Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Embracing a New Year Daybook

Wow! It's been a long time and forever since I wrote my last daybook. A year and a half to be exact and in the heat of summer too. Seems the weeks speed by faster than I can type...and I type pretty fast.

But a new year calls for at least one updated daybook, even if the rest of the year goes bomb. :-)


Outside my window...gray oak trees, gray skies, gray winterness

I am thinking...many things and how peaceful life is when one has no obligations or places to go.

I am thankful...for family and work and friends and leisure

In the kitchen...neck meat with onions and bell pepper simmering on stove (smells a bit funny, need to ask my son where the "neck" came from) and wondering what to contribute to the New Year's Eve party.

Also looking at this: Month of Freezer Meals and this Freezer Meals
I'm a huge fan of my crock pot but with the holidays I seem to be missing both my large and small slow cookers. Definitely bombed about that today.

I am wearing...3 year old VBS t-shirt and jeans

I am creating...a book series I hope to debut this June-July-August-or-September (whenever it's ready)

I am going...staying home actually...MayMay duty today and I don't plan anything on those days...good excuse to hunker down

I am wondering...if I can faithfully execute this: Build a Family Binder

I am reading...do you really want to know???? The list and books next to my bed are endless. You might be sorry to ask. ;-)

I am hoping...2014 is as good and peaceful a year as 2013 was.

I am looking forward to...2014!!!

I am learning...how quickly life passes.

Around the house...I *flipped* out yesterday. The clutter unhinged me. I sent the girls to their rooms to declutter and clean the candy and Christmas chaos that had spilled over into their rooms as a means of keeping the front part of the house clean. Didn't work. The front part of horrible. I couldn't take it anymore. While they cleaned their rooms, I began my own surge which involved cleaning out a tall kitchen pantry area that was insanely consumed with everything from nails to light bulbs to paint and crafts and McDonald happy meal toys and mismatched puzzle pieces and pennies and thumb tacks...you get the picture.

I am pondering...essential oils...does anyone know of a reasonable site to order a good variety of them? It's something I'd like to look more into but I don't have much time for researching that kind of thing. I'd like a one-site-tells all. TIA!

I am praying for...families

A favorite quote for today... Read today at Instagram: "The most contagious kind of joy is the one shared over books." ~ Kelly at The Careless Catholic

One of my favorite things...a well-planned year: Build a Family Binder

A few plans for the rest of the week...I cannot say how grateful I am and how refreshing it was to have this on my calendar (I am breathing again): No co-op/ No dance/ No dance/ No CCD/ No dance/ No Cheer/ No dance/Nothing/ Nothing/ Nothing
A peek into my day...Babysitting the grandbaby then having a New Year's Eve celebration and bonfire with family and friends :-)

A picture moment...
The Honeymooners in a place where dreams really do come true.
{Perfect honeymoon weather in December :-) }

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in Gibson-Style Review

Someone got baptized!

 And we took a huge leap into competition dance with our youngest ballerina.
And, yes, it has been HUGE!

And we got a new puppy!
At the same time we were finding out what Grandbaby #2 was.

And there were lots of  bridal shoots...

And lots of wedding preparations ...
And a bachelorette get-away to the beach in August.
Sweet, sweet, sweet days of clowning around with this little man.
Isn't his eyes the sweetest!?!
And we celebrated the upcoming birth...
Of this little man in September!
He and Hudson will always have each other and that makes this MayMay very happy!
Then grandson #2 was baptized...
  ...on his daddy's birthday (Sept. 29) in the same church his daddy was baptized in as was his godfather and his cousin.
Then, before we got too cozy and settled, we hosted a bridal shower to celebrate the upcoming marriage...
...of these two in October.
And as though we hadn't celebrated enough or eaten enough cake, we partied with Hudson at his 1st birthday party in November.
Followed by Christmas...
And now we enter into 2014 with preparations for another wedding... ;-)
Not for a second do I wish these days away.
This is life at its fullest, most magical, most blessed time.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

When Our Family Isn't Holy

...As most of ours are not.

