Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Commission Complete

I've posted in the past about recently starting up my little art business. I 've drawn a number of commissioned portraits over the  years, but I just finished up my first business commission! I wanted to share it with you.

The original photo

The commissioned portrait: 11x14 chalk pastel

close up

This was the first time I got to use my new chalk pastel pencils :) I LOVE THEM! I love trying new textures and such--things I've never drawn before. I really challenged myself this time with a lace umbrella! What a pain! But the picture was so beautiful I just had to include it, as well as the gorgeous pink flower that adds a little splash of color to the composition.

I'll be posting this to my St. Catherine's Apprentice Facebook page and web site, you can check out more there!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Love Dare

I've been in the same monogamous relationship since I was 16 years old--close to 14 years now! 10 of those years we've been married. Marriage is a difficult relationship to keep up over the years, especially when you begin your relationship so young--both of you do a lot of growing over the years, some of it growing apart. So marriage is a thing to be maintained over the years, worked on to keep it alive.

 Today I begin the first day of The Love Dare. The Love Dare is a book, based upon the movie Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron.

From the back cover:

 "Unconditional Love is eagerly promised at weddings, but rarely practiced in real life. As a result, romantic hopes are often replaced with disappointment in the home. But it doesn't have to be that way.

The Love Dare is a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. Whether your marriage is hanging on a thread or healthy and strong., the love Love Dare, is a journey you need take. It's time to learn the keys to finding true intimacy and developing a dynamic marriage. Take the dare!"

To assist in the challenge there is an accompanying website www.40DayLoveDare.com where you can register your own personal Love Dare. It offers you a place to keep a journal, a message board, a blog, and resources.

You can also visit www.LoveDareBook.com which also has a wealth of resources and information about the book, the authors, the movie, and the dare.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homeschool: Montessori Math Activity

Now that my 3 1/2 year old is getting older she likes to do "school work" too. I put together this activity yesterday after getting the idea from a blog I follow, Chasing Cheerios. This blog gives great ideas for Montessori inspired activities. If you're unfamiliar with Montessori education, you can get a little info by reading here. The materials do the "teaching" in this method.

Chasing Cheerios used some nice materials to make her kit. Sometimes I put together neat activities for the girls, but then they never get used. So instead of spending money to buy materials for an activity that may never be used again, I used what I had on hand at my house. Also since O is just beginning to learn her numbers and count, I only made the activity for numbers 1-6. I figured that was a good start for this "test-drive" activity. I can always add to it later as she increases her knowledge.

  • beads (exact number needed)
  • 3 pipe cleaners (cut in half for a total of six)
  • I typed up my numbers in a Word Document and printed them on the back of a used piece of cardstock (green factor : reuse!)
  • scrap piece of cloth for the "workspace"
  • little plastic container (anything with a lid works, mine was an old powder makeup container)
  • an old crayon box
  • I took a "control picture" of the activity and printed it on the other half of the reused cardstock

After you collect all your supplies, you assemble the kit:
  • glue numbers to pipe cleaners
  • put beads in little lidded container
  • place control picture, numbered pipe cleaners, container of beads, folded piece of cloth in the crayon box and the kit is complete!

For the first session I demonstrated how to set up the activity and use it. I showed O how to match everything up to the control picture.

Afterwards, I showed her how to pack the materials back up into the crayon box when she's finished.

She loves this activity!!!

She loves it so much I had to share. The first thing she did this morning when she woke up was to get her math kit out (as you can see by the pajamas!) and do her "work".

It cost me nothing to create this fun learning activity and it repurposed/reused some old items I had laying around :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homebirth Supplies

I thought I'd share what all is required, equipment/supplies wise, for a home birth. It may vary from midwife to midwife, but this is the list my midwives at Ten Moons Midwifery supplied me and recommend.

