Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Color

Oh Beauty, ever ancient, ever new.
~ St. Augustine

When an almost-three-year-old asks if he can paint, it is an invitation to watch wonder in progress.

Exploring colors, feeling textures, and watching joy happen.

Swirls of color, intersecting imagination and reality.

Fingers cast in new shades of bluish-reddish happiness.

Wanting forever to hold onto the magic that is unfolding as delight and curious abandonment is happening....

And loving this sweet face that is still filled with such overwhelming joy and new delight in this big, wide, wonderful world of ours.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Gentle Love

This week, Max tagged along when I took Joe for his riding lesson. There is something magical about how quiet the boys become around these gentle animals.
Joe (whispering): Come here, Max, come pet her nose.
Max (whispering): 'K, Joe. Thanks.

It was a great afternoon....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I'm still here. Just not quite as verbal lately (whether it be talking or writing)
...because I have been trying to be quiet and listen.

Those who know and (still) love me well, can appreciate that I just love to be truly with them. 
Laughing (loudly). 
Talking (also loudly). 
Breathing deep.
Enjoying the moment.
Savoring togetherness.

But I've been in my head a lot, too. Reading articles, checking out books, talking with experts, doctors, and therapists....Attempting to understand (if that's even possible) this creature, this world of autism, and more importantly, to understand how it affects MY child. 

After all, they say that it's better to be informed. 


 I don't know who they is, and I would usually agree. But this? Noone really knows it all. It's hard to know what direction to go in or who to talk to first. Really, our toxic world has created something that has changed our children, and they can't even agree on what it is. And it's not one-size-fits-all, either. 

...because they don't know the heartbreak of watching your child try to fit in. 
...because they don't see how you agonize as you try to decide if he should or should not go to summer camp
...because they don't understand that it feels like your parenting is being judged and questioned and possibly being laughed at all. the. time. 

We are in the spotlight, you see. It feels as if EVERYONE knows us, and is watching us. But not really. I KNOW that, I do, it's just a really hard feeling to shake.

because of all of the noise, 
because of all of the talk, 
becaue of all of the competing voices of help
because of all of the spinning-in-circles-because-I have-to-make-a-thousand-different-decisions-today.....

I have taken time to try to get inside the mind and heart of my Joe who takes it all in and isn't as, well, loud, as the rest of us. At least not all of the time. Sometimes, his laughter rings through the house like the sound of a church bell, and when he is excited about something, I could listen to him talk for forever. Truly. 

But this week, I was able to observe the following:

Joe patiently telling Max that "No, Brown Bear is BROWN, see, like the door? And Blue Horse is really BLUE, just like your walls. OK?"

After getting tested for allergies, Joe asked us, "SO I'm really not allergic to dogs and cats? Oh thank goodness." Then he promptly sat down with Cleo, our dog, with his arm draped around her, and said, "I love you, and I would take allergy shots for you. But luckily, I don't have to."

Max sitting on the porch and re-telling in the cutest mish-mash possible "Where the Wild Things Are:.... to the worms that he had gathered together. When they started to wiggle away, he said, "Max says, "BE STILL"."

Max wandering into Joe's room while we were reading together, and said, "Joe, I play with your LEGO's, ok?" 

Waiting for the (possible) bark from Joe, I was amazed to hear just the smallest "HMMPH" and then, 
"OK Max, but DON'T mess up my house I made, ok?"
 "K Joe." 
Then he looked at me, smiled, and said, "Where were we?" (Of course then I had to explain why I had tears running down my face. He finally GOT the scenario that we have been rehearsing and rehearsing and rehearsing some more. Praise God for small miracles is true prayer in this home.) 

...And finally, when Joe was in the car with just me, I played a lovely little song called, "Hey Little Man" by Eddie From Ohio. (Click on the link to hear it...and download for free.) When I looked in the mirror, my boy was wiping away tears. Choked up, I asked him what was wrong. His answer, "Nothing, mama. Just a sweet song is all." 


And so we hope and pray and listen....


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Lesson

Leaning over, Max dug his little hands in the dirt and created a hole for the "punkin'" seeds. As he placed the marker in the ground, and stood there for a moment, I could just feel what he was thinking. And then, in his sweet little voice, he said it...
"Mommy. Why the punkin' not coming out? It's too dark in dare. Is it O.K.? It need da sun. Right?"
Taking a deep breath, wiping away tears, I told him that the darkness is helping the seed. It is protecting it as it waits to grow. And then, because of the sunshine and water, it will start to grow... But that it takes time.
Standing there, as the bright sunshine fell on my darling son (and on those punkin' seeds) I actually listened to my words.
Listened to my heart....
Remembered that we are a people who repeatedly say "from death into life"....
Remembered that the promise of the cross is hope. Life. Growth... 
And so, in the meantime, while we are waiting for that punkin' to grow, waiting for the sunshine and water to nurture, we will continue on with LIFE.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Grief

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
~ C.S. Lewis, "A Grief Observed"

How do you ever completely capture the feeling, the reality, the rawness of loss? 

