Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holy Mother, Holy Child

I read this post on mychocolatehart.blogspot.com and loved it. Her name is Jennifer and she always inspires me with her amazing writing and faithful sharings. Again, with this post, I am blown away!

Enjoy...

Holy Mother, Holy Child, Born of Each Other

An ordinary day had suddenly become the most miraculous day in human history. She was no longer simply Mary, no longer alone in herself. How astonishing is the news the angel has just given her! The God she loves above all else has called her name; called her to come receive the most splendid gift. He chose Mary, and she chose Him. And in an instant the God whom the universe cannot contain was safely tucked inside the darkness of her womb, growing and becoming. Though she could not feel Him yet, He was there. Not just in spirit now, but in her… part of her as He’d never been part of anyone before.

Weeks pass…she looks no different, yet she is the chamber that now protects the Holy One as He grows.

Then one day out of the blue she feels Him! That first exhilarating movement that feels like bubbles… so slight yet unmistakably baby. Mighty God now softly stirs with delicate arms and tiny legs. He formed the vast oceans and filled them with marvelous creatures, and now He floats quietly in the warm, pure sea created only for Him.

Soon He is kicking her, pushing her, and forcefully! He enjoys doing flips in this private pool; His ears now hear the sound of her voice, and He is quickly taking up more and more space in her body. He has always occupied her heart, and now she looks down at her round belly, places her hand over the spot where He kicks, and marvels at how He has taken her over. She eagerly awaits the moment when she can kiss His tiny face, count tiny fingers and toes, and hold Him close to her heart…the heart He captured long ago.

Finally, the appointed hour comes, and He who gives life to every man and creature now waits for His own birth. I AM the LIFE waits for His first breath. She must deliver her Redeemer. And suddenly, there He is in her arms! Eternity was cradled sleeping in her lap.



The mighty, sovereign Lord she bowed before was now wearing the skin of her own flesh and nursing at her breast! To be twice overcome with fierce and tender love; once as a mother for her child, and again as a servant daughter of her Savior.

What exquisite joy and affection she must have felt to smell the sweetness of His head, feel the softness of His new baby skin (all parents know there’s nothing better than baby skin), hear His baby sighs and snores, and snuggle His warm little body against her own in sleep. Heaven on earth – literally – and every moment was hers to savor. How indescribably sweet! No mother has ever known greater joy, nor ever will.

Yet she who was blessed with such an unspeakable gift also bore the greatest sorrow of any mother on earth. She gave Him life, raised Him, taught Him, tended Him, and adored Him only to suffer with Him the cruel death that would bring us Life.



By His Incarnation a holy mother was born. And as though the blood He shed on the cross wasn’t gift enough, in His magnanimity He gave to us heaven’s most fragrant rose.

Now the Mother of the Savior is our mother, and how blessed we are to have the guiding light of her obedience and humility to illumine our lives and show us the way of faithfulness.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and do not delay! Blessed Mother, give us your heart so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate, so full of love and humility that we might receive Jesus and love Him and you loved Him!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Seriously?


Honestly, I don't know that I deserve to be a mother. There are times, like today, that I cannot believe the unreasonable and mean things that come out of my mouth! I know there is something that takes over and then I spend the rest of the day or week or month replaying the scenario in my head only to come to the conclusion that my kids might be better off without me. Especially my daughter. She's so unbelievably special and kind-hearted and sweet and helpful and patient and tender and, yet, I seem to reserve my anger for her because I look at her as everything I should be and I'm not! Yeah, that's certainly sick - I know! I see her look at me with the greatest love even though I'm yelling at her for not hanging her clothes on a hanger. I know that there is nothing wrong with correcting her when she needs it but for not hanging up her clothes? All she'd have to do is take a gander at her mother's room and see I don't even like to do it! Yet, I continue like some sort of delusional idiot until I feel some sort of sick satisfaction over the whole thing. But, what I think is sick satisfaction is not satisfaction at all...it is a humongous sense of remorse and shame.

I'm all these kids have in the way of a parent and I get caught up in the whole concept of what it means for me. It is a huge amount of pressure, yes, but it could also be a huge opportunity to be a rock star! Not in the "I want my kids to be my friends" kind of a way but more like as an example of Christian living. I'm all but sure that the example I gave my daughter this morning looked nothing like a shining example of anything but cruelty! Why? Because she didn't hang up her clothes and her toys were not put away nicely? And that means what? It means more work for me? Oh brother! That second cup of milk that Keagan wants at lunch time irritates me why? Because it means I'd have to stuff away my own selfish want to sit and eat my own lunch? Holy cow, get over it!

This all happens smack dab in the middle of Christmas time. A time of waiting until we celebrate the glorious gift of Jesus' birth. I've been reading a lot about the journey of the Holy Family and what Joseph must have endured. I wonder if he went nuts over clothes not being hung up in the closets? He was probably a little more concerned about finding shelter for the Savior and the Blessed Mother but let's not split hairs, right? UGH!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are You Ready?



