Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Em's DayBook... Gratitude

Pretend it's Monday.
Yes Yes, I know it is Wednesday. I started writing this late Sunday and kept getting interrupted. I picked it back up yesterday, but we got a call about Dad and the fact he has 24-48 hours. It's like waiting for all the oxygen to be sucked out of the air.
And so - My brain was a little fried. I know it is coming, but he's my Daddy!  I am so happy he won't be hurting anymore. But I will miss him.
So anyway... I didn't want to let too many days go by without a post.


Happy Feast Day Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Happy Monday - Labor Day in the U.S.A.

I hope wherever you are, you are having a great day!

My word of the day is GRATITUDE! Gratitude is the state of being grateful/thankful.  So when I talk about my life, I will purpose to bring gratefulness into the mix.

Health Issues. Periodically I have chest pains. I have had PTSD since my childhood and I take Xanax here and there on days when I just can't calm myself with prayer/deep breathing, etc. So when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I had to be around my siblings, it was stressful for me and I started having chest pains more often. Long story short, my husband insisted I see his cardiologist. My stress test results - WAY above average. Everything else was fine. EXCEPT that when they did the Coronary Calcium Scan, it showed a very small calcium deposit in my main heart artery.  Somewhere along the line, my heart was stressed and tried to heal itself and deposited this calcium. Stroke and heart disease are hereditary. And my family, on both sides, has both.  The fact that I am losing weight (slow that it may be) and have changed my diet is helpful, but I will likely have to take preventative meds. I can get super skinny and super healthy and that won't stop my genes from doing their thing. But catching it early - and it is very slight.  He said we should get Christopher checked as well. How grateful am I that I found out now. I will see him every six months.  God lead me there so I could find out... #soblessed.

Sleepovers. My son had a sleepover last night. Two boys around the age of 13. Sarcasm and puberty abound, HA! In all seriousness, we are so grateful that our son has good friends in his life. Marque and I watched a movie together and they did their thing. I'll share with you what I served for breakfast:

Our Beautiful Cathedral. If you ever want to, you can tour St. Patrick Cathedral. Just check out the website and arrange it. So beautiful.  Christopher is an altar server, so we sit away from him so I won't be tempted to make corrections. Yes - I admit it. Anyway... this is what I view in Mass. Sigh... talk about Gratitude. Mary above Jesus, and Joseph to the side. There are other Saints too. I just love our Parish.

Can you imagine how grateful I am when I look up? When I am praying? Sigh. So gorgeous and faith filled. It's a holy place.

If I am counting my blessings and gratitude, I must say I am grateful that:

  • My dad will not be suffering much longer - AMEN!
  • My husband is strong and always has my back!
  • I have an opportunity to volunteer and make a difference when my child is at co-op.
  • I have so many great people around me.

Thank you so much for your prayers. If you want to share your prayer intentions with me, I'm happy to do it.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mother Teresa - My Friend, My Mentor, A Saint

Happy Canonization Day Sweet Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
I'm so happy for you and proud of you, you dear, sweet lady!

Your love and sweetness live on all over the world - thank you for being salt & light! Sigh!

Of all the pictures I've ever seen of her, these are my favorites:

I love these pictures because you can see the love. It's a great reminder to BE THE ONE! BE THE LOVE! BE THE HOPE! BE THE SMILE! BE THE LIGHT! 

For the past week or so, everywhere we look, as Catholics people are giving the History of and listing the Quotes of Mother Teresa... which I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading. Bloggers and artists and stores, they want us to buy the things they have depicting this great Saint... and we do... and I did!  And to tell you the truth, I had a similar post written, but I don't want MY post to be like everyone else's, so I want you to hear my heart on this one.

I first saw Mother Teresa, she was with Saint (then Pope) John Paul II.  I had heard of her here and there... but I was young and she was on the other side of the world, and I was still pretty non-committed to living my life FULLY the right way. Sigh. The next time I remembered seeing her was with Princess Diana. I knew a little about her, other than articles I read here and there.  Everyone was fascinated with her. She brought the plight of the poor in Calcutta to the forefront, in my opinion. And she was always smiling.

It wasn't until I dug deeper that I learned about how scared and lost she was just like me. Not because of the same situations, but still - we have that in common. You see, God is not always OBVIOUS in our hearts and minds.  And she didn't even know for sure He was with her. She couldn't feel HIS presence... "not even in the Eucharist".  She had a huge crisis of Faith and she kept on serving and giving because THAT is what she knew how to do.  None of us ever knew it. When I read this about her, I was so deeply and personally touched by that.

Can you imagine how scared she was? How lost she felt? And she persevered. We could all see God in her. We could all see Him all around her. No doubt He was there all along, but she could not feel Him. Scary! God blessed her heart though. He showed her. And I'm so happy for her.

I will share with you that I have been there. I have had crisis of faith moments, days, weeks, months... I know God is here. But I can't feel him. I push away because I feel so very unworthy.  My life has been full of strife, abuse, etc... and there have been many times it sure was hard to even feel like there was a God. I used to say to myself, "how can you possibly really be a Christian if you doubt so much?" "Maybe you really are NOT a good enough Catholic for God to embrace  you!"  "After all, I thought I was Catholic, and practiced for decades, and I wasn't." "Was God angry with me that He let so many bad things happen to me?" And my sweet friend and Mentor came into my life when I needed her most.

Mother Teresa was instrumental in helping me TRULY forgive myself for having an abortion. I thought I had forgiven myself with the help of Father Henry, but it wasn't until I read her speech on abortion that she gave in DC, where I realized no matter what I did, God still loved me. He made me... He loves me. HERE is a blog post I did where I include that speech (It's long, look for the blue lettering).

Look at her face, how loving she is in the pictures. When I think of her, I picture her rough hands around mine, her wrinkly sweet face with the loving eyes, saying, "come with me child, walk in my steps. Don't give up on yourself, God won't. I won't. It's ok!"

If I was going to write her a letter, it would look like this:
Dear Blessed Mother Teresa,
You were a living Saint and now your day has come that you will forevermore be Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We all knew you were going to be a Saint.  I'm so sorry that you lived your life scared and in a dark place. But I'm so thankful that you share this part of your life so that people like me, who have dark periods, can be assured that God is with us.
Thank you for your example. Thank you for your love of God.  Please continue to watch over me. Pray for me and all our brothers and sisters. Congratulations!
Love you dearly, Emily
I am still a work-in-progress. I need more humility, less ego. I need more patience (ACTUAL patience, not trials to learn it).... I need to keep busy in better ways and get things done. I need to believe God when He says he loves me and put the past behind me... boy, I have so much work to do. Sigh. But through Saints like her, I know I am not alone. They worked, they struggled, they went through everything I did and more... and they are SAINTS! It gives me so much HOPE!  She's my friend, She's my Mentor, She's a SAINT! Glory be to God!

I'm so excited for today. I already have these things at home. It's a Saint Teresa of Calcutta Back Pack Zipper Pull and Card. SaongJai is one of my favorite shops on Etsy. Anyway... The card is in my son's room and the pull is on my Bible Cover.  YAY

Additionally, I wanted to tell ya'll about an Instagram giveaway that Adrianna at @Mylittlefeltfriends is having with a group of Catholic Crafters.  The items are pictured below. Go visit her on FaceBook to learn how to enter at My Little Felt Friends!

Thank you for reading my post. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, PRAY FOR US! May we live our lives in love and mercy like you did, even in the dark times.

Hugs & Blessings, Dear Ones!

Davis Academy - Weekly Wrap Up Planning and Organizing

Happy Saturday.

Happy Day before Mother Teresa's, forever to be known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Canonization. Ya'll know I love her and how much she has influenced me over the years. I'm so excited. I wish I was going to be there.  Blessed Saint Teresa of Calcutta - Pray for us!

Today is a quiet day here in North Texas. The weather is not too harsh. We are all under one roof... and besides a haircut and a few errands, we have no big plans this entire weekend.  YIP to the EEE!

Before I start my post, I want to say, don't forget to check out Small Success Thursday @ I love those posts. I missed it this week (dangit), but I love reading them all.

This week and next week are all about organizing. So my weekly wrap up is dedicated to that.

Our activities this year are Co-Op, Baseball (Practice is M, T, W from 6p - 8p). Dinner is at 4:30 - 4:45. And when it gets dark earlier, I guess we will be eating after practice because we will start earlier. Sigh. Three days in a row is HARD on any family.  In a couple of weeks we will add Seton Homeschool (yes, I know we were going to start, but we are going on Vacation, so we will start when we get home.

I am going to jump right into Planning and Organizing (P&O). Because we have co-op this year, it makes an extra layer of P&O.  So Tuesday is crockpot cooking day.

YOU NEED A GOOD PLANNER. Whether you plan everything using Apps or you are a paper planner like me who also puts major events on the electronic calendar so the hubs will know, you need to pick something and stick to it.

Best Mom Planners. Note, some of these companies have homeschool planner options as well. My personal favorite is Erin Condren. I tried to go with a Catholic Planner, but in the end, I really needed the organization of EC and I will add Catholic Feast Days to it. That works best for me. Here are a few pics of my planner. Yes, I know - I need to get those Catholic Feast Days entered. <3

My Planner this week. 
Everything I need for my Planner in one place.
Washi Tape in a Pencil Case
 A few great Catholic Planners:

All over Pinterest and everywhere else, there are companies that offer free Meal Planner, Teacher Planners, etc. You just have to print them out. There are entire planner binders for home. Google Best Homeschool Planners. Dear Lord, there are so many, I daren't say which one you should use. I don't use a separate planner, because I don't need a teacher planner (the school sends the lesson plans), and our homeschool is our daily life, so it's just in my planner. However, all of our brains work differently - so go for it, if you need ten planners. You know?! Bottom line - find whatever works for you. You got this.

YOU NEED A FAMILY HUB.  My planner and the side of the fridge are the family hub in our home. Here is a link for great ideas on creating a family hub - 38 Inspiring Ideas for Family Command Centers.  The premise for a Hub or Command Center is one place to go for all the info. We are blessed with a classroom in our home, so everything we need for homeschool and co-op is there. In our classroom is my computer - which is where the electronic version of our calendar sits. The side of the fridge has grocery list, chore and daily schedule and meal plan information. Very near is my planner - which is the MASTER calendar. Do what works for you. I can not imagine not having a place where everyone knows to go for info. You can also do it electronically. This dog is not learning that new trick. I leave that for you young whipper-snappers. HA!

PLANNING FOR CO-OP. For us, the co-op makes it easy because the teachers all give the assignments a week or so in advance. There are daily assignments. Some are uploaded, some are brought to class. There is a website where students can ask questions, check on updates, etc. It's awesome.  The day before, Christopher packs his backpack, picks out clothing, and we talk about what he wants for lunch.  Since I volunteer, I also organize myself for the next day.

MEAL PLANNING. I have been meal planning for years. I do my meal plan for a month in advance. Noting when Marque is out of town. We have a system that works for us. During the week it's simple meals or leftovers, often using meat I've previously cooked that is frozen. Anything that can make it quick and simple, but tasty - I'm in. Now with some health issues and eating healthier, it's more chicken and fish, and veggie stir fry-type meals. But it's still easy to keep it simple IF you have a plan.  Oh - and I adapt my plan..... and change at will. You know - things happen. Adjust and move on.
  • Breakfast
    • Cereal
    • Healthy muffin & yogurt
    • Eggs & veggies (sometimes a piece of toast)
    • Smoothie (yogurt/fruit/veggies/protein powder)
    • Protein Bar (Oatmega or Quest)
  • Lunch
    • Sandwich
    • Leftovers
    • Cheese, fruit & grainy crackers
    • Who knows... Seriously - whatever healthy combo he wants on Tuesdays. It's the only day we pack a proper lunch.
    • Lean Cuisine or WW Meal
  • Dinner (whatever is on the menu). Examples below...
    • Beans & rice
    • Chicken or fish with veggie side
    • Spaghetti & meatballs
    • Crock-pot whatever
    • Grilled Chicken over Salad (or fish over salad)
    • Lean Cuisine (or WW Meal) with Salad.
    • Leftovers

CLEANING SCHEDULE.  A few years ago, I created a cleaning schedule that we mostly follow. I say MOSTLY because, lets face it, things don't always get done. This is on my fridge. There is also a breakout of Christopher's daily schedule of chores.

SETON PLANNING.  The big debate here was whether we will add Seton in starting next week or wait till we get back from vacation. I mean - it kinda makes no sense to start in full... but then again, we will be gone... so - what's the point. Anywhoooo... So I think we will start a few classes - like Math (our favorite, or didn't you know - BLAH).  Since we finished late, we really needed a break. Yep - that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

MISC. Recently, I found this blogger. I like her organization logic. She did a great post for back to school. I thought I'd share it... Best Tips for Back to School - this has great tips for lunches, snacks, and a free printable template HERE that I love for littles thru elementary ages. I would print one per kiddo and laminate it, so they can each have their own. Once they get into 6th - this should not have to be done (I think... maybe 5th for some).  You can find TONS of great things on Pinterest and throughout the blogosphere.

I promise I will have pics of his co-op work and other things next week in my weekly wrap up.

I hope and pray your school year is going well - however you school. And I'd love to see your organizing tips.

I am linking up with Kris and the gang at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for the Weekly Wrap Up. This time, for me is all about organization. <3

Hugs & Blessings,