/> Raising Angels: March 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hair Solution

Thanks to my good friend Rachel, who has twice as much experience with boys as I do, I've learned that this...

and a few squirts from this...

can turn into this in a matter of seconds!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

An Easter Experiment

Here's something I found on flylady last night. I'm going to give it a try. I thought some of you moms out there who are so crafty and love to bake might enjoy trying them too. I'll let you know how it goes.

These cookies can create a really neat family Easter tradition if you don't already have one.


You need:

1 c. shelled whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 c. sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon
Preheat oven to 300 F.

Place pecans in zipper baggie. Let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke23:27.

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.

Add 1 c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven over night. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9.

A Princess from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

While Nelson was down with pneumonia, he did some major TV watching. Since the kids were around at times, he had to choose wisely. Guess which marathon he did. Guess who spent some good Daddy time with him while he did that.

Imagine my surprise when I asked Mackenzie how she wanted to wear her hair to school today. Well, as you can see, the Force was with us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Retreat

The women's retreat I spoke at this past weekend focused on Father Thomas Dubay's book Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer. When the retreat leader told me the topic about a month ago, I hadn't even read the book. In fact, truth be told, I had been avoiding reading his books.

I know several people who have read his books and all of them have been totally changed by what he had to say. I didn't think I was ready for that at this point in my life. Right now I'm struggling to get in any spiritual time between the kids and the house project.

As always, God had other ideas. Quite possibly he did this because of my own crazy Lenten request. Yes, I know, be careful what you pray for. And boy, oh boy, have I gotten what I asked for and this book only added to the challenges before me.

As I read the book, I was shaken to the core. It was deep, not in the sense that I couldn't understand it, but rather, I clearly understood it and saw the need for it in my own life.

To tell on myself a little bit, I tend to be the kind of person who reads something and says, "Boy that was good, so and so really needs to read this." I don't do this with easy stuff. I can apply that to my own life. But the hard stuff, well, I'd much rather pass that on to someone else.

As I read Fr. Dubay's book, it was as if God quite literally hit me over the head and said, "THIS ONE IS FOR YOU!" It was an epiphany that came at the right time. I would just pick the book up and my heart would start racing.

I was relieved when I finished the book. The problem was that it hit so close to home that I felt totally inadequate to talk to other women about the topics. I was asked to pick two chapters to share about. My choices were “A Remarkable Resistance” and “Conflicts and Conversion” because these were the chapters that had me written all over them.

I was shocked when she asked me to take “Call to the Heights” and “Relevance and Motivation”. I wondered how in the world I could talk to women about becoming a saint and how to motivate yourself to do so. I felt so far from that place of holiness. And, to top it off, the book ends in the 7 Be’s which Fr. Dubay calls his surefire plan to achieve this deep conversion. The three I was given to teach about were “Be Determined”, “Be Humble”, and “Be Motivated”.

Maybe now you can understand how I just didn’t feel prepared to do this retreat. No matter how hard I tried, nothing I wrote sounded right, nothing sounded inspired. In fact, in the car on the way to the retreat, I was asking my fellow retreat masters how to live this out.

The only things I felt I had in my corner were the myriads of people who were praying for me and the knowledge that God asked me to do this retreat. I was also banking on the fact that the less I perfected my talks, the more room there was for the Holy Spirit to speak through me.

Each time I stood to talk I was very aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t try to teach these women anything. I shared with them, from the bottom of my heart, the fact that I was on this journey to holiness right next to them. I talked about my weaknesses and how God had spoken to me about some things I needed to change. There were times when I looked down at my outline and knew instinctively what to leave out and what to add. In short, I don’t ever remember being so inspired by the Holy Spirit.

There were lots of lessons to be learned…most of them by me. The Lord used this book powerfully to help me on my Lenten journey and I highly recommend it to everyone – especially, if like me, you feel you’re not ready to hear it. God showed me that he really will give you what you need when he calls you to do something. Even a sinner like me can relay his words to others. And, when the Holy Spirit is allowed to work, watch out! He’s really good.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a group of women more hungry to walk with the Lord. They were so kind to us. They fed us, made us feel like we were a part of them, and listened (and even took notes) to what we said.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ah, True Love...Almost

Lately Aiden has been fighting his siblings with words. When he gets upset with one of them he usually blurts out, "I don't love you!"

