"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I was tagged by Christine.

Six names you go by:
Michelle (pronounced Me-shell, like the Beatles song)

Three things you are wearing:
a pink sweater
new socks (yeah!)

Three things you want very badly right now:
eight hours of sleep in a row
a long bath with lots of bubbles in a clean tub
the end of graduate school life and a job for my DH

Three things you did last night/yesterday:
went to visit my sister and her husband and their new baby in the hospital
went out to dinner with my parents
spent some quality time with my hubby

Two things you ate today:
a huge almond poppy seed muffin (only $1 at the local coffee shop on Wednesdays!)
a hazelnut latte

Two people you last talked to on the phone:
my mom
my DH

Two things you are going to do tomorrow:
leave the three older kids with Grandpa and Grandma to go away with my DH for two nights to celebrate our ten-year anniversary
and then? I don't know -- he's keeping it a surprise

Your three favorite beverages:
Is there anything else?

Everyone I read regularly has already been tagged! So I guess this meme stops here. Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Michael William

I just got home from the hospital. I have a new nephew!

Michael William was born this morning. Mommy and Baby are doing well.

Today was my Mom's birthday, too. Since I rode with my parents to see the new babe, I got to crash her birthday dinner at the Outback. Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for a lovely piece of cow!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Daybook - October 26, 2009

For Today... Monday, October 26, 2009

Outside my window... it is a beautiful fall day -- cool, but the sun is shining, and there is still plenty of color on the trees that still have leaves.

I am thinking... about my sister, who is expecting her third child. If he doesn't come on his own today, she will be induced tomorrow morning. Prayers for Mommy and Baby, please.

I am thankful for... a new camera! I know, it wasn't in the budget, but ... camera $250.00, pictures of the kids ... priceless!

From the school room... This week is largely a catch-up and review week. Next week is the final week of our first quarter (already!).

From the kitchen... We carved our pumpkins last night and I have a slew of seeds for roasting. I haven't been particularly impressed with any recipe I've tried -- anyone have a good one they'd like to share?

I am wearing... jeans, an orange long-sleeve tee, and my tennis shoes (hey! that's what I was wearing last Monday!).

I am creating ... autumn-ness around the house. The bins of autumn/Halloween stuff have been in the dining room for a week -- it's time to put some of it out already!

I am going... to take the three older kids to dance and tin whistle lessons, drop some books off at the library, deposit some checks at the bank, and maybe stop at Target for toilet cleaner and dishwasher detergent. Fun, fun!

I am reading... Pippi Longstocking -- The Girls finished their first quarter book (The Courage of Sarah Noble) and it's time to get ready for the next set of lessons. I still love Total Language Plus.

I am hoping... that since everybody is feeling better this week, the colds and flus stay away for a while!

I am hearing... somebody thumping around upstairs who is supposed to be sitting quietly on his or her bed, reading.

Around the house... recovering from the weekend again, plus the fall decoration bins half emptied -- no, Sarah, you are not the only one! I think it's the lack of routine that causes the weekend house shambles.

One of my favorite things... this anniversary gift from my Gramma.

I called her on the way home from Chicago a few weeks ago because I had a flashback to when I was little. I used to go camping with Papa and Gramma and sit in the back of their brown pick-up truck (they had seats that folded down to face each other right behind the driver and passenger seats). My Papa died when I was only eight, so I had to have been younger than that, but I remember this coffee thermos bungee-corded up in the front of the truck. I called her to tell her about my memory. She gave it to me as an anniversary gift because she still had it! I look forward to trying it out this weekend (see below).

A few plans for the rest of the week: Little Flowers tomorrow, dance on Wednesday; Thursday morning my DH and I (and The Baby) are leaving for two nights to celebrate our ten-year anniversary, which was the sixteenth. I don't know where we're going, but it doesn't matter as I am just excited for some extended time away together (even if Baby has to tag along)!

