Sunday, April 29, 2007

My parents and my grandma!!

My cousin Dana sent me this old photo she found of my parents and my grandmother. My parents are the two on the left and the woman on the far right is my grandmother, my father's mother. The picture must be thirty years or more old. My mother looks so good. The camera must have caught her by surprise because she always smiled for pictures. I can't remember seeing a serious picture like this. She's been gone for three years and was ravaged by Alzheimer's Disease for 10 or 15 years before that. But she sure looks good here, doesn't she?

My dad just looks a little younger than he did before he died. I still just can't believe they're both gone.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rest and Solitude

In Prayer Primer Thomas Dubay writes:

"Thoughtful man and women, even those reflecting a secular point of view, are well aware of the detrimental effects a continuing din has on our psyches. In his best seller, Future Shock, Alvin Toffler wrote about "the overstimulated individual. . .the bombardment of the senses. . . information overload. . . decision stress." Thomas Merton observed that "We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve of the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest." This, he explained, is why he had chosen to "live in the woods."

Pictured above is Thomas Merton's hermitage on the property of Gethsemane Abbey.

Dubay goes on to say that "We need mental and emotional rest, rest from overstimulation, if we are to be normal and healthy."

The life of a mother is always very stimulating, joyous, and yet often loud and with limited rest. I must always guard against taking on too much and yet still be willing to work hard in the service of my Lord in the raising of my children. I find it hard to know just where is the right balance.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

His Will

Today during my prayer time I was reminded of a recommended prayer, "Oh Lord, incline my heart to do your will.

For me, I think I would rephrase it to: Oh Lord, help me to do your will even when, and especially when, I am not so inclined.

The will is an interesting idea. Are there layers of the will? Why do I do things I don't want to do? Or is it that I change my mind at the moment of decision? Or is there a deep intent and a superficial one? Who's at the wheel?

I'm thinking too much :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Yesterday was a tough day. There was just too much coming at me. We had three grade issues with kids at school, one critical tuition issue with a college student, one IRS issue, and one senior picture issue, all in the same evening. It was a little more than I could take in such a short period of time. A fine opportunity to acknowledge that without the Lord I can do nothing.

So nothing got posted yesterday which is too bad because posting releases tension for me. I was just too exhausted by 11:00, while discussions were still continuing. I just had to go to bed. I hope I can write something later.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blogs I Like

I am starting a list on my sidebar of "Blogs I Like." It took me this long to figure out how to do it. I have a long list!!! I'm probably only going to get 4 or 5 on a day and I'm selecting them from my feed list in no particular order. If you don't see yours yet, it's probably coming!!

My son, MY SON!, actually asked me yesterday how to do something on his blog! And a friend of mine who had just seen my blog actually described me as someone who knows a lot about computers!!! (ROFL) Perhaps, I really am very slowly starting to gain some knowledge. Yes, perhaps it's time to stop the self-deprecating humor about my ignorance. I know a lot more than I knew ten months ago. And I had no idea that blogging was going to be so fun, so interesting, so stimulating. Thank you to all my new online friends.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My son has a new Catholic blog!!

New Blog Alert!!

After seeing his mom blog for the last ten months, my son James has started his own blog. He chose the words "Not a jedi yet" all run together of course, for his address because this expression is kind of a family joke. It started on a family vacation.... anyway, whenever someone is given a strong compliment or does something great after all the accolades someone adds, "...BUT, you are not a jedi yet!" Guess you had to be there, or be a family that has seen a lot of Star Wars movies.

Jim is such a great kid that I'm really excited that he's starting a blog. We went to our parish's Lifeteen Mass tonight. On the way there, there was an old song on the radio. Was it called, "If only you believed?" You know, the chorus goes, "If only you believed like I believed, baby, like I believed...etc." There's another line, "If only you believed in miracles, so would I." Teasing, I said to Jim, "Do you believe in miracles?" He looked at me incredulous and said, "Yeah." (like that was kind of a stupid question.) Then he added, "We're going to see one right now." I could cry.

Anyway, check it out " A Catholic Teen's Thoughts . "

Sunday at the park

My husband and I took our three youngest to a local park with hiking trails (pictured) and a nice pond. We had some relaxed walks, and the kids and I played cards at a picnic table while Dad barbecued burgers. The weather was beautiful-- blue skies and warm. My husband said as the day got warmer, "Before you know it we'll be wishing it were winter again." My response? "I don't think so." Hope you had lovely Sunday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Talent Show and Saint Anthony!!! Again!!

Today my daughter Elizabeth was in her school's talent show. First, she and a group of her friends did a very impressive double dutch jump rope routine. Everybody loved it.

Towards the end, Liz played her cello. She did a great job. I was so proud of her. She played right on pitch and with very nice tone. The kids really liked seeing the "big violin."

I borrowed my daughter's digital camera to take pictures and had planned to post them here. My recollection was that I had brought the camera into the school, then stopped in the foyer and put my things down in order to give my girls their pizza money. I thought I even remembered seeing the camera on the floor next to my purse and making a mental note to remember to pick it up. I then went to the room where our Moms in Prayer group meets. As I got up to leave that room I realized I didn't have the camera. I went back to the foyer and it wasn't where I thought I had left it. I asked in the office. No one had turned it in. I started to worry. I called on my dear friend, Saint Anthony. I asked him to please let it be found.

So there I sat during the talent show watching my daughter doing this great job and no camera to record it. I also started thinking about how I would tell my older daughter that I had lost her camera and how much would it cost to replace it. I pleaded with Saint Anthony. After the show I talked to him again. I checked in the office again. No camera. I asked myself how certain was I that I had left my camera in the foyer. I remember thinking I was about 99% sure it was there. I continued to talk to Saint Anthony.

When I got to my car I didn't even look for the camera. I was sure I had left it in the hall. About half-way home I thought, well, I guess I should look around just in case. I looked on the floor and right next to my seat was the camera. It was one of those Saint Anthony moments. How did he do that??!! I thought, did he actually transport it??!! I don't know. I was so certain I had brought it in and Saint Anthony does do these things. He has done them before for me.

So, thank you , Saint Anthony, once again for finding the camera and for all the many, many things you have helped me find over the years. You are such a good friend and such an amazing saint.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More images of the Abbey of Gethsemane!

The Abbey of Gethsemane

Thomas Merton's hermitage

Daffodils....what a welcome sight!

Above is Thomas Merton's hermitage.

This is the place to go to really listen for the voice of God. It is peaceful. It is quiet. The monks are gracious. It is truly a place of retreat.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My sister the artist

My sister painted this large mural for a marathon in Saint Louis. I am so proud of her. She is a stay-at-home mom who is also an artist and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. How cool is that?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Abbey of Gethsemane

This is my 21 year old daughter at the top of a mountain we climbed on the property of the Abbey of Gethsemane. We have such a peaceful, enjoyable time each year we come here. I remember the first time I climbed this mountain with her. I was all out of breath and hurt my back somehow. Now that I've been going to Curves for several years it was not a big deal. Made me feel pretty good. Getting older doesn't have to mean getting weaker. Praise God.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Saint Anthony does it again!

My three daughters went to the movies the other night. The youngest two were all exciting that their beloved big sister (21year old) was taking them out. They even went out to dinner first-- A Girls Night Out, as they said.

When they came home I was surpised to turn around (as I was blogging) to see three sheepish looking faces. "What's wrong? " I asked. They had lost both my 12yo's purse and my 10yo's jacket and they were upset. Apparently they got up to leave without thinking and when they returned to their seats the items were gone. They had not been turned in to the office. The purse had a little bit of money and several gift cards from birthdays. The jacket was a favorite. They both were near tears.

We talked about how sometimes things like this happen. Yes, maybe someone stole them. Sometimes things happen that aren't fair. This is not heaven. This is life on Earth. We can offer it up, etc. Still, I did talk to my good friend Saint Anthony and asked if there was any way he could help them to be found. It's so hard to see our children hurting.

Well.... last night I got a phone call from one of my 12 year old's friends asking if she had lost a jacket and a purse. Apparently my daughter had this girl's phone number in her purse and someone had called to return it!!! I called the woman's number. She had been sitting next to them in the theatre. She stayed until after all the credits were finished and saw the jacket and purse left behind. She didn't turn it in because she had once done that and the contents of the purse were missing when the owner finally received it. So she took it home to try to find the owner. She said, "I'm a Christian. Everything is still in it. I wanted to make sure nothing was taken." My husband drove to her apartment and picked the things up.

We wanted to give her a reward but she met him in front and quickly turned over the items and left. So may God bless Betty the Christian who took the time and effort to return to my daughters their little treasures. She obviously respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Oh Lord, please bless Betty and everyone she loves. My her generosity and honesty be returned many times over.

AND, I thank you Saint Anthony. You who so very many times, in the most inexplicable ways, have returned to me and my family so many lost items. You are amazing and I thank you for all the times you have helped me!!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Terrible Headache!! Yuk!

This morning I woke up with the worst headache. Oh my goodness, I wonder if this is what a migraine is. I was even throwing up. Threw up the Motrin-- oooh, no relief. But an icepack, extra pillows, and some sleep have helped a lot. God is so good to let this happen on a Saturday and not a weekday! My husband is home and I was able to just sleep. It still hurts but nothing like before.

Yesterday I asked my husband if we could replace the range hood above my gas stove. It was looking pretty grundgy. Today he went to Lowe's, bought one, and is now installing it. It's almost enough to take a headache away!!

My daughter Mary who made the above picture is also sick. She threw up during the night and is taking it easy now. Could be my headache and upset stomach is the same virus, I suppose.

Hope you all stay well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Today was sunny and the sky was blue. It's still a little crisp, but not snowing, at least. It's really time for Spring here in Michigan. There was snow on the ground here on Easter Sunday. I wanted to have an Easter egg hunt outside but there was no point.
Only white eggs would be camouflaged by snow! I could have put a green one under the tulip that had just been coming up before being SMACKED back down by repeated frosts. LOL
Michigan weather. Some say it builds character. It certainly builds appreciation for lovely weather. When we have it we never take it for granted.
Above is a picture of some of the eggs my children dyed. I love egg dyeing. It's such a simple, fun, family activity.
Have a nice weekend!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Do I really want the chocolate bar?

I cannot seem to get the pictures from Gethsemane Abbey that my daughter put on Photoshare onto my blog. She's not here so I can't ask her. But they're coming soon!

Several pictures were ones she took of me as we hiked up a mountain. She was behind me. Let's just say that these photos have provided considerable motivation for me to lose weight. I'm going to have to ask her what her motivation was for taking these shots.

NO I WILL NOT BE POSTING THEM. They're so bad I will not even stick them on my refrigerator as a reminder. They're too humiliating. LOL The image is still in my mind, however, and I'm hoping it will do the trick.

I will remember the picture. Then think, "Do I want to no longer look like this or do I want to eat this piece of chocolate?"

Queen of the angels, Queen of the May

I'm working on a May Crowning for our parish this year with a wonderful group of women who all love our Blessed Mother. What an honor it is to be a part of this effort.
She is the Queen.....
Queen of love,
Queen of mercy,
Queen of peace,
Queen of angels,
Queen of patriarchs and prophets,
Queen of apostles and martyrs,
Queen of confessors and virgins,
Queen of all saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of all the earth
Queen of heaven,
Queen of the universe......
Mary, mother of God, pray for us!!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A really stupid thing

Today I did something really stupid. I was trying to unclog a slow drain in the bathroom by pouring boiling water down it. I had already poured two big panfuls and it seemed to be working. I decided to pour down one more. (This was a big pot I use for boiling spaghetti, etc.)

While waiting for it to boil I called my friend Jeanne. As we were talking the water started to boil. So....always the multi-tasker, I put the phone on my shoulder, picked up the pot and headed to the bathroom. The pot was very full. The phone started to slip and I guess I jerked to hold it, thus spilling scalding hot water all over my upper leg. Fortunately, I was able to get a cold washcloth on it quickly. I was so in shock that I lay down and just kept cooling the washcloth and applying it to my leg. I rested like that for about an hour. It was amazing. It went from a huge area of very red, painful skin to just a few small spots. I was really lucky.

Boiling water requires a person's entire attention. I would never have let one of my children hold a phone and also carry boiling water. Live and learn. I definitely learned my lesson.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Monday

"Stripped on Holy Thursday to wash the apostles' feet, stripped on Good Friday to hang upon the cross, Jesus risen and triumphant is clothed in the light of glory, before which no enemy can stand, not even the roaring waters of chaos and death."

from "Magnificat"

Perhaps I shouldn't be blogging yet. I just wrote in the comments section of someone's post the words, "Merry Christmas." ROFL I'm not kidding. I really did. Fortunately, I noticed before I published it. I was almost dismissed from everyone's blogroll as a true nut case. LOL May I always respond with kindness to people in every situation who may just "say the wrong thing."

I had a peaceful Easter Sunday. It seemed a grace-filled day. My brother, no longer a practicing Catholic, came to the Easter vigil with us and so did my daughter's Protestant boyfriend. There was an additional sweetness for us because of their presence. The vigil itself is always a taste of heaven. You know what I mean. Heartfelt congratulations to Amber and Angie on their entry into the church!!!!

For the first time on Easter Sunday our family served dinner at a nearby soup kitchen. We had an early dinner in the afternoon ourselves. It was simple but tasty and very peaceful. Then we went to feed Jesus in the "distressing disguise of the poor." It was a-- I'm searching for a good word to describe it (this not being the best day for me to come up with the right words. :-)
None of my children complained. My high schoolers had to complete some service hours and we had been thinking of doing this for some time anyway.

What a feeling it was as I worked on the table of drinks on the other side of the room to look over and see five of my children at the food line, serving heaping helpings of food on the plates of really hungry people. They were smiling, talking, and laughing. They looked just beautiful as they reached out respectfully and kindly to these very vulnerable children of God.

There was just a wonderful sweetness to this experience. I don't think any of us felt deprived by spending a few hours on Easter in this way. The sense of peace that followed was so gentle. There was no bickering, no stress, on the way home. There was a presence of love and of unity in our family. I think we will do this again.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Holy Thursday

Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.

No words can express how awesome is this miracle. Jesus Himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity. The First Eucharist-- my favorite mystery of the rosary, I think, along with the coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven. Have a Blessed Triduum.

May God's grace be upon all who are about to enter the Church, especially those among our blogging friends....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Grocery Aisle Musings

I needed to get the items for my children's Easter baskets while they were at school. (Or home sick, in the case of my 15 year old, who's doing much better but needed another day home :) As I rushed through Meijers in the rather limited window of time available to me I picked up some other things I knew I would need for the celebration of Easter and the next few days. But I knew I wasn't getting everything.

I started to let those feelings creep in. If I were better organized I wouldn't be making a trip to the grocery store practically every other day. I could have all the meals for the Triduum planned out and get it all at once. I could be making better use of the time that God has given me.

Then it occurred to me that when I stand in judgement before my Lord this is not going to be a big concern for him. "YOU MADE TOO MANY TRIPS TO THE GROCERY STORE. WHY DIDN'T YOU THINK AHEAD??" No. I don't think so. Good organizational skills are helpful and I will still try to improve in this area. But the love in my heart is what's important. The love I have for my God, the love I have for my family, and the love with which I serve.

Would that not being the most organized homemaker WERE the worst of my sins!!!! I'd be in good shape if that were the case. LOL (Maybe it's not even a sin. Although perfectionism probably counts:-)

Interesting how easily we are distracted from the important areas of our life that really do require conversion. Oh Lord, in this Holy Week and always may I see things in the light of your truth. May Your priorities be my priorities.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sick Children

OK. While I'm going on and on about being a stay-at-home mom I have a confession to make. I actually do work outside the home part time. But I work at my own children's school three hours a day. When one of my young children are sick, I just call the office and they find me a sub. (I also occasionally substitute teach.)

And today I do have a sick child home. He's 15 so he stayed home this morning while I went in to school. (I actually don't even like to do that.) I came home and took his temperature and it's almost 102! Mothering takes a lot of time and requires a lot of scheduling flexibility. I feel for those moms who have to go to work all day and need to leave even a teen home all day alone with a fever. It's hard enough to do it for a half day.

I know there are some who would say, for heaven's sake he's 15. He doesn't need for you to be home. I suppose that's true. But I know from experience that sick people, even adults, really appreciate nurturing. And when of my children needs nurturing, regardless of their age, I am grateful when I can be the one to provide it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Staying at Home

Above you see the reasons I have spent the last twenty-two years raising children at home.

My good friend Mary has drawn my attention to a book review of "The Feminine Mistake" by Leslie Bennetts in People Magazine. I have not read the book. The book examines the "economic pitfalls facing stay-at-home moms." What if your husband dies, leaves you, or loses his job?

Sadly, these are indeed risks that the stay-at-home mom faces. Some can be averted. Life insurance covers the first risk. Might your husband leave you? Well, yes. Sometimes men do. What if he loses his job? Well, that happens too. But to say that therefore a mom should make sure she is working seems like a drastic overreaction to me.

Moms who choose to stay home with their children make a lot of sacrifices. They sacrifice additional family income. They sacrifice career advancement. In some segments of society they sacrifice the respect of other women and sometimes men as well. And, yes, they do sacrifice financial security.

But the moms I know stay home with their children because they want what's best for their children and no sacrifice is too great. The children come first. Period. That being said, every mom I know who stays home with her children also finds it an extremely rewarding occupation.
I can't imagine a job that would be more satisfying or more fun. Yes, it's a sacrifice but, for me, it has also provided for me the most satisfying years of my life.

I'm sure my friend Mary would wholeheartedly agree.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Lord provides!!

Thank you, Lord, that through the intercession of Saint Joseph, my husband, in the midst of a depressed Michigan economy together with a limping automotive industry, has actually secured an engineering job with an automotive supplier!! Who would have thought? God is so good. Thank you to all who have prayed that my husband would find a job.