See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Saint Joseph

Ordinarily one does not hear much about the life of Saint Joseph. Yesterday, I watch a DVD which is one of my favorite Christmas Movies, "the nativity story." I'm not saying that I agree with all that transpired in the move, like the scene where Joseph actually delivers Jesus, while the bright star provided the light, in a Bethlehem cave.

Joseph can be said to be an heroic figure throughout it's presentation standing by Mary--not accusing her, as that could have dramatically changed the outcome. Clearly, his peers were not in agreement, as in one scene, a rock was placed in his hand to hurl at his betrothed. He, instead, drank the cup of kindness, and endured the jeering and repulsed stares, keeping Mary under his protection.

Courageously, he travelled with Mary, who was with child, showing him to have great strength and fortitude, all the while perplexed.  Another scene shows a weakened donkey who is unable to transport its passenger and enters into a slide down a cliff of sand. Joseph, knowing the food is limited and the importance of keeping his animal strong, shared his bread with the dumb beast, unknowingly by Mary.

The beginning of the movie shows Mary's displeasure at having become betrothed to Joseph, saying that she did not "love" him. A couple of scenes later, Mary washes Joseph's feet, which appear cut and burnt, showing a change of the disposition of the heart. Perhaps, this was an attempt to show that someone can "find love" even in an arranged marriage.

Finally, Joseph is seen leading Mary and Jesus away to safety, during the night, at the hearing from an angel of danger, to Egypt. Provisions are made for Mary and Jesus by Joseph, who did his job at keeping our saviour safe.

Today, I ponder at what would be our fate if Joseph had said "no" to God. We all must answer the call.  I think being protective is naturally imbred in both sexes, but it is one of Josephs biggest traits.

Just last week, little Ryan, reminded me that he holds my hand so I won't be scared of the bus. Yet, all the while, I was holding his hand for the same reason.

It is a story about love, pure and simple, one I highly recommend.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

No Two Are Alike

One of the gifts that our creator gives to us is our individualism. None of us, although many, are not exactly alike. Differences are good, and if they were not, we would not have been created this way. Uniqueness is special. Yesterday, we continued on our path of getting prepared for Christmas. And, because we had both boys to care for, we decided to create our own unique gingerbread house. The candy of course, had to be handpicked due to the nut sensitivity of both boys. Although the recipe called for egg whites and cream of tartar, we skipped those two ingredients, because we will eat the candy tonight and for the next twelve days for as long as it lasts. Instead, I purchased the ready-made frosting in the tube. It worked out just fine without the worry of salmonella poisoning.

The grandsons are seven going on eleven, and three years old. One is definitely an engineer and we knew he'd only be interested in it's construction and planning. The other loved doing the actual art work and design. The house was actually put together the night before in order that it would be sufficiently jelled. The remaining work took most of the morning to complete. The oldest, planned out where the road, fence line, and green cone shapped trees would be. It also had to have a natural pond. The little one wanted a snowman.

We set the house on the left side, making plenty of room for the snow, driveway, fencing and water. The fence surrounded the entire house. Nate, made the road out of rice krispies. The water was made from blue icing, with waves running through it. The aluminum covered tray was decorated with white icing for snow, except where the driveway ran along side the house. The fence was held up by large white marshmallow which supported the inserted, large pretzel sticks. On each of the joints was a pretzel shaped tree. There are two large stars on the roof of the house on each end. Two large bells grace the front of the house as yard decorations.

The youngest, Ryan, placed with precision vivid colored candy, gum drops and cereal all over the house. He was a stickler for detail, like that on the box, right down to the doorknob. When it came to the marshmallow snowman, he broke pretzels and inserted them in for the arms. I could not believe the level of talent that he displayed at three.

Somewhat of a perfectionist, he showed great concern for spacing, and color design as well as finding the right candy for the area that he was working on. Ryan, did all this standing on his foot stool while going around the round table. Meanwhile, Nate was off watching television about "weather." He has a more scientific mind.

Surprisingly, there wasn't a lot of mess to clean up as Ryan was very careful, especially with his sleeves. I'm still at awe at his creative ability.

