7 Quick Takes Vol 7


Day 3 of my Media Fast.  Harder than I thought.  I was eating lunch with my mom, and we both realized we were not following our Lenten Fasts… she was eating Burgundy Beef (she gave up all meat) and I was listening to TV.  I caught myself later last night going into the bedroom and flipping on the tv… I turned it off right away, but it reminded me how automatically I do that… so Hubbs and I had a massive tickle war with the kids in our room instead.  It was wonderful!  But I still miss Big Bang Theory.  Glad that was the last show I got to watch Tuesday night!


Apparently on my Facebook post letting everyone know that I was not going to sign on until Easter-ish my loving husband posted “I give this until about 7:30 tonight.”  Thanks for the bode of confidence there chief.  But nanny nanny boo boo on you, ’cause I still haven’t signed on!  Yes, this is the childish relationship he and I have.  And I love him still 🙂  PS- I found out because my mom told me.


Not having the distractions I usually do during the day has also told me how fast a reader I am.  I have finished re-reading The Life of Christ (my great-grandmother’s 1954 copy), I finished my first Charlaine Harris novel (in less than 24 hours!) and I’m re-reading Kimberly Hahn.  I hope I can get the Kindle Fire I want with our tax return so we don’t run out of (physical) book space!


As I’ve been reporting on my other blog, I have been doing Weight Watchers (the new Points Plus plan) for going on 3 months now.  Ash Wednesday, which was supposed to be a day of fasting (one regular meal and two other small, non-collective-meal snacks) you would think should be a WAY low points day right?  For “breakfast” I had a big slice of Challah bread and coffee.  For lunch I had a Dunkin Donuts cheese bagel twist and a plain croissant.  Then dinner came around and I figured I had PLENTY of points left, right??? (because I didn’t have dwlz.com for me to look up DD’s points… see??? I NEED a Kindle Fire!!!!)  so I went and got a Shrimp Tackle Box from Popeyes… fully intending on not eating the fries or dipping in the tartar sauce, yet I was so hungry I did both.  Just busted my Points Target.  Then I tallied up my points- the friggin’ Bagel Twist was 18.5 points and the croissant was 10!!!! The entire shrimp basket with fries and tartar sauce was 20 points (thereabouts).  Those two bread things alone busted my points and I had to use 20 of my weeklies… guess carbs really DO count big with WW.

Thank you for sitting through my random WW post.


I’m also shopping for rosary supplies.  Now that I know my local (read: only) not-at-all-mega Catholic Bookstore carries centers and crucifixes, I can work on some more stuff instead of waiting for an order… but I do so love Rosary Workshop‘s beautiful reproductions and want to get to the caliber of workmanship in HeartFelt Rosaries.  Sigh.


I am working on getting with my Spiritual Director, who also happens to be my bestie’s mom.  She went to The Cenacle at Marian Servants of Divine Providence, and we used to joke that she was as close to a Pope as you can get… definitely the most spiritual woman I’ve ever met.  I’m blessed that she’s willing to work with me.  Before you email me that I should be getting spiritual direction from a Priest, yes- that would be ideal, but my parish only has 2 priests, one of which is gone back to Poland to be with his family after a loss- and our Pastor is always busy… and I feel more comfortable with her- I don’t have to go through that awkward getting-to-know (trust)-you phase.  She’s known me for 19 years… I can get going down this path easier with her.


I’m still doing research on my Bucket List Trip.  Right now I’m focusing on the first part of the trip- Scandinavia.  My husband’s mom’s family is Norwegan, Swedish and German.  I already have Germany on my list because of my side of the family, and I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden… I wonder if IKEA is cheaper over there… anyway, that’s going to be my day today… learning all I can about the Viking lands… after that would be Scotland (YAY!  My maternal grandmother’s heritage) and Ireland (pretty much the rest of “me”)…

Have a great week everyone!


I went and rented The Way yesterday.  I’m so glad I did.  Yes, after the initial “meeting” of each Peregrino (hoping my conjugation is correct)  the plot was a little predictable, but still touching- with the exception of Sarah’s storyline- completely didn’t see that coming (the husband or the other situation) and I was sobbing when she came right out with it.  I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t heard of La Camino before, and heard of the many reasons and results of doing this 466 mile (751 km) journey from the Pyrenees to the North Western coast of Spain.  (See Camino de Santiago)

I’d love to do this treck.  I’m starting to develop my bucket list trip… Scandinavia, the places my family is from in Scotland and Ireland, Westphalia, Rome, Paris, Lourdes then culminating in doing the Camino.  3 months or so of travel in and around Europe.  I’d ideally like to learn all the languages I’d have to use- Norweigan/Swedish, Italian, German, brush up on my French and then learn Spanish.  That’s quite an undertaking!  Kind of my big picture, Lifetime goal…  it would be awesome if I could do it by the next Jubilee year (when St. James Day, 7/25  falls on a Sunday), which is 2021.  Our kids will be 15 and 16 by then and hopefully would like to go with me/us.

