Friday, July 30, 2010

Fearless Friday

Thank you to Angela, for this opportunity to join in her prayers, and those of all the others on Fearless Friday. Your prayer intentions are in my heart. If you would like me to pray for you, please leave a comment, or send me an email at thorns dot lily at

Today I am feeling thankful for a few good turns in our lives this week.

1. We have had a few breaks in our finances this last week. Nothing overwhelming, but things that I am so grateful for, and which we really needed.

2. Mr. Thorns had 3 interviews this week!

3. St. Anthony helped me find my way home when I was lost!!

On my heart to pray for today:

1. All the unemployed.

2. A couple getting married tomorrow, M & A.

3. A couple married last weekend, D & R.

4. My daughter who started a new job this week, and her special guy who never ceases to amaze me.

5. My children who are still sick, though Bananas is recovering, she is not full form, and for Boo who went down yesterday.

6. For the health of my friend and her son, who I will be starting this novena for, again, on Sunday. Please feel free to join us in praying for J and his health, and for his family.

7. For all the other intentions on my heart and in the hearts of others.

Book Blogger Hop

My favorite new-to-me author this week is Beth Fantaskey. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darkside was her debut novel, and she surprised me with both the plot and the quality of her writing. She has recently released Jekel loves Hyde, and there is a sequel to Jessica's Guide upcoming. She writes YA, and she is adorable in her pics. In her list of facts about herself she says she has been fired once, and she is the mother of two children, both five years old, who are not twins.

This week I finished both Beth Fantaskey's book, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Welcome to the hop! Go check out the new rules on Crazy For Books. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

St. Anthony, Finder of lost...roads?

I know, you are thinking, "Did she say lost roads?" Yup, that is what I said. Lost roads.

Yesterday I went to visit The Oldest, because I altered a dress she is wearing to a wedding this weekend. In case you don't remember, she lives in another state, three hours away. I had a lovely afternoon with her. We were even were able to catch a soccer game her special guy played in, and I was able to enjoy a brief visit with a friend I haven't seen in a while. It was nice to have my daughter to myself for a little while, which is a rarity in a large family:).

After the game, and a brief visit with my favorite futbolista, I was headed home. Every time I leave my daughter's town, I leave from a different location. One soccer field or another, a restaurant, or from her apartment, but with the road work going on I have often managed to lose myself right in her town. Not this time, her special guy gave me perfect directions and I found my way to familiar turf. This is where I lost myself this time.

Somehow, I took a wrong road when I came off the highway. Unbelievably I ended up in the middle of nowhere, in fact, I was 4 miles beyond the ends of the earth, as someone said to me just last night. (Now, if I could only say it in I started to panic.

Then I remembered St. Anthony, the finder of lost things. I thought, "Why not roads" and I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find my lost route. I was only half way home at this point. Immediately after praying this, literally in the middle of nowhere with no street lights, houses or buildings, I round a corner and find this lone gas station, all lit up and OPEN at 11:00 p.m.

I go inside to find a very pleasant man, with a soothing voice and calming presence behind the counter. I told him I managed to get myself entirely lost. He started to give me directions, then pulled out a pen and drew me a map. He explained what landmarks I would see on the way, how long it would take me to get from point A to point B to point C, so I would not be needlessly worried. Then he said, here is the number to the store, if you get lost, call me and I will help you get back on the path.

His directions were perfect. I did not get any further shaken up because it was all exactly as he had said. Once I knew where I was I called my husband and asked him to please call the man at the gas station, I was sure he must still be working, and thank him for getting me there safely. Later, Mr. Thorns told me the man's name was Paul.

Thank you, St. Anthony, for sending Paul my way, to lead me home when I was lost, and thank you St. Anthony for finding my lost road. One of these days I'm going to leave The Oldest and make it straight home, without incident!

Scooby Doo Marathon

I loved Scooby Doo as a kid. One of the first DVD sets we bought was Scooby Doo, and all of the children love the show. Now, poor little Bananas has been sick for almost two full weeks, and we have been watching a Scooby Doo marathon for the last 4 days! She and I are watching now, while the rest of the children are out to their summer activities. After watching for 4 days straight she is still laughing! Today I am grateful for Scooby Doo and the smiles he is bringing to my sick little girl.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm a person, not a condition

Today is the 20th anniversary of the signing, by George H.W. Bush, of the People with Disabilities Act. This article explores the how attitudes have changed, and how far we still need to go.

