Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016~ Surprise! I am No Longer Literate:-)

This picture represents vacation and rest to me, which is what Summer is and should! be about, although we never actually did the beach this month. 

And with that, holy crap, August. You kicked my butt. If you saw my planner, you would give me a sympathy pat on the back. ;) At any rate, this post will be long so consider yourself warned. ;)

We started it off right by escaping to a cabin in the North Woods of Wisconsin, at a wonderfully fun Family Reunion. I got the kids ready for school- running all of the errands and buying all of the shoes/socks, and getting all of the haircuts (4 kids so far, one is baby so no need for a haircut yet), suffering through 2- hour long doctors' appointments to make sure all 5 of my kids are healthy and immunized, and cleaning out my car. Amidst tears of stress and hugs of consolation, I took purposeful and intentional break from reading so much this month, as well.

I bought Bossypants by Tina Fey, and read it on the plane to Minnesota/Wisconsin.
Similar to Mindy Kaling's book, the humor was spot on, but the lifestyle left some things to be desired. Anyone who has seen either of her most popular shows (30 Rock or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) probably will not be in the least surprised by this declaration.

I stopped reading after that. That was the big surprise (#sorrynotsorry) and I'm assuming the fact that I've not read a book these remaining three weeks makes me no longer literate. It was not only good to be a little more present, it was advantageous that I chose to buy the Kindle version of The Nightingale by  Kristin Hannah because I a) hate reading extremely large and long books via Kindle because 5% of 488 is the number notfun.  And b) because I found it to be incredibly boring and slogging through said book just wasn't on my agenda.;) Her other books are UNDERRATED (ask me about this sometime). So these things further helped my reading break plot come to fruition. Now, that said, I admit I might be in the market for my third Moriarty book at long last. I'm looking for something I cannot put down, along the lines of What Alice Forgot. If anyone can school me, I need the second best book by L.M., because The Husband's Secret was too gritty for my taste. W.A.F. was by all accounts awesome from this front.

My goals for this month were pretty simple:

~Get the kids ready for school
~Enjoy our trip up North
~Get myself ready for Fall
~Keep the house in reasonably clean condition
~Get some (sewing) projects done or at least planned
~Actually budget
~Eat well
~And of course, Get fresh air 
(and maybe do that instead of reading and TV, since we all know cooler weather is coming, on its way, and for some parts of our country, has already arrived;)

I feel like reading is a great hobby, but sometimes it feels like it is taking over my life and I am unable to set boundaries, because something like 40% of finances are going to my reading habit. I have so many reasons for reading, but when it becomes an idol, it is time for me to take a break. I don't get free books and I read for pleasure mostly, and I also have a (somewhat bad) habit of buying new books that I want to have on my shelf. I could save money by purchasing the Kindle version, but I'm so taken by the beautiful books with pretty covers at the bookstores. 
#tbt to living in D.C,when Molly and Frances looked a little like Madeleine and Annabel! 

I really, really wanted to get some sewing projects under my belt. However, my sewing machine bit the dust about 6 months- 1 year ago, and I just haven't had the time, money, or space to buy a new one and start stitching again. I used to get a lot done, although it never seemed like enough, and once I had done one project, it seemed I needed to move onto something new, and I never found my groove. I need to do one thing several times over until it is my thing, rather than starting on a new and different project every time. For me, that is the danger of Pinterest. #neverdone #neverenough

So... will Tacy buy a sewing machine in September, or will all of her funds go toward Fall clothes, food, kids, and the occasional book?! Stick around these parts to find out. ;) ;) ;)

I loved the layout, concept, and execution of this post! ;)

An Open Letter to Mindy Kaling @ We, A Great Parade
So much good food for thought. Def. worth reading.

The ABC's of a Pregnancy @ The Ugly Volvo
I have loved this blog for some time now. I am almost always laughing out loud when I click over and read her posts!

Why We Love Notebooking @ Royal Little Lambs 
I think this post would be good for homeschoolers/homeschooling Moms

Again, I am not a homeschooler, but I think this post would be helpful for my friends on the internet and in real life (IRL) who do!

 Watch as these men get a pizza delivered via drone~A landmark day for drone flights arrives @ CNN

~Funny Things They Say~

Anders: (I overhear him talking in the back seat) Is that a motorcycle? Yeah-ya! Is it real? Yeah-ya! Does it goes real fast? Yeah-ya!

Grey (my nephew) in Minnesota: I spy wif my wittle eye somefing... green! (answering his own question) Is it the sign? ...No! ....Is it the grass? (with all the enthusiasm in the world) Y-ES! ....Mommy, step on it!

--so cute!--
The kids have a little song at school with a line in it that goes, “Don’t you have a GPS?” So Madeleine asked me one day, “Mommy, what’s a GPS? Can I have one?” 
So I told her, “A  GPS is something you have in your car, that helps you know where you are, and which way to go.” 
“I want to know where we are going!! Can you get me one of those? I don’t want a map, I want a GPS. Can you give me one in the morning?”

Madeleine: (trying a cream sample, looks down at her hand) My hand skin already looks younger! #hysterical

If you don't like Britney Spears, Rihanna makes you want to barf, and McDonald's is something you try to never eat, then we are automatically on the same page! ;) Also, I really wanted to include some Iron & Wine and Lumineers (new album=solid gold), but you have to draw the line somewhere!

I have to say that I loved the movie My Name is Doris.  Starring Sally Field, it is a movie about an older woman who falls in love with her younger co-worker, a la , the romance novels she reads. I loved Max Greenfield in this movie + I'm trying to explain why I liked him in the film/ for this role. I think it is because the believability in his acting pushes the premise of this film into a plausible scenario that is worth sticking around for. Also, I think if you start to watch it and it doesn't suck you in (which would surprise me), rewatch. There are so many subtleties and especially, subtle jokes. My favorite favorite favorite Indian actor Kumail Nanjiani from Portlandia is in it, so... nuf said. #sofunny I did watch it about twice myself (I started it and watched half of the movie on a plane, then watched it again from beginning to end when we got back). Roger Ebert said, "This film will have you at 'hello.'" 
also re-watching this:0)

Onward: to music and playlists and nostalgia galore.

Milestone Music:
I'm a music person, and Music has played a huge role in my entire life, especially since I was in high school. I really wanted a place where I could compile all of those songs that have been special to me over the years for one reason or another. Do you ever have a moment where you hear a song, and you think, "This is the best song ever..."? Well, for me, all of these songs fall into that category in one way or another. Here it is, with notation below.

<<This is my Milestone Music playlist...  Mostly memories from high school and beyond ...>>

1. The Doors ~Hello I Love You - This was big on my playlist in High School. My sister was dating a guy named Rich, and he bought her their CD. We would listen to it together sometimes, and so I have lots of memories of this CD and how influential my sister was on me in big and small ways during that season of life.
2. Lisa Loeb's Stay was an iconic song for me and for most who lived through the nineties.
3. Matthew Sweet~ Girlfriend I started listening to Matthew Sweet (who for the record can play the electric guitar better than just about anyone) in High School, and this song was a special part of coming-of-age for me.
4. The Cranberries~ Dreams was an anthem- maybe THE anthem- of my Senior year of High School
5.  Toad the Wet Sprocket~ Walk On The Ocean I have to include a Toad song, because I overplayed their album all through High School and College. I love this lyric from the song: "We don't even have pictures, just memories to hold.That grow sweeter each season as we slowly grow old."
6.Coldplay~ Yellow is a quintessential get-over-your-high-school-boyfriend song for me.
7. Stars~ Calendar Girl brings back memories of friends, mixed CD's and tapes, and more friends. This song is so good- take a listen for sure.
8. Ben Folds~ The Ascent of Stan -I started heavily crushing on Ben Folds in college and probably made him rich with the amount of concerts I went to. This song, for me, is a memory like solid gold in my mind: listening on headphones, walking on the beach in Santa Barbara, dreaming of times to come.
9. The Cure was a theme song that I still can't quit-- still so good.
10. Sufjan Stevens~ Seven Swans -Have to include a Sufjan song, because I listened so hard to this album on choir tour in college.
11. Rusted Root~ Send me on my way- the best break-up song in the world.
12. The Smiths~ Please, please, please let me get what I want- holds a deep place in my heart and I was so thrilled to learn Stephen liked them when we first started dating.
13. Patti Griffin~ Making Pies-Belting Patti Griffin songs at Westmont College- the end.
14. Dashboard Confessional~ Screaming Infidelities-Also, this song. Memories of my college roommate Mer from Fresh/Soph year.
15. Pedro the Lion~ Foregone Conclusions was one of those catch-22 "How cool can you be and still act original" songs from college. #laughcry (saw him in concert as well)
16. Over the Rhine~ The World Can Wait represents for me the year I took off from college. I went to study at L'abri among other places. Also saw them perform live multiple times (I think 3) and yeah the best band ever in the world #superlativewarranted
17. The Isaacs~ Daniel Prayed holds a special place in my heart from times of singing bluegrass with my family (and my Dad who is a great guitar and mandolin player)
18. Brandi Carlile~ Have You Ever is my Covenant song and makes me think of all of my friends on my Hall, Fifth North. Introduced to me by my roommate Keri.
19. Nickel Creek~ When You Come Back Down- One of my all-time favorite songs from Nickel Creek, and such a good memory of seeing them live in college.
20. Renee & Jeremy~ Powder Blue I have sung this as a lullaby to all of my kiddos, and it holds special memories for me of becoming a mother, and Memories of Molly as a baby.
21. Renee & Jeremy~ Night Manta- the perfect lullaby/ Same as 20. Their album "It's A Big World" is excellent when it comes to kids' music- very soothing.
22. Nick Cave~ Into My Arms  is my "becoming Catholic" song, because it is mentioned in the book Love & Salt, (such a good book!) and it holds deep significance and deep truth. This haunting melody totally feels "becoming Catholic," and what it was like to live through that, in my brain.
23. Death Cab for Cutie~ Information Travels Faster - Had to include a Death Cab for Cutie song because they have been loved deeply, as long as they have ben around and I have seen them live.
24. Stevie Wonder~ Isn't She Lovely makes me think of the kids' school, my sweet Molly Jane growing up, Because of Molly's lip-synching to this for a performance at school. #allthefeels
25. Bread~ Look What You've Done makes me think of Stephen and it is sexy (hate to use that word but it is) and also makes me laugh at the double meaning #sorrynotsorry
26. The Cure~ Friday I'm in Love is one of my lifelong anthems and I think one of my all-time favorite songs.
27. Soul  Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie-- just soooooooo good. I overplayed this song post-college, and will never forget hearing it over my speakers and feeling more alive than ever before. #nevertiredofit #bestthingaboutmusic