That has led to many a lecture on what true love is. We talk and talk and talk about loving our brothers and sisters even when we don't like them very much. We feel strongly about this and have made the outburst a punishable offense.

This morning Mackenzie ran into the bedroom, "Daddy! Aiden said, 'I don't love you,' to me."

Nelson called for Aiden to come immediately. As Mackenzie left the room, Aiden slouched in. "Aiden," Nelson asked in a deep and serious tone, "did you tell your sister that you don't love her?"

Immediately the whimpering began. "Umm..." he stalled. "Well..." he stammered, "I do love her a LITTLE bit."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Status Report

It's been a very busy weekend for me and the week ahead looks just as full.

Friday I left town to give a retreat in Dublin, GA. I returned Saturday evening and went straight to my nephew's birthday party. Sunday we went to mass, brought communion to the sick and then headed to Waynesboro for a birthday party for Nelson's cousin. Tonight I spent the entire evening and into the night at the school where my brother teaches judging their year long senior projects.

I have a meeting tomorrow night, report card pick up and parent teacher meeting Wednesday, another meeting Thursday and then a Women's Retreat Friday night and all day Saturday.

It's all good stuff. Most of it is time spent with the people we love, especially God. But really...I am tired already and exhausted just thinking about the week ahead.

What I'm looking forward to is Holy Week. A week with no school for anyone. A week with no meetings. A week spent totally focused on Jesus and what He did for us.

I have gotten the boot camp Lent I asked for and, as you can see, it's not over yet. I plan on recording some of the wonders God has done for me along with the challenges....when I find the time.

Until then, I pray that I make it through to the end. I know it will be a sweet, sweet Easter. I can't wait!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Mackenzie lost her fourth tooth (first upper one) today. We tried last night but it just wasn't ready. When I picked her up from school it was literally hanging on by a thread. I saw my good friend Rachel across the parking lot and remembered how much she LOVES to pull her boys' teeth.

I asked Mackenzie what she thought about letting Aunt Rachel pull her tooth and she exuberantly said, "YES!"

With one swift pull, Rachel had it in her hand and everyone was thrilled.
Why is it that I feel as if I lose a little bit of my baby girl with every tooth?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some Eucharistic Thoughts

Since Nelson was sick, he did not make it to church Sunday. Mackenzie stayed home too. Because I am a Eucharistic Minister, I was able to bring communion to him.

In all my years as a Eucharistic Minister, I think I have only done this one other time. I was very mindful of this fact and just a little bit nervous about doing so. I wanted to make sure I did it right.

After mass I picked up my pix with Jesus inside. I followed suit with another minister and kissed the pix before placing it in my coat. What a truly awesome gift it was – to carry Jesus in my pocket.

I thought of young Tarcisus who protected Jesus in the Eucharist at only 9 years old. I didn't think that I'd be attacked by an angry mob, but I was worried that I'd lose Him somewhere. I kept my hand in my pocket as much as possible. My heart pounded when I would place my hand there and not feel it right away. I was very aware of His presence and I wished somehow that I could carry Him that close to me always.

When I finally arrived home, I almost didn't want to offer Him to Nelson. I felt so incredibly close to Him. I knew that it would be wrong not to keep Him so I went into the living room where Nelson and Mackenzie were laying on the couch.

They listened as I read the readings and we said a few prayers together ending with the Lamb of God. As I prepared to give the Eucharist to Nelson, he knelt down and Mackenzie knelt next to him. I think she actually believed that she might receive communion too.

"Not yet Mackenzie," I said to her as she looked at me with expectant eyes.

She fell back and sighed, "Oh man!"

"You know Mackenzie," Nelson offered, "you'll be making your first communion about this time next year."

"You know Dad, next year is a VERY LONG time from now," she quickly retorted.

The brief exchange made an impression on me. I thought about how the boys react similarly when I bring them to daily mass. Each time we walk in the communion line, they look at me and the priest very disappointedly when all they receive is the sign of the cross on their heads.

