Friday, April 4, 2014

YAY!




I've kind of been waiting for "summamomma.blogspot.com" to become available. For a while, someone had it as a blog about being a mom... in summer.

But now I have it and hopefully this will be the LAST MAJOR CHANGE! So head on over to my new blog before I retire this one entirely.

Happy Friday!



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Throw-Back Thursday

+JMJ+

I don't know how it got started, but I don't like this "TBT" thing that Facebook has lots of people doing these days. It seems like an excuse for Facebook to make you upload old, embarrassing photos of yourself (and loved ones) so that they can take over your entire life by owning all those images that previously were un-digitized.

But, I'm out of ideas for posting today. So I'm gonna do a Throw-Back Thursday thing of my own.

Let's go alllllll the way back to April Fool's Day. Ahhhh... remember when...



I especially like the the first article, by a friend from Notre Dame who is now Br. Raymund.

hint-- Objection 1: 
It would seem that Thomas Aquinas is fittingly called boring.

Also, this: 
Whether the Society of Jesus is 
Greater than that of the Order of Preachers? 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Busy Prep

+JMJ+

Preparing for something is a lot of work.  Think about the last time you hosted a dinner-- regardless of the occasion or how many people were coming. If you're anything like me, the planning had many stages: invitations (formal or informal, they still require effort), setting aside time in an already-packed schedule, planning a menu, doing the shopping, prepping the food, cleaning the house...

Beauty tips?!? You mean I have to try to look good, too??
...it's exhausting!

And don't even get me started on Christmas. Rather than being a relaxing, contemplative time of the year, Advent is SO BUSY with travel-planning, gift-buying and at least for us-- FINAL EXAMS... ughhhhhh... that I barely have time to appreciate the pretty purple... no wait-- rose already!-- oh no, back to purple... vestments.

It really should come as no surprise by now that Lent is also a season of "Busy." As someone who has worked for the Church as a music minister, campus minister and all sorts of odd jobs in-between, my Lent is always a struggle to FIT. IN. ALL. THE. PREP. so that I can prepare myself and my community to truly "enjoy" Easter.  I looked at my calendar today and my head is already spinning at the prayer services, musical rehearsals and classes I have coming up before Easter. This is a light year for us in terms of Lenten ministry and it's still a little dizzying. Plus, I just realized that my hubby and I *still* need to find time to go to confession, too!

But before I freak out about how un-desert-like, un-restful and un-fulfilling this Lent seems to have been, I have to stop and think: "Fasting." Fasting is when we give something good up in order to make room for a greater good. Fasting can mean abstaining from things, or it can mean giving up our time-- in this case, any "free" time I was under the illusion I possessed. Perhaps this is as it should be. Maybe in this midst of all this outward busy-ness I can still find my "center of stillness surrounded by... chaos."


Of course, this could also be the eye-opener I need that allows me to check myself and say "Slow down..." But for now I'm going to keep on "fasting,*" because that's the only way I know. And I hope that as long as I offer up these busy times and ask God to bless them, too, that I will be ready to receive Him when Easter comes.

Do you find time to appreciate "stillness" during Lent? 
How does God reach you through your Busy Times? How do you reach out to Him?


*Please tell me you got the pun, because I thought that was awesome.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sharing vs. Oversharing

+JMJ+

Our culture over-shares.
Take it from a blogger-- I'm not afraid to admit it. Too much of our thoughts and feelings are just "out there" for general consumption.


 

OMG.SHARE.OVERLOAD.

I don't want to talk right now about how technology and social networking like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, etc. help us to over-share ad nauseam. That's a post in and of itself. Right now I want to talk about over-sharing in our face-to-face relationships with people (yes, those still do exist!).

Coming from a family of three girls, let it suffice to say that there was *always* a lot of sharing going on. Girls, as we know, like to talk. About everything. And three teenage girls under one roof are the perfect recipe for talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. And more talk.

No wonder that when I finally went to college, I felt so insecure whenever I would try to approach a roommate for some chat-time.  I would come in, gushing about something that with my sisters would elicit an hour-long conversation, and be met with little response. Somewhere into my gushing, my bubble would burst and I would feel utterly crushed and try to hurry up the story and leave quickly while I still had a little dignity left. I felt rejected when my roommates returned my invitations for share-fests with little more than a cold shoulder. It made me think, "Is it me? Do they not like me? Am I boring?"

Fast-forward ten+ years and I have grown more accustomed to the differences in the sharing barriers that exist between acquaintances, friends, close friends, sisters and now-- my spouse. Yet, I still struggle sometimes knowing what topics I can broach with whom and what degree of sharing is appropriate.  At this stage in life, conversations are just *different* from what I knew before.  As a married woman with children, my everyday world is much different from what it was back in the college days. I'm now concerned with dirty diapers, cognitive development, family nutrition, screen time, laundry and trying to get those precious few moments in my day to find time for a shower.  To top it off, I'm a natural family planning teacher, which means that fertility and allllllll sorts of weird things creep into my conversations that most people think are weird-- and I admit, I have to rein it in a lot because these are the things that sometimes come springing to my mind and I know that not everyone wants to hear it. Nor should everyone.

So, I have compiled a few basic rules to help me govern my speech:
1) Generally, acquaintances & friends want to know what you are up to.
2) Close friends and family want to know what you are up to AND what you think/feel about it.
3) Do not mention bodily functions with anyone less than a close friend...unless they bring it up first. Even then, cap it quickly.

There are still a few topics I struggle with, however, even among close friends and family. For example, is it appropriate to talk about baby plans with anyone other than your spouse? What about finances? Medical conditions? Work/family stressors? Spiritual experiences? Where do you draw the line between a healthy "letting off steam" session and a full-blown, unhealthy rant? What about *asking* those sorts of questions of other people??? Is that intrusive, or just showing that you truly care? Does it make a difference if your friend is male or female? (I at least have an answer for that one: for me, it's decidedly 'yes.')

I'm slowly learning that even these things can be handled in different ways with different people (I'm sooooooooo slow to learn all of the intricacies of interpersonal relationships!!!), but some days it feels like a real struggle and I constantly worry that I should retract things or have said things differently.  I even check myself sometimes by asking my husband: "Is it okay that I told that to X?" He usually nods and tells me not to worry about it. :) But he's a guy! As I recently said to a friend, "I'm the woman it's my job to worry about these things."

So fellow sharers, what do you think?
Are there topics that should ALWAYS be avoided?
Have you ever felt rejected or unsure about the 'level' of your sharing? How did you remedy or overcome that?
Do you think this is a "girl" issue? Or do guys have to deal with this as well? 



Monday, March 31, 2014

E Turns 2!

+JMJ+

The Monday following a full weekend is always a day to play catch-up. Fortunately, the weather is cooperating with me today (read: rainy, rainy rain rain rain) so even though more rain kind of makes me want to pull my hair out, I will say "thank you for the excuse to stay home!" and go on with catching up. 

Late Thursday night (let's be honest-- it was early Friday morning), my sister and her family drove in to spend a long weekend with us! We spent Friday relaxing and I had the good fortune to introduce my sister to my best friends here when we all got together for lunch followed by a play-date. The evening was punctuated by a hilarious game of Wise and Otherwise with my sis and bro-in-law.* Saturday, we took advantage of a little break in the rainy rain rain rain to walk around the city. This was followed by an afternoon of grocery shopping and intense party prep because on Sunday, our little E turned 2!!!

We had a luncheon party with family and friends, which was only hampered slightly by the rain because we couldn't offer to let everyone go outside on the playground.  Yet despite a cold and a slightly grumpy demeanor, E seemed to have fun and she eventually embraced the chaos enough to enjoy opening her presents.  My sister and her beautiful little family departed that afternoon, as did my husband's parents who so graciously made the long drive just to be with us for the day. 

It was truly a long weekend of feeling supremely blessed by family and friends-- what a gift to receive at the mid-point of what has been a busy and trying Lent.  

And now, some eye candy from the weekend: 


Happy Godparents with ADORABLE Godson

E, G and S: cousins!!


*Also, for any reviewers who say that the game isn't fun, I have to snarkily reply: then you aren't clever enough to make it fun. If you write boring answers, the game will be boring. Duh. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dinosaur Lesson

+JMJ+

S and E have both taken a fancy to dinosaurs the past couple of weeks owing to the recently-acquired knowledge that their father was an avid dinosaur fan when he was their age.  For your viewing pleasure, here's what S and I did while E was napping this afternoon:


video

I hope you learned as much as I did! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Shop!

+JMJ+

When I did my 7 Quick Takes featuring the dolls, momof5 wrote in the combox:
"I think they are adorable. I would love to make these for my grandchildren. Would you consider making a pattern and selling it? I think there is a big Catholic audience for these if you market them."
First of all, I am incapable of doing "patterns." I just never learned and I don't have the patience for it. Each of these are done free-hand with regard to details-- I just start with three basic pieces and add on as I see fit. So that's all I have to offer, but you are welcome to it!


Second of all, I have a hard time with "intellectual property rights." If someone sees something that I am doing and you want to do it-- go right ahead! Acknowledgment is nice, but with something like this that's just a blank template, all the creativity belongs to you. :) I, for one, was inspired to make my own dolls based on the wonderfully talented SaintlySilver, but the shapes and designs are my own.

As you'll see on the "pattern," I use two different body shapes.  The female saints usually get Body Type A and generally the men get Body Type B, but this is totally up to you.  Just cut out two pieces of felt in that shape, either in a single color or you can stitch different colors together in the correct shape (e.g. Maximilian Kolbe or Helen).  I make the halos with two pieces of felt as well, being sure to stitch them to the back of the body and then when I close the seam I stitch to the front part as well.  Faces are attached and hair is added on the top.  All of the faces are done with black embroidery floss, using French Knots for the eyes. Everything is done with a blanket stitch and I use poly-fill for the stuffing. Depending on the intricacy of the design, it takes between 1.5-3 hours for any of these dolls. Inspiration for design is taken from classic icons and art.  I hope this helps! If not, please shoot me an email and I'll see if I can be more specific. :)

Link to shop
Finally, I have actually decided to open up shop on Etsy. I used to have a knitting shop, so I expect I'll eventually add some knit/crochet items as well. For now, I have a few dolls ready-made for purchase. My custom order schedule is all full right now, but feel free to contact me if you'd like something made-- I could give you an idea of timeline!

Thanks for all the great feedback and thank you to my wonderful friends and family who are supporting me in this endeavor so far!!

UPDATE: I have also started a "Gallery Site" at Weebly: MotherMerryCrafts. I may streamline everything to bring it back here soon, but this works for now!