/> Raising Angels: March 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Fleeting Moment

It is a beautiful morning here. The sun is shining. The air is crisp.

While waiting for her carpool, Mackenzie and I worked on memorizing her monthly scripture which is due tomorrow. The verses are from Isaiah 55:6-12. She finally got it this morning and was estatic.

She stood outside on the steps, sun warming the proud glow in her cheeks and emphasizing the blue of her eyes. Her hair was just so in a bun. The white Peter Pan color peeping out of the navy blue cardigan. Her grin streched from one ear to another. Gorgeous! My beautiful baby girl.

"Stay right there," I told her. "You look so pretty I want to take your picture."

As I went inside to get the camera, her ride pulled up and she said goodbye and skipped down the steps into the car.

And then the moment was gone. Too fast to capture on film. Too fleeting to record.

I have a feeling that my life with these precious souls will be like this all too often. Time is something you just can't hold onto no matter how hard you try. Hopefully, every moment like this will feel like today. Perfect while I'm in it. Etched in my mind when not on film.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Day of Dichotomy

Today I reaped another benefit of having a sick child.

I took Aiden to school and brought Dawson home with me. He was looking and acting so puny that I thought he might like a nap. He actually slept for a little over two hours when I had to wake him to meet Nelson at mass.

During that time I was able to do two loads of laundry, make phone calls regarding house planning, and clean both the bathrooms. I thanked God for the time on my way to mass.

After mass Nelson and I went to grab lunch before I picked up Aiden. While in line in a busy sandwich shop, Dawson threw-up all over himself, me and the floor. I was a little embarassed but mostly sad that my baby is still sick.

My mom took Mackenzie and Aiden to the circus that we were all planning on attending. I was too afraid Dawson would spew again so I stayed home with him.

I was really happy they got to go. Really sad that I missed seeing them have so much fun. Really hoping that Dawson is well tomorrow. Praying like crazy that nobody else gets it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tan Choo

It was one of those days today.

Aiden, after a week of making major strides in his potty training, blew it twice today, spreading the mess all over the house.

Mackenzie filled the toilet with too much paper so when she flushed it, it overflowed.

As I was rocking Dawson to soothe him upon waking from his nap, his diaper overflowed and he peed on my leg.

Frustrated from a bad "potty day", I had a talk with Dawson as I changed him.

"Dawson, don't you know you're not supposed to potty on mama's leg? Couldn't you wait until I had a chance to change you before you filled it up again?" I laughed at myself for even suggesting this to my 17 month old, but I continued. "You had better tell mama 'thank you' for loving you enough to change you...and me."

"Tan choo," he said, looking at me with an understanding grin.

Wow! Two words put together for the first time. Two of my favorite words for my children to learn. Suddenly the day took a turn for the better and I rejoiced with him over his new word as he happily repeated it for his sister and brother.

You're welcome Dawson.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Poor Baby

There's nothing quite as pitiful as a sick baby. They feel awful and can't tell you where it hurts or why. They can't tell you what they need or when they're going to throw-up.

That's been my baby, Dawson, for the past two days. My normally active tot who doesn't even let me rock him to sleep has let me hold him for hours on end. He feels so bad that he can hardly cry. It's so sad to look into those baby blues and not see that sparkle.

Today I realized that having a sick child is not all bad. Most of it is bad. But not all of it. After all, I think the last time I held him for this long over two days was in the hospital after he was born. It forces me to slow down for a moment and just be there for my child. Today I watched a whole episode of Sesame Street with the boys and enjoyed it.

I pray that Dawson is back to running speed tomorrow. But for today, I was glad for the chance to hold my baby a little longer.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Answered Prayers

Last night, my parents and Nelson and I served up our 5 course Italian meal starring our homemade ravioli. The winners of the meal donated it to the Senior class girls who had volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity for three weeks last summer, along with the women who had accompanied them.

As we worked in the kitchen, I could hear them all reminiscing about their time with the MC's. I felt like a part of the conversation since I have spent 10 summers working with these sisters in Kentucky, New York, and North Carolina.

My time with these holy women changed my life. Not that I wasn't already Catholic, but during my summers with them I made the faith my parents chose for me my own. It was eye-opening to me, especially that first summer when I turned 17 at their summer camp.

I never knew that it was possible to pray that much during the day. I never knew I could kneel so long on a hard wood floor in the middle of the summer with no AC. I never knew that people who were so holy could be so much fun. I never knew that life without TV, radio or boys could be so entertaining. I never knew that I could hear the voice of God so clearly.

I must admit that a lot of my prayer time in those chapels waffled between asking God to send me a husband and begging Him not to make me be a nun. Several summers were spent trying to imagine myself in one of those blue and white saris.

The last summer I was in Kentucky, I prayed a novena with very specific requests for God to present my husband to me by a certain date. Yes, I laid a fleece, but I figured that the worse that could happen was that God would say no. The way I looked at it, I had nothing to lose.

The following summer I was in North Carolina, praying that God would guide as I discerned whether or not Nelson was the one for me.

Four summers later, I was back in Charlotte with Mackenzie in tow. I specifically remember one afternoon during Adoration when Mackenzie was being extra distracting (she was 11 m. at the time). As we were saying the Rosary, she was playing with the toes of the sister in front of her. To distract her from that I gave her some juice which she proceeded to drizzle on the back of another sister's sari. When she began to get loud, another volunteer graciously offered to take her outside for awhile.

I had gone with visions of the peaceful prayer times I had experienced all through my single years. I asked God why this had to be so difficult. After all, I was here trying to be with Him. He gently reminded me that all those single years I had been praying for this exact situation. Hadn't I asked to be married? Didn't I yearn to be a mother?

I had to laugh at my own ignorance. God had answered my every prayer. When I went back to Charlotte the next summer with Mackenzie, I went with more realistic expectations and a more grateful heart. I can't wait until the boys are a little older and I can take all three with me.

My life is a witness to the power of prayer. Some days I have to remind myself that I asked God for this. But at the end of every day, I have a heart overflowing with love for my husband and children because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the result of a lifetime of prayer. Isn't God good!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Gospel Lesson

I have always liked the story in the beginning of the Gospel of Mark about the friends who bring the paralytic to Jesus to be healed. I love those friends.

Who wouldn't want friends like that? They carried their buddy goodness knows how far on the chance that they might get him in to see Jesus. When they arrived, there were so many people that they couldn't get near Him. They didn't give up. They got creative. They hoisted the paralytic onto the roof, cut a hole in it and then lowered him down. As a consequence of their actions, their friend was forgiven and healed.

Now that's faith! In fact Jesus told the man that he had been healed because of his friends' faith. I want to be a friend like this. Someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring her friends to Jesus.

Today as I was reading the story something new struck me about it. It was the question Jesus asked of the Pharisees present. "Which is easier: to tell this paralyzed man, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to tell him, 'Stand up. Take your mat and walk'?"

Now I never thought this much about the question because I really didn't understand it. After rewatching Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, it dawned on me that this was perhaps the point of the whole event.

Which was easier for Jesus? Healing the mind or the body? Healing the body took mere words. Healing the soul took blood. Performing miracles took only a moment. Providing salvation. That took His life.

We spend a lifetime asking for little miracles. Help on a test. The safe delivery of a child. That the car will make it to the station before it runs out of gas. Healing for a sick relative.

We sometimes forget that we've already been given the greatest gift of all. Forgiveness of our sins and Heaven. It cost Jesus everything. And He'd do it again. Just for you. Just for me.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Running the Race

I am not a runner. In fact, I hate it.

I've always liked the idea of running. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and you're good to go. No matter where you are, you can always run. No gym memberships. No drives back and forth.

I have gone through periods in my life where I've tried very hard to learn to love it. I've trained to no avail. No matter how far or long I go, I've never achieved that runnner's high. It hurts every step of the way.

On April 8th Mackenzie's school is having a fundraiser - it's a run. Last year was the first one and she ran in the Tot Trot. It was short and sweet and she came out of it with a second place medal. This year she has to run the 1 mile Fun Run. I am running with her.

I've been doing the eliptical machine at the Y at least a mile and a half four days a week for a month. Tonight I took Mackenzie out for the first time to run the course. It was hard - and we didn't even run the whole time. It hurt. In fact, my legs are sore even now.

As we were walking one stretch I tried to explain to Mackenzie that in the race, most of the people would be running the whole way. I told her she would be the youngest runner and would probably not win this year.

Without missing a beat she said, "That's okay mama. I'm just not that good at running but everybody's good at one thing. Besides, I already have my necklace that I won last year. Let's run now."

I was taught a lesson by Mackenzie that I've taught her before. She is convinced she runs better than me, per an after run conversation with Nelson. She is probably right. We will run that race together and we will be better people because of it.

Pray for me!

Funny NFP

Check out this hilarious article on NFP.
Brian and Heather - just you wait.
Aaron - you'll even get a kick out of it.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I love blogging but over the last few days, I have been frustrated by the system. Nothing is going smoothly.

Up until this point, I have been learning the ropes from fellow friend bloggers and self-help but now it seems that everyone is having difficulty.

I've been trying to publish a post with my cherished Folly Beach photos for the last hour and half and it just WILL NOT DO IT. I think I'll send them a question, beg for help and try again later.

If anyone has any helpful hints or knowledge about what's going on, please fill me in.

Folly Beach

I just got the pictures of our trip to Folly Beach and I want to spend a moment reminiscing. (Just to let you know, Blogger has been causing me a TON of frustration lately. The final picture of this entry is sideways. It's not my fault, but Bloggers. I just threw in the towel and tired of trying to get it right. I apologize in advance for the crick in the neck I cause you as you gaze sideways at the photo!)

It was our first trip without the kids in 2 1/2 years. Before we left, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The thought of leaving all three of the kids for five days overwhelmed me. It's not that I couldn't leave them. It's just that at times I feel as if it's all I can do to just survive the day. I love my kids with my whole heart but they wear me out. What would they do to someone who didn't give birth to them?

I was in a frenzy up until the minute I got in the car to leave. After all, I had people staying with my kids...in my house...sleeping in my bedroom. That took a lot of cleaning!

I reluctantly kissed my babies goodbye and then drove away. From that moment on it was a dream vacation. The car ride was so peaceful that I fell asleep, and nobody woke me up.

After unpacking the car, we took a walk on the beach and watched the sunset. The next morning I woke up at 7 a.m., looked at the clock, and then rolled over and went back to sleep.

The next day was so pretty we decided to hangout at the beach which happened to be right outside our door. My maid of honor, who had just moved to Charleston, came with her husband and daughter and we all sat on the beach, played in the sand and took a long walk.

Instead of going out, we grilled out just to spend more time on the beach laughing, talking, and staring at the stars. The rest of the week was more of the same: leisurely meals, shopping, dinner out with another couple of friends who had recently moved to James Island, a few movies, some wine and lots of time to RELAX.

Having a husband who works anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week, made this vacation a necessity for us. It was a gift I always ask for but rarely get. It was time. Time for me. Time for us. Time well spent.

If you haven't gotten away with your spouse in awhile, I highly recommend that you do. Granted, it's hard to leave the kids, but I have to say that mine were all in one piece when we returned and we experienced no fallout from our absence. Most importantly, I came home refreshed and ready to take on real life again. I came home more in love with Nelson, which I didn't think was possible. I came home more grateful to God for the life He's given me. Hey, I came home!

I love my life. I love my children. I love my husband. I loved my vacation. I can’t wait to go again!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Slow and Steady

Saturday saw a first for our house project. There were two tasks being worked on at the same time. The masons worked on the wall. It's now twice as high as it was the last time I took pictures. And, Dawson lended a hand with the digging while Nelson and Bob put in the french drain.
Not exactly the most exciting portions of home building, but progress none the less.

Nelson said that the framing will begin in the next two weeks. I'm not going to hold my breath, but I can hardly believe it's possible. I think at that point I'll feel more like we're actually building the house.

Slow and steady wins the race. Let's hope it builds a house as well!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

We had a fun time at the local parade. And after, with the dispensation of our bishop, we enjoyed a typical Irish meal of corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Good times, good food and great family and friends that joined us. Thanks St. Patrick for all that you did for Christ!


This morning Aiden and I were reading Old MacDonald.

Me: Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO. And on that farm he had a pig, EIEIO.

Aiden: Look mama! Baby pigs!

Me: That's right Aiden.

Aiden: Look mama BIG pigee, like you!

Me: Thanks buddy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Potty Training

Ah, potty training. It's something every parent must endure but few talk about and even less remember how they did it. Perhaps this is because God mercifully removes our memories for fear that we might all have one child and be done with it.

Mackenzie was the first experience I had with this endeavor. She was a breeze. She showed interest, we bought a potty chair, buckled down for 2 weeks and it was over. Besides those initial 2 weeks, I can count on one hand the number of times she's had an accident. She was easy and she did it a month after her 2nd birthday.

Aiden turned two in July and began to show some interest. We did the 2 week method to no avail and put it to the side for a few months. Then we tried again, and again, and again, and well, we're still trying.

And yes, I know he's a boy. I know most boys take a little longer with this. I also know that as long as he is not wearing anything but a shirt, he never has an accident. The minute I put him in pull-ups, underwear or a diaper, he lets it go.

I've been changing diapers for the past 2 years and 8 months (17 of those on two boys) and I'm tired. Lately, Aiden has decided that he wants to decorate the whole house with his ... well, no need for details here. Suffice it to say that I've had it and so have my carpet, furniture, walls, pillows, sheets, and comforters

I've tried being totally positive, giving rewards, being negative, ignoring it. I don't know what else to do. Tonight as I was feeling defeated about the whole thing I remembered a simple principle of faith. Nothing is impossible for God.

Maybe God can make this my Lenten sacrifice. Maybe if we really buckle down for 40 days, something will change. Wouldn't that be a glorious Easter? (Did I really just say that about potty training? I am desperate!) God did say ask and you shall receive didn't he? Please God. I'm asking. I'm begging. Let's get this kid potty trained.

Any prayers anyone wants to throw our way are welcome. He can't wear diapers forever...can he?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Lesson Passed Down

7:45 a.m. this morning.

Dawson: Screaming bloody murder that he's not getting his way. His face turning purple from the fit.

Aiden: Leaning in, "Dawson, take a deep breaf. Top it Dawson. Take a deep breaf like this," demonstrating with a giant inhale.

I guess he does listen to me sometimes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ravioli and a Wall

Yesterday was a day of accomplishments.

I spent the afternoon making ravioli with my mom and Mackenzie. We donated a meal for 12 in a silent auction to raise money for Mackenzie's school two years ago and the winners are just now cashing in. Good thing we love that school. Mackenzie makes the fourth generation of ravioli making women in our family (at least of the Italians I've met).

And, Hooray! The masons began building our basement wall. It's only been three weeks since we poured the cement floor and we're blazing on to the next step. Yeah right!

There might be one small thing that we will miss as the house progresses. Mount Parris, as our pile of dirt has been dubbed by the neighborhood kids, will no longer be there to climb. In light of that, I try to let the kids make the climb at every opportunity. Hopefully, they are making memories of this process so that they will appreciate the finished product. This, unfortunately, is not a stretch seeing as how it may not be finished until they're in high school!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

One Great Day

The weather reached 85 today. Not a sweltering heat, but nice warmth.

We went to Nelson's Catholic League flag football game and we had fun. It was so nice to be able to walk to the field without needing the double stroller that I used last year for the games. Both the boys were walking around, exploring, cheering and throwing footballs.

It was so nice that when we got home the kids and I remained outside to just play. It was my Sunday indulgence. I brought nothing on my "to do list" with me. I just sat, ran, jumped and played with my little angels. Nelson made us some sandwiches and we picnicked outside for dinner.

Now, after baths and stories and prayers, they are all tucked in early and fast asleep from their day outside.

It was God's gift to me on His day. He let me step back and enjoy the art taking shape on the canvas.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Great Masterpiece

During Adoration, God gave me a vision of myself as an artist in front of a very large canvas.

There I stood, with barely any paint actually on the canvas, desperately trying to create a masterpiece. God reminded me that most masterpieces are not created over night, but involve painstaking years work.

Art is not an exact science and its mistakes are rarely erased. When you're painting, erasing is not an option. You can start over. You can try to cover it up. Or, you can incorporate it into your painting.

When you're creating a large work, it's often difficult to really see it as you paint. Getting the vision usually requires taking a few steps back and taking in the whole picture, rather than getting caught up in the messy details.

Paintings are as varied as the artists who paint them. Some are Classical. Some are Impressionistic. Others are bizarre, Modernist pieces. All are art. And you can bet that if you see it hanging somewhere, it's touched more than one person. Even if you don't like it, you can at least appreciate it. A few are powerful enough to touch people throughout the ages.

Jesus, guide my hand. Show me the colors to use and the places to put them. Help me learn to incorporate my mistakes into the work by learning from them. Remind me to take a step back every once in awhile to see the big picture. And please, Jesus, help the work I create bring everyone who sees it closer to you.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

In Regards to the Blog about Protecting My Children

Okay. I've never responded to comments in another entry before, but this situation merits some clarification. Thank you Theo and Michelle for bringing this need to light. Let me expound a bit more on how we decided to deal with the fact that we live next door to a registered child molester.

We did not approach our neighbor until we had thoroughly researched both him and the disease. He was found guilty of sodomizing several young boys. We were able to confirm this through reliable sources within the police force.

In talking to a psychiatrist, we learned that in the realm of child molesters, this crime is the most severe and signifies someone with a true sickness. For these offenders it is more about power than sex. The recedivism rate of these men is almost 100%, especially if they are not willing to admit their crime or seek counseling - which our neighbor did neither.

Nelson's meeting with him was very cordial. He gave our neighbor the opportunity to own up to his crime. When he didn't, he simply asked him to honor our requests, which he has done very graciously.

I will be the first to admit that a lot of people who get posted on the sexual offenders list are not true child molesters. In fact, we have a very close friend who got on that list after being falsely accused. His lawyer advised him to plead guilty so that he could stay home to care for his wife and children. He was harassed publically on the radio and will suffer lifelong repercussions for something he never did.

However, people who truly have a problem are very similar to alcoholics, as Michelle commented. It is a sickness that they carry throughout their lives. They are usually not creeps or stalkers. They are family, friends, and neighbors who gain children's trust through kind words and strong friendly bonds. The best defense is to let the offender know that you know who they are. They lose their advantage that way.

I really hate that this is the way it has to be. But understand, I had to cut off a relationship because I have very friendly and trusting children. If I keep up a friendly relationship with him, my children will too. That is more or less like inviting an alcoholic over for a glass of wine. We are trying to avoid being a stumbling block for him.

We have never exchanged a harsh word or acted negatively to him in any way. We simply do not relate. Although I put the comment about moving at the end rather light-heartedly, the truth is that we were looking to move before he ever moved in. Finding out about him just pushed us a little harder.

Our faith teaches us to hate the sin, but love the sinner. I feel that we are loving him through our prayers as well as our decision not to relate to him. If we did not have small children, perhaps we could do things differently. When I am judged and God asks me if I did everything I could to protect my children, in this case I can say, "Yes, I did."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Jumping To Find Joy

Today was one of those days for Aiden. He was sick yesterday and had a late and restless night last night which left him a bit grumpy. When he woke up from his nap and I saw this pouting face, I decided it might help him to jump off a little energy.

He took off like a wild man.
Flew through the air...and, came down much happier.

Today I got my money's worth out of our trampoline!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Protecting My Children

I just returned from a seminar on sexual abuse. Topics covered how to protect your children, warning signs to watch for, and counseling advice for those who have experienced abuse.

I have a graduate degree in counseling so the topic is not a new one. It became personal three years ago when I discovered that our new neighbor of six months was a registered child molester.

My initial reaction was nausea and total fear. Our houses are very close. He knew Mackenzie's name and had been over to help me change a flat tire. Up to that point he was the model neighbor; but, when the discovery was made, I ran inside, locked all the doors and called Nelson sobbing in fear.

When I came to my senses, I was able to fall back on the limited knowledge I had of how these people operate. I made calls to the sexual offenders probation officer for our area, local police officers, as well as a Catholic psychiatrist.

My husband confronted the man and gave him the chance to own up to his sin. He lied about his crime and Nelson set forth strict rules about how he wanted him to relate to us. Namely: 1. He is never to come to our door for anything. 2. He may never speak to me or our children. 3. If he needs anything, he is to address Nelson only and then Nelson would help him if he can.

At first it seemed a bit extreme. As a Christian I felt very torn. After all, aren't we supposed to love our neighbors? Here was a man who had just spent 9 years in a federal penitentiary. Finally, he has a home and neighbors who don't know his past.

The advice we were given along with my own knowledge told us that our first priority is to protect our children. In protecting our children, we're helping to protect him. If he is caught again, he goes away for good. Consequently, I can't speak to him, because if my kids see that I trust him, they will too. It makes for an awkward situation to say the least.

At first I really questioned God about why He would allow someone like that to live next door to me. I soon realized that He did it so that someone would be praying for that man. I may not be able to speak to him, but I can intercede for him.

What it has also done is open my eyes to the situation unlike any class I ever took. I have and will continue to address the topic with my own children so that hopefully they will be protected from any abuse. I will be the vigilante parent, who will drive my kids crazy with a battery of questions.

I will pray. I will pray. I will pray. (I will also move.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bike Cleaner

This Saturday I bought Mackenzie a "new" bike at a charity yard sale. It was a great feeling to bring it home and see the absolute joy on her face and hear the high pitched squeal from her mouth.

I felt good about the purchase. I had made my daughter excited. I had recycled (no pun intended). And, I had given to charity. Little did I know that I had also inspired a new vocation.

This afternoon, she finished cleaning her bike and wanted me to come and see it in all its glory.

"How does it look Mom?" she asked expectantly.

"Wow! It looks so shiny and new," I congratulated her.

"I think now when I grow up and be a cowgirl and ballerina, I should also be a bike cleaner. What do you think?"

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Isn't God Good!

We attended a lay ministers' retreat at church today. Daily mass was the first thing on the agenda. When Nelson and I walked in to mass, we entered a funeral. We stepped back out thinking maybe we had the wrong time or place, but a kind fellow minister pulled us back in.

Interesting, to attend a funeral of someone you've never met. However, it seemed to be an opportunity for this soul to receive a multitude of prayers she probably never expected.

Our current pastor is one of the best homilests I've ever heard. He did not disappoint today. In fact, it was so heartfelt that I whispered to Nelson to be sure to have him speak at my funeral. He was wearing a black vestment which I don't ever remember seeing on a priest and it intrigued me. If anyone knows the reason behind this, please fill me in.

At the point in the mass when they began to prepare for the Eucharistic Celebration, the soloist sang the Ave Maria. I was swept away in the beauty of the moment.

Our church is absolutely gorgeous. It is big enough to feel magestic but not so big that you get lost in it. The windows, decor, and music make it easy to worship. The reverence with which our priests, deacons, acolytes and altar servers carry themselves is inspiring. The fact that Jesus is truly present there every moment makes all of these other things pale in comparison.

How beautiful it is to celebrate the sacraments in this kind of environment! How wonderful it was to be able to pray for someone's soul with the faith that she is now with Jesus! What a miracle it is to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus!

Isn't God good!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Stations of the Cross

Tonight I took the kids with me to the Stations of the Cross.

I'm always a bit disappointed in the turnout. We belong to a very large parish that has four full masses every Sunday but the Stations of the Cross are always poorly attended.

The one I attend takes place at 6:30 p.m., which is a rather difficult time. For most it's in the middle of the getting home from work, eating dinner or getting the kids ready for bed. I'll be the first to tell you, going with all three kids is always a challenge.

Tonight was no different. Although, I did manage to keep them all in the church the whole 30 minutes. I also managed to catch the responses every time we got to the part about how I know how much I've sinned and hurt Jesus.

Most people who attended did not have any young children with them. However, two friends of mine from high school were there. One with her four children and the other with her five children. It brought back memories of when our families used to bring us with them to the Stations.

Hmm...maybe it is worth making a little sacrifice to attend Stations with your children. It seems that down the road it bears pretty good fruit.

Hopefully, one day, my kids will be bringing their squirming, noisy children to the Stations of the Cross. And their kids will do the same. And the faith will live on.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Good Day.

Good Zoo.

Good Kids.

Good Night!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Give It Up For Lent!

Mackenzie's teacher celebrates half birthdays of the students who have birthdays in the summer. I've never heard of this before so I was a bit surprised when I got the call on Monday asking me if I was coming to her class today. After trying to explain that Mackenzie's birthday is August 29th and not February 29th. She explained the celebration to me and I said that I would do it.

At first it seemed a bit of a diochotomy to celebrate on Ash Wednesday, but Mackenzie was so excited that I couldn't say no.

I went to the class and led them in singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Mackenzie and I passed out the cookies we had made (and that I could not eat). And after that, they demonstrated the cheer that they had made up for the Spirit Day at school.

As I thought about this today, I decided it was more than appropriate. Why shouldn't we celebrate every occasion to grow closer to Jesus? Why shouldn't we cheer the fact that we will force ourselves to be less self-centered and more disciplined? Why not?

Okay, now join with me:

Two, Four, Six, Eight! Lenten time is really GREAT! Hooray Jesus!

One Focal Point

I've spent a lot of time over the last few days thinking about our house. Our project manager started asking me to pick out things like floors, tubs, and facets to get a detailed budget. I got completely overwhelemed.

There's something about starting with a totally blank slate that has sent me into a tail spin. I've been researching and clipping pictures for about two years and still don't have a vision.

I spent two hours Monday going over my ideas with a friend who has a real eye for design. One of the most important design elements is the living room since it will be the first thing people see when they come in the front door. There is a foyer that leads right into the room with the fireplace at its focal point.

On our recent trip to Ireland I fell in love with their stone walls. I loved their rustic feel. When I looked through pictures of fireplaces I have saved, everyone of them was stone. I also want to hang a big work of art by a friend over the mantle. He has two I'm in love with. One is of the Crucified Christ and one is the baby Jesus' hand reaching out of the hay. I haven't decided on which one yet, but I know one of the two will have that place of prominence in my home.

"I guess I like the stone," I said to my friend.

"Then that needs to be the first thing you pick out. Let everything else flow from that."

The more I thought about what she said, the more I began to see the whole picture. I began to see how each room could take a portion of the one next to it so that the whole house would have a definite look, so to speak.

When I was praying last night, God spoke to me about this. Our lives are often like decorating this house. We get so overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and so caught up in all the little details that we can't function. What is vital is to have one focal point.

When that focal point becomes the center of your attention, the rest of the "stuff" seems to fade away. After that happens you begin to see how that focal point can bleed into other parts of your life. Before you know it, your life has a plan, a theme, a purpose.

This Lent I will make that my aim. I want to have one focal point and I want it to be Jesus.