Thursday, April 25, 2013

Staying in Love...with God and Your Spouse!

I'm drowning.

Feeling like I can barely hang on.

And it's all my own doing.

So much has been going on within my family and friends.

Most significantly, my father-in-law was in and out of the ER last week and weekend.  He underwent emergency surgery Monday morning.  The results were better than expected.  No cancer.  Just a severely enlarged prostate.  The surgeon was able to stop the bleeding and clean out the bladder.  For this we are so grateful.  While he is not out of the woods with regard to a treatment plan (meaning, he may need an actual surgery on the prostate) he is at least out of pain and breathing a deep sigh of relief.  My husband was so stressed and we all felt it last week.

In addition to the medical emergency, Chris and I learned of five, FIVE, couples separating/divorcing over the past couple of weeks.  And these aren't folks who have only been married for a few years.  These are 15-, 20-, 25-year marriages being torn apart.  A few involve little ones, mostly they are couples with grown children.

But can I tell you, from experiencing divorce through my husband's parents, it is still ugly even if you are in your 30s.  While we might wish that everyone plays nice and no one takes "sides"'s obvious in these "later years" divorces that hurts are decades old and everyone is a victim.  Even the grandchildren.  (Chris' family still struggles with this 10+ years later.)

A few of these divorces have left me in shock...

...and yet they don't.

As I shared with my mom, we live in such a fallen/broken world.  Those of us living in sacramental marriages must fight against the tide of a hedonistic, materialistic, and individualistic society every single day.

I don't judge.

I don't.

I feel sorrow.  And pain.  For these friends and family members, but not judgment.

To say I haven't wanted to throw in the towel a time or two would be a lie.  But I just can't.  I won't.    My sweet friend, Jamie Jo, just wrote about marriage herself, which is ironic, because it has been on my heart as well.


I have to remind myself of this

(The grass looks oh so greener in my girlfriends' yards!!!)

But in addition to all of the above, I've needed to focus on joy for one very special little girl is making her First Holy Communion this weekend.

Here's a sneak peek of her dress and shoes...

At Mass this morning, Father John reminded us adults of how significant this occasion is for our little ones.  How we need to capture that joy and excitement that our little ones are experiencing to receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the very first eager they are to be received into full communion with the Church...when we come to Communion ourselves.  Made me cry.

As I mentioned above, I've been crazy busy cleaning and preparing for this weekend.  Since Communion is at 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, I am doing a formal brunch for Mary and my parents!  I've got my menu prepped and groceries well as the table decorations laid out.  Here's another sneak peek...I've still got table linens to add, as well as silverware, stemware, and flowers, but I do love the look.  (More on the table setting in an upcoming post.)

That's about it for now!  My head is spinning with all that I need to accomplish between now and May 23 (last day of school) like Communion, School Spring Musical (Mary's a Lullaby League girl in the Wizard of Oz), Dance Company Recital, first-ever softball and t-ball games, etc., etc., etc.

Taking it One.Event.At.A.Time!!!

Happy Thursday, Friends! Be good to yourselves and each other,


Friday, April 12, 2013

Where Have I been for the Past Week???!!!

Hi y'all!!! I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted.

Life is good.  We've been so busy with fun things like 4-H Sewing Club, First Holy Communion Retreat, ballet lessons, author talks, Spring Cleaning, etc., etc.  You!

Here's a couple of quick pics and I hope to be back soon...if not tonight, definitely tomorrow as the hubby is on duty!  *wink wink*

Hope everyone is doing well.   I know my dear friends in the frozen tundra got more snow.  *bleh*  We had snow flurries yesterday and they're talking snow showers next week after a warm-up this weekend.  I'm hating the back and forth of the temperatures, but sure not complaining about the precipitation.  Our farmers here in Kansas definitely need the moisture!!!

Loving the swollen creeks and tributaries as well as the Spring green of everything!!!

Mary & Daddy at First Holy Communion Retreat

Mary made this "zipper pouch" all by herself at 4-H Sewing Club.

Spring Cleaning and a Bedroom Transformation coming soon!

Mary Catherine wins a prize at a very special author talk!

I have not been by to visit ANYONE'S blogs!!!  I am so sorry!!!  Just in one of those seasons right now.  I promise to be by soon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes on Friday

It's Friday and it's beautiful here in Kansas City!  In fact, the weather is supposed to warm up into the 70s this weekend and I couldn't be more excited.  I've been dying to get some annuals planted to bring some much needed color to our front porch!

So, for my first foray into 7 Quick Takes Friday hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary, I thought I'd start off by sharing my most favorite gardening book...

Designing the New Kitchen GardenBesides the gorgeous photos for design inspiration, this book is jam packed with lots of history, design principles, and plant combinations.

I think my most favorite chapter is Chapter One on the origins of the potager or "kitchen garden".  I would have forever been content to have a run of the mill vegetable garden until I learned all about the Monastic gardens of the Middle Ages.  "...Monastery gardens were more than vegetable gardens, however; they were also used as site for meditation and prayer." (p. 17)  Doesn't that sound heavenly!!!  I've got big plans for our "potager" and I can't wait to share them in a future post.

This afternoon the children of St. Thomas More Catholic School in south Kansas City had a balloon send-off in memory of beloved classmate, Luke Bressete.  You might not recognize Luke's name, but undoubtedly you heard of the horrible Birmingham, AL airport accident that tragically cut this ten-year old's life short the last week of March.  We do not know the Bressete family, but friends of ours through the Fire Department do.  Luke was the middle child of five.  Hug your kiddos just a bit tighter tonight...for none of us know the hour or time...

You can read about the beautiful balloon send-off in the Kansas City Star here.  Funeral is tomorrow...might we all say a prayer tonight for Luke's family?

Do any of you follow Mark Hart the Bible Geek on Facebook?  Yesterday morning, he asked for prayers for a young woman who was considering terminating her pregnancy.  Thousands of people "liked" his post and hundreds of us left positive and affirming comments.  This evening he updated his page with a personal message from the young woman...

"I want to thank everyone so much for all of the love, support, and prayers. It took hours, but I read every single message. It truly means so much to me. I realized that abortion is something that I cannot do. I love my child way too much to every want to hurt him or her. Please keep praying for me and for my baby."

Can I just say, "wow".  Prayer works!!!  Now, I just pray that she has the support system in place to help her through these next months and surround her with love and non-judgment whatever she decides (adoption or to raise her child) and any financial needs she might have.

I'm feeling a bit anxious about the softball/t-ball schedule for Mary and Ben.  I'm wishing I would have told my daughter "no".  She already takes ballet and both kids are in 4-H.  4-H is only one time a month...totally manageable, but between the two coaches we will be at Miller Park FIVE days a week.  Each kiddo has 2 games a week and a practice on Sunday afternoon.  Seriously?  Two games a week?  For Tiny Town Rec League?  *sigh*

I keep going back to Ann Voskamp's post about pruning our lives and even though I know she's right...why is it just so hard to do???!!!

 Image Source

Some Easter pics from last weekend...loving the gentleness and innocence my sweet daughter still possesses.

So very thankful for the Holy Spirit working on the heads and hearts of family members...I wrote about family tension here.  It's so hard to believe, after rereading that post, that it has been over a year since the whole event happened...and that Easter was so very painful last year.  But God is so good...and God can restore relationships.  We must acknowledge the role that we play in these turn of events...and even if we are totally innocent we should bear these crosses for others.  I told no one of the progress that I was experiencing and yet a dear friend on Facebook mentioned to me at Women's Group yesterday that she noticed conversation between me and said family member.  Yes!!!  Even my dearest girlfriends are noticing God's healing hand in this!!!   All were amazed as I have shed many tears over this situation.

I'm thinking of starting a "Prayer Intentions" tab on my blog.  A place for those dropping by to communicate any special intentions that they might have and where others might pray for them.  And while we're at it...I continue to struggle with a particular person in my life (an atheist).  My girlfriends told me to think of it this way..."Perhaps God knows that you don't need her in your life, BUT SHE NEEDS YOU."  Hmmm, I need to ponder this more deeply.  (And I just realized Jennifer is an Atheist to Christian convert...maybe she has some advice for me!)

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

So glad to be done with this...

Wait...there's more...

This is Mary Catherine's Mass Card...a requirement of all the 2nd Graders (both the school attendees and the CCD kids) making their First Holy Communion.

Do you see the mess this card is in?

This card caused me to sin or the "near occasion of sin" (LOL) more times then I care to remember.  Around Advent I figured out a way to keep track of the card and lower everyone's anxiety in the house...but it was eaten several times by the glove box in the minivan!

And Since it's April here in the Heartland, we're trading in these...

for these...

Looking forward to snacking out of these while the older two are at school!


I'm Thinking of Quitting Facebook

I'm thinking of quitting Facebook.

Husband hates it and never uses it.

Many posts put me in a tailspin. (I think a classmate and I were seriously the only two (slight exaggeration) not to change our profile pic to the red equal sign...and we attended Catholic school!)

Most posts I read are just bleh..."checking in at Taco Bell"..."did 16 loads of laundry today"..."went to Walmart".

When did all of this become "news" that I needed to know about "you"...and why am I posting the same kind of junk???!!!

I love the pics though!!!  I so enjoy seeing my girlfriends children growing nieces and nephews that live across the miles... I love discovering new Catholic and Christian links to powerfully positive and motivational messages... maybe I don't quit, but weed my garden?

What about you?  Do you Facebook?  Do you weed your garden of friends?  I have never unfriended sounds so uncharitable...and the thought of doing so hurts my head and heart...but some of their posts hurt my head and heart too...

See...THIS is exactly why my husband thinks Facebook is stupid.  LOL


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This is for you...Jamie Jo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Easter Pics)

We've been down with head colds.

 Ben had like 102.4 all through the Triduum. Aaaargh!

Poor kid was absolutely miserable.  He cried standing in line to see the Easter Bunny...and then after we did our Easter clothes shopping (yup, we really do buy three kid outfits on Holy Saturday afternoon every year!) he cried in the Chinese restaurant.  (He also cried at home while Mommy and Mary went to Holy Thursday mass and when I had to take him with us to Good Friday mass b/c Daddy was on-duty!)

I can't blame him.  I got home and felt cruddy too.

Fortunately, Easter Sunday brought sunshine-y skies and Burton the Easter Puppy!!!

Anyway, I'm late to the party, but decided to put up some pictures from Easter Sunday.  Enjoy.

These are for you, Jamie Jo!

Jamie Jo wrote the cutest post about all the "matchy-matchy" Easter pics she saw.  I had to give her trouble!!!  ;)

Here's where I totally cut corners...pants were hand-me-downs so already purchased by others!...shirts were on sale at Carters for $7 each...dress was on sale at The Children's Place for $12.  Each kid got new sandals from Target (on sale!), but I ran out of time (and money!) for haircuts...thus my kids look like their new shaggy pet!  LOL

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meet Burton AKA "The Easter Puppy!"

Happy Easter Monday!

I hope that  you and your loved ones had a blessed Easter Sunday.

We had a lovely weekend around our house and I have lots of pictures/posts to write and share with you including some delicious recipes.

But, before I forget (as if I could!), I want you to meet the newest member of the Kueter family...


Burton is a 4-year old Schnauzer-Poodle mix that we rescued from the Great Plains SPCA.

He came from a loving home with a sister, Stella, but could no longer be taken care of by his owners.  In fact, the owner's sister even stepped up to the plate and kept both dogs for about six months.

When we got to the shelter on Holy Saturday, Stella was gone, already adopted out.  We fell in love with Burton, but decided to sleep on it.

After Easter Sunday Mass, Chris and the kids went to run some "errands" while Luke napped, and they came home with Burton.

He is already making himself at home and is so very loved by my kids.

We think Burton looks a lot like "Benji" and we sometimes forget and call him that!  He is so good-natured and has done a great job getting used to his new surroundings.  Welcome Home, Burton, AKA "The Easter Puppy!"

" Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one." - Anonymous