/> Raising Angels: February 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sweatin' to the 80's

It's almost Glory Run time again. A time that I hate. The things I do to support our school. I wish I liked running - I really do. But...I don't.

I was bemoaning that fact at our family brunch two Sundays ago in front of my brother and his wife who have become quite the runners in the last year. Brian somehow convinced me that this year I should give up the wimpy 1 mile Fun Run and take on the 5K. It must have been something I ate.

He told me that if I just bought some new running shoes and trained the right way, I could do it no problem. He wasn't promising that I'd win the race (yeah, no kidding), just that I could finish it. A fact which, at the moment, I am seriously doubting.

He has been emailing me to check on my progress and encourage me. He hooked me up with a website that promises to get you from a couch potato to a 5K in 9 weeks (I have only 7).

I had my first go of it Monday night and did better than I expected. I started with Week 2 of the program since I hardly consider myself a couch potato. I ran longer than they said and faster. I was sweaty, shaky and SORE the next day.

As the muscles stiffened yesterday, I was not looking forward to the run today. I emailed Brian for some help and he suggested taking some music along. Hmm...good idea. Nelson gave me an Ipod I have yet to use. This must be the time.

When I got to the Y and put the earphones in, I realized that I had no idea what kind of music was in store for me. Nelson, technical wizard that he is, loaded all the songs.

I stretched out and started up the treadmill for a warm up walk. Drivin' N' Cryin's "Honeysuckle Rose" came on. The rhythm was good and got me going. Next came Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You", not exactly a pump me up song, but it reminded me of my high school days.

It was all coming back to me, my husband's undying affection for music of the 80's...especially of the monster ballad genre. I began to worry. I wasn't sure I could stay on the treadmill while manipulating the forward button on the Ipod. Just as I was getting to the middle of my run and trying to stay motivated to keep going, "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love" came on. Fast forward. Still running, I was hoping for the best when Bob Carlisle started singing about "Butterfly Kisses". Sweet yes. Motivating NO.

By the end of my run I was hating life. My muscles hurt, I was sweating like crazy, and my head was pounding. I needed something, anything, to keep me going that final four minutes. That's when "Twilight Zone" blasted into my ears. Not my first choice, but finally a beat that made my legs move better.

As I was leaving, earphones still in, I was thinking that from now on Nelson is not in charge of workout tunes. That's when I heard my final song of the day. It was Pure Prairie League's "Amy".

Okay, maybe just one or two songs.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Call From Rome

This afternoon I got a phone call from my brother Aaron who is studying in Rome. “Amy," he said in voice that I could tell was needy, "I want you to do me a favor."

"Okay," I said wondering if it was something to do with the ordination talk we had on Sunday.

"Go to your computer."

Hmmm...this sounds like another last minute, I need you to look over a paper I have due in the morning, kind of favor. Nonetheless, I hit the computer and awaited further instructions.

"Pull up this website," he directed me, "and tell me what you think."

To my surprise I pulled up a website with antique chalices. He was in the process of picking out his chalice for his first mass and the rest of his life. He told me what he was looking for - nothing new, no tulip shapes, something with some history behind it. Really, it was as if I was helping him shop for an engagement ring.

We perused the site together and I learned quite a few things. The most surprising of which was the cost of the chalice which is somewhere around $2,500. He informed me that that was a pretty good deal and that some of his classmates were paying over $3,000. Why these young servants of God have to pay for their own chalice which will be used to turn wine into the blood of Christ which will then be shared with the masses, is beyond me. Unfortunately, that's just the way it works I guess. Excuse me while I make a plug here – Support your seminarians!

While on the computer he told me to look up the Clericus Cup.
There are sixteen teams playing in this tournament. The interesting thing is that all the teams are made up of priests and/or seminarians. Even the coaches have to be clerical. Of course he was telling me all this because he is on one of the teams. They are the North American (because all the players are seminarians at the North American College in Rome). Go NAC!

He has no idea how they'll do but it's a round robin tournament so they are guaranteed at least seven games. He was very excited about playing but even more excited about the media coverage the tournament is receiving.

What really impressed me was when Aaron said, "I hope we do well. Think of what something like this could do for vocations!" He did admit that he thinks the trophy is a little goofy. I think it's clever with its little cleats and parson's hat.

All in all, I'm grateful that I have a brother who will be a priest in a mere four months. I'm grateful that he cares enough about my opinion to ask me about such an important thing in his life. I'm grateful that we have the kind of relationship that he wants to tell me about things like this tournament. I'm grateful that he's not even a priest yet and he's already thinking about vocations. Mostly though, I'm grateful he's my brother and he's my friend.

Thank You Jesus!

Today, once again, the boys were begging to go outside. "Okay," I said, "but you have to get shoes and socks on first."

"Hooray!" Aiden shouted, racing to his room. Putting shoes and socks on are no problem for him, especially when he's motivated. Dawson, on the other hand, cannot complete this on his own.

He brought at least four pair of shoes to me. Church shoes, two pair of sandals and a pair of Aiden's shoes. "Dawson, get me the white tennis shoes you had on five minutes ago," I chided. "Aiden, can you please help Dawson find his shoes?"

"The white ones with the blue stripe?" I nodded. "Sure," he said happily and raced out of the room.

Less than a minute later I heard the sweetest sound. "THANK YOU JESUS," shouted Aiden. He ran into the room with Dawson's Spiderman shoes that have been missing for about two weeks. I have looked everywhere for those things but have had no luck. "LOOK MAMA! I FOUND DAWSON'S SHOES YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!"

"Aiden," I gushed, "I'm so happy..."

"That I found the shoes?" finished Aiden.

"Well, yes. But, I'm more happy that you thanked Jesus first!"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Grass Games and a Little Perspective

With the new house under construction and a husband who is absent all but the wee hours of the morning until he heads to his day job, things are a bit of a challenge. Of course, things are a bit of a challenge at this stage no matter the circumstances.

For instance, the day of Nana's funeral, after a three hour drive and two hours of sitting in the funeral home during the visitation, the boys had DEFINITELY used up ALL of their sit still and be quiet time. By the time the funeral finally arrived, you can guess who had to leave with one crying and the other saying very loudly, "I NEED to go potty Mama. I REALLY NEED to go potty."

Yes indeed it is days like that that make me wonder why I even think about having more children. And then, the moment passes and I get a little perspective and wonder why I expected any other kind of behavior. It was an impossible situation for a two and three year old, not to mention many of the teenagers present. They weren't being bad. They were being boys. And, I must say, in retrospect, they really weren't that bad.

And then, there comes a day like today. I was cooking dinner when they ran in the kitchen and begged to go outside to play.

I was reluctant at first, since I can't see them from my kitchen. Then I rethought it. I can check on them and hear them. They're asking, in fact begging, to get out of the way. Yes indeed, outside they went.
It proved to be a timing challenge to check on them every three minutes while cooking, but the peace in the kitchen was surreal. Well, the peace for the one of the three minutes I wasn't checking on them and the other minute when they were running in with requests for help or special “floral” deliveries.

At one point I heard what I thought was screaming and ran outside to check. What I found was two boys happily playing together and squealing and laughing hysterically at one another. They were pulling up handfuls of grass (look closely in those pictures), throwing it in the air and then falling to the ground.

Oh the simple pleasures of childhood - the fun in just being boys. This is where they belong. They were in their element. They were the picture of two best buddies having the time of their little lives.

So snap away I did, with the hope that the family might see that they really are not so bad. Mostly though, I did it to remind myself that they are little boys. They are not perfect. They are not quiet. They are not clean. They are healthy. They are energetic. They are loud. They are fun. They are mine. And oh...do I love them so!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nana's House

Yesterday we drove to Greenville, SC for Nana's funeral. For some reason, my boys have always had a hard time with her name. In our daily prayers she was, more times than not, ba"Nana". Even when Aiden became aware of how to say it, he still liked to call her banana because he thought it was funny.

When we pulled into town yesterday morning, Aiden began, or should I say, continued, asking questions. "Why are we going to Nana's house?"

"Aiden," I replied, "we're not going to Nana's house. Nana doesn't have a house anymore, she's in Heaven. We're going to Aunt Annette's house."

Now Aunt Annette has always been a mouth full for my kids...and all the kids in the family, so years ago she began to refer to herself as Aunt Nette. None of this really mattered to Aiden as he continued the questions. "Are we at Nana's yet?"

"Aiden," I said trying to remain patient, "we're not going to Nana's house. We're going to Aunt Nette's house."

