Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes

Here's my first quick takes because I can't take any good pictures of my stuff lately. Be prepared for flash photography.  These pictures are so bad, I can't even link it to Jen's blog. Sorry I have to put you through this.

1. So I have been working on Clay Rosary stuff- not for you, but for charity.  (I can hear your moans...oh wait that's just my husband wishing I wasn't giving all this stuff away).  However,  I am very disappointed the rain has cancelled the "Art in the Park" event in which I was going to sell a ton of Clay Rosary stuff to benefit a charity called Mary's Shelter.  I may have gone a little overboard in the amount of stuff, but it was really fun to make new necklaces and bracelets that I've never done before (plus, it was for a good cause!).  So now a box of stuff sits in basement where I took these crappy photos.

 And now you see for yourself why I can't have any good posts with these flash photos.  It makes everything looks mediocre when though this stuff is very cool indeed.

2. I've been using the word 'indeed' in my normal speech and it's kind of unsettling to me. I've always thought only nerds or English speaking people say 'indeed'. I guess it just proves I am English a nerd.

3.  If the fundraiser isn't rescheduled and my stuff isn't purchased by locals, I will set up a special online fundraiser for Mary's Shelter to sell all the stuff in the box.  It's really tempting to just hoard all the cool jewelry I made and give the rosaries and chaplets away for Christmas gifts, but I can't.  That was time set aside for a good purpose, so craft fair or not, it shall be donated!

4. I dabbled in a side of jewelry making that I usually don't get enough time for, but I did make fancy chains for my work, and even made a man necklace! Here's my favorite necklace that I really hope doesn't sells:

I used this sterling silver chain that was super tiny and hard to work with.  It broke a few times when crimping beads, but I salvaged this part of it and it's just darling. I really don't want to sell it! (basements make for bad pictures, sorry!)

5.  Had a date night last night. Was very romantic. We took had some gourmet pizza and took a stroll around the park at night.  The part that kind of stank (aside from almost stepping on a giant 6 inch slug- I kid you not) was that we sat on a patio almost touching another table of a young (early twenties) couple.  Theirs was a modern romance. They sat there with their data phone plans on Facebook the entire time and barely spoke a word.  Except for a very immature "I love my boyfriend, I love my boyfriend, I love my boyfriend" chant at one point that made me almost loose my appetite.  I can honestly say I am more happy in our relationship after three kids and six years of marriage. When we get the privilege to get out on a date, it's so special.   It's really unfortunate that the Modern Couple would rather not get married, choose to live together, not have kids and just buy a dog together and for what?...more time, money, and more of me, me me....  If they could only see what brings true happiness and romance...less of me, me, me, less money and more children who take up all your time (and money). Odd, but true.

6. I made a rather dramatic angel cuff with these over sized beads and I would love to see the person who buys it:
the blue ones, not the pink ones
It's not the bracelet for your average person.  The beads are about an inch and a half tall.  I'm picturing a creative person with a fun personality and just the right amount of zany wearing this.  I think it's so fun.  I call it, "Choir of Angels" cuff bracelet.

7.  Jude is learning to crawl down things (thank goodness!) My style of parenting has always been a little more laid back and I usually err on the side of throwing caution to the wind.  Most of the time it's ok, although there have been times when I have said, "What was I thinking??" (like the time I let the kids play with puffy paint in their good clothes).  So I watch a careful distance away and observe if my baby can figure out going down steps on his own.  Aren't babies so much smarter than we give them credit for?

He also get off the couch by putting his hands on the floor first. Now if only he could figure out doing laundry and making dinner...

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Day of School

Thank goodness for my husband who took this "first day of school" obligatory picture.  It's Aquinas Learning's first day- so not real school- just a one-day-a-week mentoring program where the homeschooling parent does most of the work. But still...gotta remember the first 7 hours in school without mom. I hardly know what to do with all this free time I have...JOKE!
Analee really thought she was going to stay the whole day too, so she had to grab her backpack.
She is pretty lost without her big brother. She's only asked for him 10 times!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thoughts on Rosary Wearing

Last week, the strangest thing happened to me. I went to sleep holding my clay rosary like I usually do and when I woke up to get my baby for his early morning feeding, my rosary was around my neck! It felt so sweet around my neck and I smiled and thanked Mary for this virtual hug.  Holding a rosary has always comforted me, but wearing one was even better!  This was the first time I had ever worn one, but since then I have put it around my neck a few more times when going to sleep.

