Sunday, May 30, 2010


Mary at Life in a Small Town was kind enough to send a Sunshine Award my way!  See: 

Here's what's next:
1.  Post the logo on your blog and/or with the post.
2. Pass it on to 12 other bloggers.
3. Add links to these 12 bloggers within your blog.
4. Let them know they are receiving the award.
5. Share the link of the person from whom you received the award. 

My only issue was in coming up with 12 blogs.  Still relatively new to this world, and I didn't want to just skip through cyberspace bestowing an award on people I don't know.  So, here are the folks I know who make my little spot in the world a Sunshinier place: 

1. Our Domestic Church
2. Servant and Steward
3. Bring the Rain
4. Saint's Faith, Hope, and Charity
5. The Reluctant Patriot

Let the Son Shine!

gratitude again

The paper that came home with dear 8th grader concerning his faith statement included this bit from Thomas Merton.  I thought it was worth a second glance and copied it:

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. ~Thomas Merton

I loved the line that says, "...the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience."  Yes!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

faith and friends and gratitude

My 8th grader graduated was promoted from 8th grade this past Thursday.  One part of the graduation promotion ceremony was the reading of "Faith Statements" by the 8th graders.  All 54 of them.

Backing up:  Each year our school has a "theme".  Some of the ones that I can remember are "a little yeast leavens the whole batch", "I am the gate", "living water", "gifts, 5, 2, 1", "and God said it was good", "rooted and grounded in love".  This year the theme was gratitude:  Let your hearts overflow with joy and gratitude for all that He has done.  Each year the 8th graders write "faith statements" based on the theme.  I have seen them for years in the yearbook.  They are given 3 different ways that they can start their statement, and then they complete it.

A few weeks ago, 8th grader came to me and said, "Mom, my faith statement is due tomorrow. (of course) I know what I want to say.  I want to talk about my friends, but I don't know how to say it.  Can you help me?"  Backing up a little bit more, he has been with these kids since his second try in first grade.  He has also been on ADHD meds since first grade.  Always a fairly quiet kid, the meds made him even quieter.  He always seemed to be accepted by the other kids (this class was good that way),. but never had a lot of interaction with most of them.  Last year I watched him at an awards banquet, sitting with a group of his friends, and he never said a word.  "Mom, I'd rather not say anything than look stupid like xxxxx by saying the wrong thing." 

What is a parent to do?  This year, he discovered that life was much more fun if he didn't take his medication.  He had friends!!  I got a call from the counselor, "8th grader is different this year.  And not necessarily in a good way."  He was also not doing so hot in many of his classes - unable to remember what was for homework or concentrate long enough to get his work done.  We finally compromised on half of his dose.  As his doctor said a few years back, "The cooperation of the patient is essential in these things."  This child - who has had nothing but straight A's in conduct for the past 7 years - ended up in Saturday detention one morning because he lost so many conduct points!!  My quiet child! 

So we sat down to write a Faith Statement.  The starter that we picked was "God has blessed me with many gifts.  I will show my gratitude by...."  He has friends, and as fate would have it, most of them are following the path to our local Catholic High school, and he is not.  So now that he has friends he will have to start again next year. 

This is what we came up with :  God has blessed me with many gifts; I will show my gratitude by being thankful for the friends that I’ve made at *** who have made a difference in my life. Even though they won’t be part of my daily life next year, they will always be in my heart.

"They clapped for me at practice when I read my faith statement, Mom.  And I was the only one."  Little brother came home with the news that 8th grader's faith statement had made Mrs. MathTeacher cry.  Their principal said he could tell that it came from the heart.  His classmates high-fived him.  His social studies teacher said the math teacher had "warned her".  It was good.

Here he is with some of his classmates after the ceremony.   My 8th grader has a white tie.  (His choice).    In the one with the car in the background, he is saying something to his friends.  Love their facial expressions! And yes...that is a g-i-r-l standing next to him.....

Friday, May 28, 2010

where's my million?

I have survived our local game of Survivor.  I have outworked, outlasted, outprayed.  I made it through to the end of the year.  It was rather anti-climatic.

