Friday, December 30, 2005

Good news!

Hey, I just heard something tremendous on the radio news! Keeping kids too clean is bad for their health! Kids need to play in the dirt and be exposed to bacteria to improve their immune systems! Yea! I knew it all along, and since my kids rarely get sick, this must prove that my house is suffiantly dirty to be healthy, and at the same time, sufficiantly clean to be healthy. So I am doing something right, I guess.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It was a very good day

We all enjoyed our day tremedously, with each child giving a gift to one of their siblings, receiving a gift from us, and a group gift of a new T.V./dvd/vcr. The tele isn't hooked up to anything, but they now have a way to watch movies in their playroom, and they were thrilled. All the gifts were a success. We went to church in shifts, since my husband cantored at both the Vesperal Liturgy Christmas Eve and the Liturgy on Christmas Day. Then we all went to my mom and dad's house, where all my brothers and their families had gathered, and ate my dad's good home cooking, lots of cookies contributed by all the families, and more gifts. Then we sang Christmas carols til we were hoarse, and ate more cookies.

Sadly, that evening I took home three neices with us, and one of them threw up just after getting here (thank you, sweetie, for not throwing up in the van). By morning they were dropping like flies, and so I have been doing extra laundry and ditributing trash cans lined in garbage bags to all. (Note, children have a much better chance at making it in a good wide trash can than a pan. They are also deeper, therefor no splashing. After they have finished, simply tie closed the bag and throw away. Took me years to figure this out. If I can save anyone undo clean up, then my learning experiences have been for a higher purpose). Every one is on the mend now, and enjoying their gifts immensly. I had great success this year, finding something for everyone. Since we only bought them one present, I only had one shot. The gifts they choose for each other were also very well recieved. I was pleased at how well they seemed to know each other's desires. Over all a terrific day full of church, singing, generosity, and love. Thank you, Jesus, for getting the whole thing started!

This year my dear husband helped me so much, wrapping and moving gifts. This is him Christmas morning, after a short night's sleep.

A very happy little boy!

Lovely daugher seeing the gift from her 3 year old brother. He done good!

Baby enjoying her "Jack in the Box"

I have more to share, but it's reeeeely late, so I'll do finish off later. Blessings!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Blessed Christmas to All!!

I replaced our Advent reflection with a Christmas reflection on the sidebar, and will leave the blog for a few days. May the peace and joy of Our Lord Incarnate and Born in a manger be with you on Christmas and every day of the year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Advent Reflection

"God had ordained to prepare humanity slowly and tenderly through a long process of historical events and moral and spiritual maturation before exposing the fullness of Himself...God still seems to maintain an infinite respect before our human limitations. To reveal Himself to us without blinding us at once with the effulgence of His divinity, He prepares us gradually and coaxes us progressively to hear His voice. He first alerts us and awakens our hearts and our intelligence to His reality; then, He invites and earnestly entreats us to open our minds to His divine truths; finally, when we have accepted His truth, He surrenders Himself to us and lets us abide in Him. God never startles us with sudden revelations. He never shows the splendor of His divinity without first preparing us to understand and freely accept it. He never imposes Himself upon us. He patiently waited millions of years to prepare humanity for the direct revelation of Himself."

(From "Christmas" by Archbishop Joseph Raya+)

I heard something along these lines at a retreat this fall, from Katrina Zeno. She said, "God is a lover, not a rapist." Startling, isn't it?

(Icon from Holy Nativity Convent)

Preparing for Christmas

The anticipation in growing here at crazyacres. The children ae literally bouncing around, everyone is learning Christmas carols, making decorations out of various household items. It seems glitter and glue can turn anything into a Christmas decoration in the minds of children. The music is blaring, the candles are burning, the mom is resigned to sending out her packages late, the meals are planned, the house is a mess, and the laundry is multiplying as we speak.

Today will be an attempt to make order out of chaos. Wish me well, and I will return with some spiritual reflections on preparing for the coming of the Lord. Blessings!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Another update

Once again most my Christmas cards and out of town packages will arrive during Christmas week. This isn't by design, but it may as well be as regularly as it happens. Bah, I just don't want to get all frazzled now, not now, when we are trying to let Christ enter our hearts. You know He is very quiet and still, and being frazzled doesn't allow me to attend to Him. So, all the gifts and cards will be in the season, not on the day. Most the baking will take place the last few days and then the weeks following. Then of course the bill paying takes months ;).

