Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

As I breezed through the months worth of photos during my blogging hiatus, I found that there wasn't much to tell.
It was then though that I was reminded of strings of days that came together with seemingly nothing monumental to report. 
These are those days that perhaps get lost most in the shuffle, the days that no photos are taken and little documentation to prove we really did live them.
Maybe those were the days I struggled most or perhaps they were those ordinary days that make the best moments. The ones my children will remember.

Either way, a very brief look at a few of the things that did happen.

Lily turned ELEVEN. Wow. I totally didn't see that coming. Remind me again how these kids keep growing up?  We celebrated with her non-cake choice (it's some type of preteen phase I'm guessing) of rice krispie cake with chocolate glaze.

Lily ended up getting that cow she wanted. Kind of. Her AG doll, Abby, did at least. Perhaps in the spring she'll get a real cow or maybe a few chickens at least.

That following week we headed out of town for a couple days. Reed had a work related conference to attend, so we tagged along and did fun stuff while he worked. It's kind of a win-win. Fun for us all day, some fun as a family in the evenings and no time apart. It's perfect!

Well, when our parish priest found out we were heading to Rochester he mentioned this Catholic coffee shop. He was appauld I hadn't heard of it. So was I! 
Catholic and Coffee, two of my favorite things together?

Oh, but it got better my friends.

The kids and I headed out one morning to find the shop and it was just minutes from our hotel and our side of the city. 

It was like a fun field trip. Keep waiting, it gets better.

The St. James Coffee Shop is ah.maz.ing.

Not only do they have coffee and treats and all the great stuff a coffee shop should....

they also have JESUS there:

You saw that, right? The tabernacle there in the center?
In the back of this coffee shop is a small chapel so that the working person or the average person who stops in for coffee, can also stop in for some Jesus time too.

It was really the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. I wish I lived closer! I would totally work there. Or be a frequent customer.

Check out their website link above to find more about their mission. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the classic coffee shop feel, but with Saints photos and bios all over the shop. In the corner they had a treasure of basic Catholic books and other pamphlets, etc to evangelize and share the Catholic faith. Very cool.

We managed to cruise right on through the rest of September and October mainly just schooling. We made a brief stop at the end of the month to celebrate my 35th birthday. 

Somewhere in there our diocese finally received word that Rome had finally named a new bishop for us and he would be on his way.
Our bishop had retired last year and then with the change of Papacy we had to wait even longer for a new bishop to be named.
Bishop Donald Kettler's Installation as our Bishop would be held in early November with only limited seating available. Each parish received three tickets for members to attend the special Installation Mass. 
Thankfully, I've got connections, I work for our parish and it was during the week so a lot of people had to work.

Score three tickets and two very eager kids who thought the event would be awesome to attend. 
And here we are with the new Bishop:

Yeah, it was kind of a big deal and all. We had so much fun and made a great memory that day.

Of course, we celebrated some holidays in there as well.

Thanksgiving was at our house with my family. It was still relatively nice out and the ground still bare and brown without snow. Here's my big kids and my brother's boys, my nephews.
This is about the only time Lily is outnumbered by the male population, otherwise it's always the other way around and Jonah is outnumbered.

Christmas Eve was our tradition of just our family together and then Christmas day was spent with both of our extended families.
We went all out this year and took all four kids to Midnight Mass at our church. Last year I attended alone because we just didn't know how we'd venture out with everyone. This year we bit the bullet and grabbed everyone and went. It was beautiful and the kids all behaved really well. 

This photo was taken AFTER Mass, which meant it was well after 1am and the kids had only about 2 hours of sleep beforehand. Not bad, huh?

Another reason my time away was good/needed was the unexpected things God threw our way. 

Like the off and on colds/coughs that eventually took all of us captive at one time or another. This was a persistent strain that lasted and every time someone had it kicked, it returned. At one point all four kiddos were on meds and then right in there in early January both little girls got the tummy bug. They were troopers and we all survived. I'll just say though that it was the longest.month.of.my.life. And hardest as I've never had all of my kids sick at the same time and for any length.
Mix in that Old Man Winter had dealt us some nasty cold that didn't allow us to go outside for many a day during that time. Not our best days as a family, that much is for sure.

In the midst of much of my time away, something was still stirring and tugging at my heart. In early December I finally found what it was when one evening I received the dreaded phone call I'd know for months was coming.

My dad's voice on the other end told me that my grandpa, Papa, had passed away. My heart broke and months worth of knowing finally became the reality I feared. I cried and I grieved most differently than I ever thought I would. While Papa Eddie and I weren't ever real close in our relationship, or so I thought, I didn't know how much my heart would miss him. I didn't know how deep the loss would impact me. He was a good man who after 94 years is missed by so many. I wasn't ready to let him go, even though many of us knew it was near. He was a man beyond words to explain. I lived most of my life at home with grandpa just across the meadow in the white house I frequented with visits. It's funny how his passing has stirred within me more memories than my heart can hold. Many of his years were on the family farm that he struggled and toiled farming for so long. Many of my memories are of the simple things grandpa said or did that connected him to each of us grandchildren in a unique way. Many of those things have come back as a flood filling my own soul since his passing. 

