Saturday, November 9, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Truth

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday

Word for today: Truth

I had a whole different post written for truth, but it was scattered and riddled with such personal experience that I'm not sure it would have translated. I was debating if I should post it or not....

THEN
This came across my facebook.



Anyone who knows me at all knows that I do not agree with the gay lifestyle. I do not approve of gay bashing or hate based on it but I do not approve of the lifestyle. As far as I know that is still my right. It does not make me homophobic anymore than disagreeing with our presidents policies makes me racist.

TRUTH
Truth is I had to think about sharing this. Not because of the message, the message is amazing, astonishing, and giving the post I was already writing IT IS what I was trying to say. Because you see, I had three people on my fb share this. TWO of them focused on this being a "gay message". One shared without comment.

TRUTH
Truth is I almost did not share this because I was afraid that it would align me with those first two. You see, I do want to make it clear to my children that our faith does not condone the gay lifestyle. Oh, wait so you see maybe that made me afraid (phobic) of what people thinking I am changing my stance on homosexuality. Homophobic, but not in the stereotypical sense.... still.... am I.

TRUTH
The woman in this video was very open about her "armor" and "readiness for war" with a 4 year old. And when she looked at that 4 year old she had a paradigm shift. A shift in her set thinking. She realized that her war was not with that 4 year old little girl. And something stunning happened. Isn't it amazing how God works through us, DESPITE ourselves. And yes. I believe God worked through that little girl AND through that young waitress.

So in this one video I found two separate and incredible lessons.
1. That even though I have NEVER been and advocate of "gay bashing" or hating gay people because of their lifestyle, I am WAS afraid to show any kind of support for the gay PERSON. Wow, and that lesson was not even on the video. It was a whisper from God straight to my heart.
2. The second lesson is actually what the video is about.... NOT gay or straight or really even closets (although she uses closets very effectively) but it is about TRUTH and how it can literally KILL us when we are not honest.

And I will share that I nearly ruined my marriage and my family before I really understood. I was in constant panic mode and the anxiety was killing me minute by minute. You see, I am not good with money. I tried to make sure everyone got what they wanted and deserved, despite how little was in the checkbook. And I knew that the truth would be hard for my family to hear, and I am weak. So I lied. And it started out small, and it grew and grew and grew. And in the end my husband found the truth being nailed to our house with a foreclosure notice. Yes, that is literally how he found out that I had mismanaged our finances. Can you imagine?  And I was in such a dark place, and I KNEW this was the end. I was not home, he called me to ask what was going on. I told him I was on my way home and hung up. I had talked myself into a place where the darkness overcame me so much that when he found out despite me thinking that all my worst fears would be coming within hours (him leaving, taking the kids, me with nothing) I still felt something so strange that I didn't even recognize it at first... as I drove home finally it dawned on me, through tears, sobbing tears, and fear and a knot in my stomach that reached up and twisted at my heart something else was there.
relief. Yes, relief. I had been killing myself slowly with the deception and fear and panic that when it came to the point where there was no hiding it anymore I felt relief.  And that is what truth is... relief.

When I got home months of that HARD CONVERSATION happened. Months, because I had really messed up and every time the bills came in another piece of the web came to light. I had made such a mess of things that even when I thought I had come completely clean, even I didn't know what I had done. And I think one very important thing that Ash said here needs to be repeated.... "apologize for what you've done, NOT for who you are."   And this is very important because this is one more piece of the lie we tell ourselves. You see, this was not the first time I had made a mess of our finances. It was the biggest mess, by far, but not the first. And what has saved us from doing it again and again is that I finally told my family that I could NOT do the money. I can't. It isn't something I can fix. So instead of apologizing for WHO I am, I apologize for what I did, and told my husband that although I knew it would put a large portion on his already full plate, that he would have to take over the finances. And you know what, HE is really good at it. But part of why he is really good at it, is because HE KNOWS I just CAN'T do it. And it isn't a matter of me not trusting myself with it, it is a matter of telling myself the TRUTH. I can not watch him work hard as he does, and tell him that he just can't buy that new toy that he wants.  It works better when he tells himself no. It just does.

TRUST is a hard thing... so easy to throw away (although I know now I worked very hard destroying that trust) and so hard to earn back, to prove that you can be trust worthy. It was nearly 4 years ago when that paper was being nailed onto the house. Gods grace has left me with my family in tact, with a husband who has literally walked through hell for me and children who don't completely understand what that paper meant, but who love me just the same as before. Yes, that surprised me. You see lies and deception are not just pointed away from us - every time we lie to someone else, we also lie to ourselves.  Those lies, the ones we tell ourselves, are just as damaging if not more so, then the lies we tell to others.

TRUTH
God's grace, faith, a husbands commitment that started the minute he decided he would ask this woman to marry him and sealed with the vows of "in good times and in bad" and "for better and for worse" and hard conversations have gotten us through it - together.  The easy thing would be to say that we are stronger for it. I don't know if it made is stronger or not, but I know my love for this man and my faith in God and my appreciation of having my family together are stronger. As is my appreciation for the truth no matter how hard it is, and in trust and how fragile it is.

5 minutes...(give or take a few) stop.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Grace

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.
Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday Today's word: Grace

 Dear God, our Father, with nothing but PERFECT LOVE for us, Please allow all my friends to be filled with your Grace today.

Let them know the consequences of your Grace so they may show Grace to every one around them.

May they experience Grace from others.

Help them to teach Grace to their children.

Grace is a mighty weapon against all that would destroy us.

Help us to remember to reach for Grace before any cutting word, or hurtful action.

Thank you Father,

 Amen

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When You Lose Your Temper, Things I Shouldn't Have Said



Have you ever lost it with your kids and finally just lay it out there no matter how selfish it sounds? Today my kids seem to have all gotten the same affliction. If you are a parent you know the affliction. "Ignore mom to see how lazy we can get away with being." And today I am weak. This week,  I have been weak. Snapping at everyone. 

So today the words tumbled out of my hurting heart. "I will give you my last breath, because that is what moms do, and I will do it gladly because it was my choice to have kids and I get that is what moms do. I did not go into this blind, I knew before I started that my life would now revolve around someone else, forever." And then the worst...
"BUT, if you do not start listening to what I have to say and do what I tell you to do WHEN I tell you to do it some of the stuff I allow you all to do is going to end. I am going to start getting some of those things *I* want and you all are going to have to start going without..."

Yes. I said that. And yes, at the moment I meant it. But I do feel selfish, and horrible for saying it. But when you are a mom, and you look around and you realize that you will never catch up with all the house work, and the floor you spent a lot of time on yesterday looks like you haven't swept in a month and on and on and on... and then you ask for a little help.  "Please, fold the laundry and get another load going." as you point to the laundry in the two baskets (three loads) that you have not touched because you know it's only RIGHT to make them do what you asked several times in three days.  "Please, clean up after you make lunch." to get "OK, THERE, I cleaned it are you happy?" in that snotty 13 year old girl attitude that ONLY 13 year old girls are capable of stringing out... Then walking in to see the mess only half cleaned up.... You know those days. Add to that the pain that refuses to go away (after several weeks). Add to that the guilt from being a snot in general to a husband that does not deserve it...

Yet, I have that voice in the back of my head... "no excuses". Because we are not supposed to make excuses for our bad behavior, we are supposed to just apologize and ask forgiveness. Grr.

So here in my place, this area where I profess to be finding my happy, I have to lay it out... what is my plan? I don't know, because even though I know the right thing for me to do I am still not willing to allow a couple of "pushing the limits as far as I can possibly get away with it and not get my head served to me on a silver platter" teenagers walk all over mom. Not even if most days they are splendid and this only happens occasionally. Any why? Why do I seem to think I need to expect so much from my kids? Because I want them to be splendid all the time, I want them to grow and be better then me. I want them to have more then me. I want them to have a bigger life then me. And you know what that last one there.... that is a tall order to fill. Because even on a day when hiding under the covers seems like it would have been a better way to spend my day then the way I did spend it I do know that I am blessed.

God is good, He has a plan. I am the one that throws roadblocks, and I am the one that makes Him work hard to give me the life He wants me to have. And those moments when I know I've been a snot, and still don't know exactly what He wants me to do and I decide to just keep going down the same ol' road... and I get that smack upside the back of my head, you know the one. I've talked about it before. The one that reminds me I am a terribly stubborn child of God and He has once again had to get my attention.... Those moments are the ones that I know God Loves ME More.... He loves me more than all my mistakes, He loves me more than I am stubborn.  I know He does, because he is the perfect Father, and although I am not perfect AT ALL, I know that I love my children more than their mistakes. And I love them more then they are stubborn. 




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Joy Dare: Three Gifts Understated





31 day blog challenge - share an inspiring story... not sure how inspiring but there are a couple of stories, mixed in with my Joy Dare (which is out of order, btw).


The gift of a baby's cry.
   Most of the time we think of a baby crying and we think "no, not again" or "shhhh, shhh don't cry."  But the other day when we were talking with the kids Hubs and I remembered when our first was born. He was early and needed help breathing. We did not hear him cry for nearly two weeks, and when he finally did cry it was more of a whisper, because of the tube down his throat. But then FINALLY, he got a voice, and he cried. And we rejoiced because we had prayed we would hear him cry. And after that the babies kept coming, and we kept rejoicing at the cry... except at 2 am after a 4 hour cry fest... yes we are still just human.

The gift of a whisper.
   When a person is more than "just a little blue" and there is nothing you can do because there really is a chemical reason, and so all you can do is get some meds and then wait for it to adjust. And when you are in that place, sometimes it's less about "blue" and more about "crazy". Like getting overly touchy, overly angry, overly sensitive and yelling and crying and basically feeling like the world is caving in. And then... there is a whisper. "I love you, you are amazing." And it's coming from the person who chose to commit to spend the rest of his life with you for better and yes for "crazy".  And the person at which you have just directed your last bout of insanity at. And yet a whisper, full of promise, and full of love.

The gift of soft sheets.
    Have you ever bought some sheets because they look soft, and in the package they feel soft, but after a washing or two all you feel are the little fabric pills that feel like sand paper on your skin and make a good nights sleep impossible? So yes, the new truly soft sheets (rather than the sand paper in disguise brand) are absolutely an understated gift.


31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant    A Holy Experience

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Follow me...

   
      
Follow me child, I know the way.
The way to adulthood, to grow up I say.

Follow me child, I'll make sure you know,
the path you must take, the way you should go.

Follow me child, It's my place in this life,
to make sure you know how to deal with strife.

Follow me child, I'll teach you to pray,
God is there for you night and day.

Follow me child, we will scrub and clean, 
someday you'll need this, you'll know what I mean.

Follow me child, we will read a book,
to learn about math, and language, and how to cook.

I work and I teach, this child so true,
But I know with your words I've lost sight of you.

Follow me momma, I know the way,
to skip and to run, you remember? To play.

Follow me momma, lets color and draw, 
our dreams out on paper, no one ever saw.

Follow me momma, lets dance in the rain,
a laugh and a smile to push away the pain.

Follow me momma, lets sing a new song,
we have lots of time for me to follow along.

Follow me momma, you teach me to pray,
I'll show you the faith of a child every day.

Follow me momma, a little give and take,
along with the learning some memories we can make.

You work and you teach this child so true,
but momma, God sent me here to also teach YOU.


31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant

Day 6: A different voice

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kitchen Tips: Making Habanero Oil

Oh yes, habaneros those cute little orange peppers that set your world on fire should you ever be brave (or stupid) enough to actually take a bite out of one.

Pretty little drop of bio-hazzard on a stem isn't it?
We planted some peppers, but lo and behold I forgot what they were. So when I brought some in green as can be, because they didn't seem to be growing anymore and the husband took a little bite... we figured it out. Or at least had a strong suspicion.  When they started turning orange a few days later, then we knew.
In the front on the right I have a tomato plant that went nuts, just to the left of that is the pepper plant.
And we knew we had bitten of more than we could chew, literally. What the heck to do with the little orange fire bites? I went on a search and got an answer from my sis when she sent me this link:
                                                     Making Light: Listening to habaneros.

We decided we needed to make habanero oil, both regular and orange. YUM! Yeah. Read the instructions on the link, then come back here to read this, because there are a few things you really NEED to read TWICE.

1. Freeze them first. As the instructions say it makes them give up their flavor better.
2. Use olive oil.
3. DO NOT take the stems off, or seed them. Just wash them, dry them, freeze them and when you are ready to make the oil cut just enough to get to the middle.
4. Use a ziploc bag or plastic on your cutting board.
5. Use gloves.
6. Do not get the oil in your eyes, on your face, in your nose.



After you have made your oil - and this is important here, because it's not really clear in the link. When you go to cook with it.
1. DO NOT use water in the pan either before or after you cook with it so that it makes steam... STEAM containing habanero will basically turn your house into a gas chamber. Really, I'm not kidding.
2. It is wise to mix the habanero oil WITH regular oil when cooking for the first time, this will help you decide if you can handle the oil at 100% or not without ruining your meal.
3. Make sure that you use lots of hot soap and water to wash everything you touch the oil with.

A few things we used the oil for so far:

 Asian Orange Chicken Recipe
I used the habanero orange oil to cook the chicken in. OMG, heaven on a plate! Very good, and nicely spiced!

Habanero popcorn:
Use regular popcorn popped in the habanero oil, add a little popcorn salt.
Again, don't forget to cut the habanero oil with regular oil if you want to cut the heat.
and again DO NOT GET THE OIL on your face, in your eyes, in your nose. Cook in a well ventilated kitchen.

The husband has used the oil to cook all kinds of things. Hot dogs for instance.

I am not quite that brave (well maybe I am but I HATE hot dogs), I have used it to coat the pan I cooked my eggs in, and I threw a little oil in with some noodles, with some tomatoes (which btw cuts the heat a little) salt and basil. And I think that would be really good if I used orange oil to saute red, orange and yellow peppers with some mushrooms and a little onion and garlic to throw on the noodles as well.

Have fun with it. Cooking is one great big experiment, and if you like a flavor you might as well throw it in here and there and see where it works.  If it does not work out, chances are it won't be so bad you can't eat it... and if it is call it a night. If you are like me, you've probably eaten enough of the ingredients while you were cooking to make it through the night.

Be brave, be creative and enjoy!

31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Write

Wow! A post with a duel purpose. It fits both the 31 day blogging challenge and my five minute friday blog. Click the links at the end to take a peak and join if if you like.

So Five Minute Friday Word: Write

Writing is something I have done for a long time, meaning I've dabbled - a lot. I have stories from when I was in middle school. I like it because not only can it take you to another place, but it's a place I have created, therefore making it perfect. Which does not always mean utopia. It can be perfectly scary, perfectly painful, perfectly loud, or perfectly miserable. The idea is not to always paint the most beautiful life with words, but to create a place where the emotion is felt not only by the writer, but more importantly by the reader. Obviously, not ALL writing will create a strong emotion. This one for example, a more informative piece is not very exciting or FULL of emotion, but you should still be able to catch a sense of what the writer is feeling.
I love to write. I can be good at it, and sometimes, not so much. This is why I join the challenges and go with the prompts, because until I can be good at it more often then not, I do not consider myself a good writer.
So what do I think I need to do to become better?
1. Practice, hence the prompts etc.
2. Read other blogs, take note of the ones I think "work" and the ones I don't.
3. Learn more about grammar AND how to apply it to my writing.
4. Practice.
5. Get tips from others.

So after reading a few of my blogs, what would you suggest?


31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant  Five Minute Friday

31 Day Blogging Challenge: Write a post a day for 31 days, through October.
5 Minute Friday: Write for 5 minutes, unedited, on what ever word is sent in an email.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Because Every Woman Should BELIEVE!

Because every woman should BELIEVE this, without a doubt.




31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant

How To: Ice Marbles With Water Balloons

How to make yourself some really awesome yard marbles for winter decorations.

Fill some balloons with water, not too full, they are supposed to be mostly round, not egg shaped. (Although that might be kinda neat for Easter.

Put different colors of food coloring in each balloon. If you want the marble solid color, swish the balloon around to mix the color. If not just set it down in a freezer (or if it's cold enough just put them in the snowbank.) Wait till they are frozen solid.

Cut balloon from around the ice. Place around yard, along the sidewalk, on the steps etc.

  I don't have pics for this yet, because it's not quite cold enough. BUT I will update the blog when I do this with the kids.



31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant
31 Day Blog Challenge - Day 1
The idea being to blog for 31 days.
Click to join.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

App Review: Pepperplate Meal Planner



In my efforts to make a happy home I've been working on getting my kitchen in order. I found a great app for my phone that links to Pepperplate.  The website and app work together.
You add your recipes or recipes from a huge list of websites that are compatible. You plan your menus for as many days as needed and with a few clicks of a button it even creates a shopping list for you. When you download the app to whatever device you have (it's available for about everything), then you take it all with you where ever you go. Recipes, menus, shopping list... FANTASTIC!

Best part? It's all free. No subscription, no sucking you in, only to find out you need to pay for all the "cool" stuff. I love it.

Now before I go much further I will say it was time consuming to start. I mean it's not like they have all YOUR favorite recipes magically in one spot, but I added our standby's over the weekend and had it ready to use by Monday.

We are a busy family. Five kidlets still at home. We homeschool and the two oldest are involved in the Civil Air Patrol and Olympic style competitive shooting. They are out of the house for practice and meetings at least 3 times a week and gone for events or competitions on the weekends. In order to comply with that schedule and NOT have them eating at 10:00 pm I've decided we need to start eating more slow-cooked meals. I am not an organized person. Trying to finish school and get dinner by 4:00 pm just does not happen easily.

Along with our own standby's of pizza and spaghetti I found The Crockin Girls.  Crock pot recipe heaven!
I added several of those recipes to my "Winter menus" and went shopping. We were out of everything! Lately,  I have been trying to have more fruits and veggies in the house, but that means trying to cut other things out of our meals. It has not worked out well. $300.00 every two weeks does not go very far for 7 people, I manage... until I try to add fresh fruit and veggies. Eating healthier is more money. IT JUST IS. This shopping trip, the cupboards were bare. I took my list to the store, started to panic when it started to add up... in the end I went $75.00 over budget, but at the end of the two weeks, we will still have planned meals and the food to make them. Awesome!

No more searching around to see what I can throw together, no more "just cheese pizza" because that is all I have the ingredients for... etc. Yes, I had a plan before, but it was not as organized. This is going to be an awesome two weeks. Meal plans for the evening meals will give us left overs for lunch the next day most days. And I can use these two weeks to come up with two more weeks of winter menus. That means a whole month of different meals, set and ready to go. Then, I'll start to work on those "Summer menus".

Now of course, there is always the chance I could slide back to my old ways, but I am loving this new plan. Even though it's only been a week since I found it, three days of actually using it for meals, I love it. Three days of looking at my phone first thing in the morning, having all the ingredients for the meals, getting it started before we even begin school ... it's the life.

Small confession. Hubs was right, again. Yes, I had a plan before, but it was not very organized. So yes, after three days I know that I had still not gotten it right. Shhh, don't tell him I said that though, he already thinks he's always right.




31 Day Blogging Challenge Participant
31 Day Blog Challenge - Day 1
The idea being to blog for 31 days.
Click to join.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Feast Day of the Archangels...

There is a lot of information HERE.

It's fascinating. I love the stories and the prayers of the Archangels.
There are seven Archangels, three of them have been named in the bible. These are the three.

Two of my children have been confirmed. Both have chosen St. Michael the Archangel as a patron saint.
There is something incredible about St. Michael being the one who threw Satan from Heaven and into Hell. This proves his power is mighty. The boys, I'm sure, were drawn to the strength, and nearly always being depicted stomping on the devil didn't hurt. But it comforted mom (me) to know this was their choice. If St. Michael can do this to the devil himself, imagine what influence he can have on my children. I'll take it.
   

"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host - by the Divine Power of God - cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen" 

 
St Gabriel. Seems to be the messenger.  He had been sent to Daniel to explain a vision concerning the Messiah. He appeared to Zachary when he was offering incense in the Temple, to foretell the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist. St. Gabriel is most known as the angel chosen by God to be the messenger of the Annunciation, to announce to mankind the mystery of the Incarnation.

 





"O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen"


St. Raphael. His mission as wonderful healer and fellow traveler with the youthful Tobias has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. See? Beautiful!

  

"Dear Saint Raphael, your lovely name means "God heals." The Lord sent you to young Tobiah to guide him throughout a long journey. Upon his return you taught him how to cure his father's blindness. How natural, therefore, for Christians to pray for your powerful help for safe travel and a happy return. This is what we ask for ourselves as well as for all who are far from home. "

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five Minute Friday: She

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday


Today's word: She

She is not confident, she is not a superstar, she is not athletic, she is not wealthy, she is not calm and collected, she is nothing 'special', she does not have it all figured out and she is not, under any circumstances, perfect.

She is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a niece, and a friend.

She struggles to find exactly who she is supposed to be, what her purpose is, how she can make a difference.

She is opinionated, conservative, Catholic, loud, and stubborn.

She can't sew well, she cooks ok.  She isn't a house keeper, she is a stay at home mom. She isn't prim and proper, she is stubborn.

What ever else she is or is not she is a Child of God and He loves her. He does have a plan for her. She tries to remember, even on the bad days, to have that attitude first. It does not work, because she is a sinner. She confesses, she repents, she tries again, and she fails again. And God loves her anyway. She is so wrong sometimes, and God loves her anyway. She is mean sometimes, and God loves her anyway. She sins, a lot, and God loves her anyway. She is defiant sometimes, and God loves her anyway. She is weak, most of the time, and God loves her anyway.

She is grateful that He loves her unconditionally. She is grateful for all He has given her.

SHE IS BLESSED!

   

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Mercy

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday


Today's word: Mercy

"Lord have Mercy".  
It's a phrase I use often, it has become habit. I say it constantly. When I am frustrated, when I am tired, when I feel like there is nothing else left in me.

It has become such a habit that I have used it when there are no other words.

I've had people come back at me with "Christ have Mercy". I don't think they get why those words come out of my mouth, but I take it anyway... :)

It has become a reminder that I have someone to always fall back on, that I have better things to think about, that I am a better person then others think of me at times, better then I think of my self at times.

I have also said it in anger. When what I'd really like to do is strike out at the person with whom I am angry. It's kind of like counting to 10 to calm down.

Lord have Mercy. Three little words that when they come flying out of my mouth, even in my worst of states, has saved me, turned my thoughts to something greater. Often times even made me so sorry for even getting to that place. They have made me think to be grateful at that moment, when I might not have otherwise thought to be so.

Lord have Mercy. I say it, scream it, cry it... and I beg that He listens because as always I am still a stubborn child of God and I need all the Mercy I can get.


 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pictures of Joy!

My life is full of joy, I've got six children,  how could it not be? And this last weekend I learned that some joy can not be dampened, extinguished, or even dimmed a little bit by others in this world that would rather live a miserable existence then share in or celebrate the joy. 

Joy is one of those things you can clearly see in a picture. But I know from experience that the amount of joy does not always shine through.
My oldest, in July, after getting a bow and going bow fishing for the first time ever. He actually said "this is the most accomplished I've ever felt."  You can see the joy on his face... he was thrilled. Dad and I took a little step back at his words, he is after all, starting his final year at West Point. LOL

Joy can be seen in the eyes of a mother looking at her brand new baby girl.

Ok maybe that isn't joy... just exhaustion. LOL

 How about dad looking at his new baby girl?
That's better. The joy of a new baby... gotta love it. :) I wish I'd gotten more of dads smile... hard to tell here, but he's beaming as always. :) See what I was saying about the amount of joy seeping through? That baby girl, she is my youngest, born 20 years after the oldest.

But this last weekend, none of us could hide the joy. It was a big weekend after all, the weekend the oldest got his class rings. 
Ok, here again, this picture is a great example. We are all very joyful, but do you see that Kidd there in the middle??? He is absolutely beaming. As he should be. Jokingly dad asked him how accomplished he felt this day, jokingly the Kidd said back "almost as much as the fish"... ha ha.

His rings, well earned, he worked hard to get this far. He works hard still to make it 8 more months to graduation.
Not that he did this on purpose, I know that is not the case as I actually reminded him of my birthstone after the fact, BUT that ring on the left... a ruby with a diamond inset. My birthstone is a ruby and his diamond. And after realizing that I thought that is perfect, this young man, this one who is training to go to war if necessary, this one that has been the first in so many things will always dwell within my heart. As do all of my children, but he is the first, he is the oldest and he is the one who now walks his own path, in contact with us, but away from us, without us. It is a hard thing for a mom. But on this weekend, there was nothing but joy and pride.


There were other forms of joy as well. It's called a Ring Run, or Ring Poop. After the firsties get their rings they have to go through cadet area to get back to their rooms. This is where they get swarmed, literally, by the plebes who have just been through the shock and awe of beast barracks (basic training for those entering WP), and the first weeks of classes. And these plebes get to let off some steam, but first they have to memorize the poem.

"Oh my Gosh, sir/ma'am! What a beautiful ring! What a crass mass of brass and glass! What a bold mold of rolled gold! What a cool jewel you got from your school! See how it sparkles and shines? It must have cost you a fortune! May I touch it, may I touch it please, sir/ma'am?"


It's hard to hear the poem on the video because as you see several firsties walk in at the same time, each firstie is treated to their very own group of plebes. It's fantastic to see the looks on their faces. These are all young men and women who have committed to train to be soldiers, in one of the most difficult schools in the country. They are all very capable of "serious" sometimes to an extreme. These moments, traditions will sustain them, push them on to the end. I admire all of them tremendously. 
The plebes? They have a lot of fun with this. The firsties have a lot of fun with this. Firsties are able to opt out, I did not see a single one deny the plebes of their steam letting. They remember, I think, just how stressful those first weeks at West Point are.

Our oldest, the Kidd I call him, wanted us to know he appreciates us (not that we ever doubted) but look at the gifts he bestowed on us...
 In a beautiful box for sure. With their class crest, Forever one team.

 My necklace, gorgeous! He has always had good taste in jewelry. I always said he'd make a wife happy someday with this talent of his.

Dads tie tack. Beautiful as well. :) Both were fantastic gifts.

And along with that he took us on tour, giving us a bit of history of West Point, where he has spent that last three years. We were treated to several events, they have each precisely planned and the traditions are such that they have them down pat as well. It was amazing to see how quickly they handed out rings and bling to 1100 cadets.

Yes, this weekend was full of joy, and full of pride and we were surrounded by other families who were soaked in the same. It was contagious.
JOY!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday


Today's word: Broken

I have been thinking about broken a lot lately. You see, having 6 children has left a lot of "things" that I use to cherish (and some that I still do) break over the years. The glass globe my son made while in Germany, the glass on the curio cabinet that was my grandmothers...  some things replaceable and some not.

When I was a younger parent (less experienced) I would get angry and shout and scream. But as I have grown older (and I hope wiser) I have learned that those things that have been broken are just that, things. The words I have used in the past when things get broken do much more damage to the children God has put in my hands to care for and to protect.

I am not perfect and there are times when I still raise my voice, those days when I let the stress get to me... but I am more conscience of it now, the hurt that I inflict on little hearts. And when I look into the face of a child I've scorned, it does make me sad and it breaks something much more precious then my favorite coffee cup... it breaks the spirit of my little one, and in turn, my heart.

Fortunately I have also learned that with God's help and His word, I can find words to repair my little ones spirit. When that is sufficient, God then mends my broken heart.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Joy Dare: 3 Gifts Understated

I found a beautiful page and blog that has inspired me. And even though I am a procrastinator and didn't find it until a while ago AND still have not done much with it besides look it over, today's joy dare was just too perfect to ignore. SO... I am going to take some time and be thankful for all God has given me.
First things first, here is a link to the page:
A Holy Experience
Her name is Ann Voskamp and she has done a tremendous job of setting up a way for you to easily count 1000 blessings in a year. Even as much as a procrastinator as I am there is no way for me to skip it...

Monday's gifts 3 Gifts understated (or 3 gifts often taken for granted.)

The gift of breath and breathing. It's an automatic response of the body to breathe, we don't have to think about it for the most part. But there are days when it becomes your best friend BECAUSE there is a reason to take notice of the act of breathing...
         That moment when you look at the spouse you've been with for 27 years and for no real reason in particular he takes your breath away.
          The sigh of a child when they sleep and a smile curls their lips.
          The gasp between the moment you see your little one stumble and the moment they pick themselves back up without so much as a whimper.
          When an unexpected blast of cold touches your face on a cold winter day and you breath in the sting of it into your lungs, and you feel refreshed.

  

The gift of quiet. In today's world it's rare. Loved by some, Hated by others. I crave quiet, with 7 people in the house almost all the time I don't get much of it, but in the early morning or late at night I sit in the quiet of the day and listen only to the sound of the first gift listed, my breathing.



The gift of noise. The noise that drives me nuts is also the  noise that quantifies my blessings, the noise of children working, playing, squabbling, laughing, talking, singing, banging, and all sorts of other noises possible by little ones. The gift of the noise that tells me my life is full, complete, and will be for a very long time to come.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Emma and the Rolly Pollies



This is my baby girl, cute as a bug isn't she? "Take my picture momma." then pose after pose... what a ham.

Yesterday I went to the lake to take some things forgotten by my boys. When I got home baby girl had a surprise for me, in a cup she had captured her favorite creature in the world... 6 rolly pollies.

 

She wanted to show me each one so she dumped them out on her hand, but they quickly decided to go opposite directions and ended up on the sidewalk.

  





She then decided to herd them. It was much like hearding cats... "come here buddy, over this way little fella".

When I thought I had convinced her to put them in the grass I went inside, she soon followed with all of her new friends in tow. Except one, then when she turned around I realized that maybe the attraction isn't just a one way street with Emma and the rolly pollies, the missing one was crawling up her back.

My girls are a neat mix of tomboy and girly girl. I love that they can all get dirty in the mud, play with the bugs and still love to dress up and get all "pretty". They have their very own sense of fashion at times as you can see, but they do love dresses and dressing up.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Belong

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday


Today's word: Belong

Where do I belong? Who do we belong with? Who belongs with us? Which group do we belong in?
We all ask these questions, either in our words or our actions. We find places we belong, then discover we really don't. Groups of people that we hang with, then find we have outgrown them, or they us.
In grade school they call it "best friends", in highschool they call it "clicks", as we grow up they are organizations and clubs...

Here is the kicker, in the end we have a few places where we really do belong. The first is family, yes we might have differences, we might have disagreements but family is always family. Some families are given to us at birth, and others we are chosen to be part of. We have the family we are born into (or adopted into) and then we have the family we choose to start, with our spouse and even children. We always belong with/to family,  even when we choose not to participate in that family.

And then there is God. And like family we have a place in Him, with Him. And we can choose to ignore it, or not believe, but our attitude towards the idea of God, the faith, or the religion does not change the fact that we belong. God created us, He loves more perfectly and more unconditionally then we can imagine. We can choose not to participate or even acknowledge, but still we have a place with Him a place where we belong. No matter what we do, all we need is to seek Him and ask forgiveness and grace. God's Love is never ending, it does not wane, it does not grow cold or weak.

In my own life I have discovered that when I seek my place with God, this is when I am the happiest, the most content, and the strongest. And that seeps into the rest of my family and friends as well. My own well being effects all those around me, just as those around me effect me. And the positive is much stronger than the negative, so if we charge our lives with the positive, with the belonging, that we can find in God, it really can make everyone's better.


Deuteronomy 4:29
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Job 8:5-6
But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.
 
Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Mark 9:41
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Romans 14:8
If we live, we live to the Lord: if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Colossians 3:15
and let the peace which Christ gives settle all questionings in your hearts, to which peace indeed you were called as belonging to His one Body; and be thankful

Friday, July 12, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Present

It's that time again.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Five Minute Friday


Today's word: Present

I have written this 4 times today. Yes I know that is cheating. Sorry, maybe however you will forgive me once I've cheated again and taken extra time to explain.

1st draft was to explain that I am proud of my self for finally seeking to be more present with my children, yet embarrassed that it has taken me so long and that I am not doing as well as I should with all I know.

2nd draft was to explain that I had an epiphany while writing the first that in doing so very late at night with a big day already I was sabotaging my own efforts.

3rd draft was to go further and explain that I know that to a good job I need to expand my own thoughts to not only include my children (which has already given me much joy) but to wife and homeschooing  teacher, and house keeper as well. That is a big plate to fill, and almost an oxymoron to the idea of  'be present'.

But you see, we are called to a vocation, those of us who have faith and those of us who do not it's all the same we are called to a vocation something we are to do to make a better mark on the world then when we came. Yes, that is mostly a religious term, sorry. I am trying to fulfill my 5 min. obligation here... but even those who are not religious often feel pulled to do better, make better, and leave the world with something positive added to it.

To that end I also believe we have ruined a lot of good things. Bear with me...

We have gone from gathering the food we could find, to planting it in one place so we could set roots, to now going to a grocery store to conveniently picking it up... that is my example but it goes so much deeper into our apparent inability to be present with our families and children...

You see parents use to make toys with and for their children to teach them skills and keep them busy working at something with a purpose. Parents use to make sure that their children were busy in mind and body so as to keep them out of the more serious trouble that was possible.

Then we became "better" and started to buy dolls that had beautiful hair and clothes already with them, they looked perfectly like babies. But what did we loose? We lost the art of sewing and making something out of rags and scraps. Fathers use to make toys with their young sons out of wood, and then they started to buy them. And the boys lost the art of making something with their own hands. But more important our children are loosing the ability to use their imagination. It took imagination for little girls to see a rag doll and play with it as if it were a baby, it took imagination for a young boy to imagine the block of wood and see a horse and make it run and jump.

Now we have baby dolls that do everything from cry to poop to breastfeed... not kidding that is the newest gimmick coming out. We have horses so lifelike and mechanical that our children can sit on them and even take a ride around the room. And what has happened with their imaginations? They use the imagination they have left to find ways to get out of their homework, and chores and work. So they can sit around and play with idiot boxes and watch stupid cartoons that teach them more ways to get out of doing homework and chores and work.

If I had the means, especially in this political mess we are in, I would go to the mountains and go back to a simpler life. It would force more presence that is for sure. But I don't have the means, so now thanks to so much more contemplation and the lessons I have learned in the bit of changing I have already done, I have made the decision to be even more present in all I am called to do.  And in doing that things must become more simple. We are too busy... too plugged in... too stimulated.  Am I too late? No, it's never too late. Especially because another revaluation came to me as I worried about this post.

Even with all that I have failed at, I have also succeeded. My children are good kids, my oldest a fantastic young man. I have a good and loving marriage, and even though there will always be ways in which I can improve and therefore be much more present, I am satisfied that I have been more present then I have given myself credit for.

Ok 13 minutes... sorry. But I just could not cut out being present in this post at this moment in time.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Morning People

Thankful for this beautiful reminder of Gods love for me.

I use to be a morning person. Now, after years of being a morning person and 6 children,I am no longer a morning person. It probably does not help that I gave up coffee either.  There are times when I MUST get up early, like Sunday, when I got up at 4:30 am to take my husband to the airport for a short business trip. I was up off and on all night, I was tired, I did not want to wake up, but I did and on my way home God reminded me once again that He loves me.  Just look at this beautiful sunrise, and this picture that I snapped exactly at the right moment so as to get a heart amidst the trees.

Morning is my favorite time of day, still, even when I don't want to be up. It's quiet, the work has yet to begin and it is a good time to pray. It is a good time to plan. It is a good time to reflect. It is a good time to just remind myself of what it is I am put here for, and what my "job" is.

The problem comes when the day gets busy. And I get lazy, not just in body but in spirit, and I forget how precious my job is. You see, God has placed 6 children in my care. I am commanded to teach them in the ways they must go. I am to care for all their needs, yet also discipline them to be part of the Christian (and specifically) the Catholic family to which I have promised them upon their baptism. It's my job to filter out the junk of the world.

I don't always fulfill my duties to perfection, but I am so incredibly proud of my children. Not in a boasting way of being proud, but in all of their accomplishments of who they are becoming as people. From the oldest to the youngest, God gave these children to me in exactly the right order, they have exactly the temperament I needed or had the ability to deal with at the time.

At the same time God also has giving me a husband that has put up with more than others would. In that fact we have grown together, and become stronger. I learn from him, we learn from each other. And we work things out. Yes, we argue. But we have something that overcomes all of the hard times and the petty bickering. You might be expecting me to say "love", and we have plenty of that too, but the one thing that glues us together is commitment. To each other and to our family. And it only works because BOTH of us have this commitment. 

