Friday, March 31, 2006

More on MROL

Barb asked to continue the discussion on MROL, so I'll share a bit about what is going on here. As I mentioned yesterday, I have had the wonderful epiphany that I somehow missed the other times I have read this book, that I need to be carrying out my vocation, that which God has called me to, in service to HIM. Not too make me happy, not to bolster my ego when friends stop by and notice how wonderful my house looks, etc. I do what I am called to do out of Love. Pure and Simple. Well, pure, but not so simple, at least for me. I complicate everything!

Today, I was continuing my reading of Devout Life and relished these passages in the First Part of the Introduction where St. Francis discusses how our sinfulness keeps us from God. Also about how we must purge ourselves of sin and how our devotion to Him will overcome our sinfulness as long as we never, ever quit trying. Here are the awe inspiring passages I read today...

"We must not be disturbed by our imperfections, since for us perfection consists in fighting against them. "
This statement gave me so much peace because I am very guilty of letting my imperfections weigh me down. Hearing that the battle against them is bringing me into a deeper devotion to Him is very reassuring.

"Our victory does not consist in being unconscious of them but in not consenting to them, and not to consent to them is to be displeased with them."
This passage was a revelation to me. I have always struggled with trying to get RID of my sinful nature. This tells me that it will never go away, but my ability to control it will become stronger with practice. Wow!

"Therefore it remains that we should not lose courage." This is one thing that I believe prevents me from stepping out into faith. My lack of courage.

"Fortunately for us, in this war we are always victorious provided we are willing to fight." I am determined to never give up. I will continue the fight for the Love of Him.

Another happening today. I sat with my children at lunch after thinking about our schedule. It seems to be working fairly well, but there are a few gliches in it that are pretty glaring. Instead of my typical "take it all on myself", I felt called to ask for their input. Imagine that. Ask the others who are in this fight with me what their thoughts are... hmmmm

They made their suggestions, then I allowed them to make some decisions between a few of their suggestions and agreed that we would try it that way. They looked at me in complete amazement... Kind of the way I look at them when they pick up their laundry for some unexpected reason!

I need to find a way to explain this whole "rule" idea to them. We have studied about St. Benedict and other rules, but I need to find a way to apply it to them. I have started discussing the idea of doing what we must do because we are called by Him to do so. And that we decide to do it because we love Him. I think they have a better handle on it than I do.

Feel free to post any comments, suggestions, or struggles that you are dealing with. I am so enjoying this journey right now!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mid-Lenten Reflection

I am always amazed at how rapidly Lent seems to pass me by. I spend what seems an awful long time trying to figure out exactly how I will prepare my soul for Easter during Lent and then once I do figure out what I should do, I get completely side-tracked, too busy, overwhelmed, etc., and get almost nothing done. Such is life, lent or any other time of the year.

This year is a bit different however. I am still finding the struggles to fit spiritual nurturing into my day, yet, each day, I remain committed to starting fresh and finding that special time to spend with God.

So today, it was in the "powder room" for lack of a better term. And it was good. Really. It was He, I, and St. Francis de Sales. I turned off the merry-go-round for about 10 minutes and allowed myself to drown myself in some wonderfully rich reading. (I joke about the over-head musak that runs through my home. It is the circus theme most often!)

Afterwards, I felt refreshed, centered, and a bit numb from sitting there so long. (As any mom knows, 15 seconds in the restroom could mean disaster on the other side of the door!)

Honestly, I wish I could steal more moments such as these.

I was viewing a biography on my hero, Pope John Paul II this weekend. He was such an amazing man. Even before he was Pope. I felt called to relish his life as we approach the one year anniversary of his death. In this video, former students of his shared how each of them knew that Father Karol required one to one and a half hours alone each day. To pray. I found that amazing. He gave of himself completely the rest of the day, but they all knew that he MUST have that one hour. I believe that this is what I have read about Christ as well. I am not sure if it was an hour that Christ would take, but He took what He needed and then gave completely of Himself to everyone around Him.

Talk about an epiphany for me. For years I have heard, "spend the first few moments of your day with the Lord." Or, "He deserves the first fruits of the day, not the last." I even tried it a few times, and felt the peace that it could bring.

After making the "connection" if you will between the spirituality of JPII and his time with the Lord, and how that possibly might do some good for me, I think it is time to committ to it and stick with it.

