Sunday, August 31, 2008

Soccer weekend

I've been quiet on here the last few days because Mark and I went up to eastern Pennsylvania to watch Beth play in a soccer tournament. Our boys happily stayed with my brother, Bill, and his wife, Terri while we were away.
We had a wonderful time with beautiful weather but it went way too quickly!
Beth scored the only goal in her first game, which they won 1-0. She also scored their only goal in the second game which they lost 2-1.
Their second game was at Grove City College which is a small Christian college. Beth was really impressed with how the young ladies on this team conducted themselves. She said it made it a whole lot easier to lose to them! After the game, the other team came up to Beth's team and asked if they could all pray together. We watched from the stands as all the girls formed a circle and a young lady from Grove City led them in prayer...I loved it!
Beth was talking about all this as we were eating dinner together last night and she also told me that she always leads her team in a prayer before their games...something I was not aware of. We can always see them huddled together before, but I never knew that she led them in prayer. Did my mother's heart good!

During a break between games yesterday, I sat under a beautiful tree and said my rosary. It was such a beautiful day that it made it so easy to lift my thoughts heavenward.
God is good, indeed....always.

A blessed, peaceful Sunday to all.....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One of my fears....

I've been thinking about the whole alcohol issue lately. I guess that group of college presidents recommending that the legal age to drink be lowered to18 has me wondering about all the issues I have with alcohol.
I didn't grow up with an alcoholic parent, but my mother did and even though I did not see the effects directly, I have seen the effect it has had on my poor mother and I find myself cringing when I watch the next generation drinking the stuff.
I remember when I was a child hearing some of the horror stories of my mother's childhood. My grandfather had a good job in those Depression days, but he drank most of the money away. My mother would go to bed hungry at night because there wouldn't be enough to eat. She would tell stories of not having any meat to eat all week even though her father was part owner of a meat store.They drank weak coffee or tea instead of milk or juice because it was cheaper.
Her father would hit their mother sometimes when he came home drunk and she and her sisters would run to defend her. He didn't stop doing it until the girls were all big enough to physically pin him down. I always find myself imagining those sweet little girls trying to protect their mama. Makes me tear up just thinking about it.
Mom has talked about how they would look under the cushion of their father's favorite chair in the hopes that a coin or two would have fallen out of his pockets so they could use it to help pay the electric bill or such. My grandmother took in laundry to help out and my mother spent many hours of her childhood ironing shirts to help her. She was so thrilled the first time she earned a dollar for babysitting that she woke her mother up when she got home to show her.
There were never any Christmas presents or birthday presents. They were thrilled to get an orange and a piece of candy in their stocking.
My mother had to quit school after 8th grade and get a job as a housekeeper to help her mother out too.
But unfortunately, it still wasn't enough....their house was foreclosed upon when Mom was in her midteens and they had to move to an apartment.
All because my grandfather was an alcoholic.
When I was a child, my mother always taught us that we had to keep our dad happy. Everything at our house revolved around keeping Dad happy, even if Mom wasn't happy. She would always say that "He doesn't drink. He doesn't hit me. He always brings the money home."
And that was enough for her.
So much of my mother's personality was shaped by her father's alcoholism.

My grandfather did finally stop drinking when he was in his 50's. He never really told anyone what made him stop, but he did it suddenly.
And life became much better for my grandmother and for my mother and her siblings.
He had so many regrets. He would apologize for the misery he had inflicted on everyone. He would look at his grandchildren and realize all that he had missed with his own children.

My memories of him are hazy....he died just weeks after my 5th birthday and had been ill during most of my early childhood. My older siblings have good memories of a grandfather who would take them for ice cream and play with them.
The years of drinking had taken their toll. Even though he had stopped, the damage had been done. He died at the age of 66.

So I've always been a bit afraid of the alcohol...I've always been aware of the damage it could cause. I hate when I see young people with the attitude that it couldn't happen to them...they can control it.
I've always been aware of what it could do to someone and it kept me from ever drinking too much. I've always known that alcoholism could happen to me...that possibility has always been in the back of my mind.
And I realize that it could happen to anyone.

Many of the young people I know have not had to live with the effects of alcoholism, so I don't think they always realize the risks. They just think it's fun.
I become afraid for them, for their future spouses, for their future children.
I've seen the effects it can have. The damage it can do. The pain it can cause.
And I pray...

