Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review Wednesday - A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined Housein France

Update to review below. I shared it with the Author and she mentioned me on her FB Page. I feel like I know her. Silly... but you see, her grandmother was right, "you should talk to people." Reach out. Tell them you care... <3 So blessed! You can read her post HERE!

Happy Wednesday All.

It's been raining since the wee hours of the morning here in North Texas, and it's wonderful. Christopher has settled into a Math Test and I thought I'd write a quick book review. It's been a long time since I sat and read a book over a weekend. I took it with me everywhere we went and read while I waited at some points. It was THAT good.

As someone who loves to review books, I read a few reviews on this book. There was one young lady who wrote how confused and lost she was at all the directions this book went in. I admit it was hard to keep up at times, but isn't that how life is? I think so. It's definitely how research is. When you are looking for an answer, you find a clue, then go hunting down the next clue. The style of this book is perfect. I figure, if you don't get that, you really have not lived life enough. This is a book for someone who knows about life and people and who understands trials and tribulations along the travels and travails of life.

I was so excited about the book, I went looking for the Author. I found a few words from Miranda blog, that lead me to Words from Miranda, and then to her FB Page. More Info about her, can be found HERE!

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and A Ruined House in France, by Miranda Richmond Mouillot is spectacular in every sense of that word.

I have been through a great many things in my 51 years. Things that were loving and triumphant; that blessed me beyond what I deserved. Things that were excruciatingly painful; that left me with many unanswered questions; that shattered my faith and my surroundings. But nothing could possibly prepare a person for something as devastating as the Holocaust and what that must do to your family for generations.
"After surviving World War II by escaping Nazi-occupied France for refugee camps in Switzerland, Anna M√ľnster and Armand Jacoubovitch bought an old stone house in a remote, picturesque village in the South of France. Five years later, Anna packed her bags and walked out on Armand, taking the typewriter and their children. Aside from one brief encounter, the two never saw or spoke to each other again, never remarried, and never revealed what had divided them forever."

You know the old saying, there is a fine line between love and hate? Well, I believe that it is true. I love the tenacity of this author. She was haunted by the dysfunction in her family and determined to find out why her grandparents, Armand and Anna, had two children, never spoke or even acted like one-another existed - for 50 years.  She loved them both so much.  What she found was the history of her ancestors during WWII. What she learned was to live her life to the fullest... to take chances... to dream big!

One of the most fantastic things about this book is that this young lady lived in the home her grandparents bought all those years before... she met her husband there and forged her life... so the present is very much intertwined with her past.  The funny thing to me, while reading this book was how much like her grandparents (probably the best of both of them) she was. So determined to get to the bottom of her family legacy. She almost missed out on life because she was so focused on others. Thank God for Julian (who she eventually married) coming along.

Miranda doesn't state the exact reasons for the split, but I want you to read this book. It's intellectual and worthy! It's chaos intertwined with love. It's reality. It's LIFE!

In my heart, I believe this young couple was torn apart by the war, by their own insecurities/fears, by a cruel world.  My husband is traveling and I was trying to explain my thoughts to him. My conclusion was this... Miranda's grandfather, Armand, having lived the Holocaust as a Jewish man; knowing his family, friends, colleagues were killed and their homes and personal belongings stolen/destroyed; having been betrayed by the French and Swiss Governments and others (in my opinion); and finally, having to translate the Nuremberg Trials -- well, he would NEVER be the same. There is no way he could have ever looked at life the same. The goal was to stay sane, I'm sure. Sadly his inability to live life and fear of being happy... and his wife, Anna's desire to start over and determination to be happy... led to their break. He must have felt deserted and powerless and she must have felt like a caged animal set free. It was neither of their faults. It was a mad, mad world...

I just read that Miranda's grandfather, Armand passed away earlier this year, and it brought tears to my eyes. Her grandmother died while she was researching her book and her grandfather lost his mind - which, if you ask me, makes him one hell of a strong man to not have lost it much earlier - given what he'd been through.  When my son came in, I was in tears. I can not explain it.  I feel like we must cry for people who had so much taken away. He is finally at peace and for that I am so thankful. However, I am so sorry for Miranda's loss and for that of her Mother and Uncle.

We need to know our past so that we can learn from it.  Thank you Miranda, for bravely writing this book, about your family and your struggles with understanding the past.

Life is hard for most... harder for some. But you really can overcome the worst situations and make a good life for yourself.

Read this book! You won't regret it. Even though I received this book from Blogging for Books, in exchange for my review, I chose to read it because it was interesting to me. SO know that this is a fair and honest review, even though I did not pay for the book.

Love, Hugs & blessings,

Emily

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Moments - Too Much Thinking...

Em’s DayBook
2015 Vol. 14

Happy Muggy
Monday. Tuesday! We've been in humidity central here folks, waiting for the rain. We may get up to 9 inches (which probably means 3-4). People are afraid of flooding, but honestly I am not. We always need rain around here. This rocky soil dries and splits in a heartbeat.

As it turns out, I never had time to blog yesterday AND my child has apparently been sick for a week. Doctor today. May Be Strep.

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For (Counting my blessings)…
  • My Faith.
  • My husband and his job.
  • Family & Friends.
  • Good Books.
  • Creativity.
  • Various Reality Checks.
Thinking About…
  • Prayer Life - and how I need to learn to pray with purpose.
  • Perception Vs. Reality - The other day on my blog, I asked, "Is Perception Reality?" When I asked this, I meant for you to think about that.

    • The perception may be that my house may not be as clean as others. The reality is, I clean my home daily (parts of it), but I am not concerned with perfection like I once was.

    • The perception may be that I am not a great mom (you know because I wanted my child to not give up on football camp because it is hard and didn’t listen to him when he said his stomach was cramping (in my defense he can be a hypochondriac if he is trying to get out of things)). The reality is – I push him because he is self-conscious and because he has Aspergers he demands perfection. Instead of being first on the track at football camp, I say, do your best… The first day, he was last, the second day, he came home and reported he was not last, but second to last and had improved. You see – I want him to believe in the talents God gave him. That is what people perceiving things can not see.

    • In short, I do not think perception is reality because perception often turns into judgment…. and that’s not cool. 

  • Reading More Books - I read a book this weekend. LOVE that. Review tomorrow. <3
  • Our World - I hate to think about all the bad in the world. I think it's time to concentrate on the positives. Not saying, stick my head in the sand, but I sometimes just do not want to know.
  • 5 - 10-Year Plan. Yep we are mapping out some things. Making some major and some minor changes. We are praying on it all, but we will share with you when we can.
  • Veiling Group. As you know, a few years ago I started wearing a veil when in the True Presence of Christ.  I left the group a while back because it's really not what I envisioned it to be. The same questions all the time. The same arguments disguised as discussions. But after a six month absence, I went back... not as an admin, but as a participant. I figured It would be easier. But in the end, nothing has changed. Veiling, watered down, is not ever what I wanted the group to be. As Faith and Devotion are not PC. They shouldn't be. So anyway - I love some of these ladies very much. I just can't be in the group. My husband could not believe I even went back. Sigh. Big mistake.
I know I know - TOO MUCH THINKING!

In Our Home…

Cleaning, tossing, organizing.  Decluttering one room at a time. We just need to get rid of so much. Sigh. Making lists of what we need to do. Talking to a realtor soon about whether we could sell, as is, or if we need to do some touching up.  My Mary for my Mary garden came in. She's beautiful. Can not wait to put in the pool and get the garden planted. Also - my roses are growing a little anyway... We planted rose bushes outside our windows...

Wifing...

We always strive to be the best wife we can me. The best mother. The best everything. But it never hurts to stop and read a blog post or a scripture passage about stepping up our game. That is why I love Marriage Monday. And I am linking up with Elizabeth at YesTheyAreAllOurs for Marriage Monday (yes, I know it's Tuesday).  Today's post is about preparing your family for life and new seasons. I believe we Christian moms are good at this. First, we have our Faith... AND though we may panic for a moment (dang the humanity of it all) we ultimately know that God will  never desert us because He made us. WE GOT THIS!   Here is the homework for this week. You really want to assess these things - because they are so good. Wow.
Project P31, Mission #11:

How are you doing on your homework assignments each week??  Are you ready for a new assignment?  Today's assignment has three parts:

1. Take some time to prepare for the upcoming season.  What will you and your family need? How can you begin now to prepare for the season ahead?  We need to prepare ahead for the both the next season of the year and the next season of our lives!
2. Consider what you could do to be prepared for an emergency.  Do you have a pantry stocked with food?  Do you have any stores of water, first aid supplies, flashlights and batteries?  I remember when everyone was stockpiling for Y2K!  :)  While it is not wise to live in fear, it is wise to make some simple preparations for a possible emergency.  Many of us will face tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, or extended power outages. Are we prepared??
3. Most importantly, are you prepared for the inevitable fact that none of us will make it out of alive!  :) Are you and your family "clothed in the scarlet blood of Christ?"  There is no greater provision for your future (and your present) than to be clothed in the blood of Christ and ready to stand before God on Judgment Day! Being religious is not enough!  Religion is like the Emporer's New Clothes -- when you stand before a Just and Holy God one day, you will be naked and exposed!!  Only the blood of Christ will cover us from our shame and guilt!! (Message me if you need clarification on this point! I'd love to share with you how you can be prepared to meet your Creator!)
In Our Kitchen…

I made chocolate chip cookies for a friend and her family:


They arrived at their destination yesterday. They OD'd on cookies and all is right with the world. Unfortunately we kept a few here, in the freezer. I am high on sugar as well.

Praying For…
  • Our Nation & World
  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.
  • Finances.
  • Our Pope and Clergy.
  • For more JOY in the little things…
  • People to turn to our Lord.
Captured…



I am also linking up with Mom2Mom Link Up! Come check out the other bloggers.

Love, Hugs & many blessings,

Em

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Answer Me This {Summer 1}




Hi there,

Linking up LATE on a Sunday night with Kendra at Catholic All Year for Answer Me This. I've never played along, so bear with me. I hope I do this right.

1) Any Big Plans for the Summer?   We live in Hot Texas and the Summer is swimming and staying cool. We typically wait till Fall to go to the beach when it cools off (you know to the 80's) and it's not as crowded. We might go on a couple business trips with Marque.  While we have some things planned, like local water parks and a visit to family in Houston...

My son is in strength and agility camp for three weeks in June and three in July (learning to work out). We are bowling with friends on Tuesdays. We have some playdates set up with other tweens. But other than that... Nothing planned. Just relaxing and summering.

2) What's the Strangest Thing You Believed as a Child?  I think I am too old to answer. HA. Um, I do remember my grandmother and Aunts and stuff telling us that if we ate watermelon seeds, a watermelon would grow in our bellies. OR if we rolled our eyes or made faces too much our face would get stuck that way. Those kinds of things?

3) What is Your Favorite Amusement Park Ride?  I love the big old wooden rollercoasters. I love the It's a Small World and Peter Pan Rides. I mean just about anything Disney is magical. Sigh... Dumbo too!

4) What's On Your Summer Reading List?  I just read (finished today), A Fifty Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France. It's about Holocaust survivors and is written by their grand-daughter. Amazing.
5) Have You Ever Fallen Asleep in Public? No, not that I can remember.

6) What's Your Favorite Smell? I have a few favorites - bread baking; walking down the street in the Fall and smelling the crisp air, mixed with the smell of fire in folks' fireplaces; lavender, vanilla and Vicks vaporub...... my grandmother smelled of White Shoulders (and Vaseline brand lotion); my grandfather smoked cherry tobacco in his pipe. LOVE that smell. I love the smell of my husband and child... the smell of honeysuckle on the air... sigh...  Smells and music - reminders of great things (ok, and some not great ones too).

This is a short and sweet post. Looks like you have a couple days to play along. Let me know if you do, so I can read your blog and comment.

Blessings,

Em

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Small Success Thursday... Is Perception Reality?

Happy Thursday All!


It's that time of week to list the Small Successes. You see, we want to do so many big things we forget the bazillion little things we mamas/wives/friends do during the week. And so, I love Small Success Thursday over at Catholicmom.com because it reminds us, in a way, to stop and smell the roses... recognize the little things and rejoice in them!

At this point, we are in a cycle of travel with the hubs. He's gone during the week and home for the weekend. This week, he comes home tomorrow morning and leaves Sunday morning. (SIGH). So we are tackling projects while he is home... and leaving a day to rest.

We have tossed all the expired meds and sorted through bathroom cabinets. Everything, including lotion, expires (we are a pretty organic house, so maybe more than others organic stuff expires). We sold our trampoline (to be replaced with an above ground pool (which some may think is trashy but I do not care)) and helped disassemble for the folks who bought it. And much more...

But I'd like to share with you my big successes this week:

1) Tuesday night, after football camp, school and dinner with friends, it was late (9pm) and I sent the boy to the showers. He said, "mom, my stomach is cramping" (admittedly he'd said that earlier, but in my defense it is hot here and he's chubby and not "football ready", so I thought he just had a hard time at camp). I said, "you're going to camp tomorrow". He said, "mom I have diarrhea and I think I might barf". I said, "you're going to camp tomorrow!"  And that's when the fun started. I heard some noises and went upstairs. Why do I have white bathmats in the boy's bathroom? Anyway... I started dry-heaving and had to walk away. FOR REAL. Because that is the kind of mom I am. And then, I asked for prayer. I came up with a plan to scoop all the stuff out of the sink with old hand towels we use to clean (white), and just throw them all away. So I went in spraying Thieves mixed with Lemon Meyer spray to cover the smell (he was in the shower) and I wiped floors, walls, cabinets.... and tossed and cleaned and Lysol-ed too. But I never tossed my cookies. You just do not know the huge success that is.  And the next morning when I woke up to lines of cat puke everywhere, I simply laid towels on it (and went to buy carpet cleaner). Sigh.

You're welcome for that. It was a house of horrors.

2)  I went to WalMart by myself. My child was on the recliner, and I needed supplies (popsicles, crackers, gatorade, 7-up, broth).  I can not stand to go there alone because it's always an enormous freak show.... so many people, mostly rude. I can't take it. I decided I would buy all our groceries there as well so that we did not have to come back while Marque is home for the two days. AND he was super excited when I told him (Bonus) that he did not have to go grocery shopping with me this weekend because I'd done it. I stuck to my list. No one was bugging me for this or that (and I'm not just talking about the child). It was awesome.

3)  I went to a Stamping Function on Monday night. Yep. I love to craft (Em's Craft Closet). But I do not take the time for me. And I'm changing that. Usually I don't do much when Marque is gone, but he's always gone. So even if I had plans, I typically would back out. I'm sure people got frustrated... because it's irritating. Sigh. And so - I asked if I could bring my son. Good news for me, the hostess has a child that is about his age and it was awesome. I made eight cards and I chatted with adults. GO ME!  I am going to try to go to a couple functions/month. So excited.

I know these are not big in the scheme of things, but they are some of the small things I've done to make our lives easier and better.


When I asked "Is Perception Reality?" I meant for you to think about that. The perception may be that my house may not be as clean as others. The reality is, I clean my home daily (parts of it), but I am not concerned with perfection like I once was. The perception may be that I am not a great mom (you know because I wanted my child to not give up on football camp because it is hard and didn't listen to him when he said his stomach was cramping (in my defense he can be a hypochondriac if he is trying to get out of things)). The reality is - I push him because he is self-conscious and because he has Aspergers he demands perfection. Instead of being first on the track at football camp, I say, do your best... The first day, he was last, the second day, he came home and reported he was not last, but second to last and had improved. You see - I want him to believe in the talents God gave him. That is what people perceiving things can not see.  In short, I do not think perception is reality because perception often turns into judgment.... and that's not cool.

Anywhooooooo.....

I hope and pray you take time to recognize the small things you do that make such a big difference in your loved ones lives. If not, hop on over to where I am linked up at Small Success Thursday and check out the lady's successes.

Until Next Thursday... Keep making the little things count!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Unsolicited Advice - Summer Fun... Just Relax!

Happy Tuesday All!

This is a Public Service Announcement - PLEASE RELAX THIS SUMMER. ESPECIALLY MY HOMESCHOOL MAMA FRIENDS.

