Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
The Pay It Forward Exchange....is based on the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward”.
I will send a hand made gift to the first three people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join the PIF exchange.
All the gifts will be made and posted out "sometime within the next year".How exciting to not know when your surprise package will arrive!What you need to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.This Exchange is only open to those with active websites or blogs.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PROMISE TO POST THE SAME PAY IT FORWARD PICTURE AND THIS MESSAGE ONTO YOUR BLOG, WHICH MUST BE ACTIVE IN ORDER TO PLAY. YOU WILL PAY IT FORWARD TO THREE PEOPLE WHO COMMENT ON YOUR BLOG
Friday, March 20, 2009
This is a chapter I wrote for a book I'm trying to finish this spring, but it was so much fun to write I just had to share it.
I think that no one can ever be really complete as a human being without changing a dirty diaper at least once in his life. I know you can’t tell, because you can’t see my face as I write this, but I am not joking. I have my serious face on. Not only do I think that diaper changing is necessary, I would especially recommend a really messy one, you know, where the fecal matter is so plentiful you wonder how so much could possibly come out of one single tiny individual, where it is leaking out both legs and drifting up the back. I’m still not joking.
Why, you ask? Because I have discovered no better way to learn service. Caring for lepers or AIDs patients might surpass diapering, but they are either in short supply, or in need of specially trained care that most of us are not qualified to render. Dirty diapers are fairly common occurrences and almost everyone is qualified. There is just something about cleaning up another human being’s, even a very small one’s, poop (or vomit for the matter of that) that brings you closer to them. It creates a special bond. More importantly, it makes it harder to take yourself seriously. Of course it is still possible. Anyone can continue to think themselves a big deal, even while wondering how poop gets in socks, if they are just willing to put in the effort, but it’s a fragile effort. At any moment the truth might break through and the unending internal mantra of “I’m important, I’m important, I’m important,” might start to echo a little hollow. If the humor of the situation ceases to escape you, it’s only a matter of time before truth comes tiptoeing in with all the delicate grace of a herd of galloping elephants.
I write of that which I know, with the memory of many infant foster siblings rising before my eyes as I write. It is something which I discovered about myself a long time ago, that I can do nearly anything for anyone as long as it is hard enough. If it is hard enough and challenging enough I’ll do it just for the fun of it, never mind anyone else. All this demonstrates is a rather backwards set of priorities. It isn’t that that mantra I mentioned above is wrong. I’m not saying that I’m not important. I am important. I am infinitely important, but that’s not really what I say when I tell myself that is it? When I have to remind myself that I am important, isn’t that a good indication that I am feeling unimportant? If I were really convinced that I mattered, would I have to say it to myself? And even though I do matter, why is that? Why is it that I have the infinite importance that I claim to have? I certainly didn’t earn it. All of my brains, muscles, and accomplishments can’t earn me infinite importance, only relative importance and precious little of that.
I have this importance, this worth, this value, because it was given to me. Someone else made me valuable. All of my qualities are gifts, I can lay claim to none of those. My use of those qualities, such as have been good uses, are all of grace. I can lay claim to none of those either. I can claim nothing in this whole world that could possibly make me important. I am important because someone has claimed me. God has claimed me as His own, and Jesus has paid that claim in . C. S. Lewis wrote in “The Silver Chair,” “Even the Lion wept: great Lion tears, each tear more precious than the Earth would be if it was a single solid diamond.” Jesus wept over me, He sweat over me, and He paid the last drop of His for me. If every drop of that is more valuable than the entire universe, how valuable does that make me?
This is importance that builds up. It doesn’t puff up, it builds up. Because it rests on someone else, I don’t have to sustain this importance through my own actions, which are not always the best. I don’t have to rely on my muscles which will grow old and weak, even if they don’t get damaged beyond repair first. I don’t have to rely on my brain, which misses things. I don’t have to rely on my looks (thank God for that!) I can rely on God to hold me and build me up, and in His strength I will have such strength that I will not have enough ways to burn it, so I will have strength to spare. I can be prodigal with it.
