Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I've Missed You So

I'm here, still hanging on, and it feels good to be back to a place where I feel comfortable. I truly have missed you so.

I know that blogging seems to have gone by the wayside, in favor of other methods of social media that give quicker and easier responses. There is no "like" button on my blog -- not even the old "thumbs up." The only way I know you've been here and read this post is if you leave a comment, which is sooo cumbersome compared to a "like" or quick comment on FB, or a heart emoji on Twitter or Instagram. But, I'm ok with that.

I love comments, "likes," and "hearts"  -- they makes my day, but the quick responses and likes are not a good trade for my sanity. I have experienced the FB experiment for over a year and I am just not cut out for it. Maybe my skin is too thin, or my anxiety too close to the surface, but FB and Twitter are just sh*t stirrers (pardon my language) and I am finished. I use it for my business, but I can not scroll trough the feed on FB anymore looking for news about family and friends. Most of what I find are political statements or advertising for someone or something. I'm guilty myself of sharing what I call "garbage," and I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I contributed to the mess that satan so loves. He loves the garbage and the stirring of the sh*t -- keeping ideas and statements and images swirling around us like a tornado of human anger, hatred, feelings of worthlessness, and materialism.

My life is chaotic enough without adding to the mix the opinions of literally millions of other people popping in at any moment. I will post my blog posts on my timeline for my old blogging friends, and use it for my business, but I won't be scrolling through the feed anymore. Family members, I love you, but I can't sift through the garbage to find the beautiful pictures of your children and your news about what's happening in your little corner of the world. Friends, I love you too, but I just want to know what's happening in your lives, not the entire world! I need to stay in my safe little cave. I think I always will -- I'm just not made for the world. Please, send me your news, pictures of your kids, tidbits about your days. I'll give my phone number to any of my friends -- just text me some news once in a while! I'll love you even more for the extra effort.

In my world, my business is busy, but not necessarily very profitable. Every day I vacillate between going back to looking for a real job and continuing with what I'm doing. Just when I think I've made up my mind, I get another laundry client, or more food orders than normal, and then I'm just busy and don't have time to think about what I should do. I guess I'll do it until something happens that causes me to change what I'm doing. I'm home three days a week, mostly, and almost always when Faith gets home from school. Every day she comes in with her arms out for a hug and says "Mommy, I missed you so much!" which is probably part teasing and a tiny bit true. For 14 years she was with me 24/7. Maybe just a little she really does miss me.

Doug's business is really just dawning. It may take a while for it to really shine, but it has great potential. It's going to take patience for both of us, but we're in it for the long haul now. I think I've said this about a hundred times in the past 11 months, but I'll say it again -- "I never thought we'd be where we are at this point in our lives," but this is where we are and we have to make the best of it. There's no going back, we can only be grateful for the sun to come up each day, slowly glowing at the horizon and filling the sky with more light as each moment passes.

If you need me, you know where I'll be...chopping vegetables, forming loaves of bread, stirring pots of soup, maybe rolling enchiladas, or folding a family's laundry and ironing some man's boxer shorts.

Yes, I iron boxer shorts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thank you, with all my heart

Dear Anonymous Reader,

Thank you, thank you for your incredible kindness. I wish that I could hug you and thank you personally, but know that you are in my prayers, and I am deeply, deeply touched.

Your sister in Christ Jesus and His Blessed Mother,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hello, my friend

Hello, my friend, hello
It's good to need you so
It's good to love you like I do
And to feel this way
When I hear you say, hello

Ok, kinda corny, but I've missed my friends here, even though you've probably all faded away to more interesting (certainly more active places). It's the first Sunday of Advent, however, and that means we are starting a new year -- a start over. I certainly wish I could start this entire year over, but it is what it is and I can't change anything except tomorrow.

Our homily today started with a joke -- "Happy Advent!" Is that what we say at the beginning of Advent? Merry Advent? Penitential Advent? This is the liturgical season in which we wait for the coming of Our Savior. We try to repair in ourselves what needs to be repaired to be our best selves for Him. But, we're fighting our culture which says Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. We wait, however -- wait in joyful hope. So I say "Blessed Advent!" I look forward to Advent traditions, and put off Christmas as long as I can.

