Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pauper? So What?

From Catherine Doherty in "Grace in Season" , p. 189, available from Madonna House Publications.

"What does it matter if you are inadequate in your own estimation? What does it matter that you think you are not contributing too much to the Church?

What does it matter if you think you are a sinner? Take it for granted. You are. So am I. So are we all. But don't bother about it. Do not impede God's grace in your soul by dwelling on your poverty. We are all paupers of this kind; we are all sinners.

Dwell instead on the incomprehensible mystery of His choice of you.

You, like Christ, must incarnate yourself in utter simplicity, humility, and seeming weakness, into the stream of the day-to-day life of people who live in the world, in its marketplaces, its pleasure places, its slums, and its palaces, its studying places, its holy places and its sinful places.

There you must begin to witness to the incarnation, to Christ. There you must begin to enact in your own person, or should I say, re-enact, Bethlehem and Nazareth."


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's bird, it's a plane it's....

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...



Here I am, in the middle of the night, rearranging my blog roll. I went to bed very early last night trying to catch up on some sleep, but apparently I don't need as much sleep as I think. After 6 hours *ding* I was awake. So, I decided to clear up my blog roll, and get that off my mind.

This wasn't an easy job. I updated some people who moved to new digs. I organized it by long time blogging pals, new friends, blogs I enjoy reading but don't really "know". I gave a seperate category for the blogs I read that are written by men. Why? I don't know. They could have gone under "old friends" or "good reads" just as easily, but I feel their perspective on life is just different enough to warrant their own category. I also added some in that I read frequently, but always used someone else's blog roll to get there.

I put some blogs in an inactive category. I classified this as one month or more since a post. I did this because I don't want to loose track of people, and I keep checking on them. If posts start up again, I'll put them up in the proper category.

Also, I don't think I eliminated anyone. If I did, and you let me know, I'll put you back in. I am not too good at html, and I am sure did this the hard way, and probably make a boo-boo or two along the way.

SO, there you go. What to do when much desired sleep doesn't happen.

Monday, November 27, 2006

And this is a good day

I am at my desk, in my room, with the door closed, trying to get some work done. I have been in my room for approximately 4 seconds.

~knock knock~ "Mom? Did you feed Walker yet?" (Walker is our beta fish)

me: yes.

9 seconds later

~knock knock~ (different child) Mom? When are we going to the store?

me: As soon as I tell you it's time to go.

1.5 seconds later

~knock knock~ (yet another different child) Mom? Does blood come out?


me: Why?

child: "Because I have it all over my shirt."

me: From what?

child: "I don't know."

And this ladies and gentlemen, is why I worry about my sanity on a regular basis.

Power, pain, and joy

I hope you all had a Thankful holiday weekend. I know I did.

We had a large gathering at our home ~ some 60+ people, followed by my brother and sister-in-law with their 8 children staying until Saturday night.

We all had so much fun together, and insisted that this should not only happen on holidays. Let's do it again in January, okay??

On Thanksgiving day, a couple that are friends of ours, as well as fellow Romanian Catholics, gave birth to their first son. I got the supreme pleasure of meeting this little boy on Saturday night, and what a rush of memories. His sweet mama was reeling from the powerful and joyous birth experience, and quite surprised by the intensity of the emotions she was feeling. Again, what memories. Besides the tremendous hormonal shift that leads to the tenderness of emotions, there is the pure power of looking into your baby's eyes for the first time. And with your first baby, it is the very first time to gaze straight into eternity. Immortality and it's sister, love, are never realized with such immediacy as that first meeting.

Suddenly, every child is your child. Every mother's worry and grief are your worry and grief. Suddenly, every evil is more terrifying, and every remedy more urgent. In an instant, the future matters more than ever, and your ability to defend a life just increased to infinity. The eternal is opened up for just a quick glimpse, but the effect remains, and shakes you to the core, and the ache never goes away.

And then you begin the "regular" stuff. The diapers, the nursing, the clothing, the cleaning, and all the other tasks that signify a baby now lives here. You get distracted by the cuteness, the fatigue, the insecurity and the constant demands of a baby. But underneath it all is the ache of that deep, but brief, glimpse of eternity.

And somehow, it is expected that you be back to "normal" in six weeks, and you are supposed to carry on as if everything is just the same as it was, only now you have a baby. This is absurd, in my experience. The new mother is a different person, and has to get reacquainted with herself. With each birth, two people are born, the baby and a new mother. And then a new world unfolds for them, and what a grand adventure it is!!

So welcome to our world, little Ambrose Levi, and may the Good Lord be your constant companion and guide through this life, and your eternal joy in the next. Best wishes to the new family, and may God grant them many years in peace, health and happiness!

(photo credit: this photo is of my Godson and nephew, taken by his mother)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I just got home from Divine Liturgy, and then a very nice breakfast out. This wonderful interlude to my week got me thinking how GRATEFUL I am for my church, my Faith, the people in my family, the people in my church. And that got me thinking of gratitude in general, which reminded me that this week is Thanksgiving. Of course I knew this Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, but as I am hosting quite a few people, I have been thinking logistics, not gratitude. But now, I would like to list many of the things I am grateful for, in preparation for this Holiday.

My Existence ~ God created me because He loves me. Then He Redeemed me because He loves me. And He holds me in His hands because He loves me. And all that I am, all that I have, is a gift from Him, because He loves me.

My Family ~ I was blessed to be born into a family ripe with love of God and each other. I was blessed to marry into a family ripe with love of God and each other.

My Husband ~ What can I say, really? The love, the lessons, the laughs.

The Kiddos ~ seven unique people that challenge me, worry me, love me, bless me and transform me.

My Church ~ My home away from home. My recharger. The dispenser of grace, granter of peace and pardon, and opportunities for my salvation to be worked out, in fear and trembling, in joy and love, in sorrow and pain, in community and alone. To find this spiritual home has been one of the best gifts I have ever received.

My Body ~ while at times I have complained about it's refusal to stay 22 years old, mostly I have been so grateful for my body. My body that cradled and nurished my children, and brought them to life, my body that helps me show love to my family and friends, helps me do my daily duty, allows my to create art, write icons, and read. Allows my to enjoy the beautiful world God and created for us, because He loves us. I am currently teaching Human Anatomy in our home school co-op, and am being reminded of the wonderful intricities of our God's handiwork.

My friends ~ this includes all my "real life" friends, as well as all my "cyberpals". I have been truly blessed with the people in my life that encourage me, care for me, pray for me and help me. It is a true blessing to have so many people in my life who share the most important things with me ~ love of the Good, the True, the Beautiful.

Music ~ this in intricately associated with my worship, but aside from that, it lifts my spirits, soothes my soul, gets my body moving. My walking program would have already failed long ago without my iPod. If it wasn't for the music, I know I wouldn't look forward to my walks with such anticipation.

My Home ~ I don't exactly know why I was given this little piece of heaven in which to live. I love every tree, even the blasted weeds. I love the house, even all the blasted legos all over the floor. The heart of my life is here, and I am so glad.

Of course there is more, but these are the essentials. The core of my heart. The things that would diminish me if I lost them.

"Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more ~ a grateful heart."
(George Herbert)

God's choicest blessings to you all this Thanksgiving Day, and always!


Saturday, November 18, 2006


From "A Women's Guide to a Simpler Life" by Andrea Van Steenhouse

"Every time we walk into a store or hold up a garment for consideration, we brush up against a wish - to be younger/older, taller/shorter, thinner/heavier, or any multitude of alternatives to what we actually are. New clothes can't change the realities, but we live in perpetual hope that they'll create a pretty convincing illusion.

If we are going to fill our closets with clothes that match our spirits, we have to look at these hopes before we ever go shopping. We need to hold them up to what we know about ourselves and say, clearer or fuzzier?

We have to be honest, even brutal, about the hopes that are pathways to ourselves and the ones that are incompatible or out-of-date or, frankly, belong to someone else. And we need to leave the ones that don't fit at home."

This really struck me, because what clothing has always done for me is express who I am to the world. Whether it be the colorful, playful dresses of my young single days, or the turtleneck/jumper days of my early motherhood, or now my neo-hippie attire with lots of artisan made jewelry. They all are expressions of my state in life. I have always scorned the "current" fashions, and made up my own, or followed the example of others whom look I liked.

Anyone remember "Thirtysomething"? One character on that show was a funky photographer, who wore vests and hats and earrings that didn't match. I was just like that. Now, I have simpler dress. Linen, jean, khaki, and dark brown pants or long skirts, sandals or boots, and every sweater or top I own goes with all the bottoms. So easy. Most my clothes are plain, and I dress them up with jewelry I get at art fairs or thrift stores. Some are pretty classic, some are very unique. I also have scarves and a few jackets with big rhinestone pins on them to dress the outfits up. I can get dressed in a snap, establish "my" look, go anywhere without having to change, and like the way I look. It has taken me most my married life to figure this out, as I was always trying to dress like someone else. Now, it's simple, easy, cheap (mostly from thrift stores) and unique.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Blue Door


This it the title of the Catherine Doherty book I recently purchased. I am slowly digesting it, and only have time to share this tidbit today.

"Let us face the fact that, unless we live the Gospel - not only preach it, but live it - there can be no unity among us, no sobrnost, no gathering of like minds. But few can agree on the Gospel. In order to live the Gospel, one has to move through the life of Jesus Christ. That means abandonment, being rejected, being crucified."

What I am finding in this book so far is hope, courage, and the desire to love. Despite the cost. Catherine's writings are like a mix between Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. It's thrilling!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And another Love Thursday

Love is a perfectly made black and tan. Thanks honey!

**UPDATE** per request, a link to explain *what* a black and tan is.

Black and Tan

Love Thursday

I have been seeing "Love Thursday" around lately, most recently at Owlhaven, and thought I would add one in this week.

Love is taking the time to teach your littlest sister how to ride a trike.
Aren't they sweet?

(For those who want to know more about Love Thursday, check out this link )

Monday, November 06, 2006


Here is an interesting "Theology of the Body" observation. On my 45 minute walk this morning, I listened to my iPod shuffle. I have two versions of "You've Got a Friend", one by Carol King, and the other by James Taylor.

The woman, the one that nurtures and gathers in, sings, "When you're down, and troubled, and you need some loving care..."

The man, the one that is action oriented, and externally engages the world, sings, "When you're down and troubled, and you need a helping hand..."

Carole King originally wrote the song, and apparently when James Taylor recorded it, he changed it. I wonder why?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

So Many Books, So Little Time!

Suzanne asked me:

"Did you read more during your fast...books, I mean. I realize you spent more time with family and that sort of thing, but when that died down, did you fill your time with something different and yet still good for you?"

in regards to my week off blogging.

The first day, when I was struggling to avoid the computer, I have to admit I did turn on Dr. Phil. WHAT A WASTE!! Blogging would have been a much better use of my time. But I wanted a break, and didn't know what do do for one.

The next day I broke out some of the books I have been picking up at the thrift store. I have a habit of always looking through the books when I am there, and picking up interesting looking titles. If it turns out that they aren't interesting, I usually give them back to the thrift store. If they are awful, I throw them away.

So, on Day 2 I began to read "North to the Orient" by Anne Morrow Lindburgh. Very enjoyable book.

I took time in the mornings during the fast to light my delicious candle, making my entire house smell wonderful, I made tea a few time through the day and snuggled up with my book. Normally I would have blogged during that time.

In the evening, I did clean out a random closet or drawer, and took the time to make decisions about some of the items cluttering up my life.

I also talked to my husband quite a bit more, which was nice. He didn't feel he was pulling my attention away from anything, so even though I would always prefer spending time with him that on the computer, he didn't feel as if he was competing with anything. Now, he is gone quite a bit, so I should have ample time to blog when he isn't home (like now).

