Saturday, October 31, 2009

Meet Child Number 6- John Paul

There we were with five children. Dave had just graduated from nursing school and our future was looking bright. John Paul is our, "Yeah, nursing school is over, Dave has a real job" celebration baby!

Hands down, this boy was my easiest baby. He slept through the night almost from day one. He was also my largest. Weighing in at eleven pounds, one ounce, the nurses gasped when he was born. One of the funniest things was that I didn't even know I was in labor with him.

I had had a restless night, as one often does at that late stage in the game. But I wasn't feeling any contractions or anything. Dave was on the three to eleven shift then, so he was home with me during the day. I went to the bathroom about mid morning and saw some yucky stuff that the doctors call "bloody show", and I casually said to Dave, (who was making lemon cake for me, ) "I think I should call Dr. Powalski". I did and the doc said I should head for the hospital so he could check me out. I took a shower and then vacuumed the living room while Dave took his. We took the younger kids to my next door neighbor and off we went to the hospital. It was the day before my birthday.

We get to the hospital and they tell me that I am already five centimeters dilated. I laughed. Here I was vacuuming and I didn't even feel anything!!! The nurse taking care of me asked if we knew what we were having and I said, "Yes, a boy and we are going to name him John Paul." She could not believe it. Her son's birthday was that very day and his name was, you guessed it, John Paul! I received extra special care! And John was to be my extra special birthday gift that year. I held him all day on my birthday and praised God for my extra special gift. I can remember like it was yesterday, holding that warm bundle next to me, and just crying with joy.

With my John Paul, I discovered the beauty of breastfeeding. Can you believe it? It took me until the sixth child to breastfeed. It just didn't work with the first two. The three after that, I just didn't bother. But a nurse in the delivery room, who also happens to be a friend, convinced me to try it again. So I did.

And I couldn't have had a more perfect baby to do this with. He slept great, nursed great, (that big boy was hungry!), just an all around happy kid! He still is.

John Paul had the funniest run when he was little. He would run with his head, like he was going to charge at something. I also had more songs I made up with his name then the rest. Sung to the tune of the opening song for Catdog, (if anyone can remember that Nick ridiculous show), it went something like this, "I got me a baby and his name is John Paul, he's the cutest baby of them all, John Paul, John Paul, alone in the world is a little John Paul." Yeah, that is about as creative as I get, sorry folks.

John was barely a year old when we became involved at the mission. He grew up hearing the song, "God is a good God", and as he began to speak, we would pull up to the church and he would say "We are at God is a good God". He also used to call my spiritual mother "God is a good God". He just associated everything at St. Luke's as God is a good God.

That was also the year that all over Western New York there were statues of buffaloes. Every time he saw one he would yell out, "bubbalos!!!!". It was the cutest thing and soon everyone in our family was yelling it out.

Today, I have to tell you, John Paul is one of my most talented children. He is musically gifted. He started playing guitar last year and within months had written a song. Not a masterpiece, a very simple tune, but impressive. Just recently he started playing the drums. The man who is teaching him had the biggest grin on his face when he taught him his first lesson. His face said, "this kid's got it!". Never saw a grown man so excited!

John Paul can also speak with many different accents. We will be sitting at the dinner table and he will ask someone to pass something with an Australian accent. He is learning Spanish in school and I was in the room when he was learning new things from his teacher and I was delighted over how well he could pronounce the words. He is amazing.

John Paul is a softy. He will still, at the age of eleven, climb into my lap for a hug and some mommy time. He doesn't like to see me work hard so he is the first one of the younger set to jump up and help me clean. Yesterday when everyone else was goofing around, John cleaned the bedroom he shares with his three brothers. Unasked, and all by himself. He also surprised me by unloading the dishwasher. I went to the cupboard to get a glass and found all of my cups and glasses, neatly arranged.

He can also be a bear cub. He loves to wrestle with his big brother Tyler and he is tough. He really holds his own. Sometimes I worry that Tyler is going to hurt him, and I will hear him laughing but I don't know if it is from fear or fun, and when I step in, he says, "Oh, mom, I was just laughing, I'm okay."

He is so funny. He can come up with the funniest things. His jokes are so good! He has us laughing at the dinner table more than anyone.

He is smart and works hard at school. He loves to be organized like his big bro Jacob, and he loves to read the Hardy Boys.

He is one of the most easy going of my children and he is really good. I hardly ever have to discipline him. What gets him in trouble is his insatiable curiosity. He likes to see how something will burn, oh, like bread bag twisties. Or he will take things apart, just because he wants to see how it is made. Problem is, he doesn't know how to put it back together once he has taken it apart! He will take the sticks used for kabobs and poke holes in lemons, tomatoes and any unsuspecting veggie lying around, just to see what happens to the food product. He has to be reminded once in awhile that this is a waste of food. He doesn't do it to be destructive, (like when he wrote his name on walls and furniture, just to practice), he is just so curious about these things. You can just see it in his face when I have to remind him not to do these things, it's like, "What? I just wanted to see what would happen!"

He is a joy. I mean a real joy. I can't wait to see what he does with his life! Sometimes, I can't wait to see what he is going to do on a daily basis, because the boy is just so darn entertaining.

This next story illustrates my John Paul to a "t". One New Year's Eve about two years ago, we were heading to the cafeteria at the mission where we were going to enjoy some food, fellowship and karaoke. John Paul was leading our family and with arms outstretched, he said, "Everyone outta my way. Cause when I get done singing, there won't be a dry eye in the house!"

Wouldn't you just have to love a kid like that? I really, really do!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Extra Credit


Today went really well at school. All the children looked great! And yours truly had a trick up her sleeve. I dressed up as St. Elizabeth of Hungary. And I looked every bit of the royal queen!
As I did my research of married saints, because I wanted to be a married saint, I realized something interesting. Yes, they were all married, like me. Yes, some of them had a ton of kids, just like me. They went out to serve the poor, gave things away, fed and clothed people. Attended Mass often, lots of prayer time. BUT, they also had servants.
I mean, when Queen Liz went out to give out bread, she didn't have to worry about what her own rugrats would be dining on. She wasn't throwing chicken nuggets in the oven and mixing up some boxed mac and cheese while giving a bath schedule to the oldest daughter and telling son number one, he better be in that tub! She left it all to cook and nanny and then went out to do her thing.
So, since I do it all, minus the cook, the nanny and a butler, I believe I should get extra credit. Are you listening God?
I mean, seriously. Sometimes as a missionary when I sink into the pew, or wherever we are, I breathe a huge sigh, and thank God that I made it without killing or maiming anyone. Not just in my household, but also on the road. I swear between driving the kids and having to be at various things for the mission, I spend more time in the van than I do anywhere else. And I am usually behind Gramma Jones, going two miles an hour, and I am already five minutes late. How can one be merciful in that situation? Ugh, doesn't she know I have to get to my retreat!!
St. Elizabeth didn't have to deal with any of that. They didn't even HAVE cars! She doesn't know how good she had it.
She didn't have to worry about her four year old clinging to her leg like she wasn't ever coming back. She didn't have to deal with hubby having enough scrubs and black socks. She didn't have to hide towels from the children so that hubby could have a clean one in the morning.
Alls I'm sayin is I could do what she did if I had a million dollars and the servants to run my household so I could hand out things from my pantry to everyone.
Of course, there is the issue of Cook needing something from that pantry and it not being there cause the mistress gave it away. Hmmm.
And didn't cooks have a bad temper back then?
This could change everything..............

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh When The Saints....


Okay. I will admit it. I hate this time of year. I really do. I hate Halloween.
Now before you think it's because I have some holy and spiritual reason, well, let me set you straight. I hate it because I lack crafting, sewing, and basic artistic skills. Yet once a year, on a shoe string budget I am expected to get a boatload of kids ready to be dressed as a particular saint!
I am down to five this year. Tomorrow I will be driving Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Nicholas, St. George, the Blessed Mother and St. Teresa of Avila to school. At ten this evening, my dear hubby, (who is very, very artistic, crafty and can make a sari out of an old bed sheet, blue masking tape and a safety pin), finished the last of it. And we barely fought this year.
I don't have any idea what the man has to complain about. I do all the planning, mostly in my head as I am driving and children are yelling things to me like,"Mom, I want to be St. Lucy, can you get me some fake eyeballs?" or "Mom, I want to be St. Joseph, do you know where that stuffed donkey is that I got when I was three and haven't seen since last Christmas?" This they start yelling from the back of the van to me, at the end of August.

