Thursday, August 28, 2014

An Interview With ... Me!

Writing has been part of my identity for a long time. I started writing when I was in junior high. I signed up for a journalism class, and through that class I learned the ins and outs of putting together a newspaper. I learned how to write, edit and layout a paper. I loved every moment of it, and by ninth grade, I was co-editor of our junior high paper.

I continued writing in high school and college, and I served as a section editor for my college paper. I was blessed to work in the public relations department in college, too, and I later went onto work in various communications roles, before settling into my vocation as wife and mother.

As a writer, part of the job is interviewing. Asking questions, taking notes and quoting sources are very important components of a good article. I have conducted a lot of interviews in my life. In fact, I just did one for my September post over at Catholic Mom.

Well, today, I am on the other side of the interview. Today, I am being interviewed for a series about Catholic bloggers. What fun! I hope you click on over to CatholicMom.com, to check it out!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Don't Ask More Than God Does


For awhile now, it has felt like I have been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. At least my little corner of it.

As a wife, as a mother of six children, as a homemaker, I have realized that I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to do it all. And to do it all really, really well.

Do you do this, too?

There is this unspoken, unwritten expectation that I put upon myself that is so high, that I very rarely meet it. If ever.

So what can a mom do? Join me over at CatholicMom.com, where I explore this topic and share what I am learning, in my latest article!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Five Years Later

I posted the following post five years ago, when Lucia turned four. Today, she turns nine! I have to admit, I was a little shocked that five years had gone by, and yet I remember putting together this post like it was yesterday!


Speaking of yesterday ... Yesterday, at our parish picnic, I talked with a couple of women about Jeff Cavins' Bible Timeline, and recalled that when I first went through it (with Jeff Cavins in person!), Lucia was a newborn baby, and I brought her with me to class each week! WOW! Nine years since I did the Timeline! I think I probably could use a refresher course!

Do you ever have those moments, when you can't believe how much time has gone by? What surprises you the most about time?

***

Here's the original post from five years ago:



Four years ago today, my third daughter entered this world at 9 pounds, 6 ounces, and almost 22 inches long! She was my biggest baby and also my hardest labor, because I was afraid ... That forgetfulness of what it's like never set in, because she's only 15 months younger than her older sister. But she also proved to be my easiest baby. The Lord blessed her to be a good sleeper, sleeping through the night her first week at home. (Thank you, God!)

She's always been really sweet!

So far, she's the only one who's broken any bones. She did this at 19 months, trying to climb out of her crib like her big sister ... Sigh!

She's a little sister to two, and a big sister to two. Smack dab in the middle of this family. Boy, is she a good sister—generous with her toys and other possessions; gentle with the babies; happy doing whatever anyone else wants to do, she just goes with the flow.

She is my sunshine ...


... even in the snow and cold.


She has a tender heart and a great joy for life. Her enthusiasm for simple childhood pleasures—like swimming lessons, ballet, puppies and bike rides—is contagious.


She is unique! She is funny! She is smart! And I thank God she is mine!

Happy 4th Birthday, Sweetheart! I love you so much! ~Mom

Friday, August 1, 2014

Where, Oh Where Has the Week Gone?

It is hard for me to believe it is Friday again! And as I write this point, Friday is more than half over. More over, we are at the beginning of a new month—August, and near the end of summer!

Will I ever cease being surprised at how quickly time flies by?

Last weekend, I finally made it to the St. Paul Farmer's Market! It is a fabulous farmer's market! Take a look at all the goodness. We made salad for lunch, and I tell you it tasted far superior to my usual salads. Fresh from the earth! And I also treated the family to farm-fresh eggs and sausage, and we had that for dinner one night! Fabulous!



This week, my husband had his second week of new-job training. Thankfully, he was in town for it, at the office where he will normally work. His new job has postponed our summer vacation by a couple weeks, and I hope it will work out for us to get in some get-away-time before school starts on the 25th!

Speaking of school, I purchased all of my children's school supplies (minus 13 boxes of tissues and one bottle of hand sanitizer ... and specific Scotch brand glue sticks). This included six boxes of crayons, three packs of markers, five colored pencil sets, and I am not going to begin to count the number of notebooks and folders that five school-aged children need! In addition, they needed 10 rolls of paper towels and 10 containers of disinfecting wipes. Whew! It is A LOT! But it also is fun to help them pick out their new notebooks and pencil cases. Even though they may not admit it, by the time August rolls around, they are starting to feel ready to get back to school.

I have been reading a bit more over the past few weeks, finishing a few books. My latest was The Rosie Project, which is really quirky and delightful. I very much enjoyed it! There is more language in it than I'd prefer, but it didn't take away from the wonderful story. (And it looks like the sequel will be available at the end of the year!)

I started knitting again on my mom's shawl, but I messed up royally, and I have not had the time or patience to fix it. Ugh.



I probably messed up, because while I knitted, I watched episodes of Cedar Cove on Netflix. Clearly, I cannot do two things at once.

I am making slow progress on my nesting projects. I haven't had much energy for them when I have the time to work on them, and I get ideas at these really random times when working on them is not feasible. I am trying to be OK with the undone, which is one of the author's wise encouragements in the book, The Nesting Place.

