10 Saints I Can’t Wait to Meet When I get to Heaven

St. Agnes image(Photo Credit)

This is one of those random thoughts that came to my mind as I was going about my day. I was thinking about the saints and I started to recall some of my favorites – the saints that I pray to often and whom I wish I had known while they were on earth. Then it came to mind that this would be a fun Top Ten Tuesday post to share. ๐Ÿ™‚ In no particular order, here are some saints who fascinate me and whom I can’t wait to meet (I’m not including Our Lord or the Blessed Mother, as they are a given!):

1. St. Joseph. I had to put St. Joseph first on the list because he is truly my all-time favorite saint and I have great devotion to him. Not only is he the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus, he has never let me down. ๐Ÿ™‚ His feast days are March 19 (St. Joseph, husband of Mary) and May 1 (St Joseph the Worker).

2. St. Peter. I love St. Peter! Yes, he was our first Pope; however, when I read about him in the bible I can relate to his humanness. St. Peter shares his feast day on June 29 with St. Paul.

3. St. Paul. There’s not a lot I can say about St. Paul. He’s awesome and someone I can’t wait to meet for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ St. Paul shares his feast day on June 29 with St. Peter.

4. St. Josemaria Escriva. St. Josemaria is the founder of Opus Dei. I had “adopted” him as my spiritual father several years ago because I appreciate his practical nature that comes through his many writings. His feast day is June 26.

5. St. Martin de Porres. I was introduced to St. Martin de Porres by a sister back when I was discerning a vocation. He grew up poor and had a great charity and love for the poor. He is a wonderful example of prayer and holiness. His feast day in November 3.

6. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. St. Margaret was an apostle to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, one of my favorite devotions. She suffered much in her life and yet prevailed in great virtue. Her feast day is October 17.

7. St. Faustina. The apostle of Mercy, St. Faustina, is pretty well-known, so not much introduction is needed. I have relied on her intercession many times and I look forward to seeing her in heaven. St. Faustina’s feast day is October 5.

8. St. Monica. Oh, St. Monica is a wonderful model of perseverance! For many years she prayed for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine and her own husband. She encourages me when I get sad or discouraged about the family members who are far from the Lord. Her feast day is August 27.

9.ย  Saint Jeanne Jugan. I’ve mentioned Saint Jeanne Jugan before, twice. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have great admiration for Blessed Jeanne Jugan’s humility, deep faith and prayer life. Her feast day is August 30.

10. St. Bridget of Sweden. St. Bridget had great devotion to the passion of Our Lord and it is from her that we get the controversal 15 Prayers. She is known for great visions but what I admire is her said devotion to the passion of Our Lord and her example of prayer. St. Bridget’s feast day is July 23.

I have to say it was hard just picking just ten! I could probably do a top 100 list of saints I want to meet – and I probably will do another one of these lists. ๐Ÿ™‚ Til then it’s your turn. Who are some the saints you can’t wait to meet when you get to heaven?

(Linked also to Saints and Scripture Sundays.)

My Latest Top Ten Favorite Blogs

It’s been a long time since I shared the Ten Blogs I love and Recommend and Ten More Blogs I love and recommend, two years in fact! I still love those blogs, but since it’s been so long, I thought I’d give a little link love to some other blogs I read regularly.

By the way, most of these blogs I found through Sunday Snippets, Saints and Scripture and Top Ten Tuesday. It’s so worth checking out link-ups!

1. Money Saving Mom. A great blog by a young Christian mom who offers great advice on living frugaly

2. Savvy Blogging. A multi-contributor blog that offers advice on blogging and growing your blog.

3. Thoughts on Grace. Colleen posts awesome and thought-provoking meditations on the spiritual life.

4. Kathleen Basi. Kathleen about a variety of subjects. I absolutely love her writing style!

5. Plot Line and Sinker. Ellen Gable is a Catholic novelist (I’ve reviewed one of her books and currently reading another). She writes about writing, natural family planning, among other topics.

