Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Snow time and family photos!

I wish I could make a cartoon of my life, because some days, it certainly feels that I am in one cartoon square after another.....

It's taken me two days to find the time to write about a rather hilarious moment in the world of catholicmomma that happened on Sunday.

It snowed.

For the sake of not giving away my "family Christmas photo" and ruin the fun of it all, I'll just post the above photos of two super cute minions in my home.  One of whom is experiencing her first actual snowfall and the other who is just a rookie with two years experience.

They had been predicting this snow for a few weeks.  Actually, I was hoping the European model was more accurate, because it had the other areas other than snow country (south of us) getting up to a foot of snow.

But no such luck was in store for us.  So we had to settle for a few inches of the white stuff.

Alrite, where was I?  Oh yes, Christmas pictures and cartoon life.

I had been contemplating a day when all seven of the children would actually be home at the same time, not napping, not needing a nap, not hungry, not working, not having sports, band, etc (the window is small my friends, very small) and mentioning in passing how I would like to take a family photo of everyone one day soon.  Money is very tight in my home, so the more I can save by "DIY" the better.

Last Friday, it was 71 degrees.  I was so hoping to get them outside in the beautiful fall day and get some cute ones, but of course, as large families go, baby was asleep before oldest had to go to work and it was dark by the time we were all together because it gets dark at 3 pm these days.... (ok, really 5pm, but it feels like midnite by 5 pm)

Saturday I was at a conference all day promoting our women's conference for next year and Saturday night my oldest again had to work.....

See a pattern here?

So, Sunday, while my oldest was at driving school, I had the hair brained idea that getting a photo with them in their snow suits and standing with the Christmas trees in the back would be AWESOME!!!  (disclaimer-they are apparently not called Christmas trees up here, but in fact, are called things from firs to spruce-I know, terribly wrong.  They're Christmas trees...duh...)

Here is what I envisioned...
Image result for family picture in snow
I've no idea who these people are....
I swear, as I google messed up family snow photos, I am finding NONE.  So apparently, there is a market out there for people to post some pretty messed up outdoor snow pictures and I will not be the first one.  Perhaps that's why there ARE no snowy family epic fail pics as of yet.....

Anyway, it was a train wreck in the making.  If I was good at making cartoons, I would draw a cartoon depicting the entire scenario starting with when the almost 17 year old got home from class and immediately began complaining that her coat was too small....

I knew I was forgetting to order someone something for winter this year.....

Then the fight ensued over the hat my son should wear.  That hat may be permanently MIA.

The middle child said her hair was an oily mess.  (Isn't that what hats were made for??)

The babies were rested and ready, but the wind was blowing so hard it was scaring the youngest one.  

The photo session lasted all of 3.2 minutes with mounds of complaints.  

"My eyes are watering."

"I'm freezing."

"Can we go in?"

"Can we have hot chocolate?"

"Are we done yet?"  (which I quickly corrected and said we are not chicken in an oven....)

Wah, wah, wah, wah. 

And I was the one just wearing a hooded sweatshirt!!  These kids these days!! 

Fortunately, my superhero hubs was outside with us, doing the best to entertain the two Taz's into smiling willingly, but the ultimate photo that was chosen has a rather smirky boy,two squinty teen girls, an overzealouly smiling pre-teen, an 8 year old who FINALLY opened her eyes, a three year old more interested in the snow in the Christmas trees, and a rather devilishly smiling 22 month old.....

All in all a success I think..... you tell me after you receive the card....bahahahahahaha.....

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My All Saints Adventure.

Today is a holy day in the Catholic Church.  We honor the Saints in Heaven today. All of us should really be striving to get to Heaven.  I know yesterday I wrote about my disenchantment with my Catholic peeps.  Today, I hope they attended Mass and heard the readings and hopefully listened to a great homily.... I went to www.mycatholic.com and the craziest thing happened! I went to listen to the reflection on  today's readings, just to refresh my brain before I wrote, and lo and behold, the  priest doing the reflection?  IS FROM BUFFALO!!!!

Fr. David Baker?

Click on Fr. David's name!!!!  INSANE!!  But what he says sums  up  today!!!  Truly- a beautiful summary of the readings from Revelation, 1  John, and Matthew!!!  What we all should be striving for!  ALL OF US!!!!!!

So, I took five of the minions to Church this morning.  It was at 8:00 am, at a parish in the town I live in, which to give an idea of the number of parishes I  live "near," I could probably go to around 20 different churches within a 10 mile radius of my house.  I have Catholic surrounding me.  Or so I thought when I moved here.....the truth is in the pudding so to speak.  City-data lists Catholics at 77% here..... 13% where I moved from.  I was sad to discover that  most of the  77% who identity as "Catholic" do so in name only........most do not attend Mass regularly,  and sadly, most do not attend Holy Days of obligation.

But I digress again....if only I could convince them of the healing power of the Eucharist.  They'd never miss Mass....

So it was 8:00am.  A "new" church.  Literally 2-3 miles from my house.....We go in and sit towards the front.  I felt like not doing the  front row today, because despite my children behaving better sitting up front, having to walk out of a new church with a screaming toddler yelling, "no mommy" wasn't exactly on my fun radar today.

Mass was great.  Priest gave a great homily.  Told us we should all be striving for  Heaven.  And if we follow God's commandments, all of them (he added that last part in a serious voice), we should get to Heaven.  It's our hope. It's our prayer. It's our goal.

During the course of  Mass, several exciting things happened.   I'll just make some bullet points...

1. #6 loves singing.  Loves "following along" with the book.  She was singing and  using the book and when it was over, tried to lower the book, and in the process, ripped the page right.out.of.the.book.  Perfectly ripped it out.  I  looked over at my 8th grader and mouthed the  words, 'perfect...'  The 8th grader giggled and took the book and tried her best to make it look like that page never came out..... it sorta worked....

2.  Collection today.  Nothing like a collection basket coming down your row and feeling like a cheap skate.  "oops."  I say to my 8th grader.  Perfect #2.  She giggled some more....

3.  To keep terrorist 1 & 2  occupied, the 8th grader gave them a few envelopes and pencils.  Unfortunately, the tinier of the two terrorists, started doing this insane scribbling thing and preceded to stab herself with the tiny little sharpened weapon, er, I mean pencil in the  process.  This produced a rather loud cry, the intitial, 'crap, momma, that  hurt....' and led into the full blown, 'I think my arm needs to be amputated now,' cry.  It was amazing.  Once again, I look over at the 8th grader and mouthed, 'perfect.'

4. Was the only one once again wearing a veil.  I keep hoping to one day 'run into' a kindred spiritual sister wearing her veil, wrestling with her kids....but I don't.  Pretty sure I'm the only weirdo crazycatholicmomma in the universe.  Some days I'm ok with that, but others, it gets kinda lonely.  Just keep telling myself, "Mary wears a veil.  Want to be like Mary.  The Eucharist is  my focus.  My veil allows me to humble myself (in more ways than one) before my Lord and Savior.....'

5. Mass ended with relatively little debacle after that and I even managed to get my 3rd grader to her school before it even started!  Score one positive for crazycatholicmomma today!

6.  8th grader begged that  I  'take my time' getting to  the middle school.  She didn't want to come back right before the bell rang and wonder where she should go.  So I obliged her by driving through Tim Horton's to get myself a coffee, some donuts, and water for all of them.  She seemed extremely grateful and when we dropped her off, she informed me  that she missed a test today!

Explains her compliance with missing class this morning...................

So that was my All Saints morning.  My oldest attended Mass last night because her volleyball  team has it's semi-final playoffs tonight and my son has to work at our parish as the sacristan during the evening Mass.  Hopefully the super hero hubs remembered to attend Mass at noon today downtown so we can watch the oldest play volleyball.....

It was chaos.  It was exhausting.  But I hope that I'm  setting that example for  my children to see, that even in the chaos, the  busy, the overwhelmed, that it is so important to stop.  Examine what it's important.  And celebrate those who have  gone before us and have "won the fight!"

God bless you today.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Real Life Screwtape Letters....

I finally did it.  I finally stepped away, deleted it from my phone, and walked to the other side.

I hopped off social media and it's been amazing.

I did hop back on yesterday to Facebook to post some hysterically old pictures of  my superhero hubs and I and our wedding party in honor of our 20th wedding anniversary.  The likes and  the comments made me feel good and suddenly that familiar feeling of, 'how many likes do I  have,' or 'Who has or hasn't commented yet?' started seeping in.

Like a fungus.

And then like everything else, I began to scroll through and waste time on social media and within minutes, felt my blood pressure rising as the political comments and storms and voices of highly opinionated  people continued to flood my feed.  So many people coming at odds with each other and the most disappointing aspect?

The people of my faith.  Catholics.  Each finding something to spew about each candidate.  How some are voting for the truly proven biggest pro-abortion politician to ever grace our political world.  How some are voting for the pig, narcissistic, woman grabbing, whore mongrel candidate. And how even some people are considering a third party vote, which if  anyone has ever taken a math class, would know that  there is no way on God's green earth a third party member will ever win. Which sucks, but it's true.....

Although I laugh about my vote in New York, it really is quite sad that my vote could potentially not really  matter in this or any election when there are so many people, extremely co-dependent on government assistance, voting one specific way every time.  It's high time the government cut the cord, so to speak, and  started teaching people how to fish, instead of feeding them constantly.

But I digress.

Let me back track to my original concern.  My Catholic peeps.

This election has truly brought out the ugly in all of us.  I can honestly say,  that  I have had my share of comments to people I felt were crazy.  I was beginning to be an angry person myself and found myself resenting people I had a great deal of respect for and admired tremendously.  I was losing my temper with my own personal family here at home, and avoiding friends at all cost.  Which isn't terribly hard to do as of  late, since my social life consists of mad dashes to Wegman's for lunch meat or BJ's for diapers.  Which, thanks to the political storm teams, has been ok by me!

I have read blogs, Facebook posts, Instagram accounts, news articles and heard people of  my faith, say things that I'm fairly certain, they would be extremely embarrassed to say if Jesus Christ was standing right there.  I just feel sick about it!  Do people not get it?  This is feeding right into the Devil's hands!  Hasn't ANYONE read the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis?  I can write a whole chapter on what Screwtape is writing to Wormwood right now....I won't, but I could, and it would go something like this:

"My Dearest Wormwood,

It's working quite well now, this subtle introduction to the  people of the Catholic faith that they are each, individually, far superior than their neighbor.  That everything they say is right and everything anyone else who disagrees is, well, wrong of course....You've done brilliantly in asserting ideas into their heads about the 'right' way to be, and  the 'right' way to vote and even such delusions in making them think that if they size it all up by stating 'mercy' and 'there are no lesser evils' than they'll be victorious!  The wonderful thing is, the division!!!  It started so many, many years ago, but this-this election!!  I could not have laid out the success of these results so far if I had tried! The division is spreading. They are definitely turning to Our Father Below without even realizing and turning away from The Enemy quite splendidly!
I wouldn't change a thing my dear nephew!  Keep convincing them that this divisiveness is for their own good, that this will "cleanse" the Church, and  that in the end, it is they who will be victorious, regardless of how their neighbor feels.  Glorious.  Our father below will be quite proud, quite proud in deed!"

Read the book if you haven't.  It's quite good and very relevant to today's times.

I don't know if I'll ever jump back on Facebook full  throttle again after this election.  I honestly, would  really like to find a farmhouse on some land, or a cabin in the mountains far off the grid.  I mean, extreme off the grid.  No cell phones, no computers, no nothing.  I have truly been in such better spirits stepping away.

It just seems we've all kind of gotten this really kind of narcissistic attitude about pretty much everything.  Oh I hear words like, mercy, and justice, but in the same voice I hear hurtful, ugly, words that wouldn't dare be uttered before, Him, so why utter them when not?

I have really tried to teach my kids to think about others all the time.  As kids, it's a struggle- and believe me, my husband and I are swimming upstream most days in this  teaching, but when we hear people close to us, condemning, judging, even yelling and swearing at others, or even just plugging their ears to avoid any kind of conversation, I really must wonder what type of society we're letting ourselves become.  As we get more and more advanced, and technology gets more and more creative, and literally seeping into every corner of our lives, where virtually nothing is silent and sacred and private anymore, we seem to be becoming more isolated, alone, depressed, and defensive.

Maybe it's just me.

Maybe everyone out there thinks this is all normal and par for the course of life.

Maybe that's why I won't have any trouble, hunkering down, and closing the door, and just enjoying doing what God entrusted me to do.  Raise my family.  Love my husband, welcome my neighbors, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and not update everyone on how I feel they are wrong and I am right.....always.... ;)..... Just a thought.....

Read "The Screwtape Letters" if you haven't.  It might surprise you how relevant it is today.....

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Never wish away the little years....

Seriously.  Where DOES the time go.  I can not believe it's been over two months since I  blogged.  I LOVE to write. I love to write about nothing. I love to write about everything, I love to write, write, write, and write some more.  I have got to be a better organizer of my time.

So it's August 25th.  Let's just recap a bit of the last oh, 11 weeks.

Kids finished school.  Summer started.  Crazy summer activities came into full swing.

Yep.  That's about it.

Ok, we have been extremely busy, but it's been a nice busy.  I have been struggling this summer with some serious nostalgia issues.  For whatever reason, this summer has been very bittersweet for  me.  I think it's a combination of my older two children getting older, my oldest is a junior in high school and  my second oldest is a sophomore.  They've always followed each other in school.  Now that  it seems they don't have much time together, I'm feeling this weird feeling.  My next one starts 8th grade so she's in her last transition before high school and they all three will be together for the first time since we lived in Arkansas.  I'm both excited and terribly sad for this event.   My fourth is getting home schooled this year.  We  are taking a year off of the girl drama and just focusing on our work and swim team and good friends.  It was a rough 5th grade year.  I'm finding the upper elementary gets more and  more toxic each year.  I could blame the obnoxious children who have everything, but in reality, it's us as parents.  We can't stop indulging our children and then justify it by saying fantastic things like,  "well, I don't want him to be the only one without, blah blah blah..."  Fortunately (for my hubs and  I) unfortunately for my kids, we don't subscribe to  that way of life.  My fifth is starting 3rd this  fall and she has my sixth grader's former teacher.   We love her.  We know she'll have a fantastic year.

But something all summer has been nagging  at my heart and it's been hard to put into words.  I feel like we have a very limited time to all  be together.  Now, before you  think the worst, I simply mean, next summer, I'm fairly certain my then 17 year old will have  a pretty consistent job, and she'll be getting ready for her senior year and then graduation and who knows where that will lead her.

I don't think I'm ready for them to grow up.

I'll say that again, because you'll see later, the irony in all of this.

I don't think I'm ready for them to grow up.

