Monday, 31 December 2012

Protecting a Life in a Neonatal unit

Imagine that there is a gun pressed to your temple.
Pregnant with my seventh child, I was bedridden in the high-risk, neonatal wing of the maternity ward for a week while waiting for a housekeeper to come to run my home and help tend my six children. I faced 6 months of bed rest but that one week gave me perspective and kept me from sinking into self-pity. The other two women in my room were desperate to keep their babies in uteri and finally become mothers. One of the two had suffered five miscarriages. She was stuck in a ward room for months, only going home after the birth of her baby.
Secretly we all feared that we would lose our babies. Suddenly our fears materialized as a high-risk woman's baby died in her womb. That poor woman had to endure an induction and labour for hours, only to push out a dead baby. The pain in that wing of the hospital was tangible. Tears ran down women's' faces as they grieved with their neighbour. It did not matter none of us had even glimpsed her face. Nurses as well as patients mourned for a sister who was loosing her newborn. I became so nauseated with the awful vibes that pressed in on me that I ended up retching over the side of my bed with ice packs on my head to relieve a migraine. Thank God, after the delivery, they moved her to the maternity wing where she was given a free, private room. We all sighed with relief when the nurses told us that the hospital understood the need to shelter grieving mothers from others who cuddled and nursed their babies.
My generosity petered out after a few weeks at home. My only outing was to a high-risk appointment every week. Church was even out of the question, so Michael brought home communion and the readings each Sunday. I remained in prone position, eating while propped up on one elbow with my food cut into small pieces. The high-risk doctors let me use a regular toilet and have a quick shower every morning. In those days, we had one large, heavy T.V. in the living room, a black dial-up phone on the hall wall, no stereo system, no computer and the bedroom window was cloudy, so I could not look outside. In frustration I phoned my doctor one morning after my shower,
"But I don't feel sick. I feel fine and my kids need me!", I wailed.
My usually laid back, jovial doctor explained my situation in graphic detail,
" You have a huge clot, 4 cm thick, 6 cm, wide from the top of your womb where the placenta tore down your entire right side. The last time this happened at the Civic was two years ago to a woman who had four kids at home. They both almost died . We had to call the archbishop in to explain to her that it was more of a sin to her remaining children if she foolishly died along with her unborn child."
Listen to me. Keep this image in your mind. Imagine that here is a gun pressed to your temple, cocked waiting only for the slightest movement to set it off. Lay in bed and do not move!"
Well that got my attention.
The hardest aspect to my forced "vacation" was letting go of control of how strange women cleaned my home, washed laundry and made meals. I endured terrible cooks and inept, lazy house cleaners but at least my kids could still lay down beside me as I read to them and helped with homework. It almost seemed orchestrated because God seemed to delight in my inactivity; He had ample time to teach me to let go, trust and to allow others to serve me.
The end result of my confinement was a beautiful baby girl with huge black eyes and black hair that stood straight up. She is now a gentle artist/ philosopher whose dark eyes sparkle with life and joy.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

No, You Are NOT Alone

Surrounded by celebrations, we often feel isolated and alone.
Many Christmas mornings, even though I was in the middle of chaotic joy, I was sad. Not really depressed, just sad and deflated. The children took turns opening presents. Sometimes it was a simple puzzle or much-needed clothes but the they oohed and awed over each present. Some made jokes but they all laughed, savouring each moment.
Although I was their mother, I often felt disconnected from this scene. There was so much preparation and anticipation in the days leading up to Christmas that I was tired on the big day. Tiredness led to a sense of sinking emptiness. I know that this experience is common probably because advertizing assumes that we will be merry on Christmas Day. It is difficult to live up to all those images of happy, smiling faces.
Yet, I cannot manufacture joy with my effort. I recall that joy is a gift and it is not elusive. It is as near to all of us as our next breath, as is God Himself and God connects each one of us to every other person on earth. This truth snaps me back into reality. Deeper than any surface sadness is eternal life, energy and joy.
I am not simply spouting off memorized dogma or theology. Everyone who stops for a moment, takes a few calming breaths and looks within will discover God and he will snap out of his misery. I call this process Spiritual Cognitive Therapy and I have seen it work instantly with people who are quite mentally ill.
One other way to connect to God and emerge from the prison of self is laughter, especially laughter at ourselves. It shakes us out of self-destructive, negative thinking and emotions. My emotions seem to grip me and hold on tight when I fight to become happy but they simple vaporize when I can laugh at my self-dramatics. Laughter connects me to my true self and to the Holy Spirit. Laughter is the best medicine.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Life or Death: A Four-Year old Chooses

Ultimately, there is a thin veil that separates life and death.
The following is a true story of a four-year old child, in a coma, following a serious car accident.
Chandra was still not conscious when she began to speak to her parents in the ICU. She spoke as if in a dream, describing a big room with two doors where she sat waiting with several other people.  She explained that  she had to decide which door she wanted to walk through.  A really nice man, dressed in white smiled at her and told her that she was completely free to walk through either door. One door would bring her back to her life on earth.  If she liked, she could across the room, take  the nice man's hand and walk through the other door.
In the beginning, Chandra spoke weakly, in a disjointed manner insisting that the nice man loved her so much that she wanted to be with him. As the days passed, she spoke in a stronger voice and began asking her parents,
"Do you love me?"
When they assured Chandra that they loved her she answered,
"Wellll...I don't know. I really want to be with him. Buttt...maybe I will come back"
The next couple of days were spent in an almost comical dialogue as Chandra asked if her siblings, grand parents and extended family all loved her. After each confirmation, she emerged slowly from her coma, answering in an ever more confidant voice,
"Maybe I will come back!"
Throughout the discussion, Chandra  described the other people in the room, casually mentioning two people who stood up and walked across the waiting room, walking through the second door with the nice man. One was a young guy, who looked just like her young uncle and another an old woman who was like her grandmother. Within minutes of Chandra's announcements,  an elderly woman and a day later a young man died in the ICU.
For her parents, the most startling fact of this entire experience was that tiny Chandra could perhaps choose between two outfits her mother picked out or whether to have an apple or an orange for a snack just a week ago. On earth, she would not make any major life decisions until she was 18 years old. Yet she was deciding whether to live or die.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas: A Magical Time for Nine Kids


Christmas for our large family was magical
It was still dark outside, way too early for my husband and I; we had worked on Christmas Eve set up till 2:00 am. We couldn't even pry our eyes open but we were smiling with contentment as we listened to the excited whispers and giggles of the three youngest children. They made their way down the front stairs. One of the older kids had intertwined multi-coloured lights. around the banister. First the trio ducked into the formal living room to see the presents for the first time and special candy canes on the tree. In our old farm-house, our bedroom was right above the kitchen and we had left the kitchen back stairs door open. Suddenly an excited gasp of awe escaped their lips as they gazed in wonder around the transformed kitchen.
A gingerbread house, created at night when the kids were sleeping sat in the centre of the table with a fruit bowl, dishes of candies, nuts and, best of all, sugar cereal! The whole room was edged with coloured lights and Christmas towels, tablecloth,napkins, pot holders with bright red ribbons on all the door handles. On year a friend at Madonna House asked Alison what her favorite thing about Christmas was and she said, "The pineapple!". Her answer shocked Martha but I was simply pleased. I understood that children notice and appreciate the small things. No detail escapes them.
When a few of the oldest kids were in their mid to late teens, friends would ask to come over and set up with us. They would cart presents downstairs arrange them, help fill 11 stockings and hang lights. They were intrigued by our large family with all the hustle and bustle and activity. It was never boring at our house The teens craved the joy and excitement of creating magic for kids who did not receive many frills during the rest of the year. I think they also craved the sense of stability, of a family grounded in the old-fashioned values of mutual love and respect.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dec. 22/2012: Tis a Gift To Be Simple

