Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year

I'm not one for resolutions but I'm definitly in need of some personal care this year. So here I'm going to free think my way through ideas I've had. As in brainstorming techniques I'm going to try to refrain from editing or rejecting ideas-- just get them out of my head and into print. Then I can work on them logically.

Spirituality. My prayer life has been pretty dead. What I want is a time that is just my and the Lord's, Rosary which I love, music, Mom's bible study, a retreat, I especially want to teach my family to respect my prayer time. I need fewer interuptions, less of joking around, less teasing, more joy, peace, hope and love. Less rote, more hearing God.

Organization. Time to weed through the huge Mass of things given to the kids this year. It is overwhelming. I spend too much time helping care for their stuff and not enough time with my kids. I already cleaned out the bill files of what should be shredded. Now I need it easier to find things. Basement needs work. Need room for instruments.

School. Music Art and religion need to again take first place. I want time alone with Sarah so she becomes the woman she could be. I need to plan next years books, coop etc so I have the summer off.
Most of all I need to follow through on plans to go back to school. The plan is to become a teacher so I can use what I've learned and eventually start making up for the number of years I have not put into our retirement.

Cleaning. I've started on one room at a time. Blech!!

Me: I need excercise, vitamins, sleep, less drinking, less stress and a schedule based on saving my sanity in the weeks I have difficulty.

That is the crux-- when I get overtired lately all the bad parts of 'the change' kick in and leave me on the edge. My family however needs me every day not just 3 weeks a month. Honestly this time I wanted to rent a hotel and hide for a day or two--- just the worst 2. Let them think I'm being self indulgent even though I'm really saving them from myself.
Luckily today is better, migraine recovery aside, so hopefully I can look at these ideas with fresh eyes tomorrow and decide-- after Mass--- on which will take priority.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Local Catholic Conference?

Those of us who went to the Conference meetings were very excited by the possibility of a local conference. It sounded very plausible for a group our size. Many of us have however had busy or difficult life circumstances. We have been contacted by a church that receives our newsletter saying that their facility may fit our needs and could be available. It is centrally located and a nice size. So I'm asking everyone to pray about this asking wisdom, discernment and courage so we can find God's will for us. I hope to have several planning meetings for next year's co-ops, First Friday's and discuss conferences, the newsletter etc. at a small number of meetings.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Ester has posted the traditional House blessing for Epiphany. I'd really like us to do this. I feel like we definitly need to re-Bless this house.
Thank you, excuse me, Mahalo!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Memory

Its not so good. I forgot my son was bringing a friend from school (who is on leave) that he dated (but isn't anymore) over to visit 'at some point. That point was after I changed into my new microfleece PJ's.
However around midnight I remembered that I needed to work on the newsletter and did it in one morning.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Morning

Zoe, Favorite brother Jeff, David ready for Nerf fights next to Marie,

Leslie opening toy horses, Lissa wishes she had some! Sarah's OWN camera.

A Merry, Blessed Christmas season to All!
Love the Brazeau's

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well if I'm a good mom and bake cookies, clean, finish presents and stay cheerful so yelling doesn't hurt my voice for choir then I should also stop blogging and just enjoy the holiday.

A quick note first: Radio Station traffic reports should be longer than 5 seconds and more frequent when a 20 minute drive will become 1 and 1/2 hours! It should tell people to avoid the highway. Then when the traffic starts to clear from the first accidents everyone should drive like they don't want to cause, be in, or be stuck behind another accident. Three on one highway is too many people!

Enough with the rant. Enjoy the last weekend of Advent! treat yourself to a special box, easy to find, for storing Advent so you can enjoy it next year too!
An a very Merry Christmas! May you make more room than ever before in your heart for the Christ Child.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday's

Happy Birthday to Mark! He's godson to my husband and me. Mark is an awesome kid! Smart, funny, good at soccer and swimming and also seriously into military planes.
Love You!
Also my sister Peg had a birthday and all together our family has about 10 december Birthdays.
A Happy Month to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Remembering its Advent and, after all, I am teaching First Reconcilliation, I'm going to try for Confession today at St. Stan's. I'll miss Bible Study but they will understand. We are also cleaning for a visit from Sarah's friends. Another project to finish is Christmas Cards.

Have a Blessed Day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just a couple of notes

First, I was not ignoring anyone---- RCN thought we didn't want email service anymore. Its all better now.
Second, it should be easier to leave comments on my site now. Blogger now has Open ID allowing more people with ID's on other sites to leave comments.
Third, I have a lovely new mini van, yes MINI! I had to learn to drive it at night and bumped my friend's snowbank, but still it will be wonderful. I will miss my giant van. I received it just before Marie was born 8 years ago.
Fourth, You have got to love the FlyLady! go to if clutter is ruling your life.


Monday, December 17, 2007

So funny!

Ok I can't find out who made this but it came through my email homeschool loop. Downloads super fast!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Happy Birthday Sweet Marie! Mom loves you!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Cheer Challenge

My favorite Blogger has a sister who blogs and at the above link you will find a great way to spread some Christmas Cheer. If you haven't found a stranger or someone in need yet that you could help I highly recommend it.
This week my daughter and I sewed bedding for our friends that went in foster care. We were able to hear that they are doing well, are well loved, are 'allowed' to go to church now (weren't before this home) And their foster Family has taken care of most of their needs and wants but had saved us a little way to help.
Many at our church gave a gift through the Angel tree. They could give a gift to a child in DSS by choosing their name off a tree in the vestibule.
My favorite idea was when I was given an ornament of the 3 French Hens with a card from the Heiffer Project. My godson's family had purchased a clutch of chickens for a family in poverty in my name. I love these kinds of ideas that help us focus on all that we already have instead of what we don't have. I need all the reminders I can get!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

From last January's newsletter

Why not remember each time you look at this nativity scene, “my heart is Jesus’ stable.”Do you know what a life whose heart is filled with Jesus looks like? It is a life that is stable: one that is Satisfied with His will, living in Truth, always Adoring the Lord, Believing in God’s promises, Longing for relationship with Him, and Empowered by His spirit.

It’s the life of a person who is SATISFIED: Certainly, Mary would have chosen a better place for her child and the King of Kings, but she was satisfied with God’s design.

It’s the life of a person who knows and lives the TRUTH: Certainly, Joseph’s desired to put Mary away, except that the truth of Jesus needed to be shared.

It’s the life of a person who obviously ADORES God: Certainly, the shepherds were fearful, but they obeyed God’s call to leave their objects of purpose and income, objects of adoration – their lambs. They obeyed God’s urging to find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. Leaving their lambs, shepherds fell down in adoration when they found the Lamb of God.

It’s the life of a person who BELIEVES God: Certainly, the Magi dreaded the long trip, but they believed in God’s power to provide a new King.

It’s the life of a person who LONGS for a relationship with God: Certainly, God’s children here on earth want to be filled with that which the world has to offer, but when we long for Jesus to fill our every yearning, everything else falls into its proper place.

It’s the life of a person EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit: Certainly, we are weak, but God is strong. When He steps into our hearts He brings “all his glorious, unlimited resources to empower us with inner strength, through his spirit.”

When you look into your heart do you find it empty? This season invite Jesus to fill your life. Determine to allow the living God to be your focal point. Merry Christmas!

My Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, Without You there would be no Christmas. Today I want to dedicate this season to You. Every day I will remember that You are the reason we celebrate. It is Your birthday. Had you remained in heaven, I would still be lost, without purpose, without a future or hope, without joy. Thank you for giving Your life that I might live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Snow Day Ramblings

Snow, Ice, scattered power outages. So everything is cancelled today. Co-op, CCD, not too sure about school....Fun is definitely lacking around here some days. Catching up would be SOOO nice.

This weekend we did put up our tree. I'll post a picture when its decorated. Its a wonderful fake my husband created to solve our severe allergy problems. Its a corner shelf unit shaped like a pine. This year he created a base for it so its sits above his favorite speaker.

Then we gave the kids their 1st Sunday of Advent gift. This unusual tradition began when an energy crunch hit a few years ago and we were new using our refinished unheated attic. Each of the kids received something warm to wear and for their bedroom. Now each year they get one warm thing. this year a hat, scarf or gloves.

We need an Advent wreath. Before my husband understood Advent he went out and bought my glass votive holders and boxes of generously sized votive candles in Pink and Purple. I set 4 of them on a round mirror we had with a few decorations: different each year. Then our parish had wreath making events which were so much fun except we used live greens. They became dangerously dry before the 4th Sunday of Advent. So hopefully I'll be able to visit my friend's little store to find one this week. Something that will last.

Its also time to start thinking of Hope Chests. My mother had certain gifts we could count on receiving at certain times. Duffle Bags or Suitcases before we left for college and a Nativity Set while we were engaged. Also every year she added to our ornament collection. I still love to pull them out. The velvet guitar, the hand painted fireplace, the Popsicle reindeer and snowmen she made with my baby sister, some dated, some not. Some in duplicates because my husband and children became included as years went on.

Growing up my best friend's mother bought a dish a week at the grocery store eventually collecting a full set of dinnerware and utensils for each girl. I like the idea of my children know I really want to enjoy their adulthood as much as their childhood. It would be nice if they knew there was one box of things ready to help them start their lives: not just the dishes and blankets and physical necessities. I want them to have the Sacramentals that make their house a Catholic home at the Holy Days.

A blessed Advent to you all.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Its my brother's fault

Welcome to the 2007 edition of getting to know your friends. What you are supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste it onto e-mail that you'll send. Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to your friends including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends which you might not have known!
1. What time did you get up this morning? I listened to the weather at 6:30 but didn’t move for a long time.
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamond as soon as my ring finger is back to size3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? What’s a cinema?
4. What is your favorite TV show? CSI (the original) The Red Green show: unfortunately are now back to back
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Coffee coffee and more coffee
6. Favorite cuisine? Steak, Seafood, (did I mention coffee?)
7. What is your middle name? Veronica
8. What food do you dislike? Split Pea Soup
9. What is your Favorite CD at the moment? A Catholic Christmas10. What kind of car do you drive? 96 Ram Van 12 seater, Its really the only way to go!
11. Favorite sandwich? A Rueben
12. What characteristics do you despise? Neediness 13. Favorite item of clothing? Purple polar fleece jammies
14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Top of Mt Washington
15. Where were you born? Holyoke, MA
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Use to be Liz Claibourne, Would be Jones NY if I could wear suits daily, Cold Water Creek is comfy
17. Where would you retire to? Retire?
18. What was your most recent memorable birthday? I don’t remember them very well. Jeff usually has to remind me how old I am. In fact I usually add a year. How weird is that?19. Favorite sport to watch? David playing soccer second only to my other kids playing soccer. Lissa won’t let us watch track. I refuse to watch Jeff Box!
20. Furthest place you are sending this? I don’t know I haven’t sent it yet.
21. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? Christine--- she’s board and has nothing else to do.
22. Person you expect to send it back first? ?
23. Favorite saying? Relax! Or Mommy can you wipe my bum?
24. When is your birthday? April 8
25. Are you a morning person or a night person? I’m more of a lunch person.
26. What is your shoe size? 7
27. Pets? Sarah has a bunny: Butterscotch
28. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Have you met Matilda? I inherited a washer/dryer. She’s very nice. Comes with a nice older woman who visits regularly to do laundry since I don’t do enough laundry in my world.
29. What did you want to be when you were little? A scuba Diver in the Navy because Uncle Tim’s uniform was so handsome.30. How are you today? Fine as long as I hide at the computer
31. What is your Favorite candy? Wax Lips or soda bottles ( well when there is no chocolate stashed somewhere)
32. What is your Favorite flower? Irises and violets
33. Who is your favorite singer? Jim Oleary
34. What are you listening to right now? Oscilating air cleaner and IMAX Africa35. What was the last thing you ate? Tortellini and coffee
36. Who is your favorite actor? Sean Connery
37. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Indigo
38. How is the weather right now? clearing39. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Mum
40. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
41. Favorite restaurant? Any one with a waitress and Sam Adams draft ( I might accept a waiter)
42. Hair color? Black with plenty of white and gray coming through
43. Siblings? 6 sisters, 7 including Carrie and a brother and 2 Sister inlaws I’ve known almost 30 years.
44. Favorite day of the year? August 9
45. What was your favorite toy as a child? Ted E Bear46. Summer or winter? Fall
47. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
48. Do you want your friends to email you back? No I never read email
49. When was the last time you cried? Its scheduled for next week.50. What is under your bed? Poster board, my guitar, 2 buckets of Men’s clothes and spare computer parts, odd socks and way too much dust.
51. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Jeff
52. What did you do last night? Choir rehearsal and solo practice: Virgin’s Slumber Song
53. Favorite smell? Sunshine in toddler hair!
54. What are you afraid of? silence
55. What are you doing tonight? groceries
56. Plain, buttered, or salted popcorn? buttered and salted
57. How many keys on your key ring? AAARGGH!!!!
58. How many years at your current job? 20!
59. Favorite day of the week? No
60. How many towns have you lived in? 2, 4 addresses
61. Do you make friends easily? Aquaintences yes, friends I need to work at harder
62. How many people will you be sending this to? probably too many


I'm trying not to be too tired to go to Bible Study. I really should go. The kids need friends to play with and I need prayer time. I'm just so wiped.
Going out is very energizing but often when I get home I'm deflated. So many things hit me at once, besides the mess yelling at me. Everyone who missed me (I know that's a good thing) has something to share. And I really am interested. I just forget sometimes to take a big deep breath before I walk in...

unless I'm out with my Melissa.

Never does she miss a chance to look up at the stars, the cold dark sparkling back at her and take a deep draught of evening air. Her head tilted back she lets it flood her soul. Its the most beautiful prayer I've ever been privileged to share. And share I must. She bullies you into enjoying it if you are at oblivious to the joy right above your head. Being cold is no excuse! Its just to beautiful to ignore. And so is she.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Family Photo's

We took some great family time to get a photo for my mother's Christmas project on Sunday. It was hilarious trying to use the timer and have Jeff get behind us in time! We ran them through as a slideshow and were in stitches! Blogger has that program now but I won't post it till Mum reveals her finished product.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Well my brother in Canada celebrated last month but we are starting. Our only issue was realizing we only have 3 Christmas DVD's to watch this weekend as we had lots of VHS we con no longer watch. Oh well.

We will be having:
Dip and appetisers
Bird with French Meat stuffing(my husband's specialty)
Sour Dough Bread or Corn Bread
Assparagus, Pumpkin, turnip, etc
Deep Fried Sweet Potatoe Chips
Cranberry Relish for adults-- kids get sauce
Dessert involves Pumpkin Pie, Lemon Merange or Blueberry Apple and possibly an unusual assortment of goodies from the bakery the kids work at.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ah that Holiday time of year!

It brings out the silly in everyone! After a call from my mother the following emails have bounced around. You will now know how crazy my family is.

Mary wrote:
As all my siblings know my mother has a very special plan for Christmas cards this year. They are all very aware of there assignments. They may however be unaware that their mother's nagging gene is the one I most completely inherited and the one she knows how to trigger and SOOO consider yourself nagged by the Future Matriarch of the James Murphy Clan! Mother would like to finish in one week! Please complete your Homework over the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

FMJMC Management, Inc


The Murphy Ambassador to Canada, is unaware of the very special plan. Please inform.



At the same time

I love FMJMC'S letter. I thought I told all of you what I was doing. I'm doing a family word search for my Christmas card. Every year I get CHRISTMAS LETTERS from friends bragging about their families andgrandchildren. I mean to show them up( in a fun way of course.) I made up a work search with the names ofthe JMClan...surnames,children, spouses, grandkids, pets, fiance. Dad proofread took him two days to do. I want to include on the reverse side of the card, pictures of all of us. I do have one of you at the St. Pat's parade that I can use, so unless you want something sillier, i'll use that. Let me know.Mary will put all the photos on a CD so I can get them to my computer. Mary and Jeff are going to be "the Partridge Family". Be creative if you want to...we're not just any family! I think Joan and Phil and Ben arein PJ's.We'll try to call this weekend...
Hope life as the Murphy Ambassador to Canada is going well.
Love you lots...Mum

Maybe I'll post the actual card and word search for all 3 of you! And yes we did buy a copy of the first complete season of The Partrige Family for research purposes. It may count as school!

Monday, November 12, 2007

College Visits

My daughter and I have just finished 2 college visits. Last week to Fitchburg State, one of Mass original teacher colleges, and Assumption, a small, Catholic Liberal Arts College.
My daughter loved them both although she is drawn to Fitchburg. It is very affordable. Far enough to need to drive but close enough to do the drive in one shot. They have not only her Major: English with a Secondary Ed concentration. They also have a Master's in both and have enormous success in teacher's passing their Certification Test and have lots of practical experience.
I like Assumption. I feel that a Catholic college of this size speaks to the whole person, as they said they help students ask 'who' they want to be, not 'what'. They are not at the top of the Catholic Schools list on the Neuman organization's list, but their were Crucifixes, they announced it, quoted Augustine well. And then of course there is the library.
The Library may be named for the founder of the order but I spotted the plaque. A bronze relief of my mother's dear friend Fr. Aimee Deschamps. He ran the library when she met him and was instrumental in her understanding of God as a LOVING father. He gave hugs, he was enthusiastic, he taught her even though she never was able to go to college.
My sister is named for him, another was Baptized by him, I have vague early memories of him: mostly because Mom talked about him so much and with such love. I put this in his prayerful hands. If my daughter should go there then the money will come.
We love you Fr. Aimee.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Advent's coming!

This Christmas I'd love to get back to keeping costs down. But I'm running out of ideas and I'm one who really doesn't like to do the same thing over and over. Here are some low cost things I've done:

Gingerbread House
Gingerbread Christmas Tree
Basket of Canned items
DVD for everyone
Book for everyone
Framed Pictures
Forced Dutch Bulbs
House Flags
Home Brew

Now I haven't done soaps or candles because the scents trigger migraine's for myself and a daughter. I don't do chocolates because they aren't good for me and my son. Food is even out because so many have diabetes or weight issues. And well, some can take my husband's beer and I love it way too much to give it up.....

So I'm looking for ideas. Crafts are not my big thing but I'll Try!!!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Danielle Bean kicked all the guys off her site today to talk about:
You know that crazy easily blamed set of chemicals that take over your personality.

Well I was doing pretty well but things sneak up on you. I had cut to 1/2 caff coffe but realized this week that since hubby gave up coffee I've been drinking the whole pot. So I going back to my plan from when I really had to be careful and I'm booking my doctor appt and getting thyroid sreening:
limit caffeine
daily vitamin
extra water
walk daily
careful about bedtime and getting up on time
enforced hour of quiet after lunch
block a day at home to catch up instead of run around
plan meals and shopping

PS a benefit is that its easier to deal with my teens--- at least that's what I tell myself.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Saint's Day

Last night was our Annual All Saint's Party.

Here are St Anna An-Jiao, a Tiger and St. Bernadette, who still has a ticket to play!
Its always so much fun but after 16 years our founder will be retiring. I do hope another family steps forward to run it. A Spanish prayer group from the area, El Camino, is also always there and are just wonderful.
I was able to get donations from 2 lovely stores, Emmanuel's Catholic Gifts in South Hadley and Open Window in Chicopee to donate prizes which we raffled to the teen and pre-teen volunteers. These are the kind of kids who give you hope for our church and I was so pleased to reward them.

In other news, the last time my teen was home he had restarted playing guitar. The 3 year old went to find the one she and Daddy had made. Its named (in bold black marker) 'the Leslie Rocker!'

They jammed together. Mom grinned.

Monday, October 29, 2007

October ends.

Yeah we won!! We've been watching the series with a neighbor as we helped her move to a new apartment this week. Tonight we set up her electronics so she'll be ready for next season.

We are working on All Saint's costumes. For ease I was hoping to use the Chinese outfits my mother in law bought 2 of the girls last year. In most places the Chinese martyrs are listed as a group. I took a chance googling: Chinese Saints Canada and found the Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church in Toronto. Friends drove us past it when my brother was making his final vows. Their web site had many profiles of the known martyrs. Marie will be Saint Anna An-Jiao, martyred in the Boxer Rebellion.

We will also have a St. Maximillian, St. Rose, and a squid(I didn't ask)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I know I've been missing in action. Its been crazy around here and I knew it was time to research what my teens were up to---- scary! So I now have a Facebook page so they can be picked on for having a mom with BOTH a MySpace and a Facebook. If you here a new social networking site is opening up. Invest heavily. The teens tend to migrate away from the parents. Hopefully I will make progress in the meantime.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Environment

October 15th is Blogger Action Day and this year's theme will be the environment. Our Pope has called for us, and especially young Catholics, to do more to ensure that everyone has access to clean water, food, as well as the Peace and Justice we know they need. So lets work on that this weekend.

How are you a good steward of the gifts you've been given?

Friday, October 12, 2007

To Do's and Update

So first of all the children we helped are in a foster home, in another town, not separated, safe. No arrests have been made but the detective I spent over an hour with on Wednesday promised to keep us informed and she is building a very strong case. Unfortunately the best thing would be if these 2 never saw their family again. How sad!

If you need something to do or haven't even got time to cook a real meal head over to Danielle Bean's.
She's away but had eveyone send in their cheater recipes.

Here's mine. Boneless Chicken Breast at the bottom of a deep caserole. 1 cup frozen veggies, or a can of corn. 1 cup rice 1 1/2 cups water. (sneak in some greens maybe) Microwave on High 5 Mins, on Med 20 Mins.

PS Bible Study was Beautiful! Thanks Cheryl--- It focused on good Christian Friendships as necessity for Women.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Prayers Please, and Thanksgiving

This weekend I found out that one of my children is a hero. Friends told her they were being hurt and even though the adult they told hadn't helped, she convinced them to try telling me. We were able to save them from one night in that house, DSS and the school nurse I knew acted the very next day. The responding officer will take a statement from me tonight. They are in a safe place.
Praise God every one acted.
Thank you God that I know such a brave, strong young child.
Plead to the Lord often for these children stuck in families with a cycle of abuse.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Things to work on:

I definitely love lists. Getting my thoughts down in writing helps me to get them coralled. Its time to reorganize so here goes:

1. Need to put aside a day to sew. I actually have a weeks worth to do but one full day would give me a running start.

2. Tickets to the last Dan Kane Singers Christmas concert.

3. Christmas shopping : /

4. Add more prayer time.

5. Cook for a family that was in a serious car accident.

6. Set up and go on college visits with my daughter. I'm praying she gets into Assumption College and receives enough aid to make it work.

