Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The phone rang. I was reading a book while I ate the last of my supper. Argentinean roast, roasted potatoes, onions and yams. Everyone had left the table and it was more or less peaceful.
And then the phone rang.
I ignored it. Who wants to talk to a discrumpled customer at this time of night and WHO else would be calling at this time?
It kept ringing and did not go to voicemail. I sighed, put down my book and pushed back my chair. Standing up I turned towards the living room, wishing today had not happened. Another ring clued me in that the phone was on the kitchen counter and not in the living room. I halted, turned and grabbed it off the counter.
"What the heck?" I said. (Honest!) "Phone three is calling??"
"Hello?" I answered. Miguel's deep chuckle met me through the phone and from the couch where he was sitting. I had to laugh back. The phone got passed around as I walked over to my computer so as to check my email. I listened to Emma talk to Hugo through the phone, while she was actually standing in front of him. Then the phone was passed back to me and Emma told me she was on a boat.
"A BOAT?" I exclaimed, only 5 feet away from her. "Why are you on a boat?"
"Cause!" she said and then giggled. "It mine!"
After that, Tanny Paul needed a turn and told me he was racing in a racing car!
"What are you doing in a race car?" I asked. "You don't have a license!" He giggled with delight. As I typed on my keyboard with the phone squished to my ear, I snickered to myself. What one does when they are desperate for a chuckle! Now I need to go gather up my little sailor and racer and get them ready for bed. If phone three rings - tell them I'm busy. Read more!
As if this is not enough, we have had one terrible thing go wrong with the business after another. We just had a couple of thousand dollars worth of equipment dissappear. Please, please pray for us. We are in a desperate situation as we are behind in the rent by a few months. With this loss of the equipment we are really up against a wall. Read more!
Still, as a family, we are striving to do better and we have begun to keep a book of intentions that we read outloud from at least two to three times a week just before our family prayers. When we do not read aloud from it - we ask God to remember the intentiosn we have written in our little red book. These intentions are not just for our own family, but they also cover the needs of friends when we become aware of them. We also have general intentions listed such as the end of abortion, an increase in vocations as well as world peace.
For Lent - I wanted to offer to add any of my readers prayer requests to our book.
If you would like to add a prayer request to our book of intentions please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org , or if you prefer, leave them as a comment. We will continue to pray for this intention until we have been told it has been answered, at that point we will change the intention to a prayer of thanksgiving, as we do for all of the intentions in this book. Read more!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Hosea 2:15-17, 21-22, Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13,
2Cointhians 3:1-6, Mark 2:18-22
"Prayer is a cry of gratitude and love, in the midst of trial as well as in joy."
St Therese of Lisieux
(photo credit J. Noah age 10, Feb 2006)
The Rosary came in first at 35 %,
The Chaplet came in at a close second at 29%.
Can't decide and Other tied at 14% each.
The Litanies came in as Follows:
Litanies to Jesus 5%
Litanies to Mary 3%
Litanies to Joesph 2%
We had a lot of fun watching the votes come in. We have new one for this week. Again - it is just to the right of the posts. I am trying to figure out how to change the ability to vote more than once so that families who would like to have more than one member have a turn to vote, can do so in one sitting. Although the poll will be there all week so at least 7 members can vote, and if you have more than one computer... you can vote even more than that so maybe I don't need to change this setting. Hmmm - perhaps the subject for another poll? Remember - if you have any suggestions you would like to see a poll on email me at; email@example.com
On another note, I have received FOUR sales in my little shop. Needless to say - we are just tickled and want to thank you all for your support, whether through purchases or prayers!
This shop will continue to grow and we are so excited about some of the ideas that we have to add to our little online shop. So check back often as these changes will be soon and often!
Thanks for voting and for making it such a fun week for us! Now I am off for one of those muffins I was wearing earlier this morning with a fresh cup of coffee. Read more!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
"What on earth is wrong with Jamie?" I asked
"Nothing that I can think of." Miguel replied, as he closed the garage door where he had deposited James for a time out. then he added.
"Well - I did tell him he looked a mess with his fur so wet from cleaning himself continuously. Do you think he understood me?"
"Well, not what you said but maybe your tone." I answered.
"I guess I was kind of laughing at him and that's when he started acting so strange." Miguel said.
After a few minutes of time to think better of his temper tantrum, we opened the garage door and in slinked Jamie. He quietly returned to the kitchen and climbed up on a chair, with his back to us and stared out the window. His whickers drooped and his tail hung low.
I have a soft spot for James, possibly because he is my first baby's cat. I felt bad for him as obviously he was very much out of sorts. Cappie, the first of the two cats to die had been one of his special friends. I crouched down beside him and softly asked. "What is wrong, Jamie?"
I leaned my forehead towards him and we touched heads. He leaned into my forehead as I whispered to him.
"You are a special boy - such a handsome cat." We sat there quietly for a few minutes and then I left him. He was much clamer, but obviously still quite depressed. Over the next few months he continued to clean himself in a frenzied, maniac manner. He started showing bald spots and his tail, once a beautiful plumb, was now just a limp duster. The final straw for me was when he chewed himself to the point of bleeding.
As Noah recently said, "I don't think I can handle losing one more animal, all in a period of less than 200 days!
I didn't think that any of us could handle losing another animal, but especially not our Jamie who adds so much comedy to our life. For instance, in the days when Caila was younger and often in trouble, we did not need to say much to discipline her. We just needed to speak her name in a sharp tone of voice, and in James would come at a tear. No matter where he was... he appeared at the meer sound of possible trouble with Caila. Up on his back legs he would rise and box that poor dogs ears. Never mind she was a strapping 70 lbs and he was only about 18. Size, I guess, is in the eyes of the beholder.
I sat there, staring at my bedraggled, scratching, licking, crazy cat and wondered what to do. All research pointed to a neurotic condition and I could just see my husband's face if I came back from the vet's with a prescription for Prozac, esp. when we are on such a tight budget.
Suddenly I remembered some drops I had for my Sam. (another special case) Rescue Remedy, I think they are called. Nature's alternative to Prozac. I called Miguel and we pinned James down.
