Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Going Deeper

Recently I was in adoration and opened by Bible to the story of the Rich Young Man.

"As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but Got alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother." He said to Him, "Theater, I have kept all these since my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions." Mark 10:17-22

"Jesus, looking upon Him, loved him."

I was trying to imagine what that "look" must have been like. Can you imagine the depth of Jesus' eye contact? Was there a gentleness in Jesus' eyes and face? Was there a small smile on his lips? Did Jesus reach out and touch the rick young man warmly on his shoulder?

What Jesus tells the rich young man after that loving look isn't what he expects to hear.

.....continue reading over at Catholic Sistas. Just click here

Friday, June 28, 2019

A Shower of Blessings

Last weekend was my soon to be daughter-in-law's bridal shower! I can't believe that we are so close to the wedding day! The bridal shower was a group effort from both families..and it came together beautifully. I wanted to share some highlights from Liz's special day!

#1 Gotta Love Pinterest
We chose a Coffee Theme for Liz's shower because Liz loves coffee. Thankfully, Pinterest had lots of fun ideas to choose from! After all, Liz and Andrew are "The Perfect Blend" so the theme definitely fit! 

Liz's mom found these super cute favor bags!
They are filled with chocolate covered espresso beans. :)

Decorations were simple and rustic with pops of light pink, which is a shout out to the bridemaids' dress color. My mother-in-law does amazing flower arrangements and helped us with the centerpieces and some other super cute flower decorations! (My favorite was the Mr. and Mrs. mugs filled with flowers!

#2 A Few Favorite Things
Liz is finishing up a Master's Degree to be a reading specialist.(In fact, her very last class ends 3 days before the wedding!) Her undergraduate degree is in English, so one of her bridesmaids, Marisa, who is also Jon's fiancee and amazingly crafty, printed out some romantic literary quotes to use as decorations.

~"Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained." C.S. Lewis
~"A woman's heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase Him to find her." 
C.S. Lewis
~"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S.Lewis
~"They belonged to each other and no matter what life might hold for them, it could never alter that their happiness was in each other's keeping." Lucy Maud Montgomary
~"My heart is and always will be yours." Jane Austen
~"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began."Leo Tolstoy
~"I loved her against reason, against promise, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be." Charles Dickens
~"Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale." Melissa Brown

Liz loves Bananagrams almost as much as coffee....so we had to find a way to incorporate them into the decorations, too! 
#3 Looking for a Sign?
Marisa also hand painted a few fun signs that fit the theme!(Like I said before...amazingly crafty!) Just another special touch! You can see the welcome sign that she hand painted in #1.

This was a super cute touch...right outside the bathroom door.
No matter where you went, there were special touches. :)

#4 What's a Party Without Dessert?
Keeping with the theme, I made some mini espresso cheesecakes. My daughter, Sarah, (also a bridesmaid), spent hours making several flavors of homemade macaroons. They are SO good but very labor intensive. She made coffee flavor, (of course), raspberry(to add a little pink to the dessert table), chocolate with chocolate ganache filling, chocolate with chocolate mint filling, and lemon. They looked great and tasted even better!

My mil made Polish Bow ties...which is special because both Andrew and Liz share a Polish heritage.
Liz's last name is Dobrowolski and my mil's maiden name is Buraczenski. 

#5 The Bridal Party
From left to right:
Victoria, Liz's sister and Maid of Honor: Sara, Liz's cousin: Sarah and Ellen, the groom's sisters: Liz: Marisa, my son Jon's fiancee: and Kate, the cute flower girl and sister of the groom

#6 Family Means Everything
This was the first time I've gotten to meet Liz's extended family. They were all so kind and so excited to be sharing in such a special day. You could see and feel their love for Liz and for each other. What a blessing it is for me to be getting a daughter in law who comes from a family that cares so much. 

I think that all the emotions were even more evident because just the day before, Liz's Uncle Jimmy, who is her mom's brother, passed away after a long struggle with MSA. Experiencing such a close loss just highlights how love, family, and faith are everything.  

Uncle Jimmy had been struggling with his health for a long time, but in the last couple of weeks things went down hill quickly. I have so much respect for Liz's mom and her sisters who spent most of those last weeks sacrificing sleep and time with their own families to care so lovingly for their brother. It was truly inspiring. 