I do have curtains for the very first time in 12 years! And I love them! But note all the books that I am reorganizing for the repurposing of my bookshelves. (I think I may need more bookshelves!)



This upcoming weekend is low key, which is my favorite kind of weekend! I am going to coffee with my friend Molly this evening. She is about to have her seventh baby, so please pray for her! I will go to my parish's "morning of reflection for women" tomorrow, where a dear friend is the speaker and where I will be meeting up with a new friend who just moved here from Texas. And my sweet 6yo girl has tutoring tomorrow as well. Please pray for her, too, as she's struggling right now with reading.

What have you been up to? What are you doing this weekend? Oh, and do you have anything that you need prayers for? If so, let me know in the comments! If not, it's OK if you just want to say "Hi!"

Happy weekend! Happy August!

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes :: What's New?



~1~

I mentioned last week that my husband Greg got a new job. Well, he was in Eau Claire, Wisconsin this week for training. He hasn't had to travel for work in 5 or 6 years, so this week was an adjustment for me and the kids. I decided to stick to a pretty structured schedule, including this cleaning schedule(Sometimes I just like to follow a plan rather than creating my own, you know?) It kept things flowing and worked fairly well. I am proud of myself for not freaking out when what happened wasn't actually on the schedule. I used it more as a guideline, to keep us moving and grooving through the week. I have to say, "mission accomplished." And I also have to say that we are really glad to see Greg again today!



~2~

Last Saturday, before beginning his new job, Greg gifted me with a day off. I had a wonderful, relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of family life. I entered the silence of the library's "Quiet Room," and for two hours, I journaled about what's been going on in my heart over the past month (since my silent retreat), and then I planned out our Week-Without-Dad, including 4 workouts at the YMCA and "restorative activities" to nourish and refresh in the midst of crazy-busy. (I didn't get to all of my refreshing activities, but at least I now have a quality list from which to draw in the future. I had always meant to make a list like this.) Afterward, I went to Panera for lunch with a good book. And then I went to the paint store to get samples for a future painting project. It was a heavenly break, and it put me in the right frame of mine for being solo this week. Thanks, Greg!



~3~

I learned the hard way why God gave us the third commandment: Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day. I had ordered some new furniture (working on my nesting-inspired home projects), and it arrived last week. Nothing major, but a couple small cabinet-type pieces that I was hoping Greg could put together before he went out of town, so I could work on my projects, while he was gone. Well, he wasn't super excited to put them together on Sunday (and rightly so). But I told him I'd help him pack, if he quickly put these cabinets together for me. And so he reluctantly agreed. Well, the first one that he opened was damaged, and he ended up spending his time putting it all back in the box and calling Target to get a replacement. By this point, there was no time for more work, and that put me in a bad mood. And I couldn't shake it. My disappointment ruined my whole Sunday, which was so dumb. If we (I) would have remained true to God's command, a lot of crabbiness could have been avoided. I guess I learned a lesson in the end: it's really, really not a good idea to do unnecessary work on the Sabbath. Trust God on this one!


~4~


Have you ever raised a Monarch Butterfly at home? We did this for the very first time a couple years ago. I have a neighbor who is an expert. She got us started, and it was such a magnificent project for my children to experience. Really, all of us were blown away by the opportunity to help bring a butterfly into the world!

Well, this summer, instead of raising butterflies from the egg stage, the kids found some already-grown caterpillars, and we raised them to full butterfly status this week!

What a joy to experience this with my children! If you ever have the opportunity to do this at home, I highly recommend it!


~5~

This week I hosted my first-ever blog giveaway! It is currently going on (through tonight at midnight), so please enter, if you haven't done so already. The giveaway is for a fabulous book called Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless by Sarah A. Reinhard. You can read my review and enter here.




~6~

Speaking of giveaways, there also is an amazing Summer Fun giveaway going on right now at CatholicMom.com! But hurry, this one also ends at midnight tonight! I would be happy with any of the prizes, but I especially have my eye on some of the books and that adorable Madonna and Child softie!



~7~

At the beginning of the new year, when many people pick a "word" for the year, I found myself drawn to the word hope. I haven't written about this at all, but it has been a theme for me in 2014.



It's a theme for me, because I struggle with a lack of hope. But over the past seven months or so, I have received many beautiful reminders of the importance, the necessity of hope. These reminders are my glimmers of hope, my moments of hope, and I treasure them, because they don't always last long.

I recently discovered Hope*ologie, a membership site that encourages its "hope*ologists" to intentionally turn toward hope no matter how things appear. Each month, the theme changes and members receive hand-lettered printouts to display, articles about family, home and personal renewal, podcasts, tutorials and more. It is delightful and peaceful, and after one month, I am encouraged that it will help me with my struggle with hope. I would say it is Christian, but it is not overly spiritual, in order to reach a broader audience.



And there you have it! Another week of Quick Takes! I hope you have a happy weekend! And I'll see you again soon, I hope!

For more Quick Takes, please visit Carolyn at Svellerella, who is hosting for Jen today.
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