7 Quick Takes


Quick Takes – New Job, Cool Dating Movie, Autism help, Bathroom Redo, and Where I want to Live One day

What’s the best way to share a life update after a waaaayy too long blogging hiatus?  With a Quick Takes post, of course!

(P.S. See blog title if you don’t want to read this whole thing.)

One: Last month I began working part-time with a non-profit organization – Pure and Simple Health Education, Inc! Pure and Simple seeks to build strong families by teaching youth and their families the importance of making healthy choices and abstaining from unhealthy ones – drugs, alcohol abuse, and sexual activity outside of marriage.

Two: So far, it’s going well! I can work at home or at the office, I’ve taken my kids with me – my five-year-old helped me sort papers last week. It’s been a really great blessing. And – I get to be a part of the “solution” for youth and families and our community. Win!

Three: On that subject, have you heard of this cool ONE-DAY movie event coming up Tuesday, April 17th?  It’s called The Dating Project Movie and it’s playing in theatres nationwide this Tuesday only! I really hope they make a DVD or streaming available for it later because it looks like a great movie to have on hand.

Here’s the premise: Half of America is single. The way people seek and find love has radically changed. The hook-up, texting and social media culture have profoundly altered the dating landscape. Traditional dating has become “outdated,” yet men and women still seek meaningful relationships. People are frustrated in love, but does anyone really know how to connect in today’s virtual world?

THE DATING PROJECT is a new non-fiction film from executive producer Steve McEveety (The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart), produced by Paulist Productions, Mpower Pictures and Family Theater Productions that follows five single people ages 18-40 as they navigate beyond the hookup culture to traditional dating. Professor Kerry Cronin from Boston College is featured throughout as she teaches ad encourages her students to return to traditional dating. There is no script. There are no actors. These are real people trying to find love and happiness in an age of swiping left or right.

For Tickets & More Info, visit: TheDatingProjectMovie.com or enter to win a ticket giveaway http://woobox.com/93aodz!

FOUR: I haven’t written about our autism journey for a while because well, see #1 above and family life is full and good. We began OT (occupational therapy – I feel smarter now that I finally know what OT is!) and I think that’s been very helpful. He and we have been learning about appropriate ways to respond instead of react in various situations.  There’s a lot more I could say about it but for now I’ll just say that if you have a child who struggles with finding healthy, appropriate, and respectful ways to respond to annoying situations (or annoying siblings), look into what OT may have to offer.

FIVE: OT has been great for our son because it’s for him. He is the one who goes to the sessions and he is the one learning what he can do to help himself.  But what about us – the parents? A friend suggested we look into Asperger Experts and, so far, it is the most helpful of all the resources we’ve found for parental support.  Danny Raede, the founder, himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was twelve so he has and does live with it every.single.day. So he knows.  I started out by watching his YouTube videos and knew this was exactly what my husband and I needed for us – to better understand the why so we could better understand the how to help.  They’ve all been super helpful, especially this one – Walking on Eggshells,Walking On Eggshells, Child Emotionally Abusing Parents & Getting Exhausted.

SIX:  Even with all the above going on, we’ve also been working on updating our master bathroom! We began ripping the carpet out of the bathroom – eww, carpet in bathroom right?! – back in November and then decided we should update the shower tile before laying the new floor down. Loooong story shorter, we finally got that started a couple weeks ago and the tile work should start this week. We’ve been without a shower for a couple weeks and so we have been sharing one shower for all six of us.  I know, “First World Problems” but I’ll be incredibly grateful to have our shower back soon! Follow me on Instagram for more exciting bathroom updates! (You’re super excited, I can tell.)

SEVEN: Lastly, I have to take a moment just say that I really love the Microsoft lock screen images. They’re all so beautiful and truly make me pause before I log in and get sucked into the computer.  Here’s this mornings – wherever it is, I’d like to live there!

 

 


Running Achievements, What Ifs, Books & Movies, Space Room, and other Fun Updates {7QT} 8

It’s been too long since I’ve blogged again, time for a 7 Quick Takes for a fun little update on fun and exciting things.

One

Let’s see, I’ll start with talking about my kids – since that’s what moms do when their kids aren’t around.

This is our daughter’s second year of running middle school cross-country and she has PRed (set a new personal record) twice and been awarded two medals this year! She has been happily surprised by this and it’s been fun as a parent to see her challenging herself to try just a little harder each time.