Well - after few days of feline prozac, he is pretty much back to his good natured and comical old self. See what you think.... Read more!
What is that all about? Well, AOL and Yahoo are apparently considering charging customers who email their clients a .0025 charge to "certify" an email and guarantee it's delivery. So to put that in perspective it means that someone like Sister Patricia would have to pay AOL and Yahoo to guarantee the delivery of her Peace Card/Joy Notes.
We would have the beginnings of legitimate JUNK MAIL being delivered to our inboxes. So what if we do not have an AOL or Yahoo account? If this proved financially successful - you can bet your bottom dollar that the other providers would follow suit. How long before legitimate group lists like Sister's get lost in the millions of spam email that would suddenly become legitimate through such a tiny fee. (But still a fee that would prohibit organizations like Sister's Joy Notes from being able to afford to mail their mail!)
Such a low fee would be nothing to large corporations looking to sell us something. Look the junk mail that has been inundating the mailboxes at the end of our driveways!
To read more about what this is all about click here!
Read and pray and take action if you feel lead to. I have already sent emails to Time Warner and Yahoo offices and will try to also email my State Legislators and Senators. If I had more time I would provide links. Perhaps later this evening I will have time to do that.
Thank you Michaela for bringing this to my attention!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
We must pray, pray, pray for a good outcome of this! In our family today we will pray not only in words but through actions by offering up our day's work to the Lord. During the Rosary I will remind my younger ones how today they can also assist in this manner - by trying to remember not to lose their temper when a little one knocks over the tower of blocks they just built or when someone else refuses to give up their seat for them at the school table "cause they were here first". At snack time today, some of us can have one cookie instead of two. (This is will probably be more difficult for ME than them!) These little sacrifices are so powerful in assisting our prayers!
There is a link to the Priests for Life Novena to end abortion on the right side of my blog. Maybe today would be a good day to join in with the novena and add this prayer to your daily ones, if you haven't already. Even though I have had the link on my own blog, I have been neglecting to add this prayer to our daily ones. We will start today.
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
...a home for one cute and loveable 8 - 9 month old pup!
If you recall, this summer we had a gentleman show up with two pups on our doorstep and offered us the bargain of the century:
Foolishly I agreed and, at first, things were going very well. We had them vaccinated, I started their training and, in fact, the vet’s office was very impressed with their obedience. Then I got sick. Very sick this summer, and was almost blind for two weeks from an eye infection that was followed by a very severe sinus infection. All training came to halt. By the time I was well enough to pick it up again - they were wildly out of control and walking the kids. Or maybe I could even say, taking the kids for a run as opposed to being walked by the kids.
Still, we struggled along, precariously balancing chores, school work and the business with the dogs getting the short end of the stick. Finally, last night we held a family counsel and a vote was taken. (Much like in the original Cheaper by the Dozen, only Hugo was sitting behind a laptop, instead of a small desk.) The end result is that Zack will be put up for adoption as he is the most hyper and difficult to control in the house. He is a good dog and well deserving of a good home. But with time so tight and spare minutes rare in deed, what time we do have for training must be spent with the dog that is most responsive and easiest to train. That would be Ares and Finnegan - also still very much a puppy.
We also need scary looking dogs given the neighbourhood we live in, and Ares fills that description very well. Zack and Finnegan don’t. So when the pluses and minuses were added up, Zack just was not in the lead. It is a hard decision to make – but it is the best for all concerned because if we were to keep all three – no one is going to get trained and life will just get more and more difficult as these pups continue into adulthood, wild and out of control.
So I would like to ask you all to pray for us as we advertise for a new home for Zack. Also, if anyone is close enough to North Carolina to consider adopting Zack themselves or if you know someone who might like a happy, bouncy, cute dog who knows how to SIT on command and WAIT when you open his kennel door and is learning to WAIT so the person on the other end of his leash can enter the door of the house first, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat!Read more!
Last week Miguel was getting ready to slip over to the gas station and pick up a snack for himself. Emma noticed the movement and eager not to miss a chance to visit Amit, the stations owner she dashed over dragging a sweater behind her.
“Peeease – can I tum Guel? Peeeease?”
Miguel looked at me.
“Okay,” I said, “But NO candy. Absolutely not one piece. Understand Emma?”
A little crest fallen, she nodded and Miguel flashed me a quick grin. “NOT one, Miguel!”, I admonished. He too nodded.
The door closed and there was short respite of arguing and haggling between Emma and Nathaniel and I kept working on the laptop. All too soon the door opened and Emma pranced in brandishing a bottle of juice and a little bag of chips.
Miguel grinned sheepishly at me. “Well,” he said, “ I didn’t buy her any candy, even though she couldn’t take her eyes off the shelves of it. She walked down the isles with her little hands clasped together, her eyes fixed on all the candy and did not even ask for a single piece. I just HAD to buy her something!”
The joys of having a big brother!Read more!
Monday, February 20, 2006
Well, after some struggle I have created a small storefront that is hosted by Cafepress. If you glance below the mini poll at the left, you will see the link to my store front. In it are mugs, a variety of clothing ranging in size from enfant to adult and from t-shirts to sweat shirts as well as some note cards, post cards, and a calendar. I believe the quality of the clothing is very nice as they are using the Hanes brand. As time goes by I will be adding more products as I become more proficent at adding cartoons created by Anna, photographs by the children and other pieces of art work by the children. We are trying to keep the images we use to decorate the merchandise pro life and pro family oriented. I need to take care when adding the images to product choices that they come out clear on these items as I would hate to have anyone dissapointed by something looking blurry or not perfectly clear.
If this storefront goes well, I will go ahead and upgrade it for a small fee of 4 -5 dollars a month, which will allow me to offer a greater selection. Right now I have to opt for one picture per item instead of being able to allow customers to choose from a variety of pictures on the t-shirt of their choice. At this time, my store front is completly free and unless I see that is somewhat successful, I do not feel I can afford to do more than just invest my time into the store.