I guess the title should really be "Am I Ready?" The question does not refer to whether or not the Christmas presents are bought and wrapped but is my heart ready to welcome Jesus? Is it always ready? Do I prepare daily for the coming of Jesus into my heart, into my house, into my life?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yeah, I'm Talking to You!

Because I'm lazy and just haven't been too inspired to write much, I took this from another blog and I am reposting it!


The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, just remember...

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer...
AND Lazarus was dead!

Monday, December 6, 2010

First Snow Pictures of 2010

These are just a few of our snow pictures. We have since gotten about 6-8 more inches but that happened while the kids were at school. And, since we are still in History Day H...(I won't call it what I really want to call it), it won't be until at least Wednesday that the kiddos will get some serious snow time!!

YAY SNOW!!!!!!!!!





Thursday, December 2, 2010

Danny & Annie - StoryCorps

I like to check out the StoryCorps website to see if there are new stories and this one popped up. It is the most amazing story but not because of some flash and some tragedy but simply because Danny & Annie love each other. Perhaps it is because I am going to be married soon that this struck me so profoundly. Click on the link and enjoy!

xo


Danny & Annie - StoryCorps

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Apologies



I need to vent! I'm tired of people lecturing me that it is not appropriate to sing/celebrate/decorate for Christmas until the official start of Advent. Yes, Advent began so do I have permission to allow my kids to sing Jingle Bells in kindergarten? Really? He gets a check by his name for singing a Christmas song before Thanksgiving was over? R.E.A.L.L.Y? I'm tired of hearing the lecture from many people when I mentioned that I loved that Christmas music was playing on the radio long before Thanksgiving was even here!! I'm sick of the scrooges that complain about hating Christmas because they have no money for presents. These are the same ding-dongs that lecture me on how the early playing and the early decorating for Christmas commercializes Christmas. Umm...what?

I know the reason for the season and have people thought that this is just the reason that I hold Christmas so dear? I love that things are getting chilly outside because it "forces" us inside to be still and together as a family. I love the Christmas music - not necessarily "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" but I love "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night" and "The Little Drummer Boy" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" and...

Why do I feel the need to defend my love of Christmas? I love that it is a time to stop and remember Jesus during these long and quiet days and nights. I love this time of year where I can stop all of the pettiness (and I do!) and focus on the exact thing I'd like to purchase my sisters or my sons or my daughter to show them how much I love them. This gift may be a little something or a big something but the intent is the same. I take the sentiments that I feel from my relationship with my Heavenly Father and I try to translate it to my loved ones. It isn't in the gift itself, it's just in the act of thinking about the particular loved one that brings me the greatest joy.

So, please don't give me any more grief for longing for snow while being tired of the drizzly rain that keeps us all depressed and wet (IN NOVEMBER) Don't give me grief for welcoming Christmas and all of its joy and blessings and togetherness. Don't give me grief for wanting to find a world that is Christmas 24/7 not because of the materialistic aspects of this particular day but because I want to hold tight the sacredness and the warmth of this awesome day in which our Savior was given to the world through our amazing Mother!

Perhaps, the rest of the world needs to embrace Christmas as part of their everyday lives instead of finding some reason to hate it all. As for me, I'll be the one with glistening tears in her eyes because of the amount of love that is bubbling within her heart. Yeah, I'm that cheesy about Christmas!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Royal News!



Well, crud! That royal couple from England just stole my thunder and announced their engagement. Now I'll be competing with the bride-to-be for gowns, tiarras, and Neil Lane diamond-encrusted wedding bands! I suppose she wants to travel to the church in a horse-drawn carriage with an armed escort, too? Great! I'll have to revamp everything or else I fear society will think that she copied me! Sheesh!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions


I posted this because I just like the snow picture!!

So, I went to my future home this past weekend to find a good school(s) for the kiddos. We started off by going to a fundraiser for a small, independent Catholic school (meaning=they are independently funded but still adhere to all of the Catholic teachings) It was a beautiful night and I met a lot of wonderful people that value their Catholic faith very much. At the end of the evening, I did determine that it wasn't the school for Murphy as they will only have 11 kids in the 8th grade next year and he needs more of a stepping stone into high school. I'm worried for Briege as there were kids there putting on a "show" by having a trivia contest. 5th graders were answering what the meaning of Latin words were! What? I think Briege is totally capable but I don't want her to feel like she's lost if that kind of work load is over her head. Keagan - well, he's my wild card! He's young enough to go anywhere but I wonder how they deal with his behavior "issues"?

