Friday, March 16, 2018

Life Lately (Renovating and Springtime Quick Takes)


Renovating our attic!

As I mentioned, we are renovating our attic-- turning storage and piles of boxes into bedrooms (!!), and we are turning the downstairs bedrooms into a playroom and nursery/gym (?).   The fate of the nursery is still up in the air, but the concept right now is to put down hardwood flooring in the nursery so that we can eventually use it for crafting/supplies and some of Stephen's workout equipment. We are trying to eliminate the need for a gym membership, perhaps in the near future.  My two new favorite things?  This and this.  We have a contractor and his assistant working on the stairs, so when I asked how it was going, they said, "It is a lot of little steps."  😂



Molly joined the volleyball team this Spring, and she is having a total blast and really enjoying the exercise, community, and camaraderie! I think she has found a sport she loves. She seems more focused and I love to see her enjoying it.


St. Patrick's Day!

I totally nailed dinner the other night, (it tasted way better than it looks-- Chicken vermicelli and rice with peas, baked sweet potatoes, and fresh-baked dinner rolls from Niedlov's bakery....)  which is making me excited about the deals at Aldi this weekend, including sales on Corned Beef.... and even cabbage.  I think some Bailey's Irish cream might be in tall order this weekend, what say you??


Art Camp!

I made a "book"!  I have been compiling our family traditions, and this is by no means a professional endeavor, but if you want, maybe I will someday soon even turn it into a google document! :)  haha, mostly I'm just doing this for the kids...we needed a reference manual and this is helping me to commit to memory the traditions and feast days we've adopted since becoming Catholic. Also- did you know.... the difference between Feasts, Memorials, and Solemnities? You probably did. But it was news to me. We have so many reasons to celebrate in the Catholic church! It's all kinds of amazing to me still as a convert!!



I finished a book from 1994 about breast cancer by author Elizabeth Berg and this should be considered a classic. It is called Talk Before Sleep and I was talking on instastories about how her style feels very midwestern to me. Which, by the way, I totally like. Depth of character, ironic, witty, and truly funny moments, real true-to-life events and relatable and even very likable characters.  Normally I stray far away from this type of #trigger, but with fair warning I believe you will not be disappointed by this quick read!



9 months old and 😍

We watched Coco, and I liked it! The kids liked it too, and begged to watch it the next day before our rental time ran out.  We let them watch the first half again.  I think you should see it! I love the perspective of the afterlife and the themes of loved ones who have passed on who ask us to "Remember Me."  Beautiful picture of Mexican humanity and culture!  But what might trump the amazingness of this film is the absolutely incredible twitter handle @ amazonmoviereviews



I've really been enjoying the Criminal podcast. I'm no true crime book fan (at this point), but when I find something that creeps me out without making me feel unsafe, I can enjoy it because I know I'll be able to sleep that night.  It kinds of reminded me of The Girl on the Train... creepy but never the feeling that I'm unsafe in Paula Hawkins' hands. Great read. ha.

linking up with Kelly!


Friday, March 9, 2018

How to be a Semi-Crafty Mama (7QT)

Despite the title, how to be a semi-crafty Mama, this will be somewhat random of a 7 quick takes... bear with me! #ohyeah #sotight

Trip to Nashville

Over the weekend, I surprised my Grandma with a quick trip to her nursing home in Nashville. It is only two hours away, so I went there and back again in one day!  I hit the book jackpot, which I'll tell you about in a minute, but guys, this is just another example of how you 1) give up your agenda and 2) give up shopping...  and God gives back, more abundantly than we deserve and expect and definitely shows up in the resurrection moments of life.  #lenthasaredletterday

Thoughts on Homeschooling

As I mentioned, Stephen and I are spending the season of Lent praying over whether or not to homeschool our kids next year. Right now we're looking into the Seton method.  Avoiding a comedy of errors, there are so many issues to work through, so we continue to crave prayers about it.  Should we keep one in school? Should we do it for one year then re-evaluate?  Should we plan to put them back in next Fall or wait and see? Should we invest in an accredited curriculum program? How will we know how long we'll need it? Should we get uniforms? (Everyone knows this is the most important question when it comes to homeschooling).  My favorite parenting moments have to do with seeing them all playing together and hearing one yell out, "Pause the game! I have to *insert break here*"  It is cute to think of them doing an hour of work and many more hours playtime. :) Again, if you are going through any suffering, it would be SO SO appreciated if you offer it up for us at this time. It feels like a HUGE decision.

