Life in General

A Remarkable Story

Twelve years ago I met the man I am blessed to call my husband. He wasn’t a prince by any means. He came from a working class family who attended Mass multiple times a week. They have a deeply rooted faith in God that extends to every facet of their life. He was taught to work hard and earn an honest living which is evident in everything he does. He worked hard, but he also played hard. His interests were wide and his responsibilities low. He had no wife — obviously. He had no children. He had no debt. He worked for his money and he saved it. At that point in his life, he was able to pay cash for most purchases. His work required him to travel so he didn’t put down roots of his own. When he was home (the town where he was born and raised) from a job, he stayed with his folks. When he wasn’t home, he was working. As I said, no prince by Webster’s Dictionary definition, but he WAS, IS and always WILL BE my prince. We fell crazy mad in love and have been together every since. We had to work at it. A LOT! But here we are, 12 years later and still going strong, through outside issues, children, etc….you know, just life.

But, the focus here is not he and I per se, but what we created. I brought three children into the relationship with me and we proceeded to have five more, as most of my readers know. So, there it be….what we created: our first creation turned out to be twins. Boys! When we found out I was pregnant that first time, he told me a story. Without including all the detail, the story basically consists of his prayer to God that he not have kids until he was 25.

So, here we are, 12 years later and quickly approaching the birthday of our first creation: our twins. What a blessing that pregnancy turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong, all my pregnancies have been a blessing. How could they not? Almost every one ended with a beautiful, tiny little human being placed in my arms. We did have a miscarriage at one point, but that little blessing who didn’t make it into my arms was surely welcomed into his/her forever home: heaven. Anyway, the pregnancy with the twins turned out to be a blessing for multiple reasons:

  • They were twins! It was scary, but exhilarating. We were super excited!
  • They were their dad’s birthday present as the three of them share a birthday, and….drum roll please….
  • They were born on his 25th birthday!

Now, someone please tell me that God doesn’t answer our prayers!

We have created many stories in our years together, but that story has to be my all-time favorite!

I love my wonderful husband to the moon and back.

And I love the family that we have created as he has loved the three whom I brought into the relationship with me without skipping a beat. We are truly gracious for the wonderful man that my husband is. Servant to God. Wonderful man. Amazing husband. Fantastic father.

Happy birthday to the man I love, the man who taught me the true meaning of lifetime love. I wouldn’t want to share this life with anyone else. Every day I wake up to a prayer that gets answered over and over with each rising sun. For that, my heart leaps with joy.

Happy birthday to our twin boys who added more of everything into our lives. Twin A and Twin B, yes you are twins –identical even — but don’t think for one second that one is less valued because both of you are unique, created exactly as God planned. We are grateful for each of you.

And I am one lucky lady……9 times over ❤

Life in General

Toilet Paper!

Have you ever taken part in the great toilet paper debate?

What?

You haven’t heard of the toilet paper debate?

Goodness, that is hard to believe!

Just kidding 🙂

So, as everyone knows, there’s two ways to put a roll of toilet paper on the bar thingy. Yeah, thingy, very technical term 😉

You either put it on with the sheet on the outside of the roll easy to grab or you put in on the ‘thingy’ with the next sheet on the underside of the roll maybe also easy to grab, but looks ridiculous!

Just give it second and you can picture with all my technical bathroom jargon.

Okay, it’s easier to see in my head than to say with my words, but I’m sure you get it.

So, anyway……Toilet Paper. The talk of the day.

I’m definitely the ‘next sheet on the upper outside’ of the roll kind of girl. In my bathroom, I’m normally the one who changes the roll because…umm, well I’m the female in the house and use it more often plus I help my two young daughters after they’ve used the potty. You know, all that fun, interesting stuff that moms devote their lives too. No worries though because I’ve taught my boys (including my husband) how to properly restock the toilet paper holder. The roll pretty much stays the way it’s supposed to be because who in the world puts the roll on the ‘thingy’ with the next sheet on the underside of the roll?

Seriously, they should have bathroom etiquette in school!

As I said, it’s usually restocked correctly. Okay, I realize restock is probably not the best word for the explanation of putting the roll on the ‘thingy’, but hopefully everyone gets the gist of it.

Anywhoo…it’s correct in my bathroom…..

Until….

I get company!

For some reason, it always gets put on wrong when a visitor ‘restocks’ the toilet paper ‘thingy’….you know, that technical term.

I guess you could say it’s one of my pet peeves.

Isn’t that sad?!?

