Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Things are not always as they appear.

I love gardening but I am not particularly good at it. I plant perennials and then the next year I can't remember what the foliage looked like and I often end up pulling them out, thinking they're weeds. I've done this so many times that now if there's any doubt in my mind I leave them in until I can tell for sure.
Well, in this case, it took a long time. I left them because the same plants were not trying to grow all over the garden, although there were three distinct areas with the same plant in it. Just before John's party I decided they were weeds, but they took up so much space in the garden I didn't want to pull them out and leave a big hole.
Well.... lucky for me I didn't get to it right after John's party either because look what they were! Black-eyed susans-- lots of them!!! (That is what they're called, right?) I came so close to ripping them all out.
God is good. They look so sweet and I can see them right from my kitchen window.

I love this flower. It's on the path to my front door. I believe it's a dwarf hyacinth. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) The blooms only last maybe 24 hours, but there are a lot of them. Each is a little vulnerable gift for the day.
I'm having a lot of trouble with Blogger. I have more pictures to share but Blogger (or my computer is not cooperating....maybe later.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

What a gloriously beautiful world we live in. I so often take it for granted. This park is about ten minutes from my house. I thank you, Lord, for the beauty all around me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Maternal Bragging Warning (and disclaimer)

On Friday when I did not feel well I said to my three youngest children. How about if you guys make the macaroni and cheese for dinner since I don't feel well. Much groaning and whining. Not in the mood for an argument or lecture I just said quietly, "I always take care of you guys when you're sick." Their response? "Yeah. You take care of us!" OK, I thought. I have no energy for an argument. Maybe I'll talk to them another time about sacrificing for others, etc.

After a few minutes I thought I heard some pans moving in the kitchen. Next, my daughter came upstairs with a few questions about noodle equivalent measurements... They were making the mac and cheese without actually being told to do it. I told them I was so proud of them I wanted to take their picture. They thought that was pretty funny, as you can see in the picture. Anyway, they made it and it was good.

Now for my disclaimer: On my blog, I only talk about the good and the positive in regard to my family. What I write about is very selective. I don't air our dirty laundry here. We have "stuff" just like all families do. We're just a group of imperfect human beings trying to do God's will, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Never perfect......just so you know (smile).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Upset tummy

Today I woke with some kind of intestinal virus. YUK!!! My daughter Elizabeth has illustrated how I feel in the above drawing. It's pretty accurate. Tonight is the swim team dessert awards banquet and I hope I will be able to go. We volunteered to pick up the ice cream, but fortunately hubby has agreed to take over if I can't.

I'm sitting around in my pajamas feeling yucky. The girls walked up to the dollar store to get me a coke. That was nice.

Hope you're all having a good day....

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I am sooo tired. 11-12 year old swim championships went from 9 to about 1 today. Then, 9-10 dive championships from 2 until about 7:30.

I'm exhausted. Still, the day was fun too. We belong to a neighborhood pool. All my children have learned to swim by being on this swim team. Most of the swimmers live in the neighborhood. It's a nice community activity. And my kids can walk to the pool!!! Yea!

We have a storm coming in tonight. I'm going to bed. I love a good thunderstorm when everyone is home and safe.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Liz as Hermione

Here is Liz in her latest "disguise" as Hermione of Harry Potter fame. She was on her way to a Harry Potter fun day at our neighborhood pool.(despite the long coat and scarf).

My children are really enjoying the Harry Potter books. We have three copies of the latest book and all are finished. My seventeen year old waited in line at Borders at midnight and then heard you could buy it at Krogers with no line. He and his friends went to Krogers, bought their copies, went through the Wendy's drive-thru, and started reading in the parking lot. Well, I guess several teenagers sitting in a parking lot, all quietly looking at their laps looks suspicious. A police car pulled up behind them with its lights flashing!!!! The officer came up to the car and asked what they were doing. They explained they had just gotten something to eat and were reading their new Harry Potter books. Did he want them to leave? He burst out laughing and said no, they were fine. LOL

I'm sure someone will say I am not really Catholic for allowing my children to read Harry Potter. I have seen no harm come from it. They seem to be imaginative and intriguing stories (although admittedly a little dark). And there is clearly something very good coming from the phenomenom. We have children and young people of all ages sitting down with a 759 page book!!! (Not a video! Not a computer game! A book!!!!! Yea!)

Monday, July 23, 2007

My old glasses....

This is my daughter Elizabeth who will be in sixth grade this Fall and these are the actual glasses that I wore at her age. I really did wear these things. LOL They were my first glasses. I was only slightly near-sighted but boy what a difference it made to look through these glasses. I remember so enjoying looking at the trees in the distance and being able to see so much detail in the leaves. My prescription is not much different now, and I still always wear them when I'm outside so I can see the glory of God's creation in as much detail as possible.

I was at my parents' house today, organizing some things, throwing other things out, etc. We're just starting to scratch the surface of the enormous job of clearing out the house. I opened my old dresser drawer to see these lovely glasses sitting right there in the front. "My glasses!" I said out loud and started laughing. It was nice comic relief from the bittersweet flow of memories mixed with sorrow. All by myself, I had a lot of tears, a few laughs, and many moments of sweet, silent smiling....

But, hey, how about these glasses....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Good Samaritan

Last week Deacon Steve from our parish gave the homily. It was his last Mass as deacon at our parish, Christ the King. He is being transferred. (I realize this should have been last week's post:-)

The Gospel was about the good Samaritan. Deacon Steve gave a very insightful analysis of the symbolism in the story. But what really struck me was his final words to the people of our parish.

"GOODBYE For twenty five years you have been my neighbors, my friends and my sisters and brothers. I hope that I have served you well and loved you with the love of Christ! If I’ve succeeded - thank God and remember to occasionally pray for me. If I’ve failed - Please forgive me, thank God that I am leaving - and please remember to pray for me! To all of you whom Jesus the divine samaritan has treated with mercy, GO AND DO LIKEWISE!"

I immediately thought of the time some five and a half years ago when Deacon Steve blessed my family with an action of true charity. My sister-in-law had been suffering for over four years with breast cancer. She was approaching death. My friend Ann K. who some of you may have read about in Kitchen Madonna's recent apron giveaway, asked if Linda would be open to having some people from our parish come to pray over her. (Ann, who had lost the baby Stella Marie was the winner of the apron:-) She asked several people if they would come, including Deacon Steve. Steve had never met Linda. She was not Catholic, and she lived over an hour away from here. But he agreed to come.

Linda was very sick. We prayed over her from some time. Steve talked to her about a lot of things. Linda was very moved. Then we prayed over her mother who was also present. She was also very moved. Linda died a few weeks later. My brother and Linda's mother still occasionally mention this visit. I am not surprised.

Linda was a wounded neighbor by the side of the road. Deacon Steve did not even know her. But he knew she was a neighbor in need of help. He spent a whole afternoon loving his neighbor whom he had never met-- just a stranger in need of help.

Deacon Steve, you have indeed served us well and loved us with the love of Christ. May God bless you, your family, and all of your work. You can read some of Deacon Steve's wisdom at his blog, I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Don't you just love a nice apron? I love wearing an apron and my new favorite apron I ordered from Kitchen Madonna. She has a lovely collection of aprons including the one pictured here, which I may buy for a dear friend of mine. You can order them online at KitchenMadonna.etsy.com.

They are just as lovely in real life as they are in the pictures. They're very well made and sturdy and I can personally guarantee that your mood will be lifted just wearing one :-)

Just thought I'd recommend these aprons to anyone contemplating a special gift for a nurturing woman. Think Christmas!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A new Apple store

A new Apple store is opening in our local mall tomorrow. I have never used an Apple computer and I'm thinking of going in to check them out. Everything I've heard or read about them sounds so positive. Course, if I go look at them I might decide I just HAVE to have one, right?

Maybe I'll just go in to enter my name in the many drawings they're having on their opening day. That would be the only reason. Or would it?
OK. I'm not trying to get excessive attention for my wedding anniversary, but I just figured out how to scan this picture and get it posted by a different route. This is my wedding picture! (Case you hadn't figured that out. LOL

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Twenty-seven years.....

Today is my twenty-seventh wedding anniversary.

We were married at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak. It was very, very hot that day.
I wanted to post one of my wedding pictures.....well, maybe I'll try. (This is so frustrating. For the second day in a row I've spent so much time trying to scan and then post a picture. I've done it before. Just don't know what I'm doing wrong this time and no kids around to help.)

Anyway.... maybe I'll be able to post a picture tomorrow. I'm pretty tired.

My husband bought me red roses and I baked him his favorite dutch apple pie. We went out for dinner and came home for dessert.

Twenty-seven years. Could I be that old??

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Mike!!

Twenty-three years ago today I became a mother. Michael was born. What an amazing moment that was. I remember feeling that everything I had ever experienced before seemed trivial in comparison.

It was my intention to go back to work after his birth. I took one look at him and decided it was completely out of the question. There was no way I could leave him. I guess I had just been completely clueless about motherhood. I had no idea what the bond and the love would be like. Suddenly there was another person in the world for whom I would do anything. I have tried to scan a baby picture of Mike to post here but no luck.

Everyone was home for dinner tonight. How delightful it is to look around the table and see the whole family.

So Happy Happy Birthday, Mike!!! We are so proud of the man you have become, all you have done, and all you are setting out to do. May God bless you today and always. I thank Him for the priviledge of being your mom!

Monday, July 16, 2007

It was fun!!

Oh my goodness, the party was so much fun. I had fun, anyway, and it looked like everyone else did too. We had a big turnout, perfect weather (sunny and mild), and plenty of food. Our neighbor lent us all their patio furniture so we had plenty of room to spread out and sit and eat. Kids were on the trampoline, on the swings, playing basketball at our driveway net, and playing volleyball in the front yard. From 9 to 11 we had our neighborhood pool rented and even though it wasn't real hot, all the kids went down and swam. Some even came back after swimming and took a sauna and ate leftovers.

Our guests seemed to feel comfortable and most stayed quite a while and chatted and ate. I love that.

Wish you all had been there!!! (Well, I know a couple of "you" actually were. Thanks for coming!)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

One More Day...

