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

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Thursday Daybook

In the great outdoors...
...winter is back and it's cold! We got an inch of snow -- not much, but the wind is howling and it's really cold.

I'm thinking about...
...whether life is going to get more hectic or less -- I don't know! 

I'm giving up cooking the freezer meals because I have been hired for a part-time job working at Gymboree at the mall. If you know me well you are probably laughing so hard your sides ache. I have a great dislike for "the mall." In fact, in Faith's 14 years she has probably been to the mall no more than a dozen times, probably half with my mother and half with my mother-in-law. I am not a shopper. But, I LOVE Gymboree. I didn't go looking for a job at the mall, or in retail at all, but I went to the Gymboree website and applied, and they hired me because I'm a mom. Imagine that? I know how to dress a child! There are no other moms working at this particular store -- they are all millennials who have no clue that you need to have leggings to go with the dress, and a headband, and maybe socks, too. I certainly know the merchandise and I like the company. And it's like working in a candy store  -- especially for a grandma-to-be. Must not spend the paycheck!

I am wearing...
...gray leggings, gray v-neck, gray sweater and denim skirt -- with boots, and my toes are freezing! Later I have to get dressed up because we are helping to fill a table at a charitable event, and all I want to do it sit by the fire with my knitting!

I am reading....
...You Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg.

I am creating...
...A baby blanket for my shop -- pretty blues, purples, grays, with white stripes in between and all random-sized stripes. It's kind of fun and a stash buster.

In the kitchen...
...just have to figure out something for the kids tonight.

Around the house...
...mostly dirty laundry, and the kitchen floor needs to be scrubbed, but I might as well wait until after I cook next week.

Plans for the rest of the week...
...laundry job tomorrow and then I'm not sure what. It's been a long time since I've been subject to another person's schedule, so hopefully I'll be able to plan what days I'll work and fit in everything else around it. I start my job on the 21st.

A few of my favorite things...
...my kids, and I have a little bit of other news in that department (without revealing anything that's not public knowledge):
Noah is working full time at The Toy Barn -- an exotic luxury car dealership. He is photographing the cars, editing the photos and loading them to the website. He loves it! And I say life is too short to not do what you love. He gets to "play" with gorgeous automobiles, something that has been his passion for several years. There is not money for college right now -- his last quarter ended with Doug's severance, but maybe he'll go back some day when he wants it more.

Isn't he cute?

photo credit: Toy Barn

And in other big news about the kids -- Josh and Taylor are going to move in with us just before the baby comes. They really didn't want to stay in the apartment they were in, and they can't save for a house while they are paying student loans, so they might as well live with us! There will always be someone who can keep an eye on baby if they need to put laundry in or take a shower and I think it will be such a blessing for us. I know very well that you never know how much time you have left on this earth, so treat every day like it's your last -- what better way than to get grand baby hugs and kisses every day?

I say if you're going to be pro-life, you have to go all the way. I'm glad we can provide a roof over their heads while they save for their own house some day.

Prayers sent heavenward...
...for my husband and children, to do God's will every day
...for contracts for my husband's business

...for my new job and adjustments
...for that sweet little grand baby
...for all priests and religious
...all babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion, for a change of heart
...for friends who have asked for prayers

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Yarn Along -- Newborn Sweater

I hadn't planned a Yarn Along post this week, but I received a book in the mail today, from my dear friend, Barb, and I happened to have blocked this sweet little sweater yesterday (now it just needs buttons, and to be photographed, and to be listed in my shop), so it really seemed destined to be.

The sky in Ohio, however, has been gray for all but about 10 minutes for the last two weeks, including today. I did my best and my book even matches my little tiny sweater (yarn -- KnitPick's Shine Worsted in Clarity).

This is the book I whined about not finishing last week, and today, voila, it appeared in my mailbox -- the real paper version -- You Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg. Thanks, Barb!

Join Ginny at Small Things for more ideas on knitting and good reads.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Praying for Life

Resurrected from the archives, I thought I'd repost this one on this day of the

Image: texasallianceforlife.org

If 4,000 dogs were thoughtlessly slaughtered each day in America, animal rights advocates would demonstrate across the country, not resting until the killings stopped.

If 4,000 elementary school children died each day from the flu, there would be public outcry for a vaccine. Parents would beg and plead for someone to save their children. Health care workers would feverishly fight for a cure. The media would report nightly.

If 4,000 people died in a hurricane one day, wailing would be heard in every corner of the country. People would cry out to the unfairness; surely someone is to blame. Millions of dollars would pour in to save the victims. For years and years people would volunteer to help the affected.

If 4,000 men, women and children were killed everyday in acts of terrorism, not one American would tolerate it. There would be cries for war against the enemy.

Yet, 4,000 unborn babies die every day in this country and millions of people turn their heads in silence. Every day. Abortion is a holocaust. It is the desperate, reckless destruction of human beings. There is no evil as great.

"It is a great poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
 -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Please join me in praying for those who protest on behalf of those with no voice, and never will. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yarning Along -- Baby Blanket

It's been a long time since I participated in a Yarn Along, but since I'm back to blogging I figure go whole hog or no hog at all!

This is the baby blanket I referred to in my Daybook yesterday. My brother commissioned it last week, I ordered the yarn from KnitPicks and it arrived Thursday (their distribution center is just across town!). 

