Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Part 1






In a perfect world, my house would look like one of these pictures! Alas, I haven't begun to decorate. Heck, I haven't even located all of my Christmas decorations! They have grown legs and are now hiding from me since our move to Ohio in August! It's a cruel, cruel joke that I cannot find them! And just a friendly FYI: when packing for a move in the hot, stinkin' summer months, do not assume that you will NOT need things for winter like shovels, boots, or, ahem, your pre-lit Christmas tree!

So brings on the 2011 Christmas dilemma: To stay or not to stay?

I realize that I am not the first person in the history of the world to move away from family. I know that others have had to deal with how to handle the holidays - whether to stay or go. This would be the first Christmas that I wouldn't be with my extended family, E.V.E.R. I know how important it is for my kids to spend time with their many cousins and their grandparents and so we're trying to find a way to get it all in there while also being able to spend quality time with our immediate family. Here's the heart-breaker for me - I want nothing more than to spend time with my family members and their families but I cannot fathom the idea of not having the kiddos run out from the bedrooms to the Christmas tree to see if Santa came. Sure, we could do that while staying with my parents but it's their tree and it's their house. Does this mean that we forgo even getting a tree for our new house this year?

I keep telling myself that, in the end, it just won't matter. All that matters is that we are together and have kept our eyes (at least one good one) on the reason behind all of the hoopla! I love the sacredness and the quiet of Advent. I love anticipating the glorious day of the birth of our Savior! I love the Christmas Mass with all of its lights shining and joyful music blaring and, most especially, the Eucharist being front and center at this most special time! In the end, I do know that the rest is just gravy. It won't matter where we wake up on Christmas morning of 2011. If, after reflection, we see that our plan didn't seem to work out, then we change it up for next year. I sometimes get caught up in all of the bigness of the day and lose sight of the little things!

I think I'll start with finding my Advent wreath and other mysteriously absent decorations! Perhaps our house will, one day, look like the pictures at the top of this blog post. Or, maybe not :)

Happy Advent!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Keagan's 7th Birthday!!



I am so happy that today I get to celebrate my youngest son's birthday! I have had this love/hate thing with Halloween forever. I've always been afraid of creepy, crawly things and I don't like things that tend to conjure of subjects that deal with evil or satan or whatever so to finally have a reason to celebrate this day properly is a joy!! Keagan has given us the reason to dress up and go trick-or-treating for a purpose. No longer is it part of "spooky Halloween" - it is now just something we do before we have birthday cake and open presents.

Thank you, God, for my funny, sweet, lovable, smart, and goofy Keagan! He has been the perfect addition to our already amazing family!! Again, I am so blessed to call myself this little punk's mommy :)



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beautiful Briege!



Today is sweet, sweet Briege's 12th birthday!! Man, I sure love this kid! I know I've mentioned this before but she truly is a blessing to me (to us all) She is kind-hearted, funny, giving, generous, sweet, gentle, creative, and beautiful! Many people just don't see all of these things in her very quickly because she's reserved (I'd say shy) and doesn't like to draw attention to herself right away. But, I wish I could shake some of the girls at her new school - you know, the ones that look down their noses at her because she's not like them. She's wonderfully freckled and has untamed red hair. She's quirky and has a very tender heart. She'd rather have a super best friend than several mediocre friends. She so wants to wear a polka-dotted beret (or other kinds of funky clothing) but feels as though the kids already think she's different so she doesn't. On "Funky Sock Day" she made her own decorative socks because that was fun only to go to school and have girls make fun of her for having them. Gosh, how did I get off on this tangent??

I just love, love, love my sweet Briege! Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of her life! I pray that I may protect her and show her how unbelivably loved she is at all times! Happy birthday, my lovely Briege!!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2 B-Days



Happy birthday to my wonderful, sweet, hard-working, understanding, gentle, goofy, funny, helpful, band-geek of a husband!! There are times that I question whether all of this heart-ache and change was worth it. I also wonder if I didn't rush into getting married as all of the adjustment and anguish has been unbearable, at times. Then Bill grabs my face and kisses me just because he thought my freckles were cute at that moment or he'll do his morning dance (and it is a site to see!!) or Bill will send me a very sweet text calling me is beautiful bride and it is those moments that remind me that it was all worth it! There was no rushing into this marriage as I truly cannot imagine my life without him in it!

Bill shares his birthday with my first-born son. 21 years ago, today, I gave birth to a sweet and beautiful baby boy. I don't know what color his hair is and I don't even know whether he is tall and skinny like his brother or if he's tall and a little more muscular (yeah, I'm calling it muscular) like his mother. I do know that I can remember his face like it was yesterday. I remember his smell and his cry and his strength in his little finger as I held him for the last time. I remember the heart-ache and the anguish as I rode that Memorial Hospital elevator for the last time empty-handed.

I also remember the look of joy and awe on his new mommy and daddy's face as the papers were finalized. I can still feel the compassion in the hug of his new mommy's hug when she thanked me and then cried. I remember the mixture of emotions that I experienced walking out of that office as I realized that my son was no longer "my son" I remember wondering where does one go after finalizing adoption papers as the birth mother? There was no party and there was no dinner and there was no gathering. Not because people didn't care but because what was the proper thing to do.

