Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Dear Molly and Ben!

We were so blest to join the Cooke family yesterday as they celebrated the birthdays of two very special little people.
It was a wonderful brunch and party, complete with a scrumptious breakfast spread,



an "Elmo" pinata,
and a doughnut cake!


 

Lots and lots of presents too.

 
The best thing about the whole morning was experiencing the love that is so evident, among family and friends, in this clan. The friends that were there, many of whom have been part of the family since grade school, the family connections, the welcome to those of us who traveled a ways, it's not something you find just anywhere.


Molly and Ben were loved and celebrated. In this life, being surrounded by people that treasure you is a true blessing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Don't Say You Weren't Warned....

Contraception Misdirection
A universal birth-control mandate is a curious priority for a dying republic.
By Mark Steyn

(The White House/Pete Souza)

Have you seen the official White House version of what the New York Times headline writers call “A Responsible Budget”? My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on page 58 of their 500-page appendix on “Analytical Perspectives.” This is entitled “Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections.” It’s a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right-hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull, and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt’s space colony on the moon circa 2100. Just to emphasize, this isn’t the doom-laden dystopian fancy of a right-wing apocalyptic loon like me; it’s the official Oval Office version of where America’s headed. In the New York Times–approved “responsible budget” there is no attempt even to pretend to bend the debt curve into something approaching reentry with reality.
As for us doom-mongers, at the House Budget Committee on Thursday, Chairman Paul Ryan produced another chart, this time from the Congressional Budget Office, with an even steeper straight line showing debt rising to 900 percent of GDP and rocketing off the graph circa 2075. America’s treasury secretary, Timmy Geithner the TurboTax Kid, thought the chart would have been even more hilarious if they’d run the numbers into the next millennium: “You could have taken it out to 3000 or to 4000” he chortled, to supportive titters from his aides. Has total societal collapse ever been such a non-stop laugh riot?


“Yeah, right.” replied Ryan. “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.” The U.S. economy shuts down in 2027? Had you heard about that? It’s like the ultimate Presidents’ Day sale: Everything must go — literally! At such a moment, it may seem odd to find the political class embroiled in a bitter argument about the Obama administration’s determination to force Catholic institutions (and, indeed, my company and your company, if you’re foolish enough still to be in business in the United States) to provide free prophylactics to their employees. The received wisdom among media cynics is that Obama has engaged in an ingenious bit of misdirection by seizing on a pop-culture caricature of Republicans and inviting them to live up to it: Those uptight squares with the hang-ups about fornication have decided to force you to lead the same cheerless sex lives as them. I notice that in their coverage NPR and the evening news shows generally refer to the controversy as being about “contraception,” discreetly avoiding mention of sterilization and pharmacological abortion, as if the GOP have finally jumped the shark in order to prevent you jumping anything at all.
It may well be that the Democrats succeed in establishing this narrative. But anyone who falls for it is a sap. In fact, these two issues — the Obama condoms-for-clunkers giveaway and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 900 percent by 2075 — are not unconnected. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren — i.e., an upside-down family tree. As I wrote in this space a few weeks ago, “If 100 geezers run up a bazillion dollars’ worth of debt, is it likely that 42 youngsters will ever be able to pay it off?” Most analysts know the answer to that question: Greece is demographically insolvent. So it’s looking to Germany to continue bankrolling its First World lifestyle.
But the Germans are also demographically exhausted: They have the highest proportion of childless women in Europe. One in three fräulein have checked out of the motherhood business entirely. A nation that did without having kids of its own is in no mood to maintain Greece as the ingrate slacker who never moves out of the house. As the European debt crisis staggers on, these two countries loathe each other ever more nakedly: The Greek president brings up his war record against the German bullies, and Athenian commentators warn of the new Fourth Reich. The Germans, for their part, would rather cut the Greeks loose. In a post-prosperity West, social solidarity — i.e., socioeconomic fictions such as “Europe” — are the first to disappear.
The United States faces a mildly less daunting arithmetic. Nevertheless, the Baby Boomers did not have enough children to maintain mid-20th-century social programs. As a result, the children they did have will end their lives in a poorer, uglier, sicker, more divided, and more violent society. How to avert this fate? In 2009 Nancy Pelosi called for free contraceptives as a form of economic stimulus. Ten thousand Americans retire every day, and leave insufficient progeny to pick up the slack. In effect, Nancy has rolled a giant condom over the entire American economy.

Who Is YOUR God?

Burning Incense Before Idols (6835)

02/18/2012 Comments (26)
Register illustration by Melissa Hartog
– Register illustration by Melissa Hartog
Here we are, standing before the idol.
It is not 250, but 2012; not Rome or Carthage, but America. Once again, some are prepared to be martyrs, others prepared to easy surrender to avoid discomfort, and still others to be apostate under duress, confident of God’s later forgiveness.
For some, the idol is sex. Having resisted the teaching of Christ and his Church for a generation, it’s an easy compromise: “After all, almost no Catholic believes today that contraception is wrong, and so many have used it, or are using it, with no qualms of conscience.” Catholics are not following the Church, so the Church, and those Catholics who do believe, can be ignored.
For others, the idol is money, especially government money.
We can do so much good with it. It feeds the poor, comforts the sick, clothes the naked.
Surely, it is not wrong to continue doing so, even if it means accepting this compromise, this new secular wisdom. Would not Jesus approve of aiding the poor with government coin?
For others, the idol is party and power, an addictive concoction that numbs the moral sensibilities: “We have the solutions of the future, beyond narrow doctrines. Continue to believe and worship, if you must, but do so in your houses of worship and stay out of public affairs.”

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/burning-incense-before-idols?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2012-02-18%23ixzz1mvOPVgmN#ixzz1myEdY5Bh

A Visit With the Cooke Girls...

 This is the first morning that the kids got together. Brendan and Paul took up residence in the basement for a few days, and I found them all cuddled up on the couch...

 Claire is getting so grown up!

 Brendan really enjoyed the time with his nieces! Claire will be walking any time!

 Claire putting in some "sink time".

 Molly and Lucy coloring. Molly really was having a good time...really.

 At the Herr's Snack Factory. We enjoyed a wonderful tour this morning!

What a nice bunch of people!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mount 2000 Reflection


The Light Shines in the Darkness

A Teenager’s Weekend with the Eucharistic Lord

By: Hannah Rose Sneeringer



“Praised be Jesus Christ … now and forever!” These were the words getting teenagers pumped to
praise Christ in all that we did last weekend at the annual Mount 2000 Eucharistic Youth Retreat at
Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Over 1,500 young men and women from
various parishes in different parts of the country gathered for three days of prayer and worship. There
were talks about the power of God through prayer and the Eucharist, as well as Mass every day and
the near constant availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This was my first time going on this retreat and I never felt such an intimate connection with the
presence of Christ. Joining my friends from Good Shepherd Church (and a few other parishes), we
traveled as a group with the intent to grow closer to God. A few had attended this retreat in past
years, so they knew somewhat what to look forward to on the weekend; but the rest of us didn’t really
know what to expect. I knew there was going to be Mass, and I assumed we would spend some time
in Adoration (considering that there was a monstrance in the logo for this year’s retreat), but beyond
that, I had no idea.

There were an incredible amount of people there, and not just youth. I saw numerous seminarians
and priests, religious brothers and sisters. Retreatant Mark Hoppel said that his “favorite part of Mt.
2000 was the interesting people you could meet there, such as the speakers, and the religious.” For
me personally, it was a life-changing experience.

This year’s theme was “The Light Shines in the Darkness” (John 1:5), which could not have been
more appropriate given the age in which we live. At times our world appears so full of the darkness
of evil that it seems rare for people to see the Light of Christ. Between what the media constantly
puts out and the new HHS mandate, we need that Light to be more present. I saw the Light this

weekend, not only through Adoration and participation in the Mass, but through the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, of which more than 1,200 people participated – truly dispelling the darkness of sin.

The speakers’ presentations were very profound. Chris Stefanick gave a talk on the power of the
Mass. He said that the love that we have for God must go beyond our own personal devotion to Him.
We must take that love to Mass every Sunday and receive Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the
Eucharist, allowing Him to enter within us, to fill us with His love and save us from our sins. His
beautiful description of how the Eucharist fills us with hope in God for the world and of His eternal
plan for us is one I will not soon forget.

Speaker Mary Bielski talked about Jesus Christ, describing not only how He loves us, but how He
longs for us to love him back. She encouraged us to take hold of our faith and to “get out of the
boat and walk on the water with Christ,” saying that truly trusting Christ is the one of the greatest
things we can do in our lives, and it will lead us to eternal happiness. Ms. Bielski also gave a very
passionate talk on the power of Our Lady describing how we can fly to Christ’s mother, our mother
in heaven, when we need her and she will intercede unfailingly for us to her Son. Mary is such an
inspiring figure for all, saying “YES” to God without hesitation when she was only about fifteen, just
a year younger than I am now.

Powerful music was abundant. Josh Blakesley and his band astounded us with their love for Christ,
through their lyrics and performance. They led us in prayer during daily Eucharistic Adoration,
singing soft hymns that never took attention away from the True Presence. Their Saturday night
concert, while loud and wild, always kept Christ respectfully at the forefront of my mind, whether
I was dancing like crazy to the song “Undignified” or clapping in the pattern of a cross with my
friends. Everything about their music spoke of love for God, even when we danced to a slightly less
traditional version of the “hokey-pokey” when Josh took out the line “that’s what it’s all about” -
because the hokey-pokey is definitely NOT what it’s all about.

But the most incredible, the most awe-inspiring highlight of the weekend was the Eucharistic
Procession – the literal embodiment of the theme of the retreat. The huge gymnasium that housed the
Masses and talks of the retreat was completely darkened, save for some candlelight. A lone spotlight
shone on the monstrance containing our Eucharistic Lord as the deacon carrying it made his way
around the dark room. From the moment the Eucharist entered the room I was sobbing, both in
complete wonder and from my heart bursting with love. I was so engrossed in adoring our Lord that I
never realized until much later that the actual procession was about one hour long! Two deacons took
turns carrying the ornate monstrance around the darkened gym. They walked slowly, allowing every
person to take in the joy of Christ’s presence and to be blessed by Him. Everyone was kneeling, even
though the thin foam mats provided almost no relief from the hard floor. In the Bible, we read that
people reached out to touch Christ as He passed through crowds. I never thought I would find myself
being one of those people, but I was. Every time He passed, I found myself reaching out with both
hands, my arms to their full extent, just trying to touch Him. It brings tears to my eyes just to think of
the moment when He was so close that if I had stretched out a little higher or a little farther I could
have done so.

I wasn’t the only one profoundly moved by the experience. Retreatant John Merkel said that the
procession “was my most intimate experience with Jesus Christ so far in my life”. Chaperone Lisa
Tellup said, “I think that the thing that amazed me the most was how serious all 1,500 of the youth
were about their faith. They all knelt silently for over an hour during the Eucharistic Procession, and

then most stayed in adoration after the procession was finished. I'm inspired by their dedication.”
Retreatant Nicholas Andrulewicz described the procession as “the most meaningful experience of my
life” saying that he “felt Jesus' presence right in front of me as the Blessed Sacrament passed by our
group. I saw people crying and reacting in so many ways and I knew they felt like I did. I would like
for all my friends to have this experience”. And joy was radiating off the face of retreatant Danielle
Hoppel as Christ passed us. “It was awesome to be that close to God,” she said.

