Category - Faith

1
Me and the Boys
2
Perspective
3
Ash Wednesday
4
Epiphany 2011
5
He Came
6
Advent Upon Us
7
Hello Again
8
Bip Prays
9
Epiphany Blessing
10
Merry Christmas

Me and the Boys

My children are at Totus Tuus this week. I can’t really call it Catholic VBS because it is more than that. It’s more like a retreat. They have games and singing, but no crafts. They go to mass everyday, they did Stations of the Cross and those old enough went to Confession. Their classes are meant to really dig into their faith and give them a better understanding of being Catholic and most importantly, bring them closer to God.

Pumpkin Girl and Bip go during the day and stay all day, 9-3. For the first time ever, we’re packing lunches the night before – we even rustled up some insulated lunch bags. We’re getting up at a set time in the morning, loading up the car and heading out. When they come home we have deeply meaningful conversations like this:

Me: How was your day?

Them: Good.

Me: Did you have fun?

Them: Yes.

Me: What did you do?

Them: Played games.

Me: And…?

Them: Uh…learned about Issac.

So fun, our little taste of traditional school!

They usually tell me more and more as the evening wears on. What they learned about Issac and his connection to Jesus was fascinating. I’ll tell you about it another time.

Boo goes to Totus Tuus in the evenings, being a big middle schooler and all. I was so happy at first, thinking it would be just me and Pipsqueak this week! I was crushed to learn that no, the middle ones would be gone during the day, leaving me with the Boy Who Talks all day. Or The Boy Who Talks All Day. Whichever.

So I’m spending the week with my oldest and youngest boys. It’s actually going well. Boo is old enough to take care of Pipsqueak while I run the others to the church in the morning. He can also help me with lunch if my hands are full. Right now he’s actually got Pipsqueak at the park. And if I turn my head j-u-s-t so, I can see them at the swings from where I’m sitting.

I’m making Boo do two math lessons a day. We both thought it was going to be pure torture, but he fell very far behind this year and we really do need to make some progress. Turns out though, when it’s just me and him, he can whip through two lessons in about 20 minutes instead of the 2 hours it can take him to do one lesson. Remarkable.

Yesterday we took Pipsqueak to the park together. Tomorrow we’re going to be planting some flowers. Friday I’m taking them to get portraits of Pipsqueak done. A couple of times we all sat on the deck while Boo ate breakfast and told me about his Totus Tuus experience of the night before. He sits in his chair, eating Rice Krispies, sipping coffee (decaf!), and I observe his giant feet and the man-paws he calls hands. His face is becoming more chiseled. In my lap is a chubby baby, busy with trying to grab everything he can and stuff it in his mouth.

My oldest and my youngest. Eleven years, 360 days apart. One halfway to manhood, the other just starting his journey through life. This week, its just the three of us.

Perspective

Yesterday a homeschooling mom I know online lost her only child in a car accident.

Today a friend of mine, another homeschooling mom, waits as her infant son undergoes 7 hours of open heart surgery.

Somehow, whatever aggravations pop up today will just pale in comparison.

Please pray for these two families. And hug your children, and thank God for the blessings that they are.

Epiphany 2011

Someone recently found my blog through a search for “is it too late for epiphany blessing”. The answer is no! Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas, so it is always January 6th. We may celebrate it in church on the closest Sunday, but I think you can bless your home on either day. Kind of like how Washington’s birthday is February 22, but we observe it on the third Monday of February. You can eat your cherry pie either day. You do make cherry pie for Washington’s birthday, don’t you? That reminds me of a funny story from my childhood. Remind me to tell you sometime when I’m not typing with one hand.

Anyway, here is the link to the Epiphany blessing we use. Just change the last number to reflect the correct year. But you knew that, right?

Epiphany House Blessing

He Came

The last day of 2010 and the first day of 2011 were filled with wonderful moments of family bliss. If you only knew what had really been going on here during the past month, you’d understand what a welcome change these days were. The oldest two children were in serious danger of not getting Christmas presents. We even told them so, and it wasn’t an idle threat.

You’d think they would have shaped up on Christmas Eve, but no. At around 3:30 in the morning, Philip got up to tell them to be quiet and alert them that their new no-earlier-than wake up time was now 7:15.

At 4:30 I got up to tell them to be quiet and that now they could not get up until 7:30 and if I had to tell them to be quiet again that there would be no presents for them. And for goodness sake, everybody get back into their own beds.

I heard them get up at the appointed hour and thunder downstairs, sounding for all the world like 12 children instead of 3. Boo came back up and into our room. He looked at us with such relief and said simply, “He came!”

He meant Santa, of course. But in seeing in his face the realization of how his behavior had jeopardized his Christmas presents and the happiness that he came anyway, I got struck with the true meaning of Christmas.