Me & Stephen Music:

Once again, I wanted to put all of those special songs in one place.

1. Explosions in the Sky~ Your Hand in Mine ~Stephen put this on a mixed CD for me when we were dating.
2. Snow Patrol~ Chasing Cars- Stephen also introduced me to this band and this song, and it always and forever makes me think of him and our early years of young love.
3. Mew~ Special We both fell HARD for Mew and this is probably "our song" more than any other. If you haven't heard of or listened to Mew, welcome to your new favorite song/band.
4. Band of Horse~ No One's Gonna Love You This song makes me think of Stephen, although at the time of me liking this song, we were going through some really hard times. Now, it just makes me cry with thankfulness at all we've been through. And we've come out sane/clean/something/what?
5. Mipso~ Love Again -Stephen may not know it, but this song is important to me, because I listened to it during a time when we were going through hard times, and it reminded me of how deeply I love him
6. Pinback~ Loro- We went to see a Pinback concert and MAN was it redemption for some of my lost-loves from High School and college. I will *never* forget sitting in the balcony of that theatre in Atlanta, sipping Yuengling, and falling in love with Stephen.
7. James Vincent McMorrow~ Rising Water makes me think of all the baths we've given our kids in these early years of parenting young ones. I think this song will forever make me think of these days.
8. Carry On, because, life is hard and marriage is hard, and you've just got to Carry On some days.
9. Just Like Heaven by The Cure - because this band is just so good, and all marriages need this song. I think sometimes we think that we live, we die, and that's about it. But it's not true. Life is full of pleasures, heartache, and trials that feel insurmountable. But sometimes the crap of life is utterly buried by our love. Our love is just like heaven, which contrasts to the suffering and pain of life, and that's a (major) understatement. I don't know how to articulate it.

We've had a lot of bumps in the road. I would be lying if I said that having 5 kids in 8 years has been easy. We have struggled immensely, though we always come back to each other in deep ways and in simple ways.  I know we have shared much more than just these nine songs, but some of them are private, and some of them I just can't think of right now!!! Music is a place where we will always connect deeply and I know it is one of the reasons we fell in love.
linking up here & here

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dear Beatles: It *Isn't* "Easy"

As you can read on, this iconic song, "All you need is love," by the Beatles, starts out by saying just that, "Love, love, love... all you need is love..." And if you know the song, (which I'm sure all of you do), you might also know that the most oft-repeated phrase in the song, which serves as a transition into every chorus are the words, "It's easy!"

As I was listening to this song playing on - a hesitant to call it - mediocre television show my kids were watching (wouldn't want that label applied to me, that's all), I thought to myself, "Beatles, you are oh so wrong."  And then, laughably, I thought, "And The Beatles probably were not Catholic." Astute observations by tacy.... Of course then I googled it, but that's another story. ;)

Because in my experience, love is not easy. In fact, love is anything but that.  I would say that, if anything, love is work. Love is sacrifice. Love is rooted in faith and prayer, and the practice of love is a demand on my heart and on my soul each day, and I can safely say that it is a true struggle.  No, love is not easy. Why?

* Love isn't easy, because Love is work.

1 Corinthians 13 gives us a good definition of love, but boy, it isn't simple and it certainly doesn't sound easy to follow those rules all the time. Love IS patient, and kind, Love is NOT envy, boasting, prideful, rude, easily angered, or self seeking. Love seeks no record of wrongs, always protects, hopes, trusts, perseveres, never fails.

And perhaps my favorite line from those verses: "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." Quick to judge someone who cuts you off in traffic? If you knew the truth (they are late for a doctor's appointment for a rare disease, and they hit you from behind-- true story, happened to me in NYC traffic), perhaps you wouldn't be so quick to judge.

*Love isn't easy, because Love is sacrifice.

Love was demonstrated to us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  What does this verse mean? It means that his demonstration of love teaches us about what love is. I'm pretty sure the culture of the Beatles was free love, no war, and mutual respect. As they bob their heads and sing (see above video), it sure sounds and looks easy! But what about this policy of love teaches the true wisdom of Biblical love? It sounds pretty selfish to me. And extremely impractical. And it has nothing to do with being a stay-at-home Mom to five kids, where free love has no place.
 What kind of example would that set for them?

*Love isn't easy, because Love is rooted in faith and prayer.

Ora et labora  {prayer and work} are the tenets of our love.  We can lay down our own intentions to find the path of love by praying for God's wisdom everyday.   Communication with God,  lends itself to helpful communication with others. I'm pretty sure that if we don't talk through things with our spouse, jealousy or laziness will win the day.  We need the wisdom and humility that comes from prayer, so that we know how to work through our problems, and find conflict resolution, on a daily basis.

All in all, it is a struggle, and sometimes it's a war against flesh and evil. The fruit of faith is that God does give us guidance when we do in fact pray for wisdom.  As I have prayed for wisdom in this day and age, and in our culture today, I have found these words to be of utmost importance and assistance: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want."  And yet, love does not flow freely when there are so many tasks each day that beg to be done.  The iggling thought worms its way into our minds:

Oh, but if I were younger.
Oh, but if I were a supermodel.
Oh, but if were Paul, John, Ringo, George.

Then, love might be easy!

Or maybe if I could improve my conditions in some other way, then love would be easy.

Perhaps by becoming a saint, one could make love "easy," or an easy thing.

Perhaps if all of my meals were microwave ready, then love would come easy.

Perhaps if I had the things the television advertises- the right materials, the right clothes, the right hair, then love would come easy.

But deep down in my heart, I know that I can't cover a blistering wound with platitudes. A new day that I cannot and will not plaster the envy with false kindness. It is a new chance to practice loving as I practice the presence of God.  It is not a day to master the skill. It is simply another day filled with momentary opportunities to lay down my plans, to sacrifice my will, to let God's Spirit fill me with the motions, with the right words, with the hard work that I must go through in order to follow his Divine will. Only in this - ONLY IN THIS- can true love be witnessed.

It isn't easy. Everyday, I'm challenged by His will and my fiercely independent spirit that wants to deny the broken disposal, or the littered living room, or the trash that builds and overflows and needs to be taken out. My patients is on a slow boil, and truly, if I do not communicate well with those around me, I will lose the path to loving, in the heat of one impatient moment after another. But there is an elevator to the path of love, as St. Therese said, and it is to follow God's will, or "the littlest way." And I'm pretty sure being little is akin to being like a child. So we can start there. ;)

Linking up with Tuesday Talk

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Friend Diet in 7QT

This Summer has been a hard, hard Summer.  It has been hot, and we've been almost equally as excruciatingly busy. I hate to sound negative. But, as usual, I am making New School Year Resolutions, such as Save! Get Fresh Air! Diet! along with every other mother. ;) It isn't Lent, and it isn't a New Year. But it is a new Fall, and I for one, need a plan!  In the interest of full disclosure, I thought by now that I would have recovered from having Annabel a year ago. The truth is, I don't feel unhealthy, but I don't feel really fit either. In honor of her first birthday, I'm going on a diet to shed the last ten or so pounds of baby weight that  have been carrying just a minute too long.  Let's be perfectly honest: I am in average health, and I want to be in great health.

I am calling this The Friend Diet. Why?  Food can become a comfort, a solace, and a pleasure. But it can also take the place of people in our lives, because it is so comforting, we desire it more than anything else. According to our faith, if we are eating more than our healthy share, this is called Gluttony, one of the seven deadly (mortal) sins.

So, instead of making food our friend, let's take care of our health, and instead Be a good friend, to others!

My Fall Diet: (The Friend Diet)

My Top 7 Requirements:

1. no Beer (only the occasional glass of wine with dinner)
2. no Fast Food restaurants
3. Spinach  & Strawberry smoothies, usually for lunch
4. Pretzels, bananas, carrots for snacks
5. Pepperoni, black beans, & nuts for protein
6. Eggs for any meal of the day
7. Lots of rice, curry, low sodium teriyaki

Also, an Addendum:
-soup is ok if low-calorie and low-sodium
-vegetables, salad are welcome options
-no breads or bready foods like thick pretzels;), similar to Atkins
-low calcium- very little cheese and milk  because of caloric intake
-no sugar

I am taking it a week at a time. Whenever the kids/family have pizza or breadsticks or spaghetti, I will have an alternative meal, such as low-sodium soup, Thai or some type of low-calorie curry dish with rice. If they eat fast food or fried food, I will be a friend to myself and make something that falls within my guidelines for this diet. If I'm tempted by donuts or pop-tarts, I will curb cravings with a healthy snack like fruits and vegetables.

