Thursday, December 31, 2009

In the New Year I will......


I have decided that I am going to ask my family that we all try not to say anything negative to, or about, someone inside of our home. I know this is a big, huge task, but I want us all to try.

For my own self, I am going to try not to say anything negative about any one, inside or outside my home. I am writing this because I want to be held accountable to all of you. This way I can share my journey and you all get to keep me on track! Are you up for the challenge?

I know I will still think things, but if I can keep them from coming from my mouth, I will have changed a part of my heart!

I ask my guardian angel to please help me, and God please send me the graces needed.

Anyone else willing to share their personal goal for next year?

Happy and Blessed New Year,to all of you. May God pour His blessings on you, your families and your communities!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dale

I know that bury the dead is one of the works of mercy, and as a missionary of mercy, I am expected to do that. Unfortunately today we said goodbye to a gentleman who has been living at the mission for the last fifteen years.

Ironically, I met Dale about ten years ago on New Years day. It was our first New Year's at the mission as a family. There was a big dinner and anyone who wanted to come and have dinner was invited. Dave was working nights at the time, and that year it was his turn to work New Year's Eve, so he was sleeping but I took the kids to the dinner. My oldest was eleven, the youngest at that time was about two and I was pregnant with our seventh child. It was crowded but the food was plentiful and the kids and I were excited to be a part of it. We filled a table easily, and began to eat. Dale walked over with his meal and sat with us. I didn't know him. I had never even seen him before, but I thought he was really brave to sit with a large family, sprawling with kids. I even said to him, "You might regret sitting here. The kids can be rambunctious at times!" He just smiled and said he was happy to sit with a family.

I looked at his face. It was leathered, worn, and red, the kind of skin that alcoholics have. All his worldly possessions he carried in his backpack. He ate quietly, sometimes amused at the antics of my children, but he was content. He listened to our conversations and we passed him the condiments, asked him if he needed some pop, and basically just made him a part of our family for that meal. When we got up to leave, he thanked me for letting him sit with us. He said he hadn't been a part of a family for a long time, and it was nice to be with us.

Yeah, I went home and cried. I never forgot that. I didn't see him for awhile, and then for years I saw him all the time. He collected pop cans and bottles for a little income, and I think when he would see my van pull in, he knew that he had hit the jackpot!! There was always pop cans or bottles rolling around my floor. I would tell him, "I don't know how many I have, but you are welcome to any that I do have."

He started off calling me "Mrs.", but the last two years he called me Michelle. I would pull up for Mass or something that was going on, and he would smile, always greet me with a smile. This past year he was so sick, I thought we had lost him a few times, so when I did see him, I started giving him great big hugs. He told me I was holy. I just loved him. I could see the deep suffering, the years an addiction can take on a soul. I don't know his story, never will, I just loved him.

My guys at the mission, they see me as mom. Some let me hug them. Some just want me to listen and laugh at their stories. They just want to be loved. I can't judge them. I can't say "tsk, tsk. It's their own fault for drinking or drugging". One thing I have learned by being at the mission, we don't know what people carry with them. We don't know the pain of loss and hurts from childhood and beyond. I can't judge. Only love.

Dale was one of the men who have taught me how to love and not judge. In the world he was seen as a throwaway.

But to me, he was someone I loved.

Rest In Peace Dale.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tyler's 16th Birthday


Today is my oldest son Tyler's birthday. His sixteenth birthday to be exact. He wanted to go to the Sabres game and the Anchor Bar for chicken wings. Everyone knows that Buffalo invented the deep fried chicken wing, and the Anchor Bar is the place that began it all. Yum!

The Sabres game was exciting. We were down three to zero, and then our guys started going to town. The game ended with us winning four to three. Totally and unbelievably awesome! What a game. And to be there at the arena was exciting too. The crowd was on fire after the first two goals for our team. So much fun.

Here in cold, cold Buffalo this is what we look forward to. It doesn't get any better than chicken wings and the Sabres. On your sixteenth birthday.

Tyler brought me back to hockey. When I was a little girl my dad would take me to the games. But then I lost my love of the game. Then I had a boy. And he is a sports fanatic. I am not into football at all. As a matter of fact, I hate football. Too complicated and too long.

But hockey moves fast. And doesn't last forever while the guys stand around in a huddle talking about what they are going to do after the game. That's what happens in football. BORING! Hockey moves. Plus they fight. Really whack each other sometimes. I love that. (It's my inner aggression being played out.)

So Tyler got me back into hockey and we all love it. As a family.

I can't believe that it has been sixteen years that I have had this boy in my life. I remember when I brought him home and walked him in the kitchen. I just stared at him and thought, "I have a little boy!" I was so very happy. I loved his little baby face, big blue eyes looking up at me.

Now he is so tall, I have to look up at him. And tonight, he let me hug him.

Happy Birthday Tyler Louis! I love you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Singing the Praises of itunes!!!!


Today I am going to sing the praises of itunes/apple. But first I must tell you my sorry story.

My plan for today was going to be cleaning my room and doing laundry. Then my eleven year old, John Paul, reminded me that I told him that I would take him to Big Lots to check out their MP3 players. He only had a certain amount of Christmas money to spend and he really wanted one. I was not really convinced that we would be purchasing a quality product but off we went.

The woman behind the counter practically fell out laughing. Sold out. Long time ago. Try Kmart. Ok. Kmart is around the bend, so we went. Nothing left from the Christmas rush, and the after Christmas rush. Now I am looking at this boy's face. He was so disappointed. Well, what would it hurt me if we drove over to Target. So I called my oldest daughter Emily, gave her instructions for lunch and headed the van in the direction of Target.

"Mom, I know this wasn't what you had planned for your day, but thank you for driving me around." He said this so sadly and sweetly. My heart broke and melted at the same time. I was now on a mission to find this boy an inexpensive MP3 player!

Target did not have what he wanted in his price range either. So I bought us a popcorn and two pops and said, "Let's go to Best Buy".

As he was getting into the van he tripped and spilled his pop all over the van floor. I could see in his face, he was about to cry. The tears were welling up. I said very gently,"It's okay Johnny, here, share mine."

So we were on our way to Best Buy, he was holding our bag of popcorn, and I took a rough turn, and wouldn't you know, the popcorn falls. I kid you not, this boy was having a really bad day. And now the tears came. I said, "John, this was not your fault. It was mommy's fault. And you only spilled a little. Don't be upset. Mommy is not upset with you. Don't worry."

Now I begin praying that I can find an inexpensive MP3 player that I can afford to help him out with, cause there was no way I was going to let that boy go home without one!!

So we get to Best Buy, and there was something he could be happy about, and I chipped in, started him off with a $15 itunes giftcard and we happily drove home. He was so excited because it had a lot of features he wanted, even though it wasn't a touch screen, (which is what he was looking for, but only having $70 in Christmas money, could not afford) and he was very satisfied with his purchase.

Now for most people this would be their happy ending, but, alas, we are Marciniaks so there is always more to the tale. I went off to do laundry and John Paul went off to use my computer to start using his itunes card. A short while later, Tyler calls to me, and tells me that John Paul used a butter knife to rub off the activation number. You know that area on the back of a gift card that says, "Gently rub with coin", the operative words being "gently" and "coin"! Yeah. He massacred it.

One hour on the computer, three phone calls and an email later, I sent a message to someone at the itunes, apple company. My dear hubby had an itunes giftcard for $15 that he had received for Christmas so he gave it to John until our issue was resolved.

And now this is why I love itunes/apple. Less than 2 hours later, I had a response in my email with our number, (there was a code on the bottom of the card that I had emailed in and from that they could get my activation code) and thanks to a very friendly worker named Charlie, my hubby typed in the number and received our credit to itunes! I love them and I want you all to love them too. What a great company! They were awesome!

And I did get my bedroom clean and some laundry done.

Yep, super mom wins again!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's a Wonderful, Wonderful Life


My life has been crazy busy. But in a good way. Our Christmas was awesome. I will begin our Christmas journey tonight by writing about the eve of Christmas Eve. I baked cookies until 4am. I had so much fun! I listened to Delilah until midnight and then just Christmas music.

