7QT: SOTG, leftover leftovers, ants, sandbox fun, thrifty finds, letting go and knitting

— 1 —

Amazon.com wirelessly delivered Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book, “Something Other Than God,” to my Kindle Fire on Tuesday. By Thursday morning, I’d finished the book. Then I realized I’d forgotten to take a picture of myself reading it in an amazing place! I’ll be re-reading it SOON, so I have time to plan an fun photo in hopes of winning one of Jennifer’s contests.

It was definitely an unusual experience to read a memoir/conversion story of someone I feel I know through her blog writing. To learn intimate details of her life before blogging, especially before she blogged about ‘scorpion infestations,’ kinda threw me off kilter. Jennifer is an amazing woman. Grab her book (hardback or Kindle edition). It’s a great read!

Here’s me posing with my Kindle Fire and my blog post rough draft late at night. Think it’s goofy enough to win a prize?

Au natural

Au natural

— 2 —

This past week was the worst cooking week of my entire married life, I’m sure. How many times can a person eat leftover leftover chicken? Or leftover leftover Sausage, Sauerkraut and Dumplings? And now, leftover leftover Tacos. How can this be? (That’s right… leftover TWICE. I may instigate a new kitchen rule. After ONE leftover opportunity, the food goes in the trash or I schlep it over to my mom’s house. (She’s been schlepping her leftovers to ME–thank you Mom!–for a decade.) Is anyone else experiencing a cooking slump?

— 3 —

There are only two things guaranteed to make me swear. One is when my knitting goes horribly bad, and the other is ANTS in my kitchen. I haven’t knitted for a month, so this pretty much means that I gear up for war upon entering my kitchen. It’s been a week since the damn little piss-ants have been drunkenly carousing all over my counter, back splash and sink, and I’m sick of it. I half-drained a can of RAID around my windowsill (inside AND outside), even sprayed the countertop, and those damn ants just keep marching on, and on, driving me INSANE. Me, a grown woman, will stand at the counter for five or ten minutes staring at the wall, the counter, the windowsill, trying my damnedest to find their starting point. They just APPEAR! How can ants do that??? I think I saw some come out from behind a receptacle cover. Are they inside my WALLS??? Augh! Now I have to scrub and sterilize my sink and counters or risk poisoning my family in my quest to be rid of this scourge. Does anyone have a remedy for/against these teeny tiny itty bitty ants?

— 4 —

My husband is pretty handy and capable with DIY projects. He built a sandbox for our grandson two weeks ago. (He proudly tells me it’s all notch construction–no screws or nails!) It’s huge by anyone’s “sandbox standards.” Our daughter’s first reaction when she brought her son to us for a day of playtime was “Hey! The sandbox you made for Chris and me wasn’t that big!”

Boys and their Toys

Boys and their Toys


Our response: “He’s our Grandson… he deserves a Grand Sandbox!” It’s so big, we need another load of sand to fill it up. The sand is clean Florida sand from a local nursery named “Growing Crazy.” The sand has no rocks, but it does contain clay. It holds moisture really well and is easy to mold and make tunnels that don’t collapse. Now I need to find a laundry detergent capable of removing stains similar to those incurred when a baseball player slides into 2nd base. Any suggestions?

— 5 —

I had a strong urge to visit thrift stores last week. I found great deals on several good quality, gently used, children’s toys and books. For a fraction of retail, I scored some like-new wooden puzzles and some blocks that look like huge Lego’s (no, not Duplo). So far, G-man has ignored the puzzles, but he went nuts for the blocks. Of course, I’d built a castle and he was all about KNOCKING IT DOWN. (He’s not even two years old yet.)

The mother lode of thrift store gems was discovered at Goodwill … a wooden childrens’ easel (chalkboard on one side, wipe-off board on the other) for only $10. An Aurora Hobby Horse (retails for $34) for only $1.99, but the best of the whole lot was the Little Tikes Vacuum Cleaner for only $1.49. For those not in-the-know, G-man is very enamored of my Simplicity upright vacuum, especially the wand with the floor attachment. I taught him to “push and pull” months ago. He’ll use bats, sticks, wooden spoons, etc. as a vacuum at home, at the park, at friends’ homes… so when I found this child-size play vacuum I KNEW it would be a hit. It was and is, despite his obvious distraction by the song “Let It Go” in the movie, FROZEN. (Note: you may want to click this link… it’s the Disney link with lyrics and a bouncing snowflake to follow along. It’s pretty cool.)

Distracted by "Let It Go" song in FROZEN movie.

Distracted by “Let It Go” song in FROZEN movie.

Okay, I forgot to leave room for this gem I found on GodTube, but it’ll fit (for obvious reasons you’ll realize after watching five grown men act out a Bible story as told (literally) by 5 kids. Enjoy!

On a serious note, I respectfully request Little Tikes or the Dustbuster folks get real about making children’s vacuums REAL. G-man play-vacuumed my entire living room, hallway, his bedroom, and half the kitchen. It really stinks that I have to do it AGAIN with the REAL vacuum this weekend.

— 6 —

There’s only 52 weeks in the year, so I suppose it’s inevitable that the week my daughter’s second baby is due is also the week I’m scheduled to teach ten Jazzercise classes because my associate will be enjoying a well-deserved vacation. I’m not worried about teaching ten classes in six days, but the two 5:45 a.m. classes will be a challenge! I trust in God to get me through difficult times as well as little things in life. A Jazzercise instructor for 20 years, I am blessed to have fun and flexibility built in to my daily life and am enthusiastic to share the joy of dance & fitness with others!

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— 7 —

My Jazzercise associate will teach ten classes when I’m on vacation in Daytona Beach. I’ll enjoy quiet time while sitting poolside (or beachside). It’s only an hour from home, but a great way to get a vacation, ya know? I have BIG plans, one of which may include some swearing, if I’m honest. If you read post #3, you may have guessed that it will involve knitting. I’ve got to fix a knitting mistake before the weather cools down. I was doing GREAT with the new baby blanket for grandson #2 until I started a new skein in the MIDDLE OF A ROW near the end of the blanket. What was I thinking??? It’s best to end and begin skeins at the BEGINNING of a row, and weave in the ends. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of yarn! Let me show you what happened when I had a lapse in judgment… uh, I may have a MAJOR PROBLEM… where the hell did I put the new blanket??? All I wanted to do was take a picture to post, but the blanket is not where I thought it was. I haven’t seen the blanket for weeks! Excuse me while I have a minor panic attack…

Okay. That’s done. Now I’ll just say a prayer to St. Anthony…

Hi Saint Anthony! It’s me again. I’d be ever so grateful if you could point me in the right direction to help me find that darling blue baby blanket I’ve spent the last four or five months knitting. It has an adorable “baby block pattern.” I ask for your intercession with love and gratitude! Your sister in Christ, Monica. Amen.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. FOUND IT! YEA!

Potentially catastrophic mid-row weaving mistake.

Potentially catastrophic mid-row weaving mistake.

Hi Saint Anthony! Me again. THANK YOU SO MUCH for planting the idea it could be in my bedroom. I also received the suggestion that I clean my room soon. De-cluttering is an excellent strategy for loss prevention. Your intercessions are never taken for granted, and I know and rejoice that all glory and honor belong to Jesus Christ, our Lord!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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7 Quick Takes: How I became an “instigator” and brought Mary of Nazareth to Mims, Florida

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Confessions Audiobook

Confessions Audiobook

My name is Monica. My patron saint is St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. In the summer of 2012, I decided (for the 3rd time) to read Confessions, by Augustine of Hippo. Because reading the book had been a dismal failure twice before, I turned to Audible.com and chose the Confessions audiobook as my FREE book for signing up. I highly recommend this version narrated by Richard Ferrone. His voice will forever be the voice of St Augustine to me! 

— 2 —

Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine

Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine

I volunteer in the office of my local Catholic church as editor of the bulletin, website, Facebook and Twitter. I receive and review information about a variety of things and sometimes nuggets of gold are discovered. When I was still basking in the after-effects of listening to Confessions, I came across the movie trailer for Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine.