(Not to mention how amazing Liz's mom, Patti, is to have focused on making her daughter's bridal shower so special while driving back and forth between MA and CT, caring for her brother, and carrying her own grief! #faithandgrace) 

Celebrating Liz and her upcoming wedding brought some joy and hope for the future for everyone.

#7 The Final Countdown Begins!

And now...on to the wedding! 44 days and counting! I.can't.wait!
Andrew & Liz

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Mom's Summer "A" Game

This was an actual conversation at our house just the other day:

My two youngest kids on their last day of school: "Woo hoo! Summer vacation! I'm so excited!"
Same kids(5 minutes later): "So, what are we doing tomorrow, Mom??"
Me:(after several seconds of silence...a couple of "Umm's"...and a little anxiety): "Well, we need to go grocery shopping."
Kids: (groan in unison)
Me: (groans on the inside thinking of visiting multiple stores with kids in tow!)

Summer vacation... it's such a special time of year. With kids ranging from 7 to 26, I've certainly had a lot of experience with summer vacation.(and lived to tell about it!)

I actually like having my kids home with me. (At least most of the time!) This year though, I just don't feel like I'm on my "A" game.

Head on over here to read the rest of my post on embracing summer parenting over at Catholicmom.com.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Every Dash Matters

"There will be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read them. But all that is going to matter is that little dash in between them." -Kevin Welsh

What about if there is no dash?

Our fourth child and first baby girl only lived for 16 short days. Therese Elizabeth was born 21 years ago with a genetic disorder that is "incompatible with life". We soaked in the short time we had with her as best as we could...but it wasn't nearly enough.

Head on over to Catholic Sistas to read the rest of my post. (A little side note: I wrote this particular post on Therese's birthday(May 20th) and it was published today, June 5th, which is the 21st anniversary of her journey to Heaven.) 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Happy Everything!

This has been an exciting weekend! Sarah graduated Summa Cum Laude with an undergraduate degree in Communications Disorders from Bridgewater State University. It’s been an exciting journey...a very quick journey I might add. Sarah managed to finish a four year degree in almost two years!! How you might ask? Well, Sarah is truly an exceptional student. She took 9 AP classes in high school and passed all of the tests for credit. She also took the Spanish CLEP test the summer before she started college and did so well that she got 12 more college credits. Somehow, all the credits that she had going into college fit just right into Bridgewater’s framework, and she started college with enough credits to be considered a junior! 

Sarah was Sarah all through college and was her normal overachieving self! She even pushed herself in the very last semester. She found out Bridgewater offered a certificate course is TESOL.(Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) It required four classes, but one she had already taken as part of her major. So, the last semester of college Sarah still took 6 courses to earn that certificate! #overachiever

Sarah wants to be a Speech Therapist and will be continuing on at Bridgewater to pursue a Master's Degree. That was a tough decision for Sarah. She applied to several Master's Degree programs, and Emerson was her absolute favorite. Yet, when numbers were crunched and the positive and negatives of each program were weighed, Sarah decided that Bridgewater would be the place she could earn the degree she wants without creating a massive amount of debt. She's already been trying to get an assistantship at Bridgewater. It's very promising that she will be able to get one, which would pay for her tuition plus a little extra that should cover most of her living expenses. If everything falls into place, Sarah will graduated with a Master's Degree with zero college debt since she got a full scholarship as an undergraduate and commuted so she wouldn't have to pay for dorming. 

That's definitely not a bad way to start out life as an adult!

Sarah's graduation cap:
~picture of the brain which Sarah colored and labeled
~ComD..short for Communications Disorders
~See You Again Soon...bc she'll be back in the fall for Grad School
~sun,fossil,bus: " 's' sound in a word in the initial, medial, and final position"...that's a speech therapy thing.

As if this weekend wasn't exciting enough, today is Sarah's 20th birthday! What a way to start a new decade!

Happy Everything, Sarah! 

