Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Blessing of Fathers

This is my husband (far right) with some of our troops!  
Bless his heart...He packed up 4 of our 5 children (Ok, the older 2 packed themselves) and took them on a back packing trip for 2 nights this weekend.  He was the leader for a scout trip so the younger two got to tag a long and sleep in a tent for the first time. My 68 year old father, who is also quite the trooper, hit the trails too.  What a blessing for the grandkids...and equal blessing for the fathers.
I heard lots of great stories about climbing trees, playing cards and capture the flag...
The views looked fabulous...
The best part for me is that everyone made it home safe and sound!
~Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of fathers~
I stayed behind and shared quality time with Angel Baby and my Mom. We bawled our eyes out watching the PBS Memorial Day Special.
We are flying our flags in memory of our fallen heroes, today.  But then again, we're just one of those families that fly our flags every day, lest we forget to be grateful.
Faith & Family has a wonderful post On Memorial Day.  Be sure to check it out if you haven't already read it..It's one of the best I've seen.
This prayer was in the Magnificat today:
A Prayer for Memorial Day
Remember, Lord, the fallen
Who died in fields of war,
In flaming clouds,
in screaming crowds,
On streets that are no more,
That we today might waken
And greet this day in peace
With grateful prayer for those who bear
The storms that never cease.
Remember friends and strangers,
And those forgotten now,
Whose names are known to you alone,
Before whose love we bow
And ask that you surround them
With mercy’s endless light
That they may live,
and we forgive
The foe they went to fight.
Remember, Lord, the living,
Who bear the pain of loss-
A death she died who stood beside
Her Son upon the cross.
Remember all your children
The dead and those who weep,
And make us one beneath the sun
Where love will never sleep.

Good Shepherd Garden Party~Week 5

We were able to squeeze in a quick and easy Easter countdown Good Shepherd Garden Party this week, despite my travels and other family travels!  We had our party a little early (on Wednesday) before going out of town.
The Theme for Week 5 was Gardner Plants Paradise.  
Our Garden of Paradise Menu:
Owl of Wisdom Pizza
Tree of Life's Leaves Green Salad
Tree of Life's Fruit Cocktail 
Olive Tree Veggie Platter
Palm Tree Punch with straws
Tree of Life's Flower and Roses Cookies
Lily Centerpiece
Lilies and Palm Tree Centerpieces
Palm Trees symbolize strength and persistence of life as they survive in tough conditions.  They also remind us of the palm branches waved as Jesus entered Jerusalem, ready to bring us new life.
Lilies represent a simple and wholesome way of life.  They are also symbolic of Easter and new life.
Our Family Garden of Paradise Table
~Palm Tree "Garden of Paradise" Plates, Napkins, and Straws~
(Thank you, Dollar Tree!)
Tree of Life's Leaves Green Salad
The Book of Revelation tells us that the leaves on the tree of life "are the healing of nations."
Tree of Life's Fruit Cocktail
The Book of Revelation says that the tree of life has twelve kinds of fruit.
The Olive Tree Veggie Platter
The olive tree grows slowly, making it more valuable.  People plant olive trees as a way to give future generations something valuable and holy. 

Owl of Wisdom Pizza
The owl is often associated with the biblical woman named wisdom, often shown with an owl nearby.  The book of Proverbs says that Wisdom is a tree of life to everyone who sits alongside her.
Tree of Life's Flowers and Roses
The tree of life has leaves and flowers and fruit that will make us healthy.  Healthy flowering trees are a sign that people treat one another fairly, that there is justice instead of fighting and misunderstanding.
Roses represent love and devotion.  They are also the symbol of Mary, Mother of God.
We needed 2 pizzas for our family...Here is our 2nd owl.  These were so easy to make with prepared pizza crusts, brushed with olive oil.  Just a little snip from the top of the pizza made the perfect canvas for an owl's head!  We just added pizza sauce, cheese and owl face trimmings.
~"Hoo" says owls are spooky?~
We think they're cute!
15 More Days of Easter!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


"We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies."
~Moina Michaels~
(In response to Flander's Fields)
We started the Memorial Day weekend remembering our family hero, my late dear husband, a missed father, brother, friend, and precious human being.
A Memorial Scholarship for an Outstanding Army Cadet was set up, after his death, at the University where Chris and I received our Officer Commissioning.  My oldest son and I make the long trek each year to award the scholarship, going on it's 17th year. Being at the forefront of Memorial Day weekend these past few years makes it all the more meaningful.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15: 13)
The award continues to be a blessing...Chris' parents who lost 2 of their 4 sons, through seperate tragedies, can smile through their pain.
Another link is added to a perpetual chain, breathing life from the past, into the present and beyond to the future. 
My stomach and heart never fail to ache as I give my speech each year...
But we always drive away striving to love those around us more truly, stronger and deeply.  "If we truly want to love, we must give until it hurts."~Blessed Teresa of Calcutta~

Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed at the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. On this day we honor all who have died in service of our nation.

Dear Heavenly Father,
With a sober heart we come before You this Memorial Day. We pause for a moment and call to mind all the men and women who have died in the service of our nation since 1776.
Dear God, please look with mercy on our brave and selfless brothers and sisters, who did not shirk from their task but gave themselves completely to the cause of defending and protecting us all. Bless all who have given their lives for the sake of liberty, and grant them eternal rest with You.
We remember also our brave men and women now serving in our Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. Dear God, send out Your angels to protect them all. Help them discharge their duties honorably and well. Please bring them safely home to their families and loved ones. Please bring Your peace and mercy to our troubled world.
We ask this, Father, in the name of Jesus, Your Son, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Take a Moment to Reflect and Pray:
To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in December 2000 asking all Americans at 3 p.m. local time "to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps'."

Other Ways to Observe This Day:
Visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
Visit local memorials.
Fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
Fly the POW/MIA Flag
Pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen soldiers, and to aid the disabled veterans
(Prayer reposted from the Autom Company)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Am Nobody

I'm nobody!  Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary, to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
~Emily Dickinson~

The older I get, the more this rings true.  I am nobody in this world, striving for perfection in the next.  I am only making progress when I see the way, the truth, and the life in front of me...He has a plan and I need only to follow and trust.  On a good day with attempt to surrender, I am free and the path is clear.   The more I can huddle near to the shepherd and follow His lead, the closer I am to the ultimate goal.  However, as Father T. said at Mass the other day, too often we try to be the back seat driver!  I think this is one of my greatest faults.  When I try to fight with the driver, my path is muddled and I struggle to stay the course.   Why is it so hard to relax and trust our professional chauffeur? 

Over the the last 7 years that we have been homeschooling, it has been a constant struggle to get to daily Mass.  We have been sporadic with our attendance, due to the single option of 7 AM!  It has often been difficult to get there with young babies and toddlers to get dressed, out of the house, loaded up in the car, all in the wee hours of the morning.  There were times when I took little ones to Mass in their PJ's, determined to start our day with Him.  Worn out and exhausted, I have stopped and started many times.  I have often gone alone when I had older children to watch the little ones.  Countless prayers have been said and the battle continued.  

Recently, we have a new priest who celebrates daily Mass in our parish.  He has asked my older children to be daily altar servers. Our parish hasn't had altar servers for daily Mass as long as I can remember!  This is mostly due to the fact that most children are on their way to school at that hour.  Being that we homeschool, there are no excuses, other than the usual hardships. {wink} Our children agreed and have taken on the responsibility with a vengeance.  Serving daily Mass is a new passion!  The children are eager to get to Mass and excited to serve the Lord...This has happened, literally, over night.  Their excitement is contagious, spilling over to the younger children.  Miraculously, the children in our house are driving the motivation (and me) to Mass in the morning...No credit to myself, I am nobody.  They are living proof of God's plan.  Undoubtedly, when God decides that we should be somewhere, He sees fit that we arrive where we ought to be.  He is the ultimate chauffeur!  This time, I am enjoying the ride.  I am nobody, how about you?
"The parents exist to teach the child, but they must also learn what the child has to teach them; and the child has a very great deal to teach them."~Arnold Bennett~

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good Shepherd Garden Party~Week 4

The Wind and Sea Obey Him
We are officially half way through the Easter season!  Our countdown continues as we wrap up the 4th week of Easter with  The Garden of the Good Shepherd calendar.  It was fun to be able to participate in another Good Shepherd Garden Party over at Catholic Cuisine.