Yep.  That's it exactly.  I'm not ready for them to grow up.  And  I know I've had over 16 years to plan and  prepare for this and  yes I know my youngest is 19 months old and I've got quite a ways to go before I'll ever be an empty nester, but people- I  had a large family on purpose!  I love  these little minions.  They, each and every one, even the four in Heaven, have such a large chunk of my heart that the thought of one of them actually spreading their wings and flying away, makes me anxious.

Oh,  I know, they are supposed to....Yes, when you train a child up, he never strays, but  that's not what I'm getting at.

I know my kids are going  to be fine, even in this toxic world we are living in, because each and ever one of them brings a special kind of light to the world that it so desperately needs.

I know that the whole purpose in training a child  to be a good, holy example of love and  mercy and to be able to function in society is what my job is, and to help them get to Heaven, but even that is not what  I mean.

It's something  deeper.  It's something that started over 16 years ago.  When we  began adding one little human after  another in  our home  and people started wondering if we knew what we were doing  (day law could I write a book about the comments-  people- seven is no where CLOSE to Duggar standards, ok??) and some days I wondered if we knew what we were doing, too.

Those moments in the  middle  of the night when one or another was not sleeping, or would stare at my husband until he shrieked a girlish shriek, or when it was time to take  all five to Walmart, it sent  my heart into palpitations  until we returned and everyone was alive and I managed  to only forget about 6 essential items......

I never thought it would end.   I never thought I would sleep through the night again (that luxury is now debatable because at 43,  I  guess you reach a point where you're resigned to waking up at least once).  I never thought I would  be able to eat a meal without standing and  shoving it down, that my life was  virtually on hold  from about 11-3 every.single.day for lunch and  naps.  That taking a shower without a toddler bringing  a gallon of milk opened would ever end..... That loading up an abnormally large family would mean allowing for  at LEAST an extra  15 minutes  every time  we went somewhere.

But now?

Now, I'll probably never have the luxury of carrying  another  child (ok, I AM 43 and that is like 95 in Sarah and Abraham years....).  I'll probably never have the joy of feeling for the  first time that flutter, that little, take your breath away you just felt the baby kick, gasp of excitement.  I'll probably never have that experience of waiting and wondering just what he/she would look like, would he/she have hair, be long, be chubby (who am I kidding, I've never  had one under 8 pounds....)

That truly beautiful, emotional, stressful, time of  pregnancy.

I hear a lot of women say they don't ever want to be pregnant again.  They don't want x,y, and z to ever happen and I can understand to an extent.  I truly can't fathom vomiting every single day.  Pretty sure I would have less children if that had been that case....  but it really hit me hard this summer that my sweet little #7 was the last little baby I would  ever  have the honor of raising from conception  on.  And I'm  not alone in my thought-even though my kiddos tell me to have more babies (I did a GREAT job of hiding how miserable I was.....) the older ones say the same thing about #7.  They tell her all the time to stop growing and to  stop talking so much because it means she's getting older....

But it's even deeper than that.

Now, when I look at my 16 1/2, 15, 13, 11, 8, 3, and 19 month old?  I see just how quickly the time truly does go.  It goes.  And it goes, and  there is no stopping it.  There is no getting off the crazy train called earth to slow it down a bit.  It goes and  goes.  And they grow and grow and before long, those long nights of wearing the carpet at the foot of your bed down to a ragged path to calm a crying baby  are over.  Those nights of listening to the monitor to  make sure you don't hear anyone crying, are done (we don't do TV monitors, there are  some things I'm  pretty confident I'll never use....).  Those nights when you wake up because you heard something and you walk all.over.the.house to see if one of  them is up wondering around....

I see two high school kids who are  growing and maturing into two of the sweetest, kindest, most generous young adults I could ever have dreamed of them becoming.  The way they interact with adults, their manners, their beautiful smiles.

I see a middle schooler who, despite her own insecurities, brings a light of love into  the  room, even when she's 'annoyed' with us.  I see her and can completely imagine what she'll be like when she grows up- passionate, hard working, dedicated to whatever  she decides to do.

I see  a sixth grader who loves  her big sisters.  She has such a desire  to be a peacemaker  and  share with others.  I can see her heading off to a third world country after college to help bring a better way of life to others....

I see a spunky 3rd grader who fits the BILL for the "baby of the family" if any of you are familiar with the Birth Order Book by Kevin LeMay.  He was the baby of his family, so he's very familiar with that title....it could of been my #5 he wrote about.  Doing good  one  minute and causing all kinds of  trouble the  next.  She's a hoot.  But even now, I can see what might happen in the next few years with her as well....

Fortunately, I still have two not in school yet.  Funny how I say "fortunately."  Because for years, I mean, YEARS, I prayed all my kids would be in school, and as SOON as possible, so I could  have some time for myself.  Now, don't get me wrong, it's important to have time for you.  As moms, we  need to  be recharged and re-energized to be able to handle all the traffic that comes our way and it makes us better with our husbands, too.  But as far as the "fortunately" for me, I still have the opportunity to maybe be little less uptight, a little less rigid, and a lot more relaxed with these two.  I was a nervous nilly with my first two, three, heck, four kids.  ok,  five.  But now that I've  got such an amazing range of children, I can see something pretty incredible.

I wish I had never wished the little years away.

I will repeat that.

I wish I had never wished the little years away.

Remember what I said earlier?  I'm not ready for them to grow up???

I can't go back.  I can't change  things.  I can only forge ahead and take every single second I still have with these older ones and make some incredible memories.  That's all I can do.  I  can hope they forgive me for wishing they'd grow up, I can hope it didn't scar them into thinking I didn't love them as much as the little ones, and I can just love them at every single chance I'm given.  I can pray that they, too, understand that little feeling in their own guts that they miss being little, especially when they play with the two little ones.

That feeling is still there.  Deep in the recesses of my heart.  Knowing, that  one day, my "little" family is going to branch out and possibly be all over the world. For now, I will try to tuck that heartache away and remind myself of the heartache another mother I know, once had, when she was told that a sword would pierce her heart, too.

So Momma Mary, I ask you to  pray  for  me, and all my momma  friends out there  who might be struggling with their "little" ones growing up so quickly before their eyes.  I also ask you Our Heavenly Father, to bless and fill  the hearts of all of  us, but especially those young mommas  just starting this mothering journey.

 It's not an easy journey, and sometimes, even to this day, I throw my hands in the air and  tell Him, 'I don't know why you trust me with all these kids..... I can't do it......"  But then He fills my heart with a picture of my son feeding his baby sisters, or a picture of  my oldest after working so hard to make a team, and He reminds me that I'm not alone and I'm not doing this for me.  It makes it ok. God bless all y'all and hopefully I won't wait so long to write again.
Such a great big brother....

Made the Varsity Team!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

To Veil....

I can't believe it's been an entire month since I've typed up a blog.  It's not that there isn't anything crazy going on at crazycatholicmomma's house, for sure.  Chaos is an every.single.day.event.  Just this morning I was thinking about a friend of mine who has two young children and how she feels overwhelmed with mornings getting one out the door for school....

Try 5 out the door, 2 tazmanian nut jobs, and 1 incredibly tired momma..... And I got no "super hero" amount of energy.  I assure anyone, but I'm jumping ahead of myself....

To veil.

I have, for years now, been feeling this insane tug to wear a veil to Mass. 

Now, before all my cultural Catholics tell me it's outdated and I'm bringing Catholic women back into prehistoric, archaic times, hear me the heck out.

And, double NOW, before all my Catholic holier than thou, if you don't veil you're a loser, Catholic women start in with, "finally, we've swayed her to the right side," hear me out as well.

Neither one of you are correct. 

Ha.  So offend away, CrazyCatholicMomma.....

So years.  Years.  Years, I've been feeling this insane tug to get a veil.  And it's one of those, subtle tugs.  The one where you're in Mass in a strange town and you see a woman veil and think to yourself, 'wow, that's so beautiful, but I could never do that.  Like ever.'

I always tell me kids and anyone who asks, be careful what you say.  Be careful when you say, 'I'll never do........whatever....'

Because God has a way to soften your heart just when you think you're set on how your life is going. Like that time I told Him six kids was more than enough for me..... ha.  Good one, God!

And before I get to the beautiful scriptural and traditional reasons I want to veil, I just want to point out something that even Captain Obvious would be able to see....

It's not like I need anything else in my life to make me more of an attention getter.  I don't know about you, but when all nine of mine file into Mass (fairly early most Sundays, so it's not insanely obvious) we attract attention.  Lots of attention, because we sit on the front row.  You know, cause I'm egotistical like that. I LOVE everyone to see my business and what better place to sit than the front row so you.can.see.everything.  EVERYTHING.  Even when I decide to nurse a baby.  Oh yea, I'm that woman, too.  Making you sweat yet?  Hold on.  I will.

So we sit right up front.  When I have a little toot who either decides to belt out a scream that could wake the dead, or another toot who decides that at.that.moment. she is going to pee in her pants if we don't leave immediately, everyone sees it.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  We are seen. 

So putting on a veil and sitting there with Team Chaos?  Yea.  This wasn't something I accepted with Mary's fiat.  I was a stubborn, dumb, little 2 year old when God wouldn't leave me alone about it.  I mean, stubborn.

My convo with God went something like this:

God:  I would like you to veil. 

(ummm- clarification here-He did not speak to me in an audible voice- but that's the message my heart got-to veil)

Me:  hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahaha.  That was funny....

God:  I would like you to veil.

Me:  For real.  Good one.  I got enough on my plate. I like to blend into the walls.  I have a hard time with nine people blending.  Ain't gonna throw a veil in with it.... Thanks tho!  I think Jane down the road might be interested....

God:  I would like you to veil.

Me:  What?

God:  I would like you to veil.

Me: Is this a joke?

God:  I would like you to veil.

Me:  I think I must be hallucinating.  That's it.  Too many kids, not enough sleep, must be hallucinating....

God:  I would like you to veil.

Me:  I will pray about it, Lord.

That conversation went on for a while.  Like a few years.  When I finally agreed to pray about it?  The amount of signal graces that flooded me were crazy.  Articles I would come across about veiling.  Blogs, ads for Veils to purchase.  Running into people I knew who had family who veiled.  It was insane.  I mean, if you were me, you would run screaming the other direction it was so crazy.  But I kept seeing each one and telling Him I was praying but just wasn't sure.  I wanted to do it for the right reasons. I didn't want to do it because I thought I was better than anyone, or thought other women should follow my lead, in fact, I would be the first to tell you, don't!!  If you're doing it because someone else is doing it?  That's wrong!!  God's will should be the only thing that matters and today, I saw that.  Today I saw the words, "God's will should be all that matters."  Which was kind of my thank you from God for ordering the veil I ordered.  I haven't gotten it yet, it takes a few weeks, but when I do, I know, I'm certain, God will once again bless me with a  grace to not be afraid of wearing it.

But what started it all was an article I read that actually confirmed for me what I was worried about.

Does the Church speak against veiling?  Did it "do away" with it? 

What Happened to Headcovers at Mass?

This article was the first thing I came across when I wasn't even researching veils.  Just telling God I would pray about it.  Literally, people.  It was on my Instagram account I keep for our Catholic Women of Buffalo group for conferences.  I was blown away.

There is a video on that link at the bottom that was my second answer to veil.  It was beautiful and it summed up in words what I couldn't articulate for my own reasons to veil.  I had it in my heart for a while that I wanted to glorify God in the Eucharist more devoutly, more reverently, because my children, my husband and I (and half the congregation around me) were so distracted by this that and the other, that I felt in my heart, if I could sit there and reverence Jesus' body and blood, that He would be pleased with my feeble attempt to show Him we do love Him and we do worship Him.  I wanted to offer up all of my humiliation for Him, which believe me, if you don't think I suffer from humility with seven kids, you're crazy.  I wanted Him to see that this crazycatholicmomma, with her seven crazy kids and her awesome crazy superhero hubs, wanted to offer herself up, her humility, to glorify Him in the Eucharist.

Because you see, I have a very seriously awesome understanding that the Eucharist is the true body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.  And no matter if you just receive one species or both, you are receiving both His Body and His Blood.  Truly.  And His words are crystal clear in the bible.  Matter of fact, so clear, it baffles me how 1) people can "redefine" what he "really" meant and 2) people can walk away from the Catholic church.  Period.  Ever.  No matter how "misunderstood" they are about a certain teaching/issue, they can literally just walk away from His true, physical, presence.  His Body, His Blood, right there.  Not only that, but walk away from a piece of Heaven during the Mass.  No other faith believes what we believe.  NO other faith.  None. 

No one believes the host, communion, wafer, cookie, juice, wine, are truly Jesus Christ's Body and Blood.

That is huge and I can promise I'm speaking truth.  His words teach us.  John 6 is the best place to research this.  You can also see where St. Paul admonishes the people of Corinth for practices during the Eucharist that went against what he taught them, which makes it pretty profound that there was a certain way to celebrate the Eucharist (the Mass).

So when this idea of veiling was presented to me from God, I laughed because I already adored our Lord in the Eucharist and although not many people truly understand, or there would be standing room only even at daily Mass, I knew in my heart enough that I didn't need to glorify Him in some super obvious, trying to look holier than thou way.  At all.  No.way.  Not.happening.

But God has that way to really soften our hearts when it's something we really know in our hearts is something He wants...

Believe me, I'm in no way trying to convert women to my choice, it's purely out of reverence to my Lord and Savior.  His opinion is the only one that matters with this decision, I did put it by my superhero hubs and he didn't say it was a bad idea at all.  We already stick out in a crowd, pretty sure, one more thing to make us "noticeable" won't scar him too terribly....

But read the article I posted above.  Matt Fradd does a great job of pulling in scripture and tradition and canon law and it just affirmed for me my reasons. 

This blog appeared right before I ordered my veil.  I actually had a few veils in my cart before I came across this blog.  It was kind of funny how it appeared just at that time.... Hmmmm.... Grace....

Why I wear a Head Covering....

Yes, there are die hard Catholics out there who will believe I have been "swayed" to the right side, that we should ALL be veiling as women in the Church.  Yes, there will be progressive Catholics out there who will shout I'm a fool to bring back such ridiculous practices.... but I deal with a difference of opinion in my home about a gazillion times a day, so a few more unsolicited opinions on my life choices won't be the first, and certainly won't sway my decision. 

I want to glorify my Lord.  I want to cover my head so my focus is completely on His body and blood.  And I want to veil.

Most of the statues I have of the Blessed Mother in my home have Mary wearing a veil.  If it was ok for her, I think it's ok for me. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Maintaining the Chaos....

There are some crazy things that go on in my house.  Sometimes I'm terrified to blog/post on social media about some of it, because frankly, people are just a tad scary to me, and one day, I might find myself face to face with someone from the UFO siting team, or worse, some area 54 nut case, because some weirdo stuff from my house was spotted being flung out the windows, or over the roof, or worse- over my neighbor's fence.....

Other times I'm afraid to admit what goes on in my house because people are really extremely critical of others.  I find it rather revolting to see how easy it is for some to troll behind their keyboards....

There are some days, I swear I wake up and for the next 5-7 hours, I'm basically maintaining chaos.

I know, I know, before all my "know it all" friends, and complete strangers who feel compelled to say random things to me, spout it out- I DO KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED.

I do know that I have 75% more people than the average home holds under one roof, with, wait for it, ONLY 2400 sq ft.  (Don't get me started on the parent I had one year teaching who was building a new house because the 3000 sq ft home wasn't big enough for the 5 of them....)

I do know that when you put 5 school age children in one kitchen early in the morning when there is zero parental eye watching, chaos slowly turns to a mass mob scene, with food apparently flying, and dishes piling up to the ceiling in the sink.  Please explain how avocado gets on the door handle of the cup cupboard?  Cup cupboard.  That sounds ridiculous....

Does anyone in this house understand the concept that once you WIPE UP the giant blob of peanut butter with the wash cloth that you are to actually RINSE IT OFF?

No, they don't know that.  You wanna know how I know they don't know that?  Because, inevitably, I come downstairs and try to "maintain" the chaos, I see honey, or peanut butter, or some other kind of unidentifiable mess on the counter top and in haste, without checking, I grab the already soiled wash cloth, and proceed to wipe MORE CRAP on to the counter top with the already yuck there....

It takes about two hours and 15 minutes to get all 5 of my kids out the door.  Then the two little minions and I are left to asses the damage done.

Someone actually on this morning attempted to start to unload the dishwasher.  Kudos to the three plates that were removed.  Most likely to hold their breakfast....and they're all three probably back in the sink.  Heaven forbid we actually use the other 32 plates & bowls in the cabinets....

The avocado on the cupboard baffles me.  I see zero remnants of avocado.  I'm more worried in my haste yesterday, I missed that in which case, makes me nauseous, because perhaps, it's NOT avocado....

Hey, we have been sick here....

The high chair was not wiped out from dinner the night before.... I know, before you even say it, who makes their children wipe out the baby high chair?  Exactly.  The same person who makes her children load the dishwasher, wash the dishes, sweep the kitchen AND the dining room, wipe the table AND the chairs down..... Report me.  I am totally going against the grain here.....

The table, at first glance, almost appears clean, until you pull a chair out, and see that the shredded cheese someone ate as a meal last night is sitting in every.single.chair. in the dining room.  I really do not recall the person who just ate shredded cheese, because last night was another one of those, 19 events crammed into one night in May, nights, so we were busy trying to figure out how to bi-locate from one end of the town to the other end in less than 15 minutes AND get the oldest to volleyball practice clear on the other side of the galaxy.

You think I'm joking.

So the cheese in the seats.  I then realize I forgot to wear my house shoes.

There is one rule you must absolutely adhere with a large family.  I would suffice it to say, any family, but I am pretty sure my kids combined are nastier than 82 families combined, HOUSE SHOES.


Someone made fun of me for calling my slippers HOUSE SHOES...... who doesn't call them that?  She asked if I was from another country..... I believe she may have insulted me and my peeps.  Perhaps us southerners transplanted to Yankee Snob land can teach these "slipper" wearers, a few new terms..... Like Y'all.  I can not handle it when people without the proper southern twang try and say that word.....  It ain't right.  That word too.  Although, I'll be honest, I've not heard many Yanks use ain't.  And it IS in the dictionary.

So HOUSE SHOES (why does my computer keep all capping that????) are an absolute MUST in my home on the hard wood floors.  So I was surveying the damage in the dining room, all the cheese, when I realized, after stepping on a pile of crumbs, I was NOT wearing them.  I felt nauseous.  I ran and immediately slipped them on.  Ahhhh.  Slippers.... I get it....
I still like HOUSE SHOES better.

So the scraps of crumbs all over the dining room.  The food from perhaps three days ago.  I have a few children, who when it's their turn to sweep, take the broom, walk in the dining room, lay the broom on the ground.  Walk around with it for a minute or two for full effect, and walk out, stating rather boldly, "I'm done!"

That little potzy scheme worked on my for a while until I would be sweeping the next morning some times and have enough crumbs and leftover food in the dustpan to create an entire meal for the gazillion ants that are taking over my kitchen.  I wised up, and now when I hear the "declaration" of being done?  I immediately (if I'm home and not bi-locating all over town) go and inspect.

I know what you're thinking.  No really I do.

Seriously, crazycatholicmomma, you are a bit much.  Like a drill sergeant.  Well, fortunately for my kids, they are going to either grow up and have developed some decent work habits, or they're going to grow up and live like slobs.  There'll be no in between in my children's worlds.  I'm hoping they will develop a great work ethic.....unfortunately, it might kill me in the process......

So I maintain the chaos.  I keep things in semi-working order.  I know from the outside looking in, it would not give that appearance.  There's a good chance on most days, I'm in my work out clothes, hahaha...giving the appearance of working out.  There is a constant sticky sensation on my floors. I have actually gotten on my hands and knees to scrub the floors- to no avail- someone that night or the next morning inevitably spills milk. I maintain 5-6 loads of laundry a day.  Laundry I don't mind doing, or folding, but when my kids fail to take their piles to their rooms and they stay on the kitchen table for days on end, or they're actually picking out their wardrobe from the table?  Or they have giant piles of clean clothes in their room, on the floor, on their bed, and sometimes actually sleeping with their clean clothes- that drives me bonkers..... Washing and folding clothes has actually become very peaceful for me. I try to not only think about the child who's clothing I fold, but I try to say a prayer for that child.  Or have a conversation with God about that child.  How I wish they would do this, or Lord, help them with this....etc. etc.  It's helped me take a once daunting chore and find peace in it.

Now if I could only find peace in cleaning the kitchen.  That would be fantastic.

Monday, May 2, 2016

To Home School or Not....That is the question....

Once again, I am now faced with a dilemma.  It's not a bad dilemma.  In fact, sometimes I wish I had done this from the get go with all of my children, but, well, before I jump ahead and confuse you anymore, let me explain what I'm contemplating....

My #4 child, #3 girl, is in 5th grade.  She has always loved school.  We moved to New York right before she started Kindergarten, so she is the first child to be in this school district, from the start.  Well, that's not entirely true, I did send my #5 to UPK, but that was only because she was receiving speech and was home with me all day, and I thought being around other minions like her, she'd learn language faster.  Still debating that one.

But my #4 child was sick with the fever virus last week.  She was home with me and the two littlest minions for three days.  It was a lot of fun, despite her illness.  It's amazing how Tylenol and Ibuprofen can make a child appear incredibly healthy.  But during our time together, we had lots of time to talk.  It was so much fun to chat with her.

She became rather distraught during a portion of our conversation in regards to school.  Like I said earlier, my daughter LOVES school.  Since Kindergarten, she has had the most awesome teachers we could ever be blessed to get.  Even this year, she was blessed to be on the same team that my son who is a freshman in HS had when he was in 5th grade.  WE LOVE THESE TWO LADIES!!

But she began to cry when she started talking about her friends.  She was very upset about missing school for two reasons.  One of course, because the workload that has been increasing by the mound-full since the inception of CC is a daunting task for any 10 year old who has missed three days, but two, because she felt bad leaving another friend of hers alone in the classroom because there was another girl who was on vacation last week and so this girl was alone.

Of course, in true "healing" spirit, my daughter likes to fix things and make things right and protect people.  I asked her why she felt bad leaving her alone and she said it's because the other kids in the classroom are really mean to them.

Now, sometimes, I have to put an ounce of "-isms" on my kids stories.  They come by embellishing naturally, so I basically take their name, for example, crazycatholicmomma-ism, and decipher what they mean for real by their story.

She is convinced there are a large group of kids that do not like her.  Or apparently this other child.  I told her to please focus on herself for this moment so I could understand what it was exactly these children did to my daughter to make her feel that way.

She listed the usual culprit first.

"I don't have an iPhone, Mom.  Kids bring their iPhone's to school and make fun of me because I don't even have an iPod."

Parents- I can't tell you enough, how much I THANK you for purchasing such ridiculous pieces of equipment for your 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 year olds.  seriously.  I know you feel justified... I know, your six year old has a demanding job and is in constant need of knowing things IMMEDIATELY and has to text her besties in the next desk over at least 10 times a second.

I get it.

No really,

I get it.

Anyway, since I am never wavering from my "you don't get an iPhone until you are either in HS, or you pay for it yourself" stance, I asked her to move on.  I will not allow my children to bring such expensive and completely unnecessary 'mini computers,' not 'toys' to school when they're in elementary school.  Just ridiculous.   But I digress.....

Don't even get me started on allowing your child to lie about their age on these apps.

So, she continued.

"They make fun of my hair. " (for real?)  Of all my kids, she has some of the best hair!!  Braids great, goes up smooth in a pony tail, come on people.

"They make fun of my clothes."  This one really bothers me because we preach about recycling, not making any more earth, reuse, blah blah blah- until our kids need clothes and it's a brand new wardrobe per season, per kid!!  I actually had a woman tell me several years ago that she wouldn't dream letting her younger daughter wear what her older daughter wore, because, are you ready?

Four years would have passed between the girls!


God help this country.

So, once again, I explained to Gi how blessed she was that she had two older sisters that were about her size at her age and how blessed she was to get to wear clothing that might not be new, but certainly wasn't clogging up some warehouse somewhere, or lying in a dumpster waiting to fill the landfills.

She wasn't buying that one either.

She went on.

"They make fun of how tall I am."  Alrite.  I get it.  But I told her, God makes no mistakes.  NO MISTAKES.  He made her the beautiful, tall, skinny, great swimmer, needs glasses, adorable blond, young lady and she needs to embrace it, and forget about the other kids who are not kind.

Well, the conversation got a little better as we talked about school and learning and how important learning is when she suddenly stopped and asked me the question....

"Mom, can you home school me next year?"

Gulp.  My first instinct was no.  Not happening. I've got two minions at home that keep me insanely busy. I take about half a day to clean the kitchen after the tornatic breakfast that occurs and school lunch making party that insues, I barely have any 'me' time as it is, now to consider schooling another child?  A sixth grader no less- I don't do fifth grade math very well, let alone sixth grade math!!

I told her I didn't know.

She asked again, but a bit more persistent.

"Can we ask dad?  Can we at least think about it?"

So I proceeded to give her all the reasons she wouldn't like it.

You won't see your friends.
You won't be in the high band anymore.
You will be with ME all day.
You will be with two little bitty annoying monsters ALL DAY.

She said that was ok.  She said she would talk to her dad about it and see what he thought.

Of course, what we have to realize is, my #4 daughter is my husband's mini-me.  She's just like him, looks like he did as a kid, and has all of his mannerisms.

He simply said, "Honey, if your mom wants to, I'm fine with it."


Now, before anyone asks the big S word- Let me make something very clear about home schooling vs. school schooling.  (hmmmmmm, is that even a thing?)

That whole notion that kids need "socialization?"

Cover your ears kids....

That's nothing more than bullshit.

You wanna know what "socialization" my kids get from school?

In the upper elementary, they learn the words, bitch, shit, damn, stupid, (sorry, that's a nasty word in my world).

Lyrics to songs that talk about having sex, stalking boys, and other fantastically appropriate things that look so "adorbs" coming out of a 10 year old....

They  learn to see kids trip other kids in the hallway and laugh.  They learn how to be mean to kids without getting caught.    (they can do that here at home for free...)

They learn that kids can have Kik, facebook, and other social media apps on their devices, and strangely be too young to even have an account.  (now that's the kind of socialization we should be MOST proud of!!) Kids- here's how to break rules and it be TOTALLY ok because MOM LET YOU!!

In middle school they  learn the same words as above, plus the bonus words like f**k, c**t, p***y, and other fantabulous slang words for male and female body parts.

They learn how kids can sneak across the street after school and smoke their cigarettes while the principal can only stand there watching.

They learn to sneak their make up to school, their inappropriate short skirts (bought/and or approved by mom and dad!!!) and dress completely different than they left for school!

They learn to laugh at the kid who fell and dropped their books!

Shall I, or DARE I go into what fantastic social skills they learn in HS?

I won't.  Suffice it to say, it's rated R and some days, makes my stomach hurt and causes me to want to be in my closet, rocking in the fetal position.

But we are worried those poor home schoolers are going to be sheltered idiots when they head out to the real world?

Actually, sheltered is ok these days.  It gives us, the parents, a chance to process the crap in the real world, and teach it to the kids at home in a loving, safe environment and I'm ok with that.

So, the socialization thing is not a concern at all.

What concerns me the most is the bizarre state rules my district adheres to in regards to informing the district, sending in grades, etc etc.  I get so anxious about it, it makes my heart palpitate.  Oh wait, maybe that's the coffee I'm drinking....

But it's not an easy road.  I worry that she will wish she hadn't asked.  I worry that she will resent me.  I home schooled my now 7th grader the second half of 5th grade and it was the best decision we ever made.  But so was sending her back to 6th grade and getting the nicest, quietest teacher in the building who loved my daughter.

So that's where we are.  To home school or not.  I can get plenty of resources.  I know she will learn.  I have no doubt she will enjoy the work I pick for her because it's not monotonous, repetitive crap that comes home weekly from this common core nightmare.

I love reading to my kids, so finding some good, quality literature to read together and work on is fun for me.  I love reading, writing, and english.

Math will be tricky, but there are so many online programs out there now, that basically teach the class from the computer that I can almost rest assured she'll be fine there.

Having an older child home with the little ones is actually very fun for the little ones.  My 7th grader loved my little Taz home with us and Taz LOVED her big sis home and reading to her.

The way the schools are going these days with the whole gender/sports/locker room/bathroom policies, I may be homeschooling more children in the very near future.  Because the districts are clearly not going to do anything for the children who actually might be uncomfortable with the changes..... (and that's ok that they're uncomfortable).

So I have lots to pray about.  Maybe about two months to make a decision before I need to inform the district.  Too home school or not..... So pray for me please.  And my little Gi!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A whole lotta nakedness.....


Yea.  Just adorable. 

This is what goes on in my house.  On a daily basis.


A whole lot of nakedness.

Mostly of the younger variety-thankfully.  No one needs to see the two 40+ adults walking around like this trying to put their feet in a Fisher Price airplane while sitting NAKED on the, more than likely, super dirty wood floors....  Makes me feel a little nauseous just typing it...

But today, especially, the little Taz is refusing to get dressed.  Matter of fact, for the longest time this morning, she walked around with her adorable Frozen underwear, which I'm ok with most days, minus the fact it's 8 degrees outside.  But at what point she decided underwear wasn't necessary today alludes me- she came running into the kitchen, which I was cleaning, yells to get my attention, and almost looks as though she's saying, "Ta-da!"

I stood dumbfounded.  I was cold.  Wearing a thick sweatshirt and sweatpants, I couldn't get past the fact that she wasn't freezing to death.  There is a false sense of warmth coming into the house from the sliding glass door, and it does feel delightful, but I don't think I could even just walk around in my underwear, let alone my birthday suit on this single digit temperature day....In April....

Speaking of nakedness.  As I sit here, listening to classic "Mother Angelica Life" stories, and reflecting on the three year's clothing, or lack of clothing choice, and watching the one year old dig in the trash can..... I have so much to think about and pray about.

Right now, I'm in need of some prayers.  I am having some physical issues, and of course, in true healthcare fashion, I can't see the specialist I need to see until July because it's been four years, so apparently I was booted as a patient.  Go figure.  I don't NEED the specialist for four years (I consider that a good thing....) but I'm punished for being healthy by being booted off their list as a patient.  So now I get to fill out the novel they will mail me and wait three months and hope my pain doesn't kill me before then, or I lose my mind..... Cause you know how pain works.  It's easy to believe you can offer it up and work through it, smiling and saying, "Thank you, Lord, for this amazing pain, that is causing me to not sleep, not feel good, and not function normally..... I will dutifully serve my family with a smile and a nod and know my pain is being offered up for souls in purgatory, or those struggling, or anything...."

It doesn't work like that for me.  I think it's why I've been spending so much time listening to Mother Angelica because she was in pain for most of her life and I keep thinking something will rub off on me and I can tolerate mine a bit better....

But I'm sitting here reflecting on my own "nakedness."  Lord, no, I don't mean my physical nakedness, ain't no one got time for the therapy to recover from that.....

But my ability to just tell it like it is and offer people a glimpse into my own heart, my own mess.  Cause my life is super crazy messy and if you know me, you know, I struggle!!  I struggle, I pray, I struggle and pray but I don't want to be a negative burden on people.  I just want to give those with the same struggles the same hope I have.  That my life, behind my closed door, is just as messy and yucky at times as anyone else's.  Sometimes, I think more!! I have seven times more opportunities to screw kids up, seven times more opportunities to be about as messy as it can get!!

I will say this about it, though.  I've spoken to more people than ever, who have this incredible false sense of what my family is.  They see us march into Church, march into the front pew, and look semi decent as we sit through Mass (they really should see us when someone under the age of 4 decides a 'middle of Mass' temper tantrum is in order...).

But they don't really see us.  I guess that's mostly my fault.  I do try to clean them up and put them in their Sunday best for Mass. It's always been important to me that we dress up for Mass.  They do look dirtier, tattered, and messier during the rest of the week.  None of my children really get new clothing, well, except the 6'1" girl.  No one has hand  me downs for someone that tall anymore in my life- so my kids clothing is not new.  I did order them new Easter outfits this year.  We hadn't done that in a long time and they needed some new dresses and it was fun buying nice clothing. But only the three girls in the middle got brand new dresses.  The younger two had some beautiful hand me downs that looked brand new and my son only got a shirt and tie and my husband got  nothing.... :)  He likes it that way, tho.  Suits haven't been on his list of importance since we moved here six years ago.

Perhaps I should bring some of my "nakedness" to church one day and let people see us for what we really look like.  Here are a few thoughts you can visualize:

Taz will undoubtedly have at least three, maybe four headbands and quite possibly no underwear on, and perhaps no clothing.  Maybe a princess crown if we're all very lucky.

The baby will just be sporting a diaper.  She hasn't ripped the diaper off in a few weeks, so there's a good chance it will stay on for Mass.  Forget shoes and definitely forget socks.  They're the first things to come off in the car....

The  seven year old will come to Mass with her hair looking like we just pulled a robin's nest  out of it and her teeth will have food in them- she brushes her teeth about as often as there is a leap year...

The ten year old is learning  how to groom herself a bit better, but she is getting into this really bad habit of wearing leggings without shirts long enough to cover her toosh- now, before all the "haters gonna hate-leggings ARE pants" ladies start chiming in, leggings wouldn't be called leggings if they were pants.   They're called leggings because they cover the legs, not the arse- ya still need to cover that thang up.  IMO.  Enough said.

The twelve year old, going on 26 will be the most well groomed of them all, but if I told her to come 'as is?'  She'd show up in her sweat pants and sweatshirt and might be sporting shoes, might not.   That's completely up in the air, depending on her mood and if the moon and stars aligned correctly.

The 14 year old is probably the worst.  I know it's because he's a boy, but at what point do boys DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES the importance of cleanliness?   You know, bathe after the smell starts gagging even yourself?  Brush your teeth when you can smell something that resembles a rotting corpse?  Floss the food out of your braces, or wipe the milk mustache off?  That's how he'd show up.  Wearing, of course, a pair of yard jeans (usually 2 sizes too short) and a ratty t-shirt.  His go-to weekend outfit....

The 16 year old would be wearing volleyball clothes.  Shorts and a t-shirt with tennis shoes.  Hair up, and quite possibly looking like she just woke up.

If my husband were to come as is, he'd be sporting something that didn't match.  He does not pick out his own dress clothes and it's a serious matter.  He isn't color blind, that I know of, but he does make me wonder sometimes.   He'd be wearing shorts and a t-shirt that is no less than 20 years old (I don't know if he has many that are newer than that....) Probably his tennis shoes, not tied.  (but he'd still be super cute...)

I would be dressed as I am today.  At least I did get out of PJ's.  I am wearing sweat pants, a sweat shirt I stole from my sister a million years ago from my college alma mater that is literally shredding, and socks.  My hair has one of Taz's headbands she "allowed" me to wear (such a sweet sharer) and there is not a drop of make up on my face.  I only put my contacts in because the sun was so bright I was getting a headache wearing my glasses....

So there you have our nakedness.  All of it.  Would we still be judged as the family that looks  perfect?  Has no issues?  Doesn't worry about the world, or what it will do to our kids?  I hope not.  I might have a few more children than most, but we all wake up, and get out of bed on one side of it or the other, the same way, one leg at a time.... We do things a little different over here, but I like how we do things.   It isn't perfect.  It isn't even close.  Matter of fact, we'd probably shock a few people with our "realness" if they were to come over.... :)  

I hope you have a great rest of the week.  I'm sitting here watching my Taz snooze on my bed. She's just revving herself up for the afternoon chaos I say.  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What do your Demons look like?

Because we all have them..... that attachment to sin.  That conscious choice to choose wrong from right... Mine come in many forms.... I've blogged before about the ugly green monster- the jealousy I struggle with. Gossip is another one.  Little did I know that even discussing another person period is apparently considered gossip.  No wonder my friends don't talk to me much anymore!! But my 40 days during Lent, I did a pretty good job of letting go of that vice....not that I won't fall off many more times...but I am, as I have stated before, a work in progress.

But we all have those things that drag us down.  Pull us under.  Allow us to sit and stew in our juices of whatever....envy, sloth, despair, etc.  I have allowed it to almost make me feel obsolete in many ways.  Over one silly comment someone made years ago- but I still hear that comment in my head as though it's said freshly, every single day.

That is how the enemy works.....tearing us down, one comment after another...

I allow that demon to bring me down, make me feel inferior.  Make me feel that I can not measure up up to even the smallest of standards in my faith or with others of my faith....It's really a horrible place to be, I find myself retreating to my home and staying there for longer and longer periods even when I know I need to be out.  I find that the more I think about it, the more it surrounds every thought and moment of my day...It's almost as if there is a power holding me down, physically at times!

But this week is Easter.  And I'm trying with all my heart to tell those demons to get lost....to really embrace what it means for Christ to have conquered death...it's so hard, though.  The daily grime of life and the influences of society and culture can really lead us down very dark and disparaging roads...

I am reminded of a piece of art in the Vatican Museum.  I was privileged to be able to afford a trip to Rome three years ago and the Vatican Museum is just FULL of amazing artwork.  Art is how we communicate.  Before the bible was translated and even put together, beautiful art work hung and lived on the walls in the churches.  But before I get off on another squirrel tangent, there is a piece of art that is on the ceiling in the museum.  I'll try to find a picture of it to put on here...

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This is the ceiling at the museum.

You really have to sit down and look up to get a great view of this painting right smack dab in the middle of the ceiling.  Which we did.  For a while.  

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This is a close up of the painting

I've read various accounts of the meaning behind the portrait and how it was shameful that an emperor would commission Christians to destroy Roman statues, etc, but seriously, I'm fairly certain the meaning behind this picture is completely lost on people who view it as a travesty to destroy Roman statues....Roman statues- seriously- the Roman Empire?  Anyone remember anything about the Roman Empire?  Hello fellow Christians!  They persecuted Christians.... this picture (painted by Raphael -who is subsequently buried in the Pantheon in Rome)is a fresco (which frescos are a type of painting done on the walls and flash photography and light can actually (and have) damage the pictures-which is why in the Sistine Chapel you are not allowed to take pictures of the paintings (oddly enough, people are still disrespectful)...but this picture symbolizes the Christian faith- outliving the Roman Empire- that Christ, on the Cross, defeated not only sin and death, but proved that His Kingdom would outlive earthly Empires!  The Roman Empire being the first! 

So this giant piece of artwork.  It reminds me  of what it's all about.  What Christ truly did for all of us.  Me included.  It's so hard at times to really believe He would do that for someone like me- even reading one of my favorite stories, the Prodigal Son, and seeing what a mess that son made of his life, and knowing God took him back- with open arms- I still struggle with accepting that He could do the same for me and I don't think I've done NEAR what the prodigal son did...I'm more like the selfish older brother..... 'why does HE get the fatten calf?  Am I not constantly trying to do the right thing?  Wah, wah, wah, wah.'   

Yea.  That's me....

So these demons that speak softly to my mind about how messed up I am and how messed up I'm making my kids and why even bother and blah blah blah, you don't measure up to anyone, why not just give up.......keep harassing me.... 

I just don't understand why.  I do understand that the harder we try to live good lives of holiness and pass on our faith to our children, the harder the evil one wants to discourage us.  I get very tired of people who try to discredit evil.  I watched a movie about Padre Pio a few weeks ago, he's always been one of my favorite saints, but that movie?  It assured me that the devil is real, he sends evil to everyone and those who live lives of complacency?  Perhaps are just not as bothered by them because they could care less about religion, faith, and eternity with God.  It's not important to them, so in a sense, they're already in the corner with evil.  

But why is there this darkness?  I pray.  I  know I don't pray like I should. I sometimes get so down on myself because people tell me to pray the Rosary, pray Novenas, pray chaplets, blah blah blah and I start, I try, but I never finish. I never do it.... I used to pray the Rosary daily.  I used to pray the 15 prayers of St. Bridget DAILY!  For YEARS!!  I used to get the kids to sit down before bedtime and we'd rattle off a rosary together as well....

But now?  

Nothing like that.  

I guess I shouldn't say nothing like that.  I do try to pray with my husband daily.  We try to read the readings for Mass and the reflections and read about the saints for the day and the bible verse for the day.... 

I engage in constant conversation with my Lord.  And it's not always the pleading, "Dear Lord, if you don't rescue me from these tiny terrorists, someone is going to be in very big trouble...."

I talk to Him throughout the day.  constantly.  Probably almost annoyingly.  I talk to Padre Pio.  (I swear he hears me...)  I talk to lots of saints.  I now talk to Mother Angelica.  

But I don't do a lot of the formal prayer anymore, not consistently and it's been making me feel I'm a loser of a faith person.  The demon is using that against me!  

Here is what I hear:

"You don't pray the Rosary  like so and so.  They go sit in the Adoration chapel for 12 hours a day and pray nothing but the Rosary.  You're a loser..."

"Can't finish that Novena?  hahahahaha.  You suck, you faith filled wanna be...."

"You mean you don't pray this for so and so? Why even bother with yourself??"

I am NOT kidding!!  I really do hear these voices!   Ok, the 12 hours in adoration might be an exaggeration, but you get the point....

I am getting to the point that I don't even trust myself to evangelize to others!   My Jehovah friends, for instance.  My husband got so mad at their "propaganda, anti-Catholic thought" that he yelled them out of our house and they haven't been back!!!  I kept saying I was just grooming them to feel comfortable, but truth is, every time they came, I begged God to give me something, ANYTHING to tell them that would have them recognize the errors  in their translations, but nothing came....
That was back in SEPTEMBER!!!

I've not seen them since....

So I have to wonder why this evil continues to drag me down!  Why can't I just wake up, pain free, dark voice free, and go on with my life....

It's not as clear as one would think....

Dark times happen to lots of people and apparently, Mother Theresa was plagued with it almost her entire life.  I should feel better that I'm in good company, but in the same breathe, I don't.  I'm not Mother Theresa!  I'm only charged with caring for seven little minions and one amazing super hero husband and I'm not doing that entirely well, either! 

I thought when my superhero hubs and I decided that we would stick it out in snowland for at least another 10 years or so, that I would experience a sense of peace. Ahhh, I thought....  This is our home, this is where we will be for a while, let's get to work and get some things done and enjoy it.  But instead?  I feel even more lost and confused.  I've been second guessing our decision daily, and questioning whether or not this is really where God wants us....

I mean, who doesn't like a place where it's  cold 9 months out of the year....

Ok, not really.  But the lack of bugs and spiders does make it a nice choice.....

So why this unrest?  I really have no idea.  I get so angry with myself and pray even harder for God to remove this yuck from my brain, but it's still there.  Like an Eeyore cloud, following me everywhere I go and I hate it!   Sad people, I'm talking about the people you have to cheerlead from sun up to sun down, suck the life out of people.  I can't handle it at times.  I had to sever a friendship a decade ago because the person could just.not.find.anything. to be happy for or about!  I was becoming as negative as her and my husband said, "enough is enough....please remove yourself from her presence...."   
So here I am.... almost like her!!  I do try to not let it leak out.  I save it up for my husband, who reminds me that I must learn to seek joy even in the yuck because I affect my family.  When I'm dark, the Eeyore cloud is over all of us.  Me, my husband, and my kids... It's not fair to them....

So, I have no answers today.  I have no light, or clue, or anything.  I do see sunshine.  Finally.  It's beautiful outside.  Albeit cold.  So I'll hold onto the sunshine.  I'll hold on to the conversations I have with all my saints in Heaven and with Jesus.  He can put up with my crazy better than anyone...

Blessings this Easter Day 2 to all of you.....

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My friend....