Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm Back! (And Linking Up at 7QTF and WIWS)

Hey, remember me?  I used to spend a lot of time keeping this little blog of mine updated almost daily; but recently, I've been a bit of a slacker in that area.

Lest you think I've become a slacker in other areas of my life, however, let me tell you how I've been spending my non-blogging time lately.  And I'm not only going to do that, but I'm going to endeavor to turn this post into a double link-up opportunity.  I think I can make it work for this
and for this, too!
I'm late to both of these blog parties, but let's see if I can pull it off.

First of all, my husband and I just returned from a five-day trip out to the Midwest to stay with our oldest son's family, so that our boy could have some help with his three little girls while his wife attended her college reunion.  We took off from Boston's Logan Airport last Thursday morning and returned last night.  So I've spent a lot of time sitting in a chair with a view like THIS.
Talk about "touching the face of God"--a line from an aviator's poem that is a favorite of my aviator husband (and by favorite, I mean it's probably the only poem he really likes at all).  Really, who can look at that magnificent view and not believe that this earth has a Maker and He loves the people He created to populate it?  Feasting my eyes on that slice of Heaven right outside my window could almost turn a scaredy-cat like me--who used to write "Good-bye my beloved sons, if I don't make it home from this trip, know how much I love you, etc. etc." letters before each and every flight I was forced against my better judgment to take, and who figured out ways to get out of pretty much every situation that would involve having to board an airplane--into a fearless flyer.

Full disclosure, however, because I just can't lie to you good people who stop by here (and thank you for that, by the way--I know I haven't given you much reason to lately): that picture was actually not taken on this latest plane trip.  I snapped it with my iPhone back in May, right after take-off, when I was heading down to VA (without my husband, who was working that weekend--sitting in the driver's seat of a different aircraft) to attend the gender reveal party for our latest grandchild.

So while I was gallivanting around the country, going to parties and visiting with my kids, the poor hubby was in uniform and on the job.
There he is.  That's my favorite guy.

But I digress, so let's get back to this past weekend.  As always, it was a total joy to spend a nice little chunk of time with our granddaughters.  The twins, Bonny Babe and Cutie Pie, are three now, and Little Gal is 16 months.

The twins are utterly hilarious.  They have the most lively imaginations.  In the course of the five days we spent there, they each changed identities about a dozen times.  My husband or I would call one of them by their given name and be told, "No, it's giraffe--sorry" or "No, it's Fergus--sorry."   (Their parents would say "Oh, giraffe--sorry" when they'd forget to call one of them by their name of the moment, so now the "sorry" is something they automatically tag on when correcting people!)  At any given time, one or the other of them was Emily, Percy, Hudson, Fergus, Hello Kitty, giraffe, gazelle, tiger, rhinoceros...If you have a young child, you probably know who Percy, Hudson, and Fergus are--but my husband and I are a bit out of the loop.  We think some of those names have to do with Thomas the Train (a favorite of theirs), but we're not even sure.  (I've heard that Cutie Pie is also occasionally Grammy--and if you don't think I'm absolutely thrilled that she pretends to be me sometimes, then you don't know me too well!)

Here's another thing they do that slays us.  My husband's trademark is his leather cowboy hat.  The girls will say, "Grammy, you have no hat.  Papa has yes hat."  :)

Little Gal is every bit as loquacious as her big sisters now, pretty much parroting everything she hears.  I'm sure it won't be long before she is correcting us when we call her by her given name as well.

Our granddaughters spend a lot of time with books and a limited amount of time in front of a TV screen.  Their mom set up a "book nook" for them in a cozy little area between the stairs and their bedroom on the second floor of their house, and they love to hang out there.  I don't post pictures of my granddaughters on the blog anymore, out of respect for my son's family's privacy.  But this wonderful illustration that I found on one of Nancy Shuman's blogs gives you a good idea of how they look much of the time.  (They even sleep with stuffed giraffes and baby dolls, along with about ten other "must haves" each.)
By the way, readers, you should really get to know Nancy, who has three phenomenal blogs: The Breadbox Letters, It's Only Write, and The Cloistered Heart.  (Three!  I can barely keep up with this one here, and she regularly posts on all of hers.)  Nancy is a great writer, and the artwork she chooses to go along with her prose--whether it's a painting by one of the masters or a sweet vintage illustration--always gives me a lift.

In case you were wondering what we wore Sunday for Mass while we were out at my son's house, take a gander at Little Gal's get-up--a mash-up of fashion don'ts that on a 16-month-old add up to a killer ensemble that is a major fashion DO!
Her adorable dress, which looks like a t-shirt and flowered cotton skirt combo, is accessorized with striped socks and leopard shoes.  I don't believe I would put these particular items together myself, but they seem to work here.  Agreed?  (Excuse the blurriness of this iPhone photo--this little sweetie-pie is a girl on the go, and getting her to pose for a fashion shoot was easier said than done.)

