Monday, December 31, 2012

Some of the best things in 2012

Every year has its highs and lows, challenges and successes and 2012 did too. This blog is to keep memories positive and happy; here are pictures highlighting something good for each month.

January - Happiness is when the kids work together, play together and just enjoy being together.

February - face painting gone a little extreme.

March - wildflower season in Texas

April - hosting Easter

May - First Holy Communion & May Crowning, special month for Cecilia.

June - hiking with cousins in Austin.

July - It is great having big brother home for the summer!

August - Celebrating 25 years of marriage and the six gifts God has blessed us with.

September - end of an era. After many years of danger-free enjoyment, a few incidents showed us that a rope course suspended in air is not always the safest playground for visiting teenage boys (several fell off, some used as a launch rope and one concussion incident). The rope course came down.

October - simple joys of life, celebrating 11 years of this sweet girl.

November -  Fun and unusual Thanksgiving memories

December - Christmas gifts: can never have too many babies!

Happy New Year - Wishing you Abundant Blessings in 2013!

Life the last weekend of 2012


Outside my window...cold, dips below freezing at night, comfortably cold and gloriously sunny during the day.
I am thinking... I love it when I stop and pause and think "why does my house smell like my Aunt Bobbee Lee's?" Probably because something good is cooking in the kitchen. Bring back happy childhood memories.
I am praying daughters health after a sudden weight loss, awaiting doctor visit. Added to other intentions with 54 day rosary. Do you have any to add?
I am thankful...vacation days burned during the holidays. We are enjoying easy, lazy days with everyone home.
In the kitchen...buttermilk biscuits and hot venison sausage; BBQ lunch for a small gathering after mass.
I am creating...a recipe for BBQ sauce that's a little milder and less tangy than the last batch. Smells good.
I am host some friends for end of year fun and we are going to my sisters for more fun this week.
I am bacon can be bad for you when the smell of bacon cooking is one of the heart warming smells?!
I am reading...Spiritual Combat from the 16th century on my Ipieta app. Humbling in how far we need to separate ourselves from the world for our salvation.
"Now that you know what Christian perfection is and that, in order to attain it, you must resolve on a perpetual warfare with yourself, begin by providing yourself with four weapons without which it is impossible to gain the victory in this spiritual combat: DISTRUST OF ONE'S SELF, CONFIDENCE IN GOD, PROPER USE OF THE FACULTIES OF BODY AND MIND, AND THE DUTY OF PRAYER.
"Your prayer should be conducted in the following manner. When you see these thoughts present themselves and attempt to make an impression, recollect yourself and speak to Christ crucified saying: "Sweet Jesus, come to my rescue, that I may not fall a victim to my enemies."
A spiritual guide at my fingertips.
I am watching...Barney with Lilly .
I am listening to...Molly practicing the piano.
I am looking forward to...staying in the present for the next week; enjoy each day while everyone is home.
Around the house...starting deep clean for Epiphany blessing next week. I am so happy to have the opportunity for Father to come by and give us this special thorough blessing.
One of my favorite things...seeing the kids work together. Nick's gift from grandparents was an internal combustion engine kit. He had it built in under an hour with support.

Friday, December 28, 2012

7 Friday Quick Takes

I have driven most of these 200,000 miles. My husband thinks I need to start thinking of a new(er) car. I like my car, hoping it holds out at least another year. They don't make Excursions anymore, so I don't know what else I'd want.

Lilly's new bike's silly instructions on what to avoid. I thought the last one was funny. Don't ride into a brick wall, Good advice. I am not sure what Stickman is trying to tell us in #3 and #4.

Our older kids were home last night with no apparent plans, so we declared a date night. Date nights are rare, but I'm committing to make more time on my built in babysitters' schedules, we had a great night!
First game scores, we were tied at bullseye.

