Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Power of the Rosary

An interesting article as we end the month of May - the month of the Blessed Mother.

Power of the Rosary - Ted Bundy

May 26, 2009 09:27:57 PM, Onlakegeorge@aol.com wrote: TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
(AP) — Monsignor William A. Kerr, a leading human rights figure whom serial killer Ted Bundy sought out to be his spiritual counselor on death row, died Wednesday. He was 68. Kerr was hospitalized May 3 after suffering a stroke as he concluded celebrating a Mass.

Monsignor William Kerr was once speaking about his very first hospital assignment, ministering to a young burn victim dying from his injuries.

Later, he was called on to perform an even more ghastly duty. In 1978, he was called out to the sorority house in Tallahassee where the young female victims of the serial killer Ted Bundy were lying dead or dying.

Msgr. Kerr got the call from the police in the middle of the night to rush out to the sorority house. When he arrived he was told that all but one of the girls in the house were dead or near death, killed by a serial killer who was later to be known to the world as Ted Bundy.

After giving those last rites to the dying college girl, Msgr Kerr (then Fr. Kerr) was asked by the police on the scene to talk to the girl who survived unscathed. They wanted to know how she survived the brutal attacks, because Bundy had stopped right inside the door to her room, dropped his weapon, and left without touching her.

But the girl would talk to no one but a priest. When Fr. Kerr approached the near-catatonic girl, she told him that her mother had made her promise before going off to college for the first time that she would pray the Rosary every night before bed for protection, even if she fell asleep praying the Rosary, which she had that night, so that when Bundy came into her room with murder on his mind, the beads were still clutched in her hands.

Later, Bundy would tell Monsignor Kerr that when he entered the girl's room, he just couldn't go on, he dropped his weapon, and he fled. Such is the power of our Mother's protective mantle.

Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.



Friday, May 29, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 25


1.

Well, this is our official last day of school, at least for 85% of the students. Ms. 17 yo has to still finish Biology, but that's not too bad. Yippee Yahooee! Try as I might, I have a hard time even thinking about schooling year round. This year it didn't even enter my mind!

2.

Emily update - From her mother:

Tuesday we planned on returning to Illinois for her "Wednesday Chemo treatment". Emily struggled with breathing all day and collapsed around 3pm. She was running a 101* fever. We ended up taking her to the Emergency room. She was very dehydrated and they gave her IV fluids. This is all apart of the end stage of chemo and radiation treatment. Despite all the setbacks (which are normal) she is still doing incredibly well. She has only 8 treatments to go. (we were off by 3 treatments.)

So with all of the walls crumbling, God still has a way of letting us know everything will be alright. He did so while we were at the Emergency room. The Dr. wanted Emily to come and get treated in Illinois. Our plan was to drive directly to Illinois and go to the hospital to get treatment. We were just driving down our road when Emily turned to me and said "I can't make it that far. Take me to our emergency room." When we got there the receptionist asked what was wrong. I stated she had cancer and we needed to see a doctor right away. She asked what kind and we told her tongue. She looked surprised and told us that was very unusual. The receptionist proceeds to tell us her husband's ex-wife is a tongue cancer survivor. She got her cancer from a canker sore when she was 25. (Just like Emily) She had Chemo and radiation treatments and is completely cured and doing great. **That is why we ended up at my Emergency room instead of the one in IL. Emily smiled and said to me that was God. I just smiled back thinking to myself "yes that is my best friend comforting His tired daughter". That is why I have such hope. God is taking care of everything. We only need to trust and love.


3.

Like everyone else, I just love freebies. Especially when they look like this:

We were fortunate enough to find out about a local church who needed to get rid of this baby grand piano to make room for their expanding food pantry. Free for the hauling it was, but let me tell you that the hauling was a lot of work. Especially when my husband and some friends and relatives were doing it in the rain. It only needs a few more screws and a tuning and it will be ready for action. God is so generous, and we are so unworthy.

4.

Speaking of freebies, a good number of years ago, our homeschool group had started something we called a Free 4 All where everyone could bring clothing they didn't need and take anything they did need. It went on for a number of years and then fell by the wayside. Well, a couple of years ago, some friends resurrected it and made it even bigger. They now open it up to the community and have had some great success serving those who need it. So, later today we'll take our haul

over to the Free 4 All and hopefully be able to find a few things that we need, too!

5.

