Thursday, July 21, 2011


As I peek in on our three little ones in the living room this morning, each has a book, quietly looking, softly talking, enveloped in a world of leisure and learning. Blessed. I cannot explain the goodness of the days, nor the challenges that come with it all. But, it is not necessary. I am fulfilled knowing that I am doing what God has called me to do: to be the best mom He has created me to Link be: to fulfill the blueprint He has created for my life, or as Matthew Kelly encourages, "to be the best version of myself." (So often, this can be misinterpreted as a "competition" with another person-- to be better than another. But, that is no where near reality. We are challenges to ourselves.) Our Lady is my model in this area. To a T she fulfilled that blueprint. That is success to me. I cannot explain that completely to others; that is, how motherhood...choosing to s.t.a.y. at home with my beautiful children, fulfills me beyond all telling (that does not mean it is a breeze, by any means). I remember returning to my university and running into one of my former professors. As we passed one another she asked, "Are you teaching??" I looked at Madge and, then-very-little Pita, and replied, "Here, is my class." I am so happy to have the very best of both my worlds: to continue my discipline and fulfill my vocation simultaneously. Life continues to flow and ebb-- more flow, than ebb. But, I realize that it is each of us that must make situations ebb, slow down, be at peace by asking Our Lord to calm the "storms" and tranquilize the difficulties that surround us by making us "lie down in green pastures" and focus on Him. He is our purpose, our resolve, and greatest blessing. Thank you, Lord, for these opportunities to live out my vocation and Your call to fulfill my blueprint. I hope, as time goes on, that my blueprint will continually transform into the architectural piece You have designed already. May the masterpieces be the little lives around me who continue to quietly listen, softly look, and be enveloped in leisure and learning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

He is 1!

Yes, you. Sweet, you, Little Calsee. We love you oh so very much. Today you turned one year old. We recall with such joy the day we welcomed your sweet little life into ours. You're our little guy and we can't imagine life without you. You're Dad's little compatriot around the house. Thanks for all the joy and happiness you have brought to us. Happy Birthday!

She is 3.

On the first day of July, Pita turned the big 3. We're proud of you, Guadalupe. You are a sweet girl, loads of fun and laughter, ever sensitive and always a character. You love to lift up your hand showing five fingers as you respond that you are now freee yeas ode. We love you, Pita. Thanks for enriching our lives with your love and laughter.

Here's your song, to you! (Mom still remembers the day when that song hit her as she was waiting in the hair salon to get a trim. You were 9 months in utero--- waiting to come out and dance to that song. Now, you dance all the time!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

She is 5.

When? Where? How...

...did you grow so fast and become F.I.V.E years big? Our sweet, Madge-Pie, I remember that sweet day of your birth. Awesome. Simply awesome to experience your entrance into this world. A world, our world, that was forever changed July 17, 2006, 1:15 pm (Beijing-time). Madge, you are a true delight. God has given you a sensitive soul, a fragile conscience, a gentle love for others, and how blessed we are to share in your goodness. You are our treasure. You are our Madge-Pie.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Girls and Their Babies

The girls love to pretend. They love to be moms (one of Madge's dreams is to be a mom and an artist.) The so enjoy nursing their babies, speaking sweetly to them, bouncing them on their beds (like I have done for them since they were in utero), just holding them. Today, as I was cleaning and de-cluttering, the girls were dressing up and playing with their babies. I mentioned to Madge that she could be caring for her babies and could pretend they are at an orphanage. She went back into her room and told her dollies just that. They were all in the orphanage and very loved. So, we celebrated. We celebrated new life. One of the little girls was just born! Pita was having a little baby! Madge and Pita went to a "restaurant" to celebrate the birth of a new baby girl (she is sitting next to Madge with one of our little ones' newborn caps.)

Sweet moments, captured...enjoyed.

The Boys

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Miss You

As Maddy would sing, "I miss you. I love you. You never have to ask."

Joseph Anthony
Thanksgiving 1996-07.08.11

You were a sweety and asked about so frequently with Madge and Peach. I will miss you, Joe-Blow. Thanks to wonderful parents that allowed me to have such a sweet dog, train him through 2 sessions of obedience classes, and fly him to Australia as we lived abroad. The responsibility that I learned through having my sweet dog was more than any book could have ever taught, and, I hope that St. Francis can be proud of how much I loved this little guy, as did all my family, who took such good care of him.

Uma Homenagem a Minha Esposa (A mais bela do mundo)

A Homage to My Wife: the most beautiful in the world!

I don't know how she does it! So often I feel like I am flailing in my two-dimensional world of work and home life. Yet, with such grace, Mary juggles tasks in about thirteen different dimensions, and ever so gracefully! In the course of the past three days, she has been unpacking from our last trip across the country, packing up for our move across the world, making homemade granola from scratch with the girls (in the midst of all the other meals every day), keeping up a robust daily prayer life, exercising, teaching the girls at home, maintaining detailed paperwork to document their educational experiences, preparing the house for rental, working to sell our second car, planning for the next year of our lives together, finding lots of time for intimate dialogue with her husband (who's madly in love with case that's not obvious!), getting together with friends, making birthday gifts for family, cleaning our abode, nursing and spending quality time with Baby Caleb. The list goes on and on and on. I know that my unkeen powers of observation only catch a mere fraction of all that she accomplishes. Nevertheless, I am awed and grateful.