What also was very present during this whole process was the loving embrace of my Heavenly Father and the most Blessed Mother. To have gone through any of that would have been impossible without my spiritual connection to them both. It may not have made all of the pain go away but it made all of the pain make sense. It gave the pain a purpose and, for that, I'm blessed.

To now have married such an amazing man who shares the birthday of a son that I may never meet, is truly a gift beyond what I deserve. God continually dazzles me with His blatant love for me!! The story of my first son, Joseph Kelly, and then the gift of my second son, Joseph Murphy, along with the unbelievable gift of grace that is my daughter, Briege Marie, followed by my gift of joy and happiness, Keagan Christopher, are enough to overwhelm me time and time again! None of it would make sense without the addition of William Scott White into all of our lives!

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gifts in my life! They are abundant and they are rich! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy 14th birthday, Murphy!



Happy 14th birthday to Joseph Murphy! He's such an amazing gift to me on this special day. My birthday would not have nearly as much meaning if it wasn't for the fact that I share it with my twin, Kerry, and my son, Murphy! How blessed am I??? I am very blessed!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gee Wiz!



You'd think given the fact that I live in a town where I really know no one that I'd have gobs of time to write or at least post pictures on this here blog!! Yikes! I'm really struggling finding anything worth posting. Of course, I could brag about my kids and their successes in sports and in school (don't worry, I will!) but I'm feeling so blah that nothing seems worthy of wasting your time!

This move has been so hard! The obvious person that everyone asks about is Murphy! I totally get how it must have stunk for him to move away from family and friends in his 8th grade year! It did stink and, many times, it DOES stink! I feel for him but he's a gifted athlete with a great personality so he just effortlessly fits in anywhere he goes. That's a wonderful thing so it's hard for me when people ask me how Murphy is doing. My response is usually, "Murphy-Shmurphy" I say that with a thankful heart and I also say that knowing that his little heart breaks when he talks to his SB friends on Facebook or via text. I see his face fall and tears well when family come for a visit and then there comes the inevitable good-bye. Each time, I see the little boy that he really is even though in the next minute he looks like the young man that he's becoming! It's such a roller coaster of emotions all wrapped up in the 6'1" body of my almost 14 year old son.

Then there's sweet and kind, Briege. She dare not voice her anger or her displeasure at moving away from HER friends and her family. She doesn't want to add to anyone else's stress by chiming in with her heart-ache at leaving her Nana and Papa. She will let certain things slip, however. She'll quietly express her fear about the possibility that her Nana (both of them) or Papa will die and we won't be there with them. She will have big, quiet tears spilling on her cheeks as we say goodbye to Aunt Megan or Aunt Kerry or Cousin Colin (etc) She will whisper her miseries to her Nana so as not to upset Bill or me. I try my hardest to encourage her to share her feelings with us but she sees how much we're all trying to make a home here in Ohio and wants to be mommy's brave girl. She is that and so much more!

Keagan! Well, Keagan is a bundle of electric (and loud) energy! He forgets about SB because he's blissfully 6 (almost 7) It allows his mind and his heart to embrace the newness of Ohio without feeling such a loss of moving away from everything familiar. That is, until family come to visit. To see him dissolve into tears of joy when he sees a surprise guest from back home walk in our door is too much for me to bear. To see him dread the dawning of morning because he knows it will soon be time to give hugs and kisses of good-bye reminds me of all this little, funny, pistol of a kid has been through in his short life.



Don't get me wrong, my emotions are a bit raw right now because we just had family from SB here and the house is so darn quiet! Monday came and with it came sports practices, loads (and loads) of homework, grocery shopping, showers, baths, story time, and nighttime prayers. Then came Tuesday and so on... I guess, it's much easier to give voice to my children's emotions of the past few months because they very much mirror my own. I'm very sad and very homesick but hate to show it because then I seem weak or like I'm not trying to make a life here. I am one of those people that thrives on my friendships, and my church life, and my family. To have all 3 of these things now 273 miles away, it's difficult. I, however, would follow my husband to Siberia if it meant spending my life with him. I don't want to be apart from him and us staying in SB meant seeing him only on the weekends and I want more for my kids and for myself and for Bill than a part-time family. Yes, it would have meant that I still have my friends, my church, my family but I would be losing out on having my husband and the only father my kids have by my side.

I know it's only been 2 months but I just don't know how to meet people here. I'm not kidding, every person that I've met have lived here their entire lives which can sometimes translate as "No new friends needed, thank you" I volunteer in school but the moms already know each other and they spend their volunteer time huddled together recounting their GNO from last Thursday and I just spend it with the kiddos and realize that it's important for the kids that I'm there for them and not to fulfill some sort of friend quota that I might have. Throw in the fact that I have a torn hamstring/pinched nerve/back issues (not sure what it is) which prevents me from exercising (well, walking) and getting out there. That only continues the spiral of depressing thoughts and boredom which then makes the snowball bigger!

I remember before we moved listening to a radio program with a woman that was talking about how traumatic it was for her when she and her family moved when she was 14 and then the trauma was equally as bad when she and her husband moved when she was 40! She encourage those of us in similar situations to cleave to God. To use this time to rely solely on God as our everything. Perhaps, if nothing else, it is an opportunity for us to "clear out our closets" and get rid of distractions and just totally trust in the Lord for all. Yeah, easier said than done, right? I am trying so hard to just let God work His miracles in my life and I see them every day in the smiles of my kids, the gentleness of my husband, the comfort of His presence. I just need to work harder.



