Friday, April 17, 2015

The Adventures of Paul the Mighty

This is the brief tale of Paul and his two companions - the wee Esther and the half-giant Osh. After rising early in the morning, Osh discovered that he and his companions would soon run out of food and some other provisions. It had been some time since they had journeyed into town to replenish their supplies. He spoke with Paul to see if he were up for an adventure as this would be quite a perilous and long journey on foot. Paul saw the need for the journey and agreed.

They immediately began making preparations for the journey. It was quickly realized that the wee Esther would not be able to walk herself, but through fortunate circumstance, Osh had a carrier that would work, but it needed repairs if anyone were to ride in it safely. With Paul's help, Osh was able to stitch the carrier into working order. After all necessary preparations were ready, including empty bags for carrying their goods, the friends set off on their adventure.

The first challenge they would face would be to climb the great Grey Mountain. They could have journeyed far to go around the Grey Mountain, but the trip would already be a long one, so it was the only good option. Beside time, going over the mountain allowed the companions to also cross the thundering river of metal with ease.
Paul had little difficulty climbing the Grey Mountain, though it was difficult at times to speak for the noise thundering from below on the Metal River. We stopped for a while to admire the metal flowing by down below us. It seemed as if the metal would wave to us as we looked one.

Going down the other side was even easier, and the base of the mountain opened to a meadow of bright green grass. This part of the journey was by far the easiest, though we were now even nearer to the layer of Metal Monsters! Osh kept reassuring the wee Esther and Paul the Mighty about how easy it is to avoid the metal monsters who smash people who get in their way, or to make sure they were not captured by one a taken off somewhere.

We passed through the dazzling Lights of Multicolor. There was not much harm in them, but try to pass at the wrong time and it could be your end.
It was not long after the Lights that we came to the layer of Metal Monsters! It was surrounded by a high fence. We began to pass by it quickly, until we came to a gap in the fence! Paul exclaimed "This is where they get out! They're going to get us!" We ran as fast as we could to reach the other side.

With that we made it at last to our destination K Roger's Food & Supply. Paul found rest in the cart they supplied us as we searched for our much needed provisions. The supply was easily found and we got what we needed. After loading everything up, we turned around and started for home.

Loaded down with our new supplies it seemed to take even longer, but the half-giant Osh handled the load well. Paul's excitement to be getting home could not be hidden once it came into view.
Coming even closer, Paul begin to run ahead.

Exhausted from his great adventure, Paul the Mighty collapsed on the floor of his home.
Both Paul and the we Esther relaxed while Osh, the half-giant put their new supplies away.

Friday, April 19, 2013

April 1st (Part 2)

I was clueless about the Catholic faith up until that year. I never went to any religious education classes until my dad decided that 1996 was the year, whatever the reason, I do not know, that he himself wanted to learn and grow in his faith. And so, I tagged along and attended some classes at the local church where he usually attended back then. I do not remember if I actually went into a religion class for my age or not, but I am inclined to think that I did not, as I knew less than a first grader about anything. Most of what I remember learning was discussions I had with my dad as we were in the church basement where they held their religious education classes. I remember learning about the seven sacraments and walking around the empty classrooms after Mass looking at the art projects one of the classes had done to represent each sacrament. I am guessing it was the first grade; I imagine that is when they typically teach children about the sacraments.

I learned and said the rosary for the first time with my dad in the evening before we went to bed. As I learned more, my excitement grew. I finally had a clue what was going on around me as Mass and what it meant to be a Catholic! And at some point in reading through a guide to the Mass, I discovered the answer to the one thing that most aggravated me each Sunday I was at Mass; I knew that you pray when you first sit down in the pew when you get to church. For years, I assumed that there was a specific prayer I was supposed to say because Dad always knelt and prayed for a few minutes when we found our pew. Aaron and Janelle (and everyone else in church for that matter) did as well. I loved the missalette that I could follow exactly. I could read every prayer the priest said, every response I was to give, lyrics to every hymn that I sang. It was all written out beautifully so that I could follow along, and I loved that. It infuriated me that to start things off at Mass I was given no direction. I was sure I was missing something important. After browsing through some booklet on the mass that I found in a religious education classroom, I found instructions for readying your mind for and asking for help that you make-the-most-of the Mass that you are about to participate in. I was shocked! There wasn't an exact prayer that was prescribed - I was free to use my own words! I knew about free-style prayers, after all the majority of my religious experience up until that point consisted of independent protestant communities that never said that same prayer twice except for the Our Father. I just did not have a clue that Catholics were allowed to make up their own prayers because every experience I had had was with prayers pre-written in a missalette or instructional pamphlet. I was amazed at the overlap in what I had previously perceived as two completely different experiences.

All the learning that occurred that year culminated in a truck ride to talk to the pastor of St. Denis Catholic Church. Dad told me that I was going to talk to the priest who would ask me some questions about what I had learned, and I shouldn't be shy, but make sure I told him the answers in a voice loud enough that he could hear because the priest was heard of hearing. We reviewed the questions and answers that the priest was going to ask me. I was supposed to know what a sacrament is and what each of them are. I was also supposed to know that when you receive communion, you chew it and swallow without being obnoxious. I don't remember anything else I was supposed to know or was asked.

When we arrived and went into the priest's home, the rectory (which I remember finding as a funny term, but dared not say so with the stakes so high), Dad chatted with the priest for a few minutes and then excused himself while I was put to the question. I had to repeat myself a few times because I didn't speak loudly enough (I still have that problem) and I must have remembered what I needed to remember because I was approved to receive the Eucharist.

That brings us to Palm Sunday and my first communion. I finally felt like I knew something and was like all the other Catholics in my dad's family, until the sight of my 7-year-old cousin in her white, bride-like dress who was also receiving her first communion reminded me that I was four-years behind the game.

After a reception in the church basement that afternoon, I went home with my dad to his house and waited anxiously for my mom to arrive. You see, it was my spring break from school and according to the custody agreement, I was supposed to spend that week with my dad. But I did not want to be there with him for a week by myself. I was sure he had to go to work – and what was he going to do with me? I was old enough to stay myself, but I was not interested in that at all. All day and possibly the evening by myself in the middle of nowhere with few if any usable cooking skills? Five days in a row? No, thanks. And what if he just took me with him to work, to random job sites where my challenge was to be close enough to him to feel comfortable, but not so close as to breathe in the fumes of glue or lacquer, or damage my hearing from a power tool, or overhear what was being said by dirty construction workers.

I told my mom before Dad picked me up that Friday night that I wanted her to bring me home on Sunday night just like my typical weekend with Dad. I wanted to enjoy my spring break: with my room, my books, my toys and games, my little sister to play with, and my mother to feed me three meals a day. That sounded like a much better spring break to me.

I knew that Dad wanted me to stay the week, he would be angry if I left on Sunday night. And he was angry. I think there was yelling and a few nasty words. But I left my dad’s house and went home. I was sorry to disappoint him, but I didn’t see any other way to avoid what I was sure would have been an utterly miserable week.

to be continued...

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1st

I can't even remember if I've posted at all about the car accident I was in as a child. It was such a big deal, but it is just history today.

But sometimes it is nice to reflect and share part of my past. Sharing helps create connections, and I feel the need for more connections in my life.

Seventeen years ago today, I was in a car accident that drastically changed my life. Not just my life, but the lives of my family in very significant ways.

I was eleven-years-old and it was the Monday of spring break. Aaron was in college, but at home that semester working at a local machine shop as a co-op student. Janelle was a freshman in college, living away in her dorm on campus, but only a 45 minute drive away and so she was back to visit now and then. Olivia was almost two and the cutest baby I ever did know. I was in 5th grade that year and it was a good year for the most part, despite both Aaron and Janelle being gone most of the time. Olivia could walk and was learning to talk and she was fun to play with as long as she was the boss and I was okay letting her be the boss of the activity. I remember being thrilled the one time when Mom was gone and she came to me for comfort - it made me feel so loved that she wanted me!

That year was no so great with going to my Dad's on the weekends without Aaron or Janelle to go with me. Up until that point in my life, I had spent little to no time with just me and my dad and I wasn't quite sure what to do. It wasn't my favorite, but it could have been worse.

The details of some events are a bit fuzzy after all this time. I've slept since then.

I do remember that I was with my dad for the weekend before the accident, Palm Sunday weekend, and that I made my first communion at St. Denis Church that Sunday. I remember that I had packed a jean skirt and pink shirt to wear to church that weekend and that I realized when we sat down in the pew at church just how much I had missed the boat when it came to my outfit. My cousin Katrina (who is four-years younger to the day) was wearing a modified version of her mother's wedding dress. Not only was I four years behind the eight-ball in receiving the Eucharist, I was dressed like a schlubb in comparison. But what could I do about it at that point? Nothing. I didn't even know little girls got so dressed up like that for their first communion. It blared at me everything that was wrong with my life that I could do nothing about. My parents were divorced, didn't get along, didn't belong to the same church and so I was always the kid who didn't fit in and needed additional explanation of who was there and what the situation was. Not that I wanted to be like everybody else all the time and in all ways, but I really wished I could have been what I envisioned as "normal" or "cool" at least some of the time. Up until that point, I had always felt lost at a Catholic Church, like I didn't fit in. I only ever went to mass with my dad and there were all these secret codes that I was clueless about that I would sit and wonder about in frustration every time I was at mass.

to be continued...

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Good Times

Sometimes are better than others. I always try to recognize when things are going well to help me appreciate and enjoy that time before it is gone.

This week Sean has really seemed to listen well. When he is in my office at work, he asks before runs off somewhere else in the suite to find a friend. When I ask him to do something like, "Hang your jacket up, please" he says "Yes, Mommy" and does what I ask him to do. I'm really trying to always say "please" when I ask him to do something. Manners! Good ones make being around other people so much more pleasant.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, we moved Paul's crib into Sean's room. That necessitated moving the dresser out of the room - so where to put the boys' clothes? Josh installed an adjustable rack system in the closet and we got plastic file bins for clothes that sit on the racks in the closet. In order for me to get to Paul's clothes, the closet and the room must be tidy and I have been very pleased about how well they have been keeping their room picked up.

I intentionally put some of the smaller and more difficult toys to pick up on higher shelves so that the boys do not get them out without parental approval first. The messes the boys make seem smaller and therefore easier to pick up before bedtime. 

Paul has become quite the little helper as far as picking up goes. For example, last night Sean brought a gallon tub of popcorn over to the couch. In his haste, he spilled almost half the bucket; Sean and Paul very carefully picked up all the spilled popcorn, and right away!

Paul struggled for a while with sleeping in the crib in the new room initially because we set it up as a toddler bed where he could get in and out on his own. He kept getting out of bed instead of going to sleep, even after time and time again of putting him back in bed. We tried it for over a week, hoping he would learn, but eventually, I decided that he was simply too young to handle a toddler bed and Josh put the fourth side of the crib back up. The first night it was all together Paul kept walking around the crib looking for the open side (chuckle). Since then, Paul has done very well sleeping in the crib. 

Paul babbles a lot, saying what could be words if you really try to use all the context clues and use a very liberal interpretation of word pronunciation. Paul makes the "B" sound for book and ball, which are two of his favorite things. He says "no" and "no-no-no" because, unfortunately, he hears that said to him quite often.

I want to share our Advent activities, but I haven't taken any pictures yet, so that will be another post. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-Election Reflection

Today I read a quote posted on fb by a friend:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years."

-Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835.

I was reminded of In Defense of Elitisma book I read in a political science class in college. 

And then I am reminded of the ever-annoying, but ever-quotable movie Idiocracy

"Welcome to Costco. I love you."

My take:
I vote for people with the principles and values that I think are correct. Principles and values are the underlying guidelines for making any decision. I want candidates who look at the big picture.

I am continually amazed at how narrowly and selfishly focused many people are when voting for candidates. I am frustrated by the folks who look at how their job will be affected, but ignore the ramifications of what that will mean for our country and its future. 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore.

Monday, October 8, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} 10/4/12

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

This week I'm joining in on {pretty, happy, funny, real} hosted over at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

So here goes!


I moved to a new office a couple weeks ago. I think I've gotten used to being in my new space, but then everyone moved around me and it still shakes things up again. I haven't decorated the new office yet; I have more option on the walls of this office and I haven't decided my theme yet. I'll get there eventually.

I knew that I needed to make at least some pretty area to help me learn to feel at home and at peace in my new digs, so I pulled out my fall decorations and pictures of my boys.


There are several things that add to happiness this week!

First, Paul eating bacon. He is just like his brother and father. It's their favorite thing to eat.
I had my hair cut yesterday. I had her trim it to keep in in good shape, but she left most of the length. I'm enjoying the up-do's I can wear with my hair this length. Here is a phone pic of my hair today, which was SUPER easy to take and upload thanks to my new iPhone and Dropbox! I'm really loving the phone, and I'd include a picture of it and the new cover if it could take a picture of itself. 


Sean has been attending preschool that is conveniently located down the hall and around the corner from my office. He has been having a great time playing and making new friends. We went out side today and enjoyed the beautiful weather at lunch. Here is Sean and his friend Charlie being silly. They were quite the pair to watch as I enjoyed my apple with peanut butter.


Remember when I said I moved to a new office? Remember how I said I made a pretty place in my office? Well, I made a pretty place cause I still have stuff that needs to find a home. Stashed under my desk are bags of snacks/tea/notes/other-random-stuff-I-didn't-know-what-to-do-with and my jacket (because I need to bring in a hanger so that I can reach the hook behind my door).

That's all, folks! Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Silly Long Songs

I've been a fan of Betty Beguiles, a snazzy little style blog, for quite some time. She sweetly offered to host a little link up of love songs. So here are some of my favorite love songs.

Your Song - Moulin Rouge version
Josh and I memorized the words and danced to it at our wedding. It is rather a personal joke between us; I have blue eyes that sometimes look green when I wear green, and I gave Josh all kinds of grief the first year we were dating when he couldn't remember what color my eyes are. 

I first watched Moulin Rouge just before I met Josh and we started dating. That film and the musical score always reminds of Josh. So many of the songs from Moulin Rouge make my favorite love song list.

Danny's Song - Kenny Loggins
My dad was a big Kenny Loggins fan, so I grew up listening to him. This became my theme song when I was pregnant with Sean; Josh was still in school, he worked part-time, and my pregnant self was searching for a job. There was a lot of "we ain't got money, but I'm still in love with you honey" for a while

Your Man - Josh Turner
A favorite as newlyweds

Everything - Michael Buble
I remember listening to this song as we drove to our honeymoon destination.

Bubbly - Colbie Caillat
This song always reminds me of the warm fuzzy feeling of being in love. :)

I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
A recent favorite. I love the message, that we are worth the work it takes to work out the kinks and tough times to make a marriage last.

Check out other favorite love songs at Betty Beguiles.