Thursday, September 27, 2007

Share your adoption story!


You have an opportunity to share your story of how God has provided financially for adoption and perhaps be on the air with Money Matters (Crown Financial Ministries) radio program in November. The idea is to share how the Lord has worked in overcoming financial needs during the adoption process. It could be that Hope for Orphans, Life International, Shaohannah's Hope, ABBA Fund or someone else was used to assist you in this and how God worked in your adoption decision.

Crown has a toll-free number that you can call at any time to record your story. There is no guarantee that all the testimonies will be used on the air in November, but if not, they may be used sometime in the future when the topic comes up again.
Instructions to participate:
  • Call 1-800-525-7000
  • Press -3- for testimonies
  • The message will say, "If you have a short testimony of the way God has used Crown Financial Ministries and Money Matters in your life, please press 3."

Even though your testimony may not be directly attributed to Crown, that is okay. They would like for you to leave your story of how trusting God brought you through financial hurdles in your adoption process.

Will the results be in Friday?

Last week, city officials asked Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti to review Pl*nned P*renthood and Gemini Office Development for possible criminal action based on the companies' handling of the application, approval and permitting process. Barsanti's investigation may be completed Friday.

The clinic's temporary-occupancy permit expired Sept. 17, and the facility cannot open until after the investigation is completed. Pl*nned P*renthood had intended to open the medical center on Sept. 18.

Stay tuned...
A weighty matter

There's been recent discussion on the ark about the size one must be to use the riding mower to cut the grass. The two older girls, it seems, do not weigh enough for the mower to work. (Apparently, there is a safety feature that cuts power to the blade if it believes the rider has fallen off). So, I suggested that, perhaps, when they weighed a little more, their mowing days could begin. B skipped back into the house, satisfied with my response. H, however, narrowed her eyes at me and began-what I like to think of as a quirky Ethiopian trait- interrogation speed round.

H: How much do I weigh?

Me: Oh...about 75 pounds, I think.

H: What about B?

Me: About the same.

H: What about the Boy?

Me: More than you.

H: More than 100?

Me: Yes.

H: (pondering for a moment) Then you must be two or three hundred, right?

They must operate some kind of funny system of measure in Ethiopia, at least that's what I'm telling people...

Nameless Older Sister (while chastising the three littlest ones after choir practice):
You know, you guys were too wild in church tonight.

Four year old spokesperson for the guilty party:
We can't help it. We get wild in church because it's so long.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mama always said...

It's better to tell the truth than to lie, because in the end, it's just too hard to remember what lies you've told. I guess that's why the sleight-of-hand method PP has been using in attempting to set-up the largest abortion clinic in America in Aurora, IL will, in the end, come back to haunt them.
Someone should have warned them that those types of tricks only work when the magician keeps his secrets.

From today's Aurora Beacon News regarding recent developments in the zoning code for the clinic:

From the first article:
Steve Trombley, president and CEO of Pl*nned P*renthood/Chicago Area, told The Beacon News Tuesday night that he hadn't seen that ordinance requiring a special-use permit and city public hearing.

"We have no idea what he's talking about," Trombley said

And from the second:
"Officials from Gemini discussed this with the city. It was determined that this project did not require a special-use permit," said Sara Knaub, a spokeswoman for Pl*nned P*renthood/Chicago Area.

Alyingceosayswhat? Exactly.

Starting today...

40 Days for Life!

You can read an excellent description here at SFO Mom's blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Women's Scripture Study tonight

For the past two years, I have led our parish's Women's Scripture Study. It is something I really love to do and feel a little guilty for always volunteering to lead it, as I think I get much more out of it when I'm tasked with its preparation.

So, tonight begins our 2007-08 study. We will be finishing up Stacy Mitch's "Courageous" Series.

This year, we are covering the final book shown above, Courageous Virtue. It should be a very interesting topic as lately virtue is portrayed as antiquated behavior left only to goody-two-shoes, who when it comes right down to it (according to society today) are really just don't know how to have a good time. What is interesting, in my research about virtue in society today, is that schools in America are clamoring to instruct children about virtue and living a virtuous life, but wish to do so without the slightest mention of the scriptural origin of virtue. So now, we pander programs such as *character* education to grade-schoolers, with no moral compass attached. I understand where these programs are trying to go, but I'm not quite sure they ever get there.

What do you think? Can virtue be extracted from faith and still have meaning and understanding for children today? Or does it leave them with a half-baked notion of that virtue was crafted out of thin air? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.
Chocolate Pudding Face Mask

Me: Come here, quickly, let me help you clean up!

N(heading for the bathroom): Nooooooo....

Me: I don't want you to clean yourself up, please, let me help you.

N: I'm not going to clean myself up.

Me: You're not?

N: No, I want to look in the mirror.

Prayers for our new niece

Hi all. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our newest niece. No, it's not this one, but it is the soon-to-be-born daughter of another great aunt and uncle team here on the ark. Her due date is this coming Sunday. Yesterday, at an ultrasound, the baby's fluid level was low. Please join us in praying for a safe delivery for Mom and baby.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Position Wanted: Inquire Upstairs

From today's gospel reading...we hear:
"Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?"

The pastor today spoke about this reading and its appearance of being scandalous. "Why," he asked, "would Jesus tell such a story as this?" Given that when Jesus spoke in parables, He wasn't just shooting the breeze, He had a lesson to teach; there must be a reason to this story about a group of (in the pastor's words) scoundrels. As he spoke, I reflected on something that we discussed in our Couple's Scripture Study Friday night. Our discussion was on salvation. One of the points covered was, as I thought more about it, really related to today's gospel message. There is for many Catholics (as well as many Christians, I am sure) the notion that being faithful in the *big* things is enough. So, hey, I went to Mass this week. I haven't cheated on my spouse or, you know, murdered anyone. I'm doing alright! But as our scripture study conversation wound around to it, being faithful is not a check-the-block-once-in-a-lifetime-hey-y'all-look-at-me-at-least-I-went-to-church-on-Sunday kind of a thing. It is in the little things. It is in the day-to-day. It is in the details. It is, at its core, a way of life we sign up for when we agree to follow Christ. And if we can't be faithful in those little things, in the mundane, in the acts that no one sees, what message does our faith show the world?
It is a full-time job, this disciple-being and becoming-that we've accepted and as the pastor said today, there are no part-time positions.

"Always be faithful in the little things, for it is in them that our strength lies."
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
From Joan Lowry Nixon's Book...

At the moment your life began,
everything was there that would
make you the special person you are.
Already God knew whether
you would be a boy or a girl,
what color hair and eyes you would have,
and how tall you would become.
And at the center of this life was your soul,
which was created with all the joy and glory
of God's love, because He wanted you.

Originally, this book was selected as an answer to the *bigger picture* of the "Where did I come from?" question for our adopted children. As you can tell from this excerpt, it answers that question and teaches all of our children about their irreplaceable worth and value, which is true of all life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lessons Learned

CB spent yesterday afternoon pouring liquid "bubble stuff" on the driveway and skating through it. Finally, after many panicked warnings about splitting her head open gentle reminders to stop, CB was kindly asked by her tired-of-repeating-herself mother to sit and think about why that behavior was not such a good idea.

"Well," I asked, "What did you think?"

"It's not safe," she answered. "You could slip."

"And what else?" I continued.

Looking very seriously at me, she added, "And'll fall and crack your head open."

Well, I thought, at least I know she was listening.


N busied herself with the books in the cryroom at B and H's choir practice last night.

"Look at this man," she declared, "he's wearing flip flops."

Looking up from my reading , I responded, "That's Noah and those are sandals. Do you remember him?"

Her puzzled stare beckoned me to continue.

"He built a big boat and filled it up with every different kind of animal you can think of."

"Ooooh noooo,"she said as she passed down her three year old judgment, "I bet he got in BIG trouble for that!"
Big Girls, New Rooms, Webkinz Mania

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Closed Until Further Notice

In today's ruling, the PP clinic was denied its request to open while the investigation of its approval process continues. You can read the full story here.
Channeling Jason Alexander

It's been a rough week on the ark. The kids have been busy every night of the week after school. We've had numerous doctor and dentist appointments. Homework has been a bear. And occasionally, I catch sight of this good-looking guy walking through my bedroom in the wee hours of the morning. (I think he might live here, but I'm not sure).

So this morning, it seemed appropriate to treat myself to a pumpkin spice latte (decaf, of course). I rarely opt for anything from this over-the-top coffee shop, but this morning, desperation won out over sensibility. I went through the drive-thru, accepted up my liquid pick-me-up from an overly enthusiastic employee and drove off to drop CB at preschool.
Once it seemed my coffee had cooled, I raised the paper cup to my lips and in a private toast took my first sip...only to find that I had been gypped. Sure enough, my cup was filled to its grande rim with hot chocolate (which is also probably pretty good, but that's not my point). Dejected, I turned a one-eighty and headed back to give my peppy coffee hostess a piece of my mind. Until, this image crossed my mind, and I had to laugh aloud at myself. My blogging-mommy, novice computer geek gave me no more right to lose my cool than those of more *celebrity* status. I mean, what kind of example would I be setting for my two youngest in the back seat.

Not a very good one.

So, I pulled through the line again, graciously accepted an apology and the correct drink and drove home; hoping I could find that funny clip playing in my head to share with this story.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Science lesson gone horribly wrong

Tonight, as the three little ones and I sat under the fading sun at soccer practice, I noticed the moon had already risen. What a great opportunity, the overenthusiastic teacher in me decided, to point out the moon while the sky is still blue.

I called out excitedly, "Hey guys! Who can find the moon?!" Each of the little girls scanned the sky and quickly responded, "I do!" Then little N added, "But it's such a small moon, Mama." Not wanting to let a teachable moment pass me by, I answered, "Yes, it is. It's called a half-moon." CB, listening intently to my explanation, turned to N and I and with concern and said, "You mean someone CUT it?!"

I briefly tried to explain that it was still there, but it was dark and unable to be seen; thus continuing my science lesson. She looked at me quizzically and I thought for a second before offering, "Or maybe someone cut it." Satisfied, she wandered off while I, left with my failed lesson plan replaying itself in my mind, decided it was a good thing I'd never been offered a science teaching job.
Travel Snacks

I spent this morning at the dentist's office for an always enjoyable six-month check-up. Relying upon the kindness of friends, I was able to venture off for my appointment unaccompanied. As I sat in the waiting room the first few minutes, I was on alert. Why?

First, because that's the status quo for my entering into any type of professional office space where (when I go WITH young'uns in tow) I'm ready at a moments notice to: apologize, keep one eye on the wanderer, another eye on the climber and still a third eye (yes, I must have it here somewhere) on the one who is nonchalantly emptying the contents of my pocketbook on the floor; all while staring longingly at the golden gateway back to meet with the doctor, teacher, dentist, etc...
And, second, I was getting ready to go sit in the dentist's chair, 'nuff said.

Normally, in such situations, I whip out my rosary and roll the beads gently between my fingers, urging calm through my meditation. Today, however, there was an "Everyday with Rachael Ray" magazine at my fingertips (which I'd never seen before) and I was, don't forget, alone. There was a cover story featuring Road Trips and the best snack foods to pack in the car. "Great!" I thought, until I turned to the page featuring fajita-style roll-ups with dipping sauce, of course and vegetable and cheese shish-kebabs. I had no problem with the *highly original* homemade popcorn and frozen juice boxes, but I really thought Rach wouldn't have left me hanging. It's no problem to conjure up Doritoes and M&Ms, but without taking along a sous-chef, there must be something else on which to feast.

Any "yum-o" suggestions?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sweet Reminders

As previously noted, my just-turned-three-year-old, N, has been undecided on a number of things lately. Not the least of which has been her attendance at pre-school, which started a week ago today. So today, with little fanfare, I dis-enrolled her from her two morning a week pre-school class. I really appreciated everyone's comments and emails. As she is my fifth to enter school, I find myself taking a much more laid back approach to her rush to academic achievement. Last year, CB, (at the age of almost four) was barely ready to start a one hour, once-a-week class. Now, in that short span of time, she greets me brightly each morning with, "Do I have school today, Mama?"; reminding me evermore to cherish the fleeting time I have with these little ones.

Thanks, CB, I needed that.

Ready to start the the day!
Share your favorite recipes...

Have you ever visited the Gooseberry Patch website or used one of their many tasty cookbooks? Well, the ladies at Gooseberry are at it again! They're already planning next year's autumn and Christmas cookbooks and they need your help! If you have a recipe (including a story about what makes the recipe near and dear to your heart) submit it here for a chance to have it included in one of the new cookbooks and (if included) to receive a free copy of the book!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Pl*nned P*renthood
will NOT be opening their doors.
Eric Scheidler writes:

That's what we've been praying for these past 40 days, and those
prayers have been answered. But the future is very uncertain. I'll
try to explain briefly.

Planned Parenthood was asking Federal District Judge Charles Norgle
to issue an injunction that would have required the City to let
them open for business WITHOUT concluding the investigation into
PP's dealings with the City.

Judge Charles Norgle listened to arguments from PP and the City for
an hour, and decided a full hearing was required.

The hearing has been set for Thursday at 10 a.m. That means that
Planned Parenthood will not open until Friday at the earliest.

One important point to keep in mind:

The question here is not whether PP can ever open. The question is
whether their opening can be DELAYED while an investigation is
concluded into the allegations raised into wether PP defrauded the

That question may be settled Thursday after a full hearing.

Thanks to SC Mom for the heads up about the feast day of St. Robert Bellarmine, patron saint of canon lawyers, celebrated today-September 17th. A powerful intercessory for the upcoming hearing in the courts!

St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for us!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Obviously, People

High school students in CT lost a little common sense today, which for high school students (if memory serves) doesn't leave much left.
Physics teacher and stickler for attention to detail, (Units, people, UNITS!), David Couch, who had been a teacher there for 35 years, just passed away in Germany. He was scheduled to return and teach part time.
Even if you didn't attend Immaculate High School, you knew this teacher. He was the one whom freshmen feared as urban legends about him filled the hallways of the upperclassmen. He was tough-that was for certain. Whether out of fear, or perhaps out of hard work(okay, it was definitely fear); he demanded his students perform to the best of their abilities. He expected nothing less from us, nor we from him. He taught us to expect success of ourselves and of others at a time when teenage angst readily clouded most things positive.
Rest in peace, Mr. Couch. May St. Peter meet you with a truly original joke about your name.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Showers of Generosity

posted by guest blogger-Dawn

Wow! Where do I even begin? The Community Baby Shower was a great success! As most of you know, things move pretty quickly when it comes to the Families Against Planned Parenthood campaign so, when a friend of mine from church suggested this idea to me, I quickly passed it on. By the time we got the final “thumbs up” we had only 4 days to make this idea a reality. Yes, you read right, 4 days! But, as we know, with God all things are possible. Several women from our Mom’s Group at Holy Angels quickly volunteered their time and talents and, within 48 hours, we not only connected with the organizations who we planned on benefiting but we also had done a PR “blitz” to the local faith community and parish schools.

So, this morning as we set up empty playpens adorned with pink and blue balloons, we had no idea what kind of response we would receive. Would anyone respond to our call to help women and families in need? How many playpens would we fill? We quickly found out that the answers were YES and MANY! Here’s what the generous and caring people of our community donated with only a few days notice – 120 packs of diapers, 56 boxes of wipes, 30 baby blankets, 70 baby toiletry items, 70 outfits and onesies, 48 items of baby food and formula, 62 baby care items including bottles, pacifiers, feeding supplies, etc., as well as a crib mattress and bedding set, baby monitor, floor gym, and a $50 gift card for a local maternity clothing store! I can not tell you the gratitude of the women who were there working on behalf of the 3 organizations who will benefit from these donations. Which, by the way, are Project Gabriel, the Pregnancy Information Center , and Catholic Charities. What a blessing these items will be to so many mothers and babies!

One particularly touching moment today was when a woman who stopped by to drop off her donation said to us that she was once in need of this type of help and people reached out to her and now she wanted to donate and give back so others could be helped in the same way. You see, unlike the option of abortion, the choice of reaching out in love simply lends itself to an increase in love. It comes back around. And, unlike PP, these organizations don’t just provide a one time service and then wave you out the door. They are here to help for as long as they are needed and to provide pregnant women and new mothers with not only material assistance but with counseling support and spiritual encouragement. God bless these great people who work tirelessly to help women say “yes” to life under difficult circumstances.

So, I humbly say THANK YOU to all who gave so generously on such short notice. Today was proof that when we, those who value the sanctity of ALL human life, combine our prayers with action great things can, and do, happen. I also want to say thank you to the following people for making this baby shower possible…

May I add...Way to go! Dawn and all who helped in this effort. You have spoken your faith in the loudest way possible--with hands and hearts of humble servants. May many be blessed by the work you did today in the name of Christ.

N decided she didn't want to go to pre-school on Thursday. There was no real *episode* so to speak. As she just turned three in July (and we were waffling about whether to send her or not) it took me only a split second to decide to keep her home that morning.

Once we were in the car, however, it seemed a much more pressing choice needed to be made.

N: Mama, when we get home, can I have my sippy cup?

Me: Sure, we'll fill it up with apple juice as soon as we get there.

N: I don't want apple juice. I want water.

Me: That's fine.

N: Why can't I have apple juice?

Me: (my patience fuse growing shorter) You can have apple juice, I just told you that. You said you wanted water.

N: Oh yeah, I doooo want water.

Me: (thinking the discussion has finally ended)Okay-water it is!

After a few fleeting moments of silence, she called out from the back seat:

N: But if I don't want water, can I have apple juice?


Friday, September 14, 2007

Pleasant surprise

After the un-pleasant surprise last night, it was so sweet to wake up to this award from Therese at Aussie Coffee Shop. Thanks, Therese! I big-red-puffy-heart your blog, too!

And to share the love...a few of my favorite daily reads...goes to:

Denise at Life in Fitzville -- great writing from another mom to many!

Becky at Wild At Heart Family -- genuinely nice, kind words spoken here--every.single.time!

Cathy at The Mouse Says -- funny, insightful, and honest. She writes just like she talks and I love her blog for it!

Jena, at Preparing for Rain -- how could I forget (must be the 6 kids or something...) but my *namemate* is a wealth of adoption ponderings and always enjoyable to read.

There are lots of others, too, but I start my day with you guys!
Clinic Update

Well, Aurora's friendly new neighbor PP, is now suing the city. You can read the article here.
FYI, the disclosure in the newspaper referred to in the article, ran in the Chicago Sun Times (not the Aurora-Beacon News) which would be the paper most people in, you know, AURORA read.
Tough Break

Say, for example, there was something you really, really wanted. You thought about it incessantly, maybe even went the extra mile to bring your plan to fruition. Perhaps you prayed for it-all.the.time. And then, when everything seemed to be going your way, it fell apart-in an instant.

Not that I know anything about that, but...if it was me, I might be tempted to throw the adult-sized equivalent of a toddler temper tantrum; hypothetically speaking, of course.

Of course.

So last night, when my husband called to say that after the Boy's football game they were making a detour to the Walk-In Clinic because (contrary to what they told me) it seems it IS possible to get hurt on the junior high gridiron. Later still, when the phone rang again, the conversation went as followed:

The Captain: The good news is that your trips after school are going to decrease...

Me: But...

The Captain: The bad news is the Boy actually broke his elbow. He'll be out the rest of the season.

So the Boy, after all his hard work and dedication,who was a starter for the 8th grade team-as a 7th grader, who was averaging 5 tackles per game, who practiced three nights each week and played three games per week was, in an instant, issued a seat on the sidelines. You can imagine how he must have felt. I did, or so I thought. Instead of wallowing in the blow he'd been dealt, he's making plans to attend at least one practice per week and be present to cheer on his teammates at the rest of the games. No whining, no complaining, no temper tantrums of which to speak.

Quick think of the first word that comes to mind when you think of a 150lb, 12 year old, sweaty, dirty, linebacker?

I've got one for you---graceful.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In order to understand...

Why would I bother to write about the ongoing local struggle to keep PP out of our community? There are many reasons, some very specific to the PP organization while others are more simple and recite a soliloquy about the dignity of all life.

Having a dear friend who recently gave birth to a stillborn baby with Trisomy 18, I can see why someone might decide that termination is less of a "burden" for themselves and their spouse and children. The reality is though, as Christians, if we truly believe that God is the author of life and it is His divine will as to when a life begins and when a life ends, it is not about what we decide is a "burden". To paraphrase speaker and author Christopher West, if Grandma's suffering is a burden, we can wait for her to die a natural death or help the process along. The end result is the same thing-Dead Grandma. The same could be said about saying "goodbye early" to an unborn baby whose future may contain suffering or poor health, except in this country one is legal and one is not.

Many blessings come from the lives of children who have genetic and chromosomal abnormalities. I have another dear friend with a beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome and another a son with Down Syndrome. I don't suppose they would have chosen this "burden" for themselves, but I also can't help but wonder if, looking back now, would say, "Gee, I really wish I'd had that abortion." Another mother wrote about her "Wonderboy" here and the joy his life, while not the *norm*, has brought her and her family.
It is a grace from God for a parent and family to endure a difficult pregnancy, stillbirth or disabled child, but it is also a gift-one that we shouldn't think so flippantly about throwing away.

Just so you know where I'm coming from.

"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American Feminist, 1873
Source: Feminists for Life

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pro-Life Baby Shower Coming Saturday!!!

In a lukewarm attempt to show the proportion of one's pro-life stance equaling the number of children adopted, the question, "How many children have YOU adopted?" has been the mantra of the pro-life opposition. It seems the pro-abortion crowd movement has birthed a new sibling (particularly when the pro-lifer in question HAS one or more adopted children) for this question, "Why don't you spend your time and energy helping the children who are already born?" After emitting a loud sigh, I spent a few moments thinking about the protesting pro-lifers I know. Far from the "religious zealot circus freak show" label firmly in place by the PP contingent, these are just your average hard-working, concerned citizens, who when they aren't busying themselves with their protest shenanigans are:
  • coordinating efforts to bring food and shelter to the people (predominantly women and children) of our community at the local shelter and food pantries
  • acting as foster parents for days, weeks, months and sometimes years to care for children who, if all goes well, will be reunited with their birth family
  • organizing small groups in their churches, in their neighborhoods to minister to mothers and provide support and encouragement through their childbearing and childrearing years
  • adopting a child or two (or nine--Hi Mom!) in order to give the child and the birth parents a chance to become the person God calls them to be
  • babysitting for young, single mothers while they finish their college or, perhaps, high school degree
  • mentoring, loving, giving, donating selflessly of all the time-talents-and-treasures they have been given--rather than take the easy way out for themselves and demand that women "in trouble" have abortions to avoid having yet one other person to help
And just because this life-affirming lifestyle allows for so much "me" time, these people, who devote their *extra* time to "extremist" protest activities are busy preparing to help--AGAIN!

Read more about Saturday morning's "Jericho March" here and the concurrent pro-life baby shower to assist three local crisis pregnancy centers here. For more information or questions, leave a message in the comments below.

***If you are not local to the event, but would like to donate, you can do so here; and, as always, continue to pray that a culture which affirms life--in all its stages--will start right here, in Aurora, Illinois, right now.***
It's Y2K all over again!

Based on their use of the Ge'ez calendar, Ethiopia is just now celebrating the new millenium. You can read more about the celebration here.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's all the fuss?

As women, what legacy do we wish to leave our daughters? Is it one of strength and courage? One of pride in our authentic femininity? Or is it the lies that PP attempts to spread to women throughout the US?

Our society can be measured by the extent to which it reveres women with the respect and dignity they deserve. PP is not freedom for women, not by a long shot. At its best, it provides a most foul form of birth control; at its worst, it aims to devalue and degrade that which society has for years revered most-its women.

May God's mercy rain down on us.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why the ark?

This was sent by another mom at our church and I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to share with the Ark readers!

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark
: Don't miss the boat.
: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
: Stay fit When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
: Build your future on high ground.
: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
: When you're stressed, float a while.
: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting

Tomorrow my two youngest daughters begin their first *official* day of preschool. Some of you might think I'm revving up for a big celebration-being left with only ONE child at home tomorrow morning. Those of you who know me better might be thinking that I'm walking around the house a tad melancholy tonight, eyeing baby pictures of my now 3 and 4 year old girls, fingering the material of their tiny first day of school outfits, letting my good night hugs linger just a moment longer than normal as I tuck them in to bed.

Actually, you'd all be a little bit right, but you'd be a little bit wrong, too.

Tomorrow, this special "first" in our world has a dark shadow cast upon it. Tomorrow is September 11th. Not even a decade ago, the mere mention of that date wouldn't cause anyone to raise an eyebrow anymore than if I'd said April 8th. Now, people inquiring about the start of preschool hear the words "September 11th" and simply nod their head in unspoken mourning for all events with the poor misfortune of occurring on that date.

On the first September 11th, I remember precisely where I was, where my husband, children and loved ones were. I can remember the clear, crisp blue sky as I drove up route 52 on my way to Pine Bush Elementary School. In waves, memories of that day cross my mind when the date of September 11th is announced: the intercom calling the first (of many) of my students out of class unexpectedly, the announcement minus any explanation for classrooms to begin lockdown procedures, the face of the assistant principal scrunched up against my classroom window beckoning me toward her, the crackle of the walkie talkie in her hand as she blurted out, "The country is under attack." handing my last student over to his parent and racing out of the building desperate to find my husband and children, the long walk up the sidewalk to my girlfriend's house where the comfort of my husband's arms gathered what little of me was left and held it together, the sounds of the innocent, unknowing footsteps of our children playing two floors above with their friends, the phone call from our principal that night declaring that school would be open the next day-we needed to be there for the children, hanging up wondering who, then, would be there for us, and falling asleep (or at least trying) to the Fox News crew attempting to make sense of the senseless-of that day-September 11th. The normalcy of that date abruptly vanished .

It will be many years before someone hears the date and doesn't stop to remember how their life changed on that day. My prayer is that in their future my youngest daughters will relish a bit of a return to normalcy on this date; that someone will ask them the significance of September 11th and they'll have to delve deep into their memories to respond, "September 11th? Oh yeah, that's the day we started preschool."
Murder, She Baked

One of my favorite past times is reading; specifically mysteries. This is nothing new, either. As a young girl, I devoured the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden series interrupting myself from my reading stupor only long enough to eat, sleep and attend school. I was the kid during the gym class kick ball game, playing left field (you didn't actually think I'd play some other position did you?), and discussing Encyclopedia Brown's latest whodunit with another equally disinterested teammate as the ball rolled on past. Now, as an adult, I find myself seeking out mysteries of the same genre-average citizen from small town (with extremely high per capita murder rate) solves crimes in spare time with little blood, sex or foul language. When I find an author who fits my criteria, I dig in and read incessantly, until the series is complete. Then I while around, waiting for the sequel or seeking out a new author to read. In a blessed coincidence, the new author I'm reading not only writes my beloved "cozy" style mysteries, the main character runs a cookie shop AND the author includes her cookie recipes in the book! You can read more about author, Joanne Fluke, and her Hannah Swensen mysteries here. Below is one of her many scrumptious cookie recipes!
Short Stack Cookies
(these taste exactly like pancakes slathered in maple syrup and butter!)

1 1/2 cups melted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large beaten eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
(spray inside of measuring cup with cooking spray to keep from syrup from sticking)
4 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour (not sifted)
1/2 cup white sugar for coating the dough balls

Melt the butter and mix in the sugar. Let it cool and add the beaten eggs. Add maple syrup, soda, salt and vanilla. Mix it all up. Then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Chill dough for at least one hour. (overnight is fine)
Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls with your hands. Roll the balls in white sugar and place them on greased cookie sheets. Flatten them with a spatula.
Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets for one minute, then remove. If they sit too long on the cookie sheets, they'll stick.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Candlelight Prayer Vigil

“God, forgive us when we try to explain away the obligation we have to help others who need help. Enable us to not devalue them because they are in the circumstance that they are in, but to see them for what they are, those, who like us, were formed by your hand in their mother’s womb. Amen” adapted from 30 Days for Life: A Prayer Devotional

Check out these pictures and read about last night's prayer vigil.
Pop Quiz

Whose birthday is shared today with my dad? (scroll down for answer)

If you guessed, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, you're half right... (scroll down for yet another birthday today)

Today is this little blog's FIRST birthday! I'd say it's in good company, don't you think?

Please stay and visit for a spell, have a slice of virtual cake, and make sure to sign the guest book to let us know you were here--it's just what we always wanted!

And in case you missed it, here's my first post!

Friday, September 07, 2007

How'd You Get Here From There-Part VII

Sometimes we're very clear about hearing what God is saying to us, other times it takes nothing short of a miracle for His quiet whisperings to be fully amplified.

I promised that I would share our referral story before the week was through, so with precious few hours left, here it is:

Our paperwork arrived at our agency(stateside) on June 5th 2006. We were officially "on the list" waiting for an infant or young siblings under five years of age, when an email announcement was made by our agency director. There were four *new* sets of siblings, who might be difficult to place based on the large age gap between each of the siblings in the sets. Each set included an infant or toddler but was paired with an older sibling. While reading the email, my eyes kept focusing on the one month old baby boy and his older sister-age 8. I called over to my husband to ask what his thoughts were as this wasn't quite in the age range we had planned and would give us an instant "artificial" twin for our daughter, B. After some brief discussion, we called in B to discuss the possibility of a sister closer to her age than we originally thought. It was decided that we should call the agency to inquire about the children and see where it led us. The following day, after speaking with the agency, we discovered that the older daughter's birth name was the same as both Ark grandmothers' middle names.
Coincidence? Chance? Certainly not! Looking back, it was the first in a series of quiet whispers God sent our way. We decided to ask for additional information, but as the children were new to the orphanage, little was available and days passed before we discovered that the baby had tested positive for Hepatitis C. Multiple calls to doctors, the county health department and friends in the health care biz. No one was willing to sound the "all clear" on Hepatitis C in a family already containing four children, two of whom were under 3 at the time. We prayed about it and ultimately made the difficult decision to decline this first referral.
Time passed and the excitement summer vacation slowly replaced the anxious wait at home for a phone call. Soon enough, August arrived and the leisurely, distracting days of summer began to fade as the return to routine quickly approached. During one of these last, lazy summer mornings, two friends visited to catch up on the latest Ark happenings and drink coffee (or diet Coke!) while our collective brood of 12 laughed and carried on around us. Shortly into our visit, the phone rang. Checking the caller ID, I discovered that our agency was on the other end. One of my friends, who had also adopted from our agency, shooed me into the other room with the phone grinning and admonishing, "Go! Take the call! We'll take care of the kids." Quickly, before the answering machine took over, I hit the "talk" button on the phone and tentatively said, "Hello." The voice on the other end identified herself as our agency's director and said, "I've got a couple of kiddos here I'd like to talk to you about..."

To be continued...

Power of Prayer

To anyone who has ever doubted the power of prayer, take a look at this. It looks like PP may just have their work cut out for them. If they think that the citizens of the Fox Valley area (who stand united with strong, faithful people across the US) will just go quietly into that good night, they better think again.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In the cross hairs

That's where you'll find little, ol' Aurora, Illinois these days. It seems that the grassroots movement to stop the PP abortion clinic from opening is making some people a little bit nervous...

And here’s what Pl*nned P*renthood President Cecile Richards wrote in an e-mail alert sent out today (emphasis added):

Ground zero in the fight for women’s access to reproductive health care just landed in a town in the middle of America.

Aurora, Illinois.

Aurora’s not really a town. It’s a fast-growing city outside Chicago where Pl*nned P*renthood just built a large clinic. And ten days ago, the usual suspects in the anti-choice fringe showed up in droves—and by droves, I mean more people are protesting this clinic than we’ve seen for a long time.