But that’s not really all that the “I’m important mantra” has to say, is it? It really says, “I’m more important.” It doesn’t matter what or whom I think I’m more important than, it is the “more” that is the problem. With that one word I start comparing myself, basing my importance on something other than my adoption as a son of God. That is competition, and competition with what? When a diaper needs to be changed, could I actually think that thought out loud? “I’m more important.” More important than whom? A baby? Am I actually competing with an infant? Am I so insecure as that that I can’t serve an infant?
Jesus washed feet; not cute little baby feet, mind you, ugly, hairy, dirty man-feet, in an era before pedicures and wart removers and showers were invented.
Can we do less? If we are so important, why do we make a big deal over such a small thing? After all, what could be smaller than a baby’s butt?
Friday, February 27, 2009
All of my growing up years I would hear the grown-ups talk about fasting and, of course, food immediately comes to mind. Everywhere that fasting is discussed in literature and in the bible it is always in reference to food. But there is more to fasting than just giving up a certain amount of food a day. What about people such as my daughter or myself, who have medical reasons for not being able to fast from food? There have to be alternatives.
When talking about this with our parish priest he suggested things like giving up the internet and the television. The TV is easy and, if the truth be known, I enjoy the silence and the peace that the lack brings each year. So that is really no hardship. The internet isn't a choice for some. Again, for my daughter, who is in college, that would be like cutting herself off from her professors and a great deal of the resources that they use for her classes. For myself giving up the internet is not viable because it is my connection with my children who are away from home. Write a letter you say! My son who is currently stationed in Iraq hasn't gotten anything that has been sent so far. I'd much rather count on the internet. I know that he has access to a computer once in awhile and can check my blog and know what is going on at home even if I don't know what is going on with him.
But, I digress. Finally a solution came to me about fasting, strangely enough, with an opportunity to fast in a very different way. I was given the chance to fast from my own attitude and selfishness. My son who is in college needed to come home for the weekend and his car is not working. It fell to me to go and get him. All of my family knows how I feel about driving, even if it is just across town, I don't like to do it. While I was getting ready to leave to get him I realized that I could not only do this trip cheerfully and offer it up. But I could fast from the bad feelings that were inside of me. I could just replace those feelings that I used to indulge in, although privately, while I was driving, with positive feelings. Replace them with feelings of anticipation about being able to spend time with my son. With feelings of thankfulness about the fact that I was able to drive when, for instance, my husband is unable to drive such a long distance.
This may sound like a stretch to anyone reading this but just think about it. In the past we were all taught to offer things up. But were we also taught to replace those bad feelings with feelings of thankfulness? With positive feelings? Or did we offer them up to God, keep quiet and not complain, but entertain the bad thoughts and feelings inside of ourselves? Or not entertain bad feelings but not really show a joyful and thankful self while we were busy not complaining?
To me this kind of fasting may be more difficult than fasting from food. I for one can go days without eating more than a full meal. But I do have to admit that I struggle with keeping a joyful and thankful spirit when it comes to having to do something that I truly dislike doing, such as driving a long distance.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
First, I pieced 56 Flying Geese blocks and layed them out into two different quilt tops. All I have left to do with them is put setting strips in and borders on.
Then I pieced six airplane blocks and six propeller blocks. I like quilts with boy themes.
This one needs borders and I think I am going to use jumbo rick rack around the quilt itself before the border, in a royal blue. That will be a good one for a little boy.
Next thing is an applique quilt with snowmen on the top alternating with nine patch blocks. When that one is together I will post pictures of it. As long as I have to sit I might as well be productive.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
This morning his herd of beef animals expanded to two! Silver gave birth to a calf. I couldn't get close enough to the calf to see what it was but she did pose for a picture or two.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Here are the rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "interview me".
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. you will include this explanation and an offfer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Here are Lisa's questions and my answers:
1. If you could ask FIVE QUESTIONS to any saint who would you choose and what questions would you ask?
The saint is easy but the questions are difficult. I most definitely want to sit and have a good talk with St. Augustine. He has always been my favorite saint. When I was young I really identified with his phrase "Lord make me a saint, but not now, later." Question 1. How to deepen my prayer life and make my time with God better. 2. I would ask him to pray for me and for my family that we stay on track and gain salvation. 3. I would ask him to help me with understanding the catechism better and more fully so that I can better teach my kids in religion class. 4. I would ask him to explain to me how best to serve Our Lord. 5. I would ask him to help me to more worthily receive Holy Communion so that each opportunity is more of a way to praise God.
