"THEN Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My mom's anniversary

Nine years ago today, my mom died. In my family, we haven't been delicate enough to use any euphemisms since our mom forbid us when our Dad died in '84. Right there is the number one reason why - although I can pass with my accent and love of Alabama - I will never be a *real* Southerner. My neglect of the slight bow and the use of "s/he passed" prohibits my entry to authentic Southerness. Ah well. (That and my inability to fry chicken to any edible state. My children have inherited this gene from their paternal Grandma and for that I am eternally grateful!)

So, today, I would ask your prayers for my family - my sister, my brothers, my aunt and uncle, the repose of my mom's soul. We loved my mom and we miss her.

My mom was a tough Lady, she'd call herself a no nonsense kind of broad who was proud of her willingness to speak her mind no matter what. She moved to Alabama in the 1995 after X-years in Philadelphia. She was tired of the crime and the expense of the city. She didn't always like Alabama, but my brother and I and my family was there and it was considerably cheaper in Alabama than Pennsylvania. And warmer. No nasty winters, no snow to shovel. No amusements. So she got a job at Wal-Mart. She enjoyed that. She became active in the ladies Altar Society at our Church. She hung out with us and terrorized my kids.
Tenderly terrorized them. She wanted to toughen them up a little so they wouldn't be such "wimps." They are farm kids, she thought they were just a little too sensitive and that I was over-protective. LOL "It is not my fault," I'd tell her, "that people are just nicer here." At my kids' elementary school, before they were homeschooled, there just wasn't a whole lot of unchecked meanness like many kids experience growing up in the inner city.

She smoked for many years, and it eventually caught up with her. She rejected the diagnosis of COPD. And occasionally was heard to say that she'd never been sick at all until she quit smoking. I guess if you don't count all the coughing and hacking everyday, she'd have been right. She lived with this trial for a couple years. At one point, we asked her please to go on oxygen.

"What? No way!  I don't want to get addicted to it!!"
I replied, "Oh, you're right. Why should you be like the rest of us mere humans who are already addicted!"

Yeah, there is so much irony there on so many levels, that I think of it and laugh every time. She did get an oxygen machine and eventually a portable tank, so that she could have her fix of this horribly addictive chemical! Any sign of weakness was a bad thing.

I never saw her grieve over the illness, and she rarely complained about pain or suffering with it although we know that she had her share of these things. She was happy when we came to see her and worried about being trouble.

The night before she died, the pastor came to see her and give her Last Rites and the Sacrament. It was good.  Her nurse was there, and told her that things were not looking too good. I told her to hang in there. My sister was flying in the next morning.

"Jen will be here in the morning," I said.

"Oh, really, Jen's coming?" She smiled and drifted off to sleep.

There wasn't much else. I kissed her, told I loved her and that she was "my best mommy."

To this ridiculous show of sentiment, she shot back, "Yeah right." LOL
That would be typical of my mom.
The next morning, she just slipped away. No drama, no fuss.This is what I sent to some of my best friends. And if you will bear with me, I would like to share a few memories of that day.
These are the little bits of sunshine on an otherwise brutal day.

David: "Well, I guess Dad needs to go dig a hole now. Ya know so we can bury

Cymmie: (whisper) "Are they going to cover Grandmom with a sheet and cover
her chairs with sheets?"
Me: "Why?"
Cymmie: "Well that's what they do in the movies..."

My sister, Jen: "Oh I just wanted to say goodbye" small sob.
Me: "Jen, look, as much as you and I would have liked it and craved it,
there was never going to be a wonderful deathbed experience with all the
hugs and tears and stuff."
Jen: "Oh I know but (ARE YA'LL READY FOR THIS?) it's so nice when you watch
it in the movies."
Jen was not there when Cymmie made her remark about the movies. And Jerrold
was and he and I were just laughing.

Me to Buddy quietly in the car: "Aww man, I'm an orphan now."
David with his super-ears: "Well then I am an orphan, too."
Me: "Well no son, an orphan is someone whose mom and dad have both died."
David: "Oh well then, ya'll two are orphans."
Me: "No, dad's mom is still alive."
David: "Oh he's just a half orphan then."

I keep making this mental picture of my mom walking towards Heaven's gates.
She sees her mom & dad and some other folks and there just behind them is my dad.
And she says: "What the hell are you doing here?"
Then she looks around and says: "Oh! What the hell am *I* doing here?"
My mother, may she rest peacefully in Heaven with Jesus and the saints, had lots to offer up that year and she did it quietly and bravely and with minimal complaining. I am proud of her - she fought the good fight. She deserves the crown.