My husband had been itching to try a new bar in our area, claiming to be an English pub. Black walls, pool tables, dart boards, and they carried Duval; good start. We played a few rounds of darts and man, I was doing great. Then a mother/son couple take up the spot next to us. They warmed up, and the young man bragged about how good he was. To him, he is a young hot shot and we are two old fogies. He asks if we are interested in a game of doubles. Sure, my husband knew he's have to carry the game, as after one beer I'm lucky to hit the board. My sweetie methodically takes boy and mother dart sharks down. The young man slammed his hand on the wall in an angry disappointment fit and mumbled he was being hustled. There wasn't anything riding on the game except pride. I enjoyed my husband's delight. He had run an English pub many years ago and was on his pub's dart team and I guess playing darts is like riding a bike, all in the muscle memory. He must have been nice to me early on to let me think I was doing well.
We ordered the Plowman dinner for a snack. The cheese had a bite that wasn't enjoyable, the bread and salami were fine, but this lumpy, dark substance had us guessing. It  turned out to be what sounded like from the barmaid as putrid relish. Didn't know that until after I tried it, and thought it was BBQ sauce pickle relish. Sound yummy? not so much.
The same strip shopping center of the pub had our favorite local TexMex restaurant and we noticed the lights out and for lease signs in the window. Sad. We just ate there last Sunday. It's a tough economy. It's like seeing a good friend fade away.
I hope the pub makes it.
We are hosting our priest for dinner this evening. I always get a little nervous and have to fight my  knee jerk reaction to prepare the kids to be on their best behavior. I have to remind myself he isn't here to judge their behavior or my housekeeping skills, just eat dinner and relax and if the kids are stiff and afraid to talk, that would be a disaster. My husband has the meal planned out; I was hoping the octave of Christmas made Friday a first class feast, but it is still meatless as its a second class feast, so fish is on the menu. I need to think of a yummy dessert.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

very pretty altar for Midnight Mass in our parish's temporary home in another parish's family life center.

A time to remember my husband's grandmother, who passed away 25 years ago, but is fondly remembered, especially at Christmas, her favorite holiday, through her ornaments, recipes and memories.

other decorations I enjoy seeing each year.
Our Venetian clown ornament
The "Village" that my in laws started as a Christmas tradition our first Christmas, and it has been up every year, sometimes adding new pieces. This year we added some colorful battery operated lights. I love the blue glow from the planetarium.  The girls are funny, carefully rearranging the scene every day.  They had the travelers all going to church on Christmas morning.
We had the delightful treat of a visit from my mother-in-law for Christmas. She plays an ultra competitive game of Scrabble! I love it. I get beat every time, but I learn the tricks from watching her turn any tiny word into big points.
My mother in law is an amazing woman. She has Multiple Sclerosis and it has crippled her for most of the past forty three years. She always has a smile on her face, and ear to listen to anyone's troubles and just decides she is going to have a good day, no matter what.
She is amazing, humble and strong in spirit while getting the body to work is a challenge. I am so thankful to have the time with her. I had missed those Christmases of the past when we lived closer. My kids love to have her around. They assist in whatever she needs, she bring the best out in each of us.
Plus her wheel chair rocks! It was the favored seat as it rocked, rolled, and spun. Ceci liked rocking in it to help her concentrate on finding letters for Dd.
here mom, I can help
Concentration and a bit of sleepiness

Need prayers?

In Honor and Appeal through Our Lady, Queen of the Holy Rosary,
I am going to start praying the 54 day novena for our family rosary. If you have any intentions you would like added, please just add to comments.
God bless you,

