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Showing posts from February, 2013

Everything is Beautiful

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...in its own way.   Now that the song is going through your head (you're welcome), I can continue.

I am fascinated by this site: Wind Map., which I found in this post at Open Culture.   It is an art piece created by artists Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenburg.   Overhead images of winds are uploaded every hour and added to the moving piece which records the wind patterns across the United States.  




I was especially amazed at this map as Hurricane Sandy as it built and pushed its way onto shore:

http://hint.fm/wind/gallery/oct-30.js.html

Please try the link since it shows the winds moving.

Wind, with all its destructive potential and power, is still an ordered and even beautiful phenomenon of nature.   We can witness its slow shaping of our landscape or its capacity for destruction in these artistic maps.   From a distance of space and time, we can observe and appreciate, or more likely and better, just gaze in wonder and awe.



7 Quick Takes

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Here are my 7 Quick Takes as part of the link-up with Jennifer at Conversiondiary.com

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The first time I noticed a post from this link-up, it was abbreviated 7qt.   I thought it was a link to a canning recipe or maybe Tupperware had a new big bowl, since I just glanced and saw what I thought was an abbreviation for 7 quarts.   Have to admit: little disappointed for a brief moment.   I really like my big Tupperware bowl.


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My children are really getting bigger.   The girls helped me fill out birthdays on our calendar and I couldn't believe I had to write 7th and 10th on their birthdays.   I was blessed with some sleep sweetness this week and glimpses to remind me they're still little and it's not all gone by yet.




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I really enjoyed an article on Word on Fire this week: Lent: What I Have Done and What I Have Failed to Do.   Ellyn von Huben looked at different pieces of art with a Catholic eye.   It was fascinating and made me want to see the painting in person one day:


Over the yea…

A New Painting: A New Reminder

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As part of my recent attempts to cozy up our home (since it's only been almost two years since we moved in), I finally hung up this little painting I purchased in November.





I bought this from the artist at a festival.   It reminded me of the rolling farmland we saw from our windows on our many trips to east Texas over the past few years.   All those trips we made to my parents' home after my Mama's death and after my dad went into a nursing home.   All those trips to check on the house, to clean out the house, and to finally sell the house.   All those heavy, hard tripswhich left me drained and emotionally wrung-out.

But, take my word for it,  this picture is beautiful and it's bright.   It reminds me not of the heavy, hard trips, but of the glimpse of beauty and the true pleasure I took in seeing that beauty as we drove to our heavy destination.   It's a reminder of God always being there, of friends like Amber who would meet me at the house and help me clean or wat…

7 Quick Takes

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My only camera right now is my iPhone and I can only take pictures for texting or posting on Facebook.   I lost my camera roll and can't save photos to my phone.   So, Jennifer Fulwiler's 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary is a great way to catch up on the blog.

Papa!



Not another one.   Not so soon.   Not the loss of another person so dear to me, who I look to for so much.   I still cry if you show me a tribute video of John Paul II.   But, I trust in God and I love His Church and this great Servant of Servants, Benedict XVI.   One of my favorite informative and thoughtful posts about the abdication was this one by Fr. George Rutler, the Anglophile par excellence:

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/benedicts-decision-in-the-light-of-eternity

Here's an excerpt:

'In a grand paradox, nothing in him has become so conspicuous as his  desire to disappear. Christ gave the Keys to a Galilean fisherman with a limited life span. He chose Peter; Peter did not choose Him. When th…

Progress: Dieting During Lent

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My Serious Diet, as compared to my other half-hearted 'I'm just going to eat better' attempts over the past few years, is going on week five now.   I didn't weigh during the first two weeks, determined that I would not let my life be ruled by a scale.   I finally gave in on week three, though.   My latest weigh-in today showed I've lost 14 lbs. since I first weighed.    Yay, me!   I'm hoping I'll soon be able to wear my wedding bands again.   On my finger.   Otherwise, that sentence may not make perfect sense and reminds me of a great Designing Women moment (as do most things):




It's interesting to diet during Lent.   I've never dieted during a real observance of Lent before.   It means none of my Lenten practices involve giving up any kind of food product beyond those requirements of Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday.   I'm already eating the minimum number of calories a person my current size needs to eat to have a healthy, well-balanced …

A Clean Sweep: Ash Wednesday

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Each year at midnight, the hour which begins Ash Wednesday, this is the scene in the French Quarter.   Behind the last of the parades and revelers comes mounted policemen who line up across the entire street to sweep the crowds away.   They are followed by clean-up crews and street-sweepers so that by the time the sun casts her first rays on the Crescent City on Ash Wednesday, all but the smallest signs of the season's excess and sometimes, debauchery, have disappeared.

There's something so hopeful, so decent about this physical, concrete image.   Even in a city that prides itself on good times, there is still some respect and some solemnity left.   How many more tourist dollars could they bring in if they just allowed the party to continue?   Maybe turn the French Quarter into an amusement park where it's Mardi Gras all year?   But no, the streets are swept and the party people are sent home to assess their damages, regroup, and move ahead through the rest of their year.…

Sharing a Poem

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A poem to share from the latest post at If Flannery Had a Blog :

ON VISITING FLANNERY
O'CONNOR'S GRAVE

Milledgeville, Ga., 1988

--MAXINE KUMIN
...but first, an historic detour just this side
of what the local intelligentsia
in fond self-deprecation call Mudville
to take the cart track up to Andalusia,
the family seat, a serene remove from town,
as in a good Victorian novel.

