Sunday, April 28, 2013

Things We're Up To...

Getting the Pool ready to go for the season...More to come.


Lilly and Nina-Sweet Girls

My guys...The greatest!

Rhubarb!! Yum! 

Mr Cardinal at Breakfast

Maggie's Springtime obsession....Dandelions.

Snacking Squirrel

New Knives after 17 years!

Mama's cookin' now!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Read this in the Register. It's a message that bears remembering.

Dear Graduates: You Are Going To Die

 Monday, April 22, 2013 9:40 PM 

Congratulations graduates on your achievement. You managed to finish four years of expensive babysitting, ostensibly designed to prepare you for life, even though it bears absolutely no resemblance to it. Well, except for the fact that most of you have racked up inordinate amounts of debt with very little of value to show for it. That part resembles life quite well, actually.
These speeches are called commencement addresses for a reason, they are supposed to be about the beginning of things. You have completed one thing and now you begin another, real life.
Every commencement, by statute, must talk about this moment as the beginning of an incredible journey, and it is, a journey. So let’s talk about this journey. Every worthwhile journey must have a worthwhile destination. Many commencement speakers will tell you that it isn’t about the destination, that the journey is the real destination and it doesn’t really matter where you are going.
That’s a load of bollocks.
The destination matters, believe me. The further along on the journey you get, the more you realize this. The destination matters. So as you begin on the journey, let’s talk about the destination.
You are going to die.
Yup. Every last one of you is going to die and by the look of some of you after last night, that moment can’t come soon enough. Am I right?
So, you are going to die. None of you can escape it and none of you knows when it will happen. That is your destination. Dead. Buried.
However, most of you know or believe that death is not the end. Oh sure, you tell pollsters that you don’t believe it and you have spent the last four or five years living like you don’t believe it or ingesting enough intoxicants that you can forget it for a bit, but you believe it. You know you do.
So, you know that you are going to die and you believe that death is not the end. So you know that there will be that moment when you stand before the judgment seat. I know that judgment is something that your curriculum and your professors have told is very bad. But that doesn’t matter to the Person sitting in the judgment seat. And no matter what your Comparative Myth professor told you, He gets to judge you whether you like it or not. And no amount of self-esteem or belief that you are “a good person” will have one bit of influence on His perfect judgment.
This is your destination folks. Dead and standing before the judgment seat with nothing less than eternity in the balance. What is it you young people are so fond of saying? Just keepin’ it real.
You will stand before the judgment seat. That is real and unavoidable. And you will be judged.
So, since now you know your destination, let’s talk about the journey.
Every decision that you make from here on out will decide what happens at the judgment seat. Every decision you have already made will decide what happens at the judgment seat. Sorry. Yes, that dorm party with the Cap’t Morgan’s spiced rum junior year counts.
Every lie you will tell and every lie you have already told--counts. You know that you have told thousands of lies already in your short, expensive, and unproductive lives--including what you told your parents this morning about what you did last night. All those lies, they all count, forever. You know what you call a person who has told thousands of lies? Yup, a liar. Gold stars for everyone.
And fornication…stop giggling, yes that is still a word. You know all those things you did that you convinced yourself were part of the college experience and consequence free? Sorry, you were sold a bill of goods. There is no such thing as consequence free. You know what they call a person who has done the things you have done so many times? Yes, they are called fornicators.
I could go on, but since you are graduates now, I think you get the point.
So here is one other thing your professors probably didn’t mention. Do you know what happens to liars and fornicators at the judgment seat? Bad things man, bad things.
And one last thing. There is not one thing you can do on your own that can remit even the tiniest little sliver of guilt that you have. Not one single thing.
But, there is good news, literally. The Gospel, Jesus, He did what you could not do for yourself. He earned your forgiveness. All you need to do is accept that, ask for that forgiveness, and then live as if it matters, because it does. It actually matters more than any other thing that you might think matters but doesn’t. Live like Jesus’ sacrifice matters, because if you don’t--it won’t. You do not want to stand before that judgment seat, before that Judge and tell him His sacrifice does not matter. Trust me on this.
If you live your life like Jesus matters, if you live your life like Jesus, you will make it to your destination.
Still, as this is a commencement speech, I feel as if I should impart upon you some additional nugget of hard-earned wisdom.
If I have learned one thing that has made my life better while I work out my salvation in fear and trembling, it is this. Be open to life. The world will give you a million reasons to not to be, don’t listen to them.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, lies on their deathbed and in a faint whisper of wisdom says, “I wish I had less children and more money. I wish I spent more time at work. I wish… arghhhh!”
Every decision that I have made for life, no matter how scary or expensive, has made my life better. Every single one. There are so many things in my life I wish I could take back, openness to life, children, has never been one of them.
So that’s it. This is all you need to know as you begin your journey.
    You are going to die.
    Live like Jesus matters, because He does.
    Openness to life will make you happier.
That’s it. Now commence.

