Thursday, December 27, 2012

another lesson in "it's not good to stare"

Have I already shared this with y'all?
If you aren't Catholic, this might not make much sense...

This summer, the Holy Spirit put on my heart the fact that
I don't need to be watching people going up to receive Holy Communion,
nor do I need to watch them as they are walking back to their seats afterward. 

If you are like me, there is almost a type of Communion Line hypnosis you fall prey to.  So, because of His urging, I am retraining myself and my children to either keep heads bowed, to gaze upon a stained glass window, or even to focus their gaze upon the Crucifix. 

Shew! Do you realize how hard that is?
 
 I do cheat a little:  if it turns out that I am sitting on the end of the row, I will sometimes watch people's feet as they walk by. I pray for each person as they pass by me. It is interesting to see the different speeds, limps, gaits, patterns.... toes outward or inward... the many different shoes... the very old shuffling feet, the young and patient steps that quickly come behind and then have to wait.  I wonder what it's like to walk a mile in their shoes.  I pray that Christ is the source of their strength through their walk of faith. 

 
Do you share the same bad habit I am trying to overcome?
 
Communion is a sacred time for each person who is receiving and when we gawk or mindlessly stare, it is a type of voyeurism. They have things they hold close to their hearts that they only share with Christ. He is on the move in their lives.  When we watch them,
we infringe on their Sacred Moment.
We steal from them.
 
With a little practice, you will be able to override your own curiosity to look up. To judge.  You will then have a few more moments of a very special time between you and Christ Jesus - before and after you receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. Once you master the overwhelming habit of focusing on others, you are able to really focus on the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
 
And in a new way, God will have your full attention.  Intensely-focused moments that you can really open yourself up to hear His Voice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

file under: things that make grandmother wheeze (and make her glad she chooses the 'maximum absorbancy' option)

Conversation between #4 and his grandmother:

"Wasn't that a great Christmas dinner?"

Oh, yes, it was yummy.

"Yum, the 'holiday ham' was delicious."

Mmmm, it was good ham.

(thank you, Paula Deen)

"Yeah, all except the Ambrosia."

What?! You don't like Ambrosia?

"Nah, I don't like coconut.  Yuck."

You're kidding?  Coconut is so good.

"Ew, no way!  I don't like that Monkey Meat."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

rejoice!

You see, the thing about me is that I simply cannot be held down for long by the oppression of sadness and hopelessness.  My spirit, like a cat thrown from a ninth story window, wants to 'right' itself.  Like a cat will always land on its feet, my soul always seeks to see a silver lining.

Scripture speaks to this very idea.  From 1 Thessalonians Ch. 5 (which is chock full of wisdom, so you might want to just go read the whole thing):

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
and

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. Gaudete Sunday. 'Gaudete' is the Latin word for Rejoice... it is also the name of this beautiful ancient carol (sung in Latin). 


 
The lyrics (Latin):

Gaudete

Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!
Tempus adest gratiae, Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laeticiae Devote redamus.
Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!
Deus homo factus est, Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est, A Christo regnante.
Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!
Ezechiellis porta Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta, Salus invenitur.
Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!
Ergo nostra concito Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino: Salus Regi nostro.
Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!

English translation

Rejoice!

Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary: rejoice!
The time of grace has come, This that we have desired;
Verses of joy, Let us devoutly return.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary: rejoice!
God has become man, Nature marveling;
The world has been renewed, By the reigning Christ.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary: rejoice!
The closed gate of Ezechiel is passed through;
Whence the light is born, Salvation is found.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary: rejoice!
Therefore let our gathering, Now sing in brightness
Let it give praise to the Lord: Greeting to our King.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary: rejoice!
 
 
 
Rejoice!
Go out of your way to find Joy!
Otherwise, the enemy will win,
and that's not how the story ends.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

math lessons: how the faithful pay for college

So our little first born smarty pants received a letter saying she had been awarded an $18k engineering scholarship (which replaces the $18k merit-based scholarship she was also awarded.. sad, since they would make a nice amount added together).  But, YAY!

The letter also said that she should look into scholarships that the state of Gawja offers, such as HOPE and SEE (Scholarship for Engineering Education), which together would add up to $7k.

King's father has generously been giving each child money on their birthday that is earmarked for college costs.  We will certainly be using some of that each year, provided the economy doesn't tank and we lose it all.  So, in doing that math, that is $25k renewable scholarships, plus about $5 each year toward the $45k/yr cost of college. 

We are quite thankful and grateful for the money she has been awarded, but honestly, I can't imagine how we are going to come up with $15k each year for the next several years.  The good thing is that we believe in a God of miracles.  We have been held firmly in His hand and He has never forsaken us.  I do not expect that He will all of a sudden turn His hand upside down to let us fall or give us a note that says, "Dear MG and King, handle this one on your own."  I expect that the wonderful, reassuring words of St. Julian of Norwich will ring true in this situation as they do in every situation.

All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

all gussied up

My make-up is freshly applied.
My legs and underarms are clean-shaven.
I've spritzed a tiny spray of perfume, but nothing too heavy, a very light, lemony fragrance.
I've donned a nice, lightweight outfit and spiffed up my shoes.
I have butterflies in my tummy, after all, this only happens once a year.


Yes, I'm all gussied up and getting ready to head out the door.
Can you guess where I'm going?










That's right, it's my yearly pap smear.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

grousing

I just looked at an email that contained "wish lists" from needy families.

Now, before I go further, let me just say that I am worn out from projects that I have completely gotten myself into.  These have been full time jobs and not for pay.  I have to finish one big project before Christmas. Thankfully, the other two big projects are finally out of the way (whew!).
But, that's My Problem.  No one else's.  My mouth writes checks my ass hates cashing.  I digress.

