Saturday, October 29, 2005

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Tell us straight that you do not believe in the Gospel of Christ; for you believe what you want in the Gospel and disbelieve what you want. You believe in yourself rather than in the Gospel."
Saint Augustine

"Duty before everything else, even something holy."
Saint Padre Pio

Twenty nine days to the first Sunday of Advent! I have ordered my candles and now anxiously await to see if they survived the postal service.
Tomorrow night we head to Florida and possibly Georgia. The kids especialy love this route as it usually means a night in a hotel. This time it will mean Mass in a new city as Tuesday is a Holy Day of Obligation. (All Saints day) I am really looking forward to doing some research and finding a church to attend somewhere in Georgia. So it will be a few days before I can post again. I have an idea for another cartoon and will run it by Anna tomorrow. It will be a challenging one again, but Anna loves a challenge.

Blessings to you all!

mum2twelve aka Christi to her friends and madre to her 2 oldest sons....
Read more!

Not just another business trip...

We left around 9 pm for Mechanicsburg PA, a little later than Hugo likes, but since I was able to help with the driving it was not so bad. We drove until about 3 am, then we stopped at a truck stop and tried to sleep. It was sooooo COLD! We even bought two extra blankets in the gas station there to try and help a bit with the chill!

We slept until it was light and then we pushed off to the military base... got there and had to have a temporary badge made for me. That was interesting. Finally we were at the warehouse and they brought out the first load … about 6 - 7 boxes that I drooled over – they looked to be the exact size I have been needing and not finding the past week when packing stuff for the shipping.
I said to Hugo "You be nice to those, eh?" He chuckled because he recognized the size!

I said – “Okay - that's it? Yes? We can go....”
Hugo: “Umm no - we need to wait for the microwaves. “
Me: “ Microwaves? How many?”
Hugo: “Oh, just a few...”
Me: “Okay....”


A fork lift started driving toward us, and piled so high with ... (was that microwaves?) that I could not see the driver. I looked at Hugo who looked nervously at the van, and I could tell he was mentally measuring the space inside.
"Hugo! Those are not for us, are they!?
Uh, looks like it - you better come help me load them.

I stomped over to the huge pile and started counting. Two, four, six - FIFTEEN! How were we going to fit fifteen MICROWAVES, 2 OF THEM COMMERCIAL ONES, in the van and then I noticed there were several boxes of paper, and a paper tape machine.... and the 400 dollar phone Hugo was interested in the most. The reason, in fact, that he had bid on this lot of microwaves. But to be fair - he had not realized there would be this many. (I think.)

I grabbed the smaller stuff off the pallet and packed it under the back seat of the van and watched as my four girls sitting on this seat disspeared from view. I grumbled about how many microwaves there were and why did they have to include ones that were obviously broken. My husband knowing better than to try and engage in a reasonable conversation with me silently kept loading them.

They were covered in fine black dust that was wiping off onto our clothes and fingers. Annoyed (a lot) I asked the girls for a diaper wipe so I could wipe my fingers off, and then I asked them to pass the baby to me through the back door so I could take her to the front of the van and nurse her.

Still grumbling about the "idots, err employees, who put the lots together and how unfair it was that they had put so many microwaves in this lot...." I nursed Elsa who grinned and drooled at me. Almost finished nursing, she twisted around and grinned and drooled some more at Hugo as he slammed his door shut.

He looked at me and asked; “So, should we go look for a huge dumpster somewhere???”

Knowing that was completely unethical, we stared dumbly at the piles of microwaves and than at each other again. Clearly we could not drive all the way back to North Carolina like this – it was as dangerous as it was uncomfortable. Then a distant voice called from the back.
“Uh – what do we do if we need the bathroom?”
“Hold it,” I deadpanned “until we get home.”
“Home? Are you serious?”, asked Anna, who peered at me between the cracks from about 6 feet back. Elsa was finished nursing by now so I got out of the van, walked to the back of it, opened the door and fed Elsa though the opening between the seat and the roof. Gabriela caught her and strapped her into her car seat.
I grumbled my way back to the front of the van and while I strapped myself in – we started to drive off the base and looked for a Denny’s. Perhaps once we had jump started our brains with some much needed food and some caffeine, we could think of a solution.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of juice, some caffeine, pancakes, more caffeine, and in between mouthfuls toyed with different ideas of what to do with those darn microwaves.
“Maybe a pawnshop would like them?” I queried.
‘Maybe there's a college around we could give them to for some needy students’ was another thought. The idea of the dumpster was beginning to look better and better. We made one last trip to the bathroom in Denny’s, and then we helped the three older girls clamber over the backseat, and once more handed the baby in to them.

