Friday, March 30, 2007

Day Care is not so good?!?

I imagine there has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about this new study by the National Institute for Child and Human Development that correlates time spent in child care before age 5 and later behavior problems at the sixth grade level. I'm sorry if my absence from the discussions lately results in my repeating points that have already been made. But I have to weigh in on this one.

This finding comes as no surprise to those of us who spend a lot of time with children.

I'm looking at a Wall Street Journal article summarizing the study. The conclusions?

Perhaps there is too much emphasis on academics. Maybe there is not enough sense of community in the classroom. Competition for toys may be rewarding aggressive behavior. The adult supervisors may not be sufficiently engaged. Ahem. Don't you just want to scream, "Maybe the kids just wanted to be with their moms!!!"

For heaven's sakes do you need to be a rocket scientist (or social scientist) to figure this one out?
Why is it so taboo to even suggest that maybe kids really do need their moms. Maybe it really does matter if mom is able and willing to make the sacrifice to stay home and care for her own children. In a well-reasoned, well-written article in the WSJ this thought never even occurred to the author? I imagine it is what everyone is secretly wondering.

At least this author did include one conclusion of the study that does indeed point to the superiority of care at home. "Being in large groups of kids is simply stressful. 70-80% of children in day care centers show increasing levels through the day of cortisol, a stress hormone linked to poor behavior." How can it be concluded that it's the large groups and not the separation from Mom? No one wants to ask the question, it seems.

The story of The Emperor's New Clothes certainly comes to mind.....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Family of Origin-- there's nothing like siblings.

I'm sorry I'm behind on my blogging-- both reading and writing.

I spent Tuesday all day at my father's house together with my sister and brother going over things. We have a monumental job ahead of us. My parents lived there for 40 years.....

It was sad but also heartwarming to be with both of them in our home. There was a feeling of unreality, though. How could Mom and Dad not be there? How could they be gone? It felt a little surreal.
I've posted the above picture before of the three of us with Dad. (I'm on the far left in the green.) It just seemed appropriate for this day.
I'm so thankful for my brother and sister. My sister is 8 years younger than I. My brother is 13 months older. We get on each other's nerves sometimes but we hold no grudges. If we're mad at each other we say so. We fight it out and usually end up laughing. They can both make me laugh till I cry.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Silent Retreat

I had a wonderful retreat. My daughter and I have doing this for quite a few years. There is no talking in the abbey. There are mostly private rooms with private bathrooms. Simple, but I must say I always feel quite indulged by the privacy and personal space. Moms of large families just don't get that.

It is a Trappist monastery, the Abbey of Gethsemane.

There is an optional talk in the morning by the guestmaster. You are invited, but not required, to join the monks in the singing of the psalms seven times a day. There is the option of an evening rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, led by one of the monks. And, of course, we may join the monks in daily Mass. And on Saturday there are several hours of opportunity for Confession.

The time is all yours. You can sleep, read, pray, hike their many, many acres of rolling hills and woods. (You can talk in the woods.)

The first time I went I thought the silence might drive me nuts. It didn't. It was like having a very personal, very private time with Jesus. Plenty of time to think, to contemplate, to cry, to just be alone with the Lord. And a number of women from our parish go at the same time so if you REALLY need to talk, chat, giggle, etc. There's nearly always someone you can find to go on a walk with you. And you can also talk in the lobby.

When my daughter loads her digital pictures on this computer I will show you some pictures.

These silent retreats are really wonderful. I very much recommend them, especially to busy mothers......

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Alone in God my soul waits, silent. My help is from Him.
Alone in God rest, my soul, in silence. My hope is from Him. He alone is my rock, my safety;I shall not be shaken.
(PS 62, V2,6)
I'm leaving today for a three day silent retreat at a Benedictine Monastery. (pictured above)
My daughter will come too. I can't wait. Silence, sweet silence. They have a library but I don't know if they have the internet. If they do, I may write a post. If not, I'll tell you Monday how it was. Have a blessed weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ballroom Dancing-- Are they having fun or what?

