Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What I Would Say If My Child Were Gay

We are treading on controversial ground here, and I cannot go there without a disclaimer that I realize this is heavy. And also, I must say that I am not all-knowing, so always with controversy, I accept the humility that my opinions, facts, and ability to reason are subject to flaw, because of my nature (fallen, that is). You don't have to agree with me. In fact, I welcome open-minded thoughts here. I wouldn't be writing this if I thought we all thought the same thing.

 As usual I am adding my link to the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers.

If your child decided that he were gay, what would you do? Would you go into full-on, freak-out mode? Recently, I read a post on Glennon Melton Doyle's very popular blog Momastery, in which she writes an imaginary letter, in the event that her son Chase hypothetically turned out to be gay.  She states, as the title suggests, that it's "a mountain she is willing to die on." While it was a lot of good food for thought- I recommend reading it, just so you know what is out there- I felt like she has gotten a few things wrong. I appreciate the mission of the Momastery blog. I know that I've read a few great posts there, over the years. But somehow, I missed this post.

Ever wonder what you would do or say in the same situation? If it happened to me,  if my child decided that he were gay, honestly, I don't know for sure what I would do. I would probably throw a temper tantrum, out of fear and love for my child.

Doyle says:  "Chase, we don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. Your parents are Christians who believe that the Bible is inspired by God, just like people are. And since the Bible is a living thing, it is in its very nature to evolve toward becoming more loving."

The issue of homosexuality being is sin, in my mind, is Theology 101. It's on the same page with: Did Jericho burn to the ground because we can scientifically prove that a fire consumed it, without the aid of God's power or his miracles... or was it destroyed by fire because a loving, merciful God found sin and depravity there- of such a nature that it was beyond hope, and beyond repair, and therefore, his justice had to prevail? Miracles happen; they still happen. The resurrection happened; we are still people of Easter and of the Resurrection.

She also states that, "People are sensitive. People are heart-breakingly sensitive. If enough people tell someone over and over that he is not okay, he will believe it. And one way or another, he will die.
So how is any of this surprising? It’s quite predictable, actually. It’s trickle-down cruelty."
Wow. That's tough. But we need honest answers. We need right and wrong. And we need it in a spirit of love.  I don't know the mind of God, but I do know that he is loving, but also just. Although the truth is heavy, and even though the truth really sometimes hurts, or at least stings a little bit, we need to face it. He is a loving God, who also has the power to condemn.  We don't know his ways, but we should be treading this ground with holy fear.

The Tent Stakes of the Church: Three Things to Think About

When something really sad and hard happened to someone I know a few years ago (and no, it was not homosexuality), it was just hard. There was no tidy bow.  No one made good sense of it. It was just hard for everyone.  And sad. People sin, and sin messes up the trajectory of people's lives. I've seen it. God still keeps us safe in his beauty and in his peace. He gives us hope in the midst of disaster. In our family, he gives us the hope of tomorrow, even though today we're hurting deeply. Why is being gay a wrong lifestyle choice, even though you might be hurting right now? First, I want you to know that bullying doesn't make something ok. Second of all, it is wrong because it is wrong. There is no cultural bandaid that makes it all ok.  Third, you can't take your cues from a culture that is devoid of the foundation of the Church. You must seek out and search out what the Church says about it, and go from there.

First, I know-- bullying and hatred makes it worse.  I've seen it, too. If people had bullied my friend in the situation he was going through, it would have made it much more painful. And in the case of bullying for homosexuality, that's very sticky. Right? Bullying is never ok.  But, shame and bitterness about bullying aside, there is a right, and there is a wrong. And from this foundation, springs our salvation. A tent without stakes has no firm foundation.  Just because you are bullied for something, doesn't mean it is therefore wrong. Plenty of people have been bullied for doing the right thing, too- take standing up for right and wrong.  As you can see, you could stand up for the anti-abortion movement, and get bullied for that. That's actually a good thing that you could be bullied for.

