Tuesday, May 5, 2009

important and beautiful lives

i want to remember these words every day of my life..............

"Day by day I must learn to abandon myself; to keep myself available for whatever He, the Lord needs of me at a given moment, even if other things seem more appealing and more important to me: it means giving life, not taking it. It is in this very way that we experience freedom: freedom from ourselves, the vastness of being. In this very way, by being useful, in being a person whom the world needs, our live becomes important and beautiful. Only those who give up their own life find it. Let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, the True Shepherd."
~Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, May 3, 2009 magnificat

Thursday, April 30, 2009

baby red

"i want you to call me baby red", he tells me while we are reading a story about animal babies, snuggled on the couch, sharing quesadillas. "you could say baby blue, baby orange or lots of things, but i like baby red or max." ok. baby red it shall be. gosh, i love. this. kid.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a real mother

she turned seven last saturday. two years ago, her fifth birthday, was the last time i saw her mother. it was not pleasant as we had some words. i don't really regret what i said because when i look at the frilly, pink lovliness of this little girl, i only had her best interest at heart.

"set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." -ps. 141:3

i said it because i knew to what dangerous places her addiction was taking her and that there was the possibility that things could end this way.

an exercise for school the other day asked that the kids consider how they got their names and because my aunt was not really sure, she didn't know what to tell her to write. then with an exasperated air, e told her that it didn't matter because she doesn't have a real mother. i know how this must've hurt because my aunt is trying to fill an un-fillable void. the void that the real mother leaves when she is gone.

i only know what i know about this bond because my own mother and i are still so connected that my father jokes that they never cut the umbilical cord completely when i was born and with my daughter it is the same. of course we have to stick together in this testosterhome. but today my thoughts were that in this situation someone has taken the place of the real mother. not because she wanted to, for in this mess she lost a daughter. but she had to. and i think this generation will be seeing more and more grandparents raising their grandchildren. so my prayer today is for all mothers. real and otherwise. because we all know that what makes a mother real in the lives of her children is not always for us to tell, but perhaps in a few years time, at least in this case, time will tell who the real mother is.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

bigger. better. new. improved.

that was what i was hoping for anyway. but not yet. He is not done with me yet and while some things have gone very well for me this lent, i feel like it has gone by so fast. there has been a lot of praying and works, but not enough contemplation. some of it is my fault, other things are just inevitable, but i am going to keep trying. hopefully seeing everything shrouded in purple this week will remind me to pause and reflect, as often as i can, on the great, great suffering which was the price of my redemption. and with that, maybe i can get the last one down by Good Friday-improved. yes, i'd like to see that written next to my name. or at least improving.....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

little white lies

i hate doing it. my conscience is nagging at me, but i didn't know what else to do. the new little puppy darted out into the road, she was following the big boys to the place where they "jump" their bikes and it happened-she was hit by a car. i just wanted to shield the two little ones from the pain of losing another animal. it seems we have terrible luck with pets. and i gulp each time i perpetuate this little white lie. wait till monday. let's see what the vet says. i am not sure they put her to sleep. it's not a good idea, i know, but we all do it, don't we? i like to tell myself that somehow it will make them feel better while i alone bear the brunt of knowing that she is gone and it won't be better on monday. i am going to have to come clean at some point. heaven help me when i do. for there really is no escaping from those nasty little white lies.

Friday, March 27, 2009


feeling like such a fickle blogger and person i am trying to decide whether i should still use this space or not. i really enjoy blogs that "go deeper", but i also like the really light-hearted ones about sewing, photography, cooking and homeschooling and thoughts and feelings, places where the faith is contemplated and discussed......so the question is, how does one find the balance? is it silly to have more than one blog? how do you squeeze a whole person, much less a whole family into one blog. thoughts? suggestions?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

never before seen "footage" of a rare species

these jammies were from last winter and they became a favorite.
he pretends that he is a rare green-striped tiger when he wears them.
i have tried to retire them, but they seem to get "discovered" every time.
don't think that i haven't fixed those holes,
but this tigers' toes are too long and the stitches just won't hold.
besides, have you ever seen the things that rare green-striped tigers do?
they hunt, run and jump in the most ferocious and extreme ways.
i guess for now i'll just enjoy this rare species until it becomes extinct.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the scrap bag exchange

if you are interested, come see me here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

saying good-bye

to blogger that is.
and hello to wordpress.
i am happy with the move.
it kinda feels like spring cleaning.
my new place is fresh, clean,
i don't know how long it
will stay that way.
but follow me there if
you'd like.
you can join me in the newest
chapter of my blogging journey.

