Thursday, December 31, 2009

CHRISTMAS... more than a day~ it's a SEASON!
Our Christmas celebration continues, through the Baptism of our Lord, which we celebrate on
Jan. 10th, 2010.
The birth of Christ is such a cause for celebration and awe ~ we couldn't possibly contain it all in one day!
May His birth transform our lives, again and again and again...
Happy, Blessed New Year to you & yours!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve
part 2

After visiting with Grandma, we headed to Uncle Craig & Aunt Beth's, where Peter's Christmas gift was waiting...  Boy was Peter ever excited to meet Rocky!
Grandma Billie & Grandpa Cliff were in on this surprise, too, having housed Rocky for the past 10 days to provide for the Christmas surprise.  And Peter WAS surprised! 
Seen here playing with Uncle Craig & Aunt Beth's new Boxer puppy (Finnegan), Rocky had the sweetest red bow on his collar (thanks, Beth!).

Rocky was a perfect pup in the car on the ride home (3+ hours), besides the unbelievable amount of light fur he shed everywhere.  As the boys hopped in the car to go to Mass this morning, their black dress pants were soon covered in Rocky fur!   We found Rocky thru an e-list, and adopted him from a soldier who is being deployed.  Our prayers are with him, and all the men and women who serve in our military.  Their sacrifices are often subtle.  

Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve 09
part 1

Every Christmas Eve our family (and my mom's brother & his family) gathers at my Grandma's house for dinner & a celebration.  We've been doing this since I was a little girl. I remember hoping to see Santa's lit sleigh in the sky on our drives home late at night from Grandma and Grandad's house!  I thought I caught a glimpse of Rudolph's nose one year...

But not this year.  With Grandma in the nursing home (in Tacoma) recovering from her fall, we decided to take our Christmas greetings there.  My sister, Molly, and her husband, Clark, and their 3 kids (Niko, Mike, and Kati) met up with us, and so did my dad. 

We had a very nice visit with Grandma, and Peter was able to give Grandma the very special glass hummingbird box he bought with his own money.  Grandma did not want to be in the photos (who would after what she's been through?), so this is the compromise shot of us all together.

It was very special to bring her our simple gifts and to share some time with her on Christmas Eve. 
More than once she expressed her regret that we couldn't all be at a party together... but we made the party right there.  Just as it should be.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy birthday, Tim!
What a great dad/husband we have in Tim... 
Yesterday we showered him with love and special gifts on his 42nd birthday.
Tim, Joseph and Peter spent the day skiing at Mt. Baker, with a few inches of new snow and beautiful blue skies.  Too bad none of them carried a camera!  Oh well.

Scouts in the evening gave many others a chance to sing to Tim, who was a good sport and wore the infamous "Happy Birthday" hat.  Sorry, no photos... it's against common sense.

Today is Uncle Peter John's birthday... another Christmas baby!
It's beginning to look alot like Christmas....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent Finale

Here we go... the final days of preparation for the celebration of the humble birth of our Lord and Savior! 

The first day of winter. 
The day before Tim's birthday. 
The day we will set up our life-sized nativity scene in our front yard. 
Another day to pray for Grandma and for all those who suffer or who are alone or are without faith.
A day to rejoice!

O come, O Day spring,  come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Special Visitors
Today a few of our favorite people came up to visit us for lunch & dessert.
Eric, Sean & Tim attended Catholic grade school, middle school and high school together.  Both were groomsmen in our wedding.  Today they came to visit with their wives... and Sean's first-born son!

Eric, Sean & Tim have had many adventures and escapades together over the years, and now Sean is sharing the experience of parenting a little boy.  His son is extremely cute and content, and we certainly enjoyed having him at our house for the afternoon.  Seeing the ladies (Renee and Kristy) was equally fantastic, helping balance out the male/female ratio to closer to 3-1 (not quite, but close).

Such a fun way to pass an Advent Saturday.  It's almost time to light the 4th candle (violet), as this evening begins the Vigil of the 4th Sunday of Advent.

O come, O Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just enough snow

Yesterday we had just enough snow for a few hours of sledding and a little fort and snowman building.
For Joseph and Peter, whose favorite comic characters are Calvin and Hobbes, snow brings a special feeling of delight... and mischievousness!

The sight of the city's sanding truck dumping grit along their sledding route was almost more than they could bear.  So they began plotting their revenge... you don't want to hear the plans, trust me!