Day one of my media fast was off to a difficult start.  I tell you, it was hard to not automatically sign on to Facebook  during-first-cup-of-coffee haziness, but I didn’t.  I did after a bit, just for a moment to post that I’ll be off Facebook for Lent…  equally as hard was not flipping on the morning news… funny how much of our mornings become completely auto-pilot.  But I corrected myself easily.

And as far as fasting today, I wanted to go to Publix (a regional grocery chain) for their Breakfast Bread, but alas- they will have no Breakfast Bread until the evening (???)  The bakery lady and I kind of chuckled when the supervisor said that… so I had to settle on a loaf of raisin challah.  Yummy, but not what I wanted… guess that’s a little of a God-smack, right?   Self-denial is the way of Lent. 🙂

So, here’s hoping your Lent is what you want it to be, but more importantly- what He wants it to be.

I hit a low point emotionally and spiritually recently.  I was up for a job with one of the Maternity Homes in my diocese.  One of my passions is with pregnant moms and their babies, so this job would have been perfect.  It would be part time, it’s in the area I love being in… THE perfect job for me.  I sent in my resume, followed up, etc. and got a phone call from the ED that was extremely positive.  So I went in for the interview, and something was a little off.  Looking back- in person I just stumbled over my words and couldn’t find the right ones- But nevertheless, I got a good impression from the Resident Director (who would be my direct supervisor).  The ED, however seemed a little distant (perhaps uninterested??)… so I left with the assurance from the RD that I’d hear one way or another by the end of the week, and the next step would be meeting for an interview at the next Board of Directors meeting that coming week.

I prayed for this job.  I said a novena to St. Gianna (who is the “pro life saint”, appropriate for this, I thought), I prayed and prayed and prayed.  St. Paul would have been proud, because every time I had a free thought, I was saying a short prayer.

I called the next week and was told that the board of directors postponed their meeting because a few members were sick.  That made me feel better, yet two days later the RD called me and told me that the BOD chose someone else.

That was a kick in the gut; one of many I’ve received during my endeavor to rejoin the workforce.  Why?  Why can’t I get hired?!  It’s a huge hit to your dignity to be rejected like that.  Especially when you feel so passionately about working in the field.

And, I’m ashamed to say, I thought all that time wasted in prayer.  Really, God, I’m pissed, I’m hurt and I don’t know what the {beep} you want me to do now.  I don’t make money being a housewife and mother, my husband is stuck in a job he HAS to do in order for us to pay bills and we’re never going to get out of my parents’ house.  I pretty much gave up on the idea of Divine Providence and everything for a reason…

But there was a little, tiny voice in my heart that said- it’s human to think this way.  But something HAS to be coming.  And that’s what I’m listening to during Lent.

Yes, it’s sugar-sweet optimism… but I truly do believe that something is coming.  We WILL get through this and when we get past that line, we’ll look back and say (as I have MANY times) we’re okay.  That was hard, but we always get by.

SO, this Lenten season, I’m drawing close to Our Lord and the Holy Mother.  As I said on my former post, I’m going on a Media Fast, and using this extra time to focus on life unplugged… and not to “get” anything, just to reorganize my priorities and how I’m living my life… and the example I’m showing my kids.  So that if it is His will that we come out much better than before, AWESOME.  If not, we’ll be able to cope, knowing that we’re not the ones in charge… we’ve done all we can as humans; the rest is God.

Lenten Practices 2012

I came to the realization that I spend WAY too much time online and watching tv, so I will be going on a “Media Fast” starting Ash Wednesday.

I am completely staying off my biggest time wasters- Facebook, YouTube and television.  This is going to be hard!

Facebook is how I keep in touch with friends and my family in New England… but I’m spending way too much out of my day on there.  So I’ll be posting my absence Wedensday morning.

YouTube- I’m subscribed to a few channels on there.  I’m going to miss Pixiwoo, as they’ve rekindled my love for makeup artistry.   And the music I can pull up on a whim.  But again, big time waster.  As a matter of fact, I’m watching a Pixiwoo video right now… pathetic, I know.

Television.  I couldn’t be a Nealson household in the past because my husband was employed by a television station every time they called me.  But they’d get some serious ratings results from me if I were able to do it… I watch WAY too much television.  The shows I’m a regular fan of (truly a fan) don’t premier until after Lent, but that’s not the point.

I’m doing this so I can refocus on what’s important, which is the essential purpose of  Lent n’est pas? I won’t be COMPLETELY offline though- I’m allowing myself 1/2 hour a day to answer email, and an hour a week to work on my blogs (this one and my weight loss/lifestyle blog, Moneyguiggy Monroe)… but beyond that, I’m offline.

What will I be doing in this time?  Working on my Rosary making, more prayer/spiritual reading, secular reading, cleaning and decluttering.

My special intention for the next week or so is for my husband.  He applied for a job that’s very promising, will provide an income that will make our lives comfortable(-r than it is right now, anyway), health insurance, AND will get us out of my parents house!!!  He has an “in” there, so I’m just really putting that to prayer.

I’m writing more about this in my next post, but I’m really, truly working on repairing my relationship with God and my spiritual life in general.  I had a really low moment that I’m not quite out of yet, but I’m working on it this Lenten season.

SO, my posts will be shorter, but more often…  I’ll still be doing some memes (7 Quick Takes, etc) and guest posting at Catholicmothersonline.com and other bloggy things.

WITH THE EXCEPTION of Holy Week.  Then I will be completely offline to focus absolutely on the Passion of our Lord.

And it’s 2012!

So sorry I’ve been gone since October-  I have recycled the same cold 4 times since then… es no bueno para Erin!

We’ve come to another year, and starting with the saint generator from Jen @ Conversion Diary, my saint for 2012 is-

St. Benedict of Nursia!  I’ve always been curious about this one, because I like the design of his medal/cross.  And how he pretty much laid out the plan for Western monastic life… so much so that good ole Charlemagne had it printed and implimented during his reign.

It also helps that we have a Benedictine Abbey in St. Leo, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours away (2.5 if we move back to LC).  I hope to make a trip there sometime this year.

And he’s also given me my “motto” for 2012, if you will- Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus, or “That in all (things) God may be glorified”

I’m also planning on attending a Latin mass one or two times a month.  There’s a church (one of the oldest in Jacksonville) that does a Tridentine at 8am every sunday… and it’s only 5 more minutes further than my local parish.

I’m also planning on honoring all my patrons throughout the year- St. Bridget of Ireland, my namesake Saint (2/1), St. Benedict on 7/11, and St. Ann (my Confirmation saint) 7/26.


Now, for the secular:

I’d like to lose 30 lbs by my birthday (3/9).  I’d like to lose all my weight by then end of the year, but I don’t want to set a goal that I know I’ll lose steam in by my birthday… if the horizon doesn’t look so vast, it makes the journey a bit more bearable.

I want to get out of my parents house and be well on the way to stability for our family.  I’m greatful to my parents for taking us in when our life was in chaos again, but I feel like an intruder.  We should be able to stand on our own.

I’m thinking about starting EMT training, translating that into a Paramedic AA, and converting it to a RN/BSN later.  I honestly do not want to be in geriatrics, which, unfortunately, LPN’s seem to be hosed into by hospitals phasing out their use.  This is the next 3-4 years of my life… but baby steps first- EMT training.

I’m going to resolve myself to take a picture a day for the entire year.  I’ve started Photo 365 projects in the past, but I’m changing my perspective from 365 pictures in 2012 to one picture today, one tomorrow.  If I miss one, no guilting myself- just start again the next day.

And to write more and nurture this Blog.  To post SOMETHING on a regular basis so I don’t have a 400+ word post to make up for months being gone.


What are your “Resolutions” for 2012?


I am still sick.  I guess having two children in school now has brought exposure to some horrid bug… and the way my body seems to “work” is that I get whatever cold bug and it turns into a URI.  Almost always in/around November.


My first guest post went live at Catholic Mothers Online!  I’m really getting back into my blog and writing more… so excited!


I’ve also started writing/became a staff photographer for my parish’s newspaper.  This is my 2nd volunteer gig as a photographer, but I enjoy this one more than the racetrack.  It’s a learning experience though, because shooting sports is much easier than a posed portrait…  the action is happening; you capture it and hopefully, it’s in focus.

But anyway, I’ve shot our rosary procession, a piece I wrote about making rosaries, our parish Fall Festival set-up and I’m set for a few more… and I’m excited about it!


I’m praying a novena to St. Jude Thaddeus with Pray More Novenas.  I remember my dad warning us to watch what we ask for with ol’ Jude’s intercession… but I’m placing our family’s current situation with employment in his care.


Roller Derby season is almost over… and I’ve set my eyes on coming back next season as close to kick arse as I can.  Definitely a few pounds lighter.  I got a bad slap in the face when I stepped on the scale in Publix last week…


Bubba’s VPK teacher and I had a parent-teacher conference.  He is hyperactive, but not so much ADHD, because he can focus on things when guided… I really don’t want him to have to go through what my brother did with Ritalin and treatments… my brother ended up a 19 year old sophomore due largely in part because the system failed him.  Anyone else out there with a child that is hyperactive?? What did you (or don’t you) do??  Any advice?


I’m still trying to decide if I should homeschool the kids next year.  A good friend of mine is using the Seaton curriculum, but for her two kids (that are my kids’ ages) is $700.  I like what I read about Mater Amabilis, but I don’t know if I have the discipline to do all the record keeping that the state requires.  Dunno.  I’ll keep praying about it.

7 Quick Takes Vol. 13


I’m starting to feel better about being home during the day.  I had a home health assignment for a week, but they were put in a home because of the advanced stage…  I’m looking at a short-term schooling as a medical assistant… I could work doctor’s hours and be home for the kids when they get out of school.


I’m miffed about the President’s plea to congress last night.  I’m all for sharing of wealth, but the way a capitalistic society works, if you tax the rich, they cut back- at the expense of the already poor/under or unemployed.   More taxes for big corporations- less jobs.  FAIL.  I’m still kind of joking with my husband to move to Norway.  Or Sweden.  I’ve watched enough of the Swedish chef on Muppets Show to get by, right?? (that “joke” always gets my husband riled up… his family is from Scandinavia)


The kids “made” wooden Rosaries last night.  By “made” I mean they strung the first Pater bead and two Hail Mary’s… then it was all mama.  We started a Rosary at bedtime last night… I suppose I can only expect so much from them right now.  My 4 and 6 year olds will not be theologians right away… I need to be ok with the fact that my son is in our parish’s VPK (and they say blessing before meals and he knows the sign of the cross), and my daughter started her first year of Religious Education (aka CCD if you grew up in the 80s) and she was very interested- “Mama, I’ll be ok if you go now.” Sigh.


Speaking of children deserting not needing you, my baby is at school for half a day, my princess is a 1st grader but when did I suddenly need not be around?  I’m not going to lie and say the thought of putting them in diapers and putting my hands over my ears and ignoring that they’re growing up hasn’t crossed my mind every minuteevery now and again, but I think I should be ok.  I get to go to a shop and not scope out how far I can get in the store to minimize the drama of leaving should a meltdown happen.  I can go to Mass at noon in a beautiful antebellum church and not put on the “Countdown to ‘Shush- we.are.in.a.church’ Clock” and ACTUALLY hear the homily and get lost in the moment with Our Lord.

But then I suddenlystart wondering if it’s 2:45 yet…


I need a DSLR.  Badly.  I really want to start using one for my blog (and guest articles), but it seems like every time I get close enough to pay for one, some financial tragedy happens.  All in good time, I’m sure, but Patience isn’t my virtue as of late.


I’m in a whole sewing mode.  I got a pattern for Princess’ dress… she wants dresses. She dare not don a pair of pants-not my girl.  EVER (her choice!).  I’m actually contemplating making an Etsy shop just of special occasion dresses/apparel.  Pretty, lacy Baptism outfits, First communion dresses, Quince/Prom/Wedding dresses (after some SERIOUS study of couture and construction techniques, of course). I always do this though- get a crafty itch under my skin and BAM!  I can do this a for a living.  I’m starting to annoy myself with it, to be honest.


10 years ago Sunday, I was just waking up after being between temp assignments for a short time with a huge chip on my shoulder because of it. And even today I’m still tearing up remembering that day.  We all have a story of where we were and what we felt… the wound is still there.  And I wonder if the same is true for people that were around during Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination.  I know the more cynical of us would say “get over it.  You live in Florida and weren’t there”.  Or it might be trivializing the First Responders, workers and others that were there and lost their lives.  But as a nation, we were slapped into a reality I don’t know if I want to explain to my precious children that have no memory of this.