Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Do You?

How do you pick yourself up when you have taken a little trip to the land of despair?  I've hit a few bumps in the road the last couple of weeks, and have been trying to find a way to "reset" my brain.  Do you have a favorite saying or scripture?  Prayer or song?  For example, I'm trying to use "Love is patient, love is kind" to reset myself when I'm losing my patience with the girls over something.  It's just a little trigger to remind me to step back and take a deep breath.  But I haven't been able to find the same kind of thing to pull me up when I get a little down.  I'd love to hear what works for you.

Blessing for a wonderful Monday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why yes, that is 26.2 miles.

It has begun.

The jokes about the race. 

You see, my husband only runs because the Air Force makes him.  He would rather be playing racquetball or doing martial arts, snowboarding or playing volleyball.  Running is not his thing.  So tonight, when we were talking about the Marine Corps Marathon, which I registered to run in today, I made a comment about it being a fairly easy course.

He stopped and just looked at me.  "Even if it was all downhill, it's still a marathon."

Did I mention that he thinks I'm crazy? 

That's okay.  He thinks my best friend, the one that decided we should do this, is crazier. 

Tom puts up with us and our craziness.  All 26.2 miles of it.  And that's why we love him!

I've Been Busy

Aren't we all?

Life has been a whirlwind around here since Christmas. 

Normal family of 6 stuff.

Medical stuff.

Military wife stuff.

Still settling into a new town stuff.

Political stuff.  :(

Homeschooling stuff.  (More to come on that!)

Starting a new business stuff.

And because I didn't have enough on my plate, as of today this stuff!

But I wanted to stop in and say hello!  I miss it here in my little slice of cyber space. And I miss you.  I'm hoping to get back here a little more often in the near future, but that may not be a reality until summer.  There's more sinking than swimming going on around here, at least that's how I feel, so this blog is some of the excess weight that I need to shed at times.  But I have lots to say and hopefully, I will get around to saying it soon. 

The baby is screaming.  I need to go.  We'll talk much to talk about!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spilt Orange Juice

We're not supposed to cry over spilt milk.  But my daughter didn't spill her milk.  It was orange juice.  And the tears came.  Not from her, but from me. 

Not a big deal, orange juice washes out of a table cloth.  And most people come to expect a 2 year old to spill their drinks more often than not.  But my 2 year old is different.  It wasn't her young hands that failed her, it was her brain.  She had a seizure.  One of many she has every day.

We are one and a half years into a diagnosis process.  A diagnosis of epilepsy.

And I'm tired.

I'm tired physically.  From dragging a two year old, and at times the whole family, to doctors appointments and new hospitals.  From adminstering medicine over and over, day after day, sometimes easily, sometimes with a difficult two year old who likes to make things challenging.  I'm tired, mentally, from trying to make decisions about treatment.  From racking my brain for answers that will most likely never be there.    From trying to understand what doctors go to school for years to understand.  I'm tired emotionally.  From anger at old doctors who seem to have not done all they could to find an answer.  From trying to stay calm when "explaining" that someone might see something unusual with my daughter every so often, but don't worry.  She's fine.  Tired from knowing she's not fine.  Tired from trying not to freak out when grandparents react to what I must pretend not to notice every. single. day. to keep life "normal" for my kids.  Tired from seeing other kids who are suffering much more than my child and there is nothing I can do about it.

I'm tired.  And it is so hard to be strong when you are tired, but strong I must be.  Strong for my children because they don't know that their sister has something "wrong" with her.  And they shouldn't.  Strong for my husband or else he would have to carry this weight on his shoulders alone.  Strong for our extended family who do react.  Because they care.  They don't know how to not care, which of course makes us blessed.

We are so very blessed.  Blessed to have a new doctor who is eager to get answers.  Blessed to have an amazing hospital nearby that is full of people who not only want sick kids to get better, but to smile as much as possible while they get better.  Blessed to have a beautiful daughter who is so full of life that she makes us laugh more than enough to make us forget her "issues" most of the time.

But most importantly, blessed to have a Father who, though I forget to turn to Him all of the time, never forgets to be there for me.  To tell me to "Be Not Afraid."  I've had to cling to this scripture over the last year and a half.  Because I am afraid, a lot.  But there really is no reason to be afraid.  Because God's plan is perfect.  And as long as I can remember that, there is peace. 

