Every time I do a monthly recap, I always feel a little sad that another month has come to a close. It seems that time flies and babies grow oh so fast. This is going to be long, friends! It will be like jogging downhill and coming to those huge orange and white cones and veering either into the street or tiptoeing on the corners of asphalt that backs up to a huge hole in the sidewalk. You're fearing for your life. Actually... it will be nothing like that. But it will be long. So. You've had fair warning.;)
Links and Reading:
I'm a long-time fan of Jen Mackintosh, author of the blog Wildflowers and Marbles. A fellow Catholic recommended her right after my conversion, and I have been following her blog ever since. She is a faithful follower of the liturgical year, and was interviewed along with for Mystie Winckler's website along with a new-to-me but interesting blogger, Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight. Take some time and listen to the conversation about planning. They have so much spot-on wisdom to share with us/me/you!!! (Especially if you are homeschooling, even if it takes a few goes, it is really, really worth listening to all the way through!;)
Announcing my new podcast What Should I Read Next @ Modern Mrs. Darcy
Schwat?! I'm so excited! And let's be honest, I've already listened to all of her episodes! #nopressureanne < that's a thing, right?!
New to me blog but really interesting for sure~ Michelle DeRusha and especially this post, Listening to the Woods on a Snowy Afternoon. I like her perspective ~ what is God saying to me today? Sometimes, it isn't anything necessarily. But a good posture, nonetheless.
A Mother's Panic Attack @ Fountains of Home
Really enjoyed this post from Christy. Lots of spot-on wisdom, again!
As for reading, I'm sad to say Let's Pretend This Never Happened hit the recycle bin, and I was a little less than halfway through reading it. The language was a bit much for me. Some of the sordid music I listened to in college came back as I was reading, and it hurts my ears now, to be honest. I don't really like my children having trashy influences with tons of dirty words. I'm sad to say even some of my old favorites such as Ben Folds, and some R&B just rub me the wrong way, and letting my kids hear those things really does bother me. (I have a CD with some of the stuff I listened to in college, and I am sorry, there is NO WAY my kids are listening to "Perfect Gentleman" by Wyclef Jean, because I will NOT be the one to explain what "I'm in love with a ho" means, to them).
I finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and because it is so sensitively written, I can say I completely loved it. If you haven't read it, give yourself a good chunk of time (maybe a long road trip?), and be patient. The whole thing is so sweet and beautiful, and really readable. It reminded me a little bit of Angela's Ashes (one of my all-time favorite books) and sort of an American Tolstoy, but Catholic. So much beauty.
Of Kindle Deals, I downloaded The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, and Make it Happen by Lara Casey. Two blogger-turned authors! Really enjoyed The Fringe Hours and recommend it to you. It will be a quick read and worth it.
A few notes about Make it Happen. While I recognize the fine line between "laying into someone" and just giving a few honest critique (read: honest skepticism), I really hated this memoir/self-help style book. I'm using that word in conjunction with the "three books you loved, one book you hated" trope. I honestly, honestly felt that this book laid out exactly what bothers me about present-day American Protestantism. In it, Lara Casey lays out her theories and philosophies for "making it happen." Truly, it was a journey. She lays out, memoir style, her experience of having a picture-perfect wedding, then seeing it destroyed by divorce, then running off to Vegas within the year to marry her new beau. She confesses to having marital struggles, mainly because her husband isn't a Christian (he's a Jew), but she also confesses to her desires for the fancy car and the pretty house. She then starts "Southern Weddings," and the book is full to the brim of "Christian advice" about how to take your goals by the horns while also "following Jesus." You know the cliche: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart..." and then she unpacks it for a few paragraphs and explains how it fits in with her philosophy of life. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed..." and then she unpacks it for a few paragraphs, again, tying it into her philosophy.
Friends, greed and Christianity too often go hand in hand in our materialistic culture, and unfortunately, I felt that "vibe" in her book. Her book has received rave reviews, and it is a quick read with some good ideas. She was a powerful NYC personal trainer, so she does indeed have the credentials for her topic. However, you can't just slap on a Bible verse and continue in a philosophy promoting sinful selfishness. "Southern Weddings"- that idol might just take the cake and Lord knows I had one and I'm guilty of the slam-bang picture perfect wedding philosophy. The culture at large is suffering from the Christian American dream. Or is it the American Christian dream? I wonder what our non-American friends think of books like this? I'm looking at you, Christy.
Note: I enjoy Lara Casey's website and I think her #socialmediafreeweekends idea is genius. I also recognize that her writing and many of her ideas are fabulous.
Funny Things They Say:
Madeleine: When the decorations go up (for Molly's birthday party), the house will be complicated and beautiful.
Molly: What are you doing?
Stephen: Reading a magazine. (Holds up First Things)
Molly: That's not a magazine. (Holds up American Girl catalogue) THIS is a magazine.
Madeleine: (Talking about some kiddos at Library and at Church) She talks like a toddler. (Almost spewed my coffee at that).
Me: So, Madeleine.... you're not a toddler?
Madeleine: Molly's a kid, Frances is a kid, Anders is a toddler, and Annabel is a baby.
Me: So what does that make you?
Madeleine: I'm a wittle kid.
Anders: (ruminating on his visit to Grandma's house) I wike Grandma's house. I play with her tows (toys)? Too cool... all kinds of fings!
Anders: (to me) You look like Grandma (my Mom).
Stephen: (Smelling cats) I'm gonna light a ... bonfire.
Anders: Mommy...I have a jolly, happy soul... like Frosty the Newman!
Madeleine: (Looking at Annabel's paci) This paci has some really nice details.
Me: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.... is really good, and really long.
Stephen: Like watching a tree grow?
Me: Baha. yes!!!
(But really, seriously, guys- read it, because it's gorgeous).
Lately on the blog...
Did you see my New Years' Resolution post and my new Pinterest board New Year/New Me/You?
For some last-minute January inspiration, check it out!
I also waxed political for the second time ever.
Mr. Obama's Shining Moment
Church Calendar~ Did you know that Lent begins on February 10th? It's really coming up. What are you going to give up this year? So far, for my 'fast,' I am thinking I'll give up all dairy, as well as doing the #socialmediafreeweekend idea (and yes I see the oxymoron in that!).
just funny... actually, yeah. I laughed until I cried. I've tried to make jokes about Michael Buble, but I think this joke just takes the cake.
I've really been wanting to get into a good audiobook, but for now I'm settling for Podcasts galore. I'm listening to a whole bunch, so don't recommend any new ones! Actually, do! (audiobooks and/or podcasts that you love?) Tsh Oxenreider talked about how to "manage the internet" recently on her podcast "The Simple Show."
Speaking of podcasts, I'm loving the app PodCruncher. is limited in how many podcasts it downloads at once. Lots of other reasons to love it, but if you are interested, check out the reviews in the App Store.
I also need music to listen to by the by, so comment away! I finally found a good one in the "Veronica Mars" soundtrack. I'm a long time fan of OTR and the Once soundtrack. Peter and the Wolf. Anything with harmonica.... Go!
And JUST in case you've never heard my favorite song...
words and music: Bergquist
recording: Good Dog Bad Dog
I thought I'd go up Poughkeepsie,
look out o'er the Hudson,
and I'd throw my body down on the river.
And I'd know no more sorrow,
I'd fly like the sparrow
and I'd ride on the backs of the angels tonight...
Adding my link to This Ain't the Lyceum