Monday, September 24, 2012

Rejoicing always!!

Rejoice in the Lord always!
-Philippians 4:4

It's been a while since my last "Multitudes on Mondays" post - almost a year, but not quite - doh!  I really have missed typing them and sharing them and praying all the way through.  But...  we have not stopped counting.  We are in the 1600's now and my last post was sharing that "we made it" to 1000.  Somedays the kids are much better than I at jotting down the gifts that have come our way.  But, we have all developed a much more grateful heart in both the big and little gifts.  Even our little Pookey (2-1/2 y/o) has expressed his gratitude in the smallest of things, and it just warms my heart hearing him say, "Thank you God for....".  The simple, verbal prayer of "Thank you God for...." or "Lord help me..." was shared by a friend sometime last year and has definitely stuck and now spread to those little ears and hearts in our home.  She shared with me how important it is to pray those silent prayers out loud sometimes to witness our need and dependance on God, especially when it comes to sharing our faith with our little ones.  WOW -was she right!  Thank you God for that wonderful piece of wisdom that was shared with me back then!   

 Onto our "1000 Gifts" - thank you God for these and all gifts received....
(I just used the last couple pages of the journal - it would take me DAYS to get caught up on a summary of gifts from 1000-now)

1594 - Hershey's chocolate candy bar won at Bingo, but then shared amongst the other siblings later
1600 - a husband that leads 
1602 - gifts "masked" - contractions that are hard to keep track of and follow and a sweet wiggly baby
1603 - Neil cleaning and moving around the living room to make room for the swing and porta-crib
1607 - "Hi!  Thank you for the cook-out.  Love - Aunt C."   (from one of my sisters after a weekend weiner roast a couple weeks ago)
1608 - ConQuest for the 3 big boys
Mario, Max, and Fone
1610 - a fireworks show and perfect view from our front yard
1611 - chili!!
1612 - a new purse (a prize that Ariel won at Bingo with her great-grandma)
1613 - a gift of homemade bread made by a sweet friend, not even knowing our own Mario said a few days prior, "Mom, it's been SOOOOOO long ago since you made homemade bread"
1615 - kids ripping apart Dady's shirt (literally!)
1616 - celebrating 100 years of John Deere Harvester and 175 years of the company of John Deere with my parents and sisters
my dad and I

my dad - who has been retired from Deere for almost 3 years now

my 3 sisters, my parents, and my sweet nephew (in the stroller)

1618 - swimming party at my sister's pool during September!  

my mom and Pookey

1619 - little boys playing at grandma's all day, giving me the much needed break to take care of myself and kick up my feet to limit contractions
1620 - failing my 3 hour glucose, but having my sisters encouraging me that everything will be okay
1621 - easy quick meals during this time when I need to "take it easy" and my sister reminding me that this is just a short season in our lives right now and not to feel bad
1623 - beautiful fall weather
1625 - Melody and Ariel playing "The Mad-catter and the Princess"
The Mad-catter (Ariel)

The Princess (Melody)

The Mad-catter attacking the poor Princess
 1626 - kids that jump and help when needed

.....  and still counting!!

Please join me in counting the 1000 Gifts that never end!! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What a wonderful man....

...who will be missed greatly but forever remembered!

Date of Birth:  12/12/23
Date of Death:  8/25/12

But we all know, this is not "where he belonged".  God had better plans for him in the world to come....

These are just a "few" pictures from the last couple years.  I had a hard time figuring out how to get to the others that Neil has stored away in a safe place in another drive on the computer, but no big deal - the memories we had with him are endless!!  Not only was he so involved in my life growing up, but he was just as important to my family and I even when he moved to the nursing home.

