Friday, September 27, 2013


The Blogtember challenge for Friday was to react to the term Comfort. 

Here's my reaction:

Sleeping In
Mac and Cheese
Comfy couch cuddled in a warm blanket
Good Book
Cup of tea with a drop of honey
Warm sun with a cool breeze
Homemade chicken enchiladas
Period film/drama

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Blogtember catchup

Still playing catch up on the Blogtember challenge. 

The prompt for Thursday, September 19th was a creative writing assignment. We were given a starting sentence and then supposed to write a (very) short fictional story. The sentence was "To say I was dreading the dinner party would be the understatement of the century".  It didn't necessarily have to have a conclusion.  I'm not a story writer, I'm better at the reading of the stories, so I decided, since I'm late posting anyway, that I would give you a few links to some of the stories that I read and liked.

So here you go:


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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Only photos

Wednesday, September 18th Blogtember: Only Photos


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A Memory

Tuesday's Blogtember challenge was write about a memory you would like to relive.

The thing about great memories is that when you try to recreate them, they are never as good as the first time.

There are moments in my life I would love to go back to.  There are a few I would do a little differently (you know, that "if I knew then what I knew now" thing). But mostly I think I would like more time with some of the people who have already passed on.

One of the most gentle, loving women that I had the honor of calling a relative was my dear sweet Colleen.  Technically she was my mother's first cousin, so I guess that made her my second cousin, but she was more like a grandmother to me (her kids are my mother's age). When I was young my sister and I used to get to go spend a couple weeks each summer with her and her family.  She never failed to give us the best time, whether it was activities, games, teaching us to cook, or just listening to her stories, it was just a time when the world was perfect to me.  Of course we got to see her at other times throughout the year with our family, for the day usually, but getting to be there for a longer amount of time was always a treat.  I loved her and miss her always.

The kindest women I've ever know. <3

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A Public Love Letter

Boy oh boy, I really fell off the Blogtember challenge last week, so I thought I would try and catch up because I really like doing it and I really think it is good for me.

So Monday's (Sept 16th) challenge was to write a public love letter to someone in your life (it doesn't necessarily need to be romantic), here goes...

I really wasn’t sure who to write a letter to, but after talking to her on Sunday, I decided to write to my baby sister.

Dear Chrissey,
You were born at a time in my life when I had little patience or time for anything that wasn’t my own self.  As you know I was sixteen when you were born and the couple years after that went by so quickly.  After I graduated I went off to college and then came back for a short time, then got married and moved to NY when you were just six years old. I really missed a lot of your childhood. I didn’t get to know you as child, as a pre-teen or teenager.  It’s just been recently over the last couple years since you have been an adult that I feel like we have gotten to know each other. 

I want you to know that missing most of your life is one of the things I am saddest about in my life. I realize that the main reason was just circumstances of where we lived. But through all of these years I still always loved you.  It really meant the world to me the year you came for Christmas.  I love my life here and I am thankful for John’s family and my great friends. It is a little hard to explain, but not having someone that is truly and completely mine has given me a little feeling of aloneness.  I’m not saying I’m lonely, and of course Kayla and Hunter are truly and completely mine, but it is just a feeling I have had for a long time.

Do you remember the melt down I had when you decided to go home? You were talking to momma and daddy and you had told them that you had decided to go home before Christmas.  I just couldn’t deal with the emotions that flooded over me. I wanted to scream that I only got to have you for a few weeks, and now they were going to get you back.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is just the way that my sadness manifested itself.

Now that you are grown with your own husband and children, I am so proud of you. So proud of the amazing wife and mother you are.  Of how hard you work to give your family an amazing life.  I am so glad that you have had the opportunity to live in Germany and explore the surrounding towns, countries, and sites.  Your life has so much more to reveal to you.

My prayer is that you come to know what an amazing person you are. That you cherish the opportunities that you have had and will have and that all your dreams come true.
I love you,
Your sister, Angie

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Self Portrait...not

Today's Blogtember challenge was a self portrait.

Quite honestly, I really wasn't sure what to post. 

