Hot Air BalloonAll of my friends are plunging into their new school years with enthusiasm and determination. I feel more like I’m sort of coasting over the whole scene in a hot air balloon. . . just serenely observing the chaos and energy below me. Yes, I do miss those days. So, my best advice for new homeschoolers? Savor. Every. Second. Be involved. Stop everything else, and just be there with your kids. When things get crazy or seem impossible, call me. I’ll remind you that this, too shall pass. All too quickly!

This is our last year of homeschooling! I never dreamed I would actually be here, with over 20 years of homeschool experience under my belt, and wondering what in the world I’m going to do next. Well, I have a lot of ideas. I’m going to keep plugging away at becoming a Licensed Catholic Doula. Hopefully by January I will have enough money set aside to actually start the process for becoming a Licensed midwife here in Texas. (Once I start that, I probably won’t have time to sit around and dream about what I’m going to do with my life!) I could quilt more. I could work on my book. Which means I need to brush up on my Genealogy, and maybe even finish creating that website I started working on a million years ago. I could clean my house. (Okay. . .that’s not high on my list until we have our very own home again, but I can consider it an option, anyway). I have several classes waiting for me on Craftsy that I need to work through.

But what I really want to do is savor each and every moment with Abby. While, on the one hand, I am really excited to have all this free time on my hands, I remember how fast time flew by when I still had Kendall and Alex here at home, and how much I loved those years, and I know that if I blink once and turn around twice, Abby will have moved on, as well. I don’t want to miss a thing! I am so blessed to have a tender-hearted angel of a daughter, who loves to spend time with me and enjoys so many of the same things as I do. But she’s so busy already this school year! She’s taking a full load. Honors Anatomy and Physiology, Physics, Algebra II, Honors English II, Government/Economics. To say that she’s booked would be the understatement of the year! And, she’s still going to find time to study to become a doula, too.

This will probably be our fastest year yet. I know it will fly by for me, and I’m guessing that it will be over before Abby knows it, too. I’m afraid we’re both suffering terribly from Senioritis!

Photo Credit

Here in our diocese, the Bishop offers a Blessing Mass for Homeschoolers at the beginning of each new school year. We are all very appreciative that our Bishop takes time to do this for us, especially since this has not always been the case. A lot of prayers and hard work have gone into working with the Bishop to offer these annual blessings. He (or his office) chooses the parish where the Mass will be held, and we all do our best to show up, ‘with bells on’.

It was especially important for me this year, because this is our last year of homeschooling. Our daughter is in her “Senior” year, and after a quarter of a century, our journey is coming to its end. And I am suffering terribly from “short-timer’s disease”! I keep fantasizing about all the non-school things I can do, (quilting, writing a book, getting that midwifery license. . .) and thinking that I don’t need to volunteer for anything, because I’ve already done my time in the trenches and paid my dues, so-to-speak. But then, on the flip side of that, I don’t want to miss a moment, and want to be involved in every single thing that happens this year. Either way, I know I’m going to need a full dose of God’s grace to make it. What better way to embark on our final year of homeschooling than with a blessing from the Bishop?

Last year, the Blessing Mass was held at our own parish. My daughter was one of the lectors. I, myself, did the opening announcements and greeting. We had a huge turnout, and took lots of pictures of everyone afterward, gathered under one of the massive Live Oak trees that grace our parish campus. It was wonderful!

This year, the Blessing Mass was held at a small parish in one of the small towns that border the Austin/Round Rock metroplex. My first clue that I wasn’t going to feel comfortable was when we drove up to the building and it reminded me more of a small elementary school than of any sort of church, let alone a Catholic church. When we entered the building, everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and they all seemed to be sort of prepared to welcome our homeschooling community to their tiny parish. I felt encouraged, until we walked into the sanctuary. There were no kneelers! So, it was nigh impossible to kneel and pray before the mass began, to try to quiet my heart and mind and prepare myself for the Sacred Mysteries. But I tried. I really did try. Until the young lady got up to the podium to do the opening announcements and greeting.

