Monday, April 30, 2012


The day before Palm Sunday my church decorating partner, Janet, and I were preparing wreaths for the church’s front doors.  We had just learned that our Sacristan had lost her father the day before.  He was 93 years old, had lived 1000+ miles away in Florida, and Sue had no desire to talk about it. 

I mentioned to Janet that when my mom died I was ever so grateful that people wanted to, and would, talk about her and her life.  They often had great stories to tell or tidbits of wisdom of hers that they wanted to share.  She was a great listener and could make a stranger instantly comfortable; so much so that she would learn his life story within minutes of meeting him, literally.  One day when going to a oncologist’s appointment she got to talking to someone on the elevator.  Between the second floor and the seventh she learned more about that person than some people know about their family.

OROC run 2008 - My sister & mom
Janet then asked me if I thought about my mom much.  Only every single day.  She was my mom.  Of any one person in this world, she had the biggest impact.  I learned how to walk and talk under her guidance.  I learned how to treat people and that words have an impact.  She taught me to cook and clean and garden.  She showed me how to be a wife. 

I inherited a great love of gardening from my mom.  She never met a garden center she didn’t like and often came home with a good case of “sticky pots.”  She would pick up a potted plant and it would stick to her hands, so of course, she just had to leave with it!

Something I love about our many gardens is that they have plants given to me from others, split from ones in their garden.  A number of years before we lost mom, she was in her garden with Himself.  He really liked one of the flowers she had planted, Myosotis, so she dug him out a several clumps.  They were hardly bigger than a couple of half dollar coins.  Himself planted them near our statue of the Holy Family. 

Over the years these flowers have spread to almost every open piece of ground in that garden.  They give us a summer long carpet of tiny blue flowers.  And every time we see them we are reminded of my mom, for what is their common name? 


Happy Birthday Mom!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

The big burn

We have a patch of yard in the back that we are trying to reclaim for both a vegetable garden and future goat grazing. 

The previous owners planted thistle (yep, you read that right!) in an attempt to attract Gold Finch.  I'm not sure it worked, but boy did we have thistle, everywhere.

Summer 2009

A couple of years after we moved in we tried making the area into a wild flower meadow.  It was an incredible amount of work and it looked beautiful, for a year.   

Fall 2011

Then the weeds took over again and it's been a losing battle ever since.   

So, a couple of weeks ago I began the reclamation process.  It's hot, hard, stinky work, but I had fun at it.  Light a match and burn baby burn!

April 2012
April 2012


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photo advice needed

As you might have guessed, I like posting pictures.  But when I do, it’s pretty much the same way, one after the other.  I’ve seen on some of your blogs where you create collages or groups of photos and they look great.  How do you do that?  What software are you using?  Inquiring minds want to know!


Monday, April 23, 2012

A good read - Motherless

Our parish started a women’s book club in last Fall.  I had every intention of joining in and found the list of books selected for the coming year really impressive.  A new job and conflicting priorities has kept me from going to any of the discussions.  But, thankfully, I have been able to read some of the books on the list.

One of the books on the list was a Catholic novel, Fatherless, by Brian J. Gail.  It is the first in a trilogy that follows the lives of a priest and a number of families in his parish.  It examines  the effects birth control, infidelity, and changing morals have on their lives.  Although the book is large and imposing, it is an excellent story of the consequences and pitfalls of a contraceptive mentality.

I recently read the second novel in the series, Motherless, and found it even better than the first.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  This novel takes place about thirty years later than the first, and looks at issues we are all too familiar with – infertility, birth control, IVF – and their places in the lives of Catholics.  Even Creighton and Dr. Hilgers are mentioned several times.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thankful Thursday - the Saturday edition

This week I am thankful for. . .

Blogging.  This is my 200th post.  Somehow when I started I wasn't sure if I would have much to say.  Well, I guess I did.

Spring flowers.  Everything looks so pretty and fresh.  The flowering trees seem to be lasting exceptionally long this year. 


Check out more to be thankful for over at The Road Home.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My daily visitor

We heard knocking.  It was coming from the front of the house so we went to that door.  No one was there.  The knocking continued, again at the front of the house.  And, once more, no one was at the door.

Another day while I was in my office I finally discovered the source of the knocking. This little guy:

I named him Percy, for all the persistence he showed in trying to get in.  He would knock on the window for hours.  When I opened the window he wasn’t too pleased.  Something was different and he stayed away.  Bread crumbs on the window sill enticed him to come back.

