Monday, September 29, 2014

Why I am so odd...Slovak Traditions, Part 1

When my cousin visited recently from Slovakia, he brought me an excellent book, Slovak Folk Customs and Traditions. I have a feeling this will keep me amused all winter.

This kind of stuff, superstitions and such, drives DH a little batty but I think it's fascinating. These date waaayyyy back in time when the people were illiterate and learned from their mothers and grandmothers. It is true that tradition can easily turn into superstition but I think it's kind of sweet mostly. Mainly because the "superstitions" are often to ward off evil spirits or magic. Also, they worked hard and had difficult lives. It seems to me like they were just creating entertainment for themselves. I'm sure Peter gave me this to make me laugh but also to know I'm one of the tribe...without a doubt.

I'm sure I'll share more along the way but here are a few baby-related gems...

Children were wrapped in diapers made of old shirts. Girls were wrapped in women's blouses and boys in men's shirts. Diapers were not allowed to be dried out in the wind, as the baby would lose sleep. A baby girl's diapers could not be washed in the stream so she would not mature too soon.

For the christening, the godparents brought a long candle and a shirt with the name, date of birth, and date of christening embroidered on it for the baby. When leaving for the church the godparents (the parents didn't go) said, "We are taking a pagan from you and we shall return with a Christian."

Oh, I like that last one. Sorry I didn't read this sooner.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blessed Day

Through mostly my own fault (trying to get things done) I haven't been sleeping all that much. An was funny recently to hear a young couple, who are the parents of a young baby, debating whether or not to have another child...he saying "but you'll not get enough sleep" and her saying "yes, I only get 7 or 8 hours now and that's not enough!" Oh, sister...if you only knew. ;0) At least they're having an open dialogue about it.

Anyway, today I would have really, really liked to go to Mass (preferably alone) and then head to bed until, well, bedtime. I'm sure DH would have let me do it too. Unfortunately, not sure of the reason, I can't really do that much anymore. I feel a bit guilty missing things and I really dislike skipping family time, especially on a weekend. So, up and out we went.

Mass was lovely, even the kids were decently behaved. Then we picked up some doughnut holes and headed into town to stand vigil at 40 Days with the Catholic Moms (well, a bit before and during actually because we had another commitment later). I did not want to go down today. I have a HUGE bad attitude with everything 40 Days lately, especially the people who just fail to show up. There was a huge rant here but I'll just skip that part because this isn't really the venue to explore someone else's motivation. I have no power over anyone else's choices in life...I can only choose what my family and I do so, we went down.

As usual, we were richly blessed. God is so amazing to me. If my kid had a huge attitude about something I wanted them to do, even if it was clearly a good and right thing, I would probably not reward them with a softened heart and grace-filled time. Yet that is exactly what happened to me and two of my children! Hah. God is so good.

The other activity today (well, besides groceries...why do we keep running out of milk?) was a talk/cooking demonstration by Fr. Leo Patalinghug. He had a really good show with lots of excellent things to say. He spoke about God's desire to feed us and our responsibility to make sure what we're being fed with is actually from God and not from elsewhere.
Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their “shame.” Their minds are occupied with earthly things. Philippians 3:19

After the presentation, we got to meet him! So exciting since his is our go-to show on EWTN every Thursday afternoon :0) A grace-filled, fun and happy day, even if it started out with bad attitudes all around. We are blessed!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Another amazingly beautiful day! Wow, are we blessed or what? Perfect time to take the whole family to watch the older two boys at their soccer game. I've mentioned this group before and I LOVE them! They begin with a prayer (they will be having "Little Kickers" Mass in a few weeks!) and it is so low-stress...the kids just have fun (some more than others, as you will see). The best part is that our boys are on the same team as their good friends and two friends' dads are coaches! With the weather, it doesn't get any better than that. We are blessed.

 opening prayer
fun on the sidelines ;0) 

 JP and his dad/coach
This guy was all business

 These two crack me up

 at least they had fun
 no idea

 so cute...both of them

Thursday, September 25, 2014


What a glorious day to spend with friends in an orchard! Not even my extremely phobic (irrationally so) bee-boy could ruin this special time. I can only hope the apples taste as good as this last glimpse of Summer feels. We are blessed.

