Friday, March 31, 2017

I'm Guest-Posting on Fruclassity!

Have you ever read the Fruclassity blog? It's got plenty of frugal and real-life tips...I've enjoyed it. 

And today, they're hosting yours-truly's guest post:

Being Able to Retire Doesn't Require Millions

Take a look -- enjoy!

Retire Rich... Or Live Free?

Financial Samurai asked that question recently.

I think it all depends. 

What is your time worth? Even more important, what's your energy and enthusiasm level?

If you're loving what you're doing at work, your family is happy and cared-for, and home life is reasonably serene. Barring the occasional dog throwup and home-late-lets-order-a-pizza moments, I'd say...

Stay the course with what you're doing.

Pay bills, put some money away for the future, and help others, while you're at it.

BUT --

If your work environment is irritating at best, and maddening at worst...
    Your family spends their time arguing or snapping, or worse yet, just avoiding each other...
You spend your time at home trying to figure out what the heck to do next...

Maybe it's time to let go.

Or at the very least, take a long hard look at your finances. What can you save on now, to help gracefully extricate yourself in the hopefully near-future? 

The Brick has been retired now for 1 1/2 years. We didn't have the cool million that many investment advisors insist you must start with. But we did have a paid-off house, no debts, some savings, a pension...and the willingness to work part-time now and then, to help fill in the bare spots. We had decades of frugal living experience, due in great part to living on a bus-driver's salary for years. (Bus drivers don't make much, Gentle Readers.)

Would I trade cozily sleeping in, Charley the dog snuggled between us, the warm smell of perking coffee wafting through, for custom leather boots and a New York condo?

Would I have a better life, working until 8 or 9 p.m. (something the Brick often did, during his engineer days), getting home in time for the late show...then doing it again the next day? Would I put up with egos, jockeying and office politics, just so I could have a promotion, a few more dollars in the paycheck, and another day of vacation?

Or is this new way better? Suppertime, looking out across the valley at Rampart Range, red-streaked in the sunset...searching for the perfect vanity for the bathroom, then stopping for a milkshake...laughing at our silly animals' expressions and funny ways...reading a book, warm and well-fed, late at night, together... sweating it out to get boxes packed and items sorted (Okay, that's not so much fun.) Time to travel, be together, to think.

I know what I'd choose -- over and over again. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Sometimes they're funnier!

and my favorite:

He's a St. Bernard. They're taught to rescue people -- he had to know!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Libby Lehman's Selling Her Quilts!

Remember our mutual quilting friend, Libby Lehman?

She continues to slowly improve from her 2013 stroke. The Caring Bridge has had regular posts from her family and friends ever since then, chronicling her progress.

Click Imsge TO Enlarge
New Mexico Suite: Pecos Summer

The latest post mentions something that started yesterday:

An online auction of Libby's quilts.

Click Imsge TO Enlarge
Threadplay -- one version

Through April 12, you can buy a piece from a master artist that will not be duplicated again. (Libby is doing some quilting -- but not at her previous level. I'm very glad she's gone back to sewing again, though.)

Native Habitat

Check out the auction site.  The direct link to Libby's quilts is here. Pieces range in price and size, including a Threadplay -- using one of Libby's best-known techniques -- to beauties like New Mexico Suite: Pecos Summer.  

Make a bid...get a great piece for your collection...and help a friend.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: March Report

This has been a long month. We have so many projects in the air right now; I'm determined none will drop, in spite of the juggling. It's difficult, and means I need to stay home and 'babysit' a lot. The projects, that is.
     While the rest of the country, seemingly, has had storm after storm, our weather has been DRY. Rain last week, plus a lot of snow early last Friday, was the first we've seen pretty much all month. It's meant lower energy bills and easier transportation. But boy, the garden and lawn are thirsty. Thankfully, it's supposed to rain or snow almost daily through the end of the month. So far, it has.
    For some interesting reason, a few of Brickworks' regular suppliers had deep clearance sales this month. We took advantage of those, for the website and teaching. It meant spending money I'd planned not to -- but will pay off in the long run. 

Drank a lot of coffee & tea this may have been dry, but it was COLD.


