Tuesday, June 28, 2011

can you hear me now?

It says that God speaks in a "still quiet voice" and I know that to be true, but sometimes I think He resorts to playing "can you hear me Now?" with us.

During this past school year, I developed a comfortable routine that included time in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament almost daily. I would drop off my younger child and then had 30 minutes or so before my presence was absolutely required at work. So giving to the school board what was the school board's, and giving to God what was God's, I would visit the Catholic Church that is about 90 seconds from my school. 15, 20, 30 minutes...it was time well spent.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find time in my summer for this same level of intimacy with the Good Lord. A good bit of the time when I have stopped in for a visit, there has been the feeling that I am shirking some other important duty or meeting 'another man'. And sometimes it just seems impossible to give this time to God when there is painting and waiting and phone calls and sorting and packing to be done.

My sister-in-law's parish is having 60 hours of Eucharistic Adoration at the chapel of the nearby Catholic high school this week in honor of Pope Benedict's 60th Ordination Anniversary. She asked me to take her place on Sunday, and it was a w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l hour. I told my people that I was going back today, and I did. There is just something special about that time. Peace. I don't get the same results from sitting in my bedroom.

Which brings me [finally] to my point. As I drove in to the parking lot today, I was listening to KLOVE on the radio. There was an interview with one of the musicians (Matthew West??) and he was recounting a conversation he had had with Billy Graham. Mr. Graham had responded to whatever the question was with, "Your ministry, your family depends on you having time with God every day. The enemy knows this, and will do whatever he can to steal this time from you. Protect it!". And so today, God started His conversation with me before I even walked through the door of the chapel!

I hear you, Lord!

Sent from my iPad.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

come hungry

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  ~ John 6:56

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  Credit for the ideas - if not the text - of this post goes to my kind pastor.  It was a wow! kind of homily today.  Apologies for anything that I butcher too badly in the retelling. I assure you, he told it better!

Imagine if you will, that you were invited to a supper - a supper that you had no right to attend.  But you decided to attend, mostly just to see what it was all about.  You get there, and there is the most delicious, beautiful spread you have ever seen.  Only one problem....you're not hungry!  "Eat!" you host says.  "Well, I didn't really know if I'd like the food that you were going to have, so I ate before I came...I guess I'll try a little of this..."  But you are already full, so the delicious food that you sample, does nothing for you.

Here we are...at the most supreme of all miracles...of all suppers.  Are we hungry?? 

The Lord gives himself to us...so that He can assimilate us into Himself...so that we can become more like Him.  Not so that we can assimilate Him into ourselves.

He knows that we are on a journey and that we need food for that journey. He knows that we hunger...for love, for security, for peace, for health.  We look to fill those needs in all the wrong places. He also knows that most of the time we are full...full of self-righteousness, pride, selfishness, doubt, fear, and ourselves.  Yet He comes to us anyway.

And the preparation for this meal?  The host suffered, died, and rose so that He could give Himself to us!  We, in preparation, need to empty ourselves.  We need to be hungry so that He can fill us!  Are you hungry?

I'm starving!

Friday, June 24, 2011

hurry up and wait

I knew this summer would be different from usual summers because we were buying a house and moving.  I just couldn't quite know HOW it would be different.

We closed on the house nearly 3 weeks ago!  Yay!  And since then, it has been a series of "things".  Things that seem like they shouldn't take any time at all, but before you know it the whole day is gone.

We are still living in the "old" house.  For anyone who asks if we "have moved", the answer is, "it's a process...we are moving."  Oh my.  Goodwill and friends and grandkids and trash.

Trash - that brings me to the first issue.  We have government trash cans.  It's the thing now in lots of places, and we are nothing here in the Deep South, if not cutting edge.  Only problem is, the garbage can that was supposed to come with the house, didn't.  I have made 6 phone calls this week, talked to 2 live humans, and left 4 voicemails - none of which have been returned to our local government.  I am no closer to getting a garbage can than I was on Monday when I started.  Really?  How hard is it to call me back or have someone drop off a garbage can??  Oh...sorry to vent!

