Friday, February 20, 2009

That's funny....I never saw a "For Sale" sign...

Huh. What's one to think when a band of trolls move in to one's sinuses? They've successfully installed plumbing through my cheekbones and forehead. It runs into the roof of my mouth and then hangs down, as though abandoned, in the back of my throat. Apparently, trolls are not the greatest of plumbers.

Funny thing is, Jenni has it too, and she's nowhere near me geographically. Lots of families at church have had this particlar band of gypsy trolls setting up camp, going from house to house, ransacking faces and leaving great heaps of runny crud in their wake. And everyone I see on the networking site I stalk check out from time to time seems to have the invasion of trolls, too.

Are they aliens? When did they land? Who turned my face into their own personal real estate? And why didn't I see a sign??

At any rate, My Frog made a gigantic pot of the Ultimate Troll Weapon: chicken soup. Ha. Take that, Trolls!


My Monkey had his BIRTHDAY on Wednesday! He is now officially 3 years old, which in his book CLEARLY means he's no longer a baby. I might find room to disagree.

The Frog made a cake for him. She's quite a hand in the kitchen, thanks be to God. Here's what she came up with:


This evening, My Darling has taken our big girls on a date. Not just any date though--this is the Annual Father-Daughter Dance, which is a big stinkin' deal put on by our home school group. It's quite the tete-a-tete. The girls get all gussied up (and I mean that as a a fact; I did, indeed, gussy my girls' hair, for Pete's sake!), and the Daddies all wear their Sunday best. They all come together with their desserts and hor d'eurves in the gymnasium of a Catholic grade school, and dance the night away thanks to the bumpin' tunes played by a DJ from a company that uses mostly oldies.


And what does this leave?

A Mama at home with two boys, neither of whom are feeling particularly well, and a very small Snuggle Bug, who yesterday turned 3 months old. Or, as my Dad would have said, 25%.

She's feeling fine, thanks to Mama Milks--or Ohs, as we say in these parts. I hope it continues, because I don't know how much more Troll Goo I can clean up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All my trials......

I promised my friend ~H that I would give her something to link to regarding apologetics. This is not that post. :)

I am just feeling so blessed to be back in the choir that I've been singing with for a few years now, and there's a piece that we're singing that I did with my choir wwwwwwwwwaaaaaayyyyyy back in high school. Our Chamber Singers group tackled just about every genre available for choirs, and we did spirituals very well. This is one of my favorites. We're not doing this arrangement....but I just couldn't resist posting it in hopes that it will bless each of you as it did me.

I am surprised by the warmth of the day; the SEVENTY DEGREE warm up from barely a month ago is nice, and the kids are rollerblading and drawing with chalk on the driveway. At the end of the week it'll all be covered in snow. The sunshine has served to lift spirits and sleeves, for Pete's sake, and we are definitely taking advantage!!

Please keep in your prayers all the little babies being held by their Mamas, whether in their hearts, their wombs, or their arms.

Please pray especially for a dear friend of mine who has just been admitted to the hospital for the remaining three months (hopefully) of her pregnancy, and for her dear little baby--a boy. Pray also for her husband, who I am sure will be rather stressed as well.

Please pray for God's will in the lives of the P family, whose little boy is hovering on the brink of abysmal health.....and for peace in their hearts to accept what blessings come their way, in whatever way God sends them.

May we each remember that our trials will indeed soon be over...and we never know from one moment to the next just how soon that may be.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ack! Hysteria on the 'net!

I can't even stand it! I've been chuckling all morning at two presumably grown, respectable men tossing zingers at one another over their fashion sense....Please check in with Father Dwight. (This is my favorite entry, to date. The ones between now and then are fantastic, as always.) And now.......the battle begins! Father Dwight and Father Z. are trading barbs, and the result is entertainment worthy of any number of blogging awards! Clever, quippy, pithy, and nearly truculent, while still maintaining a hint of respect. Be sure to check the comments left on both sides as well.

