Monday, April 7, 2014

String of Pearls Gets Liebstered (Again!)

On March 24, I was Liebstered by my friend Iris over at Country Girl's Daybook.  (I got Liebstered once before, about a year ago, and I blogged about it here.)  I've been procrastinating about answering Iris's Liebster Award questions and choosing some deserving blogs to nominate.  You see, here's the thing: when I read through Iris's list of questions and thought about naming my proudest moment, I was utterly paralyzed and thought I'd never be able to come up with a response; because how in the world can I pick just one?  I have five grown sons of whom I'm inordinately proud, for reasons too varied and numerous to count.  But I've finally decided it's time to respond to Iris's very generous invitation to share a little bit more about myself with you (as if you don't hear enough already!), so here we go--

First of all, here are the rules of the game:

Liebster Award Rules:
Acknowledge the blog that nominated you (done, Country Girl's Daybook)
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created.
List 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers that deserve some recognition.
Write 11 questions for them to answer.
Notify them they've been nominated.
Iris's questions:
1. Let's start with something simple.  If you only had three wishes, what would they be?  (Wishing for more wishes is not allowed.)
My first wish: to live to see all my boys happily married, with children--God willing.  (Or ordained priests, if that's the vocation to which the two who are still single are called--but I don' t think that's where they're headed.)  Secondly: to be the one to go first, because I don't want to outlive my husband.  And finally: to get to Heaven!
2.  What has been the proudest moment in your life so far?
Okay I was worried about answering this one (as I told you above); but I have it figured out. It's not one moment, however; so far it's three proudest moments that are tied, and eventually, it may be five.  I cannot conceive of feeling prouder than at those times when I've seen my five sons all dressed in tuxes, up on the altar of a Catholic Church, with one of them in the role of groom and the other four standing up for their brother as his groomsmen.  I have witnessed this proud moment in 2009 at son #1's wedding, in 2013 at son #3's wedding, and then again a mere two months later in 2014 at the wedding of son #4.  When I see my boys like that--those tall, strong, handsome, sweet boys, who are all my favorites (it's a five-way tie!)--my heart expands to the bursting point and feels as if it will be ripped from my chest.  I choke up.  My eyes fill with tears.  And I think about how blessed I am that God gave me the great honor of providing them with their very first home--that they grew inside me, which is such an astounding miracle.  And now they're standing there together, fine men, all grown-up and getting married...I feel like Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway," when he finally gets a fire started and he beats his chest and shouts, "Look what I have done!", or something to that effect.  Of course, I know I certainly didn't do it by myself, but still...

Heart bursting here, looking at these five grown brothers who are each other's strongest supporters and best friends.  Proud mama here.

3. What is your absolute favorite meal?
I think I would have to say filet mignon, potatoes (mashed or baked), corn, and salad.  This has become our traditional Christmas dinner, because all the meat-and-potatoes men in our family love it.

4. What is your favorite color and why?
Blue, because no matter what shade it is it's always so pretty.  It's the color of the sky and the ocean.  It's Mary's color.

5. What is your guilty pleasure?
Sometimes, I sit down with a bag of those mini Reese's peanut butter cups and I unwrap and eat them one by one, always meaning to stop after a reasonable number.  But I end up eating almost the whole bag by myself.  My stomach has a limit when it comes to food items such as meats and vegetables and there is a point beyond which it will no longer stretch.  But it seems to have endless room for Reese's peanut butter cups--or peanut butter M&M's, or Dove milk chocolates, or Lindt chocolate truffles...actually, it has endless room for all kinds of chocolate goodies.  (Sorry if that answer grossed any of you out.  I know, I have a problem!)

6. Is there something you like to collect?  Certain kinds of trinkets?
Over the years, one of my favorite things to collect has been English transferware dishes, and I have a fairly extensive collection.  Most of the ones I own are reproductions of antique designs.  Although I have some that are red, green, and brown, the bulk of my collection is blue (because--well, see #4).  The great thing about these dishes is that you can find really inexpensive random pieces at T.J. Maxx (a diner plate might be $3.99, for instance), or you can often find transferware (both original old pieces and lovely reproductions) at consignment shops and second-hand shops.  It doesn't have to match--in fact, I have a number of different patterns, but they all go together nicely.  I sort of think that the fact that my dishes are mix-'n-match makes them more interesting.  And the fact that they aren't rare and expensive is a plus, too, because I use and enjoy them all the time.
7. When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did it happen?
At five, I think my only dream was to one day be a mommy (and that one stayed with me until 1983, when I finally became one for the first time).  But I do remember when I was about 7 or 8 and we were asked at school to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up.  And I drew myself as a librarian.  I remember what my drawing looked like, and I've tried to recreate it here for you.
I also remember the teacher very kindly and gently explaining to me that if I was going to be a "Mrs.," my last name was going to change; so she suggested that I erase that title and change it to "Miss," which I did. 

I did not become a librarian (although my oldest son married one).  But I loved books then, and I love them now, so this seems like it would have been a perfect career choice for me.

8. What's your go-to recipe for a weeknight? was mac and cheese back in the child-rearing years.  But now?  Well, it almost always involves chicken breasts.

9. Name one thing that makes you peeve, critter?
Frogs!  Ugh!  I cannot even imagine being able to touch one.  (So imagine how tough that was, as the mother of five little boys who were inveterate frog wranglers.)

10. What skill or hobby have you always wanted to learn?
I really wish I could play the piano or any kind of musical instrument.

11. What book should I be reading?
Finding Grace?  (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)  This is a hard one for me.  I like books, remember?  Lots and lots of books!  I just read The Book Thief and I thought it was brilliantly written and sort of life-changing.

Okay, my turn.  I nominate the following blogs:

1. Christina @ Filling My Prayer Closet
2. Tiffany @ Life of a Catholic Librarian
3. Madeline  @ A Dash of Snark
4. Maia @ From Little Hands
5. Annery @ Annery at Home
6. Joy @ Joy in the Morning
7. Gabriela @  Under Grace
8. Aileen @ Pure and Simple Glance (What better way to get your blog started, Aileen?!)
9. Nancy Shuman @ The Breadbox Letters, It's Only Write, The Cloistered Heart
10. Elizabeth @ Super Swell Times
11. Blair @ Blair's Blessings

All right, I was too late on #'s 10 and 11.  Kendra @ Catholic All Year got to them first!  If you want to read their Liebster answers to Kendra's questions, go here and here.

And now for my questions:

1. Do you have a favorite saint with whom you feel a special kinship? (Who is it, and why?)
2. Do you have a "bucket list"?  (And if so, what's the first item on the list?)
3. Where is your favorite place to swim: a heated pool, a freshwater lake, or the ocean?
4. What are three words that describe you?  (Sorry--I hate it when people ask me questions like that.)
5. Are you fluent in a second language?
6. Do you like to travel, or are you more of a homebody?
7. What's your all-time favorite book (if you can name just one; if not, how about your three favorites)?
8. Do you love to cook (or would you rather eat out and have someone else do it)?
9. If you could only have one dessert for the rest of your life (a horrible prospect, I know!), what would you choose?
10. Is there a particular work of Catholic art that is your favorite?  (Share the image with us, if you can.)
11. What inspired you to begin your blog?

Thanks again for the nomination, Iris.  I hope I wasn't too long-winded!


  1. I've loved learning more about you! And I am the same way with the little Reece's cups. I just can't stop eating them!

    1. Beth, I was going to nominate you--but I assumed you had more than 200 followers (and you're supposed to nominate blogs with smaller readerships). Let me know if I'm wrong, though!

  2. Hey, thanks! You asked excellent questions, I can't wait to answer them.

    1. I figured I'd save them for a rainy day when I'm in the mood to talk about myself.

      You know, because that's what bloggers do.

  3. As for #10, it's never too late to learn :)

  4. Thank you so much for the nomination.

    Fun to learn more about you!

  5. I will answer these questions sometime this week... there are some I am going to really need to think about first. :) I love reading more about you. I also think you should take piano lessons. I feel like adults are scared away from trying because "they" say it's harder to learn as an adult. Which may or may not be true but adults also have the discipline and patience to really try! Imagine a sing-a-long with your granddaughters with you are the keys!

  6. Thanks for including me, Laura! It was fun learning more about you. You are right to be so proud of your sons! And that adorable childhood drawing - too cute! :)

  7. Thank You for nominating me! I will definitely answer them. ;-) And, goodness, I have a problem with Reese's, too! We should have a Reese's party together. ;-)

  8. Thank you so much! I am working on the acceptance post right now :) !

  9. Thanks for playing along, girls. I always get nervous about these sorts of things and put them no hurry, no pressure. I look forward to your posts! :)

  10. Thank you! I'm so glad you commented re: my nomination on the blog. I'm so backlogged on blog reading this week that it would have been unnoticed for a little bit! I will definitely use this as my next post. I've been suffering terrible writers' block. And then I compose a post in my head, and think AH HA!...and then I go to type it out and it disappears. And I'm back to blockage. So this should help! Thank you!!

  11. Just knew you'd pick the wedding photos:). My grandmother had willow plates like that:) loved reading your answers:)