Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!!

Here are the new year's resolutions I currently have. (I will probably add more.)

1. Pray more!

2. Exercise more-- specifically, by taking Lucky for a walk every day and exercising at Curves at least twice a week, three if possible.

3. Pray more!

4. Lose some weight. Ask myself before I eat anything-- am I really hungry? Do I want to lose weight or have a few seconds of pleasure tasting something?

5. Pray more!

6. Keep a cleaner tidier house .

7. Throw stuff out or give it away!

8. Pray more!

9. Keep my mouth shut more.

10. Be a better guard of my thoughts.

Guess which one I think is most important?

(Hint: 1,3,5, and 8. If I put it down four times maybe I'll get the message. (smile)

May the Lord give us all the graces we need to be truly converted in the new year. And may he richly bless you and everyone you love in 2007!!!!!

Gorgeous icon!!

Do you want to see a gorgeous icon painted by Mary Poppins Not? Wow. Homeschooling mother of seven and she produced this beauty. I am so impressed. Obviously God willed for her to use her talent in this way or she would not have been able to do it. God bless you MPN for giving God such glory!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Monique, thirteen year old par excellent

My niece Monique is here for a few days. She knew we were tidying the house for some more guests. As I mentioned that we needed to clear off a certain table that had many Christmas gifts, etc. on it, Monique pointed out that we really needed more room in the family room closet. She then said, "Do you want me to clean it out for you?" Did I mention that she's thirteen? I said, "Sure!"

She then proceeded to take everything out of the closet, dusted every item, threw out incomplete puzzles, washed all the shelves, tidied the games..... It was amazing. She's thirteen!!! Is this your typical thirteen year old? I think not!!

What a gift this was to me. The closet looks fabulous and there's so much more room now. Did I mention that she's thirteen?? LOL

May God bless Monique in every way. She's a lovely young woman who is kind as well as gifted. I'm very proud to be her aunt.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ears Pierced

Today Mary had her ears pierced. I think it was harder on me than on her. I thought it would sound like a crisper, shorter pop gun kind of sound.

Instead it was more like a hole puncher-- kind of krrcch sound-- like when you've bitten the inside of your lip really hard. The awful sound of flesh being penetrated. I'm making it sound very gruesome. It was actually very quick and she said it hardly hurt at all.

She's wanted to do this for a while and most of the girls in her class already have pierced ears-- not that that means it's a good idea, as I've pointed out to her. I guess I ran out of reasons to say no. She will be limited to small post earrings for some time. They do look cute.

Hope everyone is recovering from the Christmas rush. I'm enjoying time with my family.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mary is 12!!!!

My second youngest daughter is twelve years old! I can't believe it. Born the day after Christmas she had to be named Mary. I was in labor all day Christmas that year, wondering if she would indeed be born on Christmas day. I was glad she waited until the next day so she would have her own special day.

She always has all her out of town cousins here on her birthday which is nice. We usually have a big family party.

What a gift Mary is to our family. I was forty when she was born and I've always explained to her that that makes her a very special blessing. Not many women are so blessed at forty.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My 22 year old son likes this picture of me better than the one I currently have. Since he's been very good to me lately (smile) I'm humoring him.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Still not finished....

OK. Here it is, the 23rd, or Christmas eve-eve as Deb's kids say (LOL) and I'm not finished shopping. So I'm taking the advice of my friend Sally. The kids will get some presents on Christmas and the rest on Epiphany. I've told them if they're not finished shopping they can do the same thing-- give the presents they have on Christmas and the rest on Epiphany. If Jesus could get his presents on the Epiphany instead of the day of his birth I'm sure my kids can wait for some too. This gives me more time, plus I can shop the sales. Not a bad idea. Perhaps it will be a new tradition in our family. Everybody seems OK with it.

My brother is going to have Christmas dinner at his house in Lansing. So I don't need to plan the dinner, except that I am bringing dessert. My one remaining challenge is that I need to find a sub for my adoration hour in our Eucharistic Chapel for Christmas night from 8:00 to 9:00 pm. My weekly hour is Monday from 8 to 9. I've done it other Christmases and it's been a wonderful blessing to spend an hour in the presence of Jesus on His birthday. Anyone in my area want to do it?

