Monday, January 28, 2008

Silence is Golden...

"God is a friend of silence. We need to find God, but we cannot find Him in noise, in excitement. See how nature, the trees, the flowers, the grass grow in deep silence. See how the stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence. The more we receive in our silent prayers, the more we can give in our active life. Silence gives us a new way of looking at everything. We need silence in order to touch souls. The important thing is not what we say, but what God says to us, and what He says through us. There is no life of prayer without silence."

To read the entire article that I have borrowed this quote from, click here. (If for any reason this link does not work, the blog is HERE. )

I have to admit, I am not a friend of silence, which is why this quote struck me with such force. I find silence lonely and sometimes overwhelming. When the house is silent - I turn on EWTN on my computer, or I put some music on. But I prefer hearing human voices in the back ground. Maybe that is why Ia m able to deal with the constant babble of noise in our home. None the less, I think I need to learn how to value silence and maybe in doing so - I will be better able to hear God. Read more!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Calling ALL Parents!

Do you have a paper shredder in your home, possibly because of the increased risk of identity theft? Well - if you have a child under five in your home AND a paper shredder - you now are entertaining one of the newest 'hidden hazard' scenarios.

Because this is typically an office machine that until recently, was only found in the office - the voluntary standards only call for an opening above the blades that will prevent a twelve year old's fingers from being caught in the machine.

And if your machine boasts of auto stop features to prevent entrapment in the blades one family's recent experience begs to differ. Danielle Bean shared one friend's horror story on her blog. Danielle's friend, referring to her two year olds situation, shared the following:

"his hand was between two pieces of paper, so the machine still sensed paper and didn't stop..."

And while this two year old is recovering well from the surgery it took to repair the damage " his hand will never be the same" his mother also shared with Danielle's readers.

Danielle posted a link to an article that explains in full detail the dangers these now common home office machines pose to our young children. Please, if you have children or know somebody with children who might have access to a paper shredder - take the time to read this article and share it with others. Lets all try to work together across the world wide web and see if we can't turn the statistics around and prevent other similar tragedies from happening.

Currently our shredder will be staying at our business location, but if we ever decide to bring it home - I will be following the advice proposed by the article. Given that many of these accidents occured while children were under the supervision of their parents doctors suggest the following: "...Paper shredders should be kept unplugged and out of children's reach. They also urge parents not to let young children use or be near shredders at any time, adding that the No. 1 way to avoid an injury to a child's fingers is to keep them away from shredders altogether"

To read the article click here - if for any reason your browser does not open to this link simply copy and paste the following URL in your browser. Read more!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Thank you to Maria, who brought this to my attention.

"In September, the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) sent a letter to some randomly selected homeschooling families requesting that they voluntarily meet with a representative of DNPE to review their school records. Parents agreeing to meet with the state official were required to bring their attendance, immunization, and standardized test records to be reviewed. Parents were also requested to bring their school-age children, a textbook list, a daily log/lesson plan book, and samples of each student’s work for review by the state official."

To read the complete article CLICK HERE

Please do take the time to read this article, especially if ou are a homeschooler here within NOrth Carolina. Read more!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Going for a fourth.... I catching my readers off guard? Making you worry that maybe you should start reading me daily again? Nah - don't worry. Maybe tonight I will get enough sleep to be able to focus on the more important things in life - like laundry, meals, grant proposals. Don't worry - I don't think I will top the number of posts today for quite a while.

In the meantime - I am here to tell you that while waiting for Canada Revenue to decide to either a) install more phone lines,
b) hang the phone up from their lunch break
c) for the majority of Canada talking to Canada Revenue to hang up so I can get through,
I have continued to entertain myself by doing further research on the origins of Canuck, aka Cannuck, aka Kanuck.

I was successful, but in the interim realized that while I do not miss Canadian taxes, I do miss Canadian humour. To share in my enjoyment - click here. (Note the last name given by the person writing in to ask the origins of Cannuck) Read more!

WHAT? Another post, THREE in one day?

This is what happens when you are brain dead and trying to complete paper work that entails frequent online research. You get sidelined by interesting questions like what is the origin of Cannuck... which leads you to stories online - like this one: Click here to read!

