Archive for the tag “family”

her heart just wasn’t in it…

“mrs. wilcox did her best with algebra, but her heart just wasn’t in it…”

that’s me these days…i am mrs. wilcox.

my heart is not feelin’ the algebra…

in fact my heart is not “in” a lot of things.

newsflash: my children are driving me nuts. they don’t wanna listen. they don’t wanna do school. they bicker. bicker. bicker. they don’t wanna pray. my house is constantly messy and noisy. i am constantly grading papers and tidying messes.

and it all makes me not wanna be the mama.

it makes me wanna run far. far. away. take a three hour nap. read a pile of good literature and have someone bring me copious amounts of coffee and delicious foods…possibly for days…

“without the suffering Mary, mothers who feel the sting of sorrow over their children would have lacked a model. mothers should not forget the trials and loneliness of this Mother during the public life of her Son, her anguish on Calvary, and those long years after the Ascension in which she waited to join Him in heaven. suffering and anguish will surely come to Catholic mothers because of their sons. let mothers look to and pray to the Mother of Sorrows, the Queen of the Afflicted.”

her heart was in it.

and so every. single. morning. i start my day with: i believe….

it’s like my own little magnificat. my weak little soul’s way of magnifying the Lord…

and then the good things shift into focus: a little stamp collection started by the baby, with some help from sissy. a kitty in the kitchen. a successful fractions lesson with scones.

successful pumpkin spice scones that taste so very sweet and yummy!

that nature walk the other day with the baby and my dad. we looked at trees and leaves. my dad’s eyes were as blue as the fall sky. and the baby’s hair had a golden red glow like mine!

oh, yes. i’ve missed this space. i miss documenting my life.

not for readership sake. but because every life is a story and i want my kids to know what our story was someday….

for better and for worse.

i really aim to keep up more often. it’s been too long.

i think my heart just might be in it again…..

a collective effort

it started with the idea to make the grammie a quilt.

a colorful mish-mash of fabrics from our stashes.

(those sunflowers are from my garden!!)

for a little woman who had a passion for her garden in her stronger days.

then it turned into a lesson in using the big machine for the girl-child.

those two were my mother’s ideas. she is the patient one.

notice her hands are helping. not mine.

i’m just the picture taker. sans wedding ring and with chewed fingernails *gasp* more bad habits

so i worked on my half alone because there are certain things i won’t do with my children.

teaching them to tie their shoes is one of them.

another is enduring painful lessons wherein i teach something that i really like to do for fun and recreation-but somehow leads to frustration and sometimes even tears on their part-because-well-frankly i don’t really know why-maybe that’s just not my forte.

besides that’s what nana’s are for. don’t you agree?

there was some hand stitching to be done.

a block which read: with love to the woman who taught us to work with our hands.

and the binding. which i really enjoyed sewing with some pearled cotton thread.

two things which ARE right up my alley!

it is now complete. tied with a rainbow of  silk ribbon bows. washed and ready to be delivered today.

because sometimes weekends are for giving…even when you’d rather be taking. a break. or a nap with a newly made quilt that you worked so hard on….

see i’m really not the one with good ideas….i told you so.

ps. tongue in cheek: i did add a small piece of our lady of guadalupe fabric(just in case the little grammie wants to have a “reversion” back to our beloved Catholic faith anytime soon…that was a good idea, huh? *wink*wink*)

write on

i have started and stopped this post at least four times in the last couple of weeks.

the title was all wrong and for me when the title is all wrong, well, then the whole post is off…

so what does a lazy perfectionist do in a situation like this?

she. they don’t write anything. that’s what.

and then she they can’t sleep really well for many nights because there are all of these unwritten thoughts swirling around in the head of said lazy perfectionist.

which is not me of course.

wink. wink.

so. as i make this last-ditch. late nite effort to “write on”: what do i want to tell this space?

