Thursday, February 25, 2010

Prayers Please

I can't go into too much detail right now, but we could really use a few extra prayers for peace right about now. Jake is changing jobs next month and with that comes tremendous blessings, but also a few temporary sacrifices. The biggest one, being that our little family is facing another separation for at least two months. Some of you will remember that this happened last year at the exact same time (only that one was for about 5 weeks), so it is still pretty fresh on our minds. I have hesitated even asking for prayers on this one, because I know that other people have much heavier crosses than this that they are facing, but it will be hard for us nonetheless. I HATE being without my best friend. I already feel lonely and he is still with us. We will see each other on the weekends and occasionally on weeknights, but I will really miss the daily contact, for myself and the kids. Daddy will be a very missed presence in our lives. I know that there are huge blessings waiting for us on the other end, but if you could spare a prayer or two for peace for this time, I would so appreciate it. God has been so good and generous to us, I need to find the strength to joyfully lift this small temporary cross and carry it with a smile. :) Thank you so much!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday!

"But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.."
-The Ballad of the White Horse
G.K. Chesterton
I have always loved that quote from Chesterton! Today, I was able to watch the absolute excitement in my daughter's eyes as she received her ashes and was marked by the sign of Christ. She was anticipating it ALL day. It was interesting to be there at Mass today when all of the adults were somber and prayerful and Rose Marie was practically beside herself. She kept whispering loudly, "We are all going to have crosses on our foreheads because we love Jesus so, so much!" I think there was so much pride in the fact that she was joining in this great action of the community around her. She walked by herself down the aisle and was able to lift her little face up and receive the ashes that everyone else was receiving. She belonged there today in a special way. It was so beautiful to see it!
This year, I knew that Rose Marie was ready to understand, at least to some degree, the idea of offering special prayers and doing charitable works during Lent. I struggled with finding something that would convey the idea that we do these things as an act of love for Jesus. Here is what we came up with:

This is a little "prayer corner" we set up in her bedroom. We hung the crucifix at her eye level, placed a purple (for preparation) placemat on top of the table and then placed a glass vase on top. Beneath, is a basket of pink flowers and white flowers (fake flowers so that they last!) The pink flowers represent, "acts of kindness" and the white ones represent "special prayers."

She understands that when we do either an act of kindness or offer up more prayers, we put a flower in the vase for Jesus. He can see them from the cross and in her words, "it makes Him hurt not so much." She has mentioned trying to make Jesus' suffering "a little bit better," several times today, so I am hoping that she has the general idea. I explained that on Easter we will take her little flower arrangement, made from acts of love during Lent, and use it in our Easter celebrations.
Right after we set up her corner, she wanted to say a prayer so that she could give Jesus a flower. I have a feeling that Samuel is going to offer her several opportunities for filling the vase with pink flowers. :)
I hope you all have a beautiful beginning to your Lenten season!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Lent is almost here...this year I am truly excited. I am desperately feeling the need to stop, place myself at the feet of Our Lord, rest my head on His knees and listen to His voice. I need to get closer to Him and I feel my soul crying out for His nearness. I can't wait to work with Rose Marie as we follow Jesus in this beautiful season. I am excited for myself to be able to enter into the fasting and praying again this time. I am trying to be realistic about sacrifices this year and focusing more on the heart of lent as opposed to what to give up. I am already reading the book, "Jesus of Nazareth," by Pope Benedict and I LOVE it! I think I am going to consider that my Lenten reading for now and if I finish before the season is over, I will go to my favorite, Fulton Sheen. :) This week I need to finish preparing our Lenten works to begin on Wednesday. I also need to nail down some creative ideas for meatless meals (cheese pizza only goes so far.) Does your family have any favorite meatless meals? I could really go for some soup ideas. God bless!

To My Husband on St. Valentine's Day

(For those of you who are not a fan of wives bragging about their husbands, do NOT read any further.)

I think you deserve to know that you are one of the most amazing men I have ever met. Your hard work, your dedication to your family, your desire to provide for all of the people who depend on you, are such admirable qualities. You have made some very difficult, demanding decisions...decisions you felt were necessary for the good of your family. These sacrifices you have made without complaining. You simply picked up your cross and marched forward...EVERYTIME. I know that your motives have recently been called into question, and by sources that are extremely hurtful. They don't know you and the man that you are, if they refuse to see why you do what you do. You lay your life down for your family with every waking moment, I see the way you strategically handle our finances so that our children can have the clothes they need and the food they eat. And you do it with so much love. I know the sacrifices you make and the things you give up for the little ones who depend on you. I know how excited you are for our future children and I have listened to you, as you dream about their arrival.

