Friday, November 30, 2007

Poetry Friday

In looking for a poem today, I stumbled upon this one by Robert Frost, and for some reason it seemed like a good one to share today.

by Robert Frost

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:

For the rest of the poem go here.
The Poetry Friday Round up is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Christmas Novena for the Feast of St. Andrew

I came upon this wonderful novena over at Cottage Blessings and at Epiphany Springs and apparently it is popping up in other places as well.

The prayer is:
Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.

The faithful are encouraged to repeat this prayer 15 times daily between November 30 and Christmas.

I'll be posting this prayer in my sidebar (based on Alice's idea) as a reminder to say this prayer.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Last Minute Shopping Starts Now

How did this happen? Why does it feel like I'm running out of time to make preparations for Christmas - and it isn't even December yet?

Advent starts this weekend. Advent. The four week (or in this case, three and a little bit) period of preparation for Christmas. Why isn't four weeks enough? Why do we start getting ready in October?

If you have to buy someone a birthday present - do you make sure you get it taken care of a month in advance? Not usually.

I was worrying today that I hadn't done anything about my Christmas cards yet. It's not even December yet!

But a quick look at my calendar gives me some idea why the pressure is on: Christmas parade this Sunday, Pippi Christmas caroling with the JCDA on the 14th, the family going to see the musical Annie on the 14th. Christmas tree probably going up on the 15th. Chorus concert at school on the 18th. My help needed at the PTO's Holiday Craft sale on the 19th and 20th, Pippi needing to play clarinet for a holiday concert during her lunch hour on some undetermined Thursday in the future. Christmas caroling here, Dec 21. Going to the Nutcracker, Dec 22. And then we are into Christmas vacation - and Christmas. Looked at that way - it doesn't seem so far away. Yikes.

Though I actually did see an ad one year, shortly after Thanksgiving, that stated in bold letters "Not too late for last minute shopping." I should hope not!

Here we make sure to celebrate Advent. I've got the candles ready for the wreath, and we have several varieties of advent calendars - and of course our Jesse Tree. I don't think we ever made it through all of Advent with the Jesse tree - we have trouble keeping up with it. Maybe this will be the year we succeed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Cheerful Child

Pippi seems to be in a very exuberant mood this evening. By this I mean she is jumping around and singing operatically. She's supposed to be getting ready for bed. Her singing is disturbing to Harry, who is in his room reading before going to sleep.

And honestly, it was starting to get on my nerves. And then I realized how blessed I was that she was cheerful. As we hurtle toward adolescence her moods can swing in either direction. I'm glad that she's happy today.

Now, if she would just quiet down and get ready for bed.

(note: by the time I finished writing this she had stopped singing - and is even washing up right now - bed may happen in the not so distant future.)

Maybe it's Me...

Or does this happen to other people too?

I was looking for leaf bags today. The tall brown paper kind. I know we can get them free from the town - but the appointed pick-up times for our area weren't publicized until they had passed - and I was down to our last bag from last year. But it was time to get the leaves up. I had vague hopes that all the leaves would fit in one bag - but that didn't pan out.

So, I was looking for leaf bags. I went to Lowes first because that seemed like the kind of thing they would have. I looked around and when I didn't see any, I asked. I was told they were out - but would get more in on Friday. "But", the young man said, "you should try Wegmans."

Now, Wegmans is a grocery store, and I hadn't thought to look there - but since that was the next stop on my errand run, I figured I'd try. Having no idea where to look in Wegmans for something like that I stopped first at the customer service desk.

The man there thought they carried those bags - but he'd check. So he called someone who supposedly knew his stuff and was told that no - they do not carry them after all.

No big deal. I got my other stuff - and decided to check the garbage bag aisle.

And there they were. Tall, brown, paper leaf bags.

The thing is - this happened to me once before. I was looking for something in a bath and linen store and having no luck. Finally, I asked someone if they carried the item I was looking for (a waterproof window curtain for inside a shower - which is where our window is). I was told that they did not have anything like that.

Before leaving though, I just checked one more place - and found exactly the thing I was looking for.

I've always figured it made more sense to ask someone if an item was carried by a store, than to wander aimlessly around acres of all sorts of products. But, now I'm beginning to wonder.

Maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

So now, O children, listen to me, go not astray from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, approach not the door of her house, Lest you give your honor to others, and your years to a merciless one; Lest strangers have their fill of your wealth, your hard-won earnings go to an alien's house; And you groan in the end, when your flesh and your body are consumed; And you say, "Oh, why did I hate instruction, and my heart spurn reproof! Why did I not listen to the voice of my teachers, nor to my instructors incline my ear! I have all but come to utter ruin, condemned by the public assembly!" (Proverbs 5:7-14)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Collage

A picture is worth a thousand words, and I think this collage of pictures pretty well sums up our Thanksgiving.
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Cookie Baking - 2007

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Cookie Baking

Today was cookie baking day. For many years now friends and I have gotten together to make cookies with the kids. We've gotten it down to a science. This is a montage I made after last years event.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I have to end my Thirty Days of Thanksgiving posts a day early, because I will be away enjoying the holiday for the next few days. I've learned though that there is a lot to be thankful for in life - even on days when the washing machine over flows or the weather is really nasty. So, have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone - and remember to count your blessings - I'm sure there are plenty.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

The lips of an adulteress drip with honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, to the nether world her steps attain; Lest you see before you the road to life, her paths will ramble, you know not where. (Proverbs 5:3-6)

Thankful for Traditions

A little more than twenty years ago, my grandfather announced to his gathered clan on Thanksgiving Day, that he wanted to start a new tradition. He thought that it would be nice if we sang a song for our grace before eating dinner.

He had a song all picked out and he had even made copies of the words for everyone, and had put them at all the places.

The words were:
Fill my house unto the fullest
Eat my bread and drink my wine
The love I bear I hold from no one
All I have and all I do, I give to you.

He sang the song himself so that we could all become familiar with the tune and then he led his children and grandchildren in singing the grace. Some of us were probably a little less graceful about it than others - public singing, even among family, can be a bit embarrassing. But it was Grandpa - and we were fairly used to him leading us in song at various events. So we sang.

The following year, Grandpa announced that we were starting a tradition and he led us in the song again.

The year after that the announcement was "We have a tradition in the family".

And thus a tradition was solidly embedded in our family.

I asked Grandpa to sing that song for the grace at my wedding. It was beautiful.

A few years ago my grandfather passed away. When Thanksgiving rolled around, we knew we had to sing his song. I don't think anyone managed to sing it without tears, but we sang it. And we sing it at every gathering of the clan.

We'll be singing it again on Thanksgiving. My son never knew his great-grandfather. But he knows the tradition of singing Fill My House before Thanksgiving dinner.

My grandfather got his wish - a tradition that would live on in the family, even after he was gone.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thankful that Thanksgiving is almost here

Because it's one of my favorite holidays. So many other holidays get bogged down in the commercial aspects. And there always seems to be some long to-do list associated with other holidays. Now, I will admit, going out of town for Thanksgiving does mean I don't have to worry about preparing a meal - or having guests - but going away for several days does require a certain amount of organization on my end. But for some reason it's not stressful.

And then we spend a couple of days with cousins we see once or twice a year. There is fun and fellowship and of course good food. Our holiday is of the multi-part variety. There are the snacks, the meal, and the sandwiches later. And the next day we have a second gathering (even bigger than Thanksgiving) with casual food and more fun and fellowship - including singing Christmas songs around the player piano while a fire roars in the fireplace (very Currier and Ives or Norman Rockwell).

You know, it's very interesting. Last year, when I taught fourth grade religious education, my students had 'get to know you' forms to fill out. One of the questions was "What's your favorite holiday." Of the six children in my class, four said that Thanksgiving was their favorite. The reason: getting together with family. Kids may clamor for the latest gadget - but what they really like is what we all like: gathering together as family and friends.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thankful for a Cozy House...

.... on a cold rainy day.

It's horribly nasty outside today. And other than church, and Harry's postponed guitar lesson (which is usually on Saturday), I stayed inside. Inside it was cozy and warm and I was grateful for that.

I am blessed to have a cozy and warm place to snuggle into when the weather is nasty.

Does This Make me a Good Mother... or a Bad One?

My kids had never had Twinkies. Until yesterday, that is.

I had never set out to purposefully deny them Twinkies - but I also don't go out of my way to buy sugary junk food (they also don't get sugar coated cereal.)

The PTO at the kids school is doing a Care Package drive for our soldiers. They hope to get enough goodies to make several care packages to ship to the Middle East. A letter came home with some suggested items. I let each of the children pick three items on the list that we would get and donate.

Harry and I had our shopping expedition yesterday. One of the things he wanted to get was Twinkies. Okay - we'd get the soldiers Twinkies. As we were walking through the store he told me he'd never had Twinkies, but he'd seen them advertised in the many old comic books we had.

Never had Twinkies? Could that be? So, we bought two boxes of Twinkies. One for the soldiers and one for us. And when Pippi saw them she assured me that she had never had Twinkies either.

So, my children reached the ages of seven and ten without ever before experiencing that golden sponge cake filled with creamy goodness. Well, we've rectified that now. We had Twinkies for dessert.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Motivations and other Posters

Akelda the Gleeful at Saints and Spinners pointed me toward this great motivational poster generator. And I've had fun with it all afternoon.

Here are a few of the posters I created.

Thankful for Teachable Moments

Today, as part of the Junior Catholic Daughters of America, my daughter helped pack boxes with food for our parish to give away to needy families.

Later, as we wandered through Wegman's picking up a few things like milk and eggs and she told me that she was glad she had helped out today, and that it made her realize how lucky we were. We may not be the richest people she knows - in fact we most certainly are not - but she knows that we are lucky, because we don't have to rely on other people to provide us with our food. And we are very lucky. And even luckier because we can help other people too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thankful for Warm Clothes

It got cold around here. Yesterday morning it was close to 60 degrees. Today it didn't get out of the low 40s. And yes, we still walked to school (when it dips below freezing we drive, we're intrepid, but not that intrepid).

As I was walking to pick the kids up I was thinking about the fact that I need a new winter coat. Mine is several years older than our oldest child. Time for a change. (But, I like the coat - hence the reason I still have it after all these years). And as I was thinking that I wanted a new coat, I thought how wonderful it was that I had a coat at all (and the means to get a new one, when I find one I like). How many people are there who don't have the proper clothes to keep them warm when the weather gets cold? Too many, I'm sure.

So, I'm blessed, because although my coat may be faded - it does keep me warm - and after all, that is its purpose.

Poetry Friday - Thanksgiving

Yes, I know Thanksgiving is still a week away. But I will be away for the holiday so it seems like a good idea to post a Thanksgiving poem now.

Every year we go away for Thanksgiving. It started when I was young and we went to my mother's parents for the holiday. Going there required a seven-hour car trip. A trip that took us over several rivers and through woods, to Grandmother's house.

We still take that same trip with our children - but now dinner is at my uncle's house. Our Thanksgiving becomes a two-day feast (much like the original!) with lots of relatives, fun and love.

So, in honor of our annual trek - I present:

Over the River and Through the Woods
by Lydia Marie Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood.
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting a ling ding!”
Hurray for Thanskgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood—
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow—
it is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood—
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his paw with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood—
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring pie for everyone.”

Over the river, and through the wood—
ow Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Minus the horses and stuff (luckily we get to make the trip in a station wagon) this is pretty much what our holiday is like.

Kelly has the Poetry Friday round-up today over at Big A little a.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thankful for a Husband who is handy

Because he fixed the washing machine. Yay! Now it should only pour water into the machine when it is supposed to. And when it's on. Machines that continue to work when their power source has been disrupted bother me. It's kind of like some science fiction film where machines take over the world. But I don't have to worry about that, because my wonderful husband figured out what was wrong (the internet helped with that) ordered the part (the internet helped with that too) and put it all together. Maybe I should be thankful for the internet too - I think I'll save that for another post.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thankful for Opportunities to Share our Faith..

... with others. Like at the Baptism Class my husband and I taught tonight at our parish. We've been doing this for a few years now. We are one of a half-dozen couples who take turns teaching the monthly class throughout the year. The class went very well tonight, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk to people about raising children who love God. It's not the kind of thing I find myself comfortably discussing on the playground at school, and it's nice to be able to share freely what God's love means to our family.

A New Gig

If you've read the "about me" section on the sidebar you know I used to be an editor. And once an editor, always an editor.

I now have something new to edit. Kelly Herold has asked me to be the Features Editor for The Edge of the Forest, an online magazine about children's literature. And I've accepted. I'm looking forward to this new and exciting opportunity.

If you aren't already familiar with The Edge of the Forest, please go check it out. It's a wonderful resource for all levels of children's literature, written by some of the best minds in the kidslitosphere.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thankful for Friends ...

... to sit with at mandatory meetings. Like the one I had to go to tonight about Harry's "First Penance" coming up this January. Having friends to sit with and roll eyes with when things get a little ridiculous, just makes it so much more fun.

Tuesday's Proverb

My son, to my wisdom be attentive, to my knowledge incline your ear, That discretion may watch over you, and understanding may guard you. (Proverbs 5:1-2)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thankful that my Parents are Back

My parents are back from their ten-day trip to California. I'm glad they got there and back safely, and that they had an enjoyable time away. I missed them though. I talk to my mother on the phone a lot and visit when I can. I went to visit her today and had a lovely time.

I'm also thankful that she let me use her washing machine - since ours is waiting parts.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thankful that school starts again tomorrow

Is that horrible of me - that I'm glad that fall break is over and the kids will be back in school for a few hours every day? We had a good break. I enjoyed it as much as they did - but they were at each other's throats a lot today - and when they weren't they were practically bouncing off the walls - but yet insisting it was too cold to go outside (I should have bundled them up and shoved them outside anyway.)

So tomorrow it's back to school - back to routine.

(Pippi was just reading over my shoulder, screamed nooooo and ran upstairs - maybe not everyone is happy the break is over.)

Rememberance Day

Twenty years ago, I was spending a semester in London and my friends and I decided to take a weekend jaunt to Scotland. Edinburgh, to be precise.

We took an overnight bus and found a bed and breakfast (with plaid ceilings - I kid you not.) And then we toured the city and shopped.

It was foggy and misty the whole time we were there, which gave a sort of surreal feeling to the whole experience. We toured Edinburgh Castle and were told there was a wonderful view. I don't know. All we saw was a wall of fog.

As we walked around the city, trying to find something specific, but I don't recall what, we decided to take a short cut (yes I was touring with the same person I was touring London with, so be afraid) through a cemetery. It was an old walled cemetery with lots of huge monuments. Very impressive looking, and actually a bit creepy as the sun started to go down, as it is wont to do early in Scotland, in November (and it was already foggy and misty).

And as we wandered through the cemetery, looking for the other exit that would provide our shortcut, and it was getting darker and creepier, and we started thinking about all the unsavory types of people who might like to hang out in old cemetery's after dark, we slowly came to the conclusion that there was no other exit to this cemetery, so with our hearts beating faster we made our way back to where we had started. No harm done, just a bit freaked by the whole experience. Trust me, old walled cemeteries at dusk on foggy nights are creepy.

The other thing I remember about that trip was that it was Remembrance Day weekend (Veteran's day here in America). On Sunday there were a lot of ceremonies and parades. We didn't actually see any of them, but we kept hearing bagpipes. Around the corner, through the mist, there were always bagpipes playing. But we never did see them.

The cemetery was creepy, but the bagpipe music constantly floating on the mist was eerie in it's own way. I loved Edinburgh though and wished we had more than the weekend there.

Two Girls in White

There is a lovely story behind this picture of two girls in white. The older girl is my grandmother, Ruth, the younger one, her sister, my Aunt Florence. The picture was used at my grandmother's funeral almost six years ago. Aunt Florence wrote the following after she saw the photo there.

Today would have been Aunt Florence's 97th birthday. Her birthday is easy to remember - because the Armistice happened on her birthday (note I don't say she was born on Veteran's day - she came first!).

I looked up my picture of the two girls in white and found that I had two pictures – one like the one you saw. There were three people in the other one. The third person was my cousin Nelson. Now I know all the circumstances of the existence of that picture.

It was taken in 1918, probably in the month of August. 1918 was an important year. On May 1 of that year our sister, Stella Rose, was born. That was a memorable day – not so much because she was born, but that morning, the 1st Friday in May, three children, ages 11, 9 and 7, went to church and then by THEMSELVES went to a restaurant for breakfast!

When vacation time came, Ruth and I went with our grandmother, Genevieve Forderkonz, to Port Gibson. I have many memories of that trip and visit.

At the close of our vacation there, Ruth and I were put on the trolley to go to Syracuse to visit our relatives there, the Howard grandparents: Alfred, Jr., and his wife Anne Wheeler Fogg; their son, our Uncle Charles; and Nelson the orphan son of my Father’s sister, Stella Howard Clark. She had died from infection following the birth of her second child, Carroll. Her husband disappeared after her death, abandoning the two children. Nelson stayed with the Howard grandparents, Carroll spent some time with them, but more, when young, with the father’s people.

I never saw Nelson except in Syracuse. He did not visit us in Ohio. So when Uncle Charles, who made his living by photography, picked us up in his Franklin car at the trolley station, saw what beautiful nieces he had, he took their picture.

In 1918 we moved to another house. That was the year of the flu epidemic. Ruth was in bed with it when the Kaiser, recognizing that Florence Howard deserved a good birthday present, signed the armistice on her 8th birthday, November 11, 1918.

Love to all!
Aunt Florence

Just as an aside, Ruth and Florence are the two little girls in the picture in my header.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thankful for those who fought in wars for us

With Veterans Day coming up, it just made me think how thankful I am for people who are willing to make the sacrifices to keep our country and other countries safe. I wish there didn't have to be wars. But there have always been wars - and sadly probably always will be.

So - Thanks to the veterans. And a prayer for an end to all wars.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thankful for the Sump Pump

The one my in-laws loaned us in the Spring when our basement was flooding. We haven't returned it yet. In fact it's still set up. Which proved to be a blessing when the washer decided that there was no reason at all to stop adding water. Not even when the washer was completely full. So the water came on to the floor, and flooded the catch basin - where the sump pump promptly sent the water into the slop sink.

The washer continued adding water when turned off. And when unplugged. This is when I decided things were just too freaky and called my husband. The shut-off valves for the washer wouldn't turn. So he directed me to the main shut off. Which thankfully, did stop water from pouring into the washer - and subsequently onto the floor. Once the water stopped flowing I was able to turn off the washer valves and turn the main valve back on.

I'm also thankful that I didn't start the washer and leave the house (as I am wont to do) since I was going to visit my sister-in-law and was gone for several hours. Yikes - I don't even want to think about that!

We didn't buy a new dryer this summer because my husband was able to fix the old one. I'm not sure what's going to happen now. I have a feeling we're going to be going washer shopping.

In the meantime, I'm very grateful that old sump pump did its job. Because a broken washer is bad enough - a badly flooded basement would have been too much.

Poetry Friday - The Great Writer

This one is for all the writers out there. The quality of the video isn't that great, but it's the only clip I could find.

Snoopy in The Great Writer/It Was A Dark and Stormy Night

Selected Lyrics from The Great Writer

Maybe they're trying to tell me something
Maybe they're trying to tell me
The short story form is unworthy of my talent
Maybe they're trying to tell me
I should attempt, the novel!

Why not?
I have the time
I got the talent
I got the typewriter
I got the plot!

i - t, it
Sometimes we writers take hours
Finding exactly the right word
It, it, it, it
It was a dark and stormy morning
Packed, flat, trite
It was a dark and stormy evening
It was a dark and stormy night
Night, right!

When suddenly a shot was heard
A shot was fired
When suddenly a shot rang out
Rang out

The door slammed
The maid screamed
That's building suspense
When suddenly a pirate ship
Appears on the horizon
Past tense

While millions of people are starving
While millions of people are starving
While millions of people are starving


The King lived in luxury
Now to thicken the plot

Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas
A boy was growing up
Masterful ol' pup
Brillantly done
You son of a gun
Writing is fun
End of part one

I'll tie all this together later in part two
What's that wonderful smell?
Don't tell me,
Let me guess
Smells like money dipped in honey
Yes, the smell of success
Take a good whiff
Take a good sniff
Pay me a lump that's due
Fame and fortune
Fortune and fame
And now, for part two

Rest of the lyrics here.

The Poetry Friday Round-up is at A Wrung Sponge today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thankful for Fast Acting Inhalers

I know the inhalers are not the final solution to Harry's asthma. But it is sure nice to know, at 3:30 in the morning, when he is coughing uncontrollably because he can't catch his breath, that there is something that we can do for him right away. And it works. And I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Word About Dreams

Harry told me that he's been having weird dreams. I asked if they were about the Lemony Snicket books, since that's what he's been reading and those would seem to induce weird dreams - but they weren't - they're Harry Potter dreams - and surprise he's Harry in them. Of course the weird thing is that he dreams about the fifth book, which he hasn't read or seen the movie of. I asked him how he knows what's going on in his dreams - and he doesn't.

And that reminded me of a dream I had when I visited Germany the first time. I was fifteen and I stayed with my cousin for a month. My German was practically non-existent (luckily my cousin spoke English) - and although I could understand some, I was afraid to speak it to anyone but the baby. The weird thing though was the dream. Near the end of my stay I had a dream in German. The whole thing was in German - and I wish I could say that I understood it all, even if I forgot it upon awakening, but I didn't. I didn't understand a word of it.

So there you have it, I've dreamed in foreign languages and didn't understand my own dreams.

Thankful for my Sister-in-Laws

I know I already did a Thankful for my Family post - but this time I want to focus on my sister-in-laws. Or is it sisters-in-law? Whatever.

You see, I have no sisters. I have three younger brothers. I always wanted a sister. But life has a way of working out, because each of my brothers married wonderful women whom I love dearly.

And one of these great women came on my expedition today with the kids. It was great to visit with her, and always helpful to have another adult around when taking kids places.

So now I get sisters, without having had to share my room while growing up - though I always thought it would have been nice to have bunk beds.

Daring Do

According to my daughter The Daring Book for Girls' advice on overcoming fears is "do it." Pippi took that advice today.

We went to The Liberty Science Center and had a great time. No crowds - lots of fun exhibits. One of the fun exhibits had to do with skyscrapers. And 18 feet above the ground, with no safety net, a person could experience what it is like to be a construction worker walking the beams of a high-rise under construction. (Of course there is a harness and safety cable.)

Harry of course was into it. He walked the beams, a little nervous at first, but fine when he finished. He wanted to do it again.

Pippi wasn't so sure. She wanted to do it too. Her little brother had done it. But she was scared. So she went back and forth. Should she do it? Shouldn't she?

Finally she decided in favor. And although Harry went around two more times to her one, and she was practically trembling when it was over. She did it! (I wish I'd brought my camera.)

Is she a daring girl? You bet.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Thankful for Friends with children a little bigger than mine

Because these friends - whose children are a little bigger than mine - they give me clothes. Lots of clothes. Bags of clothes. Jackets and pants and pajamas and shirts and everything. So, as I was cleaning out my kids dressers - in preparation for handing their clothes down to others - my friend was doing the same.

It sure beats going to the mall.

It's Election Day

So go vote. But only if you know who you are voting for - and maybe even know why.

A big deal is made every year about low voter turn out and what should be done to make it easier for people to vote. And people should vote. I absolutely agree. If they know what they are voting for.

My husband keeps hearing or reading news reports quoting people who have no idea who is running, or what the public questions are, or what offices are being voted on, but they insist they'll be at the polls. Why?

It's our civic duty to vote. That's true. But it's also our duty to vote responsibly, which means having some idea what's going on before you step into the voting booth. Because face it - if you don't really know - and you are just voting some way because someone else (and that includes newspapers and TV) told you to - then you aren't really getting a vote - the other person (who ever you are basing your voting on) is getting two votes - yours and his.

A Word About Stats

I'm not a blogger obsessed with my stats and visitor numbers - which is good, because my numbers are not high - and if I were obsessed with them, I'd probably get depressed. But I do have a stat counter installed because I occasionally like to make sure that I'm not the only one reading this. So - that being said, I'd like to point out that I'm about to reach a milestone - and probably sometime today my stat counter will have registered 10,000 visitors to The Simple and The Ordinary. (If you're visiting and you notice that number 10,000 is you, leave me a comment and let me know.)

Tuesday's Proverb

Let your eyes look straight ahead and your glance be directly forward. Survey the path for your feet, and let all your ways be sure. Turn neither to right nor to left, keep your foot far from evil. (Proverbs 4: 25-27)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thankful for Fellow Bloggers

I learn a lot in the blogosphere. And , via Alice at Cottage Blessings, I learned about the start of the preparation period for the Monfortian Consecration to Jesus through Mary. It starts today - and details are over at Alice's place. Lissa is doing it and so is Meredith. And I figure I'll give it a try. With great company like that, how can I go wrong?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thankful for Children Who Love to Read

They may not like to go to sleep, but my children don't mind being ensconced in their beds with a good book (for hours sometimes). So - although I can't often get them (well, mainly Harry) to actually sleep - I can get them to go to bed - as long as they are allowed to read.

Greet With Love

Listening to today's Gospel about Zacchaeus got me thinking. Zacchaeus was known as a sinner - he was a tax collector, and in that capacity had probably cheated people (I seem to remember reading somewhere that that was more or less how Roman tax collector's made their money - whatever extra they could collect, they got to keep - but I'm not an expert and I may be wrong). But Zacchaeus was interested in seeing Jesus. Did he know that he was living his life in the wrong way and was looking for a chance to change, or did he just go out to see because he was curious?

It doesn't really matter. He went. He climbed the tree. And Jesus called to him. Jesus called to him and Zacchaeus went. And once we went he immediately repented of all he had done wrong and promised to be better.

He repented after he was greeted by Jesus.

Jesus met the sinner with love and the sinner gave up his sinful ways. Jesus did not wait for the sinner to stop sinning and repent before he called to him. He called to the sinner and greeted him with love.

Do we do the same?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Thankful for End of Daylight Savings Time

It's not that I'm going to like it getting dark earlier in the evenings - but I will like it being a bit lighter in the mornings. And I'll especially like the extra hour we get today.

Don't forget to change your clocks (Spring ahead; Fall back)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thankful for Running Water

I read a story about a town in Tennessee that has run out of water. Every day they use their fire trucks to haul water from another town to their water tank. Then for three hours every night the mayor turns on the water and the 145 people in the town can take showers, fill water jugs, run dishwashers and whatever else they need to do. From six to nine pm they have water. The rest of the time - they do not.

There are people in countries where water is an extreme luxury. People will walk far for water. Sometimes water is not clean - and will lead to disease. Without enough to drink, people will die.

But where I am, when I turn the tap, I get water. Clean, fresh water - cold or hot - depending on the direction I turn the knob. I have enough water that I can yell at my son to stop splashing so much in the bath tub.

I have water. Whenever I want it. And I am thankful

All Soul's Day

Yesterday we celebrated the souls that have made it to heaven. Today is for everyone else.

Praying for the souls in purgatory, and helping them reach heaven is a simple enough thing to do - and one that I don't often remember to do. But, today on All Soul's Day, we remember.

There is a prayer that Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude the Great. He told her that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said.

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Poetry Friday

Fall is in the air today - and they are predicting strong winds. So, this poem somehow seems appropriate

Wind on the Hill
by A.A. Milne

No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.

It's flying from somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn't keep up with it,
Not if I ran.

But if I stopped holding
The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.

And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.

So then I could tell them
Where the wind goes…
But where the wind comes from
Nobody knows.

The Poetry Friday Round-up is at Mentor Texts & More. Head on over.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thankful for My Hands

There are so many things I like to do that require the use of my hands: writing, needle work, and even holding a book open when I read. I use my hands to cook meals for the family and to hug my children. I use them to comfort a friend or give a congratulatory pat on the back. Many people live life without the use of one of both hands. I'm grateful that I have the use of my hands.

The Problem with Good Books

The problem with reading a good book is that I can't put it down until I finish it. And then when I'm done, I'm mad that it doesn't go on longer and that I can't keep reading it. Quite a conundrum.

All Saints Day

I like All Saints Day. I like it because it helps us to remember that the Saints were just people - perhaps like you and me - they had their faults and foibles too - but that didn't stop them from getting into heaven.

I like All Saints Day because it reminds us that there are a lot more saints in heaven than we are aware of.

The preschool children in our parish sing a Saint song for All Saints Day. It goes something like this:

I'm a Saint
Are you too?
This is what Jesus asks us to do
To love one another
And to love him too
I'm a Saint
How About You!

(I might have some of those words wrong, it's been a while since my children were in pre-school, and although the little ones sang it in Mass this past week, they were pretty shy and mumbly - but I do know it ends with "I'm a Saint, How about you!" because the children always like to shout the You and point at everyone.)

So - strive to be a Saint. What better ambition could there be.