Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Talk about house cleaning.....we clean the big one.

We clean the fourth largest stadium in the world. Until 2008 it was the largest football stadium in the U.S. (Then we had to eliminate over 1000 seats to accommodate some handicapped seating.)

Yup. After every University of Michigan home football game the families of my children's high school clean the stadium. The school is reimbursed nicely for it and it is a major source of support for our athletic programs.

It's full of garbage. I'm not kidding. Apparently, no one picks up after themselves anymore.

This stadium is huge. It seats over 100,000 people. I think maybe two of them throw out their own cups and nacho trays. LOL Maybe three?

I used to grumble about this job quite a lot. Internally, mind you. In my thoughts. This is gross. I don't like it. It's hard. I'm old. And so on. You know what? That didn't make it any easier.

It's actually a very good workout. We rake, yes, RAKE out the garbage from each row, separating the water bottles for recycling. Then we scoop/ pickup/ sweep the stuff into giant garbage bags.

When my kids complain, "WHY do we have to do this," I tell them why. (School obligation, raising money for the athletics programs, etc.) They usually say, "But it's so disgusting picking up garbage!" I tell them the same thing I have told myself.

"Are you too good to pick up garbage? Do you think this is work beneath you? Don't you also make garbage? Why should other people have to pick up garbage and not you?" It is good exercise physically and it's a great exercise in humility!! It gives us something to offer to the Lord. (I find it also helps to not really think about what you're doing. Just do it. You know? Just pick the stuff up and get it done quickly. And don't, don't complain in your heart. That only makes it worse.) It also helps to be really friendly and kind to all the other families working.

Usually we have several hundred people working on this job, maybe 6-8 people per section. And the sections are big! No one is finished until we're all finished. Boy does it feel good to look back and see that section all cleaned up.

When we're done, we have Mass said in the stadium by our chaplain and THEN....coffee and donuts.

And you know what? When my family goes to the movies or an athletic event, we pick up our own garbage. Otherwise, someone else will have to.

Yup. We clean house. What in Ann Arbor we call THE BIG HOUSE. And it is!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Prayer Update!

Thank you all so much for your prayers on Friday.

The Memorial Mass was lovely and the whole school community really felt full of love. Do you know what I mean?

The Madrigals did an awesome job singing Jackie's favorite songs. There were some tears but only one or two here and there and nothing that interfered with the music. It was just beautiful. I'm sure Jackie was pleased and maybe even singing with them.

I had the pleasure of bringing all the Madrigals a snack and drink (and Altoids and pocket Kleenex packs:-) between the end of school and the start of Mass. It actually blessed me to be able to love them before their tough assignment.

May Jackie rest in peace and may her mother know the Lord's comfort and consolation in this terrible time of such sorrow. Mary Queen of Peace, you who know the pain of losing a Child, please pray for Marie!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Prayer Request!

Our local Catholic high school (my children's school) has suffered the loss of one of it's 2009 graduates. She died suddenly of heart issues right after starting college.

This girl, Jackie, was the only child of a single mother. She was also a member of the Madrigals singing group at the school. My son Jim is also a member of this group. Jackie, not having any brothers or sisters, had said that the madrigals were like a family to her. It is a close-knit group. Of course, everyone is just devastated by this loss, especially the Madrigals.

Today there will be a memorial Mass for Jackie at the high school. The Madrigals will be singing, including the other 2009 graduates. They will sing Jackie's favorite songs. This task is going to be very difficult for them. Please pray that they will be able to do it, that they will give glory to God and honor Jackie's memory.

More importantly, please pray too for the repose of Jackie's soul and for courage and consolation for her mother Marie.

Lord have mercy. Thank you, all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Everybody Home!!

For one dinner this week we had everybody home. Fun stuff. Mike is doing business in Michigan this week and staying with us. John and Anne came over for dinner too.

We had a nice dinner including the bread pictured above. (I didn't make it. Bought it.) Looks nice though, doesn't it?
And the above salads which I did make. Aren't those blackberries awesome? Sam's Club. and they were as yummy as they look.

But best of all, all my kids together at the table again. I don't know. Why do moms love having all the kids at the dinner table so much? Is it having all "my ducks in a row?" Or ducklings, as the case may be-- even though three of them are legal adults, two are college graduates, you know. Or is it just me? When all my kids are at the table I can hardly get the silly grin off my face. I guess it's the mom-thing. I look at them and all the satisfaction of being the mother of each one just fills me with gladness. Sweet contentment. God is good. Very good!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yikes! I'm behind on everything. (Story of my life... teehee)

Still working on our high school's adoration schedule. It takes a lot of time communicating with people and adjusting the schedule.

Had a dental appointment this week and a hearing exam. I've had some hearing loss which is why I had this appointment, but it's stable compared to last year so that's good.

Spent a day looking at wedding dresses with my daughter and talking to a photographer.

Then I substitute taught the third grade at our grade school.

When even one of these schedule changing events happens in a week I get behind. Sometimes it's laundry. Sometimes it's groceries. Sometimes it's a deterioration in meal planning. Sometimes it's all of the above! Today it's all of the above!

But this is the advantage of being a stay-at-home mom. I can let some things go when I feel there is a greater priority. I can shift my work.

This week my oldest has business in this area so he will be staying with us most of the week. What a blessing it is to be able to see him this much and have him around. I ironed his shirt this morning and made him an omelette. How often do I get to do that for my 25 year old. Fun stuff!

What's on my To-Do List? Emails about Adoration, grocery shopping, plan dinner (and make it!), catch up on laundry, do those dishes, tidy up the house, pray! And maybe make it to Mass. Oh, and send in the check and signed contract to the photographer. And pick up Liz from volleyball. And find out what time John is teaching at our house today. ....and probably a few other things that at the moment escape me.

God bless your day and all those you love!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Adoration in our High School!

Oh my goodness! Fall busyness has really set in.

I have two children in our local Catholic high school and I'm trying to fill in the schedule for Adoration every Friday. What a blessing it is to be before the exposed Blessed Sacrament praying for the school, staff, students, and families of this school. It's a lot of work though to keep everyone informed and the schedule updated. We ask people to sign up for a weekly hour or a monthly hour in order to make it do-able for as many people as possible, and also to fill the slots. Would you pray that we can fill all the slots to keep this going?

And if, by chance, you are a parent or alumni or friend of this school, maybe you would like to sigh-up? It's the perfect situation for a mom to do adoration. When the school is closed, it's called off. Vacations, snow days, etc....no adoration.

You get to adore Jesus in person and also get into your child's school and stay connected with it. And what a blessing it is to see the numerous kids who come into the chapel between classes and at lunchtime. They don't even have time to take a seat. They come in about 20 feet, kneel on the floor and bow their heads, say some little prayer, and then they're out of there. May God bless them all and hear their prayers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm sooo tired.

I have been having so much fun looking at bridal gowns with my daughter that I'm behind on everything, including my blogging. We took lots of pictures of gowns but, of course, I can't post them. What if the groom were reading my blog?? Suffice it to say that every one was gorgeous. Haven't read anyone's posts today, I'm afraid. I'll catch up though.

Here are some pictures of flowers on my front walk. I've really been enjoying them.

Hope you are all well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

President Obama's Speech on Health Care

I have been wanting to write about last week's presidential speech on health care ever since the speech. It was a busy week. I'm sure others have commented on it and I'm sorry to be late in joining the conversation.

I found the president's speech to be very disingenuous, to say the least. Here was the first line that bothered me.

First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. (Applause.) Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.

Well, no. Nothing would require YOU to change what you have but it could be changed FOR you. If employers can save a whole lot of money by paying a comparatively low fine to cancel your health care coverage, you very well may end up on the public plan.

Next problematic statement:

Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost.
Really. I have not heard a single member of Congress say that they want to kill all reform at any cost. Is there any member of Congress that does not think SOME reform is needed? I don't think so.

And then this doozy:

The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple. (Applause.)

President Obama knows very well that people are concerned about the prospect of health care rationing--- and, in particular, rationing based on the supposed worth of an individual to the society as a whole. He has advisers who have written bizarre ideas like the suggestion that Alzheimer's patients should not be entitled to health care. And the fact that an unelected panel would decide who gets what care makes us all even more concerned about this possibility. Obama's belittling of this concern is very troubling to me. He knows what our worries are. Yet I do not hear him saying that the elderly and disabled would be given the exact same quality of care as a healthy person in their prime. No. He is not saying that. Instead he mocks his critics by presenting their arguments as a caricature that is laughable...."killing off senior citizens" He is pretending that our concerns about rationing are absurd. And still he does not deny there will be rationing. I find it very manipulative.

Then the President stated:

There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
It was at this point that Congressman Wilson shouted out, "You lie." I have to admit I was sympathetic to Congressman Wilson because the same words were echoing in my head.

There is no provision in the bill that requires medical personnel to confirm that a person is a citizen. There are therefore no consequences to billing for an illegal alien. Illegal aliens will be covered as a result. Obama knows this. And you could argue that they should be covered. But to say that they will not be is just plain dishonest on the President's part.

And then this:
And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up -- under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place. (Applause.
Oh, please!! Federal dollars will pay for abortion. Yeah, you can say that the payment is coming from the premiums or whatever smoke and mirrors you want to use, but the American people are not stupid. Federal dollars are federal dollars and the president is misleading when he declares otherwise. If you want the details of the long and the short of it see Factcheck's explanation here.

I would also refer you to the following sites with more detailed explanations.

Thanks for letting me vent. I found it ironic that some were so upset by Congessman Wilson's outburst, but did not seem the least bothered by the misleading and deceptive statements by Obama that triggered the outburst.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm OK. I'm OK. LOL

I have a habit of leaving cabinet doors open. I do it all the time. Then I go back and close them all when I notice.

On Saturday, I was leaning down to get something from under the counter and then stood up to meet the very corner of the bottom of the upper cabinet right on my left eyebrow. I hit it so hard (must have been in a hurry) it actually bled a little.

Well, next day, lo and behold I had a black eye!! Isn't is lovely? And I keep forgetting to mention to people how it happened.

THEN....the very next day, while cleaning the U of M football stadium (which I will write about soon) I stepped on a broom funny and hit myself in the other eye. Now there is a lesser bruise on the other one. I can't remember the last time I had anything resembling a black eye. Now I have two of them.

I bet there are those who are thinking......hmm, something must be going on in her life.

Honestly, no one is beating me . (accept my own carelessness) LOL

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Catholics Against Obama Care!!!

Beloved Catholic blogger Jean Heimann of Catholic fire has started a grassroots movement called

Catholics Against Obama Care

Today Jean has sent out the following press release:

Catholics Against Obama Care set September 11 as Day of Prayer and Fasting for defeat of Health Care Reform

For Immediate Release

(September 8, 2009) Catholics Against Obama Care is calling Catholics as well as those of other denominations to participate in a day of prayer and fasting on September 11, 2009, for the special intention that Obama health care reform be defeated.

Catholics Against Obama Care acknowledges that Catholic Church has always advocated health care reform; but Obamacare, as delineated in the HR-3200 Bill, is not health care -- it is death care. Mandated abortion, health care rationing, and euthanasia are not health care. Obamacare is government control over people's lives and, as Jon Voight points out the removal of a person's free will. Voight said in an interview on Fox News with Mike Huckabee, "They're taking away God's first gift to man -- our free will and no man no matter what his title, even if he's president of the United States, has the consent of God to decide he's God."

Jean M. Heimann, the founder of Catholics Against Obama Care, is a Catholic freelance writer and also the author and administrator of the award-winning weblog Catholic Fire. Catholics Against Obama Care, a grassroots movement, which began on August 22, the feast day of the Queenship of Mary, has selected the Mother of God to be the group’s special intercessor in their efforts to defeat this anti-Catholic, anti-life bill.

