Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thoughts from the Book Fair

As a middle school librarian, I run a book fair twice a year. Typically the fair takes about a week of my time.  My school and school district both support the idea that as a librarian I have 2 or 3 book fairs a year.  If they didn't, I wouldn't have them.  They are a lot of work.  I can't emphasize that enough, a lot of work.  When I was younger, the work didn't seem as impossible as it does today.

But, thinking past the work and the required nature of selling things at school during the school day, I can see some benefits for the book fair.  It obviously provides books the company donates to the school and the books students buy to enjoy.  At a book fair kids learn to weigh their wants and prioritize.  They see that some people have a lot more money to blow than they do.  They learn that just because it looks pretty or inviting doesn't mean it isn't junk.  They learn to figure in the tax.  They learn that while $20 seems like a lot of money, it doesn't buy much at the book fair.

I have finished my last book fair for the school year.  It feels like a relief to have it packed up and done.  The book fair is a learning experience and it is a little fun once the work is done.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Kelly Mantoan hosts this carnival and I am getting used to her.  Go around and visit the rest.

1. After the snow on Saturday there was a respite during which I decided to hightail it up to Quincy to see my mom.  She needed some groceries and I hadn't been up there since the beginning of January. (My sister was there the end of January.)  It is delightful and hard, terribly hard to see her.  I reflected on how much patience I had with my grandma, my dad's mom when she was slowing down and forgetful and how I feel terribly impatient with my mom. I don't act impatient, I hope, but I feel impatient.  I realize that it has to do with levels of responsibility.  I was a kid with my grandma and I didn't have to worry about the decisions, I just got to enjoy her.  I am trying to remember that with my mom.

2. Drove back to the Lou on Sunday.  The snow was starting to melt. I am getting old for this back and forth.  The 2 and half hours takes a lot out of me.  Hubs had dinner waiting for me when I got home which was a surprise and a delight.

3. Monday was the book fair yet again.  I stayed for the Parent Teacher Meeting that evening. It made for an extremely long day.  It was not very profitable either.  I have concluded that the parent meetings are a waste of time and energy for the book fair.

4. Tuesday I shopped for groceries on the way home and had a meeting in the evening, making for another long day and Wednesday I had the book club kids.  I really like them, but they aren't reading the books for the competition.  I feel like not going to the meet in April.  They won't do well at all.  But, perhaps by going, some of the 6th graders will understand what they are supposed to be doing.

5. Thursday it snowed and everyone remarked that we should have had a snow day.  The book fair concluded and I was so glad.  I didn't even sell all of the seret agent invisible ink pens.  In the evening it was the Area Wide Prayer Meeting down at the Rigali Center, making for yet another long day. Except, I decided not to go.  I wanted to, but I realized that sometimes it is better to rest than to push myself into doing too much.

6. I am finishing up a quilt, the pinwheel one for an acquaintance.
Her baby was born at the end of January, so it is about time I finish it.

7. Nothing planned this weekend.  Yay!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thank You, Lord

Dear Lord,

Thank You for the snow and the sparkly ice. And I thank You that I don't live in the frozen north or far, far south, where ice and sparkly snow  is more than a rare gift, but rather a way of life.  I thank You for the joy of driving back and forth to work while meditating on how much I am loved by You.

I thank You that the week is nearly over and the book fair is truly over today.  I thank You for the gift of time and times of life.

Your beloved daughter,


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along, Crochet Owls, They Are Multiplying

Like any new skill, it takes practice to reach perfection, or if not perfection, competence.  The first pink owl I made is not much to my liking, but I didn't frog it because she was a learning tool.  The next white owl was better, even cute.  So I tried yet another one.  There was a question about why I am doing this.  I don't know, exactly.  Because I wanted to and it was fun to master a new skill.  I may throw some of them in a box and send them somewhere.  I have found that people like surprises. 

I am still reading the Hind's Feet.  I have started a couple of books for the book club (middle school books).  I want to read the new Flavia, but I haven't purchased it yet. I have ordered some research books for the book my sister and I are writing, so I am reading those.  I am scattered and disorganized right now.  But, that is okay.  I am learning to crochet owls and perhaps this is a skill I can someday use. Or not.  But, as long as it is fun, I will do it.

Join the other more talented yarn women with Ginnie at the Yarn Along.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What People Tell Me

I am endeavoring to find my authentic self, the self God created me to be.  I am trying to be in touch with the gift that is my life.  I am trying to celebrate my own successes and give up any need to live by putting others down or coming out on top.  I am trying to do the things God is calling me to do, rather than the things others expect of me or demand of me which are outside of my authentic vocation.

I was for the most part a compliant child. I grew up being told what I liked and who I was.  Perhaps, to some extent, that is true of every child.  Parents project expectations, hopes, dreams, and judgements on their children.  Parents take credit for the successes of their children and are embarrassed by their failures.  At least this is probably true to some extent of all parents and all children.  But some parents only do that a little bit and some parents are extreme cases.  I am not sure where my parents fell in that continuum but I do know that I grew up thinking and feeling that the "public" me had to conform to who I was told to be.

Other people throughout my life have told me who I was, how I compared to others, how I lacked this or that, how I should do this or that.  For the most part these criticisms had nothing to do with Christian correction to live a more Godly life, but rather things that others wanted from me, wanted me to fill in the gap for them, or just wanted. I listened to these voices largely, I think, because that was what I had learned as a child.  People told me who I was.

Over the years and years I sometimes resisted these judgements.  Sometimes I was quite rude and strident in my protests.  But, I came to the point of not really knowing who I was and not being able to hear God's voice.  God felt as though He had moved far distant from me, and although I knew that wasn't true, it is what I felt.

