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


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.

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! 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! 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!
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


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.

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.


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


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?