Friday, March 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday #3

 My baby girl's first communion is 2 weeks from now. As I write this she says, "Moooom! I'm not a baby!" About a month ago, I didn't have a new dress for her, just her sister's old one, and really couldn't get one for several reasons. But I said a little prayer that if the Lord wanted her to have one, that he would provide one for little cost. A week later my awesome friend and mother to 13 who is an expert at garage saling, called me one morning. "I found the most beautiful 1st Commuion dress with veil. It's 4 dollars, do you want it?" Amazing. I keep looking at it in awe.

 This Noah's Ark "coat hanger" is awesome. It was in my 11 yr. old boy's baby room first, and has graduated into the girls' room. It now holds about 10 jackets and sweaters and about 10 purses. What a trooper!
 For several years now I have wondered why every time my oldest son comes out of the bathroom he has some cooking tip or trivia to share with me. Yesterday, he came out and said, "Hey mom, I know something different we can make with potatoes today. It's called potato salad. You just boil up some potatoes, cut them up, mix them with some mayo and spices..."

"Have you been reading Cook's Illustrated again?"

Sheepishly, "Yes."
 I have this love-hate relationship with the library. And a little bit of anxiety issues with it as well. Whenever we go, even if every child just gets a few books, we still get a ton of books, because it is times 5, so if we are overdue in returning, well, not just a few cents. Besides, I do NOT like to be a delinquent. For whatever reason, EVERY time I have ever just dropped the books in the return bin, or even just turned them in without making sure they checked them in, we are accused of not turning some of the books in. So now, I go up to the desk and MAKE the person check them in in front of me. They love me for this. Usually, they send an e-mail reminding me "your books are due tomorrow," but the time has gotten away and no e-mail. I have a deep sense of doom.

 Is it too early for flipflops? I am thinking this is TOTALLY a flipflop day.

My mother and I when ever we talk about something that is annoying or we don't like it, we call it "sweet and precious". It's a southern thing. So, my sweet and precious washer has been stopping mid-cycle with an error sign. My husband went through the filter to clean it out, and found a screw driver, a lego hat, a light saber, and some other items. That poor filter.

Have you seen this image? It is called "Our Lady of Joy". I saw it first in the bookstore at the University I attended, Franciscan University of Steubenville. It so impressed me. I have decided I need to work on being a little less-grumpy of a mom. (We wouldn't want to go entirely grumpy free, that would be going too far) So, Our Lady of Joy, pray for me today. 

For more Quick Takes, go to Conversion Diary 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Snorkel Porkchops

  Today we were talking about names and how, if one of our children became a nun they would take on a new name, or if baby brother became a priest he would be Fr. (insert last name here). I left the room and the Queen came up and said, "We want to know why the woman has to take the man's last name when they get married."

"Um, that's a hard one." She left to announce my response as I said a quick prayer, "Come on Lord! help me out here!" Then it hit me. I walked back in the kitchen and took a deep breath.

"Ok, you know how a marriage is supposed to mirror or reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church? Daddy is supposed to be Christ for all of us. He is supposed to "die on the cross" for me and us like Christ did. Mommy is supposed to submit to daddy like the Church does to Christ. Right? (nodding of heads) And when we say we are "Christians" we are saying we are followers of him, we are with him, we belong to him. We don't say, "I am a Suzy-ian or a Bob-ian who follows Christ." We take Christ's name. So, because daddy is the head of our family, we take his name. It doesn't mean that I lose who I am. But when I chose to marry your daddy, we became one person, one unit, we belong to each other. and (unexpected emotional response) I am proud to take your daddy's name. There are some women who choose to keep their name or combine both names, and I don't think differently of them for doing it, it was just not what I chose to do."

My oldest son after a moment said, "Mom, when I see you cry, I get a bad feeling, it makes me sad, I don't like it."

"There are some important things you need to know about women. Women cry alot. They cry when they are happy, when they are sad, when something moves them, pretty much all the time. See, you only cry really when you are hurt or upset. And there is a good reason for that. God made men and women different. Equal, but different. Women are naturally more emotional and tend to show their feelings more. This is part of what makes them good mothers, more compassionate and understanding people."