All readers and friends of this blog.
Peaceful and happy resolution to troubling situation - Basic.
All priests and religious especially
Father Van Vleet, Father Lockey & parishioners at Seas, Father Bouchard, Msgr. Golisinski and Father Tom.
Regina Caeli parish.
Conversion of our President and all leaders, especially those that claim the Catholic faith.
Conversions of loved ones.
My friend Beth to be found and fully reunited.
My children's souls and their future spouses.
Protection of their souls, hearts, minds and bodies.
And also for all my extended family.
Respect, dignity and protection of Life from natural conception to natural death.
Our country, that our citizens wake up to the truths.
Separated Catholics to return to the faith.
Protestants to open hearts and minds to understand the foundations of their faith is the Holy Roman Catholic Church and unite Christianity.
Health of Donna, Peggy, Kyle, Ky, Dominic
And Dominic Pio and all those suffering from health issues in mind, body and spirit.
All those effected by the Newtown tragedy and all other situations of tragedy.
All those effected by abortion
All children who felt unwanted, to feel wrapped in our Blessed Mother's mantle.
Thanksgiving for all our blessings and for care from our Guardian Angels.
* College students: decisions, grades & diligence, faith, companions
* Strength in Marriages
* Russian adoption ban and all those children effected, and all the families waiting
* Children with special needs
Calling on our special holy heavenly helpers to pray with us:
Saint Joseph, Saint Charbel, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Jude, Saint Francis of Assisi, Stain Francis Borgia, Saint Claire of Assisi, Saint Eulalia, Saint Cecilia, Saint Anne, Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Kateri, Saint James, Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint Nicholas

From my Prayer app through Divine Office:
The "54-day Rosary Novena" is an uninterrupted series of Rosaries in honor of Our Lady, revealed to the incurably sick Fortuna Agrelli by Our Lady of Pompeii at Naples in 1884. For thirteen months Fortuna Agrelli had endured dreadful sufferings and torturous cramps; she had been given up by the most celebrated physicians. On February 16, 1884, the afflicted girl and her relatives commenced a novena of Rosaries. The Queen of the Holy Rosary favored her with an apparition on March 3rd. Mary, sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures, held the divine Child on her lap, and in her hand a Rosary. The Virgin Mother and the holy Infant were clad in gold-embroidered garments. They were accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. The throne was profusely decorated with flowers; the beauty of Our Lady was marvelous. Blessed Virgin said:
"Child, thou has invoked me by various titles and hast always obtained favors from me. Now, since thou hast called me by that title so pleasing to me, 'Queen of the Holy Rosary,' I can no longer refuse the favor thou dost petition; for this name is most precious and dear to me. Make three novenas, and thou shalt obtain all."
Once more the Queen of the Holy Rosary appeared to her and said, "Whoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary, and three novenas in thanksgiving."

The Novena consists of five decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition; then immediately five decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted.The meditations vary from day to day. Now with the new mysteries the table is changed. On the first day meditate on the Joyful Mysteries; on the second day the Light Mysteries; on the third day the sorrowful Mysteries; on the fourth day meditate again on the glorious Mysteries; and so on throughout the fifty-four days.

A laborious Novena, but a Novena of Love. You who are sincere will not find it too difficult, if you really wish to obtain your request.
* - updates & additions

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2800 Gifts and still Counting

Counting the gifts that I am thankful for...
2800 Everything back to normal status
2799 Girls' friends over to play dolls
2798 Receiving a thoughtful and grown up gift from my kids (idea by Molly).
2797 The Octave of Christmas - stretching out the celebrating
2796 The tea table lovingly made for her doll.
Did Papa make it for Lilly's doll.....
or for Lilly? She loves it for both! Precious!
2795 That my mil told my husband he doesn't know how lucky he is :)
2794 Horseland Horseland,  when nothing else will do.
2793 Easy button for Lilly to light up the room.
2792 That my mother in law said we had a peaceful home.
2791 That Lilly still prefers to stay with me.
2790 The opportunity for a local mass that genuflects in the Creed (patiently and deliberately lead by the priest).. "by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man."
Fall on your knees!
O Hear the angel voices!
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born!
2789 Sounds of girls sleep-purring in the night.
2788 The gift of Vision.
2787 "A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can't go anywhere until you change it."
2786 Christmas money towards a future swimming pool.
2785 Nick thinking this is his Christmas while Molly and Max know it is theirs.
2784 My little girls letting Dd know she is welcomed and loved.
2783 Craig's delicious Christmas dinner waiting for me after a Christmas Day nap.
2782 "I just make up my mind to be happy ." - Says my mother in law suffering from 43 years of MS
2781 Being with someone so accepting of God's Will in her life, especially powerful when it has been a hard road to travel.
2780 He is always more generous than we could ever be.
2779 Giving what little I am to Jesus knowing His gifts will always be better than anything I give.
2778 Little girls who like to be tucked in.
2777 I should remember to thank God for my ability to walk every single day!
2776 Good, rewarding Christmas day - relaxing now that everyone is safe in bed. It is a gift to serve.
2775 Scrabble - Dd won but Euly (and I) beat Craig.
2774 Making mom's recipe chocolate pie for my family.
2773 Lilly and Dd playing peek a boo.
2772 Kids, even grown up ones,  too excited to wait to open gifts.
2771 So thankful we can have turkey at Thanksgiving, and steak at Christmas
2770 Singing favorite Christmas carol: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