:: that the baby is reading green eggs and ham. yup. all 63 pages of it. over and over again. almost ad nauseum. and i wouldn’t say that if i weren’t just so darned happy that he is actually reading!

::that the quiet, pensive middle boy turned 14. big sigh. i told him that he couldn’t do that to me. but that’s a whole ‘nother post! because everything isn’t about me. (except, well, maybe here it is!)

::that the daddy had a birthday. 36. but he is a lot like peter pan…so…need i say more? ahem.

::that the biggest boy got his driver’s license. (it came in the mail today and i wanted to send it back). “that is someone else’s grown child!!” i wanted to scream at the postman. (i didn’t of course). what would the neighbors think anyway? we are already weird ’cause we homeschool.

::that the little girl got her stitches out today. and how we are finally done with that blasted needle…and we are really careful now about needles and other sharp things and where we stick them. etc. etc.

::that the biggest girl moved out and turns 18 in 2 weeks. that she sends me snail mail and it makes me cry.

::that i like to whistle the 1812 overture sometimes and the little girl whistles along with me!!! (can you just hear us?)

::that i am thinking a lot about school. lesson plans. earlier bedtimes. and winding down….

:: that i am thinking about the enormous task of homeschooling a child who asks me things like: “mom, would you rather die by burning hot volcanic lava or freeze to death?”

the jury is still out on that one.

i wasn’t quite able to decide…


three words

she is fine.

she is breathing on her own.

that’s six words.

thank you, doctor. three.

BLESSED BE GOD. three again.

THANK YOU, LORD. another three.

and finally: Jesus, i trust in YOU.

apparently people have simple surgeries all. the. time. in and out.

they cut you open and send you home almost as quickly as you zip thru a drive thru to order a burger and fries.

this is something that i, the super panicky type has trouble fathoming….i, who once called the paramedics (when this girl child was just a baby) because i cut her little fingernail and it wouldn’t stop bleeding.

me of so little faith.

i teeter at the edge of faithfulness. what can i say?

it’s a trust thing.

Lord, help me in my unbelief.

help me to trust even though i can’t see You.

now if you will excuse me i am going to take a very long nap while the patient and her big sis watch the king’s speech.

AND have a glass of wine later!

thank you, friends for all of your prayers and well wishes too….


so i have this mini-flag-quilt.

i use it for a centerpiece.

i let my mom “borrow” it the other day to take something breakable home.

i firmly said to her, “i expect you to return it promptly.”

it’s a little game we play.

well, return it she did….

with a nasty little note.

i know what i will be doing in my free time this week….


joining barb:

52 weeks of daily life in pictures.

:: trials and celebrations, the extraordinary and mundane — whatever is unique to the week.

it’s kind of too early for these…but i couldn’t resist. and they were so yummy!

they are also delicious on top of gluten-free pancakes and paired with vanilla-greek yogurt-cream-cheese-fluffy-wonderfulness.

 pretty table-settings. and impromptu tea with friends.

thank you….half-half. i will never lose weight because of you….and your creamy presence in every. single. cup. of coffee. i drink.

thank you, Lord, for sweet looking weeds….that almost look like flowers.

girls with pink cheeks and creative spirits don’t belong locked up learning in classrooms. they should be free (with limits) to sketch in a pile of comfy blankets when inspiration strikes.

thank you krusteaz  for finally making a mix that won’t kill my children…i do so love it when the kids can make things with a little help from a box….(this muffin is sans blueberries. but these are oh. so. good when you add a cup of blueberries to the batter. and spoiler: they might not last long enough to take photos.)

hello. nice. big. stack of red linen napkins.

you look like you could use some embroidery. and i sure could use an easy project that will travel. we’ll see how it goes.

and last but certainly not least….

the pure. unadulerated bliss. of having a big brother that will ride you really fast around the yard in a wagon….

(as a side note: this does cause a certain amount of tipping. or so i was later told.)

this really was a good week.

and it’s great to have these pictures to remind me so.

a pouring out

our collective stories of personal epiphanies. wise men and seeing stars. big and little miracles and trustful surrender. wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things unless they point to the fact that: GOD is all.

that is my motto for 2011.

i didn’t choose it.

it chose me 13 days ago when a wise man told me: “you must come to the mountains with your mother.”

“we never know,” he said, “how much time we have with the ones we love.”

“yes, daddy,” i said. ” i will go.”

i won’t lie and say that i didn’t briefly entertain all of the things i could get done with my husband working out of town. (maybe just sending the little kids in my stead, as i have done before).

but none of that matters now. because i did go.

and there was the miracle of snow. “i prayed for snow and God heard.” said the baby to me.

his beaming face so close to mine that i could feel his sweet breath.

there were deer.

and beautiful stars in the clear night sky.

life is so overflowing with miracles and God listening.

because what happened there. in that desolate place.

surrounded by majestic mountain peaks reaching higher than i could ever imagine climbing and pines hundreds of years old.

was one of those soul wounding, yet grace-filled moments.

that make you realize how every detail in our lives is so carefully placed and orchestrated by the hands of THE Creator.

for in that cozy home on a hill. a home that always has been.and still is. a place of refuge for us. when the busyness of life is almost too much to bear. my dear mother had a terrible accident. she lost her balance somehow in the split-level dining room and fell to the stone floor in the family room. hitting her head on a little wooden school desk on the way down she fractured her skull.

it all happened so fast.

in a literal instant our peace was shattered.

my little girl’s words: “help her mama, she fell.”

did not prepare me for the impact of finding my mother unconcious in a pool of blood.

a blow to her head. a blow to my heart.

panic and hysteria set in so rapidly.

how could this be? i kept thinking. she cannot die like this.

how could we be happily chatting about what we’d have for lunch. sipping tea by the fire and getting ready to do some hand-sewing one minute and in this terrible predicament the next?

we were alone. my girl. my mama and i.

my dad had taken the boys on a hike and the snow prevented me from doing so many things.

with limited cell phone service and what seemed like a million other obstacles we stepped outside of time and into eternity to entreat the help of Something. SOMEONE much greater than all of those obstacles.

stepping outside of those parameters of time can be so awful for those us bound in time. because every minute seems like an endless eternity itself.

the help that was to be had from 911 operators. firemen. paramedics. was all hindered by the snow and our location.

constantly shifting from that hysteria to anger. to shivering from fright. and/or cold. numbly. foggily. mechanically. i began to do what i could.

scared. limited. stupid. feebly. i began doing my best in my imperfect state of trust, the only rational thing that came to my mind: call repeatedly on THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS. and His Blessed Mother.

i begged God to spare her. to keep her safe. that help in some other form besides me and my daughter would come.

plagued by wanting my will to be done now. not in ten minutes or twenty. every minute that she lay there bleeding was precious.

this kind of fear is wild and primitive. the terrified kind of fear that nightmares are made of. the kind of fear that one does not expect to encounter in this age of technology and resources.

i had never needed God like i did then. so promptly and completely.

and never had i ever felt so abandoned by Him either.

“i sought Him and did not find Him, i called Him and He did not answer.” (Sg. 3)

not on my time anyway.

but at last He heard me.

and there were more miracles.

like how her wound had stopped bleeding by the time the firemen arrived. and how she didn’t need stitches or break anything else. how the bleeding in her brain remained stable enough not to need surgery. and how after 5 days in intensive care she was released with minor bruising. headaches and nausea. and while those things have been difficult to deal with, it could have been so much worse.

fatally worse.

Fulton Sheen says: life is mingled with death. truth with error. love with hate. but GOD is the ultimate goal in life. from Him we come and in HIM alone do we find our peace.

it became clear later, “when my soul was suddenly illumined with the light of grace, cleansed from all defilement of sin, and felt itself filled with consolation. and with spiritual strength and unspeakable joy, i could then say to HIM: your Name, O Lord, is for me oil poured out. for the grace of Your visitation makes me fully understand the true meaning of Your Name, which is JESUS. Savior.” (Fr. Hilton, 1396)

the ONE Who saves. Who has the power to save. is not a disinterested spectator in the lives of His children.

even in a season of joy, we are reminded of the cross. the delights of Christmas and epiphany do not spare us from sickness. suffering. or death. (january 2011 magnificat p. 109)

He is ever-present.

not only in our grace-filled moments. but also our most terrified moments. and even in our ordinariest and mundanest of moments. all are very dear and precious to HIM.

so here is to happy endings. new beginnings. and second chances.

that i plunged into this new year totally out of sorts is very humbling.

i had so planned on getting my act together. re-organizing things around here.

but my father’s prophetic words continue to haunt me a bit. we really don’t know how much time we have with the ones we love. and there always be someone up for a game of scrabble.  or wanting to snuggle and read a story. and then there are all those dishes and laundry that tend to pile up. especially when something terrible happens.

yes, life does go on.

everything has changed and nothing has changed.

we are a little busier. a bit more tired. going back and forth between my parents’ house and here.

a dear priest friend who said mass for us yesterday said that when the matriarch of the family has lost a considerable amount of blood it is like an oblation poured out. it is something holy. and our lives should be changed forever in the Eternal Word.

i feel like those words brought me full circle. back to where this all began. back to the Holy Name of Jesus.


the Word Who is.

and how our whole lives are like an oblation that we offer to Him.

let us see to it that we take nothing of our oblation back.

and that, friends, is where i will end this.

this pouring out…..

hospitali-tea & gratitude

my parents have been stopping by unexpectedly a lot. perhaps because it is the halfway point between their house and my grandma’s.

i love them dearly and have found that one of the ways i can best serve them right now is by having some of their favorite things on hand.

for my dad: ginger green tea. peppermint chocolate bars. and homemade rosemary bread. for my mom: joy tea. a sweet treat. usually some kind of bread like panettone and she likes the peppermint chocolate bars too.

indulgent, yes.

but i was always taught that charity starts at home.

i think we’ve all put on a few pounds.

isn’t it ironic that one of the ways we humans best show our love is by feeding the ones we love.

perhaps it is because it is our God’s way too.

and as His children, we try, in our own feeble way, to do what HE does.

feeding the hungry. giving drink to the thirsty.

when i visit my grammie i always try to take her one of her favorite foods. this morning it was warm sweet potatoes with milk. cinnamon. and brown sugar.

comfort food.

she savored every bite.

i know because i had to feed her.

but it breaks my heart to see that as a fallen away Catholic she is starving for the True Food.

the Bread of Angels.

the Food for her upcoming journey.

it breaks my heart that she never returned to the Church.

and that now her faculties are fading.

i always wanted a grand reversion.(that’s the word i use for people who used to be Catholic.)

a triumphant return to the faith.

 for all of the other fallen away family members to see….(and possibly attribute to my shining example as a faithful Catholic?)


pride is so sneaky.

so subtle.

so subtly sneaky….

i. i. i. i.

i know that what transpires next is between her and God.

i am grateful for the faith that she gave to my mother.

who in turn passed it on to me.

i only wish that she could’ve been afforded the grace. peace.

and comfort of a happy death.

i. i. i. i.

it’s not about me though…

God is merciful.

and we should never stop praying for the ones we love.

“let us never look for the result of our efforts for others. it is good for us not to know it, for if we did, pride in doing good, the most subtle pride of all, might follow. let us entrust to God the prayers, sacrifices, and efforts that we make, without looking back at what we have already done. let us continue to work and act for our brothers and sisters and for the coming of God’s reign in them….a simple human connection can sometime be the best sermon; a spark can ignite a great fire.”

