Saturday, July 29, 2006

So far, so good, plus art appreciation

So far the Final Week of the Thirties is going well.

Thursday I did indeed attend a beautiful Divine Liturgy with my husband and some of my friends. Afterwards we went out to breakfast, where we ran into other friends. Since Thursday isn't a fast day, I had a declicious skillet with lots of meat and cheese and eggs. I chose Thursday, because on Monday begins the fast in preparation for the Dormition of the Theotokos (Assumption of Our Lady), and there is just something about oatmeal that just doesn't feel much like a celebration.

Yesterday I spent time with my husband, going to a book store and then just being with him at his office. This was quite refreshing, just being together.

Today we are going to go see a friend and then go on a hike. We are also going to put away all the clean clothes. Now this doesn't sound like a celebration, but when it is finished, we'll head out to Dairy Joy for some corn dogs and ice cream.


Last week I went to an art fair in a town up the river. This wasn't a craft fair, this was an art fair. It was a pleasant suprise as I didn't know it was going on, but what a blessing! A lovely 78 degree day, lots of white tents with some of the most colorful expressions of the creative spark I have experienced in a long time. One lady in particular brought me to tears with her artwork. She used watercolor, but in such a vibrant palate! Her figures where women, content, happy women with rounded features, large hips, and big hearts. If I had a spare $150, there would be one of her painting in my home. But I'll have to hold her inspiration in my memory and heart for now, and hope she comes back next year. There was something in her work that just went straight to the heart and soul. Her images peeled away the false commercial messages we are bombarded with every waking moment in this culture, and replaced it with real womanhood. Women comforting children, embracing their men, encompassing their homes with their hearts and their love. Also some where of women comforting themselves with a bath or brushing their hair, or just dozing in a chair with an interrupted book proped in the lap. These were real women, women who were not afraid of their bodies, who where not afraid to give of themselves for their families and villages, who were not afraid to rest when needed or restore themselves regularly. As you can see, I was quite inspired. That, in fact was my inspiration for the Final Week of the Thirties celebration. I think I might extend it into the First Week of the Forties. Some of the days are set aside for me, others are set aside for me with the family, but what I have learned most of all is the time must be set aside.

All this from a watercolor painting. Now that is what I call art!

This is an example of her art. Her name in Yucha Pak. I found this at this site ~ This is a very tiny picture, but the vibrant colors do show up.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Bleg for Y'all

Okay, people, I need your help. This is officially the last week of my thirties. At this time next week, I well be 40 years old. So, I want to do one special thing each day this week to end the thirties with a smile. And to give the 40's a hint on how I would like that decade to go.

So, I've got today done, I'm going Shopping.
Thursday - I am going to Liturgy and then to breakfast with my husband and whatever other friends are there that day
Friday - ??
Saturday - ??
Sunday - going on a Ladie's Outing with my sister's in law and mom
Monday - ??
Tuesday - ??
And The Big Day - going to get a hair cut and manicure, possibly a pedicure as well. I have never done this before, so now's the time, I think.

So, give me any good ideas you might have. I want this to be a week to remember~!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Snippet from the past

I have many thoughts brewing, but not formed enough to post. In the meantime, I came across this old journal entry from July 31, 1998. I had just had my fourth baby two weeks prior (this is the same boy who just had his eighth birthday), and my oldest was five years old. This is for all the moms who comment here, and say, "I only have (three) or (four) kids. How do you manage seven??"
Believe me, when I wrote this post, I did not have time to garden, read, or even write much. But it was a time of love and sweetness, to be sure.

"Since the baby's birth I have had so much to write, and so little time to do it! He is two weeks old now, and starting to fill out a little. I find I am just now feeling fatigued, and more impatient with all the children! Its an awful dichotomy to feel so blessed and burdened at the same time. I do find I am so touched by his sweetness, and don't really mind being interrupted by him. The only thing that drives me to yell is when the kids fight, whine, or disregard what I say. Instead of correction, I feel like spontaneous combustion. All this makes it difficult to put to words the tender moments that occur daily. My goal is to stop the harshness from trampeling the tenderness."

