St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows

Monday, June 06, 2016

So Much Happens in Between

So what have I been doing?  The better question is, what have I not been doing?  Life has been moving along at rapid fire speed these days.  Just a month ago my First Communion class made their sacrament and it seems like forever ago now -- so much happens in between.  

We have been to a couple weddings, a few graduations, many appointments and I have begun my summer teaching schedule and planning for our parishes' Vacation Bible School. I continue to stay busy weekly consulting for Mother of Divine Grace - which by the way, I love my job!  

We are finishing up our home school..... my youngest is entirely done as of last week.  My oldest is done as of today, and is officially a Senior for this new school season,  and is making plans for college.  I can't believe we are saying that now. He was invited to an honors program at one of our state college branches that is about 30 minutes away.  His ACT score was very good for a first time college board test taker and he was already offered some very good scholarships. He is looking into a specialized program, radiological technician, that is a two year, all year round, program. They only take so many each year, through review and interview.  There is no room and board, so he'd have to commute daily, which isn't too bad, but in the winter, um, it might be.  Still, it seems to be his strongest area of interest.  Maybe something else will appear on the horizon to him as the year progresses, but right now, this is his plan.   Next week we celebrate this one's 17th birthday - wow, and he has grown up so quickly this last year and made remarkable strides (overcoming anxiety) and done very well academically.   As we continue with Modg, he will be signed up for several LS (on line) courses with them this year.  I think allowing his accountability to shift to other teachers is a good transition at this point. 

In the meantime, I'm being slowly being weaned off of the steroids for my autoimmune liver disorder.  I am told I will remain on the immunosuppressant indefinitely.  Yes, I was surprised too.  But it's my best chance of not having my liver continually damaged by the disorder.   I am learning to take better care of myself, and staying strong and optimistic.  I know things happen for a reason and this health glitch seems to have brought about many positives along with the obvious negative challenges. 

AND may I add, it is LOVELY here right now in my part of rural Ohio.  Just beautiful and warming up, in between occasional rain.  We have long needed this beautiful weather and reprieve and I am going to revel in it and soak up every bit of it I can for the next few months -- while it lasts!   The Cicadas have come to make their 17 year visit and are literally every where -- along with their strange humming's made life interesting here and made us more aware of the miracle and awe of nature.  How amazing is our God?

Get out there into nature and make it a great day!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

On Respecting Children When They Make Mistakes - Crisis Magazine

On Respecting Children When They Make Mistakes - Crisis Magazine: Helping children navigate the road to virtue is a challenging task. Thousands of books, articles, videos, and programs present strategies for how to discipline children effectively. Many parents have found tremendous help this way, and the abundance of information available for struggling families can be a gift from God in difficult and complicated situations. Two …

Monday, April 25, 2016

Catching up....but slowing down

I have long been missing in action.  Still healing from the autoimmune liver disorder, and trying to hold my own in my little corner of the world.  At this point, my steroids have been reduced, but I remain on them at a lower level (for many months ahead), as well as the immunosuppressant.  Right now, I'm battling a virus cold. I sound much worse than I feel.  I am sleeping much much better since the steroids have been reduced.  I am grateful for that!  

In the meantime, we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful Easter.  The weather has improved and begun to warm up with insects and pollens in full swing!  Yay!  (sarcastic grin).   But, I will take the SUNshine any day :)

I am mustering up every bit of energy to get my first communion class through their very special event this weekend.  I have never been more exhausted in the 23 years of doing this.  You know a lot happens in 23 years!  There is a door bell ringing, telling me it is time to pass the baton!   I have tried several times in the last five years to get someone interested in taking over the 2nd grade class, but it just hasn't happened.  I would still be the director of our religious ed program and oversee many of the big things, and be there for the sacrament prep teacher, but I really need to slow down and the energy and preparation it takes weekly for me to do the class has really been felt this year.  I know God is listening, because just this weekend my current helper did say she is "interested" in doing the class.  That would truly be a blessing.  Pray for me, pray for us, pray for my class as they encounter the great grace of God in the most Holy Sacrament this upcoming weekend. 

I have also been side-tracked with genealogy research which I just love to be side-tracked with! That is a great diversion and passion.  

I will try to write more often, but I can't promise :)   Life is really like a wild winding river right now, moving at a rapid speed and I'm really just hanging on and taking each curve as it comes. 

Saturday, February 06, 2016

My Year of Wellness

This year is the year of wellness and comfort for me.  I have designated it so :)   Because of my serious autoimmune disorder affecting my liver that became acute in September, I've had 5 months of steroids and immuno-suppressant drugs in me, and I'm not sure when it's ending.  I visit my doctor soon and we will discuss the long term plan. Because the inflammation from the disorder is so widespread throughout my body, not just my liver, but my abdomen, my joints, my mouth/gums, my eyes....I have had an array of discomfort and symptoms.  It is calming down though, and the largest amount of inflammation was relieved within two to three weeks of the medications.  With it, went a lot of weight.....I lost two clothes sizes. My vision has changed...I mean my eyes....I had to go back to my older less strong prescription glasses.  Occasionally, on a bad day for whatever reason some inflammation slips back in, I have to resort to my newer prescription.  Interesting, isn't it?  I'm taking in one day at a time.  

I have been a little more protective of myself...a little more of putting myself first in some things. I've had the guts to say "no" more often.  I really have to because stress and over activity really doesn't help this kind of disease into remission.  

"Wellness" is my theme for the year --  Rachel Platton's "Fight Song" is my theme song for the year.  

My diet has changed, my body has changed, my outlook has changed.  I am all about comfort, lessening stress and moving forward with a healthy mind, body and soul.

My daily routine has changed -- the hours I am up are quite early now, and I'm taking advantage of being productive while the family sleeps.  I have seen more amazing sunrises this way!  As much as I'd like to sleep into the morning more.....I am appreciating the blessing of God's glory around me and this experience is not wasted.  

So, I have a few items that keep me fueled for this journey -- my awesome new journal I spoke of in a previous post, some lovely Philosophy Fresh Cream fragrance which rocks my day with joy, and some of the following that are with me (on me) during my days as I press through the daily grind here.    

My NPR Women's Retro 70s Logo t-shirt, who knew it will feel so right and be such a great color that cheers my day on:

My Spenco Leather Orthotic Siesta Slide slip-on shoes:

I have pretty much been able to wear this non-stop as we haven't had much of a winter here; I haven't had to haul out the serious winter boots at all.  

My skin has taken a beating with the drugs; my facial skin was dry anyway, and now highly sensitive due to the medication, so I have been using an Estee Lauder product (never dreamed I'd be using or spending money on :), but you know what?  It seriously works.  It's is very soothing and hydrating and it smells delightful, and it's doing a better job than any of my former products, so I'm keeping with it:  Nutritious Vitality 8 Radiant Moisture Creme

I have swapped out my coffee addiction and basically become British!..or maybe that's Irish :) So I have learned to love English Breakfast Tea.  I have tried a few kinds, trying to get a hang of this "black tea" thing ....and I've settled on a good one:  

Because I'm lactose intolerant, I've been putting a splash of this in my breakfast tea, International Delight Sweet Cream, just a little something special I indulge in:

There are several more favorite frills that make my days complete but I will save them for another post. 

Thanks for reading!  May you be blessed with favorites and wellness throughout this new year!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A War of Choice

Excellent article from Joseph Bottum for Weekly Standard; click Title for full article

A War of Choice: The Little Sisters of the Poor are headed to the Supreme Court this year, seeking escape from the contraception mandates of Obamacare — under which they fall, the government claims, as insurance providers for the employees in their nursing homes. The Justice Department is fighting the Little Sisters tooth and nail, determined not to allow them to evade the law's requirements, because .  .  . because .  .  .
Um, in truth, the Obama administration has never made entirely clear why it's so desperate to rope nuns into bureaucratic schemes for providing contraception. After all, the administration has let other organizations slip through the cracks. Unions have their exemptions, Congress has its exemptions, and the politically connected seem able to get Obamacare waivers for the price of a postage stamp. Nearly every other party who asked for protection from the mandate has been given it, says Mark Rienzi, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund. It made no sense for the Little Sisters to be singled out for fines and punishment. .  .  . The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people — it doesn't need to force nuns to participate.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal: Anytime I mention that we breakfast on oatmeal cooked overnight in the crockpot I get asked for my recipe. I don’t know if this qualifies as a “recipe” but here’s how I do i…

Friday, January 08, 2016

Easy 123 Art ---- So easy to do a Masterpiece

This is such a fun winter project -- choose from a large variety of already printed canvases, numbered with what paint color you need -- all provided in your kit.  What a sense of accomplishment.  

Very Classic, Cat.

The Starry Night

Sun Power (the one we have)

Friday, January 01, 2016

Keep a Journal - a New Year, a New Start

I have always keep a journal, or back in my younger days, a "diary," as we called them.  Some of my diaries even had a small key to lock and unlock them.  I remember at least in or around 5th grade, keeping such diaries.  By the time my family had moved from my birth state of California to Utah, I definitely was keeping a daily diary -- in fact, when we moved from one location in Utah, I had taken all my diaries, stored them in a bag, opened up my closet, pulled out a huge built in drawer at the bottom of it, and hid my diaries in the emptiness of the drawer's under earth, and then slid the drawer back in.  I wondered in time, if anyone had ever found them?  Read them?...the musings of an eleven to thirteen year old child?

To this day, I keep a journal.  It is more spiritual and maybe sometimes just casual and filled with the daily-goings-on of a mother of four.  But it has always been my way, for better or worse, to put my thoughts to paper, particularly after monumental events.  

One year I recall keeping a journal that was the most painful journal I have ever written in my life so far.  I still have it; it dates back nearly 8 years ago now.  It was the first year of OCD/anxiety treatment for one of my sons who plunged deeply into the grips of mental illness due to the dramatic onset of OCD and was hospitalized for a week. It was there he was diagnosed.  It was very difficult and painful and I logged on going weeks of therapies, all the doctor visits, the medications, the changes in doses, any positive or negative outcomes, his outbursts, depressions, ugly behaviors and any bright or good spots.  By the end of that year, the last couple months shown stabilization, and positive hopeful signs.......but oh how very challenging that year was.  Five years into the therapies I could say he had become a healthy young man, and only this last year, (so seven years passing), he has made remarkable and miraculous strides and come so so far since those difficult dark days.   I am truly grateful.  

I keep that journal as a reminder, I don't even have to crack a page it, I only need to see it's cover in my drawer and the word Grateful comes across my heart and soul, and I thank God deeply for where he has led us now.  

On the lighter side, my recent re-watching of the River Song episodes of Doctor Who, and her personal diary, the Tardis diary, also definitely inspired me to continue on to author my own thoughts and personal events.   Well, it won't be anywhere near as exciting as River's jottings I'm sure.....but still, it's my best, right?  

And so I have bought a delightful little pink with tiny stars on the cover Bella J.** notebook to pen some new thoughts for 2016.  I took inspiration from this recent article:  

Among the three reads I keep going (per my Charlotte Mason philosophy of reading- see footnote below*), I am currently reading Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly, and using his "prayer process" as a guide to my journaling.  If you don't own this book, I encourage you to download it to your eReader or make a purchase of the hard copy.  It is worth your time. 

And so, I hope you will consider keeping a journal (finally) and I wish you all happiness and health and good inspirations as you embark on this new beginning, this new year!  

Happy New Year &

God bless!

P.S. if you would like to keep a digital journal, there are many to try; I have the Journey- Journal-Diary from the Google store; it's a nice format and easy to use on your android device.   You can customize it nicely, add personal photos.  
End Notes:
*Charlotte Mason: from Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companionpg 346, Chapter "Mother Culture" suggests: 
  1. A Stiff Book (something challenging)
  2. A Moderately easy book (i.e. biography)
  3. A Novel (preferably good ones – not "twaddle" perhaps a classic author i.e George Eliot, Charles Dickens)
This way you can choose a book that you "feel fit for" at the time.
“Never be without a good book on hand.” ~ Charlotte Mason

** more Bella J. products found here:  Paper Luxe  and here: Bella J.

Happy New Year 2016