Monday, January 28, 2008

First Reconciliation/Lawn Care

Tonite my girlie goes to her first confession. We have talked about this on and off over the last couple of months, with another last minute cram session this afternoon.

She is 3 weeks from being 8 years old. Let us be honest, confession and reconciliation are just not things the average 8 year old can really grasp. It is something that truly grows with you. I did emphasize to her that she isn't to think that just because her dad and I are grown that we have an easier time being good. I told her that it is when you are grown up that sinning becomes the most easy to do and the most difficult to stop. She was surprised by this. I think kids sometimes tend to think that because they are little and don't know the rights and wrongs of everything or the nuances of various situations that they are worse than grown ups. I told her, she is much closer to Christ and His love as the little girl she is, and the more she can hold on to her simple child-like faith the better.

I reality, her sins are so simple. Of course, like anyone's, they are born of selfishness. But a kids' selfishness is tame compared to ours as adults. I wish my sins were ONLY that I stuck my tongue out at my brother because he wouldn't let me on the computer, even when it was my turn. Instead, mine involve making decisions on how to raise my children, how to treat them, my husband, my friends, those who have hurt me.

 I told Autumn that the simplest way to understand sin is that it is an action against real, true love. That is the love that God gives and want us to express as well. How I fall short of showing real, true love. Autumn is much more above board and loving than I am. That is why Jesus said to have the faith of a child. The faith of a child is like a beautiful green lawn and a child's sins are like brand new young weeds fresh from the ground. Their roots are not buried under layers of dark dirt. They are barely under the surface. They are easily picked and discarded barely hurting the lawn. Most adults, however, have weeds in their lawn that are like that of Nutsedge (sp) deep, tangled and hard to get rid of. And when you have managed to uproot them, how painful it is to the lawn, not to mention the deep holes that are left until new grass grows over them. How I love that Confession helps me to continue to pull out those horrible weeds of sin, in my ever growing lawn of faith. And it is not as easy to grapple with those sins, even with God's help, as much as it is for a little kid. It is also a lot more painful to let go of sinful habits, more than for a little kid. They have had much less time to develop them.

The wonderful thing, and this is coming from a convert who used to mock confession and never really understand it, is that since being able to avail myself of the wonderful Grace-giving Sacrament of Confession (or Reconciliation), I have finally been able to rid myself of sins that bugged the heck out of me as a Protestant, but could never seem to kick. And I didn't rid myself of those sins, God's grace and my cooperation with it, are what did. There is real accountability in this Sacrament...there is no hiding yourself when you bare your soul to the one standing In Persona Christi. You hear the things you do and say come out of your mouth and KNOW there is not one righteous, no not one...only Christ is. Hearing your sins aloud makes you even more aware that YOU DO NEED THE FORGIVENESS OF CHRIST because you hear how unloving you truly are. And the best part comes, the part I could only imagine, but never heard, while I was still an Evangelical, and that is this, "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I absolve you of your sins. Go and sin no more." HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?! No more wondering if you meant it, if He really did forgive you. You walk out of that confessional on air feeling the Grace and Peace of Christ coursing through your veins. You KNOW that with God's continued help and grace He will help you overcome sins and continue to make you Holy on your life's walk with Christ.

Well, I have to go get Autumn. It is time to go. I am so excited for her. After tonite, the next stop is the pinnacle of Sacraments: the Eucharist...Christ Himself condescending into bread and wine to make it His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Remember from John 6: "I am the bread of Life, whoevers eats this bread will never die." How loved we are. Just mindblowing!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Slang

This is an old song by The Shins. YES! I do listen to lots of bands. I really love these guys alot. If Muse is too 'out there' for ya, try these guys.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Off track

Okay, yes it is true I have been a 'little' obsessed with Muse and Dr. Who lately. Neato TV shows, movies and mostly music are my escapes. Ben has given me more reasons to want to escape lately.
I promise I will be back to writing about the exciting adventures of my crazy family soon. Hmmm...where did I put my MP3 player? Time to escape!

Next Chapter: School vouchers and how I get Ben into a really neat private school without it ruining us financially.

Back to the music...


Muscle Museum - Casino Royale

I C A N ' T S T O P!

Don't like Dr. Who?

Try this...the handsome Tom Welling of Smallville...and um, yeah, Muse.

I you love the 10th Doctor you will LOVE this!

Excerpts of the adorable and fabulous David Tennant as the 10th incarnation of The Doctor set to Muse's Math of the Problematique

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tardis (Knights) of Cydonia-Muse/Dr. Who

So cool! So very cool!