By mid October they have changed their minds at least three times, multiply that by 5 and you have one insane mother by the time October 22 rolls around. Then the real fun begins. I start and finish at the dollar store. Then I hit up Walmart and some random fabric store. By the time I get to Target, I am wondering if it would be worth the 15.99 to buy the robo cop costume so I can use the helmet for St. George, (if my husband covers the weird insignia with a red cross). What aisle are the markers and poster board?
After dinner I set up all the costumes with the poster board, yarn, twine, string, markers, pins, needles, tape, glue sticks, and a staple gun in case he needs to staple something to a child's head.

I move on to laundry or whatever I have to do so that the hubby can do what he is good at. And that is to complain to the children that mom has disappeared, and "does she expect me to do all this by myself?"

What?! Are you kidding me? I have seen the inside of more stores today than Paris Hilton. I have sorted and sifted and held up fabric, picturing a little Therese, or Faustina. I have agonized over the price of rope vs twine. Come on bud. All you gotta do is take what I brought to you and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

After much coaxing and smoothing of ruffled feathers, I get the man to make a shield, and a mitre. Listen, my husband is now an expert at making poster board mitres. I mean it. He fixed the dollar store helmet and armor putting red crosses in the appropriate places. And he made an old thin, white blanket, look like it could clothe one of Blessed Mother Teresa's gals. I am eternally grateful to this man I married.
He once again, in the eleventh hour, made it happen.
And oh, yeah, I owe him big time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Won A Blogger Award!!!



One of my new blogger friends, Anne over at Imprisoned In My Bones-Releasing My Inner Jeremiah, granted me this lovely, surprising award. What an honor, being a newbie and all to blogging everyday, to receive this. And doesn't the name of her blog catch your curiosity? Go check her out. But before you do that I have to name six little known facts about myself, and then pass this on to six other gorgeous bloggers who get to do the same thing. So here goes:

1) I hate beets. For most people this would not be shocking, but for me it is and it is shameful. Because I am Polish, and Polish people love beets. I don't. I hate them. I don't even like the smell of them. And here I am Polish and everything, and I don't like beets. I do love duck's blood soup and golumbki. So that saves me from having to turn in my card.

2) I was a cheerleader in seventh and eighth grade. For our Catholic elementary school's basketball team. I quit dance class after ten years of taking dance and loving it just to be a cheerleader. Which leads to little known fact number three:

3) The real reason why I wanted to be a cheerleader was because I had the hugest crush on one of the players. He was the love of my life from first grade until about freshman year in high school. What was really cute was that his first name was Michael and well, mine is Michelle. Isn't that adorable? He was!!!! The thrill of my life was when I got to do a personal cheer for him every time he scored a basket. I would pray to God and do twelve Hail Mary's that a) I would get his name and b) he would score so that I could cheer his name!

4) I love John Stamos. I am not a drooler of stars. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, who cares? But if I ever ran into John Stamos, they would need to get a street cleaner to clean up the puddle I would become. The man is gorgeous.

5) I love old musicals. When I was in eighth or ninth grade when all of my friends were sneaking into horror movies, my friend Donna Scalzi and I would go see the That's Entertainment movies. We loved watching the dancing and singing. Sometimes, we were the only ones in the theatre and we didn't care. We could talk out loud about what they were wearing or how they were dancing. For Donna and I, that was a fun Friday night!

So now I send on this prestigious award to six of my favorite gorgeous bloggers:

Allison at A Broken Fortress

Kim at baby yahyah

Lerin at Beautiful Chaos

Jennifer at Conversion Diary

Stephanie at The Digital Hairshirt

Mary Rose at True Confessions of A Prodigal Daughter

God bless to all you gorgeous ladies!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kind Act

I have been meditating on kindness a lot lately and I was thinking about some of the kindest things people have done for me. One in particular though, stands out in my mind. The person who did it probably doesn't even know how much it affected me, and he might not even remember what he did, but I will never forget it.

I was days away from giving birth to our sixth child, days away from my thirty seventh birthday and my hubby was working the three to eleven shift as a new nurse. It was early March and it was a Friday night and I was alone, big and running around after the rugrats when I heard a knock at my door.

There stood my father in law. I was surprised because he wasn't the type to just drop in without calling. I let him in and he said, "I am here to babysit. Early birthday gift. You have the night off. Go do whatever you want and I will stay with the kids."

When I got over the shock, I hightaled it out of there! Before he changed his mind!

I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. My father in law is a wonderful man, with a really great sense of humor. With each pregnancy he would say, "I can handle six, six is my limit, if you have anymore than that I won't be able to babysit." Then the next one would come along and he would say, "Seven, seven, I can handle seven. But that's my limit". I loved to tease him about that.

So on a chilly Friday night, my father in law gave me the best birthday gift ever. I went to Borders and listened to all kinds of music and lost myself in books for awhile. I was only gone a couple of hours, but that was all I needed.

What a precious memory. What a kind act. I will never, ever forget it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Ideas for "Shocking"!



The entertainment industry, but specifically the music industry, prides itself on having performers that are on the cutting edge. They are touted as being shocking free thinkers, always outside the box, always ready to "shock" with new and inventive ideas and schemes.

And I look around and I see nothing new or shocking at all. Britney Spears. Madonna did it already. Lady Gaga, ditto. Mariah Carey, honey, it would be more shocking to all of us if you put your clothes back on and dressed like the church lady! It is all the same, you are not shocking us with exposed body parts. Janet Jackson did it already. Put your clothes back on too girl, cause we already seen your parts. No mystery or shocker there.

If they asked my opinion, and they won't, so that is why I have to write it here, if they really want to shock America, find us a musical star who dresses elegantly, is Catholic and true to his or her faith, doesn't sing about sex and actually has a good singing voice when the electric is out.

Now, wouldn't that shock all of us? Especially the singing voice. Wouldn't it shock everyone if the newest singing sensation was someone who wasn't shacking up with the guitarist from Pearl Jam, wasn't making babies named Shadow and Sprite, and could actually, oh my goodness, sing! And sing songs that didn't make mom and dad turn fifty shades of red as they dropped junior off to St. Al's Collegiate for the Hearing Impaired?

It makes me want to puke when I hear these singers, especially the females,talking about women putting their shoulders back and being strong women who are not afraid of their sexuality and of who they are. "Don't be afraid to be your own woman, and go do what you want to do!"

Except if what you want to do as that good, strong woman, in touch with your sexuality, is wait until you are married to "be" with someone. But wait a minute. That is really thinking for yourself nowadays. Any parent who has a child in college knows that if you brought your child up to wait until marriage, not mess around with sex or alcohol or drugs, you are in the minority. And your child will be the only one in her dorm room, or on her floor who hasn't had sex. And she will be looked down for it. Looked at as backwards, not taught correctly, etc.

Hmmm? Who is really thinking for themselves then? The child who goes against the grain and stays true to his or her faith and morals? Or the child who goes with today's crowd? Is it the one who lives through the persecution, even though they have made a decision for themselves that sex outside of marriage is not good for them or the one who goes along, sleeps with her boyfriend, cause everyone else is doing it.

Shocking when you look at it, isn't it?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In Love With Padre Pio


I have written before how I have loved the saints ever since I was a little girl. I have some favorites, St. Michael, St. Therese, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Claire, St. Teresa. But today I added a new one. St. Padre Pio.


I have read stories about him, maybe even saw things on TV, but today at Generations of Faith we were talking about the Saints and Fr. Jack spoke about Padre Pio. He showed us excerpts from a movie about him. Wow. I fell in love. I want to see the whole movie now. I want to know as much as I can about this wonderful priest.


