Saturday, May 31, 2008


Therese sent this to me a little while ago and here-finally-(I know it's what you've all been dying for) it is!

What time is your alarm clock set to? It isn't! My dear husband wakes me up most mornings around 6:30.

What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Kindness--at least I look to see if it's present!

Do you think people talk about you behind your back? I hope not!

What movie do you know every line to? Christmas Vacation

What is your favorite movie? I like so many, I don't think I have one favorite

Is anyone in love with you? Yes

Do you eat breakfast daily? Yes

Do you sleep on your side, stomach or back? Somehow, I always start to sleep on my side/stomach and often end up on my back--go figure

Who was the last person to make you mad? I can't remember. Probably someone I don't know very well.

Are you a lover or a fighter? Ask around. I am a stubborn, stick-it-out-to-the-end fighter. While I don't relish confrontation, I bristle at injustice
Are you a morning or evening person? Evening.

Are you a cuddler? Yes

Are you a perfectionist? Dysfunctionally so

Have you ever wrote a poem? Yes

Do you have more guy or girl friends? Girls

Piercings? Just my ears and I almost always wear the earrings the Captain gave me one Christmas long ago.

Do you have a tattoo? No

Are you patient? Depends on the situation.

Do you miss anyone right now? All my friends and family not nearby

Tea or coffee? Either one as long as it's decaf

Regularly burn incense? Only for special occasions--and usually my altar-serving Boy is in charge of the actual burning

Ever been in love? Yes.

Best room for a fireplace? I love the fireplace in our great room, but in my opinion, the more fireplaces the better.

What do you do when you're sad or upset? Cry, pout, stamp my feet, throw things, any number of mature behaviors...why, what do YOU do???

Afraid of heights? Deathly.

Can you change the oil in your car? Unfortunately not

Favorite flower? Roses

Favorite hangout? The Village Grind or Dawn's house for coffee

Middle name? Theresa

Most romantic sounding language? I love the sounds of all languages--even the regional accents in the US.

Ever been overseas? Twice. Once when we lived in Germany and once to Ireland for our honeymoon.

Anyone else want to play? Leave a note in the comments and let us know so we can read your answers, too! Thanks, Therese. This was fun!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Is there nothing worse?

Than to wait for news regarding a homestudy approval?

I imagine there is, but today it doesn't seem like it.
Just Because

Just because the schools out East will force my poor little sis to continue working until after the summer solstice--how inhumane! and...

Just because my little girl "graduated" from preschool yesterday and...

Just because the big girls are finished with school today and...

Just because The Boy checks out next week. (Admittedly, if we're being honest he's checked out several weeks ago) next week and...

Just because the repressed school teacher trapped in my body is dying to get out and dance around for the joy of school's end and...

Just because this is too funny not to share.

Jeff Foxworthy on Educators

YOU might be a school employee if you believe the playground should be equipped with a Ritalin salt lick.

YOU might be a school employee if you want to slap the next person who says, "Must be nice to work 8 to 3:30 and have summers off.

YOU might be a school employee if it is difficult to name your own child because there's no name you can come up with that doesn't bring high blood pressure as it is uttered.

YOU might be a school employee if you can tell it's a full moon or if it going to rain, snow, hail....anything!!! Without ever looking outside.

YOU might be a school employee if you believe, "shallow gene pool" should have its own box on a report card.

YOU might be a school employee if you believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, "Boy, the kids sure are mellow today."

YOU might be a school employee if when out in public, you feel the urge to snap your fingers at children you do not know and correct their behavior.

YOU might be a school employee if you have no social life between August and June.

YOU might be a school employee if you think people should have a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.

YOU might be a school employee if you wonder how some parents MANAGED to reproduce.

YOU might be a school employee if you laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the staff room as the "lounge."

YOU might be a school employee if you encourage an obnoxious parent to check into charter schools or home schooling and are willing to donate the UHAUL boxes should they decided to move out of district.

YOU might be a school employee if you think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.

YOU might be a school employee if you can't imagine how the ACLU could think that covering your students chair with Velcro and then requiring uniforms made out of the corresponding Velcro could ever be misunderstood by the public.