Hugo decided to take a detour through Carlisle as he wanted to show me how unusual the architecture is there. As we slowly and carefully drove down the front street with me occasionally pressing my elbow against the white stack between us, my eye caught a little red and white sign in a window.

Salvation Army.

In fact, there were several of these signs in the windows of this building. A light bulb went off. So far we had not seen one single pawn shop, and I wondered aloud to Hugo that maybe we could donate these lovely microwaves to the Good Will, Sally Ann – or whatever they called themselves in Carlisle.
We quickly rounded the corner and headed back. We stopped along side and asked the people already queued up outside when they opened.
‘Ten am, Ma’am.’

It was 10:01 according to our clock. Some employees walked by, unlocked, walked in and closed the door, locking it again. Perhaps they had seen the 15 microwaves inside our van? I looked at the guy in the front of the line. ”Do you think they will let us in soon, we just have ah, a few microwaves we want to donate.”
“Microwaves to give away?” he asked, his face lighting up.

Oh yeah, did I ever!

“You just want to go round the back – they can take them from you there.”
Gleeful that we had finally found a solution, we pulled up to the back of the building, and were stunned at the second queue of people. And the bags, and bags, and boxes of stuff flowing around them, and out of the large opening in the wall. I got out and asked the first person who seemed official looking, where I could leave a few microwaves.
“Well“, he said slowly, staring at all the items still be loaded into his already tightly packed storage space. “What’s a few?”
My husband and I looked at each other.
“Oh, about 15.” my husband mumbled.

“FIFTEEN?” Now how did that come about?” he asked suspiciously. Quickly my husband produced our invoice sheet before the gentleman had time to think we were thieves aspiring to redeem ourselves by donating stolen goods. We explained our dilemma while the girls stared through the darkened windows of our van at the warehouse, praying hopefully!
An older man spoke up; “How about I give Dana a call at Project S.H.A.R.E., I bet they would take them. “

Twenty minutes later, still loaded to the brim, we were once more cautiously winding our way through the narrow streets of Carlisle aware, more than usual, of the distance between our bumper and the bumper in front of us; a simple fender bender could mean instant disaster. Both Hugo and I gave deep sighs of relief when we pulled up in front of Project S.H.A.R.E. and I sailed in the front doors looking for Dana.

Thirty minutes later we were finished unloading all the microwaves AND the boxes of paper, had disposed of the broken ones in their dumpster (with permission!) and were happily being given a tour of the building. It was a large warehouse, but very warmly decorated with a peaceful atmosphere. It was clean and tidy. There were several volunteers about sorting clothes for the morrow when they were having their annual 'free clothing give away'. There were rows and rows of tables covered in clothes, sorted into neat piles by age and sex. Dana glanced at the baby bundled in a large blanket in Gabriela’s arms.
“You know”, she said, “if there is anything here you could use for clothing, please feel free to help yourself.” Honey to my ears.

“Well.” I said, a little shyly, “the baby could really use a snow suit and Gabriela could use some warm shoes since her flip flops are somewhat out of season now.”
She smiled, obviously happy that she could do a little something for us, even though by accepting our ‘donation’ she had already done us a huge favour. By 11 am we were helping the girls back into the van, this time by the side door and Dana handed snacks back to them, including some sun dried apples slices.

As we waved good bye I thought about how wonderful God is. He helped us take a very bad situation and turn it into a blessing that was going to spread to many people, while also taking care of some urgent clothing needs that we had. I have Project S.H.A.R.E.’s phone number tucked away so that in the future when picking up from Mechanicsburg’s base if we get other surplus household items, shoes clothing etc, that we sometimes get and don’t know how to fit in the van, my husband can just drive by and bless them again before heading back to North Carolina. Read more!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Read more!

Do you have your candles yet?

Because there are only 33 days until the first Sunday in Advent!

Yesterday as I was tearing through the grocery store buying this weeks groceries... (Yes, on a Sunday! As my 20 year old would say; 'My Bad!') it struck me that Advent is just around the corner, and somewhere in amongst all the hoblin goblin costumes and plastic pumpkins that we have been assailed with, for what seems like months, there must be candles.

And I thought to myself, what are the chances that on the eve of the Sunday in Advent (which btw is November 26th) or worse on the day itself (the 27th!) I will be in this same store rummaging through their stock piles of candles seeking that elusive PINK candle I need for Gaudette Sunday! Then having, once more, compromised and bought three purple(ish) candles and one white, I will hit the sewing department and seek, like a mad women searching for her long lost child, a PINK ribbon to tie on my WHITE candle. And all the while I will be wishing that I had been one of those obviously well organized Catholics who had bought her PINK candle in October. Why else are they out of the pink candles in November???

Then I will wander up and down the isles of fake flowers and wreaths, wondering if I should splurge and make a new wreath this year. After looking at the prices, I'll faint, pick myself up off the floor and decide to find the old one we have used for the past seven years, ever since we moved to NC.

Trouble is - this year I have not a hope, nor a prayer of finding this wreath. We moved just before Christmas last year, and I actually had to compromise with FOUR WHITE candles, three purple(ish) ribbons and a pink one. Yes, all bought on the first Sunday of Advent. At the old house, the wreath went into the same closet every New Year so I have NO idea where the wreath went this time.

Is it:
Under the stairs with the spiders and cobwebs?
In the closet I refer to as Mummy's crooked closet due to the door being cut in a bizarre shape? Is it in one of the million boxes in one of the four outbuildings?
Or - is it packed in one of the thirty boxes stacked in the garage?

Well - I have thirty three days to find out before I have to make that mad dash to a local arts and crafts store desperate for candles, ribbons and it looks like possibly a wreath too!

Moral of this story - buy your candles early, and on New Years pay one of your kids to pack the wreath in a safe place, with 50% down and the other 50% promised on the safe return of the wreath the following advent.

BTW if you would like to avoid the mad dash to the local craft store for that elusive pink candle, you can buy your advent candles online ! I JUST might do that myself, but almost certainly I will make my own wreath, as I have always done..

Read more!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

How was your night?

The clocked ticked and ticked and ticked, the numbers flicked through on my digital clock. It was almost 12:30 am and I was tired but wide awake.

Tick tick tick tick FLICK. Tick tick tick tick FLICK.

I lay there thinking, thinking, thinking…. I thought about lesson plans. I thought about packing merchandise. I thought about my back – it was hurting. I thought about Hugo’s trip to Virginia tomorrow that he was leaving so early in the morning for. He planned on taking Noah, 10 and Teddy 9 to a public Auction. How many people would be there? Might one of them get separated from him and get lost? I got so panicked over the idea that I sat up and prayed a decade. Then I laid back down, a little more calm of heart.

Tick tick tick tick FLICK. Tick tick tick FLICK. One am!

I sat up again, and opened the laptop sitting on the table by the end of the bed. I opened my email account. I had a friend I was worried about, and wondered if I had an email from her. Another reason I could not sleep.

Nope. no email from her tonight err, rather this morning. I glanced at the clock. I sighed and opened an email to write to another friend. I complained to her about how I could not sleep … I managed to kill about 20 minutes. I closed my account, flicked through and felt depressed. I closed that window and decided to close the laptop as well. I laid down once more, fluffed my pillow, shifted about a bit, moved Elsa a little and flopped down again.

Tick tick tick tick FLICK. Tick tick tick tick FLICK.

I kissed Elsa's check, and she stirred a bit so I left her alone. I was tired, but still not crazy enough to wake her up. I looked at the clock and there was only another 15 minutes until I had to get Hugo up. He wanted to leave at three for Virginia. I rolled away from the clock, determined not to stare at it.

My nose was itchy. My back was itchy, Even the back of my knee was itchy.

Tick tick tick tick FLICK. Tick tick tick FLICK. Now there was only five minutes before I had to wake him up.

Nudge, nudge; "Hugo - it's almost three and I can't sleep, so what do you think if I go with you?" He was more than pleased at the thought. The boys were company, but neither of them can drive!

So I scrambled into the shower, washed my hair, got dressed, got Elsa changed, got Gabriela up without waking Emma. Now THAT was a feat, esp since her arm was around Emma's shoulders, cuddling her like a teddy bear. Switched Bethany from her own bed to Gabriela's spot to help Emma stay warm and hence stay asleep. Woke Noah up and told him to get dressed. He said Teddy had decided not to come so I left him asleep with his dreams. Stole twenty bucks from Hugo and stuck it on the fridge for food for lunch. Wrote an email to Jonathan, even though he was asleep right there in the living room as I knew I could never wake him, and even if I did he would not remember I had, let alone any instructions I gave him. Woke Rafael and told him where we were going. Woke Noah up for the second time, this time succeeding in getting him up.

Loaded both diaper bags into the van while Gabriela settled the somewhat shocked and disgruntled Elsa into her car seat. Noah cuddled up beside her seat, wrapped a blanket around his knees and dozed off. Hugo started the van, and as we drove down the drive I saw that it was only 3:45. I laid my seat back, give a contented sigh and said to Hugo; “Not bad eh, it only took me 45 minutes to shower, dress, pack and load the van.”

I'm sure he said something in return, but I didn't hear him. I had finally fallen asleep! Read more!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Progress... sort of!

Over heard from the artist's corner:

Mummy: Okay, so here's what I want... mumble mumble mumble. Okay? Whatcha think, Anna?

Anna: Umm - Okay, I'll try again.

Minutes later.

Anna: Sooo, what do you think of this, Mummy?

Mummy: Hmmm, I'm not sure. The eyes aren't quite right yet. See, look at this cartoon you did before. The eyes are bigger.

Anna: Stares at Mummy, crumples up a page and throws it at her when she turns away to work at computer again. Mummy laughs, throws paper wad back and nails Anna in the forehead.

Five minutes later

Anna: Okay - now, what do you think?

Mummy: Emmm, uhh not yet. Here let me try.....

Silence... scribble scribble... erase erase scribble scribble.

Mummy and Anna look at the effort. Peals of laughter fills the room, while Mummy tosses page back into Anna's lap and says; Umm, now that I have TOTALLY wrecked it - you fix it, okay?!

Minutes later - first block in the strip we are working on - is ready... only three more to go before we publish it for you! Read more!

Prayers please... again!

I so hate to do this because I try to keep my blog up beat and positive while also sharing the reality of life as a large family. Challenging, difficult, but also filled with joy - usually when you least expect, and most need it.

Today though I am to the point of tears due to being ill for the third time since mid July. I am so tired of being ill. I know so many who are suffering and suffering much more than I, but today - I feel beat. Pease remember me in your prayers as I have been sick this third time for a while now, and today the pain I have in my back is pretty bad. Those who read my blog who are parents know full well that we mums can not afford to be sick, esp when you have other little ones also ill. And I do. Several of them are asthmatic and when they become ill, it can become a real challenge to get them well again. Two of my asthmatics are sick... again.

Of course, I realize that this is most likely positive proof of the fruits of our increased prayers. The devil does not like it when we try to get closer to God and will attack us - generally where we are weakest. The devil has been trying hard since we started our daily Rosary and, as I posted earlier, was almost successful in getting me in my largest archilles heel. Since that did not work... the health problems resume.

So I humbly ask you all to lift me up to the Lord, whenever you have a chance today. I have felt the power of prayers before, and it is simply amazing. As a family we have even experienced amazing miracles of healing, which someday I will share with you. (Yes, in the plural - we have been very blessed!)

Later today Anna and I will work some more on the cartoon I hinted at earlier. It is a challenging idea I have put forth to such a young artist and she is striving to meet it. The perspective of depth is a hard one in this story line I want to tell, this time only through the cartoon. She and I are also embarking on a book of cartoons, with input from Gabriela for the cover of the book. We are very excited about it and will keep you all informed as to it's progress. (There! Now having announced it... puts the pressure on! :-)

Since I know that most, if not all of you, who read my blog today will probably pray for me - I thank you now!


mum2twelve, aka Christi to my friends, aka Madre to my adult sons Read more!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

In the black...

(Picture of House in winter is graphic art by Gabriela 14.)

Over the past 23 years I suspect:

I have changed approximately 41,965 diapers. (Discounting the diapers I have had help with.)

Laundered, folded and put away about 17,960 pairs of jeans, 35,880 shirts and I have no clue how many pairs of baby jammies or pairs of socks. Towels must number close to 47,840.

Washed, by hand, more than 93,954 plates and bowls, forgetting how many pots and pans there have been.

I have reminded children that they are too close to the TV probably more than 16,744 times.

Spent about 3192 days pregnant, more than 120 hours in labour, 6,510 days nursing a baby and still counting.

Swept or vacuumed more than 14,542 floors.

Picked up more than 83,720 toys.

Cooked approximately 19 Christmas dinners, and as many Easter and Thanksgiving dinners as well and probably 182,505 meals.

But the number of butterfly kisses, hugs, smiles, flowers, little notes, drawings and love I have received these past 23 years is simply impossible to tally up. I am definitly in the black!

(Picture above is by Teddy age 9, drawn in paint shop.) Read more!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Come join us on our trip to the NC Zoo!

It turned out to be cheaper to buy a one year family membership than to pay individually for the eleven of us who drove up. (This is often the case for us. ) So after we signed up, we each received one of the stickers you see on Elsa's back. Now remember this quote?
"Please do not shoot me with a tranquilizer. I might look like a monkey BUT I am NOT!"
I guess we really must look like monkies!

A pensive moment...

These guys were cute, I had a few other pics of them but as I explain below - I had some trouble with my zoom. There were six of them in their compound, but I only saw four rolicking about - apparently living the good life.

Termite housing in the giraffe, ostrich and zebra exhibit. There is a griaffe's head peeping over the hill in the back. I shot several photos of the giraffe that was closer, but my zoom did work so well, and I need to figure out why because a lot of cool photos came out just too light.

My darling Bethany!
This statue she is posing with was just one of many beautiful statues. I was tempted to shoot lots of pics of all the statues! Maybe next trip.

I believe this is the little fellow that has everyone in the picture below captivated.

A well earned break. Of course - I was still mobile, counting heads and snapping pics! Starting from left to right we have Jenny, John with Elsa snoozing in his arms. Gabriela, Hugo, Emma and Nathaniel in the twin stroller the zoo rents for only 8 dollars a day!Anna is standing and Miguel is slightly behind his Dad. The question was - where were Teddy, Noah and Bethany! It was question I had to tackle often. The only portion of that question that changed throughout the day was the proper nouns!

Despite so much time spent her with her pal, the gorilla, when asked her favorite animal from the day, Bethany said she loved the python best. This same python lead Emma to say when asked if she wanted it as a pet "No - he too big"
I suspect it was about 10 - 12 feet long and appeared to have a girth of 24 inches. Now if I had had more time between counting kid's heads, I might have been able to read his particulars!

"I simply don't understand why these humans get such a kick staring at me all day!"

Elsa; meet Tigger, your new buddy. Tigger; meet you new Mistress, Elsa!

I Love you Emma!

Owwwww! Help someone! This kid is as ferocious as the tiger Lala bought for her!

That was fun Mummy! Should I love her up again?

We watched this fellow pace back and forth and when he strolled over here and looked out his door, we realized he was waiting for dinner. We also realized that we too were all hungry and ready for a break and snack. After a short break we headed back to the African section to scout out the elephants who were slowly making their way to dinner and bed. By then it was 5:30 and all the animals were seeking shelter and food!

It was a great day. We slowly limped, err I mean strolled back to the parking lots where we said good bye to big sister Jenny and her beau, John. Many hugs and kisses later, we were off and not long on the road before more than half the kids were snoring!

Can't wait to visit again!
Read more!

The ZOO!!

Later today I will post pics of our trip to the zoo. I have prepared a file of pics to post but now it is time for our morning prayers and then the kids hit the books and I hit the packing room. I will be back before the end of the day. Also, Anna and I are working on a cartoon based on something that happened last week. It should be fun!

See you soon!

mum2twelve Read more!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

To lose ourselves in God is simply to give up our own will to Him. When a soul can truly say, "Lord, I have no other will than Thine," it is truly lost in God, and united to Him.
Saint Francis de Sales Read more!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Where was I???

We had an impromtu birthday party for Teddy last night - he turns nine this month. A friend came over with her famous homemade CHOCOLATE cake (Yummmm!) and the girls rushed upstairs to wrap his gifts. Once we had the table set complete with a homemade tablecloth that the children had decorated themselves, I grabbed my camera so we could snap a few pics. I got in one picture of the tablecloth, and my camera began to complain that the memory was full. I was confused as I knew I had recently emptied it and begun a new file for October on my computer.

So I quickly hit the review button, and below you will find a few samples of what I found. Apparently - my kids have been playing with the camera the past week. Now the question is WHERE was I when they were doing this! Read more!

Read more!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sibling love...

Emma (3) and Nathaniel(5) are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. Emma knows just what buttons to push and how to torture Nathaniel to get a rise out of him. On occasion, though, it is Nathaniel who is at fault.

Yesterday was one of those days. He went rushing by Emma and pushed her as he went by making her bump her head. The tears that gushed were more from hurt feelings than pain and before she could spit out her standard pay back; "I not your fwend any more Tanny Paul!" one of the kids spoke up:

"Nathaniel! You hurt your little sister! You need to fix that!"

Emma immeadiatly crumpled onto the bottom step, face away from Nathaniel. Smothering a smile I added:
"Yes, Nathaniel you need to say sorry, and give her a hug. "

He leaned over her, and tried to kiss her head.
"Torry Emma!"
She wanted none of it. She preferred to remain the injured party. Not to be thwarted, Nathaniel wrapped his arms around her neck to hug her. Emma growled and tried to push him away, catching him off balence. Still clutching her neck Nathaniel fell backwards. Refusing to let go, he wrestled with Emma until he had he gotten a solid hug in.

Satisfied that he had fulfilled his duty, he stood up and walked away leaving her on the ground. Emma laid there for a minute until apparently she decided it was fruitless to pursue the "arguement" any further, and got up and went her way.

Sibling love - ain't it grand? Read more!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

As a wife I beseech Thee, O Triune God, make me cheerful,
trustful, unselfish, thrifty, and an affectionate companion.
If I am blessed with Motherhood, I ask the additional grace of
patience and good example. May our family be modeled
upon the Holy Family.


This is one of my favourite prayers these days.
It is sent to my inbox every day, by a
Yahoo group called Catholic Flylady.

Read more!

Monday, October 10, 2005

From the living room...

Recently my husband and son were discusing the current job situation in North Carolina - which is not great, esp for those in the high tech industry. My son had begun the conversation by asking how a friend of ours was doing in his search for work after being laid off earlier this summer from my husband's prior employer.

Jonathan (20): "So, Padre - how' s Theo's search for working coming along."

Padre: "Not good - he's beginning to sense there really is nothing out there. It hasn't improved much since I lost my job."

Emma (3): "You LOT your JOB, Daddy???"

Quick looks all around, as we all wondered how to deal with the shocked tone in Emma's voice.

Padre/Daddy: "Yes, Emma I lost my job a long time ago."

Emma: "Ohhhh, I lot my job too."

Snickers filled the room while family members peppered her about where her job had gone etc.

Later in the afternoon:

Mummy: "Whose on table?"

House is silent as Emma pipes up: "Meeee!"

Mummy: "You Emma - you are suppose to clean the table today?"

Emma "Yet!"

Mummy: "Okay, come take this paper plate to the garbage!" I started to gather up other plates she could take to the garbage, might as well get her while her entusisam is high, the child actually responsible for the job had not yet surficed.

Emma carefully carried the single ply plate over to the garbage can, dumped it in and than trotted back to the dinning room and swished past me heading into the living room.

Mummy: "Hey Emma, wait there are more plate to toss out. "

Emma: "Mummmy! I aweady did my job!"

Quick on the draw, Gabriela called out to her; "Oh, so you found your job again?"

Emma, as she grasped one last plate from me to toss out, called back over her shoulder:

"No - dat job is still lot!" Read more!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

3 o'clock Confessions...

