Monday, April 27, 2009

Crazy Eights

Recuperating Jamie tagged me for this meme. Like her, I was thinking that it may be tough to come up with a list, but it wasn't really so bad.

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:

1. Getting to the greenhouse and buying more perennials and my annual flowers for my pots and flower gardens in our yard. I love tending them throughout the summer. Not that I do it so well or that is isn't a lot of work, but I just love the color that fills our yard when everything is in bloom.

2. Planting our garden and reaping it's abundant harvest. We do this every year and try to keep it a family activity. And in these tough economic times, who couldn't use some free vegetables out of your own garden!

3. The Catholic Homeschool conference at the end of May. I'm already perusing the catalogs/online and deciding what we'll be using for curriculum choices in the fall. This year I'll be adding more for Jonah since he'll be in preschool, but I've got to find something that will hold my little Thomas-themed boy's attention. Reed and I also make the conference an event we attend together, so we look forward to it!

4. A couple of sweet ladies' little arrivals at the end of May (Lerin, Margaret & IRL friend Michelle). Can't wait!!

5. A few possible summer projects around home: tiling in the kitchen and laminate flooring throughout a majority of the main floor. Of course, these are only POSSIBLE projects and we'll have to see if we can swing them financially, but they are a lot of fun to think about!

6. Doing something special for Mother's Day. Not sure what just yet, but hubby usually makes a big deal out of it and enlists the kids' help and I enjoy whatever it is whether planned or last minute arrangements. I want to do something special with my mom and Lily this year too, but perhaps that will be the following weekend so that we can extend Mother's Day a bit.

7. Garage Sales! This has become a hobby of mine while in my mommy years and I've gotten pretty good at spotting a "good" one from a block away! I also know which local cities have their city-wide sales and keep them marked on my calendar. This year, unfortunately, three of my usual frequented ones are on a Saturday that we have to head out of town. I wonder if I can do a little before we leave? Hmm...

8. Certainly not the least on my list, but just happens to be the last on this list: A BABY! Hopefully one day VERY soon we'll have good news.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Attended Mass with my family.

2. Enjoyed brunch that Reed prepared after Mass.

3. Blogged.

4. Made cookies with hubby and kids.

5. Went for a short walk in the rain.

6. Attended to little projects like filing and paying bills!

7. Enjoyed Dinner that wonderful hubby prepared.(I know, Sunday's make me spoiled!)

8. Relaxed in the evening and watched Amazing Race.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. Conceive again! (I know, I keep mentioning it, but it's on my mind!)

2. Read a little more in the evening after the kids are in bed and NOT fall asleep while doing it!

3. Sew from a pattern with ease and without frustration. I can do some pretty good basic stuff, but I do wish I could sew a simple dress one day too.

4. Have Reed home for more than two days each week. I know, I should be grateful for what we do have because it's more than some families get. It's just that our weekends are always too short and go too fast.

5. Keep a better exercise routine. I know it's good for me and it's a healthy choice, but I have a hard time always sticking to my exercise plans.

6. Dance as beautifully as some of those ladies on Dancing With The Stars. But with a little more clothing.

7. Be graced with a bit more patience.

8. Travel to Rome with my family. Perhaps one day, but it seems unlikely since hubby is not big into traveling. Anywhere.

8 Shows I Watch:

1. Amazing Race

2. Dancing with the Stars

3. Biggest Loser

4. The Office

5. Ace of Cakes

6. The Mentalist

7. Rachael Ray

8. Bathtastic (or any show really on my new FAVORITE channel, DIY!!)

Some of these are rather hit-or-miss, depending on the week, but I like to watch when/if I can.

Ok, so now I'm to the part where I am supposed to tag 8 people, but I really don't like doing that, so I'll just do a few. Let me know if I forgot you and you want to play along!

Amy, Lerin, Stacey, Colleen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Timing Is Everything

In another chance for God to teach me that He indeed is in control and it's all about His timing and plan, He again came through loud and clear.

Around a month ago, Reed and I were once again re-evaluating where we are going on our infertility journey and what the next step (if there were one at all) we should take. This is always a struggle that involves a fair amount of conversation as we try to prayerfully decide whether to continue with whatever course of treatment we are currently in or to pursue other possibilities. It has not helped that although we've had the chance to work with a few very considerate and kind doctors (not to mention the few that we ditched as fast as we could!), we've struggled most of this time charting our own course alone. Most of the research and follow up we have done has been through advice given from family or friends and what we've ventured to find on our own. Our desires for truly Catholic and morally sound physicians have been largely unfulfilled.

Proving His timing, I randomly recalled last month a physician who I heard a number of accounts of back in my single days and who I knew was located somewhere at a clinic a good two hours away. God showed me His providence within the week as I was introduced to a new blogger who had found me (or did I find her? I can't even remember). In reading Mommy Monkey's blog a number of things struck me and led me to email her a few questions. From what I had read it sounded like she too had children, but that had her own struggles with infertility symptoms/diagnosis. Upon hearing back from her, I found that she did indeed have PCOS issues and that she had found a wonderful, Catholic physician, Dr. Mary. After putting many pieces of the puzzle together, I ventured to inquire if her Dr. Mary was indeed the Dr. Mary P. that I had heard of years ago. Come to find, Mommy Monkey was also a Minnesota Mom blogger and her Dr. Mary WAS the physician whose name had popped into my head the prior week.

From there, I was not only blessed with encouragement and support, but also with vast knowledge about this wonderful Christian/Catholic clinic that perhaps could help me out. I knew that even if I could get an appointment with a physician at this clinic and they gave me no new diagnosis or no new answers, I would be grateful to be in the presence of morally sound physicians. A breath of fresh air.

I was blessed enough to call the clinic last Monday and get an appointment for Thursday! It was a distance to drive a little over two hours, but I knew it would be worth it. Might I say, it was. The atmosphere as I entered the building filled me with peace and prayerfulness. Again, I realized that I wasn't here for a perfect diagnosis, but for support and possibilities for treatment and affirmations that we'd been doing the right thing all along as we walked alone. My feelings of peace were confirmed as I turned and saw each wall revealing very Catholic images (Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II to name a few). Oh how sweet it was!

For now, I don't have a new diagnosis, but a number of things revealed to the physician possible issues with ovulation and progesterone which could lead to problems in my NFP charting and therefore lead to inaccurate timing on our part. I'll be undergoing a bunch of lab work and an ultrasound yet before there's more conclusive answers, but the physician also gave me a list of other options that we may give a try before ultimately referring me to Pope Paul VI Institute for further treatment.

Timing is everything and in time we'll see where it leads us.

In seeing God's hand in all things, I shouldn't have been surprised when I read Friday's Psalm:

Wait for the Lord, take courage;
be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:14

We will continue to wait on the Lord and His answers and in time, all will be revealed! In the meantime, I'm thankful for the perfect timing of Mommy Monkey's appearance in my life. After all, a burden shared is definitely a burden halved. Thank you MM!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: A Little Wordy

These are all around my house. But then, perhaps, I need all of these little reminders. Maybe it's a little wordy around here?

(It makes sense though really, since I am the kind of lady who ALWAYS buys the really 'wordy' cards at Hallmark!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He's 4!

Today, my little man turns 4! I can hardly believe that we are at this landmark...where did the time go? I still remember the first moments after his birth and being told, "it's a boy!" and wondering what in the world it was going to be like having a boy. My world had only been filled with pinks and purples, dolls and dresses prior to that moment, so I had no idea what new horizons awaited me with a little boy. I have learned to see life differently while gazing at it through the eyes of a little boy. Now my color palette is filled with blues and greens and lots of orange these days (his favorite color!) and an abundance of Thomas trains everywhere I turn.

For fear of becoming too teary eyed and reminiscent, I'm just adding a few photos to finish off my post today. In honor of my little boy on his birthday....

Happy 4th Birthday Cubby!!

He's growing up so fast!:

Thanks to Picnik for the photo edits!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Divine Mercy Sunday

Unfortunately, time does not allow me this morning to go into detail about today's wonderful Feast of Divine Mercy. I wish it did, but we have a marriage course to speak at this morning and then we will be off to pray and celebrate today's feast at my hometown parish.

