Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quick Get-a-Way

Off to the Great Wolf Lodge went our three sons and their great friend, Collin.

Off to battle with lily pads.

Off to play king of the floating thing.

Off to be spoiled by Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff, who packed a cooler full of healthy food
(plus a few treats) so they could eat in the room rather than wasting time (and money) at the restaurant.

The trip was at the top of Joseph's birthday wish list (specifically for G&G).
How could they say "no?"
They said next time they'll check the dates to avoid spring break times.
Guess a few of the lines were a bit long this time around.
What a great gift.  Thanks G&G!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Holy Week

Today's Gospel reading recounted Mary's anointing of Jesus at Bethany, where Judas Iscariot scolded her for wasting precious oil on Jesus rather than giving proceeds to the poor.
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazaras, whom he had raised from the dead.  And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.   John 12:9-11
I received a great gift in my email box this morning from my favorite publication.
Magnificat has published the Holy Week volume online, for free.  The month of April is also free!
This is an amazing companion for prayer and spiritual reading.  If you've never read Magnificat, this is your chance to get a peek for free!  There are several pages of introductory essays & such at the beginning of each issue, followed by morning, day (or Mass) and evening prayers for each day.  The pages were a little slow to to load, but well worth the wait, I promise.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Our procession today~ Palm Sunday~ began in the parish hall, where we gathered to hear Luke's Gospel  account of Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem six days before the Passover. (Lk 19:28-40)
We processed with our blessed palms across the street and in to the church, singing and praising God.
The rain cleared just in time for our procession!

Joseph had the honor of serving as cross-bearer.
He asked to come home early from his Scout camp-out so as not to miss this opportunity.
Peter was a candle-bearer, and Zachary was acolyte.

For five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity and self-sacrifice, for the celebration of our Lord's paschal mystery.  Today we come together to begin this solemn celebration in union with the whole Church throughout the world.  Christ entered in triumph into his own city, to complete his work as our Messiah:  to suffer, to die, and to rise again.
Let us remember with devotion this entry which began his saving work and follow him with a lively faith.  United with him ins his suffering on the cross, may we share his resurrection and new life.
(today's opening prayer)

We take our blessed palms home, as reminders of our Lord's entrance into his Passion.

We now begin Holy Week.
A week set apart from all others.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nanny for a day

Weston, 6 mos.

Sawyer, 2

Violet, 3

Weston, Violet & Sawyer

Today's my day to play nanny for my gorgeous nephews & niece.
Drs. Craig and Bethany have an open house celebrating one year as business owners of their vet clinic. 
So while they're away, we got to play outside in the sand-box and visit the chicken coop.

Peter's dog, Rocky, had a special surgery at their clinic yesterday, and is recovering nicely today.
Rocky wearing a cone and staying "mellow" for 2 weeks is going to be very interesting to say the least!
I filmed the surgery for Dr. Craig, and it's being shown (on a loop!) at the clinic during the open house.
A few people admitted to being too squeemish to watch, but some found it to be very interesting.
I told Craig he should post the video online for Scouts working on the Veterinary Medicine merit badge.
(Plus, being an Eagle Scout himself, he made sure to name each knot he tied during the suturing part of the surgery.)
I'll let you know if he posts it.

Until then, happy Saturday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

He's HERE!
Dear Janell (and Alain) had the baby this morning at around 3AM...
A baby boy born, 8lbs 1oz!
Janell is doing very well and as yet the baby is unnamed.
He's getting lots of love from his 4 older siblings (who slept through the home-birth).
"You have to hold his head, Gabriel." 
May God bless your new child, Janell and Alain, and may your whole family be filled with His grace!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

 Recommended Reading
I found this title, Dave Eggers's What Is the What, on the St. James Cathedral website.  Intrigued, I immediately ordered a copy from half.com for about $3.50. 
It was the best $3.50 I've spent on a book in a long time.

 The novel, based on a real life story, took me on a journey into the life of a child refugee from Sudan.
From fleeing his village in a storm of violence at a very young age~alone; witnessing atrocious crimes; surviving against amazing odds; long stays in refugee camps; to life in big city America...
This was a hard one to put down.
I highly recommend it.

If you want to read more about the book (a sample chapter is available, as are many reviews), or about Valentino Achak Deng, the main character and his works of charity to aid Sudan, go to:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Fever

Spring is here, and the gardens are in need of some TLC.
Peter is our primary gardener, he is very excited to grow onions and other veggies and fruits.

Joseph will gladly lend a hand, if he's not distracted by something more interesting...
His imagination sometimes gets the best of him!

Then there's Zac.
Willing to give pitchfork assistance or offer his opinion.
Obedient when asked to perform chores in the yard.
Overheard saying, "Who are we to decide which of God's plants should live and which should die!"
(While weeding.)
This is our son who from an early age found the act of cutting down the family Christmas tree to be quite solemn and sad....
for the tree. 

Soon to be planted and hopefully someday harvested!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick~ Pray for us!

Fun traditions surround this Saint's day...
Dressing in green,
eating corned beef and cabbage (and potatoes),
singing Irish hymns,
dancing an Irish jig!

Coming from an Irish (and Scottish) family as I do,
I have many fond memories of this special day.
(And some not-so-fond memories, like the times my mom dyed the milk green!
Somehow our breakfast cereal just didn't taste right with green milk...)

What's on your menu tonight?
No green milk, I hope!

Zachary chose Saint Patrick as his patron saint when he was confirmed in the faith two years ago this May.
Happy Feast Day to all Patricks, especially to our Zachary Michael Patrick and to my mom, Patricia!

Saint Patrick's prayer:
(or "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate")

I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,

In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,

Against the spells of ... druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pinewood Derby
Peter anxiously awaits the first heat of the Pinewood Derby.

Peter cheers for his car as it finishes FIRST in the heat!
Peter's derby car takes THIRD place in the pack!

Tim whispers, "If you win, win with grace.  If you lose, congratulate them."
Peter is awarded the trophy and prize for his 3rd place finish.
Quite an improvement from 16th place last year.

Grandpa Cliff was very happy to hear the good news.
Peter built his derby car in Grandpa Cliff's shop, an annual tradition dating back to Zachary's first derby car.
(Zac's first derby was the first Pinewood Derby for our Cub Scout pack.  Zachary won!  First place out of three Tiger Cubs~)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fishy Friday

Yes, we eat fish on Fridays in Lent. 
Or we just have a vegetarian menu.
We make small sacrifices during Lent to help us say "no" to our bodies to train us to say "yes" to God.
We heard an outstanding homily this Lent, given by Deacon Larry K.
I include this excerpt for reading and reflecting:

The Season of Lent is a time to work... on letting go of things that are not necessary, so as to be free to set our sites on higher things. We have three main ways to do that. They are prayer, fasting and works of charity. You might say, we add, we subtract and we multiply. We add more prayer time. We subtract some material pleasure. And we multiply our works of charity.

Of these three, many find fasting the most challenging. The idea of self-denial is so contrary to the culture of self-indulgence that is all around us. And yet the practice of fasting runs deep within our Catholic tradition. Christ Himself spent 40 days in the dessert praying and fasting. Many of the saints practiced asceticism. After all, one who dies a martyr is not suddenly able to give up their whole life for their faith, without first having learned self-denial in smaller ways.

We fast as a way to learn self discipline. You know, the word "disciple" is derived from the word "discipline". When we fast, we voluntarily give up something we would like as a way to learn to say "no" to our self when there is very little at stake, so that we will be able to say "no" to our self when our very soul may be at stake.

Voluntary self-sacrifice strengthens us to handle the inevitable suffering that life will surely bring to us and to use that natural suffering of life as an opportunity to enter into the mystery of the cross. If we bring our sorrows and lay them at the foot of the cross, at the foot of the altar, if we lift up our pain and offer it to God, it can take on a new meaning. By joining our sacrifice to that of Christ, our pain becomes redemptive suffering, and we actually participate in the salvation of souls.

So... if we have not yet begun our Lenten Spirituality, or we started with good intensions, but they have faded a bit, it's not too late. There's still plenty of time in Lent. It's not necessary to make grand gestures nor to do things that are harmful to ourselves. Small sacrifices can accomplish great things. Our fasting, along with our prayer and our works of charity can help us grow spiritually, can help us learn to detach from the material goods of this world and place our trust instead in God's eternal plan for us. ~ Deacon Larry K.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tiger Cubs 2000

In honor of Zachary submitting his Eagle project to the district Eagle Board (today!!)
I publish these photos of his Tiger Den from September 2000.
Paul, Bryce, Ryan, and Zachary were the very first members of our newly formed
homeschool Cub Scout Pack.
They were Tiger Cubs before Tigers wore the blue uniforms like other Cub Scouts. 
We opted to wear home-made orange vests rather than the BSA issued orange T-shirts.

