Dedicated to Papa and Nana.
Thanks so much for being interested in even the mundane details of our lives!
We miss you.
Well, let's just go ahead and start with the trees, shall we? You knew I'd bring them up eventually. Here is what our street looks like now:
It has been cool, in the mid-60's. It's funny how impatient I get, once May rolls around, with temperatures below 72 degrees. The kids in our neighborhood are downright tired of waiting for summer. Wear a jacket? No way! Shorts and sandals have been unearthed from basement storage boxes. "Mom, can we play in the sprinkler?" asks my son every single afternoon. This week, I had to say, "No," much to his disappointment. I won't be able to hold him off for much longer.
And speaking of Benjamin, he and Priscilla begged my mom and dad to take them to VIP night at their elementary school. They sold it as an evening for "Very Important Persons" (i.e. grandmas and grandpas) to get to meet teachers and see their loved ones' classrooms, maybe play a few games, etc. They failed to mention to my parents that there was a Book Fair involved – a great big fun enticing Book Fair. Guess who came home with new books? The one above is a guide to paper airplane making. Elijah's addicted to it.
On Monday, the kids discovered our strawberry plants were blooming. I didn't plant them (that's a real shocker) - they came with the house. It made me happy to see their pretty white flowers popping up so cheerily next to the garage.
Produce. I try to buy our produce as much as possible from our neighborhood health food store. You have to order it, actually, by the box. This week, we got mangoes, pineapple, Romaine, red pepper and tomatoes.
I'm committed to eating healthy, to making very wise choices about what I put into my body. I mean it's not always easy, but what could be more important than…
Hey! What the …? Fine, O.K… you caught me. This week, I went to the store for milk, bird seed and paper towels and left with this chocolate-ly sprinkled donut. I couldn't help it! It was calling out to me: "Molly! You ne-e-e-d me with your coffee!" This is embarrassing; let's just move on.
So that birdseed I bought? It is specifically for finches but we've had cardinals and blue jays dining regularly at our feeder. I smile every time I see them on the branches of our tree. They're just amazing little creatures, aren't they?
My own kids aren't that into birdseed. On Tuesday, I fed them instead one of their new favorite meals consisting of flat bread, pizza sauce, cut up breakfast sausage, mozzarella cheese and whatever vegetables I can find in the refrigerator.
Now, ya'll, this dinner requires virtually no culinary skills whatsoever but it is one of the very few things I make that inspires my extremely picky Mary to declare, "Mama, you're such a good cooker!"
That Mary's a real character:
It can be challenging getting girls out the door for school in the morning, especially girly-girls like mine. I was proud of myself on Thursday for rigging these braids up for Priscilla in record time.
My very own Laura Ingalls Wilder, in hot pink capri pants.
Wednesday night, we went to Ben's, Priscilla's and my niece, Isabelle's soccer game:
Other highlights from our week include:
Getting cavities filled
Participating in Poetry Wednesday
My brother's dog, Lola, getting lost for a second in our neighborhood and Elijah and Isabelle finding her
Visiting the library twice
And finding out my sister-in-law, Paige, is going to be having another baby GIRL!
Her current adorable baby girl:
is not so sure that's a good thing. "Hers wanted a boy. Hmmph."
According to the ultrasound, everything looks great!
Oh, we're so relieved and thankful!
My, this is lengthy.
I best commence with the packing. The Sabourin boys are leaving for a weekend camping trip tonight. The Sabourin ladies will be renting an "American Girl" movie, I am sure.
Peace to you!Read More
The Human Animal
To make me do the thing I will, I won't.
Facing front, it's back I turn
to scorn the right intent.
The worse I am, the better do. Against
my own impulse I plot; and overthrown
rise up to govern all I have undone.
To live my life, I've lost it. Or reversed,
the greatest loss was living most;
the best I did was least.
By counter causes, grown then capable,
I've come to some short pass. And passing still
go on to learn what's gone, and what I will.
– Jane Mayhall
Now, I'll be the first to admit I have no idea what the author's intent was for the above poem. I won't pretend I've got a handle on the inner conflicts she may have been wrestling that prompted the writing of this piece. All I know, is that upon reading it, I thought immediately of saint Paul's, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do, passage in Romans. I thought of having to die in order to live, being made strong in my weakness, the first being last and the last being first, and God choosing the foolish things of this world to shame the wise (I Cor. 1:27). I thought about how impossible it is to balance faith and logic – how a belief (an uncompromising belief) in Christ, in a risen Christ, no less, outright demands the surrender of my dependence upon rationality as a gauge for determining the legitimacy of a calling to deny myself and follow this Christ, around whom my whole world (my every plan, my every loss, my every breath, my every blessing) revolves. I thought about how faith (a faith unconstrained by assumptions and literal/reasonable interpretations) defies formulism, making it awfully hard to package up neatly, attractively, and sell to prospective "believers."
In many ways, I make a lousy witness with my, "I don't knows," jagged edges and "What can I tell you? Christianity is an all consuming, terribly demanding, wildly mind-blowing, and agonizingly mysterious affair," kind of explanations. Why do I believe in eternal life, that Christ, Himself, is actually present in the Eucharist I ache for all week long, in the empty tomb, the intercession of the saints, the Holy Trinity… the whole shebang? Why do I struggle to believe, I should say, for truly it is a life long battle, despite the severe tsk-tsking I receive from an ever increasing number of enlightened realists denouncing my stubborn convictions as naive at best, destructive at worst – despite the plentiful examples out there of various forms of "Christianity" so ridiculously cliche, heartbreakingly corrupt or finger-pointingly incensed to the degree that mercy and humility are forgotten altogether?
I guess I just can't help it. Deep in my gut is a gnawing hunger for Christ, for Christ uncensored – for Truth unrestricted. The spark was already there and I, well…I've chosen to fan it into flames, rather than snuff it out only to then search endlessly for an inferior means with which to warm that enduring coldness in my soul. That, and I have found Love - "Good Samaritan" love, "Prodigal Son" love, "Turn the other Cheek," sacrificial, unconditional, irrational, Divine Love to be more satisfying, fulfilling, and peace inducing than anything I have ever encountered.
To live my life, I've lost it.
That's my "testimony," I suppose – one fraught with way more questions than answers. Are you interested in emptying yourself of your self-centered passions, your ideals, your personal agendas, in spending the rest of your days with knees bruised and bloodied from taking a step or two forward, then falling down, then praying for the strength to get up again and start the process all over, in sacrificing all kinds of time to participate in the services and sacraments of the Church? Are you interested in being rooted in Truth – in Truth and Love – so that when hurricanes and torrential rainstorms, or even petty disappointments, blow full-force upon you, you will remain upright and fruitful? Would you like to know if lasting contentment – contentment completely unrelated to the present circumstances, either pleasant or miserable, in your life – really exists? Are you ok with forfeiting your preconceived notions about…well, everything and everyone, that you might learn (Believe me, it takes a long, long while!) to pray honestly, "Thy Will Be Done?"
Yes, despite my rambling?
Then, Come and See.Read More
Wow…whew…nothing gets your blood flowing quite like a Monday morning! I got the middle two off to school and the little one to her cousin's for a play date. My oldest is doing math at the kitchen table and I…well, I'm somewhere in the middle of clothes washing, breakfast clean-up, writing an essay and preparing for errands. Over the weekend, when I wasn't as preoccupied with the mothering logistics that keep me always on my toes and in need of some serious caffeine, I took a slow leisurely walk to celebrate the fact that my head no longer felt like it was being stomped on by my soccer cleats wearing children. On that walk, I listened to THIS and by the time I got back home my eyes were red from crying. I caught a glimpse of the goings on outside my small town bubble and again, like on Friday while reading the "Bearskinner" with Elijah (see previous post), was awakened momentarily to the realities of death and heroic love as a means to salvation. I wish I could stay alert, stay aware, but I am far too easily numbed by little cares, little wants. And so I seek out reminders to be thankful, to be vigilant about asking God to give me wisdom, to pray for those fighting hard to remain faithful despite the very trying circumstances threatening their hope, their courage…their very lives. I seek them out lest I forget what I am doing… I mean, really doing here.
