Saturday, January 31, 2015

{Counting Gifts} Last half of January's prompts

17 laughter, prayer, quiet
A good belly laugh, over nothing really, as we are coming out of this illness, feels so good.   "We didn't pray our rosary." "Will you help me bless my food?" Lilly's prayerful reminders, she's come so far from last year when she didn't want to pray over meals. The quiet retreat found on the front porch. 

18 from God's Word
1John 5:15 And we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask: we know that we have the petitions which we request of him.
1John 4
If we love one another, God abideth in us: and his charity is perfected in us.
1John 3:22 And whatsoever we shall ask, we shall receive of him: because we keep his commandments and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.

19 Might never have been
Life. 42nd Anniversary of Roe v Wade comimg up, Marches held around the nation supporting life, encouraging people, to see the person hood of the little infant in the womb, who is a precious baby. A precious person with a right to life. 42 years of people who by choice might never have been. I'm older than that, although my mother was open to life anyway. I have six precious babies conceived and born during  this tragic time, thankfully they are. 

20 Only seen close up
Hmmm.. This prompt is a hard one. Today I drove my sick daughter thirty minutes to her first day at a new college since she was ill and it was foggy and we thought it was the right answer. Then I drove home, a little later I drove back those thirty minutes to pick her up. It was priceless time together, I got a first hand look into the college, some of her fellow students, and a feeling for the different atmosphere she is immersed in this semester. We talked the time just us in the car, made plans, reviewed what needed to be done for the day. These moments are fleeting. She will drive herself tomorrow, if she feels well. Next semester she will be starting at a college further away, where she most likely will walk to class, and not need mom to give her a ride, oh, I am not ready to let go of this one. 
Maybe my proverbial apron strings are only seen close up, this girl is independent, strong and has a great sense of self. She doesn't need me, unless we look close. I think she enjoyed our drive today as much as I did. 

21 sky, water, memory
Rain holding off, water to soak the ground, even if it causes me hassle, having kids who drop everything to help me get stuff done. Nick- how do I forget his diligence? I will try not to again.

22 Wrinkles smoothed unfolded
Laundry completely done and folded, and put away. Silly girls always there to help me:

23 Found in Christ

24 three things blue
Cup tower, sky and Lilly's eyes.

25 Borrowed found, inherited. Food brought for reception. Bridle for Miss Betty's horses. Enjoying table dad made for us.

26 before dawn, noon, after dark
Prayers for Molly and safe travels to college on her long daily commute. Sitting on the couch with Cecilia as she boldly reads more than should could yesterday. Craig taking Nick to a scout meeting so I could stay home.

27 Three gifts in the kitchen
Coopers jalapeƱo sausage left over from Shnday's party to make jadra. Mac and cheese for these kids that didn't want to eat jadra. Italian spiced oil dip with fresh bread, with Apple pear to satisfy sweet tooth.

28 found in friends
Understanding, non judgement and unconditional love. Not too many years ago, after a relocation, I yearned for a close friend. I wanted a like minded friend: Catholic, homeschooling with a few kids for my kids to play with. I prayed for this friend. I felt so alone, even among other Catholic  homeschoolers. I needed a friend who was closer to my age, or kids close to my kids ages. 
Since I have been blessed with three very good friends who fit the list I had made, I also have two very good friends who don't meet the list. I am thankful for each and thankful for the times we have together and memories of visits I carry with me as life moves along. I have a few very good long distance friendships whose I cherish phone calls and even still exchange hand written letters. The best friendship experiences are with someone who accepts me, doesn't judge me or want me to change unless it's in my interest and my idea, who I know loves me and enjoys my company as much I enjoy hers. 
Prayers are answered.
One friend ship started when I had to meet the person who had a traveling Madonna statute checked out before me and she has forgotten to return in. We had a fun meeting to exchange the statue and we struck up a long lasting friendship and we couldn't deny Holy Mary had her hand in it.
My sisters are also my good friends. We take each other for granted, and don't stop and realize how much those texts, phones calls and visits mean. We are in each other's lives, there for each other's children. There for a quick question or more support. A friendship that is there as life is there.

