/> Raising Angels: January 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pray for Us!

If you're out there and you care about me and my little family, I'm asking that you throw up some prayers for us over the next few days. This is my big week of catering a meal for 100 people. It’s a rehearsal dinner for some dear friends and Nelson and Dawson will be in Saturday’s wedding.

It's also the week I've turned up with the oddest virus of all times. My legs are covered with hives from ankle to backside. Every joint in my body aches. Yesterday my blood pressure bottomed out and scared Nelson so bad he insisted I go to the doctor. My doctor thinks it's not an allergic reaction but some kind of virus, maybe the same strand that hit the boys last week. So weird, and so NOT a good time to be sick.

I laid low yesterday on doctor's orders, but today I had to will myself to feel better because, as you all know, the show must go on. Not only do I have the dinner but we're also hosting two out-of-town wedding guests.

In the midst of all this, we have 2 pre-op appointments for surgeries for me and Max next week. We've had to make an appointment with an orthopedist for Aiden because the pediatrician says he has Scoliosis. And tonight, he developed a rash similar to mine on his face. I mean seriously, I feel like we went from totally healthy to having to see four doctors in one week.

Besides all that I've made an appointment to get my way too long hair cut that I've now had to cancel three, yes three times, due to our various illnesses. This, I know is totally vain, but come ladies, I know you understand. Mama would like her hair to look nice for at least one of the three weddings this month.

In spite of all that we had a splendid time at my cousin's wedding in Illinois even though it was a whopping 1 degree when we entered the city. There was lots of snow, loads of family and hours of dancing. Pictures will come sometime after we make it through all of this.

All too often I try to do it all on my own. Please don’t worry; I have plenty of help with the dinner. I’m not crazy. However, I covet your prayers. It would be great if we could all be well for this happy occasion this weekend. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

It's only Wednesday and already I've had one of those weeks. There's so much going on that it's kind of pointless to even make a list.

You know what's getting me through? Intercessory prayer is the ticket this go around. I believe in asking people who've died to pray for me.

Let me explain how I've come to this (besides the fact that I'm Catholic and the whole intercessory thing goes with the territory). When life gets tough, I never hesitate to ask my friends and family to pray for me. It probably started when school got a little more challenging. "Mom, please pray for my test today." It continued with requests like, "I have a job interview. Will you please pray?"; "I’m praying about my vocation. Pray I can hear God."; "Please pray I don't die when I jump out of this plane." The list could go on and on. Long story short, prayer works, so I use it and ask everyone to do the same.

In the last several years I have suffered some crushing losses. I've unfortunately had lots of family deaths but all of those gave me time to prepare. Most of them were suffering tremendously by the time they died so their deaths were not only expected, but were kind of a relief. I knew they were in a better place and relieved of all their pain. Last year, a priest, who was a brother to me (literally called my parents mom and dad), died rather suddenly. He was younger than me and it was the first death I truly grieved. New Year's Day I lost a dear friend and neighbor who was like a second father to me. It was totally unexpected and once again I was devastated.

Just this week I was on the phone coordinating some details for a rehearsal dinner I'm cooking next weekend for 100 people. What? I haven't told you about this? That's probably because it makes me a little anxious to talk about it. I mean I agreed to do the dinner for a guest list of 45 that's grown to 100 and I feel a bit out of my element. Anyway, I was having this conversation while I was cooking dinner and the kids were having one of these moments and well, by the time I figured out that I didn't have the answers to her questions and that the dinner was only two weeks away, I hung up the phone and was hyperventilating (Can you tell by my super-long sentence?).

I was moments away from grabbing a paper bag, which I don't have anyway and would have probably sent me over the edge, when I put down my spatula and said, "Okay Bob, pray for me. I really need your help here." You see, Bob was going to make all the Italian sausage for the dinner and he was a pro at providing food for lots and lots of people, so I figured if he can't help me physically, he could help me spiritually. Let me tell you, the moment those words left my lips (yes, I prayed them out loud because it was too noisy in my house to hear myself think), I felt peace. I could see his face and almost feel him next to me telling me to calm down, everything will be fine.

Bob was the supreme organizer. Who better to line things up for me in Heaven and make sure all goes well down here? When I asked him to pray for me, God reminded me of all the wisdom Bob has given me through the years. I knew I had a heavenly advocate and I could do my best to emulate the qualities I loved best about him.

Chidi, my brother/priest friend, gets the big requests. He was a Nigerian spit-fire for the Lord. He had big ideas, bold prayers and high ideals. I give him what he was good at and I know he's praying for me too.

Now don't go thinking I've gone all crazy here. I pray to God, not my friends. But just like my friends here, sometimes I ask my heavenly friends for a little help too. I ask them to rip the roof off and get me to Jesus. Get it?

One of the greatest gifts of my faith is the multitude of saints I have to look to for help. Their lives give me inspiration, courage, hope, fortitude...you name it. There are patron saints of just about everything. St. Jude, he helps with impossible tasks. St. Raphael is the patron of happy meetings. I talked to him a lot in my single days. St. Anthony, he takes care of lost things and I wear the poor guy out.

The list goes on and on. These saints don't lessen my faith, they make it better. They provide examples...really good ones, to follow. They lend a helping hand and boy, do I need that.

So I will continue to pray to God. I will ask Jesus to bless me. I will request the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I will ask those around me for a little help along the way. And, I will ask those who have gone before me to help me too because goodness knows, I need all the help I can get.

Checking In

I haven't jumped ship. It's just that we're making a 14 hour drive to Illinois Thursday to celebrate my cousin's wedding. Currently, I'm up with the second kid to get the stomach virus. Kid number three is on the floor of my bedroom looking puny. Suddenly I'm having flashbacks of this disastrous trip.

So pray for me and my family that we get this behind us before 8AM tomorrow.

There's a lot of other stuff going on to but kid number two is currently running to the toilet and I've got to...gag...go with him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

These Are the Best Days of Our Lives...So Far...Hopefully

Today was one of those days in a long run of days which all ended in my kids driving me nuts. Nelson left town Friday morning and returned Monday night around 8 PM so I'm thinking that had a lot to do with it.

Also, we've somehow suddenly reached the stage when the kids think that irritating their siblings is the best entertainment on the planet. You know, they turn the lights off in the bathroom when someone is in there, they lock the door every time someone goes outside, they steal things from each other, and pinch and poke and prod each other incessantly. Of course all those things set off a whole set of other happenings that involve screaming, running through the house, hitting back and overall madness in general.

As luck would have it, this series of events usually occurs when I'm on the phone with the doctor's office, or cooking dinner, or trying to help someone study.

It's not so much any one event as it is that all of them are happening on a daily basis...oh, about every 5 minutes or so (Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. It probably only happens every ten minutes.).

This is the part of parenting that parents of older children totally block from their minds when they tell you, "Enjoy these moments, they are the best ones of your life." Either they block it out or they are speaking from the insanity caused by said children over the past twenty-five years or so.

I know this is a season and that things are not as horrid as they seem (at least that's what I tell myself). Sometimes though, I've got to keep it real if for no other reason than preventing myself from becoming one of those parents. I'm going to see those young mothers and say, "Hang in there. These are the hardest days of your life, but one day you'll reap the benefits of all your hard work so keep it up. This too shall pass."

I will. I will tell them that because it's the honest-to-goodness truth. I might even tell them that sometimes...sometimes, you reap the benefits right smack dab in the thick of things. Kind of like I did tonight before I went to bed when I found the following poem written by Mackenzie and left for me to find.

To: Mama

I Don't Know How You Do It

Four kids that drive you CRAZY

I don't know how you do it.

Your love for us is so amazing

I don't know how you do it.

Upside down, puzzled, twisted faces

I don't know how you do it.

Your mercy, love and other graces

I don't know how you do it.

So give three cheers for mom of the year

Who works very hard to keep us here.

I love you dearly, you love me yearly




I was nearly moved to tears when I read this. I mean not only is the sentiment so very, very sweet, but the poem is well-written too.

Upon reading this I was suddenly overwhelmed with gratefulness for these creatures I was given the honor of co-creating with God. Of course, I'm always grateful but poetry kind of puts it over the top.