I went to the thrift store and spent 80 dollars on a complete winter wardrobe. LOVE the thrift store. I also bought the following books:

Curtain by Agatha Christie
My Antonia by Willa Cather
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
The House of Seven Gables by Nataniel Hawthorne
Fit or Fat? by Covert Bailey
Clare Boothe Luce by Wilfrid Sheed
A Women's Guide to a Simpler Life by Andre Van Steenhouse
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Sidney Lanier
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
Spider's Web by Agatha Christie
Private Lives of Garden Birds by Calvin Simonds
A World of Good Cooking, OR How to fit Five Continents into an Amerian Kitchen by Ethel Hulbert Renwick

WHEW! I am in mortal danger of my books falling on me as I sleep, the pile is so tall and precariously perched. Not to mention, there already was a stack there to begin with.

I also completed setting up my little work out area in the basement. This fall I bought a second-hand treadmill, as well as some hand and legweights, and had not made the area nice down there yet. I was walking outside as long as the weather held, but lately it has been too unpredictable to count on. So, now the basement is set up with a rug, a chair, a duffle bag with all my weights, water bottles, a fan, a TV/VCR combo, and of course, my treadmill and a free Nordick Trak. And yes, I have actually used it down there, although I am still mixing it up with walking outside. My goal is 6 times a week, and I am currently doing 3 days consistantly.

So, Suzanne, there you go. I did need the fast to remind myself of all the worthwhile things my heart is longing for, and that there is just enough time for all the things that are important to me, if I choose to use my time for them.

I also determined that blogging is important to me, but too easy of a default when I didn't feel like expending any energy in other things. The more I took the easy way out, the less inclined I was to do anything else. So a little perspective was good for me.

Speaking of books, I also just got Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body by John Paul II. It is a new translation by Michael Waldstein, and is supposed to be much better than the original translations. I am looking forward to digesting this and learning much.

My Catherine Doherty reading is waiting now on a new book I ordered, so that will be also something I am looking forward to sharing with you all.

Add this to homemaking, church going, icon painting, homeschooling, parenting, cooking, shopping, etc, and my next real challenge is setting aside QUIET time for prayer and reflection. Currently this is spotty, and I would like to increase it to at least 5 minutes every day. Five minutes doesn't seem like much, but for me it is a place to begin, and once I get the every day part down, I'll increase the minutes.

Okay, gotta run. That was a very LONG answer to a straight forward question, I apologize. Guess there was lots on my mind.

Blessings for a peaceful rest of the weekend to you all!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The week is up!

Well, I did it. One week off, and I must say it was good for me. The first day, I was truly concerned I had an addiction. I kept having nearly unstoppable urges to check the computer. But I resisted. That evening, I bypassed the room with the computer, and went straight to bed. I was dismayed by the frequency of my urges to go to the computer.

The second day, I had fewer urges, although I did check my e-mail. Then I got busy around the house, and pretty much just forgot about it. Evening time was rough, but I managed to avoid the computer, and had a delightful conversation with some of my older children, and then later, when my husband got home, I had a nice chat with him, as well. He even said, "Wow, it's nice to see you. Is the internet down?" Ooops.

The third day I checked my e-mail, turned the computer off, and didn't think of it again.

Same with the fourth, and the fifth.

Last night, I checked a few of my regular blogs, but after 15 minutes was tired and ready to go to bed.

How many times did things occur to me that would be "bloggable"? About 123489573895. Do I remember any of them? Nope.

Am I still going to blog? Absolutely.

But I have a new vision of why I blog, and when to blog, and how to balance things out around my real life.

I missed my friends here, to be certain. I missed the creative process of writing, editing, and adding graphics.

I have things I am anxious to share. But if the easy escape of blogging begins to overtake my duties and dimish my joy in my "real" life, another fast will ensue.

And here is a graphic describing my children after 4 days of gorging themselves on Halloween candy.

Blessings to you all, and I'll be back!