Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ If I knew I could I would....

Well hello Friday!  That wonderful day when I can just free-write for 5 minutes. No editing, just flowing words straight from the heart.... (This week's prompt from The Gypsy Mama is actually something that I wrote a little bit about yesterday... you can read the whole thing HERE. Because I am such a dreamer, this prompt is just cream. ;)
If I knew I could, I would.....
~write a book that speaks to women's hearts....just because I want them to feel loved, appreciated, respected....
~write a children's book that included pictures drawn by my sister and my mother...a book that brings all of nature into focus as a gift of love from our God....
~have a house full of well as the orphans that we would adopt regardless of race...or nation of origin. **i miss being a foster mama...may have to check that out again?!**
~hike the Appalachian trail with my husband, kiddos, and dog. All of it. Enjoying every hard-fought mile, blister, and rash......
~own a farm with chickens, sheep, and horses, and a huge garden free of voles...
~sail down the intercoastal waterway (intra?) in a sailboat...exploring coastal towns..
~find a small town with a cottage by the sea and set up home for a while...walking barefoot, picking up shells, watching and feeling the rhythm of the ocean....
~travel, travel, travel...
~become missionaries along those travel routes...i could teach, Tom could be the nurse, and our children could help...
But WAIT! I'm not done.....oh. Like I said, this dreamer-heart is hard to live with (just ask my husband) but it certainly makes life interesting! I am forever thinking about the way things could be, but luckily, I am also able to be fully present to those I love. (If you are a friend of mine, I hope that I haven't taken you for granted in the midst of all of my dreaming...)
Happy Happy Friday.... :) Come on and join in the fun here:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roots and Wings...and topsy turviness...

     Joe and I decided to try the Topsy-Turvy planter as a little experiment....

Will the tomato in the ground, or the one in the planter produce more fruit?
Does it matter if the plant is upside down? Does it help by being upside down?
How will the fruit stay on upside down?
     Well, lately, since I am fighting with the voles in the garden, I believe that the planter will win. (It's hard for the ones in the ground to compete since THEY ARE BEING PULLED UNDERGROUD FOR A VOLE'S TASTY DINNER.)

     Until I went outside today. This is what I saw:

      Can you see it?! It was starting to grow down...and then....made a complete u-turn. The top of the plant is now touching the top of the bottom of the planter. SIGH.

     I can't even grow a topsy-turvy tomato right?! AND I'm fighting the voles?

OK, OK, I *know* that gardening is an adventure. A test of faith. And then, I take a look at my heart....

     Somedays, I feel so firmly planted that it hurts to move. It hurts to breathe. It's not that I don't want to be rooted, to be planted, but there is within me a yearning for wings. There are times when I bemoan to Tom that we are just not where we are supposed to be. And he responds lovingly with...

"Well hon, exactly where are we supposed to be? We're together, right? Isn't that the perfect place?" GULP.

     Yes of course, being with him, with my family is indeed the perfect place. But do you want to know what I would like to do?

* I would like to be like the friends of ours who took a year, an airstream, and a dream, and travelled the country.

* I would like to be like our friends who packed it all up, moved west, and just....lived.

* I would like to be like the people that are brave enough to get a boat, chart a course....and go.

* I see a cottage on the sea for sale and wonder if we could go, live life on the beach, and run a coffee shop together .. (yes, yes, I know that Tom and I know nothing about running a business...but we do love coffee and can bake muffins. Isn't that enough?! Really, what is enough?)

     God bless my sweet husband for listening to my ramblings and understanding my need for dreams. I KNOW the reasons that we can't just pick up and go... but I can still dream.

     But dreaming can hurt sometimes.

     Life is so fleeting, so quick, that I just don't want to miss it...

     That's why I have been clinging to this quote by St. Augustine:

Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee...
       Our beautiful faith does allow us roots and wings. Peter, the rock, the cornerstone, helped the church to take shape. Paul, the wanderer, was the wings, allowing people all over to listen to the word of our Lord. Right now, I suppose, I am to grow those roots while teaching my children about their faith. All while giving them wings to allow their faith to fly.
        So even when the laundry's not done, the kitchen has crumbs, and the tomatoes are strangely branching and reaching for the sun, I, at least, will try to quiet my restless heart by resting in my God. (While dreaming of the sea...)

What about you? What are you dreaming of?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Worldwide Wednesday Linky Party ~ {mercy}

If you do not know about Heifer International, I encourage you to go to the website and learn about their works of compassion. They help to break the cycle of poverty by "teaching people to fish" (or farm, etc.) instead of just handing out food. In turn, the families that receive the gift of an animal must then "pass on the gift" to another family. It is indeed the gift that keeps on giving. It is life. It is mercy. (Being of Polish descent, I just loved this picture with a father, son, and their flock of sheep....)

Head on over to Misty's place for other wonderful pictures...

Poland Sheep

Poland Sheep

Meczyslaw Rodzynka, with his son, Grzegorz, 10, with Heifer International sheep in Skorodne and Podkarpacie, Poland. “There are many people in a difficult situation here in our villages. The natural conditions are perfect for sheep with pastures and hay. The price of lamb is very encouraging so it is profitable today. It is important for Heifer International donors to understand that these sheep will assist families to make a living tomorrow and in our future,” he said.

*** Disclaimer/copyright info:
This photo is courtesy of Heifer International and from their photo stream. I do not own this picture.)

Small steps ~ The courage to do something different...

     When I began this blog, I did so rather tentatively, and I didn't even have the courage to tell you the real reason WHY I started it. (Deep Breath.) A lot of what I have written about is what is close to my faith, and my family. Because they are so intimately connected, it is often hard to separate the two, or to even put into eloquent words exactly what is on my heart and mind. So now, thanks to Elizabeth's gentle prompting about courage this month, I feel that it is time to finally come clean....
      Joe, my oldest, has had a very difficult third grade year...and after much deliberation, heartache, tears...I believe that as a family, we have come to the decision to home school next year. Now for some, that may not be a big deal, or even anything to think twice about. But for me, a teacher by trade who comes from a long line of educators, this is just epic. For goodness sake, I went to public school, my dad was my principal in middle school, and I have taught in both public and private institutions.  I recognize the shortfalls and wonders of every place of education, and truly honor all of the wonderful educators that have crossed my path.

      However, I am the parent of a child that is having a very difficult time navigating the current system. Joe is that kid who is extremely sensitive to lights and to sounds, and being in a classroom with 29 (!) children, even one that is efficiently run, is just not where he is excelling. When he asks me if he can stay home for the day, my heart aches, for I know that I am sending him to a place that is making him anxious. He is so endearing, however, and his teacher adores him, and is helping him through it all, within reason.... We work closely together to ensure that he is not getting mixed messages. I have always been the parent that pushes him to work through whatever feelings, problems, or trials come his way. This time, however, I feel that we have reached a crossroads, and something else needs to happen. My child needs to be nourished spiritually, not just academically.... (But then my own demons start to talk...Who am I to teach my child? Why not just send him to a school with smaller class sizes? What makes me think that I could possibly do this? Am I crazy?) Then I came across this little gem:

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength. ~ August Wilson

     Wait a minute? Who am I NOT to teach my child? Regardless of the fact that I am a certified teacher, I also know what is in his heart, and know what he needs in a learning environment. I am blessed to be able to be at home with his little brother, so why not also guide and encourage my sweet, sensitive, intelligent child? Why not allow him to grow in faith, while also teaching his little brother? This is what I enjoy about being a mother....watching moments like this that happen naturally:

     I am sure that there are those friends and family members who are cringing as they read this. (There goes that crazy girl yet again, making a decision without thinking it through.) On the contrary, it is one of the most talked about, prayed about decisions that Tom and I have ever made. Every year, in fact, we have discussed Joe's educational track, and feel that for the most part, we have made the best decision at that time. Now, however, homeschooling is indeed what is calling us. To allow Joe to become, once again, the confident, peaceful child that he once was.
     I know that the big question has been (and will be) about socialization. SIGH. Well, to be quite honest, it's the social piece that is causing him the heartache. Believe me, if it was academics, we would have had an IEP in progress, and I would have been on the school about accommodations... I know my limitations with teaching, and look to professionals for certain things. But this is about my child's heart. His sense of self. His soul.
     As we go through this next year, and as I look forward to exploring classic literature, and taking in depth nature walks, it is my hope that I can share with you (if I have the courage) our successes and trials. I have a hard time believing in myself and my abilities, and I suppose that that is why I ask people a thousand questions. I am in awe of those wonderful women who have already had the courage to home school. Women who don't even realize their strengths...
   My latest prayer regarding courage has been, and will continue to be this:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 ~ Isaiah 41:10
      This next year holds many promises, many challenges, many gifts. Please come along with me as I attempt to sow the seeds of faith, love, and character, and help my child to recognize the great gift of his life. If I only have the courage....  So thank you, Elizabeth, for helping me to take a step forward....

 Come along and see what others have to say about

Monday, April 25, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays ~ Easter thanks...

He is Risen, He is TRULY RISEN.... Alleluia. (Oh how GOOD it is to be able to say that word again with such force, such meaning.)

So how, exactly, can I continue this Easter joyfulness beyond the days of celebration? By realizing that although life has had some twists and turns lately, I can always count on the love of my family and the complete, healing love of my God. the blessings continue...

49 ~ personally experiencing the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday. Powerful stuff... (Tom's feet were washed by Fr. Mike, and then Tom, in turn, washed all of ours. To see him gently wash the feet of his baby was...breathtakingly beautiful.)

50 ~ Triduum...Holy Thursday...singing the ancient hymn of Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

51 ~ the gift of being able to proclaim the first reading and being a part of the Gospel reading on Good Friday

52 ~ the ability to be a Eucharistic Minister on Easter Sunday

53 ~ a husband who is willing to get up in the middle of the night to check on the smoker (for the cooking of the 14 lb. brisket that I decided to try. on a holiday.)

54 ~ a husband who doesn't complain when the coals get cool....

55 ~ a house filled with family and friends on Easter

56 ~ jellybeans

57 ~ chocolate peanut butter eggs

58 ~ hugs from friends who just....get it....and who listen when I need to cry

59 ~ praying mantis babies who emerged on Holy Saturday night

60 ~ celebrating the Liturgy with my Hispanic brothers and sisters....being at a Mass that is bilingual helps me to recognize the global church that we belong to...

61 ~ dyeing Easter eggs with my son and husband and loving the mess and laughter that ensues

62 ~ experimenting with natural dyes with Joe and "guessing" what the color will be

63 ~ taking Max to his first Easter Sunday Mass

64 ~ the color purple

65 ~ lavender (the color and the plant)

66 ~ flowers that color my world (and mailbox!)

67 ~ fragrant roses, ready to open up and perfume my world

68 ~ Max and my dad (Pop Pop) playing on the front porch

69 ~ family conversations around the dinner table

70 ~ "girl time" in the kitchen with my mom and mother-in-law...doing what centuries of women have, laughing, chatting

71 ~ yellow rosebush from my sisters...i missed them terribly, but they were present in spirit

72 ~ a wonderful visit with my mother-in-law (and lunch made for me!)

73 ~ laughing and joking with cousin silly!

74 ~ a lovely visit from my Aunt Joany and cousin Jason...

Come and see what others are grateful for....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Daybook ~ Easter evening

Outside my window... the sun has set and the birds are growing quieter…But it was a gorgeous Easter Sunday here and it was filled with sunshine and laughter.

I am lucky I am to have the circle of family and friends that I do, and that I simply adore them. Today was filled with both, and it makes my heart full when I think of them.

I am thankful Risen Lord and his incredible sacrifice… (and I am thankful for the triumphantly joyful return of the Alleluia! Oh how I had missed its presence.)
From the learning rooms… Joe is learning about different types of birds and their habitats. He will start piano lessons soon. We are also reviewing for the SOL tests that are coming up.
From the kitchen...we enjoyed a wonderful Easter dinner. Starting at 11 p.m. last night, we smoked a 14 lb brisket and served it with roasted asparagus, homemade bread, German potato salad, tossed salad, Sangria, and spiral ham. (Dessert, by the way, was ice cream pies…) A little nontraditional, but extremely delicious.
Brisket ready to be cooked!

Sangria, eggs, and strawberries

I am wearing...a Spring skirt and black top. I am also wearing pearls that my dear husband gave to me.
I am (embarrassed to admit that I am just now) creating...a scrapbook for Joe. He’s 9. Yes. I am a bad mommy. I have the pictures, I just… well….. it’s the same thing with this blog. I want it to be perfect. So I have avoided doing it. (And even though I am not pleased with how the blog looks at the moment, I have at least STARTED it. So there is no excuse for not getting those pictures in order. )
I am remind myself to slow down, breathe, and just enjoy. What a tough thing this has been for me to do. I don’t want to miss a minute of this life, and sometimes I fill every waking moment with… something… when really, I need to just… BE. I am sure that I drive some of my friends and family crazy. SIGH.
I am (still) reading... The Faith Club for my book club at church. I am also reading The Known World by Edward P. Jones It is historical fiction about slavery in Virginia, and is complex, heartbreaking, and I like what Newsday said about it: “…it will subdue your preconceptions, enrich your perceptions, and trouble your sleep.” Indeed.
I am hoping...that the praying mantis babies that hatched will eat the bad bugs that sometimes plague my garden. (Joe and I have had the egg case for over 2 months, and they hatched last night around midnight. On Holy Saturday. While I was watching The Ten Commandments. Amazing. Because they will eat each other, however, I woke Joe up and showed him all of the babies. Then I went out to the garden and released all but about 4 of them.)

Can you see the babies?

 I am listening to...Celtic Woman…Songs from the Heart. Haunting. Beautiful.

In the GardenI am at war with the voles and various other pests. I noticed that half of my basil was gone. Well, it wasn’t gone, really, just that it had been pulled almost completely underground…. (Come on Sasha, dear kitty, get that vole!)Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumbers are in the ground! Spinach is being harvested and re-planted. Pumpkin seeds are starting to come up.
Around the house...I am loving the way that my front room (the library) looks. We got a new piano and rearranged the furniture. (It feels like a new room when you can move things around!)

One of my favorite listening to my mom play the piano. I have missed hearing it, so I was glad when she sat down and played some today. I cannot wait to hear her and Joe play a duet.

Joe and Nana playing the piano

A few plans for the rest of the week:  take my sweet cousin Kellie to the airport, Dr.’s visit to check blood levels, hopefully visit with my cousin Jason and Aunt Joany, possible date night with my honey, homework with Joe, park with Max.

Beautiful eggs

Eggs dyed with red cabbage juice...such a beautiful blue

Sweet baby Max


Friday, April 22, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ The Hard Love

 So here we are, in the midst of Triduum... The end of Holy Week... How I need 5 minutes to just let it spill.
Take a few minutes yourself, and then link up HERE with Lisa-Jo and all of the other wonderful souls:
Oh how our hearts can bleed and ache with pain and love.... Last weekend, that beautiful Palm Sunday morning, as I found myself in the utter wretchedness of losing a longed-for, desired-for with all of my heart child, I sat a moment in silence and drank in the words of one of my favorite prayers.... Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee....
....and then my heart gave a lurch as I pondered HER hard-fought love. This teenager, this girl, this mother, who could do nothing but watch as her dear child was dragged before court, betrayed, denied, and indeed put to death in front of her eyes. My GOD. Her GOD. Her LIFE. My LIFE. .... And suddenly, my little life, in fact my very belief that what I was experiencing was hard love, was simply all tangled up into that mystical grace....
A Hard Love that I am ever so grateful for, and yes, only wish that I had the grace to truly understand....
Oh wow. Way to many emotions today to be able to write with a clear head and heart....but I believe that what appeared is what needed to. That is the beauty of un-edited stream-of-consciousness writing, I suppose...
May your heart be blessed this Easter...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Worldwide Wednesday ~ {Easter}

Easter. The very word fills me with hope. With peace.... How I wish that I could say that I had just the photo that captures it all. Maybe of Easter Vigil at St. Peter's.  Or of early morning in Jerusalem. That holiest of holy days that is incredibly difficult to put into words, let alone pictures. (For how do you capture salvation?)