As some of you know, I have been attempting to implement my Mother's Rule of Life... again... This time, I have been trying to do so with a different motivation. Before, it seemed as though I was trying to make this schedule work so that I could feel more productive, more organized, more "together"... HA HA

Now, after reading the MROL book for the six or seventh time, I finally made the connection that I must do this for the LOVE OF CHRIST. Yeah, that's right... It's not about me anymore. It's about Him, and it's about time!

I figure, if it is important to Our Savior for me to accomplish that which I have planned for the day, He will see to it that it will get done, as long as I offer it up to Him because of my love for Him. And the ONLY way I can offer it to Him is to ... TA DA... OFFER IT TO HIM... during time with Him.

I know, I know, some of you are thinking, well, duh! You see, I am a bit thick. It takes a few hundred head bangings against the preverbial brick wall for me to get things. And boy, has my head been sore lately!

All of this is to say, that I am learning to put Christ first. I am discovering that time with God is not a nice thing to have happen, if I get the time. It is essential to my very essence as a mother, wife, and Christian woman. Doing things to make myself look good in the eyes of others or even in my own eyes does nothing for Christ. Doing what I don't really want to do because I LOVE HIM is.

Dying to myself. In little bits. It's a long, slow process, but one that I am enjoying. Most of the time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hair Dude


You may remember my post about the "hair dude" Joseph wants. I think he found it last night...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rice changes everything



It's official. We like rice! And rice seems to agree with us pretty well. Except for the new diaper specimens we are receiving. ewwwww

Funny how with the first baby, we couldn't wait to start all the "firsts" with her. Now, baby number 6, we wait to start everything. "Do you really think he needs real food? He's so little still!" Well, yes, he is 5 months old and just about 20 lbs, man can't live on milk alone!

We are entering a new phase. And baby Bo Bear is loving it. Every single bite!

Some thoughts on this past year

Today is the day. One year ago today, Mom left her earthly body and went to the arms of her Savior. I have a beautiful picture I've created in my mind of her leaving her body, the one that had failed her and kept her from so many of her dreams, and gracefully, joyfully, flying into the arms of Our Lord. It was Easter Monday morning, about 4:45. I had wanted to stay that night before, but my pregnancy was getting the best of me and the nurses suggested I go home to rest. I guess that is what she needed. She needed to be left alone to make that final journey. I have often thought about this and how we all meet the Lord by ourselves. No one goes with us. We are on our own. Our own private, intimate moment with Christ himself.

For a long time after she passed, I wondered if she was afraid when she died. I wondered if she woke up, wondered where I was, and then died. It was a horrible feeling. Sometimes I catch myself dwelling on the negative. Then I am reminded that these thoughts are not from God.

Her passing causes me to pause often and reflect on a few things. This is what I have learned this year from my mom.

1. Love even when it hurts. When the love must leave, you will hardly remember the arguments, and you will wonder why you wasted time having them. Love is what Christ asks us to do. Not just when it is easy, not when it's convenient, not when it's pretty. Just love. I must admit that I did love. Even when it hurt. Even when I didn't want to. I did not always do it well, not gracefully, not willingly. But I asked for the strength to love, and it came.

2. Repair the hurts. No matter what you must do. Find a way to repair the hurt. You will feel so much more peace once you do. And there is a point that will come when you won't be able to do so. We never know when.

3. Laugh often. It eases the pain of illness. It cures the old hurt that still lingers even after the forgiveness comes.

4. Touch one another. Look at their hands. Drink in their scent. Study their eyes. Feel their skin. Embrace them fully. Remember that feeling when you do.

5. Take lots of pictures. Don't be afraid to look at them after your loved one has passed. Touch the picture. Feel the feelings. Rejoice in their happiness.

6. Journal. Write to your loved one. Write down anything you would want to tell them. Write to them on their birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, any day. Tell them your troubles. Ask for their prayers.

7. Don't be afraid to talk about them after they are gone. The kids long to. It is sad at first, but it is getting easier and we are laughing at some of the things we used to do.

8. Ask all the questions you would ever want to know about your loved one. I never asked Mom about her first date, her first love. I really wish I had. I will never know that information now.

Matthew and I bought some Limon chips the other day. We talked about how Nana brought them to our house one day and we all tried them and thought that they were gross! We kept trying to eat them, because she loved them so much! Then she was told to stop eating them. They were bad for her heart condition. We continued to eat them. Now, whenever I get a craving for a chip, I can pull them out and visit with Nana...

Somethings that come up that I never thought about before she died that would remind me of her.

Seeing a new Mary Higgins Clark book. I got angry the first time I saw a new book come out! I felt like I should buy it just because...

Seeing a display of Winterfresh gum. That was Mom's favorite and she chewed it often while in the hospital. Seeing that display almost brought me to tears.

Smelling Estee Lauder. I found myself following a lady around in Walmart the other day because she was wearing it. I couldn't help but want to talk to her, but I refrained. I figured they'd lock me up.

Something else I've done this year is put a picture of her in my wallet. She always wanted to travel, especially to San Antonio, Austin, anywhere to see the sights in Texas. Her illness prevented this from happening. But now she is able to go everywhere with me!

As you can tell, I am still greiving. I suppose I always will. I can't believe that I can't pick up the phone and call her. I know that I will see her again in Heaven some day. Until then, though, I will hold her dear to my heart.

I love you mom.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

a quick check in with a few Josephisms

Joseph and his daddy worked on some wood projects this weekend. They were able to complete a "hairplane" which Joseph painted all by himself. I will try to get some photos up tomorrow.

I keep trying to figure out why he calls his godparents his 'grandparents'... they really aren't that old!

Joseph is the first one to mention that we have forgotten to say grace. He'll simply sit and look at his food and when we ask why he hasn't eaten yet, he'll announce, "I think someone forgot to say graaaacccce!" We abruptly stop eating and begin to pray, at which point Joseph will dive in to the meal, leaving us to pray...

He is very keen to what is going on around him. He is a wonderful narrator
and right now is totally focused on the Passion of our Lord. Every day we have discussions about the 'men who killed Him'. I am a bit concerned because he loves to talk about killing and dying. I think this is a natural phase, but I don't ever recall Matthew going through it.
Of course, Joseph thinks that if Jesus could have had a light saber, He would have been able to stop the bad guys... always thinking, that boy, always thinking.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A year ago



A year ago, my brother Kevin and I had to make the heart wrenching decision to place my mother into hospice care and essentially into God's hands. We knew that the end was near and that she would not be with us much longer. We also knew that we were carrying out her wishes. It was Good Friday and we were able to witness the priest administering Mom her last rites. You can read more about it in this post that I wrote back in May.

It stills feels like yesterday. It stills hurts. It still makes me wish I could talk to her one more time. I probably won't be posting much as I approach the 1st anniversary of her death, (March 28th). I should be rejoicing for her. She is out of pain. She is with our Lord. But me, being the selfish daughter that I am, I just want my mom.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

great article

Here is a link to a great article written by one of my favorite bloggers, and one of Emma's favorite authors, Melissa Wiley. Take a moment to read her essay on homeschooling.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

More Josephisms

Today while riding back from TKD, I handed Joseph his beloved Lego/Bionicle magazines. It got extremely quiet in the back. While looking at his sweet face in the rear-view mirror, his attention focused completely on the magazines, I asked him what he was doing. He said, "Mama, I'm reading my magazine." I asked, "Is it good?" He replied, "Yes, mama. I just want some quiet so I can read, ok?" I happily complied and watched his sweet face the rest of the way home.

Update for the Godparents and others who love me!


Look! I can grab my toes! I did this on my 5th month birthday!



Yesterday, I took my first few bites of rice cereal and seemed to like it pretty well.

And today I thought it might be fun to have mom turn around and see me doing this!



Of course the first thing mom did after she screamed was to grab to ol' camera, take the shot, and then move me to the floor where I might be in more danger from my brother, Joefish.

Sleeping has been better. I put myself to sleep a few times now, and if mom can be strong and let me cry for a few minutes, I'd probably do it even more often. Moms are so silly sometimes.

I really had a good laugh last night when daddy and Joefish were playing the game Trouble. Each time Joefish popped the popper, I laughed uncontrollably! Then I thought I'd lose my diaper when he said the funniest word I ever heard! He said... SIX!!! Isn't that funny!!


I also turned over from my tummy to my back. I don't know what all the excitement is about. I really just wanted to see the Veggie Tales better, but the tall people just stood over me (and in my way) clapping and smiling like I had brought peace to the world. Geesh... can we get a life people??

I enjoyed my first St. Patrick's day. Mom made me wear green and pointed out the red highlights in my hair as well as my fair skin and blue eyes. She has a complex about all of us kids looking like daddy and not her. We love her anyway.