I just can't imagine what it must have been like to go to confession to a priest who could read your heart. But you had to know that you were walking away clean after he absolved you. He didn't mince words. I went to confession once and the priest told me not to worry about the things I confessed, that they weren't that bad. I knew they weren't horrid or anything, but they were still sins!!! I wasn't overly emotional or crying or anything, so I was confused by what he said. Was he saying, "Listen honey, compared to what I heard today, you shouldn't even be in here wasting my time. Your nickel and diming me here!" I don't know. I bet Padre Pio wouldn't have said that to me, and he probably would have brought up a few things I forgot!


St. Padre Pio loved prayer. So do I! I think we all should. It is our way of being with God all day long. I am practicing the art of being in prayer, at all times, so that I will always be in His presence. I am asking for the graces needed to accomplish that. I love prayer. And I am learning to be quiet more, talk less, listen. This does not come easy for me. I am a talker. Non stop. Ask my hubby. Sometimes I tell you, it is not even like I can help myself. But off I went on a tangent, back to Padre.....


I love him. I was looking at his pictures today and he had such kind eyes. The kind of eyes that you can see Jesus looking back at you. My spiritual director, whom I also call my spiritual mother, has those same eyes. You look into them and boom, there's Jesus looking right at you, saying, "I love you." Padre Pio has those kind of eyes.


He wanted Jesus to always be with him because he knew he couldn't do it without Him. I know that feeling too. I want to bring souls to Jesus, but I know for certain that I can't do it without Him. I am so weak. Padre Pio was a mystic who didn't know how these things could be happening to him, like bi location, reading people's hearts, seeing his and other people's guardian angels, etc. It was all a mystery to him too. I don't have sensational things like that happening to me, but there are things in my life that God has gifted me with that I have no clue how or why He gave them to me. The key for Padre Pio was acceptance and humility. I can learn from that.


There is so much more, but the time is late and I, unlike Padre Pio, cannot be sustained on just a few hours of sleep!


But I go to sleep happy because I have found another spiritual soul mate, a spiritual father.


Pray for us St. Padre Pio.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Really Great Saturday


I went on a date with my husband this morning. Well, it didn't start out that way. I just noticed that he was getting ready to go somewhere and when I asked him where, he said "out to look at the leaves."


Now, in my head I already had plans for me. And for him. These plans did not include romping around in leaves. More like cleaning the bathroom and folding laundry. So I paused for a moment, and he asked if I wanted to go too. At first I was thinking, "oh, I have so much to do. Laundry, and cooking and cleaning. The kids never help so this place is a sty, and I was going to make the boys FINALLY clean their room! And I won't get to............." Right then and there I stopped myself and said to my husband, "Yes. Yes, I do want to go."


We had both had a tough week. We haven't had any alone time in weeks. What would a couple of hours hurt? It would leave plenty of time to still get some things done. And really, will I ever be caught up? No. No, I won't ever be caught up. But I only have this moment with my husband, to make our marriage richer, to spend time with my best friend.


Plus, when I put out my bottom lip and said, "Will you buy me a coffee at Tim Horton's?" he said yes. So now I had to go. We snuck out. Well, not exactly. I extricated the four year old from my leg, called down the half awake seventeen year old daughter, and said, "We'll be back". You gotta say that or they think you are leaving forever. Well, at least the four year old thinks that. Then again, the teenage daughter thinks that too.


After a breakfast sandwich and a French Vanilla Cappuccino, we were on our way. I was taking advantage of having my husband's ear and trying to catch up with all he missed out on the last two months when he looked at me and said, "No more. I remember when I met you how much you loved the fall, your favorite time of the year. Here we are, let's forget about everything else and just enjoy the trees and the beauty that surrounds us."


I grabbed my coffee and let everything go. It was wonderful. It was wonderful to really look at the trees and not just rush past them while my mouth went a mile a minute. Just to take it all in and enjoy the smells, the unbelievable colors of the trees, even the breeze. It was God's colorful show and it was amazing. I was so happy just to be alone with my husband, happy that after so many years of marriage, I still wanted to be alone with him. Happy that we still enjoyed being together.


I know that might sound silly but when I see everything around me, marriages that fail, some before they were even given a chance, I just feel so blessed. Blessed that my husband is still my best friend, blessed that we have a happy marriage.


I felt so great that when I got home I made a pot of chili, a pot of soup and an apple crisp. It was a lot of work, but worth it when I saw how happy my hubby and children were. It was one of those days where I really felt blessed to be a wife and mother.


All in all, a really great Saturday.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Cold, Comfy, Night


It has been a rather strange day. I woke up thinking it would be a regular school day, and a good one because I love Fridays. And then my poor 6 year old, Amelia woke up with a bad cough and fever. Teresa was under the weather and so was Joseph. Tyler was sick, probably could have made it through, but I needed someone to stay home with the little ones while I took the remaining children to school.


So it would be a day at home. At eleven o'clock they ended up dismissing my two children who go to our mission home school because only seven out of the twenty-two students showed up. Everyone here in Western New York is sick. Swine flu, flu-flu, colds, coughs, you name it, we all got it.


The weather is yucky, so who wants to go anywhere anyway? My hubby who has been in and out of our house all week, and sick himself, (cause he works his butt off in an ER taking care of all those sick people in WNY!), made us a wonderful gourmet meal. Well, he and I ate gourmet. The children who turn their noses up at such things ate grilled cheese sandwiches. And were quite happy to do it!


We were happily joined by my oldest daughter's boyfriend. She was at work and he needed a place to hang. So he hung out here and ate gourmet. SCORE! I think he just likes to hang with our family because there is always, in a big family, something going on. Little ones to play with, big kids to joke with. And lots, and lots of food! The kitchen never closes. We are Marciniaks. We gotta eat!


What a nice fall night we just had. God is good. We need to praise Him for the simple things in life. A good meal, good company, a warm home.


I am thankful tonight. My little ones are snug in their beds, my hubby and I are relaxing and all is quiet. The teenagers are happy. All is well despite the rain and the cold outside. In our humble home, it is warm and safe and dry tonight.


Thank You God for taking care of us. I love You.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Child Number 5- Mary



Meet my fifth beautiful child. Mary Jessica. Mary is thirteen and she is smack dab in the middle. There are four in front of her, and four behind her. And unfortunately for her, she is smack dab in the middle of brothers!!

Let's start at the beginning though. When Jacob was about nine months old, I became pregnant with Mary. I remember walking the floor with a crying Jacob, Dave was in nursing school and I was crying, thinking, "I can't handle the four I have, how am I going to have another one?"

Then I became upset with myself. I thought, why can't I be like the Blessed Mother, and just say yes and be happy about it. So that is what I did.

It was a tough pregnancy. Dave was gone a lot due to school and work. I remember being so huge, and bathing four children, bending over the tub with my huge belly. My feet hurt, my ankles hurt. And that was the summer my brother unexpectedly dropped off my seven year old niece. I thought my husband was going to explode. At me. Not my brother. I walked around for the THREE weeks I had my niece living with us, saying, "I am seven months pregnant, I can't do this". After two days of that, my dear hubby said, "I know, I know. We all know. YOU'RE SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT!" Oh, did I mention it was July. It was hot, my ankles were swollen and I was taking care of five children under the age of seven. Did I mention I was seven months pregnant?

It was the summer of my discontent. But then at the end of September, Mary arrived. We decided to name her after our Grandmothers, Mary after Dave's two grammas, middle name, Jessica, after mine. As sweet as can be. And a huge mama's girl. Always wanted to be with me. I was the only one who knew how she wanted to be held. My father in law would tease me. He would come to babysit and I would have to explain to him how to wrap her in her blanket, and show him exactly how she liked to be held. "Jeepers," he'd say. "This is the only one of your babies who comes with massive instructions". She wanted to be held really close. She loved to be right up against me, all snuggled up in a blanket.

And when you walked the floors with her, you had to walk the room diagonally. I kid you not. The child knew if you strayed from her pattern! Listen guys, I had a houseful of kids. I didn't care what it took to get this baby to sleep, if she wanted me to walk around the house counterclockwise I would have done it!

