Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I'm Reading...and Learning v2

The Book:  Courageous Generosity
The Topic:  Sacrifice

I'm an absolutely horrible Bible studier.  I have a hard time seeing things beneath the surface.  Thankfully, this book has a wonderful answers guide in the back.  I sometimes feel the need to check my answers to make sure I'm getting what I'm supposed to.  And then there are the times when I have no idea what I'm supposed to be getting, so I glance at it before I've even answered the question.

The other night was one of those nights where the answer guide came in very handy.  The book directed us to the story of Noah.

Genesis 6:19-20  Of all other living creatures you shall bring two into the ark, one male and one female, that you may keep them alive with you.

We're then told to read the events that unfolded after the earth dried out and Noah emerged from the ark.

Genesis 8: 20-22  Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered holocausts on the altar. When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: "Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man's heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

The questions that followed these passages were, why do you think God would require a sacrifice in these circumstances?, and have you ever offered a sacrifice of Thanksgiving to God for a blessing that He has given you or your family?

It took me talking it over with hubby at dinner to finally "get it."  At least, how it applies to me.  Sure I understood that God wanted Noah to sacrifice the animals in Thanksgiving, but it was also a reminder to Noah of all that the flood cost God.  Now, how in the world this applied to me, I didn't know.  Sure, I sacrifice my time as often as possible to attend Mass and be with the Lord, I'll fast occasionally to remind myself of Christ on the cross, but when have I ever truly sacrificed in Thanksgiving as a reminder of what was lost to Christ?  I finally thought of Reconciliation and the graces that we receive as we leave our sins with Jesus and perform our penance.  In a sense, our penance is just what this book is talking about.  As I'm sitting in the church, repeating 10 Our Fathers, I am sacrificing my time, my words, my emotions to thank God for allowing me the gift of grace.  The gift of grace that He provided us when He allowed His son to die on a cross for all of us to have eternal life.  I think Lent is an exact example of this as well.  Sure, we all say we're giving up "whatever" because Jesus sacrificed for us, and we should sacrifice for him as well.  But do we really look at it as a sacrifice of Thanksgiving?  When I'm salivating over a huge piece of chocolate cake, knowing good and well that I can't eat it for another 30 or so more days, am I remembering in that moment to thank God?  I personally can answer, that no, I do not.  But after reading this section of the book, I'm definitely going to try harder?

How have you sacrificed in Thanksgiving for our God?  Think about it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Out of the mouth of our boys...

Both of the boys, for quite some time now, have decided that they will someday marry God.  I'm pretty positive that they have no idea what this entails, except that they will become priests and say Mass.  And even that might be a strech of their knowledge. 

Today they announced that Sunshine should also marry God so she can be a priest as well.  I quickly went into the explanation that, "no, she wouldn't be a priest; she'd be a nun."  The boys were suddenly very excited.  "Oh, yes,"  Zep yelled,  "that way she can give us candy like Sister Madeline!"

It looks like the Sister Madeline needs to have a sit-down with our kids to explain what her job really is, and that it isn't solely dedicated to passing out candy to kids!

March 28th, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball game!!!!

This soccer family went baseball for the spring!!  We wandered into the back of the park completely confused, having asked our resident professional baseball momma every possible question we could.  Do they need a bat? What color pants?  Do they have to have a belt?  What if he has no idea what to do?  etc...

Despite our complete ignorance...the season was awesome!  Bright Eyes did such a wonderful job at his first go-round with t-ball.  I really see some potential and hope that he wants to continue.  He was so great at getting behind the ball as it came his way.  He'd let it roll right into his glove and cover it quickly with his other hand!  We still have to work on the batting a bit; the poor kid can barely lift the lightest bat out there.  This is definitely our fault, since we've only, up to this point, let him practice with plastic bats.  I guess we should have thought of that!  :)  

B.E. was able to play with three of his best buddies!  I really hope he wants to continue playing, but with daddy coaching soccer, it'll be a hard sell!!!