We went to a brief open house at the all-girl Catholic high school, down the street. I love that it's all girls. I think that kind of learning behavior would benefit all kids - even at this age. I love the school. It has an amazing performing arts center, a huge gym, state of the art science and computer labs, and even a gift shop. A gift shop??? Yep! My only issue with it is...please don't send me hate letters...all girl schools tend to be rather liberal in their mindset. They push the feminist agenda and it's not always the agenda that I think is very feminine. It can be especially troubling in a Catholic setting because the tendency can be to teach the young women that they are being oppressed because women cannot be ordained as priests or that their role in the Church is secondary. I find that to be totally false so it would be my job to instill that in Briege. I do not know that this happens at this particular high school but I do know that it happens overwhelmingly at all-girl/women Catholic schools (both collegiate and other)

I'm trying to figure out the best possible case for a seamless transition for the kids and I. I'm certain that whatever decision we make, will turn out for the best. I'm also certain that there will be some pain involved. I'm very sad to be leaving the school that my kids are in right now. More so for Murphy than for the other two. He has some great friends and I happen to like their parents as well. This has been a gift to me to be able to call these people my friends and I will miss them terribly.

But...

I am ready to start my new life with Bill. I'm ready to forge ahead and make decisions with my new husband for the good of the family. When you grow up, like I have, you tend to make every decision a group one. This hasn't been all bad but there are times that it has been hard to "buck the system" and decide for myself things affecting my life and the lives of my children. I will most certainly miss my family - I can hardly begin to think about it!! However, with each step towards independence (which is what I feel this will be) I feel a great urgency to get the details accomplished and begin my life anew.

It's much easier talking about all of this in the abstract. Don't ask me to talk about it when it becomes a reality! I'm not sure I'll be able to verbalize any of it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hen-pecked!


A friend has a magnet on her refrigerator that says, "Being a mother can sometimes feel like being hen-pecked by chickens!" I must be chicken feed because I feel pecked to death! Either it's keeping my oldest from being mean to his sister or it's keeping my youngest from plotting some sort of mischievous plan to take over the school. I have friends that only have boys and they say they couldn't imagine their lives any better because girls are a headache. Well, let me tell you a little secret: Girls may have a little more drama but they are loyal and care about more than their own little piece of the world.

It's got to be something that I'm doing wrong with my sons. Maybe they needed me to be more motherly with them instead of the task-master that I tend to be day in and day out! I've tried to support their interests while also teaching them that the world doesn't revolve around them but the results have not been promising. I have one son that would rather pull out his own eyelashes than attend anything that didn't involve a sporting event. No, a sporting event that HE likes. There had better be something in it for him or beware the wrath - UGH! The other son likes to bully his way around a room. Not in the traditional bully way but he wears you down with his complaining and nagging that one is in tears because he just won't stop!

I know there are wonderful qualities that they both have and I should now name them all but I'm too frustrated to do it in this post! I just, for once, would like someone to tell me, "Oh, you're Keagan's mom...he's such a thoughtful young man" Instead I get phone calls from his K.I.N.D.E.R.G.A.R.T.E.N. teacher telling me that he has 3 conduct marks so he will miss his recess and that he pulled a boy's pants down in gym glass which, technically, is grounds for suspension! Fabulous! Let me make room on my trophy shelf for the Mom Award! What do I do?

I think I'm going to start reading my book about St. Augustine again. He was quite the scoundrel but his mother just kept on praying for him. Perhaps, that's all I can do along with a firm hand and a gentle spirit. So, if St. Monica would like to send me a loud message on how to survive raising boys, that would be great!! And, for all of you mothers raising only boys, I say WHEW!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rocky River



I'm ready to move! I'm ready to begin my life in a new city with the man that I shall call my husband (if THAT ever happens) I've really struggled trying to make these statements feel real in my heart and they are beginning to take root. Worrying about furniture placement, schools, leaving family and friends, and the like all pale in comparison to how much I love Bill. I'd truly be willing to follow him anywhere (don't tell him that as he'd like to move somewhere off the grid and I don't do "off the grid")

For me, this is all a matter of trust. I need to trust that Bill will not abandon me in a new city for long periods at a time with only our house and my kids to keep me company. I've been down that road before and it, quite literally, almost killed me. So, I'm trying desperately to trust that this will be new and not a repeat of things in the past. I need to trust that I will make a new life for our family in the beautiful city of Rocky River and that it won't be left to just me and the kids vs. the big, bad, unknown town. I've been down that road as well and I am terrified of where it led me/us.

I just need to trust. It is required for the health and well-being of my children, my future husband, and myself for me to trust.

