Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why, Lord?

I really am grateful for our Catholic faith.  It helps me to navigate through this complicated world we live in.  I've also been a "why" person all my adult life.  I know I shouldn't be, but I am frequently asking God why something happened.  Not in a whining sort of way, but because understanding something helps me to process it better.  More often then not, although not always, God gives me at least enough for me to understand the situation.

Recently the death of young people seems to keep crossing my path.  The first time was not that long ago when reading about the horrific accident that Jennifer witnessed.  I didn't know this young man, but when something like that happens, you just have to tell yourself that God has his reasons and you pray for all involved.

The next time was a bit closer to home.  I did know the young man and his family from our former parish.  He died unexpectedly, too.  The family have been long time residents of the somewhat small town where the parish resides.  The church and community have been there to support this family during their time of suffering.  Another young life taken suddenly.  Okay, Lord, You must have your reasons.  We may not understand them, but I will continue to pray for that young man's soul and his family left here.

This third time, however, has rocked my world on a much deeper level and I admit that I really need to know why this time.  This young lady was the younger sister of a friend I've known since first grade.  I grew up with them.  Their family was like a second family to me.  This young woman was taken very unexpectedly and is leaving behind two middle-school aged daughters.  She was a homeschooling mother, just like me.  I just don't understand why, Lord.  What are her two daughters to do now?  When it hits closer to home, that natural instinct in me has to ask WHY?  I know I probably won't get an answer to this one, and it is making it harder to deal with the situation.

Nonetheless, at times like these I am ever so thankful for my faith.  Even if I can't know WHY, at least I have prayer and an understanding of the importance of suffering.  At least I can turn to God and ask Him to bathe this wonderful family in His loving embrace and pray for the soul of my friend's sister.  At least I can ask all of you to join me in praying for all of these people as they grieve their loss and for the souls of the three young people who have all died so suddenly.  Trust me, though, this last one will end up on my list of questions to ask of the Lord if I'm given the chance!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Country's Guardian Angel

A while back, my friend's mother died.  She was a very holy woman, and although I did not know her personally, I have heard stories about her and I've seen the results of her holiness in how her children and their families have carried on with their own lives.  She was a third order Carmelite and her wake was one of the most joyful I've ever been to.  I know that sounds weird, but you could feel the joy as soon as you walked into the room.  I know that was a testimony to her life.

This past weekend, another friend of ours told us a story of something that happened when this woman was dying.  Her daughter was with her in the room on one occasion when her mother told her she was seeing angels.  She kept repeating to her daughter that not enough people were praying to the Guardian Angel of our country.  She kept telling her that this Guardian Angel could do ANYTHING, but that not enough people were asking it for help.

I never had given much thought to the fact that our country might have its own Guardian Angel.  I pray to my angel and to the angels of my husband and children, but I had never thought much beyond that.

I did a bit of searching and didn't find anything to back this concept up but I did find this nice page about Guardian Angels with some beautiful prayers if you are interested in that.  I will, however, begin asking the Guardian Angel of our country to intercede for us before God to perform a miracle for this country of ours so that we might turn it back to God. 

If you've never heard of this either, please spread the word.  We need to bombard this angel with our prayers so that our country will turn back to the God fearing country that it once was.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day!

Thank you to all of the men and women who have so selflessly served our country and helped us to gain the freedoms we enjoy today.  May God bless them all!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Pentecost!

May the Holy Spirit come upon you and remain with you forever!


Friday, May 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes May 25, 2012

--- 1 ---

Ms 20 yo decided to dye her hair last weekend.  She ordered some henna dye and wanted to go a reddish color; problem is she asked me to put it on her head.  Like I know what I'm doing...I've never dyed my hair before and she was trusting me to apply it correctly.  The pressure was unbearable.  If I messed it up, I would have to look at the consequences for weeks, maybe even months.  Well I'm happy to say that, for the most part, I did okay for the first time.  

--- 2 ---

Have you seen this yet?  It is absolutely adorable, and quite funny, too :)


--- 3 ---

We've been keeping track of things we are thankful for each day.  This has been very helpful and the kids have been in they don't put down the same thing every day.  I also try to be thankful for both the good and the not so good things each day, which is why yesterday I wrote back pain.  While I'm not very happy about it, it sure does make me appreciate the ability to move around freely!  I also made sure to put down my chiropractor's name next to that!

--- 4 ---

We've still been having some great fun with the photo a day challenge. It will be somewhat disappointing when it is over.  I think it has really stretched our creativity and you can also see the technique improving as the days go by.  If you'd like to catch up on some of the categories and pictures we've taken, you can go here.

--- 5 ---

Summer break is almost here and the excitement is building.  Not only do we have a family wedding in July, we will also be hosting the Fairy Tale Novels Get Together.  If you've never read Regina Doman's books, this summer would be a great time to dive into them. We usually let the kids read them once they hit 13. The Get Together is a chance for some of Regina's fans to meet in one place for four days and do workshops and fun things with Regina and her husband Andrew.  Should be loads of fun!

--- 6 ---

Speaking of summer, I am not at all encouraged when I look at my calendar and see that there is literally some event or activity on every weekend between now and the end of July.  This will make for an incredibly speedy summer and will not allow for any camping weekends.  I've got my eye set on August, though, in the hopes that we'll have one free weekend before it is time to start school.

--- 7 ---

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  God Bless the people who have served our great country.  We will be trying to stay cool as temperatures are expected to be over 90 for the weekend.  I guess it's better than cold and rainy!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Mystery Solved

I just remembered that I never told you about the mystery we solved while cleaning out our garage.  

It all started back in the winter when, on a rare day, we needed our snow boots.  We went out into the garage to find them and, as I usually do because we keep our boots in the garage, I tipped mine over to make sure nothing had holed up there during the year. 

Upon doing that, an enormous amount of soy bean seeds came tumbling out of my boot.  Immediately I looked to Mr 11 yo, thinking that this is something an 11 yo boy would find amusing, and asked him if he had filled my boot with seeds.  Unfortunately for him, he chuckled the entire time that he denied doing it.  The chuckling led to none of us believing him, of course, but since he wouldn't admit to it, we went on about our business.

A short while later my husband went out to said garage and did the same thing with his hunting boots.  Upon turning them over, an enormous amount of soy bean seeds came tumbling out.  When questioned again, Mr 11 yo denied doing it, but still couldn't keep the smile off his face or the chuckle out of his voice.

Fast forward a few months to the epic garage cleaning day.  Underneath a pile of stuff, I pulled out a box filled with jackets and shoes.  When I got to the bottom of the box I found this:

 At last the poor lad could be exonerated! I knew there was no way that he had dug down deep into this box to fill a hidden shoe with soy beans.  What we did realize was that the mice in our garage this winter had been incredibly busy.  As my astute hubby pointed out, what else do they have to do?  Nothing, I guess, except move a big bag of soy beans and corn from the bags to various compartments around the garage.  We were amazed at where we found the stuff!

Alas, this poor bloke didn't make it out of the soy bean bag.  We found him like this buried beneath some blankets.  It seems a really strange thing for it to have died while trying to exit the bag, doesn't it?

Of course we all apologized to Mr 11 yo for thinking he was the culprit.  I did offer him some friendly advice, however:  when telling the truth don't laugh and smirk as that makes you quite unbelievable!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garage Sale

Last week we held a 3 day garage sale that was really a yard sale because our garage is at the back of our house and would have been impossible to see from the road.  As it was we had a hard enough time attracting attention because the nearest town was having their "town-wide" garage sales and we are north of town.  I figured it was a gamble having it at the same time, but we live on a busy road so I thought that might help.  Lucky for us the weather was on our side.

Thursday was slow in the morning but picked up a bit in the afternoon.  The kids came up with the idea of standing near the road with a sign and trying to wave people in.  We found some "decorations" and sent them out to give it a whirl (don't worry, we had some big kids with them, too).

 This lasted for awhile but then they got tired and moved on to other things.  The next day came and we tried to shoe them out their again.  Well, they were lacking the enthusiasm of the day before and it had gotten a little warmer out, so Ms 8 yo used her knowledge of marketing that she's learned from her dad and came up with this idea!

How exciting it is to see your kids solve a problem in a unique way.  We had people stop by who said they loved the deer.  We thought it looked pretty darn good, too.  It's not often you see a decked-out deer in a field as you're driving down the road! 