We have ordered rugs and gone to pick them up.
(I think this one is going to look really nice in my Mom Cave, but I'm not sure my husband shares my vision.)

And then we have gone back to pick up the one that wasn't there when it was supposed to be there. 
You can see in this picture that the kids found the sound and video equipment that came with the house.  
It didn't take them long to figure out how to make the speakers work so that the whole house and the outside ROCK.
Oh joy!

We bought a dryer (at a greatly discounted price) 
and then searched high and low for the discontinued matching washer at a not-so-discounted price.  

We bought furniture and waited for it to be delivered.


And then we have waited for the furniture that was delivered damaged to be picked up and new furniture delivered.

We have painted an olive green room hunter green.

And changed a pink, girly room in to a China Blue teen-boy room.

We have enjoyed the pool and had friends over.

Oh...and we've waited for the pool people,
because as you can see from the picture, our pool was "going green".  
I don't know anything about pool maintenance.

And below, you see younger teen enjoying the balcony.
I'm sure not everyone puts their Boy Scout cot out on the balcony and covers with a beach towel.
But what do we know?
Kinda like the Beverly Hill Billies....

One reason we had friends over was because of this:

We decided to put granite in the kitchen.
But the back-splash had to be removed.
I thought it would just be a matter of popping some tiles off of the wall.
Several hours later, I posted my frustration on Facebook,
and one of my friends offered help.
She and my oldest son pounded the tiles into oblivion. 
But within an hour, the backsplash was no more.

The backsplash had to be removed, so I could wait for the granite guy to come make these:

It is a template of the kitchen countertops.  Currently folded up and laying on the floor in the garage.
He couldn't fit it in his car.
(But he said I didn't have to wait for him to come get it....
He would call, and I could just put it on the driveway.)

And the one thing I don't have a picture of is waiting for the kids to get off the roof.
Never thought that would be one of the rules I would have to go over when friends come over.
Ummm...please refrain from walking on the roof of my house....really???

My "issues" I guess, are the feeling of not accomplishing very much, seeing the huge amount of stuff that remains to be done (hard to purge and pack when you're waiting at the other house....)
Time for "me stuff" has been so limited.
Workouts...I'm thinking of putting my membership on hold.
Time in prayer or with the Blessed Sacrament...besides Mass, virtually non-existent.
Blogging....judge for yourself.

But in the end...it will all be worth it.  

A picture from my Mom-Cave, where I've moved some stuff and spent some time organizing and unpacking while I wait...

Off to gather Goodwill items!


Monday, June 20, 2011

for sarah

I didn't know her name until today. But I knew her face well. One of the sadder facts of life that we see people on a nearly daily basis, but don't know their names.

Sarah and her husband are regular attendees at daily Mass at my parish. I park by them...because not only do we have assigned seats inside the church, we appear to have our favorite parking spots as well. Our church's parking lot is bordered by apartments for the elderly and disabled, and Sarah and her husband regularly gave one of the blind residents a ride home after Mass. I would see them shuffling out...Sarah in the lead, careful not to go too fast, the lady with her hand on Sarah's shoulder. When they got to the door, Sarah would step through and then stop while the lady dipped her hand on the holy water and crossed herself. Then, hand on shoulder, they continued their slow shuffle to the SUV, where they helped the lady situate herself for the drive across the parking lot to the apartments.

This was all I was witness to. Perhaps they picked her up before Mass as well. Perhaps they assisted her in other ways. Since we parked near each other, we often exchanged small talk on the way to our cars. ( though apparently names weren't really necessary). She would ask me how many days of school remained. That kind of thing.

They were at Mass on Friday. I don't remember if we spoke or not. Maybe we waved. But that was Sarah's last Mass [here on earth]. The good Lord called her home later that day. She was 67...about my mom's age.. Though we know intellectually that we have no way of knowing the day or the hour, I think we always kind of figure we'll have some warning...some decline in health, a hint that we should wrap up loose ends with our lives here. But, obviously that is not always the case.

