Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Joining in over at Like Mother, Like Daughter again this week for another go around.


Given the technology we have, anyone can take a nice picture if they have a decent camera, or even a good camera on their phone.  If you are a photographer, it then becomes even more of a challenge to not just take a nice picture but to take a great picture.  I think that there is something else that makes a picture great and that is the editing.  A person can take a great picture and, if they have a good eye and some creativity, can make it even greater.  That being said, the other day Ms 16 yo was in the mood for photographs, so she asked her older sister to do the honors.  They took some pretty pictures along the way, but I especially enjoyed how she edited some of them. 

 Good job, girls :)


Happy?  This makes me happy.

This is all of the extra clothing and household items that have been sitting in our basement waiting for this day...the day when we can take them to the semi-annual Free 4 All that friends of mine run at our church.  We actually began this a long time ago for just our homeschooling group.  Now, they hold it in a big facility and open it up to the public.  It makes me happy to see all of the stuff we can get rid of that can still be put to good use by others.  Although really, where does all this stuff come from???? 


See these shoes?  Aren't they cute? 

This past Sunday I was getting ready for church and I needed some black shoes.  I searched for the ones I usually borrow from Ms 23 yo but, doggoneit, she took them with her to the conference she was at.  I searched through the closet and found these gems.  I'd never seen them before, so I texted her this picture to ask where they came from and if I could borrow them.  She got them from my mil I believe and said yes I could wear them.  Super exciting!

I wore them to church and they still looked cute.  Later that day we went to a choir concert and I was taking pictures.  I had to climb up to the choir loft and then back down multiple times throughout the two hour concert.  It was at the cathedral.  The cathedral is big so that meant a lot of steps and a lot of walking.  Guess which shoes weren't so cute anymore?  Ugh. By the time we left I was limping and could barely put my feet in them because of the blisters forming by my toes.  So much for those cute shoes.  But hey, the concert was nice and I'm happy with my pictures!


This, my friends, is real...real love.  My dh brought this piece of Portillo's chocolate cake home for me for no reason at all :).  If you have never had a piece of Portillo's chocolate cake, I'm sorry.

Join in at P,H,F,R to see what others have to say.

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Woes of Spiritual Reading

I used to be good at reading.  Well, I mean, I'm still good at reading, I just don't get to it very often anymore.  Thinking back, back before things like facebook and blogger, I did read quite a bit.  Even now, if you give me a good novel, I'll probably get lost in it and finish it in a day or two.

Spiritual reading, however, like the kind St. Ignatius recommends you do EVERY day...well that just seems to be really hard for me to do.

I'm almost finished reading Matthew Kelly's book "Rediscover Catholicism".  I didn't expect to like it at all but it is wonderful.  He has a chapter dedicated to spiritual reading and the importance of it.  In fact, that book is what helped inspire me to set a spiritual reading goal for the year.  If I'm to stay on track, I have to finish the book by Thursday.  I have one chapter left, so I think I might be able to do it.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  The next two days are pretty busy.

Anyhow, all this talking about spiritual reading got me thinking about books that I have read in the past that have had a big impact on me.  I figured they had a big impact on me if I could remember the title after all this time.  Here, in no particular order, are the books that popped into my head (and, truly had a big impact on my changed it for the better in some way):

1.  In Conversation With God by Francis Fernandez. This isn't just one book, but seven.  These were books I read early on that really imparted a lot of wisdom to me.  They are books filled with daily meditations on the readings of the day inspired by St. Jose Maria Escriva.  You want daily inspiration?  Get these.

2.  Abandonment to Divine Providence by Reverend Jean-Pierre De Caussade S.J.  Short book...huge impact.  This should be on everyone's spiritual reading list.  It really got me on the "letting go, letting God" path.

3.  Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly.  And not just because I'm still reading it and therefore can remember it.  It really is full of good, spiritual stuff.  I might have already known about most of it, but it was SO good to read it again.

4. I'm going to mention this book because it really changed the way I viewed and lived my vocation as a wife.  However, because it is written by the Pearl's, it has gotten a lot of criticism.  "Created to be His Helpmeet" was a pivotal book in our marriage.  There really, really needs to be a book about this written from a truly Catholic perspective.  The topic is just that important.  Maybe someday I'll get around to giving that a try...

