Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Thoughts

It's kind of surreal how Advent becomes Christmas overnight. How preparing becomes celebration and we find ourselves in a world where God actually dwells instead of a world that is waiting for Him to come. We step from the Old Testament, into the New with hymns, carols, and bells. Actually the New Testament begins with the Annunciation of God with us, for that is truly when he came into the world, but His birth is the moment that we have a tangible sense of his presence and how much He loves us. Christmas really never ends. He has been with us since that day when he came into the world as a member of a family. We live in a world where God is with us. One day He will return in Glory, but until then we meet Him in the Mass.
Emmanuel, God with us, welcome!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Funny...Once Again

Feast of St John

Today is the feast of St John the Evangelist, and our John's feast day!
I have always loved the beloved disciple. He is so close to Our Lord.
We thank God for the wonderful Communion of Saints that we are so Blest to be a part of!

St John the Apostle, Pray for us!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Couldn't Agree More...

“It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful businessman . . . or farmer, or a successful lawyer, or doctor, or a writer, or a president, or a ranchman . . . or to kill grizzly bears and lions. But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.”
~Teddy Roosevelt

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It IS a Wonderful Life!

Last night we watched the classic Christmas film, "It's A Wonderful Life", as we do every year.
I love the plot, the quirky dialog, the good, the bad and the ugly characters, but mostly I love that it is true!
I know a lot of people today would say that it's idealistic, unrealistic and that the themes and values are from another time.
They still watch it, but they feel that it is some kind of artifact, a tradition that takes us back in history to a time when people still believed in God, sought to be virtuous, and took care of each other.
The black and white on the screen seems to also represent a way of life that was certain and solid. Things were more black and white, and good and evil were easily defined.
People today seem to feel that the lines have blurred to the extent that a story like this one could never happen in the present time.
I disagree.
Sure, George Baily is a classic icon of virtue, whose whole life was centered around what he could do for others, and Mr Potter is a selfish,  nasty old man whose whole life seems devoted to what he could do to others to build himself up and make others crawl.
I know there are people of both kinds to be found today, and if we look for "George Baily" opportunities, we can be part of the "wonderful life" that George found when he saw the change he had effected just by being himself.
There are certainly Potters to be found, and there always will be.
But there are so many really, truly good people in our world, right now.
Even if it seems hard to find good people among neighbors, and those that we see on the news, and in day to day living, we must always remember that Our Lord is here, now, on altars and in tabernacles all over the world.
He is there to look upon, to see the ultimate good.
No matter how dark it seems, He is here with us.
No Potter can overcome the Light of Life.

Christ is not a memory, or an historic figure from another time.
He is with us always and with Him in the world, it can't be anything but a "Wonderful Life"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It Can't Be....

...That we can earn our way to Heaven, because if it were possible to get to Heaven simply by being good, God would have to let Maggie in. It is a testament to the intrinsic value of the human soul, that a person who has done unspeakable evil all his life can have a conversion at the moment of death, be truly repentant for his sins, and gain Heaven, after a time of purgation.  That an animal that has lived every moment of her life in total loyalty, obedience and love of others, and yet has no place in eternity, is such a stark reminder of the responsibility that we have, as beings created in the image of God, to try serve Him on Earth as best we can. Yet we have to be mindful of the fact that we can never be "good" enough to be worthy of entering into His presence. We must simply love and love simply.  That we will live in Eternity is certain, our place in Eternity is not.
God gave us the animals and their place is here, He gave us Eternal life and our place is there.

Prepare Ye

This is the last week before Christmas!
I can't believe how Advent has flown.
We are enjoying a nice break from school and the boys are sleeping in, reading, and just enjoying the slower pace.
Having most of the shopping and baking done, leaves me with some quiet, peaceful moments as well.
I feel like we were sick for so long that I missed about a month of normal life! There are things that I find I did that I don't remember doing, and things that I wanted to do that I couldn't. It was a good lesson in patience. I slowed down, let some things go, and still, here I am, the week before Christmas, with most everything done!
I think that preparing myself for the birth of Christ was easier this year, because I have had a lot more down time. I want to remember the lessons of this Advent.
Life can become so frantic, and it is so easy to focus on the macro, when the big picture is where the blessings are.
I have been spending a lot more time talking to my kids, all of them, even the ones in Texas.
I have been putting a meal on the table almost every night, instead of rushing to get everyone fed so that I can run to whatever is pulling me away.
I am much more present in the moment and I am so much less distracted by the details of things that I have no control over anyway.