All in all it's been a good week for me. Stay tuned, who knows what is next!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Another Josephism


"Hey Mama! That guy has a really cool hair dude! Can I make mine do that?"

New pro-life blog

Moneybags has a new pro-life blog up. A great resource to see the different laws in each state and important pro-life news.

This young man is a wonderful example of living life for Christ!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Erin Go Bragh!


Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

For a history of St. Patty's visit here

Our wonderful new bishop has issued a dispensation for those who would like to indulge in a bit o' corned beef today. For those who intend to accept the dispensation, please be sure to abstain from meat tomorrow, as indicated by Bishop DiNardo.

My 1/2 irish children are completely aghast when I mention the other side of their heritage. I guess those Filipino genes are so strong even they have a heard time seeing it!

Here is a portion of an article from the Chronicle...

By BARBARA KARKABI and RICHARD VARA
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Patrick T. Sharkey, with typical Irish blarney, says he's been saved from damnation this St. Patrick's Day.

And just as importantly, the big St. Patrick's Day brunch of corned beef and cabbage can go on as planned, now that half-Irish Archbishop Daniel N.DiNardo has given area Catholics a special dispensation to eat meat on this Lenten Friday.

"We had counted on the archbishop's good blessings and dispensation," said Sharkey, who added that a lot of folks "would have trouble" eating the corned beef without the dispensation.

"I'm glad I've been saved from eternal damnation," said Sharkey, president of the Irish Society of Houston.

DiNardo is among dozens of bishops around the country granting one-day dispensations from rules that prohibit Roman Catholics from eating meat on Fridays during the penitential season of Lent.

But he's asking Catholics to abstain from meat either today or Saturday in lieu of Friday.


Many bishops offered the same deal the last time St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday during Lent — in 2000.

The Archdiocese of New York has always extended a dispensation when the calendar lined up because St. Patrick is the patron saint of the archdiocese, spokesman Joseph Zwilling said.

John Flowers of Houston's Kenneally Irish Pub says about 90 percent of his St. Patrick's Day clientele are Catholic, but he doesn't expect to sell any more meat pizzas. A lot of his customers "forget" it is Friday during Lent, he said.

Still, he is grateful the new archbishop is allowing the meat dispensation.

"I think even the Catholics who give up alcohol for Lent should have a dispensation for St. Patrick's Day," said the pub owner, a lifelong Catholic.

Even though she was born in Ireland, Sister Marie Clancy of Mater Christi Convent said she never ate corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day and doesn't intend to this year despite the dispensation.

"I'll be at work. I'll eat whatever they're serving," said Sister Clancy, who works with a literacy program.

However, she said she just returned from a visit to Ireland, where she "had a great bit of corned beef and cabbage. Not for St. Patrick's — just for a great meal."



I think the kids and I will make some Irish Soda Bread (thanks, Danielle Bean for the recipe!)

Enjoy the day, no matter what your heritage! You are officially Irish today... yes, even you Deo!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

For those of you like me ...

Who just can't stand to see the misuse of an apostrophe, here is the blog for you!

Apostrophe Catastrophe

Karen E also refreshed my memory of a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

I loved this book! I need to order it and read it again.

So be on the look out for those apostrophe disasters. It puts a whole new view on the world!

And for those who really have nothing better to do, try this little exercise

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy Anniversary, my dear


To my wonderful husband,
For the past 15 years I thank you.

You asked me if you could show me what true love was like
and the Spirit moved me to accept your offer.

Thank you for not only showing me what it is,
but how to accept it, how to return it, and how to share it with others.

You are all of the strength I wish I was.
You are the reason I wrestle with myself constantly, because I long to be the wife you deserve.

I love you more each day that passes. I pray we have many more years to share together.

Thank you for all that you are. I praise God for you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Just do it

After driving Brianna to her destination this evening, I had the pleasure of spending about 30 minutes in the car alone. Listening to K. Hahn's 10th of 12 CD's on the Mother's Rule of Life. The CD is very good, and I hope to have a complete review up soon, but tonight, something struck me.

I have been working on accepting the fact that my role as a mother is my vocation. Given to me by God. Destined for me by God. I have "known" this for years, and I am sure, on some levels, I had accepted it to a certain degree, but after studying Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot, and now listening to K. Hahn's talks, I must say, I think I finally get "it".

