Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back over the year....

New Kitchen...

March for Life!


The blizzard of 2/10

Molly turned 1! This is a bit later, but SO cute!


Trip to Texas

Laura and Lucy at the Stockyards.


Visited the Pergola's in Slidell, LA


Paul's 8th Birthday fell on Easter!

Brendan's 10th birthday shared and then the whole family got the BEST gift....


1st annual TORCH marathon!


Lucy turns three!


The new Columban Squires Circle!

John's 12th Birthday!

Homeschool Promotion Ceremony, good job guys!

Brendan and a friend at the pool.


Maggie's family reunion- 5 months old!

Six Flags!

Harford County Farm Fair


Lilly's special project.

Wizard of OZ- Jen and Paul had so much fun!

Jen and "Toto"- Wizard of Oz


Cooke's Visit!

Laura did our pictures!

Lilly turns three!

Lilly's first ride....

Trip to the Aquarium, a good time was had by all.

WONDERFUL trip to Williamsburg, long time dream!



Brendan's Fall picture.

Susy Hendry
August 6th, 1939-November 23rd, 2010
We miss you so much!

Mom in her element!

Snow on the farm


Wonderful time in the Poconos

The tree

A very Merry Christmas!

I think he likes it!

A happy, healthy New Year to all!


Our house is done in many wood tones.
I have always loved the cozy look and feel of wood.
Now the floors are really only just a picture of wood, but they look pretty anyway.
Wouldn't you know when we finally found the perfect pooch to complete our family, she comes in the color of "light oak"?
Of course, this is her favorite place to lay while I am cooking dinner. You never know what might drop from above. I just have to be careful while I am moving around the kitchen, she blends in so well that I have almost fallen over her in a hurry to get from one place to another!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So Long, Farewell.....

Today the boys and I went to a beautiful funeral.
It seems like we just came home from saying "So long" to mom.

Andrew's Grandma, Helen Faber, was called home to God on Friday.

She was older than mom, but I don't think it's ever easy on the family.

I have been thinking so much about my mom over the holidays.
She loved Christmas so much, and she and dad always looked forward to decorating and shopping for the kids and grandkids. Last year, though, Mom had such a hard time. She was so tired from her treatments and the toll that the cancer was taking. She couldn't go out and socialize, for several reasons. Every week was punctuated by doctor appointments and pain. She would talk about the tremendous number of pills that she had to take. It was very hard for me to see her having to let go of so many of the things that she enjoyed. I know that she was more than willing to go through all the struggles. It was what God was asking. Mom was, first and foremost, attentive to God's will, but I still can't help but be so happy for her as she was able to be free of all the burdens that had become so heavy in the last few years. That sweetness and light must be the fairest for those who have suffered such physical pain. I miss you mom, I really do, but I am also so very happy for you, just as I am happy for Grandma Faber. I hope to visit you both someday in that place that He has prepared.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Things are Wrought By Prayer Than This World Dreams Of.

 At Mass this morning, our Deacon, Luke Yackley, quoted this poem. The quote is in red below.
I loved the passage at the time, and now even more in this context.
In the daily work and the ups and downs of life, at it's beginning and it's ending, prayer is the life line that we hold,
and the bond that draws us daily closer to the Father who loves us.
And in our love for each other, we should never forget to pray,
for every intention of all those we care about, and some we have to try to care about.
The whole poem can be found here.

From "Morte de Arthur" by Alfred Lord Tennyson:

And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within Himself make pure! but thou,

If thou shouldst never see my face again,

Pray for my soul.
More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.

Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

But now farewell. I am going a long way

With these thou se√ęst--if indeed I go--

(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard-lawns

And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea,

Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Mimi: "Lilly, would you like to come upstairs and help me frost the cake?"

Lilly: "Is it a BIRTHDAY cake?"

Mimi: "Yes, do you know who's birthday it is?"

Lilly: "It's JESUS's birthday! "

Mimi: "Yes! Do you want to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus?"

Lilly: "Is He going to be here?"

Mimi: "Well, he is going to listen to us from Heaven."

Lilly: "Are we going to Heaben?"

Mimi: "Someday, but today we are going to sing, and YOU can blow out His candles for Him."


When My Mom and Brendan Get Together....

A few days ago the weather was supposed to be clear and cold for Christmas.
That was before Brendan started praying for snow.
It is currently snowing outside, and, while it is being blamed on a low pressure system, I am picturing Mom and a few angels out there pushing some cold air around....

