Saturday, August 7, 2010

Apology

I want to apologize to all of my readers. I am so sorry I haven't written before this. I just couldn't.

The director of the mission where I am a missionary felt that it was not a good idea for the missionaries to have a blog or a facebook and I was told this back in March. I had to make a decision. If I wanted to be a missionary I had to give up my blog. It broke my heart so much that I haven't looked at my blog or anyone else's since then. I decided to make another year of promises back on Divine Mercy Sunday and gave up my blog. It has been very difficult for me.

I just now am able to start reading other blogs and I will check in on my friends in the blogging world within the next few days. I am giving up my blog for now, but I make my missionary promise one year at a time, so if I ever decide that God has another plan for me, I will be back to writing.

If you want to keep in touch with me, my email address is missionmama@roadrunner.com. Please feel free to write to me. I am allowed to make comments on other people's blogs and so I will be able to keep in touch too.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am still unsettled about all of this but I want to live God's will for my life. For right now, this is it, and out of obedience, I give up my blog.

My hubby did not become a missionary this year due to being in school and a promotion at work- yea! But he is so wonderful and so supportive! I am blessed.

Thank you everyone for all of your support!

In His Mercy, Michelle

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Song I Played In Our 5000 Sq. Ft Hotel Room

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We danced in the dining room. It was so romantic!

My Wonderful Birthday

My birthday was Saturday and I had the most amazing day! It was just awesome. I got to go to Mass at the Carmelites with my son John Paul, and my friend Ellen and her son. Then I got to spend time with my spiritual director. I love my time with her, it is so precious to me. She is my best friend and mentor.

In the afternoon I took my two youngest girls to Chuck E Cheese for a mission child's birthday party. It was absolutely insane, about five hundred kids and their parents, twenty birthday parties all going on at the same time, one hundred crying children, and lots and lots of noise. And my girls had a ball. Teresa cried because she didn't want to leave.

Then the best thing of all!! My hubby and I went to spend the night at the Hyatt. He got an off season deal on their VIP suite and surprised me. 5000 sq. ft of a suite! Bigger than my house. Two bathrooms, a dining room, a bar area, a sitting area. A jacuzzi tub, stereo system, flat screen tv... the works. It was amazing!!! He also took me out to dinner, but I could not get over that room!! At night from the window of the sitting room I could see the city of Buffalo, the lights were so amazing. It was stunningly beautiful. I felt like a queen.

Do I have the best husband in the world or what? Oh, did I mention that he had two dozen roses waiting for me on the bed, two dozen purple roses, my favorite color. And a romantic card.

Is there any question why we have been married twenty years! The man outdoes himself every time. He gets better and better.

It was the best birthday I ever had. Thank You God for my hubby, my spiritual mama, my children and my family. And a special thanks for my friends near and far who sent many greetings. I am a blessed, blessed woman.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lighter, Fluffier Me, Well, Maybe Not

I have been writing such serious stuff lately, I thought maybe I would write something a bit more light. But I have to write about the things I think about,or am going through, and lately, it hasn't been light.

Today, I was thinking that I need to shut up. Sometimes, I just need to shut up. I don't allow the kids to use that phrase, in fact, in our household it is equivalent to a four letter word. But it is appropriate in this case.

I decided today that I need to stop myself from saying what I am thinking sometimes. I wish I had a built-in pause button, so I could stop to think, "Are you about to say something negative about someone?", and if the answer is "Yes", I would then redirect myself. And stop the verbal garbage from coming out.

Did you ever notice that even if you catch yourself in the middle of it, and you are standing there thinking, "I know I shouldn't be saying these things, maybe I should just stop now", a part of you thinks, "What the hay, I am already into this, why stop now?" and that is the part of you that wins out. Even if the teensy, weensy part of you is feeling like it took a football to the gut, you just can't stop the verbal diarrhea.

So, during Mass today, I prayed that God would help me to change this in myself. That even if I forget and am in the middle of it, I will have the strength and grace to stop. Apologize and change the subject. Sometimes, I feel like St. Faustina, who became discouraged when resolving to change something and then totally blowing it in the first hour. I, even more than St. Faustina, rely on myself. And I can't do that.

I need God to change my heart. I need God to change my thoughts. That is where the damage starts. In my heart and in my mind.

But I know one thing for sure, it has to change, right here, right now. And I need God's grace to do that. I am working on my holiness. With God's guidance, grace and love.

Even though like St. Faustina, I know once I get through one obstacle, ten more will take it's place. Life. Leads us to heaven, right?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beautiful Funeral

Penny's funeral yesterday was so beautiful. The church was full and it was just so wonderful to see all the lives she touched through the years.

Today I feel a bit empty. It's weird. When you concentrate on one thing for weeks at a time and then it's gone. Just so strange. Some moments I feel like a fish out of water.

