Friday, March 28, 2008

As Elsa announced this morning...

... we are going on "acation!"
See when we get back!
Read more!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

we are going...

... HERE for two days. The kids are overjoyed and the house is full of energy while we pack, do laundry, find out what is making one of the pantry cupboards smell a little off and search for bathing suits that have gone into hiding now that we are not traveling as much as we were.

I promise NOT to forget the camera, and if I do, my cellphone takes pictures!

See you in a few days. Read more!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A good read...

"I believe that the restoration that Pope Benedict wants is starting in the right place - with the liturgy intertwined with sacred music. The liturgy is really the cornerstone of the Faith in visible form. If you have reverent, solemn liturgy it is very difficult to say that it belongs in a concrete box. It is also very difficult to say that the typical music found in a parish choir is worthy of well celebrated liturgy. They are really antithetical."

To read the complete article click here. Read more!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Answer to Mary Ann's claims that Opus Dei is...

... an organization created by a fascist and that my right wing morals will drive my children away, I have the following videos for you. I took the time to do this research for you, Mary Ann. I hope you will take the time to watch these videos.

As Bishop Fulton Sheen stated "Not 100 in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is." I think this quote could also be applied to Opus Dei and its members. If any of my other readers are not acquainted with Opus Dei, or worse, the only knowledge you have of it is from the Da Vinci Code; please take the time to watch these short and enjoyable videos. Each of these links will take you to a page where you will find numerous other videos, testimonies and writings. Enjoy...

Doug Hinderer
A corporate executive talks about growing up, finding Opus Dei, family issues, and misconceptions about Opus Dei.
to view video CLICK HERE

Ana Samuel
A political philosophy grad student talks about becoming a supernumerary, a typical day in her life, and the role of women in Opus Dei.
To view video CLICK HERE

Andrea Feehery
On the hospitality staff at Shelbourne Conference Center in Indiana, Ms. Feehery talks about her work as a numerary assistant, how she joined Opus Dei, and the reactions of her friends.
To view video CLICK HERE

For a taste of St. Jose Maria Escriva:

Click HERE
Click HERE
Click HERE

If, Mary Ann, after perusing these videos and writings you are still feeling so hostile towards Opus Dei and its members; at least you will know who and what it is you hate as opposed to who you think you hate. But please do not leave anymore hate filled comments for me to post as I will not inflict such angry and hate filled comments on my readers. May God Bless you Mary Ann! Read more!

A full 48 hours...

... and so far no one has frozen, misplaced or otherwise messed up our bank account!
(Although I can't get my ATM card to work yet...)
Read more!

An almost 3 year old conversations:

Elsa: "I am a baby bear, Mummy!" (said as she snuggled up to mummy)

Mummy: "Oh you are? Well - you are a very pretty bear!"

Elsa smiles and adds: "I am a very sparkly bear!"

Mummy: "Ohhhh! Yes, you are a very sparly bear.

Elsa smiles.

Mummy: "This little bear has very pretty eyes."

Elsa smiles.

Mummy: "This little bear has a very pretty bear nose!"

Elsa sighs: "But I don't talk. Bears don't talk."


Elsa: "Mummy I have a cut on my foot. LOOK!"

Mummy checks foot over carefully and manages to find a tiny speck that could possibly be an injury if one really stretched their imagination. "Oh - I see it Elsa!"

Elsa: "Yes - A monster did that to me!"

Mummy: "A monster?"

Elsa "Yes - a MONSTER and it put mud in it!"

Mummy: "It did?"

Elsa: "Yes it did and now I need a band-aid"


Elsa: "Mummy there is a 'pider on the wall and it's going to eat me!"

Mummy: "Then you better get on Gabriela's lap."

Elsa: "Look Lala - there is a pider on the wall."

Lala: "Hmmm?"

Elsa: (growling very loudly) "LALA - you better look at the 'PIDER ON THE WALL, OR IT IS GOING TO EAT YOU ALL UP!!"

Careful examination of the wall unveiled.... nothing! Not even the tiniest spider and certainly not one big enough to eat us ALL UP! We just have a very imaginative two year old.


"Oh by the way Mummy - I have to use the pottie" this said while dancing and squirming on her tippy toes. Read more!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Vigil...

We made it to the Easter Vigil with all of the family save one - Amanda, who is in Ireland right now. Thankfully, despite the crowded conditions of our pew, only one child singed his bangs - just as I took the youngest to the bathroom. Luckily Miguel caught sight of the poof of Nathaniel's bangs and clapped his hand over his forehead in time to keep any serious damage from happening.

Otherwise, it was a very peaceful event, at least it was when Elsa and Emma were not "discussing" whose crayon was whose as they coloured pictures of the Divine Chaplet I had brought with me.

As we got home from Saint Michaels, a 90 minute drive for us, at about quarter of one (A.M.) the Easter Angles were a little tardy with putting out the gifts and chocolate bunnies. While I failed to get pictures of the table - I did get photos of some of the results of the sidewalk chalk they got. I will post them later - as a slide show on the side bar. Read more!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Praise You Lord Jesus!

I can go buy groceries and some little gifts for Bethany as, for now - the money is back in our account. It is only 7:16 am BUT fearing the bank could reverse itself at any moment - there is not time to lose - so I am off to MacDonalds for a coffee and then to Wal-mart to buy some food.

When I get home - we will prepare to head to our Parish for confession and then the Stations of the Cross which will be performed live by the Hispanic community.

God Bless you all and may you have a peaceful and spiritually rich Triduum. Read more!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Divine Mercy Novena

Good Friday marks the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena. To participate in it just click here. Read more!

Trying to save a buck or two... well as the environment, with florescent light bulbs? Ever broken one? What about when one burns out - you just toss it right? Think again - those little babies contain mercury - enough for one broken bulb to contaminate a 1000 gallons of water. However if you have one of those older ones - which you may very well , each bulb contains enough mercury to contaminate 6000 gallons of water. If each of my ceiling lamps had one of these jewels in them I would be harboring enough mercury in my home to contaminate roughly eighty-four thousand gallons of water. Multiply that by the 9 million fluorescent bulbs have been purchased in California alone... the amount of mercury lurking in our homes is mind boggling.

AND when Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine accidentally broke a bulb she discovered the hard way how difficult safely cleaning up one of these things can be.

"Manufacturers and the EPA say broken CFLs should be handled carefully and recycled to limit dangerous vapors and the spread of mercury dust. But guidelines for how to do that can be difficult to find, as Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, discovered.

“It was just a wiggly bulb that I reached up to change,” Bridges said. “When the bulb hit the floor, it shattered.”

When Bridges began calling around to local government agencies to find out what to do, “I was shocked to see how uninformed literally everyone I spoke to was,” she said. “Even our own poison control operator didn’t know what to tell me.”

The state eventually referred her to a private cleanup firm, which quoted a $2,000 estimate to contain the mercury. After Bridges complained publicly about her predicament, state officials changed their recommendation: Simply throw it in the trash, they said."

To read the full article CLICK HERE.

According to the EPA this is how we should deal with a broken bulb... There only eleven simple steps to follow:

Before cleanup: Vent the room
1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Cleanup steps for hard surfaces
3. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
6. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Cleanup steps for carpeting or rug
3. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
6. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Disposal of cleanup materials
7. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
8. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing cleanup materials.
9. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a recycling center.

Future cleaning of carpeting or rug
10. For at least the next few times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
11. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

I wish I had known this when of these bombs exploded in my bathroom when one of the children flipped the light switch. A strong burnt smell filled the air and a fine powder covered the bathroom sink and floor. I merely saw it as an inconvenience one must suffer in order to help conserve energy and so help keep the world green while, at the same time, keeping more green in one's wallet.

The EPA likes to point out that the bulbs go a long way to prevent pollution, but in general it is hard to ignore the following evidence:

"All CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage.

The amount is tiny — about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen — but that is enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels, Stanford University environmental safety researchers found. Even the latest lamps promoted as “low-mercury” can contaminate more than 1,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels." (MSNBC)

As you can well imagine - these bulbs have been permanently crossed off of my shopping list, along with the tuna fish that the FDA recommends we not eat in any large quantity due to the mercury that it contains... Maybe the FDA and the EPA should compare notes?

Read more!

The comedy continues....

Someone "doing their job" decided to supercede our manager's authority and freeze our money - until they hear back from the Canadian branch that this was indeed a real cheque. Unfortunately our manager who has left for his Easter break - is blissfully unaware of this. So if anyone in Canada in the Fraud branch of RBC Centura is reading my blog would you call the Fraud Branch here in NC, and approve our cheque so we can continue on with our lives and maybe be able to celebrate our daughter's 10th birthday this Saturday. She doesn't really want anything extravagant - just barbequed burgers with the family and maybe some art supplies for a gift.

Hugo and I just really don't want the cheques we wrote yesterday to bounce and all of the fun that will come with unraveling that mess.

