Tuesday, May 31, 2016

All the Tips You Need for Your Frugal Staycation 2016

We live in a great city. I hear from people who live nearby that it is a great vacation destination, and I believe it! Last year, we had an extraordinary staycation that I planned for the first Full Week of Summer. It was a celebration of Molly finishing First Grade, and it was an event! It certainly was not easy, and it took a lot of planning and a bit of elbow grease, but it was worth it. This year, I wanted to do it again, and we had two things to celebrate: Molly finishing Second Grade, and Frances finishing Pre-K.

In addition to keeping them busy and wanting to celebrate, one of my goals was to get the kids outdoors. We all want to get our kids outdoors, but how? I think the best plan is to have a plan ... right?! Right!!!! ;-) To have a wonderfully perfect Staycation, we need to post the plan somewhere, and talk it up with the kids each morning and night.

Memorial Day picnic 2016

Here's what we decided on for Monday Thru Friday. And if you have kids, take a look at what we did.

M. Riding Scooters across the bridge + a Picnic in the park
T.  Going to a Playground+ Going "Out" for Fro-Yo
W.  Fun at the Coolidge Park Splash Pad + Bring-your-own-snack
Th. Visiting the Nature Center + Going "Out" for Nachos as a Snack
F.  Playing in a Creek at a Park + Chik-fil-A

This year, we wanted to save more money just in general. I think if we made it *too* much fun it would defeat one of our purposes, the living-frugally aspect.  We omitted the Creative Discovery Museum this time, as our membership has run out, and we replaced it with a playground. Instead of eating out everyday as many do on vacation, we are either getting snacks and then eating a bigger lunch at home, or having a picnic. Also, while the purpose of the Staycation is to avoid going to the places we frequent in our "usual routine," the fact that going to a nearby playground lined up with our last day- when we would be going to an exciting restaurant (for the kids!), Chik-fil-a, made it still feel special. I'm hoping to replace paying for a museum with another fun excursion sometime in the near future. ;-)

Interested in planning your own Frugal Staycation? Here are some special tips to get you through your special Staycation week! So, without further ado:

5 Tips ... For Your Frugal Staycation 2016

1. Pack a bag the night before each special day, and remember: all you need for tomorrow is what you need for tomorrow. You're not packing for an extended stay somewhere. You don't have to think through every day a week ahead of time! Amirite?! ;)

Don't forget:

~Snacks~ oreo cookies, wheat-thins, puffed corn snacks (something with sugar/carbs, rite?!)
~Hot tea in a thermos for you, Mama
~Water bottles
~Something with protein for you and the kids (yogurt, freeze-dried yogurt, cheezits, puffed cheese snacks) to keep mood and blood sugar crashes at bay
~Something healthy and good for digestion: carrots, raw broccoli, cherry tomatoes or bite-size pieces of your favorite chopped vegetable
~Water bottles and (there I said it) sandwich stuff if you go for picnics and you don't have allergies to sandwiches ;)
~Diapers, wipes, and Pull-Ups
~Swim diapers
~Extra change of clothes/shoes (bring multi-purpose t-shirt and shorts that will fit more than one child; the event that all of your kids need to change is very minuscule in comparison to the event that one person messes up their clothing)
~ Cash & Change if needed for parking
~Kindle or a book for those stolen moments of freedom, Mama. ;-)

2. Tip #2 Clean out the car before your staycation.

Even though it isn't a real vacation, you'll still be spending  a little bit of time in your car going from here to there. Empty it of clutter and put a trash bag somewhere to collect your rancid apple cores.

3. When it comes to having fun, if you're going to take the time, take the time! ;-)

If you want to take pictures to remember your staycation, charge your iPhone and pack any cords you might need for the day. You might want to lay out your kids' clothes and hair accessories the night before.  Get your purse organized and empty it of trash and receipts. Be prepared for accidents and things going wrong, people getting messy, apples rolling under seats or getting stepped on (because sometimes, they do!!!)

4. Be frugal, get wet, and have some fun!

In honor of frugal living, get out the necessary cash you need for the week in advance of the week itself. Make sure to go places where the kids can kick back, relax, and wade in a creek ~ or splash one another! It's hot- don't try to go to the playground in the middle of the day, or it will sap you of energy. Go early, make memories, and take lots of pictures! You'll enjoy yourself more... and, well, we know you want to! ;-)

Pictures from last year's Staycation (A stroll down memory lane! ;)
Picnic in the park!