6. The Jammie Girl. I found Angie’s blog through participating in The Kennedy Adventures! Saints and Scripture Sunday link-up and have been reading it every since. ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Cinhosa. He writes well-written, informative reflections. I always come away from his blog learning something.

8. Our Good Family. A Christian mom-blog about a variety of family-related topics.

9. Eclipsed. This is a weight-loss blog written by a Christian woman named Kris. Reading her posts each week inspires me and encourages me in my own journey of weight-loss.

10. Rosary Mom. Noreen blogs about different Catholic-related topics.

What are your favorite current blogs you are reading nowadays? Do share in the comments.

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday.)

 

10 Ways to Love Your Spouse

wedding rings(Photo Credit)

In the first installment of this series on marriage we learned what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage. Last week, we talked about what makes a good marriage. Today I want to share some ideas on how to show your husband (or wife) you love him (or her). St. Valentine’s day is certainly not the only day to show your love. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just like ourselves, our spouses want to feel appreciated and loved all year round.

Here are some simple, free and yet wonderful ways you can let your spouse know you still care:

1. Blog about him. When we had our 8th wedding anniversary last year, I wrote a blog post about the things I loved about my husband. He loved it!

2. Love notes. Over the last few weeks I have been writing a little note in dollar store “thinking of you” cards. Michael doesn’t say much about them, but he has been calling me more often while driving for work just to tell me he loves me. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Write a poem or song. Corny or not, this is a sweet way to say I love you. If you don’t have the talent you can buy or print some lovely poems.

4. Create a musical playlist. Or buy a copy of your spouses favorite music or CDs. My husband is a truck driver and he listens to music, talk shows and CDs while on the road. For Christmas, I gave him the CD set of recordings from the priest who gave our Advent parish mission. It was a hit. He was able to nourish his soul and pass the driving time in an enjoyable way and be reminded that I was thinking of him.

5. Go digital. Send your spouse an encouraging text or message on Twitter or Facebook or other favorite social networking site – even Pinterest.

6. Find out his preferred love language. My husband and I read and discussed The 5 Love Languages a long time ago. It made a huge difference for both of us. It was so helpful to understand what each other needs in order to feel loved and appreciated.

7. Anticipate his needs. We are all busy. Many of the moms reading this blog home school and/or work from home. Other moms work outside the home. We all have too much on our plates. But our husbands have a lot on their plates, too, even if it’s in a different way. Lately I’ve been trying to anticipate his needs and wants and do those tasks before he has to ask. Sometimes he notices, sometimes he doesn’t. Still, it’s a nice way to show we care.

8. Build him up in front of others. It can be easy to criticize or “bash” our husbands when we are with our girlfriends, family or others. All couples have issues at times and it can seem cathartic to be able to let all our problems out. It’s better for your marriage though, to talk out your issues with your spouse and/or find someone you trust (like a priest or confidant) that you can talk to. Then make it a point to only say good things about your spouse when you are out with others. And make sure your spouse “accidentally” hear these good things once in a while!

9. Compliment him. Remind him often of the things you admire about him. Be sincere, though, otherwise your compliment will sound contrived and unauthentic. Along the same lines, don’t forget to say “thank you” for all the things he does for you.

10. Give him a massage. Who doesn’t like to get a massage? And if your spouse spends a lot of time on his or her feet, there is nothing better than a foot massage after a long day. Or a back massage. Or any other kind of massage!

What are your favorite ways to show your spouse you love him (or her)? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.

Next week, in our final (for now) installment of this series on marriage, I am going to hit on a hot topic: submission in marriage.

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

10 Non-Fiction Books I Want to Read This Year

I have tons of books I want to read this year. Actually, I keep a running list of the books I want to read and every time I read a review, or see a book on paperback swap or somewhere else, my list just gets longer! I don’t mind, though. I would rather have too many books I want to read, rather than too little. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anywhoo, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I thought I’d share just a few of the non-fiction books and next week I’ll share some of the fiction books I want to read.