This afternoon, while sitting in a waiting room at the dentist office, while returning library books and interacting with family members and strangers alike, I will recall (God, help me recall!) the longings of Father David ( you will know who Father David is when you listen to the above link…I just know you'll listen), the request for prayer I received on Friday from a woman whose own family is in mourning, the paralytic man in the Gospel reading this past Sunday who waited 38 years to be healed, and complain less. I will actively look for opportunities (God, help me look for opportunities!) to also love heroically – in small ways (by surrendering my time, my attention, my resources, by keeping my mouth shut when I want to criticize and asking for mercy when I want to judge despite my own abundant weaknesses and failures, by smiling and listening and truly caring about something or someone other than myself).
Oh my, its 11:00 am already?! Well, off I go! What a blessing to be needed, to have the chance to spread Christ's peace whenever and wherever possible.
Ahh, well it seems we're ending this week on a high note. I'm wearing jeans and a sweater this morning instead of the pajama bottoms and stinky dirty fleecy vest that had become my sick and tired mama uniform Monday through Thursday. It's amazing what a shower and not having a migraine can do to improve your entire outlook on life. Here are some snapshots from the last seven days:
Miraculously, Mary was the only other Sabourin (so far) to succumb to the head crushing virus. It didn't keep her down for long though. Within 48 hours she was back on her scooter trying her best to keep up with her older sister.
Wednesday night, because our cupboards were bare, we made the long trek to Costco for some industrial-sized containers of cashews, coffee, Cheerios and Oatmeal Cookie mix.
The trees! I'm so sorry for being redundant but I just cannot get over them! They've all exploded with color now – the trees in our yard and our neighbors' yards! I swear, they look good enough to eat.
And speaking of eating, we totally took advantage of Dairy Queen's "buy one Blizzard, get one for a quarter" special going on through the 25th (Hurry! You only have two days left to devour big cups of ice cream mixed with Snickers Bars and not feel guilty about it… because it was such a GREAT DEAL!)
Priscilla and Benjamin brought their spring school photos home. I'm not sure a flowery meadow is the best backdrop for scrappy seven-year-old boys. I still adore the pictures, of course. Just look at those sparkly smiles! : )
Now the soldier's dreams changed. Often he dreamed that he walked in a cloud of butterflies. They shimmered with color, surrounding him so closely that they shielded him from the devil. When he awoke, he knew that the butterflies were the prayers of the poor.
Just today, I picked up my one my favorite children's books ever (for older children, that is – it's pretty intense) to read with Elijah called, "The Bearskinner: A Tale of the Brothers Grimm". It cut through some of the pettiness I've been battling lately.
I was in need of a reality check.
And now I'm off to tidy up, and make lunch, and find a vase for the lone carnation Benji's teacher gave him (he can't remember why). Have a prayerful weekend, my friends – a weekend rich in patience and love.
Peace to you!
I took the above photo (I love the above photo) of Priscilla helping Mary ride Prissy's big bike about an hour before Mary came to me and said, "Mama, my eyes won't stay open. I think I need a nap." (huh?) Sure enough, there was a reason for her strange behavior; my baby girl is down with a fever. She's caught whatever nastiness has kept me out of commission this week. I've got a feeling the rest of my kids will soon be falling down like dominoes.
Good thing I bought popsicles.
On a totally separate note, I want to direct your attention today to another blog called, There and Back Again, hosted by Beth and Jared Johnson . As some of you may know already, Beth is a member of our Poetry Wednesday community and a dear, dear friend to yours truly. Several years ago, Beth and her husband, Jared, went through a very difficult period while coming to terms with her infertility. Since then, they have adopted three beautiful boys from South Korea and are in the process of adopting a daughter from Ethiopia. In her post yesterday, which happened to be the five year anniversary of her oldest son's homecoming, Beth published honestly and courageously some personal reflections on the private struggles she endured and the unexpected joy born out that pain. If you or anyone in your life has been affected by infertility, I urge you to read THIS. Thank you, Beth, for sharing (oh so eloquently) your message of hope!