Chaos TheoryWhy are we so quick to latch onto pronouncements from prophets or ancient societies that give us a heads up on the future? Each time a doomsday warning snatches the top spot in the news media many of us are sure that this time we know the exact date of our death. It seems we would rather have bad news than no news at all.
According to one of the most famous men to have ever lived, Jesus, no one knows the time and date of the end of the world. He also had a direct line to the God, only saying or doing what He saw his Father in heaven doing.
So why do we want to know the date of our death? I think that we simply we hate experiencing our vulnerability. We want to pretend that we are in control, and in the know. Life is the exact opposite. Until we stop railing against our powerlessness, we will never be happy. Only the truth sets us free. Only living in the present moment will we find the peace and joy we crave.
How do we live in the present moment? How do we accept our powerlessness and let go control the uncontrollable? By relaxing and taking a few deep breaths when we realize we are scheming about the future or mulling over our dubious past. I find that  a good laugh at my ridiculous tendency to play God puts me back into reality.
Even better sing or listen to the Shaker hymn,  Simple Gifts or the rewrite, The Lord of the Dance.
"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free'
Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
,'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

       "Lord of the Dance"
Chorus to the hymn:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I'll lead you all, whereever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Silent Night

This morning at 9:30 in the country to the south of us, people honoured the children and their teachers who were slaughtered at this same time a week ago with a moment of silence. In Sandy Hook, U.S.A., the a church bell rang out 26 times, one toll for each of the victims. It was a poignant moment of silence for the end innocent lives.
Silence to honour those who have died, to welcome the Child of Light.
I can only listen in the silence. In fact Alfred Brendel offers an amusing insight,
"The word silent contains the same letters as the word listen"
In Greenbush, the snow is falling straight down in huge flakes which absorb sound waves and intensifies the silence of our country home. A deep silence combined with a thick covering of white, clinging to every branch. The effect is a quiet, peaceful, pure white oasis. The though popped into my mind,
"This is a perfect spot to enter into silence but this time to welcome the child of God into my heart, and onto the face of the earth. Right now I can be an open window a portal for the Holy Spirit. One of many counterpoints of light to push back the darkness."
I can choose to welcome new life into my darkness, my own inner depression. So I relax and let go of the burdens and allow God to carry them for me. Then I turn my eyes to the child Jesus in silent expectation, waiting to be filled with light and hope.
On the darkest day of the year, we remember death. Yet it is also Advent, the brink of Christmas, a festival of light, joy and peace on earth. Listen to the words of Silent Night and allow yourself to be filled with the Holy Spirit and become another point of light, shining in the darkness.
Silent Night

Silent night holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing alleluia;
Christ the Savior, is born
Christ the Savior, is born.
Silent night holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

The Phone Call

The phone call came on a Saturday night,
Scene 1: Home
"Your son has been in a serious car accident."
"No, we have not ascertained the extent of his injuries."
"We did use the jaws of life to extract your son and his girlfriend from the vehicle"
"No, I told you, I cannot tell you the extent of his injuries but if you head over to Trauma 1 at the Civic, they will give you an update."
" All I can tell you is it seems that the vehicle did flip end over end and then barrel-rolled down into a ditch filled with water. "
" Off the record, I will say that in 25 years of service, I have never seen a car look as bad as his does and not have someone dead on arrival."
Sheer heart stopping panic. We pass his car on the side of the highway. Spot lights, a crane, the car is on a flat bed trailer, every side crushed, banged. All I could think of was,
"If the car is that bashed and dented, how is our flesh and blood son?"
Scene 2: Trauma 1 at the Civic Hospital
"Well, you might as well just walk in and look around. This is trauma 1. We were ready for the worst case scenario"
Daniel is standing at a sink, washing blood off his face and arms!
I look at my son, then at my husband. I am shaking, my mouth is open and we turn to look at the emergency room nurse.
"If you had been here when Daniel arrived, you would have seen the entire team. As you can see, this young man does not even have a broken pinkie finger. If his seat belt hadn't been buckled up 10 seconds before, he would have been ejected from the car through the front windshield. He is a very lucky young man. His girlfriend is an angel. She literally saved his life."
Daniel is white, his face is drained of all colour and he is covered in blood.
"Not mine mum. Erica got a cut on her forehead and bled all over me."
"Ma, I should be dead. If Erica hadn't bugged me, my seat belt wouldn't even have been done up yet."
Even with a seat belt on, none of the response teams could get over these kids. A car looking like theirs did should have killed or seriously injured them. You can laugh but I have an inner sense that angels protected their bodies as the car rolled. There is no other explanation for me.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Invisible Connections

