Friday, September 21, 2018

Back to school feast

I have been inspired by NieNie's back to school feast for years now and this year we finally got around to doing it… barely! I bought crowns for the girls and made stapled crowns for the boys, like NieNie. We had fondue for dinner, which was actually Addie's idea when she found a closed fondue set I've had for years. We had it on the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary and chose one of her titles from the litany instead of the "family theme" We've actually been asking for Mary, Seat of Wisdom's intercession for a while now when we agonize over/ponder WHAT THE HECK TO DO about our kids' education. So it was fitting. 

We did those fun interviews and I have them "schultutes", which are school supplies wrapped up in a tube shape… a german tradition methinks. It was basically socks and pencils and they were sooooooo happy. Plus, they went to bed late and ate gummy bears. Practically the best day of their little lives. I hope we will be able to repeat it again next year and compare our pictures! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The value of a gift

We went to visit my mom in the Azores this summer vacation. She calls herself a true minimalist and laughs when I say I am a minimalist. So I was surprised to see a few things in her "schoolroom" (where she tutors) that she has held onto for many, many years. 

This is one of them. A present given to her by a student about 30 years ago. She told the story as if it were yesterday. The student was a priest, but he didn't reveal that he was a priest to the rest of the class until the very last day. When asked about his profession, he had said he did "life insurance". He gave this to my mom as a present and told her about the impact she had on his life as a teacher. 

I score pretty low on the "gifts as a love language" in the five love languages book by Gary Chapman. But I thought it was beautiful how much this gift meant to my mom, reminded her of her past, etc. I also have a some keepsakes and some books that I know exactly who gave to me and when. And that is what makes our house a home. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


New article up on Catholic Stand:

Saying Goodbye to Friends

Instagram makes you feel like a celebrity

"Mommy, it smells bad." City kids seeing the cows. We're on vacation in the Azores. 

I got an instagram account and I feel like, how did I live my life without an instagram account all this time? If I'm honest with myself (and with you, dear readers), I like instagram because it feeds into my desire to be a celebrity. I want to have a feed like the inspirational people I follow. Do giveaways. Post motivational quotes. It's kind of ridiculous. But with instagram anyone can feel like a celebrity. Everyone goes on trips these days and eats gourmet food and so everyone can post fabulous pictures that one could only dream of a couple decades ago. 

I try to limit my time on it, of course. And I try to use it for good. I really am inspired by many instagram accounts. But I don't want to let it feed this celebrity-wannabe in me. 

"You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers." Mt 23:8

"Someday I'm gonna be famous, do I have talent well no
These days you don't really need it thanks to reality shows
Can't wait to date a supermodel, can't wait to sue my dad
Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari on my way to rehab" (Celebrity by Brad Paisley)

PS Do you use instagram? Who are your favorite people to follow?

Monday, August 27, 2018

This place

São Jorge island up ahead
Dolphins spotted from the boat

I used to think I had no connection to this place. That I had a connection to the place I was born and raised. Kind of a connection to the island where my parents were born and raised. But not to this island (where my mom lives now). This was never my "space". I even have some bad memories of things that I've been and done here that I don't like to think I've been and done. 

But I keep coming back. I've come here so many times. And when I think of how changed I am every time I come it's a miracle. Like the cures that Jesus did of the blind man in two phases: first Jesus touched his eyes and he saw things unclearly, like shadows. Then Jesus touched his eyes again and his vision was fully restored. 

Each time I come back to this place I see things a little more clearly. I see more things in myself, more things in my family of origin, now in my spouse and children. It won't take just two times, like the blind man, but many times of Jesus touching my eyes. Probably until the end of my life. 

There is something about this place now. Everything speaks to me. About my recent history. About my family's past. About how much Jesus makes everything new. 

I'm on vacation. I wish I could post fun pictures of beach and restaurants (which we've had a lot of!). But mostly it has been a lot of instrospection and a painful realigning of my vision to Him.