I'm generally not too attached to clothing, but while I was going through the above bags to give away, I came across this dress

This dress was given to my eldest daughter when she was about 4 years old and all of my daughters since then have worn it. While I can't justify hanging on to it, I'm having a hard time just putting it in the pile. I think I might just have to hand pick a little girl for this one.

6.

Now this dress, on the other hand
is one we can't wait to see leave the house. I hope whoever picks this up loves it as much as Ms 5 yo did. She wore this dress non-stop. We are all so sick of seeing it that we contemplated burning it but decided instead to see if we could find an owner for it who might like it just as much. You see, Ms 5 yo has a cousin of the same age who had this exact same dress. Apparently my daughter was under the misguided impression that her cousin wore it every day, too! Good Riddance!

7.

Keeping on the topic of clothing, I was reading a newsletter I get that was giving tips on how to end your laundry chaos. I found this one to be particularly interesting:

Change into pajamas at least an hour before bedtime so that you have enough energy to do more than throw your dirty clothes on the floor.
Let's see, on average I go to bed about 9:30. That would mean that I would have to get in my pjs at 8:30, which would mean that I would be in my pajamas before most of my kids are. I can't see that happening. So instead, I look at hanging up my close at the end of the day as a small act of reparation for the sins that I have committed during the day. On some days, I even need to go and pick up everyone else's clothes, too :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May Crowning

As we wind down the month of May and the month dedicated to our Blessed Mother, I thought I'd share some photos from a May crowing we attended last week at the Miles Christi Evening of Recollection. Enjoy.





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are Naps Necessary for Salvation?

Hee, Hee! Here is a good lesson in logic for those of you who love naps! (Thanks, Rose, for letting me copy it!)

WHETHER NAPS ARE NECESSARY FOR SALVATION

(Utrum Siestae Necessae sunt pro salute)

Objection I - It would seem that naps are not necessary for salvation. Salvation consists in becoming like to God. God is most actual. Hence, we must be actual. Now, naps are opposed to actuality and are hence opposed to salvation.

Objection II - Besides, the Apostle says, "Be watchful and awake, for your salvation is near at hand." Naps are opposed to being watchful. Hence, it follows that naps are opposed to salvation.

Objection III - Furthermore, Aristotle says that virtue consists in activity. Naps are not activity and are therefore not counted as virtuous. Hence, it follows that naps are opposed to salvation.

On the contrary, the Psalmist says, "He pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber." Now, salvation is a gift, and we must sleep to receive the gifts of God. Hence, naps are necessary for salvation.

I answer that naps can be spoken of in two ways: naps in a relative sense (secundum quid) and naps simply speaking (simpliciter dicta).

Relatively speaking, naps are neutral in that they can be used for a good or a bad purpose. Naps, simply speaking, are those naps which give us the rest that we might wake "refreshed and joyful" to praise God (as the Roman Breviary says). To this end, naps are necessary for salvation, since praising God is necessary for salvation.

Furthermore, contemplation is said to be "rest in God." Now, contemplation flows from Charity, and Charity is necessary for salvation; it follows that naps, which are also a kind of rest, are necessary for salvation. Likewise, contemplation is said to be a foretaste of heavenly beatitude. Naps are a foretaste of heavenly beatitude.

Furthermore, Jesus slept in the boat. Hence, we are to sleep in the Church, for the boat is a type of the Church. Hence we are to sleep during church, often during homilies. Consequently, it must be said that naps are necessary for salvation.

Reply to the first objection - One cannot mistake immobility for potency. For a man acts even in immobility; for instance, the liturgy compels us to times of silence. Sleep is perfect silence. God is all perfection. Hence, God is most actually napping.

Reply to the second objection - The Apostle spoke figuratively, not literally. For Saint Joseph was watchful in his sleep, that is why God spoke to him in a dream. So also God spoke to many Saints in dreams. Hence, we are to nap watchfully, that God might speak to us.

Response to the third objection - Aristotle was a pagan and cannot be expected to have understood the deep mysteries of God's napping. Had he known the revelation, he would have slept much more than he did.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

HELP! I Need to Exercise! Part II

I received a thought provoking comment the other day to my post about exercising. Here is an excerpt:

You have already chosen to place quiet prayer time and daily mass at the top of your priority list for the day. You have two choices, you can bump prayer time and/or daily mass, or you can improve your discipline and sense of urgency enough to make exercise a priority later in the day. I'm not a regular reader here, but I am a Catholic, and while I think daily mass is fine and good, I question why a mother of small children would feel compelled to attend. It is not required. Daily exercise, however, is necessary for basic health and maintenance of your body. Failing to exercise WILL shorten your life and put you at risk for serious illness such as cancer, which prevents you from serving God in the way that He intends. It is for this reason that we must take care of ourselves first, before others.

The anonymous commenter makes some good points. It is true that exercise is necessary to maintaining good health. I know I feel better when I exercise, that is why I struggle to figure out how to fit it into my daily routine. I also know that eating right is necessary to keeping your body healthy. Eating a lot of processed foods and not enough of the "good stuff" can certainly lead to serious illnesses.

I still maintain, however, that daily Mass is also very necessary for me in order to effectively do the Will of God in my life. I feel a very strong call to daily Mass and I know the many ways in which it benefits me and my family. I also know that my morning prayer routine is crucial for me to keep on track with the resolutions that I have set. Both the prayer time and Mass make it much easier for me to remain at peace. Fortunately I do have older kids which makes it easier to get to daily Mass.

That all being said, I think I like the way the commenter puts it, "...or you can improve your discipline and sense of urgency enough to make exercise a priority later in the day." This is the route that I have been trying to take recently. We have decided, for now, to take a walk every day after Mass as our exercise. We go to different churches ever day so it provides us with some variety. Each day, weather permitting, we get the cart out of the car, pop the two smaller kids into it, put on our gym shoes and start walking. So far it has been working out.

In this whole process, I've realized two important things. The first is that I have to place all of this in the hands of the Lord. I want to get in shape. I think He is calling me to get in shape. Therefore, I try to ask Him everyday for the grace to stick with a plan. The second thing I realized is that I have to take it one step at a time :) My personality is such that I like to dive into things full force and I expect immediate results. I have to come to terms with the fact that this might not be the best exercise plan out there for me, but for now it is what I can do - and it is more than I was doing before! Hopefully over the summer months I can add more exercising options in so that, come fall, keeping the exercise routine in my day won't be a big deal.

I'm glad for this comment since it got me to think about my priorities. I believe that both my prayer/Mass time and exercise need to be important parts of my day so I guess it comes down to discipline! UGH!








Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day Prayer

Dear Lord, on this day we remember those who have served us by protecting our freedoms. When we celebrate our long weekend withour friends and family, help us remember that our freedom to speak of You, our freedom to worship You and our freedom to do that which we ought to do, have all been bought at the price and sacrifice of many lives.

Your Son died for our eternal life in heaven. So too, Your children died protecting us here on earth. Help us to be mindful this weekend and always of the sacrifices made by those in uniform for all our freedoms.
Amen.


Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 24


1.

Here we are again. I think I finally figured out how to copy and paste the above image so that it links right back to Conversion Diary. Unfortunately I can't test it until it is "live" so if it doesn't work, I apologize and I'll try to figure it out for next week. It looks so much more official this way, doesn't it???

2.

Here's another Emily update. It seems as if all of the prayers are keeping her going and keeping her off of a feeding tube. I thought I'd share another excerpt with you from her Mom's email.

Well only 8 treatments left. Boy, do those words sound good. Emily's spirits were lifted yesterday after her visit with the radiation doctor. She checked on Emily's progress and told us she could no longer see any cancer (yay!!!) We still have to complete the remaining 8 treatments. Then we will see all the doctors every week for about 8-10 weeks. During the next 2 years they will be watching her for long term side effects: throat narrowing, jaw bones dying, teeth falling out, salivary glands not working. These are all possibilities but so far they think she looks remarkable. Despite the incredible pain she is enduring, she looks really good. I know I have all of you to thank for this. Your prayers are keeping her in great shape.

Emily is eating only noodles, eggs, oatmeal and bread currently. She can only drink water. Everything else burns too much. Her jaws are swollen and it hurts to chew. During lunch she cried thru her meal which she usually does. She apologized for taking so long to eat. I replied "no problem, I don't have any screaming children calling my name, I'm good." Then she said something that really struck me. She said "after this is over I will never take eating or tasting my food for granted." Wow! Then it occured to me that we should all stop at dinner and thank God for allowing us to eat whatever we want and to be able to taste the good food we are eating. We take so much of our graces for granted and constantly complain about what we perceive is our crosses. I felt like this was such a huge cross Jesus gave me. Then I see how much this is changing me by the day and realized it really is a grace to have suffering in our lives. It causes us to reflect on the everyday graces we overlook.

3.

The novena to the Holy Spirit begins today. Check out EWTN for the prayers for each of the next nine days. Spread the word! I think the world could use an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

4.