Hombirth Supplies:
  • Birth Kit, order at 30 weeks, so that it will be sure to arrive by 36 weeks
  • 1 package maxi pads
  • 1 plastic or metal bowl for the placenta (you may want to set aside another bowl in case you get nauseated)
  • 1 large outdoor disposable picnic table cloth with flannel backing, 1 tarp, or 1 plastic shower curtain liner to protect your floor or carpet. You will need one extra tablecloth, tarp or liner for waterbirth
  • 2 fitted sheets and extra pillows and cases. Make up the bed for the birth as soon as you are sure that you are in labor
  • 2 large plastic garbage bags
  • laundry basket
  • 1 roll each of toilet paper and paper towels
  • 1 crockpot for hot compresses, if desired
  • 12 cloths for compresses (these can be made by cutting up an old towel or you can buy a cheap package of wash cloths. Please wash them an put in a bag labeled compresses)
  • 2 bottles electrolyte drink (Third Wind, Recharge, etc.), coconut water, or homemade "laborade." Leave bottled drinks at room temperature
  • 4 bath towels, minimum. You will need at least 4 more for waterbirth
  • 4 receiving blankets, minimum
  • electric heating pad and an old pillowcase
  • 1 flashlight with working batteries
  • 1 set of baby clothes and 2 cotton newborn hats
  • variety of food in the house. You may not want to eat in labor, but you will definitely be hungry afterward. We [being the midwives] sometimes get hungry too. We especially love a good cup of coffee!
  • 1 bottle hydrogen peroxide, to remove blood from carpet, etc.
  • 1 bottle ammonia, if desired, to add to laundry with meconium soiled clothes, diapers or linens
  • 1-3 perineal cold compresses, if desired, can be added to the birth kit,or might like to use bags of frozen peas instead
  • 4 gallon size Ziploc bags
  • cookie sheet. It is our tray for your labor and birth
  • space heater, if needed, to keep the birth room at 70-75 degrees for several hours after the birth
  • small bottle of olive oil for baby's bottom, to keep the meconium from sticking to baby's delicate skin
  • newborn diapers
  • thermometer
  • infant car seat, with straps adjusted to smallest position. If a base is included with your car seat, please go ahead and install it in your car.

Birth Kit:
Purchased through Everything Birth; this is a pre-determined package my midwives put together through the company, called the Ten Moons Midwifery Birth Kit, that costs $39.
  • 10 disposable underpads, 23x24 light
  • 5 disposable underpads, 30x30 heavy
  • 2 plastic backed sheets
  • 1 OB pads, nonsterile, 12 pack
  • 1 peri bottle
  • 1 mesh pant
  • 1 tenderfoot lancet
  • 2 flex straws
  • 2 alcohol prep pads
  • 1 super sani-cloth
  • 5 lubricating jelly, 5g
  • 1 bulb syringe, sterile 3 oz.
  • 8 gauze, 4x4, sterile, 2 pack
  • 6 gloves, sterile vinyl singles, medium
  • 4 gloves, sterile pairs, medium
  • shipping included

I also ordered the Vitamin K with my kit. This little bottle was a pricey $39.95. I opted to have it administered orally to my newborn, as opposed to an injection or going without. I am also supplementing my diet and taking Alfalfa supplements to increase my vitamin K serum levels so that my baby has more at birth.

To keep things simple, I ordered my "birth" pool through the same company. It is actually a kiddy pool that works really well for home births. It was $39.95, much cheaper than a rented alternative. It came recommended by both my doula and midwife. Referred to as the "Fishy Pool" or "Aquarium Pool," they are sold on Amazon and through birth supply companies. They sell for $37 on Amazon but shipping is $12.40. It was cheaper to buy it for my price through Everything Birth and pay their $5 shipping rate. But what's great is that after my homebirth it can be cleaned out and my younger girls will have a play pool this summer!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Everything Birth: Sponser

I am 30 weeks pregnant and into my third trimester. I went to my midwife checkup yesterday, which are now every 2 weeks in frequency. Everything went well, thank God--baby is doing great :) She reminded me it's that time already to put in my order for a home birth kit.