This is my son and his partner on the Notre Dame Ballroom Dance Team. Are they having fun or what? He just loves it and so does she.
Kitchen Madonna has written a really interesting post on ballroom dancing and the theology of the body. It helped me to understand my son's idea that ballroom dancing is a kind of metaphor for an ideal marriage.
These pictures were taken at a competition. Boy, watching all those great dancers sure made this poor old tired body feel like dancing!!
Since I have tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get the above link to go to Kitchen
Madonna's blog let me just add that her address is: .

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy Feast of Saint Joseph

A Child's Prayer to Saint Joseph (from "Good Saint Joseph" by Father Lovasik

Good Saint Joseph, I want you to be my special friend.

I honor you as the servant of God the Father, the foster father of Jesus Christ, and the loving husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I honor you as the patron of families and the protector of the Catholic Church.

Into your care I place my soul and my body. Keep me from all sin, and help me to love God with all my heart, and my neighbor for the love of God, just as you always did.

Give me a great love for Jesus and Mary, above all by praying to them often.

Help those whom I love, my parents, and my brothers and sisters, and those who are good to me. Pray for us that we may serve God faithfully on earth and may see God forever in heaven. Through your prayers may our whole family be happy with your Holy Family in heaven forever.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Holy Face

My niece Monique gave me a framed picture of this image of Jesus. It's actually an image taken from the information on the Shroud of Turin. Monique's gift changes back and forth, as you tilt the picture, from the Turin image to the artist's depiction of what the man whose image is on the shroud would look like.

I love this picture of Jesus. I have it leaned against my wall instead of nailed to it, because I want to be able to change the angle to see the negative of the crucified Christ and then back again.

Mary Poppins Not has asked where do we go to be restored when we're feeling depleted? In addition to receiving Him whenever possible in the flesh, I go to my room and gaze upon this face. I talk to my Lord about what's on my heart (like He doesn't already know!) and I try to listen to what He wants to say to me.....

Friday, March 16, 2007

Robins!! Could it be?

Yesterday I saw TWO robins!! Could this really be the sign that the wonder of Spring is almost upon us? I hope they don't die in the next freeze. Today was a typical winter day, the temperature not reaching much higher than the low thirties. Poor birdies... I hope they make it. All the little puddles of previously melting snow are once again ice patches on the playground. But I'm going to make a guess that they will not be frozen for long.....not too long anyway.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Michigan Weather

On Monday the temperature went up into the low seventies. The kids were all throwing their coats off and running around for joy. On Tuesday it was just a little bit cooler. A sweatshirt was too warm. You can see in some places just the tips of the Spring perennials starting to peak through the wet mud.

Then... things changed. My daughter came downstairs today in shorts and a t-shirt. I said, "Lizzie, it's not really Spring yet. Look out the window." Everything was covered with about an inch of snow. It was actually very pretty, but a little disappointing after the exhilaration of the Spring-like weather. I told her, "Even though it was really warm it's actually still winter here in Michigan."

March will probably be like this all month. April could be too. Warm, cold, very warm, very cold. It's very unpredictable-- like life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Last Sunday's homily

Deacon Steve at our parish gave a wonderful homily last Sunday. He is an excellent speaker and was additionally aided by the fact that our church had no power on Sunday. He really had to project as Jesus surely did when speaking to a big crowd. If hardly ever happens in our church but at the end the congregation broke into spontaneous applause. An excerpt follows:

"IF YOU DO NOT REPENT YOU WILL ALL PERISH AS THEY DID! To repent comes from the Greek word metanoeo, from which comes the English word metanoia. It has two meanings: to change one’s mind, about God, about yourself and about your neighbor. It also means to change your behavior, to turn away from sin and to turn toward God. In Ph 2:13 St. Paul says this: for God is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Let’s look at that more closely. God is at work in you: His grace is already present and more than sufficient; the power of the Holy Spirit is not only overshadowing you but He is within you; finally, you have easy access to the sacraments. To will: comes from the Greek word thelo, which means to decide, to purpose, to resolve. To what end? To reject Satan, all his works and all of his empty promises. And, to work comes from the Greek word energeo, which translates as the energy, the power, the work-ability TO DO GOD’S WILL. Let me give you an example: one evening I was praying Evening Prayer. I had intended after that to watch one TV show and then to be in bed by 9:00pm. I sensed that the Lord wanted to say something to me, and had I known what, I would have put my fingers in my ears! He said, You don’t HAVE to watch TV. He didn’t command me, or point His finger at me. He pointed out that I had a choice! But I wanted to watch that show. What ensued over the next twenty minutes was a battle of epic proportions. You don’t have to - but I want to. Back and forth the battle raged. I was torn because I wanted to heed the Lord’s suggestion but I also wanted what I felt like I needed. Finally I shouted out: In the Name of Jesus I will NOT watch TV. As soon as I made the decision the turmoil ended. I exercised the freedom to will and along with it came the energy and ability to carry out that decision! Brothers and sisters, when the devil is banging on the door of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, you don’t HAVE to open it to him. Rather, resist the devil and he will flee from you (Jms 4:7), not only him but the temptation along with him!"

God bless all those who teach us.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Marriage Meme

Jean Marie (the Meme Queen:) from Catholic Fire has tagged me for this marriage meme. So here goes...

1. Where/How did you meet? We met a the wedding of a friend of mine. My husband came with his sister, as her guest. My friend and my now sister-in-law wanted us to meet. Since I was my friend's maid-of-honor and my husband was taking pictures he actually has a picture of the first time he ever saw me. It was through a camera lens.

2. How long have you known each other? 27 years

3. How long after you met did you start dating? maybe a week

4. How long did you date before you were engaged? six months

5. How long was your engagement? 6 months

.6. How long have you been married? 26 years

7. What is your anniversary? It's in July

8. How many people came to your wedding reception? probably 125 or so

9. What kind of cake did you serve? It was carrot cake with a white frosting with roses

10. Where was your wedding? Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan

11. What did you serve for your meal? I think it was chicken crepes.

12. How many people were in your bridal party? 6

13. Are you still friends with them all? Still in touch. Not real close with all of them.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? I don't think so.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day? Walking down the aisle at the end.

16. Any funny moments? There was a moment when my brother got giggly and my mother gave him a look that made him realize his life was in danger...We both laughed quite a bit about that afterwards.

17. Any big disasters? The organ didn't work for the entrance! I walked down the aisle in silence. It was kind of peaceful, really.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Cozumel, Mexico

19. How long were you gone? I think it was just a week.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? Not sure.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on? right side, closest to the bathroom :)

22. What size is your bed? queen

23Greatest strength as a couple? We have similar values, the same faith, same expectations as to how children should behave, etc.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple? We are polar opposites in communication style.

25. Who literally pays the bills? Usually my husband, but sometimes I do.

26. What is your song? I don't think we have one.

27. What did you dance your first dance to? I don't remember?

28. Describe your wedding dress? It was simple, white, floor length, lace neckline, high waist, gathered 3/4 sleeves.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? white roses

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? I think they were but they're worn off now.

Anyone feel like doing this meme? I tag:

Florida Wife, Ruthann (come on, Ruthann, here's a post :) Actually, only if you feel like it Ruthann-- this one is kind of personal....), Suzanne , Mimi , Mary Poppins Not.

Tagged Friends: Only do this if you feel like it. No pressure.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Music Lesson, Suzuki memories

Have you noticed the painting on my sidebar now? (techno-mama that I am, I actually accomplished this:-)

I love this painting by Frederic Leighton. I have been to so many Suzuki music lessons with my children where Mom takes notes and helps in home practising, that this picture just brought back so many happy memories of seeing and helping my children learn an instrument. In our case-- violin, piano, and cello. Hope you like it. It also just captures the spirit of mothering, doesn't it?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Saint John of God, pray for us.

Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.

