Sunday, November 29, 2009

first comes advent

Sometimes I feel like the lone ranger among friends and acquaintances. We celebrate Advent. Before Christmas.

I dislike that Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. That what should be a time of waiting and preparation for the King of Kings to come to us in a deeper way, is often a frantic time of spending too much money, fretting over the getting the perfect gift, and trying to get everything "done" before the 25th day of December arrives.

What we are waiting for and preparing for somehow gets very lost in the hustle and bustle of making sure no person is forgotten, or worse yet, disappointed.

By the same token, with the early arrival of Christmas in November, by the time the actual celebration gets here, we are so saturated in the sights and the sounds that we are ready for it to be over with for another year. The Christmas season goes on until January 12 in the church. But in the secular world, almost everything is said and done by the evening of December 25. When I was a child, it made me sad to see trees already out "on the street" on the way home from my grandparents' house on Christmas night. When was the last time you heard Christmas music on December 26?

I only have one Christmas tree, and it is not up yet. It will probably go up the weekend before Christmas. To be fair, this is not SOLELY because I want to give Advent its due first. This was the way my family did it years ago, and the way it evolved with hubby and I in our earlier years. We would wait until the live trees were "marked down" before getting one! Then there is the lack of space in my cozy household. And my cat thinks that climbing in the tree and knocking down the ornaments is some kind of kitty-Olympic sport. Those reasons are also part of the reason that the nativity set is not set up, either.

The activities highlighted in the video below are some of the ways that we will celebrate Advent. For several years, we have lit an advent wreath and had some kind of reading to go along with it. Not every night, but some nights. Hubby is never a willing participant, but the boys have played along - if for nothing more than a chance to light and blow out candles. And we will "prepare our hearts for Christmas" by going to confession at some point. Trying to fix up some of the things in our lives, so that Jesus feels welcome there when He comes. And with the rolls of cookie dough in the freezer section, there might even be some cookie baking this year.

Part of me still wishes, though, for a return to a simpler Christmas where we are focused on what we were REALLY given on that first Christmas many years ago. That was THE perfect Gift!


I was 13 1/2 when my only sister was born, and no one was happier than me! With 2 brothers between us, I was quite eager to balance the odds. Thrilled as I was, though, when my sister was 4, I left home to go to college, and we really haven't lived in close proximity in the last 25 years. We are still close, enjoy each other's company, served in each other's weddings, and are Godmother for each other's children. But my circle of sisters has expanded.

My husband's sister says I am the sister she never had. And although we are as different as night and day, there is a closeness there, too. We have swapped Godparent duties and she introduced me to the Adoration chapel where I like to drop in sometimes. Last year we tagged along with each other to parish missions during Lent.

There are a few mom friends of my boys that I am close to; a few that we can talk about matters of faith. Some of them, by their example and witness, have encouraged me along the road. And maybe, by the same token, others will come to a closer relationship with Jesus by something I have said or done.

There are internet friends that have helped me along the way on my journey - other Catholic moms. People I may never meet this side of heaven, but whom I can bounce ideas off of and get feedback and ideas from . Some of them have become good friends with whom I can discuss matters of the soul.

There is my best, best friend from high school, who is a "real" Sister (a Poor Clare) Since she is cloistered and lives 1400 miles away, our relationship at this point of our lives is mostly by email. A visit is a rare treat; I think we have seen each other 5 times in the past 10 years. But, this is probably the one person with whom I can share anything. Who will "get" what I'm saying and still love me anyway. When I want an honest opinion, I can get it - sometimes unasked for. A shoulder to cry on. Advice. Prayers. Or just someone to listen to my rambling. All of the above! (or 'answers may vary') ;-)

And then there are my "church lady" friends, as hubby calls them. One that I have known for a few years (hi Cat!) and another that I just met this past summer. This week, I was lucky enough to meet both of them for coffee. Both are a few years further along in the motherhood business than I am, and their perspective is valuable. And both of them "get it". Someone to share a love of the Mass, the sacraments and our faith with - in real life. Someone who understands. When I got home after one of my coffee "dates", dear hubby asked me what I talk about with them that I can't talk about with him and the kiddos.  "Oh, faith, grace, stuff like that."  How do you explain that?  Female spiritual conversation.

And so even though it's after Thanksgiving, I am grateful for these sisters in Christ. Sisters who don't think you're crazy when you actually enjoy Mass or go to confession more than once a decade. Sisters who are sitting next to you at daily Mass. Sisters who listen. Sisters who pray. Thank you, God for these sisters. My family has expanded, and I am blessed to have their support on the journey!

drowsy hearts, lifted souls

Thoughts from the weekend homily: To you, O Lord, I lift my soul. (1)Jesus has come and is with us. He came to change us and to bring us hope and to make us more like Himself. He is WITH us, and He is here FOR us. We can let Him be our strength against all the storms of life and all the issues that we have. (2) How we live our lives determines our eternity. In that way we are the master of our own destiny. The choices we make here in freedom have eternal consequences. And at some point, we WILL stand before the Father in judgment. But He tells us in Thessalonians how we should live our lives: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all... so to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father...

Another phrase that caught *my* attention, but did not "make" the homily was from the Gospel (Luke 21): Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. I don't do much of the carousing and drunkenness thing these days - never did, really - but I can surely relate to the anxieties of daily life getting in the way. And a "drowsy heart" that a heart that just mopes through life?

Lord, remind me to draw upon your strength when the anxieties of daily life get in the way. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

advent video

Quite honestly, the music isn't really my style, and I'm not wild about it.  But I DO like the activities of preparation that the video shows  Your mileage may vary. 

(Plus I want to see if I can get a video to show up on my blog ;-))

Woo Hoo! It worked!

Friday, November 27, 2009

parts and pieces, part three

The washer parts arrived by Fed-Ex early Wednesday afternoon.  After I psyched myself up, I laid down on the bathroom floor with my handy flashlight to see what I could do.  I positioned the piece so that all three of the hose openings lined up with whatever they were supposed to connect with.  Then I put the clamp on the largest part.  It was the easiest clamp to install.  Then I tried and tried with the vice grips to clamp the other clamps open so that I could slide the rubber hose part onto the connecting part and then slide the clamp over the whole mess.  I didn't have a whole lot of luck, so dear hubby came to the rescue.  He clamped open the clamps, and then I slid the hoses on to the connecting parts.  Then he slid the clamp over the hose.  It took a few tries, but it worked.  The true test was putting a load of clothes in and starting it up.  No leaks!  :-)

Before I put the front panel back, I took a quick look around at the washer innards and noticed that there was another broken part.  The tub is held up by two shock absorber looking things, and one of them is broken.  $27 for a set of two.  I am not sure I know how to put them on, but I guess it couldn't hurt to order them now, before the other one breaks....

Side note:  The knob that I use to set the dryer timer has been broken for some time, so I have kept a special pair of pliers in the bathroom for that purpose.  While I was ordering the hose part, I ordered a knob, too.  Seems so strange to just start the dryer without looking for the pliers to turn it on!

Stay tuned for parts and pieces, part four...the continuing saga of As the Dryer Turns...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

unmerited gifts

Started off Thanksgiving with Mass.  It only seems right - on a day of giving thanks - to go straight to the giver of all gifts.  The One who owes us nothing, but without whom we wouldn't even exist.  The homily was about giving thanks for unmerited gifts; gifts we do not deserve - not the least of which is Jesus, Himself.  Others that I would add:  family, friends, friendship, faith, forgiveness.  Those who lead and instruct us in faith, those who pray for us, those who inspire us.  Those whom we can serve.  The blessing of being born and living in a country where freedom is all but taken for granted.  Employment.  Health.  Life.  Sacraments.  Guardian angels.  All way more than we deserve.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the good

Two days and one night with my boys at Boy Scout camp, were filled with many good things:

Beautiful, peaceful sights:

Time spent with my sons:

Personal achievements and new skills:

And friends: 

the bad

We have been to this camp before, and the FOOD is one of "the 4 F's".  (The other "F's" are Fun, Facilities, and Friendliness.)  The "4 F's" are several of  the reasons why we select this camp over others.  Well, you can scratch "food' off of the list.  What little we had was tasty, but the portions were not adequate and the only way to supplement was with junk at the trading post.  In the past, the food has been tasty, the portions have been generous, and  PB&J has been available at all meals.  I realize that I probably need to eat less, but I wasn't going to camp looking for a diet.  This was my lunch on Tuesday: 

That reddish liquid in the bowl is "chili".  Lunch on Monday was 4 (FOUR!) dry chicken nuggets without ketchup or BBQ sauce, one scoop of mashed potatoes with no gravy, one spoonful of "baked beans" and one spoonful of red jello.