I trust...I trust...I trust...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Briege Marie



My darling, sweet, baby girl is 11 today!! She is such a joy for me to have in my life. I say this so many times but I'm just not sure how I was so blessed to have God gift me my beautiful daughter. Her kind heart and gentle spirit remind me, daily, of God's immense love for me. She has taught me that sometimes it is more important to be silly than it is to be busy. She has taught me that it only takes 2 seconds to brighten some one's day with a smile or a kind word. She has taught me that talent comes in all sorts of packages and she's amazing in so many ways! She's a cantor at Mass, she loves to try all of the sports, she is on student government, she's an excellent student, she is a peacemaker and wants everyone to feel love. I love this girl so much!!
Happy birthday, dearest Briege!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can't See the Forest for the Trees



Definition: overly concerned with detail; not understanding the whole situation

Explanation: Used when expressing that a person is focusing too much on specific problems and is missing the point

Examples: I'm afraid you can't see the forest for the trees. - She often can't see the forest for the trees and needs to have the most relevant points explained to her.

I'm stressing out, folks! I am overwhelmed with all that has been put in my lap. I'm struggling to figure out how to get my minor house repairs completed (and how to pay for them), how to find the time to sell my house (and keep it show-worthy clean), how to find the right school for my kids (in a city that I know nothing about), how to get my fiance motivated to fix the major things wrong with his house (in a city that I know nothing about), how to find the time to meet with my priest in order to do our pre-marital counseling (with a fiance that lives 3 1/2 hours away), how to de-clutter a house that has 3 kids that currently live in it (with 2 other little kids that are here 2-3 times a week), how to figure out 2 History Day projects with 2 totally different personality-wise kids (I'll let you figure out which one has been easier), how to complete the flip-flappin' PE homework (don't get me started on the insane, ridiculous, time-wasting, stupid assignment...I mean it, don't get me started), how to fit 2 household's furniture into 1 house (in a city...yep, you know the rest)

So, as I began typing this little tirade (or big?) the image of a forest sprung to my mind. Am I too focused on the details of getting married and less focused on the fact that I am about to marry the most amazing, spiritual, smart, handsome, talented, sensitive man on the planet? Yes, on the planet! I've been so blessed to have him come into my life. I stress because he's not here! I want to spend every waking (and non-waking) moment with him and I can't! I hate that we live 3 1/2 hours away and so a quick "drop-in" just isn't possible.

I am trying to focus on the bigger picture, I really am. But, it's all those darn little issues that are in the way so all I see is this big, thick forest and I cannot, for the life of me, see one solitary tree! At this point, I know, I should turn to prayer. I have turned to my Rosary, my Bible, my devotionals, my crazy little chats with God but not nearly enough. Naturally, I wait until I cannot see straight because of the forest and then I cry out to God to help me find my way. I know it's a natural and human thing but why can't I just GO.DIRECTLY.TO.GOD.FIRST? Argh!!!

Forgive me, Father...Again!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Birthday



I cannot believe he turned 20! How is it possible that not just one but TWO decades have passed since I gave birth to a special baby boy? It is surreal to think about the fact that I have this adult-type person with some of my genetic makeup running around this great world! I pray that God has graced (and is gracing) him with love, safety, security, faithfulness, wisdom, joy, and so much more. Happy birthday, dear JJ!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Birthday!


Happy 13th birthday to my sweet, loving boy! Murphy has challenged me this year to see him as an emerging young man! He's challenged me to find a way to tweak the way that I approach our conversations. He's challenged me to be more creative in my open displays of love ;) But, one thing that he has never challenged me on is how MUCH I love him. He is receptive and loving right back at me. He hugs and kisses me in front of his friends and he teases me with a funny wit that I really love!

Happy 13th birthday, Murphy!!! I love you more than my shoes!!! Thank you, God, for the greatest of all birthday gifts - the birth of my son!! I pray that I will continue to help him reach his potential in all walks of life. He's well on his way!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Struggle


I'm going through a bit of a struggle lately. It's not my "normal" struggle but one that has persistently crept into my heart and won't leave. I'd like to think it's because God has planted it there for a reason. I know it's because He planted it there! It has opened up all sorts of questions and concerns.

It all began with one little form from my kid's school wellness office. It was a non-threatening note to remind me to get my kids immunizations updated. It is state law for my kids to have the whole gauntlet of vaccines or else they are excluded from school. These immunizations are for things like Pertussis, Meningitis, and, the dreaded Chicken Pox. What? It is state mandated for my children to be vaccinated against the Chicken Pox? Since when did the Chicken Pox become such a rampant source of death? Didn't our parents intentionally infect us with it when the neighbor kids got it? "Oh, Suzie has the Chicken Pox? We'll be right over and be sure that Suzie's pox aren't scabbed over yet!" Wasn't that how the conversation went for most of us?