March 26th - April 30th 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stations of the Cross

March 21st, 2011

Kids in chairs...

Three years ago I captured this picture as my boys (Zep, 2 years old and B.E., 14 months) watched their favorite show at that time.  Good ol' Mickey Mouse! 

I used TV a lot then for a break, probably...most definitely, way too much.  I find it funny that as we've added another child to the mix the TV time has gone down to absolutely nothing.  I'm sure some of that has to do with not having cable, but we still have PBS folks...and that channel is packed with great kids' shows.  I think a lot of it is because we're not home as much and it just doesn't cross my mind anymore.  The boys do get to play their XBox 4 days a week, depending on their behavior, for a limited amount of time...and yet again, I'll admit that I am horrible when it comes to keeping up with those limits.  Next year, I'm making changes I tell ya!  Radical changes!  ;)

We had a lull in our afternoon yesterday and I thought I'd pop in a DVD for B.E. and Sunshine.  I dug all the way to the back of the stack for one of our old Baby Einstein movies.  I sat the kids down, turned on the movie, snapped a picture....just before Sunshine got bored and crawled right out of the room.  Yep, no interest AT ALL! 

I dug into the depths of our entertainment center and returned with nothing more than this picture!  It sure is cute to compare the two though, isn't it???

March 22nd, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reasons, seasons, and lifetimes...

If you've ever read this poem, you'll understand the title of this post. 

I've had many opportunities to review the friendships in my life.  From a young age, making friends and keeping friends was hard for me.  My dad was in the military, so I was accustomed to packing up my things every two years to experience a new place.  It's hard to make lasting friendships when you live places for such short time periods.  I think a part of me always kept people at arms length, so I wouldn't feel pain the next time the moving vans showed up at the door.  In some ways, I couldn't wait until it was time to move.  It's exciting...meeting new people, never leaving too much of an impact on anyone, saying goodbye to any problems you may have found in your current environment.  But it's always lonely.  My best friend growing up was my brother.  When the boxes were piled up in the house and my mom and dad were unpacking and organizing, I always knew I had my little bro to keep me company.  I guess having a best friend 4 years younger than yourself probably puts a burden on being able to relate to people your own age.

My first REAL best friend, one that was around for more than a couple years, was Ape (not her real name).  It was the beginning of my freshman year, 1994, at yet another new school.  She was the first person to pay me any attention.  For the next 3 years, we were inseparable.  My parents joked that they had gained another daughter.  We got our drivers licences together, skipped school together, dated together, and got in far too much trouble than any of my children will ever get in!  (are you laughing, mom?)  And then the summer before our senior year she threw a bombshell at me...she was pregnant.  It was in that instant that I knew I had lost my best friend.  I have no idea where she is today and haven't spoken to her in years.  She was my friend for a reason...to help me through the difficult high school years.

My second REAL best friend popped into my life in 2003.  I was a brand new engineer at the local power company.  We were required to attend a million training classes, and one day this beautiful Persian girl walked into class late.  Of course the entire class took notice.  We soon discovered that the girl was not only beautiful, but was also a nonstop talker.  I instantly despised her!  But for some reason, Nicole (not her name again) decided I was to be her friend.  Before long, her and I too were inseparable.  Our coworkers called us Siamese twins.  And fun?  Man did we have fun!  I remember sitting in our offices one day and deciding out of the blue to drive that evening to Nashville to see Simon and Garfunkel...never mind that we had to be at work the next morning.  To this day, that is the best girls trip I've ever been on.  Nicole was there the day my water broke with Zep, and she drove me to the hospital while I was in labor with Bright Eyes.  We also shared some very dark times together, but we were each other's rock.  I knew I could count on her for anything.  And she knew she could always count on me for peanut butter M&Ms whenever she was sad!  But, the beginning of 2007 our friendship ended abruptly.  We were both in different stages in our lives.  Her single and career driven, me married and now a stay-at-home mom.  We've tried several times since to rekindle what was, but the days of us ruling the town are over.  They're just memories that I can look back on with huge smiles and laughs.  She was my friend for a season.