I made cookies for fourteen families. That's a lot of cookies. Well, some families. But also the men's residence at the mission, for homeless men. And the residence for men in recovery. Also the residence where the missionary women care for children of single moms. Let's just say, it takes a whole heck of a lot of cookies to make enough for everyone that I give cookies to. Hence the reason why I was up until 4am baking them. Wouldn't have it any other way.

I make mexican wedding cakes, hello dollies, thumbprints, peanut butter blossoms and turnover cookies. My turnover cookies are the biggest hit. I don't even know why I bother making anything else. That's all anyone ever wants. They are good.

It's a cream cheese dough and in the middle is either, pineapple, strawberry, or raspberry preserves. Oooh, they are good! Shaped like turnovers. Mini turnovers.

Delicious.

Like the Sabres win tonight. Absolutely delicious.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oops. Forgot to Bless Another Faithful Reader

Merry Christmas to Kimberly! God bless you and your precious family!

Special Merry Christmas Blessings


Having a fun day playing board games with the kids. So only enough time to say a special Christmas wish for three new friends I have made in blogger world. God's peace, joy and blessings to Anne, Allison and Christopher. Looking forward to "conversing" even more with you in the new year. Plus reading more of Anne's prose, hearing all about Allison's wedding, and watching Christopher cry as the Caps lose and the Sabres win the Stanley!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. God's peace and blessings to all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

We are off as a family to go serve a hot meal to families who have no where to go on Christmas Eve. I hear Santa may even be making an appearance. He's gotta have a hot meal before he takes that long trip you know.

God bless to all of you my dear, dear readers. Have a very blessed Christams Eve.

So Busy Baking

So busy baking. Forgot to write!!!!




Listen and discuss amongst yourself. I've got mexican wedding cakes in the oven.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just About Done


John Paul and I got so much done tonight. We were shopping maniacs!

I began my cookie baking palooza.

I am surprising one of my missionary brothers by making him a batch of cookies his mom made when he was a kid. He is an awesome brother in Christ, from a big family, and he was telling us one night about this wonderful cookie his mom would make with dates and nuts, in a pinwheel fashion. So I looked it up on line, saved the recipe and held onto it for a Christmas surprise for him.

I have them chilling in the fridge right now. I am exhausted and I hope I made them right. On top of not ever making them before, I don't know if I am gonna like dates or not, so I might not even be able to tell after baking them if they are good or not!!!

Hoping for the best here kids.

Ok. Believe it or not, Teresa is still waiting for me to rock her!

So off I go. I have to get to bed myself. Tomorrow I will be a baking maniac!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Stupids Do Christmas


Ok. There is a book series that my hubby read when he was a little boy. It was about a family called the Stupids, and basically they just did everything wrong. So when a million things go wrong in our family, and we end up just working against ourselves, we say, "The Stupids go to the park", or "The Stupids take a road trip".

This time. It's the Stupids do Christmas. Today, I spent most of my afternoon in Dave's emergency room. Because of a kidney stone. Dave, by the way, was not in attendance as he was at home, puking his poor guts out. Yes, another one bites the dust. He has it now too.

After pain meds, anti nausea meds, and a ct scan, they sent me on my way with a script in case the little buggers still inside of me decide to come out. I am hoping that happens after Christmas.

I still managed to get most of the shopping done with most of the children. Tomorrow John Paul and I will finish up.

How does she do it, you are all asking yourselves? I have no flippin idea how I do it. I guess it's because Polish women are strong, I mean we used to have our babies in the onion fields and then keep right on working. Or whatever it was Polish women helped farm. Maybe beets. Or garlic.

At any rate, a woman who has birthed nine babies, knows how to get up off a gurney, and head for the nearest Target with three kids in tow. You do what you gotta do.

And heck, everything is on sale right now for those last minute purchases.

At least the Stupids will have some nice gifts to give each other on Jesus' birthday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Forget About UPS, Call The Marciniaks!


We had to set up the deliveries tonight at the mission. Just for some of the families we take care of. When we took the job over it used to take hours upon hours, now we have a crew of our oldest children and we get it done in no time.

So now I get to start preparing for my own family. Tomorrow I will take the children out in groups, and we will buy for whichever name we picked. We pray for the person we picked throughout advent. But it is the sweetest thing, the children get so excited to see if the brother or sister, or mom and dad, (whoever they chose), gets excited over what they purchased for them. They each take their time choosing just the right gift for each other. It is the BEST!

And I will start my baking tomorrow night, as long as I am not exhausted after all that shopping. It usually takes me all day to shop with the kids. I can't take them all together because they have each other's names, so I have to coordinate it. But I love every second of it. And now that my Emily is old enough, she takes whoever gets my name and helps them. The girl has taste so I always get something awesome! She knows what mama likes!

If I don't start my baking tomorrow then I will on Tuesday. I bake a lot. But I will write more about that tomorrow.

Have to run and write out just a few more Christmas cards. Or maybe since it is eleven at night, I should try and get my four year old to sleep!

She loves her cuddle time with mom.

Gotta run, Teresa is awaiting!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Toys, toys, and more toys!


It's been a long two weeks. This last week has been especially long. With my children getting the stomach bug and then at the same time, trying to get all the toys ready for 550 families, yes, 550 families. Each family had at least two children, but most were five or more, so literally thousands of kids got toys from us these last two days.

The most fun thing was seeing the moms whose boxes I filled with toys. It was funny because here I am, a mom with a huge family, and I would end up getting the huge families. And I hooked these kids up! With each toy I would think about my own kids, if they would like it, would they get joy out of it if it were them receiving the toys? We worked so hard, especially the last couple of days. We had our Christmas music blasting as we "shopped" and filled boxes with toys and stuffed animals for the children. It was hard work, I pushed myself harder than I ever have, but it was totally worth it.

On the first day of the giveaway, I saw the girl that I had given my cross to at the Thanksgiving food giveaway. I never thought I would see her again. When she saw me, it was like she was seeing a movie star. She poked her mom, and stared at me with such a precious smile. She was saying to her mom, "That's the one". I looked at her as she was walking away and I said, "Aren't you the one I gave my cross to?" She smiled so excitedly, happy that I remembered her, and said "Yes, I still have it. It's hanging in my car!" Then she walked up the stairs to get toys for her little girl, and she kept looking back at me, like she could not believe her eyes. I wanted to cry, it was so humbling. She was looking at me like one looks at a kindly saint. I knew in an instant how Blessed Mother Teresa must have felt. I bet it happened to her all the time. What an honor.

There were so many precious moments. People who just wanted to talk. People who were so grateful, they cried. Mama's who could barely walk because of injuries, but they climbed the stairs to get toys for their children.

We were able to give every child a wonderful new toy, a big ticket item, and then smaller things, like stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, silly putty, play jewelry, play dough, etc. I was so happy to be a part of it. Working for Jesus. It was wonderful. The two women I work with are joyful, and absolutely amazing.

So many people helped. Benefactors, people who donated large amounts, people who gave the little they could. All of it helped provide joy to many, many children. God is not only good, He is amazing!

I am sure I will write more about this, but this is it for now. I still have one more duty for the mission tomorrow. My family, hubby, two eldest daughters, their boyfriends, and I will be setting up all the gifts that will be delivered to what we call "mission families", families who live in a mission house, missionary families, and families of missionaries. (It makes sense to me!)

Getting closer to His coming. Make sure your heart is ready with love.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Share My Music Friday



I had a wonderful day, serving the Lord. I worked long hours and I worked hard. I saw Jesus in so many faces today. So many relieved moms and dads, happy to get things to give to their children. What a blessing! How great is our God.

Come to Bethlehem and see......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Can See The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

We are down to one puking child. The boys were all fine today. In fact, Tyler, my boy who is almost sixteen asked if I could get him "Louies" for dinner. For those of you who are not from around here, that would be a hot dog place. Yeah, the boy actually wanted me to get him hot dogs for dinner when less than twenty-four hours ago he was puking his guts out.

Aaaah. The joys of having sons!! Unfortunately my little Amelia, age six, came down with it early this morning, five in the morning to be exact. She threw up a few times, stopped for a couple of hours, puked again at noon, and then was fine. Until we put her to bed at nine. Then she tossed her saltines.

She is the last one. Well, Liz, Dave and I did not get it at all. Probably I have been spared because my hands have been in scorching hot bleach water all day. I have done about ten loads of towels, and blankets, and sheets, with plenty of bleach.

Bleaching the tables, bleaching the counter tops. Spraying Lysol like a woman who has bought stock in the product!

Tomorrow is the toy give away. I will be downstairs at the mission, smiling, and wishing moms and dads a Merry Christmas. God blessing them. Letting them know that Jesus does really love them. They are not forgotten.

My older kids, God bless them, will be holding down the fort. With only one sick, I feel pretty okay about leaving them to give out toys. Besides, I think by the morn, she will be fine too. Right now she is sleeping, snuggled up on recliner. Big sister will sleep on the couch.

Everyone chips in here. That's what we do.

We are a missionary family. And I am proud of that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Four Bite the Dust...

It is a pukepalooza here at the Marciniak's. Jake, Ty and Joe started this afternoon. Mary started this evening.

It smells awful in my house.

My poor kids are puking their guts out.

I feel so bad for them.

And the toy packing continues. Thankfully my hubby the nurse cleaned puke buckets tonight so I could go pack toys.

Good news: we finished all the boxes that will be given out Friday.

Even better news: this stomach bug seems to only go about twenty four hours. For some of them, even less.

And hey, better this week than next!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

John Paul Back on Track

We had a rough night last night with John Paul. Dave ended up taking him to the emergency room because of dehydration. I dozed on and off while they were gone, and they didn't get home until well after three in the morning. Needless to say, we were walking around like sleepless zombies today.

It's lights out early tonight. John is doing much better.

Still debatable about mom and dad! Night all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another One Sick


So Teresa lost the fever and no throwing up today. Late this afternoon, John Paul started throwing up. He seems even sicker than she was. The boy is pale white and just throwing up. Please pray for our Johnny. He is usually our funny boy, always making us laugh. It is pitiful, tonight all he can do is lie on the couch looking and feeling just awful.

My heart always breaks when my kids are sick.

Please keep John Paul in your prayers tonight.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So Sorry


I am so sorry to all of you who read me on a regular basis. I told you that these next couple of weeks would be crazy. They just got crazier. My four year old woke up in the middle of the night last night after throwing up on herself. And diarrhea. Yes. Not good.

So I bathed her, put on fresh jammies, and sat with her. Most of the day I had her on my lap, in between Mass and my second oldest daughter's Christmas concert. Oh, and I threw in some laundry.

I am going to head for bed and hope to God's green earth that I get to stay there all night. But I don't know. Seems poor baby has the stomach bug, fever, throwing up, the works. So we shall see.

Say an extra prayer for my Teresa tonight. She is my sunshine.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Am So Tired.........

I played Santa Claus's elf today. I worked with many teens from my area who came to the mission to pack toys for many, many children. We will help over five hundred families with toys this Christmas. Then I came home and made fifteen pounds of potato pancakes for our annual family Christmas crafters night. My eyes can barely stay open. I will write about Christmas crafters night tomorrow. I just can't do it tonight.

Jesus' little helper is exhausted.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Share My Music Friday



Listening to this makes me rejoice in the fact that the Lord is coming, in our hearts and in our lives.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

YES!!!!!


I got my snow day because of the high winds! I will take it!!! Cookie baking, house decorating, very funny day with my kids, here I come!!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day, Snow Day, I Want A Snow Day!



The wind outside sounds like a blizzard. But there is no snow with it. They are predicting a big amount, but so far, nothing. I want a snow day. I am worse than my kids when it comes to a snow day. Even though I won't sleep in, and I will get up anyway,it would be so nice to be grounded. I would love to be grounded.

If I have a snow day, I am going to bake cookies and decorate with my children. See, I even have my day planned already. I have all my baking supplies ready to go. My decorations are down from the attic. Please God, if You can hear me, I know you have more important things, like war and famine, but mine is pretty simple.

Just dump a lot of snow on Buffalo tonight and I can do the rest.

Thank You God. I know a four year old named Teresa who will have a shining face if you do so. Okay, and a forty-eight year old who will too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So Busy Being An Elf

You will all have to excuse me if for the next two weeks my posts are short. Or rambling. Or crazy. Or tearful. I get emotional when I am tired.

I am very busy being Santa's little elf. We will be giving out enough toys to take care of about 500 or so families. Many, many children. This requires a lot of hard work and organization. We have an awesome, and I mean, really awesome lady, volunteer who coordinates the whole thing. She is so wonderful to work with!

Tonight we were moving toys around and setting things up. Well, starting to. It is a huge process. We fill orders, but before we do that, teens from all over come, and "shop" in our rooms that we set up by sex and age. Then when our teens come to help, they get a sheet on a family that has names and ages on it, and they fill a box with toys and goodies. Everything is donated. We don't except money from the government or our local diocese. It's all donations. People donate money and new toys to us, and we put them to good use. It is amazing when it all comes together!

Then I am blessed when the moms and dads come in, I get to call numbers out, and then they can pick things up. I love to greet them, wish them a Merry Christmas. I make them laugh, serve hot chocolate, coffee and donated donuts and pastries. My legs will be killing me these next two weeks. These forty-eight year old legs don't like to stand as much as we will be for the next two weeks, but boy will it be rewarding! I love every minute of it.

I work with the best ladies in the world. The holiest women you would ever meet! I am blessed.

I will try to write the rest of my love journey. Just bear with me folks. This week is crazy because I still have school too. Oh, and of course, keeping my fingers crossed and saying a prayer, we are supposed to have a snow storm by this weekend. It will get crazier still, cause no matter what, the show must go on!

Hang on and join me for the ride. Hopefully, I will be able to share some heart warming stories. There is always at least one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Her Eyes Are Frozen....



Doesn't matter how many times I see it, I still laugh hysterically when the wife says, "She'll see it later honey, her eyes are frozen." Watch and enjoy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

But by God there'll be dancing......




There are some movies where I will sit through the whole thing just to get to the ending. I am weird that way. I love the endings to "The Wedding Singer", "Overboard", "Breakfast Club" to name just a few. And this one from "My Best Friend's Wedding".

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Husbands and Cell Phones


I am not going to blog tonight on my advent walk, because my husband messed me up tonight by not having his cell phone on him.

I am not going into detail because it would bore you to tears, but all I can say is I do not understand why we give husbands cell phones anyway. I mean, seriously. I always love it when I am home and I need to get a hold of my husband and I call him and I hear his phone ringing from across the room. Is he across the room? NO. But his cell phone is!

Where is he? Oh, probably roaming Home Depot, looking at power tools and such. I know that is why he leaves it. I just know it. I know there are other wives out there who have gone through this. A friend told me tonight that she has had that happen to her too.

Sometimes my husband doesn't have his phone because he forgot to charge it. Can you imagine a woman forgetting to do that? No way. Or like tonight, turning the sound off because you are at a play, and hours later forgetting to turn it back on. What? Does not compute in my brain. Only an alien would do that! It would be like forgetting to breathe for me if I forgot to turn my cell phone back on.

I will forgive him. I will. Like an old friend used to say, "We've been married twenty years. Never once thought of divorce. Homicide, yes, but not divorce."

He's lucky three hots and a cot don't sound good enough to me.

Gotta go plug in his cell phone.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Love Is Not Irritable


This happens when I am tired. I become very, very irritable. It's not pretty. In fact my dearest husband was just looking over my shoulder as I wrote this and said, "Yeah, ain't that the truth". Don't laugh, it only encourages him.