I don't do selfie shots.  I really never have.  I've tried a couple times and I just really don't have the knack. I told another blogger that really likes selfies that I might try, but I'm just not there yet. (sorry Nay!)

Anyway, the other option is a self portrait via words, and frankly, I'm just too tired tonight to try.

Soooo, just gonna pass on this one...Sorry folks, see you Monday!

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blogging and Social Media

Today's Blogtember prompt is to discuss ways blogging or social media has changed you.

I'm not really sure I would say blogging or social media has changed me, but what I would say is that I count it as a blessing, both blogging and social media.

First of all, social media, specifically Facebook has been really a neat thing for me. If you have been reading along with my Blogtember posts you will know that I grew up in Colorado but now live in NY.  It may not be obvious to people who live where they grew up, but I think a really neat thing is running into an old friend or schoolmate at random places, like a restaurant or a store.  Since I don't live where I grew up, or even anywhere near, I don't get that.  So Facebook has been to me the 'running into' old friends and classmates.  It is really nice to be able to say hello once in a while and congratulations on special occasions.

Now for blogging...I would never have guessed how much of a feeling of 'community' you could get from blogging.  It truly does feel like I have new friends from many different corners of the world.  I feel emotional connections to some of them that I read often. Even to the point of thinking of them at random times during the day.  Or seeing or hearing something that I know would be appreciated by one of them.

So that's what I have to say about blogging and social media.  As much as it can have negative aspects, I think it has as many positive qualities too.

See you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Favorite online shops

Today's Blogtember challenge is to share your favorite online shops.

Other than Amazon, I don't do a lot of online shopping.

But I remembered a couple things that I wanted to share.

It would be awesome if they got some sales from this too... :)

Anyway, the first one I am going to share is an Etsy store. She is a girl who was one of my best friends before I got married AND she sang at my wedding. I miss her beautiful face.

Her shop is HERE.  And here are a couple of my favorites:

Another online shop that you should check out is here (  They supply free and low cost books for parishes and individuals also.  These are a couple of my favorite:

And I have one more to share. 

A bloggy friend, {Thanks Tracy}, got a lovely gift from Penny & A Wish.  They are the cutest and you can design your own custom hand-stamped sterling silver jewelry.  Here is their Facebook link and you can sign up for their newsletter.

Here is just a little sample of their stuff: 


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Moment My Life Changed

Today's Blogtember challenge is to describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn. 

I couldn’t think of a moment for a while and then it occurred to me, the moment.
It was the day I left Colorado to move to New York. 

We had spent the previous days packing our little apartment into the U-Haul.  A friend had come from NY to help John drive the U-Haul back.  I was flying with our nine month old daughter a couple days later. 
My mom was the one to bring us to the airport.  I knew it was going to be a hard moment for her, it was going to be a hard moment for me, but I always feel like I have to be strong in front of my mother.  I’m not sure why but by the time we had gotten to our gate they had started loading the plane.  I had to quickly say my goodbyes and get Kayla back into her stroller. It was hurried and awkward, and I ended up pinching her skin in the stroller buckle.  My mom was crying, Kayla was crying, and I was just trying to get on the plane with everything.  I’m not good in emotionally intense situations.  I know there were things I should have said, but didn’t.

When we left Colorado, I knew I would be back to visit, I even might have thought that this might not be forever.  But what I didn’t know is the life that awaited me. 
Looking back now 19 years later, I cannot imagine who I would be or what I would be doing had we stayed in Colorado.  My life has been blessed with many amazing people who have given me so much that I can’t image ever having not known them.  I have ‘come home’ to the Catholic Church.  I have been fortunate to have had several different jobs that I have been able to excel at and learn so much from.

As much as I miss my family, and as much as I desperately wish they would come and see what my life is like here (only one of my sisters has ever come here), I truly wouldn’t want to move back.  (Although I would like to be able to visit more often).

Thanks for stopping by.
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Personality Test Results

Today's Blogtember Challenge is to take this short personality test and respond to the results.

