Monday, January 19, 2015

Still Alive - The Deteriorating Blog

Coming as absolutely no surprise to anyone, I've decided to step back from blogging. I'm still going to post occasionally, but not on a predictable schedule and generally not anything beyond cute pictures and stories about my kids. I'll throw in some homeschool bragging for good measure.

Even before I got pregnant, I was struggling to think of topics that would interest readers. I spent too much time staring at my blinking cursor, hoping for inspiration. Writing wasn't fun anymore. I have written quite a bit about some of my favorite topics and don't think I have much more to say about them. I am now part of as an outlet for thought-provoking articles on faith. This blog seems to have outlived its usefulness. Also, I'm pregnant, homeschooling, and trying to squeeze in a fitness routine, too. My evenings are precious.

However, I have friends and family telling me somewhat regularly that they love seeing pictures of the kids and reading about them. My family is scattered across the United States; Peter's godfather has been deployed overseas multiple times. I don't want to completely give up this avenue of keeping in touch.

For those who don't know me in real life, thank you for supporting me over the past couple of years. It has surprised and touched me to know that strangers find my thoughts interesting. I won't be deleting any archives, so if you want to come back to read older posts, they will still be here. And of course you're welcome to read whatever tidbits I post about my kids.

For my friends and family, I will be cross-posting on Facebook, so if you're friends with me there, you'll know when to check. If not, just click over once a month or so. :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Subtle Grace - Book Review

When author Ellen Gable asked if I would be willing to read and review her novel, A Subtle Grace, I immediately agreed. I am a sucker for the inspirational romance genre; the publisher's review indicated this novel stood above the competition.

A Subtle Grace is a sequel to In Name Only, which I haven't yet read. A Subtle Grace can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story, though, which is a testament to good writing. Books that rely on cliffhangers to engage the reader in the next book in the series suggest that the characters themselves are not interesting enough to hold one's interest. Ellen Gable has a talent for creating diverse characters whose lives draw you in and make you want to follow their stories.

Set at the end of the 19th century, A Subtle Grace focuses on the two oldest children of the O'Donovan family, Kathleen and William, as they discern the vocations to which God is calling them. Kathleen's pride and impatience blind her to God's path initially; as she recovers from her folly, she must learn the value of trust. William believes he hears God's voice, but must balance his discernment with the decrees of the Church. Both young adults grow in wisdom during the three years covered in this novel.

Writing of a devout Catholic family in the late 1800s, Ellen Gable has done her research well. The book is full of historical details and reflects a working knowledge of the Church during that period. The characters' words and actions reflect well their upbringing in that place and time with no lapses to jar the reader out of the story. A Subtle Grace is also a well-edited book - no typographical errors, no dragging passages, and no incomplete plot lines. I appreciate the attention to detail evident in such a work!

A Subtle Grace is indeed a cut above typical inspirational romances. With a solid plot line and a cast of excellent supporting characters, this novel has much to offer. I finished the 400+ pages in just two evenings of reading! To buy your own copy and view Ellen Gable's other works, visit her Amazon page here.

I was provided a review copy of A Subtle Grace in order to write this review. No other payment or compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why I've Been a Lazy Blogger

And this isn't even my picture. But this baby is the same age as mine!

Friday, November 21, 2014

7QT (Vol. 108): Anne Says and Peter Pictures

Anne has a cold and might be teething, too. She was up about every 20 minutes last night, mostly gassy, which I suspect is from swallowing a lot of air with her cold. We let her sleep in our bed all night, so not very restful for any of us.

This morning, Jeremy cheerfully changed diapers and got breakfast for both kids while I got a solid extra 30 minutes of sleep. My hero. When he got to work, he sent me the following Anne quotes from breakfast:

"Daddy, doughnut?"
"No, this is a bagel."
"No, doughnut."
"It's a bagel. See? It has seeds."
(concerned) "Why?"

(referring to chicken) "Baby!"
Peter: "Anne, why do you like babies so much?"
"I dunno. Never boring."