I ordered the kit, as well as my birth pool (yes, I'm shooting for a water birth--or if not the warm water is supposed to work wonders on labor pains) through Everything Birth. It's a great little site that offers home birth materials, midwife materials, cloth diapers, etc. Check them out.

everything birth

I'm planning to talk more in depth about the goodies packed in my Birth Kit, the items on my birth supplies list, and the birth pool I chose on Monday. With only 10 weeks to go, now is the time to get all my ducks in a row--baby will be here before I know it. Exciting!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Crocheting: Belly-Covering Scarf

I mentioned earlier this week that I had enough yarn left over from my baby hat and booties to make myself a belly-covering scarf. I finished my scarf yesterday! What's a belly-covering scarf, you ask? I am 7 1/2 months pregnant and my winter jacket no longer zips up. The one button that I can manage to snap closed pops open at my slightest move. So my poor pregnant belly is left exposed to the chill on the days that actually feel like winter. Here in Virginia, we've had some really strange weather. It feels like late fall rather than winter more days than not. There were some days I was working on my scarf when I was wondering if I was actually going to need it. The temperatures have been fluctuating so much from one day to the next. One day is freezing and the next it's 50-60 degrees and the kids are running around outside with no coats!? At this point I don't see any reason to buy myself a new fitting coat. I only have 10 more weeks left in my pregnancy and I'm hoping by next winter my coat will fit again. And living simple means making do with what you have. My solution then is crocheting myself up a belly-covering scarf!

It's a simple double crochet stitch scarf. It's wider at the ends (to cover my belly) then I narrowed it a bit towards the middle of the scarf so there wouldn't be as much "bulk" around my neck, which I don't like.

The sweetest part about this project was that I had to make my own crochet hook too! Oh yeah. You heard me right--I MADE my own crochet hook. I got the directions for it from the MaryJane's Sewing Room book. My thick yarn required a size L hook-which I didn't have and if I can make something as opposed to buying it, I'll do it. I used, per MaryJane's suggestion, an old broken chair back rail. With 5 kids in the house you bet we had an old broken chair in the basement in which to get this from. And being an artist I had an old exact-o knife I was able to use to widdle the rail into the shape I needed. My grandfather used to work with wood as a hobby. One time in high school I had to work with wood for a project and I then first discovered I really enjoyed wood crafting too. It brought back the memories of both. There's a sense of accomplishment I find working with a natural material--forming it, working with it, sanding it and making it smooth. Then I got a whole new sense of accomplishment crocheting with a hook that I made. Of course, my husband looked at me like I was crazy, my kids a little too, but I enjoyed myself-- Mama went homestead style!

I added a little scarf bling (a Miraculous Medal). My own little personal touch! It hits right at my belly level for some Blessed Mother protection for my little one.

P.S. I added another merit badge to my collection. I earned my Stitching & Crafting Beginner Crocheting Badge.

  • If you don't know how to crochet, learn. MaryJane has excellent instructions in her "Stitching Room" book.
  • If you are just learning how to crochet, pick a simple project like a rag rug or dishcloth. Finish your crochet project. There is a three-hour minimum time investment required.
  • Teach someone else how to crochet a simple project.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blogging Badge

How awesome is it when you can make a little difference in the world?! Okay, so I'm not creating world peace or feeding starving orphans in Somalia, but I helped initiate a Blogging Badge for the group I belong to, MaryJanesFarm' Farmgirl Sisterhood. In fact, this VERY blog you are reading sparked it!

See my eyes were opened to the world of blogging only about a year ago. Yes, before that I was oblivious to blogs believe it or not. But once I discovered them I had a blast subscribing to and reading some of my favorites. Secretly I wished I could start one of my own. They seemed fun and it would be a way for me to share and connect with others (which as a homeschooling homemaker is something I desperately felt I needed).

