Monday, February 28, 2005

Book Game

Here are the rules (stolen from alicia at fructus ventris) ((one of these days I'll figure out how to do links; she's on my sidebar, though))
1. Grab the nearest book
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it. Just grab what is closest!

"If we were to die ten thousand times for Christ, we would still not have repaid what we owe, for in value rather than in physical substance there is no comparison between the blood of God and that of His servants.

The struggle against pride is intense; for most of us, it will never end in this life. Let us embrace this struggle, knowing that if we are overcome by pride we will most certainly fail."

From "Ascending the Heights; A Layman's Guide to The Ladder of Divine Ascent"

Friday, February 25, 2005


I am just too tired to write any of the ideas I had today. But, one thing on my mind is consciously listing things for which I am grateful .

1. Having dinner and a movie with my SIL, which we haven't done in, oohhhh, 5 years, if ever.
2. Watching baby blow spit bubbles over and over, then squeal with delight.
3. Dh willingly, kindly gave up something he wanted to do so I could go out with SIL.
4. Meeting my new niece, a whopping 5 days old.
5. Making my little kids laugh by singing and dancing while I unloaded the dishwasher. Older kids now get embarrassed by such displays, but the little ones laugh with abandon.
6. My 2 year old's chubby wrists, wrapped around my neck, when he expresses delight that, "I wake up!" Wish I started out each day with such joy and wonder!


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

My Interview

Philothea Rose has given me 5 questions to answer. I will answer in this post. If you would like to be interviewed, leave me a comment here, and I will respond in my comment box with 5 quesions for you. Then you post your answers on your blog, and make the same offer to your visitors. Ready?

1. What is your style of decor in your house?
I really don't know a name for it, but my best description would be a cluttered, Pottery Barn look with some shabby chic thrown in, with just a dash of kid debris.

2. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
Strangely, I have always liked my first name. If I could change my name, I would change my maiden name and married name to two compatable names so I could use them both together when the need arose. Currently, my maiden and married last names are both too long and full of hard consonants to put together.

3. If you could work for a network news program, what job position would you hold? (anchorwoman, reporter,producer, weather woman, etc,)
I am a totally behind the scenes kind of person, so I would probably be the camera operator. Sort of invisible, but important.

4. Where did you and your husband have your first date?
We went on a blind date, after speaking on the phone for a week or so. We went to an Italian restaurant, and were the last people to leave. It was love at first sight.

5. Who was your favorite music group in high school?
Ooooo, this is embarassing. But the truth is my favorite group was Air Supply. *Blushing*

Anyone want to join in the fun?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

From St. Clement of Alexandria

"He has changed sunset into sunrise, and thr ough the Cross brought death to life. And having wrenched man from destruction, He has raised him to the skies."

Went crazy in the bookstore today!

Spent way too much money, but oh what a bunch of great stuff I got. I found a Catholic bookstore, and loaded up. I got each of my kids a book except the little two got a Veggie Tale videa. I got myself "The Way of the Fathers" By Mike Aquilina, Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West, Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman (GORGEOUS BOOK), Happy are you Poor, by Fr. Dubay, and Beyond the Birds and the Bees by Gregory Popcek. This will keep me busy for a while. But it's all good.

What's Going On!

Some weird stuff is going on with my blog, and I can't really read it. Why? Does anyone know of I can change templates without loosing all my archives? I haven't messed with my template today, and I have had a lot of trouble with this one. Help would be appreciated.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Walking through mud today

For some reason I feel I am walking in deep, thick mud. I can't seem to get anything but the barest of necessities finished. I think I feel a little "toxic", as I have been trying to tame the evil tongue, and now lots of irritation and frustration are getting packed in tight. So maybe what I need to do is tame the evil "mind", but that I don't know how to do!

It is really dreary today, and I think that has something to do with my lethargy. But, I will think positively now, and think of all the things I have accomplished today -

Supervised and participated in 4 diaper changes, 7 clothes application, and breakfast and lunch distrabution for 8.

