Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 for 2012

2012 was a really good year in the Wilkerson Household, only to be outdone by 2013.  Here is my top 12, in no particular order

1.  We received the gift of another son.  Joey Michael has lit up practically every aspect of our lives.  His smile is something that truly melts my heart. He is a flirt, and a lovey.  He is a good boy that has fused this family together with love.

2.  It's not nice to talk about money.  BUT, whoever said I was nice?  We have paid off $60,000 dollars of debt.  That is something pretty significant.  I dig.

3.  We took a really awesome vacation to the westside of the state with our some of our very best friends.  We snuggled in a cabin and enjoyed the gift of real friendships.  It was lovely.

4.  We solidified a plan that would bring me home as a stay at home mom in 2013. I announced that to both teens/parishioners at Saint John Neumann.  After 11 years in ministry, it is time to be at home with my boys
5.  We joined a new Parish Family that has been a super positive experience for us.  It is nice to feel like we have found a little home to belong time. I look forward to finding out different ways to serve in our community.

6.  My family welcomed five new children (born) into the clan.  Joey, Ellie, Molly, Zoe and Keegan are the new cousins for our family.  The blessings continue.

7.  The siblings and I worked together to surprise my father for his 60th birthday.  We ended up loving each other on the opposite side and gave my dad a really cool suprise.

8.  I was able to take my oldest son on his first planeride and he was an awesome traveler.  Being a mom is the coolest thing I get to do, and getting to do really cool things with my kids brings me great joy.

9.  This is a weird one, but I celebrated Christmas with over 50 alumni after our Christmas meeting.  It was a really proud professional moment and personal moment.  To look at this table filled with AHMAZING people that I have been blessed to have met.  Really cool stuff.

10.  Two of my dearest friends got Married.  Mikey Lew married the lovely Kristie and Jay Jackett married the lovely Beth.  Both of those couples are tremendous witnesses of what can happen with love.  I look to them as examples for us, so that is cool!

11.  We got to celebrate Thanksgiving with our very best friends and had the joy of having Paul/Ann and the boys in :)  The refreshing nature of that particular friendship is hard to describe. 

12.  NFP has worked for six months!  Yay to not being pregnant (yet) as long as God says it is okay that we not be pregnant!!! :)

Happy New Year

Friday, December 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Christmas Break edition

--- 1 ---
Yesterday, I was laid out in bed with a high temperature. I only made it outside of my bedroom a couple of times. Today, I woke up with the kids at 5:00 am (still feelin' the fever, but less intense), to a complete DISASTER of a home. The ol' cliche about men is so true, I wonder what they would do without us.
--- 2 ---
This is so sad, but I am just being truthful. I know the Christmas season lasts for quite a bit longer, but I am REALLY tempted to take down my tree/decorations this weekend. Once next week hits, the craziness begins, and it would just be nice to do it in a fun way, instead of in a stressed-back-to-work-this-is-such-a-chore-way. Fear not catechetical friends, I said I was tempted, but I am not going to do it. We are still celebrating Christmas in this household.
--- 3 ---
Oh, you wanted to hear my thoughts on the 'fiscal cliff', well... okay. I think they should raise everyone's taxes, I really do. If the American people throw a total FIT anytime the government wants to cut anything/make changes (medicare/pbs/npr...etc...) then the American people have to be okay with our taxes going up. This is a spending issue, not a tax issue. And you can't spend more than you have, or you have to bring in more money. So, everyone that is panicking about this cliff, if you voted for the guy that is into a crud ton of spending, this is the result. Oh, wait, let's just tax the rich...problem solved (hear my sass via blogs?!?!)
--- 4 ---
I want to say something really sassy in this quick take. But, it would tick too many people off, so I will just think it. But, please note, for my quick take number 4, I am thinking something really sassy. I think the whole, 'house is a mess thing' might have made me a bit cranky this morning.
--- 5 ---
We went to the Michigan Science Center a couple of days ago. It was AWESOME. If you live in Michigan, please consider going. I know it is quite expensive, but it is so well worth it. The exhibits are awesome and I just think it is so cool and I want to see it stay. So, look at your personal calendar right now, and make a date to go, you won't regret it. If you do, let me know and I will refund your money (that is a lie, there will be no refunding of money).
--- 6 ---
Django Unchained. I didn't see it, I certainly wouldn't see it in the theaters with my husband (as I explained to my inlaws, it is not pleasant to be the interracial couple during movies like that- even The Help was a bit uncomfortable). But, it does intrigue me, and I might rent it. Here's the thing though. Two days ago, on facebook, someone wrote, 'I find it really funny how many white people want to go see this movie...' followed by a crud ton of offensive comments about how white people would delight in the use of the N word, etc...It is three days later and I am STILL ticked off about it. THREE.DAYS.LATER. (wow, I think I really am cranky because I keep thinking about things I am ticked off about).
--- 7 ---
Clearly, this is how I am feeling in this AM