As she got older her eccentricities did not stop there. She said "yesh" and "note" instead of "yes" and "no". She had huge blue eyes that took up her whole face, as cute as can be. Which made people want to pick her up and hug her and smooch her. NO. Mary would have none of that. She would stand back and look at people like they were the oddest things in the world. She had such a snooty way of looking at people. We used to say she looked at all of us like she was saying, "There obviously has been some mistake. I do not belong with you people. I should be in East Amherst where my real family is!" (For those of you who are not from around here, East Amherst is a suburb of Buffalo where the richy rich live.)

She would attach herself to certain people, and there was no rhyme or reason. She would instantly know if she liked someone and that was that. Just now I was thinking, she loved my dad, God rest his soul. He loved her too. We went to the fair the summer following and he lovingly carried her around all day. She held onto him and I remember afterwards she smelled like his after shave because she had pressed her face into his all day. What a sweet memory.

People used to say that poor Mary has it rough with two older brothers right in front of her, but let me tell you, that girl can hold her own. I will never have to worry about her and guys. Anyone tries anything on that girl and she will slug them. I have been saying that since she was little, and as she grows, that does not change. Mary antagonizes her brothers quietly. Gets them all worked up. Then they start hooting and hollering and they get in trouble even though she started it. In our household, it is all about peace and quiet. The one who is the loudest is the one who gets in trouble, whether or not they started it. Mary is smart. She learned that quickly!

Mary admits that she is a tomboy. No girlie girl nail polish for her. Her style in clothes is fashionable but she only wears dresses when I force her too. She is much like her brothers in that I have to remind her that we own a tub and she should use it. I am hoping that will change now that she is a teenager!

Mary is methodically slow. It's because Mary is in her own world and easily distracted. You can send her upstairs to get something, and call her down twenty minutes later and ask where the item is that you sent her up for, and she will look at you like, "you sent me up there to get something?" laugh and say, " ohhhhh, now I remember..." Argh. In a family with nine kids, this in not an endearing quality to say the least. Although sometimes I think there is a method to her madness in that we now ask her very rarely to get something because we don't have the time to wait for her to come down without it!

When Mary was about four or five, we would all be running around getting ready for church on Sunday. Mary would be standing looking out the front door and no one would be noticing that she wasn't getting ready because we were all running around getting ourselves and the babies in the house ready. We would be ready to go and I would look at Mary in her sweat pants and tee shirt and say, "Mary, why aren't you ready?!!!" And with a serious face that child would say to me, "Where are we going?" Yes, yes. The child would actually ask me where were we going? Like it was something new for us to be going to Mass on a Sunday. Like she never even noticed all the commotion going on around her! "Why, are we going somewhere?"

She's better now. Now, she is only looking for her shoes when we are all walking out the door. The child has been dressed for an hour and a half but doesn't look for her shoes until she see us all walking out! I love her but sometimes.....

Mary is my "sit and talk with me in the kitchen child". She will sit on the stool at the peninsula and entertain me for hours while I cook or clean. We have silly talks and she can make me laugh. She is also the best with the two little girls. She lets them sit in her lap for hours and entertains them on the computer. My best cleaning days, are the ones where Mary takes charge of her two baby sisters.

Mary also makes friends easily. Friends of all ages. Grown ups and teenagers and toddlers just love her! She has the best personality! Her best friend, Carla's family, totally love her. They are an immigrant Hispanic family and everyone from the gramma to the three year old little brother love her. When she goes for a sleep over she stays for three nights because they won't give her back to me. The three year old brother hates me because I come to pick her up and he gets mad at me for taking away his Mary. It is so sweet and funny. She is a lovable girl.

She is smarter than she thinks. And funnier than she knows. I love having her around. She is a blessing in my life.

I love my Mary very, very much. She has a grampa up in heaven who I know is watching over her. He would be very proud of the young woman she is becoming.

I know I am.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I learned in RCIA tonight.....


It is getting late again and I have had a long, but good day. So tonight will be a short post.


I was at RCIA tonight and we were sharing different things with each other. One of our ladies who entered the church a few years ago through our RCIA was talking about how amazing it is that God already knows what we need, but waits for us to ask through prayer.


She quietly said, "How humble and gentle God is, that He would wait for us to ask." Then she smiled a sweet smile and said, "That's nice." Just as sweet and smooth as could be.


It was one of those moments where everyone just sat there taking in that thought.


I love RCIA.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Live It!


Right now I am in the middle of a great time of consolation. Don't misunderstand me, I still have my trials and tribulations, and the devil is still trying to get at me, but for the most part, God and I are still on our honeymoon. And it is wonderful!


I know this means that rough times will be ahead, new suffering and sacrifice, and God will help me face them all. But tonight I was thinking about people who just want to wallow in suffering and sacrifice with dour faces and downtrodden hearts. Even when God gives them consolation, they think they should feel guilty for feeling good, and downplay it!


I love St. Faustina. But sometimes I think she was a little too, too serious, dour, and rigid. She was intense! Did you ever read her diary? I have. Several times, and as a missionary of Divine Mercy, I am required to read a little of it each day. But that is all I can handle. Because she is too intense for me.


Now, don't get me wrong, I am not about to throw the baby out with the bath water. All I am saying is, (in the words of my husband) sometimes we need to "Lighten up Francis!" Not everyone is called to be that rigid, intense and dour. I know that I am not. I think we can learn different things from different saints and then incorporate it with our own, individual gifts, and become our own saint. You know, become who God wants us to be.


I am seeing in some people around me, something I am now going to call, "Eeyore Spirituality".

You know the glum donkey from Winnie the Pooh. It is driving me crazy. I don't want to feel guilty about being smack dab in the middle of a consolation time with the Lord. I think He wants us to enjoy Him. I think He made the changing of the leaves so that we could see beauty. He made things beautiful. What would be the point in making all of this if He didn't want us to feel joyful! It brings me closer to Him, I love Him more when I look at the beautiful fall trees and know that He knows how much I love looking at them. He did it for our delight!


So then I start thinking, how am I going to get people to change their glum minds? Talking about it doesn't help, they look at you like you are insane, which after nine kids, I probably am, but that is beside the point! God is good!


Then it came to me. Live it! Just live joyfully. When I look at the people in my life who are full of joy, why are they different? Do they not have sufferings in their life? Of course they do. They just enjoy the good and the bad. They are loving and happy and peaceful wherever God places them. Feasting or Fasting, it's all good!


I love that saying, "it's all good". God gave each one of us our own talents and gifts, to use for His glory. And I like to think that He gives us a break too. If life was nothing but suffering and sacrifice, if He didn't give us those little moments of happiness, well, I don't think we would have the strength to get through the bad moments. Our human condition couldn't handle it.


I could be wrong. But these are just my thoughts. I am not a theologian, or a scholar. Just a missionary mama with nine kids and a husband, trying not to live my life like an unhappy mule.


It's all good.


That's how I want to be!

Monday, October 19, 2009

God's Love


Tonight I was thinking about my favorite ride as a child. Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney World. I loved that ride when you got to the place where it seemed like you were under a never ending night sky, with stars and there was a nice breeze. I would close my eyes and breathe in. And then open them and look at the night sky.


I love to do that in the summer time. My happiest memories were at a friend's family summer home, where we would sit by the man -made pond and talk best friend talk under a huge summer sky. Loved the shooting stars which were plentiful there because it was out in the boonies, no street lights. Just the night sky.


So tonight I was thinking about loving someone like that. Loving someone until your love just went on and on. We can love like that.


Because the Father loves us like that. His love is huge, it spans all space and time. And even though under that night sky you might feel small and insignificant, He see little ole you, and He loves you. In a huge way.


Isn't that awesome? Think about that while you are falling asleep tonight.


Bet you will have awesome dreams.

Chute not Shoot

So I get in bed last night, thinking about my witty post and laughing to myself when suddenly I realized. I misspelled chute. It is laundry chute, not shoot. After I wrote it, it seemed weird to me, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

I am at that age where I will write something, look at it, and it just doesn't seem like it is spelled right. The word that I have seen a billion times, will look odd. So I use spell check. A lot. (Which is why I now know that a lot is not alot!)

But it doesn't work for homophones. It's not going to tell you if you used a word that sounds the same but doesn't have the meaning you want. Which is what happened to me last night. I don't just need spell check, I need grammar check!

