Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Mission Field - WIWS

Linking up with all the beautiful women over at Fine Linen and Purple for a WIWS post.

I like reading all the WIWS posts but I do not frequently link up with them because, well, I need a picture of myself.  On a Sunday.  I don't know how everyone else's weekends go but ours are a little bit holy, a little bit hectic with some crazy thrown in for good measure.  So I find it difficult to get a self portrait for these posts.  But today I had time to write up a blog post so I made the effort...
It is raining...
This is the second outfit I tried out.  I had a different dress picked out (thanks to cleaning out my closet recently and finding it hanging in the back).  After trying it on I realized why it was hanging forgotten in the back.  It wasn't all that comfortable.  I will occasionally sacrifice comfort for the sake of style but not today.  I was cantoring this morning and I know from experience to never, ever wear a "not real comfortable" outfit when singing.  It can be hard enough standing at the podium without adding to the nervousness by wearing clothes that distract me.

The pastor at my church is getting ready to retire in a couple months.  The Catholic population in my city is decreasing and because of this and the priest shortage many of the Catholic parishes are combining and having one priest serve two parishes.  This is also the case at my Catholic church, so when Monsignor Jack retires the pastor at a nearby parish, Father Matt, will become the pastor for both churches.  As you can guess, this is leading to a lot of restructuring of liturgical schedules, Mass times, etc.  This hasn't caused a particularly emotional upheaval for me because I did not grow up in this town, attend my church's parish school or get married at this church.  However many of my church family did so it is definitely a tougher transition for them.  In today's homily Monsignor Jack spoke about the recent decisions made about the new Mass times.  As our readings were about Jesus appearing to his disciples and telling them that they were to be His witnesses, Monsignor Jack also commented about our Catholic witness to our neighbors and acquaintances.

Yes, I know this subject well.  Sometimes I feel like I'm on constant display as that Catholic convert that people know.  Sometimes I feel like the only Catholic convert that people know.  Before becoming Catholic myself I honestly knew no one who converted, except in instances of marriage.  I did know a few people who became Catholic because they were engaged to someone who wanted to be married inside the Catholic Church.  I associate with way more non-Catholics, usually Evangelical Christians, in my homeschool circles.  I would bet that many of them are not even aware that I am Catholic.  Because I also attend a protestant church with my family they assume I'm protestant.  The protestant church we attend doesn't even know I'm Catholic.  I volunteered to work in my youngest son's Sunday School class a few weeks ago because they were short of helpers and they asked me to fill out paperwork for a background check.  I always hate filling out paperwork because my answers don't add up.  It asks questions like:

  • How long have you attended services here?  5 years
  • Are you a member of this church?  No, I'm a member of a different church
  • Church previously attended.  My Catholic Church, which I'm still attending
  • Are you an immersed believer?  This is a yes/no question which I would have to answer "no" because I was not baptized by immersion, nor do I believe immersion baptism is the only valid baptism.  My thoughts on baptism.
Then there's the statement of faith they ask you to sign, which is not really different than what I believe as a Catholic except for that one question, Do you believe that trusting in Jesus is the only means of salvation?  Well, I do believe Jesus is the one way to salvation but I also believe that baptism is the sacrament God has provided to wash away sin, and that He has also given us confession as a sacrament to continually wash away the sin in our lives and as an avenue of grace to help us overcome those sins.  But, again, not one of the choices.  Sigh...

As fate would have it I have not been able to attend my family's church for the last two weeks due to staying home with sick children.  So I've been able to conveniently avoid turning in said paperwork.  I suppose I need to speak with someone in leadership there and get things ironed out.  A post for another time.

So back to this Sunday...

Doug and I managed to squeeze in a dinner out, not quite a "date night" but better than nothing.
Took three shots to get this,
We bribed the older boys into watching the little ones for a bit while we went not very far away for a sit down meal.  Food was good and kids were alive when we got home.  We're working our way up to being able to go out to a movie (baby steps).

Boys are outside playing football with Dad waiting for me to finish this post so I can start supper.  Don't forget to click over to Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS posts!

Friday, April 10, 2015

How Time Flies in 7 Takes

Thanks to Kelly for hosting!!

1.  Today is Firstborn's 15th birthday!  It is also the day he went in to test for his driver's permit...

He passed his test and promptly asked to drive home (uh, no).  I did let him drive in the neighborhood and I think I only said the word BRAKE half a dozen times in the three blocks home.  I'm counting that as a success.

2.  Toddler Boy is adjusting to morning preschool.  He missed a few days early this week due to being sick but he's back in the swing of things.  I got him on the afternoon bus schedule, which means I only have to drive out to the school once per day (as opposed to the three times a day I was doing a few weeks ago).  He's loving the bus ride, which makes me think I need to check out some Magic School Bus videos from the library.

3.  As you can see in the above photo, the school dress code does apply to the preschool.  Toddler Boy runs on the small end of the weight/height chart.  We ran out to pick him up a couple of extremely large on him size XS polo shirts which he will probably be wearing for the next two years.  The school pants had no hope of fitting him, so we had to go with the smaller non-school khaki and navy pants.  Which ended up being more expensive even though they were in a smaller size.