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Merry Wilkerson Christmas...

...in pictures
Our Tree.  Sweet girlie Faith took this picture for us

Aaron gettin' all did up for the big day (Christmas Eve party and Mass)

My lovey, before we discovered he was sick :(

Handsome Boy and his Auntie

Sweet boy enjoying his rocking horse from Busie and Har Har

I feel like he looks like my own little 'Elf on the Shelf' in this picture

This picture is not doing justice to the amount of love in Joey's eyes for his brother.

Lil' A is working on not using his paci...Joseph suffers as a consequence

New Tradition of Daddy reading the story of Jesus' birthday before we all go to bed.

Maybe the best money ever spent for a toddler trying to understand Advent. I highly suggest it

He was SO excited to put the baby Jesus in the manger


The totally overpriced, but totally worth it Mass Kit that we (me) bought the boys. I say me because I think the sweet husband pretty much had a heart attack when he saw the price.

Maybe a bit sadistic but this is my favorite picture from the day. Lil' A's reaction to finding out he can only have ONE mini-snickers

Love that boy, he recovered quickly

Mama's sick boy just needed to be held

Aaron is the breakfast maker

Second favorite picture from the festivities

Aaron hit the CAR jackpot

His suitcase of cars

In the evening, finally feeling good enough to play with his presents

Friday, December 21, 2012

--- 1 ---
I am obsessed with my husband (true story). I think that is why he puts up with all my crazy and sass....so, he is about to have 11 days off just to hang out with us. And, I am SO FREAKING EXCITED I can't stand it. 11 freaking days is a lot of freaking days.
--- 2 ---
During those 11 days, we have like 4 plans (and two of those are Christmas plans with family). We did that on purpose. Generally, between youth ministry/family/friends we are doing something every single day of the weekends/weeknights. And, it is pretty much awesome, but sometimes, you just need a break. Do you know what I see in my future? Back to back pajama days! And you know how I feel about pajama days.
--- 3 ---
So I referenced this in my rant about social networking months ago, but one of my mentors 'defriended me' on facebook during the HHS Mandate fiasco (which, of course, is still going on). I just found out this week, her husband did too. Another mentor. HUGE bummer. Because, you know, I met them through the Church. lol. BUT, is it just too sick and twisted that I sometimes secretly hope they still check my blog every now and again? Is it weird that I think the same thing about 2 or 3 other people that weren't nice to me? Like, HA! But you keep checking my blog. Man, I sure do get evil sometimes.
--- 4 ---
My sister had her twins. Shut your face with how adorable this picture is. No joke. I saw it last night and was like, 'um, she really is the most blessed person in the world'. I am one of THOSE that would have a kid right now if it wasn't for those pesky back to back c-sections. So, I'm gonna wait a hot second. But man, this picture is making me want to jump back on to the pregnancy thing. And, I HATE the pregnancy thing.