I hope you are all enjoying the remaining hours of Advent and that your hearts are at peace.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sick as a dog...

Yesterday I was sick as a dog. I mean, I could not believe it. Headache, cramping, yucky gastro-intestinal stuff. My whole body hurt. I asked my dear 22 year old son, home from Notre Dame, if he could take over for me. Without even a moan, he got out of bed and proceeded to wake up his four younger siblings, got them moving, making lunches, cut the corned beef which was in the slow cooker for Mary's "Christmas in Ireland" project, which he aslo packed up and delivered to her classroom. He then spent three hours subbing for me in the second grade classroom. (I'm the teacher's aide.) Now that's a dear son.

Today I'm quite a bit better but still limping. Just starting to try to eat some crackers and sipping coke. Dear son said he'd take the girls to school if I wanted him to but I told him I thought I could do that.

These are days when I really have to wonder what the Lord has in mind. I have a ton of Christmas shopping left to do, my house is in shambles, the kids can't find clean clothes (without difficulty), the tree is up but not decorated, My son is in a play that I need to see either tonight or tomorrow night. I really need to grocery shop..... Perhaps the Lord just want s me to fully surrender to him and realize that neither Christmas nor anything else is entirely up to me. This may be a simpler Christmas. Maybe God knew I really needed rest and only a virus would do it. I spent the entire day yesterday in bed. The kids will still have presents. Maybe not as many little fun things as usual, but they will have a few gifts. What is most important is that the love of the Christ Child be in my heart, that I love nurture, and care for my family as best I can.
Real love does not consist of a perfect, clean house and lots of presents.

Advice to myself: It is not all up to you. Ask for help. Big kids can help shop for little kids. Focus on the people you love-- listening, responding, nurturing, supporting, giving all your attention. Don't sweat the details. Allow the joy of the Nativity to embrace your heart. Your children will be as joyful as you are. This doesn't have to be like every other Christmas. It can't be. Grandpa is not here, for one thing. And circumstances have prevented the whole preparation from going smoothly (or even going at all since yesterday.) But Christmas is not all about me. It is about the Incarnation. And the love of God can fill this home and even make it the sweetest Christmas ever. May I have the humility to let it happen.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saying good-bye to parents

Last night I had a dream about my father and woke up missing him terribly.

Tonight I went to the visitation of the mother of a close friend of ours. Last week I attended the funeral of the mother of another close friend. Two weeks before that I was at a funeral of an old friend of mine who was also of that generation. It seems a lot of people are leaving. Is this just what happens when you enter your fifties?

I think death seems so strange to us, so unnatural, because we know deep within our souls that we are indeed eternal beings. We do not belong to this world. Our lives here are very, very temporary.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ladies talking football?

This morning while watching the news shows I saw a woman journalist commenting on football. OK. I'm sorry. There are just some things, in my opinion, that men are more suited to do than women. I cannot watch a woman sportscaster commenting on football without a little smirk on my face. Football is just such a testosterone-laden sport. It's a guy thing. It's almost the quintessential guy-thing.

I like watching football sometimes with my boys. This is a fairly recent development. For many years I have hated football. Why did I hate it? Because I didn't get it and I don't mean just the rules, which are complicated enough. I didn't understand the power aspect of it. The toughness. The just-this-side-of violence part of it. Football is a very masculine sport.

So when I see a perfectly coiffed woman talking with feigned enthusiasm about the various aspects of the game, I just can't take her seriously. It's a guy-thing. I feel like telling her to stop trying to be something she is not. A woman might be able to understand and analyze football, but it sure seems to me that she has to do it from the outside looking in. She will not be looking at it the same way a male enthusiast would. For her, it always seems a little forced.

And, for heaven's sakes, don't send the female commentator into the locker room!!! Nothing makes her look more ridiculous.

Perhaps, I'm being unfair. But that's how it seems to this opinionated mom.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No cash, no credit cards, Yikes!

