Thursday, October 18, 2012

Welcoming Spirit Blog Hop #14: Times of Change

Hello friends! I've been busy getting ready for a fun trip to see family this coming weekend. As I posted on Friday, I'm really excited this year about Fall and all the change that this season brings. I hope you're able to slow down and enjoy it :)

This blog hop is open to all types of posts, focusing on those that are positive and uplifting. Please share your posts (that haven't been shared here before) about family, relationships, DIY home projects, your kiddos, fun projects, or anything season that would inspire others to get in to the season.

I'll stop by and say hi to all of those who share something :) I can't wait to see what you all have been up to!

It's time to link up and get hopping! If you'd like to support the hop and grab the code for your blog, that would make me smile, too :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

5 Minute Friday: Slowing Down into Fall

This week has been one of chaos. I remember reading one blog post about how Fall is the Season of winding down, of coming to a pause, of taking a breath. That the Summer is full of growth, long days, packed with excitement. Even the days are longer, letting us all do more. But Fall, well, it's a time to start to rest.

I am thrilled to be embarking on this season. We are getting through a Season where we have bought a new house, we've had both cars in the shop (yes the one was found after it was stolen, and our newer one got scuffed up by a shop owner while getting its oil changed?!?), we've been painting and updating, and doing as much as we can. I owed money to the IRS due to a slight mistake (Turbo Tax!) and have paid that off.

Now we're getting near the end of all of this planning; our roof will be redone next month and with that, I will feel like I can breathe. This will feel good. And yet this week still feels like just a little more to do, a little more to plan, before we get to mid November :) And then we can slow down and breathe a bit, and ease in to Fall.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Home Update: The Yard, the Master Bedroom, and Baseboards

We moved in to our home about three and a half months ago, and have been working on a bunch of renovation projects. Things happen a little each day, as we can get to them. Here's a little recap on some of the work we've completed. I can't wait to get the kitchen photographed to show you, because it's really the most exciting part of the reno so far.

After we ripped out our carpet and had it hauled away (we figure we saved about $400 by ripping it out ourselves and using one of our free "haul away days" to get ride of the carpet and pad), we had the hardwood floors redone. I love how they turned out. What I didn't love is that we opted to replace our old baseboards, and well, it's one of those projects that's dragging on and on.

Here's a glimpse of our baseboard situation:

We had to repair a couple of the boards that split when we originally removed them (top left - we used glue and spackle, and then paint), and to repaint them all, we spread them out over our outdoor picnic table (covered with boxes, top right). The bottom two photos show what we've been staring at in Zoom's room for the past few months. The walls don't meet the floors, there's layers of colored paint, yuck.

And here's what the baseboards look like in the middle of caulking them along the top. The caulk stops right below the light socket. You really do need to caulk them or you see the seam between the board and the wall. Since walls aren't all even, you often get a wacky wavy looking gap.

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As of tonight, we have about 2/3s of the baseboards back up. I can't wait to finish this!

We've done some planting in the yard, mostly some agapanthas we got for free off of craigslist, and some ground cover. We are also looking for ways to pretty-up (or hide) our shed, since it's not what I'd consider an eye-pleasing focal point of the backyard. I put up a trellis and bougainvillea and hope that it will help to break up some of the brown-ness. 
Master Bedroom
We finished the baseboards in the master bedroom first, and have started decorating. The prints above the bed were something I got at an auction last year. We've ordered a rug and it should be here next week, and I'm looking forward to having that to ground the room. Here's where we are today:


The curtains are painter's drop cloths, inspired by Layla at The Lettered Cottage. They look cute, but I'll admit that they don't block the light very well, so we will be getting some other blinds to go underneath the curtains. I'd like to make a headboard for us from a door, but that can wait. The chair was a second hand find that I recovered three years ago. 

Those are some of the visible changes that have been going on at our house. The next big spendy item will be redoing the roof! I'll try to get some pictures, but truly, it's going to be one of those things that really doesn't translate well to a blog post. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blog Hop #13: Lovely Fall Stories

Hello friends! I enjoyed reading your links last week :)

This blog hop is open to all types of posts, focusing on those that are positive and uplifting. Please share your posts (that haven't been shared here before) about family, relationships, DIY home projects, your kiddos, fun projects, or anything season that would inspire others to get in to the season.

I'll stop by and say hi to all of those who share something :) I can't wait to see what you all have been up to!

It's time to link up and get hopping! If you'd like to support the hop and grab the code for your blog, that would make me smile, too :)

Wordless Wednesday: A Ride on the Niles Canyon Railroad

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Linking up with:

Angry Julie Mondayparenting BY dummies

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Today I received an email that our retreat for this weekend, the retreat entitled "Big Love," has been cancelled. We didn't have a single person signed up. I'm definitely disappointed. And I would not be as worried if it weren't for the fact that it is the second retreat in a row that has been cancelled.

