Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zeal for Your house

Welllll this is NOT the way I'd hoped to end my blogathon, at nearly midnight, with another tiny post.  But it is what it is. My Nana hangs on to her earthly life. We hang onto her hands. Many tears, many words of love, and many memories have been shared.  And not a little chocolate has been eaten.

Honestly, I will write more soon.  But for now I will leave you with pictures of the main events in my life right now.... First, this horror:

That's the "before" pic with "huh... how would this wig look at Annie dress rehearsal?  And then, this beauty:

Holding the hand of a great great grandmother, who is finally starting her rest. Thanks, again, for your prayers as she lets go of this world and walks, young and full of life, into the next.

"Zeal for your house consumes me." Psalm 69:9

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord

Long days, long nights here: the vigil for Nana continues. Much to say and no time to write it, though I hope to soon! But for now I'll put down some verses my mother used to read to me when I was afraid:

"You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in the shade of the Almighty:
say to the Lord: 'My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'
He will deliver you from the fowler's snare and from deadly pestilence, 
He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; 
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You need not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day." Psalm 91:1-5

Monday, April 28, 2014

X-ray of (nearly) a century

"Where the hell is the holy water?" 

That's one of the funnier phrases that came out in the past few days.  My dear, dear 98-year-old grandmother is dying. Old age, recent dementia, and a painful hip fracture (I think it's the fourth one) conspired to being about her demise. So we watch, and wait, and she breathes. Then pauses. Then breathes. 

So many moments of sadness and beauty, fear and joy.  I will blog more later.  Thank you for prayers. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Watching and Waiting

Here with my sister and cousin, waiting the night with my Nana, who is preparing to go Home.  Thanks for prayers for her peace and comfort.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vidya: "Life Force"

Hey, I have an hour to keep up with my daily blogging thingie this month, so here it is:

A Facebook friend of mine asked on her wall for a word beginning with "v" that means something like "life force." So I told her the name of my friend from India: Vidya.

Around my house, the girl who should have been named something that means "Life Force" or "Force of Nature" or perhaps simply "Hurricane," is this girl.

This was the moment of pride right after panicking about having skates on,
and right before panicking about having skates on, again.
Of course, my grandmother used to say I should have been named "Stormy," because I was born during the blizzard of '78. And that same grandmother, according to a late phone call I took tonight, has just received the last rites.  I'll be going over there shortly.  Thank you for your prayers for her, for a peaceful transition from one life to the next.

"Verily I say to you: you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices, 
but your grief will be turned into joy." John 16:20

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U-Tube: My First Embarrasingly-Biased Upload!

Okay fine, I cheated a little on the ABC thing.  But not having posted on You Tube before... I'm totally biased, but this is kind of cute, huh?

Okay yeah, that's me making cookies (I'm told) at age three. There does exist a silent, projector-run film of this blessed event, but that's not uploadable yet. However, the following is:

Kids don't learn by imitation or anything, right?  It's funny because I didn't realize how much she was taking in. Wanted to share the smiles. :)
"United with Christ Jesus, you, who at times were far away, 
are brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:13

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


On Christmas, despite ice and slush and grey and cold, we strive to commemorate the "octave" of the feast, even when--on December 26--we see lots of Christmas trees already at the curb.

But with Easter... yeah candy goes to half-price and bunnies and egg decorations leave the stores, but the trees... you just can't stop them from cooperating with the celebration.  :)

"The trees of the field will clap their hands!" Isaiah 55:12

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Summa Chocolatia: Top Ten

Here's my thought for today: how good is God that we have... chocolate.  

The consumption of chocolate, I find, adds an entirely new, caffeine-induced level of understanding of apologetics. Consider, for instance:

1. God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Chocolate makes me feel loved and happy.
Therefore God wants us to eat chocolate.

2. Or, to be more specific:

  • We see that natural bodies work toward some goal, and do not do so by chance.
  • Most natural things lack knowledge.  
  • But as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, what lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligence.
  • Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

  • From this proof of God's existence, we can also conclude--while under the influence of enough Twix--that since chocolate's natural end is within us, therefore chocolate is God's gift to us.  

    3. We can know by our natural reason that there is a God, for natural reason tells us that that a world wherein there is chocolate could have been made only by a all-good Being, all-wise and almighty.
    4. Our senses prove that some things are in motion, and that other things should be in motion. Like chocolate.  Chocolate should always be in actual motion, as the potential motion of chocolate does not unite chocolate with its ultimate end: your digestive system. 

    5. The beauty of chocolate is directly referenced in Scripture in the Songs of Solomon 1:5: "I am black but beautiful." 

    6. Chocolate, a product of vegetation, was created on the third day.  Wednesdays should be celebrated accordingly.

    7. Scripture says that God has put into our hearts the desire .....for chocolate.  Therefore, the consumption of chocolate is meritorious.

    And then, there's the following Psalms, read through Snicker smudges:

    8. "Praise the Lord... fruit trees and all cedars!" Psalm 148:9 (Doubtless, here "fruit trees" primarily denotes the cocoa tree...)

    9. "The chocolate of the Lord is Good, delighting the heart." Psalm 19:8, The Whitman Bible.

    10.  From one of the lesser known Belgian Translations: "Thy Word is a lamp for my feet, and chocolate along the path." Psalm 119:105

    Earnestly seeking chocolate from among the lesser candies
    From all this can be seen that I have, perhaps, had far too much of a good thing... hmm.

    "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6

    Monday, April 21, 2014


    No, not "attention to the presence of God in the soul."  This time, recollection simply as "the action of remembering something."

    For instance, remembering: "Just because the house is drowning in candy does not mean I should constantly eat it."

    That's hard to remember. Especially when you're thinking "Feast Day! End of Lent! Yippee!" And especially when all the candy is now on sale. 


    Enough talk about candy! I also recall a gorgeous sunset, visible through the doors of the church over the Easter fire. That would definitely be a high point of this holiday: the Easter Vigil!  A lower point would be telling my family we couldn't come over because a couple of my kiddos had fevers too recently; seriously, what is it about my family and sickness on holidays?

    That and visiting the cemetery where someone apparently stole my angel statue from Pepper; what is wrong with some people?!?! And the bittersweet experience of scrolling through Facebook at happy family pics and babies dressed in pink. Pepper would have been almost eight months old this Easter. That is not always easy to recollect.

    Back to the candy....

    One way to solve the problem of me overdoing the chocolate is to feed the kids more candy, so that I personally don't eat as much.

    Of course, then you get something like this:

    Convincing her that it was a wee bit chilly for water guns, despite her older sisters' opinions, I brought her inside. She crawled onto daddy's lap, singing a babbly, slurred version, of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile." The loud song ended suddenly; she just cashed out, fast asleep. And before she brushed her teeth!

    I looked at my sleeping "baby." And I was fully dressed, once again. :)

    "Remember, Lord, your tender mercies and your gracious love; indeed, they are eternal." Psalm 25:6

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Questions on Easter

    "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

    We women are fantastic at anticipating problems. You know when you think something is going to be a problem, like a REAL problem, and then... it isn't?

    "But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, 
    had already been rolled aside."

    And you know how shocking it is when you aren't expecting a problem, and then whoa, there's something we really, really hadn't planned on. 

    "As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe 
    sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed."

    Yet there are times when the "problem" turns out to be a really good thing, an absolutely wonderful thing, better than our wildest dreams would allow us to imagine.  

    "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. 
    He has risen! He is not here. 
    See the place where they laid him." Mk. 16:3-6

    May your days be filled with Easter joy.

    Friday, April 18, 2014


    Reflecting today on my personal "Good Friday" experience and the wonderful little girl I get to meet someday.

    "Persevere in prayer, with an alert mind and a thankful heart." Colossians 4:2

    Good Friday Sunset 2014, Australia, Photo by Carly Marie

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    O Happy Fault

    We Catholic Christians are in Holy Week right now, and just entered the Easter Triduum.  I haven't focused on this week terribly much blog-wise as of yet, partly because last year was so... intense.

    But with today's theme, I couldn't think of a better topic to reflect on then the tremendous paradox sung in the Exsultet on the biggest feast of the year: the Easter Vigil (yes that's this Saturday night, so I'm a little ahead of myself.)  

    "O happy fault, that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer."

    That just always made me say, "Wow."  Something so good and something so bad, with God bringing great good out of great evil. Like it says in Scripture: "Where sin abounded, grace did more abound." Romans 5:20 For the full theological treatise on the phrase, see Aquinas. :)

    How many times has God brought good out of evil in our lives? And I wonder how He will continue to do so... I definitely experienced that last year.  I'm not sure I'm at the point where I could say "O happy loss," but I rejoice that my daughter is experiencing "so great and so glorious" a life right now.  Sorrow and joy entwined, to become pure joy in the future. 

    Speaking of "O's," here's the song that will be sung in churches around the world tonight, Holy Thursday, as we celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist. I particularly enjoy being Catholic during this time of year...

    "O Job, stand and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014


    I'm gonna stoop to a new low and "reblog" a post here, the one I wrote last year about my Nana when she turned 97 (if you're a math type, yes, that means she just turned 98!)  She has a fascinating life story, and the post has a recording of my grandfather and hersinging when they were young and silly. :)

    I would appreciate your prayers for my Nana, and my Dad. Finally, after nearly a century, her mind is slowly succumbing to dementia. Peace for her as she prepares to go Home.

    "Now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word." Luke 2:29

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014


    No time again, so sharing a couple photos of one of the most fun-loving women in my life. Oh, and me a couple of years younger.  Most of these were taken at the Cape.  :)

    Yeah, I always did like red. :)

    "Mary treasured all these things, pondering on them in her heart." Luke 2:19

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Loving my Liebster Award

    I would like to thank Grace and Gusto, God, and every reader who ever remotely considered nominating me for a blog award, for my recent nomination for a Liebster Award! After languidly basking in the pink glow of newfound fame, I decided to share this award with others, which is what I supposed to do in the first place: this award is an informal way for bloggers to learn more about each other, discover new blogs, and perhaps gain a few new readers in the process.

    To accept this award, I'm supposed to answer a series of questions:

    1. What's your favorite thing about where you live?

    The sea, seafood, and non-freezing seasons, and the history, arts, culture, people, flower, 

    and fauna of Rhode Island.  Least favorite thing would be the politics and corruption... :P

    2. What is your favorite post you've ever written? (leave a link!)

    That's tough... I guess I enjoy my humorous ones most, tie between maybe 
    "How To Be On Time With Preschoolers", "Football Widowhood," and 
    "Discipline From the Dentist's Chair."

    But I also, in a completely different way, love when I can talk about my "Pepper" and what I do
    in her honor, like "Due Date of a Water Child."

    3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A crossing guard, like I just blogged about yesterday lol.  I totally should have gone with it. 
    Know what I said about politics and corruption above? They all favor crossing guards, 
    at least in my city... these savvy people have amazing pay and benefits, so I'm told.  
    See?  Every career decision you need to make is made in Kindergarten, sigh...

    4. What was the first blog you started reading?

    "This Fish Needs A Bicycle."  I may not agree with all her views, but I thought, and think, 
    her style is hilarious.
    5. What movie do you think should have a sequel?

    Pollyanna.  Cuz c'mon, haven't you always wanted to know, for sure, she'd be able to 

    walk again? Or how she'd handle it if she couldn't?  Biggest childhood cliffhanger 
    of all time, man...  A second would be Mary Poppins... she and Bert need 
    to get married and have kids that fly on umbrellas! 

