Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Oh, my

So, I have been holding down the fort here while dh is out of contact in Canada, fishing. I have been alternately loving and hating it. Some reflections:

1)Please tell me it isn't just my children that keep asking for things, until the answer is no. I have tried to be cheerful, make this a vacation for us all, but everytime I give them a yes, they just ask for something else. So, it's back to mean mom at the end game every time.

2) Please explain to me why I get so much done when dh is out of town. I tackled things that he usually does with vigor, and did my jobs, and was energized, and had a great day. When he is here, I feel less capable, and therefore, less powerful. Does he steal it, or do I give it away?

3) This has been as much a vacation for me as it has for him. I get to do what ever I want after the kids go to bed. Eat, read, watch stupid T.V. I am very self consious of how I spend my time when he is here for some reason.

4) The amount of time a helium balloon lasts is inversly proportionate to the affection the child has for it.

5) I would not need to figure out how to work exercise into my day if I did all the yard work. I am as stiff and sore after working outside all day yesterday as I was after starting step aerobics 6 years ago.

6) Anyone ever see "Fried Green Tomatoes"? Tawanda!!!!! That was me, and instead of a sledgehammer, it was a weed wacker, and instead of a wall, it was the over grown weeds my dh overlooks when he does the yard. These weeds have mocked me ever day that I have lived here, except when they were covered with snow, and even then, I knew they were there, just waiting to torment me come spring. Why it took me so long to just go the the barn, figure out how to use the flippin' machine myself, and whack them to the ground, I don't know. I know they will grow back, and I will relish chopping them down just as much the second time.

7)The weather couldn't possibly be any better than it has been this week. The kids were outside, playing badminton, then running through sprinklers, then riding bikes, then swinging. I was on the patio, potting my new flowers, and mulching the garden. It was truly picturesque.

8) School has been temporarily delayed, as the weather has been too nice. We'll finish the last week's worth as soon as it rains, gets too hot, or as soon as dh gets back, which ever is first.

9) I am making progress on "A Cry of Stone", with all these free evenings on my hands. Loving it!

and finally,

10) I meant to scrub the kitchen floor last night, but didn't. I think the sticky floor devil was out to dinner at the time, though, and thought I had, because today, juice spill, watermelon drop, and milk spill. That usually only happens after the floor has been cleaned, so PPHHHTTTT to the sticky floor demon. It was already dirty. HA!!

Friday, May 27, 2005

God, ants, and me

So, today I was working in a wild area in my yard, unearthing a submerged bird bath top that I want to use somewhere else. I used to try to keep the bird bath where is was, but the racoons kept knocking it off the base. Last year I gave up and left the top in the dirt, and put a pretty reflecting ball on the base.

SO, today I pulled up the top from the dirt and found a very extensive ant colony under it. It was fascinating to watch. The ants scurried around, moving all the pupae to safety, transporting other little white dots out of harms way and into holes and tunnels below the surface. I could see the entire top of the exposted dirt was really the stuff ant hills are made out of. I sat there and watched this for a long time. My oldest dd came out to see what I was looking at, and asked if we could scrape half of the ant colony away, and see what it looked like in the inside. I hesitated, as I had already been tempted to put the bird bath back down and let this little world continue as it was. I felt like God, causing a natural disaster of sorts. So my choice at that time was to worsen the disaster by removing half of the hill so we could see the inside, or let it be. I had already decided it would be silly to leave my bird bath there, as I really wanted to put it elsewhere. However, could I in good conscience cause more destruction to this community? So we just observed from the outside, and let them be.

To wrap up this ant story, I realized what a wierd idea I have about God. As if we are just little ants running around down here, and he lets bad things happen, but then continues the destruction sometimes, and other times, holds back. So if I show the ants mercy, maybe God would do the same to me some day? So I thought, would I become an ant so I could help them, and show them the way? Would I die for those ants? NO WAY, but did I relish the destruction of their home? Absolutely not. Of course, I didn't create those ants out of nothing, and I have not planned eternal happiness for them that they are scurrying around and ignoring. I don't love those ants. And yet I still wanted them to be safe.

Want to know the friut of these musings? I stood there contemplating the frantic ants so long, that when I went in to the house, I was itching from a few of them crawling up my legs, and getting on my back. So much for deep thinking and contemplating God.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What the....

Ayekah wrote as one of her answers to a tag about being a monk.

"If I could be a monk, which is what I would want to be anyway, I would be living at my friends hermitage in the woods of Pa.......with a herd of cows, and huge garden plot, and a bakery where we could bake "monastery" bread to help support the hermitage. I would be happy and content tending to the animals and the garden. If you have milk and a garden you will never be hungry."