Dad and I are so proud of your achievements! Even more than that, we are so proud of the faithful and kind young woman you are! We are so blessed to be your parents! 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Run To Jesus

I have been blessed to raise 8 children. These children have taught me to love and give as I never thought I could. They have brought me incredible joys, and at times, have brought me to the brink of despair. Life with my children has been a strong catalyst in strengthening my own relationship with God. Nothing brings me to my knees faster than their struggles. Nothing brings me to praise God quicker than their personal victories. They have taught me to run to Jesus in all things.

One of our sons, Peter, is profoundly Autistic. When Peter was around 7, he was still in the thick of the difficult years of parenting him. He was a very wiggly kid who still had a habit of bolting away from us. Peter needed to have constant...and I mean 24/7 kind of constant...supervision. He had the impulsiveness of a young toddler and the physical coordination of a child his age. We had keyed locks on all our windows to keep him from escaping the house...put on after he escaped out of a window when I took my eyes off of him for a literal two minutes and didn't find him until 10 minutes later halfway down the street of our neighborhood sitting on one of our neighbor's lawn mower tractors in their driveway. Life with Peter at that point in time was extremely stressful.

Every Sunday, Peter sits next to my husband, Jay, at Mass. It was a challenging hour to get through for Peter...and us! One Sunday at Mass when he was around 7, Peter slid out of the pew and...........

Click here to keep reading my blogpost over at Catholic Sistas

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"What Do Those Stones Mean To You?"

It's a really interesting stage of life we are in with our two engaged sons. I'm enjoying listening to their plans and watching the process as they start creating the details of their (not so distant) future lives as husband and wife. Besides all of the actual wedding plans, of which there are many(!), there's all the practical decisions to make, like where they will actually live.

Our son, Andrew, has been looking for an apartment that will be the first home for him and his fiance, Liz, once they are married in August. The most important features that they were searching for in an apartment was a safe location and a price that could fit into their budget. Liz was hoping for a two bedroom for a little extra room, but that was in a category of “wish list” rather than “must haves”.

They have been searching for several weeks and haven't found much that fit into their location/price criteria. They did get offered a small one bedroom, third floor apartment. Andrew wanted to take it because they hadn't found anything else, but Liz didn't really like it. The wedding isn't until August so they have some time, and together they made the decision to pass on the apartment and keep looking.

A couple more weeks passed and still nothing. Andrew tried contacting some listings he found on Craigslist, but his emails went unanswered. Jay and I were praying for Andrew and Liz to find the right place for them. Jay was praying in particular to St. Joseph. St. Joseph certainly understands trying to find shelter and the desire to care for your family! In my own prayers for the situation, the scripture line “I prepare a place for you.” John 14:2, kept popping in my head. Certainly we had some extra opportunities to practice trust!

Yesterday, I was at work and one of my parent's tenants came in to pay their rent. This particular tenant lived on the second floor of the tenement house my mom grew up in. He handed me a letter for my mom and explained that he and his wife bought a house and would be moving out by the last day of May.

I was overjoyed...and incredibly thankful! God couldn't have worked out the timing any better! Like my mom said when I told her the news, “It must have been meant to be!”. This apartment is in a safe neighborhood, in the price range they could afford, and it even has two bedrooms. Check, check, and check! Isn't is a great thing when God not only takes care of our needs but also our wants?!?

I have said many prayers of thanksgiving since this apartment became available for Andrew and Liz yesterday. I started thinking that the blessing of this apartment will be a memorial stone for both of them. Do you remember the story of the memorial stones from the Book of Joshua? God parted the Jordan so that the Israelites could pass through and He wanted them to always remember the miracle.

“When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,
“Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them,
Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan,
from the very place where the priests' feet stood,
and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight..
....when your children ask in time to come, 'What do those stones mean to you?
Then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan
were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord;
when it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.
So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial for ever.”Joshua 4:1-3;6-7

There have been so many times in my life when God has “parted the Jordan” for me. In the last 26 years of marriage, Jay and I have collected our own memorial stones in our hearts. They are reminders of the times that God has interceded for us; moments when our faith and trust in God was nurtured and grew.

For Andrew and Liz, the blessing of the timing in this apartment's availability will be a memorial stone for them. When they recall the story throughout their marriage, it will be a reminder that God is faithful and will provide for their needs.

It is a beautiful beginning. 

You can find these trust rocks on Etsy!