As to the origin of Cannuck (AKA canuck) - still working on that, in between getting busy signals from Revenue Canada. Who would have thought Canada's equivalent to the IRS would be so popular - or maybe they just took the phone off the hook for lunch!

PS for those who click to read the story above - the author does a great job of explaining various Canadian terms but forgot to explain that the Hydro bill is not the water bill - it is Electric bill. This is because so much of Canadian electricity is derived from Hydro Dams. Read more!
Some days this is how I feel as Elsa trails behind me asking "Ooopa Mummy Ooopa!"
(Ooopa is a Spanish/Argentinian term for up, spelling probably not accurate, but Hugo is not home for me to check.)
Read more!

Too tired, too sore...

... to move let alone think of something worthwhile to post. Most of us are down with some nasty flu bug that I swear must be traveling via the internet disguised a a computer virus as we have hardly been anywhere but on the internet these days. Yet everyone I know has/had this flu!!!

So once more I beg my readers for their prayers. We woke to a beautiful light blanket of snow covering the ground and about six stuffed, snuffling noses pressed to the windows - pining for snow boots so as to be allowed to play in this ever so rare occurrence. And despite the light rain that is now melting everything away and threatening to turn into freezing rain, several volunteers lined up to walk to the puppy.

In truth the children are too sick for me to allow them to enjoy this snow for more than it takes the time to walk to the dog. Please pray for me to have the graces to deal wit the frustration the littlest ones will have about not being allowed out to enjoy this miracle of whiteness and pray for my tired, sore body that has spent the past number of nights squeezed between two small bodies that might as well have been stone boulders for all the rest I got.

Please also pray for our eBay sales - as things stand it will be at least a month, maybe two, before we receive any pay from my new job and Hugo's new venture, and if we lose the power due to freezing rain - we will not be able to monitor potential customers questions and concerns. A power outage can be very disastrous for an eBayer.

And thank you ALL for all of your prayers. If I disappear for a while - it could be the weather or just plain fatigue! If your comments do not get moderated though, you will know it is the weather. (Or we were not able to pay Internet bill!!)

God Bless
Christi Read more!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thank You Hugo

I want to publicly thank Hugo for being such a wonderful husband.

Sometimes love is shown in little ways that we can take for granted. He did not sleep well either last night while we coped with two sick children, watching Pink Panther on Youtube at 2 in the morning as we waited for a the tiny drop of Motrin I squeezed between reluctant lips to kick in. This was followed by waking up at 3 am by a still feverish child who was murmuring, crying and tossing turning until she finally fell back asleep leaning on me with both baby and I still sitting up. Five year old Emma clambered in at I don't know what time, adding her inferno temp to the warmth of our crowded bed. Now we each had our own live heating pad crowded up against us.

Yet he rolled out of bed first thing this morning and started in on the dirty dishes everyone was either too sick, or too tired to cope with last night. With his hands in hot soapy water he informed me that my toast was in the toaster and while I sat bleary eyed at my desk rescheduling a dentist appointment that took a month to get - he dashed out to get apple sauce for those whose throats are too sore for toast.

So thank you Hugo for being the best Husband EVER! I love you, and when you do these things for me - I know you love me! Thank you!!! Read more!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Power of Prayer and the Promised Announcement.

If you recall, before Christmas, I promised an announcement of something big. Well, after much prayer Hugo and I decided, just before Christmas, to close down the business. Currently we are in the process of liquidating and Hugo has begun the application process to Grad School and is also looking for a job, part time or full. This was decided with some trepidation as we really were not sure where we would go from here.

Last week Hugo and I began a nine day novena to the Infant Jesus with the request being a job for Hugo, a job for Miguel and a job for Jonathan who is returning to college and badly needs money to help pay for his next semesters expenses. As usual, Baby Jesus is coming through for us. Miguel had a job interview today at 4 pm and a few days ago I received a call from a fellow parishioner. He had read some of my writing and wanted to know if I might be willing to try my hand at writing grant proposals!

I was! So long story short, Hugo had the cell phone when Charles Patten of SITorg called and later the next day both Hugo and I met with the staff as well as the founder of SITorg. We were very impressed with the enthusiasm of everyone involved in this organization and it seems that they in turn were pleased with us. So both of us will be involved with SITorg for the next little while. (Hopefully for some time to come!) I will be involved in procuring funds for the organization and Hugo will be developing the Hispanic line of courses and teaching classes in Spanish/English. He will keep our business going for a little while longer esp. as what he is doing actually works well with the mission of SITorg, which is:

  • To Provide free upgraded computers for those in need.
  • Low cost technology services, and computers to benefit the community.
  • Provide environmentally sound solution for technological waste.