I am still overwhelmed with love for the man who taught me much, led by so much determination, loved his Catholic faith and whose wit, wisdom and laughter were what he was most known by.

I still find myself some days caught off guard by the simple memories and the quiet moments when the sadness of loss grabs a hold of me. 

Somehow I am easily consoled by the prayer that he taught many of us from our very youngest days:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give thee my heart and my soul.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, grant that I may die in thy peace and company.

I sure hope they did, Papa. I pray that your prayers were answered.


  1. Sorry about your Papa! Parting is always hard even if you know it is coming. Thanks for filling us in on some of the details--we've missed hearing from you! :)

  2. So much going on, Sarah...
    First off, sorry about your sweet Papa...
    Saying goodbye...hardest thing to do. Ever. Keep those memories close and pull them out whenever you need.
    The coffee shop?! The most amazing thing I have ever heard of!
    And your little lady is 11? Wow.
    Happy belated to you as well, you young, young thing you.
    So...if we knew each other back in the day...When I was a senior in High school, you would have been in like 3rd grade?!?!?!
    Thanks for that. ; )
    Anyway...glad to catch up. Glad you are back. Hugs!

    1. Billie Jo, you are so funny! I had to laugh at your age difference comment. You know, it doesn't matter because when I grow up I wanna be just like YOU :) Thanks for being such an inspiring role model.

    2. Hey, there is a huge age difference between Sarah and myself too--(Billie, we are the same age--we are ol' ladies) but Sarah is so lovely she fits in just like us ol' ladies....enough to make me feel young like her!!

    3. I like you ol' ladies. You are the best! Glad I could make you feel young :)

    4. Wait... wait... Wait a sec! I'm SOOooo confused! Aren't we all the same age???? Sarah, you and I are the same age (I think. I can't remember. No no... I'm 36 now since October) Jamie Jo, I SWORE we were the same age. Billie Jo, if it makes you feel better, Shaun is 12 years older than me (my previous boyfriend was 13 years older) and I joke that when he was finishing highschool, I was in Kindergarten! HA!

    5. Oh my goodness, this is getting funny. Ok, so we are a year apart as I turned 35 in October. My hubby is 8.5 years older than myself and will be 44 in March. Those older men sure are gems ;)

  3. Sarah!!
    I am so sorry to hear of your dear Papa's death. I know that pain... you'll just keep loving him in your sweet heart. Remember, Love never ends.
    The new look here is adorable, and your new 'do is too. You look beautiful!
    OK, carrying Billy Jo's age difference comment a bit further, I'd had my drivers license one month before you were born.... Happy Belated Birthday you little punk!! ;-)
    Love and blessings!

  4. Again, so sorry about your grandfather's passing. I think of my own grandparents quite often even though I was much younger when they passed. Cherish each memory you have :)

    That coffee shop sounds and looks awesome. I have never heard of a set up like that! What a blessing to so many who work in the area.

    Glad your holidays went so well...but that January. Ugh. Those are the worst. I'm glad it is over for you and the rest of the winter is much healthier!

    Have I mentioned lately how happy I am to see your joy filled faces and words here on this part of the internet?? I am!

  5. Oh, I'm so sorry about your grandfather...wish I'd known today, I'd have given you a couple more hugs, but then, you'd have cried and I would have too and that would have been a mess.

    My Grandma died the end of September and it was a sad sad time. I so get it. Someone that has always been there, all of a sudden is not. I'm so sorry Sarah.

    It was so great seeing you today, your kids are so nice, just to reconfirm what I said the other day in my everyday life post about homeschooled kids...GOOD KIDS I tell you!! (I hope they had fun, not knowing anyone and all!) And those littles...Oh, my goodness, they are adorable. My Angela said, "I think there were twins here today, cute little girls..." I set her straight, and agreed with how cute they are. Sorry about the black eye. You didn't really want to do pics in this cold weather did you? She will still be 2 in a month.

    Love you

    That coffee shop sounds so cool, Tom would love it. Rochester, huh? Hmmmmm....

    1. As always, Jamie, you are so sweet. Thank you for your kind words. I would've loved the extra hugs, but yes, I just may have cried and then our photo together wouldn't have turned out so nice. I have found myself caught offguard many times recently when I just mentioned his passing to others and tears well up in my eyes. I'll take the cyber hugs and your kindness. Thanks Jamie.

      Indeed, wonderful to visit and meet new families with many common bonds. And to see you and the kiddos, it was so much fun! It really was. The kids all talked about the fun and the things they enjoyed while visiting. We'd gladly come again, if you invite us. And we'd love to have you over here as well and you can see my place IRL and compare it to online. lol.

      I had to chuckle at Angela. That's so cute. More and more I get asked if the girls are twins and it makes me laugh because in my eyes they couldn't be more different. Of course, I also know their personalities so that's a factor too.

      As for the black eye, you know I'm gonna post that right? I just have to do it. This AM it is a bit more under her eye and spread, but really it's not that bad. She has had one before too, so no worries. The photo session will wait. I didn't have any great ideas for it yet any way. ha.

      Much love to you, Jamie!

    2. I have serious "Holy Envy" that I missed this meeting of two of my favorite people!

  6. So very sorry for the loss of your grandpa. You have a beautiful family.


You're so kind for dropping me a line!

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