My THIRD best friend is also my current best friend.  We bonded at a park over a bee stinger in 2005.  I recognized her from our church's cry room.  We were both pregnant and had due dates within a couple months from one another, but I looked like a whale and she looked like she was bloated from drinking too much the night before.  I managed to look beyond that though, and decided to stalk her until she became my friend!  Her oldest boy was the same age as Zep and now we were having second babies at the same time.  It was destiny, of course!  And truly, I believe God placed Kiki (not her real name) in my life for a reason.  When I'm insane, she's my sanity.  And when she's insane, well I just hand her a phone to throw!  ;)  We're going on 6 years of friendship now.  Our fight count is 0.5.  There was this one time she got a little mad at me, but I sucked up to her and made her forgive me.  We both had our third child last year...completely unplanned, I promise.  She'll confirm this with the frantic phone call she received from me....I think it went something like, "I'm {sobbing hysterically} preg {sobbing hysterically} nant!"  And her response was nothing less than what is expected from your best friend, "Holy shit!"  But, after that she managed to calm me down and help me see how exciting it would be.  Next year we'll be facing our first obstacle.  She'll be continuing her children at our awesome Catholic school, while I attempt to homeschool ours.  We both know that our friendship isn't based around the kids, but they're best friends and losing that will ultimately play a part in our friendship.  What's wonderful about Kiki though, is that she isn't just my friend...she's my family.  So, I'm not worried, because she'll be my friend for a lifetime!

Friends are wonderful and God desires us to share our lives with people...especially ones who inspire us and make us better people.  I've been blessed by each of my friends, whether they were there for a reason, a season, or will be around for a lifetime!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I'm slowly slipping into sleepy land right now.  We've been going strong all day.  Mowing the grass, trimming the spider bushes, digging up a tree that had roots the size of Texas.  I'm worn out.  My legs and arms look like I've been scourged.  Ask me about it, I'll show you.  I feel like I have one million tiny paper cuts all over my body.  I've told my hubby that this is proof that I worked my you know what off today! 

Thankfully, our wonderful friends had us over for dinner, so I was able to relax a bit and not cook.

But now, I can move no longer!  Good night world!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chronicles of a soon-to-be homeschooling mom...v2

All you mothers who are already homeschooling have (or maybe you still are) dealt with the criticism that comes along with taking your children out of "real" school.  I'm hoping to take the advice of those who have offered it and not let it bother me.  I want to be able to support my decision to those that question it, so I've given it a lot of thought over the last several weeks.

Let me be really clear upfront.  I, in no way, think that anyone who has their children in public school or in private school is doing wrong by their children.  And also for the record, I absolutely love the school my children currently attend.  This has nothing to do with any problems we had there.  I would recommend the school to anyone looking for a Catholic education for their children.

This choice really came down to what was best for our family.  Money was a big factor.  But it was more than that.  Another reason is simply that I miss my babies!!  My children were gone over the weekend and into this week (we're in the middle of Spring Break), and I was miserable.  Yes, the quiet was nice.  But I don't thrive on quiet.  I thrive with my kids next to me.  They are a constant reminder for me to keep going and not waste the day away.  The decision to homeschool will help me dramatically with all of that.  I'm so excited to have every day with them.  Remember back to all of the snow days we had this year.  I clearly recall Facebook being crowded with comments of, "please let them go back to school tomorrow!"  My status read, "Am I the only one not wanting my kids to go back tomorrow?"  Now, clearly some of this is selfish.  I love my sleep.  God knew this and gave me three wonderful sleepers.  We are usually never out of bed before 7:30.  When we're in school, I have to drag them all out of bed at 6:00.  For the next hour there is screaming and threatening and whining...and this is just what I'm doing!  It seems we fight every morning to get out the door on time.  I don't want this for us anymore.  I want things to calm down.  I don't want my morning prayer time with my children to be in the car on the way to school, as I'm trying not to curse at all the drivers who are repeatedly cutting me off!  And don't get me started on our evenings...we don't get home until 4:00.  And there is snack, changing out of uniforms, homework, piano lessons, dinner, and then guess what?  It's already time for bed.  When is it my time with my children?  When do we get to be a family?  The majority of my children's awake time is spent with teachers I barely know.  There are many other reasons that we have chosen this route for our family as well.  Some of which are the ability to include more religion into our activities throughout the day, being able to tailor the education for each child individually, and also to keep them from being exposed too young to a world that is much too advanced for them.

