"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Looking Up

Some of you have expressed concern, both here and on Facebook, over the malady that has of late afflicted me. In addition to cabin fever, I am definitely suffering from missing-my-husband-I-pray-I-never-have-to-be-a-single-parent syndrome. A date for my DH's dissertation defense has been set (April 8), which is great (awesome, wonderful, magnificent, amazing, excellent ... you get the picture). But that means I don't see him very much. at all. sometimes for days at a time. But the end is in sight. finally. (Keep up the prayers for both of us!)

And things are looking up this week. Here's why:

-- 1 --

Last Thursday, in an effort to end the day with four live children, and not end up in prison or institutionalized, I threw the school books out the window (not literally) and took the kids to the library for the morning, and then to a local hotel with an 150' water slide for the rest of the day. The results were just what I was hoping they would be: four live children four very physically tired, happy children.

-- 2 --

Friday evening, the kids watched movies with friends, while I attended a young adults night through our parish -- an inspiring talk and then plenty of time for drinking and talking. with adults.


-- 3--

This week the temperatures have been up (twenties and thirties!) and, thus, the children, including The Baby, have been outside, wearing themselves out, and giving me an afternoon break.

-- 4 --

When the sun does peep through a window, I lie on the floor and pretend I'm at the beach. (At which, Miss Rose proclaims, "Mom, you are WEIRD." Thank you very much.)

(Sorry, I can't take a picture of myself lying on the floor in the sun, but I like this picture.)


-- 5 --

My DH brought me a treat last night for with my afternoon coffee. I'm enjoying it right now. (Grace, I don't know how you do it!)

-- 6 --

My Baby is the light of my life and brings happiness everywhere she goes ... well, mostly ... except when she's dumping out bags of dry spaghetti all over the kitchen floor or hiding sippy cups of milk.

-- 7 --

We met some new homeschooling families and had a sledding party yesterday. Thanks, Jasmine!

-- 8 --

I taught myself purl from a video. Knitting is relaxing. (Thanks for the link to the dishcloth pattern, Sarah!) And I'm reading a great novel by a (new to me) Catholic author. (Check out some other knitting and reading at Ginny's.)

-- 9 --

I have great friends, both here and in real life, who, despite our physical distance, continue to inspire and support me. And I love Facebook.

-- 10 --

And, finally, I told a friend last night: God is asking us to do what we're supposed to do, when we're supposed to do it, with as much love as we can muster, and trust that He is faithful. Hey, that's good advice -- maybe I should listen to myself!

Wordless Wednesday - Finally Warm Enough for Baby

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feast of St. Francis de Sales


During the course of the day, recall as often as possible that you are in God's presence. Consider what God does and what you are doing. You will see His eyes turned toward you and constantly fixed on you with incomparable love. Then you will say to Him, "O God, why do I not look always at You, just as You always look at me? Why do You think so often of me, O Lord, and why do I think so seldom of You?" Where are we, O my soul? God is our true place, and where are we? (from St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life -- a must read, by the way)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear Grandma!
Happy birthday to you!

We love you and miss you
(and wish we were in Texas, too!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Daybook - January 17, 2011

Outside my windows... snow. and cold. and wind. and below zero temperatures. and white. and gray. and I wish I could go to the beach.

(my fence is buried in snow drifts, for crying out loud!)

I am listening to... Barlow Girl -- Enough and Porcelain Heart and Thoughts of You and Never Alone and I Need You to Love Me -- and finding the lyrics resonating in my heart.

I am thinking... about how difficult it will be to relearn how to type using only one space in between each sentence, now that I know that's the way I'm supposed to be doing it thanks to a friend's FB post.

I am thankful for... a furnace that is working -- we had a little scare of cold over the weekend, but it was soon fixed. Thank you, furnace repair guy.

I am hoping and praying... that a dear priest friend of ours has a good retreat this week.

From the kitchen... one of our family dinner favorites -- I call it "chunky salad" because there's almost as much of everything else as there is lettuce!

From the schoolroom... we starting The Long Winter today. How appropriate.

I am creating... a scarf?

I am reading... Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance and Citadel of God: A Novel about Saint Benedict.

Noticing that... it is only supposed to get colder.

Remembering... two friends' birthdays (Wednesday and Friday), a brother-in-law's birthday (Thursday), a goddaughter's birthday (Friday), and a mother-in-law's birthday (Saturday). Happy birthday, Tom, Anne, Nick, Teresa, and Joanne!

Around the house... I miss the cozy warm glow of our Christmas tree and am feeling the need to put lights on something ... maybe the ficus?

One of my favorite things... Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookies, especially the hazelnut and mint flavors.

Pondering these words... "Spirituality is what we do with our desires."

A few plans for the rest of the week: Stay warm (that means in the house).

A picture-thought I am sharing: It will warm up again. It will warm up. It will.

For more daybooks, visit here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


My Baby


to accessorize,


when the accessories

belong to



Saturday, January 15, 2011

I have a bad case of ...

... cabin fever.

Definition: irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.

Miss Sunshine painted me this picture to make me feel better.

I don't know if a picture will suffice.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Have you heard ...

... the happy news?

Pope John Paul II

Our beloved John Paul II
is to be beatified on May 1,
Divine Mercy Sunday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Resolutions


Regarding New Year’s resolutions, if you’re anything like me, you either (A) didn’t have time enough to reflect on life and come up with any, or (B) did have time and came up with some, but have already given up on them, because they were just too big and you already feel you “failed.” This was an (A) year for me. I’ve had (B) years, too.

The thing is, January 1 is not the only day of the year we can make resolutions. For a resolution is merely a firm decision to do or not to do something. In fact, St. Francis de Sales, among other great spiritual writers in our tradition, encourages us to make resolutions daily, at the end of our time of prayer and meditation. Our reflections on Scripture and the mysteries of our faith should lead to “special and particular resolutions for [our] own correction and improvement.” We should conclude our time of prayer asking, “Lord, what do you want of me today? What can I do or not do to grow in holiness today? How can I love more today? What can I sacrifice for others today? How can I say yes to You today?"

And, St. Francis continues, “After you rise from meditation you must remember the resolutions and decisions you have made and carefully put them into effect on that very day.” I find a concrete daily resolution much more helpful in my daily pursuit of holiness because, really, our lives are about conversion. And conversion isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence; it is a process. Because “Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none” (St. Gregory of Nyssa).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Wishful Thinking

(It's warmed up to six below zero, nineteen below if you factor in the wind!
I sure could use a warm, sunny beach right about now.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ordinary Time


Our Lord is calling us to sanctify the ordinary tasks of every day, for the perfection of the Christian is to be found precisely there. Let's consider it once more as we contemplate Mary's life.

We can't forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their family, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things — what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God!

For that's what explains Mary's life — her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain but, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our mother, is for us both an example and a way. We have to try to be like her, in the ordinary circumstances in which God wants us to live.

If we act in this way, we give those around us the example of a simple and normal life which is consistent, even though it has all the limitations and defects which are part and parcel of the human condition. And when they see that we live the same life as they do, they will ask us: Why are you so happy? How do you manage to overcome selfishness and comfort-seeking? Who has taught you to understand others, to live well and to spend yourself in the service of others? Then we must disclose to them the divine secret of Christian existence. We must speak to them about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Mary. The time has come for us to use our poor words to communicate the depth of God's love which grace has poured into our souls. -- St. Josemaria Escriva
And so begins Ordinary Time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Any advice
on mothering a second daughter,
who is constantly comparing herself
to her firstborn older sister
(older by only a year and two weeks)
and coming up short?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

It's the twelfth day of Christmas, and at our house it still looks, sounds, tastes, and feels like it. The tree is still up. The Christmas music is still playing. Carols are being sung. Cookies are being eaten. And there was still one package under the tree this morning.

Here's a summary of our Christmas festivities since last I posted about them:

On the fifth day of Christmas, we had plans to go into town for coffee and conversation for the mommies and playtime for the kids. Since we were going to be running errands anyway, I had the kids open their fifth gift before we left for town -- gift cards to Hobby Lobby. They each had various arts and crafts supplies on their Christmas wish lists and, rather than picking things out myself, I thought they'd have fun doing it. And they did. We came home with paint and sequins, felt and sewing kits, beads and buttons. And they spent the remainder of the afternoon, and much of the remainder of the week, crafting away.

(a little pouch The Boy made)

Each year, each child receives a new ornament for the tree. This was a tradition I grew up with. When I married and left home, I had at least seventy ornaments for our first Christmas tree -- I had received at least an ornament from my parents and grandparents every year since I was born. Each year, my mom carefully labeled the ornaments I had received and packed them away in their original boxes. I know where each and every ornament I own came from and the year I received it. It is such a joy every year to pull them out and remember. I have done the same for my children. The problem now is we have way too many ornaments for one tree. The children's ornaments fill the tree, and mine remain in storage -- I suppose until the children move on and out and take their ornaments with them.