Monday, June 6, 2011

So Much...

I'm not sure where the time has gone! In 18 short days, I will become Mrs. William White!! I am overwhelmed with all of the newness that is approaching. I love my future husband so much that my toes tingle! I am humbled and grateful and blessed and excited at becoming Bill's wife. I am truly honored to be gifted again with the opportunity to share in the sacrament of Marriage. When Bill 1 (as Keagan calls him) died, I really thought that my life as a wife was over. I was perfectly content in being a mother to my beautiful kids but God had other plans for me and planted Bill 2 deep into my heart. Ooooh, I just can't wait!

With this amazing gift comes many changes! Moving 273 miles away is very intimidating to me. I've never really lived away from my family. I don't count college because that time was spent with my sister and I was usually at the bars or at class. I also lived away for 2 years when Murphy and Briege were very little and that almost caused me to have a nervous break-down. Maybe it is that memory that is causing much of my anxiety?? I just continually go back to my prayers and trust that God will honor the process and my obedience to His Will. I truly feel God calling me to cling to my husband (future husband) and trust that "If God has led me to it, He will lead me through it" If only I was as strong and as faithful as I pretend to be to the world!!

So, back to packing and cleaning and planning and paying. I look forward to finally be done with this chapter and getting to live my life as Mrs. William White. It's a hard statement to make because I'm so sad to be leaving my family and my friends but I'm very excited to make new friends with my new (and existing) family in a new city.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ahhh

I know that I don't surf but this is really one of the most peaceful videos for me. If it wasn't for all of the darkness and precipitation in Alaska, I would totally move there - wouldn't Murphy love THAT?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Boo on You!


I've entered the real estate market in trying to sell my humble home! Well, it's been on the market for about 2 months now but since I've had only one showing, I consider it newly on the market!! It's been one of the most stressful things I've had to do (I'll get back to you when I have to undertake a 300 mile move with my family away from the only home we've ever known) To try and keep perspective as you look around and see all of your stuff - like family pictures, blankets, toys, reminder notes - as your "stuff" and others see it as clutter and as a distraction to the buying process, is enough to make me a little anxious. I've then had to see my dandelion population quadruple in number two days before my very first open house - lovely!

The thing is, I bought this house as is! I knew that there were rooms that were not my colors and I still bought it; I realized that I really wanted 2 bathrooms, yet, I still bought it; I saw that the carpet was that typical builder's grade (beige!!) and saw the spots and still bought it. I wasn't desperate for a house, I could just see it as a home and not as this structure with all sorts of flaws. I didn't walk in to the kitchen and wonder where the granite countertops and the stainless steel appliances were! I didn't wonder why they never invested $10,000 in getting a half-bath! I certainly didn't walk in and wonder why the heck would ANYONE put pictures of their family on the wall!

So, I'm a day past my first showing of my house and my realtor sends me the feedback from the other realtor. It was so elitist and so snotty! She didn't make mention of any of the positives except that it's in a nice neighborhood (I had nothing to do with that part of the house) I am one that can accept criticism (I know a few that cannot!!) but it was the tone of her message that struck me as mean. To then find out that the realtor came alone (with no client!!) because she had no client for the house. She was a neighbor from two streets over that is also selling her house and, just so happens to be, a realtor. So, she was merely sizing up the competition! I get it, that's the nature of the business - especially in this buyer's market! But, I had to bust my booty to keep the house tidy with 2 toddlers and then my own 3 older kids and a dog! I then had to high-tail it out of the house, smack dab in the middle of homework/snack time because she needed the showing appointment at 3:45 not at 4:45!

BOO ON YOU!

I know...Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry! Repeat: Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother's Day



I share this article not because I am in "need" of any kind of acknowledgment but because I do think about how I felt for the longest time that I belonged in the "no-man's-land" of motherhood categories. For 7 years before I was blessed with Murphy, I felt so weird about Mother's Day. I mean, I've always had a mother (and up until about 7 years ago, a grandmother too) so I didn't sit and ponder the day away. But, I did feel a sense of loss on each and every Mother's Day because I had no proof that I was any kind of a mother and it was awkward because I knew that there was a child in the world with my DNA that was calling someone else mother. I say that with a thankful heart for I am sure that he is in wonderful hands with his parents.

I also have a huge place in my heart for those women that for various reasons cannot give birth to children. I pray for the families that open their lives and their hearts to adoption - I cannot imagine my worry if I did not have the choice of a wonderful mother (and father) for my son. So, on Mother's Day, I ask that we all just pause and remember mothers of all kinds - birthmothers, adoptive mothers, and childless mothers (the aunts, cousins, sisters, friends)

May we all turn to Our Lady and ask that she may spiritually adopt all of us!


On Mother's Day, Honor Moms Who Chose Adoption Over Abortion | LifeNews.com

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ is Risen!




Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be thou still my Strength and Shield.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday



"Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and He has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday



"Blessed Virgin, Mother of fair love, tell us where Your Beloved has gone. Teach us to follow Him truly and no longer to follow ourselves. Show Jesus crucified in all His meekness and humility to us whose eyes have been blinded by pride and whose hearts are hardened by selfishness." From The Way of the Cross with the Blessed Virgin


The Way of the Cross with the Blessed Virgin
By Mother Marie des Douleurs – foundress of the Benedictine Sisters of Jesus Crucified

“The Way of the Cross is not only a great testimony to an inner depth and maturity, but it is in fact a school for interiority and consolidation. It is also a school of the examination of conscience, for conversion, for inner transformation and compassion – not as sentimentality, as a mere feeling, but as a disturbing experience that knocks on the door of my heart, that obliges me to know myself and to become a better person.”
Pope Benedict XVI

First Station - Jesus Is Condemned to Death

YES, MY CHILD, I WANT TO SHOW YOU MY SON. Be very attentive and recollected in the depths of your soul, far from all things, beyond all sensibility and reasoning; perceive the word which never ceases to act efficaciously. May your soul be flexible and gentle like Veronica’s veil so as to reproduce all the divine features.
Imagine at first someone who willingly and peacefully humbles himself till the end, who does not revolt before injury, whom mockery does not cause to wince, and who submits to all the abjections with a tranquil heart. Behold my Son, the Author and Prince of peace, and consider: are you truly one of his disciples, you for whom a look, a frown, a breath of suspicion suffices to wound deeply and to cause you to withdraw from recollection for yours, even days?

Second Station - Jesus Is Laden with the Cross

MY SON CAME ON EARTH FOR THIS HOUR. He has accepted his mission and fulfilled it point by point in order to arrive at the end which is the cross.
You also must attach yourself passionately to the will of the Father so that you will know how to say yes not only in advance for what your imagination represents to you as a future cross, but according to the degree that suffering causes revulsion to your body and anguish to your heart… to the degree that suffering disheartens your spirit and compasses your soul entirely.

Third Station -Jesus Falls for the First Time

LEARN NOT TO BE SCANDALIZED BY HUMAN WEAKNESS – this weakness which God knew, this weakness which he became himself.
Because of Jesus lying beneath the cross, be compassionate, devoted, and come to the aid of the weakness of your neighbor.
For yourselves, do not wonder and allow yourselves to be troubled by the weight of your body. Be humble before its weariness; bear it with simplicity, and then as soon as you can, take up again your burden. The task is not yet finished; Calvary is still far off.

Fourth Station - Jesus Meets His Mother

GIVE YOUR HEARTS TO MY SON all emptied, thirsting, and turned solely toward him, wholly unoccupied with yourself.
You have met him many times, but you did not know it, because your spirit was full of plans, anxieties, and thoughts which were not concerned with this unique love.
Oh, how sad it is for my Son to seek with so great a desire of a loving look from one who remains distracted, dreaming, or even laughing with the foolishness and dissipation of the world.

Fifth Station - Jesus is Helped by Simon

HOW I DESIRE THAT YOU WOULD NOT RESEMBLE SIMON, this poor Simon who considered it a burdensome task to help carry the cross.
I desire that you love the cross very much and that you consider that it is my Son who grants you a grace in asking you to help him, and not you who would do him one by accepting an additional task or a trial or some physical suffering.
I would have you spouses of Jesus crucified, of those who do not content themselves, who do not measure, who give all without knowing what they give and who do not discover new sacrifices and new crosses at each hour of the day.

Sixth Station - A Holy Woman Wipes the Face of Jesus

VERONICA FOLLOWED THE IMPULSE OF HER HEART and did not ask herself what the people around her would think of her gesture.
You also, go ahead, allow yourself to be enkindled by the Holy Spirit and never again fall into this miserable human respect. Be entirely simple, and do the least little things in the best way you can, without solicitude for those who see you, solely occupied with him who suffers, who loves and waits for you. Each one of your minutes can be a reparation if you seek nothing but the face of your Bridegroom. May nothing frighten you, may nothing prevent you from accomplishing everything most perfectly.

Seventh Station - Jesus Falls for the Second Time

THERE HAVE BEEN DAYS, AND THERE WILL BE AGAIN, when you will be as if crushed under the burden of temptation, disgust, and trouble. It is to help you to rise again that my Son willed to fall the second time.
When everything seems too heavy, humble yourself beneath the burden which you do not know how to carry; confess your weakness and the small amount of you generosity. Make yourself little, very little, and the spirit of strength will come in you and will raise you up, and you will go on, even to the summit of Calvary.

Eighth Station - Jesus Consoles the Daughters of Jerusalem

LEARN TO HAVE YOUR SOUL PERFECTLY OPEN, wholly comprehensive of the weakness and miseries of your neighbor. Always be prepared to pour out your soul on those who are hungry. You should serve as their nourishment, for you are here so that the sad may become joyous, the faint-hearted recomforted, and the bad converted.
Oh! Do not fail my Son who awaits all these souls and who desires to have them through you. Think no longer of yourself; do not speak of yourself; you must not waste the time, for your task is immense. My Son is in agony until the end of the world because of all those who have not understood the cross. Do not allow yourself to be occupied with self during this time.

Ninth Station - Jesus Falls for the Third Time

EVEN IF YOU REMEMBER YOUR SINS, even if it happens that you again commit some of them, or even if you should be scandalized by the faults of consecrated souls, raise yourself up and continue. By his third fall, Jesus, my gentle Son, has redeemed all. Do not give the enemy the occasion to triumph. What he wants is to discourage and stop you. Only to attain this end does he desire to permit you to commit faults.
Be courageous even to death, begin again, fight, and advance at any price. Your fall could be the occasion of a great triumph for the glory of God.