I'm certain that the current economic state has something to do with young adults not signing up for a retreat. To spend $55 for a single day, or around $200 for a weekend is a big chunk of change. I get it. I honestly do.

But I can't pretend that I'm not saddened by this. Or that I'm not sad that my dear friend Father Rusy was reassigned to a parish near LA. I had so many good times with him, led so many great retreats with him.

It is always hard when things don't go the way I'd like, when something I really do LOVE doing is interrupted. I feel a bit like a little bird being pushed out of it's nest. Perhaps God is telling me to fly, to do my thing, to trust that I can make it happen. To know that I have a "home" at San Damiano, that I have a place to come back to, but that it is time to move on.

I have to have faith in the fact that this is not a bad thing, but an opportunity. Now I just need to figure out what the silver lining is and get a move on making whatever that is happen :)

I said I wanted to lead retreats elsewhere .... perhaps this is the push I needed?

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Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days of Love: The Moment of Recognition

This post was originally published on January 26, 2009. It has been haunting me for the last couple of days; it speaks to love lost, to a love of the past, and to what happens when you see someone you once loved in an unexpected place.

The Moment of Recognition
I got off the BART train this evening hungry, fumbling for my ticket to let me through the turn style, deep in thought. I happened to pause for a second, and glance up, looking back in the window of the train. And there, still seated on the train, head down in a business document was someone I once knew very well. This was the person who I'd lived with, who first told me of the events of September 11th as I stood in my pajamas in complete disbelief, someone who I had known better than anyone in this world. He is the only person in this life with whom I have shared the words "I do," albeit it long ago on a warm summer afternoon in Berkeley. We had exchanged sacred vows in front of family and friends and God. And yet there he was, sitting quietly, reading.

There was a certain amount of joy in recognizing this face, and so I ran to the window and tapped it with my left knuckle. As he looked up, I saw that he was tired, worn out from the day, and now wearing a full beard. He looked so different, and yet so very much the same as the person I'd been so in love with. And as his eyes recognized me, after looking half startled, he smiled. I waived happily, quickly, and said "hi," even though I knew he could not hear me. We held each other's glance, and then I walked on, towards the stairs.

As the train pulled away, he looked up again, found me still on the platform, and waved. A friendly, loving wave. And then looked back down to continue reading as the train headed south out of the station.

It was an unusual moment, being met with someone I'd once known so well and had not seen in many months. And now, with time, and distance, emotions and differences, and a train window, we were as far apart as any two strangers could be. Yet, for that one brief moment, there was the joy of recognizing someone who had been as dear and close to my heart as anyone in this world.

Linking up with:


Friday, October 5, 2012

Zoom Friday: Momma, Come Outside

When I got home from work this evening, Zoom and Sean were playing in the kitchen, playing with "Cars." For his birthday, Zoom got little Lightning and Mater toys. Cars is his favorite movie.

After a bit, he opened the the screen door, and yelled, "Momma, come outside."

And so I followed him. He'd never made such a request, never said those words together before. I still marvel at the firsts, every first, as it reminds me of the miracle of this little boy, the miracle of life. 

It was sweet, but somehow heartbreaking, this baby of mine, already two years old, asking me to come outside and play with him. He ran off to get his truck and the balls from the yard. And I grabbed my camera, knowing full well that each moment is fleeting. Knowing that it will be all too soon that Zoom is five or ten, and I'm wondering again how he got so very big.

Zoom hammed it up, crawling, growling, charging the camera. At one point he started grabbing the string from my hoodie, and laughing, laughing so hard.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Un-40" Fall Fashion: Weekend Picks for Petites

I'm taking a leap and venturing in to new territory for Welcoming Spirit today. I hope you'll enjoy it :) I'm diving in to ... clothes!

The recap on my fall fashion mission? Un-40 looking (as in years old). Must be petite sized. Must be pretty, and must be inexpensive.

OK, so let's go shopping for some weekend clothes! I'm linking up to my finds so you can shop along :)

Jeans and tops:
1. Lucky Jeans $49.99: I already own a pair of these, and they fit like butter. I got them out the outlets near us for $45 each, a real steal. I'll pair them with my other purchases for a fall look.

2. Orange Skinny Jeans $46.00: I don't yet own any skinny jeans, but I see them everywhere. I feel like it's time to jump on the bandwagon and buy some.

3. White Tunic $41.54: Long, cute, light-weight, this one really speaks to me.

4. Gray Shirt $22.99: This one seems a bit edgy, but flexible. I like that it's loose fitting, and that it's available at Target.