Heimann explains how Catholics Against Obama Care began:

“I had been praying for Obama's conversion at daily Mass and for the truth to be revealed about this administration's deceptive health care reform bill. One day, I felt that I needed to do more than just sign petitions and contact my congressmen. I felt that God was calling me to do something more to stop this evil bill which mandates abortion, rations health care to the disabled and the seriously ill, and encourages euthanasia for the elderly.

So, I selected several talented pro-life Catholic writers/bloggers from different areas of the country -- CT, Idaho, Hawaii, Florida, Wisconsin, and Kansas -- who agreed to use their gifts to share the truth with others about this so-called health reform bill.

In addition to educating and enlightening others about what the bill is really all about, we also want to encourage other Catholics to become pro-active by praying and fasting that this bill does not become law.”

For more information, contact Jean M. Heimann at jean.heimann@gmail.com

Catholics Against Obama Weblog Site: http://catholicsagainstobamacare.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NOBOCare

Catholic Fire Weblog Site: http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/

Jean M. Heimann
Catholic Fire

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire. Let the truth be your delight...proclaim it...but with a certain congeniality."

~ St. Catherine of Siena

May all Catholics join Jean in her efforts to stop this insidious attack on human life!!!!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Morbity Warning-- Don't read if cemeteries freak you out....

I did go to see my mother's crypt yesterday as I said. Interestingly, my mother never wanted to be put in a mausoleum. She told my dad she wanted to be buried in the ground. My dad, however, wanted very much to NOT be buried in the ground. And they wanted to be laid to rest together. So....Mom died first and Dad put her in a mausoleum where now he is also laid to rest.

Even though it wasn't what she had said she wanted I figured she surely doesn't care now. After all, she is not in her body and I'm sure she would have wanted my dad to do what was easiest for him.

It is really a lovely place as you can see in the photo below. And because it's indoors it is very easy to visit in all kinds of weather.

And I KNOW my mother would have loved how very, very Catholic it is. The photo below is what you see upon first entering..

Across the street from the cemetery there is a little mom and pop type flower shop with very reasonably priced flowers. It is so convenient. They really do provide a service to those coming to honor the dead. I bought these white roses there. As you enter the mausoleum on the left is the room you see pictured below. The cabinets have clean, empty vases which we are free to use. There are clippers and a sink so you can arrange your flowers right there! It's really quite nice.

There was no one around yesterday. Just two employees whom I rarely saw. The entire building is marble I think, although the main hallways are carpeted. It was SO quiet. This stained glass window is in the alcove where my parents are laid to rest. I love it.

Here is the entire room. On the right, on the floor you can see the white roses I brought. My parents crypt is even with the floor. I like that because I can put flowers right in front of their names. There are crypts that go all the way to the ceiling. I sat on the bench and said the rosary in the still, still quiet.

On the way out, I "happened" to notice stained glass windows of two of my mother's favorite saints.... St. Francis ( Mom was a secular Franciscan).
And St. Therese....

A place in a mausoleum like this is a lot more expensive than being buried in the ground, but maybe not as much as you would think. I find it a lovely place, a very peaceful and comfortable place to visit. And the stained glass is very inspiring. My father liked it when he chose it for my mother. I did go with him many times to visit her "grave." I feel quite certain that my mother finds it beautiful too. Although I can also hear her chuckling and saying, "He always did have to have his own way." teehee

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Anniversary of My Mother's Birth

Today would have been my mother's 85th birthday.She died five years ago after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. She spent some ten years in a nursing home, most of that time unable to walk or talk. We loved her during that period anyway. In some ways, we especially loved her while she was so sick.

This picture just below is of my parents when they were pretty close to my age now.

My mother was very devoted to her family. She was always there for us. She was a nurturer, a self-sacrificer. She wanted to have a large family but she had a congenital heart condition that caused her doctors to see many pregnancies as inadvisable. When she was born her parents were told that she would probably never live to be an adult. She was not allowed to run around, ride a bike, or dance. (She did all three secretly. In fact, she was a very good dancer.) Her parents must have been terrified.

Then at about the time of the photo below, Mom had an angiogram that revealed that her heart murmur was very small and should not have any impact on the functioning of her heart. While this was very good news, she did regret that she had not been able to have more children. (There were only three of us.)

My mother was very stylish. She loved shoes and she had very nice clothes. But she was completely unpretentious. She despised snobbishness. She was a genuine as can be.

Mom also loved children and always defended them. She like it if her house was a little messed up when her grandchildren left because that gave her "the pleasure of remembering they had been there." She actually said that. :-) Once when we were in a restaurant together a man near us was complaining and rolling his eyes about a baby nearby who was a little noisy and making a mess. My mother's eyes flashed (she was Irish). She was so annoyed with this man. She said "People forget that they were once little too."

My mother was voted "second cutest" and "best actress" in her high school class. Sadly, she never saw any of her grandchildren in plays. How she would have LOVED that. And she never saw John in a piano recital. (Although she heard him play. He played for her all the time in the nursing home. ) I'm hoping in heaven there is some way to rewind the life that an Alzheimer's patient has missed so she can see what she so would have enjoyed had she been able.

I'm going to visit her crypt today. I will take flowers to honor her birthday and pray for the repose of her soul. She certainly suffered a great deal on Earth. I pray she is in heaven.

My mother's name is Helen. As I drove the kids to school this morning we were listening to the radio. There was some little question and answer contest going on. I only realized that one of the contestant's names was Helen at the end when the DJ said. "And Helen is the victor!"

Helen is not a very common name and I don't listen to pop radio much. I pray it was no coincidence and that she is even now victorious and before the throne of Jesus.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Homelessness Hit Close to Home

The other week one of my children discovered the belongings of a homeless person right on the other side of our back fence. Branches from one of our spruce trees along the back provided some shelter and hid the area from view. It was also not very visible from our house, but the kids had gotten up close.

We weren't sure what to do. We wanted to help him but such situations are usually complicated by functional difficulties, and sometimes drug or alcohol abuse.... you know. Our neighbor who is a social worker said that if we didn't ask him to leave, in a loving and supportive way, telling him what his options were, etc., eventually more people would be camping out back there. They would be going to the bathroom back there. (They have to go somewhere!) They would leave more garbage. And we wondered about the safety issues....

I thought of leaving him food or money.....

We thought of calling the police, but never did.

We thought of talking to him and telling him where the shelter is and other places he could go for help, but my husband never actually found him back there. It was clear he was continuing to return but perhaps not till late at night.

I didn't like to leave the kids home alone during that time, not knowing what to expect. There was a stranger practically in our yard.

Then, one day as I was praying at my bedroom window, though the tree branches, I could see a man walking away with a cardboard box and then coming back for something else. Somehow I didn't think it was our homeless man. I think it might have been someone from the church that
actually owns the property. I hope they spoke with him and didn't just throw his things away. Or that it was indeed the man and he decided to move to a shelter-- or, who knows, perhaps his circumstances changed.

I'm not sure what the best thing was to do in that situation. We can continue to pray for him which is no doubt the most important gift we could give him. (That being true for all people and not just the homeless.)

The homeless are clearly among the poorest of our poor. What is our responsibility to them?
I'm wondering, in particular, if we should have done something for him.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Way Too Busy....

I have been too busy to post anything or read anybody's blog for the last 5 or 6 days.

I worked the box office and refreshments for each show of Sound of Music. (Also purchased all the items to sell.)

Yesterday I met the woman I wrote about before, the daughter of my mother's roommate in the nursing home. We had "accidentally" met at Starbucks a few weeks ago. Mind you, we did not recognize each other at that time but happened to start a casual conversation that led to the discovery that our mothers had been roommates. It was such a strange coincidence that I have to think the unseen was breaking into the seen world. In other words, I think my mother had something to do with it. It would be so like my mother.

Anyway, Sandy and I met at Starbucks and had the conversation our mothers were never able to have on this Earth. We talked for four hours! Somehow I think our mothers were enjoying it. We certainly were. We are going to get together again soon.

Well, too tired to write any more. And, unfortunately, too tired to read any posts either. I will try to catch up some tomorrow