We have a new supervisor [again].  I had finally gotten used to the last one, when they switched us.  If first impressions (or second or third) are anything, I am so not impressed.   When she finally arrived at the 11th hour to check us out, she sat down and began READING each of the documents.  Not just spot-checking.  Reading.  These things were approved by the state (and our supervisors) MONTHS ago.  And you're going to read them?  Now??  She didn't finish that day, so we all thought she'd be back bright and early the next day.  Nope.  About lunch time. 

We had a discussion about her vision for our program next year.  I don't share her vision.  I can't even envision her vision.  I have been teaching for 20+ years, and one thing I know about myself is that I can't deal with multiple things going on in my room at the same time.  It was distracting when I was a student, and it is distracting to me as a teacher.  Old-fashioned person that I am, I like for my students to sit in desks, and I like to "teach".  I sometimes use hands-on things, but not everything every day can be hands-on.  In general I have found that they don't make the connection when you give them projects to do that will lead up to a "discovery".  Most of our students tend to work best in a structured environment.  I finally looked at her and said, "I can't do that.  I would lose my mind if I had to do THAT!"  She was undeterred with her "vision", but ran out of time before she could approve all of our paperwork for the past year.  My co-workers and I went to lunch.  We waited until she was gone to venture back in the room.

I have been back in my classroom the past two mornings trying to get it cleaned up and trying to get the records together to transfer to high school.  I would have done that earlier, but... 

This has probably been one of the most psychologically difficult years.  My students have been difficult at times, but you expect that from middle schoolers.  The most challenging part has been the change in climate with adults and co-workers.  The feeling that you are being targeted and everything you do scrutinized, the sense that you must be careful what you say, and the possibility that someone will go and repeat something you have said.  The knowledge that people are talking about you behind your back.  Seeing other people be victimized by people they think are on their side.  The need to conduct conversations in whispers.  The fact that no one really "has your back".  Our staff used to be a family. 

The past few weeks, I have found strength in prayer and fasting.  Somewhere (the Holy Spirit?) came the idea of fasting.  I am not an experienced "faster" other than a little bit of experience at Lent, and at this time of the year, I know I need food, but I knew God would be pleased if I could offer *something* to Him.  I knew that he would take "a little" and do a lot with it.  So I gave up something small that I like for the past few weeks and offered that.  I also spent a good bit of time in prayer.  If I wasn't able to go to Mass, I tried to spend some time after dropping off my kids just sitting in the Lord's presence.  I prayed during the day.  St. Michael and St. Anthony heard from me on a regular basis. By God's grace, I made it.  In our weakness, His strength is made perfect!

A side note - both of my boys have developed an attachment to specific saints - neither of which they were named for.  My oldest has decided that St. Michael is a cool dude, and my youngest has said about St. Anthony, "I LOVE that guy!"  Kind of neat that their two friends were the ones who kept me company the past few weeks!

This afternoon, I crawled into my bed and took a nap!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I have one more day of school. The stress level is just about as high as it can get right now. I think I am living in the twilight zone. This morning was the closing Mass for my kids' school year. It is a big deal if you are the parent of an 8th grader, so I had arranged weeks ago to take the morning off. I made sure I had my camera - with batteries charged - and some kleenex.

My 8th grader was supposed to wear his 8th grade shirt, which he does not like. He had it on and then took it off before we even got out of the house, saying he would just put it on for the 8th grade part of the ceremony. By the time we got to the car, he had misplaced it. He went back in the house to look for it. Couldn't find it. Could it be in your booksack??? Umm, yeah.

Then he tells me that he left his folder of Social Studies tests in my classroom yesterday. Why yes he did. I saw them there when I went last night for awards night. Did I remember to bring them? Of course not. So first we stopped by my classroom, so he could get the folder because they were worth extra points on his exam. And then I thought, "MEDICINE!" Oops, medicine is in the other car. We are certifiably ADD here! So I dropped them off and went home to get his pill. Made it back in time for Mass.

I'm taking pictures of dear 8th grader and some of his friends before Mass when my camera says "Internal Memory is full". Uh - remembered to charge the batteries, but forgot the memory card. I managed to dump some of the pictures in the internal memory, and ended up having more than enough room. It is not really optimal to take a picture all the way across the gym, and when they turned off the lights, that was the final word.

