Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some Pictures



Pandora's Box

Well, I opened up Pandora's box this morning. I confirmed to Murphy that there was no Santa. To my surprise, he still had total belief in the big guy! When I realized that he totally believed in Santa, I wanted to go back and undo what I had just done! We both had tears in our eyes as the realization suddenly hit us - his childhood suddenly took a turn. I am sure that this is hitting me harder than I thought because he's my first to discover this fact about Santa. My other two will probably find out from him, as I think most younger siblings "find out" about Santa from their older siblings. I wish that I could truly explain how crushed he was to find out the truth! I really thought that, by now, he would have had more suspicions about it all but, obviously, I was wrong!
Now the box is open...
My reasons behind revealing this Santa business to Murphy was to prepare him for a lean Christmas. My kids are not spoiled but at Christmas time, I have managed to find a way to get them the things that they wanted the most. This year, I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. So, I wanted to spare Murphy some disappointment and anger that other kids got way more from Santa than he did. Again, I don't mean to paint a picture that my kids always get what they want - they are aware that there are kids out there with a lot less and they are thankful. The reality of it is that there are always a lot of kids that get the American Girl doll for Christmas where I, in my state in life, cannot afford to spend that much on one gift. This is not to criticize anyone getting their kids high priced items, I am just not there.
Last year, we were visited by the Christmas Commandos. They are a group of anonymous donors that help a family affected by a challenging situation (death, sickness, etc.) and they show up at the family's house undercover of night and leave heaping boxes of presents. It is beautiful and overwhelmingly generous. I will never be able to thank these kind people enough. Now there is this year. How to adequately explain that it is going to be a different kind of a Christmas? I hate all of this commercial crap! I love Christmas and all of its wonder and its holiness! It is quiet and sacred and beautiful! Then it gets all mucked up with the rest of the pressures.
The long and the short of it is that I really wanted to prepare Murphy for a different kind of Christmas. I was soliciting his help in preparing his siblings for the lean Christmas and in the process forced him to grow up a little quicker than either one of us would have liked. I'm sure we'll both get over it but we'll never forget it either.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Duh!

After reflecting some more about my day and my week, I really need to vent! I am really struggling why God chose me to be a widow. I ask this not because I want to be spared from the pain of losing my husband and I definitely don't want another person to go through this pain. I ask because I really suck at it! Truly! The "widow" part is easy - I'm single, so what! But it's the single with children part that kills me! I know millions of women do it and some do it alone even though they're married or they have the support of the fathers. I know! I know! I just don't understand God's wisdom in this path for ME. What good can possibly come from my poor kids being stuck with this drill seargant for a mother? It really has been ticking me off lately! I truly believe that God has a plan and that gets me through each and every tough moment but I often question His choice in me as that widow.
I can hear the voices of my loved ones telling me that I am too hard on myself and I know that I am. However, I do come from this in a rational manner! I really and truly just don't get what it is that is inside me that God thought that I could handle this! I am strong, I am faithful, I am dedicated, I am humble BUT... I am frustrated, I am tired, I am flawed, I am angry, I am confused, I am...
I am struck as I re-read this post before saving it, the answers are all right before me! Instead of questioning why, I should obey God and carry on in righteousness and in faithfulness. Obedience! In my neglected reading of I Believe in Love I just read a chapter on "Great Desires, Humility, and Peace" and a few things jumped out at me that I am only now recalling; 1st -> "The majority of hurts, offended feelings, grudges, and bitternesses in life with others come from this obsession with our rights, this need for esteem, so strongly woven into our self. He who honestly puts himself in the last place is not astonished when others put him there, too." So true - it is my own need for esteem that points out how "unfair" life is!; 2nd -> "The Word became flesh. He shed His Blood to the last drop in order to save us. Yes, that is true; but He did this in order to obey His Father, and by this loving obedience, to carry out the immolation of His Sacrifice." If Jesus, being unblemished and perfect obeys His Father, why shouldn't I obey the Father? I need to just trust and obey. Isn't this what we want from our own children? "Stop asking why and just do as I say!" How many times I've yelled this!! Yet, I am behaving like my own children! Obedience because HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME!!!! Ok, I feel better... sorry about the little outburst at the beginning of my post but I still do kind of wonder what it is exactly I'm supposed to do in this role God has laid out for me. OBEDIENCE!!!!

