Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What I wanted to say...

Yesterday, I got to check up on how the little 27 week old babe is doing. Yes, I went to the Dr, listened to the heart beat, shared some adult conversation without children this time. (A friend had called as I was preparing to walk out the door and offered to have the youngsters play at her home- thank you!)

I even had a book to read which Kathryn had recommended. I didn't get very far, but in the introduction and single chapter I got through, it is worth the read! I shared it with my nurse who seemed genuinely interested- maybe this is part of the reason why I didn't come with kids in tow today.

Next up, the scale: Baby is growing! A lot! On second thoughts, maybe I should start exercising! A lot! ;)

I get seated in my room and await the dr's arrival. This doctor is new to me. Yes, Baby #9 has a new doctor. Yes, we have been in the same town for the last 4 babies. Different stories for each, and I only ran one doc out of town j/k. (This dr. did leave town, but I was sad at the departure-I think it went both ways.)

Dr arrives, and starts off with the question, "So when are you going to have the TV crews in your home? Oh, I guess you're only half way to 18. chuckle."
I respond, "I really don't want a TV crew in my house - or maybe I should - I could put them to real work, chuckle."

The dr. went on to say how some people are cut out to deal with children, and he didn't think he was one of them. He went on to say how he really struggled being a parent to his 3 children, and wondered how I do it, parenting almost 9. I felt bad for him, I was trying to figure out if he was showing remorse for not being the best he could, or if he gave his best and felt like it wasn't good enough. I waited a moment, and chimed in with my experience, "Well, if it means anything to you, I struggled with 1, 2, 3 and I'm sure I'll still struggle with 9. Whether you have 1 or 9 kiddos running around, you're always going to have good days and bad days. That is a constant!" He continued to thank me for that comment.

We completed the appointment, and I ventured out to set up the next appointment. My nurse stopped me again to ask about and glance at the book. The dr. followed up with a comment about getting the book finished in all my free time. Then, he said I should write my own book - I joked back, "Yes, in all my free time. It may never get done."

Overall, a good appointment. I like this Doc. Something about him challenges me. I was driving home in my silent van thinking about our conversations. They were good, but could I have said anything different?

What I wanted to say was these kids are beautiful. I wouldn't trade them for anything. They are worth every ounce of struggle. Each struggle is a step in love. Yes, they teach me to love - more than I would ever love on my own. They keep me humble, and make me realize how much I need mercy. Together, our family learns about love and mercy: "love covers a multitude of sins" 1 Peter 4:8. And with each addition to our family, Love grows!

I always get the comment, "I don't know how you do it." Usually I follow up with, "Neither do I!" But I do know. It is by the grace of God, in cooperation with prayer. Surrendering my weaknesses. Remembering that I can't do anything on my own, and asking God to take over: to Love when I don't feel like loving; to Guide when I don't know what to do; to sustain me when I feel like giving up. As St. Paul tells us, "when we are weak, it is truly then that we are strong." Power reaches perfection as we surrender our weaknesses, because we no longer are living, but Christ is living in us. His Perfect Love pours out if we open the canal!

Isn't that what we are called to do? Love! We learn from Mark 12: 30-31 about the greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself." And all over in John, but specifically chapters 13 and 15, "Love one another as I have loved you." If you do a keyword search on bible gateway, you will find a multitude of references under the keywords 'command love'.

I thank God for teaching me how to love. Love is sacrificial. Love is obedient. Love is a choice. Love can not be done alone - it comes from uniting ourselves to Jesus.

I pray that I may love more, and leave you with what I am working on:

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

In other words: Love bears all things, believes in all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Living Water

My God, if we were to grasp heavenly inspirations in all their fullness and power, we would make great progress in virtue in a very short time. No matter how abundant the source of the water is, the water does not enter the garden in proportion to the source but in proportion to the canal that carries it. In the same way, the Holy Spirit, as a source of living water, surrounds our heart on all sides to scatter His grace according to His pleasure, but He does not want to enter the heart without the free consent of our will or without our cooperation. (T.L.G. Book 2, Ch. 11; O. IV, p. 121)

Ok, so I just realized the date was for yesterday - but like usual, I am running behind! I'm glad God understands this. ;)

Anyway, this morning was one of those mornings I thought would be great.