Over the past year and a half in part because of my involvement in a 12 step program (God's work), in part because God has worked on my heart to the extent that I had to give in to Him or explode, I have begun to see clearly that I am not who people tell me that I am.  I can walk freely with Christ and hear His voice because He made me and fills in for what is lacking in me.  The only really important thing is getting to Heaven, the things of this earth are passing away.

I have learned that what people tell me is not all that important.  I am not a label--responsible, sloppy, fat, intelligent or whatever.  I will attempt to develop within me virtue, but I don't have to be the most responsible, kindest, neatest, thinnest person on the planet for God to love me or call me or want me.  Regardless of what people tell me about me, I am beloved of God.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Happy Banana Bread Day!

Have some bananas rotting on the counter?  Today is the day to use them and make banana bread.  It is National Banana Bread Day.

And if you want my recipe--it is here.

And I make this banana bread recipe every other week.  My husband eats a half a loaf a week for breakfast.  He imagines I make it because I enjoy doing it.  I don't hate it.  But, it is boring to make the same recipe all the time and it is work, time I could be doing something I really do enjoy.  This is one way that love is expressed, making banana bread that I can't eat for my love because it is his second favorite breakfast.

In my personal first Corinthians chapter 13 it would probably say--Love is patient, love is kind, love bakes banana bread, one goes to Culvers every Sunday,  Love does not seek its own.....

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Prayers

Dear Lord,  I know that You love me.  I am working at feeling Your love, remembering Your love.  I am working at the joy of knowing that You love me. Amen

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Recently when a friend announced an engagement and another friend announced a new grandbaby, I have to admit a felt a moment of envy.  The envy didn't really involve jealousy in the sense that I wasn't thrilled for their big announcements.  I was completely happy for them.  But, the moment of envy involved the tiny cry within--why not me?  When is my turn?  What fabulous news will I have?  Will I ever help plan a wedding or hold a grandbaby?  Will I ever take a trip of my dreams or have some wonderful thing happen?

I didn't let myself dwell in that pity party very long.  I had a couple a teary minutes and then I moved on.  I let myself remember that my day will come or not.  I had to swallow the truth that I believe, that I am having the best life God planned for me given the fallen nature of the world, and my own personal attraction to sin and longing for things of this world.

I remembered that I can still enjoy the things I have been given, making baby quilts and toys, dreaming and praying for babies.  My life is full and I have lots and lots of lovely people in it.  And a few sore spots and wrinkles.  Most lives have those things sooner or later.

My purpose in life is not to focus on the things I want and don't have.  I need to walk forward with the gifts I have been given and share them with the world for the glory of God.

Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Quick Takes

Kelly Mantoan hosts this meme these days.  Welcome, if you have joined me from there!

1. Saturday was an eventful Valentine's Day.  I had the Magnificat Catholic Women's Prayer breakfast in the morning.  I thought I was a hostess, but apparently the lady in charge of that had not received my email.  So, I got there early.  I ended up winning the centerpiece which was a surprise because in 6 years of attendance I have never won the centerpiece before.  (Each table has a centerpiece and one of the ladies at the table of about 6 to 8 women wins it.)  Hubs also got me another little quilter figurine.  I am a collector now.
2. Because Hubs was working on Saturday, we continued our St. Valentine celebration to Sunday.  He took me to Applebees for lunch, a place he hates and I love. (That is true love, going to a place you hate for someone.)  We had steaks and chocolate covered strawberries for dinner.  So our eating on Sunday celebrated the holiday of love.
3. It snowed on Sunday into Monday.  It is a good thing I already had off because it would have been a  snow day for sure. But then, surprise, they called off school on Tuesday anyway.  That was good because we had tickets to a Blues game that evening. I caught the Metro down town to meet the guys.  
Hubs and son and I went to Pappy's for dinner and then to the game.  The Blues lost to the Stars 4 to 1 but at least it wasn't a shut out. It was snowing when we came out of the game which made for a hairy ride with Son back to the Metro station where our cars were.
4. Wednesday, the book fair arrived.  My high school worker gave herself the day off, so I set the whole thing up by myself.  Exhausted I was at the end of the day.  I am afraid that my student worker is getting senior-itis.  She skipped out on Friday and now Wednesday.  She is one of the best workers I have had, but showing up is half the battle.
5. Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  As an over 60, I now abstain from meat, but I don't fast.  I am planning to try to work on some things for Lent that will develop my relationships with others and in that way become Christ for others.  I will also let my Fitbit be the boss of me for a while putting down some of the desires of the flesh.  And meditate on scripture, there is that.  Last year I focused on women of  the old Testament for Lent.  This year I will work on something else in scripture. I haven't totally settled on that yet. There was a good crowd at evening Mass on Ash Wednesday despite the fact that it was really really cold and not a Holy Day of Obligation. 
6. Thursday was a long first day at the Book Fair.  I saw all of the 7th graders which makes for a busy day.  Then I stayed after for book club, drove through McDs for dinner, and stayed for the book fair again at the Black Histosry Night performance at my school.  We had the Black Rep which made it really special. The jazz band and choral performances were awesome.
7. I had planned to head up to Quincy to see Mom this weekend, but once again the weather looks dicey.  She is doing well and it isn't an emergency, but not seeing her in so long makes me nervous.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for another Lent to try to grow closer to You.  As my spiritual director recently pointed out to me, faith life is not a one and done proposition, but rather a spiral growing closer and closer to You each day. (She said the spiral part, the rest is the way I say it.)  But, anyway, I am trying to grow closer to You and forgive myself the slips and misses and times when I feel so distant from You.  Thank You for another Lent to grow closer.  Call me in and help me to grow, to journey with You.

Your beloved daughter,