I read the answer, and took my first real deep breath of the day. Those few lines describe my perfect life. What I aim for, dream about, imagine very clearly. Just thinking about it makes me feel calm.


What in the ---- am I doing here? In a house full of stuff, with lots of noisy people, neurotic pets that annoy me constantly, and having to go the grocery store twice a week just to keep the milk and eggs and bread in stock. Noise, Noise, Noise. I long for a hermitage, I fantasize about running away - to the Bahamas? Virgin Isles? Hawaii? No, to a hermitage in the woods, with 2 books, no phone and my icon materials. A herd of sheep, a few chickens, and a cow. See? I am breathing so easily now. You should of seen me 45 minutes ago, before 4/7ths of the kiddos went to bed. Not breathing deeply. Gritting my teeth, clenching my hands. Oh please oh please oh please go to bed. The other 3 are supposed to be cleaning up the day's mess in the rec room, but I hear playing and screaming, so I have to go down there. oh, for a hermitage...

Tag #2

Finally getting aroung to the second tag I received this weekend. I'll do my best -
Just answer 5 questions, then add three and pass it on.
If I could be a scientist, a farmer, a musician, a doctor..........
If I could be a painter, a gardener, a missionary, a chef.........
If I could be an architect, a linguist, a psychologist, a librarian......
If I could be an athlete, a lawyer, an inn-keeper, a professor.....
If I could be a writer, a llama rider, a bonnie pirate, an astronaut.....
If I could be a world famous blogger, a justice on any one court in the world.......
If I could be married to any current famous political figure........
If I could be an office supply salesman, a dog show judge, a coal miner........
If I could be a baker, a comedian, a monk...........
If I could be a publisher, a spy, a greeting card designer..........

If I could be a landscaper, carpenter, hair stylist................

If I could be a professor, I would be just like the chemisty professor I had in college. He knew each of his students, he met with them individually, knew their goals, and gave them direction to meed said goals.

If I could be a writer, I would want to write things that made people cry for all the right reasons. A timeless truth, a moment that makes the reader feel REAL. Things that penetrated all the wrapping people put on themselved and get to their hearts. I wish I could do that.

If I could be a carpenter, I would build the furtiture I design. I have designed a few pieces and had them built, but how cool would it be to do it myself. Maybe someday....

If I could be an architect, I would design houses that would have lots of light, useful built-ins to deminish the clutter, with lots of hidden details that aren't noticed immediately, yet subconciously make the place cozy and homey.

If I were a psychologist, I would learn everything I could about Dr. Conrad Baars and the therapies he developed. Healing hurt people and assuring them of unconditional love could change the world.

Pass on to Kate, and M'Lynn, if you feel like it, someday, whenever, or never. =)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Tag #1

Ayekah tagged me twice this weekend, which is good, because it keeps the brain from clogging up on all that laundry and stuff. So here is tag number one, which is listing 10 things I have never done.

1. I have never skied in the snow. I was a physical therapist, and saw toooooo many blown out kness. I'm more a of a sit-in-the-lodge-with-a-cute-sweater-and-sip-hot-cocoa-while-reading-a-great-book kind of person, anyway.

2. I have never been overseas, unless Hawaii counts. I have an opportunity to go to Germany this fall, but that would require leaving the 7 kiddos with someone, and I don't know if I can do that, but isn't it fun to think about??

3. I have never taken my car to an automatic carwash. I would rather drive a dirty car or wash it at home than try to figure out that humongous automated machine.

4. I have never taken all of my kids to the grocery store. I would rather go hungry until dh gets home. I never need anything that badly.

5. I have never been to the East Coast, unless Florida counts, which was when I was very young. See this for proof.

6. I have never been on a boat on the ocean. A cruise is my worst nightmare, like being in an airplane for a week. UHHGG!!! You can't just get off and go home.

7. I have never read To Kill A Mockingbird. It's on my list of things to do this year. So is loosing 25 pounds, so I'm not holding my breath.

8. I have never used cloth diapers on my children. I even bought them once, and had all the cute covers and everything, and never had the presence of mind or lull in the laundry to give it a go.

9. I have never used articficial contraception. Early in the marriage it was just assumed, as we were obedient Catholics, that we would not contracept. Now, although serious NFP can get a little tiresome, I would not allow such disrespectful corruption into my body.

10. I have never had pain medication during child birth, unless B&B counts. I am more frightened of the huge needle than the "clean" pain of labor.