I was up and ready, took Kathryn to school, brought her back home to get the cookies she forgot for Math, took her back to school. 25 minutes of my time - gone. I was hoping to have that time to get the rest of the crew up and ready for school and Mass. On the drive home, I prayed for extra angels to help my children get ready quickly and happily. It happened! It WAS great!

The others got off to school in time, and I made it to Mass. Right before the entrance song, Daniel exclaims he needs to go to the bathroom, followed by Gina. I waited, I thought he went before we left, I know Gina went. Then, I smelled Vincent. Off to the bathroom we went - the kids thought it was Great!

I went to change Vincent. NO diaper or wipes in the diaper bag. I did however have 1 spare princess pull-up that had been sitting in there for about 6 months. It came into use (without Gina's knowledge) along with paper towels provided by the church. I thought that was great!

John wanted to sit by me in church, so did Gina and obviously Vincent got lap priority, along with the babe within. (By the way, I am wondering where the babe is going to fit the next 3 months of growing into. Maybe it is just me, but I am already feeling a bit expanded...) So a little fight broke out between John and Gina in church, which led to John's tears. He quieted down quickly - God is Great.

We get ready to go to Communion, everyone walked nicely - until we got 2 pews away from Father. Gina collapsed on the floor, all of the sudden wanting to be held. Vincent in left arm, babe in center, and Gina in right arm. I'm sure we were quite the sight. Maybe I should not have tried to come today, but they were doing so well! Gina lost her shoe on the floor where she collapsed, and I left it. We will get it after Mass. I smile at Father, received my Strong Lord, and continued on. We get back to our seats, and a dear friend held Vincent as I helped Gina calm down. Another older lady brought Gina's shoe back to us. Amidst the trial, it was Great.

This is where the daily reading comes in: as I thirsted for a drink of the Living Water, my thirst was quenched - flowing in by the gifts of those around me. Thank you. And, though I may have times when I think I can make it in this world alone, I thank God for grace of each other. There are many times I need to cooperate more freely, but I thank God for you - all of you whom God has placed in my life: You keep me smiling, which creates another canal and flows over to the next thirsting soul.

"The smile on your face lets me know that you need me. There is a Truth within!" -author unknown

Have a blessed Friday!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A little reminder

So this morning, Vincent began to cry like something was really wrong. Initially, upon hearing this cry, thought I would be making another call to the Dr. for some stitches. Not this time.

Vincent managed to climb into an empty hamper - the collapsable kind. It was open, laying on its side, and Vincent crawled right in. He was simply suck in a hamper-needing help, feeling like there was no way out. I for some reason laughed at him. Yes, you can picture it, baby screaming, mom laughing at the poor child who worked so hard to get in there, then got stuck.

I am reminded God also laughs at us. No matter how inadequate (or stuck) we are, He simply laughs, helps us out and encourages us to press on.

"God does not require us to succeed, He only requires that you try." Mother Teresa

note to reader:
(I wish I could say I was actually doing laundry at the time, but no, it was left over from a couple days ago - so there are probably clothes laying on the floor in which ever room it came from. Who am I kidding, there are clothes laying on the floor - in more than the one room, sigh.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday! (Vol.3)

A little bit of Heaven on Earth edition.
Once again, thanking Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting:
- 1 -
Easter Sunday:
Rejoice with Me;
Share your Master's Happiness!

Our family was able to share in our Master's Happiness for Easter morning Mass. For me, a number of emotions ran through. From relief of the fast, to excitement, and then joy which truly spilled over from our priest. There was something different about this day. Peace triumphed. Father talked about God's sense of humor, and after the homily, Vincent was giggling away, acting as a contagion to those around him. On this day, I had a hard time trying to tell him to stop. It was pure joy shared with love.

After Mass we got to spend the day with extended family. We enjoyed the company of parents/grandparents, siblings/aunts and uncles, cousins/nieces and nephews! A couple of egg hunts highlighted the kids day along with the grand finale of cracking eggs. There are a few competitors in this family - we even had the babes in the womb participate against each other (of course with mama's help)! Our baby was the champion of that match - not that anyone is really keeping track. ;) Visit Elephants Crossing to read up on more of the egg cracking tradition! They actually took pictures - I was too busy competing and making sure my kiddos didn't accidently take an egg that had been decorated and treasured by another sibling.

Heavenly breakfast!
Breaking the fast:
A cup of coffee and banana nut muffin has never tasted sooo good:

Where do you find Jesus?

Gina: (with a smile) "I dun know. Come here Mom. Mo-om 'me-here. He right here! In pray room! I love Him, and Mary here. And Jesus here." (if I type anymore, it will be redundant)

John: I don't know. But when He's alive, I do want to see him. But I don't want to see him in hell, that's bad!"

Daniel: In Heaven, and our hearts. Umm, on the cross, and in pictures. Mom, Jesus is everywhere, duh." (overheard as he was running off to play: "Jesus is with me, Mary's with me, God's with me...")

Michael: "On the Cross, and in all the pictures and statues."

Luke: "In pictures, and in my heart, mind and soul. And around me and on the cross."

Gabrielle: "Most of the time, in my heart and mind and whenever I'm praying, it feels like He's all around me."

Kathryn: "Mostly through my friends and family. Something about them will remind me of God, usually by something they say or do."

Learning about Divine Mercy
From the voice of John:

John: "Do you remember when Jesus saw me and took my sins away?"
Mom (baffled) "No, tell me about it."
John: "He gived us the white jellybeans, too!" He's awesome! I hate the black ones."
Mom: "Yes, He sure is Awesome, John! Did you know He wants us to be just like Him? He wants us to take away the black beans and replacing them with white."
John: "How?"
Mom: "By loving and forgiving others when they do bad things or hurt you."
John (with a big smile): "Ohhh, cool."

How cool it that?
Jesus died for us. And as He was being hurt, He set the great example of loving and praying for all of us who continue to have black jelly beans staining our souls.

Psalm 136:
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good
His Mercy Endures Forever!

A perfect park day:



Daniel and John

What I learn from tree climbers:

It's quieter and peaceful up there,
It's sometimes good to see things from a different view,
Some branches deceive you and make you stumble,
It can be scary at times - but perseverance gets you back Home.

Kathryn and Michael

Oh, to make our hearts look and smell (use your imagination) like this:

Easter is supposed be celebrated for 50 days!

May we always strive to experience and be a witness to that Easter Joy:
By the grace of God, may we work to spread His love and mercy to the people He places in our lives. As usual, we're all works in progress. Serving God will not end in our pleasure, but it will redefine pleasure. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, "The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort...but for greatness, for good."
We learn this from the cross Jesus embraced; with great suffering comes great reward.

"For the sake of His sorrowful passion, Have mercy on us and on the whole world."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And God Laughed

The Easter Joy continues!

Stop and think for a moment...

All along God's road as man, the devil thought he was in control. He laughed at the ridiculous adventure of God's vulnerability as human. I'm guessing he thought this would be too easy, man is weak, he would be able to crush man with temptations, and if that didn't work, he will get rid of him by death. Following that thought, I can hear the proclamation of a wicked laugh, "Ah ha, ha, ha, ha!"

It is finished. God dies. Hope is lost. The devil celebrates.

But not for long! Round 2 (ding, ding, ding)
Jesus descended to hell to gather and lead a procession of souls, worthy of salvation, to Paradise.

And God laughs - the Laugh of Love, the Smile of Joy!

As I read through the readings for today, I noticed 3 questions:

1.) What are we to do?
Be a witness to Joy. Look for the minuscule suffering or temptation that we can join with Jesus today. So as we retire for the night, we can ask, "God, are you laughing?" Let the joy of the Lord be our strength! What is JOY you ask? A feeling a great pleasure and happiness. How do we find it here? Keeping Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last!

2.) Why are you weeping?
Yes, we as humans will experience suffering, and sadness. Weeping is not wrong. As as woman, I look to Mary, and the great sorrow she experienced. Then, (when I remember) I exchange my weeping for mercy to be shown upon those of us "who know not what we do". This can be such a beautiful prayer. Jesus Himself tells us, "Weep not for me, but for your children." Who can we spiritually adopt, to exchange our tears of sadness for tears of Love?

3.) Who are you looking for?
As Jesus' humanity thirsts for us, my soul joins Mary Magdalen, athirst for the returning King. Jesus went out with a bang, and I am certain it will be the same upon His return! He will come, and even today, His blood and water are pouring forth graces of Healing, Love, and Mercy. Keep watch with me, and Trust in Him!

