Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Inspiration (4)

This post is the final post of my 31 day blogging challenge!

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Thankful Thursday: Fall 2

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Giving thanks to God in everything.

I am thankful for these lasting fall days, so soon to change into winter. I am thankful for heat and warm food.

I am thankful for easy fall crafts. The girls did this one. Cut a tree trunk out of brown construction paper and glue to a white sheet of paper. Using fall paint colors and wine corks, paint the "leaves" on.

I am thankful for fall fun times. Raking the never-ending leaves is so much more fun with a ride at the end.

I am so thankful when these two get together to play and spend time together. They enjoyed each other so much on this day they wanted to have a sleepover.

Which meant this child was in my room for a bit. I'm thankful that he doesn't hesitate to still snuggle up. (But he has such a hard time going to sleep. Ideas?)

I am thankful for imagination and games. The boys came up with their version of Pictionary. I like their categories.

P = person, place, or animal
D = difficult
T = transformers
C = cooking

I am thankful for crafty, inspirational days (October has been full of them). My mom let the girls help paint her wooden carved flowers. Miss L is ready to be a little helper. I used to help my own grandma with things like this so it's such a nice sight to see.

Gosh, these kittens. Nothing gets done around them. But I love to see Mr. A's sweetness around them (the others too). I am thankful for the love of all God's creatures.

Even this one. I am thankful at least one of my children really loves the outdoors.

I am thankful my first attempt at a quilt towel turned out fairly decent. The lines aren't the most straight but I think it lends to the charm. This towel makes me happy when I see it hanging up. Now, to make more!!!

I am thankful for sunshine. Every sunny day I glimpse the rays of the sun coming into our fireplace room. It's so beautiful.

I am thankful for silly dance parties.

And this sweet, sweet girl (mostly, she is 2.5 after all):

I am thankful for fun and educational field trips. This was The National Museum of the Great Lakes. It was rather a smaller museum but it was filled with information - more than one can grasp at first - as well as a tour of an actual ship. Pretty neat.

I am thankful for easy and fun science experiments. We are studying bats and learned how a bat's large ears help it hear better.

I am thankful for fun hands-on school. We (finally!) wrapped up Medieval Times with a feast. It was far from authentic, but it was full of fun. The kids loved it. 

Miss L wants to know when we are going to have another feast.

Again, I am thankful for the sunshine. Hopefully the winter is not too cloudy. I took this shot on the way home from the dentist. (I had to fix a small crack on a molar.) I wish this picture showed what I saw. The glow and rays of the sun mixed with the brightness of the remaining trees and flowers was breath taking.

And I am thankful I have one more day to this 31 day blogging challenge. Really and truly I have enjoyed it. I questioned blogging at the beginning of the month, and these past 30 days have shown me that it is something that needs to continue. For now anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Look to the Saints

So I did not put up a post yesterday. Instead, I spent some much needed time with my husband, who has put in a crazy number of work hours (for his "real" job and for a side project) since the 4th of July.

Sometimes, we need to know when to say, "No." More often, we need to know when to say, "Yes."

Last night at CCD, I had the kids playing games for All Saints and All Souls day to learn more about the saints as well as Church tradition and teaching. The night went really well. One thought kept popping into my head: saying "yes" to God.

For some, I think it is all too easy to think of the saints as "other" and not as real people, with real difficulties, and to feel as if they could never, ever be a saint as holy or patience or helpful as a particular saint was.

Mostly, I believe this comes from a young faith, and from not studying the saints. It was certainly a feeling I shared when I first joined the Church. I did not understand who the saints were or how they could be so very useful in our own path to holiness.

But we are all called to be saints. As our own Pope Francis said:

"To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone."

All of us are on the path - or not - to sainthood. We can look to the saints, not to copy their life, but for guidance in how to pursue our own path, our own conversion. We should help each other to achieve sainthood.

When you read of the saints, you hear their "YES!" to God. Sometimes it is a very quiet, almost reluctant yes, but you hear it nonetheless.

It took many years for St. Augustine to convert, but when he did, watch out!

St. Martin only wanted to live a monastic life, but ended up as Bishop of Tours.

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, initially wanted to pursue religious life, but ended up married with nine children (5 to survive to adulthood, all girls, all who entered religious life).

St. Paul the Apostle actively persecuted Christians until his conversion. Imagine if he had said no?

All the saints were human. All had their struggles, their own paths to holiness. So do we all. We must keep our eyes focused on God, keep putting one step in front of the other. Here are two articles that may help you along your path:

And remember:

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It is Well with My Soul

In the book I am reading (Walking with Purpose), the author mentions a snippet of the story of the author of the hymn "It is Well with My Soul." The story is quite moving. Check it out for yourself.

Of course now you want to listen to it, right? Here you go:

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge (nearly finished!!!):

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Walking with Purpose - the book

I nearly forgot to blog today. Only five days left of this 31 day blogging challenge!