Here, from the first-floor bedroom window
even on those last dark days, she could see
her beloved peacocks pecking and fanning,
the tribe of philoprogenitive donkeys
ambling down to the farm pond in the meadow,
a grove of ancient pecan trees bending
to be picked. Not antebellum grand,
but commodious Andalusia, with real gardens
harrowed every spring with real manure,
so that it's touching but not surprising that
when Mary McCarthy remarked, years before,
she had come to think of the Eucharist as a symbol,
O'Connor, considerably put out
by lapsed Catholic rhetoric, flared,
"Well, if it's a sy…

Lent: On His Authority

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I was one of those people who woke up Monday morning and thought there was a mistake on my Facebook news feed.   A mistake or a joke.   The Pope, our beloved Papa Benedict XVI, had resigned?!   My nine-year-old was still snuggled up beside me in bed, where she's been for several nights due to fever and other symptoms upon which I needed to keep a close watch.   I said aloud, as I read, "The pope resigned this morning."  
"Can he do that?" was her response.  
"If he's doing it, that means he certainly can," I replied.

 There are few mortal individuals who have ever understood what a pope can or cannot do--or most topics related to the Church and theology-- as well as the brilliant Benedict XVI.   Later, came the flood of posts on social media about the other popes in history who have abdicated and the licit nature of the act according to Canon Law.  
I'm good with this.   I mean, I'm terribly sad and I still need time to process losing my sec…

What a Week!

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I think we'll all be a little tired come Saturday!


Monday: News that we're losing our Papa Benedict XVI as he announces his abdication.


Tuesday: Laissez les bon temps rouler because it's Fat Tuesday, cher!



Wednesday: Penance and Fasting on Ash Wednesday as Lent begins



Thursday: Celebrate because it's St. Valentine's Day!

Friday: Penance and Fasting for the first Friday of Lent


Book Snobbery

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It's funny the ideas people can get about you.   I have been met with so many surprised reactions when I expressed my belief in play being the most important learning activity for my children before kindergarten.   I didn't push them to read early or to memorize impressive things.   Then, there was the grammar thing.   I like grammar memes and cartoons.   This goes back to my teaching days and sharing frustrations with fellow teachers over common mistakes that just irritated the everlasting stew out of us.   Since I've shared these on Facebook or Pinterest from time to time, I've earned a reputation as some sort of Grammar Nazi.   I ask you, would any self respecting Grammar Nazi submit this paragraph?



I think people are also surprised by my recommendations when it comes to children's literature.   If they know me well enough, they know I was a teacher and I love reading, especially classics.   So when I share favorite children's literature, some of my choices…

Goulash: It's What's For Dinner (A Lot)

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One of Mama's go-to meals is now a standard in my meal rotation.   I always keep ingredients on hand, so when in doubt, I know we can have goulash.   It is an easy, quick, nutritious--and even cheap--meal that may be easily multiplied.   It warms up well, also.   My children love goulash (the corn makes it sweet), especially when served with green beans and homemade buttermilk biscuits. 

I use half turkey and half beans for the protein component of this recipe.   I drain the beans in a colander and then rinse them to remove some of the salt.   I usually buy no-salt added canned diced tomatoes and sauce.
I usually use whole-grain pasta.  

Mexican-Style Goulash

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. lean ground turkey (93/7)
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed with water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, no salt added, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce, no salt added
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup w…

A Recipe for Mardi Gras: King Cake

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My post this month is up at Bourbon and Boots.com and it’s all about the star attraction at any Mardi Gras gathering: King Cake.

Check out a little history of the holiday and a recipe for a delicious homemade King Cake:

One common element of the celebration, enjoyed by schoolchildren, families, and French Quarter revelers, is the King Cake. Made from a traditional yeast dough, the ring-shaped cake is frosted and decorated with colored sugars. The cake is named after the Three Kings who visited the baby Jesus and it is first served on Epiphany, the day which commemorates their visit. It is the custom to place a small baby figurine inside the cake. The person who finds the baby is responsible for bringing the next king cake or throwing the next party. Every teachers’ lounge and break room in south Louisiana will have at least one of these pastry treats every Friday during the season.   
To read more: http://www.bourbonandboots.com/let-them-eat-king-cake-history-and-an-easy-recip…

God Made A Farmer

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I watched most of the first half of the Super Bowl tonight.   I tried to watch the half-time show, but I had to change the channel.   I am not a prude, but I was saddened by the show.

Then, there was a bright, shining moment from Dodge.   Their commercial for their Ram trucks focused on the heart of America: the farmer.   There is no more noble profession than that of the men and women who toil and till the land, who raise the crops and livestock which feed our nation and the world.   In the midst of wondering what is to become of us as a people, there was this glimmer of hope in what built this nation and who still lies at the heart of what makes it great.

The commercial reminded me of my farming ancestors, of my life on the farm, and of those many times when our family would sit in the car, after we arrived home, waiting to hear the end of Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story."   God Bless the Farmer and God Bless America.