Friday, February 13, 2009

home is where the hearts are

happy st. valentine's day

Thursday, February 12, 2009

whiskers on kittens

these are a few of my favorite things.............
little boys with curly hair and long eyelashes
bringing plants-lilies from our old house, violets and irises-
from nana's yard to start the generational garden

gardening with my very own root children

discovering charlottes' web

spotting two new nests in the yard

reading this story tonight and finding out
that these root children were painting lady bugs too!
thank you sarah sunshine for making us think happy thoughts today.
and since shelly came out of her funk i can go to bed even happier!
it's 11:18 and all is well.

when something terrible happens

sorry i've been such a wet blanket these past few days.
i read that
"February arrives cold, wet and gray, her gifts disguised
for only the most discerning spirits to see..."
so i guess that means i have not been "discerning" enough
to find her gifts.
but i thank God for the gift of HIS grace
and for the gift of children.
because i cannot imagine my life without either of them.
and without their help, one might never find
the gifts which are in every day!
yesterday as i was mulling over all the things i had written,
wishing perhaps i hadn't said so much, but i felt so
grateful for all of the generous hearts who took the time
out of their busy days to respond.
and though i didn't answer any of the comments
i went over each one carefully and i came to the conclusion
that you are all so great!!

death is such a hard thing to talk about for adults, but especially with children.
when my two cousins were murdered, it was not at all like dealing with natural death.
it was so hard to even find the right words to tell them what had happened, much
less talk about it in the days, weeks and months that followed.
murder has a way of striking fear into the hearts of even the most trusting and faithful person.
probably one of the most difficult things, aside from losing people that we dearly loved,
was that the girls were killed 7 months apart and so there was still such an open,
gaping wound in our hearts, which for me, as an adult to try and comprehend was difficult enough.
but the children, had been so sheltered.
i had kept them away from the world all these years yet there it was right on my doorstep, demanding to be let in, bringing all its' ugliness with it.
i know not everything in the world is bad, but tragedy has a way of making it seem so.
tragedy tries to steal from us that sweet, gentle peace, which, as Christians, should always be present in our lives, no matter what.
at times, wallowing in my own grief, i was blinded to my childrens' needs and the day it hit me the hardest was while unpacking my daughters' things to put in her new room-we moved here over the summer of '08-when i came across a small hello kitty notepad.
and knowing that she uses these for her diary-being only 9 she has not yet discovered how to "lock" away her deepest, darkest thoughts as girls so often do-i opened it.
and as i flipped through the notepad much to my surprise she had pages upon pages of names of all the people in our family who had died and little drawings surrounding each name representing things she knew from me which each person liked to do or memories she had shared with them at a particular time during their earthly life. this little girl had already seen so much death in her short life and i didn't even realize how it was affecting her.
i am her mother, her teacher, yet i had missed all this?
how could i have been so neglectful.
it seemed so easy to shush her all those times she cried and force her along the path to healing.
when i wasn't even healed.
tears don't come easy for me, so why should they for her either.
how wrong i was.
in retrospect i realize how vital it is for children to realize that those whom we have loved and lost in this life have not been annihilated.
they still live on in eternity and they need our prayers and sacrifices,
for their purification and sometimes even ours.
this is not a professional opinion by any means.
these are just the thoughts of a mother who has hurt and who has seen her children and her family hurting.
my heart will always ache for my aunt, especially, who lost all 3 of her children.
all of them tragically taken from her.
her mother's heart forever broken as she struggles to sift through those broken pieces, to lift herself up out of the wreckage of her life and raise her two grandchildren.
how could anyone ever comprehend that?
i certainly don't have all of the answers.
yet the question remains, how do we, as loving parents, teach not only ourselves, but our children to cope with death?
it is simple: we don't.
Mother Angelica writes:" We don't have the power over life and death, but we do have the power to choose good instead of evil and to do the will of God."
the Holy Scriptures remind us that "it is a good and holy thing to pray for the dead" so that they may be loosed from their sins.
and so what have i learned from all of this?
well, i am more careful now.
i don't just shush the tears away.
i am careful to watch, not only for more notes, but for signs that something is wrong.
but most importantly i will try my hardest to teach her and the boys that there is power in our suffering here on this earth.
power made perfect in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
and that we are made strong in HIM.
and that our life goal is to find HIS will in all things.
and together we can send fear on his way
even when something terrible happens......................

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

good grief

i am kind of in a funk right now with regards to blogging.
i feel like i am at a stand-still.
like i don't know where i want this to go or if i even want it to keep going.
i know the blog world will continue to run its' course without me.

i think the rain makes me feel this way.

cold, distant, thoughtful.

and then i read such encouraging, hopeful things and i am reminded that the internet is a tool, just like any other tool and as long as it is used wisely, there shouldn't be a problem.

i mean, i wouldn't sit in front of the bread maker or my alarm clock and stare at it all day, mindlessly clicking the hours away while the laundry piles up and the kids forage thru the fridge for their own food, now would i?

i guess the hardest thing is delegation of time.

there is always so much to be done.

things like making monkey bread and reading story after story.

but then again i need to write, it is so healing for me.

it is natural, kind of like breathing.

i know i am not a very good writer, by writing standards, i am much better at breathing.