What is the appropriate way to grieve the loss of someone whom you have never even met, but love beyond all understanding? 

Is this what faith is? This intangible presence of something unseen, and yet seen in the lives of those we love? 

I can honestly tell you that I am wrestling with all of this, especially this Lent, as I grieve the loss of our 4th child. The loss of the dream of raising and nurturing and loving another child due to miscarriage... 

And that word...miscarriage? It literally sends a shiver down my spine. What a distasteful, misleading word that does nothing to convey the deep sense of loss of a human being. The loss of a loved-beyond-all-measure child of God. It says nothing of the connectedness and then rift between mother, father, and child, and then the grief that overwhelms. If you think about it, as a culture, we squash it down, hide it away, don't talk about it. It makes people uncomfortable. But I believe that the logic is clear: There was a heartbeat. There was a life. Therefore, there was a death. The rhetoric commonly used is misleading, too: Loss of a pregnancy or fetal tissue.....

Well. I lost a child. No...wait....

Four. Of. Them.

Just because I was unable to hold them in my arms does not make them any less real or human or alive. No. (And telling us that we are lucky and to just be happy that we have two children? Yeah. That, too, makes our pain seem petty or unreal.) My heart is breaking wide open and this child-sized hole? It pretty much makes me feel like I'm drowning....

Ah. But then that visible presence of the invisible God comes fluttering in on soft wings like the kiss of the Holy Spirit. It comes in the form of human beings who grace my life with their heart, their love, and their care. It came from my sisters who truly grieve the loss of another cousin for their children to love. It came from my friend Colleen, who reminded me that it is alright to grieve the loss of the dream of what could be, not just of what was....

And it came from my beautiful cousin, Julie, who knew that I was suffering the loss of this baby with a such a heavy heart....gifted me with beautiful words of encouragement and faith... and this:

This beautiful handmade rosary from Heartfelt Rosaries, along with the Chaplet of Hannah's Tears. What a tangible way to allow grief to be expressed...through the comforting ritual of caressing rosary beads and saying the beloved prayers that have allayed my fears since childhood. Sometimes saying a prayer over and over and over again when you feel as if  you cannot move forward can begin to unwind the knots in your heart. 

And you know who else has helped me on this journey? My sensitive 11-year old, Joe. As he prayed with me, he said, "Well Mommy. Just know that I love you. And so does Max. And I know that daddy does. And now you have 4 more who love you. They are just not here."  So that's it. They are just not here. Just like my loved ones that I have physically known, who are now with the rest of the Communion of Saints. Ah. Thanks, Joe. As much as I wanted to scream and yell and say, "But I WANT them here....", you helped me to see God. One day, you will know how very much you have helped your mama survive this life...

And so as I sit at the foot of the cross this Holy Week, with my beloved, suffering Tom by my side, you can believe that my heart and soul will be crying out for mercy, for understanding, for peace. Wrapping my hands around my rosary as I reach for the presence of my God, I will sit with Mary and grieve with her....Searching and trusting and believing that this journey is a blessing. Because of the Cross.

And grief is good. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Heart Song

Have you seen the movie "Happy Feet"? The one where the penguins sing songs to each other, and how they each have a "heart song"? I must admit that it wasn't my favorite. But as I have listened to it, the truth of what they are saying/singing makes a whole lot of sense. And Mumble, the penguin who is told that he doesn't have a heart song because he dances instead of sings? Oh I SO understand him.... (no. Not because I can dance, but because I have a child who dances and sings to a different tune than most of the world.)

And lately, I have really been trying to listen to my family. To really hear what my boys and my husband have been attempting to say to me. 

Their heart songs are sometimes hard to hear, shrill, or completely out of sync with my own. 

So how, then, do I really hear?.
Sometimes, it's with quiet words....

For my oldest, my dear, tender-hearted Joe, I decided to create a conversation journal. Although I could talk forever (and my dearest friends know what I mean) I am aware that it is hard for him to open up as easily. This way, we can talk at his own pace.... open-hearted and real. God is indeed sending me little messages that have PATIENCE screaming written into the subject line.

And the start of his first letter was just so adorable. He apologized for being "late" and then proceeded to tell me how much he loves all of us (even though Max can be a bother at times...). 

His heart is truly beautiful, and I only wish that the world was able to see it like I do. But I guess that that is what mothers are for? To know, and love, and understand like no other? To be able to see the absolute truth instead of just the exterior face? Oh. What a gift.....

As for my Max, well, we have been listening to Cat Chat, a Catholic audio show for kids, and I love how they include music and prayers. During the day, Max will be playing with his marbles, and I will hear him belt out the Hail Mary. Or the Magnificat. Truly wonderful stuff, there. 

Just this morning, he said, "Mommy, Joe at school?" When I reminded him that he was, he said, "I wuv Joe. He my good brother." 

Then he took my hand and led me into the front parlor. 

He said, "Sit down mommy. I play like Joe." 

And he proceeded to "play". Just like big brother Joe. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star never sounded so perfect. It shot a love song straight to my heart.