5.  I remember reading "Story of a Soul" by St. Therese and absolutely being amazed by her and her Little Way.  A number of years later I read "I Believe in Love, A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese" by
Jean C. J. d'Elbée and was even more moved by her Little Way.  Reading both of these really helped me to understand and live out her philosophy in a much more profound way.

So there you have it.  Five books that I have remembered for more than one hour.  If you're looking for something to deepen your faith, I highly recommend any one of these books.  Then, see if you can do better than I can at hitting the 15-30 minutes per day mark that St. Ignatius and other spiritual powerhouses recommend.

God Bless!
The books listed are affiliate links and if you purchase one I receive a small stipend to help out.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

I'm joining in over at Like Mother, Like Daughter for their Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real blog link-up for the first time!!  I've discovered that this is harder than it looks, but here goes:


This is from one of the two churches we attend every week for daily Mass.  I love how they use that hanging wreath for the different liturgical seasons.  During Lent they added thorns and during Advent they add candles.  (I'm still getting used to using my camera on my phone, so while I find it convenient, it is definitely not up to my usual photographic standards.)


Happy is the anticipation of my husband, daughter and I going to see this guy
web image, I didn't get lucky enough to take this myself!

tonight in concert!  We had gone down to Nashville in March to see him at the Opry but he called in sick.  It was a rough trip and we were devastated when he didn't show up as he is one of my husband's favorite singers.  I'm thinking that this concert will be even better than the 15 minutes he would have spent on stage last month.


As I age, my mind seems to be rebelling against me. I'm finding it harder and harder to remember everything I need to remember.  Like most parents of multiple children, I have always mixed up their names when talking to them.  However, lately, I've begun to call them names that don't even exist in our family.

Last night while praying the rosary, we needed someone to lead the next decade.  I looked to my son (pictured here out of context) and said, "Joe, why don't you go next".  Everyone looked at me and asked, "JOE?  Who's Joe?"  I don't know, it's just what came out.  It isn't even close to his name...oh well.  


I shared this photo on my Instagram account (aplanforjoy if you're interested in joining in the fun) because it is so real.  "You can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink" is how the saying goes.

In our house it is "You can give them bins for their shoes, but you can't make them put their shoes in them".  Look how close they are.  They can almost crawl in by themselves!    

Thanks for joining me on my maiden voyage.  To see what others have to say, you can go here.

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blogger, Instagram, Facebook...Oh My!

The other day my daughter wrote a blog post about how difficult it is sometimes to live without envy when you have nothing but sunshine and roses all over Facebook, Pinterest, name it.  Everywhere you look, people are posting about the good things in their life.  Don't get me wrong...I'd rather see a lot of good things than all the bad things.  That's not the point.  What is the point is that this thing called the Internet sure does make it difficult to live our lives without comparing ourselves to others.

Her whole post got me thinking about how glad I am that the internet only came into my life when my kids were a bit older.  I remember being ecstatic when Ms 23 yo was one year old and I got a computer and put it in my bedroom so I could do my graduate work on it and not have to go out!  That was living! 

I remember getting our first cordless phone when the first two were little and feeling as if I had been set free.

But beyond those exciting advances in technology, my life was not full of distractions that came in the form of snapchats, sound bytes, posts and pictures.  I didn't have to fight the temptation to browse one more time instead of paying attention to the littles around me (and I know it would have been a HUGE temptation for me).  I didn't have quick access to how everyone else was raising their kids so that I could compare myself to them (it was hard enough not to do that with friends or acquaintances I saw in person).

Again, don't get me wrong. With everything bad about the internet, there are good things, too.  I'm just very glad I didn't have to deal with it for the majority of my life so far.  Now my kids are older and more self-sufficient and so I actually have some time to myself (shocking, I know!).  That's when I can post and snap and share pictures without feeling too guilty!  I also know what a strong pull it all has on me, even at this age!

There is one thing, however, that I really think I would have benefited from while raising small Kindle.  Man, how many times I'd drop a book while trying to read and nurse a baby at the same time.  How many times said book would drop and startle a sleeping baby! To be able to prop my Kindle up and just do a little flick to turn a page and not the gymnastics I used to do; that would have been beautiful!

I can't wait to see how my children balance their internet usage with their families.  They've been involved with digital devices for most of their lives so they have a different view point of them then people "my age".  It will be interesting to see if they struggle with it when there are tiny tots running around.  

