The Solemnity of Mary

(written by one very sleepy girl)

Today was a Holy Day of Obligation and the Mass was really awesome!

Father Joe talked about the shepherds celebrating Christmas for a short time, probably only a couple hours with the Christ child and then the truth was they had to go back to work! They had to take those sheep and get back to shepherding. Joseph celebrated and then immediately he had to get busy protecting his family and getting them to Egypt, fathering. Then there was Mary... she had this experience of giving birth to the only Son of God!! What did she do next? She mothered. She protected her child, she fed, clothed and cared for Him. She spent those years tending a home, and raising a son. She did laundry, cooked, she cleaned. The same things I do, whoa.

But make no mistake they were all indeed transformed by their experience of Christ. Their daily lives were no longer ordinary. If I encountered Christ and then had to get back to the laundry what would it be like? I have thought of this question all day! I think I would be in such awe, in such shock I would be useless, I would want to bask in His glory, right? But then the truth is what if I really had to pick up and get immediately back to daily life? What if I couldn't zone out in the joy?

Wait a minute... that is EXACTLY the situation I face! Each week I encounter Christ, body blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist!! and then back to my duties, my ordinary life. It is not easy carrying the peace, the joy, and the love of Christ I feel in the Mass back into my day, let alone have that feeling still radiating from me come, oh say Thursday! But shouldn't it be??

Yeah I know life is busy, life is stressful, blah, blah, blah...but I was with Christ today!! I saw Him! I spoke to Him, and He spoke to me! Wow, does that sound crazy?!

I want many things for this New Year, to do better in many areas of my life but this message, this message has truly spoken to me and more than any other thing I hope I do better in this-allowing Christ to truly transform me, every ordinary day of my life that I may become all that He creates me to be.

A New Year, a new season

A whirlwind visit to Indiana and back home again for Christmas. Whew! It was so good to see everyone this year. With so many years spent away it feels good to be this close and reestablish some traditions with family and friends. DH came down with a touch of the stomach flu and slept all the way home. He rode the couch all day on Christmas Eve.

I finished the wrapping and tried to pull off as many of our Christmas Eve traditions as possible. A few fell to the wayside but ah well, they are meant to enrich our experience not burden us by frantically trying to create a "moment".

So while Big Daddy was holding down the sofa and trying not to throw up his shoes, Corey had to jump in and take up the slack. About 8:00 pm I sent him to the gas station to buy candy for their stockings! I told him, "Son, welcome to Christmas behind the will be filling your own stocking this year!" He stayed up with me and helped me bring down the gifts, arrange them, clean up and straighten the house and polish off the cookies and milk. That part was his favorite I think ;)

I couldn't help wondering how many more Christmas Eve's I would have with Corey. I know he is only 17 now, but that means they are truly numbered. Maybe what, 4 or 5 left with him at home? Oh how that breaks my heart! But then there was this Christmas. It was a completely different experience with him, maybe God's way of beginning to prepare me for change, a glimpse of the future? I am trying so much to begin the process of letting go a little.

I have loved every part of being mommy so far, I want so much to enjoy the stages to come when they begin to move into adulthood but it is difficult. I want to hold them close to me, and never let them go. I long for the days with Corey and his chubby cheeks, endless energy and wide eyed wonder. My life has been devoted to my children for so long that I am struggling even considering the idea of life without caring for them 24/7.

Thankfully, my babies are spaced out so that I have PLENTY of time to adjust to the changes! Though Corey will be moving into adulthood this year Taylor is but 12, and William only 7!! So I have more than enough years to make these changes and adjust (whew). Still, realizing Corey is indeed becoming a young man has made me take a closer look and begin the process of moving into a new season in my life.

Please Lord give me all the grace I need to welcome these changes, and face the new challenges that motherhood of a young adult will bring.

Happy New Year!


These are the good ol' days

So much to do today. Take the car to the insurance co, pick up a couple more gifts, and run by the bank. Then home to wrap, wrap, and uh, oh yeah...wrap.

We leave tomorrow to go to Indiana and visit our family. We so rarely get in this time of year. For many years with the Air Force we lived too far to make the trip and we are committed to being in our own home for Christmas so over and back in a couple days.

Christmas is a magical time. The house is neat and lovely and I am filled with joy, peace and love.

It was only 6 yrs ago though that I decorated and prepared for Christmas without DH. DH was deployed to Qatar that year. Following 9/11 he was sent to prepare and build up that base in Operation Enduring Freedom. We did not know then that the base would serve later as a major command post for the invasion of Iraq. He helped to equip and establish a hospital that is still caring for our wounded. (Thanks, honey)

The base has barracks now and many other facilities, very civilized. When DH was there it was a tent city in the sand. It was a difficult Christmas in 2001, missing him and worrying for his safety.

I remember that was the year I stopped getting real trees. I had to get the tree, haul it, strap it down, unload it, give it a fresh cut, all by myself!! It had always looked so easy watching DH do it. Turns out, not so easy.

It dried up and fell apart after a week or so. I dragged it out with the lights on it and tossed it in the trash, bought an artificial tree and we haven't had a real tree since.

I missed his help with the shopping, and of course the tree. I missed cooking for him and how much he enjoys the holiday meals and treats I offer. But more than anything I missed his presence. I missed curling up with him on the couch with my head nuzzled in his chest. I missed watching our Christmas movie, Holiday Inn, after the kids go to bed. I just missed him. I missed the larger than life smile on his face as he watches our children on Christmas morning. I missed the big kid in him playing with the little kids on the floor all day long.

I'm now more mindful, always mindful that the ones we love are gifts, precious, precious gifts and we have no guarantee they will be with us from one year to the next, one day to the next. We don't know what might take them away. We lost DH's grandmother, Boots, this year. We never know when it's our last hug, our last moment, our last Christmas. Maybe we should always treat our loved ones as if it is the last time we will see them?

As you begin celebrations this year, hug everyone a little tighter and hold on a little longer. Soak up every moment. Even when the kids are bickering, and dad is wrestling a toy to the ground that has instructions in Japanese. These are the good ol' days. These are the days we will look back on with misty eyes and long to recapture.

Enjoy this weekend every moment that lends up to the holiday!


mercy, laundry and hand lotion

The kids in these parts pull their own weight. These parts being our house.

I try not to do things for the kids that they can do for themselves. I believe firmly that children are empowered when they have appropriate responsibilities. I see the success and confidence it builds in them.

So all the kids as young as 5 and 6 learned to do lots of things. They can sort laundry, put in the detergent, and match socks. They can unload dishes to the counter top and put away the silverware. They can feed pets, dust, straighten, make beds (sort of), put towels away, vacuum, and my son's favorite task...clean the toilet. Yes you heard me correctly, clean the commode. He loves using those little blue, clippy, flushy thingys. (That IS TOO the correct term, and heck since I don't get paid to advertise for them it works for me!)

Now having said that, the kids do not do these jobs perfectly and certainly when they are young not as well as mom can BUT keep at it because my two older kids, can clean a kitchen as good as momma, no sweat.

Today William was having quite the imaginative day. The big kids were out and he built an airplane in the classroom. I was the flight attendant (is that the current politically correct term?) how about competent, airline professional who gets the drinks and saves my bacon if the thing goes down? Better? Anywho, that was my gig. He had his brief case, his laptop, his lunch, he was watching the in-flight movie and all...he was set. Unfortunately his bedroom was not. It was soooooo not. A few days of neglect is all it takes for it to unravel and become a huge task.

I considered stopping the movie, grounding the plane and having him clean his room. Then I thought what a merciful blessing it would be if I just did it for him. He was neglecting it because he was overwhelmed. It's not as if I clean it all the time. In fact it needs only the occasional momma cleaning. So I did it, took me no time at all really, not compared to the whole day it might have taken him. I called him up to his room and he just knew what was coming, cleaning time. He dutifully dragged himself upstairs and then burst into "YES!! Oh wow! Mom thank you!! This looks awesome!"

Mercy is a fabulous gift no matter which end of it you are on.

For the laundry, well I have two small loads to do now...I unearthed them in his closet, his bathroom, and under his bed.

Lotion, well I've been cleaning off and on all day and I need to remember to go put on some lotion, my hands are dry.