Tenth Station - JESUS IS Despoiled of His Garments

IN ORDER TO ADVANCE MORE RAPIDLY, my children, allow yourselves to be despoiled. Love the most holy poverty; love this spiritual destitution which leaves you marvelously free.
So long as you reserve an attachment for something and believe that you have need of a support coming from riches or of consideration, you do not yet resemble him who was despoiled of all things, even the robe which I had woven for him myself. Do not believe that you have need of anything, and allow everything to be taken away as soon as it is asked of you. Even seek the detachments; it is this that will make your soul great and strong.

Eleventh Station - Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

MY CHILDREN, YOU DO NOT YET KNOW WHAT THE CROSS IS; you cannot know it. Your crosses are those in your imagination, and you fabricate sufferings to occupy yourselves when you lives are not full enough.
Ask for nothing, but refuse nothing. Behold my Son allowing himself to be nailed to the cross without saying anything, with the immense joy in his heart of adhering to the will of the Father.
You should also do the same; do not resist, allow yourselves to be loved. He who disposes all things according to the designs of his infinite love knows what you need to win souls and sanctify yourself. Extend your hands and feet, and allow yourself to be nailed.

Twelfth Station - Jesus Dies on the Cross

MY CHILDREN, ASK FOR THE GRACE OF PERSEVERANCE and do not be sure of yourselves. It is grand to die on the cross, in sentiments of peace and love, in thanksgiving for participating in the state of the divine crucified. It is grand to stay at the foot of the cross right to the end, without having any terror for flight, nor any weight or weariness. But how many were we?
I have asked for your perseverance. Ask for it again through me, and fear nothing. You shall be there until the end, in a growing love, but only if you are humble, if you know that by yourselves only cowardice and calamities can happen.

Thirteenth Station - Jesus Is Replace in the Arms of His Mother

“ALL IS CONSUMMATED.” May this be said of you also. May all the graces you have received become fruitful; all that has been confided to you terminated like the task of a good laborer when evening comes. Let nothing be neglected, not one iota of the law. May you have treated nothing as being too small to be worth accomplishing with a great deal of love.
I would like to be able to reunite, on the last evening of your life, all your days in a splendid sheaf, and offer it to my Son in eternal thanksgiving for the sinner that you could have been and who has become a saint by the mercy of the blood of my Son.

Fourteenth Station - Jesus Is Place in a Tomb

IT IS VERY NECESSARY THAT YOU KNOW THIS, because your presumption still hides it – suffering is not just a great cry of love which opens heaven without agony. No, it also has a whole train of inabilities and humiliations of all kinds. We must feel everything in us being paralyzed and have some idea of the cold and emptiness of the tomb. The more you shall be bound thus, the more you shall be ready for the resurrection. The more you shall have been reduced to nothing, the more you shall be rich for the glory of God eternally.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday



...He said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you?...If I, the Master and Teacher have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do." John 13: 1-15


I, particularly, love Holy Thursday Mass. It causes me to stop, think, and wonder what I would have done for Jesus on these important and fateful days. I would like to think that I would never have abandoned Our Lord in His need but don't I do that now? When I "forget" to pray even a simple word or two in a day, aren't I abandoning Him? When I lose my train of thought at Mass and can't recall what the readings were but CAN recall what "Susie Q" was wearing, is this abandonment? I know I'm human (shocking!) but it saddens me when I think of the way that I am prone to ignore Jesus. However, it is Holy Thursday that thrusts me back in to it! I feel renewed in my vow never to abandon Him. I so want to protect Our Savior from the crucifixion while, at the same time, I want to observe and emulate The Blessed Mother and show my obedience and love in God's Divine Plan. I am looking forward to spending time in deep reflection these next few days.

On a side note, I was watching the news this morning (I shouldn't have) and caught the middle of a segment titled, "How Much is Too Much?" Curious, I turned up the volume and watched as 3 high school girls were prom dress shopping. They tallied up their cost and it went something a little like this: $55 for tanning; $150 for jewelry; $200 for hair; $200 for limo; $75 for flowers; $3050 (that's right, $3050.00) for the dress. I just sat there with my mouth wide open! To compare and contrast Our Lord's sacrifice against these 3 families justifying spending close to $4000.00 on prom...there are no words. I realize that the secular world doesn't curtail their lives around Holy Week but I just found this to be gross. I am saddened, sickened, and more determined to remain somewhat prayerful in these next four days of the Triduum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Habemus Papam

6 years ago, Joseph Ratzinger was named the new pope of the Catholic Church - Pope Benedict XVI.

Where were you? I was in my living room crying like a baby :)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Official


It's official: I put the forms in the mail for my kids to begin school next year in Ohio! We took a tour of the school over our Spring Break (who needs Florida, right?) and fell in love with the kind teachers, the friendly office staff, and the terrific 8th grade tour guide! I won't speak for Murphy, as his opinions are jaded by the fact that he truly believes that I sought out and decided to marry Bill merely to mess up his life. But, I know it will be a great fit for all of us.

Don't get me wrong, I had to run to Target while I was in Rocky River and I got teary-eyed because of all of the women that were stopping each other in their cute workout gear to chat. I am going to really miss my friends and my family. The other day, I shoved Keagan in his coat and barely batted an eye as he ran down to my sister's house to play. I will miss that! A few days before that, I ran into a girlfriend at the grocery store and we decided to go and have lunch. I will miss that! Last weekend, my mom decided it was time to clean out her garage freezer so she decided to have a "Clean the Freezer" dinner - just like that! I will miss that!

I know...I know what the next response is going to be from you: "You'll meet people when you move" How do you know? Maybe I will be so terrified to leave my house for fear of rejection! Maybe I will be so paralyzed with fear that I will become one of those hoarders that you see on TV! You don't know, it could happen!! No, it won't happen that way because I'm a very good faker. I will pretend as though I've made lots of changes in my life and I will pretend that I have always lived my life as a free-flowing kind of a gal. I will fake the fact that I am scared silly that other mothers might be judging me because I bought my daughter the wrong kind of shoes for the first day of school. I will fake the fact that I am sick to my stomach at the thought that I may have, indeed, ruined Murphy's life by moving him away from all of his great friends and family!

Or, I may just try the honest approach and throw myself out into the world knowing that God will surely love me even if no one else will. I may just stick my neck out there and make friends with people even though they may be well aware that I'm quaking in my boots the entire time. I'm going to have to attempt the old faith approach to life. I have never been failed by God and I'm certain He will not decide to abandon me now! The faith issues, as always, come from my shortcomings but, alas, God loves me and waits patiently for me every time. My/our move to Rocky River will provide just that same opportunity for me to turn to God and I'm going to do that.

I may still fake it though :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taize - Veni Sancte Spiritus

My favorite Taize song - probably my favorite Lenten song along with "Jesus, Remember Me"

Every time I hear this song, I feel almost driven to my knees in adoration. Jesus has been so good to me and my family and this song reminds me to daily, constantly invite the Holy Spirit into all of my thoughts, words, and actions.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Perspective



This picture speaks volumes about the unbelievable devastation in Japan. Here, at home, I carry on worrying about wedding costs, losing weight, selling my house, raising my kids correctly, etc. all in the comfortable confines of my heated home with my stocked refrigerator and with the knowledge of the whereabouts of my loved ones.

I've learned so much from just observing the Japanese people during this crisis of unimaginable proportions. There have been no reports of looting, no curfews imposed on the residents, no worries about government officials stealing aid money, etc. They have quietly assisted one another while also grieving the loss of thousands of people and countless homes, memories, pets, heirlooms, photos, churches, stores, business, and so on. Amidst this devastation is a lesson for all of us on how to survive after this. I'm humbled and amazed and I leave it at that and with this:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sad

I feel a bit compelled to share my thoughts on the abortion issue. I cannot stand Planned Parenthood for so many reasons. If they were merely an organization that provided free "health care" to families, then I would have less of a problem with them. I get being the uninsured or the under insured because I am one and to have places to go where I can get health care at low-cost, on paper, sounds fabulous. Planned Parenthood makes millions - M.I.L.L.I.O.N.S. - on abortion and handing out birth control. Stop killing babies in utero by BOTH birth control and abortion, and I'll support MY tax dollars funding you. Until then, nope, never, ever will I support a "medical" facility that preys (yes PREYS) on low-income and desperate women.

They say that we, on the pro-life side, don't care about the women and children only about the babies in utero (only they don't use the word babies because that might convict them that, I don't know, there's an actual LIFE in their uterus!) Have they asked me? I may not be able to afford many extras in life but I would do my very best to lovingly support a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy. The bottom line is, Planned Parenthood paints this scenario of a fresh start and, yet, where are they when women regret their abortions? Well, one place where they are is down the street countin' their money! Daily, I have to drive by my local PP office and see their tacky marquee screaming "Morning After Pill - only $65 - no pelvic exam needed" Yeah, that sure gives me the warm and fuzzies!

And, yes, I do think that the invention, pushing, marketing, etc. of the pill and all forms of birth control has ushered in generation upon generation of self-centered people. I get why people use birth control and I do not judge them because that's not my job but I'm not going to be silent anymore. The pill, uses chemicals to prevent the implantation of a fully-fertilized egg into the uterus causing it to abort (this is not my wording, it is in the literature) I believe that human life begins at the moment of conception. I don't believe that it happens a second later but that it happens at that precise moment: Life has begun I can put myself in the shoes of people wanting to have as much sex without any of the "burdens" that may come from it but, really? Are we so spoiled that we can't adjust our urges? Are we so selfish that we want the cake but we don't want the calories that go with it? Have we separated ourselves so far from God that we don't even see pregnancy, marriage, children as a gift to be nurtured and embraced?

Enough!!!

And with that, I give you the lovelies supporting a government funded PP:

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Remember...



Dear Bill,

I want you to know that I remember. Despite the fact that I cannot remember your voice and I have trouble recalling the color of your eyes, I have not forgotten. I am sorry if I don't change my Facebook picture to a picture of you and I'm sorry that my status message doesn't make mention of the fact that it was 4 years ago tonight (in roughly an hour) that you died. It's not because I don't remember and it's not because I don't care. I love you, Bill. I'm sorry that you got cancer. I'm sorry that you never got to hear your youngest son call you daddy. I'm sorry that you haven't gotten to see your youngest daughter grow into a beautiful angel. I'm sorry that you aren't here to see your second son become a young man (at 6 ft tall in 7th grade!) I'm sorry that you didn't get the chance to meet your granddaughter and see how much she looks like your oldest son.

