Showing posts from 2012

Reborn & Repurposed

The final Sunday of Advent turned out to be such a special one for me.   I chose to drive past our home parish to attend 5:30 mass at a chapel owned by another parish as part of its school complex.   It was once the building for a large Baptist congregation.   The Catholic parish bought the building when the Baptist church built a bigger building.   It has since been decorated, blessed, and dedicated for Catholic worship.

There's something about this chapel to which I strongly relate.   Maybe because it, too, has been reborn for a Catholic life and purpose.   It still holds remnants of its Protestant, or non-Catholic, past.   The Crucifix hangs in what seems a striking blue frame to some.   To the knowing eye, the crucifix hangs above what once served as the baptistry, the pool where baptisms as public signs of accepting Christ, not sacraments of regeneration, occurred.    The baptistry is now framed by the crucifix, a symbol and the Tabernacle that contains the reality to which…

Christmas Day

I can't access the camera roll on my iPhone.   I haven't bought a new digital camera because it's just been too easy to use my phone that seems to be with me at most times.    Fortunately, I e-mailed a few of our Christmas pictures in an effort to make room on the phone and I have those to share.

We continued our tradition of attending midnight mass.   Clare and Emmeline wore their beautiful dresses and Thomas wore footed pjs.   Really, there is such a small window of time when it is acceptable to wear pajamas to church, we really should take advantage of it!   The music was beautiful and I love making mass the first thing we do on Christmas Day.   As I sat there, I thought about Christians in times long ago, before the Victorians made Christmas the family holiday that the world celebrates today.   Imagine in medieval times when mass and a feast, not numerous presents, were the main focus of the day.   Surely midnight mass and the meal which traditionally followed must ha…

Wreaths: Advent Preparations

I really enjoy making wreaths.   I was inspired this year by a trip to downtown Bryan after Thanksgiving with a friend.   We saw some beautiful southern-style decorations and I set about making much-needed new wreaths for our front door and above our mantle.

Front Door Wreath

First, can we just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of a red door at Christmas?!

This is a real wreath, but it didn't make it until Christmas.   We get some intense morning sun on the front of our house.   It makes the paint on the door slightly tacky to the touch and sometimes you can barely grasp the hot door handle.  So, a week before Christmas, I transferred all the pieces to an artificial wreath.   It will make next year a little easier!   I used artificial red roses that were expensive, so beginning in October, I went once a week to Michael's and picked up a stem with one of my 40% off coupons.   I cut the stems apart so I could spread the blooms and leaves around the wreath.   Then, I used g…

The Twelve Days of Christmas and Beyond:

My latest post is up at

By the time this is posted, my family and I will hopefully be settled in, snug and happy, in our home on Christmas Day.    While our family is still trying to find our way through our Advent observance, we have made some progress when it comes to celebrating a Catholic Christmas.

To read more

An Image of Christmas

Hand-carved table-top nativity scenes, life-sized nativities, Christmas trees aglow, the wonder of children's faces: they are all images brought to mind during this holy season and I love them all.   When I think about the image that stays with me, that links my childhood to adulthood and never fails to prompt contemplation, it is an unlikely scene that stands out from the rest.   
Growing up in Louisiana, I saw extreme poverty in rural areas.   On the farm next to ours, there lived an elderly man who was called, "Preacher."   He worked on the farm and his small home was just beyond our fence.   People passing by would probably refer to his home as a shack and as technical definitions go, they would not be incorrect.   There was one main room which had at its center a free-standing wood stove.   There was no air conditioning in the summertime and Preacher spent most of his spare time on his tiny front porch rather than indoors.

Such shacks were a fixture in the landsca…

A Blessed Advent

As I wrote earlier, my Advent was not what I planned.   I spent the first three weeks only leaving the house to drop the girls off at school and then to pick them up in the afternoon.   I did my Christmas shopping only a few days before Christmas.   I was able to really rest and recover from pneumonia and the other health issues I've dealt with this year.

We couldn't find the Advent wreath, so the arrangement in the picture above was our family's Advent centerpiece.   Mary, pregnant with Hope incarnate and Joseph guiding them on their way to Bethlehem.    A single candle to inspire and remind us of the anticipation of Christ.   And beautiful flowers: a get-well gift from a friend.

It was a season of blessing: rest and quiet, though forced, that I needed.   Less busy-ness and lessons in what is important and necessary.   I didn't get to make homemade treats for teachers because I was too tired, but gift cards and other store-bought gestures, along with hand-written  n…

Pre-Christmas School Fun

The last day of school before the Christmas break was Pajamas Day.   Clare was a *little* excited about that!   Sweet Emmeline had the flu and missed the whole week of school.   Her teacher sent classroom treats from the party, along with get-well cards from her classmates.   She was pleasantly surprised!

One thing I missed out on during my homeschooling years was homemade arts and crafts that didn't depend upon me.  Clare brought home this sweet ornament: snowmen made from her handprint with a touching poem attached.   Love.


This is not the Advent I planned.   Not that I'd planned an elaborate one, mind you, but I did expect to begin the season with evening mass (it's just so lovely during Advent to leave mass in the dark) and then each night, hang one ornament on our Jesse tree, light the candle on the Advent wreath, and pray the accompanying prayers and scriptures.