Crafting with Kids

Every year during the Easter Octave (the first 8 days of the 50-day period of Easter), I do some Spring and Easter/Egg - themed crafts with my kids.
Last year, we combined the crafts with fun snacks everyday.
This was the first year we did an Easter Art Camp.

Here are some of the ideas I have tucked away for this years' Easter-- I can't wait!  *And neither can my kiddos.*

Washi Tape Butterflies

Easter -themed Dirt Pudding Cups

Embellished Glitter Eggs

Easy Edible Easter Baskets

Banana Split


The Oscars

I have sooooooo many thoughts on the Oscars.  I LOVE watching the Academy Award every year. I find it so tremendously interesting.  But this year seemed to be a bomb and I think the most recent Pop Culture Happy Hour episode from NPR on the awards show confirmed my suspicions that even if we had watched many of the nominated movies, it still wouldn't have been super-interesting to watch this year.

And--- Ya'll.  Hilarious is the name of our game, :)  and that is exactly what it feels like to watch an entire Oscars program with having only seen ONE of the films nominated for Best Picture and maybe three films mentioned at the award ceremony.  Stephen and I saw Dunkirk and found it RIDICULOUSLY funny that they won for sound editing and sound mixing, because we hated the soundtrack.  Stephen liked the movie more than I did... but even he found it boring. Despite being an all-star cast, I thought the acting was weak. It felt so fake to me.  I'm glad to have heard it was well-received by the academy, though, because it tells an important story and Stephen and I were both glad to learn more about this historical event.

I also saw The Greatest Showman and I appreciated the performance of the song from that.  I want to see :  Coco, The Shape of Water, and Ladybird.

Sufjan Stevens

I had to open my hands and release into the world my college-days idolization of Sufjan Stevens' whispery voice and amazing banjo playing skills, when he took the Oscars stage (or rose up from the ashes- HA). I was confused.  Wait-- what is this song about?  So I looked up the lyrics and I have to say


WARNING: honest opinion ahead... Ravi Zacharias has some (good) words about this topic/issue.

 Chris Thile?! Your mandolin sounded so good.


Going back to my trip up to Nashville...  I made a priority and worked out alllll of the logistics to stop at Parnassus Books on Saturday (owned by Ann Patchett) where I bought a signed copy of her book This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.  I then was driving around nearby where my Grandma was staying, and I found a Book Sale just by seeing a sign by the side of the road. I stopped, went in, and I found myself at the Franklin Public Library (Williamson County), where all books were a dollar. I scored- it was literally book heaven - and I felt like I had hit the jackpot and won the lottery... that's how happy books make me!!!
it felt especially SPECIAL since I had been saving myself

Craft Supplies

I gave up shopping for Lent, but it has been a good opportunity to get ourselves organized.  I bought this art bin about a year ago, and I have really enjoyed using my supplies now that they have a modicum of organization. The minutiae of craft supplies has come into glaring focus (I have ten pairs of scissors, for example)  and NOT shopping has been the best thing to ever come along for my crafting habit. #everythingfeelsmoreorganized

Lent is only three more weeks-three weeks from today is Good Friday!  How can you up the ante to make sure you are sacrificing everyday during this penitential season? I have noticed that I have more joy when I work with God rather than against God.  I have to keep rolling with the everyday changes of life- kids getting bigger, seasons changing, myself getting older, demands perhaps getting stronger, the pull of daily mass or holiness becoming irresistible. I have to work *with* God and then I see fruit and bear fruit.  Maybe this book could help our family? (maybe, maybe not?)

