Thursday, June 21, 2018

Babysitting Grandkids-- A Distinct Privilege

I have the distinct privilege and special blessing to be able to babysit two of my grandsons usually at least once a week. Warms my heart.

This is looking out the sliding glass door of our new room. My garden shoes with Blaise's waterproof sandals. It had been muddy the previous time we were out in the back yard so we left our shoes on this step. This time we walked right in, but Blaise thought they should be left outside and promptly left them arranged like this. Such a sweet scene. Nana's shoes and Blaise's shoes. I loved it. (So much that I took a picture!) 

And then there are moments like this one when Blaise got up from his nap but was still a little too groggy to want to jump right in to playing. I held him on my lap until he wanted to get down.

 Sometimes I take the two of them, Blaise and Jude, for a walk. This works especially well when they're tired. Wasn't expecting BOTH of them to fall asleep at 11 o'clock in the morning though. I let them take naps there while I stayed on the porch and worked on my laptop.

 What joy this little face brings me.

And THIS little face. Baby Jude is getting so strong he can do a plank!

And how I am anticipating spending time with the grandson who lives in a different state! Soon I will be visiting him for two weeks, helping with his care. It's a special treat to be with him because he is so much further away. Love him to pieces and miss him so much.

And caring for Joey is a bit like going back in time because he is the image of his father as a baby.

God is so good. Throughout life we are repeatedly given opportunities to experience delight. At this time in my life my great joy is being with this next three grandsons.

Thanks be to God....

Monday, June 18, 2018

Love Those Very Specific Instructions...

My daughter Mary gave me this beautiful orchid on Mother's Day, May 13, of this year, 2018.

Here it is now. I have not killed it! In fact, it does not look much different than it did when I first received it.

Is that because I have a green thumb? No, because I don't. I think I have it in the right location for sun, so that helps. But I'm convinced that the real reason it still looks good is that the watering instructions are very specific. Not just: Be careful not to overwater. Or: Keep soil moist. I know what those words mean, but the quantities are difficult to determine, right?

Here are the care instructions: Water with three ice cubes once a week. I can do that, right? Three ice cubes. Got it. I water it every Sunday.

There are times that I wish I could discern the Lord's will in such a specific way.

From the reading for 6/15 from the Book of Kings: The Lord was not in the strong wind, not in the earthquake, and not in the fire. The Lord spoke in the "tiny whispering sound." May we all have enough silence in our life to hear the still, small voice. May we hear it and obey, that we might bloom like the orchid.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Twelve Year Prayers of St. Bridget on the Passion of Jesus

A friend of mine recently told me about this twelve year novena on the Passion of Jesus.

I know, right? Twelve years? I often have trouble completing a simple nine day novena.

But there are five amazing promises revealed by our Lord to Saint Bridget to anyone who prays this novena. AND, if you die before the twelve years are finished the Lord will accept them as having been prayed in their entirety. Also, if a day or two is missed for a valid reason, they can be made up later.

Here are the promises:

1. The soul who prays them suffers no Purgatory.

2. The soul who prays them will be accepted among the Martyrs, as though he had spilled his blood for his faith.

3. The soul who prays them can choose three others whom Jesus will then keep in a state of grace sufficient to become holy.

4. No one in the four successive generations of the soul who prays them will be lost.

5. The soul who prays them will be made conscious of his death one month in advance.

The devotion was pronounced good by Pope Clement XII and Pope Innocent X confirmed this revelation as being from the Lord.

Saint Bridget of Sweden claimed these promises were from the Lord. Would our merciful God have allowed her to be declared a saint if she had misunderstood the promises? I think not.

The photo above and information here is from a folded card distributed by the Dupage Marian Center.

You can order the card with the listed prayers HERE. Or you can find an online copy HERE from the

The prayers consist of one Our Father and one Hail Mary followed by a short written prayer for each of the listed seven events in the life of Our Lord that involved the shedding of His Precious Blood.

1. The Circumcision
2. The Suffering on the Mount of Olives
3. The Flogging
4. The Crowning of Thorns
5. The Carrying of the Cross
6. The Crucifixion of Jesus
7. The Piercing of Jesus' Side

The prayers take less than 10 minutes. You read the promises, right? I started on May 1 of this year. So far so good. One month complete. 143 more to go...if I live that long. Do I think I will finish it without missing a day? Probably not, unless the Lord provides extraordinary graces. Is just forgetting a valid reason? Hmmm. I don't know. But are there not great benefits to prayer and mediation on the passion regardless? And you never know, perhaps our Merciful Lord would give partial credit. That would be like Him, wouldn't it? God is never outdone in compassion and generosity.

Our Lord is so good. Ten minutes a day? And the five graces above? Blessed be God!!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Gluten Free Sweets...and a Confession

I cannot eat gluten. It's not that I will die if I eat it...I'll just feel like it.  Yes, gluten and I do not mix. I thank God that I discovered this fact before the effects got any worse than they did. Besides horrendous digestive issues, I also had trouble with knee pain not improved by physical therapy, extensive muscle aches and pains, headaches, fatigue and general tummy trouble. ALL of these symptoms were alleviated within a few months of no gluten. Yes, you might have to give it up for a number of months before feeling the full effects. It was quite rejuvenating for me. I will never, ever intentionally eat gluten again.