We all get these wake-up calls not to take life for granted. Let us hear and answer them. And let us say a prayer for Sarah, her husband, 3 children, and 10 grandchildren, siblings, etc. Rest in peace, Sarah. May you arrive safely in your new home, as you always took care to make sure that your sister in Christ arrived safely at her home!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

coming up for air [conditioning]

My brain has not been with blogging lately.  This week has been miserably hot, and we have been fairly busy.

Thursday found me doing the making tape part of painting of son #2's room.  It really needed it worse than son #1's, as you can see by this picture.  The closet, bathroom and ceiling remain to be done.  The bathroom is taped, but not painted.  The closet adjoins the attic and is quite toasty.  Actually the whole endeavor was not very cool.  The A/C is running and cooling a little, but not enough.  A/C man is supposed to come next week.


But the room looks better.  It is now "China Blue".  Said child wanted "Pool Party Blue".  This is close, but a little more reserved.   I need a picture without the Bubble Gum/ Dora the Explorer/ Barbie / Pepto-Bismal Pink intruding.  


Yesterday the locksmith came and re-keyed all of the locks.  The pool guy showed up and left me with a long list of chemicals to purchase and his cell phone #.  I packed a few boxes of things at "home" to bring to the new house, I made at least half a dozen phone calls to schedule driver's ed, a visit to the orthopedist, trying to locate a matching washer to the dryer we bought, and who knows what else.  A friend of mine came with me to swim in the not-real-clean pool and to see the house.  (We just told ourselves that our boys were swimming in a lake this week, and surely the pool is better, even in its current neglected state.)

Today the furniture people delivered the four items of furniture we bought (2 tables with chairs/stools, a love seat, and a new bed frame for me and the mister).  Kind of cool to see furniture in "the space".  Love how all those HGTV people always oooh and ahhh over "the space".

And then we took off in search of The Washer.  Drove almost to the Texas border to save a couple of hundred bucks.  Worth it?  I don't know, but it is done!

And in a few short minutes, my guys will be back from their week of Boy Scout Camp in Georgia, and so I must go.  

In all the moving, I am missing my down time and my time spent with God.  I make it to Mass in the mornings and not much else.  But, this too shall pass.  The challenge will be to see God in the moving and the negotiating and the mess.  Almost certainly He is there, too.

Oh..... one more thing.  I found this yesterday going through some papers.  This quote was on a paper I got at a Mother's Day of Reflection a year or so ago.

I am nothing.  He is all.  I do nothing on my own.  He does it.  I am God's pencil.
A tiny bit of pencil with which He writes what He likes.
I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God
who is sending a love letter to the world.
God writes through us, and however
imperfect instruments we may be,
He writes beautifully.

~Blessed Mother Teresa

And therein is my blogging philosophy!  :-)  

Gotta run!  My boys are on their way!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

home, sweet home, etc...

Things have been so, so busy.

Monday we closed on our new home.  When we got home (to our current house) after the closing, we noticed a man in our yard walking around one of our oak trees.  When we inquired further, he was there "mapping" the trees.  Seems that the powers that be want to four-lane the road in front of our house.  Am I happy to be moving??

The boys are at Boy Scout Camp in Georgia, so hubby and I had to enjoy the new pool all by ourselves.  That was really quite nice.  The pool has been neglected somewhat, so it wasn't pristine, but I figured the boys are swimming in a lake this week, so what the heck! 

Tuesday, I set off with my sister-in-law and a friend.  We went to a place in our city.  Actually this site, is in a beautiful neighborhood in someone's front yard.  Mary asked for it to be built, and they obliged.

We went to get some of the healing water and said a rosary while we were there.

Wednesday, my sister and nephew and parents came to town.  I met them at the Children's Museum, had lunch with them, and then showed off the new house.  I never thought I would live in something this nice!  We have been married 17 years, and we have been "looking" for a long time.  Let me just say, that moving is going to be a long process with 30 years of accumulated "grah dieu", and that our approaches are polar opposites.  Husband's idea is to pick up a box, throw it in the truck and shove it somewhere at the new house.  Done!  My idea is to go through the c.r.a.p before we pack it (even if it is already in a box), move it, put it where it will go.

Called people to come look at the pool to give us some idea of what to do.  Only had to call six before I found one with a working number and willing to do what I asked.

