Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

I did not stay up to ring in the new year, I hardly ever do.  But I did take some time yesterday to write out some goals for this new year.  I try to avoid using the word "resolutions", it seems to come with the phrase, "next year".  So goals it is.  I have done this for a few years now and have had much better luck with it.  I added something new this year.  I have added a quote to go with my new year.  I have written it down in the front of my date book and written it down on a card to go on my dresser. 

 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.

I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

The quote is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  I am now on a mission to find a book with more from this writer.  I don't know if his philosophy matches mine as a whole but this statement really spoke to me.  I think as I try to improve in my work in the vocation of motherhood, it is important to understand the power I hold.  When I think of days and they are many to choose from, when folks in this house have been less than loving, my response has been less than helpful.  Quite often, it has made things worse.  I have hollered at a child for hollering themselves, I have insulted when I needed to show grace.  I have been rude when others have been rude to me.  While I don't believe I hold all the power, my responses and my attitude hold a tremendous power that I need to be more aware of and control with prayer, deep breathing, stepping back for a second and other calming methods.  I need to be acutely aware of my attitude to help guide the loved ones under my care.  My job is so much more than meal prep, car pool, and basic care.  My job includes shaping the hearts and souls of God's precious children He in trusted to me and my husband.  While I fix them a healthy meal for the upkeep of their bodies, I need to be just as careful helping them with their healthy spirit.  As I clean their clothes to look nice, I need to be just as deliberate with the pressing of their outlook and personalities because the wrinkles in that is far worse than a dirty shirt.  The old saying of, Do as I say, not as I do should not be true when it comes to my reactions and my mood with my family.  I sometimes and I don't think I am alone in this, give my best to others outside my home.  From putting on my best clothes to go out, smiling at others outside my family even when my day has gone astray and then not showing the same manners to those I love the most.  How many times have you snapped at your child or spouse in the car only to walk in a room of friends and smile like all is well.  I don't think being fake to our families is a good idea either, but I know for me, I need to think much more before I react to a situation.  I need to be very deliberate in my attitude for the day because it does not just effect me but my entire family.  This year, won't you join me in being deliberate in a positive attitude.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Me Trying To Make Sense Of The Tragedy

Yesterday, December 14, 2012,  I spent my afternoon working in my oldest son's middle school helping out at the 8th grade Christmas dinner.  While filling water glasses and admiring how these 8th graders "cleaned up", I was unaware that in a small town to the north of us, the unspeakable was unfolding.  I was unaware that a man until yesterday we wouldn't have known if we bumped into him on the street who we now have nightmares of, was forcing his nightmare onto the most innocent of us all, little children all 6 and 7 years old.  I look at my own 7 year old and can NOT imagine the thought for even a second.  As I learned what was happening in Connecticut, tears ran down my face.  We will  never fully understand how someone could inflict this kind of horror onto others.  We will come to learn of whatever mental illness he was plagued with and what signs were missed.  None of this will change what has happened but the hope is it may stop another tragedy and we have to try.
In all of this, I am reminded of a quote from Mr. Rogers that is all over social media now and I have seen it before.  Where he tells of his mother telling him as a child when he sees sad things on the news to look for the helpers.  What a simple and true piece of advice for children and us adults.  Along with this floating through the different channels of the Internet, we see pictures of lit candles, pictures of Jesus and little children and verses from the Bible fitting for times such as these.  But there us something else floating through the channels that I don't agree with.  I keep seeing a "letter" from God, where, when asked why bad things have happened in schools and such, He supposedly answers with I'm not allowed there anymore.  While it is true that prayer has been removed from public places like school, God did not leave.  There are prayers uttered by countless parents daily as they take their children to and from school.  There are prayers uttered by many teachers and staff as they start their day.  While they may not pray as a class, prayers are prayed everyday and God hears them.  Besides that, I believe just because we as a society in general may turn away from God, He NEVER turns away from us.  He is always there. I do not believe that prayer in school would have stopped this tragedy.  I believe that God was with those children guiding them home to heaven.  We live in a fallen world, a world that has been that way since the fall of man with the first sin.  I think we need to look for God in this tragedy.  I believe He  is in the church with the families and loved ones as they prayed during a vigil that very night.  I believe He was with the officers as they led the children out of the nightmare.  I believe He was with the families holding onto each other and  holding each other up as they learned if their loved one had survived or not.  I believe He was with the priests as they prayed with these families.  I believe He is with us now as we try to come to grips with the horrors that we have seen and as we hug our loved ones a little closer too.  I believe He is with us during the good and the bad.  Would it be better if we allowed God into all areas of our life, yes. I believe people should be able to see Jesus through us in all things and we should never stop trying.  I know this is something I need a lot of work on.  It is easy to love those who are kind and good and hard to love those who are not.  I believe that a person who sees God's love through another can change them for the better.  My hope is we can all look for the helpers as the wisdom in the now famous quote tells us but when we find the helpers, we need to recognize Jesus shining through them.  We need to continue to pray for the people directly affected by this tragedy and as it moves from the forefront of our conversations, we need to continue to pray for God's guidance in our lives.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone in the blog world a Happy Thanksgiving.  May your holiday be filled with family and friends  and so many blessings  that you can't even begin to count.  May your travels be safe and the food fill your belly.  Be present in the moment and ponder the memories in your heart.  From my home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day

