Mary this week: Sometimes, it’s hard not to be discouraged when things don’t go so well. Our Lady of the Pillar inspires me to keep going, even in the face of low attendance, frustrating complaints, and unfair criticism.  (That link takes you to this week’s column at Today’s Catholic Woman.)  (Note: the link’s fixed. Many thanks to that certain someone who gave me the heads-up on that!)

Outside my window: A blue sky, punctuated with white clouds, promising a chilly October day.  The rainbow of trees is in full color all around us, and the smell of wood smoke is in the air.  Could life get any better than this?

In thanksgiving: For the smell of wood smoke and the taste of apples.  For the laughter that comes with family visits and the patience that comes after a date with my husband.  For finding friends at a writer’s conference this week and inspiration in a beautiful image of Mary as Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

Nose inserted: I put down Waking Rose: A Fairy Tale Retold, by Regina Doman, because I need to finish and review my copy of Rain Dance, by Joy Dekok.  I’m glad Rain Dance is as good as it is, because Doman’s fairy tale novels are among my new favorite books.  Yeah, they’re YA.  I don’t hold that against them, and you wouldn’t either, if you picked them up.  I’ve been devouring them as fast as my library gets them in, and I might have to break down and actually buy the one that isn’t in yet.  Yeah, they’re that good.  Yeah, you’ll be hearing more about them.  🙂

Recent reads: I can’t help but BUBBLE OVER about The Rosary Workout, by Peggy Bowes.  You’ll be hearing more about it (and you’ll have a chance to win a copy AND get a discount too!).  In the meantime, you can head over and enter yourself in the fantabulous Month of the Rosary giveaway at

Around the house: A grouchy four-year-old in the living room (where I am too, by her request), a getting-louder-every-minute almost-two-year-old over the monitor, a dog on the floor by the couch, a crackling fire in the wood stove, a BIG nip in the air throughout the house

A favorite thing (or two): October, in which we celebrate the rosary AND we have pockets of weather that remind me of all the reasons why I love Ohio

Plans made and hopefully kept:  Monday through Thursday will be the usual swirl of school and work and juggling.  On Friday, we celebrate two years with the not-so-little-anymore youngest daughter AND I meet the lovely Danielle Bean.  (Pause for jumping up and down — if I don’t get that out of my system, she’ll KNOW I’m a groupie-freak-weirdo that she can’t possibly liSaturday and Sunday will continue our birthday celebrations.

Worth a thousand words (or more): Two years ago, she wasn’t born yet, but today, we can’t imagine life without her!