God rest you merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan's power, 
Which long time had gone astray.,
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.
2769 Even though the weather outside is dreary and windy, windy, windy, we are safely tucked at home.
2768 Hearing Lilly joyful wish everyone a "Merry Christmas!"

2767 Trying to fight back between the tipping of tears of sadness and tears of joy.
2766 Receiving the BEST gift this Christmas - Jesus Himself in the Eucharist.
2765 The smell of new bike tires Christmas morning.
2764 Seeing the surprised Awww on Molly's face.
2763 Assembling the toys for a Christmas surprise.
2762 Christmas card greetings in the mail.
2761 Christmas - and having company and a full house to share the celebration.
2760 Getting Santa done.
2759 That the little kids and I get to go to morning Mass.
2758 That the big kids went to midnight Mass.
2757 The night before the night before Christmas relaxing.
2756 Just sitting on the couch holding my sleeping Lilly - a sweet kind of peace.
2755 Getting everything I needed done before today - great feeling.
2754  Shining lights on the Christmas tree.
2753 Gifts for the neighbors: gingerbread, peanut butter cookies, brownies, sugar cookies. Fun to share the love.
2752 Stupid Mulan movie, "Mom, what is a concubine?" At least I'm there to gently answer the question.
2751 "Lilly, say burrito." "Be-weirdo."
2750 Whenever Lilly gets a few moments of peace sleeping with this illness.
2749 "Here come the deer, mom." Conquering her fear of deer.
2748 Drinking yummy smoothie Cc made
2747 Hearing of hunters' success
2746 "Are you proud of me, mom?"
2745 Willie Nelson's Frosty the Snowman
2744 The sound of fat ploppy rain drops outside
2743 Safe inside as a storm slammed into the house outside my bedroom wall.
2742 "Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?" - Cicero
2741 ( From Deus Caritas Est., Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical)"
 Holy Mary, Mother of God,
you have given the world its true light,
Jesus, your Son, the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely
to God's call
and thus became a wellspring
of the goodness that flows forth from him.
Show us Jesus. Lead us to him.
Teach us to know and love him,
so that we too can become
capable of true love
and be fountains of living water
in the midst of a thirsting world.

2740 No one can be by nature superior to his fellows since all men are equally noble in natural dignity. - Pope John Paul II
2739 All of society should respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that persons life. - Pope John Paul II
2838 The duty to respect the dignity of each human being, in whose nature the image of the Creator is reflected, means in consequence that the person cannot be disposed of at will. - Pope John Paul II
2737 Watching the behavior of a chimpanzee and hearing comment about how undignified their behavior is - yes, that quality belongs to man.
2736 I love when my kids debate, and think, and consider. Yes! Let us be rational beings.
2735 Closed minded people only make decisions by emotion. Watching someone use their intellect win over illogical emotional arguments that should make sense to everyone. We must get past emotion and really think with our minds.
2734 Family's obsession with flash lights - great for stocking stuffers.
2733 Weirdly entertaining texts from a very bored Nico
2732 "Give me a big hug goodnight, mom."
2731 Bought the last gift. Phew!
2730 Learning a lot about elephants.
2729 Euly wrapping coins to see how much we have saved.
2728 Lilly being able to express herself.
2727 Breezy drive with the windows open.
2726 Molly driving us around to see Christmas lights.
2725 Father son bonding hunting trip.
2724 Intangible rewards for volunteering.
2723 Happy girls smiling ear to ear.
2722 Realizing why I am Santa Claus.
2721 Keeping husband quiet instead of him spilling all the Christmas surprises.
2720 The abundant blessing of an understanding and forgiving family.
2719 Hunters determined to get us meat.
2718 Crazy tradition of Christmas pictures.
2717 "My happy, but I don't feel good." I don't like it when she is sick.
2716 "My happy!" I like it when she is feeling good and happy.
2715 Little girls with perms.
2714 Protection of our guardian angels.
2713 Up late hearing the excitement and details of every one's busy day.
2712 Seeing kids off to a teen dance.
2711 Thankful for infant baptism.
2710 That we homeschool.
2709 "Can I have more asparagus, mom?"
2708 My Cutie's new sunglasses because "the sun hurts mine eyes."

2707 Receiving forgiveness after losing temper.
2706 Family dinner - nice and cozy.
2705 Hand made unique and pretty ornaments - found.
2704 Pork chop teriyaki.
2703 That I am not crazy.
2702 Calculadder math drills.
2701 Easy dinner prep.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 24, 2012

Glory be to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of goodwill

The Nativity as seen/told by Anne Catherine Emmerich in The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"I saw the radiance round the Blessed Virgin ever growing greater. The light of the lamps which Joseph had lit was no longer visible. The Blessed Virgin knelt on her rug in an ample ungirt robe spread out round her, her face turned towards the east.

At midnight she was rapt in an ecstasy of prayer. I saw her lifted from the earth, so that I saw the ground beneath her. Her hands were crossed on her breast. The radiance about her increased; everything, even things without life, were in a joyful inner motion, the stones of the roof, of the walls, and of the floor of the cave became as it were alive in the light. Then I no longer saw the roof of the cave; a pathway of light opened above Mary, rising with ever-increasing glory towards the height of heaven.

In this pathway of light there was a wonderful movement of glories interpenetrating each other, and, as they approached, appearing more clearly in the form of choirs of heavenly spirits. Meanwhile the Blessed Virgin, borne up in ecstasy, was now gazing downwards, adoring her God, whose Mother she had become and who lay on the earth before her in the form of a helpless newborn child. 

I saw our Redeemer as a tiny child, shining with a light that overpowered all the surrounding radiance, and lying on the carpet at the Blessed Virgin's knees. It seemed to me as if He were at first quite small and then grew before my eyes. But the movement of the intense radiance was such that I cannot say for certain how I saw it.

The Blessed Virgin remained for some time rapt in ecstasy. I saw her laying a cloth over the Child, but at first she did not touch Him or take Him up. After some time I saw the Child Jesus move and heard Him cry. Then Mary seemed to come to herself, and she took the Child up from the carpet, wrapping Him in the cloth which covered Him, and held Him in her arms to her breast. She sat there enveloping herself and the Child completely in her veil, and I think Mary suckled the Redeemer. I saw angels round her in human forms, lying on their faces and adoring the Child.

It might have been an hour after His Birth when Mary called St. Joseph, who was still lying in prayer. When he came near, he threw himself down on his face in devout joy and humility. It was only when Mary begged him to take to his heart, in joy and thankfulness, the holy present of the Most High God, that he stood up, took the Child Jesus in his arms, and praised God with tears of joy.

The Blessed Virgin then wrapped the Child Jesus in swaddling-bands. I cannot now remember how these bands were wound round; I only know that the Child was wrapped to His armpits first in red and then white bands, and that His head and shoulders were wrapped in another little cloth. Mary had only four sets of swaddling-bands with her. Then I saw Mary and Joseph sitting side by side on the bare earth with their feet under them. They did not speak, and seemed both to be sunk in meditation.

