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

Friday, March 27, 2015


I'm in between dresses right now, and though I still have a long to-do list, I thought I'd pop in for a moment before we head into Holy Week and I try to keep things a little more quiet in my head.

As I said, I'm in between dresses. I have two bridesmaids dresses, one junior bridesmaids dress and the flower girl dress finished. I have to make hand stitched button loops for the two bridesmaids dresses (because I discovered hooks and eyes are itchy), but then they will be complete. I found a nice ribbon for the waist, and it will be tied at their natural waist in a bow, like the photo on the pattern. The reason I'm in between dresses is I have to wait until tomorrow evening to measure two more girls.

I am working on three special rosaries, one for a young boy who asked Doug to be his Confirmation sponsor, one for our transitional deacon at our parish, whose family is at our parish and who will be ordained in a couple months, and one for my husband's niece's First Holy Communion. This is the rosary for the young Confirmand. He is attending school at the all-boys Catholic high school next year and the school colors are red and black. His patron saint is St. John Paul II. The center is nice with his crest on the reverse. The young boy's heritage is Irish, hence the Celtic crucifix.

I also have three First Holy Communion veils to make. Got sewing?


Long ago I promised photos of Faith's new bedroom, so I'll post those here. It's just about exactly what she wanted, so we're pleased.

The tree came from here and was very easy to apply (I purchased the cloth version)

The dark purple is Behr Romantic Moment and the light purple is called Confetti (sorry about the shaft of bright sunlight).

The quilt and sham are from Kohl's. They are very nice. And the drapes are left from the pink and green bedroom.

There is still too much junk in Faith's room, but at least we got rid of some of it. And I bought two of these to store all the stuffed animals in the closet. After the paint spill accident, Doug swore he would never paint her room again, so she might be stuck with all that purple forever! When we moved into this house we painted it for Noah -- he was two. I hand-painted all these cute trucks, buses, cars, even a tow truck on the walls -- all in a row like a border mid-way up the wall. Then we painted it for Faith before she was born, then again when she was six, and now. So it's been painted four times by us -- I guess that's a lot. But, with the exception of when I was pregnant with Faith, I painted it every time, so I don't think Doug's words will stick.


The swimming was going well until this week when I developed UTI symptoms. I asked my uro-gyn if she thought swimming would put me at risk and she said "no, as long as you swim in a clean pool." Our rec center is pretty clean, so I really hope this is just a fluke. Faith and I went three times last week, but only once this week. She swims around a little in my lane, while I swim laps. I have to tell you that modesty has me wearing quite the get-up for my swims. I bought a regular suit (as modest as I could find), and a pair of swim capris, and a swim skirt. I feel a bit like a 19th century swimmer, but none of it is cumbersome, so I like it. It is, however, not much fun to take off soaking wet to get a shower. I bought one of these to tote our suits home in and it works well as long as it stays right-side up. And then I had to buy a duffle large enough to put towels, change of clothes, toiletry bag, and hair dryer in. Swimming is not a cheap sport, nor is it convenient. I think I get just about as good a workout dragging it all there, changing and showering after, and dragging it all home, as I do in the pool.

Best be getting some work done now. Take care and I pray you have a meaningful Holy Week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Daybook

In the garden...

...um, nothing, unless mud counts. Our snow melted in a big way and now we're back to brown, and not even a smidge of green. I'm so anxious to see the green, and since Doug and I planted boatloads of daffodils and tulips in our Mary gardens, I'm anxious to see them come up (please, oh, please little squirrels, don't have eaten my tulips!). I bought some green pea and sugar snap pea seeds because I always associate planting peas with St. Patrick's Day. I have no idea where I'll plant them, so I doubt they will be planted today, but I bought them anyway. The bunnies eat every vegetable I grow, so I will have to fence off whatever area I chose. And we have so much shade, I have limited choices. 

I'm thinking about...
...I've been rather absent here, except for the occasional photo and quote post. Partly it's because every spare moment I have is spent sewing. Partly it is denying myself, a bit of Lenten sacrifice. I decided to follow our sweet Sister Margaret's advice and occasionally have an unpublished thought. {wink}

I am wearing...

...a green shirt, a gray skirt, a green floral scarf, tights and black loafers. I rarely own green, but this St. Patrick's Day I happen to have something.

I am reading....
...I'm finishing  Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love, because it's due back to the library. A very good read -- very thought-provoking.

I've listened to many books since I last wrote (because when I'm sewing and listening it's so much more pleasurable than just sewing), but I'll just give you the best titles: Against Medical Advicean excellent true story written from the perspective of a boy, diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome at age five. His childhood was spent going from doctor to doctor, medication cocktail to medication cocktail. He was ultimately diagnosed with an combination of Tourette's, OCD, and anxiety disorder. As a junior in high school he suddenly stopped experiencing the extreme symptoms (after several therapeutic, but not prescription, therapies), and as he went off many of the medications he became better and his symptoms were much more manageable, which leaves one wondering if it was the medication cocktail worsening his symptoms, or his brain chemistry. 

Survival of the Sickest -- this book I have to listen to in small bits because there is so much medical information I have to digest each bit for a while. It's fascinating information though, and I might listen to it over again just because I want to retain some of it.
One Hundred Names -- sort of garbage lit (chick lit?), but good and a happy ending, and sometimes you just need a happy ending.
Not the Last Goodbye -- sort of depressing, but sometimes when I'm dealing with something difficult, it's helpful to know that other people are going through much harder trials (I hope that doesn't sound callous)

I am creating...
...dresses, dresses, more dresses, and a few First Holy Communion veils for family members. 

I finished Faith's dress. If you are at all following this saga, I will update you by saying the pettiskirt did not work out. It was as full as a professional ballerina's tutu. So I made the dress the way the pattern was written and if it's a bit itchy on the girls' legs, too bad (the pattern called for a double gathering of tulle at the bottom 12 inches of the dress lining).  I also finished the flower girl dress. It's darling, I just hope it fits. I made a bodice and tried it on her, but it was too small, so I made it larger and decided not to try it on her (such a risk-taker). I will try it on her at the end of May when I know there is no risk of her growing any more (wedding in June).

As it turns out, each of the adult girls (and the littlest girl) have to have the pattern re-created for them. None of them, so far, fit the pattern the way it is made, so I am pattern-making, too. Why, again, did I agree to this?

I am also knitting, at night when I need to wind down and do something mindless, and I owe someone three scapulars, but after they are finished -- no more sewing unless it's dresses, or a veil.

I am going to place the order for the bridal tulle and lace trim from a shop in Georgia and when it arrives, I'll be sewing lace to tulle.

St. Anne pray for me.

In the kitchen...
...the male members of my family vetoed all Irish food for today -- no Guinness stew, no shepherd pie, no Irish soda bread, so we're having hamburgers on the grill, O'Brien potatoes (snuck one in there on them), and fried cabbage and bacon, with homemade Shamrock shakes for dessert.
For the remainder of the week:
Wednesday: Shredded Beef Tacos
Thursday: BBQ meatballs, mashed potatoes, slaw
Friday: Grit Cakes, with poached eggs and gravy 
Saturday: Saturday night pizza

At the school table...
...not much new there, just trying to keep up. Faith did declare the other day that she plans to be the only child in the family to never attend school. Ahem. She doesn't know that she doesn't get to make that decision, but it is something I have been thinking about a lot. I never planned to homeschool high school but there are a lot more options now than there were when we first started this journey. And the only reason I will agree to homeschool high school is if she continues to be dedicated to dancing. At the rate she is going she couldn't go to high school and dance as much as she is -- she'd never keep up.

Around the house...

...it's still pretty dusty, but the projects are finished for the time being. Doug was out of town last week and I could have spent my spare time cleaning, but instead I sewed. There are also some piles of fabric and patterns here and there, and sewing paraphernalia.