 5. Yellow Flutter Sleeve $19.99: I love this flowy dress, and feel like it would be an easy one to grab and wear, without looking like I was in a hurry to run out the door. Same with...

6. Gray Flutter Sleeve $19.99 

7. Polka dot Shirt $27.99: Admittedly, a little more "formal" than the other two dresses, this seems like something that could also double for a work outfit during the week.

8. Gray Purse $92.25: This is the priciest of the items on my list. But, I'm with Sherry on my philosophy for purses; I buy something I will love for a year or more. So, I'm on the fence about this one, but I think it's adorable.

9. Skull Scarf $18.00: This speaks to my humorous side. I love it, and love that it would be a funny nod to Halloween this month. There's something funny about a short woman wearing a scarf like this.

10. Gray flats $44.00: I have not yet bought a pair of Toms shoes, but love the story (for every pair you buy, they donate a pair). I like how they look, and I like that they'd be an easy thing to put on for the weekend.

So what do you think? Anything you're going to run out and get? What are you wearing this season? Help a mother out ;-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Welcoming Spirit Blog Hop #12: Fall Linky Party

Happy October! It's been awhile, but we're back up and running with the Wednesday blog hop! This party is open to all types of posts, but tends to focus on positive and uplifting types of stories. Please share your posts (that haven't been shared here before) about family, relationships, DIY home projects, your kiddos, fun projects, or anything season that would inspire others to get in to the Fall.

I'll stop by and say hi to all of those who post something :) I can't wait to see what you all have been up to!

It's time to link up and get hopping! If you'd like to support the hop and grab the code for your blog, that would make me smile, too :)

Wordless Wednesday: Friends Forever


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"I love you and I will keep you safe" - Words of Wisdom for a Toddler

From the time Zoom was very tiny, I have always talked to him. Full conversations and explanations. As a baby, he'd listen intently, and smile, coo, react in gibberish. But it didn't matter to me. This was all still quality time with my little one.

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Zoom, eating some sand, just after his 1st birthday
Early on, I remember telling him about my "job" as his Momma. One day, probably a year ago, he'd become obsessed with an extension cord in the living room. He still gets obsessed with things, and when he's in that mode, it is very hard to wrangle him away from whatever it is that he's fixated on. Extension cords were an early favorite.

My, how he'd holler at me when I'd take him away from those cords. He would be furious.

And that day, I told him, "Zoom, my job as your Momma is to always love you. Always. I will be here, and you will always have your Momma. And nothing would ever change how much I love you." He looked satisfied, in a baby-like way.

I went on, "But, there's a second part of my job as your Momma, and that is to always keep you safe. And some days, even though you don't understand that you're in trouble, or doing something dangerous, I'll have to stop you from getting hurt. And the hard part of being a Momma is when keeping you safe means I might have to do something that makes you unhappy. But you need to know that I'm doing it because I love you and I'm doing my job to keep you safe."

I don't know that the explanation sunk in for him, because he was still obsessed as all get-out with that darned extension cord. Determined to get it in his mouth. So of course I moved it and he was mad.

Later that day I thought about what I'd said to my little boy. "I love you and I will keep you safe." Yes, that's pretty much my mantra for him day in and out.

And I realized, it's God's role for each of us, too. God loves us and will keep us safe. Even in those moments when we're hell bent on chewing on a proverbial extension cord. Maybe that extension cord is a bad relationship, a career that isn't a good fit, a habit we really should let go of. We're obsessed, and even as adults, we will cry and fight with God about getting what we want, demanding our way, no different than a one year old who doesn't understand why he can't have what he wants.

What if, just what if, God is just playing His role in keeping us safe, from keeping us from something that will harm us. We can't see the bigger picture, for certain. We don't have the experience to understand that whatever we're doing is a bad idea, likely for many reasons. But if we take to heart that God loves us and will keep us safe, maybe some of those hard times and disappointments will start to come into focus for us. We were kept from the things that could harm us because God loves us. And that He understands the bigger picture, and is guiding us along to safety.

Sharing with:

A Pause on the Path, Tell Me a Story

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is "Big Love" Month!

Our upcoming retreat's theme is "Big Love" and as often happens, I find myself with about a million ideas running through my head as we plan for the big day. And, inevitably, not every idea that pops up gets used in the retreat.

But for this one, well, I couldn't resist sharing a little bit of the "Big Love" with you all. So stay tuned this month for all sorts of chatter about love.

For now, here's a favorite song of mine, "More" by Matthew West. I have a feeling it will make an appearance, somewhere, during the day :)

Happy Monday!