Monday, 17 December 2012

Our Dog Was a Holy Roller

Credit: @terrylee&Iab2006
Buster always looked depressed
Buster was a depressed neurotic when we first took him in to our home and our hearts.
This springer spaniel had lived a happy country life until his owners divorced. Unfortunately, for the last two years he had languished in the garage of a townhouse during the day and slept crated at night. Buster was lucky to get two quick walks a day on a leash, no less. For a dog, such an existence was equal to solitary confinement in a maximum security prison.
The first month on our farm, Buster ran off all his extra weight and started to act like a normal dog. The former owner phoned us a couple of times, certain that we would be fed up with Buster's obsessive compulsive habits. Honestly, most of his irritating traits vanished as he began living the normal life of a typical dog. Although we were all surprised by Buster's quick transformation.
However, my husband and I noticed that Buster still need inner healing from his traumatic prison sentence. So he decided to pray over the dog. I laughed at the idea but not for long. As Michael's and my hands grew hot, sensing the flow of the Spirit through us to the dog, Buster started panting; he was getting hot as well. My eyes sprang open, my eyebrows shot up and I looked at Michael. His eyebrows were raised even higher than mine. Michael chuckled,
"It's getting hot, isn't it Buster?"
Buster just panted faster, his eyelids grew heavy and he started swaying. Michael encouraged him,
"It's okay boy. Just relax."
Suddenly Buster keeled over sideways. I knelt and peered into the dog's face,
"He is out cold!"
My husband and I looked at each other and started to laugh. We could hardly contain our amusement. To use Pentecostal or Holy Roller terminology, our dog was slain in the Spirit. So much for the theory that such behaviour is the result of mass hysteria or subconscious conditioning.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Whispers in the Dark

light shines in my prison
Light always dispels darkness because darkness is simply the absence of light.
Light always 
Dispels Darkness 
Darkness is simply Absence of Light.
In the Silence of my Heart
I hear the whispers of
The Holy Spirit.
Light pours into
My heart
My inner eyes
Blinded by Brilliance.

Tearful with relief
I whisper back,
"Your living words
Flow like Liquid Sunshine,
Into the
Shadows of my Heart,
Dispelling all Darkness."

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Discovering Why Writers Write


this is exactly what my last keyboard looked like
I started writing very tentatively about nine months ago.
I had mothered nine children and helped run a hobby farm for 30 years without actually sitting down and producing anything besides editing high school or university essays for my kids. No that is not a typo; it had been 30 years not months since I had the time to actually sit with the intention of writing. Naturally when I did stare at a modern keyboard, I froze. For one thing it was not my old manual typewriter that I had pounded on as a poor student but something modern and completely foreign.
I considered writing to be a solitary craft but looking at a blank screen or talking into thin air was a sterile exercise in futility for me. I could not translate the same creative energy that I experienced telling a story verbally to the keyboard. My intuitive, imaginative side stayed buried and my logical intellect wrote boring drivel at the beginning.
I realize now that I really am a story-teller. My oral skills have always been excellent, even as a small child. I delight in the energy and flow of words, dramatic gestures and the relationship with even one listener when I tell one of our legendary stories about the exploits of nine kids on a farm. Yes, my Irish side is alive and well.
Yet does that mean I need public applause to function? It is unnerving to realize that onlyafter a few websites have published some articles and poems, I am now starting to feel legitimate, an equal to other so-called writers. I am writing better, well most of the time, because I have given my creative side the permission to rise up and speak. Of course I know that I am a long way from authorship but it is nice to ask for a connection on Linkedin from a writer or editor of an albeit small company without cringing with embarrassment.
There are many articles and posts written about why people write but honestly, in my opinion, people who write are want be read, to be heard. Blogs or articles submitted to Broowaha are not personal diaries or self-indulgent introspection. We write to engage with other people, to contribute our voice to the issues in our society or to share an insight that might help a fellow human being. We write because no one has the same experiences or the same opinions as we do. We write because we have discovered a voice that is unique, a voice that simply must communicate.
For me the joy mothering has been my call, my vocation and my silent witness to the world for 32 years. Now writing has become the method of expressing that vocation to a world that has largely forgotten the wisdom of mothers and more importantly, the wisdom of children.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Pray a Poem

