Monday, November 30, 2009

Confessional Confessions

This evening we went to confession. We figured it would be a nice start to Advent and the liturgical year. It is always an adventure to go to confession with the girls. We try to do the "hand-off" as we switch turns in the confessional.

I fondly two remember ironic confession stories: one at the National Shrine in DC and one at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Honolulu.

At the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC, there is frequently confession before Mass. One afternoon, Mares and I were going to confession together (pre-marriage days). There are four confessionals located in each of the four corners of the confessional side chapel, off the side of the crypt church. Typically two lines form, one on each side of the chapel, that feed into the two confessionals on the respective side. On this fine day, there was only one active confessional, the two lines basically blended into one, since they were all feeding into just the one confessional. Little by little, Mares and I pass from the line on one side to the line on the other. We're getting closer. The clock is ticking...15 minutes before Mass begins. The line continues to grow behind us. A second and third confessional open up. Woohoo. The line moves a bit faster. A lady (a confessional crusader) who was near the back of the line decided to reform the line situation. She announced out loud to everyone in the chapel that now one line would go to the two active confessionals (on her side) and the other line would go to the other confessional. She justified her fiat command by saying that she was trying to make Mass. I imagine that everyone in the group was trying to make Mass. Either way, the line continued to flow just the way it had before, even after her announcement. She was visibly huffy in the aftermath. We fortunately made it to confession and to Mass. Moral of the story: tread cautiously when trying to upset confessional etiquette.

At Sts. Peter and Paul (located in the center of Honolulu--near our favorite Hawaii mall, the wonderful Ala Moana), confession was start at 4:30pm before the 5pm Saturday vigil Mass. We arrived with Madge in the stroller around 4:20 for confession. There were people scattered throughout the church, but no one was standing in the confessional line. We prayed for a few minutes at a random pew. Still no one had begun forming a queue for confession. I looked at Mare, and, shrugging my shoulders, headed over to stand alone by the confessional. It must have been a classic case of human game theory. As soon as others saw me in line, everyone from around the church made a beeline to the queue. Within a minute, there was a line of 30 people. I felt some people behind me staring daggers. To their justification, they may have been there 2o minutes before me, but what was I to do! No one had made a line! We made it to confession that day, fortunately. Unfortunately, not everyone made it before the confessions had to stop for Mass. Moral of the story: confessional etiquette is important, but don't be afraid to start the line. Otherwise, you may miss the boat.

These stories take us to last night. A line had formed behind the English confessional, but there was no priest. As there was no line at the Spanish confessional, I decided to go in Spanish. I am glad I did, since an English-speaking priest never showed. Moral of the story: talking about your sins in confession in another language can be different, but God's pardon is always there. I hope he rewards us for our flexibility. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Commute

I am thankful to God for my post-Thanksgiving commute. Door-to-door commute time today (while catching a slug) was 20 minutes. I can't beat that! If only traffic were like today every day!

PS. Hopefully post and pics to follow on wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Was I?

The other day when Maddy and I were talking in the kitchen, she was telling me that sometimes she says "No!" So, I told her that she doesn't say it much, and when she does it's not yucky sounding (like the way she was explaining). She went on to explain how she was as a baby. I told her that she was a very good baby, and that I used to think that the baby we had after Maddy would have to be harder because Maddy was so easy. I said, "You were a good baby, Madge," and she scrunched up her face and said, "Was I?" Yes you were, and yes, you are a wonderful little girl!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

King of kings and Lord of lords

.. Glory, hallelujah!


Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You King of the universe.
All that has been created has been made for You.
Make full use of Your rights over me.

I renew the promises I made in Baptism,
when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works,
and I promise to live a good Christian life
and to do all in my power
to procure the triumph of the rights of God
and Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus,
I offer you my efforts
in order to obtain that all hearts
may acknowledge your Sacred Royalty,
and that thus the Kingdom of Your peace
may be established throughout the universe.

(Taken from:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Similarities and Differences

Madge Story: The other night at dinner, Maddy had a little chill and realized that her hairs were standing on end. At the sight of her little peachy strands, she grew quite excited, much to my surprise. She exclaimed: Dad, I have hair on my arms just like you! I congratulated her and provided affirmation for her discovery. I was confused about why she got so excited. It hit me yesterday (when I took her out on a little date) that people, little kids included, are always looking for commonalities or connections with those around them. A tried and true parenting cliche is that the child can do such and such when they get older. I became so accustomed to discussing the differences between adults and children that I forgot to recognize the similarities. Thank God that little kids are able to remember the similarities that bind us together. Thank God for hair on our arms...both on daddies and on little girls.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Would I Do If I Were a Widower?