7. Add Music lessons to our day.

8. Fix my profile and side bar.

9. Look into college courses for ... me!

10. Mow, rake enjoy fall.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Off to the Farm

but don't miss the Catholic Carnival this week at just another day of Catholic pondering and don't forget to offer a prayer for their new one to be born this month.



PS Yes one of my articles was included and one by Ester at Catholic Mom in Hawaii

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Been Busy

and I've been fighting my head. Forgive the lac of posts. First I had new glasses. Not much change in Rx but the first lenses were scratched and the frame wasn't adjusted right and.... and... and... long week.
Soccer has been pretty good even though David has had a hard time. His coach was burnt out and finally quit but we have a new one as of Saturday and he's great.
I published our next newsletter and its out in the email world and in the mailbox. I even worked on the excel spreadsheet of addresses and contacts.
My writing students are discovering the web page we set up for them. They have no idea how much extra writing they do when their questions about homework have to be typed.
My neighbor thinks she's found a new appartment. When you are renting you are paying for a Landlord to care for certain things--- hers wasn't. Plus she uses the bus and our city is not as good about bus times as the town she's going to be in. Anyway its a lovely area, quieter etc so she's very happy.
Only disappointment was backing out of plans for my first bachelorette party. My 'other' sister is getting married and I've been to the showers but I just couldn't make it with the headaches.
Speaking of showers: The first included the guuys and kids. It was amazing! He got tools and Beer glasses and his daughters were spoiled! The second was just my sister's and I dressed as the various life stages as Carrie. Carrie the 'cheerleader' answered the door. Several of us were in Goth-- a stage she went through in college. 2 went blonde as she was a blonde. It was hilarious. I did a joke gift: Marraige First Aide kit: First Aid directio9ns from Dr. Matriarch, Harlequin Romance, Listerine, razors, deodorant, make up kit with tweezers. All hiding a little black something.
It was a blast!
Don't believe me?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Doncha Just Love Veggie Tales!!!

Catholic Carnival #138 has a brand new host blog this month and she did an amazing job! She's connected all the blog articles by themes in Veggie Tales movies!!
You have got to go here.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Our friend Danielle Bean will be on a future episode of Faith and Culture on EWTN to discuss this phenomena of blogging. She is collecting comments from the cyber world.
Do you read blogs? (of course you do!) Why do you read the blogs of Catholic Moms? Do you have a blog? What are the pitfalls?

Personally I think this is an extremely important discussion for the modern Catholic woman. Lack of connection is part of our nation's problem. Part of my response:
"Beginning with my mother's generation moms started having a harder time connecting. Work, moves, divorces, friends leaving the church. No longer did you regularly see a 'same size and lifestyle' family.
I really believe this contributed to women leaving the church, leaving their homes, even the increase in contraception and abortion. Connections help"

Let her know what you think. Here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Maybe next week

So no Bible study for me today, my girls are being, well, girls. Bossy, outspoken, mother hens fighting over control of the coop. Hard for my son who get time with a couple boys at these things and is doing very well on his school.
Oh and you know 2 of my Bible Study friends: Cheryl at My Thoughtful Spot and Christine at As My House Turns.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things I get asked in the field a lot.

What Works For Me Wednesday: What works for me and my family is owning a share in Community Supported Agriculture. Every week from June 1 to Oct 31 we get to visit our farm and bring home our share of the produce harvested. Our farm also supports the work of the food bank. This is the time of year to get on the waiting list to join: maybe your local CSA has a shorter wait list but its really worth trying.

It got me thinking about questions I'm asked while I'm in the UPick fields.
I’m sure our other farmers are are asked these questions too at our local CSA, The Food Bank Farm.

How do 2 families split a share? (I don’t know- haven’t tried all 11 years. Every year our big family does really well eating up our share.)

How do you make sure you use it all? (Problem for small families but I don’t know. I suppose it would be a good incentive to invite a neighbor to dinner, cook for a shut in, deliver to your parish priest or a new mom.)

How do you U Pick with a baby? (Sling, back pack, or borrow a mother’s helper, are the most obvious. Also when we were new to the farm and growing our large family, DH usually came with me and helped.)

How do you make it worth it for a big family? ( I chose as many freezable veggies as I can in the summer when I can also get local veggies other places. Eat the most perishable veggies on farm day, raw with cheese and bread so you aren’t cooking that day except to freeze. Pick as many tomato drops as you can. Many share holders avoid them but they make a better sauce than you’ll buy in the store. Sneak veggies in for picky eaters: zucchini bread, greens in soup or rice etc. Kids that help pick and cook are better eaters, healthier, and more compassionate to those dependant on growing their own food. )

How do you cook this/what is this? (I love '1000 Vegetarian Recipes' by Carol Gelles. Her recipes take into account the seasons. Foods that harvest together cook together. Every unusally item she uses is explained.) (PS Omnivores can always add grilled chicken etc.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Praise God!

Yesterday was a very good day. My dear friend's son had a major fall 19 days ago. He had been in a level 4 coma. These are evry confusing because they are agitated, uncomfortable and may get in and out of bed, pull out tubes and often look like they are doing things purposefully-- making it hard to know when they are purposeful.

Well yesterday in the morning he spoke! Then his feeding tube was removed and he fed himself!!! Lots. Like a teen who hadn't eaten in 18 days. Then he was able to answer the questions, Do you know me? and What is my name? His mom just about flew home from the rehab!

Praise God.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In the World Not of It

Our Diocese runs a newspaper that is Bi-weekly called The Catholic Observer. One columnist syndicated from Catholic News Service is Father John Dietzen's Question Corner. He is usually on the WORSHIP page but has tackled a very wide variety of questions. I like his answers. He strives for real clarity on why a certain is correct while also explaining common misconceptions.
This weeks column "We should relate to Amnesty International in a Christian manner" caught my attention. After all the title is a little too obvious and I had not ever heard a reason not to be Christian to anyone.
Apparently Amnesty International has gone from a neutral stance on Abortion to a Pro Abortion stance.
The question asked him to go one step further, (From an article I had not read previously) and advise people to stop contributing to this organization.
It would on the surface seem natural. Should money intended to help bring justice, peace, human rights instead punish a human guilty only of being conceived. Should a child in the womb suffer because the mother did?

Father tackled this issue from a very different perspective, actually addressing a pet peeve of mine. If we have worked with them over the years how is it that our arguments that human life exists from conception, that violence in the womb will only increase injustice have failed. We are conversing with people of caring, of intelligence.
In Father Dietzen's words:"It never seems to occur to people, pro-life or not, that a reason for our failure to persuade in matters of respect for life may have something to do with the quality of our arguments, or even perhaps in the way we argue our cause."
I addressed this idea in my review of Guerrilla Apologetics for Pro Life Issues on the homeschool page. "I have understood their frustration with the lack of compassion Pro life people seem to have. Often we criticize in ways that shut down communication rather than helping people explore their knowledge, open their minds and perhaps consider a change of heart.
The lack of Logic in school curriculum plans and the absence of Socratic teaching methods has truly ‘dumbed us down.’ We do not ask the questions that help people look at Life issues from different angles. Either we avoid the discussion and so are compliant in the destruction of Human Life or we go to battle, making enemies."

While Paul E. Nowak's book title seems argumentative it is actually a trick to get the worst defenders of Life to change tactics. It encourages thoughtful 'Socratic' questions to draw out discussion. It encourages a long term view. The only problem with its short length is it assumes that once it has worked we can easily apply these methods to any argument against a ProLife stand. Unfortunately we forget the many hardships people have faced that led them to feel that Abortion was the lesser of two evils.

Father then went on to look at how Catholics need to perceive themselves, we are not counter cultural. He refers to a letter by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago in America magazine (Aug 13-20, 2007) which compares our work in our small communities to that in the mission field where it is never helpful to set ourselves against the culture. It is 'not only unfaithful to Christ's word, it just doesn't work.'
According to the Cardinal "One cannot convert or interiorly influence a person or society that one does not love."
father then applies this to the original question and the related ones, saying that a Christian attitude requires responding not with anger, disrespect, or divisiveness.
I can't say out of frustration 'they have divided this group by taking this stand so my money goes elsewhere.' First we must work on loving conversation to draw out the reasoning and counter it with positive options.

And I know, since when does a Catholic homeschooler agree not to hate the culture! Well I have been frustrated with it. I have had times we pulled back. We prayed the 'hedge' that protected Job would surround us and our children until we had the knowledge and strength to go beyond it and still do God's work. Even in the times we puled back our children heard radio, saw TV, joined clubs and sports. We had friends with different life circumstances. we worked to be in the world but not of it.

We had a speaker at our homeschool meeting who taught English and Christian World View at an Evangelical Co-op. A graphic described it this way:
You see the world and it tempts you, attracts you ------ Your Faith was not rooted.
You see the world and hide, it scares you, -------Your Faith has not grown yet.
You see the World and it disturbs you, ---- Your Faith will help you impact the World for good, for God.

This is what is the heart of Catholic homeschooling. Creating a core of people going out into the world who find parts of it disturbing, worth changing but who have no fear of it and who have seen something better and have no need for it. Success? Well most of us will never truly know. That is often a temptation in the back of our minds, trying to get us to give in to fear. After all we parents will hold all the blame if our children do not hold to what we taught them.

In the mean time we fight the good fight........hopefully with JOY.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Start of our School Year

Click on the title here to visit my blog about how our homeschool group started the school year. It was a really great day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School

I had a really crazy summer--- well you know...

anyway I could not decide how to start school. At 8 am I was in the shower still unsure but I actually brought the kids to 8:30am Mass. It was a nice way to start the year and the kids were complimented by the gentleman behind us.

Home we went where I did the measuring. Took each kids height and weight and made a poster with the stats in their hand prints (traced the outline)

Then I set them up with things they could do without me to run for a quick meeting with the new Religious ed director. Unfortunately we found a leak in the closet area had ruined 3 shelves of books and paper. What a moldy, smelly mess!

Anyway we have dates picked, I have a teachers guide, and we have some of the books we need.
When I returned I learned that my children can watch each other but they still bowl me over when I get in, so in true homeschool fashion, I walked right back out of the house and made them greet me again.

After lunch we worked on a mosaic project I had saved all summer. They enjoyed smashing tile and playing with the designs.

The younger ones watched a phonics show while I review some things with David and Sarah and sent them to read. Now they are off to play till soccer.

Not a bad first day. Not bad at all.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Writer's Block

It may be that my blog has outlived its usefulness. Oh I still love blogging. Its just that after hours of working on newsletters, excel spreadsheets, the other blog, not too mention all the other non computer chores in my day, I just don't find as much to say.
This is a difficulty in searching out blogs only to find your favorite writer has a 'life' now and can't be bothered to tell you all about it. Then there are the days that you fear you'll say the wrong thing, to the entire world, and not be able to undo your foot in mouth error. Worse there are the days when you only can write about what you should be doing: procrastination needs no help in my world.

So as I start my school year and re-evaluate, and get out of the way for my kids to use the computer I may be planning just one last post and a big save.

Or I might carve out a time for writing, find a host for my blog pics so I don't run out of room, fix my profile so more people find me and get past what could be just laziness... I hear real authors call it Writer's block.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

too tired to blog

I finished our newsletter, actually played during soccer practice, and dealt with 'last week before school starts' kids. So I'll let you read my friend Jane's book review. Its worth the time and didn't fit in our newsletter.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sister Night

We had sister night a week ago while Amy was in town. All of the Maginificent 7 in one room--- the new kitchen.

Back Row from left Rosie, Amy, Peg, Sheila
Front Row Me, Joan and Em

Friday, August 24, 2007

This and that

Yesterday our family welcomed an addition. Cousin Ashley had a baby boy! I'm so happy for her. She knows from the start that she will be a SAHM/artist. Her husband is a sweet guy.

Bible Study was nice/work. It was great to see my friend and share their joys and sorrows. Our book reached the topic of controlling our tongue. I love how the same section of James 3 says we will never controll our tongue, if we could we'd be perfect, but we don't, but if we did we could control the whole body.
That is the contradiction of Christian life. We really don't get it right---except when we do. And then its due to God's grace, not us, yet we really have to cooperate with that grace.
I remember being a new Mom/wife and realizing I had to start working on controlling my tongue. Somehow we women worry if every little thought doesn't come out of our mouth then our dear husband or children are patronizing/ignoring/ or otherwise oppressing us. Real strength shows when we can speak with grace only what must be said; what builds community and heals. Anyone can tear people down.
For 2 years I bit my tongue so much I had a scar inside my mouth. I tried a friend's trick of whispering the most important directions so my children would work to listen. Eventually the body followed. I became softer, sweeter, calmer, happier. I was more consistent, more thoughtful, more respected.
Unfortunately in the decade that has followed I've had to re teach myself often and this may be one of those times. I know the signs now. The same signs the children show in these last 2 weeks before school. Malaise, impatience, bossiness, lack of focus.

So one more piece of news. We are getting a bunny. Already trained and with all its supplies, our neighbor is moving to elderly housing and the rabbit she keeps for the grandchildren has to go. It is not one of the things my guys are allergic to so --- we'll try.

(I am so NOT a pet person anymore!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Here I am!!!

Ok so I've been missing in action a bit lately. I've put a few comments on other blogs but really I haven't had as much say. And I've been saving you from soem of my more interesting rants ; )

Anyway here is some of what I've been up to:

Trying to deal with bouts of insomnia made worse my teens that stayed up all night at summer college and just can't get back to normal.

Second coats of paint and little touch ups in the kitchen.

BIG cooking, like fresh salsa, loads of sauce and a roast Sunday.

Getting my daughter ready for her driving test and getting my van running again.

Starting soccer practice! Our team is 6-7 Girls and they are so cute!

Debating getting a bunny : p

A lovely visit from my New Jersey sister which involved all the sisters and a family friend and mom and my ugly fruit dip becoming a modern art paint.

Best of all I have a new friend. We have a neighbor who has been home a lot this summer because of surgery and doing more work from home. She is so completly different from anyone in my circle and yet so interested in this crazy big family dynamic. She's an ex-hippie, jewish mother of 2 boys, divorced, feminist who loves my children. We cook, chat, visit the farm, and help each other out. She's the first neighbor who felt comfortable just dropping by unannounced- but not the younger mom needing advice but the older mom educated in Speech pathology with lots of ideas and help.
So I guess I've need to vent less.

I've also been looking at Homeschool CPA, a blog that helps support groups decide when to become a non profit, how to deal with hiring teachers, insurance, bank accounts etc. What a wealth of information!
I finally ordered Analytic Grammar as recommended by Institute for Excellence in Writing and ordered Math from Teaching Textbooks. The book in these is also on a CDRom which shows the student how to work each problem. Its all the rage but hopefully its not just another expensive toy. It also means I have to, 'gasp' SHARE my computer. That will be hard. I may try to do al my computer work on 2 days of the week.

Well I'm still sitting around instead of getting my tub. So I'm off. Fair warning I'll be working o our newsletter so all my writing will be there this week.
God Bless.

Our Lady of Knock Please pray for all my friends and especially for Rosalie and her trip to Ireland.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm not one to avoid most vaccinations but:

GARDASIL in the news...


In May 2007, it was reported that over 1,600 adverse reactions,
including three deaths, had been linked to Gardasil, Mercks new
vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).
Among those reactions, 371 were classified as serious, and, of the 42
women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 experienced side
effects including spontaneous abortion and fetal abnormalities.
It appears those reactions, and deaths, are steadily rising. A review
of the National Vaccine Information Center revealed the following
statistic about this vaccine: 2,207 adverse reactions to Gardasil
have been reported.
Among them:
5 girls died
31 were considered life-threatening
1,385 required a visit to the emergency room
451 of the girls have not recovered as of July 2007
51 of the girls were disabled
Gardasil may be more dangerous than consumers have been led to
believe, according to one public-interest group, and an editorial in
the New England Journal of Medicine has also raised questions about
the vaccine's effectiveness.

Monday, August 6, 2007

100 Posts!

A mile stone has been hit I have made 100 posts, (on this site), sending my crazy point of view out into cyberspace. I'll celebrate with pictures of my kids this summer!

Here is my oldest daughter's self portrait in new glasses. Is she not gorgeous!!!

Zoe and Leslie in their bubble suits and Dad's company picnic. Great day was had by all. Since then they had hair cuts and are evry happy with those.

Boy Scout's end camp with a parade! The first in line is my David.

Marie 15 feet up in the air on a trampoline/slingshot/bungee cord ride at the company picnic. She did 20 backwards summersaults and has spent the summer trying to be brave!

OK she's my sister not my kid but she has the most adorable new twin kittens. They were Bear and Bella till they were old enough to discover they are both boys so now Bella is Baloo. My oldest daughter gets confused for her sister often. They worked at the same bakery. Now my sister teaches art at a Montessori school and does some Field Hockey coaching.

She's #8 of the siblings and so fun!!

And last but actually first: my dear husband sent me a love note for our coming anniversary. By email. It made me cry it was so beautiful. We spent way too much this summer for gifts but he wanted to do something special and I really appreciated it.
Don't worry, I'll make him a special meal the next night we are all home and today I made him Sour Dough Bread for the first time since the kitchen was finished. (My starter came our great!)

So my Dear Husband:
I Love You. For being there before my sister was even conceived. For all of our children. For taking me to church. For tucking the kids during my meeting tonight. For spending the day at work and coming home to dirt, and projects and a wife who needed a shower. For watching endless hours of Star Gate with our children and Not using the subwoofer and center channel during our meeting.
For being here still. almost 30 years since we met, and almost 21 years from when we finally married, and after 2 teens, and upteen sleepless nights and the starts of menopause. Through scars and scares and loss. Through loss of Faith and re-conversion. Through 6 sibling weddings and an ordination. Through new roofs, unemployment, public school, homeschool, Catholic school. Through wakes and funerals and Baptisms and First Communions. From Puppy love, to teen love, to Honeymoon, to 7 year ignition, to 10 year evaluation to the Mortar anniversary, to 2 decades of marraige.
You are the real deal. The true partner for life. The one who doesn't just sweep me off my feet and save me but also celebrates when I am strong enough to save myself.
Ladies he really does say all those nice things even when no one is listening. He really means it. He's earned a lifetime of joy and peace but is content with me.

And tonight I am so very grateful.

You are always there. Constant. Strong. Praying. Loving.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Digging in the Dirt

Back when school was ending I was stressing out. So was my friend, and leader of our homeschool support group, Jane. She was however thrilled with the idea of a public page and offered to post with me. Except we really had trouble setting the site up for more than one to post. Anyway the title here will link you to her first written piece and it is SOOO worth the wait.

Ladies, may I introduce my dear friend, Jane....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Catholic Carnival

This week I actually made submissions to the Catholic Carnival it was accepted!!! This is a great way to find a variety of Catholic Online stories, blogs, and connections.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Taking a Breath

Remember where I started?

"After a very crazy weekend, (7 kids, parade weekend, plumbing issues and colds starting all around) I'm going to limit my post to what I eventually want to accomplish here:

Decide whether I am capable of, or called to, creating a web page for a group I help run.
Review books I'm reading and process what I get out of them.
Evaluate the value of the time I spend on the internet.
Record the history of our family as I've been unable to do with crafty, tedious things like scrapbooking.
Discuss the restructuring of our diocese: both the hope and the fear.
See how open I 'really' am to hearing comments and criticism.
Explore this new, post-baby world I'm entering.
Adsense or no?
And mostly, I hope, to pray more and let the Spirit move me more each day.

Over 4 months ago I wrote a post called First Things, quoted above, and I have gone back to it regularly to see where I've been and where I'm going. I did decide I was called to start our public web page for the Catholic Homeschoolers whether I was capable of handling all the problems that would come up. We still have trouble getting the other author to post and I would love to be linked in more places. The focus will be to give a public view of the effort to create a Catholic Family Resources/Homeschooling Conference in Western Mass. and I'd feel better about the idea if the advertising and marketing had a central location. And Yes I can handle comments. In fact the friends I made over the internet are a great solace on the 'no other grown ups' days.

This goal overlaps my goal of discussing the Diocese I'm in. While I have not blogged extensively about it I will soon. I've been able to work with a unique group of women to start plans for a Women's Conference and for an Office of Women's Ministry to be proposed. The first meeting left me a little unsure but the second was so Spirit led I was amazed. God is Good.

Posting on books I've read has been both easy and hard. I absolutely could not live without books. I've realized its one of the first things my homeschoolers do. Even before they can read they are stapling pages together, drawing the pictures and asking me to spell for them.
The hard part is how changed and confused I can become. I just read a Maya Angelou, "Gather in my Name" and I'm still puzzled. The title makes no sense to me--- I missed something. "Our Lady of the Lost and Found" and
"Morning by Morning" were both extremely challenging. Maybe I'm finally ready again for the phonics readers I was sick of hearing.

Time on the internet? Well too much on the homeschooling end: our co-op has been such a struggle I won't be done planning before I start the new year of Newsletters. One thing I loved has been the yahoo group my cousin set up for the family. Most of my picture posting has been there instead of here. But I'll work on that.

So next week I'll blog about:

My Kids
Our Conferences
Re-invigorating my prayer life

After that I'll work on my school plan. I'll also write about working with the local School Dept. on changing regulations. By August we'll be starting soccer!!! I love
kid soccer in our city!

For today it was busy! I took a neighbor with us to our CSA farm run by The Food Bank of Western Mass. It is the most eclectic place in the world. She nearly cries to see women like my friend and I having the choice to stay home with our kids AND the choice to work or run triathlons. She sadly found she had a husband who would not allow her to work or take classes and would not help care for his own children. Of course she was a feminist. Of course she fought for women's rights. I so happy that women who did the fighting often break the stereotype and support those of us who stay home and mother!!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Seashore is summer and is Lovely!

I've finally found the Loveliness Fairs again and this week is the Loveliness of the Seashore hosted by Elaine at A Wink and a Smile.

For us 'seashore' is about visiting my in-laws at the Cape. I never remember a time when my in-laws did not want the Cape, that is Cape Cod, to be their retirement place. We are in Western Mass and the ride to the Bourne bridge is not as horrible as it could be because instead of renting we visit and avoid the traffic.
Their first place was a tiny, adorable cottage with privacy on one side because of a small patch of wetland. The kitchen was built into a hallway, so between my pregnancies and her evidence of good cooking it was often like driving bumper cars. It was a short safe watch to the beach where Grandpa gave baby David his first ice cream --with chocolate chips. One year we brought our inflatable rubber raft (a joke gift from my mother) and took turns letting the kids row. My 7 year old told me he'd take me all the way to Ireland!
When they found the place that would work to retire to they were thrilled. A lovely shake covered Cape set back on the property. 3 minutes from a pond, 5 from a marsh, and 10 from the beach. That's walking time. A 10 minute bike trip will bring you where the river meets the ocean and baby sea creatures incubate. A playground for for a kid with a net.
Best of all all the home have passed from one family member to the next with siblings sharing together. They have the same neighbors every year.
Seven years ago some of the neighbors began a Fourth of July celebration. They have all the kids decorate their bikes, wagons, helmets and parade around the block. When everyone gets back to the pond there are Hot Dogs and Cape Cod chips, musical chairs to the Marine Hymn, water balloons and prizes like Push up Pops. I've never seen so many Old Navy Red Tshirts!!!
Its a blast! Relaxing, patriotic, family time and community.
If you followed our Kitchen remodel you know my in laws took 3 of the kids for us for 2 weeks to make the deconstruction go well. We really owed them so as rushed as we were we made a point of being there. It really slowed us all down. Gramma and David played Cribbage or he worked puzzles with me. we walked and walked.
Now Mom and I don't stay up as late but we used to. We'd sit up reading for hours while they guys did early morning duty. She always had a book she'd been saving for me and for my husband and his Dad it was special time.
We do all our swimming late if we can. They play in the shade till lunch, eat, then we pack and sunscreen like crazy. I'll love the Pina Colada scent and rubbing down chubby arms and legs.

Shhh! Don't tell anyone but we've been known to put too many in Dad's car. Its 3 very quiet blocks where you can't go more than 3 miles per hour. If we have a baby I stroller them to the water so they'll have a place to rest.

Sleepy little one, a beach chair, cold drink, watching them become braver and stronger and more in love with their Dad and Grandpa every time they are swung through a wave or tossed in the air. That is Loveliness.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nearly Done!

Dear Hubby made the many sacrifices involved in getting up early, picking up the kitchen from last nights tiling, and getting me good photos. (Well they 'may' have been to show at work) Any way he has put up the trim, we've nearly finished the tiling and we're nearly done.

This is the view from my Dining Room. The upper cabinets will be conected with the only open shelving in the room.

This is the same area from the Galley end of the kitchen. The door you see in both pictures leads to the back porch. Where the old oven and clock are will be a wall oven during Phase II. Defined as "when the budget recovers"

When you step in from the dining room and look to the left you see the galley. The right hand side .....

and the left........

Here's a close up of the range, new backsplash including a place to put large and/or cooling pots.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


All that wit and wisdom and spiritual awareness and my 2 most faithful followers have their nose stuck in the latest Harry Potter! They won't even blog a sentence about getting their copy to give me a distraction from myself.
Guess That will teach me not to fall fior the latest book craze.

Monday, July 23, 2007


"Feeling better? You didn't sound like yourself when I read your blog."

Actually the more I think about it I sounded more like myself in that last, unedited, rambling mess of a blog. As I told my family when they heard a tirade in a premenopausal mood swing---'Believe me its worse in here'
My nature is to react, emotionally, and respond unedited to every event, hardship, book, song, pray and fleeting thought. I was so easily distracted as a child my poor mother brought me in for a hearing test. Thankfully she was also very understanding. She noticed and shared most of my first puberty induce crying jags.
Dear Hubby also understands. When I need to talk something out, out loud, for half and hour straight just to understand what I think about something he sits and listens. I can visibly see him restrain himself from commenting. Of course like any real man he wants to fix it. His brain is off to solutions even before I know if there is something to fix or just an emotion I need to control.

During one of our Bible Studies we mentioned mood swings and I was finally seeing, after 30 years of having them, that they are a gift. When women are calm, sedate, strong and happy we can create those things in our homes. When our mind and body is stressed and seeing everything that is wrong our eyes are opened to those things that need to be fixed. Whether that is ourselves or a relationship.
It is a gift that one parent has mood swings at the same time as teens to sympathize with them while one is steady and unreactive to little things when they need a buoy to cling to in the storm.

As an aside though I thoroughly advocate getting professional help when you need it. Again a bad mood swing is a signal that something is wrong and it may be you. Did you know most thyroid problems go undiagnosed? Did you know most diets increase mood swings and hurt fertility because when we cut bad fats we often loose essential fatty acids--- which make our brain work correctly.
Mine have mostly been better but I think I need to cut the caffeine again and watch that I eat breakfast and cut the alcohol. I was mostly the 'good girl' then spent 14 years of my marriage pregnant or nursing and the rest watching out for migraine triggers. Now that my kids usually sleep through the night and I'm outgrowing migraines its a real treat to have a beer or two. A wine with dinner and one after tucking. But of course I'm not at my best in the morning, not loosing weight, not cutting caffeine and my mood swings control me instead of being a tool I can use to discern where my efforts should be.

So while the calm, collected, even funny persona is what most people see and love its the frantic, unorganized, unedited and melancholy Mary that I live with.
That's OK.
I like her.

Friday, July 20, 2007

If a was a an angst ridden teen again this would be a Dear Diary kind of day. I'm a little sleep deprived, the one where your eyes sting but closing them to sleep seems impossible. The last 2 weeks have seemed very stressful. Hurry up and wait, finally start something only to have the phone ring or a child fall off a bike: a new 4 wheeler bought 2 days after her birthday by showing up at your husband's office during lunch and mentioning for the first time that your daughter had one request.
Two weeks of highs and lows. Watching my dream kitchen come together is just wonderful its only that the last 2 weeks their is less I can do. I even have to think twice about cooking so I won't be in the way the one hour a day Steve is here.
But yesterday we did bake all day. Cakes and muffins. My offering to Our Lady. I was not up to being my best which I guess is what makes it an offering.
2 weeks of trying to pull together the school plan for our co-op and going to meetings and making phone calls.
Oh and trying to have a summer. The kid pool is broken, too much rain for using the sprinkler. I couldn't swim the week we were at the Cape and may not be able to when we go to the work picnic tomorrow. (My 7 year old told my in law's neighbor I couldn't swim because I was 42)
So I have been reading. No not Harry Potter of which I have only read one book and seen one film. Yes I was cautious at first but mostly just not interested. Everything in my life at the time surrounded children and their imagination and inklings and I need to have something to read that grows me, separates me, reminds me I have a mind and imagination of my own. No matter how much I share with others, no matter how similar I am to others, no matter how much my children tell others every minute detail of my life yet there is no way even I can fully scrutinize all the corners of my mind and no all its intricacies.
And so I had a GIANT pile of library books to read. One was excellent but very 'schoolish' I needed something different this week. I wanted to read Jane Austin--- I never have. Don't know how that happened in spite of having High School teachers that trusted us to pick well from their lists I skipped the overly feminine ones. The expected.
I had it in my mind I ought, as a former Murphy, tackle James Joyce. That was until I read the first page, or rather looked at the nonsense on the page and found my scientific side will not allow me to comprehend his attempt to write in the style of dream/stream of conscience non-constructed silliness.
I had taken out Watership Down again the way I make Chicken and lumpy potatoes when I need comfort food. But I managed to convince my David to try it and he was convinced indeed. I just got back the book.
So I took up a book my sister was attempting to return to my mother. A gift from my brother: Father/Uncle Jimmy in Toronto it is inscribed to Mum as the book that brought him closest to Our Mother.
Diane Schoemperlen's Our Lady of the Lost and Found copyright 2001 by HarperCollins Canada was winner of the Governor General's award for Fiction. Over an over I book marked pages to quote in this universe we call the Internet. Phrases that caught my eye, made my laugh or cry or pray. But of course as we keep reading and are thus changed by the reading, the ideas, the conflict they create in us about our existing view of the world and ourselves I would go back and find the phrase inadequate nest the one in the following chapter so changed was I already.
She discusses in fact this dichotomy, fact vs. history, story vs. reality, Faith vs. doubt. either/or vs Both/and past and present and future as much as she discusses Our Lady. In the book, which is very clearly labeled as fiction, the narrator is visited by Mary Mother of God with a small request. That she can stay for week of rest before the month of May.
Over the course of the stay and during time researching afterwards the woman who is an author learns about the many visitations Mary has made over Two Thousand years and the mystery of the many contradictions that Mary represents.
No other woman in History is so surrounded by story. Stories that so many want to debunk as not real.
"As I listened to some of Mary's longer Stories, the more meandering ones, the more liberally punctuated by tangents,digressions, and tantalizing asides about other saints, other shrines, other times, I trusted her in the way a reader trusts a good writer. I trusted that no matter how disparate or disjointed the stories might seem in the telling, still they would amount to something in the end. And I, like Herodotus, appreciated the impossibility of telling one story without also telling all the others, without telling what came before and what came after, what came first and what came later." History (4) pg. 170.
Not a straight line. Not truly either story or fact. Instead it is both, and more. Worth reading if you are willing to see the world differently.
I suppose many have already had these revelations. To me, this time around they were fresh, sharp, poignant.

Prayer Request

One of the local homeschoolers, the only one I know who is Jewish, lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. They have 2 very younger children. Please pray for his soul and for their family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tag You're It.

Five Things I Love About Jesus
Michele from The Family Centered Life tagged Cheryl at My Thoughtful Spot who tagged me for this meme.
Here are the Rules:
Those tagged will share 5 things they “love” about Jesus.Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.

1. When I pray to rest in His Sacred Heart its just like resting on Daddy's chest as a little girl.
2. He gave me His Blessed Mother for when I really need a woman to talk to.
3. He is mercifully patient with me.
4. The way He has grown me by growing my Dear Husband.
5. I love the way He loves children, women, and the weakest so much.

I can't think of anyone so if you read this far you are tagged Especially if you are a 'lurker'

Lurker: one who hangs around watching without commenting.

And especially if you are a lurker who knows me!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Boy home from scout camp--- happy, dirty, tired.
Zoe Birthday--- got a 4 wheeler, happy
College kids here for weekend--- One slept 14 hours straight. One crashed the next day, Happy.
Kitchen progress ---includes stove, fridge and tool for hubby Happy!
Bible Study friends--- miss them But one is expecting Happy!

Guerss its summer after all.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Well Lord's Day is upon us. I celebrated by buying the cross I spotted at the Mall and it was 25% off on clearance $9.00!! You can see that while we were gone the door was hung. Jeff also primed the shelves we haven't eliminated yet. Until the budget recuperates we'll have this little oddity.

Oh and see my curved counter top as you enter?

Steve also got in this counter and a few uppers. Doors are not dry yet. I bought a counter top papertowel holder set that came with a napkin holder and a trivet. $8 at Walmart. I also bought the non adhesive drawer liners that are more about quietness and keeping things from shifting. You don't wipe with a sponge. You pull them to wipe underneath and toss them in the wash.

See the 2 pull out shelves?

This is my L. On Monday the plumber/electrician is coming to move the gas line. Then this cabinet can go in. he'll also hook up the range as long as the part came and take care of electricity to the dishwasher. The yellow towel is protecting the counter till the door stop is attached.

Here is a close up of my granite inset. It is just slightly raised to allow the sides to get some sealant. It is the only place beside the sink and range where there is a hole in the counter. He didn't need any seams.
We had to skip having one counter lower but it was worth the trade off.

Any way--- we also sanded and primed the bathroom cabinet Jeff saved and started painting the old shelf/dry sink combo that will go in Lissa's room. I also cleaned the back porch including the rugs, disgusting!!! Swept under the new bird feeder--- never again on a porch. Next time further from where I like to sit. Tomorrow Liss starts at her college summer program. So we also went dorm shopping. Jeff goes back tomorrow and David goes to camp so he was packing today. My in laws wouldn't let Sarah come home( hi Kiddo!) so after having a very old household for 2 weeks now we will have a very young house--- just the 7, 5, and 3 year old girls.
No I did not get pics of them at the Cape except on my phone. Actually was great fun. They have an old fashioned 4th picnic at the local pond. Every kids decorates their bike or wagon with Grandpa and 100 kids parade around the block. Then they had games, hot dogs and Cape Cod chips-- the best!!!
Only one beach day-- the last one. But they had a really nice time with their grandparents.
Now back to my celebration with a nice bottle of Pino Grigio.

Monday, July 2, 2007

On Homeschooling

This article by Sally Thomas says it all. As with most great things I found it on Danielle Bean's web site. This poet from Tennessee clearly establishes the reasoning for homeschooling in light of the scripture ' to be in the world but not of it" and Christ's direction to "be salt and light for the world."
I can't do it justice: you'll have to read it yourself.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Dinner

All seven best here for dinner.
Happy Mum!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Morning By Morning

This is an author I wish I found earlier in my homeschooling experience. Paula Penn-Nabrit and her husband C. Madison Nabrit homeschooled their 3 African-American sons, when homeschooling was still new. All were accepted at Ivy League schools as was their goal. Her writing is clear, and enjoyable while being a challenge.
Her plan for her sons' education is the most completely thought out and intelligent plan I have ever seen. They were at odds with most African Americans at the time because achieving access to higher quality public education was hard-earned. At odds with their family who had sacrificed so they would have education at an Ivy League school and because C. Madison's great uncle helped argue Brown vs. Board of Education with Thurgood Marshall. At odds with the home school community because they worked with tutors for several classes every year. At odds with their sons who never did admit to liking homeschooling and made their dislike well known to any who would listen.
Unfortunately the book has been pigeon-holed as a book for African-American's making it hard to find. Having homeschooled for over a decade now, though not at the High School level, I believe she speaks to all mothers. Every decision she and her husband made was base on their commitment to these 3 young men, given to them by God. They were brutally honest with themselves about their, and their sons', strengths and weaknesses. For example, while she appreciates the strength of un-schooling, its emphasis on interest-led learning, she knew it was not possible for her sons.
The title is linked to her current website and the book jacket lists the site, still operating, where they first spoke of their experience.
This will challenge all educators to look for holistic ways to grow each child to their fullest potential. It will also challenge all white Americans to look more closely at the things they say and do that are racist. I certainly have never thought of myself that way and yet now I see ways I have been separate, insensitive. While not racist I have not been as inviting, open and sensitive as I need to be.

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: John Paul II - Cause for Beatification and Canonization

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: John Paul II - Cause for Beatification and Canonization

Here is how to donate to the cause and receive a prayer card reminder to pray for the cause with a relic of John Paul II.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We inturrupt this Blog to bring you a Milestone!

My son Jeff is off to college as we speak. (No Mom isn't going to drop him off and cry in front of everyone.Dad is.)

Here he is with a car load of clothes, food, music, and all the posters he wants to hang that he never even considered trying to hang at our house. Mom made sure he had a First Aid Kit, Tylenol, paper towels etc.

Of course the summer program is 5 days a week so he'll be home Thursday night till Sunday. And he's keeping his weekend job at the local bakery. At least until it puts a crimp in his social life.

This was graduation day for the Purple Knights. Steve-O is on the right and is going to UMass for Engineering. Mitch is in the background. Very proud of him. After 2 devastating years of his father's illness and death he put his life back on track, holds down a job and is only 1 class away from graduating.

Congratulations Jeffers! You are a funny, handsome, smart, creative, laid back, hard working, fabulous person. I am proud to call you my son.
Love always and in all ways, Mum