All to the end that I am now Scrooge.
The Grinch.
 
me
 

Add my grouchiness to the fact that I can no longer justify needless decorating, spending, ho ho ho-ing.  I can only see the need for simplicity.  Strip this over-advertised "holiday" back down to it's basic origins.  Let's get back to some hay, a stable, two weary travelers, and a Savior. 

So fast forward to an hour or so when I checked my email inbox to find an email requesting help for needy families.  Yes!  Finally, something that will bring me out of this funk and get me where I need to be - helping others.
And then I read the "wish list" for one of the needy families, a family of 8:
- help paying the power, water, and natural gas bills (the family owes the utility companies nearly $800)  I can certainly understand if someone is out of a job that paying the light bill might be difficult.... but then I read further.
The email stated that the younger children are all taken care of, but the older kids "need" the following:
- an xbox 360 game, a game for a playstation III, Hollister gift cards, more gift cards to various clothing stores.

Back.the.truck.up.

Is there something wrong with me that I don't think that if you can't pay your freaking utility bills, that you shouldn't worry about your kids having the latest electronic games?  Perhaps your money would go a little further if you spent it somewhere other than freaking Hollister?!
 
Imma tellya something... my kids have never (nor will ever) have any electronic games.  We don't have wii or an xbox, or any other "box".  We don't even have cable freaking tv.  We shop at the local thrift stores for most of our clothes.  We  pay our bills.  We do not waste money. 

Thankfully, there was another family on the email who needs a Christmas tree and a washing machine.  A family with 4 kids whose mother has asked for a washer, now THAT is a need.  Or the elderly man who needs a space heater.  THAT is a need. 

So sad that this world has turned into one that sees xbox as a need. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

attentions

No 3 had her Celtic fiddle Christmas recital this past weekend. 

Her little brother could not take his eyes off a toddler who was in the back of the room.  He tapped me on my shoulder and whispered, "Isn't that little girl precious?" 

"Of course," I replied.

"She's more precious than sapphire," he said in what I swear was a dreamy voice and then turned his attention back to her.


*******************
 
My attention, however, was in the front of the room.  I couldn't take my eyes off my middle child.  I mean, I see her every day, but how in the world did she get so graceful and poised when she was just this morning elbow to elbow with her brother shooting hoops in the driveway?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

from our teepee to yours

Happy Thanksgiving
 
 
This will always be one of my favorite pictures of all time - my, then, three little Indians having a powwow in an untamed corner of our yard.
 
Note the chief's staff is a croquet mallet.
 
In fact, that antique croquet set that my mom bought for them with blissful thoughts of sunny Sunday afternoon croquet matches in the front yard, has seen many, many hours of play... but for only one game of croquet.  Ah, the imagination of kids!
 
Now, go!  Scoot. Scram! Get outta here.  Go tell God how thankful you are for all He has adorned you with - not just the good, but also the bad, because that's the only way you can develop a character worth a damn.
Then, go eat some turkey.
Much love.  Muah!

Monday, November 19, 2012

file under: hey y'all watch'iss

These words recently tumbled off my tongue:

Y'all, you can't jump on the trampoline with your roller blades on.

It don't get more country'n at.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

sad but true

I was the one who had to teach the children how to make arm farts.
True story.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Once upon a time, there was a sweet baby girl who was born on a very special day:
  November 1st.
The Solemnity of All Saints. 

This same little girl grew into a bright, blue-eyed toddler who was never very far from her pacie or her Pink Dolly and was more considerate of the feelings of others than of herself.  That toddler skipped through her childhood stealing the hearts of many with her determination and her eagerness to please. 

She has never met an animal she didn't like, especially of the equine variety.  Nor has she ever heard an Irish tune she couldn't figure out on her fiddle.  She appreciates her few genuine friends and her brain's capacity to dazzle folks with brilliant facts is amazing.

She is now on the cusp of turning thirteen. 

Tomorrow I have a shopping date with this sweet baby girl.  As is the tradition in our family, a rite of passage at this special age, she will get her ears pierced.  We will get her her very own tube of mascara, her very own blush, and her very own lip gloss.  Mommy will splurge on an expensive perfume that is light and young and not too overpowering.  We may even find some clothes that will work.

Lucky lucky lucky me.
Happy birthday sweet Number Three.

Our 'nearly 13' year old.

can't wait to see what's in store for next week!

no.1's big week

- voted to Homecoming Court by fellow students of class of 2013
- accepted to Mercer University with guaranteed scholarship
- second runner up to Homecoming Queen as voted on by student body
- accepted to Auburn University

Thursday, October 25, 2012

thinking bigger

We give.
A lot.
Or so I thought.
Recently the Lord has repeatedly put on our hearts to give more

I gotta tell ya, I have not been exactly a willing participant. 



King first said the words aloud.  Those words resonated with me.  I had already heard that message.  It had been placed on my heart.  But I had kept silent until then.

I grumbled and groused with King, both of us knowing we were being called upon to act.  We had both seen the amazing way 'you can't out give God,' but wasn't there a threshold we didn't have to cross? 

Me: But Lord, there's not only the care and feeding of a family of 7 on one income, there is all the time and talent I share, there is what we give to the Church and other charities, there's the tuition at the high school, and in a few short months, there is going to be an amazing amount we will have to cough up for college. 

Him: (unchanging)

Me:  Come on, Man.  Don't push back on my heart like that, it might break...er... what's that?  How did I just happen to stumble upon this "hardness of heart" scripture?  Wait, why do you keep showing me how stubborn I am.  (stamps foot like a 2 year old) I am NOT stubb... er...

He has my attention now.  Sigh.

I am stubborn.
But, more so I am obedient.

Me:  Yes, Lord, I will give more.  Even though the world tells me I need it.  Help me to drown out the world, I pray. 

Him: (silence, except for the sound of what I swear is a smirk.)

Me: Do I have to be happy about it?  At least for now, if I promise to keep it to myself, can I please be grumpy?

Him:  Of course.  But you'll see.  Just like I have shown you before. 