Do I want my children (or anyone's children) to be in pain or to suffer with any kind of irritation? Absolutely not! Have we all gone a little ape doo-doo over this? In my opinion, YES! How many of you know what one of the active ingredients in the Varicella (Chicken Pox) vaccine is?
Varivax chickenpox Merck & Co., Inc.
varicella live virus neomycin phosphate, sucrose, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) processed gelatin, fetal bovine serum, guinea pig embryo cells, albumin from human blood, and human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue


Is this acceptable? I've been going over to pray next to the abortion clinic for over 2 years now but I'm mandated by the state to legally inject my children with cells from aborted fetal tissue? Ummm...I spend quite a bit of money to send my kids to a Catholic grade school just so I don't have the state telling me what to teach my kids, when to teach my kids, and what to do with my kids. I know we don't live in a vacuum but I do think that it should afford me/us the right to control what is happening to our children. And, by the way, I feel it is only right that I tell you that I love my children's school - the priest is amazing, the principal is terrific, the teachers are great, the families are loyal. I, however, have a problem with vaccinating my children using vaccines with aborted tissue in them (hate the label tissue when referring to the children lost through abortion)

So, you think you're safe just avoiding the Varicella for those reasons? Think again...Rubella vaccines, Hepatitis A vaccines, Rabies vaccines, MMR vaccines, and MR vaccines all contain "human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue". This does not even cover the amount of mercury that is in all vaccines. Yes, they are creating more and more vaccines without mercury but they are trading mercury for other "safer" radioactive ingredients.

Where do I go from here? The diocesan nurse called me as she was told that I have some issues with the vaccines. I love this woman - she is sweet and was kind and understanding throughout our conversation. However, she is in the medical profession and so I did get the standard line about it not being aborted fetal tissue - it comes from tissue from miscarried babies. Oh, well then ok! Yikes! I also got the warning that if there is an outbreak of disease, my kids will be excused from school. Really? I think if there is an outbreak of disease at the school, I'm gonna keep them home anyway! We've gone ape doo-doo!

I am really not trying to be a conspiracy-laden nut job! I want only the best for my children while also making informed decisions so that we all can go before God and say that we fought the good fight. To say that I feel like I'm on an island all alone, would not be too far from the truth. To say that I want my Church to stand up for the unborn and against the predatory abortion industry and say no to vaccines, would be entirely accurate!

The problem grows because I am constantly worried that someone might declare me an unfit mother or, worse yet (oh brother!), they might not like me! I guess that I should prepare myself for the points and the stares and the talk because I have a very large problem with vaccinating my children after all that I've read from reliable sources. (You may ask me for my sources if you'd like)

Oh yeah, I promise to keep my kids out of school in the event of an outbreak of disease. Good Lord, I pray we all would know to keep our kids out of school for such an event.

Let the mud-slinging begin!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not the Same

I've decided not to post the few things that I had written. I feel it's best as a conversation between God and me. The subjects were marriage, submission, obedience, and guidance. Since we all have a different reality, I felt as though it would have been perceived as judgmental for me to "force" my idea of marriage and the rest on anyone else. It wasn't written to be judgmental because it was truely my own path but it really is best that it just be a chit-chat with My Father and me!

Now, everyone can go back to their lives! I know that the curiosity was just eating you all alive!!!!!!!

I do want to share with you a blog post from an amazing woman that has chosen to stay single and be married to God (but different than an ordained religious). She spends her life going where God calls her and this time she is in Tanzania working at an orphanage. Her posts are always so heartfelt and full of discipline and obedience, but, mostly, they are full of love. It's as though the Lord talks to me through her. When I look around at piles of clothes and layers of dust and start to feel like a failure, I read her posts and I stop to be thankful that my children are tucked away after having been loved and kissed and hugged and bathed. So many children don't have that and Mary is there with just her 2 hands loving on so many babies and toddlers. Amazing!


A Day in the Life in the Orphanage

A day in the life….
This is my normal daily routine in the mornings here at the orphanage in Moshi (Tanzania):

4:30-4:45am –I wake up before the alarm goes off at 5am. I usually pray a Chaplet and then really ‘get up’ at 5am. After a trip to the bathroom and taking my malaria pills, I begin morning prayer in my room.

6:00am –I begin to get ready for the day.

6:30am –Holy Mass begins

7:00am –breakfast consisting of coffee and bread and butter (or with a little ‘jam’ for those who want –the ingredients on the jar of jam says: ‘mixed fruit jam.’ What’s in it? )

7:45am –I finish eating breakfast and I return to my room to get what I need for the morning. I hear the babies crying and so I try to hurry.

8:00am –It is raining today, so the children are inside the ‘play room’ instead of outside. I go to check on the older ones. I open the door and they all come running –biting and hitting each other to be the first one close. I try to correct them as I can. My Swahili is coming along –slowly, although I should try to be patient with myself, since I’ve only been here a week. I hug and kiss and bless each one. One wants a book read, another wants me to sing and he begins to clap, a third is hording the blocks in the corner and takes advantage of the chaos to steal a few more pieces from the hands of the younger ones –more crying ensues. I wipe tears. So many tears. I’ve never seen so many tears as I have here. Sometimes I feel like my entire existence is simply to be Jesus’ little rag wiping their tears. I try to greet and engage each child with something to play, giving a bit more attention to those who are especially craving it this morning. The floor is wet with urine –the students ‘mop’ it up as they can, but all it looks to me like they do is spread it everywhere. Those toys are now wet. I wish the children would be organized better here. I see one child hit another to steal his toy, but I cannot interfere because five others are clinging so close to my legs that I cannot walk. I call the ‘victim’ over to comfort him and then I simply close my eyes and pray. After 30 minutes I must go –my babies are still crying and I know they are all wet and will be hungry soon. If only the students would love and care for them as real mothers –but really how can I expect that of them –they are young and doing the best as they know how. But my heart aches from all the cries and tears. Jesus, send the angels again today to love and reach where my hands simply cannot.