Sometimes our weekends are so packed, my husband says he needs Mondays off. He's not rested at all. There was a time when that was EVERY weekend. I know, sometimes it can not be helped. But - we need to take time to rest.

In the past week or so I've read so many blogs full of things that people are doing...my head is spinning. I actually feel sorry for some of the children. And while it is every family's choice to GO GO GO or not, I implore you - PLEASE SCHEDULE SOME DOWNTIME! I feel like you are going to start the next school year NOT rested. And that just stinks. Sure, it's none of my beeswax what you do in your home... but this is my blog... I get to speak my mind here. Neat, huh?

Some would say -- if I don't keep them busy, my children will argue.  I say, tell them to stop. Separate them.  Help them learn that downtime is important.  Admittedly I only have one child at home. But I remember my siblings and I reading and having quiet time and learning to get along.

Maybe as a homeschool mom, I need the summer to be relaxing. My husband is gone so much and it's just my child and I. A zillion repetitious questions a day. But I am so happy he understands that downtime is good.

OR Maybe it's because it's so hot here in Texas and I don't do extreme heat. I mean who wants to go outside in 95+ degree heat (usually 20 - 30 days of our summer are at/over 100)? Not me. I am not a fan of sunburn or heatstroke, thank you very much.

OR maybe it's because we don't have all the money in the world to go to Maine or Washington State or somewhere where the average Summer Temps are still in the 70's/low 80's... OR many places. Our entertainment budget is not great as we pay down debt. But we know it will be worth it when that some day comes.

I'm really not sure. And I promise - I PROMISE - I am not putting anyone down. I just feel like we all go go go... and I'm trying to talk you all into taking it easy. In fact, I challenge you to do it (lol).

Here is my basic plan for the Summer. 

  • Christopher has football camp June 8th - 25th, M-Th.
  • Free Bowling on Tuesdays with friends
  • Our pool will be in June 19th Weekend. So we will be in it mornings and evenings when time allows.
  • Various Pool Parties
  • Gaming Playdates with Friends
  • Parks/Playgrounds (preferably shaded with trees) in mornings/evenings
  • Memorizing Times Tables (him)
  • Reading Books as a family and individually
  • Playing Board Games
  • Visiting Museums and Indoor Venues
  • Activities with homeschool groups.
  • Beach - late September.
BUT if you are determined to go go go... Google things like, "best swimming holes in *insert your state/area*", "free activities in *insert your state/area*. The internet is such a great tool. Here are a few cool things I found.

Around the US:
Anyone:
Texas/Ft. Worth: 
Just promise me you will wear sunscreen, organic or otherwise. Getting sunburned or letting your children get sunburned is ridiculous.

Checklist:
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled Water
  • Snacks
  • Towels/blanket
My best advice though - learn to relax.  The summer is supposed to be fun.

That is all.

Go and enjoy yourselves.
Love, Hugs & Blessings,
Em

Monday, June 8, 2015

Moments

Em’s DayBook
Vol. 13

Happy Monday! It sure came early at our house. The car service picked Marque up at 5:15am. OUCH!

AND it was the first day of strength and agility training camp (six weeks long, 2 hours/day of running and weight lifting) for Christopher. It's the summer of getting fit people. I walked 3/4 of a mile with a friend and my goal is a whole mile tomorrow. I was so tired though, in my defense. My real goal is ultimately 4-5 miles a day before the end of the year.. Pray for me.

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For (Counting my blessings)…
  • My Faith. Without God, I’m nothing.
  • That the sun is out and people are drying up - though I have to admit, I miss the rain.
  • Family & Friends.
  • For my husband who works so hard and is a pretty darn unselfish man.
Thinking About…

Spiritual Warfare. People, it's time to suit up. Christian families are under attack. Yes, they have been for a long time. But let me tell you something that happened on FaceBook. So THIS Reporter, a homosexual, decides to take down the Duggars. THIS Attorney requested the FOIA info AND, according to some sources allegedly (I believe it is true) spoke with a prisoner under false pretenses (just happened to be the person the Duggars took their son to confess his actions to).  Oh and by the way, he was removed from the Student Senate in Main for misappropriation of funds. Which I am sure was just a stupid, immature mistake...

