Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Treasure, Tradition and Mother Mary Loyola

My two youngest (9 and 11) and I have been working our way through the book "Treasure & Tradition" for the past few weeks as part of our Religion class. 

Let me tell you, I am so impressed by the amount of information that is in this book! My husband and I had our reversion back to the faith 20 years ago, so you'd think by now we would know quite a bit about the Mass.  Well, I'll tell you that in the first quarter of the book we've been through so far I've learned (or maybe re-learned, as my memory isn't all that great!) a whole bunch of neat things.

One thing that stands out, and that I think about every time I'm at Mass, is the part during the Confiteor where we say "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault" and we strike our breast three times.  It says in my missal that I'm supposed to do that (the striking part), so I do it, but I never really knew why.  According to what the book said, we strike our breast over our heart so as to try to "break our stony hearts, which so often forget how He suffered for us".  Wow.  That was one of those things that just kind of hit me.  Now when I get to that part of the Mass, I make sure to strike myself with just a little more gusto!

In case you haven't gotten yourself a copy yet, the book is on sale now through March 31st!  Can't beat that, can you?

I've been meaning to write this up for the past week or so and, providentially, Lisa (the author) emailed me today to tell me about another project she's working on.  She's been doing some research on Mother Mary Loyola (the nun who wrote the book "King of the Golden City") and wants to write a biography of her life.  Problem is, much of the information can only be accessed in Europe.  She's started a GoFundMe account to raise the necessary funds to go on her research trip, so if you can and are willing to, she'd love to have your support in this endeavor.  She's even come up with different incentives for donating!  I'm thinking that any biography she does would definitely be enhanced by maybe I can get involved in this project, too.

I receive no monetary gain for promoting Lisa's work, I just am so impressed by what I've seen that I hope you'll consider 1. purchasing her work to further your religious education and 2. helping her to bring great books to the Catholic world.

God Bless!


Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Quick Takes February 20, 2015


Hi there!  Welcome to me.  This is my first time here at Kelly's!  I guess it has been a long time since I've participated in 7QT.  Let's see what we can muster up for our first time here, heh?


As I type this, my kids are sitting at the desk next to me listening to Spotify.  More specifically, they're listening to the "Veggie Tales Sing the 80s" station.  "Walk Like an Egyptian" to be even more specific.  If you don't like the 80s, they have "Veggie Tales Sing the 70s", too.  Trust me, you have to look this up and get your kids hooked on it.  "Gourds Just Wanna Have Fun" sung by Jimmy and Jerry.  I mean, really, can it get any better than this????!!!


Lent.   What am I doing with it?  It usually takes awhile for the whole thing to settle in for me.  Right now I'm working on getting our Lenten meal plan written down.  We always pick six meals and eat the same meal on the same night of the week for six weeks (Sundays are our free meal day).  This year, though, since we've been kind of slacking on the Trim Healthy Mama plan since, ummm, about Thanksgiving, everything we eat for Lent will be on plan.  No crossovers, no cheats.  Discipline.  Detachment from food.  That is the goal here.  ("Funkytown" is playing now).


("Locamotion" sung by Junior Asparagus.  I'm tellin' ya', you have to check this out.)  Hubby and I were supposed to be in Nashville this weekend, but due to the entire city being covered in ice, with snow and rain expected this weekend, we decided to back out.  Fortunately we were able to get our money back on tickets we purchased and switch our arrangements around.  The fact that I am perfectly okay with NOT going out of town during the month of February is nothing short of miraculous.  


It's kind of funny, but whenever my husband I try to do something, we usually end up doing it with people of the older generation.  Not on purpose, mind you, but it just kind of happens that way.  So we were supposed to go to the Opry while we were in Nashville, where the headliners this weekend are none other than Crystal Gale and Lori Morgan.  Great country stars, but really, we were kind of hoping for someone more our age.  Well, it looks like our new plans might put us right in the path of none other than Trace Adkins!  He just happens to be one of my hubby's favorites!  God is good.


(Oh my goodness...The Veggies are singing "Proud Mary".) Tomorrow starts the St. Louis de Montfort Consecration to Mary which will end on the feast of the Annunciation.  We've done this in our family at this time of year for about the past 10 years.  It's a good thing for me to do during Lent because it takes a lot of discipline to do it during the day and not wait until right before bed when I'm nodding off and not fully paying attention.  When we get to the day after the  Consecration, I always feel like I've gained a whole lot of time in my day :).  Don't let that scare you, though, it is a beautiful and, I believe, necessary devotion to Our Lady.  And, by the way, the song playing and the topic for this QT was purely coincidental!


 I'll leave you with this image. It is Ms 11 yo.  I'll leave it up to you to figure out what she was doing in the woods like that.  Have a great weekend.  "Everybody have fun tonight.  Everybody Wang Chung tonight."

God Bless!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Don't Forget!