Dr. Who/ Muse-Our Time Is Running Out

Now I'm in trouble because I found out that I am not the only one who sees Muse and Dr. Who as the perfect combination. There are lots of these videos. I'll be posting more!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Muse Sunburn

I know, I know...stop with the Muse already. Sorry, I can't. I am completely intoxicated by their music. This video is from a few years ago. Cool and kinda creepy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Like I didn't see this coming!

You Are a Night Person

For you, there's nothing worse than having to get up and moving early.
In fact, you probably don't hit your peak until well after the sun has set.
So if your struggling to make it on a normal schedule, realize it's not your fault.
You just weren't meant to do anything during the day!

I couldn't nailed me again!

You Are an Indie Rocker!

You are in it for the love of the music...
And you couldn't care less about being signed by a big label.
You're all about loving and supporting music - not commercial success.
You may not have the fame and glory, but you have complete control of your career.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time Lord Nature

The hottest band and the hottest Doctor...Dr. Who (David Tennant, of course!)...make the perfect duo!  Someone made a video of Dr. Who clips from season 3 and put it to Muse's song Nature 1. It is awsome, but the embedding was disabled.  If you love either the Doctor or Muse go see it here.

Together For Life 2007

This was the March for Life last year. The man speaking is a Baptist minister. He was great. His preaching reminded me of my Baptist days. I am quite happy as a Catholic now. I was there with Andrew and his friend Claire. She couldn't come with us this year as she was visiting a college. We missed you Claire!

March For Life

This is a cause near and dear to my heart.  Because had I been a different woman 18 years ago, my wonderful, amazing, fabulous...I could go on and on...son might not be here.  So, every year, since he's been 14 (and actually once when he was 3 in Washington D.C. when Clinton was in office) we have gone and, along with hundreds of others, Marched for Life.  

Today, Mike Huckabee was the speaker.  He was GREAT!  I took a picture with my phone and I am going to see if I can add it to this post eventually.  Hearing him in person, and his dedication to the cause for Life only made me like him more as a Presidential Candidate.  It is a core issue for me, probably more than homeschooling, dare I say it (and Huckabee has gotten a bum rap on that score if one even bothers to check it out). So, after hearing him talk about his devotion to the Culture of Life (and when people use JPII's words I instantly warm to them) and then thanked Catholics first, for being the ones to really oppose abortion from the beginning (even before the Evangelicals said he) I couldn't help but like him more.  I was a Baptist for 2 years (most Protestants try out lots of different Denominations) and they are NOT fond of Catholics, so I liked that Huckabee gave us props.  (Though he doesn't strike me as an anti-Catholic Baptist at all...and I know not all Baptists if you are one don't get mad).

Anyway, I know as the days pan out it's looking less like Huckabee has shot at the nomination.  But I will be pulling (and praying) for him until the end. He's got an important message.  I think people need to hear it. He doesn't hide who he is.  He wears his beliefs on his sleeve, and his faith informs his politics not the other way around as with other politicians.  He is a man I can stand with.  I am happy I got to see and hear him in person.  He was very well received by my fellow Georgians, and even the Georgia Right To Life endorsed him as their candidate of choice because of his unwaivering stand for Life.

The walk was solemn and God held the rain until we were done (which was nice coz it was 33 degrees).
See what Georgia is doing to defeat Roe v Wade.

For Life...Always!

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Gesthemane Moment

I don't know how many of you Catholics out there have ever participated in the Parish Renewal program called Christ Renews His Parish or CRHP (pronounced Chirp for short), but it is an amazing and singular retreat experience.  It is quite unlike anything out there.  If your parish has it...RUN...don't walk...and sign up for the next one.

Well, CRHP is self perpetuating.  It is not stagnant.  Folks attend a CRHP weekend then many from that group go on to present a CRHP weekend and then the presenters kind of move off into various parish ministries and the attendees go on to be presenters and it keeps going from there.  Our parish started CRHP a couple of years ago.  Every 6 months there is a CRHP Weekend for Men and a week or so later their is the Women's weekend.  Each group of people to attend are a team.  I went to Team 1's presentation of a CRHP Weekend, and those in my group who continued to form the next Weekend became Team 2.  Once you have gone to CRHP you may or may not be Called by God to come back to another CRHP team to help them out.  This just happened to me.  I was Called to go and help form Team 6 to put on a CRHP Weekend whose attendees will become CRHP 7.  

There are many roles to be filled for a CRHP weekend.  And only God, in a special discernment prayer meeting will Call those He chooses to certain roles.  No person says to another, "You are meant to do this or that."  Well, at the most recent discernment I was Called to be the Lay Director.  Let me tell you what a hilarious joke on me that is.  And I have been really freaking out over the last few days asking God if he could take this cup from me...after I decided maybe I don't want it.  It is going to stretch me in places I have never stretched and I'm feeling quite inflexible, KWIM?

