Thursday, September 17, 2015

True and Beautiful #1

1. I have been fascinated by the art of penmanship since I was a young child.  I bought my first calligraphy kit in grade school, but could never quite master the beauty.  My fascination continues with beautiful penmanship and I always remind our children to work diligently on their penmanship each day.

Take a moment to watch this video about Master Penman Jake Weidmann.

Read Here.
And Here.

The video is beautiful and the message is even better.

2.   A new to me blog The Art of Manliness
There are so many insightful tidbits I can't wait to share with Dominic, in particular.  It was such a fun blog to wander around in. 

3.  This afternoon, the older kids and I delightfully flipped through pictures on Facebook of the Sisters, Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  It was a simple pleasure, but seeing how the sisters live and find delight in gardening, host making, quilting, cake decorating, hiking, and cleaning warms my heart.  Rose was enamored by their life and talked about them the rest of the day.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Spectacular Sisterhood

This was so great.  One of the girls' favorite daily favorites is retrieving the mail.  It is a process that most partake in.  I need to video it actually.  They usually come shrieking back home with each person holding a piece of the daily mail and my excitement level rises thinking "Who wrote me today?"  I remember being little and how exciting the mail was.  I have saved several pieces of junk mail that have made me laugh over the years due to their excitement over what they perceived was being offered.

 I remember watching baby Vianney come back from getting the mail once.  She was toddling along and mouthing over and over again "Baby."  She was just starting to talk and I could see her from the window saying it over and over again.  Her big eyes were bursting with excitement and a look that said, "I need to show Mama."  In her little fat hand was a picture of a baby crawling on fresh carpet advertising this new company's carpet cleaning services.  It touched my heart so much how excited she was to show me the baby.  I kept that postcard as those moments make me tear up when thinking about how innocent children are.  Her little feet were going so fast.  She was on a mission to show me.

On this particular day, the shrieking and excitement reached new levels.  I mean over the years I've heard some pretty good shrieks.  American Girl magazine and LEGO magazine have the same affect Christmas morning offers.  They cut each girl out of the American Girl catalog and play paper dolls for DAYS, maybe even weeks.  It lasts FOREVER and is intense.

I was nursing Lourdes on the opposing couch and was dying at their audible gasps at the turn of each page.  We received in the mail a copy of Chasing Fireflies magazine.  I've never heard of it, but the costumes were like nothing I've ever seen.  Let the dreaming begin. I am sure the neighbors heard the commotion as each page offered hours of plays and productions.  It was sweet to watch.  I love letting them dream.

Vianney's face

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A beautiful visual for explaining to our children about receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.

"We should receive Our Lord in the Eucharist with the faith and love of a child.  Children receiving Holy Communion ought to think of themselves approaching to take the Child Jesus from the arms of our Blessed Lady.  With how much love and adoration, with what joy we should receive Jesus into our arms, if the Blessed Virgin should appear before us to give Him to us!  Yet Holy Communion is really better than that; we not only receive Jesus into our arms, but into our very hearts."

Taken from My Catholic Faith
Original copyright, 1949, 1955, 1958

I showed this picture to the kids today and we were all filled with wonder and awe.  Isn't that the most perfect way to approach Holy Communion!  Can't you just imagine a child walking toward Mary to hold Jesus!  I know how our children approach me to hold Lourdes so this really spoke to their hearts.  I loved it for myself also.  I can get so distracted with keeping the children in line that my mind wonders, but I just keep thinking of this image when walking up to receive Jesus.  We are using this book for religion as part of our homeschool curriculum.  It is so very rich! 

I discovered this book on our shelf about a month ago.  I literally CANNOT stop reading it.  The illustrations are second to none.  Most pages are filled with such detailed art work.  I would buy it again for the pictures alone.  I have learned and relearned so much about our beautiful Catholic faith.  Our faith is so rich and meaningful.  EVERYTHING means something.  Everything.  I am trying to absorb His beautiful wisdom through all the guidelines the Church has given to us.  It is all out of so much LOVE.

We all really should meditate upon this picture often perhaps right before Holy Communion.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Cheese

I haven't been able to quite capture it yet, but this is close. I L.O.V.E when babies start the cheese smile. She does it loud and proud. The kids hit the floor everytime because she holds it tight and cheesy. I hope I can capture the real deal before she stops doing it.
Starting her engines...

Shy because her audience is egging her on..

Cheese Take #1

Cheesier Take #2

Coming out of the cheese...almost got it...

Away with you fools...