Now - how does Cafepress make money if I am allowed to have this store front for free? Well - the prices you see listed are not total profit for me as cafepress is providing the merchandise while I provide the images to be displayed on the items for sale. For instance, the postcards have a base price of about 6 dollars. I am allowed to raise the price and the difference is my profit. There are 8 postcards in a set so I have the price at about 8.99 I am trying to keep my prices in line with what it would cost one to purchase a similar item in your local store. My profit line varies from a dollar to 10 dollars. On average most items will net me 2 - 4 dollars profit. So I would need several sales to make even 100 dollars.
While that does not seem like a lot of money, if people share my store front with friends and family members, I could actually start to make a little money from this. I prefer this to adding pay pal button for donations as I do not feel that I can justify that. Some bloggers truly can justify doing this as they are actually earning a living writing. While this is my goal, I am not there yet, so I do not feel that I can justify asking you to support my writing on my blog at this time. Even though my time is very tight, I am not having to make the choice between writing an article I will get paid for VS writing on my blog. Instead I have to choose, will I get up early and try to post before the business/school day starts or will I steal a little time from the business to write.
I love writing, and my children are also quite talented in various ways, as you have seen hints of on my blog. I see this storefront as an opportunity to use their talents to earn some family income. Ideally - we would love to be able to get away from the current business we are in, which we were forced into by my husband being laid off. The current business is lucrative but the hours extremely demanding and the physical demands on all of us immense. It makes being a normal family very difficult as it requires so much of every ones time that even just accomplishing the daily chores of every day life is almost impossible. I have all day been meaning to put on a load of laundry, so far the basket has made it to the top of the stairs...
So - if you would like in someway support mum2twelve's blog and her endeavors to become a paid writer or you would just like to have some comfy apparel that sports a great cartoon depicting what life in a large family it like, or a mug with a prolife message, take a look at my shop, buy something you like and SPREAD THE WORD!
Blessings to you all!
Christi aka mum2twelve Read more!
“Love is purified, increased and perfected by suffering. This means not only bodily pain, but crosses of all kinds. God sends everyone all the sufferings they need on earth to cleanse, strengthen, and perfect their love. But most people waste their sufferings. They do not want them, complain about them and try to escape them in every manner possible, even by committing sin.” (Baltimore Catechism No. 2 p. 90)
We have been, as a family, talking about this and in what ways we reject many opportunities during the day to accept a small cross or to cheerfully make sacrifice. Things as simple as; cheerfully changing a diaper, offering your chair to a little one who really wants to sit by a big sister, putting down a book in the middle of an exciting sentence to answer a question. They are numberless. As I thought about this I offered Jesus to try and do better in this area, but I immediately felt so burdened by the thought of so many job titles awaiting me this week. Mummy, teacher, packer, secretary, and more. “Jesus,” I said, “I cannot possibly do this without your help. I cannot possibly cheerfully attack these small crosses and little daily sacrifices without your help. You must help me as I can only do it with you.”
Suddenly I felt liberated as I realized that I did not have to do this alone. That I was not even meant to do this alone, but that Jesus was waiting there to help me with my crosses, large and small. Such a simple concept, but one that so often eludes me.
So today, throughout the day, as I feel burdened by simple chores, when I feel too tired to be able to wash another dish, or impatient and unable to deal with another whiny voice of a child ill with a heavy cold, I will be turning to Jesus and asking him to help me with my yoke.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I think this will be fun! I hope many, if not all, will participate.
Also - look for a store front to appear soon, many items will be available with Anna's cartoons on them. All will speak for family or prolife values. There will be mugs, buttons, magnets and lots of t-shirts. The kids and I are so excited about this, and really looking forward to making a little extra grocery money - with maybe a little left over for the rent too! (Which we are still behind with! Gulp!)
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25, Psalm 41:2-3, 4-5, 13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, Mark 2:1-12
"Our Lord then declared to him: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.' Christ, 'the living stone', thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church."
Have a Blessed Sunday!
Saturday, February 18, 2006
As a result of my mind being on the need to bake and have extra food ready in the event we can not use the stove for a few days, my mind will not settle down here at the keyboard. Yet, Danielle very kindly listed me as a possible alternative for her blog while she is gone for a few days and, if new friends drop by, I would like to have an interesting post for them to read. Over the months, my readership has also grown and I imagine few have had the time to read the earliest posts, in particular the one in which I introduce myself and my family. So since I am so brain dead, I am going to repost that essay. I hope you enjoy it. If you are new to my blog - dig around a little as there are some very humerous comics I have posted that were created by my 12 year old. Anna is currently working on a new one, and I can not wait until I have an actual website that will allow me to have a page dedicated to her art.
New and old readers, if you post annonomously and do not have a profile, but would like to hear back from me, please email me at email@example.com
God Bless!! Read more!
This post is orginally from June of 2005, when I started my blog... enjoy!
Hi – my name is Christi and I am ‘mum2twelve’! A nice round even dozen, and as my son who is eighteen, recently pointed out - my children are trans generational. They spread across three decades, the 80’s, the 90’s, and the 00’s. I had four between 1982 and 1987. When first married and asked how many kids we wanted - I would always say; “I want two girls, and then two boys; or two boys followed by two girls, whichever way as long as they are born in groups of two so they can have playmates. (And I want four, God.) However, I forgot to tell Him that I meant 4 children spread over 6 or 8 years, not crammed into just over 4 yrs! So when the fourth was born, and I was asked if he would be the last, I responded that at 25 I was not ready to answer that question.
However, thyroid issues ensued, so it took four years before baby number five joined us. Gabriela Elizabeth is a miracle baby. Not only should I not have been able to conceive her because of such low thyroid levels, I should not have been able to carry her to term. Contractions started in her fourth month. She was the first of our 90’s babies and was born on her brother’s 4th birthday. We continued on to enjoy another feast of babies during the 90’s, giving birth to 5 in that decade. By the end of that decade we had nine children, and we really didn’t think there would be more. However, in 2000 number ten, a delightful remake of our 18 yr old son, was born. Same Roman nose and curly red hair, only Tanny’s eyes are blue and he has a dimple! Temperament is not quite the same as Miguel’s either. Both are very handsome and that’s not just my opinion either. According to Tanny Paul, he is “han umm” and all other males in the family are “dood lookin”!
In fairly rapid succession Nathaniel Paul (Tanny) was followed by two sisters. Emma Louise Kathleen, and Elsa Marie Bernadette. Emma is currently 2 and a half and a huge burr in Nathaniel’s life. To such an extent, that he actually cried for three days when he learned that the sonogram showed that his next sibling would be a sister. He was devastated! I am sure in his young mind he visualized Emma’s tortuous twin being born ready to walk, talk and able tease him in conjunction with Emma. However – he is in love with his darling baby sister, now 9 weeks old and definitely not a tease. (Yet…)
The oldest four children are all busy with their young adult lives, but still very involved with their younger siblings. The oldest, now 22, lives in NYC but only for another 7 short days at which time she will move to Boston where she has obtained a wonderful job at Harvard. Amanda Caroline is delighted to be a faculty assistant to two professors in her favorite department, Literature. And better yet, these Profs specialize in British and American Literature, as well as poetry – all great loves for Amanda. As she recently posted – God is good. In Boston she will attend First Day meetings at Friends Meeting at Cambridge. This daughter has left her Catholic heritage behind, and joined the Quakers recently. While this greatly saddens all of our family, we pray that her journey with God will be blessed, and maybe one day bring her back to our beautiful faith.
My second child – also a girl (God got the pattern right for the first eight babies and then He got bored with it!) is only 14 months younger than Amanda and is currently interning at Room At The Inn , a home for unwed mothers. I saw it recently and it is a lovely home beautifully decorated, and very, very peaceful! A rather joyful place for a young mother in need of support to pass those wondrous, but difficult months of pregnancy, and then to begin her recovery from birth and journey to independence with her new baby. Jennifer Alicia, typically a 4.0 student, is also attending summer school while also waitressing in the evenings. She is a bubbly personality and full of energy, but sometimes I worry about burn out for her. But then that is part of a mother’s job – worry.
Our two sons Jonathan, 19 and Miguel, 18 are giving their summer this year to our family business. We are at crossroads and determined to make it to the next level, and hopefully begin to bring in sufficient profits to support our large family without requiring outside assistance, beyond prayers that is! We are praying hard for success. When my husband lost his job three years ago due to lay offs, he immediately turned a part time hobby into a full time business. We have sacrificed our home, taken our sanity to the very edge and back and still we are not quite there – financially. But I think our family is somewhat stronger from the struggles of the past three years. Definitely we have learned the need for prayer, the need for family and, most of all, how much we depend on God to get from day to day – even minute to minute.
Jonathan, when not working for us – is a student at Belmont Abbey College which is where Jennifer also studies. This fall Jonathan will be a sophomore, and Jenny will be a senior. Where has the time gone, eh? Miguel, because of a few learning disabilities will continue to pursue his high school diploma from home. In 2006, if the family no longer needs his help with the business, he will either leave for college, or perhaps the military. My heart stops at that thought, as every mother’s does! Another area requiring prayer as my son seeks to know God’s will for him.
Well – I am off to bandage one of the many invisible ‘ouchies’ that only a “band-aid” will fix. I wonder if the fellow who first invented the band-aid realized the miracle cure he was offering to mums across the world – sometimes surpassing even a mother’s kiss in its magical ability to make it stop hurting!
Another day – perhaps tomorrow, I will catch you up with the younger crew. Until then – adios. Read more!
Friday, February 17, 2006
Well, on The Cafeteria is Closed blog I found the little weather Pixie. I decided to add two of them to my blog, and if allowed maybe three. One for North Carolina's weather, one for Argentina and another for Canada's weather. I chose the lady with the cat for NC because of my love for cats... when I chose her it was almost 20 Celcius here in NC and she was dressed in a knee length dress. What I did not realize was that as the temperature climbs - so does the dress... Ahem. I am hoping the dress does not climb up much further, or I will either have to drop the Pixies altogether or switch to a guy pixie and hope they keep their clothes on!
Two days ago I made another discovery - this was a kind of 'DUH' discovery! How could I have not realized this sooner but EWTN TV can be viewed LIVE through the internet. This is one of few lamments I had about giving up cable, losing access to EWTN TV. (More about that later!)
Recently my husband made the comment about how polically savy we are and wouldn't be good if we were just as savy in our faithlife. He was not referring to knowledge of the faith but to our actual spiritual well being.
Of course, the main reason we are so politicaly astute is talk radio. (Namely Rush Limbaugh, but also Tony Snow, a fellow Catholic.) This lead me to try and see if we could maybe download some of the audio files on EWTN so that we could listen to them on road trips when we make especial use of talk radio. Tada! There it was - EWTN live TV, the daily Mass, the Divine Chaplet at three and also the cute cartoons my kids used to enjoy in the afternoons at the old house.
This afternoon as I sat with Emma searching the internet I had EWTN on in the background and On the Rock was playing. I had the window shrunk and was only listening. The host of this show was interviewing a wheelchair athlete who had no hands and no feet. My 19 year old wanted to see this athlete so I opened the window. We sat watching as they closed the program with an artist whose music I had never heard before. It was Tony Melendez who is also missing two limbs. His arms. Yet he plays the guitar - beautifully. His love for God as expressed through his music left a lump in my throat. You should check him out and if you haven't checked out the live TV and Radio live stream on the internet and do not have access to EWTN through your local cable - you should check that out too!
Now back to my sick chillies. Poor babies! Read more!
The past month, in the name of economy, I have been baking. Many a morning, of late, my children have risen to fresh out of the oven biscuits or muffins baked the afternoon before. Homemade bread either from the oven or piping hot from the bread makers has been teasing their noses. Okay, some mornings it’s been peanut butter cookies with an apple but what’s the difference between that and toast with peanut butter, I ask?
Despite two bread machine 2 lb loaves of raison bread however, yesterday’s pickings were rather slim, as I had been once more gobbled up by the business and my baking ingredients had begun to wane drastically. Sadly - I had to face facts. A grocery trip was in order. I detest buying groceries. But sacrifices must be made in this world so I grabbed a pencil and set to work making my list. On my menu plan, I scratched out cream of carrot and potato soup and replaced it with roast beef sandwiches as I knew I would have little energy left to make dinner from scratch after my marathon grocery spree.
When I left the sun was still shining, but by the time I returned lugging a van full of groceries in with me – the birds had gone to bed and the warm air had just a tinge of chill in it. As the children hurried to help me haul in the goods I heard one child yell; “Sweet!”
My ears picked up. Had he discovered the raisons I had purchased for more yummy bread? Or maybe the maple syrup for the yams we would have this Sunday with our ham dinner? What had elicited such an excited reaction?
“CEREAL guys – Mummy bought Cheerios!” To which arose resounding cheers!
Ungrateful wretches!Read more!
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Given we have been over run with a new virus and I am currently surrounded by sick children and their accompanying teddy bears (also ill of course), I do not have a lot of time for posting today so instead I will introduce you to a very inspiring and thought provoking writer whom I have been enjoying through Sister Pat’s Joy Notes .
Her name is Sister Janet and she is with the Vatican Radio and has a new website of her own, Pause for Prayer . So far I have enjoyed everything I have read from her. Here is Sister Janet’s addition to the Peace Card that Sister Pat sends out daily. I hope that you enjoy her writings as much as I do. If you wish to read past ones, click on the Joy Notes link above. To read today's Joy Notes click HERE.
The young girl was whining to passers-by of her hunger and destitution when a well-dressed woman turned back and offered her a chocolate-covered sponge cake made by a famous chocolate manufacturer. The girl might have been hungry, but on seeing food rather than money, she scowled as her benefactor left St. Peter’s and this morning’s General Audience.
The begging youngster reminded me of a time when one of my Community had left a charity reception where a buffet meal had been served. The surplus food was distributed amongst those who had helped to organise the event, a plate of special sandwiches being given to my Community member. On the way home, she saw a young man begging on the steps of a church so she decided that he was far in more need of the food than the rest of us. She handed him the plate of sandwiches. One by one, he opened them and then returned the whole selection to her. “I don’t like lettuce”, he declared.
This morning’s young beggar outside St. Peter’s also reminded me of a man who banged at our gate in Lusaka one Sunday lunchtime, looking for money to buy a coffin in which to bury his child. There was only one problem: he was accompanied by the wife whom, only the previous Sunday, he’d claimed had died.
There are many rich and poor in this world, but just as “all that glitters is not gold”, so all those who are found declaring that they are poor, homeless, unemployed and the parent of several children are not always telling the truth. It is intriguing, for instance, to see the difference between one elderly “widow” when she is begging in front of St. Paul’s Basilica, when she is bent double and crippled, at St. Peter’s, when she also suffers from Parkinson’s disease, and on the bus, when I can see nothing wrong with her… unless advancing age is a disease.
There will always be some people who will play on the goodness of others for their own ends. As the saying goes, “there are those who will use things and love people, and others who will love things and use people”. Sad, but true.
Years ago there was a popular poster placed in strategic places. It declared simply, “Fragile! People are easily broken. Handle with care!”
Each and every one of us is in need, even though we don’t all resort to the streets and other public places to look for a response. There are those who are lonely, fearful, sick, worried, sad, discouraged… Sometimes we hide our poverty, perhaps at the very moment when it ought to be made known. I cannot help you if I don’t know that you are in need. You can’t help me if I am unable to tell you that I’m desperate for a listening ear and a loving heart.
We build communities of love by giving and receiving. Do I love you because I need you or need you because I love you? There’s a difference.
God needs us because he loves us. That’s amazing! God needs me!
God bless, Sr. Janet
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I wimped out.
I was too tired.
My back hurt.
These were the excuses I made, but in truth I had images in my mind of Emma’s face the next morning when she discovered them ALL missing. Morning dawned and we were again confronted with the endless barrage of costume changes. Much to everyone’s relief, Emma finally decided to move all her Barbies upstairs. However, after a short time, an argument broke out; the subject of which I was not yet party to. But we ALL heard Emma’s screams of anger.
Miguel, our 6 foot 3 inch 19 year old, decided to take matters in his own hands. He was close enough to hear that what Emma was enraged about was the Barbies. In the midst of her tirade at Gabriela and Bethany he strode in, picked up the nearest plastic container and scooped up all of the Barbies, (all fully dressed for once) slapped a lid on and left the room.
Operation Barbie Storm accomplished in one fell swoop. I could only imagine Emma’s astonished face.
In the meantime, I was enjoying the sudden silence as I continued my preparations for a study unit on the Solar System. Miguel presented me with said plastic container, tersely explained why he had confiscated them and left; returning to his duties in the packing shed. As I typed on the computer and searched for interesting pages on Pluto as well as other planets, the bulky white container sat at my feet.
Eventually Emma repented of her sin, but I guess she did not think that she could plead her case adequately enough as an advocate arrived to beg on her behalf. She chose well.
“Mummy, Emma says she is sorry for yelling at Gabriela and me. She wants to have the Barbies. Can she?”
I stared at
“She says she's sorry, Mummy.”
However, so far my back bone has not strengthened one iota. Not one. The Barbies still rule…
Monday, February 13, 2006
Gabriela and I have a date tonight...
We are planning on raiding the closet and hiding ALL the Barbie Dolls and their clothing. Every single piece, every strap, purse and esp. any boots. I think there will be mayhem if any of us have to dress a Barbie one more time for a certain little three year old who must sped her day undressing them faster than we can get the clothing on these 'fashion plates from H E double hockey sticks'! Even my 19 yr old has become immune to the naked dolls being shoved in his face with the command; "Dess her pease! I want DIS on her HEAD."
Today her father was snaggled into it, and when she saw his absent minded obedience she quickly gathered every naked body she could grasp in her chubby little arms and heaps of clothes. His mind suddenly snapped to and she was sent scurrying off to me. It was then that I whispered my dastardly plans to Gabriela.
I am not a huge fan of Barbie dolls, but they seem to have become a passage of rites in this family of seven girls and each one of the older girls have gone through this phase but really THREE is simply too young. I have decided to fall back on my old adage - "If you can't dress 'em - you're too young for 'em. " Normally my girls have not had access to Barbies at that tender age. But when you have four girls of such varying ages holed up in one bedroom - I guess it was ineveitable. However, the two oldest are not really into the Barbies anymore and Bethany played with them because they did. So I whispered to Gabriela as we both eyed this little monster who was seeking another victem, err assistant to help with yet another costume change for Barbie: "I don't think it will hurt Bethany to be without the dolls for a year."
To which Gabriela said; "I don't remember anyone helping me dress them, I had to figure it out myself. But then I guess I was much older."
"Exactly" I hissed back! "You were not playing with Barbies when you were THREE!"
Well - I need to go. Apparently Barbie has decided to change from her solid blue and lace confection to her light blue 'parkly dess. But that's okay I can handle it, after all, it's only two more hours to Operation Barbie Storm. Read more!
Anna and I have been tackling some of Austen's books - often fighting over who gets the copy of the story we are reading. We have now both read Pride and Prejudice and I have (for the second time) finished Emma. I finished first only by claiming seniority and therefore the right to read first, when ever I wanted. Sometimes I am a very selfish mother.
We gave several books from the Redwall series to the kids for Christmas and I am the one currently reading them. They are quite fun and exciting, and I think I will begin reading the first in the series to the children in the evenings. Miguel has picked up the ine I have just finished and, even though 19, is enjoying it immensely. So far his favourite character is Brother Hugo.
An old favourite that was just re-read here in the family is The Little Princess. Noah is has begun the Narnia series and is currently consuming the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (We have the original series from the BBC on DVD and have watched it a few times this month.)
Teddy and Bethany have been devouring the Beverly Cleary books. So far, Teddy’s favourite of them is Henry and Beezus and Bethany’s can’t choose between Henry and Beezus or Ramona Forever.
Gabriela is hoping to read Freckles if we can find a new copy as ours has been worn completely out! She is also waiting for Anna to finish with Emma so that she can have a crack at it.
I have begun the daunting task of reading The Story of Britain , in hopes of using it as the basis for a history course on
The remote has been dropped one time too many.
So either we need to find a universal remote that will work with this brand and model of DVD player, or we need to buy a new player. I’m voting for a new player as the remote will probably cost almost as much as a player.
Well – the timer has gone and recess is over so watch for the list of historical DVDs later.Read more!
Sunday, February 12, 2006
A friend has stepped forward... and offered to help my husband and I build a website for our business, and this weekend we got together to discuss the needs for it. Thank you every one who has offered suggestions, help and prayers for us. I think I really owe a big thank you to St. Isidore and to Kathy who took the time to find him!
I will let you all know when our business site is up and running and, of course, if I am ever able to get my own site up for my works of fiction... I will post that link too!
Thank you EVERYONE!!!
God IS Good! Read more!
Here is the most recent progress report:
- In honor of Bishop David A. Zubik and in memory of Susan Zubik (to Population Research Institute)
- In honor of Pope John Paul the Great (to Human Life Alliance)
- In memory of Elizabeth J. Harvey (to Project Rachel)
Please be sure to spread the word and get as many people as possible using this search site. I don't call it a search negine as it is hosted by google but pehaps I would be more correct to call it an engine. At any rate - lets all help make this a success!
Friday, February 10, 2006
Thursday, February 09, 2006
(Not our ultrasound as my scanner is offline, will replace later with our own ultrasound)
As Elsa struggled with learning how to crawl I was drawn to the memories of my first baby, also a daughter, learning to crawl and I was struck by the difference in my feelings about the two achievements. Amanda actually learned to stand before she learned to crawl and I was so amazed that I grabbed my camera and posed her again, so I could photograph it for posterity – my first baby – already standing. I was such a proud mama!
Now, as I watch Elsa crawl away from me towards a toy – my pride is mixed with a tinge of sadness as I now know that this progression is also the first steps to independence. Soon she will be a toddler and then a child and before I know it she will be packing her bags and leaving for college and adventures unknown.
My little tinge of sadness as I watched Elsa crawl away made me wonder how God feels when we first start to toddle away from Him. It caused me to realize how different, in this way, our relationship with Him is from us with our children despite the frequent comparison of God as Father that is made with us human parents.
As an earthly mother, it is my job to raise my child to independence, but God is actually continually calling me back to Him and telling me to never forget that I am dependent on Him for everything. He will ‘allow’ (not make) evil to fall my way – so that I might find good out of it – namely, my need for Him.
These past four years, I have been continuously reminded of this through our severe needs and trials. Even when we came to the very precipice of despair over the fear of losing everything, God came through, showing us over and over that we only needed to lean on Him and all would be okay. Not easy, not necessarily fun – but okay. We began to be able to still feel peace – even when three months behind in the rent.
I remember how as a child, walking to school I would always chat with Jesus, my constant companion since I had been introduced to him when I was 9 by the Gideon Society who had brought New Testaments to school. I shared with him my problems, especially my troubled relationship with my mum. I told him when I was happy, when I was worried and especially when I was angry. That ten minute walk to school was very fruitful. I would arrive at school, refreshed and my problems forgotten until I returned home in the afternoon. Then I became a teenager and my attention was drawn elsewhere. I still had one eye on God, but no longer both on Him, and it made a difference.
Because my parents did not have a strong faith life at that time, I was not taught that as my dependence on them lessened, my dependence on God needed to grow and not decrease. Had I been taught this most valuable lesson – I might have been spared much heart ache. It is a lesson I have resolved to share with my children. I want, as my husband and I ultimately rejoice in the maturation and development of our children, that God is not saddened by it but instead is able to celebrate a corresponding dependence on Him.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I have already dropped into my toolbar on my browsers home page. It is wedged right between Goodle and my favourite email site. I have actually started using it. Here is their URL:
Apparently when ads are clicked on, or purchases made through the ads on the side of this search site - donations are made to the Prolife cause. What an easy way to help a very important cause!
Check it out and if you like it - make sure to add it to your tool bar! And now I need to stop pulling a Sister Pat and stop distracting myself with my email and posting, and get some actual work done. Now that I have vacumed the living room, washed the dishes, fed the baby, run the washer and dryer a few times, exchanged Cinderella for Veggie Tales - it is time to start printing shipping labels in beween reading tutorials on Java Script and HTML!
