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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) I've been doing well at getting up between 6 & 6:15 each morning to read the daily readings. In addition to them, I started using the Coming Home Network's list for reading the Bible & Catechism of the Catholic Church in one year. It breaks both down into daily increments to make it manageable.

2) I've seen numerous places around the web regarding "40 Bags in 40 Day," a program to declutter during Lent. (I think the idea originally came from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.) Each day, pack one bag or box of equivalent size of things that you just don't need anymore. You can donate, recycle, or trash items. I decided to start a bit early. Heaven knows we have more than enough to get rid of! Tuesday I started going through our files...getting rid of excess paperwork that we don't need & filing those things we need to keep. Yesterday, I went through our bath towels. Do we really NEED to have 20 towels for six of us?!?! I read somewhere about donating used towels to an animal shelter or hospital, so I think I'm going to look into that. The towels are not decent enough to donate elsewhere, but they're not bad enough to throw out.

3) In an effort to reduce my computer time, I've set myself up on a regular blog schedule. I spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME each day going back & forth between different blogs & felt it was high time I cut back. I printed off a daily schedule, posting it near the computer, & have certain bloggers I visit each day. Some only update their blogs a couple times a week while others do it daily. So far, I've done well keeping to it.

BONUS - I got a job! Starting this weekend, I will be working on Saturdays from 9am-7pm as a receptionist for a nursing/rehabilitation center. My neighbor is in administration management there & needed a weekend receptionist. The days will be long, but it will only be one day a week & I am confident that Casinodad will be fine w/ the munchkins while I'm gone.

How's life for you? Share your successes & see others at Faith & Family Live.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) Sunday was a very productive day. After Mass, my dad came over to help remove our old toilet seat from our downstairs bath. The nut & bolt were so rusted, he had to cut them off. Afterwards, I cleaned the bathroom & put on another toilet seat. It's amazing how just this one small item can really change the look of the bathroom. Also, I took ALL of our recyclables to the recycle bins. WOW! Our garage was overflowing w/ them. Because of illnesses & lots of freezing, snowy weather, we hadn't taken them in almost two months.

2) We finally bought a Wii Fit Plus & set it up Sunday evening. So far I have used it for at least 1/2 an hour each day since. Right now, I'm just spending time exploring the various activities. Once I find the ones I really like, I'll set myself up on a regular schedule. According to my body test, I am overweight (no surprise there!) & have the body of a 48 year old. I've got a lot of work to do!

3) On Monday, the munchkins & I spent the morning in the basement. They worked on straightening up their toys while I cleaned out the junk underneath the stairs. I've been promising them I would do this for a while so they could play under there. I also managed to get three loads of laundry done while down there!

What's been good for you this week? Go & share at Faith & Family Live!

More for This Mother's Pride

Yesterday was truly a blessed day for our family. The Prophet was an altar server for the first time. A couple years ago, he helped my dad (a deacon at his parish) with the Stations of the Cross because Dad wasn't able to find any servers for that night. The Prophet really liked helping & couldn't wait until he could be a full-fledged server. We attended that parish at the time & there, students have to be in the fifth grade before they're able to serve. At our new parish, they can start in the second half of their third grade year. The Prophet was very excited to start. There hasn't been an official training session for new servers yet, so we just showed up early for our parish's deacon to run through the duties with him.

He did so well. I could tell he was a little nervous, but the other two servers were very supportive & helped him along. My parents & Casinodad's parents were there to support him, too. I had tears in my eyes when I saw him processing in, carrying one of the candles. He looked so grown up & pious. I had tears in my eyes several other times, too. I asked my dad if it was normal for a mother to cry when her son serves the first time & he (ever the jokester) said only if he messes up! We wanted to get a picture of him after Mass in his server robe w/ Monsignor & our deacon, but he de-robed before we had a chance.