I've mentioned before that I'm a little slow in grasping things sometimes. Case in point: In our effort to eat less processed and more healthy foods yet still have a treat now and then, I decided to google frozen fruit bar recipes. (No I couldn't figure this out for myself!) How simple and how good! Take any fresh summer fruit, throw it in a blender or food processor, add a bit of lemon juice, stick it in a cup and freeze it. We tried pineapple-banana-coconut and strawberry-banana. A nice cool treat for a nice warm day!

5.

Here in good ole Illinois we've been hearing radio commercials about how the police will be looking into your vehicles to make sure that you are wearing your seat belts. I think the slogan at the end of the ad goes something like "You're in our sight, even at night" or something like that. DH just called to tell me that he went through three different towns and there were policemen standing at various intersections looking into car windows as they stopped at the light/stop sign. Think they're just looking for seat belt violators????

6.

Miles Christi is still has openings for men to attend their Silent Retreat next weekend, May 29th thru 31st, in Libertyville, IL. If you've been thinking about it, consider this a call to sign up. Go here for more info.

7.

Have a blessed, safe, sunny and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend! The temperatures look good around here, but each day there is a slight chance of rain. We'll see if we get by without it!






Thursday, May 21, 2009

Body, Heal Thyself

The human body is truly amazing, isn't it? It never ceases to amaze me how God made it so complex and so self-restorative. For example, it is great to know that, on those occassions when your vinyl placemats decide to cause a ruckus, attack you and let's say, put a nice big scratch down the center of your cornea, your eye will heal itself very quickly! Within two days, you will feel as if it never even happened. Of course, we won't talk about what it feels like for those two days now, will we???


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Preparing Your Home

There's so much talk going around about being prepared. There's being prepared physically (like storing food and water, etc), there's being prepared mentally/emotionally (thinking about what might be coming, being aware of what is going on in the world) and there is being spiritually prepared (spending a lot of time with God in prayer, at Mass, in confession, etc.) We've been reading about it, discussing it, praying about it.

While I think there is something to be said for having enough food and water on hand in case something were to happen, I also think that we can do a lot to make sure our homes are spiritually prepared. For instance, when was the last time you had your house blessed? We had a priest friend over for dinner a few weeks ago and he did an incredibly thorough house blessing - I mean thorough! into closets and everything.

If you've never had your home and family consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now might be a good time to find a priest willing to conduct the short but beautiful service.

What about getting a hold of some blessed salt and sprinkling it around the perimeter of your property? You could pray the rosary as you walked your property line and sprinkled the salt.

We've also read about how it is a good idea to bury a Miraculous Medal and a St. Benedict Medal at each of the four corners of your property. You could make that part of the blessed salt sprinkling and at each of the four corners recite this prayer:

Through the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we consecrate this house and property to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We command you satan to leave this ground that all here may be Holy. We bless this property in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Do you have a crucifix over each of the doors to your home? If not, you can pick up some small, inexpensive ones and tack them right up there. Also, if you have some holy water available, it is a good idea to use it often.

Just thought I'd share with you some of the things we've found out about and done in our home. Even if nothing bad happens, it sure won't hurt to have such hallowed ground to live on!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Please Pray

Please pray for the following two people:

The first person is Emily. Her mom emailed this evening with the following:

I have to be very brief. Emily's conditon has gone down hill drastically. Her voice is nothing but a whisper. Her pain is excruciating. They upped her (pain meds) and she is soaking her tongue in lidocaine. I can only leave her for a minute to update you. Please keep her in your prayers. We have a difficult 10 treatments to go and tomorrow is Chemo day. I may not be able to write you back until Wednesday. She is feeling very nauseous again from all the pain meds.

PLEASE, Please, please, keep her in your prayers.

The second person is my friend Sandy. She has some serious medical conditions and, of course, no one can figure why she has them. Today she had some very extensive oral surgery done and I just happened to see her right after she was finished. Needless to say she didn't look good at all so I would ask that you keep her in your prayers as she has suffered very much these past two years.

Thank you very much and

Homeschool Project Fair

This past weekend we had our annual homeschool project fair. Each year we all meet together and the kids get a chance to do projects in a number of different categories. Usually we offer: Science, History, Art, Craft, Sewing, Public Speaking and Creative Writing.
Each child can enter as many categories as he/she wants and the kids can be from age 2 or 3 up through high school. The nice thing is that the projects they submit can be from any point during the school year, so if you think ahead, you can incorporate a project or two once in awhile into a subject you are studying and then remember to enter it when the fair comes around. Despite knowing this every year we still end up doing many of our projects the week before :)

The public speaking category continues to grow each year.
My usual stipulation is that no matter what else they enter, every one of my children must do public speaking. Unfortunately this year I forgot that stipulation and allowed one of my girls to take a pass. Oh well, she'll have to make it up somehow.

Along with the sewing category, we also have a fashion review where the students can model the item that they made. Here are two of my daughters. The older one made the skirt for the younger one.

We usually add a bake sale, a pot luck dinner and a raffle to our day. This year, since it was in May, we added a May crowning.

Even though it is a lot of work to get all the projects done and out the door, the day is a lot of fun and the kids enjoy the chance to talk to the judges about all of the hard work they've done.


Friday, May 15, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 23

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes Friday hosted by Conversion Diary.

1.

Emily update: She's had a rough week this week so please keep the prayers coming. She is losing her voice and her hair now. Hopefully both will come back after the radiation/chemo is done. The good news is that most of the Doctor's patients are on feeding tubes by the time they get to this point. So far Emily has been able to eat enough so that she doesn't need the feeding tube! Always look for the positive, right?

2.

If there are any women who would like to have their husbands or other men in their life attend the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, there is an upcoming Men's retreat being hosted by the Miles Christi priests in Libertyville, IL May 29-31. I know they have room for more men, so if you are interested contact them ASAP. You certainly won't regret it!

3.

In my quest for ways to live simpler and treat my body better, I have found some really interesting stuff. Since this is quick takes, I thought I'd share a few of the things with you. I happened upon a blog post (I'm so sorry that I can't remember which one, so I will not be able to give credit where credit is due!) and found this great recipe for homemade, all-natural deodorant that actually works!!! I've tried it out and it is easy to make, easy to use and it is just as effective as the chemical laden stuff I was using. Here is the recipe:

1/4 cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 baking soda

Mix those together. Then add about 5 or 6 tbls of coconut oil so that it becomes pasty. Put it in a covered container and spread it under your arms as needed. So far I'm really impressed. Oh, and it has such a nice tropical smell that it reminds me of that suntan lotion - and sitting on a beach in the Bahamas or something like that!

4.

I know that sometimes it takes me awhile to catch on to things, but why hasn't been anyone beating me over the head about how easy and nice it is to clean with baking soda and vinegar???? We tried it in the bathrooms and kitchen last weekend and I love it. No more strong chemical smells! We even used the lemon in the bathroom like I saw here and it adds a nice scent to the room. I've even noticed that the outside of the toilet still looks shiny and dust does not seem to be accumulating like it usually does. Oh well, I'm hooked now!!

5.

The one thing that I have been having a hard time finding a good substitute for is shampoo. I've read all kinds of recipes and ideas and thoughts on this subject and I can't seem to come to a consensus. It seems that just when I find something I think I might like, I read 10 more posts about why it didn't work. I have been hesitant to just jump in and try something so far, so if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to read them!

6.

The one thing we did try was using apple cider vinegar in some water as a "conditioner/rinse" after my daughter shampoos her hair. She has long blond hair that gets very tangly and so far she thinks it works better than the conditioner in keeping the tangles out of her wet hair. Just put 2 tbls of ACV in 2 cups of water and work it into your hair.

7.


In case you're wondering what got me started on all of this searching, it was this book. It is a great book - easy to read and it makes a lot of sense. I started reading it because I don't want to end up 10 years down the road either bleeding to death or facing a hysterectomy. Hopefully by changing things now, I won't have to worry about either.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Vine and Branches

We've heard the Gospel twice recently where Jesus talks about the vine and the branches. I love listening to this particular Gospel passage. I've also heard some very good homilies about it this past week. Unfortunately, due to my less than stellar memory, I can't recall any of them right now, but trust me that they were very good.

Anyhow, I read a quote from St. Augustine in my "In Conversation with God" meditation yesterday about this Gospel passage and I thought I would share it with you here. Enjoy pondering it!

"The branches of the vine are most despicable if they are not joined to the vine; and are most noble if they are...If they are cut off they are of use neither to the vinedresser nor to the carpenter. The branches are for one of two things: the vine or the fire. If they are not on the vine they go to the fire; to avoid the fire they must be united to the vine."



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dessert Mania

Continuing on with my thoughts from yesterday, I've been thinking more about eating. More specifically, I've been thinking about desserts. When DH and I were discussing this whole change in eating thing, naturally the subject of desserts was at the top of the list. I agreed that we don't need to have desserts as often as we do. I know they should be reserved only for special occasions.

The problem with that comes in when we have weeks like we have had lately. In the course of two weeks we will have celebrated two anniversaries, a baptismal feast day, Mother's Day, having a priest over for dinner and two birthdays. Of course all of those events entailed dessert (not to mention a lot of really good food!).

With the number of birthdays and baptismal feast days alone that we celebrate within our family, we have a lot of desserts. That doesn't even count the other feast days and holidays on the Church calendar. We seem to have fallen into the habit of celebrating every major saint's feast day with some kind of sugary dessert. I guess I need to start being more creative about how best to celebrate! I fear that I've forever ingrained in my children's heads the equation celebration=something rich and sugary.

Not being much of a crafty person (quite frankly, crafts rank high on my list of ways to effectively punish me in purgatory!), I'm at a loss as to how to easily, quickly and inexpensively celebrate the many feasts that so richly make up our Catholic Faith. Do we pull out the good china? Do we reserve certain meals for those days? I don't know yet. Of course, I haven't asked my kids for their ideas on the matter, so I suppose that would be a good place to start. I'm sure they'll have all kinds of good ideas that don't involve sugar, chocolate, glue or scissors!

Oh well, I must go now, I hear the oven beeping on the two "County Fair Pies" we have baking in the oven :)




Monday, May 11, 2009

HELP! I Need to Exercise!

I've been reading and researching again - this time about hormones, specifically the female ones. Due to things that have been happening to my body which have never happened before (probably because I have never been not pregnant or nursing this long - and, of course, because I am aging!) I have been doing some digging around to see what is really at the root of my problems and what I need to do about it. Here is what I have found out so far. I need to:

1. Change what I eat - eliminate a bunch of stuff that, of course, I really like, like sugar and chocolate and caffeine...I mean really eliminate it, not just cut down on it!

2. Exercise - not just once a quarter, but every week, maybe even every day.

3. Get a good night's sleep - eight hours if possible.

4. Don't over schedule myself - hah!

Doesn't look too intimidating, does it? We've already begun to change what we eat around here. That has been going on slowly and in spurts for a few years now. I also know that how to back off on my schedule when I need to. I've been pretty good about getting the sleep I need; maybe not eight hours every night, but pretty close.

The thing I always get stuck on is the exercising! Here is my dilemma: I already get up at 5:30 to have my QUIET prayer time, take a shower and get breakfast ready in time to get the kids up so that we can get to Mass (which I KNOW we are supposed to be doing every day, so No compromise on that one). I have found over the years that if I don't do something first thing in the morning, it is not as likely to get done the rest of the day - especially when it is something I don't particularly like. So, by leaving exercise until later in the day, I am much more likely to blow it off.

Now I know that there are a bunch of people who read this blog frequently but don't necessarily make their presence known. So, I'm begging you, if you have any suggestions as to how I can make an exercise plan that won't alter my morning routine, PLEASE let me know. How do you handle exercise? How do you keep your commitment to it? Any suggestions on how to involve the kiddos? When is the best time to exercise?

I've been down this road before. We all get gungho about exercising, but then something happens and we fall off the wagon before it ever really gets going very fast. I know I'm not alone on this one, either. Given our hectic lifestyles, I'm pretty convinced that whatever we decide to do has to be easy, inexpensive and flexible. So, I'd sure appreciate any thoughts you might have on this topic! (And I promise to try and not make up excuses as to why I can't implement what you suggest :)


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 8, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 22

Here it is again, 7 Quick Takes Friday courtesy of Conversion Diary!

1.

Sometimes, I have to admit, Friday comes around a little too fast. I have good ideas for these quick takes, but if I don't write them down, I never remember them. Of course, you might be wondering why I don't just skip a week if I can't remember what I was going to say? Well, unfortunately my anal personality would find it VERY difficult to skip a week! Oh well, a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit to see what I can come up with...

2.

Remember the lady from the US Census office that showed up at my front door with her little hand held computer? Well, it turns out that people just like her will be appearing at EVERY door in America before the end of July 2009. It seems that that nifty little thing in her hand was actually a GPS and every door in America will be GPS marked. Read this article if you want more details! It is quite interesting.

3.

If you live in the country, you know that when you say neighbor it could conceivably mean anyone within a two mile radius. Well, the other day we had a "neighbor" whose barn caught on fire. From the size of the fire you would have thought it was the whole house. Fortunately for them, the house was not damaged. Mr. 4 yo was very intrigued by this occurrence. He informed us that our other "neighbor's" cows had told him earlier that the barn was going to catch on fire today! He then proceeded to come up with various theories as to how it caught on fire. Quite an imagination the little one has!

4.

No Emily update this week. The end of this week marks the half way point. Emily really is incredible. She is midway through her chemo and radiation and she sent her mother along with her father on his business trip! Hopefully they are having some much needed relaxation and not TOO much worry! I'll let you know next week how she is doing.

5.

Recently my Mom and Dad celebrated their 45th Anniversary. We were back at their house when my Dad brought out my mom's wedding dress. Unlike modern brides, hers was rolled into a ball and put in a black plastic bag.
The girls were very excited to try it on. Unfortunately, my mom weighed all of about 95 pounds when she got married so only Ms. 13 yo fit in the dress. Not too bad after 45 years of sitting in a plastic bag (the dress that is :)


I, on the other hand, had my dress professionally preserved. The girls were originally thinking they'd like to wait until our 25th Anniversary to open it up and try it on (assuming that it is really inside that box that has been sitting around all these years :) but after trying on Grandma's, they aren't sure they want to wait that long. Fortunately for them, I weighed more than 95 pounds.

6.

We also celebrated an Anniversary this month. Isn't this a nice table decoration?


Notice the card on your right. It has three additional circles. How very touching of them to do that! They also made us two heart-shaped pineapple upside down cakes (because one is just NOT enough!).

DH and I even got to go out for lunch together! Very nice day all the way around. Thanks, kids!

7.

All this reminiscing recently about weddings got us to talking about weddings that might take place in the future. While discussing possible future wedding parties , Ms. 17 yo realized that many of the friends she named off are considering religious vocations. We realized then that she had two options: 1. Get married soon, before they all enter convents or 2. Have the various habits be her bridesmaid's gown theme. Anyone not in a convent could pick a complimentary colored dress. Now that would be interesting!

Have a great weekend and


Thursday, May 7, 2009

May, the Month of Mary

As you may know, May is the month of Mary, our Blessed Mother. JMJ over at Totus Tuus is hosting a Something about Mary blogging month. Yesterday on her blog she had this incredibly cool video about...well, I won't spoil the surprise. Check it out!



O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Additional Information on Naming Babies

Yesterday some very thoughtful people told me about a way to memorialize those babies who have died before birth. There is a church in New York City that has a shrine to the unborn. The babies' names are entered into their Book of Life and once a month a Mass is said for all of these precious little souls. Here is what their website says:

Often children who have died before birth have no grave or headstone, and sometimes not even a name. At The Church of The Holy Innocents, we invite you to name your child(ren) and to have the opportunity to have your baby's name inscribed in our "BOOK OF LIFE".

Here, a candle is always lit in their memory. All day long people stop to pray. On the first Monday of every month, our 12:15pm Mass is celebrated in honor of these children and for the comfort of their families.

We pray that you will find peace in knowing that your child(ren) will be remembered at the Shrine and honored by all who pray here.

This is so nice! I signed up our three children right away. Since I was very excited to receive this information, I wanted to post it here in the event that other people might not know about this wonderful opportunity.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Our Three Littlest Angels

You might remember the book I've been talking about called Get Us Out of Here!!" - Maria Simma Speaks with Nicky Eltz. At one point Maria talks about pre-born babies that die either through miscarriage, being stillborn or abortion. She talks about how important it is for these babies to be named so that they can be "entered" into the Book of Life. She suggests even having a Requiem Mass said for them.

I have known many people who have had miscarriages, usually early on, who have done these things. They've named their babies and some have even had a Mass said for them. I have had two miscarriages for sure and one I'm pretty sure about (they were all very early on), but having never been catechized in any of this, we did nothing about it. Of course we were very upset at the time, but after awhile my husband and I didn't think very often about the babies we had lost.

Now, fast forward a few years. We have seven children, but for the last number of years we've always felt like we were missing someone. For example, it would be dinner time and either my husband or I would ask, "Is everyone here? Are you sure? It doesn't seem like there are enough kids here." I can't tell you how many times we've been through this! After reading this section in the book, I began to wonder whether it was because we had never named our babies. Were they trying to make their presence known, begging us to give them a name and a place in the family? We talked about this one night when Ms 17 yo happened to be in the room. "Oh," she said, "I named two of those babies already." Seems a friend had told her about this some time ago, so she took it upon herself to give two of her siblings names.

The first baby, who would have been older than her, she named Joshua. The second baby, which came between Ms 13 yo and Ms 10 yo, she named Melanie. My husband and I pondered all of this for a day or two and I brought it up to him again. We both agreed that they should have middle names and that there should be a name for the third one we both are pretty sure we lost. So, after some discussion, we officially named our other three children: Joshua Michael, Melanie Ann and Caleb Andrew.

I have to say that since we did that I have actually bonded with these three children. I feel connected to them and feel much peace knowing that we have three intercessors in Heaven for us. I am excited for their siblings; that there are three more for them to get to "know". And since then, we have not had the feeling that anyone has been missing! God is so good, isn't He?


Monday, May 4, 2009

Staying in the Church

We were at a First Holy Communion Mass yesterday when the priest, a Monsignor, begged the parents to please bring these children to Mass every week. He told them that the more consistently kids go to church when they are young, the more likely they will be to stay in the Church when they are older. Makes sense, right?

It got me thinking about the two times in my life that I could have very easily walked away from the Catholic Church. The first time was once I got to college; it didn't take long for me to stop going to Mass on Sunday. But, God intervened and He sent me my future husband, who, despite also being away at college, was still actually going to Mass. Of course, I started going again more to spend time with him than with Him, (BTW that was one time I was glad people held hands during the Our Father ;) but God was patient with me. It wasn't long before I became more serious about both of them.

The second time was after we were married for a few years. We had two small girls and yet we were still searching for something. We were pretty convinced that the Catholic church wasn't what we were looking for. We still were attending Mass fairly regularly, but it just wasn't interesting enough. I was doing my student teaching with three teachers, two of whom were very vocal Bible Christians. They had what I thought I was looking for. Fortunately, God intervened again, this time smacking me upside the head with a good dose of the Holy Spirit. After that, there was no turning back.

What I got to thinking about was whether those two events would have had the same impact on me if I had not grown up faithfully going to Mass? Even though I was a completely ignorant Catholic, and I really didn't know God at all, was the small opening that He squeezed through there as a result of all my childhood Masses? Of course, we can never really know what "would have happened if..." but I am thankful that God never gave up on me, and that my parents took me to Mass every week all those years. It makes me have hope that, in the event one of my children strays from the Church, God will intervene and grab them back, too, before it's too late.


Friday, May 1, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 21

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes Friday courtesy of Conversion Diary!

1.

Happy St. Joseph the Worker feast day to you all. We love St. Joseph. He has been the patron saint of our business for the past 11 years and has really pulled us through some hard times. This is a big day of celebration. I think a nice dessert is in order!

2.

For those of you following Emily's progress, things are going status quo this week. She is getting very tired of all of it. As her mom said, the weeks are very long and the weekends are way too short. The doctor wants her to start walking 30 minutes a day to keep her energy up. Please continue to pray for her.

3.

Yesterday Ms 13 yo made the comment that we must have moved to Ireland: very lush green grass, cloudy with rain almost every day and temperatures around 60 degrees. Here is the view out our window now! Well, that is, if in fact we HAD moved to Ireland ;)

4.

I am still getting used to the male student mind when it comes to math. I, as you know, am not a male. Up to this point I have had no male students. Now comes along Mr 8 yo. Yesterday we were in Sam's Club when he noticed the people in front of us had 3 (yes 3) big tubs of bubble gum. Each container had 340 pieces of gum in it. "Wow," he said, "that's 840 pieces of gum!" Okay, what I want to know is, how did he figure that out that fast with NO piece of paper or a calculator? All of my other children wouldn't have even attempted to figure that out without at least a piece of paper and pencil! They hate math so they've never put forth much extra effort. He continues to amaze me with how easy it all seems to come to him so far compared to his sisters! You go, boy!

*Note* - I now realize that the math listed above is incorrect. Please see the comments for further info! (I'm surprised I haven't heard from my husband yet! He might revoke my teaching license after this one :)

5.

I received an email yesterday from a friend who had just found out about a young girl who is scheduled to have an abortion tomorrow (Saturday). Please say a prayer that she will not go through with this!

6 & 7.

This is a long one, so I thought it was worthy of two quick take spots. Hope you enjoy it:

Three things in life that once gone, never come back:
1. Time
2. Words
3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person:
1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things that you should never lose:
1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable:
1. Love
2. Family and Friends
3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain:
1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person:
1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work

Three things that are constant:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit