Sunday, December 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of the Liturgical New Year and if that doesn't say "fresh start" I don't know what does! It's very difficult for me to get on here these days - bigger people have more activities. Still, I like to look back and remember, so let's try to restart this beginning with Thanksgiving.

Seems like as good a holiday as any. So many things to be thankful for - currently for this home and fireplace (I hear driving rain outside and it may actually be sleet), for faith and family and friends. For quiet time and time full of kids' voices (and instruments). So much to be thankful for.

We made the trip South to Atlanta this year. Usually we would have been visiting (great) Uncle Frank the week before to mark his birthday but having said our final goodbyes and sent him on to heaven, we decided Uncle Frank Jr. and Aunt Janet would be a good choice. We would be able to be with family and to remember, not only our dear uncle but also our mother/grandmother who passed three years earlier on the 29th.

We left shortly after noon and settled into our Louisville Drury Inn right around dinnertime. Have you been to Drury Inn? Free breakfast AND dinner (every day!). I admit dinner was a bit lacking this time around (no lettuce at all due to the recall) but we made due and had a good night's sleep. Breakfast more than made up for it and we were grateful to meet Jose, our server, who happened to be celebrating his birthday that very day - on Thanksgiving!

We like to go to Mass on Thanksgiving and, being away from home, we had to just pick one and let the Holy Spirit do the work. I ended up finding St. Benedict's (Benedictines are always a good choice) in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky. This town and this many happy memories of my days in small-town Kentucky. The fact that it was on the opposite side of the state made no difference. Catholics are a bit rare in the state generally so if you can find a country church, you can be sure it's filled with faithful, helpful, lovely people. (like the sacristan who walked me outside, to the basement entrance of the social hall to unlock it so that I could make a bathroom stop)

St. Benedict's was definitely a hidden gem and we were blessed to begin our Thanksgiving among such people. The priest, who was recently appointed pastor of that parish and neighboring St. Aloysius' (my favorite name!) was actually brought to tears as he told the story of his journey from what he thought he wanted to what God had planned for him as pastor there. He said it all came clear as he prayed the Joyful Mysteries and reflected on the Annunciation. He remarked that if Mary could say "yes" with all the uncertainty of her call, why couldn't he? His "yes" has brought about many rewards in his life - more than he could have imagined. What a wonderful beginning to our day.

This is St. Benedict's - all 30 pews. Father asked that people stay after to change out the hymnals and everyone did just that!
We made our way through Kentucky, then Tennessee and finally arrived in Georgia just before dinnertime. We were greeted by "the big chicken" in Marietta...its beak opens and closes and its eyes roll - day and night!
beak closed

beak open!
After checking into our VRBO and settling a bit, we made it to Uncle Frank and Aunt Janet. I was glad we could all be together for this holiday - to be thankful for what we have and for those the Father has called back to Himself.

One chatting, one working.

He was very interested in his uncle's techniques

Carving the bird.

brief musical interlude

Working with auntie to open the kid wine


Let the feast begin!

There is something to be said to reclaiming family time. We are all so busy with our own's difficult to carve out a space to make time for things that should be important - that used to be important. It was a bit painful when our four-hour, bi-yearly visit with my side of the family ended and my son asked, "Is this the way it will be when we get older?" I suppose that's all up to you and your siblings my child. I hope that them being together most of the time on most days will make them remember it fondly and look for opportunities to gather together.

In the meantime, it's a New Year in the Church - time to let go of all the things that have kept us from Him who deserves all of our time. Yes, we still have to lead our lives but what if starting this year, we made it first and foremost about Him? I bet, if you make it your resolution, you can somehow make whatever you are doing at any given moment over the next year focus back to thanking Him for His blessings, gifts, challenges, losses, trials, loves and just everything. Give it a try.

We are blessed.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

But all moms staying home won’t fix our culture.

I read this on Instagram today. It was part of a huge rant about many things, including women being told they can't do thus and made me sad. When did women forget who they are? When did they decide they have to strive for so much? I think if most of us looked at our husbands and the stress they carry from providing for and protecting...perhaps we wouldn't be all that interested in taking that on.

I'm sure the poster is correct. All moms staying home won't fix our culture. All moms shouldn't stay home. It's a pretty intense level of selflessness that not everyone can muster (I fail many times a perfect pictures here). I guess my sadness is that yes, the culture is broken and, yes, unless the people whom God has endowed with the gifts to nurture and love start choosing to do just that...there is no fix in sight.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Time passages

We'll start with Al Stewart...
Well I'm not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don't last
Well it's just now and then my line gets cast into these
Time passages
I've always liked this song so that's, what, like 40 years now? You see where I'm going. It's the end of July and we have had our share of added excitement this summer but still, where did that summer go? It seems, when you're on this side of the hill, time moves at a much quicker rate.

Let's look at July in fast-forward...the way we lived it.

4th of July
Yes, there were three days prior but I don't know what happened exactly, other than planning for this day. An extremely HOT parade, home to fete mom's 83rd, then off to a really terrible ballgame with Uncle Dave. God is good...excellent reason to head home early and regroup.

How cute are these two?

Rocco, C and Rocco, A bring the banner 
her last official duty as right guard

Ahh, this porch. I'm so glad it's ours.

silly Grammy

We stayed long enough to see the pierogies race

and even saw some fireworks after we got home!
July 9th (and 10th)

On the 9th we remembered our sweet blonde's arrival to the world...we would never be the same! I'm guessing she'll always remember her 9th birthday (in addition to the coolness of turning 9 on the 9th) because this was our last day to visit our old home; the one she was brought home to all those years ago. We parked the car and took a walk to our favorite Chinese place for her birthday dinner, then took some time to say good-bye to all the things we loved. It was a good house, full of memories.
I won't miss the crummy little side potty. at all. 

I will miss the floors and the woodwork 
and the wonderful flights (three!) of stairs - so many little people, up and down...

and my dear, beloved, laundry chute

We came with a 1-year-old and a microscopic person and we're leaving with these great gifts

God is unbelievably generous

this may have to be the Christmas card this year

he painted the rainbow so she would be happy and move to the third floor when she was 5 to accommodate the others who had come along after her

many happy memories

we all shed tears that night

back to our new home to celebrate this wonderful girl - #9!

We closed on the house July 10th. We all went to the closing and the kids did an amazing job of standing and watching as many, many papers were signed. We were happy to meet the new owners - they seem to have an appreciation for the home we have loved for 13 years.

I have no pictures of the closing. We were really, really trying to get out quickly to make it to the pool - swim lessons for tiny guy!

We were so blessed with the two weeks he was in lessons - beautiful weather every day...I'm at that tan stage where my feet look dirty on the top and that's my happy place. He missed the last day of lessons but I think he was OK with that...

July 18 - KENNYWOOD!!!

Not just any day at Kennywood, either, it was SLOVAK Day!!! We had officially resigned from our Slovak dance group (high schoolers take up a lot of time) but the leader asked if we would return one last time to help because some of the kids went to Europe for the summer and they needed more kids for the show. Of's mainly so we can see all our nun-friends from Sisters of the Divine Redeemer.

He likes to dance but, of course, this is his favorite part of the day :0)

Prior to the "plunge" on Pittsburgh Plunge. He was a wee bit anxious.

See? More nuns!


another Kennywood in the books

Start of School 

Somewhere in there we also "started school". It's in quotes because the first few weeks, like most schools, consist of a little work and a lot of "activities".  We welcomed our new class of 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 9th graders. That's one of those time hops! How did we get from here...

to here...

May our first "official" year as Our Lady of Good Counsel homeschool be blessed!
The rest of the month hasn't happened yet but we can talk about it now. 

July 26 - #16!

On Friday, we will celebrate our 16th year of marriage. That's definitely one of the hardest time passages to appreciate but I know it's true. As mind-boggling as it is, in a few short months, we will enter into the year 2020! We had our heads down and were plowing through the babies and the illnesses and the fun and the family time and all of a we are. 

I'm not a huge fan of the "aging" part on our side of it - the two of us who began this trip together in 2003. I'm feeling my body start to decline and I'm watching my beloved become a late-middle-aged man. It seems somehow that our parents didn't have to deal with these issues...but maybe they did and we just weren't around to see it much.

Which brings me to the good part of this long-marriage thing. When we were married, we had a year or two together, hanging out, drinking wine, going to the theater and ballgames. Then our first little bundle arrived and here's what happened...

We "two" became we "three" and so on...and suddenly the couple was gone. I am grateful for all the days of babies in our house but I'm also learning to appreciate these times.

Now, we have kids that are less needy and less needing to be watched and so we can become "two" again. It's different now, of course, the "two" won't be producing any additional numbers (I'm know God...never speculate) but that's nice in its own way. 

Now, instead of a new two, wondering about babies and teething and preschool, we are an older two. We have 16 years of marriage (and several dating prior) history to go back to. Sometimes I dwell on the bad parts of those times and it's not fair. My fear of time passing makes me sad and scared and angry. Instead, perhaps, I will work on giving God all the thanks I can for giving me this man who has been willing to stand with me through everything - good and bad. What an amazing gift that has been. How grateful I am to look forward, we two, to what He has in store for the future. I pray that the days we walk together on this journey are many...I can't imagine what comes next. 

We are blessed.