I really love the Cross Country sport. It’s about self-accomplishment and teamwork. It’s so great seeing all the kids trying their own best while also cheering on their teammates to also set personal goals and work hard to do just a little better each time. Her school doesn’t have its own team so all the area Catholic schools got together to create a full team, it’s been a great way for them to get to know other kids from other schools that they might eventually meet in high school…in just a couple years. (gulp!)

Two

I’ve really enjoyed getting back into a good exercise routine and running again. There are many mental challenges to overcome but there are also so many benefits for my physical and my mental health.  I’m still working on uniting my fitness life with my spiritual health too. A friend recommended this book I’m hoping will help: Fit for Eternal Life. Any other good resources out there?

I’ve been picking at the idea of running in a 5K race and that idea has migrated from the back of my head slowly up to the front. So, there’s one going on next Saturday. I’ve been running 1 to 2 miles when I do and did run a cumulative 3 mile run with my husband a few weeks ago (which was so awesome to do together btw!).

So today I made a decision. I’d get out and see if I could run 3 miles straight through. If I could, I’d register for the 5K next Saturday. In order to help me stick to this plan, I had to gather up the courage to tell a few other friends and my husband that I was going to do it this morning. I asked them to ask me how it went when they saw me later – because I knew I’d hate to admit I wussed out.

So guess what?

I did it! I ran 3 miles straight through and even kept up my regular 12 mpm pace!

So, 5K, here I come!

Three

We like to play different table games at dinner – like “I Spy” or “Guess Who I am”.  Last week, I started a new one by asking the kids What If questions like,

What if…there was a Tiger in our backyard, what would you do?  

It’s been fun to hear the responses that vary from logical to just outright ridiculous. It’s also been a good way to talk about personal safety and what to do in emergency situations.

The four-year-old likes the game so much that he asks me What If questions almost all day. Even as I’m trying to put him to bed.  I cracked up at a silly one he asked me a couple days ago:

What if there was a giant cookie monster in our backyard?

Me – I’d give it cookies.

He pauses and thinks about that then asks while giggling,

What if the cookie monster was a COOKIE?!

Me while chuckling – Well, then I guess I’d go eat it! What you would do?

I’d eat it’s tongue!

Me – Ummm….ok….

Not sure why he picked the tongue? Should I be concerned?

Four

It’s almost the end of the month and I have to say that so far the school year has been going pretty well! For which I am incredibly thankful. I’ve done a few different things this year to try and make things go smoother before and after school especially – because those are our most challenging times of the day ever!!!!

Anyway, I wanted to share one thing that’s been made a big difference:

15 Minutes of After-School Quiet Time

It’s funny how such a small thing can make such a big difference but, like I shared in the article about it on CatholicMom.com this week, it really has changed our family’s life!

Five

I’ve read a few books and seen a few other good movies the past few months that I really want to share about.  For now, I’ll just share the list and hope to get a chance to come back and share more about soon.

Books I’ve read:

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Out of My Mind

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter: A Novel

Currently reading:
Man’s Search for Meaning by Vicktor Frankl

Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love From His Extraordinary Son

And of course the Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion with daily reflections!

Movies:

Room

Of Gods and Men

The Fundamentals of Caring

Six

I’ve started my next room renovation project – Operation Space Room!

Our nine-year-old (almost 10!) has been sleeping in a room with cute puppy wallpaper for too long and it’s time. Time to get the scraper out and get rid of those cute little puppies.  Our son – like his daddy – is fascinated with space, especially black holes! He said he wants his whole room to be space. Well, I can’t make it be real space in the room, I can at least try and make it look kind of like space.

The challenge will be how to make a room look like space without making it too dark….hmm, not sure if that’s possible?

For now, I’m working on getting the wallpaper off first before going beyond to where no Mom has gone before.

Seven

Another exciting thing – I got a gig creating social media images for EpicPew! It’s a cool site that offers interesting and relevant Catholic-related topics with a great sense of humor to go along. I’ll be working up images for Saint feast days each week, it’ll be good way to learn more about awesome Saints while using my Canva-designing addiction for some good too. I’ll even have a good excuse to have a little “gif” fun too.

Today ,we remember St. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina. Check out EpicPew’s social media sites and follow along – you might learn something new and have some fun while you’re at it.

 

That’s all for now folks. I hope to come back again soon! Be sure to check out other 7 Quick Takes on this fine Friday.


I’m a 1.10% Published Author!, Back2School, Time & Self Organization {7QT} 8

1. I’m a published Author! 

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, A Book of Daily Reflections comes out August 29th!

Wow, I’m still in giddy shock and disbelief that I can really say “I am published author”!  It’s been a dream of mine for so long. Although, I sheepishly admit that I feel a little strange saying it because technically I’m only a contributing author, writing 4 of 365 daily reflections so I’m really only a one hundredths (.0109…)published author. But hey, that still counts right? (If I can count correctly? Someone smarter can check my math.)

2. Say What? When Did This Happen?

We started this process back in 2014 so I had to put my excitement on hold for a while and go through a few other hard life events. When I went to the mailbox a few days ago and saw the book – the real book – in my hands the excitement practically jumped out of the box at me.

I was so excited, I had to take a few selfies (nerd alert) with my “1.10%” first ever published book!

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion 2

I think this captured my excited look pretty well. Can you hear the squeal too?

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion

Who her? A published author? (1.10%)

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion 4

With Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard and over 80 other awesome Moms, Dads, and Spiritual Sages?!

CatholicMom's Prayer Companion 4
Mmmmmm, ahhhh. Yup. It’s real. (1.10%) I love the smell of a new book!

3. Want one?

Of course you do! For you, your mom, your sister or sister-in law and all your mom friends too. 🙂 Like I said, The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion comes out August 29th but you can Pre-Order your copy (copies) here:

Ave Maria Press – our super amazingly awesome publishers who support all CatholicMom.com BooksBarnes & Noble, Amazon (this is my personal affiliate link), or your local Catholic Bookstore.

*** UPDATE*** In my excitement, I jumped the gun and didn’t think about saying that you can also order the book directly through me!! I was trying to avoid shameful self-promotion but it’s only 1.10% self-promotion and the rest goes to Lisa, Sarah, and everyone else! I can offer group discounts (starting at 10% for 10). I want you to know that I DO GET TO KEEP A VERY SMALL STIPEND FROM THESE ORDERS SO IF YOU’RE THINKING OF ORDERING YOU CAN ORDER THROUGH ME AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT HELPING OUT A FRIEND TOO!

If you’d like to order through me, fill out this Order Form Here or send me an email onesimplemama @ gmail dot com. ***

OR! Next week, I’ll run a special GIVEAWAY of this Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion for one lucky (blessed?) Mom out there so stay tuned in for that!

4. Hangout with the Authors

While I jest about how excited I am to be part of this book, it really is not my book, it is a beautiful work of art created by the whole CatholicMom.com community that I’m blessed to be a part of.

You’ve probably heard of Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, and I guess if you are reading this you know me (or do you???) but who are some of these other contributing authors? You can read all the Author Bios here.

Then, while we haven’t solidified any details yet, I’m hoping to get back into hosting the CM Hangout Podcast and bring on some of these amazing authors starting in September! So stay tuned for that also!

Ok, ok, enough about that (for now!), let’s move on…

5. School Resumes!

Well we got our three olders off and going for another school year this week! So far so good, ah if only the whole school year could be as easy and exciting as the first three days. We now have 7th, 4th, and 1st graders and our youngest will start his preschool in a couple weeks! On the preschool mornings, I will be without any children for a couple hours for the first time in…I can’t even remember! It seems like maybe I should feel a little sad about that but honestly I’m SO EXCITED!!

6. Time, time! What do I do with All this time?

After devoting most of my time and energies with the kids this summer and having zero time to focus on much else, I’m now in this strange interim between having no time to do anything I wanted to having too many options for what I could do.

I agonize over making decisions, especially about how to spend the free time I have when I get it because there are so many things I could do and probably a whole lot I should and need to do. And they are all good. But what if I spend my time doing this when maybe I should have done that? And then, before I know it, I’ve signed up for too many things and end up with no time again. It’s so hard living in my head.  You never want to be with me when I’m trying order food. (Ask my husband.)

7. Organizing Myself

When I have a hard time making decisions, it helps to try and organize my thoughts and options on paper. I have to do this every few months or so. I get out a piece of paper, or maybe use a note tool – I recently switched to OneNote vs. Evernote so maybe I’ll use that – and write out the different areas of my life I’d like to/need to devote time to.

Then, under each of those categories, I write out what I am already committed to or what I’d like to do more of/improve on.  I’m still trying to pick up the pieces and find a new sense of direction after my dad’s passing in December so I hope that by getting myself and my goals organized I’ll rediscover a sense of purpose and order to my life again. At least until the next crisis. 🙂

Speaking of trying to “find myself” again, today’s reflection in The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion by the lovely Deanna Bartalini hit the spot perfectly! (It’s like the Holy Spirit knew I’d need to read her reflection today even though she wrote it over a year ago.) Here’s a tiny excerpt,

The Holy Spirit lives inside of each of us and wants to help us and guide us toward seeing ourselves as the Father sees us…When we spend time praying with scripture or pouring our soul out to God, he strengthens us and reminds us he is with us.

Alrighty, that was fun. I hope everyone’s weeks went well and you can enjoy a relaxing/productive weekend!

Head over to Kelly’s for others exciting Quick Takes and Kelly’s soul-bearing thoughts on dealing with sadness and kids’ disabilities/challenges. (Another thing the Spirit knew I needed to read today!)


Cumin Toast, Conference stars, Colorado Beauty {7QT}

Hey it’s been a few weeks, time for a 7 Quick Takes Friday with Kelly to get me blogging again!

1. I made cinnamon and sugar toast for the kids’ breakfast yesterday except I accidentally grabbed the CUMIN instead of the cinnamon!  I realized my error only after I had already shaken it all over the toasted bread – which was our last three pieces! Thankfully, my son wasn’t paying attention (something I was grateful for this time) and didn’t notice my mistake. So I gave it to him and just played it cool. He ate a bit of it and then stopped and made a strange face – “This smells funny”…

“Hmmm, that’s odd,” was all I said. Then I drizzled a bunch of honey on his toast and he ate it just fine after that.

2. I had a fan-girl moment with one of my favorite authors (Something Other than God), bloggers, and Catholic media queens – Jennifer Fulwiler, at the Family Conference last weekend. She looked just like her picture and her voice sounded just like she does on her radio show.  And she was just as real and “normal” as anyone else. It’s easy to “celebritize” authors and bloggers and people that are well-known but it’s always good to see people in person and remember that we are all people like everyone else. 🙂

Some people just have longer arms and cooler blogs or radio shows than others. 😉


3. I also got to meet Dr. Christopher Kaczor in person at the same conference. We met last fall when I interviewed him for a book review of his book, The Gospel of Happiness.  I really enjoyed hearing his talk outlining the key parts from his book. This is a one-line take-away I got from his talk:

Happiness is what God wants for us, we all desire it, it is a good that we should all strive for and that we can all achieve.

4. Oh and! I met this really awesome gal, Lauren, who makes these beautiful hand-painted typography art prints that bring truth and beauty together with such loveliness! I think I’ve seen her work in a few places online and on the Blessed is She stuff so when I saw her work at one of the conference booths I was pulled in like a magnet. I love art and really wish I could do things like this. Yet, I know that this is just not the time for me to work on that type of art. It was helpful talking with Lauren knowing she is able to dedicate time to this art work now as a single person at this time in her life while I am called to cultivate other “works of art” in my own current stage of life. 

When Beauty Met Truth Mother Angelica

So I’ll just live out my typography art cravings through Lauren instead. Check out her When Beauty Met Truth Etsy store and blog!  I had to get a selfi with her too because I know she’ll be famous one day. 🙂

5. We returned from a ten-day vacation in Colorado last week and I’m still trying to get my bearings straight. I think we’ve got all our supplies and uniforms and such ready…although I’m sure I’m forgetting something. School starts next week so that gives me about seven days to figure out what bearings are and how to lay them straight.

DSC04909

6. We had such a wonderful and lovely time there visiting good long-time amazing friends and just relishing in the beauty of the land there. We went on several hikes in the Woodland Park area (close to the Springs), climbed up and down boulders in the little-known treasure of the Red Rocks Trail

I conquered my fear of heights and climbed onto a high boulder and stood up! (Instead of scooting around on my tushie.)

…enjoyed a family camp-out and 6+mile hike up the Crags Trail of the Pikes Peak mountain, took in the breathtaking beauty of the Maroon Bells, and even got to ride up a couple Gondola rides in Snowmass Village and Aspen.

Aspen wildflowers

There’s something so peaceful and soul-refining about being in the mountains, I came back feeling rejuvenated and transformed. If only we lived closer so I could go more often.

When Beauty Met Truth Mountains are Calling me

It’s like Lauren made this for ME! Isn’t it so beautiful?!

7. Lastly, my awesome husband was in photographic heaven in Colorado and captured some of the breathtaking scenes beautifully. Here are a few below and you can see what he has added so far in his Colorado album here on Flickr.

Maroon Bells Pano

It really DOES look this beautiful!

Mt. Sherman Pano

My husband got to hike a 14er, Mt. Sherman! What beautiful views. Go to the album for more of these.

Mt. Sherman Pano

Going Nowhere

I love this one! #mtsherman14er


Backyard Golf, Tear-free Onion Cutting & Other Random Friday Takes 4

I’m in a bit of a blogging rut so I’ll use Kelly’s Friday 7 Quick Takes as an excuse stay up way too late and blog very unexciting things.

1. Mini Golf Course in the Backyard

Our beloved and oh so kind and generous pastor decided to give our three boys some of his golf clubs (some older ones collecting rust and dust in his garage).  He offered them an old beebee gun first but, after seeing the look on my face, decided maybe that was “a little too heavy for them for now” and instead offered them long hard metal poles that can be swung and hit hard golf balls everywhere. 😉

All joking aside, it was very nice of him and has provided the kids some new and different weapons, er I mean, entertainment.

On an unusually “cooler” day this week we set up our own makeshift mini golf course in our back yard using items we found in our outdoor toy shed.

It was extra challenging with the long grass and the fact that my kids tried using these real clubs like mini golf clubs and the fact that I have no idea how to really golf. The nine-year-old thought he knew it all and kept calling everything a bogey and a double bogey. (I had to look up how to spell that and what it means here and I still don’t really get it.

I was particularly proud of this hit-the-ball-down-the-slide one. I missed the picture but the 9-year-old scored a hole in one down the slide on this one!

2. Watching

I took the kids to watch Zootopia last week. I thought it was alright enough but the all the kids really liked it!  I don’t really feel like taking the time to give it a full review.   They also got to go watch The Secret Life for Bees. They said it was good but “definitely not as good as Zootopia!”

My husband and I have been watching the BBC’s Life series on Netflix when we feel like watching something but not a whole movie. Our world and all the life that lives here is so amazing. I marvel at God’s ingenious ways and unique sense of humor with all these marvelous creatures great and small.

3. Reading

I haven’t had as much time to read this summer as I’d like to (like when was the kid) but when I do get a few minutes break in the day or in the evening (as long as I can keep my eyes open) I’m enjoying these two books:

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

and Remembering God’s Mercy: Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories by Dawn Eden

I got this for a review a while back and thought I’d maybe skim it over and then give it to a friend but once I started I realized – no, this book is definitely for me right now. I’ll share more when I’m done but I already highly recommend it!

4. Speaking of great Catholic Spiritual Books…

Did I mention I’m part of a new book coming out in August?! Well, I am!

We started working on it back in 2014 so I’ve had to hold in my excitement for the final product but now that it’s only a month away I can start letting my excitement out!

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections is a new CatholicMom.com book coming out August 29 (2 days before my birthday!) I, and many of my fellow CatholicMom.com writers have contributed our own reflections to go along with each day’s Gospel reading. If you’ve been looking for a new daily Gospel Reflection book from the perspective of Catholic moms, look no further because this is it! 

I’ll share more about it in the weeks to come as we get closer to the August release, for now, you can pre-order online today at:

I know I can’t say this is my book but I’m so excited to be part of a published book for the first time!!

5. Beautiful Clouds

I got to drive into this beautiful scene on an early morning this week.

The rays coming out of the clouds were so distinct and magnificent. I had to be careful to keep my eyes on the road.

Then, Wednesday night, I walked out of an evening meeting and was stunned by this magnificent sight:

Clouds may only be composed of water vapor but when the setting sun hits those just right it’s a captivating sight.

6. Kid Chef

We usually go to the Y in the mornings and come home ravaging hungry but I like to shower “quickly” before making lunch or I’ll end up staying in my sweaty yucky gym clothes the rest of the day. Well the 9-year-old either got tired of waiting for lunch or decided to be nice (or a bit of both) and has taken to making lunch for everone on his own! It’s been a HUGE thing for him to do that and I’m very proud of him and thankful. Especially when I come downstairs and find taquitos ready for everyone to eat!

7. Goggle-eyed Onion Cutting

Lastly, I decided to take my son’s advice and use my new prescription goggles while cutting onions so I wouldn’t cry the whole time and guess what? It totally worked! Not one tear!

My life has changed forever. No more trying to cut onions with my eyes closed!

And a P.S. Bonus #8 Random Tip of the Day: If your dog accidentally steps in the sticky spider trap liquid and then gets it all over her fur and you can’t figure out how to get it off – use vegetable oil liberally all over her fur, wash, repeat until it’s all gone.

Ok, now go check out Kelly’s and other’s much more amusing Quick Take posts.

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