The season began Sunday, in Urgent Care, with a two-hour wait.   The day before Thanksgiving, my youngest daughter and I went to Urgent Care, where we were diagnosed with sinus infections.   We were both put on a round of Amoxicillin.   She gradually got better. But I really didn't recover.   The sinus pressure, headaches, and post-nasal drip continued.   Last week, I started running fever and getting chills.   Then came the cough, which although it never reminded me for the fifth time to take out the trash or put my shoes away, still qualified as being of the nagging variety.  So, I did what I was supposed to do and made a follo…

9 Years Old!

Sweet Emmeline is nine years old!

This year, Emmeline has started public school for the first year.   She is adjusting well and loves third grade.   She especially loves her teachers!    She reads as often as she gets the chance.   She also likes watching Doctor Who.   She still loves to draw and create things.   For her birthday, she got a Barbie doll and clothes, a carousel of crayons, and a crystal-growing kit.

She chose to invite a friend out to lunch and to U-Paint-It, a local ceramics shop in town.   They had so much fun creating their little trinket boxes.   Clare chose to paint a ladybug bank.   Amber came into town for her birthday.   It was a special day for a special girl.

I am so thankful God gifted us with such a special girl!

Baptism Gowns & First Communion Dresses

By this time last year, I was already shopping for our family First Communion dress.   As I have posted before, I like bargains and I will save costs where I can.   Even my wedding dress was a great price.   That wasn't exactly on purpose, as it was the one I wanted at first glance, but I did work the summer before our wedding to pay for it.   My parents had paid for my college education so that I started my career with no college debt, so I thought I could handle paying for the dress.

There have been a few times, though, when I didn't worry about costs.   One such time was when we purchased the baptism gown that would become our family baptismal gown.   We bought it before our eldest daughter's baptism and it has been used by all three children.   It is beautiful linen with hand-knitted lace trim on the gown and matching bonnet.   It is a design that can be used for girls or boys.   On the slip of the gown, we have had each child's initials and baptism date embroidere…

A Really Big Purse

I'm sure that my family was no different in that we had stories that were told and re-told over the years.   These were usually humorous anecdotes and I suppose those which involved children made up the majority of the tales.  

Mama like to tell a story about me and a purse.   It was not uncommon for our family to visit cattle farms and ranches on Saturdays.   One of our common destinations was the ranch of a family friend, Mr. Berchman.   He was a Cajun character.   His life seemed to be a series of exciting stories and it was always interesting to visit his home.   When I was about four, we went for a visit and I accidentally left behind a little coin purse.   We visited again about a month later and I found that Mr. Berchman had not only kept the purse for safe-keeping, but he had filled it with pennies.

A few months later, we visited Mr. Berchman again.   Mama would always laugh as she described catching sight of me out of the corner of her eye as we prepared to leave Mr. Berc…

Part I of The Hostess Series: Piecing Together the Basics

When I write about parenting or marriage, I come from the vantage of one on a journey who can simply share mistakes and little insights along the way.   I am far from feeling that I have any solid wisdom to share on those topics.   One area where I have a little more confidence from experience is that of entertaining, or what we used to call "having people over," before the days of cable networks dedicated completely to food, decorating, crafts, and parties.

My confidence stems from lessons learned from my mama and experience from almost sixteen years of marriage.  One of my friends who shares my love of hospitality always expresses gratitude that she was trained by her mother to make her home and events welcoming to others.   It is a precious gift and one that I think may have skipped a generation or two in recent times.    I really do enjoy having friends and family in our home.   I like to welcome people, nurture them and make them feel at home.   I never let our circumst…

Hard Sell

I've seen some posts recently on Facebook and Pinterest of the "cute," "amazing," and "fun" things being done in order to teach classroom and home school students about plant and animal cells.   The fact that I've just used three sets of apostrophes does not bode well for my opinions of these cell activities.

Here are a few well-intended examples:

When I was in seventh grade, we were given the assignment of making a model of a plant cell and an animal cell.   The normal completed project in our class consisted of poster board models.   The more elaborate ones were formed with play dough.   The teacher showed us best examples from past years of both poster board and play dough versions.   I was all set to make a stunning play dough one as I sat down at our kitchen bar.   Then, my dad walked in.   And asked what I was doing.   Then, came the lecture.   I HATED to hear the words, "Terri, go get me a piece of paper."   Because I knew I was g…

Master Bedroom Challenge: {pretty, happy, funny, real}

This week, Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter, announced a Master Bedroom Challenge: Make Your Bedroom Beautiful and Useful.   It was a perfectly timed challenge for me.   As part of the Reasonably Clean House series at the blog, Leila recommends beginning the process in your master bedroom.   Her reasoning is right on target, as I've learned after nearly sixteen years of keeping --or trying to keep--our house.  

Our bedroom is last on our list to work on in this house.   Since we moved in over a year ago, we've worked on all the other rooms.   Now, it's time to start making the master bedroom come together.   It's a large wonderful space.   My mama always said the problem with a bigger house/space is it is easier to clutter it and you aren't as wise with organization.   She was right.   Lot of corners and spaces to "store" things in this room until I get to them.   Plus, the kids love coming in to play, as it's the only room that still has wall-to-w…