8:30 am –I enter the baby room. The babies stop crying for a moment or two to smile at me. I begin to sing our songs and some clap, others ‘dance’ by shaking their hands and heads or jumping up and down. Most are dry this morning (or at least their rubber pants are doing the job). One gets an idea –he starts to cry to get my attention. I go to him to kiss his forehead and another realizes what has happened –he tries to cry too. I go over and speak to him. Suddenly the room is a chorus of cries once more. All my fault –cries caused by my love. It is true that when you ignore the babies they don’t cry so much and become content –but they also close off emotionally. I can’t do that. I simply make sure that each is loved. I pick up Fredrick –he gets to be my ‘favorite’ for a while this morning. He’s been so sick with malaria and I have to give priority to those who feel the worst. Its amazing how jealous even little ones a few months old can become when they see another child held or smiled at –I try to spread the love. I begin to change them in turn –along with their sheets. When the students come in to help, I leave them to the work as I hear the two littlest ones screeching in the next room. As the older children are changed, they are laid on a blanket spread out on the floor to play. James follows me to the door of the newborn room, crying for me to pick him up –but I already changed and loved him, and I know that little Brian and Miriam have been crying. I have to leave him, but the 20 minutes I am gone he sits inconsolable by the door crying his soul out and banging on the door. Once the two are changed I take the two little ones out with me to the big room and sit on a child’s chair (I cannot sit on the floor with the babies because 1-year-old Jonah thinks it is funny to ‘poke’ them) so that at least James can stand with his head on my lap to cry. It does the trick and he stops and begins to play around me. And the rest of the babies notice –they all crawl over to me and soon there is a baby brawl for my attention. All of them who can crawl and pull themselves up (about 6 of them) are fighting for my lap. I try to make room for them all somehow while holding the two newborns. Where did the student helpers go? Maybe the babies are crying, but at least they are close to me and I can sing. I remembered something my spiritual father told me once –‘You can’t take the cross from all people, but you can climb on it and just be with them in Love while they are there’. That is what I did this morning with my babies –at least I was with them. Finally about 25 minutes a sister comes in by chance –she laughs at me surrounded by a chorus of so many babies grappling for my love and she helps me rearrange them and find something to make them happy. I take the opportunity to get up and put the little ones down –one of the three-month-olds is screaming in his crib. He has spit up and is laying on his tummy on sheets wet from both his diaper and his mouth. As I go to change his clothes he smiles as if to say ‘thank you,’ but James (angry that I moved from my chair close to him) is following at my feet screaming for me to pick him up. I have to love the neediest –I cannot always care for the same one –they all deserve to be dry, to be fed, to be hugged, to be smiled at –but I do try to give extra love to those who are begging. The little ones start to wail again as the students bring in the food for the others. I go to re-arrange the little ones and come out to 5 screaming babies again. The students go about their work, feeding the one in front of them –but they are all hungry and crying. So although I can only feed one, I try to console and love them all in some way. I take James to feed and I struggle to calm him down enough to eat. Although he stops wailing, tears are still streaming down his cheeks and they fall into the cup of tea I try to give him to drink. I think of Scripture where it says ‘their tears are mixed with their food day and night.’ While I feed him, I pull the other 5 over to lean on my lap and cry as I work –Miriam cries again. I go to bring her and as I hold her with my left hand, feeding James with my right and comforting Janet, Jonas, Joyce, Irene and Omary with my hand between spoonfuls. I begin to sing and say, ‘sh, sh, sh’ to Fredrick and Ester yelling in the corner. They stop when they hears my voice and Ester smiles. What a gift to my heart aching to console them all. I notice that the ones crying have very runny noses. But I have nothing to wipe them but my skirt –so 1,2,3,4,5 –all in my apron. There is no way I could stand up to get a cloth with them all on top of me like this. Its times like these having a clone or two would be very helpful. Jonas walks away from me, leaving me a bit more free to feed James –but he goes right for the dirty diapers again. He’s got that ‘trouble antenna’ and always finds things to do that he shouldn’t. He really should be out with the toddlers (especially since he steals the little babies’ toys), but they were waiting for his twin sister to become more steady on her feet. They like to move twins together –but he really needs to leave and she still needs ‘baby love.’ While all this is going on, suddenly the toddlers outside the window see me –they all somehow know that I love them, so they prefer me to others. Three of the two-year-olds come running to the window to knock and yell to me. I try to give them attention amongst doing all the rest.

