A poem by J.F. Conant

He who loves an old house never loves in vain. How can an old house used to sun and rain, to lilac and to larkspur and an elm above-ever fail to answer the heart that gives it love?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mama in the morning...

I get up, most mornings, way, WAY too early. It's a habit from when
I homeschooled the children. 4 am was the only time I had an privacy at all! Not to mention you can get a whole lot of chores done when you don't have 5 little kids "helping you". LOL
Most days I get out of bed, make coffee and sit down and check my email and facebook. Normally, I will throw a load of clothes in the washer or do up any dishes that have accumulated overnight.  Then I straighten up the downstairs. It drives me crazy to have it a mess.
If it's still early enough, I will jump on the treadmill or put in a torture (re: exercise video) DVD. I really hate exercising in front of the fam. It's not rational. It's just how it is.
Next up, breakfast. My friend Diane says I am the only mom she knows who still gets up and makes breakfast for the kids in the morning. I can't believe THAT'S true. How else do you get them out of bed? The smell of bacon frying or muffins coming out of the oven is better at waking up a kid then a glass of icewater over the head!
After attending to last minute, before school emergencies ("Mom! I'm out of lunch money." "Mom! Have you seen my flute?"  That sort of thing) I throw the kids out the door, and run any errands I can get done first thing.   If I have to leave home, that is generally all there's time for. If I  can stay home, I usually have a project or 3 to deal with.
And that's my normal morning....How does yours go?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why wait until New Years to make resolutions? It only takes one thing....

mnmlist: the only thing you can change

You can’t change your entire life.
You can only change your next action.

You can’t change a relationship with a loved one.
You can only change your next interaction.

You can’t change your entire job.
You can only change your next task.

You can’t change your body composition.
You can only change your next meal.

You can’t change your fitness level.
You can only start moving.

You can’t declutter your entire life.
You can only choose to get rid of one thing, right now.

You can’t eliminate your entire debt.
You can only make one payment, or buy one less unnecessary item.

You can’t change the past, or control the future.
You can only change what you’re doing right now.

You can’t change everything.
You can only change one, small thing.
And that’s all it takes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day #24

Today I am very thankful for the opportunity to share this holiday weekend with some of the dearest people in the world!


day #23

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve others. St. Theresa said that we should offer small acts of kindness everyday. This means that a simple housewife can witness to Christ's love and mercy, but volunteering to help and serve others in small ways and, through Christ, do great things.  How cool is that?

Day #22

It has been said that if you still look pretty after a work out, you didn't work out hard enough. I now share photographic evidence that 90 minutes of hot yoga is a KILLER workout! I am so grateful to Lisa Steptoe for introducing me to it! 

Day #21

So all that fussing and fighting and sibling rivalry was most definitely put aside and only laughter and hugs and joy were evident. 
And That makes this mother's heart so happy!
I am grateful for the fact that their is real affection between my children. Jim and Matt drove down with me and saw their brother Ben for the first time since August. 

day #20

I am grateful that we made it down to Maryland without any real problems (unless you count the stupid Tom Tom dying on me right as I got into Baltimore!) But we found our way to Ron and Lisa's.  And that is always a good thing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

day #19

Today I am thankful for all the little things that make our lives a little prettier...a little more comfortable. The Christmas decorations taken lovingly out of storage to make another holiday appearance. That favorite comforter.  The new candle with the lovely scent and the warm glow. 
Things like this don't have to cost much. They just have to make me smile. And that my friends, to me, is priceless.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Ben "phased up" yesterday, which means he will be allowed to leave post and have Thanksgiving dinner with us at the Steptoes!!!  WOO HOO!!!!  My baby gets to wear civies again! LOL

Day #18

Today I am grateful for the ability to communicate.  From old fashioned hand written letters sent snail mail (which I dearly love to send and to receive) to skyping where we are able to see and speak to people we love who are far, far away in real time.

I am grateful for the handshake that says "I'm happy to see you"  and that hug  that  I receive that  communicates to me that I am loved and valued.

I am grateful for that homily that, if I didn't know better, I would swear was written just for me! (Oh, yes! God does speak to us...you just have to listen).

I'm grateful for the newspapers that let me know what is going on in my world.

And I am grateful for this little blog that allows me to share my life and experiences with people like you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

day #17

Today I was thinking about all the second chances of gotten in my life. I am very grateful for second chances.
I have been forgiven for my sins. Not just on the day I was baptized or on the day I was confirmed, but everyday.  Each morning that I open my eyes I start out with a clean slate.  My God is loving and merciful.

But second chances aren't just about forgiveness. There's the second chances in business, in love and in life. You know the old saying when one door shuts a window opens?  That's so true.  You just got to have to courage to get up and try it again.  Not always easy when you're tired or your poor heart is bruised...but the second chance is there  you just gotta go get it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day #16

(Psalms 8:3-4) When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Today I am thankful for the glories of nature! I drove home the other night under the most glorious, star lit night sky, with this gorgeous full moon lighting my way.  It was breath taking! How fortunate I am  to be able to witness such wonderous creations just by walking out my door. 

The next day was a beautiful, sunny, autumn day.  The last of the fall colors fluttered down to the ground. My little dog Win was having a ball running through the piles of leaves the kids and raked together.  You had to laugh at the fuzzy little goof ball! He was just so joyous!

Everytime I look at the sky, day or night, cloudy or clear, I am reminded of the greatness of my God. And for that, I am truly thankful

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

day #15

I am grateful for nice wine...especially the ones made here in the Finger Lakes of New York.  I am no connoisserr, but I know what I like and there are a whole lot of wineries around here with so many different variaties it sure is a lot of fun to try them and learn about how they're made!

We have friends who own/run their own vineyards. What sounds like an exciting and romantic life style is quite a lot of very hard work! But we get to enjoy the benefits of their labor and boy, oh boy! do we ever enjoy it! LOL

I hope you will ask for NY state wines next time you are in the mood for a little vino....you won't be disappointed!  And if you come visit us, we'll take you on a wine tasting tour!   So much fun! Bring your debit card, though, because you're going to want to bring some home!

How blessed we are to live right in the middle of some of the finest vineyards in the world!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day #14

I am grateful for the work I have to do. Yes the very same work that you will hear me complaining about is a blessing and I know it!  How fortunate I am to have my "dream job"! How many people wish they could stay home and take care of the house and kids and just can't do it financially? Oh, I am VERY blessed! 

I love cooking and decorating and being with my kids. I am not so crazy about washing dishes, but that means we have food to eat to dirty up those plates! Or ironing, but that means we have clean clothes to wear!  Or vacuuming, but that means we have a cozy home to shelter us! Even the things I don't like doing are blessings.  How great is that???

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day #13

I am grateful for lazy Sundays. Whether it be snowy and cold outside, so you snuggle up with a book and a hot cup of coffee, or sunny and beautiful where you can enjoy a walk in the garden or a trip to the lake. I adore Sundays!

I like big, fat Sunday papers and I like croissants with rasberry jam for breakfast and I like going out for brunch after Mass.

God knew what he was doing when he created a day of rest.  I hope you take time to enjoy your Sunday, too.

day #12

I am grateful for access to great books, information, music and theater. I love a good library and ours, though small is splendid!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Philosopher (a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay)

And what are you that, wanting you,
I should be kept awake
As many nights as there are days
With weeping for your sake?

And what are you that, missing you,
As many days as crawl
I should be listening to the wind
And looking at the wall?

I know a man that's a braver man
And twenty men as kind,
And what are you, that you should be
The one man on my mind?