(later) "Daddy, doughnut?"
"It's not a doughnut, sweetheart, it's a bagel."
"Me doughnut?"
Hope springs eternal...

I realize I have been unusually lax in posting adorable pictures of my children. This is particularly bad since those pictures are the main reason most people visit my blog. I'll compensate with some pictures of Peter from when he was the age Anne is now (almost 2). How time flies!


7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary

Monday, November 17, 2014

Small Victories

The furnace technician arrived a few minutes before 8:00 this morning (just routine maintenance) and I was already dressed and able to calmly answer the door. Anne hadn't had breakfast yet, but that was her decision. Apparently no one microwaves chicken nuggets like Daddy.

We slithered into Mass during the entrance procession, but we got there!

I accomplished all my cleaning goals for the day. Which was to sweep two rooms and empty the dishwasher. Let's not get crazy.

I had a very productive spiritual direction session that I think I'll be mentally unpacking for quite some time.

Jeremy made delicious grilled cheese sandwiches tonight, forever changing Heesu's perception of what that food should be. "This is really good! Grilled cheese are always junk, but this is very delicious!" Her only experience before tonight had been buttered white bread and American cheese. Jeremy's combination of mozzarella with tomatoes on wheat bread basted with olive oil astounded her. (OK, this is not really my victory. But it was fun to enjoy his victory!)

I finally connected with one of the kids in my class who has been pushing since the beginning of the year to find out how far she can go. She was a great addition to class tonight, not a single inappropriate comment or even facial expression. She's a smart kid and natural leader, so it was wonderful to have her engaged. AND got us out of the potential power struggle that seemed to be on the horizon!

This excellent ponytail placement is not today's victory,
but fits the theme anyway.

Friday, November 14, 2014

7QT (Vol. 107): Joseph and my Amazing Evening

My in-laws came out today. Such a great day! They brought apple crisp AND entertained my children so I could take a nap. :-) My mother-in-law "did school" with Peter, experimenting to see what floats and what sinks. She even went a step further and explained how surface area affects the ability to float. It was music to my ears, hearing him learn from his Grandma as I went up.

After dinner tonight, I went to Chocolate and Vines with Heesu, my mother-in-law, and a friend I met on the internet. (We pretend that's sketchy to amuse ourselves. In reality, it's because we're both too introverted to meet friends in real life.) After a relaxing and delicious dessert, we were off to the Auditorium Theatre for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!

I can't even explain how much I enjoyed it! I saw it years ago with my dad; this performance more than lived up to my memories of that one. The performers were very talented, both in dancing and singing. And the LIGHTS! What I most remember from the first show was the effects achieved with the lights. Technology has improved in the past ten years; it was even more impressive! I think I was smiling for 90% of the show.

And this is just what they did while people were leaving!

A couple weeks ago, I recommended to the parents of my 6th grade religion students that they take their children to see the play if they had the resources. While watching the scene with Potiphar's wife seducing Joseph, I hoped that if the kids go, they won't catch all of that... Hmm. Although Heesu pointed out that it was still less suggestive than the costumes in the Donny Osmond movie.

Heesu and I watched the movie a few weeks ago, since she was learning the story in her Sacred Scripture class. The movie is fine. Heesu wasn't sure she wanted to come see the play, but hesitantly agreed. Tonight, she was overflowing with praise for it. "It was a BILLION times better than the movie!" I agree. I wish I had the resources to go see it again tomorrow night!

One of the little things I thought was cool about the play was that the first brother to embrace Joseph when he reveals his identity at the end was Reuben. He ran up, hugged him, then turned toward heaven and clasped his hands in prayer. Given that he was the only brother who tried to save Joseph's life in the Bible, I thought that was a nice touch.

Making my night complete, Jeremy got Anne to sleep tonight while I was at the play. This is the first time she has been put down to sleep without nursing first (or falling asleep in the car or while rocking), I think. She's getting to be so big! I am very happy to know she can fall asleep without me.

7 Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary