March 2009 Archives

A Quote


When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.

--------------------------------Chinese Proverb

I have decided....

The Best $4 I Spent Last Week try to have some type of fresh flower in my house each week, even if it ends up being a single carnation in a water glass. The budget may be tight, but I don't think that beauty is a luxury, and having just this one vase of flowers has given me a pretty place to rest my eyes this whole week.

I'm keeping it up. It was the best $4 I spent last week.

Please go here.....


.....and lose yourself for awhile in a perfectly LOVELY blog.

(She's a crocheter, so it just FITS on Pretty Pattern Tuesday!)

Pretty Pattern Tuesday



This lovely wrap is from the Caron Brand site and is a free pattern. I'm not really so fond of the green and purple, but if you go out to the pattern link, there is a completely different soft pink and sage colorway shown as well. The spiral pattern is fascinating to me, and looks as if it would be hard to crochet. I'd like to try!

This one definitely hit my Ravelry queue.

Quote for today


"I think the difference between me and some people is that I'm content to do my little bit. Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we'd have a tremendous light."

---------------------Sister Thea Bowman

H/T to McNamara's blog for the article on Sister.

MamaT's Monday Music


Only the best slow dance song ever recorded!

Where is global warming when you need it?


McKid and I walked in the Fort Worth MS Walk this morning. Folks, it was COLD! 40 degrees when we started, with a nice brisk (more than brisk!) wind, bringing the wind chill down to the low 30s. At the end of March.

And tomorrow it will be 80 or something.

But we persevered, and walked the 5K. McKid walked (or ran!) every step. And my SisterM walked the three miles, too.

She'll be "stove up" tomorrow, because her MS won't like what she did.

But she did it.

We did it.

If you have a chance to donate to an MS walk in your area, please do it.

Because a world without MS would be a much better place!

And then after lunch....

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....while reading a section in The Imitation of Christ I read this:

Jesus has many lovers of his heavenly kingdom these days, but few of them carry his cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire affliction. He has many friends to share his meals, but few to share his fasts. Everyone is eager to rejoice with him, but few are willing to endure anything for him. Many follow Jesus up to the breaking of the bread, but few as far as drinking from the chalice of his Passion. Many admire his miracles, but few pursue the shame of the cross. Many love Jesus as long as no difficulties touch them.
------------The Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapter 11


Holy Spirit Smackdown.....


.....right in the middle of Adoration this morning.

Man! I hate it when that happens, and I have to cry. I think everyone else is looking at me and thinking What is WRONG with that woman?. I think it's funny that I have cried buckets more tears in the "formal and staid" Catholic church than I ever cried in my protestant days, even in a more evangelical-type setting where it was all about feelings. Go figure.

Anyway, I had had a meeting with my spiritual director last night, and it really gave me a lot to think about, per usual. One of the things we talked about was how Jesus just keeps showing up with that darn cross and handing it to me, then looking me in the eye and asking "Well, will you love me through this person NOW?" Every time I get to a place where I think that now I can relax a little, now I can be a little lazy, He sends another person to my figurative door. And in every encounter there is that unspoken question, Terry, will you pick up this cross for me and carry it? Do you love me enough for this?.

And, so far, most of the time, I've been able to sigh a little, whine a little to my friends, and turn and say, "Well, I think you could find someone better to do this, but OK."

Gracious to Him, I am not. At least not very often.

So imagine the smackdown when I picked up a Stations of the Cross book to meditate on during Adoration, and turned straight to the Simon of Cyrene station to read this thought:

Those in charge of Jesus' crucifixion compelled Simon of Cyrene to help carry the Lord's cross. He did not volunteer or willingly accept the task, but that is no surprise. Simon was only passing by and presumably knew little about Christ. We, on the other hand, do know Jesus. And we have heard his words about the necessity of taking up our own crosses each day and walking in his footsteps. What is our response? Must we be pressed to carry our crosses, be they big or small, or do we accept them willingly?

----------------Stations of the Cross with Pope John Paul II

Good grief! Smacked down again.