11:20 –Finally all the children are fed and they should go down for naps. A few are complaining, but I know they are dry, fed and have each been held and loved by me this morning. As I go to leave to take my break I hear Brian crying again. That baby really can’t stand to be wet –which is hard because with cloth diapers and no rubber pants, you constantly need to keep changing him. I change him and see he is hungry. I ‘cheat’ –they are supposed to be on a strict schedule, but he is so little and he kept falling asleep eating in the morning. I take his unfinished bottle and let him quickly eat so that at least I can lay him down half-contented so that I can change Miriam again.

11:50 -It is quiet for a moment and I try again to run out the door before someone cries or sees me. Its one thing when I leave my nieces and nephews (even if they are crying) I know that their mothers will comfort them. But it is so hard when I have to rip someone from me crying and the students aren’t as comforting as a mother –but I simply cannot spend 24/7 with the same child. Every morning when 2 ½ year-old Noela (she was born on Christmas) sees me she runs to cling to me. She never speaks –I’ve never heard her open her mouth –but when I have to leave to go to the babies she cries as her heart is broken. I am very happy that she has been chosen for adoption soon. That little girl really needs love! I try to love powerfully enough in the short time I am there to fill their hearts ‘enough’ –its my little 5 loaves and 3 fish –Jesus will have to multiply and make it ‘enough’ for their hearts’ needs. I hope my prayer and His Love can fill in where my bodily presence is insufficient. And I pray that my example can transform the way the other ‘mamas’ and students interact with the children. I have already noticed a change, so it gives me hope. They change their wet diapers and clothes more often, sing to them more often, smile more often. Can little ol’ me change a Tanzanian orphanage in 4 short weeks? It is my goal –to fill them with Jesus’ Love –so that when I leave His Love can continue to bear fruit. But in order to do this, I have to have time with Him in prayer. It is His Love I must share with them. Not my own –for mine could never heal hearts, change minds, lift spirits as His can. Lord, give me the strength and time to pray more in the midst of this. I can usually never leave until I know that no one is crying –and then I run out quickly because if I hear a cry I have to come back in to fix their need. I guess it’s the heart of a mother –it seems selfish to me to go and drink tea or pray if I leave a baby crying and wet or lonely. I am the only mom they have. I have to give my all. But I also have to spend some time with Jesus –I have to have His Love in order to give His Love. And the needs of these children are so great that simply human love is not enough –they need Divine Love. They have been so rejected, abandoned and wounded by these experiences. Oh Mary, be their Mother. Joseph, stand watch over their cribs at night. Angels, sing to them for me. I can’t believe it is only 12noon.

Lunch is at 12:15 –lunch and dinner here are almost the exact same every day some combination of the following: plain rice, potatoes or pasta; ‘green vegatables’ (a form of spinach mixture); a form of beans; and sometimes tomatoes or cucumbers. Once or twice a week they have a meet sauce. Usually they have fruit on the table for one meal –either a banana, orange, passion fruit, watermelon or ‘oxen heart’ (I’ve never heard of it or seen it before, but it is sweet and good).

1:00pm –I head back to my room for a few minutes before I go over to the babies again. Between 1:15-2:00 I am back with the children.
After lunch we repeat the morning again for the afternoon –hopefully I can take 5 of the babies out for a walk in the sunshine –that usually helps their moods. I wrap one on me, squish a few in a stroller and let the ones who can walk hold on to the stroller. This afternoon the German sister could not stay with me, but the babies were all crying to go outside. She left me with one wrapped on me, four doubled up in strollers, another in my hands and two toddling around. Then the little boys saw me out the windows as they were getting dressed (a wedding party was coming to visit and bring gifts), so they grabbed their shoes and I found myself surrounded by 5 more little boys wanting help with their shoes and hugs for their hearts. The only way I can reach all of them is to entertain and love the by singing. Little Polycarp (who is not little at all) is jealous for my lap –which makes me happy because he was abandoned, no one chooses him for adoption, he does not speak and since he was a little baby he cries all the time. He is one of my special projects here. But this afternoon he doesn’t understand that he can’t get closer to me than where he is already on my lap –so he keeps pushing against me to get closer and closer. After 45 minutes I’m happy when the students appear again. That was a lot of work (8 babies and 5 toddler boys) for one set of eyes, hands and heart. By 4pm I will have to try to head back to my room to handwash some clothes –a daily chore –and at least wipe-down a little before prayer. I am so dirty everyday –what I would give for a real shower and washing machine! But once again today I don’t get out until 5pm –Miriam was screaming and I won’t leave a screaming baby. When the ‘mama’ finally comes in with her bottle (and I rejoice that I can be free to go) my heart sinks as she brings two chairs with her and says, ‘You do Miriam, and I’ll do Brian.’ I guess it is only fair that they both eat at once. So once she is fed, changed again for the night and comfortable, I tiptoe out so that the others don’t see me.