I know that you probably will not hear the words, "I am so proud of you," or "Good job," from the people you really need to hear it from. I am sorry that those wonderful, affirming words are instead being replaced with criticism and hurt.

But for what it is worth, I am so proud of you. I am so grateful to you for the sacrifices and the very hard decisions you make on a daily basis. I see the two smiling little faces you are giving yourself up for. To borrow the expression from one of our favorite songs, "I see our unborn children in your eyes," and I know you are already giving yourself to them even though they have not been given to us yet. Do not question your motives, my love. Those who know you, who really know you, know that you are a man of integrity, honor, faithfulness, loyalty and passionate love.

I love you, Jacob and I am so incredibly proud of you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Girl After my Own Heart!

I was trying to finish the last few bites of my dinner, while Rose Marie and Sam were supposed to be playing happily in her room.

Then I heard it.

It was that cry.

The cry that is not caused by physical pain, but hurt so much worse. It is the little sob that has witnessed a tragedy.

I ran upstairs, threw open her door and found her standing to the side of her room, cradling her books in her arms, tears flowing down her little cheeks. He was sitting in the middle of the floor, watching her...with a dark, blue crayon clutched in his grasp. It all became crystal clear.

"He colored on my books!" she sobbed. I went right to her and held her, and the books, close. "Oh, Rose Marie, I am so sorry! I understand that when someone colors on your books that makes you so sad." She cried even harder.

Once we put confused little Samuel and his offending blue crayon under the watchful eye of Daddy, Rose Marie and I inspected the damage. Luckily, it was minimal and I think the books will still be readable and beautiful. I think it was more the idea that Sam INTENDED to "enhance" the illustrations on her precious books, that was causing all of the heartache.

Rose Marie, I understand your heartache so very well. My family will laugh at this. Yes, dear family, my daughter shares my love/obsession with books. Although, I am truly sorry for the damage that happened (almost happened!) today, I am so grateful to see that I have a kindred spirit in my daughter! I hope we continue on the adventure of reading together and I am so glad that her books are true treasures, just as I hoped they would be. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Days

Cabin Fever is becoming more difficult to ward off. We (mostly a certain small man) are going stir crazy. There is a saying that goes, "Babies are lucky to be so cute, because if they weren't..." well you know how it ends. Sam is proving that saying to be true. In a single hour, I pull his hands out of the toilet, get him off the dinning room table, stop him from plugging and unplugging the lamp, pull him off the bookshelf, stop him from shoving things into the DVD player etc. But then he gives me that adorable look or blows me a kiss, and I just melt. He is VERY lucky to be so cute, and it doesn't hurt that he looks just like his Daddy either. Oh well, spring is coming eventually right?

Here are a few of our attempts at keeping busy while locked down:

1) Playing dress up. We were princesses at the ball and Sam was the reluctant prince. Rose Marie was just thrilled to be able to wear make-up.

2) Yep, washing dishes is still a favorite!

3) Spooning.

4) A little outdoor time between the storms! :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Make the Connection

Take the time to make the connection:

1) She reaches for your hand while she stares out the window eating her oatmeal...make the connection.

2) He plays the "walking game" for the pure pleasure of falling into your arms...make the connection.

3) You read the same story for the 500th time already by 9:00 in the morning and a little head suddenly lands contently against your shoulder...breathe it in.

4) His arms are wrapped around your knees while lunch is waiting to be prepared and those mischievous eyes are begging for an "airplane kiss"...breathe it in, make the connection.

5) Tucking her into bed after her first day of swim lessons she wraps those lovely little arms around your neck and whispers in your ear, "Mommy, you are the Mama dolphin and I am the baby dolphin now, and we can swim together always!" Make the connection, breathe it in, kiss her again softly on the cheek and say, "We will ALWAYS swim together, you are my swimming buddy," let her fall asleep peaceful in that thought.

These are the moments that can take your breath away. They are so precious. I want so much to be the mother that makes the connection with my children. They each seek that connection in very different ways, but their need is the same. They need that closeness, the union, the comfort, the love and they seek it from me daily. I am learning to watch more closely for the little ways in which they ask for it. It is not just the morning/bedtime hugs and kisses, or the comforting that comes after bumps and bruises, I think the more important connections are the ones made in between those moments...the little ones that could seem insignificant but go so much further. These are the little moments that could so easily pass unobserved at the time, but whose loss would be felt forever. My little ones, I love these small moments with you and I hope I allow you to see just how much they mean to me! :)