Saturday, May 31, 2008

Open Line Saturday...

One of the questions I often face as the mother of a large family is "how do you keep up with the laundry?" and depending on the size of Mount Everest in my laundry room I either evade the question or I answer it.

Currently I do have a small mountain of laundry growing in the laundry area but that is, in part, the fault of my two oldest sons. One son just finished up a semester in college and, I suspect, looking at his own private Mount Everest; decided he would come home for a brief visit before moving into an apartment with friends. At any rate, I woke one morning last week to find not one but two sons asleep on the couches in the living room. Both the washer and dyer were going with several baskets of dirty clothes stacked across the laundry area. The other son who had just moved home so as to be able to save some money while continuing his studies at the local community college, also had several mounds of laundry heaped in that area.

Typically though, we have a system. Each child knows his or her day of the week for laundry. Now if you do the math - you quickly see that I have more children then there are days of the week - so how, you might well ask, does that work? I guess I would be more correct in saying that I have groups of children assigned to days of the week with older children getting a whole day to them self. (Is that grammatically correct?) And these groups are largely determined by who shares a room together. Now if a child (or worse a roomful) misses a day - Wednesday is free - except that we are usually away on that day... so it is a little difficult to utilize that day. None the less, it has been done. If need be - one can resort to begging, and/or bribing, to be allowed to do a small load on someone else's wash day. My dream is to one day own two washers and two dryers... but that will likely remain a dream. But one needs dreams - right?

The one dilemma that constantly tripped me up though was that of towels. I could never keep up with towels. Especially in the summer when some of the younger children might take a dip in the tub several times a day. I have finally resolved that problem. But for that solution you will have to tune in - next Saturday. Read more!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't you wish you were close enough to come???

Bethany's favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies with chocolate and white chocolate chips!

Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing with touches of chocolate a l'orange icing

Colourful cupcakes, white and chocolate!

All of the above will be enjoyed with other treats being brought by other guests at the piano recital tonight. We wish you all could come!
Read more!

Family Friday

Here is a picture from our trip this week to East Coast of NC. We stayed at a hotel that had a large hot tub and this is a photo of the the three little ones (The only ones we brought with us) all ready to take the plunge! Tonight four of our children are participating in piano recital so there is no time for blogging. However, I will try to get some pictures of the cup cakes we are making for the refreshments tonight. Read more!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More pictures from that most memorable night...

Fairy God Mother and her helpers

The Ugly step mother and the ugly step sisters. Take a close look at these characters.

(I had hoped to add more photos, but I am not feeling well tonight so I will try to add more later. And no, I am ashamed to admit my 'unwellness' has nothing to do imbibing tons of junk food as an unexpected road trip has delayed this sacrifice that I am so willingly submitting myself to!) Read more!

Photo Thursday and a trip down memory lane

and a trip down memory lane...

Cinderella and her Prince Charming with a lady in waiting in the middle. This is my eldest daughter who currently resides in Ireland and has a new website Expat Squared. She was about 18 in this photo and was playing two roles in Raleigh Little Theater's annual Christmas musical rendition of Cinderella. She played the role of a lady in waiting and had the fun, and heavy work, of wearing a very elaborate costume. She also had a role as a one of the dancing villagers.

We were all very excited about Aimee's opportunity to have not only one role, but two, in this very popular Christmas tradition in Raleigh. If I remember correctly we were given some free tickets to attend one of the evenings of this large and fun production. I brought to the show that night a large number of the children one of whom was Benjamin who had just turned four but with his small stature did not look more than three. An important fact, the importance of which will come to bear shortly.

I recall after the play, which all of Aimee's siblings had enjoyed immensely, visiting with the actors in the lobby. The children strolled amongst all of the guests, sometimes shyly approaching such characters as The Ugly Step Mother or the Fairy God Mother to chat and ask questions. The youngest child with me that evening was the Benjamin with his darling smile and sharp brown eyes that twinkling under his long bangs.

Eventually all of the actors, including Aimee, headed down the back stairs to the basement where they made ready to escape all of their finery. The jewels, heavy yarn wigs, corsets made of bone and layers and layers of skirts, blouses and hose. Then there were the layers of theatrical makeup to wash off. All of this took quite some time.