Doing the things in daily life that I do not want to "for the love of Jesus" makes it so much more bearable. Doing these things because Christ ASKS me to, because He entrusts these precious children to me so that I can serve Him more fully, attending to my wonderful husband, who never asks for anything, all because God calls me to do it! This is the path to holiness? And I am complaining?

It's not like I am serving the starving and dying in India or taking the place of another in a concentration camp. I have not been asked, at least not yet, to martyr myself for God. Just to get up, make my bed, and love my family, my neighbor, and God, and try to be nice while doing so. Hmmmm.... it's only taken me 15 years of marriage to have this epiphany!

I have been talking quite a bit with the kids about these things. Really just trying to make myself believe it, but how we need to do things because God calls us to do them. Explaining that God has placed them at this place in their life because He needs them to do whatever it is that He is asking them to do.

Tonight, Matthew, one of my easiest going children was given the task of taking up the basket of clothes for he and his brother and to put them away. Joseph, being only 4, was sent along to help. Well, we all know what help from a 4 year old can be like. Sometimes, not much help. More like more work! And poor Matthew was feeling that tonight. He sent Joseph downstairs, and I sent him back up. Matthew came to me with tears in his eyes telling me that he was so frustrated that he had to do so much of Joseph's work. That is was easier if he did it all alone without Joseph because, well, because...
I told him that I understood how he felt, but that it was our responsibility to help to train Joseph in how to do these things, even though it takes us longer to accomplish the task now, eventually, he will learn and then it will be Joseph's turn to help with his younger brother, Brendan. I reminded Matthew that his older siblings helped him to learn and now it was his turn.

Riding home, I realized that God has called him too! I plan tomorrow to sit with him and explain to him that God's plan is so perfect that he actually intended for Matthew to be Joseph's older brother and therefore his role model. I plan to tell him how much his helping his brother will help Joseph to grow into a fine young man. I plan to tell him how much help he gives to his father and I by doing what I ask him to. I plan to tell him how proud of him God is, because he is doing exactly what God wants.

Then I plan to tell myself the same thing. For the love of the Lord, I offer my "yes".

And now I know why the Angelus and the Divine Mercy have been so important to me this Lenten season.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Intercessions

I have been fortunate enough to have been given a copy of this month's Magnificat for my lenten daily readings.

Each day, I try to spend some time, before the day gets so busy and my mind wanders to the various tasks at hand, with the Lord. I find it so amazing that His ministry and particularly the gospels, are all still applicable to us in today's world. I should not be surprised as God's plan has been in existence for all time which I am sure included the current time we are living in. But still, I am amazed.

Today's gospel speaks right to my heart. It is talking about Christian love and how we should demonstrate it in our daily lives. I am finding that I am harshest on myself. My confessor tells me that I really need to "give myself a break!" I do admit that I am too hard on myself, but I struggle with how to overcome this. It becomes a vicious cycle for me because I am so terrible at this that I beat myself up for not being able to stop beating myself up. This is a perfect example of when I should be turning to Christ. For only He can save me from myself. Only He can help me to see that I am human, I will fall, and I can accept His forgiveness.

I remember as a teen, going through some rough times, and having a very dear lady ask me one question. She asked, "Do you believe that God forgives you for your sins?" "Of course", I answered. Her next line sent me straight to my knees. She said, "Then you must feel you are greater than God, because you do not forgive yourself. If God can forgive you, then why can't you forgive yourself. Do you have more power than He?"

That was one of the most profound statements I think I had ever heard. I think of it often and I have shared it with others who struggle with this same problem.

During the Lenten season, I hope to finally accept my humanness, my sinfulness, and God's forgiveness. I pray that I can also live the Gospel love that Luke speaks about in today's message.

The intercessory prayer in Magnificat today was very helpful to me

Yours, O Lord, are compassion and forgiveness!

You came to save sinners:
-we have sinned in your sight

You reconcile us to the Father
- we stand in need of reconcilliation

You bring us to everlasting life:
- we call to you from our sinfulness.

God the Father of mercies, you sent your Son to save sinners. Grant us wisdom and courage to know our sinfulness, and humility to beg your forgiveness, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Echo, echo, echo...

Guess what Brendan discovered last night? He learned that our Church has a wonderful echo effect and what better thing to hear echoed other than his own wonderfully sweet voice? Then he followed that up with his first official "raspberries" directed of course to all of the lovely folks that didn't appreciate his echoing voice!

I guess the days of sleeping through Mass have disappeared, make room for us in the Narthex!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Am I ruining my children?