CONFESSIONS: It is a little after three pm (EST) and we have only managed to pack four items. But in our defense - it is so humid that the tape machine is sticking, the paper is tearing when we write on it, the boxes are limp and not wanting to accept any kind of tape. So given that no matter how grateful I was/am feeling for blessings of other sorts - I was starting to grumble... quite a bit and finally decided for the sanity of everyone it was time to call it quits. This job is difficult enough but add 70 % humidity to a temp of 27 - you feel like it is 29 celcius (or 89 f). SO I am off to the air conditioned living room, where I can relax with a cup of tea and count my blessings while sitting on the couch.... like a lazy cat who feels like a queen! Read more!

Lord Have Mercy!,2933,171646,00.html

Thousands are thought to have died in Asia as a result of a 7.6 earthquake!

Lord have mercy on their souls, as well as on the living as they now gather their dead and the injured. May God be with them as they try to put their lives back together after having them torn asunder in the blink of an eye! Read more!

This is how I feel right now – a bit like a lazy cat enthroned on the couch like a Queen. However, I am afraid I do not have that luxury today! When I am finished this post, I must away to my duties which today means… packing… again!

However, despite the drudgery of this task – I must try to do it with gratitude. There is always a reason to feel gratitude – if we try hard enough. Last night my two oldest boys narrowly missed being involved in a 40 car pile up because, instead of being on the road at that moment, they were here, at home, pacing and waiting for the Doctor’s office to call and confirm that Miguel’s asthma meds had been called into our pharmacy. Despite having called the office at 9 am, we had still not heard back by the appointed time of departure – 3 pm.

As patiently as any young adult with things to do and places to be, they asked me again; ‘When DO you think they will call???’

Finally we got the okay and they rumbled out of here, put puting down the drive in our rusted antiquated 1988 Blue Chevy ah – van? A discard from the army that has definitely seen better days, it is a mix between a delivery van and a box truck and really is quite funny looking. With no radio, no a/c and a leaking roof and a heavy diesel engine it was going to make for a long and tiring three hour drive to Belmont where they had plans to met up with some of Jonathan’s college friends and their sister to go see a movie and spend the weekend. Never the less, they were happy to have four wheels that were going to get them where they wanted to be.

They had only made it as far as the pharmacy, when we had to call them and tell them to turn around and come back as there was a 40 car pile up on the 85, causing the closure of six of its eight lanes. Four of which were the ones heading south… to Belmont.

Feeling pretty down in the mouth they turned around and came home. It is amazing, though, how sometimes the very irritation that kept us from leaving on time for a road trip also kept us out of harms way. I cannot help but think that is our guardian angels at work on those occaisions.

Later in the evening, after we had finished the indoor barbeque we had in honour of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, it was time for prayers. Following the Rosary, Miguel suggested that each of us think of just one thing, no matter how small, that we were grateful for today.

Here is what we were grateful for:

Miguel 18: For Gabriela cooking such nice burgers for our feast dinner.
Anna 12: That Noah made the special drink in the blender for me today.
Noah 10: For our lovely dinner tonight.
Gabriela 14: For finding what I needed to buy on eBay today. (a rosary for a friend)
Bethany 7: For praying the Rosary with my family and our nice dinner.
Teddy 8: For such a wonderful day.
Jonathan 20: That the house is nice and tidy.
Daddy: That our boys were not involved in the accident and might have been, had they left on time.
Mummy: For getting to go out for coffee with Daddy this morning, and for the rain that we so badly needed.

Okay, so Bethany and I cheated and said two things, but the truth is I was, and am, feeling very grateful for a lot of things. So – even though I do not want to go out to the humid and stuffy packing shed to pack – I will. And I will try to remember all that I am grateful for as I pack… and pack… and pack…. And I will try not to grumble – too much.

Credit: The picture of the adorable cat on the couch is from Sister Pat’s Franciscan Cards website

Read more!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Finished! Posted by Picasa Read more!

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Tomorrow I will post a picture of the completed Rosary. It was begun on July 4th. It took us much longer than 59 days to cover each bead, but we did it! There were many nights we actually prayed the Rosary, but forgot to cover the corresponding bead, and in the beginning there were a number of nights we were so tired by the end of the day that we skipped our Rosary.