But, I want you to know that I remember. I remember the good times and, often times, the bad. I remember it all because I want to be able to pass along our lessons in life and tell our kids that this is what daddy used to say or this is what daddy used to do. I'm keeping your memory alive the best way that I know. I don't know what that best way is but I'm trying and...

I remember.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nothing is New! Yet, Everything is New!

Sorry, I haven't at all been motivated to write much! I'd like to say it's because my house is up for sale, I've secured a venue for my reception, I lost 35 pounds, I bought a dress, I'm relatively packed...but that would be the exact opposite of what has been going on in my world!!

Instead it's this:


And this:


Not enough of this:


More of this:


An abundance of this:


And loving this:


I'm thinking I need to add more of this:


And, definitely, more of this:


So...off to go do more of, well, this!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

'Snowpocalypse 2011'



Could we be more dramatic??? I am loving all of the hype involved in this upcoming blizzard! I'd rather have the big and fluffy snow than the skin-jarring windy snow but, oh well! It's February and, guess what, it snows in South Bend!! And, for all of my whiney Facebook friends, stay indoors and button up!! I'm so over all of the Negative-Nellies and the Debbie-Downers when it comes to winters in Indiana. I get it, not everyone has a "choice" as to whether they live here or not. I get it, some prefer the skin-melting heat and humidity of summer but you don't hear me begging for winter during summer, do you? Oh wait, you do ;)

Until then, bring on the snow!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eucharist on the Tongue


(High altar at St. Stephens Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio - amazing, amazing, amazing church)

I know this sounds completely ridiculous but I have NEVER received the Eucharist, at Mass, any other way than in my hand. I'm a girl that made her 1st Communion in 1978 and we were in the swing of Vatican II reform so it wasn't even taught to us nor was it encouraged. I'm not one that tends to take a position on what is the "correct" way to receive the Eucharist. I believe that the intent is way more important than how you do it. I know that many think that it is irreverent to receive something so holy and special like the consecrated Host in your hand and I tend to find some compelling truths to that. I've seen people just willy-nilly walk up to the Eucharistic minister and stick their hand out like they're at a gumball machine. But, I don't know their hearts and their minds. These same people may very well have the purest hearts and the greatest love for Our Lord and why should I judge whether or not it is "valid" that they've just received the Eucharist by hand?

It opens yet more questions that I have...well, maybe concerns that I have. I have witnessed the watering-down of my beloved Catholic Church. Can anyone say the 80s? The sacredness of the Church suffered quite a hit in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The invention of the birth control pill, Roe v. Wade, the Women's Lib movement, and Vatican II all ushered in an environment, in the Church, of anything goes. We were taught that it was ok to have small families or no families at all - it's our body, after all. I remember a homily when I was in my early teens in which the priest, from the pulpit, gave "us" women permission to take back our lives. We didn't need to feel obligated to be wives and mothers. This is fine and dandy if that's where one finds oneself - some are not able to have children and/or some may not feel the call to be a wife but to say that to be a wife and a mother is akin to some sort of slavery option? Hmmm? I still struggle with the guilt I have that I don't have a real job. It was the culture in which we were formed. To break from that culture is tough.

So, here I sat at my third Latin Mass ever - my first one, I was a bridesmaid at my college roommate's wedding and, the second one, I left after a woman yelled at me because my head wasn't covered - I was having a minor freak-out because I really did not know how to receive the Eucharist on my tongue. I've always done the "hands as a cradle" communion procedure (sounds so sterile) and so I squeezed Bill's arm and revealed to him that I had never done this before today. He, very sweetly, took my hand, kissed it, and led me to the altar railing and reassured me that the priest would know what to do and for me to watch him. Well, I survived and, I must say, I was overcome at the beauty of the whole thing. I was, actually, surprised at how different I felt after Mass. I'm an "on fire for Christ" kind of a gal but, this time, it was amazing how I felt such an element of peace that it overwhelmed me with tears. To celebrate Mass in the Latin tradition was one of the most powerful experiences of my life (even if, most of the time, I didn't even know which part the priest was on) To have shared that experience with the man I am to marry was a gift that I shall be forever grateful!

Just thought that I'd share how enriching it was to attend a Latin Mass with all of its chanting, silence, incense, tradition, etc. I may be a convert to it if there were any churches around here that had Latin Mass. This doesn't mean, however, that I am an anti-Vatican II person. I do think that Vatican II watered down our beautiful traditions. I believe the intent of VII was to make the Mass more relatable to those in the pews and, for that, I am bowled over that I can feel a true part of the miracle. I do feel that, in the process, we've lost the sacredness of the Mass. It's become so ordinary to so many that the mystery seems gone.

I have more thoughts on the matter but, for now, I'll stop and maybe study some Latin so I won't look like such a dork the next time I go to Latin Mass :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Check!



