Sunday, May 21, 2017

Family

Friday was a crummy day...mostly because our new bathtub in our new bathroom decided to become, not only a bath on the second floor, but also a shower on the first. Ahhh. It wouldn't be so very bad but our other shower went out of commission a year or so ago and, since we were making the other perfect and new, we didn't worry about it. Bad plan.

I woke up on Saturday morning in a dark place with one thought in my mind...I have no friends. None. I have nowhere to bathe my children and I have noone to call. I get that way sometimes. When I'm stressed about something I start a pretty quick downhill roll to hysteria. Before I could even take time to refute such a panic-inspired statement, I picked up the readings for the day.
John's Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
So, yes, I do get that. I'm so unattached to the world, sometimes I include the people around me. Why, then, can I not be so unattached to bathing? Sigh. After ranting a while, dh, in his great love and long-suffering, worked out a plan...the bath would be fixed by next week. Grateful that there was at least something in motion, we continued our plan for the day...Open House at the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R, of the Penance of the Sorrowful Mother.  We had wanted to go to this for a few years but this is the year it worked out. Ahem.

We pulled up a little late but just in time to take a short tour and then head right to the outdoor May Crowning. What a beautiful day and what an amazing sight to see so many families, interspersed with the Sisters, walking through the pasture to crown Our Lady.





After the crowning, we had a few minutes to just walk around, eat some snow-cones and popcorn, and just be quiet and enjoy our family and God's creation. I am from the country and there is a very big part of me that relaxes a whole bunch when I'm in a place like this. It is quiet and it is still. Plenty of room to just listen.
The kids had a vocation talk with the Sisters and dh and I spent some time in the chapel listening to the adult/hs vocations talk (do you know why their cord has three knots? obedience, poverty and chastity!).

Vigil Mass ended the beautiful day. The priest was Fr. Boniface Hicks and the very first few lines of his homily explained and reminded that here, we are family. Ah, yes. Perhaps as the world sees, there are few friends and a family that, well, is sort of absent. As God sees though... that's a whole other thing entirely. Do not see as the world sees...

How grateful I am that God continues to give me reminders that, even when it seems lonely, He is always around me; in the Holy Spirit, but also in the good people that He put with me to walk this path. What a beautiful end to Fr. Boniface's homily...that like the moms and dads holding their sleeping children during Mass, when we enter the silence we should be at peace because it is God, holding us with a love that transcends any words.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We're done

After our end-of-year Mass on Monday
The older two still have a week or two of online courses and there is a band concert tomorrow but the evaluations have been handed in so I'm calling it a year. Thanks be to God, we are done! Congratulations to our new 7th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd graders and kindergartner (who was absent for the group photo :0)) It was a good year, full of fun and new experiences. I'm sort of amazed to think we have completed five years of homeschooling but I can also say I'm finally feeling settled on our decision. God-willing, we will be back at it in a month or so. Can't wait to see what's on tap for year 6!

We are blessed.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our celebration weekend

Yes, I know, April was packed-full of parties. What can I do? Things seem to cluster sometimes. This weekend is somewhat sweeter because, for the most part, it only involves family and close friends so the stress is a lot less.

Friday was the official start of this party. Here was the scene in the AM
Can you tell which is excited and which is sad that school is ending?
It is a lot of work but it's a great blessing to do these portfolios...it's like their own personal yearbook.
Yes, that's right, Friday was Evaluation Day! For those non-homeschoolers among us, I guess it's like the last report card. You see the summation of work for the year and talk to the evaluator about it who, in turn, tells you that you've passed onto the next grade. That last part usually isn't a problem but it's fun to look back at all the things, good and trying, that we accomplished (or attempted) this year.