HE HAS SHOWN HIS MAJESTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I came home from noon mass today to find the following message from my mother:

"OK...I'm gonna cry with joy for now!!!  I need Pete to explain it to you but the PET scan last week showed the tumors are gone on one side and shrinking on the other!!!  I still have to go through chemo and stem cell transplant but not sure if I have to be in the hospital!!!  My head is spinning!  Even the nurses are confused!! ANY WAY... My tumors are too small to qualify for trial anymore!  For now...we will start chemo tomorrow and they will tell me then if I am to be admitted to the hospital!!! For now... I'm afraid to tell anyone in case I wake up from this dream!  Going to tell my friend "THANK YOU for today!!"

We begged God to show off and LOOK WHAT HE HAS DONE.  The ALMIGHTY has done great things for me and HOLY is HIS NAME.

Dominic sang at a holy hour on Friday evening.  During Benediction, I truly begged God for her life.  A peace like I've NEVER KNOWN filled my soul and I knew she would be well.  I knew it was the story of Abraham and Issac.  Right before the final moments, God provided a ram in the thicket for the sacrifice and saved Issac's life.  He knew Abraham loved HIM.

THIS was my mother.  She went so obediently to every appointment KNOWING that God will provide either way.  She went.  She went. She went to her holy hour EVERY afternoon to be with her best friend in prayer.  She was faithful to the end. 

Prince George

I really don't know what to say about these pictures because I just grit my teeth when I look at them. Kapaun is beyond words these days.  He is just the most perfect little boy we could have ever asked for.  There aren't enough adjectives to describe him and the joy he brings to our home.  He enjoys food like an adult.  He loves a good bowl of curry.  He had three helpings of orange chicken a couple nights ago.  He can put down two PB & j=Jellies fast.  Although, applesauce takes the gold as he will eat the entire jar if he sees his beloved "SAUCE."  He and Damaris are the best of friends.  She uses him well as her scape goat which is always cute because if I ask who performed a certain crime, she eagerly blames "Joe."  He just stands there unable to defend himself with his current vocabulary. 

Yogurt legs

He is not wearing white panty hose.

Add caption

Sunday, September 6, 2015

WAR ROOM---Go see it NOW!!!

I will write more about this later, but PLEASE (x 1,000,000) go see the movie "War Room."  TODAY.  Go see it again and again and again.  See it with your spouse, with anyone who will go.

It is life changing and so motivational.

Watch this interview HERE

Lord, help me to pray like Aunt Clara in that movie for all of our needs.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Understanding miracles

Thank you for your kind comments and prayers for my wonderful mother.  I wrote to someone that I can't help but want  God to show off.  PLEASE.  I know He does everyday and reveals His goodness everywhere.  I do.  I met with my spiritual adviser before Lourdes was born and was telling him how John and I accept the task God has given to us, but humanly speaking I couldn't help but ask for a miracle at each ultrasound.  I would do fine until the day of each appointment and would ask God for a miracle that her omphalocele was gone.  I was hoping for a miracle.  Mostly, it wasn't the omphalocele I was afraid of.  I didn't want to watch her suffer.  I didn't want her to go through surgery.  I didn't want to be away from our other children.  I DIDN'T want to SUFFER in that way.  I wanted to custom design my sufferings.  Please do not involve those whom I love most and are dearest to my heart.

Monsignor told me to really ask myself why I was asking for a miracle and why do we ask for miracles.  Hmm?  He explained that God uses miracles for a variety of reasons.  He went through several biblical stories where God would bless certain people and then they would go through a trial and cry out, "God, where are you?"  He delivered the Israelites from slavery, but when they walked in the desert for years they cried out again "God, where are you?" Often, a miracle is performed to bring those whom have drifted away back closer to Him and prove his existence in a stronger way.  He asked me if I could honestly look at my life and say "There is NO God."

Nope.  I can not say that.  I have looked at God in the face 9 times.  I see HIM in their faces everyday.  I see Him in my suffering mother who is offering HER life so that others may walk closer to God.  I see HIM in so many of my wonderful friends.  I see HIM everywhere.  So, do I need a miracle to show me God exists?

He encouraged me to go to each appointment with the resolve that everything will be the same as it was at the last appointment.  He wasn't saying it in a hopeless way.  He was encouraging me to be at PEACE and KNOW that HE IS GOD and He is taking care of everything.  I do not need a miracle to know that.

I want to remember this gem throughout my life.  I pass this along because it helped me so.

Ask yourself, "Can I honestly look at my life and blessings and say 'There is NO God!' and 'Do I really need this miracle right now to prove God's goodness?''

With that, I have to say "Help me accept this cross.  Help me.  Walk with me.  I know you will work out everything for goodness because YOU ARE ONLY goodness and love."

Friday, September 4, 2015


My time spent here has been very sparse this year.   It was a year ago this week that we found out our unborn child (Little Lourdes) had a serious birth defect that would require surgery after birth.  Three short months later, my wonderful friend and mother was diagnosed with cancer.  The events of the early months this year played out with God guiding the ship during the storm and constantly spoke "PEACE.  Be still and KNOW that I am God."

 In April, a scan determined my mother to be cancer free.  What a joyous and wonderful occasion for our family.  She had not tolerated her 4th chemo treatment well.  Her 5th treatment was delayed due to her reaction and her 6th and final treatment was not given because her counts never came up.  To finish up her treatment plan, a scheduled CT/PET scan was performed to wrap everything and then she was to do rechecks every 6 months for two years and then she would be considered "cured."

At that final scan, it was discovered her cancer has already returned in full force.  For the past few months, our family has been wrapped in all the many details this involves from deciding if and when treatments are option and which treatments to do since her cancer has already returned so shortly after being declared cancer-free.

I drove home last week to be with her and truly memorize her ways.  I took pictures of her in her garden.  I tried to really look at her hands and face.

She had surgery a couple weeks ago to remove the tumors found on her neck.  The biopsy showed the cancer to be growing aggressively.  The doctors are recommending a very aggressive treatment plan.  She will undergo chemotheraphy again and a bone marrow transplant.  This past Monday and Tuesday, she underwent a bone marrow harvest.  On Thursday, she had a bone marrow biopsy and CT/PET scan today.  I drove to Kansas City on Wednesday to be with her.  We had such a wonderful time together.  I took Lourdes with me and she was just perfect.

She had to be fasting until after her procedure.  We went to Winstead's afterwards and stuffed our faces with a bacon cheeseburger and chocolate shake.  IT was so wonderful to be with her.

She is scheduled to begin chemo on Wednesday.  She will be hospitalized each treatment because of the nature of this chemo.  After chemo, she will undergo a bone marrow transplant.  The doctors have given her a 50/50 chance of survival.  She is in a fight for her life. 

I have been so overwhelmed at her diagnosis.  I am sure this post isn't even coherent.  I would be so very grateful for prayers for her.  To be honest, I am so very afraid to see her suffer.   She is a professional when it comes to suffering and is so willing. She has a VERY specific intention she is offering this round of cancer for.  Any prayers offered on her behalf will be very much appreciated.

It seems odd most times to share such personal details.  I know the POWER of prayer is magnificent so I humbly ask for prayers and the good Lord's intercession for my dearest of friends.  

Thank you.

Our little Lourdes- almost 7 months

Our little girl is almost SEVEN months old. Her siblings still fight over her like it is the first day we brought her home. Tears are still included. They just LOVE her. She is getting into the crawling position so her mobility is about to change.  We haven't tried table food yet and she refuses to take a bottle.  What a goof.  She will put anything into her mouth, but the bottle is repulsive.  She (not I) is still throwing a great late night party.  The kids remark often how smart they think she is.  Rose loves when she puts her finger in her mouth like this.
Clairvaux is her #1 holder.  Always.  All day.  Anywhere.  Anytime. She corners me to hold her. 

Isn't she just darling!  What a precious, precious baby.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Learning to Smock

The older four girls took an introductory smocking class a couple weeks ago. Rose especially is very interesting in such projects so this was right up her alley. The lady was so kind and spent four hours teaching the girls the basics.  When I went to pick them up, she was teary-eyed about her time with them and couldn't believe how patient they were to learn the stitch.  She was such a kind and gentle woman.


Rose was hooked.  She even wore a dress that had smocking on the front without realizing it until class.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

the Twins

I've always thought these two looked alike. They both even have the same sweet temperament. How does that work?

Damaris and her berries

Berries around here have the equivalent effect as the ring does to Gollum.  "My Precious!"  They all kind of lose their minds over fresh fruit.  I wish I could have taken a picture of Damaris' initial reaction to me setting a whole plate of strawberries in front of her.  It was too great.  I said, "Here's your lunch for today!"  It really was too great.

The Sweetest child in America

It seems that I always have one child that pulls at my heart strings more than the others each year. This year, it certainly is Vianney. She really is the sweetest child in America. She is just happy, everyday and all day. She never complains and has an light around her. She has the softest voice and softest ways. We read together every night and I love my time with her. She is friends with everyone. I love taking pictures of her white hair, dimpled cheek, and beautiful smile.  Often when I go to bed at night, I am half-tempted to wake her and spend time with just her.  She is very proud of how she does her hair every morning.  She is a great listener, but I really do love when she tells me a story because of her expressions and deep thoughts.