29 song word light 
Bird songs, owls calling, the spring running. Sounds that fill my heart. A kind word spoken from one sibling to another, then it spreads. 

30 three old things new
Repurposed frames. Repurposed notebook into an annual calendar. Outfits mixed and matched to have something exciting to wear.

31 gift on paper, picture, in person
Our names in calligraphy for rehearsal, so elegant. Photos with the bride and groom and my little girls, so precious. Being at Joseph and Angela's wedding, so thankful to witness their faith and love and be surrounded by so many wonderful people. And to getting that ellusive family photo with all 18 grandkids and new additions!! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekend Daybook with some Demolition thrown in

Outside My Window.... A beautiful sunny afternoon! We should be warm, close to 70 degrees. Glorious. Perfect afternoon for entertaining people from our parish who are coming out to meet our priest's mother and sister. I'm so thankful for a beautiful day! 

I Am Thinking....about Lent coming up fast! We're gathering old palm branches to drop off for Ash Wednesday. Ceci remembers the palm branches for me ever since  the Lent she was four, and she didn't want to receive ashes on her forehead, because she looked at me with big eyes and asked "Whose ashes were they?!" So now, knowing where the ashes come from, she gathers palms for me to bring. Future sacristan?
I also need to gather candles for Candlemas.

I Am Thankful....for my generous and hard working husband!

I Am comfy Chico's sweater and Target boots. I wore a skirt to Mass, thinking of slipping pants on for our afternoon party.

I Am Reading....about Samuel Champlain for history. And Church History about Charlemagne. We need to start something fun for literature.

I Am Hoping....for an easy car repair for a rear window of my car that has come detached for the second time. I imagine it falling out as I drive down the road. I hate taking my car in, I don't seem to speak the same language as most car repairmen. 

I Am Learning....relearning Algebra with Nick. I love it! 

A Favorite Quote For The don't bungle it! Enjoy it! 

One Of My Favorite Things....entertaining. I worried if we moved further away from our friends, we wouldn't have visits and we'd loose contacts. So a happy solution, invite people out ..a lot.. and hope they come: have food for them, drinks,a comfortable  atmosphere. We are trying.

A Few Plans For This Week....Boy Scout meeting, hair cut, friends visit, cotillion class, and then get ready for a wedding! 

Around The House....
Saturday we started an organized effort on the little house demolition, in other words Craig was there to enlist / impress the teenagers into service.
What a good productive team. They turned out to be on this gorgeous day.

"Hey, wait for meeeee!"

In The Kitchen....
Molly and I stayed in the house to prepare food for the reception. We are so delighted.
Father's mother likes simple home cooking so we are having Bbq brisket, my homemade Bbq sauce (I made and canned nine jars today),Coopers sausage, twice baked potato casserole, chips and Molly's Chuys creamy jalipeno dip, ranch style beans, spinach cream cheese wraps, and whatever another guests bring. Maybe brownies if there doesn't look like enough desserts.

I Am Wondering....About souveneers.
We went to Buc-ees and picked up some Texas souveneers to send back with our guests. The girls wish they had time to paint a ceramic mug with blue bonnets, but we will file that idea away for another day.
It should be a beautiful afternoon.

Have a happy last week of January!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

7 Friday Quick Takes and check marks

1. This past week we worked on three big exterior projects and moved one of them from the To Do column to the Taaaa Daaaa column!

The gate- complete!

The front gate was flush with the street, heavy and hard for kids to drag open. Much of the wood was rotten and some of the fence was disconnected.
Craig moved the gate in a couple car lengths, so we aren't hanging in the street to open it up, and he replaced poles and the fence bordering the gate. The new gate is lighter and level and easy to open. He used some of the old split rail fence pieces to add a little something to the sides.
The hope in the future is to add a remote solar opener, but for now, we are thrilled!