Following the retreat weekend, Mark Patrick, a seminarian from Good Shepherd Church in
Perryville, Maryland, blogged: “I got a great deal of inspiration and knowledge out of the talks,
worship, and adoration, but as I drove away from Mount St. Mary's Seminary [Sunday] morning I
realized that I got so much, too, from the young people and their parents in attendance at this great
event. To see their worship, to experience their love for the Lord, Our Lady, and the Church was
breathtaking. To see them weep before the Blessed Sacrament, the King of the universe before
them, inspired me to want to grow ever deeper in that love for Jesus and His Church.” Retreatant
John Andrews said, “I had been expecting the weekend to be wild and exciting (which it was), but I
actually found it to be quite relaxing, especially during adoration. It was a chance to get away from
the trials of life, and spend some time with Jesus.” And chaperone Jennifer Merkel also reported
being moved both by her experience, and by how devoted the Catholic youth that were present were
to God. She said, “I am only beginning to process all the incredible experiences that I had this past
weekend. […] there are no words that can express my thoughts correctly... I guess I would have to
say the Eucharistic Procession was, for me, a profound encounter with Christ and His church. To be
there, with Him, as He came among his children and became their only focus, well, it still moves me
tears two days later.”

Chaperone Mathias Andrulewicz, Sr. described the weekend saying, “In addition to the incredible
personal experience we all had with our Creator, it was also a blessing to be able to observe the
dramatic impact such an encounter had on all the youth. It was awesome to be able to witness our
youth coming to the realization that our faith, the Mass and the Eucharist can be extraordinarily
exhilarating and emotional.” And his son, retreatant Mathias Andrulewicz, Jr., said, “Mount 2000
once again offered one of the most influential experiences of my entire faith journey. The emphasis
on the Holy Eucharist throughout the whole weekend was so beneficial to many of the youth in
attendance, including myself, especially during the procession and all night adoration. It was so
amazing to watch the Living Jesus make His way around the room and touch the soul of everyone He
passed. I would definitely recommend this retreat to ANY high school student.”

In conclusion, it seems too simple to say that the weekend was the best of my life – but in truth it
was. I experienced so many new things that have only made me stronger in my faith and love of God.
Some memories may fade with time, but the feeling of how close God was to me will never fade. It
is my fervent hope that more teens will participate in events like Mount 2000. Together we can truly
reflect the Light of Christ into a world in desperate need of hope. A hope that can only be filled in
Him.

Hannah Sneeringer writes from Elkton, Maryland. She is a 10th grade home school student and a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Executive Branch - POLITICS

Obama to give 10 states a pass on No Child Left Behind deadline

Published February 09, 2012
| FoxNews.com
President Obama is set to give 10 states a pass regarding an approaching deadline under the No Child Left Behind law, after the states struggled to meet the proficiency standards for reading and math. 


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/09/white-house-official-says-obama-will-free-10-states-from-no-child-left-behind/#ixzz1ltNfDk4H


Because there is nothing more valuable to a liberal than an uneducated population.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Will You Choose? A Letter to Boys

Laura sent this to me. It needs to be shared.

This letter to boys was written by the director of an online Catholic home school program - CLAA.  This letter is too important to keep to ourselves.  We hope you read it and share it with your sons and other families with boys, even those who are not Catholic- the message is truly for all Christian men/boys...

 Dear boys,
Blessings to you.
I spend my days sitting at a desk, writing lessons, answering e-mails, searching through the pages of ancient books for answers. I work all day and all night. I am paid a lot of money by a lot of people, but I can only think of how it might be used to do more work. I am always thinking about the next part of my work that needs to be done, problems with the work I already have done and how little time I have in life to do more.
What is sad for me is thinking of how much I have accomplished in a short period of time. I created the CLAA only 3 years ago and it now has students all over the world. I returned to Mother Church only 6 years ago yet now thousands of children study using a catechism program I've made. I've only been seeking wisdom for 15 years, yet now people all over the world ask me for advice. I've accomplished very much in such a short period of time. Some might expect me to be proud of my work, but it makes me very sad. It makes me sad because I've wasted so much time in my life. I've wasted so many years doing nothing, chasing after the distractions and empty pursuits of the world. I could have done so much more, but I wasted so much of my life, my only life. In the end, no matter how much I do, I will always know I could have done much, much more. When I think of how much better I might have served Our Lord, that makes me very sad. He deserved more from me
and I can never have those years back that I've wasted.
I am tormented by thoughts of my old friends, boys and girls that I led in doing sinful things. That was my influence on them while I had the chance to do good to them and now, they are gone. I may never have the chance to help them and they may die in sins that I encouraged them in. That is a terrible thing to think about. I can't fix many of the terrible things I've done. Now, seeing how much good I can do, it makes the bad I've done much more painful to think about.
I want to write to you because I love you very much, as my own sons. I have always loved teaching because I was able to spend whole days with my students--talking, praying, arguing, teaching, helping. I always loved my students and wanted them to be happy. Unfortunately, my work keeps me away from my students, so all I can do is write to you.
You are young. Your mind is filled with visions of your future--what you will be, what you will do, where you will go, and so on. There's so much you may think about all that, but I want to ask you to think--what will you be? what will you so? where will you go? What needs to be done? What is that empty place in this world that only you can fill? What if you don't fill it? What will you gain? Our Lord asks us, "What good will it do for a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"--the whole world...his own soul.
I don't want you to think of your own soul. I want you to think of the souls of other men. Look out your dining room window and think of the souls of other men. Look out your car window and think of the souls of other men. Look at them all, running around, hurrying around, all trying to gain some tiny, meaningless piece of this world. A piece of land. A beautiful house. A cool car. A nice pair of shoes. The whole world. His own soul.
Look at how little the men around you think of their souls. In 100 years, they will all be dead. Their running will be over. Their lives will be spent. Their wives, children, friends, neighbors, all left behind--to fill the place left behind and divide up what they gathered in this life. This one life.
Solomon, who was the wisest man in the ancient world, looked at the world and described it all with one word: Vanity. He said, "I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity--and a chase after wind." A chase after the wind. Chase after the wind. Think about that. A chase after the wind. What will happen when a man, who chases after the wind, finally gets it? He will reach out to embrace it and take it to himself, but he will find nothing to take hold of. Vanity. A chase after the wind.
Many boys growing up with you will join that chase after the wind. You will not believe it, but they will. Some of them will be your friends, boys you go to church with, boys you study with, maybe your own brothers and sisters. You will see it happen. You will see their hearts harden. You will see them begin to drift further and further towards the world, and you will never see them again. They will spend the rest of their lives chasing after the wind, thinking they will get it. Vanity.
You can build buildings, program computers, milk cows, heal wounds, win games, make money...but so can millions of other men. You can be a good friend, a good neighbor, a good worker, but so can millions of other men. You can love the beautiful people and say hello to the nice people, but so will millions of other people. The same people chasing after the wind can do all these things. Will you do the same things? Or, will you do something that very, very few people can do?
Some of the men who live with you will quit the chase after some time. You will see it happen. You will see men who fell away as young boys come back when they are older--men like me. You will see them save their lives before it is too late. You will see them recover much that they lose, start beautiful families, do great things. You will see it all happen. However, you are not to be one of them. You have the chance to do something that very, very few people can do.
You have the chance to give Our Lord an entire life. You have the chance to live with no need of recovery. You can live without the sadness I have, thinking of years wasted in the service of...vanity. You have such a rare opportunity to do something almost no boys do today: offer God an entire life of loyalty and service.
I am only one man among many millions, but I want to urge you consider something very few will. Many will want to know of your plans for college, what kind of work you will do, and what girl you will marry. I know that talk is attractive and easy. However, I want to be one man who asks you different questions. I want to tell you something few will.