And I can always buy more orange juice. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Be a Burning Light

"If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!"

~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, National Prayer Breakfast 1994


Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 Book List

In an attempt to "use what I got," I went through the house and collected all of the books I haven't read yet.  There really is no reason for me to step into a bookstore (or in reality, log on to Amazon) for quite some time.  So here is my list of books to get through in 2012.  To be fair, I've started a lot of them, but in the chaos I like to call my life, things happen and for whatever reason, I never get around to finishing. 
In no particular order:

Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry

Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body

How to Raise Good Catholic Children

Adventures in Orthodoxy

God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est

The Catholic Way: Faith for Living Today

Pardon and Peace: A Sinner's Guide to Confession

The 5 Love Languages of Children

The Life of Mary As Seen by the Mystics

The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse

Clare and Her Sisters: Lovers of the Poor Christ

Large Family Logistics

Beautiful Girlhood: Revised by Karen Andreola

Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

The education of Catholic girls

How to Pray Well 

Small Steps for Catholic Moms

Choosing Beauty: A 30-Day Spiritual Makeover for Women

Educating the WholeHearted Child -- Third Edition

Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder

A Mom After God's Own Heart: 10 Ways to Love Your Children

And maybe I'll fit in that last Jane Austen novel.

What will you be reading?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weightless Virtual Study

I got my copy of  Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body

Did you get yours?

Kate Wicker, the book's amazing author, has offered to participate in an online book club session (as life allows, of course). 

Are you interested?

Leave a comment or send me an email letting me know you are interested, and I'll make it happen.  Right now I am thinking a weekly post, chapter by chapter. This would allow you plenty of time in the week to fit in reading.  I hope you'll join me!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brought Tears to My Eyes

UPDATE:  I apparently put a bad link in before, but it should be fixed now.  Thanks, Noreen for letting me know!

Did you see this during the Bronco/Patriot game?

Love. It.

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Do List

~ laundry
~ finish Christmas cards
~ laundry
~ hang some items throughout the house
~ laundry
~ reading
~ laundry
~ attacking the calendar for a 6 month outlook
~ and you guessed it...more laundry

Happy Monday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stopping in to share...

I want to say things are crazy busy here right now, but I think I will just stick with things are crazy here.  But I wanted to share these couple of things with you before I lose track of them, again. 

Both of these were shared on Facebook by friends of mine.

Blessed Are the Uncool

Don't Carpe Diem

Here's to a great Tuesday!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Drumroll, Please!

And the winners are...

A Catholic Woman's Book of Days:


The GIVE Jewlery bracelet:

Amy N.!

The Udder Cover:


The Pride & Prejudice dvd:

Momma Holmes!

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are:

Momma Holmes!

The iTunes gift card:


The Mary Saintly Softie:

JOYfilled Family

Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body:


Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home:

Melanie G.!

The cookie cutters:


The St. Francis Retablo:


And last, but definitely not least,

the lia sophia necklace:

Lisa S.!

If you are a lucky winner, please email me your address (see my sidebar) so I can send you your prize. Thank you so much for participating in these 12 Days of Giveaways!  I really enjoyed it!

Happy Epiphany!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Party Time!

Happy Solemnity of the Epiphany!  (I know...we are really celebrating at Mass on Sunday.)

The 12 Days of Christmas have come and gone and now the 12th Day of Giveaways is finally here!

We're throwing a little Epiphany party tonight.  And of course, for a party, we need to get all gussied up!  My last giveaway for you will help you gussy up for your next party.  It's a beautiful necklace from lia sophia!

I love this jewelry!  I have the same necklace (and a few more!) and I think it could be worn casually and for more dressy occasions.  I never wore a lot of jewelry when I was younger, mostly just earrings, but I'm really finding that jewelry is helping me feel a little less like a frumpy mom these days.  I get my hair done, on average, about once a year, and I don't shop for new clothes too often, but I find that if I put on pretty piece of jewelry, I brighten up my appearance a bit.  And of course, what girl doesn't like to look nice! 