Splash pad!

Creek Time!

Chik-fil-a, Staycation 2015

5. Just like last year, finish it off with a Big Bang! 

The purpose of your Staycation is to make memories in celebration of finishing school.  Ergo, make it truly a blast. Don't just go for lunch. On your last day, only, make it a big hurrah and take the time go into the restaurant, play at the playground there, and order some ice-cream after everyone finishes lunch! I suppose you could also wait and do a fancy dinner out somewhere as an entire family! You deserve it, and with the frugal choices you have made to make this happen, you can afford to do something really special with your kids! ;-)

For fun, if you do end up having a (special, planned) Staycation, I want to here about it. You don't have to start a blog! If you do blog, link to your post about your own staycation in the comments section, or (if you don't) tell me about your hashtags on instagram or twitter in the comments, as well. I suppose you could also hashtag it on Facebook! ha

Find us @tacywb under this hashtag:


(and feel free to play along and use this one yourself, just make sure to tell me what your hashtag is in the comments !) ;-)

Happy Staycationing everyone! And if you're in the mood, my new e-book Beautiful Souls: Holiness in the Home is still on sale on Amazon for only 1.99! Go grab yourself a copy and don't wait to snag it! ;)
Linking up with Tuesday Talk

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nature, Lately, and Tea with a friend {PHFR}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

What's that you say? Interested in beauty on a beautiful Spring day in May? Gotcha covered. ;)

I love May in Tennessee. The trees that were flowering in early April are now lush with green leaves. The peonies, roses, irises, and lipstick bush are all in bloom. The gardens in yards all around our block are coming to life. I think I am discovering that I have an uncultivated passion for botany.
The peony up close... so interesting and pretty!
God's creation just makes me smile in the Spring! :0)
And speaking of smiling... haha She wears the little bows for pictures and she wears shoes to church, but everywhere else, people look at me like: get the girl some accessories! (And I'm thinking please people, what do you think this is Project Baby Runway? Do you know how long I spend hunting for these things on Sunday morning?ha)

I've been taking lots of walks, and each time I think I notice a new lovely tree or flowering bush on our street.
Crepe Myrtle

On the left, a line of crepe myrtles, pruned correctly~ this means they will produce an ice-cream scoop of blossoms in a month or two
A pruned crepe myrtle branch just started to produce new sprouts, that will later turn into flowering branches
(Most of the trees here bloom in the Spring, so this tree is sort of an anomaly!)


The kids have been busy. Molly has one more day, and Frances's Pre-K class had their last day of school last week. Next Fall we will have one in 3rd, one in Kindergarten, and one in Pre-K! And we'll have Anders at home one more year before he starts Pre-K. The perks of having Anders and Madeleine 15 months apart is that only one year and we'll have four in school and just Annabel at home.  That kinda blows my mind. Time flies! ha

We got a new Montessori style table at our local store The School Box. The store is chock full of manipulatives, and other learning toys, workbooks, DVD's, and school and homeschool supplies. I could spend an entire day just looking at the aisles and aisles of merchandise they carry. The plastic manipulatives, in particular, are so cheap I figure I could afford to go there once a week this Summer. (Just as long as I start giving away our old toys).

The girls were in a BALLET RECITAL this past weekend. I know. Three of our four girls. All in Ballet. It is as ridiculous as it sounds and as a lifelong dancer, I am over-the-moon happy and proud. ;-)  See pictures of that on Instagram!


Beanpods on a Redbud (I THINK) in May

On my walks, I noticed a redbud tree on our street near our house. They line the street in various places, and while I've noticed them in the Spring, because they're lush with pinkish red blossoms, in the Summer they had never stood out to me. But just the other day I noticed this beautiful curving tree next to an Elementary school. The beanpods on these particular trees in Summer just struck me as so strange and funny! I'd never noticed that sort of thing on a tree before. #interesting #howmanytreeshavebeanpodsseriously

A red house finch built a nest on our porch, despite the fact that Stephen put duct tape down to deter them.

Here is a close up of the previous picture- what a pretty little thing! ;)

Our Oak leaf hydrangeas are abloom in our yard, & the real is that these bushes are enormous! haha

So pretty when they are new: my favorite time to photograph these particular blossoms!

filed away in ~random~

For my birthday, I asked a friend from college to go to tearoom for a scone, tea, and a discussion of All The Light We Cannot See. So, we read the same book- I think she read it while she was on vacation in San Diego! That was back in March. Now that I've done it I know: this was just such a good idea, you guys! It was so fun to shake out the meaning of the book together over delicious food and drink. It was like a mini book club that culminated in a tea party! So, naturally, I decided to do it again with another friend of mine.

The first one was a longer book... It was a phenomenal book, and I had an amazing time discussing it with said local friend.  The second book was The Secret Garden.  My friend Amanda and I will go for tea at our local tea room The English Rose (of which I am the biggest fan).  I'm looking forward to a great time.  Full disclosure: these one-on-one book clubs started as a book club and ended with the only two people who actually ended up reading the book. But now? I think it's a thing. You should try it or start one. There are many perks to doing a one-on-one book club!

adding my link to Like Mother, Like Daughter

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Monthly Recap vol. 33 ~ May 2016

This month, I took a much-needed blogging break.  I wrote letters. I colored in our adult coloring books under the Maple.  I read in the bright Southern sun.  It was lovely, and yes those closets did get the much needed attention that they were deserving!!! ;) I'm greatly looking forward to the Summer this year, and I'm hoping some of the plans we've made for the next few months will rescue us from the heat and/or boredom threatening to undo us! ;) I realize this is early, but with ballet recitals and the last week of school, I didn't want to have this hanging over my head, so: here ya go!


I had high stakes in my reading list this month, but unfortunately didn't get through the page volume I was really hoping for this time. Alas, the Summer Reading pile is growing... but hey, there are worse problems in the world. (In fact, a long Summer Reading list is one of the special joys of life, to me).

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
After hearing about Kate Morton on several blogs, I decided it was time to find out what the hubbub was about. It was a really interesting read. The puzzle-this-out style was unlike almost anything I've read; that is to say, unique, even from some of the mysteries I have read in the last couple of years. I'm glad I read it, and I wouldn't put it in top five but I might read another by this author.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was the sixth time reading this, my self-proclaimed favorite book (for children) of all time. I love it. I used to read it every time I got sick. It is always as good as I hope it will be. Even- definitely- still good the sixth time. Actually, better.;)

 The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
This book was surprisingly amazing! I almost gave up on it, but plugged along till done and I'm so glad I did. It was awesome. Awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I have a whole more to say about it, and I will very soon!

A few months back, I also read Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure, but forgot to mention it in my book reports! ha Just wanted to mention that, since I definitely grew up on Full House episodes every Friday night (It's Friday night, and the mood is right... let's have some fun, show you how it's done TGIF). She did a good job with it. She is really inspiring when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. She takes really good care of herself. If you need inspiration in that department, definitely check it out! I think I got the Kindle ed.

If you want to read my reviews, see my star-ratings, or get recommendations for good books, friend me on Goodreads! I'm tacyandstephen and also? I'm keeping track of this year's progress mainly on Pinterest, but also in the 2016 Reading Challenge~so you can find that compete list over at >> Goodreads. << ;-)

May hopefuls, but relegated to my to-read list:
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
Surprised by Oxford
 Gulliver’s Travels

I think I needed to take a break from reading this month or something. ;)

Molly is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She was really, really into the Magic Treehouse series, so we established that she likes books about magic (and strike while the iron is hot). I guess it so follows....

Also interested in putting this on her wishlist:


Stephen went to San Fran on a business trip, and while he was going to Programming Bootcamp, wandering the Tenderloin, and seeing the NY Philharmonic perform live, I binge-watched Poldark on Amazon streaming. It really was worth all of the gushing, don't worry!!! ;) Also good: Jim Gaffigan available for a very small fee on Amazon. Warning: You will definitely, definitely, definitely wet your pants. It is that good. It is ... oh my goodness just watch it. Too funny for words.


Bring Back the Ben Folds I knew on Songs for Silverman!!!!!!!! (such a good album...) And while he's rockin' the suburbs Bruno Mars is giving the Uptown some Funk.

Lots and lots and lots of ... Of Monsters and Men.

