Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In which Mother learns to wear shoes about the house...

Folding chairs can be terrific obstacles at times.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Will it ever end?

For Easter, I finally made Little Button the blanket she's been wanting...Just in time to wrap her feverish little body in it.

I'm so tired of illness in the house. It's been a brutal season. Has anyone seen the tissues? Are we out of Advil again? Should I take him to the ER or should you? I think I could even handle a bit of that swine flu if we'd had at least a couple weeks of reprieve in the past couple of months. I am NOT making light of the suffering caused by that nasty virus...Just highlighting our weariness. We're rather worn down and would rather not see another medical waiting room or antibiotic for a while.

We're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel though. Right now is about the time for someone to come down with a think we'll just stick close to home for a time and try to avoid crowds and public bathrooms.

Thank God for the blessing of our home and lovely yard. Being confined to the house definitely could be worse.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No Thank You, Notre Dame...

Congratulations to Mary Ann Glendon for being a truly authentic, courageous and passionate advocate for life. I am incredibly encouraged and inspired by her decision to refuse Notre Dame University's Laetare Medal and by her letter explaining her decision which was published on First Things website this morning.
Declining Notre Dame: A Letter from Mary Ann Glendon

By Mary Ann Glendon
Monday, April 27, 2009, 9:32 AM

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,
When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,

Mary Ann Glendon

Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.

Deo Gratias!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Small Successes...

I've been waiting a week to participate in this fun and uplifting blog activity on the Faith and Family blog. It was created to help moms recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, they try to do exactly that. Here's my contribution...

1. I deep cleaned our family room. We're going to have an addition soon on that part of the house and I've been using that as an excuse to neglect it. But it is much nicer to have it done:).

2. I finally washed the "special" load of laundry that's been sitting (and growing) for a long time. It's the small load that requires special instructions, different settings, and an attentive laundress. I try to avoid clothes with complicated washing instructions as I so often forget and ruin them but...It's done now!

3. After several years of saying "I aught to" I finally did. I attended my church's pro-life group meeting and we've recommitted our family to the effort. I've done things with my husband over the years to support the cause of life but the busyness of family life has distracted us a bit. It's past time to step it up. A huge 'thank you' to the ladies at Handmade for Life who inspired me through their own faithfulness.

What successes have you had this week?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hoodwinked by the Princess...

I have heard it said that the littlest ones in a large family are often left to their own devices or "lost in the shuffle". I have seen the looks of concern and apparent compassion on the faces of my elders (who presumably had smaller families) as I chase a tiny "straggler" across a crowded store. The head inclines with a critical eye and gives a disapproving shake...the brow furrows with concern over the "poor little dear" who is so evidently the "one too many". Maybe mom and dad should learn how these things happen...hmmmmmm?


If only these well-intentioned onlookers knew the truth of the matter! Let me describe the reality of the situation for you....

In spite of my aversion to the general use of the term with regard to little girls, I have taken to secretly calling Baby "Princess"...Because Her Royal Highness is clearly the most pampered, petted, and attended to child in the entire family! She is cute...And she knows it. She is brilliant (if I do say so) and uses her many wiles to convince her doting siblings (and parents) to secure her the objects and attentions she desires.

The other children love her dearly and seek her out during the days for a special hug or spin around the room in their arms. She is deeply loved and I don't think I could stop the devotion if I tried. Just this morning, the Big Boy of the house comes down the stairs saying, "Where's my Baby?" She ran flying into his arms and proceeded to direct him around the house at will. It's an absolutely hopeless case.

So, to all of you kind and "concerned" people out there...
I'm sure that it must seem inevitable to you that a small child in such an expansive family must, in fact, be lost in the madness of it all. But I can tell you with confidence that a large and healthy family is not love divided but love multiplied...

...And if Baby has somehow convinced you that she needs some extra petting, I'm sorry to inform you that you have been clearly hoodwinked by the Princess! Know, at least, that you are not alone in that distinction.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lovin' Life...

Great things have been happening with Handmade for Life this month! With a new pro-life Etsy team making it's official appearance, we've started to attract a little more attention and have been receiving many positive responses.

If you haven't seen the new shops and faces over on the HFL blog, please take a peek. There are so many fantastic goodies to browse through and purchase and so many of them donate proceeds to their local crisis pregnancy centers and other worthy organizations. And yes, I do shop with many of these fine people myself:). Here are some of my faves:

Mum Mum's Crafts is hands-down one of my favorite shops on Etsy. I use her make-up, lotion, lip-balm and think this solid lotion bar is fantastic! She created it specifically to raise money for her local CPC.

I do not own this onesie but all I need is one good reason and I'm all over it. In fact, there are so many fantastic onesies over at Baby Big Mouth that I'm sure I can't pick a favorite!

Here's another item on my wish list. Actually, there are many things from Shady Side Farm on my wish list! I am completely fascinated by the fact that almost all of their items start with the wool of their own sheep! They do it all...and still managed to created these beautiful wash cloths to raise money for their local CPC.

This could go on for a! So, I'll cut myself off after this next one.

I do own this bracelet. I was so blessed to be able to trade with With Love from Mom for this lovely piece a while back. Beautiful design and craftsmanship! And I hear that she has plans to start a new line of pro-life jewelry which I am eagerly anticipating!

The most exciting thing about this new team is being a part of the ongoing inspiration and love-driven creativity saturating it. Artists and crafters committed to building up a culture of life through the work that they do...And with such a joyful spirit and foundation of hope! Don't get me wrong...There's no denying that the pro-life cause is fraught with difficulty and discouragement. But it is also built on a foundation that recognizes the inherent beauty and dignity of all life. Consequently, the pro-life position is unavoidably joyful and lends itself to creative spirit!

I thank God for bringing me together with this group!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Singing Alleluiah! He is risen!

Our morning has been filled with prayer and laughter and music. Here is a favorite of mine from Watermark. I thank God for the gift of music...The kind that lifts the soul to prayer and glorifies Him!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday and the Vigil...

And now we wait...

Tonight is the Easter Vigil Mass and the children are beside themselves with excitement! I am so encouraged that their thoughts are filled with things of our faith and not of their Easter baskets (not yet, anyway!). They'll be thinking of the food and gifts tomorrow but tonight is the real celebration. They love the candles and flowers and trumpets and drums and incense...All the "smells and bells" at their best!

And I confess to feeling a bit like a child as the evening approaches. It's going to be a late night but always worth it!

I've seen this prayer a number of times over the years and thought some of you might enjoy using it with your families:

Prayer for Holy Saturday

This prayer is designed to be said within the family before a Crucifix on Holy Saturday.

No candles are lit today.

Mother or a child: "May our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who alone by his powerful word governs all things, yet has buried the shame of the Cross and iron bonds, who has broken the bars of the bronze doors and has descended into hell, who has shone with the brightness of a new light on those who were sitting in the shadow of death — may he, the sun of justice, rising from the tomb, shine upon our darkness with the marvelous light of his risen Body."

Father: The women sitting at the sepulchre

Family: were weeping and lamenting for the Lord.

Father: Let us pray. O God, who makes this most holy night illustrious by the glory of the resurrection of our Lord, preserve in the new children of your family the spirit of adoption which you have given, that, renewed in body and soul, they may give you a pure service. This we ask of you through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.

Family: Amen.

Father: Let us bless the Lord.

Family: Thanks be to God.

Father: May the almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless and keep us.

Family: Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday...

"Christ's death recalls the mass of pain and evil weighing upon humanity in every epoch: the crushing weight of our own mortality, the hatred and violence which still bloody the earth today. The Lord's passion continues in the suffering of mankind. ... (Yet) if Good Friday is a day full of sadness, it is at the same time the best day on which to reawaken our faith, to strengthen our hope and the courage to carry our cross with humility and trust, abandoning ourselves to God in the certainty of His support and His victory."

(Pope Benedict XVI at his General Audience for April 10, 2009)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My pants are green...

My preference is to color eggs on Holy Saturday so that we don't start to celebrate too early (you all know what I mean...put that chocolate back!). However, mothers with small children will tell you that coloring eggs with a large group of clumsy short people can be very Lenten. I never can manage to get it done on Saturday so today was our day.

I managed to make my experience particularly sacrificial this year.

First, I chose an egg coloring method that uses OIL in addition to the usual smelly, messy suspects. The kids really didn't care one way or the other but I was feeling stubborn and energetic (funny how quickly that quality passes in the midst of a project).

Second, I made sure to lecture everyone involved on not spilling or touching anything with their oily hands. I then proceeded to SPILL an entire mug of oily green egg dye all over myself, the table and the floor. I expected to be sent to my room or at least scolded but I realized finally that I'm the one that usually does that thing to other people. Safe! Instead, I just had to clean it up while simultaneously keeping Baby out of it and supervising the egg coloring (which continued in spite of the lack of green).

Loved the results of this method. Probably won't do it again soon.

Now, please excuse me while I track down my multi-colored children for their baths!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Art of Life...

I was talking with a fellow homeschooling mom recently about her favorite blogs. She was marveling at the many amazing blog moms out there. You know the ones...They homeschool 8 children, have a productive garden, a clean house, a busy sewing machine and a business on the side. They get to church daily, cut their own hair and make 3 balanced, organic, from scratch meals everyday. She was feeling both inspired and a little discouraged at the same time...and I understand her plight.

I am not that blog mom. I struggle in many ways to fulfill my duties in life. I disappoint people. I lose my temper. I let the dishes sit. I have a sock basket. I don't always inspire the best in my family or friends. Sometime my kids cry. Sometimes I cry.

But blogging to me is a little like art. A painting is not like a diary. It is not a lengthy record of a my daily duties, to-do lists, oil changes and arguments with the spouse. It isn't even a record of successes and goals. It doesn't give a run-down of grades, sports scores or electric bills. It doesn't detail all the disappointments of life. Nor does it record every dream and wish.

Art is a snapshot of life...And my blog is something like my cyber portrait.

My creative actions do not tend to be dark, and consequently, I do not generally blog about the dark areas of my life. It is not a sanitized version of who I am. Rather, it is a painting that captures the hope and joy of my heart. A snapshot of my dreams and of those things in my life that are good and right.

I don't need to detail my failings to you...I assume that you know that I have them! I won't tend to photograph a picture of my dirty toilet...But I might share a snapshot of a sparkling clean one! It is not necessary to share the ugly picture in order for you to guess that I sometimes have a grimy commode. The photo of the clean one implies that it is not always so!

So, the person you meet in my home might disappoint you if you come expecting the mistress of this blog. But even if I fall short of that image, I know that I have a beautiful vision that I strive for. I come here to see it in color and to remind myself of the hope and joy that sometimes lies buried under the rubble.

Perhaps those super blog moms are similar. I know many are better women than I am on the whole but I also know that their blogs are art, too. I am so grateful that they can share the beauty and goodness in their lives and if their toilets are dirty...well...I guess it doesn't make a bit of difference to me.


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