G. K. Puts Nature in the Proper Context...

Chesterton on Earth Day

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshipers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.”

- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I had to share this, because it is so spot on!
Thanks to Badger Catholic via CMR!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another Teenager!

Well, this post is a few days late, but we are still celebrating, so it's all good!
Brendan is now officially a teenager!
Friday, the 12th was his 13th birthday!
What a wonderful young man he is growing into.
He has so many beautiful spiritual gifts, and his Faith is so strong!
He is one of the most persistent people I know and he works so hard at everything he does.
We are so proud of you, Brendan!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is Finally Here!

It's waking up the flowers!

Even the weeds look pretty!

Grass is getting green....

And Maggie is loving it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Paul

Paul is 11!
I am so proud of this very special young man.
He is such a gift to our family and he just enjoys life so much. He is a reading-writing-singing-acting-serving-computing-wordworking-karate(ing?) kind of kid! Can't wait to see where it all takes him!
Wherever he goes, and whatever he does, my prayer for him is that he will always go with God.
He is off to a great start!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Great Story

Last year, John really started to click with the piano. We have had a nice digital for many years and the boys have all practiced quite adequately on it, and have come along well. We got it because we didn't want to invest in a piano that was just going to sit around in the event that the kids didn't keep playing.
I have insisted that they take lessons and practice, for school, but I wasn't sure whether anyone would really take to it and love the piano for it's own sake.
When John discovered The Piano Guys and heard this song,

I knew that it was going to stick.
I told him that when he had mastered that song we would buy a piano. I initially said that we would get a baby grand, but space and economic limitations quickly became apparent.
So, we modified the plan, but I wasn't too worried, because that song is well known to be one of John Schmidt's most difficult pieces.
I should have known better.
John has a wonderful piano teacher, and he is, himself, inspired by the music.

It was only a few months and he had it down.

So we started looking for a piano, but I wasn't sure, exactly, where the money was going to come from.
We found that even a nice used piano can run in the thousands of dollars, and it can be really hard to know what you are getting.
We went to a few dealers, and found out very quickly that that was not the route we wanted to go. I talked to the boys piano teacher, and she told me about the brands that she likes, and the ones to stay away from.

The money was still an issue.  Tim had been contacted by the state of Washington, regarding a bank account that had been left by his Aunt, years before. We weren't sure if, or when the money would pay out, but the wheels just started rolling like the Holy Spirit was turning the crank! The money was being divided four ways, and Aunt Joanne left our family a little windfall. Just enough. Tim's mom used to play the piano, and he got her one that she loved and played for years. What an amazing thing that this gift of music should come through his family. This was a little miracle, because we have been trying to get our bills paid off and stay debt free, as Tim's paycheck is going to be affected by the sequester. We were thinking that the piano would have to wait. God didn't though.

We haunted Craig's List, and went and looked at a couple that might have been OK but after we thought about it, we just didn't feel like they were right.

I got in touch with a piano technician and asked him if he would help us decide, when we found one, if it was the right one.
So, we narrowed our specifications.
We picked a brand, Yamaha, that is known to be well built and last for years. We watched the ads for this brand, and there were a few, but they were all way out of our price range.
Then one day I saw this:

Yamaha piano cherry and bench - $1200 (Nottingham, PA)

I forwarded the ad to Mr Grimes, the technician, and he said we should definitely look into it. 
I wrote to the people, a very nice couple that are moving out to Palm Springs, and they said to come up and look at it.
We went up last week, and John decided that this was definitely the one. 

We made the appropriate calls to the movers and got the room set up, and now John and the boys will be making beautiful music in this house for years to come!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Counting Down the Days...

So many countdowns!

We are on the last two months of school! Finally!
Math is winding down, or up I guess. Brendan and Paul only have about 20 more lessons. That is the biggest sign of progress around here.
Paul is almost done with his English, and the co-op classes only have a month left.
History and Science are coming along but will be a bit longer.

We have a piano! That is such a blessing! All the boys are going to have a much better music experience.

Two plays are in the offing. May will bring us two versions of Mid-Summer Night's Dream. This week the kids have to be off book,
and I have to get most of the costumes at least planned. I have ideas, but only a few firm ones. I will try to make that happen.

Confirmation is going to be on May 15th, and we have the retreat, I have to contact the Bishop, and a few of the kids have service hours to finish up. We only have one more Mass with the class and we only have a few more classes!
John will be confirmed!! So exciting!

Lent is over and Easter is here! We have come through the desert again. So here we are in the Easter season counting down to the Ascension and Pentecost.
We are so very Blest in our Faith!