Friday, August 27, 2010


"Fear is useless; what is needed is trust." Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36

Easy to say, right?

 I have heard and read lots of good teaching about this subject. But the best teacher has been life itself.

 I've found that trust comes a bit easier for the long term issues for which I pray--especially eternal salvation for my family and other loved ones. Also for people of whom I am not personally acquainted, the Pope for example. I pray for his intentions at the conclusion of each Rosary, and sincerely ask God for his protection and guidance; but I do not suffer the same pangs as when I am praying, for instance, for my two hospitalized  daughters, one here, one in Michigan. (that was quite a time!) In that state of  prayer, I awake all throughout the night. Every waking moment I have the intention in the foreground of my thoughts, often accompanied by  the physical  feelings associated with grief. If you are alive and reading this, you know that twisting of the gut that I speak of.

 Aren't the here and now situations, the ones with the hard edge of reality gouging you in the ribcage, really the places of life that are so difficult to hand over to God? Finances, for example. Nothing is harder edged, more coldly factual and without emotion, than money. Yet, people's emotions are often very linked to it. Look at the stock market, driven by the feeling of the day. I guess it is the necessary stuff of life, and we have to deal with it--I have been affected at various times by a pretty grim monetary poverty, and know the daily stress it can impose.

On the flip side, I also have experienced in that real, more real than real, way, the hand of God coming to me in desperate situations; bringing His love, assurance of His presence, sometimes physical relief. But always, a freedom from the prison of fear.

Several years back, our dear Father Terry (pictured  in the slideshow with us at our wedding ), in a session of spiritual direction,told me to look back at my life, and document my own salvation history. Meaning, the times I could see the hand of God, noting through whom or what He came, and what was the effect? So very often  the pattern was - me surrendering something I was holding tightly to for comfort--whether it be a relationship, a mindset (fear, pride, insecurity, for a few of the big ones) or even control of certain outcomes, say, concerning my children. The results? Grace. Overflowing, abundant, overwhelming at times.

Our Lord is so available, so immediately present, so attuned to our every thought, struggle and prayer,---

(O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Psalm 139 1-4)

--that, if we were aware, I think we would continually be falling on our faces in awe and gratitude. Not to mention all we ask to help and guide us--our Blessed Mother, all the saints and angels, our dear guardian angels, to whom we give almost no thanks or recognition. I have often joked that I keep my favorite saints quite busy praying for my family--Saint Monica (today is her feast day!), Saint Augustine (tomorrow is his!), and I love some of our more contemporary saints, who walked the earth on our lifetime and saw the direction our modern times were taking- Padre Pio, Blessed Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II (not yet!), Solanus Casey--these are just a few. And since his passing, I ask Father Terry for his prayers. I often joke that I didn't even give him a chance to get there and put his feet up before I put him to work. But he had a real love and interest for my family, so who better to ask?

The point of doing that was to see in my own salvation history--that God is worthy of my trust. That even in situations I never would have thought I could make it through at all, (poverty of heart and of pocketbook, abortion, abusive relationships), He has brought me through each and every one, to emerge stronger, more at peace, and immensely thankful and blessed.

May His peace reign in you today and always-


St. Monica, pray for us!

Feastday: August 27
Patron of Wives and Abuse Victims

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370· He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, "it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish." This thought, coupled with a vision that she had received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.

                                                                                             *note- whenever I see this image(we belong to St.Monica parish, so I see it all the time--it is a statue in our church) I cannot help but think of Father Kelley remarking that they look like they are watching the eleven o'clock news--thanks for that, Father! lol

Thursday, August 26, 2010

comment, comment, comment


Allow me to apologize for not posting in several days. I am in one of my--fatigue/busyness/slight disorganization/getting called in to work/attempting to ready the family for a trip/attempting to get the kids set for school--periods. As I write this, I should be getting ready for work. Which essentially means, I should be taking a nap.

I just want to encourage any readers to please comment! I would love for my blog to be more of a dialogue that monologue. (Wow-say that three times fast). I would love to hear your  thoughts and stories. 

We are readying ourselves, and by that I mean mostly me, for a road trip to visit my brother Gary in beautiful, northwest North Carolina. He lives on the side of a mountain, literally! Well, no, he does live in a house. I am very excited that we finally replaced the camera I dropped two Christmases ago, in an attempt to take a family shot with which to make Christmas cards. I actually dropped it once, and it survived, and so then dropped it again, just to make sure I totally killed it. I did. But this trip, barring any camera-death-and-disfigurement-episodes, I plan to regale you all (can one "regale" with photos? well, I will do it anyway), with mountainous beauty, the kids being silly, us being silly, and hopefully I will be the photographer 99.999% of the time, as I turn into someone else whenever a camera is pointed in my direction. Someone hideous.

I must run off and attempt to rest before going to work. Perhaps I will have a second wind after and sit down and write something a bit pithier. So watch out!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

a Sunday thought

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".
 Erma Bombeck

For the past few days, I have been using some of Erma's funny quotes for my facebook status. To me, the funniest things are the truest things. This one stood out though, as being true in a profound way. It reminds me of St. Therese of Lisieux and her Little Way.

It is something like this--to love and accept completely the people and tasks God has put in my life. To do the routine things with faithfulness and joy, offering them to God, knowing that the great things are out of my reach. In so doing, the little things become great.  Like the widow's mite, or the loaves and fish.

Whatever I am given to do on a certain day, let me do it to the best of my ability, and not forget love. The world has enough clanging symbols. The uncanny thing is, when I strike out in some direction out of obedience, I am often just at the beginning of some unseen road, and where that road leads, I can never foresee.

"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love." St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower   

Now, to depart completely from the higher things in life, to this.

My dear husband Bob has a habit of mixing up words while typing, such as interchanging bear and bare, etc...

Here are two of his best.

Recently our basement took on a smell that was exactly like a litterbox overdue for cleaning. Except we don't have a cat. We had no idea where it was coming from. Our landlord, David,  (the nicest landlord on the planet) was coming to do some maintenance, so Bob emailed him to tell him about the smell.  He stated that there was a fowl odor in our basement. When Bob got home from work, it was all I could do not to cluck.

But this one is for the record books. Our youngest, Malaika, goes to our parish school, St. Monica's. Over the years, we have had to appeal to our pastor, Father Kelley, for a bit of leeway here and there in order to manage our tuition payments. One time, Bob emailed him explaining our latest late payment (?). He added at the end, " I hope this doesn't cause you any incontinence".

Silly typo?
A chuckle.

Silly typo to a priest? 

Friday, August 20, 2010


Tomorrow morning,( and by morning, I mean the crack of dawn), Bob and I are playing music for the ProLife mass, held at St. John the Evangelist at 13th and Market. We do this once a month. Tomorrow, Rachael and Justin are joining us, as they have before. It is a relief for me, not to have to do all the singing, especially given the hour. Also, we sing well together and it lifts the mass music to a higher level. So, thank you Rachael and Justin! You make the people that rise at  an inhuman hour and trek to St. John's that much more blessed. Maybe sometime I will be able to get somebody to post us to You Tube, so I can share it here.

Anyways--it's a sacrifice that doesn't go unnoticed by God--none do, you know.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

when in doubt, do dishes

I have had a pretty wide range of jobs outside the home over the years. Being trained as a musician will often lead to that.  Among other things, I have been; an exercise instructor, a cake decorator, a telemarketer, a sales office receptionist, a medical office receptionist and  a temp in a law office (language-wise this was like being in a foreign country).

About eight years ago,  I began working in direct care of the disabled. I was a "teacher" in a day program for severely disabled adults. The disabilities were physical and mental, and each person in my class had multiple disorders. More than half were in wheelchairs, and many could not feed themselves. Our days, as staff, were split between caring for their personal needs, and doing activities. My classroom stressed art and music.  I would get out the little rhythm instruments and play my guitar and we (mostly me) would sing songs. We also would do hand over hand art projects. 

This job required a good amount of training. At the beginning, I was overloaded with gobs of information, and as an apprentice, had to rely on almost minute by minute instruction. Often I wouldn't know what to do with myself, and not wanting to appear useless, I would go over to the sink and wash dishes left  from the snacks and lunch. Later, when I had the opportunity to train the newcomers, they often would wash dishes while the rest of us did the more skilled jobs. This always brought to mind Brother Lawrence-

He described his days in the kitchen washing dishes and seeking to discover “The Presence” even in the pots and pans. He writes:
The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.
                                  (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, page 22)

There is something inherently grounding, peaceful and humble about the washing of the dishes. Often, when I have roughly forty seven tasks waiting to be done in the house, I begin with the dishes. It helps me get my head together. Maybe it is the soul's reminiscence of the waters of baptism. The little baptism of the hands sets the stage for the renewal of my day. The tasks that come after have a new light shed upon them, and I am less likely to forget my Lord.

When I am in any moment of decision, if I say to myself, "when in doubt, wash dishes", I can start at the basic, foundational place of humility. 

A pretty good place to start.  I think Julie Andrews once said that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

signs of life

   When all my kids were little, I had to grow accustomed to a high activity level in the house. And a general mess, especially when there was a  preponderance of babies and toddlers. Some days, I could only get out of bed by promising myself that I could relax a little at the kids nap time. (I still use a version of that). I remember a friend of mine, who also had a good amount of children, saying something like, "People matter more that things." Seems kind of elementary! 

Then I would  awake each morning to mountains of laundry, (no dryer--someone in cloth diapers), meals to prepare, lessons to teach (I homeschooled back then) -- all the while skating over blankies left on the kitchen floor, stepping on legos in the hallway, (ow), cheerios buried in the couch cushions and the occasional piece of fruit forgotten in a dresser drawer for approximately seven weeks. (So that was what that smell was!)  The people vs. things issue clouded a bit when the things that were extensions of the people are difficult to manage. 

When things got really hairy I would often repeat my friends' saying and try to remember that someday I would miss those days. ( I do). Later, I also found it helpful to add the little mental caption, 'Signs of Life', to the particularly distressing scenes. The favorite- "fort" made from  sheets and blankets, held in place by many teetering, heavy books on the edges of tables and chairs. All their worldly possessions  got dragged inside so that they could barely fit in themselves. All these items were much more fun to put in the fort that to take out. Or put away.

  One son was the quintessential tinkerer.  Anyone who has one knows what this means.  One day, the thing that got taken apart was an antique gold watch I had saved from my mother's jewelry box. I think it had been her mother's. What a sight--all the teeny gears and teenier springs on my dresser. This one was not getting put back together. But this was a Thing and the tinkerer was my Son. Who now can take things apart and get them back together in even better shape than they were before. 

These days, the people are considerably larger, and the activity level is about things like applying to colleges, job interviews, and SAT's. I still have to talk to myself some days, and allow for lots of  'signs of life'. The kids are largely teens and young adults now, well able to take care of a lot of their own messes. It is tricky, as we have eight people in a South Philly row house. Picture a large, uncoordinated dance troupe in an area the size of a postage stamp. For it to be always neat as a pin ( ha HA) would require almost military style order. And I don't really want our home to have the atmosphere of a boot camp. So I take a deep breath, say a prayer or three, do whatever work needs to be done, delegate what needs to be delegated. Then I remember that these people are much more important that anything else surrounding us, and that someday, when they have moved on to leave signs of life in their own places, I will miss them like crazy.

If there are those who might be thinking that having a child or several children, (or seven), will take away something from your life; it will. It will take away your focus from yourself. It will take your breath away, every time you peek in on them while they sleep. It will take away your small vision of the world, and open up whole new horizons, as they grow and pursue their dreams. All the love, sweat, tears, and laundry, you put in on their behalf comes around and blesses you beyond what you could have imagined.

So yes, life is messy. But without a little mess, all we would have left is a very sterile, orderly, lonely and colorless existence. When the Lord said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ( John 10:10) Sure there are those who do not have children for one reason or another--but I am not talking about those here--I have in mind those who would practice and promote abortion. What a sad world indeed , is one that would not welcome the children it is given.

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.
Mother Teresa

 If you are contemplating abortion, feel free to contact me, or go here: to talk with someone who can help.



Saturday, August 14, 2010

after work blink-blogging

Well I say that now, but once I get going, you never can tell.

 I just got home from my Friday night shift at Women of Hope. 4-12. Recently I have been thinking about leaving my job there and trying to make this blogging thing bring in some shekels instead. And maybe finally get going on that book I have been wanting to write.

But when I really imagine not working there I think of how I will miss the ladies. They have grown on me. SO I think-maybe a compromise. I could start up my Rosary-and-song group again. Or Bob and I and the kids could go and do a concert. Maybe a Christmas concert! Justin could dress as Santa--he likes that sort of thing. (oh to have Kaden-he could go as mini-Santa! He likes that sort of thing, too).