So all I am thinking this morning is: it's a good thing I teach preschool. All I have to do is teach them what's red and what is blue. I can still do that.

Although today is Monday, so even that can be questionable.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Hate Pens


I hate pens. I really, really do. Now you are thinking, "But Michelle, pens are inanimate objects. Why must you have such strong feelings towards something that has nothing against you?"


And you would be WRONG! Because I am totally convinced that pens absolutely, positively, exist just to make me stark, raving mad.


First, in my household, you can never, ever find one. My poor husband has brought home pen after pen, after pen. With a cry in his throat he will ask me, "Where are my pens?" I don't know honey. Ask the kids. Or look in the cracks of the car seats. I think there are several hundred, stashed by children doing their homework on the way to school.


But the reason why I really, really hate them. I hate them because they show up in my laundry, unnoticed, hiding even, not to be found until they have ruined an entire load of WHITES in the dryer! It happened again yesterday. I don't know how it got in there but I bent down to get the laundry out and I immediately saw it. You know what I am talking about, the blue horrid streaks on the back of the inside of your dryer, it is like the pen mocking you. You haven't seen what it has done to your laundry yet, but it just told you in no uncertain terms that it was there. With a vengeance.


My hubby was happily making us a nice, bubbly, fall dinner. And from the belly of the beast he begins to hear his wife swearing like a sailor in a saloon. I mean, how many freakin, farfignoogin times is this gonna happen to me? Argh. I try so hard to not let this happen. I take the time to shake out each piece of laundry as I put it in the dryer. But they hide. Oh, they hide.


"Why don't you check all the pockets before placing them in the washing machine", you may ask me. Well, Martha Stewart, I do laundry for ten people!!! I would have to live in my basement to do that. The children would get hungry. The husband would get lonely.


"Why don't you tell them to empty their pockets?". Because these are people who will stand in front of the laundry shoot and leave their clothes and unmentionables on the floor in front of the shoot. They are not capable of checking their pockets.


Besides, that would be useless. Pens have it out for me. I think they wait until I am up the stairs and jump into the machine after I leave. They are willing to die, have all of their blood taken out of them just to hear me say things I will have to confess later.


But I have the last laugh, all of their dead carcasses lie for months in my large garbage bin, with lint balls, and the old moldy food the cats stashed down there so I wouldn't see what they were eating, and the stained old clothes. Then when it is full, off they go with the garbage men in the sky. To be annihilated and melted into nothingness. Ha. Or maybe left next to a gramma's rotting garbage and the bag of diapers stinking in the sun.


Oh, I can think of all kinds of nasty things that should happen to those fiendish things that cause me to suffer so. But I need to go finish the laundry.


Does anyone know how to get pen stains off the back of a dryer?


Saturday, October 17, 2009

My friend, Nate

I just recieved a message from my friend Nate who is a soldier in Iraq. Facebook is an amazing thing and despite all the bad about facebook, when used correctly, it can keep old friends in touch through many miles. Many, many miles.

Did you ever have a moment where you just all of a sudden realize a person's sacrifice? And God opens your eyes to the people in THAT person's life who make sacrifices? I just had one of those moments. My friend Nate misses all of us terribly. He is a part of our St. Luke's community, and I have known him since he was a teenager. Now he is a brave, young, man serving our country. He is a Civil Affairs Officer working as a Civil Team Leader in the Mosul Reconstruction Cell. I am not going to weigh you down with details, only tell you this, he is one of many who are trying to help build up Northern Iraq into a working, viable community. In Nate's own words they are:"nurturing economic development and progress, thus, turning the populace away from the path of insurrection and toward the rule of law."

Wow. I am bawling my eyes out thinking about what this brave, young man is doing. He had to leave his family, his friends, his faith community, and his absolutely beautiful girlfriend. I don't know his girlfriend, only have seen pictures but I have read what she writes to him on facebook, and I can tell you that this is a young woman who is beautiful, inside and out. She sacrifices too. She will be without him until May. God bless her loving heart.

It's easy to not even think about the sacrifices our American soldiers, armed services, etc, make every, single day for us. Until it hits home. Until the soldier is one of your own. And at the mission, when you are a part of that community, you are one of our own. Forever. I can now see the sacrifices up close. They are making the whole world a better place for all of mankind. They sacrifice so that others may have freedom. Not just their own countrymen, but freedom and justice for all. ALL.

I am so proud of my Nate. I am proud of his beautiful girlfriend whom I have never even met.

When we are sitting next to our loved ones tonight, munching on popcorn and watching movies, or in my case, the Sabres game, let's say a prayer for those who are sacrificing their lives.

Thank you Nate. I can't even wait to see you in May and give you the biggest hug. And bring your girl over. She's someone I would love to get to know!

God bless you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mommy Joy



One of my nine reasons I love being a mom: Teresa. After a long day of children and driving and responsibilities, I was met at the door tonight by this smiling face and the words:"Mommy, I was waiting for you!"

Then we went upstairs with blanky in tow and rocked till little Resa was all loved up and sleeping.

This is my treasure. This is my joy. Thank You God.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Wannabe Claire Huxtable


If you have been reading my blog for a short while, then you know that I am a huge Cosby Show fan. Lately I have been thinking about the episodes where Cliff builds a room for Claire so she can have a space of her own.


I am writing this from my upstairs, unfinished bathroom. It has been like this for a year and a half. Why am I writing in the bathroom you are wondering? Because there is no where in this house to go. Let me set the scene for you.


In my kitchen where there is a rather nice peninsula for me to write at, I have a working teenage daughter. Said daughter wants to gallivant with friends tomorrow after school and get home sometime around her curfew. So we played lets make a deal and in exchange she has to clean the kitchen spotless because she has not cleaned it in oh, about three days. The fruit flies have settled in for the winter. Alas, even if she wasn't blaring her radio and banging pots and pans, I would not be able to sit at the peninsula anyway. Half of it is filled with dropped off junk mail and things that the children and the hubby find around the house that they don't know what to do with so they just leave it there for me to figure out. The other half of the peninsula has a fish tank full of dirty water and no fish. I believe the fish died about 2 months ago.


The dining room which has a huge table has a fourth grader working on homework even though his sister has not washed the table down from dinner. I wouldn't be able to work there anyway, too close to the kitchen, the blaring radio, and the cleaning teenager. The living room and the den which are connected to the dining room have a teenage boy and his teenage sister doing their homework. When they are not fighting with each other. Not too much work is getting done between the bickering and the sounds of the cleaning teenager, and the fourth grade brother who is trying to be the peacemaker. "Everyone just shut up!!!!"


So I travel upstairs. The girls' clothes room is an option, but well, it's the girls clothing room and it looks like it threw up girl's clothing everywhere. The girls' room has a sick 6 year old who is watching really obnoxious cartoons. And their room is a sty, and I would be distracted and aggravated. Some things are better left unseen.


On to the boys room. No human being should be allowed to enter. It's the boys room. They are not allowed to bring up drinks or food. But whenever we have a cup shortage, the first place I send the children to is the boys' room. There is also the other teenage boy watching The Office. Very loudly.


"But what about your own bedroom" you ask me, all innocent like. It is supposed to be my haven. I clean it, light candles, freshen it up. And then my husband comes home. Strips down to his scivvies, leaving socks and work uniform wherever they land. He plops down on the recliner with his laptop and the Blues Brothers movie, plays it loud, and farts like he just had a plate of beans for dinner. Yeah, that is a romantic picture, ain't it. (Allison, I am so sorry, I know I am scaring you away from marriage. Best you learn these things now dear.)


How can someone write under those conditions? How can a person hear herself think!


I want the room Cliff built Claire. It was soundproof. Yes it was. Can you imagine moms out there? Not to hear the children whining the moment you take two seconds for yourself. Oh, they will be out there doing it, but you won't hear it. Isn't that beautiful? I laugh like a giddy school girl just thinking about that. I know, sadistic right?


And she was going to decorate it so nice. She had a nice soft rug that had no stains on it from children spilling tropical punch kool-aid, or chocolate milk. And the beauty of that- it never would have stains because the children were not allowed. She could lock it when she left. No kids or farting husband allowed. If she had cinnamon scented candles going and nice smelling potpourri, it would smell soft and womanly. Not like old sausage and smelly socks.