And lots of podcasts! Everyday a podcast or two or three! ;-)


In Honor of the Time I Asked Google if I Should Have a Third Child @ Baby Bangs (I hope she keeps blogging!) Daughter of Beth Moore... so good.

Good taste meets modern writing... what to do when a book conflicts with our values? @ModernMrsDarcy

5 Simple Tips to Grow on Instagram @ One Artsy Mama
This post on how to separate personal from business to grow on Instagram put into words what I have been trying to do and articulate for a very long time. Very, very helpful! Also, I'm just super excited to have found her blog! Stick around and read all of my links. And then if you are still reading-- definitely, definitely read this post!

The War Within: Flesh vs. Spirit @ Desiring God
Although not Catholic, this is expert wisdom and advice.

CM West Retreat at the Beach Recap
Wish I could have been there! ;) Celeste always has fascinating homeschooling posts and a wealth of interest in growing things.

On Moral Fiction: A Response to Purifying the Source by Katy Carl @ Dappled Things
Some talk of saving the work rather than saving the world, apropos to Flannery O'Connor and really just a wonderful stir-fry of food for thought. Bonus! This excellent article was written by a friend of mine, who lived in D.C. at the same time we did and we shared community via our rosary Moms circle. Well done, Katy!

From Ambrose to Zelie: For Catholic Babies, Old is the New New by Simcha Fisher @ Aleteia
A short commentary on the resurgence of old "cool" Catholic baby names taking the place of more traditional choices like Mary or Regina.

~Funny Things They Say~

Frances (coming back from the carousel): Molly rode Majesta, I rode Rosebud, Anders rode Midnight, and you'll never guess who Madeleine rode. (with emphasis) Beauregard. 
(my child)

Also: in the really funny category, a story about money. While out of town, Stephen gave me a wad of cash to get me through the week -- since we basically just use cash.  I was running all around town and went to visit a friend across town and all the jazz, when I suddenly looked into my wallet and started worrying about how much cash he had given me.  First, of course I measured out money for gas, then leaned toward my gut instinct and ordered some granola bars on Amazon.... and I called him, worried.  He said, "Don't worry!" I was like, "Why not?!" He said, "Every time I go out of town, I give you cash, but I always hide a credit card somewhere just in case. Look on the top bookshelf in the library inside the book The Prophets."

I started laughing hysterically at that, and finally said, "When were you going to tell me that?" He said, "I always do it when I go out of town." And I said, "When were you going to relieve my angst-- when we're forty-five, then?!" He was like, "You've never needed it before." And I was like,  "How many other things are you going to tell me in another decade?!"(Probably a whole lot). LOL.


Kate Middleton goes to India!

I published my new e-book this week!
Thank you to Rhonda Ortiz for her support and help with this process. I couldn't have done it without her. And by the way, if you're looking for someone to assist you in the publication of your own e-book, I highly, highly recommend her and I can't sing her praises enough! ;)


I am getting really excited about the Summer. We are going to stay busy, we have two vacations planned, I have a very nice Summer reading pile taking shape, I hope to do another one-on-one book club...  and we'll see what else the Summer brings! 

adding my link here here & here

E-book Release ~ Beautiful Souls: Holiness in the Home

Today, I am so happy to announce to you that my latest E-book, Beautiful Souls: Holiness in the Home, is finally for sale for 1.99 over on Amazon! {Yaay!}

From the Amazon description:

In this new e-book, Tacy Williams Beck seeks to discover the path to holiness as it relates to parenting, living by the Spirit in the home, and seeking to see the fruit of this holiness as a way of life.

This book has been a process. As you may or may not know, it started as a series on this blog. Although you might think: Why are you selling what is already available on your blog as an e-book? That doesn't make any sense! Well, the answer is simple. I want you to have it in a beautiful format, fully edited and ready to go. No distractions, no hullabaloo. I want you to be able to keep it in a more permanent, put-together form!

Please catch the e-book today, as it is only 1.99 for a limited time!  And if you don't mind, take a second to leave me a quick review on Amazon. I would love it, and it would be a huge favor to me, so that others hear your thoughts.

To read more about the e-book click on the About page or My E-books (a tab on my blog, located above /\ ).

If you have read my last e-book, The Lost Sun: Looking for Light in the Midst of Depression, please also take a minute to leave a quick review of that one as well. I appreciate all of you who have bought it! Thank you! ;-)

Here's that link again: Buy it Here

Thanks again, ya'll for all of your support.