I put much thought into the ornaments every year, trying to choose one that fits each child's personality, or that will remind him or her of a new love or a big accomplishment or a trip we took. This year I wanted something to remind them each of our big move to North Dakota, but I had trouble finding North Dakota ornaments I liked. So ... I found this great website and had an ornament made for each child with a photo of a 2010 North Dakota moment. The three older children's ornaments had pictures from a hike we took in Theodore Roosevelt National Park over Labor Day weekend. The Baby's ornament had a picture I took of her in our backyard. And my DH got me an ornament from the University of Mary bookstore!

The seventh day of Christmas was New Year's Eve. We spent a very nice New Year's Eve and Day at home. We celebrated New Year's Eve by having pomegranate martinis (senza the vodka for the kiddos) and appetizers all evening, while playing a fun new board game (the gift for the day) and watching a great movie (it's a little scary for younger ones, but has a great Gospel message).

New Year's Day the kids opened one of their favorite gifts -- Season 6 of the Little House on the Prairie series and ...

(The Boy's costume is still in the works.)
(If you're looking for a great one-of-a-kind period costume, I'd highly recommend Susan.)

Sunday, the kids opened a box of new books -- a new Bible for each of the girls (they have been frustrated with their inability to look up chapter and verse in the any of the various children's Bibles we own) and a book on their respective patron saint for The Boy and The Baby. Also included were a great series of saints books, a book on praying in the presence of Our Lord, and a Magnificat subscription.

We did go back to school on Monday, only because I know, come spring, I'll want to be done with our work as soon as possible and outside in the warm air. Plus, we'll likely be moving (yet again!) in the spring. (Hopefully, this time, we'll be able to stay put for a while.)

Every year the kids also get a magazine subscription. Miss Rose chose Young Rider and Blaze again this year (surprise, surprise). Miss Sunshine chose Faces (which did surprise me). And I chose Ask for The Boy (after several years of Highlights) and Babybug for The Baby.

Yesterday, my young food lovers opened new aprons (thank you, Janet -- they're perfect) and three new cookbooks.

They spent part of the afternoon planning the first meal they want to prepare together on Sunday, for when Daddy returns from his week-long trip to Milwaukee.

The Baby got a food-related gift, too. (This is an awesome toy, by the way!)

Finally, today, they opened another new board game, which we had fun playing together after recess.

During supper, we received a call from a friend to come over so the kids could snowmobile and watch a movie, and I could have some much needed adult time and a glass of wine (which is why this post is so late being posted!). I'm so glad we homeschool and can take advantage of nights like this. Thanks, Trina, for a lovely evening, and a much-needed break. Four days 'til my hubby returns!

From our house to yours, a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Memories and Dreams


*** Most Memorable for Me ***
Trip to Orlando with Miss Rose

*** DH's Biggest Accomplishment ***
Being Hired as Coordinator of Catholic Studies at the University of Mary

*** Biggest Change for our Family ***
Relocating to Bismarck, North Dakota

*** Hardest Thing to Replace in Bismarck ***
Irish Dance Lessons

*** Best New Swimming Spot ***
Lake Tschida

*** Most Missed about Minnesota ***
Science Fridays with Papa

*** Also Missed ***
Father B.

*** Best Family Trip ***
Labor Day Weekend Camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

*** A First for Miss Rose ***
Competing at the North American Irish Dance Championships

*** A First for Miss Sunshine ***
A Solo Dress

*** Firsts for The Boy ***
Losing Teeth

and Riding a Two-Wheeler
*** One of Many Firsts for The Baby ***

*** Other Family Firsts ***
Attending a Rodeo
and Attending an Investiture and Profession of Vows

*** Best Gift I Received ***
Kitchen Aid Mixer

*** Best Fiction Book I Read ***
Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather

*** Best Non-Fiction Book I Read ***
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose

*** Favorite Song ***
Lifesong by Casting Crowns

*** Only Movie I Saw in a Theater ***
Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

*** Favorite New Restaurant ***
Casper's East 40 Chophouse and Tavern

*** Favorite Photo ***

*** Favorite Video ***
(btw, I had no idea he was going to sing --
I was trying to capture him on tape
being positive to play back for him later!)


*** Spiritual Goal ***
go on retreat

*** Physical Goal ***
get on the elliptical once in a while
(Should I really be more specific about this?)

*** Mental Goal ***
read another non-fiction, non-spiritual book on something I know nothing about

*** Family Goal ***
create a family crest

*** Material Goal ***
find a house