YOU might be a school employee if meeting a child's parent instantly answers this question, "Why is this kid like this?"

YOU might be a school employee if you would choose a mammogram over a parent conference

YOU might be a school employee if you think someone should invent antibacterial pencils and crayons...and desks and chairs for that matter!

YOU might be a school employee if the words “I have college debt for this?” have ever come out of your mouth.

YOU might be a school employee if you know how many days, minutes, and seconds are left in the school year!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Simply Lovely!

If you've never visited Suzanne of the Blueberry Cottage, do make a point to stop by and see her today. She's running the Make Your House a Home Challenge this month and she's sure to inspire you (I know she did me!) In addition to this challenge, while you're over there, she has a wonderful collection of recipes for natural cleaning. I know a while back SC Mom (Barb) did a terrific post on homemade laundry soap ( If you have that link, Barb, I'd love to post it here, too.)

All these simple things (and a few clever ladies who've emailed me) got me thinking...what if we put together a *Frugal Carnival* of sorts? You know, to showcase not only the cost-savings aspects, but also the beauty that simplicity affords.

We could aim to put something together for later this month. If you have a blog, you can simply post the information at your place and we'll come visit. If you don't have one, you can email me (patjrsmom at yahoo dot com) or leave a note with your tip in the combox and we'll include your tips as well.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday!

When it comes to gardening, I am a complete poser. I have had a few minor gardening accomplishments during my married life, but I've been resting on those laurels for quite some time now. (In my defense, the nomadic tendency of the Ark does nothing to help my gardening quest.)

So, last night just after our final women's bible study (about which the Captain later asked, "Did you have a good bible study? Or (insert captivating husband smirk here) should I say did you have a good time visiting with Dawn? My answer? Yes and, of course, yes! Because what came out of that study is a clever little tip Dawn shared with me about gardening. (She, by the way, is the real deal when it comes to all things garden-related and tolerates my low garden IQ when I ask for help).

Complaining of pesky tomato-munching rabbit families in her neighborhood, she told me that the last straw was drawn when she went out to find one of her Sweet 100s crunched beyond recognition. Wanting to stop the free-lunch, she went searching for a simple tip to keep these pesky pilferers at bay. And she found one--GARLIC!

According to her, the only necessary equipment are bulbs of garlic. Just pop them open and plant the cloves along the perimeter of the garden to protect growing plants. Apparently, it repels the rabbits, who don't care for the smell or taste of garlic.

Go figure. And here I thought that Bunnicula story was a work of fiction.

Keeping gardens safe and sound? Works for Me!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, click here.
Catholic Carnival 174

This week's Catholic Carnival is up at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars. Stop by and read from a variety of people who remembered the submission deadline on Memorial Day night (you'll notice yours truly was still basking in the glow of the weekend thinking it was Sunday all day...)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Short Answer

Okay, so that title will go down in history as the most inappropriate ever, but the worldly wise among us know that the Irish "gift of the gab" isn't just a clever name.

Back to the question at hand--what in the world was I doing here this weekend?

The real reason--and this I can say without question--is that only God knows for sure. And as your detail-obsessed, fellow sojourner I can also say for certain that He's not telling. But His spirit is moving around here and if there's one thing I do know, it's to follow His lead wherever it may go; working against it leads to (feel free to select the analogy of your choice) the unsatisfying equivalent of swimming upstream with lead in your boots--or trying to finish the laundry once and for all.

So, there are many questions being asked, much discernment happening, and tons of prayers being lifted on the Ark. And by God's grace, there will soon be some answers.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We Remember

In memory of the soldiers and families whose selfless sacrifice protects our freedom.

Want to do more? Check out ThankThem4:

By combining the powerful images of our beloved military men and women with your own photos, ThankThem4 provides everyone with a simple yet meaningful way to personally thank the troops for their tremendous sacrifices.

Just go to ThankThem4 to create and send your message of thanks. You can also embed your message on your blog or Web site. It only takes a few minutes and, remember, it’s FREE.
So click on over and help them reach their goal of 50,000 tributes by Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Theoretical Proof

Naomi: (walking through the house singing loudly) We're gonna prove it. We're gonna PROVE it!

Me: (skeptically) You're gonna prove WHAT?

