Friday, October 27, 2006

Blog Fast

I have decided to go on a one week blog fast. So, please don't feel neglected if I don't comment for a while. I just need to focus in around here a little more. I did put some old posts of mine on the sidebar, so if you are bored you can read those. I'll see you next week!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Take a look over at the sidebar. I added a SLEW of new blogs, most of which I came across from comments I received about my anniversary post.

Speaking of that post, I want to thank you all for such terrific feedback. Warmed my heart, and made me realize that my marriage is in good company. I added a "My Favorite Post" category, and so far that one is the only one in it, but I will be going through my archives and adding some of my favorites.

Okay, that is it for now. I think I have more people to add to the sidebar, but I will same them for later. Blessings to you all!


I added 3 more to my favorites. If you have time or interest, let me know what you think. They are from the first year of crazyacres.

Catherine Doherty

I have recently begun to learn about Madonna House and it's founder, Catherine Doherty. I have been trying to digest her writings, and feel so drawn to them. I feel like a thirsty person who is getting closer to the water, but still have a while to go til I get there.

I will be posting a little about her, or her prayers, or writings from Madonna house as I work throught this material. Here is one of her prayers, one that really pierced my heart today.

"Jesus Beloved, let me see! I am blind to my faults, blind to my sins, blind to the fact that I antagonize all people except those who themselves are saints and put up with me as a cross! I love you. Alone I can do nothing. Let me strive under your guidance to get rid of my imperfections, no matter the cost. I am lonely because I deserve it. O Jesus, when I catch a glimpse of myself, I weep in horror at the picture. Help me, Beloved, to realize that you are all, I, nothing! Then will my pride be broken and in humility, I will begin. Break my pride. Break it, O Jesus, even if it kills me. For with it I cannot have you and I want you above all.
-April 7, 1935

Then, here is a description of Catherine's book, "In the Footprints of Loneliness" ~~
"Lonliness is a part of the journey of faith. When loneliness comes upon you, you want to go and hide in some corner - self pity carries you like a big, huge wave on a beach all full of stones. You see that beach in your mind and you think you are going to be broken up on the rocks... but in the depth of every heart there is a garden enclosed.

This garden is Gethsemane, and the enclosure is a meeting place for the Beloved, God. If you enter into this garden, you will hear the incredible sounds that Jesus heard; the heartbeats of God. God put loneliness in your heart so that you would hunger for him, and learn that unity with him brings unity with all."

I think I am particularly drawn to Catherine because she seems to me a bridge between East and West. She was a Russion Orthodox, then later a Catholic. She didn't reject East for West, she folded them together. Her approach seems whole, loving, and restorative. Again, these are impressions I have gotten so far, as I am just diving in. If this interests you, keep your eyes open for the blue door.

I'll be using the blue door photo for all my Madonna House reflections, as The Madonna House in Ontario has a blue door.

Many blessings to you all for a grace-filled day!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Photos and an update

As promised, some photos from our Octoberfest.

Also, I wimped on the huge investment of front loaders. There are so many choices, I didn't want to make that large of a decision so quickly, so, my husband went to the local appliance repair store, bought a reconditioned Maytag extra large capacity for $350, and we are back in business. Eventually we will upgrade to the front loaders, after a little more research and some more saving up in the ol' piggy bank.

Thank you for all the input. I will use it when I finally get the upgrade.

Photo #1: Some of the fall flavor at crazyacres
Photo #2: The birthday girl!
Photo #3: My husband (you can just see his hat from the back through the crowd of children) giving tractor rides.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coffee, please!

My goodness, what a weekend!

The Octoberfest went really well. Once again, my official photographer (my sister-in-law) has taken some glorious pictures. When I get some, I'll share. We ended up with a GLORIOUS weather day, despite the weather forcast that promised rain. Dear St. Scholastica came through again!!

After party Saturday, which lasted until 11:30 p.m., we had church on Sunday with our usual meal afterward, then many people ended up coming over after that. We had lots of left-overs, and the place still looked festive, and many worthy conversations were had by all. Also, my brother and sister-in-law came to visit from California, and will be leaving later today. A full house, I tell you!! Lots of food and talking, and laughing, lots of laughing.

I have managed to stay on top of the kitchen, and it looks fairly decent considering the abuse it took this weekend. One thing I was not able to stay on top of was the laundry, as my washer bit the dust Saturday morning. The repair place says it's not worth fixing. So, I have a request from you, dear readers::

If you were to replace your washer, which is no small investment these days, what kind would you buy? Any advice, input, or intimate knowledge about washers out there? This is a big investment, and I have very little time to make the decision, before clothes will be cascading out the door and windows around here. HELP!

So, I will leave you for now, because I still have guests and I still have school to teach, and I must enjoy my mandatory dispensation from laundry. I will be working on my "Good Shepherd" icon again today, and will ask Him to bless and keep you all in His tender care.


Friday, October 20, 2006

home, hearth, and health

I'm back, since Monday night. It's been a steady week of school, laundry and preparing for our Octoberfest/12th birthday for my eldest daughter. Today we decorated our new garage for the party, as the weather report is less than encouraging for our planned outdoor party. But, it looks festive and cozy, and it's not supposed to be cold, just rainy. We will have about 60-70 people here, with brats, stew, apple dumplings and pumpkin pie. Everyone will bring a dish to pass to fill out the menu. It'll be loads of fun!

The ladies get away was terrific fun, and as I had hoped, full of food and wine, chocolate, shopping and heart-to-heart talks. It could easily been twice as long, but we figure we'll just have to do it again before an entire year goes by. When I get pictures from my sister-in-law, I'll share.

Anyway, I don't have more time than this, so I'm off to shop for our party food, and then have a nice hot toddy when I return (I'm fighting off this nasty cold everyone has).

Hot Toddy-

1 quarter lemon, juiced into a mug.
one good 3 second squeeze of honey
one good 3 second pour of Maker's Mark Whiskey
Fill mug with boiling water.
Stir, Inhale healing steam, then sip the healing liquid. Get a blankie, get cozy, and enjoy the medicine!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Well, I am off for a ladies' weekend away. My sisters-in-law, my mom and I will be off for the weekend, and while I don't know exactly what we'll be doing, I am sure it will involve chocolate, movies, shopping and girl-talk.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone, and I'll be back early next week.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

14 years and counting...

Fourteen years ago, I was nervously enduring photos. My mother and me, my father and me, my brothers and me, my 3 closest friends and me. In the other room, I knew there was someone whose stomach was just as jumbly, whose hands were just as clammy, whose mouth was just as dry.

Later, as I walked down the aisle, I felt an "out of body" disbelief that I was really going to do this. I was really going to make promises FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, not knowing what I was going to experience along the way.

My dad was teary-eyed, which I had never seen before. My mom was misty as well. My betrothed looked like he was going to throw up, pale, but bright eyed. And then I hugged my dad goodbye, and I turned to the man who was to be my partner for the rest of our days. I had the same feeling as the one time I went cliff diving. Ready or not, JUMP! Fear, but exhileration.

We have had some very productive years. Seven children, 3 moves, a company begun and continued.

We have had lots of fun together ~ one of the main reasons I even went out with him twice was because he made me laugh so often.

We have had lots of hurts. It is amazing how you can wound and be wounded by the love of your life. We have needed every day of these 14 years to realize that our personal happiness is not the point of being married. That love really is giving til it hurts, and then forgiving the hurt and being willing to give again. And we have not always been in sync with this notion of mutual self-donation. When both people are equal in their sacrificial love, it isn't so difficult, really. But when you are out of sync, and one gives while the other one takes, and then you switch off because now "it's my turn to get", well, love suffers.

We have had joy beyond words welcoming each of our seven children, despite the fact that many times they were not "planned" and therefore caused us worry and fear. The Saturday mornings when we have a passel of children in our bed, or when we are eating dinner and we look around the table and see the abundance of our lives, these are the times we have no words for our gratitude; we look into each other's eyes across all the children, or the long table, and share a deep gaze of amazement.

We are two first-born children, who always think we are right, and yet rarely have the same ideas. We have many opportunities to practice negotiations, and as we get older, being right isn't quite as important as it used to be. We have learned the hard way that being right can come at a heavy cost. It is rarely worth the price our love pays.

We married in our late twenties, and had for the most part assumed we would never meet someone who "fit". It all happened quickly; met in January, engaged in March, married in October, became homeowners in April and parents in July. And then another baby the year after that, then another, and another, and so on.

