Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mass in Our Home

Our family had a really wonderful experience last night. Our priest came to our home to celebrate mass with our family and a few friends. It was such an intimate way to experience the mass and I think most of us found it difficult not to tear up at the beauty of it all. Beth and Bre came over Monday night to help us prepare the Eucharistic bread
Sam stirs up the dough which can only be made of flour and pure spring water
We were also able to provide the Eucharistic wine, so of course we used MadoroM, which has already proven miraculous for our family

We moved our furniture and gathered around our priest for mass

"For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst"
Matthew 18: 20
The intention for this mass was for our dear friend Dolores Rowley, who lost her life to cancer last week. Her life was an inspiration and her conversion to Catholicism was a series of miracles that left us all inspired. Those who love her rest assured that through her baptism she was sanctified and she watches over us all in heaven. John and I know that not only did we experience the presence of Christ in our living room Wednesday; but that all the choirs of heaven were present to sing the praise of Dolores' life. We will all miss her wit and wisdom dearly; but it is a comfort to know that one day we will meet her in paradise.
As a mother, I feel that I can say with confidence that she felt much deserved pride in the life of her son, Ryan. Ryan is John's greatest friend, and he holds a rather large piece of my heart as well. I know that I constantly think that the way my life should be judged is by what kind of men my children grow to be. I pray that they will be devout men, as well as good husbands and fathers. Dolores accomplished this with Ryan without the help of the Church, and for that I am in awe! I know that if my sons grow up to be half the man that my friend, Ryan, is I will have done my job very, very well. And one cannot ignore the fact that she and I shared a total devotion to Ryan and Michele's daughter, Erin. You have probably seen her picture on my blog before, she is the AMAZING little girl who John and I get to call goddaughter. What a blessing! And while Dolores' presence will be greatly missed; it is good to know that I have a new Saint in heaven to intercede on my behalf-- in the raising of GOOD men.
"Her children rise up and call her Blessed; her husband also saying; many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." Proverbs 31: 28-29

St. Patrick's Day Fun

A note and footprints left by a tricky leprachaun
Will found the leprechaun's gold!
What did that tricky leprechaun do to my milk?
Breakfast is green milk and shamrock toast

All dressed up and ready for school!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Can You Believe this Baby!!!

John was outside barbecuing and Will wanted a better view. He will climb anything!

Pretzels for Lent

Today is Friday of the second week in Lent. We continued our new tradition of making pretzels this morning. Pretzels are traditionally made by Catholics during Lent because in ancient times a very strict fast of only bread and water was observed. The pretzels twisted shape was made to reflect arms crossed in prayer. Even today, in many places in Europe, pretzels are only sold between Ash Wedensday and Good Friday, not at every mall and big box store like here in America! I decided this would be a meaningful new tradition for our family's Lenten journey and it really has been nice. And delicious! I thought it would be a good meat free meal for the required Friday abstinence and also for adults who are fasting they make an easy light meal. The kids, of course, are not required to fast, which meant that all 12 pretzels were gone in about 15 minutes!
I have tried a couple of diferent recipes so far and this one is by far the best. So if you are interested here is the link:
I hope they enrich your lenten experience and if you are not observing Lent then I hope you find them as tasty as we do!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wishing it was Spring

Today was a beautiful day. It gave us hope that Spring is around the corner; but alas, tomorrows forecast calls for rain and possibly snow. John took Will out for a little bike ride to feel the warmth of the sun. Hopefully Spring will be upon us soon!

A Trip to the Northern Arizona Museum

Will came home from Bakersfield SERIOUSLY obsessed with dinosaurs. It all started because he saw a full size dino made out of scrap metal in Bakersfield. He cried every time we passed it because he wanted to get out of the car. If someone mentioned dinosaurs to him he ran for the door because he knew we had to go in the car to get to it! When we got home we decided to take him to the Flagstaff museum which has a couple of dinosaur skeletons. He was very impressed and super excited! It is funny to me that a seventeen month old can be interested in bones, but I am not a boy, so what do I know? We were in luck because they had a few hands on displays as well and Jake and Sam got to look at ancient indian hunting tools and grind corn.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our Trip to Bakersfield

The worlds sweetest leprechaun, my great nephew, Aaron
Aaron and Aunt Cheryle
The barn and horses after a big rain

Gracie and Will with a perfect pretzel she made for Lent. That twisting is harder than it looks!
Amanda making lenten pretzels

This is too funny, Sam went outside to play the accordian and all of the cattle came running. They stayed right next to him the entire time he played!

Gracie, Jake and Will listening to Joe play his guitar in the back of his truck

Friends forever--Sam and his cousin, Alex

Will pretty much wanted to wear his Pop's cowboy hat ALL of the time, even while watching TV!
My nephew, Phillip
Will and my niece Amanda
The barn and horses as the sun rises on a foggy Bakersfield morning

We have just returned from two weeks back home in Bakersfield. The main purpose of our trip was to attend the Madorom Wine Release. Friends in Napa own a winery which produces an amazing wine called Madorom and they bring their current vintage to Bakersfield for a release party and an auction which benefits Angioma Alliance and another great charity, The Small Miracles Foundation. Each year I give a speech, but this year I was beyond nervous because with the exciting developments happening in the research of cavernous angiomas it is more important than ever that Angioma Alliance remain in good financial standing. However, given the current state of the economy, I wasn't sure that we would be able to raise as much as we did last year. Needless to say, I felt a lot of anxiety about this event, as it is the largest single fundraiser for Angioma Alliance and the grants that we normally secure by this time each year are unavailable. So I was really hoping that we would come close to the $76,000 we raised last year. But God is bigger than my hopes! I believe the final total will come in at $135,00!!! Plus we raised even more in donations from family and friends in Bakersfield. The best was from my niece Gracie who surprised me with a birthday card that had $1,335 in donations to Angioma Alliance. She had been saving her money and doing extra jobs, but for her birthday she asked only for donations to Angioma Alliance instead of presents! Isn't that the best birthday present you have ever heard of??? She is one amazing girl--I am so lucky to call her my niece!