This week while we were at Kid Potential, Emma's lesson consisted of giving the definition of certain words.

The trainer brought up the word "fast"

Emma's definition... the good Catholic girl that she is... "when you don't eat but pray a lot"

The trainer looked at me, er, should I say, glared at me. Inside I was screamingly proud of Little Em, but on the outside, I just smiled and said, "it's Lent and we're Catholic."

The trainer then proceded to give the "correct" definition of fast.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's official!

I'm an amateur!

An open letter

An open letter to those who seem to think they need to ask me...

"Is this your last one?!"

First of, thank you for your concern. But honestly, unless I ask for your opinion regarding my family size, or if I come to you asking for a hand-out, to baby-sit, to do anything for me or my family, then your opinion is not that important.

However, since you asked, we are open to life. Brendan is the middle child.

Sorry, just had to vent. I am appalled at how many people feel it necessary to bring to my attention how many children I have and then ask the even more rude question of "is this the last one?"

Lent with the Trapp Family


I've been reading through the book "Around the Year with the Trapp Family" and came across this lovely morsel from the wisdom of Maria Trapp...

"We all should get together and work toward the
restoration of the meaning of Lent. People now-
adays see in it just a gloomy time full of 'must
nots'. That is a great pity, because Lent is a
solemn season rich in hidden mysteries. We must
also keep in mind that Lent is only part of the
great Easter season, that it is for Easter what
Advent was for Christmas, and that Lent taken by
itself would make no more sense than Advent without
Christmas at its end. Therefore we should let Holy
Mother Church take us by the hand and lead us-not each
soul alone, but the whole family as a group - away
from the noise of the world into a forty-day retreat."


I love the notion that Mrs. Trapp sets forth. A forty-day retreat. This finally explains to me why I look forward to Lent each year and though I rejoice in the Easter celebration, I miss the time of preparation that comes before it.

Yes, we should always be mindful of where we are in our journey, but somehow, the Church, in her infinite wisdom, sees to it that we set aside time twice each year to spend intensive time preparing ourselves for our Lord. Beautiful.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Reflections for the week


I noticed a few things around here, this first week of Lent. Several have decided to sacrifice the tv watching. I know, bad homeschooler, we watch tv!! LOL It has always been one of those "things" that irritate me, but I have really never been able to get dh on board with throwing the thing out the window, so we indulge, sometimes too much.

Anyhoo, Matthew and Emma decided they wanted to give tv up for Lent. I decided that I would help them out and give tv up as well, figuring we'd play games or cards or read while dad was watching the tube.

Well, as it turns out, my wonderful dh, has made it a point to not turn the tv on while the kids are awake because it is too tempting to have a glance at it. Now Brianna and Joseph have not given it up, but they have also not turned it on too often because no one can be in the room with them when it is on!

Some wonderful side effects that I witnessed this week as a result of this sacrifice...
1. The games are out of the game cabinet and not collecting dust.

2. Matthew narrating a wonderful account of Pearl Harbor, SPONTANEOUSLY to his father after completing his history book this week. Then he downloaded a printable book from Enchanted Learning on Japan and completed it, all without my prompting!

3. Legos on every square inch of the floor as the boys have been creating space ships that I think might just fly!

4. Laundry that is folded and put away!

I love Friday nights because it is our family night and we typically get a couple of 5.00 pizzas at Randall's, some Rootbeer, and watch Star Gate and Star Gate Atlantis. We are completely hooked on these shows. But now, during Lent, we will be attending Stations of the Cross, playing games, and spending real time with one another.

Who would have thought that sacrificing would feel so good?

Ironic

Only I would win a contest that I didn't enter and be asked to pay for my prizes...
This picture was submitted by a friend of mine on my behalf YEARS ago. I knew nothing about it until they first tried to sell me the "book" that it would be published in. Now they want to give me some wonderful prizes, they just need me to pay 169.00 +shipping and handling for their generosity....

It was kind of neat to open my email and see this moment captured in time. The girls were about 6 and 10 at the time. Now they are 14 and 18. Time flies when we are having fun!

Here is the link to the PRIZE is... Just what a mom of six needs!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Matthew's Haiku


Beautiful flowers
pine oak and maples, green grass
Ahh... Beautiful spring

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

a day with Joseph

And what a day it has been. We are working through some real "issues". That being his very strong will and disobedience and my fatigue and discouragement after listening to Mother's Rule of Life by Kimberly Hahn. I am wondering if I am really cut out for this mothering business. Perhaps I missed my calling to the religious life? Is it too late to apply?

