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Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas

That's what they call some of the calendars in stores this time of year, and it irritates me.  Of course, Advent doesn't always correspond exactly to the dates on the calendar, but it's an Advent Calendar all the same! I remember the first one I ever had--a Nativity...

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Signs of the Season II

And one last link on the Advent Workshop, this one from the Knoxville News Sentinel.  William was quoted in this story!  Can you tell I really, really liked the Advent Workshop?  So much so that I never missed one, even though one year that meant I showed up with a...

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One Year Later

Last year getting ready for Christmas was . . . strange.  And maybe I will write more about that letter.  But reading this guest post I did last year brings it all back.  Go read it while you are waiting for new content!  

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I Took a Little Break . . .

. . . because NaBloPoMo is over, and I did it!  One post every day for a month.  Now it turns out they have a monthly version of it now, and maybe it will be a good thing to do in January, but December is busy enough. I'm going to start off the month, though, with a...

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Serendipity in the Kitchen

I rarely use recipes, certainly not for everyday foods.  I like to think of my own mind as a sort of cookbook, capable of synthesizing ingredients into masterpieces.  I'm not sure if that's a special talent or something that can be learned from years of cooking, maybe...

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Temptations

People waste time at the office--we all know that.  They hang out at the water cooler, take long smoke breaks, sneak onto Facebook and email when no one is watching. Working at home comes with its own set of time-wasting temptations. Particularly when I had no one to...

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Fire or Ice?

Fire or Ice?

Fire and Ice Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.     -  ...

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Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

I've written before about my anxiety dreams.  Last night I had a doozy. I dreamt that I suddenly realized that I was enrolled in college and that my life had become so complicated that I had simply forgotten all about attending classes for some weeks.  I remember...

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So This Is Christmas

Except it isn't, not really.  It isn't even Advent yet.  Once upon a time I might have complained about the onslaught of Christmas when Thanksgiving is barely over, but no more.  I used up all my indignation fussing about people putting up decorations right after...

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The Best Turkey I Ever Made

The Best Turkey I Ever Made

I don't know about you, but I always get nervous about roasting the Thanksgiving turkey.  It's such a big responsibility.  If your casserole doesn't turn out exactly right, so what?  There are about 100 more casseroles on the table.  But if the turkey is bad?  That's...

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Busy Busy Busy

Y'all, that's only a little of what I've been up to today. If you're hosting a dinner tomorrow you've probably been doing the same. It's almost midnight and I've just had to send my kids out for things I forgot, I'm toasting pecans, and I'm desperately trying to thaw...

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Let the Preparations Begin!

That's my counter, waiting for tomorrow.  We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in several years, and I expect to be cooking all day.  I hope to have only the turkey to deal with on Thursday. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was so comforting, following...

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Conviction about Things We Do Not See

So yesterday I posted a picture of the slate I got from my church roof, and my sister thought she saw a face in it.  Please don't think I'm attributing miraculous intervention into this and I'm not going to offer my slate for sale on ebay, but I still think it's a...

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Southern Vocabulary: Useful Words

“It's impossible to explain to a Yankee what `tacky' is. They simply have no word for it up north, but my God, do they ever need one.”                                   -- from The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy I think that "tacky" may be universally understood by...

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If This Stone Could Shout!

Can you guess what this is?  If you were at Immaculate Conception Church this morning you probably can, but I'm guessing everyone else is going to be puzzled. It's slate.  A slate roof tile from the church, as a matter of fact.  With a new roof being installed, some...

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Unburdened

I made my First Confession at Holy Ghost Church, back when I was seven, in the good old anonymous darkened confessional.  Every three months thereafter, Father Henkel and his current associate pastor would appear at St. Joseph School and we would be told that today we...

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Haunted House of Dreams?

So far I have posted every day in November and have had no difficulty finding inspiration.  Truth be told, I have whole pages of ideas for blog posts, and new ones float in and out of my head all day every day!  Some I remember and some I forget; some I scrawl down...

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I Will Keep Sunday Holy

Second grade is a big year for Catholic children.  Lorelei and her classmates will prepare all year for First Communion, and this Saturday they will participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time.  Lorelei has said the Act of Contrition about 10,000...

