Monday, December 1, 2014

Review: First Sunday in Advent

First of all, let me say I did not have a plan. I didn't even have Advent candles. But that didn't stop me! So long as I have a printer (with ink), markers and tape, we can have an Advent wreath. It's safe to say you won't see this on Pinterest. But we made it. And God willing we'll have real candles next Sunday.

The problem is my oldest boy's birthday falls on or near the first Sunday of Advent every year. Another problem is I can really only handle planning one thing at a time, and since this year the kid turns the big 1-0, I've been a little preoccupied. Oh yeah, there's the whole baby thing too. That sweet little bundle sucks up a whole bunch of time.

Anyway, this is the first year that Red, my soon-to-be 10-year-old, is responsible for inviting his friends to his party. Evidently, in the third grade they don't make you invite everyone in your class if you hand out invitations at school. So he has to remember to hand out his invitations for the party that is this weekend. And since his short-term memory really isn't the best, I'm a little worried. But he's been full of surprises lately, so I'm hoping for the best.

Friday, April 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes

It's my first attempt at 7 Quick Takes this week. Wish me luck!

1. Bevo is tasty!

Yesterday I picked up my first order from Farm to Fork, the local natural foods co-op -- grassfed, pastured Longhorn beef. And oh, my goodness. The ground beef was delicious! I've got some cutlets and a roast to look forward to, and Lord! I can't wait. Seriously. I'm hungry now just thinking about it, and I'm only on cup of coffee No. 2.

If you don't know who Bevo is, count yourself lucky. He's either beloved or despised in Texas, and all he is is a mascot. I married a proud UT alumni, so I'm a Longhorn by proxy -- it just comes with the territory, since I went to a fairly nondescript school. The things we do for love, right?

2. Chicks!

As in fluffy little baby chicks! My older son's class got to watch chicken eggs incubate and hatch over the last few weeks, and I've loved watching him get so excited about it. They have three little chicks in their class now, I'm not sure for how long, but just the fact he can talk to me about what they did, how they developed inside the egg and how they hatched -- using his words, no less -- I'm just thrilled and thankful he has such caring and inspired teachers.

3. Allergies!

I'm so over the nasty little bumpy rash thing on my face, I can hardly express it properly. Seriously, I'm done. I finally broke down and made an appointment with an allergist. I suppose after six years of serious food allergies, it couldn't hurt to see a professional about it.

4. Corn, Ubiquitous Corn

Piggybacking on No. 3, I started looking into possible causes of said rash, and all I can come up with is corn. I've known for years that I'm allergic to corn, but my biggest problem was always soy. Well, I think corn has claimed that crown now -- we'll find out soon enough. Corn, it turns out, is EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING. I honestly thought soy was the most intrepid, evil allergen lurking about, but I was wrong.

5. Home office!

Yes, now that I'm working from home three delightful days a week, my attention has turned to actually creating a home office. We've always sorta had one, since my husband works from home sometimes and I've freelanced in the past, but now we need to get serious about it. Like get a real chair for the desk before I sprain my bum neck.

6. Baseball!

We're a baseball loving family, with one son playing through the Miracle League and the other boy doing everything his brother does. Oh yeah, my husband works in sports, too, so there's that. (I never had a chance.) But this Sunday, thanks to the Miracle League, my slugger and future left-handed pitcher gets to train with the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark! I'm so excited for him. He got to train with the UTA baseball team last weekend, and now the Rangers. He is officially big-time.

7. Consecration!

Yes, I'm saving the best for last. On Sunday, April 28, I begin the 33-day process of consecration to Jesus through Mary. I'm using Father Michael Gaitley's book, 33 Days to Morning Glory, as a guide.

The seed of consecration was planted by my parish's Religious Education director a few years ago, so I got St. Louis de Montfort's book True Devotion to Mary but in typical Domini fashion, I overthought it so much the words didn't even make sense anymore. Well, this Lent things changed for some reason. While I really sucked at observing Lent this year, the Holy Spirit was clearly doing some work because suddenly it made sense. Like a true epiphany, I at once understood what it meant to consecrate oneself to Jesus through Mary. And like all aspects of conversion, it involves surrendering. And like all aspects of conversion, it really hard for me to do! But I realized after hearing Father Gaitley on Teresa Tomeo's show one morning, that it (consecration) is like conversion -- it's an ever-evolving, ongoing process, not a one-time thing. So, here we are. Pray for me, if you're so inclined. I sure could use the support.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bread of life

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I'm posting this mostly as a bookmark for myself -- it's one heck of a homily.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

For posterity ...

I must document these observations/experiences from today...

I am cold. It's cold in my house. It is April 21.

First official catechism lesson was today. Gabriel did well despite my lack of preparation. It was prompted by his insistence of approaching Father during communion with his mouth open like a dog waiting for a treat even though he knows he's not ready to take communion yet. Yes, he's my kid. Pa-ma is laughing her (hopefully) blessed head off, wherever she is.

Our yards are freshly clipped and clean and looking hopeful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A month?! Really

I realized the other day that it's been a while since I posted anything, and I just did the math. Yikes.

So what's been going on, you ask?

  • My work schedule has changed for the better -- I'm working from home three days a week. That transition has not been without some challenges, but overall it's been a great change for us as a family. And already it's done wonders for my mental health.
  • Baseball season has begun! Gabriel plays in the Miracle League, so it's an especially fulfilling way to spend our Saturday afternoons. Like my mom says, if you want to see what baseball is about, come to one of these games. Seriously inspirational.
  • Spring is here, and that means the inevitable spring fever. And not necessarily the kind you might be thinking of either. No, it's the discontented, mind-wandering, unsettled kind of spring fever that is plaguing our house, especially G. But even Brogan one is getting in on this. Baseball helps, a little, but not much. Homework is a larger-than-usual pain, as is getting dressed (except for baseball games, of course). Have you ever tried getting an 8-year-old kid to wear shorts he thinks are too "soft," "short," "long" or "wobbly?" (Don't even ask me what wobbly shorts are like -- I have no idea.) It's like herding cats.

Now, planning for summer is in full effect. G's social skills camp is only for a month so we've got some big spaces to fill. Baseball camp, maybe basketball too. I'd love for him to do an art camp, too. He's pretty good, in my humble opinion. 

On a more personal note, I've been dealing with some sickness off and on this week -- details I'd rather not share as they are, well, gross. I've been purposefully avoiding facing the fact that I may be eating something that's making me sick. As in I may be reacting to something I'm eating. Which means I must begin eliminating things again. I can't really express how depressing this is without sounding sorry for myself. It also pisses me off, so you can see why I've been Scarlet O'Hara-ing it away. Soooo, there may be some food journaling going on here soon. Yay!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pondering, Praising, Positivity


The impact this statistic will have on our world. The possibilities are endless. When I was pregnant with Gabriel, I was single. That was a big enough deal for me (I thought) that all I wanted was a healthy baby. No complications. I just wanted a fat, squalling baby I could raise into a decently happy human being. No complications. Especially not something a silent and unfixable as autism. I actually feared autism. I prayed I would escape that snare. A single mom? How in the world could I add that burden on top of everything else? Well, this is the point at which I would link to the big, fat blog post about Gabriel's diagnosis and ensuing adventures but ... I haven't gotten around to writing that yet. Suffice to say, I believe God has a sense of humor, and contrary to most of the world, I do not believe we are the punchline. God has a great sense of humor but an even greater store of mercy ready for the asking.

The sheer prevalence of autism suggests to me that we're doing something seriously wrong with God's gift here on Earth. Is it pesticides? Vaccines? Hormones, BHP, dietary changes, triclosan, violence, etc.? It could be any of this or none. There's a lot of work ahead. At the same time, the sheer prevalence of autism also suggests to me that perhaps this is God's plan at work. How else would we know all the faces of God if we didn't know these kids with autism? The same thing goes for Down Syndrome, or any other "disorder." How would we know the complexity, depth and breadth of God's human creation if we did not know ALL of these children? They are all a part of God's order, and perhaps it's time we all learn to live with and love them all, just like Christ taught the apostles.


Last night was open house at Gabriel's school, and I'm still bursting with pride. Gabriel certainly was last night. He literally could not contain his enthusiasm. There was square dancing, singing and signing, and oodles of artwork. Not to mention his number scroll -- all the way to 1,200! He was particularly proud of his number scroll. And the clay cup they made in art class. None of the pictures we took were able to capture the sheer joy he was experiencing. So I'm praising my boy. Even if he keeps "forgetting" this week's homework at school.


A glowing review at work today has helped my positivity quite a bit. I hate yearly reviews, and since I've only been here just over a year, I didn't know what to expect. But it's over and done, and PLEASE LORD MAKE THE BOSSES APPROVE THE TELEWORK PROPOSAL. Really, really please. I'm staying positive about this!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peace be with us

It's been a month since I posted last, and for very good reason. It's been one of the most difficult times in my life up to now. Upheaval and stress at work compounded by sickness after sickness at home -- the week of stomach viruses and hospital stay for my littlest one was epic and abysmal.

It's spring break now, another time I'm reminded of how much of life I miss by working like I do, and instead of feeling buoyed I feel depressed. Distant. Exhausted. I am so tired of clutching at moments, day after day, just trying to get by -- Just until bedtime ... Just until Friday ... I'm spent. Done.

I haven't given up hope -- hope is still anchoring me, as is the Holy Spirit (which is saying something since my Mass attendance has been sketchy at best). They are the reasons I get out of bed in the morning, go to work, do the laundry.

Right now, I'm pondering what spring will bring. The seasons have changed in Texas and daylight savings time, as much as I detest it, gives me so much more light every day. It makes me want to clean the house top to bottom, change all the curtains and dig in the dirt. Plant things.

And if it's March, then I must be pondering ways to discourage the vile herons from taking up residence yet again. Nasty, federally protected pests.

Oh, I'm praising the Holy Spirit! A new pope! And a Jesuit who chose the name Francis! It's not clear today whether he's honoring Francis of Assisi or Francis Xavier. Either way, he was God's choice, so I am happy. I can't imagine how happy the Spanish-speaking world is right now.

I'm focusing on the positive aspects of life right now so I can stay afloat -- things like these: