Monday, August 30, 2010

Spiritual Woman: The Importance of Parents as Teachers

File under: things I love to read:

Spiritual Woman: The Importance of Parents as Teachers: "I was recently reading the September 2010 issue of “Living” magazine. Not surprisingly, inside of it was an ad featuring Martha Stewart. Wha..."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Irish Wake

I grew up with 3 Memeres but despite the best efforts of the French side of the family I'm all Irish. Our favorite tradition, and one that holds our family tightly together, is the Irish Wake. Early Friday morning my last garndparent passed away. I find I'm not sad-- you was very anxious to get to see her George again. I'm sure she's in her best pencil skirt, heels and pearls. I'm sure he greeted her with a gift of a new white blouse-- she had one every spring. Now they are dancing all over heaven. When they need a break they'll sit and sing as he plays organ.
So last night many of us gathered and made posters of pictures: all 7 of her kids, all her siblings, all 27 grandchildren and all 40 great grandchildren-- we hope-- but one is expected this weekend. We talked, laughed, share a drink (or two). We learned who is struggling and who is expecting, who is looking for work and who wants to retire. We reinforced the ties that bind us all together. Below is her obituary. 2 paragraphs do not tell the story of her 88 years and her 62 year marraige. Its told in the laughter of her grandchildren and the tears of her children.

Madeleine D. (Paquin) Murphy

Madeleine D. Murphy 1922 2010 CHICOPEE Madeleine D. (Paquin) Murphy, 88, of The Arbors in Chicopee was Called Safely Home on Friday, August 27, 2010. She was born in Chicopee on May 2, 1922, a beloved daughter of the late Wilfrid and Florence (Denette) Paquin. She was raised in Holyoke where she graduated from the former Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School and moved to Manning Street in the Fairview section of Chicopee in 1961. In 2003, she moved to Westfield and after the death of her husband George, she became a resident of The Arbors in Chicopee. During her early working career, she worked at the former Sinclair Wire Company in Holyoke and later was the snack bar manager at the former Zayre's Department Store on Memorial Drive in Chicopee. She was a communicant of Saint Anne Church in Fairview where she was a member of the Ladies of Saint Anne Sodality and a longtime member of the Senior Choir. She was also very active in the Fairview Parent Teacher Association in Chicopee. She adored her family and showered them with her love and affection which was returned to her a thousand fold. She was predeceased by her beloved husband and best friend, George F. Murphy who was Called Home on February 21, 2004. They were married at the former Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Holyoke on April 26, 1941 and were blessed with over 62 years of happiness together. She was also predeceased by her baby son, Joseph Murphy and her dear brother and sister, Clarence "Nick" Paquin and Lorraine Paquin. She leaves her seven loving children, George W. Murphy and his wife, MiJa of Franklin, MA, James F. Murphy and his wife, Dianne of Holyoke, Edward T. Murphy and his wife, Karen of Douglasville, GA, Robert D. Murphy and his wife, Clare of South Hadley, Stephen P. Murphy and his wife, Beth of Westfield, Timothy J. Murphy and his wife, Eileen of Westfield and Ann Marie Novak and her husband, Michael of Granby; her 27 cherished grandchildren; her 40 cherished great grandchildren; her dear brothers, George Paquin of Holyoke and Armand Paquin of South Hadley; her dear sisters, Irene Cote of South Hadley, Mary LaCoste and her husband, Roger of Poughkeepsie, NY and Jeanne Toth and her husband, John of Manchester, NH and her many dear nephews and nieces. Her funeral will be held on Tuesday morning, August 31, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the St. Pierre Phaneuf Fairview Chapels, (413-533-3307), 506 Britton Street, Chicopee, MA 01020 followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Saint Anne Church, 30 College Street in Chicopee. Her burial will follow the Mass at Saint Jerome Cemetery on Northampton Street in Holyoke. Her family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday, August 30, 2010 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The parking lot is located in the rear of the funeral home. Her family has requested that memorial donations be made in her memory to the Saint Anne Church Memorial Fund, 30 College Street, Chicopee, MA 01020.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Faith & Family : Features : Mission: Mom

Faith & Family : Features : Mission: Mom

Beautiful insight on sending your children off to college-- and life. A mother's work is never done. Thank God!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Answer

To a challenge I posted on Faith and Family Live the other day.

Don't scroll down till you try:

Take  a block of wood and start nailing in a longish nail-- 2"-3"-- then wiggle it loose.

Balance the nail in the hole.

Now take 14 matching nails
and balance them on the head of the first nail.

Think of all your friends called to homeschool

or co-op together,

maybe to teach CCD together

or run a retreat.

You want to center your life on Christ and so do they.

All at the same time.

Don't scroll till you try.

No you can't flip it over and lay the nails on the wood.

No you can't just lean them up.

They must be a team.



Get it yet?

OK Look...............................

To do it lay one nail on the table. Take the next 12 nails and alternate them laying across the first nail, points out so you can see the heads will lock. Before lifting lay the last nail over the alternated nails just between the nail heads. Keep the top and bottom nails pinched tight around the others as you lift and they drop down in a chevron shape. Balance the bottom nail on the head of the first nail.

from my friends at WMH

Thanks Lisa Marie! The devotional was beautiful!


Monday, August 9, 2010

From Mum and Dad

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!
To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit
Note: To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime� 6.5 or higher is required.


Today is a special day in a special summer. Jeff and I have been married 24 years. In June it was 25 years since we did not elope: our Un-Anniversary. Its also the year we've known each other for 32 years so we have now been together for 30 years. Its surreal. My friends at Bible Study were just talking about still feeling like they'll wake up and it'll be a dream: they'll still be teens and these will be someone else's kids they've been taking care of. They'll go home and get paid for the job. But this is our real life.

