March 11, 2014

Just a weekend

Phew. Nice to take some time off from writing after that cumbersome week of daily posts! Oh, I'm just kidding. Whining about "being forced" by some invisible iron hand to write every day... I actually enjoyed the exercise. It was challenging. Very challenging. To come up with a topic, then to write something at least slightly coherent that others might find interesting. So much [self-imposed] pressure!!

Anyway, since I last wrote we began the season of Lent in this little household. More self discipline. More focus on our relationships with Jesus. More reminders of what it means to be grateful. Hopeful. Joyful. I was raised with the teachings that Lent is a time of penance. And don't get me wrong--I'm not saying Lent is not a time of penance. But for me, Lent has become more of a time for gratitude and hope, not so much sorrow. What I am saying is that David and I focus on how this time of penance, this time of acknowledging our faults will bring us a greater sense of gratitude for Jesus and His mercy, greater gratitude for the blessings God gives us in spite of our faults, greater gratitude for the love of God. Throughout our Lenten penance, we come to know Jesus and His sacrifice for us more deeply. And through that we can gain a greater sense of hope, and therefore greater joy. So here's to a happy Lent!

Speaking of happy, my mom and I took a little trip across the state to my grandparents' farm last weekend. We were celebrating the upcoming wedding of her youngest brother and his fiance with a little bridal shower. It was also a chance to get to know my soon-to-be-aunt. As I've mentioned before, I love all my aunties. One is only a month younger than me. Another is only five years older. The next oldest is nine years older. And so on. I love having aunts so close to my age. They are more like cousins--or even sisters--than aunts. So to welcome another aunt into the family, especially one who is so down to earth, such a hard worker, an avid learner and observer, and has pretty tough skin to handle the crazy that is our ginormous family, is pretty exciting.

My mom hosted the lovely little shower.

A couple of delicious salads, some pesto pinwheels (cream cheese, pesto, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and shredded chicken--YUM!), zucchini bites and fruit. Just a sweet, lovely little luncheon.

can't forget the cake!

We were entertained by several games, my favorite being one where we were asked to guess my future-aunt's age by looking at her childhood pictures. She is David's age and only two years older than me--also tall and lanky, like me--so I figured I had an advantage to guessing her age...that is if I could remember what I looked like at five years old. :)

Words of wisdom, date night ideas and family traditions for the happy couple

I love the socializing aspect of showers most of all, especially having the chance to chat with the aunts I haven't visited with in months. This weekend I had the chance to finally catch up with Lisa--the one five years older than me. She and her husband lived in my college town when they were first married. She had her first baby my freshman year, so naturally I grew very attached to this particular cousin as I watched her grow into a toddler, then preschooler and now little girl. This baby was my flower girl four years ago, and now is the big sister to three other beautiful little girls! Needless to say it is a rare treat to have a focused conversation with my dear aunt Lisa. A welcomed and very much appreciated treat, too!

With most showers I will usually default to the standard kitchen gadget gift. All have appreciated this, but I felt the urge to do something a little outside the box. I so wanted my future-aunt to feel welcomed by something more sentimental--still functional, but sentimental. A few Pinterest searches later, I concluded a wine basket for the couple's first year would be perfect!

After all, what better way to celebrate and highlight the firsts of a new marriage than with wine? (well...I suppose I would typically say beer, but not in this case!).

Open on wedding night: Lady in White from Kestrel

Upon your first fight: Mad Housewife Cab Sav

At (or after!) your first gathering at home: House Wine!

On your first anniversary: Cupcake Red Velvet Cake

When that first baby comes into the picture...
dad can enjoy a glass of Barefoot Crisp White! :)

I attached a clever little poem that I adapted from ones I found on various other blogs to each bottle, hopefully explaining when and why my future-aunt and uncle should drink them. We'll see if they follow the rules. Regardless of how they enjoy the gift, I wish them the very best in all their "firsts"!  

Happy shower, soon-to-be-aunt Liz!  

