Friday, August 31, 2007

Related Reading

The response to my call for prayers in the ongoing fight for a culture of life has been overwhelming! I wanted to mention, specifically, a couple of books that beautifully illustrate the dignity and sanctity of life.

In its mother’s womb, a tiny baby grows, explores the waters, and talks with the angel who is there.
These gentle illustrations and wise words tell the story of that baby and the angel in the waters . . . a story that delights all children, because the journey from conception to birth is their story, too.
Learn more about the author and her work here.

Debut children's author Anne Bowen captures the eagerness and anticipation attendant upon the birth of a new family member, and her poetic descriptions ("hands spread out, like little starfish"; "ribbons of autumn sunlight weaving through your hair") brim with sentimental tenderness. Shed's realistic portraits evoke the feeling of a family photo album, including close-ups of the fetching baby and various beaming family members.

(H/T to Becky of Wild at Heart Family for this one)

Reflecting my manifesto that women and their unborn children are not on opposite sides of the battleground, author Frederica Matthewes talks with women who are considering or who have already chosen "the miserable alternative" of abortion and presents compassionate, life-affirming, hopeful choices.

"A realistic and personal portrayal of abortion in America and what can be done about it." Helen Alvare, Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, National Conference of Catholic Bishops

Any other recommendations? Leave a message in the comments below or drop me an email and I'll add it to the list.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Youth For Truth

This Saturday, a group of pro-life youth, led by Danny Schleitwiler
of Aurora Central Catholic H.S. and home-schooler Mary Kate Guest,

are putting on a "Youth for Truth" Rally at the
Pl*nned P*renthood
site from 1-3 p.m.

Here are the details:

EVENT: "Youth for Truth" Rally

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 1st, 1-3 p.m.

WHERE: Oakhurst Drive and
New York Street, Aurora

The "Youth for Truth" Rally will include:

* Music, praise and worship

* Teen speakers on fighting for life

* A talk by Yvonne Florczak-Seeman on her abortion

experience at
Pl*nned P*renthood
* Free "Youth for Truth" T-shirts

We really need to bring out a good crowd Saturday. These high

school and college kids are the ones
Pl*nned P*renthood's targeting
with their lies and propaganda.

Pl*nned P*renthood is telling them that they are incapable of
self-control, that every sexual desire must be indulged, that their

parents are to ignored or even mocked, that the Church is irrelevant.

Every value that these fine young people hold dear -- chastity,

honesty, integrity, respect for their parents, faith in Jesus

Christ -- is under attack from
Pl*nned P*renthood. And what's most
Pl*nned P*renthood claims to be "serving" young people!

The "Youth for Truth" will be out there Saturday proclaiming that

the young people of Aurora are capable of virtue, capable of

responding to the demands of love -- and they don't appreciate

Pl*nned P*renthood telling them they're not.

For more information about this event, visit Families Against Pl*nned P*renthood

If you are unable to attend, please consider praying specifically for our youth:

-who deserve real conversations with adults

-who deserve to hear the truth from their parents, church leaders and communities

-who deserve to know that we value them enough NOT to leave them with no one but
Pl*nned Parenthood to help them answer their tough questions.
Auntie Jane

Sometime this April I'll have earned this new title thanks to my brother and his lovely bride! Congratulations you two!

The family (both here and out East) is thrilled for them. We can't wait to see what Re-Pete will be like. The Boy upon hearing this news pondered Grandma B's reaction:

The Boy: I'll bet Grandma was happy.

Me: I'll bet she was.

The Boy: Do you think she was happy about the new baby or happy it wasn't you guys again?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

For Miz

and all my other teacher-y friends:

Real teachers grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meetings, in the bathroom, and (at the end of the six weeks) have been seen grading in church.
Real teachers cheer when they hear April 1 does not fall on a school day.
Real teachers drive older cars owned by credit unions.
Real teachers clutch a pencil while thinking and make notes in the margins of books.
Real teachers can't walk past a crowd of kids without straightening up the line.
Real teachers never sit down without first checking the seat of the chair.
Real teachers have disjointed necks from writing on boards without turning their backs on the class.
Real teachers are written up in medical journals for size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.
Real teachers have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Master teachers can eat faster than that.
Real teachers can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.
Real teachers volunteer for hall duty on days faculty meetings are scheduled.
Real teachers never teach the conjugations of lie and lay to eighth graders.
Real teachers know it is better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.
Real teachers know the best end of semester lesson plans can come from Blockbuster.
Real teachers never take grades after Wednesday of the last week of the six weeks.
Real teachers never assign research papers on the last six weeks or essays on final exams.
Real teachers know the shortest distance and the length of travel time from their classroom to the office.
Real teachers can "sense" gum.
Real teachers know the difference among what must be graded, what ought to be graded, and what probably should never again see the light of day.
Real teachers are solely responsible for the destruction of the rain forest.
Real teachers have their best conferences in the parking lot.
Real teachers have never heard an original excuse.
Real teachers buy Excedrin and Advil at Sam's.
Real teachers will eat anything that is put in the workroom/teacher's lounge.
Real teachers never plan discussions for first period or co-operative groups for 7th during an evaluation.
Real teachers have the assistant principals' and counselors' home phone numbers.
Real teachers know secretaries and custodians run the school.
Real teachers know the rules don't really apply to them.
Real teachers hear the heartbeats of crisis; always have time to listen; know they teach students, not subjects; and they are absolutely non-expendable.

Happy Back To School!
It is a great honor to have, at one time, counted myself among your ranks. Have a GREAT year! And Miz-don't let anybody be beastin' on ya.
Check this out!

Touting themselves as "the Catholic Church Simplified", CatholiCity offers a wide assortment of resources about the Catholic Church. From free books to free CDs, to prayer requests and the Church in the news, there is much information available here. My personal favorite-Fr. John Corapi's conversion story and testimony. If you've never heard it before, order a free copy by mail( or pay the $1 processing fee to order on line), his story is a perfect example of why the Devil uses every trick he has to keep us, and this man, in particular, in his horrid grip.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Plaid

We're a week into the new school year now. It has been a slow, laborious adjustment. Compared to Life in Fitzville's "pull the bandaid off quickly" method, we've chosen the "peel it off slowly and painfully, yanking out each little hair as you go" option. To be honest, we've been tugging at this bandage since sometime last Spring. What began as the hushed tones of a private, parental conversation has ended with a very visible, public result. This year, when school resumed, only The Boy returned to our parish school. B and H started third grade at my in-law's parish school, a few blocks down the road.

By late Spring, it was becoming clear to us that perhaps our current educational situation wasn't meeting all of our children's needs. As a parent, I don't think there is anything more sought after than seeing your child succeed; by which I emphatically don't mean watching them earn a big paycheck, drive a fancy car or move into a mansion. Our dreams for our children are more about morals and character and less about fame and fortune. To feel about themselves as God does, as His precious sons and daughters, and not to believe their worth is measured in standardized tests and progress reports. I'm talking about seeing them become the person that God, in all His glory, has designed them to be; which can be a very tricky situation when one of your children dove into the English language pool almost a decade later than her peers.

So, feeling torn, but deeply convicted in providing the very best for our children, we investigated our schooling options:

  • Staying put. Not messing with the status quo. Leaving well enough alone. And any other number of euphemisms that meant we weren't ready to put our money where our mouths were (or our mouths where our money was-tuition wise, that is) and look at the real possibility that our current school was not the best fit for all of our children.
  • Homeschooling. With my education and teaching background, this seemed like a viable option, until I had a little heart-to-heart with myself. I know many incredible homeschooling families. We are not one of them. My husband breathed a sigh of relief when this alternative was crossed off the list.
  • Public school or a different private school. These two made the short list. We visited and researched our local private school and two nearby, different Catholic grade schools.
I could bore you with the details of the various tours we took and the pros and cons of sheltered English Language Learning classes versus a plan for total immersion with limited support. In the end, God just used this experience to reinforce His steadfastness. As we entered our local public school, the front desk secretary listened to our current struggle and remarked, "Well, then, you must know our principal's secretary." And lo and behold, if the woman who materialized from behind a desk wasn't the previous secretary from our parish school. Carefully, she talked me through the procedures for enrollment and testing.

I listened attentively as my heart realized that enrollment in this school would remove the pictures of Jesus and His Blessed Mother from our kids' classrooms. It would erase the written words of Scripture and the spoken words of prayer that graced the halls and lips of a Catholic Christian school. As she finished talking, I turned to her and desperately said, "Yes. But it's going to be so different." This wise woman then took my hand, smiled at me and said, "You know, God brought you to each other from opposite ends of the earth and He's not going to leave you hanging on a simple school decision. Whatever happens, it's going to be okay." I nodded, unable to choke any words that might have been on my tongue out of my mouth, and left.

Her words played over and over in my mind through much of the Summer as our school quest continued; and then, last Wednesday, as the girl's hopped out of the truck for their first day at the new school, I smiled. God led us to a place for our girls that fits their needs right now. That's what happened, and it's going to be okay.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Looking for something?

There is an object lesson here, I know. Though I won't insult your collective intelligences, dear readers, by pointing out the obvious. Suffice to say security on the ark will be a little tighter in the coming days.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Nine times

We've done this with you nine times now. NINE!!! And each time your dad and I realize more completely what an amazing person you are. How blessed we are God gave us you as our daughter!!!


The ark my family has been building, and in the process living on, is a figurative one only.

You knew that, right?

No one really thinks we're constructing an enormous gopherwood vessel on our one acre of prairie land in Illinois.

Of course they don't.

But after last night, I'm thinking we might want to start.

This is the street, or at least it used to be, in front of our house covered in water.

Please pray for the hundreds of thousands of people in the Chicagoland metro area who are without power today, whose basements are flooded and who are expecting more rain before the day is done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mother and Child-Love them Both

What follows is my response to our local newspaper's "Open Line" debate surrounding the scheduled opening of Pl*nned P*renthood's newest full-service (read: abortion providing) facility. Here's hoping that it gets printed...

During the past week, the Open Line question "How many children have you adopted?" has played over and over in my head. It trivializes the abortion-adoption connection and obscures the origin of pro-life beliefs. The question presents as fact an enormous and terrible lie perpetuated by groups such as Planned Parenthood; that is, the only wanted pregnancy is a planned one.

The fact is this question implies that an adopted child is an unwanted, second-rate child, who if fate had dealt him a different hand, would have been just another abortion statistic. Perhaps before flippantly asking such a dismissive question, the author should consider one herself, "For how many children have you had to choose adoption?"

Imagine for a moment walking in such shoes. Maybe you're single? Maybe unwed? Maybe sick or dying? Maybe without a job? Maybe, just maybe, all of the above. Upon discovering an unplanned pregnancy, no one is willing to own up to the fact that the child you now carry might actually be wanted. And when your situation doesn't allow you to participate in the day-to-day work of raising your child, you wonder about your choices. Based on your facts, however, under the guise of "choice", it is made crystal clear that the only logical solution for you is abortion.

But as a mother, in your heart, you know better. Your instinct to protect and provide is strong. It is so strong, in fact, that rather than abort your unborn child; you choose the incomprehensible--hoping and perhaps praying, that someone will come forward and love your child as much as you wished you could. A mother choosing adoption for her child is not a panacea. It is a best-case scenario in a worst-case situation. Pulitzer-prize winner, Anna Quindlen, wrote, "There's just a hole in my heart and nothing to plug it." My guess is the piece that she's missing, that key that fits no known lock, is carried around by a multitude of birth mothers who chose life for their child even knowing the pain that might come with such a sacrifice.

In our extended family of thirty-one people, eleven are adopted, each one of them a unique and integral piece of the puzzle that is our family: without them, we are incomplete. When mothers are told that abortion is their only option, they've bought into a lie their heads can't reconcile with their hearts.

Pro-life means more than adopting children, although plenty of us are called to do just that. It means seeing dignity and value in the faces of all people. Women deserve better than abortion. The question we should ask isn't, "How many children have you adopted?" but rather, "How can we show pregnant mothers that, regardless of their situation, we recognize the worth and dignity of their life and of the life which they carry?" Ultimately, it's about having courage to act when a cry for help is heard; and to provide comfort, counsel and support for a mother and a child who are not society's after-thought, but building blocks of society: both necessary and wanted.

If you're pregnant and need help contact: The Gabriel Project.
For healing from a past abortion contact: Project Rachel.
Join us in the 40-Day Prayer Vigil here.
You know your Mom blogs when...

She sees this

and the first thing she grabs (after yelling "Don't move!", of course) is her camera.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Guest blogger!

