Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Challenge: 30-Minute Blog!!

Seems like I've found new fabulous blogs to follow almost daily. There are a few new ones that you might not know about, and I want to share them with you:

1. A Simple Twist of Faith. Meet Mary, a new blogger who became a stay-at-home mom at age 45. Today she posted a new challenge that was just too good to pass up: A 30-Minute Blog. That's right; the objective is to write, edit, and post a blog in thirty minutes. That's a HUGE challenge for me, because I'm constantly reading and re-reading what I've written, not to mention adding links and photos, which are EXTREMELY time-consuming. I have 25 minutes left for this post, so I'm doing pretty well so far...

2. Scrutinies. This is a blog by Dorian, a homeschooling mom in Texas, who I stumbled across via a tweet from Jennifer from Conversion Diary. Dorian posted a photo contest which, like the 30-minute challenge, sounds too much fun to ignore. All you have to do is send her pictures of the ways you make your home into a domestic church. I took a photo of my favorite Rosary, the two holy statues we gave Curly and Moe for their respective First Communions, the Benedictine crucifix in our bedroom, and the beautiful Crucifixion engraving I gave my husband for his birthday. Later this week I'll download them to my computer and send them. 20 minutes left, although I'll need to go back and add the links...okay. Next one.

3. Counting Stars. This blog is one of my favorites, because it's written by my cousin Jamie. Actually, she's my first cousin once removed, which means she's my dad's brother's son's daughter. Actually, I've been following her blog since she started it several months ago, but in May she revamped it, gave it a new look, and has been posting almost daily. The other day she shared a beautiful poem she wrote; check it out here! 17 minutes left. Now to add the links...

Ok, links are added; a little more than 12 minutes left...proofreading done, nine minutes left...Let me see if I can find a photo to add...

Oh, Wait! I almost forgot! I'm almost finished reading The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and it's FANTASTIC!! I have accomplished almost nothing today because I've spent so much time with my nose in the book. I'm hoping to finish in the next day or tw. I'm not sure what I'm going to read next; either A Handbook for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, or maybe Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver.

(I made this image too big, but I only have 3 1/2 minutes left so I'm not going to delete it and re-post it. It's a big book, so I guess that's all right.)


If you want to join in leave a comment! Blessings!

(I did it! One minute left!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Praises, and Hither-and-yon Outdoor Fun (or, Get Thee To The Woods Vol. 8)

I had planned on posting a Sunday Praises post yesterday (I'm long overdue for one) but it didn't happen. We've all had some great outdoor adventures this week, too, so I've decided to combine them into one post.

1. Last week, we all travelled somewhere different: my husband (I wanted to nickname him Shemp for this blog, but he preferres Joe. Apparently there was a stooge with that name, too; who knew?) went to Hawaii for a work-related conference. I thought about bringing the kids and/or myself along, but for various reasons (one being that he would be spending most days in meetings), we decided to let him go alone this time. I was only the tiniest bit jealous when he sent pictures like this,

and this,

but he had a lot of work to do, and the rest of us were busy with swim practices and meets, as well as our own visits with family. He is back home with us now after more than a week away, Praise God!

2. Every summer for the past several years, one of the kids has spent a week with my in-laws. This is a great way for each of the boys to get to know them and to nurture their relationships with them. (Praise God for my husband's parents, who raised and nurtured him; and who love spending time with our boys!) This year it was Curly's turn. His first day, they visited an aviation museum on a naval base; he got to ride around on top of this bus,

and saw a lot of very cool airplanes.

Curly and his grandparents had a lot of other outdoor adventures, too, that he didn't take photos of (they are sending me the ones they took; if there are any more good outdoor photos I'll post them here later): they went to a waterpark, played golf, and took the puppy for many walks. (click here for my earlier post about this.)

Okay, so this was taken indoors; but isn't he a cutie? He must be resting after a fun day of chasing rabbits.

Curly is back home safe with us now, Praise God!

3. At the kennel where we leave our own dog, they have a little fountain/fish pond.

Sometimes Curly and Moe find frogs and tadpoles, but this time all they could see was this goldfish trying to stay out of sight.

Our neruotic yellow lab is almost impossible to travel with, so Praise God for a fun, safe place to leave her while we're gone. She loves coming here and they all adore her.

