Friday, March 19, 2010

make a week of it.

It's turned out that our St. Patrick's Day festivities have occurred more over a St. Patrick's Day week. We bought a twelve pack of Smithwick's Irish Ale and enjoyed some on Monday evening. The night before the 17th, Jeremy and I drove down to Hickory to the Taproom, a wonderfully oaken pub, to hear The Belfast Boys play some traditional Irish music and have a few pints. That was a wonderful night full of good company, good beer, and heart-rending music. There is just something about Irish (and Scottish) music that stirs my very core. It's enchanting in a very literal sense of the word, it captivates my senses and imparts an otherworldly essence to surround me--it changes me. It was wonderful to see Alan play again, and brilliant to finally see Adrian play with him as well. The were, not surprisingly, fantastic.
St. Paddy's Day itself was a little more low key, I worked both my jobs, proudly sporting some green earrings and a Celtic knotwork hair clip. Thursday was another low-key day of working for both Jeremy and me, but that evening we went to the store to purchase the necessities of what would come the next morning, which included a pack of Guinness. This morning I cooked us up an Ulster Fry, complete with potato bread, streaky bacon, tomatoes, and Heinz 57 beans, among other things. It was delicious, but very filling, and more than a little hard on the arteries I'm sure.
Tonight, Jeremy and I are headed the the Diana Wortham theatre to see Battlefield Band, a Scottish band that plays traditional music as well as new self-penned music as well, on a variety of instruments traditional and non. I won free tickets at Biltmore to the show tonight, and we're looking forward to it.
Considering, due to various circumstances, that this has been Jeremy and my first St. Patrick's Day together, I think it's turned out quite nicely.

On another note, I recently altered an old vintage peacoat that was my grandmother's to fit me. I took in the sleeves and the body of the coat, as well as put on twelve new buttons. Here's the finished product. (I unfortunately did not have the foresight to snap a 'before' photo, but oh well.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

st. patrick's day

I felt it appropriate to share with you all today the prayer of St. Patrick's breastplate. St. Patrick was an amazingly inspiring man of God, and one that we can take example from in the way he preached the Gospel. Understanding the words of this prayer clarify the kind of man he was--one I should like to emulate everyday, not just the seventeenth of March.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Monday, March 15, 2010

i just want morning light.

Apparently my daylight has been saved or some such nonsense. I would eagerly beg to differ with that alleged salvation, and it's only eagerly because I've been awake for two hours already and am well into a Black Irish Mocha, procured when I dropped Jeremy off for work. Two hours ago I undoubtedly would have held the same sentiments, though less eager, and more incomprehensible listless growling about having to wake up before the sun. I'll be the first to admit loving the idea of daylight savings time in the autumn. I mean, who would say no to an extra hour of sleep? Though the trade off of losing an hour of sleep now seems mightily unworthy of having one measly hour more of sleep four months ago.Why must we wake before even the sun has deemed it necessary to fill our valley with her golden morning light? How much better to wake with her, letting those gilded rays lightly kiss our eyelids, willing us to rise and see the beautiful new day that has come? I know we have responsibilities to think of, but I seriously think it is just wrong to have to wake up to darkness when it feels as if we've just fallen asleep to that same lack of light. That being said, the daylight has come now, and I am enjoying being up early enough to appreciate the nuances that only belong to the morning.
Here's to spring, and the coming fullness of new life. Crocuses have bloomed, and tulips and daffodils are imminent. Come quickly, dear spring, fill this valley with your warm embrace, and raise to life all the verdure that awaits your presence to make themselves known.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

budgets and taxes and fafsas, oh my!

In light of the exciting news that most of you know by now--I was accepted into the University of Edinburgh Master's programme for Highland Studies--scary things now follow that offer and my decision to accept it. It's only a little over six months before school starts, and there are a lot of things that need to be done before we can go, not the least of which being things like, oh, buying plane tickets, getting a student visa, getting Cael's paperwork in order, and selling or storing all our stuff. With that said though, I have already gotten a number of things done. I finished up and filed our taxes last night, finished and submitted my FAFSA this morning, and wrote essays and things needed for the scholarships I'm applying for. The essays for the scholarships weren't difficult at all, I just pulled from and tweaked parts of my application essay for the University, since they asked basically the same questions, so that was finished relatively quickly.
Filing my taxes proved to be a bit more difficult and frustrating--as taxes tend to be. Firstly, as I sat down about a week ago, thinking I had everything in order, I realized after entering almost all of our W2s that I had either misplaced or never received my Biltmore W2. So that was frustrating, I had been hoping to finish everything that night, and had to put everything on hold until I could locate it--which I couldn't, and had to request a copy sent to me. I finally got everything in order, for real this time, and sat down last night to finish everything up. More frustration soon followed. One, Biltmore did not withhold any Federal tax from being hired in August to the end of the year, and for all I know now, still aren't. Two, Jeremy's father did not withhold any State tax from Jeremy's Moments paychecks last year. (And on top of that, is 1099ing Jeremy this year, so that means I have to keep up with putting money aside out of each paycheck so we don't get screwed next year). Three, I was 1099ed for my nannying job and my swim lessons at Cheshire, the first I knew about, but the latter I had to idea I'd be subcontracting. Those main things, among a plethora of minor details that made things difficult were the story of my tax journey this year. Now being finished, albeit still frustrated, I see the goodness of the Lord in it all. We somehow qualified for a Make Your Work Pay (or something like that) tax credit which was $800, which covered the 500 and some odd dollars we would have owed for Federal, and even had a federal refund of $267. Awesome. Then I did the State taxes, and discovered that we owed the State $457 (and thankfully Jeremy did all his stone masonry in SC and had state taxes withdrawn there). I had managed to save about $200 while I was nannying, knowing that I'd owe at the end of the year since I was just being paid straight out by personal check. So with the refund and the money I had saved, we actually will have about ten dollars that won't go right back to paying taxes. As frustrating as that is, and as much as we could use a nice fat refund, even more so we need not to owe a fat sum to the government that we cannot afford. God made sure that happened, and I'm thankful for it. We broke even, and we can continue to save without disruption for our Scottish adventure in six months.
I've also been working on a budget, which I'm terrible at, I hate numbers. I know we need guidelines with our spending though, so I'm writing everything down again, categorizing it, and keeping track of it in a notebook by the computer and on our huge dry erase calendar in our kitchen. I'm saving all pay stubs, receipts, and bills, and filing them into envelopes labeled according to each month and whether it's receipts and bills, or pay stubs. I'm keeping up with it pretty well, and I just hope I continue to do so.
One more thing that has changed some plans is that we found out the Jeremy was not accepted into the University, which at first upset us (me more than him, ironically), but the more we think about it, the more it makes sense that we don't go at the same time. Jeremy will work while I get my Master's, and when I graduate and get a job he'll apply to The Free Church of Scotland College, which is the original school he was looking at, and a better fit to what he wants to study.
So, all in all, things are looking up, and coming together, but I know it'll be difficult to get it all done and in order. I take heart in the knowledge that if we're supposed to be there, we will be and things will come together one way or another. God is faithful.
Cael's vet appointment and blood test are tomorrow, so it will be officially six months until he can travel. Hopefully all his Pet Passport things will come into order swift and painless (I'm not holding my breath), but as long as they just get done.



Sunday, March 7, 2010


I cut new bangs. Have a look. Will write more soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

a new month.

Another month of 2010 is behind us, and I'm beginning to wonder where time has got to go so quickly? There are reasons for me to want it to hurry itself up, and reasons for it to put on the brakes. This past week has been a bit bittersweet for me. Exciting news delivered, and a friend one year gone still deeply missed. Take the happy with the sad I suppose.
Firstly, yesterday was one year since Ryan Alea Young was taken from us in an early morning car crash near the coast of North Carolina. One year ago yesterday a friendship rekindling was quenched with the heavy blanket of death. I miss my friend dearly, and think of her often, and I cannot help wondering how much closer we'd be if she was still here. Yet though I've lost her, I've gained more friends in the grieving process. Her best friend Candace and I became closer through our mutual loss, as well as her strong-hearted father, Glenn. I appreciate what I've gained, but cannot help mourning for what we've lost. That being said, I think Ryan wouldn't want me to dwell on her absence in the wake of such great prospects being offered.
I found out unofficially then officially last week that I have been accepted into the University of Edinburgh Master's programme for Highland Studies. I've gotten in! I'm going to school in Edinburgh, Scotland! How exciting is that? I'm excited, yet anxious too--there's a lot to be done before I'm there and begun. Pray for things to fall into place, though there have already been kinks, and pray for patience and discernment through this process. Thanks to all who prayed for acceptance, but don't stop yet, we haven't heard about Jeremy yet, so keep 'em coming.