Time we spent strolling about the now fairly empty lobby. The older children were standing by the front doors watching cars drive by and debating if it might actually snow as it was drizzling and rather cold. We had actually worn mittens and scarves that night - it was that chilly. Another important fact, the importance of which will also come to bear shortly. I was quite tired and sitting on a bench while trying to keep count of the many heads that were bobbing about and moving to and fro.

I called to Anna and Gabriela to corral up their younger brother Noah and then all come and sit on the bench beside me where Benjamin was already quietly sitting.
...for the bright shiny red lever that was right at his eye level from where he sat on the bench. As it dawned on me exactly what that red box was that his chubby little fingers were now brushing, I gasped and grabbed at his hand.

Too late.

It was rather like reaching out for that falling vase as it flows past your fingers tips before crashing on the ground and you forever wonder if you had stretched just a micro millimeter further might you have actually caught it?

The bells pierce the air as I stood quickly and called to one of the employees nearby, "It's a false alarm, my son pulled it!" The look of horror on her face showed she understood me.

"Oh Dear, let me see if I can catch them downstairs before the begin evacuating everyone. "

Too late, all of the unlucky actors and actresses were already being shepherded outside in various levels of undress, where they stood in a huddle hissing their wrath upon whoever it was that saw fit to pull the alarm on a night like this.

My daughter listened to plots of murder and mayhem and prayed fervently that 'it had please God NOT been one of her siblings.'

While we sat awaiting the arrival of the fire department so that we could, red faced, explain that there was no fire- simply the curiosity of a four year old behind the pulling of the alarm, the members of the company began to pick their way through the puddles and ice cold drizzle back to the warmth of their dressing rooms.

Aimee's ears were warmed with more expressions of wrath and anger at the little sod that had pulled a false alarm. She quickly dressed and joined us upstairs where she found a fireman kneeling in front of a tearful little boy who listened as the fireman gently explained when you pull, and do not pull, a fire alarm.

Did you know that if you are a small child (and perhaps even an adult) and you are in fear of a stranger - that is a perfectly good reason to pull a red alarm if you are near one. The fireman very kindly explained all of this to my little son and was not angry with him at all. He understood the temptation to pull a nice bright shiny red lever and was willing to forgive and forget; this time.

By now other members of the company were arriving and when they saw Aimee's little brother, whom they all agreed could not be more than three, had been the guilty culprit; well, he was immediately forgiven. And Aimee, for the duration of the play, never saw fit to correct their mistake. Nor, for that matter, did I! Read more!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dear Readers and Especially Diane

Prince Caspian has been found and read! I am now ready to make the great sacrifice of attending Prince Caspian a second time. Nothing is too much for the sake of my beloved readers. So tomorrow, during the matinée hour, I will drag myself to the theater, force myself to eat popcorn and wash it down with a large soda. All for the sake of my dear readers! And then I will try to have a professional review hot off the press by sometime Thursday. No promises though. I might need a day or two to recover from stuffing myself with the vast quantities of junk food that must be imbibed whilst watching a movie at the theater.

For those who have never been treated to any of my reviews but would like to have a taste of the kind of review that I strive for - click here.
Read more!

Virtuous Tuesday...

... Okay this post is not about living a virtue within the context of the family life. However - it is about a very important requirement if one wishes to live the virtues within their family life.

The following two articles are from The first is from Sister Patricia Proctor and her most recent book 101 Inspirational Stories of of the Power Prayer. The following is a comment from a reader of They both show the power of the Holy Spirit and are great inspirations for developing a relationship with Him.


Do Not Forget the Holy Spirit

Binghamton, New York

In my late twenties and early thirties, I taught part time at a nearby university. My classes were in the late afternoon when my husband could care for our four young children. While I was confident about their care, I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable about spending so much time in a chaotic, secular environment that was both mentally and emotionally demanding. Despite praying before leaving the car to walk across campus, I was not able to preserve a sense of peace and found it difficult to even remember God once my foot touched the campus pavement.