I want that room. Because here I am, sitting on the bottom rung of the ladder my husband has had in this bathroom for the last six months writing on my blog. At least it is quiet. There is no toilet in here, and Lord knows no one under the age of 16 ever voluntarily bathes, so I am safe until someone needs to find some socks.(There is a sock drawer in the upstairs bathroom. Don't ask.)


At least a woman can dream. I know exactly the color I would want for my walls and rug, and where I would hang pictures.


I can almost hear the jazz music I would have playing in the background........

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mama


The Blessed Mother is awesome! I know you all know that, but I am just reminding you that Mom is the best.


I knew when I woke up this morning that I was going to have a rough day. Last night the teacher that I work with texted me that she wouldn't be in today, which was a good thing because the poor dear was sneezing and blowing and looking so uncomfortable, she needed to stay home and rest. But I also knew that I had to leave right before lunch to give rides to my high schoolers and to mission high schoolers who only had a half day today. Plus I had to give a ride to someone to their doctor's appointment. So in other words, I had a lot on my plate.


Before my feet hit the floor this morning I was praying and asking God for help and guidance. I did my usual morning routine, bathed and got dressed, etc. Then I put my rosary in my pocket and asked the Blessed Mother to help me all day.


And everything worked out. I felt peaceful and together. All the children were taken care of at school, the rides went smoothly and I sat at RCIA tonight completely calm and ready to work in my favorite ministry.


So tonight I am thanking Mom. Sometimes when I am feeling like a little girl, I picture myself hiding in her mantle. Sometimes, like today, when I see myself as an older daughter who just needs Mom's guidance, I picture myself standing next to her with her arm around me. She's backing me up, keeping me strong.


"Keep your eyes on my Son." She always points to Him. "Do whatever He tells you." She is wise, she is lovely, she is obedient, and she is generous. She said "Yes", and then she shared her Son with all of us. She said "Yes", and then gave Him up so that He could do for us, what no one else could do. How difficult it must have been for her. I can't even imagine. When He hung on that cross, she never, ever left Him. As a mother, oh, I know what that means. How can we not love her? How can we not place her above others? Who could do what she did? She has to be good, and kind, and loving, and sweet and gentle. She is suffering and sacrifice.

And she helped me today. Because my rosary reminded me to ask her. I will look at that rosary now as part of my armor.
As a missionary mom, I am learning that I am on the front line of battle. It's getting hot up here. And it ain't global warming kids. Souls, souls and more souls are at risk. But I am not worried.

As Father Corapi always says, "My Mama wears combat boots!"
Now that is one, tough, Mama.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Will Serve


I am in a time of consolation. I love this time. It's like a honeymoon with God. It feels great this time because the suffering was pretty bad, the attack was awful.


Ok, so I am going to say this probably a few times on my blog. I am not a theologian. I am not an academic, heck, sometimes I stand in the supermarket and I can't even remember what I went shopping for.


But when it comes to my faith, I know what I know. I have experienced much grace, I have experienced sufferings and consolations. I have lived through attacks from satan and I have dealt with generational demons. I don't need high fulootin books to tell me that these things exist. It's my life.


I could have turned out a whole lot different, but the Hand of God saved me. I grew up in a mixed up, dysfunctional household. I experienced a lot of things way before my time. I could tell you stories that would make your straight hair, curly, but none of that really matters.


What matters is this. God took a girl who needed mothering and taught her Himself, how to be a mother. God took a girl who had the possibilities of being a wild, free spirit, and tamed her into a one-man woman with responsibilities and a house full of kids.


And if that wasn't enough, He formed her into a missionary. Because when He lights the fire in your heart, when you burn with love for Him, you want to bring Him more, and more, and more souls. As many as your arms can carry. And that is a heavy load. And while you are walking that path, that very narrow path, satan is beating you, with whispers and words, telling you that you can't do it, shouldn't do it, WON'T do it.


Satan wants us to be like him. "I won't serve". Sometimes when I sit in Adoration and I am struggling and bawling my eyes out, all I can muster up are these three words, "I WILL SERVE." And I say them over and over. Because no matter what, I believe that He will give me the graces I need to serve. I am weak, He is strong. He uses a weak, pathetic, no nothing girl like me so that He shines. Not me. And that is the way it should be.


Love is all that matters my friends. God is Love. He is all that matters. I don't have scientific proof, a list of resources or a picture of God in action. Only the story of a woman who could have turned out really bad, but turned out to be a missionary mother of nine, loving God and His poor.


I WILL SERVE.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ben

Please pray my blogger friends for one of my missionary sisters and her husband. Today their 9 year old nephew was called home after a lengthy battle with cancer. Though I never met him, I can feel my sister's pain for many reasons.

First, because she is my friend and sister in Christ. I wrote about Sandy a few months ago. She is such a beautiful person, full of love and joy for everyone who is blessed enough to know her. She has a sweet and pure heart. My heart aches for her loss tonight.

Secondly, as a mom I can only imagine how his mom, Sandy's sister feels. Losing a child that young, has got to be devastating. You carry this child in you, you nurture him, love him, know him before anyone else does. Sadly, this little boy leaves behind his twin brother. My heart just aches for that family.

This little boy did touch a lot of hearts before he died. He was a hero among the people he lived with. The street he lived on recently had a party for him so they could all say their goodbyes.

Why? Why did this have to happen? I love God so much, but when something like this happens, I ask Him, why? It is a mystery. One that is far reaching. It makes me look up at the big night sky and know how we are really all connected by one Creator, one Father. When I see how I can feel the pain of a woman I have never even met. When I see that I can grieve the loss of a child that is not my own, and that I will never know him, but know in my heart that we are all connected to each other. In our humanness, compassion, understanding. We have to feel for each other. We were created to feel for each other. "He ain't heavy, he's my brother."

So tonight, in that spirit of love and compassion and mercy, please say a chaplet or a rosary for a family you may only meet in heaven.

Rest in Peace Ben.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Teens!


My Sunday almost always starts the same way, with me getting totally aggravated with THE CHILDREN. The teenagers are the worst. You would think I was asking them to give up their cell phone for a month when I ask them to wear a dress shirt and nice pants to church.


What kills me is how they act each week like this is something I have just started in our family. Every week when I tell my oldest son that his Sabres tee shirt is not appropriate, and no, his tee shirt with The Office logo won't do either, ("but it doesn't have any stains on it mom!"), every week, he acts like I have never said this to him before. And then he acts like I am asking for something so unbelievably preposterous, why would I even have the nerve to tell him to do such a thing?!


Then I get so angry, I just start muttering to myself and stomping around. On Sunday. By the time I get to church, I feel like I should pull our priest over for confession. I feel just awful. Then I have to watch children fidget, and widget and winken, blinken and nod. The teens slump over like juvenile delinquents in front of the principal's office. One week I did the mom glance over my row, and I was so appalled at the older children's slumped shoulders, nail picking, and general horrid attitudes, I could feel my cheeks red with embarrassment. I realized that this is what Father sees as he is doing his homily. We sit in the front row.


Please, someone tell me that their children do the same. I thought things were bad when they were all little and I had to strain to hear the homily from the back of the church where I was chasing a running toddler. No, this is worse. I say to myself, "where were these children brought up? Who raised these kids? Were they not paying attention? Didn't they get the memo that we are a very Catholic family and we need to look pious at Mass?"


Instead, I get the slumped over, "my parents made me come today but they can't make me say the Our Father blues."


It's hard work getting children to heaven. I think parents with large families should get extra credit. We have more kids to worry about, pray about, get angry about........


So please, please, if you have teens like this, tell me about it. If you were one of these teens once who drove your parents crazy and now you are uber Catholic, even better. Share, share away.


There are only six more days until next Sunday and I need all the help I can get!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pet Peeve Number 2 gazillion......


My husband thinks that I am a crab can and I shouldn't blog about what I am about to blog about. But I don't care. This is my blog, not his!


This is my question, why, oh, why, do construction men aka roofers, concrete driveway guys, painting and siding men, feel as if they are entitled to take over a whole street to do one cotton picken house?!