  • And all of is this is accomplished through the mentoring of the young children who participate in this after school program. What the children gain from this program is priceless. They are not only learning marketable skills, but the importance of proper stewardship of the environment as well as practicable means of accomplishing this, and all of this in a safe, Christian environment.

    We have not yet finished the novena for jobs for Hugo, Miguel and Jonathan, we will be finishing it this Saturday, but the sweet Baby Jesus has already been busy! Not only have Hugo and I found something, but tonight Miguel received a phone call telling him that he had the job he interviewed for today.

    I am very excited about this new venture and have already been working on finding some local donations as SITorg is between grants and would be very happy to receive monetary donations as well as computers! Please be sure to move your cursor over the red print in bold and check out the pages they take you too. Please note that SIT's website was created by the students involved in this program and if you wish to view another website created by them you can click here . If, after exploring SIT's site, you think this is a worthy program and would like to support it in some way, large or small, please click here.

    In the meantime, Hugo and I need to finish our Novena and then begin another of Thanksgiving and we would certainly appreciate all of your prayers for success in these new endeavors, my grant proposal writing, Hugo's classes and Hugo's studies as he pursues a Master's degree in Project Management. Please also keep Miguel & Jonathan in your prayers as they further their studies and Miguel begins a new job!

    And I would like to finish this post with a note of gratitude to all of you, my readers, for the prayers you have offered up again and again for us!

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!
    Read more!

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Landry AKA Mount Everest

    Mary left an interesting comment on my blog asking for advice on laundry. Oodles and oodles of laundry - the kind of laundry only a large family, especially one with lots of young kids, can generate.

    Here is the crux of Mary's problem:

    I am a homeschooling mom of 5 little children all under 7 years old....

    So, anyway, my question is: do you have a set number of pants/shirts (not including Sunday best clothes) but every day clothes. Do you have the kids in uniforms? With all the changes of the seasons, we have such a huge amount of shorts/t-shirts/pants/shorts
    /sweaters etc…the list could go on.

    Do you have any type of system that works for you?

    I know of another mom who has ONLY 5 OUTFITS-per child per season-hung on hangers-1 per day. They wear them stains and all.

    I am a bit on the fence about this….well it is tempting to get rid of most of the kids’ clothes to just have 5! But I do like to see my children dressed nicely without all those stains(if I can help it).

    Overwhelmed with the laundry loads, I figured I would ask you and I can’t wait to hear what you (or others) have to say about this deal.

    Thanks in advance!!!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your family!!!

    God Bless you,


    Here, at last, is my promised answer to you Mary.

    I have tried a variety of systems. I have tried only having a specific number of outfits per child per season as your friend does - but there is a set back to this as insinuated with the " stains and all" comment. So I tried doing that with back ups put aside in my closet, or in a storage closet, but then when you need them they smell like, well stale laundry.

    I have also struggled, as you do, with the feast or famine of donations. Because one can never be sure when the next drought might strike - you never like to say no to an offer of clothing. And then some seasons you get an overload of say, size six and absolutely no size eights so there is the temptation to hoard against the future. But I have learned to go with the ebb and flow of the donations and to not keep things that I do not believe I can use within one year of receiving - trusting to the Lord to provide when the need occurs.

    I have a few ideas I can share with you - some I am currently using and some I am no longer using but might work for you, and at least one I am doing that you might not want to try until your children are older.

    I will start with the one thing I am currently doing but your children are probably not old enough to do yet. Once my children are tall enough to reach the back of the washer and dryer and so the dials - I begin to teach them how to do their own laundry. They learn to sort their clothes and they learn how to use the machines. Each bedroom has their own laundry day with one day of the week free from laundry. They also learn what happens if they miss their assigned laundry day - no clean clothes!

    Is not a perfect system but it works fairly well and when I notice the washer has finished and throw a child's clothes into the dryer for them - I am rewarded with a large smile and a huge thank you.