Here are some picture-thoughts I am sharing...

carving pumpkins

The Boy and his Pumpkin

the finished products!

For more daybooks, visit here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, today's the day. Thirty-four years.

The Baby kept me awake for the first four hours of my birthday, but then, mercifully, let me sleep for a few hours this morning. She is sleeping again now. We are praying for health to return to our home soon. I can't keep going with nights like these and stay sane much longer.

My DH made Eggs Benedict (and lots of coffee) for breakfast. Yummy! The Boy spent his free time yesterday making me a card and he put it in an envelope with some pennies. He also put one of his stuffed animals and a paper cross he made in a box, and a prayer card in a little gift bag. So sweet. The Girls got up early this morning to work on cards. Yesterday they made a fall bouquet and kept it out in the garage until this morning. (Darn, that camera!)

My DH had a great surprise for me. For the last ten years I've been lamenting the fact that I have no video record of the twenty years I spent dancing. I grew up doing jazz, tap, and ballet, started competing when I was nine, and continued with danceline in college. I have some photographs and old costumes and shoes, but nothing else to show my girls, who are now dancers themselves. My hubby contacted my old dance teacher, knowing I was on the same competition team as her daughter, borrowed the VHS tapes of our old recitals, and transferred them to DVD. I've had a blast watching some of them this morning. What a thoughtful gift! Priceless.

Tonight my DH will come home early to grill steaks before I have to take the girls to dance. We will have baked potatoes, tossed salad, and broiled asparagus as sides, and Door County Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert (I'm not a huge cake fan). Then I will have my holy hour and meet a friend for an hour before starting the evening routine with The Baby (I hope not, but we'll see -- she's still pretty miserable).

Have a good October 21st. I know I am.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Proud Mommy Moment

Well, this doesn't happen all the time, but it certainly was a great blessing today!

I was up all night with a sick and pretty pathetic Baby. I spent time in the bathroom breathing steamy air and in the rocking chair and on the couch (with my arm falling asleep, but too afraid to move because I didn't want to wake her). By the time everyone else was getting up at 6:30 this morning I thought I was going to cry I was so tired. I put The Baby in her swing and my Dear Hubby sent me off to bed. He brought her to me to nurse at 7:30 as he was leaving for the day and she slept until 10:00. And, guess what? So did I! When I came downstairs, The Girls had walked to Mass and The Boy was playing a math game on the computer! The Girls had finished their language arts for the week, made breakfast (and cleaned up!), read from the reading basket, practiced their tin whistles, and read their religion lesson to The Boy and all three had worked on their coloring sheet for the day! And The Boy hadn't gotten into any big trouble!

Thank you, dear children, for letting Mommy sleep!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Daybook - October 19, 2009

For Today... Monday, October 19, 2009

Outside my window... it a mild autumn evening. The last couple of days have been beautiful -- sunny and sixties. The forecast is rain and snow for the foreseeable future again. ☹

I am thinking... about Father Humberto's homilies lately. Almost every day I am challenged to grow in holiness. I am thinking I should start writing down what challenges me in my prayer journal each day after Mass.

I am thankful for... a wonderful husband. We celebrated our ten-year anniversary on Friday. My in-laws came over to watch the three older kids for the afternoon and evening. My husband came home at about 1:00 after teaching. We drove to Stillwater, went out for coffee, walked through the shops (I know, he's great isn't he? What guy plans a window shopping trip to celebrate his anniversary, except one that knows his wife loves it and hasn't done it FOREVER? But we did find a really cool store with every kitchen gadget imaginable and he thought it was as cool as I did. And all we bought was a cross-shaped cookie cutter for $1.40!) We also had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. (We spent two semesters together in Italy and got engaged in Rome and, though neither of us has any Italian blood, we consider ourselves Italian by desire.) We brought The Baby home at her bedtime and went to another coffee shop for dessert, a game of Mancala, and some more time alone together. It was wonderful! I love you, Sweetheart!