Then we painted child # 1's room.  I did the prep...taping the woodwork.  A friend of dear hubby's did the painting.  It is going from an olive green to hunter green.  Still haven't settled on a color for the P.I.N.K room, yet.

Yep, just a little busy here!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

come holy spirit

Trying an email entry here...uncharted territory. I can do most things from my iPad, but one thing I have not yet figured out how to do is blog. Something about my browser not supporting it. I know there IS "an app for that", but before I blow the five bucks, someone suggested that I try to email it...so here we go! My motivation for doing this is that when I go to visit my BFF in a few weeks, I would prefer not to lug the laptop through airport security, etc.

Have you noticed the past couple of weeks, everything has been about the Holy Spirit? I never really noticed it before this year.

Went to hear a priest speak at a luncheon earlier this week, and he started off with a prayer to the Holy Spirit..."Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the (your?) faithful, enkindle in them the power of your love...". I knew this from somewhere. Childhood?

I went to confession earlier in the week. My penance was to "pray earnestly" each day until Sunday to ask the Holy Spirit to "increase my capacity" to love Jesus and allow Him to work through me.

At Mass one morning, we had a homily on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and a quick reference to the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

All leading to the celebration this weekend of Pentecost...the coming of the Holy Spirit. Because Jesus said he would never leave us...He would be with us until the end of the age.

> Come Holy Spirit, come!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Nearly a year ago, my sister-in-law began to host a Rosary group in her home.  I always figured Rosary groups were for old ladies, but I have missed very few of these, and have benefited greatly.  We pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary...it was popular in the Middle Ages, and was re-introduced by Our Lady of Kibeho in the 1980's.  The prayer and meditation is always good.  Soothing?  Peace-inducing? The source of many graces?  Something about meditating on the sufferings of the Blessed Mother and Our Lord.

But also wonderful is the ever-changing group of people with whom we pray.  I love that my teen sons sometimes come with me (one more often than the other).  This week, I invited two dear people from work.  There were 11 of us - 3 teens (one of them mine), one young person in her 20s or 30's.  A few of us in our 40's.  Sister-in-law in her 50's.  One of the people I brought in her 60's...another at or close to 70.  And my mother-in-law who will be 80 this summer rounded out the group.

We start off by going around the group for those who wish to offer prayer intentions.  Then we begin.  We take turns reading the reflections at the beginning of each mystery.  No real order...someone who wants to read takes a turn.  At the end, we often stay for a little while and visit.  This week, one of our group said she had something she wanted to share.  She was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago - at the age of 39 - with stage four Lung Cancer.  Statistics gave her a 15% chance of living a year.  A 5% chance of surviving two years.  She had written an article for our local Catholic paper.  I can not link directly to it, but it is certainly worth the effort to read, in my ever so humble opinion.  This link will get you close.  ;-)  From there, click on the June, 2011 issue.  Her story is on page 35.  She is an inspiration, and her article tackles very accurately what is truly important for us as parents and as followers of Jesus.

Monday, June 6, 2011

miss it...or not

We should close on our new house soon! The credit union called Friday to say that the title work was complete and that it had passed its termite inspection!  All we really need now is a date!

I am looking forward to a new house!  I think we are all most looking forward to not having 4 people share one bathroom.  (For the record, our current house has 2 bathrooms, but only one has an electrical outlet [note that outlet is singular] and only one has a bathtub.)  In the new house, each bedroom has a bathroom.

I am not looking forward to the moving process.  Dear hubby has called our humble abode "home" for more than 30 years.  I have been here for 17+, and the kids for nearly that long.  We have a lot of "stuff".  Not even sure where to start.  Right now it is almost a paralysis....gridlock.  I have a stack of clothes on the floor.  Nothing is really wrong with them.  I use a lot of the T-shirts to sleep in.  But, really, how many t-shirts does a person need?

I took a load of varied items to Goodwill last week.  Only about 11,473 more to go!

There are some things that I will miss when we move.

 Like the measurement of kids on the back of the kitchen door.
At one point, we used pencil.
But now...hell...just write it on there with a Sharpie!

 And the big backyard where the boys could shoot skeet with shotguns if they were so inclined.

And where one day, in the tree in the foreground of the above pic, I saw this...
(There's a story that goes along with it...)
I'll miss my little garden(s), too.
But I should be able to do some of that at the new place.


But there are some things that I surely won't miss.

Like living next door to a funeral home.  
They are pretty quiet neighbors, and haven't had many "customers" yet.
But when they do have business, I can water my garden and listen to the parking lot conversations.

I also will not miss living on a busy highway that is currently in a state of construction...
or is it reconstruction.

I wonder if there will be other things...like the proximity to my kids' school, my work, our church....or the "coziness" of our present house.  The places we shop.  A place for our Golden Retriever call her own. But along with that comes new places, new people, new opportunities.

Onward on the journey!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

almost wordless

 Could be my new drink of choice.  In the big ol' can size. 

It was once called grass.  
Now it is just kind of crunchy.  
It has been way too long since any decent rain came our way.

Not all that impressive, except that it was taken at 7 pm in the shade.
And *technically* it is not even summer yet.

It could be a long one at this rate!


My new favorite song....

Blessings, by Laura Story.  It's one of those that just jumped out of the radio the first time I heard it. 

What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?
What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?
Laura has had many blessings in her life, but one of the ones that she wouldn't have signed up for was having her husband diagnosed with a brain tumor.  And yet God works through it all. :-)  Suffering included.  Or maybe most especially through suffering.

Friday, June 3, 2011

finding the rhythm

School is out for summer!  (Hearing bits of that Alice Cooper ditty playing on my boys' iPods...)  I've enjoyed a whole week of that freedom, and it surely does go fast! 

But just for the record, I did devote one entire day to a Promethean Mini-Conference that was an example of Professional Development done right!  Wondering what Promethean is??  It is about the most wonderful thing to hit the education world since computers!  I love my Promethean Board; I use it every.single.day, but there is so much more that I could do with it, and it was good to get ideas. 

I also did go visit with my principal one morning.  I wanted to see what the schedule looked like for next year, and find out the status of my room and the "consolidation".  He said for now, my room is "safe".  That is some consolation, though I know never to count on anything such as that.  However, I am done with it until I have to show up again in August.  I have spoken, he has heard, the rest is out of my hands.

My priest is taking a break this week from being a "fisher of men".  I think he's spending time in the Gulf of Mexico fishing for real fish.  And as such, there have been no Masses at all at our parish since last Sunday.  Lucky are we to have other places where the Lord waits for us. 

Every year, I see summer stretching ahead of me with great potential for getting things done.  And then, only a tiny fraction of what I envisioned actually gets done.  What happens?  For one thing...summer heat.  It just saps your strength.  Especially when anything involves being outside.  It's not even summer yet, and our temps are hitting the upper 90's.  Arghhh.  Besides the heat, the pace just seems to slow.

The priest on Tuesday mentioned that this is a season of reflection/mediation, education (read some of the books in this library...that was at the church that burnt that has daily Mass in the parish library), and service.  Frankly, that sounds like a pretty good use of summer for me, and the slower pace lends itself to some of that....especially the reflection.

During the school year, I found a great rhythm.  I would drop off my kidlet at his school and then proceed down the road to the church near my school.  There I could have 20, 30, maybe 40 minutes (if there wasn't a Mass) of time with the Lord before heading into the world of work.  It was an awesome thing, and it was time that would have been otherwise wasted with shuffling papers or idle conversation.  Now I find myself still wanting to spend that time there, but it doesn't fit into my schedule in quite the same way.  I have to go out of my way to spend that time, and I feel guilty.  It reminds me of the Martha and Mary story...wanting to sit at the feet of Jesus, yet feeling the need to be busy about so many other things.  I found this little bit of validation a couple of days ago...on Facebook of all places...posted by The Word Among Us....

Every moment of prayer,
especially before our Lord in the tabernacle,
is a postive gain.
The time we spend in having our daily audience with God
is the most precious part of the whole day.
~Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Who am I to argue with that little woman?
Still looking for the rhythm, though!