Snow Storm Heads to Nation's Capital After Dumping Wintry Mix in the South

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With a rare white Christmas in parts of the Southeast and snow predicted for the nation's Capital, airlines canceled hundreds of flights and urged travelers to rethink their plans, while travel authorities warned of potentially dangerous roads.

After blanketing parts of the Midwest and hampering motorists there on Christmas Eve, the storm dipped south late Friday. Winter weather advisories were in effect Saturday morning from Arkansas to the Carolinas and from West Virginia to central Alabama. Much of North Carolina was under a winter storm warning.

The National Weather Service said the storm could bring more than 5 inches of snow to the Washington region. Meteorologist Stephen Konarik said the storm could hit the area Sunday morning and end Sunday night or early Monday, with the peak snowfall Sunday afternoon and early evening.

The wintry weather is the result of a low pressure system moving along the Gulf coast. It is expected to intensify and move northeast on Sunday to the mid-Atlantic states and New England.

Read more:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth....

For Unto Us A Child Is Born, A Son Is Given.

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
~Luke 2:1-20

Ghosts of Christmas Past...

America’s First Christmas
How we reversed our fortunes in the Revolutionary War
By Rich Lowry-National Review Online

Gen. George Washington’s army retreated from New York in ignominy in November 1776. As it moved through New Jersey, Lt. James Monroe, the future president, stood by the road and counted the troops: 3,000 left from an original force of 30,000.

In December 1776, the future of America hung on the fate of a bedraggled army barely a step ahead of annihilation.

The Americans confronted about two-thirds of the strength of the British army, and half of its navy, not to mention thousands of German mercenaries. Ron Chernow recounts in his new book, Washington: A Life, that when the British fleet showed up off New York, an American soldier marveled that it was as if “all London was afloat.”

The defense of New York was barely worthy of the name. When British troops crossed into Manhattan at Kips Bay, the Americans ran. Washington reportedly exclaimed in despair, “Are these the men with which I am to defend America?”

Later, from the New Jersey Palisades, he watched as the British took Fort Washington across the Hudson, held by 3,000 American troops, and put surrendering Americans to the sword. According to one account, Washington turned away and wept “with the tenderness of a child.”

British strategy depended on shattering American faith in the Continental Army and reconciling the rebellious colonies to the Crown. As the Americans fled to the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, the British occupied New Jersey and offered an amnesty to anyone declaring his loyalty. They had thousands of takers, including one signer of the Declaration of Independence.

As David Hackett Fischer emphasizes in his classic Washington’s Crossing, the American revival began spontaneously. Low on supplies, occupying troops had to forage for food. The forage turned to plunder. That fueled a grassroots rising among “the rascal peasants,” in the words of a Hessian officer.

With New Jersey boiling and expiring enlistments about to reduce his army further, Washington decided on a scheme to cross the Delaware on Christmas and surprise the Hessian garrison in Trenton. “If the raid backfired,” Chernow writes, “the war was likely over and he would be captured and killed.”

Behind schedule, Washington’s main force of 2,400 started crossing the river that night. Yes, most of them were standing up in flat-bottomed boats. Yes, there were ice floes. It wasn’t until 4 a.m. that all the men were across the river. They had nine miles still to march to Trenton in a driving storm and no chance of making it before daybreak. Washington considered calling it off, but he had already come too far.

Arriving at Trenton at 8 a.m., his spirited troops seemed “to vie with the other in pressing forward,” he wrote afterward. They surprised the Hessians, not because they were sleeping off a Christmas bender. Harried in hostile New Jersey, the Hessians had exhausted themselves on constant alert. They didn’t expect an attack in such weather, though. The battle ended quickly — 22 Hessians killed, 83 seriously wounded, and 900 captured, to two American combat deaths.

“It may be doubted whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater and more lasting effects upon the history of the world,” British historian George Trevelyan wrote.

The American troops found 40 hogshead of rum in the town, which temporarily blunted their effectiveness. Washington followed up soon enough with another victory at Princeton. In the space of a few weeks, the Americans killed or captured as many as 3,000 of the enemy and irreversibly changed the dynamic of the war.

David Hackett Fischer sees in that resurgence after our fortunes were at their lowest a reassuring aspect of our national character in this season of discontent: We respond when pressed. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a great supporter of the American cause, wrote: “Our republics cannot exist long in prosperity. We require adversity and appear to possess most of the republican spirit when most depressed.” May it still be so.