But it also happens when we have an agenda, an idea of how something should be, or will be. And then others actually have the audacity to put in their own wants and desires and totally blow us out of the water. What is really hilarious, is when God has His own plan, and He wins over us. Then we get cranky. Ugly. Not real pleasant to be around.

This is really a fight between us and the devil. I always know it's him because I am usually tired, or hungry, or both when I am irritable. The devil wants to weaken me, so that my pride kicks in and says, (in a whiney voice) "This is not the way it should be, and I work hard, and I deserve better, and I am hungry, and tired. And I wish those kids would stop making so much noise. And where is their father anyway!!!!"

So then I am snippy to all around me. Cause things didn't work out the way I had planned. The operative word, "I", "Me". It's not about me. It's about God.

God first. Me last. His agenda. Not my own.

Again, it is that being able to let things slide. To be able to say, "Oh well, I didn't plan it this way, but this is what I have. Might as well smile"

Or go get some sleep and start again tomorrow. If I can keep my mouth closed, pray about it, sleep on it, and then make a decision, I am always the better for it.

One thing I have come to learn about myself, when I am tired, I am emotional. Not a good mixture! It's like lighting a match next to gas rags, some one's gonna get hurt, and it could very well be me!

Once again, PRIDE, PRIDE, and more PRIDE. I am finding out that pride is like the bulls eye in the center, and all other bad habits and sinful behavior are the outer rings. I just keep going around and then smack dab in the middle is the cause of my failings.

And that is one bulls eye you don't want to get one hundred points for. Put down the darts, and back away. Slowly.

But don't worry.....

I will be posting later about today's advent love thought. In case you are sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to see what I will say next. lol!

Share My Music Friday



The ultimate Christmas song. You know it's Christmas time when you hear this song!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love is Thoughtful, Love is not Rude


For those of you following me on my advent journey, you missed yesterday's thought. Yesterday was love is thoughtful. Today was love is not rude.

All of this thinking about love, left me pondering today. During my Adoration I had a real epiphany. I was thinking about how people in general, but especially myself, need to just let things go sometimes. Why do I always feel like I have to be right? Why do I have to have the last word? If we sometimes just ignored things that bothered us, for the sake of loving the other person, wouldn't our world be more peaceful? If I stopped taking everything personal, and just loved, wouldn't that make the world a better place?

It's not saying that it's right for others to do wrong against us. But if we always gave others the benefit of the doubt, or even just admitted to ourselves that, "yeah, they shouldn't have done or said that" but I am just going to let it slide for once, wouldn't that make me a more loving person?

Maybe sometimes it is not thoughtful to point out to someone that they hurt our feelings. Maybe they really didn't mean to do it. Even if they did, would it kill me to not say anything and just let it go? And can you imagine how I could really blow some one's mind if they knew they had done something wrong, and I loved them anyway?

Maybe it is more rude of me to point out something someone did, than the actual thing the person did. Maybe it is more thoughtful to love and forgive immediately.

I think it is. I think that is what God wants us to do. As hard as that seems, I think if I am truly loving, and truly humble I can at least try to do this. If you really, really love someone, you will do anything for that person. And today, sitting in Adoration, I realized that means forgiving the stupid piddily things, as well as the big ones. As soon as I can. I don't expect that I will be able to do it right away, this will take some work, and a lot of God's graces, but it can be done.

I look at many of the saints, and I see that they did it easily and not so easily. That will be me. Sometimes it will be smooth like "buttah" and other times, like a roller coaster from hell. I am up for the challenge.

I am going to be pondering this some more. I think I am finally getting it. My spiritual director has been trying to teach me this for years. I am a slow learner, but then again, I know I had to go through what I did so I could really learn it in my head and my heart. Now it will stick, and I have graduated with a degree in love.

I am now working on my Master's degree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The hubster's birthday!


It's the hubby's birthday and so I am catering to his every whim. Don't have time to write.


His name is Dave and he is forty-two today.

I love you baby.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Love is Not Selfish

To me, this one is what determines how well you are going to manage all the rest. I honestly think that everything stems from our selfishness. It's called our pride. Our ego.

Think about it. We are impatient because we can't understand why we can't have what we want right now! We are unkind because, hey, they should be nice to me first! It's all about me. We live in that kind of world. Sacrificing for others is seen as a bad thing. We need to take care of ourselves, get what we can out of life. And if it doesn't feel good anymore, well, just get rid of it, and get a new one.

I think we all have some of this in us. Then we either take to God's way or we take it our own way, and we become selfish, only thinking of ourselves. In this day and age, we have been taught that it is healthier to be that way. To make "me" first.

But God's ways are not our ways. He wants us to make others first and ourselves last. And that is hard. Again, it's that whole dying to our self thing.

It ain't easy. It's really hard for me sometimes not to be resentful and bitter. I always can see the selfish side of me, peeking up at me, making me feel sorry for myself. I can be such a sad sack. It's not fun.

Today was hard at times. To really put others first and do it with joy. Not easy. But I will tell you this, I feel a whole heck of a lot better about myself today. I really felt like I was doing what God wants me to do when I put myself last. Each moment of our lives is a choice. How will we act? How joyful can I be? Who comes first, me or them?

It's easier when your eyes are on Jesus. He looks at each one of us so lovingly. It's hard not to want to do everything He asks when He looks at you that way. With His love and grace, everything is easy.

Even when it's hard.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Love is Kind


Day Two of this Advent walk that I am beginning to think is God's experiment on me. My findings: patience and kindness goes out the window when I am really, really tired. Like right now. Hubby is at school. ("I'm going back to get my Masters. You won't even notice I am gone. This will have no effect on our family. It will be so quick." Yeah, and in the words of Mr.Krabs- "Yeah, and scallops may fly out of me pants!".)

Second oldest daughter is in a play, that she will perform this week. I am carrying hers and my duties. Son number one lives in his man cave, son number two has a broken arm. Daughter number three, well, we won't go there!

I am right now, exhausted. And kindness has flown the coop. I have been kind and patient all day. I had my preschoolers who were in high gear after vacation, and I have now used all of my kindness. I am bankrupt of kindness. Now all I want is to wiggle my nose like Samantha and they will all be in bed, laundry will be folded, and I will be snuggled under the covers. I want peace. And I want quiet. And I am crabby. Very. Cause I don't have either.

Love is never crabby. Love never answers her children, with "What?????????"

Love has only one child. Jesus. And He is God.

So there.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Love Is Patient


My Advent walk this year is all about love. Learning how to love better, according to what is written in 1Corinthians Chapter 13. Each day we are studying a different aspect of love, what it is and put it in to practice in our lives.

Today of course we started with love is patient. So I learned something about myself. I get impatient about the littlest, dumbest, things. It is a part of my nature. And when I do get impatient, I am cranky. Things come out of my mouth that should stay put. Even when I am answering and my words aren't nasty, it is my tone that would condemn me in a heartbeat!

Now, having nine children has definitely made me more patient than I used to be. And I learned real quick not to pray for patience, but for strength. You pray for patience, watch out! You will get hit so hard with every situation you could ever become impatient with, you will give up before you start. It seems to me, when I pray for strength, I am gently eased into becoming more patient. I don't know. It just seems not so hard hitting.

The other answer is deep breaths. Take a deep breath and use your head before your mouth. Pray. "God, I really want to hit my (fill in the blank), over the head with an empty bottle of bourbon right now, give me the strength not to do it!"

There is a reason why patience is a virtue. It takes self discipline and skill to have it. Some people seem to have an abundance of it. On my good days I do too.

On my bad, I have a pinch of it. Barely enough for myself, let alone any one else. This is something I have to pray for. I believe that it does not come naturally to our spirits. It goes against our grain and the only way to conquer it, is pray to God. Just beg Him for the virtue.

This is one of those things we cannot do alone. Just not possible.

But with God, all things are possible.

Even when you are carrying up a heavy load of laundry from the basement, your bad knee aching, out of breath, and the four year old is asking you for a cup of milk. And there in the kitchen are two brothers, one sister, and a daddy in a recliner watching the History channel in the next room. If I can be patient in that circumstance, I can start seeing myself as a semi virtuous woman.