After several trips to his room, a firm, but loving talk, and an old fashioned spank to the hindquarters, I told Joseph he would be having to talk with his daddy tonight about his behavior. Upon hearing this he informed me that he would be calling 911. (That used to scare me when the now 18 year old used to say it, now I welcome it... please take me away! I need a break!)
After stifling my giggle, I inquired as to why he would be calling the authorities. He replied "because you are so mean!" After which he promptly picked up the calculator and proceded to dial. No one was there. Pity. I was looking forward to having my meals cooked for me and having to keep only a 8 X 12 foot room clean. I could handle that!

I love my husband


Really, I do. I just want to have him move into the garage. I mean, it's only fair, right? No, I don't really want him to move into the garage, just sleep there.

Poor thing. He has been coughing for over a week now. I asked him this weekend if he thought he should go to the doctor. What do you think he said? Well, he is man remember and men don't go to the doctor. Nope, they cough all night and keep you awake so that you'll get sick and go to the doctor. uuuggghhh...

The best part of the day is when the kids are finally asleep and we have some time together to do neat things (like the budget) together. Nothing warms my heart more that to see him falling asleep on top of his laptop while I am talking to him. You see, he took some medicine to help him sleep and stop his cough. Well, he slept alright. Straight through the coughing. Baby and I, well we enjoyed watching the sun rise together.

I love you, honey. Really I do. Maybe I'll go sleep in the garage.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Josephisms


Some of the things he has said today...

Mommy, can we scoove the table (combination of scoot and move) so that I can jiggle the balls? (he means juggle, but who is going to correct him?)

In the middle of the day, out of no where he will drop to his knees and cry out... "GOD, PLEASE HELP ME!" I have no idea why, I am afraid to know actually. Is he planning some horrible act against me and begging for help to control himself??

The kid cracks me up. Tonight he was doing some funky dance moves after I scooved the table. I wish I had a video camera... I'd win the AFV contest for sure!

The infamous "House"


This is the house that sits directly behind me. I look at it constantly as my windows all look upon it. Where we live has very strict covenants about many things, including the color which you paint your home. If you veer at all from the original color, which should be "nature-oriented", you must have approval from the local governing body. I guarantee you that this house did not go through the proper channels, so I get the pleasure of viewing a not-so-pretty shade of yellow-green all day. It almost blends with the pine pollen that is making my allergies act up right now...

Update: Apparently several neighbors are a bit aghast at the color of this home and have reported it to the "authorities". We'll probably see a new paint job in the next few weeks!

Monday, March 06, 2006

more reflecting

I was able to make it to confession this weekend and it was an eye opening experience for me. As God peels back these layers which I tend to hide under, I discover more about myself that I need to work on.

I truly need a spiritual director, but finding one has been a challenge. Each person I have asked, has had to refuse for one reason or another. I would prefer a priest, and have been told that spiritual direction should be done by a priest, but this is not at all easy to find one that has the time to do this.

Therefore, I use the blessed Mother as my spiritual director, of sorts. Her model. Her ability to love and to say yes, knowing how difficult life might become, but willing to go through it because it is for God.

How willing am I to get up and face the challenges that He has but before me each day? Sometimes, most of the time, I am not very cooperative. In fact, if I was two, I'd probably be guilty of throwing a temper tantrum, internally. Sometimes, it's not so internal...

In our Mother's Rule of Life discussion group, we talked about saying yes to God. As mothers our vocation is to care for our children, our husband, our home, but doing so all the while growing in holiness. "Yes, Lord, I will wash these clothes for you. Yes, Lord, I will clean the floor for you. Yes, Lord, I will be patient with my impatient 4 year old. Yes, Lord, I will get out of bed with little to no sleep, because I love you Lord, and I love the children that you have blessed me with."

After attending confession this weekend, I became acutely aware of how very easy I fall into sin. My thoughts alone wander at an incredible pace directly towards that which is not of God. I need some serious re-training, re-directing of my mind.

Lent is a wonderful season to do this. Daily sacrifices with daily prayer practices help greatly.

Right now, there is a huge chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting calling my name, VERY LOUDLY, in my kitchen. Not that this can even compare to Christ being tempted by Satan in the desert, but I feel the temptation. It is overwhelming. But I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Get behind me Satan... I am going up to bed where I can't hear that cake calling anymore....