I love it!

For the record, both blogs are most excellent sources of apologetics, and I highly recommend bookmarking them for future reference.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Sacrifice of the Holy Hour

It's First Friday, thanks be to God. Last night, My Darling and I (along with the Snuggle Bug) went to take part in the prayer service which, combined with Adoration, makes up the First Friday Vigil observance, which is part of our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Though my sacrifice was called to be a bit different, the part I was able to participate in was lovely. Fr. B., our home school group's chaplain, brought our Lord in the consecrated Eucharist out from the tabernacle. He placed the Host in the monstrance, and we were able to sit there with Jesus, adoring Him, seeing Him there before us. We prayed, we sang, we sat in silence....

.....well, relative silence. See, in a silent church building, the smallest sounds can be heard. And when those small sounds are emanating from a sweet nursling, such as my Snuggle Bug, it's really quite noticeable. The gulps, the slurps, the grunts...and especially the belches of appreciation...these were all her little contributions last night. And it would have been fine if that had been the end of the matter. Ah, but it wasn't. She went from being a happy, babbly, amiable little thing to a fussy, crabby, grumbly little thing.

So, with 20 minutes remaining to our Holy Hour, she and I found ourselves pacing, bouncing and praying in an enclosed narthex off the side of the church. This, too, would have been fine but for two points: the first being that the Blessed Sacrament was just out of view...and I wanted to spend my Holy Hour gazing upon our Lord and listening for Him to speak to my heart. Even with a fussy baby, it's easier to focus on Him when one can actually see Him.

The second point was that when we first came into this small room, the heater was on and it was relatively warm. But the fan only remained on for the first four or five minutes, and then quit--leaving us in an unheated space, walking on tiles which grew colder and colder with each passing moment. Of course, in my thinly-soled loafers, my feet quickly became chilled, with the chill rising up into my legs, settling into my very bones. My arms ached. My back grew sore.

And so what we long for as human beings: comfort, warmth, a nice place to sit, what we want before our eyes and ears is so often sacrificed. Not just by mothers and fathers, for Pete's sake, but just simply as people. I could have stayed comfortably perched on my padded kneeler. I could have sat on the cushioned seat of the pew. I could even have stayed in the heated nave. Heck, I could have left the Snuggle Bug at home under the capable care of the Frog.

But what would the cost have been then? It wouldn't have been a sacrifice at all. It would have been the easy thing...which is rarely the right thing. Easy would have been to stay home, lounging on the couch with my Boppy and my baby, and taking in a spiffy movie or playing a round of cribbage with My Darling. Easy would have been to not pack the diaper bag, not load up the Bug, and not go to the Holy Hour at all. Easy would have been to sit there and let my fussy baby fuss, assuming that the other adorers there would just get over it--Jesus called the little children to Himself, after all. But none of these things would have been quite the right thing.

The day will come when I will not have a fussy, squirmy baby in my lap, for whom I now have to take the time to comfort and rock. I pray fervently that the day comes because my baby has grown out of this particular need.

For C., that day came so unexpectedly....and far, far too early.

I hope that what I am doing is the right thing. I think Jesus for the much, much bigger sacrifice that He made for me, a miserable sinner. I ask God to bless me with the wisdom that I too often lack, for the prudence that I so often seem to miss, and for the grace which never seems to be abundant enough. And in the mean time, I'll let Him be enough.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gabriel's Gift

Sometimes things happen that we just don't have the ability to explain. At least, not here on earth. When my kids ask me things like, "Why did God make mosquitoes?" or, "Why are my eyes brown instead of green?" I'll answer them with, "That's a Heaven Question." It wouldn't work to try to give them some long, complicated scientific answer, even if there is one. They wouldn't understand it, and they'd get bored with the specifics long before they heard the answer. So I tell them it's a Heaven Question--they'll have to wait until they get to Heaven and then ask their Heavenly Father.

