As I write this, I’m sitting at a gate at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston waiting on my delayed flight to Maryland to see my sweet cousin get married. I am super excited about the weekend, so much so that I’m not really worried about the fact that my flight is running 30 minutes late (so far) and that yesterday was Sept 11th.
I’ve never been to Maryland before, but I know that the Eastern Seaboard is beautiful this time of year because the leaves are changing color. One day, when I’m retired, I’d love to travel the country in an RV and see things like The Leaves Change. Wouldn’t that be simply grand?
My parents are longtime, good friends with a colleague (whom we’ll call “Allen”) of my dad’s, whom he met when we moved to Houston in the late 90s. I actually used to babysit his kids, and I have often sought his generous wife’s counsel and wisdom. Their marriage is solid, and sitting here thinking about my cousin’s wedding reminds me of the gift they gave us when my husband and I were married. Using the letters of the alphabet, they made a little booklet describing the attributes of a good marriage, from A to Z. Because their marriage has long been a living testament to their faith, family, and friends, I knew that their advice and pointers would be solid. Every so often, I pull out that little booklet and remind myself of how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and to have fun and love each other along the way. It was, and continues to be, my very favorite wedding gift.
Speaking of Mr. Allen, I was privileged to hear him give a talk this week. I’m in a leadership organization for young professionals in my company, and we have several speakers a month that come and talk to us about our company’s various business units and their functions. It’s been an interesting, dynamic way to get a snapshot of all aspects of our business in bite-size sessions. Our presenter this week was none other than Mr. Allen, who spoke on teamwork and the importance of dreaming big, getting stuff done, and knowing how to have fun. I found that his advice could not only be applied professionally, but on the homefront, too. Too often, I zero in on one of these three areas and leave the other two behind. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve focused on “getting stuff done” at home, and “dreaming big” at work. According to his theory, the ideal place you need to be is at the crossroads of these three objectives. Really, this applies to the spiritual life, too, doesn’t it? We want to dream big – pursue holiness, make it to Heaven, become a Saint! We need to get stuff done – love our neighbor, give God the glory and trust due Him alone, trudge through the mundane of our vocations. And, we need to have a little fun along the way! SO many saints were able to keep their sense of humor in the midst of daily sufferings and trials. St. Philip Neri and Mother Angelica give us marvelous examples of laughter amidst our daily little crosses. Truly, Mr. Allen’s talk was more helpful to me than he probably realizes!
Even though we don’t homeschool, I like to have some workbooks on hand at home for when my kids get bored, and to reinforce what they’re learning in school. You can never complete too many math drills, amirite? Since Elizabeth started Kindergarten, we’ve worked our way through Seton’s Religion series. This year, we are working our way through the Religion 2 workbook, and we are both really enjoying it. We do one lesson a night, and she has the weekend to memorize that week’s catechism questions. It’s working well for us so far. She’s also working her way through Reading 3 Comprehension for Young Catholics, which she loves. I am hoping to work on some poetry memorization at home, too, for both her and Marie.
At the recommendation of rapidly-becoming-my-best-fran Dainty Cate, I have begun reading a fabulous book by Victoria Sweet called “God’s Hotel.” It’s a non-fic, personal narrative about the author’s time as a physician at Lagunda Honda, which was an almshouse in California. An almshouse is essentially a hospital for low-income or indigent patients who have chronic, often terminal illnesses and need round-the-clock care. I am only two chapters in, but I am already fascinated by her story. After working in healthcare for over five years, and subsequently leaving in part due to the bureaucracy and red tape, I pine for the days when medicine was a simple as it was at Laguna Honda. No, seriously. I kinda want to start an almshouse now. Like, I actually texted my kids’ pediatrician and asked her to run away with me and set one up. No, I really did.
See? Anyway, I’m only two chapters in. I promise a full book review when I finish it.
If you have a young kiddo in your life who would like to learn to sew, I strongly recommend this book.
It’s a consolidated reprint of a series of three books I received as a Christmas gift as a kid. It’s perfect for the beginning sewist, I’d say between the ages of 7-10, and is chock full of information, stitching exercises, and some fun, small projects that anyone can complete. Don’t know how to sew yourself? Never fear! This book will walk you through each step. I can’t recommend it highly enough! Elizabeth has been begging me for a while now to teach her to sew, so she squealed in delight when she got this for her birthday, along with a fully stocked sewing basket, complete with hot pink notions and butterly-topped straight pins.
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