On July 2nd, 2011, I will become Mrs. William White!! I wish that's all there was to it! I wish that I could just show up at St. Pius in my Notre Dame sweatshirt (it would be clean - I'm not a hillbilly!) and my jeans and kiss the man that I know was sent from Heaven for me and me alone!! But, at least the date and church are reserved for Kelly & Bill to be married and the rest will just happen. Yeah, 'cause I'll just magically lose 30 pounds so I don't have to wear a bed sheet as a wedding dress and the reception will just be Happy Meals for all guests at the play area and my flowers will be my neighbor's hydrangea blooms stolen on the sly the night before the ceremony and my hair will just suddenly be long and flowing like a freakin' ad from Estee Lauder and...

Well, all of that's just garbage anyway - I just can't wait to be married to Bill and to kneel before God and our families and pledge my love, honor, obedience, and fidelity to him and to God! Yay!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tears



I had this long story ready to be posted and I've decided not to post it. I attended a funeral today for the father of one of Keagan's kindergarten friends. He was not even 40! I, brazenly, thought that I would go in strong support of the family and they'll see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yeah, talk about a fraud. I lost it when I walked up to the church and saw the new widow (horrible word to describe anyone under the age of 70!) and her son. I tried to give them the, "I'll pray for you" and the, "I'm sorry for your loss" and all I got out was, "God bless you all" and then I dissolved into tears. Some pillar of strength I turned out to be!!

I was, however, glad that I went and I was glad that I took Keagan out of class to attend the funeral with me. Funny enough, his presence comforted me more than anything else. He stroked my face and handed me tissues and patted my back - it was as if God crawled into the skin of my 6 year old and held me! What a gift! It was a good thing to relive those feelings of loss perhaps so that I could truly reflect on all that I've found in the last year. It's been so easy to talk about Bill's death as some slide show and to forget that a real part of my life ended 3 1/2 years ago. So, although, it was very painful and very sad, I guess I could be the light at the end of the tunnel. I was there, I was brave enough to face that sadness again all in support of this lovely family. They have a tough road ahead and I will pray for them unceasingly.

After the service was over, I decided that I wanted Keagan home with me. I didn't want him to experience something like that and then go back to being yelled at because he moved or breathed wrong or talked. I wanted to preserve that special part of him for a little while longer! So, I walk into the class room to grab his backpack and ran smack dab into Keagan's teacher (we'll call her frickin' Snow White - the frickin' part must be added though) She knew where we were - that a 6 year old FROM OUR SCHOOL AND IN THE KINDERGARTEN CLASS lost his daddy! She knew, even though she didn't know me or my family, that Keagan, also, had experienced a loss and perhaps he/we would be a tad emotional. Well, then again, maybe she didn't know any of this! She greeted us with her high pitched "kindergarten" voice and asked why was Keagan going home and I gave her a generic response and she responded with, "OK, well have a fun day" Is it Confession-worthy to say that I wanted to pop that clueless, fake, rigid, awful woman in the face??? Well, I'll pencil in my Confession time for tomorrow but as for this evening, boy, I'm really struggling!

I'll leave it at that because I don't want to give her any more energy than I've already lost over her! I am extremely sad for the family that, today, had to say their final goodbyes to their son, their brother, their husband, their father, and their friend. I pray that, in God's mercy, Bill will be there to greet this newest member of the Heavenly choir and that an extra helping of comfort and peace is given to this family. I shall turn my tears, frustration, sadness, and anger over to God in exchange for whatever blessings I can offer them!

This stinks!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prayer



I'm reading an amazing book about the life of St. Joseph and it has convicted me on my lack of prayer life. Yes, I pray but it's always a last second Hail Mary thrown out there to make myself feel better for having "prayed". Really? How would I feel if my kids neglected to talk to me or tell me thank you or I love you except 5 seconds before their eyes close for the night? Well, I know I would still adore them but I would long for their attention and their love. How, then, can I not see that the Divine Creator would not want that much from me? Why is it that He deserves my last 5 seconds before sleep? He doesn't!

The grand irony of it all? I feel extreme loneliness! Yes, I, who am surrounded my children all day - needing me, loving me, talking to me, laughing with me - am lonely. I realize that loneliness can be a blessing or an invitation to deeper prayer with Our Lord and I'm going to take it as such. I'm not going to delve into some "poor me" weep-fest because I'm lonely. I truly am going to treat this as my nudge from God that He misses me (golly, it's hard for me to even write that because who am I for Him to miss??) I am bound and determined to give God more than my final 5 seconds of the day! I truly have so much to be thankful for in my life. I have my health, my 3 beautiful kids, my wonderful fiance, my sturdy house, my friends, my family, etc. That, all by itself, is reason enough for me to give pause and shout my thank yous to my Heavenly Father - every.minute.of.the.day!!! But, alas, I don't and then I wonder why I'm lonely - seriously?

It's time for me to turn back to prayer as my primary source of support - in ALL things! I'm trying to plan a wedding for a date that has yet to be determined and move to a house that has yet to be determined with all details, yep, yet to be determined. What's left except persistent prayer? Well, lots of things are left but what makes the most sense is persistent prayer! So, instead of busting my hide to beat my high score in Pyramid Solitaire on Facebook or watch the latest episode of the Office, I am going to spend more time dedicating myself and my family to deeper and more meaningful prayer. At the end of the day, it's really all that matters!