My world

Darcee the Dishwasher Repairman.

Move over Rosie —


My lovely Kitchenaid dishwasher has been steadily declining in its ability to clean the dishes and finally got to the point this week where the top rack wasn’t washing at all.  I can not tell you how heartsick this made me.  $$$ were flashing before my eyes while  the dishes were having to be hand-washed.  I could live without the washer indefinitely, but I really like having it.
I figured I would look on-line to see if there was something I could do.  Back last fall I was able to fix my clothes washer when the filter needed cleared so I was slightly hopeful.  After Google-searching up a couple of useful sites,  hunting around their message boards to pin point the likely problem and reading a good deal I finally came to this page.

I grabbed my trusty tool box and proceeded to pull the dishwasher apart.  The children were sort of wide-eyed at the whole process.  Before long I was pulling some of the nastiest, smelliest junk out of my dishwasher.


I worked down another level and discovered that I was wrong in thinking that the stuff I had already dealt with was nasty.  This layer gave nasty a new definition.


I pulled out the chopper assembly and it looked very bad. Here it is after I rinsed it off:


Note how bent up the blades are.   I sat down and ordered the new part and then put the washer back together (yes, I just put the bent up one back in I figure it was working a few days ago so it will last a few more now that it is clean.)  The washer is working much, much better (and quieter) now.  The new part  should be in before the end of next week.

Sorry for the  obvious crowing, but I am rather pleased with myself.

40 bags of stuff. · Catholic stuff · Lent · My world

40 Bags of stuff

Last year I did a rather crazy thing.  I ditched 40 kitchen trash bags (or the equivalent) of stuff out of our house.  40 – yes, really.  It is amazing how much stuff was lurking in the backs of cupboards and closets and how many “extra” things I had.  Too many towels, sheets, coats, shoes, books,  small kitchen appliances… the list goes on and on.


This was started as a housekeeping exercise.  Something I did because my home needed a good dejunking.  It had been years since I had really decluttered and letting go was so liberating.  By the end I starting thinking about the processes of letting go of “stuff” as a spiritual exercise.  Sometime last summer Fr Kyle contacted me and asked about the idea of using the 40 trash bag challenge as a part of his Lenten program.  This delighted me to no end and  it got me thinking again about the whole project; what worked best and what didn’t.

40 bags. One thing I know caused some people pause was the picture of the big overstuffed black bag.  “No way could I fill forty of those bags.”   I don’t know that I could fill 40 lawn and yard bags.  My home is under 3000 sq feet.

But then again I could.  When I look at what others have, what my ancestors considered wealth, what the crazy woman with all her worldly possessions in a grocery cart have and then compare it to my well appointed 3000 sq feet I could fill up 40 huge bags.  But if I was single and living in a dorm, no – I couldn’t.    But the size of “bag” is really immaterial.  It is the consistency of everyday shedding off some of our material goods.   A grocery bag would be a better measure for some — I suppose if I was very wealthy and had multiple homes maybe something more on the lines of a truck bed full a day would work better.  The point is not the size of the bag, box or bundle, it is the act of letting go of the “stuff” a bit each day.

It should hurt a little – not a lot, but a bit.  There should be some small sense of having to sacrifice or maybe some small bit of contrition at how much we hold onto things when we could give that time and energy to God.   If you struggle as I do with organization then I am sure you have read about the theories of hording and attachment to the “stuff”.    Our environments began to posses us instead of serving us.  If you don’t deal with that particular mental vice then there is still the beauty of the words of Christ ”

24 “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
28 Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
29 But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.
34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

These words were said to people, many of whom could proabably put everything they personally owned  in one of my closets.

Lent – This year I am going to be doing the trash bag challenge again, but a little differently as well.  One thing I am going to do is involve the children more.   I also want to tie the days into a scripture lessons for the children.  Talking about service or giving – having a theme for our “decluttering” days.

Lent begins on February 25, two weeks from today.   Next week I will put up the plan and maybe I will figure out the Mr Linky thing too 🙂

Autism · Catholic stuff · Uncategorized

First communion Social Story

When Rachel was preparing for her First Communion I created a couple tools to help her prepare.  The first tool we created was “Rachel’s Jesus Book” and the second was a social story about attending mass and receiving Communion.