Yes, Lord. And I'll try to be better, and remember that there is no way to you without the cross.

Even when I wish it were not so.


Shadows I

Andy Warhol

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Surrendering Our Wombs


Beautiful post for the Solemnity of the Annunciation over at the Faith and Family blog.

From the Touchstone blog "Mere Comments"


From Anthony Esolen:

We Christians have something to celebrate. Oh, we don't often celebrate these days with the best sense, and our contemporary art sure is lousy, but at least we still remember to celebrate. I wonder what it is like to have lived and never to have stood alongside someone who is not from your family, maybe not from your ethnic group, not from your neighborhood, not from your godforsaken voting bloc -- someone like the young man who sat next to me this morning at Mass, with a hearty, "Hey, Doctor E!" and a handshake -- and to have prayed to Someone and sung about Someone big enough to embrace us all, here and now, long ago and far away, years hence and who knows where. What is it like, I might ask, to live and not to live? Not to know that elation that elevates man beyond man, because it comes from man's creator, who loves him and who has promised him a feast?

How sorry such a life would be! Which makes me think -- or I should say, makes me insist -- that long before we Christians take to the streets in protest, we should take to the streets in song. Let our merriment abash our opponents, before our indignation steels their resolve. Let's take them by a storm of celebration. I have no idea what is stopping us. Surely it can not be our knowledge that we'd probably celebrate with lousy music. Our opponents have lousy music too. They invented most of it, after all, and we picked it up from them. Let's go for the celebration. Not to proselytize; just to pray and sing and be together, outdoors, with people to look on and laugh at us for being the fools we are. Let them. We keep it up, and they'll be fools alongside us too.

Read the whole thing here.

Woo Hoo Good Boy Sam (and friends!)


ZMan's best friend, a young man McKid has always called "Good Boy Sam", sings in 2 barbershop quartets and two barbershop choruses. This past weekend was district contest weekend and he was most successful!

His college-age quartet won and is off to international! Woo hoo! They won with this performance. Forgive the fact that the audio and video don't start at the same time. The quality is decent, and I bet you've never heard "If I Only Had a Brain" done as a ballad. And their version of "Fly Me to the Moon" is excellent.

Good Boy Sam is on the far left - he's the skinny one! Love that boy. Always have, from the time the boys were in kindergarten!

Good Boy Sam also sings in a quartet with his dad. They scored high enough to go on to international competition this summer in Anaheim. No video on Youtube of them (yet), but I wish you could hear their version of "Stars Fell On Alabama". It raises the hairs on my arms it is so beautiful.

GBS also sings with the big-time barbershop chorus from Dallas - The Vocal Majority. They're going to international as well.

Now THAT was a weekend for one young man!

Yay, Sam!

Need to add something to your reading list?


You might want to take a look at John Wilson's Favorite Books of 2008.

He writes for Books and Culture, a good publication in the Christianity Today umbrella.

I know there are several on that list that'll make my list.


Spring has sprung. I've polished my toes and whipped out the sandals. How I wish these precious Steve Madden espadrilles were among them.


Baby maryjanes!! I've just queued these to make for a dear friend should her roasting chile turn out to be a she. I am a slow knitter. It takes me forever to finish anything so I've learned to shoot for quick projects and then add on to the gift if I can.

Here's the pair I made when my very own roasting chile turned out to be a she:

I knit them with Moda Dea Sassy Stripes. They fit for about 2 or 3 seconds. Look at her tiny legs! I can't believe she was that tiny just a year ago. She is next to me chatting and gobbling banana right now. *verklempt*

Quote for today


If you were to open up a baby's head - and I am not for a moment suggesting that you should - you would find nothing but an enormous drool gland.

------------------------Dave Barry

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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This one is a free pattern from Caron yarn, done by a really talented designer, Lisa Naskrent. The picture shows the afghan done in baby colors in Caron Eco yarn.


I have actually just started this afghan, but instead of using the pastel colors, I am using Caron Simply Soft Brites, which are, um, radiant, to say the least. My base color is green (because they were out of yellow!) with additional colors of pink, purple and aqua.

