Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Frightening Journey

I am about to embark on a terrifying adventure.  Something that the mere mention of strikes fear in my heart.  I'm going to attempt to make this dress:


It's not the making of the dress, per se, that is frightening me.  It's the fact that a.) I have to add to it in the bodice length and the bottom length and b.) it has to look really nice because it is for Ms 15 yo who is going to wear it as a Damas in her friend's Quinceanera.  

Yikes, that's a lot of pressure.  This dress will be seen by many people and so I feel this extra pressure to, well, make sure it fits right!  Poor Ms 15 yo is starting to freak out a bit because I haven't started yet, but I keep assuring her that we have one month to do it so, hey, no problem.  Unless, of course, I screw it up and it doesn't fit and we have to start all over again!

Oh well, please pray for my brain and hands, that they will work well together and produce a work of art that my daughter will be proud to wear!  Or at least one that won't bring shame upon our family :)

God Bless!

affiliate link included.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Living Abundantly

One of the many things I like about doing a deep clean is the gems you find amidst all the stuff.  Last week during our break I was going through some book shelves and I found a book that my husband had brought home from a conference.  Well, actually there were three of these books that he brought home because he had met the author and she gave him some to give away.  Let's just say that two or three years later I'm 1. getting around to reading it myself and 2. finally going to give away those other two copies at our Free 4 All event coming up this week.

The book is called, "Generous Faith; Stories to Inspire Abundant Living" by Sr. Bridget Haase, OSU.   I'm always a sucker for a good "stories to inspire" kind of story so I sat down to read, eager to soak something up that might help me bring more joy to my life.

Sister breaks the book into three sections:  Living in the moment, Trusting in divine care and Experiencing God's presence.  Each section is ripe with stories about how she and others have been able to do each of these things in their lives.  She suggests that when you read the book, you do it slowly and ponder each story.   Well, as far as I'm concerned, she just wasted some valuable page space because I just can't read that way.  I sat down and dug in and pondered each section as a whole.

I liked the book.  It was an uplifting and easy read.  I've read books on these topics before, so it was a good reminder to put these things into practice.  In fact, I had an opportunity to do that this weekend.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize it until the weekend was over!

As is typical around here, we had many things to do and places to go this weekend.  It started Friday and ended Sunday evening.  While I didn't dread the things I had to do, I certainly wasn't looking forward to the back-to-back fashion in which they were to be done.  It wasn't until later Sunday night while I was winding things down that it hit me.  If I had been Living in the Moment, I might not have been so worried about getting from one event to another, and while I did enjoy each thing immensely, it wasn't till I thought about it afterward that I saw what a gift each event was, how many wonderful people I got to spend time with, and how many memories were made.  Oh, why can't I remember this going into things??  Why not have that attitude before hand?  Maybe then I would truly savor each moment for what it is - a great gift.  

Living in the moment is hard.  It is hard not to multi-task.  It is hard not to have your mind on things other than what is in front of you!  I think what Sister was trying to remind us of was that if we live in the moment and trust in God's care at all times, we will truly experience His presence and have a very abundant life!

 God Bless!

affiliate links included

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Are You Looking For?

We had a visiting priest at Mass this morning and he had a wonderful homily about how we can not see things because we aren't looking for them or we expect them to be a certain way, much like Mary didn't see Jesus in today's Gospel because she still expected Him to be dead.

I had one of those moments when something jumps out at you and smacks you upside the head during his homily.  Father said something to the effect that what you are looking for is what you will find.  If you are looking for Jesus in the day, you will most certainly find Him.  If you are looking for good in the day, you will most certainly find it.  Conversely, if you are looking for all the bad things that happen in the day, those will be easy to find.  "What you are looking for, you will find."  Just a great reminder to me about how important it is to look for the good things because doing that will just make the day so much better.  It might even make the bad things not seem so monumental.

So what was I looking for today?  Motivation.  We are on Easter break this week and so I wanted to get a whole bunch of things done.  Yesterday was a running around day so I got done what needed to get done.

Today I wanted to get some cleaning done.  You'll remember before Holy Week I tackled our monster basement.  Today it was to be the back hall, that room where we all go in and out and deposit all of our socks, shoes, coats, books, papers, cups, pens, pencils, toys...well, you get the picture.  I wanted to get the winter crud out of that back hall and off the walls and out of the closet.

