Monday, June 29, 2009


Comments are closed here indefinitely. If you have something nice to say, you know how to reach me. And if you don't, then you probably shouldn't be saying anything at all anyway.

Art Imitating Life

Naomi to Candace: Now, I'll be the mom and you be the mom's friend who is coming over for coffee.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


"There are so many ways of praying, so many ways of addressing God: in repentance, in petition, in intercession. But in the end we were meant to praise our Creator. Gratitude puts everything into a different perspective. It prevents me from taking anything for granted. It helps me to live my life awake, alert to those good gifts that I am given, in a state of mindfulness or awareness. Then, when I look at the world with eyes of wonder, I discover, rather to my chagrin, that it is often only too easy to drift and become neglectful, lazy, forgetful of gratefulness. I enjoy that line of W.H. Auden, "Practice the scales of rejoicing," because of its suggestion that it really is hard work and needs discipline. I might rewrite those familiar words "pray without ceasing" so that they become "praise without ceasing," giving thanks to my Creator for all the good gifts in my life." --Esther De Waal

"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!" Psalm 95:2

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Guarding Their Hearts

Have you ever visited the Catholic Dads blog?

You haven't?

You should.

Why have I visited there, you're wondering? Clearly, all these years (you've been thinking to yourself) the Ark blog had a womanly touch. And you've been right. So, obviously, I couldn't possibly be a Catholic Dad.

Oh, but the wisdom of these faithful fathers is too good and too pure to be hidden under a bushel. I visit often and you should too.

This post written about the recent scandal of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is a cautionary tale that shouldn't be missed.

Wives, don't forget to pray for the protection of your husband's hearts. They need our steadfast prayers each and every day. And offer a special intention for the governor and his family. They sure need it, too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pleasing the Godmother

There is no previous post which specifically describes The Boy's aversion to the camera. Or at least to pictures on the camera that wind up on mom's blog.

But because it's for his sweet godmother, I absolutely must break with the moratorium on Boy pictures on the blog to share at least a couple of graduation night ones...which reminds my lame blogging self--I still have Easter pictures to share!

Is it The Boy? No, it's Beulah, practicing her graduation pose. You never can be too prepared.

Here comes Naomi getting into the act. You would never have known that the mortarboard in question was soaking wet from the deluge that hit as we exited the church. (You would, however, have known if you had gotten a look at the drowned rat who masqueraded as photographer.)

Get a load of Candace's hair. Picture the pouring rain...seriously, picture it. But look at the grin on that face. Not even a little monsoon could bring the arklings down!

(Can you see the slice of pizza on the counter? That would be The Boy's after dinner-dinner. Why did no one tell me that my once 8 pound baby Boy would eat his weight in pizza as a teenager?)

He even tied his own tie. We're just so proud!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Strong Finish

Everywhere I look lately, someone is racing. There are 5Ks, 10Ks--Special Ks, even! There are bike races, pennant races, and most the most obvious rat race.

It's almost more than my tired brain can handle trying to keep pace and not break stride.

A long, long, LONG time ago, when I used to run (not to catch a toddler-on-the-loose or to catch the barista before the coffee shop closes) I remember an annoying habit our team's coach had. It seemed that he thought it appropriate, at the end of a leg numbing run, to shout out in the final stretch, "FINISH STRONG!"

It would have been inappropriate at that moment to stop running only to head over and give him a piece of my mind--what little I might have had left by then. Fueled only by adolescent fury, I did exactly what my frustrated teenage mind tricked my exhausted teenage body into doing---I finished strong.

I didn't know then where I found the strength.

I am quite certain that during the last 100 meters my legs would have been better served by a tall, handsome masseur (hey, I was in high school!) than a chain-smoking, psychotic ex-runner screaming through a bull horn.

As my body was pushed to the brink, muscles were being built in my legs. And somewhere deep inside, far beneath any calf or quad development I could see, a lesson was being learned and a virtue was being developed.

With each season of life, there seem to be more and more races to be run. And there are no shortage of annoying distractions on the sidelines.

But with each race we grow stronger.

And with each race, if we permit the voices of the crowds cheer us along, we come closer and closer to crossing the finish line.

"I know that the education of this child will be the distinguishing event of my life, if I have the brains and perseverance to accomplish it."

-- Annie Sullivan "The Miracle Worker", teacher to Helen Keller

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fiaklnllay I Caa;kmn wrrRitae

Sorry about that title. I type much better with my mittens off!

Yes--mittens--the A/C is (knock on wood) fixed and it is finally below 80 degrees on the Ark for the first time in 6 days!

Now, I believe I promised you a story...

Way back in the Winter, we were struggling with a high school decision for The Boy. We had hemmed and hawed about every piece of minutiae that was available. But when we finally came to a decision, we suddenly had peace about it. We knew that it was the right decision for us.

Actually, let me take you back even further. Over a year ago, we were discerning whether or not we would begin homeschooling. It became clear to us that homeschool was an appropriate choice for our family, but that it would not include The Boy, who only had one year of school left before beginning high school. The decision was made to allow him to finish 8th grade at the parish school where he was doing very well and had formed many good, solid friendships.

Back to earlier this year.

We had made our high school decision and now registration paperwork to rival an adoption dossier began pouring in to the Ark. We sorted through the papers. We circular-filed the unnecessary ones and began putting pen to paper on the others.

As spring approached, there was one last paper to complete. The deadline for the form was May 1st. After more hemming and hawing, a call down to "the principal's office" to discuss said form prompted us to go ahead and complete it. So, complete it we did.

Fast forward to the end of May. Graduation week. The Captain and I (thanks to the kindness of my neighbor who came to stay with the rest of the arklings) accompanied The Boy to the 8th grade awards dinner. Sitting front and center, we were so proud of him as he accepted award after award for his academic achievements, his character and his accomplishments on the sports field.

But none of those awards could have prepared me for what was about to happen. As we sat, directly in front of the stage (yes, the stage was in the gym where the dinner was held---isn't the cafetorium standard Catholic school fare?), we listened as the principal introduced a woman who was there to present one, last special award.

It seems that her father, who has since passed on, was a physician in our area who had done very well for himself. In addition to raising 5 children (who from her description had also gone on to do great things), he was a successful surgeon and a strong supporter of the community and parish at large. She wound her way around his life's story and shared the sacrifice---because "every parent sacrifices in some way to give his or her children a Catholic education" she said---their family had made to send all 5 children through the parish school and then on to the diocesan Catholic high school.

Because her father knew how important this was to him and he knew the sacrifices involved, he wanted to pay his success forward in the hopes that it would help someone else.

Someone who had worked hard and academically achieved in grade school.

Someone whose character was one that looked outside him or herself to help others.

Someone who had a love for Science and excelled in that area.

Someone who had attended the same exact parish grade school his children had attended.

And someone who would be a Freshman next year at the same diocesan high school he sent his children to many years ago.

That someone, his daughter announced, would be honored with a full, four-year high school scholarship.

And that someone was The Boy.

After all that hemming and hawing about grade school decision and high school plans, in one evening we received an unbelievable affirmation about our choices. The scholarship could only be given to a student who had attended that specific parish grade school and who would attend that specific diocesan high school. And, of course, it could only be given if you completed the application form.

I can almost see God winking at us now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is What I Get for Attempted Bragging

So, I wanted to finish my little cliffhanger this weekend, but Friday the A/C quit working on the Ark. Friday afternoon, the repairman nearly cut his hand off trying to remove the fan blade which had corroded to the unit. (I warned him to turn it off first.) Needless to say, he was forced to cut the blade off to reach the defective motor beneath...but not until Saturday morning as he didn't have the necessary replacement blade for the cut one.

I was content (read: deliciously cool and refreshed---something akin to a perfect, icy mason jar of sweet tea) for about 30 minutes on Saturday morning, when the repair man checked "job complete" on a crinkly, yellow invoice.

At the 31 minute mark, I knew something had gone terribly wrong.

The vent by which I rank how well the air conditioning is working, seemed to me a little lukewarm and was blowing with all the intensity of Senator Boxer. Yes, Ma'am, it was. (Actually, it wasn't even close to blowing that hard, but I couldn't let that one pass.)

It is now almost 24 hours after I started typing this. I wanted to finish last night, but the keyboard was starting to melt and I couldn't keep my fingers from sliding off the keys. Lucky for you, however, it is now a brisk 82 degrees here on the Ark at 6:30 AM and I managed to not lose my total body weight in sweat last night; thus being up and at'em to finish typing this morning.

