Thursday, December 27, 2012

catching up

Do you ever really catch up?  This is more like the once a month reader's digest summary.

Life has been wild.  I started a post before Thanksgiving entitled "ch-ch-ch-changes."

It has been really roller-coastery.  The most glaring change has probably been school.  We heard the Saturday before Thanksgiving, that we would have a new principal beginning in early December.  Not really a new one...she retired from our school about 6 years ago.  But then things were said at a school board meeting, and the position had to be advertised, interviews, blah, blah, blah.  She's coming.  She's not coming.  They offered her the job.  She accepted.  The position is being reopened.  Never mind.  It has been four or five weeks of that kind of uncertainty.  Our current principal hanging in there,, not really sure of where he was going or when his last day would be.  But a week ago - the day before the Christmas break began - it became official.  We said good-bye to one and hello to the new old one.  Almost anything is better than the never-ending roller coaster.

I made a slight change of my own.  I ordered a pink box.

It came in the mail the week of Thanksgiving and promised "endless possibilities" and "boundless opportunity", and that sounded really good.

And so I began life as an independent Thirty-One consultant.  My first thought was "what were you thinking", but it's not been bad.  I have a few "whys".  The extra money is a draw.  The chance to buy the products at a reduced price.  The chance to get out of the house.  I think even the craziness at school contributed to my decision to embrace more craziness.  I have never had a school year this bad.

It is not the students.  It is not the people I work with.  It is the absolute craziness of the system, the absence of any meaningful discipline system, and the mind-blowing amount of paperwork and accountability they expect from us.  It is the fact that my pay will be based on the performance of hormonal adolescents (and to some degree hormonal observers.)  In 4 years, I will reach 30 years, which is my goal for retirement.  I must reach that.  Always I have figured that I would hit 30 years, perhaps do 3 years of Deferred Retirement (DROP), and then see how the spirit moved me.  Now my mantra is "4 more years, 4 more years."  I can't imagine going a day longer.

So, yeah, Thirty-One...where the motto is to Encourage, Reward, and Celebrate.  (Not necessarily in that order).  It sounded a lot better than Discourage, Antagonize, and Demoralize.  I have closed out two "parties".  Mostly random orders from friends that I combined, but enough to qualify for one of the December incentives, so that I got 4 items from the new Spring catalog free!  Of course there is an "Add-On Kit"  for spring that I would be crazy not to purchase....a great deal with new products.  So I guess what I made in commission will go right back to them?  Not sure when I will find time to host actual parties.  Perhaps in the summer.  Or when wrestling season is over.  Not sure where the hostesses will come from, either.  But one thing at a time.

Wrestling.  Practice most days after school.  We seldom arrive home in the daylight.  Meets every Wednesday night and nearly every Friday and/or Saturday.  It takes up a lot of time.  But both boys are participating, and doing alright. Our team, as a whole, loses more than it wins.   But my guys are enjoying, and it is fun to hear them talk about the moves and strategies.  It is such a boy sport.

Confirmation... that got overlooked in the scheme of things in November.  It took place the day after Cross Country ended and the day before Wrestling began.

My child, with his Godmother, and our good priest.  The Mass was simple and beautiful.  God takes a "yes", even a fearful or uncertain "yes" and does great things with it.

My sister-in-law grabbed the camera from me, and insisted that I get in the picture, too.  Sometimes Moms DO need to get in front of the camera.  Dear hubby was across the room...waiting patiently.

A picture of the bunch that has been together since first grade.  Most now go the the Catholic School, while a couple went the public school route, but it was always a tight-knit group. The boys were always outnumbered.  (Just for the record, my child DID have dress shoes on while he was in church.  Somehow he managed a quick change.)

Al-Anon...(how's that for a quick detour onto a totally different path)?  Went to my first meeting ever a few weeks ago.  No active drinking going on here, but surely some self-centered behavior that is difficult to deal with.  A lack of boundaries, for sure.  It has been on my radar for several many of our Retrouvaille conversations seemed to end focused on alcoholism, and I realized how big of an influence some of those things were on our lives.  I wasn't sure if I'd fit, but I was assured that I would, and I did.  I couldn't relate to everything, but some of it, I certainly could.  I'll be going back.

Church of my small pleasures during the Christmas season.  My oldest accompanied me this year.  It was he and I, one of my Scout-mom friends, and our priest.  We were a finely oiled machine this year.

The good Monsignor takes care of the sanctuary.