Since Rachel was born she has attended religious services.  First in the LDS Church and then when she was about three we started attending Catholic Mass.  By the time Rachel was 9 we had been attending weekly mass in the same parish for about three years.  Mass wasn’t something new to Rachel.  The Jesus book was created to help her more fully understand the imagery in mass.

The social story was more a practical guild to receiving the Eucharist.   The order of the mass, how we receive and what it means.   I want to think that having the two separate books helped Rachel pin-point the Eucharist as the pinnacle of the mass.   Attending worship services as a community, the prayer of the mass, the divine liturgy are all very important, but they are nothing without the Body and Blood of Christ. Continue reading “First communion Social Story”

My world · rants

Too smart by half

Last night while reading over at Hot Air I stumbled on this article.  There is a TV show called “WifeSwap”.  I remember hearing about this show in 2005 when they aired “Margaret” from Louisiana who was a bit of a nut-case if  the YouTube clip I saw of them time was any where close to accurate.   At any rate apparently there is a new nut-case by the name of Stephen Fowler who spent two weeks belittling and verbally torturing his “swap-wife”  Gayla Long in front of his children, even encouraging them to be disrespectful of her.   The last segment of the show is here.   Reason #763 not to watch television – shows like this.   I feel so badly for this “gentleman’s” children because what they are being taught is pride and intolerance and both are love killers.

I would like to say that I was shocked by this Mr Fowler’s opinions, but the truth is that while his behavior shocks and appalls I am very aware that a good number of people hold his opinions.   At one point I was very much in danger of being one of them.  Then God gave me Rachel and she taught me what an idiot I was and through her God saved my heart.

The Children of King Edward Imprisoned in the Tower - Paul Delaroche
The Children of King Edward Imprisoned in the Tower - Paul Delaroche

I grew up being the “bright girl”  the smart one in my class, the one with the high test scores.  Gifted and Talented education was just coming along when I was in school and I was plucked into it immediately.   So I was quickly surrounded by people telling me how great I was for being smart.  I really wanted to believe them.   I wanted to be special.  It didn’t take long to internalize the values of the people around and I found that I began judging people around me much more on how intelligent I perceived them to be than on the type of person they were.

Now intelligence is a wretched thing to judge people on.  It is every bit as superficial a judgment as beauty.   Judging someone on their education (as Stephan Fowler was) is like judging someone on their appearance.  Beauty and intelligence are both God given blessings which we have absolutely no control over.  Appearance and education are a extension of those respective gifts improved through opportunities we pursue, the environment we are raised in and the personal habits we develop.    But neither appearance nor education is a indication of a meritorious character and they most certainly are not the summa of a person’s worth.

It is seductively easy to judge people on the things we feel that we ourselves possess and even easier to judge people on those things we feel are important but secretly fear that we lack.   If we ourselves are not good enough, at least we are better than those folks.  But that is pride, and it kills love.

The thing in my life that shook me out of this was having to come to terms with Rachel’s autism.  I was coasting through life thinking that smart was better.  I didn’t see the danger of this utilitarian thinking.  I didn’t realise how fast life could change and how difficult it can be at times.  When Rachel was diagnosed I remember being told by a rather wise education specialist, “She is still the same littler girl that she was yesterday”.  This was true.  I still loved my daughter just as passionately, I wanted the best for her, I knew her worth despite the reality that she wasn’t capable of expressing her intelligence.  She was still worthwhile and I still loved her.

This cracked and ruined my neat little world view of how people should be valued.  It fixed it and it healed me.  While I wouldn’t ever wish such a painful lesson on anyone I wish that we could help fix our world so that love and an understanding of the intrinsic worth of each individual could get a better foothold in the public discourse and that the “culture of life” could have better purchase against the current culture that determines the worth of each of us as a function of our utility to society.

*I originally has his name as Stephan Fowler, the correct seems to be Stephen Fowler.


7 Quick takes with Jen

Ok, so it isn’t Friday, it is Saturday, but I really enjoyed doing this the last time I did it, but I keep forgetting it until Saturday.  Jen at Conversion Diary is the master of the day.  Here are my seven thoughts.