Friday, March 03, 2006

My Word Cloud

casting off, shots in the legs, and other ramblings



Matthew was finally able to have his cast removed! Unfortunately, his arm is not completely healed therefore, he is bound by blood to keep his splint on at all times (except to shower) for the next two weeks. He is quite bummed as he was truly hoping to be able to perform his Double Bahng Mahng Ee form at the Demo April 1. Since he won't be able to practice it, he can't do the form.
On another note, he still doesn't have his full load of chores around the house!



Baby Brendan went to his 4 month check up and the boy is slowing down on his growth. He is only 17 lbs 3 ounces. I was sure he was 19 or 20 lbs! I guess it only feels like that when you are holding him all day... mental note, let the child's feet touch the ground once in a while.

Poor baby had to endure 3 shots and is feeling quite miserable. He's taking a nap right now, but we have Tylenol going in every 4 hours to keep him comfortable. He is so sweet, even when he is not feeling himself.

I only made it to the Y once this week, thanks to allergy medication keeping me too sleepy to get out of bed. Yesterday, I woke up at 4:45 am (15 mins later than I usually do) got myself together and drove out to the Y. I was looking at the clock on the way there and thinking to myself, "5:02!!! I'm LATE!!" Then I had to laugh at the absurdity of the scene. How is it that 5:02 am is too late to get ANYWHERE??? The only time I should be thinking that it is too late is if it is my BEDTIME! I know I am hard on myself, judging everything I do, feeling like I fail most of the time, but even I have to admit that telling myself "I'm late" at that time of the day is ridiculous, not too mention annoying!!

So it's off to confession in the morning. I've got lots to tell him this week. Hope the line isn't too long... if so, they'll be waiting awhile.

I was reading the scriptures for Mass this Sunday and spent some time with 1 Peter, chapter 3. I love that chapter. It is so encouraging to Christians living in a Hostile World. In fact, that is the name of the chapter! Funny how that works. If you need any encouragement at all to do the right thing, read this chapter. It will reaffirm your very existence as a Christian.

1 Pt 3:15-16 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give and explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

One thing I have is hope, thank you, Lord!

The journey thus far

Going to Mass Wednesday was quite the surreal experience. I sat, well stood mostly to keep the baby content, with my beautiful family and felt the solemnity of the day. Father C.Y. reminded us to fast, not just from food, but from all that keeps us from God.

As I received my ashes and was reminded that I will return to dust one day, I could not help but think of my mom. She has been on my mind quite often lately. We are approaching one year since she has passed and I find myself reliving last year over and over again. Thoughts about what I was doing this exact day last year. Did I realize how short my time with her was? Did I honor her enough? Or did I let my selfish nature get in the way? I remember feeling angry that she was in the hospital so much. That I just wanted to relax at home with the kids. That I was so sick from my newly discovered pregnancy and I was too tired to go back downtown. I did spend most every day with her the last few weeks, but what was the spirit of my heart?

Lent reminds us to turn away from sin and return to the Lord. All of the things I am "sacrificing" are actually the things that take the place of Him. Instead of praying through a moment when I become frustrated or angry, I eat chocolate. Not the best for spiritual health nor physical. More importantly, not a very good commentary on my Christian life.

I am reminded by my mother's death that our time here is so short. She is gone and though it feels like she is only a phone call away, I must accept that she is not. Her cremated remains still sit in my closet because I am unable to let her go. She has returned to dust in spite of my will for her. She, as I knew her, no longer exists. I can hold onto her ashes for all eternity, but she will never return to them. She is not there. She is basking in the glory of God. She is sitting at the feet of Jesus, healthy, happy, and healed.

The last few days have been uncomfortable. I hesitate to say painful because during this time of the year, I am reminded that Christ endured the most pain of all. He withstood pain, hunger, thirst, and most of all temptation whilst He stayed in the desert for 40 days. He felt the pain of each of our sins in the garden of Gethsamne, so much so that He sweat blood. He even asked His father to spare Him the horrible pain that He knew He was to endure, but ultimately accepted His fate because of His love for us. He willingly took the crucifixion that you and I are saved by. I can not compare my discomfort with His pain.
I am choosing to embrace my times of strife with gladness. This is called joyful suffering and I am willing to endure it for the sake of our world. For the sake of my sins, for the sake of my Lord, I will walk through the valley.

For by His stripes, I am healed. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.