Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Appetizer Ideas?

I always bring veggies and dip.
It's easy and I love them!
We are invited to go to a get together in a couple weeks though
so I thought maybe I should put more thought into it than my old standby!
Or, I mean I thought maybe you'd help me with the more thought part.
What appetizers do you like to bring places and/or serve?

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I'm not really the right person to write about suffering,
because I'm terrible at it.
I should be good at it by now, but I'm just not.
This above picture of Jesus really hit me this past week.
To follow Jesus, like we all want to,
literally means to pick up our own cross, like Jesus!
You know, to "follow Him"?
Like follow the leader and do all He does.
I know there is joy to be found in suffering.
I have  not found that joy yet.
I know that joy will come.
Maybe it comes when we die.
I'm a big baby.
I never want suffering, the suffering I'm being given.
(it is a gift you know)
Whether it's someone close to me suffering and I'm helpless to help,
or it is myself, my own inner and physical suffering,
I don't want it.
OH, I tell myself, that my suffering is meant for me and
that I couldn't handle anyone else's suffering.
But I still don't want it.
I try to bargain and beg God,
"Please God, let me coast a while with no suffering."
"I'll give up something, I'll sacrifice something, I promise"
"No, please God, not this!"

"Really?  God, I can NOT handle this! YOU think I can, but I can't!!"
I have tears just typing that.
I'm right back in the emergency room with little Simeon here.
A week ago Simeon ended up with an eye infection that
turned into dacrocystitis.
He had a pocket of fluid beside his eye. 
This is something that could, I guess happen to anyone at anytime.
Lucky us.
Let me back up here.
Wednesday that week, I took him in because his eye had swollen almost shut.
The doctor put him on some drops.
I gave him the drops for 1 day.
The next day, his eye did not get any better, it even seemed worse.
I took him in again, but it was Friday afternoon by this point,
so in our smaller-ish town, there was no way to get a CT Scan
except to go through the emergency room at the hospital.
so off we went.
They found he did indeed have dacrocystitis, only treatable with
IV antibiotics.
We in our smaller-ish size town
do not have any pediatric ophthalmologists
so they sent us via ambulance to the University of Minnesota Hospital,
because it was very likely he would need surgery.
This long ride has to go down as one of the very most hardest things
I've had to do.
Ride in the front of an ambulance, with a complete stranger,
trying to make small talk, while my baby is in the back,
and all I want to do is cry. And pray. 
(not enough seatbelts in the back in our ambulances in our smaller-ish size town) 
Here we are at 3 a.m. finally in a room for the "night".
I tell you, watching your child suffer in any way, never ever gets easier.
It's such a helpless feeling,
as the doctors and nurses are poking and prodding and hurting him,
he looks up at you and you cannot do anything.
It's a feeling of betrayal.
a feeling of abandonment.
I'm right there, telling him they are helping him and that he's such a good boy,
but he's looking at me like, "Why don't you make them stop?"

 (waiting for the MRI)
They put him out twice.
Once for the MRI
and an hour or two later for surgery.

Waiting in the waiting room while your baby is in surgery,
is another one of those very hard things.
I cry and pray.
And cry and pray.
I memorize the pictures.
Children are so resilient.
Here he is the night after surgery.
2nd night, still needed to keep a patch over his eye.

 His eyes are very very sensitive to the light now.
Mornings and evenings are the worst.
He has a lot of drainage still coming out too. 
We go for his 1 week check up Monday (tomorrow).
Hoping all is well and his sensitivity to light gets better.
This little boy is making me a saint.
We came home to 3 kids with the flu.
I have a bladder/kidney infection I can't seem to get rid of.
Suffering, if it does one thing,
it brings us closer to Jesus.
He gives us just a little more than we can handle,
so we have to turn to Him.
He will see us through.
He is a gentle and loving God.
I can't remember what saint said this,
"If you do not have any crosses in life,
you better get down on your knees and pray for some!"
Suffering has meaning.
It can be a gift.
An incredible gift.
If we just let God give it to us.
Strength, that is.
And maybe some wisdom to better help others.
Maybe it's just GRACE.
Grace to offer our sufferings for others.
Grace to better our souls.
There is Grace in suffering.
“It is not so much what people suffer that makes the world mysterious; it is rather how much they miss when they suffer. They seem to forget that even as children they made obstacles in their games in order to have something to overcome. Why, then, when they grow into man’s estate, should there not be prizes won by effort and struggle? Can-not the spirit of man rise with adversity as the bird rises against the resistance of the wind? Do not the game fish swim upstream? Must not the chisel cut away the marble to bring out the form? Must not the seed falling to the ground die before it can spring forth into life? Must not grapes be crushed that there may be wine to drink, and wheat ground that there may be bread to eat? Why then cannot pain be made redemption? Why under the alchemy of Divine Love cannot crosses be turned into crucifixes? Why cannot chastisements be regarded as penances? Why cannot we use a cross to become God-like? We cannot become like Him in His Power; we cannot become like Him in His Knowledge. There is only one way we can become like Him, and that is in the way He bore His sorrows and His Cross. And that way was with love. It is love that makes pain bearable.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (About Crosses)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What's Going On?