I may not be a perfect mother, nor a perfect wife and we may not always be a perfect family but as the saying goes... we are perfect for each other and I thank God for early mornings and the quiet time to reflect and the openness of heart to see in those moments, the messages he has just for me.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

It's that time again, if you'd like to join in on 5 minute Friday's just follow the link and jump on in. It's fun, easy and interesting to see what everyone else does.
Five Minute Friday

Today's word is: Beautiful




Butterflies dancing just outside the reach of a little child.
Evening sunset with shades of purples, blues, oranges and reds.
Afghans crocheted with love wrapped around you on a cold winter night.
Unconditional love.
Tiny feet taking their first wobbly steps with arms outstretched.
Icicles sparkling in the morning sun.
Fall in the mountains with the Aspens in full color.
Unwaivering faith. 
Lightening streaking across a black sky lighting up a freshly washed landscape. 
    


So many days we focus on the ugly or frustrating. Take time out of every day to find the beauty all around you. It can be found in the smallest of things, and it really does take less time. Find three things you are grateful for today and make your life more positive and beautiful.






Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Five Minute Friday: In between

It's that time again, if you'd like to join in on 5 minute Friday's just follow the link and jump on in. It's fun, easy and interesting to see what everyone else does.
Five Minute Friday


Friday's word was: In between
Occasionally I find myself in between late and very late and why the heck did you even show up late... still this was a good day to go through this exercise.

In between light and dark.
In between anger and joy.
In between one child and another.
In between feeling too young and being too old.
In between organized and chaotic.
In between living my faith and drowning in temptation and weakness.
In between my desires and the expectations of  others.
In between a rock and a hard place.
In between birth and death.
In between knowing what is right and doing what is right.
In between absolute fear and absolute faith.
In between unconditional love and  undeniable frustration.
In between one activity and another.
In between one good nights sleep and sleepless nights.
In between loving myself and hating things I've done.
In between knowing who I am, and wondering who I am supposed to be.
In between my selfishness and selflessness.
In between knowing I am doing a good job and knowing I am not.
In between being humble and having more ego then 10 people combined.
In between grateful and spoiled.
In between educated and uneducated.
In between rested and exhausted.
In between trusting and gullible.
In between kind and cruel.
In between forgiving and holding a grudge.
In between steadfast prayer and unending worry.
In between ...
In between ...

Most of my days are spent in between. At the end of my days, I truly hope that I am remembered for having lived closer to the good then to the bad and that my children might learn to live better than I have. And that when  that time comes I find myself between God my Father and His Son.

Monday, June 24, 2013

God talks to St. Francis

This was how Father started his Homily this week. The words are not exact, because instead of trying to remember what he said, I looked it up on the off chance it was already written some where. Here you have it, Enjoy

God Talks to St. Francis:
GOD: Frank , you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

St. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But, it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It's sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS : Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS : Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it--sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS : Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS : No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS : Yes, Sir

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It's a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord. It's a story about....

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

It's that time again, if you'd like to join in on 5 minute Friday's just follow the link and jump on in. It's fun, easy and interesting to see what everyone else does.
Five Minute Friday

Today's word: Rhythm

Rhythm: Movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions.

I'm thinking of life and decisions we make along the way and how much time we waste in worry and frustration. Because I am a stubborn child of God who seems to have a hard time learning any other way. But I'm forcing it.

Our lives are a rhythm, somethings are just like everyone else: born, live, pay taxes, die. And the in between are different BUT still fall into the category of "ups" and "downs".  Now I feel bad that I am over the half way point (most likely) and am still struggling with this, but I'm so very thankful that I'm learning. I'm learning that it does no good to worry or be perpetually frustrated. I'm learning to go with the flow, or in a better term, the rhythm because life will always have ups and downs, but we can always find something to be grateful for. ALWAYS!

 I'm trying to learn to trust in Gods plan for me. And it's working. But like everything else in life - it's a concentrated effort. Even letting go, and following the rhythm of things takes effort. But it's a pleasant effort when you are on the right path, when you are not fighting against the stream of things.

I truly do love my life. All of it, but I love it even more now that I'm not so stressed and worried about every little thing, well most of the time anyway. I still have some work to do. I did say I was a stubborn child of God after all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Karen Macdonald - KDM Artistry

Kudos to another West Point Mom artist friend. Karen Macdonald, from KDM Artistry, does some fantastic work, I love it all but have found a few to give you an example of some of my favorites.

Go Army Garden
And since Karen is also the mom of a cadet at USNA she gives equal space to the Navy...

Go Navy Garden
 For now my loyalties are not split, I have one cadet so far and he's USMA so I have to add just one more from the series.

West Point Civil War Cadet Button
I do have one more favorite of all time, you'll have to go to the site to see it though. :)

On My Way

There is so much more to explore.  From her website:
 "Welcome to KDM ARTISTRY.  A creative art studio specializing in fine art prints, canvas giclees, commercial and residential murals, custom wall treatments, and painted furniture."

I am always so amazed by the women I have connected with via West Point. Karen is not only talented, but generous as well, some of her profits go to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Which just happens to be one of my favorite.

Please take a minute and visit them at KDM Artistry. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Karen has a
10% off code: USA10  to use on her site as well.
Enjoy