gift of gab

Our #6 has such a gift for words.  He is truly blessed in this way, always encouraging and loving, esp when it seems most needed.  He has been quite a light to our days lately! 

Anakin (trying to come up with a saints name, but for now this will suffice) had a particularly rough soccer game last weekend, he isn’t a strong player and his coach seems to think the way to make players better is to NOT allow them to play.  Not my idea of coaching, but there it is.  Add the two together and it means Anakin doesn’t get much time on the field.  Last Saturday it ended up being less than 2 minutes.  Total.

To say he was bummed was an understatement.  (and for those who are like “WHAT!!  DO Something, SAY something!!  We did.  Said so much that now dh is the assistant coach.  wheeeee) When we finally made it to the car and had started to drive away my sweet, tiny little 3-year-old looked at his brother so sweetly and said, “Anakin!  YOU played GREAT defense today!!!!  GOOD JOB!”  Who knew the kid even knew what “defense” was!  Big brother was immediately encouraged and loved (yes, we parents tried the same thing, funny, it didn’t have near the impact as little brother, YAY for siblings!!).

We’re so blessed!

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Chicken wire fences

We were blessed, last week, to have the privilege of hearing a homily from a dear priest we’ve known for years.  Seems as though he also knew Dh’s uncle quite well also and therefore, his aunt.  This priest was the celebrant at her funeral Mass. 

Men like him don’t come along very often, and it’s such a blessing to us when they do.  His homilies have never been anything but beautiful and have always both blessed and challenged us to be better, and do better, to always live the life God calls you to live fully and completely and joyfully. 

His homily at dh’s aunt’s funeral was no different.  I was doing quite well, working very very hard at holding back tears throughout the rosary, interactions with family etc.  Then his homily started and, well, so did the waterworks!  One particular anecdote so moved even my children that I was having to rip the single kleenex I was able to fish from my purse into quarters to give us all something to wipe away the tears (yes, I should have been better prepared, and normally I am!  I don’t know where my kleenex have gone!)  He was speaking about two ministers, a Catholic and a Baptist, who were great friends.  They had many theological discussions and took great delight in learning more about the faith of the other. (I am relatively certain that he knew both parties quite well)   They happened, one day, to be discussing death and the afterlife and the Communion of Saints.  The Baptist minister was trying to understand the Catholic teaching and was reiterating what he thought was correct back to the priest.  He said “When someone we love is dying we are there, and we are praying and we are loving and we know that there is hope because heaven is there and God is waiting and all will be good.  We know this, beyond a doubt.  However, what we also know is that once our beautiful loved one has passed away there is a veil, a heavy, black, velvet curtain that falls and separates us from them so that we can’t speak to them, or pray for them.  We can remember them, but that is it, they’re gone.  We’ll see them again some day, but until then they are separated from us and we have only to miss them.  But you Catholics.  You have a veil too, only it’s not made of heavy velvet.  It’s more like a chicken wire fence.  When your beloved die, they’re not so completely gone.  They can reach their finger through that fence and touch you.  And you, you can reach your finger inside that fence and touch them.  You can pray for each other and you can talk to each other.  They are still with you and you both hope to be together again, in heaven, but until then you have those little holes in the chicken wire.

 

Yeah.  I think he got it.

Proverbs 16:9

I originally wrote this as a close to my previous post, but it didn’t seem to fit.  This is a new week.  Dh’s aunt did, in fact, pass away last week and was laid to rest on Friday.  We were quite sad to say “good-bye”, and not a little angry at the horrible disease that took her life.  Time will heal and lives will continue to move forward, but she will, undoubtedly be missed.  All of that to say that this little tidbit below fits just as well into this week, or any other, as it did into the week of waiting for news of a loved family member. 

This week has started off a bit difficultly, unfortunately.  I am left nursing hurt feelings and trying to figure out the best way to “handle” a situation.  It’s not something I’m comfortable with, handling situations, it makes me sick to my stomach.  I don’t know if it’s because it upsets me to know that people are angry at me, or the possibility that they just plain don’t like me.  It’s a confidence thing, I guess.  So I start this week in pain and look at the busy-ness of the rest of the week and know that I don’t have the time, or energy to nurse such a silly wound.  I seem to be learning a lesson I am SO very very slow to pick up.  God loves me.  God wants me.  God wants me to follow HIM.  (yeah, it’s that whole following part that’s killing me.  I’m dragging my feet with the “I don wanna”)  God wants me to glorify HIM, not some earthly wonder I’ve just discovered. Not some relationship that should only be secondary to so many others.  God wants me to live the life He’s set before me, and no other.  And to do so without complaint.  I forget, in nursing silly wounds, to give thanks, to love and remember exactly who it is I’m following.  I seem to have forgotten the lesson to be learned in death.  That every. single. day is a blessing from above and we are entrusted with the honor of using that gift to glorify the one who gave it to us. 

We are praising God for the days we have and the time we are given, it’s all a gift. Something it seems we, all too often, forget to be thankful for.  It is quite easy for me to shake my fist and stomp my feet and cry “no fair”, but I think God is wanting more from me this week.  There will be challenges, difficult moments, there will be waiting and praying and likely crying.  There will be joyous and beautiful moments as well, times to rejoice in the life we have and the family and friends we are given.  The hardest task, at least for me, is to remember that God is in the difficult times as well.  His hand is on our shoulder, guiding our steps, firmly, but lovingly directing our lives and forming our hearts.  I can’t pull away from his gentle hand because I want to pout that life is busy or difficult or sad.  I have to lean into His loving arm and allow myself to be moved into the direction He desires.  I must love Him above all else.

waiting

I have started and restarted and walked away from so many blog posts this week.  It seems as if the words in my head are not quite making it out onto screen for whatever reason.

We have had a busy week, not all together surprising, really.  It’s funny that  you know it’s coming and it’s still difficult to prepare completely, at least mentally, for the hustle and bustle.   Added to the insanity of dentists appointments and OT visits and all the extra curricular activity that we somehow managed to sign up for, we received news that dh’s aunt was nearing the end of her battle with cancer.  She was diagnosed a bit over a year ago and we’ve gotten updates from her, her husband or her siblings as they warranted.  We hoped to see her at Zita’s confirmation, but with the Flu going around (in our home) I didn’t want to expose her to that, then it was Anakin’s first communion and she was just too weak.  We’ve made attempts at connecting with her throughout the year but she was often out-of-state or too sick to have company.  We’ve prayed for her, thought about her and hoped for her but it seems as if God feels she would be a more effective servant with Him, in heaven, so her body prepares. 

So.  We wait.  Quietly, prayerfully, solemnly we wait.  My love has gone to visit her and send our prayers and love to her.  He’s held her skeletal hand and kissed her worn forehead and promised prayers and prayed for peace.  Then, he came home.  And, again, we wait.  I’ve decided it’s not unlike giving birth, this dying thing.  A different focus, certainly, but not all together different.  The waiting is the same.  Not knowing the hour or the moment, just waiting, praying and preparing.  There is a hope that those that are wanted there will make it in time and prayers that it will go peacefully and painlessly.  There is a promise of something beautiful and sweet on the other side of the inevitable suffering and a hope for the future that seems to go hand in hand with both.  There is a promise of salvation that either event will bring to a believer.  A knowledge that humanity isn’t all that different, one from another, and that we all share the same beginning and pray for the same end. 

The suffering that such a horrible disease will bring is sometimes terrifyingly unbearable, and the loss of yet another loved one looming in the very near future makes it quite an unnerving task, just to answer the phone.  Our days are filled with short prayers to St. Joseph for a happy death for our loved aunt and offerings of little suffering to hopefully help ease her pain.  And we wait.  We go about our lives, cooking, cleaning, singing, dancing, crying, playing, shouting, schooling, being.  Praying.  Waiting.   

 

O Glorious St. Joseph, behold I choose thee today for my special
patron in life and at the hour of my death. Preserve and increase
in me the spirit of prayer and fervor in the service of God.
Remove far from me every kind of sin; obtain for me that my
death may not come upon me unawares, but that I may have
time to confess my sins sacramentally and to bewail them
with a most perfect understanding and a most sincere and
perfect contrition, in order that I may breathe forth my soul
into the hands of Jesus and Mary. Amen

“choose different words”

There are those people whom you know God is using, in your life, to bring you closer to Him.  It seems that every communication is a kiss from Christ and brings such joy and light to your soul.  It’s funny how, even when they are admonishing you, they bring you joy.  Years and miles can grow between you and still, joy.  Always joy.  Always challenge.  Always more than just what is on the surface.  A demand for more from you, and from themselves that requires every interaction to end with something that will be edifying to you both. 

