Saturday, March 31, 2012


I always get introspective on my birthday....sigh...but I'll spare you those thoughts when I can process them better.  I guess I just feel a little down, since I am sick and broke....and not happy with myself in several ways......but I hope that the kids can enjoy my birthday for me, in honor of me :P  Today....  and I hope I can get in shape and be happier w/ myself by next b'day.   I did enjoy a b'day dinner w/ hubby last wknd though!  And am looking forward to a Blessed Holy Week.  Hope yours is as well!

the update on the phone

well, FB readers might know, I posted a 'you were right' Doug comment this past week...because I took my "new" new phone back to the Verizon store and asked them to help me.  They laughed and blamed it on their discovery of my over 270, 000 emails in my inbox.  Said that was trying to download and bogging it down.  So, another reset...they put gmail back on there though ...and I was to go home and figure out either how to delete all my email or set up a new account etc.  I started a new account, to have my old one forwarded to it, w/ the idea to have it put on my phone and just delete the emails it gets....  but first I tried moving all my inbox emails to a separate folder.  Seemed to help some but not much...i was still showing a ton of personal data being used, and it was still running out. finally happened knight in shining armor fixed it for me.  Having gotten a phone just like mine as well, he'd figured a few things out, playing with it.  The Verizon guys were actually at fault!!! They set my account to DOWNLOAD all of my GMAIL EMAIL (like a POP account) to my if itwere a super computer that could hold all of that.  When all I needed was to be able to read my email through the 'net...NOT DOWNLOAD IT ALLL!!!!!  I finally have tons of free data space and can download apps now, woot woot.  It's finally fixed...and I should go up there to the Verizon store and tell them :P  We'll see.... happy b'day to me! ha ha!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

new "new" phone...or not. sigh.

well, I fell behind again in updating (lots in draft) because of busy-ness again.  But one thing that has been frustrating since Wed. is my "new" "smart" phone. LOL  Not so "smart" for me though.  I got it all set up on Friday w/ D's help.  I started using it...checking email, adding Facebook, adding a game or two....and boom.  It stopped working.  Kept shutting everything down w/ an error message and saying my personal data or memory was too full.  So we called Verizon customer service.  Hmm, they've never seen that before...shouldn't be happening.  Well, let's reset it then.  They cleared it...factory reset...start over w/ setting it up and adding things. Sat. night...bam, same thing.  (I'm like the Batman and Robin show here, boom, bam, zap! LOL)  So....I missed some calls and some texts and made it to  Monday, and went in to the Verizon store.  Hmm, never seen that before, shouldn't be happening.  So, ...factory reset, etc etc....come back for a new phone if it happens again.  Tuesday, ...deja vu all over again.  Sigh.  So I go in to the store again, they give me another one...a "new" new phone....he sets it up for me, even adding my Gmail to it.  I leave, hopeful that this will be it and all will be well.  I begin using hubby, check email, look through apps to see what I might want....haven't even added Facebook yet.  And out of curiosity I check my "personal data" memory on task manager.  It's halfway full., no...can't be...maybe it's a temporary thing....go close some apps, clear my memory...check again...still halfway.  Okay, don't worry...just check it later...forget about it... try texting hubby to make sure it's still working...yes.

So then, later I am checking my Facebook on my laptop, and a friend asks if I got her text message.  Um, no.  Checking phone....OH. MY. Gosh.  GRRR!    My "personal data" is nearly full, hanging on by a thread and I have no new text messages.  I ask her to send it again, after I clear some memory.  Nope..doesn't go through...and my memory is still "full." WAHHHH! I sit, planning another trip up to Verizon...they are open until 9pm.  My first experience with a "smart" phone isn't going so well.  LOL  I hope Someone isn't trying to tell me something LOL :P  Will update my saga soon .....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Welcome Home Katya!

Follow my friend Hope Anne's story of her (second) adopted daughter from Russia and her miraculous surgery this week w/ the famous Dr. Carson (see the book, see the movie... Gifted Hands )...and if you're not already....pray! :)

Welcome Home Katya!:

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Homemade Orange Cleaner

Woot woot!  I am finally DOING a (small) project I saw somewhere (FB) and wanted to do.  Normally, I never get a round to it... but the stars aligned on this one LOL  First, here is the post on FB.

And here are the simple directions:  Orange peels, vinegar in a quart jar, let sit for 10 days or so...strain out the liquid and use as an all-purpose cleaner. Easy, cheap, natural, smells good!
Easy enough? LOL

First, I must explain/disclaim LOL  I had a lot of oranges to use...because I bought a bunch for the Light of the World  retreat at church (as church kitchen coordinator.)  I had to help provide snacks, breakfast, more snacks and more snacks for 2 1/2 days and that included people on diets, gluten-free people, vegans, etc.  So I bought some fruit...grapes, apples which I think I forgot to set out other than one time, bananas, and...the sweetest juiciest little seedless oranges ever...they didn't look like much but I tried them and new they were so good.  So I cut them into wedges to help the finger-food peeps handle them easier.  And...they sat there, and sat there....untouched.  The whole weekend.  WHAT GIVES!@ LOL  I don't know....I guess since they "didn't look like much", like I said, then they thought they weren't good? But anyway, I had a lot of extra oranges left over...I still do...I mean, I love oranges, but I can't eat that much at a time, or I get "discomfort." LOL  And my kids aren't that into all.  Only two will eat the canned mandarin oranges...but for some reason, not the fresh peeled ones.  Argh.  Anyway, so this whole jar/cleaner project was perfect for my bowl full of orange wedges...and I took the leftover "insides" and a few of the peels and ground them into my garbage disposer for a wonderful deodorizer :) Love doing that...I did that at the church too, for the garbage disposal in the kitchen.  It needed it badly LOL I may have to do more intervention there. :P  But you know the story of my oranges....I forget the real name of this kind...not clementines, but similar.  On sale at Sams'  LOL Oh and I also used apple cider vinegar since that was what I had on hand this time...someone had suggested it in comments I read somewhere.

And so  here are the pics of mine (with crappy phone camera)....

(that is a large pickle jar btw, ...can't tell w/ said crappy phone pic lol)

And so, we wait...and see...if it works... LOL  I'll try to remember to update :)  (most pics all from my now "old" phone....I am finally upgrading to a "smart phone" ....will update on that soon too LOL)

Somewhere Under the Rainbow: The Cesarean Awareness Ribbon debuted in April o...

wanted to re-blog this because CAM is coming up in a few short weeks.  I'll keep posting and keep posting, shouting from the rooftops....until birth is safer for all women.  We MUST lower the cesarean rates A LOT...NOW.  I plan to be posting a lot more on this, so heads up :)

Somewhere Under the Rainbow:

The Cesarean Awareness Ribbon debuted in April o...
: The Cesarean Awareness Ribbon debuted in April of 2004 for Cesarean Awareness Month. The burgundy color of the ribbons represents birth an...

Monday, March 19, 2012

After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing and Hope « Plot Line and Sinker

After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing and Hope « Plot Line and Sinker:

'via Blog this'

The Apostolate of Hannah's Tears | We offer prayer support and comfort to the brokenhearted who suffer the pains of infertility at any stage of life, difficult pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of a child and the adoption process.

and thanks Sue for this, oh how lovely!!!

The Apostolate of Hannah's Tears | We offer prayer support and comfort to the brokenhearted who suffer the pains of infertility at any stage of life, difficult pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of a child and the adoption process.:

'via Blog this'

Sue Elvis Writes: Finding Meaning in a Baby's Death

she does it again...expresses much better than I ever could what I feel....I too came to HOPE, after Noah...through the healing process, thanks be to God!   I hope you write a book on this one day Sue!

Sue Elvis Writes: Finding Meaning in a Baby's Death: “I’ve been able to accept Thomas’ death but I just can’t imagine how any good can come out of it,” I told Tanya, the leader of a local grie...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First born

EDIT:  I started this post back closer to his actual birthday, Feb. 27 LOL  Just now posting......Well, I couldn't brag on my girls, without also bragging on my First Born Son.  Oh I get emotional thinking about what a good "little boy" he has been...and (sniff) what a good young man he is becoming.  Yes, he turned 12 last Monday and he has reminded me 357 times that in "just" 4 more years he will be getting his driver's license.  WAHHHH!  LOL  Hush your mouth boy!  :P

But he seemed to have a good birthday...he invited some friends over to crash for the night Friday night (or rather, stay awake all night together having fun.)  Yes, I was momentarily clinically insane. :P  Parents seemed to think "more power to ya!" LOL  But it went really well, the boys mostly played the Wii of course, and had a few games of hide and seek in the dark, even in our small house (not outside, since it was an Amazonian DOWNPOUR that night with multiple thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches. argh.)  And even hilarious rounds of "Truth or Dare" that involved a few dares to sneak up to me and say something silly. LOL  I got a kick out of that. (I was on the couch, on the laptop, until late) Ah, how the birthday parties have "aged" through the years....and I don't want to think how they WILL "age" in the future.  LOL   From watching the latest cartoon movie with popcorn and pizza (though that also happened this year LOL) to Truth or Dare.  Gah.  But all in all it went really well, and the boys seemed to have fun.  Future sleepovers are already in the works.  :)  Micah is making some great friends.   Here's the big hit cake pops a mom in our parish made for the party :)
(she actually put them on green "grass" in a box, not this pink thingy :)

And like I said, maturing.  Yes, he likes to grab the full attention of anyone near by and talk incessantly still about all things Pokemon.  Sigh. (maybe that one social skill he lacks due to not putting him in the public institutions, i mean, schools?? ) LOL Yes, he raises his hand in Rel. Ed. class to share something about his Teddy Bear, to which giggles can be heard in response.  Sigh.  Yes, he can torment his sisters, and laugh at the silliest non-sensible jokes.  But... he also loves altar-serving and takes pride in serving when he can at Daily Mass, being the only kid there.   Finally, we are able to now that we live 3 minutes instead of 30 minutes, from the church.  It's actually a wonderful start to our days when we make it.  It does throw our schedule off a bit, being at 9 a.m.  Because we aren't early-enough risers to fit breakfast in before Mass, we have to after...which is late, and then we often do either Home school group/Spanish class or a park day (phys. ed. :) and then it seems like it's lunch time, then nap time, then our evening, when do you fit some actual "schooly" type things in, or just reading?  Well, granted, if I have my wits about me, I can set the older two up w/ assignments to do while we take our nap (since I stay up so late, I more times than not, fall asleep too w/ Mariam LOL).......unless I don't nap, and get back up and can do some work w/ them.  And this year, more than ever, I feel like I'm "falling behind."  But more on that in another post....

Back to Micah....I love how so very "first born" he is.  He takes responsibility.  He is a "rules guy."  He takes pride now in keeping his room clean and neat and organized, and taking out the trash.  This may be short-lived LOL but I'm enjoying it.  What I am not enjoying is the new pre-teen-ness.  Argh.  I sense (see me literally sniffing it out, I SMELL it LOL) the HORMONES beginning to stir....beginning to rage.  No, not those kind of hormones.....but just....the emotion-inducing kind.  Sometimes angry hormones...sometimes happy...sometimes sad and crying...sometimes confused and overwhelmed....ack!  I sense....the...ATTITUDE.  Wahhhh!  Give me back my little two year old holding his linus-worn blue blankie and teddy bear:

Speaking of Teddy.....sigh.....I knew this was coming.  But...yk, he just turned 12 years old....and yes, we figured he was going to end up taking Teddy to college with him, especially after seeing Toy Story 3 a few times. LOL (Like I said, he's not ashamed either...he doesn't "care" what other people think, even his peers at church!)  He still needed Teddy to sleep.  He still toted him to sleepovers and grandparents' homes.  Even after adding a second, newer Bear....Cousin Copper...the chocolate smelling bear from Grandmama and Grandpa a few years back for Valentines' Day....he still favored good ol' Teddy, who was the same age as Micah, and he had his own language to communicate with. LOL  But alas, we think ....we...have...lost...Teddy.  For. good. :(*  Oh the agony.  Micah hasn't given up all hope yet, and is praying for St. Anthony to help find him.  But here's how it went down.   Micah had spent the night at Nana and Pawpaw's and I went to pick him up.  I was in a hurry, but told him to go get his Bear.  Micah went to right where he believed he had put Teddy...on or next to Pawpaw's desk (where the kids congregate to play games on the computer, in the kids' play room, where the tv is.)  But see, that day, a family friend who is a professional house cleaner/organizer had begun work to declutter and clean the house.  And she'd been throwing out things...old toys maybe even.  She doesn't think she threw it out, but I mean, would she know?  Maybe she did, maybe she didn't.  But...we certainly can't find Bear anywhere....and it's been what...3, maybe 4 weeks?   I really meant to confiscate Bear long before now and put him in a place of safe-keeping....or demand that Micah do so, and not take him out of the house ever, ever.  Sigh.  But...I guess time will tell.  So...for now, Copper is doing Teddy's job.  My 12 year old moody, but happy mostly, "baby" is snoozing away with him right now.....on the floor of his sisters' room because he doesn't want to be alone.  LOL  We'll see how much THAT changes in the next 4 years! :P 

Ah, my braces-wearing, glasses-wearing (when not lost or broken) giggly emotional I love thee.  :)

You challenge me in new ways (and call me out, when I am in the wrong....)  You make me proud.  I love how you love history and math and science (when I do actually teach you something lol) ....and art...and "know" that Pokemon (and Digimon, and Dragonball, and Yugioh and all that other stuff) are not real.  I love how you are learning your Faith and are you had such a good weekend w/ the teens at the Abby Youth Festival...and have many years yet to go again and again.  I love how you've thought already about the priesthood, but also about marriage and family.  I pray so hard that GOD's WILL be done in your life, young man...son.  May HE show you the way to YOUR true calling and vocation.  Whatever it may be...I give it over to is in HIS HANDS and I will be so proud and happy either way.  (I never used to say that a Protestant, I didn't fully understand vocations...and wanted you to only be married and have children....but now I know, in the big scheme of would be WONDERFUL if you were called to be a PRIEST...or a Religious.  I think you would be SOO GOOD at it!!!! :)  Oh, I love you Micah!!  Happy Birthday...more bragging on you later!  

One Thing

I think there is one thing I am most proud of myself, as a mother, that I do.  That I do well and good.  For the most part.  When my child wakes me up in the middle of the night, no matter how much sleep I have had or how I feel, so far I have been able to be there for them.  I mean "be there" in every way.  I can hold hair out of the way for puking, hold the puke bowl, wipe the puke away, clean up the puke, wipe the bottoms, bathe the sick child, redress them, sleep on the couch with them, hold them, rub their backs, hold the cold rag on their faces.....etc. Heck, even for a kidney stone, a wound in the head, or a broken arm now. LOL  And I am so grateful to God for such graces.  Maybe at times, they are "too dependent" on me....too "babied"...I don't know.  But I am still glad I can do these things for them, knowing it was something I longed for as a child.  Oh, I really am not bitter about it, because my mom couldn't help being the way she was about that.  Some people just can't handle it.  But I so wished she could on so many lonely scary nights, when I was sick.  And maybe I said prayers about it, that one day I would be able to do it for MY children.  I don't know...but I am so thankful I can be.  And I hope I always will be able to "be there" at ANYtime during the night, for whatever my child needs of me.  Lord, in Your Mercy, hear my prayer!!


Seasonal, yes.  It's that time of year.  Yellow shaded warm breezes.  I swear, I never had them until 2006...the year we moved down here.  And it seems like they've gotten worse each year.  Spring and Fall, doesn't matter here.  And this year, we have an early Spring...we've had temps in the 80s for maybe 3 weeks.  We hardly had a winter and in fact, did not have enough of a hard long freeze to kill down the insects. WAHHHHH!  It's going to be pestilence this year.  Sigh.  Gnats.  Mosquitoes.  Roaches probably.  Gag.

Yes. I love Spring.  I do.   I used to get Spring Fever so badly during school, that my grades would usually slump.  I would stare at the blue sky out of the classroom windows if I could.  In college, I definitely played hookie, usually with my best friend;  we'd drive off somewhere in my car, grab lunch or some frozen yogurt or coffee, and just go sit somewhere w/ the windows down, the music on, sometimes in silence, or sometimes in deep conversation.  (Yes, Cindy I sometimes long for those days again :)  Or just to have them here and there NOW.)  But, too, I loved the smell of the flowers in bloom.  The azaleas that the South is so well known for.  The wisteria was and is a favorite (though bees swarm to it LOL.)  And I see all of it abloom now.... in fact, we have one tiny azalea bush at our new home, beside the garage.

:)  (and yes we need to rake our pinestraw, argh) But....all this my late 30s, becoming the BANE of my EXISTENCE!  LOL  Tickles in my throat that are somehow connected to my eyeballs, namely my right one, as if by a string or electrical a button sounding the alarm...I feel the tiny little tickle and I know:  either I am going to gag, cough, sneeze, or seem to cry.  It happened again in Mass tonight, and briefly Mariam stopped being ...well, naughty...and asked me if I was crying, in a concerned tone. LOL  No.  "You have somethin' in your eye?"  Yes.  And I imagined this yellow spire ball of pollen somehow stuck to the pink toned inside of my throat and maybe my eyeball too. I imagine it looking like a sweetgum ball, with the spikey points, only yellow.  But w/ a maniacal evil laugh, as if so happy to be tormenting me. LOL  Gah.  And the sinus pressure....  Sometimes around my eyes, sometimes leading up to my ear, sometimes around my sides of my nose....and then, I wonder if it's just a bad tooth root hurting me, I don't even know anymore, it hurts off and on so much now in my face.   And just the past few days, a bit of chest wheeze has developed.  I knew I could literally feel that pollen blowing into my lungs.  Sigh.  No, I don't have a cold.  Most of the time, I otherwise feel fine.  No sore throat.  No fever.  This has been going on, daily for like 3 weeks now.  Happened last fall, and last spring, and the fall before that, and the spring before that, and...  like I said...2006.  And I tried taking Zyrtec for few weeks, no avail.  So, now I'm trying another no avail.  Mucus relief, ibuprofren, sometimes cough meds, sometimes honey, ....  Maybe I could try peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil on my sinuses?  I don't know, that's all the essential oils I have right now....but I'll try anything.  And we were outside at the park a long time on Saturday, and though it was hot, it was so nice, but I knew....I knew I'd suffer later...and I did.  I took some Nyquil last night, just so I'd sleep.... And I can't take benadryl, that makes me soo sleepy during the day, and have a hangover the next day.   Anyone out there have thoughts or ideas as to what I should try?  Guess I need to do some googling....

UPDATE:  allergies have been getting better this week, but...bad news is, I am pretty sure some of that what I thought to be sinus-pressure is rather my tooth hurting me :(  I had this bad tooth that had started to chip...and finally didn't hurt me though...even though it's broke up to the's on the side, so thankfully not obvious to the world, but I thought I was going to get to coast along...continuing my 8 yr long (wow time flies! sigh) avoidance of the dentist (another post for another time, related to my PTSD and fear) .....but if this keeps up and/or gets progressively worse...I may have to break down ...and that scares the dickens out of me!!!!  SO I ask for prayers for my tooth....may my pain go away like Doug's did with his LOL  It sort of radiates along the whole side of my face, up toward my ear... just one ibuprofren or tylenol won't touch it....sigh.

Friday Freewrite

Well, I am not going to finish this (or even begin it ) on Friday, but thought I'd do the Bravewriter "Friday Freewrite" challenge here:  What four things are most important in your life?  I'm just going to go ahead and blurt it out:  My FAITH, My HUSBAND, MY KIDS, and...ok to choose one more is hard.  My Church...?  My extended family and friends...?  Definitely, but who or what am I forgetting here?  I don't want to mess this up. LOL  There's food of course, sigh...a little too important in my life.  There's Freedom...which I fear is being taken away slowly by the current administration in the U.S. of A.  There's a roof over our heads...very thankful for that, since money is so tight...paycheck to paycheck, but always the first bill we pay, never late.  There's homeschooling....the time I get to spend with my children, protecting them from certain things, giving them the freedom to be who they are and to learn on their own or in their own timing.  There's also a vehicle to drive...barely working, sometimes just one, not two, but still a vehicle nonetheless with gas mostly in the tank.   But what is truly important in life beyond my Faith, Husband and Kids?  I'm not sure...will continue to ponder...

Spirited Child

sigh, when am I going to buy this book?  How many more struggles w/ Mariam in Mass will it take?  Actually, I think I had been planning to get The Strong Willed Child by James Dobson, but I think I more so want to get Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka .......suggested by Unschooling Catholic Moms.... and then too, I think for ME, I want to get  The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World   ......  well ...we shall see...

P.S. As I "speak" she is brushing my hair LOL somewhat gently....she can be SO sweet and SO mean at the same time :P  I'm not sure if it's helping or hurting my sinus/allergy headache (that has been DAILY for the past few weeks due to the severe pollen sigh...)  but really my daily prayer has been, in Adoration and in Mass especially, Lord, please help me to be a better mother, to be more patient, to not yell.....Amen.
(a little pic I drew of us me and Mariam lol notice the bags under eyes :P)

Catholic Bubble post

agree too:

Catholic Working Mom post

I agree:

P.S. on Update on Lent

I think one thing I want to say, about my spiritual life right now is related to the talk I gave at Cursillo back in, oh, November I think it was.  My recurring theme in life is "Be Not Afraid."  I won't go into full detail, but what got me to thinking about it is my more recent (in a year or more time) "letting go" on Facebook of my feelings and thoughts on pro-life things.  I often post and share articles about the pro-life movement or the assault on Life in our Culture of Death.

This sums it up:  (insert quote on FB wall)
I thank God today for the gift of my life,
and for the lives of my brothers and sisters. 

I know I am responsible for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. 

I know that the most serious tragedy of our day is the tragedy of abortion.

Today I commit myself,
never to be silent,
never to be passive,
never to be forgetful of the unborn.

I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement
and never to stop defending life
until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
and our nation once again becomes
a nation with liberty and justice,
not just for some, but for all. Amen!
(NOW REPOST for the sake of the innocent wee ones! AMEN! ;-)

I guess what I am saying is that, in some ways, my spiritual life is others I am still very weak.  Ha!  I'm not sure if this was the original point I wanted to make, but I have slept since I began this post, so....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Update on M's hair

Last weekend, a friend's ("Ms. Joann" whom the kids adore, but more on that another time) mom trimmed M's hair up a bit.  It looks sooo cute! :)  You can hardly tell she ever snipped it  :P  (Mariam that is...)  Check it out:   

Update on my Lenten experience

I just read a great blog post here ....not Catholic, but it really hit me.  Man...remember my post a few weeks ago about the start to our Lent...Ash Wed. rocked, in a penitential sort of way LOL.  (Plus we were all set w/ the kids after our kids' Lent Day at church.... popcorn "kernels of kindness" anyone?) And then.....I sort of started to slip...sigh ... temptation? Argh. No, not sort of...REALLY slip.   I don't know.  First, I was only going to drink water this Lent... and I started getting horrible headaches.  I didn't realize how much caffeine I was having every day (tea and coffee, maybe some chocolate, but no sodas.)  So I decided to let myself have either some tea or coffee each day....  Then, I was going to do the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, found here .  And several long hard days happened, or crazy events and ...I forgot, and forgot again, and... sigh.  I was going to fast on Wednesdays on behalf of the political/religious battles going on of late....nope, forgot.  Or how about that Novena for, nope.  Daily Mass?  Un-uh.  Adoration each week? yes!  And that has been wonderful, in fact...I feel a deep deep desire to spend more and more time w/ Our Lord in Adoration.  I wish it were available more than one day...I wish that everyone (in our parish) were filing in to spend time there!! :( One day...from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  That's it.  Granted, we live in the (Evangelical/Baptist) Bible belt and Catholics are a minority here, but...we have a large parish.  C'mon!  Anyway, I pray for an increase in attendance.  Back to my Lent....  so yeh, it's been one crazy Lent...a kid w/ a broken arm, some illnesses, terrible allergies, a few stormy days, a friend or two's loss :(......and of course crazy busy-ness.  In fact, I spent about 4 days on my feet all day every day last week LOL  I am telling myself that that makes up for my broken Lenten fasts sigh.  I tried to offer up my work on those days.  I was so exhausted...just physically spent.  And humbled by the thankfulness I received.  See, we had this parish retreat last weekend....called Light of the World.  Went from Friday night to Sunday night.  I am the kitchen/hall coordinator and so I coordinated the food.  One man did 3 of the meals, and I helped, and did one of the meals plus snacks. went well, and I survived and I know how to organize better for next time  :)  But just more of how crazy insane my Lent has been.  One of those days, I had the worst bladder pain I have had since my hysterectomy a few years ago. ( I have IC  ever since Noah  fyi.) Offer it up, offer it up.  So...again, I am hoping these things make up for my crappy broken promises sigh.

And then, too, yesterday I was blessed to attend the St. Columba employee annual retreat up at Blessed Trinity .  Oh how I love this place now (since I first went, on my Cursillo.  I love when you walk in, that it smells like my grandparents' house. LOL (was built in the 60s I believe, but so well-kept)  I love that I just feel utter peace when I am there.  I love having Mass there.  I love the food there LOL (even when it's just soup and bread for Lent "fast" :)  I love the little single bed rooms there.  The quiet.  The sisters.  The beautiful grounds.  We had a silent retreat, actually.  And it was just so peaceful...I so needed it.  Just sitting outside, on the swing in the shade, by myself, in the quiet (except for all the bees buzzing around and birds chirping :) it literally distracted me during my rosary LOL)  I actually dream of going up there like, oh, I don't know, once a month? lol for a "mother's retreat" :P  Okay, how about every 3 months?  Anyone game? :P  A weekend...fri night to sun. afternoon.  ahhhh. Anyway, let me post the prayer we ended with, at the end of the day.... I feel like it re-centered me :)
God, heavenly Father, look upon me and hear my prayer
during this holy season of Lent.  By the good works you inspire, 
help me to discipline my body and to be renewed in spirit. 
Without You I can do nothing.  By Your Spirit help me to know what is
right and to be eager in doing Your will.  Teach me to find new life through penance.
Keep me from sin and help me live by Your commandment of love.  
God of love, bring me back to You.

Send Your Spirit to make me strong in faith and active in good works.  May
my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, open my heart to Your love,
and prepare me for the coming feast of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, during this Lenten season, nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one with You in love and prayer.  Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.

Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.  Give me new life
by Your Sacraments, especially Eucharist.  Father of love, source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life of grace.  Prepare me for
the Glory of your Kingdom.  I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever.  Amen.

So here I am.  ("Here I am, Lord..." lol)  Still drinking a little tea or coffee each day, for a better Lent, hopefully.  There's always hope.  Of course...our ultimate HOPE came from EASTER.... the Resurrection.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come!  Can't wait. to muster some late night prayers before bed :) (and reallllly not worrying about editing or writing correctly!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mountaintop Experiences

I just read this fellow Catholic mom's blog post about the Gospel from yesterday.... and it expounded so much more eloquently than I could have on just what I was thinking about, upon reflection of the Gospel.  I can remember so many "mountain top experiences" through out my journey of Faith.  I had some as a preteen, some as a high schooler, some in college and some in married life, esp. since being Catholic, and even more especially in the past 6 years.   It may have been a good sermon, or some good music that gave me a spark....or my near-death experience...or a weekend retreat ( Cursillo being one of the best but even more so since, then just moments of revelation during Adoration of our Lord.)  But each time...there was this renewed sense of commitment and conviction....a resolve to be a SUPER-CHRISTIAN "now".... well, and that has matured through the years...  it's been "sticking" more and more I think.   But, too, each time....I've just wanted, longed, wished to stay in my current state....of bliss or harmony or closeness with the Lord.  And each time...reality seemed to set in quickly.  Oh, we are often warned it "hold on" to this experience...let it change you.  But...isn't it hard?  I mean....if Peter, who was there daily, walking beside Christ, who was there on the mountain top with Jesus, Moses and Elijah and also longed to "pitch a tent" and stay....if he even let "reality hit" and well, even denied Christ those 3 times (I feel so sorry for him each time it is read, after that third time...what anguish and guilt he felt!  And how much we are like him, only worse!) we have a prayer? LOL

Well, the answer is of course, yes.  We do...because we have Christ with us in an even more real way than Peter did then...  we have Him in the Eucharist....we get to ingest ALL of HIM....which is such an amazing, awesome and INTIMATE mystery.  What a blessing!  So....try to hold on to the "mountain top" while going down the mountain and along the path to Jerusalem, this Lent...and beyond. (Basically was Fr. G's sermon on Sunday as well :)  Though he said it much better too!)

Thank you Sue Elvis!  You're the best!! :)  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Second, M's hair second daughter.  I've talked about her :)  She is none other than Mariam.  The one and only. LOL  I fear this will be here in about 3 or 4 years. LOL

But otherwise....she has been this: 
Joy. :)
my sweet girl! :)

So anyhoo.... miss jealous, cough, I mean...miss M. watched as Jillian bounced through the door, "Ta-da!" And recieved oodles of attention about her new hair, and immediately announced she wanted to go get her hair cut by "Mr. J.C."  LOL  Now...normally if I asked her about getting her hair cut, she revolted.  I think she equated "cut" with sharp objects or pain and said "No way!"  However, this past week that was all history.  She was asking quite often about getting her hair cut. And so, I did INTEND to take her to someone, if not J.C., for said hair cut.  She needed it badly anyway.  True to form, I had been pony-tailing it for quite some time.  Now...yes, her hair is "easier" to care for.  And no, she is not naturally tender-headed. But...she is Mariam...and has that rebellious nature.  Plus she has watched Big Sister wail all of these years.  ("Stop hurting my STISTER!")  So it's no picnic combing her hair either.  Unless rarely, once it's detangled...she forgets...and lets you continue a little while, forgetting that she's not supposed to be enjoying this. :P  She has potential ...just like J. does be my "let's brush each other's hair" duo. LOL She has asked in the past to brush my hair...and ...sometimes half of the time, it's less painful LOL  But her way is not...necessarily soothing. LOL back to the story.  I felt in my bones this was coming....I SHOULD have known.  I may have even thought it.  Heck, I was shocked it hadn't happened in years past already.  

On this past Thursday night, as I prepared to leave for a Mom's Night Out, I was helping Jillian wash and dry her hair.  She still has her cast on, so we had wrapped up her cast in plastic and duct tape (we somehow broke the rubber cover a friend loaned us sigh...another story....)  I then had to cut that off....with scissors.  Mariam saw this, saw me put the scissors down, and before I knew it she had them in her hands.  No, wait...we're not to THAT yet.  So...I caught her...before she could do anything.  And, I thought I was putting them "out of sight, out of mind."  I hid them on my dresser under some clothes.  I didn't think she saw me, or took note.  I would be wrong.  LOL (I LOL in my posts alot, like a nervous giggle in my head as I tell my story...get used to it!) 

When I left, I had Mariam in the bathtub taking her bath, so that things would be a little easier on dear ol' Dad.  I drove the 10 minutes or less to my friend's home for our more "in" than "out" night....and had not been there 10 minutes before I received the call.  Yes, apparently right after I left, she got out of the bathtub and bee-lined it to the scissors.  Before Doug knew, she was coming into the living room w/ the scissors in her hand and asking sweetly "Daddy, can you help me cut some more?"  Oh, I am so glad I was not there at the moment. :)  And from his description, it sounded baaaaad.   

So there was nothing I could do....I continued my night, and when I returned home, she was asleep in I had to wait until the next day to assess the damage.  But...I could see all of these beautiful golden snippets of hair on our bedroom floor beside the bed...some longer, some shorter... (sniff)  No, I didn't cry but FELT like it.  

Upon inspection the next day, it was not as bad as I had envisioned.  Still, it was her version of a mullet.  Apparently it was easiest to reach over her ears on the sides.... I started to fuss, but what was the point. Daddy had already, and it was all said and done.  I just said well, we'll get it fixed.  And I plan to...but have not had the time honestly since then (planning and executing a mass house clean-up and prep for a boys' sleepover party Fri and Sat., then recuperating and going to Mass....well, here we are at present moment.) So, we'll see.  And honestly, I AM surprised it didn't happen before now...I mean it's a "rite of passage" right?  And she's Mariam, right? LOL  Well,'s the damage:
That's her left side and here's the right:
and here is Mariam, true to form:
Wild Child LOL

Her tummy mommy is not surprised :)  And btw, she has her tummy mommy's fine hair.  Always will :)  Oh, I love her!! She is SO full of life...and JOY.  Praying her heart ALWAYS holds JOY. 

First, J's Hair

Okay, so many know the long-term condition of J's it has been now for several years.  A tangled mess. Sigh.  Here is a little background on it, and then pics.

I guess I can go all the way back to my own childhood.  I didn't mind having my hair fixed at all...I loved the attention and time from my mother, I loved the lulling, soothing sound of a blow dryer, and I loved to have someone brush my hair...ahhhhh.  It was annoying, but I didn't mind sleeping on pink sponge rollers at night for a special occassion.  I remember a rare time I got to stay with my older cousin, about 3 years my senior, for a week;  she was an only child and very dramatic (and snobby, and bossy, and..and....)  I remember taking a bath, each of us taking turns, and washing our hair, and then having our hair combed out.  V. yelled and screamed and wrangled under her mom's hands, and finally stomped out of the bathroom.  First, I couldn't believe she treated her mother this way lol and secondly, I thought "WHAT is wrong with her? I LOVE to get my hair combed out!"  And despite my extreme shyness, probably told my aunt so.  It was ridiculous to me.

But anyway, fast forward through the years, I took over the care of my hair and through out my awkward middle/high years, it never looked THAT great.  Sometimes better than others.  I loved my big 80's perm, though, simply because it dried my oily hair up some and made me able to go longer between hair washing.  Well, probably should not hair might have looked better, but still.... But all along, any chance I had, I loved to have someone brush my hair.  And my best friend and I WOULD brush each others' hair LOL  And.....I dreamed of brushing my own little girl's hair one day.  Just "playing" with it and making it pretty.  It never crossed my mind that I might get one who did NOT like it.

Then, I had my second child...first daughter.  :)  (yeh, don't care that you can see where this is  She was a momma's girl from day one.  She was very attached.  I won't go into her birth story and breastfeeding time and so much more in this post.  Just know, she was a great baby and happy  little girl, as long as she was with mommy :)  And if she was not...the girl could TELL you about it.  LOL  She had a LOUD cry when she cried...I think it actually literally HURT her Daddy's and Grandfathers' ears to hear it. LOL  And I loved so much about my strong little girl, that from day one, hour one, she could LET her feelings be KNOWN...could express them.  She didn't repress, like I always did or tried.  She just let  you know, no mistaking, she was UPSET. LOL   And I lived kind of vicariously through that.  I so admired it.  Always have.  As she's gotten older, it's morphed and now you can "read" her face, but might have to "pull it out" of her, especially the words.  I'm sure with various things we've gone through, she has learned to "repress" it some after all.  However...there has always been ONE issue, she never ever ever could repress her feelings about:  her hair.

Specifically, brushing her hair has always been painful for her.  When she was 2, I thought she was just being dramatic.  But I learned to read her, was too obvious.  The girl just has the most sensitive head I've ever heard of.   Brushing or combing, wet or didn't matter.  It hurt and she would scream...and cry...and not be able to breathe, and nearly puke...and wail...and...and... ARGH!  How did this happen?  Where was my "let's style each other's hair" girl go?  I mean, when she was 1...and had her first fine baby hair was fine.  But as it came in, thicker and thicker...wavy, then curly... I lost control.

First, there was my next pregnancy, with Noah.  That's when I really began to lose control.  We swam nearly every day that summer...and I was a tired hot cranky pregnant momma.  The hair did not get conditioned like it should have, nor combed out.  And there was her wailing thing too, which I sought to avoid as much as possible.  Sigh.  My bad.

Then, when I lost Noah, and had a very hard recovery...was sick for so long after; I just did not have it in me.  And neither did anyone else helping me.  A quick brush (not truly getting down deeply, through the tangles) and a pony tail.  That was the daily grind.  Avoid tears and wailing as much as possible and just get out the door.   It began to get so badly tangled.  It was a mess.  So we went our small town beautician and got her hair a bit "chopped" off...well, bobbed and with bangs.  It was cute, but neither of us seemed to think it was her "look."  (This pic is actually a tad grown out...already beginning the long process of growing bangs out....)  Well...anyway....long story short...and various life changes/events such as adopting Mariam (and being gone from Jillian for a month and 1/2 in which her hair tangles persisted) or surgery for me (again, neglect of her hair was a bi-product).... and various attempts at hiding the tangles, if not working to get them out (cutting them out myself)....

see:  isn't she so pretty?? :)

...but we arrived at 9 years old, in August of 2011 with ever-growing long hair....and constant tangles.  I just did not know how to care for kinky curly course hair underneath, and course straighter hair on top...a combo of mine and Doug's but mostly Doug's. LOL  I didn't know how to stay on top of it with conditioning...or how to deal w/ her sensitive scalp.  My solution daily was the pony tail.  But...the tangles began to get worse, and more and more matted.  I felt like such a bad mommy.  And she would cry if I said anything like that.  She would cry FOR sweet baby...because she didn't want ME to feel like a bad mom because of her hair.  I love that baby girl so much.  I was so upset for her though, and embarrassed as a was totally on me, as her mom.  I had not properly cared for it nor taught her to.

In comes "Mr. J.C." to the rescue.  J.C. is a recent convert at our parish...and a very good hair stylist in our town.  He offered to work on J's hair for us and get it straightened out.  What a God-send.  We went up to his closed salon on a Saturday afternoon and he began to work his magic.  TWO hours of just detangling and snipping it when need-be to cut out mats and tangles.  Then, washing, conditioning and treating, and more cutting...blowing and drying, and styling.  Total of THREE and 1/2 hours.

During this whole time, as I watched my baby endure all of this, with some tears...I eventually ended up letting the tears flow.  A bit older (than me) mom and her 20 something daughter came in the salon too, to have their hair styled for some kind of pre-wedding event and seeing their joy they shared in preparation for this rite of passage....coupled with the embarrassment I felt as a mom, but pride in my daughter's courage and strength and BEAUTY......I could not help myself.   So emotional.

And as he began to finish his work on her hair, she began to glow....and giggle with joy.  She could swing her hair around like she hadn't been able to in ....many many months...if ever...and run her fingers through it, with no pain.  Maybe he even toughened her scalp some, I don't know. LOL  But so far keeping it brushed has not been a problem (granted, it's only been just over a week :)  Washing and conditioning it went well, despite working around her broken arm (another story LOL) ...and though we didn't spend as much time styling, and it doesn't quite look as nice as what Mr. J.C. did...she can still run her fingers through it any time she wants.  And she's a beautiful as ever. (sniff)    My tweener.
If there is a patron saint of hair, I need to find them....I just pray we can keep it up, from here on ....she deserves it.  (and she loves her new reading glasses as well :)

the Grief Spiral?

Okay, so I "shared" a picture from one of my FB friends onto my FB wall the other day, that generated a good discussion on grief.  Here is the pic above...I hope you can see the details... it is the stages of the grief cycle.  And I think to those who may not have experienced a loss, or even may have had for lack of a better word, a "minor" loss in their lives, if such exists, this may make sense.  But it seems the consensus that even this twisting "ribbon" is too "neat."  And that was my feeling as well.  On the ICAN Loss and Recovery yahoo group which I help monitor and post, we've actually talked a lot about how messy our grief is.  It's been described as a "rollercoaster" but with a lot more upside down loops that make you sick.  But more than that, the word that comes up is a "spiral."  There is no one size fits all.  Each of our own "rungs" in the spiral look different.  One said they experienced a lot of hyperactivity, perhaps a type of "denial" or coping mechanism.   Another said they seemed to stay longer in the angry phase, or the blame and guilt, and then moved on to the "meaningful life" stage where they've maintained for a while.  But no matter how much time had passed, and how much "meaningful" life they had achieved, ....there were always still surprise loops that would pop up, such as a day with many "triggers" or a particularly important date or year or "milestone" that didn't get achieved.  And maybe even a stage that got bypassed, and so later surprisingly sprung up, needing to be addressed.  Well, at least this is what the consensus seems to be, and what my experience is, just 6+ years out from my loss of Noah.  Like I said, I think it probably looks different for every single person...but here is an example of what mine MIGHT look like, though I'm not even sure this does it justice....

I'll leave it to another post to talk about HOW one SHOULD or "should" grieve.  For some reason, the song comes to mind, "Hide it under a bushel, NO!  I'm gonna let it shine."  Or let it burn is more like it.