So that means a whole lot of foods are off limits. Except for the gluten free varieties, I can eat no bread, no pasta, almost no baked goods (except gf). Yes, I'm talking about giving up bagels, donuts, awful lot of foods I loved. And that's just the obvious culprits. There are also flavorings that contain gluten, thickeners, coloring....I have to check everything. And, let me tell you, it is SO WORTH IT.

So, I found this package of gluten free chocolate chip cookies from Tate's Bake Shop in Busch's while shopping hungry. Of course, I bought them. For the record, Busch's has a lot of labeled gluten free items and even a chicken salad in the prepared food counter labeled gluten free. I buy it every time I go in there.

So what's the confession? I ate the entire bag in 24 hours!!! (So embarrassed.) To be fair, I should say in my own defense that there were only about a dozen in there. And as the package says, they were "deeply delicious" and "uniquely crispy." Still, a dozen cookies is a lot to eat in 24 hours. But I never get cookies, OK? Were they deeply delicious? I'm not sure what that means. They were very good. If some things are deeply delicious, are others superficially delicious? Hmm, yeah I can think of a few things. Some candy and some packaged food, for instance. Uniquely crispy? They were crispy. Maybe not uniquely so.

But they were quite good and I very much enjoyed them.  I recommend them. They would be good by anyone's standards, whether you can eat gluten or not....but don't eat the whole package. You'll feel guilty.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(as provided by the EWTN website HERE)

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and our reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

spare us, O Lord.

graciously hear us, O Lord.

have mercy on us, O Lord.

R. Make our hearts like to Thine.
Let us pray;

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

I love hanging out with my daughters and daughters-in-law. They are great company, all of them. (I have three daughters and two daughters-in-law.)

I meet my daughter Mary (above) every week for lunch. We catch up on the little details of life that aren't important enough to text or call about. She tells me about what's going on with her, and I tell her what's going on with me. It's a sweet time and I very much look forward to it every week. I can't eat gluten and it warms my heart that she is a very strong advocate in restaurants. When I say that I don't want to bother people she says, "Mom! Tell them!" And she's right.

Last week my daughter-in-law Elle joined us. Double fun!

Relationships between mothers and adult children are different than when the children were young or teenagers. I try to remind myself that it's no longer my responsibility to guide them in decision making. In fact, their decisions in many ways are none of my business. Unless, of course, they choose to talk about them or even ask my opinion. If I'm not asked, I try not to share my opinion except in fairly neutral ways, as you might with a friend.

This is not always easy. My children are all responsible adults, but they are still young. Nevertheless, they have a right to live without unwanted parental intrusion. If my adult children are reading this they are probably thinking: Would that you actually did this! Ha! And my response is that I'm doing my best. And, as always, my best will often fall short.

I am blessed that my adult children do spend time with me. It helps that most of them live quite close by. Sometimes they will even say the rosary with me. How cool is that? I am very, very blessed.

Monday, June 04, 2018

What a Day at the Beach!

 My son and daughter-in-law who are the only ones in the family to not live in Michigan suggested we have a day-at-the beach for whoever could come, on Lake Michigan.
It sounded like a great idea since we don't get to see them as often as the rest of the family. We thought we'd just see who else might be able to join us. Everyone is always quite busy and we weren't sure if anyone would be able to come.

To our surprise everyone was able to come for at least part of the day-- all 14 of us!

So, naturally, we thought we should check airbnb to see if we could find a place for just Friday night in order to maximize time at the beach on Friday.

Not only did we find a place, it was a place that allowed us extra people! The owners bent over backwards to make us feel welcome even leaving a baby pool filled with water for our little ones as well as bubbles, balls, badminton, bean bag toss, etc. God bless them. They were wonderful!!

We hung out in the backyard, watched a car show parade from the front yard, played games, and just generally enjoyed each other's company with nothing that needed to be done!

And...there was no wifi! Woohoo. No temptation to look at screens instead of family members. (I include myself among those who would be tempted.)

We just talked, played, enjoyed each other's company.

Watching grandbaby boys alone was all the entertainment I needed.

But having all my children, children-in-law, and grandsons all in one place....well, there's nothing like it, as I've written about on this blog before.

Every mother gets it. Just warms the heart like nothing else. But I've learned to enjoy it when it  happens, sometimes on Christmas or Thanksgiving. It's becoming more of a rare occasion. I never expected it to happen with 5 days notice over Memorial Day weekend. It was a gift from God.

And then, the next day on Lake Michigan! We went to Silver Beach in Saint Joseph, Michigan. How can you NOT go to a place named Saint Joseph. Right?

 Time to relax.

 Time to just chat and catch up.

Time to play in the sand.

Everybody enjoyed the splash pad-- all ages....Well, I mostly enjoyed taking pictures. :-)

Every 15 minutes there was a deluge. Such fun.

 Then dinner-- all together. And they actually gave us a table for 14.

Tired babies. Relaxed parents. Happy grandparents.

As for me, I could not stop taking pictures....Lots of them.

 And since, as the main family photographer, I"m rarely in photos, I decided to pass the camera off and get in some!

Everybody. And, yes, this will probably be the Christmas card....

 Despite their exhaustion the babies were amazingly good.

Ice cream always helps. Hehe.


Then a walk on the pier for those who could stay...

Youngest daughter with our youngest grandson, who is her godson...

Yes, the two of us....

I have some of the best in-laws in the world. (One son-in-law and two daughter-in-laws.)

Well, it was one fun day. God is good. All the time!