The Farmgirl Sisterhood has a badge for just about everything. On the Farmgirl Connection chat room I posed the question, "Is there a badge for blogging?" For my upcoming 30th birthday, I was going to treat myself to a blog--and if I was going to start one and I could earn a badge for it--even better!! There was not but it sparked some conversation. And it was picked up by the committee in charge of creating the new badges that come out each year to keep things fresh. My one little question and desire to start this blog became one of the 2012 new merit badges! Let me not toot my horn too much :) I only I posed the question in the chat room. I received an email from the lady in charge of badges saying they were going to use my blogging idea and asked me to review the badge requirements and offer any suggestions. That was the extent of the role I played. But it's still neat to think I had a little something to do with adding to the Sisterhood, however small it was.

While I didn't earn a badge for it, I have the Sisterhood to thank for their support and suggestions in helping me to get a blog up and running. I discovered there was a lot more involved than I expected to beginning a blog. I spent many hours designing (actually the time was spent mostly trying to figure out  how to design the blog page than actually designing the page itself ;)  Putting in buttons and pictures . . . . much more complicated than it seems! But persistence paid off. Through trial and error, and a labor of love,  I figured out the ropes for the most part. I'm still a novice and always learning. I certainly gained a whole new appreciation for the art of blogging.

So here's the badge requirements for the Blogging badge I helped initiate:

Each Other

19. Blogging

Beginner Level

  • Read Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal: A Guide for Crafters, Artists & Creatives of all Kinds by Tara Frey.
  • Choose your topic. Pick something you are passionate about.

Intermediate Level

  • Start your blog. Find a blogging host that works for you, or host your own.
  • Pick out a name, and publish your first post.
  • Don’t forget to add your blog to MaryJanesFarm’s GirlGab.com .

Expert Level

  • Learn how to add pictures and customize your blog.
  • Publish at least 10 posts along with photos.
  • Network! Create a blogging circle by visiting other blogs, writing comments, and leaving your blog’s address so they can visit you, also. Remember, building a blog and finding readers takes time. Be patient and have fun.

January, 2012 Edition

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shout it From the Rooftops!

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Expert Badge

Launch (hatch) your business and then shout it from the rooftops. Tell it here. Tell it everywhere. Buy yourself flowers and celebrate. Remember always to support other farmgirl businesses as you grow your own. Think cross-pollination and co-opetition.

I'm shouting it from the rooftops~

As of today . . .
St. Catherine's Apprentice:Fine Art & Commissions by Carrie Goad
 is officially open for business!

Visit me on Facebook~Show your support and "Like" me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Booties complete!

I finished up my baby hat from the other day. I even made a matching little pair of booties using Bev's Baby Bootie pattern. All my babies come out with big feet and long fingers--a Goad family trait I suppose :) Those cute little newborn size booties and socks are too small for my girls from the get go! I had to up the size of the booties a bit to adapt them for my little one.

I'm thinking about adding a little wooden button to the sides for added flair??

And the sweet part . . . I have enough yarn left over to make my belly-covering scarf! I'll be showing that off later this week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year, New Schedule

This year I am working on trying to be more organized. Having a sixth child on the way, I REQUIRE some sort of organizational system to keep my family running with the least amount of stress and chaos. Of course, I rely heavily on making lists. With so many tasks swarming around my head I have to write them down to keep them in order and to not forget anything. I have been using Ann Voskamp's Day Planner for the past couple weeks. I have to say I really like the set up; it keeps all my lists in one place.  She just came out with a Week-at-a-Glance sheet I'm trying for the first time this week.

Keeping with my green resolution, I print my to-do lists on the back of old, used papers and worksheets. With a daughter in a school that sends home a ton of notices and then homeschooling two daughters, we end up with loads of papers. I like to reuse the opposite side and then recycle them I'm done.