Yet women's ways are witless ways,
As any sage will tell-
And what am I, that I should love
So wisely and so well?

day # 11

My 2 favorite soldiers Joseph D. Pollhein Sr. and Benjaman V. Pollhein
I am thankful for those who serve.   I am always awed and amazed by the people, every color, every religion, from all over the United States, who have given up  so much to keep this country free. They serve so that  the rest of us can  sleep safely in our own beds at night.  The pay is not great, the hours pretty much suck and the cost of their sacrafice and that of their families is incalcuable.   

God bless each and everyone of you and bring you home safe to a grateful nation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrifty decorating

Here's my "free chair" that I found last month.  I needed a new  one for using at the computer desk.  What do you think?

I re-used the leopard print fabric too.  A cheap fix up for sure! All it cost me was the staples I used attaching the fabric!

What have you re-used lately?


God bless you and your families for your sacrifice.

day #10

I am thankful for all the nice food we have.  Lots of which we have grown ourselves: our own fruits, vegetables and even eggs.  I'm grateful for all the wondeful road stands and produce markets we have around us. What we can't grow we can buy fresh and (usually) inexpensively. And I am grateful for all the lovely grocery stores (especially Wegman's) for bringing us so many wonderful and delcious products from places far away.

day #9

I am so thankful that I can go outdoors into the fresh, country air any time I choose.
I am finding more and more that walking helps keep my batteries charged. I feel better. I get new ideas. I am blessed by the overwhelming sense of "God being in place and all's right with the world!" 
It has occurred to me that folks would be a lot less stressed if they went out every day and just enjoyed nature by taking a brisk walk...

Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday I walk myself into
a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked
myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome
that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more
one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill...if one keeps on
walking everything will be alright.
- Soren Kierkegaard.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

day #8

I am thankful for music. I try to surround myself with beautiful music always!  I like all kinds of music. Classical, country, rock, jazz classics....all kinds. I  choose my music to suit my moods. Sometimes I choose depending on what I'm doing.  Classical music sooths me when I drive. Rock helps when I am tyring to get my work done and nothing speaks to a broken heart like country music.
I think my life is enhanced by music. I love how it can change my sad mood or even enhance a glad one. Now if only my life had a sound track...

day #7

 With all the traveling that I am doing lately, I am very grateful for a good night's sleep in my own bed.  I love my sleep number mattress for starters. So comfortable!  It's colder now, so the flannel sheets are on the bed and I like to spray lavender water all over the bedding. The lovely scent gives me pleasant dreams. I also like warming my cold feet  on my nice warm husband and snuggling up close as I drift off...

Day #6

I am grateful for books.  I LOVE books. I like how they look in  a room. I like how they feel in my hand. But mostly I love to read.  I love learning new things and I love having adventures and exciting travels through the stories I read.  How fortunate we are to have access to the entire world and beyond through books!

Day #5

I am grateful for my goofy little dog, Winston. He is a complete mess. But he brings such joy and such energy and such love with him, wherever he goes (and that's not too far from home, because poor Win doesn't do well in the car).  

Winston, I love you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Saturday...Go ARMY!

Day #4

  We have moved A LOT. People have moved in and out of our lives, but there is a core group of folks who have been there through all the drama, trauma and excitement!  They have seen the good, the bad and the ugly! These are my friends and I am so thankful for them.

 Some are my besties from home. I love them for letting me learn who I was. Home life wasn't always easy for me, so the theater became home. And in every theater there seems to be a group of "regulars"....these were my peeps!  LOL   My Lord, the stories they could tell (DON'T YOU DARE! I know some too, after all!) We shared many adventures and I can talk to one of them after months or even years apart and it's like we are picking up from yesterday. (I was "the baby" of that group. This is funny to me now, because I am 51 and STILL the baby! LOL Ya'll are OLD! )




There are the friends of my young adult life. These folks knew me at work as a medical professional and outside work as a nutcase!  These folks endured the drama of my and Joe's courtship and marriage and helped me welcome my babies into the world. They taught me what it was like to be a grown up. What love and commitment are. They are examples every day of the kind of person I want to be. I love them with all my heart.

Then there are the friends of the moments. People who, through the years have come in and out of my life. Who have cheered me and lifted me up. Who have shared their lives with me for a little while. Just because they are not in my life anymore does not mean I have forgotten for a moment the debt I owe them for their kindness and caring.

I think that God brings people into our lives when we need them. Or when the need us. But always just at the right moment. True friends are a great blessing and a priceless gift for which I am most grateful.
Larry, Charlie, Jeff and Bruce

Lisa, Ron and Me
Mary Beth (and Billy)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day #3

  I am grateful for my children.  I had always wanted a family of my own, but as I mentioned yesterday I was 29  before I ever married, so never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be blessed with FIVE wonderful kids, to drive me crazy, worry me to death, to keep me running and to bring me such joy and contentment as I had never known before.
  All 5 are completely different from one another. It's surprising considering they have the same parents and live in the same environments...even go to the same schools!                                                                          
There's Joey, who is a clone of his Father. Smart and tough and ready to take on the world!
   There's Ben who's wicked sense of humour and quiet determination that has surprised and delighted us all.
  Jim, my big clown. Always the performer, he loves the limelight. 
  My Matty who (up until recently when the teenage hormones came ROARING into play) is my angel. Able to talk to anyone about anything. We have always said, he would either be President or the youngest greeter in the history of Walmart!
 And then Gillian. The girl we waited so long for. She is the total package. Pretty, smart, talented, athletic...and kind. She amazes me every single day.
   How I ever got blessed with such an amazing mix of phenomal human beings is a mystery to me. I can't explain it, I can only enjoy and be grateful for their love.  (And to be totally honest with you, I get a kick out of quite a lot of that craziness too! LOL)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Being thankful..

There was a poster on Pinterest.com recently that read:  If you woke up tomorrow with only what you thanked God for today, what would you have?   Interesting question, don't you think?
So in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and with this pinterest placard in mind, every day in November, I am going to list one thing I am grateful for in my life.

As it is already 2 days into November I guess I will have to go twice today.

#1) My faith----I was an adult convert to Catholicism.  I did not convert because of my husband, but I do believe that a shared faith has made our marriage stronger. I mean, love, friendship and everything else aside, it is good to know that we are together forever. I do not have to worry about him leaving me, not does he have worry about me leaving him. Marriage is a sacrament and we take that very seriously.
    My faith has also brought me through some tough times. In every life there are days when you wonder how you suddenly turned into Job. But faith has kept me strong...has kept me holding on for just a little bit longer and God has always made a way for me. Not only made a way, but brought me to a life that is so fantastic, I couldn't have imagined it would be mine. 
   Faith has made me strong enough to move forward and do things and go places and achieve goals that I would never have dared on my own. Even when I am not that strong, God most certainly is and he is holding me up.

#2) My husband, Joe----I was 29 years old before I married. It's not that I didnt' want marriage and a family. I did! But, well, let's face it, I was a mess. They didn't call me the wild child for nothing! LOL  And I never ever wanted a divorce. Broken families are some of the saddest things there are. I didn't want to be one of them. And who in heck was crazy enough to try and keep up with me for the rest of his life?  I prayed for it, but I didn't see it happening. I really didn't. So one day I said to God, you know what? I am done trying. You find me the "right" one....and in very short order he did! 
    It was totally unexpected, because when I moved home to Kentucky my theater friends warned me about Joe. They said he had a girl in every show. On top of that he was one of those cocky West Pointers. AND he was already engaged to someone else.  I didn't even try to flirt. But we were thrown together a lot and one day I was sitting in Radcliff City Park ( I was watching my friend's daughter). It was a Tuesday and I remember all of a sudden this feeling came over me, this absolute assurance that this was the man that I would spend the rest of my life with. I cannot explain it. I just KNEW it.

   Nearly 22 years later we are still happily married. He is my rock. He is my joy. I love him more every single day. And you know what? He loves me too and he tells me every single day.  I am totally blessed.