I hope you find an opportunity today to offer your children a little mercy.


Rain, rain go ahead and stay!

There's a cold drizzly rain outside. There was a time I would have absolutely loathed a day like this one. In those days I was a working mom. I had to wake the kids up early, bundle them up for babysitters, wear duck boots and toss my heels in my purse. I would slosh through puddles and wrestle the umbrella. Drive in traffic with idiots who, like me were in a hurry, and running late. I would end up at work, going WHEW! I would be wet, possibly soaked, frustrated and relieved to be out of the weather but hoping it stopped before I had to head out again.

Today I have a warm (wood) fire in the fireplace. I have my hubby's sweatshirt on with jeans. I have nothing that I must leave the house to do, nothing that can't wait till tomorrow! The kids are on Christmas break from schoolwork. I am sipping coffee and enjoying the blueberry muffins I made last night. I will straighten the house, load the breakfast dishes, start a load of laundry and then start (again) wrapping presents. My little guy is excited because he is going to help me wrap. He is awesome at wrapping gifts!! We'll put on our favorite Christmas shows, and then we will have lunch, and put a dent in the cookies I made last night too!

My hubby however is having a slightly different experience because he is out in the slop. Just spoke to him on the phone, and he wishes very much he could be here snuggled up with us. He knows that his sacrifice, his efforts, provide this life for us and he lovingly offers us this gift. To thank him, I will have a hot meal waiting for him and we'll save him a spot on the couch.


The Year of No

Oh it has been awhile since posting here. I'm busy what can I say?

What to talk about? I need to trim down my postings, I know. When I don't post often then I ramble on endlessly.

Well how about this...things in my life are changing and I am not sure what to make of it. I'm not the breastfeeding mommy anymore -btdt (been there done that) or the toddler/playdate mommy, I have a 17 yr old (in about 3 days), 12 and almost 7. Things I used to enjoy I don't so much anymore. I have been the long time girl scout leader, the coach, the activity leader, youth group leader, essentially ______ (fill in the blank) leader when it comes to the kids and I've done it. I'm not feelin' it so much anymore.

I'll be 37 this year. Still hoping for another baby or even more but even so, I think I will be a different mom than I was all those years ago wen I was so young and knew so little about the position.

I don't know what 2008 will hold but I know I will be making more time for myself, saying "sorry but no" a lot more, and nurturing myself a little more.

Big Daddy and I are ready to have more couple time. We spend lots of time together, but more family time than just us, and we are both really missing it. The question is what to do? Movies, food, coffee, bookstores...we do that. But we are looking for new interests, we are taking suggestions!

So in a couple weeks the "Year of No" will begin (ty G for the inspriration). This will be very different for me...pray for me!
I feel myself changing. I am moving into a new chapter in my life and I am not quite sure how to receive it or proceed in it.

I have been the new mommy, and done support groups, and play dates. I've been a breastfeeding mom, and done La Leche League. I have been a toddler mom and done MOPS. I have been a mom with a kid in school and done PTA. I have done the girl scout leader thing, the coaching thing, the charity thing, the church service thing. I have been a homeschooling mom for so long now I barely remember what it is like to have an empty house during the day. I've been a working mom, single mom, stay at home mom. I have been a mom for 17 yrs (in a couple weeks). In two more years I will have officially been a mom longer than not in my life.

I find myself on autopilot. Continuing to do the same things I have always done. Run activities, start them, lead them, and give as much of my time as I can possibly give. I don't think I want to do this anymore. Just saying that, just thinking that makes me uneasy.

I want to continue to homeschool, of course, if you know me that is a compromise I just can't make, wouldn't make. But something must change for me, and there is more than enough room for that change. I need to begin to give myself time, take time, discover things about myself. I wonder if I can draw? Paint? Box? Do karate? I need some quiet time. Time to be quiet and let my soul rest.

I love Eucharistic Adoration. Spending that wonderful quiet time in the Real Presence of Our Lord. It nourishes my spirit. I need to continue that, and I need to nourish my body. I need exercise. I need mental and physical exercise.

I have brushed my needs aside for quite awhile. It's time to give them a little room to breath.