But here, in Chester, Virginia, Easter comes just the same. And this year, it came in a special way from my son, Joseph.

He came tearing into the house one day last week, and said, "Mommy! Here it is! Finally!"  As I unwrapped his gift ("wrapped" in newspaper and a plastic bag), the look of joy on his face was one that I wish that I had been able to capture. This is what he gave to me:

As I cradled this perfectly imperfect egg creation in my hands, my heart swelled.

Indeed, this is what Easter is about. Eggs (not just decorated and pretty) but raw, life containing vessels....

I asked Joe to tell me why exactly he made it for me. And his answer, his second gift to me was, "Well mommy. It's, you know, like new life. Jesus came out of the rock cave on Easter, and baby animals are coming out from eggs, too."  

So Happy Easter my friends, from this perfectly imperfect heart of mine. New life is all around. Enjoy...

(Today, I am linking up with fellow blogger Misty, who has a beautiful heart. Come on and join in the fun. She'll give you a prompt and you find just the picture that speaks to you.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Despite miscarriage ~ Multitudes on Monday...Counting Gifts

  Last week, I purposefully began to count the gifts of my life.
              The gifts that I already have...

   And so this week, on a beautiful Palm Sunday morning, as I sat in the hospital Emergency room, knowing that I was in the process of losing my child, I had to grab my journal...

... and write through the tears....

    This list is what I was able to come up with despite my weeping heart...and despite a deep sense of loss...

23 ~ Catholic hospitals that administer the Eucharist (As I was admitted, it was the first thing that I asked for. I hungered for healing. Soul healing.)

24 ~ the meditative rhythm of the Rosary, even without holding one

25 ~ the ability to laugh through tears

26 ~ the caring words of Angie, who I know would drop anything to help me

27 ~ in-laws who take special care of my boys

28 ~ healing tears

29 ~ "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed"

30 ~ the touch and tears of a caring Eucharistic minister

31 ~ Story people again....quiet spaces....a true testament to the beauty of a connected marriage....

32 ~ "Industrial" sub at Coppola's deli .... comfort food

33 ~ chocolate chai ice cream at Bev's homemade ice cream (plus bites of Tom's malted peanut butter)  :)

34 ~ browsing shelves at Chop Suey bookstore

35 ~ finding a Hardy Boys mystery for Joe

36 ~ finding a Moosewood Restaurant cookbook for me

37 ~ holding hands and walking silently with Tom (see #31)

38 ~ Fair trade co-op Ethiopian coffee from Ten Thousand Villages

39 ~ coming home to Joe and Max and the loving embraces of both

40 ~ that despite cold medical terms of tissue, fetus, sac..... Tom and I KNOW that OUR BABY, OUR CHILD, has become a member of the Communion of Saints

41 ~ the knowledge that we have a special guardian angel

42 ~ spending time with my parents, and the comfort of their words and hugs and prayers

43 ~ a bucket of KFC and sides... comfort food yet again

44 ~ sweet words and hugs of my sister-in-law Julie... and her ability to make me laugh through tears

45 ~ being curled up in the hammock and just....breathing and swaying....

46 ~ a long talk and reminiscing with Christine...

47 ~ a faith that embraces a culture of life ~ and being able to see Joe grow into the understanding that ALL LIFE IS PRECIOUS

48 ~ seeing women, beautifully pregnant, and being able to whisper a silent prayer for the continued blessing of their pregnancy...

Come join us in the gratitude community... here....

holy experience

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Small Steps ~ On Courage...

     As I ponder Elizabeth's post about courage, I need to be honest with you and tell you of the fear gripping my heart, body, and soul at the moment. Currently 6 1/2 weeks pregnant, I am completely overjoyed, but so completely nervous. I am worried because I am having symptoms that I have never had before....and this leads to worrying about losing this baby, like I have done once before. In 16 years of being "open to life", we have two beautiful children, and one waiting with God.... And so I worry.... Believe me, I am certainly not proud of it, and know that nothing comes from worrying (except loss of time with the ones that I call most dear).

     One of our favorite priests, at the Our Father, says, "...protect us from all NEEDLESS WORRY AND ANXIETY...". It has always struck a chord with me, because I believe that sometimes, it feels as though I run on fear. I often come to Tom and say, "OK. I need your help. Help me to settle, come pray with me....". (I don't think that he had any idea of the often-times complete and utter mess that he was marrying, but he has come through like a champion. My champion.) I KNOW that I need to let go.... And oh, does that take courage!

     So I have been taking it to prayer, like I do most things. Misty has a beautiful Litany of Humility that has helped me to center. To somehow give up that truly human way I have of praying for what I need, what I desire.... I spend a lot of time in prayer asking for forgiveness because I don't trust like I should....And yet...

     In my heart of hearts, I know that whatever may happen, Jesus is right there crying or rejoicing right along with me...if I only have the courage to allow him to walk with me

     Come along and join us in taking those small steps here:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ On Distance

So somehow, once again, it is Friday. That wonderful day of writing-without-editing for 5 minutes, thanks to a prompt by The Gypsy Mama
Today's prompt is about distance... Here we go, starting with a quote from Barbara Kinsolver:

"The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof." Barbara Kingsolver (Animal Dreams)


Dearest little miracle of mine, lying just under my heart... Do you know how very much you are loved? Can you possible understand how much you are wanted? Cherished? Desired?

To be a mere a 6 weeks old, there is no way that you can possibly understand, and yet I want you to know that more than anything, your daddy and I are completely in love with you. YOU! This tiny, unseen (but for a tiny flickering on a fuzzy black and white screen) human created and infused with a soul all your own. Your life is GIFT. You are ours.

The distance, time, and space before your birth into our crazy world seems. like. forever. Oh, I know that you need time to grow, to sleep, to dream. (So just know that when you do come, your brothers, daddy, and myself will have a hard time putting you down.)

How we have waited for you! Waited. Cried. Hoped. Prayed. Screamed. (And then once your presence was known, we did the same, except with complete and utter joy.)

Just know, dear one, that we are waiting for you, waiting in JOYFUL HOPE for you, and cannot wait to bridge the distance to meet you face to face....


Monday, April 11, 2011

Multitude on Mondays ~ Gifts.... 1-22

     Today, as I smell the wonderful aroma of beef stew bubbling away in the crock-pot, I am filled with an incredible sense of gratitude. How am I this blessed? How can I possible hold it all in? This love, this faith, this joy that has been gifted to me?! So often, I forget to count my blessings. I am wrapped up in the daily go, go, go, that I sometimes miss what is right in front of me.

     And so I feel compelled to join in with Ann Voskamp and other wonderful souls at A Holy Experience and begin to actually write down all of those things that I am ever so grateful for!

1 ~ a loving, adoring husband who, despite my obviously glaring flaws, loves me anyway...and who builds cool things like treehouses and swingsets...