Or at least a more patient one.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Mission




Today the local new channel came out and did a story on one of our volunteers. This is a small peak into the place I call "home". Just wanted to share with all of you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Counting My Blessings




The season has begun. I have not watched my favorite movie yet. "White Christmas" is just such a wonderful, old fashioned movie. I love the old musicals. This one is a classic! So it made sense to me that on Share My Music Friday, I would have to include a song that starts off my Christmas season.

And after yesterday, when we were all counting our blessings, very apropos!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Am Thankful....

I have so much to be thankful for. My husband, my children, my family, my whole life. I am thankful for my mission family, especially my spiritual mother. I am thankful that God has given me such a great life to live. I am thankful for the people in my life. For the paths that have crossed because of my wonderful Lord and Savior. I am thankful for old friendships that were renewed this past year, it brought back women in my life that I have loved very much. And I still do.

I thank Him today, and every day. I worship and adore Him. He died for me, He rose for me. And He continues to do even more for me. Though I don't deserve any of it, He gives me so much.

Thank You God. For everything.

Love, Your Daughter, Michelle

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dinner Reservations for about Four Hundred

I am beat. Again. I had to run around and get things ready for my family's dinner tomorrow. At the same time I also had some mission duties.

Tonight I went to the mission to help with dinner prep for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner that will be served to about four hundred people.

I cubed and triangled about fifty pounds of cheese. I also moved tables and set up food stations.

Tomorrow I will rise early and get my own family's dinner prep going.

But when I sit down at my own table, I will feel so good, knowing that in a number of ways, I helped those who might not have had a warm meal, have one. My dinner will taste better because my brothers and sisters will be having a good meal too.

And I helped!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Food Giveaway




Today was the food giveaway at the mission. I am so drained. It was awesome! I greeted over one thousand people. Yes I did! For four hours I stood in a line and shook hands, blessed people, laughed, talked, hugged, consoled, listened. It was an awesome day. It was cold but not too bad. I warmed a lot of hands. And hopefully, through me, Jesus warmed a lot of hearts.

Many people commented on the St.Benedict cross which I had on, (all the missionaries wear them), many people wanted one. Unfortunately, we can't give them out because we have a limited number of them. If you really feel like the Lord is telling you that you should give it to a certain person, it is best to ask the ladies who work in the office if we have more. I had to turn down many people, probably at least fifty people wanted one. I kept saying no. But then a young girl commented on mine, and as she walked away I felt this sadness in her. I really felt like the Lord wanted me to give it to her.

So at first I am thinking, "Well, I have to ask Barb first, and by the time I go over to the office, this girl will be gone." Two seconds, not even, later, Barb goes by me. I stop her and I say, "Can I give out my cross? Do we have anymore?". Barb says she has to ask Amy. (Our director who was very busy greeting people). I said, "Oh that's okay. Never mind. The person will be gone by then." Barb suddenly said, "No, go ahead. Give it away. I will get you another one."

So now I am trying to get the St. Therese medal off of my chain, because my spiritual mother gave it to me and I didn't want that to be given away. Now, let me tell you, I love my spiritual mother Amy so much. When she gives me things, I cherish them. I have every card she has ever given me. I have had this medal for over four years and it is the only thing on my chain with my cross. It's like having a part of her with me wherever I go.

So I am frantic. This girl is almost out of sight. But I can't get the knot out of the rope that is my chain. It would not budge. And at any second I know that girl will be gone. What should I do? With my heart pounding and tears in my eyes, I realize that God wants me to give it all. Even the medal. So I went outside where the girl was waiting for the chicken to come off the refrigerated truck and I put it around her neck and hugged her. She was so surprised, and I said, "God wanted you to have that." And I walked away.

No, that was not easy. I took my new necklace off today, and I was sad when it didn't clink like it used to when the medal was on it. It was like, "oh yeah, it is gone now." I hope and pray that it blesses that young girl. I hope that today, she will realize how much He loves her.

And me. I am like the little drummer boy. I don't have much to give Him, but today,I gave Him my best.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Know Jesus


I have been thinking about "knowing" Jesus all day today. I think it is going to mean different things to each one of us. We all are different, so why wouldn't we see Him and relate to Him in different ways. It makes sense to me.

I think that is one of the wonderful things about Him. He has a special relationship with each and every one of us. He knows each one of us intimately, knows what makes us tick. Some will see Him as a gentle brother, some as a loving friend, others as their pillar of strength, like a big brother that protects. We could also have a combination of the above and other views as well. I was thinking that each one of us could see Him as a loving brother, but even how that fits into my life, will be different than yours. Because of experiences, ideas, emotions, backgrounds, everything that makes me - me, and you -you.

Isn't that almost too weird to even comprehend? Maybe you don't even understand what I am trying to say. Argh, it is so hard to explain.

Maybe it is because Jesus is just too wonderful, too mystical to explain. Our hearts understand, when our heads don't quite get it.

No matter, all that's important is that you have some understanding of who He is to you.

Once you have that, you are ready to do anything for Him. I know I am.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Busy Time at the Mission

This is the beginning of our busy season at the mission. We will be giving out our food bags on Tuesday morning. I love going. My job is to stand in a line with other volunteers and missionaries and greet the people coming in. It is usually quite cold so I hold hands in my warm hands, (we start giving out at 10:30, but they start lining up at 8:00am.), some newbies use gloves on their own hands but I don't like to do that. I think of Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Damien of Molokai, and even St. Francis, who went beyond themselves and touched the sick with their own bare hands. I don't worry about illness or smells. I just love. There is nothing like a warm hand reaching out to ice cold ones. The only time I use gloves is to warm up my own so I can give my warmth to others.

We are also getting ready for Christmas. One of the things that I love about the mission, my missionary brothers and sisters, and my spiritual mother in particular, is that we are a "Christmas" people. We look forward to Christmas music, even when they start playing it a month and a half before Christmas. I love it. Couldn't wait to make a quick mix on Pandora radio that was all different kinds of Christmas music! I just love it. All of it.

We all love the Christmas movies too. One year a bunch of the women missionaries took some of the mission children to see Polar Express. Oh, how we all love that movie. The Santa Clause is another favorite. I also love Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, (although we have to fast forward a couple of spots, unfortunate because that movie is hilarious), A Christmas Story, and Charlie Brown Christmas.

My absolute favorite, White Christmas. I love that movie. I will watch it, no lie, at least four times during this season, more if I can catch it. I do have it on DVD and I think I will start a new tradition, last year we watched it on Thanksgiving, and I think we will do it again this year. My two oldest girls and I watch it together some time during Christmas vacation. They have totally caught my Christmas bug, they both get excited with me when the radio stations start playing Christmas music. And White Christmas is their favorite movie too. The three of us are in love with Bing Crosby. Come on, what a voice that man had!

But put on any sappy Christmas movie while I am working around the house, and I will watch it.

I really think that as the years have gone on, by becoming a missionary, I have become a die hard Christmas person too. Over the next few weeks I will share with you the blessings God always sends to those of us who serve Him in this capacity. It will be such a joy to let others know of God's goodness. We will be very busy getting ready to give 800 families gifts, to help all kinds of other families, it will amaze you if you have never been a part of something like this.

I may also ask my regular readers for special prayer intentions. Please pray for good weather on Tuesday so that people don't have to stand out in the cold.

Thank you in advance for your prayers. Just think of yourselves as prayer warriors for those of us on the front line!

We need you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Food Packing Day




Today was food packing day at the mission. We had over 700 volunteers come to help us. You can see what was accomplished. Every family gets three bags. We give them a chicken, we give them squash, apples, carrots,and potatoes. They get mac and cheese, green beans, a dessert and whatever else our director picks up at a good price. We will help over a thousand families. (Buffalo is the second poorest city in the nation.)

Today was heartwarming. To see grownups and teenagers and a few small children working side by side with each other. Amazing. We also get people from protestant denominations who come and help us. It must be a real hoot for them as our church is old time, old fashioned ornate! It is a majestic old church with all the fixins. Stained glass, huge portraits of the saints. John DeRosen was the painter. I love my mission church, just so beautiful!

Especially when the church is full of people, putting food bags together for the poor. It is magnificent!

Needless to say, I am exhausted. It is mine and my husband's job to greet all seven hundred people, get them situated in an orderly fashion and send them to the ladies who give them their jobs. I answered questions, talked about the mission, was a total extrovert.

But even extroverts need time off for good behavior. I just couldn't go to bed until I shared though.

Thank You God for a wonderful day serving You. Your servant is beat.

Goodnight God.

Friday, November 20, 2009

U2, Where the Streets Have No Name

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Ok. Every week it is something new with trying to get a video on here. But I did it, so this is my contribution to my share my music Friday, even though technically it is Saturday. So what. I did it!

This is my all time favorite U2 song. Just love it! Enjoy.

Argh, running out of time.....

Got in late, trying to put up music, can't do it!!! Argh, running out of time. Share my music Saturday?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Journey to Love

We are so very blessed at the mission. We see young men come to volunteer, some stay through high school to help out with the food giveaways, some just come to work in the kitchen, but they come back and come back.

And somewhere along the way, they hear the call to priesthood. We have seen a few young men become ordained who have been in one way or another a part of our ministry at St. Luke's. One of those men who has been recently ordained came back today to celebrate mass with us. Oh, what a joy!

After Mass he prayed over each one of us, and had something for each one of us to pray about. Our own personal message from God.

His words to me were a confirmation of a message I had received earlier in the day during my Adoration time. It made me cry because I knew there was no way those words were from anyone but God! His words spoke directly to my heart. It was so amazing. Especially since I never get a confirmation on things so quickly. But what God is asking of me is very serious, and He wanted me to know He wasn't fooling.

Now, of course, I can't tell you what it was about, because it's between me and the Big Guy upstairs, but I can tell you that it's all about love, and the wonderful journey God is putting me on. I can't wait. Our Advent walk at the mission is all about love, and I am looking forward to getting the packet next week that my spiritual director is putting together for all of us. My spiritual director also is the director of the mission, (she was my spiritual director before I became a missionary and God wanted me to continue with her), so many of us will be doing the walk. It's optional, but I am choosing to do it. This is a busy time of year at the mission, plus getting my own family ready, I love to have something for myself that helps me prepare my heart for Christ's coming.

Tonight I am going to go to bed marvelling at what happened to me. One of the things that I love about God, is that He knows me so intimately, and He reached out to me, to teach me, support me, love me, in exactly the way He knows I will be able to understand that this is from Him. For each one of us, it will be different. Because we are all different. God is so good. What a good Daddy He is!

"I'm deep in love with You, Abba Father, I'm deep in love with You, Lord."
Michael W. Smith

Please pray for one of our newest priests, Fr. Mayer. Venice, Florida is blessed to have him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gird Your Loins

This is a busy time at the mission. Next week we will give out hundreds of bags of food for Thanksgiving. We will then get ready for our toy giveaway. We give toys to literally hundreds of families.

This takes much work, time, energy, prayer. You name it. And sixteen missionaries this year will be doing it. Okay, with a little, no, a lot of help from beautiful volunteers.

And the devil will be after us. He already is.

I just had the weirdest, strangest, up and down day.

I am going to bed with a slight head ache and a thankful heart that I survived today without running away from home. Or commiting a homicide.

S'all I gots today friends.

Please pray for my mission. We are so needed at this time of the year. Pray for us.

It's the time of the year when one of my missionary sisters and I say, "Gird your loins". Cause the devil will try and wreak havoc.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

St.Mary Magdalene part 2

The book I finished reading today, about St. Mary Magdalene is called "The Life and Times of St. Mary Magdalene", by Edith Filliette. I don't know if you can still get a copy, it is old, but really, really good.

It is easy, fast reading, especially if you love her as much as I do. Today made me love her even more. Just to see how much Jesus loves sinners. That is the real story here. She was a sinner, a wide out in the open kind of sinner. But she met Him, and He changed her life. He healed her.

And she was the one He revealed Himself to when He rose from the dead. She was the very first one. Not Peter, not John the beloved apostle, but Mary the sinner. He did that to give us all hope. He came to a reformed sinner, and set her before us as His example of love and mercy. We all have a chance. No matter what we have done. He is so merciful that He forgives us and loves us even more when we turn our lives over to Him, and live for Him alone. Isn't that the best thing you have ever, ever heard.

No matter how much I mess up, He still loves me tenderly. I can go to Him and beg for forgiveness, and He will forgive me, and love me more than I could ever imagine. He gave His life for me. Don't you want to know someone like that, if you don't already. Don't you just want to love Him forever? Go ask Mary Magdalene? She knows all about it. She chose the better portion. And look what gifts she received for that. Her name is known all through history. Jesus said it would be. (I am not a biblical scholar, so go look it up, it's in there!)

Jesus. "Your name is like honey on my lips." Jesus I love You.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mary Magdalene


I am reading this book right now that my spiritual director loaned me about Mary Magdalene. I have a great devotion to her for many reasons. I wanted to know more of her story so my spiritual director, who also has a great devotion to her, lent me this book.

For those of you who love to read, you know how when you are really, really getting into a story, fictional or non fiction, and you think about the characters even when you are not reading the book? You are just going through your day, but in the back of your mind is this person you are reading about, and you are examining things about them. Hours after you put the book down, you are still pondering the person's story. Well, that is where I am at.

Mary Magdalene grew to be the kind of woman I hope to be. A woman I strive to be everyday now. A gracious woman. A woman who loved Jesus so much, it didn't matter to her if everyone thought she was nuts or loved to waste money by pouring expensive oils on one man's feet to cleanse them. She did not care one ounce what people thought of her. She loved Him. Deeply, sincerely. She sat at His feet and never moved for hours. She knew her sister Martha was ticked because she was just sitting there while Martha ran around, but she didn't care. She didn't move. She wanted to hear His every word. She loved Him. She believed in Him. And He loved her too.

She had to be drawn to Him by His tender love for her. No man had ever loved her like He did. He loved her soul, her heart. She knew that deep inside, and she would go anywhere to be with Him. She supported Him, cared for Him. She is an amazing woman.

I am really meditating on how absolutely focused she was on Him. Nothing else mattered. When He came to raise her brother from the dead, as soon as Martha told her that He was there, she rose immediately and went to Him. No one else mattered to her the way He did. What a beautiful friendship! What a beautiful, spiritual love they had for each other!

I want to be like that. I am some of the time, but I want to be like that all the time. I think recognizing it is a step towards what I would like to become.

She is one of my all time favorite saints- St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gracious


Yesterday I talked about how I am getting good at ducking when the devil throws something at me. But sometimes, he hits me when I least expect it. Then I have to recover. There was a time, when my recovery time was way too long. I could hold a grudge for days, stew about something for weeks, ignore a person or give them the cold shoulder for months at a time.

But God worked with me on what I call, my recovery time. In some cases I can recover immediately, I have gotten better at letting things slide off my back and I never miss a beat. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes of hootin and a hollerin, and then I get back to normal.(Well, normal for me!)

Today during Mass I was thinking about the art of being gracious. Recently I was reading about St. Thomas Aquinas and how everyone around him for a long time thought he was as dumb as an ox. He never defended himself, which made things worse, they thought he was silent and stupid. The thing that fascinated me about him is that he was smarter than all of them, could have whipped their beehinds in a second. God had gifted him with a great memory. He knew he was smart and gifted, he also knew that they all thought he was stupid. They called him "the dumb ox". But he was humble and figured if God wanted them to know that he was really intelligent, God would show them. And God did.

Saints that act that way are so astounding to me. I can't imagine not defending yourself. But that is the point for me. It's not all about me looking good to others, it is about how I look to God. And if God wants me to look good, or bad or insignificant, well, He's God, and He knows what is best for me. If He only gives me the grace to be humble, I can make it through. My problem is that I have had a fear of people thinking ill of me, of not "liking" me, all of my life. Partly it is hereditary. My mom has always cared about what other people think, and she trained me well! Too well.

