Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick takes - phoning it in

1. Blogging from phone is easy but also frustrating|
Fat fingers, tiny keys, no spell check, no way to size photos, linking is a challenge. Since I usually have my phone w me, overall it is tempting easiest way to get moving on a post. Makes ya' wonder how bloggers blogged in the dark ages.

Dad sent this with a bunch of other political memes. But doesn't this one just burn you up for for the illogical creatures our government forces us to be?!
Nick had a big day when his friends has their second snow day and hung out here (their parents worked). So he had to catch up on math late in the night. But his mind wandered and decided to doodle. I don't mind finding doodles in with Algebra... As long as there are answers mixed in.

4.Today is the 102nd anniversary of my grandmother's birth, the only of my natural grandparents I knew. She called me "May-re" and always made me know I was loved. She had a love for poetry, literature and beautiful skill of elegant handwriting. (I kept all her letters and cards.) She was full of love and cheerfulness. I never saw her angry and sadly, one time I asked her a question that made her cry. She passed about sixteen years ago.
  Eternal rest grant sweet Granny oh Lord, may perpetual light shine upon her, and through Your mercy, may she rest in peace.

Starting today:
Novena to Saint Apollonia, patroness of dentists and dental patients
A saint very near and dear to my heart.
St Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr, feast day on February 9th. She was martyred in Alexandria, arrested and executed in about 250 A.D. during a riot provoked against the Christians. Her executioners broke and extracted all her teeth. She is invoked for the cure of toothache, all dental woes. I bring her with me to all my appointments, and my kids' appointments, and ask her to pray for the dentist, too! Sometimes I share a prayer card.

O glorious Apollonia, may our good teeth reflect also the moral life we are living. How useless it is to enjoy a good dental health when our moral life is going down due to our sins. You lost all your teeth, but you were a shining light. May the whiteness of our teeth be a reflection of our virtues and values that shine before others as light and example to be followed. Amen.

Saint Apollonia, pray for us.

6.My girls love going to their dentist. They love it! Ceci counts down the months until the next appointment. Lilly tagged along this time and had a free tooth brushing "princess style". 
Cool waiting area, but they don't have to wait very long.
Monsters?! Hopefully not adding to Lil's nightmares
7. Have a happy Friday and a great weekend! Go visit Jen and other quick takers..

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Comfort food: Kibbi

I find that cold weather requires comfort food more than warmer weather, and the more memories and meaning attached to the recipes, all the better to comfort.

First I have to tell you that this is not your grandma's meat loaf, no matter how it looks or you think it might taste. Unless of course, you share the same Irish grandmother taught by her own Lebanese mother in law as my husband has.

It's a Lebanese dish we call kibbi, (kibbeh, kibbe), the national dish of Lebanon and translates to mean ball. I remember Craig's grandmother padding the kibbi mixture into balls and frying in a pan to serve like a hamburger. Some times it is padded into small balls and deep fried. But the very best way to have it is stuffed with humpsa.
OK, this is a word I can not find consistent spelling, it is just what it is called.
pine nuts, pine nuts,
yummy, yummy pine nuts

First you make the humpsa.
This filling is good for many recipes, especially meat pies. 

2 T butter (I use coconut oil now for this type cooking)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb
2 medium onion
1/2 tsp cinnamon (Craig remembers his family didn't use cinnamon. It is included in my original copy of the recipe, so i keep it included and I enjoy the flavor).
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp allspice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup pinenuts

Cook all together until done. Set aside to cool

2 lb. lean ground beef or lamb                   2 small onion, diced
2 c cracked wheat, No. 1 aka Bulgar           2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. basil leaves                                     1 tsp pepper

Wash wheat. (which means soak in water for at least thirty minutes before mixing). Grind meat with onion together, add salt, pepper and basil. Mix with wheat, run through grinder again. Mix well. Add about 1/4 cup cold water to have mixture easy to handle. Mix all kibbi ingredients together in a bowl. Grease/butter large casserole dish. Put half of the raw kibbi mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish, flattening down smooth. Now add the middle layer of humpsa into the kibbi. Then add the top layer of kibbi mixture.
Now is where my husband make designs on top of the kibbi and tops with melted butter. I usually just smooth down the top to be even. Bake 30-40 minutes at 375° until done.