Three stars for Ms 8 yo for the day.  Her idea solved a problem (it meant they didn't have to stand out in the sun for extended periods of time waving a sign), it brought in customers and it was creative.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God's Hand in the Small Things

We have been undergoing a trial for a number of years now but the last year it has been much more intense.  We've prayed, we've done novenas, we have others praying for us, too, but nothing ever seems to change.  There are no answers, no direction, no lightening of the load.  

Has this ever happened to you?  When it does do you feel as if your prayers are ineffective?  Do you feel as if you've reached a busy signal on the line to Heaven?

I don't know about you, but at times this is exactly how I feel.  Then God goes and does something small and seemingly insignificant in my life that makes me smile because it reminds me that He really is there listening and He's just waiting to help us in ways we can't even imagine.  

Today I was discussing this photography contest I want to enter but I've been stuck on one of the entries and just haven't had time to do some research on it to get an idea of what I should do.  The category is to use "motion blur" in a photo.  I just wasn't clear on what that meant:  is the subject blurry, do I move, do they move, what???

After that I was checking my email when I received a photography newsletter and what do you think the topic was?  You guessed it, motion blur.  I read the newsletter, ran outside with my camera, tried out the suggestions and was happy with the results!

See, not very important in the grand scheme of things, but believe me, it meant the world to me to know that God is there, even in the small things.  Now I just need to sit back and wait for Him to intervene in the big things!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Catholic Apologetics

This past school year Ms 18 yo and Ms 16 yo have been meeting weekly with a few other high schoolers and two awesome moms who have been leading the group in apologetics.  The desire and the ability that these moms have shown have been very inspiring.

Over the past few months, the kids have explored the papal authority, the scriptures and the Eucharist.  They've done research, reading and prepared speeches.  They've gotten much more comfortable speaking in front of people, both by giving prepared speeches as well as impromptu ones.  I am very impressed with the ground my girls have covered in such a short time.  

The past few weeks have been spent going through a book called "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" by Brant Pitre.  While I have not read the book myself, I have sat in on the discussions and from what I've gleaned so far this book is a must read for anyone who wants to learn about the Old Testament roots of our New Testament sacrament.  Anyone who doesn't believe that the Eucharist is truly the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus should read this book and then try to tell me they still don't believe.

Knowing the history behind what we do as Catholics is always fascinating.  It makes me more in awe of God to see how meticulously He planned things out, even thousands of years ahead of time, just so that today we can see the bigger picture.  Our God truly is an awesome God.

What a blessing it is to our homeschooling adventure when we can find knowledgeable, devoted people who are willing to share their knowledge with our children.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Tea Cup Candles

Last week I had found this picture and post on Pintrest.  I repinned it because I thought these tea cups looked so neat and, even though I am NOT crafty, thought that maybe we could pull this off in time for Mother's Day.

I work better under pressure, so Friday afternoon I decided to throw this all together, knowing that I would not be home Friday evening and that we would all be gone all day Saturday.

I couldn't find the wicks at Wal Mart and that's the only place I had time to go so we bought a large pillar candle and cut it up, took out the wick and cut it into two pieces. 

I had found two pretty tea cups in a bin that was set to go to the garage sale pile so we go those cleaned up and ready to go.  Before I went out Friday, I set the wicks in the cup the way I saw in the directions and told Ms 20 yo what to do with the candle wax.  She took it from there and here is the final results:

They hardened over night and we were ready to wrap them by the time we left on Saturday.  The only thing that was hard about this project was the clean up because the wax was pretty much on everything.  It took a lot of hot water and scrubbing to get it off the pan and spoon.   

The kids gave these to their grandmas and they were a big hit.  If we can pull off a neat craft like this then anyone can.  I would highly recommend it for a nice little gift.


Friday, May 11, 2012

7 Quick Takes May 11, 2012

--- 1 ---

We have a family wedding coming up in July; the first family wedding in a long time; the first grandchild to get married on my husband's side.  We are all really looking forward to it and to get ready the girls and I went out looking for dresses this week.  Some of these dresses will also be used for Confirmation and Graduation which is why we started so early.  I am happy to report that four out of the five of us found dresses and it wasn't really even that painful!