I know it's unusual, and it's not the norm.  But that's okay...I too often follow the crowd.  The crowds usually intimidate me, so maybe it's time I start being a part of the minority for a change.  I know it's not going to be easy.  I'm sure there will be plenty of days that I'm counting the minutes down until daddy arrives and I can have my afternoon beverage.  I really have no idea what I'm in store for, but I compare this to that of a new mother.  For 9 months, every one that could get her to listen told her how much her life would change.  They told her stories upon stories of how hard things would be.  The mother listened and secretly thought that SHE would never have those problems.  She, of course, would be the perfect model parent with the perfect model newborn.  And then the baby came, and she quickly changed her tune.  I was that mom just as I am that soon-to-be homeschooling mom.  But you know what, five years later I can look at my three children and think...yeah, it was hard, but I did it!  And in five years from now, I think I'll be able to look over at my children hard at work at their desks in our home and know that I was able to do this as well!

Look at me blogging twice in one day!  I'm counting this as tomorrow's post...just for the record!  ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I'm Reading...and Learning

Last month I went to a book study with some local Catholic homeschooling mommies.  My plan is to invade their every event, so that they will be forced to befriend me.  This, of course, will eliminate my worry of being friendless come this Fall.  Thank goodness some of  my close friends are taking this journey with me.  What a trip we have in store for us! 

Back to the book study...I love that they focus on reading wonderful Catholic books.  This month they chose to read Courageous Generosity by Stacy Mitch.  I've only managed to make it through the first little chapter and answer the first set of questions, but I'm excited about where the book is headed.  She gives us the example of our beloved Mother Teresa who was the truest example of courage and generosity.  We're reminded that not everyone is called to travel to the poorest areas of the world.

Romans 12:6-8 reads:
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching;  if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Again, I'm not sure where the book is heading.  But this individual chapter helped me see again the ministry that I feel God has called me to.  It also helped me to examine my weaknesses in this ministry.  When looking at the world, folding laundry and cleaning toilets seem pretty ridiculous and without meaning.  To my family, these acts are important and necessary.  There are many days when I would (and do) prefer to be napping, reading, or watching more TV than humanly possible.  For some reason, I haven't figured out how to peruse Facebook, watch The Bachelor, and do laundry all at the same time.  In these moments, I need to make better choices.  I have to force myself to see how the serving of my husband and children is also an act in my ministry and ultimately a way to serve our Lord. 

Today, I will be better.  I will sacrifice my Facebook perusing and, in the words of Father Corapi, "offer it up!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a beautiful Sunday!!!

I have been given the honor of sponsoring one of my closet friends, K, through her entrance into the Catholic faith.  The RCIA classes began back in August, and the whole experience has been wonderful.  These are the things that us cradle-Catholics usually don't ever get the chance to be a part of.  The classes themselves have been great.  K's hubby and my hubby tag along almost every week.  This has opened the door to dialogue we normally wouldn't have had.  It's also deepened our friendship.  We are so blessed to have this couple in our lives.  K's hubby is, what she refers to as, a "king size bed" Catholic...and well, I have one of those husbands as well.  The two of them are like peas in a pod.  You can guarantee that no conversation will leave the area of theology for more than 5 minutes maximum. 