This past week, my grandma switched to a different room, and it's going to be so hard to walk past their old room and remember all the conversations and hugs that we shared together in there.  We will have a great celebration this year on November 1st and 2nd in my family as we remember him and all the faithful departed, and then again on his birthday - 12/12/12.  And, our weekly trips to see Grandma will continue as long as I can make it over there.  I know once our little one arrives, I'll need a little break to recover, but will definitely pick back up on our visits.  One thing Grandpa passed on to us out of love for his wife, is that we need to continue to take care of Grandma.  Absolutely!!  :)

What a wonderful life he led though - one of service, humility, generosity, great example, and faith. As a farmer, Grandpa planted many seeds and was able to watch them grow.  I am most thankful for the seeds of faith he has planted that have been passed down to me to help steer and guide my life. 

"There is an appointed time for everything and 
a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die; 
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; 
a time to tear down, and a time to build.  

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;  
a time to embrace, and a time to far from embraces.

A  time to seek, and a time to lose; 
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to red, and a time to sew; 
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate; 
a time of war, and a time of peace."

-Ecclesiastes 3:  1-8       (which was the first reading at his funeral Mass)

Till we meet again!!  
Love you grandpa!!! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Little Flowers - virtues of Eutrapelia and Faith

Tonight was our first gathering of our Little Flowers Girls Club for 2012/2013.  It went wonderful, as usual!

This is the the third year that I have been helping lead the group, and we changed things up a bit this year.  The girls who have done the past two years are continuing with Wreath 3, and the girls from last year and the new girls are doing Wreath 1.  We have a total of 32 girls!  God has brought so many Little Flowers to us to teach and share the faith - what a blessing!

So, tonight's gathering included the following virtues, saints, and flowers....
Wreath 1:  Faith, St. Catherine of Sienna, and the sunflower
Wreath 3:  Eutrapelia, St Mary (sister of Martha), and the dandelion

For Wreath 1, Mrs. L read the first story in Little Flowers Girls' Club Wreath 1 Virtues Stories, and shared with the girls how the sunflower relates to our faith in God, and what a great example St. Catherine of Sienna was.   

Mrs. B. helped the girls create these lovely sunflowers, and they smelled SO good!!  (the center was made of tea leaves!!).  They turned out SO beautiful! They also used the file that Jessica shared to create their scrapbook page

For Wreath 3, I used many of the ideas that Jessica used with her own group, during the teaching part.  The girls especially loved this song and we talked about how easy it is for moms especially to get so caught up in all the work we must do and forget to see that Jesus is right in front of us, in the presence of our children.  For the flower, I shared a sweet story about three little girls who were picking dandelions in the front yard and making crowns and necklaces out of them, and enjoying the beauty in a flower that most people see as weeds.  (scroll down a bit using the link to see a pic of the girls).  I also read Luke 10: 38-42 to the girls, which is the story of Martha and Mary.  The girls recognized right away how Mary definitely showed the virtue of Eutrapelia, in taking the time to sit at the feet of Jesus.  What a wonderful virtue to start the year out with, as we all tend to get so busy with fall schedules, and how we all need to sit back, relax, and renew ourselves in our faith on a regular basis!

For crafts/scrapbook for Wreath 3, Mrs. T and Mrs. H. helped the girls sew aprons out of a simple dish towel.  They were so sweet and patient for working with the girls on this sewing project!  They will be adding to it throughout the year as they learn the other virtues and saints.  The girls also cut out and created a lovely scrapbook page.  Again this wonderful idea of making and adding to the aprons at each gathering, and the scrapbook page file came from Jessica

And, no Little Flower gathering would be complete if it weren't for Mrs. Y. serving them snacks.  We have been so blessed that the moms take turns signing up and bringing the snacks each month.  The girls sure love this time of fellowship and the yummy treats that go with it!  Here's some pictures of both wreaths enjoying their snacks tonight....

One of my absolute favorite parts of our gatherings is that we have "mom helpers"...  each mother signs up for at least two months to come and offer her hands in service to our group.  The girls love having their own moms there, and us teachers love the extra hands to help.  It has become such a blessing to us all and truly goes to show that "many hands made for light work". 

St. Catherine of Sienna, pray for us that 
we may practice the virtue of Faith.  

St. Mary (and Martha), pray for us that 
we may practice the virtue of Eutrapelia. 

St. Therese, the Little Flower, pray for us!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Are you done yet?"

or maybe it's....

"Don't you know what causes that?"
"How are you going to pay for their college?"
"Are they are all yours?"
"You must be a saint"

I have felt the nudge by the Holy Spirit months ago to share our background when it comes to these questions and I am finally getting around to it (thanks to a reminder from two wonderful blog articles I have read lately).  I had to laugh when my husband recently suggested an answer that will shut people up to the question - "Don't you know what causes that".  He told me to say, "Yep, and we're pretty darn good at it".  He said it works - it definitely was not what the person expected and shut them up immediately.  Hopefully it planted a few seeds and got them thinking and praying as well.

As you know, we are expecting our 8th child, 6 living with us now and one who has already made it Home. This will be my 7th c-section, which is a big "no-no" and actually was a big "no-no" for the last 3.  But, we trusted and prayed, and God blessed us with Ariel, Max, and Pookey.  At Pookey's delivery, my uterus was not in good shape at all, and again we were suggested to not have any more children.  We used Billings method of watching my fertility cycles and abstained at certain times each month, all the while being open to life and God's plan for our family.  We tried out best and were prudent in using Billings, however, God still decided to step in and bless us with another baby.  I'm so grateful we are guided by faith in God and not the fear that was put on us by medical professionals.

Another comment that I get quite often is when people declare proudly that they "are done".  How do they know that God didn't have more children planned for them?  They truly don't know what they are missing, plus the best gift of all that they are neglecting to give their other children - another sibling.  Not to mention how it puts a strain on their marriage (as they can no longer be "one" anymore and freely give of themselves to their spouse) and even more importantly, the separation they are causing between them and God. 

What is the point of faith if we are not truly going to have faith??

Do we understand the risks when it comes to having 7 c-sections?  Absolutely we do!  But, losing my life or our beautiful baby is the chance we are taking next to losing our soul to a grave sin.  My brother-in-law shared years ago that when it comes to fertility and trusting God versus taking matters into your own hands is truly a grave decision - meaning it will take you to the grave.  You will either be rewarded or will have to answer by your faith or lack of faith.  Heaven is our ultimate goal - I may make it to heaven when I'm 90, or it may happen tomorrow in a car accident, or it may happen in the next 2 months as we await for the arrival of our sweet baby girl or even during the risky delivery.  Only God knows the time and hour and place.  Same with our sweet baby.  She has brought so much JOY to our lives already.  God has a purpose for her - whether her life be short or long.  We are called to give our FIAT, to say "yes" to Him.  Or, we can turn our backs on Him and choose what is best for our lives on our own and rely on sterilization or contraception, when it comes to planning our family.  I would rather risk losing my life (as a martyr of my faith for Him) than to risk my soul and jeopardize the beautiful plans my Heavenly Father has for me, for all of us, to live with Him for all eternity.

Death is not something to fear.  And, if that is what God has planned for me or our sweet baby, then we are ready.  Death is the step we must take to reach our goal of Heaven.

"If you embrace all the things in life as coming from 
the hands of God, and even embrace death to fulfill his 
holy will, you will surely die a saint"
-St. Alphonsus Liguori

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fall Grave Blanket

My grandfather on my mother's side passed away a week ago today, and tonight we went out and put a very simple grave blanket over his grave.  My mother is always coming up with the most creative things, and because her dad was a farmer it was a given that she was going to use corn fodder to cover the grave since there would be no grass until next Spring. 

Here are a couple pictures of cutting of the corn fodder and laying it tonight. 
(pics were taken from my phone, so I apologize they are not top quality).

In searching for grave blankets online, I found this link for winter grave blankets.  Winter will be here shortly so maybe this is what we'll do next. 

We knew this would be another wonderful way we could honor my grandfather! 

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