I’m not sure how you square the idea that we’re the “fringe” with the idea that we’re “showing up in droves,” but Richards is right—Ground Zero in the abortion battle has become Aurora, Illinois.

You can read the full text of the Families Against Pl*nned P*renthood organizer Eric Scheidler's post here.

**Prayer Vigils Continue**


Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Bishop of Joliet, has requested a day of prayer and penance on Friday, September 7th, for the promotion of a Culture of Life and an end to abortion. As one of many responses to this request, a Candlelight Vigil will be held at the Planned Parenthood Aurora abortion site on that day, starting at 9:15PM. The facility is located at 3051 E. New York St., Aurora, IL.

This special Vigil will unite Catholics from the Joliet Diocese and all people of good will in public witness to the power of prayer.

The Vigil provides a supplement to–not a replacement for–the many parish commemorations of the September 7th day of prayer and penance.

Cheerleading Party!

Since a few of you have asked about B's 9th birthday party, I thought I'd share a few of the pictures and a bit of the details. After spending the summer in a pom-dancing class, she decided to have a cheer-themed celebration. We invited about 12 girls (including our four) and one very good-natured boy, who helped run the concession stand, applied the football tattoos, and came wearing his sports jersey so that we could cheer for him at the appropriate time. When the girls arrived, we corralled everyone in the living room and provided hair accessories and lots of glitter gel and hairspray. No one got out unglittered (even me!). Each child was working on creating their own team pennant as our surprise guest arrived.
As soon as the first girl noticed the fully-uniformed cheerleader making her way up the front walk, the room filled with shrieks and giggles. Our cheerleader is an eighth grader from our parish school and brought all the girls outside to teach them a cheer or two.

The Boy and his friend (the older brother of one of the guests) declined our invitation to cheer with us, but entertained us all with their football prowess in the background. We finished up with a trip to the concession stand, stocked with red and white boxes of popcorn, blow-pops, bags of M & Ms, and Kool-aid koolbursts. And if that wasn't enough sugar, we headed back outside to open gifts and ate up a platter of confetti-cake cupcakes topped with phrases such as "GO TEAM" and "RAH RAH RAH".
Not bad for a never-been-a-cheerleader Mom, eh?

Yes, much to the chagrin of the parents the party favors included pom-poms and megaphones.
(You'll notice the Boy with the token other boy at the party trying to take the girliness level down a notch with some full-contact sports and such)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

10 Years

Tomorrow marks the ten year anniversary of the death of Blessed Mother Teresa.

Just recently, media reports have presented a side of Blessed Mother Teresa infrequently seen by the public-a doubting, questioning, and, quite honestly, very human side. Some in the news have attempted to use this information to discredit the diligent work and charity of Blessed Mother Teresa, even calling her fraudulent and a hypocrite. In reading her diaries and hearing the testimony of her confessors, one thing is clear: in spite of her doubt and inability to see or feel God's presence at every turn-she carried on her work and that of her order. Call me crazy, but I think before judgment is passed, perhaps a little scripture refresher course is in order:
"Now faith is the assurance of [things] hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
If her diaries do anything, they should convict us all to continue on with the work God calls us to do-regardless of how we feel every millisecond that we do it. That's real faith. Perhaps the fact that she did just that and up to now has been regarded as saintly (especially with the fast-track canonization process) her all-too-familiar fears and doubts convict those of us who, too often, used the crutch of her saintliness to dissuade us from sticking it out through our own rough spots.
"Oh sure," we'd say to ourselves, "she was able to care for the sick, the dying and the unwanted. She was special. She was different. She wasn't like me. I could never do what she did."
Now that we know differently, we can't fall back into our old ways of thinking. She was, as her diaries showed, more like us than we thought. In light of this, are we willing to be more like her than we thought we could be? Through her trials and dark places, she never failed to call out to God in prayer and He sustained her, just as He will us-even when we can't see or feel Him.

Catholic Greetings has some beautiful e-cards available to share with your family and friends on the celebration of her 10th birthday in Heaven.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Thanks to Fighting Irish Thomas for the link to this video!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Deuteronomy 30:19

"Choose life so that your children may live..."

The 500 t-shirts emblazoned with this scripture were quickly spoken for at the Youth for Truth rally yesterday outside the site of the scheduled abortion clinic, where over 700 students came ready to stand in support of life. Read more about the rally here and here.
Come Visit!

I've got a new post up at Faith Lifts. If you're looking for a little inspiration this morning, take a look at this awesome site filled with devotions for Christian moms.

A Group Blog for Christian Moms