This past Sunday was the Rite of Election.  K and I first had to go through the ceremony at our own parish, and then we went to the Cathedral to have the big ceremony with Bishop Baker.  Talk about taking your breath away.  The Cathedral was packed full of people who were preparing to enter the Church.  This was just one of three services being held over the weekend.  It was truly moving to see all of these people, who for months have been attending classes to enter the Church that I have come to love with every ounce of my being.  I'm beyond thrilled for all of them.  I can't wait for them to finally have the opportunity to partake of the sacraments and experience the joy that comes with being a part of the world-wide Catholic community. 

I'm so blessed to be taking this journey with K.  I have no doubt that our Easter Triduum is going to be amazing!!  I can't wait!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chronicles of a soon-to-be homeschooling mom...v1

A few days ago, I posted about what a worrier I am.  Well, on top of that wonderful trait, I also happen to be horribly stubborn.  When I get something in my head that I think is right, it's right until completely proven otherwise.  And even then, I'm not one to bow out graciously.  I'll find some way to blame someone else for my being wrong.  Not very Christian-like, I know.  It's definitely something I need to work on.

Because of this horrible trait, I was shocked to find that someone (someoneS) were able to open my eyes to something that I earlier had completely discarded as being an option.  These someones were absolutely being used by God to allow me to see beyond my own stubbornness.  God is just awesome!

Let me explain!  I had finally decided that we were going to be a Seton homeschooling family come this Fall.  The curriculum was familiar to me.  It mirrors exactly how and what my children are being taught in the Catholic school they attend now.  I was absolutely positive that this program would be the best, because it would be an easy transition for us all.  But for some reason, this classical method kept popping up all around me.  It seemed that everyone I talked to was using it as a way of teaching their children.  I looked into it briefly, and decided it just wasn't for me.  First off, I had no desire to try and piecemeal a curriculum together.  I'm just starting off, people!  I need S.I.M.P.L.E.!  Secondly, a classical curriculum was completely foreign to me, and let's face it...sometimes you (or maybe it's just me) tend to be a little prejudice toward the unknown.

Last night, the few friends and I who have to decided to homeschool next year met with three ladies who shared their experience with us.  They are the type of women who make you feel at ease within seconds of meeting them.  They radiate peace and are filled with wisdom.  These women shared the classical homeschooling curriculum with us.  By the end, we were hooked!  It is an amazingly beautiful way to teach, and I am so excited that my children will experience it.

This was a lesson learned for me.  I finally was able to let go of my stubbornness and my ignorant prejudices and allow myself to be open to hear what was being presented to me.    It usually doesn't feel good to be wrong, but this time it felt great!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to look outside of my own world
and discover something beautiful. 
Thank you for using those around me as your instruments
to be my guide as I journey through the unknown. 
I pray that I will continue to keep my eyes and heart open
to all that You have in store for me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Ash Wednesday!

I had this great idea to get the kids' picture together after they'd received their ashes.  Yeah right, right???  By the time I had them all together only one of them still had a visible smudge on their forehead. 

I'm counting this as my blog for the day...I'm tired and without words.  Just for the record, I have a lot of back-blogging to do.  I'm completely counting back-blogs as part of my Lenten commitment!  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How we plan on spending our Lenten season...

Lent starts tomorrow!  This is probably my favorite time of year, as it forces us to focus on doing better for our Lord.  Some people sacrifice during the season, others add in additional forms of piety, study, and/or action.  I usually like to do a combination of both.  This will be the first year hubby and I incorporate the kids.  We'll be doing a family Lenten sacrifice/addition as well as doing our own.

Family Lenten plans:

Sacrifice:  We really haven't talked too much about a sacrifice.  About a month ago, we made Sunday a no technology day and we haven't stuck with it consistently.  This is something we will be doing during Lent.  It's forces all of us to put down the controllers, the remotes, and the laptops and enjoy the quiet.  I'm bad about still playing music during the day, so I think I'll stop that as well.  When everything is turned off, it becomes so apparent how loud all these "extras" are.  This is a double bonus for us as well!  With all the free time we'll have, I see lots of opportunities for some much needed family time!!