My results say that I am an INTJ.  Specifically...
So I only showed a slight preference to the first three, but showed a strong preference to Judging.  I had taken a Myers-Briggs Type test before, and I wondered what the comparison might be.  So I pulled out the old test, which I had taken in March of 2012, and I scored exactly even between Introversion and Extraversion; I scored quite a bit higher on Sensing then iNtuition; between Thinking and Feeling I scored exactly even also; and then I scored a lot higher on Judging over Perceiving.

But lets get into the detail report and see if I agree with it about myself.

It says that INTJ's may appear self-confident.  I would say that I may be sometimes, but definitely not all the time.

It also says that INTJ's are perfectionists.  I definitely have that characteristic, but have learned to 'pick my battles'.  Actually another thing I am working is being able to give tasks to other people instead of doing it myself.  That is hard for me, but like I said, I'm working on it.

Another thing I noted was that INTJ's tend to be extremely private people.  I would say I have an aspect of private, yet here I am writing about my life on the world wide web.  Well, go figure.

So that's about it...come back again for tomorrow's installment of Blogtember! :)

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Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

Linking up with Jen and the gang over at Conversion Diary for this weeks Quick Takes. 
Here we go...
 --- 1 ---
Did you see this video this week? What an amazing kid that gave up his ball for the other kid. He did something selfless for another, and his parents, I’m sure, are proud of the kindness that they have instilled in their child.

--- 2 ---
Thursday this week was the first day of school for our kiddos. Hunter was kind of excited and kind of disappointed that summer was over. He had worried that he wouldn't sleep much the night before, but he slept just fine. Unlike last year, I don’t think he got a total of 2 hours sleep the night before school started.

--- 3 ---
So, I have completed the first week in my new position. The week was basically a ‘data load’. I just tried to wrap my head around all of the things that are going on and get myself acquainted with my new responsibilities. It was a lot, but not to overwhelming. Let’s see how next week goes. 

--- 4 ---
I learned to can tomatoes on Monday. It had been something I had wanted to do for a long time and just never took the time. My husband’s aunt graciously came over and gave me the live tutorial. I am thankful to know how, and since we planted a garden for the first time this year, I now have something to do with all those tomatoes. It really was something special to me to learn. I really had a great feeling of accomplishment.

--- 5 ---
I’ve been able to keep up with the Blogtember challenge this week. I wouldn’t say they were all high quality blog posts, but I’m confident that a few of them will turn out that way.

--- 6 ---
Pumpkin coffee is back at Dunkin Donuts!  My favorite!  Had my first cup today, but can't wait until the pumpkin spice creamer is out in the stores so I don't have to buy it at DD.

--- 7 ---
 Ohhhhhh, quick take #7....what to say...what to say...How about "Have a great weekend!"

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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Today's Blogtember challenge is to tell a story about a time you were very afraid.

This is relatively easy. 

I became very afraid the day I became a mother.

That was twenty years ago, and again fifteen years ago.

I just don't have many pics of me with my babies...these are terrible but they'll do the trick.
(My advice to new moms, you are always going to be the ones taking the pictures,
make sure you get in a few too.)

Afraid of all the unknowns.

Afraid of all the trials and outcomes.

Afraid of doing it wrong.

Afraid of doing it right and it still turning out wrong.

Afraid of the choices they will make.

Afraid of the things they will do.

Afraid of the things they will not do.

It doesn't lessen as they grow up, the fears just change.

But all the while being afraid, I have been proud of who they have become.

Thanks for stopping by! See you Monday for the next Blogtember challenge.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Useful Advice: well...not so much :-)

Today's challenge is to share some useful advice or information you learned and always remember.

I couldn't really come up with any distinct information or advice so I decided to use a couple quotes that are favorites of mine and randomly run through my mind from time to time. 

I've only come up with a couple, but instead of skipping today's challenge altogether, I'll just give 'em to ya:

Grow where you are planted.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

See ya'll tomorrow!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Three Months Off

Today's Blogtember challenge is: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

If I took three months off from my current life I would create my "Who Do You Think You Are".

I would begin by travelling to Osborne Kansas where my grandparent's families lived (my mother's side). I had heard a story that my great grandfather was a jeweler, I would love to see where his 'shop' was.  I would also love to see what the town is like and what their lives would have been like.

The next stop would be Ohio where my great great grandmother's family lived for a time after they immigrated from England.

I would then go to England to see if I could figure out their story.  I want to know what it was like in Somerset England in the 1860's.  I want to know why they immigrated to the US.  I also want to know if I could trace my ancestor's any farther back.
Somerset England via

After I looked into my mother's side, I would start on my father's side. It wouldn't be too far to go from England, they are from Ireland.
Croghan Ireland, via
 And after all that in only three months, I'd need another month off to rest.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where I come from

It's my first post for Blogtember.  Today's challenge is to describe where or what you came from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

Wow this could be a pretty big blog post.  Recently, I have started reflecting more on what has shaped who I am today. Obviously this blog is part of that as I titled it “Finding Myself in My Forties”.  This will only be some of the pieces of what and where and who has made me who I am.

From as long as I can remember we went to church.  Not only on Sunday’s but on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night.  Going to church and participating in church activities was the biggest consistency in my life.  (I have elaborated more on this in my ‘religious background' post here.) 

I grew up in a small town in Colorado.  My best friend was my neighbor.  We moved a lot as I was growing up, and it was kind of a joke that we lived on every street in town.  We lived in several different houses, actually a lot of them were duplexes. The funny thing is, my best friend and her family seemed to move right along with us.  We either lived side by side in the same duplex or she moved into a house after we moved out of it.  In hindsight it seems kind of weird but that’s just the way it was. 

Several of the duplexes that I lived in growing up.
From a very young age I remember walking all over town, a child alone (or with other kids), to and from school, to the store, anywhere, but never with an adult. I have a memory of trying to walk to school, I had to have only been in kindergarten, and the wind was blowing so hard I couldn’t keep going.  So I sat down on the curb until someone I knew saw me and picked me up.  We only lived about 3 blocks from school at that time, but I couldn’t even image letting a kindergartner walk to school by them self today.

Sixth grade was a monumental year for me.  It was when I really started to notice that there were ‘popular’ kids and I desperately wanted to be their friend.  For Valentine’s Day, of course the tradition was to give all the kids in the class the little paper character valentines.  But I thought I would buy my friendship with a couple of the girls and give them a candy bar with their valentine.  This was big for me as we didn’t have a lot of money and for me to come up with two candy bars at one time was going to be hard.  I somehow managed it though, but the morning I needed to take them to school I couldn’t find them.  I was heartbroken. I knew my chance to be best friends with the popular girls had been destroyed and I didn’t know how I would go to school that day.  I did and when I came home I found them where I had left them.  I was so caught up in trying to be a cool kid by bringing such a great treat that I had anxiously overlooked them. And the more I looked and couldn’t find them, the more distressed I got. I must have looked over them a dozen times without seeing them.  But it taught me a lesson, believe it or not.  Buying a friendship was never going to be true. It wasn’t right and I knew it.