Non-Christians would say it was fate, but I know it to be the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. (I’ve got some experience with Him, but that’s several posts for the future.) Because I had loaned my Audible account link for Confessions to my pastor, he too was excited to explore the opportunity to see the film. So last year I spearheaded a sponsored screening of Restless Heart, the first full-length epic motion picture about a great saint and doctor of the Church, Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. With help from friends, we secured donations to cover the site license and equipment rental ($1,350) to show it on parish grounds. Admission was only $5 because our pastor didn’t want price to keep people from coming to see the movie. He’s great that way!

Restless Heart came to our little town of Mims, Florida, for a glorious night on a 16’x20′ outdoor screen in November of 2012.  Over 150 people sat on blankets and chairs on a grassy slope in the cool night air. Everyone loved it!

— 3 —

Mary of Nazareth

Mary of Nazareth

This summer I received an announcement of a new movie to be released for sponsored screenings on October 1, 2013. The movie is “Mary of Nazareth.”

MARY OF NAZARETH is an epic new motion picture on the life of Mary, mother of Christ, from her childhood through the Resurrection of Jesus.

I watched the movie trailer several times. Each time, my eyes watered and I could feel my heart swell with joy. Once again, it was the stirring of the Holy Spirit in my heart. It was lovely, just lovely, and I knew I had to bring this movie to our little town of Mims, Florida.

— 4 —

Mary by the sea

Mary by the sea

At every opportunity, I played the Mary of Nazareth trailer for co-workers, friends, family. My pastor. My screensaver features wallpaper from the movie. Everyone expressed a delight in the promise of this movie, but it was months from a release date, and no screenings were expected in our area, much less the state of Florida. Money is tight, and the site license for this movie is $200 more than the license for Restless Heart. I needed to raise $1,150, so I wrote letters and called people asking for donations. I continue to show the movie trailer to anyone who hangs around my desk for more than a minute. Mission accomplished–$1,150 was raised in two weeks! Ticket prices started at $10, but the pastor lowered them to $6 so people can afford to come see the movie.  

— 5 —

MON.Mary_.Jesus_-150x150Ignatius Press has been unlocking 1-minute film clips each week, and so I devour these nuggets in anticipation of watching the 155-minute film. That’s right. Two hours and 35 minutes. My favorite clip is “Tunic” — I feel the power of the future event in each viewing.

— 6 —

MON.pieta_-150x150Alissa Jung (pronounced Young) portrays Mary, and she’s incredible. And she’s German. But if you’ve read this far, you’re obviously interested, so I recommend you listen/watch the interview with Alissa Jung by Anthony Ryan, Marketing Director at Ignatius Press. It takes about 20 seconds to begin–be patient. The actress is delightful! If you have time, Alissa recorded another interview for Discerning Hearts blog. The woman interviewing her isn’t identified, but I like her interview better than the one with Anthony Ryan.

— 7 —

MON.mary_.temple-150x150Endorsements.  You must read the endorsements and watch the clip from the audience at the first screening in San Francisco. The last person’s comment brought tears to my eyes. The scene of Mary making bread and giving it to the children and to the Apostles, as she gave us the True Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.

“In light of the reality that the Virgin Mary is God’s created masterpiece and the pinnacle of the feminine mystery, there is no harder person to portray in a movie than her and, yet, Mary of Nazareth offers the best presentation of Our Lady I have ever seen. Mary of Nazareth is an absolute theological and Mariological masterpiece!  It will make you want to love her more than ever. Mary’s beauty is pure and ageless, her feminine mystery filled with wonder and virtue, and her divine motherhood is both tender and captivating.  Without a doubt, this is the most stunning portrayal of the Virgin Mary on film!”

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC
 | Author, NO TURNING BACK: A Witness to Mercy

Movies like Restless Heart and Mary of Nazareth are not released to theaters. They’re not available to purchase on DVD through outlets like Amazon.com. These incredible movies are only available for sponsored screenings. The preferred venue is in a theater with the capability of playing Blu-ray or IMAX. We need to support Christian films of this caliber.

Are you the person to come forward and decide to make it happen in YOUR community? I’m nobody special. I don’t have connections or special skills. What I do have is faith in the Lord and a willingness to help people know Him better. A desire to share the love of Jesus Christ with all people who are ready to listen.  Volunteer to raise money, find a venue, market the film, (posters and tickets are provided with the site license) and sell tickets. Contact Ignatius Press for more information, the same as I did several months ago. YOU can bring Mary of Nazareth to your community in 2014!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes — Mid-Life Rebellion

— 1 —

Instead of sleeping Thursday night, I watched a few things online from links in e-mails and blogs. First up was the link to the Explore God Q&A Forum with Jennifer Fulwiler and two pastors.  Next up was a documentary that caught my eye on the YouTube side menu when Explore God ended.  (I wasn’t tired yet.)  I highly recommend it to Catholics, because we generally don’t know much about modern saints and this featured the lives of TWO saints and ONE blessed (soon to be saint). Can you guess their names? Check out the one+ hour documentary, Ocean of Mercy.

By the time the documentary ended, I admit to feeling a bit tired, but another video caught my eye and so what-the-heck… I clicked with the intention of just watching for a few minutes.  Before I knew it, I’m watching the All In the Family episode when Edith Bunker discovers she’s going through “the change.” It was still funny. I watched the entire episode. In for a pound, I then followed it up with the 2-part episode featuring the birth of Gloria’s baby.  Was it a boy or a girl?  I couldn’t remember.  Now I know, and I’m not telling… you’ll need to google it or watch the episode yourself.

— 2 —

Household chaos. This week’s household chores can be counted on one hand. Washed dishes twice. Washed two loads of laundry. Hmm.  I have a finger leftover. Should’ve cleaned the bathroom or vacuum the living room.  Ah, I picked up the toys off the living room floor. I draw the line at stepping on little Hot Wheels cars.

— 3 —

My 1998 Honda Accord dashboard information warning lights have been on so long I rarely take note, but now they’re down from four lights to three, thanks to my hubby helping me get a new bulb for my taillight. Now it’s just ABS, Maintenance, and Engine.  We’ll open the hood this weekend to take a peek at the serpentine belt and check the oil, water and battery.  Anyone else out there drive around with dashboard warning lights ON? Which is the most annoying light you ignore because nothing turns it off? I hate spending money for EACH light to determine the codes. Mainly because I like spending that money for groceries….

— 4 —

Our church’s Fall Festival was last Friday night. As expected, I was only able to sit down for 3 minutes to eat a quick bite, but that’s par for the course for the folks in charge. No time to sit when you’re zipping from one activity to the next playing “hostess.”  This year’s fall festival included a Chili Cook-off, Square Dance, Kids’ Costume Parade, and a Photo Booth featuring the decorated Pumpkins folks contributed for ambience. Ann, my co-conspirator, supervised the campfire outside for the kids to roast marshmallows; her hubby supervised the old-fashioned hayride.  The pot-luck chili cook-off was lots of fun, and the square dance was enjoyed by young and old.  I’d like to try square dance lessons, but I enjoy the Monday night bible study classes too much to trade.

The next activity I’m organizing at church is called “Screen on the Green.”  We’re sponsoring one screening of the new epic movie, MARY OF NAZARETH. We rent a 16’x20′ outdoor screen & surround sound audio to watch great movies on the grassy slope next to our rectory. Check online to see if “Mary of Nazareth” is playing near you (it probably isn’t, so you may need to spearhead a screening in your area.) Watch the trailer, read the reviews of this amazing movie of the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. If it’s not playing near you and you’re up to a trip, the movie will be playing at our church on Saturday, November 16 at 7pm in Mims, Florida at Holy Spirit Catholic Church (on the space coast of Florida).  Advance tickets are $10 each or $15 the night of the event.

— 5 —

Clothes. I need clean clothes. See #2 above.

— 6 —

These 7 QT aren’t too pretty. No pictures.  Am I the only person capable of personally destroying their iPhoto app on their Apple computer?  Each time I tried to “repair” my database, all I did was worsen the problem. Nothing’s worked, and now the app won’t open and I can’t access my photos.  Grrr.

— 7 —

No photos this week, but I have terrific news. Last Saturday I picked up my one-year-old grandson. When he’d finished hugging, I pulled away to see what special shirt he was wearing. The previous 3 days he’d been sporting costume shirts:  Spiderman, Batman, Superman (included a cape), so my curiosity was piqued.  The shirt said Only Child (crossed out) and under that it said “Big Brother.”  My daughter got my scream on video… another grandchild will be joining our family next July.  Wahoo!  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!