My teenager hauled things in and out of the attic, put up the wreathes that go under each Station of the Cross, and provided a critical (in a good way) eye of some of our experiments.  My friend and I hung wreathes on each side, put already-assembled arrangements in each window and fixed the banner and wreath across the choir loft in the back of the church.  Simple, but nice, is the theme.

Christmas...kind of dreaded it.  I've come to realize that for some reason, holidays are most often marked with drama in this family.  But, we survived.  No one - of any age - had any meltdowns this year!!  It was, however, the first time I can remember having tornado warnings during Christmas dinner.  All was well, though.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with dear hubby's family, but no photographic evidence exists.  ;-). Christmas Day found us at my sister's new house.

A casualty from the high winds -- the decorations on the front porch.

A group shot of our clan...four generations from ages 4 - 96. Missing are my sister-in-law who was taking the picture, and my brother and sister-in-law who live out of state.

Today, I celebrated my own birthday.  Both of my boys came with me to 6:30 Mass.  (It was because they had wrestling practice at 7:30 and didn't want to be late, but I'll take it for the gift that it was.)  Later, I had lunch with friends from school, as we bid our outgoing principal farewell.  And then I spent a quiet evening at home.  Not bad in the scheme of things!

And that, my friends, is that.  The high points, and maybe some of the low from the last month or so!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

dispensation notwithstanding

I attended a conference in New Orleans this weekend.  About a month ago, when I knew that I would be there for today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I mentioned it to my priest.  I was riding with someone else, and I couldn't tell from Google Maps if there was a church within walking distance of our hotel.  Besides, I didn't know how the Mass schedule would mesh with the schedule for the conference.  He listened to me and then granted me a dispensation of the obligation, if it was not possible for me to attend.  So I really had no intention of going to Mass.

Yesterday evening, looking out of the window near the 14th floor elevator, I saw the stained glass windows of a church next to the hotel.  I wasn't sure it was operational or Catholic, though, and I wasn't really thinking along the lines of going to Mass.

This morning was a lazy one, but at 7 a.m., still sitting in bed, I heard church bells.  Perhaps I should investigate further, I thought.  So I opened the Maps App on my iPad and found out that the name of the church was....get this....Immaculate Conception.  Think someone is trying to get my attention?  So...I did a quick Google Search and found the website for the church, looked at the bulletin, and observed that there was an 8 a.m. Mass on Saturday.

So, even with a "Free Pass", the Good Lord was calling my name.  Drawing me to Him.  I told my co-worker roommate that I was going to 8 a.m. Mass.  The morning conference session started at 8:30, so I'd be a little late.

I inquired at the front desk, where exactly the church was...I'd seen it, but wasn't sure which direction to go from the front door.  "Go down to the corner and take a right."  I did, and as I walked, I could hear the bells,  but still was unsure exactly where the church was.  Then I looked up, and right there in front of me was an older African American lady holding the door open.  I smiled at her and entered.  I wasn't 50 steps from the front door of our hotel!


Absolutely gorgeous!!  I was SO distracted!

The abundant stained glass windows were beautiful!

This is the view of the rear of the church - the choir loft, perhaps.

The looks like a shell arching out over it.

A side altar.

A sample of the beautiful artwork and mosaics.

The pews.

Baptismal font.

A couple of the many statues.

All in all, I was glad that I didn't ignore that quiet but persistent voice.  What a treat to worship in such a beautiful space!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

post-election musings part 3: moving forward

And so...moving forward (pun intended) what are we to do?  First we need to accept that we are where we are at this pointing time because Christians have fallen short -  that look in the mirror thing.  We have allowed our voices to be silent and have just gone along with the crowd.  In our values and morality, we have become indistinguishable from the rest of society.  We live together with out benefit of marriage.  We use artificial contraception.  We divorce.  We skip Mass when something better comes along, or it is too inconvenient.  We have been silent and we have tolerated evil.  Some of us even think that religion is something that we do at church on Sunday.  Many of us think that we are so virtuous we have no real need for the sacrament of reconciliation.

Someone posted on Facebook this past is true that things happen for a reason.  But sometimes the reason is that you are stupid and make bad choices.  Truer words may have never been spoken. 

But that still doesn't answer the "what now" question.  While it is true that we do not always follow God's will for our lives, it IS true that God continuously brings good from bad situations.  Writes straight with crooked lines, as it were.  One of the good things that should come from this is a return to prayer.  Honestly, I think most of us are prayer-slackers. 

We need to pray for (and with) our families and for the conversion of our country.  We have turned away from God, and there will be consequences for our actions.  One thing that I have come across recently is the Patriotic Rosary.   Pray a decade every night if a whole Rosary seems overwhelming. 

During this year of Faith, get to know your Catholic Faith.  Understand why we believe what we believe, even if you don't think you agree with it.  Make use of the sacraments!  Even (or maybe, especially) confession.  Invite a friend - to Mass, to confession, to pray.

Padre Giovanni Triglio suggested going a bit further in a recent post:
I suggest a modest program. Voluntary resumption of the ALL Friday abstinence (except on Solemnities) and voluntary fasting on all Wednesdays (or at least one day a week, except on Solemnities) in REPARATION for the sins of our age; DAILY rosary; MONTHLY confession; ANNUAL retreats; PERIODIC pilgrimages; and FREQUENT acts of piety and devotion. Simultaneously, we need to READ and LEARN more about our religion and be more assertive in SPREADING it, first by example and secondly by prudent and compassionate CATECHESIS.

The Roman Empire converted thanks to the blood of the martyrs but also because their faith became contagious. Lukewarm Catholics attract no one. Mediocrity is a cancer. PRAY for vocations AND pray for better politicians. Support those who defend LIFE and oppose those who promote death and perversity.
 There is much to be done, my friends!  Are you ready?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

post-election musings part 2: looking in the mirror

I went to Mass Wednesday morning feeling quite defeated.  My pastor, as he often does, knew just what to say.  After the readings, which he acknowledged could not have been more prophetic for the day, he hesitated a second and took a breath.  To begin with, he said, we should be eternally grateful that we live in a country that does not change leaders by military coup.  Next, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are first of all Citizens of Heaven, and secondly citizens of the United States.  If society is broken and sick, then it is because we as individuals are broken and sick.  We as Christians have often fallen short. If we want to effect a change, we need look no further than the mirror for a place to start.  We must allow the Lord and His gospel to work through us. The cost of discipleship is "take up your cross and follow me".  If we are serious about living in pursuit of justice and peace, there is always suffering involved.  The bottom line however, was uplifting....Be not afraid; the Lord is with us.

My BFF sent me a prayer later that afternoon. It was attributed to Max Lucado.

 Let others lose sleep over the election.  
 Let others grow bitter from party or petty rivalries. 
 Let others cast their hope with the people of the elephant or the donkey.  
Not followers of Jesus. 
 We place our trust in the work of God. 
How many kings has He seen come and go?  
How many nations has He seen stand and fall?  
He is above them all.  And He oversees them all. 
 So, while others get anxious, we don’t. 
 Here is what we do:  we pray. 
“First of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—
 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  (1 Tim.2:1-4 NIV). 
It is time to take this job seriously.  
Over the next hours and days ahead, turn your heart toward heaven and ask God to:
         Unite our country
   Strengthen us

She acknowledged that God must know that we are trying, but I kind of feel like he is shaking his head at us in frustration.  Maybe echoing the closing words of Psalm 95...

    Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
  and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
  “They shall not enter into my rest.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

post-election musings part 1: God's will

I think there is a wide-spread tendency to chalk up everything  -  especially unpleasant things -  that happens as part of "God's Plan" or "God's Will".  This has become especially clear to me in the wake of the presidential election, the results of which, were quite disappointing to me and mine. 

There is an "oh, that must be God's will" mentality that follows.  I submit that it is most assuredly NOT God's will for us to have a leader who promotes abortion, who is hell-bent on pushing contraception to the point of  requiring even those whose consciences dictate otherwise to pay for it, who advocates and approves of  gay marriage, etc.  We have the God-given gift of free will, and on November 6, 2012, more Americans than not, used their free will to vote in support of these things.  This was even more disappointing to me than the choice for President.  Ultimately God's Will is not determined by popular or electoral vote, but rather by the teachings of Jesus and His Church.  (And in the interest of being bi-partisan, I don't propose that Mr. Romney was God's Will, either.  Closer in many areas, but far from a perfect candidate.)

That we humans would screw it up should come as no huge shocker.  Man has been deviating from the will of God since the apple incident back near the beginnings of mankind.  His Chosen People, the Israelites, didn't get it right, either.  They were left to wander in the desert for 40 years as a result of their hard- heartedness, and then they still didn't get it right after that.  Hundreds of years later, they were sent into exile and some of the tribes were never to return.

My Facebook status that night, cognizant of the fact that I have friends and co-workers who cancelled my vote, borrowed from Deuteronomy. 

    ...oh that you would choose life.  Maybe next time, Lord.  Have mercy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

those little things

Things that are probably not particularly meaningful to others besides me, but that I don't want to forget.

A week or so ago, we showed up at Catechism (CCD) only to have our priest drive up right beside us.  "Oh, no," one of my offspring groaned.  "Confessions?  Tonight?  I haven't even had time to make a list."  Usually towards the end of the fall catechism run, our priest comes to hear confessions from the kids enrolled, but there were still a few weeks left to go.  Due to a scheduling conflict,. I think this was a last minute alteration to the schedule.

As we were driving home that evening, my child remarked that the 20 minutes or so standing in line waiting really hadn't been enough time to think about what he wanted to say.  He must have conveyed this to the priest, though, because the priest told him not to worry - just to leave every thing else up to God.  He seemed to be at peace with that.  I noticed the peace.  As we continued on, he volunteered that he had just mentioned the two things that had been bothering him the most.

I have no clue as to what these might be, but I asked if he had gotten any advice.  He said about our priest's counsel, "He knew just the right thing to say."  I find this to be true about our pastor in my experience, as well.  He DOES know just what to say.  Surely as much as the Holy Spirit working through him as his own wisdom and experience.  I just think it is cool that one of my teenagers can see that, too.

Those are pictures taken of a sunrise one morning from school.  I think I am there too early, if I can see the sun rise.  To be fair, these were before we set the clocks back.

Above is a picture of my older son measuring things for his Eagle Scout Project.  Just documenting that small minute in time.

A couple of pictures from Tuesday's District Cross Country meet.  Neither did particularly well, but the weather was gorgeous, and it was a distraction for the afternoon.

Nothing earth-shattering.  Just some little things.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

memories of henry, hope for sandy

Last weekend, as "super storm" Sandy took aim at the northeastern part of our country, my boys ran in a cross country meet in the little known town (village?) of Henry, Louisiana.  I was eager for this meet, because it was the first time in several years that I had occasion to visit Henry, and I was anxious to see the progress that had been made.

As you can see, Henry is a little town not too very far from the Gulf Coast.  My first dealings with Henry were when I interviewed for a job there a little over 20 years ago.  At the time, I think they had a K-12 school, but it has since closed due to consolidation, and at this point, all that appears to remain is a gym.  I chose to wait for a job a little closer to home, and that was that.

Until about 4 years ago.  Hurricane Ike had rolled through, and my sons' Boy Scout troop had offered their services in helping with clean up.  We stopped first in Erath, where we wiped down walls and picked items strewn about in the cemetery, and then journeyed on to Henry.  The destruction there was just heartbreaking.  We concentrated our efforts on the Catholic Church.  A few weeks earlier, it had looked like this.

The church was already about 3 feet off of the ground, and the water left by the storm surge reaches to the door handles.

There we met Fr. Matthew, a priest from India.  The church had suffered a similar fate after Hurricane Rita, 3 years earlier, and they had just completed renovations.  He had moved back in to the rectory only a few months before Ike.  He was so proud of the new furnishings - real wood pews in the church, new furnishings in the rectory.  It was so sad to see the pews and the buckled wood floor in the sanctuary.  We wiped the film from the pews, and it came back as soon as we wiped it way...probably mold, rather than mud.  The rectory was being gutted that day.  Loads and loads of moldy, wet sheet rock carted out.  We did what we could (which wasn't much), but we left touched that day.  Sometimes when you attempt to give, you are the one who receives, and it was true that day.

Fr. Matthew has since returned to his native country, but he touched us all.  So appreciative, but seemingly in shock, as he carried a few more items that had been on the second floor to his car.

But Henry is a place that you don't happen upon, unless it is your destination, as it was for us this past Saturday.  The school was gone - demolished after Ike, except for the gym (which still smells faintly of mildew).  In the gym hang banners from championships and teams past.  Rather sad, as if time stopped in 1991 or so.

But what we most wanted to see was the church.....

It has been raised another six feet or so.  Unfortunately, it was locked (as most churches are today) and we could not see the inside.  The rectory is gone, moved to a house a few doors down.

And so there is hope. Things do get rebuilt.  Life does go on.  And in the chaos and in the sadness in the good that we do for others, God does work and touch hearts and lives.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

yes, i can

I was twice touched today.

Dropped by the confessional this afternoon.  My good priest was sitting there reading a book in the dim light.  I had nothing earth-shattering this time, it was just "time".  Kind of like you get your oil changed before it stops working.  My kinda-sorta rule of thumb is once a month or so and/or before I serve as a Eucharistic Minister.

Sometimes I know that I am a prayer-slacker.  Especially during weeks like this when everything is out of sync.  So we discussed prayer in depth.  Or rather, he gave counsel on prayer and I mostly listened.  Quality over quantity, he says.  Even if it's just five minutes that you give to the Lord.  It's more about listening, than's about the relationship.

So, prayer is not just something whereupon you think back at the end of a day, "Well, my life today was a prayer...."  No, giving love, sharing love, which is what prayer is, requires a conscious choice. Some days, the prayer may be offering everything to God, but it is a conscious thing.

I struggle with a routine, with making prayer a conscious choice, a conscious part of my day.  Mass is a given of most days, and on most school days, a stop at the church across the street for a few minutes of quiet in front of the Blessed Sacrament is easily done.  But beyond's a wasteland.  I know I could put down my iPad and say the Rosary.  Especially in light of current events in this country or even in my family.  But another game of Bingo Bash holds so much promise. Or just checking that Facebook status one more time.  Good in their own right, but a pain in the larger picture.

And, as he pointed out...I am not him.  I am not Teresa of Avila.  I am Karen of ThisPlace.  My prayer, his prayer, her prayer....all differ in structure and routine.  If only I knew what my routine needed to be...

And for your penance...he has a twinkle in his eye...."when you hear the Gospel today, and you hear Jesus ask if you can drink from the cup, you say, 'Yes, I can.  And I will.'  But you will have to wait to find out what is in the cup."

The Cup that we must drink...the same one that Jesus drank....self-emptying love.  And what does that mean?  When we forgive and empty ourselves of anger and hurt;  when we say 'no' to temptation or sin; when we come together to offer fitting worship - not just going through the motions, and empty ourselves of distractions; when we do an act of kindness for another, especially when they don't deserve it.  All drinking from the cup.  The questions is....are we thirsty?

So a two-sacrament day.  Jesus reaching out and touching me.  How awesome is that?

blessed fall break

First of all...I think the lack of laptop is causing the fall off in my blogging.  I've had stuff all week to post, but the best vehicle is my laptop.  If I hook it up to the monitor in the computer room when no one is occupying the desktop computer, I am almost c.o.n.s.t.a.n.t.l.y interrupted by my loving family.

For the first time ever, my school system had an entire week off for Fall Break!!  And to say that we surely needed it after the circus that the first nine weeks has been, is an understatement.

My family and I took advantage of the pleasant fall weather and rented a cabin at a State Park not far from our home. 

  This was the view from our cabin, which featured a screen porch overlooking the water.

We rented a canoe one day, and one of my children humored me and we paddled around on the Inner Canoe Trail.

We saw small alligators, bunches of turtles and random birds.

In  the evening, the grill masters bar-b-q'd.

A crane flew over to check it out...

We finished off the evening with s'mores and child #2 rearranging the furniture to have a good view of the television for the Presidential debate.

Dear hubby, bless his heart, had never made s'mores before, but had seen a recipe on TV.  He had bought semi-sweet chocolate earlier in the day, which he melted in a pan and spread on the marshmallow-graham cracker combos.

It was tres bien!

We spent two nights in the swamp and then made our way home where we had time to catch up on things that seem to get left in the dust during school...Eagle Project, blogging, haircuts, attending school board meetings,  Boy Scout things.  It has been a lovely week.  Trust me when I say that the time has flown!

Happy Fall Break!

Friday, October 19, 2012


Just documenting some family history....

The much awaited letter jacket, arrived a few weeks ago, and my dear child has been anxiously awaiting a chance to wear it.  Some mornings we are in the 50's, but still hitting the 80's most days.

Growing up way too fast. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

undoer of knots

A while back, a friend told me about a Mass that she had attended where there had been reference to "Mary, Undoer of Knots" in the homily.  We both quite aware of many of the titles that our Blessed Mother claims....Our Lady of Guadalupe/Kibeho/Fatima/Lourdes, Mary Queen of the Universe, Mother of Perputal Help, Mary Mother of God, and many, many more.  But Mary, Untier (or Undoer) of Knots was a new one for both of us.

About a month or so ago, I got an email from a friend, who asked for prayers for her stomach issues.  Knots.  My mind went back to this particular Marian title, and I did a quick google search for it, so I could send her more info.  I came across this wonderful website.  And there was this image of Our Lady, undoing the knots in our lives which hold us bound. 

As I read the description, I was pretty sure that this novena fit my life every bit as much as it did hers - maybe more. 

But what are these knots?

There are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution … knots of discord in your family, lack of understanding between parents and children, disrespect, violence, the knots of deep hurts between husband and wife, the absence of peace and joy at home. There are also the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude…Ah, the knots of our life! How they suffocate the soul, beat us down and betray the heart’s joy and separate us from God. (from 

Not one for novenas, and not a totally committed Rosary pray-er, I felt drawn to this one.  And besides, October is the month of the Rosary, I reasoned.

Each evening for 9 days, I made time to say and mediate on the mysteries of the Rosary and added in the designated Novena prayers at the end of the 3rd and 5th mysteries.  I don't know if you are supposed to have a different knot for our Blessed Mother each night, but mine was pretty much the same one every night.  I couldn't tell much difference from day to day.  On the ninth day, the prayer was one of Thanksgiving, thanking the Blessed Mother for untying whatever knot, and I couldn't help but think, "but I don't think anything has happened yet....I'm not even finished with this rosary."

Oh, me of little faith.  It HAS been better.  Can't explain it.  Can't say how long it might last.  But, as has often happened, grace entered my life when I least expected it, and at least for a little while...that knot is no longer holding me bound.

Your mileage may vary.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us.

(PS - I know how long it has been since I blogged.  Insert random excuse - broken laptop, busy crazy life, lack of subject matter.  Take your pick!)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

checking in

Few and far between are the posts these days.  Partly because the personal nature of things going on.  Partly because I am just plain exhausted at the end of a day in the frog cooker.  Partly because my laptop isn't working.  I know... just get the laptop fixed already!  Except everyone tells me that a 3 year old laptop is not worth repairing.  Sigh.

The frog cooker....  Have you ever heard about cooking frogs?  If you put them in a pot of hot water, they will hop right out.  But if you put them in a pot of room temperature water, and slowly turn the temperature up, they will just stay right there, and eventually, you will have boiled frogs.  That is kind of like my work place.  I have been in the pot a long time, and I think I'm almost cooked!  Other people dip their toe in the pot of our "at risk school" for a couple of days or a few weeks, and they hop right out and go on with their lives.

My room is located among the fifth grade classrooms.  The room across the hall had a teacher for a few weeks.  Then she moved to another position that was vacated by a teacher moving to another grade which was vacated by one of those folks that hopped out of the pot.  So the room across the hall has had a succession of substitutes for the past several one caring to stay too long.  As far as I can see, about the only hope of restoring sanity and order at this point would be a retired drill sergeant.  But then we can't raise our voices or keep them in during PE or make them write their spelling words a zillion times. I think we can still give them "the look", but that is about it.  I think they could probably tape a new reality series at our school - Fifth Grade Gone Wild!

We are continuing on our Retrouvaille journey with a few bumps in the road.  My dear husband is convinced that we must do all things in common as a couple or that we will be living a "married singles" lifestyle.  I think he has misunderstood some of the points, but he is insistent.  For me, as a person who has different interests and needs than he does (among them quiet and privacy), my prayer is "Lord, take me now!"  I can see cultivating some interests together.  That is something we definitely need to do a better job of, but I can not possibly imagine giving up everything that I like and he doesn't.  A life of sitting in front of the television.  No, thanks. So some good things, but also some thorns at this point in the journey.  I have a feeling I will be revisiting the "wives be submissive to your husbands" teaching with my priest sometime in the near future.  May God grant him huge helpings of patience!

A few pictures of life....

I think this was on one of our "Hurrication" days.  Hurricane Isaac came this way and took f.o.r.e.v.e.r to get out of town.  My 2 favorite sons looking at one of their scrapbooks.  I don't often see them this close, (and it is even more rare to get photographic evidence)  but I am thankful that they like being brothers.  Usually.

Our new house came with more of everything.  Except the oven.  Is this not the most pitiful LITTLE excuse for an oven you have ever seen?  Dear husband came home with a BOX of bananas one day last week. Found the best, easy recipe for banana bread.  I think this was batch 1 or 2 of 9!

My youngest is running cross country.  Today was his first meet.  Three miles.  22:43 minutes.  This was the sprint for the finish line.    

Thyroid Nodules...I found out that I have "several" on Friday.  I'm not freaking out at this point.  I googled them, to find out that they are common and almost always benign. But I guess I should probably follow up with my doctor.

And that's about all I know for right now!  Say a prayer for week we take on "Conflict Management" in Retrouvaille.  Should be very interesting!