Friday, December 11, 2015

Small Success Thursday - So Much Good

Hi All,

Sometimes I feel like I am talking to NO ONE. But I know people at least view my blog, so all I can do is hope and pray that my words in cyberspace make a difference.

With that said, I wanted to welcome you to Small Success Thursday. Yes, I do know it is actually Friday... moving on....

Hop on over to and check out Small Success Thursday. The link-up is open for a while and it's fun to read. The thing is, even in the worst weeks, we can find successes - IF WE LOOK FOR THEM! And we really should look for them!

My Small Successes this week were...

Cookies for Dad. My dad had several massive strokes a few years back and we think he has small ones here and there. At any rate, he could not travel to the Army-Navy game this year. And so - I had an idea Monday to order some cookies for him to take with him. Oh my goodness. If you are in Fort Worth, look up the Tiny Kitchen Cakery. First of all her husband is a wounded vet and I think we should support Military Families. Secondly, her cookies are to DIE for.

No Stress Craft Day. Having a craft day and not being OCD while it was going on. I mean - my child was panicked that I was allowing the mess. But it was a craft day. Crafts get messy. A few families were going to come, but only one showed. She brought four children - and truly it was just right.  Sure it took a couple hours to clean up, but we really had fun. Here is a sample. The rest will be on my craft blog at some point.

Making Luminaries.

Not Doing It All. We are enjoying Advent instead of stressing about it.  We really are. Sigh. In years past, we have simply done too many things... a little scaling back and voila! FUN!

And now I am going to bed. It's not late, I'm just exhausted. Tomorrow we have Arm Health Clinic, Christmas Pageant Practice, School (yes, we homeschool and we haven't finished this week), and cookie baking.

Have a blessed weekend.

Love and hugs,


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Finding JOY

Good morning.

First, let me say - Happy Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Many people don't understand why Catholic's celebrate and venerate this day. We believe it is the day Our Blessed Mother, Mary was conceived and we adore her as the Mother of Our Lord.

In our Faith, this is a Holy Day of Obligation. We will be at 7am Mass to start our day off right. We are so blessed in our Faith.

About JOY. Well, this year, my word of the year was Determination. I was determined to do a lot of things. Many I did, some I did not. But I'm going to concentrate on what I accomplished and not dwell. Because my word of the year for 2016 is JOY. Yes JOY!

And so, my friend Becky Sorensen told me about this JOY sign from Lowes and we went and bought it immediately. It will hang there all year, over my kitchen sink, in the room I spend a lot of time in and one that is the center of our home. JOY. So, if you need me in 2016, I'll be finding JOY in the little things...  HERE is the link if you want to find your word for 2016. Make sure you tell me what it is. I'll be praying for you.

Oh - and one more thing. Yesterday, I promised to share some links of things that you could use to explain Advent to your children.

Advent Wreath Coloring Page
Jennifer @ Catholic Inspired's Advent Activities
Lacy @ Catholic Icing's Advent Activities

There are about a jillion other blogs and sites you could use. Just search on Pinterest or Google. Amazing people out there.

I like to keep it simple. And please, for your sanity, do not try to do it all OR second guess your choices.

Have a great day.

Hugs & Blessings,

Monday, December 7, 2015

Moments - Updates & Advent is Upon Us.

Dear Friends,

Happy Monday...
How are you today?

It's beautiful here in Fort Worth. Cool but not cold... the rollercoaster of "winter" is about to start... high 60's and low 70's later this week, but by mid-week, next week, we may see our first flurry. Gotta love it.


Are you enjoying Advent?  We really are. Marque has been home for a week or so and it's been nice doing the family readings and lighting the candles with him home.  Yesterday, in the Advent Calendar, the card said, make homemade hot chocolate and watch Polar Express. That was a great way to end our weekend.

I have to be honest, this has been a hard year for me personally. Lots of loss, friends sick with cancer, and other health-related things. I've been doing so much for others, I haven't had time to blog or craft or anything. To top it off, Marque's travel schedule is so thick right now, we are not going anywhere for Christmas (we didn't for Thanksgiving either). And so - it's kind of a bummer. So I have found several sources to remind me throughout the day, what Advent is about. I need to take stock and be uplifted. You know?

I am really enjoying several Advent Readings this year.

Advent is a time for family, for re-assessing your heart and making sure you are moving in the right direction... for readying yourself for Christ. Last night our conversation as a family was about being ready all the time, you know "but mom, aren't we always supposed to be ready?" Yes, yes we are.  And during Advent we concentrate even harder on weeding out what we've not gotten right and working on things.

One of the first Devotions on the Best Advent Ever, there was a bonus video by Jen Fulwiller (I don't really know her, but I call her Jen because you know, I know her "in my mind"). Anyway.. she talks about striving for perfection, and she is describing what I have been going through "in my mind" about my conversion, about never being good enough, etc. I had not been able to put it into words. And I'm so happy I listened to this clip. Day 4, Best Advent Ever. So now you know, I have been beating myself up, comparing myself to others... not "getting" everything about our Faith, and really struggling. But I could never put it into words because I was too busy stressing over it. HA

I am really enjoying this Advent because I have let that go. I don't feel like I have to do everything everyone else is doing. I'm no longer confused about what Catholicsm is (yes, I was confused by the people, not the teachings).  I also realize that I am not "good enough" for God. None of us are, but HE loves us, imperfections and all. And people - no one can take that away from you (or me). Thank you Jesus.

In 2012 or before, I honestly can't remember... I created cards for our Advent Calendar. Specific things I knew we did and some I knew that we needed to do. I've seen many people selling them online and though I don't mind the entrepreneurial spirit, I say, get some business cards (Avery, but be careful of the glossed ones because your ink won't stick to them if you have a laser jet printer (ask me how I know - ha!)) add art or a border, and print them out for yourselves!! I just redid ours (he's 12 now) and here are the kinds of things that are on our cards:

These cards make our Advent Calendar so much more meaningful than a little chocolate or a toy in the calendar. I am not shaming people who do that. Just sharing ideas.  Later this week, I will share some resources for explaining Advent to a child. 


We are really enjoying 6th Grade. Today is Monday, and since we go-go-go all weekend, I let him sleep in, when I can, on Mondays. I actually have pictures of science to share, but I think I will save it for a separate post. I'm going to tell you about the science curriculum we are using. We LOVE IT!

Christopher is a natural at editing. He does well, instinctively in English. Like me, that makes it harder to learn. No seriously. It's like, I GET IT, MOVE ON. But we have to know the names of the nouns, etc. lol Poor us, we are learning together. HA


We are really enjoying our Parish. As converts, we really struggled to find our home. The first Parish was love filled. But their Religious Ed and other things left a lot to be desired. The second Parish was very spirit-filled and Pious, but not friendly. But this Parish seems to be the right amount of both and we are thrilled. I feel like I am telling the Goldilocks story. HA  


Well, we never did get our home painted. Sigh. And I am glad we didn't. We ended up needing to replace our appliances (microwave and stove/oven did a tandem die, so we replaced the whole suite).  
I may have already told ya'll. SO if I am duplicating, forgive me. But here is a picture of our kitchen all decked out in stainless steel:

We had Thanksgiving here, just us three... and we loved these new appliances. Truly blessed. 

I hope to blog more. I really do have a lot to say, but I'm perpetually behind and frankly, in this season, the blog is not my priority. I am working on a plan. Thank you for your patience.

Love, hugs & blessings,


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Small Success Thursday...

The one where I have been in bed or on the couch all week. Sigh.  Some days it is hard not to complain. Isn't it?

But we must resist the temptation. This has been a week of letting go....AND today's Small Success Thursday is brought to you by the virtue HUMILITY! You're welcome.

I am type A, times ten. I can not stand to get off track. Not with housework. Not with schoolwork. Not with anything. And yet, for the past few years, I constantly am off track. What's that all about? We always think we are humble until we realize we really just are not. Sigh....

Well, my husband says it's time to admit I'm not SUPERWOMAN. I have friends that are Mrs. Incredible AND Wonder Woman, so naturally I am in good company if I'm striving for that... Ahem... but you can't prove it.

Anyway - I have a more "I do for you" personality. And it is hard for me to be down. But as I sit here feeling like Quasimodo because my back hurts where my lungs are and my breathing is labored, I know that rest is the only thing that will heal... that - and the dreaded doctor's visit this afternoon where they will want to give me a shot in the tush, and I hate that. Sigh, but I am going to - I promise.

You know Thursday is SST over at! Check out the great post from Sherry Antonetti - HERE! She reminds us to slow down and live life in the moment. Cherish each moment.

So my success this week is laying around the house, letting my husband cook, doing minimal things like folding laundry instead of the heavy lifting parts. My floors are not vacuumed. My bed is not made.  I have the office garbage sitting beside the couch to hold the 175000+1 kleenex I've tossed in it. Sigh...I'm typing this in my nightgown for heaven's sake.

I started to feel bad. The other evening, I woke up filled with anxiety of all I hadn't accomplished. I had to cancel Christmas Card Making with friends. I had to miss a Royal Icing class. No working out. No doing anything... you know, the dreaded "list dream".... where the list of things you need to do panics you mid-night. Sigh.

And then, I got great advice from God and through friends.... They said REST, take care of you... so that you can get well to take care of others. Sigh.

It's hard for me, but I am. My guys always step up. Life will go on and I will be well. This has been a week about trusting that others will do when I can't. And, so far - so good. I am so thankful for my faith, for Mother Mary, for all my praying friends. I'm blessed beyond measure. I am thankful for natural remedies too. And today, I am thankful for antibiotics. Sigh...

Guess what? My son, he is super happy that he got to doctor me and care for me. Isn't that sweet? I should really let him do these things more. God bless him!

And, anyway - I still have pen/paper for my lists. <3 HAHA

Ya'll have a great week... and check out the other posts at Small Success Thursday!

Love and Blessings,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Larry the Leaf Bug and The Great Rescue Mission

Davis Academy 
Science Post

Happy Thursday evening folks.

As a boy mom, I often here, "mom, you gotta come look at this!" It could be anything from a huge ant bed (that he has disturbed, of course) to dark clouds to a shark eating ____ or what have you. He loves science.

Today, when he said it, I really just wanted to say, "dude, I don't want to see ___".  But I got up and he was talking about a leaf bug and how he'd seen them on a science show (he told me the name, not going to lie - I can not recall it) but had NEVER seen one in real life. The excitement was palpable.

Meet Larry, he's a leaf bug (um, he needed a name!). HAHA He's missing a leg because our half-blind dog was trying to "play" with him. Sigh.

We shooed her inside and went to pick up a friend of Christopher's for a rare weekday playdate. Well, he was right where we left him. Now the three of us were looking at him. And then, it came to me - I had to take him to the front yard.  I grabbed a mason jar (uh, yes they are laying around - I'm a canner) and grabbed a handful of grass and put the jar right by him. He jumped right in. YAY

Well, I didn't want to put on a lid because he would suffocate, so I ran through my house with Larry in the jar (screaming don't jump, please don't jump). Poor Larry. I promptly deposited him on the front lawn.

I wanted to get a better picture of him, so I went and got my phone to take this picture...

He looks much happier there, right?  Anywhooooooo

When I first went to take the picture, he jumped on my iPhone. He was walking toward me... and I screamed (just a little) for the boys. My son's friend came downstairs, outside and pushed him off my phone. He said, "all you had to do was shoo him off".  Someone should tell the 12 year olds, I don't touch bugs.

My grandma Helen would be so proud. We went on so many hikes to collect leaves and watch birds, bugs, etc. when we were young. I miss her so. As a teacher, she was always into these things. I'm kinda wimpy with it. But I'm working on it.  There was, after all, a happy ending...Well, until the birds eat him. But for now - he's happy. I just know it.  And now, you've heard a double rescue story... first Larry, and then me.

Oh - and before I get to be "SCIENCEY" (yes, I know it's not a word). Larry is really a Katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia). Click on the word Katydid above. They are so amazing. Truly. Here is a you-tube video: The Katydid (LeafBug). And here is another about their sounds Katydid Sound

I have to go now. I ordered pizza for them and I'm going to go FaceTime my husband.

Blessings All!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Psalm 23... How Grateful am I?

Happy Wednesday All,

I haven't blogged in a long while. I've been on vacation, tried new recipes, gotten through Halloween and went to venerate Saint Maria Goretti's relics. I want to, and will blog about all those things.
However, this morning, as I was giving someone else advice, about some bad news they received regarding elder family member's cancer, I could not stop thinking about Psalms 23.

It came to me that I should blog about how this passage makes me feel, in case others needed to read this today.

DIY Rustic Wood Frame for Large artwork plus free
18x24 scripture chalkboard printable from

Here is Psalm 23, from the Bible Gateway. It's a Catholic Version, though slightly different than I memorized in my youth. I remember it like it was yesterday. 7th Grade memory verses included this beautiful prayer.