What are you must-haves when it comes to crafting and especially if gearing up for a season of heaving craft lifting (aka Easter octave?!)

Mark Bridges... so cheesy and so funny! :)
God bless!

what I found at the book sale in Franklin!
dirt cheap!

Linking up with Kelly

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Monthly Recap vol. 52~ February 2018


Least favorite month, least favorite recap... maybe!

It has been crazy-crazy warm... like record breaking temps in the upper 70's, low 80's here.  We have finally seen an illness reprieve in our family (Thank you, God!) but all of sudden with the warm weather, allergies are in full swing in our house. Sad. :(  Please God don't let it turn into Summer in March... we need a few more weeks of Spring!!!

If you missed it, I started working out and I gave up shopping for Lent. I have been musing on Lent- the long 40 day march to Easter ... really for years now.  I observed it through childhood and young adulthood. Now that I'm 34 going on 35 next month, it looks like I'm finally getting better at sticking to something.  Or maybe I'm just better at figuring out what to give up. So that I can actually do it and it's not too hard. (maniacal laugh...) I can't say i look forward to Lent because it is penitential, but I try to see the little resurrections each and everyday and that thought keeps me afloat. I could talk about Lent for something like 2 hours, but I'll spare you!!! :)

~Thoughts on Homeschooling~

Deep thoughts with jack handy:  I have been experiencing a real tension between a desire to keep our kids in school, and taking them out to homeschool (for at least one year) next year. Right now, we are spending Lent thinking and praying it though. It has nothing to do with unhappiness with our Catholic School and actually....ideally, we might keep Anders in Kindergarten. I would take him to school while Stephen teaches the kids. Then I would teach my subjects while he is at work 9-5, and he would help with schoolwork after dinner.  Kindergarten has been a shaping year for all of our kids. Like al of them learning to walk at the same age (12 months), they all learned to read in Kindergarten.... meaning we like it! :)

I have the desire to use my experience with homeschool, and as Stephen has stated: now all of my graduate school won't be for nothing! (Amen). It also has to do with finances. We would have so much more freedom and opportunities open up next year if we do the homeschool thing.  It is good to have options financially speaking. If you are experiencing any trial or suffering, please offer it all the way up- if you are willing- for us to discern the right steps for next year!


The Olympics

I have absolutely loved watching and following (or trying to follow!) the Olympics figure skating this year.  The American team hasn't done great.  However, we've been entertained by TARA LIPINSKY (love her so much!!) and Johnny Weir's outfits have been interesting to follow as well. Back when I was a sorta foolish middle schooler, my neighbor and I dressed up as Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding (me) as a joke- for Halloween.  This particular friend had a very dry sense of humor- still does, but we were tooooootally just joking. But I got so into #olympicslivetweeting this year so my past is paying off hahahaha. AND--- a NASCAR driver responded to one of my tweets about Weir (What what!!) (Or maybe I should say What What?!)

The Martian

I never mentioned that Stephen and I watched this together a month or two ago.  I truly enjoyed watching it and thought it had a satisfying plot (and ending!!), and Matt Damon did really well with the role ... he is a fave, for sure... never gets old.... I was OBSESSED with the Bourne movies when they came out!

so funny. I die.


Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

I finished this book from January at the beginning of the month. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it, as a light and fluffy fun read. Her very British style sucked me right in.  It felt long but hey, her style kept me reading so I'm ok with that!

Sing Unburied Sing

This book was quite the experience, I must say. If you follow my instastories (do it! so fun!), you know that I had mixed feelings.  It was slow-going, mainly because the structure is *not* linear.  I kept hearing "It's so beautifully written!"  and "It was the best book I read this year!" and "It is sad! Watch Out!"  I wasn't feeling it, but I kept reading to the end, and I realized her styling seems after the vulture metaphor (or analogy?), a bird circling (and circling) around its prey.  She tells the story from the perspective of many characters, so despite not being linear, it all comes together in the end.  Once I was done and could look back on it, I did like it. So that's something!

