My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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7-Quick Takes

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1.  So I've hit another birthday and God willing, I'll have a milestone birthday next year. So I'd like to reflect a bit on what I've learned in life and pass it on. 

I think the biggest lesson that I have FINALLY UNDERSTOOD was DECADES in the making.  I'm a slow learner.  Seriously, my learning curve on this one is practically a straight line. But as I enter my 7th decade, I can finally say I get it.

Surprisingly, it's also something that I totally agree with Ophra Winfrey on and it's this - 
Most of the sorrow in my life has come from expecting people to be what I idealized them to be instead of who they really are. And then when people go back to their default position I'm stunned, sad, disappointed or all of the above. I think this started with my grandma and my Dad but it's carried over into other relationships as well.

Daddy circa 1958

So finally - I don't fight it anymore. I accept. You can't make people love you, you can't make people stay with you, you can't make people do what you think they should do or spend time with you. All you can really do is be the best version of you that you can be - certainly, there are enough examples of what that could look like through the scriptures and the saints. So the real question is, are you doing your best and can you love yourself? If you can answer yes to that, then I think that's a definite win. The trick is to be satisfied with doing your own personal best.

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

2.  Went down to North Carolina last weekend to visit my son Calvin and his wife Sarah. They have been married almost three years and Calvin moved there a few months before the wedding. Her mom and dad have visited four times, but this is the first time for us.

So keeping in mind what I wrote in #1, I have decided that I really can't stand riding with Mr. Pete. He and I see driving differently. On a long trip, the most important thing to him is getting there efficiently. He won't get off the cruise control unless there is absolutely no other option. Meanwhile, my right foot is searching for the brake on the passenger's side that doesn't exist while I'm sucking in air and bracing for impact.

I complained that I shouldn't have to tighten my glutes to balance myself against the G-forces experienced on the curvy part of I-77 in West Virginia. Mr. Pete told me that it was good for me!

But he would never let me drive, nor would I want to. He would be nagging me to go faster and to pass all the time, while I am perfectly happy to find a nice big rig to ride behind at 55 mph the entire trip.

There will either be fewer road trips for us, or I'm going to have to be sedated because I seriously can't white knuckle another long car ride with him!

3.  Charlotte, NC is a very impressive city. It's clean and commuter friendly. There were many beautiful fountains tucked throughout the downtown and the place was really hopping, even on a Sunday afternoon.

Calvin and Sarah took us to St. Mark's Catholic Church on Sunday.

 It was beautiful, the music was good and so was the homily. But what really grabbed my attention was that right after the blessing, but before the final hymn, they did the Prayer to Saint Michael!  I knew right away that my kids are in a great parish.

Calvin and Mr. Pete in front of St. Marks

They are also having this speaker there this month and I encouraged him to go. I listened to his book last fall and it's tremendous!

4.  Noah is back from Rome and is already back to work. He had a really great time. His favorite part of the trip was visiting Assisi. He gave us all little souvenirs including a prayer card from St. Francis's church in Italian for Rosie. He also gave us all chocolate.

5.  Rosie will be 13 this weekend. I will have two teenagers in the house at the same time and they are both girls!! Her growth continues to astound me. She was shorter than my daughter-in-law at Christmas, but last weekend when we measured up, she was about an inch taller. She will soon be passing me! 

She asked for a big girl present this year- she wanted the sheet music for La La Land. She figures if she had something that she really wanted to play, she would stick with her piano practice this summer. So I got it for her. We'll see how well that works. 

6.  I'm a speaker and an affiliate for the 2018 Homeschool Mom Conference, so I thought I'd share a little bit about the first homeschool convention I ever attended.

Although I was convinced and convicted that homeschooling was God's plan for our family, back in 1995 I was still very nervous about doing it. When I heard that there was a homeschool convention in my state that year I was determined to attend. I figured it would be about 50 people in someone's backyard. Instead, it was thousands of people in the convention center in downtown Columbus!

I was determined to go, but Mr. Pete had just started his own music store at the time and he didn't want to take the time off from work. So at 8 months pregnant, I found someone else to take care of my two little boys and I drove down to Columbus by myself and then waddled through the convention center.

I remember feeling overwhelmed by the vendor hall! It never occurred to me that there would be so many curriculum choices for homeschoolers. The different speakers and workshops were what really drew me to the conference, and luckily that shortened my shopping time in the vendor hall. 

One speaker, in particular, caught my attention. Cheryl Lindsay was speaking about how her large family managed to live on $200 a month after paying their mortgage and utilities. She was a big proponent of Once-A-Month cooking!  At the time, Mr. Pete and I were struggling and I was desperate to learn her secret. 

I honestly don't remember much about it except that she quit her job as a paralegal and her family was doing a lot of homesteading. I liked the idea of Once-A-Month cooking and decided that I would give it a try.

She also talked about some of the hardships they went through and how they overcame them. But there was something in her presentation that bothered me and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. In retrospect, I think it was that she spoke about herself and the children but never mentioned her husband. Very shortly thereafter I found out why. And then this happened. 

I didn't know it then but years later, that event affected my own homeschool group when we were trying to become an HSLDA discount group!  The first and only time I have ever gotten hate mail delivered by the United States Postal Service was then - but that's a different story. 

It is still ironic to me that my very first conference would end up being a notorious one! Nonetheless, I came away with a lot of encouragement both for my homeschooling and changes to my lifestyle. I did try the Once-A-Month cooking for about two years until I got pregnant with Noah, and even though I don't do that anymore, I always try to have leftovers to have for lunches and a leftover night once a week. 

7.  I doubt that the 2018 Homeschool Mom's Conference will have as much drama! This is the e-mail that was sent out to my blog subscribers. It has a lot of the information in it about the conference. 

So far, over 1000 people have signed up!

I am speaking about getting my homeschooled son NCAA eligible to play sports. That's something I didn't even blog about in depth so if it's something that interests you, it will be available in the homeschool track. (My e-mail subscribers already got the link!) 

Here is the work from home track descriptions

The conference is already a great value, but for even more savings you can't beat the early bird which ends on June 4!  So the sooner you sign up, the better!