I'm still working on the camera shy boy from this post, but I have a few other very willing participants in the ark expose. Here's B with her take on life on the ark---

Well it's very and I mean very noisy. Especially on car trips!
A good one is that you do a lot of jobs( not). You have to play with the baby's a lot.
I have to do the dishwasher this week. Did my mom tell you we have cards?
We have goods times and bad times. but we have a lot of fun on the ark.
So I think the ark is fun! how about you? You can think about it.
We'll what do you think about being on the ark? I will have a lot of good memorys from the ark!
You will to from reading it. We'll that's all bye!
How'd You Get Here From There-Part VI

One of the most commonly asked questions in adoption (after "How much does it cost?") is "How long does it take?". I'd have to say the the question about cost is much easier to answer.

For those of you who have adopted children, you know that time lines can vary widely amongst different programs (ie-domestic or international) or even between the various country programs which exist. Unfortunately, even within a single country program, there is the risk that what was typical when you began your process is no longer the norm due to new regulations, country requirements or increased popularity for a certain program. Abundantly clear, however, is that the adoption process (as with all good things) is completely on God's timeline.

When we began our formal process, it was July 2005 and we were preparing our home study for the adoption of a baby girl from China. That very same month, our church ran a "Spiritual Adoption" program to pray for the lives of the unborn. Each family was given a prayer card containing a space to "name" the child for whom you would pray over the next nine months. Even then, as we prepared for our Chinese baby, God knew the outcome would be wildly different from what we were planning.

We proceeded quickly through the home study and by mid-September had completed all of the requisite paperwork, doctor appointments, fingerprinting, and home visits. We had selected Adoption Advocates International as our agency, after a referral from a beautiful family at church, who used AAI to adopt their baby boy from Ethiopia. As the home study process wound down, I confided in my sister-in-law that I wasn't sure if the China program was the right one for us. At the same time, our social worker quit. Feeling that the China program had so many families already willing to adopt children and so many children who languished in the American system, I felt convicted by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's words to "not come to Calcutta, but look for Calcutta in your own backyard." I contacted our agency to tell them of our decision to switch to a domestic adoption program and filed their dossier paperwork away on a shelf. Uncertain where to begin, but trusting that God would lead us, we began to look into domestic adoption programs.

Discontented with the foster-to-adopt option, unqualified for many domestic programs based on our already *large* family, we were losing hope. Time felt as if it were running out. The process seemed to spin out of control as we watched with no end in sight-and at that point-no country (or child) identified. Attempting to soothe my frayed nerves, I tried to remind myself that God already knew which children would join our family and that His timing was perfect, even if it conflicted with mine.

In February 2006, we met yet another adoptive family at church, who had adopted from the Chicago area. At the time, we were unaware that they were in the process again, only this time, using AAI to adopt from Ethiopia. They shared the names of their domestic adoption agencies with us and we prioritized attending one agency's information session at the end of that month. While we sat in the meeting, with thirty other hopeful couples, we discovered that the particular session we were in addressed not only domestic but international programs as well. Assuming that we would sit patiently through the international spiel until the domestic talk began, I was shocked as I noticed my husband furiously writing nearly every word the international speaker said. As we drove home that day, in deep thought about what we had heard, we had a revelation--we needed a program that accommodated our current family size and that had a great need--and then we remembered Ethiopia.

The next Monday, I re-connected with AAI, who asked if we still had our dossier packet from before. Almost immediately, I was able to lay my hands on that folder I had safely tucked away six months earlier. We started the paperwork knowing that the remaining "Ethiopia specific" paperwork would arrive soon. We finally felt at peace with our decision and believed we had found our country program.

As if our decision needed any further affirmation, less than two weeks later, AAI stopped accepting new families into the Ethiopia program. The answer to our program quandry had been given just in the nick of time--God's time--not ours.

Coming next: The referral process!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Be Not Afraid

365 times, it is said, scripture admonishes us to "fear not"-once for every single day of the year; and yet somehow for my mortal mind never enough to calm my anxious self.

Perhaps the rest of you don't struggle mightily with fear of, well, in a nutshell, everything, but for me it is one of my great-perhaps the greatest-roadblocks. And for as much as I know that, there are a couple of other people who know it, too. One of them seeks to comfort and console, to show that with Him there is no need for fear, His perfect love cast it out long ago. With the other, however, my flawed humanity often forgets to close the door on my personal fear demon, who like a stiff wind needs it left only slightly ajar in order to blast it wide open and dishevel the entire house in an instant.

Too many times have I held back from doing something as my rational head conversed with my trust-at-all-costs heart while a heated conversation between the two ensues.

After our second child was born, I was overcome with fear about subsequent pregnancies. (Those of you who know me in real life can just nod in agreement about that.) The fear never totally went away, but I found courage and strength in God, and gave birth to two beautiful little girls that would never even exsist today if I handed over my thoughts to the Devil. Never even exsist--but that's where the Devil lurks, isn't it, down in the murky unknowns and the shadowy what ifs that have plagued people for ages. And while he is still the Devil, he's not stupid. Imagine the effort he'll put forth to stop God's will from happening--especially if the war trophies are souls.

Sometimes, I think, you can actually *hear* the conversations between good and evil playing out in your head. Almost three years ago, I attended a Mass for Mothers put on by our parish's Elizabeth Ministry group. We were brand new to the parish and the area and it seemed a great opportunity to be with other mothers. But then, at the end of the Mass, the priest announced that there would be a reception in the hall. I looked around and decided to beat a hasty retreat out the back of the church. I had come alone... I hadn't sat near anyone... These women all already know each other... Why on earth would they care to meet me? As the recessional finished, I quickly made my way to the vestibule, where I stopped in my tracks. And I remembered something I had heard at a previous bible study: sometimes, a voice whispered, the Devil will use our fears to prevent us from doing something that will bring great glory to God. I didn't know why, but I knew right then and there that I had to start making my way to the hall. Once there, I was greeted by many warm, friendly women, who were happy to welcome me to the parish. Someone even pointed out another new mom and she and I got to talking. Needless to say, the friendship that developed that day changed not just my new life here, but the lives of many women in our parish. My new friend (and future godmother of H!) encouraged me when I began revamping and coordinating our church nursery and, in turn, I encouraged her as she resurrected our parish Mom's Group. A couple's bible study was formed. A Women's bible study began. At Easter, this group took on the annual egg hunt and using Resurrection Eggs brought the gospel message to hundreds of children.

Having been given these (and many other!) opportunities to hone my anxious nature has actually been a blessing and not the curse it would seem. For all the hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing that I tend towards engaging in, it would seem that perhaps along the way I might have actually learned something. It really is as difficult and as simple as not being afraid.

"But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows." Luke 12:7

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Phil Lenahan Book Giveaway

The Catholic Company is sponsoring a giveaway on their sister site Catholic Spotlight. Five signed copies of Phil Lenahan's book 7 Steps to Becoming Financially Freewill be given away on September 3rd during a podcast interview with the author. To enter, visit their site by midnight August 31st.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feast of the Assumption

The Feast of the Assumption has always been loved dearly by the faithful who are children of Mary. It is a sign to us that someday, through God's grace and our efforts, we too may join the Blessed Mother in giving glory to God. The Assumption is a source of great hope for us, too, for it points the way for all followers of Christ who imitate her fidelity and obedience to God's will. Where she now is, we are meant eventually to be, and may hope to be through Divine grace. Mary's being taken to heaven after her life on earth was ended is the logical outcome of her immaculate nature, uniquely protected -- also by God's grace -- from personal sin. We seek to imitate her self-sacrificing love, her indestructible faith and her perfect obedience.

There is an important difference, of course, between the
ascension of Jesus into Heaven after His Resurrection, and the assumption of Mary. To ascend is to rise up under one's own power; while to be assumed means something that is done to one. Jesus, being the Second Person of the Trinity, had no need of assistance; whereas Mary did not have this power. (A pastor once demonstrated this difference in an unusual way. He asked two children to come to the front of the church. He told one child to walk from one side of the sanctuary to the other; and the other child he carried across.)

You can find prayers and special devotions for the Assumption
here. You can also read suggested family activities here.

Credit: Women for Faith and Family

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The fantastic thing about visitors is the excitement of their impending arrival. The problem with visitors is that eventually they have to go home, life returns to its normal hum-drum (yes, even on the ark) pace and for a while. A scene in slow-motion in which we walk around as if there's a draft in the house that no one can find. "I think I felt it over here. No, it was definitely here. Don't you feel it? You don't? Drat. Maybe it was downstairs." And on and on it goes. When visitors first arrive, time is spent adjusting to and accomodating their arrival and when they depart, it's like Baby Bear wandering from chair to chair and bowl to bowl unable to find the one that fits "just right."

In her children's book, The Relatives Came, Cynthia Rylant describes the first night with the relatives:
"It was different, going to sleep with all that new breathing in the house."
And on the night the relatives head back home:
"We watched the relatives disappear down the road, then we crawled back into our beds that felt too big and too quiet."

Today, as we stood and watched the final visitors in a two-week series depart, the children walked in the house and wandered around aimlessly for ten minutes before announcing, "We're going downstairs where we can talk...a lot. It's too quiet up here." So now, I sit alone upstairs, the only sound the clickety-clack of my fingers hitting the keyboard, while the children are downstairs trying to replicate the sounds of laughter and happiness, the giggles and screeches of a houseful of joy, the undeniable sounds of a home filled with special, limited-time only visitors.

I might just go join them; because, they were right after all, it really is too quiet up here.
Via Snail Mail

A big thank you to friend and blog reader, Heidi, who sent me some great articles and info just recently! Besides all of the somewhat depressing articles on the absorption of the small, Catholic women's college we both attended into the co-ed Fordham University in the Bronx (Is there still a market for schools like this? That is definitely a post for another day...); she also included a really interesting link about English Language Learners in Middle and High School. You can check it out here. Make sure you check out the websites listed under web resources on their home page. There are too many to list, but if you are a parent of a late-entry English language learner, it is well worth sifting through their resources.

Thanks again, Heidi!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What a crock!

Okay, here is one of my family's crock pot favorites.

BBQ Beef (for sandwiches)
3-4 lbs boneless chuck
1 medium onion, diced
1 t. celery salt
1 t. worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. garlic salt
1 t. chili powder
1-14 oz. bottle of ketchup
3/4 c. brown sugar
Place meat in crockpot, combine remaining ingredients and add to meat (you can also use a store bought BBQ sauce if you prefer). Cook all night on high, after 8 hours shred meat with a fork. We serve it on hamburger buns and some of the kids like to add slices of cheese. It is a super easy meal and can be served with sliced canteloupe melon and pasta salad. Delish!

If you want to share a recipe you still have time. Leave a note for SCMom here by Wednesday night.
What a giveaway! (Update re: entry deadline)

5Minutes for Mom is giving away a 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!! courtesy of Best Buy. Your odds of winning are still VERY, VERY good as there are only about 1400 people entered so far! My kids are thrilled at the idea of moving the ark's media out of the dark ages and into the brave new world of high-definition TV. And besides, doesn't everything look better on a flat-panel? (At least that's what my kids are telling me). Don't forget to enter, contest ends on Friday, August 17th at 12 AM (not noon as I previously wrote) Eastern time.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Talkin' Trash

Yesterday afternoon, B and H ran out to bring the trash cans in the garage. Within moments, they came flying through the door with the news that there was still one FULL can that had not been picked up. Questionning the validity of the story, I decided it needed further investigation; so I sent the Boy to check it out. Sure enough, he returned with the same report. I called the Public Works Department. The pleasant woman on the other end asked if a sticker had been left on the can. I turned to my three young trash collectors, who all responded in the affirmative.

Oh yes, Mother, they seemed to say, there was an enormous neon green sticker with the word SORRY emblazoned across the top, but it didn't seem important.

I relayed this to helpful Public Works woman, who then wanted to know what the sticker said.

What did it say? I thought to myself, the same children who didn't think it would be necessary to mention said day-glo sticker surely haven't read it. So a second time, I sent them back outside to retrieve the sticker, which read:

SORRY-Too Heavy (or for the Spanish speaking-Muy pesado)

What do I do now I whined into the phone? She politely asked what exactly we had thrown out and perhaps we could split that can's economy sized load into two smaller (and less heavy) cans. Then she would resend the truck to pick up our newly lightened loads. So, one final time, I grabbed an empty can and headed to the street with the boy. We redistributed the bags and headed back into the house. My new BFF at Public Works called back to confirm a pick-up time and I told her the trash problem had been sorted out, literally. What had we thrown away, she wondered aloud, that was so heavy? Embarrassed, I told her, that there were no old appliances, no used weight sets, no anvils and no bags of sand. No, I explained, sadly, this is just one week's worth of trash at our house.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Something about Mary

Many thanks to Jena for all the nice ark-lovin' things she posted on her blog, which is always full of good ponderings (especially of the adoption kind).
I wanted to attempt to shed some light on the "praying to Mary" stuff that Catholics do that still promotes confusion, even division among many Christians today. If anyone has something to add or additional information to help clarify, please leave a note in the comments. Thanks!