The Divine Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;[a]
    he restores my soul.[b]
He leads me in right paths[c]
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely[e] goodness and mercy[f] shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.[g]
I remember when my father had his massive strokes in 2008 and the Lutheran Pastor was praying for him, and he was reciting Psalms 23. Well, my dad had been asking everyone to help him up because he was confused about what was going on (he was actually strapped down because he kept trying to get up).  Anyway - he said to the Pastor, "well if you're going to lead me somewhere, can you help me up?" We all laughed. Bless him.

This morning, when I was giving advice to a friend, what popped into my head was "Yeah though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me!" Thank you God. Thank you!

How grateful am I to be one of the lucky and blessed people who knows and loves God, who serves God, who has an on-going relationship with God? YES - I have bad days. YES - I feel sorry for myself. YES - I am hard on myself and others. YES - life gets lonely sometimes. It gets lonely, hard, etc. Our world is scary. People are unpredictable and let us down. Finances can be hard to navigate. Illness brings suffering. We all know this.

But do you know how blessed you are that Our Lord has promised to always be with us?

You know, I'm going to start making more of an effort to remember Bible passages and verses. I have to say, I've forgotten more than I can remember and I think that is a mistake. Because in times of need, I love it when a verse comes to me.... to share with a friend or family member (or even myself).

I am so grateful that I learned so many verses and Bible stories when I was young. And I'm so much more grateful that I can teach them to my own child and lift friends who are struggling up with a verse or two. Thank you GOD!

This post is part of the TAKE TIME Blog Hop.

Our November theme is: 

Join us every Tuesday in November and link up your posts! 

Please note that Photobucket is down for revising, and the link to the LINK UP is in the picture caption. Normally I'd set it to click and go there. Sorry about that.

Blessings all.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Small Success Thursday... Thank you Guardian Angels


Did you ever have a day where your child's doctor switches offices, and you need your GPS to find it, and on the way you are concentrating so hard on where you are going, AND you have the visor down because you are short and the sun is in your eyes.... only the visor causes  you to not see a stop light that just happens to be read as you are going around a corner.... and you see the truck coming at you and he barely misses you... and and then, you weed through downtown construction and pull into a parking lot scraping your husband's truck's rearview mirror AND some young kid says you are not allowed to park in the garage because it's for a certain medical building.... and then you have to leave the garage and find the right garage and your heart is still racing from almost getting in a wreck (on your child's side of the vehicle) and you have to park all the way at the top of the parking garage..... and then you finally get into the office like three minutes late and they say you haven't filled out paperwork since 2012, which is weird, because you know you've done it every year?

Edited to add... I failed to mention the play by play my child gave me of the almost wreck. That was fun. lol

Um... Yes. Yes that was my morning.... well about an hour of it anyway. Sigh.


Welcome to Small Success Thursday - I'm thankful for my guardian angel(s). Seriously some of us need way more than one.

On the way home, I thought, I have to blog about this. Please check out Small Success Thursday at It's just a great reminder to find joy in the little things... to realize that we may not check everything off our lists as moms, but that we do have so much to be thankful for.

Yesterday was an AWFUL day. Ok, it wasn't third-world awful, but it was TRYING. Sigh. I hate even complaining about it. But honestly, my name could be Alexander (book reference). It was THAT.... sigh! Anyway...

Let's talk Small Success:

1) My child and I are alive (my mind just went #5 Alive (movie reference)). Ok, it's dramatic, but seriously, Thank you Clarence & Helen (my guardian angels).

2) Doctors My Child Clicks With. Ok, every child thinks they are smarter than their parents at some point. You know what I am talking about. I am so glad that we have been blessed with a few Catholic Doctors that understand my child's Aspergers AND placate me during a visit, when I need them to reiterate for the bazillionth time what my child's responsibility is. Today's visit was with our Dermatologist. My son was born with eczema and at times, he is a walking blotch. The patch on his thumb is growing and we have to use stronger steroids AND his arms are not improving because he has a special shower kit. And guess what, he's turning 12 in a week and he is responsible for making sure the lotions and potions get put on various spots. THE END.  I gave a signal to the nurse and the doc came prepared. I love it and I'm so thankful. Because - if the doc says it, it's true... never mind what we say as parents. Sigh.

3) Beach Vacation. Yep, we are going to the beach. We are going to visit a Sea Turtle sanctuary, a dolphin and wildlife area, and we are going on a sunset cruise on a pirate ship. And people.... we are doing this without other families, without our extended family... yep - JUST US! We even bought sand chairs. I'm not sure about murky Gulf Waters (um, we will be near Mexico on South Padre Island)... but I will put my feet and maybe my ankles in it. I've found a Catholic Church to go to. I know where the nearest grocery and hospitals are. We are all set people.

These are my successes today.
I hope you've enjoyed them.

Hugs & love,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review Wednesday - Finding Patience

Good morning ya'll.

I hope your morning is going well.

I am trying to be more diligent in reading and studying my Faith. I am blessed to have many books (some that I need to review)... and so, this morning, I will start my post with a Bible Verse from the Magnificat Readings this morning:
Ephesians 5: 14-15
14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,“Sleeper, awake!  Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 
Lord, Jesus Christ, you have brought us safely to this new day, as you have promised to bring us safely to dwell with you one day in your kingdom of light. Through the intercession of Saint Callistus, defend us against all that would weigh us down and slow our steps, so that we may run with delight in the way of your Gospel, who live and erg with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I'm going to try to do a book review every Wednesday.  That is my plan. So without further ado, let's talk about  Adventures of Faith, Hope & Charity - Finding Patience, by Virginia Lieto. Some of you may have read my interview with Mrs. Lieto back in August. If not, please find it HERE. She was lovely to speak with. 
Virginia Lieto
 My Review:

Let me state the obvious... I love to review children's books because I am a mom.

The way my son's brain works is if he reads something in a book OR hears it from someone else, it must be true. You know what I mean, right?

I am always looking for books that will help reinforce what we teach him in navigating the rights and wrongs of things like virtues, manners, navigating friendships, and pre-teen angst. It can be hard to find great books because my child does not identify with Veggie Tales or other inanimate objects. Because of Aspergers, he just can't. "Vegetables are not nice mom. They aren't anything but food!" This is a direct quote from my six year old, when watching a movie years ago.

So when we read Ginny's book, with children, family and our Faith intertwined, it was something he could identify with. I wanted to yell - SUCCESS! In fact, he was really bummed when the book was over and wanted more. He is turning 12 soon, so don't let the age recommendation stop you from putting this book (and the series to come) into your family library. It's a quick read on a day that you need HOPE and reminders that God is in charge and we need to trust him.

Patience is not an easy virtue to master, and it is even harder for a child. As a military dependent, I moved a lot, and I can tell you that the anxiety of it is real. What a great benefit this book would be to young military children.

In the story, the Livingstone Family moves their home and the girls start a new school. It is hardest on eight year old Faith.  She struggles to be happy with the move and to like her new school. She doesn't fit in and thinks no one likes her. But she soon learns through prayer and conversations with her parents that things will get better if she trusts God's plan. She learns that she can struggle with things and they will work out for the best. She learns the value of patience.

I won't blow the ending, but I will say - it is happy! God is good, all the time!

Thank you Ginny for this great book. I am excited to know that there are more on the horizon.

I hope that you liked my quick review and that you will check out other reviews for yourselves.

Be blessed always,


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moments - It's Been Almost a Month...

Happy Monday Tuesday all,

Wow.  I can not believe it's been a month since I've written. I've been so busy.

I'm still looking into having a Monday Daybook link-up. Don't give up on me, I want to create one but I am tech-challenged.

We have had a fantastic several weeks. Marque has been home. We are so happy to have him home. We will even be going on a 9 day trip to the beach. WOOHOO.

So much has happened in the past month, this will be way longer than normal. But bear with me. Plenty of pictures. <3

Here's What's been Happening!

In Davis Academy (our school)...

We started 6th Grade last Monday. And we had two deaths in the family. So we got some done, but have much more to do. We will be taking a little with us to the beach, but that's ok.

We are really going to enjoy 6th Grade. Here are pictures of the 1st Day and our Classroom.

Here is a collage of us watching the lunar eclipse. Love science. Love homeschool.

My student is really learning how to cook. One evening, he made baked apples with oatmeal crumble. And a scoop of ice cream.

In My Heart... 