Second, it is wrong because it is wrong. Isn't it true that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us?  And to accept Christ's help when things are hard? Isn't that the measure and the definition of salvation, because all other ground is sinking sand? Recently I heard a conversation between two Mom's at the playground. A woman said, "My friend is Gay, but he thinks he'll go to hell if he practices it. I just think that's no way to live!" I pray peace over people who get on the GLTB bandwagon, brainwashed by the nastier elements of our culture. Homosexuality will never be a healthy lifestyle, even if it is a condoned lifestyle. Drugs don't make us healthy, even if they make us happy. Take promiscuity. It will never be a healthy lifestyle. To quote the well-known Sheryl Crow song, If it makes you happy, then why the H** are you so sad? Within marriage there is no risk of sexually transmitted diseases.  Married couples are reportedly happier, healthier, and better off financially. Marriage is intended by God for a husband and wife, to produce children and a heritage, from the Lord. A heritage of adoption can be beautiful and from the Lord, if it is the blessing on two married people- a man and a woman. If we are toeing the line of quenching the Holy Spirit (in this case, living in sin) it is a serious and dangerous thing; it is not one a thing to be messed with.

Third, you can't take your cues from a culture devoid of the foundation of the church. The Church is the rock of St. Peter. A church without a foundation is like a tent without stakes. It will float away when the wind blows it adrift. If you disagree, I pray peace and redemption over you. Because it's not the practicing of homosexuality that is going to make you happy. Just as promiscuity and drugs won't, either. This is what God says, in the Bible. Remember, in his great love- his endless love, still I don't think that Jesus would support tolerance toward gays. We need the tent-stakes of the Church, and of Confession. And it's not cultural, like wearing a necklace or a head covering.  I could go into the statistics, but right now, I just want you to know that it's in our catechism, and it matters. Just like the Resurrection cannot be denied because your culture tells you it can. Easter is real, Easter is still here. Easter is a present reality. He is risen. Keep your head clear.

This is what my priest would say.
This is what my church would say.

There are so many recovery stories. Fight. Keep fighting. Even when it makes you unpopular. Even when too many issues of a certain magazine or the newspaper have got you feeling clueless... seriously. Even when people want to slam a door in your face. Even when people say nasty things about you. Even when they bully you for believing in right and wrong.   Even when you are thinking... Really? Everyone disagrees with you. No one is that backwards anymore, I'll say this. We still love you. And we still believe it is wrong.

We don't just love you; we will also not discriminate against you. But this is how people train dragons: We tell them it's a war. And we tell them to fight.
And if anyone tells you otherwise? Try to fight it.

Did you know that Same Sex Marriage is currently legal in 37 states in the U.S., and banned in 13 states? Read the statistics here. Read more: @ Catholic Answers and Crisis Magazine

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monthly Recap vol. 20~ April 2015

If you missed my news last week, I announced that I will no longer be hosting the Weekly Minutiae link-up here at my blog {Picture a Skyline}! If you came here looking for that link-up, it isn't here! My apologies! This week we have the first of the new "Monthly Recaps," - where I tell you about our month at the end of the month. More specifically, when I give you a recap on the last Monday of the month. ;)

It has been a good, albeit very, very busy month.  We went to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas for Molly's Spring Break. Since we got back, we took her to the Symphony, and as part of wrapping up her first grade year, she has been in standardized testing at her parish school. She is also responsible to take independent reading tests (called "AR tests") as part of her first grade journey. She has had to do a whole lot of reading, but the good news is, she is doing great! So. We have been busy and we have eaten a lot of eggs and oatmeal and non-sugary breakfasts this past week!

I know that I (and others) usually do a roundup of books/music at the end of the year, but I thought- why not do one for the January-April period, just for fun? People are looking for a good book to read or good movie to watch, why not give them some ideas? So, I give you, my January-April recommendations.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I definitely recommend Neil Gaiman as an author. He wrote (and is probably most famous for) Coraline, which- if you saw the Tim Burton movie you know- was delightfully creepy, as is this book. It's not super-creepy, though. I get creeped out really easily. His writing toes the line between real and believable fantasy really, really well. He mixes monster-like beings with real life happenings almost effortlessly, and somehow you can really relate to the main character, unlike many sci-fi books where it's more about the robots and how they fight, the end. This actually feels like a believable real-life story and the fantasy elements are first-class (read: they just make it cooler, rather than being distracting). Read it.... this would make a good beach read because it isn't too long or overwhelming, and it draws you in like an absorbing novel should.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (the novella) by Truman Capote (added)

This is one of my favorite American stories. I decided to reread it in January, and wrote about it here.

The Husband's Secret

I will say that Liane Moriarty is a great writer, (I love how she weaves in The Biggest Loser and international history), but this book was a little bit dark and a little bit dirty.  Do books have to be this way to be NYT bestsellers? I personally think that What Alice Forgot would be a better place to start.


I enjoyed this book even more than I expected to.  Reading epics like this are certainly time-consuming, and doing so while pregnant is always a challenge.  Read my review here.


Lewis Carroll by Morton Cohen

Lewis Carroll is such an interesting, multi-faceted character from history. This biography is thorough and it goes into some of the darker sides to this man and his character.  I personally felt he did him a bit of injustice by focusing on those things a little too much. One thing is for sure: he was a genius, and he changed history with his contribution to the literary world, in particular Children's Literature.

The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor

I was so glad I finally made the time for this beautiful, grotesque collection.  Can it be possible to have your heart warmed and simultaneously sort of disturbed? Absolutely, yes.  Oh my goodness, go read it right now. Buy it, check it out, do what you have to do!

Beautiful Ruins

An interesting look at Italy and Hollywood in the 1950's. Follows an intriguing family and gets inside the head of a Hollywood producer. Well constructed, not dry at all. Worth a read; read it with your guard up, however, as there is language and adult content.

Team of Rivals

I learned so much about Lincoln that I didn't already know.  He was a complicated man with a very difficult job on top of a very difficult life.  As I was reading, I told Stephen, "I can't stop because I want to find out what happens!" He quipped, "Did the Confederates win?!"  That's the mark of good and well-written history- when you can't wait to find out the ending, even though you already know most of it!

St. Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset

I highly recommend this portrait of a beautiful saint, written beautifully by the author of Kristin Lavransdatter. I so enjoyed rereading it, and I think it will be the next book that I start giving away to all of my nearest and dearest. I cross-posted for the ACWB some thoughts on St. Catherine, but I won't link to something else right now!!!

I Watched (all on Netflix):
The Duchess
Secrets of Chatsworth (PBS Documentary)
Secrets of Hampton Court (PBS Documentary)
House Hunters International
Gilmore Girls
House of Cards

I (We) Listened to:

The Fantasia soundtrack
JJ Heller
Crowded House
The Frozen Soundtrack (over and over and over again!)
Daddy's Playlists
Music for a New Year
Really Happy Winter Music
Easter Mix 2015

I'm Tacy Williams Beck on Spotify if you want to follow

Kids Watched:
Pippi Longstocking
The Secret of the Wings
The Prince of Egypt
The Boxcar Children
Veggie Tales- Celery Night Fever
Brother Bear
Big Hero 6
Oliver Twist

{We took a big, fat break from TV in Feb-Mar for Lent!}

As I said, we went to Texas this month to visit our sweet friends who live in Dallas. The area has an amazing zoo- one you should surely check out if you're ever there!
Anders had his first haircut... he was a bald baby... so he didn't get his haircut till 19mo. old!

We got back into a little bit of reading-frenzy. I had a lot of reading time in the car, so I finished Team of Rivals, Kalahari Typing School For Men, Einstein and Stitches by Ann Lamott.  The girls watched Star Wars for the first time! They also watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and a whole bunch of Shirley Temple.

The beauty of giving up TV for Lent was immense... in fact, I could write a whole post about that.  For one thing, we spent a lot more time outside. We spent more time with books.  And I think just using iPads made them much less "fried" than if they were going from TV, to iPad, to playing, and back around.  They also learned some new skills from more iPad time. I'm thankful that it's the type of thing that uses actual brain cells, rather than just having them vegging out in front of the tube!  I also think that the kids were better-behaved, with less tantrums for sure, and they developed more autonomy by having to take turns (especially if one of the two iPads that we own was dead, which seems to happen frequently at our house!). So all in all, we learned great things during Lent, although it was hard! Now that we're back to using TV, we're trying to keep it limited- like a reward and that type of thing.

I hope this gives you just a few ideas if you are needing some inspiration. It was a beautiful month, with lots of rain and lots of flowers. A beautiful May be yours'!

Frances: Mommy, can you keep a secret?
Me: Yes...
Frances: I can too.
Me: Do you have a secret?
Frances: Yes...
Me: Well, what is it?
Frances: I can't tell you! It's a secret!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Out of the goodness of my heart...

Hi! Just popping in here to tell you about something that's making me happy right now!

I just purchased the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle yesterday, and I was so excited about it! It is full of great content! It really is worth your money and your time!  I immediately started uploading to Google Docs some great ebooks, such as How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup (an Amazon bestseller!), and That Works for Me by the writers behind We Are THAT Family.

One big concern I had was - 639mb? That's a lot of space on my computer. But according to my tech-savvy husband, that's less than downloading a movie. Plus, they give you the option of clicking a link to download them individually, if you're wary of uploading something that big onto something like Google Docs.

Some ebooks from the sale that I'm personally excited about:

Build a Budget That Works by Jessi Fearon (The Budget Mama, and a Real Housekeeping contributor)

The Healthy Breakfast Book by Katie Kimball

More Feasts by Haley and Daniel Stewart

Also-- did you know that you can purchase the Bundle through our Real Housekeeping affiliate link? I just found that out, and I'm hoping to send some readers the way of the Homemaking Bundle, because it is awesome!

Yep- right there!------^-------

Thanks all for reading...I hope you check it out, because tomorrow is the last day to get this particular Homemaking Bundle. And at 29.97, it is pretty cheap!

Friday, April 24, 2015

7QT~ My Morning Writing Routine

What is your morning routine? Do you have a writing routine? I do almost all of my writing in the morning. Thus, I give you My Morning Writing Routine.

1.  Wake Up.
Every morning, I wake up before the kids. I have to set an alarm, so that I have time to write, pray/meditate, and do a quick check-in on what’s going on online.  It’s a great system, and one I would definitely recommend to other stay-at-home Moms wanting to add more writing time to their day. I usually wake up around 6am. I am an early bird, and I would love to wake up earlier, but because I’m pregnant, I can’t. Otherwise I would not feel rested! My husband has an app that wakes us up according to our sleep cycles, and it is aptly named SleepCycle (it measures our movement and waits to go off when we have started moving).  So, 6am it is.

2. Really, Actually Wake Up.
I make coffee using my (our) V60, then I wake up my brain by checking in with Feedly and Twitter.  I use those to read blogs, news, and just generally see what’s going on in the world. Sometimes I buy an actual newspaper, but more often than not, I read it online. My favorite newspapers are the New York Times, our local paper, the Times Free Press, and USA Today. I also keep up with several journals and magazines via Twitter, so I check in with those as well.  I also do a quick email check, but I don't use this time to respond to email.

3. Pray.
After my brain is awake, I sip on my coffee and spend time in prayer. I do a short reflection of Scripture and pray, read the Morning Readings, and sometimes pray a Rosary.  If the kids are starting to stir, I sometimes let prayer get rushed, but I try to make at least a few minutes’ time for it everyday. Even a few minutes can make a difference in my day.  With kids, you never know for sure how much time you will have before you are pouring a bowl of cereal, or making pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or eggs and bacon.  Or pouring juice- or wiping up spills, or getting a bib or what-have-you. If Molly has a test, it's eggs.

4. Blog.
Back to my routine plan/idea.  I then open up my Blogger account, and upload any photos from iPhoto,  or transfer writing from TextEdit that I have done the previous day onto various blogposts. I usually have 2-3 blogposts or articles going at a time.  I use TextEdit to write outlines for blogposts, or to work on articles for Real Housekeeping, and I can add ideas or phrases or quotes that I want to make sure and include in my post or article.  I have a constant itch to write, and I love the process of brainstorming and making outlines, then filling out the outlines (now and) later. The reason that I transfer my writing, is that I turn off the internet in our house after 10 am everyday. Like I said, you never know how much time you’ll have each day for writing when you have kids and stay home with them, so this works for me. I can’t access internet on my laptop at all after 10am, so if I do have an idea for a post during the day, I write it in TextEdit on my Mac.

