Friday, February 29, 2008
How is this possible? Well, it is not by feelings, or flowers, or perfume. One of the best lessons I have learned is that it is ok to ask God for what we do not have. Like the prayer "I believe, help my unbelief."
This works with love too. "Lord, give me a love for this person I do not have. Help me love them like you would." It is ok to admit what we do not feel, things like love or even forgiveness. God knows what is in our hearts, no use trying to hide. Admit your shortcoming and ask for His help. Make this a new habit between you and Jesus. He will not let you down.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
It was really good to get the following link in the mail this week. Nice to lift my mind up. Shared it with the children too. Hope you enjoy it!
Click here: Catholics Come Home
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. - Philemon 17-18
Onesimus flew the coop on his master, Philemon. As one might expect, he wasn't terribly fussy about private property since Philemon had owned Onesimus as a bit of private property. But something happened to Onesimus. He went to Paul perhaps for protection and, through him, was introduced to Jesus Christ. Instead of a bunch of lectures about "knowing his place" Onesimus found he was a man made in the image of Christ, his human dignity affirmed, and most amazing of all the ability to forgiven and return to Philemon, "no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother" Phil 16.
As to his sins of theft, Paul did a typically Christlike thing: he took them upon himself, laid no burden on Onesimus's shoulders and wrote Philemon with the very strong hint that he should set him free for what man holds his own brother as a slave?. In all this, Paul showed a salient fact: Forgiveness is not just vertical between God and man. It has a horizontal dimension. God's forgiveness healed the relationship, not merely between God and Philemon or God and Onesimus, it healed the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus. It still heals the Church today.
Just a Word of Encouragement from Mark Shea and Jeff Cavins
Monday, February 25, 2008
I feel like this bottle is like that little girl in the nursery rhyme:
There was a little girl,
who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
she was very, very good.
But when she was bad, she was horrid!
If you are reading this, you may want to see this, this, this and finally this.
5 ought to do the trick. Since we were new to the bottles, and Holly was recovering from a milk allergy/lactose intolerance, the initial weeks on with the new bottles did not register as difficult.
Four weeks later when the nipples began to tear, and we switched all at once to 5 more new bottles, it registered! Holly went from drinking 4-5 ounces in about 20 minutes every 4-5 hours and sleeping about 6 hours at night, to 2-3 ounces over an hour every 3-4 hours. Aack!
Every one needs a plan! And this may require obsessive compulsive levels of organization. But I am certain I am up to the task. If you are just starting out on the Haberman, or plan to, please consider this approach:
1. Begin on Day 1 with a new nipple and valve, use this for 2 days straight.
2. On Day 3 early in the morning begin again with next new nipple for 2 days.
3. Do this 7 times. This will take 2 weeks to break in 7 nipples.
4. At the end of the two weeks, begin rotating the nipples for every bottle.
5. Week 3, Day 1. Choose a time that is convienient for you, either early to mid morning or early afternoon. At that feeding every day for a week, use a new nipple. This bottle will take longer than the others. You do not want to introduce a new nipple at night!
6. At the end of the week, move this nipple in with the others for regular use and begin with another new nipple, at once feeding every day for a week.
My deep hope is that in this way, Holly and I will never go "cold turkey" again with new bottle nipples. Always have some "broken in" before all "break"!
Pictures of this system will follow soon!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
In addition to Wide Smiles, if you are the parent of a child with a cleft, these two sites have perfectly described what is happening to me (and Holly).
Thank you God, that Holly was born in this time. That through this internet I can find support and encouragement from around the world!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Note to self: Satan is the king of immediacy. One spur of the moment grocery shopping trip led to 24 hrs of temptation. Wow.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
During our usual math struggle, me struggling to get my son to finish his math, the moment occured. He said "I will do it. I want to do it my way." By God's grace, I was able to direct him to time out, and then after we both calmed down, I could politely discuss this. My response was, "I am glad you know how to do this another way. But this lesson is not about solving the problem that way. This lesson is about learning a new way to solve the problem."
The very next thought I had was, "are you listening to yourself?" It is not about me doing it my way. But about God showing me there is another way. The original way isn't bad or wrong. But this way is new and better for the circumstances. In Holly's short life, I have given up countless "old ways" of taking care of my newborn. Instead learning a new way that is better for her.
From the very start, this has been about Just Saying Yes to God. My friend, Fr. Shawn said early on, "Hey, you can call me if you want. I'll say its not about you." That was the best advice I have received. It isn't about me. It is about God. About saying Yes to what He wants.
Saying Yes to God is not impossible. Many, many people before me have done so. Not that it is easy. What countless ways of her life did Mary give up when she said Yes? or Esther? or St. Elizabeth Ann Seton? This is not impossible. So I will begin again today, Just Saying Yes.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Of all the lullabyes I have sung over the years, and there have been many, I am quite pleased that Holly's favorite song isn't a lullabye at all. It's Amazing Grace. I can remember with my first child singing "Six Little Ducks" until my brain began to turn to mush! Or with my second singing "All the Pretty Little Horse" until I saw horses in the few moments of sleep I did get.
But this is a different kind of midnight experience. "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me." Somehow, these words, this tune, captures Holly attention and she will pretty quickly fall asleep. What an unexpected gift God has given me. The thing my daughter needs the most is a song about Grace. The very thing I need the most.
Midnight meditations on Amazing Grace have lifted me up, out of the sleep-deprived nonsense of nursery rhymes into another place. I am counting on God's Grace to carry us through the next few years of surgery and treatments that I can't comprehend. So I am counting these nights, singing about God's Grace, as treasure in heaven for the nights ahead. Those nights after Holly's first surgery, when I don't know what I will be able to think about.
I hope this Grace will cover me, today when I am talking to my husband and older children and in the future when Holly is recovering. What a great "auto-pilot" prayer to have ahead of me: "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining like the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise then when we've just begun."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Don't you wish you had your own warning message too? Like a flashing yellow light on your hand to indicate: Warning: Low on Sleep or Warning: Need more coffee. Or, its been a few days since my last post: Warning: Low on Energy.
How do you handle these warnings? The best advice I have ever, ever heard is that a 15 minute rosary is more refreshing than a 1 hour nap. Hard to believe? Truth be told, when I am at a "warning" level, I don't have energy for even a 15 min Rosary or an hour long nap.
But what I have managed to learn is "auto-pilot prayer." Like, a decade of the rosary, or repeating part of the Divine Chaplet "For the sake of his sorrowful passion, Have Mercy on Me and on the whole world." The prayer to St. Michael, especially good to have memorized. Training yourself to switch this "auto-pilot" mode during a difficult situation takes the pressure off you and hands it back over to God. You don't have to think about what to think, or say. Just say what you know to be true, even if you don't feel it at the moment.
The Rosary is Truth, the Divine Chaplet of Mercy is Truth. All these prayers we memorize are undeniably Truth at any moment in our life. Lean on that!
Friday, February 15, 2008
So what am I giving up for Lent? I think it is to try extra hard to remember the Fast, everyday. And to give up anger, resentment, fear and worry. That may take more than 40 days, even if I don't take Sundays off. Good thing Lent began early this year!
Where will you begin to run the race to win this Lent? Go for the Gold! Make it your own personal Olympics.
How can you make the Friday observance of abstinence and fasting, simple for you and your family? Well, start by grocery shopping on Saturday during Lent. If the pantry isn't newly stocked with all the best snacks, it will be easier to remember that you are actually Fasting on Friday. Or try setting out smaller plates and bowls for the family to eat off of. But most of all, remind each other.
There is such an abundance of food in our country, in our stores, restaurants and even our homes, it is so easy to forget to Fast! The tradition has been to empty the pantry before the fast began (Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday). Just because we have a refrigerator and prepackaged food, doesn't mean we can't participate in this ritual too. Take a bag of extras to your church for their pantry. Less for you, more for them!
This Friday remember to Simply Fast.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The real topic here is beauty. Is it in the Eye of the Beholder? Or is beauty something else. Something created by a Creator? There exists an Absolute Truth, and there are absolutely Good Morals. Where does Beauty fall? In the eye of the beholder, or like other absolutes, a taste we must acquire?
Paul encourages us in Romans 12:2 "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." Certainly, things that are good, pleasing and perfect could be considered beautiful too. To be able to recognize what is beautiful, we must transform our mind.
And sometimes our home. Look around your home and see what is good, pleasing and perfect. Pick one spot to display something beautiful. Something that lifts your mind to Jesus, and out of the day to day stuff! Simplify what you display by choosing what you like best. Pack up the rest and put it away for awhile. If you find you don't need the extra stuff, then you can decide what to do with it. In the meanwhile, you will surround yourself with what is "good, pleasing and perfect." Allowing Jesus to transform your home through Beauty, one spot at a time.