— Rich Lowry is editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail, © 2010 by King Features Syndicate.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

At Least FoxNews Finds This Disturbing.

How Does a Planned Parenthood Gift Card Say Merry Christmas?

By Dr. Charmaine Yoest

It’s crunch time for the procrastinators amongst us. Shopping for the holidays, which can be a real art form in America, starts to resemble a NASCAR race with the finish line approaching. But if tacky is what you’re looking for this year, Planned Parenthood has the best – or, well, worst in this case – by far.

While it’s obvious to most Americans that central to the Christmas season is a special birth and the family-centered celebrations which mark that event, several Planned Parenthood affiliates decided to offer “the gift of life” certificates – services to include abortions. Oh yes, indeed, nothing says “Happy Birthday” like an abortion from Planned Parenthood.

Following the Alice in Wonderland “up is down and down is up” theme, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Illinois began offering gift certificates as a holiday wish list suggestion. Promoted as “the gift of life,” the certificates (they admit) include abortion. Apparently it’s a slippery sled ride from Merry Christmas, to Happy Holidays, to Happy Abortion! (And “Plan B” by the chimney – for the romantics amongst us?)

It would be nice if Planned Parenthood’s mangling of the holiday season stopped there. But Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider, celebrated Christmas this month with a nationwide e-mail “Choice on Earth” campaign, brazenly celebrating their anti-Life agenda.

When Planned Parenthood first chose the “Choice on Earth” fundraising theme in the mid-1990s a maelstrom of protest for the offensive moneymaker ensued, and at that time the campaign reportedly went the way of all bad fruitcake.

But it’s back. For Planned Parenthood, tis’ the season to be greedy, it appears, as they work to gather in charitable donations to supplement their taxpayer-funded coffers.

In fact, right about the time that the credit card bills come due in January, Congress could give taxpayers a gift by defunding Planned Parenthood. Eliminating their yearly federal subsidy of over $300 million should be one of Congress’ top priorities.

Planned Parenthood’s fumbling fund raising efforts reveal a fundamental disconnect with the heart of most Americans, where the majority of us embrace unborn children in the womb as a gift, wrapped and hidden until the birth-day of celebration. As exciting as opening Christmas gifts can be, nothing compares to the joy a mother feels when she meets her child for the first time.

Bad taste isn’t crime. But it’s sad that no one at the nation’s largest abortion provider seemed to have paused long enough to notice that when “Peace on Earth” was first proclaimed, it was a birth that the angels were celebrating.

But as always the real victims of Planned Parenthood’s crass marketing will be women. You have to wonder if those women who find an abortion gift certificate waiting for them on Christmas morning might think that Santa simply ran out of lumps of coal.

Stay classy, Planned Parenthood.

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. is president and CEO of Americans United for Life, the nation’s oldest pro-life organization.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Christmas Tree...

As we were decorating the Christmas Tree last night, I was struck by what our tree really means to us at Christmas.
We didn't put it up last year, because we were out of town, and so there was this kind of space in the succession of memories that we have of decorating over the years. It is interesting because the boys have mentioned several times over the past year how they missed doing the tree.
This year we made a real family event of it. Brendan helped me "build" the tree,

and then the boys all came up and they did all the decorating.

They were having so much fun as each ornament came out of it's little box.
We would talk about where each one had come from, who had given it to us, or where we had gotten it and why.

Each of the boys has a First Christmas ornament that they got from Grandma Susie and Grandpa Dick. They look for them each year.

John's was a train, of course.

This one is Brendan's.

Paul's smiling bear....

We added one for Maggie this year. She's not a kid, of course, but she IS the newest member of the family and the boys thought it was fun.

There are ornaments that our friends have given us, or have made for us.

These bring those special people to our hearts and minds at Christmas, and always will. They are a part of the fabric of our lives, even though they may be far away.

There are some that we have gotten while we were doing something special.
This one is from the Christmas Museum up in Pennsylvania.

Some of them have been in the family for years. I can't take pictures of all of them...
The girls took theirs home last year, or the year before and they put them up on their own trees.
They take a little bit of their past with them.
It is a very important ritual for our kids as each year passes. They realize that they have roots, traditions and an identity, and it can be seen as they put each ornament on that tree.
They belong to someone, and to something, greater than this earthly existence and that is why we do all of this. I am so glad that we have all the wonderful little treasures to take out and remember each year.
It's all part of the mystery that is how God loves His family.