--- 5 ---
I woke up cranky. True story. The husband put Joey down last night without his night bottle, so he was up at 4:30 am wanting to eat. In true Mary Wilkerson style, I did not handle it in a classy way. And made sure my husband knew from 5:30 am-7:30 am how not pleased I was with him. I wish I could handle things in a not-so-cranky-way all the time. Like, 'acceptance with joy' or something. BUT, alas, I do not.
--- 6 ---
Remember the stay-cation I told you about (11 days off), I am like REALLY excited. Usually, when the husband has 11 days off, we have a child. So, this is super neat. Our plans? Lakeside Mall (I have NO idea why, but the husband wants to), The MICHIGAN Science Center (thank you evil rich white Republican for hooking that situation up) and probs the DIA and the African American Museum (which is AWESOME, if you haven't been, go). Oh, we are also going to have a fancy NYE. I am going to get my nails did. My nails have not been did since my wedding. I am excited.
--- 7 ---
It is snowing! Finally. Lil' A was FURIOUS at me for not letting him immediately go play in it. But, there really isn't anything to play in yet and I am just getting over my earlier cranky pants state. And he was in footsie pajamas. And, I just didn't want to run outside. We usually do though, so he was FURIOUS. And shrieked a lot in anger, with tears (btw- fits with toddlers? Oh, so fun). He is in bed now. I am writing my quick takes. When he wakes up...I'll let him go outside for a hot second. The.end.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

My friend Mario has a blog. He is a seminarian. He is wise. You should check it out and follow him. It is right here. Have a great week!

Friday, December 14, 2012

I have something to say...

Well, I have a few things to say.  And it is about the tragedy of today.  And I know a lot of people are talking about it.  I know a lot of people have opinions about why things like this keep happening. I know a lot of us are appalled that we live in a country where things like this occur.  I want to tell you four things that didn't sit right with me today, and one thing I am eternally grateful for.

It didn't sit right with me that the news media was interviewing children.  It really wasn't right.  I am encouraging you to boycott/stop listening to/turn off news media outlets that are exploiting this situation by using children to describe it. I get that it was an elementary school. I get that is where the ‘story’ is. I get that in this culture, we are HUNGRY for our appetites to be satisfied with the most real, the most up to date information.   BUT, children who have been through something too horrific for them to even begin to understand should.not.be.interviewed. And, if they are, we should turn the station.

It didn't sit right with me when someone posted a story about a ‘hero’ in one of the classrooms.   A child, who did something heroic.  I didn't click on the story, so I don’t know what this student did that was heroic.  But, this was an elementary school, so at the VERY oldest, this child was in 5th grade.  5th graders shouldn't have to be heroes in school shootings.  They just shouldn't.  So, although I am sure there was beauty in the story, and I am sure the story illuminated some type of hope in place of sorrow, it isn't a story I will be reading.  And it isn't a story I will be sharing.  There is nothing, to me, at this moment, that seems beautiful about a child working to save other children from being killed in an elementary school in the United States.  Is that wrong?  I don’t know, but it is where I am at.

It didn't sit right with me that IMMEDIATELY a national and private debate began about gun control.  I heard it on the news, I heard it on the radio, I heard it in the restaurant Aaron and I were dining at.  All of you who are engaging, today, in that discussion, should be ashamed of yourselves.  Yes, I said it, ashamed.  Children are dead.  Before we begin forming into our little camps of who’s fault it is because of what laws we support in terms of gun control…maybe we should just take a hot second to be unified in horror. 

And finally, and this is the big one, the one I want you to read…this is the one I am convicted of…it didn't sit right with me that mental illness is once again being blamed for this situation.  And now, I will speak in direct terms.  Terms that I think we need more of in this country.  

Mental illness had very little, IF ANYTHING, to do with the shooting of children today.  Mental illness did.not. leave a school soaked in the blood of innocence.  Mental illness is NOT to blame.  EVIL IS.  And I am SO.DAMN.SICK of those two things getting twisted.