Percy had such a pretty song. He would sit in the yew and sing to me, that is, when he wasn’t knocking on the window.

I haven’t seen him in a few days.  I miss him.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Ooh, Shiny!

When we went to our first Chesterton conference one of the speakers was a man by the name of David Zach,  a Futurist.  I wasn’t sure then, and I am still not certain now, exactly what a Futurist does, but given the title, it sounded like it could be a pretty cool job. 

One of the things he spoke of was all the distractions we have in our lives.    Many of us suffer from ADOS – Attention Deficit. . . Ooh Shiny!  Himself and I were in stitches as Mr. Zach described the symptoms - easily distracted, off on a tangent, doing sixteen things at the same time and none at all. That fit me perfectly. 

I was going to surmise that as women, it’s in our nature to be that way.  However, I think I was confusing the ability to multi-task with Ooh Shiny!  As keepers of home and hearth, we need to possess an innate ability to juggle many things at the same time.  Cooking, cleaning, laundry and the such are hardly ever purely linear tasks.   And if you have kids?  Whoa!  That adds a whole other dimension.  My observation is that motherhood demands multi-tasking.

I sometimes think I have the attention span of a gnat.  If my attention is going in so many different directions, how can I do one thing well?  But then again, if I have only one thing going on, I’m bored.

There may be times when ADOS pays off.  We were enjoying an adult beverage on the patio when I glanced over at the flower pot, still filled with dead plants from last summer.  I popped up, clean it out, and ran across the yard to get the four pots of tulips I found under the pine trees.  Apparently in the fall, when I was cleaning out the church plants I brought home and stored by those trees, I had an Ooh Shiny! moment and forgot all about those tulips.
(Shiny - at 7:01)


Friday, April 13, 2012

Quick Takes (26) - Birthday edition

April is a great month for birthdays in our family.  This weekend we will be celebrating three of them – my dog’s, my dad’s, and my father-in-law’s.

My not-really-a-puppy-anymore puppy, Jack, is five years old today.  And what better way to celebrate than to torture him with a party hat.  He only chewed two of them!

My dad will celebrate his 71st birthday tomorrow.  I think he's finally enjoying all the perks that now come with birthdays, namely free meals at some of his favorite restaurants.   I know he's got at least two dinners and one breakfast planned. 

This is one of my favorite pictures of him, taken on a birthday more years ago than I’d care to admit.

My father-in-law will be celebrating his 74th on Sunday.  Despite some health issues, he is a man who likes to keep busy.  The grass and gardens are always meticulously kept in the summer and the driveway is cleaned clear of snow in the winter.

We will be celebrating on Sunday with dinner, steaks on the grill, and a very decadent chocolate cake.  A girlfriend gave me the recipe, aptly named The Best Chocolate Cake Ever, and it doesn’t disappoint. 

Everyone celebrating birthdays this weekend is in good company as Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his 85th on Monday.  Happy Birthday Papa! 

“When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”
– GKC in Heretics

Check out more quick takes at Conversion Diary.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Because sometimes you just have to

I was working on a pretty good headache and upset stomach and just
generally feeling out of sorts this morning. So at lunchtime I
decided that I just had to get out of the office. I had to escape! I
found the best cure – a walk around a local garden center followed by
a fruit smoothie from my favorite ice cream stand.

All is good now!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Prayer Buddy reveal

This Lent I had the privilege of praying for J at Faith Makes Things Possible.  I was excited when I was sent her as my partner as I have been reading her blog for quite a while and have considered her one of "my ladies" that I pray for regularly.  Because of some of her intentions I prayed the St. Michael the Archangel prayer everyday at 3pm specifically for J.  There were also a number of candles lit at church as well.

Thank you to my prayer buddy, This Cross I Embrace, for all your prayers this Lent.  I am sure they are what helped make it as peaceful and beautiful as it was.  I also believe it helped get me through my little "meltdown" on Holy Saturday when we decorating church.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

A favor to ask

On Thursday we received the following e-mail from a good friend of ours:

I wanted to ask you two for your prayers. Our very close friend Ron has been diagnosed with Stage III or IV lung cancer (his wife Tina used to come to our prayer group). He is Baptist, but helped his wife Tina raise their kids Catholic. His is in his late 40's and they have 3 children under 17. What I am asking for is that he becomes Catholic before his dies. He agreed to meet with Fr. Chris from St. Mary's church last week, but when Fr. called to set up the time, Ron did not respond.
If you could help me pray for his conversion that would mean so much!

I would be so grateful if you could add this family to your prayers this week.