Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Makes Us Crazy

You would think that parenting is somewhat predictable right? and should make some sense. to the inexperienced parent, maybe, or to the non-parent. Because for those of us who have been doing it for a little while, we know that nothing about parenting makes sense.

As I was getting dressed this morning, I was interrrupted by the Little Guy who bursts through the door with "Mom! Everyone is laughing at me for not being nice, FOR NO REASON!" Too many decisions for me to make. Whom do I correct? The people who are laughing at him? the one who is not being nice? or the ones who are laughing at him, for no reason? I start practicing what I am going to say in my head and it all sounds ridiculous, "Who was laughing at him for no reason?! At least laugh at him with a purpose!! But if you are laughing at him for not being nice, that is NOT nice. So don't do it!! and YOU stop being not nice and you won't be laughed at!!" slams the door, in my mind. Sigh.

I think about Bill Cosby when he explains why his wife looks crazy all the time and how his children have driven them crazy. Watch this:

So when you meet a parent and they can't remember their name, leave their wallet in your driveway, or can't seem to carry on an intelligent conversation with you, please, please, have a heart.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When the 3 and 5 yr. Old Have Crayons...

What do you do when your 3 yr. old and 5 yr. old draw a racetrack through your house on the floor, the day before your daughters' birthday party?

I take pictures. 

And video....

Okaaay, I did google "how to get crayon out of carpet", and the vinegar worked just fine. But wouldn't you have documented this artistry first?

I Love Cranky Old Priests!

Our pastor is away at school for a month, and often when he leaves, the former, now retired pastor of our parish will fill in for him. He is actually one of the reasons why my husband and I first came to the parish.

There is an epidemic amongst our parishes. It's called "niceness". I am not talking about Christian charity, because true Christian charity, sometimes requires speaking the truth. I'm talking about the attitude that if I speak the truth, people might get their feelings hurt or get offended, and they might leave. So everything I am going to talk about is going to be nice. Nice and sweet. Well, this retired priest, does NOT feel that way.

He is very thin and sort of small in appearance, old (or older), a little cranky, and he doesn't put up with anything. When he was pastor, and people's cell phones went off during mass and they let them keep ringing, he would turn bright red and tell them he was waiting. (I loved him for this.) When he gets up to preach he often rambles on through the readings and sometimes is hard to hear, but when he feels passionate about something, all of the sudden he turns bright red (notice a pattern?) and speaks with forceful clarity as he shifts from one foot to the other.

Today he was talking about John the Baptist as it was his feast day and the scripture readings were focused on him. I couldn't hear him very well or understand him, until...."John the Baptist was a martyr because he stood up for what is right. He spoke out against Herod because what he was doing was wrong. We may be put in a position where we have to do the same thing. There are some people in our government who want to say when life begins. Life begins at conception. Only GOD can give life and only GOD can take it away. There are some people who claim to be Catholics who are saying this. THEY ARE NOT CATHOLIC. I hope that when the time comes for us to stand up for what is right and possibly against our government THAT WE WILL HAVE THE COURAGE TO DO SO!" At this point he slammed the lectionary closed and left the ambo. My husband and I exchanged a smile, sometimes frankness can be soooo refreshing.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

It never fails, my nerves can be frazzled from a long day, the kids are worn out from all their fighting ;), and maybe my chore list on a "day before a party" day which has been known to include things like "vacuum the lampshades" ok, not really, but we are sitting at the table to dinner and daddy walks in. He sits down and challenges the Little Guy to a yelling contest. He is a brave soul. This is the closest rendition I could find since I didn't capture it on camera.
We were all deaf afterwards, and I think the neighbors may have come out of their houses, and a window may have cracked, but we were also all laughing hysterically. I love my husband.

Every night after the rosary, the kids are asked what they are thankful for. They have gotten into the habit, however, of saying the same thing every night for the last....several years. So tonight after my oldest rattles off his usual, "nice mom and dad, nice dinner, cute baby brother, nice sisters..." His daddy interrupts with "Alright something you are thankful for TODAY, and we all know your mom and dad are NOT nice."

I sent the kids outside with spray bottles full of water the other day, (idea courtesy of Angie@For the Love!) and the Little Guy came inside and said "Mom, tomorrow when I get the spray bottle, I am going to spray water all over the heck of (The Queen's) big belly button, and that's a big job mom." I can not even begin to make this stuff up.

The girls are having their first "joint" party this weekend. Even though we hang around alot of reasonable, large catholic families who realize that every kid doesn't need to have a party on every birthday, my husband, who is Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the vacation planner, and the party planner all in one, has ALWAYS insisted that they do. Until this year. This year HE actually suggested the idea of....(gasp) a joint party. After thinking about it for a while and realizing it might be fun to plan together, they were fine with it.  Really, if my poor kids did not have their daddy they would probably be fasting on bread and water, wearing hairshirts, and practicing the vow of silence, always, cuz I'm a mean, ole, catholic grouch that way. ;)

The girls picked out their party stuff together yesterday, and my husband and I were stunned. Are you ready for this? Don't be scandalized. We were. 

Where are the fairies?! Ponies?! Princesses?!! (Sniff, Sniff) Our babies are growing up.  

The Little Guy has been observing his older siblings going out to get presents for each others' birthdays. This morning, as usual, Princess was instructing him all about, how things are, and how they should be. He absorbed some of it, but didn't quite get the part about giving someone a present that THEY like, not you, and about keeping it a surprise. He kept picking up toys on the floor saying, "What about THIS?" handing it to his sister. Finally, he began "wrapping" toys up, and running to put them in my bedroom, where we keep all presents to be opened in the future. Here's his little pile of "presents" for Princess. He started out with tissue paper and a brown bag, then resorted to a play doctor bag, and then, oh heck, just threw it in a towel.

P.D.C. Pretty. Darn. Cute.

"I think that when the girls open up the dollies, the girly stuff that I wrapped, they will love it mom, because when I make stuff in my heart it will make people super happy, right mom?."

P.D.S. Pretty. Darn. Sweet. 

For more of 7 Quick Takes, go to Conversion Diary.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Consumed in a Fire

"My heart goes out to My people.." (Mt 15:31) 

Today is the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A "feast day" is what it sounds like, basically a party in the Church to celebrate certain aspects of our Faith. Do we put up streamers and balloons? No, well, some families do maybe, but we might go to mass, talk about what it means, maybe make a cake if you eat sweets, and spend some time praying and thinking about it. 

The idea of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is nothing new really. Jesus was human, and therefore had a human heart, but he was also divine, and his divinity transformed his humanity, they consumed each other. In a manner of speaking. So why should we be surprised to see his human heart consumed with flames of Divine Love for all humanity?

Consumed in a Fire

"Behold this Heart which has loved everyone so much that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love." Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary, June of 1675. 

Our Lord first introduced the idea of devotion to his Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary.  These are the promises he made for those that would remain devoted to the Sacred Heart and share it with others:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their houses.
  3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
  4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all at death.
  5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.
  10. 10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. 11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
  12. I promise in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
As an adolescent there was a book that greatly influenced my spiritual life called "Way of Divine Love". Although the visionary (person who receives visions) nun in it is not a proclaimed saint, her relationship with the Lord and his words to her enthralled me.

Jesus To Sr. Josefa Menendez:

“My Heart is not only an abyss of love, It is also an abyss of mercy; and knowing as I do that even My closest friends are not exempt from human frailties, I will take each of their actions, however insignificant, to be clothed through Me with immense value for the help of those in need and for the salvation of sinners. All cannot preach nor evangelize distant uncivilized peoples, but all, yes, all, can make My Heart known and loved . . . All can mutually help one another to increase the number of the saved by preventing the loss of many souls . . . and that, through My love and mercy. I will tell My chosen souls that My love for them goes further still; not only shall I make use of their daily life and of their least actions, but I will make use of their very wretchedness . . . their frailties . . . even of their falls for the salvation of souls. Love transforms and divinizes everything and mercy pardons all.” (December 5, 1922).

Today is also the birthday of my precious Queen. Nothing is an accident, and it was out of the abyss of the mercy of His Sacred Heart, that he gave her to me!!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light" (Mt 11:28-29). 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Angel Boy's Birthday Bash

I am a little late in posting this. I have been putting it off. I guess because I wanted the perfect party pics for you. And I thought somehow if I let the ones we took sit a while, they would morph into something else? You know pictures where birthday boy is oozing with cuteness? Well let's face it, he is pretty much oozing with cuteness 95% of the time, but where he poses for every picture looking directly at the camera? Yea well, this is real life, people. And birthday parties are total chaos, let's be honest. You are lucky to sing happy birthday and get a candle in the cupcake before it is all over. So as long as we understand each other, we can begin.

Angel Boy has a pretty big advantage in this family in that he has 4 older siblings to anticipate his birthday for him, before he even understands what a "birthday" really is. So all he has to do, is sit back and enjoy the show. The decorations went up the morning before his birthday.
Angel Boy, not having a clue what's going on, joins in on making them.

This would be the my husband's and my retreat. Which my husband now calls "The Elmo Room" since the decorations have not been removed in a week.
Close up.
Mickey on one end...

Blue on the other.
Angel Boy's Birthday Bash
Surrounded by his favorite characters as he dines.

From left to right: side table drawer, the thinking chair, Scout the Puppy,  Cookie Monster, which by the way did you know they changed his name to "Veggie Monster"?!! What is the world coming to?!
The one and only....Dora. 

Spontaneous Birthday....chant. Chant along, it won't be hard to follow, I promise...

Party Day! Big Brother meticulously planned out and hung the decorations.

The Queen? The behind the scenes dirty work. That's why she's the Queen y'all.

Princess occupies the birthday boy.

Ok, here come some of my favorites. Are you ready?

The "Blow out your dang candle!" Headlock Pics
Poor Baby.
It's like he's in a time warp here. 

