Friday, November 30, 2012


as November draws to a close today, our hearts have just begun to learn again what it means to plant seeds of gratitude, every single day. But, I think about all that I am grateful for and it all begins here at home. I am thankful for quiet moments with Our Lord when I can just lean into Him and be. I am thankful for one giving husband who is out grocery shopping right now with three big helpers in-tow, while my other gift of gratitude, Sweet Penelope, nestles in on my lap.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Miss 4 Weeks Old

 (Penelope, 4 weeks old, November 26, 2012)

 (4 weeks old)

  (3 weeks old)

  (2weeks old)
  (2 weeks old)

  (1 week old)

Our beautiful Penelope is 4 weeks old today, and we cannot imagine what we would be doing without her in our lives. Within four weeks' time she has brought so much sunshine and grown so much love here as everyone awaits her presence in their arms. We love you, Sweet Face. You are one special girl, and we have been loving you the moment we knew you were growing inside. Thanks be to God for such a gift. St. Irene (Penelope), Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur and Our Lady: the New Eve, please protect our sweet girl that she may grow up to be the girl God made her to be.

Thankful for...

...Good times!

This was a favorite for me and my siblings, Aunty Lou, Uncle Matt, and Aunt Kate-- with Mimi and Papa's help too!-- to do growing up... Let the GOOD traditions continue. What fun!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Little Caleb Swimming

Little Hands from God

Behold the wee hands that have already brought such joy and abundant blessings from God. We are forever grateful to God for this incredible gift, for our sweet Penelope. These frail and vulnerable little fingers grasp whoever and whatever are placed in their grasp. What a witness to how immense our dependence should be on God.

Mary and I also joke that she was born with a secretary's nails. We haven't cut her nails yet as she may have a future as a personal office assistant! Perhaps even like Carol Burnett's Mrs. Huwiggins.

The Gang!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving Continues...

...with gratitude for moments together while making triple berry icecream, and Madeleine sponge cakes. MAdge and I have special memories of our first time we made Madeleines together. Here is that old moment I'm so glad we shared together. We are still using the same pan!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thank God for SunDAES on WednesDAYS!

We enjoyed Daddy's, Maddy's and Pita's creations of framboesa and manga ice cream!

Thank you, Lord, for hugs in the sunshine

Whenever Penelope is well-fed and ready for sweet arms to float into, after leaving another pair of gentle and hugging arms of her family, she goes. And, she stays: cozy and loved. We thank you, Lord, for love and hugs... in the sunshine!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving for...

Sweet, sweet love and the best sleepy snuggles.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving

What a blessing it is to start the month of November out with the virtue of Gratitude, as we near the end of 2012. Each month in our school room we look to the 12 virtues of the year and slowly navigate our ribbon-tied clothes pin toward the next virtue to grow in as the months change, and hopefully, our hearts change too for the better. This month, though, I cannot be more grateful for the gifts God has showered upon us over the year. But, the gift that I am truly grateful for and want to thank God for is the gift of my husband, God's son, the giving Dad to our sweet four children, and the soul that teaches me to be the person God wants me to be. Caleb, I love you.

As I read from one of Penelope's patron "saints" writings (that is Elisabeth Leseur's), I reflect on one part of her diary, taken from March 6, 1912, in which she speaks of her dear husband and his good soul. The beauty in her writings here shows to me that each spouse is able to open up, help channel, deeply love, assist, suffer for, the good of his or her spouse in ways that the world or those in the world will never see and are maybe never meant to see. But, the point is that God deigns to each person, particularly in marriage, an "excavator," one's spouse, who , according to a spiritual director I had in DC, spoke of as being "a channel of grace," one to the other.

