Friday, December 31, 2010

To Resolve Or Not To Resolve...

Is that the question? Change shouldn't be held to one time a year, one day a year. We should strive for change every day of every year. What in your life would improve with change? Health? Relationships? Money? Faith?

Happy New Year! And may each and every day of this year and those that follow be made up of steps towards positive change.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Don't Hate Me Because...

I'm Beautiful... or not. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Both cliques have been circling in the old gray matter. Maybe as a gentle reminder that all is not as it appears. Glamorous movie stars don't live on easy street. If Die Hard, Bruce Willis walked on broken glass or fell from a great height onto a container truck, for real, he wouldn't be able to stand up and fight the bad guys. Only to walk, not limp, to the ambulance in the aftermath. It's all smoke and mirrors; in the movies and many times, in many homes, in life.

I'm asked a lot about the cover to Forever Yours. Why so plain... Shouldn't you put a haunted house on it, a ghost at least. Covers sell. Sell, sell, sell.

Maybe I should ask Bruce Willis if he wouldn't mind being plastered on the cover. Better yet, perhaps he would be free to star in the movie as Charles Boss. After all, after Sixth Sense, he should be very good at being a dead person.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Full Plate

When life hands you a buffet style plate loaded down with commitments, there is nothing wrong with saying, "No thanks, I'm exacting a lifestyle change." Imagine picking and choosing tasks like my daughter surgically eats her mixed veggies; carrots yes, peas -- maybe, Lima beans -- not in my lifetime.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Catch A Wave!!!!

Blizzard -- Beach?

It's snowing, a lot. This picture of our shed was taken last night -- through a window. We are hunkered down. Probably staying in our pajamas until there is a break in the squall. Then it will be outside for some bone chilling fun and some back breaking shoveling.

Truthfully, I love being out in the quiet and the cold. Armed with my old lady shovel, I enjoy the stillness; as the shovel sings along the driveway. Pushing its payload before it.

Yes, we have places to be today -- friendly cats to feed. But all appointments and meetings can be canceled due to travel conditions and with the weather in mind, yesterday, our friends were left with brimming bowls of kibble and water and clean litter.

Today we will enjoy the gift of being contained. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Giver

A few weeks back my middle one was reading The Giver. And I know nothing about this book, not having read it, yet. But yesterday that title, The Giver, was all I could think about.

My littlest one, surprised me so, with her openhearted generosity. Remember that beautiful stained glass window she worked on?

Well, she told me it was for her sister, but truthfully she made it for me. And told me yesterday she felt guilty when I would help her, as it was her intention to give it to me all along. WOW! I am humbled by her act of kindness.

To her oldest sister, she gave her a pair of earrings. They were a pair the little one picked up somewhere along her little life's journey. She doesn't have pierced ears, yet, but she liked them. And now they belong to her sister, who wore them proudly all day yesterday.

And last week The Giver was all about salt dough. Making, baking and coloring. Then extra packages appeared under the tree; all on their own. She gave this creation to her other sister.

When so many are all about acquiring a Christmas haul,
her giving is the best Christmas gift of all.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Girls up at 3:30 AM

Presents opened by 5... coffee on, fruitcake and rhubarb coffee cake cut... smiles all around...

The little one says, "Hey, we forgot about the baby Jesus." (Placing him in the creche.)

Papa's reply, "Don't worry, he wasn't born until 11:30."

Hoping your Christmas is happy and holy.

ps Momma got a new flash for her camera.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Moral Compass

A few days ago I read this blog entry on following a moral compass. And it spoke to me. Later in the day, I saw this necklace at Annie's Book Stop and I knew it was to be mine. A gentle reminder to do what is right; regardless of the prevailing winds.

Is there a spiritually in food?

On our kitchen counter there is a gathering of food earmarked for the holiday. Aunt Judith's mulled wine. The Martino's cranberry sauce. Bob and Mary Ann's salsa and bread and butter pickles. Cookies gathered at Karen's cookie swap extravaganza. In the refrigerator are the makings of Aunt Jeanne's clam dip. The cupboard holds Great Nana Pagano's best dishes. And in the freezer the last of this year's batch of Nana's Whiskey Sour Punch.

