Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When God Wants Something...

..It's best not to stand in His way. We had a reminder of that lesson over the past few weeks. A couple of Sunday's ago our priest even mentioned this in his homily when he told us a story of how God helped a Saint to accomplish something when everything seemed to be against him. I remember chuckling at the story since it had been awhile since I'd seen that kind of action in our lives. Lately it seemed as if we had been experiencing quite the opposite.

Anyhow, this particular instance has to do with Ms 18 yo and her college living arrangements. We had decided over the summer that she would be commuting because we could see no purpose in burdening her with a big loan just to stay on campus when she could conceivably make the 45 minute commute.

Apparently God did not see it that way. Ever since we'd made that decision at the beginning of summer I'd had an unsettled feeling about it that just wouldn't go away. I tried ignoring it, I tried praying it away, I talked to my husband about it. It would be gone for a few days but it would always come back before long.

My husband kept telling me that I was just worrying about nothing and that once school started and we got into a routine it would be fine. Sound advice...I decided to just wait it out.

Well, the Sunday before classes started, I was driving her car and I noticed that something was wrong with the brakes. Here we were the first week of school scrambling to find a car for her to drive. We were able to borrow one and get the brakes fixed by the weekend.

On Monday morning of the second week she called me and said, "I smelled gas fumes in the car the entire way up here." Okay, fine. Fortunately it wasn't a big problem and only took two days to get fixed.

Somewhere during these two weeks I began praying a novena. My original prayer all summer had been to ask the Lord to bring me peace about the situation. Since that never happened, my novena prayer became "Lord, if it is Your Will for her to commute then please bring me peace. If it is Your Will for her to live on campus, then agitate my husband." Seems to me he was picking the latter.

My husband suggested she check with housing to see what the procedure would be, thinking that maybe come Winter term there might be something available.

Well, I can tell you that in the span of 1 week:

- We found out there were available rooms in the main female freshman dorm and the dorm that the college rents out from the Catholic Church around the corner when they need extra space (remember, this is a Christian college).

- She picked a potential roommate from some profile papers that just so happened to live in the church dorm and met with her to see if they would be compatible. After meeting with her, she determined they would be.

- We found out that it will actually cost her less than we thought to live there.

- Went shopping to purchase the necessary items.

- Packed all her belongings and moved her in.

One week! No glitches, no problems. And to top it off, not only does this building house 40 girls, it also houses the chapel where the church holds Perpetual Adoration. Yes, 2 floors below where she lives is Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament - 24/7!
I know this is a weird picture, but it blows my mind to think that every time she comes into the building and walks past this door, Jesus is directly on the other side on the altar. Like I said, when He wants something done, He doesn't hold anything back.

We're still not sure if there is some "big" reason why it is important for her to be there, but I can say that having her settled there has brought that peace I was praying for!
I will be honest, however, and say that, while they are all smiling here, we have been going through the usual "send your child/sibling off to college mourning syndrome". Thank goodness for technology because, in this instance, the ease with which you can contact someone has made her still feel close!

In closing, I just want to say "Praised be Jesus Christ...Now and Forever!"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Creative Writing

I gave Ms 11 yo and Mr 10 yo their first creative writing assignment for the year. They had to take their 20 vocabulary words from the St. Ignatius story we are reading and use them all in one story.

Well, after they got through with the mandatory one hour of pouting and proclaiming how they can't write and that this is going to be impossible, they sat down and started writing.

They wrote and they wrote and they wrote. "How long can it be?" I heard.

"As long as it takes to use as many of the 20 words as you possibly can."

"Can we use a word more than once?"

"Yes, but it only counts once!"

The next day they both turned in their stories and I must say, while the technical side left a lot to be desired, the creative side was great. What a hoot. I loved to see how they blatantly wove their words into the plot. This was one of my favorites...

"On the way to Cordoba (the story is set in Spain), while stopping in Caceres, I took the calabash to get water. I saw a leper lying on the street and a heretic as I passed through the marketplace. "Hey, kid, watch where you're going." I jerked around and ran away. As I was running away, the guy started to jeer at me."

I haven't asked yet how she knew the guy was a heretic!

I've decided that since the assignment was focusing on being creative that I wouldn't make them re-write all of the technical mistakes. Instead, I think I'll pick a couple of paragraphs and teach some finer points of writing from them. Things like...correct spelling, how to use quotation marks properly, what a period is and how to use it...you know, important things like that!

Have a great weekend! I hope to be back early next week with the post..."When God Wants Something Done...Don't Stand in His Way!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Trip to the Fair

I've been wanting to do this post for awhile, but alas, school has gotten in the way :) Now that I've got a scant few moments, here are some photo highlights from our fun at the Fair!

No fair is complete without your favorite foods. Ours come in the form of these incredible donuts. It amazes me how many times we find ourselves walking past the "free samples".

Here is the owner of the aforementioned donuts! He's such a nice guy, I just had to take his picture!

One of our favorite places to visit is the Home Ec building and the cake decorating contest. Here are some highlights:

We've been hearing a lot about deep-fried, chocolate-covered bacon so we just had to try it. Doesn't look too appetizing, does it?

The votes pretty much confirm the way it looks. You can add my thumbs down to the picture, too!

What fun, we ran into our parish Priests!

My favorite animal barn!

A fair isn't complete without rides!

And then there is the end of the fair, when you have to stand in endless lines to pick up your projects!
A fun time was had by all! Thanks for coming along.

Friday, September 17, 2010

7 Quick Takes - Back to School Edition

Wow, I haven't done this in a long time! Click on the picture above to join in the fun over at Conversion Diary.

Here is my "Back to School" post - quick takes style!


We've started back this week and it has been a week of good and not-so-good! The first day was ripe with bad attitudes. Glad to know I can count on my kids to be consistent :) Once we got going, however, everyone got into the swing of things and realized that school can be fun...especially when you're doing unit studies.


So we're studying St. Ignatius and the Renaissance Era. We've been making maps of Spain and studying things like castles, the printing press, Cortes and the explorers. They loved reading about St. Ignatius' leg being shattered, having to be re-broken and then the bone having to be sawed off and his leg attached to a rack to lengthen it. Lot's of fun and interesting stuff!


Somewhere along the line someone told Mr 5 yo that he was starting school, so even though I wasn't quite ready for it, we have begun. We've spent the week making letters and numbers out of Tinker Toys, an activity which has been finding most enjoyable.


I have, however, seen signs of his obsessiveness coming out - which does not surprise me. I was trying to explain to him that those little lines that he is supposed to be tracing on are there to help him LEARN how to do it. Boy was he getting mad that he was on the first row and wasn't able to stay on the line! Some of my children don't seem to understand that school is about learning things and that you aren't expected to know them already. What, then, would be the point of school if you already knew everything?


Ms 14 yo has started ballet lessons and while I am totally consumed with the inconvenience of driving her there and back, I've agreed to give it a try. I truly cannot stand activities that occur during the dinner hour. It ends up impacting the entire family! We'll see how long I can last. On the upside, however, she has been quite helpful around the house!


Ms 16 yo has begun her Junior year and is taking on some challenging classes. School does not come as easy for her as it does for Ms 18 you and Ms 14 yo. I continue to pray that she will be able to find her way while being sandwiched between her two sisters.


Ms 18 yo has had quite a busy first week in college. She has written her first paper, gotten her first job as a Visitor's Day Ambassador (9 days out of the school year she gets to wear a red shirt and tell people how much she likes the school :), attended a Catholic club meeting and auditioned for "The Phantom of the Opera" (one of our favorite musicals!). We'll find out tomorrow if she got a part :)

All in all it has been a terribly busy week, but yet very productive. Hope your week has gone well, too!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The First Day of School

Well, at least for one of my kids. Here is Ms 18 yo off to her first day of college. Okay, so this is actually only Welcome Week and is filled with lots of fun stuff, but you get the idea!

I never took pictures of my kids on the first day of our school year so since I don't have one of her starting kindergarten, I figured this is the next best thing...A picture of her for the first time leaving her house to be educated somewhere else. Quite a monumental feeling for those of us who have never entrusted the education of our children to anyone else!

Even though she is commuting this term, it still is a big step for all of us. It hit me that first night that she wasn't at dinner (although, for all of you who would like to accuse us of sheltering our children...she HAS missed dinner with us before...that is not the point) it occurred to me that this is really the beginning of the her life away from us. As I pointed out to the family, unless she drops out of school, doesn't get a job and just sits around the house all day, she will not ever be "at home" the way she was for 18 years.

My husband's response? "Gee, what a way to brighten the mood around here!"

Believe me, we all know that this is a good thing, but as all of you parents out there who have a college student know, this is a time of both depression and joy. It is funny being on the other end of it! I remember going off to college and being excited about all of the new opportunities in front of me (alright, I was excited after I got used to being away!) and not really thinking much about how my family might be adjusting.

In my own parental way, I am very excited for Ms 18 yo. We were on campus on Wednesday for the family activities and I have to say...I love this school! It is a great size and I am so impressed with the way the professors and staff interact so much with the students.

So, here we go...off into somewhat uncharted waters. While we might be seeing her a bit more than if she had stayed on campus, it is a time of mixed emotions for all of us as we all try to re-orient ourselves and find our routine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Time To Relax

We had an opportunity last week to get away to Michigan for a few days. It was very lovely to have peace and quiet surround us...as well as beautiful weather and picturesque surroundings. We just took some time out to kick back

enjoy the scenery

and ride the waves.

(all pictures courtesy of Ms 16 yo since I forgot my camera!)
Since we've returned, however, life has been a whirlwind of activity. This past week we:

~ Finished getting Ms 18 yo ready to begin college (more on that in another post)

~ Worked with my soap-making friend to get ready to have a booth in the largest county fair in the state of Illinois (it should be loads of fun!)

~ Started and finished our projects for the aforementioned fair

~ Tried to keep up with the rest of the everyday stuff!

Needless to say we are all exhausted. I think that is why I'm posting these pictures...to remind myself that just one week ago, we were relaxed!

This coming week I plan on remembering my camera and will post pictures from the fair! The weather looks to be beautiful. See you then :)