Monday, February 28, 2011

A Dried Out Log

That's what I am and I believe it is a good thing.  Let me try and explain...

At the new year, I had no idea what was in store for my faith nor the ride that I was about to embark on.  I went from soaring heights encouraged by the beautiful liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas to the deepest of lows...a barren valley....only to find myself settling into a new and peaceful norm.

I had found the new "maximum"  was my old "minimum".  But that new "maximum" was filled with might and  quality and came from the depths of my being.
It ushered in a peace that took root and grew and grew.

I had explained this powerful journey to an old friend.  She finished the thought by telling what St. John of the Cross taught....

Our formation can be compared to the Jewish sacrifices of burnt offerings in the old testament. We must be completely consumed by God; completely with nothing of our SELF that remains. It’s like trying to burn a log. If it’s fresh off the tree, burning a green log straight off the tree is impossible or at the least, every difficult. In order for God to completely consume us, he must dry us out first just like a wood must dry before being consumed by fire. If there is any moisture left in the wood, you will see its remains after the fire goes out. Our goal is to embrace our sufferings, our trials, our tribulations in order to give up our most tenacious spots of self so he can dwell completely in us.

Pretty deep, huh?  (I have the best  faith conversations with this old friend!)

But I understood it... and she understood it...and we both realized that I was now a dried out log!  :) 

I am so ready for my Lenten season.  In a way,  I believe my Lenten journey began a couple of months ago. 


An update on my home and health::

I have been an excellent patient.  As they say in Texas, this isn't my first rodeo.  My family needs me healthy so we all took diligent care of  "me" the past few days.  I stayed in bed or on my recliner all weekend and found my body slowly recovering.  I am definitely on the mend.

David has done an awesome job juggling all fronts.  Hands down, the best.  I love him so much!

The littles are coming around nicely as well.  Their spirits improve each day, and with a couple of birthdays coming up and a big visit from Grammy just days away, they have a lot to look forward to this coming week. I love them so much!

I have had friends drop dinners and desserts off throughout the weekend.  The gift of friendship is absolutely amazing and brings me to tears when I think of their generous gestures.  I love them so much!

Prayer is powerful and I know our recovery is going smoothly because of those prayers.  Thank you all.  I love you all so much!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Home and Recovering

Hi Everyone.  Praise God that my surgery went smoothly...not one hiccup. 

Fabulous new medications for anti-nausea have come out since my last surgery and it felt great recovering with out the puke pan:)

I was discharged by 11am and am now home resting comfortably for the next few days. 

P.S.  My anesthesiologist looked and sounded exactly like my priest!  Talk about a physical sense of comfort!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ready and Waiting

I have my surgery scheduled for 7:15 am tomorrow.  I am ready.  So ready. 

The best peace of mind came through the gift of reconciliation this evening.  It completed me.  It was my missing piece of the puzzle. 

I'll let you all know how things go as soon as I can.  I know you all are praying.  As I have written before, simply saying "thank you" seems inadequate.  But, I do thank you as does David.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Cup Is Half Full

I always wanted children.  I loved growing up in a very large family and had always dreamed of having a large family myself.

Well, I have eight children.  

As of yesterday, we found out that yet another is in Heaven and so my earthly cup is now half full.

We  have four beautiful beings to behold and treasure on earth and four beautiful angels beholding our Lord's face in Heaven.

I am at peace.  Oh, it hurts.  A lot.   My face looks rather bloated today from our tears of sorrow, but I am at peace.   I can find God's blessings in this craziness.  They came in four shapes and sizes: Sally, Ester, Mabel, and Stan.

You see, once we found ourselves back in the woods after we believed that we had miscarried,  the excitement and love of our children just overflowed their cups and filled up our own. 

Where as adults we tend to hesitate and "think", children just "be".  Where we wanted to protect them and tell them not to "get ahead of themselves," we found ourselves being shielded from our own negative thoughts and worries by those four children.

Their pure love, utter joy, and total excitement was contagious; infectious.  We could not help but live these past few weeks in joy and thanksgiving.

Truly a blessing.

So I reach out for them now.  They need your prayers.  They have their own valley to walk through now and I pray for their own peace to soon fall upon them.

Jesus, I trust in you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Date With Dad

Some years back, David started taking the girls, one-by-one, on  "dates".  They LOVE it! 

It got away from us over the past eight months or so.  Sunday, it was finally Mabel's turn.  She was totally excited.  Can you tell?

Around New Year's weekend, we received a coupon in the mail for discount bowling and a free pizza at this new bowling alley that had recently opened  for business.  Mabel claimed it saying they could use it for their "date". 

Sunday was their date and off they went.  David took these photos with his phone...

David said she was a real, wild bowler.  Ya think?!  I guess it didn't help that the smallest ball they could find was a 7 pounder.

She still scored a 77 without using the metal brace.

And then it was time for that free pizza.

They came home all smiles. 

Daddy/daughter dates started after he read Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker, M.D.  He wants to always be their hero.  A hero in the sense that they can always come to him; turn to him, no matter what their age or the circumstance they may find themselves in.

(The book has some pretty startling facts in them...ones you would not want any young eyes to fall upon.) David highly recommends it to other fathers of daughters.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Now We're Talking!

 Spring has sprung. 

We have sleepy little buds starting to awake in the warm sunshine.  Wasps are coming out of hibernation to suck up that nectar. 

Windows open, fresh-smelling air, playing hard outside, and pleasant evening weather makes for the perfect sleeping pill.

Our weather has been heavenly for the past 8 or 9 days...and  I say that knowing full well that this is Texas...which means it can change quickly in the spring. 

If we do have a day with the yucky stuff...well, as they say in Texas, "If you don't like the weather, wait till tomorrow."

Totally true! 


And as spring is starting to awake, stretch and yawn with its sunshine-filled days....I think that I'm coming out of the sick-feeling stage. 

I think

The past few days have been really good.  Our minds are funny machines....where I look forward to feeling good, I start to grow concern when I do feel good.

I go back for another doctor visit Tuesday morning.   I am not quite 100 % confident in this pregnancy...(those former miscarriages really reek havoc on the mind)...but, I am peaceful.  I have found such peace in knowing...really knowing...that God is in control and that I trust Him -  completely.

As my mother told me some weeks ago, "God brought you to this, He will bring you through it."

And boy! have they come out with some new products since I was last pregnant (eight years ago.)

Check this out::

From the front...can't see any problem, right?  But the side view shows that my pants are NOT going to button or zip shut anymore.

A friend has lent me this black Bella Band.  It! Is! Awesome!  I can wear it over my regular pants/shorts and it keeps them up.  Why didn't someone think of this  product years ago?!

That is a 10 1/2 week bump.  


With this gorgeous weather comes terrible allergies.  Sally and Stan have both been hit hard and it settled in their chests.  Both had to have their antibiotics switched to stronger ones.

Ester is holding her own...but she has allergy-induced asthma...and that always worries me.

Mabel...she is the healthiest thus far.

I know I could turn on the A.C., but there is just something not right about running the A.C. in February.

Stan's big enjoyment was being able to sit outside with me to eat lunch.  Poor kid...when he tried to run around and play...oh, the coughing just grew awful.


There is something about outdoor photos as well.  It's more fun to take outdoor photos, isn't it?

Fun in the sun.

On Thursday, I ordered my new Toland flag and it arrived in the mail on Saturday.  I needed something to carry me through till St. Patrick's Day.

While outside watching the girls play, The S. Family from up the street came by and invited the girls to the park.  Thank you, Rob, for taking my girls along for the ride!

With the girls gone, I was able to start taking the flannel sheets off and putting regular cotton sheets back on.  Also had some time to hang with Stan the man.

Poor fella is just itching to get outdoors!


I have to say, Pro-Flowers and UPS had David sweating it out on St. Valentine's Day.  The UPS truck didn't show up until 7:45pm.

But, they are still looking gorgeous.  I put them next to my bed every night because I get so much enjoyment waking up to their beauty each morning!



And these flowers make me think of my wonderful in-laws who celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary today.  What a testament to the sacrament of matrimony!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!  We love you!


Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.  Have a wonderful, peace-filled, and relaxing Sunday!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 2/11/11

~On My Mind~

One day at a time.


*We are working hard on every subject.  Two more weeks left into the quarter.  This is always the hardest quarter...trying to keep the momentum going and the interest up.

*Big items right now...starting to write all three book reports.  Gosh!  Those can be so difficult to do, can't they?

*Finished school on time this week.

*No school on Monday!  No complaints from the littles on that one :)


*For the past few weeks all extra curricular classes have been canceled for weather reasons.  No Little Flowers nor Little Woman's Hospitality Program.  No choir.  No creative writing class.  No open gym.

(The kids have been cooped up too long.)

*We broke out of the house today...Finally!

We headed over to Hobby Lobby to stock up on Valentine crafty items.  The kids have a big valentine party to attend on Monday.


Sometimes the golden arches just sound really good.  We needed a break and a treat for a change...


Now onto the crafting...

Please join in for more fun at Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

Hugs and Kisses!


This Moment

In This Moment....One Photo...No Words

For more moments, please visit Soule Mama.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sledding Mount Kilimanjaro

They loved it~ we are suppose to get more on Wednesday. (Drat!)