One more day to prepare for the party. Have to buy hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, the boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are on sale at our local grocer for $1.88 a pound (!), peppers of different colors, the veggie tray, and the strawberries at Sam's Club, plastic table cloths, pick up the borrowed tables and chairs, finish gluing the photos on the picture boards, get the other groceries (including coffee which we are completely out of and I forgot to get it yesterday!!!), pick up Jim at camp, make brownies and rice krispie treats, hard boil the eggs for deviled eggs, maybe make the cookies if Anne is still sick, pull out that big weed that's still sitting in my garden, last minute dusting and bathroom cleaning....and everything else I'm forgetting at the moment.
But what I want to stay focused on is the fact that this is a celebration of my son John's achievement in graduating from high school and an honoring of his life as he embarks into adulthood. I want him to enjoy himself tomorrow and have fun with his friends and ours. And I want all our guests to feel welcome and loved and cared for. Really, it seems to me that hospitality can be a demonstration of charity.
The above plaque is on the wall above the entry to our eating area and kitchen. Welcoming people into my home is not about how good the house looks or how tasty the food is. It's about honoring each guest as the son or daughter of God. It's about reaching out to them in interest and making them feel comfortable. May each of them know that the sentiment expressed on the plaque is true. In spite of the stress of preparing, especially for a big party like this, I really love having people over. I enjoy sharing my home and food and family. And let's not forget that in doing so, some have entertained "angels in disguise."
I'll let you know how it goes. Wish you could all come. (And if I have any readers nearby who know me, by all means, come on by!!)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Graduation Party

We are having a graduation open house for my high school graduate.
I'm wondering if this is just a custom in the Midwest or if it's all across the country. When I was in high school we might have a kid-party for the teens-- you know, chips, pop, etc. That's it. The family might go out to dinner and the graduate given a card and a check that was somewhat more than what you would get for a birthday.

Now we have graduation open houses where large numbers of people are invited. Many adults bring cards and checks. Lots of food is provided. Some people rent tents. It looks like a small (or even not so small) wedding reception at home. It seems overdone to me. We're having one because it is so customary here that I think my graduates would feel a little neglected and left out if we were the only family to not provide one. (OK, I have bowed to peer pressure:-)

High school graduation is not a sacrament. It's not a wedding reception. It's not a college graduation, which ironically around here is celebrated the way HS graduations used to be celebrated-- maybe a nice dinner with family and perhaps a larger than usual gift or check. The college graduation is really much more of an achievement to be honored... hmmm. I have pondered what started all this.

Someone pointed out to me that it is a kind of rite of passage. This is when many people leave home for the first time. Relationships will change for the graduate. New expectations of responsibility will begin. True enough.

Anyway, we are frantically preparing for this party. The great thing is we're getting all kinds of things done on the house that otherwise would have been put off. Some people rent tents and tables and chairs around here. I draw the line on that. It's not a wedding reception. If it rains, people will have to try to squeeze into our not-so-very-big-house. If they are uncomfortably crowded, they'll leave.

My prayer is that through the intercession of that champion of hospitality, my friend Saint Martha, the guests at this party will feel welcomed and comfortable, that they will enjoy the refreshments that we will provide (and that we will have enough), that the Lord's grace would fill our home and our yard and that everyone, especially our son John, will feel well loved.... (and that I will be gentle kind and loving during the whole preparation process :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I love the ocean...

Fun, fun, fun...

Don't you just love the ocean? It is so magnificent, so powerful, and so awe-inspiring. On this last trip my children really enjoyed riding the waves in the Atlantic on body boards. They are all good swimmers but I still rather compulsively counted heads after each big wave....

The boys accidentally piggybacked their boards. That's why the laughing faces....

The crashing waves....

What is the definition of an over-protective mom? One who worries about her "children" swimming in the ocean when three of them are certified lifeguards!!! I'm guilty as charged. I knew it was completely irrational but those waves were really BIG. LOL

Monday, July 09, 2007

More Clouds....

Since Deb from Ukok's Place has never seen these views from an airplane I thought I'd post a few more pictures that my youngest daughter took while we were flying to Florida. I love the way the clouds cast shadows on the land.

I told her she could take a few if she saw something really pretty. I think she took about 50. LOL WELL, they really were all very pretty. She was right.

Where ARE those cherubs and the harps and the choirs of angels?? Not for our eyes to see just yet.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

We're back.
We had a nice time in Florida but in July is it ever HOT!! But it was sunny and beautiful and we had a nice time visiting relatives.

Here's a picture from the plane. Don't you just love seeing clouds up close? There's something about seeing the top side of a cloud that just fills me with awe. I guess it's because it's a view of the glory of God's creation that we don't usually see.
I'll post more soon. We got back on Friday. Went out to buy a wedding present, had to get Jim ready for camp by the next morning (laundry, trip to the store to get a new toothbrush since original was left at Grandma's, etc.), swim meet first thing Saturday morning, picked up the dog, ran to the mall and actually found a dress to wear to the wedding, and made it to the wedding on time. It was a lovely wedding which I'll write more about later.
It's nice to be back and catch up with all that's happening with my blogging friends!