Ooh pretty fire, Mama!


I'm eating here!!

Somebody help the poor boy! I don't think he has enough help...

Who needs helium when you understand static electricity?
What you can do with static electricity, "The Day After Party".

So as you can see birthdays around here, last for days, and days, and days.

I am sitting here still looking at streamers and balloons. 
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Finding Beauty in Life's Crosses

Yesterday was the anniversary of the birth and death of my precious nephew, Daniel Aiden Palmer.
My brother and sister-in-law had been trying to conceive for a very long time, and at long last, she was pregnant. We all were ecstatic and waited impatiently for his arrival. But sometimes things don't turn out as you plan, sometimes tremendous crosses are planned for us, instead of joy. On June 7th, Daniel was born prematurely. My sister-in-law had eaten some food out that didn't seem quite right, and it threw her into early labor. Daniel's little organs were not fully prepared to function yet. And so on this fateful day, my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their long-awaited child into the world, had the most memorable 45 minutes of their life, and were then asked to let him go, whisked away to the loving hands of God. My brother made a beautiful tribute to Daniel here...

Thanks be to God, he was blessed with the sacrament of Baptism during that time. I have often thought about this precious child that God blessed our family with. Untainted by personal sin, he must have just been "too precious to stay" (an inscription I saw on one of the infant tombs near his grave). I have thought about the gift of my brother and sister-in-law. Because of their willingness to co-operate with the act of procreation, this child was given the chance to exist, to have an eternal soul that would now have the privelege of getting to know, love, and serve his beautiful God, forever. I have thought about the fact that we now have a powerful intercessor in heaven who is routing for his whole family to get there too. I have struggled with the why as my brother and sister-in-law's wound in their hearts I am certain is still fresh and hard to stifle on a day to day basis. But God's ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts, and some day all of our questions will be answered and we will see how the beautiful tapestry of our lives, trials, sorrows, and joys were woven together to create a masterpiece worthy of the great rewards that await us in heaven where there will be no more sorrow and suffering.

On the same day (yesterday) I began a conversation on facebook with another mom in our homeschool group. She has a daughter with Down Syndrome. Her witness to others is a testimony to how precious all life is. I am not sure if it is possible, but if it is, she is the proudest mother alive (maybe next to Mary). And she should be. Her little girl is a jewel. Some people though, might look upon the difficulty of it all, the challenges she faces as a mother on a daily basis and say, "Why say yes to such a life?" I asked her to point me to some videos to show to my kids that would educate them more about Down Syndrome, and I think this particular video answers that question:

Christ said once to St. Faustina ""If the angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is the receiving of Holy Communion, and the other is suffering." (p.1805)

Why?! Because those are the 2 closest paths to uniting ourselves with Christ. It is a privelege allowed only to humans. Lucky us right? ;) 

 "We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." 2 Corinthians 4:8-11

So why say yes to life if it may bring suffering? Because it will shape us and form us into the perfect human being God intended us to be. 

I found this great little site about Redemptive Suffering as I was writing this, you can click  here if you want to read further.

Though my brother and sister-in-law do not have the privilege of holding their baby as my friend does in this life, one day they will all embrace, and cry together, and talk about how all this suffering made them better people and brought them to perfect joy. 

Precious Daniel resting in the arms of the Father, pray for us. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

The Little Guy was looking at his baby book today and slapped his forehead and said "I  can't BELIEVE you put me on top of the washing machine when I was born!"

 A friend from church that I don't normally hear from called me this morning. We use the same curriculum. After some small talk, she asked if we were going to finish soon. "Oh nooo, some will be working through the summer." "Phew! It's good to know someone else is still working! We won't finish til the end of July!" That is pretty much all she wanted. I can relate!

 One of my oldest child's chores is to sweep after meals. Often times when I am listing off chores I am known to just say my son's name followed by "MAJOR SWEEPAGE!!" So today he says, "If I were ever in battle, I guess my title could be, Major Sweepage."

 I was shopping on Amazon for Angel Boy's birthday coming up. I am thinking that this is what nightmares are made of. And, while shopping for some drawing books for "Art" this summer, can you believe someone wanted to get  $181.60 for this?! I guess if you were in total desperation to draw a building to save the planet from ultimate destruction right NOW and it was the ONLY book left on the planet. Can you tell I live with 4 boys?

 Today the Little Guy grabbed my face, kissed me and said, "Mom, I love your teeth."

 I am reading this book right now, and in my humble opinion, everyone should read it. Health problem or not. Americans are being duped into eating unhealthy food and are loaded with disease, obesity, and all kinds of health problems because of it. Again, in my humble opinion.

 I have been feeling kind of nostalgic lately and made myself a little playlist on Spotify of every christian artist and album I ever listened to as a kid. My husband copied that playlist. He told me he listened to it at work some and then looked at me and said, "I had no idea how much of a cheese mongrel my wife was."
A song sample you ask? Are you crazy?! I am not exposing myself to THAT much ridicule.
For more Quick Takes go to Conversion Diary!
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