Those friendships aren’t common, but when they occur, what a beautiful thing to experience! 

I was complaining on facebook (I think I do that too much, gotta work on that one…), whining about how busy the weekend was and how much busier the week will be.  Complaining that life is moving too quickly and I can’t seem to slow it down.  What did she say to me?  “Your words are creating your future.  Choose different words” 

So simple.  Such an easy thing, right?  Different words.  Choose different words.  I keep hearing that over and over, the Holy Spirit nudging me to live a life of words well spoken.  I lose my temper with the kids and I hear “choose different words” in my head.  I have a conflict with someone I care about “choose different words” is on my heart.  My heart is hurt by other’s ugliness and instead of the ugliness that I want to reflect back I hear “Choose different words.”  That phrase has been on my heart and in my head so much lately and she spoke them, out loud, for me.  Confirmation of the peace that God has been quietly trying to nudge me toward.

Same day, different friend, posts a quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola 

“When the devil suggests discouraging thoughts, we must seek help in the remembrance of the blessings, without number, that we have received from God.”

Yes, Lord.  I am listening.  Thank you, for the clarity and assurance that only You can give.

I am listening.

 

first week

The first week of school went surprisingly well.  We stuck to the idea of a schedule and although I wasn’t able to get up early enough to fit exercising in before the day began, I was able to manage getting up and showered and dressed before the kids.  (Major feat there!  I do love my wonderful bed)  I have to admit, I was quite surprised at what a difference that made to the entire day, me being prepared, up and ready (with a happy heart) before my children started demanding my attention.  I’m exhausted, and getting up was very, very difficult, but I have found that self-denial is something I am particularly weak at, so a very good discipline for myself!  The effect my self-discipline has on the kids is quite the bonus!  God is good!

We shuffled right along through our days.  There are some things that need to be tweaked, there always are, but all in all things went quite smoothly.  We didn’t get to the “Friday” work of a couple of the younger kids so that’s something we’re going to have to really keep a close eye on so we don’t get too much in the habit.  Luckily I’ve built our school around a four day week with the elementary level children, so we have a built in ”make-up day” to help police ourselves.  The older boys are thrilled to be doing Story of the World again and everyone is LOVING the CHC science materials we decided to get this year.  We are going to have to tweak Zita’s work a bit, we’ve found she’s got an ENORMOUS work load and we really need to lighten it a bit.  I’m trying to find something for religion that will be spiritually uplifting and not too labor intensive.  I think the two of us will be working on that over the next month, a good “group” project.  Our #4 (gotta think of a name for him) is doing so well.  We have made some adjustments in therapies for his aspie and we can get through an entire morning with no break downs.  We are getting through several subjects at a time (with very little break inbetween) and still coming out on the other side happy! 

I promised something on the first day/week, and there it is.  I am hoping for more from me this week, as the week marches onward toward insanity.  (I’ve got a Challenge meeting, three children have a dentist appt, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, two have soccer practice, two have tennis practice, one orthodontist appointment, two therapy appointments, AND I am hoping to get my hair cut at some point.  )

see, I really am. promise.

I am truly a broken record.  Really.  SO, I’m saying again.  Life is a bit hectic with all these kiddos.  A good hectic, but still.  So, little things like blogging take a HUGE backseat sometimes.  Which bums me out a bit, because I like the record of our days here.  I like being able to look back and reflect on everything. 

#4 received his First Holy Communion in May.  He was wonderful!  He’s such an amazing kiddo and his heart really is for God.  It’s amazing what the graces from the sacrament will do.  I do believe there is nothing holier (well, outside of sweet chrism-scented babies fresh from baptism) than First Communicants!

The summer has been full and hot.  The temps here have been out of control, but this week has been amazing!  It feels so wonderful and I find my spirits lifting from the oppressive fog I’ve been feeling all summer long.  It’s incredible to finally feel alive and able to breathe again.  I know there have been many sighs from all over our state, people so happy to be able to be outside again!

Off to bed, today was the first day of school for our little academy and I’m exhausted!  I promise something about that later on this week!