5. Edit.
I then spend some conscious time and effort editing and polishing my writing until it shines. I make sure the grammar is correct, and the writing has a good flow. I read my writing out loud to myself. I check for any mistakes, grammatical errors, or factual errors.  I double-check my ideas, facts, and my awesome writing work ;) using the almighty Google.

6. Use Social Media.
After spending some time writing and editing, I then go back to Social Media to basically finish up for the day. I check in, usually in the same order everyday. I check Facebook, then Twitter, then Google Plus, then Instagram, and finally, Pinterest. If I’m promoting a post, I add the link to all- or almost all- of those places. If I need ideas for recipes, or if I’m updating a board, I go on Pinterest. I don’t spend as much time with Instagram or Google Plus. I then check Feedly and - let’s be honest- click refresh a bunch of times, because  I love blog-reading, and blogposts are always magically appearing in my Feedly. I subscribe to a bunch of blogs, so it’s fun to see who is posting what each morning.  I have feedly on my iPhone too, so I usually check in with the app again in the afternoon, while waiting for pick-up at the end of my daughter’s school day.

6. Plan the Week
Finally, if I have extra time, I use it to plan my week on Mondays, my day on every other day. In a nutshell, I open my planner (my method is this awesome planner from Hobby Lobby) + iCal to double check dates and deadlines for upcoming posts and articles. I check Weather.com to make sure I'm ready for the weather- which can be very unpredictable where we live! I otherwise mind-map and write things down to get them out of my brain. Week-planning, or daily planning, done.

7. Read+Answer Email
When I'm done, and I have even more extra time, I read and/or answer email and text back and forth with the hubs (who is by now at work). Sometimes I make another cup of coffee. I have a lot of books going right now, so grabbing a few minutes in the morning for reading, without feeling rushed, is icing on the cake.

What do I love about this morning routine?  I have trained myself to do it all in the morning, so I am very productive during this short amount of time, with writing, and I'm also more productive in my housekeeping and childcare duties, during the day, as well. I love everything about it, actually, because it keeps me consistent about writing and blogging, and the energy comes naturally now. Along with this energy is increased creativity, because I have trained my brain to 'wake up and write.' This past year, we hired a babysitter to help out twice a week for three hours at a time. She moved and I figured out that it is very hard to replace someone so awesome, especially during the Summer. That's the main reason this routine has been my lifesaver this year. It makes me feel like my writing is possible even though I am a stay-at-home Mom. And it is!  I’m passionate about blogging; I think it is a fabulous medium.*

The other reason I like it is that since I have several posts going at a time, I can keep adding links or photos without feeling the pressure to post something right away.  I can spend a good chunk of time each day adding edits, quotes, or thoughts to an article, and then leave it alone for the most part. And I still feel good about it. I don’t pine for more writing time, usually.  My husband knows that the internet turns off at 10am every single day, so he is very gracious with letting me have writing time in the morning. The rest of the day is totally taken up and saturated with childcare and housekeeping. In the evenings, I read or sometimes watch an episode of something on Netflix. I linger with a second cup of coffee on Saturdays, catching up on the news or feedly if I can carve out the time.

If you're wondering how I balance my routine or "do it all," well, this is me on a very good and very productive day.  The time frame is somewhat flexible. I come back to my list throughout the morning while changing diapers and starting Barney. If I have time to blaze through the first several things, then I have time to read. It varies.  If I have a burst of insight or a flash idea during the day, I can always add a little time to write during nap time. But any serious writing time is saved for morning, and I like it that way.

*Some of my favorite blog/bloggers are :
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Modern Mrs. Darcy
Catholic All Year

Does this give you any ideas? What is YOUR routine? Do you work best at night, or in the morning? Or another time of day, such as rest or nap time? Let me know in the comments.

Adding my link to Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum today!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

~Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real~ Books and Bookshelves


Ah, empty bookshelves. A pretty sight.

I finally rearranged the nursery. I truly wanted to hide the couple of spots on the wall, without having to repaint the entire room, so I moved the bookshelf from the girls' room into the nursery. In front of the spots. 
Our resident spitfire, Madeleine Esther.


I divided the book up by categories, according to age and reading level. 
Pictured above are babies and toddlers...

Pre-K and First Grader....

Holidays, and Religious.

She helped me pick flowers and put them into arrangements!

I asked her if she could take a picture, and voila! Photo by Frances!


This is what the girls' bedroom looked like when their bookshelf went missing...


I didn't exactly fit all of the books back on the bookshelf...heh. The nursery looks better, though. And the girls' room as of right now has stacks of books everywhere. That's the way I like it anyway. I mean, not ideal, but books everywhere? There are worse problems. They may soon be finding their home in a closet or basket nearby.
the finished results! :)

~real/random... some thoughts on homeschool~

I thought about sharing this on my About page, but I decided that it probably wasn’t the most significant thing in the world, but it is one thing you may not know about me. I started blogging under the Blog Title “Love Baby Beck” eight years ago.  It was my sounding board for all of my ideas, and thoughts (be they spiritual or just deep), as well as a Mom blog about Molly.  I then switched the blog into a Homeschooling Blog, when Molly was in Pre-K, called “Songbirds in Summerschool.” If you’ve been around the blogosphere for a very long time, you might remember that one.  I used to do the Simple Homeschool (long time fan of Simple Mom/Art of Simple right here!) and other Homeschooling Link-ups, such as 1+1+1=1, and other stuff like that. One thing I will say is… well, two things. First of all, don’t change your blog title. I mean, do, if you really intend to change your blogging identity, which I did. Or do, if your blog title is bad and you need or want to. But don’t if you are a small blogger and want to keep your traffic and allegiances and all of that. I mean, some people can get away with it, but I regret it in some ways. My friends IRL probably are like “Why does she keep changing her blog title? Is she having an identity crisis?” LOL and hahaha. I am happy with my blog title now, though. I will say that.

Second, I was (sort-of?) a homeschooling Mom for a couple of years. (I know, right? Don’t get any ideas).  I was sorta into it, actually. I bought a bunch of curriculum, such as Song School Latin, books like Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and Bible Verse Memory CD’s, and I borrowed curriculum such as "Before Five in a Row," as well. We spent a lot of time checking out educational books and DVD’s from the library, (chock it up to the amazing and huge library in Hyattsville, Maryland) and doing projects and nature study, too. I read a ton, and I talked to a lot of people about Charlotte Mason and the Design-Your-Own-Classical-Curriculum books by Laura Berquist. I wrote about all of it on my second, short-lived blog. It fizzled, although it was a lot of fun, and I learned and grew from the short, but passionate experience of homeschooling.

Honestly, the reason I did homeschooling was that we were living far from home, so it gave us lots to keep busy with, and I thought Molly would be an early reader, because she was fascinated by books at a very young age. Those two things were my motivation for starting.* But she wasn’t an early reader (turns out she is a total math whiz, though), and I turned the pressure - on myself and on her- way down, realizing the homeschooling Mom hat eventually wasn’t fitting me right anymore. And guess what? She did fine, anyway. For all of the Homeschooling Moms out there, I really, really respect and dig you.  And I do sort-of miss those days of homeschooling, I have to be honest…and I identify with that mindset, totally. But I’m also very thankful for Molly’s Catholic school, too. It's great! So, now you know a bit more about my blogging/personal history if you’re new to this space. Also, if you’re wondering, “Hey, where’d her archives go?” now you know. :0)  A lot of the material isn’t/wasn’t “me” anymore, and I felt like it was just time to move on.

My last real/random? (Maybe this was the other reason I stopped homeschooling... ) Why do I always misplace Library books? Blergh! I have almost lost my steam for even going to the Library because of my lack of skillz with keeping library books straight!

*Also, I spent a couple of years teaching in two amazing Homeschool Co-ops-turned-Classical-schools in Maryland my first three years out of college. I taught Middle School English, High School Rhetoric and Debate, Dance, and Elementary Science to some awesome students that I still miss. So. Anyhow. Fun facts about me, 101. Ha, ha.

Linking to Like Mother, Like Daughter

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekly Minutiae~ vol. 19 Our Week + All the Thoughts... And Some Ideas and Changes!

So here we are with volume 19!  Before I delve into this week's post, I have a few thoughts to share with you today.  I hate changing up my style, but I've always got fresh ideas, and with those, come ch-ch-ch-changes. I'll be changing up the schedule, and I'm excited about what these changes will mean for my blog.

In the future, I plan to spend more time crafting posts- that doesn't mean I'll be posting much less- and will probably be a bit longer than they were before.  The second change for this space, is that I am going to branch out into a little bit more unknown territory for me.  I think that will include more in-depth posts, with more research, book write-ups and reviews, and perhaps posts wading into territory I normally do not affiliate myself with. Besides the occasional spiritual and/or theological- more political-type posts. So basically, more Catholic stuff, as usual, with the occasional political post sprinkled in the mix.

I really want to keep it familiar around here. That's just me being true to myself. It wouldn't be true to say that I'm a political junkie, but I respect those of you who may be. However, there is nothing wrong with adding more professionalism, and there is nothing wrong with varying the trajectory of my content a bit... and I'm really ready for this change. At the end of this post, I will explain even more about the changes here. Also, keep reading to find out a little bit more about the book that I'm writing.

Now, onto our last Weekly Minutiae / 19th Recap-type post.
This past week, we took Molly to the symphony. We heard two symphonies and one Concerto, written by Mozart, and featuring a wonderful Flute Solo.  The next morning, Stephen played the Concerto while we were eating breakfast, and Molly said, "Is this what we listened to yesterday? Mozart?" Parenting WIN.

Stephen has created a Spotify playlist for all three of our girls. They listen to their "Daddy Playlists" while taking baths and getting ready for bed each night. Songs include: "What Does the Fox Say?" and songs from The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, and Vampire Weekend. The girls belt out the songs. It is such a fun way to wrap up the day... and it is so fun to see them dancing and singing along.

A bit randomly, this week, I received an offer to make money on my blog. This is not the first time I've been asked to write sponsored posts or put ads on my site. After some serious contemplation this time, I decided to say no. I have a disclosure page that describes my intentions for this space and my stance in regard to making money blogging. Read it here.

It was really (really) rainy this week, so we had some home-bound days, which is ok. On Monday I read the paper and had a little freak out session about Hillary. I usually read the paper, but this time I bought a real one. On Tuesday, I got my haircut (3 inches!) and we had a fabulous babysitter while my Mom was out of town, visiting my sister + family as they moved into their new home in Seattle! On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, it rained. I'm not even going to lie- we watched a lot of Barney, and did a lot of crafts. And ate a lot of bunny shaped marshmallows. Because, Easter. And because, Lent = done.

It rained all morning on Monday, but we still were able to head to the playground in the afternoon.
On Thursday, I had an ultrasound which confirmed that my health problems during this pregnancy have resolved! Huge! What an answer to prayer. I am so thankful.  Also, it is definitely a girl. Most definitely, a girl. #4girls1boy #outnumbered We are thrilled!

On Friday, we went to the Dollar Store. Each child got one thing. It was fun... and always a looked-forward to activity for the kiddos! $3 for little toys to play with all day? Yes, please. Parenting win, again. Paddle ball for Frances, Magic wand for Madeleine, and a toy truck for Anders. They were pleased as punch. 

So what you didn’t see this past week was an AMAZING conversation that happened on a private FB page that I’m a part of in my local parish community. It was in response to my post about being a brat… I mean, you know.... for those of you out there who might have the occasional over-indulged child. ahem.;)   Some people weighed in with some really great insight, as well as some … disagreement about the issue- the healthy kind, of course- which has inspired me to write a sequel post addressing some of the issues that came up, with regard to child behavior. So stay tuned in the coming weeks for that! Thank you to those lovely ladies for your comments on that thread! It really was awesome to hear your thoughts and interact about those issues.

~funny things they say~

Frances (while playing with Madeleine): Darling, we’re not playing right now, we’re eating right now.

Molly (upon hearing the sibling in my womb is definitely a girl): YAY!!!!!!!!! I'm so sorry, Anders.

Anders is starting to use a whole lot of words: Be on the lookout for funny things he says very soon! He is such a talker!