On another note of pride in my children...the other three were very well-behaved in Mass yesterday, especially The Saint. This was the first Sunday since he was an infant, that we've been able to stay in the church through the whole Mass. Now, all of our munchkins are usually pretty good during Mass, but yesterday was the best they've been in a long time. I think they understood how special the occasion of their brother's first serving was (plus the fact that their grandparents were there!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mother's Pride

The day after the earthquake in Haiti, Casinodad & I decided that we would send some of our money to help out. Sure we had this money set aside for some other things, but this relief effort is much more important. The next morning, I was telling the munchkins what happened & what we were planning to do. The Prophet went to get his bank, dumped it all onto the kitchen table, & gave every last penny to me for Haiti. Then he, The Archangel, & The Princess decided to give some of their Christmas money...$20 from each of them. When I asked if they were sure they wanted to give that much, they were firm in their decisions. They've also been making sure that we include the people of Haiti & all those joining in the rescue efforts in our prayers each night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

1) With the exception of this morning, I have been getting up even earlier & to spend time in prayer & Bible reading. I still can't believe how much differently the days go when I take that extra time. We still have our moments, but they pass much quicker.

2) When faced with several furnace issues in the past couple weeks, including a whole day w/out it running in teen degree temperatures (we did have our gas fireplace), I did not get upset. I just went with the flow. I attribute this success to No. 1 above!

3) When the munchkins wanted to spend this morning cleaning I let them. Sure, it was probably a diversionary tactic to avoid school, but who was I to argue when they WANTED TO CLEAN! The Prophet did ask if we could skip school today so that we could clean. He said he wants a cleaner house. I said we would do some schoolwork, but make it a lighter day if they would do the incomplete stuff on Saturday. He agreed.

We're taking a half hour break right now. So far they have swept the kitchen floor, vacuumed both lower level rooms & the stairs, cleaned the windows, sponge mopped the kitchen & entry floors, straightened up all downstairs clutter (except my mess in the school area), cleaned the bathroom toilet, wiped down walls, doors, & counters, & started on their rooms...& it's not even lunchtime yet.

So, how has your past week been? Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes & to share your own. God Bless & have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: The Gospel Truth

My most recent book review is The Gospel Truth: A Lectionary-Based Catechism for Adults by Kenneth Ogorek.

Using the Sunday Gospel readings for all three years of the lectionary cycle, Mr. Ogorek has prepared an average of two pages of reading & reflection. "It is meant to help facilitate a basic reflection on the Sunday Gospel readings and various points of Catholic doctrine that they call to mind." (pg. xi)

Following the Gospel reading, there is a "Truths of Our Catholic Faith" section. This is a reflection that ties the Gospel to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with passages cited. This book conforms to the Catechism & "...was submitted to the USCCB for the conformity review." (pg. xi)

Next is a gray box that has three questions. A Question for Me relates the Gospel to my life, For a Child in My Life helps me to help my children understand the Gospel on their levels, & My Role in the Community gives me ideas on spreading the Gospel beyond our home &/or guiding me through my role in my parish.

Underneath the box is a section to further your study of the Sunday Gospel. It lists the other readings & Psalm for the day, page references for the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. & a Bible verse for reflection.

I've only used my copy for the past month & have already decided that it is a great reference for our family to have on hand. Taking only 15-20 minutes to study the following Sunday's readings has really helped me to focus more on the Mass each week.

My favorite reflection so far comes from the Year C 4th Sunday of Advent Gospel, Luke 1:39-45, in which Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. This Gospel is one of the best in regards to Pro-Life messages, linked to the Catechism #2323, & it was reflected in Mr. Ogorek's writing:

"Elizabeth does not say 'the blob of tissue in my womb seemed to leap for joy.' Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth knows that she carries within her a human person, a divinely-created being with integrity and priceless dignity. And Mary is not referred to as 'the woman who may become the mother of my Lord if and when the bundle of cells in her womb becomes a person at some debatable point.' To Elizabeth, both the mother of her Lord as well as the unborn Lord Himself, have come."

This book retails for $20, a great price since you receive all the Sunday Gospels for three years. This review was done as part of The Catholic Company's reviewer program.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cool Video Link

My friend sent me a link to this YouTube video of The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy from The Nutcracker, played on a glass harp. There are many other great pieces also - Beethoven's 5th, Ode to Joy, & Star Wars...just to name a few. ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."


Wow! It feels like it's been ages since I posted my Small Successes, but it's only been since Dec. 17! So, here goes...

1) For Christmas, the munchkins & I made over 220 cookies & three batches of fudge. Each child chose a cookie to make w/ me & we all made cut-outs together. It was nice to have that one-on-one time & not have three sets of hands in the cookie dough at once.