Me: See what You did right there... that whole 'just like I have shown you before' thing?  Arrgh. 

(insert the sound of a layer of pride cracking. breaking off.  falling to the floor.)

Me: Just promise me that everything will be ok. 

Him: Have I ever let you down?  Even once?

Me: (wondering: is there a way to eye-roll behind God's back?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

auction mode

T minus 24 days and counting

Got anything to donate to the auction?
Want tickets?
Call me. 

In other news:
-College visit to Mercer University went well.  Even though we are Auburn People, we have fallen in love and can definitely see our girl as The Bear.
-Homecoming Game is Friday.  #1 on the Homecoming Court.  A first for our family.  We are very proud.
-#2 is coaching a Powder Puff game today.  Part of the fun-filled Homecoming Week line up of activities. 
-#3 and I attended a Family Honor course recently.  She gets it, y'all.  Amazing young woman she is.  The other day I asked King, "Where's ...(no 3)" and he said, she is upstairs writing a letter to her husband.  Wow.  See what I mean?  She routinely thinks outside of herself.  Always has. 
-"Wiggly" teeth all over the mouths of my two youngest.  They are starting to look like Jack-o-lanterns. 
Oh, hell, that reminds me:  I've gotta put together Halloween costumes. 

(juggling clowns & circus music much?)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

keepin' it real

Although Answers dot com tells me it can't happen, I swear I am an adult who is developing Autism.  My brain has turned from one that craved being involved with lots of friends, family, hubby and kids - wonderful interpersonal relationships -  to one that is just made of wheels, gears, cogs, and lists off of which items need to be checked.  A brain that releases serotonin only when projects are completed... which is hardly ever.  Sad.

Apparently I am not the only person who suffers with this same fear, because when I started typing the words, "can a person develop" the option popped up for "can a person develop autism in adulthood." 

So, whether it's Autism or early onset 'something' or 'another', I am going to convince myself that it's just a phase and that one day it will all be just fine. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

on the bedside table

Here are the books in the stack by my pillow that will be getting me through many hours during this beautiful, brisk Fall (and possibly into Winter):

Till We Have Faces - C.S. Lewis
Swept Up by the Spirit - by Gary Garner
Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody - Allen Hunt
Confessions - St. Augustine


Author Allen Hunt is pretty 'spesh' in my life.  He is a deep thinker who loves the Truth.  Even though he is older and balder than I am, my maternal instincts sort of kick in when I am around him because of the time he told me that if it weren't for (insert lame-in-hindsight reason here) he would be Catholic.  With the zeal of St. Monica I began praying.  I rejoiced mightily when he came into the Fullness of Christ.
Allen happens to be married to someone I really love.  Someone who I cherish spending time with because she has the gifts of wisdom and counsel.  I first noticed it the day  her words gave my grieving heart wings.  When I am lucky enough to be able to steal a snippet of time out of her busy life, it never fails that as a result, there are countless "God moments."
Also, her uncle was one of my favorite people on the planet.

Gary Garner, whose book Swept Up by the Spirit was recently published, is a friend of mine. An amazing Christian. When you meet him, he radiates Christ's love. The patina of his soul is simply beautiful. This is his first book.
He is also a woodcarver and, aside from the walls of the church in which I met this lovely man, another of my favorite 'holy places to be' is inside his workshop.  His skillful hands not only create crucifixes and crosses, but have made Sanctuary furnishings (altars, pulpits, fonts, etc). 
I may have shown these to you before, but I went to his place once and remembered my camera:

 
 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"it" happens: a story told with images

Sometimes potty stories are really funny.  So, if they offend you, please stop reading and come back another day.  You were warned.
~

The girls and I decide it was such a nice, bright day that we would go to the library and gather up an armload full of wonderful books for no 5's whim, no 3's pleasure reading, and no 1's senior research project.  We decide to go to the one nearest our house, one that was once a grand, Greek Revival style family home, and was generously given to the local public library system in the 1950's. 
 
 


discheveled lady walks out of the library bathroom


oh.
my.
stars!

what was it that crawled out behind her?!?

pure. evil.

surely that is what the poor souls smell when they knock on Hell's front door and the Evil One opens it to see "who's there?"

quite frankly the odor of Fire and Brimstone

Eau de Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth.


~

The answer to the question, "How fast can the mother of a 5 year old, whose mouth filter has not fully developed, whisk said child out of a public place to avoid anyone in a 3000 square foot radius suffering any further mortification?", is completely and totally dependent upon the age of, speed of, and sense of smell belonging to the librarian. 



Come on, you know disshit be funny.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

be jealous

"This is my Mommy.  She('s) great and sweet like a dum-dum.  She likes to hug and kiss.  She is good at snuggle-bugging.  I think she's a great creation of God."

I'm not sure why I look like an Andrews Sister in each of the heart-shaped snapshots, but I'm pretty sure that I love the fact that no. 4 and I are in our fancy-dress-ball clothes and that in the last heart, we are star-gazing.


*No comments from the Peanut Gallery in reference to any other similarities I may or may not have to a dum-dum.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

for everything else there's... the power of prayer

Booster's Club family membership: $250
Quick dinner before game: $15
Concession stand (because kids aren't really ever full) $5
Having a whole stadium full of people praying for an injured player reminding you that God Is In Control: 



Priceless.
 
 
 
**Player from opposing team while getting tackled, grabbed his neck, went limp, and fell down.  Forty five minutes later, in and out of consciousness, not able to move his lower body, the player was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the trauma unit of a local hospital.  One of our very favorite priests was on hand to lead the stadium full of people in prayer.  At the moment this picture was taken, you could have heard a pin drop.  No exaggeration.  
Even if I had not had a son on the team, my mother instincts would have still kicked in as much as they did.  I was sick about this young man all night.  Prayers.  Many prayers went up.  Next morning we get the glorious news that the same wonderful priest went to see the injured player at the hospital.  He said the young man was alert, in good spirits and moving all his limbs.  I wept. 
 