Loaded dishwasher

Typed 4 homeschool schedules for this week

Assisted said 4 students in completing school work for today.

One load of laundry completed, plus one starting now.

Collected and sorted all remaining dirty laundry

Let the dog out/in 3 times

Let the cat out/in 2 times.

Cleaned up spilled cat food from a child helping me by feeding the cat.

Read other blogs for a long time

Watched Dr. Phil (Embarrassing, but true)

Now I am starting dinner, so I planned dinner earlier this day.

My day is not that impressive, but considering I just wanted to sit on the couch and read all day, sipping tea and eating something tasty, I guess I should be sastisfied. At church tonight, I have many things to pray about, and I am hoping some of the unsaid words will dissipate and stop giving me spiritual constipation.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In Memory of Mary, my cousin, my hero, my friend

This week was the one year anniversary of the death of my dear cousin. She was 43 years old. She had been chronically ill since she was 12. She had so many surgeries I can't count, but the partial list includes a colostomy, wrist fusion, bilateral hip replacements, knee replacement, heart valve replacement, spinal fusion from c-3 down, and some I am sure I am forgetting. She never lived out of her parents home, and was able to get around just long enough to graduate as an X-ray technician, but not long enough to ever work.

She was the best example of Christian joy I have ever known. Constanly smiling, joking, breaking any awkward moments with a joke. This woman, who had constant pain, was confined to a wheelchair, and over the years had to relinquish every single hobby and interest she had, was a delight and a comfort to all she met. She had been quite a needleworker which was ironic considering the rheumatic disease she had eaten away most of the bones in her hands. Yet she was always stitching something. Some of my most treasured possesions are the needlepoints she gave me: one for my engagement, one for my wedding, and one for the birth of my first child. I also have a Christmas Tree skirt she quilted. These projects took her months, sometimes years to finish, and even now, as I look at them, I feel her presence. People would unburden their souls to her, and request her prayers. She took this very seriously. People knew she remembered precisely what they asked to pray for, because she always asked later how the issue was going. She was concerned and empathetic to all my litte trials, even though they never measured anywhere close to hers. She always prayed, always.

She was always so kind to me when I was little. She was 8years older than me, and I have always loved her. I have a photo of me when I was 4 years old taken after she had dressed me up as a bride. It is in my curio cabinet, next to the grown up version, on the day of my wedding. I asked her to be in my wedding, which suprised her, since she was in a wheelchair. No one had ever asked her before. The other two attendants were 7 months pregnant, and my cousin, who was always joking and laughing said, "I know why you want the three of us rocking and rolling down the aisle before you - nothing like two pregnant woman and a cripple in a wheelchair to make you look tall and thin." In addition to being in our wedding, she was the Godmother to our first born. She really was the Godmother to our entire family.

She was always teasing about her disabilities. She was a strong believer in laughter as medicine, her favorite being Bill Cosby records. Because she had an electric wheel chair with a joy stick, she told my kids she was the remote control cousin. She had a smile and a laugh I pray God I never forget. She laughed from the soles of her feet. She loved to make her own cards, never forgot a birthday, loved music and endured many painful exercises by singing at the top of her lungs. Another cruel twist she had to endure was about a year prior to her death. She had repiratory failure, and had to have a tracheotomy. After she recovered, she could no longer sing.

She had a near death experience during that illness that changed her forever. Before she received the trach, she stopped breathing, and at that time, felt herself float up, watching all the commotion. Then she heard the most beautiful singing and music, sort of like Gregorian Chant, but more beautiful. She said she felt such tremendous love and peace, and was pain free. She thought, "O, I must be dying," and then all she could think of was to pray, "Mary, Jesus, Joseph, I love you" over and over. Suddenly she heard a voice, but not through her ears, just in her heart. "Will you still suffer for the poor souls that have no one to pray for them?" She told me this was in no way a demand, and she felt entirely free to say, "I can't anymore." She was painfree, engulfed in love, and so happy. And it was that same love that led her to say, "Yes, if You want me to." Suddenly the pain returned, she heard the commotion in the hospital room, and was aware of the tube down her throat. Later, after her trach was put in and she could whisper a little, she told us about the experience. She said that as much as she is tired of suffering, she had always seen it as her vocation. Now this was confirmed. She left the experience with one gift - her fear of death had completely left her.

After that experience, some of her medication was changed, and she got quite a bit of pain relief, I believe she estimated 45% reduction in pain. She was able to feed herself again, and the day before she died, she walked with a cane about 50ft.

Last Feb. 12, I had a routine ultrasound done in my 7th month of pregnancy. I had never wanted to know the gender of my unborn children before, but this time felt quite compelled to know. It's a girl! Now, to choose a name. Early the next morning, I recieved the phone call that my Cousin had a massive brain stem stroke, and was brain dead. I couldn't believe it. Although she was chronically ill, we never thought she was going to leave anytime soon. Actually, we were afraid that she would just keep degenerating, and suffering for years, and who knew the terrible mountain she would have to climb. My initial reaction was, Boy, am I going to miss her! Then, thank God she didn't have to suffer any more. She died a natural death later that day, sparing my aunt and uncle the agony of disconnecting her from life support.

Now, my baby girl is called by the sweet name of my sweet cousin. I feel God was consoling me before she even died by allowing me to know immediately I could honor my cousin by naming my daughter after her.

I think of her all the time, especially when I see or hear something funny. She appreciated humor so much, and although I pray for her soul, I also pray to her, and ask her to pray for me still, that I may have the humor, courage and faith needed to live out what God has asked of me.

I miss her so much, and treasure my memories and reminders of her.

May her memory be eternal!!

Prayers I said for my cousin this week

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy and Immortal One, Have Mercy on us. 3 times
Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever, Amen.

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse our sins; Master, forgive our transgressions; Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for thy name's sake.

Lord have mercy. 3 times

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven.....

For thine is the kingdon, and the power, and the glory, Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen.

With the souls of the righteous departed grant rest, O Saviour, to the soul of thy servant, preserving her in that blessed life, which is had with thee, lover of mankind.

In thy rest, O Lord, where all thy Saints repose, grant rest also to the soul of thy servant: for Thou indeed lovest mankind.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Thou art God, who didst decend into hell, and didst loose the bonds of the captive; do thou also grant rest to the soul of thy servant.

Now, and always, and forver and ever, Amen.

O Virgin, most pure and undefiled, who in a manner most ineffable gavest birth to God, pray Him that the soul of thy servant may be saved.

Have mercy on us, O God, according to thy great mercy, we pray thee, hear us and have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy.

Again, we pray for the repose of the soul of the departed sevant of God, Mary, and that every transgression, both willful and involuntary, be forgiven her.

Lord, have mercy.

That the Lord God might establish her soul in the place where the just repose; let us ask for her the peace of God, the kingdom of heaven, and the forgiveness of her sins, from Christ, our deathless King and God,

Grant, O Lord,

Let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

O God of souls and of all flesh, who didst trample upon death, and didst overthrow the devil, granting life to thy world: do thou, Lord, grant rest to the soul of thy departed servant Mary in a place of light, in a place of verdure, in a place of rest, whence pain, sorrow and weeping have fled; and forgive her every sin, committed by word, by deed, or by thought, O good God who lovest mankind: for there is no man living who does not sin: thou alone are without sin; thy justice is justice eternal and thy word is truth.

For thou art the resurrection, and the life and the repose of thy departed servant Mary,
O Christ our God, and to thee do we offer glory, together with thy timeless Father, and thy most holy, and good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and aways, and forever and ever. Amen.

In the company of the Saints, O Christ of God, grant rest to the soul of thy servant, where there is neither pain, nor sorrow, nor weeping, but life without end.

May he who rose from the dead, Christ our true God, through the prayers of his most pure Mother, of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy Apostles, of our holy and God-bearing Fathers, and of all the saints, establish in the mansions of the just the soul of his servant Mary, who has been taken from us, granting her rest in the bosom of Abraham, and numbering her with the righteous; and may he have mercy on us, as One who is good, and loves mankind.


May her memory be eternal!

(From the Byzantine Rite funeral service)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

My Cup Runneth Over - Who's Going to Clean up the Mess?

God has graced me with seeing and appreciating His abundance these past few days. Just in the daily tasks of running this household. For example, I was doing laundry yesterday - 9 stacks of clothes, not counting all the towels from the weekend - abundance! I went grocery shopping yesterday - I go weekly. A heaping cartful, for one week. Abundance in both the ability to get this quantity of food as well as to consume this quantity of food. Cleaning the kitchen, loading and unloading all those dishes just from one meal. Kissing and blessing everyone goodnignt. This usually is my husbands routine, to go room to room tucking in and blessing. Last night I did it, and I tell you, nothing expresses abundance like seven hugs and blessings, from the little chubby ones to the middle ernest ones, the the oldest conservative one. Looking through all the Valentines we all shared Monday night - what an abundance of glue, glitter, hearts, and real words of love - a basket full of homemade love. 8 people made 8 cards each (baby didn't make any, but received them). One comment to me by a daughter, in my Valentine, "I couldn't have a better mom, and it makes me cry to think about it." From another daughter, very few words, but lots of hearts and glitter, jewels and pearls. Lovely. This morning, baby woke up earlier that usual. Now ordinarily this would "ruin" my quiet, personal time, but this a.m., she is showering me with, again, an abundance of smiles, snuggles, and little baby noises. She actually is laying on my lap as I type, which is unusual for a nearly 9 month old. Anyway, I am seeing some effects of a sincere Lent. This should encourage me to persevere.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Wisdom of the Fathers and comments

"We, then, who have knowledge of the fear of the Lord, yes, and from the Old and New Testament alike, knowing of His gentleness and loving-kindness: let us turn back with our whole heart. ...Sinners, let us cleanse our hands; double-minded, let us purify our hearts; let us bewail, let us mourn, let us weep because of our sins. Let us quit our vices; let us trust the mercies of the Lord. Let us fear His threats; let us keep His commandments. Let us love one another with our whole heart. Let us say "brothers" to those who hate and abonimate us, that the Lord's name be glorified and manifest in its joyfulness. Let us, who are harassed one by the other, grant pardon one to another, since we are all warred upon by the common enemy. Let us withstand our bad thoughts, calling upon God as our ally; and let us banish from ourselves the evil and unclean spirits. ... Let us show sympathy for one another and by humility heal one another ... for we are members one of another." ---- St. Maximus the Confessor

My favorite part of that is the ending, and I am praying it will really help me tame the evil tongue. "Let us show sympathy for one another, and by humility heal one another. " If I can keep this in mind, then when I am tempted to lash out, I will be lashing out at myself. "Love your neighbor as yourself." The Golden Rule. This is not a new idea, but one I have very rarely put into true practice. I have put on a good show, being as externally good as I can, so much so my nick name in the single days was, "Miss Righteous". I love for people to think hightly of me, and will compromise my own truth to smooth out issues. I don't compromise on Truth, with a capital T, but I will often smile and agree to do something, then act out due to helplessness and a feeling of lack of control. We'll see. St Maximus, pray for me.

Blue Valentine

I don't really like Valentines Day. I never have. I guess I have always fallen prey to the romantic version of the day. In school and at work before I was married, I always felt left out, because I was rarely in any sort of relationship that would be described as romantic. My mom and dad always did something for us, which I never appreciated nearly enough. In high school, there was this custom to buy a carnation with a message for someone, then on Valentine's day they would be delivered to the lucky recipients. I look back on that now, and remember the lonely feeling when you didn't get any, or maybe you did get one from a friend, sort of a consolation prize. Then there were the popular kids, with arm-loads of them. I really wonder why high school culture requires these things that point out the social classes so vividly. We already knew we weren't popular, why point it out so blatantly, in every class? Then after college, at my job, Valentine's day was a day for those in a relationship of some sort to show off said relationship, because they would get flowers or balloons delivered. I always knew one was not coming for me. Except, the year after I was married, dh sent me a boquet of roses. Very satisfying. But not nearly as much as I thought when I didn't get anything. Now, since I've been married, we have a family tradition that I love. Each child makes a card for each member of the family. We put them all in a basket, and at dinner we personally give each card to each person. This takes a while, and it is so worth it. The recipient of the card thanks the giver. They hug, or as the oldest ds is 11 now, sometimes they shake hands. The sad part to me is my dh forgets this every year, and I have to remind him to get the kids a little something. Gone is any romantic notion of a special day with him. The kids are so excited, and it would be so sad to them not to have daddy be part of it. This morning I reminded him about our tradition, and he again had no recollection of it. I don't understand how he can forget something that is so important to everyone else in the family. I guess I take that sort of thing too personally. Since I reminded him, he will be prepared, so I should be glad of that, instead of disappointed. It will be a nice evening of everyone personally expressing their affection for each other, or at least the gratefulness for the gift of family. Hope you all have much expression of love in your lives.


Blush blush, hanging my head in shame, I just received a HUMONGOUS boquet of roses, delivered by a florist to my door. Total suprise. Dh sensed a little of my disappointment this a.m. wanted to dispell it. This made quite an impression on my children. They were most impressed by the free vase that came with the roses. They are thrilled we get to keep it. Happy St. Valentine's Feast Day to all!!!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Counting my blessings

This lousy cold still has me laid low, but is slightly better today. I was still mildly productive, and am ready for school on Monday, so don't have to worry about that over the week end. In-laws are coming to visit Sat. We have no guest room, so they sleep in the living room. I feel racked with guilt how little I look forward to their visits, I mean they are my kids grandparents for heaven sakes, and they are good, decent people . One of the many areas I am so blessed is the support I get in living an authentically Catholic life from my parents and dh's parents. Both couples are married 40 years, thrilled with the large family, homeschooling , and all the rest. I literally am the only person I know who has that from both sides of the family. None of my siblings' spouses have it so nice. None of dh's siblings' spouses have it so nice. That is a blessing I don't appreciate often enough. So the in-laws have a hybrid of trendy diets (Blood type, Atkins, and something else. ) We spend a great share of their visit trying to get the right food for them here. Because we don't see them very often, I am not used to dh's behavior around them. I will have more opportunities for biting my tongue this weekend. It will be good for me.

A little cute thing - 2 y.o. ds is religious about saying "God Bless you" if he hears a sneeze. With this cold going around the family, he is saying it often and hearing "Thankyou" from grateful family members. Ever the polite child, he replies, "Your welcome!". Since we are on the 3 rd day of many, many sneezes, he has abbreviated the whole thing to "Your welcome" following every sneeze.

Hymm from Today's Vespers

Come, O faithful. Let us perform the works of God in the light. Let us behave with decency as befits the day. Let us not make unjust accusations against our neighbors. ...Let us lay aside all fleshly pleasures and increase the spiritual gifts of our sould. Let us give food to those in need, drawing near to Christ and crying in repentance: O our God, have mercy on us!

Wisdom of the Fathers

"What has happened to Adam? I left you in one condition whereas now I find you in another; I left you clad in glory, whereas now I find you in nakedness. "Where are you?" How did this happen to you? Who has brought you to this changed condition? What kind of robber and brigand has robbed you like this in an instant of all the substance of your wealth and cast you into such indigence? Who is resposible for depriving you of that wonderful garment you had the good fortune to wear? What is this sudden transformation? What tempest has all at once in this way sunk all your precious cargo? What has happened to make you try to hide yourself from the one who has been so kind to you and placed you in a position of such importance? Who is it you are now endeavoring to avoid through fear? Whence comes the knowledge of your nakedness? Tell me: What is new and surprising? Who could ever have told you of this, unless you have become the guilty casue of your own shame, unless you have eaten from that one tree I told you not to eat from?" --- St. John Chrysostom

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Lord, have mercy

Off to a bad start today. Another verbal struggle with dh, leaving ds standing in the middle in such pain. This is what will stick in my mind. Ds, getting ready to go to work with his dad, standing by the back door in stocking feet, holding his book bag and shoes, quickly looking back and forth to me, to dh, and back. Ds tried to smooth things over, and that's not his job. At least twice a week, I get so angry at dh I feel hopeless about the future. Isn't that dramatic? Why is it I have to either be at peace or in utter turmoil? Why can't I go over a little bump in the day, as I would assume most married people do, without feeling as if our future is doomed to discord? I realize I am a master at highlighting all dh's faults, magnifying them really, until he is quite a monster. That is so unfair to him, and I must break that destructive habit. It is very difficult for me to let stuff go, becasue I am always afraid that will be interpreted as approval, and there are attitudes dh has about me I do not approve of. But I only know how to bite my tongue, or fight back. I need a new skill set, before I ruin this tremendous family God has given me. (sigh) I think I am going to go back to bed - l have a killer cold and feel lousy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Got some exercise today, by golly!

Since I have made a determination to discipline my evil tongue, I approached the day with a plan. Identify key times of the day I tend to be less careful of myself, and plan on being busy alone at that time. I live on a beautiful 1 /2 mile circle street, and it takes me about 10 minutes to walk around once.

The first difficult time is while the math tutor is here, as she brings her 3 year old, and I just don't do well with children I can not tell what to do. So, I got baby to bed, big 3 kids doing school work, and little 3 kids building a city out of blocks and trains in the the newly remodeled basement. Once the math began with the older 3, I excused myself and went for a 2 mile walk. Lovely. I handled the rest of the a.m. without even having to bite my tongue. After lunch is another difficult time as little ones are tired, but today the older 3 have art class at 2:30, so I have to put off naps til we get home. Baby is awake, crawling around, putting everything in her mouth (where does it come from? I just vacuumed yesterday!!) I am trying to find a reproduceable ancient near-east map for 11 yo ds, and baby is just squirming like crazy on my lap (the only safe place at the time.) I set up a play pen for her, at least it's safe, but the screaming disrupts the entire educational process. SO, I put aside the map quest, and decided to vacuum the house so I could let her go. I put on the Baby Bjorn, insert baby, and vacuum away. I have to do squats when I pick anything up off the ground so as not to dump baby out of said Baby Bjorn. I am guessing I did about 50 squats, with a 20 lb baby strapped to me. I moved furniture, and got under any area she could possibly find something to stuff in her mouth.

Then off to art, off to choir, pick up kids from art, pick up kids from choir, home, dh off to church, and another wicked time approaches. After dinner pickup with tired children resisting bed time. So, I gave everyone a few orders, they got busy, and I grabbed the 4 overflowing baskets of clean folded laundry. I dashed from room to room, putting the clothes away and tidying up the bedrooms in the process. Said prayers, hugs, kisses, water, potty, and no more excuses. In bed with them all, and I did with only having to say "It doesn't matter, I'm sorry" TWICE!! I probably missed a few without noticing, but this could solve many dilemas. Ususally I have the kids vacuum, put away clean clothes, etc. Lately I have been doing more of this myself, and it sort of feels good to be more physically active. I also get more time alone, since kiddos tend to avoid me when they sense chores on the adgenda. Anyway, thanks for the prayers. I feel I had a successful day.