4.  I can't believe Firstborn is old enough to be driving and Toddler Boy is in preschool.  A couple of time lapse photos to prove my point...
Group shot at the park, 2011

Same group, four years later in 2015

The picture was taken in the same park on the same rock.  Crazy how fast they grow!

5.  Here's another time lapse photo from Easter...

Princess and her cousin, Easter 2011

Easter 2015

They're getting so big!!  Time slow down, please!

6.  Spring fever is in full swing at our house.  Now that the Easter school break is over it is time to buckle down and finish up the homeschooling for the year and decide what to work on over the summer.  Plus now is when I like to make decisions on what curriculum we'll be working on next year.  I sort of feel like I've spent my Easter break taking care of sick kids and cleaning/decluttering because the house seriously needed it.  This weekend we'll be celebrating Firstborn's birthday, which is the last one in the "birthday season" for us.  Starting next week we will hopefully be back on our normal schedule and be ready to finish up the school year.

7.  I just wanted to add that I really appreciated Kelly's respiratory quick take post this week.  It's really good, especially her take away from the whole thing (scroll down to number 7).  She talked about spending her Easter break in the hospital with one of her kids.  I so, so relate to that this year.  This school year has been really rough for our family in terms of illness.  Especially for Princess, who ended up in the hospital on Christmas.  I have spent a lot of time nursing sick kids and ultimately I've come to discover God's grace in the midst of it.  It has really allowed me to be present in the moment more, to love more deeply and to stretch myself to what I thought was the end of my limits, only to discover that where I end is where God abounds in His endlessness.  God has never failed to meet me in my weaknesses.

That's it for this week...go check out more 7 Quick Takes with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter 2015

Happy Easter, Alleluia, Alleluia!!  He is risen indeed!

It has been a rough holy week around here with the three younger kids coming down with (what we later found out) Flu B.  We survived on rented videos, snack food and fever meds.  Toddler Boy started running the fever Wednesday night, then Princess and Game Boy on Thursday.  By Sunday they were fever free, so judgment you take them to Easter dinner or not?  We opted to go to my folks house for lunch but the Easter hunting wore them out so we skipped stopping by Doug's folks after that and went home.  Hindsight, I'm glad we did because they started running fevers again when we arrived home.  In fact, I took Soccer Boy to the doctor yesterday when he started running a fever and he tested positive for Flu B.  The doc said that was the first time in his career he's done a positive test for Flu B this late into the season (April).  Lucky us.

To add to the chaos, Soccer Boy was playing 9 square in the air at youth group Friday and twisted his ankle.  He spent Saturday with his foot elevated and applying ice packs.  Saturday was a baking day for me because I was bringing dessert and I also wanted to drop some food off at my grandmother's house.  Her 88th birthday fell on Easter this year!  What a blessing.  My grandmother decided not to renew her driver's license this year.  She told me she really never drives anymore, she only drove one time this past year.  On Saturday my dad went with her so she could drive one last time, which she really enjoyed.  When we heard the story at Easter dinner my BIL made the comment that it really makes you think.  We usually look forward to the first time we get to do something (like us getting to teach Firstborn how to drive).  But you rarely think about the last time you get to experience an event or activity.  Puts things in perspective.

Doug and I did the divide and conquer routine so he attended Saturday Easter services as the Protestant church with Firstborn and then I attended Sunday morning Mass solo.  We did egg dying Saturday while they were out, along with all the holiday baking (because I'm crazy).

The kids woke up to their annual Easter baskets, which I didn't get a photo of before they demolished them.  I am proud of the fact I was ahead of the game and bought them early.  Like, early early, when the stores first had them out.  This is only because in previous years I waited until the last minute and baskets are the hardest thing to find.  You can wait until Holy Week to buy plastic eggs and candy but baskets are in short supply.  Princess got a Frozen basket and Toddler Boy got TMNT, which is his latest addiction.  Game Boy was with me on basket shopping day and got to pick his own, he had a camo design.  Game Boy and Soccer Boy are my shoppers, they love picking out gifts for other people.  I also picked up some little toys and such to fill the baskets, then I spent all of Lent keeping them hidden.

Princess has been begging to wear the Easter dress that Doug's mom got her and she finally got to wear it to Easter lunch and egg hunting...

After lunch we sent our faithful teenage egg hiders out to assist the Easter bunny...

They did the job a little too good this year, some of the eggs were a bit difficult to hunt.  Really, when dealing with a large field, all you have to do is lay them in the grass.

More egg hunting pics...

Toddler Boy with Daddy

Favorite TMNT shirt

Great Grandma's house in background

Me, my mom and sister Julie

View from the porch

After the egg hunt there was dessert and then the older boys went fishing while the younger kids took a nap because they were so wiped out.  The adults played a few rounds of dominoes, trash talking abounds, even on holidays in our family.  I think Mom won all three rounds, we're still trying to figure out how she cheats at this game.

As I'm typing this the weather radio keeps going off, Spring has arrived in the Midwest.  I think we're in for some rough weather over the next couple days.  Stay safe and Happy Easter to all my blogger friends!