 Well, we are home! 
(it's been a week now) 
The first thing I noticed when we got into Minnesota,
(after being stranded in a Texas Snowstorm for 2 days)
(they have no sand or salt or SNOW PLOWS!!!)
(We counted 113 cars in the ditch in one stinkin' day!)
OK, what was I saying?
Oh, yeah, the first thing I noticed when driving into Minnesota,
(now, this is after Iowa, which has no scenery, except empty corn fields)
Pine trees!!
I'm missing palm trees....but noticing the differences is good, right?

Not really "sweet home"
 because we are kind of fixing things up to get our home ready to sell.
New paint, new countertops, new toilets, cupboards refinished,
new vanities, new carpet, new appliances, new windows...too much to name.
Our Mr 12 lives at the Lake + 1 had been working on our home
the whole time we were gone!
(he's still doing things) 
 We are trying to de-clutter BIG TIME.
Like that green time-out bench there? 
Has to go.
(into storage)
That diaper-changing dresser there? 
Has to be moved out of the entry way.
We need to stage our home
basically to look like we don't really live here.
Need to get some nicer rugs too...any ideas there?
Something cheap but nice?
 I got to see Christine!! (and sweet little Ava)
(not sure I can link her or not?  Christine?  Can I link you?)
Enough with the parenthesis, huh?

 We moved Little Sims here out of our bedroom and into Jedi's
Last night was the first night and he slept the whole night in there!
I guess he even woke up once and Jedi asked him if he wanted to go to Mommy.
He said, "NO" and laid down and went back to sleep.
Humph.....Well, I missed him!
His bed is a twin,
 but Jedi's bed is on a nicer frame, with a headboard and endboard
so his looks bigger.
We are in the middle of decluttering his room.
How do those walls look?
 He was SO excited to sleep in Jedi's room. 
It's so cute.
 Today is Jedi's birthday!!
He's 15
My favorite is the kids gathering all around each birthday kid.
 I can't believe it. 
I'm happy he's only 15.
That means I have a few more years with him home.
He is such a sweet kid. 
Gosh, he's a good kid.
Strong faith, very sensitive and sweet.
 I went for this idea I got on Pinterest.
I actually added a layer, the Reeces layer, because it's his favorite.
He's having a party with friends tomorrow, so I'm going to attempt to make
a Hobbit cake!!
 OH, my goodness, can you say, "Sugar"?
like Maroon 5
What can I say?
I like tattooed arms.
 My 2 oldest girls got their ears pierced.
I'm not sure what I was waiting for.
 I guess something to look forward to?
 I told them, "When we get back from Texas"
 So, why, yes, they might have asked me every single day several times
when we were going to do it
 They had an audience!
(their friend Maggie and the next in line for ears pierced...maybe next year?)
We are still walking, with the sunrise.
It's not quite the same as beach walking,
but we pretend.
 My oldest daughter has joined us
Besides dodging all the ice, it's been pretty fun!
We walk 3 miles.
Cuter than ever.
They are loving our "snow home" as they call it.
Quick question:
I asked this on Facebook also.
Which do you use?
Fabric sheets or liquid softener?
Just for fun.
I use Bounce sheets.
(because my mom always did)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Last Walk on South Padre Island

 As I type this, it's just after midnight.
 Everyone else is asleep in the 2 rooms we have at
the Holiday Inn Express Hotel
 in Marble Falls, Texas.
Just 18 hours ago, we had our last walk on the beach.
Tears fill my eyes as I type that.
In these past 3 months on the beach,
my very favorite thing was walking on the beach
with my 10 year old daughter.
I have a lot of favorite things about our stay,
but this is the most special to me.
We are on our way home to Minnesota.
 Almost every day for the past 3 months, just like this morning,
we'd get up before the crack of dawn,
go to the patio, feel what the weather was going to be like,
look at this beautiful view calling to us to enjoy even closer.
 We sneak out quietly, making sure not to wake anyone,
head to the elevator, hug and say "Good Morning!"
(that's me, my daughter took this picture) 
We walk through the patio area and say "Good Morning!" or "Buenos Dios!"
to the maintenance men working on the pool already.
 We walk down the boardwalk and are stopped by God's gift for us.
His painted sky, as if He painted it just for us.
We thank God for the day and
all the beauty and blessings He has for us.
(and we take a few pictures)
I love the ocean because I can't help but think of
It's so vast and amazing.
We are so small, yet He loves us.
It probably sounds funny to say this,
but I feel humble when I'm at the beach.
God is everything.

 Hello Sun!
Hello beautiful waves!

We are on our way home now...but we turn around one more time,
trying to make this vision last forever in our hearts and minds.
 We take a few more pictures
 I can't explain how very Thankful and blessed I feel to have had this opportunity
to live here on the beach for the last 3 months.
My heart yearns already to go back.
It's like the waves are calling me back.
It is like I'm home when I'm there.
My new friend JC said something similar,
 how while driving across the bridge
to South Padre Island, she gets that feeling of "I'm home!"
It's silly to have tears as I type this.
Really it is. 
There is awesomeness in every day of all of our lives.
I'm looking forward to writing more about our time at the beach.
Not to make anyone jealous, but to share the beauty and the blessings
of life on the beach.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

White Bear Man

 My 10 year old daughter and I hesitated a little before
deciding to leave today for our daily morning walk on the beach.
No sunrise to see, misty rain gushing with high winds,
38 degrees, with a 28 degree wind chill.
 (feels pretty dang cold on the beach)
 With only 2 more days
here on South Padre Island, we figured we better go.
On days like this, we have the beach to ourselves.
There's something about just being there in God's awesomeness.
(By ourselves)
We stopped a couple times to pick a few shells that caught our eyes.
A man caught up with us and greeted us with the normal,
"How long are you down here for?"
Followed by, "Where are you from?"
This happens daily on our walk,
but this man, wearing a bright white hooded South Padre sweatshirt,
stayed and talked a little longer.
He was from Minnesota like us.
One of the million things I love about being down here
is meeting people from all over and finding out where they are from.
People, for some reason, light up when they talk about home.
We have this instant bond because we've left the snow and cold
in search of warm air and sunshine..
This man told me he was from the White Bear Lake area.
(near the Twin Cities)
After finding out where we were from,
he told me where he was originally from.
(now keep in mind, he's probably in his 70's)
Upon hearing his original city, I said,
"You must be Catholic, isn't everyone Catholic where you are from?"
Ice breaker-conversation starter
I do it all the time.
He told me he is Catholic.
(you knew there would be a "but" didn't you?)
that he disagrees with some things.
And that he doesn't go to church because of it.
I half kidded that It's Lent, and it's the perfect time to come back!
Of course, I had to ask what those things were.
he only told me about one.
(because it was freezing cold, otherwise, I think we'd have talked
for hours, he was really nice)
I thought to myself,
Oh, no he's going to go on about same-sex marriages,
or abortion or Confession or the Eucharist.
But he didn't.
What he disagrees with
surprised me.
He doesn't believe in Hell.
I know there are a lot of people that don't believe there is a Hell,
I'm not sure I've met any of them though.
I've met anti-Catholics, ex-Catholics, Atheists, but not this.
I'm always curious.
I always want to know why.
I always want to try to understand people and why they think the way they do.
He told me he doesn't think God would send anyone to such a terrible place.
That, he thinks everyone goes to Heaven, because we are all "wired differently",
therefore, because God made us that way, why would he send us to Hell?
OH, you see, how we could probably talk for hours?
He obviously does not read the bible.
(I know, typical lukewarm "Catholic")
If he read the bible, he'd know that God is just.
(I told him God is just)
He'd know that God gives us free will to choose.
He would know there is a Hell.
He told me all the good things he does all the time.
That one time, when he was younger, and working,
he used to deliver sheetrock and he saw a billfold on the side of the highway,
stopped and his partner looked at him and was surprised that he was going to return the wallet.
I told him what an awesome example he was to this man,
how that one little thing probably effected him
 and has probably made him think more than once in his life.
He told me that he feels the same whether he goes to church or not.
That it is neither good or bad to go or not go.
He feels the same.
How very sad, that he's never been moved by The Spirit.
That he has never felt ON FIRE FOR GOD!! 
I told him about Fatima.
I suggested he try praying the rosary for a month.
He said his parents went to daily Mass and prayed the rosary daily.
The grace is there, it's within reach.
White Bear Man has beautiful white hair, a bright infectious smile,
and he made me think he is probably an awesome grandpa!
He needs prayers though, don't you think?
Could you pray for him?
When we parted ways,
He hugged us both!!
He instigated the hugs!  
See what a nice, sweet man he is?
Just think what our prayers could do for him.
At this point, the wind had gotten stronger and we decided to go home.
We had walked maybe only a half mile down the beach.
We usually walk about 3 miles total.
God has a plan for all of us.
This was no chance meeting.
God knew we'd meet.
And He knew YOU and I would pray for White Bear Man.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reviews and Special Prayers

 Trying to get a good blog header photo in the sun
The sound of the ocean and the sunrise from this morning
 I thought this was funny.
It, for some reason bugs me when people all over the internet
post pictures of their ashes.
I don't know why.
Probably because it seems like bragging or something.
"Look at my ashes!"
Prayer is more of a private thing for me.
(that's why I have a blog--haha!)
When I think about it though, after wondering why it bugs me,
it is actually a really good thing.
Seeing other people making it a "normal" thing to do,
go to Mass, get ashes, pray and sacrifice for Lent.
It's actually a really good thing to do.
 We have TV down here!
We've been watching American Idol.
We haven't watched in like 3 years.
I really like how they do it now,
it's focused more on the talented and not the untalented.
Now that Simon Cowell is not on anymore,
it's not so negative, comments are not made for attention.
All these judges are sincere and really nice.
We don't have TV back home, just Netflix,
so this show will be missed.
 A couple of the girls and I saw this movie here on the Island.
I hesitate to review it, I'm not sure how I feel about it.
Remember, I love happy endings.
This doesn't really end like that,
it kind of shows what happens after the "happy ending"
It is a musical, so if you don't like musicals, you won't like it.
The funniest scene I thought, was the song "Agony" with 2 of the princes:
I loved Meryl Streep as the wicked witch.
If anything, see it for that.
I didn't care for the way some of the characters
were portrayed, after their "happy ending",
I think the writers could have had them go a different bad way.
Or better yet, just a different way.
OH, and Johnny Depp?
He was the big bad wolf!
His part was short, and awesome and kind of creepy.
And kind of funny.
That's kind of what we expect from Johnny Depp though, isn't it?
 I am really going to miss Texas Salsa.
There's something different about it, it's just better.
It's not as thick and it tastes fresher.

 If you love pickles (I do)
they also have the best pickles down here in Texas!
These are the best.  I think I could eat a whole jar!
 We've I've been using a Swifter Sweeper here in the condo we are staying in.
My review for this is:
It just seems so wasteful!
I miss my old mop.
You know, it's a sponge mop
and you use it and use and use it over and over again and again.
It only costs you the price of the mop.
With Swifter Sweeper, sure it's easy,
(so it's perfect for renting a condo)
but those sheets are very spendy, like 12 bucks for 24 sheets.
That's 50 cents each and we I use at least 6-8 each time I mop.
What do you think?
 Farmer's Market Lettuce.
Nothing like it.
I love it, I crave it.
This is the spicy mix, but I also love the mild mix.
(it's clean and lasts all week)
I will really miss seeing the people that sell this.
Lauren is the owner's daughter and she's a real sweetheart.
 I also got some of this yummy drink!
I love their purple beans too!
They turn bright green when they are cooked...veggie suppers, delicious! 

 Another fun product we've found
(maybe MN has this now too, I don't know)
It's really good, and addictive. 
This is Sarah.
She is a close friend of my friend Becky.
Becky is trying to raise money for Sarah.
Here are Becky's words:

"My friend Sarah, who has been fighting cancer for five years now, was just told a couple weeks ago that there are no other treatments for her. The cancer is moving extremely fast and he gave her less than six months. He doubts she will make it to June.

She is not religious but I think she would like to be. She has always been "interested" in the Catholic faith but never has taken the leap to commit to it.

I am more worried for her spiritually than I am for her physically. My brother and I set up a Go Fund Me account with her permission, and there have only been four donors---which one of them is me. It is depressing.

Her husband wants her to go see the Eiffel Tower, as this has always been her dream. I understand that to her, this is a distraction and a way of using her time rather than sit around waiting to die. But in the meantime, my brother and I have something in the works---we are going to also send them to Lourdes since they will already be in France. I think she would be open to it, especially since basically people are paying her to go...

My brother actually has everything lined up for her to go (including her family.) Do you have any idea how happy they will be to go together? Right now, they don't think it's possible for even Sarah to go. This could be her last chance, I so much want her to experience Lourdes. I went there and loved it. She needs healing. If not a physical healing then a spiritual one. She needs graces to get through this without trying to avoid it by using distractions. She needs to face God once and for all."

Sarah and her beautiful family

Will you please pray for Sarah and her family?
If you feel motivated by the Holy Spirit, donate HERE
Thank you so much.
Our time is dwindling down.
We leave for home in 5 days.


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