You see, two of my best friends are mentally ill.  The struggle daily to manage their illness with medication/therapy/behavioral modification, etc…  Their ability to guide their emotions to be subject to their intellect is EXTREMELY difficult.  But they do it.  And for people to claim that mental illness is the reason for what happened today makes me sick.  Mental illness is not to blame for BABIES being KILLED in their CLASSROOMS.  


And evil is real.  And we might not like to mention it.  And we might like to pretend we live in a world without it.  But, WE.DO.NOT.  It has been said that the best trick the devil played on the modern world is to convince the world that he doesn't exist.  Because he does.  And today, in Connecticut, in a school full of innocence, the devil was working.  The devil was working through a man who decided to kill his family and then, to kill sweet babies.  There is no other word for what happened today, but evil.  There is no other explanation for what happened today, but evil.  SHEER EVIL.  Don’t get it twisted, it is a painful pill to swallow, but today was NOT about mental illness. Today was about evil.

At play constantly is a subtle battle between good and evil.  A lot of time, good wins out.  A lot of time, our actions help to make the world a better place.  But sometimes, evil appears to have the upper hand.  Today is one of those times.  I can’t watch the news. I just can’t. I told Aaron that if I did, if I read what actually went on today, it might be too much for me.  You all that know me, know that since having my babies, the one thing I cannot deal with is people bringing harm to children. I cannot deal.  BUT, and here is where the plot twist begins.  I have hope today.  My hope is strong, and I will tell you why.  Evil is real,  sometimes, it seems like evil is winning, but evil doesn't win. 

In moments like today, when I can barely breath because I cannot handle the tragedy that occurred states away, I have something to cling to.  My faith tells me that as we WEEP here on earth for those beautiful babies who lost their lives today, just as we weep, they are comforted.  Comforted in heaven with a God who loves them.  They were wrapped in immediate warm shelter, by nothing less than love brought to life.  Because see, even though evil sometimes has to be named, we have to remember, evil has already been defeated.  Because the devil already lost.  He lost big time.  He lost when our God faced the horror that is death and said, ‘where is your sting, for I have defeated you!’.  OUR.GOD.DEFEATED.DEATH.  And today, those babies are DANCING with Jesus.   That doesn't take away the grief we feel today.  It surely won’t take away the grief of the families who will live with this tragedy every moment of every day until they get to go home…BUT, it does bring comfort. 

Friends that read my blog, I am going to share with you a prayer that I pray quite often. I pray it when I am scared. I pray it with my babies. I pray it with my family. I pray it occasionally (though I will start more) with my teens.  For those of you that are not of the Catholic Faith Tradition, please know that when we call upon the angels/saints, we are asking them to pray with us, we are not worshiping them.  Just as you might ask your friends to pray for you, we believe we can ask the angels and saints to pray for us.  Long ago, with details so sketchy no one knows for sure, there was an angel that defeated Satan.  He did it for allegiance to a God who loves us.   To some of you, that might just be a ‘story’, to me, it is a fact, a piece of spiritual history not to be forgotten.  My friends, as we continue to understand our ever violent world, and the evil acts that continue to take place, PLEASE consider praying this prayer once a day with me.  Please considering invoking the strength of the saints and angles to help put to death evil that still exists in this world…please pray with me….

Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

--- 1 ---
If we are facebook friends, you are probably aware that we are fighting the flu in the Wilkerson household. First, I went down pretty bad on Mon-Wed, then Big A had a touch of it on Wednesday and then, our sweet little guy Aaron got sick last night (though, it might have not been flu related, we don’t know yet). Since I had the boys, one of my fears was how I was going to handle the ‘gross’ stuff. We have been SO lucky so far. All the diapers I have changed, and we have only had two significant blow outs that leaked out of the diaper, and, neither of our kids have vomited yet (spit up- yes, vomit- no). Until last night. And last night, well it was GROSS. And all of the bed. And all over the boy. But, the husband took to the sheets and I took to bathing Lil’A, and within ten minutes, the little guy was back in bed starting to fall asleep on his clean mattress/sheets/pillow. So, basically, I feel like a legit parent.
--- 2 ---
I also feel thankful for my husband. HE is the guy, that takes the gross sheets, and fights back the dry heaves to shake them outside first (trust us, it was necessary) before throwing everything in the laundry. He is also the guy that works his BUTT off at work. This week, he was recognized for the work he does. The thing is, I know that Aaron is setting himself apart from others, not for personal gain/ego, but so that he can advance his family and prepare for when I am a stay at home mom. To be married to a guy that works hard to provide for his family is, well, it kind of makes me speechless.
--- 3 ---
I learned a hard lesson this week about loving my husband better. A REALLY tough lesson. It is a long story, that has too many details to explain, but I shall summarize. Basically, I am one of THOSE wives. You know, the wife that complains the moment she sees her spouse at the end of the day. The wife that does the laundry list of things that went wrong, before beginning to laugh and share about the day. The wife that comes home from work, and before saying, ‘Hi Sweetie babe’ (who says, ‘sweetie babe’?) instead says, ‘why didn’t you do x, y, and z ?!?!?!’. The wife that complains first, loves later. All those awful things, we know we shouldn’t do. Anyway, I have known for some time I need to work on that. BUT, this week, it became painfully obvious through conflict that if I don’t start to change that particular behavior, I will let some real rot get at our marriage. Changing behavior is so difficult. Anyone have any tips on how to switch around this particular trait?
--- 4 ---
Speaking of changing behavior, notice I haven’t mentioned healthy living lately? Since Thanksgiving things have REALLY backslided. Like, really! Who knew how tough the ‘holidays’ would be (And ‘travel’ and busyness, and sickness) on trying to lead a life of nutritional discipline and working out? Anyway, the plan is to recommit and start over on Monday. Send some good vibes our way. Changing bad habits of eating/not working out is REALLY freaking tough for me. BUT, I really want to. And so, I begin again.
--- 5 ---
If you are the praying kind, could you do me a favor? Please? On Monday night, one of my dearest, sweetest cousins came home after work, to find her husband had died. It was unexpected. It was shocking. This weekend we will have the viewing on Saturday and the funeral on Sunday. My cousin, Maria, is honestly one of the best people you will ever meet. She is connected with Canton’s Relay for Life. She is just a really REALLY good person. Her husband Mark was supportive and loving. And really, it’s just so sad. We will miss Mark, but I know he gets to go home. So, I am asking that you keep, in a special way, my cousin Maria in your prayers. She has to stay here, and that isn’t easy when the love of your life gets to go home, especially way sooner than expected. I have heard from so many grieving people, that they can really FEEL the prayers of the community. If you don’t mind, please pray, offer up masses, maybe offer a sacrifice or two for the repose of Mark’s soul and the comfort of Maria.
--- 6 ---
Right to Work. I know I promised thoughts on my blog, to avoid the controversy of facebook. But, I decided I probably won’t say much. Except that, in my opinion, the good guys won. And I love teachers. And I get that unions STARTED as awesome. But now, I don’t think they are so awesome. I think they are bullies. And I think a lot of people think that. Which is why they want to opt out of dues. The best thing I heard all week regarding this? If unions are SO magical, people that are pro-union shouldn’t worry, because…of course, EVERYONE in the unions will want to continue to pay to dues to assure that unions maintain their strength and ‘protection of benefits’. So, WIN/WIN (wink, wink). Oh, and if you know me, I am all about putting choice into the hands of the people rather than the government, that happened this week. I am psyched. And I needed something to be psyched about.
--- 7 ---
And for those of you that I might have just made angry with my 'crazy right wing propaganda'..
.Look! A baby! 

You're welcome. Have a great weekend all.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, December 7, 2012

--- 1 ---
Whilst in Orlando this weekend, lil’ A and I had one really nice, quiet, just ‘us’ morning (we were there for a conference, so the time spent with just ‘us’ was almost never). Him and I took his very first boat ride (a first boat ride and plane ride all in a long weekend- woot woot!). It was awesome. I love my sons so darn much.