I sat in church this Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family, and thought (and prayed) long and hard for all the families sitting around me, and for my own.

We had just spent the evening before talking with our son and his fiancée about their upcoming wedding in 2014 and about families and church teachings and all other life issues. We want them to know that family comes first and they must serve God and one another in order to have a solid marriage.

We want only what's best for our children. So does the Church. I want my children to know that Mother Church wants what's best for them and it always points in the direction of heaven.

My ministry outside the home places me in a soggy-bottom reality of hurting families. Often the words from the pulpit on this feast day are aimed at pointing to the ideal that Holy Mother Church insists is best for our salvation and, indeed, it is: a father, a mother, and a baby.

Bliss, completion, a whole family.

As Christian people we need to be reminded of this ideal.

But there is the ideal and there is the reality.

The reality sits in the pews every Sunday. Or not.

No one is perfect. No family is perfect. No one has the answers.

There sits the Church: a mass of working poor, humanity fleeing families who don't like their families, families they don't know, a single mother who has lost her husband, a divorced man wanting to give his children the one thing he cannot, a pregnant teenage girl, a sulky teenage boy, a bullied adolescent, a young mother who has been told something is wrong with the baby in her womb, a child who just found out her daddy is not her father, a rejected child, parents with a child fighting an addiction, unemployed men and women, a parent of a murdered child, grandparents raising their grandchildren, families split and void of all hope.

The church teaches the ideal. People live the reality of a fallen world.

Thus the church has to constantly reach out to anoint us and scoop us up with loving guidance and counsel. It points again to the ideal while wiping our wounds.

And it does.

Through the sacraments, during the Mass, in the cloud of witnesses, in the beauty of feast days, in the prayers of fasting, and in the ever present image of the Holy Family.
A family that was human.

A family that took an unplanned pregnancy upon its shoulders.

A family that lived homeless while fleeing a wicked king who threatened to destroy their infant son.

A family that lived poor and worked hard for its living.

A family that followed all the rules and feast days and traditions of their Jewish faith.

A family that lost their child and spent three hopeless days in stressful searching.

A family that lost a father young, leaving a single mother and growing son to fend for themselves.

A family who saw their son bullied and sought after.

A family who saw their son rejected and murdered.

Perhaps the ideal is not so far from reality as we originally thought.

Perhaps the Holy Family is more like our own unholy families than we ever thought possible.

The difference?

That family kept their eyes on God...and that made all the difference.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Americans and Bono Have Spoken

In a statement released Friday, the network said "We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold. But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family, a family that America has come to love."
"After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family."

* * * * *
Then it was Bono's turn to refocus the crowd on what is good and beautiful and whole and valuable. And the crowd "with a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices..."

U2's Bono Attracts Rowdy Fans on Dublin Street

The whole article is worth reading. In part...

"The mood was electric.
Then Bono quieted the throng and introduced the final song: “For the child who was born…in the straw of poverty, I would like to sing an actual carol.”
With that Bono began intoning “O Come All Ye Faithful.”
The out-of-control crowd, once in a frenzy, demonstrated a noticeable shift in tone, especially as they sing along with Bono the well-known chorus: “O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why God Came as a Baby


"Thank you for coming as one like myself to save me from myself.
"You come as a baby because babies are irresistible and adorable.
You come as a baby because you want our first impression of God incarnate to be that of one who does not judge.
"May I never be attracted to the allurements and charms of the world.
May I love you always, at every moment, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
May the tenderness, the dependency, and the mercy that you reveal in your infancy become the hallmarks of my life.
"Newborn Savior, the very silence of your Incarnation proclaims that the answer to the misery, the strife, and the meaninglessness we often experience in life cannot be found within us.
You alone are the Answer.
"As I kneel before you, eternal King, I surrender to you all my selfishness, self-absorption, self-indulgence, self-righteousness, self-assertion, and self-exaltation. Even as I adore you on this night of your birth, rid me of the nagging desire to be adored."
~ Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Let the Church be Full

At your Christmas gatherings, please remember not to say, "Church was so crowded with all those people who show up only once a year..."