The hardest part is getting the ladies to deviate from their routine. I have seen them turn on the TV while a group was there playing the piano and singing. Or pop out the foot rest on a recliner in the middle of a mass. Maybe if we stand directly in front of the TV when we do our concert, we'll have a fighting chance.

I say all this in jest and in seriousness. That is their reality, and I know I am kind of used to it. But I really appreciate my reality. Whatever I feel to be a restriction on a given day, at least I can come and go when I wish, or eat when I want, and WHAT I want. I also do not have to hear voices telling me alarming things (well, not too often) or  experience any of the myriad difficulties these ladies face daily. They are among the worlds reminders that all life is precious, even if not  noticed and revered by the majority. In some ways they truly are the least of these. It is my privilege to serve them, one more of God's gifts.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

another season

Yay--the slideshow is back!

Tonight I am emotionally drained. So our little visit will be...little. 

Family plays such an important role in our lives, for better or worse. We can be blessed or cursed by the people with which we spent our formative years. 
Right now I am rocketed back in time thinking about my brother Gary. He is fourteen years my senior, still my closest sibling in age. I came late in life to my parents, a surprise? Maybe. So we didn't really grow up together. But we share a bond, and we did live together for a short time while I was pregnant with Meghann.  Our parents and brother Gerry passed away twenty plus years ago. Gary, to me, is the only living link to my original family. His life has been an interesting one, maybe I will tell his story here some time.
Suffice it to say, that it is time to go and visit him in the mountains of North Carolina, take all his nieces and nephews too, and have a grand visit and express our love and revel in our shared beginnings.

                                       Cynthia, Gary II, and Gary, couple years ago

Nobody can tell a funny story quite like Gary. I will be sure to collect some when we visit and record them here. Hopefully we will be able to get some good pictures, too!


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

cleaning house

Firstly--hopefully Google will resolve their issue--the one that stole my slideshow---------over there----►

I have finally finished that novel. Naturally, many more await, but I have struck a deal with myself. I am going to clean out the upstairs hall closet before I can start another book. I started today, by going through bins and boxes loaded with files, tax returns, greeting cards, a few pictures, programs from various music and theater performances. One thing I came across, was a set of files that were sent to St. Monica School, when Melissa was transferring in. She lived with her dad from age seven to almost thirteen. Then she came to live with me. It was a bold move for a sensitive child, one that underscored her bravery, clarity of sight, and desperation. Anyway, here is a writing piece that was included in the files. She was in second grade. It was the first full year that her dad and I were separated after thirteen years. 

at the top were these instructions-

If you made a birthday basket for someone special, who would it be, and what would you put in it?
Here's what she wrote.

I'm Melissa.
This is a basket for Megann.
I put  in babie because Megann is a baby siter  she loveie babyies very much.
She wants to go back home because we have baby
She lives in Michagin.
Meg love me to.

on the back is this-

she love cats
and she love mackup

Well, the parts about babysitting, cats and makeup are spot on. Meghann loves babies now, I am not sure she was always quite the baby-a-holic that I am, but certainly she loved her younger siblings and was a tremendous help to me in caring for them.

The rest is not so easy. Because I know the situation Melissa was writing this from was one I can hardly bring myself to visit with any real focus on its realities. And her innocence and vulnerability shine through that piece with brilliance. Perhaps she meant to write, Meghann loves me, too. Maybe. But it tears at the fibers of my heart just the same.

Melissa has fought her way from that time to this.  She was an unconventional person, a creative writer from the time she could hold a pencil and copy her story books into notebooks. (before she could read what she was writing.) The school records confirm this. They also confirm some other not so happy things, that are painful to look over. But let me never look away from the undesirable things so that I can in some way enter into them and take away some of the pain. Even if it is just to acknowledge my many failures and to celebrate her many victories.


 I think it only fitting to have today's humorous spot feature Melissa. Well, it is humorous in retrospect.

As a small child, Melissa had delectable blond curls. She had the face of a cherub; Full cheeks, round eyes,  button nose, rosebud lips. When she was a toddler, her trademark hairdo was a top of the head ponytail we called the waterfall. When she reached the age of about five, one day I gave her hair a trim. (I was the hair dresser in residence for the whole family, God help them. I got better as the years wore on. I still do the guys). She looked quite lovely, I put extra effort and time onto styling her hair; she had even grown past the waterfall. The afternoon passed quietly, and dinner, then it was time to go somewhere , I forget exactly, but we only really ever went to a bible study group, or to the store, so I think it was the former. I remember getting ready and for some reason it mattered a bit what we collectively looked like.
I glimpsed Melissa and couldn't place what was wrong. I got her and turned her around, only to see the much fussed and labored-over haircut was now missing most of the top on one side. I really can't remember what I said. I think I either shouted or was stunned into silence. Either way, the kids knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I knew that she had gone and cut more of it herself, but I sort of remember saying, " if you were going to do this, did you have to cut off the front?"  I think I tried to even it out some, but short of giving her a look that would only work for say ,a prison setting, or a hat, it was going to have to grow in.

I should add here that Melissa was not trusted with scissors for some time after that.

A few days or a week later, I  was cleaning up and reached under a chair in the living room. I pulled out one of Melissa's slippers, Ernie or Bert I think...and inside the slipper was.....a pretty wad of blonde curls.

I guess my theory holds water, that children are born with their personalities and no matter how much they grow up, some characteristics never get left behind. If you notice in the picture of Melissa now, she keeps her hair short and straight. She didn't like her curls back then, and she doesn't like them now. When my scanner gets fixed, I will post a picture of the curly/waterfall Melissa. She still is my cherub; cut, straightened and grown up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letting Go

You know the saying among praying people--"never ask for patience," well, I do believe it is a gutsy move,as of course whatever you receive from that point on will likely test you to the breaking point.

I kind of stumbled on a thought...the only time I deal with impatience is when I have an unrealistic expectation. If I leave the house with fourteen minutes to get to work, on what is usually a sixteen minute drive, expecting to sail through the entire ride with nary a tap of the brakes, what do I get?  Multitudes of red lights, moving vans, young men and ladies (cough!) sauntering across the street...and why? Because my expectation was irrational. Everybody who lives in South Philadelphia knows that the only time you have the road to yourself is during a snowstorm.Or, if I go to work, praying for a quiet shift, sometimes it happens, but when I expect it, not usually! It is almost like presumption. I want something or someone to be a certain way, so I believe that by the force of my will, presto! The universe will comply. And then when it doesn't, my thoughts go " well! WHAT is going on here? Sort of a tyrannical point of view, huh? And quite ridiculous. God must have many a chuckle on my behalf.

There are a couple other people on the earth besides me. They all are going about their lives. God loves all of humanity, and He wants us to reflect that love. If I am motoring through my days, checking off my list of How Things Need to Be, maybe I am not seeing what He wants things to be for me and the people He gives me to encounter. As you may guess, most of my Encounters are the same every day. They live under my roof. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But I am beginning ( perhaps I mentioned before my slowness) to see just a bit, that to be patient means to let go. Sure, expect your child to obey -but not to obey perfectly, or - expect the  motorist on the road to stop at the stop sign -but  be a little cautious anyway; thereby letting go of the frustration that ensues when everything does not go swimmingly.

The mandate to love is for all, but you know it is more difficult not to have expectations for the people we love. Most expectations are pretty self serving. When I don't expect my husband to, say, make the bed, and he does,then it is a lovely gift. If I expect it, then, it is like," whatever!, he did what he was supposed to do". Yawn.

I hope to pay greater attention to my own effect on the people around me. I have a few pro life speaking engagements coming up this fall, and it is important to me to approach this with extreme humility. I know that many in my audience will have had their lives touched by abortion in varying ways. I have to convey some very hard truths, but do it in a way that leaves room for hope and a knowledge that God loves them and is on their side.

Because He has been on my side throughout my entire life, even when I definitely did not live up to His expectations. He alone really is the only one who has the right to have any, since He gave us our lives in the first place. And ironically, He has been let down by us throughout history, and even more ironically, He freely forgave us and came to earth and died, to illustrate what loving means.

Here is my grandson, Kaden, sporting his latest ensemble. He is a die hard individualist. His mother (my eldest daughter), last April,  was carrying out her duty as a mother of a two year old and potty training him.  He is coming along nicely, now, but at that time, he was dead set against any active potty training maneuvers. Like sitting on the thing. We could read him all the potty training books in the world, which, incidentally, have come a long way since my days. "Everybody Poops" and "Where's the Poop?" I kid you not.
His parents even got him an Elmo potty that talks. During my visit, it mostly served as a playground ball holder. Elmo had a blue ball in his face pretty much the entire time I was there. We did get Kaden to sit a few times, but it was under protest, and nothing "happened" until he got up.

After I came home, I was told that nobody in the house was even allowed to look in the direction of the Elmo potty, or Kaden would run over and kick it! Poor Elmo. That is how sure he was about What was going to be Happening in regards to that subject.
As I mentioned, he has made his peace with Elmo in potty form, and at least while at home, things are, well, moving along.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today was another summer Monday, which basically means that it was a day without much of a plan. It also happens that I am currently reading a rather gripping novel, so whatever I know I should be doing is always competing with the book. I tend to consume books during the summer. While I did put away a good portion of it--I also was attempting to "accomplish" things (those "shoulds") in between reading sessions.  I did get laundry, vacuuming, floor washing and the ever present dinner cooking done, and of course all the many miscellaneous in between things.

But this was one of those days that there was too much noise and not enough silence. Not the external kind-the nagging static that keeps up a constant inner rumble that goes like this. "If you lie here reading too long before showering and dressing, the likelihood that there will be some disaster requiring a quick retreat into the street will increase a hundredfold."  As I was imagining myself out there in my ratty pj's and not enough undergarments, I dropped my book and didn't want to get up and lie back down again, plus my neck was starting to hurt. I promised myself I could sit back down afterward with a nice cup of coffee, and that was bribery enough. The only problem was that, once in the shower, I saw the bathroom needed scrubbing, and on the way back to my room, I spotted the dirty laundry pile in the hallway, and if that wasn't enough, upon opening my door, I saw with new eyes the accumulating piles of papers and (yes) books...sigh. I hadn't even gone downstairs yet.

Most days I can take the daily to do list in stride and can reason with the noisy demanding tyrant in my mind, by talking with God, going to a daily mass if possible, praying the rosary and getting the priorities of the universe in order. And the inner quietness that results is nothing short of a symphony. A quiet one.  

I learned many years ago that if I focus on the Lord, He will keep me focused on the best thing on any given day. The best thing is rarely a thing and almost always a person. Most days those persons are my kids. Yes there will always be the washing, cooking, the dreaded shopping--but if I have not forgotten God, somehow, I can do that stuff, be present to the people around me, and still get a chunk of time to read my book. Is it magical? Sometimes. Mostly it isn't, it is me learning that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Following Him in the little workings of my day brings a peace and settled calm that helps things to flow. Fighting against Him and wanting my own priorities, served up in my own way, brings that sluggish, feet- in- the- mud feeling. As I am frequently a person with cement between the ears, I relearn this all the time. Thankfully, He is patient and forbearing.

Here are two reasons to be faithful to my vocation.

Nuff said?

Today's snippet of hilarity  is brought to you by--"The Things that happen when the floor is freshly scrubbed", otherwise known as Murphy's Third Law of Kitchen Floors. 
Last week was Rachael's seventeenth birthday (Rachael pictured above looking very grown up indeed) (Ben just turned fifteen, if you can believe that--) and I scrubbed and polished the sticky, take- the -flip- flop-right- off- your- foot, kitchen floor. It looked good for a day or two.  Enter the Willing-to-help-in-Any-Way Husband. I asked if he would put some sugar in the jug of iced tea, the kind with the little spout at the bottom. Of course, no problem! Well, except this problem. After the sugar is added, he put it in the freezer to chill quickly, and closed the door. I thank whatever heavenly force that prompted him to open the door a few minutes later and see that the freezer door had pushed the cute and handy little spout, holding it open for roughly half the tea to flow out into the bottom of the freezer. He good-naturedly proceeded to clean it up, but not before a fair amount of sugary tea found its way to the now only somewhat shiny floor. (this is time number two that this exact thing happened to him-- he was officially relieved of tea-duty).
Fast forward to today, the floor by now has suffered many other injustices, but it is not all the way back to the barnyard state yet, so as I mentioned before, I tore myself away from my book and scrubbed it up again.( I have extensive experience with the Law of the Freshly Scrubbed floor. Over the years my shiny floors have attracted such things as,  a knocked over ten pound bag of sugar, a toddler "helping" mix up a batch of banana bread batter that somehow flew off the counter, clouds of flour, and of course, the ultimate magnet, the Sticky Drink).  As we sat at the table after dinner, my charming husband gallantly offered to make the after dinner pot of coffee. He did so while telling jokes, but my eye was on him putting things on the edge of the counter. The coffee basket (thankfully still empty) first, and then the entire large container of coffee itself, perched half on and half off the counter. I yelled out, in defense of my floor, interrupting one of the jokes, and again! Saved. Whew. So while the coffee is gurgling along, I retreat to the computer and he decides to take out the trash, (not his favorite job, whose favorite anything ever involves handling trash?) Next thing I know there is yelling. I have forgotten to properly empty out the box of pancake mix before putting it in the recycling bin. He is apparently wearing what puffed out of the bottom of the box while he crushed it to fit more neatly in the bin. (We are very ardent recyclers). The kids took the brunt of the blame. I said nothing. He later confessed he realized I had been the pancake chef over the weekend.( which I am proud of, they were good). After all was said and done, you know it--the Law of the Freshly Scrubbed Floor had its way after all. Just goes to show you that you really can't argue with one of the really intent lessons of housecleaning. It is never done.

Welcome to this place!

However you find yourself here, welcome!, and may God bless you! Pull up a chair, read what I write and by all means respond if you feel like it.

I think everyone needs to feel welcome in life. "A mom for life" cuts a couple of ways--it is my passion and vocation, the Mom-ing thing. But also, there are some people who don't exactly get the red carpet rolled out for them. They are the babies conceived and then dismissed before they get to show up in their birthday suits, and try out the world. My first child was one of those. So if you happen to be reading this and have been through having an abortion or are thinking about getting one...don't hang up! I am not out to get you.  Because I understand what it is like, maybe we can talk. There are some tentacles that tend to cling to women and even some men after an abortion-these can be worked through and life can be good again. But if you are before that point- I don't want you to realize too late,  that a baby is just like you and I, and needs a place he can be welcome and at home. I hope you have that, and in case you don't, know that God  treasures all His children, and if you haven't lately you should have a chat with Him. You can tell him anything, say anything, He's heard it all. But most importantly, give Him a chance to talk to you. If you listen, and are willing to hear whatever He may have to say, He will answer. Seek and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened unto you. 

 But anyways, back to the welcoming thing. At one point in my adult life, I realized how powerful rejection can be. That's a story for later. But I also learned that God's love, so freely given to us- trumps rejection and all her relatives. So- I give what I have, and keep finding I haven't run out.  

It's really pretty simple. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I am in a continual battle with fatigue, most of the time on the losing side. But, I am moving forward with greater peace and steadiness  than at any time in my life. I attribute anything good that  comes of my effort to God alone. Only He knows what I offer to Him each day, little as it is, and what astounding good He makes out of it. I have no grand position or high standing, but He takes my crumbs and somehow, makes the doughnuts. 

So I am here to encourage anybody who maybe feels that they haven't got the best situation going on, and is wanting to know some ways to make it better. You will hear about God every couple of minutes or less. He's the only Way, Truth and Life that really works. If you keep reading, you will see that it is possible to have peace and even joy in the midst of all kinds of situations. 

I am going to try and include one funny story in each of my posts. Here is todays-

Tonight I made pork chops and cabbage for dinner. There was also some chunky applesauce, in case you were thinking pork chops and cabbage sounded meager. It was pretty good. Somehow, in the course of our dinner conversation, I think it was the cabbage element that got me thinking about the natural results on the body cabbage tends to produce. From there we progressed to discussing a cruel prank some very bored person made up, called a "dutch oven", that can only be carried out after eating cabbage, beans, maybe broccoli and definitely beer. Being under covers, or having a blanket handy is necessary. You get my drift. Then I felt it prudent to warn Corrie (at the table with her boyfriend Justin) that IF she someday had children, especially boys, they would someday be thirteen or so and this would be the dinner conversation, or some variation of it, with alarming regularity.  She was quite shaken by the simple possibility of even having children, so that we had to reassure her and put the coffee on. We went from there to Justin doing imitations of Ricky Gervais.