5:30-6pm -I head to the chapel for evening prayers.
Dinner at 7pm.
Back to my room by 8pm to finish laundry, ‘shower’ with my bucket of water, pray, etc. and hopefully find myself in bed before 9:30. Just a bit of my life here.
Fiat. +

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Ponderin'


I have a few posts up my sleeve but I'm really weighing on whether or not to post them as I know that they may conjure up some anger in my HUGE readership. I know this blog is for me and my realities and my journey but I just don't want to stir a hornets nest if my words are not taken the way I intend them.

Geez...have I built up enough drama? So, reader(s), I'm going to pray about this some more and then I'll make the decision on whether it is best for me to keep these thoughts between God and me or if it might be ok to publish this for the world to read.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vanilla


Well, I got tagged to complete a list of things that I've done in my life that surprise(d) me. It's a difficult thing for me to do because my life seems so vanilla. Don't get me wrong, I like vanilla - it is the basis for all of the other yummy things in life: hot fudge sundaes, creamy paint colors, etc. But, for those pressing their nose in on my vanilla life, vanilla probably seems extremely boring but here goes:
Ten Things I Did That Still Surprise the Hell Out of Me:

1. Had a baby at 19 and survived the adoption, the break-up, and the fall-out.

2. Played volleyball AND softball at the collegiate level. All while maintaining a 3.8 GPA

3. Survived college at all given my lifestyle.

4. Gave birth to 3 wonderful children who have still survived despite my shortcomings.

5. Endured 13 packings, loadings, and movings in 15 years.

6. Learned to truly offer up my sufferings when in a 3 year span I lost my beloved grandmother, experienced 2 late-term miscarriages, and endured the loss of my husband and father of my 3 children.

7. Got on an airplane for the first time ever at age 26 and flew to Medjugorje via Amsterdam by myself!!!!!!!!!

8. Got to see Alaska (whales, snow-capped mountains, moose, icebergs, glaciers)

9. I have been blessed to fall in love with the most amazing man. This surprises me because I was fully prepared to live my life without this kind of love in my life.

10.

I'm leaving the list at 9 because I'm saving #10 for what's to come. I am open to so many new experiences in my life and I can't wait to keep surprising myself with new things...even if they're vanilla!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Pics

Well, I'm back! I finally got the virus-infected computer back from the Geek Squad! Is there someone that I can send my $300 invoice to that is responsible for the viral outbreak on my hard drive? Seriously, wouldn't that be awesome if there was some sort of recource against the morons that create the viruses? It's funny, I only hear about the outbreak of such viruses but I never hear anyone being caught having infected a slew of computers with said virus(es).

All is well...for now!

Misc. pictures from the latter part of Summer:










Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still waiting...



Still waiting for the results of what the heck is wrong with my computer! I hate this! I should spend my free time, exercising, praying, cleaning, exercising, painting, exercising, etc. but I'd much rather waste time on the computer!!

Gee, I wonder if this might not be a divine suggestion from God above that I should use my time a little more wisely?

UGH!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stinkin' Virus



I'm at my sister's house writing this short little blurb for the blog. I have a stinkin' computer virus on my computer. I can't open a single item on my desktop - not the pictures, not the internet, not the documents, nothing! What the heck?

Do computer geeks (sorry to those nice computer geeks) not have anything to do except for searching for ways to screw with us 'barely-savvy' computer people? What is it that drives these people? I gotta be honest with you...I feel a bit like someone broke into my house. I feel that same sense of invasion or anger that one feels when their space has been robbed or compromised or whatever! I pray I don't lose my pictures - some of which are the only ones I have of Keagan as an infant or my pictures from Florida and Alaska. I pray I don't lose my documents - my eulogy for my grandmother's funeral is on there.

Who's head do I bash for this? What is the recourse? What is the purpose of those morons, those losers, those a*#hol*@, those dorks in their momma's basement? Is this what they feel their purpose is in life? They are given the amazing intelligence to create computer programs and to decifer all sorts of codes (I don't even know how to write about it let alone do what they do) and instead of creating a program that, I don't know, might benefit more than their own narcissistic giggles, they create a virus that could wipe out someone's hard drive! Thank you!

Jerks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inspirational Video

I saw this video on a friend's blog and had to share it on mine! It just goes to show you how amazing God's love is. Despite our attempts at doing what we feel is right and best and smart and informed, sometimes what we need to do is honor the life He gave us, in all forms, and just trust!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pictures from Alaska

I'm posting pictures from Alaska as I have no words to describe its beauty. If you ever doubt the amazingness of God, go to Alaska!