I won't even show you what I wore, because it's my old traveling stand-by, a wrinkle-proof dress that I've modeled on this blog already.  I did wear my lace mantilla, as always.  The neat thing this weekend was that I was far from the only woman in the church who was wearing one, which is often the case.  We attended a Latin Mass (with the three girls in tow--isn't our son courageous?), and there were many other similarly covered heads in that congregation.

After the Latin Mass, I chatted briefly in the back of the church with a beautiful young mom who was holding her baby daughter (who had a lace mantilla on her sweet little head, tied under her chin to keep it in place--she looked so precious!).  Apparently, she'd met my daughter-in-law Regina recently at a homeschooling co-op group meeting, and she asked where Regina was.  During our brief conversation, I remembered that Regina said she'd met Dwija after Mass not too long ago and they'd chatted, and I thought this nice young mom I was talking to looked a lot like her.  "Are you Dwija?" I blurted, before I could stop myself.  She said she wasn't, but that she did know her.  And now I feel like a total blog-celebrity stalker.  It's becoming a bit of a habit with me!  On one of my recent travels to VA, I also spied Rosie at Mass, and I went up to her afterward and babbled like a star-struck fan.  (She is, by the way, even sweeter in person than she is on her blog.)

I know anyone who frequents the Catholic blog world doesn't need me to explain who Dwija and Rosie are; but for my family and any other readers who might not recognize their names, these well-known ladies blog at House Unseen, Life Unscripted and A Blog for My Mom.

Okay, so if constant traveling (and staying in places where WiFi is not always readily available to me), hanging out with three little girls who are three and under, and blogger stalking aren't enough good excuses for why I haven't been devoted enough to my poor little String of Pearls lately, here's another very good reason:
The ink on the contract has dried, and I've had my nose to the grindstone.  I don't want to divulge too many details, but I will say that I was approached to write a YA novel for Bezalel Books by Cheryl Dickow, a publisher like no other.  Case in point: when she received the contract with my signature on it, she took it to Adoration with her so that it would be covered in prayers before she signed it and sent it back to me.  Somehow, I doubt that all the big-name publishing houses do that at the start of a book project.  With God involved right from the get-go, how can I doubt that I was meant to write this book (as I did, I must admit, when the offer was first presented to me--because as all of the above Takes illustrate, I'm on the road visiting with kids and grandkids a lot these days)?  I don't doubt it.  I still have moments when I wonder if I can do a good enough job with it, but then I put it all in His hands and try to just enjoy the process.

I'm not going to say much about the book, except that it's not a sequel to Finding Grace.  But here's a little hint about the content:
I know, I know--I have a major soft spot for the Irish, which is evident in my first book.  But this one is quite different, I promise.

Okay, now if you want to see what other bloggers (whom I stalk online, and sometimes even in person) are saying, head on over here (where Kathryn is guest hosting for Jen) for some more Quick Takes.  And if you'd like to see grown-up gals who dressed even better on Sunday than my wee granddaughter did (if you can believe that!), check out Fine Linen and Purple.


  1. HELLO! I have missed you! Glad to see (read) you.

    1. I hope I can get back into the groove here!

  2. Isn't Rosie so sweet!! I was able to attend her father's funeral last winter (it was SO beautiful!); I think that was the first time we'd actually met, but it seems we should have met sooner because we have a million mutual friends.

    Next time you're in VA, St. Leo's is a great parish and has a pretty cool Deacon (not that anyone's biased, or anything ;-).

    God bless!

    1. I wonder if that was St. Leo's was where I saw Rosie--I forget the name of the church. That's where your dad is a deacon?! One of our sons is going to marry a Fairfax County girl in November, and so I'm sure we'll be going to Mass in that area often over the coming years. Now I'll have to look for you, too! I'm going to stalk all of my favorite bloggers. :)

    2. You probably met Rosie at Holy Spirit or St. Michael's (approx 15 minutes away from us). Yes, St L's is where my dad currently assigned as Deacon. I like the *Catholic* aspects of this area a little bit. *smiles*

  3. Here I was, enjoying catching up on your news, when one of your illustrations made me think "now, isn't that a coincidence - we both used the same picture!" Turned out it wasn't a coincidence at all .... thank you for the really kind mention!

    I loved this post, and am very intrigued by the Irish content of something in the works :) . !

  4. Ireland. Yay. I'm looking forward to this one! Glad to hear it has something to do with my roots. ;)
    Country Girl's Daybook: Jesus, Photography, Fashion, & Food

  5. Love the updates!! no 7- beautiful story re adoration!

  6. Aren't our granddaughters just precious? I just love them. I recently subscribed to all of Nancy Shuman's blogs. I think I found them originally through you. And yay for writing another book! The adoration story is beautiful. :)