Saint John of God

(I'm contemplating how this actually works in everyday life. I am reminded of days when my heart is filled with joy and tenderness for my family. When I am in that state, little incidents that might otherwise trigger in me impatience and irritation are instead responded to with gentleness and grace.)

Today the sun is shining. God bless you all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

An Aching Maternal Heart

My son was not accepted into University of Michigan's music school. We knew this was a possibilty given how very competitive the school is, but honestly I was very surprised.

We must trust God on this one. (as in everything) I did indeed pray for the Lord's will to be done. Still, I can't help but wonder why. He says he wasn't good enough. I know I am blinded by maternal pride but I just don't believe that. Perhaps the audition was not good enough but HE certainly is, as is his musical ability. Perhaps God just didn't want him there. And God has his reasons.

The pain is in knowing how disappointed he is. He's been very strong, but I know he really wanted to go to Michigan. It's tough to be young and not have the perspective that age gives. Even so, he's been very mature about it. (Actually he's been more mature about it than I have.) I'm the one thinking that it's their loss. Some day they will be embarrassed by this decision. Who wants to go there anyway, I'm thinking, outlining their flaws as a school which I know all too well having graduated from there.

He has not complained, made no excuses, no self-pity. He's holding his head high and I couldn't be more proud of him, regardless of where he continues to glorify God with his music. the Lord knows where he wants him to be..... and that's where I want him to be too.

Thank you for all your prayers for his auditions...

Monday, March 05, 2007


Have I coined a new word?

Last night my 15 year old son told me the following quote was on the wall of one of his classes at school.

The greatest mistake a man can make is being afraid of making one. (Elbert Hubbard)

He said, "Mom, I think kids are better on computers for this reason. Adults are too afraid of making mistakes." I think he's probably right, at least for this adult.

I said, "Jim, look at my blog. Look how boring it looks." Then I took him to Suzanne's blog which is lovely, each post signed with a signature, and it even has sweet music playing, for heaven's sake. " Look how interesting this one is, Jim!" Then he said, "OK, Mom. Let's work on yours. Let's figure out how to make it better." And you know what? I was afraid to let him mess with my settings. I was afraid my whole blog would disappear.

OK. Case in point. I'm trying to work up my courage. If my blog suddenly disappears, you'll know what happened.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The New Blogger

The new version of Blogger does not send me email notification when someone leaves a comment on my blog. I try to keep looking at my posts so I can respond to any comments but I'm sure I'm missing some. Any comments made on posts of mine from a while ago I'm sure I haven't seen. I've looked at my settings to see if there's something I need to change but I haven't found anything yet. Any ideas?

I guess I need more sleep.

I haven't posted for the last two days for two reasons:

One: My kids are always on the computer! Whenever I have a little 15 minute period there's someone on it. We limit game playing to 30 minutes a day but four of them play. So that's two hours. And then there are the times they "forgot" to set the timer. And then there's the schoolwork which, of course, trumps blogging. And then the email and the edline assignments from school.....

Two: I have been so tired in the evening that I have fallen asleep at about 8:00! Not just dozing off asleep but out-like-a-light, just this side of comatose asleep. I guess I'm tired, huh? Maybe I haven't been getting enough sleep lately. Or maybe all my complaining of late is wearing my poor soul down. It needs to check out.

Anyway, thought I'd grab the computer before the kids are down here to check in with my fun, blogging friends :-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rain and Sleet

This weather is depressing. Rain, rain, go away.... I would so prefer snow. Snow is beautiful and fluffy and you can brush it off you. Rain, when the temperature is in the 30s, just makes you wet and chilled. And you don't get snow days for rain :-)

Could it be the weather that has me so irritable today? No excuses, I know. Just wondering where it's coming from-- just the ugly depths of my soul or was there some other provocation, like the weather?

I have too much to do, not enough help, and not many other options. Well, I guess there are a few adjustments I could make.

I yelled at two of my children and got in an argument with my sister. I probably should go to be before I sin again. Too bad I'm not young enough to blame it on PMS. LOL