If you'd like to check out these sheets--maybe print a few for yourself :) get them here.

Getting organized--putting together a schedule system--isn't necessarily the problem for me. It's the maintaining that I find difficult.  Being consistent and persistent, especially when I get tired (which is a habitual state I live in these days at 7 months pregnant) and all I want to do is cut corners and relax a little. But when I do, I find the chores and work only pile up. Instead of doing my myself a favor, I've only made it worse :(  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What I'm Working On: Baby Hat

I'm getting back to making my baby preparations. Can you believe it? I am already 29 weeks into my pregnancy. Only 11 weeks to go (or maybe more like 13 in my case~my babies tend run late). Time is flying and this baby is growing! One of my first projects is knitting a baby hat. I am using a round form, called Knifty Knitter. Knitting these little hats on the form are surprisingly fast. This is was an instant gratification project :)

I first made a prototype with some cheap yarn to get the technique down. This will be used for one of my daughter's baby dolls. I am now working on the real thing. It is made from Bernat Baby Blanket yarn in Baby Yellow, which my mother graciously supplied.  It is oh-so-soft! I have plenty of yarn so I may even be able to make a matching pair of baby booties as well. (Or maybe a scarf for myself :) My poor belly has gotten so big that my jacket no longer zips up. I can button the top button but if I move even the slightest bit it pops open. My older girls get a kick out of this! I could use a nice wide scarf to help sheild my exposed belly from the cold for the remainder of winter.) I forgot how much I enjoy knitting/crocheting. I am not the most skilled in these art forms but I find them very relaxing, something I needed right now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From the Art Archives

I visited my folks house yesterday and found this. As you can see it's taken some wear and tear.

"Study of Pop-Pop", white and black charcoal on grey paper

It's one of my very first charcoal portraits. I drew this years ago. I was still learning to use charcoal, which at first was very frustrating for me. It didn't have a smooth feeling going on to the paper, and was my least favorite art medium to use in art class. Funny, because now it's my favorite. And it's also one of my first "faces", I was still learning to draw portraits. It's my grandfather. He died 18 years ago--I was merely in sixth grade. Though it's been so many years, his presence does not feel "dusty" to me at all. In fact, he feels very present. Perhaps it's because I frequently remember him even after all this time, or maybe it's that I still pray for him every Sunday at Mass. He's gone but not "gone." He has been one of my favorite subjects to draw and by far one of my most drawn. I've done more drawings of him than anyone else. I guess that is my way of showing that he existed, celebrating his life--showing my continued love for him;  like I said, gone but not gone:)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Birthday

In our family we have a string of birthdays. We have one in September, October, November, December, and January. Sadly by the time my C's birthday rolls around on January 8th, we've run out of birthday steam are burned out from Christmas. But we still try to make the most out it.

C's birthday was simple. We went back to our favorite park for a family hike. Sadly, I forget my camera's memory card in the computer at home, so I could only take about 5 pictures with it. The rest I had use my cell phone camera for--not the best quality, but we still captured the moments.

I was enjoying nature so much, I got a little carried with a nature beauty scavenger hunt. Here's just a few.

Afterwards, we stopped for Frosty's.

We made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, per C's request. (From a box mix this time, not from scratch).

Her grandparents got her the MP3 player she wanted. Here she is posing with it before she opens it.
This Saturday, to finish her birthday celebration, we will be going BOWLING!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Going Green Extreme

This is a funny little post, but I HAD to share! We found it in my midwives' new office. Both my girls and I were blown away by it when we first encountered it. . . What was it? How did it work?  It's a what?! It lingered with me for so many days after, I even did a google search on it to find out more. I had to know.

No, it's not a Porta Potty 3000 . . .