2. What has been the single happiest moment of your llife so far?
I have actually had 7 happiest moments in my life. When each of my children were born. The feeling was beyond description.
3. What do you consider to be you best skill?
I would have to say organization. I am an extremely organized person. So much so that I drive people like my husband to distraction because he is very disorganized.
4. If you could change one thing about the place you live, what would you choose?
I think that the only thing I would change about living in Vernon, New York is the cost of living in New York. The countryside is some of the most beautiful that God has ever made. I love the seasons. (the cold and snow bother me but I couldn't do without them) We have spectacular sunsets and a great growing season. The only thing wrong with this area is the cost of living here.
5. If you had unlimited budget and two free weeks, where would you most like to go on a vacation?
This is the most difficult question of all. I am not a vacation person. My dream, though, has always been to drive up the AlCan highway into Alaska. I think that God outdid himself when he created mountains and tall trees and that is what speaks to my soul the most. I would like to see mountains and forests of tall trees. I would like to see Alaska too.
Monday, January 19, 2009
You Are 76% Non Conformist
You are a pretty serious non conformist. You live a life hardly anyone understands.
And while some may call you a freak, you're happy with who you are.
Friday, January 16, 2009
It all reminds me of a song that we sang a few years ago with the Chorale, In the Bleak Mid-Winter. But somehow this midwinter doesn't seem bleak but more comforting. I look around me at the cooperation of my older children. they work together to keep our home running in the face of my inability and their father's being away so much. There is no complaint, no comment. They merely shoulder the responsibility as the s that they have become should. And there is a certain comfort in that. Their father knows that after a 14 hour day of work he will come home to a well run home, warm and cozy and welcoming. A tribute to his example and his raising of them. A tribute to his faith in the God that guides his life and work.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I absolutely love this gift from my sons!!! The only thing that could make it better is to include my sailor in the picture but that was not to be, so I am thrilled with what I have. Thank you boys. I love you too.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I have been sitting here working on some long overdue scrapbooking and I came across these pictures of my grandmother (mother's mother) and my mother. After reading the beautiful post by mooncatblue it got me to thinking about the similarities between the four of us; my grandmother, mother, myself, and my daughter.
My grandmother was a wonderful woman. She never stopped learning all of her life. I can remember when I was a teenager and the movie "Saturday Night Fever" came out. She wanted to see it as much as her grand-daughters did. And she bought the tickets and drove us to the theater and we all saw it together. She is the person who taught me to drink shots of Irish Whiskey.
Just before she died I was expecting my daughter. I already had four sons and had given up hope of having a daughter. I had also not announced to anyone that I was pregnant as yet. She seemed to know, though, she also seemed to know that she was near the end. She grabbed hold of the front of me one day in the hospital and told me that not only did she know that I was having a baby soon, but that it would be a and she wanted her to be named a certain way. She wanted her named Mary-Katherine and she even spelled it for me so that I would spell it right. I didn't take her seriously at the time because I didn't know she was going to die and I doubted that I would have a . Two days later she died of a massive heart attack. Four months later I gave birth to a baby that I named Mary-Katherine Suzanne. I wouldn't dream of going against the wishes of my grandmother. How I miss her still to this day.
My mother, her oldest daughter. I am told as often that I look like her as that I look like my father. I think I look like my mom but I act like my father and that is where people make their mistake. My mother is very serious where my grandmother would as soon laugh as be serious. My mother taught me to be organized and to do everything that I do the best that I could do it. To do a job until it is done and not leave until all is complete. She is the reason that I have been able to homeschool all of my children and survive. She is why I do what I do and do it well. My father is why I am willing to try anything but my mother is why I have the stubbornness to keep at something until I can do it right.
I have my mother's eyes and nose but I have my father's smile. My father smiles and everyone around catches it like a cold. My father is contagious.
My daughter is beautiful. She is everything that is good in both my husband and myself. She has my goofiness and stubbornness when it comes to doing things and my husbands intelligence. She has the grace of an athlete at times and the clumsiness of an elephant at other times. She has a wonderful talent for not taking herself too seriously (comes from having a lot of brothers) and being able to laugh at herself.
As much as my family drives me crazy sometimes, when I look at my daughter I am glad to see the result of all of us all together in her.