"Oh," he said, satisfied for a couple of minutes and then he would begin again. These same questions were asked over and over again for about 15 minutes.

Finally, we pulled onto their property and began to see the animals. "Look Aiden. Do you see those horses? We're getting really close."

When at last our car came to a stop in their driveway, Aiden burst out with one more question. "Mama, now are we at Nana's nut house?"

I was laughing so hysterically that I couldn't tell Nelson what he said. When I finally pulled it together I told him, "You know buddy, today we probably are."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Asked For It

Well, I asked the Lord to bring it on and bring it on He did. We’re only two days into Lent! I can tell already that this one is going to be a doozy. Good thing I put it in motion on Tuesday.

Tuesday night I got the call that Nelson's grandmother, affectionately Nana, passed away. She was matriarch supreme of her family and she will be missed dearly by all who knew and loved her.

God again was good. He gave Nelson the same gift he gave to me when my Grandfather died. Sunday Nelson took Mackenzie and Aiden to her birthday party. I had to stay home with Dawson because he was sick. However, when I got the call, I hung up and thanked God for having allowed Nelson and his entire family to see her one more time, give her a hug and a kiss and tell her goodbye. When Nelson came home and I told him, I reminded him of how good God is. Not only did he get to say goodbye, but Nana knew she was loved. May she rest in peace.

Wednesday night as I was dishing out the potato soup, Nelson walked in with Klondike bars and a half gallon of ice cream. "Oh..." he said as I gazed at them longingly and quickly placed it in the VERY BACK of the freezer, "did you give up sweets for Lent?"

Today I had the privilege of hosting two tapings of a new local gospel music show called Southern Gospel Saturday Night. I know nothing of the Gospel music world and was told nothing about the groups coming on the show until they arrived at the studio. The first group is called 3 for 1 and the next group was Mike and Kelly Bowling. Come to find out, the three people in the second group are nominated for four Dove Awards. I don't know much, but I do know that that is a very big deal.

It was a humbling experience first because I am totally ignorant of the entire genre of music; second, I knew neither of the groups, which I could tell surprised them; third, the guy running the show and co-hosting wanted to do everything "off the cuff" which is not my forte. He was a nice guy but I had a very hard time telling when he was done questioning or speaking. Other times he quit all together and I had to try to pick up the slack. Definitely, not my best work, but a great experience.

They're taping two new shows next week and they asked me back. Hopefully they'll tell me who's coming this time so I can do a little advanced research.

All in all it's been a roller coaster and I still have 37 days to go. Ah Lent, I love you so.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bring It On!

Fat Tuesday = Fat Amy. You'd think there was a famine going around the way I stuffed in anything sweet today. With Lent on the horizon, sweets went down with the sun. I accomplished my main goal - to make myself so sick of sweets that I see the good in giving them up.

Ah Lent, I love it. It's a great excuse to get disciplined. As I've thought about it over the last few days, I’ve realized that I've gone pretty easy on myself the last few Lents. You know, three pregnancies in four years, and all those babies to care for. I got so used to giving myself excuses that the easy way out became the norm.

The jury is still out on what exactly I will be doing and giving up (other than the afore mentioned sweets) but one thing's for sure - this will be a Boot Camp Lent for me. I'm ready for it to be hard again. I'm in desperate need of some serious discipline and sacrifice.

No more excuses. No more taking it easy. This year my Lent WILL count for something. Bring it on!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Car Theology

Anyone who reads this knows that I live in the land of 1,000 questions. Sometimes they drive me crazy. Other times I can't get enough of them. And many times, I learn something from them.

Tonight Mackenzie and I were alone in the car on our way home from gymnastics. The moon was the tiniest sliver with one shining star beneath it.

"Mackenzie, do you see that moon and the bright star beneath it?"

"Oh yes," she gushed. "I already made a wish on it."

"Do you know what makes the light on the moon?"

"No. What does?" She was curious now.

"That's the sun shining on it," I said, happy to present some new information and look like the super-smart mommy.

"Wow!" she was impressed. After a few more questions on the subject, they began to broaden in scope a bit. "Mama, is Heaven above the sky?"

"Yes," I said trying to sound confident in my answer. "Heaven is beyond the sky and beyond the earth."

"Do they have another sky there? Can they see the moon from there? Is it light all the time?"

