Lenten Preps and Proposals

Thank God for a quiet weekend! Mike took the boys to Central Catholic basketball games both Friday and Saturday nights. With girls ages 5 and 8 “Girls Night” involves markers, glue sticks, crafty goodness and Disney. Having kids so much older gives these nights  a magical quality for me. Policing Pre-Teens, coming right up.

Saturday afternoon I spent some time with my RCIA…what? … sponsee? I’m the sponsor, she is the sponsored one? Catechumen is the correct term, but that’s a mouthful. Anyway, she will be baptized at the Easter Vigil – an amazing journey to undertake as an adult. Not only is she capable of understanding the enormity of it all, but she knows very well what life is like devoid of any faith, and provides a glimpse of that through a very clear lens. This is not unlike what happens when an “old” mom spends time with a woman whose very first baby is a week old. Both parties benefit, and it would be hard to say which one benefits more.

Sunday evening we had “our” grandparents over – not sure how to refer to them either – our kids call them Nana and Papa and would act confused if someone pointed out that they’re not blood relatives. We sort of adopted them many years ago and they do what the best grandparents do best – give absolute love and one-on-one attention  —  all in all, it is the best love story ever, and we are very blessed.

We thought we’d do a “Fat Sunday” instead of Tuesday, before Lent. Here we were prepared to woop it up and Papa B mostly declined, saying he’s preparing for Lent, which he observes pretty rigorously anyway. He fasts and abstains for the 40 days, meaning no meat, no snacking, no sweets or alcohol. I think he lives on veggie soup – anyway, unlike we neanderthals who were tanking up, he was preparing himself. Oh. There’s a thought. He often loses 15 pounds during Lent, but he shrugs it off saying he puts most of the weight back on by Pentecost. HA.

I think my own Lenten program has taken shape over the last week or so. Certainly being involved in RCIA has been a great help. There’s plenty written, on paper and on the web that proves helpful as well, of course. Our reference points this year are the virtues  – where do we need to grow?  We usually know this in our heart of hearts, but it is a helpful exercise to get it out there in the open. (or at least in our inner forum!)

My reference points are humility and obedience. They are two good pals, I think, as they so often can be found together.  Regarding those two I have no where to go but up, so I’ll be having an amazing Lent! The gory details to follow.

We have other exciting news, for those of you who like to keep up with the emerging grade school social scene. Caroline came home from Kindergarten today, relating the story of her very first marriage proposal. “Do you want to marry me or not? Thumbs up or down?” he said. “Really, Caroline, what did you say?” She scrinched up her nose, snarled her lips, and pointed her thumbs firmly, decidedly down. “That’s what I said.”

Of course, I get the skinny before we even get to the car. I have a girl. Betcha the boy’s mom doesn’t even know that there was her little fella, declaring his intentions and getting shot down. He’s a boy.  Which means he either suffered his heartbreak alone, or he bounded into the car saying “Mom! Caroline Beardmore wants me to marry her. Yep, for sure.”


7 Quick Takes

Happy Friday everyone!  Here are a few Quick Takes!

♦I had to make an emergency call to my sister Cate this week. We both live a few hours from our parents. “Well, ” I said “Don’t try calling 251-0711 cause its been disconnected.”  “Ooooh…Wow…” Our parents have been in the same house with the same phone number since they first came to the USA 47 years ago. Yesterday they moved. We’ve never known another home. It’s all good, it needed to happen, but…well…TIME.  It seems to be passing. My parents are aging and that is unsettling. I would give anything to be there helping them right now, but I can’t go and that makes me sad.

♦If you are ever considering moving far away from home and raising your kids away from family, don’t. That’s all I can say about that!

♦I had several meetings and “things” this week having to do with our Lafayette Catholic Schools. That’s not unusual, as there is always plenty to do! I guess this week I had the chance to see so many people working so hard from such good motives that I found myself, yet again, humbled, in awe and inspired. Nothing new there, but a privilege to see all the same.

♦Truly, the Lenten theme is gaining traction all the time. I know that there is a lunar/calendar/whatever thing about where Easter falls, but there is something to be said for a late Lent. (Bishops – Look into it. I’m tellin ya.) We’re all over it with a swagger and a “Bring it on!” attitude. Sure, we’re talking a big game, cause we’ve eaten as many Girl Scout cookies as we can handle. In two weeks we’ll be cryin the blues, lamenting the chocolate we threw out…but Bring It ON! (Meanwhile I am eating 6 weeks worth of desserts before Wednesday. Way to go, Hard Core Lent Girl.)

♦Whatever about the upcoming penitential season, I have an 18 year old son who came to me with a grave expression ususally reserved for a loved one’s poor prognosis. “Do you realize,” he said very slowly and soberly “There may not BE an NFL season next year?” This is unthinkable. He couldn’t even talk about it afterward. Let’s think about this now, my dear boy. We will be on 5 football teams this fall, again. In person. These are the games we go to in all weather, cheer our hearts out, no matter what weather, sitting on nasty bleachers, even in the freezing cold…(can I mention the weather again?) What if we cannot watch even more football in our home? Laying on the couch, unable to move or do homework or take out the trash? Oh dear. Whatever will we do? Die, by the looks of things. We’re just gonna die.

♦I just got back from All School Mass at St. Mary’s. I’ve had kids at this school for 21 school years.  How many All School Masses have I attended? Too many to count.  Not too many, evidentally, as that Mass with the simple homily, with all those little kids singing their hearts out, still brings tears to my eyes.

♦Do any of you have daughters? Do you sometimes wonder how to guide them in finding their path – toward motherhood, the single life or religious life? We may be able to help. Michael, our 9 year old,  is spending his first year at St. Boniface School, which is staffed by Sisters of St. Francis.  He has had since August to observe these sisters. He just told me this week that they have some similarities.  They all wear a brown  habit, and the same sort of veil, and their shoes are usually a certain kind. They are all nice to kids and funny. “Did you ever notice, there’s one more way all nuns are alike?” he says, “Every single nun has, you know, those sort of fingers. The bendy kind. They have those fingers and you notice them when they are helping you with your work. Their fingers bend more.”  Well!  That’ll sure make the discernment process a thing of the past, huh? No. Don’t thank us – we’re just happy to help.

Have a great weekend everyone, and don’t forget to visit Jen – when you do, she’ll be sending you to Hallie Lord’s Blog  “Betty Beguiles” for more Great Takes.

So Worth It

I love Betty Duffy. I’ve never met her and couldn’t pick her out of a line up. But regarding Betty Duffy, I sin against the 10th Commandment.

I don’t covet her maidservant. I don’t covet her ox or ass, either, for that matter. But when I read her blog I say “Woah Nelly. Why can’t I write like that?”  She’s brilliant.

She’s done us a big favor by linking to a fabulous blog. Now this blog ain’t pretty. And this post is going to take a little time to read through.

So worth it.

“I show my sorrow by changing my life. I show I care by changing my life.”

There are too many treasures in this post to quote further. I think for my part, I’m going to read it every day for awhile, so as to, as the author says;

Write this in blood, on your heart:

To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda or even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery; it means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God does not exist” – Cardinal Emmanuel Celestin Suhard, Archbishop of Paris 1940-1949

So head over to Betty Duffy, and follow her link to Heather King at “Shirt of Flame”

So worth it.

Enough already.

Enough Already

OK – enough partying.

When you find yourself at a pub with your small children on a Sunday night, no less…well, by God, it is time for Lent.

Truly, I have never heard as much chit-chat about Lent as I have this year. Just casual conversation among normal people, I mean.  I guess in the years that Easter comes early, we hardly feel like we’ve gotten over Christmas, and Ash Wednesday appears. In those years, maybe we haven’t gotten to the point where we yearn for it yet. Not this year, it seems!  Easter is so very late this year that even the normal people

(And by normal people I mean what everybody else means when they say normal people. People like me. And the people I like.)

feel like enough already.  We need to re-group and re-focus.

What we call the Liturgical Year helps us to order ourselves. There’s a rhythm to the seasons – Advent, Christmas, Ordinary time…and now the season that commonly  evokes the word “downer”.  Lent.  Give it up already. Let’s get through this grey winter downer time so we can celebrate a pastel spring happier season. That’s a bummer in itself.

Lent is kind-of a Church sponsored time out. Sit now and rest yourself, she says. The Lord knows you spend the rest of the year in a tizz. You need a break? You need to hear yourself think? You wish you had an extra minute to really come into contact with God? Permission granted, says the Church. Give it all up – the distractions, the stupid stuff, the lame stuff, the time wasters. The fussy, the indulgent, the yakky, the tacky.  Just give it up and rest yourself. Have those quiet conversations with the One who loves you best.

These conversations may see us reflecting on — what habits take my peace away –  what activities leave me unsettled?

When do I feel the peace of God’s presence? How do I need to order my time to have less of the peace-zapping and more of the peace-giving?

But hey, what do I know?  I’m not even very normal. Go listen to Sr. Mary Martha, who is way more normal than I am, and everybody knows that. She has a good Lenten jumping off point.

Enough already – just go see Sister.

Ask Sister Mary Martha

Music BMore


We B’dMore this weekend. Everyone was home, including our niece Maura, a junior at Loyola in Chicago.  Our neighborhood adult (mostly) cocktail party went fine, but really, who cares? The fun was to be had at Nine Irish on Sunday for Catie’s CD release party.

Caitie did a great job at what would seem overwhelmingly nerve-rattling! Tommy was a fun MC. So many dear friends showed up – it just warmed our hearts, you know?

She was accompanied by several friends in turn, which was great fun. The most fun for moi, of course, was when the older kids all sang together.  “No…I have to sing melody. I suck at harmony.” “Oh. Yeah, OK.”   There was a lot of love going around.

Caitie, Brian, Will, John, Tommy and cousin Eric

(Poor cousin David is in the background)

You understand the challenge with our photograph-ers, don’t you?   We are really bad at this. I usually explain that the little kids take the pictures around here. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes not.

This is where the fun was – our kids, Maura and dear friends Brad, Casey and Mary Kate.   When our little kids get older do you think they will swear they spent every Sunday afternoon in a pub? You know how weird kids’ memories are…

The crowd really enjoyed Caitie’s music.

I wish  the little kid with the camera would have turned around and taken a picture of the whole crowd.  The place was packed – dear, dear friends. And they seemed to be having almost as much fun as Caroline the Pub Crawler.

We Bmore blessed, that’s for sure.


7 Quick Takes

Join Jen at Conversion Diary – The diary of a former atheist for more Great Takes! (yes, I’ll admit – this blogging is getting pretty fun)

  • Last weekend we were looking forward to a little-kids-weekend. Turned out Caitie came home for the weekend, but since she requires no policing and is well behaved it worked out great. She ramps up the fun quotient as soon as she walks in the door!
  • This weekend will be more big kid oriented. I’m about to drive down to Wabash College to pick up Brian, who’s a freshman there. He hasn’t been here o-nite since Christmas, so we’re thrilled to have him home. I haven’t talked too much about the older kids here yet – Brian is a great kid, experiencing college life, fraternity life, and college football for the first time. We just love Wabash – one of the few male-only schools left.  We love that he’s found his place.
  • Caitie will also be home because this is the big weekend of her CD Release Party. If Lafayette, Indiana isn’t too far away come join us! We’ll all be there, little kids, big kids…well, the whole gang. Check out her blog for all the cool details!  Caitie is preparing to finish school and wants to work in some sort of ministry – I can’t imagine that it won’t include her performing in some capacity. Cool to see her also finding her place. We’re so thrilled for our girl!
  • Tommy is also coming home from Chicago, to MC his sister’s party. Tommy just turned 25 a few weeks ago, and is spreading his wings acting in the Windy City. He’s had some experience at IO (Improv) and Second City and other smaller venues. He’s also had some TV commercials going and soon will appear in a film, so the boy is doing well.  He is a party in himself, so Caitie’s party will be in very capable and hysterical hands. Funny – we used to constantly remind him of “Where To Draw The Line” when he was acting…well…himself. The Line is in a different place now, I suppose, but he is still so well centered spiritually. Our wild and crazy boy makes us proud.
  • The CD Release Party at Nine Irish Brothers requires we show up clean, dressed and with happy faces. Sometimes that’s an effort in itself. But that is the second party of the weekend. The prior party is on Saturday night, for our neighborhood, Highland Park, AND IT IS HERE IN OUR HOME. Here. In our home. Where we live. We’re not sure how many to expect – somewhere between 40 – 60 ish, I’m told. We love having people over, there is just the whole…well…dejunking…Those sort of events always shine light on things that have somehow escaped notice. You know what I mean…
  • Well…I think you do…but I actually have no idea who is reading this. I supposed at first it was just Caitie and Tommy. Then I discovered a thing called “Site Stats” which tells you how many people read your blog today and everyday since you started. Who Knew? Either Caitie and Tommy are checking in hundreds of times each, or this is being read by people in the Webosphere I don’t know? I’ll pretend this is for my kids, sisters and local girlfriends – its just easier that way. Otherwise, I’ll be all skittish over  grammar and punctuation and we can’t have that, now can we?
  • My husband. What can I say about this guy who works looong hours, but still thinks the dishes in the sink are somehow his problem. Who laughs at my screw-ups. Who patiently listens to my “GRRR’s”, and listens some more. Who hugs me when I’m grumpy, who never fails to say “I Love You.” He’s a pediatrician here in town, and I guess I feel like he should be a little incognito here in this blog. But in my heart he’s very much my one and only.

Lady Caitie in the Pretty City – This is where to find all the details of the party! Come have an appitizer with us!

Conversion Diary – The diary of a former atheist Go here for more Quick Takes!

God bless everybody – hope you all have a great weekend!

The Secret to a Life…

Head on over to Conversion Diary today.  Several weeks ago, Jen had the most awesome post about the secret to an extraordinary life being…

well…just go read this follow up, cause this will speak to you. Don’t sell yourself short – click on through to Katie’s blog. I could link to that right now, but you have no idea how long that kind of thing takes me, and I’m on the run.

Conversion Diary – The diary of a former atheist

This willingness to say a big YES! to God, and the resultant need to discern…well, we could talk about that forever. But I gotta run.