Thanks again everyone, and have a wonderful Monday. ;-)

Linking up at these places.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Weekend (My Thoughts on Periscope)

7 Thoughts on Periscope from Last Weekend:
So, over the weekend, I was interested in discovering -or checking in with- some of the people I follow on Periscope. Here are some thoughts I came away with after dipping my toes in! ha. I developed a little question and answer inspection of Scopes for you here.

(1) Is Periscope worth it?
First off let me say that I'm loving this app right now. I first heard about it on the Sorta Awesome podcast, and the host said that she was into it for awhile, but she just "couldn't do it anymore." This made me laugh, and I wanted to understand what she meant and why she had to bow out. However, she recently had a guest on her show who is a self-proclaimed Periscope Superstar- Crystal Paine- and a little fire was lit and I got back into watching some scopes!

(2) Are you attached to Periscope, like I am?
I'm getting a bit attached to Periscope now and it just makes me happy sometimes when I'm bored. If you're interested in downloading the app, I will now share with you some peeps that I think are really interesting and worth following who do some really interesting Periscopes:

(3) Who should you follow?
-Crystal Paine ~famous for her blog Money Saving Mom and regular Periscoper
-Mystie Winckler~ smart, interesting and informative Periscopes with littles underfoot from Simply Convivial
-Jenna Guizar~goddess of Blessed Is She
-Tricia Regar~ really smart, interesting Periscoping mom of Clean House With Kids blog and instagram star

(4) What is your caveat?
So there the four of them are: people worth following! #lol HOWEVER- and this is a big However- there are some major, major freaks on Periscope!!!  Some people did not and were not trained in self-control at the proper time. I seriously forgot how messed up the internet USED to be and Periscope is reminding me of the days when you couldn't even open AOL.com without worrying who would scandalize you in a chat room. Remember those days? They were so long ago. Were they not?! I think it was in the eighties! haha  Haven't we come so far from the days when comments on a blog post would be half rude and inappropriate bitter losers and half interested, sweet, well-intentioned friends?!

UGH! What is the deal?!

(6) Leeeeeet's wise up, no?!

Well, apparently while Americans were learning the fine art of not being perverts, and not putting your idiot foot in your mouth in comments on insta, the rest of the world was dwelling in a little bubble of ignorance.... I think? That's my theory on this, anyway. Because that's the only way I can figure it. Periscope is worldwide, and the trolls are just horrible over there. The world needs to wise up. WISE UP. Stop being nonchalantly rude. Stop scandalizing us with disgusting comments. Want to know why there are so few interesting people to follow on Periscope? Taint safe, peeps. Taint safe.

(7) Can we keep Periscope safe for all the peeps?

The problem is- I think- that broadcasters need to block WAY more people from that site. Each broadcast is usually only a few minutes. Broadcasters have to wait until some people have joined, and then as they broadcast, they receive comments and can respond and interact with those viewers and other people watching and engaging. That's part of what makes it very cool! But with this face-paced medium, if anyone makes even a single wrong turn or joke, they should be banned. Dirty jokes, nauseating suggestiveness, perverted eyes... they need to be turned off immediately. THIS IS NOT FUNNY. It's gross. It's disgusting. If I open a door on my iPad or iPhone or Droid, and that door leads to even ONE nasty comment, I would shudder if my daughter or son looked over my shoulder at that moment. It is beyond ridiculous... at this point, this app really should be shunned. However, if you look at the reviews or the lovely commercial they have on their site, you would think it's all innocent fun and lovely picturesque sunsets and missionaries going to villages and taking us with them. Is that what it is?

No. Survey from my Scopes Trial is?

(Not right now) ;)

(It's sad, really) ;)


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What We've Learned From Doing Saints of the Day After Dinner Every Night (And How Not to Have a Superiority Complex)

"Well... that's obviously a wrong theory, because heh... that was my philosophy way back in the day."

This was how a conversation I was having with a fellow blogger started.

I knew it wasn't going to go well. :-p Or end well.