--- 2 ---

I can't tell you the last time we went to a store to buy clothing at full price!  With nine of us to clothe, we've become good friends with the local thrift stores.  For this event, however, I just couldn't face the pressure of finding nice dresses for all of us at the thrift stores. I know, call me a wimp, but I was just not up to the challenge. Instead, we'll do it the "easy" way and consider it a huge treat for all of us.

--- 3 ---

I don't know if you have one of these stores near you, but the girls took me into Charming Charlie while we were out.  OH MY!  It was heavenly but quite overwhelming.  I was on a mission for dresses so I wouldn't let them sidetrack me with accessories, but let me tell you that we will definitely be making a return trip to that store to accessorize.  Check it out if you can!

--- 4 ---

So last week at my sister-in-laws I was discussing a delicious chocolate frosting recipe with her mother that she had used to frost the cake.  They were trying to relay the recipe to me and my sil mentioned that it was the same recipe as the brownie one on the Hershey's container.  They were discussing some of the details while I was trying to figure out how you could have a brownie recipe double as a frosting recipe.  So I asked.  After they stopped roaring, they clarified that it was the same recipe as the brownie FROSTING recipe on the container.  Oh, good, because I could not figure out how you could have one recipe that turned into brownies if you baked it and frosting if you didn't.  
--- 5 ---

Well, 10 + days and we're still going strong on the photo a day challenge.  There were some interesting themes for this week, so if you want to check it out, you can go here!

--- 6 ---

One more First Holy Communion on Saturday and then Mother's Day!  We'll have seen my in-laws on Saturday, so that leaves just one mom to visit on Sunday.  I think some relaxing and grilling are in order.  At least around here it seems like the weather should be sunny and somewhat warm, so we should be in for a good day.

--- 7 ---

Have a wonderful and blessed Mother's Day all you mothers out there!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I've not done a Thankful Thursday post before, but since I am trying to encourage thankfulness in our house on a more frequent basis, I thought I would share what we are doing.

The above photo is a picture of our thankfulness book. Each day people are supposed to walk by and jot down things they are thankful for on the right side and then they are free to add some artwork to the left hand side.  You might be able to tell that our artwork does in fact need some help, but so far everyone has been cooperating to a certain degree (the younger ones more so than the older ones).

I've even tried to make sure that I write down things like back pain and headache because we are supposed to be thankful to God for the good and the bad.  I figure if I write it enough I might actually begin to agree with it :)

I've also noticed that many of the things we've been thankful for are food related.  I guess that isn't a bad thing, though I'm trying to encourage them to look beyond the obvious.

This book is located near our kitchen table so that everyone has easy access to it.  I really do hope that it becomes a habit that we will all develop.  A habit of thankfulness is a good habit to have.  I don't want us to be the kind of people who immediately notice the bad in the situation instead of the good.  By practicing this I hope to teach the kids to look for the good in everything, because there is always something good you can derive from every event and situation.

Thank you God, for all you do for us!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Introverts and Extroverts

That is what we've been mulling over, discussing and arguing about at times in our household.  Right now, in those of us over 15, we have two extroverts, and three introverts.  One of our introverts is the quiet type (meaning she doesn't complain when forced into social activities not of her choosing).  The other two are vocal (meaning they express their displeasure at being "forced" to attend or host something without a lot of notice).  Of course the two extroverts are definitely vocal and are frequently looking for places to go and things to host at our house.

How do you make that work?  My husband is an introvert and I am an extrovert.  We have been married for 24 years and 1 day and I can attest to the fact that it has caused tension in our marriage on more than one occasion.  At first I wasn't aware of what the difference was, but now that I know it has a name...I still don't understand it :)

My husband and daughter have been trying to get us to understand what an introvert is all about.  We've discussed it and read articles together.  I think I understand the concept, but as a person who likes to be around people, I just don't "get it".

What I do understand is why family vacations over the past years have had their moments of tension.  Hmm, do we explore nature or go to that loud, crowded place?  Do we go downtown and see the city sites, or take a drive down the country roads?  I finally understand that!  All future vacations will definitely have to have more planning and some give and take to avoid people being unhappy. 

The rest of the time this only becomes an issue on weekends.  Some weekends are out of our control, as in we have so many events we have to attend that there isn't any time to choose to do something.  On those rare weekends where we have nothing, we're usually so tired we all agree that staying home is the best option.  Once in awhile, however, my daughter and I are in the mood to visit with families or have someone over for dinner.  This is usually met with a grumble if not planned out far in advance.  I'm trying to understand, really I am.  Fortunately, we're busy until August, so I'm sure it won't be an issue until then :)


Monday, May 7, 2012

24 Years!

On this day, 24 years ago, two people who looked like little kids got married :)  Whenever I look at this picture, I am always amazed at how YOUNG we looked.  I guess by today's standards we were young...we were 22 and 23.  Hard to believe that we are working towards another marriage milestone of 25 years!!

It has been an incredible journey thus far.  Like all married people, we've had our ups and downs but I am convinced that because we allowed God to enter into our marriage 18 years ago, we are far stronger now than we would have been.  Thank you, God, for the wonderful, incredible man you gave me all those years ago :)  

I love you, dear!


Friday, May 4, 2012

7 Quick Takes May 4, 2012

--- 1 ---

Well it's been a week now and I think I'm getting the hang of Pintrest.  I'm actually enjoying it and since I stick to later in the day for looking at it, it isn't sucking up my productive time.  I have lost a bit of sleep, however, on a few occasions.

--- 2 ---

My daughters and I are doing a photo challenge where you take a photo a day for the month of May for a given theme.  So far we've had peace, skyline and what you wore today as our themes.  My picture for "what you wore" proves I can't be creative every day, but my picture for "skyline" I thought was pretty cool:

--- 3 ---

I had taken a few skyline shots but wasn't too thrilled with them when I happened to look in my side view mirror and saw this.  I love being inspired!  And this is the kind of skyline I like - wide open and uncluttered!
--- 4 ---

 I have two girls who are currently looking for part time employment.  While doing this we have discovered two things.  1.  Everyone wants to hire someone with experience and 2.  No one wants to talk to you in person...go to their website and fill out an application, please.  Both are very frustrating for them (and me).

--- 5 ---

We had wonderfully, warm weather here today.  While some people reached for the air conditioning switch, we reached for the knobs to finally open all of our windows.  I am definitely a window person and only an air conditioning person when the humidity gets too unbearable.  To top off a great day, we ended with some warm weather thunderstorms.   They can be so peaceful (when kept under control, of course).
--- 6 ---

I saw on Pintrest this evening a photo with the caption "unconventional times to pray".  One person responded "the shower", which is definitely a good one for me.  I also like to pray and think things through while I cut the grass.  We have a riding lawnmower and a good set of ear mufflers so I can mow and think and mow and pray to my heart's content.  It is very soothing to the soul.  I got a chance to do some of that this evening (before the rain came :)
--- 7 ---

First Communion season starts for us this weekend.  We'll be headed off to one on Saturday and one next Saturday.  Sunday is a much needed day of rest!  Hope the weather is nice.  Have a great weekend.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Marian Month of May

I love the month of May.  In addition to it being the month of our Blessed Mother, it is also the month of our anniversary, Mother's Day and the birthdays of many of our family members!  While it can be an expensive month, it is really is a month long party around here!

To start the month off (after celebrating the first day with St. Joseph, of course), we turn to flowers for Our Mother. 

We always like to have a themed centerpiece on our kitchen table.  

Today we also had some friends over, so we decided to crown our Mary statue.  Each May we keep track of just how many May crownings we can take part in.  This is #1.

And what is a celebration without a treat to go along with it?


May the Blessed Mother wrap her mantle around you and keep you from all unnecessary spiritual and temporal harm.

Mary, Queen of the Family, pray for us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

This is one of our family's most favorite feast days.  St. Joseph the Worker has been the patron saint of our businesses over the past 12 years.  He has come through for us even when situations have seemed impossible.

What a joy it is to celebrate him on this day!  St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us.

As a side note, my daughters and I are participating in a Photo a Day in May photo challenge.  Each day has a different theme.  We will be posting all of our photos each day on our Dominick Photography Facebook page.  We would absolutely love it if you liked our page and followed along.