--- 2 ---
Let me tell you why I love the blogging world! It’s because you people are freaking amazing. Whether it is a blog on what to get guys for Christmas, a crazy elf on the shelf who’s journeys are off the hook, or my dear friend Mary who pretty much is my inspiration when it comes to raising children surrounded by the love of Christ and mystery of the Church…you all rock. I get so many ideas that I am sure I will never put into practice…but hey, a girl can dream.
--- 3 ---
I heard a really interesting critique of Disney Theme Parks this week (due to my weekend in Orlando). The critique was basically that Disney has no character building attributes for a family vacation. Now, before everyone FREAKS out, I do not agree. The magic that comes from seeing your child’s face explode in wonderment (which happened so much in Orlando, and we didn’t even go to the parks) is pretty awesome. That being said, the level of materialism was out.of.control. And did make me really nervous. It has got me thinking about a lot of things and how we (the Big A and I) need to teach our children to be grateful and thankful in this crazy world of over-abundance.
--- 4 ---
Speaking of…Christmas huh? And Christmas present giving? My sister Theresa, who rocks (and, is pregnant with twins who are due any day, please feel free to pray), gives her children three gifts, one from Jesus, one from mom and dad and one from Santa. I’d like to commit to that in our family, but even that is going to be hard. The crazy over-abundance (oh yes, I did just use that word twice in one blog) of the season is hard to fight back against. We will try. BTW- The husband and I have our annual, ‘buy forty gifts for our family’ shopping trip next weekend, I’m excited. I really like him. And hanging out with him.
--- 5 ---
I love footsie pajamas. A LOT. I adore my boys in footsie pajamas. I wonder how long I can make them wear them. I am thinking up till ten…
Lil' A in his footsie pajamas digging in his shoe to see if St. Nick left him more than one mint!
--- 6 ---
This really awful thing has happened. It appears that my boys have gotten together, had a discussion and decided that naps are completely unnecessary realities in this household. I have spent this week (during naptime) going back and forth between their two rooms, soothing, rationalizing and begging them both to go to sleep (which might be problematic, because of the whole "they can’t talk" thing). It has not worked and naptime is quite stressful. God give me strength because I actually live for the 1.5 hours, twice daily, that allow me to get stuff done (you know, like blogging and checking facebook).
--- 7 ---
And then, there is this…

You're Welcome
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things I want to talk about

I want to talk about things...

I want to talk about how awesome it was to see kind people this weekend
At the airport, lines were really long.  The man behind me almost missed his flight.  I called it to attention and about fifty people let him go ahead so he would catch the flight.  It made me like humanity.  Later, I was in a store, at the airport, looking for gum.  Would you believe that Orlando’s airport doesn’t sell gum because people put it on floors and stuff??? I was dumbfounded and bummed about having to fly without chewing gum.  This awesome guy came up and offered both my sister and I his gum, several pieces, out of nowhere, to make the flight nicer. It was awesome.

I want to talk about the song, ‘We Need a Little Christmas’ (is that what it is called?).  
This song is the reason I have no problem celebrating Christmas at the beginning of Advent and keeping that spirit alive until after the Christmas season.  We, my friends, need a little Christmas, right this very minute.  I need a little Christmas, I need a little joy, I need to focus on hope.  And, the joy that comes with all the decorations, Christmas music, present getting ready, etc… just makes the waiting all the sweeter for me.  I decided today I am going to do ‘angel on the shelf’ instead of ‘elf on the shelf’. We have the tree up, the crèche out, and Christmas movies in the background.  People, at least in my experience, are being friendlier.  We need a little Christmas, and I am so thankful that the anticipation of the waiting is filled with hope and joy. 

I want to talk about how I judge other people often for their finances.
 I do so because we work our a$$es off to pay debt, and attain financial freedom.  So when people act like they have some extreme story that doesn’t allow them to get a hold of their finances, I judge them. A lot.  When people complain about finances with their iphones in hand, and their fancy cars/houses/clothes, as they going out to restaurants, I judge them.  But, Jesus decided to teach me two lessons.  One, is that people that are healthy/fit could easily judge me just the same. I complain about how hard it is to lose weight, but the thing is, even though it is hard, I can do it. I just have to stop eating crap and start working out.  It is that easy.  So, I might want to go a little easier on my judgments of others or at least get to a place where I am comfortable with people’s judgment of me.  Otherwise, I am a hypocrite.  Second,  often we do the same thing with our spiritual lives that we do with our finances/weight.  We complain we aren’t close to God, but we aren’t REALLY into doing the hard work, for a length of time needed, to build relationship.  These revelations tell me two things. 1) I should stop judging.  2) I need to stop making excuses for my lack of health and more importantly, my relationship with God.

I want to talk about a life-changing thing I heard this weekend at a youth conference. 
Ready?  Everyday, when we look in the mirror in the morning, we should say to ourselves ‘The person I am looking at is 100% responsible for my happiness today’.  This changes EVERYTHING.  And, despite circumstances we might find ourselves in, this statement is 100% correct. It shall change the way I operate.

I want to talk about another thing I heard this weekend that was life-changing and hard. 
I took a session by the one and only Mike Patin on ‘Judo’ listening.  On listening to people with the intent to hear what they are saying and disarm any attacks they might have to get to the root of the issue. It is NOT easy to do this.  My natural reaction, especially when being attacked is to attack back or say ‘screw you’.  “Judo listening” is going to be a psychotic challenge, but I am going to work on it.  “Judo Listening” is the way Christ listened, so, in effect, it is about holiness. I need to be more holy. I am going to try.  My first experience of judo listening was this weekend, it worked out really nice.  So, maybe we should all try it?

And lastly, I want to talk about this picture. 

Please tell me how we can sell the rights to this picture to Disney and in return get an all-expense paid vacation for my family and my sister and three of her closet friends to Disney.  I think that would be an even exchange. I mean, have you ever seen a picture like it?  Annie took it, well done!

Now, I am done talking about things. For now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Somebody's ticked off...

...and that somebody is me!

I’m ticked off about something.  And I want to write about it. So I am using my blog.  Some of you won’t agree.  That is okay. I am still going to write what I am ticked off about.  It will not please some of you, so you might want to just skip this one!

 A LOT of my friends like reading Thomas Peters, as an orthodox Catholic blogger... I disagree with a lot of my friends. I don’t like reading Thomas Peters.  Sometimes, I think he makes great points, but in general I try not to read him.   I started not enjoying him because he wrote an article YEARS back that basically SLAMMED Christoph Cardinal Schönborn for not being ‘orthodox’ enough in his liturgies.  Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The issue at hand is that I don’t like reading him, and I don’t like reading him because of articles like this one(for those of you that are not clicking on the link, it is about the President fake blessing a turkey before the turkey is killed- and how offensive that is).   

In this country we have a lot of stuff to be legitimately antsy about.  The current administration has boldly put Religious Liberty on notice, morals are rapidly in decline, and our rights are slowly being stripped away.  If that last point seems a bit too much for you, please remember that in NYC, one is not ALLOWED to order a drink more than 16 ounces (of soda).  Anyway, there is a lot to be upset about.  I get upset all the time. I stay up at night worrying. I wonder what our world is going to look like in twenty years. I am scared about where we are headed (but take comfort in the promises of our Lord).  BUT…


Let me tell you something that should NOT have our panties in a jumble…
President Barack Obama blessing a turkey before it goes to death.  That is funny.  It was a cute little video, where he, his wife, and his child are laughing.  It wasn’t meant to be an attack on the Catholic Church.  It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful.  You can tell by the video it was a spur of the moment funny thing.

Now before you panic, understand that I understand 2 things.

1.   If he mocked pretty much any other religion besides Catholicism EVERYONE would panic    and it would be front page news

2.   He is the President of the United States and so he is called to a high level of sensitivity in all actions.

That being said…IT was NOT a big deal.

You know what we should be talking about?

An economy that continues to tank, jobs lost, entitlement as the norm, student debt rising and forgiveness being on the table, social security, Medicare, etc… Those things matter.

Would you like to know what IS a big deal?
The current administration going to war with religion.  The Current Administration deciding that the law of the land can force religious institutions to pay for, either directly or indirectly, services that religious organizations deem morally unacceptable.

You know what is a HUGE deal?

The current administration’s policies regarding abortion.  The fact that babies are being killed with this country’s permission and the current president has sworn to respect that right (even at nine months, even after a baby is born ALIVE from a botched abortion, even without the consent of parents, etc…)

Do you know what doesn’t matter? 
The president blessing a turkey before it meets it’s untimely death.

And would you like to know why I am ticked off about it???

Because making things like this a huge deal (the blessing) detracts from the REALLY big deals that are happening.  People don’t want to listen to us ‘extremists’ when we panic about an obvious joke.  We forget real issues.  And, we end up looking like fools.  But to take it one step further…we end up losing elections.

Did I just say we lost the election for caring about things like the blessing of a turkey? 

Do I get that it is way more complicated than that?
(so no need to comment in despair- it’s my blog, I can say what I want to).

So friends, let’s let the turkey go.  I know that some of you will struggle to do so, because of the whole, ‘Barack Obama is the anti-christ’ thing…but we really should let it go.

I do believe that real evil is at play here, but I believe the evil is abortion, the stripping away of religious rights, and the movement towards a socialism-based government (ha- just kidding, don’t panic lefty-leaning friends)…

IT IS NOT the evil of blessing a turkey.

WHEW, I feel better.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Merry Thanksgiving Weekend...

...with love, laughter and cheer!

So blessed this weekend to have one of my very best friends of 14 years (are we really that old?!?!?!) Paul Coakley and his lovely wife/family stay with us.  The four day weekend was full of delightful memories with our kids (because yes, we have them), reconnecting with family (hey there lil' brother, good to have you back) and so many fantastic memories.  Here is the story in pictures (I'll try not to put too many- wait, who am I kidding, there is going to be a lot)!
The Aarons finishing up much needed raking.  Might be my favorite picture of the two of them together. 

Joey sure does love his Uncle Paul

"stop running away...I wanna play"

Dad's toast

I am so very thankful for the three people who have changed my whole life.

All that for one little boy :)

Coakley smiles!

Reunited and it feels so good

Not a thanksgiving without a little cake in the face

....er, or a lot of cake in the face

Two besties 

love of my life

best.aunt.ever. seriously. best.

The Jacketts and the Coakleys

I love how lil' Aaron is looking at his cousin

I actually have to set time limits on myself to go to bed when my dear friend Ann is in town, otherwise we would literally stay up all night talking.  Which gets awkward at the 5:30 am baby wake up call!

Good times!

Annie ROCKED out the dishes this year!  And Jen got to get in on the action!

Insert cheesy 80s song, 'Friends are friends forever, when the Lord's the Lord of them...'

Cannot tell you the joy in my heart

Cousins crew is down to a few 

This is such a Bad A$$ daddy pic

Cannot wait to watch these little guys grow up together.  Christian did so well with the littles!


Lil' A really wanted to get into the action

"Don't mind if I do" says Ellie

Sticker time is AWESOME

This kid is really something else.  There is something so special about him. Future priest? We shall see, but in the meantime, look at that smile!!!

So fun!

Uncle Paul ROCKS! He has movies of monster trucks!

pretty much in love with this boy

I love this one


What a great big brother


Christian is a stellar playmate!

Didn't win, but still smiling.
Such a great Thanksgiving was had by all!  I adore everything that comes with September-February.  Thank you Jesus for all of our gifts and the way you love us through each other!