I was just remembering as we had this conversation, that we had some friends of Polish descent in D.C. The Dad was in the grad program with Stephen at CUA.  They named their first born son Stanislaus and called him Stash. Pronounced "Stahsh." I honestly think that is such a cool name, and I'm tucking it away for future ideas! I remember the first time they had us over for dinner. Laura made steak-frites (homemade french fries and steak) and I saw tons of games on their shelves. I was impressed to learn that they were really big into playing Settlers of Catan and Chess together as husband and wife. Laura also goes down in history as the person who said to me, "I think the coolest thing about being Catholic is that I can 'go get some Jesus' any time I want!" --and I remember thinking, "Someday, I'm going to understand what she means!!!"

Recently we read the Saint of the Day reading in Lives of the Saints after dinner. We encourage our children to be saints, but not necessarily to become martyrs who die a violent death.  If the saint has a violent death, we omit any details related to that. Kinda keeps the water a little more still. Ya know? ;) This reading of saints' lives is now something our kids have come to expect every single night, and wouldn't you know, Madeleine reminds us when we forget now!

April 11 is the Feast Day of St. Stanislaus. Because of our connection to this name, I was intrigued!

St. Stanislaus:  Patron Saint of Poland.  I'm tempted to just quote the entirety of the reading, but instead, I will attempt to describe and paraphrase the story of this saint to you.

He was born into fortune. He studied as a Jesuit in Paris. He returned to Poland, as Priest, and was soon made Bishop. As the Bishop of Poland, he confronted the King for his wrong ways. When the King of Poland would not reform his ways, St. Stanislaus excommunicated him from the Catholic Church.

As St. Stanislaus was praying in a little chapel, the King of Poland entered with some guards. He asked the guards to murder Stash right there in the chapel, and when they wouldn't do it, the King murdered him with his own hands.

We need the wisdom of the saints as the antidote in our age. I thought of the fellow blogger- mentioned at the beginning of this post- as I was doing further reading about this interesting male saint. She seemed to think that any thing I offered was incorrect! She seemed to laugh in my face, no matter what I said or did! "I'm human too," I wanted to remind her, and "I am not perfect, but please don't look at me like I'm crazy and stupid."

Perhaps, God was bringing this saint into my mind to give me comfort at that moment.  Sometimes, blogging can be hard because we are jealous. We see the high reels of others' lives, and we in turn feel inadequate. The jealousy makes me think it isn't worth it. But sometimes, it is the mean and hurtful comments online are worse- they are what make me want to all but disappear from social media channels. I could honestly say " I quit right now" on so many days, due to a hurt ego and my hurt pride.

But perhaps on the other side of the screen, behind the appearance of a Mom who has it all together, that Mom who told me to "Can it" or wants to tell me to quit? Perhaps she is or was struggling with something. Perhaps my comments to her brought up her pride. Perhaps she was looking down on me because in her spiritual blindness, she could not see her own offenses.

Sometimes, our involvement on the internet is a little one-sided. We want more followers, more comments, more pageviews. But then, when we get it, it's hard not to feel a little superior, amirite? ;) But would we really act that way in our own living rooms, with the people we are really with in person?  Would we count likes? Would we try to gather followers in our own homes? Recently on the Jamie Ivey podcast, she reminded us that Jesus only had 12 disciples. But did he ever stop to count his likes, followers, friends, and #tweets? As I recall, Jesus told us to count our apologies.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 (70 x 7) Perhaps the reason for online rudeness or competitiveness- and dare I mention- lacking in common courtesy at any opportunity- is rooted in pride or the desire for acceptance and followers. Possibly, people can simply become blind to the ways we miss the entry to heaven that's the size of the eye of a needle, because our own desire for acceptance is camel-sized! ;)  For a lack of true community, deliver us Jesus.

And as one last thought for you on this beautiful day: perhaps it is not autonomy or independence that we lack in our culture. Perhaps it is the virtue that must go hand in hand with work and affluence.

Jesus said, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Mt. 19:24

England superimposed on the U.S. of A | W. Europe superimposed on a map of the Eastern U.S. 

 St. Stanislaus, pray for us!

Adding my link to the ACWB and Tuesday Talk

Thursday, May 12, 2016

{Still on Break} And a Winner!

The winner of this beautiful Mother's Day card Giveaway was: Jenny Ryan of Mothering Sunshine!

Way to go, Jenny! I have the card and I will put it in the mail for you!

I am still on break for a few more days.

In the meantime, you can visit Kristin's store or find her on Twitter or Instagram! ;) You can also follow me all around the web...

I am tacywb on instagram@tacybeck on twitter, and find Picture a Skyline on Facebook here;)

And while you're waiting, here are a few oldies but goodies from my blog.

Being Pro-Life is Responsible Parenting

10 Things Happy People Wish You Knew

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day Round-Up: Gifts, Cards, and Links!

Ok, so I know I told you I would be on a blogging break, but... I couldn't pass up this opportunity! And since this is a time sensitive issue, it must be posted today. So... here you go. ;)

Kristin Sanders of the amazing podcast This Inspired Life has created a wonderful project. While she hopes to continue podcasting at some point soon, she is taking a break to work on her Etsy Biz. Go girl!  Because she is awesome, Kristin is giving away this free card for Mother's Day. (More info on that in a minute).   In honor of the big day, I've rounded up 4 other gifts to give your dear Mamas. I know this is last minute, but it's not too late to show appreciation for the person who gave you life. I mean, especially in the day of Amazon. It's the way of the future! ;) ;)

Onto the list! {I hope you win!}

I originally heard Cristina talk about this concept of fruit-infused water over on instagram. Follow her! She's a great one, she is. ;) Yum yum. Sounds great. Sign me up.

(1) Savvy Infusion Water Bottle

I heard about this coffee mug on the Simple Show Podcast and I was sold. Sign me up, ladies! ;) Wouldn't it be great to give your Mama?!

(2) Bodum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel French Press Coffee and Tea Mug

This beautiful card from Kristin Sanders, would be a wonderful way to commemorate your mother on Mother's Day! {Giveaway~ Leave a comment to win one} Visit her online at The Inspired Life store to purchase one and benefit Maggie's Place~ A wonderful organization benefitting pregnant women and other mothers in need of community!! ;) (Read more on their about page).

(3) Mother's Day card (would look amazing framed, I think!)

 Here is another idea for your dear Mom. Two day shipping, free? Amazon Prime to the rescue ladies.

And just because I think of Jennifer Aniston every time I buy Aveeno...

Happy Mother's Day everyone!!! ;)  And don't forget leave a comment to win, and then t go shop The Inspired Life store and give this well-deserving Mama some love!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This Is My Beauty For Ashes ~ Molly's First Communion

We had a beautiful weekend. Molly received her First Communion, and we had a lot of memories and reliving to do- of our First Holy Communion, and the like. It was overwhelming. I did not know how tense I was and how much I was holding in until after it was over. Everything went swimmingly. Molly was gorgeous and the sacrament even more so. The service was so perfect and more than we'd hoped for in so many ways.  We ended the big special day by spending a perfectly wonderful evening at my parents' river house ~ eating hot dogs and sliders and strawberry shortcake~ provided by my Mother in law, for dessert.  Feeling poetic, I wrote the following on her big day, and I just wanted to share it with you.

This  is my beauty for ashes:

Although it was all very beautiful when we became Catholic, there were a lot of ashes.

The ashes of my expectations gone...

The ashes of my parents' expectations...

The ashes of what we thought was our life's plan and purpose...

The ashes of the origins of our marriage, our baptism, our theology of family, our Communion...

There was so much to be right about,

when we realized we were wrong.

There was so much to let go of...

and so much to receive ...

A Eucharist with power I can't describe or fully tell

... but grieve, at the same time.

We grieve, because there is so much to grieve.

We receive, but it's a slog going through it... and long-coming.

But this?

This beautiful girl?

This is our beauty for ashes.

This is why everything was so hard,

I hear that in a whisper: My Lord's voice in my ear.

Confidence: that this much beauty could come out of 

All of that sadness, all of those ashes.

I love you, my sweet daughter.

You are a treasure. You are a gift. You are the gift in our sadness.

This sacrament is what makes the crown beautiful.

You are making it worth it. 

Consider that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation...

adding my link to Tuesday Talk and PHFR

~P.S. I'll be taking a (blogging) break May 4-11. On my break, in addition to mothering, I'll be scrapbooking, sewing, having game nights, gardening, organizing closets, adult coloring, writing long-form letters, and of course, reading. :o) I'll also be tickling my baby and hearing her laugh, and kissing her baby-soft cheeks. You can still find me on social media. I am tacywb on instagram, @tacybeck on twitter, and Picture a Skyline also has a Facebook page~