This week I have a meal plan:

Monday: Eggs for breakfast, Strawberry smoothie for lunch, Thai curry rice for dinner
Tuesday: Eggs for breakfast, Spinach smoothie for lunch, Pepperoni and plain rice and black beans for dinner
Wednesday: Low cal Oatmeal for breakfast, Spinach smoothie for lunch,  tuna salad for dinner
Thursday: Oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch, low sodium vegetable soup for dinner, glass of wine
Friday eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, sushi for dinner
Snack options on all days: crispy pretzels, carrots, bananas, and lots of water

Today being Friday, I'm happy to report that I stuck to the diet, and success can be chalked up to my meal plan, prayer, and talking through it with Stephen each night for accountability and moral support. I would usually say things like, "I'm on day 5. I've only cheated once in the past five days. I had a beer while you were gone Tuesday night at your workout class." And he would encourage me, "That's great!" and sometimes say, "Well make sure you watch the carbs in your snacks, those pretzel crackers have x amount of calories or carbs."

My treats built into my plan:
Protein shake with milk (this is super yummy)
Fancy Falafel salad
Going out to dinner for a gourmet (& low calorie) meal

Now to work on my meal plan for next week! (with the help of Pinterest, of course! See my Dietary Restrictions board on Pinterest, here). It should look very similar to the first week, but I plan to include some variety, so that I continue to choose good food and I do not burn out on my plans.

As for exercise. I go for a walk everyday. My goal is to go further and to go faster. I have the habit of daily walking (and that's going really well), but I will not promise daily jogging. I will start by alternating between walking and running until I am in good enough shape to go for a real jog or run. I haven't been able to really run a mile well since before having children. (AKA College). I also plan to do the 7 minute workout everyday and two times back to back as often as I can.

With this combination of wellness in body, I plan to become stronger spiritually through the sacrifices this Friend Diet will require. If you're wondering how this differs from Whole 30, the answer is I'm not cutting out all alcohol or all dairy. I'm limiting them greatly. And you guys, I don't even have to SAY that sugar will not be my friend on this Diet! Ha! But this diet is unique, as it is something I feel that I can handle and carry out to the end.  :0)

What about you? If any of this resonates with you, leave a comment and tell me how you stay in good health, or hope to improve your health this Fall.
linking up with Kelly and the other quick takers at This Ain't The Lyceum for 7QT

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why I Will {Never} Vote Trump

As many of you know, I'm a registered Republican voter (currently), but I have had some deep reservations about the situation during this current election season. And so, once again, I must make my caveat that politics is not the name of my game. But.... it's almost September in an election year. So speak now or forever hold your peace, right?!

Friends, family, readers: today I'm here to tell you why I cannot in good conscience vote for Trump. Yes, I am Catholic, yes I am Pro-life. And until now, I've been a solidly Republican voter. But folks, just because I have up until now kept my allegiances with this generally Pro-life party, that does not make me an idiot!!!!!

It is with buckets of scandal that Trump has come this far. And I'm beyond disappointed in him. Let's all wash our mouths out with soap, our eyes out with  earwax, our faces with blood. Because that's how much sense this political race makes.

Will I ever vote for this man that I am convinced is not (at this time) a good guy? Let me lay out just a couple of reasons why I would *never* "Vote Trump":

1. He is dirty, which is indicative of problems with self-control.

He is indecent. He has eluded to the size of his penis in debate. He has said in many public arenas (and many shoddy American publications) that "Melania isn't disappointed." She is his second wife, for goodness sake. Folks, I would like to look the other way on this issue. I would like to ignore it and not bother bringing it to light. But I have serious problems with this attitude, because not only is it disgusting and unbelievable to discuss private matters in public, penis size ensures nothing and speaks zero to Melania's satisfaction.  (in bed).


(insert THROW UP emoji here and shaking my head in SHAME)

2. Second, I cannot in good conscience vote for Trump, because he threatened to run as an Independent, which was a major Faux-Pas to the Republican party and the other nominees.

This speaks to a bigger issue. He is unkind. To threaten in front of the country and your running mates that you would "become an Independent," is to say that you will turn your back on every one of those other candidates and flat-out use your money and (sketchy) power to deliver you to the back door of the White House.

What else does that say? It says your loyalty is not with the true Republican party.

And not much of Donald Trump is loyal to the party anyway!

Some may say in defense, "His constituents don't care." Well, that's because many of the people who have followed him this far have left the true values of the party behind in the dust. This isn't just a predicament: it's a scandal. Read more ~ Conservatives stand against Trump.**

3. He is racist and he isn't Pro-life.

His answer for immigration laws is to build a wall, ban Muslims, and shoot people. How is this Pro-Life?  He is denigrating toward the love of the poor, and also those different from him. Of course he makes awkward comments like "I love Hispanics!" under a guise of love, but threatens to deport them, and really, what about this right-wing extremist views  fascism is loving?! He wants to monitor Muslims in a database and "do things that were unthinkable a year ago." #spoiledamericanspeaks #fearbasedreasonisnotreasonatall

4. He appeals to emotions, which ensures he gets the majority on his team.

Donald Trump uses fear, he uses the tactic of arousing emotions to win people to his side. There is nothing wrong with emotions (read: Paul Simon singing at the Democratic National Convention), but these "emotions" have to be backed up by something other than hate and fear. ***Right now, his bullying measures up to demagogue politics and emotional ranting.  At least Hillary can clearly articulate her views, and stand up to political nonsense with discourse that holds weight and makes sense in the sphere of her colleagues (other serious politicians).

5. He is ill-equipped to run for President.

Donald Trump isn't running for Governor of Iowa. He is running for President of the United States. Folks, he's a charlatan. ****And if you buy his crap-ola, you are deeply ignorant of what is really going on in our country and how we are viewed internationally. His solutions to some of the deepest problems in our country are flip-flop. He isn't staunchly Republican or Pro-life. This should grieve and disturb us: we are putting our faith in a man who isn't much better in this camp than his running mate, Hillary.

Do you really want to vote into the White House someone who is not equipped to run our country? That is plain ignorance speaking.

He is not running for a small role. We need someone kind, caring, decent, and open-minded, because our country is a very diverse place. In every city except maybe Nashville, foreigners are inching out of minority and into majority status. We can't base this country on fear, hatred, and flashy casinos disguising a disgusting man with several layers of self-loathing in his heart. I'm not arguing for anti-Catholic religious un-freedom. I'm arguing that Church and State are separate- more in this election than any before it- and we need to keep our heads and stop worrying about infintesimal issues that apply only to a tiny minority of people in our country.

Money can't buy love, and it certainly should not buy the Presidency. Because, folks, the White House is not a business. But what is more important is that Donald Trump is not a man of prayer. Even if we poured several gallons of disinfectant on this man, he would not come out clean.

Prayer is what this nation needs. We need to pray for humility and for leadership. But when our country is already oozing diversity, we do not need a dirty, fear-based monotone to direct our next (every) move. We need someone strong, with a strong family (and by that I mean strong politically- someone who knows how to take the stress of the job in stride), and someone who does indeed value Community and humility.

Honestly, I think we can find that in Hillary.  Imagine if Melania Trump were running for President. The Trumps are probably not Feminists, and that's because from all accounts, they seem more like air-heads. In Hillary, we have someone intelligent, well-educated, and experienced in politics.  Sadly, Hillary doesn't seem to show a strong footing when it comes to morality about ethics and Pro-life matters. Chalk it up to ignorance; it is a sad situation.  Maybe only the White House could be the proper schooling for that deep seed of immorality sprinkled throughout her campaign.

She just needs to be schooled on the Pro-life ways and the Pro-life bandwagon.  And that may yet be the next echelon in our country.

Here's the thing: it is easy to bash Hillary. I understand, and I've been there, done that.  It is easy to feel that someone "isn't on our team," and thus do a lot of bashing against her.  However, if there is one thing I've learned from blogging, it is that lessons must be learned from experience, or, "on the job," as they say.

Some may say that because of Hillary's beliefs, she is an incompetent loser. I find this far from true. We must look beyond legalism in this case: strictness in all areas. If we are "strictly Pro-life," then we might lose a handle on what it looks like to be a good Presidential candidate. This would be, in my estimation, foolishness. The alternative to to smarmy is smarmy?!

If we douse Hillary and Donald Trump with disinfectant, AKA, the White House, who will come out clean(er) clean(ish)?

Sadly, that's the question I'm asking these days. It is not a question I want to be asking, but sadly that's the one I'm left with.

In closing, I would say that of course, we all want to be right. I may not be right on all of these points I've made. Feel free to chime in in the comments sections. I have eager ears! ;)


linking up with the awesome (go follow!) Beth @ Our Pretty Little Girls for Tuesday Talk #tuestalk

Friday, August 19, 2016

An Update: Back to School in 7 QT

Oh my gosh, you guys. Getting ready for school-- especially when you have three going for the first time- is such a TASK. In the past two weeks, we have celebrated a birthday (Anders), gone shopping and run #alltheerrands, gone on vacation taking all 5 kids on an airplane to Minnesota and Wisconsin, and started school. I'm taking deep, deep breaths. #yogapants

So how did this go down and how did we break it down? I knew you were going to ask. :0)


First, we established that we would have a week full of errands in preparation for school. Nothing about our normal routine that week, just errands. We took out a tiny bit of extra cash, because errands. For one solid week. Thankfully shopping is *not* our normal modus operandi, other than our $1-for-each-kid splurge at the Dollar Store every Friday.

