Wednesday, March 23, 2011


What makes a person successful? At what point do you think, "Yes, I am successful at what I do"?

I never know how to describe myself. I know I am a mom, a homeschooler, a wife. I want to be a writer. I a writer? At what point does this become part of my identity?

I have magazine articles, web articles, and a booklet to my name. I can even type my name in and my booklet comes up - I am an author! I think....

My goal has been to publish a book this year, or at least to get a contract. It hasn't happen so far, and I am more than halfway to my next birthday. It is looking bleak. And I struggle with that. Maybe it is a by-product of staying home with kids for so many years - this need to prove myself, to prove that I have some sort of societal worth. A badge I can wear - "I am successful"!

The Young Adult is reading To Kill A Mockingbird for his literature course at the moment. It is such a great book. I was surprised to learn than To Kill A Mockingbird was Harper Lee's only book....

Her only book!

And it took her a while to get it published.

Would you say Harper Lee was not a successful author because she only wrote one book? I would never say that!
And what about music groups who are known as "one hit wonders". If they have a popular song, but only one, does that mean they are not successful? Maybe not as successful as they wished they could be.

What is success?

This is a question I struggle with.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This Looks Familiar

Haven't we done this before?????

This is courtesy of my "middle boys" - Cookie Boy and Romeo. Sheesh! This is not an exaggeration - that pile of laundry is over 5 feet tall. I am 5' 4", so I know. And it is smaller than it was yesterday - I had to wash Romeo's soccer uniform, so I had him throw down a pile of laundry for me. I wondered what was taking him so long.... When I peeked into the closet, I realized it must have taken him at least five minutes just to find the soccer uniform.

Do you know what my favorite fantasy is? Going on vacation for one whole month, and seeing how my men-folk cope while I am gone. As crazy as life is all the time, I (would like to) think it would fall apart without me.

Or at least be a lot less clean.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Almost There

Almost to the end of the week, anyway!

It was been one of those unexpectedly difficult weeks. You know, the ones you did not see coming? I really think most of it can be attributed to the Mad Toddler's recent foray into the "terrible twos". Our older three boys all hit that stage at around three, instead of two, but it looks like the Mad Toddler is going to join up early. Gah! It is nothing but trying to tame that wild will all day long. Nothin' like a little conflict first thing in the morning. By the time ArtGuy gets home, I am about wiped out!
I daydreamed today about a conflict-free day. No two-year-olds to fight. No 13-year-olds to patiently (or not-so-patiently) endure. Homeschooling has a few disadvantages, and one of them is not-enough-time-away-from-the-kids! Usually, I love being with them a lot, but...not this week.

Things have been happening on a personal level that leave me trying to figure out what God wants from me at the moment. Lots of shake-ups. A few weeks ago was a real personal low, where there was no one to really turn to. I tried, but met silence or disinterest on all sides. It has made me remember back to college days, during a very difficult time when there was some huge drama in several relationships all at once, which left me shaking and questioning everything. Scott Hahn, who was one of my professors, said...during that very week, which I could only interpret as a message straight to me from God!....that when life changes, and everything around you seems to crumble, look out! God is about something new in your life, and He is getting you ready for it.
So, no despair! Steady on and fight the good fight. That is all one can do, anyway.No matter how completely imperfectly one goes about it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten Feast

The two words "Lent" and "feast" seem opposed to one another.

Lent is traditionally a time of paring down, of drawing back, of less rather than more. Feasting is enjoying the abundance of things. Yet Lent is the perfect time to feast on spiritual things.

I want to share the following with you. My pastor, Fr. Don Zeiler, shared this with St. Gabriel the Archangel in McKinney this past week. It is really worthy of reflection. Choose one to focus one - perhaps a different one every day, or every week. See what speaks to you.

Fast From-Feast On
  • Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
  • Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of life.
  • Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
  • Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
  • Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
  • Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
  • Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
  • Fast from worry; Feast on trust.
  • Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
  • Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
  • Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
  • Fast from hostility; Feast on nonviolence.
  • Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
  • Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
  • Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.
  • Fast from discouragements; Feast on hope.
  • Fast from facts that depress; Feast on truths that uplift.
  • Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
  • Fast from suspicion; Feast on truth.
  • Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.
  • Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
  • Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that [strengthens].
—taken from William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Family Visit

 We are having a nice break from regular life right now. ArtGuy's parents are visiting. We are just relaxing and having fun. The weather has cooperated beautifully. The Mad Toddler has not cooperated beautifully in any sense of the word! He is in a......challenging phase of life right now.

One of the nice things about having visitors is finding things to do - touristy things, if you will. Things we may not think about doing normally. You think outside the box when you have out-of-town guests. This visit we went to the nearby town of Grapevine, Texas and took an old train to the Ft. Worth Stockyards.
At the Grapevine Railroad Museum

In Ft. Worth there was a family-friendly Irish festival going on, so that was fun. Crowded, but fun. The day was very long, but an experience we never had, and was a neat thing to do with my in-laws.

Cattle drive!

Yesterday was Romeo's 9th birthday. Waaaah! My sweet, sunny lil' guy is getting so big. He was flying high all day. Needless to say, he thoroughly enjoyed his special day!

Happy birthday, Romeo!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras

Happy Mardi Gras!

We are all recovering from illness. I suspect it was the flu, but what do I know? It was miserable, that is for sure!

We are gearing up for a visit from ArtGuy's parents this weekend. The house is a mess! I am trying to bring it to submission, but it refuses to yield! We will see who wins this battle.

The house, most likely, if my interactions with the Mad Toddler are any indication. The boys finally see the need to tell their youngest brother "no" from time to time. They glimpse the scary monster that lurks beneath the surface. We are trying to be gentle, but firm. The young master will learn, in time. Bed is another issue entirely. The Mad Toddler has not slept in his own bed in a while. Sigh. Vivid dreams each night have him scared to sleep there. So, guess who he is bunking with? Mom and Dad! Whoo hooo! Nothing says "good night's sleep" like a floppy 2 1/2 year old sharing a lumpy bed with you!

Cookie Boy just crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. I cannot believe my little Cookie Boy is a Boy Scout! Waaaaaaaah! Ever our practical child, Cookie Boy refused to work on any beads or belt loops in the last year, because, "You just have to start all over again in Boy Scouts. so it is pointless"! That's my boy!
Before Cookie Boy's 1st Tiger meeting! Wah!

A mere two days after Cookie Boy's crossover, the Young Adult had his Boy Scout Court of Honor. Choosing the path of the tortoise rather than the hare, he was about the last of his year to make 1st class. That is okay - slow and steady wins the race!
Adding the Mother's pin!

The Young Adult towers over me! The Mad Toddler is yawning, but he looks like he is being ferocious!

The Court of Honor is always enjoyable. There is something that tugs at my heart when I see all those gawky boys loping around! Of course the night ended with a Snack Nazi screaming at me for daring to unwrap some of the plates of cookies as the hordes of parents exited the Court of Honor for a little snack. I primly sneered at her and continued my mission of mercy! Hah!

Time for my Mardi Gras ice cream! Whooo hoooo!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Movies That Make Me Happy

Ugh. Everyone in the family has been sick this week, some more than others. Flu? Virus? Viscous cold? Who knows.

The past two days have been my turn to be sick. My whole face hurts - teeth, eyes, ears, throat, head. Blech.
The Young Adult has been very sweet to me, though, asking if I need anything. He has made me feel cared for!

My eyes have been too sore to read much (gasp!), so I have been watching movies. Here is a list of some of the movies that make me happy when I am down:

  • Juno (watching it at the moment)
  • Any of the Lord of the Rings movies
  • Dodgeball
  • Galaxy Quest
  • anything with Julie Andrews
  • Pride and Prejudice!
When I am sick, what I want most is love and attention - like a cat! I think that alone would help me feel well.

And that is all this round of illness!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just Toyin' With Her

The Mad Toddler knows where to draw the line.

Typical conversation:

  • "Mommy?....Mommy?"
  • "Yes?"
  • "Look at my train."
  • "That is an awesome train."
  • Five seconds of silence
  • "Mommy? Mommy?...Mommy?"
  • "Yes, dear?"
  • "Watch my train."
  • "Wow! That is cool."
  • "Mommy? Watch my train!"
  • "I see it - it is very neat. You did a great job!"
  • "No, Mommy. Look at my train!!!"
  • "I see it (with a sigh). I am looking right at it. It is really, really neat." 
  • "Mommy?"
  • "WHAT?"
  • "I want to go upstairs."
  • "Okay."
  • "Mommy?"
  • "YEs?"
  • "I want to go downstairs."
  • "REALLY? Are you serious.....fine."
  • "Mommy?...Mommy?...Mommy?"
  • "Yes, darling son of mine?"
  • "Look at my train."
  • "Mommy is tired of looking at your train. Mommy is close to losing her mind and never wants to see a train again. But it is a very cool train, dear."
  • ".....Mommy?"
  • "What?"
  • "Mommy?"
  • "Whaaaaaat?"
  • "Mommy?"
  • "WHAT IS IT?"
  • "Mommy, do you know that I love you?"
Darn him.

  • "Thank you, honey. I love you, too."