Frankly, this year I wish we could skip Christmas. I love Christmas. I love celebrating the coming of the Infant God, but when times are really tough, and all you want to do is hang onto your home, Christmas is depressing. We have to make explanations to family -- we can't exchange gifts, but family want to do it anyway, so we feel like hiding away and just holding onto each other, and our Newborn Lord.

I haven't been at this place in so long that many of you who aren't on FB don't have updates. Doug applied for a position at the diocese. It was what seemed to be the perfect job for him -- chief of development and planning for the diocese. But he was not even called back for a second interview. Someone way up the ladder, I suspect, already knew who he wanted for the job, and it wasn't Doug.

So we're back to where we were months ago, starting a business. He put most of what he was doing on hold  when he applied for the job because he didn't feel it was right to start work with pastors, when as chief development person at the diocese he would be in a position to help pastors and principals at no cost to them. (Big mistake.) 

Not to get too much into finances, but we're as low as we've been since I quit work to stay home with our firstborn back in 1990. We might actually be lower. So never take anything for granted. We are losing our insurance because UHC is pulling out of Ohio, and I am finding that a lot of insurance companies are pulling out of healthcare.gov entirely. So we're stuck with insurance that covers one or no hospitals, and none of our doctors, AND we're paying through the nose for it. Hey, but the government said it would be a GOOD thing, right?


So, back to where I was at the beginning of this post -- new starts.

Today I got out our Advent candles. Due to fires I'm not allowed to have a wreath anymore, so here is my simple Advent "wreath" with our first candle lit and our simple turkey soup dinner.

I thought I'd share the prayer we pray every year at dinnertime during Advent, if you feel the need to do something different. 

Advent Dinner Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord, God, of all creation: in the darkness and in the light.
Blessed are you in this food and in this sharing.
Blessed are you as we wait in joyful hope, for the coming of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Come, quickly!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

H.S. House System

When we attended the open house at the high school where Faith is starting her first full day with all freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors today, I was really impressed by one aspect of the school that I had never heard of (well, not in real life). It is the House System. Those of you who are familiar with the HP books know what I'm talking about, but short of that example, I had never heard of it. I could liken it to a system of academic college fraternities -- that's really the closest example.

Wednesday is always "House Day" at BHHS, and students wear a uniform different from their normal -- instead of Faith's navy jumper and white blouse, she'll wear her House uniform -- a khaki skirt and green Aquinas polo. Faith is in Aquinas House (pardon the blue headband -- it makes her look bald! She decided to put her hair up in a bun today -- must have been a popular style yesterday!).

Rather than try to explain the purpose and function myself, I am copying from the school's website:

Our innovative House System is a hallmark program for Bishop Hartley High School. The creation of the program began seven years ago when a team of Hartley administrators, faculty and staff led the charge to create an environment where every student felt at home. They wanted to ensure all students had a support system, healthy peer relationships, people to turn to with questions, great adult role models, and a place to be themselves. That effort led to the creation of Bishop Hartley’s House System. Every house contains members of the faculty and staff to mentor and provide pastoral care to all our students. In each of the six houses, there are approximately 120 students. Split into six mentor groups (five students from each grade for a total of 20 students per mentor group), students meet with their mentor teacher/group every day. 
The primary purposes of the House System are to further the mission of the school by providing greater pastoral care to all our students, training and guiding our students to become leaders and strengthening our sense of community. Each student is assigned to one of six houses. Our House System assures that each student is embraced in the “Hartley Family Spirit” while recognizing them for their individual gifts and talents. Our program enables us to strengthen the partnership of school, student, and parent in the development of each child that walks through the doors of Bishop Hartley. No matter what house a student belongs, we are all Hawks committed to furthering the mission of Christ both in our community and in the world.
At Hartley, we believe it is imperative for students to gain not only knowledge in high school but also real world skills to be successful. One of the most critical skills is leadership. With the House System’s focus on developing leaders, the House Program was expanded in 2014 to include a unique leadership curriculum.  Bishop Hartley is the only school in the Dioceses to offer an approved leadership curriculum for which students earn graduation credit.
While integrating many of the roles of our previous student government system, the House System provides more leadership positions than that of a traditional student council model. Students can serve in more than 100 school leadership positions, including: School Captains, School Vice-Captains, Senior House Captain, Junior House Captain, Sophomore House Captain, Freshman House Captain, House Chaplain, and House Service Coordinator.

There are six houses, all named after Catholic high schools in Columbus that have since closed their doors. The house Faith was placed in, Aquinas House, is named after Aquinas HS, where her great grandfather attended school.

I am very impressed with the concept of the House System, their service projects and and opportunities to pull together and work as a group. High school can seem like a very big place where you could get lost, and this system helps the school make each student feel like an important individual to the group as a whole. I think making a big school smaller is always a good thing. Do you have a House System in your child's high school?

As an aside, Faith was very excited to come home yesterday and tell me that she met another girl who had been homeschooled her "whole life, too!" She says they are destined to be best friends!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Day of School for Little Chicky

Little Chicky is at a real bricks-and-mortar school starting...today! She was nervous and excited and nervous. Today is freshman orientation so at least she'll be in good company and they can try to figure out how to open their lockers and find their classrooms with everyone else who is equally confused (there will be compassionate upperclassmen there to help).

It's a big day!

And here she is in all her uniformed glory

I tried to get another photo of Faith and her cousin as they went through the doors, but they were having none of that!

And since I've been up since 6 (an early hour for me), I have gotten more done by 9 a.m. than I have by noon most other days all summer -- even with a one hour round trip commute to school. A new business will do that, I guess!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Ventures

It's been a long time since I wanted to write here. When life is not going my way, no matter how hard I try, I have a hard time expressing it. I'm usually better off just keeping my mouth shut. It's safer that way anyway.

It's been six months since my husband lost his job, and we're both still unemployed. I think I mentioned in a previous post that we've never been unemployed before and I really thought, back in February, that this would be a short-lived situation. Doug has been recruited multiple times to a variety of institutions and he always had headhunters calling him...when he had a job.

We've learned how much more difficult it is to get a job when you don't have a job, and especially when you have had a big gap in your employment history -- mine is 14 years. And so far I am 0 and 34 in the job application department. I've had two interviews for real jobs and one interview for a temp agency. The two real jobs ended up being jobs I don't think I could do, for a variety of reasons, for more than a couple days. No one has called me back, so I didn't get a chance. I even got passed up to be an elderly caregiver with an agency. In a phone screening, I said I wasn't sure I felt confident, having had no caregiver experience, changing a man's soiled Depends and getting him in and out of the shower/bath. Well, that was the wrong answer because I guess there are other people waiting in line to earn $10 an hour to do that job.

Doug had one Skype interview and they didn't call him back. Most of the jobs for which he applied were jobs he was over-qualified for, and he even assured the HR people that he was fine not managing a big department, just working with donors on a more personal basis. But, I guess the fear that he would take off as soon as he found something else, or the fear that he was really trying to get the boss's job was too much for them to handle and they passed, even though they were passing on 30 years' experience and contacts in this town.

We are at the age at which it becomes very difficult to find a job. I know now why so many middle-aged people start a business -- it's the only way to get a job.

Which led to Doug starting his own business while I continued to look for work. The name of his company is Veritas Philanthropy and he hopes to work with pastors, principals, and non-profit presidents to enhance their fundraising abilities. So far we have a half a client, and we need about 6-8 clients. We're learning that the church, schools and non-profits are really slow-moving vehicles. It takes a lot of people to get a contract approved. It's rather frustrating when all he wants to do is work, but has nothing to work on.

After my last interview on Friday, for a job I know I am just not capable of doing for a number of reasons, as much as I want to, and as much as I want a job, I decided I have to be real. I know what I am capable of and I was just not capable of doing that job.

