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:

Pope Francis

Oh, I'm so excited! Just giddy like a fangirl at a con. Seriously!

Aaaaaaaaaaand now I'm ready for Catholicism to get off the news sites. I'm already so tired of the idiots who only like to hear themselves talk cracking jokes and not caring that there are people out there who have been praying for this man for weeks now.

Back off, kids! Fangirls get fierce when they're messed with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time flies ... Eternity waits

Time flies ... Eternity waits.

I read somewhere that Pope John Paul II grew up across from a church with this engraved on its clock tower, or something like that. I remember the author wondering how that simple phrase must have influenced the young Karol Józef Wojtyła.

I'm thinking of this phrase as we begin Lent today. I love Lent. I realize that to some people this makes me a fanatic and to others it makes me a Catholic nerd. And I'm okay with this -- I'm a little of both.

I'm not going to talk about what I'm giving up for Lent, although I am giving something up. Rather, I'm going to talk about what I'm offering up for Lent this year. Pope Benedict XVI has, in his infinite wisdom, given us all something to strive for this season -- complete and total abandonment to the Holy Will. I can't imagine it was an easy decision to make, his abdication. Even with all his hours of prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit, I'm sure it was a painful epiphany for His Holiness. So, in accordance with his wishes expressed today and along with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum, I am going to offer up my Lenten prayers and sacrifices for Pope Benedict XVI and for a successful conclave.

Therefore we do not lose heart. ... For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.   2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pondering, Praising, Positivity

Eva Marie Saint from "North by Northwest"
Pondering: Just what does one wear on a train? I'm taking my very first train trip to Austin this weekend for my best friend's hen weekend. (Thanks to my pal Lee Anne for introducing me to the British slang.) I have grand delusions of decking out in a smart little train suit, train case in gloved hand, hat on head. Seriously. It's more than a dream -- it's within my reach! Well, okay, not really. I don't have the suit. But I'll be damned if I'm wearing jeans! You can't make me!

That being said, I have a yen for something new. Something smart. Classic. Oh, and affordable. Definitely a skirt -- or slim pants. Oh, Lord help me! (And thanks to The Vintage Traveler for the train station image.)

Praising: This week I am praising the Lord's ability to hook me up with the coolest, most inspirational people. I'm talking about real life here. For the last, oh, year and a half? My life has been "Six Degrees of Domini" or something. Between church, my old job as a crossing guard and my current workplace -- it's starting to get scary. If scary means extraordinarily blessed. Online has been much the same. I mean, I had no idea there were so many cute, inspirational, faithful and FUNNY Catholic women blogging out there. It's just crazy. And none of you know me. Dun-dun-dun!

Positivity: It's difficult for me to think of anything specific for this entry. I'm trying to stay positive that I'm actually following God's will and not just delusional. You know how that is, right? I'm so damned headstrong sometimes I just can't see another way other than my own. Did I just admit that? Yeesh. Not at all shocking then that I have birth to The Most Stubborn Boy in the World. Who, by the way, has finally earned his talking Sheriff Woody doll. Thank you, Amazon.

Really, I'm just trying to stay positive about everything in general. It's particularly difficult in this world, and because now that I'm on the Internet all day at work I can't escape from all the bad news. So instead of hardening my heart, I'm praying. It's all I can do.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mommy guilt

Nothing breaks my heart more than watching my son struggle with school. What makes it so difficult isn't his gap in skills compared with his peers. It's that he's just so overwhelmed by it all at times.

He had a good day today but had to spend time with his special ed teacher due to poor choices yesterday. Now, I know that just the fact that the class he needs the most has become a punishment should say it all. But anyway, at dinner I could tell he was thinking about something and sort of blue. We started talking and he told me he didn't want to go to school anymore (not a huge surprise but lately hasn't been a problem) and then he asked me why he can't go to school at home. Boom. That did it. He was thinking so clearly and expressing himself so well, it just hurt to watch him fight back tears. Actual tears. Tears of frustration. I remember my own at his age so well.

Ugh. You see, when he graduated from PPCD and the district wouldn't give him an aide, I decided to go ahead and homeschool him. I researched homeschooling and homeschooling special needs kids in particular for so long, i just felt it was best. My feelings about it haven't really changed. Our financial situation, however, did. So after a year at it -- and by it I mean butting heads with the world's most stubborn 5-year-old -- I caved and enrolled him in kindergarten. And now I'm working full-time. And all the guilt from giving up on my son's ideal education comes right back.

Siiiiigh. I love that kid so much. Why can't we win the lottery again?!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The First Five Years

Five years, tomorrow.

Has it really been that long? I spent some downtime today thinking and really marveling at the last five years. Man, it's amazing. However, the product of our last five years is being a little demanding tonight (not really, but you know) so you're stuck with what I cobbled together at work.

In celebration of our fifth anniversary ... Reflections on Our First Five Years...

What strikes me most is how easy marriage seems to be for us. Not that stuff doesn't happen -- bad, really bad, good, some pretty great stuff, too -- but the marriage part just seems so easy. A real partnership, you know? Maybe we're not doing it right, if it seems easy to me. But maybe we got something right, after all. Who knows?

I really think forgiveness is key. So it accepting the other person and their flaws, but what's necessary is taking it a step further and loving that person and their flaws, not despite them. I've said before (and passed on to other soon-to-be-married couples) the best advice I ever got about marriage is this: Love is a daily decision. It's not just a warm, fuzzy feeling -- though it can be that. It's also not blind devotion. It's a daily, conscious decision that starts with warm, tingly feelings that (God willing) matures into a mutual, respectful bond that strengthens us individually and together. I'm strong without him, but I'm stronger with him.

And who do we have to thank for all this? The all-knowing, all-loving God above, who knew us before we were born, who knit us in our mothers' wombs and brought us together because we could perfect one another. It's stunning, really. The hand of God is so evident in our lives that worrying about the future just seems silly. That doesn't keep us from worrying, though. We are human after all. But our trust in the Lord and our trust in each other is what keeps us faithful, in all aspects of life.

Late, or on time?

Remember how sometimes I'm running late for work and it turns out to serve a greater purpose? Well, it happened again this morning. I got to hear most of Bishop Kevin Farrell, shepherd of my neighboring Dallas diocese, deliver his homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. You can read it here. North Texas is surely blessed to have such a shepherd!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My patron saint for 2013

According to Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint's Name Generator, my saint for this year is St. Jerome. And as tempted as I am to try until I get one that I know more about, I'm sticking with what I got. Patron saint of librarians? I love libraries! And librarians! I was in the library club in junior high, after all. Remembered for his bad temper? I can totally relate to that.

I'm interested to see what I can glean from this particular saint. I see there's a novena here.

St. Jerome, pray for me!

A sick day

No, it's not the flu or any other virus -- it's just this frustrating weather and my allergies making me miserable today. It's easy for people to write that off as not really being sick (I'm guilty of that myself) but when I can feel all eight sinus passages throbbing in my head and my muscles feel like jelly, then I admit I'm beat.

My senior editor made me take an honest to goodness sick day today -- not just an "I'm sick so I'll work from home" day. I'm grateful to her, not just for being a self-sacrificing workhorse (she is) but for being empathetic and encouraging me to log off and sleep. Because I actually did sleep. During the day. And for more than 20 minutes. It's completely unlike me, but I fought hard against random text messages, barking dogs and weird house noises to actually achieve a real nap. And I felt better when I woke up! It sounds silly, but it's not just that I don't usually have the opportunity to nap -- I usually can't let myself. But not today. Thank God.

I keep thinking about different blog posts I should make but nothing is really coming to fruition. So instead, I'm going to start a semi-regular thing here (you like the way I side-step commitment right there?) inspired by the clever and inspiring Karen Edmisten here. It will henceforth be called "Pondering, Positivity, Praise" or the three Ps. I know that's goofy, but if you couldn't tell already, I love alliteration. So here we go...

Pondering... Over the last few days I have been thinking a lot about women in the workplace, specifically mothers in the workplace. I work full-time. And anyone I've talked to about this knows, I'd rather not be working outside the home. But like Father Larry told me, not in these exact words but with much love, get over yourself. This job is straight from the hand of God. It's saved us from losing our house, it's helped me lose weight (who knew, right?) and most importantly it is perfecting me and my husband in ways only God himself could do.

Back to the topic -- mothers in the workplace. A coworker and I had an excellent conversation after work on Friday. You might call it a bitch session -- that wouldn't be far off. And it was much needed. She and I aren't the only mommies in our department, but we are the only mommies of small children who don't party. Like, party party. Our company prides itself on "working hard and playing hard," if that tells you anything. There's a beer fridge, for crying out loud. But because my coworker and I are responsible for picking up our kids from daycare after work, we can never stay to partake of said beer fridge. Or go to happy hours or after-work parties. And it's becoming clear to us both that it's a thing. And it might just be keeping us from being recognized for any achievement we might make. We both agree that "moving up" is not a priority for us -- our children and families come first. But it smarted when we each realized that our responsibilities to our families are stumbling blocks to satisfaction at work.

So, I go back to the idea of starting the Undoer of Knots novena. For all working moms.

Positivity... Which segues oh, so nicely into this segment. It is so important for me to fight off the negative feelings I encounter every day, seemingly from all around me. The Internet in particular is a problem. Specifically social media. Facebook and I make take a break for a while, save for a special few individuals.  This story sums it up.

Praise... I am praising the Lord for all the difficulties he's sending our way. Not that I'm not grumbling about some of them. Okay, most of them. But I also know, once I get a little distance, that they are making us all better people. I'm praising him especially for the hard-headedness of my sweet 8-year-old son. I mean, when God set out to see just how stubborn a boy can be, he outdid himself. :)

So there you have it. A sick proves to be quite productive, after all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stirring my coffee with a real spoon...

An auspicious start to Tuesday. Throw in some thunder, lightning and SLEET, and we've got ourselves a party!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Maybe this is why I suck at planning ahead

Boy, oh boy, do I have a lot to say. Jennifer Fulwiler, in this poignant post, managed to touch on a subject near and dear to my heart, mostly because I struggle daily with it -- God's plans vs. our plans. I'm not a good planner at all -- I mean, even something as useful and easy as a meal plan makes me feel boxed-in. I'm terribly unorganized, even though I know where just about everything is in the house. But I love to make Plans -- the big kind, like remodeling to make a laundry room. Having another baby. Painting each room of the house. Landscaping. Homeschooling. Stuff like that. Pair this tendency toward Planning with my tendency to always think I know what's smartest, best and most important for our family, and it spells disaster, spiritually speaking.

More on this later.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Keep this in mind...

Let us go forward in peace, our eyes fixed on Heaven, the one goal of all our works.

St. Therese of Lisieux

Saturday, January 5, 2013