As I move through this achingly beautiful-hard time of motherhood, I pray that I can continue to listen, learn, and sing with my children as they grow. Despite the pain, the frustration, the hurt that goes along with the beauty.

For I don't want to miss a heart song that is just for me...

Gratefully sharing here today:

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ Afraid

(i am) AFRAID

Darkness falls....

and my calling, my desired-for vocation of motherhood has lately pitched me into the deepest darkest rolling waves of fear. How is it that I can at times be so unsteady and unsure and so incredibly fearful when I clearly cling to the lighthouse of my faith? The rock of my salvation?

As I scream prayers into the windswept wilds of my heart, or quietly whisper deep longings of hope above my sleeping children, it is still amazing to me the power that fear can instill. (you aren't doing enough. you are not enough. you are not helping them. you are enabling.) 

But oh. DEAR GOD. Please, please continue to steer me to the safer shores of trust and compassion and hope. Helping to see YOU in the shaping and shifting souls of my children. For I want to be there and ready and compassionate and yes,  fearless as....

The dawn comes...

Sharing gratefully today with Lisa-Jo and other wonderful writers for her 5-minute she says:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you {and if you love us, consider turning off word verification for the day to make it easier for folks to say howdy}

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, January 24, 2013

PHFR ~ Winter

~ Pretty ~

Trees capture the beauty of light, darkness, and shadows, and in the snowy bleakness of winter, I just can't get enough of them. 
They frame the beauty of the world in such a way that makes me take notice of all that is seen. 
And unseen.

~ Happy ~

This picture isn't just about the bread. It is about the physical act of making this bread with my son, Joe. Joe has a tendency to have an insensitivity to gluten, and we have been trying to limit our use of it. He has done beautifully with gluten-free bread sandwiches... 
But when we had a snow day, I told him that if he helped me to create this bread, that he could have some to actually eat. 
We had the BEST time kneading and shaping and talking. I didn't take pictures, because, well, I was living the moment with my son. Connecting, sharing, shaping.... 
This bread is a picture of delicious happiness that happened because of sharing with my son.... 

~ Funny ~

Oops. Mommy forgot to get suitable mittens/gloves for Max. And when the first snow hit, he was going outside no matter what. (Not to worry, mittens have been purchased since, and will be put to good use!)

~ Real (and Really Funny) ~

So. Some of my dad's family is from Texas, and for as long as I can remember, he has loved Davy Crockett. (And when we visited San Antonio and the Alamo? Well, it was like watching a little kid....) 
Thus, the inspiration for the coon-skin caps for the grandchildren this Christmas. 
Trying to photograph them all with their caps on was a scream....and these two pics capture some of the hilarious-ness of gathering them together. 
But in some ways, I love these pictures because if they had all been smiling, we would have wondered what was wrong with them.... 
Life isn't always about pretty pictures or calm children. 
It is about the rough and tumble crazy that comes with the beauty of a life lived with excitement and joy.

Sharing today with:

round button chicken

Monday, January 14, 2013

One word ~ 2013

Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.
And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.
- G.K. Chesterton

Sometimes, God whispers.

And yes, sometimes, it is a shout that roars screaming right into my heart.... 

As we were getting ready this morning, with all of the ususal "where are my SHOES?" pleadings and fussy toddler morning-ness, I was whispering prayers of thanksgiving for the life that is mine.... 

And no, I don't always approach my life in that way, although I know that I should. I *KNOW* that. I do. It's simply that I get so darn unsure of it all. You know what I mean... these thoughts.... (Am I loving enough? Am I giving everyone the attention that they need? Am I living my vocation as mother as best as I can? Exactly how am I helping my husband to be the best father he can be? ) All of these whispers can drag my spirit right down into the pits. My friend Misty captured it beautifully when she quoted, "don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle" GULP. And that? THAT is where the stirrings of hope can start to rise up.... No matter where I am in the process.....

Yesterday, during a wonderful session of catechesis, we had to write down 1o ways that we believe that we live our lives. The things that drive us, motivate us. And although I knew exactly what those things were, I also mentioned that in looking at the list? Yes. I continuously fail miserably at living up to them. 


Here's the beauty in that, as my friends Eileen and Mary Anne reminded me.... Every single day, every single moment, I can choose how I am going to feel about it. 

Every. Single. Moment.

When I hear those whisperings of not-good-enough? That little sprout of hope can be nurtured instead

Just like this morning during the chaos when Joe came racing back into the house with a full-face smile to show us the incredible rainbow that graced the sky overhead. I scooped up fussy Max and the four of us just stood in the driveway and stared and wondered and my heart just... filled.

So I will continue my sometimes whispered, sometimes shouted prayers to my God for continued strength. For insight. For Hope.

And so, as a new year starts, and as my family circles me with love, and as I stumble and pick myself up, I know that for this year? My word is HOPE....

For indeed....

The cross means there is no shipwreck without hope; there is no dark without dawn; nor storm without haven.
- Pope John Paul II

Sharing here today:

One Word 365
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...