"I want a blessing!" Dawson always says loudly after I receive the Eucharist. "I want to drink that!" he cries as I receive the Precious Blood.

What I originally felt as I held back my crying two year old was pure embarrassment. Why did he have to be the loudest at the quietest time? But lately, and especially after my experience Sunday, I have changed my mind.

The way my children react is how we all should feel about receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. If we truly believe what we say we do, why shouldn't we yearn for it with all of our heart? Shouldn't we slump over in disappointment when we have to wait a long time for it? Shouldn't we reach out for it expectantly?

There are times when I receive communion like that. There are times when I am so in tune with what is happening that I physically shake, get a lump in my throat and have to hold back tears. I wish I could say that about every time I go to communion. Unfortunately, I am often distracted by tiny things like a two year old reaching out for the host and a three year old who is wandering off ahead of me.

Not my kids though. They are totally focused on the task at hand. They approach the altar with great anticipation that today will be the day they are able to FINALLY receive Jesus.

I hope they always feel that way. I hope I do too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So True

Tonight I was cooking up some burgers thinking I was giving the kids a big treat for dinner. Cheeseburgers at home? I thought I would bring them out to cheers.

Mackenzie was setting the table when she asked what we were eating.

"Cheeseburgers," I answered cheerfully.

"Oh," she said with no excitement in her voice. "You know...I just like McDonalds’ burgers better."

"You like McDonalds’ burgers better than mine?" I asked with a fake tone of hurt in my voice.

"Well...they are just so much more...you know...juicy."

"That's grease Mackenzie. It's not exactly good for you, you know," I answered back.

"Yeah, I know, but it tastes SO GOOD!"

Monday, March 19, 2007

An Astute Observation

Nelson came home early tonight so I asked him if I could squeeze in a quick "run" while he and the kids ate dinner. He graciously agreed.

After I dished out dinner, I prepared for the outing. I was standing in the kitchen hooking up my Ipod as the kids all watched. A hundred questions ensued.

"Can I listen too?" Aiden asked anxiously.

"Not right now buddy. Maybe you can listen when I get home."

Ever observant, Dawson piped in, "You ARE at home Mama!"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Clericus Cup: Week 3

Okay all you soccer fans out there, I know you're just dying to know the outcome of the NAC game yesterday. Okay...even if you're not, I'm going to tell you anyway.

After two strong wins, yesterday the North American Martyrs saw their first defeat. They played the only other undefeated team in the tournament and were down three starters (those darn seminarians...off serving and taking retreats - the nerve!).

They tied in regulation and again went into a shoot out. This time however, they came up two goals short of victory. Oh well guys, there's always next week.

Thanks to the miracle of the internet and that crazy little thing called YouTube, you can catch highlights of yesterday's game here. Get ready to jam with the Martyrs and Michael Jackson. Look closely, this week instead of crimson, they're in the blue jerseys. About 2:50 into the video you can see my brother making a great save on defense. Good job Aaron! He also kicks their first penalty shot and makes it. Way to go bro!

Whoever puts these videos together does a great job. The camera work is not the greatest but the intros are hysterical. After watching this week’s I clicked the link to last week's game and watched this. The Star Wars theme had me giggling late at the computer. Remember this week they were in the crimson jerseys.

Gather the kids around and show them that holy men of God can serve the church and have fun!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Some Saint Patrick's Day Fun

We started our morning with this. Yes, that's green eggs and ham Sam I Am. And, yes, those muffins are tinted green as well. Okay... I may have gotten a little carried away, but the kids thought it was fun and devoured it.

After breakfast we did some baking and played a few games before we headed downtown for the big parade. I was bummed that the first time it's been on a Saturday in forever, Nelson's pneumonia kept him at home instead of with us. Thankfully my brother and his wife and Nelson's sister and her family joined us.

When the weather hit the 80's this week I bought the kids green short sleeved shirts to wear. Today the temperature dropped to the lower 50's and the wind made it feel even colder. So much for the cute St. Patrick's Day attire.

The first time I attended one of these parades I thought it was perhaps the worst parade I had ever seen. Two thirds of it consisted of people drinking beer, dressed in green and pretending to be Irish for the day.

Now that I have kids, I never miss it. You see, all those people dressed in green throw candy with their free hand...LOTS of candy. The kids think this is the best parade EVER.

And...drum roll please...we finished off our day with this! It's that Key Lime Cake I'm famous for because it has become the entire extended family's favorite. And, although I can hardly make it without thinking of Brian and this rendition of it, it makes a perfect St. Patty's Day cake because of its neon green color inside.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Aiden's Prayer, Prayer

Around here we often get calls asking us to pray for someone we know. I've made it a habit to gather the kids quickly to pray after I hang up. It usually sounds like this:

"All right guys we need to pray for _. Repeat after me. Jesus."

"Jesus," I hear in a beautiful chorus of three.

"Please bless _."

"Please bless _," they repeat in unison.

We go into specifics from there. You get the idea.

Nelson has been struggling with an awful cough the last three days and stayed home from work yesterday. He stayed out on the couch last night to try to allow me to get some sleep and to prevent me from catching whatever he has.

When Aiden woke up this morning he came into my room where I was getting ready. "Mama, I seed Daddy sick on the couch and I say a prayer for him."

"Oh Aiden, that's so good. I'm sure Daddy appreciated your prayer. Thank you for doing that."

He waited a moment for me to ask more about it but I had already moved on. He couldn't hold it in, "Do you want to hear what I prayed?"

"Sure buddy. Let me hear it."

"I sayed it like this...Jesus, Jesus, please bless Daddy. Please bless Daddy. Help his cough to go away. Help his cough to go away. Amen. Amen."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Aiden's Art

"Look Mama! I drawed you a cooker. See?"

"Um hmm," I said not even glancing up from cooking dinner.

"Look! Do you see him?"

I took a glance and was absolutely amazed at my budding artist. "Wow Aiden he does look just like a chef! What's he making?"

"He's making pie! It has blueberries and raisins in it. See I drew his toes too. And look, he has a spoon to cook with."

So what do you think? Will he be the next Picasso or Emeril?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lenten Negotiations

Mackenzie has given up sweets for Lent and is doing a stellar job. She even survived a trip to Dairy Queen with a hot dog while her brothers chowed down on some ice cream.

We were discussing this last night in front of the boys and before long we heard the strains of, "I wanna give up sweets for Lent," from both of them.

This morning I was reviewing the day's events with Aiden. On the list was the grocery store. "I don't want to go to Kroger's," he complained, "I want to go to Sam's."

"I don't need anything at Sam's," I replied. "Kroger’s has bigger cookies anyway."

"I don't want any cookies Mama. I give up sweets for Lent."

"Wow! I forgot buddy. Good job. You don't have to get any cookies there. We can just shop."

There was a brief pause. "Um...wait....I DO want a cookie," he said changing his tune.

"Well Aiden, if you're going to give up sweets for Lent, you can't get a cookie."

"I don't want to give up sweets for Lent anymore," he said with quick three year old resolve.

"Aiden," I tried to explain, "Lent is about making sacrifices for Jesus. We give things up to remember His sacrifice for us. You have to be tough."

He thought for a minute and then the light bulb went off. "Okay Mama. I will be tough and give up sweets for Lent - after I eat my cookie at Kroger’s!"

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Patron Saint of Pigtails and Purple Dresses

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. So bad in fact that I lost my first post and simply CANNOT make blogger work for me today. Just look at the size of this font. Help please anyone.

Anyway, I left the computer a moment to cool down and found this picture in Mackenzie’s folder. It may have been my desperate need for a mood change or perhaps my sleep deprivation, but when I saw it I laughed hysterically for at least five minutes.

Hopefully, Mackenzie did not hear me in her sleep. Seems it might be time to pull out the old picture book of the lives of saints. I can’t wait to hear her interpretation!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Excuse me a moment while I brag a bit

Lemon Meringue Pie

The NAC Wins Again!

I don't have any details yet but I went to their website and discovered they won their game today! Way to go guys. Looks like God is on your side.