For those of you about to leave the internet for Lent, don't forget to sign up for the Catholic Conference for Moms that will be held March 6th thru the 9th.  It is free to sign up and it will be a great weekend full of talks and inspiration.  What a great thing to do for Lent!

Registration is free and by registering, you will receive reminders via email, as well as links to the talks.  You can even win prizes!!

So, in case we won't see each other for awhile, I suggest you go over there right now and register!

God Bless!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Love Languages, Temperaments and Pigenholing

A lot of people I know over the years have gotten into reading about and learning about the different temperaments.  One of the favorite books on this subject is "The Temperament God Gave You".  

We own it.  I've tried reading it.  I've tried learning about the temperaments from other sources.  You know what?  It never seems to stick.  I cannot remember what traits go with what temperament.

Then after awhile, I just gave up trying because I started to see something happening that I didn't like.  Pigeonholing.  I can't stand to be told that the reason I'm doing something is because I'm choleric or phlagmatic or whatever it is that I am.  Guess what? I'm also an oldest child, an extrovert and am governed by my love language: Acts of Service.  

I really do think that you have to take all of those things into account.  In our house, I think the introvert/extrovert comes into play a lot more often than the temperaments, at least in the area of conflicts.  Within the family, I also see how the love languages play an important role.  I finally understand the ins and outs of the introvert/extrovert thing (pun intended :) and I really like the love languages because those are much easier to remember than the temperaments!

On that note, I'd like to direct you over to my daughter's blog where she is running a series on The Five Love Languages.  I wrote the first guest post on Acts of Service.  We're a lonely and misunderstood bunch.  I hope if you have an Acts of Service person in your household, you'll read this post so you can understand them better :)  Throughout this week she also has other guest bloggers who will write about the other 4 languages.  It looks to be a very interesting series, so I hope you'll hop over there and check them all out.

God Bless!
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Photographing Joy

Last weekend was our homeschool group's annual Father Daughter Ball.  I have been doing the photography for this event for at least the past five years.

Having just gone through all of the almost 800 pictures I took, I was reflecting on why I enjoy photographing this event so much:  JOY.  

These girls and their dads reflect so much joy during this evening.  Sure they're having fun with their girlfriends, but you can also tell that they just love being there with their fathers.

Every year I think that these girls have to be some of the most beautiful girls around, but it isn't just the finery in which they are dressed, or their hair or makeup, it is the joy that radiates from within each of them:  from youngest to oldest.

We all know crabby, unhappy people.  You can see the tension on their faces.  Their smiles are strained, their laughter not genuine.  What a blessing it is to be surrounded, not by that kind of attitude, but by the smiles and sunshine that are present every year at this event.

I know most of these families and so I can say that even throughout the rest of the year they're pretty happy kids.  This has to come from being part of a happy family, with happy parents.  Now, don't get me wrong, I know nothing is perfect and we're all not whistling Dixie every day, but there has to be an underlying joy in the part of the parents and family that allows the joy to shine forth so much on special events such as this.

It really is inspiring to be around, and to photograph.  It really reminds me how important it is to have that underlying joy in my life.  If I can't be joyful then how can I pass that on to my children.  I have known some crabby parents who manage to have joyful kids, but I think it would be much harder for those kids to overcome.

Again, joy doesn't mean that we're smiling through every bad thing that happens.  It means that even in spite of all the bad, we know there is good in the world and that God is good and that He loves us, no matter what.  That is joy and that is what I want to radiate and what I want my family to radiate.  It is also what I love most about being a photographer:  capturing that joy forever.

God Bless!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Death and Taxes... you know, are the only two certainties in this world.  We dealt with the tax part yesterday.  I am happy to report that it wasn't too bad.  We've been using the same accountant for the past 8 years or so and even though our taxes are far less complicated than they used to be, we still enjoy meeting with her every year to discuss life and, of course, taxes.  She even helped me by telling me how to fix all of the problems I had with the three oldest girls' taxes.  Yay!!

Afterwards, as is our usual custom, my husband and I went out to grab a bite to eat.  We went for the first time to Chipotle.  While I thoroughly enjoyed my burrito in a bowl, my mouth is very wimpy and so my eyes were watering by the time I was done.  I think it might be worth the pain, however.

After that, we took a much needed trip to our local mattress store.  We've been trying to save up for a new mattress for the past year.  We finally have enough (that tax return helping to throw us over the top).  My poor husband has been sleeping in the Marianas Trench for the past year.  I keep thinking he can't sink any lower and yet he does.  We agreed on a mattress (he likes firm, my hips need soft) and we're on our way to him sleeping in a much more elevated position.