Hmmm...this was getting a little deeper than I had the energy for but I pressed onward. "You know, no one can really say what Heaven looks like because no one who goes there comes back (well, except for Jesus, and a few other saints, but that's another conversation)."

"Why don't they?"

"Heaven is so good that once you get there, you don't want to come back here. Nothing bad can be in Heaven. You will never be tired. You will never get hurt. It is just good all the time."

There was a pause from the back. She was taking it in and I was nervous as to what I'd have to answer next. Finally she piped back in. "When I go there Mama..."

Oh no, I don't want to have to talk about how I'm not ready for her to go even though it's the best place ever. How will I contradict myself like that? My mind was racing.

"I'm going to really like it because I won't have any bad dreams any more."

That was it. I responded briefly and then we were quiet. Five minutes. It was a blink of an eye really. One small comment about the moon and before you know it - Heaven. A piece of the faith taken in and mulled over, making perfect sense to my 6 year old.

I'm so glad I got to tell her. It's something we've discussed before with all the funerals she's been to in her short life. Every time the conclusion is the same. She walks away with Heaven in her eyes. She wants to go there.

What a gift it is to share my faith. What a faith builder it is to see it spark a flame in my children.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Vacuuming Valentine

I started yesterday's post wanting to talk about another best Valentine that I received. After the boys were ready for bed I decided to sneak in a little cleaning while Nelson visited with them for a bit.

Aiden ran into the kitchen begging to help.
Believe it or not I bribed him by telling him I'd let him help if he picked everything up off the floor.

"Okay, mama! I did it! Now what?" he asked over and over as he completed each little task. When he finally finished he was rewarded with a turn at the vacuum. He would do a portion of the floor and then say, "Your turn!"

A husband who builds a house and a son who cleans one. I am truly blessed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My "Not So" Funny Valelntine

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, a day of extravagant love gestures around here. Ever since we were married, Nelson and I skipped the gifts in lieu of a getaway together sans kids. We've always agreed that quality time together is the best gift of all.

This year, however, things are a bit different. Building the house is taking EVERY SPARE minute of Nelson's time. He works, grabs a quick dinner, races to the house site and doesn't return until sometime after midnight. It's been close to a month of this schedule now and I really don't know how he's doing it...or how I am for that matter. All I can say is that the grace is there. God always knows what you need when you need it. He's giving that grace to my hard working man and his newly "house widowed" wife.

My big plan for this year was to cook him a nice steak dinner and then surprise him by showing up at the house to lend him a hand. All that changed when Mackenzie came home sick Tuesday afternoon. My normally chipper, independent 6 year old was running a temperature of 102 and was weepy and clingy - I'm talking wanted to be carried, held, snuggled with, etc.

Needless to say, I didn't make it to the grocery store so the best I could come up with from what I had on stock was homemade chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, green beans and biscuits. Nelson told me he'd be home at 5:30.

Dinner was ready when I got the next text that he would be closer to 6. Back to the oven to warm it went. At 6 I got everything ready again and sat the boys down. Mackenzie had gone to bed an hour earlier and the boys were now starving.

Just as I was putting it on the plates a new message - 7 minutes out. The boys and I began eating. Well, I ate. They decided that they didn't like chicken. About 10 minutes into eating I saw Nelson's car pull into the driveway so I poured his glass of wine, popped his plate in the microwave and put it onto the table along with his card and some new cookies I made.

Still no Nelson. The boys, leaving their full plates on the table, ran outside to greet him only to find that his car was not there. I finished eating and began clearing the table and washing the dishes by the time Nelson walked in the door around 7:40.

He ate alone as I washed up the boys and readied them for bed. I was just about to sneak out to call the sitter when I noticed that Nelson was now sitting on the couch in his pajamas. "No house work tonight," he sighed, too exhausted to move.

Foiled was dinner. Foiled was my gift. Foiled was Valentine's.

I wish I had another story. Other, in fact all other, Valentine's Days have been better. I knew this was coming. I had no expectations...especially once I realized Nelson didn't even know Valentines was Wednesday when I asked him about it on Tuesday.

I had a lot of time to think about it since I was housebound with a sick child. I thought about all the Valentine's Days in the past I spent wishing I had a Valentine of my own. I thought about the over commercialism of the day and the cheesy plastic flowers and stuffed bears. Then I thought about Nelson.

I realize now that I did give him a gift this year. I let him off the hook. So much so, that I didn't even remind him how off the hook I let him. I assessed the situation, put no unrealistic expectations on him, and was thankful for the simple fact that I have someone to be mine.

He also gave me a gift. Some husbands buy flowers or candy. Mine...is building me a house. He's making our dreams come true in the most tangible way. He's sacrificing time with me and the kids. He's sacrificing sleep. He's sacrificing a lot.

I know he's doing all this out of love for me. Out of love for our kids. Out of a desire to provide for us. I know this because that's just the kind of man he is. I married him with this knowledge and I see it more and more with each passing day. What better Valentine could I possibly want?

Hopefully, we will have many more Valentine's Days together. I'm sure there will be many a candle lit dinner and romantic getaway. There will be other gifts. I'm not sure, however, that any will be more extravagant than the year he built a house for me. And I will remind him of that next year when we're in that house curled up next to the fireplace, wine in hand and candles lit. I will kiss him then and thank him for the year he built me this house.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

From the Mouth of My Babe

There are days, when parenting, that you feel all efforts are futile. It's as if you're on the front lines of the battle with no back up and no end in sight.

And yet, we fight the fight. Sometimes it's the good fight. Other times, it's not so good. And often times it’s just the kind of fight that you're happy to walk away alive. Whatever the kind, we parents dig in, raise our shields and wield our swords with the hope and prayer that in the end it will all have been worth it.

After all, it's not about the little skirmishes. It's not about thinking you're doing alright when your two year old is eating oatmeal for dinner because it's kind of healthy and you snuck some blueberries and raisins in for extra...well, extra whatever.

What it's really about is not of this world. It's about the knowledge that these precious souls are ours for the protecting. Ours for the molding. Ours for the blink of an eye.

Tonight after putting Dawson's pajamas on, brushing his teeth free of all the oatmeal and raisins, washing his face and sending him to his bed, he ran from the bathroom and into the hall. I heard the scamper of his little feet go into his room as I followed suit with Aiden. And then it happened. A little voice strong and sure shouted from his room, "But Mama...we did say prayers yet."

Today was not one of those seemingly futile days. Today, God reminded me it's not about the small stuff. It's the eternal aspect that's important. And today, for one small moment, the shout of victory rose from my battle weary heart and I know it was not alone. I am certain that all the angels and saints rejoiced with me for this one little soul, who before even the age of serious reason, took the time to remember God.

And that my friends, is all that ever matters.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I just discovered that I've been nominated for the Best New Catholic Blog in the Catholic Blog Awards!

Thank you so much for whoever thought enough of me to put me on the list. If you agree with this nomination go over here and vote for me. Voting ends Sunday.

It really doesn't matter to me if I win or not. I am up against 89 other blogs written by people a lot more knowledgeable than me, but I'm excited anyway. Maybe this will get the word out. I love my faith and I love my family and I want the world to know.

Counting Valentines

This evening the kids wrote out their Valentine cards. Mackenzie did all her own writing but on Aiden and Dawson's I did all the writing and let them copy their names under the ones I wrote.

Of course, Dawson just scribbled away but he had a grand time doing it. Mackenzie zipped through hers much faster than last year. And Aiden, well, Aiden was actually writing his name on each of his twelve Valentines.

Sometimes he did his name and other times he wrote the name of his classmate. Each time I was very impressed. Not only did he write things that were legible, he recognized the names of his classmates as he pulled each one out of the pile.

When he finally finished with number 12 he was very proud of himself. "Mama, I finished," he beamed with those deep dimples of his. "I did all of them. I did one for all my friends." Then he looked at the little stack of cards and asked, "Is this all the friends I have?"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Boy After My Own Heart

Yesterday evening Nelson took the kids and me to one of his biggest client's place of work. They were revealing their newest item and having a big party. The kids thought they were in heaven when they entered the building and found it full of balloons. They went from table to table pulling on them and having a grand time.

Things got even better when they discovered the food tables. They all put some little ham sandwiches and fruit on their plates, headed for a table and gobbled it all down. Our original plan was to take them to dinner after the party, but they were eating so well and it was all free that we opted to let them go for round two.

The second time around they discovered the sweets table which, by some small grace of God, they missed the first time. After some more ham sandwiches they plopped some cookies, cake and fruit on their plates.

Mackenzie and Aiden were eating things in the right order and both polished off plenty of "healthy" food before diving into dessert. Dawson, however was a different story.

"Dawson," I begged him, "please eat a little more ham. Don't you want to eat the ham? Look. HAM...YUM!"

"Um..." Dawson started, assessing the plate of food, "no. No ham," he said showing great resolve. He then stuffed a piece of cake into his mouth and spurted, "Cake! Yum!" He followed that with a swallow and a bite of cookie. "Cookie," he started with a big grin and a mouth covered in crumbs. "YUM!"

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The ABC's of Homemaking

I have been tagged by 4andcounting and to show my desire to always be a part of the game, I decided to play along.

I have an apron but I barely ever wear it, and yes, I often regret that decision. Perhaps if I had one that was really cute…

Baking-Favorite thing to bake:
I love baking just about anything but I especially love doing cakes. In a pinch I go for taste alone but most of the time I love making beautiful and fun cakes. It’s an opportunity to work my love for art into every day life.

No. I did learn to use them while working with the MCs. I don’t care what anyone says, I’ll take my soft fluffy clothes from the dryer any day.

Donuts-Have you ever made them?
Yes. Try frying canned bisquits and glazing them. Almost like Krispy Kreme.

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:
Clean the kitchen.

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes. I love it. Mostly I buy a lot of meat when it goes on sale.

Garbage disposal-Y/N:

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Lately I’ve been trying out the FlyLady website. The constant emails are overwhelming but I love her idea of baby steps. My house is cleaner because of her.

Ironing-Love it or hate it?
I don’t mind it if I can watch TV, but I have a bad tendency of letting it pile up.

Junk drawer-Y/N? Where is it?
Yes, in the kitchen.

Kitchen-Design and Decorating?
Bright cheery blue, yellow and white. I love it.

Love-What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Sitting down in a clean house.

Of course. Three kids under 6. You do the math.

Nylons-Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
I have discovered that these are no longer in style.

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
Open the door.

Pizza-What do you put on yours?
Honestly, my favorite pizza is anything made by one of our local dives called the Pizza Joint. My favorite there has spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, and sausage.

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
One of two things. I usually run around like a mad woman trying to clean and do dinner prep before they wake up. For a year now I have really loved keeping this blog.

Recipe card box-Y/N?
Mine are in a mini picture album. Most of them are now on my computer and I love logging on to the Food Network to get new ideas.

Style of house:
This one small. Next one big.

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Okay…remember the kids. I stick with placemats usually.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
Not too bad. I know what’s under there and where to find it.

Vacuum-How many times per week?
Once, on average. Needed daily.

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
I’m trying one load a day as directed by the FlyLady.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
I’ve always been a list maker. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross things off.

Yard – Y/N? Who does what?
I’m going to plead the 5th on this one so I don’t have to tell you that my husband hates yard work and that I can probably count on two hands the number of times he’s mowed our lawn.

Zzz’s -What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
After tucking the kids into bed, I clean the kitchen, pack their lunches and sweep the floor. I get such a sense of calm knowing that it will stay clean for the entire night!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All In A Day's Work

Tonight I heard a story about a young girl screaming from a car in a local parking lot. A large man was seen holding her down and abusing her. The parking lot was full of onlookers but no one was stepping in save, one doctor who used her cell phone to call 911.

While she was on the phone, a young man quickly walked across the parking lot towards the car. He approached the man no one else wanted to get near and calmly asked him to let the girl go.

The man told him ‘no way’ in words I cannot repeat. He yelled that she was his daughter and, using many expletives, told the man to mind his own business. The stranger replied that it didn't matter if the girl was his daughter or not, he was hurting her and needed to stop.

The enraged father came close to blows with this caring stranger and was distracted enough for the girl to get free right as the police pulled up.

Too many times we watch abuse taking place and don't stand up to it. Instead of fearing for the victim, we fear we might be hurt or even sued. This man showed no fear. It was obvious that his concern was not for his own safety but for a young girl who was defenseless in her situation.

He was in no small words brave. He was in fact heroic. HE was my husband!

All in a day's work. Good job Nelson. I love you!

Indian Giver

"Mama!" exclaimed Aiden as I entered his classroom. "I made you a bracelet today and it's blue 'cause that's your favrit color!"