Naomi: (definitively) It doesn't matter because we're gonna prove IT.
In Case You're Wondering

How I'm spending my weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Joke's On Me

My children have taken to joke telling, especially the three youngest. Driving around in the car, it's not uncommon to hear quips such as, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" "Because he wanted to (insert absurd behavior for chickens of all kinds) rock and roll."

I'm not sure where the "rock and roll" ending comes from, but I can tell you, it packs a real punch for the intended audience, who roars with side-splitting laughter until the joke is told...again.

The new favorite genre of joke, however, is the knock-knock. I don't know what deranged person invented these insipid gags, but if I ever find them, I've got a few knock-knocks of my own to share with them.

Suffice to say, on one of our recent trips to (and/or from) school, someone turned on the open mic, and knock-knock time started. Pained from having answered what felt like a million (although, in fairness to the children, it may have only been 999,999) gags, I was ready--oh was I ever ready!--to pull the plug on the next comedienne who approached the stage. Except that the jokester on deck was celebrating her birthday, and I couldn't shoot down the birthday girl. So, I gripped the steering wheel a little more tightly as she called out:

"Mommy, mommy! Knock-knock!"

"Who's there?" came my pained reply.

"Olive, mommy, OLIVE!" she squealed.

"Olive, who?" I replied sheepishly, knowing this well-worn joke all too well.

"Olive YOU! Get it? I LOVE YOU, Mommy!" and the car again erupted into peals of laughter.

Except this time, the loudest laugh of all was mine.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of laughter. Help me to remember to cherish the sound of joyous laughter from my children. To know that their laughter reflects only a glimpse of the abundance of joy that you bless us with each day. Amen.
THIS is what Five Looks Like

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! We love you!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Even if you're not an adoptive parent, chances are you've heard about the tragic accident that befell the family of Steven Curtis Chapman.

If you don't know his story, he and his wife are the parents of six children, including three beautiful girls adopted from China. Through their story, they felt called to share the blessing of adoption with others through the foundation of Shaohannah's Hope.

From the website:

Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, founded Shaohannah’s Hope to reach the church with God’s call to care for orphans and to help more experience the miracle of adoption by reducing the financial barriers, primarily through awarding adoption grants. We are not an adoption agency, but we are dedicated to empowering the church to reflect God’s heart for orphans and embrace them with His love.

Today, as we grieve the loss of their precious child with them, let's not forget that God will make good on his promises. He will bring joy from this sorrow. Please consider making a donation to the special fund created in their daughter's name. To make possible the miracle of adoption, the permanence of a "forever family", for others; who might one day know the story of this special family whose heart for adoption reached far beyond the walls of their home.

To simply leave a prayer or message for the family, visit the blog set-up In Memory of Maria.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

This handy little bit of information came to me via an email just recently. I must admit, in all my years of saran-wrapping, aluminum-foiling, and wax-papering, I had neither seen nor heard of this simple tip. (Although, I can barely remember to read the morning newspaper, let alone the helpful advice on food preservation materials!)

So, in case you, too, didn't know about it. Here's a convenient way to keep those pesky rolls from propelling out of the box as you use them:

After having been attacked by yet another wayward roll of foil jumping out of the box as I pulled on it, something on the end of the box caught my eye. Written on the end it said, “Press here to lock end”. Right there on the end of the box is a tab to lock the roll in place. How long has this little locking tab been there? I then looked at a generic brand of aluminum foil and it had one, too. I then looked at a box of Saran wrap and it had one too!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, click here!
Wordless Wednesday

Any guesses on the sequence of events happening here?

Photo Credit: Beulah and Hannah

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.
Catholic Carnival is Up!

If you haven't made your way over to Sarah's yet, for this week's Catholic Carnival. Make sure to stop there and see this special Carnival honoring Mary and the Rosary mysteries.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


So maybe 38 candles (plus one for good luck) was not a great idea for an ice cream cake. ( You must admit, the few hidden "trick" candles were pretty clever.) It's okay, though. Next year, we'll just buy a cake big enough to accommodate the small fire we set atop it.

It seems cheesy, yet some how surprisingly appropriate to say...even at your age, you can still melt my ice cream.

Happy Birthday, Captain!

Don't go play this game. Seriously. You won't be able to stop. What? You're clicking over right now?

Don't say I didn't warn you.

H/T The Mouse Says
New Column

You can read my first column in the Beacon News today: For Some In Youth Sports, It's Not All About Winning.

Monday, May 19, 2008

To my Godmother on her 60th Birthday

What are Godparents Made Of?

Truth and grace, spirit embraced
A hand to guide, a smile of pride
A tender heart, there from the start
Loyal and true, esteemed as few. . .

That’s what Godparents are made of

Words of praise, truehearted ways
Faith to bind, a promise through time
Prayers at night, joyful at light
regarded role, valued as gold. . .

That’s what Godparents are made of

Guardian of light, fairness and right
Duty to lead, there in need
Hope and goodwill, values instilled
Affection and love, blessed from above. . .

That’s what Godparents are made of

© 2001 Teri Harrison

Even Especially in the Small Stuff

It's been said that the devil is in the details. And I wouldn't argue with that myself. Having seen and been on the receiving end of too many little things gone awry, I know firsthand how easily the devil meets me in my weakness in those moments. What I hadn't stopped to think about much until now, is that, if I stop for a minute to give the devil his due and not allow myself to become captive to his tactics, I'd remember that God is always there.

Several times over the last week, there has been ample opportunity for me to buy into the lies of the devil over what is, in reality, small stuff.

About 20 minutes from home, my gas-guzzling SUV began to overheat...with all six kids in tow and me alone at the wheel. Watching the needle of the thermostat cross the middle line and head for that tiny red danger zone, my anxiety and frustration mounted. The fact that my husband was an hour away, that a toddler-sized version of WWF was taking place in the back seat or that one of my children kept chiming in with, "Is the car going to blow up?" did not assuage my nerves.

Almost a week to the day later, after dropping The Boy at track practice, the three little ones and I sat enjoying an evening "make-up" soccer game for the big girls. Until my cell phone rang. As the game played on, The Captain informed me that his car had decided it liked first gear so much, that with complete disregard for the posted speed limits, it wasn't going over 20 miles per hour. Did I mention The Boy, located twenty minutes from the soccer game, now needed a ride home? Physically, I felt all the muscles in my neck and shoulders tighten.

You all know the continuing saga of the homestudy. So, I won't even repeat it here. I'll just add that the final adoption-related straw fell sometime during these car crises.

Not to mention work, family, school and the like; each of which has come bearing its own challenges--some minor, some not-so-much.

Muddling through each of these situations (and muddling may be too generous a word for my handling of some of these scenarios) did nothing but leave me feeling, well, alone. Like there was no way anyone else in the world could possibly understand what I was going through.

Peering out my front window, I saw uninvited company--fear, doubt and worry making their way to my door. Hand on the door knob, ready to open it, I felt a dark presence and a cold chill blow through my front hallway. Suddenly, I realized, the devil had me right where he wanted me--believing his lies, feeling alone when nothing was further from the Truth.

The truth was that on each of those separate occasions God was with me:

  • My car made it the last few miles to the local garage, which was coincidentally miraculously still open, before "blowing up".
  • My husband's car, which would require a new transmission, had an extended warranty on it that we didn't know about. Total repair cost? One hundred dollars.
  • Our homestudy, dare I say, has finally left Catholic Charities for approval.
When I shared the trials of the last few weeks with a woman I recently met, she listened carefully, tenderly and helped to lift my sagging spirit. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this very woman, who had the grace to hear me rant and rave about my *problems* without telling me hers; knew all too personally my feelings of defeat. Yesterday morning, her daughter's face graced the cover of our local paper. (Her '30 Days to Live' videos appear below) With tears welling-up in my eyes, I shivered as I realized that our meeting was no chance happening. And as I read the story of this beautiful, grace-filled young woman, I knew exactly who had taught her such strength, such courage. And I knew that God, MY God--HER God--OUR God has grace enough for everyone--including me.

My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Deep Thoughts from Naomi

As she flicked the switch on her older sister's flashlight from on to off and back again, "Mama, how do they make these things work? Is there a little teeny sun inside of it?"
You're Telling Me

It seems the truth, which I have been shrieking like a banshee about calmly insisting upon for years, is finally out. If only I didn't have to be the one to tell my younger siblings.

Come on, you know if I don't, they'll never hear and all that important research will have been wasted. It's my duty as the responsible older sibling, isn't it?

H/T Rocks in My Dryer
Advice from the pros

(Ed. Note: This means you, dear friends!)

In preparation for one of my upcoming columns, and (if I'm being honest) for the preservation of my sanity and REM sleep this summer, I'm looking for some bedtime tips. As the days grow longer and the nights respectively shorter; what are your solutions for helping little ones (or even bigger ones) to get to sleep in the not-so-dark of night?

They can be tried and true, tested and trashed, or simply suggestions. I'll be looking to include two or three of them in my article, so please leave your name if you'd like to be quoted.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Picking Up Chicks

Yup, that's our butler's pantry. Now complete with incubator and feeding trough (cleverly waiting in the wine rack).
Our egg-spected due date? June 2nd.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Make Your Own Ketchup and Raspberry Vinaigrette!

My thrift friend and Baby T's well-traveled godmother, Faith, sent me these recipes that were too good not to be shared with the entire blogsphere...They are from Everyday Cheapskate's newsletter. Read on for the "how" in how to make your own ketchup and raspberry vinaigrette dressing!

2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
4 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons corn syrup (like Karo light)
2 1/2 cups water

Mix all ingredients and place in a saucepan over low heat; simmer gently until you get the consistency of ketchup, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Taste and adjust salt if necessary before serving.

Clean your empty ketchup bottle, then pour this mixture in for a cheap and much tastier alternative to store-bought ketchup. Yield: About 3 cups; 24 ounces.

You should be able to make this ketchup for about half the price of the commercial variety. And once you taste homemade, chances are you won’t go back to any brand—it’s that good. Note: Heinz Ketchup at this writing: $3.56 for 32 ounces.

Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup raspberry wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the ingredients. Shake well. Yield: 1 1/2 cups dressing; 12 ounces. Note: Marie’s Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing at this writing: $4.49 for 11.5 ounces.

I think we'll just have to have salad with dinner (again!) tonight, and perhaps french fries. Works for me!

For more Works-For-Me-Wednesday, click here!
Catholic Carnival 172

This week's Catholic Carnival is up over at Organ-ic Chemist! Be sure not to miss it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Inconceivable-aka-Homestudy Update


Monday, May 12, 2008

Miss Communication

Naomi to Candace (standing directly in front of the TV):
Excuse me, please. Can you move to the side? I can't see.

Several moments pass and Candace remains planted in front of the screen.

Naomi (again): Caaandaaace! I still can't see!!!

Candace (skipping out of the way): Ooohhh. I thought you said, "Stand right in the front of it."

We're all recovering from too much fun this weekend. Mother's Day was a real treat and the Captain's job stress is diminishing to a point where he actually spent the past weekend at home and (mostly) untethered to that tool of the devil, the Blackberry.

But, Monday came anyway, launching us back into a reality full of laundry, lunches and looming deadlines. My first column is due Friday and will appear next Tuesday. As many of you have asked (and I'm assuming you're wanting to encourage this fool's errand of mine, not point and laugh, right?), I'll post the link here.

Also, I'm trying out my investigative skills at tracking down our homestudy/child referral to see if one or both has made its way to the DCFS powers-that-be and if said powers have made a motion to approve it.

Either way, check here tomorrow for a link to this week's Catholic Carnival!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

By Any Other Name

Mother's Day.

Who would have ever suspected a holiday based on such simple ideas would yield such a bumper crop of mixed emotions?

I'll admit that until recent years, besides the self-inflicted pressure of choosing a gift that mom really wanted and needed (where were all those great ideas I had as a child?), my anxiety-meter for this day was pretty low. Not anymore. No sir, now I spend the week or so leading up to Mother's Day casting sidelong glances at Hannah, my Ethiopian born daughter, and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"How are you feeling?" I'm sure that was a sad look just then.
"Is everything okay?" She must be thinking about her mother.