In the movie, The Christmas Shoes, the mom tells her son she will be forever in his heart. Likewise, I find that when a gathering includes the food and the dishes of loved ones, still with us and those departed, that those people, though not physically at our table, share in our meal, by being in our hearts.

And if those gathered to us could speak, would they ask that question immortalized in the movie, Field of Dreams, "Is this heaven?"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Being a mom, the topics of which stages of childhood you love, or can't wait to pass, comes up in conversation, occasionally. And my answer, across the ages has always been and still is, I love them all. I love babies when they are first born. In those first moments of life I informed my children, "I'm not paying for college." Harsh perhaps, but sorry, there is no hundred thousand dollar free ride, and they might as well know the truth from the start. I loved nursing my children. I loved having them in my bed at night -- and I am secretly delighted when a bad dream brings them calling again. And I love holding them so tight I think they just might reenter my body.

I love it when their little legs look like twigs as they toddle around. I love those tiny arms that reach up to hold you, and the eyes that say I love you, even through the tears.

I love it when they finish my sentence, "I love you so much, I could squeeze you like a..." tube of tooth paste. Or "I love you more than" and they finish it off with, "life itself." They do that for a very longtime.

I love it when they start walking to school by themselves. Though I miss holding their hands, and wish for the olden days. And when they miraculously can do their homework on their own. What ever happened to needing mommy to "do" math? I miss it. But they grow up.

I love it when they are in high school; but it's heart felt. For the struggles of tougher course loads and social infrastructures are hard to watch as a mom. And this age, requires a complete a total change in communication. In elementary school a glob of paint smeared on paper, the masterpiece, is hung up and displayed until the tape dries and the piece falls to the floor. At which point the work is placed in a scrape book for eternity.

In high school, the emperor has no clothes. A big smile and a piece of tape doesn't make a masterpiece. Acknowledgment does.
For example, a text arrives: bio 77.
The text goes out: R u ok
The response: Thought i did better (Student has a full keyboard. Mother doesn't.)
Mom: Wht could u hv done dffrnt
Student: Reread my notes
Mom: Nxt time Love Mom
Student: Love you too.

Or this timely exchange:
Student: (SAT score typed in here.)
Mom: How r u
Student: K I wanted higher
Mom: last scores
Student: 1800
Mom: So u r disappointed.
Student: Yea
Mom: Bt u did bttr - not what u wanted bt bttr
Student: Yea
Mom: Love u Call me
Student: TTYL Love you too

For I have texted for hours having indepth conversations, but why -- when talking works so much better. For a young adult, I love the honesty found in communication. I love saying, "Yes, you are upset, and have every right to be upset, but only you can make a change in you." And I love watching the changes being made. I love watching that tree of integrity spread out its branches. I love how they take ownership of their circumstances, saying, "I did it," when the it is not good. No more childlike pushing blame elsewhere. My mom job is done.

Though right now, I am not loving the idea of going to college. Not for them, but for me. They are so ready to go. The not so baby bird, standing on the edge of the nest: ready. And I'm asking, "Can I have a sleepover?" And my emperor keeps answering, "No."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First Snow!

We have what I would call the first real snow of the season. More than a dusting; an inch or two here; just enough to blanket everything white. Chances are it will be a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. (to steal a line)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Christmas Play EVER!

No, the Herdmans don't attend our parish. And no, a wise man did not grace our play delivering a ham to our Mary and baby Jesus. But still our parish experienced the best Christmas play ever yesterday.

From the moment of the first note to the last rolling round of applause, I had tears brimming and sometimes spilling over from my eyes.

The youth received a gift this Advent and they gave it right back to the community. The blessings of the season are upon us.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas is Coming...

The goose is getting fat...

The ride up to Christmas day can be a bit hectic. Last week I was at one of the many local malls, and parking was no where to be seen. The one store I love to shop year round, because there are never any lines, and the prices are fantastic, was chalk full of customers. The check out lines were wound through the mens department. Crazy...

Not crazy is this year's St. George parish Christmas play -- Baby's First Christmas. Thirty five youth and many helpful parents have been preparing the entire time of Advent, and more, to put on today's 4 PM production. One daughter -- is a pregnant Mrs. Higgins. Another is the Innkeeper. Both have come a long way from sheep and shepherd. For the entire season they have been rehearsing their lines, singing the songs, reviewing stage placement and movements with their fellow cast members. Preparing for today.

And I would wager that today's message is bigger than that of December 25th, Christmas day. Today the lesson of Jesus' birth, our gift, will be presented. For the youth, Advent will end. Their preparation finished.

In a way, it's best. Christmas' religious significance has been teased away from the holiday present hoopla. Today the quieter meaning is presented for all to see, without the burning desire to rip open presents that a wait under the tree. Today is a good day.

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Which lies do you believe?

After the middle school Revolution, while driving Chris Padgett to the airport, he mentioned that Linda, his wife, will from time to time ask him, "Which lies do you believe?"

It's a question whose purpose is to nudge a person back into reality, when reality gets a bit clouded or distorted. It's a question I have been asking myself lately. To remind myself of what is real and what is not.

We all know what the truth is. But sometimes it takes a little nudge to get reacquainted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. - Oren Arnold

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can...

After watching me work on several stained glass projects over the past year, my ten year old decided she was going to do one on her own. Her own design. All her own cutting and grinding. She did all the foiling and the soldering.

Homework done, sometimes not... teeth and hair brushed, and sometimes not, she would steal away time in our studio (read here: in our dining room) to quietly work on her own.

Last night the two of us put on the channeling. Regardless of the age recommendations on the project -- She did it!

(Picture added later: As it is a Christmas present and she had it all wrapped up. I asked her permission to unwrap it so I could show off her work.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blame it on the Dove

Our Advent calendar is filled with those wonderful Dove chocolates. Each evening, after dinner, one of the girls is charged with the task of opening the drawer and inside are 5 wonderful Dove chocolates. Five chocolates, not three -- the number of our children -- but five.

See in years past, the calendar was for the children. But this year, my husband included us parents in the candy countdown to Christmas. So, everyday I have been reading those wonderful messages inside the Dove wrappers.

So when my sister in law called and asked, "What do the girls want for Christmas?" my only response to her was "a playdate." That our children never get to spend enough time together -- and why not have them back and forth for sleep overs during Christmas week.

Later in the day when I mentioned that sleepovers would be exchanged rather than presents, there was a bit of a wail that arose from a certain member of my crew. But a quick and gentle reminder on what this season is really about changed their tune.

We are delighted with the prospect of seeing my nieces repeatedly during the week after Christmas. We are looking forward to the fun and the visiting that will ensue. I am giddy with the thought of the oldest ones, on their own, heading out to dinner and a show. They are adults, where has the time gone? I can't wait to have the littler ones together for games and maybe a movie. And maybe all of us will be able to venture down the Cape to see our aunt and uncle for another overnight. This will be the best Christmas ever. Because spending time together is truly the best gift of all.

(It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving...)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


At the middle school Revolution the questions, "Who is your favorite team?" and "What is your uniform?" were posed. The priest pointed out to three boys wearing Patriots t shirts and the crowd went crazy. For we all wear clothing that represent that which is near and dear to our hearts.

We are not a huge sport house. We don't have Red Sox or Patriots shirts, but there is a home team that is near and dear. I, for one, love my totally worn out Goofy sweatshirt. Worn out to the point of being holey and in need of replacement, but I still wear it. And then there are my sneakers with the Mickey Mouse croc button -- used to fill in the hole made by a backyard campfire ember.

My girls wear Mickey Mouse and Goofy Santa hats. And the middle one just had to have the Mickey Mouse fleece snuggly... you get the picture... but back to the point.

After Mass, the speaker had some CDs, tshirts and hats with the word: Catholic embroidered across the front, for sale. The little one zeroed in on the hats: her favorite color, yellow, was represented and asked, "Can I have it?"

"Sure," was my answer. And an order was placed for one. Her sister heard of the acquisition and then the order was up to two hats, one red an done yellow, and then I thought, why not -- and we acquired three. All the while my thoughts are on our uniform. Will these hats actually get worn?

Will we be just as happy to promote our faith as we promote our love for the Mouse and friends? Is it easier to be Goofy rather than Catholic?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm not waiting till New Years

With the busy Fall schedule my healthier me plans had been put on hold. No more, and I'm not throwing in the towel on the next two weeks. Being a healthier me is a holiday gift I'm giving myself; starting right now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Inch by Inch

row by row. Going to make this sweater grow. Going to knit it, purl it, too....

Last year when I started this pattern I took it step by step. Line by line, reading and following the instructions; never reading ahead. But now that I am half way through the first sleeve, I'm wondering: Just how do you put this thing together?

The directions don't mention that. I have a sleeve and a half to acquire the needed knowledge.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

When Your World Goes Upside Down...

It's not always a bad thing. Our middle one has been dying to ride Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa for years. We were there the year it opened. Frightened by its size and the whole concept of charging to the ground at 75 miles and hour; we passed. But The Brave put it on her to do list. And this week, she scratched it off; thanks to a family wedding in Florida. I must say Sheikra is my new all time favorite ride, for there is a point where you are weightless -- not sitting -- not being held by the overhead restraints. She rode it four times; I came in second, after riding only three times. (I gave it a go after she reported, "Mom, you have to try this." I'm not as brave as she is.)

Then fortified by her daring she hit the Phoenix, next. Followed by Montu and Kumba.

Then it was off the celebrate with the Mouse at a Very Merry Christmas party.
Space Mountain, the draw of all draws, was down for the count... but we took a spin on the people mover and got a rare glimpse to the ride that brings enthusiastic screams to our lives.

See, when your world is turned upside down, there are hidden opportunities and maybe even some advantages.

You just have to look for them.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

How Goes The Revolution?

It's been asked, "How did the Revolution go?" And I hesitate. For how it went can be answered in one of two ways. One way, I can answer: It went great. There were no major mix ups, and no students were lost or misplaced. There was way too much food. No one should have gone hungry. The event timing was monitored, and with relatively little bother the day transitioned smoothly. All good.

But for me to answer the question, "How did the Revolution go?" in a deeper way, one would have to look to the youth. Did they get it? Is there a change? And to answer these questions, I would have to say, "I don't know." For it is up to the youth. The Revolution was for, and was all about them.

They did laugh in all the corrected places. Listened, and listened harder when called upon to really pay attention. Sang and sang louder when encouraged. And they gathered a boat load of scarves for the cold and food for the hungry. The Revolution is truly only a seed and with time, maybe it will germinate and maybe it will grow. It will take time, more than a day -- just like any other good heart felt and hard fought Revolution.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

We Remember

A nation grieving, for those

Gone, but not forgotten

Their oily tears float upon the water

Monday, December 06, 2010

Advent Season Advice

Inside a Dove Chocolate: What if "the season to be jolly" lasted all year long.

We generally don't have Dove chocolates in the house; only in Advent; only for our calendar.

So my question is: Does Dove put Promises Messages in their confections year round? If so, I just might have to buy them year long.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Now What?

Ptcakes... The Revolution is over. What are you going to do now?
a.) Attend our niece's wedding
b.) Ride a roller coaster
c.) Kiss the Mouse
d.) All of the above

Sorry I can't post pictures. My chip reader is still at the church. But soon...

The Revolution went well. Three hundred youth and their chaperons were blessed by the days activities. There was so much that went on, I am still processing. I'm overwhelmed.

What am I doing today? post revolt? I am vacuuming and dusting my house. Well most of it anyway. Something I haven't made time to do for a very long time. It's refreshing to fall back into the safe household routine.

I am no longer the lady who had to sing in front of the whole group. (Not alone as I have a very dear friend who saved me.) I am no longer the woman who was saddled with the jobs of introducing, and shuttling about town the speaker. Jobs I am now very grateful for. We will share one more car ride -- to the airport. Now I'm wishing it were longer trip, as I have so much to say. I am no longer the project manager; keeping my finger in too many pots. Right now, instead of sending out yet another Revolution email, they are blogging calmly on my keyboard.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

O, Come And Fish With Me

Not far from here in Lexington a revolution started with what has become know as “The shot heard around the world.” A nervous finger on a trigger, and the American Revolutionary War began.

A revolution: defined in Merriam and Webster as a sudden, radical or complete change. In the years to come, America would no longer be ruled by England. Colonists wanting and willing to think for, and govern, themselves. It happened. And here we are over 200 years later.

The late Pope John Paul II said, “There are no coincidences.” And today, I would invite you to think about that. Your being here, participating in this middle school revolution, is not a coincidence. There is a purpose, as we contemplate getting out of the boat – leaving our complacency behind.

Years ago, way before facebook and twitter, an up and coming Christian rock band, called Scarecrow and Tinmen picked up gigs by word of mouth networking. So the bigger their audience, the better the chance of securing another date. Which translated into promoting their ministry, as well as supporting and feeding their families. Their schedule included a booking at a small working class church in the Carolinas. The venue would bring in a couple of 100 youth. I guess it could be considered a one off. The band would play, it would be good, but there would be, in all probability, no future bookings from this event.

For that same date, an invitation arrived for the band to play at a youth festival that was drawing thousands. From this event the potential for future work would be amazing. But they had this other gig – at the smaller out of the way church.

The story goes, the band leader tried everything to get out of the engagement. Promising to play any other date, refund their marketing costs, redo their mailings, reduce their price... anything. But the Pastor stood firm. The event was planned for the only date available in the parish schedule. There was no wiggle room.

So the band honored the contract, and played. And despite the small stage, bad PA system, and chicken wire all over the place, the event went well.

Then two weeks later, the band leader received a letter from a young girl who had attended the concert. In it she wrote, and I'm paraphrasing, “I'm 13 years old and already I've been in many many very bad relationships. But your concert changed my life. Thank you.”

There are no coincidences. It is God's plan for us to spend this day together; planning, praying and revolting.

Throughout today's entire program think about it, and think about it now as I introduce internationally known singer, song writer, Youth Minister, that band leader, Chris Padgett.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Too Close To Home

Army Lt. Scott Milley, of our neighboring town of Sudbury, was killed in Aghanistan this past Tuesday. Today's newspaper headlines read: Family's church considered too small. Shouldn't for each and every military death -- the home church be considered too small. For their home spans the nation; not just the neighboring town to our north.

If that is the take home message of Lt. Scott Milley's death -- then I got it. But it shouldn't have taken another death to bring this message home.

Eyes Of An Owl

The other night while driving home in the double whammy of dark and rain, (neither of which I enjoy) I thought of that old time children's cartoon, maybe called the Arabian Knights. The lead characters had magic powers. One of them would put his wrist bands together and say, "Size of an elephant," and he would change into an elephant. Saving the world as he stampeded the bad guys. Life was simpler back then.

Well, while driving, trying to keep my anxiety at a minimum, especially after hydroplaning a Suburban... not as easy task considering the "way back" is loaded down with Revolutionary bottled water, I thought of that cartoon. But I would say, "Eyes of an owl." For there has to be a way to get more light to the back of the old retinas. Or maybe I would say, "Eyes of a baby." For their eyes are sooo big.

Really, does anyone know if the light capturing capability of eyes decreases with age? Just wondering.

The lights reflecting on the slick roads really were beautiful. My only wish was to be photographing them and not driving over them.

Revolution: T minus 1 day and counting. (Did you think I could forget?)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent Calendar Advice

Message inside a Dove Chocolate wrapper: Spending time is a greater gift than spending money.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

This Revolution is HUGE

But what I love about it, is experiencing the outpouring of love and support from the parish parents and other adults who don't have children. Last night at the parish Christmas play practice there were 4 other parents packaging rosary bracelet kits: a cut piece of hemp, a bead and a wooden fish, in lunch bags. Four hundred kits await the Saturday crew.

When I got home, a had an email from a dear friend:" Dinner, tomorrow is on me." A blessing, as I hit the ground running today only to stop around 8 PM. Dinner? Cook? What's that? Now I know. And it arrives at 3:30 -- perfect timing.

Friday, all day is set up. Parents and some adults without children will gather to make sure the boat in rocking on Saturday.

This event, this revolution is already having an effect on the community and it hasn't even happened yet. Already it is a success. The wave is dissipating across the community. By Saturday we should be experiencing a tsunami of community service.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

With Hope There Is Healing

For the first time in what must be five weeks, when I stepped out of bed, my heel didn't object. Yes, it was still all wrapped up, but that hasn't seemed to matter much. Since injuring it, first thing in the morning, limping about was my only mode of operation.

This morning, the phrase -- With Hope There Is Healing -- flashed into my mind. And I then thought of how lucky I am, it's just a heel. It's not cancer. It's not stroke. It's not something wrong with one of my children.

But even so, when faced with the most most horrible of situations:
With hope, there is healing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

Revolution in five days. Ten months in the planning, and in six days it will be over.

...poof... really?

As the old shampoo ad goes, will the 400 youth and their chaperons then tell two friends, and so on and so on... and so on... Will we rock their complacent boats and change the world? Will we set up a wave of community service that will rumble through Metrowest? beyond?

I told my class, give me this day -- and we will change the world. Their expressions told me they weren't so sure. So I asked them, "Have I ever steered you wrong?" The answer came back, "No."

five days

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Motif One

Motif One is a world famous building on the docks in Rockport, MA.

The Cinderella Castle is my Motif One. For I never grow tired of photographing this building. Every trip we take, I capture hundreds of images of this place where dreams come true.

And I ask myself, why? What does this one building mean to me?
For I am well beyond the wishing princess age.

Or am I?

What's your dream?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

You Must Be...

At the famine, in email, on posters on classroom walls, other blogs, Gandhi's quote, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." is everywhere. And when I commented on it, misquoting it by flubbing the first phrase, I was reminded that these three words are the most important words in the quote: You Must Be.
You must be the change you want to see, in your world. What is the change you want to see? What is the change that I want to be?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Famine: Halftime

Today's community service project was to sort and rack clothing at the local church thrift store. As the afternoon wore on, the hunger pangs rose, and my feet grew tired from standing, I remembered the many who have no money for warm clothes, no place to sit, no meal in the foreseeable future. Broth for dinner, and then back to the group to make rosary bracelets. A warm bed this evening will move the fast along quickly. But what of those people who won't have a warm bed tonight, or any night?

My prayers are with you.

Relations Near and Far

Our first snowless Christmas in Florida, Pepere introduced us to turduken. A massive undertaking; he planned, prepared and cooked for weeks. Then seven years ago, my sister-in-law, for my brother's 40th invited a chef into their home, along with the rest of the family, to prepare a feast; a turduken was mentioned. But due to time constraints, (Unlike the family, the chef was not into a sleepover...) other fanciful dishes were prepared.

But the turduken seed was sown. That following Thanksgiving, two weeks later, was the first of the annual trifectas. The entire process videotaped from initial incision to service. Where now, we resort to a few well placed photos to remember the event. And yes, 50 year olds still play with their food...

As we gathered Wednesday, and then feasted on Thursday, I couldn't help but smile for the family that was present, but also while remembering those unable to be with us. Nana would have been proud. Instead of using a peanut butter bucket and soup ladle, her punch was served from a very fancy bowl.

See, Nana, we are getting better with age -- just like the punch.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The turduken is in the oven. The house is quiet. The punch bowl is empty. The bro is washing up the last load of prep dishes; while I sit here pondering the blessings of the day. How lucky we are to be here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Feast and The Famine

We are three families, whose freezers, refrigerators and counter tops are laden with items and containers labeled, "Do NOT eat until Thanksgiving." Turkey, duck, chicken, and stuffings for the turduken. Pumpkin curry soup, lentils and barley, pounds and pounds of vegetables for roasting, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, Indian pudding, mince meat pie, and more -- enough food to feed us and our extended families for weeks; normally.

All for one day; one meal, and yet my thoughts gloss over the fun and feasting, only to settle on Friday, the day after; the start of our parish's World Vision 30 hour famine. Thirty hours of fasting and community service for those who in their entire lifetime, won't ever see the food stored, right now, in my refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If Traveling With Small Children

My Mommy Mantra: I love you more than life itself.

Until recently, it never made sense to me, how a parent could put the oxygen mask on themselves before assisting their children. After all aren't our children the center of our world? Aren't they always first, front and center; especially in dire emergency situations.

Maybe there is another way to look at it...

Maybe by taking care of ourselves, we insure we are there for the little ones we love. When the calendar closes in, make room for me time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dress For Success

Clothes make the man, or in this case, the woman. With reentering the work force, my mommy clothes don't see the light of weekday anymore. To successfully minster to the people I meet, I must put on professional sincerity.

Last night I was tasked with speaking to the high schoolers who have signed up to be Revolution peer volunteers. High schoolers, I have one of my own. And thankfully we communicate just fine one on one, talking, texting, email, even FB. But to speak to 100 of them at once; mostly strangers. I had to engaged them immediately, or I would lose them in whispered side conversations. What to wear? Not business sincere...

I chose to armor myself with my old and trusted Goofy sweatshirt. Five years ago, Goofy saved the evening when an April chill threatened my Mousie fun. Goofy, bright and colorful -- an entity unto himself but also an adjective. A high school ice breaker, as they listen about the Revolution and wonder -- Is this woman for real? Is she really goofy?

Yea, for real; doubly yea, very goofy; but not that Goofy. And the high schoolers -- engaged and ready for the day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Check, check, check... Can you hear me now?

Working on the Revolution: 13 days and counting, has given me the opportunity to model for my children how to attack a project: A little bit each day.

I can remember getting those huge school assignments and being so totally overwhelmed that I didn't know where to start. Panic ensued. Nothing got accomplished until something was scribbled up on poster board. Done. Not quite.

Pick, pick, pick... tiny tasks... little by little. Last night, beat by 8, I went to bed. But along the way I grabbed my knitting bag. (There's more than knitting in there.) And while waiting for my brain and eyes to realize I was now prone and ready to sleep, I sorted out the lunch rotation and put the finishing touches on the job chart. The sound and hardware check are today after Mass. The sound team is a great bunch. I'm looking forward to seeing them today.

Jobs remaining, and not necessarily mine, are: Registration and charting the table set up; and to buy more water and fruit... and to bake brownies for 400... (I'm sure there is more...)

The cherry is a dear friend's husband volunteered to pick up the speaker at Logan. I don't have to drive the gauntlet to the airport in the dark. YIPEEEEE!!! I am sure the speaker, if he knew of my fears of driving in the city at night, would be dancing right about now too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"I hate CCD."

I overheard that yesterday, "I hate CCD;" from a scout, my daughter's friend, one of my own students -- all in the same person. It's kind of tough when the circles are so intertwined. But it is interesting too, for it gave me fuel for my next class material fire.

This year my class is on a pilgrimage. A journey to go deeper into ourselves and our faith. First we answered the question, "WHO AM I?" The answers came back: I am a girl, a boy, blonde, brown haired, smart, outgoing, shy, a son, a daughter, a mom (that's me). But then I asked, "What else are you?" And the answers came back: I'm a hockey player, softball player, Mexican, Italian, half Jewish."

We then watched this Skit Guys video called God's Chisel. Sure there is a touch of religion involved, it is religious ed after all, but there is that whole piece of finding out we are all made by God. That we aren't junk, but instead unique creations, and loved.

And we're on a pilgrimage. Each class we watch a little bit more of the video from Outside Da Box called Souly Walking. Two guys walking across America, on pilgrimage, to promote prayer in our youth. And it's hard. Jon falls, hurts his knee; can't walk. But finds a way to go on. It's not always easy. It's not a vacation; it's a pilgrimage.

Next class: It's more of Jon and Jesse walking across America, but it's more when we check out this clip: What is a Pilgrimage?

Followed by "What is Our Creed? and the students tracing their feet, both of them. On the first cut out they will finish the sentence: I don't like CFF because it is...

And on the second: When I walk in the footsteps of Jesus I feel...

And if time, maybe some quiet meditation -- all part of our pilgrimage in religious ed. this year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today's Rolling Stone

The stone that will be moved today towards shifting Everest: Cutting sheets of cover stock in half. The activity is for the youth to trace their hand, cut it out. And then to finish the sentence: If I take the hand of Jesus I will... (Write answer on hand.) All the cut outs will be put together to represent water.

And your answer is?

All this preparation reminds me of a pilgrimage. For both are accomplished a step at a time.

Sixteen days and counting. Fifteen until I drive the gauntlet to Logan to retrieve the speaker.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

World Youth Day 2011

It's in Madrid. The estimate is for 2 million people to gather in His Name.

Last night was my first meeting for adult "volunteers" for WYD2011. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be going to my second World Youth Day. I'm speechless.