Becoming Holy

My Boys!

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I recently visited with my husband’s mom, Barbara, about the arrival of little Max into our family!  We reminisced to 2007…Joe’s cousin, Fr. Len, had died too young from meningitis. The entire family was mourning the loss of our great friend, priest, mentor and precious family member.  I remember the day in February when Barb called me and expressed her sadness at the loss of Fr. Len.

“We need a priest in the family,” she exclaimed. “I don’t think any of the grandsons are called to the priesthood,”  she added.  “You and Joe need to have another baby.  A boy.  He can be a priest.”

I remember chuckling into the phone and responding that I would talk to Joe and we would see what we could do.  I was  38 years old and we had five DAUGHTERS!  Pretty sure we would not be able to help out in this situation.  I called Joe and his response, like mine, was a little chuckle.  We were both pretty confident that this was not part of God’s plan.

Within two weeks time, our entire world changed.  Joe was promoted to a new job and we were moving to the Tri-Cities from Twin Falls, Idaho.  Our family of women drove to join him and look for houses.  Every time we got in the car with the realtor, I got so carsick I could hardly stand it.  After several days of this, I thought I better take a pregnancy test.  It was negative.  We went out to dinner and had beer to celebrate Joe’s new job.  Still not feeling well, I took a second test three days later and was SHOCKED to see the little plus sign!  I immediately thought of Barb’s “suggestion” and my face broke into a grin.  One out of three wishes granted!

Three months later, we went for a diagnostic ultrasound~~a given because of our history with Jennifer!  It was Madison’s birthday and we decided we would find out the gender of the baby.  After five baby girls, I was used to hearing well-intentioned people say things that would be better kept to themselves.  ( You know~”oh…too bad…we were praying you would have a boy!)  We decided we would let people know ahead of time and they could get it all out of their system before another precious daughter showed up!

The ultrasound tech was kind and fun.  He had five sons and a daughter.  He told us how he had begged his wife to have “one more baby” to see if they could have a girl.  He’d always wanted a daughter and was thrilled when number six was a sweet little girl!  We shared our story and let him know we were great either way, but needed to find out so that people would be gentle with their remarks later.  He placed the ultrasound on my abdomen and sadly announced, “I’m sorry.  It’s another boy.”

“WHAT!~~First of all, it wouldn’t be “another boy,” it would be the only boy.  Second of all, nothing to be sorry about either way!  He caught himself and joyfully told us we were having a little boy!  SHOCKING!  My brain did not process.  I remember thinking, “He cannot be correct.  We simply do not MAKE those.”  I asked him to look again and sure enough, there was Max!  Barb’s second request~granted.

I cannot begin to tell you how much JOY this little boy has brought to our family!  We thank God for the gift of his life.  He is a soulful, thoughtful boy.  I don’t know whether he will grow up to be a priest or not.  I do know, I am working to raise a little boy who will grow up to be a man of deep faith.

Joe inspires me on this path as I look to what a real man is.  I love the way Joe loves God.  I admire his exuberance for the faith and his zest for life.  His commitment to family and the love he shows his parents are another beautiful part of him. He is one to speak his mind and to have courage to stand up for his beliefs.  I know that although Joe’s actions will speak the loudest to Max~my prayers for him and with him will help shape him into the man he is called to be.  My heartstrings are pulled each time Joe steps back as we leave our bench at Mass to let the girls and I go first.  Max steps back with his dad~learning to honor and respect women.  The relationship between the two men in my life is a blessing!

We will wait to see what God has planned for Maximilian Joseph and for Joseph Michael.  Thanking God for the gift of their lives and asking His blessings on each of them.

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A Dessert to Treasure

photo 1 (5)This has been an interesting week to say the least.  Last week, on Ascension Thursday, I received a frantic phone call from my sister.  Aunt Anna had fallen and Mom had fallen with her in the process of trying to break her fall.  Aunt Anna had a cut in her head and Mom had received a broken tibia for her valor!  That is a blog in itself…but today, I am focusing on this precious 107 year old woman.  She has lived alone since her husband passed away twenty years ago.  Aunt Anna is a woman of deep faith and is constantly praying for those around her.  Since the “incident” last week, she is weakened and wondering why Jesus doesn’t come and take her home.

Yesterday, my sister, Lisa, and I, were helping her at dinner time.  We were talking about gardens and how busy this time of year is getting.  Aunt Anna decided that “Everyone better get busy!”  I mentioned that we have four rhubarb plants at the home we are renting.  She said she likes rhubarb pie.  I asked if she would like one with ice cream.  In her 107 years she had never tried putting icecream with rhubarb pie.  Sounded like fun!  So this morning, I was inspired to make a rhubarb crunch for this beautiful woman.

First, the rhubarb…

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What a BLESSING!  The plants are still needing time to grow, but God provided enough rhubarb to meet the 4 cup requirement!  First I mixed up the Crunch layer:  1 3/4 cups flour, 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup butter.  I used my pastry cutter until the mix was nice and crumbly.

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Half of this crumb mixture was pressed into the bottom of an ungreased 9 X 9 glass pan.

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Next, I cut the rhubarb with my food scissors, into little pieces.

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The four cups of rhubarb were spread evenly on the crumb mixture in the pan.

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Next, I combined 1 cup sugar, 2 T. corn starch, 1 cup water and 1 tsp. vanilla in a sauce pan and cooked until thick and clear.

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This was poured over the top of the rhubarb layer.

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I topped this with the other half of the original crumb mixture and baked at 350 degrees.

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The recipe called for 45-60 minutes of baking time.  Mine took 55 minutes to be golden brown and bubbly.

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The house smelled amazing!  The dessert was beautiful!  The treasured part, though, is that Aunt Anna was so tickled to have this dessert.  My sister picked it up from my house and delivered it for lunch~complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!  I treasure having the opportunity to bring a bit of JOY into this incredible woman’s life.  Thank you, God, for rhubarb, for cookbooks, and for priceless moments with a beautiful, treasured aunt!  Amen.

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To Keep A Memory~Special Edition

Jordan shared the lyrics to this song with me as a special part of my “To Keep A Memory” blog.  Thought the lyrics and YouTube video might touch your heart as it did mine.  

 

Empty by Dan Haseltine and Matt Hammitt  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQbAJt95XCo)

All my devotion and misguided loyalty
Swinging my sword in the garden while you pray for your enemies
All my allegiance, I loved You and You alone
But who’d believe that I could mean it now that the rooster crowed?

Now we’re huddled up here, trying to swallow our fear
We still smell the bread and wine, hear your words running through our minds
Holding our breath now, for what comes next now
Holding out for some kind of sign

But there’s an empty cross, there’s an empty tomb
Fire and wind now sweeping in this tiny upper room
There’s a hungry world, there’s a risen King
Unlock the doors, what reason more could we ever need?
So sing with me, I dare you to
Because there’s an empty cross; there’s an empty tomb

We wept from a distance, watched pieces of our dreams
Buried with you, every last wound, sealed with stone, beyond our reach
Sweet, sweet Jesus, every question, every fear
Vanishing, like vapor dreams now that you’re standing here

Now the tears come easy, when you say you’re leaving
We touched the place the nails went through, wanting one more day with you
But it’s goodbye now, for a little while now
Believing everything you said is true

But there’s an empty cross, there’s an empty tomb
Fire and wind now sweeping in this tiny upper room
There’s a hungry world, there’s a risen King
Unlock the doors, what reason more could we ever need?
So sing with me, I dare you to
Because there’s an empty cross; there’s an empty tomb

We will sing this song to make Your name live on
Until every heart hears of the way You rescued us
[x3]

So sing with me, I dare you to
Because there’s an empty cross; there’s an empty tomb

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To Keep A Memory

sunrise“I will continue my path, but I will keep a memory always.”  This quote by Rosie Thomas plucked at my heartstrings this morning.  Shortly after, sweet Jordan sent this beautiful photo of this morning’s sunrise in the Tri-Cities!  How does one keep a memory?  Photographs…letters…emails…keepsakes…yes.  Yet it seems that the best way to keep a memory is through our friendships and relationships.  We are all connected in the Body of Christ and yet, we often forget that.  This big move back home has been an incredible reminder of that fact.  These past months, I have found myself discerning God’s will.  How difficult it is to pack up and leave a place, a way of life, a beautiful community, an incredible parish…

The readings at Mass since Easter have been from the book of the Acts of the Apostles.  It has been a blessing to ponder the early Church.  In no way do I compare our move to the comings and goings of the apostles, but they have given me courage.  I imagine how much they missed Jesus after His Ascension into Heaven.  How they probably longed to have Him back.  They probably spent more than a few hours sitting around the fire or dinner table retelling old stories.  “Remember when Jesus healed your mom?”  “Remember when He scared us during the storm and walked on water?”  Lots of laughter.  Lots of tears.  And as much as they wanted to stay together, they had been commissioned to “Go out and spread the Gospel to all the nations.”  They each had a specific job to do to fulfill God’s will.  They also had a specific joy to “Keep A Memory.”  According to Webster, Memory is “the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained…”  The Greek root is mermera which means “care.”  Each apostle had to recall and reproduce what Jesus had taught them~to keep His life in their care.

My heart is full of memories~people, places and events~and each has taught me about life.  I will keep these in my care to recall and reproduce.  Here in this place, new memories are being made. Family, friends, and neighbors are stopping by and welcoming us to this new way of life.  We have been graced with help in moving into our home.  We have been gifted with tickets to a play, cookies from new friends, and hugs from those who have known us since childhood.  My van has not moved since I parked it on Saturday.  We walk to Mass.  We walk to the playground.  We hang clothes on the line and play with our dog.  We jump in Joe’s pickup and drive to our property to watch our new home being built.  So far, it has been a very simple life.

This day, I seek to be a better person~transformed by each memory in my life.  I thank the Apostles for having the courage to spread the Gospel, that we might all know Christ and become more like Him.  Most importantly, I desire to recall and retain all that I have learned about Jesus, because of their great faith.  To Keep His Memory in my care.  To reproduce that Memory in my life and in my actions.

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