The gist of Mary is this, she is Jesus' mother (not equal to Him or the other two parts of the Trinity), but beloved (not worshipped) by Catholics for her role. The Second Vatican Council affirmed this when they wrote that to understand the doctrines on Mary, they must always be related to Jesus Christ, who is "the source of all truth, sanctity and piety." She is honored for her role in the plan of salvation, the one in which her fiat and longing to do God's will resulted in the birth to the Savior, who would undo the damage done in the Garden.

In her final role of mothering the human Jesus at the Cruxifiction, Jesus turns to his beloved John and says, "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" (Jn 19: 26-27) Jesus' last act on the cross was to give Mary as a mother to all of His faithful followers, symbolized by his most loved disciple, John. For many centuries, Christians have turned to the gentle mother of Jesus for comfort and help.

But that's just a little background, here's the deal with the praying stuff...

"Catholics honor Mary and look to her as our mother in faith, but they do not worship Mary or "pray to Mary" as they pray to God. Worship belongs only to God. Catholics ask Mary to pray for us, and believe that her intercession has a great effect in calling forth God's grace and mercy. But this is because of her special relationship with Jesus, not because of her own merits...Catholics believe that Mary also has a special role of intercession because of her special role in God's plan of salvation. Jesus and Mary are not in competition. Jesus is the source of all God's grace and salvation, and Mary directs her prayers and our attention to Jesus. When Mary is given such titles as "Mediatrix" or "Coredemptress", extreme care must be taken to explain that Mary has only been given a share in the work of Jesus Christ. Nothing she has done or could do in herself merits or gives salvation. Catholics pay attention to Mary because she is a model of discipleship; she teaches us what it means and what it costs to follow Jesus."

(from Catholic and Christian: An explanation of commonly misunderstood Catholic beliefs by Alan Shreck)

It is no different from me asking any one of you to pray for a need that I have and believing that there is great power in prayer united in the Body of Christ. Mary's relationship to Jesus makes her a powerful intercessory for our prayers. (I mean, what good Jewish boy doesn't listen to his mother?) Even the Rosary, which many people falsely believe or mistakenly proclaim is a prayer TO Mary, is actually a series of meditations based on the scriptural accounts of events in Jesus' life and ministry. You can read more about the role of Mary here, here, and here.

Love Jesus as Mary loves Jesus, Love Mary as Jesus loves Mary.

- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Saturday, August 04, 2007

One More Soul

Have you followed the Duggar family on their journey? In case you've missed their numerous Discovery Channel based specials, you can check the listings to see when the various shows they've filmed will air again. You can also read about a NEW special coming in September, which will introduce the newest member of the Duggar family--#17-- Jennifer Danielle, born a few days ago on August 2nd.
As people often stare in shock when the ark members roll through, this family leaves me standing slack-jawed. It's all in the perspective. And being open to what God calls you to do. It is most certainly NOT what this misinformed and hard-hearted lost soul wrote about the family. I'll bet that the article's author doesn't realize who some of those post 2.5 kids are:
  • St. Catherine of Siena (#25), Dominican tertiary and Doctor of the Church, worked to heal the Great Western Schism
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe (#7 of 11), author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, first major American novel with an African-American hero, activist for abolitionist cause
  • Stephen Colbert (#11), American humorist known for political satire and commentary
  • The Gilbreth Children (#1-12), the original "Cheaper By The Dozen" family, all of whom graduated college, 5 of the 6 brothers (the 6th ineligible due to health reasons) served in the Second World War protecting democracy and freedom (even of the speech of rogue, ax-to-grind columnists)
  • Thomas Jefferson (#3 of 8), third president of the United States, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, insistence that the Bill of Rights, consisting of the first ten amendments, was adopted (Note to writer: reread section on Bill of Rights)
  • John F. Kennedy (#2 of 9), thirty-fifth president of the United States, proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, created the Peace Corps, defused Cuban Missile Crisis

(Ed. Note: I'm sure I'm missing many people, who would be well suited for a list such as this one. If you know anyone else, leave a note in the comments section below and I'll add it!)