I have the top 1/3 of the afghan finished. It is going really quickly, and I'm liking it so far. I'm not thrilled with the joining method, but I'm withholding judgment until I'm further along. It may be all right.

Here's what I've done so far:

Blanket for a special baby

And here's a close up of the four small squares:

Blanket for a special baby

Funky, no?

(Sorry the afghan is on my plaid couch. I usually like to spread my project out on the bed (with its less distracting pattern), but PapaC is already in there reading, so it was the couch or nothing!). See how radically different it looks in these colors? This blanket is for a special new baby coming along. More info on THAT later!

LaMa's Monday Music

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We listened to this track three times in the car today at the request of my three year old. All my YouTube searches for a decent video of it were in vain. Does anybody want to hear dingy college covers of Cecilia? Methinks nay.

Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkel

Quote for today


All music is folk music, I ain't never heard no horse sing a song.

------------------------Louis Armstrong

MamaT's Monday Music

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A blast from the past. When I was a girl I wanted to be Mary in Peter, Paul and Mary.

But I'll let you pick. Do you like the PPM version, or do you like Gordon Lightfoot singing it?

Happy Monday, ya'll! I'm off to do tax returns today.

Look what I found on Youtube!


Probably my favorite scene from my favorite classic movie!

If you haven't seen Born Yesterday with Broderick Crawford, William Holden and the incomparable Judy Holliday, well, you've really missed something. Put it in your Netflix queue or go get it at Blockbuster or something!


It's finished!

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The giant wedding afghan is finished! And all ends are woven in! Yee Haw!

P & J Wedding Afghan

Extreme Sheep Herding


Happy Friday, ya'll!

Quote for today


It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

-----------------Mark Rothko


White Cloud Over Purple
Mark Rothko

And if you want to read about Rothko, here's his entry on Wikipedia. Enjoy!


I have never crocheted ANYTHING for my own self to wear. This past Christmas I crocheted 18 or 19 twirly scarves as Christmas presents (and I liked them very much, thank you) but I didn't make one for myself. I crocheted my sister a sweater/coat/shawl thing that she still wears all the time in the winter. Didn't make myself one of those either, though I wanted one.

But this little vesty-sweater type thing? I LIKE it, and it looks simple enough and quick enough for me to do for myself. I'll let you see it if I actually do it.

If you'd like to crochet it for me, you could find the pattern here, over on the Bernat website. Hint, hint.

I have been working on an afghan for a young couple getting married in early June. That seems like a long time away, but the shower for the bride is April 18th, so I've got to be done, with ends woven in, wrapped and all. It is a stitch sampler afghan, and I'm very proud of it, but it is sucking up a lot of time. Four more rounds with different stitch combinations around this puppy and I'm DONE! Then I have to do the frustrating and time consuming job of dealing with all those yarn ends. Sigh. I'll take a picture once it's finished so ya'll can see what I've been doing.

After that, it's a baby afghan for someone special--pattern already picked out, but yarn not purchased yet--maybe a trip to Hobby Lobby or my LYS (little yarn shop) today? Hmmmm. Temptation looms.

Must finish giant afghan. Must finish giant afghan. Must.......

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Well, my Lenten resolution to read non-secular books is still continuing, and I'm ashamed to admit that it has slowed down my reading quite a bit. Blush.

I'm in the midst of two books, one fiction, one nonfiction. For fiction I'm reading Taylor Caldwell's Dear and Glorious Physician, which is about Luke. Not too far in, it's pretty good so far. I think of Caldwell's books as the "old fashioned" kind of book--with a sweep of years and places and characters. Luke is still a young boy now, but with a love of the "Unknown God" and a surety that someday he will know that God better.

Also sitting on the bedside table is a book by Scott Hahn, First Comes Love about love and home and family. Just started this last night after I got in from a quick trip to see my sisterfriend.

One idea I was quite struck by was this: In the creation story in Genesis, God creates and it is good. The first time something is not good is when Adam is alone. And then God creates Eve. Think of that. Surrounded by Paradise, walking in friendship with God, with appropriate work to do and animals surrounding him, it was not enough until there was a companion--a family.

That is something to think about.

How 'bout ya'll?

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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Paddy O' Possum! How wildly adorable. Pattern here.

LaMa's Monday (Evening) Music

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Rodrigo y Gabriela. Just amazing.

MamaT's Monday Music


LOVE, love, love this one. Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle singing "If I Needed You".


The Best $3 I Spent Last Week

Bunches of daffodils were $1.50 for a bunch of 10 stems at the grocery store. They were all closed up, and it was an act of faith to take 'em out of a BOX where they were stacked up and expect them to bloom.

But they did! They are so beautiful, and so yellow that they almost hurt your eyes. I LOVE IT!


Purple Poppies

Claude Monet

I like this painting very much, but I didn't think it was a Monet when I first saw it. It's sharper than some of the others, and I would have expected it to be a Van Gogh or something....

Always surprising.

Tees I Think I Need

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It's rainy here and the ninos were tricked by it into sleeping in late. Muuhahaha. This gave me time to poke around the internet at length with my coffee. I came across Cotton Factory. Most of their stuff is pretty questionable but these made me laugh.

Oh snap!!

I saved Latin:


The asterisk at the bottom reads "*except for bacon". I'm not a huge fan of bacon but it gave me a laugh and anything bacon makes me think of Smock.
And my personal favorite!

MamaT's Monday Music


Not for nothing do I come from a Baptist and Methodist family. I love my liturgy, but there is an itch that can only be scratched by gospel music. Here are the Gaithers singing one of my grandmother's favorites:

LaMa's Monday Music


We have on Matisyahu today. This song makes me cry when it's really loud in the car. I embedded the Letterman performance of King Without a Crown rather than the official video because this Hasidic Jewish kid is one of those sweet performers that is way better live and unjacked with.

What have you been listening to?


Saints Perpetua and Felicity, watch over all mothers and children who are separated from each other because of war or persecution. Show a special care to mothers who are imprisoned and guide them to follow your example of faith and courage. Amen


Purple Robe
Henri Matisse

I wish I were sitting around in my robe right now!

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Because I'm losing my mind around here and completely spaced out on what yesterday even was, I'm doing yesterday today.

Finished a couple of books lately. The first, which I was completely surprised by, was Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To by Anthony DeStefano. I hadn't thought I would like it much--I had read his A Travel Guide to Heaven last year, and while I liked it, it wasn't something that I would recommend to others so much. It was useful to me at a time when grief was strong, because it gave me comfort and a vision for the future that was very hard to see at the time. But it was breezier than I generally like. Which sounds kind of like a weird complaint, I know.

Anyway, I expected to feel the same way about the Ten Prayer book, but I actually liked it very much more. And every one of the ten prayers gave me something to meditate on and consider.

According to DeStefano, the prayers God always answers, if we ask with a humble heart are:

  • God, show me that you exist
  • God, make me an instrument
  • God, outdo me in generosity
  • God, get me through this suffering
  • God, forgive me
  • God, give me peace
  • God, give me courage
  • God, give me wisdom
  • God, bring good out of this bad situation
  • God, lead me to my destiny

Every single chapter made me stop and think. Better yet, stop and pray for some of these gifts for myself. I tend to get caught up thinking that I have to be all stoic and self-sufficient about things. The Protestant work ethic is planted deeply and firmly in me, and "God helps those who help themselves" has morphed into some ugly cousin where I think everything is up to me. And I can imagine God standing there thinking, "Good heavens, girl. Give it over!"

It's not for nothing that my family threatened to get me a shirt that said Teamwork is a Lot of People Doing What I Say. Ahem. And everyone nods when I wear my shirt that says, I'm Not Bossy, I Just Know What You Should Be Doing.

So, thinking that there are gifts that God has for me. Things he wants to give me. That I don't have to earn. Or even really deserve?

Well, it was something that I needed to think about.

The second book I finished this week was The Hound of Heaven at my Heels: The Lost Diary of Francis Thompson by Robert Waldron. It is a novel--an imagination of what a diary might have been like if Thompson had kept one during the time he spent at a monastery recovering from opium addiction. It was during this time that he wrote his famous poem The Hound of Heaven.

Very short, but a touching look at what it is like to try to recover from addiction and actually use your God-given gifts. To think that such a beautiful poem might have never come to be without the people who helped a homeless, sorry, addicted, nearly dead waif of a person.

Thompson fought his addiction his whole life, never fully conquering it. How he must have suffered in his relapses.....

Currently reading this month's book club selection, picked especially for Lenten reading: Robert Bolt's play A Man For All Seasons about Thomas More. I love to read plays, though I do it seldom, because I get all caught up in the stage directions and notes and thinking about how it must be to be good enough to actually ACT in something.

Also on the stack, a biography of Edith Stein.

How 'bout you?

Do a Good Deed!

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Smock is walking in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in Houston in April.

She needs to raise some money to do that.

If you could help, she'd appreciate it, I know.

Here's a link to her fundraising page: Support Micki.

Pretty Pattern Tuesday


This is a pretty thing, isn't it? It only takes 10 oz of worsted weight yarn. Caron's Simply Soft Eco is the suggested yarn, and it is so soft and nice. I was petting it at Hobby Lobby the other day. (And yes, I go to Hobby Lobby to pet the yarn. Doesn't everyone? They don't? Are you sure?)

Anyway, the free pattern is here.


Pretty Pattern Tuesday!


This is the Acorn Hat. I'm testing the pattern for the designer. So far I'm only 10% of the way through but it's looking pretty cute and should be available for download soon.


As I knit this I'm always thinking how impressive fiber designers are. The insight and math involved blows me mind.

LaMa Monday Music


Comfort music.

MamaT's Monday Music Double Dip


Because a friend just sent this one to me. You have to listen to this a bit to get in the groove of it. Once you listen for a minute or so, you are drawn into it.

Give it a chance. You may have heard something similar if you watched the movie Cold Mountain, but it was much "cleaned up" for the movie. Real Sacred Harp singing is very unprofessional. Sung from the heart. I love it, but it's not everyone's cuppa.

NOW it's off to clean the refrig!

MamaT's Monday Music


Oh, one of my very favorites, by the Highwaymen.

So much talent on one stage!

I am off to clean out my old refrigerator, because a NEW one is being delivered this morning! Yee haw! Our old one is more than 20 years old, and was on its last legs. It'll be nice to be more energy efficient, too.

Plus an ice maker for the first time in more than 15 years!

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Sunday Music at SMV


Of course we started with the Great Litany, and that was fabulous.

Offertory was this one:

O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
how passing thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!

For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed; for us he taught;
for us his daily works he wrought;
by words and signs and actions thus
still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to wicked men betrayed,
scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death,
for us gave up his dying breath.

For us he rose from death again;
for us he went on high to reign;
for us he sent his Spirit here,
to guide, to strengthen and to cheer.

All glory to our Lord and God
for love so deep, so high, so broad;
the Trinity whom we adore
forever and forever more.

We sing this to Deus Tuorum Militum. The genius of this hymn is the repetition of "for us". If you truly think about what you are singing, by the end you want to drop to your knees in thanksgiving. I don't know how choir people do this. Too many things make me cry.

Eucharistic hymn was this one:

Bread of the world, in mercy broken,
Wine of the soul, in mercy shed,
By Whom the words of life were spoken,
And in Whose death our sins are dead.

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
Look on the tears by sinners shed;
And be Thy feast to us the token,
That by Thy grace our souls are fed.

Sung to Eucharistic Hymn. Clever, that.

Post-communion hymn was this Lent standard:

Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted, and yet undefiled.

Sunbeams scorching all the day;
Chilly dew-drops nightly shed;
Prowling beasts about Thy way;
Stones Thy pillow; earth Thy bed.

Should not we Thy sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with Thee to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Jesus, Savior, hear our call!
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fall!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as ministered to Thee.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by Thy side;
That with Thee we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide.

Sung to Heinlein.



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