Monday, June 4, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again...

That date on my last post can't be right.  Surely I didn't last blog in October?  It's time for another Summer of Fun but before that gets underway, here is a little update...

November:  Joined a gym and lost 30 pounds (not all in that one month, though).

December:  Only vaguely remember this month.  Here's a photo from getting our Christmas tree..

January:  Boy, winter months are boring, aren't they?

February:  Legoland!

March:  An early, beautiful Spring.  I LOVE global warming!!

April:  We took our oldest two children, known here as Michael and Caroline, to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Yeah baby, I'm repelling.  My one shot at being cool.
May:  Baby's surgery.  I'm sooo glad that's behind us now.

And that brings us to June!  Here's hoping that the weather is nice and a great time will be had by all at the many fun Summer events here in Mayberry.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Blog Dare

I confess:  I have no idea what I want my blog to be.  Is it about what it's like to live in a small town?  Is it about raising a big family?  Being Catholic?  Being pro-life?  Homeschooling?  I figure that I'm all of those things and if I try to focus on only one aspect, I'll be shutting out parts that are vitally important to me.

Also, I ask:  Who is my audience?  Me?  My family and friends?  My fellow parishioners, villagers, prolifers or the World Wide Unmet?  Sure!

I'm not like those awesome blogs with a theme and a targeted audience and revenue.  I'm just me writing to myself, really, about stuff that I think about.  Basically my blog can be summed up by one of my favorite sayings:

I saw something called a Blog Dare at Bloggy  It is a different writing prompt for every day of this year.  Today's prompt is "The least touristy place I like to go to 'get away'."  Oh, this is going to sound pretty lame.

I like to take a magazine, go to a fast food joint and eat and read in my car... all by myself.  It's half an hour of blissful silence.  I get to read entire articles from start to finish without any distractions.  No one needs me to do anything while I'm trying to eat my dinner.  On the drive there and back, I may even listen to the radio... loudly.  I don't listen to the radio when the children are with me because it's pretty much a cesspool.  But when they're not with me I like to dip my toe into the pool and sing along with Bon Jovi.  Of course, when I come into the house humming "Living on a Prayer" Pete snarks "Gore supporter" and the bloom falls off the rose.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Unexpected Visitor

  So Planned Parenthood has its own Internet Service Provider and is signed up to receive 40 Days for Life emails.  Well, welcome!  Are you familiar with Abby Johnson?  She was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, after working there for eight years.  She knows that you want to help women, especially women in crisis.  She has this to say about the work that she did:

Did I help women?  Sure.  I remember many of the women that I helped…the woman who hadn’t had an exam in ten years, the woman who needed testing because her husband had been unfaithful, the woman who had never been checked for diabetes but was then diagnosed because we finally ran the test.  I remember all of these women.  I remember all of their stories.  I helped them.  I helped them received the healthcare they needed, the healthcare they deserved.  You know what else I remember?  I remember the day I watched a 13-week old fetus fight for its life during an abortion procedure.  I remember looking at the bodies of aborted babies while I accounted for their arms, legs, and head.  I remember being able to determine if the baby was a boy or girl.

Abby couldn't take it anymore and she left.  She was scared... scared of losing her income, her friends, her former belief system.  But she says that she has found great peace and she wants that for each of you.  So do I.  None of the pro-lifers I know vilify clinic workers.  When we see you drive by, we feel bad for you and so we pray.  You look so sad and somber.  That's understandable.  You're taking a pregnant woman in crisis and rather than solving her crisis, you're killing her baby. 

Wouldn't you like the joy that comes from helping a woman find real solutions to her problems and that allows her child to be born?  Prolife workers get that joy.  We get to see the relief on women's faces when we help them get food stamps or rent money or job referals.  Then we get to see the joy on their faces when they hold their babies.  No one has ever regretted her child, but many do regret their abortions.

So you're going to be seeing a lot of me.  If you ever feel like talking, I'd be happy to listen without judgment.  I won't curse at you or insult you.  I'd sure appreciate the same.  Let's work together to help the women and girls who come to your clinic because they feel like they have no other choice.  They shouldn't have to choose between their child or their life.  They deserve better.  So do you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

40 Days for Life

When you live in a small town, it can be easy to forget what evil abounds in bigger towns.  I quit reading Detroit's newspapers because we no longer live in a suburb-of and I was tired of a daily dose of murder and mayhem.  I prefer our local paper where we learn of the theft of loose change.

But it's not good to ignore the evil that abounds just because it's not happening in one's backyard.  So when I heard about the 40 Days for Life campaign that began last week I felt called to get involved.  From September 28th through November 6th prolife people around the world are keeping a prayerful vigil at abortion clinics.

Today I picked up Michael from his college classes and he, Caroline and I made the short drive to the Planned Parenthood clinic.  I did not want to go.  Boy, did I not want to go.  I told my children (really to remind myself) that courage is not the absence of fear but doing what needs to be done anyway.  Thankfully the vigil director was there and able to give us some guidance before he left.

I love to go to our church during Eucharistic Adoration.  That is being in the presence of heaven.  But this... praying at an abortion clinic... this is being in the presence of hell.  The peace of the church sanctuary is replaced by being in the midst of spiritual warfare.  The Lord and His angels are there, offering strength, courage and wisdom.  But so, too, are demons who seek to inspire death and despair.  The battle may be unseen but it is palpable.

On Tuesdays they don't perform abortions so we had a gentler introduction to a prayer vigil.  It was sunny and warm so we were very comfortable kneeling in prayer.  In fact, it all seemed "too easy".  I wasn't sure we would be meriting much graces in such a pleasant environment.  We prayed a Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the rosary.  We felt protected by a supernatural peace.

The vigil director recommended that we pray for but ignore the security guard for the clinic, Bernie.  It seems that Bernie is a hardened soul who feels the need to taunt people who are quietly praying.  Sure enough, as the children and I knelt in quiet prayer Bernie came over near us with his hose to spray off the prolife words that had been chalked onto the pavement.  Only there weren't any prolife words currently chalked on the pavement.  I think Bernie was just trying to intimidate us.  We did wonder if he would "accidently" turn the hose on us.  I almost wished he would... just think of the graces we could have merited!

Unfortunately for Bernie, his tactics backfired.  The water from his hose caught the sunshine and made the prettiest rainbow.  Then the pavement smelled sweet, like after a spring rain.  When he was done spraying he began singing or whistling or something.  We couldn't tell because we were focused on our prayers.   I've got great hopes for Bernie, though.  There have been those more involved in the abortion industry than him experience a softening of their hearts and a repentence of their work.

Before we knew it our hour had passed and another person arrived to pray.  I had to get home to take care of my little ones.  We're going back to the clinic later this week.  I may take my little guys in the hope of touching a mother's heart so that she'll reconsider the destruction that awaits her inside of the clinic.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Fun!

Now this is what I'm talkin' about!  A field trip with our friends to an apple orchard, on a beautiful autumn day.  We had apple cider, donut holes, made beeswax candles, took a wagon ride, picked apples and pumpkins and fed the farm animals.

October is the month that makes living in Michigan worth it.  We were so blessed today to be surrounded by friends while having some quintessential fall fun.  The beauty of homeschooling is that we were available to get together on a weekday morning, making us the only ones there.

Here is Harold with the heavy pumpkin he is hoisting:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Limitations of the Written Word

Behind the scenes of this humble blog I have a gizmo that indicates how many visitors stop by and where in the world they are located.  It doesn't tell me who stops by, but sometimes it shows what brought them here... whether it was a link on another blog or if someone Googled "small town".

I noticed today that I had a number of visitors from a Catholic site.  I decided to re-read my latest post to see what they would see and I was disturbed by the realization that I didn't sound very Catholic.  This jumped out at me when I re-read the parts about being pregnant three years in a row and losing one of the babies.  I'm afraid I sounded a bit cavalier and ungrateful.

The thing is, those who know me know that I am anything but cavalier and ungrateful about those pregnancies.  They also know that I tend to be somewhat sarcastic.  Not the mean spirited, attacking others sort of sarcasm but the self-deprecating, fatalistic kind.

So I wonder... if someone doesn't know me, mightn't they read me say that in 2008 I got pregnant and lost the baby, so that autumn season was no fun and think that I'm shallow and heartless?  While those who do know me know how overjoyed I was to have been blessed with another child and how deeply I mourned her loss.  And still do.

Here's my little addendum for my new visitors:  Hi!  Welcome!  I just want you to know how very thankful I am for those three pregnancies.  They were a gift and worth every sacrifice.  The physical sufferings and the grief of loss were offered up for the conversion of sinners and for the poor souls in Purgatory.  The Lord can not be outdone in generosity, of course, and those autumn-wrecking pregnancies led to my two beautiful little boys and my precious St. Veronica, who I intend to meet someday.

And now I wish I had worn waterproof mascara today!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Fall!

Well, maybe not for a few more days but I'm too excited to wait much longer!  It's time for picking apples and taking wagon rides... getting jugs of locally made apple cider... picking pumpkins and picking out costumes.  I've got catalogs for craft kits that I want to make and outdoor decorations and indoor decorations!  The children are excited, too, thankfully.

I was wondering why I'm so excited this year?  I've got more plans than I can keep straight but why this year?  Then I went back through the years in my mind and realized something surprising.  We haven't celebrated this season in five years. 

2010:  We spent all of September in the hospital with a critically ill newborn and I had emergency surgery complicated by pneumonia.  I spent October staring out the window, shell-shocked.

2009:  We did go apple picking but then I got pregnant with Walter and spent the rest of the season feeling crummy.

2008:  I was pregnant and lost the baby, so that season was a bust.

2007:  I was pregnant (do you see a theme?) and spent all fall in bed with morning sickness.  We didn't get out much.

2006:  I was counting this as a good year but now that I think about it, at the time we called it an annus horribilus, so forget this year, too.

That means that not since 2005 have we had a nice fun autumn.  No wonder I'm excited!