I sit here today, typing on my blog where I am allowed to write what I choose.  I can disagree with our leaders in Washington, I can not like the election results or I can like them.  I have so many rights in this country we call home.  I went to mass today without the fear of being arrested or someone blowing up our parish.  Monday I will send one child to public school for which I pay very little in taxes for.  I will send one child to a private school, and I will home school another child.  It is my right to choose what I feel is the best fit for my children.  I am thankful for all of these rights. I am thankful that I don't hear bombs going off outside our house, because I know that there are mothers who rock their children to sleep with that very sound out their windows.

I also know that heaven forbid, our country needs to defend itself, we have legions of bright, brave, and  well trained men and women who are willing to pick up their arms to defend me and my family.  In this country we call home, young men are simply asked to register their names at 18 in the event of worse case scenario.  I also know that so many men and women choose this life of service because they feel called to it.  I know that the different branches of military that serve this country are made up of men and women that we owe a debt to that we will never be able to repay.

I have many family members that have served and serve this country, including an Uncle I never met because he gave the ultimate sacrifice before I was born.  I am so proud of my Uncles that served, my cousins who have served and my Dad and Father in law that have served.  Along with my family, I have many friends that have served as well.

From my family to yours, We thank you for your time and your service.to this country that we call home.

My Dad in the USAF

Monday, November 5, 2012

Food Is Not Everything, But It Is Something

As so many of you out there, I am in the middle of starting to map things out for the upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The food table is what we will gather around with our loved ones.  We will do this at our parish, our homes, with our friends and family.  The true reason is of course  for thanksgiving and to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  Food is a large way we celebrate these things.  I love food.  I love the smells, the colors, textures, the way it tastes and the people I will share it with.  I will be embarking on the spirit store soon to purchase large quantities of rum for my rum cakes that we give to neighbors and friends and to take to various gatherings.  My boys are already talking about making gingerbread cookies again this year.  I am not a huge baker but the savory foods is where my tongue does its own little dance. The meats, sides...my moms dressing deserves its own category named heaven on earth.  I can hardly wait to taste my Aunt Louise's potato soup come Christmas Eve.  Oh and my Uncle Gilbert's fudge , you will find my boys including my husband in line for that.  If you watch, you will see their eyes roll every so slightly as they bite into the goodness of the itty bitty squares.

Preparing for these upcoming feasts are easy for most of us.  What is this sense of dread I feel you ask?  My dread comes from trying to make the upcoming season of food just as exciting for my daughter.  My little girl can't eat her Great Aunt's Soup nor can she have her Grannies dressing, it's a big fat no to the fudge also, along with all the other foods that fill up my memory.  I have done quite well if I do say so myself in making our weekday mealtime a place  that takes care of us all equally.  But the upcoming season gives me a big fat headache.  We work and intentionally push a positive attitude about food allergies and our life the entire year.  But during this season, you can hear me shout form the mountain tops, "FOOD ALLERGIES SUCK".  My cousin whose own grandson is on a restricted diet as well, is quick to reassure me that Lily Rose and her Cameron probably don't miss the foods like we do for them because they have never had them.  She is right about that.  My sadness comes more from what will be lacking years from now.  My Granny has been gone  almost 20 years and I can still taste the goodness of her caramel dumplings and her fried poke greens, oh her ribs and potatoes and the list goes on and on.  So my sadness comes from Lily Rose not having the memories of the food traditions the rest of us have.  My Uncle Tex passed away this past summer and since my boys were able to speak, they have  associated butterscotch candy with Uncle Tex.  We were in a gas station the other day and passed some by the register and one of my boys reminded me that Uncle Tex always gave them a piece when we went to see him. If you named each person in my family, I could most likely tell you a food I associate with that person.  Now maybe that is a sign my family has a small addiction with food or maybe it is just me.  But the memories are there just the same.  I hate American cheese but if I ate a piece, I would first fold it in little squares because that is how my mom would fix it for me along side a few saltines.  My kids will ask about Christmas when I was little.  They like to hear about the traditions of the past and I always mention breakfast on Christmas morning.  We use to get a country ham during the season and on Christmas morning, my Dad would pick every last scrap of ham off of the carcass and mix it with eggs and we would have the best scrambles eggs ever.  Really it was more of ham with some eggs mixed in. But they were soooo good.  If I close my eyes, I am in the avocado green kitchen of my childhood and can see clear as a bell the grease on his fingers as he gets every last piece of ham.
So, what do I need to do for Lily Rose.  Food will always be a large part of seasons of our life.  I have to work hard to find fun and good things to make every year for her.  I  need to find what will be her Christmas eggs, her special candy and so on.  And I need to intentionally look at the things that we do that she can recall and smile about with future generations.  This is not a bad thing, just not what I planned on.  So this year, we will make her cookies that no one else wants to eat but we will make ornaments that she can share with others instead of cookies.  I will take extra time to look at pictures of loved ones gone with her and the boys and tell the stories of who they were so they don't get lost.  We will concentrate on making her Thanksgiving meal to take with us that has all of her favorite veggies and fix some that she can share, but we will also concentrate on soaking in the stories that are happening in that moment.
As the new year rings in, food allergies will still suck.  But she will have wonderful memories of the season past to call on for years to come.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Learning to Love The Stage We Are In

I have so many good memories of my boys when they were little.  They are only 22 months apart, so they really grew up together.  I loved watching them become the best of friends.  They still are today.  I loved taking them to the local library story hour and to the park for picnic lunches afterwards.  I miss having Disney's "Peter Pan" playing daily on the VCR.  I miss my kids being in diapers and dressing them in cute baby and toddler clothes.  I also know those times were filled with lots of things I was probably wishing away at the time.  I do remember longing for the day when I didn't have to buy diapers or pull ups at the store each week.  I remember longing for the day when each of my 3 kids would sleep through the night.  It seemed like we are always wishing for the next stage.  Looking back, the thing I wish I had done more of was savor the stage we were in more at the time.  I do have sweet memories of nursing each of my kids.  I always enjoyed the 6am feeding.  I was awake enough that I was able to enjoy looking into their eyes more while the house was quiet.  I remember funny things they each use to do.  Funny how the toys all over the floor and messy meal times and dirty diapers don't really cross your mind when you look back.
With all the good memories, I wouldn't skip the stage we are in now and go back even if I could.  My oldest is 14, a teenager.  My middle one is 12 and my youngest one is 7.  I don't have "babies" anymore.  But the other day after picking up my oldest from an academic team meet, he and I had an intellectual conversation about education today.  Not something I ever talked to him about when he was 4.  I love talking with my kids and seeing what they think about things.  They are pretty smart kids and I couldn't be more impressed with their thoughts and views on life.  I am really enjoying this stage.  Are there things about teenagers that are driving me crazy...yes.  Every time I see an eye roll out of the corner of my eye, I want to scream and sometimes I do.  When they sass me, I have to refrain from loosing it and remind them that they will never be that big.  But I have a feeling that when they fly this nest, I won't dwell on that but remember with fondness the conversations and the hugs they still need from me when no one is looking.  My daughter who is 7 is growing so fast too.  She is also not a "baby" anymore.  Though, being the youngest, she stayed there a little longer.  But I love watching her learn to read and ace her math work, (something I never did).  I love watching her play with her brothers or her guys as she calls them.  I miss holding the sweet baby that she was.  It is a little different with her because she was so sick as a baby that there are parts I wouldn't wish to go back to because she was in pain with some of it and I would still wish to move past that quickly.  We know the issues now and how to avoid the pain and know how to handle anaphylaxic and how to avoid it.  For that, I am glad we are past that scary time.  But I miss her wild hair when she would wake up and jump in her crib and the way she would squeal when she saw her guys in the pick up line at school.  But this stage is a good one too and I am working very hard to be present in it.  Because one thing I have learned,  is it will pass in a blink of an eye. And I don't want to miss a thing.

a picture of my "babies" on a very fun week long camping trip back in  '08 or '09

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days...31 Bags..Ready, Set, Go


I'm linking up to get control of the stuff in our house.  My plan is for the next 31 days to get 31 bags (at least) of stuff we do not need out of this house, that = 1 bag a day, surly I can handle that.  Not sure when it went from I'll save this for later to not being able to find anything in the closets and drawers because it is such a jumbled mess.  I'm queen of I'll sit this here and get to it later, sadly later never comes.  Then it is a rush of a school morning and a child needs a permission slip signed and I have not a clue where it went.  Clearly, someone is breaking into our house and stealing coupons and permission slips and things of that nature, must be what all the cool crooks take these days.  I'm done with it all ready, that jar of glitter that has an 1/8 of a tsp left in it, you know the one in the back of my silverware drawer..gone, along with so much else that is not serving us any purpose but stress.  What a perfect time to do this.  Get on board now and my house might be ready for the holiday which will be here in the blink of an eye.
I'll post a few before and after pictures, not many, I don't want to embarrass my self too much.  Who wants to join me on my crazy train, always room for one more.