The addition is grinding along. UGH, I am not so sure that moving wouldn't have been easier. Everything is behind schedule, covered in dust, noisy, and over budget. So many little last minute details that seem to never end. Oh well, I am hoping that it will be worth it when it's all said and done. And I hope we can still afford to live here. Dh owns his own business, and so periodically we have the big freak out, "How do we know we'll make enough money this year????" Then we realize, that we don't, we never will know, and yet we must assume we will either have enough, or deal with not having enough. God will show us the way, but not yet. I wrote about this here and now must go re-read it!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Happy Bloggaversary to me, Happy Blogaverary toooo me...

Well, it's official. I have blogged for one solid year now. I have posted 175 entries. I have 30 links on my sidebar, but that really needs updating. I am so lazy, I actually use other peoples sidebar's rather than updating my own. (Thanks Alicia, Kate, and Jamie).

There are many things I love about blogging. Taking time to think things through, for one. I used to let so many good thoughts just evaporate. Now I write some of them down. I love the community I have stumbled into. I truly care about you all, the one's I know and the one's I have never met. I love getting comments, probably a little too much. I love leaving comments. I love getting comments on my comments (am I pathetic, or what?). Mostly I want to thank you allfor taking time to read what I write, offer comments when you have the inclination, and for the exchange of support I have found here.

One small request. Just this once, if you read this, could you leave a "howdy-do", so I can see how many people pass my way? I don't have a counter ( don't want to obsess about that, and I would), and just for my "bloggaversary", I ask this favor. Could you, would you, eat green eggs and ham? (oops, lost myself momentarily).

Thanks in advance. I have had a terrific year here at St. Blogs!!!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Favorites During This Advent

Time to revisit the gratitude producing list of favorite things in my life at this time. Here goes:

1. Trader Joes Winter Blend Coffee. I am drinking it right now, and enjoying every sip.

2. My advent wreath, which I made out of a glass plate, 4 pillar candles, and and a garland of wire, pearls and silver snowflakes wrapped around each candle and the perimeter of the plate. I love lighting it every evening, and often leave it burning a long time since the pillar candles have so many burning hours in them. I have put our Icon of the Nativity of the Lord up next to the Advent Wreath and we study it while we eat dinner.

3. God Rest You Merry Gentleman. Any rendition, all verses. Makes me teary eyed with gratitude.

4. Orchestral version of Sleigh Ride. FUN!

5. Pueri Concinite as sung by the Vienna Boys' Choir. Soaringly beautiful, a real spirit lifter.

6. Guacamole - the Eastern fast limits meat and dairy, but there is no limit on guacamole.

7. Soup. I have been cooking many varieties of meatless soups this Advent. Usually I just make them up based on what I have on hand. The shame of it all is when one is particularly delicious, and I really have no way of reproducing it. So, we are learning to be grateful for the moment, and not greedy about the future. All this from soup. Who knew?

8. Nonnie's Gingerbread Biscotti. An indulgence worth every calorie. Especially when consumed with Trader Joe's Winter Blend Coffee (see #1).

9. Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music. I listen to this so much I have actually worn out cassettes and CD's.

10. My long black sweater I purchased in the juniour department. It's like wearing a bathrobe all day and getting away with it.

11. Christmas lights. I know, purists don't put them up til actual Christmas, but we use Advent to prepare, and slowly add one impactful decoration at a time. We hung some colored icicle lights inside, above one of our room-long windows. Baby girl toddled into the room, in her little yellow jammies with pink roses all over them, looked up, mouth open, and was speechless for a few minutes. Then, when she recovered her wits, she said, "Wow". Not profound, but the first time she ever said "wow".

12. Going to Liturgy with my husband, without the kids. We do this weekly, and sing the liturgy together, in harmony. It is amazing how many little bumps and bruises disappear when we sing our prayers in harmony. When I am at Liturgy alone, or if he is helping the cantors, I really feel his absence when I sing and don't have him next to me, rounding out my sound. It really feels as if half of me is missing. When we are singing our prayers together, we are "as one". In church. Cool, eh?

13. Clorox disinfecting wipes. What used to me a major irritation (3 y.o. missing the potty, spilled jelly, colds that spread like wildfire through the kids, etc.) are no big deal. Clean and fresh and disinfected in no time.

14. Fabric softener. I hate laundry, but I love the smell of fabric softener, and enjoy the sensory experience of folding warm, soft, aromatic clothes. Hey, I take enjoyment where ever I can find it.

15. Beaded ornaments. My girls and I are making bead and wire Christmas ornaments together. It is fun, beautiful, and good for many upper level skills (following directions, math, dexterity, perseverance, etc.) So we call it school and kill two birds with one stone.

16. The 6" snowfall we had yesterday. For six months our yard had been torn up and muddy. Now it looks beauful. The trees are beautiful, everything is lovely under a blanket of freshly fallen snow. My 7 y.o. son and I went out and looked for all the animal tracks we could find. Right through the middle of our yard is a veritable highway of animal traffic. There were deer, rabbit, coyote, raccoon, squirrel, and lots of different birds. These were all in a line, except the birds) as if they were following each others' trails. Pretty cool.

17. My new perfume "Wonderful" that I got at Kohls. It lives up to its name, and I look forward to putting it on each day. Then I get myself ready for the day with more entusiasm, and that is always a good thing. I have always liked the Clinique scent "Happy", and when I was looking to buy some perfume, I couldn't decide if I wanted to be "Wonderful" or "Happy", but then, I went with "Wonderful". So there you go.

18. Clemetines. It's like eating sunshine. Yum!

Well, I am sure there is more, but I gotta go get some things done.

What are your favorites this season?

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Little Encouragement

I was reading a book by one of my all time favorites, Archbishop Joseph Raya+, entitled, "Christmas". Simple enough title, eh?

In response to many of my blog friends', as well as my own, concerns with becoming the people God intends us to be, letting go of our pasts, and letting Our Lord fashion in us new hearts, I offer this segment I came across just now.

"This is the divine pedagogy of God, the psychological means God uses to educate humanity. He patiently waited until humanity became spiritually mature and able to accept Him before He manifested Himself in the face of our humanity. God always measures His manifestations to the degree of our capability of accepting Him. He is patient and serene with our human intellectual limits.

In His Gospel, before revealing any of His divine reality to His contemporaries, He first carefully prepared it in His heart, warmed it with His love, and wrapped it in parables, stories, and human games. He directly revealed Himself as God only once to only three of His apostles on the mountain of Transfiguration.

Christ our Lord is never in a hurry to resolve all problems at once. He gives us time for maturation and growth and then shows us the way to solve the problems by ourselves."

So what do you think? I don't think Archbishop Raya meant God doesn't help us once He has shown us the way to solve our problems, but that he respects our will and our efforts and our openess to His grace. I especially like the idea that Christ our Lord gives us time for maturation and growth. That, my friends, is hopeful.

I put a new Advent reflection on my sidebar. This is about as innovative as I get with my blog template. Maybe someday all those letters and symbols will mean something to me, but for now, it's all trial and error!

Many blessings to you all!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Just touching base

Gosh, I can't believe it has been a week since I last posted. Last Thursday was the day of the CBS interview. It was supposed to be on sometime this week, but I haven't heard anything. I think it went well in as much as I was able to make my point, repeatedly, about consumers having a responsibility to vote with their dollars and that death never solves social problems, no matter how good one's intentions are. My girls were very sweet, articulate, and genuine. I am so proud of them!

Our addition is groaning along. Seems the upcoming holidays are really slowing things down. By the end of next week, we should really see some improvements, and have a clearer idea of when we will be able to move in. It probably won't be until after the New Year, which is alright, since I don't want to spend all my Christmas celebration time working. Anyway, we should get enough in our "old" house done by next week to clear out an area for a Christmas tree. Of course, our house will look much more festive once we get the frozen, collapsed pumkins off of the front porch!

This year we are having the children draw names and choose gifts for each other. Now, they are excited about what they are going to give every bit as much as what they are going to get. I feel this also takes some of the pressure off of me, as the prime gift giver. I always get so anxious about getting the "right" gift. This way we all can work together in making the Feast a joyous day. Since the construction is pushing into Christmas, we will be forced to do a great deal of our celebrating after the actual day. This has been my goal for many years, anyway, so once again, God works it out.

My husband and I have been going to Liturgy together, alone, every Friday. It has made this Advent such a restorative time for us. I see the effects on our entire week. Grace is marvelous, and I can not imaging trying to live as a wife, mother, and homemaker with out a steady supply of grace. I feel Our Lord is particularly showing my all my many blessings, and given me a grateful heart. The last year has been lacking in gratitude in me, and I have been asking for help. It seems the calvary has arrived, in the form of abundant grace. Praise God!