She was wearing a chapel veil, so I felt hopeful that perhaps the parish was in some sort of transition, and when they were finished, there would be kneelers and a proper tabernacle on the altar. So I was dismayed, but not shocked, when she informed us that there was a sound system in the Cry Room “for our listening pleasure”! It seems to be far too common these days for Catholics to adopt the Protestant mindset that the music played during the service (or more appropriately, Liturgy) is for our personal enjoyment, and not a vehicle for transporting us to the Throne Room in Heaven, where we can participate with all the angels and saints celebrating the Supper of the Lamb.

Next, she suggested that we all turn and greet all of our ‘neighbors’ seated around us, in “friendly, St. XXXX fashion”. I gasped. Loudly. Yeah. . . not the best thing to do when visiting a parish, but I didn’t actually mean to gasp out loud. And I don’t suppose it would’ve mattered if I had managed to stifle it, because I’ve never been good at hiding my my emotions. I know that my horror was reflected on my countenance. The nice lady in front of us turned around to give us a good ol’ (Protestant) greeting, and I just gaped at her. She asked if I was okay. I mumbled something about never talking to others before mass, and she asked if it was okay with me, and I don’t think I even managed to answer. I think Gaylon shook her hand. Abby sat beside me in the same horrified stupor I was experiencing.

Honest: I did not mean to be rude! But as Catholics, we don’t “meet ‘n’ greet” before mass!! I was taught that one enters the sanctuary silently, with reverence. Before entering the pew, one genuflects before the tabernacle, because it contains the Host. The Real Presence of Our Lord and Savior. We are supposed to be gathering our thoughts and praying, asking God to help us prepare our hearts, minds and souls to receive this precious gift of Holy Communion. This is sacred ground!

Which brings me to the next issue. . . there was no tabernacle! I genuflected out of habit when I entered our row of seats, but when I started looking around the altar for the purpose of our being there, I couldn’t find it. I took a deep (silent!) breath, and kept trying to make myself focus on the fact that the Bishop would soon be offering the Mass, and that the point of my being there was to worship Jesus. And to receive that blessing for our homeschool.

But, somehow, I am never quite able to conquer my thoughts and heart when I am in a Catholic Church where the tabernacle is missing. The fact that we have the Real Presence of Jesus in our churches and in our masses is. . . well. . . the point! That’s what makes us different, special! We have something that nobody else has, and to not put that tabernacle front-and-center is, in my opinion, akin to heresy. But, I’ve seen it before. So, I tried very hard to focus on the Mass. Bishop’s homily was wonderful, and I did my best to take it to heart. (FWIW: I have been to several masses with this Bishop, and I always enjoy his homilies very much.)

But then, when it came time for the Consecration, I realized I had to make a choice. I have very bad, arthritic knees. I tore the meniscus in my right knee a couple of years ago, and it’s not been quite right since. Kneeling in the best of circumstances is difficult for me. From past experiences, I knew that most of the congregation would simply remain standing during the Consecration. Suddenly, I heard that small, still voice deep inside me that I’ve come to identify as belonging to God. And He asked me: “Do you believe this is real, or not?” And I had to answer, with all of my heart and soul, “Yes!” And so I took a hard look at the crucifix, and knelt on the concrete floor. I glanced around and realized that pretty much all of my homeschooling friends had made the same decision. Almost all of us knelt for the consecration. The regular members of the parish, for the most part, remained standing. Except for the young lady in the chapel veil who’d made the welcoming announcements. She also knelt, beside her parents who remained standing.

I did not receive communion. My heart wasn’t right, I couldn’t get past the missing tabernacle, and I didn’t want to receive unworthily. (“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” 1 Cor. 11:27) While I sat in our row, waiting for everyone else to receive communion, I prayed for our Church, as a whole. And I felt tears welling up in my eyes, because, for whatever reason, I have started to become very aware of what a precious and sacred thing the mass is, and it breaks my heart to see the ancient liturgy watered down. Isn’t that what Satan would want? To water our liturgy and our faith down to the point that it becomes completely impotent? A joke, even?

I don’t want to become Pharisaical about it, but it really matters deeply to me. I left the Catholic Church for about 12 years, and I came back for a reason! Well, for many reasons, actually. I crave the deep Christian symbolism and mysticism that only the Catholic Church can offer me. I love sacred music and beautiful, old churches with high, ornate altars. Kendall once said that you can tell how a people views God by the way they build their churches. I think he’s onto something with that!

I don’t want to minimize how precious it is to me (and to all of our homeschooling community, I think) that the Bishop offered a mass for us. I wonder what his thoughts are about the lack of kneelers and the missing tabernacle? I don’t know about the tabernacle, but I know for sure what Cardinal Arinze thinks about the absence of kneelers, and I will leave you with this video:

Bogart Wedding

My grandmother and I used to stay up late and watch old movies on cable when I was a teenager. We especially loved Humphrey Bogart movies, and that was how I was first introduced to Lauren Bacall. I think I fell in love with her as quickly as Bogey did! And now, for the past almost-thirty years, I have watched those old movies over and over, each time feeling my grandmother’s presence and remembering how she always knew little tidbits about each actor, and could recognize them all. (Yet somehow, she never remembered the end of any movie, except, maybe, Casablanca!)

So I was sad to glance down at my Facebook page late last night and learn that Lauren Bacall, one of the last icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age, had passed away. It was a bittersweet feeling; I’m sad she’s gone, but happy that she lived such a long, full life. I loved her. I loved her not only for her immense talent as an actress, but also for her exquisite beauty, her famously arched eyebrows and her sultry, smoldering eyes. And that slight, enigmatic smile! I bet even the Mona Lisa envied her smile!

I loved the roles she played, too. My favorite was Mrs. Vivian Rutledge, widowed daughter of Colonel Sternwood, who wooed the BigSleepMovie Posterever hard-boiled Detective Phillip Marlowe into falling helplessly in love with her. Anyone else see “The Big Sleep”? It’s my favorite Bogart Movie! A fast-moving movie with some of the best lines in cinematic history. Those were the days! When even strong, fiercely independent women needed to be rescued by even stronger, more independent men. And the men always came to the rescue, no matter the personal cost. They were heroes, icons. I know every age has its problems, but oh! how I’d love to go back to that Golden Era!

Bacall’s hero was also my hero: Humphrey Bogart. From the side, he looked like my grandfather (the most wonderful man who ever lived, in case any of you were in any doubt about that!) I still think Bogey and Bacall were one of the sexiest, most perfect couples of all time, and considering that they were a Hollywood Couple, it’s even more wonderful to me that their love was so apparent and strong off-screen.

So, it is with deep respect that I write to say RIP, Betty Bacall! You taught me that women could be graceful, elegant and soft, while remaining fiercely independent and sexy. And, in “To Have and Have Not”, you taught us all how to whistle “. . . just put your lips together, and . . . blow.” You were the whole package: you could act and sing, and you never lost your nerve or your dignity. I pray that you are back in Bogey’s arms, sailing away on The Santana into Eternity.

“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them … In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night … You – only you – will have stars that can laugh” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is my favorite book. Ever. The entire book has so much depth and meaning and passion. It has, for as many years as I can remember, been my working definition of friendship and unconditional love. And I cannot think of a more perfect quote for anyone to use regarding Robin Williams’ untimely and tragic death.

But especially coming from his daughter, Zelda Rae. According to ABC News, she tweeted that quote for her dad at 11:12 pm last night. Below it she simply stated “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up. Z” And so I started crying again. She clearly inherited her father’s genius. She reached right into my soul and ripped my heart out with that quote. God bless her, and all of the Williams family! My heart goes out to them.

Obviously, I never met Robin Williams, or even saw him perform live. But like everyone in my generation and those that followed, I Robin Williamsgrew up with him. He was Mork from Ork, after all! (Maybe that’s why I have this thing for aliens!!) I raised my children watching his movies, like Flubber, Jumanji, Aladdin, and more. We all quote him from time to time.

Yes, I knew he had drug and alcohol issues. I do happen to know a lot about that, unfortunately. And, I know more than I ever wanted to about depression, and how devastating it can be. Depression is a real thing, a powerful and all-consuming force. Drugs and alcohol are just symptoms, tips of the iceberg. They are not the cause. And apparently it can seduce one of the most gifted, amazing, funny people to ever live into taking his own life. Dear God.