The sound system started acting up right before Mass. Apparently our pastor has many talents, as they motioned him over to make it cooperate. It took him a little while, but he finally got it to behave - a special prayer for sound systems?

Mass proceeded without too much drama until I got a text from a co-worker about back-stabbing co-workers. I shouldn't have read it. I didn't reply and dropped the phone in my purse where it wouldn't be a distraction.  Father told about lakes that he had seen in Ireland.  One lake empties into a larger lake at a lower altitude.  The small lake is consumed by the larger lake.  And that is what we are called to do.  We are called to empty ourselves into God.  To become Him.  That is how we are to "be holy as He is holy"..

 After Mass had concluded, the "torch" was passed from the 8th grade class to the 7th grade class. And then.....The Candle Ceremony... This song plays:

As it plays, the kindergarten "munchkins" appear with candles and process to the front with their 8th grade "buddies". Their candle is lit. The girls start crying - and sometimes the moms, too. Today there were technical difficulties with "the clicker". Our pastor was one of the candle lighters. He ended up just standing there with a handful of matches and lighting the kindergartners' candles off of the altar candles. I didn't cry. Just a little mist.

After this, the rest of the school was dismissed and the eigth graders sat while the kindergartners read them a story based on "I'll Love You Forever" (more tears) and sang a song to them:

They visited for a little while longer and more pictures were taken.

Finally the party broke up - the 8th graders having exams to take.

I asked for prayers from everyone I knew, my pastor included.  Never have I worked in an environment this hostile.  Then I went to school.

My supervisor hadn't showed up yet to check us out.  I finished putting my folders together.  Honestly, I did my best, but it is just daunting.  Every year there are more i's to dot and t's to cross.  I prayed as I worked.  Seriously.  I thanked God for giving me the time to finish and I thanked Him for all the aggravation and asked Him to show me the way. 

My supervisor showed up about an hour before school was out.  She is probably more stressed out than we are.  She sits down to begin going through our records with a fine tooth comb, when we told her that the gates are locked at 5:30.  She starts making lists of every box not checked and form not attached.  All of these documents have been accepted by the state.  Why find mistakes now?  They can't be easily changed once they are finalized and accepted.  I think it just gives someone a job to go from district to district as a "monitor" to look for mistakes.  Most certainly you will find some since the forms are SO tedious and the computer program so horrid.

It sometimes amuses me how much emphasis is placed on our paperwork and how little is placed on our actual teaching.  I don't think more than two hours of my teaching were observed this year.  But my paperwork has been scrutinized by multiple people for many hours.  So you tell me what is important??

Tomorrow is my last day for the year.  I guess she will be done finding our mistakes.  I need to clean my classroom.  That has been put on the back burner for weeks.   I know that at some point tomorrow must end, and then they no longer have any hold over us.

Monday, May 24, 2010

back to green

Before the day started to unravel, I knelt in the cool, quiet church.  That is always the best part of my day.  I noticed that the Easter candle, which had been lit in a prominent place for the past 50 days, was now stuck into a corner in the back of the sanctuary.  Yesterday was Pentecost - the official end to the  Easter Season, I suppose. We waited for the Holy Spirit, He's here, and now it's back to business as usual.  Ordinary time.  Today the priest was back in green.  It's been a long time since we've seen green vestments.  40 days of Lenten purple followed by 50 days of Easter white.  Now it's back to green - with a few exceptions - until Advent.

There are 2 more days of school, and I probably have 5 more days of work to do.  Not quite as far in my paperwork as I had hoped to be.  My computer died today.  When I left the classroom it was working.  When I returned it wasn't.  Thought it might be the monitor, but it wasn't.  Can't believe that the kids did something to kill it.  It wasn't dropped.  What else could kill it?  Maybe it was just a natural death.  In any case, it was a time waster.  Switching out monitors - trying to figure out the problem - and finally setting up the laptop and connecting it to a printer.

My supervisor is coming to do the end of the year check out in the morning.  I won't be there.  My kids have their closing Mass at school and it will be my 8th grader's last Mass.  Note to self:  charge camera.  After Mass, they have a ceremony with the 8th graders and their Kindergarten buddies and it is a tear jerker even if your child is not directly involved. 