Tim is planning another trip up skiing with them soon, so they will get anothe snow-fix before long.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Update on Grandma:
Grandma is still in the hospital, and still in a great deal of pain (some days are better than others).
She is wearing a neck brace to keep her neck still to allow the fracture to heal (surgery is deemed too risky).  This could mean up to 3 months of limited mobility wearing the brace.
She will be moved to a long-term care facility if/when her pain is manageable and her nutrition is balanced out. (She has no appetite.)
Mom has stayed with her ever since the day of the fall. 
My sister has been there every day.
I'm going to visit her again tomorrow.
Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Please Pray
My grandma, 92, fell down the stairs and broke bones in her neck and probably her pelvis, too.
She has stitches from lacerations in her elbows, knees, and forehead.
She's going to be getting an MRI today for the doctors to determine the extent of the damage and a course of treatment.... so please pray.

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother Mary, and we ask especially for Mary's intercessory prayers for grandma. 
photo taken at grandma's 90th b-day party w/ 8 of her 11 great grandkids (now she has 12!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We hunted our annual Advent Tree (which will become a Christmas Tree on the Eve of December 24!) at  a local tree farm in the foothills of Mount Baker.  This is truly one of our favorite family traditions.  Finding a time to make the trek up there all together took some doing, as the varsity swim team schedule has Zachary at the pool from 2:15-5PM every day.  But we managed to find a morning that Tim could break away from work, and up we went armed with Santa hats to bag our tree.

It took a family vote to narrow down the finalists, but in the end it was a unanimous decision (rare).
We brought home a beautiful Noble Fir, which is now lit, decorated and awaiting the placement of the star on top.  It's Zac's year to have the honors, and since he's been on retreat this weekend, the boys saved the star for him to place upon his return.

Happy Second Sunday of Advent!
A voice of one crying out in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

Luke 3:4

Happy Feast day of Saint Nicholas, Patron of Bakers and Pawnbrokers!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Farewell Bryan

We celebrated a funeral Mass yesterday for our friend, Bryan, who was killed last week.  We prayed for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his loved ones.  We prayed for his brother, Christopher, who died of AIDS.  We prayed that Bryan's killer would be caught, and for justice to be served.  We prayed for peace and for Christian unity.

Today Bryan's body was buried.  His mom, Pam, gave the crucifix from the coffin to his brother, Michael, her remaining son. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Special Visit
Don't you love it when you get surprise visitors? 
When someone very special turns up at your door to greet you?
We were blessed by such a visit from my distant Scottish cousin, Peter, and his lovely wife, Julie.
I met them for the first time back in the late 80's (?) when they came to Seattle to re-establish contact with my grandma and our U.S. MacIntyre clan.  They brought their 2 kids (then pre-teenagers) Tim and Jenny, who now each have 2 kids!  On another surprise visit, they turned up at my Grandma & Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary party.  Of course my grandparents were absolutely stunned and delighted to be honored with such a special visit from far-away relatives.
This trip, they shocked  my Aunt Sue and Uncle Mike by making secret arrangements to be at their daughter, Kati's house on Thanksgiving.  When Sue & Mike saw Peter and Julie, they just couldn't figure it out... "We know these people, and we know where we are... how did they get here?"  They joke that there's a hole in Kati's floor now from when their jaws hit it!
Peter and Julie make such a great effort to stay connected with us in the US, and their presence is like a burst of sunshine.  We heard about Peter's recent travels to Cuba, and about their upcoming trip to Morocco.
Peter sang for us at the dinner table, a real treat for the boys, especially, who know the MacIntyres are legendary for their vocal talent!
We love seeing photos of Peter dressed in his finest (kilt) for a black tie event.
All in all, having Peter and Julie visit (and bring a delicious pie!!)
is one of the greatest Christmas gifts we shall receive.
I think we should follow their lead and be the kind of relatives who go out of their way to stay connected in meaningful ways with even the most distant of family members...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent Begins

Our preparations for the birth of our Savior begin... with the first candle in our Advent Wreath being lit at the first Mass of the new liturgical year.

During this time of preparation, we will hunt, chop and trim a tree, decorate our house, fine-tune our wish lists and spend many hours making special gifts for loved ones.  We will continue attending our daily Masses and spend a little bit of extra time in prayer and scripture study.   Our life-sized lawn nativity scene will be erected and our CD player will get over-used playing the sounds of the season.

So much to look forward to...
Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Review

Things to remember about Thanksgiving 2009:

The boys' help with...
Tim's help with...
turkey carving
sanity checks

Great company
Amazing liturgy (Mass)
Connecting with far-away family over the phone

Things to forget about Thanksgiving 2009:
fresh green beans (which I forgot to cook until the whole dinner was nearly table-ready...)
left-over green beans (which were in a beautiful Italian ~wedding present~~ serving bowl on the stove after dinner when I accidentally turned on the wrong burner to heat the kettle for tea... and cracked the bowl!)