*Season tickets to Boulder, Colorado's Shakespeare Festival this summer for $12/ticket -- the 'Early Bard' special. Yes, an awful pun -- but an insane deal for Shakespeare plays. Shows include Julius Caesar and my very favorite, Hamlet. (I was Ophelia in a college performance long, long ago.)
       If you're interested, check quickly on these -- tickets were going fast.

*Got the complete version of The Shadow radio shows: $4.95.  (darn -- they were $2.95 a week or so ago.) I loved listening to this via an old-timey radio show back in high school; it will be nice to have something to keep me occupied while we clean out, pack and clean up in the house.

*We now have a seniors national park pass. Plus a free Canada Parks pass good for this year!

*Replaced VHS videos of much-loved movies with DVDs: Moonstruck, Man from Snowy River and Return to Snowy River.  (I still think it's weird the movie guys would think we wouldn't notice the difference between dads.) Got them for $6 each. (Return was closer to $9.) Found The Fugitive,  Scorpion King and some videos for presents at a buck each at the library sale room.

*Paid support for three Compassion, for our adopted 'son.' Ever since I can remember, 10% of our income has gone to God's causes...missionaries we've committed to help, the church we go to, groups like MCC (one of the best places in the world to donate, because they have such low overhead costs) and Operation Christmas Child. We've also sponsored kids for years through Compassion -- two sons finished the program, and our current child, Carlos, is from Brazil.
     Ten percent isn't that much!  If everyone in the world gave a tiny slice of their income, just think how much good we could do. Even if I can't talk 100% of the population into this...perhaps, Gentle Readers, you would consider it. Giving changes your life, as much as it helps others.

*Generally held back on spending again. The Brick saved us so much on insurance, and we're trying to use that money to beef up the emergency fund. So far, it -- and my extra work appraising -- are helping.

*Careful on groceries, too. I'm trying to clean out the freezer section of our refrigerator -- a lot of our protein this month came from there, though King Soopers had some BOGO specials on chicken nuggets and fish sticks. The best, though, came this week: 88 cents/lb for chicken breasts! (The nuggets weren't that great -- called customer service for Perdue to mention it, and got offered my money back. I'll take it -- and get some chicken tenders, instead! Thank you, Perdue.)
     No visits to Sam's Club or the Friday/Saturday store, and only one stop at Wal-Mart, mostly for dogfood. I'm almost out of flour, though.

Ate a fair amount of these, too -- mostly in soup, enchiladas and burritos

*Gave a dear friend her birthday present: four tickets to a dinner theater production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Saved $60 on the regular price through Groupon. She loved it -- and we get to go with her this weekend!  (No other appreciable costs on presents for this month.)

*The Brick changed the oil himself on the Outback. He also fixed a sewing machine for an elderly lady on a fixed income -- and refused to take any money for it. I'm proud of him.

*Bought a truck! Got an excellent price on it -- the Brick has been researching for months. (I guess this is a 'miss' too, depending on how you look at it. We still have to pay for the license, which will sting. Colorado is not a cheap place to live, in this respect.)
       Now to find the proper fifth-wheel hitch package. The Brick will find a great deal on that too, I'm sure. (He's good at that sort of thing.)

*Planted one bed of greens and peas soon after St. Patrick's Day. (March 17 is the traditional date to stuff them in the ground. I got them in in time to get snowed and rained on. Will plant the rest after this week.)

*Found some items for Daughter #2's wedding in the fall: rhinestone trim for her veil, rock candy swizzle sticks, tags, napkins for the rehearsal dinner and some joke items for her shower. These were all either discount or clearance -- yay!

*More shows watched for free: 24 Legacy, Designated Survivor, NCIS New Orleans, Walking Dead,
     Watching these without commercials is just an extra bonus.

*Taken out of the tin that I keep egg money and piano lesson fees: $265! (Plus some foreign money and a quarter or two.) Since I didn't go out much these past few months, the cash wasn't spent. Put it in the bank, instead.

*Took three of my piano kids to concerts, with supper thrown in.  We stopped by Burger King once; the second time, I made homemade macaroni and cheese. We finished with McDonalds for ice cream-- twice. I guess this could be a 'misses' x two, but we were careful on money, and the kids loved it.
     I give rewards when my piano kids finish playing through a book. Several were due this month, but I'd already gathered the prizes -- no extra cost there.

