Friday, March 16, 2018

Quick Takes #256: Is Journalling for Me?

Disclaimer: Despite all the links, this is not a sponsored post and the links are not affiliated. Just what I've tried and liked or not.

  1. For all that I'm (according to this study) squarely a member of Generation X and spend much of my time typing on my keyboard as well as on my phone/tablet there is something very special to me about putting pen to paper. Especially when those papers are together in a bound book with the idea writing on this topic over time.  Below are some of the ways journaling has and has not worked for me.
  2. Prayer ~ Yes! Starting in college I have on and off kept a prayer journal and while not currently I am planning on starting again after Lent when I've finished the devotional I'm using. I find it a useful way to concretely lift up those people and things I want to bring before God and for recording blessings. A useful idea that I found in the Take Up & Read devotional I'm using this Lent is acknowledging past hurts and leaving them at the foot of the cross.  I may also continue this practice of asking Jesus help in letting go of past hurts.
  3. Book ~ Yes! Inspired and encouraged by MMD, and with a TBR (to be read) list growing beyond easy recall I started book journaling a few years ago with this journal and then later started free handing one using this kit.  I really like having a book to keep track of what of I've read, categories in reading challenges I'm doing, and books or authors I want to read.  I also use Goodreads as a tracker and useful way of 'bookmarking' books I hear about online.  
  4. Bullet ~ No! Or rather not yet...I love seeing others and am intrigued by the idea but my first attempt was a bust.  The book I ordered was too big for me to use easily; and I think until I have better sense of how I want to lay things out lined paper will work better than dot grids.  I also need to figure out if I prefer spiral books or if it is just what I know and feel more comfortable with.
  5. Gratitude ~Yes! Inspired by Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts a couple years ago also tried to record 1000 blessing in a year.  I succeeded and enjoyed the experience so have decided to try again this year and have a journal where every few days I record blessings and moments of grace not to be missed amidst the chaos.  This certainly could be part of a prayer journal and may get folded into mine at some future point.
  6. Pens and Markers: I have found along the way that I really like the Staedtier triplus fineliner, and these black pens and these markers.  Separate shout-out but on the topic of pens; this year Elisabeth is only suppose to write in ink for schoolwork other than math and we have these to be a great erasable pen. They write very smoothly and erase cleanly!
  7. What about you? What are some of your favorite types of journaling? Pens and other accessories?

Please now head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Open Book: March '18

   Mrs Mike is the story of Katherine Flannigan an American who married a Canadian Mountie and followed him into the Northwest Territory by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.  This was a reread for me and it was as good as I remembered. While not sugarcoating the realities of living in such a remote location as far as wild animals, and disease; the book is not too graphic but rather focuses on their marriage, growing family and the strength of community.  I first read the book as a teenager but may have appreciated it more now having been married myself.

The Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila (translated by Rev. John Dalton) is a book written by the Saint for her fellow Carmelite sisters about the state of the soul and its progression towards closeness to God using the metaphor of traveling through seven rooms or mansions moving nearer and nearer to God.  I've not yet finished the book but am currently reading about the 6th mansion.  While she loses me occasionally overall I'm learning so much about clearing out the debris or noise of the world to better hear God's voice; and can clearly understand why this is a classic of Catholic literature.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Elisabeth at 10!

    While I'll admit to a fair amount of disbelief at the thought that Elisabeth is ten and that it has been a decade since that amazing little person was placed in my arms; but all of this is true and so herein find my sense of Lisbeth at ten.

  A person of big emotions, she is the most strong willed of the three but also the most concerned about what others think of her.   She has since she was very little processed out-loud and while she no longer speaks every thought; does still give me the fullest report of the day and want to discuss every nuance of plans.  Very creative; be it cooking, building, drawing or sculpting.  I often find her many ideas exhausting but love seeing all that she creates.  Prime example being the loft bed she designed and built with her dad last year.

  On the go much of the day prefers to leave reading for night up in her loft bed.  Most likely to be reading about animals especially mythical ones like dragons and sea serpents though wolves, and orcas interest her too. Sports wise gymnastics is top, but also enjoys swimming, playing basketball with her friends and backyard volleyball with me.

  Pokemon, Minecraft, and How to Train Your Dragon are the games of choice and what she is mostly likely playing/watching during screen time.  I've enjoyed watching Pokemon and Minecraft posters claim space on her bedroom walls, though a few Hello Kitty and Transformer wall stickers remain.  Her love of stuffies lives on ~ though leans more towards Squishmallows and Emoji-pillows currently.  And as of her birthday trip to Build-a-Bear she now has 3 Toothless (night fury from How to Train Your Dragon) stuffies!

 The rest of her birthday celebration included a trip to Friendly's, a Black Forest cake, and last night dinner at a favorite Chinese restaurant.  Still not an adventurous eater she has in the last year discovered a love for Chinese food, fried clams, and making desserts with shredded coconut.

Creating the perfect birthday sundae!

Happy Birthday Elisabeth! 
Thank you for all the light and laughter you bring!!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Quick Takes #255: Happy March!

  1. Happy March!! How'd that happen?  February is often a tough month for me; however this year while we definitely had our share of grey weather I'm ending the month ready for spring but not as stressed as I've been in the past.
  2. The Olympics definitely helped. Having something fun to watch night after night as well as introducing the kids to new sports to watch such as ski jump and skeleton gave a big upside to the last couple of weeks.
  3. Lent is presenting challenges as it ought; but I'm really liking both the Take Up & Read devotional and reading St Teresa's Interior Castle.  So far I've managed to stick to my reading plan or non-reading plan as it were.  I'm way behind on 40 bag/40 days but hope to catch-up next week.  
  4. Speaking of books; Modern Mrs Darby compiled a couple lists of most recommended books. I really enjoy reading these lists even if they include books from genre I don't usually read.
  5. It is an often quoted cliche "The days are long, but the years are short." Given that tomorrow Elisabeth will be ten years old and I recently enrolled Caitlin for Kindergarten it feels like my mantra.  It is true that one doesn't love every moment but thank heavens for the pictures and blog posts that record the moments I haven't always soaked in as I was managing to get from wake-up to tuck-in with everyone feed, clean and not fighting.
  6. A full birthday post forthcoming but simply put I am grateful beyond words the beautiful, spirited girl who brought with her the gift of motherhood to me and the decade I've gotten to spend watching her grow and change up-close.
  7. Praying for everyone here in the East in the storm's path; may you stay dry, keep your power and may it not mess with weekend plans too much!!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.

15 months

5 years old

Showing off the loft bed she built with her dad.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Quick Takes #254: Thoughts on Lent and Love

  1. Crazy couple of weeks with Dr Daddy having a hospital heavy schedule and the kids having the 1st & 4th grade version of mid-terms complicated by schedules having to shift around many kids being out for illness and everyone in the area getting a day off to go the the Champions Parade.
  2. We didn't go but with the aid of some favorite snacks the kids had a blast watching on TV and trying to spot friends in the crowd who went. 
  3. In other sports news; enjoyed watching the Opening Ceremonies with the kids and seeing which sports catches their interest; so far figure skating and ski jump are the faves but am wondering what they will think of luge and skeleton.  Elisabeth observed that bi-atholon would be more interesting if they were using bow and arrow instead of shooting a gun. 
  4. Valentine/Ash Wednesday was a fun balancing act. We observed Ash Wednesday by attending Mass and receiving our ashes and abstaining from meat for the day. We observed Valentine's Day with exchanging cards and other non-candy gifts of love.  
  5. Plans for Lent include the Take Up and Read devotional, attempting a 40bags in 40 day purge, and focus on spiritual reads starting with The Interior Castle by greatly limiting reading fiction.  Lenten plans of Elisabeth and Liam are still in flux but are stimulating interesting conversations about habits that pull them towards or away from loving God.
  6. Very much looking forward to a date night with Charlie tonight!  While somewhat in disbelief that we are celebrating 25 years together I am beyond grateful to have shared so many wonderful years with him. That at 19 years old a handsome guitar playing man of faith and integrity came into my world for me to love and loved me back continues to be an awesome and amazing blessing to me.
  7. Speaking of love and marriage ~ couple of sites to share. Surprised by Marriage is a wonderful new blog filled with videos and fun posts about marriage.  Kirby of Under Thy Roof has been hosting a wonderful series on love languages and marriage. 
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Open Book ~ February '18

A Room With a View by E.M Forester was a fun, fast read about Lucy and her friends and relations who all mean well but whose petty snobberies occasionally trip them up.  Starting in Italy and then moving into the English countryside the descriptions are beautiful and the conversations amusing when not maddening.  A classic I've been meaning to read and am glad I finally did.

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera is the story of a young librarian who takes a job in a small french village and all she learns from her employer and other villagers. The book while beautifully written raises a lot of ideas only to move on to another quickly.  I enjoyed the book very much but think it will take a reread or two to fully appreciate it.

Look to the Mountain by LeGrand Cannon is wonderful story about the settling of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Whit and Melissa are a young couple who marry and first by canoe and later hiking travel up to the shadow of Mt Chocorua and build a home. Set in the 1770's you also hear news of the Revolution travel up and how it is understood by those who have never used a stamp, or bought tea.  This was a reread for me, and I am biased as it was one of my father's favorites but I'm also a bit baffled why this book first published in 1942 is not better known.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Quick Takes #253: Post-op Reflections and Lenten Plans

  1. Caitlin two weeks post surgery is doing well. Overall it went very smoothly; the staff was kind and worked with her very well. Her recovery was up and down but mostly the medicine regiment they recommended worked well and with encouragement she was willing to drink. All about the popsicles to start, now ice cream is the fave.  Another funny memory will be the day she was very reluctant to drink but ate 3 mozzarella sticks at a birthday dinner for a friend.
  2. She is actually home from school today complaining of a very stiff neck but I believe we are coming to the end of the acute recovery period. The key question being if she actually sleeps better and snores less after all of this.
  3. Was happy to see that Jess Ptomey is again hosting a Catholic Reading challenge this year. Am not sure that I'm up for another reading challenge but given the first category is the same as the MMD challenge 'read a classic' perhaps I can find enough overlap to make it doable.
  4. Last Sunday went very well for two of the teams we root for in the house.  The Super Bowl will hopefully prove to be a lot of fun with very little downside.
  5. I've found that a guided devotional really helps my prayer life in Lent and this year I ordered the Take Up and Read.  It arrived earlier this week and is thick, beautiful and I'm very optimistic about what it will bring to my observance of Lent this year.
  6. Somewhere in the past week this little blog of mine had a blogaversary and marked 9 years since it's starting. Thank you to all those who have read, commented and encouraged me to keep writing in my corner of the blogosphere!
  7. This weekend kicks off Catholic School Week here and the kids are excited for us to see the various projects in preparation for the Open House.
Have a  good weekend and please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's!