My family began praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy while I was in my teens and my parents have actively promoted the devotion and a Divine Mercy Sunday Celebration each year for 13 years in their parish. It's an afternoon filled with prayer and reflection imploring Jesus mercy. I've always loved that this beautiful feast is celebrated in the spring time and on the Sunday after Easter. It seems only fitting that when we are encompassed with new life around us that we should celebrate this feast and be granted new life as our sins are all forgiven.

Concerning the Feast of Mercy Jesus said:

Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)

I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341)

This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. (Diary 420)

On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.* [our emphasis] On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will I contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)

Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it. (Diary 742)

I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. (Diary 1109)

As you can see the Lord's desire for the Feast includes the solemn, public veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as personal acts of veneration and mercy. The great promise for the individual soul is that a devotional act of sacramental penance and Communion will obtain for that soul the plenitude of the divine mercy on the Feast.

You can look here to find more information on the Divine Mercy.

Jesus, I Trust In You!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If Only It Were That Easy..

(After spending the day at my friend's home who has three children under the age of 3)

Little Girl: How old is (friend)?

Mommy: She's 31.

Little Girl: Oh. It must be because she's older than you that she has more children.

Mommy: Or it's because she's more fertile.

Little Girl: Okay...What does that mean?

Mommy: She maybe has an easier time getting pregnant and can have her kids closer together.

Little Girl: Maybe it's because she knows how to get pregnant by herself. Or maybe she just knows how to do it better than you do.

Mommy: Maybe it's because God wants me to be happy loving just Lily & Jonah right now. Sometimes we have to wait for God to answer our prayers in His time.

Little Girl: Why? I can't wait until I have a sister.

Mommy: And I can't wait to give you one.

Little Girl: Well, I want one today. or tomorrow. or maybe next week.

Mommy: So do I my dear. So do I.

Of course, this was a very serious conversation and it was important to Lily. Reed and I couldn't help but get a little chuckle out of this one last night at the dinner table. If things were always as simple as our children perceive them to be.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Celebrating Easter

We were able to keep our Easter celebrating close to home and filled with family time. Lily helped me prepare Empty Tomb Rolls (thanks for the recipe, Jamie!)on Saturday evening and we popped those in the oven for breakfast before Mass on Easter Sunday morning. Can you say delicious? I think these will quickly become a family tradition to prepare for Easter in our home! They were so easy to make and simply tasty, that I'm thinking that we may need to make them again during the Easter season as we continue to celebrate!

During Lent, we kept a Good Deeds/Sacrifice jar at our house. What an effective tool! Trust me, we were giving out beans for some of the tiniest things, but our children understood the meaning behind the beans and they wanted to fill their jar as much as possible (and it takes A LOT of Great Northern Beans to fill even a small jar!). Ultimately, they did a great job throughout Lent and they were so excited to see their beans turn into this on Easter morning:

After Mass we spent most of the day at hubby's parents house, just down the driveway (I told you we stayed close to home)and even my parents and grandma were able to spend Easter with our family there. Lily and Jonah were able to do their own Easter egg hunt outside again this year too, prepared for them by their uncle.

It was a beautiful day (not so much weather-wise though) to spend with family as we all celebrated the resurrection of Christ and the beginning of our Easter season.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air

Today was truly a most glorious spring day. It's mid-April, but we've had few days to remind us of what the calendar tells us. The winter was restless and L-O-N-G. I'm not sure what made this one particularly dreadful, but I am so glad we are on this side of it. We survived!!

We were back to school work and the usual Monday obligations after our Easter break, but we had to get outside too. I felt the urge to get some of the yard decor out from the storage shed and start beautifying the yard again. The lawn may not be green for some time yet, but a bench here and a wind chime there and suddenly it feels like we may just have kicked winter completely.

Of course, the true sign of spring at our house is when I am finally able to take out our trusty glider swing and put it back on the porch. I cannot even explain how good that felt as I sat there in the fresh air, hearing my children play in the yard, listen to the call of the Loons on the lake and read the latest issue of Faith & Family that arrived today. How picture perfect it was indeed.

And tonight I sit and breath in the fresh spring air indoors as well. I was able to open up the windows and let all of the new, crisp, spring air in and the old, dead, winter air out. If we did not have this change of seasons, I don't know that I could completely treasure a day like today. A perfect day to continue to celebrate the Easter season. How good it is!

Oh how the fresh air can refresh and renew the heart and soul. It brings the new life that I so desperately need after a long, difficult winter. A good and faithful God we have that He lavishes us with such wonderful gifts, even if they are something as simple as fresh, crisp air.

Tomorrow: Wash bed linens and winter coats (I'll be glad to put those bulky nuisances away!).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: New Camera Edition

Here are just a few shots that the kids and I have taken with my new camera.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Peep, Peep, Peeps!!

Do you do Easter PEEPS?

I suppose my mind should be on better things this week being that it IS Holy Week. I just couldn't help my sudden craving/desire for PEEPS marshmallow chicks though! I saw them in Target the other day and didn't purchase any, however, they've been on my mind an awful lot!!

It led me to wonder, why? I think I figured it out. It's a fond memory of childhood Easter. I just remember getting them a number of times in my Easter basket, although I'm not sure that I received them EVERY year. And you know what else? I don't think I ever recall eating more than maybe a couple of them each time and then forgetting about them. Hubby and I were talking about this the other evening when we also recalled that back then the little PEEPS only came in packages of maybe 3 or 4. The ones I saw at Target the other day were a full DOZEN!! Can you imagine eating all of those??!! I can't!

I also only recall that the cute little chicks were only offered in yellow (or at least that's what I got). These days they are offered in an array of colors, including red! Can you imagine the amount of coloring in those? Sorry, we won't be buying the red in a MILLION years! What else did I find after doing some online searching? They also come in rabbit shapes for Easter! Not to mention they make them for Valentines day (cute hearts & teddy bears), Halloween (ghosts, pumpkins & cats) and Christmas (trees, gingerbread men & stars)! Where have I been that I haven't seen these??!!

I will admit those cute little chicks are full of sugar and I probably still couldn't eat more than one or possibly two at a time and it's unlikely that I will buy them this year, however, I was enticed by the new ones that are chocolate mousse flavored. Maybe I could try just ONE of them?

Join me in the nostalgia and fond memories and check out the official Marshmallow PEEPS website. They've got the history of the little chicks and also fun facts for you to read.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Wanna Be...

A little conversation between Brother and Sister...

Sister: Come here. Let's talk about what we'll do when we're older.

At the tip of her tongue..

Sister: I think I want to either be a Pet Store Owner, A Vet, A Doctor, A Hotel Lady or A Flight Attendant.

After a moment of thought..

Brother: I wanna be A Soccer Player, A Basketball Player, A Football Player, A Chef, A Super Hero, A Police, A Doctor. And that's all.

With stars in her eyes and a little grin..

Sister: I want to build a big, fancy house for me and my husband. I want to go to a nice place for dinner and a very nice hotel for our honeymoon...


Those are some big dreams for my little ones! It's kind of funny that Brother even knows what all of those sports players are being that we don't watch a bit of any type of competition/sporting event in our house. I'm not completely sure what he thinks they are.

With these aspirations, it does look as though I will be well taken care of in my old age as my children care for me when I'm ill, cook for me, keep me safe, earn me free trips and whisk me away to their hotel. And rest assured, when I am not off going to all of the sporting events, I will never be alone because I will have whatever pet I may desire to keep me company!

I guess Hubby and I are gonna live the good life when we're older!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hope & Faith

From the title of this blog you could probably tell that Hope has become somewhat of a theme in my life, especially in the last few years. In the last week or so it has become evident that it once again is taking a dominant role in surfacing in A LOT of places. A number of books and articles recently have mentioned the virtue and drawn me into deeper reflection. Did you notice I even changed my header here to incorporate it?

Perhaps it's the springtime feeling of new life and new hope or perhaps, as my dear husband put it in an email to a priest friend (no, REALLY to a PRIEST!!) who asked how I was doing, 'She's doing pretty good right now. There's certain times of the month when hope springs eternal'. Excuse me again for the TMI, but yes, this is true. Depending on my hormonal fluctuations and what did or didn't happen at certain times in a month, definitely either dampens my spirit of hopefulness or encourages it! Nonetheless, I've been renewed with Hope!

I was re-reading in My Way of Life the other day and found the section regarding Hope. It talked about happiness of heart, faith and hope. Truly, no accident that my blog title is what it is! I was struck by the part that mentioned the importance of both faith and hope and how they correspond to one another:

Faith is the beginning of happiness in the mind. Because faith proposes to man the possibility of attaining the vision of God, it gives man the beginning of happiness in his heart. Faith then lays the foundation of hope in the heart of man. it is obvious that faith precedes hope. It is faith which tells man that God is ready to assist him to attain true happiness. In this way it is faith which opens the door for hope in the human heart. Faith makes us cling to God as the source of knowledge. Hope makes us cling to God as the source of our happiness, the goodness and power from which we hope to receive happiness.

How true this is! One thing that I have maintained as we've journeyed through our secondary infertility diagnosis is that I have tried to remain full of hope and I have trusted in my faith to help me and guide me. I have mentioned numerous times that I didn't know what I would have done had I not had BOTH of these! Truly, my faith has opened the door for hope in my heart.

Recently as I was contemplating the gift of faith and faithfulness, I recalled a homily once spoken while I was single and searching deeply for God's revelation of my vocation in life. I was filled with despair and anxiety as I felt that God's voice in my life had barely become audible any more. The priest spoke of faithfulness to Christ and His call in our lives. I only remember the line he spoke frequently through that homily: Sometimes faithfulness feels a lot like unfaithfulness. As I recalled this last week, I felt how true that is. My faithfulness and determination to follow Christ and the Catholic Church's teachings has sometimes indeed felt like unfaithfulness when I have felt that I have not been rewarded. I have felt like I have tried my hardest and done all that I could do to be faithful and yet felt grief, despair and anxiety as I wallowed in a feeling of unfaithfulness.

But it is our faith that truly opens our heart to hope. We cling to God as our true source of happiness and fulfillment. Faith really does lay the foundation in our heart. How blessed are we to have faith and fulfillment in our heart in order to bring about true hope!

Hope continues to reign in my heart and in abundance these days. Is it any wonder that this morning, hubby mentioned the short Lenten reflection he had just read? It talked about the patience of Abraham and Sarah. Ok, this is relevant for a number of reasons, but the obvious would be that my name is Sarah and we too are waiting for a child! The reflection talked about how when we are waiting for something we wait with eager expectation and anticipation. When we have to wait for something we really want that it can become distressing, especially if we are uncertain if or when it will happen. We grow restless, anxious and doubtful, or feel trapped and impatient. How true that has been! Truth is, waiting on the Lord isn't supposed to be an exercise in frustration: it's an opportunity to exercise our faith! Did you see that? It mentioned FAITH. Waiting for God's answer and His timing is enhancing our faith and therefore our hopeful hearts! What a blessing that waiting on the Lord is supposed to be, but do I always see it that way? Not hardly. Patient waiting is tough don't you know.

Can you tell that HOPE has been like a resounding gong in my head lately? As if that is not enough, I've been getting reacquainted with Our Lady of Hope (sometimes referred to as Our Lady of Pontmain). Have you heard of her?

Our Lady appeared in the French village of Pontmain in 1871. She revealed herself as the "Madonna of the Crucifix" and gave the world her message of "Hope through Prayer and the Cross." The basilica built at Pontmain by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate is one of the great French pilgrimage places, noted for its miracles of grace. The Oblate Fathers introduced the devotion to America in 1952.

I received a prayer pamphlet to Our Lady of Hope ironically at the Women's Conference I attended in January. I had heard about her a number of years ago, but had kind of forgotten about her. You can find novena prayers to her at EWTN's site here.

Hope and Faith. Truly two helpful virtues on our journey through life. God bless my hopeful heart!

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~ Hebrews 11:1~

Our Lady of Hope, Pray For Us!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

On its way to my house: Nikon Coolpix S210!!!

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