Now Zachary will await word as to whether or not his Eagle project is
accepted, returned for revisions, or denied.
Nice work, Zachary!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eagle in the Making

Zachary gave an Eagle project funding request presentation last night to the Knights of Columbus.
His intended project involves a structure at church, which will require a survey, a building permit and a construction team. 

Last night he requested funding for $500 toward phase 1: the survey and plan review fee.
The Knights approved his request!

As it turns out, the $500 (a maximum dollar amount the Knights can approve at one meeting) was about $67 short of the total funds needed for phase 1 of his project.

One of the Knights (who caught the $67 shortage in the packet Zac had prepared) donated the $67 out of his own pocket.  Said he was very impressed with Zachary's presentation and determination.

Zac's project planning continues...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Everybody Loves a Pinata!

Little kids get to whack away with full vision...
But the big kids have to do battle while blindfolded.
But everyone gets a handful of sweets at the conclusion!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

4th Degree
Normally, giving someone the 4th degree is seen as a rather unpleasant thing,
like giving someone a hard time.  Not so, this time, not so!
Tim and a group of other men from several other parishes received his 4th Degree Exemplification in the Knights of Columbus last weekend. 
I am very proud to be married to a Knight! 

Celebrating 128 years, the Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The charitable works, fellowship, worship, and devotion of these men is truly inspiring.
Fathers for Good is a program for men (especially dads) through the KofC which is outright amazing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Peter and the Knitters

"It will take me about 10 minutes, Peter. I just need to take a few photos of the prayer shawl knitters."

Famous last words!
Like you can just drop in on a group like this (with Peter in tow).

Peter was the delight of the ladies knitting, and was invited to learn the craft.
He loved it, and brought home a set of borrowed knitting needles to complete his first project.

He's been wanting to learn how to knit or crochet for at least a year.  I'm not very qualified to instruct in those crafts, and being left-handed, I show everything backwards.

These ladies (including Betty seen teaching Peter) are such a gift to our community.
Having prayer shawls to bring to the sick and suffering is such a tremendous gift.
Many thanks to all the prayer shawl knitters!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


When Cousins Come to Visit

Having cousins come to visit is a great gift to our family.
Recently the youngest cousins came for another visit.

Packing up 3 kids ages 3 & under and driving 3+ hours with a ferry wait/ride... that's a job for the strong at heart!
We sure do appreciate Uncle Craig and Aunt Bethany's sacrifices to come to spend time with us.

Weston keeps growing and growing... hard to believe he's almost 6 months old!  He is alert and lively, and quick with his smiles and sounds.

Sawyer loves to play with Grandpa's Pinewood Derby track, sending all the various vehicles down over & over again.  He has a gentle sweetness and the most loving gaze... he's a heart-melter!

And Violet loves to play make-believe and use her imagination.  She spent about 20 minutes playing a game where she was "throwing" different things in my face!  I had a hard time keeping up with a new thing to "throw" back in her face each time!
Taking time to visit with cousins, and with family is such a gift to our children, and to us!Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Scene in Vancouver
Riding the new transit trains into the city was a huge bonus.
Riding the escalator in the train station was also a bit hit (bigger with some than others).

Our one mis-hap on our day in Vancouver occurred at the end of the day when we rushed to jump onto a train which was just departing a downtown station.
The train was crowded, so we had to skip a few doors to race up to an emptier part of the train.
Joseph didn't quite catch the urgency factor, and was left on the platform when the doors began to slide shut.
Luckily, Tim noticed we were short one boy, and forced the doors back open (his great, brute strength coming in handy!).  He jumped out as the train began to pull away.
Meanwhile, I was comfortably seated on the train, taking in the sights.
Zac strolled up alongside my seat and asked, "You know Dad and Joe aren't on this train, right?"
Me, "NO!  Where are they?"
"Joseph didn't make the train, so dad jumped off at the last minute."
Cell phone call followed, plans to meet at destination secured.
Breathe a sigh of relief.

The street entertainers had the crowds spell-bound with their amazing stunts.
This juggler has us in stitches he was so funny.
"Gentlemen, please do not clap with your hands in your pockets..."
This statue-performer was spell-binding.
The color of her eyes was a piercing blue, which stood out in stark contrast to the bronze body paint.

Zip line rides across a city block would have been a sure highlight of our day...
except that the line was about 6+ hours long!

Seeing the crowds in full colors before (and during, and after)
the gold medal hockey game was especially memorable.

Ah, the Olympics...