We are sinners and we’ve been warned. Time and time again we fail just to do as we’re told. We swear we’ll do better and maybe we do, at least for a little while. Then we fail again or fail in a different way. And yet, He came. We totally don’t deserve it.

How blessed we are to be loved so unconditionally that the best gift ever came anyway.

Yes, Boo, He came.

Advent Upon Us

So here we are, on the brink of Advent. This year I’m going to keep it simple, focus on the traditions that are most meaningful to our family and focus on the what Advent is all about.

I say the same thing every year. How about you? I mean it this time. Really.

This year I’m going to try to go easy on myself. I’ve got most of my shopping done and I plan to be finished by the end of the week. Instead of trying to get all the decorating done this weekend, I’m going to pace myself and do it little by little. I think I’ll let the children help, too. They’ll enjoy that. Most of what I put out is mostly for their enjoyment anyway.

I found a good devotional for children called My Little Advent. It is for children K-2nd grade, which is perfect for Bip. But I think that my 4th and 6th graders will be able to get something meaningful from it, too. Couldn’t we all use a reminder to keep a smile on our face while thinking of the happiness of others above ourselves?

I’ve finally figured out a way to do our Jesse Tree and stick to it this year! Remember long, long ago when I hosted a Jesse Tree craft swap? Well, I hate to admit it, but we’ve never actually seen the Jesse Tree through to Christmas. I think it is because the readings, prayers and reflections that accompany each ornament were too long. This year I got the idea from someone else’s blog (sorry, I can’t remember who) to read from a children’s bible story book instead of from the Bible. I think that will be much more manageable.

Will you be making any changes this year to help your Advent be less stressful and more meaningful? What have you let go of over the years, or added, that has made a difference?

Hello Again

I have returned.

When I said I had a lot to do before Easter, I didn’t mention that those plans included a road trip to Tucson. Philip and I sponsored one more person in the Church at the Easter Vigil this year.  We’re getting very good at this.  We might have to start charging for our services.

Just kidding!

I do enjoy the Easter Vigil. I don’t mind how long it is, I just wish it wasn’t so late at night.  Though this year mass started at a very awkward time.  We had to be there at 5 PM for the 3 hour mass that started at 6 PM.  Hello?  Just when were we supposed to eat dinner? We ended up having an early first lunch then a later second lunch and all was well.

OK, so other than food issues, the mass was beautiful.  I love coming in to a dark church and sitting there, listening to the readings chronicling man’s history without salvation.  In the dark.  Like us, during Lent. Then we get to the Gloria, the lights come on and we’re all standing and singing “Glory to God in the Highest…” It’s an awesome moment.  Boo glanced over to me and said, “We made it!”  It’d been a long, dark Lent and we were glad it was over.  Glad to be living in the light.

Then…the best Gospel of the year – earthquakes and angels and empty tombs.  He has Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia.

And onward to the baptisms and confirmations.  This church does full immersion baptisms, which just so totally rocks. A good time was had by all.

On Monday, we headed home.  The drive out to Tucson was fun, as we all looked forward to seeing our cousins and there were lots of new sights to see along the way.  The ride home was painful.  The scenery was exactly the same as it was 2 days earlier, the kids were getting on each other’s nerves and John Denver’s lyrics “It’s a long way from this place to Denver” kept running through my head.  The wind was absolutely wicked on the way home, and on the last day we saw 2 semis that had tipped over in the wind.  We came up on the first one after the sheriff did, but before all the other first responders. The driver was walking away with the help of the sheriff, thank God.  Made us very nervous about passing semis for the rest of the trip. But we made it home safely.

The next day it snowed.  School closing and late openings, soccer practice cancelled.  Good to be home.

And now, I have some work to do on my blog. I need to upload a newer version of my template, then change the code to be what I want.  Bottom line – my blog will be sporting  coffee theme for a little bit while I work behind the scenes.  Then it’ll be back to its usual Easter theme.

Bip Prays

“Bless Lord, the people at Disneyland, because we want to be there, too.”

“Thank you for this nice house, which is better than a hotel, because you don’t have to be so quiet, because when mom and dad are watching tv, they are downstairs, but at a hotel they are really close.”

Amen!

Epiphany Blessing

3kingsEven though Epiphany was celebrated in church last Sunday, the original, official date is January 6th.  (Remember back in the day when Epiphany was a holy day and it seemed like we were constantly in church from Dec 25 through January 6?)  So if you haven’t already done your house blessing, it’s not too late!

Epiphany Blessing

All make the Sign of the Cross.

Head of Household: “Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Reader: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things come to be through him, and without him nothing came to be….. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3.14)

Above the entryway to your house, write with chalk:

20 + C + M + B + 10

(This is the initials of the three magi -Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – with the numerals of the new year surrounding them. C, M, B can also be interpreted as the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house”.)

All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Merry Christmas

nativity_haba


For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.  I hope your Christmas is filled with love, peace and hope.

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