A blessed Wednesday to all....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Manic Monday

I had a busy day.
I got up early and did all of my usual morning things, then started our first day of school. Where did the summer go?
After noon Mass, we ran some errands and then came home to work on canning tomatoes. I spent the rest of the afternoon with that, ironing, taking their laundry to my parents, schoolwork, and making dinner. After dinner, Mark and I went to Beth's soccer game then came back home to finish the canning. Michael was a big help to me with the canning. I never would have finished it without his help.
I just finished my rosary and now I'm off to bed....

I hope all of you have a restful night, sleeping in the peace of our Lord's endless love....

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Having teenage sons both going through puberty at the same time can be an experience...

A blessed, peaceful Sunday to all.....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Having a difficult day.
There's a person in my life, dear to my heart, that never ceases to puzzle me by their behavior. I never know what to think about this relationship. It has so many ups and downs, and when I'm struggling with my depression stuff, it seems to get worse. This person makes me feel like a yo-yo sometimes.

But the Lord is so good to me. I know He has a reason for this relationship in both of our lives, even if I don't understand it...even if it causes me pain.
He has blessed me with the steadfast love of a dear husband.
He sends me the words I need to hear when I'm feeling down.
He has blessed me with friends who soothe my heart with kind words.
God is good indeed....always....

A blessed Friday to all....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer is winding down....

I have purple fingers this morning.
They're from my afternoon of canning grape juice. We have an overabundance of grapes on the farm this year, so yesterday afternoon found me cooking grapes and doing all the fun things to make them into juice. It can be a bit messy... Our grapevines are more than 120 years old....they were already there when my great-grandfather bought the farm back in 1890. Amazing to think about....
I also finished writing my notification letter to homeschool. I should have mailed it on Monday, but today will have to do. I have to go to my aunt's to pay her bills today and I have some errands to do.
Beth has her first scrimmage soccer game tonight. She has literally only been home to sleep since Sunday. It's soccer training week at school and she gets up early and doesn't arrive home until late evening. It can be a bit tiring for her and adds tons of laundry for me to do since she's not home long enough to do it herself.
I stayed up late watching the end of the Olympic gymnastics and then had trouble sleeping anyway, so today could be a long day. But at least the sun is shining and I always have the peace that going to noon Mass brings....
Will started his new job teaching religion at a local Catholic high school on Monday. He has been in my thoughts and prayers a lot these last few days as he begins this new phase of his life.
Next Monday, school will begin here with me darlin' boys. Both of my boys are now in high school. Unbelievable. Year 15 of homeschooling. Four more to go....

A blessed Wednesday to all....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Winning our children's hearts....

I haven't been writing much this week. Monday morning I woke up feeling heavy at heart and it has stayed with me all week. I don't like writing when I feel like this because I don't want to be depressing. However, I have adjusted to it as the week has gone on and there have been moments of quiet joy and those of His wondrous peace. It took a while for me to get there though. Sometimes I just have to get to that point where I understand perhaps why I'm feeling this way and then I accept it and His peace flows in...

Yesterday I went to early Mass and stayed afterwards to say my rosary and I was reflecting more about mother love.
I was thinking about my own dear children and how I love when they open their hearts to me. They are all different in this regard and I have had to learn how to adjust to each one's personality. When Beth was little, she was usually quick to tell me everything. However, when she came into her midteens, she wasn't as quick to tell me things. I had to learn to wait. At first, it was a bit hurtful, but I learned with time that she just needs time to think through things before she brings them to me. When she is ready, she will come to me and I will hear all about it. (Sometimes late at night when I'm longing to go to bed, but I quietly listen.)
Michael sometimes needs a little prodding but usually not too much. It's a bit more difficult now that he's 16, but as long as no one else is around, he will tell me his dreams and schemes.
John is the most difficult of all. He is such an introvert and has few times when he is open to talking about things. I have to be very gentle, very patient with him. John has been much slower in trusting others with his feelings. Perhaps it's left over from his early days before we adopted him when he was so severely neglected. When we first brought him home, he didn't even cry. In those first two years of his life, his tears had been of no avail, so he had stopped. It took several months before tears would come.
I have often thought how those first two years of his life will scar him for the rest of his days...even though he doesn't remember, consciously, a thing about them.
So I have had to learn to deal with him differently and it has been a slow process for both of us. I had no one to turn to help me through these times and I have made mistakes and his trust was slow in coming, but it has happened and hopefully, will grow even more.

And then there is the one who is the son of my means so much when he shares his heart with me.

And as I prayed my rosary, I thought of how much it means to me when my children trust me with their hearts; their feelings, their thoughts, their dreams...
And I realized a bit how much it means to our dear Blessed Mother when we trust her the same way.

A blessed, peaceful Sunday to all.....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mother love

Last night there was a beautiful moon and as I was driving to pick up Michael from a friend's house, I was thinking of the newlyweds, Mike and Frances, who are on their honeymoon in Hawaii. I wondered if they were going to have a beautiful moonlit night there...
It made me think a bit about mother love. Mike's parents, Paul and Denise, are good friends of ours. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last month. Several years ago, Paul had started saving money so that they could go to Hawaii for their 25th. Denise has always wanted to go there, and they couldn't afford it back in the days of their honeymoon, so he wanted to do this for their 25th.
But then last year, Mike and Frances became engaged and the money put aside for the Hawaiian trip was sidetracked into paying for tuxes, and dresses, shower gifts, and a beautiful rehearsal dinner. Ironically, Mike and Frances chose to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon.
But Denise's mother love has made her happy for them....that they get to go on this wonderful trip. She was talking to me last night, wondering how they were doing...hoping that they were having a great time and she's looking forward to seeing all their pictures of the places she is longing to see herself.
Mother love is like makes us gladly sacrifice so that our children can be happy.
A little reflection of the love that our dear Blessed Mother feels for us...that our Heavenly Father showers upon us.

A blessed Thursday to all....

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 7th

I had been feeling a bit reflective last week as I wrote. Sometimes that old infertility stuff pokes me and gives me that feeling of inferiority. I try to think of it as old satan trying to discourage me.
However every August 7th reminds me of God's miracles in my life (if you haven't read about why this day is special to me go back to the first posts on my blog).
Last Thursday was August 7th again and I did have a moment when I was wondering if my life was fruitful...
I had noticed earlier in the week when I was outside in our yard that our cannas still hadn't bloomed this year...a bit late. Mark always plants a large round bed of cannas in our backyard. They remind him of his grandfather who always loved them.
However, last Thursday, just as I was wondering if my life was fruitful, I looked out our back window and there was the canna bed with four big beautiful blooms and the thought popped into my head that my life will bear fruit....all in His time and way. It felt like a little miracle from Him....a gentle reminder of His infinite love.

Busy Weekend

We had a crazy weekend starting with Friday.
Beth had played matchmaker two years ago with her boyfriend's brother, Mike, and a friend of hers from college, Frances. Mike also happens to be the son of our friends, Paul and Denise.
Mike and Frances were married on Friday and Beth was a bridesmaid.
It was a beautiful, crazy day and I enjoyed just about every minute of it.

Saturday was a day to play catch-up around here. I had not really cleaned our house in three weeks because of Bible Institute and another wedding the week before that. So Mark and I spent Saturday cleaning the house, doing laundry, ironing (that huge pile in my laundry room is now gone!), mowing the lawn, and making a big batch of barbecue after dinner. We were really tired, but a good kind of tired.

Sunday we went to 11 AM Mass, out to lunch, and then had churchhome at our house. Our friends Paul and Denise, Gina and Dave, came with their kids and we had some praise and worship, and Paul did a teaching on Luke 12 which we discussed. Afterwards, we served dinner to everyone (that's what the batch of barbecue was for) and enjoyed some fellowship. A very pleasant day....

Now it's back to that normal old Monday stuff....

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This week has definitely put me into a reflective mood...
Our 30th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.
Today is August 7th....the day each year that reminds me of God's plan for my life....the anniversary of losing Anthony (27 years ago); the anniversary of Beth's final adoption hearing (21 years ago) and the anniversary of the day we brought Michael home (16 years ago). All of them were on a Friday....more than a mere coincidence.
This year I am realizing this week that another stage of my life is beginning....menopause.(my apologies to the few guys who read this!)
It's a strange's not that I'm going to miss the monthly cycle and all that it entails. But it does signify the next stage of my life and it represents the final door closing on the possibility of another baby. I was thinking the other day that if I live to be as old as my grandmothers (one was 91 and the other was 92), I will spend more of my adult life in menopause than before....strange thought. Of course, who knows what our dear Lord has planned....

