Fonticulus Fides

Friday, April 30, 2004

Regarding my prayer request last week...

I still don't have a clear path before me. Every time I think I've got things figured out, another curve ball comes my way. So please, if you've been praying for me, keep it up. I want to do what God wants me to do. Just not sure about the details.


Another reminder about Terri Schiavo:

Wesley J. Smith of the Daily Standard is on a tear about the latest developments in Terri's situation. Or lack of developments, however you want to look at it. Take a look, please.

UPDATE: Middle Child Mischeif

Apparently, I never should have written Wednesday's piece, because Edyn's been on a rampage ever since. It's not like I read it to her or anything. How did she know that I thought I'd made some progress with her?


Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Mommy & the middle child…

When I found out I was expecting Laurel, my first concern was for Edyn. She was only 11 months old – still a baby herself. And Laurel was destined to come during that 18-month stage when kids often become needy again for a season. I didn’t know how I was going to give Edyn the mothering she needed during that tender stage while I had a new baby to care for, too.

Zooey was almost 3 when Edyn was born, and that was pretty much a piece of cake. He’d figured out that boys and girls were different and had been aligning himself more and more with my husband. Edyn arrived in all her girlish splendor and Zooey was comfortable with the "girls" being over there doing the feeding & diapering and what not, and the "boys" heading out to mow the lawn or something. He was feeling like he needed me less, and Edyn’s arrival gave me enough to do that he didn’t feel bad about separating from me a little more.

But Edyn…oh, gosh, I remember crying about what this was going to do to Edyn. If I was busy with the baby and Dad was doing something with Zooey that was beyond a toddler’s ability, where would Edyn go? How could I make it safe for her to exert her independence when she would be routinely stuck being independent, whether she liked it or not? How could I keep building an attachment to Edyn when taking care of a baby consumed so much of my time and energy?

I knew what to expect. After all, I was a middle kid, too.

I kept praying that Laurel would be overdue. I wanted as much time with Edyn as possible. But Laurel came early instead. I braced myself for anger, withdrawal, regression, all that stuff you read about in books.

In the beginning, Edyn delighted us with her joy in the new baby. She seemed to want to gaze on this little miracle for hours at a time. I even worried about how many kisses Edyn insisted on bestowing on her sister. And something about Laurel made Edyn realize how big of a girl she was. Once virtually mute, she suddenly started using all kinds of new words. Once content to be carried, she wanted to walk. Once happy to watch, she showed interest in doing everything Zooey did, including brushing teeth, carrying dishes to the sink, reading books and putting toys away.

It was nice while it lasted.

Oh, I was never foolish enough to think that this was the All-New Independent Edyn forever and ever. I knew she’d hit the wall sooner or later and want to be the baby again. And it didn’t take long. Her first three-word sentence, spoken at 20 months of age, was, "Put Laurel down." More than once, I’ve had both girls in my arms sobbing their little hearts out while I tried to figure out which one would be less pained by waiting for me to take care of her sister first.

I’ve said a whole lot of extra prayers to get through this time. I am not kidding when I say I’ve found myself stopping Edyn from: picking Laurel up (by the ears, same way she slings her Cabbage Patch® dolls around) AND attempting to feed Laurel some banana AND throwing a toy at Laurel’s head, while retrieving Laurel’s socks in the trash can where Edyn put them AND rescuing the dog from Edyn’s "affections" AND comforting Zooey because Edyn just tore his latest masterpiece in half – all in the space of five minutes. She’s a little dynamo, zipping from one form of mischief to another at the speed of light.

That’s what parenting a toddler is like. Zooey did a lot of that stuff, too. Only he didn’t have an older sibling to offend and a younger sibling in harm’s way. That’s what complicates it for me.

When Zooey colored on the walls, I had the time to explain that crayons were supposed to be used only on paper. I had the time to show him how to help me remove the scribbles, time to help him practice apologizing. I had time to watch him carefully over the next few weeks and keep reinforcing the lesson over and over whenever he reached for the crayon box.

Edyn colored on the walls and got the explanation, but not the follow-through. The baby needed something, or dinner was almost ready, or any number of other things got in the way of me taking her all the way through the lesson. Consequently, she’s colored on the walls several times more, whenever she manages to get her hands on any sort of writing instrument. (She’s got one spot in the dining room that my husband calls her Magnus Opus.) I’ve been working at preventing the graffiti by hiding all the pens, pencils, highlighters, markers and crayons, but every once in a while, she finds one and heads to her spot for a nice, expressive scribble.

After a particularly difficult week or so with Edyn, I realized yesterday that I had forgotten how we got Zooey through this stage: we kept him busy. Of course, I had the luxury of keeping him busy with kid stuff, like puzzles and coloring books shared with Mommy the Supervisor. Rare is the time I can do that sort of thing with Edyn. My list of responsibilities is long. But it’s silly to expect a child not yet two years old to entertain herself appropriately.

Last evening while my husband was home to keep an eye on the other two children, I tried a little experiment. When I started a household task, I took Edyn’s hand and brought her along with me. She helped me sort laundry. She "helped" carry it down the stairs. (She tugged the basket a couple inches, then let me pick it up and followed me down saying "Care-fill, Mom. Care-fill.") In the basement, she studied the various stacks of boxes and storage containers while I threw the laundry in the washer. Then she took my hand an accompanied me upstairs. I handed her the kids’ broom as I grabbed the real one and she swept alongside me as I did the stairs and hall.

Okay, so she stirred up more much dust and dog hair than I would have liked. It only took an extra minute or two to remedy that.

But we were a team, Edyn and I, working together for the family. She was happy as a lark, singing along while she "worked." She wasn’t getting in Zooey’s way or handling Laurel too roughly. And she wasn’t coloring on the walls.

After a few chores, it was bath time with Daddy. As I finished feeding the baby, Edyn came toddling down in her jammies, smelling sweet and thoroughly relaxed. I propped Laurel on my lap in a seated position, so the girls were eye to eye, and Laurel broke out in a big grin when she saw her big sister. "She likes you," I told Edyn. "See how she smiles at you?"

Edyn beamed up at me, then back to the baby. "Hi, Baby," she said, patting her gently on the head. Gently! Without a reminder from me! My husband dished up bedtime snacks for the two older kids, but Edyn just raced over for a bite, then ran back to share smiles with Laurel again.

She has such a cute way of saying her sister’s name – like Astro the dog on The Jetsons. "Hi, Roar-rell!" she exclaimed over an over again. It was the happiest and most peaceful night we’ve had in weeks.

If we can just keep Edyn busy – and keep praying – I think we’re going to be okay.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

What goes around comes around...

Usually, politicians just end up costing me money. Just recently, though, my husband was hired to write the music for a local politician's campaign commercials. He's a pro-life guy -- Catholic, actually, with four young daughters so far -- so my husband agreed.

Odd to have a politician hand you money instead of ask for it. But we needed it -- it went to pay a few bills with some left over to buy new sneakers for Zooey.

It was relatively painless. The candidate loves Steve Miller Band, and my husband easily nailed a sound-alike music bed. You can watch the commercial here if you have a mind to. And remember us fondly if you ever need commercial music (ha!).


Monday, April 26, 2004

Local soccer star killed...

Again, I beg you to pray. A 21-year-old soccer player was killed Saturday night as she and her teammates celebrated a great season. Jenna was a casual acquaintence of my husband's cousin, who reports a major crisis of faith among all of Jenna's friends. They can't make sense of the situation.

Can you ever, when evil wrecks havok in such a way?


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Seriously, please consider this!

I know it seems downright impossible to avoid Chinese-made goods -- I have trouble, too. Anne Wilson posts some suggestions. My thanks to Alicia from Fructus Ventris for the link.

Another option for people as budget conscious as I am is to buy used clothing from consignment shops and thrift stores, where your money stays in your community. I prefer thrift stores myself, because I know what charities are benefitting from my hard-earned dollars -- in my little town, two are operated by Catholic Social Services, another one by our neighboring parish, and another by the City Mission. The prices are better than consignment shopts, too.


Friday, April 23, 2004

Please pray for me... I am struggling with how to resolve a particular issue and I am having trouble seeing a clear path. I know God wants me to do something, I just am not sure exactly what it is or how to make it happen. And I'm not brave enough to take a leap of faith on an issue that affects my husband and kids, too, not just me.



The best of times...

Our good friends Shane and Maranda are celebrating the safe arrival of their first child. Daughter Emzie was born last Saturday, weighing in at 8 lbs., 14 oz. That's a big first baby, but both her parents are tall, so I think Emzie is destined to be quite statuesque (and beautiful of course). Congratulations to all three of them!

...and the worst of times...

Craig, the father of two of my former students, was killed in a worksite accident on Wednesday. He was only 51. Craig was -- well, is -- the kind of man that I would describe as "valiant." He was a really great guy, and enthusiastic outdoorsman and leader for the Royal Rangers (sort of a pentacostal version of Boy Scouts), loving husband, attentive father, sincere Christian. A hard loss for his family. Daughter Allison is engaged to be married, and I know she will feel a huge void as she walks down the aisle without her father to give her away. Pray for all of them, please.


Thursday, April 22, 2004

Quitcherbeefin', Sparki!

Thanks to the Two Sleepy Mommies, I found this great kick-in-the-pants read from St. Blog's own Steven Riddle about pursuing the contemplative life whilst taking care of one's "menial" obligations. Hmmm...that's a recurrent theme these days. Think God is trying to tell me something?


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Child hit by car on our street

Yesterday, a four-year-old girl was hit by a car on our street. She was in critical condition last night, but I don't know if her situation has been upgraded yet today.

When we bought this house, while I was still pregnant with Zooey, I surveyed the street situation very carefully. My first thought was it's a block away from a school, which means we're in a permanent 25 mph zone. My second thought was that people will drive slower because it's one of the older residential neighborhoods in town, so the street is literally only three car-widths wide. With parked cars on both sides of the street, only one vehicle can pass at a time here and there up the block, so you know that slows them down.

Wrong. The car that hit the girl was apparently going around 40 when the driver stepped on the brakes. Unable to avoid hitting the child, though, who was riding a scooter.

And part of it is her mother's fault. They must be new to the neighborhood, because I don't remember ever seeing them, but my husband saw them on Sunday and said the little girl was constantly riding her scooter down driveways and out into the street and all her mother did was complain in a tired voice, "Get back here, now." Never really enforcing it.

Plus the child wasn't wearing a helmet and landed on her head.

I don't know...maybe I'm just an overprotective mother, but I always make my kids wear helmets on trikes, scooters or rollerskates outside. I want to protect those little brains of theirs. And if they were to start rolling into the street for fun, I'd nab them and scooter-time would be over for the day.

Siiiigh. I can't help feeling like sometimes it's the parents who need most of the parenting.

Well, anyway. I told Zooey about it this morning on the way to preschool, reminding him again that he had to cross the street with a grown-up and look out for cars very carefully because people drive too fast on our street. He wanted to visit the little girl in the hospital, but settled for making her a card this afternoon. I hope I can find a news story so I can learn at least which hospital she was taken to, if not her name.

In the meantime, please pray for her recovery. And while your at it, a prayer for her parents and the driver of the car would be nice.

I'm going to have to call the non-emergency line of our police station and ask them what can be done about the speeders, though. With Laurel in tow, I move too slowly and sometimes Edyn dashes away from me before I can catch her hand. She's never stepped into the street, but it's only a matter of time before that occurs to her. She's too big for me to carry her and Laurel at the same time and too little to understand the danger. But I can't keep her in the house 24/7 either.


Monday, April 19, 2004

A Year Already?!?!?

I can hardly believe we've been Catholic for a whole year. Mostly because I still have so long to go. Looking back, I've learned a lot and adopted a few better habits. But a year ago, I described entering the Church like entering a mansion with many rooms to explore. And right now I feel like I've only managed to get 6 inches from the threshhold. May God be merciful and grant me many more days to pursue true devotion to Him!

To that ends, I treated myself to a new book, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. If you've never read it, put it on your list. Because this book rocks!

I need it so much...Divine Mercy Sunday passed without me doing everything I had planned to do, including the novena and confession prior to Mass on Sunday. I was routinely thwarted by my parents' visit. But I think God understands that, you know, I had to feed them and what not while they were here. And they're not Catholic, so they aren't terribly understanding of Catholic practices.

I sure was glad it was Divine Mercy Sunday, though, because I needed the reminder to be merciful to my parents. It is terribly hard to reach any sort of middle ground with people who are so completely opposite of yourself in their morals and understanding of the world. I don't need to go into details -- I'm sure anybody reading this knows what it is like to try to function with another person whose attitudes and opinions are 180 degrees off from your own. It wasn't easy for my folks, either. They were undeniably happy to head back home. I'm sorry to say I am equally relieved, but that's how it is right now. Maybe with God's help, our relationship will improve in the future and at least be closer to what God intends a family to be. For now, though, it is what it is.


It's over...

My parents are on their way home. It was a rather draining visit in more ways than one. But it was actually one of the better ones.

In the meantime, I missed my first blogging anniversary, which was Saturday. And today marks one year since my husband and I became Catholic. I hope to be back later with more thoughts on that, but I have some catching up to do at the moment.


Thursday, April 15, 2004

Back on Monday or so...

My parents are arriving from Chicago any minute now to meet the new baby. So, no words from me for the next few days. Not that I ever have that much to say...


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Great Thoughts from St. Francis de Sales

I really needed to read this today. I offer it here in the hopes that somebody else will be likewise inspired.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Undertake all of your duties with a calm mind and try to do them one at a time. If you try to do them all at once, or without order, your spirits will be so overcharged and depressed that they will likely sink under the burden and nothing will be done.

"In all of your affairs, rely on the Providence of God through which alone you much look for success. Strive quietly to cooperate with its designs. If you have a sure trust in God, the success that comes to you will always be that which is most useful to you, whether it appears good or bad in your private judgment.

"Think of the little children who with one hand hold fast to their father while with the other they gather berries. If you handle the goods of this world with one hand, you must also always hold fast with the other to your heavenly Father's hand, and turn toward Him from time to time to see if you are pleasing Him. Above all, be sure that you never leave His hand and His protection, thinking that with your own two hands you can gather more or get some other advantage. "

* * * * * * * * * *

Also, this prayer written by St. Francis de Sales is the prayer of my heart today:

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord, I am yours,
and I must belong to no one but you.
My soul is yours,
and must live only by you.
My will is yours,
and must love only for you.
I must love you as my first cause,
since I am from you.
I must love you as my end and rest,
since I am for you.
I must love you more than my own being,
since my being subsists by you.
I must love you more than myself,
since I am all yours and all in you.


Destroying the Girl

Here is a sad article about an Australian girl who has a gender identity problem. The courts are allowing her to have sex-change surgery and hormonal treatments, even though she is physically female in every sense of the word (not one of those troubling hermaphrodite cases). This poor kid's trouble started from birth, when her own father insisted on raising her as a boy.

Way to mess up a child, folks. Siiiigh...


Monday, April 12, 2004

May God bless her...

Sarah's funeral is today. Here is her obituary.

A good friend of mine took Sarah on a mission trip to Sri Lanka a couple years ago. I've been trying to get a hold of her to let her know about Sarah's death, but no luck. Of course, I don't know if she's in the U.S. or Sri Lanka for the moment. She usually returns to the U.S. sometime around Easter, so I've been trying in both places.

I'm praying especially for Sarah's parents today.


Christ is Risen!

He is risen, indeed.

Easter blessings to all of you. Feast this week and celebrate the goodness of our dear Lord!

Crazy weekend. Back with more later.


Thursday, April 08, 2004

What were they thinking?

Take a minute to read about this Easter play gone awry.

I don't care what brand of Christianity you ascribe to, when there are kids in the audience, having anybody whipped on stage (even if that person was wearing an Easter Bunny costume) is not a good idea. And I fail to see how the characters of a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman are appropriate, either.

Those parents would have been better off taking their kids to see The Passion of the Christ. And if I were on the church board, I'd be seriously thinking about reassigning that nutcase of a youth minister to a role where she was safely removed from my kids.


Maundy Thursday

From Catholic Culture:

* * * * * * * * * *

"Holy Thursday is also known as "Maundy Thursday." The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos. "I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)

These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after he completed the washing of the feet. We should imitate Christ's humility in the washing of the feet.

* * * * * * * * * *

Read the rest of today's mediation for more great insight.

Catholic Culture also has special mealtime prayers to be used today.

Blessings to you and yours...


Tragic Death

Please be so kind as to pray for the Lee family who lost their daughter Sarah in a car accident yesterday. Sarah, who was 19, was one of my students years ago, and I was in a "small group" fellowship with her parents at the church I used to attend. I have no details on the accident other than it occurred in Omaha and Sarah was killed on impact.

Update: Here is the news article about the collision. The other driver is in crictical condition, so please pray for him, too.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Spy Wednesday

Today's meditation from Catholic Culture.

And the Psalm of the day:

Psalm 21:23-32

I will proclaim your name to my brethren:
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you;
"You who fear the Lord, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not spurned nor disdained
the wretched man in his misery
Nor did he turn his face away from him,
but when he cried out to him, he heard him."
So by your gift will I utter praise in the vast assembly;
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the Lord shall praise him:
"May your hearts be ever merry!"
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the Lord;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
For dominion is the Lord's
and he rules the nations.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
Before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the Lord
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.

Zooey, being a typical 4-yr-old boy, think the name "Spy Wednesday" is a completely awesome title for the day. Now how do I convince him that it's in reference to the betrayal of Christ, which is a bad thing?


Encouraging Words

...from Karen Marie Knapp. If you haven't already, please pop over to read her post for today.

I wonder what is going on?!?!

Last night, I learned that the Assemblies of God pastor whose church I attended as a brand-new Christian 15 years ago had some sort of nervous breakdown last August. He has only preached sporadically since then and only rarely joins the congregation for worship. Officially, he's on a year's paid leave as he recouperates from "pastoral burn-out."

This morning, I learned that the Anglican church we attended after leaving the Assemblies has folded and the few congregants left have scattered to a couple different Episcopal churches in the area. Last time I spoke with Fr. R of that church, he was this close to converting to Catholicism. I know his wife has always been resistant to the idea, however, so I guess the Episcopal communion is the place for them to be right now.

Regarding the first pastor, I don't know what caused his troubles. But I suspect he has had a crisis of faith. I suspect it because I saw it coming when we left that church 8 years ago. When we left, things were really out of hand with a particular "spiritual movement" that the pastor and his staff insisted was good but my husband and I feared was profoundly evil.

On Mother's Day last year, a woman who belonged to this same denomination and whose church was experimenting with the same "spiritual movement" stoned her two older sons to death and left her baby son maimed because she thought that "God said to." (You can read the story here, but it's brutal, so please don't click through if you don't want the details.) That event may have cause this pastor to see things in a different light, and caused him to question everything he thought he knew about God, the Holy Spirit and his own faith. His breakdown occurred shortly afterwards.

It's a painful experience. We went through it, too. Once we were able to see what was happening in that church, we tried to stop it. And when we couldn't stop it, we had to leave. But as we left, we suddenly realized that we couldn't trust our instincts the way we had been taught to trust them. We questioned everything and found no means of answering those questions. Until we discovered the Liturgy.

The Liturgy didn't answer all our questions, but it gave us a solid foundation on which to stand. We held onto it for dear life and learned to trust again. It took a great deal of time to heal before we could start to grow. Indeed, there are times I feel like I'm back at square one all over again. When that happens, though, I focus on the Liturgy and the Eucharist and use them to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Eventually, I feel like a tree freshly pruned and watered and fertilized and ready to grow again.

I am praying for this former pastor of mine. I don't know exactly what he's going through, but I do know that Christ will answer our cries for mercy, comfort and understanding on his behalf.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Tuesday of Holy Week

Today's meditation from Catholic Culture.

And the Psalm of the day from that same site:

Psalm 21:13-22

Many bullocks surround me;
the strong bulls of Basan encircle me.
They open their mouths against me
like ravening and roaring lions.
I am like water poured out;
all my bones are racked.
My heart has become like wax
melting away within my bosom.
My throat is dried up like baked clay,
my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
to the dust of death you have brought me down.
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
They look on and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O Lord, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
Rescue my soul from the sword,
my loneliness from the grip of the dog.
Save me from the lion's mouth;
from the horns of the wild bulls, my wretched life.


Prayers of Thanksgiving...

Remember the couple I mentioned who are in need of prayer? Well, the wife is on her way back home and is determined to make things right in their marriage. Thank God. They still have a long road ahead of them, of course, but at least they will take the journey together.

I hope you'll keep praying for the Sacrament of Marriage though. Such troubled times we live in!

By way of an update on my brother-in-law, he has found a job here in town. So his job, his new apartment, and Maddie's daycare are all very close to each other. He may even get to see Maddie every day, simply by stopping in to daycare during his lunch hour. The new job pays better and doesn't have the hour-long commute. He also found an affordable vehicle to replace the van that was totalled in the accident last February.

For a guy going through an awful divorce, this is all pretty good news.


Monday, April 05, 2004

Monday of Holy Week

Good reading and meditation for today from Catholic Culture.

Also from Catholic Culture, the following Psalm is recommended for the day:

For Monday of Holy Week
Psalm 21:1-12

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,
far from my prayer, from the words of my cry?
O my God, I cry out by day, and you answer not;
by night, and there is no relief for me.
Yet you are enthroned in the holy place,
O glory of Israel!
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and they escaped;
in you they trusted, and they were not put to shame.
But I am a worm, not a man;
the scorn of men, despised by the people.
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips,
they wag their heads:
"He relied on the Lord; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him."
You have been my guide since I was first formed,
my security at my mother's breast.
To you I was committed at birth,
from my mother's womb you are my God.
Be not far from me, for I am in distress;
be near, for I have no one to help me.


Friday, April 02, 2004

Palm Sunday...

I'm sure I won't have time to blog between now and Palm Sunday, so I am providing a link to instructions for making Palm Crosses out of the blessed palm fronds we'll receive on Sunday. Here's another site with instructions for how to make a Palm Rose,which looks pretty awesome, too. And finally one more site gives instructions for various crosses, doves, fish and other configurations.

Blessings to you and yours and we enter our final week of Lent.


Heavy hearts...

My husband and I are troubled to hear that another couple we know is facing serious marriage problems and might not make it.

My husband said, with all the couples he is hearing about who are in crisis, he'd like to punch somebody. Of course, there's nobody to punch. At least, nobody who is punchable. And so prayer must become the only means of defense.

We both have this sense that it's not marriages that are in trouble so much as Marriage, the Sacrament.

We've been married almost ten years, and we've only been Catholic since last Easter. When we got married, we didn't think of marriage as a Sacrament, really. Or maybe we did. Somehow, we had all these ideas about marriage that are exactly what the Church says marriage is supposed to be. Maybe we were just lucky, I guess. I would have thought my brother-in-law and his wife had the same ideas, but that hasn't turned out to be true. Same for this other couple.

My husband and I have faced a lot of trials these past ten years. Money trouble, family trouble, infertility, depression, job stress, lack-of-job stress, his turbulant reunion with his birth mother, spiritual doubt, two unexpected pregnancies (the last two), and so forth. At one point, we vehemently disagreed on where we should be spiritually -- I wanted to become Eastern Orthodox and he wanted to become Anglican. And that's on top of all the little disagreements we've had about how the bed should be made or where the toothbrushes should be stored.

So why are we still together?

The Grace of God, I think. And a goodly portion of forgiveness.

Dare I confess it? Once, before the children were born, we were having a heated argument in the car. My husband decided the discussion was over, whipped into the parking spot behind our duplex, then jumped out of the car and kicked over a trash can. I yelled at him to pick it up but he ignored me, storming into the house. And I -- I can't believe I actually did this -- I lugged that can of trash into the house and dumped it all over him while he sat on the sofa.

He gave me a look filled with such venom, I have never forgotten it. Then he walked out of the house. And I have to tell you, I was pretty sure he was never coming back. Who would come back to a wife that had thrown garbage all over him?

I was sorry -- very, very sorry -- but I didn't know if I would ever get a chance to say so. He did come home, only a few hours later. He said he was only coming back to make plans, collect his things and leave, but he didn't leave. Somehow, he found the grace to forgive me and to keep working at this marriage of ours.

We're two stubborn, strong-willed, opinionated people. On paper, I'm sure the odds would have been far against our contiuing success. But I'm still madly in love with the guy. I thank God for him every day. I would lay down my life for him, and I know he would do the same for me. We're more "together" now than we've ever been before, and I imagine that we'll continue to grow more together as long as we live.

At least, that's what we're working for.

Pray for the hurting couples you know today. Pray for the Sacrament of Marriage. Please.


Thursday, April 01, 2004

April Fool's Day

Zooey has discovered the joys of this silly holiday. All morning, it has been, "Mom, there's a spider on your head!" When I oblige with a faux-frantic, "Get it off me!" He grins and says, "April Fool!"

He and Edyn are playing at a friend's house this afternoon, and we're bringing the treats. I was tempted to make this foolish recipe. Years ago, when I was working at an insurance company, our department secretary brought one of these in, and boy is it realistic! But I didn't have time to pull off such a feat. Instead, we made Dirt Pudding -- totally unhealthy, but for little kids who haven't given up sweets for Lent, it sure is a lot of fun. Dirt Pudding is simply a parfait made of crushed chocolate cookies and chocolate pudding, with a gummy worm poking out for a little extra "ewwwww!" factor.

Zooey can't wait to hand a "cup of dirt" to his buddy Jacob!