"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Recent Reads (vol.15)

Whew, October really pushed me back on my reading goals...but Thanksgiving break helped me catch up a bit. Currently 2 books behind on my reading challenge this year. I'm doing a reading challenge with friends and am in a church book club, so it's hard keeping up with the books I picked at the beginning of the year. (Plus I've already abandoned one, thinking about abandoning another, and aren't even interested in starting two of them! Blah.)

The New Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson

Thanks to two of my children for making this a required read. I really liked the first half of the book. The second half had questionable parts for me. I did appreciate the chapter with other people's experiences (which was even better on audiobook), because hey! It's not just us! If you do have an extremely strong-willed child, this book will probably be helpful, but do take some things with a grain of salt.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This was my read for September's category of "mystery/thriller" with my friends' reading challenge. I read it in 2 days if that's any indication of how interesting it was. (We watched the new movie soon after and I thought the book was way better.) This was only my 2nd ever Agatha Christie book but I'm thinking more will be in my future!

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

This was a reread for me. I've been wanting to read it again and my book club picked it last month, so that was perfect. It was on my list of fave books in 2017 and will probably be one of those select few I reread every so often. Because I need the reminder that the devil is so darn sneaky.

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

Super quick read. It's basically a bunch of essays (blog posts?) about all things reading, which was a little disappointing. But I definitely related to all of it! While it did seem a little lacking (I literally listened to the audiobook in one day), I think anyone who considers themselves a major book reader would like it.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

This one is going to stay with me for a long time. I just can't shake the facts of so many people being wrongly convicted and on death row, or people given life sentences for things they did as children. This book really opened my eyes to the flaws in our justice system and I'm struggling with knowing what we can do about it!

Grieving Together: A Couple's Journey through Miscarriage by Laura Kelly Fanucci and Franco David Fanucci

Well, this is the book I wish we had years ago. Even though it says miscarriage, really any couple who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss will find it helpful. It literally covers everything, from the physical experience of miscarriage to what the Church says about miscarried babies. I love that Laura and Franco wrote it together, because pregnancy loss affects marriages, and Logan and I know firsthand how couples can grieve differently. Definitely recommend for anyone, even if you haven't experienced loss - it will help you be more supportive to those who have!

The Power of Silence by Robert Cardinal Sarah (with Nicolas Diat)

Whew, I was not expecting this to take me over 7 months to read! (The second half went by much quicker than the first half.) I did rate it 5 stars, although I have to say I wasn't a fan of the interview format and I really think they could have cut out a lot. BUT there were so many gems in this book, and it really got me thinking about the power of silence and how that is the way to truly know God. I highlighted over 50 quotes on my Kindle!

Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Philippe

Yet another one of those books I'll probably be rereading often. It's fairly short but really powerful! It would make a great Advent read.

Current stats:
  • Books read this year so far: 38 (goal is 45)
  • Books read on my 2018 reading list: 17 (out of 24)

Read anything good lately? Do share!

P.S. The Advent devotional I helped write will be on sale for Cyber Monday only! Discount will show once it's added to the cart.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fall favorites (even though it's suddenly winter)

WHEW, we survived October! Sickness (kiddos), meetings (me), allergic reaction (one kiddo), dentist work (me), big fundraiser, other church events, doctor appointments (kiddos and me), school events, birthday parties, etc. So crazy.

So far November has been a little crazy too but I think it should calm down next week. I hope.

We've had a lot of good things happen throughout all of the craziness and I wanted to share! Because I don't do that enough. Here we go!
In lieu of our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, we did an impromptu Fall Festival at home due to sickness. The boys LOVED it.

Our parish hosts an All Saints trunk-or-treat every year and it's become one of our favorite traditions! This year the theme was "Mysteries of the Rosary" and we even prayed a rosary together before doing the trunk-or-treat. Let's reclaim All Hallow's Eve, shall we? (Also, Landon = St. Gerard, Chase = St. Patrick, Aaron =  St. Nicholas, kind of, because we're slacker parents and didn't finish the accessories in time)

It's felt like Logan and I haven't had a whole lot of alone time lately, but we've actually managed to go on some pretty epic dates - one of our favorite fundraisers, our church fundraiser (although I was volunteering during much of that one), and a fun marriage enrichment event at another church this past weekend. Anything with food, wine, and my hubby? Sign me up!

This has been a labor of love (and added to the October craziness), but it's done! I joined with a few other ladies to write an Advent devotional for married couples, and we're so excited to share it. Read more details over on ye marriage blog!

I'm part of the Catholic Mom Bundle this week! Our marriage challenge cards (top row in the middle) are included in the 20 awesome digital products. Get it for just $25 (valued at $246) through Friday! If you use our affiliate link (which I reallllllly appreciate), I get a commission. Find out more details here (affiliate link, thank you!).

