"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Eowyn: Mom?

Me: Yes?

Eowyn: Did you ever have glass slippers?

Me: (pause) No.  No, I never did have glass slippers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Two years ago, I began my 4th of July celebrations with a tiny little sharp pain and a burst of water.  It was 12:30 am and my water had broken.  I was just. so. very. relieved!  Mr. 4th of July was supposed to be born on June 25th, and I was very very ready for him to come!

I heard fireworks as I sat there, marveling at my beautiful baby boy, born at 3:30 am on the 4th of July, named for the 3:00 Hour of Mercy into which he was born, in 2016, the Year of Mercy.

So, what do you do when your baby is born on the 4th of July?  Well, you go ahead and celebrate!

It's funny, but "Sam" is the blog name I chose for this boy, after Sam Gamgee, to round out our "fellowship" here on the blog.  It occurs to me that it's an appropriate name for this boy, "a real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, born on the 4th of July!" lol

Sam's red hair has bleached out to a strawberry blonde, like Bilbo was.  Sam isn't a fly-weight.  He loves to run and romp and throw balls with his brothers.

He is completely doted upon by everyone.  Every day someone tells me "look at Sam! Did you see what he just did?! He's sooo cute!!!"

That's the gift of being #9.  None of us can imagine life without this sweet, chubby Two year old!

In two days will be the Feast of St. Maria Goretti, the "Little Saint of Great Mercy".  I can't have a birthday post without a shoutout to the great Saint who heard my prayers, when her major relics went on tour in the United States for the first time, in honor of the Year of Mercy.  That was in October.  I had just gotten over my first miscarriage in August, and was begging God for just one more.

Two days before her Feast day, Sam was born.  I would have had "Maria" as part of the name if he had been a girl.  Instead, his middle name--Clement--means Mercy.  And it is Mercy that I received in abundance!

Each child is precious.  Each child has their own story to tell.  This is Sam's story, and I celebrate it today with a very full heart.  Full of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Happy 4th of July!! and Happy Birthday Sammy!!!

"Come and hear,
all who fear God,
and I will tell of what
He has done
for my
(psalm 66:16)

Thursday, June 28, 2018


When I was a young mother I would hear of people with teen-aged children and wonder what that would be like.  The thing is, I was married so young, that honestly my teen years were not very far behind me (two years and twenty days to be precise).  In addition to that, I had siblings who remained in their teen years for nearly a decade into my marriage (I think my youngest brother was 11 when I got married).  So, while my own children were mere tots, I had lots of encounters with teen-agers.  They weren't some foreign species.

What is my 15-year old son?  

Well, growing.  And growing means eating, and sleeping.  

Birthday boys are still super sweet, still happy to get a DQ cake and blow out the candles.

He's funny.  He's sassy--definitely sassy!;)

I'm not comfortable with how thick his shoulders are growing or how he's not-quite-yet-taller than me.

He's gathering his courage for high school.  He's determined and hard working.  He's a boy who is growing into a man.  And, while I have always found teens fun, interesting, exciting, now that I find myself in the position of MOTHER to several teens, I think that I am surprised to find myself entirely sentimental.  I savor these days and years, because I know they will soon launch.   This time is precious and I have my work to do as a mother.  To mother them, as young adults, into greater independence, confidence, competence.  Academically, socially, and of course spiritually.

It all occurs to me.  That's what runs through my thoughts as we light candles and eat ice cream cake. My heart bursts with love and gratitude for this child.  I gather my strength, and together we go out into "fifteen"!

Happy birthday Aragorn!!

Monday, June 4, 2018


Well, we officially finished our school year.  I am pretty sure that most home schooling moms look forward to summer as much as their children do.  Speaking for myself: I am ready for a break!!

 I NEED my summers to finally make time for those projects that I simply do not have time for while I'm teaching.  I have big goals for this summer, but of course, I always have big goals...we'll see what I get to!  My huge project this summer is to replace all of the nasty old stained carpet that is in our upstairs.  And in truth, my kitchen really needs some attention itself.  That said, I know that none of us are up for any sort of grand-scale remodel.   I'm thinking "face lift".