Answer: I don't know. But I'm sure extreme (to the 1000th power) sorrow, depression, and angst would be some initial emotions.

Last night in our Men's-Father's Group at church, Fr. Smith related that he met with a 28-year old man who lost his wife this year. This type of story (and other stories like parents losing their children) tends to resonate quite strongly for me. While cognizant of the fact that God can take any of us at any time, I realize how frequently I take Mary for granted. We have so much together that I have no clue what I would do if she were taken from me.

Mares, you truly are my inspiration and compass! As I rode the bus into work this morning, I played out in my mind the scenario of coming home to an empty house. These imaginary exercises help me appreciate all the more the many gifts that God's given me. You and the girls provide so much meaning, joy, and peace to my life. I thank God for giving me you: to have, to hold, to love, to grow old with, to bring forth and educate little ones, to laugh with, to live with. Until... Oh, that until. Death is a difficult reality when it strikes one's better half. I can't predict when that will happen, or if I'll be around when it does, or how I'll feel. I can say that I will take advantage of my every moment with you. I will thank God for every new day that I have to spend with you. I love you, Mares. I am who I am today thanks to you. I appreciate you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You are My Sweets

Madge, You have done the sweetest things (and said the funniest things) that I want to write here to look back on in the future. We were doing school today and talking about the 5 senses. When we got to the hands and reasons why we use them, you kept jumping into my lap and hugging me around my neck. Yep, that is one good reason to love the sense of touch! I love you.

One day when you were coming out of the sniffles after we had quick changes of weather and allergy-recipe-like-weather, you said to me, "Mom, you can kiss me on my lips now. I'm not sick anymore." I love you, Madge, and I don't think anything could keep me from giving you a little smooch on those pretty little lips.

You have such a sensitive nature, a beautiful thing to be thankful for. You have had the desire from such a young age to come and tell me when things are not ok, i.e. if you did something you think you should not have, etc. So, one day after you had been at "Bekah's" you sat in the kitchen and talked, and talked to me about your day. Then, you said, "Mom? Today I didn't use a tissue to blow my nose." I asked, "What did you use then?" You responded, "My sleeve. Bekah said she didn't have any tissues." Ahh, your innocence and candor. I love you. Never lose your sensitive nature. It will serve you well, especially in the way that you are so compassionate and empathetic to others. We love you dearly, Madge.

Tonight as I was bouncing Pita to sleep, I saw you walk through the door in your jammies. Dad had already put you to bed, and you were waiting for me to come into bounce you and sing to you, our nightly routine. But, as you walked into the bedroom, you said, "Mom, bounce me." How can I resist your little desires of service. I will treasure forever these moments of ours together when you sit in my arms and I sing you songs, like, "You Have Come to My Heart Dearest Jesus." You sweet head lies gently on my shoulder and your little lips and face shine upwards towards mine. You are my love, sweet girl.

This morning you woke up and were whimpering that you wanted to be a baby again like your little baby sister, Pita. I began telling you that we all change from babies and grow, just like acorns have to change and grow in order to become beautiful trees. Still, that was not enough and you wanted to me in someone's tummy. So, how did we compromise? You climbed under my big sweatshirt and laid there for 5-10 minutes, and I just talked to you just like I used to when you really were growing inside me. I sat there and soaked in the moment as I realized how much you understood of what I was saying to you, and you were that same little person in my tummy 4 years ago. Thank you for being my baby. I will love you for always.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Couple Other Favorite Pics from Yesterday


Yesterday afternoon we had a fun time with our friends Tom & Rebekah, Austin & Leticia, and all their kids. We got together for our annual Christmas family photo shoot. You'll have to stay tuned for our family pic, but here is a precious photo of our precious Pita. Any comment I might provide would detract from the picture and its message: Guadalupe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

...hear me roar

Yes, we are women, and we do have a voice. The question is: who is really listening?Do you really want to hear? Read this.
To my dear husband,
I sat and watched you last night as you sorted, like the only person I know who does, your jelly beans... For as long as I have known you you have done this little thing... color-coordinate the little beans before eating them. It is one of the little things I love about you. I appreciate you more than I say. I thank you for all that you are and continue to be in my life. I love you, because...

Song: Because

(D'Hardelot / Teschemacher)

Because you came to me with naught save love
And hold my hand and lift my eyes above
A wider world of hope and joy I see
Because you came to me.

Because you speak to me in accents sweet
I find the roses waking 'round my feet
And I am led through tears and joy to thee
Because you speak to me

Because God made you mind I'll cherish you, love
Through light and darkness through all time to be
And pray His love will make our love divine
Because God made you mine.