"But mom, didn't I hear you say to someone that because of all the hormones in the food some men are beginning to act more like women?" (Uuuuuuh, hm, did I say that?) Um, well, men that act like women are doing it for many other reasons than because of the milk they might be drinking. But here is the bottom line. God created us equal, but uniquely different. The best way for a woman to give the greatest glory to God, to reflect her part of his image perfectly, is to be fully woman. The best way for a man to give glory to God and reflect his part of his image, is to be fully man, but the Devil figures if he can confuse us, make us think it doesn't matter, then we won't be living up to that full potential we were created for."

Then the queen spoke up, "What if we had to take the FIRST name?"

"Well, I would have to love someone an aweful lot to do that." I said.

Then she said, "or what if the guy's name was something like, Snorkel Porkchops?"

"Well, if you decide to marry someone named, Snorkel Porkchops, he better be a darn good catholic."

Friday, March 23, 2012

7 Quick Takes on a Friday #2

Princess is starting to write poetry in school. This one reads:
My House
My House is beautiful.
I like to google.
I like my house.
But it has a mouse.
We love the Cross.
Dad's the boss.

(and that would be her sitting at the table with a laptop, a mouse with his cheese, and her daddy behind her in the top hat.)

I am the queen of making charts, putting them up, and not using them. These are the latest two. The above is a behavioral chart, good attitudes with chores, siblings, parents, and school (they picked the hamsters out). The bottom, "Laundry for a Princess" was to try to get Princess to not throw her clothes on the floor. But it seems to be that all that needs to happen in this house, is me talking about it and putting the chart up, for the behavior to start improving, so hence the empty boxes. 

My oldest son's possy. His meter for taking blood sugar, his alcohol swabs, mazin' hamsters, and of course, a minotaur. 
"Growing Plants for Dummies"
I love this thing we found in the dollar section at Target. It was a valentine for my girls. It came in a cute little box, a dirt "pellet" that expands with water, some seeds, and a little pink pot. To experienced gardeners this may be "gardener trash", but for those of us who are green thumb-challenged and occupied with about a million other things, it's perfect!

Another favorite kitchen gadget, a chopper with 3 sets of blades. The best part? Put the potato in, slam the dealie-muh-bob down, and, voilà! French fries!

My Mom gave me this book. If you are having a rough time in any area of your life, it is a must-read. Very short, one line pages with pictures of children's expressions, but all what adults relate to. To sum up, it is about trusting God when things get rough. 

This is the Little Guy's dinosaur pillow. His big brother informed me this morning that he discovered there was a hole in his foot and it was leaking out stuffing like crazy. As an emergency precaution, he tied his socks around it, to stop the "bleeding". 

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Think God is Listening? Try Him

Yesterday I had a double doctor's appointment in town for myself and Princess. I decided to take advantage of the time and trip and go to Whole Foods as it is about a 30 minute drive from home, usually. Whole Foods, (as a friend calls it "Whole Ripp-Off") is not my favorite place to spend money. It is one of the only grocery stores you can go up to the cash register with 4 or 5 things and be $100 short after. But, it happens to be necessary for our family's dietary needs. However, one can get starry-eyed in there and be taken in by all the sights.
Before I go into any shopping experience, I try to remember to say a short prayer, that I will be a good steward and only purchase what is necessary. So, I did, and Princess and I went in. As I grabbed the first thing on the list, with no warning, the man next to me began shouting at me, "You know what you need?! Oatmeal. Do you have oatmeal at home? This place is a RIP-OFF! They say it's all organic but they just want you to spend lots of money! ALL you really need for yourself and her, is LOTS of oatmeal. And water. Drink LOTS of it!" He was very adament about his theories and left me no room for argument. I did manage to get in that some people have allergies to oatmeal, to which he replied, "No! Uh-uh! I have a stomach of steel!..." at this point I began to seek the quickest escape possible, I grabbed only the very few things I was desperate for and told Princess we needed to get to the check-out IMMEDIATELY. I tried desperately to get on the other side of the store, but whatever row I was on, he was at the end of it, still talking to me. I finally got out of the store and quickly to my car. Phew! I have never been in and out of that store so fast. Then I remembered my prayer, and laughed. God sure has a way of answering your little prayers, doesn't he? Bon Appétit.

All You Need is Oatmeal and Water!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Short Clips of the Little Guy

Mom, she keeps peeling my face, and she won't stop!!"
Me: That sounds  painful.
Yea, but she won't stop!

Mom, what if Jesus gets killed by the police?
Me: Even the police can't kill Jesus.
Yea, cuz the police have to go in their police car, to their homes.
Mom, (The Queen) is in biiiig trouble, and the police are going to arrest her.