 I, too, have decided to try and start my own business. My cousin (thank you Mindy!)) has been asking me  if I would be interested in cooking freezer meals for her family and doing the laundry (thank you for your persistence!). Maid services don't do laundry and, of course, don't prepare dinner either. So, my new job is, cooking and washing, two tasks I really don't mind doing (and I know a lot of people really don't like doing those two jobs, so hopefully a few of them will be my clients). I created a blog to direct potential and current clients to so that they can check the menu each week and choose their meals, and the name of my business -- One Woman and an Apron

I am going to keep Mary Devotions up and running, as well as Swaddling Clothes, so please, please pray for some successes (some clients!) with us. It's very depressing when you really want to work, and the world just keeps telling you that you no longer have any value.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Curriculum Sale Link-Up


I'm hooking up with Jessica at Shower of Roses for her Annual Curriculum Sale. It took me a few days to hunt down all the books that are left from our homeschooling days...because those days are officially (I guess never say never) over. Faith starts high school in two weeks. Yikes!

I have quite a few books to sell, and I think I've priced them pretty reasonably, but if you want to make an offer lower than the price listed, you can do so on or after Friday, August 12. 

Most books are used, but a few are new, and a few are in worse condition than others. I have noted the condition of each book and the price, and postage cost. If you are combining books to purchase, contact me and I will give you a shipping price for all books together.

We have a non-smoking home.

DIVE CD to go with Saxon Math 7/6 -- used for two years but still in good shape. $15 plus $3 shipping (will be shipped separately from books in a CD envelope)

Saxon Math 7/6 Third Edition; very clean copy $10 plus $3 shipping

Catholic Heritage Curricula's A Year With God -- very clean copy, no marks, clean cover $15 plus $3 shipping

 Memoria Press' Latina Christiana I Teacher's Manual -- cover slightly torn at binding but all pages clean $8 plus $3 shipping

 Memoria Press' Latina Christiana II Teacher's Manual -- great condition, all pages clean $12 plus $3 shipping

Latina Christiana I and II Flash Cards (all but two sheets of Latina Christian I and and unopened package from II) $8 plus $2 shipping

The New College Latin and English Dictionary
used by clean
$2 plus $2 shipping

Teaching Textbooks Math 4 all four CDs (CDs only -- no books) $15 plus $4 shipping (will not be shipped with books, but separately in a stiff cardboard envelope.

Young Explorers Exploring Creatiing with Botony -- some pages with highlighting, but clean otherwise; hardcover -- $8 plus $3 shipping

Seton Art 7 for Young Catholics -- slight bend on the cover, but pages are very clean and tight binding -- $5 plus $2 shipping

torn, but taped cover; highlighting and underlining on some pages -- no writing
$4 plus $3 shipping

paperback with library binding on it
a few pages with highlighting, but otherwise clean
center split but pages have been taped with packing tape and binding glued
$6 plus $3 shipping

a few pages have highlighting, but it's mostly clean, no writing
binding is split, but pages are taped with packing tape and binding glued
$7 plus $3 shipping

very good condition, like new
$7 plus $2 shipping

The Yearling -- two copies
both clean copies -- no page marks, slight shelf wear on covers
$3 each plus $2 shipping each

Merriam Webster School Dictionary
hardcover -- very good condition $8 plus $3 shipping

The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
hardcover -- very good condition
$6 plus $3 shipping

like new -- clean cover and clean pages, jacket has some wear
$3 plus $2 shipping

Three Catholic coloring books 
all clean pages and covers
$3 for all three $2 for shipping

paperback fiction: 
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Growing Up by Russell Baker (SOLD)

all in good condition (aged, but good condition)
$2 each with $2 shipping

Atlas of the Bible Lands
like new 
$3 plus $2 shipping

Jesus is Calling 365 Devotions for Kids
like new (what looks like edge wear on the cover is the way the cover was designed)
$3 plus $2 shipping

Pauline Jaricot by Mary Fabyan Windeatt
used but clean, no marks on pages
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