No, not me. Her OTHER mother, the semantics of which (along with a query from Anne) prompted this post. Hannah, my daughter, has two mothers. And given her age at the time of her adoption, she knows us both, at least as well as any 8 year old child can know a parent. There is neither secrecy, nor shame; which is the blessing and the curse of an open, older child adoption. But there is confusion--and enough of it to go around.

Last year was my turn. The loss of my newly adopted children's birth mother cast a long shadow over this seemingly innocuous celebration of motherhood. Try as I might, the day will never be the same. And while I puzzled the magnitude of the losses my children sustained in the year leading up to that point, they picnicked easily with their newly acquired family on a picturesque May day.

While emotions are running a little high right about now, (for those of you who are wont to point out that there is a high level of estrogen on the Ark, please don't say I told you so.) we're one year further along and little by little layers of confusion are peeling away.

One thing that has become well-defined for me is the role I play in this story. There's much discussion in adoption circles about the names given all the players. Do we say birthmother? What about Mommy Jane and Mommy Asenakech? Do we dare share the title? Or does it become a competition where there can only be one winner? It may be well-advised to state that each family must figure this out for themselves, but in our family, we know our answer--it doesn't matter.

As soon as our daughter spoke enough English to speak about her Ethiopian mother, she told us her name. She shared funny stories, heart-wrenching moments, and tender memories that will help us to help her remember the first mother she knew, whom she called by her first name! In America, the first time she told me a story about Asenakech, calling her 'mom' I felt myself bristle. But as time went on, the stories of her mom became my stories, too. Her memories became my memories. The hopes and dreams of her dying mother became ones I would personally be responsible for helping her and Baby T to fulfill.

Once, I heard an adoptive mom of some twenty-plus kids respond to a question that ultimately wondered aloud where we adoptive mothers fit in our children's broken hearts. Her answer was that regardless of her title, she knew that if her children considered her to be nothing more than the "really nice lady who raised them" than that was okay by her. I imagine that would come as a shock to some, but for those of you who are out there, in the trenches, you know the only kind of person who could say those words, don't you?

Of course you do, a mother.
New Adoption Blog

Please give a warm, bloggy welcome to a dear friend and fellow family expander through adoption, Teri! She and her web-savvy husband, Ethan, just launched their new blog The Friday Shirt Project (and we're all breathless with anticipation to know where the name came from, Ethan!). If you're interested in adoption from Ghana (or just plain interested in adoption) click here to follow this special family's journey.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Mother's Day Bouquet

Dear Anne sent along these beautiful flowers as a Mother's Day surprise and suggested we share the love! So, to all my Mommy-friends--in real life and on line-- listen carefully, that's the knock of the cyber-FTD guy delivering a little Mother's Day treat from me to you!
So that's how we know her...

Me: So, after Mass on Sunday, we're bringing coffee and donuts over to Grandma's house so that
we can visit with her for Mother's Day.

Beulah: (having a hair-color-related moment) Wait a minute! So you mean that Grandma is Dad's

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Any guesses what was happening in this picture? (from people who were NOT on the Ark when it was taken!)

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Born 50 years (or so) behind schedule

You Belong in the Silent Generation

You fit in best with people born between 1925 and 1942.

You are a person of high values and character.

Family, your country, loyalty, and hard work all important to you.

You are willing to do what's right, even when it's difficult.

H/T Catholic Teacher Musings
Catholic Carnival #171: Lending a Hand

For most of us Cradle Catholics, the hands of our childhood faith were held by other believing adults, who ensured that we, at a minimum, entered the Church through Baptism, and received the sacraments. As we grew older, we may have questioned church teaching or, perhaps, experimented with other faiths and maybe even let go of that first hand that mentored us in our youth. Somewhere along the way, however, other hands, strong and faith-filled, reached out to us. And with a firm grasp and a yank, we were suddenly pulled to our feet. We looked around and although our legs may have been shaking, we found ourselves standing, as adults who, for the first time, owned our faith completely. Given the path that we might have taken, the reality of being a *grown-up* in the faith may seem nothing short of a miracle.

But it shouldn't surprise us.