Lay Directors direct the proceeding of a CRHP meeting. I have to watch time, make  sure folks don't stray off topic, keep to a prescribe schedule, help insure the retreat goes smoothly giving oversight to all other ministry heads.  It's not my show.  I am just helping to direct it.  Okay, stop laughing all of you who know me. I know what you are thinking.  "How could God let Rachel do that?...Her CRHP meetings are going to end up being a train wreck!"  Well, the first one was a bit disorganized, but my Spiritual and Co-Spiritual Directors Ann and Jacki thought it went alot better than I did.  I even got an email from a member of the group, Julie, telling me she was glad I was the Lay Director. WOW! COOL!  I gotta say, I won't be doing ANY of it without God's help.  I think that is why I am where I am.  He knows I need Him for this position. I also adore the women in this team and know that they will help and best of all LOVE me through it.  They won't be judging, just encouraging. So, Fear Be Damned!  Get behind me Satan!  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Oh, and for any of you Catholics out there reading this who have a Christ Renews His Parish in your church, DO NOT HESITATE!  Sign up NOW!  It will be, quite possibly, the BEST thing you have EVER done for your relationship with CHRIST,  your FELLOW PARISHIONERS, and YOURSELF!!!!


Something Good

So, today has been a good day for Ben. He woke up happy, didn't need Robert or me for anything, played happily with his sister so that Robert and I could sleep in. Then we woke up at 10 (it was awesome) we had snuggle time with Ben in our bed. He loves being cuddled and after the last few days of screaming, yelling and unhappiness it was nice (really nice) to reconnect with the boy that I love (but don't often get to 'feel' like I love). Then I went to Kath's house, got to hang out with her a bit, which I always love, and after I took Ryan and Daniel to my house where everyone is playing quite happily (dare I even say it?).

Who knows what will happen later...or tommorrow when it is back to school time for Ben? I sure don't. But for this moment. I am going to savor the peace, quiet and happiness that is pervading my house.

THANK YOU GOD! For helping me to relish and enjoy the little things. Amen


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brutally Honest

Today is another snowy day.  How awesome...twice in a Atlanta.  Thank you, God, for this gift.  I am trying to focus on this simple pleasure, this peacefully snowing white covered day, because the brutal truth is that I want to run away and never come back. 

This is my blog and I can write what I want to write and it is that I am overloaded from dealing with my Bipolar son.  Here it is...a snow day.  It has been snowing since morning.  One would think, that since a day like this is the stuff of dreams for Ben, he would actually be happy. Oh, but God Forbid!  I can not adequately, nor will I ever, be able to put into words what it is like having a child with this particular mental illness, nor what it is like mothering him.  Moms want their kids to be happy, and do alot to make them happy (within reason so they don't turn out to be evil little brats).  But there is really nothing I can ever do, that will maybe last more than 15  minutes, that will ever make Ben happy.  His mind will not let him be happy.  Yet, he spends most of his waking time either angry, and angry at me (or another family member) because by not doing "x, y, z" with him we are not making him happy.  Then, when we do do things that would make any other kids delirious with joy, Ben will look at me as if to say, "You think that's what I f*cking wanted?  You couldn't be more wrong."  Oh, he doesn't say it, but trust me, that is EXACTLY what the look conveys. 

Parents without kids like this, no matter how well meaning, often just don't get what it is like to be continually hounded by a person who can only think of making whatever happens to be their agenda, that day, happen.  Even I forget what it's like when I am around other kids,  like in various homeschool coops,  with my neurotypical daughter,  and I see the relative ease with which adults and kids interact.  All kids can be obnoxious, unruly, selfish, stubborn, unhappy, demanding, etc at times.  However, Ben, really can only think of whatever it is his mind is telling him it needs in order for him to stay even, calm, happy, balanced.  But most often, those things can not be allowed to happen all the time.  I will not (and can not) buy him everything he decides he wants to have (and oh does he WANT STUFF).  He is unrelenting in his pursuit of acquisitions.  No matter how much I pray, beg, cajole, yell, threaten, he doesn't get that he has to stop his relentlessly perseverative demand for his WANTS or Mommy is going to fall apart and he will have a hell of a time making and keeping friends, because everything is always about Ben.