Our church also had a Family Day and it was so fun! One of my besties took pictures of families and I'm totally considering using them for our Christmas cards, because, lazy. Logan actually took this one but they all came out so cute!

Logan and I are really hoping to tackle some things around the house this month so maybe I'll blog about it! Bunk beds, here we come...(first on the list). Wish us luck.

Friday, October 26, 2018

An unexpected date

I knew October was going to be crazy....but I did not think it would be this crazy. This week has been the perfect storm of events, crazy school schedules, volunteer responsibilities, medical issues, and everything else. Last night, I was falling asleep at 8pm, much to Logan's disbelief.

But yesterday around lunch, I found myself with just Landon. (It's been a weird week.) And I was soooo tempted to go home and spend the 2 full hours I had before the next obligation doing some things I really needed to get done.

Somehow, thankfully, I tapped into some graces and decided to use those 2 hours to go on a mommy and son date with my eldest - something I really don't know if I've ever done before! We ate lunch, went shopping, and I was actually able to listen to his endless stream of talking without being distracted by anything else (ahem, like his younger brothers or the million tasks I'm trying to do at any given moment).

I know friends who go on dates with their kids, and I'm not sure why we've never done it. Probably because Logan works weekends, probably because we're on a budget. And I'm not sure why it took the busiest week we've had in awhile to make me realize that we need to do it more often. (To clarify, we definitely do spend one-on-one time with the kids....but it's usually while we run errands or do things that need to get done.)

So maybe that's something I need to add to my 2019 goals list. Going on dates with our kids, because they're growing faster than we realize.

Do you go on dates with your kids? How do you make it happen?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Confessions (vol.2)

Here I go again, confessing things I probably shouldn't. (Last confessions post is here.)

I'm already making my 2019 list of books to read even though I have about 10 left on my 2018 one.

After a really rough day last week, I ended up in the chapel crying (big thanks to Logan for letting me have some time for myself!). I'm not a crier.

I'm going through a reading slump. There are 2 books that are taking me FOREVER to get through even though I am enjoying them. And I feel like I can't read other books until those are done but THEY'RE TAKING SO LONG. So then I just start another book (or two, ahem) in hopes it'll motivate me to finish the first 2. And then I just feel overwhelmed because I'm reading too many books! I have a problem.

Logan found me a used bike from a friend and now I think I'd be okay not running ever again in my life.  (Never thought I'd say that.) (But my knees are thankful.)

Pretty sure I'd be okay never being pregnant again.

Buuuuuut I don't think our family is complete. So, there's that. (Life is complicated.)

I still don't watch the news ever. Unless there's a hurricane or something.

I'm really struggling with NFP right now. (And I definitely deleted and typed that again 3 times. #oversharing)

I feel like I need to go to confession every 2 weeks. (I do go once a month. Why isn't that enough??)

As much as I want to write a book, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.

Sometimes I wonder how I managed to marry such a ridiculous man (who dressed up as Fall Festival Frankie and acted accordingly for at least half an hour)...but I really appreciate how he can make me laugh every single day. (Marley isn't too sure about him sometimes, though.)

We're trying to save up for a fancy family vacation and every time I think we're on track, a big unexpected expense comes up. Ughhhh.

I've been thinking about foster care lately. And then I had to tell Logan that before he read it on my blog just now.

Logan and I fasted from sweets for a period of time and it was so much harder than I expected. Now I'm struggling with eating too many sweets to make up for lost time.

God has felt kind of distant lately, and I had a little heart-to-heart with him about that in the chapel last week. It wasn't until this week that I realized I wasn't doing a very good job of seeking him out.

I've worn makeup exactly two times this year, and I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing. (Why yes, it can be a bad thing because I'm too lazy and I just really don't care enough to put it on.)

Your turn! What's something crazy/weird/silly about you?

Monday, October 8, 2018

One of my favorite things about the Rosary

I couldn't go the month of October without writing a post about the Rosary, now could I?

I don't think I can adequately explain just how much I love the Rosary and how much it has changed my prayer life. I went through periods of praying a daily Rosary starting in my college days, would fall off the wagon, start praying it every day again, and so forth. Cue endless cycle. Until 2015 when I finally stopped making excuses.

And now I couldn't imagine NOT praying the Rosary every day.

You know something crazy? Which is one of my favorite things about praying the Rosary? With as many times as I've prayed the Rosary, I still gain new insights about the mysteries.

Like recently. While meditating on the Wedding at Cana, I suddenly realized it was the perfect example of why we ask for Mary's intercession.