Pray for 
Tormented souls:
 Young man
 Shots himself

Pray for 
Young, innocents

martyrs all

Pray for 

Pray for:

Pray for 

(December 14: Largest mass killing  in U.S.of young children, teachers, mother, suicide by unstable young man)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Are You More Like an Ant Than a Christian?

photo from Rajan's Bog
Sometimes the activities of man  remind me of ants. Ants scurry about, eyes trained on the ground, fixated solely their own tiny society. Often this narrow view-point leads to disastrous results, with whole colonies wiped out of existence when the macrocosm surrounding them crashes into their little world. It is impossible to communicate with an ant. Any offer of help frightens them because anything that intrudes into their microcosm is a threat.ground before them, hauling loads of food that are bigger than they are. They are completely oblivious to the world around them.
I have often thought that much our life resembles the life of an ant. I run around busy with tasks, keeping my nose to the  proverbial grindstone, oblivious to the realities of the rest of human society never mind the universe. When nature or the Spirit tries to break through to help me, I panic, feel threatened and run away, returning to labour in my little microcosmic prison where I feel safe. My earnest striving is counter productive because it isolates me from larger realities that surround me.
Fortunately, God was and is creative enough to find ways to reach us. He only needs a sliver of an opening in my heart, a quick glance in His direction or a fleeting thought to make a connection with me. In fact God became one with all of us, in a sense he became the equivalent of an ant, so he could speak, touch, love and become visible to"ants" on earth

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Little Girl Dancing-Photo

The Shock of the Nativity Scene

Credit: ifoodtv
God's vulnerability
The manger scene is a startling image of the vulnerability of God who became an infant.
This season we contemplate the nativity scene and the image of Mary holding the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords in her arms as a tiny, vulnerable infant.
We should be shocked at the extent of His humility when He came to live among as us a man, beginning His time on earth as a baby in a barn, surrounded by unwashed animals and the smell of manure. Mary, as the mother of God, revealed a mother's love as she nursed and cared for Jesus. He was completely dependent on this girl to meet all of His needs. Actually He willingly placed His life in the hands of a thirteen to fifteen-year old kid. Perhaps Jesus's trust was based on the powerful love that God has placed in every mother's heart for her baby.
I am reminded of a quote.
"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother."- St Therese of Liseux
This Christmas, look at every mother with new eyes and let her remind you of the nativity scene and the One who entrusted His life to the loving care of a teen mum.

    Tuesday, 11 December 2012


    encountering the divine in the mundane

    Maybe interruptions are actually your real work!
    Once Henri Nouwen S.J. (Jesuit author, university prof) complained to God about all the students who came to his office, interrupting his writing of an important book. God’s answer?
    “I just gave you that book to write to keep you busy in between appointments; your real work is all those interruptions."
    No matter what our occupation, we tend to think that our work, our agenda is important. It is almost in our nature to let ambition and drive push other people to the fringes of our awareness while we toil in an isolated bubble of self-importance. There are many methods that can shake us out of this selfish obsession but for me as a mother, it was my children.
    "Mum, mum! Come see what I made!"
    "Can you read me a book?"
    "I tried and tried but it just won't stay together."
    "Mum, can we talk?"
    "Would you help me edit this essay? It's due tomorrow."
    "Let's do something together."
    Of course sometimes children need to learn patience, learn to wait but I discovered that usually their needs were immediate. Even if a problem seemed minor to me, it was monumental to one of my little people. A block tower which took 30 minutes to construct and 30 seconds for a toddler to destroy was equivalent to an adult's business deal that took 3 weeks to establish and a day to fall apart. Brushing off their concerns was often a temptation.
    "Oh, it's nothing. Don't over react."
    "Not now. I am busy."
    "Can't you see that what I am doing is more important?"
    To respond to my kids or in the case of any adult, to respond to interruptions to important work, requires surrendering to the duty of the moment. To respond to an interruption often means we must put our agenda to the side for a moment and embrace the agenda of another person. If we refuse the call to love, we miss out on an encounter with the divine because when we serve the least of our brethren, we serve Christ himself.