Praise and Glory to His Holy Name!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

anybody seen my glasses?

You know a trip to Dollar Tree's reading glass display is in your future when you can't see anything and are wildly looking around for your glasses, which you JUST had and find that they are right on your nose and you are looking at the blurry world through them. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

guess who?

"I love bananas.  If only they weren't so fragile.
You just shake them a little and *bam* they break." 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

why we sacrifice for our children's education

because Catholic Education Matters!

I grew up during a spiritually impoverished time when Catechism was severely lacking! Also, I was raised in a town where ours was one of only a dozen or so Catholic families.  We were in the minority and weekly, if not more often than that, I had to explain the fact that we did not worship statues nor did we worship Mary. 

I firmly believe that in our lifetime, Christians in America will suffer persecution of all sorts.  I pray that each member of our little brood will be strong enough to withstand it, and not knuckle under.  I pray that I am raising firm members of the Church Militant

My kids already know so much more than I do in regards to the faith because of the fantastic education they are getting at the elementary and secondary levels.  I am thankful that my children will not know the Spiritual Poverty that I knew and pray that they will take their rich faith into the world, bringing as many people as possible into the fold of the Fullness of Christ.

and, trust me, that's a lot!

she loves me more
than
sugar!

 

Monday, September 17, 2012

never doubt what you mean to people

We are at a softball tournament this weekend in the ATL. Our daughter's team won all three games and ended up taking first place. There was some amazing ball playing going on. Strong teams which were not easy to take down. Our team hung in there and stayed the course.
Seeing the happy faces on their faces sort of made my eyes
all stingy and leaky.

So, here we are, getting the girls together for a team picture with the lovely 1st place trophy and I look beside me and there is my cousin! 
Elation!  Joy! 

This is the son of my father's only brother. The one who reminds me so much of my sweet Daddy. All I could do was hug his broad shoulders as hard as I could.

There are no coincidences in this world.

We talked about his new college freshman son, who is loving school! So much so that I think they may have to remind him to call home. We talked about our kids, their sports teams, and how it is that he happened to be walking by. His daughter was watching a football game on the field next to the softball field.
 
 "I normally go a different way,
but I decided to come this way today for some reason."

Later I thought about it:
  • How much I sorely miss my dad and wished he could be enjoying these games, sitting beside me, cheering on his grandchildren.
  • How nice it was to, out of the blue, in an unfamiliar setting, hug the neck of someone whose genes I share.

Someone who shares some of the same memories that I do about summers at the lake; horseshoes hitting the dust; baseball with the uncles; playing Rook until late at night by the light of lanterns.  A man whose bright, shiny brown eyes, genuine smile, and gentle disposition remind me so much of the wonderful man who I missed so much.

I kind of doubt my cousin will ever realize how he brightened my world and helped reassure me that Daddy's never that far away. When I say my prayers, you can bet your last dollar that I will offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving for so much today.

Tangible things like a hard earned trophy,
and intangibles like being in the right place at the right time, and
the wonderful love of a Father.

Friday, September 14, 2012

maybe a toothpick will work?

Unfortunately, they don't make dental floss strong enough to get these chunks out from betwixt my teeth, which still have remnants of "chewing them a new one."
Moral of today's lesson:
1) If Mom tells you to, then get it done!
2) Take care of the things you have been given.  Or lose them forever.
ps- Your room smells like something unholy - see above.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

twenty

 
 
 
 
 
Happy 20th Anniversary
to the love of my life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

18-2 baby!

The JV team won big tonight 18-2!  My big ol' handsome son was the sole Center for the team (made long snaps, too - for punts and extra points!).  There were only two punt snaps at the beginning of the game which were high, the rest were sheer perfection.  

Our hearts were full in our chests.
 
 
Missin' you like crazy 'bout now, Grandpa Bud! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

a one-word prayer request for 60 days from today

landslide.

bring on the ark

We have been getting tons of rain lately.
 

I mean tons!  Like once recently we got 5 inches of precipitation in a single afternoon!

Dass a lotta rain.

There is a definite upside to this many thunderstorms.  But it's not the flooded streets, wet basements, leaky cars, lost umbrellas, or tree limbs from 100 year old Live Oaks that fall into the roads. 

It's the incredibly awesome rainbows,
(sometimes doubles!)
and the bright, excited faces of kids who think they are lucky enough to see them.

grab the shakers and the cowbell, honey!

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night.... will prevent me from watching #2  tomorrow night in his role as starting center for the JV football game against.   I will also pray for the safety of all the young men on the field... and for our guys to play at least 7 points better than the other guys. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

sick. just sick.

King just looked up from the newspaper and told me that the president of Planned Parenthood, someone from NARAL, and Sandra Fluke are all speaking at the DNC among others. 
 
Gosh, I know they are proud of that.

So now we have officially delineated lines.  Republicans are Pro-Life.  Democrats are not.  With the speakers they have lined up this year, they have, once and for all, defined themselves.  They are now the Party of Those Who Are OK With Killing Babies. 

DNC. Isn't that eerily close to D&C (one type of abortion method)?

Well, let's not lose sight of the fact that Obama voted for partial birth abortion THREE times during his short time as a Senator.  Partial. Birth. Abortion. people.  That means taking a viable baby, who could survive outside of the womb, and .... well, you probably already know "how" they are performed.  If not, please, for the love of God, look it up. 

C'mon America, wake up!  Please give more love to human babies than you do to the rescued pit bulls! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

my thoughts on the rnc

I must say how impressed I am at the job each of the speakers did at the Republican National Convention.  It is nice to know that there are still many strong folks fighting for life, less government, and bringing the National Debt to a manageable level.  The adage "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime" is truly the attitude of the Republican Party.  Not so with the other side.
they are quite willing to have people dependent on them for their "daily fish."