I love you, Mares. Thanks for all that you do. Thanks for being my best friend. You awe me and marvel me. You're the best! Estou orgulhoso de ter voce como a minha esposa e estou agradecido de ter a bencao de passar o resto da minha vida a seu lado. Beijos!


"Mom, Um-eeer" Pita calls out to me as she anxiously awaits my climb to the top of the steps. She has a beautiful rainbow to show me. It is the light shining through our front door window, that has some prism-like glass, at its top. Beautiful. Simple. Simply beautiful. This reminds me of life. There are constantly moments to recognize in each and every day that say "He is near," and yet it is so easy to flutter from task-to-task without ever stopping to say, "Look! Look at this beauty." Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by the many things that come to mind during the day that I want to record, savor, share, learn from, and shout out, because they are truly glorious moments. They really are my rainbows. They are my children's faces, lit candles, a fresh bouquet of flowers, a kind conversation, a gentle reminder, a sweet hug, a quickly absorbed and wonderfully refreshing, "I love you," a deep conversation with my husband, a moment with my family, a rejuvenated relationship with dear friends, the sweet hope of Him that says "Come, and follow me," a yummy cup of coffee, morning prayer, Mass, memories that are sweet, times that were difficult yet outlined with silver from which rainbows and sunshine have broken through, each and every day of married love, a new baby, awesome school lessons, teaching moments that bring forth true character, clean sheets, a hot shower, renewing and recommitting to my marital vows and, realigning my will to God's in my vocation as a mom, speaking with family and friends, being inspired by wholesome people, books and ways of life, educating and being educated daily, praying the Rosary, a solid run, compassion, humility, Confession, overflowing baskets of library books, a hot cup of peppermint tea, a full red wine, and many, many more.


The other day I was listening to Madge recount the Bible story of the Great Flood in Noah's time, and she said, "And Jesus said, 'I will never do anything like this to you again,"-- His promise to us through the sign of the rainbow. It is true, so true, that He will never send anything that will over take us, hidden or in-the-open, because He has conquered all things. I believe that is why I love the passage in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says: "No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it."

Recently, I was reading from one of my favorite journals, Soul Gardening, which is written ordinary wives and moms reaching for the good in each day through her vocation and responsibility as wife and as mom. Sanctifying the present moment, through, as one priest told me, "the sacrament of the present moment." One of the writers wrote a whole article on her "rainbows" and how, she believes, (and I agree) that God gives us rainbows, or, little moments throughout our lives and days that refresh us just by recalling them. These are little gifts of hope, because as we all know, life is filled with suffering. It is a part of life. Everyone suffers. However, there is hope in it all. There can be faith in it all, if we simply take off our lenses of fear and embrace it all with hope in Him, while recalling the sweet, tiny moments, the rainbows, which God gives us to show us that He is in control, and good is abounding. St. Paul says it so beautifully when he speaks of sin and grace, and how when there is great sin, grace abounds all the more. So, when there is much rain in our lives, light will come, even in the smallest recesses of our days, and then, together, rainbows are orchestrated: in quiet, little moments.

Some of My Rainbows:

My Helpers

LinkLinkHow capable they are and so helpful. Yesterday as I was getting our "tools" out to sweep the floor, my helpers were there, ready and willing. While we cleaned we enjoyed a dance-fest too! It was pretty cool that both of Little Caleb's songs played as we danced. Sweet times. Deliberate times. Loved motherhood. I am grateful.

As I listen to the lyrics of Smile (Little Caleb's second "theme" song-- we have one for each our treasures as they've grown inside me), I realize the sentiments in this song, are true for each of our little ones. Particularly the line, "I see the best of me inside your eyes. You make me smile." Oh, so true!


You're better than the best
I'm lucky just to linger in your light
Cooler than the flip-side of my pillow (that's right)
Completely unaware
Nothing can compare to where you send me
Let's me know that it's okay (yea, it's okay)
And the moments when my good times start to fade

You make me smile like the sun, fall outta bed
Sing like a bird,
Dizzy in my head
Spin like a record,
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like fool,
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold,
Buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

Even when you're gone
Somehow you come along just like a flower pokin through the sidewalk crack
And just like that
You steal away the rain
And just like that


Don't know how I lived without you
'Cuz everytime that I get around you
I see the best of me inside your eyes
You make me smile
You make me dance like fool, Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, Buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile


(Oh, you make me smile)
Oh you make me smille
(Oh, you make me smile)
Oh you make me smille

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Today I went to the dentist...for the first time in mmmph years. Anyway, it was so cute. Madge left a message for me on the phone while I was out wishing me good luck. When I returned home for dinner (without any cavities, I must add), Pita must have asked me three times at dinner how my teeth were feeling. I was able to answer with utter honesty that all is well. They're such sweet and considerate little girls!