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

Griffin is a bestselling author who lives with her family in Atlanta.  This story is,  as NYTimes says about not having//not wanting kids and "a wry twist on the classic relationship deal-breaker." At first I jived with her vulnerable fresh writing and was wooed by the raw characterization of the protagonist. Eventually though, I felt meh about this.... which I was kind of expecting, simply because it is by no means hot off the press.... she wrote it many moons ago.  I bet Emily Giffin would be low on my favorite best authors who are bestsellers.  Main problem: I don't relate to ANY of the characters.  Add to that.... it is LONG-- everyone loves a short novel... don't they?! Actually, it isn't the length that's the problem. It is the inane materialistic and godless, selfish banter between characters that made me finally decide to run for the hills after completion. Can I be horribly harsh for a minute? Her attempts at humor and jabs at bad grammar only prove one thing, which Flannery O'Connor proved a long time ago: that making fun of Southern humor is the only thing funny about it.  For more reviews and thoughts on this theme, see goodreads. (Many a young woman who believes herself baby proof out there for your consumption!!!)

Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon ed Sidney Perkowitz among others

I've read Frankenstein multiple times- in high school and again as an English major in college- and suffice it to say, I'm a huge fan. :)  This collection of analytical essays was fascinating to no end. It just came out last year. 4/5 stars.

If you want to hear my voice (spoiler I don't have a very Southern accent) I have some book talk about Sing Unburied Sing, Frankenstein, and Cafe by the Sea in my highlighted stories in my insta. handle @tacywb.

ALSO: Super cool: My sister (a teacher at W. Seattle, public high school) had Colson Whitehead, the author of The Underground Railroad,  and winner of the Pulitzer Prize (!!) come and speak at her class-- view the picture on instagram  And yes she is in the picture, although it's a bit like Where's Waldo finding her!  ON MY TBR to be sure!



Happier in Hollywood

I joined this fb group. I'm a huge fan of the Happier podcast, with Gretchen Rubin and this one about writing/producing television with her sister Elizabeth Craft in LA is fantastic! I LOVE how they gently poke fun at life/culture in Hollywood "backbitingI'm eating up every single episode and can't wait to hear more!!!

Are You Still Watching

This lighthearted podcast is a Australian husband-wife duo... they inspire me, and (I think because) as they Australian they are honest about even the things they dislike. I thought it cute to hear them gushing about the latest Spiderman Homecoming (one my kids liked).  Of course they discuss what is on Netflix, but their taste isn't quite up my alley.... even still I love hearing their cute accents as they discuss film,  tv, books, etc.

Beauty and the Vlog

I discovered this and I'm fascinated by the mostly unknown to me world of you tubers. Honestly it is an absorbing unknown world to me and I'm honestly stoked to learn more about the next generation's bread and butter.

My 35th Birthday Beats Playlist

I'm going to say it again: I am so thankful for the Illness reprieve.   I can't stress enough how important staying positive is to me at this stage of life. And if you and/or your family is facing some type of illness or ongoing health issues, (or horrendous weather-- HOT counts!!!:0)  my prayers go out to you. Truly, I will offer my own suffering up for you!  #tryingnottocomplain

God bless!
linking up with leigh 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What I've Learned By Giving Up Shopping (for Lent)

What do you DO?
Three Questions

but back to the series...

"Three things are necessary for man's salvation," said Thomas Aquinas, "to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do."

In this three part series, during Lent, I am going to take apart this quote from Aquinas. In this quote, he begs the question.... actually three questions.

What do you believe?

What do you desire?

What do you do?

These are the three essential questions for faith and for salvation.  Aquinas said it: it must be true!  :0)

This year during the season of Lent, this will be the focus of my conversations. 

Today, I'm discussing what we do.

How's the 'no shopping' going for Lent?