From the Fathers

We claim that we desire the Kingdom of Heaven, and yet we neglect those things that ensure we could gain entry there. And although we make no effors to fulfill the Lord's commands, we still imagine in our foolishness that we will receive the same honors as those who have fought against sin right up to their death. Who has ever stayed at home doing nothing at harvest time and managed to fill his arms with bundles of corn? Who has ever gathered grapes from the vine he has not planted or worked hard for? Those who have worked receive the fruits. Those who are victorious are crowned. And who would begin to consider crowning anyone who had not even got ready to face his opponent? For we must not neglect even the smallest details of our instructions, but carry out our orders to the letter. For it is said,"Blessed is that servant whom the Lord finds," not doing anything but,"so doing." --St. Basil the Great

(From A Journey Through Great Lent, ed. Rev. Stephen Belonick)

Hymm from the Presactified Liturgy

"While fasting in body, let us also fast in spirit. Let us loose the bonds of iniquity. Let us undo the chains of injustice. Let us break the yoke of oppression. Let us give food to the hungry. Let us shelter the poor and homeless, so that we may receive great mercy from Christ our God. "

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Lenten Resolution

I will try with all my strength, even if I have to cause myself physical pain by biting my tongue, to refrain from being verbally critical of others' actions. If I catch myself being critical, I will say, "Nevermind, it doesn' t matter. I'm sorry." I have had to say it so many times today already. I hear tongues are fast healers, so hopefully mine will be healed in time for Easter.

Psalm 119

In my distress I cried out to the Lord
and He listened to me.
O Lord, save my soul from unjust lips
and from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given you and what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
Sharpened is the weapon of the mighty warrior
with firebrands made of the broomtree.

Hymm from Today's Matins

Let us begin the pure fast which is the salvation of our souls. Let us serve the Lord with fear. Let us anoint our heads with oil of good deeds. Let us wash our faces with waters of purity. Let us not use empty phrases in prayer. But as we have been taught, let us cry out: Our Father who art in heaven. Forgive us our trespasses, for Thou art the Lover of Mankind.


My husband and I went to Forgivness Vespers at our church tonight. In the Eastern churches Lent begins today. We begin by asking forgiveness from each other. The prayer is as follows:

"Good brothers and sisters! Grant me your blessing and pardon me all the wrongs I have done, in word or deed or thought, with all my faculties, with reflection, or out of uncontrolled emotion."

the response " May God Himself forgive you and have mercy on you! "

The Prayer of St. Ephrem is a prayer said during lent. There is a profound bow after each stanza. It is as follows:

"O Lord, Master of my life, grant that I may not be infected with the spirit of slothfulness and aquisitivness, with the spirit of ambition and vain talking. (bow)

Grant instead to me your servant the spirit of purity and humility, the spirit of patience and neighborly love. (bow)

O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren. For You are blessed for ever and ever. Amen. " (bow)

Here is another segment of the vesper service. This jumped out at me tonight:

"Hide not your face from Your servant; for I am in distress; answer quickly, answer quickly, come close to my soul and redeem me. I am poor and in pain, O God; let your power save me. "

And another part :

"Let us enter the season of Lent in the spirit of joy, giving ourselves to spritual strife, cleansing our soul and body, controlling our passions, as we limit our food, living on the virtues of the Spirit; Let us persevere in our longing for Him, so as to be worthy to behold the most solemn Passion of Christ, and the most holy Passover, Rejoicing the while with spiritual joy."

And finally:

"Let us remember our most holy, pure, blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, together with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and our entire lives to Christ our God."

Please keep our family in your prayers, that we will be able to have a good, productive Lent, that while subduing our passions we may grow in love for each other, and be drawn closer to Our Lord. We will be praying for you, as well.

Friday, February 04, 2005

My Life B.C.

I was commenting on another blog re: test taking. This brought back a ton of memories about my life in college, and what I was like back then, Before Children.

I went to a community college my first summer out of high school. Why waste any time getting on with life? I had 2 jobs. I knew I wanted to be a Physical Therapist from day 1, and that was my goal, no matter what. I had chosen that career for completely practical reasons. The requirements fit my apptitudes, the schooling wasn't too long (at that time a B.S.), and the salary was acceptable should I remain single. Never would "need" a man, no sir, not me. I went about acheiving this goal with single-minded purpose. I lived at home to conserve money. Had 2 to 3 jobs at a time and baby-sat on the side. I was accepted into the PT program first try, which I found out later, was rare. I drove 75 minutes each way once I was done with the community college and moved up to the 4 year college. I regularly carried a 21 credit hour load. My internships were often 2 hours away, driving every day. I often had to decide to eat or buy gas, and my car was so old, I had to carry anti-freeze in the trunk to refill the chronic leak in my heating coil. I had two miracles that allowed me to continue my course of study. Both were regarding the GPA requirement, and my nearness to falling below the mark. Both times the grades were curved to the exact point I needed to stay in.

I graduated with many job offers, and chose one in Topeka, KS. I worked 10 hours a day generally, although salaried, we were paid for 8. I absolutely, beyond a doubt loved that job. Now I find this to be shocking, considering the totally rational reasoning behind this career choice. This was not a passion for me. This was not my "dream". But I loved it and all the people I worked with. I literally would feel their pain. At home, I would think about the people and their problems and come up with plans for their care.

On a personal note, I didn't date much, as I just didn't fit into the dating scene. Most people my age where still in college, switching majors like changing shoes, and had no interest in any serious dating. And I wasn't into "just for fun".

I spent many weekends without uttering a single word to another human being. I lived next to a cemetary, and would take my daily walks through the trails and read the headstones, and imagine who these people were. I said lots of prayers for the dead, and since this wasn't a Catholic cemetary, it might be the only prayers they ever had said for them. I lived a short walk from an awesome old park, with lots of walking trails, rose gardens, a carosal and a zoo. I would walk there all the time and notice the children, and wonder if I would ever have any. I would go out to eat alone, and bring a book for a companion. I would go to movies alone and sit in the back, so I could leave right away, before anyone noticed I was alone. For entertainment, I would go the library and check out books about architecture and fill pages with drawings and notes, as if I were in school, and dream of the day I would go to Europe. I wanted to know the styles and names before I saw them in person. I bought a writing guide book, with 20 writing excercises in it, and finished 7 or 8 of them. I bought a key board, and learned how to play the piano poorly. I bought lots of cookbooks and art supplies, and spend many hours cooking and painting, and to this day love looking through the kind of cookbook where the author draws or paints as well as writes.

I would invite people over for dinner frequently, and enjoyed company, but was equally happy when I was sipping wine, listening to classical, blues, jazz, country or bluegrass, while chopping vegetables for a dinner for 1. I always set the table, and ate to music. I rarely watched T.V. I was a regular at the library, and read 3-5 books a week. I would pack up on a whim, and drive home to IL to visit the folks. With my PT friends I would go to street dances all summer, week-end after week-end, in many of the small towns in Western KS. After a year or so, my PT friends and I took turns hosting one dinner a week end, and suddenly there were no more silent week-ends. And suddenly I got very lonely. Heart rendingly lonely.

In another few months, I decided to move to IL to be with by my family, and once here, I met my dh, and was married within a year. On the one year anniversary of our first date, we were married, and I was pregnant with our first child. That was 12 years ago, and now I have 7 kids.

I spend my time caring for the people God has sent to me, just like I did when I was a PT. I don't have as much time to fill as I once did, but art, music, cooking, and reading are all still a large part of my life, and I get to share them with my kids. At times I still get very lonely, but now I try to realize that is God giving me my own private dessert in which to encounter Him and His will.

Sometimes I crave the silent order of my single life. I know why I was at peace, because I had a slow paced, contemplitive life style. It kept me together, even though I am naturally quite disorganized. Now, I have very little time to think, and as I am managing 9 people, it is a struggle to stay on top of it all. I am a much better homemaker now than I was, and I am more organized. It seems, though, that the quantity of life always slightly exceeds my skill set. But that's a different post. Good night.