Saved in Hope

1. Saved in Hope by Pope Benedict XVI. This is one of the books I’ve had on my “books to read” list for a long time!

Good News for Bad Days

2. Good News for Bad Days by Father Paul Keenan. I found this book amongst my in-laws “collection” and have been wanting to check it out.

Successful Writing at Work

3. Successful Writing at Work by Philip C. Kolin. Cheating a little here. This is a book I need to read for one of my classes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rediscovering God in America

4. Rediscovering God in America by Newt Gingrich. I’m not a huge fan of Newt politically, but I’ve been curious about this book and have been wanting to read it for a while.

Tell Your Time

5. Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews. I am an organizational freak. I’m one of those “a place for everything and everything in its place” kind of person so I’m always on the lookout for new tips. And ever since Amy came out with this book, I’ve been wanting to get it. Her blog is awesome, so I know this book will be too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Saint Joseph Guide to Lectio Divina

6. Saint Joseph Guide to Lectio Divina. This book is intended to help to better prayerfully read the Scriptures. I’m especially looking forward reading this book.

Husband and Wife

7.ย  Husband and Wife: The Joys, Sorrows and Glories of Married Life by Father Paul A. Wickens. I think the title of the books says it all of what this books is about!

Being George Washington

8. Being George Washington by Glenn Beck. This book just came out and once I found out about it, the book went to the top of my wish list. Why? because back when Glenn was on Fox News, he did a series on the Founding Fathers that was fantastic. And I enjoy biographies. And, honestly, I don’t remember much of what I learned about our first President in school. :/

Holiness for Housewives

9. Holiness for Housewives and Other Working Women by Dom Hubert Von Zeller. I suppose the title says it all for this boo, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gianna Molla Wife, Mother, Doctor

10. St. Gianna Molla, Wife, Mother, Doctor by Pietro Molla and Elio Guerriero. This is the life of an Italian woman who risked her life rather than abort her baby as told by her husband. Then however, she died of an infection after the birth of the child. She was canonized in 2004.

What’s on your non-fiction reading list this year?

(Also linked to Works for me Wednesday.)

(Contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.)

My Ten Goals for 2012

Set Goals(Photo Credit)

I’ve never been a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions. It feels like nothing more than setting ourselves up for failure. After all, how many of us make resolutions only to break them by the end of January (or by the end of the first week!)?

For me, I prefer to set goals that I want to achieve for the new year instead. A matter of semantics? Probably.ย  Setting goals rather than resolutions feels more doable and realistic. And, if I don’t reach the goal, I’m not as hard on myself: I just re-evaluate and set new goals.

In that spirit, here are ten goals I want to reach this year, divided into areas of life I want to work on/improve:

Spiritual/Virtue Goals

1. Prayer. A never-ending goal. I can always improve on this, of course. In particular, though, this year I am going to make a point of MAKING time for quiet prayer and meditation – at least 10 minutes a day. This will help me tremendously in my next goal.

2. Peace. My “Word” or “theme” for 2012 is “peace“. My goal is to allow God to work in me so that I handle each day, each situation calmly and peacefully.ย  The Lord has been putting John 14:27 into my heart:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

So, my goal is to let God’s peace rein in my heart and that I may be an “instrument of peace” to others.

Spousal Goals

3. Attentiveness. My goal is to be more attentive to the needs of my hubby and even to anticipate them when I can.

4. Positiveness. To be more positive in the way I interact with and think about my husband. To always give him the benefit of the doubt before I over-react and jump down his throat. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Mothering Goals

5. Live in the moment. My goal in this area is to enjoy whatever activity we are currently engaged in, rather than rushing through them because I am too busy thinking of all the other things I have to do.

I don’t know about you; but, I have a tendency of looking ahead to what has to be done next or thinking about all the other things on my to-do list. I want to intentionally focus on the moment and enjoy each moment with my son. He is growing up so fast, it’s almost scary!