Thank you everyone who has been praying. I can feel the difference! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
I googled "patron saint Internet" and found St. Isidore
Here is part of what it said:
So, how does Saint Isidore of Seville become the patron saint for the Internet? The Observation Service for Internet, who drew it's mission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, researched the Internet and related technologies to select a patron saint that best reflects the concerns and ideals of computer designers, programmers and users. The saint chosen by the Observation Service for Internet was Saint Isidore. "The saint who wrote the well-known 'Etymologies' (a type of dictionary), gave his work a structure akin to that of the database. He began a system of thought known today as 'flashes;' it is very modern, notwithstanding the fact it was discovered in the sixth century. Saint Isidore accomplished his work with great coherence: it is complete and its features are complementary in themselves."
And thanks again Cathy - I was in too much of a tizzy to think of something as simple as googling!
"Quick and Easy Learning" says w3schools!
This is followed by the statement:
"Because time is valuable, we deliver quick and easy learning.
At W3Schools, you can study everything you need to learn, in an accessible and handy format."They finish with:
"Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything" --- William of Ockham (1285-1349)"Better yet - these tutorials are FREE! Thank you Matt for suggesting them.
Armed with a cup tea to my right and a sleeping baby on my left shoulder, Cinderella playing in the background as children watch a movie instead of doing their math, I am ready to dive into the world of explanations of HTML, XML forms and why I need to back up and read about HTML forms before I can study up XML forms...
Now all of this is in hopes that these tutorials will edify for me what the buttons on my web building program can do.Wish me luck, or better yet - say a prayer. Anyone acquainted with a patron saint for website builders? Read more!
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I am about to beg, even grovel at the feet of my readers! PLEASE, can anyone help me discover a book that can explain to me the basics of web design in the simple layman’s tongue? And is, preferably, recent enough to acknowledge that Windows XP and Firefox is in existence.
Are there websites, along the same manner, that one would recommend?
You may ask why I make this desperate plea.
It is two fold. First – my husband and I must make the leap from selling strictly on eBay to having our own website and using eBaymore as a means of driving customers to us. The reasons for this are many, but chiefly what we sell on eBay could be sold for five to ten times more than what we get on eBay, if sold on a website.
If we could accomplish this, we would not need to sell the volume that we currently need to sell to just barely keep our heads above the water. We could specialize in certain items and give up the big heavy items we often have to sell along with the smaller merchandise. I wanted to cry when I saw my son, barely 19, with his back hurting so much that a sneeze almost brought him to his knees. He tries not to complain – but it is obvious that even his 6 foot 3 frame is beginning to fatigue under the heavy work he and my husband are forced to do to forge out a living for us.
We know from research and advice from others in the same business, that this is the direction we need to take. But my husband does not have the time to invest in building a website, and we do not have the money to pay to have one designed. So I am endeavoring to develop a website for our business.
I have downloaded a click and drag program – so simple a child could use it. Obviously I grew up a looong time ago and no longer have a child’s mind as while I have managed to down load a template and drag some buttons into place – I have come to a complete stand still. There are these lovely buttons on the side that will allow me to compress files – but what files do I want to compress? I can click a button and drag a banner out and across the top of my page, but while it was easy make it nice and pretty, I could not discover how to change the type on it that says sample banner… I can click on another button and create a gallery – but where do I put it afterward? There are forms for emails and marquees to insert, but I have no idea how to use either.
Although I have managed to unlock my domain name from the website I parked it in last November, (my biggest accomplishment today after 5 hours of work on this website) I have not felt this stupid since my grade ten algebra class. I may have to lock this domain name down again as it could get snatched by another parking lot if I do not get it settled in with my new hosting company, who will not let me sign in with the password they sent to me use with this 'oh so simple a child can use it' program!
I went to Amazon to search for books only to discover that even second editions were referring to the latest edition of Windows as being Windows 98…
Now, if you recall – I mentioned that there was a two fold reason for trying to do this. It is my great desire to use this sought after new skill of website architecture to also build a website for myself. One where (having freed myself from my husband’s business by building HIS website) I will spend all this new found time on my hands that I will have – to write and write and write. If I have my own website I will have so much more control over it than I have here on blogspot. I will be able to place photos where I want, add buttons here and there to send you, the reader, to comics Anna has drawn or to a children’s story I am writing, or to that gallery I don’t know where to place yet.
Okay - so I won't really have a lot of time to write and write and write. But if we can successfully develope a website, I will have more time which I would use to just be a fulltime homeschooling mum who writes in her spare time, and maybe even makes a little spare change doing it.
The most significant discovery made may have been that Emma’s second name Louise means warrior maiden. This could explain a lot of the difficulties between her and Nathaniel (which means gift of God.) I guess he is our warrior’s gift from God for her to harass and tease. Her third name is also very fitting.
Kathleen Celtic little darling
While very much a warrior, Emma is also a little darling!
If you have time to spend and care to unlock some of the mysteries of your child’s behaviour go here and just type part or all of your child’s name in the search box.
You may be surprised just how apt the meaning of your child’s name is. The question is – does the name make the child – or did God lead you to the name? Read more!
Monday, February 06, 2006
Emma has an incredible imagination and sometimes I use it against her. Like the other day when I could not get her to put her socks on. Suddenly I wagged my toes and tickled hers with mine. I said in a falsetto voice, talking for my toes:
“Oh Emma’s toes! You look cold. Please cover yourselves up.”
Emma jumped right in and as she wiggled her toes back, she replied in just as falsetto a voice:
“Oh yet! We are cold. Pease cover us up!”
But occasionally Emma’s imagination back fires on us.
For instance, the other day when I made silver dollar sized pancakes and Hugo made the mistake of offering Emma some baby pancakes. Her mind was off to the races and so were the babies on her plate. Those “babies” danced and sang to us all through breakfast. Thankfully Emma’s appetite finally took over and she suddenly bit the babies’ heads off and then laughed as she ate them all up – one body part at time.