~book update~

This week I've been plowing through working on reading Einstein by Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs.  It is really good! I got in trouble for posting a tweet about how Ripley's Believe It or Not lied and said he failed math. He never failed math. But don't tweet it, or you will soon be deleting your tweet... let's just say Ripley's wasn't a fan of that truth/reality. :0(

The Book I'm Writing
This is a different sort of book update! Since this is the last Weekly Minutiae post, I thought it would be a good time to tell you the working title of the book I’m currently writing.  It is called The Lost Sun: Looking for Light in the Midst of Depression. The title comes from a short story by one of my very favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor. No cover yet, as the e-book itself is still in process. And thank you to all of my sweet friends - Shannon, Rachel, and my sister Kira- for reading it and helping me out as I write, as well. And thank you to my awesome editors! Michele being one!

Look for it in the upcoming months. That’s about as specific as I can be at this point, unfortunately!

And thanks again for following along with my little blog, and for all those who have joined Weekly Minutiae in the past- I thank you again- you are the best fans, ever!

~final thoughts~

So, what specifically will I be changing about this space {Picture a Skyline}? The biggest change is that I'm going to start posting a Monthly Recap at the end of every month, rather than a Weekly Minutiae post each week. I still want to do the cute-pictures-of-my-kids, and the funny-things-they-say, and the book updates. I just think that can happen less often.

The question remains: to keep it a link-up?  I joined In-Linkz, as a 6-month membership, so this deal expires in May- very soon- anyway. I don't think I'm going to renew the membership, as it doesn't seem to bring many extras hits to my blog, or be improving my readership much. It has been a fun almost 6 months though! A shout out to Laura and Amanda for joining the link-up regularly or somewhat regularly! I thank you, my sweet friends! Next time it will be Monthly Recap, vol. 20, even though it is not just WM post, I'll keep using vol #'s, just in keeping with the Recap style. See my updated About Page.

I did a lot of writing the last two weeks. To read what I wrote:
Book Update~ Making Up My Mind < are you having trouble deciding what to read this summer?
Bored of Facebook? 7 Reasons I Love Twitter
Why I Don't Like the Word Brat, But I'll Still Tell You To Read a Book That Uses It

By the way, this week I bought Kelly of This Ain't The Lyceum's Planner, and I highly recommend it! Her writing really cracks me up, and I can't wait to print it and actually use the planner portion of it! :-)

Whew! That was a lot. If you made it through this post, I applaud you. :-)

Last time for a chance at the link up! Here we go...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Book Update 2015~ Making Up My Mind

Popping in here for a little "Saturday Culture." In case you missed it, I wrote up my Books I Hope to Read in 2015 back on January 8. I want to update that post, since my reading and reading plan has changed just a tiny bit, based on my "Books I Want to Read" board on Pinterest.

But-but-but I can't decide! Jenna had some good ideas!

Mainly, I am trying incorporate the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge into my list, especially in light of "Summer Reading" ideas, and the books I hope to read for that. I've been working on my list, which is as follows: (photos indicate my intended decision, but not my final decision.)

A book you've been meaning to read:
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
runner up: The Nanny Diaries by Sarah McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

A book published this year:
Savor by Shauna Niequist
runner up: something by Lauren Winner

A book in a genre you don't typically read:
Hiroshima by John Hersey

A book from your childhood:
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
runner up: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle or something by Madeleine L'Engle

A book your Mom loves:
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd{check! read it this year}

A book that was originally written in a different language:
Diary of a Country Priest by George Bernanos
runner up: something by Tolstoy

A book "everyone" has read but you:
Dakota by Kathleen Norris
runner up: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, or....
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini or
The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris

A book you chose because of the cover:
Beautiful Ruins {check!}

A book by a favorite author:
Stitches by Ann Lamott {check!}
Me by Brenda Euland
or something by Annie Dillard

A book recommended by someone with great taste:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley or
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

A book you should have read in high school:
Paradise Lost by John Milton
runner up: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

A book that's currently on the bestseller list:

Help!  Provided I can find the majority of these at library, which ones should I read? Are any of these dark that you know of? I would rather avoid them if so. Let me know in the comments.