Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Long Over Due Pictorial

The kids are growing so fast this summer, and I've hardly had a moment to sit back and chronicle the days. I had big plans to get some things organized around the house, and while we did tackle the garage (which was 15 years in the making), I haven't quite completed my master closet (another 15 years in the making).

Why we tend to hold onto stuff, I'll never understand. My new motto, if it isn't blessing our life, then it needs to go bless someone else.

I let my dining room table that I have loved for over 20 years go this month. My neighbor didn't have one and I had mine in the garage since November. It made me cry to think it wasn't blessing someone else, but I could not find anyone who wanted it. It was in beautiful condition, and I know it will bring enjoyment to the new owners.

Here is a small sampling of some of what the kids have been up to. Unfortunately, I haven't taken many pictures.

In June, the big highlights were my nephew, Seb, coming to visit

and Bean turning 17...

Three of my favorite guys in the world were at the party, Foo, Uncle Ryan, and Uncle Deo.

Fish decided that perhaps modeling is in his future...

Boo enjoyed his cake and ice cream...

And lest you think his palate is not being properly groomed...

Our sweet little 2nd degree black belt agreed to try something a bit girlie this week. She is enrolled in a friend's ballet camp this week and is going to be in a small production of Peter and the Wolf. Ok, she's still a tomboy at heart, she was cast in the role of Peter...

Hopefully, I'll have more picture to share later. I need to remember to bring the camera!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Face

What a cute little guy! Hans is doing well, but as always needs our continued prayers. I had to post one of his latest photos because he is just so beautiful!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Comforting Words

One of my current favorite Christian Artists is Aaron Shust. His music,and especially his lyrics, really move me.

I was running this morning and played his album. These words, ones I've heard many times before, really touched me today.

I was lost and I was blind
I was begging for a sign
that someone
Somewhere heard me

As You whispered in the wind
And You shouted in the waves
That You heard me
That You loved me
And I could finally
Stop resisting

You’re Everything I ever wanted
And never knew I needed

You’re Everywhere I ever go

I can’t hide from Your Love anymore

I begin to drop my guard
Faithful as the Morning Star
You show me tender mercy

I’m surrounded by Your beauty
I get lost in Heaven’s

It never changes
Never ending
Why would I want to?
I don’t want to.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Strength of a Mother

Today was a day that a precious life was celebrated. Hayden O'Brien, just 17 years of age, has left his earthly life and gone on to his eternal one.

The funeral Mass was so beautiful. It was held at the family's parish, St. Mary's. The church is an old country church, originally erected by German immigrants. The inside of the church was so wonderful to see. Special paintings and stencilings throughout the church have been carefully restored to capture the devotion and love of the people who built this church.

The church is very small and might hold 150 - 200 people. There had to be 3 times that many that attended the funeral. Most of us stayed outside for the Mass, some had seats but many of us stood among the Marian gardens that adorned the parish grounds.

It was hot. It was humid. But God provided enough shade and just a slight breeze that made it possible for us to feel comfortable. He is always so good to us.

When I heard of Hayden's death, I found myself asking, "Why?" Why, if God can do anything, why would He let this unspeakable tragedy happen? Why does He let any child, any person suffer? Why does He take babies from their mothers? Mothers and fathers from their young children? Why can't we understand?

I attended the Mass partly looking for an answer perhaps, to some of these questions. I know that there isn't one. I know that we can not possibly understand all of God's plan. And then came Father's homily.

During the eulogy, Father noted that the end of our life on earth is not the end of our life. Our life has changed. We move from our earthly life to our eternal one. Sometimes this happens before we are ready for it to and we feel that we still have so much to say to them, so much to ask them.

After pondering this for awhile, something hit me. If our lives do not end, they merely change, then our relationship with those who die doesn't end; it also changes. It goes from a relationship of the human form to a relationship of the spirit. I suppose it would be similar to when I carried each of my children. I couldn't really speak to them or touch them, though I could feel them moving inside of me. But I could pray with them. I could speak through my heart, without words or even with words, directly to them. There were no interruptions when I spoke with them then. Just as there are now no interruptions when I speak with my mom now. There are no voicemails left for her to answer. I just call on her, I feel her presence, and I begin to share with her in our changed relationship.

I don't ever wish the death of a loved one upon another, because in our humanity, we yearn for a person's touch, their scent, their smile to fill our days, I do find great comfort in this reflection. Life does not end, it changes. Relationships do not end, they change.

After the funeral Mass, Hayden's casket was carried out by several Boy Scouts. It was a very moving scene to witness. They placed his beautiful casket, with images of the twelve apostles at the last supper and the Pieta adorning it, onto a hand-drawn cart which was pulled by the Scouts to the cemetery. We followed behind as we said our final goodbyes to this wonderful young man.

A home-schooled boy. He touched so many lives. I attended the Mass with some home-schooling friends, as this is how we came to know Hayden and his family. As I turned around, I saw a former neighbor that had moved 40 miles away more than 10 years ago and discovered that they knew him through Scouting. Inside the fellowship hall, I saw a running friend whom also knew him through Scouting. Hayden touched many lives. Many that he probably never knew he touched.

As we stood listening to Mass, I overheard some of the folks from the hospital where Hayden's dad works comment that they had grown up Catholic but hadn't been to Church in years, especially not a Catholic one. I witnessed them fall into the comforting traditions that accompany us at each and every Mass, from the sign of the Cross, the the sign of Peace, to the reception of Communion. I saw others who obviously had a very hard time being in any church, and put their feelings aside to be there for their friend during his time of grief.

Afterwards, I had an opportunity to speak with Hayden's mother and she was glowing. While I realize that she hasn't even begun to process what has happened just yet, her faith is amazing. She is trusting in God's plan and though I went to offer my support to her and her family, I found that I am the one that received that support through her faith.

She is an amazing woman and she has the strength of a mother. A very special mother, similar to that of the Blessed Mother. She was comforting those who had come to comfort her. She was mothering those that were coming to mother her.

She spoke of her son with such pride and admiration. I fell in love with him through her, the way that we come to know Christ through His Mother.

I ask you to continue to keep the O'Brien family in your daily prayers as they move through their grief and sorrow.