2. The road- halfway done 
We had over 50 tons of limestone road base brought in to firm up the road that's been giving us lots of trouble from the beginning.  Craig originally wanted 80 tons, which would have been perfect. As it was, Nick and I were under a time crunch to get the material spread before the rains started again. (Craig was traveling.) Nick is so diligent and so much better at getting a large scoop fulls than I am. He has more experience. But I know I still helped make progress. We were able to spread it the distance of the trouble spots, about 600 feet, but we will get another load soon to make it wider from about 6 feet to 10 and have enough left over to fill spots at the drive close to the house.
Should I check it off?  Not yet. We were able to get it spread through the whole trouble section but didn't get it thick enough or wide enough. After two more loads, I'll check it off. We succeeded in spreading all that rock before the rain, and in time for the gas man to finally come down the road and fill our propane tank. Hot showers all around!!
There will always be road work, but if we can have people visit without the fear of getting stuck..then we accomplished what we need to and we are celebrating!! Two more loads coming up soon, after we dry out from the recent deluge.
3. Little house demolition ...only just started. 
We have been dismantling what is formally known as Nick's house, it was too full of rotten wood to save. A rush has been imposed upon us by the insurance company who wants the house less than 90 days. We are saving some materials for future projects and junking and burning the rest. Having the dumpster show up makes me think we're making progress. 

4. We also have a time crunch on us to prepare for a reception we are hosting for our priest's mother who is coming to town for a visit. A small group of us are so excited to meet and visit with her. She was widowed last year and we are amazed she wants travel so far. We want to have a big Texas welcome!

5.  We are almost ready for my nephew's wedding coming up next week. I finally found shoes for my flower girls and they were able to get their hair cut today. The older girls need dresses to wear, but that should be easier to deal with. I need to buy the happy couple a wedding gift too!! That should be fun!
Before - first haircut
After - four inches

6. Euly and Nick are taking classes for a Cotillion. The manners lesson part of the class seem to be nothing new to them. Nick said if you grow up in The South you already practice these kind behaviors. Well, ... hopefully anywhere :) ! Euly said that she doesn't know how someone doesn't / wouldn't compliment at least one person once a day. Apparently that was suggested in class. Have I mentioned these two are kind, sweet, genuine kids?! I love how much they enjoy the classes. They are learning new dance steps that seem to be pretty challenging. Their cousin is in the class too and it's nice to have them all together to a class again after many years since their nature classes.

7. We were going to wait for a special occasion, but we couldn't. We started watching the Little House season one I won from the sweet and inspiring  Billie Jo at Afternoon Coffee and Evening Tea 
I grew up on it, having seen the show long before reading the books. (a mistake, but there it is). My kids know the books better. So Euly can not stand Michael Landon as Pa, just because he doesn't have a beard. She still watches, with a critical eye looking for discrepancies from the book.  Ceci loves it all and can't wait for each new to her episode. I can't believe I waited so long to introduce it to them. It's fun to snuggle  on the couch with a blanket and watch together. 
Thank you Billie Jo!! 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 19, 2015

[Nature Walk} Nature Journal - January

Nature Journal Walk
January 19, 2015 2:00 pm
By creek entrance from the north, south side of northern clearing.
Clear skies, 70 degrees, slightly windy.
A perfect day to break out the journalling and to have an excuse to move school outdoors.

Some"one" has been snacking on these nuts.

but today they were all dried and brittle:

The kids all have their own style of journalling.
Ceci was using water from the creek to use with the watercolors for her journal entry.

 It's funny when Lilly is squeamish and when she is bold. She grabbed this frog out of the water. It seemed alive, just too cold to move.

It will be nice to see the difference a few months make with spring filling out the leaves.

Reminds me of that old picutre book,
"When I go for a walk in the forest..."
I love the freedom they  have to explore and appreciate the world God has made.

Friday, January 16, 2015

{Counting Gifts} First Half of January Gifts - prompted

 The blog started as a way to keep a journal record of counting gifts, blessings -big or small - on a daily basis. 
I thought I would try something different for January and use Ann's prompts. 
1- Three Gifts Heard: Listening to Max and Euly chat while they sort two huge boxes of Legos, organizing his childhood before he begins last semester of college.  Novus Ordo music from the 80's and I'm the only one in my family who knew the words. (Peace on Earth).  Listening to Ceci and Lilly play pretend together. Just precious and polite conversations.

2. Gifts outside, inside, on a plate: The call of winter birds across the pond, then the thrill watching then fly past the windows, narrowly missing. Ceci and Lilly playing dress up and matching. Sushi lunch date with Craig and Max and tried something new: Cypress roll. 

3. Overheard: "Hey Molly, did you bless your food?" ~Lilly. Dogs barking outside, led Molly to look out and notice people walking up our drive, neighbors we now know Brenda because her dog ran away NYE during all the fireworks. Listening to Molly and Ceci making dinner together.

4. Old, new, blue: Old space heater. Outlet mall Chico's sweater, cozy. The big ole blue Texas sky.

5. Reading,making, seeing: From Pope Francis:– “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.” Finding photos and badges for ECOH display for Nick, especially considering these things come over time, places, we moved...! Happy to make progress. 
Seeing - Epiphany water blessed.

6. Bag, fridge, heart: Blessed chalk for Epiphany blessing from our parish. Yogurt on hand for a health snack when I'm hungry. Text checking in with everyone while so many are far from home today.

7. Graces from people I love: I love how much Lilly will needs me, calls for me to help, sleeps peacefully with me. It's nice to still be a mom for that level of need. Ceci's playdoh bunnies:

Molly's homemade ice cream in freezer.

8 husky light, reflection, shadow:
Sheila on the corner of our room in the dusky light. (Didn't get any other pics today).
9. Held, passed by, say withHolding Lilly in morning since she doesn't feel well. The beauty of the sun setting on our neighbor's fields.(we often seem to leave the same time of day to witness beauty). Sitting next to my kids on couch, sharing blankets while reading Sherlock.

10. Sour, sweet, just right: Sour moods this cold puts the kids in, but a good reminder to be kind, because they don't even realize how bad they feel.
Sweet: Craig and Molly made raspberry and strawberry jam.
Just right: Heb cake for the ECOH

11. Gifts of Mercy: Craig has the day off to sleep in bed trying to get over the flu. Molly made the best healing chicken soup to give her dad a good start on healing. Universal church offering us a late Sunday mass to fulfill our obligation.

12. Above, below, beside: I'm thankful for the rain from above. I'm thankful Max didn't get stuck on the ruts below. I'm thankful for the family together this morning for a yummy breakfast for their insides: JR's potatoes, my homemade biscuits with Molly's jam, sausage and fresh squeezed OJ. My favorite meal to go big and make lots of favorites.

13. Things about myself: Mothering my kids when they are sick. As crazy as it sounds, I have fond memories of illnesses from my childhood, which thankfully were few and far between. My mother stopped everything to nurse us back to health. She had cold cloth for our burning heads, soup on special trays delivered to our beds, fresh pillows, fresh water, brought us anything to make our sick time as comfortable as possible. Her presence was close by and comforting. I have tried to do that for my children, but I know I have not met the level my mother did. Fortunately, my girls now have that care and compassion for each other. Ceci hasn't yet been hit with this flu, and has run from room to room bringing water, checking on the sick siblings and father. One is much more vulnerable when ill, and so appreciative for love shown. I heard Nick utter, "I love Ceci" after she took him a beautiful tray of food. He couldn't eat much, but felt better having the love shown to him. 

14. Graces from God: healing power of human body. Forced sick days bring family togetherness under blankets when the heat is out (since we discovered we were completely out of gas and propane guy can't make it up the road). Gauging my concern level based on my husband's, he doesn't worry, so I won't. He is a gift from God to this worrywart.

15.worn, given away, saved. Molly's worn hoodie to warm my cold bones. Finally, the last two (latest two) boxes easy to go to donation drop off. Memory saved from 15 years ago Michigan to enrich our Christmas decor, finally coming to me.

16. 3 witnessed blessings. Sunshine. Warm temperatures. Being drawn outside by the miracle of beautiful weather, feeling well enough to get some things done outdoors to enjoy it.