(As he prepares to go potty)
Check this out!
(slams toilet lid)
And that's the waaaay you do it!

Mom, I'm a big boy. Are all the boys in the world going to be big boys one day?
Me: Well, maybe, I guess it depends on whether they want to be big boys or not.

I was explaining to the children that just because one of us compliments another, (one of the kids said another was the best runner) doesn't mean everyone else is being insulted. So including the Little Guy, I also explained that someone who is older is likely to be a better runner just because of their age, my oldest son being faster than my younger two, me being faster than all of them etc. As I read this back to myself I am wondering...where did I come up with this line of reasoning? Oh well. Anyway...

The Little Guy burst out, "What?! Mom! With my cheetah powers I could run over YOU all day!!!!"

What do you say to that?

Friday, March 16, 2012

My First "7 Quick Takes on a Friday"

Today is Clean-the-House Day. I make a list for the kids so they know what has to be done before fun commences.

If you want to occupy your 5 yr. old on Clean-the-House Day, you can make a zipline with built in harness for his toys, using nothing but a little household string.

Warning:The zipline may not work if there are curtains calling him to fulfill his destiny as Tarzan.

My wonderful, marvelous husband organized my gluten-free flours last night, after having worked all day, gone to the grocery, AND attended a scouts meeting. Every once in a while we both open the pantry just to admire the work.

Speaking of my wonderful, marvelous husband, he bought me this superpowers blender. I can make amazing concoctions with it. It's called "The Ninja". It has razor sharp blades, 2 different sized pitchers, and even a piece for kneading dough. It is a wonder to behold. 

It can make stuff like, kiwi pureé, an idea from Princess for her coconut pancakes this morning. I was wondering if kiwi turns brown? I bet all the fruit in the garden of Eden never turned browned.


Camo meets Christmas. A match made in heaven.

For other Quick Takes on a Friday go to Conversion Diary.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Living With Smarty Pants

God gives us children for lots of reasons. One of them, I believe, is to humble us. My oldest son, who I hope no one has noticed has had 3 different titles now since I started blogging, is (and I mean this with all the deepest love in my motherly heart) a know-it-all. He has always been a good reader and soaks up information he reads like a sponge, and then spits it, usually word for word, back out to willing ears. I humbly admit, he is already much smarter than me, at age 11.

This morning, we were observing a large bee hovering around our playground. Several of the younger ones had come inside because of it, and we were trying to figure out what kind of a bee it was. My oldest son (The Encyclopedia) said "I think it's a carpenter bee. They make their nests by cutting holes in wood. Sometimes they will live in a brick if there is already a hole in it." After looking at it for some time I said, "You know what (insert name here)? I don't think it is. It looks like a bumble bee." But I am thinking to myself, "Don't bumblebees hang around flowers? We have NO flowers in our backyard or anything else that would entice a bee, just a bunch of half dead grass. So why was this bee keeping watch over our playground?" I mean, it was weird! It hovered and hovered. Then he proceeds to tell me that carpenter bees actually look like bumble bees and some people mistake them for them. (ahem) and shows me a picture in his science book.

This afternoon he informed my mom and I that there was a squid called a collosal squid, one whose tentacles were so sharp they could cut the flesh of a sperm whale. I remark that I would not like to encounter one, and he says "Oh well, you wouldn't mom, they live in the deepest part of the ocean where men can't go." And as I type this and he reads over my shoulder he says, "you might add that the collosal squid is bigger than the giant squid, with razor sharp rotating teeth on the tentacles. It can take on up to 3 whales, causing alot of damage." I leave you with that pleasant imagery.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We're on the Same Team! What This Catholic Would Say to a Protestant

My husband and I had a date last night. We went to the Winter Jam, a huge concert given by various Christian artists, this year's location was the FedEx Forum. It was packed. My husband remarked that there were more people there than at the Grizzlies game he attended last week. As I sat there and watched this amazing multimedia presentation unfold throughout the night I was reminded why I love my protestant brothers and sisters so much. Every band, singer, and speaker was sincerely passionate about reaching every soul in that stadium with the gospel, and the message that God is here, God loves them, and they have a purpose in this life. They were husbands and wives, men and women, dancing and singing their hearts out all for the hope of reaching souls.