Don't even get me started on the brown liquid that was referred to as "coffee".  

But, hey, I weighed a pound less today!

and the ugly

Accidents at camp are never a good thing.  This is what happens when one kid throws a stick at another kid and misses by a large margin. When the target sarcastically says, "nice job, " a rock lands a little closer to the mark.  This is why our mothers told us not to throw rocks.  This could have been SO much worse.  Missed it by that much.

And this is why Boy Scouts teach knife safety AND first aid.  Five stitches later....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

be fire!

This afternoon, I was going through some things looking for lost items (which I did not find) when I came across this tidbit.  It was on a handout that I received last May when I went to a Mother's Day of Reflection.   I thought it was appropriate since I will be camping for the next two days:

God's endeavor is to give himself to us entirely.
Just as the fire seeks to draw the wood into itself,
and itself into the wood, it first finds the wood unlike itself.
It takes a little time.
Fire begins by warming it, then heating it,
and then it smokes and crackles
because the two are so unlike each other.
The hotter the wood becomes,
the more still and quiet it grows.
The more it is likened to the fire, the more peaceful it is,
until it becomes entirely flame.
That the wood be transformed into fire,
all dissimilarity must be chased out of it.
Meister Eckhart, OP (13th - 14th century) 

Lord, chase away the things in my life that are dissimilar to You.

more thankfulness

Haven't run out yet...

Yesterday - Saturday - was a wet, rainy gray day.  And I was very thankful that our boys made it safely to camp and that I was NOT out there with them.

Today - Sunday - I am thankful for my brother-in-law who lets me wash my clothes at his house, since our washing machine in not currently operational.

Tomorrow - Monday - I am headed to the woods to spend time with my boys (and about 8 others).  I am grateful for the time away from television, homework, computers, cell phones (for the most part), and other distractions.  I am grateful for the peace and the times you can hear quiet.

parts and pieces, part two

Dear hubby had told me that the local parts place wouldn't order the part without a model number and a part number, and wasn't too helpful about finding them.  Sooooo....I found the model number on the inside of the dryer door, and then I did a search for "frigidaire washer parts" and went looking for the part number.  That took me to a few different websites, each with a schematic of the insides of the washer/dryer with numbers pointing to each part.  It didn't take me long to find the parts I needed - (the hose thingy and a knob that has been out of commission for quite a while).  And as long as I was there, I placed an order.  The knob was $20 (highway robbery) and the hose thingy was $30.  Shipping was $13 (I paid $6 extra to get 2-day shipping because I didn't want it to be caught up in the Thanksgiving holiday).  Bet it would have cost me a lot more to call a repair guy. 

what have they done with Him?

I had some "extra" time this afternoon, and thought I would go to the Adoration chapel down the road.  It's been quite a while since I've been there.  This parish has a 5:30 evening Mass, and I got there about 5:15.  I walked into the chapel, signed in, genuflected, and then noticed (because another lady sitting there told me) that Jesus was gone!  They had come and taken Him, she said, because there was going to be a procession after 5:30 Mass in honor of the Feast of Christ the King....

So I stayed for a little while, and other people came in and out.  It was quiet, but it wasn't the same.  Maybe next year, I will check into the procession.  I wasn't quite sure how a procession  through the streets at 6:30 in the evening - in the dark - was going to work out...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

whose terms?

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.  This marks the last Sunday in the Liturgical year for Catholics. 

All 3 of the readings at Mass had something to do with Kings, Kingship or Kingdoms.  The Gospel was from John and has Jesus standing before Pilate who is asking Him if He is a king.  And Jesus doesn't answer Pilate directly because His Kingdom is not going to be defined on Pilate's terms.  In this exchange, we are Pilate.  When we stand before Jesus, are we going to define Jesus' Kingship in our lives on our terms or His terms?  The verdict in this trial depends on how much we mean it when we pray, "thy kingdom come, THY will be done..."

Jesus, I am yours.  Do with me as you see fit.

parts and pieces

So what is it??  Give up? 

It's the drain hose thingy on my washing machine.  And it has a hole in it.