It's not to put them off, really. It just works way better than, "I don't know." I reserve that particular phrase for things that I can easily find the answer to, like, "What's 18 times 298?"

My Heaven Question has been a little deeper lately.

It's nearly a year since the loss of our baby Gabriel. We never saw our child. Never held our baby. Never knew if it was a boy or a girl. The name Gabriel was written on my heart as soon as I knew what was happening. Since angels are neither male nor female, Gabriel is a perfect name.

My Heaven Question has been, "What is Gabriel's gift to me?"

As my Snuggle Bug grew under my heart, I was worried that I wouldn't bond with her once she was born. My entire pregnancy with her, I was just terrified that I would lose her, too. I never felt safe, never felt secure in the blessing that God had bestowed on me...never felt quite worthy. Part of it was because I just couldn't get comfortable with being pregnant again so soon. Part of it was because I almost didn't want to have this new child--I selfishly wanted the one I had lost. And somewhere in my heart, I almost hoped I wouldn't bond with her because I just knew that I was going to lose her anyway. Ah, the lack of faith has never served to gladden a heart.

But God's timing is perfect, and all His gifts are good.

I was talking with my friend T., the Buggie's Godmother today. Here is a women who is strong in her faith, whether she knows it from moment to moment or not. God Himself chose her as Godmother to this baby girl and put her right squarely on my heart as such. And what a blessing that He did so. During our conversation today, I told her that I am really feeling grieved again as we near this anniversary. I thought I had come to a place of peace in my spirit about Gabriel, but lately I'm discovering that it's not so. She helped me to ponder this, and to search more deeply for what Gabriel's gift really might be.

Through losing Gabriel, my heart has become so painfully tender that at times it's almost unbearable. The ability to feel pain in others' stead has been magnified so greatly that its weight nearly suffocates me at times. It brings me so close to our Lord when I meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries that I can't get through them with dry eyes, and certainly not without a bruised heart. How He must have suffered under the weight of grief as His friends slept while the sweat from His brow mixed with be led away by our sins and be brutally tortured and have the crushing weight of the Cross laid on His shoulders, bringing Him to His knees on the streets of the city which had lately been filled with rejoicing at His have the piercing of spikes driven through His flesh and bones, hanging His human frame onto the Cross under the scorching sun, with His Mother and disciple whom He loved there with Him in His hours of the very last breath of life which brought pagans to their knees with the knowledge of His Divinity.....

Could we ever bear such suffering? Would we, given the chance?

We are, you know. Through the small opportunities to suffer that Our Lord so generously gives us during our lifetime, we are given the chance to suffer with Him, to unite our hearts to His in our pain.

I'm trying so keep my face at the surface, to breathe in His blessings while I flounder underneath. It's amazing to me that when I forget to ask Him to help me, I almost feel pulled under by the weight of this thing--but the moment I remember He's there, and that His suffering was so much greater than mine, I can literally feel Him lifting me up to Him, giving me the very breath of life.

Also, through this loss, I am better able to connect with my friend C., the beautiful friend who lost her sweet baby Raphael. I am able to offer my suffering in hopes that hers becomes less, that she is better able to bear the gift of suffering that Jesus has given to her. Eleven weeks ago, my sweet baby girl was born. Three days later, at 51 days old, Raphael was called Home. We had made such plans to spend time together after our babies were born, and those plans were not part of His Plan. That's a hard blow, and we've not really been able to spend time together since. She is still working through her grief. I am working through mine, too. It's a difficult thing to grieve for a friend when you cannot have "face time." But I'm hopeful that my suffering for her has been given to her through Grace--that it has somehow lessened her burden.

Perhaps this has all been Gabriel's gift. "Suffer well," Fr. E. told me. "It is for souls."

I thank God for such wisdom in my life. Through these good people, He is showing me that this suffering is indeed a gift. I hope I am accepting it and using it well.