March 2, 2014

Do Not Be Afraid

I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice
I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am near

I am hope for all who are hopeless
I am eyes for all who long to see
In the shadows of the night,
I will be your light
Come and rest in Me

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

I am strength for all the despairing
Healing for the ones who dwell in shame
All the blind will see, the lame will all run free
And all will know My name

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

I am the Word that leads all to freedom
I am the peace the world cannot give
I will call your name, embracing all your pain
Stand up, now, walk, and live

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

You Are Mine, by David Haas

Today we sang this beautiful song during Eucharist at Mass. The piano began the 16 bar intro and my heart paused. My voice caught in the back of my throat. I had to hold my breath to keep the tears back. This song was one of Samuel's songs. We chose it for his funeral Mass. So beautiful, full of hope. A much needed reminded today. Painful. But much needed.

March 1, 2014

Day 6 of 7

My husband just reminded me...don't you have a post to write?

Oh yeah. That! I really have never cared to write on weekends. We are usually so busy or we take the time to just. be., which includes taking a break from thinking too hard. :) This weekend it's the former reason. David and I started the morning off slowly with coffee and breakfast. And listening to Rockabye Baby Lullabies. Seriously. If you've never heard of Rockabye Baby Lullabies may I suggest you give them a try? A sample...

Oh yes. So much joy comes from this. I listened to Pandora's Rockabye Baby radio station for two and half hours Thursday. Straight. That's what you do when babies sleep you know. Of course, I had to introduce this awesome-ness to David. Sure enough, an hour later David was still listening.

Finally we switched to listening to something more, I don't know, adult-oriented. Broadway tunes! Love me some Broadway. Wicked is the favorite in this household, especially when sung by the original Broadway cast (Indina Menzel!). But this morning we enjoyed a wide variety.

All the while, the dryer rumbled and roared and shook in the background. Just another day in the life of our 1978 laundry system. I made a quick phone call to the local Sears Parts & Repairs shop to see if they had rollers, axles and belts in stock for our Kenmore dryer. Yes, from '78. Nothing to see here. Thankfully they did! Tomorrow we'll pick up parts. Thank goodness.

The dryer is really the bane of my existence since we moved into this house. Laundry has never been my favorite chore--in fact, it's my least favorite (going to have to find a more positive attitude for when more kiddos come around...). The dryer taking THREE cycles to dry a half load while keeping anyone within a football field radius from the house on edge with its rhythmic rumbling is enough reason for me to swear off laundry for the rest of my life. Buying new underwear every week kids.

Since we postponed running errands, we decided to tackle the studio addition. Up until now it has been a storage room. More accurately, the "don't-know-where-to-put-this-crap-so-let's-just-dump-it-here" room. Ideally, we want to turn it back into a studio. Our gym will house half the space (it's quite large, roughly 12' by 20')--treadmill, weights, yoga, Pilates balls, etc.--and my sewing room / music studio will house the other half. Ideally, we want to set up the space so that I can start teaching music again. The studio has a separate entrance from the main house, has two great skylights and vaulted ceilings. It really is a beautiful space.

And it is even more beautiful now that it is slightly better organized. We cleared all of the junk off the floors, put it in tubs and finally put together our storage shelves.

Half-way there. At least the stuff is off the floor and on the shelves!
I can now move my sewing machine, fabric, craft supplies and music all into this room! Hooray! Eventually I'd love to paint the walls something other than white, but that could be a year (or much longer) down the road. Hopefully I'll get curtains on the windows and artwork on the walls by next fall. We shall see.

So that was our busy day. We ended with a late dinner (when David offered his reminder about this little blog-every-day-for-a-week thing): left overs. I think David is waiting for me to finish this little post so we can pull the dryer apart in preparation for tomorrow. Another busy day running errands and putting the dryer back together. But perhaps I'll find a moment to end this blogging marathon with something more profound. Six down, ONE MORE TO GO!!