On the carpet before Mary lay the newborn Jesus in swaddling clothes, a little Child, beautiful and radiant as lightning. Ah, I thought, this place enshrines the salvation of the whole world, and no one guesses it. Then they laid the Child in the manger, which was filled with rushes and delicate plants and covered with a cloth hanging over the sides. It stood above the stone trough lying on the ground, to the right of the entrance, where the cave makes a big curve towards the south. This part of the cave was at a lower level than the place where Our Lord was born: the floor slanted downwards in a step-like formation. After laying the Child in the crib, they both stood beside Him giving praise to God with tears of joy. Joseph then arranged the Blessed Virgin's resting-place and her seat beside the Crib. Both before and after the Birth of Jesus, I saw her dressed in white and veiled. I saw her there in the first days after the Nativity, sitting, kneeling, standing, and sleeping on her side, wrapped up but in no way ill or exhausted. When people came to see her, she wrapped herself up more closely and sat upright on her lying-in coverlet."

Wishing you a restful, peaceful and very happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Life for us this last Week of Advent


Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

- Saint Augustine of Hippo

Outside my is not snowing. I am a little jealous of those who have snow out their windows this week. Who doesn't dream of a White Christmas? But, there is a little nip in the air, the weather is pleasant to be outside, a beautiful December day in Texas.

I am thinking...about the teen drunk driving accidents and texting accidents in my county. It seems the teens are dying every month in these senseless accidents. Horribly tragic! Parents are looking for answers, no simple answers. We tell our kids not to drink and drive, not to get in a car when someone has been drinking. And if they are in a situation, get a cab (our treat) or call us any hour of night or day and we'll take them home. But we'll never know if that is enough. The kids in our county have ranch parties where the parents actually provide the alcohol, but don't stop these kids from driving. There are better ways for kids to spend their times socializing. We are praying for the two teen deaths this weekend, one dui and one texting.

I am praying for..children and those who are to care for them. I am praying for their happiness and safety this Christmas season, especially for this little boy and his foster parents, and the birth father that now wants him.

I am thankful...for a peaceful Advent, and looking forward to celebrating Christmas.

In the kitchen...busy, busy place! I made goodie baked gifts for some neighbors friends and our priest. Gingerbread, brownies, cut out cookies, peanut butter kisses. People who live in this house are suffering resisting the yummy yummy smells coming from the kitchen. I am making plenty I share with them too. The girls delivered the packages to our neighbors, many who came to the door thinking they were selling something. (do we do that too much?). And when told it was a gift from us to them, they were met with hugs, Oh's & Ah's of excitement. 

I am wondering...about how blogging Catholics eat each other up. We don't need an enemy when we destroy from within. There are a few disappointing arguments going on in the blogging world and it is so disappointing to see Catholics demean and attack each other over petty issues. How is this walking in Christ? Don't they know how many others are "in the room?"
You see the same thing in political circles as well, (the current fiscal cliff debate within the GOP).
It's like they never heard of that age old polite practice that you don't bash your family in front of people outside the family, or if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.

I am reading...Tabitha's Travels. Trying to get the kids together to finish before tomorrow.  They have really enjoyed the story unfolding and imagining what life was like going around Jesus' birth.

I am watching...this video Top 10 Reasons for Hope 2012.

I am looking forward parents are coming for a visit Christmas Eve and they are bringing my mother in law! We are all so excited and look forward to company!

I am pondering...sleep talking. Sleep talker conversations are just plain creepy. Cc sleeps so deep that I don't know how to wake her, just in her own time. But if I have to move her because she falls asleep somewhere, she will be "awake" enough so  I can talk and she will answer back . She never remembers and you can tell she isn't fully present. I don't like talking to her like that, what part of he brain am I talking to? Or... would this be a good time to fill her subconscious with good info?
My hubbie has told me I am like that, eyes open conversations that I do not remember.

I am thinking... you might like this tour of the Church of the Nativity. It is on my bucket list to see in person.

A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...second chapter of St. Luke...10-11

 And the Angel said to them: Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:
 For this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord, in the city of David.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Really looking forward for Christmas to begin. We have been preparing for a month, and really looking forward to relax and adore this little babe who came to save us all.

Something that made me chuckle.
just silliness, but I have felt like I had conversations like this as a teacher.

A peek into my day...
counting down 
two more days until Christmas!

I hope you have a very, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

I watched the second episode of A Real Catholic Housewife Minor Revisions. I am a fan! It is a great, thoughtful, educational series. There is so much to learn from Jen's every day life, and what incredible friends and connections she introduces us to! And, its a boy! I am so excited for her!
I loved the conversation with Abby Johnson and will keep her call for compassion toward clinic workers present in my mind and in my prayers. They need healing too.

If you have a few hours to fill, go see these beautiful Christmas decorated houses better and more personal than a magazine layout. Just don't get intimidated, enjoy your own Christmas creations.

Right now, it is calm and quiet before busy days begin. I am really looking forward to Midnight Mass, and singing carols before. Nick is serving,  Molly singing with choir, Max will be photographer.
I will be with my sleepy ones. Wishing you peace and a wonderful celebration of ChristMass.

My boys are out of town together and I love that they still keep on contact with me. At one point it was ridiculous,  I was relaying messages from one of them to the other. I guess they miss me.

Ever get that " it doesn't feel like Christmas" comment? I don't know what we are to feel and everyone is trying to tell us what the spirit of Christmas means. I know I like to have that child like emotional response to the Christmas season with wonder, expectation and excitement.
Here are some ways to get the feeling going:
Listen to Christmas carols
Bake cookies
...And decorate them
......And eat a few
Wrap presents
Do something charitable for someone else
   donate a gift to Toys for tots
   donate a little cash to the Salvation Army
Say hello to the volunteer manning the donation box (so many walk by rudely)
Pay something forward
Let every driver in that needs a break
Give / offer Masses instead of things
Smile at everyone
Tell everyone Merry Christmas
Hold the door open for others rushing in and out of the store
Give someone a compliment
Watch or listen to the Nutcracker music
Tell someone the Christmas story
Get together with friends
Look at Christmas lights
Read first two chapters of Luke.
Drink some hot chocolate
Say thank you
Write a personal note and send on a Christmas card: think quality not quantity
Pray the third joyful mystery of the rosary with deliberate concentration

and then take a journey with St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother to Bethlehem. It didn't happen in a day and it wasn't easy, but Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions give us a personal look into those holy days. The online part of her book with the story starts here.

The Blessed Virgin prayed earnestly to God that He would not suffer her to take harm from the cold. At once she was filled with so great a warmth that she held out her hands to St. Joseph to warm his. They refreshed themselves here with fruit and little loaves of bread which they had with them, and drank water from the spring near by, mixing it with balsam which Joseph had brought with him in a little jug. Joseph spoke very comfortingly to the Blessed Virgin: he is so good, and so sorry that the journey is so difficult. When the Blessed Virgin complained of the cold, he spoke to her about the good lodging which he hoped to find for her in Bethlehem. He said he knew of a house with very good people where they would find a comfortable lodging at very little cost. It was, he said, better to pay something than to be taken in for nothing. He spoke highly of Bethlehem in general, and comforted the Blessed Virgin in every possible way. (This upset me, because I knew well that things would turn out quite differently. Even this holy man, you see, indulged in human hopes.)

I saw this on a blog from my old parish in Detroit.

"In memory of my cousin, Allison Wyatt and her nineteen little friends from Sandy Hook Elementary School." Mary Rose

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What I love about being a mom...

I love the time I have with my kids. I receive more than I give. Love given is returned in greater quantities. It is more fulfilling and more forgiving than all the love I could ever give out.

Getting to know the people my children are growing to be is an honor. I have my favorite ages for cutest times: what can beat the unconquerable imagination of a four year old boy? I do love each stage. Some stages challenge more as the child grows through the stages to adulthood but its a gift to see confidence grow knowing and learning who they are.