We got home from Mass this morning and I sat down to catch up on my checkbook, check and answer emails, make some phone calls, check in on facebook, remembered I had to put dinner in the crockpot...time was slipping away and I was losing my motivation to do the actual physical work that I had planned on.  

After lunch, however, I forced myself to start and you know what?  Starting was the hardest part.  Once I got into it I was wishing I had the time and energy to just keep moving on to other rooms.  I got the back dump hall, coat closet, small bathroom and the kitchen pantry (all those areas are connected off of the kitchen) all deep cleaned and ready for Spring.  Why don't I remember that getting started is what is hard?  Why don't I push myself more often?  Well, now that it's in "print" maybe I'll remember.  Somehow I'll have to refer to this on those days when the motivation is low so that when I'm looking for it, I will find it.

God Bless!

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Easter Monday!


I love the Easter season.  Things are finally warming up outside, the grass is green and there is so much joy in the church.  Going to Mass for these 8 days is like a really long Easter Sunday Mass with all of the pomp and circumstance...and beautiful flowers!

We had a full day yesterday; our traditional Easter breakfast with homemade Easter bread, cold Polish sausage and hard boiled eggs.  Then, off to Mass where we had a packed church (something we haven't had in a few years).  We ran back home and washed all of the breakfast dishes (best.move.ever!) and then off to my mil's house for a very yummy dinner of ham, cheesy potatoes (LOVE those) and asparagus.  Oh, and of course, lots of sweet stuff.

We even managed to get in a photo shoot!


Hope your Easter was joy filled, too!

God Bless!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Alleluia! He is Risen!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

God Bless!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

Well, the picture I was going to put up for today also works, at least in part, for Theme Thursday, which is bread and wine.

May you have a blessed and meaningful Holy Thursday.

Check out Cari's for more bread and wine pics!

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Tale Of Two Projects

This week I need to complete two rather large projects that have the same deadline.

Project A:

I have been putting this monster off for a little over a month now.  

This is an accumulation of mess from a long winter, made even more of a mess by a sudden thawing of a lot of snow and the possibility of a flooding basement, made even more of a mess by a sudden deluge of rain last week that also threatened to bring water into the basement.  Thus the haphazard throwing of things on top of other things.  

Project B:

Processing the first batch of pictures from this past weekend's performance of "The Seven Last Words of Christ".  I got it down to just under 300 pictures and I'd like to get them done and uploaded before we do the second performance on Sunday and I take more pictures.  

My usual method would be to become obsessed about one project and work on it till it is done.  I decided to try something different this time.  I'm setting a time limit every day that I can work on each of the projects in the hope that they will both get done on time.

Today I worked on this part of the basement for 1 1/2 hours.  A small portion, but it's a start.
 I then moved back upstairs and, in between making dinner, I worked for about 2 hours on photos and got through about 1/3 of them.  (The lighting was challenging at this church, but I love how the shadows played out in this photo.)

So we'll see how this goes.  I have tomorrow and Thursday afternoon/evening to complete these two tasks.  Any bets on whether or not I'll do it?

God Bless!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Tough Road

Have you ever noticed that when God calls you to do something He doesn't make it easy?  He makes it possible, don't get me wrong; but the road to doing His will usually isn't an easy one.

Every time the theater troupe that we are involved in does a performance, the road there is tough.  Each time we do "The Seven Last Words of Christ", the road is even tougher because of how moving this performance is.  This year has been no exception.  Difficulties, trials, frustrations, exhaustion.  All these have plagued us this past month.

In each church we perform in, there is usually about 1,000 tickets to sell.  This job is up to each of the families, as well as the parish we are performing at.  We had our first performance on Saturday evening, at one of the largest parishes in the country, and until that night, we weren't assured of a sell out.  Mind you, a sell out is pretty important because of the cost of this production.  We have professional singers and musicians that need to be paid.  A sell out insures that that will be done.

For the past week we have been praying non-stop and were rewarded with a full house.  God is good, all the time.  I guess if He made it too easy, we would have missed out on all that extra prayer time that we put into it.

And that, my friends, seems to me to be the point.  When we know we are doing what He wants, then He will give us the grace to sustain us, but will require that we still put in 100% of ourselves in prayer and sacrifice to bring it about.  The more we go through this, the greater our trust is that He will come through for us.  That's not to say we weren't sweating it this past week, but deep down I think we all knew that everything would work out okay.

We have another performance this coming weekend and, you guessed it, we're at less than 50% of our goal.  Now we have a choice.  We can sit back and say that somehow it will all work out, or we can spend this week in prayer and sacrifice again so that God can shine forth with another miracle and another full house.  Will you join me in praying that we can reach as many souls as possible with this performance?  Thanks :) 

 God Bless!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Theme Thursday - Remember

This was a tough one this week but I've decided that I would like to use this post to "remember" my father-in-law who died this past October; way before he should have.  He was a wonderful man and we all miss him a lot.  

Here he is where he loved to be - surrounded by his family.  This was a picture from my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary.  He's the tall guy with the flower on his lapel :)  (as an aside, this picture was a few years ago, so it's also making me remember how little everyone once was!)

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him and may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.

Go over to Clan Donaldson to see what other people remember.

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Inspiration Strikes in the Kitchen!

The house is quiet.  Three girls are at work, two girls are at their monthly girls' club, one boy is busy with Legos and the other is reading.  Moments like these are rare and one must make a good cup of coffee and enjoy them to the fullest, which is what I am doing right now!

Today was also a productive day in the kitchen, which is also something of a rarity for me as of late - i.e. the past year or so :).  I was able to make a new batch of Kombucha tea today.  Love me some kombucha!  If you haven't ever tried it, it's easy to make and oh so good for your liver.  This isn't my recipe exactly, but it explains a bit about it and how to make it in case you're interested.

Next it was time to make a loaf of bread.  I haven't had too much luck with this as of late - again, about the past year or so.  Our bread machine makes the dough fine but then doesn't cook it right, so I made the dough in the machine and then put it in a pan to rise again before I baked it.  I must say, this time it looks picture perfect.

And the finale of the day was a pot of chicken soup.  I've never been one to make a really tasty pot of chicken soup and I don't know why.  They usually taste okay, but I've just never hit on a recipe that I love.  Today I'm trying chicken thighs instead of white meat to see if that helps.  I'll let you know if it was a smashing success.  

If it wasn't Lent, I probably would have made dessert, too.  Fortunately for my waist line, I didn't.

Like I said yesterday, I have so many projects that I want to tackle but I just don't know when there will be clarity and drive from one day to the next.  Today I found it in the kitchen, so I'll just rejoice that it was somewhere and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Cleaning and Pre-Menopause

O Spring cleaning, thou doth callest me.  I have made my list of things I want to clean.  I have pictured it in my mind, but alas, it has yet to get started.  I'm pretty sure that the best time for me to start any kind of project is first thing in the morning.  If I leave it till later in the day, too many things come by and snatch my mind, and even my body in some cases, from ever getting started.

I've been getting very frustrated with myself lately because I can't seem to get started on anything.  By afternoon I'm usually toast; not physically, but mentally.  By afternoon my brain can't seem to focus on any one thing and I can't seem to think clearly most days.  Very frustrating to say the least.

Algebra...don't ask me in the afternoon

Paper revisions...don't ask me in the afternoon
Phone calls...can't seem to make them in the afternoon
Coffee...oh sure, I'd love a cup. That I can manage :)

Like I said, I've been thinking it is some kind of sloth or laziness problem on my part (and to some extent it probably is)...until this morning when I read a facebook post from my gynecologist that, are you ready for this:

Some changes that might start in the years around menopause include:
• Irregular periods.
• Hot flashes.
• Trouble sleeping.
• Vaginal and urinary problems.
• Mood changes.
• Changing feelings about sex.
• Osteoporosis
• Other changes. You might become forgetful or have trouble focusing. Your waist could become larger. You could lose muscle and gain fat. Your joints and muscles also could feel stiff and achy.

Do you see that?  Right there buried amongst other issues that I may or may not be having, is the one I struggle with every day, "You might become forgetful or have trouble focusing".  Finally I can come to terms with this.  Some days I may have control over it because of laziness or slothfulness, but other days it happens because I am aging and my hormones are crazy and, well, that's just the way it is.

I'm not sure what this means for my Spring cleaning.  Maybe the week after Easter when we're off school and I can start the jobs first thing in the morning there might be some hope.  In the meantime, I will continue to come to terms with my aging body and rejoice when my head is clear and my mind is focused.  God is good!  Even when He created this thing called menopause :)

God Bless!