A moving article.

Some of my favorite people have disabled bodies, but brilliant minds and sparkling personalities. I saw this with my mother, people thought because her body was broken, so was her mind. I see this in the nursing home where I work, residents discounted or pitied because they have various disabilities. People give up on others because they are uncomfortable.

This article says that attitudes will change when children have an opportunity to feel comfortable around disabled people:

I don't think most parents purposely instill discrimination in their children. I
think it's just that most young children are not exposed to anyone with
disabilities and therefore lack the familiarity that makes them comfortable
around someone different from them.

Parents need to look for
opportunities to introduce their children to community members with
disabilities, laying a foundation for inclusion, acceptance and friendship.

Well, now, isn't that easy enough? How hard is it to perform random acts of kindness for disabled people we encounter? How difficult is it to seek out friendships?

Maybe in honor of today's anniversary, you could join me in a pledge to cultivate relationships between our children and the disabled. If you think you do not know anyone, call the ARC or the CP foundation. Tell them you read the article linked above, and you want to do your part to make your children comfortable around disabilities, and aware of the needs of the disabled community. Tell them you want to cultivate friendships, and ask them to recommend someone who would welcome the friendship of your children, because you want it to be a positive experience for all involved. Then, follow through with regular visits, letters, and phone calls. Build those relationships and do your part toward making the future better, through your children.

Are you with me? God bless you.
For photo credit, click the image.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fearless Friday

I have decided to participate in Fearless Fridays, a prayer day for all intentions. If you have any intentions on your heart I will pray for you. List your intentions in the comments. If you would like to participate also, join the Linky over at Angela's blog: Free Spirit Haven.

This week I am praying that my husband gets a job. He has been unemployed for 13 months, and it has been the hardest 13 months of our lives, most especially the last 7 weeks.

I am praying for my daughter, who is in another state, going to college, maintains an apartment, cares for a kitty cat, takes care of more than she should at her age, and is starting two new jobs.

I am also praying for the special young man in my daughter's life, who works so hard (full time), is a college student, manages and plays for a semi-pro soccer team, and much more.

Also on my heart this week is Sweet Mary, who has had more than her share of health troubles.

My Bananas, she has been pretty sick all week.

A certain family who has a wedding coming up, and is always in my prayers for health and happiness. Extra prayers for the couple to be married that their lives are filled to overflowing with health, happiness, security, and love, lots and lots of love.

For all the unemployed everywhere, who struggle in innumerable ways, some ways no one wants to voice, because there just are not jobs out there. Look at this article about just how many are unemployed out there.

For Angie and all her prayer intentions, and all who join the meme this week.

And lastly for all those who have intentions they wish to keep in their hearts but need prayers regardless. If you would like me to pray for you, please add your intention into the comments below.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free iTouch

I am moving this up from the 16th to keep it near the top of my blog because I am getting more interest than I had expected!! If you are interested, there is still time. Please read through all of the information below. Yes the iTouch is completely free, but it is free when you sign up for a on...and get back to me if you are interested!!!
Today in my email box I found a way to get a free iTouch, though I'm not eligible I thought I would pass it along.

There is, of course, a catch, but one you may be okay with. If you are interested in Medical Transcription, the school I am attending, online, is top notch. I started this class to help with the family finances, from home. I am a mommy first and foremost, and this going out to work is not good for me or my children. However, my husband has been out of work for more than a year, therefore I am putting a back-up plan in place. A friend of mine took this class a few years ago, and was easily able to obtain a position working from home. She is making good money and contributing to her family's bottom line. It has been a blessing to her; therefore, I decided to give it a go.

The school is offering a free iTouch to anyone who signs up before July 31. If you are interested, send me an email and I can give you more information, or leave a comment here, with how to reach you. I moderate all comments and will not publish one with any private information, such as your email address or contact information.
Dang, wish I was eligible, I would not mind having one of those things :-)
UPDATE: I've had some interest in this, who is next? Are you? Send me a note!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Danger of .... Receipts??

Pen and Paper: WHAT AN EXCUSE.

Did you know that shopping receipts contain a hazardous chemical? I certainly did not!! I am passing this information along as I know some of you will really want to read this. I think it is worth looking into !!

When I think of how many times I have looked over a receipt whilst eating, how many are in my bag next to snacks or gum, how many are left in the bottom of shopping bags, next to sickens. Who knew???

Go look at this post, she writes a funny post, but underneath her humor there is a real issue...

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Monday....

It has been a couple of weeks since I last participated, I've been busy with studying :).

Here is what I finished and reviewed in the last week or so:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Loved it.

The Lighter Side of Life and Death
Hmmm, read the review!

Olive Kitteridge
This one surprised me!

What I'm reading now:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
This has been on my reading list for a while, and the book club at the library is reading it this month. I am never able to participate in their discussion as it is always while I am working, but I am often interested in their books. There were just so many copies sitting in the "Hold" cabinet that I just helped myself!

The Teenage Liberation Handbook
Subtitle: How to quit school and get a real life and education. I'm a home educator, and I'm intrigued. I hope I have time to read it before it is due.

The Masked Monkey
A Hardy Boys Mystery that I promised my little monkey I would read to her, as a read-aloud.

The Big Book of the Berenstain Bears
A read aloud with my 6-year-old.

I'm sure there are more...I am also continuing my studies, and I am knee deep in summer camp, swim lessons, tween summer activities, All-Star baseball season. Oh, and did I mention, my two little girls have either Coxsackie virus or Strep? I haven't decided which yet, though I am leaning towards strep :/ blech.

To join the meme.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

blogger hop

Joining the hop again this week over at Crazy for Books! Click on the link and check out how to play along!
This week's question is what book are you just dying to get your hands on?
Any of the classics I haven't read (which, of course, are numerous given the number out there!) but I suppose I would have to say the next Flavia de Luce mystery, since I just finished reading the first one.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is one of the most engaging mystery novels I have read in a long time.

The heroine is 11-year-old Flavia deLuce who lives on her family's estate in England. This is a huge, old, English manor house, which has been in the family for generations. Flavia is steeped in her family's history just by living in that house. The year is 1950. Her mother passed away when she was very young, therefore, Flavia has no memories of her. She lives with her two teenage sisters, an old gardener who suffers with spells since The War, and her father, the Colonel, a heartbroken man who, is a philatelist, and would rather spend time with his stamps than with his girls. They also have a cook who spends much of the day preparing food for the family.

What is most interesting about Flavia is her love of chemistry, and especially poisons. She is rather remarkable for an 11-year-old girl in that she found a chemistry book in the family library, started to read it, and fell in love with the formulas. She is thrilled by how chemistry can explain so much about life. One of her ancestors was a chemist, and had a fully stocked laboratory in the house. Flavia spends a lot of time replicating the experiments she reads about, and concocting a few of her own, such as distilling the poison out of poison ivy. She then melted down her sister's lipstick, and added the essential oil from the poison ivy into the cosmetic. She then observed her sister, making notes in her lab notebook, and waited for a reaction to the poison.
The mystery occured when Flavia decided to go outside around 4am and tripped over a man in the cucumber patch. She knelt beside the man to look at his face and witnessed his last breath. The man says, "Vale" and puffs a last gasp that has an odor which Flavia identifies as a familiar chemical compound, though she cannot quite remember which one. Most people, especially 11-year-old children, would be frightened by this event. Not Flavia; instead, she considers this to be the most fascinating and exciting thing that has ever happened to her.
The book is so well written that I found myself hoping for a sequel. Imagine my pleasure when I looked through the last pages of the book to find that the author is already working on Flavia's next mystery, I am a fan and eagerly await the next book in the series!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Lighter Side of Life and Death--Book Review

Written by: C. K. Kelly Martin
This is a YA novel, and it was a very quick read. I have mixed feelings about this one. This is a coming-of-age novel about Mason, a 16-year-old high school junior, and his wild hormones. In one crazy two hours he loses his V-status with Kat, a girl he has crushed over for the last two years, one of his best friends. She had lost her boyfriend because she would not give up her V-status, and in an unguarded moment friendship consensually crossed the line. They were both willing, both caught up, and she had some wild guilt and regrets afterwards. We go along with Mason through the last 3 months of his junior year, it starts with that one, exciting yet regrettable, two hours of his life.
The story continues as within a week of this event, Mason's life is turned upside down when his father's fiancee, her 13-year-old daughter, and her 6-year-old son move in with them, have a housewarming/engagement party which brings Colette to his house. Colette is 23 and intrigued by our protagonist, who is a hormonal teen and of course cannot believe his good luck! Without being a spoiler, the rest of the book explores all of the changes in Mason's life, with Kat and Colette, his new stepfamily, and the effect the two girls have on his life as a whole.
What I did not like about the book is the overly salacious details given about his time with each of the girls, and I think I saw a bit too much of a teenaged boy's hormonally driven thoughts. Now, granted, I am not the target audience for this book. As a mother of a teen boy and a teen girl, and younger children as well, I am put off by the descriptions. I thought they were too much for a YA book.
What I did like about this book is the fact that (though it scares me a bit) almost all teens will relate to it. The hormonal urges and the effort to control those urges, which can be difficult. I also liked how the reprecussions for a moment of abandon are well illustrated. I think the torment Kat suffers, as well as Mason's reaction, are quite plausible, and perhaps it will make the young adult reader pause to consider before leaping headlong into something they are not quite ready to handle.

I won a prize!!

I am so excited and I thank Booksnob because this looks like a fabulous magazine! It is from a small press in the Midwest, and is filled with all sorts of book love, I can't wait to receive the first issue. I won a year's subscription!! So happy birthday to Booksnob, who ran the giveaway as part of her birthday celebration, and a big thank you to her daughter who pulled my name out of a hat! Go check out her blog! I love both the name (I consider myself a bit of a book snob) and the subtitle "A woman who reads what she wants regardless of popular opinion." A kindred spirit for sure! Thanks again Booksnob :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Olive Kitteridge, A book review

This book was a unique book in that there are many different people whose stories are presented in the various chapters, and somehow they all involve Olive. No matter how small the mention, she has effected someone in each of the short stories. This novel is set in a small, coastal town in Maine.

At first I could not figure out just how it was that a book called Olive Kitteridge could have so very little to do with Olive herself. Rarely do I read much analysis before starting a book, so I did not realize ahead of time that there are 13 connected stories within the book, where Olive is the connection. By the end of the book, I was attached to Olive, I wanted to hug her and bring her home-baked treats to share over coffee. I think she is a person who is often misunderstood, but has a heart of gold if you are willing to take the time to look beneath the crusty exterior. I know people like this, do you?

The book reinforces a principle I try to live by: If I think I really do not like someone I make an effort to get to know them better. If I still do not like them, well then, at least I have tried. But let me tell you, I can count on one hand the people I really do not like. Olive teaches us that we can never know the impact we have on someone, how even a simple statement or action have have great effect. She also illustrates how easy it is to build walls up around yourself, walls so thick they cannot be penetrated, and no one can hear your heartbeats from within.

Olive's story is one which deserves a long, leisurely read, and I will read it again. She has so much to teach about life, love, regret, relationships, and the demands we make on others. I wonder how many Olive's are out there, and what we could learn, if we only took the time to notice.

Contained within are stories about a small town and its residents. There is the story of the pharmacist, his clerk, a lounge singer, a podiatrist, a former beauty queen (Miss Potato Queen!) and her family, a kleptomaniac, the mother of a murderer, and more. If you haven't read her story, Olive Kitteridge, written by Elizabeth Strout, is worth the time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Examining Transliteracy, Part II

Social Platforms:

To be transliterate today, and in the future, you must be familiar with, and comfortable using, different social platforms. Many feel that social platforms are a waste of time. They can be, but think through history, and look at how every technological advance was predicted to have a negative impact on education and health. Bobbi Newman pointed out in the seminar referenced in Part I of this series, that the printing press was spoken out against because people feared relying on the written word would allow people to get lazy about memorizing important things. They could just read information in a book, and would not feel the need to memorize. Then the radio, it was feared, would take away from reading and study time...and so on. Now with computers, there is so much information out there, we can suffer from information overload. This is where the real value of social platforms lies.