This is what always happens. Somewhere around 8am they descend upon the targeted house. Trucks towing things they won't even use. The guys in their cool pick ups with our local rock oldies radio blaring. The souped up cars with rap music even louder then rock oldies. And always, two old farts, using the "f" word and talking smack too each other as if it were 2 in the afternoon.


And they don't care. They don't care if you are trying to sleep in for once. They don't care if they are blocking every driveway on the street. It is their right. Oh yeah, that's how they act. About three or four hours into this, their co workers and friends stop in. They are parked everywhere. They are parked on both sides of the street so that I cannot, (after I have waited for Jimmy to move his pick up from the end of my driveway), back out my big 12 seater van out of my driveway for fear of hitting Tony's Chevy.


And even though at least 10 guys are working on one roof, driveway, side of the house, (take your pick), they will still block our street for at least 8 hours. Cause they have to stop and eat lunch, and shoot the (you know what), and mock each other out and whatever else keeps these guys from finishing the job in a timely fashion.


Did I mention that it is always men? I will tell you what, women would get the job done faster so we could go out to lunch and drink wine and laugh about the person's house we just fixed up.

And we would be mindful of our language and we wouldn't wake everyone up at 8am. (We would still be doing our hair and reminding our husbands what they need to get done while we are gone!) I can also tell you that it wouldn't take 20 of us to do one roof, and we would never block anyone else's driveways. I think it is a testosterone thing. I really do.
Because:
Ya gotta have stones to just park your vehicle across the end of
SOMEONE YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW's driveway.
Ya just gotta.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Random Thoughts


Life was so much easier for Harriet Nelson. It just was. And June Cleaver and all those high heel wearing moms. How did they do it? And will someone look at my life someday and say, "How did she do it? Probably not. Or maybe.


I live my life in the van. Seriously. I spent more time in the van today then I did in my house. If only I could have it hooked up with cable and a full time waitress who served me nothing but chocolate, well I would just go ahead and move in.


It's only been a week or two and I am already thinking, "Why did I make this commitment to blog everyday?" Was I smoking something funny when I came up with this idea? Did I hit my head? Well, I always did think that there would be some damage from all the times I hit my head on the upper part of the doorway to the beer cooler back in the day. Yeah, I was a barmaid. Can you believe it? And I had to go down to a dungeon like cellar, where we had a beer cooler and we had to bring up cases of beer. Sometimes I would forget to duck, and whomp, the head hit the top of the doorway. Oooh, I can still feel that pain. Not so good.


But you don't want to hear about that. Although those were fun times. I used to pray with my customers. It was crazy. I think that was my schizophrenic phase. Later on I would get wasted with them, and that was not always a good example to set let me tell you. But some things are better not talked about!


Did you ever wonder how a person can get so tired from sitting in a vehicle all day? Makes 'em a little slap happy and prone to wandering thoughts better left unwritten. No, I have not been hitting the bottle tonight. Have you ever been so gosh darned tired that you haven't a normal thought in your head.


I am past that. Way, way past that.


But at least I wrote.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Consolation


I love God. I mean, I really, really love God. I mean no disrespect here. He is awesome and He knows how to take care of His kids. If we let Him.


After weeks of feeling like I am drowning, then receiving graces through confession, today I received consolation. Right and left consolation. He downright spoiled me today. After days of the little things going wrong, today I had a day of little "rights". It was wonderful and I thanked Him every step of the way.


I don't know how people live without Him. Honestly. I really don't. I can't imagine my life without knowing Him and loving Him. When I look at something beautiful, I think my joy is increased because I think about how He created these things for us. All the little details in life are important to Him. Including my little "things" that make me smile, make me laugh, make me feel happy. I wouldn't know happiness if I didn't know Him. Not real happiness anyway.


Just sit and ponder sometime how much He loves each one of us personally. Really knows and loves each one of us, intimately. That boggles my mind. How can He do that? Well, He's God. A mystery, a beautiful mystery, not to be totally solved here on earth. That's okay with me. I can wait until heaven.


In the meantime, I am down here, His little girl, just loving life. Thanking Him for His graces, thanking Him for His consolations, thanking Him for the gift of confession. Thanking Him for loving me despite knowing all my imperfections. He loves me.


He loves you too. Think about THAT when you go to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's almost midnight again!!

Had a hugely busy day. We had RCIA at the mission tonight. It is going to be an interesting year. We have a baptist, a lutheran and cogic amongst us. And a few who have never been baptized or churched at all.

Very lively discussion.

I am in apologetics 101 boys and girls.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Aaah. Confession!


I feel so much better. Because I went to confession today. I needed to do that. After a couple of weeks of struggling, I had spiritual direction today and then I went to Adoration. During my Adoration time I just kept trying to pray and pray about what my director and I spoke about, but I felt blocked. Like there was a wall there that grace could not penetrate. And all of a sudden I realized that I needed to go to confession. I had to make some quick decisions because I had other things going on, but I kept feeling the pull to run to the church where I knew confessions would soon be going on.


So I went and stood in line. And thought about all of the obstacles of sin that were tying me down. I knew that the first thing I had to confess was the amount of time it had been since my last confession. I didn't think about the exact day of my last confession, but I figured it to be a couple of months, and that is way too long. Afterwards, I realized that my last confession was in June. In June. No way that I should have waited that long. I know that now.


And I cried as I confessed. I had to get these things off of me, and I really felt Jesus' presence through the priest. I was giving it all to Him. After the last couple of weeks of really struggling during Adoration, feeling like He wasn't there, like I couldn't trust myself to hear His voice, I left the confessional after being absolved and knelt in front of the monstrance, and I heard these words, "Welcome back my daughter". I was free. Free from the sin that had weighed me down.


I feel lighter. My load is not as heavy. No, all of my problems have not been solved, in fact it has been really crazy in my home today! Lots of stupid things to stress a person out. But spiritually, I am so much better, and when I am spiritually better, I can handle the piddly day to day stuff.


So learn from me people. Don't wait forever. Go. You will feel better. Trust me on that one!


Just another reason why I love being Catholic. Aaaah, confession. It does a soul good.

Monday, October 5, 2009

One of those days!


I just had one of those days. The kind of day where you get a mixture of things. Some really, really good, some not so good. Not hugely bad things, just those small annoying things that stress you out. And that is not good when you are already stressed. Sigh.....


This is the first time today that I have had a chance, well, except for my Adoration time earlier today, to sit and just think about my crazy day. And this is my summation. The devil works super hard to make our lives miserable. I am so happy that he hates me so much. I must be doing something right. So I am going to ignore the things he did to stress me out and focus on the fact that I am sitting in my nice, warm home. My children are in bed, the youngest ones are asleep. We have all been fed today. My oldest daughter is thriving at college, just started a pro life group there, is getting all kinds of recognition for her studies and her future career. My second oldest is on retreat and she usually gets a lot out of these things, so I bet she is soaring right now. I have so much to be thankful for.


Perspective, right? And knowing how to be grateful. I have to choose joy and gratitude and be thankful always. Good or bad. No matter what. Thank You God. Thank You for this really crazy day. Thank You for the moments that were really, really good. Thank You for allowing me to see one of my missionary sisters in a whole new, wonderful way. I am going to pay for it, but it will be worth every second!


When you say "yes" to God, wow, it is a wondrous journey. I know that some of you already know what I am talking about.


It's St. Faustina's feast day. She is the patroness of our mission where we are missionaries. And let me tell you, whew, I am glad this day is over. So happy God lets us start fresh everyday. I am so pooped, sleep is going to feel good tonight.


Happy Feast Day St. Faustina!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Love is....

Okay. So I feel like maybe I should explain what I meant yesterday. When I say that I struggle with loving and expecting nothing in return, I am not talking about material goods, or thank yous or anything like that. I have someone in my life that has done that to me all my life. If she does something for me out of love, she expects fireworks, handwritten thank you notes by the dozens and if she doesn't get that, she withdraws her love. I grew up with that, and I have worked really, really hard, not to be like that.