Anyhow, the real reason why I started writing this post about taxes was to encourage you to do one VERY important thing with your tax return (assuming you are getting one).  Every year we set aside the amount we need for each of us to go on our yearly retreat.  We are fortunate to attend a Miles Christi silent retreat.  If you live near one, we strongly recommend attending one.  If you don't, search the area for another good retreat for you and your spouse to attend sometime this year.  When your tax return gets deposited, set the necessary money aside and DON'T TOUCH IT!  No emergency or anything.  God will honor your desire to go on retreat and make it all work out, don't worry.  By doing this, you will be using your money for a great cause.  I can't recommend a yearly retreat enough.  Life is hard.  You deserve the spiritual benefits that a good retreat brings, so set your money aside now and reap the benefits later this year!

God Bless!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lent - Is it Sneeking Up on You, Too??

So many things going on right now.  This past weekend we had our Father/Daughter Ball and I, being the photographer, took 791 pictures of the loveliest ladies and their dads.  Of course, that now means that I have to sort through and edit those 791 pictures...and share them, of course!

On Sunday, I then went and did an engagement photo shoot and took another 240 pictures.  It was a gray day, but the pictures turned out great. That means, however, that I have another 240 pictures to sort through and edit.  

Then I remembered that I'm giving a talk tomorrow night to a local MOPS group...on the importance of schedules, no less.  Aghhh!  Thank goodness for Adoration and Divine Inspiration to help me get that into some semblance of order.

And then it hit me.  Ash Wednesday is next week. That means Lent and penance and some kind of a plan.  I try not to plan too much for Lent, but then on the other hand, if I don't plan at all, I waste this valuable time.  

One thing I know that I will be doing is participating in the Catholic Conference for Moms.  It is an online conference full of wonderful Catholic speakers who will rejuvenate your spirit.  There are some great talks lined up and the best part is (well, really there are TWO best parts) that it is FREE and you can listen to the talks wherever and whenever you want to.  All you have to do is sign up and they'll email you reminders and links to the talks.  They're even giving away prizes.  You can go here to register.  Then go and mark it on your calendar so that you don't forget to make it part of your Lenten journey. 

If you miss some of the talks or you want to listen to them again, you'll have the chance to purchase the conference package after the conference weekend.  Rumor has it that I'll even have a discount code to give you, so stay tuned for that one.


The way that life speeds by, I hope you'll take some time to slow down, listen to some great talks, and really feed your soul during Lent.  Now get going and register!

God Bless!
By the way, these are NOT affiliate links.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Beating the February Blahs

I might have mentioned before that I really can't stand the month of February.  I thank God every day of it that He made it the shortest month of the year (even if it is only by 2 or 3 days!).

Last year was so bad!  Between the issues with my less-than-virtuous mental state and the enormous amounts of snow we had (and the stress that that brought with it), I was really dreading this February.  I decided I wanted to try to do whatever I could to avoid a repeat.  While I don't have control over the snow, I do have control over other things.

I think that our new way of eating (the Trim Healthy Mama way) will help.  I also started exercising again, so that's good.  On top of that, I sought out the help of a friend of mine on a Catholic mothers' facebook group I belong to.  She has this great knack for picking out just the right prayer/novena to pray for any given situation.  I pitched my February dilemma to her and she came back with this prayer:

I'm so excited as this is the perfect prayer for me for this month.  I figured that I'm not alone in this, so if anyone else struggles during this month with major blahs then maybe you would like to pray this prayer every day, too.  If you don't suffer from the blahs, then maybe you'd like to pray with those of us who do.  I am so thankful for my sister's in Christ, the gifts that they have and their willingness to share with others.

God Bless!
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Monday, February 2, 2015

The Beauty of Snow

It finally happened, and it least it was the beginning of February before it did.  It really is beautiful, you know.  I mean, God created it, so it must be beautiful, right?  It's just that...well, when people have to DRIVE in it, it becomes less beautiful.

However, let's focus on the beautiful and the fun.  While it was snowing yesterday, and before it got to the blizzard stage, some of the kids and I went out to play in the snow.  We found the big berm in our neighbor's yard and crawled through the bushes and underbrush to the top and then body-slid down the steep incline into the snow at the bottom.  Definitely fun, although I might be a tad sore from my aging body hitting that steep hill.

Yesterday morning we got up and took some photos. I always take the same shots, mainly because it is the only place I can take photos outside and still remain inside.  No matter, it is still beautiful.

I left these unedited because they show you how gray and snowy the day was.  Later on it was much more white; mainly because the winds picked up and you couldn't see much through the blowing snow.  Ms 22 yo had to work the 3 to 11 shift last night but fortunately she works at a hotel so she booked a room and just stayed there.  Good thing, too, because my husband said that this morning there were quite a few cars stuck on the side of our main road.  

This morning proved to be just as beautiful, and much brighter.  

This is a beautiful sight :)  A man and his snowblower, clearing the long driveway for his family!

The roads are slowly improving.  Once you get into town it isn't bad.  It's just that three to five miles before you get there that can be hair-raising.  Well, I guess it's all just part of February in the Midwest, right?  I'm trying to focus on the beauty of it and not fret over all of us having to drive in it!

God Bless!