(Yes, I've heard people complain about this).

Remember there is probably someone in the room who went to Mass that one day who feels that if they aren't welcome even at Christmas Mass then why bother to go.

Why bother to go at all.

One of the reasons Christmas Masses are so beautiful is because they are so full. Full of sinners. Full of seekers. Full of doubters. Full of people. Full of searchers. Full of righteous. Full of humanity. Full of prodigals.

Full of us. All seeking.

Seeking something more...

Seeking God among us. Seeking a path that leads home. Seeking comfort. Seeking a sanctuary. Seeking purpose. Seeking unity. Seeking peace. Seeking love. Seeking rebirth.

 Let the church be impregnated with humanity.

Remember that those people "taking up space only once a year" are the ones nearest and dearest to God's own heart. Let the church be full.

Full of people who...for one brief moment...stop in wonder and awe.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In the War of Words: Show, Don't Tell

A common tip to writers is to "Show, don't tell."

The teaching eludes many beginning writers but the lesson is simple: do away with too many adjectives, banish weak verbs, and strike-out unnecessary helping verbs; then use strong verbs that show rather than tell.

People want to be shown, not told.

A clear example would be...

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Anton Chekhov
* * * * *
Scripture tells us much the same. St. Francis reminds us..."Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words."

Whether he actually said this or not, my point is that actions really do speak louder than words. Words are the tools we use to back those actions up. The Gospel message is a message to be acted upon and lived out and spoken of. The Word did become flesh...and dwelt among us. There's a lot to grasp in that concept.

My point...yet again...is we are told things all our life. We grow desensitized and deaf. Ask any parent who has told their child something over and over again, only to have the child proclaim the same thing spoken to him by a teacher as though it were gospel truth.

We can think we are right, we can even know we are right, but it won't make any difference if we utter it with pride and arrogance and righteousness.

We become deaf to words that do not have true meaning behind it.

Our words must be made on bone-afide (excuse the play on words) flesh and blood and must dwell amongst us. Otherwise, they mean nothing.

It isn't what we say, it's how we say it. I've attempted, on occasion, to explain the concept.

The Face of Christ Facing Humanity
What Is Truth? What is Charity?

Ann always says it better, more gently, than I do...

Dear Kids, What You Need to Know About Duck Dynasty

I am not contradicting Ann's words in the least regarding how explosive words can be. Words do matter.

They may not break bones but they can certainly break hearts.

I've seen words matter a thousand times plus. But it's the music behind the words that matter most. Phil admits he was a little coarse. He should have just quoted Scripture. No one can argue with that. Angry words never invite dialogue.

I've heard people pride themselves (there's the secret word pride) in speaking the truth and standing up to the forces out there and proclaiming justice and liberty for all.

Bravo! for them. Yet when everyone is doing it with equal Bravo-ity regarding their own bravery and opinionated selves, the words fall on deaf ears. Silence exfoliated with kindness can prove more beneficial than the loudest and most arrogant words.

The war of words will be won with quiet kindness over opinionated wisdom anyday.

It will not matter if what we say is absolutely, completely right if we do not show love and kindness first. I think, sooner or later, society will learn this...

If the media stops pitting us against one another.

Again...Ann's words are more eloquent than my own.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A New Christmas Tradition with the Girls?

Crazy, Crafty, Creative, Kooky, Tacky, Ugly, Outrageous, Original, Call-It-Whatever-You-Will Christmas Sweater Cookies!
The ironic thing is a never cared for tacky Christmas sweaters.
But when you have a Christmas birthday and a group of girls, it just seems like an appropriate party filler.
Something different...
Something creative...
Something a little bit goofy and silly...
Look! One friend even practiced smocking with hers.
I just LOVE it!
Love the glitter snow on the front of this one!

Seems tacky Christmas sweaters isn't such a *tacky* idea afterall.
It's rather beautiful! 

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