This morning, something is different in the Adoration chapel. The monstrance shines, the alter linen is pressed - the ladies ahead of me think the alter is crooked ;-). I don't notice that imperfection, but I do notice the Perfect Love that shines through our imperfect humanity! If we, like Christ, allow our weaknesses to be handed over to our Heavenly Father's will, He in turn will be glorified through us. And we will someday join with God's laugh.

The battle is not yet over! There is still work to be done!
We must fulfill our duties cheerfully, and allow Christ's love to shine from our eyes. The only way this can happen is by spending time with Him in silent prayer, so that He may give His Love to us. As we give ourselves to Him, He gives Himself to those around us! A perfect union and reminder that "We are One Body, One Body in Christ, and we do not stand alone!" -Dana Scallon

Monday, April 13, 2009

Today's Lesson in German History

Gummy Bears!
AKA Gummibar - German meaning "rubber bear"

My kids love these candies - I am sure I owe some credit to a favorite Great Aunt that supplies them for every birthday/holiday, and if she forgets, my kids remind her. (They are way too spoiled!)

The gummy candy that usually comes to our home appears as gators, worms (good for fish bait when you forget to bring bait and want to temporarily keep the kids happy on a fishing adventure), sharks or fish, but I am sure they are a variant of the gummy bear! I would show you a picture of the favorite gators, but we are out - that is NOT a hint Great Aunt! We have plenty of candy here, and CAN wait until the next event!

So, have you ever wondered about the origin of these favorite candies?

Personally, I will answer no, but due to a song going crazy in my house, we decided (actually I decided) it would be a good idea to brush up on some history.

All you ever wanted to know about Gummi bears! Simply click the link into a new window, and you will find 6 short pages (yes, they really are short) pages about the history of Gummi bears.

Play the tune in a different window while you read up on your history
- WARNING - it is catchy, but cute!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hiding Places?

This picture was taken a couple weeks ago, but it's so John!

Spreading some Easter Joy - Thanks John!

John: "Do I have any good hiding places in my room?"
Mom: "Maybe under your covers?"
John: "Oh, I know behind my bed!"
John (not needing a megaphone, because he is already very loud):
"Hey everyone, I have a great hiding place! Behind my bed in my room!"

We will see how long it takes someone to find his candy ;)
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 3, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday! (Vol.2)

1. Sorrow and Joy:
A father of 3 young children departed this world after along battle with cancer. His wife and children were with him when his earthly life came to an end. He remains in my mind a man of heavenly beauty. Please pray for his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed - and the families they leave behind.

2. Spring where art thou?
Don't be shy, it's ok to come back out and play! (A little coaxing never hurts.)

3. What's with Iowa?
Today, by a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court declared same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Richard Socarides, an attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights to President Clinton tells us, "It's a big win because, coming from Iowa, it represents the mainstreaming of gay marriage. And it shows that despite attempts to stop gay marriage through right wing ballot initiatives, like California, the courts will continue to support the case for equal rights for gays."

Iowa needs prayers: to get a bill passed, that will define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Let the people of Iowa decide if they want this, not a few judges! Stand up Iowa! It's time to fight back!

4. Palm Sunday and Holy Week:
Psalm 118: 24-29 LORD SAVE US!
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the alter. You are my Go, and I will give thanks; you are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.

The battle is on, rise up with the cross!

5. On a lighter note: How do you cut an apple?

Caught in the act!

Yes, I got it!

6. I love it when Kathryn has friends over, and they take over caring for the little ones! Only 1 of her friends here tonight has younger siblings. It's beautiful to watch them - yet sometimes scary.

7. Have you ever heard the laughter and screams of a bunch of giddy teenage girls? It's really quite amazing! I was never this loud. ;)

Have a blessed Holy Week, and be sure to visit our host at Conversion Diary.

Thanks again for hosting!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Feelings. They blow with the wind:
Sad one day, happy tomorrow.
Grumpy one night, then comes the sorrow.
Some seconds of fear and doubt set in,
Followed by joy and love covered sin.

A gust of rejection, a breeze of fulfillment
Zealous and tired
Confused and enlightenment:

They all come and go.
As the wind blows...

So what difference does it make
These feelings that shift
If we unite them with Christ,
The unchanging gift.

If we remain faithful
And loyal in service,
With Christ we will triumph
Over temptation and malice.

Today I am yearning, begging for grace
To accomplish God's will
To have fuel for the race.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I am Soooo ready for these types of days!

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up."
-Anne Lamott