From the school room... The Girls are really motivated this week. They finished almost all of their language arts for the week today! And The Boy's reading has really taken off these last two weeks!

From the kitchen... I went to Sam's Club yesterday and stocked up on meat, so today I was repackaging it into smaller amounts and vacuum sealing it for the freezer. I always feel stocked after the monthly trip to Sam's. I also still have two monster zucchini in the refrigerator that I need to shred for bread.

I am wearing... jeans, an orange long-sleeve tee, and my tennis shoes (that really need to be replaced, but I've already thrown away two pairs of shoes in the last three months that literally fell apart!).

I am creating ... hmmm ... can't think of anything right now ... a balanced checkbook? plans for the weekend? a clean desk? All of these are in the works right now.

I am going... to make myself a cup of tea and take some work up to bed when I'm done with this post.

I am reading... mostly work-related stuff.

I am hoping... that I don't get sick. Four of the six of us have drippy noses and/or coughs, including my DH and The Baby -- they have it worst and are absolutely miserable! I am also hoping that, despite said sicknesses, I am able to get a little sleep tonight. It feels like FOREVER since I got more than three hours in a row. Poor Baby!

I am hearing... The Baby, who is sitting on my lap, whimpering and coughing and trying to nurse, and my DH in the kitchen sniffling.

Around the house... kleenex boxes, Vicks, hot tea, hot showers, blankets, and slippers.

One of my favorite things... yet oft taken for granted ... HEALTH!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Survival. Little Flowers has been canceled -- one of the girls' families is recovering from H1N1. We're supposed to have a friend over for dinner tomorrow night ... we'll see in the morning.

Here are some picture-thoughts I am sharing... oh, how fast they grow!

The Girls at their first dance performance (April 2006)

The Girls at Oireachtas last year (November 2008)

For more daybooks, visit here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A New Bishop for Duluth

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI today named Father Paul Sirba the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota. I have known Father Sirba since I was in college at the University of Saint Thomas. He then served as a spiritual director at the Saint John Vianney college seminary. He was my spiritual director through college and for some years after. He witnessed our wedding vows ten years ago tomorrow. He is a dear friend. His appointment to Duluth makes me sad because he will be leaving us. This is selfish, I know, because his appointment is good for Duluth and for the Church. I know of no finer priest. Please pray with me for Bishop-elect Sirba, that God may continue to bless him as he begins his new ministry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Little House on the Prairie

Last night The Girls and I went to see Little House on the Prairie, the Musical. We had a blast!

I read the Little House books growing up, and I enjoyed them even more when we read them together as a family a few years ago. The Girls have just started reading the books on their own. I think they enjoyed the show even more because they easily recognized the characters and plot.

I also grew up watching Little House on the Prairie on television, and it still ranks as one of my top five favorite television series. It was syndicated by the time I was in grade school. I got home from school about 3:45 and it was on at 4:00. As a mother, I now understand why that was the perfect time to have a quality show on television! We were able to have some downtime after school, and my mom had peace and quiet while she was preparing dinner. We started buying Little House on the Prairie DVDs a couple of years ago and now own the first four seasons. It's fun watching the episodes again with the kids.

Anyway ... back to our evening out. The Girls loved dressing up, and they even got to paint their nails! (Notice the braids -- guess who wants to be Laura?)

We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant before the show. The Girls LOVE Chinese food, the restaurant was within walking distance of the theater, and it was in the Happenings Book my parents loaned us, so we got two entrees for the price of one! (Thanks, Dad and Mom!)

The show itself was great! I'd highly recommend it, especially if you like Little House. Though The Girls have been to the theater once before, this was their first musical, and they loved it -- they love anything that involves music and dancing! And they couldn't believe the same actress who played "Laura" in the TV shows was right before their eyes playing "Ma" on the stage.

Finally, because the person whose tickets we used is a contributor to the theater, we got to sit in his box seats and we were also able to use the Contributors' Lounge during the intermission -- wine and chocolate! (Thanks, again, for thinking of us, Mona!)

After seeing the musical last night, The Girls want to be Mary and Laura for Halloween. Does anyone have any suggestions for where to look for costumes? (I don't have a lot of time or money.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Daybook - October 12, 2009

For Today... Monday, October 12, 2009

Outside my window... it is snowing! What!?! September felt more like July, and now October feels more like December! I hope winter is not here already! It is the pretty, wet snow that sticks to everything though. (I still need a camera! Thanks, Dad, for the pictures!) And our new winter coats arrived in the mail while we were in Chicago, so we're all set.

I am thinking... that I should be getting ready for the week instead of blogging.

I am thankful for... a safe trip to and from Chicago. I am also thankful to our friends, the Jansens, for hosting us. They saved us a ton of money, and my kiddos had a blast with their kiddos. Plus, The Boy stayed with them on Saturday instead of driving me crazy at the feis. And I got to have some nice evenings of adult conversation! Thanks again, guys!

From the school room... we're trying to catch up on all the stuff we didn't get to last week.

From the kitchen... oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins for breakfast on this chilly morning, and I don't have to worry about dinner! My parents are bringing something over to celebrate (a few days early) our ten-year anniversary with us. Thanks, mom and dad! (It's a good thing, too, because I don't have a menu done or groceries, having been gone all weekend.)

I am wearing... navy sweatpants, one of my husband's T-shirts, and my robe and slippers (but I should have taken my shower and gotten dressed already!).

I am creating ... plans for a night away this weekend with my husband (and The Baby).

I am going... to take the kids to dance and tin whistle lessons, and stop at the library and grocery store -- this seems to be my new Monday routine.

I am reading... (or more like looking at) all the catalogs that are coming in the mail in advance of the Christmas shopping season.

I am hoping... fall comes back after this little winter display. We haven't played in the leaves yet! (See my picture-thoughts below from a few years ago.)

I am hearing... The Girls whispering at the dining room table while working on their language arts and The Boy sitting on his time-out stool (AGAIN!) tapping his feet and complaining about his time-out (AGAIN!).

Around the house... we're again recovering from the weekend! I am looking forward to a weekend around the house some time in the near future!

One of my favorite things... red wine and dark chocolate.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tonight is dinner with my parents, followed by dance and tin whistle lessons. Tuesday is Little Flowers. Tuesday night, The Girls and I will have dinner out before going to see Little House on the Prairie, the musical. Wednesday and Thursday are usually dance days, but this week is fall break! Maybe I'll be able to catch up on a few other things around here. Friday is our ten-year anniversary and we'll drop the older kiddos off at my in-laws and enjoy twenty-four hours to ourselves.

Here are some picture-thoughts I am sharing...

For more daybooks, visit here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quick Takes - Volume 6


--- 1 ---

The Girls had their second Little Flowers meeting Tuesday. It was my turn to host -- nine girls, ages five to eight, for two hours -- and I survived!

Actually, it went really well. The virtue we studied was faith. We started by talking about things we believe in though we cannot see them. The girls really liked my hands-on demonstrations -- I filled a balloon and then let the air out so the balloon flew around the room. We talked about how we couldn't see the air, but we could see what the air could do. ("Do it again! Do it again!") I also passed around a couple of magnets and we talked about magnetic force -- again, something we can't see, but we could see (and feel) its effects. We talked about Saint Catherine of Siena and her example of faith. The girls, most of them from large families, were amazed that Saint Catherine was the youngest of twenty-five children! The girls each made a "faith page" for a notebook they will add to each week (thank you, Jessica, for this wonderful idea!). The flower associated with St. Catherine and faith is the sunflower because just as a sunflower always looks up to the sun, so our faith is always looking to the things of Heaven. We used sunflower stickers to decorate our notebook pages, we had sunflower sundaes for our snack (vanilla ice cream, honey, and sunflower seeds), and then we made sunflowers out of coffee filters.


(I wish I had some pictures of my own to post, but no camera yet!)

--- 2 ---

My husband and I will be celebrating our ten-year (!) anniversary next weekend. We had been married some years when my husband read somewhere about a couple who played a sort of game with one another. They would take turns leaving the word Shmily for the other to find. What does Shmily mean? See How Much I Love You. My husband and I played the game for quite some time -- I'd leave a note in his lunch bag or write it in the steam on the bathroom mirror; he'd put a note under my pillow or in my shoe. I really don't remember why we stopped. It seems likely one of us never found the last one hidden and we eventually forgot about the game. For some reason, I remembered it recently and we started playing again. This week I came down to check my computer in the morning after my husband had left for the day and there was a big SHMILY written on the screen. Later in the day I texted a SHMILY to him. See how much you can love your spouse this week! It's a fun game!

--- 3---

My best friend's husband is gone this week for work and she is home alone with her five-year-old son and one-year-old daughter. She e-mailed me that things were crazy as usual in his absence: "example #1, i had two cookies today, that's it. example #2, i don't recall when i washed my hair last. example #3, every food group is stuck to my kitchen floor." I laughed and wrote her back: "That tells me that you're a better mommy than I am. When things get crazy around here, I eat cookies in front of the kids, take an extra long shower, and yell until somebody washes the floor!"

--- 4 ---

A dear friend called me Tuesday morning. She had box tickets to Little House on the Prairie, the musical, and couldn't use them. She was wondering if The Girls and I would like to go. Would we? We are so excited! This is exactly what we need right now. All three of us are looking forward to a girls only night out. Thank you, Mona!

--- 5 ---

The Baby is sitting up on her own! (Drat that camera!)

--- 6 ---

I read this on More Than Enough this week and loved it. Thanks, Sarah!

Many complain that the Mass and Rosary are repetitious. However, the repetition of the Mass and Rosary alike can work a slow but deep transformation of one's heart. One could also point out that repetition is not necessarily a sign of a lack of imagination. It may be sheer exuberant pleasure that makes us repeat an activity. G. K. Chesterton argued that repetition is a characteristic of the vitality of children. They like the same stories, the same words, time and time again, not because they are bored and unimaginative but because they delight in life.

Chesterton wrote: “Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead, for grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes each daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg."

Pray the Rosary. Pray the Mass. Exult in the monotony. Transform your heart.

This reflection on the monotonous also made me think of how sometimes the daily routine feels monotonous. How many times have I wiped the counters off today? How many times have I asked the kids to turn off that light when they come up from the basement? How many times have I wished for a vacation this week? And on and on.

I have only been given one life. I want to exult in the monotony! Lord, transform my heart.

--- 7 ---

The kids and I are in Chicago this weekend. The Girls are competing in an Irish dance competition tomorrow. Hubby is cranking on the dissertation. Please keep us all in prayer! And have a good weekend.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Daybook - October 5, 2009

For Today... Monday, October 5, 2009

Outside my window... it is only thirty-eight degrees. It is still dark out. There is rain in the forecast again. Autumn is definitely here.

I am thinking... about my broken camera and wondering where I can find a free one. I don't think I can. So, is there anyone is my family that has a spare one they're not using? It's not really in the budget to get a new one right now.

I am thankful for... a new week. If you read about last week, it only got better. Saturday on the way to the girls' first dance performance, the van ran out of gas. Now, considering the gas gauge has been broken for about five years, and we've NEVER run out of gas, I'd say that's pretty good. Usually, we fill the tank and keep track of the mileage. Well, the low fuel light also appears to be broken now, and the tank was evidently not filled last time. But ... all's well that ends well. I was able to coast into an empty parking lot before the van stopped moving. We weren't far from our destination and the girls' dance teacher very generously came to pick the girls up and they were still able to perform. And my very generous brother left the baseball game he was watching with friends to bring me some gas. Thank you, Natalie and Bill!

From the school room... the lesson plans are not done for the week, or for the day, so why am I blogging?

From the kitchen... I didn't make it to the grocery store this weekend as planned, so though my menus are done, I don't have what I need to make the meals. We'll scrounge today and hope to make it to the store this evening.

I am wearing... flannel pajama pants with green and hot pink polka-dots, a T-shirt that reads, "Does wine count as a serving of fruit?", a fleece robe, and fleece-lined crocs -- it's still early.

I am creating ...
plans for our second Little Flowers club meeting tomorrow afternoon. I am hosting this week.

I am going... to take all three of the older kids to their Irish dance lessons tonight. The Girls also have their tin whistle lesson. While they are at lessons, I will try to RUN to the library, the grocery store, and, if I'm lucky Target.

I am reading... The Examen Prayer, by Timothy Gallagher.

I am hoping... this week is better than last week.

I am hearing... the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard. All is quiet. The Girls won't be up for another five minutes.

Around the house... we're again recovering from the weekend. This time it looks like a tornado hit. I will be scrambling to get things in order again all day.

One of my favorite things... crisp, sunny, beautiful fall days.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Monday is dance and tin whistle lessons. Tuesday is Little Flowers. Wednesday and Thursday are also dance days. I have errands to run. We leave Friday morning for the Chicago Pat Roche Feis -- road trip!

Here is a picture-thought I am sharing...

(how all the pictures look from my camera that now needs to be replaced)

For more daybooks, visit here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First Fall Outing and a Big Bummer

I had this post all planned in my head. Beautiful photos from a beautiful fall hike. Smiling kids. Rosy cheeks. Exquisitely colored leaves. Enjoying hot chocolate. The photos would be followed by this conversation between The Younger Girl and me:

Me: You know, God didn't need to make the leaves change color every autumn.
Girl: I know. He did it because He loves us.

But ...

My camera died! It has been on the way out for a while, but I think it's officially dead. The above picture is the only one of the fifty-two I took today that turned out. I cried. Now what am I going to do!?!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ahhhh ...

My daily shower is one of the few moments of peace in my day. It is also an occasion of joy. I love hot water. Though I try to be "green" in other areas of our life, water conservation is not one of them -- maybe someday, but for now I will enjoy a long, hot shower. as often as I can.

Lately, though, showers have not been so enjoyable. The shower head at this rental property has been less than ideal. And, recently, it has slowed to nearly a trickle. It takes FOREVER to get the shampoo and conditioner out of my hair. And I have a hard time staying warm enough to shave -- too many goose bumps.

My husband went out this morning and bought me one of these.


Wow! I just had a most enJOYable shower! Thank you, Dear Hubby! I love you!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick Takes - Volume 5


--- 1 ---

What a week! It's amazing what a few nights of sleep deprivation can do. Poor Baby, she's teething, and has a cold, and got her six-month shots. But poor Daddy and Mommy, too! A coffee cup got pushed across the table and onto the floor -- I was more upset about the waste of coffee than about the broken cup. I dumped the cheese powder packet into the boiling water with the macaroni. I got lost driving around town and was late for a doctor's appointment. I backed into a parked car leaving church (there wasn't anyone behind me when I parked there, why would there be an hour later?). I almost fell flat on my face carrying The Baby in her car seat bucket, but for the nice elderly woman who happened to be standing in my way and caught my fall! And that's just a glimpse at the fun we had this week.

All I have to say is, thank God for guardian angels, whose feast we celebrate today, because it could have been a lot worse! Really, none of the above was that tragic. No one got cut on the broken coffee cup. The cheese powder was fished out of the boiling water and still usable. I had a cell phone with me and was able to call the doctor's office to tell them I was running late. I barely bumped the car behind me -- there was no noticeable damage. And I didn't fall down or drop The Baby or knock the old woman down the stairs!

--- 2 ---

I have felt guilty for a while about The Boy's lack of reading skills. After all, his sisters started at four and three. But, people keep telling me, he's a boy, boys are different. And, you know, really, he wasn't ready. We have been much more consistent about reading every day since we started school this year -- last year, we were pretty hit and miss -- and I can finally say, about fifty-one lessons into 100 Easy Lessons, it's clicked. He understands how to put the sounds together to make a word. He understands that if he stops to talk between every word in the story, he doesn't have a clue what he's read. And he's finally feeling like he's reading. And he's proud of himself. And I'm proud of him.

--- 3 ---

So, remember the Gospel last weekend?
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'
In the car on the way home, my husband asked the kids what they thought of the Gospel reading. The Older Girl said, "It was spooky!" And the Younger Girl said, "Yeah, that should be the reading for Halloween!" LOL

A theological discussion ensued.

--- 4 ---

Ever since my favorite face moisturizer was discontinued, I don't know how many years ago, I haven't been able to find another one I like as well. Now that we're approaching the dry skin time of year again, I'm on the lookout. I like something light, not greasy, preferably with a little SPF. Any recommendations?

--- 5 ---

Most nights before bed, as we're tucking the kids in, we give them a blessing. We use the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26.
May the LORD bless you and keep you! May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May the LORD look upon you kindly and grant you His peace!
My husband and I share the same blessing with one another before we go to bed. Sometimes the kids ask to give us a blessing. Sometimes they use the same words; sometimes they make up their own. The Boy wanted to give Daddy a blessing one night last week, but Daddy was busy working. (He's been doing that a lot lately ... we're going to finish the dissertation this year, we're going to, we're going to!) I told The Boy he could bless Daddy without Daddy being there. This was his precious blessing: "May God bless Daddy in the Lord. May God bless Daddy wherever he goes. May God bless Daddy here and there. May God bless Daddy even at school." (I love the hint of Dr. Seuss, his favorite author!)

--- 6 ---

Father gave me some things to think about during his homilies this week (I actually heard the homilies!). He told the story of St. Therese and how there was one particular sister that the other sisters thought Therese liked best because she always chose to sit next to her and spend time with her over others. It was discovered after St. Therese death, in examining her journal entries, that this was the sister she had the most difficult time getting along with. Father challenged us to go out of our comfort zone. And I must admit I am guilty of surrounding myself with like-minded people. I have so little time away from my family, that when I do find myself with some free time I want to spend it with people I like. I do also tend to avoid being with people who make life a bit more difficult. I have often heard it said that we should look for the best in others, but Father put a spin on this: He said to find the best in ourselves in these situations, to respond to people and situations we dislike and have difficulty with in a way that forces us to stretch ourselves, as opportunities for growth in holiness.

--- 7 ---

I had a rare opportunity to meet a friend at a nice Italian bar for a glass of wine tonight! Thanks, Anne, for the great conversation and a chance to escape the house for the first time Baby-free!

The girls are dancing at a local parish's fall festival tomorrow afternoon, and then the Older Girl is dancing at a private Scottish clan event of some sort and spending the night at a friend's, while the rest of us are having dinner at the home of some other dear friends and their five little ones. Our kids play so well together, it promises to be another enjoyable evening of friendship and conversation.

Whatever your plans this weekend, have a good one! And for more quick takes, visit here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Thoughts from St. Therese of Lisieux


From the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux:
Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of Saint Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the first epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace.

I persevered in the reading and did let not my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will now show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.

When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which Saint Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that that same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is to love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.
Lord, our call is to love. Teach us to love -- not immediately, but daily. Increase our love for You. Help us not to take our spouses and children for granted, but to love them more each day. Make us lovers of grandfather and grandmother, father and mother, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, cousin and friend. May we learn to love those we are inclined to avoid. And may we be Your love to all those you place in our path, if only for an instant. Amen.