Friday, July 27, 2018

Have Diapers, (And Books) Will Travel (7QT)


Lately the weather has been very rainy and hot.  Luckily we escaped while we could, but I was a bit nervous about our trip to Florida, because I worried it would be even hotter, perhaps even rainier, and we also were not sure if we would have a pool at the Air BnB where we were planning to stay.  We signed up for this condo because it had enough beds and the owner had said in his ad for his condo, "Fish and turtles swim right outside your window-- it is like having your own private aquarium."  It is so funny now that that was our selling point.

Our trip

When we finally made it to our Air bnb, in Panama City FL yes there were turtles.... but/ and we were simply, absolutely shocked at how nice it was. The condo was part of a very nice resort with access to several pools, an activity island pool, hot tub, and splash pad, which a private store and restaurant. The resort set-up reminded us of Disney World.  They even had a trolley system, which was basically large 12 passenger go-carts that took you over a tiny go-cart sized bridge to the beach and pool.  The kids literally thought they had died and gone to Daniel Tiger heaven.  Also, the weather was PERFECT. It never felt much hotter than Tennessee to me, except when we were swimming in the ocean and got pretty tanned playing on the beach.  So win!


Of course in the car I had to listen to some podcasts. This podcast episode with Hollywood star Dax Shepard (of Crosby from Parenthood fame, Punk'd)  reignited my love for vulnerable midwestern conversations.  After losing my faith in my broken side of self (and consequently all humanity, in the process), this conversation with his mother is invaluable.  It reminded me of my days at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.  We started visiting the Juvenile Hall as a ministry, and my dear friend Meredith and I made a sign in the chapel saying, "Get Re-Juvy-nated" to promote the ministry.  I think you will certainly get rejuvenated if you listen to this podcast episode in its entirety.  I've gotten burned on being vulnerable but I am reminded that we should keep having these conversations so that people walking through suffering feel less alone.  Coincidentally, she references the movie Boyhood, which I have not seen but have now bumped to the top of my list for Must-See TBW movies.

Speaking of vulnerable topics, let's talk about mental illness for a minute. Travel- even day trips- has been known to cure my anxiety.  But even with the time to re-coup and refresh in Florida, I almost had a panic attack earlier this week after we had gotten back from our trip.   I had had an espresso semi-late in the day (about 4PM), and as I was trying to fall asleep that night, I lay awake in bed and my heart was racing. I prayed a rosary, and as much as sacramentals help, medicine works wonders. I took a double dose of both my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicine and I definitely slept like a baby. When mental illness is aggrieved and acting up (and who knows how much sugar and caffeine play into this scenario), meds are very nice. I know it also has something to do with protein intake, snacks, etc.... BUT when you are regularly having panic attacks, I really think a reset button is one of the wisest things you can do.  It always takes a few days, but the memory of vacation and much less responsibility can really go along way in relaxing you in your mental space as well as physical.

I'm currently reading Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham.  This illuminated for me a subject which I previously did not know much about, namely the race riots of Tulsa, OK in 1921. My first complaint of this book was that it seemed to have been published - in part- because this gives voice to the minority. Then, I found out the author was white, and I was blown away (not least because the cover and premise - told from the voice of a young black girl- is confusing and there is no author picture on the book jacket).   Sometimes -- and this is going to be dicey, so bear with me-- a minority gets a job simply for diversity, not necessarily because of their skill set.  Consequentially, some of black culture, specifically writers, get(s) a bad rap.  This books takes a lot of twists and turns and you have to be really patient with the amount of detail she incorporates in all 300 or so pages of heavy dialogue and the introduction of many characters. Altogether the book did a very good job of illuminating the subject. I just couldn't believe how dense I was. Oh well, I'm just thankful to have  enough time to have read this and several other books while on vacation.

My article for Dappled Things is finally live!

Flannery O'Connor's Humorous Conception of Racism 

short but helpful (i feel) article on how O'Connor's stories illuminate the prejudice of the lower class in the South. I tried to incorporate as many details, quotations, and "Flannery-isms" if you will, from the story as I could in a short form essay.  Go take a gander.... if you dare. :)

An article worth your time

Pope Francis and Spiritual Virtuosos @ Word on Fire

linking up with Kelly as per usual!!!

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Youtube video, Summer Lessons, and Something Worth Reading (7QT)

I love this quote, and I have found it particularly inspiring this Summer!

In the mean time, I will try to keep this Post short, because I know where you all would rather be! Not inside reading blogs, that is for sure.


It is safe to say I'm obsessed with botany.  I have gotten into the habit of going on a regular 3 mile route for my walks for the nights when I do not go to the gym. I can be found stopping every few feet or so to examine a tree or plant. I may take a photograph of a leaf only so that I can plug it into my Picture This app when I get home to find out the Latin scientific name and sometimes the English name as well.

I am compiling all of the leaves and trees I have discovered, and I'm analyzing the differences using the handbook from Audubon- the guide to North American trees, Eastern region. I am fascinated in particular by the 'fruit' of trees, which varies from berries to acorns, to helicopters and spiky balls, to beanpods and the technical name for a magnolia pinecone, which is "aggregate of capsules." The flowers of trees include pollen. (according to the Audubon guide). Molly took this picture of me as I was retrieving a leaf from a very tall mulberry tree. The branch was just out of reach!

This {...} Youtube video

I am totally not into beauty videos on youtube (I'm being completely honest here) but this video on makeup by Emily Noel absolutely captivated me!  A review of ten items bought at Dollar Tree... and I love her conclusion so very much! Borderline hot mess, but you have to watch the video to find out if there is anything worth owning from a Cheap-y standpoint!


It has been broiling, cruel, sweltering her in the American South.  It has been hot.  Our car was in the shop for a couple of days, and I had had high hopes of taking the kiddos to the splash pad to cool off one morning. Instead, we ventured to *walk* to the nearest playground. Yes, me and 6 kiddos crossing busy streets and all of that jazz. A total of 1/2 mile there, an back.  Chugging water and seeking out shade were the things that saved us, but to be honest, the heat index of over 100 wiped me of all energy for the rest of that day.  The only thing I could do was make some cornbread and watch the great british baking show.... and I think I heated up some chili.

Lesson learned: Water and Shade, my friends. Water and shade.



We are headed out of town! IN the near future. Stephen's words: "Well, we're leaving on a Sunday, but we can still go to the early Mass."

MAN THE DUDE NEVER MISSES CHURCH.  I'm serious.  #sonofapreacherman #apostolicsuccession


I have heard from our contractor that by the time we are back from vacation, our attic will be DONE and USABLE.  Cue the choirs singing!!!! We will have a usable attic space before July is over and done!!!  They are currently: Building the railing for the stairs, finishing the white painted edging from when the stain was done, and installing lights. Hallelujah chorus.



I was hoping to be able to direct you to my latest post for Dappled Things today (on Flannery! Hurrah... ! And if not cliche, exciting), but unfortunately as we prepare to leave for the beach on Sunday, I was not able to get the last edits in in time! We will be spending a week poolside with the beach close at hand, so outdoorsy it is and writerly it is not, this week.... I suppose? Stay tuned....
teatime in progress....

{insert a preternatural "MORE?!" here}

My Recent Reading Progress

So far this month, I have been taking my time with Neil Gaiman's Stardust.   In my quest for intrigue, I'm quite happy.  This book is about witches, falling in love, innocence, and the quest that will lead one young man into close contact with a fallen star, who is actually a female character- a kind woman with I suppose you could call it, star power.  It has inspired me to believe that everything Gaiman writes is worthy of belonging on my TBR list.  And it just makes me soooooo  happy.

All in all, grateful for this Season, my friends, my family, and this sweet upcoming journey of homeschooling looming soon for us in the Fall.  #grateful #grace  #godisverygood
linking up with kelly