We talked a lot about the Bible stories featuring boats, a good review of scripture for all of us.  Early in the week we incorporated a few of the week's symbols at a simple breakfast meal.  
We had cantaloupe boats and pancake nets!
For our Garden Party we included all of the symbols for the week.  
This was our menu (with symbols in italics):
Hotdog Boats with olive Mast and cheese Sails
(Hot dogs were cooked on the Barbecue)
Fish and Whale crackers
Leviathan banana fruit platter 
Chocolate pudding Net pie

Last week, Jamie Jo used colorful plates for their Garden Party.  I adopted her idea for this week's 
Sea Theme.  We used ocean blue paper plates, complete with waves!
These were the olive sails and cheese masts for our boats!
(Our mast was missing the holy cross...Nevertheless, we pray that the Holy Spirit will help us sail through troubled waters)
These were initially a little too heavy for our hot dog boats!  After lightening the skewer by taking off a few olives and shortening the sticks, they finally stood up a little better.  The idea in my mind didn't quite work out as perfectly in reality!  Can you tell I am not an engineer?
The Barbecue, recalling how Jesus revealed himself to his followers.
Our hotdog boats...steadily sailing after a few improvements.
(Although, they were still a little top heavy and could have used more sail and mast trimming. (Note for next time)
We added our "little fish" and whale crackers since we are all little fishes who follow Jesus, the "big fish." 
These little whale crackers were a big hit and would also be a great snack when talking about the story of Jonah.  I found them at the Dollar Tree.
Our Leviathan sea serpent was the highlight of our Garden Party!  Since some people thought of it looking like a giant squid or octopus, we discovered a fun way to make a Leviathan Octopus Fruit Platter Garnish!
Isn't he the cutest little squid/octopus you have ever seen?
I found this video while googling ideas.  Check it out...So easy to do and the kids got such a kick out of it!
Finally, we were happy to get caught up in our chocolate Net pie, remembering that Jesus uses his loving net to catch all of us, carrying us to new life.
We just followed the easy recipe on the box of Chocolate Pudding to make a pie.  Using Cake Mate white icing, we drew the net pattern on top of the pie.  It was really simple and a trusty "yum!"
~It was nice to have Dad home to join us for this fun lunch~ 
We pray you are all "Smooth Sailing" with the Good Shepherd!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mary May Crowning

Mary May Crowning
It was a lovely day for a lovely lady!
We held our Little Flowers/Blue Knights Mary May Crowing today.  We also celebrated our last gathering of our homeschool year.  It was a blessing that Father T. was able to join bless us.  He has quite a story about being a Missionary of Charity Father and working with Mother Teresa in his youth.  Having him present was a special addition to our ceremony.  He led us in prayer and procession and we were honored to have him with us.
“The priest today is the one who has been sent also,
to be that living love, God's love for the world today.
The priest is that sign, he is the living flame, he is the
sunshine of God's love for the world…
He is another Christ.”
~Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ~
After the blessing, (Doesn't it look like he was spraying us with Holy Water?)  Father T. and our 4  Communicants led us in the Magnificat/Canticle of Mary prayer.  
Father T. picked  a name out of a cup to determine which girl would crown our Blessed Mother.
The lucky blessed winner was so excited!  Our procession began with the crowning, led by the Communicants while we sang the hymn, Immaculate Mary.
Up the stairs to crown Our Lady...

Then back down the stairs so the rest of the group can bring their flowers.
Our second hymn was Flowers of the Rarest, while the rest of our group brought flowers up the hill to Our Lady. We never did make it to our Hail Holy Queen hymn.
It was a pilgrimage in many ways...
I just loved this photo of two sweet brothers...
By the way, my 12 year old son took all of the photos...I was so pleased with how they came out!  Especially the ones of Our Crowned Mary!  He captured some neat angles...
This is my absolute FAVORITE with the light streaming through the trees!
We closed out our day with a picnic, play time and a cupcake rosary!

The children got to eat the decades as we prayed them...

 I think it's the tastiest rosary they have ever prayed!
I believe Our Lady was smiling...
I know I was!
Note to readers:  Out of respect of privacy, I tried to be very discreet about posting photos of other families since I did not ask everyone's permission.  If anyone sees a photo that they would like removed, please let me know.
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