It Takes a Little Time

Some days are just great. You find your rhythm. Everything falls into place. The sun shines. You have smile plastered to your face. All seems right with the world.

Thursday was NOT that day. In a nutshell - in a search to find out information about kitchen appliances, I called Frigidaire to ask them something about their products and the lady on the phone said she didn't have that information and that I should call someone else - Mackenzie took a shower before dinner and managed to flood the ENTIRE bathroom - Dawson fell out of his chair onto his head and then went outside later and fell down the porch steps. And all of this was in the hour it took to get dinner on the table and get out the door to the prayer meeting. It was not a good day.

Friday was not heading in the right direction either. I wanted to squeeze in a run at the Y before Nelson left for work but he had men's prayers and didn't get in until after 7:30. I was already dressed so I decided to run outside. I hit the porch and almost froze. The running is not getting easier or better. I don't like doing things I'm not good at.

I returned frustrated, tired and beat down. I got the boys dressed for school and the each lost one shoe in the time it took for me to hop in the shower. By the time I searched for the shoes and got out the door to take them to school, my heart was heavy.

On the way to school I was pondering my attitude. I know this is Lent but does my desert have to be so vast? Why did I ask for this challenge? Perhaps I should think of this running experiment as part of my Lenten sacrifice. I don't know if I can do that because that would mean I couldn't complain about it any more.

Lent is supposed to draw me closer to God. When is that going to happen?

By the time I dropped the boys off, I decided that I needed to make a change. Two immediate things that I thought might help were to cut out the complaining...about everything and to skip my car Rosary in favor of something, a little lighter. I turned the Christian radio station on and tried to use the music for my prayers.

The music was upbeat and immediately began to change my mood. I stopped into an appliance center to try to get my question answered. After waiting about ten minutes for the salesman, he determined that he couldn't really help me. He was nice enough and very sorry, but did not give me what I needed.

As I was driving to my next appliance try, a song by Amy Grant came on the radio. The chorus seemed more than appropriate for my Lenten journey.

It takes a little time sometimes
To get your feet back on the ground
It takes a little time sometimes
To get the titanic turned back around
It takes a little time sometimes
But baby you're not going down
It takes more than you've got right now
Give it time

Okay God. I'm with you now. I get it. I guess the music decision was a good one. God always uses even the tiniest thing you give to Him.

I was expecting stop number two to be a winner. I walked in with a lighter step and knew this would be a good experience. After about twenty minutes of receiving the rudest treatment I've ever received and leaving the store nearly in tears, I rushed back to the car and gave my head a chance to stop spinning. Now I was angry.

I drove to the next place I saw and walked in only to discover that they don't even sell big appliances. I went back to the car defeated. My conversation with God went something like this:
A little help here God. This house project is huge. I'm tired. I miss my husband. You've given me grace so far to walk through this challenge but trust me when I tell you, I need more. Why is this one thing so hard? I feel so far away from You. Maybe You're trying to tell me I need to do better. Oh Lord, PLEASE give me something...anything right now.

I looked up to see a new store. I had no idea what it was so I sent Nelson a text message. He replied immediately. It sells electronics and appliances. Perfect! I turned the radio back up and felt as if I was about to hit my stride. This time things would be different.

I walked into the store where I met one of the nicest salesmen I have ever met. He gave me some great information and we talked quite a bit about my previous horrible experience. I felt a little guilty about taking up his time since I knew I wasn't going to buy my appliances from him. We know a Kitchen Aid dealer and there is just no way a major chain can compete with the prices we were getting.

He took a look at my appliance list and the prices and asked if I had a minute. I could tell he wanted to help me, so I humored him. He looked up the model numbers on his computer and I watched as his prices came up. They were cheaper than the prices on the floor, but nowhere near mine. Could I wait while he talked to the big manager?

I had to pick up Mackenzie and couldn't wait any longer. He gave me his personal cell number and asked me to call him when I got home. Personal cell? Are you sure? Absolutely.

I left the store happier. I didn't expect anything to happen but I thanked my salesman profusely for his kind help. It was almost as if I had finally hit my stride. I was singing along with the music now and everything seemed better.