But we plugged on, and here we are - ready to plan our trip to the zoo. A little hitch though. A few children had indicated that they are missing their second oldest sister at Belmont college and have hinted that they would rather spend the gas money to go see her, than go to the zoo. I am sure that if I polled them all, the answer would be unanimous - visit Jenny.

So - I got on the phone, and asked her if she would like... to go to the Zoo? She would! So in two weeks, God willing, we will all meet at the Zoo and visit the monkey, zebras and lions together. What fun it will be. Already Hugo is teasing the kids that they need to wear name tags informing the keepers of the following:

"Please do not shoot me with a tranquilizer. I might look like a monkey BUT I am NOT!"

They are also wishing they could see their sister in Boston. Hmmm, maybe another goal for a Rosary Poster? Read more!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"Oh ye of little faith..."

"Last Friday we learned some news that simply devastated us. While not entirely stripped of all hope - our business's future did not look very optimistic. The bank did not completely slam the door in our face, but left it open by just a sliver.

I stared at that small sliver of hope and tried with all my might to see it expand into an actual positive outcome. But so many times in the past, the door has slowly swelled completely and irrevocably shut. When my husband first came home and told me the news my heart just fell with a thud into the bottom of my stomach. I went upstairs to my room, kicked the laundry basket and cried.

My two oldest sons tried hard to put a good spin on it. While I was grateful to them - I also felt irritated, after all I am the parent. Aren't I the one supposed to be providing direction? My husband was very quiet, but also tried to be optimistic and accepting of the situation.

I wrote a few close friends and begged for their prayers for us. It was such a struggle, the temptation to despair was so strong and pulling me down. But I was determined not to give in. I grabbed a hold of that sliver of hope and prayed, and prayed, and prayed. 'Mary - help me not to give up. Mary - pray for me that I have the strength and grace to accept the final answer, whatever it is.' I also implored the Infant of Prague to whom we have been building a devotion to, and were in the middle of a novena to.

Monday the bank called.... the answer was not good, but again - was not a complete no. There was still hope. It depended on the new manager.

tick tick tick....

Wednesday, today, I worked hard out in the packing shed, with shed being almost more accurate than packing to describe the building. If there is one thing we all agree about this business - it is that packing is the most disagreeable part of it. And the most disagreeable part of packing is trying to find the right sized box for the item you are selling. Rarely, we get in a number of like items that require the same sized box, and happily a size we just happen to have in abundance at that moment. But, as I said, that is rare.

This day - it seemed as though not one box matched one item we had to pack. My two daughters, 14 and 12, helped as much as possible while 4 of their brothers helped their dad and a friend work outside, trying to beat the rain as they moved heavy equipment and merchandise into already over stocked outbuildings.

My husband, while carrying an item that weighed about 30 plus pounds, stepped on a rusty nail and in the agony of that misstep, dropped that piece of equipment on the ankle of the other foot. He had to limp about the rest of the day, when not resting both feet. By 5:30, we had about 18 items packed, and I was still out in the shed going through paper work and feeding my grumbling tummy with chips and soda water.

As paper whirred out of the printer, I noticed a shadow hobble through the door as my husband stepped over the threshold. I turned around. My husband looked at me and said:
"The bank just called." I sucked in my breath silently.

"They said yes."

I fairly danced a jig, and I think if Hugo had not been feeling so crippled with his injuries, he would have too.

And tonight Jonathan, our 20 yr old son, was reading a sermon from St Alphonsus Liguori to me and one of the quotes St Alphonsus used was: "Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"(Matthew 14: 31) and it spoke so loudly to me. I am not just grateful for the positive answer, but that for the first time in a long time, I did not completely give up, and give in to despair. I was so tempted to.

Thank You, Jesus, for prayers answered and Thank You, Mary, for prayers made." Read more!

Monday, October 03, 2005

We spent Sunday visiting our daughter Jenny at college this weekend. We had a really great time, and after church, we met the priest who had celebrated Mass. Each of the children had the opportunity to introduce themselves. Some of the youngest ones received big hugs – much to their delight.

When Noah, our ten year had his turn, he was treated to a little known fact about his namesake. Father told him that Noah was the greatest financier of the Old Testament. Apparently he was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

Read more!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

It is better to be the child of God than king of the whole world. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Read more!