but then again writing is only one of the many hats i wear,

i am not being paid to write and luckily i have a day job.

i don't want this to be a whiny post, wherein i complain about all of the injustices in my small life, because when i sit here and think about what is right, there is so, so much that is right.

however, there are things i want to say.

even if just to get them off my chest,

sending them into cyber space so that they'll bother me no more.

the sadness of this recent tragedy, is probably what really got me thinking again.

you know how those serious thoughts come and go, the ones about life and death.

and i realize that these are the things that have been weighing me down and making me blue.
so if you don't mind crawling inside my head, here i go again:
"stay awake and be ready! for you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
alleluia, alleluia.
in all truth I tell you whoever keeps my word will never see death."
"our lot in this life is to live always in fear. perfect assurance is possible to no one.
God wishes us to glorify Him by a self-abandonment full of faith and love. it is the tribute of which HE is most jealous."

i found these things in one of my journals, i am not sure how old they are.

they are probably from about 3 years or so ago.

they are not my words, of course, but they went along with what i was

feeling at the time and so i wrote them down.

i guess loss has a way of coloring our worldview many different colors.

sometimes grey and even black.

and sometimes it even manifests itself in things like me screaming, "the kids can't eat red dye #4o because don't you know that it causes cancer in laboratory rats?" and then suddenly i am the bad one. the mom who won't let them eat poisonous popsicles from the ice cream man or hot cheetos. the mom who tries to convince them that Joe's O's taste the same as cheerios and that's that! the mom who is no fun because danger lurks around every corner and in every box......it lurks in your sleep, when you cross the street, in gum and microwaves.......

but i wonder if they will ever understand me.

because my reasons behind my method of thought are painful ones.

and if we are caring people, which most of us are, we cannot help being affected by the pain and sadness of others.
and i am such a person.
and perhaps i feel it even more as i contemplate my own litany of lost lives.
the ones that have made my life a lot emptier than it could have been.
the ones who are missing from thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
the ones whose absences seem to taint the very food we eat as a cloud of sadness settles over the room, making everything so sorrowful and tragic.
and i, perhaps selfishly, ponder "what could've been.........."
the first time i tried to write this post, i went through each name.
i listed them and the things i remembered most about each one.
but the list was so long that i thought it might not even seem believable
that there are so many.
and then i realized it was too personal and names wouldn't matter to you,
the reader, because you did not know them.
but here i am again.
trying to do this again because they mattered to me and if you'll just bear with me because i am sure that your own life is filled with some, if not many who do matter to you.
however, since i don't want to tell anyone what to do,
instead i will kindly suggest that you try your hardest not to take the ones you love for granted because none of us know when it is time.
and by this, i mean time to go.
the timing wherein we each come and go into and out of this world is shrouded in mystery,
much like the God who decides our plight.
and i can honestly say that it doesn't matter whether death is sudden and unprovided or a slow and prolonged process.
it is never easy to say good-bye.
how can we ever be ready to say good-bye to someone we have loved.
someone who had laughing eyes and a dancing smile.
to someone who had the softest shoulder to lay your head on
or wrote you the sweetest, encouraging letters.
or worse yet, someone tiny and helpless --someone-- who never even had a chance at life.
no, saying good-bye is never easy.
but i must say that the only thing that even slightly eases the pain of losing a loved one is knowing that they were living a life pleasing to God.
because whether or not we believe,
"no man can cheat death",
and one day, each of us will stand before Him
and render an account of our lives, the lives we were given.
and there is NOTHING worse,
than to hear the words, "go away from Me, I never knew you........."
just imagining that those are the words that will echo in your ears for all of eternity
sends chills down my spine.
so while grief can be good, it is not healthy to dwell on these things for too long.
i firmly believe darkness is a tool that helps us to see the LIGHT when we might otherwise not notice.
kind of like the way that one who has always grown a garden might not check EVERY SINGLE DAY to see if seedling have sprouted.
sometimes the most obvious things are the hardest to see.
but it is so lovely to see THE LIGHT shining on a dark faith,
in a dark world.
illuminating the truth and making what was hidden, seen.
so pray always.
pray to God, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
enlist the help of the Blessed Mother, your angel guardian and all the saints.
"But because many make it more their study to know than to live well, therefore are they often deceived, and bring forth none, or very little fruit....Verily, when the day of judgement comes, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; nor how learnedly we have spoken, but how religiously we have lived." ~thomas a kempis, my imitation of CHRIST
ps. i actually have some really cheerful things to share if i can get around to posting them and please forgive the quirky format of these posts lately. blogger seems to do whatever it wants, regardless of what i want and so i am contemplating moving to wordpress or typepad.
i mean it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

for today

outside my window..........it's raining, it's pouring and clouds, wind and MUD abound.

i am thinking..............about whether i should wake the kids up or not. it is 7:45 a.m.

i am thankful for................heat, warm blankets and my cup of brewing tea-green tea with yerba mate, milk and honey.