I feel guilty, empty, hollow, lonely, hurt, despairing, physically exhausted, emotionally beaten down, inept, perpetually unprepared, very sad, afraid, angry, heartbroken, did I mention guilty (because I even feel this way about my own child) alone, misunderstood, judged, out-of-control, at-the-end-of-my-rope, sick-to-my-stomach, anxious, depressed, like-I-want-to-run-away, in-over-my-head, spiritually abandoned, like-a-total-whiner, and it's not going to change much.  For Ben, there are good moments, but there are rarely good days.  I have no idea what puberty is going to be like, for Ben, but I am not looking forward to it.  I know God has a plan, but I don't know what the Hell it is, and you know what?  YES! I would like to be clued in!!!! 

And you know, Ben hates having Bipolar too.  He hates that he can fly into a rage that can last for hours and that he can scream such hateful, hurtful things at people he loves, with no feeling of being able to stop himself.
There is only so much meds can do.  If you have a perpetual headache you can take tylenol or motrin everyday, but there will still be times that the headache breaks through because it is always there.

I will struggle Ben's whole life with feeling like I am either a horrible mother or that I did do the right thing by him.  I just want to cry but am afraid the tears would never I don't.   I  am on 2 medicines myself just to help me deal with raising Ben.  My sanity is definitely hanging by a thread.  I KNOW God is out there, I just FEEL abandoned.  It's a feeling not reality.  It just feels real.

God, please hear my prayers for peace in my son's mind, and answer them. Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Thank you, God, for letting it snow tonight.  I know there are so many people in the world who see it everyday and don't enjoy it for the peaceful , beautiful, wonderful thing that it is.  The kids have been so happy. They ran around the house looking for hats and gloves screaming, "It's snowing, it's a MIRACLE!"  Then my 18 year old son danced in the front yard as the huge flakes hit his face. That is life in Atlanta, where snow is a welcome Miracle. I hope school is out tomorrow.  

Thanks Big Guy!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

If you HEART Huckabee ....

....please click this link.  


Very Interesting Catholic Political Blog


The three of them are all law students, married and two of them have kids.  There is alot of really cool stuff here, and plenty to ponder.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Goodbye Christmas :-(

Well, I am done putting away all the Christmas stuff.  I put it all away, today, BY MYSELF!  That included 2 faux trees and dragging the real one outside as soon as I had put all the ornaments and lights away. Not to mention all my Rankin-Figures etc....It was tiring. At least, though, it was good exercise because I was up and down 2 sets of stairs all day.  Listening to 2 Muse Cd's helped ALOT! I was blasting the heck out of them.  You could hear it on the street. :-)

Most of the house has returned to it's former self. I clean as I go and put stuff out as I return Christmas stuff to the boxes.  So, it's looking pretty good...just really barren.  Now I am off to the shower as it was raining today and about 60 something degrees so I am pretty sweaty.

Autumn even managed to do her Click n Read phonics ANNNNND some Cool Math 4 Kids, so I am feeling like we all were very productive. Woo Hoo!  I love these kind of days.


Muse Bliss

I love his hair (though he's brunette again, this is from a few years ago). I used to have a purple slanted bob in the mid-eighties. I love the words in this song.

Muse Unintended/Jane Eyre/Awesome pairing!

Bands I love ALOT!

Okay, so I have cancelled the Near Circle I had created for Alternative Rock Fans. Instead, I will continue to post on music, because it is a huge part of my life. Following are the bands I have been listening to alot lately.
Up top is MUSE.  I am utterly addicted to them at the moment. There are the best band I have heard in ages.
Underneath in the left row:  The Shins, The White Stripes, Snow Patrol, Coldplay,  in the center middle is Interpol and in the right row The RaconteursJet, The Killers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Really great dialog about Attachment Parenting in Catholic Families

I found this article by reading a post in the Organic Learning blog that is in one of my near circle groups. I have always been an AP parent. And interestingly, I found that using AP with my kids syncs better with Catholicism than Protestantism (I used to be an Evangelical). On the whole, I think AP fits in perfectly with Christianity, and people like the Ezzo's totally freaked me out and made me really the point where I would hide their books when I went into bookstores. But the more I have read by JPII (which I have been doing in my FAMILIA group) the more I see how AP blends so beautifully with Catholic teaching more than any other Christian theological vantage point.

I, too, like Danielle Bean. I peruse her blog often, and I imagine I will continue to do so. I don't have any books by Gregory Popcak, but I have friends who do. So, I know of him. I really liked the points he makes in the above post (click on the title to get to it). I do, however, own most of William Sears' books, have met him, and several years ago had a fabulous talk with his wife, Martha, on the phone. She actually directed me to a great article at the Christian Research Institute, an evangelical website, on just how unbiblical and dangerous the Ezzos parenting methods were.