I forgot that I owe you photos of Faith's bedroom, so I'll try to post them this week.

Plans for the rest of the week...

...there is an international Christian dance group coming to visit the studio where Faith dances, and they are having workshops tonight, tomorrow night, and then on Thursday there is a performance by them at a local high school theater. Faith is participating in the workshops and we will be at the performance as well. Much ado about dancing.

At the advice of my doctor, I started swimming, so I'll swim a couple more days this week (I went yesterday). She suggested I need to leave home to exercise because when I am at home, I allow my family's needs to get in the way of taking care of myself. If I could just walk out the door and go for a walk, that would be great, but since I can't (nerve pain in my leg), swimming was the only other option for me. I started last week and it was a lot less difficult than I imagined. I thought it would be so time-consuming to drive to the pool, swim, shower, dry my hair, and drive home. But even with Faith with me, it only took about an hour. We went again yesterday and seem to have found a good time to go when the pool is practically empty.

A few of my favorite things...

...some warm sunshine on my face. I learned from Survival of the Sickest  that our bodies use sunshine to convert cholesterol into Vitamin D. I always knew we needed sunshine to make vitamin D, but I never knew our bodies used up cholesterol to do so. That could be the reason my cholesterol was high and my vitamin D was low when I was tested a few weeks ago. No sunshine, no conversion.
...swimming -- whodathunk that after all these years of sitting by the side of the pool with the kids that I would enjoy swimming laps?
...cracking the windows and feeling just a hint of spring, and listening to the wind chimes 

Prayers sent heavenward...

...for my husband and children, to do God's will every day
...for all priests and religious, especially our priests Fr. Sill and Fr. Schmit, and for Fr. Howe
...all babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion, for a change of heart
...for friends who have asked for prayers

Photos for the day..

...what else? Dresses!

Faith's dress

After I finished the dress I thought it was too plain, so with Taylor's permission, I added a bow. It's stitched on one side and hooks with a hook and eye on the other (so it can be zipped all the way down).


Flower girl dress

All the dresses are made with the same fabrics -- just purple crepe and lace for the bridesmaids and junior bridesmaids, and white crepe and lace with purple sash for the flower girl

Linking up with Jenny at The Littlest Way

Friday, March 13, 2015

Monday, March 09, 2015

Hang on

photo by Geoffrey Stein

Friday, March 06, 2015

Monday, March 02, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Faith on Ice

I'm reading (listening, actually, which is awesome because the author is narrating) Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic, and a passage I listened to today really struck me. I just wanted to share it here, because I think faith ebbs and flows, mostly unintentionally, and sometimes we need a little inspiration to keep it going.

"Faith, whether it is faith in yourself and your purpose or faith in your Creator, is a powerful beacon, but you have to let its light shine. You cannot allow it to be dimmed by neglect. Sometimes, you may feel like you have faith, but there is no light showing."
"Having faith in yourself and your abilities is critical, but you must also have patience, humility, and the understanding that you cannot do anything without the help of others and, in the end, all credit goes to God."
"Nothing will bring you down faster than living without purpose or losing track of whatever you are most passionate about: the gift that gives you joy and makes your life meaningful. If you feel yourself sliding into despair, drained of energy, and depleted of faith, ask yourself, What matters most to me? What gives me joy? What drives me and gives my life meaning? How can I get back to that? 
You and I were put on this earth to serve something greater than our narrow interests. When our focus becomes self-centered instead of God-centered, we lose our greatest source of power. Our God-given talents are meant to benefit others. When we use them for that greater purpose, we put faith into action to fulfill His plan for us. We make a difference in this world that helps prepare us for the next."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Daybook

In the garden...
...snow. We had a pretty big storm on Saturday. It snowed from sun up to sun down and I think we got about 7 or 8 inches, maybe more. It was mostly a soft steady snow. Not much by New England standards, but it's enough. The roads were awful on Saturday, but we didn't have anywhere to go. Now they're mostly clear but this snow will be around for at least the week.

photo by Noah

photo by Noah

photo by Noah

photo by Noah

photo by Noah
You have no idea how rare this photo is. ;-)

I'm thinking about...
...what an upside down weekend we had, and that I don't handle chaos at all well any more. 

Is it "the change," my age, my health, what? I cry at the drop of a hat. 

On Saturday Doug was working on the "project." After he tore out the jacuzzi bathtub, then fixed the shower drip (remember the shower drip started the whole big ball rolling), put new drywall up in what will be the dressing room, he decided that he wanted to put in can (recessed) lights in the master bath like we did in the kids' bath over three years ago, and so now was the chance. He is not an electrician, nor even a real handy man, but our neighbor had helped him with the lights in the kids' bath so he felt confident to do it. He waffled all day about whether to put in four or six and eventually decided six. It was a big job for him and climbing up and down the ladder into the attic all day was exhausting (we're no spring chickens!). It seemed every thirty minutes there was a problem or something not going right. He had his cell phone with him in the attic and when he needed something he would text me, and I, or one of the kids, would run up and hand it to him up in the attic. I was preparing dinner when he texted me that he needed one of these little gray plug things and I sent Faith up. A few minutes later I heard her scream (like a real scream, not a little girl scream) and she came running downstairs telling me "dad fell through the ceiling." As I was running up the stairs Doug was yelling down "I'm ok!" but the ceiling was not ok. He had stepped off one of the rafters (because he was tired, but would not stop!) and his leg, up to the knee, had gone through the ceiling. The hole in the ceiling was huge, as the drywall had just broken away -- not just a hole where his leg was, and there was fiberglass insulation all over the place. A basket of clean laundry was filled and piles of towels and toiletries I had removed from the bathroom where he was working was covered. And I just stood there and sobbed. Noah was with me and I think he was stunned by my reaction, but at least put his arms around me and patted me while I sobbed. It wasn't the hole in the ceiling that made me cry, it was just everything. I was partly scared by what could have happened and partly just overwhelmed by the day. We were supposed to be having a birthday party the next day and I had been cleaning and baking and it was just all too much. I really need to learn when to say when. The trouble was, I didn't realize Doug was going to be working on lights the entire day, and like all home improvement projects, it was more complicated than it should have been.

As it turned out, Faith was sick Saturday night and the party was cancelled. All the kids were still here, including Geoffrey, and we had dinner, but it wasn't a party. Thank God. I don't like to think of my daughter's illness as grace, but God showered it on.

I am wearing...
...a gray skirt, a red v-neck shirt, black scarf, black leggings and black suede boots. I have to remake the amethyst bracelet I made last week with my med-alert tag on it. The clasp kept coming off, so I'll have to get creative again here real soon. I noticed today before I got in the shower that I have a lot of bruises. I think I need to wrap myself in bubble wrap. That would be quite a fashion statement.

I am reading....
...I'm reading  Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love, in print, A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton-Porter  on my Kindle, and listening to Amazing Love by Corrie ten Boom -- gosh that woman knows how to make the best out of a bad situation -- she sees grace every where she looks. And she knows how to lean on Him, a lesson I need learning over and over. 

Over the weekend I listened to Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan -- a riveting book about a girl with a rare auto-immune disease causing one hemisphere of her brain to be inflamed. She went through psychosis, including paranoia, hallucinations, heard voices, all before she started having seizures which led to a diagnosis that took about 28 days, after MRIs, CT scant, and even a brain biopsy at NYU Medical Center, all before one doctor did a test that cost nothing to diagnose her. It's a fascinating book if you like (true) medical mysteries, and apparently is going to be a movie starring Dakota Fanning (how, pray tell, did Dakota Fanning become a woman? -- as opposed to a little girl, not as opposed to a man). 

I also listened to Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders, MD, and that was quite revealing -- essentially a story about how often, and how, doctors mess up diagnoses all the time. Truly a book any one who sees doctors even rarely should read. I found out after I read it that it was the inspiration for the television show House, MD.

I am creating...