6. Foster a love of books. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that getting my son to practice his reading has been a bit of a challenge. {Ahem} It has gotten better in this area and I want to continue this progress; so, in 2012 I want to read to him more than I already do and hopefully spark in him a greater interest for books and reading.

Personal Goals

7. Break my blasted sugar addiction once and for all. My downfall is ice cream (vanilla with M&Ms to be exact); but, I’m not opposed to cake cookies, brownies…Oh the list goes on. So, I’m going cold turkey. I’m giving up sugar. I’ve done my research, prayed about it and I’m ready for the week from hell. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I’ve read in several places that the first week is the hardest and then it gets easier. I hope so!)

I’m not doing this to lose weight; although I’m not opposed if that happens. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m doing it because I want to live healthier and eat better. I want to gain better control of what I put in my body as opposed to giving in to my cravings.

8. Get straight A’s. I haven’t mentioned this here yet, but thanks to a series of God-incidences, I am going back to school to get my bachelors degree [in English]. I have an Associates degree and have been wanting to go back to college to finish for a long time, so I am deeply grateful for this opportunity! I will be starting out with two courses in the spring semester, one in the summer session and going into full-time in the fall.

Blogging/Business Goals

9. Weekly series. One of my main goals for blogging this year is to do a weekly series focusing on an aspect of our faith. For example: In January I want to do a series on life, In February I want to do a series on marriage, etc. In the future my plan is to do a series on discerning God’s will, the mystery of suffering, the sacraments, etc. I still have to work out the particulars, but I hope to begin shortly!

10. e-Books. I have a few e-book ideas that have been brewing in my brain over the last few months. My goal is to publish 4 e-books – one each quarter of the year. (More details to come as each e-book comes to fruition – Hopefully!!)

What are your goals for 2012? Do share. Or, if you’ve done a yearly goals post, feel free to post a direct link to said post in the comments!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday.)

Ten Great Christmas Music CDs

Last week I shared some of our favorite Christmas Movies and today I’m sharing some of our favorite Christmas music! There’s no better way to get into the spirit of Christmas than to listen to melodic hymns or dancing around the house to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

These are Special Times by Celine Dion

1. These are Special Times by Celine Dion. I’ve been a fan of Celine Dion’s music for a long time now, and this CD is definitely one of my favorites!

Noel by Josh Groban

2. Noel by Josh Groban. Oh man, Josh Groban’s voice is so beautiful and his rendition of Panis Angelicus lifts my spirit right to heaven very time.

Christmas by Michael Buble

3. Christmas by Michael Buble. This CD just came out this year and all I can say is “GO GET IT!” Or put it on your Christmas wish list. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are a lot of versions of “Ave Maria” out there and I must say that his is one of the best. I get chills listening to Michael Buble.

My Christmas by Andrea Bocelli

4. My Christmas by Andrea Bocelli. I’m not a huge fan of Andrea Bocelli but I like to listen to his music once in a while; and, his Christmas CD is just wonderous. His version of the “Our Father”, “What Child is This”, and “God Bless us Everyone” is just lovely.

O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho

5. O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho. If you enjoy this darling from “America’s Got Talent” you will love this CD. This CD only has four songs on it, but each song is so beautifully done. And if you get the DVD version there are videos of interviews of Jackie during her journey through the show.

A Holly Jolly Christmas for Kids

6. A Holly Jolly Christmas for Kids. This fun, 3-Disk collection of Christmas songs is sung for kids by kids. A great CD to to get you dancing with your little ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas

7. The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas. You KNEW a list of Christmas music wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Bing Crosby, right?! There are a few Bing Crosby Christmas albums out so pick any of them and enjoy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ultimate Christmas

8. Ultimate Christmas by Various Artists. This compilation CD has all the well-known Christmas songs that are sung by artists such as Nat King Cole, Der Bingle, Elvis, and Judy Garland. And speaking of Elvis…

Christmas Peace by Elvis Presley

9. Christmas Peace by Elvis Presley. I grew up with my parents listening to Elvis all the time, so yeah, he’s on my list of favorites. Besides, tell me whose foot DOESN’T start tapping to Elvis’ “Santa Bring my Baby Back to Me”?! LOL!

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

10. Have a Jolly Holly Christmas by Burl Ives. My goodness, how can I NOT include Burl Ives? Have you heard his song “Christmas is a Birthday”? This song is sweet and meaningful and it’s worth buying the CD for this song alone.

I can’t resist one more!

The Christmas Collection by Il Divo

11. The Christmas Collection by Il Divo. Listening to this quartet gives me goosebumps so I just had to include them!

Canย  you tell I have a “thing” for men’s voices??! I do. There’s something about a man’s deep, melodic voice (when sung well) that I just love.

Now it’s your turn. Do share your favorite Christmas CDs with us!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.

(This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.)

Our 10 Favorite Christmas Movies

One of the best things about the Advent/Christmas season is being able to cuddle up as a family and watch Christmas movies. Here are a few of our favorites:

Elf

1. Elf. No matter how many times I watch this movie I always laugh like crazy!

It's a Wonderful Life

2. It’s a Wonderful Life. Need I say more? This is a classic.

Miracle on 34th Street

3. Miracle on 34th Street. The original one. (In my opinion the remake stinks.)

Scrooge

4. Scrooge. I few Christmases ago I made it my “mission” to watch every version of a Christmas Carol that I could find. The George C Scott version is by far a favorite; but, we really enjoy the musicalย  version even better. (Watch out, though: during Scrooge’s time with the 3rd ghost he goes to hell which MAY be a little scary for the little ones.)

March of the Wooden Solders

5. March of the Wooden Solders. I guess this movie isn’t for everyone. I remember watching this on TV every year as a little girl; but it hasn’t been on TV for years. Too, bad!

White Christmas

6. White Christmas. A fun, light-hearted Christmas movie with great music!

A Charlie Brown Christmas

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Okay, not exactly a movie; but, who DOESN’T love a little Charlie Brown? And the Christmas play scene of the nativity is one of the most touching I’ve ever seen.

Last Holiday

8. Last Holiday. This is a definite “chick-flick” but fun to watch!

Star of Bethlehem

9. The Star of Bethlehem. Not a movie, but a documentary “proving” the existence of the Star of Bethlehem and birth of Christ. A real eye-opener!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (And Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Clause is coming to town…) No list would be complete without these classics, even if they aren’t movies in the traditional sense!

What’s your favorite Christmas move? Do share!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.

(Contains affiliate links, see my disclosure page for details.)

Ten Ways to Honor the Lord’s Day

Yesterday I talked about why honoring the Lord’s Day is important. Today I would like to suggest some activities you can do as a family to honor the Lord’s Day:

Image by Icb (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by Icb (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

1. Go to church. Yep, I know I’m probably preaching to the choir (pun intended!) to most people reading this. But, sometimes, even faithful Christians need a reminder that participating in the Eucharist is the paramount expression of our faith. We can get lazy. We can make excuses.

2. Pray as a family. If you don’t have a daily family devotional time (or have become lax in praying as a family), Sunday – this one perhaps? – would be a great day to start. Praying the rosary or Lectio Divina would be a great place to start.

3. Visit the sick or shut-ins. I know from personal experience from having worked in several nursing homes over the years that there are a lot of lonely people (with no or little family) stuck in their homes or nursing homes due to illness or age. A short visit to someone who has no family could make his or her own week, let alone day!

4. Visit with extended family. It’s not always easy to get everyone together for a meal during the week; but Sundays shouldn’t be too hard – even if it’s just once or twice a month. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Go to the park.ย  Or for a bike ride. How about a game of frisbee or football? Weather permitting, have a picnic. The point is: get out of the house and have some fun as a family!

6. Go on a pilgrimage. You don’t have to travel to Lourdes, France or travel hours to some popular shrine. An internet search will probably bring up several lesser known shrines you can travel to as a family.

7. Make Sunday meals special. Good china isn’t just for Christmas and Easter, you know. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Why not put a nice table cloth on the table and set it with some nice china? Put some nice candles out and play some nice background music to make a nice atmosphere in the room. (Be realistic with this. Obviously you don’t want to put out breakable china in the reach of little ones. Maybe just use “nicer” plates?)

8. Plan a special meal or dessert. Without going crazy(or exhausting yourself with making an elaborate six-course meal), it may be nice to plan a more special meal or festive dessert. Let it be something that you ordinarily wouldn’t make.

9. Play games or read together. I’ve often talked about our love of games and the latest books we are reading, and for our family, Sundays gives us more time for these activities. Sunday is a great day to finally get out that game you’ve been wanting to play for so long

10. Rest. If your family is like mine, taking a nap may be out of the question; but, maybe you can cuddle up with your little ones. ๐Ÿ™‚ It would be a great time to just chat and rest with them.

I’d love to hear your ideas! What do you do with your family to honor the Lord’s Day? Please share in the comments.

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Tweetable: Ten Ways to Honor the Lord’s Dayย 

Ten Unusual Apple Recipes

Apples for sale(Photo Credit)

Fall is here and that means an abundance of apples! If you are planning to go apple picking or have more apples then you know what to do with, here are some unusual apple recipes I found around the ‘net: (P.S. Most of these sites have other apple recipes, as well!)

1. Grilled Cheese and Apples.

2. Herman Applesauce Donuts.

3. Apple Blue Cheese Slaw.

5. Apple Bean Casserole.

6. Apple Noodle Kugel.

7. Apple Beef Sedish. (This site has two other unusual recipes, as well.)

8. Applesauce Meringue.

9. Apple Iced Tea. (Sounds a bit odd toย  me, but I can’t wait to give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

10. Apple Cinnamon Soy Protein Smoothie. (I don’t like soy milk, so if I make this I’m gonna try it with regular milk.)

Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite or unusual apple recipe?

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

Ten Family Game Night Ideas

As the days are getting shorter and the air is getting cooler, we are slowly moving from outdoor activities to indoor activities. For our family, that means the return to game nights! We have a standard weekly game night, but usually wind up playing games together several nights during the week and weekends.

Andrew is six, so the games we play areย  for the younger crowd; however, I must confess that I enjoy playing them as much as he does! Here are some of our favorites:

1. Scrabble, Jr. I’m so happy that my son is carrying on my tradition of loving Scrabbleยฎ – even if it is the junior version!

2. Candyland. Who hasn’t played this classic game?! Candyland was a great game when Andrew was smaller and learning his colors and it still continues to be one of his favorites.

3. Chutes and Ladders. Another classic game. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to get close to the end of the game only to land on one of the slides that brings you back to the beginning of the game!

4. Trouble. Oh, watch out with this game, it can get a little loud AND frustrating. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Silly Sentences. Not only does this game teach reading and grammar (almost without the children realizing it), it’s fun!

6. Hungry, Hungry, Hippo. This is a loud game, so I personally can’t play this game for too long; but, Andrew loves it!

7. Don’t Break the Ice. My son totally has this game backward. The object of the game is to NOT let the little polar bear fall; but Andrew always wants to make it fall! Ha!

8. Connect Four. When I was growing up, I only knew of one version of this game; but, now apparently there are three – and all of them are fun.

9. Operation. The version of this game that I remember is a little different than the one that is out now. However, it’s still just as fun. (Although I don’t get the same kick out of having to retrieve the “runny nose” as much as Andrew does!)

10. Twister. I can’t play this game because of physical limitations; but, I do get to spin the board and call out the colors and placement (and laugh at everyone else trying to contort their bodies to get into the right position!). This is definitely a HILARIOUS game for the whole family.

What about you? Does your family have a regular game night? What games do your family enjoy playing?

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)