When I finally remembered to call the guy back, which I almost didn't do, I got his voicemail. At the end of the message he said, "Have a great day! God loves you and so do I!" I knew it! God really was with me in that store. Isn't He amazing!

Five minutes later the guy called me back and not only met my prices but beat them. On top of that he told me I could order the appliances at any time and he would hold them as long as I needed him to.

Can you believe that? How good is God? He truly knows the hairs on my head. He cares about the little things that aren't so little to us. There was no reason for Him to do that for me but He did it anyway. He even told me He was going to in that song.

It looks like I might just make it through Lent after all. It just takes a little time.

Friday, March 09, 2007

You Get What You Ask For

This is what happens when you ask your two year old to put his cup in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Love All Around

Tonight I made dinner for a friend who had surgery. After slaving over the stove all afternoon, I finally got it all together and loaded it and the kids into the car.

As we were driving down the road Aiden asked, "Where we going Mama?"

"We're going to deliver dinner to Aunt Sarah," I said.

"Oh. I love Aunt Sarah!" he gushed.

"Ooh, I love JESUS!" said Dawson trying to one up Aiden.

"Well I love Jesus, Aunt Sarah AND EVERYBODY ELSE!" shouted Mackenzie.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Couple of Firsts

No. This is not Mackenzie's first time to lose a tooth. In fact, she was a pirate and a flower girl sans her two other bottom teeth. And, as you can see, she's VERY close to losing her first top tooth. Notice the giant gap up there.

What I'm referring to here is the fact that this was the first time I've ever pulled one of her teeth. Daddy got the first one while I recorded the moment. The second one was pulled by one of her friends while she was swimming.

I have never been very interested in pulling teeth. I guess I get that from my mother, who funny enough, is a 25 year veteran ER nurse who has held brain matter in her hands and delivered a baby in the back seat of a cab but CANNOT stand the sight of wiggly teeth. Go figure.

Mackenzie ran into the kitchen while I was cooking dinner and squealed, "Mama! It's really ready! Can you pull it?"

Sure enough, upon inspection, I discerned that if I didn't try to get it out, it may be swallowed during dinner. I grabbed hold of it and with one gentle tug, out it came. I'm not sure who was happier, her or me, but there was definitely an air of excitement as she showed off her new hole to her little brothers.

Aren't you proud of me Mom!

In other news of firsts around here, I sent the boys out to play this morning while I finished up my prayer time. I could see their little heads bobbing and hear their voices clearly from where I sat. About 5 minutes later, after I finished, I opened the door to double check that they were still within reach. They were playing happily on the back porch.

I dashed back inside to go to the bathroom and then grabbed my keys and headed out. When I reached the porch, the boys were nowhere to be found. "Aiden! Dawson!" I shouted a few times only to hear silence.

I walked around to the other side of the house and yelled again. Still no sign of them. I checked the back yard and then ran to the front yard. Still, nothing.

By this time I was getting frantic. How could I lose two boys in under a minute? Who could I call to for help? Will they lock me away for being a bad mother? What about the neighbor? I raced back inside wondering if they had gone back in without making a sound (yeah, right).

Now mind you, this all happened in the matter of about 45 seconds. That didn't matter to me. I was beginning to really worry. Where could they possibly be? I called again, this time more frantically, "AIDEN! DAWSON! ANSWER ME RIGHT NOW!"

Then, to my great relief, I heard Dawson's tiny far away voice say, "What Mama?"

I ran in the direction of the voice, which seemed to come from the neighbor's, but I still didn't see either of them. Just then, from the crawl space under the neighbor's house popped Dawson's little head. "What Mama? We in here."

"What are you doing? Get out of there! Where's your brother?" I stammered.

From the dark recesses beneath the house I saw Aiden's red hair coming towards the light. "We are just getting our ball Mama. It's okay. I found it!" he relayed excitedly with the ball in hand and dirt in hair.

Yep the first time, and for their sake better be the last time, under a house. Well at least until they’re old enough to fix something under there.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Clericus Cup Update

For those of you following the Clericus Cup and my brother's team from the North American College (NAC) in Rome, here's an update. They won Saturday's game in a shoot out. The victory surprised everyone but the guys from the NAC. "We knew it would be a pretty even game," said Aaron.