...still sewing scapulars -- that's my morning sewing.

I have a baby hat on my needles -- that's my night time work.

These booties were on the needles before the hat I'm currently knitting

The bodice of Faith's dress is finished, but I'm in a quandary about what to do with the skirt. The pattern (her dress, and the other junior bridesmaid's will be the one on the top right at the link, but with a lace over crepe bodice and solid crepe skirt) calls for an underskirt with an attachment of tulle to flare the skirt at the bottom. It's going to be June when the girls wear these dresses and tulle is going to be itchy, hence the quandary. I ordered a petticoat slip, but I think I'll even have to modify it so that the fullness is at the hem and not at the waist.

Again I ask myself, why did I do this?

Any seamstresses with any suggestions?

In the kitchen...
...tonight is dance night (and I don't cook on dance night), and I am sitting at Panera with a cuppa finishing this post -- a rarity indeed. I picked up dinner for the menfolk to heat up all by themselves (you have no idea how spoiled they are -- their dinners usually come plated to the table). 

For the remainder of the week:
Tuesday: Korean Beef, rice, roasted broccoli
Wednesday: Wild Game Chili, bread
Thursday: Birthday boy's choice -- steak, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans amandine, Better than Everything Cake
Friday: Three Cheese Roasted Cauliflower Soup, bread
Saturday: Saturday night pizza

At the school table...
...fractions and decimals in math, just more of it (and more sad faces); relative pronouns in English, which I admit sometimes even confuse me, especially when asked for the syntax of the relative pronoun -- I have the answer key but sometimes I just can't say "why;" more Middle Ages in history, botany in science (and a trip to the conservatory!), the Tenth Commandment in religion, and The Silver Crown in reading. I took quite a few photos at the conservatory, but I forgot my real camera and used my ipad so I need to check to see if any of them are post-worthy. I think this week we'll grow some stuff indoors just for fun -- because it's February.

Around the house...

...see "Thinking about" above -- lots of drywall dust. I had everything clean for the party. Now it's clean with a layer of fine white dust.

Plans for the rest of the week...
...an appointment for blood work tomorrow and a doctor's appointment with my PCP on Friday. After reading Every Patient Tells a Story, I refuse to settle for no answers. Dance on Thursday again, and that's about it. I'd like a quiet week and that's part of the reason I'm sitting alone at Panera -- it's not quiet, but none of the noise involves me.

Thought-provoking stops around the internet...
...I admit I'm not completely up on all my blogs, but I was moved by Jenny's tribute to her sweet boy in heaven. I can imagine feeling like so many years could not have passed without him.
...I enjoyed Ginny's announcement that they have acquired a goat. A  goat? I could think of other things I'd rather have, but whatever floats your boat. My kids would probably love one.
...admittedly, weather.com and the local news site with school closings is my most common stop on the internet these days.

A few of my favorite things...

...Overdrive and my local library's ebooks for listening to books while I work
...Angels and Saints at Ephesus on my phone

Prayers sent heavenward...
...for my husband and children, to do God's will every day
...for all priests and religious, especially our priests Fr. Sill and Fr. Schmit, and for Fr. Howe
...all babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion, for a change of heart
...for friends who have asked for prayers
...for a finish of home projects (photos of Faith's bedroom coming this week!)

Photos for the day...

As seen here -- and I corrected my adultery rock without the l. ;-)

"There are none who call upon your name,
none who rouse themselves to take hold of you;For you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our crimes." Isaiah 64:6 

Linking up with Jenny at The Littlest Way

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A time to change

“Why do we fast, but you do not see it? afflict ourselves, but you take no note?” See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. See, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked fist! Do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I would choose, a day to afflict oneself? To bow one’s head like a reed, and lie upon sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!” If you remove the yoke from among you, the accusing finger, and malicious speech; If you lavish your food on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your gloom shall become like midday; Then the LORD will guide you always and satisfy your thirst in parched places, will give strength to your bones; And you shall be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:3-12

Be gentle today, if you do nothing else.