from the schoolroom..............math, dictation, spelling and reading aloud The Trumpet of the Swan. the middle kids have photography and art class this afternoon.

in the kitchen...............hot chocolate, toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast.

i am wearing...........leopard pj pants and a black long-sleeved shirt.

i am creating............something for a little peach, a few things for valentine's day, lacy linen napkins.

i am going..............to clean my room and do some sewing this afternoon.

i am reading..............simple abundance and the imitation of Christ.

i am hoping...............my slight headache goes away, it feels kind of like a sinus headache.
i am hearing................raindrops, the hum of the heater, goats bleating(?) (from the neighbors' yard), birds playing in the rain, the click of the keyboard and a little boy snoring in my bed.

around the house..........the laundry is under control, the front room is tidy (we picked it up last night before bed), the schoolroom needs a little bit of work and there are a few dishes, but not too many.

one of my favorite things.............kids who entertain themselves despite the rainy, gloomy weather.

a few plans for the rest of the week............make and send valentines, deep clean the boy's room, trip to the snow, make chocolate dipped marshmallows, plant a few more irises, lilies and some daisies, go see inkheart.

here are two picture thoughts i am sharing.............

owl always love you

don't forget to visit here for more daybook fun.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

first born

two friends have tagged me for this on facebook.
and since today is his day anyway, i thought i'd go ahead and do it.
hard to believe 15 years ago , on a rainy monday,
that my first born came into this world at 10:14 am.
i can still recall it as if it were yesterday..........
Was your first pregnancy planned? NO.
Were you married at the time? no.
What was your reaction? scared, but in awe.
Was abortion an option for you? NEVER.
How old were you? 17.
How did you find out you were pregnant? missed period(s).
Who did you tell first? friends, boyfriend-who is now my husband.
Did you want to find out the sex? YES.
When was your due date? January 31, 1994.
Did you have morning sickness? a little bit.
What did you crave? salsa, mashed potatoes with cranberry sauce
and marie calenders pie (cherry) with vanilla icecream.
Who/What irritated you the most? hardly anything because i slept all the time, but the sound of chewing really got to me.
What was your first child's sex? male.
Did you wish you had the opposite sex of what you were getting? no. i wanted a big brother to lead the tribe of children i'd have.
How many pounds did you gain during the pregnancy? way TOO many, didn't you see my list of cravings??
Did you have a baby shower? yes, three.
Was it a surprise or did you know? i knew.
Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? no.
Where did you give birth? sharp murrieta.
How many hours were you in labor? 5.
Who drove you to the hospital? my mama.
Who watched you give birth? both of my parents, he was "our" baby, as i was still their baby.
Was it natural or c-section? i have had all of my kids natural. no c-sections or episiotomies.
Did you take medicine to ease the pain? no. i have never used medication during birth,
it would be distracting to me.
How much did your child weigh? 7lbs. 8 oz.
When was your child actually born? February 7, 1994.
What did you name him/her? i named him Christian.
How old is your first born today? today he turns 15.
happy birthday, son.

so off i go to make him a white-texas sheet cake-

it is his FAVORITE cake in the whole wide world.

it probably has more calories than all the cakes in the whole wide world too.

i chose this LIFE............

and i don't ever want to imagine what kind of life i would've had without him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

sprouting wings

today was monumental for me as a homeschooling mother.
one of my students sprouted his wings as a writer.
you may have a student like this, he is the reluctant one,
the one who reads later than the rest.
he takes longer to learn
his multiplication tables and he pretty much despises any
kind of structured learning.
he is the middle child.
not the oldest, not the baby and not the only girl.
it has always been hard for him to find his place.
not just with regards to school, but in life.
he is the stubborn one.
the one who makes my blood pressure
rise every time we have some sort of confrontation about
not putting forth his best effort or paying attention.
he is the one that made me doubt whether or not i should
even be homeschooling at all.
he is the reason i searched feverishly for different ideas about teaching.
it is because of him that i found out that not all children are auditory learners,
which you'd think i'd know, because i am not one either.
yet he is the one with the neatest handwriting.
he is the first one to put his boots on and lead me outdoors.
he is the one with an artistic eye and a gentle heart,
he can quite often be seen following the shadow of another
small boy, his little brother.
he has his ears tuned to the birds that frequent our yard
and constantly comes inside with descriptive narratives
of things he has seen as he peruses the property,
pellet gun in hand and camera in his pocket.
the assignment was simple enough:
write me a paragraph about our day at nannie and papa's yesterday.
make it in chronological order, starting with breakfast,
which were yummy "mamacakes".
pay attention to punctuation and spelling and i will help you
with paragraph structure later.
he is in the sixth grade, this should be no problem you say.
well, not for my boy.
this is usually a most painful process,
ending with discouragement on his end
and disappointment on mine.
disappointment in myself because maybe i have
not been the best teacher.
maybe he needed special ed.
maybe i wasn't patient enough.
but in the end it was because
he just wasn't ready,
he hadn't sprouted those wings.
but today he did
and it happened so much like all of the rest of his
"learning", very out of the blue, quite naturally
almost as if he'd always written this way.
beautifully constructed sentences, colorful adjectives,
very well written feelings and emotions about what
he did, what he saw, tasted, touched and felt.
and all i can say is
i am one PROUD mama bird!

the ducklings have arrived

and they've brought chicks with them.

my kids have taken this project much farther then i ever thought they would.

i'll upload all of their birds on flickr when i get a chance, but i am so impressed

with the bluebirds, woodpeckers, cygnets, crows, hummingbirds

and yes, even a flamingo with sunglasses on, that have all come out of

their imaginations, with just a little felt, some pom-poms and glue.

this duckling and chick don't have eyes, but beads and glitter glue

work just fine in case you'd like yours to be able to see.

and if you love usborne books, like we do, the usborne books for beginners

are great. they have links here where you can look up the book you

are reading and play, read or watch online activities pertaining to the book.

you can watch a baby chick hatching here and this website has some

great pictures of baby birds.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

simple abundance

i am loving my new book-which i got the other day at a thrift store for $1.00.
the back cover reads:
"in the past a woman's spirituality has been separated from her lifestyle.
SIMPLE ABUNDANCE shows you how your daily life
can be an expression of your authentic self...
as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden,
search for treasures at flea markets,
establish sacred space in your home for meditation,
and follow the rhythm of the seasons of the year."
does this sound like a good read or what?
well, we are off to the mountains to do some school.
hoping to enjoy some simple abundance.
a visit to nannie and papa's mountain home
always does each of us some good.
the little ones will be bird watching and doing watercolors,
me~i want to finish my
sunflower handwarmers
and my husband is taking the big boys on a hike.
they found a bedding area of a
deer family on their last hike.
they saw a mama, her baby doe
and a buck, all tucked in for the night
imagine that!
my prayer for you today is
that you'll find some simple abundance
in your little corner of the world too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the great outdoors

i can remember being a child
and sitting in a classroom,
the doors were open to let
some fresh air into an overwhelmingly
stale and stuffy room and my mind would drift.
it drifted so far into the p.e. field
that my concentration level was
practically zero.
all i thought about during those times
were the little flowers with heart shaped
petals that, when tied together, made the prettiest
they wilted quickly, usually by the time
recess was over, they were dead.
fast forward 20 years
and i am so pleased that often times
is our classroom.
and if anything wilts, well,
it doesn't matter,
because there is no rush.
we can just pick more!
they amaze me
by how astute they've
watching and listening
for different bird calls,
and then there is
the joy on a certain face
when he
takes notice for the first time
of the velvety stuff
growing on the rocks.
a discussion is sparked
about direction and moss
and how it looks like a little kingdom.
they bombard me with
"look at this mama
and this...",
and i am filled with such
joy because, much like them
i am constantly amazed
at the beauty and wonder
that has gone into
designing the great outdoors
and best of all
sharing with them
just WHO is in charge of it all
and the small talk which ensues
as we ponder over whether or not
what GOD has is like
having "the force".

shedding some light

O my Lord, how You are the true friend; and how powerful!
Oh, who will cry out for YOU, to tell everyone how faithful
YOU are to Your friends!
All things fail; You, Lord of all, never fail!
It seems, Lord, You try with rigor the person who loves You
so that in extreme trial she might understand the greatest extreme of Your love.
All fails me, my Lord; but if You do not abandon me, I will not fail You.
Let all learned men rise up against me, let all created things persecute me,
let the devils torment me; do not You fail me, Lord, for I already have
experience of the gain that comes
from the way You rescue the one who trusts in you alone.
~St. Teresa of Avila

making way for ducklings

and swans too.

i stumbled upon this site the other day while looking for some activities to do while we read these two books.
there is also a link way at the bottom of the page that seems like it could be useful.
as you can see one is for my pre-schooler and the other is for my middle kids.
but both of them seem to be appealing to all of my students.
i know the "content" standards are for california, but if you are not in a charter, those things won't matter anyway.
just thought i'd share the info.
it is kind of nice to stumble upon free lessons that have already been planned and use them to your advantage.
and it makes less work for mama, which means i can plan crafts and activities instead!
so off i go to make way for some pom-pom ducklings......

Monday, February 2, 2009

and mondays

i didn't want to write out the rainy days part because i am sure
you all know that song from the carpenters'.
rainy days and mondays.
and yes, they both tend to get me down.
especially if either falls on a day when the house is a wreck.
i don't know why, but when the house is a wreck i am a wreck.
even though my sinful nature fights against forcing myself to clean,
i am SO much happier when everything is well-ordered.
which is probably why i was so unhappy this cheerful, bright and sunny day.
i did actually do a lot on saturday but practically nothing yesterday.
so how could a woman, who woke up and spent some quiet time with her Lord,
her husband home from work today, all her children safe,
healthy and snug in their beds, be so grumpy and ungrateful, you say.
well, i guess that's just life sometimes.
so after feeling sorry for myself i got up from where i was sitting,
made breakfast, fixed my hair, dressed and left to my two favorite thrift stores.
i know you all probably went to mass.
i couldn't because my kids are still fighting colds and mass is over an hour-one way- away.
and so we will have to settle for a small candlelit celebration in our little domestic church.
i am particularly feeling drawn to the feast today because as you all know i have chosen the sorrowful mother as my patron saint this year and simeon's words are resonating in my ears...
"and a sword shall pierce your heart.........."
my mind keeps going back to yesterday and how i eyed an almost 15 year old boy, my boy, attempt to drink alcohol at the super-bowl party we attended.
i am trying to understand why he did it when he knew i was watching him.
what was he trying to tell me? help me.....stop me......set some boundaries for me.
he wasn't really being sneaky, yet he was.
and so i stopped him. i gladly set the boundaries.
but needless to say, a sword pierced my heart.
i know that it is not the same sword that pierced our Blessed Mother's heart by any means.
and unlike the mother of james and john
i am not even asking our Lord that my son sit at His right or left in the kingdom of heaven.
i am simply just wondering how i am going to manage to help my children get to heaven in a world gone wrong.
a world filled with temptations and lies calling out from every which way, attempting to lead these souls, whom I have been entrusted with, to an eternity where they might possibly be separated from God.
a phone call to one of my dearest friends, who also has a teenager, quickly made me feel better.
these are good kids, her daughter and my son.
we have raised them well.
i thought i did all the right things.
natural birth, breastfeeding, bed sharing, tons of stories,
laughing, loving, cuddling, nurturing.
he has been taught the faith, received the sacraments.
she wonders if it is because they have money and maybe the world is starting to creep in.
her husband is a faithful catholic doctor, he catechizes the children on a regular basis.
i wonder if it is because we haven't always had a lot of money and maybe staying with my
fun-loving-functioning-yet still-alcoholic husband has been a bad influence.
i have always been faithful, but maybe i haven't done enough........
i could go on and on, but i won't because the what ifs are endless.
my life, just as yours, is what it is.
if it were a recipe, it might read like this:
one ton of undeserved-pre-packaged blessings.
3/4 cups remnants of past mistakes
1/2 of which turned out for the better because there is a God and He loves me
1/4 part slivers from the Cross
(some of which seem so unfair and heavy at times)
1/4 temptations, emotions and struggles
(all sent to me from Him)
because He knows that if i continue to trust in HIM,
hands folded in prayer, heart pierced with a sword,
i just might make it to the "well done" part.
you know, the one where HE tells me well done good and faithful servant
and these mondays will go with me into eternity.
after a little time in the fires of purgatory of course.
i'll wear them as my badge.
and by now......
there is a checker tournament going on under the peppertree,
a wooden box that needs to be built for the pansies,
strawberries dying to get into the ground, if you know what i mean.
and i am just glad that it's not a rainy day!

p.s. i hope you find happiness
and peace wherever you are.

guaranteed to grow

these strawberries
are guaranteed to grow and
i hope they do
because i hate to disappoint my helpers when the
things we work so hard to plant
aren't successful.
so please wish us luck!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

chicken little

here is the link

which will inspire you

to make a few little dishtowels

of your own

because i know y'all

have nothing better to

do than sit around and sew.

happy saturday!

buona lettura

aka good reading.
of course we love
ALL of his books.
but this just came last night
and as you know
most of our reading
right now
is for the birds.

Friday, January 30, 2009

still my baby

early this morning he woke up coughing.
he couldn't sleep and neither could i.
he touched my face gently and gave me a kiss
even though he was obviously not feeling well.
i know he is the cause of my sleeplessness,
even though he gave up nursing long ago.
he is the reason most mornings i wake up sore because
i have either been wedged between him and my husband all night
or him and the wall.
but i cannot get it out of my head that he is still my baby.
i have been drowning his cold in fresh squeezed o.j.
hoping he'll be over it soon.
but at the same time enjoying and relishing the snoring,
vicks' stinging my eyes because he is sleeping so close
for next week his big brother turns 15
and soon enough he'll catch up
and i'll long for the days that he wanted to be held so close
and in a few weeks we'll remember his other brother
the one i never got to hold close at all.
so just for today
after he wakes up from his robitussin + a bit of benadryl
induced sleep
we'll have blueberry pancakes and read jamberry
a million times
because he
my baby.

shelter from the storm

with much concern for her new pansies,
which haven't been planted yet,
she brought them inside to give them shelter from
a windstorm that came out of nowhere.
i hadn't actually noticed until she asked, "mother",
(she always calls me this)
"is it ok that i put my pansies there on the sink?
i don't want anything to happen to them
and they look so pretty there,
don't you think?"
well, what could i think?
don't you think that they look pretty there?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