Serve as main dish, or a sandwich with ketchup, and eat with a side of tabouli salad. Any way is fine, you will feel comforted.

If you have left over humpsa, use pizza dough or pillsbury rolls, add a spoon full of meat mixture, pinch corners, and bake as instructions indicate.  Yummy!

Theme Thursday - barn

Theme Thursday - barn
linking with Cari 
Here's my favorite tumble down barn I pass on my way home.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WWRW: What we're watching and reading Wednesday

My husband would list this is as my newest obsession: Foyle's War on netflix. This series is new to me, recommended by my friend Carol and her husband. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle during World War II solves local and war crimes alongside endearing characters: Sergeant Milner and driver Samantha Stewart, and occasionally Foyle's RAF son, Andrew.  The episodes last an hour and half, a pretty good commitment of time, packed full of meaty, intriguing stories. Not to mention the beautiful landscape, (remind me to add Hastings to my dream tour of England).

More murders and suicides than you'd imagine would happen in this seaside village. I usually watch late in the evening since some scenes are more than my littles should see. 

Foyle with his modest introduction,"I'm a policeman," in WWII England, wishing for a better position to help the war effort than simple police work, some times realizes his contribution is more than solving petty crime. Not your everyday crime show, it's smarter, with a couple of crimes to solve each episode. You don't always see the solution to who-dun-it ahead of Foyle.

DCS Christopher Foyle: You know, I sometimes wonder why I do this job. And then I come across someone like you. I mean, we're living in such evil times, when the whole world seems to be sinking into some sort of mire. And as if Hitler wasn't enough, we got the likes of you, who capitalize on other people's misery, who hurt them, make things even worse for them when they're at their weakest. And it's with the likes of you that this... mire... begins. And it's some small consolation to know that I've helped to clean up just a little bit of it.

I love Samantha, aka Sam.  My favorite character.  Played by Honeysuckle Weeks. She reminds me of a grown up Euly, with her positive attitude and friendship with her boss, Foyle. She is a hard working, resilient and creative young woman with an ambition to help the war effort and to be more than a driver.  And her freckles: Precious!

Start at the beginning to see the relationships grow. You'll get hooked. 

I am there for the stories, but the bonus is seeing the stylish fashions of the 40's. If I could get the patterns from the show, ... well I don't sew, but, .. maybe I'd learn to. Modest, feminine, stylish. I love Sam's hair style while in uniform. Some cute styles here, here, here and here!

She is so cute! In the beginning, Foyle seemed to think she was impertinent, but I think her respectful sass is refreshing. 

In one episode, Sam, who hopes to be an aspiring police detective herself, mentioned her favorite author from her childhood: Edgar Wallace.  Always eager to find new/ old authors, I looked him up and found many of his books free on Kindle. I downloaded a few and started with The Green Rust. 

This story is based in the time after WWI when the world knew there were good guys who would defeat the evil guys who wanted to take over the world. Green Rust is something that could destroy the world's food supply. 

Olivia is a likable character, creative and resourceful. The hero, who has the kind of timing where things just work for him, made me wonder if Ian Fleming read Wallace for Bond ideas.

Fun stories, maybe a little predictable, but still fun. I read half of the book in the first sitting. Nice find for free and so happy to have many more waiting for me when I have time to read.

I can see why Sam's character liked the stories and how she would have been influenced by them reading as a young girl growing up in a small English village.

In continuing the series in Green Knowe, and my continued English literature obsession, we read A Stranger at Green Knowe by Lucy Boston. This one was a little different, and is fun to see how the series changes focus with each new story. The house is always central to the story, not based on certain characters or mysteries. Not to give too much away, we learned about gorillas and the kids were inspired to learn more on their own.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ice Day

The kids enjoyed ice jumping this summer so much, 
Cecilia thought she'd try it with the freshly fallen snow ice.

ice jumping makes the strangest squelch squelch sound, like a giant stopping through icy waters.

Monday, January 27, 2014

But Amy, we moms are striving for perfection not exceptionalism

Read this article that was passed around Facebook and The Blaze?
The title "I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I am Not Sorry" and comments like this hit people's buttons:
"You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids."

And I thought Amy Glass is right....
Having a husband and kids take a lot of time and energy and at some points in life, can leave women exhausted. But not drained or stripped of who we are and goals we strive toward attaining.

