floor.  Here he is making us green pancakes for St. Patrick's Day!

I made my first corned beef ever.  Ms 21 yo made the Irish Soda bread.  All-in-all it tasted great and we were happy to share it as a family - everyone home eating at the same time doesn't happen too often anymore.

What's not to like about a little Green River to go along with the Irish mood?  Actually, I thought the stuff tasted horrible, but the kids seemed to like it.

And finally, on Monday mornings, I teach a photography class at a co-op and I thought this looked cool.  How neat to see a bunch of people striving to learn the in's and out's of photography.  They're doing a great job, too!

So now I am relatively caught up.  A lot less pictures and a lot less words than I had originally intended, but that's life, I guess.  We'll see what happens this next week!

God Bless!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Theme Thursday - Answer

Joining in with the Clan for this week's Theme Thursday which is the word Answer.  This was a tough one.  I had first thought of someone answering a phone but then I remembered that Cari's also connecting to a lenten themed photo shoot so I was inspired to shoot this:

Prayer - my answer to all of life's ups and downs.  These items are meant to represent all types of prayer.  Have a pressing question?  Take it to prayer and you'll get an answer.  It might not be right away, and it might not be the answer you want, but you'll get one!

God Bless!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Blessed Ash Wednesday To You

I pray that your Lent may be fruitful for you.  We had our paczki's last night (can I just tell you that Ms 18 yo and I ordered a fudge ones and when we got them home and got all set to eat them, we realized they gave us PRUNE ones!  The horror of it all!!) and then the kids remembered that they still had to color their ALL*L*I* pictures (it's Lent now, so I can't type the whole word out) and hide them.  Then I remembered I hadn't printed out our favorite Lenten calendar from over at Catholic Icing so I did that.  I think that now we are all ready to begin.   Well, except for the fact that I'm still missing two meals for our meal plan.  Oh well, it will come in time.

Have a blessed day and I'll be around here this Lent for those of you who haven't sworn off the internet for 40 days.

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Here we are on the eve of Lent.  Even though it is coming later this year, I still can't believe it is already here.  We've been plotting and planning these past few days about what our Lent will look like.  Thankfully the retreat helped me to clarify some things, so planning won't be as difficult as I thought.

We usually do a meal thing where we eat the same meals for all of Lent.  We're still working on the details, but so far we have quiche on Monday, baked chicken on Tuesday and soup/salad/bread on Wednesday.  We're still looking for a good  meal for Fridays; Pintrest should come in handy for that.  It is very difficult to plan good, wholesome, meals that don't cost a fortune, that you want to eat 6 times in a row.  I guess some people do this all the time, but we tend to like variety in our food, so this is definitely penance for us.

Before Lent begins, however, we will be fulfilling our Fat Tuesday requirement of eating our paczkis!  Mine this year is fudge filled!  There is a touch of sadness in our paczki eating this year, however, because dh's dad is the one who would get them for us and this year dh had to pick them up without him.  Here's to you Dad D., hope you're enjoying heavenly paczkis this year!

May each and everyone of you have a good start to your Lent this year.

God Bless!

Monday, March 3, 2014

This is for You, Jesus

Well, my yearly weekend of silence is over and I've been thrust head-long back into the real world.  The retreat was wonderful, as usual, and chock-full of great things to ponder for quite some time.

I've been thinking for awhile about how busy I am doing things that take up time but which do not seem very productive to me, thus making it hard for me to accomplish things that I think are productive.  This has been happening for quite some time now and it gets very frustrating day after day to not get done all those things on "my list".

During the retreat I had a chance to speak to Father about this and he said that he could relate to me; that even though we have different vocations, he has this same problem in his life.  He suggested that the key is just to do whatever we can during the day, but to do it with love and not worry about the stuff that we just couldn't get to.  "Every time you do something," he said, "tell Jesus that what you are doing you are doing for Him so that when you meet Him at your particular judgement and He asks you what you did for Him, you can say, 'Well, I drove you everywhere, I fed you, I cleaned your clothing...'"  I like that.  I just have to remember to do it!

In just the day that I've been home I've run across this same strain of thought a number of times in different things I've read.  I'll take that as a sign that I'm on the right track.  What peace it brings to remind myself that I'm not just doing things because they need to be done, I'm doing them all for Jesus.  I guess deep down I always knew that, but making a statement about it throughout the day really does help.

Thank you, Lord, for a fruitful weekend and the wonderful priests who made it possible!

God Bless!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

7 in 7 Day 7 and a Happy Birthday

Well, I did it!  I made it for all 7 days of the challenge.  It is a challenge, right?  Is there a prize?  How many of y'all made it all 7 days?  When you've not been blogging on a very regular basis, hitting this mark is a great achievement! 

Today is also the day that I now have two - two mind you - children who have reached the "end of the 2nd decade of their life" milestone.  Wow, it is hard to believe that I am now the mother of two twenty-somethings.  That must mean that I am getting old.

Happy Birthday to my dd - Ms 20 yo!

God Bless!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Little Silence

Since this is day 6 of 7 of participating in the 7 in 7 posts, and I'm going to be immersed in silence as you read this, I'm writing this ahead of time.

Yes, as we speak (or should I say, as you read) I am in the midst of whatever it is God is going to be showing me during my yearly silent retreat.  I am blessed to be able to attend this yearly women's retreat done by the incredible priests of Miles Christi and held at the breathtaking Marytown Shrine.  I do believe that this is my 7th year, and each year has been quite a blessing.

So as you read this very brief post, I just ask that you say a prayer for those of us who are on this retreat.  Some will be for the very first time, others will be faces I see on a yearly basis.  Please pray that we can all be open to what God wants to reveal to us and that we can have the grace to implement His will into our daily lives!