It's a green, composting toilet! Green to the extreme, I say, composting your own pooh. I love it. I love being exposed to new things, different things, new ideas--I may not always subscribe to them, but to enlightened to them is counted as awesome in my book. This was definitely new! I had never heard of, much less seen, such a thing. As you can see, O(3), got a kick out of it too :)

Yes, it's a whole toilet composting system. You use it like a regular toilet--there's surprisingly no smell, like a porta-potty. There's a continuation of the system outside the building, that holds and "greens" your waste until it's ready for composting. If you be ever so compelled (as I was) to read more, you can start here.

In all honesty, one day, in my future, little homestead I'd love to have one. I'm not sure if my husband would be sold on it though! Oh well, to each his own. Thought I'd at least share a new idea with you guys and expose you to the "extreme green" composting toilet. Now you know!

Friday, January 6, 2012

This Moment: Painted Skies

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

~Amanda Soule

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I'm Reading

My library finally got a copy of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. I have been waiting to read it for close to a year. I've seen it in the Christian bookstore but I try to live simply, not possess too much, be true to my vow of poverty. I didn't need to own the book; I just wanted to read it. It was a want, not a need, so I never purchased it.

I have my hands on it now, and I am enjoying consuming each page. So many aspects, so many parts of the story, resonate with me. You see I have been a seeker of God in a mess of a life myself. I’ve sought out spiritual direction with a Franciscan monk for a few months a couple years ago, read numerous books on the presence of God and other related topics, referenced other religions outside my Catholic faith—all in an attempt to try find joy, peace—GOD. Seeking meaning to life—my life—for the circumstances I found and continue to find myself in. Is all this mess and despair a sequence of consequences to past sin, poor choices? Is there some higher purpose for why my life, the people in it, my past, my present is the way it is that I don’t see or understand yet?

One of my New Year’s resolutions (as usual) is spiritual progress. I am forever trying to acquire patience, and joy, and peace . . .—true, lasting spiritual transformation. It’s fleeting. Instead of an open ended make spiritual progress daily, for 2012 I am trying:

“Every day keep the intermediate goals into achievable segments, and fix sights on these midway markers: one pound shed this week, 15 minutes of organization, one date night a week with a child, set sights close . . .”  Read more here.

I read this morning in the book about a 10 day challenge—a 10 day eucharisteo experiment—

"Ten days of eucharisteo as a stress intervention, eucharisteo as a practical miracle, not on the mount, but in the faces and the crowd. Whenever we felt stress in relationships, we audibly gave thanks”( pg.133).

Stress and strain has climaxed in just about every relationship in my life: with myself, God, my husband, my children, my parents, etc. I am so not fulfilling my vows as a Lay Missionary of Charity. What a poor example I make. In fact it was only back in September I considered leaving the movement, giving up my vows.  I even gave it a go. But instead of peace, relief, in my choice I found discontent. I don’t think God wanted me to give up my vows, being a poor example, He wants to try harder with His grace-try a different approach. Something (good) will come out of my LMC experience—from my life experience— if I hold on, endure, wait patiently. So instead of giving up completely, I continue to try differently. And for the next 10 days I will try the eucharisteo experiment; I will hold my tongue, intentionally be less reactive in stress situations, relinquish control of situations over to God, instead only offering thanks—eucharisteo—to God for all and everything, whether I perceive them to be good or bad. I have already been doing the 1000 Gift Challenge, but this is taking it deeper. This is a full immersion course in the presence of God. And I know this is the path-for me at least-this is the stuff, the spiritual practices, we used to talk about in spiritual direction. But how easy we forget--I forget. How much easier it is said than done.

And so I start right NOW, this very second. God knows, I’ve already blown my morning, but I will not waste another minute. From this moment, I begin my experiment—good, bad, or indifferent. I expect it to be difficult. I will no doubt have set backs. But I will give it my full, whole hearted, conscious effort for a period of 10 days, that way there is an end in sight--an achievable goal.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Green Cleaning: Mildew Remover

The holidays are over and once again I set my mind to preparing for my homebirth. Any thought of baby preparations was put on hold so all my energy could go towards making it through December. And let me tell you, I feel like I blinked during Thanksgiving and opened my eyes again to New Years--a whole month lost in a blur.