Well, it's interesting. It is really opening my eyes!  The first few days, I just went about my normal routine, and I was surprised at how my consistent shopping this year has rescued me from the temptation to go to random stores throughout the week! :)  I changed my routine, so that instead of going to run errands Monday and Tuesday, I now go to Aldi on Sundays so that I don't have to go shopping or run any kind of errands during the week.  Without my rules in place (consistency is the backbone of life!!!), I think this would have been a disaster.

I was also able to have a day out with Frances on Sunday.  That way I could focus on her and her needs without the temptation to buy a whole lot for myself (I did get a stampad, a gluestick, and rubber cement for my craft collection on Sunday)!  That was a definite win and a resurrection moment for me-- taking my eyes off myself because my myopic lifestyle was damaging my relationship with my kids.

Am I saving money? Well.... not really. Yet.!  I am saving my going to Aldi. The thing is, I was going over-budget before, meaning Stephen wasn't really saving either.  Now I think he is saving, but I'm sticking to budget.  It is really frustrating and humbling to be in this position. But have you ever had to feed and raise 6 kids?!?!   They eat SO MUCH food and they are little consumers themselves. ACK!!!  The sad thing is we're going to be in a little bit of debt when we do our renovations. I would so much rather save a huge chunk in advance, but we'll have a loan to pay off when this is said and done. I suppose the upside is that we have NO other debt... no student loans, no credit card debt to pay off.... ETC!  SO I feel good, all told.

What am I learning by giving up shopping for Lent?

I am definitely learning how selfish I am.  I didn't realize how much I think about what we "need," constantly.  I have had to lay down my wants and focus more on my needs.

I have also learned that shopping is hard to avoid. I can't even read some blogposts or check the weather without feeling like I'm shopping on Amazon.  Avoiding all online shopping has been difficult!  Honestly, though I have gotten out of the habit of shopping on Amazon and almost completely online shopping, because we have had to be super thrifty especially recently!

How does 'no shopping' affect relationships?

This is HUGE.  There is more trust and even affection between me and Stephen. There is an arrow pointing from within our hearts and straight to God (I won't disclose what he gave up for Lent, but it has been a period of growth for both of us, FOR SURE).  We have that love for God in common, and in turn he leads us in paths of righteousness and excitement for his namesake.  #hyper

My kids of course notice that I'm not spending a bunch of money, and they respect me for that. Especially the older two. They notice everything we do, guys.

My relationship with myself is better, too. I have more self-respect because I don't have to question where the money is going.  During Lent, it goes for groceries and gas.  So far, that's about it.  Plus providing for my kids' needs.  I am able to do my job as wife and mother with more grace, and just that alone is worth the sacrifice for me in the end. (!!!)  :)


I know some people give up something different everyday of Lent.  Or one day a week.  Or just Fish Fridays. I challenge you to challenge yourself. It is tough, but worth it.
cross-posting at the ACWB

Friday, February 16, 2018

Three Things Are Necessary: A Series on Lent (Pt. 2 ~ Desire)


A Huge Oopsie

The other day, after picking my oldest up from her volleyball practice (she joined the team last week and will begin competing in games in the near future),  I let the kids play in water outside because despite being February, we had the rare 70 degree day.  They were squirting the hose, and playing and laughing.  I put Conrad down for his nap, checked my iPhone, then went outside, to find no one in the backyard.  I called for Annabel (the toddler) but she was nowhere to be found.

I looked in the front yard first, then ran upstairs and asked Molly and Frances where Annabel (and Anders and Madeleine) were.

Within 5 minutes, I had found them *you turn your back for one minute, guys*.... they were playing "Let's go to the swimming pool" and Madeleine - the ring leader- had brought them to the car. The three of them had gotten cold from the hose so they were trying to warm up by sitting in the car.

They all got in HUGE trouble.  But because it has been cold and we've mostly not been in the yard, they needed to learn the NEVER play in the car rule. It is not a place to play. ABSOLUTELY NOT.  I've had some bad past experiences with this and it is a huuuuuuge trigger for me.

They all had to change after that and I was shaking.

Cue all the anger and anxiety, guys!!!

Have you ever done anything like that?

Three Questions

but back to the series...

"Three things are necessary for man's salvation," said Thomas Aquinas, "to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do."

In this three part series, during Lent, I am going to take apart this quote from Aquinas. In this quote, he begs the question.... actually three questions.

What do you believe?

What do you desire?

What do you do?

These are the three essential questions for faith and for salvation.  Aquinas said it: it must be true!  :0)

This year during the season of Lent, this will be the focus of my conversations. 

Today, I'm discussing what we desire.

The Creamer Girl, Revisited

Last time, in part one of the series, I discussed the example of the 'creamer girl.'  She said in a blog post that she wrote about Lent that she wanted to give up creamer in her coffee for Lent.  What she, in fact did, was give up creamer on Wednesdays.


First of all, why?  

Well, to put it plainly, it is more serious than that.  Like finding your kids playing in the car (even if it isn't hot outside), God sees us messing around and it concerns him deeply.  Jesus is with us but he also says, "If you deny me, I will deny you."

If you say you're giving something up, it is - personally I believe- somewhat dishonest. You aren't taking it seriously.

What if you said, "I tithe to my parish!"  but when pressed, you admitted that you only tithed 10% of December once a year.  

Does that count as tithing?  Um, no.

Same goes for giving something up for Lent. If you give something up, REALLY give it up. If you don't, there is no way to know the joy of Easter (or mini-Easters).

I've had mini-lents in the past .... once I tried giving up caffeine and I actually did it (way back in college) but I tried again in my mid-thirties and failed miserably.  Mini-lents are weak sauce and I'm sorry ... they don't count in my book because like tithing, God only gets part of our heart. The rest is balderdash.

What do you desire?

There are honestly SO many things that I desire.  I want to travel, I want to be a *real* writer, I want to homeschool my kids for a year, I want to go to the moon on Elon Musk's car-- or maybe on his dime??? :)

I want so much. What do you want? Do you want to be an artist? Do you want to live on a farm? Do you want to homeschool your kids? Travel?  Become a maker on Etsy?  Make $150,000 a year?


Is the cry and the desire of your heart something you feel when you start dreaming, but you can't even put it into words?

We all have a romantic urge within us. It's *that thing* that makes us wistful, dreamy, and come alive.  It's a deep feeling of joy and desire. It is important to dream. It is also important to dream with the people we love. Dream with your spouse, out loud, together. If you are unmarried, dream with your friends and superiors.

Dreaming gets to the root of what is the cry of the heart and soul... and it often has to do with your future.  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

God wants us to have a wistful longing... because there are better things ahead than any we might leave behind.

Surrendering to God's will is the quickest, easiest way to find out what JOY feels like.  An answer to pray is the fastest route to freedom.

Ultimately, as a Catholic and as a Christian, I believe that UNION with God is the ultimate cry of the heart and soul.

I smell coffee....

So what does Lent have to do with it?

I feel like my heart is full of improper passions.  When I surrender the passions and lusts of my flesh to God, I end up finding out his will for me.

When I pray more,

1. I hear his voice.

2. I see his work.

3. I feel his presence.

4. I taste his strength. (5 senses anyone?? :)

5. I speak love.

6. I serve.

7. I listen and learn.

I am reminded that I can even live this way in ordinary time!

But during Lent, I find out just how powerful God is.  

When I am weak, then I am strong, says Paul.

When I put to death the lusts of the flesh.... and I'll be on the surest route to joy and freedom.

What is the dream of your heart?!


this is part two in a series, read part one here
linking up with kelly and acwb

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Three Things Are Necessary: A Series on Lent (Pt.1)

Three Questions

"Three things are necessary for man's salvation," said Thomas Aquinas, "to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do."

In this three part series, during Lent, I am going to take apart this quote from Aquinas. In this quote, he begs the question.... actually three questions.

What do you believe?

What do you desire?

What do you do?

These are the three essential questions for faith and for salvation.  Aquinas said it: it must be true!  :0)

This year during the season of Lent, this will be the focus of my conversations. I am going to start that conversation here, with part one on my blog!

Let's Talk About Lent

And before we get into that question, I want to discuss Lent for just a minute.  I remember in years past, I heard about a girl who was going to give up creamer in her coffee for Lent. However, it was too tough for her, but she still wanted to honor God by doing some kind of sacrifice during Lent.  She decided to give up creamer in her coffee one day a week.

I personally think that despite many shares on social media, "creamer girl" example is weak sauce.  If it was too hard for her to give up creamer in her coffee, then she should pick something else, and really give it up, and actually stick to her guns.

Why? Because the purpose of Lent is to make room for God.  We do this by practicing self-denial.  Even though she got a bunch of shares on Facebook, seriously... don't be like "creamer girl" because the backlash and repercussions of a lack of follow-through can really stall you in your goals. That's a fancy way of saying, "Oops."


I'm giving up shopping this year for Lent. I plan to REALLY give it up. The only exception (not excuse!!!) is Sundays. Sundays are little Easters- a day of rest- and so we can take part in that which we gave up on Sundays.

Lent begins this week on you guessed it- Valentine's Day (celebrate a day early?)  But going back to the first question in Aquinas' quotation, what do we actually believe.... what do we believe about the Church calendar? What do we believe about the resurrection from the dead?  What do we believe about Easter?

If we know the answer, then Lent makes sense. I'm not going to give up shopping "in name only" and still do whatever "the *h*" I want. I'm also not going to indulge in other things during Lent. Any kind of excess defeats the purpose of the fasting we practice.  If I gorge myself on cookies or become hugely addicted to crisp white moscato while I'm giving up shopping, I'm missing the whole point of Lent, which is to ...what?

What do you believe?

The other day I was out in nature, pushing two of my children in the stroller. That experience tapped into so much of what I believe about daily life. I believe that fresh air and sunshine and exercise are all good for you. I believe that my kids need to be in nature for their development to be consistent and healthy. I believe that stretching my legs, working my muscles, and getting my heart rate up all help me to be a healthy person.

Do you believe in the almighty dollar? Do you believe this is a free country, so to each her own? Do you believe your personality explains (away) every little thing that you do, sinful or not??

Our beliefs inform our desires and our actions.

If we don't know what we believe, but we are simply practicing Lent by giving up sweet tea, or wine, or sugar, or shopping...... then it is not going to be effectual in the cleaning out of our souls.

As Catholics, we say, "Lord, I am not worthy, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed... enough for you to enter under my roof."

That means we allow him to clean our souls. Thereby he can enter in and make our hearts holy .... Holy enough for Him! Holy enough for him to dwell within us.
When we ask God for a clean soul, we are expressing what we ought to do (which we will get into later in the series).

Each and every time we deny our flesh, we are asked to pray.  We are also supposed to practice almsgiving and chastity.

"Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof. But only say the word and my soul shall be healed."   This is my prayer this Lent.  To be FOCUSED on God and his will for me!

How can you take steps this year to have an effectual Lent? What will enrich your faith, or that which you believe?
cross-posting with the ACWB

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What's "Saving My Life" Right Now

Of course we all know WHO saved the world.  It wasn't Martin Luther King, Jr. But in other news, these are the little itty bitty things that are "saving my life"  right now.  Linking up with MMD to share just that!! :)

1. Working Out

So at the end of January, I joined a gym.  This has been a long time coming, and after so many years of walking around the block, I'm finally not braving 30 degree nights any more! YAY!  I'm running on treadmills, doing the bike, lifting weights, and doing sit-ups/crunches/push-ups again. My gym has a locker room with showers, hairdryer, and more.. and it is in a superb location. Aaaaand I couldn't be happier with how good a deal I got! (Did anyone know that the Y is *so* expensive??? I'm paying about 70% less per month at my gym!!!)