My favorites: Condi Rice, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Susana Martinez, and, of course, each of the Romneys.  Clint Eastwood was edgy, but he was hilarious.  I hope it rang out with other Americans when he said "We own America, and politicians are employees of ours."  I really wanted to hear Artur Davis, but somebody had to bathe my fifth-born that night!  I think Chris Christie was good, and I like what he has done in New Jersey, but he did chat about himself quite a bit.  Finally, I thought Marco Rubio was great, but his nervousness was a distraction.

I even came away from the event with a little crush on Ann Romney, who did a wonderful job giving us insight on the fact that her husband quietly gets things done, without tooting his own horn.  Also, not only does she rock a classically-styled, vintage inspired wardrobe, she is beautiful and she has a remarkable patina from all that she has been through.  She has a very approachable air about her.  Not stuffy or conceited at all.  She is going to make quite a wonderful First Lady.

I had a quick conversation with a friend who said she "likes Romney," but she just wished he wasn't so rich.  What?!?  I have no problem at all with the fact that his bank account is what it is.  'Cause you know what that means?  It means that 1) he knows how to make money and keep it, and 2) he won't be trying to get his mitts (pun intended) on our hard-earned money.
I can't say that about our current Commandant in Charge.

So, King was wondering: after a powerful convention like we had last week, what in the world will the Dems say next week?  I think I know...

1) blame Republicans for everything
2) falsify statistics and drown the viewers in a sea of numbers
3) write a fictional overview of the "successes" of their leader
4) remind America that their Fuhrer won a Nobel Peace Prize based solely on his "potential" to do something great
5) scare older Americans that Romney/Ryan will take away their benefits

We'll see, but I feel pretty certain I am right about this one.

ps- King, #1, #2, Grandma and I went to see 2016 last weekend.  I was surprised at how objective it was.  Seen it yet?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

now we are seven

Happy birthday to he who now calls himself,
 
"A Knight in Shining Plastic"
 
 


 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

a bad shot

The National, which is usually impervious to slings and arrows despite the media's attempts to demonize the club, has hit a bunker shot as far as I am concerned.

I don't care for the fact that the Augusta National Golf Club felt the need to publicize the two newest members of their club, one being Condi Rice (whom I very much admire and wish had run for president four years ago, but I digress). 

Despite the fact that the info is "out there" for folks to find if they really wanted to, it seems as if the prestigious, private golf club usually maintains as much privacy as possible for it's members. A fact, I am sure, they appreciate when they travel to the Garden City for a few rounds of golf.  Private doesn't mean private anymore?

I think if they decide to invite lady golfers to their club, it is their prerogative, but this recent publicity stunt is a cheap way of pandering to the media.  It is a drop of blood in the water to incite a feeding frenzy.  Wonder if Martha Burk will sit down and hush now?  I doubt it.  This exacerbates political correctness in the world of golf. 

Is there no where for us to escape it?!?




In review, I am glad Condi Rice is a member at The Augusta National, I just wish it didn't have to be so gaudy and splashy and common.  The end.

eeny meenie miney mo

Canker sores can also be triggered by:
  • Emotional stress
  • Lack of certain vitamins and minerals in the diet (especially iron, folic acid, or vitamin B-12)
  • Menstrual periods
  • Hormonal changes
  • Food allergies

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

splat!

Why, oh why, does milk have to splatter that far when the cup tumbles to the dining room floor?  I mean, our dining room is almost 200 sq ft.  Really?!?  It wasn't even that much milk either. 

let's go to the hop

So King was finishing up the last touches of putting his basement office back together after the flood from the torrential rains happened.... and #5, who is just sure she will be attacked by roaches and spiders if she steps on the first step to go downstairs, hollers down to her Daddy,

"Do we have any more huler hoops down there?"

Apparently we have some leftover hula hoops from a certain 17 year old's 13th birthday sock hop.  Sad.  Also, I think I may be featured on an upcoming episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

oopth

Thinking she wouldn't wake anyone, the oldest was trying to quietly tiptoe around the house to get ready to leave for her morning softball practice.  Only, she forgot the alarm was set. 

Now we all have a case of jello legs. 

Upside: alarm still works.

Friday, August 3, 2012

brown ain't done jack for me

Dear UPS~

On July 23rd I ordered some medicine from CVS dot com.  You brought the package all the way to my town and then ...what?.. handed it over to the USPS to be delivered?!?!?! 

What the cuss?!?!?!!  Is this a normal procedure? 

Well, anyhoodle, I haven't gotten the medicine yet.  11 days!  Why didn't you just deliver it like you do any other package? 

pffft.  Stewpid!

ps- USPS, I am mad at you, too.  Big Dummy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

for girls only

No 5 just admitted to me that she used to think grilled cheese sandwiches were called "girl cheese sandwiches." 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the sky is falling, the sky is falling!

I have been feeling rawtha fearful lately.  Irrational fears. Chicken Little kind of stuff. 

King helped me figure out that it is due of an extreme loss of control over many, many, many things as of late.  Control freak or not, it is about to push me over the edge.  Many of them are actual losses.  Some of them are perceived.  Perhaps if I were to share the "short list"....
  1. I am afraid that I may be spiritually lost
  2. I have lost touch with a dear friend who has moved
  3. I have lost someone very close whom I have known for most of my life
  4. A sweet husband of mine was trying to get all our outgrown clothes together to donate and as a result, I have lost a sweet college graduate's 12 tee shirts from which I was make a memory quilt.
  5. It is not easy letting go/losing control over the oldest children and the decisions they are making which will affect the rest of their lives.
  6. My laundry pile is out of control!
  7. Um, where is the top of my computer desk?
  8. Wait, what?  Didn't you just come ask me for a snack five minutes ago and now you want something else to eat?
  9. Now that baby goes to kindergarten in three weeks, what will mommy do all day?
  10. Uh, who am I?
  11. Why does King have to work so many hours?
  12. How do people spend an inordinate amount of time drinking, laughing, hooting it up with their friends, and still have time to keep everything at home all together?
  13. Why does it seem that money is leaking out of our account like a sieve?
  14. Where will No 1 go to college?  Or will she drag her heels and not make a decision in time and NOT go to college?  She is so bright and beautiful, it would be a shame for her not to reach her fullest potential.  How much can I push?  How much should I push?  I don't want to lose her, too.
  15. Will I be able to lose the one thing I have always wanted to lose?  Ever?

Just thinking about all this makes my stomach knot and I am not able to take a full breath.  I know that all will be well (St. Julian, pray for us).  But right now, I am seeing chunks of sky landing all around me.

On a related note, here is the word for today:

Turbulence-
In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a letter

Dear Mother Nature,
I am crazy about all the different types of lovely ferns.  Only thing is that I am terribly sorry about having killed so many by trying to have them as houseplants. 
Ugh. What am I doing wrong? 
Am I going to just have to buy (gulp) fake ferns?
Regards,
the fern killer

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

oh yeah...

...I nearly forgot:  No 41 told me to tell y'all "hey."


Walker's Point, Kennebunkport, Maine

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

if it is this lovely in summer, bet they're right about it in the fall

King and I spent a day in Boston recently.  Here are my thoughts:

-Parking anyone?  No wonder everyone walks!

-Do any of you sweet people walking around Brookline actually work, or do you just walk and ride your bikes, and push your babies in strollers around?

-Hey Boston, can you show the rest of America's cities how to keep themselves clean?

-No wonder it's called Bean Town, the drivers are constantly tooting.

-Fenway Victory Gardens- oh.my.gosh!  How cool is that?

-Toll roads?  Why didn't you warn me, I would have brought cash?!?!


le lobstah
Boston Common, oldest park in America
Folks learning to sail, now, ain't that perty, y'all?
gilded grasshopper atop Faneuil Hall
this Duck Tour bus/boat was actually made during WWII (1944) to be used as a military amphibious landing vehicle
Duck Tour boat- a replica of the WWII military vehicle



While waiting for a Duck Tour (highly recommend, if ever...),we see a tall block building with no windows (at least on the side we can see). We asked someone sitting nearby what it was. "Part of the Christian Science plaza." "Ahh," I replied, "that explains why there are no windows."

basically a mysterious, awkward tower that goes nowhere and has no windows to let in the light-
not that all of those facts mean anything at all...I'm just sayin'



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

should we be amused or disgusted that "the maid" isn't doing her job

I was sitting in our sunniest room this afternoon, paying bills while the two youngest were flying about the room making joyful noises, not unlike the fledgling mocking birds which were just outside the window.  Chanel No 5 says, "Look, I'm catching dust specks on my tongue."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

not to mention the creepy music

What is it about an ice cream van slowly trolling the neighborhood that gives me the heebs? 

Not in your wildest dreams freaky ice cream man!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

june: quite possibly my second favorite month of the year

It has been a long-standing tradition that each year for Fathers' Day, we go visit my dad's parents.  Despite the fact that my grandfather passed away last year, we still wanted to continue with the tradition.  The fact that my dad isn't here to say "Happy Fathers' Day" to stings a little less when I am surrounded by his parents and siblings.  Being in his childhood home, sitting on the cool and breezy screened-in front porch, where the air is laden with the sounds of so many bird songs, remembering the first man I ever loved, it's a slice of heaven. 
Most of the weekend's memories are inside my head, because I was too busy enjoying time with my kin folk to remember that I had a camera.




Sweet, aunt Jenny walked down with 4 and 5 to the blueberry bushes.
Don't you just love the yummy simplicity of corn flakes topped with blueberries?


#4 was amazed that all he had to do was to go shake the fig bush and all the ripe figs would fall off onto the ground.  My grandmother will probably be "amazed" when there are no figs for her to make into preserves.  I have never canned anything before (something for next year's resolution list perhaps?) but I did cut these up and boil them with water and sugar to make topping for ice cream.  If I am really inspired, I may try to make homemade fig newtons.  But, because King.loves.figs. so much they may not last long enough.

wordless wednesday


Friday, June 8, 2012

brilliant

Y'all know how much I love Mister Rogers.  This is brilliant!


Monday, June 4, 2012

expanding my creativity

One of my new year's resolutions was to learn to make jewelry.


I'm not sure if it really counts that I am basically stringing beads onto elastic jewelry cording, but I am going to count it as such anyway.  A year or so ago, I put an all call out to my Catholic friends to see if anyone had any medals lying around.  My incredibly beautiful, talented friend, Sue, sent me a Ziploc bag full! 
(Side note: Sue is one of the many people in my life who I would LOVE to spend more time with, because she is rich with wisdom and talent, not to mention she is an incredible, peaceful kind of mother.  But alas, since I don't get to spend time with her here on Earth, I am hoping I can sit beside her in Heaven.)

I love this piece.  The center piece, a cross, is not flashy or shiny, but simple and lightweight.  Also, the necklace is made up of 40 black beads.  In between each black bead, there is a small, shiny, silver tube.  It reminds me that so much of our lives we are in a struggle with evil, but if we keep centered on Christ, that we can make it to the bright and shiny days, even if they are short-lived. 

*************

Another of my resolutions was to learn how to paint with oils.  Seeing as though we are halfway into the year, and time isn't standing still for me, I bought gouache paints and have started teaching myself.  Gouache is not as involved as oils, which require turpentine, linseed oil, etc.  However, the problemo is that I don't really have a vision when I see an empty canvas. 

Give me a sewing machine and some inspiring fabric and I am off to the races, but this painting thing is a bit more of a stretch.  I guess 3D is more my speed... alas, I will not give up.  My first painting- still in progress- is of a vintage VW van.  Meh.. it's just ok.  I love the colors, and I do love the windshield wipers which look like eyes peering to the side, but the design is a bit rigid. 

Vintage VW van (in progress)
I'll keep working 'til I find that relaxed style of my own.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

one of those 'wish you were here' moments

I love that my kids enjoy watching cooking shows on PBS on the weekend, especially today.

This morning we were out of milk, so I made the little kids a strawberry smoothie to go with a nice sized slice of slightly sweet zucchini bread that my sister-in-law made.  The smoothie reminded no 4 of a cooking show he had seen the day before, Sara's Cooking Show, in which they made a watermelon smoothie. 

"I'll have to find that recipe and make it for you one day," I said.  Then I asked him what were some of his other favorite chefs.

"Ooh, there is this one lady named Julia and she is good."

"Is she the one that sort of talks funny?" I asked him.

I just wish you could have heard him.  His impersonation of Julia Childs talking about the Chiffon Cake she and her guest, Mary Bergin, were making was HILARIOUS!

Out of the blue, he scrunched up his mouth really small and said, "Lovely... it has nice holes in it."  He sounded Just.Like.Her.


Here beginning at timestamp 7:40
Oh, and as a sidenote, doesn't that Chiffon Cake look "lovely"?

Friday, June 1, 2012

narrowing the scope of political correctness

my·op·ic

[mahy-op-ik, -oh-pik]
adjective
1.  Ophthalmology . pertaining to or having myopia; nearsighted.
2. unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted.
3. lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded.
 
**************************

So, here we were driving home from filling our WMD with lead-free gasoline when we see this enormous billboard with an anti-bullying message.... which made us then wonder, "When does the enforcement of a No Bullying campaign become a form of bullying itself?
Walking the fine lines of political correctness.  It's a tightrope kind of world out there.


Furthermore, I wonder if bullies honestly care that they aren't being "PC"?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

dairy free, sugar free, easy peasy "ice cream"

Gather the following ingredients:
  • 2 large bunches of ripe, but not overripe, bananas
  • tons of cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • coconut oil
  • blender
Peel and break in half as many bananas as will fit into your blender.  Turn the blender to the lowest speed.  DO NOT PUT ANY LIQUID INTO THE BLENDER.  Carefully push bananas down into the blades until they are liquid.  Add more bananas, about 2T coconut oil, a dump truck load of cinnamon, and, ohhhh, about 1T +/- extract (depending upon the quality, I used Tone's from Sams, and it says it is real, but I'm a skeptic).  Now turn that puppy to the second to the highest level of power to make sure everything is combined.

Pour mixture into some sort of freezer safe plastic ware.  Let freeze for 24 hours.
Next time I think I may only put 1/2 a dump truck load of the cinnamon and replace it with 1/2 c of extremely strong espresso.  Also, this recipe wouldn't be terrible if there were some chocolate sauce or caramel sauce ribboned through it.... though it would no longer be sugar free.
If you make it and come up with some additional suggestions, please share them!

photo fail, but you get the idea
PS-You're welcome!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

corn

"I just don't get it.  I mean.... I chew it."

not limited to sticks: in which we learn that any two things, when rubbed together, could potentially cause a fire

There is a female usher at church who is always so very nicely dressed.  She hails from the generation just before mine and though I can't say for sure, I am pretty certain she must have carry one of my same crosses: fat thighs.  The reason "how come I know" is that this morning at Mass during the Offertory as she walked past,  No. 4 leans over and asked, "Mommy, what's that swish swish swish noise?"

I shivered remembering the painful hours I logged in two decades ago as a chafed, thin-thighed wannabe.

Ahhh, that would be control top pantyhose young Grasshopper.

Friday, May 18, 2012

tabouli tabouleh tabbouleh: no matter how you spell it, we're in for a yummy weekend

Back when King and I were newlyweds, we lived on Florida's panhandle in a sweet little hamlet called Mexico Beach.  We had some pretty wonderful friends, and Melina and Jack were among them.  Jack was an amazing man and a military hero whose rich history lent itself to entertain us with his amazing stories.  His laugh was infectious in itself.  I learned much, too, from Melina-  an artist, a teacher, a photographer, a cat lover, sun lover, and all around fun friend.  Melina's ancestors were from Lebanon and she handed down to me her family's amazing recipe for Tablouli.  I can still remember the day she taught me to make the delicious and beautiful parsley salad.  Such fresh ingredients with their fragrant smells filling her kitchen. 

So, each year about this time, I am led by my taste buds to get a culinary jump start to summer!  As soon as I place the parsley into my shopping cart, my heart floods with those wonderful, colorful, warm, summer memories. 

You can't whip up a batch in just a few minutes.  It is a long process.  So much so that I am pretty sure the Lebanese translation of Tabouli must be "delicious labor of love."








Here is a photographic recipe of most all of the ingredients that go into it...but, I can't tell you all of them.  You'd have to come spend some time in my kitchen, laughing and bonding.  It's just the way it's done. 

look around

... if you pay close enough attention you will notice that we are now seeing the sense of entitlement that has resulted from Everybody Gets A Trophy Syndrome.  It ain't pretty when it grows up, is it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

to my children

Let me be clear: unless you see that I have lost my sense of humor, we are not in a fight.  The tone of my voice is naturally like this when I am trying to be as succinct as possible without getting even wordier than I already naturally am.

What we are experiencing, rather, is a type of refiner's fire.  I can see the person you are becoming and through an intense "heated" moment, I am helping you shed, or burn away the part of you that is not part of your mature adult self.  I am also maturing in the process.

Michelangelo's Pieta - that gorgeous image was always inside that chunk of marble.  From the beginning of the earth it was there.  Michelangelo Buonarroti chiseled away what didn't belong.  Sure it was a messy process, but wasn't it worth it? 

Now that you have taken good shape and we are just putting in the details, we must keep you protected from anything that might chip your exterior or leave exquisite marble stained.  You will be going on tour soon enough and we must teach you how to respect the creation you are by being very careful about who and what you let pass those museum ropes. 