Through social platforms we can filter and monitor so much more information. Let's take a quick glance at the different platforms out there:

1. Blogs. Well, we all know what they are, and we have fun writing them. Some are used merely for journaling, others are news-oriented, many are topical. I love to read book blogs, and to know what everyone is reading out there in the world. When I spot a trend, I mention it to the librarian in charge of collections. When you find blogs offering information you are interested in, there are tools to track them, such as Google Reader to help you follow blogs.

2. Microblogs. Twitter is the most famous of the microblogging platforms. I discussed Twitter here. Microblogging could be described as hit and run blogging; short little snippets of information are offered to readers. There are often character limits, so microbloggers are pithy. Other platforms have microblogging features built in, such as Facebook status updates. The power of microblogging is just beginning to be understood.

3. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is essentially a way to broadcast your information to a wider audience, in real time. When someone signs up for RSS, they are asking to have information sent to them, from a particular website. This is called a feed because the information is fed to a designated location, such as your email account, or a reader. When your favorite blog author or news organization writes something, you can receive an RSS feed almost instantly, and nearly all the platforms out there offer RSS, there is no special html formatting you need to do, every tool bar these days has the little symbol to send feeds to your designated location. All you have to do is click the orange symbol you see above, and follow the directions to receive a feed.
4. Widgets. These are tools that you can utilize to dress up your blog or webpage. They are tools that you can find all over the internet, already formatted, you just need to add the html code into your webpage. There are widgets for everything from weather reports to web visitors to photographs. You need to be careful that widgets are from reputable sources so stick with the ones put out by sources you can trust.

5. Social networking. This is where you starting getting into the really fun, and sometimes dangerous platforms. Facebook and Myspace are two of the biggest names in social networking. You only need to Google the words Facebook Privacy to see where social networking can be dangerous, and you only need to sign up for a Facebook account to see how much fun it can be. There are multiple advantages to social networking sites, you can reconnect with people you've lost track of, easily keep in touch with family and friends, and find information pertinent to you on a timely basis. Oftentimes our friends have similar interests, their postings will help us keep up with information that is pertinent to our lives, without having to troll every newsite out there on the internet. Using social networking intelligently can save time and energy, the downfall is it can just as easily suck up time if you are not disciplined!

There are five more platforms in the above illustration (click on link for the credit). I will discuss them in my third article for this series on transliteracy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Sign up here. I love this week's twist which Jennifer from Crazy For Books threw in there...


My name is Lily and I started blogging when my friend Mary, over at Against All Heresies, suggested I start a blog to keep record of my writing. She was so encouraging to me. I've gotten a bit away from the original purpose of my blog, as life got in the way. Instead of spending my leisure time writing, I spend more time studying and working. I almost let my blog grow cold and idle, until Sweet Mary over at Mary Bennett prompted me earlier this year to write again. Despite my overcrowded schedule I still read quite a bit, so I'm more of a book blog, with some of life mixed in. Thanks for stopping by the hop and I cannot wait to read what started everyone else blogging!!

Busy Week!

I was so busy this week, I have not had any time to even post or visit many blogs all week! We are most excited because The Oldest is coming home for her birthday this weekend...her 18th birthday!! It is a real milestone! She has accomplished so much this year. She graduated high school a year early, just before her 17th birthday. She spent this year away at college, where she maintained a 3.9 average, while working, caring for a kitty cat, maintaining an apartment, and she has a wonderful bf. So we are making our preparations for her birthday, while I'm working and studying, hubby is busy with applications and interviews. All-star practices have started for Boo.

Next week is not looking any more relaxing as summer camp starts for the youngest 3, Tween activities start for Tiger, and The Big Guy starts his summer job as a swim instructor. Guess what I will be doing? Yup, running the kids to all of these activities whilst trying to maintain my jobs and school work. But, this is all good, it is what life is supposed to be in a large family :).
If you think of it, we could sure use some prayers that hubby gets this job on Friday!
So, happy 4th of July to all of my bloggie friends, and I hope to have some books to report on soon...too busy to get much reading done.