~elizabeth leseur

even if we may never know the final outcome.

finally, i am grateful for your sweet prayers and words of encouragement.

maybe someday this blog will return to a less thoughtful spot….

until then, happy. happy. thanksgiving friends.

wishing the best to you and yours.

i’ll definitely be feasting on some humble pie these next few days…..


if variety is the spice of life. then things are spicy around here.

we managed to squeeze in one of the last performances of the phantom before its farewell performance. i saw it years ago. but really wanted the little ones to see it with a live orchestra. and they did. at the historic pantages theater. in downtown hollywood with lots of bright lights. limos and trendy restaurants. stars under our feet. literally.

it was a 95 mile one way trip. i managed new shoes for both of them but my son has a bowl cut. and i wasn’t able to get that fixed before. he looks sort of young paul mccartney-ish.

it was worth every second we spent in traffic. and every second i spent explaining. in a very whispering voice. all of the details of this very exciting production.

on a completely different note. it is deer season. the tail end.

and it is so tempting to play with all those deer parts. at least for some folks.

oh deer!

i told you things are really spicy around here!

we are coming to the end of a very whirlwind week. and if i can just make it to sunday i’ll breathe a big sigh of relief….i am keeping the calender very empty for november and december….we need some time to unwind.

and i say that with a heavy heart. knowing that both of my grandmothers are sick and dying.

how soon, only God knows.

i do know that we are all dying.

one of my favorite lines from the movie braveheart is: every man dies. but not every man truly lives.

so what do i want to remember about this week of truly living? 

singing taylor swift songs at the top of our voices. till our throats hurt. picking out pumpkins and big kids who are not too big for pumpkins. a boy who can walk around the house cutting up a pom-pom while he lets pieces fall all over the place like furry confetti-like it is the most natural thing in the world to do. finally sewing the owls with the girls. pomegranate wine mixed with spiced apple-cider. edgar allen poe read aloud. frivolous fake jewelry. velvet shoes. and black fingernail polish.

 signed. yours truly.

a sentimental journey

finding a thoughtful spot in a house full of people isn’t easy.

and yesterday i really needed to think about nothing. everything.

like how my days as of late are delicately balanced between taking care of all of the needs of the vibrant young people here and visiting a fragile little woman who is very near the end of her life.

my grandmother.

a woman who has sadly lost her words.

when all i seem to have are words.

floating through my head day and nite.

in the form of thoughts. dreams. sighs.

mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

and yet i can’t really seem to find the right order for them either.

hence my absence for the past *gasp* 6 days.

i’ve changed this post title 4 times.

forgive me for rambling.

being so close to death does strange things to a person.

i’ve seen the numbers on the machines go up and down. beeping loudly. annoyingly.

i’ve felt her grip. as she struggles with understanding this process that is happening to her body.

that knowing . gnawing. grip that one has when the sands of time are running out.

refreshed. i return home and ferociously grip the ones that i hold so dear.

putting my own needs aside. i can paint my toenails another day.

that’s what flats are for, right?

they need me.

behold the handmaid of the Lord.

and so on tired. bended knee i fold clean towels. 8 hail marys in one load of towels. i walk to the bathroom to put them away. that’s another. and out again. that is the tenth.

be it done unto me according to THY word.

i say that at least a few times a week.

but stubbornly the words don’t always process very well.

and frankly, His will scares me sometimes.

eyes of mercy….

i am ever so grateful to have an intercessor who was a mother too.

a mother who had a sword pierce her heart.

a heart that beat solely for HIM.

do i dare expect anything different or easier for myself?

a poor. banished child of eve.

life. sweetness. hope.

things aren’t so bad.

the leaves are falling. a store clerk gave me 4 old metal baskets(which i have been needing so badly to organize my craft supplies). i found 3 hardcover nancy drew books and 2 vintage quilt tops at a yard sale.

in fact, things are good.

as always, i am just being overly sentimental.

(so i am off to change that title one more time…and scrounge up something pitiful to feed my hungry children)

really, all i do is cook.

and all they do is eat.

this should’ve been a cooking blog.

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