4. With Joe and Curly gone, Larry, Moe, and I decided to spend a few days with my parents. My dad's radiation treatments for his prostate cancer are going very well; he is experiencing minimal side effects, the doctors expect the cancer will be gone once they're finished, and he only has two weeks left to endure them. Praise God!

We took a drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where we saw some spectacular views,

and visited the historic Mabry Mill.

Of course, we had to stop and look at the ducks and geese that live by the millpond

and Moe looked for critters in the stream.

There are many other interesting things to see there, too; the millrace,

the mill wheel,

the millstones that have been used here to grind corn and buckwheat over the years,

the cabin.

If Moe had a horse he might have made a good plow man.

There is a nice view out of the mill window, too.

The next day the boys and I took a walk along an old railroad bed that has been converted into a walking and biking trail.
Some of the old tracks are still there.
We saw many of these along the trail, and we stopped here and there for a treat.

About a mile down the trail is a bridge

that crosses a railroad track that is very much in use.

We made it home safely from this trip, too. Praise God!
5. There are many other blessings to be thankful for, too: my husband, who is celebrating his birthday SOON; and for the front that came through yesterday afternoon, and while it didn't bring us the rain we desperately need, it has given us some relief from the 100+ degree heat we've endured these past few days. For these and all your blessings, Lord I praise your name! Click here for this week's Outdoor Mondays post from 5 Orange Potatoes!

Friday, July 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes--in which I discuss blogging, tweeting, and John Mayer


The Blogosphere is a wonderland. Ever since I started blogging a year and a half ago, I've run across many fantastic blogs and discovered countless Catholic and Christian writers, priests, pro-life leaders, and of course, bloggers. Shortly after my first blog post, I opened a Facebook account; since then I've re-connected and grown closer to many family members and acquaintances who I might not be in touch with otherwise. Soon I learned I could share my blog with my Facebook friends. After Christmas when I got my Android phone, I opened a Twitter account. I like to think that my time on Twitter, even though it's time taken away from household chores and--perhaps to a larger extent--just reading good books, hasn't been a complete waste of time, because I've discovered other good Catholics there as well. (I also seem to be more in touch with current events, becaue I follow several TV and newspaper journalists, and some Catholic and secular news websites. I've become something of a news junkie that way.) More recently I joined a site called Christian.com, which allows people of all Christian faiths to connect with each other. I don't spend much time on that site, but there are a few people there who I've also connected with on blogs and on Twitter. My personal relationships are the most important ones, of course; but Pope Benedict himself encourages Catholics to use social media to evangelize and encourage each other in faith. I hope I am taking that to heart. Recently the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops came out with a set of guidelines for using social media--I haven't read it all yet, it's quite extensive and interesting--check it out here. (Matthew Warner has some interesting things to say about this on National Catholic Register; read about it here. )


For those of you who clicked on Matthew Warner's article, I will tell you that I did NOT ask Matthew's permission to share it with you. I know he won't mind. Nor have I asked John Mayer if I can talk about him or link to his website; more on him later.


Still Waiting...waiting...Waiting on the name to change
I mentioned back in December that I was thinking about changing the name of my blog. I read a great book recently by Catholic blogger and writer Danielle Bean called My Cup of Tea: Musings of a Catholic Mom. Ever since I found out about the existence of Danielle's book I've been trying to come up with something different; something original and catchy. When Danielle was interviewed by Greg and Jennifer Willits on their radio show (the same one where I called in to promote my blog, and I talk about in the link above), I sent her a series of "tweets" to tell her how much I liked her book, and my blog is called Musings of a Catholic Mom, isn't that funny? And, I swear I didn't know about your book when I named my blog, so honest, I didn't steal the name. She tweeted back and assured me that it was perfectly fine that my blog has the same name as her book; after all, she doesn't own the phrase "Musings of a Catholic Mom." (She still isn't following me on Twitter, though, dang it; although she did accept my friend request on Facebook.)
Fast-forward (I'm so glad that TV show got cancelled, by the way; it was really getting on my nerves--oh wait, that's Flash-Forward. Never mind) to last month, when I decided to set up my own geocaching account. My kids aren't as interested in going geocaching as they used to be, so even though it's not as much fun to hunt for caches by yourself, at least now if I want to look for a little one in the Wal-Mart parking lot, and I'm shopping there anyway, I can do so without feeling guilty about spoiling the fun for the rest of my "team." Anyway, I had to think of a good geocaching handle, and I came up with "Mom4AllSeasons." I think that name sums me up quite well, and it hints at my Catholicism, too. (You know, like the movie, A Man for All Seasons. About St. Thomas More, who was martyrd because he stood up for the Church. Pope John Paul II's favorite movie.) I even set up a new email just for this blog, momforallseasons, at, gmail, dot, com. There's a link to it on my profile page. So yesterday I was thinking, What a perfect name for my blog! A Mom for All Seasons. I did a quick Google search on the phrase, just to be sure, and to my amusement and slight disappointment, the name is taken.

To make a long story short (which I didn't), as of right now this blog remains "Musings of a Catholic Mom." Maybe someday I'll call it something different. (I also found out about a great blog called "Musings of a Catholic Lady" yesterday. I think the "Musings" part just might have to go. Just not sure when. I like my blog name, so I'm in no hurry to change it.)


I've had John Mayer's songs in my head since yesterday, when Chuck Todd from NBC tweeted that John was going to performing this morning on the Today show. Chuck (aka @chucktodd) used John's Twitter name (@johncmayer--I wonder what the "c" stands for?) which will link you right to the person's Twitter page. I looked at John's, liked what I saw (interesting tweets, and not too many), and decided to follow him. I don't follow too many celeberities, so we'll see how it goes. I'm only his 3,426,955th follower. Some people will tweet you a quick "hello and thanks for following" message; I'm still waiting for one from John.

The "C" stands for Clayton. His birthday is October 16th. In case you were wondering.


This morning I was able to catch a little bit of John's appearance on the Today Show. After he sang a couple of songs, Matt Lauer decided to interview him, and that's when I was reminded of the time back in February (I had totally forgotten) when John put his foot in his mouth during an interview and made a lot of people mad. I also remembered a video that had started circulating around the Internet of John at a concert in Nashville (bad quality, taken from someone's cell phone), in which he broke down in tears, apologizng profusely over his bad behavior. After a quick search I realized that I had surpressed this because it was GOSH-AWFUL what he said: he used the N-word, talked about his you-know-what, and said lots of other disgusting things I won't repeat. (Here's an article I found describing what he said; read it if you must.) Geez, no wonder he was crying; I only hope it was for the people he hurt and not for himself.


I still like John Mayer's music, and he isn't bad-looking (although I really don't want to know how many women he's had sex with--spare me the details, please, John), and I hope he has learned his lesson. I also hope he's cleaned up his act and he's now a better person. Maybe I'll say a prayer for him today.

(Here's a clip from The Today Show--he still rocks. Even if he wears funny-looking pants.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Get Thee To The Woods, Vol. 7: God's Little Joys

On Thursday, as Moe and I were leaving to run errands, we were greeted by this little fledgeling robin. Uh-oh, I thought; here we go again.
Fortunately his mother was nearby, and she let us know she was not happy with us snapping photos of her baby. I hoped I wouldn't have to pick him up and move him somewhere safe (like not right in front of the garage door), but we didn't. He went back to his mommy. Whew!

There's a lively little pond near two highways, surrounded by an Outback, a Ruby Tuesday, a bank, and a Target. Not to mention a couple of busy streets that lead to these establishments. A little tract of beauty in a sea of man-made craziness.
We took a break from our running hither and thither to quietly enjoy the throngs of urban waterfowl who make this pond their home.

I don't think they looked both ways before crossing.

I'm not sure what kind of ducks these are. I suspect they may be mutts, but I don't even know if there is such a thing as a mixed-breed duck.

Mom was trying to keep her babies out of sight. We tried not to get too close.

We stopped at a nearby coffee shop for a treat. As we were parking, we saw a man entering the store suddenly get attacked by this crazed mockingbird. One of the regular customers inside told us that she--as we suspected, a mother protecting her nest--had attacked him too. She swoops down on unsuspecting customers, flaps her wings, and hisses menacingly into their ears. Needless to say, we were pretty quick getting back to the car.

*UPDATE* Our local paper ran a story this morning about the very same mockingbird attacking people! ... here's the article. The photo of the bird is much better than this one. They're professonals, don't ya know.

Yesterday evening we were surprised by a brief but intense thunderstorm. Since the day had been hot and humid, and the rain cooled things off a bit, we all ventured out for a walk in the neighborhood.

It's hard to run in flip-flops...

Moe took some pictures, too.

I took this one with my camera. I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching ducks and geese...

...or anything else with feathers. Thanks to Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes for hosting!

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