Heaven is Having You

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Dear Madge,
It was All Saints' night, and as I placed you in your bed I told you that Jesus would be so proud of you. Soon after that comment, you and I had a long chat about heaven. I had run downstairs to get you some ice for your water. When I came back up you were in tears and were trying to tell me that you were calling for me, but I didn't answer (since I was downstairs.) You then went on to say:

"Mom, I was trying to tell you that at church today I told Dad that I am going to Heaven.
I am going to fly to Heaven, and I am going to leave you. I will ask Jesus if He has any little crosses to carry. First I'll be five." As I sat there, mesmerized at how cohesive your thoughts were, I stared at your little eyes that seemed to reassure me that all was well and that you really were excited to go to Heaven. Madge, I was just lost in your gaze, your sweet and peaceful eyes. As my eyes began to tear up, you showed me how you would fly to heaven. You said, "Mom, I'll wear my skirt and my wings." Then, you began to run around your room as is you were flying to heaven. You even showed me how I can get to heave by moving my hands. (A few weeks before you told me that I could borrow your wings so that I could make it there.) But, you told me that you will come back, you said, "Mom, I'll come back." I said, "Here?" You said, "Yes, here." I said, "Madge, you have to pray for me when you go there." You then asked, "So you don't fall, Mom?" "Yes," I responded, "so I don't fall." Your eyes welled with tears. You told me that you would miss me when you left, and then you said, "Mom, you have to help me and give me a little lift." I said, "I will give you a little boost." You asked, "What's a boost?" You told me that you would get on a plane, a little plane, because Jesus will be a little baby, so tiny. You said that you were going to give Jesus a big hug and showed me how He would smile. At the end of our conversation you began pointing to various spots in your room where Jesus is.You are so right, Madge; He is there, here, and everywhere. How often I miss Him in the most basic of spots, because I am looking too hard when He is right before me in your eyes, in Daddy's, and Pita's, in the crosses of life, in the happy and difficult times. I love you, Sweet Girl. I have no doubt that God has big plans for you, His beloved daughter, who as a baby used to gaze at the picture of the Holy Family above our bed in Hawaii and just coo. No doubt He was talking to you then as He does now. Maye Jesus always be in your heart and on your mind no matter where you go or where you are called. As I came down from your room that night I couldn't help but let my eyes fill. I hugged Daddy and cried, happy tears. How blessed I feel to know that the first place you would want to go is to heaven. There, I know, all is well. A few days later when we were saying morning prayers you looked up at the crucifix and said, "I'm coming to Heaven, okay, Jesus?"

When peace like a river attendeth my way; When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. ~ Horatio Spafford

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To My Dear Little Ones

Dearest Madge,

You're the sweetest little girl! This evening at dinner, you hopped from your chair onto mine and climbed up onto my shoulders. You whispered into my ears, "Dad, can we play together after dinner?" I replied, "sure, as long as you promise to be my little girl forever." Then you smiled and uttered, "I'll always be your girlie, Dad." (Note to self: Caleb, read this blog post thirteen years from now.) You were a cuddler this evening and had me carry you throughout the house. Thanks for being my girl. I love you. You're such a good big sister. After dinner, you were carrying Pita around the kitchen. At one point, you accidentally hit her head on the cabinets. I don't think Pita even noticed, but you immediately began consoling her with "it's okay, my baby; it's okay, my baby sister." You are very considerate of those around you. At the end of the day, when I asked you what your ONE favorite part of the day was, you replied just like your mom would have. "Dad, I don't have just one favorite part of the day, I have three." I love you, Madge Pie.


To My Sweet Little Guadalupe,
My favorite part of the day yesterday was arriving home. The rain pummeled against my umbrella as I trudged from the bus stop to our home. As I walked up the porch, I saw you through the screen door as you ran around the house. As soon as you saw me, the biggest smile came to your face and your ran to give me the tightest of hugs. You're too cute! Just thinking of you brings tears to my eyes! Whatever little sacrifices come with parenting pale in comparison to the rewards I receive on a daily basis. You give great big kisses. Needless to say, you made my day when I got home. Now I have one more reason to look forward to coming home. Never forget how much your Mom and I love you. Last night as I went to bed, I found that you had come over to snuggle up next to me. I found your little head close to my chest. Mom always says it, but it's true, your baby breath is the best. Keep up the good work. Just slow down on the climbing, okay?


Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Photos from the National Air and Space Museum

The first time I took Madge to the Air and Space Museum, she commented to me, "Dad, I love planes!" There are definitely some things in kids that don't come from their parents. Neither Mary nor I are into planes. Maddy has also turned into a theater/musical aficionado--another preference that came out of nowhere!

A Couple Photos from our Family Vacation in Holland, MI

I tried to upload all 600 photos in a video, but blogger got overwhelmed. Here are a few of our favorites: