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


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


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.


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!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


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......

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not Franciscan Material

I have been writing some pretty heavy duty stuff lately so today I thought I would write something silly. It actually stems from a comment that one of my followers left on my last post. Sr. Ann Marie thought I sounded Franciscan and in some ways I probably am. But I would totally fail St. Francis 101 when it comes to the animal thing.

Okay. It's not that I hate animals or anything. I like them in the zoo, or a park, or in someone else's home, but I do not like animals in my house. Unfortunately, my husband does. Dave grew up with animals in his house, mostly dogs, although I think there may have been some birds in there, and the frog that came for a visit and ended up flying over the back fence, but that is for another time. Suffice to say, he loves animals in the house. I do not.

Over the years we have had many. He started me off slow. There were the little salamanders that we had to buy crickets for. I liked them because they were contained, and I didn't have to clean their doo doo. Unfortunately, my hubby barely has time to gulp down his own food, much less travel to a pet store to buy the crickets. And no way was I going to go and pick out the munch and crunch for those things. They actually have small, medium and large crickets. Do you want a pepsi with that?

Gone. Then there were guinea pigs that squealed every time I opened the front door and walked through it. They knew that I was the one that fed them. So they would hear me, smell me, or just hope to goodness gracious it was me, and then they would make the most annoying sounds to get me to feed them. They also liked to kick up the stuff you put on the bottom of their cage to sleep and poop on. Do you know how many times I almost broke my neck racing to get to a crawling baby who thought he or she had lucked out and found a small chocolate nugget within their reach? Yeah, not so good.

Blessedly, they don't live real long. Bye bye guinea pigs. We had two dogs. The first one had "issues", and ended up nipping at poor John Paul who was just a toddler. The second one was just a puppy who came from a bad litter, dad was a German Shepherd, mom was a Beagle, and well, just think about that hook up folks. Didn't make for good puppies. Jack was out of control, a nippy kind of dog that the children ran from. No one ever wanted to take him out or basically do anything with him. It was awful. Again, my husband who doesn't have time to tie his own shoes, really didn't have time to train this thing, and hey, I had seven kids at the time, I did not have time for the dog. No one except for my hubby and the oldest were sad to see him go. I had to keep him in the garage to protect the kids so they really didn't bother with him. Three months after he was driven down the long country road to the SPCA, Mary at the dinner table asked us, "Hey, where's Jack?" Uh, Mary, he's been gone for three months. Yes, real observant that one.

We have had a bearded dragon. The cricket problem again. Nuff said.

Now we have cats. I intensely dislike them. That's all cats do is lick themselves. Everywhere. It's gross. Their cat litter is near my laundry area, and I kid you not, the one cat, does her business every time I am downstairs doing laundry. They eat like pigs and when it comes out, ooh, not smelling so good. So there I am , the one who can't stand animals in the house, doing every one's laundry and smelling the cat's well, you know what. Cats are not like dogs. Cats think it's okay to climb up on your counters and dining room table. Cause they can. Dogs can't do that and give up trying. Cats don't care if you are coming after them with a kitchen knife in one hand and the food processor in the other, they will look back at you and when you can almost reach them they run away and hide under the couch. And then when you are a safe distance they will come out, perch themselves and their stinky butts on the top of your couch, and commence licking themselves.

My plan is to outlive them all, especially my husband and the cats. Then I will move into a nice, neat, little apartment that will smell of cinnamon and baked cookies.

And if I die before them, well, look for me next to the incense. I am determined to have the best smelling spot in heaven.
St. Francis pray for us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Did you ever.........?

Did you ever have one of those days, where you just wanted to cry for humanity? Not for political reasons, not for the shape of the world, or how immoral we have become, although there are days when I feel like bawling my eyes out about that.

What I mean is, a day when you can feel your connectedness with other human beings, your soul can feel people's pain. It's hard to describe but every once in awhile I have a day where I just feel such sorrow. I think about moms who have lost their children, I think about people, just regular people who had dreams about their lives and lost that dream, I think about people trying so hard to make it, trying so hard just to survive. People who are misunderstood, unloved, and sad.

And I cry about the bittersweet. The beauty of people, the joy of watching a child grow, two friends meeting after a long time apart.

So much in life to enjoy and to cry over. Here we all are, just God's creatures. But we all have feelings, emotions, hurts and joys, sadness, pain, and happiness. Doesn't matter who we are, how different we all are, because each one of us in unique. We come from different backgrounds, different faiths, different cultures.

Yet we are all one because of the One God who created us. He unifies us by being our Creator. We really are all brothers and sisters. It is a wondrous mystery.

And it makes me cry.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Glory To God

"Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth. Lord, God, Heavenly King, Almighty God and Father.

We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father. Lord God, Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father. Receive our prayer.





with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen."

My most favorite prayer at Mass.
I pray that, with my whole heart and soul in church every Sunday. I am praying that as many souls as possible leave purgatory this night, and can sing this, in the presence of our Wonderful Creator. As all our souls were made to do.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Spirit of Unrest

It's going to be a short one tonight kids, cause I am so tired. But committed I am to writing everyday, so I sit, with eyes half open, (cause even when I am tired I can be optimistic, as in eyes half open instead of half closed!) and I type away.

Part of the reason I can't write a lot tonight is that I had a weird experience, and it has left me unsettled. Were you ever in a situation where you could just feel spiritual unrest in the air? Like, people are a little more short with each other, people look tired and cranky and like they are living on the edge.

Well, I was in a situation like that today, and it was strange. There was a group of us gathered for dinner, and it was just strange the way people were interacting. Not even anything specific that I could put my finger on, just a really weird feeling. No one was angry or anything, just not happy with each other. And though I didn't walk in with this spirit, I couldn't help getting caught up in it.

So, I am going to grab my rosary and my blanket and pillow and I am going to crawl into bed and fight this battle with my rosary. And fall asleep and start all over again tomorrow.

One of the great things about God-He always gives us a fresh start in a new day.

Thank You God!