Thursday, March 26, 2015

Suffering and Hope

Some quotes and a song that have touched my heart recently:

To believe in suffering is pride: but to suffer, believing in God, is humility.  For pride may tell us that we are strong enough to suffer, that suffering is good for us because we are good.  Humility tells us that suffering is an evil which we must always expect to find in our lives because of the evil that is in ourselves.  But faith also knows that the mercy of God is given to those who seek him in suffering, and that by his grace we can overcome evil with good.  ~ Thomas Merton "No Man is an Island"

Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto, and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.
~ St. Francis de Sales

When I see that the burden is beyond my strength, I do not consider or analyze it or probe into it, but I run like a child to the Heart of Jesus and say only one word to Him: "You can do all things." And then I keep silent, because I know that Jesus Himself will intervene in the matter, and as for me, instead of tormenting myself, I use that time to love Him.  ~Diary of St. Faustina

And now for a song that I am singing today in all my everyday trials...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

{phfr} - Random AND a First Reconciliation

So while it seems I never blog anymore, I do periodically blog in my head, if that makes any sense.  It sort of works like this: I'm doing something fascinating (loading the dishwasher) and I think of something deep and philosophical (how the dirty dishes are sort of a reflection of our souls when they are stained with sin, and how after the dishwasher runs, they are nice and clean again, ie. confession).  I think to myself, I really should blog about that.  Then I think, well I don't really have very much to say on the subject, and besides I'm sure someone else has said as much and much more eloquently.  Also, It's just a very little blog and in the grand scheme of things is kind of pointless.  And besides, I haven't blogged in so long that I really should just post an update about all the goings on around here (Fritter received First Reconciliation!).  I can't randomly post deep thoughts after such a long (unintentional) blogging break.  But I really don't have the time to do a lengthy update right now, including uploading pictures.  And then someone spills milk and I have to go clean that up.

So...poor neglected blog.

I should just post whatever comes to mind on here and let it be all random-y.  We'll see how that works out.


For Lent I purchased the Passion Play over at Illuminated Ink, so we have been enjoying putting that together.  So far we have the top piece (The Last Supper) and one of three bottom pieces (The Agony in the Garden).  I've done the cutting because it's pretty precise, and the older two have done the coloring and putting together.  We listen to one of our  Music Masters CD (affiliate link) while doing it.  I call this a homeschool win.  I've got to call them when I see them, if you know what I mean.


We took a two week break from school this month, which was sorely needed.  I did a little planning for next year, organized boxes of kids' clothes, and we went to the zoo three times.  Best spring break ever.  We are back at the books now but are taking three weeks off again, for Holy Week and Easter, while we go on a little road trip to Louisiana.

Sunflower and monkey's.  A perfect match.

Looking at lions.

Big lion.

Here kitty...

Nothing better than happy kids at the zoo.


My little Froggy loves to curl up on my lap and look at The Truck Book.  He'll sit still for 10 minutes or so just flipping to random pages while saying "Oooh!  Aaaah!"

 {more pretty}

We've been taking lots of walks lately, because as everyone in Arizona knows, this is the best time of the year to live here.  Our neighborhood smells like heaven because the orange blossoms are in bloom and there are flowers everywhere.  Proof?  A picture from a random neighbors front yard on one of our walks:

Flowers everywhere.

I don't know what these things are but they remind of flies for fishing.

I love the vines on the wall of this yard.


And like I mentioned above, my oldest child, my first born son, received First Reconciliation this month.  When we came home, he went right to his calendar and wrote down the next time he wants to go for the rest of the calendar, this way he doesn't forget and neither do we.  He is looking forward to First Communion AND Confirmation next year. 

Keeping the light of Christ burning brightly.

Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more contentment!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

{the potential to be pretty}
A couple of weeks ago I went to my Mommy's & Mentor's meeting.  We talked about loss and grieving and hope.  Winter deadness and spring growth.  And then our lovely host brought in each of us a surprise.  A rose bush.  In all it's thorny glory, and the potential (assuming of course that I don't kill it) to be beautiful in a few months.
I plan to plant it today in this little spot by my front door.  Any tips for an aspiring rose gardener?

My little Sunflower has the makings to be a princess.  That is, she has all the dress up clothes and ballet moves and desire to be a princess.  A few days ago she decided that she wanted to help mom by doing some sweeping. 
Sunflower: I'm sweeping, because this house is SO dirty!
Me: Why don't you move the chairs and sweep under the table?  You could pretend it's a little house.
Sunflower: Good idea Mama!
I'm so clever. :)

Life with kids is just funny.  There is always something going on in this crazy house of mine to laugh at.  It's too bad I'm serious most of the time.  Because my kids are FUNNY.
Case in point: Fritter was telling Dan and I about a game that he and Ladybug were playing.
Fritter: Ladybug and I were playing waterboarding.
Dan/Me: ....
Fritter: And it was so much fun. What a great game we played.
Dan/Me:... (imagining Fritter and Ladybug pretending to torture each other.)
Dan: And what does this game consist of, son?
Fritter: It's on the Wii, and it's so much fun and you go behind a boat...
Dan/Me: (laughing hysterically)
After playing wakeboarding on the Wii, my children decided it would be a good idea to practice it in our front room.  In their pajamas.  First thing in the morning.  Gotta keep that sense of humor going.


This next funny has been witnessed on at least one occasion by out of town family members.  Lest they think that incident was a one time thing, I'm here to assure you it is routine around here.  Every single time I fold the girls' clothes after being washed I find I have inadvertently washed some of their doll clothes.  The doll clothes get folded and put back in their room and somehow they end up back in the wash.  Either I have some very messy girls on my hands or they have very messy dolls.  This week I had four doll shirts and one random little girl dress up glove.  Back into the cycle of madness we go.

This was actually from last week, when I first started to write this post but had to give up because, life.  After getting over the sickness from... you know where... a few weeks ago, somebody decided we hadn't been sick enough and so handed us another dose.  This time both Dan and I were spared, but it was a doozy.  Both small ones had the worst case of croup I'd ever seen.  It was misery.  My little Froggy had it the worst and spent the best part of a week camped out on the couch or my lap. 


Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more bits of contentment.

Friday, January 30, 2015

This and That

Hi there.  My name is CMerie and I used to blog here.  I made a New Years Resolution to blog twice a week.  I failed before I even started.  You know how it is, you don't blog, and don't blog and pretty soon it's hard to blog.  You feel as if you have to update every little thing that happened, (because it's important!) and then you get so far behind you feel you'll never catch up.  So consider this a catch up post and an attempt to get back in the blogging saddle.  Skip it if you want.  Or don't. 
 So first how about some crafting?  I have been working on a particular cross stitch project for my husband for years.  I started it when we first moved here to Arizona, which was back in 2007.  It's a doozy, which means it's hard to see progress.  Which in turn means I continue to put off working on it.

I had a little inspiration (driven largely by a Joann's gift card) to create a case of some sort to house this particular project and all the tools needed for it.  My thought was this would inspire me to work on the project itself.  And that reasoning (while a little....strange) has actually seemed to help.

One side holds all the floss I need at any particular time, along with a needle case, scissors, a seam ripper (for ALL those times I mess up), and those rubbery thimble things.  Behind all of these things is a spot for the pattern.  (The pattern actually slides all the way to the bottom, I just pulled it out a little so you could see it was there.)

The other side holds the embroidery hooped project, along with one small pocket for the current floss-in-progress.  Again, the hoop is pulled out just so you can see.

The entire thing lays flat when open and is stiffened inside by cardboard so it's nice and sturdy.  You can fold the embroidery hoop side under while working on the project and the whole thing fits nicely on my lap with everything I need easily accessible.

And when I'm not working on the project, it folds up and velcros shut to keep out curious little hands.
 Because of this little case, I've worked on my project more in the past few weeks than I have in the past few months.  Success!
On to other bits of randomness.
Recently we signed Fritter up for karate, and he has really been doing well.  This week he tested for his orange belt.  Hi-ya!
Ladybug and Sunflower are taking a ballet/tap class together.  It is my biased opinion that nothing is cuter than little girls in tutus.

Fritter's Blue Knight's Club has been making a Mass kit this year, and so my children had the inspiration to play Mass.  He used the past week's Magnifikid as his missal.  I love it when this kind of stuff happens without my bidding.

 Winter in Arizona is a time to get out and hike and explore, and so we've been trying to take advantage of that (sorry all you northerners!).  A few weeks ago, we loaded our GPS with a geocache and headed out into the desert.  We never did find it, and so ended up hiking about three miles total with nothing to show for it in the end (except the fun of it, of course).  Dan carried Sunflower on his back, and I carried Froggy in the front carrier.  We were exhausted by the end of it and both of us required afternoon naps (thankfully the two big kids were tired and slept as well).

Showing Arizona winter fashion.  A USA t-shirt on one, and a long sleeve shirt and snow hat on the other.
 And then, just to mix things up a bit, we decided to head to the snowy north for a little sledding trip.

Loving the finger in front of the camera.

Unfortunately we only manage to stay for a very short time.  My poor dear husband had succumbed to the flu and then Fritter came down with it too.  They were dropping like flies all around me and we needed to rush to get home so we could hunker down for the duration.

And boy was it a tough one.  Every single person in my home came down with the flu (with one also getting the stomach flu on top of it all) except for me.  I felt like I needed a vacation once everyone was healthy.  Taking care of sick people is exhausting.  Besides all the above medicine, we had to do twice daily breathing treatments for all four children.
 There.  I'm caught up.  Now on to more regular blogging adventures!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I Want To Wish You A Merry Christmas

 I did not want to blog about the flu from you-know-where that has hit our family.  I'm not going to tell you about all the coughing and hacking and fevers going on in our house.  I wanted to blog about our Christmas.  I wanted to tell you all about what a great Christmas we had, and about the surprise visit from my brother-in-law.

