Thursday, August 25, 2016

Laugh a little...

I saw this last week and almost every time I'm having a 10,000 "Mom!" day (they need a fitbit for that...or not), it just pops in my brain and I laugh out loud. What a blessing to remember that even the Holiest Little Boy had lots of needs.

Don't forget to say your rosary today! We are blessed.


I've been struggling for footing lately. It's been several years that I've been battling the demons of competition and jealousy, especially in the baby area. It's probably hard for most people in today's society to understand but there is no small bit of challenge among those with big families...watching friends "add one" and wondering when and if you will join or if this is "all there is". How prideful, huh? As if babies are just beans in a jar and not humans brought into being by His perfect love.

I have been blessed in these last few days to have some breakthrough on that matter at least. It's funny looking from human eyes, then viewing it as God's plan. My biggest (and most frequent mistake) is judging myself and my family in relation to other people and their families. We live in community so we walk together but, ultimately, everyone's "plan" is between God and them.

It started with a presentation about "falling into the arms of the Father" and "resisting the urge to listen to the whispers of the devil" and ended with new pregnancy announcement (not mine), and the blessing of a day with someone who has insight to the future because she is living it now.

Why is it so easy to fall into this competition and so difficult to remember Who should ultimately be in charge and Who we should ultimately wish to please? I guess it's our nature as humans. We are flawed and sinful. How grateful I am for these glimpses into the goodness with which God has surrounded me!

A chance to take everyone to the zoo on a school field trip (we're learning taxonomy) and spend the time, not pushing a stroller or changing diapers, but just walking with my friend and catching up on the workings of the world while talking with and listening to my kids as they learn. It isn't without challenge, this current life, but watching where I was and knowing where I am now... there is a sweetness to it.

The day closed with a beautiful evening out, just DH and I, joining several hundred others to celebrate the ordination of three new priests in our diocese. DH said, "We're going on a date and it's church-related...that's excellent!" So grateful that God is helping us to have these moments to share and work on our life as a couple again.

We are blessed.

Monday, August 22, 2016

One of those time hops just happened again...


Yeah, that was a little too quick for my liking. I am sad my sweet curly babe is gone but so happy to know this smart, caring, intense young woman. How lucky I am to be her mom.

Happy #11 first-born. May Our Lady protect you these next many years so that you will be free from unnecessary distraction and more able to hear and follow the will of her Son.

We are blessed!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Life...and God's love

It's been one of those roller coaster ride weeks. I'm not a fan. That's my weakness...if only I could remember ahead of time about God's love that usually swoops in at the best possible moment. Then, perhaps, I could offer that suffering for someone who is hurting even more than me...working on it.

 - Monday was the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven. Not a holy day because it's Monday and, you know...we went any way. I can't even remember, other than being grateful for Mass on such a wonderful celebration.

- Tuesday I went to a Life in the Spirit gathering. The name...well, I suppose I got confused. I thought we were going to hang out and talk about how the Spirit was working in our lives. No, we sang and some people waved their hands around. Charismatic. Not my deal. Not a good way to spend time away from my family.

- Wednesday, to make up for my absence on Tuesday, we had the medal ceremony for a double-gold. They sang the Anthem and everything. It was great.

I think it was swimming although it looks more like tennis!

- Thursday was one of those glorious end-of-summer days at the pool. Friends new and old to hang out with and enjoy the last few days before school begins again.

Such good when we were growing up

- Friday - Some of the same friends plus a new one. Good friend from yesterday turns into "mean girl" now that new friend is here. Ug. Every difficult and maddening feeling I have about middle school comes flooding back. Not cool.

- Today - I woke up and just kind of knew it would be a sad day for me. It's the third anniversary of our sweet Bernadette's journey from Earth to Heaven. It seems worse this year for some reason. So, I was grateful that DH removed the other little people for the morning so that I could clean and reflect. It didn't help my mood. Neither did knowing that we would be going to the parish Mass and picnic this evening.

God usually allows me time to wallow in my self-made-misery for a while before rescuing his poor child. Today was no different. Before Mass I dropped a cup of water on the floor because I'm like that when my mind is elsewhere. Then, walking out with my food (and kids), I slid on some water on the floor and twisted my tendon-repaired ankle. When I, in deep and pure mortification, moaned to DH, "I hate this place (expletive removed)" I think God had enough.

Did He rain down the hellfire I deserved? No, of course not. He is our Loving Father. Like a good father (or better than a good father), He revealed a friend that shared her secret stash of adult beverages and eased the pain for a while...He provided the mean girl and her mean friend but also provided a sweet girl for my #1 to hang around with (soothing to my mom's heart)...finally, on the walk out, he placed both the woman who provided the landing zone for me in the previous fall (turns out she's a former homeschooler and was so gracious that I used her as a cushion) and a neighbor  with whom we walked home and caught up for our yearly visit.

God is good. He is good all the time. He is so much better than we deserve...better than we could hope to earn. On days like this I am grateful that His love isn't earned. I would be very much in trouble.

Tomorrow will be a new day. The Lord's Day. Perfect to begin again and show the gratitude I have for His support and help on such crummy days as this when I forget His abundant love for me. That kind of love is so good to know in this life. Constant, stable, enduring.

We are blessed. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

La Festa di San Rocco

Happy Feast of St. Rocco!

Since he is one of our Patrons, it was an extra blessing to find a procession a little closer to home this year. (While we highly enjoyed Cleveland last year, I was not feeling up to a journey with this bronchitis). It turned out (Ahem) to be the perfect decision.

St. Raphael parish was the location of the closest St. Rocco festival so off we went on Sunday night. It was really raining when we headed into Mass and it didn't let up enough to process but it was a wonderful time anyway. Celebrating my husband's (and my children's'..and my adopted ;0) ) heritage, attending Mass with friends, seeing an unexpected guest and snacking on some Italian yummies.