In the meantime, I'm going to shut this thing down, plug in my android for the night and tuck away my Kindle so that we're already for another big day tomorrow!

God Bless!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Work of Mercy

On the off chance that you haven't heard the story of Niki Rogan and her eight children, I'm sharing it here so that you can join everyone in praying for them, and offering them financial assistance if that is at all possible.

Early last Friday morning, Niki, her husband Mike and their 7 children (at that time) were driving to the hospital as Niki was in labor with their 8th child.  On the way, they were involved in a car accident with a deer.  Mike died as a result of that accident and Niki went on to deliver their little boy later that day.  The other children sustained only minor injuries from the accident.

Coming on the heels of the prior weekend's deaths, I went into a major spin with this one.  I, along with everyone else, I'm sure, cannot fathom this whole scenario.  Why, God, why?  

In an effort to help the family, a friend of theirs started a GoFundMe for them.  They have raised an incredible sum of money in a very short time.  If you can, please, please pray for this family and then go here to help them out financially.  
I keep hearing more and more stories of moms, dads, kids young and old, dieing very suddenly and it is incredibly unnerving.  This takes a HUGE amount of trust in God because it just doesn't all make sense.

Jesus I Trust In You!

God Bless!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A New Room and An Instagram Announcement

For about the past five years or so, Ms 11 yo and Ms 16 yo have been sharing a double bed on the lower portion of a bunk bed set.  When they began this journey it was easy because they were both small.  Let's just say that the past few years haven't been a cake-walk for Ms 16 yo, who most mornings I would find sleeping on the edge of the bed as Ms 11 yo would be sprawled across the rest of it. 

Ms 16 yo and I have been brainstorming for awhile on how to get her her own bed...and then how to fit it in the room!  Well, things worked out recently in her favor and we were able to snag a twin sized bed.  This meant, of course, that her other four roommates had to be in agreement about removing some furniture and changing things up.

Here is where we started (or at least close to where we started as we had already begun taking things apart here):

We put the double on the bottom back to a twin to make room for the stand-alone twin bed.  See all the stuff on the desk and the night stand?  Guess how much stuff was in all those drawers?  Yep, a lot.  It all had to go somewhere.  Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure where it went, but it's not in the room!

Here we are mid-way through the project.  Bed shrunk, most of the stuff vacated.  Now it's time to move that desk.  Here's where having a strong, teenage son comes in handy.

And finally, the big reveal.  

We ended up switching two of the other girls around, too, just to make things easier.  Here is the new bed set-up.  It looks a little out of place, but in a few days, I suppose, it will look normal to everyone.

Here is the other side of the room.  Ms 11 yo had her bed shrunk so she needed to get new bedding. She's my flashy one.  Can you tell which of the beds is hers?? Yikes, I don't know how it won't keep her awake at night :)

This was perfect timing for a new project I've decided to start.  I've been thinking about other ways to promote my book, "A Plan for Joy in the Home", so I thought it might be fun to use Instagram.  I'm planning on posting photos that have to do with organizing, planning, help for the busy mom, joy, fun and many other things.  If you'd like to follow along (I'll follow back), you can find me by searching:  aplanforjoy.  I hope you have fun following and find it useful.

God Bless!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Dose of Perspective

Last night I went to the wake of a 33 year old man who found out last Saturday that he had Acute Leukemia and died the following Saturday.  I've been friends with his mother for the past 15 years or so but never knew him.  What I came to find out was what an incredible young man he was.  We stood in line for over two hours last night and that was shortened only because it was getting late and they were "rushing" people through.  Most people I talked to stood in line for 3 1/2 to 4 hours to pay their respects.  This young man definitely left a mark on the people he encountered.  What a testimony to him and to his family.  They are burying him today, so if you could please say a prayer for his soul and for his family who will all miss him deeply.  

In another town, not all that far away, a woman and her nine children will be burying her husband and their father.  He died on Divine Mercy Sunday, as his parish was celebrating Mass, after a battle with cancer.  He had a devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet, setting his watch alarm for 3:00 and stopping every day that he could to pray the chaplet.  What a testimony to his faith.  While I can't make it to that wake, I am sure that the lines will be just as long at this wake, too.  Please pray for his soul and for his family.