When I love my children, I give freely. I don't expect a lot, cause they are kids, and heck, I am their mom. I love them with all of my heart so I do things for them out of pure love. With my hubby, I expect love back, but this is a marriage, so I am certain I will get it. Now sometimes I don't feel very loving, or he doesn't feel very loving, but all in all, we love each other very much and neither one of us is going anywhere. We have been here 20 years and we like it here!

Then there are the people I serve. I don't expect a thank you, much less any love being shown. Some of them are just incapable of it. That's okay. I love them as best as I can, and I have learned over the years that the ones who love back are few and far between. But again, I honestly don't expect anything. I just love for love's sake.

My stumbling block are the people in my life whom I consider very close friends. I don't have a ton, though I do have many friends. Just a few that I would call really close. And not very wisely, I expect that they are going to love me to the same degree that I love them. And when I think that they don't, I get jealous, prideful and unhappy! And sometimes, we are not someone's cup of tea, and that is okay too. Not everyone is going to love me, that doesn't make me or them a bad person. That is just the way it is.

So this is my struggle. Loving all who God puts in my path without counting the cost, without comparing myself, and wondering why I am not good enough. I guess that stems from my childhood as well, and only God can heal me of that.

But I am on the right road, and lately I have just been focusing on how Jesus loves me. How God loves me. I am smart enough to know, that when I can truly understand how much God loves me, it won't matter one bit whether or not anyone else does. And that is what I am working on right now. So keep me in your prayers and if anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to write them. I am open to anything that might help me on this journey.

God is good and He will help me through this. I believe it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Last minute post!

So I only have a few minutes before this will be considered a "tomorrow" post, so I have to make this one short. I am keeping to my posting once a day. Gotta stick to it!

My community is getting ready to celebrate St. Faustina's feast day and so we started a Triduum yesterday. (hope I spelled that right. Why do I think spellcheck won't know the difference?) Tonight was all about "pure love" and boy do I struggle with that. You know, the "love is patient, love is kind" thing. Loving and not expecting anything in return. Who can do that? I would love to attain that. My dearest hubby says it ain't possible because that means perfection and no one can fully attain that. I am glad he said that, cause I couldn't see me achieving that in my life time. I suppose the closest I come is with my children, and even they can get on my last nerve if they don't give me sweet kisses!

Still, I do want to try harder to love and have less expectations of people. That is a HUGE problem of mine. My wise old hubby says, "keep your expectations low! Then you will never be disappointed." I bet you are thinking, "wow, what a blessed woman to have such a smart, all knowing husband." Nah, it can get really annoying! Ha. Just kidding honey. Just kidding.

I know I will write more about this later but all I want to say is, why is love so hard?

Friday, October 2, 2009

RIP - Doc

Tonight the man who was my trainer for becoming a missionary, passed away. Now, when I say he was my trainer, you might think I mean he was a missionary before me, maybe one of the leaders of the mission. But no, that is not what I mean.

"Doc" as we all knew him, trained me by being one of the first people I had to deal with when I first came to the mission. I had no idea. Looking back, I really didn't. So about a month or so after my own alcoholic father passed away suddenly from a stroke, God sends me Doc. Doc was an alcoholic who looked much older than his years. A lifetime of alcohol and being out on the road will do that to you. But it was like God led him right to my family. I had lost my dad, the kids their grandfather, and then we meet Doc.

Doc loved my family. My son John Paul who is now eleven was just a little over a year when we first started helping out. Doc helped John learn how to walk. Our family would go to pick up garbage around the mission and when John Paul got tired of being in the stroller, Doc would walk him around the mission. He had endless patience with John's slow steps. He would just walk around in circles with him. One time one of my children fell in the snow and Doc hurried scooped up the child and dusted him off, so loving and so gentle. That was so many years ago now, but I still remember it, because I was thinking about how someone who could seem so crass to the rest of the world could be so gentle with a child.

Doc had his share of problems. Oh, like he thought he was God. Literally. If someone said, "Thank you God," in his presence, he would say," You're welcome". He also thought he knew better than the Catholic church. He was always trying to get my husband to join the seminary he was going to start because he knew better than some of these priests and he was gonna do it himself.

Doc could also be very annoying. Especially during Mass. He would shout out, "Alleluia" all during Mass. And when I say, all, I mean, ALL! Some people got used to it, I never did. Sometimes I have to admit, it aggravated the heck out of me. But that was my training ground because there are a lot of things at the mission that I have to overlook, no matter how aggravating they can be. People can be annoying. I know I can! I once told my brother missionary Eddy, "If I didn't have to deal with people all the time, I would be perfect!!! It's when I have to deal with others that I mess up. And it's all their fault!" Eddy and I had a good laugh over that one. Wouldn't we all be perfect if we didn't have to deal with others?

Doc had a tough life. I saw him fall for a woman once. A woman much younger than him who was an even worse alcoholic. He loved Sally so much. She died a few years back from alcoholism. He was at her funeral and he talked to me about how sad her life was. She came in and out of his life, but he took her back every time. He felt sorry for her. I think she was the love of his life. I saw the compassion in him at that time.

But alcohol consumed his life. He couldn't stay away. And he could B.S. with the best of them. He was like a cat, nine lives, not only health wise, but jail wise too. He was always one drink away from being put in jail, but the guy always managed to get out of things. Amazing. He has been physically ill for so long. I remember one Easter vigil a few years back when I honestly thought the guy was going to go into cardiac arrest in the aisle. I pictured my children bawling their eyes out while daddy did CPR on Doc. Blessedly that was a worry that only happened in my head and not in real life!

Over the last couple of years, Doc hasn't been around as much. I think it was getting too hard for him to walk down the street and come to the mission. So my encounters with him were actually quite pleasant at the end. Still, I will miss him. I have already cried a few tears over his passing and I know, being the emotional mama that I am, there will be plenty more.

I mean how could I not? When I look back on things, he is one of the reasons why I became a missionary. The people you help get under your skin, sometimes irritatingly so, but you discover how to love. Really love. Without thinking about what you are going to get out of it. And people like Doc have taught me how to love better and better.

Rest in Peace Doc. May God grant eternal rest unto your precious soul.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

St. Therese and Roses


I was thinking today, as I have many times lately, about how my room is going to be crowded when I am dying. It's not because I have a ton of kids and someday grandkids, and adoring crowds to fill that room, it's that I envision all my very favorite angels and saints gathered around me, waiting to take me to heaven.


One of my favorites is celebrating her feast day today. That is St. Therese. I have loved Therese from the time I was a little girl. I used to read this huge saint book in our Catholic Elementary school library all the time. The librarian used to tease me because I was the only one who took it out. And I did that a lot. I just loved to read about the saints. And I never was afraid of the martyr's stories or anything. I just thought the saints were so fascinating. And so I began to know them so well, I just thought of them as friends, and one of my closest was Therese.


Please tell me that I am not the only one out there who can really see the saints as friends we can count on. It's weird because I always felt that I knew saints like Therese, personally. Like when I do finally see her when she comes to take me home, it will be like we always knew each other. Know what I mean? I am looking forward to spending a lot of time with her in eternity, just talking and catching up on lost time.


Therese is so interesting and when I see pictures of her, I just know I would have loved being her friend. She is so pretty and she has such a sweetness about her. When I drive by the Carmelites, down the road from my house, and see one of the Sisters working in the garden, still dressed as Therese dressed, I smile and get teary eyed. I always say, "Thank you Therese, I feel even closer to you now." I can just see how she must have looked working in her garden, such innocence and purity. How can I not love her?


I love being Catholic. We have such great friends in the saints. Sometimes I make myself crazy, thinking I have to be just like this one, or just like that one. But God always lets me know that I am making my own way, my own life as a saint. I don't have to live like anyone else, He just wants me to be who I am. Yes, we should study the example they set, and even take on some of their ways, but each of us is unique and wonderful. Just the way God made us.


So sometimes I take a little from Therese, a little from Faustina, a little from Teresa, a little from Claire, and on and on. But then I take on Michelle, me, and I try my best to become who God wants me to be. He has a plan for my life. I just wish sometimes He would take out a billboard and let me know if I am headed in the right direction!


So Happy Feast Day my dear, dear friend Therese. When you get a chance, send me a rose that lets me know I am living in God's plan. A white one will do.