I see the beautiful creation you are to become.  Please understand that we must both go through times like this to grow and mature into who God wants us to be. 

deep thoughts from a six year old

Number 4 always melts my heart when he starts up a game of "I Love You As Much As.."

This morning he said he loved me "the same amount that I want to go to Heaven."

"Wow,"  King commented, "that's a lot!"

"Yeah, I'm just dying to go to Heaven," he gushed.  Then, realizing the pun, he added,
"Well, actually I am dying to go to Heaven.  Every day, every second, every minute, every week."

Monday, May 14, 2012

mother's day in the trenches

Yesterday was Mother's Day and there was much pressure to be perfect, a day of "no fighting" while the kids were supposed to help King "keep the house straight" so that "Mommy can enjoy her day."  But, well, let's suffice it to say that my nose was rubbed into the fact that I am a mother.
Gray, rainy weather, non-stop bickering, recurring clutter, teenage power struggles, and the second day of a migraine stood in place of a the bright, sunny, flower spattered, rainbow-filled day that was the subject of the handmade cards I received.

Whatcha gonna do? 

Beg and plead, try to yell above the roars, or deliver long monologues of wisdom to set them straight like all the rest of the days of the year?  I think not.  Four ibuprofen, a 3 hour nap followed by hiding in a quiet room doing crossword puzzles was my only recourse. 

So, today we woke up to celebrate "Not-Mother's-Day" Day... a day filled with non-stop bickering, recurring clutter, teenage power struggles, and the third day of a migraine.  But somehow, in a way that only a licenced professional could explain, there are no expectations for perfection.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

remembering the help

This morning I happened to think back on when I went to see The Help with a friend of mine about a year or so ago.  I am white.  She is black.  We are in book club together.  No matter who I could have been sitting beside, it was a difficult movie for me to watch, not just for the storyline in front of me, but because I didn't want to be lumped into a stereotypical group that the movie most certainly tried to put me in.

I cried the most, sobbed out loud actually, when Aibileen and Mae Mobley said goodbye.  (In fact, my eyes are pretty leaky right now just thinking about it.)  It made me sorely miss Bea, Rebekka, and Irene. 

Although The Help is a work of fiction, it is certainly true that many white families hired black women to help not only with housework, but with raising children.  My mother was one of those women.  I can only speak from my experience.  This account is the way I remember things, the lessons I learned.  Maybe I am wearing rose-colored glasses, nonetheless I think it is important enough for me to record it, just because all white families were not like the Holbrooks and Leefolts.  Perhaps there were white families who did not respect the people nor the race of the women that they hired, but that was not true in our case. 

When my mother and father became parents for the first time, it was to a son who was born with severe mental retardation and seizure disorder.  The medical needs alone were nearly a full time job, but to a new mother who knew nothing at all, it was overwhelming.  Neither of my grandmothers were geographically available or willing to help.  My parents hired Bea.  Bea helped my mother with cooking and with housework a couple of days a week, but more than that, she taught my mother how to be a mother.  There were many emergency trips to the hospital and later a problem pregnancy (when she was expecting me) in which she had to go on bed rest or lose the baby.  If it weren't for Bea, perhaps I would not be here.  When my dad had to transfer to a new job in another state, my parents begged Bea and her husband to move with them.  They had been through so much together in those few years.  She and her husband discussed it, but in the end, they had to remain in Jackson (AL).  Though I was not quite two years old when we moved, when I close my eyes and think back, I can remember three things about Bea: smooth, well-moisturized, beautifully dark-skinned arms, the nurturing juxtaposition of those arms against a cornflower blue dress, and an unfrantic, amazingly safe love. 

Because I was an older toddler, I remember Rebekka a little better.  Rebekka had large bosoms and wore white cotton tee shirts.  Her hair was sometimes curled and sometimes it stood straight up on her head.  She had a beautiful, slightly bucktooth smile and her laugh was infectious.  She and my mom laughed a LOT.  They even dieted together - and unlike Aibileen and Elizabeth in The Help, mom and Rebekka would have tuna salad sandwiches together at lunchtime and discuss the size of their backsides, which I knew to be about the same size because of how far my toddler-sized arms could wrap around their thighs.  Oh, I'm not sure how productive the two of them were together, my mom did housework right along with her, but my brother and I were clean and well-fed.  Rebekka had a son, Kevin (pronounced Kee-vin) who was my age. We were in first grade together.  He had reddish hair and his skin wasn't as beautifully dark as hers, but he had the same smile of his mother.  When he was older, he played football for my dad, who was his coach on and off the field.  Because Rebekka was a single mother with boys to raise, and the money my parents could afford to pay her wasn't enough, she had to find something that paid more. 

I was in high school when my mother had to start working outside the home.  Unable to balance work and home life, they hired Irene to come work one day a week.  Irene was tall and graceful.  Though she had great strength, there was a certain frailty about her as well and I respected her for both. She was working to help support her daughter and grandchildren.  She was elderly, but because she wore a wig, you couldn't really tell by looking at her.  Her perfect teeth clicked when she talked.  My sister and I helped her as she went through the house, picking up stuff so she didn't have to bend over and helping to change the sheets on the beds since the mattresses were kinda heavy.  We would sit with her in the living room as she waited for her daughter to come pick her up.  She told us stories about her family, but sometimes would nod off mid sentence.

Current political correctness tells me that I should be ashamed that I have this experience.  But part of me refuses.  Was it wrong for my parents to hire these women who needed jobs?  Was it wrong that my parents gave these families gratitude that went way beyond a paycheck?  What if I did not have Bea, Rebekka, and Irene as part of my life?  As ironic as it may be, I think if I didn't have the experience of developing a loving, respectful relationship with three very special women, I may have turned out differently altogether (see Hilly Holbrook).