Yesterday, a statue fell on Brendan's head, making a small, but wide cut. Two hours later, it was still bleeding, so I called the doctor's office and spoke with the nurse telling her about the cut. She told me to bring Brendan in to the office at noon. I did so, leaving all of the other children, except Elizabeth, at home. We spent an hour and a half at the doctor's office and Brendan left with two stitches in his head.
During dinner, Finnian informed me, "I was crying for you when you were gone." I told him, "I am sorry that I had to leave you at home." He responded, "I was crying and saying, 'I hate Mommy.'" I replied, "You know that's a bad word. It's not a nice thing to say. Why were you crying if you don't like me." Without thinking, he said, "I was saying it because I was angry with you for leaving me." I am truly sorry that I had to leave you, my little boy, but I still love you with all my heart, even if you were angry with me.
for the breathtaking Mass my family and I went to on Friday evening at North American Martyrs. Photos can be seen here and an article can be found here. Archbishop Brunett, four FSSP priests, and two diocesan priests helped Fr. Saguto, FSSP celebrate the Mass. Eighteen boys and young men served and approximately 700 people (diocesan clergy and Knights of Columbus included) assisted. The choir sounded beautiful.
that my son served at the Mass on Friday evening. He was one of the torchbearers. He also met Archbishop Brunett and kissed his ring.
for a sister who shares her children's accomplishments. My niece's (Kourtney) mural won first place for judge's choice at the Puyallup Fair.
for my father who calls and is very good about sharing his life with his children.
for a friend, Shelly, whose love for her husband and children is inspiring.
for being able to spend Thursday at the zoo with some of my children and one of their friends. We are all looking forward to visiting the zoo again. My husband and older children hope to join us next time.
This peacock walked right in front of me, stopped, and looked at the camera.
The children liked watching the sharks. Posing in the shark's mouth was an added bonus.
The tiger acted like he wanted to get out. One of my children thought that he just wanted to eat us.
The polar bear is always fun to see. He went swimming and ate apples while we watched him.
Sometimes, I find myself wishing that my mom was still here. She was a truly amazing Mother. I often think about her and wish that I could ask her how she disciplined my siblings and me. I know that this might sound odd, but her form of discipline was completely different from anything I have witnessed or read.
Like most mothers, my mom disciplined us out of love. However, she did not use spankings, a raised voice, time outs, or visible incentives to do so. Rather, she used love. My four siblings and I were fairly well-behaved children, because we did not want to hurt our mother or father. I distinctly remember doing two things that I should not have done and although my mom did not say a word, I felt so guilty because I knew that I had hurt her. I never did them again. I remember my mom calling my dad at work once due to the fact that a sibling had yelled at her. A "punishment" was not administered. My sibling never yelled at my mom again because he knew by that simple phone call how much he had hurt my mom. When we would fight with each other and then claim our innocence, she would remind us that it takes two to fight and that there are two sides to every story. When a curious sibling learned what she was getting for Christmas, my mom switched gifts. When one of us would threaten, "Well then I'm not going to do my homework." She calmly and simply replied, "The only person that will affect is you." When we were falsely accused, she would remind us, "God knows the truth and nothing else matters." She disciplined calmly and effectively out of love and with love.
The manner in which my mom disciplined us, helped us (or at least it helped me) to realize in a very real way that when we sin, we hurt God. I am thankful for the sacrament of Confession. I am thankful that God provides us with an opportunity to apologize for our sins and to let Him know that we love Him.
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because I have offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
a little girl who is just starting to walk. As we prayed the Rosary on September 16, she took one step and then four more. She has taken a total of six steps without falling. It is fun to see her clapping and saying, "Yeah!" after she takes a few steps.
a little boy with an incredible vocabulary who keeps us on our toes with the things that he says.
a son who celebrated his birthday recently and really likes his walkie talkies.
a daughter who enjoys helping me in the kitchen.
a daughter who likes reading and sharing what she has read.
a son who loves his youngest sister.
a daughter who makes me smile with her cute little ways and spontaneity.
a friend who will always be a friend even though we no longer go to the same parish. (Thank you, Peggy.)
another friend who has been incredibly helpful over the past two years. (Thank you, Peggy Sue.)
a very good start to our school year. We are working on Week 5. I credit the good beginning to morning prayers and some advice that I received from my pastor a few months ago. The children all seem to be enjoying school this year. Enrolling my eldest son in Seton (my husband's decision) has been very beneficial to him, so far.
I am blessed with a friend who started a girls' book club. My two eldest daughters thoroughly enjoyed reading and discussing books with their friends last year. They are looking forward to their first meeting this year.
Patronal Feast with the Archbishop—September 25
Plan to attend the Solemn High Mass to celebrate our first patronal feast as a parish next Friday evening, September 25, at 7:30, the feast of the North American Martyrs. Archbishop Brunett will be in attendance and will assist with the Mass from the throne, a ceremony not seen in the archdiocese for almost 45 years! Four other Fraternity priests will be in attendance along with diocesan clergy. A festive dessert potluck will follow in the Parish Center gymnasium which will provide the opportunity to greet the Archbishop at his first visit to the new parish.
"Obedience does not mean the execution of orders that are given by a drill sergeant. It springs, rather, from the love of an order, and love of Him who gave it. The merit of obedience is less in the act than in the love; the submission, the devotion, and the service that obedience implies are not born of servitude but are rather effects that spring from and are unified by love. Obedience is servility only to those who have not understood the spontaneity of love...
Our Lord spent three hours in redeemming, three years in teaching, and thirty years in obeying, in order that a rebellious, proud, and diabolically independent world might learn the value of obedience. Home life is that God-appointed training ground of human character, for from the home of a child springs the maturity of manhood, either for good or for evil. The only recorded acts of Our Blessed Lord's childhood are acts of obedience -- to God, His Heavenly Father, and also to Mary and Joseph. He thus shows the special duty of childhood and of youth: to obey parents as the vice-regents of God. He, the great God Whom the heavens and earth could not contain, submitted Himself to His parents...All men may ponder well the hint of a Child subject to His parents, that no Heavenly call is ever to be trusted that bids one neglect the obvious duties that lie near to hand."
~ Fulton J. Sheen, The World's First Love: Mary Mother of God, pp. 99-101
My youngest niece, Julie Valerie Marie, was born on August 8 and baptized on August 22, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Photos were a little longer than expected in coming because my brother almost died on the Feast of the Assumption.
On August 15, he went to the hospital because he was experiencing no feeling in one of his arms. The doctors decided to do a spinal tap. During the spinal tap, they hit a nerve which caused fluid to build up around my brother's brain. His wife called their priest and he came to give my brother the last rites. My brother said that as he received the sacrament, he felt a warmth come over him and he prayed that he would be well enough to go to his daughter's baptism on August 22. He was unable to walk and had severe headaches, but by the time Saturday morning, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, rolled around he could walk. He still can't feel his one arm, and he has lost sensation in one side of his face, but I am so thankful that he is still alive. I can't help thinking that our Blessed Mother interceded for him. He and his wife were married on the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary several years ago, he went to the hospital on the Feast of the Assumption, and he left the hospital on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thank you, God, for answering his family's prayers.
Please pray that the doctors can figure out what is wrong with him and that he is able to feel his arm and one side of his face again.
In the heart of every right-thinking Catholic, God has implanted the desire to become a Saint. Yet few make a serious attempt to realise the ambition. The cause for this is to a large extent discouragement, due to the misunderstanding of what a Saint really is.
What is a Saint? The answer usually returned to this question is: one who does extraordinary penances and works miracles. Now, this is an incorrect description, for neither miracles nor great penances are essential. The man who works a miracle does not raise himself in God's eyes by it; and, while penance in some shape is necessary, still the teaching of the Saints on this difficult question is encouraging.
What they direct is not bodily penances of a terrifying kind, but rather the strict avoidance of delicacies, softness, comfort. We are told to beware of injuring our health, and to eat enough plain food to enable us to work and pray without hindrance. There is ample opportunity for the severest mortification in the restraint of eyes and tongue, and in a warfare against the seven Deadly Sins.
Thus, there is another definition of what a Saint is. It is this: One who, with the object of pleasing God, does his ordinary duties extraordinarily well. Such a life may be lived out without a single wonder in it, arouse little notice, be soon forgotten, and yet be the life of one of God's dearest friends.
It is obviously an encouragement to look on sanctity in this way. When we see that those things which so terrified us in the lives of the Saints, because we felt we could not do them ourselves, are not the important part of their sanctity at all, we should feel heartened to begin to-day and make a serious effort for great holiness. Believe this: it is only the first few wrenches given to the will that really hurt. Perhaps the following words of Cardinal Newman will tempt us to take a step forward on the road:
"If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first do not lie in bed beyond the time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God's glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect."
Tomorrow, we will be making our annual birthday cake in honor of our Blessed Mother, doing The Litany of Loreto Match-Up from A Year with God, reading Tomie de Paola's Mary: The Mother of Jesus, singing Happy Birthday, and praying the Rosary. I wish that we could go to Mass at our parish, too, but the cost of filling up our big van with gas makes driving out there more than twice a week somewhat prohibitive.
Happy feast of Mary's Nativity! May we always say, "Yes", to God, as the Queen of Heaven did!
Recently, I have had a couple of well-intentioned people tell me, "You need a break." and "I hope your husband gives you at least an hour all to yourself each week." I took some of the children to a doctor's appointment and I read on the nine-month well-child check form that I am supposed to be getting at least 3 hours a week all to myself. The problem is that I do not want a break.
I don't view motherhood as a job that requires a break. Just as children are a gift from God, motherhood is a gift from God. Faith and family are gifts from God.
My mom used to say that I was happiest when I was busy. Having a family definitely keeps me busy and happy. Yes, there is always something to do. There are meals to prepare while I pray for my mom's soul and my dad. There are dishes to wash while I pray for my family. There is laundry to wash while I pray for my mother-in-law's soul and my father-in-law. There are clothes to fold while I pray for my husband and children. There is a husband for whom I am so thankful. There are children to hug and love. There are lessons to teach, books to read, and children to tuck in bed. There are quiet moments at night and in the early morning hours when the children are all asleep when I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful family.
How could I ever need a break from my princess, my monk, and their siblings?