Press on

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Nails?

That song by the group Selah? Which I’ll link to for interest.

No.

I’m talking coffee.

Cause that’s what I need right about … now. I’m exhausted. Coffee alone isn’t going to do it. I need to pray more, work out, eat better, get more sunshine, get more sleep. But at this moment, the only thing available to me is my coffee press.  So, that’s what I’m going to do. In Jesus’ name. Press on.

Speaking of exhaustion. Hilarious re-post at Simcha Fisher’s blog.

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Skipping a beat

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I have to go into the school to pick up my son. It’s kind of a hassle, but that’s the way it works at that-thar school. So I oblige without complaint.

The H man

Every day, Henry greets me with that winning dimpled, still-toothless smile. He was late losing his teeth and lost all the teeth he should have lost beginning at about five or six, the six months after turning eight. They are finally starting to fill in, and he can eat somewhat normally. But I digress.

Henry and I talk on the route out of the school. He always tells me his day was terrible, all with a joyful bounce in his step. He shares with me chatty tidbits about the day. Things I might find shocking in his eyes. (Someone got a blue on the behavior chart, etc.) When we emerge from the building, in just three or four short steps, we are directly in the parking lot. And, without fail, my boy gently glides his fingers into my hand. I don’t reach for him or expect him to. After all, he likes to remind me, he’s almost nine.

And every time, my heart skips a beat. I recognize all too well that these moments are fleeting. Someday, he won’t reach for my hand. He won’t need to (or, dare I say, want to). I may not even notice on that day. (Truthfully, I hope I don’t.) But now I do notice, and consider each time a blessing and a bonus.

Count those blessings!

Battleship sunk

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It’s a direct hit! Baby sunk my battleship.

1. I sit in a restaurant waiting for my breakfast companion. From his highchair, Cliff chucks his toy ambulance, and it hits the only thing on the table (paper-napkin-rolled silverware sets aside): my coffee cup. Direct hit! Complete coffee explosion. Reinforcements have to be called to wipe up the spill.

2. I sit with Lillian and try to help her find a picture in a Marian art book. It’s a painting of the slaughtering of the Holy Innocents. (Yes. I know. I’m stashing money for therapy.) We quietly look at the pages. Then smash, out of no where, baby boy whips a triangular block at me. Direct hit! Right in the nose. Split skin. Blood and everything.

3. In the bathroom, cleaning up the split nose. Viewing damage. Cliffy comes in  blowing booger bubbles from his nose. Sparing the details, it’s disgusting. I grab a tissue, pick him up, his head thrashing to avoid the wipe (he’s had his nose wiped enough for one day). Lickity split. Direct hit! He has a death grip on my glasses. Rips them off my face. I’m dodging his flailing arms for fear one of the temples is going to end up in my eye. Try to save glasses. Nose pad flies off. Spend the rest of the day with a band-aid wrapped around the remnant metal that still gouges a hole into my already wounded nose.

4. Cliff, with all of his excited and apple-cider-full belly pukes on the chenille sofa. Direct hit! No details necessary.

Battle weary, battleship sunk. Never, ever buy chenille furniture, no matter how comfortable it is.

Time management

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The other day, dear spouse came home and asked this loaded question: What did you do today?

Okay, that sounds innocent enough. Right? Like inquiring what interesting things we did during the day.

I think the question was a little more motivated by the unloaded grocery bags sitting on the kitchen floor. Defenses: ON.

I needn’t be defensive chimes in dear spouse. He just wanted to know … so, I told him.

Fed children. Made lunches. Said goodbye to children who dress themselves. Dressed baby and toddler. Dressed self. Had to redress baby after he threw up on himself from bouncing on the bed while I dressed. Stripped bed. Rushed to school to watch biggest boy at assembly. Took toddler to school. Came home, unloaded dishwasher. Put baby to sleep. Wrote a thank you note. Played with baby for 45 minutes. Packed baby back in car and drove to fruit market. Shopped. Was delayed by baby’s insistence of me counting as he put things in bags (16 mushrooms!) and long-finger-nailed-but-very-sweet new cashier. Met dear spouse with toddler at home for lunch. Made lunch. Unloaded refrigeratables. Read to toddler and baby. Tried to deal with crying, questionably  miserable toddler. Put children down for nap. Folded laundry. Moved laundry. Loaded dishes. Parents stopped by. Visited with them for 20 minutes. Had to wake baby and toddler to load in car to pick up children who dress themselves. Drove to school one. Waited. Picked up one child. Drove to school two. Waited five minutes. Walked in. Picked up child two. Waited with arguing children in parking lot until it was my turn to exit (15 minutes). Came home. Left children in car while child one dressed for soccer. Took said child to soccer. Took other three children — one that dresses himself, one toddler and one baby to grocery store. Shopped. Came home. Left said children in car and unloaded newly acquired refrigeratables. Put other bags on floor of kitchen with the still unemptied bags from early excursion to fruit market. Got back in van and drove to soccer field. Picked up soccer-playing girl and took her to piano lessons. Drove home. And … there was dear spouse … inquiring … what did you do today?

Nothing much. And you?

(Please note: Showering and personal hygiene are not accidentally omitted  from this list.)

Secret agent man

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“I am an agent of God.”

That’s the sentence Henry wrote in his effort to use his spelling word agent.

When we were praying at dinner, he said that when he prayed at school, the two boys around him asked what he was doing. He told them. They said they don’t go to church. He asked if he should hide his prayer. We said, no. It’s fine to pray silently before your meal.

Then he asked if he could wear his St. Michael necklace or his Miraculous Medal to school. (I didn’t even know he knew it was called the Miraculous Medal.) He gave a quiet, “yessss,” when we said he could. Richard reminded Henry that by his good example, he could encourage other boys and girls to want to know God.  Henry smiled and nodded. His IS an agent of God.

I’m not really sure what his teacher is going to think of our secret agent when she reads Henry’s other sentence: “I practice shooting guns at the range.” God and guns. Great.

Dear John

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If you don’t listen to Fr. John Riccardo’s podcasts of his weekly homilies, you should. He’s pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth.

I do it on my itouch while unloading/reloading the dishwasher. It makes one of my least favorite housekeeping tasks something to look forward to. I go back and listen to old ones, too. 8 minutes of always enlightening, meaningful good stuff.

Here’s the link. Or you can get them free on itunes.

Easy peasy

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Not so much.

I went up and took Helen out to dinner on Friday night. It was great. She brought a bunch of her music from classes with her. Showed me these “beautiful chords” from a big choir piece. Some jazz ensemble stuff. Very exciting. She told me stories that made me laugh my bar-room laugh (n’er a dainty giggle from me). We ate. We shopped a little. I drove her back to her dorm. Then, drat, we said goodbye.

Moving in

Um. Excuse me, but is this going to get easier? I cried the whole way home. I’m sure it didn’t help that we were listening to that Taylor Swift song, “The Best Day with You” …

And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m takin’ this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today

He’s my brother

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I watched Clifford free fall from the hearth into Henry’s waiting arms. Cliff would chuckle; Henry would rub the baby’s head. Then Clifford was back on his feet, climbing up, ready to do it again (and again and again). I have to admit, I had to stop myself from stopping them. I think I silently gasped each time. Although it’s only about an 18 inch drop, it was a sight to behold: Cliff’s absolute faith that Henry would be there to catch him.

He's my brother

I finally said to Henry, “Wow, he really trusts you.”

“Of course he does,” said Henry. “I’m his brother.”

That is what Christ asks of us. Complete trust. He is, after all, our brother. We should look to him with the simple trust of a little child.

It took a while for me to come to grips with that particular familial relationship with Christ. It sounded a little groovy to me. You know, like people calling each other brother or sister. As in, “Peace, my brotha.” Farrrr out.

But once I finally got it: God father, Christ brother, Heaven home–his place in my day-to-day life forever changed. I finally realized I could put my trust in Him in all things. Big and little. Even when I’m in a free fall. He is, after all, my brother.

At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,  you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” –Mat 18 1-5

10 surprising things

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I’m following today’s trend at Faith and Family Live. What the heck.

So here are 10 surprising things about me.

1. I’m lousy at making pie crust. I have tried to master this skill to no avail. I can make a tasty crust. Just not a pretty one. I’ve replaced the tools of the trade repeatedly (blaming them) only to be defeated. I don’t think I have the patience.

2.  I sneak candy in my house and stash it so the kids won’t consume it. I think I’m totally sugar dependent. (Which with my schedule, really isn’t surprising.)

3. I keep my Mrs. Beasley doll in a zippered vinyl bag in my bedroom closet. When I see her, I remember all the comfort she brought me as a child. And every now and then (once a year or so), I take her out and smell her. And she smells exactly the same. Wonderful. I even cried when last year my dear spouse put her in a bin to go in the attic. I was totally dismayed that after 20 years he didn’t understand what she meant to me.

4. I love blue cheese stuffed olives as much as I like candy.

5. I am a library and movie rental loser. (Almost) always late. I’d like to change, but at this point, it’s unlikely. I’ve pretty much stopped renting movies altogether. Even though you’re never late with Blockbuster Online, blah, blah, I think keeping a movie (that you never actually watched) for two months or longer is a little dysfunctional.

6. I’m obsessed with clean ears.

7. I refer to Frank Sinatra as Uncle Frank.

8. Against the direction of my dear spouse, other than clearing off large pieces of remnant food, I hardly rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  I let the machine do it. (And for some reason, I secretly celebrate my triumph.)

9. My eyes were blue until I was about 14. Although I appreciate the uniqueness of light green eyes, having blue eyes was a special thing that of my siblings only I shared with my beautiful mother. (Since I look like my father.) I still miss that.

10.  One of my favorite TV shows is Dog the Bounty Hunter