I'm trying to understand Amy's take on the word exceptional. 
Exceptional means uncommon, above average, deviating from the norm. 

Every woman I know is exceptional! Single, married, career driven or kid driven, all exceptional.

The big picture that Amy is missing, the point of this life:
Are we to spend our days working toward exceptionalism or toward perfection?

I speak from my view my world; my limited experience in life, well, at my age it hasn't been limited. I'm not the young mom she despises, just the older version.
I attended a university, earned a degree, landed a job, worked my way up...
It was satisfying. It was challenging. It certainly filled my days.  It was not fulfilling. There is a difference.

My career didn't make me exceptional any more than having children make me exceptional or unexceptional, as Amy might say.

But my goal isn't to be different, my goal is to work toward perfection:
A Heaven goal. And bring as many with me as possible!
Money and materialistic things come and go...

 "Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through, and steal.
 But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.
 For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also." Matt 6:19-21

Back to Amy's post, doing laundry is not my favorite. Taking care of people I love is satisfying, fulfilling. Seeing the laundry done, for the moment, and put away is satisfying and that's something. It may before important than being exceptional. No, it's not the work or a doctor or engineer, but still work that needs to be done.

And this type of work trains us not to be selfish. But that appears to be her goal, as Amy admits here.

There is a better lesson we need to think of: benefits of the lessons of humility.
"Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls." Matt 11:29
Humility works opposite pride and that exceptionalism Amy desires and urges us to do greater things above our normal strength.

No one is obligated  to get married or have kids. One can be called to live a single life, but if the goals are only for materialistic success, you'll will never be fulfilled.

I'm not going to advise Amy or anyone to get married or have children. Bravo to those who don't want kids AND avoid the lifestyles and behaviors that bring life into the world. I would hope she would keep her heart open for her Creator and her end. 

I admire successful women. I admire women who achieve their goals.  I cheer for them!
But not when they sacrifice their children or marriage to get it. So I applaud Amy for making the call not to sacrifice anyone for her goals.

There is no need for her to take time to look down on moms like me. I'm happy. I have no regrets. I still work on my goals, although they have changed as the years have passed.
I know I may not achieve them; I look for and hope for the heavenly rest in the end.

I hope Amy finds what exceptional things and people she's looking for, but I wish she wouldn't bash the ordinary folks, like her mom and sister, on her way to greatness. They may be the only ones who would cheer her on.

Keep Him with you on your exceptional journey and He will perfect it.
Good luck to you, Amy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lazy Daybook Journal from my view on the couch

Outside my window...sunny and a little cool. Warmer today after below freezing winter storm froze us this last week. I saw an icicle Friday, and Thursday Euly made an ice ball. Big deal around here.

This is today...

One of my favorite things...sunshine. Especially sunshiny days after days of ick, cold and clouds. Texas blue skies: beautiful and blue and big. Love, love, love it! Sunshine makes me very happy.

I am thankful...for a dreamy husband who dreams.

I am watching...Jack Reacher a Tom Cruise crime solving action movie. Good, fast paced. Found out these are based on books by Lee Child so now I have birthday present idea for my sweetie.
I took the kids to Frozen this week. It was cute, the not a bad guy bad guy but a misunderstood sister story. It was sweet. Sister love no matter what, I can relate.

I am reading...Green Rust by Edgar Wallace; a Stranger at Green Knowe by Lucy Boston as our read aloud, and Charlotte's Web to Ceci for a book club she is going to participate.

I am hoping...for...well, something I am keeping close to my heart today.

I am praying...this beautiful Prayer of St Bonaventure:
Recommended for praying after Communion, from the red missal for the traditional Latin Mass:
Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee.
Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and super substantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delightful taste. May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God.
May it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end; 
And may Thou be alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen.

I am looking forward to...seeing what all 2014 has to offer. January has been a good month, especially for one of my least favorite months. As far as keeping with the Let go, Let God aim of my resolutions, I found this prayer by Saint Ignatius specially beautiful and appropriate today:

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.

Around the house...we worked so hard last weekend: mulching, cleaning, dejunking. This weekend we are sitting back and enjoying the fruits of our hard work.