*Sold some eggs; gave piano lessons (except during Spring break); did a little appraising. Not much this time of year...but enough to add appreciably to the coffers. The Brick did some bus driving, too -- field trips and SPED (Special Ed) routes. I did lose two piano students this month...but my time teaching is winding down, anyways, due to our upcoming move. Our large, heavy piano has gone on its way to one set of students, who were thrilled. (And we were happy to find the extra space.)
      I'll give lessons on the electronic keyboard, instead.

*Found a quarter. The Brick found one, too -- in the space where the piano used to be.

*Sold some books through Amazon. They've increased their fees, so I'm not going to continue this, except for the pricier offerings.

*Picked up some new gigs, including one for a Boulder quilt guild in June, and teaching again in 2018 for the John C. Campbell school in North Carolina. Love this place!

*Donated several large bags of stuff to ARC. The veterans group and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum will get the next batch of stuff -- I've got a lot of quilt-related items that will go to RMQM.

*Gave friends flowers -- and kept a bunch myself. They weren't expensive Now daffodils and flowering branches are filling our vases, instead.


*Four chickens dead. One chicken had a lot of neck feathers gone, which often spells HAWK. They were all from the oldest batch of chickies, so who knows. At least one was a layer; our egg production has gone way down. Darn it.

*Missed out on being reimbursed for 2016 hotel expenses -- because I waited too long to submit the receipts for a teaching gig. At least I can take these as a charitable deduction...but still. (It was for a nonprofit, thankfully.)

*Went out to eat too much. And as the Brick pointed out, we paid too many times for other people's dinners. We ate out from necessity during our trip to North Dakota, as well.  (We were really careful how much we spent -- a hit, I guess.)

*Had to stay an extra night in North Dakota. Our credit union only transfers money for a two-hour period each day...and we asked too late. (Did they warn us about this before we left -- and the Brick asked? Nooooo....) BUT after I wrote an e-mail to the CEO of Air Academy Credit Union, they apologized, and comped us for the hotel night with a $100 gift card. Now, that's classy. (Thank you, AAFCU.)

*Bought a dress for Daughter #2's upcoming wedding.  I spent 70 DOLLARS.  I haven't paid this much for an outfit in decades. Daughter #2 probably thinks this hilarious, since her wedding gown was $500. I can't help it.
     Because there was also a "Buy one, get one for $5" special, though, I got a second dress, equally nice, for $5. Guess that's a hit. (Daughter #2's dress was actually a good buy, too -- and it's washable!)

I continue to be inspired by others' accomplishments. (Here's another person who does regular updates, too.) Hopefully, you're getting some ideas from visiting mine, too.
     For previous months' Frugal Hits and Misses, start here.

We'll get more of this, no doubt, before spring is over.

Monday, March 27, 2017


I'm trying to finish up some appraising reports, as well as some pesky paperwork -- and at the same time, tidy up the house enough for another visit from an interested buyer. If I can only get these things done, then I've got several days' worth of quilt restoration to finish up. 
     It's supposed to rain and snow all week...figures.  March is indeed 'going out like a lion.' At least that makes me want to stay in and get work done.


I've gotta be me...who else would get the work done?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Trucks and Trailers

Now that we've found a truck to pull our new future home, it's on to the next project: 

    Selling our current place.

Another person is interested...and getting ready to make an offer.  (Barbara, if your friend is still interested too, have her call -- pronto.) We've got another party on the case, as well. 
     If God helped us find the perfect truck, He's got a buyer for the Castle Rock house out there. Meanwhile, we've got a lot of clearing out, cleaning up and donating to do.

Painting furniture in one afternoon.  (From The Nester)

"I don't identify as African-American; I identify as black."  Rachel Dolezal -- still up to her interesting ways.

Working for the Fair.  The Sanitary Fair, that is.  (From Brackman's Civil War Quilts)

Ten habits of self-made millionaires.  Actually, three different posts, all about the same subject -- just different numbers. (From Bloglovin')

Freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.  Except I'll add green chilies to the mix.  (From Moneysaving Mom)

How will you plan to retire? For the first part of it, when you're healthy and raring to go, OR the second part, when your health's not so good?  A thoughtful piece from Liz Weston.

"What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done?"  Be sure to read the one from the student who walked into the wrong classroom -- and took the exam, anyways.  (From Quora)

Just for fun - two parrots duet on 'La Cucaracha' and 'Old McDonald:'

A DIY 'pick me up' peppermint tincture.  (From Strangers and Pilgrims)

Salmon, spinach and orzo salad - with lemon-dill vinaigrette. Oh my.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

How to find anything -- and everything -- used.  (From The Frugalwoods)

"Why I stopped extreme couponing."  The other side of the story.  (From Budgets Are Sexy)

Five for the road.  It's the teacup feeders and the doggie gate that got this post on the Monday Stuff List.  (From Cleverly Inspired)

Historical figures that most people remember -- for the wrong reasons.  (From Cracked) Also:

Fifteen images that...well... I have no idea who or what's showing up in them. See what you think.

Have a great week.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Log Cabin Gone Wild!

Friend Thommy sent me this photo of a Log Cabin quilt from Facebook...
          a bit different from the usual.

(I'm a sucker for unusual Log Cabins, anyways.)

I hope the escape was successful.

(Thanks, Traci Smith from Appalachian Americans.)

Update:  Friend Kris Driessen pointed out the quilt's similarity to Chris Gilman's Tighten the Tension -- the two have to be influencing each other, at the very least. Click on the link to take you to the pattern.
       Clever, clever.

Map Points...And A Great Place To Buy A Vehicle

Do you know where the geographic center of North America is?

In North Dakota!

We zoomed by this dignified obelisk:

Surrounded by scruffy buildings, piles of dirty snow...and close nearby, a Case farm equipment dealer.

My dad always thought that Case tractors were the center of the universe. Guess he was close.

Plus a signpost, so you know where to head next.

I wanted to give a shoutout to the Devils Lake Chrysler Center in Devils Lake, ND.  Not only were they totally honest about our vehicle's condition and package...Jordan actually e-mailed photos to the Brick showing some of the truck's 'dings' and negative aspects!  How many dealers will do that??

Jordan, our salesman, spent a lot of time pointing out features with the Brick, and explaining how they worked. (He did a lot of "what if this happens" problem-solving, too. Impressive.)

They treated us with politeness and included. (Sometimes the woman doesn't get this. Female Gentle Readers out there, you know what I'm talking about, don't you...) We had some trouble getting funds from our bank account wired -- and they were patient throughout.

We also got advice on good hotels (since we had to stay one more night, because of the wire transfer issues) and restaurants -- and they were right, on all counts.

We got a good deal on a great truck. It was nicely prepped, as well.

If you're looking for a quality vehicle at a good price, try them out. (It's even worth driving 30+ hours to get there!)  Ask for Jordan; tell him the Bricks sent you.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Strange Experience in Hoover

     As mentioned yesterday, we made a flying trip to North Dakota in the past few days. Driving, actually, but we 'flew' to get back -- both of us had commitments here, and we knew the weather was iffy.

We head back in mid-afternoon, the Brick driving our new truck and me following in the Outback.

Yep, that's him.

The roads are clear, but freezing rain is threatening. Not good.

After hours of driving, we're both down to half a tank of gas...and in the middle of some seriously beautiful landscape. Deserted, hilly...not even the occasional farm. A few homestead buildings here and there, and some disinterested cattle. No matter -- Charley the dog finds them fascinating.

The miles spool by. Wind's picked up...but you can handle it when you're expecting it. The rain is holding off, sort long as we keep going.

We're out of North Dakota now, into South Dakota, my dad's birth state. Down to an eighth-tank. Still nothing, but a sign promises 'next services: 33 miles.' Should be just in time.

More lovely, wide-reaching landscape. Once you live out here in the West for a while, you appreciate the chance to look 10, 20 or 30 miles in every direction. I get a little claustrophobic now when trees hug the road on both sides. (Makes me feel squashed.)

We drive by a clump of trees, augmented with ranch buildings. A little sign on the road flashes by -- I catch the words 'Hoover fuel and groceries.' Where? I didn't see any kind of store.

More miles gone. My gauge is solidly on EMPTY now. The Brick says he has about 1/8 tank. I am desperately trying not to worry.

I mention the sign. (He saw it briefly, too.) Every few miles brings us to the top of a new set of hills. No lights, no one else is out there...but us. 

Finally, we turn back. Off the road:

And on the edge of the trees:

I wouldn't have known, except for the name and the lit beer sign in the window.

Woodsmoke is in the air -- so are frozen bits of sleet. We're surrounded by a yapping pack of dogs, which immediately catches Charles and Abby's attention. There are two rusty gas pumps to the side: one for diesel (which the truck needs), one for unleaded (for the Outback). Thank you, God.

The Brick, shivering, gets to work.

Those icicles aren't for decoration, folks.

I notice this across the gravelly area:

Must be where they live, right? I forgot to ask.

And this:

The bossy head dog, eyes milky with age, allows me to step past and open the tinkling front door.

Leader of the pack -- and guardian of the store

Full tanks of gas -- WHEW.  I realized I had probably been holding my breath at times.

The inside of the building actually looks like a store: shelves with canned goods, a cooler on the other side with beer, a bowl of grapes and some fresh edibles. A scrubbed round wooden table in the center of the room is covered with paperwork. (Working on taxes?) An equally scrubbed counter, holding the cash register... and a near-empty bowl of potato chip crumbs. Free bar snacks with the beer, maybe.

Leona, an older lady in her late 70s, bustles out to look at the gas pumps, so she can (hand)write the totals. She doesn't take credit cards. (Thankfully, I've remembered to bring along the checkbook.)

I could swear that somehow we've traveled back in time...maybe to 1976 or so, when Leona said they'd bought the ranch.

We thaw out by the woodstove, have a friendly conversation about where we came from, and how long she's been there. Her daughter's family runs the farm now -- but Leona kept the store "and 50 acres." Their area has a Castle Rock too, she said...with another store near it, tucked among the farm buildings. "But now it's closed, and the lady just lives there."

The ice is still threatening -- we have to go. The guard dog allows us out the door, after grateful thanks and a presented check. Then, Doritos in hand, we're on the road. Fifty-five miles later, a small town, Belle Fourche, appears...with food and gas stations.

While topping up, I said to the Brick, "Did we dream that?" He said, "I'm not quite sure." 

Without Leona and her Hoover store, we would have been walking.

If she and the store were real, that is.   I guess they are.

 (Found an old photograph, too.)

Headed home to our Castle Rock...Colorado.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dead Beat & Plum Tuckered Out...And Other Musings

     We're back.

     The Brick found the perfect truck to pull our new trailer 15+ hours away, at a dealer in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. So what did we do?

Left Sunday around noon. Drove 15+ hours one into Minot (our first hotel) at 2:45 a.m.

Spent that day test-driving the truck and taking it to a local mechanic. Made the deal around 3 p.m. Discovered we couldn't get the truck yet -- because our credit union only wires money in a two-hour period. In the morning. (They conveniently forgot to mention this to the Brick when he e-mailed to warn them about the withdrawal.)

Found another hotel. Crashed. Couldn't sleep -- we were both too fired up. Plus TMC had some weird 'bad guy' movies on, including Psycho, Peeping Tom and Robert Mitchum in this creepy child-snatching movie, Night of the Hunter.
     Gives you a whole new perspective on the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."

(Peeping Tom was weird, too. Yes, stranger than Norman Bates and his zany mom. Watch the whole movie here, if you like.... but with a friend. )

Two nights in a hotel were fun, sort of. Two nights in a hotel with the Brick were definitely better than being by myself. (True to form, there was very little on TV. With as many cable channels as hotels have, wouldn't you think there'd be more to choose from than old episodes of Supernatural and American Pickers?)

Next morning, trudged over to the dealer. (It's the Chrysler dealer in town -- ask for Jordan, by the way.) Got the truck -- formed a convoy -- and drove the 15+ bleary-eyed hours home.

We pulled into Castle Rock at 3 a.m. this morning. I had a piano lesson to do this afternoon, and wanted to be sure we made it in time. (Ironically, the lesson didn't happen.) Thank God for the chance to sleep in, fresh eggs from the chickens, and canned beef stew over rice. All easy things to do.