It doesn't help that the dryer still isn't fixed. And it looks like my hubby's car has pretty bad issues.

Our days have been long. Sometimes I feel like I am on a ride that doesn't stop and I am going nowhere! And everything I touch breaks on it!!!!!

I was hoping for a snow day tomorrow. Maybe catch up on a few things. But I forget. We live in Buffalo. Not even snow days go the way you want here!!!

Fasting from my computer again tomorrow. Be back on Saturday hopefully! God willing.

Friday. I will be offering it all up!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sending My Penny's Soul Off Tomorrow

Tomorrow we will send my dear friend's soul off to heaven. We are having her funeral Mass tomorrow morning. We have a viewing first, then the Mass. Please pray for me.

You all know I am happy for Penny. And a bit jealous too. I mean, she is talking with Jesus. She doesn't have any more worries about bills, or illness, or anything. Just Jesus.

At the same time. I miss her. I miss taking care of her. I miss talking with her. The sense of loss is greater at times than others.

So please pray for me. Tomorrow is going to be a day. And a half.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Devil Is After Meeeeee!


Must be doing something right. The devil has taken two vehicles and a dryer from me. My husband is not allowing me to touch appliances or anything with a motor. This could work out in my favor as a stove is an appliance, as is the dishwasher!!!

Our van needed repairs and until today was out of commission for almost three weeks. At the end of the week our other car lost it's power steering. And then the last straw. Saturday night the dryer was going round and round, but no heat. This is a disaster in a family that has ten people who have become accustomed to wearing clothing.

And then I realized yesterday why this was happening. As I sat next to my candidate at the Rite of Election, my candidate who had been a drug addict for many, many years. Who had many children, with many different fathers, but has been clean for a long time, and starting life on her own, without a man living with her. My candidate who is excited about becoming Catholic and belonging to God now. She wants my hubby and I to be her youngest two children's Godparents. Yeah, that is why the devil hates me. I took a big time player from him. Helped bring her back to God.

No wonder. Just in case, the children must bring me my juice or hot tea. The refrigerator and the microwave are off limits to me. Until after the Easter Vigil.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thank You All

I just want to thank you all for your prayers. They mean so much to me. I gave up the computer, my ipod, television and texting on Fridays during Lent, so I couldn't write yesterday. I was so disoriented. Not just because I couldn't write, but because I have been organizing my life each day so that my household would run smoothly and I could get out to see Penny.

Yesterday for the first time, there was no Penny to see. I stood in our supermarket and wanted to cry. Usually I am rushing, thinking ahead, and I thought, "I don't have to rush anymore". She's gone.

It was so sad. But again, I am so happy for Penny. One of my friends hugged me yesterday and said, "Just think, she is talking about you right now with Jesus." That does excite me! I talked to Him all day yesterday. Just laid down in front of Him and prayed during Adoration. I took this journey with Him. And when I sat next to Penny and stroked her hair as she lay dying, I thought, "He finally has given me my desire, to sit at the foot of the cross! To be Mary Magdalene, to be St. John!!!!!" As far back as I can remember, maybe even as a child when we would do the Stations of the Cross during Lent, I wanted to be those two. I wanted to be there to comfort Our Lord.

On Thursday, He gave me the desires of my heart. Thank You Jesus.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RIP My Sweet Penny

Penny passed away today at about 5:35pm. I was sitting by her side, stroking her hair, while I prayed a chaplet with two others from our mission family. Her son and daughter in law were there too, holding each other tight. As we neared the end of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, she drew her last breath, and then, peacefully, she was gone.

I will miss her terribly. These last few weeks with her taught me so much about life, and love, and God and death, and what is really, really, important in life. And what is not. I learned about myself. I learned about God's place in my life. I learned more in this past month then I have in almost 49 years of life.


I will never, ever, ever forget her, or what I learned these past four weeks. Last night I whispered in her ear that when it was my time to go, she needed to come for me with Jesus. I said, "Promise me that you will come to get me when it is my time. If I see you, I won't be afraid."

Right now in heaven, there is a soul talking to Jesus about me. Isn't that mind blowing? Isn't that awesome?

But for right now, the tears won't stop coming. I am grieving. Please pray for Penny's soul, and please pray for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not Too Much Longer

Saw Penny tonight for just a short while. Won't be much longer now. She may not even make it through the night. I thanked her, told her to let go and be with Jesus. And I asked her to meet me when my time comes so I won't be afraid.

Please pray for her.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Watching A Friend

Watching a friend die is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have been through a lot in my life, but this is the hardest. Last night when I was with Penny, we were alone, and it hit me that this could be the last night I see her alive.