The Church teaches and we believe that our God is an incarnational God. Throughout time, He has used others to reveal Himself to us. Each one of those hands we've held on our journey was truly the hand of God touching us via a hand we might tangibly grasp. The Catholic Carnival is no different. Each one of these posts is like God's hand reaching out into cyberspace, ready to lend a hand to those who need it most.

To each of the participants, you may have been uncertain about your topic this week, or doubtful that you might even participate. But for someone out there reading your words, may it literally be God's hand reaching out to someone in need.

The Strong Hands

Along the journey some of the hardest hands to hold are these. Why? Because they are the ones who keep us from straying off the path and sometimes they squeeze so tightly our hands ache. But these posts speak the truth in love and motivate us to stay the course.

The Scratching Post mulls over the decline of marriage in America and looks for someone in secular society to lead us back to traditional morality--perhaps Bill Cosby?--in Where is the Secular St. Augustine?

From Visits to Candyland, The Wedding at Cana or the Big Mary Smackdown? looks into the Wedding at Cana from Scott Hahn's book, Hail Holy Queen, and how Jesus is establishing Mary in her role as mother and the New Eve. Excellent resource for those wondering about Mary's role in the Catholic Church.

For another top-notch defense of all things Mary-related, check out the Red Neck Woman's post on Why The Necklaces I Wear Are Not Proof of Mary Worship.

Weighing in with her book review of Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and reflections from a Catholic Convert by Heidi Hess Saxton --Jean of Catholic Fire discusses this beautiful collection of meditations which will draw us closer to the heart of our Mother.

Jen shares an epiphany she had after reading a booklet about the Mass and how we can all "offer" something more during The Offertory.

If you've ever been caught off guard at your own front door, then make sure to take a look at Teresa's post Reacting to Jehovah's Witness's proselytizing literature.

Finally, David at The Apostolate of the Laity confirms my firm belief that if no one is willing to admit the highly-touted public school program "Character Counts" has its roots deep in Christian virtue, we begin down a slippery slope of moral relativism. Don't miss Virtues Gone Wild.

The Supportive Hands

This collection of posts are those hands that reach out and encourage those on the journey. Whether you've been on the journey for many years or just starting off today, these posts will cheer for you to continue running the race.

From the field of blue children
considers the different seasons of her life (and where blogging fits into it all) in light of a familiar old tune and the words of scripture in Turn, Turn, Turn.

And she's not the only one. Sarah also reflects on blogging and its place in her life in this season with To Post or Not to Post

Elena, writing the third installment in her series presents "How to have a Domestic Church-Part 3". Recalling the "hands" that have lifted her up on her own journey, she also shares some practical tips and resources.

Catholic Mom-Denise-knows that grabbing hold of a teenage boy's hand to motivate him to grow in his faith is no small feat. So to find a group of SIX eighth-grade boys spending ninety minutes talking about God, you know you have a special book. Because God is Real by Peter Kreeft is that kind of book. Read about it in Pizza, Prayer and Peter Kreeft.

The readings from the Feast of the Ascension are beautifully and carefully reflected upon by Kevin from Heart, Mind and Strength in his post Above All.

The Aggie Catholics (aka Mary's Aggies) are setting about to restore pride to one of many Aggie traditions. From the update that follows their post about The New Aggie Ring Dunking Tradition, it looks like it may still be possible to teach an old dog a new trick or two!

A lyrical post from Stina of Lord, Guard and Guide reminds us in her post Please, Don't Stop the Music! that sometimes the "hands" of an artist (or in this case a musician) can offer inspiration and encouragement long after the song has ended.

The Wrinkled Hands

Sometimes we forget the value in the weaker hands; those quiet ones covered in translucent skin, wisdom tucked between each crease. Take a moment and lift one of these aged hands and place it into your own. You'll be amazed at what you might find.

Brian, of Silent Insight, shares the "Four Cornernstones of Drawing Closer to God" based on insights from many silent retreats, wise priests and the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.

At Mommy Monsters, Heidi writes a tribute to an aunt she remembers fondly...and a nephew she will probably never know called Remembering Aunt Rosemary and a little boy. If you've any connection to adoption, the wisdom of this post is a must read.

Christianity: The First 325 Years is a thorough essay looking at the conflict leading up to the Council of Nicaea in 325. Thanks, Steve, of Book Reviews and More for delving back in history to remind us of the great debates out of which the early Church was formed.

"I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do. Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus." Acts 22: 10-11

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Catholic Carnival Coming Tuesday!

Do you have a post that you've been itching to share? Have you had an epiphany of sorts? Something on your mind? Well, now's your chance to tell the world! (Okay, maybe a tiny, Catholic, blogosphery part of the world-but hey, we're listening!)

You can email a link to your post to me at patjrsmom at yahoo dot com or you can use this handy-dandy form. It's just that easy. Really, it is. If I can do it, well shoot, than anyone can. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while, right?

So, what are you waiting for? Just send the link to your post (there's no specific topic you have to write about--just nothing specifically anti-Catholic--which goes without saying, right? Of course it does.) And you can look forward to lots of new visitors to your blog to read all about it!
Where's My Tax Rebate?

Wondering when you'll receive yours? Here's the official schedule for direct deposit and mailed paper checks straight from the horse's mouth.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Justify This

We had our homestudy approved by AAI back in October.

Our social worker (from Catholic Charities) gave us our DCFS physical forms, asked for a copy of our tax return and pet innoculations and told us to get those back to her at our convenience.

Eventually, mid-March , we collected all those supposedly "extra" papers and called our case worker. She came at the end of March to pick them up.

When we found out about our baby girl (about 8 mos. now at Wanna with some special needs) we were smitten. We told AAI we were interested and we asked for our dossier paperwork. We completed it quickly, sent it back and called to ask about the next steps (as baby girl's referral has a statement from the doctor in Ethiopia saying "to save her (baby girl's) life the adoptive parents should be allowed to expedite her coming to the US".

We were told by AAI that Catholic Charities had only just then submitted our homestudy to DCFS in Illinois for approval--and they had sent it back UN-approved.

First, we were told there were "issues" with the wording and it shouldn't take long to fix.

Then, after a string of nasty email/phone calls between Catholic Charities, AAI, and DCFS--AAI ended up getting a slap on the wrist because they had "jumped the gun" in giving us a referral before DCFS had put its golden seal of approval on it!

Trying desperately to keep the process moving and to get things going over here, we did what they asked. Suddenly, however, MORE information was needed:
  • Someone conveniently "forgot" that our son had turned 13 and needed a background check run.
  • Nowhere was the information containing the bedroom sizes or which bedroom belonged to which child. I provided that information and was told that DCFS should have had my homestudy this past Monday.
All week, we waited for news and now, today, my social worker (now on bedrest in the last few weeks of her pregnancy) called with a list of questions a mile long (things that I KNOW we have answered before like---how would you handle a special needs child, what is your family's daily schedule, do you have a support network in place, and on and on) supposedly because "well, you DO already have six kids, and DCFS really wants you to *justify* wanting more!(that's what was actually said to me--can you believe that?)

I am just sickened for our (hopefully) daughter who is the real casualty in this hideous territorial paperwork war. And I am simply shocked and appalled that any agency that would align themselves with the Catholic Church (whose teachings on openness to life are crystal clear) would question our motives for wanting more children---especially a child, who this very night, had no one to snuggle her, to wrap her blankie tightly around her, to pick her up and tell her how precious and important she is; how very much God loves her. And how someone's belief in the overriding importance of a list of rules was keeping those very things from her.

Candace decided to help set the table last night. (It's Baby T's job this week, which translates into it becomes Mommy's job and Mommy tries to find some other sucker willing child to help me.)

Once each chair corresponded with a plate, she began setting out the silverware. "Mama, do the knife and spoon go on the same side?" she wondered aloud. "Yes, they do. The knife and spoon go together and the fork is alone on the other side," I confirmed. Carefully considering the fork she held in her hand, she shook her head wistfully as she spoke, "Poor little fork."

I think I may have even seen a tear. From the fork.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Worth the Wait

Back By Popular Demand

Well, I, at least, wanted to see it again today. Happy 15th Anniversary, Captain! Here's to 15 more!

Worrisome Is...

Seeing this--

And hearing, "Mom, the cats are out of cat litter!"

You've never seen a cat (or a mom for that matter) move so quickly!