Another way to help...

Consider sponsoring the upcoming tour of Students for Life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lord, who throughout these forty days

Today begins the 40 Days for Life vigil to end abortion. I encourage you to do whatever you can to end this scourge in our society. I'm not even going to get into why you should. Sometimes it's enough to know it's the right thing. If you don't think it's the right thing, let me ask that you at least pray (and if you don't pray, think) about it. Try, for 40 days, to open your mind and heart to the possibility. See what happens.

For us, well, for me, this vigil seems different. I'm not sure why exactly. I know it is partly because I'm feeling depressed these days and 40 days for Life (despite the name) does nothing to lift that sadness. If anything, it makes it worse. Worse because of the people I know I will see at the vigil - people taking their daughter/girlfriend in for an abortion, people who think we are "religious nutcases" because we are praying with our family, people who don't care about it at all and do nothing.

I'm going to try to get out of my current state and, if I can't, at least I will have more to offer up. I have realized that depression is one of those isolating one wants to see or hear from you when you are depressed. It's not fun to be around. I don't want to be around anyone either so that works out well for me. Thankfully Our Father, who created and knows all about us, can walk with me when no one else wants to. That is an amazing gift.

Sorry to digress. I was trying to say that the 40 Days for Life vigil offers many ways to contribute to the cause. The two main pillars are fasting and prayer. I would encourage you to do both, if possible. I'm not a "fast every day" kind of person (DH gives up evening snacks during this time) so I sign up for specific days to do liquid-only fasts and concentrate on praying the rest of the days. I will try to warn you ahead of time in case I seem overly grumpy on a fast day - totally contrary to the purpose, I know, but I'm human...I'm doing my best (Friday is the first one) ;0)

Fasting can be many things, however, and I think I will concentrate on that these 40 days.

1. I am trying mightily to fast from letting my current state interrupt our lives. Sometimes I just need a day off but it really isn't fair that 5 other people sit around and watch tv because I feel like napping. So, I'm offering that up and carrying on with our program as much as possible.

2. I am fasting from worry about 40 Days for Life. Sometimes I find myself dispirited by the lack of participation among parishes, moms groups, pretty much everyone that should be totally behind this movement and just fail to show up. When we attended Mass at Notre Dame the priest had a brilliant homily -he said we can speak about right and wrong and try to educate people but judgement comes when we assign a motivation to someone without knowing if it's true. Since I don't know why people aren't coming out, I guess I'll just pray that they can do so in the future or that they are doing things other than standing vigil. Sometimes, since we have done it for several years, I forget that it's not the easiest or most comfortable thing. I don't think that should be a reason not to go but I need to be more understanding of those who aren't where we are. I pray they are doing what they can.

3. I am fasting from worry about other people in general. There have been a few instances in my life where people I have known a long time seem to just be flaking out. I could spend my evenings thinking about what I may have done/not done to cause the difficult behavior but, really, that is driving me nuts. I'm going to consider this a cross and, as much as I might like to, I'm not going to read blogs for clues or sit and stew about it. Instead, I will offer a rosary or some other prayer that I might see more clearly the situation and make amends if I need to or at least help them through extra grace.

How does any of this help abortion? Well, I think when I clear my mind of the fluffy stuff, the things that aren't essential but which take up the abundance of my time, I'm more free to concentrate my prayer, my sacrifices and my time to pray that God's will be done in our nation and world. I've realized that nothing is going to happen with abortion in a rapid manner. I think we're in this for the long haul. We may as well acknowledge that and pledge our commitment. What an excellent exercise for ourselves and our families to work on patience and perseverance.

Blessings to you. Hug your kids and say a prayer that others will choose to do the same. Go to and sign up for the updates, make a pledge, go and pray, fast, whatever you can do. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pray for Us!

Today is the Feast of St. Padre Pio. It's also my dad's birthday. I'm not sure if my dad knew that or not but I think it's pretty cool, just the same. St. Pio was an amazing man. It struck me as a little bit funny today when I was listening to a conversation about taking care of one of life's little annoyances and then thought of him, saying Mass with bleeding hands from the stigmata!

So, today, let's thank St. Pio for his wonderful example of offering up trials, big and small, in the hope of uniting our suffering to Christ's. We can all use that reminder.

If you would, please keep an acquaintance of mine close in your prayers. I have been watching as she is falling farther and farther into society, away from God. She always seemed fairly centered so perhaps she just needs some extra grace to carry her through this difficult time. Thank you.

On a funny closing note...Blondie just came in, "Mom, St. Padre Pio is on EWTN! He was a real live person!". "Yes, sweetie, all the Saints were real live people like you are before they went to can become a Saint one day as well!" Stunned silence.

I guess it never occurred to me that they wouldn't know that. Kids are great teachers.

St. Pio, Pray for Us!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Five on...well, I'm late

Forgive me for being behind. I have pledged to never again take a vacation that begins on Wednesday and ends on Tuesday. I have no idea where I am in the week!

1. Farm Houses
The house in which we stayed in WI was really and truly a farm house (BTW I fully endorse renting a house instead of a hotel room if you have a family of 5 or more). They had the history written in the welcome booklet - it goes back to the 1800's. I love that kind of place. Solid. You can just feel the years of families that lived there. Hard-working, honest people. The whole experience was beautiful and amazing. What a treat for us city-folk!
Eating cornflakes by a cornfield ;0)

 HUGE bedrooms! NO TVs!

Farm-themed play room

 amazing vistas

 So much space to run and play.
2. Simple Soccer
Let me gush for a moment about Little Kickers. This is an amazing concept. 8 weeks, one-hour each Saturday. Soccer for...get this...FUN! I promise you, the head coach wrote in an email, "it's no big deal, these kids aren't professional soccer players." What, now? No interrupted dinner time? No travel league? Sign me up.
3. Remembering
My dad would have turned 84 next week. It seems like he's been gone so long now. Still, it was heartwarming to take my mom and a few of the kids to the gravesite today to change out the plants for Fall. Kind of like we used to do with Bub when our grandfather was the only person with two dates listed on the stone.

love the gloves ;0)
4. Celebrating
My Aunt's birthday was yesterday. We are so blessed to have her with us and close enough to celebrate (dance last time to party). It means so much that we can have her and my mom around often to interact with the kids. I was just talking to a friend who spoke about all the wonderful times with his grandparents. I hope our kids feel that way someday too.

5. Rest
There is nothing like ending a fun-filled day by putting on jammies and settling down in front of a good Pooh flick. Tonight was the original and I'm so pleased that our kids, even the old ones, still belly laugh at that silly-old-bear. I pray this childhood innocence will last as long as possible.
We are so blessed. Have an excellent beginning to your week - Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lift High The Cross!

I would say the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a superb day on which to be baptized into the Church...Tobias Nathaniel, welcome!

What a beautiful day. We were able to share Mass as family and friends in preparation for the big event. Father's homily was excellent, complete with props!, talking about people's reaction to the crucifix. While we're on the matter...

Toby was baptized at St. Francis of Assisi and the whole way there, the discussion raged in the back of our van..."I think it's the crucified Jesus." "I think it's the resurrected Jesus." "Oh, I hope not, I'm not a fan." (Are my kids the only ones who have a crucifix preference?) Well, ladies and gentlemen, you are all correct. It was the coolest thing, really. We went in and knelt to pray and as I was looking up at the crucifix, I realized that the body of Christ was moving a bit. I looked up and saw that the body was affixed to the roof by one set of cables and the cross by another. Still, they were right next to one another so, unless the air was shifting, and certainly from straight on, it looked like a regular  crucifix. SO, there you go, a new and unique experience on a great day...on to the main event.

It is true that, the earlier in life you baptize kids, not only is it good for them spiritually, but let's be frank...they sleep the entire time! Sweet T was no exception. Little cutie. We were so blessed to be there to witness the event and so honored to be the godparents. We will be praying the beautiful prayer for godparents given to us by the priest, to ask for the grace we need to support T and his family as he grows so that we can all share and live our faith. We are blessed.

Kudos to #1 who was pressed into service as the camera gal (you will see that the parents were busy with little people). She did an awesome job!