Suddenly I'm thinking that maybe it's not mental illness or early stage Alzheimer’s that those crazy older parents are under the influence of when they say those crazy things. No, it's definitely the moments like these that melt you like snow in Georgia. It's moments like these that you know there is no greater calling on this earth than to raise strong men and women of God. Moments like these let you know that having children is the greatest sacrifice you've ever chosen to take upon yourself.

So have children, as many as God gives you. Sure they're expensive and inconvenient and a tad irritating at times, but the payoff is oh, so much better than any of this. The payoff is beyond words.

All you parents of young, driving you crazy kids remember, these are the best days of our lives. And maybe, if we hang in there and do our hard work now, the days in the future...those days will be even better.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Today was a big day around here. It was the long-awaited BCS Bowl in which Bama got the chance to prove that they deserve to be called number one. Before Christmas I spotted a houndstooth nail kit that Nelson said I just had to buy.

It was definitely more than my average nail job which is normally nothing because no matter what I do, they look terrible by day two. But the box promised the look would last 10 days and it was the championship and all so I did it. I have to say that I kind of like it. I mean it works with all my Bama stuff. What do you think?

I proudly showed off my nails to the boys in the car yesterday afternoon. They were duly impressed. "Those are so cool Mama!" Max said in genuine awe. "You look just like an elephant."

Not exactly the look or the compliment I was going for, but under the circumstances (and his elephant mascot outfit) I said thank you and moved on.

Among our friends, we Bama fanatics are a minority and as luck would have it, the majority of other fanatics we're surrounded by are LSU fans. Needless to say the last few LSU/Bama match-ups have ended in having our house rolled, beaded and Mardi-Gras'd up. It's not been pretty.

But tonight, oh tonight was our game. It was beautiful for those of us who cheer for the Crimson Tide. And we, well, we did no damage to anyone's yard. We are Bama fans after all (and we do not claim that idiot who killed the Auburn tree).

But I did post the following picture on my Facebook page with the comment, "14...that's all I'm sayin'..."

Roll Tide!!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

It's True What They Say About a Man's Stomach

Tonight as the kids were playing outside, I whipped up some homemade pizza. Since this decision I've tried every pizza dough recipe out there and this summer I finally found the winner. It's easy and everyone loves it.

As the kids trickled in, I was met with, "Mmmm...what's that smell?", "YES pizza!", and, "I love this." I sent them to shower while I put together a salad and used the extra dough to make some really delicious garlic breadsticks.

They came in to plates full of cheesy goodness with a side of veggies and warm bread. We prayed and they dug in. I had to get up to fetch something for someone. Dawson asked me, "You homemade this pizza, right?"

"Yes buddy."

"Did you make this salad too?" he wondered.

"Yes I did," I assured him.

"And the breadsticks too?"

Again I responded, "Yes."

"Guys," he said, "this is SO good. Don't you think? I mean, isn’t homemade so much better than eating out?"

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year!

I haven't been posting much because I've been totally immersed in the Christmas season. That's one of the things that's so fun about being Catholic, we still have a little more of this wonderful season to celebrate.

It's been busy, good, fun, memorable, and of course there are lots of pictures to share but for now I'm going to keep it short.

Favorite food of the season: the homemade ravioli of course (yes, I have pictures and no, there are not leftovers)

Favorite moments: listening to Max belt out spontaneous Christmas carols, spending time with my brothers and family, playing with my kids, opening gifts with Nelson on our bed Christmas night and then snuggling together for a movie (I was awake for about 15 minutes of it)

Favorite thing done for me: My husband wrapped every single one of my presents, separately no less, AND put stuff in my stocking. It's only taken 13 years, but I think I finally have the guy trained. You know I love ya hon! And seriously, the gift wrapping and the stocking...better than the gifts.

Favorite gift: Having a healthy father to celebrate with us. God is good.

Oh, there are so many memories, so many gifts. Mostly I feel like the most blessed woman on the earth. I am grateful for everything God has done for me and realize full well that I've done nothing to deserve any of it. That's what makes it so very special. I am amazed by how well God loves me.

I hope in this New Year, you find time to count your blessings. My guess is that you'll get tired of counting before you run out of blessings.