Christ-Like Minimalism, Flashback Friday

Minimalism & Sceptic Pumps

  1. Yep, it’s Thursday.  But I have a busy day tomorrow and would like this post to go out today.
  2. I was recently interviewed by Mrs. Laura Gardner for her company’s blog.  The topic was Minimalism.  If you’re curious click HERE for it.  All the photos in her article are from my home.

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    Like this one.  It’s my living room.
  3. I want to highlight the book she mentions at the beginning of her article.  This book was life-changing for me.  If you need a little kick in the behind to get rid of some of your stuff, then read THIS.  It’s Fr. Thomas DuBay’s Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom.
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  4. Man, this book is tough to swallow.  But it’s true.  Your exterior surroundings are a reflection of what’s going on inside you.  One ought to live, in his words, “Gospel Frugality.”  (I have a long, long way to go.)  This is the key, however.  I like DuBay’s phrase – Gospel Frugality – because it suggests something that “Minimalism” doesn’t.  In short, it means that God cares how you live.  And unless you get that, you’re not going to simplify your life.  Or your possessions.  (And no, it doesn’t mean living in squalor with zero possessions.)
  5. This week our sceptic pump went out.  That was exciting.  Actually, the pump probably gave way some time ago, but we didn’t know it.  We thought maybe a kid shoved something down the toilet in the basement, as that toilet wasn’t flushing properly.  We shrugged it off and told everyone to use the upstairs toilet, hoping to get around to having it fixed sometime in February.  Well, then my husband noticed that the water level was much higher in the furnace room drain.  Then the upstairs toilet wouldn’t flush fully.  Then my husband investigated and discovered that the sceptic tank wasn’t draining because the pump wasn’t working.
  6. Do you have any idea how big of a disaster this might have been?  Imagine the nastiest fecal matter you can.  Imagine the stench.  Imagine it inches deep all over your house!  Oh praise God for observant and inquisitive husbands!
  7. In case you’re wondering, the matter has now been resolved.  We have a new sceptic pump, and everything is functioning properly.  Deo gratias.
  8. How was your week?
Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday on Saturday

In spite of all the Church Scandal, life goes on.  How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. I was spoiled rotten on Thanksgiving Day.  I barely had to make anything – just frog-eye salad.  And we feasted like kings and drank good wine.  God is very good to us.  And I have the best in-laws ever.
  2. The other day The Eldest was dancing around with Little Sister when, SMACK!  Little Sister’s eye met a chair.  Grandma added purple eye shadow to the other eye to balance things out.  And then we took a picture of her because she’s still so cute.  Can you guess which eye is injured and which is fake?
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Ah!  They’re putting make-up on me!

3.  The 2019 Calendars from Tan Publishing are out.  Last year they had a calendar featuring monks brewing beer and drinking wine.  For example, here’s this month’s picture from 2018:

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Can you read the quotation in the bottom righthand corner?  It’s a Medieval German saying.  “Drink wine, and you will sleep well.  Sleep, and you will not sin.  Avoid sin, and you will be saved.  Ergo, drink wine and be saved.”  Hilarious.

Anyway, this year I’ve noticed that Tan has a 2019 calendar titled, Defending Christendom.  You bet I’m going to order it.  Click HERE to see it at Tan.

4.  As yesterday was Black Friday, I will offer a gift idea for lego-loving children.  A friend of mine sent me a link to this.  It’s the Last Supper built with legos.  We don’t own it, but we do own this one, which is Fr. Leopold’s Mass, and it’s great.

If any of you do own the Last Supper lego kit, drop a line below in the comments.  I’d like to hear if it’s a good set.

5.  And finally, do you live anywhere near the Bismarck/Mandan metropolitan area?  If so, come experience the Mass of the Ages, otherwise known at the Traditional Latin Mass, this Sunday at Christ the King Catholic Church in Mandan, ND, at 11:30am.  I’d love to meet you!

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Tumbleweeds, Voles, & Saints

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

I’ll bet you don’t have these.

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Check out these mammoth tumbleweeds.

While I’ve been busy unpacking the house, the children have been busy chasing tumbleweeds.  Then they like to stack them along the trees rows to provide further protection from the wind and enemies, who might be seeking to destroy their forts.

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The wall of tumbleweeds extends down the lilac row to the left.

While our new home does not have the quantity of trees that the old place offered, the children are still satisfied with its meager three rows of lilac, ash, and ponderosa pine.  We’ll plant more in the spring.

Some of you may be wondering how Strider is adjusting to his new home?  Well, this morning, he caught and ate three voles.

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Here he is with Vole #2.

He likes to drag them up to the back deck and wait at the patio door for us to see.  Then he eats them.  The children love this.  And I call it Biology Class.

Yesterday was All Saints Day.  My children dressed up for it.

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I’m not really sure what saints they are.  I think there’s a couple Benedictine monks.  Maybe a discalced hermit?  And a knight-saint – Saint Louis King of France?

And lastly, I offer an article that David Clayton wrote earlier this week.  I appreciate his points about Satan and Halloween.  (I suppose because we have chosen to keep our eye on All Saint’s Day and not Halloween too.)  There is an especially poignant quotation from a Russian Orthodox Bishop that I encourage you to read.  Here’s part of it:

Can you honestly think—you who gaze at and touch the holy icons in your home and in our temples, and know that the saints are present with you, and that you are drawn into their holy lives—that to be willingly surrounded by images of the demons (however childish and infantile their representation) will not also affect your heart, and your children’s hearts, and draw them closer to powers that none would call holy?

Click HERE for the whole article.

Finally, remember to pray for the dead today on All Souls Day.  And listen to Mozart’s Requiem.  It’s a Mass for the dead, which would originally have been composed for the Extraordinary Form.  It’s beautiful.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791
Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Snowing Already?!

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

1. Dear Readers, I just want to let you know that it snowed here the other day.  Yep.  Those of you living in warmer climates, eat your hearts out.

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It wasn’t as bad as this photo from Wikimedia Commons, but this is how I felt.

2.  So, in honor of the first snow day, our household blasted Christmas music.  I know that some of you may consider this as near heretical behavior, but I ask you, what else ought one to do when it snows in the beginning of October?  I can’t play Louis Armstrong’s When You’re Smiling, because I ain’t smiling.  But I can play It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Bing Crosby, because it is.

3.  We took the children down to South Dakota, where it’s supposed to be warmer, to visit my parents.  They’re in the middle of harvesting soy beans and corn.  It’s a lot of fun riding around in combines.

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Here are some of my children standing in the corn, waiting for their combine ride.
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My dad and the children.

4.  We also took the children to Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls.  Ever been there?  No?  It’s beautiful, especially if you attend the 9:15 am Mass when the Men’s Schola chants.  Be.You.Ti.Full.

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Cathedral of St. Joseph.  Now this is how you build a church.  Click HERE for more photos.

5.  We’re still moving and getting closer to The Day.  Next week we should close on our house and move into a new one.  Some of you may be wondering if it’s been a difficult last few months?  The answer is, yes.  For one thing, I haven’t had access to all my stuff for a good four weeks, as we’ve been packing.  Just where did I put that book on St. Dominic that my daughter needs for a speech?  Oh yes, I remember, in a box…

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Back to School!

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. We’re back into another academic year.  Two of our children are attending a Catholic Montessori School, three are being homeschooled, and the remaining toddler and baby are just. plain. busy.  How do I get it all done?
  2. With a lot of grace and a Good Schedule.  I haven’t quite finished tweaking my new schedule, but when I do, I’ll put it out there for you glance at.  Sometimes it helpful to see what other mothers are doing.
  3. I saw my first weasel the other day.  It was running across our backyard and made for a group of pine trees.  The thing that really stood out was it’s black-tipped tail.  I wish I could have snapped a picture of it.
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Here’s a picture I found on Wikimedia Commons.  Note the black-tipped tail.  The one we saw was about as big as our cat, Strider.

 

4.  My twin boys love serving the Traditional Latin Mass.  Last Sunday I snapped a shot of them holding the torches during the Eucharistic Prayer.  (I know, I know, I should have been praying and not grabbing my phone.  But this just isn’t something one gets to see every day.  In fact, most people never get to see a TLM around here.)

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My boys are the two in the middle.  The beautiful thing about this Mass is the amount of boys wanting to serve.  You can’t see them, but there are three other servers kneeling in choir.

5.  Our house finally sold!  If everything goes well – inspection, etc. – we’ll be moving in October.  We’re very excited about this, as we found a beautiful place to move to that will fit our large family and our large van.  Miracle.

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Biology 101, Firemen, and Donuts

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. Yesterday we caught Strider as he was finishing up his breakfast.  So we don’t know what he actually killed.
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Here he is.  Just a blood spot and a tail left.

I guess he doesn’t like eating tails.  So we had a little Biology 101.  What rodent has a white tail?  It looks a little thicker than a mouse or vole, but what?  A rat?  Doesn’t that tail look a little short for a rat?  We don’t know.

2.  Then there’s this, which we almost missed.

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I am sorry the quality is poor.  It’s the upper teeth and snout of whatever poor creature fell into Strider’s path.  Yuck.  Just yuck.

3.  Remember that Ditch Fire we had a week or so ago?  Well, the Fire Chief invited the boys out to the station for a private tour.  So I asked my father-in-law to take them, and he did.  They all loved it.

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These firemen are awesome.  They put all their gear on just for the boys.

They even let the boys get in their trucks and spray their hoses.

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Grandpa was secretly jealous of this part.  He wanted to spray the hose too.

4.  Someone drove by and knocked our mailbox over.  Bummer.

5.  It was the Feast of the Assumption last Wednesday.  So after Mass, we went to the local donut shop and ate donuts.  Besides the normal kinds of donuts, they had oreo cookie donuts with chunks of oreos on the frosting and donuts made to taste like snickers candy bars.  The animal cracker donuts with pink frosting were a hit among my girls.

 

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Ham, Again?

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. Someone once gave me a good piece of advice: Never, ever talk about or show pictures of bowel movements on your blog.  Now, this is sound advice, and I had every intention of following it.  Until this happened:
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Yes, that is poop running down her leg.  She apparently doesn’t mind and is having a good time.

2.  When my 4-month-old did this, I had two choices:  1.)  I could sit down and cry.  Oh, the agony of cleaning up this mess!  Or, 2.)  Go, get the other children, and show them just what their baby sister did and have a good laugh.

I did the latter.  This is real life, after all, and it’s messy.  (The older children thought it was hilarious, until I had them scrubbing onesies and seat holders.)

3.  Someone else also gave me another really good piece of advice:  Never, ever share stories or pictures of your children that could potentially embarrass them when they are older.  Mea culpa.

4.  Sometimes on this blog I show pictures of what I’ve cooked for dinner.  This week, I’m not going to show you because we had ham three nights this week.  Yep.  Baked ham the first night.  Bean and ham soup the second night.  And noodles and ham the third night.  We’re out of ham now.  Maybe we’ll have hot dogs tomorrow night.

5.  I’m rereading G. K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man.  Here’s a sample:

“The very fact that a bird can get as far as building a nest, and cannot get any farther, proves that he has not* a mind as a man has a mind...But suppose our abstract onlooker saw one of the birds begin to build as men build.  Suppose in an incredibly short space of time there were seven styles of architecture for one style of nest.  Suppose the bird carefully selected forked twigs and pointed leaves to express the piercing style of Gothic…Suppose the bird made little clay statues of birds…”

His point is that we’re different than the animals – gloriously different, in that we create.

*My emphasis.

 

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Pull-ups & Kiddie Pools

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. The boys have been doing daily pull-ups on the swing set.  The other day, they challenged me to a contest to see who could do more.  I lost.  I mean, I lost big time.  I couldn’t even do one.  They made me start from a dead hang, and I couldn’t even pull myself up halfway.
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The twins can do six.  I was impressed.

2.  Speaking of pull-ups and other impossible things, apparently it’s impossible for my children not to put things in their mouths.  Do you remember how my son swallowed a penny a few weeks ago?  Well, my 2-year-old girl decided to do that too.

But now that I have experience with the matter, I’ll have you know that I completely kept my cool.  I observed her for a whole five minutes before I gave up.  The first minute she cried.  The second minute she started wriggling around again.   The third minute she was off playing.  And the final two minutes I just watched her from afar.  She’s fine.

3.  It’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

4.  Since the temperature rose above 80 degrees the other day, I thought I’d check out the kids’ pool in the backyard.  (This is what you do, when you live nowhere near anything cool, like an ocean.)

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It was a bit tricky trying to float on their little floaties, but I managed.  Does my neck look red?*

The children were so excited that I was joining them that they even promised to not splash me so that I could read.

And what was I reading?  Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate.  Mitford was one of Evelyn Waugh’s friends.  He even proofread her stuff for her.  But this book was marginal.  Waugh is a wayyyy better writer.  (If you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, pick up Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.)

Notice the brown water in the pool?  Yuck, huh?  But that’s just because the sandbox is a few feet away, not because, well, you know.

5.  The prairie roses are in full blown.  They are the best smelling flower in the whole wide world.  They also happen to be our State Flower.

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The children keep a fresh supply for me on the table.
*I’m afraid that floating around in the kids’ pool makes me a Red Neck, if you know what I mean.

 

Flashback Friday

FF: Wherein Kim Loses Her Mind Showing Her House

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. I had a lovely time cleaning and showing my house all week.  Not.
  2. Right before a showing, Child #5 “accidentally” dumped a pot of dirt all over her bedroom floor, in the carpet.  But did she clean it up?  Or come tell me about it?  Oh no.  Rather, she just shut her bedroom door and hopped into the van, ready to leave, happy as a lark.  I, however, always do a last minute walk-through to check for such things as unflushed toilets (happens every time), holes in the walls (just once, thank the Lord), or in this case, pots of dirt flung all over the place.  I am sorry to say, that I did not handle this situation very well.  I yelled.
  3. Selling houses is not for the weak.  One must buck up.  And spend extra time in the confessional.
  4. The following is a picture of me leaving my house.
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Notice my red lipstick?  And my curled hair?  These things are so necessary when one is stressed out.  See my 7 kids in the back?  No?

5.  Well, it’s not snowing outside.  This is good!

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Buying, Selling, & Fishing

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. We enrolled two of our children in a Catholic, Montessori school for next year.  (I’ll still be homeschooling three of the seven children.)
  2. As this particular school is 30 minutes away, and we’re growing out of our house quite literally, we’ve decided to move.  (This decision was not made in a week, but over the course of this last year.)
  3. This is a terrible process – the buying and selling of houses.  Keeping mine clean for showings?  Ha!
  4. Child #4 was playing outside the other day, and he noticed a car slowly driving by, checking our place out.  This car drove by a few times, and this child decided that that was enough.  So, he stuck his tongue out, put his hands up to his ears, and gave a little sass to the driver.  The car didn’t drive by again.  And didn’t buy our house either.
  5. I have the best father-in-law in the world.  He took the children fishing.  The boys on one day.  The girls the next.  They had a blast, cruising up and down the Missouri River, catching walleye – 17 total.  We love eating walleye, by the way.

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The following paragraph is the caption for the above photo.  This little girl is my talker.  I asked her about this photo, and she’s still talking to me, right now.  Even while I type this.    She doesn’t quit!

Photo Caption:

“Mom, you should have seen what this fish looked like inside!  It was all red and black and yellow and grayish.  It didn’t feel gross, but slimy.  Mom, you should have seen it’s teeth.  They were really sharp.  And I got to see sacks of eggs.  They were redish and pinkish.  Like birds.  And Mom, you have to put little fish on your hook.  Grandpa had to do mine, because I didn’t know how.  But Mom, you have to have those little fish to catch a big fish.  And I drank a Dr. Pepper – a whole can!  And I dipped my toes in the river, but it was cold.  Mom, do you know that your rod bends when you get a fish on it?”

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The big girls with their catch.  They were thankful that grandpa cut them up, even though he did make them help a little.
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The three boys taking a break from fishing.