Servant of God, Elisabeth Leseur's words from March 6, 1912 (taken from, The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, p. 122):
A short conversation with my dear Felix a little while ago deeply stirred the hopes and desires of my soul concerning that dear soul. Oh yes, my God, I must have it, Thou must have it, this straight true soul; he must know Thee and love Thee, become the humble instrument of Thy glory, and do the work of an apostle. Take him entirely to Thyself. Make of my trials, my sufferings, and my renunciations the road by which Thou shalt come to this dear heart. Is there anything that belongs to me alone that would not be ready to offer Thee to obtain this conversion, this grace so longed for? My sweet Savior, between Thy Heart and mine there must be this compact of love, which will give Thee a soul and will give me for eternity him whom I cherish, whom I want to be with me in Heaven."

In marriage, in friendship, in each relationship, thanks to God, He gives us the opportunity to freely give (and to receive in the like) forgiveness and love: totally what He did for us, without ever dangling something over our heads and saying that it is against His better judgement to forgive us. No, God in the Father, Son and Spirit, fully, totally, lovingly forgives us second after second, without any sign of reserve, if only we accept it. Again, Elisabeth Leseur writes beautifully on the loving act of the will: forgiveness:
To know how to forgive is the special mark of the Christian. Forgiveness should not merely be passive; it should be a lively act of love. (p.174)

I am Grateful

Throughout this week, we have had many transitions: multiple contractions coming and going at various points in the day and the night, early morning awakenings, later nights, and then: the real onset of labor, something that I hold near to my heart, something that I love, something that I am so grateful for, as a soul that has lain 9 months beneath my heart, transitions to a new world where God calls her to mission, but needs help in passing from one quiet world to the other, where noise, demands, confusion and joy will ultimately be scattered upon her path toward Him Who calls her forward. In all these moments, you were there, Caleb. You held my hand. You encouraged me to focus. You gave me my "daily bread" by bringing food to me upstairs as I labored in our room Monday morning as the kids played, and you remained home from work.
 Remember that morning?: 5:40am? The last big contraction came. I was excited. I thought, "This must be it." I remember leaning over to you as we set the plan for the morning for you to stay back because I thought "the baby would come soon and fast!" Intuition: what a gift from God, and how grateful I am that I told you and we acted on that together. Throughout that morning, you played with the kids two rooms down from ours: Lego time! You fed them breakfast, read with them, loved them as they passed in and out of our room to sit with me as contractions, long contractions, short contractions came and went, and grew closer together. You served. You served Him: you prayed with me. You served us: you loved, you fathered. You were. You were in the present moment with us. I am grateful for that. 
I am Grateful

Throughout this week you have made the days so enjoyable. Your presence alone has soothed me, knowing that our three treasures are secure as I rest. Swimming everyday. Ice cream treats to celebrate Penelope's birth. Enjoying Mass yesterday: you and our threesome together and then lunch at Giraffa's while Penny and I rested. Movie night. A beautifully-organized All Saints' In-Home Trick-or-Treating with well-organized clues, guiding Maddy, Pita and Caleb from door-to-door throughout the house. And, specially-bought candies from the Commissary, and specially-ordered Saint holy cards to pass out with each "Knock, knock! Trick-or-treaters!"

I am Grateful
 Thank you. Thank you for sharing your life with me. For, as our wedding song, Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor (I Am Nothing Without Your Love) says, weathering the storms of life together. For making the way up the mountain of life with me, together. Blessed John Paul II says it so well: "The way Jesus shows you is not easy. Rather, it is like a path winding up a mountain. Do not lose heart! The steeper the road, the faster it rises towards ever wider horizons." Nothing is perfect, but all can be perfected in Him with the hand that Jesus lends to us on this journey. I am so Grateful He lent me yours to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. While others can quickly relinquish another's goodness, I am Grateful that God binds us to one another in Him, in our marriage vows, to never ever give up no matter what difficulties, struggles, joys, confusions, moments of loneliness, heartache, come. 

There is so much to be grateful for, and I could continue to write in one letter here, but I will leave these thoughts to God's timing as I look to each moment to be grateful in these days of November as we celebrate the call to sanctity and reflect on the real moment God will call us home and ask us how we each cultivated the good He gave to us and if we shared that with our beloved. I love you, Caleb. Thank you for you and being open to God's graces and transforming love.