Later, we took the kids to their Christmas party, where we knew Santa would be making an appearance. Nate, from the beginning has been dreaming of all the toys he wants. We hear about them all the time. Yet, Ryan does know that Santa will be bringing him some as he is a good boy, but doesn't talk about the toys he wants. In fact, before we left, we knew he wanted nothing to do with Santa.

While at the party, Nate was having a ball playing with the other kids, while Rye was busy in his kitchen preparing food for the guests. He did not eat while everyone else snacked on pizza and other goodies. Nate, upon seeing his mother arrive from Boston, said "what are you doing here?" I thought it was a strange question, since many of the other parents were present. Poor Angie, and for all she does for those boys, too. Ryan, on the other hand, was glad to see his mommy. He had spent the entire time bringing his make believe delights to those in attendance at the party. Now, he would be held by mommy, as Santa had arrived. Santa is a stranger. Although every other kid sat on his lap and was given a toy, it did not appeal to Rye. I offered a few solutions, but apparently not this year.

It is rare for us to see Rye display such shyness as he is never like that when with us, his grandparents. At one point, while he distributed ice cream cones to attendees, a boy took away the holder and cones from him. He did not argue the point, walking away. He just let them go and displayed a look of hurt. The father of the other boy saw it, and asked him to given them back to Ryan. Sensitive, loving and caring Ryan, yet tough and strong. He can never do enough to help us.

Later, when my husband John and I were in discussion about the party, he said that "Ryan was a good boy." Maybe someday he'll own a restaurant or perhaps be a chef. Who knows what the future will bring. One thing I've noticed about Ryan is that he always shows concern for others. We could all learn a thing or two from him.

Often during the day, Ryan tells me that "he is a good man." We don't know where he got this as it is an unusual comment from a three-year-old. His comments reflect his sweetness. Yet, he likes hockey, and wants to tackle grandma all the time. We know he can take care of himself, he's fearless.

I can't wait for both of them to see their gifts tonight. We try to give them what we think they'll like. They are both so precious and so different, and they are so special.

Monday, December 23, 2013

There is but one King

The wise travellers never returned back to King Herod because there can be but one King, and when they witnessed Jesus born of a young mother Mary in a humbling cave, they knew there was no other. Their journey completed, they worshiped Him. They found what they came for.

King Herod was so obsessed and troubled with the idea that another King would replace him, that he upon the hearing, ordered the killing of Jewish boys, two years and under, as the prophet foretold. Herod, determined the time from the wise men, who both deceived and made him exceedingly angry, as, Herod expected them to return with the news. How could Herod have known, that like Joseph, the three wise men were divinely warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they departed for their own country, another way.

The mothers of the children of Bethlehem weep for the slaughter of their children as the Lord would be led away to safety--forewarned by an angel in a dream to Joseph, to take Mary and the child, as Herod, would seek to destroy Him. Jesus would be returned from his exile in Egypt after the death of King Herod.

Jeremiah the prophet foretold of Rachel, wife of Jacob, who was weeping in her tomb at the event of the killing of her children, the Holy Innocents, who are the saints and martyrs of the Church, in a foretelling long before the happening, of this predicted birth. Joseph, the betrothed of Mary, the ever-virgin mother, has witnessed a miraculous conception of the King of all, born to save His people from their sins.

Tomorrow night, we will again remember that the maidservant of the Lord, Mary agreed to the news received from the angel, that she would conceive the Holy One who is to be born from her womb and called the Son of God. And, on that night the message of the angels to the shepherds brought good tidings of the birth of a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying an a manager.

We will join a great throng and multitude of people world-wide who will sing along with the heavenly host, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

May you and all those you love understand this mystery of love and may it bring you every happiness, hope and joy.

And may God Bless You, Everyone!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Divine Plan

Just a few days and it'll be the eve of Christmas. So much planning goes before our great celebration. This year a lot more heart searching and pondering transpired. What an historical event His birth was and yet, some care only about material things. The birth of Christ is what I call, a great revelation. Can't even imagine the wonder of it all. A Divine Plan gave to the world, Jesus, the gift to all for all eternity. This is a fact that will never change nor grow old, or be forgotten. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt amongst us. What greater gift than this?