I hope that I can make a habit out of this!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Last week we headed down to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA for what may have been the best vacation time the boys have ever had.
They are all old enough to really enjoy the park with little supervision, and so many of their friends were there, that it made for a really special trip.
Several of our Homeschooling families went at the same time, and it was the perfect combination.
Our friends the Watkins allowed us to "adopt" their two boys, Liam and Henry, and they are just wonderful kids. The Watkins and the Hoppel families were there, along with the Baldwins, the McCarty Gibsons, and the McClanahans.
I love all these families, and I also love the fact that the Great Wolf is a place that is safe and allows all the boys to just go do what boys do.
This is the third time that we have made the trip to a Lodge, and I am thinking we will do it again next year. Even the parents seemed to be having a great time!
We are so blest with so many good friends.
A few Hoppels...

Watkins love...

My guys!

Off they go!

John? and Liam

Happy Watkins going with the Flow

So much fun!

Tim and the boys climbing to the slides
 Here's Brendan and Paul on the Flowrider!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some Lighthearted Thoughts...

I love Mark Steyn, because he makes even the most dreary and discouraging geopolitical forecasts downright enjoyable. His book "After America" is a look at the decline of our great nation, if we don't change direction and go back to the founding principles that we started with. I think he is brilliant, but I really hope he's wrong. If he's not, then we are in for...
well, I just hope he's on the wrong track.

Mark Steyn
Statist Delusions
The bill for cradle-to-grave welfare has come due.

The president of the United States came to Osawatomie, Kan., last week to deliver a speech of such fascinating awfulness archeologists of the future sifting through the rubble of our civilization will surely doubt whether it could really have been delivered by the chief executive of the global superpower in the year 2011.
“This isn’t about class warfare,” declared President Obama. Really? As his fellow Democrat Dale Bumpers testified at the Clinton impeachment trial, “When you hear somebody say, ‘This is not about sex,’ it’s about sex.” The president understands that “Wall Street,” “banks,” “fat cats,” etc. remain the most inviting target and he figures that he can ride the twin steeds of Resentment and Envy to reelection and four more years of even bigger Big Government. His opponents, he told us, “want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess . . . . And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules . . . . It doesn’t work. It has never worked.” He blamed our present fix on “this brand of ‘you’re on your own’ economics.”
Read the rest here...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ave Maria...

Feast of The Immaculate Conception

 Immaculate Mary,
your praises we sing.
You reign now in Heaven
with Jesus our King.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
In Heaven the blessed
your glory proclaim;
On earth we your children
invoke your sweet name.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
We pray for our Mother,
the Church upon earth,
And bless, Holy Mary,
the land of our birth.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
We pray you, O Mother,
may God's will be done
We pray for His glory,
may his Kingdom come.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!
Lourdes Hymn

It can't be a whole week since I posted! Where have the days gone?
Last weekend is a blur, as we were still sick, but able to go out and do things.
We went to Mass Saturday, because the boys had to serve, and we all made it through without coughing.
Sunday Tim took the boys out for the afternoon, while John hung out with his friend Kevin.
They all had a Squires meeting that night, and I had to catch up on Bible Study stuff.
We are all really excited about the upcoming Christmas break.
Monday night I went to a meeting with some of the other parents in our co-op, regarding the upcoming Shakespeare experience. The kids have chosen "King Lear", which presents some rather major challenges in the casting dept. There are not as many roles, there are only 3 female parts, and there are a LOT of kids that are hoping to be given large parts. Paula has some great ideas for dealing with these issues, and we are all working hard to help her.
We have a great team working on the play this year and I love that there is such an interest on the part of the kids.
John is preparing his monologue for the audition, and I think he will do well. He has made great progress since the first one, and he did well that time!
Yesterday we were home slogging away at school. We are trying to get as much done as possible before the break. I want to put the books away for three weeks knowing that we are on track for an end to school in May. It will be a challenge in some subjects, but I think we can do it.
The kids are almost halfway through their math books and that is the subject that I use to determine where we are. John is really working hard in Algebra. Can I just say that we are really not a math family?
John is my hero.
Tomorrow being the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Mary was conceived without sin in her mother's womb, we are heading down to DC to attend the noon Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, my all time favorite church.
It will be awesome to celebrate with Our Lady, and make a special pilgrimage.
We are also going on a tour at the Franciscan Monastery nearby.
I'll be sure and update with pictures tomorrow night!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just a Hopeful Thought

I am really hoping that we are just getting all the health issues out of the way before a new and extremely healthy New Year!
I will stop coughing before 2012.
Paul will  stop coughing before 2012.
Laura will be delivered from colitis.
Nina will be spared any more hives/ allergy problems.
I can do anything for a month.

St Pio...Pray for us!