Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along :: 40-Cross Prayer Shawl

This past weekend, I picked up another knitting "work-in-progress" project ... One that I intended to knit last Lent but one that remains incomplete. Hopefully, it won't take me three years to finish, like my dear husband's scarf! Maybe I'll even finish it this Lent; I am half-way through, after all! The pattern is a handout from a local yarn shop, and the yarn is Berroco Vintage Chunky in "tide pool" blue.


I am currently reading the Bible, with the help of The Bible Timeline Guided Journal by Sarah Christmyer. It guides you through the story of salvation history by reading the 14 narrative books of the Bible in 90 days (or as long as it takes you). I went through The Great Adventure Bible Study 10 years ago, and it was amazing. I have done some additional studies, too. However, I really want to read the Bible on a more regular basis and enter into Lectio Divina, praying with Scripture. So, this Lent I am focusing on it!

With the kids, mainly my girls, I am reading For Such a Time as This: Stories of Women from the Bible, Retold to Girls. So, I guess they are getting a little Bible study, too!

For more Yarn Along inspiration—pretty projects and good book suggestions—visit Small Things.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Small Success Thursday: Beginning Lent


It's always so hard for me to believe when Thursday rolls around! The week can't possibly go by that quickly! But here it is, Thursday again and time to share our small successes of the week with others over at CatholicMom.com!


I am not consistent about posting in this link-up, but I really do like it! We need to celebrate our victories, even the small ones, from time-to-time!

1. I put away my winter decorations and started decorating for Lent. I used to be really good at putting out some physical reminders of this holy season, but the last few years have been less-than-ideal. This weekend, however, I heard an inspiring talk by Catholic speaker Patty Schneier, and she encouraged me to get out my purple fabric and put together a couple of focal points for Lent. And I did! (Photos to come.)

2. After I received ashes yesterday morning, I ran a few errands. Two people working at shops that I visited commented on my ashes. One was clearly Catholic, and we had a joyful conversation about Lent and remembering to not eat meat on Fridays and the like. The other one was clearly not Catholic, but he was very respectful and admitted he loved this time of year because of the fish sandwich sales at the various fast-food restaurants. Ha! Either way, these conversations reminded me that I don't need to be afraid to wear my faith (even as a big black smudge on my forehead) and to share it when opportunities arise.

3. I continue to follow the Whole30 plan. I had a couple of challenging days, because I was gone all day on Saturday and then it was Mardi Gras, but otherwise, I have been on track! I am not necessarily feeling better (yet), due to some health issues, and the weight is coming off sloooowly, but I am hopeful that in the long run, this will be life-changing for me. My cravings have diminished, and I am cooking a lot more, which has blessed my family tremendously! I am extending this eating plan through Lent, so I guess it's now a Whole40!

Your turn: What are your small successes this week? I'd love to celebrate with you! And for more Small Success inspiration, please visit CatholicMom.com!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Daybook :: It's Almost Lent

Outside my window ...
Light snow is falling on this President's Day

God sent us a Valentine one morning on the way to school. It came in the form of a pink and purple sunrise. Thank you, Lord! We love you, too!

Thanking God for ...
* The chance to go out for tea with my husband on a Sunday afternoon

* An extra-long weekend and staying in pajamas for longer than usual

* An amazing, first-ever WINE: Catholic Women's Conference with more than 900 women—a sold-out crowd, inspirational speakers, beautiful music, prayer, confession, laughter, Mass with the bishop and sisterhood


Photo courtesy of Sharon Wilson and WINE.



Thinking about ...
* How I am going to get back-on-track with Whole30 today. I was gone all day on Saturday, and it was hard to follow the program. I did OK through lunch, but dinner and dessert were off program. I have to say, though, that two full weeks of eating this way has really been a blessing, and I plan to continue through Lent (at least).

* Lent! What will be my focus? I am limiting so much food as it is, I probably will focus on prayer this Lent and spiritual reading ... and being more focused in my vocation. How will I encourage my children? I found this lovely FREE printable to share with them. I hope to read more with them, too. What ways can I visually make our home a reminder of this special season we will be in?





 Wearing ...
* Plaid PJs
* A red fleece sweatshirt
* Red slippers



Reading ...
* Momnipotent by Danielle Bean. I am reading this book and accompanying study with five wonderful women. The message of this book is a must for moms! It is filled with truth and encouragement!

* I purchased several books at the conference this weekend, and so my stack of to-read books has grown even taller!



I have set a reading goal on Goodreads: 15 books in 2015. I know it's not a lot, but I am working on small steps and being realistic in my real life. Are you on Goodreads? If so, let's connect!


Creating ...
* A grocery list
* A Lenten home
* Lenten plans
* A writing schedule


On the table ...
All I can say is that I really have to go to the grocery store!


Plans for the week ...
* Momnipotent
* Ash Wednesday Mass
* Adoration
* Grocery shopping & cleaning


Praying for ...
* my husband
* my children (by name)
* family and friends, especially those who have asked me to pray for them
* the 900+ women who attended the WINE conference, that their hearts were drawn by God's love and sent on fire to share Him with others



I am linking up with Jenny at The Littlest Way today!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Two Faith-based Books Delight Children, Parents Alike

 As a mother of six, I am constantly on the lookout for good books for my children. Whether they are colorful picture books for my preschooler, classic tales to read as a family or lengthier novels for my tween daughter, my hope is to surround my children with books, so that they will develop a love for reading and an appreciation for quality literature.


Not every book that comes into our home is a winner. These days, parents have to sift through a lot of books that are either too silly or too inappropriate for our kids. This is why I truly appreciate trustworthy recommendations from other moms, who are on the lookout for good books for their children, too.

Today, I am returning the favor and recommending two books to you. From one mom to another. The first is the third book in the Sisters of the Last Straw series, The Case of the Stolen Rosaries by Karen Kelly Boyce. The second is Miraculous Me by Ruth Pendergast Sissel.

Please click over to CatholicMom.com for my full reviews!

And while you're there, be sure to check out the Super Big Book GiveawayIt's not too late to enter, and there are a lot of really great books to win ... some would be excellent for Lent!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarn Along :: It's Been a Long Time

It's been since August that I posted anything about knitting. It's been since April since I linked up with Ginny's Yarn Along series. I even had to check to see if she still hosted it! (She does!) It seems like no matter how I hard I try, there are certain things in my life that I just can't incorporate into my current routine. Knitting used to be a more integral part of my life, but somewhere along the way, I lost it, and it's been hard to get back.

This Christmas, I did finish a knitting project that has been on my knitting needles for a really long time. Like maybe three years! Can it be? Yes, it can.

I set out to knit this scarf for my husband, because my plan was to give something hand-knit to everyone in my family for Christmas. I left my husband's gift until last, because I knew he would be more understanding than my five year old, if it didn't get finished by the BIG day. But I was confident that it would ... or at least it would shortly after Christmas ... at the latest. That was 2011. And I technically didn't begin his scarf until after the new year.


In Advent 2013, I shared my continued progress with the scarf that had been on my needles for nearly two years. I was bound and determined to finish it. Nope.

Then, in the fall of 2014, after not knitting anything for several months, I picked it up, bound and determined again to finish it. And this time, I did!

This pattern was relatively easy to work through, fairly repetitive but with enough changes to keep it interesting. The yarn is soft and cozy. It ended up being a few inches shorter than the pattern suggests, but it is still plenty long.

Now that it is done, I can move onto a shawl for my mom. I just hope it doesn't take me another few years to finish it! Hopefully, one of these days, knitting will click again for me, but until then, I will keep plugging along.

As for books, I recently finished a beautiful historical fiction, The Well, by Stephanie Landsem. My full review is on Goodreads, so please take a look. This is one in a trilogy, and it truly is a must-read! It actually would be very suitable for Lent, which begins next week!


I am not sure what book I will dive into next. I have a few that I am part-way through, but nothing that I have sat down to read cover-to-cover. I am considering The Thief, which is the second in the trilogy that I just mentioned. I also am looking for a good spiritual gem for Lent. Any suggestions?

For more pretty projects and good book suggestions, please visit today's Yarn Along at Small Things. Hopefully, I will participate in another Yarn Along soon! Until next time ...
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