Fortunately, yesterday was not as hot as it could have been.

Unfortunately, it's going to be that hot today.

I made the comment to Hannah, who one would never guess grew up on the Horn of Africa, that it was "Africa hot" yesterday.

Using all her strength to lift her wilting body off the fold-out couch in the basement where we all (yes, all) bunked last night, she scowled back at me, "Africa is not this hot." And then with a dramatic sigh collapsed on to her makeshift bed.

So, now the A/C guy is supposed to be coming today to fix whatever it is that is not working.

I will be back with updates (and to finish my story) once I have the A/C set to snow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It seems I still have pictures and stories from around Easter to put up here on this blog. Somehow the last few months seem to have gotten away from me. This summer is providing me with a slower pace and different times of the day to myself. It's just taking me a while to adjust to the change in schedule. Nonetheless, I thought I'd at least start sharing some of the pictures and stories as time permits.

This first story is one that I was reminded of last night while chatting for a good, long while with a dear old friend. I hadn't talked to her for a while, so our joyful story was news to her. Afterwards, I shared with her that I hadn't blogged this story yet, because it seemed to me a bit boastful. But I slept on it last night and decided two things:

A) If I am trying to chronicle our family's story here, this is one I don't want to leave out.
B) This story actually pertains to another big decision that I've discussed here previously.

And now, I've run out of time.

(Is it possible to write a whole other story before actually getting to the story you intended? Apparently the answer is yes.)

The story (and more) coming soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two Great Links

Here are two incredible blogs that you'll want to make sure you stop by and check out:

First, our adoption agency has started a blog. It is a blend of all of their country programs as well as their humanitarian work throughout the world. You especially will want to read this touching story of an "older child" adoption.

Second, dear friends of ours (whose adoption blog you might recall) just recently gave birth to their fourth child. Despite the diagnosis delivered to them while their daughter was still in utero, family and friends have come together to support, encourage and hold this family up in prayer as they begin the journey of a lifetime. Please stop by to read about this awesome, family of strong-faith and to send a kind word their way.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To Old Friends...And To New Ones

For my dear old friends who always provide excellent service in welcoming the traveling Ark, and for those dear friends I've not yet met...this repost is for you.

There was nothing good about the afternoon of my first teaching job as a newly married woman. I imagine the same holds true for my dear husband. The last thing I suspect a new husband wants to do is saunter home from work where your wife has been creating---or at least attempting to create(we won't even MENTION Mexican Chicken Suprise or the healthy cake sans eggs) as a warm and cheery homestead and tell her that plans have changed.

Instead of three years in Georgia, you've now got a three-year all US Army expense paid tour of Deutschland. Good-bye new job. Good-bye first home. Good-bye family and friends (who this bride cried about leaving when we married and left the Northeast for points unknown aka-the South). But the Army wasn't interested in my opinion, as I would soon find out.

Although I suspect the thwack with the saber on my rear end with the accompanying, "Welcome to the Army, Mrs. Marcoux!" should have clued me in.

At the very least, I guess I can't say they didn't warn me.

So, off we went to live our first three married years across the pond. It was one of my first experiences with seeing first hand how God provides:

You miss your friends? Here are 10 other ladies who miss theirs, too. And I'd bet that you've got a few more things in common besides.

You miss your work? Here's an assignment, the first of many, that will challenge anything you ever learned in school. It'll take nine months before the position opens, but that'll give you time to sharpen your skills. And if you're smart-SLEEP!

You miss the holidays back home? You won't believe the Christkindlmarkts here, and those fireworks you thought were the blitzkrieg? Why that's New Year's...right outside your bedroom window.

You think the food is strange? One word-schokolade.

Worried about being alone for birthdays, celebrations, baptisms, deployments, etc...Here's where I do my best work. You see, I am about to place in your life people that will lift you up and allow you to do the same through all of that and more. You will look back on the time you spent here when your three years are up; and wonder, how it could all be over so soon. Of course, you'll be happy to land on terra firma in the USA again, but nowhere (and trust me, I know) will ever be like the place where you became a family.

And years later, after spending a brief, but wonderful evening reconnecting with some of those same friends; and watching them pull their van (yes, the one you're dreaming about) out onto the road in the early dawn, you'll smile knowingly because you'll know that--once again--I was right.