I couldn’t stop crying after my son texted me and gave me the news. I’ve been grieving collectively with the whole world, best I can tell on the Internet. Everyone loved him. We are all in shock. All of us feel like we’ve lost a beloved family member. Hell, even the statement released by the White House made me cry:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind.  He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.  The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”

As did the tweet by the Academy of Motion Pictures:

“Genie, you’re free.”

I understand that suicide is not a good choice. It is never a choice made by anyone who feels that that have other options. And I while I understand those who are in disagreement with the idea of suicide granting freedom, I choose to accept the Academy’s tweet in the spirit it was intended. They’re not encouraging suicide! They’re merely acknowledging that Robin’s demons cannot torment him here anymore.

I offered up my rosary intentions for Robin and his family last night. And yes, I know that it’s commonly taught (and therefore believed) that the Catholic Church regards suicide as a mortal sin. So I really want to address this. Because the Church does not claim to know the heart of the person at the time of death. Only God can know that for certain. Here is exactly what the Catechism of the Church teaches, specifically, about suicide:

2282 . . . Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

So, yes. I offered up my Rosary for Robin. And I will continue to offer my love and prayers for him and his family, as I know manyRobinWilliams of us are doing. Please don’t judge. Let us remember Robin in the way that I think he would have wanted us to remember him: funny, loving, genuine. My son and I are planning on doing a Robin Williams movie marathon. We are going to wrap ourselves in the comforting and lasting legacy that he left to each of us on film.

Thank you, Robin, for the memories! Thank you for being our Laughing Star. We love you!!!!

OLOGSince I decided to start attending births again as a Doula, I’ve been looking for a Doula Certification Program. There are actually quite a few of them, which sort of surprised me. Two of the more well-known ones are DONA (Doulas of North America) and CBI (Childbirth International). Both looked great, in their own right. But, for some reason, I didn’t just rush right out and sign up for either of them.

I think I know why. I am a member of a Catholic Mom’s Sewing Room. It’s an online group, and I love it. I get fantastic sewing advice and ideas there. It’s run by Michelle Quigley, who is well-known in Catholic Homeschooling circles for the wonderful Catholic Daily Planner that she publishes.  What I never expected was for someone to post information about a brand new Catholic Doula Certification Program in my virtual sewing room! The minute I read the post, I knew it was the right program for me! I dropped everything and checked out their website. It was everything I’d been hoping for! And, top put the icing on the cake, they even offer a Teen Program! So Abby, who has discerned that she wants to attend college to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, can start getting her feet wet now!

The program has 7 Modules, based on the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even though I know quite a bit about birth, being a Doula is a new experience for me, as is attending births in the hospital. I am so pleased that this program centers itself around the teachings of my Faith, and focuses on our Blessed Mother. Who better to turn to and look toward for comfort during pregnancy and birth than the mother of Jesus?

We have both enrolled and are looking forward to getting started with our studies. I am so grateful that we homeschool, so that when either of us gets to attend a birth, we won’t have to worry about “school”. This is school! We are counting it as an elective, and I can’t think of a better way for Abby to get started on her journey.

 

Hobby-Lobby-store-us US Supreme CourtToday, the Supreme Court of the United States of America voted against Obamacare! They voted to uphold the rights of Americans to follow their religious beliefs. Or, in other words: Hobby Lobby won! Woot!!!

But I am deeply disturbed by the opening statement on ABC News’ website:

“In a deeply divisive case pitting advocates of religious liberty against women’s right’s groups. . . “

I know that this is how pro-abortion groups want the world to see this. They want women to believe that their rights are being taken from them. And sadly, millions of women are completely blinded and deceived by groups that hate women, like Planned Parenthood.

So, this begs the question: what, exactly, are Women’s Rights? Our US Constitution defines our inalienable rights as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.  Those three inalienable rights have been horribly distorted and abused over the past several decades. Which amazes me, because the first one on the list, “Life” seems pretty basic to me.

Science has proved, again and again and again, that life really does begin at conception! We now have the technology to actually get a “womb with a view”, and see that those tiny cells really are dividing and multiplying, taking in nutrients from their environment and excreting waste products. Every biology book in the world would define those events, unanimously, as LIFE. Which means, by default, that to put a stop to it is to END LIFE. (Those of us who still insist on rational thinking prefer to call this “Murder”).

What about Liberty? Well, that one has really taken a beating! Most of us would agree that we have an inalienable right to liberty, as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s inalienable rights. So, it seems pretty clear to me that killing a pre-born child is totally infringing on the inalienable right of that child to his or her first inalienable right: LIFE.

Pursuit of Happiness? Now this is where it gets pretty subjective. Our society seems hellbent on defining “happiness” as “sex”. Any kind of sex, with anyone/thing, for any reason. So let me start by telling you that, believe-it-or-not, I do not believe that sex is an inalienable right! I know, I know, hard to imagine. But nobody is guaranteed the right to have sex. And, best I can tell, sex does not make everyone happy. And having sex with multiple partners certainly doesn’t do the trick. I mean, seriously, if having sex made us happy, then we would be happy with the the first sexual partner, and we wouldn’t have to keep on searching for the next one to make us happy. And what about all those folks who are having lots of sex but aren’t happy at all?

But wait! What if the purpose of sex is not to provide happiness, but to procreate? I mean, if  you look at the natural function of things, then the point of sex is to make babies. Happiness is a byproduct, which certainly does help encourage us to propagate the human race.

My point? You don’t have a right to sex. And you darn sure do not have the right to end the life of an innocent pre-born baby, just because you insisted on having sex without considering the consequences, and don’t want to be responsible for your baby when he or she is born. That would be infringing on that tiny human being’s right to life.

Basically, the “inalienable rights” are pretty basic. And they’re not license to do whatever you want, with whomever you want, however you want. I know that really offends a lot of people, but sometimes, things just are what they are, and all the political rallies and liberal news editorials in the world simply don’t change the facts. If you have an abortion, you are taking away someone else’s right to life. You are committing murder.

So for the government to step in and say that any business has to provide their employees with the means to murder someone else is extremely chilling, on every conceivable level. If a woman is determined to have an abortion, she’s certainly going to be able to do it in our society without her health insurance paying for it. All sorts of insurance plans exclude all sorts of things, like plastic surgery, dental work, vision care. Those are run-of-the-mill sorts of things, that don’t infringe on anybody else at all. So why is so imperative to cover murder? How does that make sense? It simply does not.

So, while it has always been blindingly obvious to me that no business should be forced to provide coverage for a full range of contraceptives at no cost to their employees pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, I’m thrilled beyond words that the Supreme Court agreed. It blows my mind that it has even come to this, that we have to go all the way to the SCOTUS to affirm what should be hardwired into our consciousness: murder is bad. Don’t force others to be an accessory to it!

Back to “Women’s Rights”. Women have a right to the TRUTH. And the truth is this: we do not have a right to have sex, and we do not have a right to kill our pre-born children. We DO have a right to choose who we have sex with, and when, and where, and so forth. And if we enter into that decision with our eyes wide open, then we should be prepared to deal with the natural consequence of that act: conception, pregnancy and children.

Nobody is trampling on our rights by forcing us to be adults, and to not just run around screwing everybody willy-nilly.  We  have a RIGHT to our children, and a RIGHT to know that abortion is murder.

(Don’t even get me started on Religious Freedom. . . .) 😉

When I first realized that I wanted to start attending births again, I wasn’t really sure what the reaction would be. I knew Gaylon would support me. In fact, I knew my entire family would be on board. Alex put it very well. When I asked him what he thought he said “It’s who you are. You should be a midwife and make quilts.” He has always had a knack for summing things up! 😉

I’ve been blown away by the support of my friends, both near and far. I got the sweetest letter of recommendation from one of the midwives I apprenticed with in South Carolina. My brother-in-law sent out a congratulatory Tweet. Friends on Facebook have all been incredibly supportive and encouraging. I am humbled by it all.

So, in looking into what all is involved in getting licensed as a midwife here in Texas, I started also looking around online for some of the birth books I used to have in my library.  Books that I lost in the fire.  I was hoping to replace some of those books I’d collected all those years ago. Some of the very first books I ever got about birth came to mind: Helping Hands: The Apprentice Workbook by Carla Hartley, founder of Ancient Art Midwifery Institute (formerly Apprentice Academics).  Becoming A Midwife by Carolyn Steiger. Those books are no longer in print, but they’re out there, on used book sites. And, while I can get copies, some of them just can’t be replaced. Ever.

Like the Birth Book by Raven Lang. It was given to me by the first midwife I ever met. (So were the other two books I mentioned, come to think of it. . .) Beth was my midwife with Alex, and she was the first person to ever ask me if I would like to be an apprentice. I don’t think either of us had any idea what we had set into motion.

Twenty-two years ago, when I was pregnant with Alex and hoping desperately to not have another c-section, I found an ad in the local paper for a yard sale. The proceeds were going to be split between the Carlsbad La Leche League and the Carlsbad Midwifery Association. I was immediately intrigued, because I had no idea that there were any midwives in Carlsbad, New Mexico! So, almost 8 months pregnant, I headed over to meet my destiny.

Sitting on a lawn chair under a tree with lots of small children playing all over the yard was a quiet woman with a book in her lap. She looked up at me and smiled warmly, and somewhat expectantly.  I mentioned that I didn’t know anything about the Carlsbad Midwifery Association, and she explained that it was a fairly new group, consisting of herself and another midwife. I told her I was fascinated by midwifery, and of course we started talking about birth.

She asked if she could feel my belly, and I saw no harm in that. So, she very gently felt around, and told me EXACTLY where the baby’s head, bottom and back were. She even gave me a general estimate of how much she thought he might weigh. And she was dead-on accurate. I know this because I had had an ultrasound just a few days early, and it had verified everything she told me. Only I had paid $250 for the ultrasound, and this midwife was able to tell me the same information for free, standing under a tree in her front yard. I was totally hooked!

She told me she would “catch” my baby for free, if I would agree to be her apprentice. Looking back, I realize that she must’ve been pretty desperate for an apprentice! But I agreed, right there on the spot, and one of the most wondrous friendships I’ve ever had was born.

I went home and talked to Gaylon, who thought it was a great plan, and we scheduled my first prenatal with Beth.  Upon walking into her living room, one of the first things to catch my eye was a poster she had framed on the wall. It was a painting of two midwives, holding babies. It was brightly colored, and not exactly the sort of art I would generally be attracted to, but there was something about it, nonetheless.  It had a caption that I loved: “But the midwives feared God, and did not as the King of Egypt commanded them, but saved the babies alive.” It was from Exodus, and I’ve always loved that verse. Loved that the midwives did what was right in the sight of God, no matter the dire consequences of not obeying Pharaoh.

On another wall, Beth had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, filled with books. She said she had almost 1,000 books, all about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. I was in awe. I love books. Clearly, this woman was a kindred spirit!

Those early memories of my first venture into midwifery in the early 1990’s are some of my most precious. I loved everything I was learning, and could not learn enough! I shared my new-found knowledge with anyone who would slow down long enough for me to get a few words in. And, although Alex was ultimately born by c-section, I had the support and love of a midwife throughout my very long, four day labor. I found a strength deep within myself that I had not known existed prior to that. I have never been the same.

We moved to North Carolina less than two years after meeting Beth and getting involved in midwifery, but we kept in touch. We’ve visited one another from time to time, and our friendship has remained strong. Now, after two decades of both of our families moving all over the place, we are all in Texas, only three  hours apart!

So last week, when she messaged me on Facebook to tell me they wanted to swing by on their way home from a little trip they were taking, I was delighted. Gaylon and I are always delighted to get any time to visit with Beth and her husband. She said she had some books for me. I knew she’d gotten rid of a lot of her birth books over the years, and that she had long since stopped attending births. But I did not realize that she was down to her last three books!

So, when she walked in with three books, two of which I’d been looking for, I was thrilled. But then, when I saw them bring in the Midwives Poster, I was stunned! All those memories from twenty years ago came flooding over me, and I felt like I was back in Beth’s living room in Carlsbad. I have hung the picture in my office, and every time I walk in, it’s the first thing I see. I love it, and I cannot express how much it means to me that she has passed it on to me. It takes me back to my roots in the homebirth community, and gives me encouragement for my future endeavors in serving women as they bring new life into this world.

 

Well, while we did not find a “Forever Home”, we did, indeed, find a new home. I sort of feel like it’s a really nice extended stay place. It’s pretty generic on the outside, but the inside is very nice, with 9-foot ceilings and a vaulted living room. And a fireplace. I really love that I have a fireplace again! (And yes, we DO sometimes have weather cold enough to want to light a fire!)

It’s slightly smaller, but much nicer than our last place. And we all agree that the backyard

The chaos of moving

The chaos of moving

is wonderful! It’s really big, and it has. . . are you ready?. . .grass! It also has a sprinkler system, which, if we can just remember to use it at the designated times, should really be cool. There is already one raised bed, and lots of room to make one or two more, so I’ve been really fantasizing about actually planting a vegetable garden. My friend Becky says if I plant the right stuff, she’ll make the salsa. I think that’s a heckuva deal, because her salsa is out of this world!

So, while moving is very stressful, and crazy expensive, I think it’s a good thing, overall, and I’m glad it’s almost over.  We still have to get Abby’s and Alex’s bicycles out of the shed at the other place, but there’s really not much left. Which is so good, because April has truly been an awful month.

Don’t get me wrong: there have been some shining moments! Easter is always a glorious celebration, and even in the most stressful times, it is comforting to celebrate that our Savior is risen! God is still in charge, and He still loves us. That’s always good news. 🙂 All of the kids joined us for Mass, and my heart always feels so full when all of my ‘babies’ join us for Mass.

This year we just didn’t get to celebrate Easter completely the way we like to, by filling up a Polish Easter Basket and taking it to be blessed on Holy Saturday, like we normally do. I didn’t even get around to making the butter molds! We were still in the midst of moving and unpacking, and we just didn’t have the money to go ‘all-out’.  However, our friends, the Kinneys, invited us to join them for Easter Lunch, and time spent with them is always fun and lively! We had a wonderful time. 🙂

Then, that evening, Kendall and Lishi came over to the house and we grilled chicken.  So we got to spend the day with family and friends, and at the end of the day, we were all so stuffed that we swore we wouldn’t eat another bite for at least a week. (And yet, somehow, we managed to make room for more food the very next day!)

Then, last Tuesday I got to attend the first homebirth I’ve attended in roughly thirteen years! It was my first homebirth here in Texas, and, my first birth with a Catholic family. I loved walking in and hearing a musical version of the Divine Mercy playing. So sweet!

And tonight, our sweet priest, Fr. Alex, came over to bless our new home and join us for dinner. I was very happy to discover that all of our children (including Joe, who is our ‘adopted’ son) wanted to be present for this happy event! Our son, Alex, wanted to come and watch the Spurs game tonight, after Father left, so he came early for dinner. It was just an added perk that we won!

But, in addition to the move, there has been a lot of stress this past month. First, we fought with AT&T for over two weeks to try to get our stupid internet hooked up at the new house! Finally, we fired them, and went with DirecTV.  Now if only AT&T would get that memo and quit calling, texting and emailing me trying to reschedule our “missed” appointment! Grrr. . . .

Gaylon and his crew have been working on remodeling a home for awhile now, and all of a sudden, the homeowners have gotten very weird about it, and haven’t paid us for a large amount of work that we’ve already done! So money is very scarce at the moment. And we don’t know how this issue will turn out, so that is weighing very heavily on all of us.  Gaylon has had a lot of trouble sleeping, and is losing weight.  There’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to go into it here. Let me just say that I think there needs to be some version of “Angie’s List” that contractors, builders, doctors, etc. can go to before they work for someone to check them out and see if they are known to be scam artists, or grifters, or whatever.  Everyone always worries about whether or not the professional they’ve hired to do work for them is honest, reputable, reliable, etc., but I wonder how many people realize that there are a lot of folks who hire professionals like Gaylon with the sole intent of getting their house remodeled for free!

Anyway, we very much appreciate any prayers, and are believing that things are going to get a lot less stressful very, very soon!

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