Friday, February 26, 2016

Monthly Recap vol. 30 with Funny Things They Say and Links ~ February 2016

I hope you have all had a happy, satisfying February and a fruitful Lent thus far!  I have to be honest and say Lent has been hard for me this year.  My parents shared with me what they gave up, and it was refreshing to hear that despite struggles, they were both sticking with it.  I've tried giving up all dairy, but so far I have been failing miserably. However, sugar and caffeine are tasting horrible to me right now, and I'm staying as far away from Social Media as I can on the weekends, so it's plenty penitential around here. #socialmediafreeweekends is a thing, though. haha.;)

See that green-tinted screened in back porch? I would actually rather slap on some grey paint and close it in and make it into a homeschool room for homeschool pre-school... but alas, that probably isn't going to happen any time soon.;) We had a homeschool room in our house in Hyattsville when we lived inDC.

We got a fire pit (not pictured). It adds to the clutter and the culture of our backyard. So... mostly good stuff. ;) You know, I've been thinking that it seems that many of the homes in our neighborhood have these perfect, pristine porches, but from my experience of several years of living near them, they go untouched and unused. Sure our backyard is cluttered, but believe me, it is heavily used and busily enjoyed! 

Anyway, onto the monthly recap.


The Cast of "Fuller House" on Jimmy Fallon (having a heart-to-heart with "Donald Trump")

L.O.L. is all I have to say about this.

Tips for Reading More This Year @ Carrots for Michaelmas

I'm assuming you've subscribed to this blog by now, and you've already done yourself the favor of reading this post, but if not, now is the time!

Have you seen this blog? I found it by googling "essential oil recipes" and for good reason, her's was one of the top hits for this search. She seems so talented, and her blog is no exception! It is a new one to me, but it is certainly on my radar now. Also, this instagram account.

No, Pope Francis Doesn't Believe Contraception Will Save Us @ Mama Needs Coffee

So. good!

Funny Things They Say:

"Mommy, these jeans are making me feel like... my bottom has jeans on it."-Madeleine

Madeleine: What's that movie called.... where the girls sing Sisters? And then the boys sing Sisters and the boys say 'He wore the dress and I stayed home'?
Me: (stifling my giggle) White Christmas?
Madeleine: Yeah.  Oh. {Singing} 'He wore the dress and I stayed home.' What's it called again Mommy? (Looking at me very seriously).... Weird Christmas?


Reading this in the carline on my kindle for iPhone and it is great.

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
I think this might be the best book I've read in years. No lie. I loved it and savored the beautiful sentences on every page. As far as memoirs go, I'll be recommending this one for a while.
Delicious by Ruth Reichl
This was a really fun read with delightful prose. Her descriptions of food make even the boring parts of this novel accessible.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I haven't fallen hard for this Hemingway-esque book about WWII, like most of the world; upon reading, I actually found it wasn't quite what I expected. Because it is dry and full of detail, I'm thinking this might be right up my husband's alley. However, it has just enough beautiful sentences and whimsy to keep me reading and jotting down notes along the way. I love the short chapters, and I know it is good for me to be reading. And really, what a smart and unique way to write a book.
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle
This is an adult spy novel by one of my favorite authors,written in 1965.  I devoured it and by that I mean, read it. It is so good! I say that, but I am not quite finished... that's the few days left in Feb. are for. ;)
Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn
This somewhat esoteric book was right up my alley. I can think of several people to recommend it to. I'm honestly very thankful they took the time to write this memoir of their conversion to the Catholic faith. He mentions that some of his students referred to him as "Luther in reverse," and boy, I think that might be true! ;) It reminded me, at times, of our own conversion to the Catholic faith. Scott Hahn is a special person, to be sure! (I am shocked at what a worldwide impact his "Tape" of their/his conversion has had!) Definitely read this, or at least put it on your to-read shelf.
The girls are really getting good at reading. Molly is reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (and about 3-4 other books), but she is really busy this semester with Ballet, Piano, and Art Lessons. They have reading time so she keeps a couple of chapter books that she is working on at school and she has a few at home. My dream came true this week, and Frances read a whole Dr. Seuss book to me (One Fish Two Fish).

Watching and Listening to :

 Brandi Carlile
Audiobooks: Frog and Toad, Amelia Bedelia, The Berenstain Bears (available on amazon and the books have been in rotation at Barnes and Noble recently. ;)
The Read Good Books Podcast with Sarah Mackenzie
Did you know that many World-Famous Broadway plays are on Youtube, in their entirety? I'm interested in Wicked, Rent, and Hairspray. There are too many to pick from! ;)

recipe here~ and I know, it's not paleo, hildegard, or lenten! ;)


About this little story. Early in Feb, I went into the fabric store to buy felt to make my reusable Valentine's.  A woman who looked to be in her early eighties, wearing a sweatshirt that said "Genuine Antique" and white hair, came up to me and started talking to baby Annabel (which happens a  lot).  She starts in: "Oh she is so cute." And then she starts judging me right and left: "Make sure you get plenty to eat. Is your Mommy keeping you warm enough? Look at her- she likes it when I talk to her!" Inside, I was thinking, LADY. Please just be nice. For the love. I have five kids and I'm no idiot. (And I wanted to tell her to look in a mirror; she really was rather unattractive, as if her "beauty is as beauty does" was applying in the reverse). 

And then, you know, I started thinking. I realized that yes, this lady is older than me. She is my elder. If she wants to give me pointers or tips, I should let her. Perhaps she is insecure herself. Perhaps the Lord made us cross paths for a reason. "Honor your father and mother... so that it may go well with you and you can live long in the land your mother and father have given you."  That is so hard for me to remember. When I had my first, I was constantly blowing people off, assuming them rude and judgmental. Now I have a different perspective. And wouldn't you know, as I was leaving, the lady told me, "I have 10 grandkids!" Well, there you go. You just never know. (She could have been a little nicer, though).

more books!
I've knocked off four of the books on my list, that I mentioned in this post: Books I'm Excited About Reading in the New Year! ;) So judging from that post, I think Bel Canto should go in my queue soon. ;)
Also if you are local, you've got to try Sitar for Indian food. It's my fave right now for take-out.;)

adding my link to 7QT at This Ain't the Lyceum

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesdays in Lent: ~ Feeding Littles: 6 Tips For Going Homemade (#RevisitRH)

Since having my first baby, Molly, eight years ago, I have learned so much about making my own baby food. I wish I knew then what I know now about how much money---and sanity---I would have saved with a little bit of know-how in regards to homemade baby food. Here are six tips when you need a little nudge to go homemade for baby food!

1. Save Money

With our first child, we bought baby food in bulk at Sam’s Club.  We felt good knowing that we were (theoretically) saving money by buying in bulk.  The problem? She got tired of the variety pack of Gerber foods, and I had a hard time knowing how and when to substitute the spendier store-bought brands. On several occasions I found myself splurging on expensive brands of fancy baby food, to make up for the lack of variety in her diet.

A very wise friend of ours saw a baby food cookbook and freezer cups for single-serving baby food on my Amazon wishlist, and put those in the mail to me with a cute bib. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have used that cookbook and those little silicone cups.  That gift still stands out in my mind as the best “new baby” present we have ever, ever gotten!

For example, this baby food storage tray is a one-time payment of $9.99.  For the price of two sweet potatoes and the pretty minimal time to steam and puree them, you’ll fill the entire tray. To buy baby food at the store, each container costs between $1-$1.50 each.  You will definitely save money if you make it yourself!

2. Seek Out Variety and Embrace Creativity

One of the best ways to save money when you are talking about baby food is to make some, and perhaps buy some of baby’s favorites that you might have trouble making yourself.   When Molly was a baby, I remember freezing cups (or bags) of soft foods, such as steamed spinach pureed in a food processor, or cooked fruit such as apples, pears, or peaches.  That way, when the applesauce is getting old (literally as well as figuratively), you have more options for him or her.

As everyone knows, bananas and applesauce are perennial kid faves. But even a die-hard fan can get tired of the same old thing, and babies are no exception.  But there’s no need to bust your budget on Cherry Berry Beet Ginger for something like $4 a pop, when there are so many other options for providing homemade variety! Provide a range of options, such as some tender canned peaches or pears cut into tiny pieces, or a diverse array of well-steamed vegetables ground up in a blender. When they are a bit older, try soft banana bread or add pureed butternut squash to some mac and cheese or muffin batter.