It's a blanket for a baby shower -- a gift from my sister-in-law and niece who are out of town and won't be able to attend the shower this weekend.

This pattern has become a favorite -- I've now made five or six of them in a variety of colors. This one is made with KnitPicks Comfy Worsted in white, blackberry, and flamingo pink, obviously for a girl. The blackberry looks rather brown in the photo, but it's a deep purple. I'm almost finished -- maybe six more stripes. I will hopefully finish it by tomorrow and block it Friday. A fresh knit!

I just reserved You Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg from the online library, so hopefully I will finish it after all.

Hook up with Ginny for more knitting projects and good reads.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday Daybook (with a surprise ending!)

In the garden...
...it's a gray day in central Ohio. It's been gray for days and days. It was warm and rainy for a couple of days, but today it's colder and dry. I hear it is supposed to get pretty cold again this weekend, so we might get snow.

If I could tolerate the temps for long, I would benefit from the sound of my "water feature." I should record the sound of my babbling creek in the backyard. 

On my way indoors, the kitty followed me. She wanted in and the dog wanted out.But once the dog went out she changed her mind and went with. They are an odd couple.

I'm thinking about...
...how long it's been since I did a Daybook -- almost a year. I have really embraced my departure from FB, but I do miss my friends and family. I'm afraid I've received no requests for my phone number so I could get precious kid photos on my phone instead of my feed. It feels lonely, but it also feels more peaceful. Social media has become a peace-thief, and I need peace like nobody's business, so I'm keeping the deal I made with myself.

I am wearing...
...black v-neck, black leggings and socks, and a khaki skirt. And, of course, my apron and head scarf because it's Tuesday and I'm cooking!

I'm so grateful for the apron that Jessica sent me years ago because I wear it every time I cook and it has not worn out!

I am reading....
...nothing; I was reading You Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg from the library, but a few pages a night was not enough to finish it before it was due back. I need to try again so I can finish it. 

I am creating...
...A baby blanket for a baby shower this weekend. My brother commissioned it last week as a gift from his wife and daughter (they are in Maryland so can not attend), and the yarn arrived on Thursday. I'm about 2/3 finished, so I think I'll make it. It's a pretty stripe of white, flamingo pink, and blackberry in KnitPicks Comfy Worsted.

In the kitchen...
...today I cooked three dozen Porcupine Meatballs with sauce, 10 pounds of mashed potatoes, made teriyaki marinade and marinated 26 chicken drumsticks, and made two steamers of white rice all for my customers.

Around the house...
...the laundry is almost finished until Saturday, but the bathrooms could use a scrub. It's not too hard to keep things picked up these days with Noah and Faith gone most of the day. The kitchen gets the most use and I have the dishpan hands to prove it!

Plans for the rest of the week...
...meal delivery tomorrow and laundry customers all day Thursday and Friday.

A few of my favorite things...
...news that I haven't shared here in this little corner of the world -- one of my very favorite things and something I've been waiting for:

I'm going to be a grandma! My Joshua and his wife, Taylor, are expecting! 
I'm over the moon excited, and even though baby is not due until end of July, we're planning and thinking about it all the time!

Prayers sent heavenward...
...for my husband and children, to do God's will every day
...for contracts for my husband's business and clients for mine
...for that sweet little grandbaby
...for all priests and religious
...all babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion, for a change of heart
...for friends who have asked for prayers

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cheap Eats -- Chinese

I'm sure you know that when the budget gets tight, the belt always gets cinched around the grocery allotment. The mortgage can't shrink, but food prices are high and low, and low we go.

After New Years I bought an enormous pork roast on sale for $13.99. I cut it into two pork roasts, two meals of scallopini slices, and two pieces for stir fry meat -- six meals for $13.99. My mom bought me a Food Saver a few months ago, so after I cut it up I wrapped it all using the Food Saver, and today I pulled out a package for stir fry. It was about a one-pound chunk. A small package of pork chops would do the trick, as well.

I tried a new recipe for stir-fry and it was so delicious, my husband said he could eat it every week -- something he never says. It was really good -- restaurant-quality good, so I thought I'd share. I changed the original recipe because it called for some pricier veggies, but mine tasted just great, and they were cheap! Use what you have, or what's available, inexpensively.

I served our pork stir-fry with rice, but noodles would be good too.

Crispy Pork Stir Fry
serves 4 (or more with more veggies)

1  lb. pork, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4" strips

1/2 t. Salt

1/3 c. cornstarch

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 anchovy fillet, chopped (or 1 t. anchovie paste)
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
6 T. brown sugar
6 T. soy sauce
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
canola oil
1-½ cups thinly-sliced cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
one-half small onion sliced vertically
¾ cup frozen thin green beans

In the bowl of a mini prep food processor, add garlic, anchovy, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper. Pulse until well blended and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 T. oil and cook all the vegetables until tender, about 3-5 min.
Return skillet to high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is almost smoking, add the pork. Sauté until cooked through and pork is crispy, about 5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat, return vegetables and half the sauce. Stir quickly to coat the pork and vegetables in the glaze. (Watch carefully, as the sauce can burn due to the sugar.) If you want more sauce, add the balance. Serve with rice or noodles.

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!