I keep thinking that we really, really need to pray for the president.  A change of hear is possible for anyone.  Maybe with prayer Pre Obama’s heart will be soften toward the unborn.   On the other hand I want to ask those Catholic people I know who were expressing before the election how this one issue shouldn’t count so heavily, “Why didn’t you listen?” .  Obama wasted no time undoing the Mexico City Policy and there is no reason to think he won’t do exactly what he promised Planned Parenthood he would do.


I laugh: “Liturgical dancing makes Baby Jesus cry… and my eyes bleed.”  Too funny.


I miss Kyle when he travels.


Go carts are a lot of fun.


Going to bed later and later and getting up at the same time in the morning isn’t working out that well.


The white carpet must go.


I will be posting more on the communion dress project tomorrow.

Reflections on the Day

Reflections on the Day – February 5, 2008


Reflections on the Day for February 5, 2008.
The clouds moved back in today.  It is cold and damp feeling.

Plans for tomorrow – Little Flowers then lunch with a friend.  The day is basically gone at that point.

I am wearing – Can I get into my jammas yet?

I am feeling – Really tired.  I spent a good part of the day at dad’s doing the books.  The children brought their school work with them and then we went to the library.

I am hearing – The children are cleaning up the kitchen.  I will have to go in a see how they did in a few minutes.

I am thankful for – My heated mattress pad.

In prayer – Kyle while he is traveling and Granny.

The Children:

Ashley – Her phone is back and working again.
Rachel – I feel badly because it has been too long since she had a home visit.
Christopher – Is doing really well with the dishes.
Hannah – Can pout like no one I have ever seen before.  The funny thing is that when you clue her in on how ridiculous she is being she starts to laugh.
Joshua – Has been in “BOY!” form today.  Jumping, running, bashing, talking in the fake baritone voice.
Is just being a sweet little thing.  Last night I had her on my lap and told her “You are such a precious little thing”  she smiled and said “Yep, I’m a press us little ting”.  So cute.

The Homefires:

Kitchen – We had Sweeidsh meatballs for dinner.
Craft-room – The First communion dress project is coming along.  I am almost done with the embroidery and then I will post the next installment. Still.
Music – I love listening to jazz while I do the books.
Lucky Room of the Day – The kitchen.

My pleasant thought for the Day –

“Neither do I decry the work of humanists, who give gladly of themselves for others and who can often shame the avowedly religious. Those who do God’s work are God’s people.

I only say that there are limits to humanism and beyond those limits God and only God can work. The phrase “fear of God” conjures up the vengeful God of parts of the Old Testament. But “fear of God” means really obedience to God; humility before God; acceptance through God that there is something bigger, better and more important than you. It is that humbling of man’s vanity, that stirring of conscience through God’s prompting, that recognition of our limitations, that faith alone can bestow.

We can perform acts of mercy, but only God can lend them dignity. We can forgive, but only God forgives completely in the full knowledge of our sin.

And only through God comes grace; and it is God’s grace that is unique.

John Newton, who had been that most obnoxious of things, a slave-trader, wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”.

“Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved.”

It is through faith, by the Grace of God, that we have the courage to live as we should and die as we must. ” ~ Tony Blair

A picture worth a thousand words –

A very sleepy girl
Blogs I Know · Fun

I’m it

Children at Play on the Beach - Edward Henry Potthast
Children at Play on the Beach - Edward Henry Potthast

Tina tagged me so now I am it (eeek)

All I can say is…. at least it wasn’t the 25 things you don’t know about me version:

6 Things you might not know about me…

  1. I play World of Warcraft.  Actually my husband and I play together.  My dad plays with us too.
  2. I absolutely dread using the phone.  I will put off calling people to an absurd extent.   I think the very insecure part of me worries that I will be an unwelcome intrusion into other people’s time.
  3. I really would love to take riding lessons.  I love horses and I love riding, but I never really get the chance.  Ballroom dancing is also on that list.  I wish we could go dancing more.  Kyle and I took lessons years ago and I really enjoyed the dancing and the time together.  Sometimes we dance in the kitchen and the children laugh at us.
  4. I enjoy homeschooling much more than I thought I would, but sometimes I feel like I am not that good at it.  Then I hear my children discussing things in a respectful and intelligent way and I figure I can’t be doing that bad of a job.
  5. Part of me would enjoy going back to school, but I can be so obstinate I am not sure I would enjoy it as much as I think I would.
  6. I love working jigsaw puzzles.

