Hey, guys. I feel like I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write in a long time. This week I’ve hardly been home since I’ve been busy with school activities, fundraisers (and add in Lent starting) and this morning was literally the first time I’ve been able to freely write for awhile. BTW, this post was slowly written over the last three days so that’s why it will say today (Friday) and today (Saturday) etc. 😉 Here is a recap of what’s been going on lately.
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- A quiet morning when I can just stop and breathe.
- Finishing all the kids’ valentines in time for their parties.
- An extra long weekend.
- The opportunity to go to confession this weekend. I needed it!
- For a blessed Valentine’s day.
- Numerous friends (and their friends) who are going through heavy crosses – from serious illness to deaths in the family.
- A fruitful Lent and the grace to persevere and challenge myself and not make excuses.
- People suffering from violence – whether within their home or their community.
The conversion of hearts back to God.
- All pregnant moms (especially family members), those trying to get pregnant, those who have lost their babies and for moms contemplating an abortion.
- The souls in purgatory, especially family, friend and those most forgotten.
Lent. As much as I tried to be prepared for it, it was here before I was ready. On Friday I was scrambling to get our “sacred space” ready for the Lenten season since the kids have been asking where is the Lenten calendar? Where is the sacrifice bean jar? Where are the weekly Lenten candles? Sorry, kids. Your sacrifice is to have patience with your mom who had no been home long enough to get it all done. But today! Today (Friday) my morning schedule is clear and I am closer to being caught up. 😉
So… how has your Lent been going these few days in? Mine? Well, let me put it this way. For Lent besides, less online time and more prayer, there are three big things I want to work on – giving up cussing (mostly under my breath but still) and using God’s name in vain (I say ohmygod way too often) and working on being more patient when things go wrong. I am sweet and peachy while things are going right but when they turn for the worse I look like this….
I know, right! Sooo, here comes Ash Wednesday morning and things were going wrong left and right and then I accidentally dropped juice all over the fridge and lost my temper as my mouth muttered, “sh*t!” Then, “dammit, I’m not supposed to be cussing! ohmygod! what is wrong with me?” Um, yeah. Three strikes within the first 1/2 hour of the day. So yeah, it’s going to be a loooong Lent. But I will admit that things are looking up. This morning when the boys were hyped up more than normal (I thought no sugar was supposed to have a calming effect?) I didn’t lose my cool and when a few things went wrong I muttered “darn!” and “blast it!” Score that as a win! 😉
After my little morning mishaps, I had some quiet time and I was reading one of the essays in Elizabeth Foss’ Restore workshop and she said, “…make a decision to care, to be compassionate, to love with self-sacrifice. Then we are required to do something. We must act on that compassion.” That line jumped out to to me because my phrase for 2016 is Balanced (with Compassion) and although it is only 1 1/2 months into the year I already need a reminder. It is one thing to have as my blog tagline “do little things with great love” but that is not enough, I have to make a daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes moment to moment decision to care, be compassionate and love with self-sacrifice especially within my family. That means dying to self and accepting all the mishaps as part of my day. It need not throw me off kilter, rather, God can use it to prune me and help me grow. It is something I need to constantly work at and this Lent is the perfect opportunity to work at it harder.
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Around the House…
A couple weeks ago @blessedisshe__ asks us to fill in the blank – “This year I will delight in being a ______.” For me, it’s a homemaker because a wife and mother is the heart of the home and my attitude can fill the house with joy and laughter or tension and discord. I may not like doing laundry and dishes but these little things done with love can change our world.
Besides working on my attitude and patience, as I mentioned in my last goals post, I am continuing my work to clean and organize my home. Progress has been made over the last year or two but there’s plenty more work to do. I am participating in A Bowl Full of Lemon’s 2016 Home Organization 101 Challenge. However, there are also a lot of school and family activities going on right now so the weekly assignments have literally become monthly assignments.
Family Chit Chat…
We are all busy and but doing well. Today (Sunday) is Valentine’s day and Bella took care of the boys so Brian and I could go out to lunch. It was such a special treat and Brian and I had so much fun! If you are a mama with lots of little ones, do not fret. One day your oldest is going to be old enough to take care of the littles and life will never be the same!! 😉
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Sunday – Enchiladas, beans and salad.
Monday – Italian pasta dish and salad.
Tuesday – Won ton soup with potstickers.
Wednesday – BBQ chicken, roasted potatoes and broccoli.
Thursday – Breakfast dinner.
Friday – Homemade veggie pizza and Greek salad.
Saturday – Leftovers.
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My reading goal of more books and less TV has been going well. Here are three of the six books I’ve read so far.
The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
I have been a fan of Julie Klassen’s novels for awhile. In January I read The Tutor’s Daughter, which I enjoyed, and more recently The Painter’s Daughter which I really enjoyed. The story was about Sophie Dupont an artist who helped her father in his art studio. She meet a charming but irresponsible young artist named Wesley who eventually wooed her and had his way with her. An opportunity to study art in Italy opened up for Wesley and he left Sophie not knowing that she was now carrying his child. In the meantime, Wesley’s brusque brother Steven, who was used to cleaning up Wesley’s mistakes discovered the predicament Sophie was facing. To atone for his own past mistakes and to spare Sophie and her unborn child, Steven offered to marry her in name only. Not wanting to risk the severe consequences she must face as an unwed mother and the inevitable shame her child must endure, she agreed.
I love the emotions and drama that came with Sophia adjusting to life as the wife of a man she did not love, the slow growing relationship and understanding between Steven and Sophie and the eventual return of Wesley that turned everything upside down. I couldn’t put the book down until I found out how the situation played out and which man she ended up with. I was satisfied with the way it was all wrapped up. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White
My Mr. Darcy was a fun and easy read. The story was about Lizzy who watched Pride and Prejudice (2005 version) for the first time at the age of 16. Since then she was obsessed about finding her modern day version of Mr. Darcey. Eventually she met Chad and agreed to go out with him, despite not being anything like Darcy. She planned to break things off after one date but cohered by her best friend, she agreed to 10 dates with Chad before breaking things off. Slowly warmed up to him and started realizing what a great guy he was until she met handsome and rich Matt, a guy who completely fit her idea of Mr. Darcy. The whole situation became an interesting (and clean cut) love triangle.
The story was sweet and fun but also a little annoying because Lizzy’s obsession with Mr. Darcy was maddening at times. I wanted to smack her upside the head when she continually chose the haughty Matt over the sweet, sensitive and unselfish Chad. Maybe if Matt was little more likable and Chad a little more flawed, I could understand Lizzy’s dilemma better. Having said that, I am still glad I read the book and will look for more titles by the author since I liked that it had a modern day setting without any modern day sexual promiscuity. It was clean but not “Christian preachy” if you know what I mean. 🙂 I rate it 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
It’s been seven years since Seth Grahame-Smith’s mashup book was published and I didn’t have any desire to read my beloved Jane Austen in the light of zombie back then. Fast forward to the current day and my love of The Walking Dead and love of movies, made me curious after seeing the trailer for the movie version of the book. I decided to give the book a try before going to see the movie. Did I enjoy it? My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, it was cool to read all the familiar lines and scenes and see how Grahame-Smith was going to change things up. This line from Lizzy in regards to Mr. Collins asking for her hand made me laugh out loud. “Did this fat little priest mean to take her as a wife? She was horrified at the thought of marrying of man whose only skill with a blade was cutting slivers of gorgonzola.”
The whole concept was interesting and at times fun. However, the book also had scenes that were over the top, campy and beyond tongue and cheek. Some parts make Elizabeth into a mythological type of warrior. For example, there is a scene in which she effortlessly slays a ninja and then rips out his still beating heart and takes a bite. That just made me roll my eyes. There were a few added character changes (like Lizzy’s aunt) that were annoying but minor. I think had the over the top scenes been toned down slightly to make Lizzy an incredible but believable ninja slaying warrior I would have appreciated it more since she already had the drive and spirit to imagine her in such a light.
All things considered, if you love Jane, love zombies and don’t mind people taking liberties with a beloved classic, then by all means, give it a try. Otherwise, just skip it. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
–> Brian and I just finished watching War and Peace last nght and we really enjoyed it. I have never read the book and can’t compare the 4-part mini series but I thought it was well done, intriguing and beautifully filmed.
–> Of course I watched Downton Abbey last night and will have the new recap up by tomorrow. (Update: Here’s the recap.)
–> I also caught the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead and I am still reeling over that one. Whoa, what an episode!!
(AT THE MOVIES)
I saw two new movies this month. One of them was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Although the movie wasn’t a block buster and the reviews weren’t great, I have to admit that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The movie is based on the book but the story line, particularly in regards to Wickham are very different from the book. When I watch any Jane Austen based movie it always bugs me a little when a character says lines that another character says in the book but I understand the need for it. Those kind of changes are expected. However, the movie really strayed from the book and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lizzy was definitely more believable and not as a$$-kicking as she was in the book but she was still tough enough to slay zombies and look cool doing it in her pinafore dress.
Some of the dialogue in the movie truly made me laugh and while a few characters were a little flat, Matt Smith as Mr. Collins was hilarious. In the end I enjoyed the movie and was glad I went, although I think it would have made more sense as a stand alone movie that took place in the setting of P&P but didn’t necessarily use the same characters. I think there would have been less comparison and we’d be able to enjoy the movie on it’s own merit more. I rate it 3 1/2 stars out of 5. (Parent note: The movie contains the usual zombie violence and gore and a few suggestive situations.)
The second movie I watched was Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice. If you know me you also know that the I HATE spoilers and always like the element of surprise and emotional suspense. The only exception I make is when I am watching a Nicholas Sparks movie. I want to know right off the bat if a main characters will die tragically. So I cheated and looked up the plot and found that the ending was gasp, happy. My other complaint about Sparks is that it seems all his characters have an attraction, have sex, and then fall in love. I know most modern movies have that but it still bugs me. It is also worth noting that critics hated this movie for various reasons. I, however, liked it despite its flaws. (But I also like most Hallmark movies, so there’s that.)
The story was about medical student Gabby and her next door neighbor Travis. Gabby is dating a rich doctor and Travis is a loner disguised as a ladies man. Their annoyance with each other is only rivaled by their attraction to one another. While Gabby’s boyfriend is away the two spend time together and eventually they become an inseparable couple until Gabby’s boy friend returns home. You may think this was the big “choice” but that actually comes when tragedy strikes and a life and death choice must be made towards the end of the movie. I’ll admit the movie tugged at my heart and I gave in and let the tears and emotions flow (thanks to no one sitting next to me in the theater). The ending may be contrived but I enjoyed it none the less. If you are already a fan of Sparks, you will probably like the movie. If you aren’t, choose something else. I rate it 3 out of 5 stars. (Parent note: While not graphic, there is premarital sex, adult situations, a little language and near death tragedy.)
Listening to …
I gave up my regular radio station during Lent so while I am pining for the sounds of bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Silversun Pickups, X Ambassadors, Cage the Elephant or Vance Joy, I am putting them aside and spending more time listening to some Catholic artists. I recently discovered Ike Ndolo from Jenna at Blessed Is She. (Ike will be providing worship music at the Blessed Is She Beauty for Ashes retreat in March. A retreat that I sadly will not be able to attend this year. Sniff. 🙁 ) Anyway, I downloaded a number Ike’s songs off iTunes. I am listening to my favorite Riverside as I am typing this.
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January started out with a huge bang but February was way too busy to blog!
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In the blogosphere…
Some posts I’ve recently enjoyed:
- Six Things I Try to Do Everyday with Each Child by Whole Parenting
- When God Picks Your Lent by Mama Needs Coffee
- You Poor Thing!” 25 Reasons Not to Pity Me and “All Those Kids” by California to Korea
- We Were Welcomed – How Catholics Have Welcomed My Family in Church by A Knotted Life
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Spring is in full force here on the Monterey Peninsula. Unfortunately, that also means we are all covered in a layer of yellow pollen. They said this is the worse pollen we’ve had in years. On the plus side, the warm weather has allowed me back to my mornnig walks along the ocean. I snapped this one with my phone last week. 🙂
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Do share.
Have a great week!
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