Thursday, April 26, 2012

Five non-spiritual Lenten lessons

Yes, I know the season of Lent has been over for three weeks now, but I've just realized a few things.  And it took me all this time to connect the dots because I also gave birth during Lent and I'm still a bit . . . fuzzy.  So :

1.  No desserts means that children eat much more dinner.  Good for my culinary esteem ; bad for leftover lunches the next day.

2.  No daytime television means more bickering.  This study is so terribly correct.  The more brain activity, the more arguing.

3.  Prayers for orphans means some homeschool days involve hours in front of Reece's Rainbow, crying. 

4.  Concentrating on Stations of the Cross when the Knights of Columbus are downstairs preparing a fish fry means it is very difficult to concentrate.

5.  Memorizing a passage from Tobit means struggling with irritation that such treasures were tossed by protestants.

Any deeper than this and my brain will explode ~
Next year maybe,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

To CF Moms

You know how your infant pulls for every breath and still manages a sweet smile for you?

You know how your tiny one coughs so hard that she vomits up everything she just nursed, every time?

You know how you do CPT madly, hoping her lungs do not get infected?

You know how you might tearfully tell friends what's going on and ask for prayers but you might also hiss through gritted teeth that it's fine?

Me. too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crammed with Heaven

Earth's crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.  (EB Browning)

I'm no theologian. I'm not even a used to be whatever before I chose to stay home and raise my kids. All I ever dreamed about as a young teen; all I ever pretended not to care about during two years of college, was being a wife and mother. To have my own little house and my own good husband and our own cute kids. The glasses through which I see the world are shaped like a family, polished by many years of marriage and homeschooling adventures.  ince the Conversion, our Holy Mother Church has gently rubbed away smudges, revealing nothing short of radiance. God's fire on earth.

This is why I find children's explanations of sacraments the most profound: An earthly action with a heavenly reaction; a sign of God's grace. Jesus used common matter (water, mud, oil, bread) and spiritual things happened. He could have simply stated His desired outcome instead of mixing mud, dipping water, breaking bread, and pulling people's activity; but Our Lord used the earth. After all, He created it!

So we zoomed off to church Sunday without too much arguing, to present Addie for the Sacrament of Baptism, confident in our grasp of sacramental graces. She was washed clean of original sin (1Peter 3:20-22), and in the words of the Rite "By water and the Holy Spirit she is to receive the gift of new life from God Who is Love." (John 3:3-5)

Suddenly something spoke to me. The words of the precious, powerful Rite rubbed another spot on my glasses clean: Cystic fibrosis does not crack the holy covenant. Listen to this (again!) :

On your part (the parents), you must make it your constant care to bring Adah Marie up in the practice of the Faith.  See that the divine life which God gives her is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in her heart.

May she go out to meet Him with the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

God the Father, through His Son, the Virgin Mary's Child, has brought joy to all Christian mothers as they see the hope of eternal life shine in their children. May God bless Allison, the mother of this child.  She now thanks God for the gift of her daughter. May she be one with Adah Marie in thanking God forever in heaven. In Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Cystic fibrosis cannot touch the power, the promises, or the prayers of the blessed sacrament  (The simmering pentecostal in me wanted to shout, "Halleluia!"). The new life, the divine life, the everlasting life, the thankful life forever in heaven is what real life is all about. It is why we work and love and suffer and smile in this land of exile (from my favorite book, hands down).

Every bush, every person is afire with God. 
May I be grateful for delicious blackberries and looking for God's flames, as the Church continues to clean my glasses . . .

Addie, you are crammed with heaven!
We love you!

Friday, April 13, 2012



*Only the lighting*
                                                                    Waiting to eat . . .

                                             *Because Luke was really trying to help*
                                                 She's not digging the car seat ride, dear . . .

                                 *Only Rees thought this was funny*
                              Addie actually seemed to enjoy this ; it was I who was crying . . .

                               *The pile of laundry is much too real*
                                           Queen of the laundry pile is not her cup of tea . . .

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
Love, Allison


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Few Good Men

Several months back, during a stretch of 20 degrees below zero temperatures, we enjoyed vehicle troubles.  Not simply strange sounds, but a choking, jerking death that rendered us immovable at an intersection.  It ended up being something called the pump-hose-gasket-register-charge-thingy.  It cost a lot to fix.  Anyway.  John was driving, practicing his standard transmission skills, and I was practicing my try not to use the Lord's Name in vain skills when the untimely demise occurred.  And men stopped to help.

Rough men with greasy coats, hat hair, and cigarette smells.  Also with concerned eyes and laughing jokes as a handful of them pushed our old car to a safer spot.  Want me to have a look under the hood?  Need a jump?  Got someone coming?  Take care.

Then there was last week : struggling through the icy McDonald's parking lot with Addie bumping in her car seat carrier and the three little boys orbiting around me.  I may have been wearing cute, impractical shoes.  My brain synapses were firing,  I'm a rockstar ; I'm a rockstar ; I'm a rockstar.  We finally stepped onto the sidewalk where I saw an amused-looking, 20-something man awaiting our arrival, holding open the two doors.  Oh, thank you so much, I tried not to overly gush, hurry boys, he's got the doors for us!   The man smiled as they tumbled by, revealing a complete lack of front teeth.  He was, like our vehicle angels, also dressed in dirty work clothes.  Take care.

And yesterday.  Yesterday found us deja-vuing :  bumping baby carrier, swirling small boys, icy parking lot.  I did wear practical clogs, though.  We were heading into a hall to collect Clare and John when a strapping, handsome teenaged boy overtook us with his long strides.  He marched up the stairs, entered the building directly ahead of us -- and let the door slam with nary a backward glance.  I could see his hip, brand name jacket tag ; his hip, brand name boots ; and his hip, perfect hair.  Boyfriend material.  Probably college-bound.  Jerk.

I do not care what my boys have  (degree, job, teeth) ; I do care what they are  (good, smiling gentlemen).  I do care that my girls marry good men, regardless of the kind of cars or clothes or jobs they have.

(But I do hope they keep all their teeth.)


P.S. ~ For clarity.  I am not labelling all men.  Just the shock of our own happenings.  Amen!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

About Food

See that shake?  It is no ordinary shake, thanks to this article.  While it looks like a classic chocolate libation and it does indeed contain that crushed, esteemed bean, there are some secret ingredients : spoonfuls of ground flaxseed, coconut oil, and organic butter.  Oh, and a handful of spinach, too.  Although the article also mentions meat fat and cod liver oil, I couldn't manage to disguise those flavors, along with blueberries  (The boy doesn't mind all those extras, but can spot blueberries and turns up his nose at the whole thing.  Weird.)

Eating is practically a full-time job for CFers, who must constantly pay attention to the food in front of them, as well as plan the snacks and meals to follow.  For Rees, a treat is a low-fat popsicle or soda, not ice cream or milk shakes, which are his boring normal.  It is tiring and annoying for him, but he will drink it if I make it.  So I do.  I imagine that once he's on his own  (Hail Mary, full of grace . . .), he'll quickly learn that making his own shakes isn't such a bad idea, as Ensure Plus is over a dollar a can.

*A tip o' the hat here to Dennis Prager, who reminds Americans that growing up occurs when one has the responsibilities of employment and bills, not when one is a college student.  Which means I can make his shakes for a while yet without feeling like I'm one of those helicopter parents.   Which I'm not.  Really I'm not.

And I'm adding those fats to the daily diet for all of us because I like the idea of cell walls and brains having the right stuff.

Pass the butter, please,

 Drink those shakes, boy!