Great clips was $11 for each child. Grand total (since I had taken Anders the week before) ? 40 including tip for two hairdressers.  I wasn't sure what we needed at Goodwill, I just felt like we needed to take a look around in between going to expensive shoe stores and Sweet Frog frozen yogurt.

so coordinated. ;)

I dragged them all to Goodwill... hair freshly cut and Great Clips tattoo freshly administered by Molly~ Notice the adorable matching shirts, one of which is sporting a splash of blue paint. #welovegoodwill

We ended up just getting a couple of much-needed shirts for Annabel, a couple of t-shirts for Anders, and some pajamas.  If it feels funny buying non-school clothes in the Fall, you don't live in the South. ;)  But ya'll? Grand total =  $5 flipping dollars. #ridic.  We went for Payless shoestore, and bought UP with the $20 black Mary Janes for each girl. Total for the day including Fro Yo? $75. Well done, self.


Next, we had to go to Cecilia's Closet at their school to find used uniforms that would work for this year.

Trying it on for size... how we do ;)
Aaaaaand, this is what it looks like having 3 children in Catholic School!!!! :-D
And you guys, I just have a brag about our school. We bought all of their uniforms used, and we bought shirts, gym uniforms, and sweaters... and the grand total was barely over $100. Ok, it was $103. What even is that?! Ridiculous, that's what it is!!! 


Then we had to take a break, so we decided to go to Wisconsin. #laughcry Which I detailed in this post.


When we got back, we had Doctor Visits and buying all of their Ballet clothes!! A new week, a new budget. I'm not going to pretend Ballet clothes are cheap. But thank God for insurance and very healthy kids! Not gonna lie, my kids have been in utterly perfect health for as long as I can remember. I completely chalk that up to daily bath time. #cleanestofcleankids #knockonwood #iseeyoufall #coldseasonaroundthecorner



Wait, I have a 3rd Grader (?!?!)

And what?! Frances is a Kindergartener (?!)

My precious Pre-K-er (!!! is that a word?)

Let's see if we can get one with her smiling...

There we go!


aaaaaaaand Mom----> at home with TWO kiddos



It's a beautiful thing. ;) Really.

Bonus take: I don't even have to buy Fall clothes until well into the middle of September here. We'll have some cool nights, but that's Fall in Tennessee. We have all four seasons, but full swing Fall isn't really until near the end of October. #autumn #ifyourebeingfancy

Bring it on.
Adding my link to Kelly at 7QT

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Of Travels and Trunks

~Oh Hey!^ First of all, if you haven't, click over to my blog to see the new design! I am so excited and I'm sending a million hugs your way, Rhonda Ortiz!* ~

Now, on with the post.
How do you have a good vacation? Do you have any guidelines in place? Do you plan ahead? Do you wing it? Do you choose a cool place and hope it delivers? I'm happy to report that we went on a trip  to Minnesota and Wisconsin this past week, and it was MAJORLY fun and well-planned by my cousin Carmen! It wasn't Disney. But it was great.

I wanted to engage the five senses on this vacation. I wanted to experience something instead of living vicariously through others' travels and trunks.  Let's see how I did! lol


The main thing I desired was to be present. I wasn't looking for gourmet food or expensive, fancy restaurants on this trip. My uncles and cousins went fishing almost everyday we were in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We ate fresh fried fish that they had caught and filleted that same day. It was delicious! We were able to make our kids resist getting too many souvenirs by buying them Lindt chocolate balls the last day. I think it worked! ;)


Besides the crowds of airports and restaurants, we saw many sights. We did a bit of sightseeing, but most of all, we escaped the crowds by going to Wisconsin to stay at a beautiful retreat center and lodge called Heartwood. I'm happy to say I saw lots of beautiful views of nature, lakes, and trails. We were in the land of 10,000 lakes, as a matter of fact!


There is nothing like escaping the oppressive heat of Summer in the South, only to find out that the weather for the week up North would be in the 70's and lower 80's. I don't know how many times I thought about moving there. The fresh air and crisp, clear blue skies of the Northern Woods were amazing. The cool breezes refreshed my soul.

My nephew Grey
Have I mentioned how much I adore being an Auntie?!

Cousins Emma (2nd cousin once removed- her Grandma and my Mom are first cousins), Evelyn, and Liam (first cousins, once removed- their Dad is my first cousin)


We were hoping for quiet. And although babies scream and the crowds provide a dull roar, we all found a definite break from the normal. For myself, I'm happy to report that the clatter of dishes was not mine to hear this past week, except for one evening, when I was assigned dinner chores.  Being in the woods provided sounds of bugs, birds, and rain. I listened to my sister read our children a book. The clash of everyday din was far, far away. I also loved hearing my Minnesota cousins say "Taco." It sounded like, "Ta-coal." Rhymes with Stockholm.  #iguess #laughcry #wink

Como Park & Gardens- see more from our trip on instagram 
(I'm still catching up~ laugh cry wink!;)