My current projects include packing away our school room for the year.  Going through the workbooks and deciding what gets saved and stored, and what workbooks were used and get recycled.  Believe it or not, it's a pretty big task.  I guess it really entails detailing the schoolroom shelving, closets, and whatever's inside of the kids' desks.  Imagine big messes.

And if I don't feel inclined to head to the schoolroom, then my bedroom is waiting for me with bins of winter clothes to process.  They need to be stored or donated.  I've already been going through the bins and have managed to donate 5 black trash bags of clothes.  I have no explanations.

That said, summer is ON! So, that means water tables, baby pools and sprinklers in my sister's back yard.  I can't work ALL day after all! ;)

That's my world in a nutshell!  Have a  good week!!

Sunday, May 27, 2018


I'm almost too late to post this, but since it's still May, I'm going to do it!  I guess everyone knows that the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Mother.  A few years ago I found a beautiful brown toned statue of Mary at a garden store.  It has since turned almost white.  I placed it on a slab of rock that was in our forest and we cleared out a little place in the woods to make a small shrine.

This year we had a few extra petunias leftover from our window box and I let the kids plant them in pots for Mary.

I can see this statue from all of the back windows of my house, which means I see her as I close my bedroom window at night and as I open the back living room shades in the morning.  In the moonlight, in the early morning sun, she looks so beautiful.

While I don't have an "official" "Mary garden", because the forest is so shaded and it is hard to grow flowers, we do have a huge swath of "Lily-of-the-Valley" that just happen to grow wild in our forest.  I planted "Marigolds" around our garden this year.  We have a couple "Bleeding hearts" along a border of our home.  I try to use these plants named in honor of Mary to help foster a love and devotion to her in myself and my children. 

I love May.  I love the end of the school year and the promise of summer.  There really is a great sense of peace that comes at the end of a long year of hard work and effort to teach and learn together.  Now our tasks will turn elsewhere.   As my kids turn to the outdoors to play, I start making lists to attend to all of those details put on hold while school was in session.

We start a new rhythm to our days where many hours of schoolwork are now open and free.  I need this free space.  I need the peace of having nothing, really, to do.  And I want to keep this peace throughout the summer.  So, in May, we turn to Mary, Queen of Peace, and receive the gifts of grace that we need from her loving and Immaculate heart.

Friday, May 11, 2018


Rosie is the third of four girls, number 6 in our family of 9.  She has five brothers: three older, two younger.  It's hard to get more "middle" than Rosie.  

I guess people say middle children get lost in the shuffle.  Rosie is much more often in the midst of the action.  She is rarely left out, whether she's playing up or down, with older siblings or younger, with brothers or with sisters.  She's pretty quick to snatch the spot next to Mom on the couch or jump in the car to run errands.  It seems that Rosie is right in the heart of the family.

She is usually playing with someone, and she doesn't like to be bored.  She has a very loud laugh and she loves to laugh.

ballet performance with Eowyn
A little bit like Bilbo, Rosie is up for anything!  Bilbo bought her a fishing pole for her birthday this year, because he likes to let others in on his favorite pastime.  And because he and Rosie are good friends.  I love how siblings will play together and don't segregate like boys and girls tend to in school.
chicks at Aunt Buffy's farm
 Galadriel and Rosie make up dances on a daily basis, and dance for me before bedtime.  Believe me, it's entertaining!  While Galadriel is a "tween", she gets to have as much fun as she wants with Rosie, playing paper dolls or with the neighborhood girls.  I'm so glad she has Rosie to keep her young and sweet.  I love how siblings help each other do that.

puppies at Aunt Ann's
Rosie has the prettiest blue eyes, and I have six children with blue eyes.  I didn't say hers were prettier than her siblings, they are just the prettiest!

Did I mention she has dimples?
"Two-headed monster" with Legolas
 She is fun and silly
 she loves her sisters
 and her brothers

Sam loves her a lot, and everyone wants Sam to love them!  Rosie's just lovable.

This year Rosie has read over 15 "Nate the Great" and a bunch of "Magic Tree House" books.  She's really getting to be a good little reader!  She's also awesome at getting her school work done for me, and she always wants to start with math!  What an answer to prayer!

Rosie really was an answer to prayer!  I couldn't wait for her to come, and when she did, she was perfect!

Each of her 8 years have been a blessing to us all!

Happy Birthday, Rosie!