St. Rocco, in his place during Mass before heading outside.

Being St. Raphael's Parish, #1 recounted the story of St. Raphael, Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah while we waited.

This was the real deal...totally and completely in Italian. After the "surprise (to us) guest" read the Gospel, #3 leaned over and said, "I hope the homily is in English." "Arrrgh!" was his next word because, not even that...all Italian, all the time. So cool.
We made it through the Mass (I'm always amazed when, even in a different language, you can follow along because it's the same Mass everywhere) and waited as St. Roch (Rocco) made his exit.

Once outside, everyone just crowded around and pinned their money to his sashes (someday I'll find out what that's about)...we played games
Thumb wrestling with friends :0)

and partook of the most a-maz-ing thing I've eaten in a long time
They are called taralli (the ones we had were can also make them with black pepper!) and I don't have a picture of ours because they were gone in a minute...soooo good. Crunchy and delish. Yum. Almost like a sweet pretzel that had gone stale but my friend, the Italian, said, "no, they're dippers...they're supposed to be crunchy." What a find. I can see a winter unit study on Italy in our future!

What a wonderful evening of faith, family and friends. Oh, the special guest...a newly Ordained priest from our diocese who also happens to be Mr. G's godbrother. How cool is that? (Ahem). God is good, all the time.

Special blessings for a special day.

St. Rocco, Pray for Us!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Happy Feast Day/Week

We are lucky enough this month to not only have a birthday but also two Feast Day celebrations...the latter usually falling in the same week! Klondike bars all around...

First up...

Ahhh, #1 son. Every penance surrounding this child includes more talk of St. Augustine than St. Dominic, if you know what I mean. Still, it feels right. Like God can work minor (or much bigger) miracles in this child, if I can only release him to the work of the Holy Spirit (while gently pointing him in the right direction, of course). It is a balm to me when he prays his rosary without fail. I know, even if it's not helping him, it's helping someone. That is a wonderful thing.

Today is Blondie's feast. This one we got least so far.

Of course, she's not some other-worldly Saint...she's six. Still, she has a sense about her that comes from beyond this place and time. Whether she learns from the older ones or knows herself, she is firmly footed in the things not-of-this-world (when she's not being 6, lol). It is lovely to talk to her about God. It makes me think of our call to be childlike and trusting.

It's been interesting around here yesterday and today. I find myself in the middle of a bout of bronchitis, complete with almost complete laryngitis. Listening to the Story of St. Clare at dinner, how she and her sisters in the convent led an almost completely silent life of prayer and then remembering that the end of my pregnancy with this little one found me again without a voice...

My dear friend texted today, "maybe it's a blessing in disguise." I think she's right. It's frustrating and limiting (many moments to offer up!) but also calming and quiet. It allows my kids to speak to me at length without my interrupting. That can open up all sorts of little and big insights. It's nice to have a reason to have nothing to say (and an opportunity to work on that skill). It also gives me a rare opportunity (because my mouth is not moving) for contemplative prayer...much needed. What a blessing to slow down and be quiet!

So, asking for the graces of their Name Saints, we will continue forward with these two with whom we have been so greatly blessed. It will be interesting to see where the Holy Spirit leads and how they choose to respond. I will be doing my best to be there with my rosary in hand and my mouth (for the most part) closed.

We are blessed.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Camps and lessons (life and otherwise)

We're still in camp mode around here (yay! this next is the last week). It's a wonderful opportunity for the kids to see and do new things but it can make for a long five days. Thankfully the Olympics are underway so we can add geography to our daily fare of phys ed and civics/safety education.

The older two participated in Public Safety camp this past week. It was a great mix of fire/police/ems and covered everything from the SWAT truck to putting out an airplane fire to carrying a Stokes basket up an embankment. The final day was a mock drunk driving arrest, complete with the jaws of life being used to take the side off of a car to free the passenger. So many great things to take away (and a good bit of swag as well!)

Every day after pickup, we headed to the lunch truck then to the pool for the older boys' lessons. The lunch truck...well, it is my very favorite thing. This year they even raffled off gift cards every Friday. So, in addition to free lunch, we walked away with $60 worth of cards to spend. Sweet.

I'm also grateful that this is the last week of lessons. As the week went on, I saw more of this...
the two lumps are #4 and #5 ;0)
If, by some miracle, they did swim the whole time, this was always the scene before dinner...
Perfect in my opinion...resting up from a day well spent. Just what Summer should be.

We also had a big life lesson this week. #1 will be turning 11 next month and our delightful health insurance carrier saw fit to send her a birthday card.
The card was addressed to her but, clearly, the insert is for the parents. Isn't it interesting that they would put that inside a card for her, from her "friends"? Why not send it to us in a different mailing? I am grateful for DH who realized they hadn't sent any of the other kids cards and realized what was up. I'm also grateful that he and I are on the same page on this one. This being our first, and not being in public school, I am forever shocked by the intrusion put on the family from the outside. Wow. Is someone surprised that parental authority is on the decline? Clearly the government (and big pharm) knows what's better for our own children than we do. I promise I'm not in any way a granola homeschooler but having this in the mail makes me understand, at least a bit, their concern.

OK, rant over. I'm off to enjoy the quiet time (daddy day at the pool) and write some lesson plans. This is the last week of excellent one from the looks of it...they're having SPAM as a snack one day (cue Monty Python). Then, like the rest of the world, down to serious school around here (well, mostly, lol).

In all things, I am so grateful that we have a God who loves us and who has written the laws of truth and goodness on our hearts. I will continue to pray that more people get in touch (and myself more closely in touch) with those truths. It would make everything a whole lot simpler, non?

We are blessed.