Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Morning

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa!

"Ooooo!" Green sucker for the win

Monday, April 21, 2014

33 Days to Morning Glory

He is risen! Alleluia!

Yesterday's celebration of the Resurrection was made even sweeter by making my consecration. Together with a handful of other Catholic moms and my husband, I have been on "retreat" most of Lent. After 33 days of preparation, we consecrated ourselves to Jesus through Mary.

Why through Mary? Because Jesus gave her to us as our mother. Because God entrusted Himself to her when He chose to become man. Because it is her mission to turn us into saints and lead us ever-closer to Christ.

Even in the past 24 hours since my consecration, I can see the graces Mary is bringing to us from God. I have received such a gift of peace and spiritual encouragement. I have a better understanding of Jesus' desire for us to come to Him. I have seen the Spirit directing my paths.

If you're a Christian whose church does not venerate Mary, you may well read this and squirm a bit uncomfortably, faint alarm bells of idolatry ringing. If that's you, I'd encourage you to read Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn, a convert to Catholicism with a gift for explaining the Scripture behind Catholic teachings.

If you're Catholic, you might read this and think, "That's nice for her. I don't have time / think that's going a bit far / would be bored..." If that's you, you're wrong. ;-) In all seriousness, consider reading 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. It's engaging and an easy read.

Maybe you read this and a little flame of interest was kindled. In that case, definitely read 33 Days to Morning Glory! Learn from some spiritual giants (Louis deMonfort, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II) in an accessible fashion. If you're local and want to borrow my copy, let me know. Fr. Gaitley recommends starting the retreat so your consecration day falls on a Marian feast. If you want to do that, the next start date would be April 28.

Anne with a baptismal gift from her godmother

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Told You So

I've been reading The Imitation of Christ recently and learning quite a bit from it. One of the oft-repeated themes is the necessity of humility. If we're full of ourselves, our hearts have no room for God. Meditating on this has brought to mind times when I just HAD to let others see how much I knew. I can't recall saying, "I told you so," recently, but there are other ways to make the same point.

"Yeah, I know."
"I saw that last week."
"That's what it said when I was there, too."

It's pride or insecurity speaking. What do I have to prove? If I pounce on the opportunity to show off my knowledge, I make it clear that I am less interested in what others have to say than what I already know. This can put others on the defensive (understandably!) and destroy a chance for me to learn something new. 

Humility softens our hearts, allowing our souls to draw closer to God. It also opens our minds, allowing us to draw closer to each other.

Unrelated but cute picture :-)

Friday, February 28, 2014

7QT (Vol. 76): Moving continues and a diaper trick!

On Monday, I was lugging plywood and 2x4s and rotted picnic benches out to the curb (because apparently new house occupants do not appreciate a good supply of "scrap wood"). The insurance guy came to take pictures of the outside of our house (maybe for the buyers? since this company won't be insuring us soon...) and commented, "Moving is a never-ending job."

On Tuesday, I went to book study in the morning and confessed that I had not completed this week's challenge, writing a list of all the wonderful attributes of my husband. It's not that I have any lack of material! They were very gracious. "Oh, you have every excuse. This week has been crazy for you."

We're trying to keep our grocery buying to a minimum to reduce the amount of food we have to move to the new house. Dinner on Tuesday night went something like this:

Peter: Thank you for the pizza; I would like some more.
me: OK. *hands him what is left of my piece*
Peter: I would like another whole big piece. Please.
me: Well, this is the last of the pizza. It's just the left-overs.
Peter: Well, can I have corn chips?
me: Yes. *hands him container of about 6 corn chips, which he finishes*
Peter: Can I have some more corn chips?
me: You just finished them. That's all that was left.
Peter, wobbly voice: Can I have another doughnut from Grandpa?
me: I'm so sorry honey, but you and Anne finished them at lunch.
Peter, in tears: We need to go to Wegmans and buy MORE doughnuts! We neeeeed to!

Poor little guy. My husband saved the day by offering to go to Dairy Queen as the fun activity for him and the kids while I was at youth group. Evening saved.

On Wednesday, we moved in with my parents. Mom watched Anne in the evening while Peter helped Jeremy and me pack more at our house. We wanted to be out of our house so we could more easily pack and clean without our cherubs undoing everything. At that point, we still thought we might be closing on Saturday.

On Thursday, we learned that we won't be closing until some time next week. We did no packing or cleaning, just got the kiddos to sleep and got to bed ourselves at a somewhat reasonable hour. Sometimes it's hard to stay motivated. Especially when it is 10 degrees outside.

Tonight we got both kids to bed then drove back to our house and worked for more than an hour. The upstairs is *almost* completely empty! Believe it or not, we work more quickly without a three year-old assistant, even a very adorable one.

Unrelated to moving at all: Anne had a horribly messy diaper today (while we were out, of course). When we got home, I forgot to bring in the diaper bag. Tonight when I finally remembered, I had a (relatively) pleasant surprise. After freezing in the car, the diaper was significantly less smelly AND the poop was solid enough to get it off into the toilet more easily! (I know "and" isn't strong enough to hold together two independent clauses. I thought maybe it would be if I capitalized it.)

7 Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Monday, February 24, 2014

Peter's Stories

We're down to the last week before closing on both houses! At least, that's true as far as we know. Neither closing has been confirmed yet, although we haven't heard any reason why we wouldn't close on time. Here's hoping. Anyway, it's getting a little crazy around here, which is significantly affecting our homeschooling time. We still do at least a little bit of reading, writing, and math each day, though, which brings us today's post. One of our "writing" activities is Peter narrating a story, then editing it as he sees fit while I read it back to him. This two-part story was dictated last week. Enjoy!

Once upon a time there was a little rabbit. And he had nothing to do until one day he found a mother. And the mother said, "Rabbit, why did you come here?" And the rabbit said, "Well, I had nothing to do and I wanted breakfast because I hadn't had it." And the bunny said, "I will get you some grass." And the rabbit said, "OK." And the mother went to the refrigerator and got some grass and put it in the microwave for its baby and the rabbit ate it. The rabbit had a good breakfast. And then, after a hard day's work, the rabbit went to bed and had a good night's sleep. The end.

This is the next day of the rabbit story. The mother said, "I was planning to go to the zoo today. Would you like to come with me?" And the rabbit said, "Sure." And then in the mist the elephant came and the rabbit was scared. And it was so scared because it was covered in scary animals in a circle all around the two rabbits. And the baby rabbit said, "Oh no!" Then the biggest horned owl, who was on top of the elephant, was very loud and it yelled so loud that the rabbit had to plug its ears so that it wouldn't hear the owl. And that's the end of the zoo trip. And then after a hard day seeing the animals, the rabbit went to sleep and had good night dreams through the night. The end.