What I really loved about the above exchange, however, was how polite they are to each other. I also benefitted greatly from the discussion of integral procreation and how God gives us the gifts of children, not just timing. This is important to me because I have wanted another child, DESPERATELY, for 5 years. I have stopped charting for over a year...and still no baby. God really is in control. My dh and I have a son with Bipolar Disorder. God knows how much time and energy he takes from us and out other 2 children. If we are blessed by God to have another child someday, I will know it is because God KNEW that Ben needed all that extra time from us...and that another little soul might have suffered needlessly if brought to our family any earlier.

Being Catholic and a parent who practices AP are all about TRUST in God and the way He created us to be. What else is there that would encourage Saintliness other than that?


Muse - Hysteria US version

This is one of my favorite Muse songs. This is from Absolution (their last CD).
The current one Black Holes And Revelations is spectacular too. Gosh! They are just flipping amazing!!!

Muse - Map of the Problematique 4Music

I cannot get enough of this band. They are just BRILLIANT!!! Of course, the drummer is a TAMA man! Go to Youtube and watch all 5 of their 4Music videos. They are soooo good live. (Can you hear all the cool 80's New Wave undertones in this is awesome tune?)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Lost in Transitions

This morning was back to school for 2 of our kids.  Andrew was back to being a Senior at our local High School and Ben was supposed to go back to the special needs elementary school he is attending this year (next year the plan is for him to come back home).  

Well, Ben, as anyone who knows our family knows suffers from Bipolar Disorder.  Let me assure you, he is suffering...and so are we.  Ben has a very hard time with transitions.  Now, there are lots of folks out there with kids who have terrible transitioning abilities.  Most kids with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and ADHD don't really do well with transitions.  Bipolar kids (and adults) are "off the map" with their inability to handle transitions and, like Ben, become Lost in their own rage and anxiety over Transitions.  So even though we have been talking to Ben about how school was starting this week, this morning, you would have thought he has never heard of school before.

Ben just flipped out with so much anger.  He was yelling and screaming at us.  We would ask him calmly to go and collect himself because we were not yelling and screaming at him and wanted him to try and treat us with the same respect we were treating him with.  So, he would stomp off, yell, come back , yell, stomp off, yell, come back, yell (and think you get the picture).  After about 90 minutes he started calming down and I made him breakfast.  Then he said he was ready to go.  On the way to school he fell asleep in the car and I brought him home.   I got him up into bed and then something  else started him off ( a puppet show he can't attend).  So the screaming and stomping started again.  For another hour it went on.  Finally, because I knew his brain was exhausted from all the upheaval, I got him to lie down and rubbed his head and snuggle him and he was out. He slept about 3 hours.  He had already had a good nights sleep.  That nap was because his brain had a huge emotional seizure the size of Mt. St. Helen's, and desperately needed to turn off and reboot.

Well, he is awake now. He has had lunch and now wants me to play Guitar Hero 3, so I am on my way downstairs. My only hope is that this "run through" today will reduce his need to freak out tomorrow. 
This is the last year he will be able to attend this particular school (because next year is Middle School and there is NO WAY we are going to send him there).  So, for our sanity, and for Ben's exposure to transitions to things that he isn't always happy about but through which he learns he won't die without us near him 24/7, he needs to finish out this school year.  But after being away for over 2 weeks...there was really no way we thought he wouldn't completely lose it over going back.

Did I mention I really want to take a nap!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

This WAS me 20 years ago.

Oh, how I wish I looked like that still.  I know it's vain, but darn, I was a hottie!  Was, of course, is the operative word here. I am 41 now.  This pic was taken when I was 21, in 1987. I miss the 80's!!!  My New Year's Resolution is to try and recapture a little of the girl I was.  I was a size 6 back then, now I am a 14.  I think I would be happy to settle on a size 10.

~Here's to a Peaceful (and maybe a little thinner) New Year!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Good Luck Huck!

Congrats to  Mike Huckabee for winning the Iowa Caucus last night.  It is about time this really cool guy pulled out ahead.  I think it is a real shame that there a many homeschoolers out there who have completely and unfairly stereotype Huckabee as the choice for Evangelicals.  My husband is friends with someone very high up in the music industry, in L.A., who has always voted for Liberals, and has said that he loves Huckabee's position on music and the arts to much that he is going to vote for him.  If some of you homeschoolers out there hate the idea of people prejudging you because you homeschool, why would you turn around and do the same thing to Huckabee just because he is an Evangelical?

I am a conservative Catholic with very liberal ideas regarding education therefore I am committed to unschooling, and the only guy getting my vote is Mike Huckabee!