For your chance to win this necklace, leave a comment on what you like to do to lift your spirits up when you're feeling like a frump-a-lump.  For this particular giveaway, I'm going to give you guys until midnight of Jan. 7th, tomorrow, as a bonus to enter.  All of the other giveaways end tonight!

This has been a lot of fun and I'm so glad so many of you participated.  I have to go bake some more for tonight!  I'll announce all of the winners on Sunday.  How exciting!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just Keep Blogging, Just Keep Blogging

If you are a blogger trying to motivate yourself to post more frequently, just promise people a giveaway.  If I didn't know you were waiting for today's awesome prize, I so would not be sitting at this computer right now.  Mama is tired!  Darn Iowans! (I'm actually quite happy with Iowans today, but that's all I'll say about that right now).

I am very excited about today's giveaway!!!  I actually just came across this wonderful etsy shop as I was doing my Christmas shopping a couple of months ago.  Let me introduce you to Art4theSoul!  Ann has such beautiful and unique creations.  From Ann:
My featured works are called "Retablos" which originated as Mexican devotional paintings consisting mostly of images based on centuries old depictions of Catholic saints and spiritual symbols.

These small paintings were primarily done on tin most often done by untrained artists. My retablos are done on wood. Retablos appeared after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, as a desire to possess a sacred object which would ensure health, fertility, and an abundance of crops.

During the 1700 and 1800's retablo painting flourished. These Retablos also reflect a lively spirit and a true devotion to God. Retablos were sometimes commissioned by individuals but most were sold by peddlers door to door.

In my Retablo shop I hope to create a renewed excitement for the historical art of retablo making! Although my retablos don't necessarily mimic the traditional look of the Spanish folk art and mexican cultural paintings, they contain in them the roots and symbolism which represent the heart and soul of the craft. I hope you become captivated by these pieces - each of which has his own unique story of love.
I ordered Ann's St. Joan of Arc retablo for my godmother for Christmas and couldn't have been happier when I received it.  Plus, my godmother LOVED it!  I love that these retablos are so unique as I find that when looking at saint statues and pictures or icons, there is not usually a lot of variety.  I also love that these are handmade and made here in the United States.  Double bonus!  I have my eye on Our Lady of Altagracia, Our Lady of Guadalupe (of course), and The Mother of Christmas.  Although, to be honest, every time I go and look at Ann's shop, I find another one that I want!

Ann has blessed me by partnering with me to give away a lovely St. Francis of Assisi retablo.

Ann didn't know this when she chose St. Francis for this, but St. Francis is very special to my family as our baby that we never got to meet is named after St. Francis.  And now you could be blessed enough to win this lovely retablo of one of our favorite saints.  Once again, just leave a comment, this time telling me about a saint that is important in your life and you'll be entered in the drawing.  The contest is open between now and Jan. 6th, and I will announce the winners of all of the 12 giveaways on Jan. 8th. 

And with that, good night!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Party Prep

It's a little crazy around my house these days trying to get ready for a big dessert open house this Friday to celebrate Epiphany.  We've been cleaning and then on Thursday, I'll have a lot of baking to do. 

Along the baking lines, today's giveaway is for a couple of beautiful cookie cutters!  I have a Fleur de Lis

and an Angel for you.

Does this seem random to you?  Let me explain.  Back in October, my precious Victoria was baptized.  Trying to plan for that party, I purchased these cookie cutters thinking I would use them to make themed cookies.  We go to a church named for Saint Louis, King of France, which explains the fleur de lis, an unofficial symbol of France, (as well as a symbol with religious meaning referencing our Blessed Mother).  The angel was in honor of the date of her baptism, the Feast of the Guardian Angels.  Unfortunately, I never got around to using them, and trying to be honest with myself, it will be a while before I will. But that is good news for you, because now you have a chance to win them!  They are a good size cutter and I think the copper is pretty, so they would even make great decorations in a kitchen. 

Leave me a comment, between now and Jan. 6th, and these beautiful cookie cutters could be yours.  And maybe you'll send me some yummy cookies when you win!  To make it interesting and to learn a little more about you, in your comment let me know what your favorite kind of cookie is.  My mom has a great oatmeal butterscotch recipe that I love, but I've also been really digging a good classic chocolate chip cookie lately.  Like the other giveaways, I'll announce winners on Jan. 8th.  And because I can't help myself, let me share a picture from the day that inspired all of this... 

Isn't she beautiful? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just Keeping You on Your Toes

Things have been a little crazy around here and I'm just now getting around to posting today's giveaway.  It's funny, though, because today's giveaway is a clue to what all of our craziness is about.  (I'll definitely fill you in on it all later.)

Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home is one of the few books I have read all the way through more than once and I am trying to figure out the best time for me to read it again (wait until you see my booklist for this year).  It is full of so much information and inspiration.  It is labeled as an education, homeschooling, and parenting book, but I would also label it as a guide for living.  Living a faithful and fruitful life.  There are so many treasures to be found in this book that I would love to go on and on, but it's already late and I want to get this posted for you and work on tomorrow's post as well.  I will leave you with a quote from the jacket of the book:
"More than a curriculum guide, it is a look at a lifestyle which aims to nourish the whole child, the whole family - heart, soul, and mind."
And who wouldn't benefit from that?

Leave a comment between now and Jan. 6th, and you'll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home.  I'll announce the winners on Jan. 8th!  Good luck!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Start

So have you made a resolution to lose weight and/or get healthy in the new year?  Most people do.  I know I have some goals I'd like to reach. 

Kate Wicker has written a book called Weightless:  Making Peace with Your Body

Kate occasionally writes about body image issues, amongst other things,  on her blog, and while I love everything she writes, I haven't yet read her book. Never having been a big fan of my own body, I did not want to deal with those demons I might have to face while reading the book. But it's a new year and I think I am ready. I need to be ready, both for myself, and for my house full of daughters.  I want my daughters to be grateful to God for the bodies He gave them and appreciate how they can use their bodies to do His will.  So I'm going to read it and I'd love to read it with you!

From Amazon: 
There's a wave of body dissatisfaction sweeping across society. While bookstore shelves are well-stocked with tomes on how to overcome body image problems, very few take a faith-based, much less Catholic, approach to self-healing. Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body speaks not only to those who may have faced an eating disorder, but also to anyone who wants to live an abundant life, unencumbered by our culture's obsession with thinness, physical beauty, youth, or food.
A review from Elizabeth Foss:
Rare is the family that is untouched by negative body image, whether it's just the longing to lose a few pounds or a full-fledged eating disorder. With honesty and candor, Kate Wicker's book is a valuable tool in reclaiming femininity and authentic beauty for ourselves and our daughters. 
You can read more reviews here.  If you'd like to buy the book directly from Kate, click here.   But don't click too fast, because I'm giving away a copy today.  And, because I am blessed to know Kate, she will sign the book for you and leave a note. 

Like all of the other giveaways, just leave a comment now through Jan.6th and I will announce winners on Jan. 8th. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mary, Mother Of God

Hail, Holy Mother, who gave birth to the King, who rules heaven and earth for ever. ~Today's Entrance Antiphon

Happy 2012! 

I hope that the new year is off to a great start and that today as we celebrate our Mother, you are feeling refreshed in your role as mother.  

From the Saintly Silver Etsy site

Have you seen Saintly Silver's softies?  These dolls are so cute!  I was actually introduced to the dolls in our pew at our last church when some wonderful people, who would become great friends, sat down next to us.  Their daughter had this same Mary doll.  On the back is the Hail Mary prayer.  And since then, St. Anne, St. Clare, and St. Isabel of Portugal have arrived in our house (via shoes on St. Nicholas day if I remember correctly).  And I have a strong suspicion that St. Victoria may arrive via Easter basket this year.  There are tons of saints to choose from on the site, but if they don't have the particular saint you are looking for, you can work with them to create a new doll.  I happen to know that St. Nicholas had to go through this process with our St. Isabel doll and he told me that it was such a pleasure to do work with Saintly Silver.  Because all of these dolls are custom made, you do need to allow some time for delivery, but Easter is still a few months away.  So, today, in honor of Our Lady, I am giving away one Mary softie!  Just leave a comment between now and Jan. 6th, letting me know what your favorite title/image of Mary is.  We are big fans of Our Lady of Guadalupe in our house.  I'll announce winners for this, and all of the giveaways, on Jan. 8th. 

Prayers for a blessed 2012!