I told them about the blizzard of '79.   The snow was so deep, my brothers had us younger ones climbing up to  the garage rooftop and jumping off into the drifts below. 

My kids love to hear stories of our childhood.

Then I told them this one~even Hubby appreciated it~

My dad rarely got a day off, let alone on a weekend.  One Saturday, he planned to take a station wagon load of us sledding. 

Getting us ready and loading us up had to be an ordeal in itself.  But I do remember feeling totally excited that we would  be sledding with indescribably awesome moment!

We arrived at grandaddy of all sledding mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Actually, Centennial Park, but to a little person it really did look like Mount Kilimanjaro!  It stood there in all of its splendor beckoning us, daring us, taunting us.

After making our way to the top and ready for the glorious events of the day to unfold, my mother pointed out that no one was sledding "over there."

And we all turned to look in the direction she was pointing...

"Over there" was a direction that seemed totally isolated from where everyone else was.  It was like our private mountainside...waiting just for our family. 

Dad shrugged and suggested he'd go first.

What happened next was utterly confusing to a child and something that only a parent could appreciate.

Dad climbed atop that sled...belly down, head first.  We were all  excited and standing in awe as we watched one, tough dude lead the way.  Go Dad!

My older brothers pushed him and off he went.  Literally.

He had a perfect launch and then.... hit some natural bump in the mountain  hill that sent him soaring into the heavens; effortlessly breaking away from the sled. 

All was quiet except for the sound of the empty sled and metal rudders gliding against the icy mountain side hillside which was broken by the sound of a huge plop where Dad landed.  Dead still.

I swear we heard the air come out of him from where we stood on the launching pad back up at the top. 

I think my brothers scrambled down to locate the sled and to see if Dad was still alive. 

And it took forever for him to gather himself and slowly, painfully crawl his way to the top of that hill.  All he said was, "Get in the car.  We are going home." 

We littles were stunned, mouths gaping open in shock while Mom remained quiet.  Into the wagon and home we went. 

Mount Kilimanjaro had beaten us.  Our glorious day, our moment with Dad, over.  Before it had even begun.

As adults and reliving that story, Dad claims he still remembers how he had the wind knocked out of him and thought he busted a rib or two.  Poor Dad!

What we do for our kids :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011


We have slowly recovered from the awesome shock of Thursday and I have found myself deeply pondering the actions of the past 12 days.  I know that I need to write my thoughts down while they are still so fresh on my heart and mind...

What I do know is that 12 days ago, I measured 7 weeks pregnant but only saw the image of an empty space, a void that showed no heartbeat nor any signs that a baby had even been there.  Empty and black.  I have been down that road before and knew what it meant.

I can remember feeling the hormones quietly slip out of my always feels that way when you miscarry.  I felt normal.  I felt not-pregnant.  My stomach went flat as a board.  No signs of a baby bump were left and I was able to use a belt again with my jeans.

Two days later, the old signs starting making themselves known.  We chalked it up to left over hormones, which happens.  Do you know that even though your body begins to miscarry, you can still have a positive pregnancy test?

Those feelings started growing worse with fevers and chills.  I remember thinking that I may have the flu.  It sure felt like it.  And the fever passed. 

Sunday came along and I noticed I started to look a little bloated and truly hoped that this was mother nature starting to work.  Nothing. Except for the awful feeling of nausea that came around.  I grew discouraged since I still had those symptoms and knew that I would have to suffer through them at least another day.

I recall telling my mother, David, and others that if I would only feel better, it would be so much easier to move on. 

On Monday, I was feeling completely and utterly abandoned.  I told David I was praying but only felt as though I was going through the motions...I didn't feel the prayer in my heart.  I was even angry at God.  I knew so many others were praying for us, and still felt abandoned.  I even felt undeserving of those prayers because I was angry.

I was able to share with David that the only times I felt my prayers in my heart were when I prayed the rosary with my kids.  We are not a family that can make it through the entire rosary in one sitting.  We break it up throughout the day: two decades in the morning, two decades in the afternoon, one at bedtime.  That was when he reminded me about Mother Teresa.

He told me how she wrote that on so many, many occasions she felt abandoned and that her faith was empty, but yet she prayed her rosary, never ceasing.  So we prayed a decade right there on the spot.

I will never forget how my dear husband was there at one of my darkest moment and not wanting to use profound words, simply reminded me about one of the holiest people that lived - while we lived. 

Another bout of fever and chills came and went.  I remember how worried I was with that second bout.  On top of it, the weather was to be very severe. 

One week after seeing the dark and empty womb, David told me that I was "looking pregnant".

 There was no way I would entertain that thought.  To begin thinking of that or even hoping for that was not allowed in my head nor anywhere near my heart.  I was not going to go in with that hope only to have my heart utterly and completely crushed again.

And then it happened.  Thursday, 10 days later.   They did the sono one way...I was watching David since I could not see the monitor and he just shook his head no.  Okay.  I was good.  I was expecting that. 

Then they administered the sono another way...David started to wildly nod his head up and down, and  I remember not being able to move.  I could not breathe.  I just stared at the ceiling and felt numb.  I was completely in shock.

David and I have had a good heart-to-heart since then.  We agreed that we desperately needed serenity and peace.  Our family needed serenity and peace.  We decided that we must and will give it all over to God.  We adopted the motto: Let Go and Let God. 

The kids are ecstatic.  Their joy is so pure and full.  It is over flowing.  At first, to protect them, I wanted to tell them just take it one day at a time.  But I cannot dictate to them how they should feel.

 And in reality, their overflowing joy easily chases away any fears that try and snake their way into my mind.  I will not allow fear or any what ifs.  The joy of the littles will not allow it near me as well.  They are my protectors! 

Last night I found myself thinking...I am not out of the woods but I am so happy to be back in them!  I am  sick.  And I can now embrace it.

 I am finding myself easily saying (and knowing) that I do trust in Jesus.  I do not know for sure the outcome, but I do trust in Jesus.

Some have asked when we are due.  I really do not know.  Two different sonos with two completely different readings.  So I resort to the old method of calculation and mark the day for September 15 - Mabel's birthday :)

My heart and head are full.  I feel the peace and serenity.  But even though I can write all these thoughts down, I still am not sure what transpired.  I know life is a miracle.  I believe in miracles.  But in me?  I cannot quite wrap my brain around that.  It is me, the person who was unable to really mean it when she prayed.  The person who was growing rather angry with God. 

God certainly is a merciful God and humility is food for the soul!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 2/4/2011

~On My Mind~

*Making sure that serenity and peace fill up our days. 

*Any "What ifs" will not be entertained on in this brain!


In general, we are getting through but taking our time.  

Another week of Saturday schooling.  That's okay with me.


Well, the weather has certainly been interesting.

In the past 7 days we went from lovely spring 70's... to frigid temps....sprinkled with a LOT of ice....topped off with a dollop of 6 inches of snow!

Where the hell did that come from?!

Remember, we are in the south - LOL - and are not equipped to deal with this.  I laughed my fanny off when I read Charlotte's account: Two Guys and A Shovel.    She  nailed it perfectly. 

Home Economics:

After yesterday, we were exhausted.  I had planned to go to the grocery store today.  Mind you, I was all prepared for the ice and had picked up enough staples the other day to get us to this point. 

Then the snow came.  I was totally out of the loop on that weather report.

The kids asked me:   Mom, can we please have a snow day?  The other kids have been out for four days!

Desperate enough were they that the driveway was cleared :) 

Notice that they use any tool in the garage for the removal process.

Then there is the trash...yeah. 

They've been sitting there since Tuesday.  Yesterday, we saw signs of life when the trash collectors were out once again...they did not make it up toward us.  After this snow, I think it is safe to bet that our route is scratched till next week.


Received a valentine from Ester last night and I thought it was "creative".  Had to share.

Please join in for more fun at Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What

Have a great weekend!


This Moment

In This Moment...On Photo...No Words.

For more fun moments, visit Soule Mama.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Water and Ice

Ester wanted to share her oil painting titled Cabo San Lucas. 

She has signed up for a once-a-month oil painting class through the park & rec program.  This was the first one.

She really enjoyed the class.  The Rocky Mountains is the theme for February and in March they will be painting the famous Texas Bluebonnets. 


We had huge storms roll through last night which turned into an ice storm.  Y.U.C.K.  I would take snow over ice any time.

It is expected to stay around since we are also experiencing frigid temps for the next couple of days. 

Had to laugh as I folded up shorts and t-shirts from the laundry basket.  What a difference from last week, huh?!

David is worried about our sprinkler system since it those things are not buried deep down in the south.   


As for me?  Nothing.  Still nothing has progressed.  Because of the weather, I am not able to get in any earlier to see the doctor. 

I am praying (really hard) that the roads will be better on Thursday.  I need to be in the city by 9am. 


I do have to say that the Mass on Sunday was so meaningful to David and I.  The gospel on the beatitudes, Fr. B's homily, and the music were completely fitting for David and I as though it was meant to be just for us.  (Which I know that is not the case...just saying.)

I was able to ask God that at least one soul in Purgatory be freed through our suffering.


Stay safe, warm, and dry!


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