One of my worst (yes I said worst) memories is from the sixth grade. I don’t remember the circumstances that prompted me to say to the class and the teacher that I was moving across the street from another classmate. But the teacher and the whole class busted out laughing at me because all they heard was that I was moving across the street. I was mortified and hated that teacher.  And I have never forgotten how bad I felt that I wasn’t allowed to be heard.  
My sister and I dressed alike.
My mom was single from my earliest memories, although she was married when I was born. He wasn’t ever a part of our lives.  My sister is about a year and half younger than me. My mom always dressed us as twins even though we really didn’t look alike. (It might sound funny to say ‘my’ mom but my sister and I still both refer to her as ‘my mom’ not ‘our mom’ or just ‘mom’. We have mentioned it as adults and think it’s funny but it is just what we say) Anyway, she was single for quite some time.  About the time I was eleven years old she met and married my step-dad. I had never known what having a dad was like and he was/is a great example of an amazing dad.  He taught me so much and made me realize what my potential really could be.  Actually the sixth grade move was into our first house as a complete family.
(Wish I had a good picture of my step dad at that time, but I don't) 
Our first family house.
I loved that house.  It was two stories and it was finally a whole house that was all ours.  No connected neighbor in the other side of the duplex.  We each had our own room and we felt like we had climbed the ladder from poverty to middle class.  Nothing was better than the dollar bill that was left each morning for us to take to the public pool to swim every day during the summer.  We thought we were rich or something. And then we got an Atari.  We really thought we were something then.  
 The Christmas we got our Atari.
In junior high, I still wanted to be a part of the popular group.  Although, I think overall, I fared quite well in junior high. I was a different person at home and at church than I was at school.  I had a lot of confidence in my little church group and was often the center of attention.  I was always congratulated about how good I had done performing in plays and dancing and gymnastics.  Often after church I would ‘practice’ the cheers I had seen the high school cheerleaders doing at the football games.  Church was just a different, more comfortable place for me. 
 Me and a friend at some church pageant or play.
By the time I started high school; I really tried to find myself and joined different clubs and sports. I discovered that I liked to be involved in whatever I could be.  I had never cared before if I missed a day of school, but when I thought I might miss something, some announcement, or some chance to join something, I just couldn’t take that chance. I desperately wanted to be on student council, but never won an election.  When I joined drama club, I found out that each club got to have a representative on student council.  I couldn’t wait and promptly got myself picked to be the drama club rep for the following year.  That only lasted for a couple weeks, once I discovered that I wouldn’t be able to be in drama club because I needed some other class that was at the same time as drama.  Like a lot of girls, I wanted to be a cheerleader and the homecoming queen (or at least one of the attendants).  But I never had enough confidence in myself to even try those things. I never even went to prom because I couldn’t get over myself.  I wouldn’t go without a date and I wouldn’t go with just anyone, so I ended up not going. 

We had moved a couple more times since the ‘house across the street’ that I loved so much.  By the time I graduated high school we had moved to a bigger neighboring town.  My sister and I still continued to go to our old school and we both graduated from there.

When I was sixteen years old, my mom gave birth to my baby sister.  What a weird thing that was for me.  I was so involved in everything at school that I really didn’t have time to be distracted at home.  I loved her (and still do), but I feel like I never really bonded with her.  And then two years later, I went off to college.  I ended up only staying ‘away’ at college for a semester but when I came back home, I drove to another college every day, I worked, and hung out with friends.  So I really didn’t spend much time with her then either.  I regret it now, but was too self-consumed in my youth to think of anyone but myself. 

For some odd reason when I was applying to the new college, one of the questions on the application was asking for the date when your biological parents were married. (Can you imagine?)  Anyway, I had to ask my mom, and she had told me that they were married in May 1971. Ok, I was born in September 1971, so they weren’t married when I was conceived.  That was probably less common in 1971 but not unheard of.  Then I started to talk to my sister about it and we started to remember a guy that she had talked about quite a bit when we were little (before our step-dad).  So one day as she was heading out the door, I decided to ask if he was my dad.  I wasn’t prepared for the answer. And I definitely should have waited until she had time to stop and talk about it.  I won’t get into the details, but I was devastated. The guy who I had thought was my dad all those years wasn’t actually.  He wasn’t around anyway, but my sister and I had always been told we had the same mom and dad.  That question came up a lot because we didn’t look that much like each other and we were built completely different. It was a joke to us…yep, same mother, same father.  Now we knew. 

Over the next couple of months I got to have a conversation with the man that I had thought was my biological father.  He explained that he had married my mom knowing she was pregnant but that the child deserved a family.  ME, he did that for me.  Obviously the marriage didn’t work out, but it changed what I had thought about him for so many years.  He had told me that he always wanted and tried to stay in touch but my mom would never allow it. 
 Me, my mom, and him.

Years later, I did get to meet my biological father. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to search for him.  In the process of our first communications I found out that he knew she had gotten married, but didn’t have any idea that they had divorced.  He thought that we were living as a happy family all those years and never wanted to interfere.
The day I met my biological father.
I got married and started my own family within the next couple of years. And of course that has changed who I am, but up to that point, the things above are some of the major things that have made me who I am.  And I think it is a good place to end this post.

Thanks for visiting!
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