Revelations

At my lowest today, I turned on my computer and in my email box was an email from a friend who writes reflections based on a message from the Blessed Mother from Medjugorje. I'm going to copy it in its entirety because it really spoke to me and where I'm at right now! I hope that someone else can grow from her wise and eloquent words!
Dear Family of Mary!

"I want you to be a flower which will blossom for Jesus on Christmas. And a flower that will not stop blooming when Christmas is over. I want your hearts to be shepherds to Jesus." (December 21, 1984 Jelena)

A flower blooms when it is well nourished and has gotten enough sun. A flower can only bloom at the right time, and usually flowers only bloom for a couple of weeks at most. Blooms are momentary. I was wondering what Our Lady could mean by this blooming that doesn't stop.

She seemed to say to me: "Your soul, little one, is a blossom, an eternal blossom. It will never die and it is to be nourished by the eternal gardener whose providence will never be exhausted. Your soul seeks the light. The sun light for your soul is the Eternal Light whose rays can never be darkened or diminished. His Light nourishes your soul with eternal power. So you can blossom and not stop if you submit to the Lord of Life and stay in His care."

"I don't understand my soul. I know it is me, but it is such a mysterious thing."

She seemed to answer me, "Your soul is the place of intersection, the home of your person, where spirit and body connect, intertwine, the place where you experience being, where your memory lives, where your intellect functions, where your will decides, where your emotions surge, where you live and where Jesus comes to be with you. It is healthy when it is in harmony, everything working together for one purpose, to find and then worship Jesus, to seek and then adore the Father, and to desire and receive the Holy Spirit. When your whole being is yearning for God, you are a blossom seeking the sun."

"But having a soul and being a soul is scary to me. Being eternal is, well, more than I can comprehend or bear. What can I do to become ready for eternity? I am nothing."

She seemed to answer, "You are not nothing. You are a person and in your personhood is found the answer. You can relate to Jesus, you can seek Him, find Him, desire Him, love Him, recognize Him, obey Him, listen to Him, follow Him, trust Him, enjoy Him, laugh with Him, eat with Him, talk to Him, go with Him, understand Him, and live with Him. He will provide for you for all eternity, you have only to receive from Him. Your soul is the key to your relationship with Jesus. Rejoice at the gift of your being!"

So, fellow flowers, we have only one task - to fall in love with Jesus and yearn for Him as our only Light, our only joy, our only love.

In Jesus and Mary!

Cathy Nolan

© 2008 Mary TV

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freckles

I've had a bit of a disappointing 4 days! I feel like a child who for the first time in his/her whole life got made fun of for having freckles or for being taller than someone else or whatever. Life sails on, when you are a kid, with nary a thought that there might something "different" about you that will cause someone else to point out this "flaw". Then that sinking feeling that happens when you try to come to terms with the fact that life will never be the same now that you know you have freckles and other people may not - you might be different!!! Well, it's been that kind of 4 days for me. I'm too emotional to give specifics so I'm turning it over to God and I'm going to try and let it go! If I only had a $1.00 for every time I let it go and then took it back! Now, I'm going to go kiss my kids with all of their millions of freckles on their little faces!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Cupboard

