Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

The children are in their beds after their exciting day of wearing costumes, playing with a friend, going to McDonald's, and trick-or-treating! Another holiday has come to an end.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is November 1st - All Saints Day. It is a Holy Day in the Catholic tradition here in the US, dedicated to all those who lived saintly lives and who are now in heaven with God. I have a big sign on my kitchen island reminding me to take the boys to church tomorrow morning because I am afraid I will get caught up in my usual morning routine and forget!

Protestants often wonder why Catholics pray to saints. The truth is, however, that we don't pray to them, we pray through them. We ask for their intercession, just as one here on earth might ask for a dear friend or family member to pray for them. We do the same with the saints in heaven - we ask them to pray for us. As we believe they are in heaven with God, we trust that their prayers carry some weight!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Finding Delight in Simple Things

Sometimes the perfect books find you just when you need them. I just finished reading "The Unmistakable Touch of Grace" by Cheryl Richardson, and began reading "Out of the Blue: Delight Comes into Our Lives" by Mark Victor Hansen & Barbara Nichols. Both deal with finding God in our lives in the simple things, opening up our hearts and minds and eyes to the beauty that surrounds us.

This is something that I firmly believe in and do try to implement in my own life. But like everyone else, sometimes I get bogged down in the details of everyday life, and I forget. I forget to notice. I forget to appreciate. I forget to be thankful. It's good to be reminded to soak up the wonder of life.

Tonight I took my boys to a neighborhood Halloween party. David (age 4 1/2) dressed as a witch and Isaac (who will be three in mere days) was Elmo. David is at a wonderful age for make-believe and he was in his glory participating in the costume parade. He had this huge smile and was waving his hat and broom and pretended to fly. It was beautiful to behold! And there it was - delight - on a beautiful fall evening, after a week that was less than ideal. I once again found my peace.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Life Isn't Fair!

The basement is dry! Thank goodness! Now there is just the cleanup to take care of.

To make life a little more interesting, the boys and I all have colds. I think one of the hardest things I had to learn when I became a mom is that there is no such thing as a sick day unless you are in the hospital. No matter how poorly I feel, the kids still need me. Generally, if I am sick, they are sick as well and even more needy than usual. Thank goodness for modern medicine which helps us all get through the day and the night.

One of the Bible readings for yesterday was "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31. Sr. Joyce Rupp (www.joycerupp.com) wrote the reflection for Living Faith. She wrote "I received the grace to see that suffering is a part of life. I came to understand and accept that God does not cause this suffering. Rather, our pain occurs because of our human condition and because life is not always fair."

How many times do we complain that life isn't fair? I don't know who ever said that it should be but children seem to be hardwired with this belief. Yet, life isn't fair. Some have more and some have less. Learning to accept and be happy with who we are and what we have is the challenge God presents us with.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Some things to be thankful for

Our battle with the flood in the basement continues. While things could obviously be much worse, this really isn't fun. So, I thought to brighten my mood a bit, I would think of some things to be thankful for:

1. It did not rain today.

2. We still have heat, electricity, and running water.

3. My parents were kind enough to let the boys and I crash at their house today so we wouldn't be in my very tired husband's way as he dealt with the flooding.

4. My husband is home this week. He has been away on business the past four weeks. I'm really not sure how I would have dealt with this if he were gone.

5. The boys and I went out for a walk tonight. They like to go visit the Halloween decorations on a house the next street over. As we walked in the cold autumn air with one of their hands in each of mine, I felt so lucky. They find joy in the simplest things and so should I.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One of Those Days

I was thinking just the other day how I needed to start sorting out the stuff in the basement. A great deal of it hasn't seen the light of day since we moved nearly a year ago. Today, my basement flooded. It's not surprising really seeing that it has rained here nearly every day this month. We have really been very lucky. Most of our neighbors had flooded last week, and we seem to have caught it early enough to get most things out of harm's way. Now, if it would only stop raining! Still, it is a motivator to start sorting out the stuff. God is definitely trying to tell me something!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sorting Out the "Stuff"

We have been trying to figure out a way to organize our playroom. Household organization has never been one of my strong points. I can clean and pick up and organize but it all seems such a colossal waste of time because it is just a mess again the next day (sometimes the next hour). I prefer to save such bouts of straightening up for when somebody is coming over.

Still, the playroom has really been getting on my nerves. Whenever I get tempted to throw all my children's toys away (an idea that they don't seem to go for for some reason!), I know that something has to be done. So, yesterday we bought this cube organizer/bookcase type thing which helped to get some of the items off of the floor. The fact that we have to buy more stuff to organize our stuff just kills me, but it did help the cause. Tonight we sat down with the children and watched a show on TV on organizing a playroom. Afterwards, David was very eager to help clean up and he and I did do some straightening. We try to find homes for things but some toys just don't have a home and there are some items that are just too big to fit neatly in a box or cubbie. It does look better however. At least until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Facing Discouragement

As a writer, it is hard sometimes to face all the rejection that comes my way. I know it isn't personal. After all, I edit my own website and newsletter. I know that sometimes an article may be very good, but it just doesn't fit what I am looking for at a given time. Still, rejection is never easy. It's hard to think that someone doesn't like what you have done. It's hard to have the hope that this time the article will be accepted only to have it sent back to you with a form letter. It hurts to check my website stats every day to have only a few visitors and no income from my Google Ads.

Sometimes, I ask God, "Why do I have to have all this failure?" A little success would be so nice, and I would really really appreciate it. I would be so thankful, Lord!

I know that God has his reasons, that there is some lesson in all of this that I obviously haven't learned yet. And I know that I have to keep going, because in many ways I feel like my life has led me to this. I know that success in God's world is usually not how success is defined by this world. And so, on days like today, when I just want to throw in the towel, I keep going in the hopes that somehow my words are touching people's lives and that I am doing what God wants me to be doing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Dancing with abandon

My younger son Isaac (who is almost 3) loves music. Sometimes he'll have me carry him and he'll be my "dancing partner." Other times he does what my husband and I have affectionately dubbed "The White Boy Stomp" - he stamps his feet around the room, claps his hands, and bobs his head. It is so funny to see, and he usually wants me to do it with him! What I love to see is the enthusiasm with which he dances. He is not self-conscious. He lives completely in the moment and his dancing is a reflection of the joy within him.

As adults we worry so much about our actions. Of course, there are many things we do need to be concerned about. But maybe, just for a little while, we could turn our worries over to God, and just bask in the joy of a moment. Maybe we could do our own version of the "White Boy Stomp" and let our inner child be free.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What a Little Faith Can Do

My mother taught me to pray as a child. The first word I ever recognized when learning to read was in one of her prayer books. From the age of 5, my mother, sister and I (and sometimes my father) would say the rosary together as a family. We would pray daily for every cause imaginable. Every concern in our life we would bring to the Lord in prayer. I have continued that course of action in my own life. God hears a lot from me, and I do get my answers, although they are definitely in God's time. There have been situations that I have prayed for for years before a resolution came my way. And even though I always pray that God's will be done, God's will sometimes seems a little elusive in my life.

Not so with my mother's prayers. Even now, when my sister or I need major help with some situation in life, we turn to our mother. We pray also, of course (did I mention God hears a lot from me?), but her prayers get answers. Even my husband acknowledges that my mother has a direct line to heaven. Just today, there was a situation weighing heavily on my mind. I started a St. Jude's Novena regarding it, but called my mother for a little reinforcement. By 6 o'clock tonight I had an answer. My mother always says it is just that when two of us pray together it is more powerful. Perhaps that is true, but I also believe that my mother has a faith that I don't even come close to, at least not yet. My mother is not a perfect person, but this is her gift, a gift that she received from God by way of her grandmother, a gift that I would like to think has been passed along to me.

Dear Lord, help me to have faith, to always believe that you will show me the way. Amen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Marriage as Sacrament

It was a beautiful fall day today. The trees are finally changing colors (about a week or two late) and with the sun shining on them they were absolutely gorgeous. The boys and I had playgroup at the park this morning. It is always so nice to get together with other moms! I look forward to it every week.

I was reading through more of Pope Benedict XVI's "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today" (I had the name wrong in a previous post - my apologies). He was discussing the priesthood and why it is a sacramental state of life. He writes: "This service, in which we are made the entire property of another, this giving of what does not come from us, is called sacrament in the language of the Church."