My friend gave me a book to read called "Killing Jesus" by Bill O'Reilly which opened my eyes to the way life was when the "Light came into the world." It is by far one of the best books that I have ever set my eyes on. Jesus born in Bethlehem, of a Virgin Mother Mary, is destined to die a most cruel death by His claim that God is His actual Father, which made Him accountable to a charge of blasphemy under Jewish law, since the age of thirteen. He was a Jew.

Born and hidden in cave, He would one day gather together men who would become "fishers of men," who would see the crowds gather to hear Jesus preach, and heal the many, while fulfilling the prophecy's of old.

Jesus proves that He is God in the flesh by His Resurrection from the dead. And even though a guard was posted, the body was never found. That morning an Angel revealed that "He is Risen" and instructed eyewitnesses to "Go tell the disciples." This was a message far different from the night of His birth when Angels revealed to the shepherds in the fields guarding their sheep, the great tidings.

Thirty somewhat years later, the question will be asked "Shall I crucify your King? The reply--"We have no king but Caesar," by a chief priest . So different from the three Magi who have come with treasures a great and harsh distance to worship their King saying: "We see his star in the east and have come to worship Him," (believing Jesus to be the "New King,")

Examine the historical evidence for yourself beginning from birth to death. There can be but only one King. And, there is no doubt in my mind who He is....


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do you have a SuperMOM?

Young women today have bought into the wrong image of a SuperMOM. Supermoms exist everywhere and I applaud them for what they bring to their family, friends and community.

Supermom's are those who manage to infect those around them with positive aspirations. They manage to create an impression using all the tricks in the book. Who said it would be easy, the first trick is not to cop out. Finding a way, is what it's all about. There is always a way so a SuperMom must be innovative.

Why do we need to be SuperMOMs in the first place? Simply, if your successful then everyone around you will be also.

Simple rules, like getting everyone involved, and that means kids of all ages, to help by each being responsible for something. It creates good feelings of a group effort and everyone shares in the prize. Some of the rules I remember growing up in a large family was that everyone had chores. Maybe they were simple like making a bed, cleaning up after a snack, tending to trash, etc. There is always something to "help" with, should be the attitude on a daily basis.

If you don't have time to make it, buy it. Buy portions of it, and make the rest. Avoid cluttering...That's a big one. Clutter gives the impression of being unclean, and then mentally, we are in a race to keep up with the mess. Everything should have it's place. Schedules sometimes helps. Bigger is not always better. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Everyday is a good day, and accomplishments must be the work of a well-planned and thought-out endeavor. Every kitchen needs a domestic authority to hand out a chain of commands--that's mom usually.

I recall times when I barely had enough time to dress before a party and found myself washing the toilet just before guests arrived. That is not newsworthy. But the truth is, we will always need and be grateful for SuperMOM's. SuperMOMs have it together, so everyone observes--thinks. Noone will ever really know just what we had to do to get there. Being successful, you get there. That is how we teach other's that we can obtain a goal.

Like my family used to say, "we pulled off another one." Smile pretty. You might just be in the next photo and you, and your home, and your family want to be at it's best.

SuperMOM we all have to be--but keep your expectations realistic. Everyone will love you for it, afterall, your their SuperMOM.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kids say the darndest things

Kids say and do the darndest things. I used to watch Art Linkletter question little kids on television. The show being a "hit" attracted many. Kids innocently say such cute things that long after, I find myself chuckling and wondering where did that come from? Ryan amazed me yesterday. At three he actually knows how to shovel snow, saying he helps dad. We keep a little pink plastic shovel for him to play with while I do the heavy work. Yesterday, we  cleared the deck in order to get to the garage where the toboggan was located. The back yard is nice and flat, and on a sunny day it made for much fun pulling him around. This year, he enjoyed the ride as he was able to hold on to the black handles, which I in turn, tied a rope to. It was great exercise for me as well. The sound of laughter is worth the effort alone. I always took my kids out to play. It is so vital to their good health.

Earlier, we had watched a Christmas movie with snacks and of course, there was time to drag out all his toys throughout the house. Playing is important to a three-year-old and imagining all sorts of adventures with household setups. He used a chair, stool and two make believe paddles and then, he was kayaking. Someday, he hopes to have one of his own, so he said.

He also said a couple of odd things it was quiet in my house. I suppose when you have a seven, and soon to be eight-year old brother, it's anything but quiet in his house. We observed the birds, and yes, we could hear every sound clearly through the closed window.

Quietness is something I also appreciate....Peace...Not everyone has that luxury.

There are times when I ask him what he wants for if I didn't know. Monster trucks, and art supplies are on the list, but what surprised me is when I heard him say he wanted a "dollhouse". Who would have quessed that? And, who knows what Santa's going to bring...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Are you being Uncharitable this Christmas Season

We should always be looking to not offend someone else in charity. Some of the ways my mom taught me to be charitable was not to eat in front of someone else, especially if they didn't have any. Rather, it would be appropriate to share or at least offer some of what you had. It is totally rude to eat in front of someone else who is hungry.

The rule goes for affection. It is unkind to carry on in front of a lonely person. Need I say more. That doesn't imply that we need to go around spreading our germs. Mom would laugh at that one. Yet, in this season of all seasons, some sit by themselves, disregarded. Sometimes, people who are the loneliest can be found on crowded buses and trains. No one even says hello. Why don't we?

My son, who once worked in retail used to say people would go and by small things just to be able to speak to the checkout person or any other person. They would talk and talk making them visibly targetable. Sometimes, if they had money, sadly they were sought out by salespeople.

Lonliness is one thing hunger is another. People will come together for a free meal and many are not in a position to be able to afford to eat out. They do not only hunger for food, and sometimes friendship, but personal items as well. Some are all three, lonely, hungry and poor.

Baskets of soaps and shampoo, toothbrushes and other odds and ends are placed along with groceries for their need. It is totally wrong to pass along catalogs for the sale of items such as those found in Avon, school fundraisers or the like. Some people feel badly, as they cannot afford to buy. You can sometimes see it in their faces. That would be an example of being "uncharitable". There is a time and a place for everything.

Being charitable is a big part of this and every season, especially when you are a Christian. There are always going to be those who constantly prey on "gatherings" relentlessly, to entice people to buy, even if it is said to be for a charitable cause, in front of those who do not have the luxury of spending the extra money, they simply do not have it. That is being uncharitable. Some spend money that they cannot afford to save face (embarrassment). We can be well, we can be uncharitable.

Being charitable, and, not being "uncharitable" deserve equal recognition.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Merry Little Christmas

My husband and I went shopping today. Luckily, he likes to shop and usually picks out just about every gift for the grandchildren. If you could have seen him trying out and examining each and every toy, he actually became the entertainment.

I have no patience for shopping and it's usually a quick search, scoop and carry-out of here-- type of ordeal. I'd rather not. Especially, when it comes to waiting in line to check out. No thank you. John, on the other hand, has taught me how to enjoy the task of gift purchasing by understanding what each person likes, color and all. He actually is a catalogue shopper and spends time looking at circulars. It becomes fun because he has so much fun doing it, without dragging me all around the store.

Many Christmases back we bought gag gifts for our kids which was a ball opening them, one at a time, bringing about much more humor and fun. I do not have a great sense of humor and rely on my friends to accommodate me in that department. I'm more of the comfort-type and see to their favorite foods-- type of person. Being in the store with the funny stuff, I was reminded of the reindeer that produced candy poop, perfect for either my brother or Steve, I can't recall. Another was that singing fish that hung on a wall, and when you pushed his button, he was hilarious. We found the Grinch that stole Christmas for Bill and something about a singing flushing toilet. My sons are both  natural comedians and great entertainers, which they inherited from their dad. Little Ryan, at three is already starting to imitate us and "Yo" his uncle. He keeps me in stitches and I can't wait to see his reaction this year when he sees some of the new gadgets we've picked up.

All in all it was a fun day and believe it or not, I think we're done our shopping with plenty of time to spare. Decorating, gift-wrap and the tree still await. Our party will be a blast...This year, I'm making a gingerbread house with Wonka Candy and old-fashioned treats.

Thinking back to my nephew when he was two years old, one day told me that I was a clown. Surprised by what he said, I asked him why he said that. He said that I like to laugh. Now he is in college and my little grandson Ryan just last week said something similar. He likes to make grandma laugh. That must be why our gatherings are so much fun. We simply like to laugh. We are intent on having a Merry Little Christmas.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The War on Christmas

Growing older sometimes brings about wisdom which affects the way you look at Christmas. It could very well be that once you get to a certain age you see how things were and how they are now. The War on Christmas, well, it's just not worth it. There are times that I feel that I don't even want to put up a tree. I'll give in, of course for the sake of the grandchildren, but that is NOT what Christmas has become to me. Honestly, it can be a chore...just like it was for my grandmother and several other's I remember them feeling the same way. So much fuss is so unnecessary!

It is not about things. If I have nothing, Christmas will still, and "has" come, no-one can take that away from us. If you find yourself getting out of sorts about the so-called war on Christmas, then you are in a very large sense, in a war once again with yourself, which means you are not at peace.

Give yourself the gift of peace this Christmastime. There is little peace around lately. We all must have an attitude check-- first, starting with lets not get caught up in the nonsense of needing to have....which leads to frustration. The expectation list seems to grow and grow each and every year, but not our salaries. Everything is such a hastle and so expensive. They tell us they've got to have it. We still have to pay our bills, live within your means.

Stifle the I wants...Can you have a Merry Christmas with little, sure. Listening to Christmas carols can put you in the mood, but it can also be very depressing. We won't go there but know it is not all fun and games for many who are alone or who have lost most of their family members. Years ago families were closer and they would actually visit. No one has time for visiting the elderly anymore. You don't have to go far to feel the hardship which can be in your own backyard. Haven't you noticed that people are grumpy? The grinches are everywhere--trying to steel your joy. Where have all the solictors, holiday ads, catelogs and circulars come from? Learn to say "no thanks."

If you are going to work yourself up over the little things in life, then you are in fact at war with yourself. Agitation in any amount causes your cells to go bonkers resulting in bodily stress, illness and that, will eventually kill you. We are so pent up with the do's dont's and can't haves that we forget to be "happy" never mind merry. Discover the joy, not of materialism but of life. Give the gift of a smile, and put on the cloak of kindness. Maybe you can share with someone who has less. Be the first to Love. Be grateful for all that you have and are, and for those you hold dear. Above all, remember what Christmas is really all about--Christ the Savior is Born.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas, after all you are responsible for you. Keep it simple...May You find Peace this Christmas and may it bring forth a happy, and healthy New Year for you and those you love.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

We are always looking for a sign

If your looking for a sign, it was prophesied, that is: the coming of the Messiah's birth. The first of five confirmations begins to tell the story--of the greatest story ever told. The story celebrated for some two thousand years. It's a love story from beginning to end....A story where a young virgin mother kisses her child shielded beneath the protection of Joseph. He is the descendant of King David. This story to which many songs have been written, such as: "Mary did you know?" Its not a Christmas carol, but is one of my favorites. She will begin to know soon when encountered by Simeon at the Temple.

The shedding of light written years prior to the actual "light" event was found in the Old Testament readings, some 500 years before the actual birth of Christ. The Tanakh was said to have been studied by the three kings -- and it spoke of a great star that will rise. At its appearance, they began the trek over the rugged desert for close to a thousand miles to worship the One who was born King of the Jews in a town called Bethlehem, in Judea, bringing with them, appropriate gifts suitable for a king.

I currently display candles and a huge star in my kitchen window, and some small versions here and there to remind me of  "light" a sign which led a group of wise men, who studied the religious texts leading them to the place where the story begins. They bring gifts and worship Him. But the reality is that He is the gift. The gift for all mankind and for all time.

How much I wonder, was it about that star, or it was really about illumination? After all, Jesus is the Light of the World...Whatever the reason, three men known as astronomers, diviners and wise men know the importance of this great happening. Why else would they make such a long and dangerous journey following a star in the east, and, at a substantial cost to "worship their king?" They didn't call them wise men for nothing....Amazingly, the Magi hid the news from the terrible Herod who saught to kill Him. The three kings who were, no doubt, "enlightened".

There is a beautiful song -- "We Three Kings of Orient Are, ....(the last line) is their testimony and nails it for me. "Guide us to Thy perfect Light"....