Saturday, 28 February 2015

Keeping up with Friends in a Technological Age

I've been thinking a lot lately about keeping up with friends; worrying is more like it.  Wondering if anyone feels slighted or forgotten because I haven't written or responded to a text or message.  I am a chronic read-and-don't-immediately-respond kind of person; which you've probably noticed, after you get the reply from me days--or even weeks--after reaching out.

Here's the thing: it means the world to me, it really does!  You mean the world to me.  I used to think that if someone was important to me, I should make the time to connect.  But--and this is going to sound absurd, but it is really, really true--there are so many amazing, gorgeous people in my life that I want to be connected with, and can't imagine letting go, and (less selfishly) are important to me for their own sakes so I want to know about them, and their lives, and their families, hopes, dreams, failures, sufferings, and joys.  And with an Autistic four-year-old, a newborn baby, and chronic health problems that knock me out for days at a time and leave me with so much catching up to do in the interim with just daily necessities, like laundry and grocery shopping, it is difficult to realistically keep a thorough and regular correspondence with the people that matter.  Gosh, it goes against my instinct to even type that out!  But what's the alternative?  I won't stop caring about the people I care about.  Duh.  And how can I even begin to curse or resent the abundant souls God has put in my life to be companions and encourage me along the journey?

I'm happy for technologies like texting and Facebook; so I can do spur-of-the-moment cheek-ins with people and, I hope, remind them that they are a part of my contemplative life.  A community of invisible people that "haunt" me, so to speak, throughout my day, are always present in the back of my mind, and always dear.  The Body of Christ.  

But there's also a risk of people wondering . . . "She read my message, or liked my Instagram, but hasn't dropped me a line or replied to my comment or given me a call."  Maybe I am overthinking it (probably am!).  Just in case, I want you to know that that when I click "like" on that Facebook post, I am probably liking it with all my might, willing you to feel my affection.  Because that's about all I can do at the moment.  I'm very likely standing up with a baby tied to me while eating a bowl of dry cereal!

I get that your life is busy and full and blessed, and don't think for a moment that it worries me if you haven't reached out to me in a while.  I don't want to be that high-maintience friend!  So if you drop me a one-line text every couple of months or so, just know that that is like dessert for my spirit--it's not a super-needy dependency being met but a delight that makes the moment that much richer.

And we all better make it to heaven because I'm looking forward to when we have all the time in--and out of--the world to hang out.  ;)

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Necessary Frivolities

If nine months out of commission wasn't enough, I have so much catching up to do just within the last six weeks! This photograph is one of a batch from a friend's lovely January 2nd wedding, and I'm still editing away at them. I have over 3/4 developed now, and then the bride and groom (and inlaws) can print and share to their hearts content!

Anyway, Tiny Prints keeps slipping these sly little deals into my inbox (because supposedly I'm an affiliate. I am. I just, am not sure why, other than that I LOVE them). I figured, hey, maybe one or two people would actually enjoy some of these! (These are Affiliate Exclusives.)

"Enjoy" (you hear that, you better enjoy!) "20% off your order for new customers only."

If you've never used a stationary printing service before, and you're the kind of person who loves both paper/stationary and photographs, it's really neat to have a handful of these for close friends and the scrapbook.  Greeting cards are a highly affordable way to decorate.  I always keep one out of each box of seasonal cards that I buy throughout the years because . . . pretty . . . and you never know when you'll be able to pull them back out, string them along a clothesline, and decorate your mantel.  But these personalized ones are worthy of framing!

"Enjoy 10% off your order--no minimum order."  Hey!  And if you were looking into a big order, here's 15% off of $75 or more and $30 off for orders of $75 or more for NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY.

There's also more to be found than just stationary, so see if something strikes your fancy.  I get some sort of percentage from sales (not sure how much), so there is that.  And I'd be amiss not to give a shout-out in a post about party stationary to my college friend Jen at Oh Hello Events, who works for the sophisticated Invitation Consultants.

Photographs and stationary are funny.  They're not immediately necessary, not in the sense that they minister to your bodily needs.  But I am a huge believer in beauty.  You could easily live without pretty things, but pretty things nourish the soul.  They can be as free as wildflowers brought into the home or as frivolous as an expensive piece of art that serves no function but brightens your heart every time you look at it.  I think it's important to foster beauty in our lives.  The soul who seeks to bring beauty into his home best embraces the gift of creation.  If you're not convinced, think about the stagnant, utilitarian set-up of a factory or a science lab.  Think of the kind of person whose home is like a hospital operating room.  Yeah.

That's one of the beauties, pun intended, of being Catholic.  We're not Puritans.  We believe beauty, and things--even useless things!--are good, and good for us; given that they're kept as our servants and not our masters.  Mine are just pictures and paper.  Yours might be pies and  accent pillows.

Hope you're having a beautiful, fruitful Lent!  I better get to work.

Saturday, 21 February 2015


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Afon: on a cold day in February, we're up early on an outing, just him and Mama.

Roan: on another sunny morning, Roan spends a rare moment in his crib.  He's still all head and belly!

This and That

our Japanese magnolia blossoms every spring around February // denim on denim at the doctor's office, much too cold for this weather! // gluten-free pancakes // Afon's 4th birthday

This time last week, we were celebrating Saint Valentine's Day followed by Afon's fourth birthday.  Here he is a year ago on his third birthday.

And my sort-of recreation of it yesterday:

You'd never know from his pictures that he is such a happy, joyful boy!


For Fat Tuesday, we repeated pancakes and made Daniel's shrimp remoulade.  It came out perfecto.  It was pretty easy, if you're not too stressed by multiple ingredients.  No cooking, baking, or blending required.  Just chop, measure, and mix.  And boy was it tasty!  I mean, it can be a salad dressing, a bread and veggie dip, or a sauce for pasta.  I'm definitely making this recipe again!


Lent approaches, ponderous and slow, and I'm not the only one who feels that way.  Molly makes me feel A-okay about not really diving in.  The past couple of years, I've done a more-or-less traditional Byzantine fast, which entails fasting from all animal products for most of the week.  This year, I am post-pardum, breastfeeding, and fumbling with an illness/food intolerance.  It wasn't even an option in my peripheral, and I don't feel guilty about it, and I don't feel guilty I don't feel guilty about it (well, maybe just a twinge).

Remember this from last year?

Well, I'm recycling that school of thought for this Lent.

I have been doing daily Scripture readings with Blessed Is She and following along on the #holylens project and #OnlyOneThing on Instagram.  I need the least of the least incentives to loaf about on Instagram.

What are you doing/not doing this year for Lent?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Sapphires on Ash Wednesday

One month as of February 14, 2015.

At one month old, one can already tell his eyes will be blue.  They are dark and deep as sapphires, but so were Afon's before they lightened into something sky-like, and then faded to a greeny-blue gray, like his father's.

Roan smiles.  He's been smiling since he was born.  I was in the hospital and I saw it, but I regret not saying anything to someone because I have this unfounded idea that no one will believe me.  They'll say, "It's just gas."  But it wasn't.  His soul was in there.  It was never more clear to me than when he emerged from the dark, warm nothingness with it intact, whole, utterly itself.  A soul that struck me with awe because it was Not Afon's.  Not Mine.  Not Anyone's.

Even now, his smile is a clear response to stimulus; to the sound of my voice or the bright ceiling light.  We joke and say, "He's like a real human being!" and "He's almost a real person!"  But of course there are some who would say that a month ago, he wasn't a real human being, wasn't a real person.  Or at least, that his life didn't merit protection as one.

He was barely two weeks during the March for Life, and I couldn't bear to see all the worthy reporting and testimonies in my social media feeds; and yet, I couldn't bear not to.  I cried tears of joy to see all the souls, especially youth, step out in droves to speak for the tiny and voiceless.  I cried tears of sorrow that they even have to.

I wished to add my voice to the millions but was too emotional and raw at the time.  I wanted to say, "Look!  I brought this child forth amidst much suffering; through sickness that lasted months with no relief and sucked the joy out of me; through sorrow so deep that when I looked up I saw the bottom; in childbirth, through pain that wracked my body and made me wish for death.

"I died and was in the ground and didn't know if I would ever see the light of day again.  I was Osiris, broken and scattered to the four winds.  I was unmade.  And from the ruins, God lifted my son, perfect and immortal, and put me back together again.  Don't be afraid!  It is through such peril and labor and hardships that precious and wonderful things are made."

Things of great value require great sacrifice.  That's the very meaning of worth.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Now We Are Four

pancakes for breakfast // doing a low-key craft for his special day // gluten-free pancakes with 100% maple syrup, butter, strawberries, and powdered sugar // St. Valentine's Day craft // last-minute decorations // cake! // more cake // cake joy // blowing out the candles // a beautiful present from Daddy -- happy birthday, Afon!
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