THE BAG and me

i wasn't really crazy about this meme because right now i am hating myself in pictures.
however, i willing complied and gave my children "impromptu-paparazzi" freedom,
hence the annoyed look on my face while i am sitting at the computer. i know i sort of look like owen wilson in zoolander (that is a really horrible movie, so if you don't know what i am talking about, you are probably better off). i am really a very cheerful person. unless of course it is a moment when my cheerfulness will manifest itself in my puffy cheeks.
i said i'd like to title this a hag and her bag, but i am actually showered, eye-make up and all.
so it isn't classic hag style.
as for the bag, it is from marshalls.
i've had it since last december and i put it away for a while because it is itchy.
and because i got a big, new bright yellow bag from target with a converse star on it,
but it became grungy looking pretty quickly.
so i took this one out of hiding and have been using it for a while.
i don't do expensive purses because i figure if i don't have-on hand-the same
amount of spending cash-that the purse costs-then i have no business carrying such an expensive purse. my most expensive purse was probably $60-
and i got if off ebay because my husband got really aggressive during the bidding.
i think he was feeling like we were in vegas and he was going to "win" me that purse-
a pink furry, suede UGG purse that i have never even used.
it is still in the dust bag that it came in.
i know i shoulda confessed that.
anyway, surprisingly this is roomy.
as of right now, it is holding my big, ugly wallet,a guide to confession,
3 hot wheels, 2 sets of extra keys, my compact mirror, a pen,
a pad of paper-sticky notes, espresso flavored lip-gloss, 2 rosaries,
sombra gel, my camera, loose change, batteries and a few white pom-pom balls(?)
go figure......i guess i really am a pack rat. even in my purse. what a character flaw.
ok. so for this wonderful meme. thanks jaimie=)
i tag:
(i am sorry jenn, i know you hate being tagged, but i'd love to see your sweet face!)

a long, yet quick note

sorry the last two posts were sort of thoughtless auto posts. i don't know why i do that. i guess i set it up that way in case i neglect this space for too long. i don't know why it matters so much, it is not like the world will stop if i don't write something.
well, in order to keep myself from rambling, here goes:
1. sorry i haven't completed the tote meme, but i went to that retreat monday and tuesday night, then yesterday morning i went to mass and was blessed to receive the apostolic blessing, which felt exhilarating.
2. i have 4 sick kids. nothing too serious, but 4 runny noses and 4 different coughs equal lots of vicks, tissues, stories, chicken soup and well, i am sure you all know.
3. i am still struggling with this pain in my back/neck and i truly feel sorry for people with chronic pain.
4. for christine- i don't capitalize my "i" because this is sort of like my diary. there aren't any grammar rules here. it is funny that you said this because that is the first thing my kids noticed when they saw me writing here and they know what a punctuation psycho i am. i do, however, worry about the Good Lord's name. i don't mind reaching for caps lock for HIS sake.
5. yesterday at Mass i couldn't help but think about the people who don't kneel for the consecration or for Holy Communion. the church i attended for the retreat is a novus ordo church, not a chapel, like i usually go to, but it does have the indult Mass and is very reverent in every way. the communion rail is still in place and most every one kneels for the consecration, however, i am curious about those who don't participate, those who'd rather lean forward in a truly awkward manner, to receive their KING. i don't want to step on toes if you don't do either of these things, but my feeling on this is, it is common courtesy to bow to a king, is it not? then how could we do any less for OUR LORD? is it a matter of preference? something decided by the bishops? or is it something that has to do with the individual? i know that just because the very thought of HIM coming to me brings me to my knees, it might not be that way for everyone. i sort of imagine the magi and how they fell down worshipping the infant in the manger. and if we truly believe that the Host contains the same infant, why don't we ALL do the same thing.
so how is it for you? how do you receive HIM? you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. but i won't judge you, i promise.
6. i am very excited about doing a little planting around here. i've been itching to get my hands dirty. the soil is nice and soft from the rain and i think it is calling to me.
7. i am having trouble ending this unit on birds. there is so much to learn, so many beautiful books and projects, but i do wish we could move on to california, i can't wait to do the missions. not just because of the field trips i want to take, but because this state does have some great history.
8. i am in a cooking rut. i really need to plan some meals and go to the store with a written list. yesterday i felt so lost, wandering around without a plan. as hard as it is to plan all the details of my life, when i don't plan, i always regret it. even if i don't stick to my plans.
9. i have to mail the flowers for the craft swap. i heard yesterday that yoda is on his way. they are finished, but just need to get packaged and sent off.
10. well, i have much to do today, so this is me, signing off, for now anyway.

ps. sarah(JOT) i am not posting the pretzel recipe, but king arthur has the greatest recipes. i love their flour and you can choose from many types of pretzels there. we prefer soft pretzels, but you many not.

the heart rag is coming along very nicely, i decided just to tie the ends together. somehow the huge ball of rag yarn i had isn't going very far and i don't know when i'll have a chance to cut more strips, though.

barb, i'd love to try a basket. i've had a basket or a bowl in my mind for quite some time, just haven't found the right twine i'd like to use, maybe the rag strips would be better-in browns and neutrals...........

jenn, my daughter has a little rag rug for her doll house that my mom made and it is adorable. of course she has everything in a vintage/cottage style. and i forgot to ask you if you've gone to see swan lake yet. i am such a dummy because i told you i'd never seen it and i just remembered yesterday, on my way home from ontario, that i HAVE seen it. i saw it last summer at the redlands bowl, performed by the santa barbara street ballet. i also saw a midsummer nights' dream and madame butterfly as well. all were spectacular productions. i am glad that i was reminded of those memories. sometimes i..........wonder where my brain goes! maybe that's what i'll change my blog title to!! =)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

after the rain

don't you love it how after the rain
everything seems so clean and green.
it is as if the whole world has had a bath.

the rag heart before

i have always wanted to make a rag rug,
but as i've said before, patience is not a virtue
that i possess when it comes to sewing or crafts.
not to mention that i have a hard time picturing
something that i have worked so hard on,
being trampled by five pairs of muddy feet.
so i decided to try a rag heart and i'll use it for a table centerpiece.
i have most of the strips cut, but since it will be crocheted together,
i might find myself needing more. i'll keep you posted.
have you ever done anything like this?
did you sew it together or just tie knots?
i still haven't decided which route to take.
i am just afraid if i don't sew the ends it will
come undone once washed.......

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

night 1

because i know i am preachin' to the choir
ten quick things from last night:
1.who do you say that HE is?
the faith of peter and the appointment of him as the ROCK is vital, for the pope IS THE VICAR OF CHRIST. the mark of the church's CREDIBILITY is in her UNITY.
so that we may be ONE, as JESUS and the FATHER are ONE.
2. why are you a catholic?
ethnicity, the faith of your parents?
good answers, but not good enough.
your faith needs to be more INCISIVE.
3. our faith should hinge on the the HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS, HOLY EUCHARIST and the leadership we receive from THE POPE in his position as the APOSTOLIC SUCCESSOR.
4. we should feel saddened at the way the HOLY EUCHARIST is trivialized, minimalized and ostracized. the EUCHARIST is EVERYTHING. IT is the solution to all the problems in the world.
"unless you eat the FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN, you shall NOT enter the kingdom of heaven."
5. history speaks of man's quest for food, religion of man's quest for GOD. in the Holy Eucharist, we are given BOTH.
6. HE feeds us with HIS FLESH so that we may feed others.
7. "whatever you do to the least of my bretheren, you do to ME."
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness FOR ALL.
8. JESUS fulfilled AT LEAST 125 of the hebrew prophecies.
some say as many as 400, depending on how you count them.
9. FAITH + CONVICTION> willingness to LIVE the faith and even to die for it.
10. our destiny is HEAVEN!
ps. i was blessed enough to go to confession last night, after the retreat with this very holy priest and i don't know why, but i am always just so blown away by the power of what happens when you walk in the confessional and shut the door. last night, i felt sort of like lucy, when she opens the wardrobe door to go into narnia and she has already been there and seen aslan, felt his gentleness, beauty and peace. the church i attend is very old world looking, the confessional doors are big, solid wood and the handle is iron and since i, too, have been before, i know that wonderful things happen in there, the scales come off, you are made whole again, the burden is gone-the lure of the turkish delight doesn't fool me anymore. but then there is that small part of me anyway, that knows i'll be back, daughter of eve that i am, always forgetting that i am a child of GOD. but at least i know it is there, that wonderful sacrament of penance. the sacrament which restores the relationship between me and my heavenly FATHER. so if you've never been or it's been a while, you should try it (confession, that is-not the turkish delight)!

Monday, January 26, 2009

3 nights

i am giddy that i've been blessed
to have this priest just close enough
to go and listen to his talks
every night for the next three nights.
you may've seen him on EWTN before.
he is the one with those penetrating sermons
that hit you where it hurts.
and believe me,
i need to be hit where it hurts!

a love note

a little love note
on a flour sack dishcloth.
copy this design
if you'd like
and make one of your own.
i got the idea from this free
vintage clip art.
i have a thing for embroidered hand-towels.
i usually make them for my mom because she won't use them.
she hangs them in her kitchen or bathroom
and they stay perfectly white and pristine.
here, well, you can imagine what happens
to them here.
the boy to girl ratio
isn't in our favor
and the boys don't appreciate the
feminine goodness of these little towels.
anyway, i'll show you some of the others.
just not all at once
or else you might not come back and see me!
happy monday.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

enjoying GOD's providence

...how happy we are to be thus constrained
and held short by our heavenly Guardian!
And what we are to do is quite certainly nothing
more than we are already doing,
which is to adore the lovable providence of GOD
and to throw ourselves into His arms and into His keeping.
~St. Francis de Sales