It was icy cold in Devils Lake, and windy as all getout. We fought the wind, and had to keep moving to miss the freezing rain that kept creeping in around the edges. We were traveling through incredibly beautiful country in the Dakotas -- but it was also very isolated. (More on this tomorrow.) And we were tired. A big batch of scary fog in Wyoming, plus the highway closed, only a few miles from our house, just topped things off.

We're glad to be home.

The truck is big, rumbling (diesel) and more than capable. The Brick is thrilled -- it really did turn out to be the perfect truck, for what we needed. I just have to get used to climbing up to get in. Not only was the price right, but it has all sorts of additional goodies. Apparently it includes a custom package, including seats that not only heat themselves, but have air conditioning in each seat, as well!
     Front and back.

     I can just hear what my dad, the tough Dutch farmer, would have said about that. After he stopped laughing, that is.

We came home to an armload of daffodils, blooming their heads off. Just in time -- we're due for a snowstorm tomorrow night.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Yes, It's Early

I have deadlines to meet early this week, so sent the weekly post on its way today. Get your coffee cup, sit in the afternoon sun...and enjoy! 

Ten strange discoveries archeologists can't explain. Yet, at least.  (From Listverse)

A guy walking barefoot across America is hit by a car, 100 days into his trip. Weirdly, Mark Baumer's last post showed his toes next to a yellow-lettered word: 'KILLED.'  (From Men's Journal)

Twenty liars who kept lying. And got away with it...for a while, at least.  (From Cracked)

Fifty years of "Alice's Restaurant" -- and how Arlo Guthrie feels about it. (From Rolling Stone magazine) If you've never heard this very funny, thought-provoking song, click below. Settle in first -- it takes almost 20 minutes.

Ten strange (and wonderful) discoveries that have updated archeology -- big-time.  (From Listverse)

More dog shaming.  Yes, these are silly, including:

"Saving history by stealing it." Or in artistic terms, copying it. I'm still not sure what to think about this angle...

A Wisconsin farmer dies, along with 16 of his a freak methane poisoning accident. This one is really strange.

One of the best modern tap dance scenes out there -- "No Dames" from Hail Caesar!  Channing Tatum definitely got some of his chops from Gene Kelly on this one.

Too bad the rest of the movie was mostly stupid.

 I kept thinking of a similar theme in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' Follow the Fleet:

A tiny house, custom-built in Alaska.

Irish treacle tart.  A holiday offering from yours truly. (This tasted quite different from what I thought it would...maybe it's the lemon juice, combined with the sweet flavor. Not sure.)

What's today's cooks can learn from yesterday's tenement cooks.  Some real-life examples here. (Thanks, Kris Driessen, for forwarding this on from the New York Post.)

Have a great week. Stay sane.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dogs Spring for Spring

Our daffodils finally bloomed! Grass is starting to poke up through the (dead) grass, and Charley is all aquiver, looking for mice and snakes to chase.'s not the end of the March yet, and it's supposed to go out like a lion. (It certainly came in like a lamb around here.) At least one storm -- maybe more.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

St. Patrick's Breastplate: A Celebration of His Special Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The good saint of Ireland left several writings for us know the depth of his faith in God, including his Confession...

and his Breastplate, a lorica, or hymn, also known as The Deer's Cry.'

(As the story goes, Patrick and his fellow monks were being hunted -- but God intervened, and made them appear to be a herd of deer, along with a fawn. The bad guys kept going, and missed them altogether.)

Several versions of the Breastplate are out there; it's even been turned into a Victorian era hymn. This one has been translated from the Gaelic:

Lislaughtin Abbey, from Morguefile

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Wise words to learn, from a fifth century Saint. 

      Happy St. Patrick's Day!

     "My name is Patrick...I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many."
                 The beginning words of Patrick's Confession

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Want to commemorate the death of Ireland's 5th century patron saint? 

Because that's what St. Patrick's Day does, in spite of the customs we hear more about -- beer and the wearin' o' the green.

an old postcard - Wikipedia

Patrick wasn't even Irish -- his family was Romano-Brit. (Yes, Roman - living in Great Britain.) But he was captured by Irish pirates, taken back to Ireland and kept as a slave for years: six+ long years, acting as a shepherd.
      Eventually he escaped and made his way home...but had a vision that he was supposed to return to Ireland, this time as a missionary.
      Which he did.