I wanted to tell you how we crazily decided that going to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve was a good idea, including waking four sleeping children and putting them into uncomfortable clothes. 

I wanted to tell you about Christmas morning, and how so very tired I was after doing the Christmas thing parents must do AFTER midnight Mass and BEFORE going to bed.  How very tired, but also how very happy.  I wanted to tell you how grateful my children were to received their gifts and how there were no "gimmies" in our house that day.  How Froggy received his giraffe pillow pet and how not only did he lay down on the floor to snuggle with it, he also went into his room to get his lovey giraffe to snuggle.  How I heard him say "piwow" for the first time and how it made my heart melt.

 How my girls both got jumper balls and how much they adored them, and how much I adore them because they tire them out so quickly and make them stay OUTSIDE!
 How my sweet Ladybug got a Twilight Turtle and how much she loves it...
 ...and how the biggest Daniel Tiger fan in the world was overjoyed to receive her very own Daniel Tiger.
How Fritter received his light saber and became a Padawan learner.
 I wanted to tell you less about the things my children received as gifts this year, and more about the things that they made for us and for each other.  So much time and effort (and love!) went into the making of gifts this year.  I probably will tell you more about these another time, because they really deserve a post of their own.

More than all that, I wanted to tell you Merry Christmas!  I hope yours was full of many blessings.

Friday, December 12, 2014

{phfr} - Bad Blogger Update

This time of year gets so crazy for me (and probably for all of you as well) that I find it hard to keep up blogging even the most important events in our family.  Without further ado...
My grandfather (who was almost 95!) recently passed away, so Fritter and I flew back to Wyoming for his funeral.  This has been one of those tough years for my family.  It wasn't long ago that we lost my grandmother too.  So this was a melancholy trip, though it's always nice to see family (see happy below).
Flying back to Wyoming actually means flying into Denver and then driving a couple hours home.  So this was a welcome sight (and a pretty sign!):

As a kid (we traveled a lot!) I always knew I was close to home when I saw the buffalo on the hill.  This time was no different! And I find the prairie so pretty.
Seeing family is always a happy experience.  The day of my (maternal) grandfather's funeral was also my other (paternal) grandmother's birthday.  It was very nice to see her, though she had trouble remembering me. *sigh* We could call this happy and melancholy.
Fritter and I were able to spare a little bit of time to visit with an old college friend and his new baby.  This particular friend held Fritter when he was just a baby.  This time I got to hold his first born.
The happy family!
In other news we had another birthday!  Ladybug turned six (6!) the day before Thanksgiving.  My little girl is growing up. *sob*
And she got her first big girl doll!

She asked for a strawberry cake.  We compromised on a chocolate cake with strawberry frosting.  And butterflies!
 Because my grandfather's funeral was on the feast of St. Nicholas, and we would be in Wyoming, we celebrated here a little early.  (St. Nicholas is good like that!)
St. Nicholas brought us new books (affiliate links):

Dan: The Brothers Karamazov
CMerie: Lucia, Child of Light
Fritter: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey & The Miracle of St. Nicholas
Ladybug: The Very First Christmas &  A Small Miracle
Sunflower (and Froggy): The Night of Las Posadas

And of course chocolate coins!


Here in Arizona, we experience Autumn just as everyone else in the country is having fun with winter. :)  So I sent Fritter out to rake up the leaves in the front yard, and Ladybug followed him out.  Before I knew it, they were running from the end of the block and diving in the pile of leaves.  It looked like such fun the rest of us had to join in.

And then they got crazy and decided to throw the leaves everywhere.  By the time our fun was over, it was dinner time and bath time.  So Fritter had to rake the leaves again the next day.  And he did.  Without complaint!

We finally pulled our Christmas tree out on Wednesday with the plan to set it up and watch Elf together as a family.  But when we plugged in the lights on the tree, only part of the strand lit up.  After going through the unlit sections, light by light, we found at least 20 dead bulbs.  Of course we didn't have that many spare bulbs of this sort to replace them, but plenty of various other bulbs.  (Why, oh why do they not standardize the bulb ends?!)  So I patiently (ha!) swapped out the wrong ends for the right ends on new bulbs and then we put them back into the strand of lights.
The pile of dead lights with tips taken off.
It worked and the tree is lit, but it was only after all the hard work was done that I realized it probably would have been easier (and faster!) to pay $4 for a new strand of lights.  Remind me of that next Christmas, please? 
So we didn't get to watch Elf that night, since by the time we were done, it was past the kids' bedtimes.  We made up for it last night with pizza in front of the movie.
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