 Seeing the joy my children bring to others, not just to their grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins, who love us, but the world that their actions touch. I like taking a step back and watch life and their joy spreading. I was explaining ripples to my Sunday school kids and enjoyed their eyes grow wide with the idea that their actions will reach farther than their small world. Their actions can change the world, for better or worse. All of ours do.

The Act of not being selfish as a joyous exercise. Motherhood is an exercise of giving; not taking daily notice the sacrifices made out of love for our children. Sometimes we are forced to stop and take account of ourselves, and see our rough edges worn smooth. We tell ourselves that don't need those new shoes when our kids outgrown entire wardrobes each year. It a pleasure to surprise them with new or new to them items. We need to refocus and widen our hearts.

I believe in a gentle separation as children mature, gently growing and letting go on their way toward adulthood. Our society wants to take them from us too young. We shouldn't push them so quickly out of nest. The world will gladly take their innocence. The world will be there when they are old enough and emotionally mature enough to take it on.

With their education, there are joys and triumphs, struggles and frustrations we work through, live through, stumble, fail and succeed together: learning disabilities, family interruptions and changes,  personality clashes. Every family has its own struggle and burdens. We should strive to unite with Christ and sanctify our efforts to full our homes with Grace.

After Faith, the best gift to give a child is a sibling. They get to try out solutions to problems with different personalities, so when they end up with a similar boss or coworker, they will know how to approach problem solving with them. They will have life long friends.

Hope for the future of the church, of our country, of humanity lies with how we raise our children. It is that important to be actively and deliberately involved. Will they fight for freedoms they enjoyed as children? Will they see the goodness in raising their children to have a childhood? Will they practice their faith? They have a better chance if their parents led the way.

The rewards are there, sometimes we may be too tired, too broke, too spent to always see or feel them. Then other moments, a special exchange, a small or large success, is enough to keep us full a long time.

There are challenges of being a mom. Motherhood is full of sacrifices: to our bodies, time and wallets.
 But, what is life, but to be lived! I don't mind wrinkles when there are stories to explain the passage of time. And there is no better way to spend our time but to give and live for our families, which will send ripples to repair our culture.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

Every Thursday, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Don't you love this time of year with all the Christmas recitals?
I finally captured a song, their last song, on my phone; Molly's orchestra's last song of a long wonderful performance.
Joy To The World

 also pretty
My mother gave Ceci a perm. When I was her age, I probably had a perm twice a year. I never had my completely straight hair until my first pregnancy. This is her first experience with such an uncomfortable process. She was very happy with the result.

I should be a better veteran at this mom thing. But here we are at the zoo without a stroller. Lilly was happy enough with her mode of transportation.

We do not put a lot of emphasis on Santa Claus around here. We celebrate St. Nick's feast day December 6 and there is usually something in the stocking on Christmas morning, but not a big gift item. With my first child, I tried to go that route, but he was not charmed by the Santa idea. He would NOT go sit on a stranger's lap and tell him secrets. I was fine with it.
 Well now, one of my younger girls was asking about going to see him in the mall, maybe getting a picture.  We've never done that, and since I hate crowds, lines and planning a day around a moment to get a perfect picture, I knew wasn't starting now. I didn't know her motivation was to put a last moment gift idea out there. She thought she'd still give it a try and write a letter. I didn't know she really just wanted the American Girl horse until I saw her note. I know I hadn't planned on getting it.
I am still not planning on getting it.
I hope she isn't too disappointed. I know there will be something else to distract her.
"I want an American Girl Doll horse. I hope you have a great Christmas, St. Nicholas. Love, Cc"
What do you think, should I run out and try to find one?

The struggle to get a good Christmas card picture with six kids including a bored two year old.
 I thought if everyone stayed ready with their smiles, I could get Lilly to smile, but it made her siblings look really insensitive or even in the wrong picture. (They are always very good to her.) Thankfully, we did capture one good group shot that day.

round button chicken