Prayers gratefully welcomed! Read more!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kudos Customer Service...

For Mutual and RBC CENTURA

Seriously... Mutual's customer service is great even if they have problems in their mail room that can result in one's life savings traversing the South East whilst FEDEX tries to figure out just what city our ZIP CODE really does stand for. They tried High Point NC, but High Point simply sent the envelope back to Indiana. Indiana then decided to try Greer, South Carolina. Greer just sent it right back to Indiana. Indiana decided to try another southern town in North Carolina and this town also sent it back to Indiana. At this time Fedex threw up its hands and sent the envelope back to Canada.

Thankfully, after many friendly chats with Mutual's customer service - the envelope safely found its way home to us. It was a Friday, so we hurried to the bank where we deposited the check, had a friendly chat with our branch manager and headed home; secure in the knowledge that the money was safe and sound in my husband's business account.

However, through a set of crazy co-incidences the funds disappeared into the bowels of RBC's vast accounting machine. This brought me into my first contact with RBC's customer service where I found a very friendly and helpful woman who sadly could not sort out what was wrong. Monday we called our manager who worked very hard on our behalf over the next two days to help track down our missing funds.

Last night my attempt to set up online banking for the account that the funds were finally going to be deposited into brought me into contact once more with the friendly customer service reps for RBC CENTURA. An extremely friendly and very helpful lady helped me to set up my account online, activated my ATM card and then helped my husband to do the same.

Finally; at 9:30 am this morning we were able to confirm that the funds were there and available. I immediately took care of some very pressing and rather over due bills. Later this afternoon, I tried to pay another bill with my ATM card only to have it rejected. Not worried as I had not yet activated it as a debit card, only as a credit card, I simply wrote a cheque. However when it was not accepted as a credit card when I tried to pay my internet provider I was a little disturbed. Mentioning it to my husband he coyly suggested I check online "to make sure the money was still there". Rolling my eyes at the impossibility of the money just disappearing, I did as he suggested. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a balance in the
N E G A T I V E.

As it was now after regular business hours I returned once again to the ever friendly and polite customer service via the 1 800 number listed on the website. It appears that RBC CENTURA has again misplaced our money.

However, customer service was very polite and extremely apologetic about it and we must now call our branch in the morning to inquire as to who has decided to move the whole amount of our deposit to another account, rendering this account overdrawn- with transactions that are NOT the ones I made this morning.

So while Mutual has problems in the mail room, and RBC has (serious) problems in accounting - they both have excellent customer service. Hats off to their polite, friendly and very helpful customer service reps. Now if someone in accounting could just put the money BACK in my account and actually LEAVE it there - I would very, very happy! Read more!

Monday, March 17, 2008


This Saturday morning when we checked online to see if the cheque had posted as the teller had said it would, we discovered not only had the cheque not posted but that the account had disappeared.

We were, to say the least, shocked. We called the 1 - 800 number listed there for for us to inquire as to why our account was no longer available on line. What we were told did nothing to relieve our shock and worry. Due to the account having been overdrawn for an extended period of time - it had been closed. I bleakly asked the customer representative where our money was and she cheerfully announced that 'the bank has it'. She helpfully tried to see if anyone would be available at the branch we bank at on a Saturday. No luck. I thanked her and hung up and turned around to stare into Hugo's grief stricken eyes.

I tried to encourage him to think positively; I said; 'you know we should be grateful that God provided for us this weekend with the large donation from one of my readers. BEFORE this all went wrong. We can assume God knew what was going to happen and so He inspired a reader to help out with a donation."

Hugo asked well - "Why didn't he just help the cheque to get here on time... Just an hour earlier and we would have made it there before two and avoided the account being closed... Or if FEDEX hadn't lost it for a week, all this could have been avoided."

I completely saw his logic - so I could not respond except to shrug my shoulders. What could I say?Just how much is under God's influence? A tornado hit Atlantic last night - twenty families have lost their homes. Numerous people will be without work for weeks while the hotels repair the windows in their rooms and divert clients to other hotels. Jesus calmed the wind with a few words - could he not have turned the tornado away, why did He let it happen. Of course - I am simply asking rhetorical questions. God does not cause evil - He simply allows free will.

But was it free will that someone did not notice the wrong address when they printed the shipping label? Maybe it would be wise to say this is the effect of original sin. Sounds like a huge leap, eh? But is it? When you think of how we are to aim for Heaven and to perfect ourselves through our everyday lives, using every moment to improve and push ourselves closer to heaven; that even sloth is a sin, it makes it a little more reasonable to think that what happened with the cheque was the result of original sin.

Someone was careless at Mutual. They did not double check their work. Maybe they were hung over from a late party the night before. Maybe they were nursing anger with a colleague and so not paying attention. Maybe they had a cold... also a side effect of original sin.

Whatever was the reason, someone missed the opportunity to use an ordinary moment to do their best and sanctify their work to the glory of Christ, and thus began a dynamo effect that cascaded down around Hugo and I. But God in His goodness, inspired someone to send us that donation so that we would have enough food and gas for the weekend. Monday - I will need to cover a 500 dollar utility bill, (high I know but the insulation sucks in this house, the water drips non stop in all of the sinks and the thermostat does not work - causing the furnace to run non stop - requiring me to operate the thermostat manually. Too hot - turn heat off, getting cold - turn heat back on.) or the hydro will be turned off.

At that time - God will provide, either someone at the Hydro company will give us an extension, or we will be told by the bank to go ahead and write a check - or something will happen.

The one thing I have learned from the past six years - we will all have our crosses. For us right now - it is the finances and having, at times, to beg. I can so identify with this quote "If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you. Especially anticipate the needs of those who are ashamed to beg. To make them ask for alms is to make them buy it. " St. Thomas of Villanova

The cross is a hard truth to accept. Right now my children are more or less healthy. My adult children are all doing well. But they will all, in their turn, suffer. My temptation is to ask Christ to spare them; yet - it is in suffering that we grow closer to God, that we are perfected. To ask God to protect them from suffering would be like asking Him to never let them walk - for fear they will trip and fall down. Instead I have learned that I must pray for them to have the graces to bear the sufferings that they will endure in the future. I recently heard (on EWTN) a priest talking about just this. He said that we must pray NOW for the grace to endure sufferings to come; other wise when we are given our cross it will be too heavy to bear, and we will find it impossible to pray then for the graces we need. I have learned this the hard way!

So as difficult as it might seem, I now refrain from asking God to prevent suffering for my children or myself. Rather I ask for the graces to bear what will come - and the wisdom to enjoy the small joys found my everyday life. Read more!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A little more reason to support our own....

Contaminated fish? Antibiotics illegal for use in food meant for human consumption? Filthy?
These are just some of findings of Alabama when they decided to test foreign imports of fish.

to view the video.
Read more!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the saga continues....

Our financial adviser in Canada emailed us a tracking number. And OH - you will not believe what has happened. Mutual - the company that held the funds in Canada sent the cheque via OVERNIGHT courier and thank GOD requested a signature. According to the tracking number something was wrong with the address and TODAY - it was signed for by an employee of Mutual back in CANADA....

So praise GOD - we know where the cheque is - it just isn't in our hot little hands yet.

Now I could whine and moan about the incompetency of Mutual who told us it went by UPS and, as such, did not have a tracking number.... BUT I KNOW whose fault it is and when my friend reads this - she will know who she is - because she predicted that the Good Lord would hold this money UNTIL EASTER!!!

And I refused to believe her. HA! I was so wrong wasn't I my dear friend, and you (dang it) were right!!!

But the Good Lord has kept us with just enough Manna and continues to be faithful in that regard. So we begin the process all over again while the good Lord enjoys His little chuckle along with His lesson in practicing the virtue of PATIENCE and of FAITH.

THANK YOU everyone for your continued support and prayers. Read more!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


If you have been following our saga you know that company that held our Canadian Retirement funds did not bother to keep a record of the tracking number of the package that contained our cheque and now it has been almost a week since they sent it through UPS.

I am having to work on letting go and trusting. It was so easy the first day when the cheque did not arrive as we expected it to. We simply assumed that it would be here on Monday as the person we spoke to on Friday said it had gone out with UPS that morning... sadly we did not even think to ask for a tracking number at that time, although I doubt that would have made a difference as who ever sent it had already NOT recorded it.

However, I can truly see the benefit of this wait. I can even see God's hand in the tracking number being left unknown to us. In this way we have to blindly trust. Because of this we cannot be continually reassuring ourselves by tracking the cheque's progress online. "Ok, the package is at the border, the package is in NY, the package is...."

The disciples had to walk through all of Holy Week - not knowing the future and they had to trust that all would be alright, that God's hand was in all of these mysterious events they were facing. So too are Hugo and I being asked to trust that God is in control. Not UPS, not us, GOD is.
And it is so HARD! So please pray for the graces for Hugo and I to let go and trust. Read more!


... my oldest baby is leaving for here:

Aimee, dearest, is there any chance you could squeeze me into a small corner of you suitcase so I can enjoy some of this scenery with you??? Read more!

Love is...

...seeing that mummy is too tired to wash out the tub
and run a bubble bath for herself so you do it.
Thank you Bethany!
Read more!

You know you are really tired...

...when your two year old who routinely asks you around 7 am every morning 'if its morning' and today you have to stop and think before you can say: "Umm, yes it is morning." Read more!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Prayer prayers prayers....

... we need a few prayers please!

We are waiting on a cheque that has been sent by courier and apparently the company that mailed it, chose to mail it the slowest, cheapest way possible and without a tracking number.

Groceries are low and the pennies are being counted and stretched as far as possible.

Please join our pleas to Heaven that this money gets to us as soon as possible. God willing tomorrow, because even if it were to arrive tomorrow we will not be able to access the funds from it until Wednesday. The Lord has been good providing for us with Manna from Heaven - always just enough.

We have rarely, for the past two months, had more than a third of a tank of gas - usually it is just a quarter tank - just enough to get us there and back for any errands needing to be done. We have been buying food enough for one to two days at a time.

Hugo is about one third through his certification process and sadly - although I have been working for two months writing for this non profit company - they have yet to be able to pay me. This Lent has been a streeeeeetching of faith exercise for us.

I have not always done well - but I have done better than in the past. And we have experienced some little miracles as a result. For instance last week, old Mother Hubbard's cupboards were bare and so were the bank accounts. There was little reason to expect any eBay sales to pull us through the next 48 hours and I was feeling low.

"Lord," I grumbled, "I thought we had a deal. I thought I was to have faith and you were to provide." I grumbled some more to Him and struggled with the crisis of faith I was having and finally I threw up my hands and said; "Okay Lord, if this is how it is to be - I am needing some graces to deal with this. I can not do this alone - I NEED You to carry me. I need YOU to give me the graces I need to believe and to relax and not to worry."

It was then that, out of the blue, I remembered our gracious priest from a previous parish who had mailed us a gift card a few weeks previously but I could not remember where I had put it. I asked Saint Anthony to help me remember where it was.

"A black binder," sounded in my head.

I reached for the one next to me - nope.

"Upstairs," whispered a voice in my brain.

I dashed upstairs and found another black binder beside the desk in my bedroom. I opened it and looked in the sleeve. There was the Wal-mart card!

I danced a jig and the whole family rejoiced. We were able to buy enough food for two days with that card. Always just enough - just like the Manna from heaven.

So please pray with us while we wait for next gift of Manna or the cheque to come - whichever happens first. Read more!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Please pray

(Photo Credit Salisbury Post)
for the souls of two fire fighters, Justin Monroe, 19, and Victor Isler, 40, who died today in a ferocious five alarm fire that has completely destroyed the Salisbury Lumber Mill.

To read more about the fire click here.
Saint Florian please pray for all who are still fighting this fire and may all the Saints and Angels in heaven join us in prayer for the souls so recently departed and for their families.

The words to TAPS, the melody typically played at a fallen hero's burial.

Day is done
Gone the sun
From the Lakes
From the hills
From the sky.
All is well,
safely rest.
God is nigh.

Fading light
Dims the sight
And a star
Gems the sky,
Gleaming bright
From afar,
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.
(Words were found at this SITE.)
Read more!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My apologies...

...once again to my readers - assuming I even have anybody reading me anymore! Life has been a challenge - learning how to accommodate a part time writing job into my daily schedule and still be able to find time to write for my enjoyment of writing.

I have had some great family moments that would be fun to share but simply have not had the time to sit down and compose my thoughts. I have also had some inspiring moments I have wanted to share but again - not the time to sit and write them in a lucid and entertaining manner. I will not post just to simply post. I want my readers to be entertained, or enlightened and sometimes both!

Please pray for us while we seek discernment regarding some difficult decisions facing us in the upcoming weeks and possibly months.

God Bless and I hope to be able to find some time in the very near future to post. In the meantime - enjoy some photos from the wonderful Sunday afternoon we shared today as a family in the park. Read more!

A sunny day in March...

Read more!
"God's grace can fill us this Lent, provided we do not close the doors of our heart. We must be well-disposed, we must really want to change; we cannot play with God's grace. We cannot regard this Lent as just another liturgical season which has simply happened to come around again. It is a unique time: a divine aid which we should accept. Jesus is passing by and he hopes that we will take a great step forward - today, now." St. Josemaria Escriva, Christ is Passing By Read more!