    (No, I don't get out to the movies much; why do you ask?)

    6. If you could be a member of any TV-sitcom family or group, which would it be?

    On "Survivor: Spa in Milan," where I'm the youngest, strongest, and smartest.  
    Yeah, that, I guess...

    7. What's your favorite song?     

    "At Last I See the Light" in Tangled.  At least that's today's favorite... 
    All time favorite, very well:

    8.  What is the worst job you've ever had?

    Cold calling for a beauty product home business.  Ughhhhhhhhh

    9. Do you collect anything?

    Seashells.  And unmatched socks, apparently.

    10. What is the best compliment anyone has ever given you?

    "Mom, youwa my best fwend."

    11. How far away from your birthplace do you live now?

    Five minutes. :D  We don't migrate, we Rhode Islanders, not really. We are born with 
    homing instincts. I lived in the south for three years, and in Europe for two semesters, 
    but I ended up living a street away from the one I grew up on.

    11 Random Facts About Me:  

    1. I love enormous bathrobes and candles, as I am usually cold.
    2.  Red is my favorite color.
    3. I'm terrified of bees and sharks.  As I kid, I ran inside in a panic whenever I heard 
    buzzing (my poor mom), and would cry for fear a shark would appear in my bathtub. My kids 
    now run squealing with me when bees are around, and laugh at me for being afraid of sharks 
    in the bathtub.  They are afraid of puppets, instead, which makes so much more sense, right?
    4.  I've been in love three times, not counting the time I discerned entering the convent. :)
    I consider God to be my first and best love. :)
    5. I grew up without TV, and was homeschooled from 6th-12th grade. I learned a lot 
    academically, but I was ever so slightly "sheltered." 
    6. I spent my first year of married life in Austria, in a dorm room, using a common kitchen 
    with several European students who all wanted to learn English.
    Thus, I know a very little of several different languages, about enough to say hello, goodbye, 
    order coffee, and find a bathroom. :) 
    7. C.S.Lewis is my all time favorite author.
    8.  I prefer coffee to alcohol, easily.
    9. I sleep holding a large panda.  It helps my back. You see, I have a rare and severe 
    arthritis in my back, bad enough to qualify me--so far--with a handicapped parking permit 
    till 2020, woot woot! I only use it when there are 16 empty spots though, or when I wake up 
    truly feeling 82. 
    10. On the days that I don't feel 82, and the med du jour is actually doing something other 
    than causing liver damage or threatening lymphoma, I love ziplining. I want to try a longer, 
    tree top tour sometime... I also like white water rafting... well I liked the level 3's anyway.
    11. I believe that God loves absolutely everyone.

    My 11 Nominees:

    (I’m not sure how to tell if they have less than 200 followers unless it’s displayed 
    on their page, so some of these are assumptions.)

    New nominees, kindly answer the questions I answered above for yourself; 
    I look forward to reading them!

    11 questions for the new nominees:

    1. What made you decide to begin blogging?
    2. If you could switch places with someone for a day, who would it be?
    3. Where would you most like to travel?
    4. What is your all-time favorite blog post (leave a link)?
    5. What is your favorite book or movie and why?
    6. Who do you consider a role model?
    7. If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy?
    8. What is your favorite hobby or pastime?
    9. What's the worst job you ever had?
    10.What is your favorite meal, or what is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?
    11. What is one thing you would change about your life?

    So there you have it! It's been a lot of fun putting this together, and I can't wait 
    to read the responses! Thanks again for the nomination, Grace and Gusto! :)

    "Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is the right word spoken at the right time." Proverbs 25:11

    Saturday, April 12, 2014


    She always wore gloves and a hat.  And a bright yellow vest.  Daily, when I crossed the street before and after school, she would either start singing, "Here she is, Miss America" or would say, "And how are my little and big bundles of joy doing today?" Then, as I was scooting across the street as quickly as my plaid-uniformed self with green-kneehighed legs would carry me, she would sing the following song (insert eye roll here):

    Rita was a sweet-natured crossing guard, and she seemed elderly... then again, I was six when I met her, so she was probably actually in her 30's.  But I'm pretty sure her singing "my song" daily for my six years of regular elementary school may have accounted for my dislike of my nickname.

    Personally, I wouldn't name anyone "Katie." I don't hate it, but meh, you know? Plus... that song...

    Oh yes.  And my mother was fond of pointing out any unusually bright green, unidentified insect as, "Look, Katie! It's a katydid! Just like your name!" Oh. Yay.

    Free stock photo from Wikimedia
    This would then be followed by my brother shrieking "Katy DID!  Katy DIDN'T! Katy DID! etc etc etc"

    I thought my real name was pretty cool though. "Katherine." I was named after the original Katherine of Alexandria (so I'm told.) The one Catherine of Siena was also named after, as I was told at one point. I happily "grandfather" her in as my patroness as well, as I feel I need all the intercessory help I can get these days...
    Ventura Salimbeni
    When I went to college, I determined I would be known as "Katherine."  I believe this lasted all of two days. I had a friend, born on the same day and same year as me, who was also "Catherine."  My peers decided it would be much too confusing to have two of us, and thus I should henceforth be called "Katie."

    Fast-forward five years.  I'm head teacher at a Montessori school, and I've got all these adorable three and four years olds lisping out "Miss Kafwin."  I loved it.

    Until my mother-in-law got wind of my preference, and began called me "Katherine."  She still calls me "Katherine." Always with a hard emphasis on the first syllable of "Katherine."  As in "KAtherine, I can't believe you are doing that. You should be more careful, KAtherine. KAtherine, isn't it high time for these young'uns to have a nap? KAtherine, haven't you heard that ultrasounds cause autism? KAtherine, why aren't you staying for dinner?"

    And it was this experience which gave me a renewed appreciation of the name I was called from childhood.

    You may call me "Katie."  It's really not so bad after all.

    (To my knowledge, my mother-in-law has not yet discovered that I blog. If she does, the following verse may prove appropos):
    "King David heard all this, and was furious." 2 Samuel 13:21

    P.S. My husband mentioned that the above could be considered "harsh." Oh dear. Then ignore last verse. Don't worry, I will fix it! Here's what I meant to say:
    "Knower of the hearts of all [is the Lord]." Acts 1:24

    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Jumper queens

    Don't bother googling it (I tried)... if you do you'll get hunter horses in shows or suicides in New York. But the definition I learned of "jumper queen" was the not-so-nice description of the (supposed) favorite clothing choice of a homeschooling female.

    I have no idea what people are talking about.  Just look at this high-quality photo of a perfectly normal ultra-Catholic homeschooling family--myself and my siblings--circa 1990.

    Yesterday was "sibling day" and I had the opportunity to rifle through old photos and so got to enjoy this one again...  Clearly, I was. rather, a" puffed-sleeve princess", and there's the proof.:)

    I'm currently dressed in a worn and fluffy bathrobe, with no hope :( of attending the culminating event of my first wonderful homeschool co-op, full of (actually) fashionably dressed moms. Hubby will soon be taking all the kids out while I convalesce from the honest-to-goodness flu, test-confirmed this afternoon along with a sinus infection.  Yes, in April. And yes, I had the flu shot, had to because I volunteer at a hospital. Draw your own conclusions (grumble growl sulk).

    This is my fourth "get in bed and stay there" germ I've gotten in five months. I really, really hope I will now be immune to everything, because Moms don't get sick days, you know?

    Gonna rest my pounding head...will really write again someday soon, really. Ughhhhh

    "Just as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, 
    so we also may walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Invasion of Grace

    One of the things I've enjoyed most about Lent this year is Fr. Robert Barron's daily emailed reflections. Today's was "The Invasion of Grace." I like having a short, inspiring sermon daily in my inbox.

    And I also like having more time to write. And I didn't today. So here's a link to one of my more humorous posts.

    For now:

    "Indeed, out of his fullness we all have received grace upon grace."John 1:16

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014


    And good night! It's all I have time for.  Here's a highlight from today.  

    "Happy is the man that trusts in the Lord." Psalm 40:4

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Grüß Gott and Will Smith

    The opening scene to The Bridge of San Luis Rey has all the main characters hurtling to their deaths, even before you get to know them.

    "Great!" I shouted to my mom in the kitchen when I first read those lines. "Only two pages into this new homeschool English program, and I'm already scarred!  Geez."  Of course, teenage me read the whole thing anyway.

    Still not my favorite or most recommended read.  But a theme of the high school book that stayed with me was the way people said goodbye to each other, translated as "Go with God."

    Given that the characters all ended up falling off a bridge, I rather questioned where the Divine Being was leading them. Quo Vadis, Domine? (That's a good book, by the way.)

    If you're a person who tries to follow God, that's a question you ask very often: "Where are you going, Lord?" Thing is, you don't get a detailed TripTik. Instead, you get "Come and see."  

    Speaking of TripTiks and travel: right after I got married, my husband and I went to graduate school in Austria with a lot of enthusiasm and only one language. 

    Here's where we lived: ain't it purty?

    Photos courtesy of
    You see, the plan was to get our degrees and then both go work for a few years to pay off the adventure. What actually happened is that I came back Stateside in May, six months pregnant.)  We did eventually pick up some German, enough to make that our second "go to" language when it's clear someone didn't understand English.  I caught myself about to explain my order in German to the confused Latina working at McDonald's just today, actually, when "one cone and one cup of ice cream, please" kept coming back as an upside down cone in a cup, or two empty cups and three spoons.  "Nein nein, ein Eis, bitte!"  Pretty sure that wouldn't have helped though.

    At any rate: one of the first words we learned in Austria was the greeting used among the local villagers: Grüß Gott, which kinda means "God greet you" and, loosely, "Go with God."  I thought it was an awesome way to say hello, and an apt way to describe my first year of married life, with its much earlier onset of motherhood than I had expected. 

    "Grüß Gott" came to mind since today's post is brought to you by the letter "G" :P It got me thinking about "going with God," and all the happy and scary and sorrowful and glorious places He has led me through in my life so far.  It certainly hasn't always been the path I would have chosen. 

    But, despite the fact that life doesn't always work the way I wish and plan, I find He has always been there to lead me through dark valleys to the green pastures.

    "God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of need."  Psalm 46:1

    Monday, April 7, 2014


    Her name means "happiness."  And it fits.

    Well, most of the time.

    I would write more, but after a long day of homeschooling, shopping, and "Annie" practice, Felicity and I are done with excitement for the day.

    We wish you good night, before coaches turn into pumpkins...


    (If they actually let us sleep...)

    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 
    "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
     plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    The Big E

    I had long since despaired of my sanity.  Carting two kids under the age of three around a mammoth county fair under a blazing sun was not, by far, my most keen parenting moment.  After hours of whining, snacking on fried food, and a couple tantrums that they could not ride the coaster or love chicks to death in tiny suffocating fists, my two little girls were finally, incomprehensibly, enamored of some farming machinery. All three of them, two girls and daddy. And then there was me.

    You know when you've just "had it." I'd "had it."  Enough was enough. This country excursion was meant to be a fun, family outing, and instead had been simply grueling, expensive, and hot.  Really hot. Early into my unexpected motherhood--married at 23, now with two kids at 25--I had been casting envious eyes on couples laughing together, pointing at exhibits and talking like grown-ups, jumping on rides with height requirements without a second thought.  Couples that had been us, two short years ago. But now... we had two babies we loved and adored and seemingly no free time. No freedom, period. Weighed down by diaper bags and nap schedules, we had had so few breaks, with very, very infrequent childcare. And I had had absolutely no "me" time, for months.

    There was only one thing I wanted to do.

    "Dan, I'm leaving.  I'm going to ride the elephant. No, I'm going alone, not dragging the kiddos to the other end of this ginormous place in these crowds.  I'm just gonna go, ride the elephant, and come back here, okay?"

    Dazed by whirling gears and heat, my husband readily agreed.  Bouncing off a couple bales of straw, Annemarie was enchanted. Claire was snoozing sweatily in the stroller.

    And I was off, alone in the crowds. The feeling was delicious.  Without any coaxing or stroller maneuvers, I could slip nimbly between popcorn carts and gaggles of teens. I could pause to watch milking contests without setting up an alternative, more exciting, preschool-approved distraction. I could sample roasting nuts, savoring the smell and taste without demands for a chocking hazard allergen. I could be simply Katie, if only for a half hour.

    And I could ride an elephant.

    Sometimes, when all things mommyish have gotten to me, I find it really helps to do something completely and totally out of the norm. Thus, I highly recommend riding exotic animals to any care-warn parent. It will help, really. And I bet you haven't tried it, huh? Tsk tsk...

    For being such a powerful panacea of parenting peace, the line to ride a very warm animal in a very hot tent wasn't nearly as long as I expected. $15 was a lot for a two minute circle on a magic carpet, in my opinion, but I was still game. Elated all the way till I was presented with the ladder used to mount the beast.

    I don't like heights. But I'd be darned if I was backing down now. Putting one hand against the dusty, leathery grey skin, I reached up to grab the rope hanging from the reddish, carpet-like saddle. And I scrambled up somehow.

    I didn't realize how much of a split one does when riding an elephant. It's considerable. And despite the rug-like saddle and bar to hang on to, well elephant hairs are really prickly.  And man, this was high up...

    I looked past the flapping ears, down to the trunk wrapped around a stick held by a tiny looking trainer. The world shifted, and I was moving, in large, dizzying, swaying motions, each step daring a shift that would lurch me off the side. But I didn't. I held that bar. I rode that elephant. And grinned widely the whole time too, patting the beast in what I hoped was a thankful and encouraging manner.

    Getting down was just as much as an adrenalin rush. The world of normal height seemed oddly off-kilter after riding a creature so wonderfully colossal.  I smiled my way back to the tent of tractor gears.

    "So.  You rode an elephant?"  Dan pulled a filthy straw out of Annemarie's mouth and ignored the wailing protest for a moment to look at me.

    "And loved it!"

    Naturally, within two minutes, I had a moment of mommy guilt.  This phenomena occurs whenever a mom does anything nice just for herself, particularly if she has had no "me" time in eons. I felt guilt for spending $15 on this odd bucket list item which could have been used to buy yet more treats for my children. I felt guilty for all of 3.2 seconds, and then banished the feeling as absurd.

    I decided, once and for all time, that every mom deserves to ride an elephant.

    I also resolved that my girls would one day share this unique joy. And two years later, I made it happen. Of course, I didn't have a camera--again--but a kind stranger took pics and emailed me this shot.

    "Every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17

    Friday, April 4, 2014


    Growing up in the happy days before leash laws were enforced, a Doberman, a German Shepherd, and a pit bull mix had free range of our neighborhood.

    As the oldest of four, I was perfectly happy with this arrangement. Having brothers, I could delicately beg off doing the inevitable lawn duty that came with three free canines, and instead could focus on doling out milkbones to our communal pets.  We didn't own any animals, yet every summer night at least one of these pooches would whine, scratch, or bark at our door, eager to get snacks, get pats, and go play fetch when we had finished dinner.

    I can still remember my dad, shaking his head in the kitchen as he recounted to my mom his first meeting with what would become our favorite dog : "Cath, I just lost 10 years off my life... I was putting out the trash, right, and I see this enormous Doberman--huge!-- looking at me from up the street.  So I slowly start to come back towards the house, and he starts running towards me.  Not barking, just running. And I'm like, this is it.  So he flies up, comes to a stop beside me, and starts nudging my knee.  Would you believe... He just wanted to be pet! Must have just starched his ears for a good 20 minutes out there, wanted to make sure we were friends!"

    Conan the Doberman, Sadie the Shepherd, and Bozly, the roly poly Pitbull who would eat absolutely anything... pebbles were not off limits even: these dogs were among the sweetest, friendliest animals I've ever known.  It was only as an adult that I realized there was anything unusual about this arrangement.

    And that's how I learned not to be prejudiced. 

    "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Luke 6:31

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    The girl called "C"

    Busy day.  So leaving you with a picture of my four year old daughter Cecilia, otherwise known as "C." :D

    "Cast all your cares on the Lord, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Baby starts with "B"

    That's my "B." "Baby." No no, not announcing anything; I just want one. :) I partially blame best friends who have a baby boy right now... you know who you are.

    And no, not just because I should have a seven month old now, though sure, that's a factor. More so I don't have to change this blog's name. That would be such a drag; it took me two years to come up with a name for a blog so I could start writing one. And naturally, I don't want to waste the cute infant clothes that I've stored too. Of course, everything else in my life does not agree with this idea, neither my iffy health, small house, challenging finances, key relationships.... everything just needs more attention and work. 

    But arguably, all it takes is a few minutes of not caring about all this... am I right, or am I right?  Huh? Just being practical. ;) For now though, I'm behaving, going to all my doctor's appointments, and getting steroid shots in my back... tomorrow.

    "B" is also for "behave"... Darn, I'm like hyper aware of all my words that start with B right now...this "blogathon" is going to drive the preschool teacher/OCDish part of me insane.  Cuz like "steroid" and "shots" begin with the letter "S" so I "shan't" talk about "s" words till April 22nd... errr.

    Ah well. There you go, baby.

    "But to every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    About chatting with you, more often...

    This will be brief, as a two-year-old is dancing on my lap, yelling toddler profanities. Maybe. Honestly I'm not sure what she's saying, I'm trying to do this... 

    Oh wait, update: she's yelling because her happy meal toy unicorn is not the same purple pattern as the four-year-old's purple patterned toy unicorn. That's why she's tantruming.

    And that's why I don't blog daily.

    Except when I enter a blogathon, like I did today--last minute as usual--called "Blogging from A to Z." Supposed to blog daily, except Sundays, on topics starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet.

    "Snort," says the Mom in me.  But the writer in me is all "Surrrwa. Why not?"  Force me to say hi to y'all briefly, once a day.  Keep up the relationship and all. 

    So today's topic is "About" the Blogathon.  LAME. I know. Some people joined in January, and have this planned out.  They don't join contests and type with toddlers on their laps. They're smarter and better, and I freely acknowledge that.  

    If I had my act together, I would be blogging about, "Abandonment to Divine Providence."  But no. Today is "About."  And "April."  And "apple core."  Like the one I can see-under-the-TV-this-very-minute-are-you-serious?!?  Sigh.

    Happy April, everyone.  The sun is shining.  Best gift ever. 

    Oooo.  Maybe I can quote a Scripture verse starting with each letter every day, eh, eh?  Why not?  Get back into the swing of things?  Making this up on the fly here...

    Really stopping this post now. It just seems so... short.  Huh. Weird.  Feel I should keep typing about something deep, or funny, or engage in humorous grieving or something.  Or tell you how everyone at Homeschool Co-op today like the same idea from Pinterest and brought Brown E's to class... get it? Construction paper letter E's!  That were brown! (snort)  

    It's a BROWN-E!

    I'm already using the wrong letter!  I'm such a rebel!  Mwahaha...

    Yes, I'm leaving now, bye...

    "As the deer panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God." 
    Psalm 42:1

    P.S. This verse (in Latin) was my favorite choir song in choir: have a listen. :)