And to tell the truth, that is still my goal, and constant struggle. I love my children so fiercely, and yet can get so troubled by all there is to do I can miss just being with them.

Anyway, today I did spend a good hour and a half in the pool with the 4 littlest ones. I played, and had quite a bit of fun.


Friday, July 21, 2006

A Curiousity

My six year old daughter came up with a new phrase this morning, at least new to me. After trying to clear her throat numerous times, she said, "Mommy, I have booger throat."

Growing up, my family called that "Skrocky"

How 'bout you. What do you call "it"?

Monday, July 17, 2006


Some new housekeeping. Changed the age of my 4th child, added a new prayer, and added a new blog. The Kitchen Madonna has intrigued me with her reflections of food and holiness, feeding the body and the soul, and using wit and wisdom to do it. Check her out!

Here is an excerpt:

"Finding the sacred in the everyday is as simple as doing the tasks before you with great mindfulness, not worrying about the overdrawn checkbook or tomorrow's meeting. Losing yourself in the task at hand, simply put yourself in the Presence of God, letting go of any distracting thoughts as they invariably surface. This is what is classically known as the discernment of thoughts, what the Church offered centuries and centuries before that secular gift known as cognitive therapy. Constantly return to the trust and peace that comes with abandoning yourself to Divine Providence. In time, you won't notice how long it takes to wash the dishes because you will have entered Kairos or eternal time. God's time."

Read the entire post here

Happy Birthday!!

Hello, all. We had yet another birthday at our house yesterday. My fourth child, and second son, turned eight years old.

Now this boy has been such a bright spot in my life. He has been sweet, gentle, smiley, considerate and darling since the day he was born. No, seriously. This is the boy who, when he turned 4 years old said he wished he was still 3, because then there was no sin in him. This is the boy who notices Mommy fell asleep while reading a story, and quietly tip-toes out of the room and lets her sleep. This is the boy who comes into my room early in the morning to make my coffee so it's ready when I wake up (yeah, so I have a coffe pot in my bathroom, doesn't everyone?) This is the boy who taught his little sister how to make coffee, so while he was on vacation with his dad and older brother, I would still have coffee when I got up.

Almost everytime we go somewhere, a stranger will come up and say, "There's something very special about that boy." One lady told me he had a pure soul, that she could see it. I don't know where she got her information, but I would have to agree with her.

He was born on the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. His favorite bible story is Daniel and the Lion's Den. He prays like a warrior after he recieves Communion, and he is very concerned about keeping evil at bay. He is a strapping, muscular guy, and has the sweetest smile I have ever seen.

He got some lego knights, as well as a new bike and a helmet. He has been riding all day, even in this extreme heat and humidity, and I have committed to go on a bike ride with him tomorrow. We are going EARLY, to try to beat the heat. Yesterday he brought cupcakes he had made (with a little of my help) to coffe hour after church, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to him. A few of the nice older ladies gave him some dollars, so tomorrow we are off to Game Crazy to get a new gameboy game.

After church friends of ours came over and our kids and their kids played all day and helped us devour the cake and ice cream we had to celebrate the birth of our boy.

All in all a great day,and a wonderful commeration of a loving blessing bestowed on our family. Happy Birthday, dear son. I love you!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some Garden Shots

This is where my time is being spent this summer. Notice I have not included photos of the kitchen or the laundry room, because by default, that is where I am not spending my time this summer.

Taken today on my patio

You see, crazyacres is a real place!

As Promised

Here is the photo of the excited birthday boy getting his Swiffer. This one goes in the baby book!

Bio Poem

I found this in my archives today, and thought I would repost it. Anyone want to give it a try? This is from Amy's old blog A Call to Adventure. Now you can find her at Among Women.

Mother of many
Lover of the children, their father, and their Maker
Who needs more prayer, more trust, more real
Who gives not enough of herself, and too much
Who fears shame, heartache, sin
Who would like to see her desk cleaned off, her laundry done, a gorgeous sunset
Worrier extrordanairre
Poppins NOT

Here's how to do your own:

First Name
How You fit in the Family
Lover of (3 things)
Who needs (3 things)
Who gives (2 things)
Who fears (3 things)
Who would like to see (3 things)
Last name

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The stuff of life

Well, thank you all for your kind wishes for my son. We had a great day for his birthday. I got him a Shel Silverstein book, Roller Coaster Tycoon III, and his favorite, a new Swiffer. His job for chores is to clean the bathrooms and he always uses a wet Swiffer on the floor. Our old one completely fell apart and was held together by duct tape. The last few times I was out doing errands, he called me and asked for a new Swiffer. So, he got one on his birthday, and he got quite a laugh out of it. And he immediately put it together, showed his sisters, and tried it out in the bathroom. I was hoping he would get the "joke", and he really did. It is one of my favorite memories, seeing him appreciate and share my "gag" gift.

Sunday was an amazing day. The Romanian Catholic Bishop, John Micheal Botean, came to visit our parish. We were in church 3 hours, and loved every minute of it. There were sung Matins, with 6 cantors, the church in semi-darkness, with lots of candles burning. I sure wish I would have had my camera. My own dear husband is one of the cantors, and I was edified watching him pray in such a beautiful way.

Then the 10 altar boys processed out from the altar, through the iconostas, dressed in their cassocks and carrying their folded vestments. The bishop blessed the vestments, and the boys processed back to the sacristy, and robed for Liturgy. Then began the Vesting of the Bishop. It was so beautiful. The Bishop stood in the aisle of the church, about 1/3 of the way back, in his cassock. One of the deacons began chanting the vesting hymns. With each article of his vestisure, there was a unique prayer comparing each article to the armor of a warrior. I wish I had the text to share with you, but trust me to say it was dignified, symbolic, humble, prayerful, and holy. Then the lights went on, and Divine Liturgy began. I have only been to a Pontifical Liturgy one other time, and it is a stunning service. When the bishop gives blessings during the Liturgy, he holds two candlabras, one with two candles, representing the two natures of Christ, and one with three candles, representing the Holy Trinity. Every motion, every prayer, every puff of inscence and procession are full of ancient and timeless theology. What a great way to pray!!

Then, we went home to eat and change, as the parish picnic was that afternoon. It turned out that more than a few people lived far enough away that they didn't want to go all the way home, so they were just going to wait at the church, with no food, for 2 and a half hours. So, they were promptly invited to our home, where I had such delictible delights as hard boiled eggs, bagles and cream cheese, OJ and coffe. Simple, but it did the trick. The biggest suprise was that the Bishop came over, too, as he needed a little break after that awesome Liturgy. I am glad I didn't know he was coming or I would have been all frantic trying to get the house and yard perfect. It was a great honor to give hospitality to our Bishop.

Then, off to the picnic. My four year old son went straight to the ponies, and he didn't leave the entire picnic. He was SO cute to watch. Earnest, delighted, and as thrilled as could be. He rode each of the four ponies at least 10 times. He didn't even eat until the picnic was technically over, so as not to miss a second with those ponies.

I found such exquisite delight in him that day, but then found out later that someone I respect very much suffered an incredible tragedy with her 4 year old son at nearly the exact same time. This in so heartbreaking, and I just can't make any sense of it. I am grieving so much for this family, and holding my own son even more closely to my heart, and hugging him more tightly when ever I have the chance. *sigh* Please pray for this family.

Anyway, then we came back home with a few other families who wanted to continue the party, grilled up a slew of hamburgers, and continied until midnight. What a full, full day. So full of life, sadness, grace, and eternal questions. Boggles the mind.

So, yesterday, we had many of my oldest's friends over to spend the night because my courageous husband is taking my son and 6 of his friends to Six Flags today. Also, 4 of my brother's children spent the night, so we had 15 children sleeping here last night. We couldn't believe it. Only 2 had to sleep on the floor, and it was quiet by 10:30. I guess we have the perfect situation for hospitatlity. Praise God!

So, that's the latest. I will attempt to fix my picture situation and add the hilareous photo of my son when he opened his brand new Swiffer. It is priceless.

As I close I would like to include a prayer for Joshua Michael and his family, should you care to join with me:

O Lord, You are the joy and solace of the afflicted and the sheild of the fainthearted. In your compassion, comfort those who are in mourning. Give rest in the bosom of Abraham to your departed servant Joshua who died in the hope of rising to eternal life. For you are a gracious God and You love mankind, and we glorify You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (+), now and ever and forever. Amen.

May his memory be eternal!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Day That Changed my World

Today is the 13th anniversary of my eldest child's birth. This is the day that changed my life forever, adding such deep love, fear, uncertainty and richness that I could scarcely grasp it.

I remember when they first handed him to me, I looked at his face, searching for something I recognized. There was nothing, just a grip of fear so deep that it gave me a chilled sweat. "Good God, now what am I supposed to do??"

I was mightily disappointed that there was no rush of love, or devotion, or the universe opening up to me. I was just exhausted, afraid, and reeling from having just concluded the worst pain I had ever felt in my life.

My husband held him, had a deer-in-the-headlights look, but one of awe and love as well. I got to eat a little, shower, and change, and then my mom and dad came in. That's when it seemed real, and that's when the stirrings of possesion took place in me. I saw joy without fear, unconditional love, and delight all around in my parent's faces. I held my son again, and then he opened his eyes and gazed deeply, slightly bemused, into my eyes. Then I knew I was in this forever, come what may, and that this little person was my burst of joy so profound that I was no longer the same person.

I remember the feeling of not knowing what to do with him once we got home. I showed him his room, I held him, I put him down, I picked him up again. Then I just kissed his forhead and let the minutes soak in.

Now, he is 13. I again have the feeling of not knowing what to do with him. He is a new creature now, trying to be his own person, not certain how much of childhood to take with him. I want him to know that I still am in this forever, come what may. That he is the burst of joy that changed me forever, and that he is the child that gets the mom with the least experience and the highest hopes.

Mostly, I just want to soak in each moment with him, give him what every person needs, which is unconditional love, and a security in knowing the Source of that love. Love is not in me saying or doing the "right" things when I encounter him, it is me reflecting the unconditional love of his Creator, and letting my son get so comfortable with that knowledge that he never questions it.

So, the mystery continues for me, how someone could be so tightly woven into my very being, yet so completly seperate. I would give my very life for him, yet know very few of his real feelings and thoughts. That love means so much more than knowing someone. That love is much more about giving than receiving. That I want the best for him, yet am afraid of all the lessons he will have to learn to get the best. That he will be growing away from me, and it is as it should be. That love is more painful than I ever knew, and yet so worth every twinge. Love is a mystery.

Happy Birthday, son. I love you!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hellooooo out there!!!

Well where have I been??

Really, just working around the house and yard, doing laundry, deep decluttering in the closets and stuff like that. The weather was unbelievably beautiful the last week of June. July has hit with heat and humidity, but so far not untolerably so.

Yesterday and last night I watched the entire mini-series of "Pride and Prejudice" by the BBC. Loved it. Want to watch it again. Want to run off with Colin Firth.

I had read the book a long time ago, but have to admit the intensity of the emotions didn't come through to me then. I thought the entire thing rather silly when I read the book. I was single then, in my mid-twenties, so maybe my stage in life made it less appreciated. Now as a matron (gak) I can see more in the story. Or maybe I can see more in the story because I SAW the story. Or maybe I saw more in the story because the acting was suburb, the music was beautiful, the sets lush, and the chemistry between Elizabeth and Darcy sizzled. *sigh* it's been a long time since I gazed at a movie with such heart felt enjoyment.

It all started when I was flying home from California in May, and watched, "Nanny Mcphee" on the plane. Colin Firth was in that, and cauhgt my attention. Again, he was very engaging, and struck my interest as he played a sweet, sad father of seven.

I then decided to search and find the BBC "Pride and Prejudice", as I had heard it was good, and now had renewed interest in its principle actor. And I am glad I did, and I will probably watch it again Monday while sorting the gi-mongous pile of unmatched socks I have.

Anyway, today we are off to a family party, this time saying goodbye to the brother we just welcomed home. He is off to Las Vegas to take a job in the banking industry. God grant him many years!!