This afternoon, I found a large amount of water on the bathroom floor - more than what might be caused by an enthusiastic bath-taker.  So I started to investigate.  There were items far away from the bathtub that were wet.  And the more I looked, the wetter the things were.  Needed to be cleaned out, anyway.  Then, as I listened, I could hear the steady trickle of water.  That's not supposed to happen. 

I took off the front of the washer - took a little while to find the proper tool to unscrew the oddly shaped screws, but I did it.  Then I could easily peek in and see where and what the problem was.  I was able to undo the silver clamp at the top, but had to call on dear hubby to get the two green ones loose.

We took the nasty rubber item to Lowes, after dumping out the remaining water and finding 3 quarters and a thin piece of metal that probably caused the hole in the drain hose thingy.  A nice employee at Lowe's was able to tell us where we might find a store that sells parts.  They won't be open until Monday, however.

Hopefully, we will get the part ordered and reinstalled and I will be able to use the washer again.  And we might have saved the price of an iPhone by doing it ourselves.  Maybe.


The other night, my offspring served for our parish's confirmation Mass.  There were 10 high schoolers being confirmed.  (Our parish is not very big and a large percentage of our population is elderly - way past high school age.) 

Last year, the bishop came, and it was quite a production with the Bishop, the Pastor, and 2 other priests (masters of ceremony?), and 4 altar servers squeezed into the sanctuary.  This year, it was just our pastor (and 3 handsome altar servers), and I think I preferred that.  He gave what I thought was a wonderful homily to the candidates, starting off with a story from his own confirmation.  Then he related a conversation he had had with a young lady who had been shot and survived the Columbine High School massacre.   She said "yes" when asked if she believed in God, and how that "yes" came from a lifetime of "walking with Jesus".  He went on to give them specific examples of what it means to walk with Jesus.... "And when you fall in love.... and there is the temptation to express that love in ways that God can not and will not bless....And you know what I'm talking about..."  He conveys his thoughts so clearly.  Towards the end of the Mass, he mentioned that it is unusual for a pastor to confirm the confirmation candidates from their own parish, and how meaningful it was for him to be able to do so.  Come Holy Spirit!

There was a reception afterwards and we visited with friends from Boy Scouts whom we hadn't seen in a while.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

gut feelings

Children don't come with owner's manuals, and we are at a crossroads, as it is time for Kid #1 to choose a high school, after 10 years at his Catholic elementary/middle school. 

The public high school that we are zoned for also offers a technology "academy" and this is where his interests lie.  If he spent the time that he spends on his computer homework on his academic courses, who knows what he could achieve?

When I realized some months ago that this might be a viable option for him, I was a little sad.  I had always assumed he would go on the the nearby Catholic high school.  His older brother went there many years ago, and it was a good place for him.  I had hoped that he would continue to receive a Catholic education mostly for the faith aspects.

Tonight was Open House at the Catholic high school.  I went hoping that there would be something that I saw there that would make me think that it was the place that he should go.  But there was nothing.  The more I saw, the more convinced I became that he would not be happy there and that we are being led somewhere else.  The rap songs that the students created as a religion project.  I have heard that the Theology department is very good, but to pick that as the thing to show to prospective parents was just a bit odd.  The constant mantra about how challenging the classes are.  The fact that the classrooms seem to be mostly unchanged from when big brother went there 15 or more years ago, but there is a new state of the art, awesome weight room and pictures all around of the stadium that is to be built.  I would bet that the library still has the same encyclopedias that it did 20 years ago, too.  The fact that there is one - count it - UNO computer class available for the four years.  The idea of weekly Mass and confessions available a couple of times a month was nice, but we can do that on our own. 

Oddly enough, kid #2, who tagged along with us seemed to picture himself there the following year.

Again, I feel a little sad.  But I suppose I should be thankful that we have a choice, that there is an alternative that really interests him, and that it doesn't come with a $5,000 + price tag.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

more gratitude

Continuing with the gratitude theme - leading up to Thanksgiving.

Sunday found me grateful for my big, orange, riding lawnmower.  I got the back of the backyard mowed.  It was SO dry.  So I was also grateful for the Zyrtec that allowed me to continue to breathe after inhaling all that stuff.

Monday, I was thankful for my kids.  Basically, good kids that keep my life interesting.

Tuesday, we're going with a religious theme.  Today is my patron saint's feast day - St. Elizabeth of Hungary.  So I am thankful for all the Saints that have gone before us:  Sts. Elizabeth, Clare, Francis, and Anthony to name but a few.  I am also grateful for St. Cody who taught me so much in the years he was in my class.  I am grateful for the Eucharist (literally Thanksgiving) and the opportunities we have to receive.  I had the opportunity to attend Mass at my kids' school this morning.  We are so blessed.

Wednesday I was grateful that my stepson will be returning from Iraq for good - hopefully before Christmas.

Thursday I am thankful for the people that I work with.  Some days they make it worthwhile.

Friday I am so thankful that it is Friday.  And that we have an entire week off of school. 

Saturday I am thankful that I am not at winter camp in the rain with my boys, and thankful that when I get there on Monday, the weather should be nice!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

no accident

If we get to Heaven after we die, it won't be by accident and it won't be because God was having a good day when we got there.  It will be because we choose in freedom to give glory and honor to God by the things we think, do, and say.  Admittedly, some days I make better choices than others with my freedom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

missed it by *that* much

Yesterday, leaving Mass, I turned right on to a major road - heading for the turning lanes at the stoplight.  I had looked both ways and everything was clear.  As I pulled into the middle of the road, an SUV flew out of nowhere cutting right in front of me.  He must have come from across the street - turning left onto the road, headed for the far right lane.  There was not time for my life to flash in front of my eyes or for me even to react.  I just took a deep breath, and knew once again that my guardian angel was on the job and that I am richly blessed.  Had I pulled out a second earlier, the results would not have been nearly as good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

giving thanks....

Thanksgiving officially shows up in a few weeks.  A Facebook post challenges us to post something each day that we are thankful for.   So....

on 11.10.09, I am thankful for the nice weather - not too hot, not too cold....

11.11.09 - I am grateful for the veterans who have defended our country and our freedoms throughout our history.  I am also grateful for Pennye.  It's her birthday today and she brings sunshine into any situation.

11.12.09 - I am thankful for the "Good Monsignor", our parish pastor, and the awesome Bible studies that he facilitates.  He says he plans to offer many more.

11.13.09 - I am appreciating that hubby cleaned the kitchen and all the dirty dishes in the sink vanished while I was at work.  It was either him or the Kitchen Fairy!

11.14.09 - I am thankful for my computer and all the friends that "live" in it.  Wierd how that happens.

[Side note:  Does Blogger have a spellcheck?  I need it.]

Sunday, November 8, 2009

walking a tight rope

The Boy Scouts built it, and I walked across on it - without falling.  Kind of fun in the scheme of things. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

so where did saturday go again?

Quickest Saturday on record, I think. 

First of all, I slept until I was good and ready to get up - which was around 7:30 or so.  Said my morning prayers - which if I don't do before I climb out of bed on Saturday, they usually don't get said.  Then I checked a few things on the computer - email, facebook.  Got out of bed, ate, made coffee, did a load or two of laundry.  Took a bath. 

Met a friend at about 11 at the "fall frenzy" to take a look at our school choices for next year for our 8th graders.  My son is most interested in the computer program, and her son is interested in the medical program, so we looked at those two programs.  That took every bit of 2 hours.  She had locked her keys in the car, so we gave them a ride home.  That added a little bit of time. 

Took Kid #2 to meet the Boy Scouts on a campout (over an hour late).  Talked to one of the Cub Scout moms who was there for a while.  She has had some personal issues in her life, as of late, and I hadn't seen her in quite a while.

My original plans had been to drop Kid #2 off at the campout and then head to the nice little chapel and spend some quiet, peaceful time, there, but it didn't work out that way at all.  When I got home, I got ready for 4:00 Mass, though.  I knew I needed at least that bit of peace, and I was right. 

From there, I passed by Walgreens to pick up a prescription for dear hubby, and then out to the campout to drop off some dish towels and pot holders that I had washed up from the previous campout. 

And finally home, in time for supper. 

What happened to my day?  I don't think I even ate lunch.

driving home the point

Often, especially in the spiritual realm, I have found that when there is something that I am dealing with - whether it be prayer, forgiveness, sin, relationships, or whatever - it seems like that topic seems to come up in everything I read or hear. 

So most recently, the idea of giving everything to God - not just 95% - has been playing on my mind.  I have been praying about it, as the Good Father advised, and that has helped a lot.  Prayer doesn't change God, it changes us.  It seems like at least one of the readings at every Mass I've attended in the last month or so has been about giving everything to God or trusting God.   Same thing is true of the psalms that I pray or any reflections that I pick up. 

Even music gets into the act.  The other day, I was coming home from somewhere, listening to a Christian music radio station when I heard the song, "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns.  I've liked this song for a long time. 

Who am I?
That the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I?
That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way,
For my ever wandering heart.

It ends: 
I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling,
And you've told me who I am.
I am yours.....

So I sat under the carport listening to (singing along with) the song, and as the final chorus of "I am yours" came on, I could almost feel that 5% or so that I want to hang on slipping away.  Really, it is pointless to hold on to what is not ours, anyway.  It is a powerful illusion that we are in control.

Tonight's Gospel and homily were yet another example.  The Gospel was about the woman who gave her last 2 coins - who from her poverty gave everything she had, because she deemed God worthy of everything that she had.  I've heard that one before.  It touched me then, too.  She, in her humility, recognized her total dependence on God.  The opposite of humility is pride and arrogance - thinking that we are running the show, that we don't owe everything to God (or that He owes us).  The homily continued to drive home the point, that we can hold nothing back. Our time, our treasure, our talents are ALL God's.  God held nothing back from us.  He felt that WE were worthy of his suffering, dying, and rising....

The good Father then challenged us:  Tonight during the Consecration, when we pray, "Take this all of you...this is my body..."  look at Him, and say to Him, "Lord, take MY body... Take MY blood."  Powerful stuff, I tell you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

who you are

A couple of one-liners from the last 24 hours are still with me.  From Bible Study last night...the topic was Matthew 6, and personal piety - about doing things because God sees them, not because the world sees them.  The point there was "Who you are when you are in private, is who you really are."  Not the personna that the world sees.

From the homily this morning...the Gospel was the one about the shepherd leaving 99 sheep to go after 1 lost sheep.  "Even if you were the ONLY person who ever sinned - the only sinner in the world - Jesus would have still suffered and died - for YOU!"  That kind of personalizes it a bit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

speaking of saints...

I think I made the acquaintance of a saint while he was still earth-bound.  He spent most of his time in a wheelchair during the years that he was in my class.  In spite of pain that was nearly constant, he always had a twinkle in his eye and a great sense of humor.  He brought sunshine into our classroom on a daily basis.  His life had value.  Cody would have been 18 today.  We remembered him, and oddly enough, 2 of my current students celebrated birthdays today, both turning 14!
I know that St. Cody is looking down from heaven.  And I can picture him smiling with that twinkle in his eye!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

all saints day

I love Mass on any given day, but I particularly enjoyed it today.  The first reading was from Revelations - you rarely have a reading from Revelations.  The gospel was from Matthew - the Beatitudes which we spent an hour or so on last Wednesday.  The homily was short and to the point, as always.  The saints had no advantage over us.  We are made for heaven.  And the way to get there it to allow God to work through us in the ordinary things of life - in our successes and failures, our triumphs and tragedies, our sinfulness and holiness.  The choir sang the Litany of the Saints during the offeratory.  It was beautiful. 

Then came real life.  Oh my!  I have a long way to go towards Sainthood.  What IS the big rush to get out of the parking lot after Mass.  At our parish, you park in lines, and as luck would have it, neither the car in front of us or the car behind us moved when Mass was over.  I thought dear hubby was going to have kittens because I didn't wiggle the car out of that spot right away.  It was not pretty, especially when the boys joined in.  Then both boys decided to accompany me to WalMart.  It wasn't too bad until we got to the checkout - though I probably added $30 to my bill by all the stuff that they throw in the cart.  Then they started.  Kid #2 was aggravated by Kid #1, so Kid #2 felt he had to explain things in explicit detail to anyone within 20 feet of our location.  Repeatedly.  Words like "be quiet" or the seldom used "SHUT UP!" have no effect.  I let them both have it when we got in the car.  Again - not one of my better moments, but enough was enough!  Not sure where God is working today.  Not sure if He's in my part of the world today.

Any peace I might have had, I'm not feeling right now.  PMS, perhaps? 

momentarily distracted

While taking pictures of the racecar driver for Halloween, this flew by.

da-niece and da-nephew

The little ones in the family all dressed for Trick or Treating....  Cute, cute!