So today I asked for the grace to be gracious. Gracious women don't think about how they look to others, they live to make other people look good. Aren't we supposed to trip over ourselves trying to make others look better than ourselves, honoring others? I am going to really be meditating on this for the week during my Adoration time. I really love what God had to say to me today. It makes so much sense to me. Helps me to put myself in perspective. It's that whole, "dying to self" thing again.

And honestly, I don't think losing myself is too much to ask, when I think about what I have to gain. HEAVEN! That's why all the saints were willing to go the extra mile, to forget about themselves, they could see their goal, heaven. Being with God for all eternity. There is nothing better than that. Not money, not prestige, not every one loving me, not looking good to others. None of those things comes close to what we gain when we gain heaven. NOTHING.

It's not going to be easy. I know that. I don't like it at all when someone thinks bad things about me, it is going to take much grace. I already know I will be lying on the floor in front of the tabernacle, crying to Jesus like Faustina used to because she was so hurt sometimes.

But He is my best friend. I have cried to Him before, I will cry to Him again. Not a drop of suffering will be wasted. With God, it is all used for good. Eyes straight ahead, eyes on my own paper.

Goal:HEAVEN

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home Alone


It's been a strange weekend. My oldest girls, Emily and Liz, and Em's boyfriend Joe, went on a road trip to NYC yesterday. They went for the weekend to visit Liz's boyfriend Alex. He goes to college outside of NYC.

I am jealous. To be young, and in love, and in NYC. Back in June, the hubby and I were old, in love and in NYC. It was so awesome and we fell in love with the city too. It was our first time there. It is the first time my girls have been there too. They have been sending me texts with pics and they are having so much fun. I wish I was there!

At the same time, the hubby left yesterday for a silent retreat at our local abbey. It's his favorite place to be. He loves the silent retreats. We have so much noise in our lives, when we have time for silence, we embrace it. I have been praying for him because he really needed to be on retreat. He is having a well deserved break with God. Our lives are so crazy, with work, the kids, and being a missionary. I get more time alone with God than he does because I get to Adoration everyday. He doesn't have that luxury, so this is like heaven for him. I am jealous though. I could use a retreat too, but I am thankful, very thankful, that my husband has this time with God. It's good for him, it's good for our marriage, it's good for the kids.

So I have been with seven children all weekend. The two oldest at home with me, fourteen and fifteen, are both boys. Do I need to explain this to any moms out there? No, I don't. Boys are just not as helpful as girls. Especially during a Sabres game. But I made it easy on myself. Take out all weekend. Caught up with some laundry, did a few other things, played around on my computer. Prayed for my girls and Dave. I miss the ones that are gone, enjoyed the ones I am with.

I have grown since the beginning of our marriage. There was a time that I would have been resentful. And I would have let my husband know it before he left. I started off slowly, changing my attitude. First I would be resentful and show it. Then I graduated to feeling resentful and hardly showing it. Then there was resentful and only showing it when he came back. Now, I don't feel resentful at all. I can be happy for him, send him on his way with a smile on my face, and even privately, be happy that he has this opportunity. Thank You God.

It was His love that changed me. It was time in Adoration that changed my life. Yes, I still get hit with things by the devil, but I am getting so good at ducking!! St.Michael the Archangel defend us in our day of battle....... always covering myself with the blood of Christ.

God is a good God. Yes He is!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Share My Music Friday



I was a teen during the disco era. I LOVE this song! I can be having the worst day and hear this song, and it never fails to put me in a good mood. My six year old, Amelia laughed hysterically today when she saw their outfits. She couldn't stop laughing.

She would have really laughed at her mom if she had seen me in my Candies and spaghetti strap dress I wore when I went out dancing! Aaah, those were the days.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

God Sees Me


I am a part of a study group that meets monthly and discusses St. Faustina and her diary. We met tonight for the second time and I think I am going to love it, because it is a small intimate group. We discuss Faustina, we discuss different topics from her diary and we also share our own thoughts.


Tonight we were sharing two things: How do I see God, and how does God see me? This was difficult for me to answer. Not how I see God. That was the easy part. I see Him as the most wonderful thing I could ever imagine, a mystery that is too profound to even describe. He is love, but even stronger than love, just too hard to put into words. A mystery that I will not fully comprehend until I am in heaven.


Now, how does He see me. Well, that depends on the day, my mood, how many times I think that I totally messed up, and whether or not I am understanding of His plan for me. Most of the time, I have absolutely no idea what God thinks of me. I could not answer that question today. There are some days, quite honestly, when I think God loves every one but me. That somehow I have messed things up so badly, even though it is common knowledge that God loves every one, that somehow, He just doesn't love me.


And then there are other times when I feel like one of my favorite songs by a Christian band called Watermark, a song called "Who Am I?". The refrain speaks to my heart:


"Who am I that You would love me so gently?

Who am I that You would recognize my name?

Lord, who am I that You would speak to me so softly,

conversation with the love most high,

Who am I?"


In those moments, I know that He loves me, knows every hair on my head, and wants to give me the desires of my heart. Not because I did anything to deserve it, just because I am His.


After writing that, I feel better already.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In My Weakness


I love to think about God's goodness. Especially when it comes to thinking about the people He puts into my life. In one of my posts this week I talked about kindred spirits, those people that God brings into my life, and it seems like I just knew them forever. I have only a handful of people like that in my life, and that is the way it should be. Just certain people who are just so precious.


We can't see how God weaves us, how He places people in our life, and sometimes they come in and out. Sometimes there is a connection that we can't see, sometimes the person leaves and then comes back, and the first meeting makes sense then. I have a lot of people in my life like that. I was thinking today that when I die, God is going to show me the tapestry He made of my life, and all of the people I met, how I met them, how long they stayed, it will all make sense. Sometimes right now it doesn't.


But it is exciting to watch. An old friend from college contacted me today, I haven't seen him in at least twenty years. We weren't super close or anything, we had classes together, and a mutual crush on each other, we shared our faith a couple of times, but it never went anywhere and we disappeared from each other's lives. He was a good story to tell my girls cause he was a hunk with blue eyes and blond hair, and he was really nice. I never knew what happened or more like, I didn't know why nothing ever happened, it was just one of those things.


Then one day the Lord put me on his heart, and he felt God pushing him to contact me. Only problem was, he couldn't remember my name. And during prayer, boom, there I was, my name came to mind.


It ends up that this old friend needs a prayer warrior, so here I am , Mrs. Missionary to the rescue. He didn't know that was why he contacted me, but God had a plan. And here we are. I just think it is so awesome how God worked. It is interesting to me.


The important thing for me is to always be open to the workings of the Holy Spirit. We just don't know God's plan. He only reveals it to us, one day at a time.


I am humbled by the fact that He wants to use me at all. So often I feel weak, pathetic and like a big fat cry baby. I wonder how many times God has put His head in His hands over me. Probably more times than I want to know!


But praise God, in my weakness, He is strong. And I count on that every day of my life.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One of my very favorite poems:



somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond


somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near


your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose


or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing


(i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;
only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands ee cummings


I was messing around online tonight, thinking of songs and poetry that will forever speak to my heart. I love this poem.


Have you ever met someone whose eyes are deeper than all roses? Someone who knows you so well they can just look at you and no words are needed?


They see right through you to the deepest part of your heart.


That's Jesus.

Monday, November 9, 2009

King's Daughters


I have a friend who is going through something right now and she has been on my mind the last few days. Her best friend started acting weird and then just kind of dropped her and she is not even sure why. This has left my friend wondering what she did wrong, and though she has tried to talk it over with her, she has come up empty. So now she is left with an empty heart, feeling lonely.


She has other friends, but this was one of her closest. My heart is breaking for her because she still loves this other friend so much, and it is a huge loss for her. She misses her friend and she doesn't know why she left her alone.


Why do we women treat each other that way? Sometimes it is because of jealousy. Sometimes there is a stupid misunderstanding, and then the devil gets in the way and makes things worse, blows things out of proportion. He is always standing by, whispering in our ear, telling us how unloved we are, how other people have it better, etc. He really stinks!


No one can understand us better than our best girlfriend. Not even our husbands understand us the way our "girls" can. Women have like hearts, we are emotional, sentimental creatures. And when we are at our best, this brings us together in a special bond. Growing up my favorite book was Anne of Green Gables, and she would say someone was a "kindred spirit". Those special friends in our lives who know us better than any man, including our husbands will ever know us.


So when we are betrayed by our friends, when they get upset over little silly things, and our friendships go by the wayside, it hits us to our inner core. They are not just rejecting our friendship, they are rejecting "me". That part of me that I only share with my best friend, my kindred spirit. That is what my friend is going through right now. She feels lonely, rejected and unlovable. And there is nothing I can do about it but pray for her.


If only women could put aside jealousy and pettiness and come to love each other and each other's gifts. Each one of us is a unique creation of God. We are His daughters. Isn't that exciting?


We are all a princess in God's kingdom! Let's be grateful for what we have, in ourselves and in each other. Don't let the devil use your pride to divide your good and holy friendships!


We are called to love, and love has no boundaries.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mother-Daughter Mass and Breakfast

This is me and my second oldest, Elizabeth. She's a senior at an all girls school and today was our last Mother-Daughter Breakfast. I am going to miss going with her although I have three more daughters to experience this with.

Liz is so much fun. It was nice to meet her friends today, some of them I have met before, but only briefly, you know, when they were on their way out to something. And I realized today that Elizabeth has a gift. She takes girls who are shy and quiet and revs up their life.

Liz is crazy. Funny-crazy. She just gets up and dances and does and says funny things. And her girlfriends giggle and act embarrassed, but secretly, you can tell they love it! She is such a fun loving girl, with a gift to make people laugh.

I am already getting sad because Liz wants to go to school somewhere out of NYC. She will probably be an actress someday, and that is where she needs to be. But I am going to miss her so much. She thinks it's because she cleans for me, unlike the other bums who live in this house. But it's not just because of that.

It's because I just love her so much. I love talking to her and spending time with her. She makes me laugh and she helps me on my most aggravating days and then we get aggravated at the younger children together. And then we stuff ourselves with sponge candy. Liz inherited my absolute love of chocolate. When I have to run to the store at night while she is cleaning the kitchen for me, I almost always come back with a chocolate treat for her. She likes to call me silly names that make me laugh or I will say, "Are you calling me sugar lips?".........

I don't even want to think about it. Today after our Breakfast, I grabbed her and hugged her and told her I didn't want her to go away and she said, "Oh mom, I am still here for another nine months". Nine months goes so quickly. So does childhood. I can still remember her crawling around on the floor and running around my house, dancing like Pocahontas. Why or why do they have to grow up? It's so hard to let go.

I still have nine months and I am not going to waste any opportunity to bribe her with chocolate.

On tomorrow's shopping list: SPONGE CANDY!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beautiful Leaves


I love this time of year. The smells, the cool weather, (sweater weather) the beautiful trees. I just love when the trees change colors. Vibrant reds, yellows, oranges, even the brown ones. I just love the way it looks. So cozy and warm. It makes me think of a warm drink, sugary donuts, or apple pie.


So I was thinking about how interesting it is that for the tree to look that beautiful it has to be dying. In its dying the colors become bright and beautiful. So when we look at them, all we see is the beauty, not the dying.


And then I started to think about people. Don't you think that when we die to ourselves we are beautiful to God? It's hard, so hard sometimes to do that. And I also honestly think moms do it more than anyone else. Okay, so I am biased, but still, think about it. We are always putting aside things that we would like to do for the sake of our family. Like right now, I am frantically writing this because Teresa is next to me and just won't go to sleep. She just wants her mommy time. So instead of having the room to myself, sitting quietly with a cup of tea, and the TV off, I have a four year old asking me questions about donuts because of what she is seeing on the food channel! So my compromise, answering questions, typing next to her, so I can at least get something done!!! Not the way I had hoped, but Teresa is my priority right now. I have to die to myself.


I am not so good at it. Maybe I am more like a brown leaf. Not quite as beautiful. I mean, I wish I could do it without resentment and with a smile on my face. I don't always get it down exactly that way! Sometimes I do, but most times, oh, I am fighting this huge battle inside. It is hard to die to yourself. That sounds funny doesn't it. I mean, if it was easy, every one would be doing it, right?


I get better little by little. One of these days I am going to look like a beautiful red leaf to God. But for now, I will put the computer aside and hold my little one in my lap and kiss her sweet face.


Dying to myself, one step at a time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sharing My Music Friday

I am going to start something new. On Fridays I am going to share music that I love. Now, this comes with a warning. I have a hugely eclectic taste. After a few weeks, you will have a whole new view of me, or you may just think, this girl has multiple personality disorder!

My husband, teases me all the time. I love just about every kind of music! I am a poetic person by nature, so I just lock into a song, and my soul just goes crazy.

The song I am sharing today comes from one of my all time favorite singers, Anita Baker. I grew up on Barbra Steisand, Nancy Wilson, the Fifth Dimension. That was when my mom wasn't listening to Supertramp, Elton John, Billy Joel or the soundtrack from Gypsy. (Now you know where I get it from!) I am pretty open minded about my music.

Back to Anita. I love her. Lots of good memories. The song Dave and I first danced to was an Anita Baker song, "Giving You the Best That I Got".

Today I am sharing my all time favorite Anita song. Watch it once just because she is so awesome, the second time, close your eyes and let her beautiful voice take you for a ride.
My children have heard me singing this song at the top of my lungs. Not as great as Anita but they get a kick out of it!
Enjoy-


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bickering


I am weary. I am tired. If I hear one more child arguing with another child I am running away from home. I can't take it anymore.




From the moment they get out of bed, until the time they go to sleep, my children are bickering with each other. I know that with nine of them, eight still living at home, it is to be expected. But some times I feel like putting my head against the wall and hitting myself with a blunt instrument. I just had one of those days where I thought I was going to totally lose it at any second.




And they argue about really, really important things. Like who threw the chip on the floor. How many minutes Joseph has been on the computer. Who crumbled up Amelia's 100th piece of artwork. He ate the last cookie, who drank all the pop, mom said I could go to the bathroom first, who took the garbage out last, how many cups did Tyler leave in the room compared to Jacob, and who took the pack of smarties that was under John Paul's pillow? The list goes on and on. As many hours as there is in a day, that is how my children can fill it with mindless, mind numbing, brain squeezing, endless bickering.




I especially love when they are bickering about something they shouldn't be playing with any way. "Mom, John Paul is using Dad's lighter from the fireplace to light up moths and I wanted to see if I could burn worms instead!!!" Aaargh!


It's enough to drive a sane person crazy. Maybe I was insane to begin with, after all, I went ahead and had nine of them!!! Sometimes I will hear myself yelling out the craziest things like:"I don't care if you wanted to burn worms, your brother was using it on the moths first!" Or, "I don't care if he kicked you first, get your feet off your brother's head." Things you never expected to hear yourself saying as a mother.


I am going to write a book someday about raising a large family. And I will tell you this much: it will not be a pretty little book about how I have all of my children ready in the van fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, girls in long dresses and boys in dress shirts and ties, all singing "Amazing Grace" in five part harmony. No, no that is not the real world of large families my friends.


No, my story will be one of how as we are running out the door, already five minutes late, two sisters are bickering with each other because one has the other one's shirt on, and she didn't even ask, the little girls are arguing over who gets to sit next to Jacob, Joe and John are fighting over a hand held game, Tyler is bickering with me because he wants to stay home, and my husband, who only wants five minutes of silence, has now exploded.


He will get his five minutes of silence, only broken by the two little sisters who found a tootsie roll in the seat and they both want it......