And now for the hard part… who to tag 🙂

A Catholic Mother’s Thoughts

Apostle to Suburbia

Become what you are

Far From the Box

Happiest at Home

Westward Wagons Ho!
Here are the rules:

Rule #1 ~ Link to the person that tagged you:  Did that above.
Rule #2 ~ Post the rules on your Blog.
Rule #3 ~ Write 6 random things about yourself.
Rule #4 ~ Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
Rule #5 ~ Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their Blog.
Rule #6 ~ Let the tagger know your entry is up.

Blogs I Know

Bathroom Bliss in a Box…

When you have more than two children organising toiletries in the bathroom can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you don’t have a separate “kid’s” bathroom.

I stumbled upon a solution a while back that has worked wonderfully for us.  The bathroom boxes.  I purchased six inexpensive plastic totes from the container store and an inexpensive bathroom rack (yes a tape measure was used in order to make sure everything worked together).  Each child has their own tote and the totes are stored in place one a small shelf and four on the new rack.

The bath rack with four totes
The bath rack with four totes

In each box is everything the child needs:  brush, toothbrush,  tooth paste, a cup, shampoo, bubble bath, lotion… all those personal items that they need.  When it is their bathroom time they can pull their box and then put them away leaving the bathroom clean for the next clan member.

To make this idea even more cool I could turn on my creative side and let the children decorate their boxes.

You can (as always) see more of the Works for me Wednesday ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.

Reflections on the Day

Reflections on the Day – February 4, 2008


Reflections on the Day for February 4, 2008.
We have a lot of sunshine, cool weather, the children can’t decide if they want to be inside or out.

Plans for today – I need to go shopping.   We need some milk, eggs, the typical grocery stuff.

I am wearing – My mossy green top, brown pants and my comfy slippers.

I am feeling – Meh.  Dad and I got the last of the Elders of the Alliance done this morning.  This finished the meta achievement for me.  Dad has to finish the Omen part and grab the Elder in Winter’s grasp.  Both of those are easy. I normally don’t touch WoW until after dinner, but getting into the opposing faction capitals in prime time would be nuts!  This morning it wasn’t bad at all.  Last night was our guild “alt night” instead we hit all the Northrend instance elders and finished off the Elders of the Dungeons .  Dhrin tanked and we picked up a couple friends from way back in our Ony raid days,  Gorakul (used to ping the map during phase two) and Kalfallon from White Kodo Clan.  They were so nice.  Helped us finish off the Elders. They asked dad about his talent points and then spent the next three hours helping him respec, walking him through switching to beast master, getting him a glyph or two.  Dad was so happy this morning.    Bob and Duke were also on vent playing Starcraft last night they stopped in and talked a while. Really great evening.

I am hearing – The two little naughty ones are trying to get water into the dinning room to play with the little people fountain.  They would have gotten away with it at least for a little while if they hadn’t started screaming about the water as soon as they started it up.  Christopher is practicing his piano.

I am thankful for – Really good children.

In prayer – Kyle while he is traveling and Granny.

The Children:

Ashley – Is working tonight.
Rachel – I didn’t make her dentist appointment this morning, there was just no way I could get all the way over there by 8:30 with the four younger ones in tow.
Christopher – Love his new piano book.
Hannah – Is working on a crossword puzzle.
Joshua – Thinks I should learn how to play Lego Batman.
Refuses to tell me why her hair is wet.

The Homefires:

Kitchen – Christopher and I did a good clean up in there this morning.
Craft-room – The First communion dress project is coming along.  I am almost done with the embroidery and then I will post the next installment.
Music – Today is music lesson day.
Lucky Room of the Day – The office.

My pleasant thought for the Day –

“A good character is the best tombstone.  Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered.  Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

A picture worth a thousand words –

Hannah in the sunny cold
Hannah in the sunny cold