Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - May Tid Bits


I am so proud of my daughter "Lioness." Lioness was sitting beside her teacher Katy as she gave the presentation of the Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd in the Level Two Atrium. The children watched as the little wooden sheep, that are part of the sheepfold, become replaced with wooden people resembling the people of the Church and one sheep is replaced by a priest.  These figures are gathered around a table and the Good Shepherd figure is placed on top of this table.

"He wants to give all of Himself to us."

And the children watch as the Good Shepherd is taken away and a tiny chalice and paten are placed on the table.

The question was asked of the children if any of them felt the Good Shepherd was calling them to this particular feast....

Her hand shot up right away! 


Going on a Dependents Cruise on daddy's boat! 


My sister and brother-in-law visited for ten days and it is always a tradition to take a hike to a forest cabin. There is always a lot of thought that goes into the packing and food and my two eldest daughters went again while I stayed home with the littles.

A new addition this year is our pup Nori, she had a VERY good time. I was cracking up at how she is wedged in the trunk of the jeep here.

Fun times from the visit....


I love this picture of my eight year old outside of the cabin. She is drawing in her nature journal. Remember, I was NOT there to even drop a hint, I had no idea she brought one. This whole hike took place during the week when, technically a "school day". 
There are days when I truly struggle with this whole "homeschooling" thing, if it's the best thing for our family.

And then there are days like these where I am convinced this is God's plan for our family...

My horse lover had a visit in the morning!

Head over to Rosie's post for more PHFR!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother Teresa on Mother's Day Part 1

Happy Mother's Day!

Do you find that in different seasons of your life the Holy Spirit seems to provide different spiritual remedies?

I have had spiritual seasons where the only remedy for putting one foot in front of the other was by attending daily Mass. In other seasons I may need to pray a rosary or dive into the liturgy of the hours or sit...for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  There could be a song that just fits where I am at or a retreat or a support group that's just there when it should be.

Then there are these saints.  These saints with their ways that you knew, vaguely, about before. You may have called on them during a litany or smiled as you tell your littles, your eyes falling on the date from the free Catholic calender your parish hands out, "Sure, you can have nutella on your waffle, it is Saint "____" 's feast day.Let's see if she is in our saint book."

I have magnets of Mother Teresa quotes on my fridge and my friend Susan Conroy worked with her in Calcutta and I have read Susan's book about this work.  I have this in my hall.

Here I am, a mother of I have not shared yet formerly on here that...yes indeed...another little is making his or her way here on November 1! And as this one, this little, is growing in the womb, being knit together beautifully, I am going once again into uncharted territory.

I am in a new season.

My friend Kelley, who is also pregnant, keeps saying to me, "I look at my four and think...this is EASY!" I know right? Just as we were getting the hang of this! (Ha! My two year old had an emergency room trip Tuesday evening for three stitches in the back of the head...getting the hang of things).

I have heard...from those voices outside of these are you going to do it all?

Your hands are so full!?!?

Are you crazy?

Four wasn't enough?

I have stumbled a bit through this first trimester, and I am now getting that energy in the second trimester, which is nice.  However, there is so much work to be done in this family, this home, and I am realizing more and more the work ahead of me.

Yet, also in front of me, was the gift of this book

 that was passed along by a very devout lady from my church.  I have written about friends and their "books" before. Here and here. The Advocate never fails to intervene with a certain book at just the right time.

I have way too many books going on at once ALL the time it seems.  I am going to finish this one, I have about a third of the book left to finish.  I don't really write book reviews...who am I to "review" anything?

I want to share though...yes, even though I am not done.

My friends...I must be honest with you...the fear of failure seems ever before me.

There is a snicker in my mind. "Your kids aren't learning enough with you at home."

She is learning how to break ice.
"We can all see that you're tired."

"It's too much Stephanie."

The high school/college/twenty something Stephanie...who really wanted approval...who needed affirmation...and to be well liked...rears her head.  That twenty something Stephanie is tortured by the comments.

UGGHHHHHHH....I am in my thirties!  I thought I had moved on from this "old" me.
Is this some sort of spiritual baggage?

Then came these words.  There were so many doubts that surrounded Blessed Mother Teresa as she expressed her desire to her superiors for her wish to follow God's will. The Lord wanted her to leave her convent and serve Jesus in the poorest of the poor.  But...she might fail!

She says:

"I can tell you sincerely from my heart, I will lose nothing. From my Superiors down, I know they will laugh at me. They will think me a fool, proud, mad, etc.  What if the God wants my name? I am His and His only. The rest has no hold on me. I can do without all the rest if I have Him. Fear not for me, nor for those who will join me, He will look after us all. He will be with us."

Oh Mother Teresa THANK YOU!

She believed so deeply that her work couldn't fail if it were from God!

Ding! (Light bulb in my head going off). This family won't fail! These children are from GOD! I know the "success" of the world looks different, but if God gives me these children...He will also help ME!

Another ding! This was also the answer I needed with this whole homeschool endeavor! God placed this call to school at home on our hearts just as He had done with using NFP.  This schooling can't fail, He wanted us to do it in the first place!

About the work she wanted to do:

"I have foreseen many of the hardships and difficulties which that life will bring me - but I trust the good God blindly and I know He will not let me down, even though I may make a mistake."

I love her confidence in God.

Perhaps you knew this about Mother Teresa already, how long she had to wait for approval for her work.  As I am reading, I have discovered that this trial truly was minor compared to the decades she spent doing the work for the poor, this work God called her to, without the benefit of feeling Him there. She was in such darkness.  She felt very alone.

It is humbling to read that Jesus granted her a particular privilege in feeling the darkness and thirst for God that the poor souls she was visiting felt.  I can't believe I even write it as "privilege" I am utterly amazed by what this woman went through, but more what she was doing as she went through this darkness of feeling total absence of God. It was her secret she confided in very few people.  I am now reading letters within this book that she wrote to her confessors and asked them to destroy. Yet, here they are.  I am finding out that inside she labored with untold suffering.

The miracle...

She was CHEERFUL in her service.

Her smile was the cloak for her pain.

"I want to smile even at Jesus and so hide if possible the pain and the darkness of my soul even from Him."


The cheerfulness is hitting home for me because I can be so moody and snappy with my children...and I'm not in the dark...I'm just impatient and imperfect.

She wanted her sisters to be "apostles of joy."

She wrote:

"Once I saw a Sister with a long face going out for apostolate, so I called her to my room and I asked her, 'What did Jesus say, to carry the cross in front of Him or to follow Him?' With a big smile she looked at me and said, 'To follow Him.' So I asked her, 'Why are you trying to go ahead of Him?' She left my room smiling. She had understood the meaning of following Jesus."

I chuckled as I read this.  How Mother Teresa would probably pull me aside during my day and are wearing a long need to smile...don't go ahead of Him...follow Him cheerfully.

I need to head to bed and I do want to write about one more gem I am pulling from Mother Teresa's life...but I thought you all might like...that we can't fail if our call is from be CHEERFUL!

So I added "Part 1" to the title so I could hold myself to writing a "part 2." And I cleverly labeled this Mother Teresa because really...I AM THE ONE who will  need to come back to this post to remember the wisdom of a great saint.

God Bless!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real May

We love the spring low tides...



A Downton Abby Themed Baby Shower Brunch for my beautiful friend Kelley, pregnant with her fifth! 
She awaits a daughter after her four sons :) Brunch has the best foods by the way!

Do you see my staff diligently cleaning the house?

I decided we were all upstairs people. Kelley was the Duchess and then we all picked our names (Name, Adjective, Someplace) out of some tins with slips of paper. I was Dame Stephanie of the Shimmering Isle. Can you get any better?!? Duchess Kelley, however, decided the best name was Dame Nancy of the Dirty Ditch. Dame Nancy was a very good sport about it! 

I downloaded the Downton Abby soundtrack so it was a nice mood.


Sword fight! (wooden sword vs. shop vac)


We used the baby shower flowers to make our crown for the Blessed Mother to celebrate her month of May. 

Ave Maria!

Please hop over to Like Mother Like Daughter for more May magic!