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Tripping

Field tripping, that is. Today was the day Lorelei and the other second graders had been longing for and talking about for WEEKS.  (These little kids get so worked up over things that they are bouncing off the walls DAYS in advance.) Finally, they were going on their...

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Debauchery

I knew something was up when I heard the front door open this morning before I even went downstairs.  But I have a secret weapon:  thanks to our security system and the wonders of the iPhone, I can look on my phone and instantly know every time the door has opened in...

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I'm Cooking Again

Actually, I am always cooking, or at least I am always feeding people.  With six people in the house, all on different schedules, someone is always hungry, and sometimes I feel like a short order cook. And we run out of groceries around here so quick that you probably...

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Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere!

Yes, it's that time of year--or really, it's slightly after that time of year, since I couldn't find a carving-sized pumpkin for love or money the night before Halloween, which is when I attempted to buy them.  But that meant I ended up with several smaller ones...

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It's Just Not Fun Anymore

It's Just Not Fun Anymore

The last few days before Election Day, my Facebook newsfeed was jammed with posts and memes indicating how tired everyone was of the campaign.  One little girl was famously moved to tears over the whole thing, and I think I know how she felt. Constant negativity IS...

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NaBloPoMo

So I just heard about this--I mean, really, like just now, with less than 20 minutes to go in the first day!  And I think it's a great idea, since I've been terrible about blogging lately--as much as I want to--and clearly I need some outside motivation. But with only...

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Praying with Facebook

Praying with Facebook

Facebook is a lot of things to a lot of people.  It has the power to unite and to divide, to heal and to injure.  It sounds ridiculous, no doubt, to non-users, but its effect on my life has been profound.  But one of its most surprising and beneficial effects has been...

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The Things That Really Matter

The Things That Really Matter

Closet space.  Is there ever enough of it?  There were next to no closets in our Victorian house.  We purchased three armoires from Myrtle's Mess for the bedrooms, and crammed them so full the doors would barely close. (John's enormous oak armoire is one of three...

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Standing outside the Fire

I've written this post in my head dozens of times, each one different.  It's an anniversary, and I knew I should--that I wanted to, NEEDED to--commemorate it in some way.  But should I talk about what I've learned?  The good things it brought about? Just start off...

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Training the Mind

Training the Mind

"A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching." ~ A. Bartlett Giamatti  I am a BIG believer in Liberal Arts education.   I majored in English at Georgetown University, and rather obviously I did...

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Hey It's Good to Be Back Home Again . . .

Hey It's Good to Be Back Home Again . . .

. . . after ten days away! (about which much more later, I hope!) The last time we went to Baltimore, our house burned down.  So I think we were all a little nervous and were happy to come home to this: Two of three kitties have yet to put in an appearance, though, so...

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Thank Heaven for Little Girls

I love sharing pictures of my new house with you and I hope you like seeing how far we've come since September.  The reason these postings are few and far between is that the rooms have to be clean before I photograph them (got to keep it Pinterest safe!). Today's...

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Things I Am Afraid to Tell You

If you are a blogger, or if you follow a lot of blogs, you probably know about this already.  One blogger's courageous admission that there was more to her than what she shared every day on her blog led to a movement.  The theory is that we can all be brave together...

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55 Reading Questions

55 Reading Questions

I have a Tumblr, which you can find here.  I don't do much with it; I think I'm not really in the demographic it's meant for, but I signed up so I could see what my daughter posts.  And recently I happened upon this list of questions from timaspublishing via...

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Chips off the Old Block

More on the topic of when your kids are like you . . . I really should have taken a picture, even though all you would have seen was the backs of their heads. The other night ALL FIVE of our kids (Emily being home from college for the summer already!) were lounging...

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I Hear America Crying

I Hear America Crying

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear; Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong; The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work; The...

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The Future Is in Her Hands

The Future Is in Her Hands

I recently wrote about how cool it is when your kid is good at something that you aren't able to do at all.  But how about when your kid is BETTER than you at something you are pretty good at? 🙂 My family are writers from way back.  My mother has a journalism...

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A Breath of Smoke and Ashes

It's there every time I go into the garage.  The smell of fire.  It's there, and then I'm here: That's not a place I really like to be, figuratively or otherwise.  In fact, it's become a bit of a thing:  I don't drive down that part of Northshore any more, no matter...

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Feed the Dog and Get the Girl

A couple of days ago I encountered the following link on a friend's Facebook Wall.  Christi has a knack for getting good conversations started on her Wall (or now I guess I have to sadly say Timeline) and this was no exception. Go read it or what I'm going to write...

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Easter Blessings

Easter Blessings

As I've written before, I love Easter.  It's my favorite holiday. This Easter felt like even a bigger deal than usual to me.  For one thing, all holidays post-fire feel like milestones.  I know what happened to us doesn't compare to a death in the family, but things...

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What Mothers Do

I've got five kids and I've been a mother for over 21 years.  I find that my "mothering urges" sort of spread themselves over whatever children happen to be around me.  When my kids have friends over, I'm all "sweetheart" and "honey" at them.  I feed them.  I feel...

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What Is the Mass For?

Today is Holy Thursday, the day of Holy Week on which we remember that Last Supper Jesus shared with his Apostles, the birthday, as it were, of the Mass itself. We'll hear the story tonight at church, and some of us will have our feet washed in commemoration of Jesus'...

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I'd Rather Be Reading

I'd Rather Be Reading

I have a grant proposal to write today.  I have a stack of legal work to do.  My desk is a mess.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the dog is sleeping in a patch of sunlight in the backyard, and what I'd really like to do is make another cup of coffee and go...

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Red Red Red

In my pre-fire life, I used to think about redecorating my kitchen.  Apparently some people actually do that kind of thing, but in a single-income seven-member family, you replace things when they break with whatever you can afford--you don't "redecorate."  Granted...

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My Debt to St. Patrick

My Debt to St. Patrick

"Catholic and Southern, Wife and Mother."  That's how I described myself for my original About page on this blog as well as on Twitter.  What I put first says everything about who I think I am and what is important to me. Being Catholic is at the core of everything...

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There's Always That 5%

There's Always That 5%

Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Louise de Marillac.  Frankly, I don't know the first thing about St. Louise, but I was well-acquainted with one of her namesakes. Sister Louise de Marillac Lovejoy (just Sister Louise to us) was my American History teacher when I was...

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Bye Bye Britannica

Bye Bye Britannica

I'm not even exaggerating when I say I almost cried when I read that the print version of the Encyclopedia Britannica is no more. I'm not a dinosaur, okay?  I can't remember the last time I cracked an actual book to find information (besides, all my reference books...

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Hidden Mothers

Hidden Mothers

I don't remember how I happened to run across my first hidden--or even better, invisible--mother photograph.  But I've been haunted by the pictures ever since I discovered them. There's really nothing sinister about them.  The shrouded mother was never meant to be...

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Best Picture = Best Worldview?

Okay, y'all, this is essentially an irrelevant fluff post, because I lost an hour of sleep this weekend and it took extreme heroism for me not to just go straight back to bed after John and Lorelei left this morning. So, John was reading Time Magazine the other day...

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My Big Baby

My Big Baby

This will be short and sweet today because we are having a birthday party here tonight which means I have to actually clean the house.  And bake a cake.  In addition to all that other stuff. It's a measure of just how crazy things are around here that poor William...

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Sanctuary

When I was eleven my family moved to a new house. It was a split level, and I had the basement bedroom. I had a three yellow walls, one wall with yellow roses, and wall-to-wall spring green carpet under my French Provincial 1970s bedroom suite, complete with canopy...

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Cat People

This morning, the first thing on the agenda is to take Mace to the vet for his first set of shots.  Mace is one of three now half-grown kittens who adopted us when we moved here. We didn't start off being cat people.  John never had a cat growing up.  In fact, he SAID...

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New and New to Me

For seven years, our family lived here: It was built in 1889, and parts of it didn't seem to have been replaced since then.  It had been patched and smoothed over so that we did not realize what we were getting into until it began to disintegrate around us.  We are...

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Eleven Answers

So the other day my friend Christi (whose blog is hysterical, by the way--check it out!) was feeling sorry for what a hard life I lead, so she decided I needed an easy blog post to do and included me in the following challenge. Here’s the deal: 1. post these rules. 2....

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That’s What I Like About . . . Me

Okay, y'all, I've kind of been procrastinating about participating in this challenge. Making a list of things I like about myself is sort of cringe-inducing.  If you know me in real life, you know that I have a pretty high opinion of myself in several areas.  But...

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Drowning in a Sea of Responsibilities

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by life?  Have you ever had one of those days--or weeks, or months--where you just couldn't get on top of everything you needed to do?  Have you ever felt like you were drowning, or being crushed by the weight of your responsiblities? Of...

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Evidence of Conviction

"If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" As Christians, our lives are supposed to be our witness.  In the Gospel of John (13:35), Jesus said to His disciples: "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if...

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I Can See Clearly Now

Remember when I wrote about how much I hated getting so old that now I have to wear glasses?  Perhaps you will be surprised to know that I now have five pairs!  No, I did not become independently wealthy.  Here's what happened. I was really happy with my reading...

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The Book Addict Gets Her Fix

The Book Addict Gets Her Fix

We had eleven bookshelves in our last home.  Several were floor-to-ceiling and almost all were full.  And there were boxes in the garage, and stacks and stacks all over the house.  And we were always buying more. The loss of my books was a tragedy of a magnitude I...

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Best Laid Plans

This week my life became simultaneously easier and harder.  Explain, you ask?  Well, over the weekend we acquired a new (to us) car (more on that in a moment).  So no longer do I have to drive Teddy to school while John drives Lorelei.   Teddy gets to drive himself!...

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Bring It On, Lent!

Am I strange because I like Lent?  I always have, even when I was a little girl.  Back then, we went to Mass every morning at school.  I loved the rhythmic way Father Henkel chanted, "Remember, man, thou are dust, to dust thou shall return" over and over and over.  I...

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A Quarter of a Century

A Quarter of a Century

That's how long ago it's been, as of today, that John and I have been a couple.  On February 16, 1987, he asked me if I would be interested in going out with him, and I bet if he could have seen the future, he would have run the other way instead.  But I guess if any...

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My Name's Not Mom

Just a mini-rant here . . . does everyone else hate it as much as I do when you are sitting in the pediatrician's office waiting with your kid and the nurse walks in and says, "Are you mom?"  I want to scream!  I want to say, "No, I am not mom, I am Mrs. Sholly to...

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Madonna is AWESOME

I think I may have just discovered a new way to measure the generation gap--just ask your friends what they thought about Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show last night. I don't watch the Super Bowl because I'm not interested in professional football, and I had never...

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On Growing Up and Letting Go

"Is this what being an adult is like?" he asks me, fresh from a frustrating 18th-birthday morning spent with his dad at the DMV at the bank, battling bureaucratic bullshit and accomplishing exactly nothing.  We look at each other, John and I, and John says, "Pretty...

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Am I a Junk Food Junkie?

How many of you remember this song: My husband was listening to a playlist of "one hit wonders" this afternoon while we were working.  I don't guess I'd heard that song since it enjoyed its run on...

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Bacon Love

I'm supposed to start writing about Diet Rehab today.  Instead I am writing about bacon!  Do you see a problem here? When I was growing up, there was always a cup of bacon grease in the refrigerator, but the only time I remember my mother using it was when she made...

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I Want a New Drug

"Junk food is as addictive as cocaine." That's a pretty provocative statement, and it comes straight from the press kit for Diet Rehab, a book by Dr. Mike Dow, the cohost of Freaky Eaters, which would probably impress me if I watched t.v.  I don't know yet whether I...

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It's a First

I've got the tree undecorated by the end of the Feast of the Epiphany! Yay me! And I did it all by myself, because Emily went back to college yesterday. The tree is still in the house but I'll have it out within the hour. Just waiting for one of my teenagers to help....

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Because Truth Matters

Let's get this straight from the very beginning.  I'm not planning to vote for Rick Santorum.  I disagree profoundly with most of his positions.  So the defense that follows has nothing to do with my personal political leanings.  It has to do instead with my passion...

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