One Saturday, early in the fall semester, I went to the local church where I knew a priest would be available for spiritual direction. After waiting in line, I walked into the room where Father Grace was sitting at a table. He gestured for me to sit across from him and I began to share my concerns. I told him how saddened I was that I wasn't able to remember our Lord during my working hours, how discouraging it was to feel so alone while walking across the big campus and teaching, and how even the briefest thought of God was immediately whisked away the moment a student caught my eye or stopped to chat. I knew that my students suffered from the lack of a faith-filled professor and my own children suffered because of the lack of peace that I brought home with me.

Father Grace listened patiently and then offered some advice that dramatically changed my life. He told me to select a prayer to the Holy Spirit, memorize it, and say it daily. He said that people often forget the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He believed that they didn't know Him and usually didn't honor Him in their prayers or their lives. The prayer itself didn't matter, he said, but rather that my honoring the Holy Spirit with love and devotion each morning was what was important.

I went home, selected a prayer and set about memorizing it. Monday morning rolled around, and while saying my morning prayers, I added

the new prayer to the Holy Spirit. Later in the day, I parked my car in the campus parking lot, turned off the motor and closed my eyes to concentrate on praying to the Holy Spirit. At that moment, I had a strong sense of the presence of God. I knew that sometimes God gave that grace to encourage people, but I was surprised that the sense did not leave me while walking across campus, teaching, chatting with students, or returning to my car. How easy it was to teach and counsel students when I was strengthened by the magnificent presence of God. I continued to pray to the Holy Spirit daily. During the rest of that year, I had a strong sense of the presence of God whenever I went on campus. The presence was so strong that I was able to effortlessly think deeply about God while at the same time performing my duties as a professor. I was also able to maintain a sense of peace at home with my children, and I know I served as a better witness to others, particularly when students would approach me after class to question me about my religion, as they often did.

While there was nothing earth shaking about my prayer experience, it was soul shaking. My faith in God and the truths taught by the Catholic Church were strengthened. My prayer life became deeper as did my love for reading the Bible and the lives of the saints. I also developed a deep love for my vocation as wife and mother and now stay home to care for our children full time.

While I still have to work at keeping myself in the presence of God, I am grateful for the gift given to me by the Holy Spirit, and I pray that others too may honor Him in their lives.
Anonymous Binghamton, New York

Posted by Sister Patricia Sister Patricia at May 26, 2008 8:34 p.m.

(Second Article)

Posted by unregistered user at 5/27/08 6:49 a.m.

This reminded me of something that happened to me. My father spoke several languages and as little as I was, I could sense from people's reactions that this was something special and to be desired. So when I heard in grammar school, that when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles they could speak to each one in their own language, Well hey! that's the One to pray to! How easy is that? :o) Obviously, it wasn't quite that easy, but it left me with a lifelong habit of always calling upon the Holy Spirit in every difficult situation: talking to professors in college about late papers, or the IRS about suspending fines, or Immigration about my Dad, or Drs. about treatment for my Mom. In every instance people would bend backwards to help me. Anyway, at one point I was substituting in secondary level and was asked to take over a teacher's classes full time as the poor dear had totally lost control of the students, some two weeeks before the first semester ended. I agreed and it was a daily battle but each day new ground was won, inch by inch. Then one day as I was standing just outside the door waiting for students to come into class, I overheard one young man inside my classroom saying over and over "you're a retard" to someone. I glanced in and saw that the speaker was "Juan", a very handsome and self confident young man. He was bullying "Pedro", a sweet Guamanian who I had sitting at the rear of the class while we awaited his transfer out of the class. We were waiting for "Pedro"'s father to come back from maneuvers as he was the only one in the family who spoke English and could give us an O.k. to transfer Pedro to a class where he could do better as he was so far behind in mine that there was no way he could catch up. Poor Pedro lacked in looks as compared to Juan and it broke my heart to see his pained look every time Juan hurled a "you're a retard" at him. But what could I do? I told myself: there's nothing you can do, you can't order children to like each other and if you interfere, you can stop him from saying it inside your classroom but it will pick up intensity the minute the bell rings. So I did the only thing I knew to do: Pray to the Holy Spirit to help. A few minutes after roll call, I went to the board to write something and as my back was turned to the class Pedro's anguished voice broke the silence:"Miss T.! look at Juan!!! He's making all sorts of of of of RETARDED(voice breaking)FACES at me!" I froze, unwilling to face the class and the situation. In a nanosecond, I thought: if I scold, Juan, he's going to shrug it off and probably claim innocence and that's neither going to stop the behavior, nor ease the heartache. While I was still thinking this, with my back still to the class, I heard my voice saying in an irritated, mock scolding tone: "Listen here Pedro! You KNOW Juan can't help the way he looks, so stop picking on him!" The whole class erupted in laughter, it was so incongruous to say that about the handsomest boy in class. I turned to look at Juan and he was giving me a good natured smile, like saying: o.k. you got me good. Then I turned to look at "Pedro" and he was laughing uncontrollably, pointing at Juan and with tears rolling down his cheeks, a total emotional release of the pain. The victim had been vindicated because the aggressor had now become the victim. Now there was no way Juan could ever hurl a 'you're a retard', inside or outside my class, without bringing to mind that he himself had been laughed at. I don't think I could've made it through life without the "Memorare" and the Holy Spirit. And I found out it was true what I learned in grammar school: the Holy Spirit does allow you to speak to each one in their own language: the language of their heart. Tonie T.


If you, like me, feel inspired to develop more of a relationship with the Holy Spirit after reading the above stories here are two prayers below to start with.

A Spirit to Know You

St. Benedict of Nursia
ca. 480-547

Gracious and Holy Father,
Please give me:
intellect to understand you,
reason to discern you,
diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
a spirit to know you,
a heart to meditate upon you,
ears to hear you,
eyes to to see you,
a tongue to proclaim you,
a way of life pleasing to you,
patience to wait for you
and perseverance to look for you.

Grant me a perfect end,
your holy presence,
a blessed resurrection
and life everlasting.


Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit,
Divine Consoler,
I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration
You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart
and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts,
who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace
and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear,
so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me
from falling back into my past sins,
for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety,
so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor,
follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations,
and observe your divine precepts with greater

Grant me the gift of knowledge,
so that I may know the things of God and,
enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk,
without deviation, in the path of eternal

Grant me the gift of fortitude,
so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil,
and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel,
so that I may choose what is more conducive to my
spiritual advancement
and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter
Grant me the gift of understanding,
so that I may apprehend the divine
and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts
and affections from the vain things of this miserable

Grant me the gift of wisdom,
so that I may rightly direct all my actions,
referring them to God as my last end;
so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life,
I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.

Read more!

Monday, May 26, 2008

SUBWAY has just shot themselves ...

... in the foot.


To learn how they managed to do this Click here! To see the official Contest Rules that clearly bans home schools from participating click here. If you care to share your opinion on this contest here are a few ways of contacting their headquarters in Mitford Connecticut.
We used to be big fans of SUBWAY... but we are waiting to see how they handle this huge gaffe before we give anymore of our homeschoolers business to them. And we will be adding our two bits in their mailbox. Too bad they don't have email!

325 Bic Dr.
Milford, CT 06460 (Map)
Phone: 203-877-4281
Fax: 203-876-6674
Toll Free: 800-888-4848
Read more!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Our first bakers Monday!

And I am cheating by linking to an older post called Janet's Bread. Today (Sunday the Solemnity of Corpus Christi) we enjoyed a lovely day at a park after Mass. There, another family from our parish joined us in a feast of whole wheat rolls, and watermelons.

We toyed with the idea of hitting the transportation museum as well, but as I had lesson plans calling to me, (incomplete lesson plans) we headed for home and now at 10:07 pm, I am finished three children's lesson plans with only four more to go so I am cheating with an older post about one of my most favourite recipes - Janet's Bread. So without further ado I bid you to click here and enjoy, for the first time or as a repeat!

Diane - I am working on that review - but for some mysterious reason Prince Caspian, as in the book, was re-read several times the past month and suddenly no-one, not a soul, knows where it has disappeared to. So tomorrow I will be pleading with Saint Anthony to assist us in this endeavor and, as I am a quick read, I hope to have the book devoured in short order so that I can do a good job comparing the two! It has been a few years ( quite a few) since I read the book so I feel I need to refresh my memory in order to better answer some of your questions regarding it. I am quite looking forward to it. If you have not read any my other reviews I will put a link up tomorrow sometime so that you can see the type of review I try to accomplish when I do one! Read more!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Corpus Christi

"The Solemnity of Corpus Christi commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist, paralleling Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) commemorating Our Lord's institution of the Eucharist. Corpus Christ was introduced in the late 13th century to encourage the faithful give special honor to the institution of the Holy Eucharist to the Blessed Sacrament. The official title of this Solemnity was changed in 1970 to The Body and Blood of Christ (Latin: Sollemnitas Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Christi); and it is still on the Roman Missal’s official Calendar for the universal Church on Thursday after Trinity Sunday; however, where it is not a day of obligation (as in the United States) it is usually celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday."

To continue reading click here.
Read more!

Future blogging....

I never like to blog if I don't think that I have something of value to share or at least something funny that might put a smile on a readers face. I have been doing a little research about how to make one's blog a worthwhile read and one that friends/readers will want to come back to again and again, while also being able to reliably find new posts.

Having a bit of a format can help a writer find something useful to say on a regular basis as well as form self discipline in writing habits. So I am thinking of a schedule to follow. Bakers' Monday with a favourite recipe, Virtuous Tuesday with a post on living out a virtue within family life, Easy Wednesday with something funny from the peanut gallery Photo Thursday with a favourite pic or two posted, Family Friday - something from one of the kids is shared... but for that I will need my favourite technician to help me get my scanner up and running again. (An instrument I have been lamenting the loss of for quite some time. ) Open Line Saturday - questions are welcomed and answered... This schedule is not etched in stone, simply some ideas that I am thinking of using.

If any of my readers have an idea for a theme for one of the days of the week, feel free to leave it in the comment section. (And I am hoping you will have some ideas!)

God Bless Read more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Official Review of Prince Caspain....

Emma (five) "It was AWESOME!"

Nathaniel (seven) It was fun but I didn't like the kissing part.

And neither did Emma, apparently, as she hid her face during the "kiss" but her eyes were glued to the screen in all of the action scenes.

So Prince Caspian is a success as an action movie but leave out the romance please.... as per the peanut gallery. Read more!

Outside my windows...


1. having beauty; having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind


1. the quality of being fragrant; a sweet or pleasing scent.


1. The condition or time of flowering: peach trees in blossom.


1. not visible; not perceptible by the eye
2. withdrawn from or out of sight; -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Combine these various definitions together and you have what I am experiencing each time I pass by or sit near an open window today. A beautiful fragrance of blossoms that are invisible to my immediate view but that is giving me great pleasure so that I just want to sit and inhale for long periods of time. Read more!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Whether to post or not to post a negative comment...

The dilemma as to whether to leave or allow the publishing of a negative comment is one that I have had to grapple with. The questions I ask myself are;

1) "Will this comment offend my readers?"

2) "Can anything positive possibly come of this negative comment?"

If I conclude, usually with my husbands calm input, that nothing positive can come of the comment or that it is so hateful that to post it will simply be inflicting hate and pain on my readers - it gets bumped.

Here is a delightful and informative post that will enlighten us all on how to deal with such comments. To read click here. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read more!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jelly Beans...

My husband has a favourite brand of jelly beans and a few days ago I picked up a small bag of them for him. To help me make my escape to the local Wal-mart so as to stock up on birthday goodies for the upcoming teen celebration he cheerfully distracted 3 years old Elsa with the bribe of sharing his special jelly beans!

Upon getting home I asked Elsa if she had enjoyed the jelly beans.

"Yes! I DID!" She exploded with a huge grin.

"Oh, and are there any left?" I queried.


"Not even ONE jelly bean, you didn't save me any?" I teased.

"Well, I tried to... but I just ate 'dem all. " she sighed with a shrug of helplessness.

Those jelly beans... they just overtook her little taste buds and disappeared, each and every one of them, into her little tummy! Read more!

It's official...


It is a joy to watch your transition from a little boy to young gentleman as well as your efforts to be true to God and to your faith. We all love you Noah even if you did find it necessary to remind us at 12 am that we had a new teen in the house.

"Happy Birthday!"

Read more!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Excuse me? Did I hear that correctly?

While we were watching a coloured version of the Three Lives of Thomasina I remarked, 'I saw this when I was little' to which my 11 year old son replied:

"You mean this movie is that old?"

As I glared at him, my 10 year old daughter added:

"Well, two of the children are in Mary Poppins and that movie is very old!"

Excuse me while I schedule my geriatric check up.... Read more!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ain't that just the truth though...

This pic borrowed from Danielle Bean.
Read more!


Anyone who has said God is fair has not sat at the dining room table trying to gather the last ounce of energy from the bottom of your toes so as to be able to prepare dinner whilst you watch the five year old being chased by the three year old as they both scream in ecstasy "ENERGY, ENERGY, ENERGY!"

Now if you will excuse me - I think I will go eat some dark chocolate chips for some badly needed energy! Read more!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Best Friends

Thanks Noah for showing such a cute video! These otters reside in the Vancouver Aquarium in BC Canada. Read more!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Strawberries & tornadoes...

Strawberry season is upon us and so, it appears, is the tornado season as well and we have just had a tasting of both and the strawberries come out on top.

Wednesday threw us a bit off our game plan when we spent the afternoon picking about 15 lbs of strawberries after our regular co-op home school group. Typically we would come home and each child attack a math lesson followed by our 3 pm chores. Instead, we gorged on strawberries and prepared strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Thursday morning I awoke with a severe headache and a somewhat jaundiced attitude that did not improve as I strolled through the house trying to regain the momentum we had attained earlier in the week. Finally I declared it was a cleaning day and, as such, a school holiday. This was received with mixed feelings as you can well imagine...

No school VS c l e a n i n g.

None the less everyone rallied and by about 4 pm I was well satisfied and we called it a day and I headed out to do a few chores with Hugo. I was struck by the pattern of the breezes and felt unsettled by them. Each time I entered a building and then came out I was impressed by the increasing humidity. Despite the almost continuous shifting breeze, there was a stillness to the air that bothered me.

Our chores finished, Hugo and I returned home to a simple dinner of chicken strips, fries and left over veggies. Due to the number of strips and fries one needs to cook in order to feed ten, we ate in shifts. Since we had already done so much cleaning the supper chores were quickly completed and we all went our separate ways. I to my room to tidy it a little and listen to some online talk shows and most of the children outside to play in the back. The breeze began to pick up and before long could really be called windy and I soon called the children in. We settled in for the evening and shortly the little ones were asleep and older children were reading in their rooms while Hugo and I watched the first disk of the seventh season of 24.

Despite the rapid development of the plot line, I was somewhat distracted by my still pounding head and the steadily increasing lightning. There was little thunder but the lightning was almost continuous. Anyone who has watched the opening scene of Twister will remember the continuous lightening strikes and somehow the movie has been able to convey well the very atmosphere in the shifting wind that proceeds this type of weather. This was how it was last night.

Finally close to eleven we shut off 24 and I decided to check the forecast. We were under, not a tornado watch, but a warning. I called Hugo who turned on his scanner, and we learned almost immediately that we were within miles of a tornado but were unsure what direction it was heading. However, it was moving at about 46 miles an hour. Quickly we changed back into our clothing and got the children up telling them to dress quickly. I grabbed Emma, soundly asleep, off her bottom bunk and Hugo grabbed Elsa off our bed. Everyone else shepherded themselves downstairs where we huddled on the couches, Emma and Elsa still dreaming their dreams.

With the scanner in the background we prayed a decade of the Rosary and called our only neighbours to warn them. Thankfully we learned the tornado was moving away from us but listened helplessly as it headed to nearby Greensboro. More smaller tornadoes were reported and we sent the children to bed while we stayed up until 1:30 listening to the scanner until we were certain all danger was passed. In the morning we learned the tornado that hit Greensboro was an F3 and thankfully only one life was lost and miraculously only a few people were injured. Some from cars overturning in the highway, and another when a building collapsed.

Tonight we are again with that ominous stillness to the air but, as of yet, the sun is shining and the clouds are few. We are under a severe thunderstorm warning but so far, not a tornado warning. Let's pray it stays that way.

Sadly the strawberry season is no where as near as long as the tornado season. If only we could reverse that somehow, eh?

(Correction, initial reports were that the tornado that hit Greensboro was an F3 but it has been downgraded to an F2, to read more about it click here. My three older children, who all live in Gaston County, slept through the sudden severe weather band that lead to another twister (Also an F2) that left a 7 mile path of damage through the county at about 2 am. An F3 touched down in the Clemons area. To read more click here. Note these links may stop working in a day or two.) Read more!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fr. Leo Patalinghug

The following was written by Fr. Leo Patalinghug whose blog, Food for the Soul, I have added to my favourite links. He spoke last fall at our Eucharistic Congress here in Charlotte, NC. Shortly thereafter I signed up to his weekly emails, Food for the Body, Food for the Soul and I thought I would share some of the contents of this weeks with my readers.


There is no doubt the mother is the heart of the home. She, by God’s grace, transforms the societal institution of the family unit into a real loving, caring family – the primary building block of society.

As the secular calendar celebrates Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 11, moms will share in the celebration of Pentecost. While I fully realize Mother’s Day is NOT a religious holiday, I can’t help but see how grace transforms this secular holiday into a religious one. After all, is not motherhood a gift from God! And have we forgotten that one of mom’s roles is to help the child she carried in her womb to become a saint? Every Sunday should be a Mother’s Day! But this Sunday is a uniquely special one, because it coincides with Pentecost – the outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit and with our Blessed Mother in the same room where Jesus gave us the Eucharist!

Scripture scholars will note how the Blessed Mother’s presence almost invites the Holy Spirit. Mary, by her beautiful and immaculate faith, invited the Holy Spirit to take root, dwell in, and incarnate in her womb at the Annunciation. She could have said no to Archangel Gabriel, but she didn’t! Her surprising pregnancy was no accident, but a gift of the Holy Spirit! Mary’s maternal beckoning at the Wedding Feast of Cana inspired Jesus to exercise his power and to call forth the Holy Spirit to make the first miracle: changing water into wine. She was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commend my Spirit.” She was in the upper room at the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit, as tongues of fire, came down upon her and the apostles and enlivened the faith of Jesus’ believers!

It is almost as if Mary, as a mother, has a real influence in inviting the Holy Spirit into her home. Mothers have that same power! Just looking at Mary’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, we can use those scripture passages I mentioned to offer our moms a beautiful reminder of the spiritual privileges she possesses in her motherhood.

Consider how the conception of your child was not just a physical work between two people who love each other. It was no accident but the work of God’s procreative Spirit in that particular and unique act of love. The annunciation of every pregnancy is not just a biological reality – it’s a reality of the Holy Spirit too!
The Wedding Feast of Cana shows a mother’s influence, especially when it comes to celebrating well! Moms are always so concerned about whether or not children and guests will get enough to eat and drink. That concern for bodily comfort and sustenance can also be transformed into a thing of grace, especially when moms consider the spiritual hungers of children. In other words, are God’s children, i.e., your children, getting enough spiritual nourishment? If not, go ahead and beckon Jesus to make miracles so that true celebration can occur!

Sadly, I’ve also seen mothers in very tragic situations, having to bury their own children. Mary’s concern for Jesus, at that moment of His death was the prayer that His Spirit would go to God in Heaven. Mothers, in their own way, pray that same prayer as Mary did at the foot of the cross. I realize that all mothers want their children to grow up, be healthy, and live long and prosperous lives. But the ultimate mother’s prayer is that her child gets to Heaven. As Mary at the foot of cross shows us, ultimately, the best thing mothers give to children is a relationship with the Holy Spirit!

Mother’s Day Sunday and Pentecost are a perfect combination! So, when we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and homes, let’s make sure we ask a special blessing on our own mothers. After all, moms and the Holy Spirit have something in common: they both want to nourish their children with the love of God, with the joy of Faith, and the strength to climb the mountain to Heaven!

To all of the mothers out there at our Grace Before Meals Family – thank you for saying “YES” to life, and may you have a “Blessed Mother” Mother’s Day! Read more!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Some of our Favourite Authors...

Myself, I am rereading one of Dorothy L Sayers mysteries. I love Lord Peter Whimsey and I think I have read all of the mysteries that he has solved, some with the assistance of Harriet Vane and others with the assistance of Charles Parker but all of them with the assistance of his loyal Manservant - Bunter. I believe my favourites are Gaudy Night and the Busman's Honeymoon. I will divulge nothing of the details as after all these are mysteries!

The children also seem to have as affection for English authors: one of them being Brian Jacques author of the Redwall series. But my children's interests are diverse and a few of them have strayed into the path of Madeline L'Engle with Anna having been the first to discover her. The first title that she consumed was a Wrinkle in Time.

Almost everyone has heard of C.S. Lewis's Narnia Series, but did you know he also wrote some science fiction? On Anna's 2007 Christmas wish list was Out of the Silent Planet, the first of his space trilogy.

And obviously we count among our classics Little Women, Little Men, Eight cousins and, of course, all of Jane Austin's many novels. I was working my way through Emma again until our well worn copy disappeared - probably into someone else's pile of "must re-read books"! We even have a copy of the six hour video series of Pride and Prejudice. I am barely scratching the surface of our varied reading adventures, so stay tuned as part of my experiment is the hope of reviving my blog Catholic, Classic and Current Books and Movies. Expect to see some regular posting there soon. Now, after posting some pictures of some of these great titles, I am off to NETFLIX to enjoy some Instant Viewing and watch the fourth Episode of Have His Carcase. Read more!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Don't I have enough kids already...

...without trying to take someone else's while entering the zoo?

Today we sped through the entrance of the zoo as we have prerequisite "Cuteness Pass" that all members of the zoo carry and that five year old Emma solemnly held out for the gate attendant to examine. Then catching glimpse of a short brunette in the corner of my eye caused the instant reflex of my calling out: "Come along sweetheart!" while my head turned to catch up with my words.

A startled six year old stared at me while she clutched her mothers hand who, thankfully, just grinned at my goof up! I apologized and hurried to catch up with my own gang, err family! You would think the prospect of counting eight heads for the next 2 hours would have satisfied me, without my feeling the need to add a ninth! Read more!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What does God think...

Lately I have been patiently and sometimes not so patiently dealing with three year old Elsa as she insists on "doing it meself" no matter how many times she has to to do it before she gets it right.

I watch her thinking how much easier it would be if she would at least let me show her the right way. Recently as I heaved a heavy sigh I had an image of God's perplexed face as He watches me day after day trying to do it my way and getting frustrated when my day doesn't go as I thought it should have. I wonder if He too is heaving a heavy sigh.

I am resolved, once more, to try and get my direction from Him, instead of trying to do it all alone, my way. Read more!

Friday, May 02, 2008

In Honour Of Mary...


Thanks to j. a. varela for sharing this video with us. Lets all work together to share this across North America during Mary's month. Read more!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Some New Blogs I am checking out...

There's a mum feeding a huge troop over at "Feeding the Masses" and I figure I need to find out if she has the same problem as I do and it's not tripling and quadrupling the recipes - its finding a pot large enough to handle that many ingredients. As to containers for the leftovers - I ask what leftovers? I found her through "Beautiful Day "where I like to drop in now and then and watch little Madeleine grow. Beth also lead me to another cooking blog - the "Cookin' Sisters" and can one ever get too many recipes? So I have added them to my links as well.
I have also added Minnesota Mom 'cause I drop in there now and again to see how they are doing in Minnesota. And my one of my teenage daughters' favorite blogs is Far Beyond Pearls an endearing blog about the struggles of raising a large family sans Dad most of the year 'cause he is away, months at a time, serving our country and helping to keep us safe. Currently Dad is home and apparently the baby, Penelope, is having trouble accepting him as part of the family. I don't often fully realize the sacrifices our Military families make as a whole, while the mum or dad are overseas protecting our country; so reading this blog helps me to remember this.

There are so many worthwhile blogs out there and I wish I could list them all - but to be honest I don't have a lot of time to read many blogs as tempting as it is to leap from blog to blog. Hopefully over the next few months I can keep adding more. I am hoping to post more regularly - umm where have you heard that before, eh? But I am trying a little experiment the coming weeks and if it works - you will see more posting. If it doesn't, I will not need to announce its failure as it will be obvious. Read more!