    However, something your children can start to learn with you when they get ready for bed each evening is how to sort their clothes. I have used a white basket hamper for the lights with a darker one for darks.

    To deal with the challenge of the change of seasons, I have begun purchasing the huge zip lock bags. I like that you can see through them and that they seem to be quite durable. When the season begins to change I keep them near the laundry area and as we make our way through the laundry the bags are slowly filled. I assign a bag to each room, but one for each teen. In other word the three boys rooming together get one bag and the two little girls get one bag but the two teens bunking together - each get one. They have more clothes and the individual articles are larger in size as well. When the bag is full I put them away in the corresponding bedroom's large closet. We have been so blessed with awesome closets in this house.

    A suggestion I have not implemented but hope to soon, is to use baskets of different colours to indicate whether the laundry in the laundry room is fresh or waiting to be washed.

    One disadvantage to the system I use of teaching the children to be independent with the laundry is that we sometimes experience a back up or over flow in the laundry area. And others waiting their turn for the facilities do not always know what has been washed and what hasn't. If the child before them is not around to clarify the situation we can end up with dirty clothes mixed with clean. This can be compounded by the general laundry, such towels, being left in the laundry area so I am hoping to be able to budget for some colour co-ordinated baskets soon.

    My intention is to use a light coloured hamper for clean clothes and a dark one for dirty in hopes of preventing some of this confusion.

    Now as to the number of articles of clothing, I do try to keep it somewhat limited but not as strictly as I once did. If I can't fit all of the clothing for one child in one large dresser and their alloted closet space, I know we have gone overboard. I have one drawer assigned for good clothes per child in his or her dresser. I also keep some good clothes separate in my closet for the younger children so that I know for sure that they have a good out fit for Sundays. When I have a special occasion coming up I do this for some of the older children as well. (Not the teens though) This removes some of the stress when preparing for the special occasion.

    As I mentioned when I described how the older children learn to do their own laundry, each bedroom has their laundry day. This is something you could try to implement, it helps me a lot although on occasion we can get thrown off by being away on someones laundry day, that free days helps and when I know ahead we will be away, we try to squeeze a small extra load in ahead of the missed day.

    I hope that some of these ideas help you Mary. I pray that one day soon you are able to tame your Mount Everest. Please, if any other readers have some ideas or solutions that have helped you - please feel free to share them with Mary and I in the comment section.
    Read more!

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    I am spoiled...

    ... I really am. I look at awesome pictures from various blogs and admire the pretty snow. And I sigh at my romantic memories of sliding with the children. Bundling them up to take for a walk, pulling whoever was the current baby behind me in a sled. Catching small snowflakes on both my tongue and eyelashes. Watching children create snow angles, smiling as I remembered my own attempts, in vain, to get up without messing up my angel.

    But then we have spots of weather down here in NC when it is so warm that I have to open the van windows if I am out driving - like I had to tonight. There was a softness to the fresh air and I glanced at the porches filled with laughing couples and families enjoying this spring like weather as I passed them driving home from visiting my boys.

    And I realized just how spoiled I have become - how used I have become to such gentle and happy days such as this one today, here in the south. Or maybe I am just acclimatizing to my southern home where I have resided now for eleven full years. Regardless of what it is - I felt so grateful tonight for the taste of spring we have been granted several times this winter. Read more!

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Heatless but not hopeless...

    Our house is again without heat on the main floor and the temperatures dipped to -9 celcius last night. (15.8 F) BRRRRRR!!! But despite being heatless, I am not hopeless as I face the New Year. Never mind that my repeated attempts to establish a family rule has failed over and over again the past three years. Some of my readers might be scratching their heads and asking what is a Family Rule and why would you want one?

    I find it easiest to answer this question by quoting the author of a Mother's Rule of Life?

    "A rule is, and will always remain, a response to the call of God - a means of fidelity to one's vocation as a mother; a way to ensure that one's basic calling is being met with conscious care and a reasonable attempt to meet the many and varied needs of self, husband, family and home -- in such a way as to reduce unnecessary emotional turmoil or physical & psychological stress But instead, to have this valid tool as a means of living motherhood in a life-giving and self-offering way. This is the route of love." (To read the question and its full answer that this quote is from - click here.)

    I read A Mother's Rule of Life a few months after a Priest, in the confessional, remarked that our family life needed to resemble that of a rule - perhaps the Benedictine Rule. 'There are so many individuals, varying needs and schedules to try to meet and adjust to, that in your life is almost like that of a monastery and you should try implementing a rule - maybe the Benedictine Rule.' Obedient confessor that I am, I immediately began to research this particular rule and shortly after came across Holly's book - A Mother's Rule of Life.

    Since then I have come to know Holly Pierlot and we joined together to begin an online google support group and this lead to Holly directing an online workshop for us that was recently released as a workbook (To view a sample click here or to purchase - click here and a review of this book can be read here.)

    Despite having read the book and worked through parts of the workshop and reviewing the workshop again when I helped Holly to compile it into the workbook, I still find myself failing when I attempt to implement my family rule over and over. Why, I have had to ask myself, is this so?

    I have come to the conclusion that I always try to change, as well as implement, too many things at once. I become overwhelmed and give up. As well, our family is/has been facing trying times for the past six years and, with the changes we are facing in the upcoming months, I am going to have to remain very flexible in my daily schedules. However, after some prayer and reflection I have concluded that there are some goals that I must meet daily and I have realized that for now, my Rule will have to be simply be a list of these daily goals. There are ten in all.

    1) Pray with my spouse, in the morning before we leave our room.
    2) Attend daily Mass or start the day with the family Rosary.
    3) Wash, dry and put away (at a minimum) one load of clothes a day. (Keep in mind my dryer is on its last legs or I would try to do more)
    4) Breakfast & breakfast chores
    5) School, including Tanny's Speech Therapy exercises
    6) Lunch & lunch chores (recheck laundry)
    7) Read w/ Emma, Elsa and Tanny
    8) 3 pm Chaplet, followed by 3 pm chores.
    9) Supper @ 5 pm, followed by supper chores
    10) Bedtime routines started by 7:30, include examination of conscience at this time.

    This is not a full rule and those familiar with Holly's book, will immediately see some holes in it such as time alone for myself. While this is a bare bones start, all of the five P's discussed in Holly's book are covered in a minimal way here.
    First P - Prayer; is covered in 1, 2, 8 and 10.
    Second P - Person; is covered by 4, 6, 8 & 10. Eating our meals on time is a basic need I must follow for myself as well as the family. Also by ensuring my children follow a bedtime routine, I leave time open for myself to be spent alone, as well as with my husband.
    Third P - Partner; is covered by Hugo and I agreeing to start our day by praying together as well as through # 10 as I mention above.
    Fourth P - Parenting; simply attempting to achieve all of these 10 daily goals will make me a better parent.
    Fifth P - Provider; in ensuring the daily meal chores are done daily, and on time, helps with the area of provider as in doing so - I will ensure that food is not left out and wasted. As well, # 10 helps to provide for an earlier bedtime for Hugo and I, allowing us to rest and have more energy to give toward the needs of providing for our family.

    My goal is to try and accomplish each of these goals daily for a minimum of thirty days and then add to it. I have determined that these is the very minimum that I must achieve daily in order for God to be able to bless my efforts and help me to lessen the mental stress that I am feeling daily. In doing this I am confident I not only will gain energy, but that I will also find that large gaps of time will open up, allowing me to pack more meat on this skeleton of a rule.

    Now why have I chosen to share this publicly? Largely to put a little pressure on myself by publicly sharing a commitment I have made to myself.

    And so now you know that while I may be without heat - I am not without hope as I face 2008 spanning before me, yet to be filled with challenges; met and conquered. 2007 was a difficult year that seriously drained our energies and sometimes our hope and even our courage. I can only pray that by starting off 2008 with this simple rule for myself, I will find the energy, courage and strength to face come what may. And most importantly, I know I will be doing it hand in hand with God.
    P.S. Whilst working on this post, the heat (after 8 hours of not functioning) kicked back in downstairs. Praise be to God and may the heat STAY on! Although we will still request a service visit to make sure that something is not wrong as it is very bizarre... no heat... heat... Read more!

    The Kindness Test

    I took this test and scored nine, the lower end of "kinda nice person, but as a follower of Christ I need work!" Ooops! Try the test yourself and see how you score!
    Good Luck!
    Read more!