My mother passed away this week. Considering she was never very motherly, it was an odd moment when I got a call that she passed. I never even knew she had cancer. I thought she had COPD.  Anyway... Here is what I posted on FB and it really just sums it up for me.
Please pray for the soul of my Mother. Sandra (Wren, Painter) Housh. She passed away today. I've always been sad that she was so tormented in life (mental illness), and I pray that she found peace and Our Lord before she passed. I am told cancer had ravaged her body, and that breaks my heart.
It is strange because I am really unsure how to mourn her loss as she really hasn't been steady in my life for the better part of 40 years.
I mourn for the mother I've always wanted, and the peace for all who grow up in such broken homes.
I pray for my siblings that continued to try to have relationships with her, that they may find peace and comfort that she is no longer in pain, and healing for themselves.
I'm so thankful that my bestie Domenica (30+ years) and my husband Marque (18 years) who knew exactly what to say this morning as I sat feeling guilty that the news did not upset me more. Edited to add, my thanks to all who have called, and my special angel who stopped by to make sure I am ok, on her birthday, no less. heart emoticon
I am sad for my child, who will never know the beautiful and talented person she could be at times. And for all my nieces and nephews who never really knew her.
I pray for my father, who never remarried and always loved her.
I pray for her husband of 33 years, that he find peace and comfort.
I pray for my siblings that continued to try to have relationships with her, that they may find peace and comfort that she is no longer in pain, and healing for themselves.I'm so thankful that my bestie Domenica (30+ years) and my husband Marque (18 years) who knew exactly what to say this morning as I sat feeling guilty that the news did not upset me more. Edited to add, my thanks to all who have called, and my special angel who stopped by to make sure I am ok, on her birthday, no less. heart emoticon I am sad for my child, who will never know the beautiful and talented person she could be at times. And for all my nieces and nephews who never really knew her.I pray for my father, who never remarried and always loved her. I pray for her husband of 33 years, that he find peace and comfort.Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
I mourned her so long ago, that it was difficult to process the right thing to do. In the end, for my sanity and peace, I did not go and celebrate her life. I am so grateful that she gave birth to me, but I had no relationship with her, not for a lack of trying on my part.  And so - I could not put myself through anything more on her behalf. I am at peace with it.  And yes - I do know it is hard to explain and understand if you didn't live through it. But if you know me, and how much I value relationships.... well then you should understand how hard it all was. On the advice of a dear friend, I will have Mass said in her name for a few years on her birthday. And I will continue to pray for her soul.

The following day, one of my favorite Aunt's passed. She lived a long life. Sigh.

It was an emotional week.

At Home...

Fall Decorating. I am not really into Halloween because I don't like SCARY. It's too devilish for me.  My husband and son did put up spiders/webs and ghouls to the decor outside, as they are trying to acclimate me to the "dark side". HAHA I will get the inside decorated before we leave and share pictures. I wanted to show you all something I found that is fun. It is still in the 90's here, so we can't decorate with fresh pumpkins this year. I did score these luminaries and have some electric tea lights. I will put them out on Halloween night.

Kitchen & Meal Plan:

Things we made - 

Apple Bread (would be great muffins)
Blueberry Muffins
Caprese Salad with basil we dehydrated
swirled rye bread
My meal plan this past week or so focuses on using what we have. It is about using all the fresh veggies and things that may expire so that we don't have to toss a bunch of things when we get back. For instance, tonight we are having baked potatoes and salad. Tomorrow salad and fish. Did I mention salad? lol I am determined not to toss good things.

Medical. We finally had our endocrinology appointment. What a great doctor. For those of you who don't know, we randomly found out that Christopher was born with half a thyroid (when he got his tonsils removed). And he has gained quite a bit of weight in the past year. This, as he continues to work out daily in addition to baseball, karate, etc. So he had growth plate x-rays, blood work done and met with a nutritionist. We have no answers yet. But we left with a plan on how to re-think our portions, etc. AND though he needs to lose 30 lbs, because he is young, we will position is as not gaining any weight as he is getting taller. Once we have answers, I will share more.

Things I am Reading...

Mostly happy mail (Read: diagramming book for the boy as maybe not so happy).
Things I Am Thinking About...
  • Organizing my blogs & writing more.
  • Concentrating on my Faith.
  • Homeschooling.
  • Our Nation and politics.
  • How sad and lost people are.
Things I Am Praying For...
  • All of the above. Plus,
  • Our Pope & Clergy.
  • Peace in my family.
  • Better help for the Mentally Ill.
  • For more people to stand up for what is right in our World, in our Faith, in our Families. We need to work from a place of honesty.
  • For the Soul of My Mother.
  • And for you.

Jenna likes my hair.
My friend Donna knitted me socks. LOVE!

My handsome husband.

Nap after sleepover. HA
My Oldest Nephew got married. Awww

Karate Kick

The Rangers Girls gave him a shirt. So happy!

That is all for today folks. I hope you are not bored to death. HA
Praying for you all.

Blessings & Peace,

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fat Shaming or Honesty?

Happy Friday.