2 ~ my son, Joseph, who continually reminds me that life is meant to be fun

3 ~ my son, Max, whose cute baby ways warm my heart and soul

4 ~ pink and white dogwood trees in bloom

5 ~ windchimes

6 ~ the afghan knitted just for me by my sweet Grandma Krystofik

7 ~ the light and warmth from a campfire

8 ~ S'mores and incredible conversations with my friend Whitney around the campfire from #7

9 ~ the smell of incense

10 ~ the peony bush from my Grandpa Olenick that perfumes my home with remembrance

11 ~ reconnecting with old friends

12 ~ baby bluebirds

13 ~ spinach plants reaching for the sunlight

14 ~ the ability to be at home with my little one

15 ~ parents who are willing to listen with me, cry with me, help matter what

16 ~ sisters who help me, love me, support me .... no matter what

17 ~ feather pillows

18 ~ swinging in the hammock with Tom and talking about life, and love, and God

19 ~ Storypeople... clever ways of saying what I feel

20 ~ praying the rosary with Joe

21 ~ walking in the sand on the beach

22 ~ my father-in-law's guitar...the guitar that played "Seeds of Peace"...and on which my husband sometimes plays....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Five Minute Fridays ~ If you met me....

Teaming up with Gypsy Mama again today for Five Minute Friday. Write for 5 minutes, no editing (yikes!), and then link back to her site. :)  Have fun and join in!


If you met me, it is quite possible that you would see my heart on my sleeve, a giggling baby attached to my hip, and a big smile. For you see, I am so glad to meet you, and want you to know that. (It really is genuine, too, for I believe that God puts people in my path that I am meant to meet.)

I would probably talk to loud, laugh even louder, and may even cry if you tell me your story....My heart sometimes feels too big to take it all in. But again, don't feel that I am just pretending, for that is my biggest fear of all. Instead, what you see is what you get (good, bad, weird, silly....) and it's true that some people don't like that. It's ok though, for no matter what, I think that you are pretty special.... "the visible presence of the invisible God".... one of my favorite quotes ever that I really believe and try to remember always.

...Hopefully, my kitchen would be clean enough for me to make you a great pot of French press coffee, a fritatta, and some ooey-gooey cinnamon buns, too. But you are welcome even if it's not... for I love to eat and would love to have you join me... We'd probably laugh at the baby who smiles so easily, listen to Joe retell his favorite movie, and my husband Tom, my darling too-loud, big-hearted husband would probably plop down and talk with you too. Maybe even grill you some of his special shrimp. ..... You matter. We want to know you. We want to hear your story. Welcome.


P.S. i think that it is so interesting where this leads my brain to... it's supposed to be about me, and it is... i just love how my family is such a big part of me. amazing. blessed.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Small Steps ~ Encourage One Another

     Courage. Whenever I think of this word, this action, I definitely do not see myself. In fact, I can think of many friends and family members who embody the very essence of courage. Because not only do they face adversities with grace, but they appear to do so head-on, and seemingly without fear. But who knows what they are REALLY feeling in their souls? Who knows the pain, the suffering, the inner struggles that they are going through?! Only our God REALLY knows us. The true us....
  St. Therese, the "Little Flower" has been on my heart lately, and I so love this quote:

Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.
Story of a Soul, Chapter VIII

     If I am to go through my life just doing things, accomplishing tasks, then what is it all for if I do it without love? For what reason am I a wife, a mother, a friend, if I do not approach every interaction with love? And oh. How my humanness gets in the way. So often I am just tired. Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. I snap at my husband for trivial things that in the grand scheme of things just don't matter. Why do I not always have the courage to put myself aside and do what I can to help him? To help him with love? Why don't I always devote the time to nurture true friendships? Why is it so HARD to lovingly climb the stairs to help Joe clean his room?

Ah... But then... blessed grace steps in.  I recognize with startling vision that he is my child. The one who was gifted to me. He is in need,  and the way to show him love is to help him to do things lovingly. Even something as small, as mundane as cleaning a room...
 I know that I have a long way to go towards finding the courage that I seek. It has been my prayer this Lent to really be at peace. For I know that when my own heart is at peace, I am much more likely to find the courage I need to help those that I love most. I thank God that He is willing to always take me back lovingly. Forgiving me. Always seeking me out... Giving me the courage that I desire. And for that I am forever grateful.

     Please join in with Elizabeth and the others at Small Steps...

Daybook ~ Spring!

FOR TODAY ~ Tuesday (early morning...)

Outside my window...
the rain is now softly falling, instead of the loud, raucous pelting that woke me up.

I am thinking...
that I will most likely take a nap with Max this afternoon. I almost can't wait to cuddle up with that sweet bundle of love and laughter.

I am thankful for...
a warm, safe home filled with my sweet family.

From the learning rooms...
we are studying spelling words with the -ible, -able endings. Also, Joe is dutifully practicing his multiplication facts in many varied ways. Max is listening to stories about Jesus.

From the kitchen...
maybe some blueberry muffins this morning?

I am wearing...
my comfy PJ's.

I am creating...attempting...
 a scarf (yes, knitted on the Knifty Knitter loom) made with a beautiful irridescent blue yarn. It looks a bit "holey" though, so I may in fact have to double up the yarn. We'll see.

I am going...
a little crazy. My home is just...not as clutter-free as I had hoped.

I am (still) reading...
The Faith Club ... and to tell you the truth, am a little frustrated at the moment. Talking about faith with others can be messy, beautiful, tragic, painful, and joyful. Right now, where I am in the book....I am....taking it to prayer.
I am hoping and praying...
that today is the last day that I have to go to the dentist to work on this root canal. Ugh.

I am listening to...
peeper frogs, soft rain, and wind.

Around the house...
my husband and children are sleeping peacefully. I want to just listen to the silence for awhile until life comes bouncing back.

One of my favorite things...
is when my husband, Tom, calls in the middle of the day just to say hello or whisper, "Thinking of you, honey!"....

I am pondering...
St. Therese and her "Little Way". How beautiful to attempt to live each day the best we can in small, meaningful, loving ways... I need this to be on my heart at all times.

In our garden...
the tomato plants are in! So far, we have Roma, Black Prince, and Beefsteak. Soon, I hope to add some Sweet 100 or other type of cherry. Also planted some basil, lemon balm, and bee balm. Here's hoping that we won't have a crazy frost. Also, I had to plant some new rosemary. This is the first winter that has actually killed my rosemary. (Well, I am assuming that it is the winter? It just may be the result of the voles, too...crazy varmints.)

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Root canal today
Visit with my wonderful friend Whitney
Watch Secretariat with my sweetie
Substitute Joe's school
Orthodontist for Joe

Picture thought
This is a picture that Joe made "Just for you, mommy." Love it.

Join us in the fun at: The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, April 1, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ A few of my favorite things...

     Somehow, it is Friday again, and time for Five Minute Friday with Gypsy Mama..... Just write for 5 minutes (no editing...which for me is TOUGH...but fun)...

A few of my favorite things...


Oh how I love when Tom kisses my forehead and says that he'll make the coffee, and to just take a few more minutes to breathe. That simple act of love is precious. Then I hear Max softly cooing, and Joe talking sweetly to his brother....It's time to count those blessings...given by my God....

Salty sea air, gulls crying, waves pounding the shore. Sand beneath my feet, wind caressing my face. The PULL of the water on my soul, and the sheer magnificence of the Earth...Red rock canyons and lazy rivers, tent camping with some of the best people in the world. The smell of campfires, marshmallows, bacon frying....The smell of old-fashioned roses, rosemary, basil, my Grandpa's peony bush dutifully coming back every year, the taste of homegrown tomatoes. My dad's breakfast casserole, my mom's piano playing, my sister's phone calls and sweet hugs...

A handwritten letter from a friend, the feel of a book in my hands, the unexpected hug from Joe and a quick, "i love you mommy". The look from Tom that is just for me, the feel of his hand in mine, and the knowing that this is REAL. Love wraps around us like a soft blanket...sweet snuggly baby who smiles at this mama who is ever so grateful for it all....

Wandering into any Catholic St. Maarten, in Arizona, in Chicago, in New Orleans....That spicy smell of incense, and the prayers of everyone rising up in the smoke, rising to God, making a connectedness that can never be broken......


O.K. This one was TOUGH.  I have so many favorite things, and it was hard to write quickly. My brain worked faster than my fingers, so.... apologies for the randomness of thoughts. I suppose that that is what makes it real, though....  :)

Come on... join in the fun...

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