There’s no need to go overboard, but remember, this type of variety can do wonders for their appetite!  When you start to suspect that another round of plain Gerber oatmeal just isn’t really going to cut it, try something new. I’ve made some very soft boiled chicken and ground it up into oatmeal or applesauce many times to make sure my babies were getting enough protein.

To me, variety is a more sustainable habit, and it will teach your kids to be less picky. Creativity in the kitchen is one of the most fun things about having a new baby around. Don’t miss out on it because you’re tied up with worry about what they’re eating.

3. Anticipate Transitions

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that offering her the little Gerber cups was going out of style, in more ways than one, before we were even close to using them all up.  Now that I’m expecting my fifth, I can already anticipate how quickly the baby food stages go by. More often than not, it feels like by the time you start rice cereal at 5 months, before you know it the time has flown, and they are ready for veggies.  A week or maybe a month goes by, and they’re so over the jar of green beans!  Maybe a little bit of fruit, or mixed berry baby food, mixed into baby oatmeal will do the trick.

And then, before you know it, you’re giving them bites of soft table food: real peas, steamed broccoli pieces, and applesauce muffins! By 9 or 10 months old, your child might be completely ready for most table foods (and have the teeth to prove it!)

Remember: while a five month old baby may be able to gnaw on a Cheerio until it is soft, any kind of frozen veggies (like the mixed veggies that come in a bag from Walmart) might not be soft enough for them to eat until they have their molars - around 9 months to a year, usually.

4. Recognize your finiteness and your limitations

When we lived in D.C., I had a friend who ordered freeze-dried liver and spinach flakes from a catalogue for her toddler. She never offered her anything that didn’t come from a pricey health food store or catalogue. Her snacks were rice crackers out of a $4.99 bag.  It made my head spin: 45% of the budget--or more--devoted solely to baby food was not going to work for our family! I could not put that kind of pressure on myself financially and emotionally, even if I wanted to. And imagine that poor child and the problems with picky eating they might develop with a taste only for organics or catalogue food!  If you can’t afford it, it’s not going to be sustainable in the long run.

If you’re in a rut, those recipe magazines might be good for picky eaters just for the sake of variety, if not also for getting proper nutrition. However, if you are on a tight income, shop smart, know your options, and don’t feel tied down to that diet as a matter of taste (of course, food allergies are different from shopping preferences). A little of the fancy stuff goes a long way! Don’t obsess about your kids’ diet, or it will simply become a source of guilt for you and them!

5. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

And this should go without saying, right?! I remember worrying so much when I was transitioning my first from breastfeeding to solids, not only about my baby’s needs, but also--when I was so starving from nursing--that I would contemplate leaving important things that I needed for outings behind. I knew that the prospect of going back up the stairs of our apartment would burn calories, and leave me utterly exhausted, thus making me even more hungry and tired! You do not know hungry until you’ve nursed a baby!

Often, I didn’t have the energy that I needed, so I was, in turn, not able to give her my best self, either.  I would head out of the house dehydrated and without my water bottle, and end up spending all morning feeling terribly, because I didn’t want to have to stop somewhere to buy myself a snack or a bottle of water.  I was shooting myself in the foot on multiple levels.  Stop and eat a carrot or a granola bar, and drink that extra cup of water- not a sugary vanilla latte.

Take care of yourself, Mama. Transitioning into parenthood can be hard, so make sure you are doing your best to give your body the food and rest that it needs and that you deserve. Then and only then will you be able to give your child the food and rest that he or she needs. Do your best, and know your options, so that you can do the job of motherhood really, really well. And enjoy the process of homemade baby food without the pressure or the guilt.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When Times are Hard, Have Faith (What's Your Dream?)

What must Mary have thought when an angel appeared to her in a dream, and told her she would bear  the baby Jesus?

How many of her friends and family must have doubted, or struggled to believe? How many times did she doubt or struggle to believe, knowing that her life and her son's life would change history?

When we see a saint become a saint, it rings Heaven's bells, and proclaims that there is a truth higher than the very scientific, black and white world we live in.

But when history causes a cataclysmic transformation, we inherit a new world.

Do you think Jesus will return soon? A few of the people I respect most believe that he is coming soon. There is a popular song on the  Christian radio station, and the refrain repeats: "Jesus is coming soon." A recent choir performance at a local church brought to music these words from Isaiah 11:6: "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them." The evening was titled "The Dream Isaiah Saw,"  with a beautiful illustration on the cover of the bulletin.

We should celebrate, and we should believe, and as always, we should keep our faith and hope, as always, tempered with the words of Scripture.

Have faith! Believe that the Son of Man and the Son of God is coming to redeem this world from sin. We don't understand everything, but we can trust in the Holy of Holies, even when it's hard to trust and difficult to believe! It is then, my friends, that we should trust even more, even harder.
Do you see that Door of Mercy opening? :-D~

Remember that movie that came out a few years back Heaven is For Real? If you haven't seen it, go see it! Or watch a trailer:


Based on many of the concepts in that movie, today I want to ask you a question.What's your dream? If I were a child, I would say The Polar Express coming true! Wow! Can you imagine boarding a train to the North Pole, and upon arriving, meeting St. Nicholas in his toy workshop? What faith, to imagine such a thing!

Because I'm an adult, I can say I have so many dreams! Perhaps going back in time, and meeting the group of writers known as "The Inklings," and sitting down to a stein or cup of tea and a good conversation at The Eagle and Child pub in Great Britain.

The question I want you to answer (on your blog) is: What is your dream? It could be anything-- soar through outer space. Live in my favorite movie. Move to Mars. Meet Thomas Jefferson. Leave a comment, or add a link to your own blogpost or instagram. Start a new blog if you have to. It's easy! Join the conversation on Facebook!

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—

What is it?   I really and truly want to know! I want to see your dream come alive! It could be anything great; the only rule is: just be honest!

Linking up with Tuesday Talk

Monday, February 22, 2016

10 Things Happy People Wish You Knew

I have been listening to a podcast on and off for about a year.  In it, there is one host and three co-hosts. Of the co-hosts, I have noticed that there is one who is particularly happy. She is always willing to say, “Yes, absolutely, I love that idea!!!” She is positive and she brings something- a spunky sense of humor, perhaps?- to the podcast that, frankly, the other co-hosts do not.  The difference between her and the other co-hosts is simple. She is happy.  She also happens to have an incredibly blessed life, and she isn’t constantly on the defensive like many unhappy people I have known or heard on TV or other podcasts.

I try to be a happy person... *whatever that means.* If I could write a post dedicated to the way she inspires me (and other people), here is what I would say:

10 things happy people wish you knew

1. Don’t make excuses for your mistakes. Own them.  When you make a mistake, you can stew and brew, or you can shake it off, with full knowledge that - ha! - everyone rolls a bad stone. Everyone has been where you are, and everyone will, at some point in the future, be where you are. Just buck up, say you’re sorry, and move on!

2. If someone confronts you, take it into account. Don’t lie to yourself or others. No one is perfect. The sooner you realize that, the happier you will be.  Some people will argue themselves out of their mistakes, until they’re blue in the face. The problem with stonewalling when you’re in trouble?  No light can penetrate and your left in your small, dark little corner all alone.

3. Be present. Take a look around. Take time to be thankful and deeply grateful.  If you're cooking dinner and the house is a wreck, be thankful you made it home from carpool in one piece, and plan a time, later, to clean up, so that you don’t completely feel out of control.

4. Do hard things.  Read long books. Take up a sewing project once in a while. Go on a trip. Go to a new store.  Stretch yourself.  Doing these hard things will make you humble, and they will help you to grow. Don’t stay in a stagnating pool of envy; do hard things, instead.

5. Make sacrifices.  We all know those times: the baby is crying and the toddler falls on the floor screaming. Be the bigger man, and make sacrifices you know the people around you don’t really want to make. You will be the happier for it- trust me!

6. Don’t complain. Find yourself in the midst of a hard day?  Complaining is a form of corruption. So is blowing your problems out of proportion. Remember that their are starving people in the world. Don’t you dare complain!

7. Stop wishing the moment away.  Wistful for better times of the past? Hoping for a vacation in the future? Take a deep breath, go outside and breathe in this beautiful day, and resolve to make THIS day the best day yet, despite your trials.

8. A positive mindset breeds kindness.  If you can get into a habit of turning your complaints into the rejoicing of a thankful heart, you will find yourself beginning to be kind to the people around you.

9. Selfishness breeds contempt.  Ever consider that the log in your own eye is making you unworthy of loving others with a sincere heart? Get that log out- stop the bad habit of shopping online, for example (give it up for Lent, maybe?)- and you will find much more love in your heart for others.

10. Don’t be defensive; be nice. This goes with the above. All in all, remember that when you’re in relationship, your warts and smells and hairs and burps come out.  Instead of becoming all prideful and prude, just laugh, smile, and extend your hand of hospitality to those whose warts you regularly see and forgive, as well. Love in spite of the warts, and be humble about your own.

Do we find blessing for ourselves, or does blessing find those, who are worthy of it?

I’m not sure, but I think it must be a little bit of both. Happy people bring their happiness to others. In turn, they are blessed with a happy life themselves.  And I think they would want you to know some of those secrets, too. ;)
adding my link to the ACWB and #CWBS

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Living a Creative Life {PHFR}

My husband was out of town last week. I had a lot of grand-parental help, but I was also parenting solo much of the time. Of course, that stressful week coincided with Valentine's Day, and let's be honest~ all of the decor and to-do for V-day these days is stressful for us Moms! What do they need to wear? What needs to be dry-cleaned?  I tried to harness what sanity I had left and we did a few crafts, made a Valentine playlist on Spotify, and put together some Frozen Valentines for their Storytime group, whilst munching on M&M's. Meanwhile, I was philosophizing. (Maybe it was all that time I had to think while/since Stephen was in San Francisco all week! :-0 ) I started wondering: What does it mean to live a creative life?

Recently I was reading the book, The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner (author of The Mom Creative blog~ isn't she so pretty?;)  In it, she explains how she, a young mother of 3 young children, makes time for herself and her interests. I am amazed that she makes times for so many hobbies~ just a few include thing such as baking and cake decorating, scrapbooking, sewing,  and home decorating, despite being a very busy working Mom. She is now taking a blogging break for the first time in 10 years (what?!)!   I was intrigued by her drive, and then after reading her book, I found her idea of making a “Completed Pins” board on Pinterest. And so, since it was an awesome idea (why didn't I think of that?;), I decided to do the same thing.

The concept is exactly as it sounds, and yes, it is so useful! Start a new board for the pins you have actually completed.  I started my own board~ “I Did it! Completed Pins.” This includes everything I've done from an idea on Pinterest... stuff I've cooked, as well as some sewing projects (baby blanket, patchwork pillow cover, DIY crafts, etc), baking recipes I've tried, etc.

All of this got me to thinking about this question in general: how do we live a creative life? What are the ways in which we keep on living creatively?
{happy} drawing by Frances :0)

That’s actually what I love about my Pinterest account.  If you don't have one, I recommend it! By trying it, you can find new ideas, try new ideas, and  remember what you have tried. It's awesome! It's a tool.

We all have different gifts. While shopping isn’t really a spiritual fruit or a gift of the Holy Spirit, the truth is, some people really are more shrewd and discerning when it comes to picking what is needed for purchasing. Some are gifted when it comes to buying frugally. And even there, Pinterest can be a very helpful tool.  It has helped me space out my projects and needs-for-projects accordingly.

Some may say Pinterest is only helpful for aiding in greed (ha ha), but honestly? Living a creative life takes work. Jessica Turner is an inspiring mompreneur and pinner. And Pinterest is definitely one way we can see our progress on that journey.
{funny} these girls!!!!

I was trying to catch Sneaky in this picture, but it just cracks me up how much Annabel is just grinning up a storm anyhow. :-D (This pic is her personality, to a t, btw... happiness and goofiness all rolled into one.) Does this picture crack anyone else up?!
Me: Anders, smile and look at the camera!



Well... I guess that will have to do.

So recently as I was working on my “Completed Pins” pinboard, I realized something. As I said, most of the follow-through on Pinterest for me has to do with cooking.  (That and baking, and sewing). Not surprisingly, at all, because I am constantly making dinner for my five kids and I’m also one to try new ideas in the kitchen. One of my goals for 2016 is to model this concept of “living a creative life” for my kiddos.  So this year, instead of hovering on the “Foodie” board, I’m going to try to complete more of my own creative goals, outside of the kitchen, especially.
This is a German tea set (Stephen has German in his paternal ancestral line), sourced at a local antique store.

I love sewing, card-making, art and drawing, painting, scrapbooking, and making crafts with my kids.  Sometimes, however, I don’t love co-creating as much as I love just doing crafts by myself. (It is more productive that way, truly!)  I have to force myself to do my own crafts, so I was inspired to create the board Mama Crafting on Pinterest, so that when I have those "Fringe Hours," or time to be by myself and do my own thing, I'm ready.

Here’s to living a fully creative life in 2016! (clinks glasses ;) What's on your to-make list?!
adding my link to Like Mother Like Daughter for some {phfr}

to sew your own reusable Valentines:
~using a 5x5 red square, fold red felt over, draw/trace a half heart
~cut the folded felt
~cut a small white felt pocket, by turning a 5x5 white square on a diagonal and cutting straight across
~sew using a yarn needle and white yarn
~bonus: kids can help you sew these (these were made by Molly and Frances)
~tuck a dollar bill, a chocolate, or some other little goodie into the pocket on Valentine's Day morning

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesdays in Lent: ~ How I Source Beautiful Fabric (#RevisitRH)

I get asked about my fabric collection every once in a while. People ask me things like, “How do you find fabric that you like?” and, “Did you spend a lot of time or painful effort coming up with what you got?”

The answer is yes and no.

I am not like some people I know who can endlessly shop online for the perfect gas grill, or blender, or sweater, or those clothes for a new job. Usually I just go in and out of a store; I simply don’t have that kind of time or drive to spend a long time shopping. In fact, sometimes I wish I had a personal shopper, considering what a loathesome grump I become when I go shopping.

So when it comes to fabric, I’ve found that the best places to shop are the places I’m familiar with. I like well-established and long-running local fabric shops (some you’ve never heard of, so I’ll spare listing local shops for now). Those are the types I trust the most and can feel confident about where my money is going.  Often you can find some really lovely fabric, made just for the store.

Depending on what you are making, sometimes you can find something really useful at bargain marts. Apart from the local fabric shops, I recommend searching your local Walmart and Craft store. I have never bought fabric from Hobby Lobby, nor do I prefer Joann’s, although you might find something you like there.

If you are trying to make an heirloom item, such as a quilt or a curtain- and not just your average cloth napkins that may or may not make it to next fall- I recommend doing your research.

Let yourself go down the rabbit trail… even if it leads you to Japan or China, Thailand or Malaysia! There are some very creative people on our own shores as well; brilliant people like Lotta Jansdotter have created their own lines of fabric. And both Lotta Jansdotter and Anna Maria Horner have written sewing books as well.

Three lovely fabric shops, available online, that I recommend are as follows:

Stash Modern Fabric~ (originally found through A Beautiful Mess blog)

Moona Fabrics (Oh my goodness- Swoon!)

Anna Maria Horner Fabrics~ (So many great options~ Love!)

Bonus: *Molly Walter from Molly Makes Do recently cited this as a great place for finding beautiful fabric* and I agree!

Many Etsy shops have Amy Butler fabrics, a favorite of mine available for a very good price. (Siiiigh, so beautiful!)

These lovely fabrics are generally $5/ .5 a yard. The chevron pattern is about half that price! ;)

Finally, I have found crafts and beautiful fabrics at the nationwide chain Tuesday Morning for a very reasonable price.  Check antique stores.  I once found the perfect amount of red patterned fabric for recovering a chair, just folded in a square sitting on the shelf of an antique bookshelf, and if I remember correctly, it was very cheap! If the price is right, it doesn’t matter where you find the fabric, amiright?  Someone you know might be willing to give you something leftover from a project.

Overall, be willing to shop around. Check out the latest trends on lifestyle blogs and home magazines, do some research at your Barnes and Noble or local library to get ideas on what you like.  Search, but don’t buy~ until you’re convinced it’s the right thing.  I especially like this system for waiting and budgeting items we need and want for the girls’ birthdays, and holidays.

Wait until your favorite goes on sale. Then, get down to business. Make a set of curtains.  Try your hand at pillowcases or something simple, like placemats or burp cloths. Even a yard or two of beautiful fabric will go a very long way. Make a patchwork quilt. If you are sincere about sewing, go get ‘em---I believe in you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday: Pray for the Second Coming.

The Bible says that there will be a "new heaven and a new earth" someday.

Not to sound like a Bible-thumping believer or anything, but color me prepared for the day that we inherit the promises of the Scripture.

The day that we are all young again, in our perfected bodies...

The day that all of our fantasies come true, and we meet our ancestors in the flesh...

The day that sin and sadness is no more...

The day that "Death... {thou shalt} die."

Maybe there WILL be an apple tree on every corner  in Brooklyn...

Maybe Charlie's Chocolate Factory will be a real place where we hang out, no charge...

Maybe we will soar in rockets over Niagara, to other planets and fly over the Grand Canyon with angels, and the lion will lay down with the lamb, and Richie Rich will invite us to his mansion the Biltmore for lunch...

Maybe the Good Witch Glenda will invite us to ride a hot air balloon to Oz, and the Pope will fly us over the Vatican in his helicopter, and then give the reins of Rome to someone his sandals he is unworthy to untie...

Perhaps all of these dreams and fantasies will come true, and perhaps it is right around the corner.

We don't know... but color me prepared, 'cause I know one thing is for dang sure. I'm ready. Dream it people. Dream it. Maybe it's closer that you might think.

"you wanted to jump into the frame and walk around in that mysterious terrain. No wonder this was what he had always wanted to do." -ruth reichl in her book delicious

:-) No winks.

What does your dream, your fantasy, your second coming life look like?

adding my link to Tuesday Talk

P.S. I've put my Beautiful Souls e-book on the back burner. I hope to complete it in March! #beautifulsoulsebook

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Beautiful Souls: A Series on Parenting, Pt. 3, cont'd: The Anticipatory Act: Baptism... And the Why of the Other Sacraments

If you've been reading up until now, you read Pt. 1 our Day in the Life, Pt. 2 Why Bother With Holiness Training (And Why Attend Mass) and then Pt. 3 Practical Parenting Tips. Today, I want to talk about the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, which are: BaptismConfirmation or Chrismation, EucharistPenanceAnointing of the SickHoly Orders, and Matrimony. Holy cow! I already feel in over my head.

Now, while "Sacraments" should fill us with joy and should be fascinating and endlessly interesting, the truth is, our eyes glaze over when we hear a bunch of "Seminary words." What do I mean by that? Well, unless we've gone to Seminary, trust me... it's not going to do anything except bore us ... yes, bore us to tears. Which is truly a shame. Right?

And so my question is: it possible to talk about the word "Sacraments" without boring you and making you click away?!;) I know that sounds so terrible to say, but isn't it kind of true?  My purpose in this series is to give you a few good, stimulating thoughts that you can take home and chew on.

How can we really "hear" these things? I'm not Seminary-trained, (and in fact, I'm a "new" Catholic), but like many of you, I'm interested in things like "Baptism" and "First Communion," because, I care. But most simply, I'm interested because I have kids, who I am trying to train in these things! Trying being the key word, here. I want to raise them to have faith. I know that much. I want them to be curious. I want them to love Jesus. And I want them to have faith in Him.

FAITH. That's what the Sacraments are about, folks!

Savannah, GA ~ birthplace of Flannery O'Connor

All of my kids, at this point, have been baptized.  Why in the world do we Catholics perform infant baptism? Isn't that like a weird Old Testament belief, based on the idea that boys need to be circumcised? Aren't you misapplying that information or those verses in an incorrect manner?