If you remember, I told you about a job that I had for a few months but no longer have. Totally my choice, but speaking of toilet paper, I can’t help but remember going into the ladies room to find that not only was the toilet paper roll ‘restocked’ correctly: next sheet on the upper outside, but the the two corners of the next sheet were always folded down very neatly into a V. It kind of reminded of those fancy hotels that leave chocolates on your pillows because you know they always fold the two corners of the toilet paper sheet into that V. Otherwise, how could they possibly consider themselves one of those fancy-smancy (yes, another technical term) hotel that we all love?

I understand the benefit of that V fold! Finally!

Here goes…..and please pay attention because it is the single most important piece of information you will ever receive:

Folding those corners into a V makes it SOOOO much easier to grab that next sheet.

Why? you say.

Why is it easier?

Because, sometimes, when that in-the-middle-of-the-night so-pregnant-bathroom-trip arises and you are so completely exhausted that you don’t even turn on the light, that folded little corner is evidence of where the toilet paper starts because in your exhausted state, no-light-on bathroom trip, you can’t otherwise feel where the next sheet stars as it is stuck to the roll. So, now in your exhausted,  in-the-middle-of-the-night so-pregnant-gotta-go-to-the-damn-bathroom-again state, you end up ripping the roll right off the roll thingy because you can’t find the next available toilet paper sheet. And what the hell does ripping it of the roll thingy even help.

Geez, frustration with the two o’clock-in-the-morning-bathroom-visit , kids-gonna-wake-me-up-in-an-hour nightmare.

Do you get that?

That’s why it’s so important.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I am going to bed.

Good night all.

And please don’t be scared to share your thoughts on the great toilet paper debate. All feedback is welcome, even encouraged.

Rest easy folks.

Life in General

It’s Not That Easy!

An apology to some can be extremely difficult.

One evening I got into an argument with my oldest son because he refused to apologize for a simple mistake, not on his part, that ended with something that shouldn’t have been said to anyone, let alone his brother. Later on, I found out that he did apologize, but his whole attitude with me was that he had no reason to apologize because what happened was not his fault. He failed to understand that I wasn’t blaming him for what happened, but I was holding him accountable for the words that he used as nobody made him use those words.

Oftentimes, when my husband and I get into disagreement he has a hard time apologizing. I always assume that pride prohibits him from apologizing for what he has said or done that led to the argument. I do not blame him for each argument that we get into, but again, I do blame him for his actions and his words.

One question: why is so hard for one to apologize, but another person can apologize so easily?

I often apologize, profusely even, for things I’ve done that cause hurt for another or cause undue hardship on another. It’s in my nature. I have no problem admitting I am wrong, but for some people it’s like being on the precipice whereas apologizing equals that slight move in the wrong direction resulting in falling over the edge.

I am slowly learning that I can influence those around me to do the right thing by doing the right thing myself. I am slowly learning that I am accountable only for my behaviors. I can’t change someone else’s behaviors, but I can change how I react to the things that cause me to feel angry or hurt.

As they say, lead by example because actions do speak louder than words.

Life in General, Motherhood

Admiring the Abilities of Others

Still in the midst of raising children, I find myself often questioning how I’ve handled something, my response to different things, my actions, my choice of words….whatever it may be. I question, I wonder, I doubt my parenting skills and not because I feel like I’m doing it all wrong, but because I know that I am human. I make mistakes as I am still learning as well. Each child is different. Their actions, their words, their thoughts, their reactions, their priorities….all different. Age is a factor. Mentality is a factor. Personality is a factor. Second-guessing oneself is really the pits.

Recently, I met someone a consider my friend. She’s a really great mom. She always acts so calm and collected. She never seems to lose her temper and has the patience of a saint. I know that we shouldn’t compare ourselves in any facet of our life with anyone else because I realize each on of is created exactly how God intended us to be. Sometimes, when I’m feeling like the worst parent in the world, I admire the kind of parent my friend is. However, I realize that although she may be a good parent to her children, she may have the patience of a saint, she may have it all together, I don’t know her story. I don’t live in her home so comparisons are moot. And I know that God has blessed me with these wonderful children because He knows I am who can give them what they need, which is true for any parent. At the same time, parents must reach their parenting potential with their children.

Below is a list of just a few things I’ve learned over the years:

  • When speaking with children, speak to them on their level (height-wise). For a long while now, when I speak with my kids, I make sure to have their attention by either sitting down so we are face-to-face or standing with them as some are close to my height. The ones that are taller, are teenagers and pay more attention when spoken to.
  • Discern where the problem is exactly before dolling out punishment. For instance, if my girls are pushing one another or screaming at the top of their lungs, the first thing I do is find out where the problem started so I can walk them through solving the problem. For instance, one took a toy from another (let’s face it, this happens constantly) so she who lost the toy slaps the one who took it and chaos ensues. By determining the problem, I can then explain that one shouldn’t take toys, but it’s also not okay to slap or in any other way cause harm to another. Knowing the ‘why’ for the behavior helps to remove the behavior.
  • Redirection works pretty well in most situations. I have found that the more stubborn a child is, the less redirection does work, but with some coaxing it will.
  • A big cause of concern for me over my years of parenting is bribing children. This in no way teaches a child anything. Yes, it does get the behavior that a parent is looking for, but a child walks away learning that he/she only has to act in an unreasonable manner to gain the reward. The child is not learning the behavior is wrong. The child is not learning the proper behavior. The child is not learning self-control.
  • Most of all, it’s not the quantity of time spent with a child, it’s the quality. How a parent engages with their child is much more important than how much time is spent with the child. In a half-hour outing, fully engaged (talking, playing, focused interaction), a parent accomplishes so much more than the parent who sits ideally with their child for a whole afternoon, each focused on their own thing (tv, computer, yard work, etc). Both times spent with child benefit the child, but the more focused a parent is on time spent the better off not only will the child be, but also the parent-child relationship.

Children are blessings from above. A parents’ responsibility to raise these blessings in a way that is pleasing to God is a responsibility placed upon us that He knows we can fulfill.

 

 

Anything Goes, Daily Encourgement, Life in General

To Help Others in Time of Need

How important is it to help others that may or may not be in need?

How important is it to treat someone that is helping you with respect and as an equal rather than as someone who doesn’t matter?

A friend of mine had been helping someone complete a big project recently, but this someone kept treating my friend like crap, constantly yelling at her and fussing about the project itself. Eventually my friend got fed up with the other person who was being so not nice. She walked away from the project and that person, leaving said person to complete the project without my friend’s help.

A while ago, last year some time, I was driving along the highway on my way back home. A lady was pulled over to the side of the road because a deer had run out in front of her. She was trying to get hold of her husband when I got back to her after turning around. Being only a few miles from her home, I offered to give her a ride which she accepted because she had groceries in her car and her husband had been drinking so he didn’t want to be out driving. She offered to pay me, but I said no. She insisted.

A few winter’s ago, my friend and pulled into a place of business and went inside. When I came back out, my car wouldn’t start. My friend and I tried everything we could think of (which isn’t much because we are pretty much clueless about cars) to start the vehicle. To no avail, we went back inside to ask for help. Finally, after about 10 minutes someone grudgingly helped us. Giminy crickets, it was WINTER! Did the other patrons of this place of business not have any reserves about someone being stranded on a cold winter’s night?

Growing up, my parents didn’t teach us to get others back who wronged us, but throughout the years, that’s what we picked up along the way. The Bible teaches to love others even when unlovable, to love always in the face of evil.

If one slaps you on one cheek, turn to him the other cheek….Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:39, 44

My husband and I teach this to our children through example. It’s not always easy to do the right thing. In the midst of our anger, sometimes, we want to act out and let our anger get the best of us. An example, the first story I mentioned that involved my friend. She was tired of getting treated like crap rather than get the appreciation for the time she was committing to help with the big project.

What I question is: where is the humanity in this life? Why is it so hard to help someone in need when you witness that they need help? Again, with my first story, was my friend right to walk away from the project before it was completed? Remember, when we are asked to show love no matter what, we are only responsible for ourselves, not the actions of others. With that in mind, the question again, was my friend right to walk away before completion of the project? The answer is of no importance because as I stated, she is accountable for her actions and hers alone. It’s merely a thought-provoking question and an example.

My point is being helpful to others is something that many fail to do unless something is in it for them. Other times, people are just to busy to take a time out to help another. One teaching I heard during Mass a few months back consisted of saying yes to God because God comes first. One way to do that is helping others in times of need whatever the need may be such as unloading a truck in a dump yard, giving a ride to someone stranded, or lending a hand in big projects. Rather than watch someone struggle and struggle with something, I mean literally stand and watch, why not step in and offer your assistance?

It’s a hard world we live, one created by the selfishness and the greed of the people who inhabit it. It seems to me that the world as a whole, but also communities everywhere would be much better off if everyone would put others before themselves.

Maybe it’s a little more Leave it to Beaverish kind of thinking than most are used to, but hey, it’s a good hope 🙂

Life in General, Quilting Projects

The Ugly Quilt Project

I have an upcoming event through our church, Ocktoberfest. It’s an annual gathering of patrons of the church plus any other guests that may attend (it’s open to all) that offers a smorgasboard of German foods for lunch, a raffle drawing, silent auction, etc in order to raise funds for the church.

This year I have committed myself to donating a quilt for the silent auction. I am naming it the Ugly Quilt. It’s not going to be ugly by any means. The fabrics will go together very well. I found a pattern in a quilting magazine that I like, but rather than using newer fabrics that the pattern suggests, I am using some older fabrics that remind me of the 70’s. The quilt will be beautiful when it’s complete, but the colors consists of reds and browns, blues and creams, which are not the lively colors that I normally quilt with.

I like A LOT of color!

Please join me as I walk through the Ugly Quilt project, from start to finish. It’s a long process, but one I enjoy! I will post periodic updates so stay tuned for recent changes throughout the next couple of months. My choice of machine is the Bernina Activa 135 which is the one I started with a few years ago and haven’t changed. It works perfect for the quilting that I do.

To start, here’s a few pictures to start this quilting journey.

As always, comments welcome, but please be nice 🙂

Daily Encourgement, Life in General

Beatitudes Post #8

Alas, we have come to the last Beatitude. Before introducing it, I would first like to say thank you for all who have followed the postings. I hope they have, in some way, helped or encouraged another.

Without further ado, Beatitude #8

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

By living a life devoted to God and doing His good works, He promises life ever-after in His kingdom. Doing good is not the ticket to heaven, but through belief and faith in Him one wants to do good, feels heavily laden to do right by God and His people. When doing for God just for the sake of doing for God, because He is asking us to do good, He sees that selflessness. He sees the humility, the love that He teaches. Our devotion to Him is present in our actions to, for, and against others. When one is willing to die for belief in God, He will recognize that. As simple, yet hard as that devotion is, that’s really all He’s asking.

As always, comments are encouraged and welcomed. If you follow me, thank you. If you don’t then I hope you start. If you choose to ignore, that’s acceptable, too. However, if you feel lost when reading, don’t worry. The previous links are found below.

As always, I hope you have a wonderful, blessed day.

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/07/18/beatitudes-post-7/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/07/11/beatitudes-post-6/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/07/07/beatitudes-5/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/06/27/beatitudes-post-4/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/06/20/beatitudes-post-3/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/06/13/beatitudes-post-2/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/06/06/beatitudes-post-1/

https://blessedmomentsnmemories.com/2016/06/06/upcoming-series-to-start-soon/

 

Daily Encourgement, Life in General, Motherhood, Wifehood

A Sanctuary

When thinking of a sanctuary, what comes to mind?

For me, when I think of sanctuary, I think of a place of safety.

Another place I think of when I hear the word sanctuary is the church.

And coincidentally, one of the places that someone may feel safest is actually in a church. I often go to the church, such a sacred place, a sanctuary that offers peace. It’s a place of solace, a place where one can feel God’s presence. In God’s house, speaking to Him with reverence of course, we can be who we are because He is the only one who knows us throughout. He is the only one that loves us through each and every fault that we have.

He offers us the graces to show kindness, to love others freely, to forgive others as we are forgiven, to have faith in our darkest moments, and to remain hopeful when it seems hopeless. It’s in His presence that we can really delve into ourselves in order to learn of our strengths and weaknesses.

Being here in my home, my sanctuary, life doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow down. It’s always a bit noisy. Kids are playing with one another, completely engaged in childhood activity that includes board games, bike riding, going for walk, playing in the water…….just being kids. Part of being kids is arguing, disagreeing, and yes, wrestling around with siblings. I love it! When I am not playing referee or gym coach, I pick up the role of cook, dishwasher, janitor and laundress. However, those very important roles cannot be replaced by my devotions of being a teacher, a confidant, a role model, and a religious educator. The role of parent is very diverse and involves much praying, contemplation, patience, and LOVE, always love.

Outside of being a mother, I also have not only obligations to my spouse, but a love for him that pushes me to be the very best I can be. I fail sometimes, I learn, and I keep moving forward –mere centimeters at times, but forward is forward, right. Together, we raise our children and live a life according to what God is asking of us.

My home is my sanctuary.

Anything Goes, Life in General, Wifehood

Marriage

Dazzling thought for the day:

My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year! Boy, does that put my age into perspective?!? Wow!

My mother- and father-in-law have been married at least 45 years, I believe.

My grandparents, at the time of my grandpa’s death in 2005, would have celebrated their 50th anniversary the following year.

And this paves the way for this particular post topic: Marriage.

The marriages of longevity mentioned above are symbolic of that era: 40+ years ago. The hard life that people who lived during that time-frame endured taught many life values that have since disappeared such as hard work, commitment, putting others before oneself, looking ahead rather than living for the moment (the ‘I want it now, I deserve it now, I will get it now’ attitude that is so prevalent in society these days) and the understanding that the actions of one affect many.

One simple and often overlooked concept I’ve learned over the years, one that covers of multitude of circumstances is: Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Sadly, society today operates completely opposite of that concept – again the ‘I want it now, I deserve it now, I will get it now (often at the expense of others)’ attitude.

My husband has often informed me that I carry that very same attitude (I want it now) sometimes.

And you know what?

Much to my dismay, he’s right!

Finally acknowledging that truth will now allow me to reevaluate certain things in my life and to improve those shortcomings through prayer and conscientious change.

I want a marriage of longevity. I want my marriage to last until death do us part. I want a marriage to sustain and thrive through all that life throws at us. I get that you can’t force someone to remain married. It only takes one person in the marriage to file for divorce. I’m not quite certain how it works, but as many divorces that occur each year, I’m under the impression that one is granted even if both parties don’t agree. Put simply, a judge will grant the divorce regardless. Again, I’ve not experienced divorce so I don’t know how it works, just assuming.

Going backwards, though, to marriage and longevity. Again, the premise that just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be done applies during the times of trouble. Marriage has become commonplace and completely disposable. Couples promise their love and commitment to one another (and all that that entails) only to divorce at the first sign of trouble, ranging anywhere from months to years.

 

What I’ve learned during my marriage is marriage takes more than just husband and wife. It also takes God’s presence and requires husband/wife to trust in Him first. Trusting in God doesn’t eliminate troubles and trials, but He is a source of strength, love, forgiveness and so much more. He affords us many graces during marriage that strengthen the bond between husband and wife.

I pray that our marriage will last our lifetime.

Daily Encourgement, Life in General

Her Wedding Day

The BIG weekend was upon them. A weekend that had been in the making for the better part of a lifetime, but the actual planning process only 8-10 months. The wait seemed to go rather slowly, couldn’t get here quick enough, but is now only one night’s sleep away. As happens quite frequently where time is concerned, it goes rather quickly when we want/need it to slow down with the exact opposite effect when we need/want it to speed up. A very well-known fact that is proven daily in the workplace, home-life, just about any area of life.

It’s the celebration that most every woman anticipates from her childhood. It’s a day that some girls spend a small fraction of their life fantasizing about, perfecting even the smallest detail. It’s that memorable moment in a girl’s life when the dream of an innocent young girl meets the reality of a beautiful, ready-to-spread-my-wings young lady. It’s almost a right of passage into the next chapter of her story.

As a result of the childhood anticipation, dreaming, and all that led up to this long awaited moment, her dream is about to come true. Through hours and hours of endless planning that progressed at a snail’s pace, tweaking of details as one idea led to another, changing what was questionable because questionable is not okay, and finalizing what was agreed upon resulting in one more item checked off the list, she is now at the threshold of one of the most dramatic and rewarding changes in her life.

For some, every flower, boutonniere, head-piece, and table setting was crafted by her hand in any spare moment she could snag. For others, she may only have to show up, dress up, and say her “I Do.”

No matter if she took part in the planning process or if she hired someone to worry over it for her, she is now a beautiful bride escorted (hopefully) by her father to a moment of truth for two people madly in love. Standing, arm-in-arm with her father, at the back of the waiting guests, a million thoughts flip through her mind. Excitement for what the future holds. Fear of the unknown. Anticipation of possible changes. Happiness at knowing she’s been blessed with something wonderful.

As her father slowly walks her down the aisle, she feels none of the nervousness the had anticipated knowing all eyes would be focused on her. She feels beautiful in her white gown with the flowing train trailing behind her, shooshing around her feet with every step. Her eyes shine with the love that she feels for her soon-to-be husband. The joy she feels radiates from her as she walks, spreading to each individual she passes. She doesn’t see them. She knows they are there, but all she really sees before her is the man she loves, the man she’s about to promise the rest of her life to.

And, as they say, the rest is history. Jobs. Homes. Kids. And a hundred plus other things that occur over a lifetime.

Time, as slowly or as quickly as it moves, doesn’t ever stop so every second counts. Each moment in our life is a moment creating a memory to be cherished. It’s my goal to make each one matter.