American History Stories You Never Read in School But Should have
like new, clean pages and cover
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura Williams
like new
$3 plus $2 shipping

Preparation for Confirmation Angelus Press
paperback -- very clean
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2
paperback with library cover; some pages have erased answers but mostly all clean
$3 plus $1.50 shipping

The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy
like new
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

like new
$8 plus $2 shipping

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
like new
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

Exercises in English Grade 7 Teacher's Edition
used but clean
$3 plus $2 shipping

plastic container and brand new, unopened envelopes for 
Rhode Island/Arizona
Georgia/New Hampshire
New Mexico/Michigan
South Carolina/Alaska
all new and unopened except for plastic container which is in good shape
$10 plus $4 for shipping

Art/Drawing Books:

like new
$7 plus $2 shipping

like new (two pages partly colored on, but binding tight and other pages clean)
$4 plus $2 shipping

clean, like new
$5 plus $2 shipping

How to Draw Faces
like new
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

Fairy Drawing Book
like new 
$2 plus $1.50 shipping

Monday, August 08, 2016

For my Grand Reentrance into Blogging...

...a discount on any order from my shop, on this feast of St. Dominic.

Today, on the Feast of St. Dominic, use the code ( stdominic ) at my Etsy shop (coupon code is entered at checkout) to receive 10% off all your purchases -- until midnight today.

"One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world." -- St. Dominic

Friday, June 17, 2016

Good/Bad Friday

It's been a long time since I've done a Good/Bad post. Frankly in the last few months I would have had a hard time coming up with much good, which is really a ridiculous state of mind and soul because there is always something to be thankful for, always something good. But when your body hurts and your heart hurts and your mind is all full of what-ifs and what-abouts sometimes you just don't bother dragging yourself out of the mire to think about what you should be grateful for. My first "Good," however, really made me think about the little things that I should be paying attention to every day.

A little old man at Aldi's this morning, met me midway to the cart storage and handed me my return quarter saying, "Take good care of this -- it's my lucky quarter." I could have cried and hugged him as I replied, "You have no idea how much I need this lucky quarter." Whether it's lucky or not, I think it was a good sign.

I had two errands to run this morning and I swear, everyone's mother, sister, father-in-law and second cousin once-removed was on the road. Forget about gun control; I vote for car control. Where are all these people going on a Friday morning?

I discovered a new series this week and binge watched it in three days. You've probably already seen it because I'm always late to this game -- Pioneer Quest. I really enjoyed it and it would be great for kids to watch, except (yes, there is always that except) they talked about s*x more than a few times. Ok, I get it, people are curious about how you manage that part of married life while you're living in a tent with another couple, but it really wasn't that important and they talked about it even after they moved out of the tent. So watch it, and make a note of the time when they talk about s*x and then watch it with your kids, because most of it was really interesting. You can skip the last episode, it was just back to real life and a waste of time.

My second errand today, after the grocery store, was to the second-hand children's clothing store to pick up the clothes they didn't want, which was about 95% of them. Gosh, I can't believe how picky a second-hand store is. Faith had some pretty cute clothes from Hanna Andersson and Lands End and they only bought a few of them. I also had a lot of clothes a good friend gave me that were from Limited Too, which they wouldn't take any of because Limited Too is now closed. Does that not seem a little crazy? I'm not bothering with second hand stores any more. I'll just take the tax deduction and give them away -- all that washing and ironing for next to nothing.

Last night I got in the garden and did some weeding for the first time this year -- let's just say it hasn't been a priority. It felt good to smell the soil and spend some time outdoors -- it was coolish and breezy and nice. After I cleared one out of six beds (doing this in moderation), I washed up and grabbed a baby quilt I am quilting and spent the rest of the evening in my Adirondack enjoying the sunset over the trees.


My wildflowers are growing pretty well -- amidst the weeds. My policy on wildflowers (aka weeds in some people's books) is, if you behave, you stay. If you become invasive, you go. If you don't flower (or at least look really pretty and don't become invasive) you go. This "wildflower" in the photo above is flowering (check) and not being invasive (check), so it stays, but I'm not sure what it is. It's about four feet tall and has white flowers with yellow centers. If you know off the top of your head what it is, would you let me know?