2. Teaching Molly to vacuum

Recently upon dumping out a toy bin (see below), I handed Molly the vacuum cleaner, taught her how to use the hose attachment, and showed her where the "on" button was. I then proceeded to leave the room.  It has been so freeing now that she is ten to tell her, "Here, do this" and just LEAVE the room!!!! I don't have to supervise, and so much more cleaning is getting done! Woop. woop.

3. Repurposing storage containers

Over the past weekend, I used a file box like this one except turquoise to organize Madeleine's toys. This in turn created a domino effect, and for the first time ever, we organized the toys >>by person<< rather than by type of toy.   It has been wonderful.  I started noticing lots of un-used storage containers throughout the house, and by giving away one VERY large hamper of toys to Salvation Army, I got the girls' room organized once and for all *with our new system.*  Frances has her toys in this type of organizer , different color, in the closet, Molly is using a toy box in their room, Anders has a large basket, and Annabel has a plastic bin in the nursery.  I love it!

While we're talking storage, I've learned that smart people a) buy more unisex clothing and b) buy large.  The blue and pink are cute (sure it is!) and all, but if I had to do it over again, I would have gotten gray, green, white, and yellow onesies and passed them down to all the kids. Same goes for black pants and navy leggings. Jeans, khakis, and jeggings are often too gender-specific, but the cross-over there also doesn't have to be so stark. Perhaps it is all more dim and gray-ish than we think. :0) #buysmarter  I know I can still do this in the future. Also-- buy large then they can wear for 6 months or more, haha... AND black doesn't stain, neither does dark navy or dark plaid. :)

4. Buying coffee and Cleaning {And it goes without saying, reading}

Lately the thing that is getting me through the Winter is going out to a coffee shop somewhere downtown, and buying a good (not super cheap, but amazingly delicious) cup of coffee, and coming back home where I tackle one cleaning project in our house for the day.  It is fun because I often buy Annabel a little treat (her favorite is a chocolate chip cookie as a reward for eating a plate of eggs-- and I'm hoping to blend the treats into potty training in the very near future).  We live downtown, but it is so nice to actually take advantage of all that we have within arms' reach. I am getting better about it now.

It's also nice to finish the cleaning project, rehydrate by drinking a large glass of water with lunch, then make myself a cup of coffee, and read while the babies nap.

5. Drinking wine while perusing Pinterest + Protein powder

Ah, ordinary time, how I dost love thee!!!  Since we're remodeling soon, I have been saving a lot of ideas for our future playroom.  Do the words, "Accent wall" make anyone else hugely excited? No? Just me?  I want to paint the tan walls white, then add one accent wall of either pale pink or pale turquoise-ish like this color, silver mist.  Something about the routine of drinking one glass of wine while checking in with Pinterest makes me feel like I'm still getting a Happy Hour at 5pm everyday. :) Even though the kids climb on me nevertheless!!! But Lent, it cometh soon. Fast approacheth all types of self-denial and this might be the first or second thing that gets the boot!!

Also, this casein protein powder. Tastes delicious.

6. Consistency in errands and shopping +  Saving money

I'm still tackling my weekly chores using this system, and it is working marvelously!  If you missed that post, I do one Walmart run every Monday for staples, then I head to Publix on Tuesdays for any produce or recipe-specific extras.  It's a nice system for my forgetful self. I always know that I can pop in an easy dinner like frozen lasagna on Mondays, then make sure to get everything I need for more complicated menus, for the rest of the week, on Tuesdays.

And I'm not saving money yet --  and it doesn't help that I had $10-20 in my glove compartment that was taken, when Stephen I were both robbed from our cars over the weekend. UGH-- he lost his gym shoes and headphones 😭  I just lost some cash, that I know of.  However, I am planning to give up shopping entirely for Lent, so I'm hoping to save more money that way.  Perhaps a weekly trip to Aldi instead??

Here's hoping!!!!