Two things like this, happening on the same weekend, really put your mind in a spin.  How would I feel as the mother burying her son?  How would I feel as the wife burying her husband?  For a short time, at least, it really puts things in perspective.  No longer does being inconvenienced seem like such a big deal.  Unfortunately I know from experience that time will pass and I'll lose that perspective.  For now, I'm just trying to look at each day and be thankful that we are all still here - healthy and happy.

As our pastor said last Sunday, hold on to your spouse and your children, your mother and your father, while you have them here because you just never know when the Lord will want them back.  I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer, but there is just so much suffering right now that I'm just trying to keep the right perspective in my life and be thankful for each and every day.  

Jesus I trust in you...even when nothing makes sense.

God Bless!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Roll With It Thursday

Welcome to "Roll With It Thursday" where we just roll with whatever the day brings our way.

I was supposed to have my carpets cleaned, and I did, or at least a small corner of one room before they had an equipment problem.  They'll be back tomorrow to finish, or I guess really start, the job.

I was kind of cornered in my kitchen because of all of the main rooms being in disarray so I did what everyone who is stuck in their kitchen does...clean out the cabinets and drawers.  I didn't really throw away a lot or put much stuff in the give-away pile, but I did succeed in getting rid of all evidence of our winter, furry friends (those of you who live a in rural setting will understand).

We went to noon Mass since the carpet guys had left early enough.  That was a nice surprise as I didn't think we'd make it based on how slow things were going.

All day long we've been under the threat of severe weather.  The first of one of the season. There's something that I find soothing about thunderstorms so I was kind of hoping for at least a little bit of banging and booming and flashing.  At the same time, though, I have a daughter who doesn't like bad weather, let alone driving in it, so as her mother, it does add some stress to me, too, when I know she will be out during a storm.  So on a disappointing and yet not disappointing note, the severe weather seems to have totally least from our area (not sure about farther north).  Yet again they get everyone all hyped up only to be let down.  

On another unexpected note, Ms 19 yo just got home from school and took everyone to the library so here I sit, in my clean kitchen next to my partially cleaned carpeting with my patio door open to the warm, sunny day, breathing a sigh of contentment.  Except that I just saw what time it is and realized that I need to get up and get dinner started.  Oh well, it was pleasant while it lasted.  Hope you've been able to roll with whatever kind of day your Thursday has been.

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter, Family and Fun

This year for the first time we were able to do the traditional 7 Church Hop on Holy Thursday.  In the past our parish has been in a more remote location so it has only been possible to visit two or three parishes at best.  This year, since our new parish is in a much more populated area, we were able to visit seven churches.  It was beautiful!  I can't wait to do it again next year.  Ms 23 yo had to work, so I took pictures of all the churches we visited and texted them to her so she could be with us in spirit.  Here are three of my favorites.

Our parish

The Cathedral

While I love the convenience of taking pictures on my phone, I realize now how difficult it is to keep my hands steady.  This then requires many more tries before I get one I like.

 Good Friday we went to the afternoon service, went home and had our penitential fish fillets and not so penitential hot cross buns, then colored our eggs, which proved to be a bit too rowdy for the day.

Holy Saturday is always such a hard day.  You feel the joy of Easter approaching but yet it is supposed to be a day of silence and waiting.  Nothing silent went on at our house.  A lot of baking and cleaning did.  We tried to keep it to a quiet roar.

Easter Sunday was glorious, as to be expected.  Our parish is beautiful on a normal day, but was decked out nicely for Easter.

 Our boys are part of a Historic Altar Boy society and they got to serve in historic looking cassocks on Easter.  It really added to the visual beauty of the Mass.  Here they are looking like superheroes. 

Saving the Mass at a time!
 After taking lots of pictures, we headed back home for a nice, quiet dinner with my mom, dad and uncle.

Lest we loose our celebratory spirit too soon, my youngest son celebrated his 10th birthday yesterday.  

More good food and cake!  Now we are all double-digits!  Oh how bittersweet.

While this is our Easter break off from school this week, the weather is not being very cooperative so I think it will be a laid-back, restful kind of week around here.  Next week, of course, looks to be gorgeous.  Oh well, that will be incentive to get the work done early, won't it?

God Bless!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!


God Bless!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

God Bless!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

God Bless!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday

God Bless!