Thank you , Lord, for your most Holy Mercy.
But we still stay her head stone should really read: "I wasn't sick and I'm not dead either!"
Miss you, Mom.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My first Blog Carnival Post for FOTRs (Families on the Road)

The topic of the blog carnival is finding friends for your children while you are traveling. The kids who travel with us are 13, 12 and 8. And our 21 year old college kid.

I have never really given a lot of purposeful thought to finding friends for my children whether they are on the road or stationary. When we are home at our house, we are miles and miles from the nearest children. We've never really lived in a neighborhood, so the friends my older children had when they were small were all at school. When we started homeschooling, they befriended each other and kids from our church. We did not live in a particularly homeschool friendly area; most folks there believe that the public schools were superior to all other public schools in the world and sent their children to the government schools. We've never experienced the joys of co-op or play groups, etc.

I don't think my children suffer from this.I have given purposeful thought to encouraging them to befriend each other. For our older kids, this was a little more difficult since they'd spent some time in the school system learning that they couldn't play with each other because they were in different grades. Eventually, though, they have worked things out and, mostly, they enjoy each others company.

When we are in RV parks with lots of kids, they get outside and introduce themselves and find games that they enjoy with the *locals.*  It's a wonderful thing. When we are at home, they reunite with their friends from church.
Mostly, they are each others best friends. They fuss with each other from time to time. But these three brothers share a close bond. They enjoy each others antics and they enjoy playing and learning and hanging out together.

One important thing we have learned is that friend does not necessarily equal peer. Because we are in RV parks year round, there are many opportunities to interact with persons who are much older than we are. From these passing acquaintances we have learned many, many lessons.  From angling to telegraphy to marble collecting, we meet folks whose passions are contagious. This is one of the great joys of our roadschool adventure.  These are the folks who satisfy our need for outside companionship. We hope that our interest in their interests meets a need for them as well.

We have learned that there are no borders on friendships. I love that my children have met folks from many regions and countries and found ways to interact and discover things with them. I love that they are (mostly) comfortable sharing their experiences and travels with others. They listen respectfully, speak respectfully and realize that the other persons with whom we share the road, the rv parks and the planet aren't very different from us after all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Read a book, Give a book, No cost to you

I got an email from a friend about a really interesting literacy program from Penguin Books.
It's pretty simple: you read a childrens book online, Penguin Books donates a book to children in Harlem, Asia or Africa. Very cool.
Here's where ya go for the details http://www.wegivebooks.org/ 
There are a lot of picture books, so grab a small child and read him/her a book. Right there online. Six different Skippy John Jones books! I know what Dom and I will be doing today. We love Skippy John!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hello from Texas

Yeeha!!! We have arrived safely in Manvel, TX.

Dominic has memorized all the major highways of the US and some of the secondary roads. We were driving west on I-10 and someone asked what route we were taking and I said I-10 to Texas. Dom told me that I really needed to switch to I-12 because it was shorter than going through New Orleans. He was right.

We got in Wednesday night around 8:00. Late enough for everyone to be hungry,weary and querulous. No water at the site. WHAT! No code for the bathroom. Thankfully late enough that no one felt like showering anyway and all fixable in the morning I'm sure.
 Nice lake for fishing, paths for biking or walking, but rainy and cold. order of the day: Bible study (read the Mass readings for the day), science, math review, post to their blog about what they read and saw on the way and get out and run around before the rain sets in. Then lots of reading and maybe a puzzle or board game in the common room of the campground.
Dan finished a book on the way here, Dom read 3 entire SI magazines (thanks to Uncle Frank!) and Dave is almost finished a book called Bound for Oregon.

Bud is well, he did not perish on his diet of Cheerios.

Trying to make a trip to Best Buy later this afternoon for a new phone so I can give this one to Cym.

By the way, how many of you knew that I-10 is 880 miles long across Texas? Besides you , Dom!

About Me

Welcome! The most important bread is the Bread of Life. I am Catholic and do my best to know, understand and live what that means that I might "know Him, love Him and serve Him." My husband, Bud, and I have been married for 24 years and we have seven children. Because of his job, we travel the country in an RV with five of them, learning as we go.