Quote to ponder before getting too busy with other holiday preparations:
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form of its innate violence.
To allow oneself to be carried away by the multitude of conflicting concerns, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone with everything is to succumb to violence, more than it is cooperation with violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes her or his work forpeace. It destroys her or his inner capacity
for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
--Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a writer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Colors

beautiful smiles
dreams for the future
brotherhood lives

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Did you say
Peter: Mom, do you know the Teletubbies?
Me: Yes... (I'm wondering where this is going... as I am quite sure Peter has never seen or heard of Teletubbies.)
Peter: Did you know they are anti-Christian?
Me: Really? What makes you say that? When did you see Teletubbies?
Peter: My friend told me that they are very anti-Christian.
Me: That sounds odd. I'm not sure how they could be, they're pretty simple... (I'm making a note to ask his friend's mom to help me get to the bottom of this perplexing information.)
My friend sent a quick reply to my request for details on the reported bad habits of the seemingly harmless creatures:
I just got to the bottom of this. Coming home one night they were discussing how (some say), "I love Teletubbies!" And because our van is so large and has the diesel engine, I thought they were discussing the Taliban. This led to a discussion about who the Taliban are... my guess is that he mixed up the names and honestly thought that's what Teletubbies were (he's never seen the show). He is insisting that I must have misinformed him, but he'd rather be burned at the stake than to admit me made a mistake. My apologies for the miseducation of your son!!!
As far as the educational factor of this incident, this is the perfect example of the lessons learned in the "telephone" game (where one person whispers a sentence in the ear of another and by the time it goes around the room it is all distorted).
Instead of the telephone game, we could call this the Teletubbies game!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weston Time!
Last stop:
Meeting 7 week old Weston and celebrating Sawyer's 2nd birthday (a bit late).
We were also able to tour Uncle Craig and Aunt Bethany's new veterinary clinic, which is very classy.
The boys loved holding Weston, who is just beginning to smile socially. We took lots of photos and enjoyed a lazy morning at home playing with trains (a set we've given to the cousins).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Lilly's Pad

Our family dinner on Sunday night was hosted by my baby brother, Michael and his family (Katie and little Lilly). Molly helped with menu prep and as always, the food was amazing!

Holding my little niece, Lilly, for the first time was a wonderful joy. She was a tiny thing at birth (4 lbs) and now at 4 months she's bigger but still very petite.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Trip
to Tacoma and beyond!

First stop:
Archdiocesan High School Youth Convention in Bellevue, where we attended the vigil Mass celebrated by Bishop Elizondo with Zachary and our local youth group attendees. (no photos)
We joined them afterward at their hotel for a short visit before our drive south continued.

Next stop: Morning Mass at St. Charles (the parish of my youth, where I attended grade school)...worshiping with my little sister, Molly, and her family (Mike in white, Kati in red, Niko in blue) and with my life-long friend (and Zac and Joseph's godmother) Aileen and her family (Peter in purple, Ryan in blue).

Joseph and Peter then spent the afternoon with my brother's family (cousins MacKenzie, Brendan, and Jacob) while Tim and I attended our catechetical training year 3 class: Continuing the Faith Journey. Great class!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

boldly go forth

Look, Peter is defending the unborn...
Don't you love his pro-life pumpkin?
Hopefully it touched the hearts of many of the kids (and their accompanying adults) who visited our porch on Halloween.

Joseph mostly wanted to bash a pumpkin with his mace, but alas, he lacked the required adult permission! Maybe next year... or not. It really wouldn't be Halloween around here without weapons for props.

The boys put their trick or treating costumes together all by themselves this year. There were odds & ends to choose from~ our costume collection barely fits into a large rolling hockey gear bag. Peter's St. John Vianney costume for All Saints Day did require a last minute sewing marathon, so I didn't feel too left-out or out-grown as the costume designer (a role for which my mom set a pretty high standard!).

There were fun times trick or treating in the 'hood. Joseph and Peter were ever so polite to each and every person who gave them a treat.

I was holding out for Skittles or Starburst (collected as a tax), but their bags were full of chocolate varieties this year.... oh well. In years' past, we would buy back their candy and give it away at the shop(s). This year it's all stashed in their rooms, and they ask permission each time they want a piece (really!). Usually I answer with, "After you finish your math!" or "After the bathroom is cleaned!" So the candy actually works out quite nicely as a the carrot on the stick! It all gets confiscated if I find one wrapper on the floor instead of in the garbage can... so they're on the watch for litter, too!

Monday, November 2, 2009



Today we remember all the faithful departed, who may be awaiting the Heavenly Kingdom.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Today we honor All Saints~ the holy men and women who have gone before us and have entered into God's Heavenly Kingdom.

Children came to Mass dressed as their favorite saints and were given the opportunity to teach the congregation about them. Peter chose to be Saint John Vianney who is the patron saint of priests. St. John Vianney said, "You either belong wholly to God, or wholly to the world."

We also heard from children representing Saint Luke, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Damien, and Saint Hildegard. At the 8:30 Mass, children presented Saint Louis, Saint Gabriel, Saint Bernadette, and Saint Isaac Jogues to name a few.

Yesterday we celebrate the vigil of All Saints Day, Halloween (All Hallows' Eve), with the fun of trick or treating in our neighborhood (more soon).

Happy All Saints Day...
Let's be like the saints today and everyday, serving God with our lives and giving up our will for His.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009



to Marie

The time has come to say good-bye to our dear friend, Marie.

She's leaving soon to move to her daughter's home across the state. Living alone just got to be too difficult for Marie.

We have been blessed to bring Marie the Blessed Sacrament (Jesus) weekly as part of our Church's Homebound Ministry which reaches out to those who cannot get to Mass on Sunday.

We will treasure the time spent in her presence, praying together, sharing life's ups and downs...

Yes, it's hard to say good-bye. But Marie's decision to leave her condo and live with family seems like the most natural and right thing to do.

We will keep you and your family in our prayers, dear Marie.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our pumpkin patch at home is burned out, not enough crop rotation, we think. So this year it's being let to rest, and we visited a local apple orchard for pumpkin gathering.
The highlight of pumpkin gathering, though, was not the finding of the perfect gourd. No, it was the racing of the pumpkin cart... downhill... without brakes.
The thrill!
Who knew a visit to a pumpkin patch could be so exhilarating?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Last Race

Zachary's final cross country race of the season was yesterday. He cut about 30 seconds off his time, and was pleased with his finish.

So were we!

There's about a month now before a new varsity sport season begins. Zac will use this time for some R&R and probably a bit more time devoted to serious school work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saint Ephrem
the Syrian

Saint Ephrem the Syrian (+373), a deacon and a hermit, wrote hundreds of hymns in honor of the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is a patron of spiritual directors.
I found an excerpt of his writing in my Maginificat (yesterday's meditation) and wanted to share it.

Grant me, O Son of the Good One, that for which my mind yearns, and join to it that which is pleasing to your will. Grant that I may choose to do good and in no way deviate from you will.

Do not permit me to be a wicked and hypocritical disciple who violates your commandments.

Protect me from thinking that I can walk along your path merely for the sake of appearance and thus by my hypocrisy deceive those who see me, inciting them to proclaim me blessed.

Grant that my heart might please your greatness in secret, and that my just life might glorify you publicly.

May truth be a mistress to guide your worshiper; may it preserve me in chastity both near and far.

Deliver me from the misfortune of knowing your law, yet lacking the desire to please you.

Vouchsafe me the company of people who are simple, but experienced and wise in the performance of virtues.

My flesh is weak. Fortify it with your strength. Help me, break the arrows of the cunning enemy, and number me among the hosts of your heirs.

Grant me, O Lord, ever to be among your dominion and to do what is pleasing to you. And whenever I begin something good, do you, O Lord, give me strength to complete it.

The Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power and idle chatter.

Instead, grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience, and love.

O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brother; for You are blessed now and ever and forever.


Icon of Saint Ephrem the Syrian, from Meryemana Kilesesi, Diyarbakr, Turkey.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

(zū-kĕt'ō, tsūk-kĕt'tō)

The small, round skullcap of the ecclesiastic. The official (Latin) name is pileolus; other designations are: berettino, calotte, subbiretum, submitrale, soli-deo.

We were having a casual discussion with Bishop Tyson about road biking (one of his favorite activities), when the topic of helmets came up.

Zac asked the bishop if he wore his zucchetto under his helmet, and in reply, the bishop mentioned that he's (sadly) not been able to find a magenta helmet.

Zachary offered to help find said helmet, but that he would need the zucchetto to match the color exactly. At this point, the bishop took his zucchetto off and placed it upon Zachary's head! As he did, the color of Zac's face suddenly matched the color of the zucchetto perfectly!

Of course, each of the boys wanted a turn wearing the zucchetto, and thankfully I had slipped my simple point & shoot camera into my pocket before leaving for daily Mass.

After all, "You never know when a little camera might come in handy!"