People - pay attention. These people PURPOSED to come after the Duggars because they believe differently than the LGBT community does. They live their Christian values. They stand up for Christian families... and that has made them a target. We are all under attack. This situation has really made that CLICK with me.

Anyway - I have heard so many people, including folks who say they are Christian, say the worst things about the Duggars. All this "supposing" and hateful vitriol is OLD.  One person said they should spend less time matching outfits and more time taking care of there kiddos, then things like this wouldn't happen. REALLY? So we are now looking to denigrate families who MATCH? Give me a break.

OK, I'm losing my train of thought but read this blog post. The Duggar Scandal is an Attack on Hope.  I think it is also an attack on forgiveness, Christian Values, Large Families and the ability to parent as we see fit. I wrote this in response to the above post, in a discussion on my FB wall.
Two things I fear, and one thought... 1st Fear - I fear that good people who's children take normal curiosity too far, will be afraid to seek help outside their homes for fear of the current climate. 2nd Fear - I fear that large families will come under scrutiny because you can't possibly watch more than ___ kids at a time. And it's not true. Crap happens in a single-child household. A side note, we live in a society that when I went to the hospital with a huge bruised and swollen foot and I said a frozen chicken fell on it, the first time my husband left the room they asked if I felt safe at home. WHAT?! Ok - a third fear is that if we don't agree with homosexuality and follow an LGBT trend we will be publicly scored (look for 19 questions by the homosexual reporter who took down the Duggars). And my thought - the process of forgiveness looks like this... 1) person does wrong, 2) they ask for forgiveness, 3) we give forgiveness, 4) they build back our trust, and 5) we put it behind us and no longer hold it against them. Right? And that is what happened here. Sigh.

Two more things 1) You know, if you have read my blog for a while, that I had an abortion at age 19. You also know I am staunchly Pro-Life. I am not a hypocrite. I have learned how wrong that is... I am forgiven (thank you GOD) and I paid for my sins.  and 2) No one has the right to tell a victim's story, except the victim.

Please prepare yourselves for Spiritual Warfare. It's real. HERE is a Spiritual Warfare Prayer!

In Our Home…

90 Day - No Spend.  What's that you say? Well, it's really about sticking to a budget. And we do have one. LOL Nothing that isn't on the budget can be spent. So in your budget - there should be an entertainment line, or you may be out of luck. I don't know that we will ever "get ahead" and that is just going to have to be ok.

Travel Season. It's travel season for the Hubs (it ebbs and flows, one never knows when the chaos of travel will ensue). Last week San Diego, this week Savannah, next week Boulder. He's home two days and leaves again - literally. We think starting Father's Day weekend, he will be home a few weeks. YAY.

We will be replacing the rest of our fence that weekend. AND putting up our pool. Very excited about that.

My Health. I went back to the doc's about panic attacks/stress and he put me on a med called Cymbalta. It was so much fun to be nauseated like I was with morning sickness, that I realized I'd rather have a panic attack. HA  For real, I am working on alternatives (no not recreational drugs, stop it).
  • I am doing more creating and taking time for me.
  • I am on the treadmill and working out daily (stress relief).
  • I am learning about anti-inflammatory foods.
  • I use essential oils and they help.
Do no worry, I'm not taking my health lightly. For me it's about praying more and stressing less. I can't take meds - they make me whackadoodle. And I don't need help with that.

Family Movie Night.  We watched McFarland USA. So good. It's a family movie. It's about never giving up AND learning to love our neighbors. I highly recommend it.

School. We may never be done with 5th grade. HA. Seriously - we will. We are enjoying our summer and doing school... and I'm trying not to be crazy about it.

In Our Kitchen…

Nothing to report. lol Marque is gone and I'm on a break!

Praying For…
  • Our Nation & World
  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.
  • Finances.
  • Our Pope and Clergy.
  • For more JOY in the little things…
  • The softening of people’s hearts!
  • Less “me” mentality.
Captured…

I got my hair cut off. Look how white it is.

Today, I am linking up with Mom2Mom Link Up! Come check out the other bloggers.

Love, Hugs & many blessings,

Em