This is what the little flowers look like.
(Edited -- I did what I tell my kids to do all the time. I looked it up. These are called Daisy Fleabane.)

That's all for now. I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day weekend.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Dear Dear

I've had a difficult time jumping back into blogging. Maybe you noticed. Maybe you're not there any longer.

May for Mary gave me a chance to blog without saying anything, which made it harder to jump back in.

So, yesterday, having had one of the crappiest days I've had since February 18, I decided to write a letter, to Dear, whomever Dear may be. I hope it's you, but even if it isn't, maybe some part of me will benefit from writing to Dear.

Life, Dear, has not been good, at least not in the way I have known life all my life. It's been hard, and each day I would like to disappear into myself a little more.

We had Faith's Confirmation on May 20 and family came to town, so that was a little distracting. Then  came Memorial Day which also was my mom's birthday, and that was distracting. Then we had two weeks of dress rehearsals and dance recitals and I was a backstage mom, so that was distracting. This week Faith is taking summer gym, which means she is gone all day, and while I have plenty of things I need to do, which could be distracting, there is too much quiet, and so I think.

Some people would likely be glad to have my life, bumps in the road and all. But I'm having a hard time adjusting to the hairpin turn we are making.

Since I last wrote nothing has changed. No job. Not even an interview. It's hard to believe a man can build his career for 30 years and then, well, nothing. It seems his field has been taken over by women, and, at the risk of sounding misogynistic, women in the field of fundraising (and probably many more) don't want to hire men, or at least men who have more experience than they. Every hope so far has been dashed by a woman who either doesn't want men in her department, or is intimidated by a man with so many contacts and so much experience in his field. I've always believed that to be good at what you do, you surround yourself with good people, but that's apparently not the case today.

There are a few "hopes' on the horizon, although they are very slow-moving and they are not in Columbus, but close enough to make a three-hour round trip commute each day. I'm hoping that one of these opportunities works out, even if it means my husband lives away during the week, or spends 15 hours each week driving to work and back, because at least we'll have income and medical insurance.

I have said I will pack up and move. I have said I will (gladly) downsize. My husband wants neither. It's difficult to know when to push. The lease on the car the boys used was up June 1, so we were down to my car and his truck with three drivers. Yesterday, he went and sold his truck, so, we're down to one car. It is going to prove interesting at the least. We have to keep a calendar so we don't double book ourselves.

I am looking for a job. I had hoped that once Faith was in school, I would be able to increase my stock in my shop, and sell locally through an art market, but we can't wait that long. Then I had hoped to get some freelance copyediting work, but I don't think that will happen quickly enough. So, I may just end up working for a temp agency or taking any reasonable job I can find. Being out of the field for 14 years has me pretty much starting over.

Doug is still planning on Faith attending Catholic high school in the fall, which I think is being very optimistic. There are no scholarships, as they have all been dolled out. Unless she finds herself a fairy Godmother, I'm pretty sure we're living in fairy land ourselves thinking we can pay tuition. Severance runs out this month. After June 24, we'll be on unemployment, something I never thought I'd say, and we'll have to find affordable medical insurance. Yesterday we met with our financial adviser, who handles our retirement, and he recommended connecting with the local food pantry. Since February 18, we have fallen pretty far.

Some days I cry. Yesterday was one of those days, especially, after I slammed my thumb in the car door -- the cherry on top of my crap day. Some days I just figure this is where God wants me, on a dung heap of sorts. I trust in Him. I believe He knows right where we are meant to be, but like all people suffering, even in their little way, it's hard to believe God wants that. It's the "it's going to get worse before it gets better" part that is hard to live with. I can do without, I'm my grandmother's granddaughter -- a woman who had no more than three rooms in her entire life, even with six children. I am content with little, but I am not driving this car, and frequently the driver doesn't listen to my directions.

What am I to do, Dear?