Even though some of the music was not my taste, I could still acknowledge there was true artistry there, and that a lot of work had been put into the entire performance. Why? For the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

I have been in many different circles of people. In some more recent years I have encountered catholics who sometimes see protestants as their enemies. I have also encountered protestants who entirely misunderstand catholics. Neither of which ever take the time to get to know each other. I had, perhaps, a unique upbringing. I was raised catholic by my mother who was totally committed to Jesus, his mother, and the Catholic Church. But my father is not catholic so I was surrounded by protestant groups as well. I never once considered any of these Christians, my enemies. They formed me in character, gave me a passion for worship, scripture, and were beautiful examples to me of humble service and the true joy of following Christ. I came up with a little list here, of common misconceptions I have heard on both sides.

10 Misconceptions of Protestants and Catholics

1. "Catholics worship Mary." We do NOT worship Mary. We know worship is only due to God. We honor and love her, but know she is a human being. A human being endowed with a tremendous amount of grace, but still, human. Do you give flowers to your mother? Call her at midnight and plead with her to pray for you?  Do you think when Jesus said at the cross, "Son, behold your mother." He was just taking care of some last minute death preparations? Was the Angel Gabriel just being nice when he said "Hail, full of grace"? (or in some protestant translations, "highly favored")

2. "Protestants don't listen and aren't willing to learn from us." I beg to differ. I know many protestants who are humble and very willing to listen.

3. "Catholics don't believe in having a personal relationship with Jesus." False. Let me be rightly understood, CATHOLICS LOVE JESUS! Every time we receive him at Mass we make a personal "recommittment" to him. We know he is the only one who can make us holy. We could learn something though from protestants about being more vocal with that belief.

4. "We can learn nothing from Protestants." Again, I beg to differ. Have you ever heard a protestant talk about Sacred Scripture? Have you seen their ability to evangelize? Have you ever experienced the infectious excitement and passion they have about serving God? How they use the arts to give glory to God and reach souls?

5. "Catholics don't read scripture." The first half of the mass is focused on scripture. We read from the Old Testament first, then we read a Psalm, then a reading from one of the Epistles, then we stand (out of respect) for a reading from the Gospels. THEN the priest talks about these scripture readings. Then every other part of the mass either refers to scripture or is taken from it. Do you read this much scripture in one service? Some catholics go to Mass only on Sunday but many go every day or at least several times a week, and if they don't, read the daily readings from it on their own.

6. "Protestants don't have a sense of the sacred." I have witnessed many protestants falling on their knees in worship with a profound sense of the majesty of God.

7. "Catholics worship the saints." Again, NOT worship. They are our big brothers and sisters in Christ (that 'great cloud of witnesses', Heb. 12:1) cheering us on from the other side, influencing us, inspiring us, and yes, interceding for us before the throne of God. What looks like worship is called veneration. We honor God by honoring his holy people. We ask for their prayers just like we ask our own family to pray for us on earth.

8. "Protestants are arrogant." Some of the humblest people I know, are protestants. If someone is truly steeped in scripture, and many protestants are, he or she is likely to be steeped in virtue.

9. "Catholics are not saved." Where in the Bible, exactly, does it say that anyone who does not say the sinner's prayer, is not saved? It does say you have to profess and believe he is God and savior, and be baptized all of which, we do. It also says you have to work out your salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) Yes, I am a catholic and I just quoted scripture! Watch me do it again, faith without works is dead, James 2:14-17.

St. Paul said we are saved by faith (Martin Luther added the 'alone' part) Catholics believe we are saved by faith working through love. We can all agree we are saved by the grace of God.

10. "The Holy Spirit is not working in protestant communities." This is just silly. God is not limited to our limited hearts and minds. He works where anyone is willing and in any circumstance where there is an open heart.

It's funny, I took my children to mass yesterday but my 5 year old who is going to school right now was not with us, and even though he is a little difficult to handle in public sometimes, every time we go out it doesn't feel quite right. I miss his presence. Our family unit is lacking. That particular facet of the Image of God that our family portrays, is missing. This is how I feel about my protestant brothers and sisters. They have gifts that we catholics are missing and need so much. There are also treasures in the Catholic Church, buried deep in years of beautiful tradition that  protestants have never discovered or experienced. But the bottom line is, we were not meant to be apart, like any broken family, we have our differences, but one day I know those differences won't matter. They will melt away. Because all we will have is each other and our common ground will become the only solid ground there is.

If I could have spoken with those young men and women on stage last night I would have said "I am excited about your passion to reach these hearts! I am humbled by your humility and faith! I give glory to God for the good you are doing here!"

And that is what this catholic would say to a protestant.


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