Her stroller, alone, is not an imposing machine, but once you load it down with the baby car seat, a musical toy attachement, diaper bag, bottles, pacifiers, extra blankets and the hat for our sweeties head... Holly's entrance into a room was certainly a force to be reckoned with. People parted in elevators, hallways and waiting rooms like the Moses and The Red Sea.
Here comes a sweet little baby in her own SUV! The one thing I did not want was a Baby SUV. As I have mentioned though, plans change and the one thing we needed at that hospital was our own Baby SUV.
Monday, February 11, 2008
A visiting priest from the Missionaries of St. Paul remind us this weekend of the real Enduro Race, the one Paul mentions. 1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win!
Sometimes to win the race, you have to SIMPLIFY. Catholic Heritage Curricula has published a free e-book at their website. Simplifing Your Domestic Church by Abby Sasscer. http://www.chcweb.com/catalog/freecurricula.html This is a great place to start to understand how to get rid of distractions and focus on the real race.
The most recent chapter, Chapter 6 is on meal planning and preparation. I love this approach. For a long time, I had a grid like the one she provides posted inside a cabinet door. Then when I went to the grocery store, I made sure to buy the ingriedents to make the recipes on the grid.
While I may not have known exactly what we were having for dinner, I knew the stuff was in the house. That is half the challenge, right? Take a few minutes to read this resource and also reflect on Romans Chapter 5. Run so as to win!
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Here is a little bit about what I have learned, in case you need a little baby whispering at your place:
- It might be colic..it might be: Milk allergies/lactose intolerance take 3-5 days to show up. Symptons are rash, gas, distended belly, wheezing, gasping or choking on the bottle. And don't forget persistant diarrhea or constipation.
- It might be colic..it might be: Reflux. One sign to look for is a small croupy sounding cough. In addition to other symptons like frequent or painful spit ups or vomiting. There are lots of good websites out there to help better understand this. This can take 2 weeks to show symptons.
- It might be colic...it might be: time to change outfits. This is my favorite cry. How can a two month old know what she is wearing????
- It might be colic...it might be: time to change a diaper. Duh.
- It might be colic...it might be: time to blow her nose. Duh. This requires some coordination on your part, possibly the help of another person, one of those bulb syringes and maybe even infant nasal saline. Better ask your doctor about this.
- It might be colic...it might be: a stray string wrapped around your baby's toe. This is another favorite. I remember my brother John crying for ever one night. Mom finally changed his clothes and discover The String! So check your sweeties feet, often.
If your child does show signs of milk allergy or lactose intolerance...well, welcome to the world of buffet bottles. With your doctors direction, you will have to begin the most important science experiement of your life: new formulas. Talk about needing a Baby Whisperer. But more on that later.
Try this website for some perspective on the situation. Holly Marie never got as bad as "Little Dude" but I can certainly relate.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Anyway, on to Cheapskate Chicken, also known as Blasted Chicken. You can not get a better meal for less money and time involved. Very simple. Mary printed this recipe in her newpaper column several years ago and it has become a family favorite. Take one whole chicken, completely thawed. Rinse, dry, salt and pepper the chicken. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken in a roasting pan, bake for 45 mins until juices run clear.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you just have to go to Plan B. Maybe it is when you or a child gets the latest virus floating around. Or if your dishwasher breaks. Or, lets say, you realize that "Yes, you are pregnant...again!"
For seven years, when people would ask that question "are you done having children?" I would reply, God Willing. Apparently God was willing in another direction. As 2007 passed, both Lee and I began to realize that one more child might be a good thing. So onto Plan B.
We joyfully began to make space in our house and hearts for our fourth child, Holly Marie. Our due date came soon enough, and Holly Marie was born. As for Plan B? Well, that has become Plans C, D, E.... Holly arrived with a cleft lip and palate.
She is beautiful, nonetheless. And her wide smile is a joy to see. Fortunately, God has place many people in our lives to guide through the next few years filled with surgeries and doctors appointments. The Wide Smiles website is a wealth of information. And even in our small town, it didn't take too long to meet other moms whose children are cleft affected.
So my new prayers is "Jesus, I trust in You." Along with the Divine Chaplet of Mercy, for those long new baby nights. I will share more about this journey as we go along. Hopefully, my prayer can become your prayer "Jesus, I trust in You" no matter what Plan B brings.