I am pondering...the education from Magic School Bus videos on netflix. We started years ago with classic MSB books, before pbs discovered by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.
These original books are very well done with data, jokes and comments in the sidelines to compliment the meaty topics. By the time Max was schoolageish, pbs had discovered the books and made their shows with their accompanying watered down books. These were still good, just not near as meaty, but still good science info for the earlier schooler. Then we forgot about the good ole bus and its quirky teacher. Lilly discovered on the Bus on netflix, and Nick down have enjoyed the shows and brief introduction to scientific topics for fun. Just looking at these years later, the original books are still the best, and can be interactively entertaining when read with child. Mrs. Frizzle's kind of strange wouldn't fly in today's American education. Over night field trips?? Field trips without permission slips and chaperons? Letting students take chances and make mistakes! A homeschooler at heart.

A favorite quote for today...from Mother Teresa
"Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
A few plans for the rest of the week... January is done this week that was fast. 2014 is 1/12 done and I still need to do taxes for 2013: waiting of turbo tax updates and all my tax forms...! Yes, just like back in school, I like to be first one done. 

I am, back from church, I put my comfy sweats, comfy sweater and nice and comfy wool socks.

A peek into my day...lazy relaxing Sunday afternoon. A much needed and appreciated day-of-rest.
sharing couch "workspace" with Molly

Cc working on a portrait of me?  with a photo bombing Lilly jumping on the couch while watching Magic School Bus. Wild days here.

Have a happy week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes on Cold Weather

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about FitBit, couch rejection, and an important lesson about letting your spouse know if you leave pipe valves open

1. In south eastern Texas, we either 
don't take cold weather seriously since the weather itself doesn't, for very long anyway. It will threaten and get cold; low twenties the last storm, but then in matter of days, or even that same day, it's back in the 70's pretending like nothing ever happened. So we just deal with it because it will be pleasant by afternoon.

Or ... we go crazy, panic and hope all is called off: school, work, etc. 
I had appointments scheduled for the morning that were cancelled since everybody is worried about the weather. It is just under freezing, but it rained, so they are really afraid of driving in icy conditions, and since it's such a rare condition, only a few drivers know how to manage, so it's best the rest stay home safe. 

2. Or the current hysteria and over reaction may just be a ploy to get a day off. Unless we have a hurricane, we don't often have weather that closes the schools. It's almost like the decision makers think wink wink nudge nudge: it's worth making the call, even if the weather isn't all that bad. 
Apparently this time is bad enough for local road closures.  

3. Contrary to my previous belief: Mock fireplaces actually put out some heat. The beautiful ambiance makes it worth chopping wood flipping the switch once a year.

4.  My husband just returned from a business trip visiting Iowa with a temperature of minus 23. Like what...55 degrees below freezing!?! This is when Fahrenheit does not make any sense to me. Freezing, below freezing to negatives..crazy. Just colder than imaginable, just say, stay inside weather or you die. Crazy.

5. One strange thing about the winters we spent in Michigan was seeing the mailman did deliver the mail in all kinds of weather. He trudged along on foot delivering our mail through a little slot in the door, so we could stay warm and toasty, while he froze! 

6. Tropical landscaping that we have had growing for years will not make it through this winter. I'm not surprised when I lost my hibiscus and hydrangeas. My palm tree hung on through the earlier cold snaps, but might not recover from this last one. 

7. Saw this from a local talk show guy. He nailed it for Houston:

There have to be other things to worry about besides frozen pipes and keeping our pets inside. Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee? Yep.

Have a happy Friday and keep warm, my friends!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Theme Thursday: Catching People Unawares

jan-feb schedule

Lilly suddenly became strong enough to open the freezer and help herself to the ice cream, catching me unawares.

A winter storm is coming in today, threatening to storm with snow flurries in the morning. 
Perfect weather to sit snuggled under pillows on the couch to listen to and discuss our current literature read aloud.

Our current story inspires memories and stories from these two sillies.

This one is just listening in for something to do between her other classes. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

16 days in and already revising my word of the year...for a good reason

I wrote this about my theme for the year on Holy Abandonment. But now I want to change it. It is a lot of pressure on its own.

I need to practice and live life letting go of my will to follow God's ...So I'll just revise it to add another word to help me focus: Laughter.

Laughter should be welcomed.  Gaiety, happiness, cheer should be included more often consciously and unconsciously in my/our daily life. As strange as it seems, it is the how I'm going to accomplish steps toward Holy Abandonment.

I've been thinking about this since I spent some time with my friend MT, who would be embarrassed to know I talk about her here, maybe, hope not.

MT is a playful trickster who gladly gets me in trouble because she knows I need to lighten up and laugh more. You think I'd learn to see the tricks and jokes coming, but she's always one step ahead. I blame it on growing up without a brother.

MT has experienced unimaginable sufferings in this life and humbly walks in faith with laughter, a smile and a twinkle in her eye. I have not walked down the sad roads where she has had to. When we've discussed these sufferings, she smiles through the memories and moves on. 

In Saint Faustina's Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, she states, 
"Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how much God loves it, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Someday, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer. The present moment is ours." (693)

My friend is one who finds joy despite sufferings, probably because of the sufferings. I want to be like MT, so I'll try to learn from MT. 

She says happiness is a decision. She has struggles and worries, but decides to approach it all with a light heart and a smile and consciously looks for a way to find humor in life. It works; it's contageous. She is a joy to be near and I feel motivated and happy after spending time with her. In some shared situations I have felt silly like a schoolgirl giggling when others around us are so serious, and realize it's fun to be in trouble. It's not only okay to be silly and lighthearted, but good for the heart.

Could it be part of Matthew 18:3?
(Jesus) said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

I always enjoy the shared laughter and the light heart it brings. The silly memories stay and make me a smile. I need to carry her like a little angel on my shoulder reminding me to keep perspective, poking fun when I take it all too seriously.

Job 8:21 Until thy mouth be filled with laughter, and thy lips with rejoicing...

When this is all done, if I'm blessed to get there, I will find MT in heaven where I hear the angels laughing. 

As we wait in joyful hope, ...

Theme Thursday - Craft

Cari's Theme Thursday - link up at Clan Donaldson - Today's Theme - Craft

At her museum science day, the "weather teacher" taught Ceci's class about bubbles, how to make them and different ways to play with and spent time blowing bubbles. Ceci came home with a few supplies and wanted to make more bubbles (she said her shampoo with water would work). She got it all ready, then reenacted the fun she had in class.

We enjoyed the bubble fun so much that I forgot to ask the connection to the weather. Maybe there wasn't one needed because the weatherman got the weather perfect this week!

it was so thick, it looked plastic-y

Ceci's favorite characteristic of these bubbles: the way they held together when she shook the straw and yarn frame up and down.

My precious child, lovingly crafted by God.

Go visits all kinds of other crafts at Cari's today... and add your own.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Monkeying around

It has been a while since I joined in with Auntie Leila and the girls to share some contentment.

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

 at Like Mother, Like Daughter! 
{pretty & happy}
Yesterday, our monthly  museum science classes resumed. The night before my friend dropped off her kids so they could ride in to Houston with us. This has to be half of the fun: a mid week sleep over with your pals! 

After an early drive into Houston, Lilly and I decided to spend our waiting time together at the Houston Zoo.

We walked over from the museum and arrived just as they opened. No one told the animals, they slept in. We were disappointed that we saw none of the cats, big or little,  unless I cheat and add meerkats to the feline family, which I can't. Oh, did you know a family group of meerkats is called a gang, mob or clan? They are always a treat. Lilly wanted one for a pet, but the keeper told her that she couldn't have one ...she'd have to have a whole gang.

The elephants were up getting their bath. We were not disappointed with these old pals as Lilly will sit and watch the elephants as long as I would let her, 
which today was about twenty minutes.

The giraffes were up and out. I guess the giraffes have no choice as their garage doors open for them to exit, and close behind them. Unfortunately, they never do anything too terribly exciting.

I would have stayed longer to watch the sea lions, but they didn't impress Lilly. I thought they were lots of fun. She didn't and wasn't interested in watching the sea lions perform tricks for food, no matter how much I tried to convince her this was a rare treat to watch.

I enjoy these times with just us. It's fun to only have one person to watch, feed, (buy tickets for) and keep up with. We have nice talks and discuss fun three year old view points.

I did not convince her these were lemurs. She was quite indignant and disappointed that her very own mom did not know what a raccoon was.

The monkeys were all very tired, or very lazy. She suggested they were actually sad, and not just tired or bored.

I think she might have a point:

I'd rather think they were still waiting for breakfast.

I only saw one orangutan, and she came home with me.

today's stamp for reentering the zoo- a monkey. 
Her very own to take home.

pre historic monkey

The weather was the perfect spring like weather ... in January. I don't want to look at the forecasts, I'll just hope we have days like this for months! Perfect for our picnic lunch.

The afternoon exhibit was interesting. It was the cave paintings of Lascaux. In the 1940's in France, some boys' dog disappeared in a small cave in the ground, and soon reappeared. The boys decided to check it out and discovered cave paintings that the experts estimate to be about 18,000 years old.
Houston Museum of Natural Science has a full 1/10th scale model of the caves, and a room of reproduced paintings, as well as many photos, stories, hands on tools to understand more about this discovery. Enough for a full day study.  I wish we had studied a little before arriving, but it didn't enter my list of priorities. It would have made it a better experience. As it was, it was pretty interesting.

One of the moms in our group treated a us to a docent who made the exhibit come to life.

 This painting  below was interesting: a field of horses was painted first, then at some other time, maybe even some other tribe of peoples, came and painted the black cow in front of the horses. 
It is fun/ funny to listen to the guesses of whats and whys and how they knows of things from eighteen thousand years ago, and to listen to the questions home school kids come up with to challenge the hypothesis. The docent said he really enjoyed working with our group for all the delightful questions.

We were told about the mutation in humans toward blue eyes and light hair a necessity for living in areas without much sun, so that the lighter skin could soak in vitamin D. Interesting..

Very life like statues, we expected them to move!

Our docent suggested the reindeer below were crossing a river, or even asked us to consider whether is could be one deer crossing at different time points. The ancient artist used the coloring and slant of the wall to represent water of a river. Our docent wanted us to realize that cavemen were just like us. They were not dumb, as he was taught as a child;  they were sophisticated and talented. For example: see lady's hat above and clothing they wore so long ago.

Okay, one last thing, a weird fact about Lascaux:


The cave is closed to the public after signs of deterioration appear, caused by carbon dioxide from the breath of visitors. 
HMNS had an interactive exhibit to show how this worked. Lots of food for thought.

Counting gifts

Counting gifts of big and little events, thoughts, prayers, experiences I don't want to forget.

4500 "Darn it, mom. You always stop reading at the most interesting part." Why do I just love that?
4499 Texas. Texans.
4498 Taking my CCD kids on a tour of the confessional, and letting them try it out. Hoping to help work out any nerves.
4497 Allowing a day off walking without worry that I'll give in entirely.
4496 Picture of love left for me to find. I love how we are both smiling.

4495 Overheard Lilly talking to Ceci and Maggie:
"Yes I have a boyfriend....
He isn't very nice, and he has loooong black hair...
and he is old...
and he had this wooden leg... 
and his hand is kinda has a claw (demonstrates)." 
"Lilly, is your boyfriend Captain Hook.?" "Yes!"
4494 "Oh, no! what happened to that __(insert any and every animal)__?" exclaimed a very concerned Lilly in the animal diorama at HMNS. Not sure where all the empathy came from, not her first visit.
4493 Feeling triumphant in battle when I successfully brought 7 kids 44 miles in an hour and half to their science day classes safely.
4492 Being at the zoo and something about the day brought back memories of so many other times at the zoo over the years; especially touching memory of DD and Marilyn watching little Max while I had my hair done (and his popcorn) and taking Nathan and Char when their dad was dealing with cancer diagnosis.
4491 Cute little girls and a turtle.

4490 From another St. Joe prayer:
 "Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father, to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to out Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so."
4489 Peter, about the schoolroom; "Wow! Somehow it got cleaned up."
4488 Sounds of kids upstairs happily playing the night before science day.
4487 The trail on such a nice evening

4486 Molly's first day of a new semester. That back-to-school excitement!
4485 Having to stay in bed with a sick girl. She won't let me get up, tentacles holding me in place, or she cries, and I don't want that. Poor baby.
4484 Him

4483 This part:
"O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw m dying breath."
4482 "I'll have no swear words in here...unless I'm doing the swearin'." Mrs. Patmore channeling me.
4481 De Clutter nice
4480 Reclaimed schoolroom, nicer than ever. Ready to restart school.

4479 Confirmed in the faith
4478 Accepting the risks, forcing the worries out.
4477 Beautiful St. Joe prayer:
O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.
O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.
4476 Selling Max on the house idea, sharing enthusiasm. Wasn't a hard sale at all. He gets us.
4475 Everyone working hard to get the house ready.
4474 Focusing on hope, not getting caught in the fears...trying.
4473 Coping with illness
4472 Confirmation clothes shopping with Nick and Euly
4471 Improvements
4470 College breaks - having kids at home. Just Relaxing. Nothing to do. Nice time for memories
4469 Random quote
"Love is how you stay alive...even after you're gone."
4468 This reminder:

4467 Finding inspiration and motivation right where we are
4466 Stopping over thinking, well, trying to.
4465 Waller dreaming...again.
4464 Going with his gut, trusting it.
4463 Fresh paint, a whole new look.
4462 Loud  sloppy rain drops
4461 Support for where I am right now. And again in a few minutes. Lol
4460 Early morning phone calls with my sister
4459 Judgement free friendships
4458 Play days and good conversation
4457 Adopting a holy mantra to offer worries to our loving God.
4456 Taking a long walk between bad weather days
4455 CCD coordinator duties, a way to give back
4454 Frequent confession and an evening dedicated to going as a family
4453 Playing peek a boo with a bed bound sick girl.
4452 A wall of candles begging to be lit

4451 Still celebrating Christmas in January 

4450 Weather swings. Comfort is just days away

4449 Comforting and holding a sick Lilly on the couch
4448 My first In and Out Burger

4447 Time with dd.
4446 Man proposes, God disposes!
4445 Seven hour Traci visit
4444 Acting on a New Years resolution like never before
4443 Second chances
4442 Renewed hope
4441 Hope for exciting new year changes
4440 "Fiat Voluntas Tua." Let Thy will be done
4439 Chinese delivery
4438 Drinking hot chocolate and driving around enjoying Christmas lights together
4437 Checking off the must do's during the Christmas season to ensure adequate "Christmas spirit."
4436 Dedicated people! Musical Christmas lights for our enjoyment
4435 Euly and Nick and their neighbor friends 
4434 Gullo Christmas lights

4433 Receiving Christmas cards
4432 Sending Christmas cards
4431 Christmas baked goodies
4430 This one life.
4429 To exercise... because I can
4428 For our eyesight
4427 Simple joys of childhood
4426 Praying for those that have such pain with the holidays after loosing a loved one.
4425 Spending hours in conversation
4424 Lovely dinner conversation about confession
4423 MT's perspective on sufferings. Our Lord must truly love her to give her so much suffering.
4422 MT's wisdom "After loosing a child, how can one worry about a label like dyslexia?" Get perspective, Mary!
4421 Double date
4420 Remembering our first world problems are nothing to complains about
4419 Learning Margaret's story
4418 Weird dream about conversations that never happened but made me think of and be thankful for the friendship that is, and work on it.
4417 Neighbor Julie bringing by fresh rolls and homemade jam for a nice evening treat.

4416 Released from doctor
4415 Taking care of business
4414 Date land shopping with Craig 
4413 Early morning laziness to gaze at beauty

4412 Overheard:"Hey Lilly do you want to play in the sprinkler?" How could it be warm enough after such unseasonably cold? temps back up to 70's
4411 Late night family quest for a treat: third times a charm. Texas stop sign. lol

4410 The greatest birth story ever told: miraculous baby Jesus 
4409 Controlled venting
4408 Marilyn's Christmas artwork

4407 Finally... friends!

4406 Practicing humility: reminding myself it is essential to invoke the will and whatever the issue, wasn't worth the hurt.
4405 Charlie Brown Christmas scene. Not sure why, but it makes me very happy.
4404 Molly and her siblings singing that song she made up so long ago on a country road in Georgia, with the windows down and her hair flying, leaning out as far as she could:  "Christmas lights Christmas lights, I see Christmas liiiiiights..."
4403 Falling star
4402 So many stars. Fall Tall clear night sky. And bon fires.

4401 Reading Pope Francis:
"For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And his is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5) "