So how did that rosary get around me neck?? I know I would never have put it there--even in my sleep.   Is it possible that it could have somehow got there while tossing and turning at night? I keep asking myself this, but in the end, I don't think it was totally an accident.  The way it made me feel when I woke us was proof enough for me that it was Mary's way of hugging me-- and certainly to remind me to say more of them!

At any rate, it also made me think why rosary wearing is so shunned by Catholics.  In other countries, it is more normal to wear a rosary.  When Mary spoke to the visionaries in small Catholic school in Rwanda, she told the students to wear their rosaries during one particularly strong attack of the devil. Here's the Alphonsine (a visionary) telling another student (Marie-Claire) what Mary said to her:
"Last night when the Blessed Mother appeared to me, she warned that the devil was planning to attack students a the school.  she says that we can protect ourselves from the enemy by wearing our rosaries." --from Our Lady of Kibeho
I was always told that wearing a rosary is bad so I've never worn even a rosary bracelet if I wasn't planning on praying it that day, but now I'm starting to rethink rosary wearing.  Can it be worn as a devotional just like as saint medal?   A conversation was started in my rosary guild about rosary wearing.   The question was, if rosary bracelets are OK, then why not rosaries as necklaces?  It was a very good point.  Maybe it was Madonna who ruined it with her sacrilegious display.  I can see how rosaries- or rosary bracelets for that matter, should not be worn solely for fashion.  But is there harm in wearing a rosary around the neck if you do so in all love and devotion?

Rosaries can be worn around the waist by monks and nuns, around the wrists in the form of rosary bracelets, and even hung in rear view mirrors, but if you wear a rosary around your neck, you will run the risk of being scolded by fellow Catholics.    What a shame because the peace and security I felt when I had that "rope by which sinners will be pulled into heaven" was just divine. 

So what do you think about rosary wearing?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

For the Anniversary of 9/11

Tomorrow marks the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and the memories of that terrible day are coming back to every American.  Today I'm praying for the safety of those in New York especially a loved one.

If you haven't read blogger Allison's husband's story about how he survived, how he copes and the hope that can be found, you can read it here at the Rambling Follower.

Also, here is a link to a story about Fr. Jeff Ethan, my parents' good friend who was saved from the disaster by a cup of coffee.  He has a really good guardian angel!!

God Bless America and keep us from evil, Amen!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Fashion Post- Part II

My previous post on fashion sparked a lot of interest from readers and friends, so I wanted to follow up on that.

First, if you don't Betty Beguile's blog, I highly recommend it. She introduced me to some of the following websites for clothes:

1. Shabby Apple (sale going on right now- 10% off, plus free shipping! Enter code BOOKS10 until Sept. 14) I just put in an order for a couple things that were on sale, so I can't wait to get them and try them on.  They have adorable clothes and very modest.

2. has some really cute things for the fashion-forward female. I always scour the sale pages and have purchased somethings from them. They sometimes have free shipping and sales if you sign up for the emails.

3. Land's End Canvas (like an affordable J. Crew) has fabulous sales especially if you sign up for their emails. They almost always have free shipping and you can return items you don't want to a Sears store and skip shipping.

4. Boden. I admit that I have never ordered anything from them, but I have friends who like them. It looks like really nice stuff, just out of my price range.

5. Modcloth- as I mentioned in the first fashion post. I just a dress from my wishlist in the mail today and I love it.  Very modest and cute. It is just the right length (40 inches falls at my knees) and has cap sleeves and a modest v-neck complete with buttons for nursing!  I am impressed with the quality for the price I paid.  It will work great for the fall with a cardigan and tights.
view dress here

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Mary's Birthday!

Today the Church celebrates the nativity of the Mother of God.   Mary has such a special role in my life and has brought me so much closer to Jesus than I could have ever come on my own. I know she has roped me with the graces of the rosary, so it makes me want to celebrate this day in thanksgiving for all she has done for me.  Here is a wonderful conversion story by Edie Loughmiller that starts with some profound words on Mary:
There were three key factors that brought me into the Catholic Church nine years ago. The first and most compelling was simply that Mary Won My Heart. As a protestant, my choice of church generally was based upon whether or not I could feel the Holy Spirit at work in worship and at Bible study, filling my lamp with oil to keep me going in my daily life. Generally, I was disappointed in this quest. Then, a friend from work invited me to RCIA, giving me an opportunity to learn about the Catholic Church. At the time, I felt like nothing else was helping me spiritually, and that I should certainly give it a try. After I learned from other Catholics about the apparitions of Mary at Fatima and Lourdes, I began to say the Rosary. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit filled my heart as I was giving my heart to the Blessed Mother in prayer and to read the rest of Edie Loughmiller's conversion story found on Catholic Fire.
 For our celebration of Mary's Birthday, we used Lacy's craft from Catholic Icing and made a cake for Mary with paper and puffy paint.  This activity was so fun and easy and the kids loved it!! But our cakes looked nothing like Lacy's!  Tonight we will be going to a birthday potluck party for Mary at the church.  Following the party is a holy hour, which would be great to attend as well, but alas, the little ones will need to come home for their bedtimes.

Happy Feast Day to you all!

Sometime in the next few days, I will post about the mysterious story about how I woke up with a rosary around my neck...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thankful for New Friends and Answered Prayers

Last winter was a very lonely one for me. I was semi-new to the area (having lived here for almost a year and a half).  I realize now that I should have spent more time in my first year making new friends, but I guess I was just too busy with getting the new house in order, having more kids, and clay rosaries to take time for friends.  I am thankful for a couple friends I had at the time, but I saw them so rarely, it still felt like I was all alone.   At one point, one of the only friends I had, asked me to have a party for her business. I gave in to her pleas and agreed.  It nearly caused me to go into depression because the more I thought about this party, the more I realized I didn't have anyone to invite. I finally had to call her back crying and apologizing for being such a pathetic loser (as far a friends go!).

I prayed to God for friends since we started moving about five years ago. We lived in California for two and half lonely years until we moved to Colorado and just when I was starting to make friends, we had to move again for my husband's new job.  The job was a blessing, but moving took a toll on me.  When we lived in Maryland, I met some very wonderful moms, but then again, we had to move into a house of our own and leave the budding friendships I had started.  I felt my prayers were never really answered and I started obsessing about how I was all alone.  Of course, I had my family here, and my family in Minnesota to call and the occasion calls for college friends, but this was not enough.  I need community in my area.  The more I thought about how everyone else had friends, but me, the more I started to get down on myself for being "too this", or "too that", or "maybe not enough" was making me sad all the time.   So last winter, I finally gave it all up to God.  I told him I would stop wining about friends, and just put my worries in his hands. It was now up to HIM to find me friends and if they never came, I would offer this up too.

During this time, I realized that friends would not drop from the sky and I needed to start inviting people over.  It made me feel like the biggest dork to email someone I had barely known from mom's group or where ever and ask if they wanted to hang out!  It must have been the grace of God that I was given the courage to step way out of my comfort zone, but the more I did it, the easier it became to do it again.

During this time, another woman was also praying for friends. I met her randomly in line at a book signing.  We exchanged numbers and have now have a budding friendship.  While at my house, she shared her prayer for friends was only a few days before we exchanged numbers. I thought, wow, God answered your prayer quicker than mine!

This friend introduced me to another family who had just moved to the area and my husband's nonexistent prayer for friends was answered.  I think God answered a prayer of his deep in his heart because that new friendship has made him so happy.

Now I am blessed with almost more budding friendships last spring and this summer than my schedule allows and my heart is full.  Making time for friends, I have learned, needs to be a priority (not the highest priority, but still a priority).   I've so much enjoyed time spent this summer with all my new friends and have God to thank for his faithfulness.

A few of my friends also have blogs! Here is Heidi's blog, and here is Ginny's, where you will find me today (I'm sure you know her already!) , here is Mary's, and here's Lori's

I also have a funny story about how I met Ginny who does the yarn alongs.  While reading various blogs, I kept running into these yarn alongs.  Having no interest in yarn or knitting, I never stopped to check it out.  One day, I clicked on the link, just for curiosity and found a women who I know from church and who was good friends with other women I knew- Ginny!  I emailed her and probably sounded like a stalker, but she reciprocated with such kindness, I knew this one was a keeper :-) I've so enjoyed getting to know her and her sweet family.

Savoring the Last Days of Summer (two weeks ago)

Hanging out on the river with friends before school starts and fall comes. Great memories!

A True Sign of my Boredom...

is letting my kids get soaking wet in the warm summer rain!
Our gutters are working really well...
Liam didn't have a rain coat, so he put on Analee's.  Silly boy.
Jude and Analee watching the rain shower from above
It was worth all the wet clothes and kids for this smile!