Addition:  Yesterday I printed off coloring sheets that represent each of the Stations of the Cross.  I'm going to let the boys each color half of them, and then we'll post them up throughout the house.  We found the greatest children's Stations of the Cross book to go along with it.  We're hoping to replace our, almost nightly, decade of the rosary with a full Stations of the Cross.

Individual Lenten plans:

Sacrifice:  Hubby and I are going to keep this one to ourselves.  He's continuing a sacrifice that he did last year, only this time he's making it much harder.  I'm trying something I've never attempted before.  I will tell you that I'm scared, very scared!  I will be keeping a daily journal on how I'm doing and plan on posting it after Lent is over.  Please pray that hubby and I are both successful!

Addition:  My addition is going to be to blog daily, except on Sunday!  ;)  I'm truly hoping this Lenten season will be a spiritual awakening of sorts for me.  Don't be surprised if the posts suddenly seem strange!  I've tried to attend daily mass at least two times a week throughout the school year, but will make it a must during Lent.  Hubby will be studying and looking over the reflections in his books.  He will also be praying a lot more alongside his sacrifice.  He too attends daily mass, so this will be included and strengthened.
And well, that's it!!!  There's some debate on whether Lent is from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, or Ash Wednesday to Easter, or whether Sundays are excluded.  I can't seem to find the exact information to support any case.  We're going to stick with Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, which is technically 47 days.  Does anyone have insight into this and perhaps something from the Vatican to support it? 

Happy Lent everyone!

Until that Day, Jesus, please show us…
show me, more and more of your beauty.
Especially during this season of Lent,
reveal as much of your beauty to me as I can entertain.
For by the light of your beauty my sin becomes much more reprehensible…
the gospel becomes much more commendable…
your kingdom becomes much more visible…
but above all, you become so much more desirable.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bright Eyes

Oh, our second born!  He's the child that God gives you to help you learn the most about yourself and your parenting skills.  He's also the child that, when not testing your parenting skills, melts you in seconds flat with just one look into his baby blue eyes.  God made children beautiful, so that even in the worst hours it's impossible not to love them! 

Bright Eyes (B.E.)  is a dreamer, a creator, and a free spirit.  I joke with his current little girlfriend's mommy that she better hope her daughter has a good job.  B.E. will most likely be living out in California as a starving artist...either as a musician or an artist.   These are his passions.  At only 4 years of age, I'm truly thrilled that he's found things that he loves to do.

The free spirit in him is what is the most trying.  This morning we had nearly a 20 minute stand-off concerning whether he was going to get himself dressed or not.  Of course, his shirt wouldn't come off without help, and heaven forbid he could possibly take off his own pants.  The left sock doesn't go on the right foot...duh, mommy!  And why are there so many bumps in my shoes?  While all this was happening, he was sobbing uncontrollably as though it was the most traumatic moment of his life.  While I would love to tell you that my angel, B.E., rarely acts this why, I can not.  I would be lying through my teeth.  This is at least an every other day occurrence.  It's not always getting dressed that causes the explosions.  It's a variety of everything.  He's too cold, his folder isn't in his backpack, he didn't want his apple cut "this way," etc. 

The learning involved here has been to understand how to deal with it.  With Zep, it was easy.  Take away the things he loves and he acts instantly.  It is not that way with B.E.  You could put him in a completely empty room, and he would still find something to occupy his time happily.  So, threatening to take things away doesn't work and raising your voice just causes the meltdown to escalate.  The way to deal with this child is what takes the most patience.  In the middle of the tantrum, when you yourself would prefer to sit down and cry and scream as well, you have to just love him.  He responds to gentle talking, not to yelling.  Sometimes it takes 10 or so minutes for your actions to take effect, but ultimately it does work.  The most important thing for him to see is how his actions are affecting you.  We have found that our "little pistol" is also such a compassionate little boy.  Knowing this has made being his mommy much easier...still not easy, but much easier.

A story for you...pretty much completely unrelated to this, but an example of why B.E. will turn me gray much sooner then rest of my children...

Bright Eyes had a friend over to play for the afternoon.  It was time to head out the door to pick up the older brothers.  B.E. ran to the garage, and I stayed right inside the door to wait for his friend to finish up in the bathroom.  B.E. asked for me to open the garage door for him, and so I pushed the button and briefly turned my head to once again check on his friend.  When I looked back, my knees went weak.  Dangling, from my now moving garage door, was my then 3-year-old son.  Up, up, up he went...screaming and flailing his legs the entire time.  With Sunshine on my hip, I went running, and only reached him after the garage had already stopped at the top.  He was fine, thank God!  Between him crying and my hysterics, the whole scene was ridiculously comical.  I really shouldn't have expected anything less from him...two seconds after his crying stopped, he began laughing, "That was fun!" 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A weekend to remember...

Sometimes March 5th comes and goes without a single thought about my dad.  Other times, he's on my mind all day long.  You see, today my daddy would've been 57 years old.  He died 9 years ago after having a massive heart attack.  The phone call I got on that horrible night still lingers in head from time to time.  I literally can recall the entire conversation.  I was working at hotel in Tuscaloosa.  My cell phone was plugged in and sitting on the ground.  It rang and I missed the call.  As soon as I had a second, I sat on the floor and found that the missed call was from my brother and called him back.  Thank God I was already sitting down.  All he said was, "dad passed."  What came out of my mouth can't be repeated.  It was a line of obscenities and screaming.  I was certain my brother was playing a horrible trick on me.  I was hoping with every ounce of me that he was playing a horrible trick on me, but he wasn't.  My daddy died on September 21st, 2002.  He was a man that, through his death, I have learned to love beyond measure.

But this weekend also is a weekend to celebrate.  Just a year ago tomorrow, our baby girl was baptized into the Catholic faith.  Hubby and I, alongside her amazing godparents, vowed to raise her and guide her with a love for our Lord.  What a glorious day that was!  We shared it with so many of our family and friends 

It's very fitting that I'm able to remember my father and celebrate my daughter in the same weekend.  He truly would've adored her.  And, even in all his faults, he had so much to do with who I am today.  I hope to take all the wonderful things he taught me and teach them to my children.  One of those was to never strive for anything but the best....and for Zep, Bright Eyes, and Sunshine, anything but the best just isn't acceptable!

Friday, March 4, 2011

so I'm a worrier...

I'm a worrier...I'll admit it flat out.  I worry about all decisions, from the most important to the most ridiculous.  Before Zep started pre-K, I emailed all my friends to see what sort of lunch box they would be buying their children.  This made complete sense to me then; I didn't want my child to bring in the really uncool lunch box and be branded forever as "silly lunchbox boy."  Big decisions are even worse.  When I made my first car purchase, I clearly remember sitting in front of the salesman crying as I signed all the papers.  They definitely weren't tears of joy.  They were, "oh my goodness, can I really handle this much of a payment for 5 years!!!"  Sleep is lost, time is spent researching things to death, and in general, I'm a nutcase.  Hubby sometimes hears so much about my worries over things that he begins to tune me out.

Currently, we are in the middle of making a big decision that will drastically change the dynamics of our family. A series of two sentences spoken between a friend and I over a month ago at a girls' weekend has, in the last two weeks, turned into a whirlwind of upcoming changes.  Hubby and I have talked about homeschooling the kids for a couple years now.  Our goals for our children are pretty simple.  First and foremost, we want them to go to Heaven.  And secondly, we want them to have a solid education that opens the world to them.  They currently attend a Catholic private school that we love, and if our pocket books were deeper we would probably continue to keep them there.  To reach our goals for our children, we've decided the best option would be to keep them home and school them ourselves.  Plus, we would love more babies!  More babies = more money.  Private school = no money.  My engineering education may not be doing much for me today, but it did enough for me to know that more money does not equal no money.  So, the decision has been made.  I am a soon-to-be homeschooling mommy!  Who woulda' thunk it??  I'm beyond excited!!!  If you run into me, be prepared to hear about it.  I think I'm bursting at the seams!!

But remember, I'm a worrier.   And, oh my has it begun!!!  To sum up just a few of my worries:
  • which curriculum??  Seton, Mother of Divine Grace, a mixture of classical?????? 
  • to teach Latin or not to teach Latin?
  • how many extra-curricular activities should I enroll them in??  I don't want them to be recluses.
  • how in the world am I going to manage teaching high school?
  • are these dang kids even going to listen to a word I say?
  • am I going to ruin them?
  • if I ruin them and they're not smart enough to go to college will they blame me??
  • if they don't go to college will they be able to get a decent job???
  • if they blame me and don't have a decent job, how will they pay for their years of therapy??
  • .....
Can you see where this is going?  And of course, EVERYONE has an opinion!  Which is fantastic, and then well, not so fantastic.  You see, just yesterday morning I thought we had it all figured out.  Seton Home Study it was going to be...we were on board to sign up in just a month.  And then I sat down with a group of seasoned, Catholic homeschooling, veteran mommies who shook up my world!!  They had a wealth of knowledge, none of which included a Seton curriculum.  One of the mothers even had her 15-year-old daughter in tow...who was AMAZING!!  I mean, really, how often do you meet any teenager that speaks with perfection, is completely comfortable among adults, and praises her form of education?  I walked out of our meeting feeling even more overwhelmed.  After worrying for another 24 hours, I think I'm finally back to having made a curriculum decision, but who knows what worries tomorrow will bring.

God continually surprises me with placing people in my life during these times who always say the most appropriate things.  These are what will get me through the worries of tomorrow:
  • "Anxiety and worry are not of God."
  • "Stick with what you know."
  • "Heaven not Harvard"
  • "What grade will you be teaching next year?"  "Then that's the only grade you need to know."
  • "Opinions are like armpits.  Everyone has one and sometimes they stink!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meeting the new cousin!

My beautiful sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, February 27th.  We've already fallen madly in love with her!  The boys were able to meet her and spend a few hours with the new family.  You probably can't tell from the picture, but Sunshine is super excited to have a new little girl to play with at the lake!  I'm respecting the parents wishes by not posting a picture of their angel online.  But isn't the flower so precious!  :)

March 2nd, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The circle of life...

It has been a joyous and heartbreaking two days.  It's amazing how in just a short 24 hours you can experience such extremely different emotions.  It's hard as well to understand how God can have a hand in both events.  One so beautiful and wonderful and another filled with grief and doubt.

I drove to Tuscaloosa yesterday afternoon.  For the first time in ages, I had the car all to myself.  I said two rosaries during that drive.  One for a baby about to be born and another for a baby who had just been called to Heaven.  I found it comforting that the prayer I prayed for both was basically the same...for God to be with each of them and bless them for eternity. 

I've never lost a child, though I've had three.  Hubby and I call them ours.  Our Zep, our Bright Eyes, our Sunshine.  And the beautiful baby who entered the world yesterday will be her parents "our" as well.  But today as I sat in the back of a church filled with people, things suddenly came into reality for me.  There sat this tiny casket containing the body of a baby who never experienced a breath in this earthly world.  Her parents surely will and had called her "our".  Yet, God decided that it was her time to come home. 

Today, and hopefully every day, I want to remember to praise our Lord for allowing me to be an earthly parent to three amazing children.  I want to ask Him for strength, courage, and wisdom to guide them in the way He would desire.  Because ultimately our children are His.  Our babies, they were never ours to begin with.  He could call them home any day.  As much as that thought brings me to my knees, I have to allow myself to trust my God and be thankful for every second He's allowed me to have with them.  But most importantly, I have to hold on to the knowledge that we will all dance in Heaven again some day.

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
- Mercy Me