The Prophet & I made Thumbprint Cookies.

The Archangel & I made Cyclops Cookies (PB w/ Hershey Kisses).

The Princess & I made M&M Cookies.

2) I made a big pot of vegetable soup yesterday afternoon & it was delicious. It simmered all afternoon & we ate it for dinner. Casinodad had three bowls of it. There is plenty leftover, so I've got a great lunch for the next few days...healthy & yummy!

3) For the first time ever, I put my new year's goals on paper & even posted them HERE on my blog. Usually I just mentally think of what I want to do & never stick w/ anything. Hopefully, by putting them in writing, I'll hold myself more accountable.

An extra one - 4) My nephew's birthday was Dec. 30 & my sister's is today . I was prepared w/ their gifts way ahead of time & even had them wrapped before Christmas! Just to share, my sister's gift was Smurf-themed. I found a small bag, 2 notepads, 2 lip balms...all w/ Smurfs on them. Then, I bought a bunch of blueberry flavored items (pancake mix, syrup, NutraGrain bars, tea, jelly) & changed the name on them to "Smurfberry." And, yes, she did like the Smurfs when she was younger. She had a record of Smurf songs, sheet music for the piano, books, & loved watching the cartoon. Have a Smurfy Birthday, Momto5Boys!)

Want to share your successes or see what others have done lately? Check out Faith and Family Live.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Goals - Better Late Than Never, Right?

I've never been a New Year's Resolution maker. Sure, I've made the traditional ones...exercise more, eat less, be nicer, be more spiritual, etc. Have I ever stuck w/ those? Yeah, right!!! This year, I'm trying something different. My dear college friend, Lawgirl, wrote up a great post on her blog about making resolutions/goals for the new year. After reading it, I realized why I'd never been able to stay w/ mine...they were too general. She mentioned the SMART acronym:

S = specific, significant, stretching
M = measureable, motivating, meaningful, memorable
A = attainable, accountability, achievable
R = relevant, realistic, reasonable, rewarding
T = timebound, tangible, thoughtful

All of these are common sense, which apparently I'd been lacking for a while - LOL. So, in an effort to better myself in this new year, I sat down w/ a spiral notebook. On page one, I wrote my goals in general form. Page two is the SMART acronym. The third page is a list of possible focus words for the year. I've seen this mentioned on several blogs & thought I might add a word or phrase to help me focus for the year. I'm still trying to find the right one for me. I'm leaning toward "REVIVE" but I'm not sure yet.

On the pages following, I listed each individual goal more specifically, including dates by which I want to accomplish the goals. Notice I'm using the word "Goals", rather than "Resolutions". It makes them more real in my mind. My list is still not complete. Knowing me, I'm sure I'll be adding & subtracting things from it most of the year. But, at least I have something down on paper.

In an effort to hold myself more accountable, here are my general goals w/ some of the specific breakdowns. I'm hoping to revisit this throughout the year here on my blog. Perhaps knowing that I've let others in on my goals, I'll be more motivated to follow through on at least some of them!

1) EAT BETTER (more fruits, veggies, & whole grains; less sugar & desserts; more water)

2) EXERCISE (walking; stretching exercises I found in a magazine; buy a Wii Fit - & use it!)

3) DECLUTTER / ORGANIZE THE WHOLE HOUSE (regular cleaning schedule; go room by room to declutter; organize files & recipes; make family binder; update family medical files)

4) BUDGET / FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION (get back on track w/ Dave Ramsey's plan; make & stick to a budget; pay off bills & start saving more; use an envelope system for cash)

5) FAMILY (make a weekly family night; more family meals even if Daddy's not home from work; catch up w/ & stay on track for school; less yelling & more encouragement; chore chart for all)

6) PERSONAL (more spiritual time; start day earlier; get back to my creative outlets of scrapbooking & stamping)

So there you have it...my six big goals for the year 2010. Some may only take a short time; some may take ALL. YEAR. LONG! Some are easy; some are very challenging, but doable if I really put my mind to it.

Thank you Lawgirl for your tips & inspiration!

And to all my readers...Have a wonderful New Year!