    Monday, 10 December 2012

    Family = Community

    Credit: Quad City Photos
    Let little kids hold the new baby
    Community starts when even the youngest child chips in to help.
    When most women begin to mother, they tackle this new challenge like a new career; they see themselves as the CEO of a new company that demands all of their attention, time and energy. I too initially saw I saw myself as the most important person in my new company called my famil. I felt that I was the heart and soul of this family with everyone circling around me. I controlled the housework, cooking, laundry but most of all the children. I fed, washed, loved, taught and gently disciplined every child personally.
    As I nursed, I tried to give the older children my mental and emotional attention by listening, talking, reading books to them, helping with homework and even playing with play dough with one hand. In fact, one afternoon I gave my attention to five people at once!!! I was laying down back to back while my husband read and I nursed a newborn. Claire was 18 months and she laid up at my head and played with my hair as she slowly drifted off for a nap. I was talking with my oldest daughter and simultaneously knitting as I fixed another daughter's mistakes. I could multi-task with the best of any CEO.
    Slowly though, after the birth of my third child, I learned to let go of my pride and true community started to evolve. It was lovely to watch a toddler giggling as he picked up each toy tossed from the high chair by his baby brother. Or to encourage a relaxed nine-year old to entertain a two and three-year old who played in the tub for an hour to keep them clean and out of trouble before bedtime. Every seven-year old proudly read the same book over and over to a three-year old, freeing me to run the house.
    I think the Holy Spirit was surrounding us. I can honestly say that no one resented all the time each newborn demanded because we were all part of caring for the baby. Little ones were proud to run for diapers, clothes or blankets and older kids would choose rocking or pushing a colicky baby in the buggy over washing dishes any day.
    When the kids were little, I literally had to watch the clock to make sure everyone would get a chance to hold either our baby. I think the children bonded to each other because even a toddler was given the privilege of holding their newborn sibling. With excitement twinkling in their eyes, barely containing their joy long enough to sit still while I propped up one of their little arms with a pillow so the baby was safe. Toddlers would look extremely proud and pleased as they too held the baby.
    I discovered something that most people are never taught. A family can love, play and work, sharing in the leisure time but also in all the chores that are part of family living. Mothers do not have to feel drained or burn out if they let go of perfectionism and their pride to let everyone chip in. Kids learn by doing. So relax, ignore the mess and let real family begin.

    Sunday, 9 December 2012

    The Fountain of Youth

    Youth is not found in a bottle of vitamins or in a jar of face cream.
    Advertizers have tapped into a universal craving to stop the relentless ravages of time in the human body by pushing countless gimmicks to keep us youthful. These products keep us healthy but the secret fountain of youth is not a thing to buy but rather an attitude, an inner way of living.

    Mortals were created to connect with the light and energy of the unseen, the invisible Force/ Higher Power/ God who created them. I am not so arrogant as to believe that only one spirituality works. In fact many who call themselves atheists are in fact spiritual people in communion with nature They commune with the Spirit who infuses nature with his energy. Without this connection to the Holy Spirit we slowly become depleted of energy, drive and goodwill. And nothing, absolutely nothing can fill this hollow well within us but the Spirit of God.

    There are countless ways to connect with the Spirit but as a mother, I discovered a secret, a secret few people seem to recognize. Living with little people keeps you young. Children live in the present moment, filled with awe at the discovery of a ladybug, fascinated with observing how sand spills through their fingers or completely absorbed as they create a clay sculpture. Mothers concentrate on giving love and nurture to their offspring but if we don't allow our little ones to nurture us we can become tired, empty and even resentful.

    An infant touches our hearts when we gaze into their guileless eyes but there is much more grace that we can receive if we relax and allow their their love to flow into us! In the early, hectic years I would focus on trying to carve out quiet time to sit and replenish myself. One day while nursing one of my babies, I experienced a powerful surge of love pouring into my heart from my baby to me. I started smiling, heaviness and exhaustion lifted and joy started to bubble up from deep within me!In fact I discovered how to let my infant's love fill me. replenish me. energize me and infuse my heart with a fountain of youth.

    Saturday, 8 December 2012

    Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

    Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids.
    I am sharing two posts this week. The first tries to explain our extraordinary animals in the light of God's love and Presence.

    Living Within a Triangle of Light

    I wrote the next post in the format of a poem, simply to emphasize key words. The Call was published by Foundation Life.

    Friday, 7 December 2012

    Buried Alive in Laundry, Socks and Shoes

    Credit: His and Hers
    Try keeping track of shoes for 11 people
    In a family of eleven, everything is a big deal.
    Want a laugh today? Come take a peek into our house a few years ago.
    Imagine twenty-two pieces of bread lined up in two rows on the table. Each sandwich is made with a particular person in mind because I did want them to actually eat the sandwiches at school and work. Even peanut butter sandwiches were complicated because some were made with jam or not, with thick or thin peanut butter, with butter under the peanut butter or not. A component of this chore was often a survey of the crew to see who wanted what in their lunch.
    If that procedure wasn't daunting enough, I had to make sure that everyone had clean clothes and shoes to wear the next day. There were indoor and outdoor school shoes, decent runners and play runners, rain, barn and winter boots, skates, both play and good sandals, slippers, shoes to wear with dresses and dress shoe for the boys. This abbreviated list adds up to about TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FOUR shoes with the potential to get lost, wet, dirty or become too small.
    Of course it was an especially big deal when the seasons changed because we had to sort and put away the shoes that weren't needed for a couple of moths and decide which shoes could be passed down or were still big enough for the current owner.
    I can still hear Claire yelling, as she organized the shoes,
    "Daniel, you really don't want to keep these, do you?"
    Daniel would protest,
    "But Claire, they're so comfortable. I like them."
    His big sister would retort,
    "Fine, but if they get any worse looking, I am throwing them out."
    Sock were even a bigger nightmare because the only thing that will kill you as a mother of a large family is pairing socks. Although I used the toss and throw method of pairing, some mornings found us frantically searching for some appearance of a pair in my gigantic basket of unpaired socks. At times I had to literally toss the newly discovered pair over the upstairs railing. One of my kids, who already had their coat and school bag on their back, would catch them in mid-air. They quickly pulled on their socks, stuffed their feet into boots or shoes and flew out the door, barely making the school bus.
    Then there was laundry, sometimes three or four loads a day because I used cloth diapers and had barn clothes to wash on top of regular clothes. I hung out at least two loads on the outside clothesline every day. Because a gulley and pasture were on that side of the house, this line was visible from the road. Unbeknownst to me, my laundry was a subject of great interest and of subsequent conversation.
    " Oh my God, look at all that laundry."
    " There are two different loads on the line now"
    "I have never seen that line empty"
    "Stop the car, I simply must take a picture of the horse and pony with the laundry line in the background"
    "This is hilarious; there is every size and style of clothing on that one line"
    I sometimes I held folding marathons where I literally tossed each kid their clothes and we all folded together. Other days, I simply put a basket of clean, unfolded clothes in a basket in each room.
    Yep life was messy and everything was a big deal but it was awfully funny because simple chores in a family of four became massive, logistic battles in a family of eleven, battles that often went horribly wrong. Case in point, bleach spotted coloured load and makeup or gum left in a pocket, staining all the clothes in the dryer. My personal favorite disaster was that load of mostly men's white shirts that turned pink,not a subtle pink but a shockingly bright pink. I still hear about that one!!