We walked over to his hook and hanging there was a necklace made of plastic blue cording and several foam shapes. "It's beautiful Aiden. May I wear it now?"

He shook his head and watched proudly as I struggled to fit it over my head. We then picked up Dawson and headed to the car. As I was buckling Dawson in, his eye caught my new necklace. "What's dat Mama?"

"It's a necklace Aiden made for me today," I beamed.

"I have it?"

Aiden piped in, "Sure you can have it Dawson. Mama you can give it to Dawson."

I was a little disappointed about losing my gift so soon but I honored Aiden's request and placed it around Dawson's neck. Dawson lifted the shapes and examined them. Then, in a high pitched, sweet, soft voice he said, "Oh Aiden dis bootiful!"

Suddenly I realized that the right person was wearing the gift.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Call Me

Uncle Kevin is a Junior at UGA. He loves it there and is taking full advantage of the college atmosphere. I remain very impressed by his ability to choose good friends, live in a descent fraternity, be active in every kind of on campus kind of thing all while maintaining a very respectable GPA.

The thing that never ceases to amaze me though is that even with all of this, he still calls the kids on an almost daily basis. He doesn't ask to speak to me (unless he needs prayers for an exam or help with a paper :)). He spends a few minutes on the phone with each of them and genuinely engages them in conversation.
I just thought he might like to see for once what goes on while he's on the phone.

I love that you love my kids Kevin. I hope you never stop calling them...or me!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Imitating Mary

Saturday night we were sitting in our church waiting for a wedding to begin. We were serving at the mass and were without the kids so we arrived unusually early. It's not often I get the luxury of really meditating before mass.

I was gazing at a one of our very large stained glass windows. The image portrays Mary appearing to Bernadette at Lourdes. It is a beautiful image of Mary but at night it has a totally different look. The yellow lights in the parking lot outside cast a rather heavenly glow around her.

I was brought back to my many summers working with the Missionaries of Charity. I used to think that I would like to see an apparition of Mary. Saturday night, although my emotions were high gazing at her beauty, I decided that I would probably be literally scared to death if that ever happened.

It was at this moment that God reminded me that even though I may never actually see Mary like Bernadette did, I am called to be like her. The call of motherhood is a powerful and necessary vocation. Mary's call from the Lord came in the form of motherhood. Her whole life led her to her great magnificat.

She spent her pregnancy in service. She spent the next thirty years raising the Son of God. She then watched the people He loved convict Him to death and crucify Him. At the foot of the Cross, her job did not end. She comforted John. She met Jesus on the way to the tomb. She waited in exile for Him to send His Spirit.

Her whole life was about Him. And THAT is the call for me. A call to holy motherhood. A call to follow Jesus. A call to serve others in His name. A call to abandon self for the sake of the kingdom.

I choked back the tears and watched as the wedding party began to process down the aisle. I thought about the vows I made with Nelson 8 1/2 years ago. I thought it's not about seeing Mary, it's about imitating her.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy Shopping

Sometimes...well almost all the time...wait a minute...ALL of the time, God gives us what we need when we need it.

I have been obsessing over the house lately and realized suddenly that I have a big event next weekend and I really wanted a new dress. I was debating with myself because the reality of the situation is that I don't NEED a new dress, I just WANT one. You know how it is, when you know you're going to be up in front of hundreds of people, you need to feel pretty. At least, I need to feel pretty.

I was at the Y earlier this week mulling over this vanity of mine when I ran into a friend who, not to say she is vain at all, but well, she likes to look good like I do. I mentioned to her that I wanted something new but I just didn't think I had the time to get something. She not only talked me into getting something, she offered to go with me.

So today, I got a sitter for the boys and spent a couple of hours at the mall with my friend. I had SO MUCH FUN! We tried on loads of dresses and shoes together. We chatted and laughed like we were in school again. She helped me choose the dress, find the camisole to go under it (ultra low cut not appropriate for the event...or at all), new shoes AND jewelry.

At the end of it she gave me a hug and told me how much fun she had. We decided that we needed to spend more time together (ah, the mantra of all mothers and their girlfriends).

What I realized at the end of the day was that I was very happy. Sure I was glad about my new things but mostly I was grateful for some time with a friend. It was nice to look for something that you can't find at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Tomorrow it will be back to the house grind again but today I am very grateful that God sent me that friend. He really does care about the little things!