I had a nice trip to Notre Dame. No one else wanted to make the six hour round trip for just an hour or two at ND. So I had a quiet peaceful ride by myself until.... my daughter called to tell me that I had left my wallet on the stairs.

At first I thought, Oh well, I can charge what I need. Then I realized that my charge cards are in my wallet too, as well as my license. I looked at the gas tank and realized I only had a quarter tank of gas left and no cash or charge card to buy more. I called my husband and we calculated on Mapquest how many more miles I had to go and it seemed the gas would last. Once I arrived at Notre Dame my son could buy the gas.

Then I realized I was going to need two dollars for the Indiana toll! I scrounged around the bottom of my purse and found several dollars in change.

It was strange feeling so vulnerable without any money or credit cards. I take so much for granted.

Anyway, the time spent at ND was wonderful. My son and I lit a candle and said a rosary at the grotto. Then we went to the bookstore and did some Christmas shopping. (I did have my checkbook. Fortunately, they allowed me to use my son's wallet for ID) We have enough Notre Dame fans in the family that we were able to purchase for quite a few people.

Then-- a nice, peaceful, three-hour ride home. My firstborn and I had great uninterrupted conversation time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Weird, new stuff

I met with my dad's attorney today to talk about the estate. I'm learning a lot of new stuff. I've never been very interested in financial stuff and always just took my dad's advice whenever a question came up. Now I've got to learn about it.

I went to my dad's house to get some papers and pick up some things. It felt very strange to be in there with him gone. Once in a while it seemed like there was a faint fragrance of my mother, although whe hasn't been in that house for over 10 years. She had been in a nursing home with advanced alzheimer's for over ten years. It may me wonder, in a good way, if she might in some way be spiritually present watching me, along with my dad. It brought tears to my eyes as I realized that if it's possible to do that from heaven I'm sure they would want to. Maybe they were there.

Tomorrow I drive to Notre Dame to pick up my son for the Christmas holiday. That will be fun, fun, fun. I hope he will say a rosary with me at the grotto.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No more dial-up

Guess what? I'm actually getting high-speed internet tomorrow!! (I hope. the last time we scheduled this the guy didn't show up.) I'm excited. I'll be able to read many more blogs in the same amount of time. You wouldn't believe how slow this thing is now. I actually try to link to somebody and then go in the kitchen to do something real quick so as not to have to just sit here and wait. I'm looking forward to getting caught up with everybody. Maybe I'll actually be able to post some pictures without having to tie up the computer ( and the phone!) for 45 minutes. LOL

Does anybody know if you can put a password on internet explorer to prevent people from getting on the internet unsupervised? We will, of course, install a filter but I understand no filter is foolproof. Right now we have to put in a password to go online. With cable it will just come on, right?

Maybe I'll check with Jody at "Technology for Mothers Reviews and How Tos".

Anyway, here's keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How ready are you?

Today someone said to me that she has almost all the Christmas presents wrapped. Wrapped!! She said this with a little tension in her voice, as though she thought she was cutting things pretty close. OK. Want to know what I have done? Almost nothing!!

I have a couple gifts for my children (not a couple for each, just a couple total) and two presents (chew things) for the dog! I know I have had a lot on my plate and clearly would naturally be behind this year, but I have never, ever had nearly all the presents wrapped two weeks before Christmas. Most of my wrapping happens Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed. Now that's down to the wire. I'm proud of myself if I get maybe a third of the wrapping done before Christmas Eve.

I wonder what it's like to be as organized as this friend of mine. I'm just not there. I think if I tried to be I'd end up being mean to a lot of people in the process. (Although she is as sweet as she can be.) It's kind of like my house cleaning. Years ago I realized that the cleaner my house was the meaner I was to my kids. I decided the kids were more important and my house has been messy ever since. LOL

I hope you all have the level of organization you need to be peaceful. God bless.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Guadalupe Mission

Today my family participated in the Guadalupe Mission for the unborn. It was an incredible experience. With permission from the bishop, the exposed Blessed Sacrament was actually taken in procession to Planned Parenthood where we all said the rosary for an end to abortion. Then there was actually benediction in front of Planned Parenthood. It was just awesome. How I wished I had had a digital camera so I could post a picture of it here. The exposed Blessed Sacrament in the foreground with Planned Parenthood in the background. I don't know how it can stay open after the presence of Jesus coming so near. I wonder what the next day of "business" will be like.

Oh Lord, may your Eucharistic Presence bring that clinic down. May the hearts of all the employees turn toward you. May the light of your truth suddenly be revealed to them. And may the killing end, by the power of Your name.

Oh Lord, have mercy on us all that the killing has gone on for so long....have mercy.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Is he home?

The other day my brother asked to see my father's will. I had a copy in a totebag that I nearly always have with me. I looked around and didn't see it. I looked around my bedroom. It wasn't there. I looked under the bed, in the closet, on the stairway. It wasn't there. I went out and searched the car. Then I really started to get frantic. Where could I have left my father's will?? I thought I must have left it somewhere odd, having put it down without realizing it...
I went into the laundry room and looked around. It wasn't there. I started to panic. Then I looked up and realized that if my father were already in heaven he could intercede for me. I said, "Dad, if you're in heaven, help me find the will..... in the next five minutes." I didn't want to be deceived. I wanted to make it hard. Then I prayed, "Lord, if my father is not yet in heaven, please do not let me find it in the next five minutes. You know I will take it as a sign that he is home. Don't let me find it if he is not."

Then I went back upstairs. Not even a minute had passed. My oldest daughter was in the kitchen. I asked if she had seen my blue totebag. She said, "Yeah, it's in my car." Stunned, I just looked at her, smiling. She said, " you want me to go get it?" I just said, "Yeah, that would be great." Later I told her about my prayer.

I will not assume my father is in heaven. I will still pray for his soul and have Masses said for him. But there were indeed a lot of people praying for him in the last month of his life. And I did ask for the intercession of Saint Joseph, who is said to never let anyone down. It would seem I have good reason to hope.

God bless all you prayer warriors.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception

What a gift to the Church is the Blessed Mother. Lord, I thank you for giving us your mother.

This day is also significant in our family because it is the Baptismal day of my son Jim. Perhaps that is why he seems to have a special relationship with Our Lady.

When I was a little girl my family said the rosary together. My mother had gotten for us a little viewfinder (remember those?) with 3D pictures of each mystery. We would put the little slide in, take a look for a few minutes, and pass it to the next person. I always enjoyed those pictures and wondered what happened to the little set.

Well, guess what? I found it at my father's house among some other pictures! It's still in great shape and I brought it home to show my children. Tonight we used it while saying the rosary. It was a sweet piece of nostalgia for me and my little girls really enjoyed it too.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Joke, just a joke (smile)

Question: What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

Answer: You can negotiate with the terrorist.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I am numb.

There is a part of me that looks back at the last week and asks, "What just happened? Is my father really gone? Could it have been a very realistic bad dream?" I guess this is denial.

The funeral was very beautiful. The son of two professional musicians, my father always loved great music. And he especially loved the music played by his grandchildren.

My dear friend Mary, a professional opera singer sang several solos including Ave Maria and the Irish Blessing. She was also the cantor. My sons Mike and John sang the psalm response in harmony. My son John played a movement of a Lizt sonata on the piano. My daughter Anne played a violin solo as a communion meditation. And Jim and Anne did readings. I'm sure my father was pleased.

He was entombed (right word?)with my mother in a mausoleum. My father bought this rather extravagant crypt when my mother died. It's in a very beautiful building. What was just amazing to me was that when they opened it we could actually see my mother's casket again. My father's casket was identical to hers and they still looked identical. The finish on hers was just as flawless as his. She died 2 years and 9 months ago. While it may sound morbid, it actually felt like an awesome privilege to be able to see her casket again. I know she's in heaven and not there, but still it seemed like an experience of part of her again.

I can't tell you how much I feel and appreciate all of your prayers. May God richly reward all of you!!