Romans 12:1-2  - I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

There is a lot of talk about fat shaming going on these days.  Some trainer or personality says all the news about plus-size models is bad because these women are unhealthy. There is a Fat Life show on TLC (I don't watch it because I don't think being that heavy is funny).  I confess that I have not listened to the video that caused the ruckus, but since I am heavy, I will say this....

The truth is, it takes courage to help someone that you love or care about understand that being so heavy is terribly unhealthy!  So, I am going to attempt to come at this weighty issue with a different perspective.

For the past 12 years, I have been very heavy. I thought I was FAT when I was younger because I was told I was by an abusive mother and other relatives... but it turns out, I was slim (just not skinny). I hate when that happens.  Anyway - let me give you some facts about me.
  • I've always been a short person with broad shoulders. No I am  not big-boned, I just have broad shoulders. Great for gymnastics. 
  • I loved to dance, was fairly good at it, BUT when I was growing up, GOOD dancers were tall (well, at least 5'7".
  • There were times in my life that I was heavy growing up. My way of protecting myself from certain abuses that were going on... probably largely due to depression/anxiety.
  • I carried my living child to term when I was 40. Pregnancy and I did not get along and I gained a lot of weight and had complications... fast forward to NOW.
  • I'm 51, 5'2" and I weigh 240 lbs. Yep. You read that right. The problem is, people don't want to hurt my feelings and say I am fat/plump/unhealthy, etc... but I AM!  
Right after my child was born (I'll be 52 in October, he'll be 12), I lost a ton of weight, and in fact, I really only had about 40 lbs to lose back then. Slowly but surely the weight has crept on. I've droned on and on for YEARS about getting in shape and losing weight, but I haven't. AND I didn't "SEE" myself as one of those big women.

But then I saw this picture, and I was devastated. THIS is what others see:

I am sitting on the far left, with my back to the photog. I am twice as wide as the person sitting next to me. I am the fat woman. And it's embarrassing.

You are reading thinking, "she's being hard on herself", but I'm not. I'm being HONEST!  I am sick of people saying "you have such a pretty face". We all know that is code for, "thank God your face is holding up, because the rest of you... not so much!" LOL Truly!

So what is the point of my title? My point is complicated. Why is it taboo for a friend/family member to say, "maybe you should have a salad and fruit instead of a burger"? Why is it taboo for a friend/family member to say, "you need to work out and get some of that weight off"?  Why shouldn't a doctor be saying, "lady, you have got to get a grip... you are hurting your joints, your organs, etc..."

People who love you SHOULD (in my opinion) care about you enough to let you know when you are walking down any path that is unhealthy. And since I have 110 lbs to lose - I can say, for certain, that it would be less aggravating if people helped me, reminded me... because honestly I don't always think about it.

I am not saying it is easy to approach things. I am not saying it is ANYONE else's fault I am heavy. It is only my fault. I've been depressed the past 7+ years I guess... living here has been hard on me in every way. Though we are coming up on 10 years in North Texas, I have never lived ANYWHERE that has taken me so long to adjust. Clearly I turned to food. I'm a great cook. Sure, I cook healthy - but if you eat and never exercise, you will gain weight. I've gained ten pounds a year since we moved here. Sigh... I've talked about it the whole time. My husband and son are heavy too. I've badgered them about it (well, I think it is loving, they think it is badgering... I'm sure some days it is).  Well - talk is cheap.

Sadly, our insurance doesn't cover Nutritional help unless you have diabetes. You know, because that makes sense to NO ONE! I wish I knew a nutritionist. I don't want to count points. I don't want to read a complicated book. I just want someone to say eat ____ calories, here are some menu examples. You know?

I am awake now, thanks to the picture above. I have seen others and thought, "I look fat"... but this was taken by someone else.. and it embarrassed me.  The person would hate that thought... they are kind. But it's true. I have tried many things and failed. But I can not sit idly by while weight gain kills me. I have a young son, and grandchildren.

So if you know someone who is heavy (especially if they haven't always been), what can you do -
  • Tell them you are concerned.
  • Offer to walk with or exercise with them.
  • Love them, but be honest with them.
  • Please DO NOT tell them they aren't fat or heavy (whatever word you want to use). I mean it. If they say, I am so fat... you say, "I love you, but you do need to lose some weight, how can I help!"  
  • Encourage them.
This is NOT fat shaming. This is honesty. This is LOVE! And love is not always easy!

I am in a better place now.  I am coming out of the depression.  I am clear about who my friends are and who they are not.  Being here in Texas, being lonely for true friendship.... it's been a crazy ride mentally (and physically). I am assuming this is what needed to happen in my life to help me SEE many things differently. I can tell you this...  The Lord guides me. HE is saying, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS! He doesn't berate me if I don't work out. But He is not happy with laziness or gluttony. Right?!   Regardless of your answer, I feel I must Obey HIM!

And listen, if you are a friend who tells me I am beautiful in spite of the weight. Or if you are my husband who thinks I am sexy in spite of the weight - I love you dearly.  I appreciate your wanting me to feel good about myself I do!  I'm a good person. I'm a good friend, etc. I have many great attributes. But please... Please do not tell me I'm not heavy and that I am healthy. It's a lie.

We have become so politically correct that we are afraid to be honest with our friends. We can't encourage because we might say it wrong.... and we dang sure can't disagree with one-another... OR CAN WE? I say, let's kick PC to the curb and co-exist in a world that is full of honest people who help one another with NO negative repercussions.

So what'd you think? I'd love to hear your opinion on this topic.

If you are heavy, seek counsel in a doctor/nutritionist/friend. Make a plan. You can do it. I am starting to... It isn't easy, but with God, ANYTHING is possible.

Please pray for me as I need to be diligent about walking and moving more. My legs are starting to swell from lack of movement. I'm fearful, but know this is the wake-up call I need.

One more thing - I am in NO WAY suggesting that you be mean to anyone. That you purposely humiliate them in public or private. I am saying - we have to be honest with ourselves and our friends/family. If not, what kind of person are we?

Hugs & blessings,

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Small Success Thursday

Happy Happy Thursday Afternoon.

This morning I was with a group at Catholic Charities of Fort Worth as part of my son and I wanting to touch the community more.  Only a couple people showed up (three adults and two children)... we put together 34 bags for the homeless in our community and packed a few boxes of food, baby diapers and other things, to be send to other facilities.

It's a very humbling experience to buy things to put into these bags, because they are VERY specific. And it was hard to explain to my child WHY he couldn't add mouthwash or whatever else it was HE wanted to add to the mix.

Here is a picture of the two boys that showed up. My son and another little boy, R!

Now on to SST!

Today is Small Success Thursday. Please do yourself a favor and go read today's post by Sherry Antonetti.  That post = HOPE! You know, because we think we are alone sometimes and the truth is, we aren't alone. We ARE going through what other moms go through, and THAT is sometimes all you need to get you through the day.

My successes are:

I Went Anyway...  It is really hard for me to get into planning events for groups because typically the people who complain about nothing being planned are the ones that don't come. So I get a little middle-school attitude going and just BAG IT!  I know I know... people have good intentions and plans change. But some people also take your ideas and do them with other groups. And it is hard not to take it all personally (well for me it is).  But I decided this school year along with NOT being in Co-Ops, that I was going to plan what my child and I wanted and go anyway EVEN if no one else came.  This way, when just a few people came today I was totally NOT disappointed.  And to me, that is a HUGE success.

Taking A Few Weeks Off... This is the third week of NO school. Yep - our mini Summer break.  In this time I have gotten other things organized and I am so happy! We went on a vacation, we hung out and did nothing, we played with friends... Monday starts the 6th grade. Pray for us. I'm shockingly totally unorganized.

I Am Teaching Religious Ed Again...  Yep. This is going to be the year of doing. (Now if I could really lose the weight I need to, that would be great.... anywhooo). I loved teaching Religious Ed at Holy Family. When we left and went to SEAS, I tried to get involved but they were unorganized AND aloof (meaning not just unorganized, but rude about it). So I said, "no thanks" and walked away. In the end, we Church hopped till we landed on the Cathedral (seriously the last place we thought we'd be). BUT - here's the thing - WE FEEL WELCOME THERE. Flawed and all, they are happy to see us. People talk to us and say hello. It Is AMAZING!  I'd volunteered a couple times at VBS there and things, so went I sent the DRE a note asking if she remembered me and if they needed help, not only did she remember me from a couple Summers ago, but she was ecstatic that we were attending St. Patrick, and that I was volunteering. It's nice to be wanted and needed. And I have a class full of third graders, most of which have not made their First Holy Communion.... and I'm excited that they are in my class and pray I make a difference in showing them the Love of God!  I am so excited.

Sure, I canned peach and strawberry jam and held down the fort while hubs was on an unscheduled trip. But mostly - I revel in the new things I don't normally do.

Please go read the other posts at SST. Join in if you blog. It's so great to always remember the little things we do.

Blessings to you all.
In Christ!