In a whoosh, all the nights I have spent with her lately came at me like a tidal wave. I realized that this has been a very special, grace filled time. One that I will never forget. And I also realized that I am going to miss her terribly. I whispered to her that I love her very much, and I told her that I was so sorry that she has to suffer like this. I told her that it has been my joy to take care of her these past few weeks. It really has.

I said all this as tears streamed down my face. Her eyes were closed but she heard me. She took some tissues and put them to her eyes, she wanted to cry, but she couldn't will the tears to come. I told her that I knew she loved me too, and she smiled. This time is so precious, so quiet, and intimate, and precious. I have been blessed by God to do this.

She had a coughing fit and I held her in my arms, wiped her mouth and she leaned her head on me, and I just held her close for a long time. Jesus. This is not me guys. I could never do this. Isn't our God amazing that He puts us in situations we never thought we could be in, and He helps us through them. He is so good. God is just so good.

He never leaves us alone. Even though sometimes we feel like we are alone. I have certainly felt His presence not only in Penny's room, but also in the halls of hospice. As I walk the halls, the first few weeks for my Penny, to get her some coffee, but now to get myself a cup of tea, I can feel Him there. Loving all those who lay there, dying, so close to seeing Him face to face. It's not a scary thing to me anymore. I feel Him there.

And even as I sit in my room, writing this, I feel Him with me. I don't know why He chose me to do this, to be a missionary, to love people so much, but He did. But I thank Him for my life, that He chose me. A mother of nine, wife, teacher, lover, friend.

He chose me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Write For Myself, Part 2

My last post wasn't meant to slam anyone, especially any of my readers. The blog I read is someone who probably doesn't even read my blog. I just think it is wrong to start placing rules, regulations and restrictions, on what people should or should not write on their blogs. My philosophy is, if I don't like some one's style of writing or what they write about, well, I am not going to read it! Simple enough.

Writing for me is relaxation. It is getting all of these thoughts that swirl around in my head all day long, out, and just out there for any one who feels like it to share with me. I am not forcing any one to read my stuff, just like I don't have to read any one else's writings. This is enjoyment!!!

I read some blogs and I think they are pure poetry, like my blogger friends Anne and Christopher. Reading them is like reading a beautiful piece of literature. Others I read because they make me think, like Jennifer over at Conversion Diary, some make me laugh, like Fr. Dwight Longnecker, and some are just because I enjoy peeking into their lives because of their honesty, like my blogger friends, Allison and Kimberly.

Each one of the blogs I read, help me to feel like I am not the only one out there, I am not the only one who believes in God, who loves and serves Jesus with all her heart, and who loves being CATHOLIC!! A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and off I go, knowing I have brothers and sisters all over the world who are doing the same thing. Each with there own perspective, each with their own style of writing, each of them unique! Writing for themselves, and giving us a window to look into ourselves.

And then pondering it once again on our own blogs. It's truly amazing how God can use anything to bring us closer to Him. Who would have thunk that by reading someone else's blog, the reader can relate and then change something in their own life to become more like Christ. I bet it happens all the time.

It has happened to me. So thank you out there! Thank you for writing from your heart, thank you for not caring what other people think about your style of writing and just writing your thoughts and ponderings.

I look forward to reading much, much more. God willing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Write For Me


I had a few minutes earlier today, or should I say yesterday because it is already tomorrow, er, today. Anyway, I was catching up on some blogs and I read something on one of them that I thought was a little too, oh, I don't know, maybe condescending about what people write on their blogs.

So I just want to say this. I write from my heart, I write from my own perspective on life. I am not trying to teach anything to anybody on purpose, but if you learn something when reading me, well great. I am not trying to tie up my life in a nice little package. Sometimes my life can be messy, as is everyone else's. If you learn from my messes, well, so be it. I am not an expert on anything. Not even on child rearing, even though I have nine of them. I am me. My life is not perfect and I make a lot of mistakes, say a lot of dumb things, second guess myself a lot, well, the list goes on and on.

I don't try to be funny on purpose but sometimes my life can be pretty funny. So I write it down. Sometimes my life is sad. Sometimes I am depressed, sometimes I am full of joy. All are reflected in my writings. And if you feel like you want to read me, well go ahead. There are some of you that I love to read. And I learn from you, and you learn from me. Isn't it great that God gave us this tool to help each other?

And then some intellectual type comes along and starts critiquing blogs. These are blogs for goodness sakes!!!! Not Pulitzer prize winning novels! It is supposed to be a person's thoughts, not a dissertation on life! Not a serious piece of work, but a work in progress. My life, your life, we are all a work in progress. And some of us work it out on our laptops every night. Trying to make sense of it all, trying to make sense of our lives. And sometimes others join us for the ride by reading our blogs.

I have no problem with that.

Bottom line: I write for me. And the people I enjoy reading the most, write for themselves and the rest of us are privileged to be along on that person's adventure.

So now can we stop taking these things so seriously and just have fun writing?

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Held Jesus Tonight

Spent the evening with Penny. Helped her get dressed for bed, helped her to the bathroom. Went to the family kitchen area several times to heat up coffee, make her an icecream soda and helped get her bed set up.

And I thought of Jesus saying, "Whatsoever you do...."

And before I left, I held Jesus. I put Penny in my arms and held her broken body close to mine, and in that gesture, I saw her as Jesus.

Tonight, I held my suffering Jesus.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

He Leadeth Me


A couple of weeks ago my good blogger friend/deranged Caps fan, Christopher, sent me a wonderful book by Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. called, "He Leadeth Me". As God will have it, I am also working on "Introduction to a Devout Life", by St. Francis De Sales. It's funny how God works things in a person's life, because these two books are the exact books I should be reading simultaneously!

They are both about totally abandoning oneself to God's will. Not conforming His will to yours, not even conforming yours to His, but completely, totally, abandoning yourself, and letting Him totally take over.

I began by realizing that on my own, not only will I muck things up, I will sin while doing it. God gives me the string and I hang myself with it every time. I trust in my own self, my own gifts and talents, (sometimes not even recognizing the One who gave me those gifts and talents), and I don't trust in Him. Him alone.

A profound statement in the book says this:" God must sometimes allow us to act on our own so we can learn humility, so we can learn the truth of our total dependence on Him, so we can learn that all our actions are sustained by His grace and that without Him we can do nothing-not even make our own mistakes."

Wow. Yeah. So very true. The Jesuit priest who wrote this book was writing about his experience of being a prisoner for over 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and Siberian labor camps. I am reading this thinking about how this man was in the worst possible situations known to mankind, at times living among people who acted more like animals than humans, and he found God there. He found God's will in his every moment. He fell back into the arms of God and each and every day, in each and every moment, He trusted in God to show him what to do. He didn't even fear death, because if that was what God wanted, well, than he would be with his Creator. So be it. He depended on God, and God alone.

Sometimes God leads us there. Sometimes He takes us to that place where we have to face horrifying things, suffering things, terrible injustices, so He can show us, that He is all that matters. That is it. Nothing can happen to me today unless God wills it, and if He wills it, He will get me through it. And sometimes I may think He is not helping me at all, but at those moments I need to go back to the drawing board and see where I am depending on myself instead of Him.

When I watch my Penny, sometimes she goes off to another place, she seems to nod off. She is present yet not present. I believe it is then that she is with God, someplace inside herself, just Penny and God. I also believe that each one of us will have our moments like that, where we realize it is just me and Him. Intimacy like we have never known with the One who knows us more intimately than even our spouses.

I am learning more and more, hell is not about fire and brimstone, wailing and gnashing of teeth because of pain and suffering. The wailing is due to the intense pain a soul must go through when he or she knows that they will never, ever be with God. To never see His face. To never be united with Him. That is hell. For all of eternity. Our souls hunger and thirst for Him, but souls in hell will never have that hunger satisfied, will never have their thirst quenched. My heart breaks for those souls. I pray for the souls here on earth who still have a chance, to live for God, to choose God. Before it is too late.

Our God is merciful. He loves us so much. He must cry over the souls who refuse Him, deny Him. He wants us to know and love Him. He loves us more than we could ever love Him.

He loves us more than we could ever, ever love Him.

God loves me.

God loves you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Party!

Let me start off by saying, I hate football. Not interested for even one second. Still, super bowl parties are a part of being an American. You know, apple pie, mom and super bowl parties.

My husband goes all out. He plans our meal and even makes a football pool where the kids can win things like, lunch with mom at McDonald's and a $25 dollar gift card to the place of the winner's choice.

As I am writing this, we are in the fourth quarter, we are bloated and as full as people get on Thanksgiving. Mary won the first quarter, five bucks. John Paul won lunch with me at McDonalds in the second quarter, Jacob won a trip to Mighty Taco with Dave in the third quarter. The big $25 dollar winner will be determined at the end of the game. Big happenings here. Good food! Really good food!

And all I care about is the commercials which so far haven't been all that funny. Except for the one with David Letterman, Oprah and Jay Leno. Even if you didn't see it, just imagine those three people sitting on a couch in front of a tv together.

Just the thought of that is funny, isn't it?

Hopefully it will be over soon.

It's a school night!!!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sorry So Long Since I Last Wrote

I can't believe how long it has been since I last wrote. I have been so busy this week. In between my regular family obligations and mission obligations, I have been going to see Penny, who is doing great by the way! She's been in hospice, but is doing so well they will be moving her to a nursing home. She still doesn't have much longer to live, but she could still have another four months so, let's keep praying for her!

I know that I have written this before, but I can't write enough how this experience with Penny has made a profound impact on my life. This week I took a deep look into my vocations of wife, mother and missionary. Saw where I need to improve but also gave myself credit for what I am doing right. If God could only give us a few more hours in a day I would be in good shape!

It is amazing how God gives us the grace to do the things that we never thought we could do. I have been bone tired, especially last night, but I stayed with her until 11:30 because she wanted me to stay. God is good, that is all I can say!

Okay. So Colleen asked me about General Confession. I made a general confession because I am starting St. Francis De Sales, "Introduction To A Devout Life", and the first thing he suggests doing is a general confession. Yes, God had forgiven much of what I had confessed, but I also noticed that when I went back to the start, I found all kinds of things I had never confessed. When you prepare yourself for a general confession you have to ask God to bring up any past sins you may not have confessed. Also, from my own experience, there are things I confessed that I am not sure I even knew why I needed to confess them at the time, but with time, knowledge of God, (and the closer I get to Him, the more I feel remorse for my sins,) those old things pop up and I understand more clearly why it was wrong.

I felt lighter when I left. And I did major battle this week because of it. I suffered a lot towards the end of the week, and only now as I write this do I realize why the end of the week was so bad, why I was hit by the devil so bad. I wish I could have seen this while I was going through it, but I was under attack for making that confession. That's okay. I survived!!! Came out on the other side, thanks to God's grace and the guidance of my spiritual director.

Getting ready to go to a fundraiser for the mission, Souper Chili Nights. I am looking forward to seeing old friends, and making new ones. I am a social butterfly so I will be in my element tonight!

Hopefully I will be back on track with my writing now too. I missed you guys and I hope you missed me too!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lord You Have My Heart



I made a general confession today and it took me back to when I first committed myself to Jesus. This song was not around then, but it could be the theme of my life. It is so beautiful! And is exactly how I feel about giving my life to my Lord and Savior.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Share My Music Friday... A Musical Classic



They don't make 'em like this anymore. Too bad. What a voice!

Going to see Penny in Hospice. Please pray.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Keep on Keepin On

I feel like I am just plodding along. One heavy foot in front of the other. Things have been crazy at the mission. The kids have been high strung, weird happenings with people, lots of busy, busy things, and Penny.

Penny is doing beautifully. I didn't get up to see her today because I had RCIA, but I got the report from my good friend and sister in Christ, Molly. Penny is up and around, organizing her room. She will be going to hospice soon and she is getting things in order.

I will go see her tomorrow. Being with her is an unreal experience. Sitting, talking with someone, who I know will be seeing Jesus soon, blows my mind away. She will see Him face to face, any time now. The person sitting in front of me tomorrow, laughing about funny things that have happened at the mission, can be sitting in front of Jesus, the very next day. Just blows me away.

And shows me how thin the curtain is between us and heaven.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Tired Missionary

Please bear with me friends. My Penny only has a little more time in this world, so I have been going to be with her in the hospital as much as I can. I spent a lot of time with her on Saturday and I told her I wouldn't be back on Sunday because it was my mom's birthday, but that I would come today.

So when I walked in tonight she handed me her notebook which had a note for me. I said, "How did you know I was coming?", meaning at that moment because obviously she had taken some time to write me a note. She said, "You told me you were coming today. I knew you would be here."

Then I read her note. She was asking me questions about Mass yesterday at the mission, how my mom's birthday dinner went, how my pre-k kids were today, etc. Then she wrote, "I was looking forward to seeing you all day. I couldn't wait until you got here. You are a good friend."

I was so tired when I got there. I had planned on only staying an hour. I stayed for three.

How could I not stay? She waited all day. For me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Our Pro LIfe Mission Kids



This is a picture of our little group of kids from the mission school who went to the pro life march in Washington. They were so happy to be there.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Womb to the Tomb

I haven't been able to write because I have been busy these last two days, taking care of two situations, on opposite ends of the life cycle.

It is with great motherly pride that I am sending two of my children to Washington to participate in the March for Life. The upper grades in our little mission school will be traveling early tomorrow morning to participate. There are just seven children and five adults going, but you would have cried to watch them studying what Roe v Wade stated, watched a pro life movie. These kids studied like this was a geometry exam. It was so beautiful to watch their faces. They all made their own posters. So wonderful. What a blessing for these kids to be able to go and be a part of this. They will never forget this. They will be telling their grandchildren what they did to change an unjust law. I could cry with happiness and pride. My John Paul, 6th grader, has been packed for a week. No lie. My Mary made a list for herself and went around the house today, checking things off. They are sleeping downstairs tonight as they are being picked up at the ripe time of 4:45am. I will miss them dearly, will count the hours until I can hug them, but praise God for allowing my children an opportunity like this. Please keep them in your prayers this weekend for safe travel.

Last night, I sat with my friend Penny who is in the hospital, dying of cancer. Myself, and one of my missionary sisters sat with her. It was a blessed time. I have never had the honor of being with someone at their deathbed. To be so close to heaven, I could taste it. God was all around us. I can't explain it to you, but those of you who have experienced it will understand. It is peaceful, calm, quiet. I just knew the room was full of angels and saints. Ready to bring Penny home. Penny is ready to be with Jesus. She told us last night. I told her that when she sees Him, to go running into His arms. She smiled a peaceful smile. She is ready.

I was busy getting the kids ready for their trip so I didn't get up to see her today. But she is still hanging on so I will go again tomorrow night and be with her. Maybe I will be blessed to send her off to her new life. I know this is going to sound weird, but I hope I am. I am excited for her. My sister in Christ is going to be with our Lord and Savior soon. I told her last night when I was leaving that I wanted her to remember me when she stood before God's throne. This experience has changed my life. It helped me to put things in perspective. Thank You God.

I am grateful that You have given me faith. Faith to believe in You, faith to know that You will come to me too when it is my time. But until then I know that You watch over me with tender care. Thank You.

Jesus, I love You.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family Celebration

Today we celebrated my mother in law's 65th birthday. My hubby made an awesome dinner, and I made every one's favorite dessert, slush cake. It was a wonderful, wonderful, evening. Filled with good food, a lot of laughter, just an all around nice time.

My mother in law does not look 65. And I am not just saying that to be on her good side. I don't even think she reads my blog. But I was surprised to find out that she turned 65, maybe it's because she always acts so young. Like she is computer literate, even has her own facebook page! It seems like yesterday when we were celebrating her 60th. Boy, time goes so fast!

When I was rocking the four year old, (she still insists on her mommy time!), I was thinking about how important family is. All of my children were here, and the older two girls had their boyfriends over too. The boyfriends have become a part of our household, and I really love both of them, so it is a joy when they join us for family celebrations. It was also a joy to watch all the interactions, between siblings, between grandparents and grandchildren, between myself and the children. What a blessing to have such loving grandparents in my children's lives. What a blessing to have a full house, with great food and company.

I love seeing the relationships between my kids, and as they grow older, the interactions get better. Sisters who fight, yet love just as deeply. My oldest daughter's boyfriend gets right into the fray. He loves to give a hard time to my oldest son, and he can hold his own! My other daughter's boyfriend is awesome with the two little girls. What a blessing those two boys have become to our family!

I love watching the kids climb into gramma's lap while grampa talks to the older boys and my hubby about sports. I love the craziness when we all play Apples to Apples. We get loud. Okay. I get loud. But we laugh like crazy. And everyone plays. Even the little girls. Family.

It's all about family. Feeling like you belong somewhere. To someone. Knowing you always have a place to go where you will be accepted. Loved.

When my dear hubby and I started this family, we dreamed of having nights like tonight. A houseful of family, having fun. A place where our children would want to bring their friends for food and conversation and fun. A place where God would be the center, because He is love.

We wanted our home to be full of love and joy. And family.

Tonight was one of those nights. I have said it before and I will say it again.
I am a blessed woman. Thank You God.

God is a good God, yes He is!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bought more tunes on itunes....



and I just couldn't help it. I had to share one of my favorites. This song totally can turn around a bad, bad day!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Everything



This song reminds my hubby dearest of me. Especially the "get to kiss you everyday" part. Yeah, I am a lucky, blessed woman!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Penny

I am asking all of my new friends in the blogsophere to please pray for my dear friend Penny. She is battling cancer and it doesn't look good. She's in the hospital and they eventually want to move her to hospice.

Her greatest fear is that she will die alone. Penny is Catholic, and very faithful. When she first came to the mission Penny was an active alcoholic. My hubby the nurse, helped Penny get meds and the things she needed and then she went into recovery and through many struggles, managed to maintain sobriety.

For a long time Penny lived in what we used to call "the convent", upstairs it was a homeless men's shelter, downstairs the single missionary women lived with a few homeless women. Penny cleaned and played house mom to the joint. She kept things neat and tidy and listened and helped and just became the best asset to the shelter. The guys loved her, she gave them food at all hours, helped with their laundry and did the housekeeping for all the ladies. I loved going to visit and have a cup of tea because she made it so homey.

The convent was converted totally into a men's shelter, so Penny was moved into a house with another woman we were helping who has mental health issues. Penny keeps her company and on the right track. Penny also got a job, ironically, at our local cancer hospital and worked her way up. She became a "go to" person at the mission for people who are struggling with alcoholism. She is a crusty old broad who is never afraid to tell the younguns the way it really is. She doesn't let any one off the hook, and lets them know when they are flirting with danger and their sobriety.

All in all, Penny is a good person. She's had a really tough life that included an abusive husband. But through it all, she maintained her faith, kept her faith, and God brought her to us. God brings these precious souls to us. We love them so much.

Please, tonight, before you close your eyes to sleep, pray for Penny, that she is ready for the bridegroom who loves her tenderly, that she lose her fear, and that when it is time to meet Jesus, she will be calm and free.

Pray for my community. We are about to lose one of our beloveds. We have lost too many the last two years. It's started to wear on some of us missionaries. Though we are happy that our friends will be with Jesus, we miss them. It's so hard.

Life can be so hard. Knowing that one day we will all be reunited makes it worth it all. Makes the bitter pill easier to swallow.

Someday in heaven, I will be able to introduce Penny to all of you, the unknown souls to her, that helped to carry her home. Won't we have a great time! It's a good thing it will be for all of eternity!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Men vs Women:Relaxation


My husband and I have had some pretty long days, today was certainly one of them. Just the busy, crazy responsibilities we each have. The kind that a husband and wife with nine kids are gonna have.

So we took our gift certificate and headed for our local Mexican joint which happens to be a one minute walk from our house, albeit, a cold one minute walk, and had some nice conversation and a decent meal. I said, "I think I am going to just relax tonight, not do all of the things I had hoped to get done tonight." "Yes," hubby dearest said, "Me too."

For my hubby relaxation meant, heading for his recliner where he proceeded to put up the foot rest, placed his lap top on his lap, American Idol playing on the television in front of him. This is where he stayed for the next two hours.

In that two hours, I washed three loads of laundry, put two of them away, (Plus a load that had been in a basket since this morning), got the four year old to sleep, listened to eldest daughter's day over the phone, (she's on a service trip in NYC, I am a proud mama!) chased a stupid kitten from underneath my bed because if I don't she will continue to rip to shreds the bottom of my mattress, connived oldest son to take half of the dishes in his room downstairs, broke up an argument in the girls' room and picked up the dirty clothes and towels in the bathroom and threw them down the chute.

It was relaxing because I didn't clean the cat litter like I had planned to do today. Yes, that was my relaxing evening. I didn't clean the cat litter.

My husband asked me from his comfortable perch on his recliner why was I in such a grumpy mood?

No, I didn't throw anything at his head.

In his favor, he later asked me if I would like him to make me a cup of tea.
That is why we are still married after almost twenty one years. The guy has impeccable timing!

And he can cook better than me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jesus and His tender love...



I have this picture in my preschool classroom. Today, I am that little girl whose face is being held by Jesus. Won't that be awesome someday, to see Him and have Him greet me like that. I have been meditating on His tender love for me and I feel it the most when I am sitting with Him in Adoration.

There I am in the front row, me lookin at Him, Him lookin at me. Doesn't that alone make a person flippin happy to be Catholic!!!! I mean seriously. Jesus is present. Sitting in front of me. And I know it is true, because since I have started going to Adoration five times a week for an hour, now almost an hour and a half, my life is changing. It has changed my heart.

I have a place to go, like St. Faustina, to throw myself in front of Him, well, maybe not throw, but I do often kneel as close as I can get to the monstrance, and I can cry, and I can let loose. I can tell Jesus everything. All my hurts, all my desires. And I can feel Him looking at me tenderly. Lovingly. Adoration changed me.

One of the things that has changed is my level of gossip. I used to get on the phone and just gab about everything, because that is how I always worked things out. With any girlfriend who would listen. And sometimes that was okay, we could help each other, pray together, have each other's backs. But for the most part, it was a slander session. One ball of ugly slices of the tongue. Not good. Not helpful.

Our priest, Fr. Jack did a lot of homilies on gossip, forgiveness, pride, envy and the like. Sometimes I would be sitting in the front row thinking, "Oh, my goodness, he is talking about me in front of everyone". Worse were the times when I sat there thinking, "OOOOOh, I wonder who he's talking about now. What did they do?" And spending the rest of my time trying to figure out who the homily was for.

Eventually I learned, "Duh, it's for you, ya dummy. And anyone else the Holy Spirit is trying to reach through Fr. Jack." So then, I started asking for the smarts to know what pertained to my life, and as I sat listening intently and trying to discern what I was supposed to learn, I forgot about looking around and guessing, and condemning others. And I started looking at my own self. What I needed to change in my own life. More importantly, what did God want me to change in my life?

What I found out was this: He wanted me to stop telling every Gladys and Harriet every little thing about my gossipy struggles with others, and go directly to Him.

And not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I have gotten quite good at it. Verizon misses my long phone conversations, but I sure don't. I have a free, direct line to my Savior, and He always listens and then gently, tenderly, shows me what I need to do to make things better. Sometimes by me just sitting in front of Him, but also sometimes by what I read when I am sitting with Him. Sometimes I sit with Him and just go off somewhere. And when I come out of it, I have a solution to my situation.

And then I smile at Him, and He smiles at me.