My supervisor is coming and I still have about 3 of the infamous blue folders to put together.  Shouldn't take long,  I just need time to do it without being interupted by a zillion different things.

Honors Night was tonight.  My contribution to the life of the school.  A lot of work for 30 minutes of hoopla.  I had wonderful support from my co-workers, though.  That is a good thing about where I work.  People are willing to go the extra mile to help each other.  Usually.

I heard this song on the radio on my way home tonight. It explains why I love to start my mornings with Mass.  His holy Presence.  My daily bread.   I'm desperate for Him and lost without Him.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

about late blooms

Back in March, I had a post about late blooms.  I wasn't really feeling God's presence in my Lent, and was rather disappointed.  I mentioned it to my pastor, and he said not to be too quick to write off Lent as a failure - that it might be a "late bloom".  At that time, it was almost Easter, and my Easter lilies weren't blooming, either, so I thought it was a cool image (and good advice, it turned out.)

My Easter Lilies are now blooming.  I have tried in vain to get a picture that really captures them.  This one will have to do; my lens was fogged up because it was cooler inside than outside. 

Very much feeling the Presence right now! my protection....

At Mass this morning, one of my favorite church-lady sisters came and sat near me.  We met last summer (at Mass) and for some reason hit it off almost immediately.  Today, we chatted for a bit afterwards, and I told her about my upcoming yearly evaluation meeting at work - which I wasn't really looking forward to.  Her advice was to say the "St. Michael prayer" before going in.  When I further explained, she said, "Never mind.  Say it twice - once for you and once for them."  And I did. The meeting went about how I figured it would go in light of the current climate at school.  For the first time in 20+ years of teaching, I felt compelled to write a response to a comment written on my evaluation.  I won't lose sleep over it, though.  From Presence comes Peace, and I am doing what I can to stay in that Presence and live from that Peace.

This week has been very busy and very tiring.  Trying to pull it all together.  I am seeing light at the end, though.  I think.

The grand-kidlets are leaving tomorrow.  I wish they would have been here a bit longer, because this is the worst possible time they could have been here.  Final exams for my kids (the uncles), end of school crap for me, scout fundraiser, etc.  My kids enjoyed swimming with them tonight: 

Monday, May 17, 2010

say only the good

"Say only the good that needs to be said" was part of the advice I got in confession last time I went.  It was my mantra today.

Say only the good that needs to be said.
Say only the good that needs to be said.
Say only the good that needs to be said..

Because there was a lot of other stuff begging to be said. 

I wasn't at school ten minutes today, when I was told that one of our administrators needed to see me and a co-worker.  I hadn't had time to get in trouble yet!  I didn't think any of "our kids" were in trouble yet.  (Some of them have been just staying home - enjoying an early start to summer...)  So I found out - through the grape vine because I couldn't find the person who wanted to see me - that my co-worker and I were to abandon our classes for the day to take over an 8th grade class that didn't have a sub.  I don't know why our students are less valuable than others - or why we were the only two teachers who were chosen for this honor.  It's not like we don't have a zillion and one things to do in our own rooms.  There are deadlines, you know.  I was almost speechless that this would be expected of us. 

Turned out a sub did show up.  And I repeated my mantra - along with "I have the right to remain silent..." 

Father had told me that it was St. Paul that said this, so with the help of Google, I found the source.  No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edifcation, that it may impart grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29  Another translation - closer to my mantra says:  Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them.

I did get some things done today.  My students watched "Glory Road".  I'm sure that relates to math some kind of way.  I got some things done for Honors Night - found the program on my jump drive, found someone to make the flower arrangement for the awards table, delegated someone to track down table cloths and punch bowl and cake cutters, and TRIED to get people to turn in the awards they need.  I sent an email this afternoon, and I'm ordering tomorrow - ready or not. 

I ordered 1000 freshly baked 8" sliced po-boy buns. 

I completed some progress reports.  Filled out some paperwork on some of my students.  Finished 3 or 4 of the infamous blue historical folders.  I'm about half way now.

Tomorrow is another day.  Say only the good that needs to be said...

One more Monday!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


My mind is spinning in so many different directions this weekend.

Friday morning God called - he was named Flo - and asked if I could spend an hour with Him on Saturday evening.  So that was a good thing and not having any other plans, I agreed.  My name is on a list of substitutes for a nearby Adoration Chapel.  I don't get a call very often, but when I do, it's like God calling.  Little did I know what lay ahead.

Saturday, the only thing on the agenda was shopping for clothes for my 8th grader's graduation and serving at 4:00 Mass.  Both kids have finals coming up, so they were hoping to get some study guide work done.  Before we even got out of the house on our shopping expedition, I had a phone call that alerted me to trouble with the grandkids.  There were some issues that necessitated the return of my stepson from the middle east and a change of residence for the family here.  On the one hand that is good news because the family will be reunited, and on the other hand, kind of sad because they will be moving on to their new home much sooner than we expected.  We had been hoping to enjoy a few months with them nearby.

We completed our shopping adventure.  Shopping with boys - what a joy!  Black pants $35, long-sleeve turquoise shirt $22, white tie (his choice!, not mine) $36, black socks 3/$7,belt $22,  black shoes $90 on clearance for $26.99).  Seeing him looking like a young man....priceless. He has been growing so fast the past few years, that "dress clothes" consist of decent jeans and a polo shirt.  I will have to post pictures when everything is washed and pressed.

We went from there to the pizza place with the giant rat.  Chuck E.  Been years since I've been there.  Haven't missed a thing.  But the grandkids were there, passing some time.  From there, we took one grandkid, went home, and made it to Mass in time to serve. 

They were able to get some studying done in the evening, and I kept my appointment with Jesus.  Sometimes that time seems so fruitful, and other times - like last night - not so much.  Surely there were things to pray about, but it just seemed kind of unfocused.  It's OK, though.  God gets it.  Once I heard that a little in our hands is great in the hands of God.  So He takes what little I am able to give, and does great things with it.

I helped get the grandkids and their mom settled for the night, and then I was home.

Mass this morning.  Breakfast out.  Ticket selling engagement for scouts.  Swimming test for summer scout camp.  Finally, studying for them and laundry for me.  We need clean clothes.  And we have scouts in a few minutes...


Seven more days of school.  I have honors night to pull together.  Parking lot paint to order.  Po-boy bread to order.  Paperwork to complete.  Pizza arrangements to make for altar servers.  Talk to me again in two weeks.  Life will be a lot calmer.  Parking lot.  Pizza.  Po-boys.  Paperwork.  Then there's haircuts, dentist appointments......

Seven more days.  Some other P's that will get me through:  Prayer.  Presence.  Peace.

Be still and know that I am God.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


From last Sunday's Gospel (John 14):  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give it to you

Father went on to explain that Peace is not the absence of conflict or having everything exactly as we want it.  Peace is about God dwelling within us which leads to Peace.  Presence leads to Peace.   

At this time of the year, things are very hectic.  There are a million things to do at school and teaching is NOT in the top million.  The kids are there as a distraction and irritant, it seems.  Progress reports, retention hearings, evaluations, surveys, inventories, honors night, the oscars, closing out files, grades, cleaning, field day, post testing.  Teaching??  Did you see that anywhere?  Not!  Just keep 'em busy and out of the office!

Usually at this time of the year, I am wound tighter than tight.  And that tightness is so evident in my neck and shoulders that it is physically painful.  This year hasn't been too bad.  It helps that our IEPs have been done throughout the year and don't have to all be redone in the last two months of school. 

I still have more stuff than I will ever have time to get done, but the stress hasn't hit yet.  I know that I will get it all done.  I always do.  Probably due more to God's good grace than anything else.

Last Wednesday, I went to Mass at the church that burned a few weeks ago.  (Mass was in the library.)  The priest talked about burnout (how appropriate) and how important it is to stay "connected" to "the Vine".  Ways that we stay connected include Eucharist, Reconciliation and retreats.  Lord, strengthen my connection to you. (John 15)

Daily Mass is the best!  On Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I can go at 6:30 a.m. and it is rare that anything gets between me and Mass on those days.  Sometimes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I can drop my kids off and make it by the skin of my teeth to 7:30 Mass across town.  That hasn't happened much in the last couple of months - they drag their feet too much.  So I was going to the next best thing - an Adoration Chapel.  Except that I would spend 10 minutes getting there and about that much time getting back to school.  Didn't leave much time for praying.. 

Then I realized another option.... Sometimes I think God lets us figure these things out bit by bit.  There is a church very near my school (like 2 minutes away) that has a 7:15 a.m. daily Mass.  I never make it in time for that, but the last couple of weeks, I have gotten there as the 7:15 Mass was letting out.  They have Adoration on Tuesdays after Mass.  So as the people were leaving (and I said "hi" to one of my co-workers) I would go in and find a nice quiet place where I could spend 20 minutes or so before jumping into the frying pan.  On Wednesdays there is no morning Mass, but I know the code to the side door.  I went again today.  How peaceful to sit in church with just Jesus!

Pray for me.  I don't know how I will get everything done.  Prayer and fasting and God's grace.  But right now in all of the aggravation, I am very much feeling His Presence and His Peace, which is just an awesome gift!.

impulse buy

My BFF lives 1200 or so miles from me and resides in a monastery.  So we don't visit very often.  Until this year, it had been about 4 times in 10 years or so. 

I have been afraid of flying for a long time, but about a year and a half ago, I decided that flying was better than (a) not going at all or (b) spending half of your vacation driving.  And then I found some reasonably priced tickets.  Last summer - for the first time in almost 30 years- I got on a plane by myself (without kids!) and flew half-way across the country.  I took a shuttle to the monastery and spent 4 wonderful days alternately visiting and silent.  There was a suite that I was able to stay in.  I walked to Mass and participated in as much of the daily Liturgy of the Hours as I wanted to.  I didn't know what to expect going in, but I really enjoyed the quiet.

My friend has been home twice in the past year because of her mother's medical condition and passing.  Both of those times, we were able to have wonderful, lengthy, wonderful visits - in spite of the circumstances.  So, I really hadn't planned to return to the monastery this summer.  My kids have a busy schedule this summer, and three (or four) visits in one year just seemed a bit extravagant.  Until yesterday. 

I was in the kitchen cutting up fruit for my breakfast when my dear husband (who was watching the news) shouted in that it might be the last summer I could go to see my friend.  He was distressed with what he saw about our president and unions and airlines, and said that tickets next summer are likely to be several times the price of tickets this summer.  I take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt, and let it go at that.

When I got home from school, I saw an email from Southwest Airlines in my inbox.  They really know what they are doing with these emails, because that's how my trip last summer was conceived.  Just on a whim, I decided to see what tickets from here to there would cost.   $78 each way!!  That is less than what I paid last summer!  So I emailed my friend to see if the "on-site accommodations" were available for specific dates.  She replied that the dates were "wide open".  I called dear hubby and got the OK from him.  Then, I went back to the reservation website, found dates and flights that would work and booked it!  Just like that!

When everything falls into place that easily, you can't help but think that God has a finger on it.

Can't wait!

Monday, May 10, 2010

mother's day

'Twas a good Mother's Day.  As Mother's Days go.

I was a little bummed that my tentative plans to go see my own mom didn't work out.  This time of the year is SO hectic with something every weekend.  When I ended up with my husband's grandson spending the weekend and my 8th grader ended up with a ton of homework due on Monday, I knew 2 hours on the road was out of the question.

We went to Mass as a family on Saturday evening - that was nice.  On the way home, we stopped at the drug store to pick up some prescriptions, and the kids "bought" me some chocolate.  It feels weird to go to Mass nearly every day of the week except Sunday, so even if we go on Saturday evening, I will often go again on Sunday morning, and I was able to do that this Sunday.  Can't beat Mass for a way to start the day.

While I was gone, my 13 year old did some flower arranging.  On his own, he cut some of the roses from the bush out front and put them in a vase.  Not the prettiest of roses, but a pretty arrangement - all red with one white one mixed in.  Then he cut some of his beloved petunias (purple and pink) and put them in another vase.  Meanwhile, dear hubby cut a magnolia out of the tree and gave it to his grandson to give to me!  It was all very sweet.

The best part, though, was when my 13 year old told me, "My friends talk about how they hate their moms.  I don't get it - I LOVE my mom."  Awwww.... I wonder how long that sentiment will endure.

We ate lunch with the in-laws - bar-b-qued hamburgers and spent time with two more of the grandchildren.  Pictures of some of the fun....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

a full moon week

It surely seemed like it could have been a full moon this week.  But I checked, and it wasn't.

Monday, our department went on a field trip, and I was the "left behind" person to stay with the kids who weren't going. I thought I would get some work done, but I got very little done.  I had to fill in for the lunch duty of someone who was on the field trip, and I had no time that was kid-free.  I even ate lunch at my desk with kids in my room.  I didn't have many - two or three at a time - but it was difficult to get anything done.

Tuesday was a chorus concert at school.  It was done early, and the schedule had been adjusted to allow for an hour concert.  I had my first block class for nearly 2.5 hours.  We were ALL fit to be tied by the time that was over with.  They were out of control.

Wednesday was another field trip.  We went to Avery Island, and toured the Tabasco factory and the Jungle Gardens.  The Jungle Gardens are gorgeous.  Our bus driver pointed out the salt domes.  The kids were mostly decent.  They enjoyed sampling the Tabasco flavored ice cream (I was NOT impressed) and seeing the alligators.  My own two boys were having a wasted day at their school, so they skipped school and joined us. 

In the picture with the bridge, you can see an alligator floating in the lower right hand corner. 
Trying to place pictures on Blogger drives me crazy.  I don't want it formatted like this - but it is! 

On Thursday, my wonderful "Breakfast Club" first hour was nicely settled down in their desks (probably for the first time in over 2 weeks) with their assignments, calculator, pencils, etc on their desks, and I was leading them through their assignment when my door swung open.  There stood one of our administrators, two police officers, and a drug dog.  They confiscated a few cell phones and an MP3 player, but nothing illegal was detected.  They felt like they had been singled out, but that is what happens when you behave as they have all year.  When you're on the radar, it isn't always a good thing!

Friday started off with one of my church friends donating an American flag to the [public] school that I teach at.  I guess that was a violation of church and state on many levels.  Too bad.  When I took down the previous American flag (a couple of years ago), it was so tattered that the strings were wrapped around near-by branches. 
The rest of the day didn't go quite as wonderfully.  I have SO much paperwork to do, I may never get it all done.  One of my assistants left for the day.  I got some things done.  My [step] daughter-in-law got word that her grandfather in Massachusetts was dying.  Her oldest son was going to spend Friday night with us, but she asked us to keep him for the weekend, so that she could go to see her grandfather.  My oldest son came home with a truckload of homework (not the first time on a Mother's Day weekend), and we had a Boy Scout meeting on Friday afternoon (instead of on Sunday, like we usually do).  I think everyone was tired, and some tempers flared with the adults.  My children said it was "awkward".  We usually get along pretty well, so hopefully things can be resolved in a productive way. 

My step-grandchild was baptized Catholic, but is being raised in the Assembly of God churches.  He has gone to church with us both of the weekends that he came with us.  I hope that doesn't cause problems; it is no secret that I am a "Happy Catholic".  Last week, he was just there.  This Saturday, my boys were altar servers, and he was full of questions.  Why do the people kneel before they sit down?  Why do you have six Sundays of Easter?  When can I get one of those "round things"?  Can I help the priest, too?  I just tell him, "We'll talk later."  During the Sign of Peace, I heard a crash coming from the altar area.  As my oldest was putting away the Sacramentary, the sleeve of his alb caught on the wine cruet, and he spilled the wine.  On the dry-clean-only tablecloth of the credence table.  A "nice lady" (from the altar society) helped clean it up after Mass.  She was a little stressed,  but I think she ended up  taking it to be cleaned.

Mother's Day was good; maybe another post.

And then tomorrow is school.....

Monday, May 3, 2010


I hate these things!  What God was thinking with that bit of creation, I have no clue!

I know there is some fancy scientific name for them.  We just call them stinging caterpillars.  Brush against them and those ugly little spiny things get you.

Every spring - like clockwork. 

This one was in my strawberries, and it got me!  Not bad, though. 

Even uglier is squishing them. of like baby poop.  And on that note....have a great week!

the half dozen arrives!

My stepson is all grown up now and has SIX kids of his own.  Yes, they know what causes it.  No, they're not Catholic.  Six.  Ranging in age from 1 to 10.  

They have alternately lived 6 hours from us and 12 hours from us.  Having just left their stomping grounds 12 hours away, they are en route to resettle in the city 6 hours from us.  But before they do that, they are stopping off at stepson's mom (about 30 miles from us) for several weeks.   (Stepson is overseas working.)  Mom and 6 babies.

Six is a handful, but these are beautiful, loving kids, and I'm not biased at all!  The 10-year-old is a boy, who thinks the sun rises and sets on his 13 and 14 year old uncles, so he spent the night with us on Saturday.  I think he already has plans to come back on Friday.

This weekend was quite busy, too.  Besides visiting with family, we spent several hours fundraising for scouts.  

Hooray for the half dozen!  Life will NOT be boring this summer!

an hour well spent

There are items from last weekend that I had wanted to write about, but ran out of time.   

One was my adventure with kid #1.  He is [hopefully] graduating from 8th grade this year, and someone is putting together a DVD of the kids' baby pictures, current pictures and whatever in-between.  Not having any decent current ones - that awkward age thing - we set out last Sunday to go to our local university where there are decent oak trees and backgrounds.  We finally came up with this:  (My single frustration with Blogger is not being able to put my pictures where I want them...I mean, it can't be that hard, but I haven't found the touch yet.)

We walked around campus for a little while looking at various things, taking a walk down memory lane for me, then he asked me [again] to take him to "the Cathedral".   The Cathedral for our diocese is not far, but I really had a ton of other things to do last Sunday, and tried to postpone this adventure.  (Maybe we can take a different church each week this summer, and do some "sightseeing".)

After we got in the car to leave, we drove through campus.  The Catholic Student Center was just finishing Mass, and people were hanging around outside at a bake sale.  It has probably been 20 years since I had been inside, so I asked him if he wanted to stop.  I already knew the answer.  We walked around inside, for 20 minutes or so, just looking at different things.  It was recently renovated.  Some things I remembered.  Others, not so much.

Energized by that, I agreed to at least drive by the Cathedral.  I figured Mass would probably be going on, and I would be off the hook.  No such luck.  We parked, and approached the church.  There was an open door, so we entered.  We used to attend Mass there occasionally, and dear son remarked that "it still smelled the same".  Incense.  The lights were off, but we walked around in there, too, looking at this and that.  Statues.  Stained Glass. He is a visual person, and just drinks in the details.  Someone was there, moving stuff around in the sanctuary.  After a while, he approached us and asked if we would like to see "the relics".  Of course!  The relics are so small, that you can't tell what they are, but there were relics for a dozen or so of Heaven's Finest. 

I like doing this kind of thing, and it's neat to have a son who enjoys it as well.  Actually, it's pretty cool to have a nearly 15 year old who wants anything to do with his mom!  So we spent an hour or so in church.  I still had a ton of things to do when we left, and I'm not sure they got done, but this was an hour well spent!  I hope we do get to visit some beautiful churches this summer!


I am so thankful for my "BFF" (Best Friend Forever).  We have been friends since 1978; that's a long time!  We met in 9th grade CCD, discovered that we went to the same school, liked a few of the same things, and that's all it took.  All in all, I don't think we are a lot alike in a lot of ways, but we do share some important things - like faith and values - and that is everything. 

Twelve or thirteen years ago, I was a fairly new mom with two small children and a full-time job, and she was a fairly new cloistered nun (or novice). Even then we would comment on how our lives seemed to run on the same themes.  Everything I did was on someone else's schedule (feeding, changing, sleeping), and such was life in the monastery for her(praying, working, eating).Years have passed, and sometimes I will email her with things that wouldn't go anywhere else, and she will email back with a parallel situation that she is going through.    

I can't get into specifics here about situations at work, but with my BFF, I can confide ALL the details.  It was kind of cool to get back an email today saying, "we must be twins who were separated at birth."  Bottom line, we are both in need of all the prayers that we can get.   We are separated by many miles, but prayer transcends time and space.  Let us pray!