But now, things are slowing down and I can begin to grasp "life" once more. An ongoing thread you'll see over the next few months is Green Cleaning. Having a homebirth, it's important to me have my home as clean as possible and in tip-top shape. Not easy to do with five other kids running around! But it's my goal. I am in the transition of "going green", switching out my old, non-green, store bought products with greener versions and if possible homemade. As I find, and try, new cleaner recipes I'll be sharing them with you.

Today, I'll share with you a mildew cleaner. I found this one, plus a few others, on Healthy Child Healthy World. I have a downstairs bathroom in our split-foyer house with a terrible mildew problem in the shower. I'm not sure if it's because it's virtually in a basement--dark, damp--a perfect breeding ground for the stuff, but I'm determined to fight it with a vengeance. While I would have liked to stay away from chlorine bleach, I thought it was necessary in my tactical plans to at least begin with a product using it to tackle the mildew and get it under control. Later I can switch to a less abrasive cleaner for maintenance.

Mildew Remover for Hard Surfaces

1/4 cup chlorine bleach
1 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon borax

  • Mix all ingredients, put in spray bottle.
  • Spray on area, let sit 1/2 hour.
  • Scrub.
  • Rinse.
  • Let dry.
Repeat every couple days to be sure to remove mold spores.

I thought this product worked well. The 30 minute wait period is important to the process to give it time to do it's magic. I was able to get rid of a majority of the mildew, and as the directions state, I will be continuing the process every couple days to make sure it doesn't return, keeping it under wraps. I will win this battle with my basement shower, with perseverance and persistence!

By all means, if anyone out there has any tips on mildew control, PLEASE share. My upstairs bathroom doesn't have any issues, it's just the basement shower?!  I am always open to new cleaning tips, hints, suggestions, and resources :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year 2012!

Amongst my usual spiritual resolutions this year I set a few other goals for myself. I’ve mentioned it before, but this week I’ll make it happen—make it real. I’m going ahead with an art business. Tomorrow I’ll be marching down to the Commissioner of the Revenue and will be registering my business name. I’ll be applying for my business license shortly thereafter.


I’m so nervous about it all. A little voice in my head tells me not to do it, I’m not good enough, I’ll fail. I have to admit the voice makes me hesitate. Makes me want to turn and run. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to reach for anything—out of fear of failure. But that safety from failure has also gotten me nowhere. And there is no one to blame but myself.

I've had this feeling for some time, in my soul, that great things would happen for me in my 30s—my time was coming. Last year, 2011, especially was trying on every aspect of my life: spiritually, financially, maritally, socially. . . I bore my trials and carried my cross. Now, if I allow it—if I make it happen—great things will happen.

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
~ T. S. Eliot

Maybe I will fail. Perhaps my art venture will flop. But 1) At least I tried to reach for something. At least I risked it. I’ll never accomplish anything great if I don’t risk failing; 2) I feel like I’m supposed to be doing this. And if my goal in life is doing God’s will, it doesn’t matter whether I’m a success or a failure. I believe Mother Teresa said something along those lines; 3)I'm not setting out to conquer the art world (**smiles**) only to do whatever work--whatever commissions-- God will have me to do. I need not be great; I can take the pressure off my back. Even if I only do but a few commissions, and they make a difference to whoever it is that receives them, my work is accomplished. Again, Mother Teresa speaks not to be concerned about numbers, she always thinks "One". As a Lay Missionary of Charity, a follower of Mother Teresa's order, her example means a lot to me :)

And I won't be going it alone. I'll have my patron saint , St. Catherine of Bologna, holding my hand and my numerous "fans" (you know who you are) encouraging me on until I can do it for myself. Success or failure, good things are going to happen this year.

I wish the best for each of you and your loved one's 
 this New Year!