The team photo comes from the NAC's website and you can see my brother, the soccer playing Deacon, kneeling second from the left with the goatee. You can go to the site to meet the team and find out more about the tournament. Their next game is Saturday.

If you have a son, go to YouTube and type in Clericus Cup. There are several clips from the NAC's game. What a great way to teach our young boys that holy men of God who give their lives in His service can still have fun. In Aaron's words, “Think of what this could do for vocations!”

GO NAC! I'd like to say something now like God is on their side; but, considering their competition, I think it's safe to say that God is on all of their sides!

Look Mama! I put my coat on all by myself!

And, quite obviously, he's a big fan of the Upside Down Show on Noggin.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Morning Musings

This morning I was struggling to buckle Dawson in his car seat while trying to manipulate the shoulder belts around the ball he had in each hand.

"Mama, I LOVE balls!"

"Yes Dawson, I know you do," I said as I finally got the last buckle locked in place.

He then preceded to lift both balls up over his head and began singing, "I got LOTS of balls!" Then putting them back at his side and lowering his pitch, "I got two balls." Again the hands went over head, "I got LOTS of balls!" Then placing them at his side again, "I got two balls. Oh I love balls."

American Idol here we come.


While at church this morning Mackenzie turned around to find a broken blue crayon in the pew. She held it up to me with an earnest look. "Did we sit here last time?"

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lenten Party

Ultimate Blog Party
I know this may seem a bit out of place in light of the previous Lenten blog post but I found this site a few weeks ago and thought this sounded interesting. I'm supposed to put this logo in my sidebar but I have absolutely no idea how to do that. If anyone stops by from the party and can help me out, I'd appreciate it.

Now as the sun goes down and we begin the Lord's Day, let's have a little mid-Lenten party! Y'all come back now ya here!

The Agony in the Running

Yesterday I got up before the sun so I could get my run in before Nelson left for work. I don't enjoy getting up early but I do enjoy the rare occasion to drive by myself. I often use the time to squeeze in a Rosary.

I was just beginning the first sorrowful mystery, The Agony in the Garden, when I hit the expressway. It was turning into a beautiful morning after a severely stormy night and I was meditating on the mystery while watching the sun begin to peek through the remainder of the dark clouds.

The thought briefly entered my mind about asking God to let this cup of running pass me by. It was only the end of week one of the training, but there was no novelty left. My body was sore and already screaming at me to not put it through this crazy punishment.

I know running does not even REMOTELY begin to compare to Christ's suffering and death, but at the moment it made perfect sense to me. My mind wandered to Jesus in that garden, in the wee hours, knowing what was ahead and begging his father to let him out of it. At the moment I felt his pain.

Why run? I hate it. It's hard. It hurts. I'm sure Jesus had similar thoughts. What's the point? These people will never appreciate this sacrifice. After all, I'm God. I can save them without all this pain.

But theses doubts were there only a moment because the next words out of His mouth were, "Not my will but yours be done." And because of that, look where we are today. We have the opportunity for Heaven and eternity with God.

I'm pretty sure that running this race has nothing to do with getting me to Heaven but it is helping me to better understand sacrifice at a physical cost. The hope is that after all this suffering, running will be easier (doubt it, but have to tell myself this anyway). I'll be able to reach the final goal. I may take the long way to get there, but if I stick to it, I'll cross that finish line and, regardless of the pain it took to get there, it will feel good.

Imagine how good Jesus felt on that third day, when his time on earth was over and he could go back home to Heaven. Easter is so much sweeter because it follows Lent. Let’s make the most of it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Lord is my Shepherd...

When I picked Aiden up from his catechism class this morning he was beaming as usual. In his hand was a little slip of paper.

"Aiden, what's that in your hand?"

"Oh! This is a scripture. Teacher says if I learn it, I can get a prize!"

"Wow! That's so cool buddy. Do you want to try it right now?"

"Sure," he blurted, as excited as ever.

"Okay, it says, 'The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.' Do you want to try to say that?"

Without missing a beat he said, "The Lord is my shepherd; I have nothing at all."