Tenderly.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lou Gramm, Midnight Blue



What a voice! Doesn't the music make you want to dance? And where else on the internet are you going to see the Blessed Mother next to a rock song?

Been Busy with My Peeps


I am glad I don't believe in New Years Resolutions and the like. I have totally blown my "blog everyday" promise. Oh, well. When you have nine kids and a hubby, you learn how to cut yourself some slack. Okay. You learn how to cut yourself a lot of slack, which is why my kitchen floor hasn't seen a mop in a long, long time!

What I was doing instead of blogging..... date night with the hubster. We went out one night for Mexican and had a nice evening out. Last night I had a RCIA night of reflection and just did not want to blog after it. We watched parts of Les Miserables, and discussed its themes, and well, I was just too drained after that to write, if that makes any sense.

Today I spent the day doing laundry and cleaning, but I also spent quite a bit of time using some of my itunes gift card. Aaah, I love music. I mean I really love it! All kinds. I'm telling you I could be in the worst mood known to mankind and if I start playing my ipod, I go into another world. Music is a combination of poetry and instruments that combine together to make emotions just well up inside of me. Today's selections included, Peter Gabriel "Solsbury Hill", Bing Crosby singing "Oh, Lord I am not Worthy, and Vivaldi's La Primevera. I told you I was a multiple personality disorder when it comes to music!

When I put my ipod on shuffle, one minute I could be listening to "God of Wonders" and the next, Billy Idol's "Dancin With Myself". Followed by Frank Sinatra and Michael W. Smith. I just love it all!

Oh yeah, I just remembered I wanted to download Foreigner's "Midnight Blue".

It's a good thing I still have credit left on my gift card.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cold Winter's Night

Last night I crawled into my nice, warm bed, and as I drifted off to sleep, I thought, "Oh, no, I forgot to write on my blog!!!!"

But there was no way on God's green earth that I was going to get up and blog. I love you guys, and I love to write, but not that much!

It's cold here in Buffalo. I mean, really cold. Goes right through ya.

But it also makes me think of my blessings. I am thankful to God that I have a nice warm home. That we have electricity, heat, appliances are humming even as I write this. My children have warm beds to sleep in and clean clothes to put on in the morning. We ate today.

I hope I never take the simple things in life for granted. I don't think I will. When you have seen children wolfing down food they got in a mission kitchen as they walk home, well, that never leaves your mind, and it makes you grateful when sitting down at your own table, the day before pay day, to a meal of mac and cheese and carrot sticks. Or leftover polish sausage, scrambled eggs and toast. Just depends on what is in the fridge.

Sometimes I am so selfish. Sometimes I am such a whiner. I look at others, wish for what they have, wonder why I don't have this relationship, or that gift. The devil whispers in my ear, all the time, putting doubts, fears, sometimes despair in there. Lately I have discovered that gratitude wipes that all away. If I can look at my situation and be grateful, I am a lot less whiny.

I always seem to have to work through a pity party first though. I wish I could skip that part sometime. Maybe someday, I will have accomplished that. Something to work on in the future. Be grateful at the moment I feel like whining. Don't give the devil a chance to put even one little evil toe in my door!

Did you know my dear readers that there are people out there who don't even believe the devil exists? Yeah, blind fools. No wonder they call him the father of lies.

For those of us who have felt his wrath, we know he's there.

And when he tries to get us, well, that just means we are doing something right.

St. Michael, defend us in our day of battle. Amen.

Monday, January 4, 2010

No School

We didn't have school today because the classrooms didn't have enough heat. They worked on it today and we will be back in business tomorrow. So I was grumpy yesterday for nothing.

And I had my little girl that I babysit and I didn't want to take her out in the cold, so no Adoration today.

Spiritual direction tomorrow. Yeah!! That is the best. I love my spiritual director, she is my spiritual mama, she is awesome. I love talking with her. It is the highlight of my month!

I am really close with my director, we have a very close knit relationship. I am very, very blessed.

So instead of dreading going back tomorrow, I am looking forward to it. Because after my preschoolers go home, I get to spend time in direction.

I would love to write more, but my sixteen year old son is sitting next to me, waiting for me to take him to Gamestop so he can return a game he and his brothers ordered that is not working.

Yeah, that is what I want to do tonight. Go back out into the cold, snowy night.

But I told him I would, so where are my boots?..........

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back To School Tomorrow


I am grumpy. Unhappy. Back to the old grind tomorrow. Back to running around at 8am, swearing at teenagers and bumping into the four and six year old as I try and scoot children out the door. Back to running mom's taxi van in the afternoons.

At the same time. Back to my regular Adoration schedule.

Goodbye sleeping in.

Hellloooo, Jesus!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sitting With My Resa, So.......




Go back to my dancin days with me. If you dare!

Friday, January 1, 2010