An Empty Nest, an Apology, a Reprieve, and a Thank You

This week, the only kid we’ll have at home with us is Little Brother.  The other two kids are off on vacation with their friends who generously invited them along.  Lucky kids!  I won’t miss the all-day, everyday consumption of Dr. Pepper, Ellio’s pizza, and pretzels that seems to happen when my teenagers are around, but I’ll miss their company nonetheless.  So will Little Brother.  (I’m trying to plan a little extra fun into his week).  That’s the Empty Nest part.

The young man with the colorful vocabulary has come forward to apologize.  We’re glad about that.  And he was rather eloquent about it as well, expressing his regrets for his lack of respect to my daughter, to me, and to my family.  That’s the Apology part.

And now we’ve got six more days before there will be any teenagers around here.  That will give everyone a chance to cool down, and–I hope–a fresh start next weekend.  I’ve got a big sense of relief right now.  I’m glad that a confession and an apology took place before Middle Sister departed for the shore.  I’m glad for the opportunity to take a bit of a break so I can start fresh next week.  And I’m glad we stuck to our guns on this issue, even though my daughter doesn’t “get” what the big deal was.  Hopefully, one day she will.  And that’s the Reprieve part.

Finally, the Thanks part, in which I express my gratitude to you for your show of support in the comments, and for the prayers that I am certain strengthened me through the rest of this week.  Thank you ever so much!

Preach the Gospel at All Times

…use words if necessary. (Francis of Assisi)

Those are great words to live by–but at the same time, hard words to live by. It means you have to really live by what you believe. No hypocrisy allowed. “Do as I say, because what I say really is what I do.”

A fine example of living this way is Mary Ann Glendon, who has turned down Notre Dame’s prestigious Laetare Medal award rather than take part in the media circus surrounding President Obama’s honorary ND degree, and rather than be used by the ND administration as an appropriate foil to Obama’s anti-life record in the Senate and in the Presidency.

She’s got courage–and she stands up for what she believes in. As a Notre Dame alum, I thank her for that. And I hope that all who were dismayed by ND’s invitation to the President to speak and receive a degree will be inspired by Mary Ann Glendon’s refusal to share the stage with him.

Things to be thankful for

When you’re under the weather you have time to think of all kinds of things to be thankful for!
–a caring family
–Little Brother, who saw the bandage on my hand where the IV went in, and has been very concerned about my injured HAND!
–TheDad, who has been working hard with work and his startup business and Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts AND doing all the kid-shuffling these past couple of days
–a big pot of homemade soup from a friend
–a freshly-opened box of crispy saltines to go with the soup (I swear, saltines only taste good on the day you open the box)
–enough food in the fridge, pantry and freezer that we haven’t had to have a takeout run

I wonder if they miss me at Shop Rite? I haven’t been there in over a week!


My friend SFO Girl called here late this afternoon and announced that she was on her way here with a big pot of Chicken Noodle Soup.

Boy, it was good.

And not only did it take the heat off TheDad for coming up with a dinner for tonight, it’s going to make my life easier tomorrow morning when it’s time to pack lunches. Guess what’s for lunch tomorrow?

I might even have some for breakfast, it was that good.


It’s been a busy day in Housecleaning World. I took down the curtains in the living room, dining room and kitchen, and washed them along with the tablecloths from the living-room side tables. Then I washed windows in the living room and kitchen, and ironed curtains for the kitchen as well as the tablecloths (heavy starch on those, thankyouverymuch). I scrubbed the screens for the living-room windows–a bank of 4 windows 6 feet tall and 30 inches wide.

I started dough for Danielle’s beer rolls. I hosted a birthday party for Adventure Boy and was thankful for my neighbor, who made the delicious cake.

And THEN I ran out of gas.

The dining-room windows are still not washed, and the living-room windows are clean but naked. Now there’s a big, giant spider with striped legs busy building a web outside one of the dining-room windows, so it looks like my window of opportunity for washing those without the interference of local wildlife has passed.

I didn’t want to cook dinner, but I put on my apron and got things started. I was thankful for my rice cooker, and even more thankful when Middle Sister came into the kitchen, saw that I was all set up to make Chicken Piccata, and said, “I’ll cook!”

Dear Chick-Fil-A:

A couple of weeks ago I tasted that new Southern Chicken sandwich at McDonald’s.

You have nothing to worry about. Yes, they’re imitating you. But they don’t even come close.

Not with the sandwich, not with the cleanliness of the restaurant, not with the politeness and helpfulness and friendliness of the employees, not with the quality of what they can’t call “milkshakes”….

They don’t come close with the kinds of causes they support either. We appreciate your family-friendly “closed on Sundays” policy and your sponsorship of sporting events and “Between the Lions,” among other things. We appreciate that you do not align yourself, as does McDonald’s, with the cause for same-sex marriage.

Just keep doing what you’re doing, because you do it very well. And families like mine appreciate that.

Now This Is What I Like To See

From the bulletin at the parish where my younger children attend school:

I have begun saying Masses with the different grades
in our School. During the Mass, I explain to them the
different parts of the Mass and its various significance
and meaning. These “show-and-tell” Masses are held
at our Adoration Chapel.
I am also extending an invitation for the training and
formation of a new batch of altar servers. If interested
please call the rectory. Who knows we might have a
potential priest in our midst from our altar servers?

Thanks, Father!


The gift cards I received for Christmas have yielded heavenly toastiness in the form of:

My New Shoes

These shoes are fabulous–I have never had such toasty toes in my life. And when my feet are cold, the rest of me is not too happy either. I had a pair of their Winter Mocs before, which were an awful lot like these, but without the fabulous faux shearling. I’d have bought another pair of plain old Winter Mocs if I had found them, but these are much better.

I also got My New Coat (note: that is not me modeling the coat!)

And just in time too, since tomorrow’s high is forecast at a chilly 28* (yes, I am a winter wimp! I survived ONE northern Indiana winter and that was more than enough. Good thing I had plenty of Irish basketball to distract me from the cold).

And they were both on sale! Woohoo!

So, thanks for your warm & toasty Christmas gifts, Mom and Dad, and Mom and Pop!

Things to be Thankful For

Today is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Esther and Jean have done a wonderful job of discussing this fascinating modern saint.

One of my grandmothers had a special devotion to St. Maximilian Kolbe. In fact, I first heard of him from her. She had a nickname for everyone, it seemed–and she called him “Uncle Max.”

Today I am thankful for St. Maximilian, for his example of perseverance and unselfishness, and his urging that through imitating the love of Mary, we can come to a deeper love of God. Part of that love is recognizing that God has given us many gifts, and being thankful for them.

Today I am thankful that we are all home again, all together. This has been a weird weekend. My parents took Middle Sister and Little Brother to their house on Saturday so TheDad and I could attend a wedding on Sunday. Big Brother stayed home alone. Yesterday he and I drove “up north” to pick the kids up. When we got home, TheDad was waiting for us. It just feels good to be all together again.

Today I am thankful for TheDad’s easy attitude that he displayed Sunday when I realized that I had the Tiniest Black Purse on Earth and that it wouldn’t fit my bare essentials: wallet, phone, keys, lipstick and asthma inhaler. “I have to run to Target,” I informed him as I zipped out the door. When I came home and said, “I’m back,” he called out, “It looks great” without even turning around to SEE the new purse.

Today I am thankful for kids who make me laugh. Last night in the car we had a lot of fun. Out of the clear blue sky we got announcements like, “I want a kazoo.” (that was Big Brother)

Today I am thankful for sunshine, the sound of birds and cicadas, clotheslines, and the BOGO sale at Payless. And for all the other gifts, big and small, that God has given today.