Jesus was not expecting to perform a miracle that day. He even told his mother "his time had not yet come."

But Mary told the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." And then Jesus performed his very first miracle! And at a wedding! (Marriage is my fave, if you haven't noticed.)

Why wouldn't we ask Mary for prayers? Jesus totally listens to his mother.

Maybe people have totally written about this before. Maybe I should have had this epiphany a long time ago. Maybe I sound really crazy right now.

But meditating on the mysteries every single day for years now has brought me closer to Jesus - through the eyes of Mary. Meditating on the events of their lives has helped me grow in love for both of them. And I'd like to think it brings them joy too!

I know there have been countless intentions that have been answered because I've asked for Mary's intercession. There have been so many times where I've been in the middle of the Rosary and I receive an answer to prayer, an inspiration for a blog post, or a much-needed consolation.

I still remember a priest friend telling me that whenever he doesn't know what to say, he prays a Hail Mary and immediately the right words come to him.

Our priest now is constantly telling us to "let Mary take care of it." And that's exactly what she did from the very beginning, right? Jesus started his earthly ministry at her prompting.

So what are you waiting for? Ask the Blessed Mother for her help - she won't disappoint you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Currently (vol.3)

The last time I did one of these posts was almost a year ago. I shall remedy that.

Reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I've heard so many good things, and while it's taking me some time to get through, I'm enjoying it so far.

Wondering why Aaron either spends each day 1) screaming at me or 2) getting into EVERYTHING.
But he's adorable, so there's that.

to The Screwtape Letters. I listened to it a year ago but it's the next book for a book club, and I was wanting to read it again anyway...so yeah. It's good. You should read it. (Or listen to it.)

Watching The Flash. Logan and I love Arrow and didn't really get the appeal of The Flash at first...but now we are so into it. Dare I say it's even better than Arrow? It's not as intense and dark, which is a huge plus...but it's also hilarious.

Working on time management. That means ignoring my phone and social media until I do dishes, laundry, and baking.

Frustrated at our budget. Irregular income is hard!

Loving how our big boys are doing really well in school.

Debating on doing a no-spend month. But that thought is depressing because I feel like we don't spend a whole lot in the first place!

Thankful for our health.

Struggling with feeling SO tired all of the time. Despite getting 8 hours of sleep most nights. (Nope, not pregnant.)

Praying for discernment for our family regarding jobs, family size, and other endeavors.

Excited about our date night coming up!
New fave pic of us

Trying to slow down. Life does not need to be crazy unless I let it!

Laughing at how the only movie Aaron will sit and watch from start to finish is Frozen.

What say you? What's new with you?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Recent Reads (vol.14)

The post in which I prove that I do read fiction sometimes! And I'm only 1 book behind now in my reading challenge. Woot.

  • Total books read this year so far: 30 (goal is 45)
  • Books completed on my 2018 reading list: 14 (out of 24)

The 21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage by Dr. Allen Hunt

2018 will be known as the year I read too many marriage books. I read this because of a FB group I'm in, and I enjoyed it. Easy read. I'm not sure I had any new revelations, but it was still good. (4 stars)

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

I read this for my August book as part of my reading challenge with friends. August's category was "a book set in a place you have visited", and a friend recommended this since it takes place in New Orleans. It wasn't the best written novel, but I loved the characters and how I recognized all the places. I wouldn't read it again, but I still liked it. (3 stars)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This was a fun read - reminded me of The Awakening of Miss Prim. Delightful, slightly humorous, and makes you wish you could live there and know all of the characters personally. The movie was good too! I talked about that here. (5 stars)

Middlemarch by George Eliot

It took me over 3 months, but I finished! The first half was slow and a little confusing with all of the characters, but I was pleasantly surprised with the second half. I loved several of the characters and was not expecting so much of the book to be revolved around marriages. But it was, and I loved it. (What I learned: there have always been struggling marriages! Even before divorce was common.) (4 stars)

By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride by Alice von Hilderbrand

I cannot believe I had not read this before. It came highly recommended, and now I can't recommend it enough. Every woman should read this, preferably in the first year or two of marriage! It's one of those easy reads that is good to pick up every now and then for a refresher. (5 stars)

Walking with Purpose: Seven Priorities that Make Life Work by Lisa Brenninkmeyer

I read this for an upcoming book club of Catholic women, and it was recommended by their awesome priest. It was one of those perfectly-timed reads for me. It kind of reminds me of A Mother's Rule of Life, but if you didn't like that book, you'll probably like this one better! The priorities were very similar (at least the first 4), but this book had chapters dedicated to friendship and outside activities. I found it extremely helpful and encouraging. (5 stars)

You know the drill! What good books have you read lately?


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