Souvenirs come in the form of woodland creatures, as well as shells, quartz, and sand on the bottom of our shoes. Happiness is feeling a(n actual) cool breeze in August. Happiness is to hug my sister and cousins and niece and nephew, to hold a cup of coffee and my Kindle, to feel my feet resting on an ottoman in front of me-- these are the familiar and amazing feelings of being on vacation and traveling. It was actually so cool out, that Molly hung out with her cousins in the trunk of a van. #neverpossibleinTN

All in all, my goal was to be present to my family, put my iPhone down most of everyday, hang out with my sister and her kids, see my cousins and extended family, and take just a few pictures of it all. While engaging my five senses, I felt the Spirit moving and giving us all life. I breathed it all in, and took a deep breath of thankfulness at the end. And I virtual high fived Michael Phelps every evening.
My Dad cracking a joke the last day/night we were there~ eating at a restaurant in the Mall of America~ he said, "This would give Chuck E. Cheese a run for its money"**

I wanted to be present, not distracted. I want to be with my people. I want to engage my five senses in travel and life bursting with activities and conversation. I want to appreciate place, people, and the things we see and do.  In order to do these things, will turn off my phone if I need to. And pack a smaller trunk. ;)


*If you are looking for excellent design, work ethic, and a reliable, friendly person, I highly recommend you visit the website, or follow her on Twitter (go do it!) Rhonda Ortiz has a lot to offer other than headers, and if you are in any way interested in a site redesign or something design-related, check out her portfolio. ~end credits~


Linking Up With Tuesday Talk

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

An Announcement...!!!

Hey Everyone! Today, instead of the usual Tuesday Talk post or article, I have a big announcement! :-)

{drumroll please}

.... So, after much thought and a little consternation, I have decided and will go ahead and officially change the header and name of my blog! Of course I did not make that decision today. lol  The title will now and from now on be- simply- Tacy Williams Beck.  I think all of my posts already have this tagline.

Now, I know. I know! I am of the mind that too much change is a bad thing. I have contemplated differing names for this blog, and nothing felt right. I hate to think another change is headed my way! However, trying out different fun names has become tiresome. Yes an in fact, I have already done that many times in the past, and I'm ready to find something more permanent! ;)  Fortunately for you, I'm not making a huge change- I'm just going to my name, which is, in fact, already my .com.

I have decided that I do not fit the "Picture a Skyline" title any more, and that's why I will just be my name from now on. I'm making that the title of this online space, because I decided that it fit the bill and I was ready to simplify!!! ;) I'm not changing anything else, in terms of design, really!  I did update the pictures on my About profile page if anyone would like to check that out!

I am hoping that it will be *less* confusing, and not more... as it is my blog and web address already.

I am also happy to report/share that I am hoping that this change is a little bit of a renaissance when it comes to my work in this space. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but, we shall soon find out! lol

I am looking toward the future with anticipation of grace, being myself, joy, love, and the Spirit of God living in my heart and dwelling in this space. And I just feel that this is the next right step, and as someone I respect once said, "Do the next right thing." That is what I hope to do!!! haha

I really do love you guys, my readers. I feel so blessed to be a writer and to have the great privilege of sharing my thoughts and ideas in this space. It is a blessing in my life, and my readers are no small piece to that beautiful puzzle. ;)

And now... I'm headed on a two-week break/blogging hiatus. We are getting on a plane and going to Minnesota and Wisconsin (YAY!!!)* which means we're pulling a Grace and taking all 5 kids to a Family Reunion {!!!} Yes, you can pray for me/us!!).  When I get back, I will be putting three out of our five kids in school, and I will be blogging under this new title! Hurray! :0)

Isn't it actually pronounced "j-if"?

Now I am under no illusion: I know it's really no big deal, and that change is natural, normal, and fully appropriate in this world! But, I just wanted to let you guys know, like I do! I've put a lot of thought into this one. ;)

While I'm gone, here are some articles from my blog that have received the most comments:

What I Would Say If My Child Were Gay (10 comments)

The Catholic vs. Protestant View of the Mass  (16 comments)

My Kids Were Bad at Mass: Yes I'm Coming Out With It (7 comments)

Review: Veggie Tales in the House (7 comments)

And here is my contribution to Dappled Things:

The Little Oratory

A lot of my articles do not receive comments. But I do know that people are reading based on my stats. I appreciate your thoughts, but please know that I appreciate your readership, whether or not you feel compelled to leave a comment. Thanks to Rhonda Ortiz for the design help!!!! (Highly recommend her, FYI!)

And now, especially if you are reading this in a feed reader---> two weeks from now when I'm back in this space under a new title, click on over to the blog to see the new deal/digs, and if you have not already done so, go subscribe to in your feed reader!!! :0) 
Thanks guys.
*Did you know my Mom is from Minnesota? And we're getting to see my sister and family who are coning from Seattle
adding my link to Tuesday Talk