Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Ferris Wheel Ride of Life

I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.”  E.B. White, American Writer (1899-1985)

Life can be like a Ferris wheel ride.











The ride starts our slow enough, with passengers hopping on and off and great anticipation building for “the real” ride.








The wheel begins to turn faster and faster all while ferrying passengers to dizzying heights and stomach-dropping lows.  Similar to the ups and downs sprinkled throughout life.


Sometimes, you are even “stuck” up at the top for a bit.  Do you take in the view or are you trembling with fear at the challenges that lay before you?

And then, as quickly as it begins, it ends.  Passengers make their slow descent toward the bottom and are ushered off towards the exit.  Sometimes we are not ready to go, but our turn is over…God is calling us home.

(These pictures are of Mary’s first Ferris wheel ride with daddy at the Old Settler’s Day carnival in September.  Because she is so little, she couldn’t see over the sides of the car which disappointed her greatly!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring those who Served

IMG_1470 This newly constructed memorial is dedicated to those who served our country in the armed forces.  The floor of this memorial is lined with brick pavers honoring the men and women from my small town who answered the call to serve and protect our freedoms.  I took this photo, last night, on the eve of Veterans Day.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Today, in America, we say “thank you” to our veterans for having served in our armed forces and we pray for the repose of the souls of those have served and have passed away. 

I would especially like to say thank you to my dear, dear friend, Gillian, who served in the United States Air Force as an MP in the early to mid-1990s.  (Gillian and I were college roommates and her parents opened their home to me when I first relocated to Kansas City.  We have been close friends since the day we met  in 1989. )  Gillian and both of her siblings all chose to enter the armed forces…three different branches.  Her brother and sister are still actively serving in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard.  Thank you Mr. & Mrs. H. for raising such honorable and brave children who served, or are serving, our Country with pride.

If you feel so inclined, hop on over to ,The Middle Lands, Gillian’s blog and leave her a message of thanks.  It is a beautiful blog dedicated to her love of nature, the arts, and her family that is indicative of the beautiful person she is.

IMG_1479 The brick pavers and marble dedication in the center of the memorial to those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!  ~Maya Angelou        Thank you, Gillian!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seeing Christ the Person in Others

I see in my neighbor the Person of Jesus Christ.
-Saint Gerard Majella

Yesterday, I heard Faith Hill’s “Where are you Christmas?” and I was moved to tears as I thought about the brutality, vengeance, and loss of life that so many in our country have experienced of late.  My heart was heavy with sadness for the victims and their families of these tragic and senseless killings, as well as for my own two little ones and the world that they are being raised in.

And then I got to thinking about the beautiful experience I had last week and the goodness  that can be found in others if we choose to see it, report on it, exemplify it.

G2179 Image:  Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt

You see, my sewing machine was broken and after consulting with my mother, I decided to take her advice and get an estimate for its repair.

Imagine my disappointment when the manager of the service department at a large sewing machine repair/sales chain in the metro said that it would be between $120.00 and $150.00 to repair the part.  He went on to explain that while the part itself was not costly, the repair was labor intensive and was going to run up the bill.  My heart sank as I knew that I just did not have that kind of money to repair my machine; especially so close to little man’s birthday and Christmas.  He was kind enough to show me a brand new machine for $349.00 that could do “so much more” than my basic Singer school model.  Hmmmm…

My mother encouraged me to get a 2nd estimate, this time from a Singer sewing machine store.  Not surprisingly, there are no longer “singer” only stores in the metro, but there are several “certified” singer repair shops inside of various sewing shops.  So, I took my “school model” basic machine in for a 2nd opinion.

As I explained to the kind gentleman behind the counter, what exactly the problem was and how I understood the labor-intensiveness of the repair, he stood there shaking his head “no” at me.  I was befuddled.

He quickly explained that not only was the part not expensive to replace, but that the repair was quick and easy and for his shop’s standard flat rate of a minimum $40 repair fee and a  15 minute wait he could have the machine fixed SAME DAY!

It was then, that I realized I was experiencing Christ in action.  This kind gentleman, rough and rugged, hands worn from 30+ years of sewing machine repair, seeing a frazzled and run-ragged stay-at-home mom with two tiny tots in tow, knowing the value of this machine to me and my children and the significance behind repairing objects rather than purchasing new in our throw-away society, made my day.  Made my week! 

He was, as Saint Gerard Majella would say, “the Person of Jesus Christ, in my neighbor.”

And the twist to this story?  This gentle man suggested that I take my little ones to the thrift store in the strip mall while we wait as they have “great toys.”  The thrift store was  TurnStyles operated by one of my most favorite charities and not for profits…Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.  As we perused the shelves of children’s toys, my sweet daughter, spied an unopened, brand-new children’s SEWING MACHINE!  With the money I saved on repairs and/or not purchasing a brand new machine, I gladly handed over FIVE DOLLARS to this wonderful charity to purchase her this machine.  And yes, it really does work!


IMG_1356Mary’s new sewing machine. 

May you have a blessed day and see Christ the Person in those you meet!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Little Halloweenies

While the stores might be screaming “XMAS” (certainly not CHRISTmas) and some radio stations are even playing holiday music 24/7,  I am fairly certain that my calendar has just recently turned to November!

So, while others might be preparing their homes for Santa and such, in our home we are still enjoying the bounty of fall including apples, leaves, candy (from our recent trick-or-treating) and making preparations for our little man to turn 3-years old.  (I remember the anticipation I felt during 2006  for the season of Fall to arrive to welcome our newest member to our family.  Benjamin is a Fall baby…not a Christmas baby!)

We had beautiful weather here in eastern Kansas on Halloween.  And, since Halloween was on Saturday this year, Father invited the little ones of the Parish to wear their costumes to church (appropriate-only costumes, of course!) for 5:00 PM Mass.  My little ones were beyond excited to get dressed for Halloween at four o’clock in the afternoon!  After Mass, we returned home for a quick dinner and then trick-or-treating by the light of the almost-full-moon!  Fun and spooky!!!

Hope you had a fabulous weekend as well!  Here are a few pics of our little ones from the day’s festivities.  Enjoy!



Mary enjoying snacks at her Pre-K Halloween Party.




Circle Time.  Listening to “The Haunted Ghoul Bus”.






Halloween Bingo




IMG_1225 Pre-K Halloween Program for parents.  Performing “5 Little Pumpkins”.






The morning of Halloween our subdivision held its annual Halloween Parade.  My little ones love each other so!  I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of Mary kissing Benjamin.  (I need to scrapbook that…The Many Kisses From Mary!)



IMG_1263 On our way to the parade.  While we don’t live in huge subdivision (meaning lots of houses) we live in a subdivision with huge lots…i.e. lots of walking for the little ones!



Halloween Night…our two SUPERkids!!! 

Thanks so much for dropping by today.  Many blessings to you,