I have never heard "sacrament" described this way. Primarily, it is defined as a sign of a greater reality. I like Pope Benedict's description, however, when it comes to the sacraments of vocation - holy orders and matrimony. (One might argue that consecrated religious life should be in the category as well). For marriage is a sacrament as well, and in it, we too give what does not belong to us to another. We each belong to God and we stand at the marriage altar and promise to live out the love that God has for Godself. In some ways, a marriage reflects the trinitarian love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We give ourselves over to another. And of course we live that love imperfectly because we are imperfect people. It is only with God's help that we can even come close to living out the sacramental reality that marriage should be.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

An Artist Friend on HGTV

One night a week I work for A Shoppers Dream Productions. A small craft show production company and retail outlet run by the parents of a friend of mine, I was recruited to work for them for a summer when I was 19. Who knew I would still be there 11 years later? In any case, I consider it less a "real" job and more my night out once a week.

That is where I was tonight. As it is beginning to be the holiday season and they have once again opened their retail store, I was left alone with my pile of work and the TV remote in their home office. I put on HGTV (my favorite station which I do not have at home) and was watching "That's Clever," a show about different artisans and craftspeople across the country. Much to my surprise, one of the women being featured was someone I went to college with. Denise Shea (formerly Denise daCosta) was two years ahead of me at Elms College. We were both art majors. She was (and still is) amazingly talented. After college she went on to work at BusinessWest magazine and I interned in graphic design under her supervision the following summer. She is a wonderful person who taught me a great deal and it was great to see her doing so well. "That's Clever" focused on her millinary skills. To view her hats, please visit www.denishehats.com

Monday, October 17, 2005

Battling the Consumer Culture

"Then [Jesus] said to the crowd, 'Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions.'" Luke 12:15

This was part of the gospel reading for today. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our consumer culture - to believe that what we have determines what we are. My son David (age 4 1/2) has really been in a greedy stage lately. He has become very aware that there are all these wonderful toys are out there for the having, and he would like to have them all. Having been told that Santa might not bring everything on his Christmas list because his list was very long and Santa has to give toys to all the children in the world, not just him, David decided that he would start working on his birthday list (his birthday is in April). He said that list he would just give to Grandma!

I really work hard to try to have my children be thankful for what they have, and to realize that they are very fortunate because there are many others who have far less. I also realize that the desire for things is very natural. I can remember myself as a child looking through toy catalogs in the summertime working on my Christmas list! I have managed to grow up to not be a slave to my possessions. Hopefully, my children will also. It's OK to have possessions, and even to enjoy them. It's when they become the most important things in our lives that we begin to have a problem.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Suffering from "To-Do List" Stress

I feel so stressed today - buried by my to-do list with too little time to do it all. I get this way sometimes. Some of it is certainly self-inflicted. There are things on my list that I really don't need to do, but I want to do them. There are items that just seemed to get pushed from to-do list to to-do list without any real progress being made (Hmmm - clean out the refrigerator - how long has that been on there?) There is they birthday party for Isaac to plan. (I did buy the invites - now if I could just find the time to write and mail them). There is reading to be done - I am making my way through Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's (now Pope Benedict XVI) "Church as Communion." It's a good book but I haven't opened it the past two days. I've been working on painting the interior of my house for the last 7 months. I try to dedicate one night a week to it, but it is depressing to look at my half-painted living room wall. And the to-do list doesn't even include all the things that I just do every day, like trying to keep the house reasonably clean, cooking, and caring for the kids.

I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. We all have times of stress in our lives when the to-do list feels overwhleming. It's time like this when I need to turn my list over to God. I may not be able to do it all, but I can't do anything without your help, Lord. So, God, help me to prioritize. Help me to do my work quickly and efficiently and maybe even find a little time for me. I may not do everything I want to do, but with God helping me, everything I need to do will get done. I just need to breathe and keep going.

Friday, October 14, 2005

If I could freeze time . . .

I am really not a baby person. Yes, babies are cute and cuddly but they require a high degree of care 24/7. Of course, I loved my children when they were babies, but I like them a whole lot more now that they have grown up a bit. I was thinking today how, if it were possible, I'd like to keep them right where they are now, with David 4 1/2 and Isaac nearly 3.

There are challenges with the ages they are now. They are prone to the occasional emotional meltdown (at least one a day per child), picking up after themselves is a virtue they have yet to fully incorporate into their lives, and it would be extremely nice if Isaac were fully potty-trained and could make it through an entire mass sitting quietly in our pew. Just tonight they were both screaming at the top of their lungs that they did not want to take a bath.

Yet, for the most part, things are pretty good. They actually like each other, and at least 90% of the time are happy to play together. They both speak in complete sentences and are interesting to talk to. Every day they learn something new and are eager to share it. They are still small enough that they enjoy cuddling, kisses, and hugs. I can still control their daily media intake and their exposure to the world at large. They have friends, but their peers have yet to take on the influential role that they will have in just a couple years. We have a couple of social and educational obligations each week, but nothing compared to what we will face as the boys start school and organized sports. This is our time to just be a family and I am enjoying it. I know I can't stop time, but if I could, this would be a great place to be.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rahab and Faith

Every night before bed, I read a story to the boys out of their children's Bible. Tonight's story was about Rahab from the book of Joshua, a prostitute in Jericho who hid two Israelite spies so that they wouldn't be captured by the king. Her motives were very self-serving. She knew that the Israelites would eventually take over the land and she believed that if she helped them, they would in turn deal kindly with her and her family when they were the ruling party.

So, here she is, a woman pursuing a lifestyle that could be considered questionable at best (although sex was one of the few commodities a woman had at her disposal in this period to make her own living), who makes a choice to help some people against the king's wishes. Surely, she must have weighed the risk of such a decision, but she had heard that God was on the side of the Israelites, and she had the faith to believe that they would succeed in their quest to overtake Jericho.

I need more faith like that, and the courage to take action (even unpopular action) when it is called for. I need to believe that God will provide, just as Rahab believed that if she helped the Israelites, they would in turn help her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Bit of Spring in the Midst of Fall

It has been raining here the last five days. Everything is damp and dismal and today there was a cold bite to the wind letting us know that winter is right around the corner.

Several weeks ago, my son David (age 4 1/2) asked me to plant some apple seeds in an unused pot that I had on my windowsill. I complied and had been watering them faithfully with absolutely no results. In fact the only thing that was growing in that pot was a bit of fuzzy mold on top of the potting soil. Just yesterday, I was thinking how I either needed to get another plant for the pot or just empty out the soil. But today, I was standing at the sink washing out some dishes when a little bit of green caught my eye. I looked closer and there it was - the tiniest of green sprouts sticking its head through the dirt! God worked another mini-miracle and brought a little bit of spring into the darkest of fall days.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Finding God in Silence

Every morning I read the Bible selections for the day using Living Faith Daily Catholic Devotions as a guide. Today's reflection was by Sr. Charleen Hug who questioned "What happened to time to simply be, if for no other reason to regroup and recall the presense of the God who surrounds us?" Life is always so noisy and modern electronic gadgets have only made it more so. This is a topic I have reflected on as well, even writing an article on it: Searching for Silence in a Noisy World. I am not looking to ban TVs, radios, or cell phones. All have their place in the world. What is important, however, is to take the time to unplug. Take a walk without an ipod or walkman. If you are not actually watching the TV, turn it off. Lose the background noise, if only for a little while. We can't hear God speak to us if we always have some other noise drowning him out.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Where was God for you today?

A spiritual director I once had was fond of asking "Where was God for you today?" It is such an important question, and one we rarely focus on. Today, God was in my children and my husband working together carving Halloween pumpkins. God was there as we laughed and ran around the house playing "mummy" chasing each other. God was there in the memories of a wonderful weekend with my best friend and her family. God was there as I got to go for a walk around the neighborhood where I grew up and I paid attention to all the things that have changed. God was there in the hug my husband gave me.

Where was God for you today?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Right to Die

Usually, my family and I attend the children's mass at our parish. I love the children's mass! It has upbeat music, the children get to go up and sit around our pastor for the homily, and perhaps most importantly, almost everyone there has children. Therefore, there is a general understanding that young children are not always quiet and prayerful during mass (though we are working on it!)

This weekend however, I was going away for Sunday (I am currently writing from my friend's house - about 100 miles from home), so we went to the Saturday 4:30 pm mass. This mass, while certainly open to everyone, is definitely most attended by senior citizens. We had a guest priest who gave a homily on the right to die. My husband indicated that he left mass not quite certain where the priest stood on the issue. I think that the priest, like the Catholic Church in general, was indicating that every situation is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. While condemning assisted suicide in every instance, he acknowledged that there are times when it can be wise and prudent to withdraw or even not seek medical treatment, and just let nature take its course. While we do not have the right to take life, we do have the right to die with dignity, and to allow our loved ones to do the same.

Who can forget the whole Terry Schaivo case from the spring? While everyone seemed to have an opinion, it is hard to know what one would do in the same situation. What if it was your daughter, your husband, your mother? At what point do medical interventions become extraordinary? How difficult it must be to try to decide what God wants in a given situation when the choice is between life (which is God's greatest gift) and death (which is our going home to be with God).

Friday, October 07, 2005

Finding God All Around Us

"Earth is crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees, takes off his shoes." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This quote was on my local homeschooling newsletter which came in the mail yesterday, a gentle reminder to pay attention to the God that is ever-present in our world. I was an art major as an undergrad in college. Many people protest that they are not artists, that they never received that gift. I believe, however, that creativity is inherent in every one of us, and that really being an artist just means learning to see. When you are creating art, you are paying attention to the world at a higher level of intensity than you might otherwise. The same holds true in spirituality. God is always there. We just need to take note!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On Prayer and Humility

My sister's family is going through a difficult time right now. My nephew made some bad decisions and now has to face the consequences. During such times, it is easy to question the value of prayer. After all, I have prayed quite regularly for this person, that God would help guide his choices and his life. I know that others have prayed as well. Yet, here he is, stuck in a quagmire of his own making. "God, where exactly where you when all this was happening?" I was feeling that way this morning when I did my Bible reading. Then I read the gospel for today:

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11: 9-10)

God does answer prayers and there is nothing so bad that He can't bring some good out of it. So, I will keep praying. In fact, I am starting a rosary novena tomorrow - 54 days asking our Blessed Mother to intercede on behalf of the situation. I don't know why all this is happening but I will continue to trust that God has a plan.


In other news, I finished both "A Resilient Life" by Gordon MacDonald and "Memories of Hawthorne" by Rose Hawthorne Lathrop today. So, I will leave you today with a quote from each of them.

Humility is an issue I have been struggling with lately, and something I think that God is trying to teach me. Gordon MacDonald offered this on the subject of ego:

"'Humility,' wrote Archbishop William Temple, 'does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking of yourself at all.'"


In the last pages of "Memories of Hawthorne," Rose Lathrop quotes a writing of her mother, "If man would not babble so much, we could much oftener hear God. . . Our own closed eyelids are too often the only clouds between us and the ever-shining sun. I hold all as if it were not mine, but God's and ready to resign it."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Power of the Past

In Gordon MacDonald's "The Resilient Life" he talks about how the past influences our present and our future, and that only through facing our past, repenting our failings, and learning from our mistakes, can we truly come to terms with our past. MacDonald also speaks about the importance of our childhood in shaping who we are.

I have been spending alot of time in the past lately. On and off for the past few months, when I have a few extra minutes, I have been working on a scrapbook of my life up until the time I got married. I just finished my high school graduation. (The end is in sight - only 5 years to go and I have very few pictures from my college years!) As I went through the pictures, however, there were times in my life that were so incredibly painful, it hurt even to put the pictures in the album. Yet, this is my past. I own it. It is the only one I have, and for better or worse, it has made me who I am today. Most days, I really like that person.

In speaking about childhood, MacDonald relates that "a significant part of who we are, what we do, and how we relate to others is shaped by our impressions of the experiences of the first ten years of our lives." Obviously, that is true, but as a mom, that scares the heck out of me. I get up every day and try to be the best mom I can be for my children. I want them to feel loved and secure and to grow up to be God's kind of adult. I want them to love to learn and to express themselves and to be the people God created them to be.

And yet, I am not a perfect mom, and know that I never will be. Will my children remember the 99 times I sat with them and read story after story or drew "Cookie Monster" over and over again, or the one time that I told them to go play by themselves because I was too tired? Will they remember all the times I disciplined them with kindness and understanding, or the handful of times I have completely lost my patience? I pray to God every day to be a good mom, to bring them up the way that I should, and I know with God's help we will all survive and hopefully flourish. Parenting is such an exercise in the unknown, however. I know that I shape my children's future every day and yet, I have no idea what that future will bring. Only God knows, and scary as it is, I need to let go and trust in His wisdom.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Nightime Rituals

I just put my boys to bed. Every night we have the same ritual. The very last thing that they like to do before they climb into bed is to have me "rock-a-bye" them. One at a time, we cuddle in my grandmother's old rocking chair and I sing and rock them. I know that soon they will be too big for this, but right now I savor every moment. I can smell the sweetness of their hair and feel the warmth of their bodies and all seems right with the world. These are my children and I love them more than life itself.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

"Mona Lisa Smile"

Last night, my husband and I watched "Mona Lisa Smile." We had gone to see it at the movie theaters when it had come out last year, but it was such a pleasure to see it again. It is one of my favorite movies. Julia Roberts plays an art professor who challenges the young women of Wellesley back in 1953. Having been an art major in college, I have fond memories of days in darkened theaters watching slides, learning about different art periods and ways of looking at the world. I also love college campuses. I worked at one for five years and they are one of the places where I feel most at home. It is easy to see why I would enjoy this movie.

The questions it raises in terms of feminism are profound, however, and the answers are no easier now than they were in the 1950s. The young women attending Wellesley (at least as depicted in this film) wanted nothing more than to marry their Harvard beaus and become housewives. Julia Roberts' character encourages them to see themselves as more than that. She wants them to make use of their education and to think for themselves. For the students, however, it seems to be an either/or proposition. One either got married and assumed the role of full-time homemaker or pursued a career and postponed marriage or avoided it all together.

Of course, one would never suggest today that one need to make such a choice. Thanks to our foremothers who broke new ground, we have more choices than ever. I am thankful for the right to choose how to live my life, but that doesn't mean that the choices have become easier. It some ways, the pendulum has swung completely to the other side. While in the 1950s, wives were expected to stay home and raise the children, now people who do this are looked down on. I went to a women's college in the 1990s. The idea that any college educated woman would choose to stay home with her children was considered absurd. And yet, many college educated women of my generation (myself included) have made that choice.

To a large extent, we have rejected the idea of a "supermom" that can do it all. There are only so many hours in the day. You can't dedicate yourself 100% to work and 100% to your family. No matter what route you choose, something has to suffer. So, we make the best decision we can based on our own particular families and life circumstances, and then we try to make our peace with it. I doubt that the decisions will ever become easier, and that our daughters and granddaughters will struggle just as we have to find solutions for their own lives.

There is a saying that a man never had to ask how to balance work and family. That may be true, but we are not men. We are women and our roles and responsibilities to our families have always been different (and dare I say, special). I think that the best we can do is to try to figure out what God wants for our lives. God has blessed us with our talents, our education, and our children. He has a plan for each one of us, and if we follow that plan, then we will not go wrong.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

St. Therese and Lost Loves

Another beautiful fall day. Right now the kids are running amok upstairs while their daddy watches them. They are laughing and playing and having a wonderful time. I love to hear them laugh - it is such a heartwarming sound!

Today is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux - the Little Flower. I recently reread her autobiography - "Story of a Soul". (For my review, please visit http://www.spiritualwoman.net/books/storyofasoul.html This is one of my favorite books which I had read as a child and again as a teenager. My mother had a wonderful devotion to her and considered her the patron saint of both my sister (who actually is named Therese) and myself. As a child, I wanted to be just like her. St. Therese had such a simple trust in God, like a little child trusting in a parent. She only lived to be 25, and spent nine of those years in a cloistered convent. I wondered, as I picked up the book as a 30 year old, married, mother of two, whether she would have any insights to offer to my life. I was pleasantly surprised. I recently read where an older version of "Story of a Soul" has just been put online at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16772.

Here is the amazon link for a more updated translation:





It is well-worth reading.

Today is also the birthday of a man I used to love. He was so important in my life for over ten years. It is strange how lives intersect and then go their separate ways. But my life is better because he was in it, and I hope he can say the same. On days like today, I think of him with fondness. So, if you ever happen upon this, Happy Birthday, Eric. I hope that this year coming is your best ever.