Our anniversary on Tuesday made me look back and think about all the dreams Mark and I had on our wedding day.....all the dreams that have come true......all the ones that we've had to let go of.......all the dreams that have changed into new dreams.
On Tuesday evening, the song "Moon River" kept going through my head and so I hit youtube and found Andy Williams singing it and played it over and over....that really took me back to my childhood. My mother loved Andy Williams and Perry Como (Andy Williams grew up here in Cincinnati during his teen and young adult years and my mom used to work at an ice cream shop and he would come in and she would serve him). Their music would often be drifting through our house. I have old records and new CDs of their music and whenever my parents come over for dinner, I play them and I also play them when I'm in a reminiscent mood. When Mark and I were in our 20's, Perry Como was still touring and on three occasions he came to Cincinnati and we would buy tickets and take my parents to his concerts. They loved it and so did I....though often Mark and I were some of the youngest people there.
I always think their music is so beautiful and romantic.
So in my sentimental mood, I've been digging out music that I have from my childhood and torturing my children playing it at home and in the's amazing how it brings me this peaceful, wistful, happy feeling....

A blessed, joyful day to you all....may you enjoy the peace that only He can give....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

30 Years of Wedded Bliss

Today is our 30th wedding anniversary.
My dear husband had to work today but he brought me 30 for each year.
He also brought home roses to give to my mother tonight. A little thank you for giving him her daughter....
I am so thankful for every day he has been in my life....a true gift from our dear Lord..

Monday, August 4, 2008

Much Better

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers for my mom. I just arrived home from visiting with her, and she's doing much better. She's able to slowly walk around again and she's stopping her pain medication. She went to her regular doctor today and he has no clue what was causing the pain. She told me today that it was the worst pain she has ever experienced in her life and this is from a woman who had five babies, a bad heart attack, numerous surgeries, and third degree burns as a child. She is still having some discomfort, but it is much, much better....praise our Lord!

Off to make dinner...I hope all of you are having a blessed Monday....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

An all-nighter....

We spent the whole day yesterday at the Bible Institute. It was a good but busy day there. It was Youth Day also so John spent his day there and Mark and I had lunch with a friend and then ended up taking out seven kids from Youth Day for dinner....that was fun!
After dinner, there was Mass (which was beautiful) and after Mass we went out for ice cream with Paul and Denise and their youngest son Mark. We arrived home about 11:30 to find that Michael was back home...yeah!!!! Normally, I would have missed him terribly all week but with being so busy, it had made it easier.
He was telling us all about his adventures, when the phone rang at 11:45. It was my dad saying that my mom was in terrible pain in her left leg. She couldn't bend it or walk and he was worried. I could tell that he was so upset, he couldn't decide what to do, so I told him we needed to take her to the hospital to get it checked. So Mark and I left to drive to their house (only three doors away) and meanwhile Dad had called an ambulance. She looked terrible....she was in so much pain that she was as pale as could be and I could tell she was fighting back tears.
We ended up being at the hospital all night....
They really couldn't figure out what was causing the pain. They did X-rays which showed that everything looked all right. The pain was originating in her knee which she had replaced nine years ago. They gave her a shot of morphine which didn't help at all. So after several hours, they gave her some other pain medication. This helped enough that she was able to walk with assistance, so they sent us home with a prescription and instructions to call her doctor on Monday morning. It was now 5 AM.
Getting her into the car seemed like torture, but we managed. When we arrived at their house, Mark drove the car into the yard to get as close to the front door as possible and he and my dad supported her all the way into the house. I could tell that the pain was still really bad, but she could at least move it now. After getting her situated in the house, they sent us home and we finally got to bed about 6 AM, the time we had originally planned on getting up this morning.
It's almost 11:30 and Mark is still sleeping and I've been awake about an hour.
I'm feeling so bad for my poor mom...she just seems to have one trial to bear after another these last three years. I hope that this some kind of arthritic flair up that will improve...the doctor seemed to think so, but I can't imagine it will happen too quickly, so I know that she is in for a rough week ahead and I know I will probably be kept busier too with helping her.
I'm going to call some of my siblings (none of them know anything about it) so that they can check in on them today. I would like to go up to the Bible Institute this afternoon for the closing sessions.

I hope all of you have a peaceful blessed weekend....