No. It is closely tied to circumcision. That's because circumcision is an outward sign of an inward sign, transformation, and I would hope, an inward reality.  And while it isn't just a magic potion as water is poured on their head, causing sanctity, it is an outward sign of the deeply inward truth: This is a Child of God. What does that mean? It means this child is promised- by parents and by Godparents- to be raised right. (Raisin' em right.)  Baptism is the sign that this child grows up in a God-fearing home, where Satan - and the  other idols of the world and of our culture- are shirked.

The sooner we make that declaration and seal it with the spiritual promise, the sooner those idols can fall away, and the sooner that child can be transformed by the working of water and the Holy Spirit!

The reason we cannot say it is "Poof!" a magic potion, is because the working out of our salvation is not just as simple as that. There isn't a magic formula. However, it is mysterious. I think of an example from the blogosphere of Jennifer Fulwiler, who was baptized as a child, but fell away from her faith as an adult, only to start her blog "Conversion Diary," and (if you read her bestselling book, published by Ignatius Press) then completely turn her life around, living and leading her family as a faithful Catholic. If you haven't read it, get on that! (It was my favorite book of 2014.)

What changed?


Now, I'd like to talk about the Why of the other Sacraments. However, I think what would be better, would be to instead ask: What are 7 Reasons for Trusting in the Power of the Sacraments?

1. Faith matters; and faith that these Sacraments are of God and that they really do matter. (See: above and read the story of amazing radio host and author, Jennifer Fulwiler, forrealz! ;) Here's that link again.

2. Conversion to the totality of the Doctrines of Christ: This means, Belief that Peter held the keys to the Kingdom, and that Fullness of Faith can be found in Rome. How is this possible? Read on!

3. These Sacraments are truly effectual and ignorance-confronting. Why Eucharist? First, read my musings here. (What Converting is *Really* Like). Once we experience it, there's no going back. In that post, I discussed how a real encounter with Catholic Eucharist transformed my opinion on the Catholic church.

4. Clarity/Hope  If you've been reading, or have read, my series up until now, you've gotten a window into our world. You've heard all of my soapboxes, and you have some idea of how we are raising our kids. Here is a good "formula" for you: (because sometimes, you just need a formula;)

"Three things are necessary for man's salvation: to know what he ought to believe; what he ought to desire; and what he ought to do.” - Aquinas

(taken from the Twitter feed of Catholic evangelist and convert, Brandon Vogt).

The Eucharist does exactly that! It helps us to know what we ought to believe.

It helps us to know what we ought to desire.

It helps us to know what we ought to do 

(And I would add that it helps us to know what to say, Aquinas! ;)

Isn't there so much clarity and hope in that?!

Read more:

5. The Sacraments give us not so much happiness, but holiness.

Why Marriage? Why any of them?

Why any of them, indeed?

Marriage is not meant to make us happy, it is meant to make us holy.

I can't really go into all of the individual Sacraments right now, for I have no Seminary degree to show for these things... but, the above trope will work for all them, be it Penance Matrimony or  Holy Orders. Suffice it to say, the definition of Sacrament is something meant to make us holy. And no, I'm not just saving time and being lazy. It really is that simple, and I feel like expounding on it would be beating a dead horse.

That is the why... the epitome of the Mass and Catholic Culture is: beautiful souls, fully informed by Christ and his Church, seeking to do His will.

What more do we need... to know, to experience, to understand?

6. A real experience with Jesus, perhaps.  Christianity.  And then in the end, the fullness of the faith, I would argue!;) We can look to the Bible and other theological arguments to understand Catholicism in the correct context. If you are at the point of searching deeply and want some stimulation, I recommend checking out this book. (I actually have not read it myself, but I think it would speak to this situation, for sure).

7.  And.... Community. In the fullness of the faith, we have togetherness. Our blinders fall off. The truth - and a real encounter with truth- changes us into different people.  It really does! 

May we have a real encounter with Jesus... leading us to faith... leading us to the Sacraments, and coming into a community, that is held together by Rome.


And in the comments, if you want, please share a post related to these things. (it could be a link to your blog or somebody else's Catholic blog.)

linking up with ~PHFR~ and  7 Quick Takes and sharing with the #CWBS