Sunday, December 31, 2006

Clutter?

If you've got it, check out the blinkie at the side. My very organized e-friend Amy is helping us get rid of clutter and chaos before another clean heart/clean home challenge. I am currently beginning an abbreviated whole house clean up in preparation for a house full of overnight guests on the 20th. Here's hoping I can keep a steely resolve.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ten years ago

Our eldest turned 10 today. Hard to believe it's been a decade since his early, frightening birth. Just 6 1/2 months, my water broke. It was late and very cold; Bill ran all red lights getting me to hospital. An emergency c-section left us with a 2 lb 5 oz, 14'' boy in the NICU struggling to survive. Oddly enough, I had more peace about him then than I do now. He has few complications from prematurity; but he's small, he wears glasses, he has Asperger's Syndrome. Sigh. More reasons we homeschool.

This son is intelligent and funny, skillful and a true delight. Ten years ago, our worry couldn't let us see many positives. Now, in spite of the worry, he fills me with joy. Thank you, God, for Christopher.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Clean Heart, Clean Home

I began Amy Verlinnech's "Clean Heart, Clean Home Challenge" this week. What a blast! I managed to clean the car, finish a cross-stitch project, school the children early, put healthy meals on the table and keep my kitchen clean! And I begin each day with God, asit should be. This is good stuff for the organizationally challenged. I can hardly wait to see what He makes happen today!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Nose Knows

Drying the 4yr-old after a bath, he wrinkles his nose in disgust and questions, "What's that burning smell?"

I take a whiff and say, "I just smell the crockpot"

He sighs, "Yeah, maybe it's just supper."

Fear Not the Night Day 3 part 2

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet.

"Hear the prayer of this fool who takes pride in what I mistake for wisdom. Help me to set aside my own knowledge and walk in your service like an untutored child. Let me become ignorant so as to be wise 'for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.'"

I will have trouble with this - becoming ignorant. Because I have the drive to know, to learn, to be an authority. Then again if I can be convinced that sort of wisdom is "foolishness with God"...if I can concentrate on knowing God in all His Persons I should stay on the right track, yes? Pray for me, my brothers and sisters.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fear Not the Night Day 3

Praying for more knowledge? "Only those who set aside their own knowledge and walk in God's service like unlearned children receive wisdom from God." "...If we are to enter into God's wisdom we will do it by unknowing, rather than by knowing.... It is the night of our own treasured wisdom."

I know if I had been in the Garden of Eden, the voice of Reason would not have been mine. I'd have been right there with my girlfriend Eve, shoveling that luscious fruit in my mouth. "Heck, yeah, I want to know what God knows. And the fruit is awfully pretty. I love God SO much - I DO want to be like Him. And how can I serve if I don't know anything?"

Then again, my girl Eve found that sweet fruit had a bitter, bitter aftertaste. And in order to know what God knows, St. John of the Cross tells us we have to become as unlearned children. However a good look at my children shows me they're not unlearned. They know love. They do as their father and I ask not out of fear of punishment or hope for reward, but because they LOVE us. Why can't I love God like that?

"Lord, please light the fire that once burned bright and clear. Replace the lamp of my first love that burned in Holy Fear."

Let go of what you know.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fear Not the Night Day 2 Part 2

I wasn't as aware of my own beam as I should have been - I'm afraid I indulged in gossip of various drs with my psychiatrist. I need to pray more for the gifts of the Spirit; especially knowledge.

A new e-friend, Marianne, "facilitates" two saints choosing to be your Patrons for the year - also a gift and a fruit of the Spirit to pray for and strive toward and strenghthen.

I was chosen by Sts. Joachim and Anne; Our Lady's parents, who had a fruitful love before they bore her then raised her to the most perfect child of God. Just what I want to aim for as Bill and I parent! Then there's St. Martha...goodness know's I'm not the best housekeeper in the world. I need help learning to seve my family (and through them the Lord). The special gift of the Spirit is knowledge; always needed as I guide our children. Someone such as I, suffering from chronic depression, also always needs joy: the special fruit of the Spirit I'm to pray for. A supernatural joy that's ever in me despite pain, emotions, circumstances, noise level, stressors, etc. Despite fear.

"Descend on my soul now like a river of peace to take away my uncertainties, my fear of the dark."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Fear Not the Night Day 2

Bill and I with the grace of God manage to do a few things that spiritually hit the mark. Suddenly I'm an "advisor" in the Kingdom of God. Well, maybe. But most of all a warrior like everyone else. I don't want to strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

Beware the Beam in Your Own Eye.

"Living a good life should engender humility." Self-awareness is not pride - if one senses humility in oneself it is not to cease being humble. It may be a bad modern habit,but it's not pride.

"Do not become one of those complacent beginners who in their spiritual presumption publicly condemn others...."

I am guilty of this. I need to remember only God knows the heart. Only He is able to condemn or justify.And who knows where on that continuum I will be?! Lord, Have Mercy on me, a sinner!

Beware the Beam in Your Eye.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fear Not the Night Day 1

Our attachments are to what is less than nothing. They impede our reaching out to God and being transformed by Him.

Nothing compares with God. We're incapable of union with God until our attachments are God and all others are purged.

LOOK AGAIN

Is this an attachment? Is it between you and God? Look again at it, make it sub-serviant to God. Detach from it. Look again.

You're only a pilgrim, you're not an owner. Keep your watch set for Home. This is not our home, we're only passing through; we're just in a tent.

Do not lose your first Love. Don't limp into Heaven; accelerate into Eternity. Gratitude will set you free from yourself. A Hindu proverb says, "They who give have everything. Those who withhold have nothing." Look again at gratitude.

Friday, August 11, 2006

How Slow is 30 MPH?

Set the cruise at 62 MPH on an overcast day, just enjoying the view on the rural highway heading home. Suddenly, from the backseat, my 7 yr old daughter asks, "How fast are we going?"

"62 MPH," I practically chirped.

"Is that legal?"

Oh, groan. What now? I can't say yes and blithely continue 7 MPH over the posted speed limit. I can't say no, but it's okay: that's the wrong message entirely. So I said, "Sarah, would you like me to slow down?"

"Only if YOU want to."

Good grief. Chastened by Someone Bigger than my daughter, I slowed down. I've driven the speed limit since.

Sarah Elisabeth White. Watch out for her. She'll be a Doctor of the Church someday. Or at the very least a great Spiritual Advisor.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Fear Not the Night

Prologue, part 2.

John of the Cross is accessible, for our common goal is final, complete union with God. "There is no other place to find God than where we find ourselves." (p 12-13) Matt 28:20b "And lo, I am with you always; even to the end of time."

I've always found it hard to read Carmelites in general, St. John of the Cross in particular, because I get discouraged, I think. I could never do that - I can't be that holy. Now this book tells me, "Understanding is not the point. Your heart's response is.....You're not reading these passages, you're praying them." That's been a huge problem for me as well. I often treat a book as something to get through, not something to savor. I must move slowly here.

Fear Not the Night

At this time in my life I'm incredibly fatigued; I have back pain, adhesion pain, and migraines. I endure horrible nightmares; and I've begun hearing voices. My psychiatrist assures me this is because of Rx interactions. They usually accur in my twilight states between wakefulness and sleep, so I am learning to fear the night.

Lately I've been interested in Carmelite spirituality as well, so this book with exerpts by St. John of the Cross seemed just what I needed. Holy Spirit, guide my study. May I keep the image of our Lord ever before me and may the three Persons of the One God give me strength to incorporate St. John's words and advice. Mother Seton, St. Dymphna and St. John of the Cross please pray for me. Mother Mary, Guardian Angel, please hold me close. Amen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

iPlod, too

To Kill A Mockingbird has always been one of my favorite books. Now I hear Oprah has scored quite a coup. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19613041-2703,00.html She has convinced the very private Harper Lee to write an article for her magazine "O". An excerpt of the article: "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books." Me too.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Where I'm From - the other side

I am from wooden spoons and male cooks, from Spam, potatos and dumplings.

I am from the house unseen from the road, a riot of hued and scented surprise once you got up that god-awful hill.

I am from the prairie rose beside the dry dirt drive, the dogwood trees whose berries were ammunition against my brother.

I am from patriotism and pot lucks, from Norman and Aunt Imy who played softball better than anyone and Carol who... well, never mind.

I am from bull-headedness and bickering amongst family but closing ranks against outsiders.

From "don't do as I do; do as I TOLD you to do" and staying away from the closet at the head of the stairs because there was a BEAR in there. (There was also Christmas presents in there, but I didn't know that then.)

I am from the pow'r in the blood on an old rugged cross. Easter Sunrise Services at a little white church in the vale.

I'm from Coffeyville, Kansas and Columbus, Indiana; with coffee in heavy, white, military mugs that made it taste that much better. From being danced by my Aunt Becky when I was a baby and having my babies danced by my Aunt Becky now.

I'm from Love going out the window as Love comes in the door and from my grandmother singing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" when she'd done more than anyone to break it. And I come from the amazement of forgiving that makes Family.

I am from cigar boxes of ladies' hankies and school pictures tucked in every crevice; albums falling apart from often handling and brief glimpses of WWII medals.

I am from Family. Which is why I clutch one of the heirloom hankies while looking through photo boxes with my children. And why I need to buy a replacement album or two already.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Where I'm From

What's good for the gander is good for the goose - the "Where I'm From" meme:

I am from iron skillets, from BisQuick , Mrs. Butterworth's and boysenberry jam sent from northern Minnesota.

I am from the forest-hidden house on one of the flaming Autumn hills of Southern Indiana.

I am from the heavy, bee-laden pear tree, the evening honeysuckle scent and whippoorwill call.

I am from bluegrass music and large noses, from Abe and Elma and my father's cousin Dell, the "black sheep" who sent the jam from Minnesota and intrigued me so as a child.

I am from those who practiced Scottish thrift, even though they were Welsh and knew the power and comfort of hymns.

From cutting my own switch and knowing my shoes would feel strange in September because I hadn't worn them all Summer.

I am from an instrumental Church of Christ born of a splinter of a split. A true Church in the Wildwood with Old-Fashioned Day in the Fall and church camp every Summer.

I'm from Somerset, Kentucky, and Columbus, Indiana, beef and noodles with shellie beans and peach cobbler.

From my Uncle Steven, who got a cramp and drowned while teaching his girlfriend to swim, my great-uncle Elden, for whom my father was named, dying when his ship was bombed at Pearl Harbor. And I am from my mother, singing "How Great Thou Art" as she hung clean damp sheets on a long clothesline in the fragrant air.

I am from photo albums, one per child, from wall collages updated as children grow or babies are born, and from buffets and sofa tables made precious by their coverage of frames of every sort filled with pictures of every sort.

I am from Family. They have taught me to be Family. So my children are from a collage above my desk and from a precious mantle and from.....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cinderella cheese

This is what our 4 yr-old asked to have on his pizza last night; shredded Cinderella cheese. In actuality, he was speaking of mozzarella cheese. Apparently Cinderella is Italian.

When I worked at C&A Inspirationshttp://www.candainspirations.com one of our favorite customers was a dear priest's mother. She once mentioned to us she was 100% Italian. My boss declared herself only Italian by marriage.

We are only Italian by diet. And what a diet it is! Some wag once told me pizza originated in China. Maybe, but you can bet it was an Italian who put Cinderella cheese on it. God bless Italy, her culinary arts and artisans. Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Alphabet, Anyone?

Mommy and 3 year-old daughter, standing with heads in the refrigerator. A litany of things to drink; milk, water, kool-aid, tea. She chirped,"I want tea, U,V,W,X,Y,Z. (Now singing) Now I've said my A,B,C's, next time won't you sing with me? In my cup!"

This is the same child heard in the library/school room singing "Old MacDonald had a farm E,I,E,I,O...and sometimes Y"

Daddy's Mop

One of the children spilled some water in the dining room and I went to get the mop to clean up the mess. My son John came in, screaming "Nnnooo! You can't use that. That's Daddy's mop!"

I'm perfectly willing to say that's Daddy's mop. There were some advantages to being on bedrest for so long ;) I can't use the mop. What a shame.

Seeing in Secret

Today's Gospel from Matthew 6 tells us not to be like the hypocrites, doing various righteous deeds in front of others, to be seen by them. "They have their reward." What, that's it? Someone saw us be holier-than-thou? However, if our devotion is done unnoticed "the Father who sees in secret will repay you". Sounds promising.

Yeah, and think what else the Father is seeing. All that secret dirt pushed under the rug of my soul. I am so blessed the justice of the Father is tempered a bit by the mercy of the Son, the Spirit is constantly redirecting me and as a result I may have a prayer at reaching Purgatory. That's all I ask. If I can get there, Heaven's in sight!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Radiation

Da Vince Code notwithstanding, I think those folks at Opus Dei are pretty alright. Their founder has written several books that are the core of my spiritual reading. However, St Josemaria Escriva and I have heated arguments sometimes; for he can be quite blunt when telling me truths I don't want to hear. Because, of course, acknowledging these truths would require me to change.

I've been reading about prayer lately. Picked up Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton. I couldn't get beyond the first paragraph of the foreword by Douglas V. Steere without being stopped short.

Here ... are hints both of man's longing for exposure to these `beams of love' and yet his fear of what may be involved to come within its transforming power. For if to pray means to change, it is no wonder that men, even devoted men, hurry to fashion protective clothing, leaden aprons that resist all radiation, even beam-proof shelters within corporate religious exercises in order to elude the `beams of love' and to stay as they are.


Well. Guess it's time to leave the padded prie-dieu in my bunker, take off my lead apron and go find a spiritual director. (I can probably find one of those at the local Opus Dei house.) Change may be difficult and messy, but it has to be done in order to be like Christ. That's what I pray for most.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tenth Anniversary

Today is the day - Bill and I have been married 10 years! We still feel like newlyweds; in our hearts. I heard someone say since they concieved on their honeymoon they "never got a chance to be newlyweds; just went straight to being Mom & Dad".

We concieved our first within a month of our marriage. But we never considered ourselves as "just" parents. Our relationship comes first, even before our children. The only thing more important is our relationship(s) with our Lord.

That's the secret to feeling like it's your first anniversary rather than your tenth... or whatever number with which you're blessed.

A toast to all newlyweds - May all those wrinkles be smile lines, and that chest pain be a heart full of joy!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Shaving my legs for Jesus

At 5:45 this morning i was in the shower shaving my legs when suddenly the ludicrousness of it hit me. It was the coldest morning of the year. I certainly wasn't going to wear a dress to church. Why in the world was i shaving my legs? well, half of them - that's all i though the new razor could handle. So I mulled over this for a little while. was it just that I couldn't stand it anymore? And then realized no, I'm a lector this morning at the 7:30 mass and i just wanted to seem my best in order to read the word of God, even though no one else would know, I would know. So then I began to pray so that I could read the word correctly, and I prayed for the people who would listen to the word; I prayed for Father as he made his morning preparations and continued to pray as I finished up my own ablutions. I feel too sorry for my husband having to live these hairy legs. At least he has a wife who can turn the most mundane task into a prayer. Besides, he doesn't feel them through my flannel pajamas.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A word of explanation

Long strings of cold and dark days are hard for me. I'm subject to depression and stressful holidays are hard for me for the same reason. When, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, my grandmother died, and while in indiana for her funeral I ran out of antidepressants, I sunk into a hole that's been very hard to climb out of. So that's why long time no write.