We watched TRON as a family movie last night because tiny man was with Miss Terri for his birthday outing to see Paw Patrol. I don't think the kids liked our movie choice but dh and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

That's good because TODAY is his special day! Yes, my beloved turned 52 today. That was kind of quick. He was in his 30s when we met ;0) Truly, other than the grey hair, he seems a lot like he did then and as a young father. His energy and dedication are amazing. Take, for example, his willingness to coach a bunch of 4-and5-year-olds on a soccer team. When I was walking up today (I came later with the older kids) I heard him saying, "It seems that most of our players have now quit or are crying so we're going to call it a day." lol. He does have a lot of patience. For that, he deserves a big celebration!
Birthday dinner, in the making

Lots of cool cards

Hugs and kisses for the birthday boy AND the baptism boy (yes, today is special for that reason too!)

Explaining the "free hug" coupon. It never expires :0)

Birthday cupcakes

and a baptism-day kit kat
After soccer but before all those great festivities here, we had one more special stop. Today after all, not to take anything away from dh or the baptism boy, is a really big day in another way. It's the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of Our Lady to the Fatima children. 
Tiny Our Lady of Fatima...cute.
A nearby church was having Mass and rosary in honor of the anniversary so off we went. It was so much better than I could have imagined! The Mass was bi-lingual (first they read the reading in Spanish, then in English; Spanish homily then English homily). Afterward, we all processed outside to pray the rosary while we walked around the building... following the platform with Our Lady of Fatima (carried by boy scouts and Knights of Columbus!) and a giant balloon rosary! The kids were thrilled to take part in holding the rosary. Yes, we also switched off decades, one in Spanish, one in English, etc.

On the fourth mystery, we stopped and the rosary went into a nearby field. As we prayed, it was released into the air. It floated up into the sun (which had appeared for a while on this overcast day!)...such an amazing thing to witness. At one point it hung in the air as if someone was holding it from above. Beautiful.
Blondie got to walk with Father and hold the cross


Best seat in the house! This is how dedicated a father he is :0)








Tomorrow is Mother's Day. We will start with a pancake breakfast at church then chat until Mass. After that, I'll drive my mother an hour each way to see our neighbor, another mother from the neighborhood that herded and guided us while we were growing, who went to her Eternal Reward earlier this week. It will likely be the perfect end to this amazing weekend. Joy, gratitude, and always remembrance of our gifts and our first Mother...the one who will always guide us home.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hello, I'm still here

I've given myself four days to finish two portfolios because, who doesn't love a deadline? It will get done, even if we keep taking these side trips.

There are two Saints who currently seem to be popping up in my life at the most unexpected times. St. Pio of Pietrelcina is one so, when the opportunity presented itself to take our non-driving neighbor and head to the Cathedral for Mass and relic veneration...well, what could I do? Deadlines can wait.

If you've read this blog lately, you know we were at the local Padre Pio shrine a few months ago. It was moving to see the humble beginnings that created this great Saint. It wasn't a surprise when the Bishop, reading a letter from the Vatican before his homily, quoted, "Saints are made from the family." What a beautiful thought.

Mass with the bishop is always lovely and I pretty much guessed, with a full house, people would be racing ahead to get to the relics first. I did have some anxiety (we had a sitter at home with tiny man and a parking ticket looming) but my dear friend, before heading out, dropped off a beautiful rosary for me to touch to the relics in her stead. When I started to get upset, I looked in my hands and realized I had a perfect solution right there. So, for the next 15+ minutes, I silently prayed. I'm sure it was Padre and his "Pray, don't worry." It was nice to have the experience. I love being a Catholic and seeing how many people flock to Saints' relics. It's such a beautiful picture of our ongoing hope that we too might end up as they, if we are open and follow God's will.

I took the front of the train and our sweet neighbor took the back. Not sure where #3 is at this point.

Wish I could hear his thoughts when he's doing this. He was happy to stand in line to get there.

St. Padre Pio, Pray for Us!
I think it was a good bit of grace to get me through the next few days. Tomorrow is a no-dad day and I really, really dislike those. Gratefully, no matter what, Friday is evaluation day. That means...
Yippie! The last day of school followed by DH's bday and Mother's Day. Sweet.
We'll take a week or two off from all things educational (is that possible) and in the interim, I'm looking soooo forward to sitting through 300+ minutes of a lovely gift that just happened to arrive today (ahem). God is so good :0)





We are blessed.