Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So Many Blogs, So Little Time........

I am so excited because over the weekend my life was opened to the world of blogging. What I mean is, I can't believe how many really great, Catholic blogs there are out there. So many really, really good and inspiring things to read and learn from.

When my four oldest children were little, we didn't even have a computer. A very wonderful friend of mine subscribed to an awesome newsletter type publication for me, it was full of Catholic writings, and there was many family stories that I would devour four times a year. I would pour myself a cup of tea, put the kids in for a nap, or quiet playtime, and read to my heart's content. But I had to wait for three months before the next one would come out.

Here, on the internet, at my finger tips, several times a day, I can take a few minutes here and there to read, be encouraged and laugh with my brothers and sisters in Christ. One of my favorites The Digital Hairshirt, is written by a Catholic wife, mother and lawyer. She is extremely witty, extremely intelligent and makes frequent comments on things that are going on in our world. She says things that the rest of us are thinking!!! I often worried during my early years of mothering that my mind would turn into mush, and now I work with pre k and kindergarten kids, plus my mothering, and I ache for adult conversation. Our minds need stimulation. Now I can have it all and do laundry too!!!!

Slowly but surely I am getting the hang of this internet stuff. My loving husband gave me the best gift when he bought me my own laptop. My mind is growing and expanding, I often meditate on scripture or quotes I have read on other blogs, while I am working around my home, or during my Adoration time. This is so exciting for me. A whole new world. I am a firm believer that "mom" has to be fed, or she can't feed her husband and children. I am by nature a giver, I give to many around me, not just my family. By reading and writing, I am refreshed and renewed. My prayer life has taken on a whole new meaning. I am very blessed by God and I am grateful.

It is a wonderful world in which we live, it can also be a crazy one. I am feeling good today, knowing there are people all over the world who believe, who are faithful to the Magisterium, who love being Catholic and are firm in their beliefs.

I will be praying for all of us today during my Adoration time. Thanks for being out there. Thanks for writing. And even though we may never meet here on earth, see you in heaven!!!

What a great family reunion that will be.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eric's Graduation

At the mission where Dave and I are missionaries, we have been involved there for 10 years. We have only been missionaries for 5 of those years, but our total years there is 10.

So we have watched many children come and go, we have watched them grow up, some moved on, some have gone on to the next life. Sadly, many do die very young. But we also have the privilege of watching many of them grow up and make something of their lives. On Thursday evening I was blessed to watch one of my favorites graduate from high school.

His name is Eric and he is the son of my sister missionary Charlene. Charlene never graduated from high school. Charlene is one of about ten or eleven siblings. Her mom had one baby after another and the kids looked after each other. There was no one to help with homework. Heck, no one cared if you even did homework. Or went to school, and the tradition in part of Charlene's family has continued. She has many neices and nephews who never graduated. Some never even made it to high school because like their mom before them, they look after younger siblings while mom does her "thing".

But Charlene, who also raised a down syndrome daughter and a younger son, kept after Eric. His sister now lives in a group home and Charlene spends her time getting after Eric and his younger brother's "beeehind" as Charlene likes to say. Charlene never stopped believing that Eric could do it, talked with his teachers, woke him up from bed, and made him get a job at a local Tim Hortons. She gave him something to do, gave him a purpose. And he did it!!

I pray for Eric all the time. Eric wants to be a nurse. Eric is going to make an awesome nurse. He is big and friendly, with an awesome smile. He wants to work in Children's Hospital, probably because they helped his family so much with his sister. He wants to give back. If he succeeds, he will be the first one in his huge family to graduate from college. That is a huge weight for one guy. So I now will pray him through college. And so will his mom, who years ago gave him to the Blessed Mother, and prays to our Lady all the time about both of her sons. He has a whole community behind him, and I hope he knows it. I know he knows he is loved. As for me, he is my very favorite child at the mission. I just happen to think that there is something special about Eric, and I do believe he will become a nurse someday.

At his graduation another young man read a poem he had written when he was a sophmore, and in it he spoke of the struggles of being the first child in your family to complete high school, the stress of being the family's only "hope". Most of us would probably find it hard to believe that in this day and age there are still kids in families whose parents never graduated from high school.

But there are whole societies where this is true. On the east side of Buffalo there are generations of families who haven't even completed elementary school, much less high school. We need to pray for all families, especially in these difficult times where there are college graduates who can't find a decent job, let alone someone who hasn't even graduated from high school.