Where is that arbitrary "how many kids is too many?" line drawn and who gets to decide when it's been crossed? Oh yeah, the official line draw-er of all time would be the original line-drawer--God. I'm sure He's aware of those on the wrong side of it. And last I checked, it was up to Him alone to sit in judgement, not us. It's kind of His job, anyway, although I'm sure He's terribly interested in feedback from this writer about how His job performance rates. Fortunately for the writer, his own mother was open to the life God gave her; giving him the opportunity to brutally ridicule the choices made by those who believe differently than him.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Better late than never

My intentions were good, O Godmother of the Boy, but I just didn't get around to this until now, which I'm sure ruined the who will answer this first question... but I thought it would be fun to do on the blog and if anyone else out there would like to play, leave a note in the comments and let us know if you've posted about yourself...Okay, here goes--

According to my mother (as videotaped on my wedding video) my middle name is after a great-aunt.
Does almost crying count? Because in the past 24 PMS-y hours I have almost cried about a dozen times--particularly when the A/C stopped working (again!) and the well about dried up and the septic alarm went off.
Peanut Butter (hey, it's a protein!)
Yes, 6
Not today or yesterday, see question 2 above. I might have run as fast as I could the other way!7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT?
What's sarcastic to one person, might seem totally normal to another...
Not a chance
I have long since stopped wearing shoes that take precious time tying.
Sometimes yes, sometimes not at all
Tone of voice
Dark red
My lack of patience and the uncanny ability to confess impatience over and over again and still not get it right...arrgh...see, what I'm up against. I'm impatient about still being impatient.
People we've met and lived near who we've moved away from
These great new Dockers khaki bermuda shorts (that I LOVE) and bare feet
Texas taco and corn pudding (dinner tonight on the ark)
hum of the computer and whirl of the ceiling fan
Forest green
Downy in the purple bottle, newborn babies, chocolate anything, freshly washed children
The Captain
Very much!
Whatever season the kids are playing
Red (orange if you ask my 4 year old)
Italian or Mexican or dessert
Happy Endings
Walk the Line...sitting on the shelf waiting to watch (in no particular order) Must Love Dogs, Finding Neverland, Akelah and the Bee, Harriet the Spy, Emmanuelle's Gift
Winter--but if I had another choice--Fall!
The Boy's homemade chocolate chipwiches
Sugar Cookie Murder
Don't have one
Murder, She Wrote on the Hallmark channel (it was a toss-up though as we're making our way through the first season DVD series of Monk).
Able to worry about things that haven't happened yet that I couldn't control even if they did
Bridgeport, CT

Like mother, like daughter

The big news on the ark as of last night has to do with the impending football season. The Boy will be playing 7th grade football for his school beginning in a few weeks. He's beside himself with excitement and so is the Captain, who played a little bit of football himself back in the day. To say he's excited is actually an understatement. For example, after the orientation meeting last night, he promptly came in and proceeded to model the brand new helmet, pads and jersey (with his name emblazoned across the back) for us. There was also much to do about the coach, who is apparently a well-known former NFL player, Kurt Becker, who also has a son in junior high at the school.

So this morning, B decided to catch up on the football meeting by reading the handouts left strewn on the kitchen counter.

B: Mom! Did you see this?

Me: See what?

B: The Boy only has ONE coach.

Me: (speaking in my newly acquired second language of footballese) Yes, but that's only for the position he plays; AND his coach played football for the Bears when he was younger. He's played against all sorts of professional teams...

B: Oh, (narrowing her eyes and regarding the paper again) then I guess he might know what he's doing.

I could hear her muttering to herself as she walked away, "One coach...all those boys...I just don't know."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fried Brains

This morning, we were sitting under the gigantic shade umbrella at our park district swimming pool preparing for swim lessons. As she watched me coating her sister's face and head with sun lotion, N said to me:

"Momma, do I need sunscream on my brains, too?"

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bon Appetit!

SC Mom, at Praying for Grace, is hosting a delicious festival beginning on August 9th! If you've not ever checked out her cooking blog, Bless Us O Lord, make sure to stop by for the Crock Pot Festival and if you have any great recipes make sure to share them as well. I've already started to look through and see which of my crockpot recipes I might choose!