And there you have it. I am suppossed to tag three people, so I will choose Veronica, Valerie at Barefoot and Pregnant, and Ginger. Tag, you're it!!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Spring Cleaning

In going through cabinets and closets today, clearing out the debris that collects somehow, I came across the kiddos baby albums and photos of their fist year. First, I can't believe the crud I kept (not the baby albums. Just all the other junk I unearthed). Second, I am proud that all of the seven kids have a baby book and a photo album. I was just putting the finishing touches on the baby's album, as she turns one tomorrow. The process of clearing out junk and seeing some of those photos transported me back in time. Some generalizations that can be made upon reflection are as follows (WARNING: This is as close to free assiciation writing as I get). I am actually not as tired as I was 10 years ago, but I have less energy. I have a more difficult time recovering from the birth of a girl that a boy. I smiled more when I was younger. I have only gone up one size in 11 years. Not bad, eh? The adreneline is wearing off from the first few crazy years of our marriage, and now we are struggling with stability. We have moved every 4 years, and we are now on year 5 here. I could have stayed in house number one forever (although it would be too small for us now), but dh likes constant change (I call it upheaval, but then that's just me). Homeschooling is taking up most of my free time. That, and blogging. I am much better at taking care of babies now than I used to be. I have a much clearer idea of who I want to be when I grow up than I did 10 years ago. I guess I am close to being grown up? I think the age of reason should be 40 years old. And finally, I am a lot happier than I thought, alot more sure of myself than I thought, and much more clear on who I am than I used to be. Who knew? I never would have realized this without unearthing all the garbage I kept for what reason I don't know. I am wiser now, and it is all going out of here tomorrow. Woo-hoo, it feels good to shed a few old layers, and let the new one breathe. Amen.

Book Meme Answers, redo (something messed up in the comments)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Book Meme Answers

Total number of books I have owned: Too many to count. Shelves and shelves, cases and cases, and closets full.

Last book I bought
: (New) The Worn Out Woman: When Your Life is Full and Your Spirit is Empty, by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray. I have been too busy to read it yet. Sheesh, I am pathetic.
(Used) Magic School Bus Electric Field Trip. I scored, for $.88, I got the last book we need in that series (I think, except now that I say that I think we still need the one about Bees).

Last Book I read
: All the way? Good Night Moon. Does that count?

5 books that mean alot to me: 1) Good Night Moon. Seriously. I have been reading that one to my children for 12 years, and all 7 of them still love it. I will begin, "In the great green room..." and anyone in earshot comes wandering in, even the nearly 12 year old. It is such a soothing, beautiful book. I love it.
2) Fr. Elijah, by Michale O'Brien This is the only apocolypic novel I have ever read that I did not regret. It is beautiful, spiritually rich and hopeful. I have read it 3 or 4 times,and will read it again, I am sure.
3) Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I read this on vacation one fall, when I had only 3 children. I loved it. I read it again when I had 6 children. Loved it more. Will likely read it again this summer, and love it even more.
4) Pilgim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard. I read this in college, and it inspired such awe at the lovliness in nature. The smallest detail in nature is done to such perfection. This book made me fine tune my observation skills to suck every bit of beauty from the world God made for us.
5) I cannot choose between My Antonia, O Pioneers, and Death Comes to the Archbishop, all by Willa Cather. I have read each of these books numerous times, and look forward to reading them again. I think my favorite is My Antonia, but I can not say that unequivically.

5 people to tag and have them do this on their blog: I have seen this all over the place, and can't really remember who has done it and who hasn't. Let's say I make this a volunteer meme, and you can leave a comment if you want to do it. Then I can check out your answers later.

Thanks for the tag Philothea Rose, Kate, and Alex.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Book meme (what is a meme, by the way??)

I got tagged by three people! I will get this done tomorrow. Today was the kind of day when I used up every drop of energy. By the time the baby went to bed, I literally had to step outside for fresh air just to keep myself from screaming. Funny thing, nothing bad even happened today. Just one little irritation at a time, and by bedtime I am a blithering idiot. I told dh to send me to my room, and here I am with my trusty laptop, reading and enjoying many blogs. So goodnight, tomorrow is a new day, and God Bless.

Monday, May 16, 2005

What Color am I?

you are mediumauqamarine

Your dominant hues are cyan and green. Although you definately strive to be logical you care about people and know there's a time and place for thinking emotionally. Your head rules most things but your heart rules others, and getting them to meet in the middle takes a lot of your energy some days.

Your saturation level is medium - You're not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it's required of you. You probably don't think the world can change for you and don't want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

This is very close to how I see myself, and these colors are all over my wardrobe and home. Pretty cool.

hat tip to Kate at Heart Speaks to Heart

Friday, May 13, 2005

Another Terrific Blog, and it's long term effect on my life.

In 1995, I received a copy of a magazine called Caelum et Terra. It opened my eyes to a way of Catholic thinking that truly changed my life. I was at that time a new mother, living in the suburbs, wondering how to make our family a reflection of Catholic Culture. While we were firmly established in our faith, and regular church goers and all that, I felt somewhat disconnected from a Catholic lifestyle. I was isolated and didn't feel I belonged anywhere. We were church hopping like crazy, trying to find a liturgy that was authentic and respectful, yet at the same time feeling the need to live in a way that lives out the Gospel. The church we attended at the time had a beautiful Mass, but the congregation came from all over the metropolitan area, and there was very little sense of community. I wanted to be able to care for the earth, the poor, and the disillusioned and have a traditional liturgy. I found an "either/or" situation out there in Cathoic land. The conservative parishes rejected "peace and justice" stuff as liberal, and the "peace and justice" crowd dismissed the ancient liturgy as "pre-vatican II" and irrevlevant.

This magazine adressed all these situations, and made me realize I did belong to a group of Catholics who embraced the Faith, and this was truly universal. Not just "American" not just "Rebublican" or "Democrat". The teachings of JPII were fully studied, as were those of Leo XIII. Beautiful liturgy was emphasized, as was a return to an agrarian lifestyle.

I loved every issue I received, and it changed the way I looked at our faith. I was no longer willing to settle for half of the Truth - I wanted it all. I look now at our 3 acres and thank this magazine for instilling the desire to make living here possible. I look at my eventual attendance at the Byzantine Liturgy and see the roots of that desire in this magazine as well.

Sadly, the magazine folded after a few more years, and all I had of the rich exchange of ideas was my treasured back issues.

Every so often, I would run into a fellow C&T subscriber, and I instantly knew I had met a friend of my soul. One such person and I met weekly with our back issues and had some of the best discussions of my life. She eventually became the Godmother to one of my children.

Now there is a Caelum et Terra blog. I feel like I have come home, being able to read and take part in these discussions about our glorious faith. It's like a breath of fresh air. Check them out here. Tell them Renee sent you.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My blog list has grown

Here are some blogs I either have just discovered or have just gotten around to adding to the sidebar. My first attempt at linking. I am so proud!!
a fellow icon writer
a wise woman
I can so relate to these ladies
just plain interesting

I know some of you are old friends, but they are new to me, and I am glad to read what they write.

Look What I Can Do!!

By Jove, I think I have it!! See a previous favorite post of mine here

With a little practice, I'll soon be able to link to other blogs I reference. I should be able to by tonight, all things going as they should. Aren't you proud of me? I didn't think I could figure this out!!

My world shrinks as it expands

This is where I have been as of the end of 1992

This is where I have been from 1992 to the end of 2000

This is where I have been since 2000. See a trend?

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Baton recieved, and passed on

"List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), 'Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.'"

This is the baton I recieved from Alex at eschewing obfuscation. Here goes:

1) teeth whitening
- seems like another attempt to deny getting older. It's gonna happen, like it or not.

2) spinning
- frankly I don't really even understand what is different about this and riding an excercise bike.

3) having kids be in multiple enrichment activities
- I think being home and part of the family is as enriching as it gets. No traveling sports teams at this home, no daily practice for triathelons (a 7 year old ds of a friend of mine does this). My kids do choir, and that's it. Sports happen at homeschool P.E. class and in the backyard.

4) traveling - I can think of nothing as anxiety producing as spending two weeks packing, another 2 recovering from a 1 week family vacation. I love day trips or overnighters, as well as just staying home.

5) current television - I have never seen American Idol, Survivor, Lost, Alias, 24, or any other current show. I watch TLC, news, Monk, and re-runs.

There you go. I'll tap some people, but carrying the baton is strickly voluntary, of course. How about Kate at Heart to Heart, Philothea Rose, and alicia from fructus ventris. These sites are all on my sidebar. No, I still haven't taken the time to learn to do links.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

In honor of every self-sacrificing mother out there, here is a quote that hit me right between the eyes. I was reading this to my almost three year old son, and when I came to this part, I paused. This is the answer to the unsettling hesitation I have about the costs of mothering. I see my body, so changed by the process of carrying and birthing seven children. I see the hesitation to endure whatever the future has in store. I see the fear of "losing myself" amidst the constant daily demands. I see the desire, and yet am fearful, of becoming real.


"What is REAL?" asled the Rabbit one day. Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
The only toy that was kind to the Rabbit was the Skin Horse. The Skin Horse had lived in the nursery longer than any of the others, and he was very wise.
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens when a child loves you. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, you get loose in the joints, and very shabby."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse. "But when you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
The Rabbit sighed. He longed to become Real, and yet the idea of growing shabby was rather sad. He wished that he could become Real without uncomfortable things happening to him.

from "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams.

And I offer a sincere prayer of thanksgiving to the Heavenly King, Consoler, the Spirit of Truth; Who is in all places and sees all things; Treasury of blessings, and Giver of Life, for granting me the gifts of my children, and the many opportunities to become REAL.

And to all the Mothers reading, and to all the women who mother other people's children, and to all the women who care for others and give of themselves, Happy Mother's Day, and may God grant you many years in peace, health and happiness.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Blogging and my dear husband

In the short time I have blogged, I haven't said much about my husband. I thought I would share a few detail about this lucky, lucky man.

First, he does know I blog, he doesn't read what I write unless invited (his idea, not mine), and I never write anything about our relationship unless he knows about it.

Second, he read my post from Friday, and the responses, and was quite moved and impressed with the level of care and concern our St. Blog commumity has for each other.

Third, I am a critical person (Darn it) and I have written about some of my disappointment in my marriage, and not much about the goodness of it. I guess I don't need to "work out" anything if I am content and happy. BUT, my dh and I have a great story, and I will share a sketch of it.

We met on a blind date on Jan. 24, 1991. After getting my number from a mutual friend, he called, and we spent about a week speaking on the phone. By the time we met, all that was left was to check out his physical appearance and make sure they met my rather broad requirements. They did. We had a great evening - sat up til four in the morning talking, playing Pente and chess. We spoke to each other every day after that, and he told me that during our first dinner, he called his friend to cancel the "plan B" escape movie. He told his room mate, "No movie tonight - I just met the woman I am going to marry.'

We were informally engaged six weeks later while speaking with a priest about having a Tridentine Latin Wedding. He said he could do that, and what date would we like? All of a sudden, we had a wedding date in October, so dh got down on one knee in the church parking lot, and proposed.

We were married 7 months later. In that time I had to meet his family in Denver, and plan an entire wedding. Our wedding was the first Tridentine wedding in 30 years in the diocese - a singular grace for us.

We honeymooned in Hawaii, and came back with our best souviner, our oldest ds.

Since then, my husband has been a busy, busy man. He feels strongly that he needs to use his talents for God's glory, so he sings at church regulary, often at extra things like weddings and funerals. He got a MBA from the #1 school in the country (meanwhile we had 3 more children, and I began homeschooling). After that, he started his own business so that the profits his talents earned were going to God's work instead of to his miserly boss (meanwhile, we had 2 more children). This is another story for another day, but my dh had to conquer many a dragon get his business up and running.

Now he is running his own investment fund, involved in the neighborhood organization, involved in the kid's choir, invloved at church (cantor help), and last but not least, he is beginning a Eastern Rite Great Books College. This has been in the works for about a year (meanwhile we had another child), and looks as though it really is going to become something more than an idea. My dh went to
a Great Books, liberal arts Catholic college. He feels strongly that this kind of education can help restore our Christian Culture, and now that he has discovered the richness of the Eastern Catholic Churches, he can see how beneficial Patristics, Philosophy, Theology, and other studies can be to the modern man, expecially when combined with the Divine Liturgy, iconography, beautiful music, and a search for "truth".

My dh is an intense man. He is intensely religious, intensely aware of the reason we exist, intensely funny, intensely devoted to the things he holds dear. He has a full plate, and while many of his projects can wait for him to get back to them when he has time, the kids and I can not. He knows this and his struggle is making sure we know that we are his priority, that his pursuits are for reasons free of self importance and that he truly is doing God's will for his life, best he can tell.

There is so much more I could write about our story, and various trails we have been down these past 12 years. It has been a great adventure so far, and while dh and I differ in the way we respond to adventure, so far we have gone down the path side by side. This is what I want more than anything - a true unity of purpose. This last project of his is stretching me, and forcing me to grapple with large and uncomfortable issues. Again, that is another post for another time. The real issue now is making certain that as a couple, we encourage each other to do the things God has called us to, and at the same time, keeping our marriage and family a soft place to fall, a safe harbor, and a place we can rest easy in the knowledge of our place.