Patrick was never canonized. (I'm still wondering where the 'Saint' part kicked in.) But he devoted his life to living with the Irish, and converting them to Christianity. In later years, he served as a bishop. By the 7th century, he was already being venerated by his adopted country.

Patrick's sign was actually a cross - the cross pattee (seen on his robe below) was most associated with him. It was common custom to wear a cross made of paper or ribbon to honor Patrick on his commemorative day. According to Wikipedia:

"Thomas Dinely, an English traveller in Ireland in 1681, remarked that 'the Irish of all stations and condicons [conditions] were [wore] crosses in their hatts, some of pins, some of green ribbon'... In the 1740s, the badges pinned were multicoloured interlaced fabric. In the 1820s, they were only worn by children, with simple multicoloured daisy patterns. In the 1890s, they were almost extinct, and a simple Greek cross inscribed in a circle...' The Irish Times in 1935 reported they were still sold in poorer parts of Dublin, but fewer than those of previous years 'some in velvet or embroidered silk or poplin, with the gold paper cross entwined with shamrocks and ribbons.'"

Some typical St. Patrick's Day badges from the early 20th century  (Wikipedia)

The shamrock came about as a sermon illustration for the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit). Eventually the plant came to represent Ireland, as well.

Sure, you can wear green...but as the Brick loves to point out, that's what Irish Catholics do. (And we're not. Catholic, that is.) But would I prefer to wear "Prottie" orange, instead?

Better to remember a humble man of great strength who loved to serve God -- and loved his people.

So put on a green sweater tomorrow. Patrick wouldn't have minded, I'm certain of that. Add a cross to your costume, though, and he'd be extra happy.  Cook some Irish dishes, while you're at it.

     Eire go Brach... 

     Ireland Forever.

St. Pat hisself, with cross pattee and four-leaf clover in hand
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Life Goes On...And Some Goodies You'll Want to Try

     The Brick had to drive schoolbus early these past few days. The hard part: we are not early morning people. Monday, he let me sleep in -- the sweetheart. Tuesday and today, I dragged myself out of bed to be the Dutiful Wife. I fixed a hot breakfast, packed his lunch, tried hard to stay awake after he'd left. Finally, I gave up and went back into bed, Charley snuggling against my leg. 'I'll do some reading here,' I thought...and promptly fell asleep.
      I woke up to the front door opening, and someone crawling in beside me. (No, it wasn't the guy from Honey.) After I got up again, and felt my way all over creation, I realized the Brick, now peacefully snoring away...

Was laying on my glasses. 

Thankfully, his pair sort of works. For now, anyways. And whatever damage is done, is done. I'll wait until he wakes up, poor guy. 

Those of you who are also blind as a bat -- will understand.

* * * * * * * *

Walmart has a new grocery delivery plan. What I like about it: you can still choose the brands you prefer -- at the price you normally pay. They're even willing to let you try it, for $10 off. Delivery charges are reasonable, too. Sometimes delivery is even free -- a double bonus!
     I use this on occasion -- and get exactly what I want, delivered when I want it. Most of the time, I can fit in a trip to the grocery store. But being able to choose delivery -- especially when someone's sick, your kids are in sports at night, or your schedule gets busy -- or you can't find your glasses -- this is really worth it.
     Click here to get that $10 discount and try it for yourself.

* * * * * * * *

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day:
     Find My Past, an ancestry research company, will let you look up your Irish ancestors for FREE through March 17. (Actually, the free offer includes your non-Irish family, too.) Find My Past has connections to Social Security records (a tad unnerving to see my dead father's number out there, for all to see); census results, as far back as the 19th century; church parish wedding and baptism listings into the early 1800s; and more. Not only are they listed -- you can actually see (and download) copies of the original records.
     This is a great chance to do some digging into your family tree, at no cost. But only through March 17.
     Click here to go to Find My Past. They have an interesting free online webinar on Thursday morning, 'Secrets to Successful Irish Family Research,' that should be helpful, too. (Sign up for that class here.)

* * * * * * * * *  *

One final gem:  a cute (and quick) video on how to make edible jelly cups! 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go wake up the Brick, and rescue my glasses. Hopefully they're still in one piece.

(Update: Turns out they were on the Brick's bedside table -- but I couldn't see them there. Figures.)