So to make it feel more real and intentional we celebrate milestones and anniversaries. Sometimes, like this year, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect romantic partner and have loads of time alone and happy we sabotage ourselves. This year we are back to having 3 little ones for our special day. The teens are off on retreat. Time alone is a difficult thing to find. Its easy to rush through our meal, talk discipline or chores or become frustrated by every child's interruption in our day.

But the truth is there is beauty in frustration as well. "Two become one" is our precursor to the joy of Heaven where we will have perfect communion with all of God's people and enjoy the fullness of His Presence. Our souls ache for that union and in our spouse we almost reach it, yet it remains ever elusive. Even with such an open, sharing and ever listening spouse as I've been blessed with there are always things we don't know. He will never comprehend what it is to be clumsy just as I will never comprehend what it is to be coordinated. I can't fathom that there are 100's of different weights of paper and 100's of values of white. He can't understand why I don't know if I've used the 'good' paper or not when I print. No matter how close we grow toward each other there will always be a distance to cross, at least until we reach our heavenly goal.

I promised before I would blog about our 16th anniversary. We call it our Mortar Anniversary and everyone we've known had a hard time that year. Our first was silly. The seven year itch was easy. Ten worked out well despite my being exhausted from little kids. Twenty was a really special one because we knew we needed time away and made it happen. But 16 is tough.

It was just a couple years after we'd been able to move to my hometown and we were starting to make new friends. We committed to staying put so we decided to spend the summer doing the big fix the house need: rebuilding the foundation. The house was built - best guess -in 1890. (Paperwork starts in 1900 but dated work in the attic and basement say 1890.) For a Victorian it has a deep basement. The friend we'd bought it from had started the foundation and another friend taught us what to do. The number one rule is knowing how much back foundation you can dig out before you must refill. If the hole was bigger than 6 feet in any direction we risked having the weight of the house come down.
It was a long month of work. First were the two weekends outside the house doing the areas under the porches. Hot, cramped work for my husband especially as there were so many things I wasn't strong enough to do. Then we took his vacation week to start the basement. we'd spend an our digging out the bad mortar, saving the good stones and bricks, trying not to damage what was still holding well. Then came cleaning the dusty mess and mixing an 80 pound bag of mortar. Next came putting the wall back together, trying to use enough mortar but not too much, using each stone strategically, going slow enough to build straight but be mindful of not letting the mortar set before we were done. Then clean up, lunch and another round before dinner and a beer.

But at the same time two of our new friends who were also married 16 years that summer began a divorce. They had appeared to be a perfect couple: handsome, always together, always at their kids events, serving Eucharist side by side.  But the foundation of respect, faithfulness and love was one sided and crumbling.

It really shook Jeff and I. In the hours of work and sweat, side by side in the quiet basement, we talked, and talked, and talked. Carefully we picked at the mortar of our relationship. Each touchstone event was pulled out, cleaned off, examined and then put back in its place with respect and gratefulness. The mortar holding them together is the love we both have for the shared history it gives us. The foundation holds up more than just ourselves. It gives our children a safe, secure place to build a future.

One week was not enough to finish the task. The next week I would do section myself during the day and he would help me do a section after supper. I was strong. I could lift and mix an 80 pound bag of mortar and keep at it all day. My husband was strong. He could work all day, trusting me to make progress, and then help me all evening. I will always love having a summer project to do with him. 16 is tough but in so many ways it is the most valuable anniversary we have had. We strengthen our knowledge of each other, our commitment, our faithfulness, our joy in being in love in a far deeper way than renewing our vows on our 10th or having a second honeymoon for our 20th.

I am so grateful for this Sacrament. Grateful for this Blessed ring I wear each day. Grateful despite no longer being strong enough to lift a bag of mortar-- when I needed to I did the work and did not shirk all the responsibility away. I valued my marriage and pray I always will.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spiritual Woman: Some quotes from St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Spiritual Woman: Some quotes from St. Gianna Beretta Molla: "These are excerpts from some of St. Gianna's writings: 'Prayer is the search for God who is in heaven and everywhere, since He is infinite ..."

You really need to check out this fabulous blog by Patrice. These are great quotes-- I'd never heard them before.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Danielle Bean » Catholic Devotions Blog Tag

Danielle Bean » Catholic Devotions Blog Tag

Ooo a blog tag! Haven't seen one in forever. Thanks Danielle for tagging everyone.
Its easy-- list your five favorite devotions, here or on your blog and tag your friends.

1) Prayer from the pieta booklet for the moment of consecration, "May the hearts of all the world burn with love for You."
2) Offering it up: usually involves matching socks in the basement or migraine pain.
3) Extempoareous prayer to The Kitchen Madona.
4) Music-- I've even thought of dusting off my guitar
5) Come Holy Spirit-- Its prayed evertime Cursillistas gather.

So - tag your it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Faith & Family : Features : Comments, Conflict and Criticism

Faith & Family : Features : Comments, Conflict and Criticism

Please join our community in a Novena to St Isadore, Patron Saint of the Internet. The link leads to the post, written by Danielle Bean, about why we are praying. But here is the prayer:
Saint Isidore of Seville
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after
all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the Divine Person
of Thy only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore,
bishop and doctor,
during our journeys through the internet
we will direct our hands and eyes
only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience
all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Don't Forget

Like I usually do:

Go to This, That and the Other Thing for Sunday Snippets I posted one of my Summer reading posts.