Then last night, Emma absolutely did not want to eat supper. She was ‘full already’. In truth she was overtired, and as we are weaning her off her baba and only allowing her one at bedtime, she was fairly desperate for bed by 6:30. Supper just was not in her plans.
“Pease mummy, make me a baba! Pease!”
“No Emma – you must at least eat a little first.”
“Mummy, pease I tired! Make me baba. Peeeeease!”
Suddenly I remembered the success of my toes talking to hers. I tickled her tummy, and a little voice called to out to her:
“Emma – this is your tummy. I’m hungry! Please eat the biscuit!”
A smile danced across her face and her eyes lit up.
“Okay!” she said, and with little bites I tempted it into her tummy. But as we came close to the end of the biscuit her eyes suddenly sparkled mischievously, and Emma’s tummy suddenly announced;
“Mummy – Emma’s tummy wants a baba, peeease!Read more!
Let me introduce to you a new blog that I found last week. Father Jonathan asked me if I would spread the word and so I am. Father’s blog is posted through Fox News and he is usually on Fox about twice a week, at different times throughout the day, to discuss the ethical and social elements of ordinary news. He does the same in his blog. Here is a link to his post on suffering . Check him out, and if you enjoy his writings be sure to spread the word. It is important to have a Christian spin on all things and to have one available about the news is, I think, especially important.
... for my friend Ann, who is having surgery today. Please ask Jesus, our heavenly Physician, to place His gentle hands on this mother of five, that she may be healed quickly and be able to return to her motherly duites soon. Guide the hands of her caregivers.
God Bless you Ann! Read more!
I won't bore you with the details, but I will tell you that there are days that I feel that I can not sustain life like this much longer. It is so incredibly difficult and I just want to cry out to the heavens and beg them to help us. I can't stand it at times. And this is one of thoes times. I feel much like a 3 year old in that I just want to throw myself down on the floor and kick my heels and scream at God to STOP and LISTEN to ME and FIX everything. NOW!
There comes a moment every once in a while when I feel as if I am in a trap with the walls closing in. I feel panicked and as if I can not stand it one more minute, nay, not even one more second. But what can I do? I can't just stop breathing. There is nothing to do, but keep plugging on. Hoping and begging that God will soon change things for us. Give us a job, give us a business loan. Just DO something to stop this miserable existence of barely being able to pay our bills, no dental or health care and on and on! The most difficult cross is the heavy burden of feeling that no matter what or how much I do – I feel as though I can never do enough. I know my poor husband is also carrying this same cross. And I never know when this sense of desperation will hit me like a bolt of lightening.
I feel stretched in so many directions as I wait patiently for the graces I need to cope. And while I wait, I make my bed, read to someone who needs my time, make sandwiches for lunch, solve a fraction problem with someone who has forgotten how, sooth an irritated customer, act as referee repeatedly, call Pay Pal to complain about their lousy service, make another meal. And if I can find the mental strength and physical energy - bake a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies for a chocolate fix. Baring that - I search the cupboards for a lost Canadian Crispy Crunch and have it with a cup of tea and hope it is not late enough in the afternoon for the caffeine to cause Elsa trouble falling asleep at bedtime.
Ideally, I should take my favorite prayer, find a quiet spot somewhere in this noisy house and cry on God's shoulder. When this bolt of negative emotion bears down on me – I need Christ to lift me, and carry me until it passes. But sometimes I have not the strength, or even the will to do this. It is at those moments that I turn to my friends and beg their prayers. This is why the church is referred to as the body of Christ and why I turn to you today and ask for your healing prayers. It is amazing sometimes how uplifted one can feel and not know why, only to learn later someone was praying for you.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Two years ago I met a lovely lady, the same generous person who is currently dedicating her Fridays to teaching Theology to my children. A year ago the friendship began to deepen when we invited her, along with other acquaintances, to join our family on Friday mornings to pray the Rosary. After the Rosary, she would often stay and help with the children or just to sit and chat while enjoying a cup of Canadian tea with us.
On one of those mornings the question of favorite music came up as a topic of discussion and the children had a number of favorite songs and bands to list for her. Then it came her turn to tell us of her favorite music and her answer gave me much to ponder over the following months. She told us that her favorite music was silence as she could better hear God in it. Of course, she added, we often have the radio on or the TV when the children are home, but when I am alone at home, or in the car – I prefer to have silence.
This reminded me of one of my children’s God Mothers. She had been an apostolate at Madonna house at one time and in listening for God’s will in her life was eventually led to the man she was to marry and have a family of five with. She too said that she craved silence and as a mother, her greatest cross was in dealing with the noise that children just naturally generate. (Their family was limited to five due to serious health issues – not the noise level!)
After my friend left that day it did not take me long to forget her comment, but it obviously left a mark on my conscience as on the rare occasions that it is silent here I would find her words rumbling about my head. Especially as I found that more often than not, I would quickly attempt to fill the void. I did this, usually, with talk radio.
I started to ask myself why. Why did I feel this need for noise? Why did I find silence so loud? And empty? Was I trying to avoid being alone with my thoughts? This led me to more questions. One in particular was – how did the constant background noise affect the children. Was their home as peaceful as it could be, especially given we are so many in such a small house. So I began, when I found myself in those uncomfortable moments of silence, to substitute music for the talk radio. Sometimes I chose more lively music such as Jars of Clay and at other times, I opted for the Gregorian Chant.
I noticed that when we did this during chore time, it went more smoothly and cheerfully with many of us often dancing about as we washed dishes, vacuumed and swept. Even I joined in with the dancing. Still, when I went to my room for a break, I would automatically turn on my radio. My excuse was that the sound of hosts talking helped drown out the noise that sifts through the floor and my door. But I began to wonder how true that excuse was. The best answer that I came up with was that it was a habit. Simply a habit.
A week ago I surprised myself when I realized that I had been listening so little to the radio that I no idea what was happening out there in the world. I did not know which politician had recently insulted another, nor sadly did I know if the sole survivor of the first mine disaster had come out of his coma yet. But that was okay – I could always check the internet if I really wanted to know this and truly, I think my children are probably the better for not knowing so much of the news esp. when much of it is so negative. Besides, if we keep dancing as we do our chores, I just might be able to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes again.