I will keep it short. A friend gave me this book:

And it is good. And I am only eight pages into the book. It's good. I was hooked with the introduction when the author recounted her experience of adopting a standard poodle puppy into the family not realizing that this dog can grow to be quite large. That story was quickly followed by her accidentally using super glue in place of ear drops for her daughter (ouch!). Lisa is a real mom in today's crazy world wanting to help others prioritize their days.

What does God want in our lives?

What motivates us? Ultimately it should be love for God. However, on a deeper level, are we able to 100% say yes, it is God motivating us or is it due to pride, sensuality, or opinion of others?

How can we know ourselves well enough to work toward our ultimate goal: heaven?

We can fill our lives with so much activity - or not - but is it the right activity? Is it the right motivation? So often we feel that there is never enough time in a day. The truth is, there isn't. There is never enough time to do all that I can do as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, and a daughter of God. But remember, God always gives us enough time (and energy) if we are doing what He needs us to do.

God bless.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014


I love looking at old photographs. Most often there is no strategy to the picture, no lens play, and yet the photos draw you in.

Strangely, I feel hope when I look through family photographs. Despite knowing the present circumstances of these same people, I feel a potential. Isn't that what we all see when we look at young, smiling faces today? Everyone needs our prayers, big and little, to find the Truth, to find that potential.

My mom and five of her siblings (there were 8 total in the end). Can you guess which one she is?

I am linking up with Epiphanies of Beauty for the weekly "beauty" link-up.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Morning Reflections (21): plans gone awry

This week was NOT what I planned.

Is it ever?

In the thick of it, I am usually so frustrated with change, because apparently I like to control life. It is an ongoing lesson of letting go, regrouping, staying thankful, and breathing.

So this week was not what I planned, but in the end, it was quite a good week overall.

School Time... We started the week off well. Wednesday morning the kids and I went to see Hansel and Gretel at a local theatre. Except that it wasn't Hansel and Gretel, at least not the story I knew. The only similar thing was a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel who, in the end, pushed the witch in the fire. Everything else was changed, the attitudes were changed, and I did not like it. At all.

After the play, if we had gone home for lunch and school work, the rest of the week might have followed. But we didn't. We went to the craft store instead. Ooh la la. I was spacey after that. And yucky stuff - like a migraine, happened.

The beauty of it was, the kids played so well together, coming up with new games, reading, and drawing lots of pictures. We ended up helping my mom paint her carved flowers, I wood burned some little pine cones for her, we played with kittens, shot bow and arrows, played outside (and lost arrows), and had fun together.

So we will just roll one week over two weeks and try to fit in extra work here and there to catch up. I love homeschooling.


Outside My Window... It's cloudy but light so the sun has risen. The days are supposed to "warm" up for a few days: an Indian summer. That will be nice. And also make it difficult to concentrate on work.


...for my family, to get over this little cold and for my migraines to ease up (I can feel another coming on as I type this).

...for Fatima, that she finds answers - and relief - from her doctor.

...for my mom who is a *little* stressed.


Health News... That small cold of last Saturday is still hanging around. I think I am finally catching it. As far as exercising and LiveFitMama, this week has not been good. I started off great and even planned on extra walks this weekend. But no... more plans gone awry. Before, I would have thrown an internal fit, but nope, not this time. I am recognizing that I am not super woman. My body needs rest sometimes. I will start back up tomorrow if I can. If not, a new week on Monday begins.

Today... I am heading off here for some head medicine. I will rest if need be, but between resting my house is in desperate need of cleaning.

This Week... Those darn plans again... I do hope to start sewing these cute kitchen towels, finish up the kids' Halloween costumes (did I say finish? I mean start them...), and we have a trip planned to visit a Great Lakes Museum that just opened last spring.

A Final Thought...

"Many are the plans of the human heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures." -Proverbs 19:21

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

God Alone

"The key to [a friendship with God] is very simple -- true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationship with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our heart." --Pope Emeritus

I think perhaps this goes along with yesterday's post about excuses. Do we place our hopes in God alone?

Do I rely on God for my material necessities? Am I thankful for what I DO have? Do I wish to have more? Am I responsible with the money given me?

Do I spend time wanting to do something other than the task set before me? Do I allow that time to interfere with what needs to be done? Do I spend time whining that I wish I could do "X" when the moment for that is simply not right now.

How much time and worry do I waste time on wondering how others perceive me? Am I treating and viewing all around me through Jesus' eyes or my own?

Do I rely on my husband (or whomever) more than I do God? Do I forget that this person too is a sinner and needs forgiveness as much as I do?

Sometimes the above can feel so overwhelming. Take it to the Cross. Lay it all out before Jesus, and let the worry go. Continue to do your best. As Blessed Mother Teresa once said,
"God does not expect you to succeed.
God expects you to try."
This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014


"An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded." --St. John Paul II

Wow, this quote of today's saint of the day hit me square in the face. My household is currently experiencing a plethora of excuses from certain little people, and while it can certainly be aggravating, I think I could use this reflection for myself.

What excuses do I make?

~~ I'm tired. ~~

~~ I have to do this right now. ~~

~~ I have no energy. ~~

~~ My mind isn't up to that task. ~~

~~ I have too much to do. ~~

All those excuses have one thing in common: They are all about ME.

Let's turn it around.

~~ Lord, give me the energy to carry out my day according to Your will. ~~

~~ Lord, is it time to take a break and say yes to something new? ~~

~~ Lord, help clear my mind. ~~

~~ Lord, is there something I need to give up in order to take on something You desire of me? ~~

What excuses are keeping me from God?

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Just Show Up

I had this idea for a post earlier this morning.

I wish I could remember what it was, as I am squeaking in a post before I head to bed.

At the end of the day, all I can say is, sometimes you just have to show up.

Typically we go to Friday Mass but with co-op this week, our day is full. Instead, I decided to go today. We barely made it in town, and I had to take a spiritual communion, but we showed up. (We do take a low-gluten host at Sunday Mass.) 

I love the simplicity of daily Mass, and the warmth of the small group of parishioners.

I hesitate to wonder what our day would have been like had we not attended Mass. It was one of those days. 

But it was a day that ended on a high note. I attended my local homeschool mom's night out. That was worth just showing up for. Goodness, we mothers need that release, the laughter, the sharing of community and faith in God. Only one other mom is Catholic, but all the ladies are so welcoming and Christ-centered. What a blessing.

On a day you want to say no, perhaps a yes is really the answer. Or, show up anyway.

God bless.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Monday, October 20, 2014

It's O.K. to be afraid...

...but it's not O.K. to live in fear.

"Fear is useless, what is needed is trust." --Luke 8.50 AND Mark 5:36

There are many things going on with the world today that it is easy to feel useless, alone, depressed, and scared. I wonder often that we think that we cannot feel this way, that we should always have a happy face or boundless energy. Certainly, we should work toward and strive daily to answer God's call in our lives, to persevere despite the ill-will around us. Perhaps, persevere because of it.

We are human.

We feel. We love, rejoice, shout for joy, cry with happiness. We also yell, shake with frustration, crumble in pain, and feel utterly and completely hopeless.

And that is O.K.

Acknowledge it and move on. Ask God to help you overcome your fear. Have faith. Have trust. If you can say nothing else, say this, "Jesus, I trust in  You."

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." --Romans 12:21

For more wonderful Bible quotes to help inspire you to overcome fear, see this page.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Glorious Dawn

My heart is ready, God, I will sing and make music; come, my glory!

Awake, lyre and harp, I will awake the Dawn!

I will praise you among the peoples, Yahweh, I will play to you among nations,

for your faithful love towers to heaven, and your constancy to the clouds.

Psalm 108:1-4


I'm linking up at Epiphanies of Beauty for a "beauty" photo link-up.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge:

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Morning Reflections (20): down in the grumps

Yesterday was a mostly grumpy day. Why? Does it really matter? I think I know why, but what amazes me the most is that I feel like a completely different person on these days. I recognize the grumps, but it does nothing to stop me from acting grumpy.

What does one do to overcome this? Ideas?

I know exercise and food choices (and staying hydrated) go a long way in keeping the grumpy days limited, but what to do once they are here?

Maybe I should read Pooh:


School Time... Week 2 of our second quarter is down, and it was a good week of work. I have no reason to be grumpy over that. I am so thankful for my energy this year. We are slowly doing more extracurriculars and the kids enjoy it.

One of my favorite new book this year for the boys is Handwriting with Ease . Both are still practicing cursive, but HWE is breaking down narration, dictation, and beginning writing for them. The book uses excerpts from great books and other pieces of writing.


Outside My Window... Dawn is lighting the sky. Leaves cover the yard and walkway. Mr. D's CCD pumpkin is melting into pumpkin goo while the mums are looking a tad tired. I have yet to step out, but the house is cool so I am not expecting a warm day. It rained during the night and the weather report calls for some rain today and in the 40s.


...For my father-in-law, that his kidney stone drama is over with once and for all (it has been nearly two months!).

...For my 5th grade CCD students, that they continue to question and discover more of their faith; that they live their faith every day and not just on Wednesday nights and hopefully Sunday morning. (This is really a great age though.)

...For all marriages to be strengthened.


Health News... A small cold may be starting up -- no! Hopefully it is just the up and down of the weather along with the farmers cutting down their fields and smoke in the air from fires. Still, no fun!

I am wrapping up my week 1 challenge from LiveFitMama. Three more to go! The first few days were hard but I found it easing around day 4. I wanted to do day 5 yesterday but did not feel well in the morning. Maybe I should have pushed through. It might have ended my grumpiness.

Today... We have a day of fun scheduled at a local indoor waterpark in celebration of my nephew's birthday -- and just for fun. We have never been to this one, and the kids are incredibly excited.

This Week... Mostly, the week is a normal week of school except we have another busy, busy Friday of co-op, swimming, and dance. On Wednesday, we are also seeing Hansel and Gretel, the play.

Let's hope the week is free of the grumps.

I already feel better. I can add writing to my list of how to break those moments.


A Final Thought...

I pinned this the other day:

Now, that is something to think about. God bless your week.

This post is part of my 31 days blogging challenge:

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