Well, here I am trying to get back to normalcy after what has been a long two year fight against the evils of the "Dark Side" I'm just kidding, sort of! I have gotten many emails in regard to the results of the election and I finally feel hope. Do I feel hope because "The One" got elected, not so much. I feel hope because I have finally put hope where it should have been all along, in Christ! What a relief to just hope in the Lord and know that no matter our differences or who is president of our little country that He's got us!
This is our time to embrace what He has been doing for us since the very first chapter of this world began; He has loved us despite all we, as a people, have done to muck it all up with corruption, immorality, sin, despair, war, murder...; He has protected us from destroying ourselves completely despite the increase in violence in the world and in our backyards; He has guided us even through tragic situations such as the death of a spouse, terrible accidents, financial devastation and hardships, and other can't-get-out-of-bed moments; He has been patient with us despite the fact that we have taken Him out of our public schools and our public buildings and despite the fact that even many of our Church leaders have failed to lead with the courage and the determination that we, the Faithful, have needed during most difficult times; Most of all, God is! He just is! It is a tremendous comfort to me that at any point or second or millisecond of my day, I can turn to Him with the full knowledge that He is there for me and for me alone. Nothing that I say is too trivial, too petty, too stupid, too childish, too simple for Him (and believe me, I am all of these things at times) He just wants us to turn to Him so that, as the Divine Parent, He can keep us from harm - the harm that happens deep in our souls!
The other day, I was putting my dishes away and I forgot that an upper cabinet was open and smacked my head on the corner! I saw stars and had to sit down for a moment as I cried like a little kid. My first reaction was to say "God, you can come from the mountain to Moses, but you couldn't have kept me from banging my head on that cupboard?" I was hot! How dare He inflict such trivial yet real pain on me - what did I do? Wasn't He supposed to be watching over me? Not soon after these words popped in my head (and out loud in the form of a choice swear word - I'm a sinner, I know!) my sister's 18 month old fell on my ceramic tile kitchen floor and got a goose-egg size bump on his head. Now, where was I to protect Brady from hurting himself? I have the ability to pick him up yet he still fell and hurt himself.
It was such a slap in my face that I dare to question God's love for me over a stupid "encounter" with a cupboard! I picked Brady up and offered my pain for his and then looked to God and asked that any pain that I may have suffered (it was minor but at the time I thought that I was dying - a little dramatic!)as a result of this incident be offered up for HIS PAIN! What a little lesson that was for me! So, I try everyday to have my reaction time less than it was yesterday. I pray that I may think to offer up what I have, good or bad, FOR Christ rather than asking Him to take it all away. I'm no martyr and I pray that God will never ask me to become one because I hate pain - clearly! - but I realize what a tremendous gift suffering can be at times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Finally Here!

Election Day - I hope all that could, voted! May God bless America!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

2 Days!

2 days! That's it and this drama will be over - or will it just begin, who knows? I am confident that the Lord has done wondrous things in the midst of all of this nonsense! He has drawn many, many people back to prayer - you know the good old-fashioned kind of praying! Fervent-passionate-pleading-loving-shouting to the Lord kind of prayer! It's a "chore" to keep up that kind of prayer sometimes but isn't it worth it? My kids have noticed that my Rosary is out a lot more than it used to be, that's a good thing! They have also wondered what to do or say when someone has a differing opinion and other than telling them "Mom is always right" (just kidding) I tell them that in the end, Christ renews us all! I truly believe this! He's bigger than ALL of this! It's difficult to remember this when we get sucked into the drama of the election or the wonderful things of our particular candidates (well, McCain, of course)
In these last two days I am going to be more gentle about the election and all of its issues (I almost couldn't write that!) I am going to fervently pray for a McCain victory, yet, I'm going to just pray; I'm going to continue my Rosary for life and I plan on doing this until there is no more abortion; I am going to pray for the softening of Sen. Obama's (I always want to put his name as O'Bama) heart on the rights of the unborn; I am going to pray for the supporters on both sides so that we can somehow come together and make sure that our politicians are doing their jobs - for the good of us, the voters!!!
Let's take this opportunity to remember what it feels like to open up communication with God! Let's embrace this "fight" as one that has made us a little bruised but a lot more in tune with Christ's love for us. Let's pray and then continue to pray long after November 4, 2008 has come and gone! Pray, pray, pray!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

3 Days Left until Election 2008!

I spent the day at ND stadium watching the Irish lose a heartbreaker in 4 OTs! It was nice to be able to forget the drama of the election and focus on something much more light-hearted - although, it would have been way more fulfilling had the Irish pulled out the win but it was fun spending that time with Murphy!
Even while "forgetting" the election, it did creep into my mind a few times especially when a plane carrying an Obama sign flew past - UGH! I did take a moment and pray for the unborn. So what could have been me being irritated became a moment for prayer, isn't God great?