It is only just recently the whirlwind has slowed enough for me to really look at my life. How did I get from Professional, Single and content to Married, mom to many and truly filled up? So quickly. Where did all these people come from, and how did they get so deep in me, so deep that I am changed forever?

And our story is just begining in so many ways. The idea of "True Love" has changed dramatically for me, anyway. I am realizing just how much of a burden I put on him to create for me the perfect romance. How disappointment can poison a relationship. How fear of suffering and sorrow can limit the amount of love poured out.

Love is a mystery. The love that endures when the "feelings" are low, the love that grows when there is much sorrow, the love that holds us together when we are so upset. That is a mystery. That is grace, and without it, we would never make it.

Love is easy when there is joy and happiness, and completely taken for granted. The love that I am the most grateful for is the love that binds us together when all wordly forces are pulling us apart. It is in this love that I know Christ, I believe in Him, I trust Him, and I love Him. He is the only person that can make sense out of real LOVE. And I thank Him every day that my dear husband loves and trust Him as well. When my husband and I are exhausted and hurt, we can seek refuge in Christ, and Christ always leads us back to each other.

So, that is our story, in a way. We believe that God led us to each other and will hold us together. We believe He sent us our children as gifts and lessons. We believe we are each other's "path to heaven". We look forward to being old together and then praising God together for all eternity.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hightly Recommended

I want to direct your attention to one of my favorite blogs, Caelum et Terra. We go way back, ever since Caelum et Terra was a real magazine in 1990. The writings of Maclin Horton and Daniel Nichols rocked my world! I am still always challenged by the thoughts expressed by Maclin and Daniel. Reading C & T has changed me and helped me embrace Christ in a new and deep way, especially in the areas of the poor, peace, and politics.

Attending the Byzantine Liturgy has had a similar effect on me. Daniel has a post up about the Byzantine Liturgy that is lovely, and I encourage you to check it out.

By the way, Daniel and I learned iconography together. Check out his icon site Eighth Day Icons.


Friday, October 06, 2006


Give a warm crazyacres welcome to two more additions to the blog roll; Michelle at Rosetta Stone, and Mary at Owlhaven. Both are lovely Christian mothers who love their families to the depth of their souls. I have been inspired and encouraged by both of them.

Mary has adopted and biological children in her family, and while adoption is not an experience I can share, her efforts in bonding and showing deep love are universal.

Michelle is dynamic and energetic and deeply committed to her family.

Both ladies have terrific senses of humor and a cheery outlook that helps sooth the rough spots of mothering.

And once again, I lost Alexa. You'll let me know when you reincarnate, won't you Alexa?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Yesterday, my husband made a point of inviting me to go to Divine Liturgy this morning. He is a cantor at our church, and he said, in particular, "I want to sing the Epistle to you."

So, up early, making breakfast for the kids, while they were all still asleep. Letting the older kids know where I was.

There were 5 of us at Liturgy this morning. The singing was light and sweet, the intimacy palpable. I lit a candle for all of my friends and family, and one especially for a pro-life friend of mine doing a public act of love for the unborn this morning.

Lord have mercy.

Then the Epistle
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for her,
that he might sanctify her, cleansing her in the bath of water by means of the word;
in order that he might present to himself the Church in all her glory, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.
Even thus ought husbands also to love thier wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his own wife, loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh; on the contrary he nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ also does the Church
(because we are members of his body, made from his flesh and from his bones).
For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery - I mean in reference to Christ and to the Church.
However, let each one of you also love his wife just as he loves himself; and let the wife respect her husband."

While I know my husband is serving the entire church in his role as cantor, I couldn't help but feel personally addressed this morning. After Liturgy, he showed his love in yet another way by making me coffee and breakfast.

I would like to express my complete respect to my dear husband for his acts of love this morning. And my deep love right back. Thank you, sweetie!

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Good Idea

Over at Rosetta Stone Michelle encouraged us to make a monthly resolution. Here was my response.

"As for October's Resolution, To hug each of my seven children every day. I know, that sounds like a no brainer, but my older kids can get away from me sometimes if I don't pay attention. Especially my oldest, 13 year old boy. Also, I want all the kids to say good night to each other. That hasn't happened before, because I haven't made a point of it. But this month, we're giving it a go."

How 'bout you?