I am praying for Eric everyday now. He was thinking about taking a year off, but we all know that is not a good idea. If you take a year off, you are less likely to go back. So please pray with me that he starts in the fall and makes it through. I was at Eric's eighth grade graduation, high school graduation, and I want to be standing there, bawling my eyes out at his college graduation. Not because of me, not because of what I want, but for the hope it will bring to his family, his younger brother, his mother who raised three children by herself. For the other young people in his community who stand on street corners in the middle of the day, because they have no hope for their future. The devil tempts them with drugs, alcohol and sex. And then they are lost.

But we are people of hope. We are children of God. Let's pray for each other. God bless Eric's family, God bless all families!

God bless your family too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stupid, stupid commercials

This post is totally going to be for my own ranting, raving and venting. If you agree with my viewpoints, great, if you don't, oh well. This is my blog!!!

Sometimes when I am folding laundry I will watch the food channel or travel channel, just something mindless because Lord knows the children aren't going to leave me alone long enough for me to pray while I am doing mundane tasks, so I put on mindless tv. And then I have to put up with the dumbest commercials ever. Now there are plenty that make me laugh but there are some that I don't know what the producers were thinking, what they were trying to get at, but failed miserably.

On the top of the list is a commercial for Wal-Mart. Now don't get me wrong, I love Wal-Mart. I shop there often. But this commercial is so insulting to husbands, I just want to spit. The wife with a smug look on her face goes out and buys steaks for dinner, because Wal-Mart's prices are so reasonable, it doesn't even have to be a special occasion for her to go out and get steaks for her and the hubster. Now here is exactly why there are way too many people divorcing in America. Instead of her happily telling her hubby that "We can have steaks today dear, no I didn't take out a loan, no sweety, I shop at Wal-Mart where the steaks are a reasonable price. Aren't I such a good wife?" No, no, the smug little witch is watching her poor husband who slaved at work all day, who will take her smelly garbage out later, who will cut the grass and do all the little stupid things she wants done around the house, she is watching him squirm because he thinks it must be a special anniversary that he forgot about. I mean, the guy can't believe that the old bag would actually get something special for dinner, much less cook it. (She works too you know!!) He can't even enjoy the special dinner she made because he is worried that the shrew will be mad that he forgot the special occasion. So he sits chewing nervously because he has no clue. Hope it was money well spent.

Then there are all those blasted birth control commercials. In this day and age, when women are wondering why they can't get pregnant, they are now coming up with birth control pills that only give you a period every three months. In the commercial the women keep saying"Who says you have to have your period every month, who, who?" My answer that I scream at the tv, "GOD" that's who. Let's see how many of these women end up with fertility problems. We want organic celery but by God, I better not have my period more than four times a year! Give me a pill to make it happen, and pass the organic veggie platter.

Then there is the commercial for the vaccination against hpv. According to the commercial, if you really, really love your daughter and want to prevent her from getting cervical cancer someday, well, you will get her vaccinated right now. What kind of horrid mother wouldn't want that for her child? I mean, anyone can get hpv right? Wrong. They never tell you that the only way you can get this is by sexual intercourse. Well, you know your thirteen year old is probably doing it already anyway. I mean they have thrown teen pregnancy at us, sexually transmitted diseases and now cervical cancer. Sigh, what's a mother to do? Well, at least for this one they have a vaccine. Now every mother can feel like she has done her part to protect her daughter, that and a packet of birth control pills will get you a free trip to hell. In a hand basket.

Okay. Let's go to something a little more light hearted. Still focusing on moms, but now it is about your child's eating habits. How about the commercial with the mom wheeling her little girl through the supermarket? Mom says, "Let's get some chicken." The little girl says "I don't like chicken". Who doesn't like chicken? Next mom goes for the broccoli, and the little girl says, "I don't like broccoli." Who doesn't like broccoli? I have kids who won't touch peas, but they will eat broccoli raw. So what does this little Varruca Salt want? She wants one of those drinks that is supposed to give your child their daily dose of everything she needs. Big smile on her face. Mom goes off to get waffles, and this child says, "I don't like waffles." Okay, I am sorry, but mom must be the most awful cook in the world. What child known to mankind doesn't like waffles. My 15 year old son eats multiple Eggos everyday. But here is this whiny child who only wants to drink the child's equivalent of Ensure. She would rather drink this non food item, then a waffle. With syrup. Sugar, child, what is wrong with you? When we have waffles for dinner, my kids are like,"Wow, breakfast for dinner with a sugar boost!". What could be better? Mom says it's ok. This child in the commercial is not normal. Sorry guys. Ain't gonna buy it.

Okay. So that is my list for right now of annoying commercials. Feel free to list some of yours. I would love to hear them. I might have forgotten some and I would love to agree with you.

Gotta go do some more laundry. Think I will listen to the radio.

Monday, June 22, 2009

People let me tell you bout my best friend.....

Remember that old show that started with that song. Right now I can't remember what the name of it was, but that is not important. I wanted to write about my best friend, in honor of father's day. I was so busy honoring him yesterday that I didn't have time to write. Who am I speaking of? Well, my hubby, that's who!

Now my hubby is not perfect. He started off yesterday by being really crabby! Sometimes things happen at work, and being the boss he gets called, and then he is not in a good mood. The last few weeks have been very stressful due to the swine flu. Pray for all who work in the health care field. You have no idea what they see and deal with on a daily basis. I have the utmost respect, especially for nurses and those who work in the emergency room.

At any rate, despite his imperfections, that fact that he often overlooks my imperfections makes him a saint. I married a good guy. He is the smartest man I know. I mean really smart. The kind of guy you would want to end up in the cash cab in NYC with. Cause you could win big money with him!!! He knows something about everything, and sometimes more. I often wonder how he remembers all this stuff. I sometimes can't even remember what I ate for lunch the day before, much less what century St. Francis was born in. He has all of these things stored in his brain. Amazing.

He's also a big softy. Our kids tease him, because quite often when we are watching "move that bus", he has tears in his eyes, sniffing away like the rest of us. He likes to joke with me that McDonald's commercials can make me cry, but human interest stories can send my husband for the box of tissues. He won't admit it. "I have dust in my eye". But I am glad that our boys see that it is okay for a man to be a softy.

He is very faithful. To me, to his family, his work and our religious community. He has a great love for our Lord and especially the Catholic Church. I have learned so much about our faith through him. Together we try very hard to live out our vocations according to the teachings of our church and together we decided to raise a large family. What gets us through is his sense of humor. He is the funniest man I know. And when I am tired and emotional, he is at his best! If I have had a roller coaster of a day, with a lot of crying, he can make me laugh so hard at the end of it. He knows when I need a good hearty laugh.

As a father, he is irreplaceable. In our work at the mission we see very few fathers. Lots of mother's raising children on their own. The thing that bothers me many times is the disrespect there is for fathers there. But I guess it is understandable. Moms are abandoned every day with their children, left to fend for themselves. Often times in this day of abortion, a man thinks he doesn't have to support his children because the woman should have an abortion. Yeah, that is choice at its best! What a choice, what a lie. So my hubby is different there. But when I look at the men in that community who are trying to be good husbands and good fathers, my hubby is a great example for them. They can identify with him, and I feel like the men who come to our church can all look at each other and stand together in strength. There are so few of them, they need that.

My husband is the provider. He is my strength. He supports my staying home to take care of our children, and works hard to provide for us. He works very hard. So we can send our older children to good Catholic high schools. So we can have our own home, and food on the table. Often times cooking dinner, because honestly ladies, he is a better cook than I am. I am good at the basics, but he can make a feast from canned goods in our pantry. I am the baker. He is a chef.

He is just plain fun. And after twenty years of marriage, and nine babies, he still thinks I am the most beautiful, sexy woman he has ever met. Stretch marks and all!!! He is a keeper. We love to sneak off as much as we can to have dinner together, or just an ice cream at Coldstone Creamery. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we sit in silence and watch people. Not because we don't have anything to say, but because we are comfortable in each other's silence. We are two that have become one.

I made a good choice in husband and father of my children. Or maybe I need to say, "Thank You God. For choosing the best partner in life for me". It had to be God, my choices in men were not so good before Dave. In fact they were quite awful, but that is for another time.

Happy Father's Day to my hubby, my best friend. I love you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When Did You Become So Old.....

I am so blessed to be a missionary at a beautiful Catholic mission. This year was the best! I decided to bring my elementary aged home schooled kids to the mission "homeschool". It was the best decision I could have made.

Our little school only has 19 children. I helped teach in the prek to 2nd grade classroom. We had seven children in our class this year. In third through fifth they had five children, and in sixth through eighth grade they had seven children. Three paid teachers are in charge of the classrooms and the teacher I assisted is also our principal. And what a wonderful year we have had!

It is everything I want in a school for my children. It is small. All the children have grown up together. They all attend Mass each Sunday together. It is a close knit group where the older kids tend to and help the younger ones. Many are siblings. It is a wonderful school community.
Best of all, not only are the academics top notch, my kids heard about Jesus, talked of our Catholic faith, every day!!! God truly is the center of our school.

Yesterday was our moving up day and at night we had our eighth grade graduation. My son Jacob graduated from eighth grade yesterday. My fourth child to leave elementary school. It doesn't get any easier. In fact I think it is harder because I now know from experience how fast the high school years go. Way too fast. My little boy will be in college before I can blink an eye. I have one in college right now, one who is entering her senior year in high school, and a son about to enter his sophomore year. When did they all get to be teenagers?!

I mean seriously. When did this happen? It is not good for a menapausal mama to have to go through this too! I don't know how women who only have two kids go through this. My nest won't be empty for a long, long time, thank You God!! But each one is so precious and wonderful to me. It's hard when they are away from home and you don't know every detail of their day. It was a hard adjustment with my oldest, and my second oldest, my right hand girl, she will be leaving me next year. Catch me next summer. I am going to be a real downer. Mark my words.

Maybe I will be the kind of wife and mother Bill Cosby always jokes about. My husband will keep pushing them out the door and I will be bringing them back in. My oldest has been known to raid our fridge at 1 am and I like it like that.

For now, I will just enjoy every moment of family life. Right now as I am writing this, my six year old is playing hair dresser with my hair. Aaah, I have the sweet life. Ain't it good to be a mom?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm Back.......

You mom's know how it is when you get back from vacation, and then you need a vacation. All the laundry you have to catch up on, all the cleaning, etc. And yesterday we had our family party for Joseph's first communion. So we had to get the house ready for that. God was good and the weather was nice so we had the party outside, and all went well. Thank You God!

But I know you are all out there wondering how my trip was!!! I will give you the highlights: The David Letterman show was great, he didn't say anything controversial the night we were there and Bill Cosby was awesome!!! I love him because he always talks about family and marriage, never a swear word, never derogatory, always hilarious. He did not disappoint.

Our hotel room overlooked Times Square, so we could see all the excitement right from our window. It was beautiful! The room was very nice and clean!!!! And I didn't have to do it! Loved it.

My husband had a trick up his sleeve, which I knew he would. After the Letterman show we were walking down the street, (part of Broadway is closed to traffic) and in the middle of Times Square, my husband got down on one knee, gave me a beautiful anniversary ring, and asked me to marry him again. Isn't that romantic? People sit on lawn chairs in the middle of Times Square, eating, drinking, looking at all the lights, and groups were watching this all unfold. People started cheering. It was so great!!!

We saw Wicked. Loved it! I was pleasantly surprised. I hate the Wizard of Oz. Always thought it was a little creepy. So I really didn't think I would like Wicked. I cried through the whole thing. What a great story! I would definitely go see it again. Many times over.

We saw Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and ate a nice lunch in Battery Park. We also spent some time in Soho, Greenwich Village and NYU. We rode the subway! We went to the Met, the Cloisters and walked all over the city.

My top three dinners. 1) Feinstein's. We ate there after Dave gave me the ring. We had been told to go there by a friend of Dave's. We were not dressed up and we just popped in. God showed us the way. We asked the maitre'd if we were under dressed and he said no and showed us a table. He was very gracious. We found out when we got back home that sometimes people have to wait three months to get into Feinstein's. We didn't even have reservations. But God wanted to spoil us. And He did. That night a wonderful singer, Norm Lewis was performing. It was small, intimate and unbelievable. He sang, he talked and joked with all of us. He had an awesome band behind him, and he and the pianist bantered back and forth about their experiences on Broadway. His voice was awesome and the whole night was like a fairy tale. Dave and I just love things like this, and we couldn't believe that we just stumbled in. But we didn't, God planned it. Oh, and the food was luxurious.

2) The Four Seasons. The above picture shows you the room we dined in. Where the stars go to dine. The food was elegant. The room was exciting. The only "star" we saw was Dr. Laura and some NYC politicals, but we didn't care. We were treated like stars! The service was awesome. They gave us extra desserts and when our waiter found out that we were celebrating our 20th anniversary in NYC, the waiters did what they do at The Four Seasons when someone is celebrating, they brought us a humongous plate of pink cotton candy. With a candle and lavender candy stuck all about it. Like heaven. So amazing.

3) Sardi's. Also where the stars go to dine. I can't remember the name of the dish I ordered, but my waitress told me that it was Grace Kelley's favorite. It is mine too. When we go back I will order it again because it was out of this world! And you sit looking at all the caricatures of all the stars. Very nice. The food was good, the people watching awesome. We did see "The Lord of the Dance", I don't know what his real name is, and that was about it. The thing about NYC is that everyone starts to look like a star to you, and everyone looks like a regular person, so you just have to people watch. And we did a lot of that. Very fun!

We saw Guys and Dolls with my favorite actress, Lauren Graham, who was wonderful. We sat in the first row, and I had tears in my eyes being so close to her. She is such a great actress and absolutely beautiful. She signed my Playbill after and her eyes really shine when she is talking to her fans. What a beautiful woman! Very gracious, very poised.

There was more, but I have to start getting the family ready for Mass. Perhaps for another day. Glad to be back in the blogging world! God bless to all.

Catch you on the flip side.