You can be the David of your generation.
Our Lord needs new apostles, new missionaries--young, humble and holy priests. Our Church needs holy teachers against whom none of her enemies can raise any accusations or objections. The Church needs great warriors who take up the challenge of her enemies and send them falling to the ground as young David did Goliath. Our world needs angelic monks who prove to the world that the kingdom of heaven is at hand--in our midst. The men and women you will grow up with need to see that a man can live as holy today as ever before in history--that every distraction can be ignored and every obstacle crushed under foot. You need to show them, to give them hope and lead them to victory. You can, with God's help, turn men from vanity back to truth, back to happiness, back to eternity. You can save men's lives and bring thousands of people safely into the arms of the angels. You can free children from sin, can restore broken men to God's peace, can snatch souls from
 the grip of the devil, can set people free. You can turn the world upside down, fill whole cities with the praises of God and win eternal rewards that no one else can--because you can offer to God an entire life of service.
To do so, you will need God's help. It will be impossible for you to make such a gift to God out of your own strength, but if you will try with every bit of human strength you have, you will find that God comes to you in a way no one else knows. God will receive your offering not because it is perfect, but because you want it to perfect, and He will give to you strength to do more every day. You will not be able to fake it, for when you do, God will leave you to fake it, and you will weaken and fail. When you seek this glory with all your heart, in truth, against all the world's temptations and attractions and beg God for this great honor, God will give it to you. You will gain wisdom and strength that no one around you has and you will do things no one else can do. However, you can only do this if your heart is pure and there is no faking in you.
There are men in the world, older men, who have chosen to live such special lives. There are monasteries and seminaries where you can live and train for this warfare. You will have to choose, like all soldiers do, whether you will devote yourself to battle or stay at home. No man at home is ever in danger. However, no champion is rewarded except on the battlefield. You must go where the enemies are if you will defeat them. There are other soldiers there, already fighting. They can teach you. They will help you. They will love you. Think of the joy they will have to see you arrive on that battlefield.
We cannot know what you will do if you offer such a life to God, but it could be miraculous. You could change the world forever. You could lead millions of people to eternal life and be adored in 100 years as St. Don Bosco is today, or in 500 years St. Aloysius Gonzaga is today, or in 2000 years, like Our Lord Himself. They were boys like you, who gave their whole lives to God. Who is happier than they are? They, unlike all other men, did not chase after the wind. They did not waste years of their lives in vanity. They chose their souls and gave away the world to keep them. In eternity, you and I might not be with them. They died in glory and will forever be in the presence of God--safe, happy, holy, beautiful, forever. We have not won their prize. If you do not take hold of eternal life today, and make the souls of men and the glory of God your only desire in this world, you may end up lost in vanity and never recover. Death may come upon you at any
 time and what you are at death is what you will be in eternity. That thought changed my life when I was 20 years old. It must constantly change yours and keep you from my sadness--or much worse. I'm working to do all I can with the constant thought of my wasted years to haunt me.
You can do so much more.
God help you do well.
Sincerely yours,
Mr. Michael

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Calling This....

 About the HHS mandate...


My two cents is that I feel like this may all be a way that Obama hopes to come out looking like the savior of the Church, the "little guy", the poor, and the sick.
I think he is going to come out sometime over the summer and say that his administration needs to be reined in and that the state needs to partner with the Church. It will make him look like he is trying to control this gov't monster that is growing out of control, AND it will win back the Catholics that don't trust his administration.
I may be totally wrong, but I really feel like if he has any hope at all of being reelected, it will be because people feel they owe it to him for his magnanimity.
A LOT of Catholics got him into office, and it's going to take a lot of them to keep him there.
Either that or he really is totally nuts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Invisible Mom




One of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be
taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping
the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see
me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of
hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??


Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock
to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is
the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?,
What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared
into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going,
she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she
was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to
compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she
turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you
this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly
sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration
for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover
what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could
pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have
no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a
work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and
expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their
faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird
on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you
spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God
sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost
as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you
make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to
notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see
right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of
the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work
on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went
so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the
morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3
hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a
monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there
is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it
there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

I love this because it is about how we SHOULD be, not always my attitude, but I am working on it!
Thanks Lisa!