Tuesday, November 25, 2008

thank God

Thank Him for
coffee with cream, cheese and crackers, and bread with butter
the internet
washing machines
and jeans with spandex.

Thank Him for
men who are kind yet strong
friends who bring soup
and little boys with blue eyes who come in with flushed cheeks and say they will never stop loving you

Thank Him for
blue skies and blue hydrangeas and blue-haired old ladies.
green acres and green lights and green tea.
purple grapes, red wine and dark, dark chocolate.

Thank Him for
good days with little sufferings
and bad days with heavy crosses.
Thank Him for days.

Thank Him.
Thank Him with every breath.

Join Laura at Catholic Teacher Musings to say thanks today and every Tuesday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

faith and fitness fun

If the imminent arrival of Thanksgiving has you pondering your food consumption, weight, waistline, body image and the like, you might want to visit my faith and fitness blog In God's Image for some encouragement. Kate Wicker and I write there about all that and more.

Today I share a very fun picture of myself nine months pregnant with my fifth child. I KNOW you want to see that. Admit it, you are tired of all these "cute" photos of me, and want to see the real Cathy. What are you waiting for?

happy birthday Lolo!

When my Lauren Elizabeth was born, her sister Rachel was only 16 months old. She couldn't properly say Lauren's name, and called her "Lolo" instead. It suited that sweet baby girl perfectly, and the name took.

We still call her Lolo. She's no longer a chubby little girl who loves chocolate and climbing on top of the fridge. Now she's a young wife, an excellent student on her way to becoming an incredible nurse. (She still loves chocolate, but as far as I know she no longer perches on major appliances.)

Lauren turned 21 on Saturday. We celebrated with a lovely dinner at Ciao, a fun limo ride and a bit of "clubbing." I'm so blessed to have daughters like mine, who want their mama to celebrate with them!

Love ya Lowell! I'm so proud of you I can hardly stand it

Friday, November 21, 2008

something to live up to

"Role models show us how to bring God's goodness into our world. Cathy Adamkiewicz my mom is my role model because she is so nice.
Because she would treat somebody the same as Jesus would. I think she is one of the best moms in the world."

John, age 9

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"freedom of choice"

I know that most of my readers are familiar with FOCA -- and that they know that Barack Obama has said that his "first act" as president will be to sign it in to law.

Don't know the facts? Here they are:

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would eliminate EVERY restriction on abortion nationwide.

FOCA will do away with state laws on parental involvement, on partial birth abortion, and on all other protections.
FOCA will compel taxpayer funding of abortions.
FOCA will force faith-based hospitals and healthcare facilities to perform abortions.

Let's just assume for a moment, dear friend, that you consider yourself pro-choice. I respect your right to feel that way. But you need to know this: FOCA would eliminate all, and I mean ALL restrictions. So if your 13-year-old daughter gets pregnant, say by a 21-year-old man, he can take her for an abortion to cover his crime AND YOU WON'T KNOW ABOUT IT.

I know some folks who consider themselves pro-choice, and they would not allow their daughters to get their ears pierced without their permission.

Let's just think about this reasonably, shall we?

I've spent much of the last week pondering what it means to be "pro-life." I've always considered myself as such, but in light of recent events, I've realized I must become a much more active pro-lifer.

I've accepted an invitation to serve as a "mentor mom" at our local crisis pregancy center. I'm posting this info about FOCA and adding it to my sidebar. And I'm going one step further. I'm going to do something rather out of character and post a very disturbing video.

I spotted it last week at Ebeths' place and forced myself to watch it. IT IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC. Say a prayer before you watch it. If you're like me, it will be difficult. There will be tears, and you will never be the same. But if you, like me, need a reminder that you must live and breathe for these innocent babies, watch it, and be transformed.

Click here to see it.

Whatever you do, do this: find a way to help others choose life, and do it now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

my quirks

What a week! First I receive an award and now I've been tagged for a meme!

I know some of you are tired of these. If you are, just look away. I think they're fun. This one in particular is interesting, because according to Mary at Not Strictly Spiritual I am required to ponder and write about my QUIRKS! What could be more fun than that!?

(BTW, Mary is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Catholic Catechism, which automatically makes her quirky, fun, and someone you should want to get to know.)

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog
3. Tell about your six quirks
4. Tag six bloggers to do the same.
5. Leave them a comment to let them know you've tagged them.
6. No tag backs.

At first, shockingly, I was having trouble coming up with six quirks. Me, quirky? Then, as I wandered around the house in my pajamas, talking to myself, eating chips and dip for breakfast, I thought of just a couple worth sharing.

1. I can't sleep without first applying Lip Smacker (preferably strawberry.) In fact, I'm known for applying some sort of lip product before all life events, both major and minor.
2. I ALWAYS "read" magazines from back to front. My mother tells me my grandmother used to do this also, so I obviously can't help it; it's hereditary. I've also been known to read blog posts this way.
3. I hate going to new restaurants. I'm always afraid the food will be bad, the service will be slow, or worse, something horribly inappropriate, like a drag show or table dancing, will occur while I'm sipping my merlot.
4. Despite the fact that I am always telling people to put away their shoes, I have a habit of leaving mine all over the house.
5. I never, and I mean never, balance my checkbook.
6. I love two things that most women hate: going grocery shopping and having my picture taken.

Since I'm now on a quirky roll I'm going to add a seventh: I claim to be a rule follower who is always obedient, but I'm constantly breaking rules. See, I just did it! I added an extra quirk when I wasn't even asked to! And I do all sorts of unconventional things like homeschool, use NFP, have seven kids, and tap dance and sing in plays even though I have no training or talent.

It's fun to be quirky.

Want to be share YOUR quirks? I'm breaking another rule. Consider yourself tagged if you read this. I'm too lazy to tag you myself. Let me know if you play along and I'll write something nice about you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

it's a major award!

I'm feeling quite spiffy this morning as I just received my first ever award for this blog!

Cassie at Blessed Life showed me the love with this meaningful award. Thanks, Cassie! You are a peach!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are :
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to other 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Wow! 15 is a big number! I don't know if I read 15 blogs regularly. This got me to thinking about the blogs I do read and why I like them.

I like blogs about the Catholic faith, because they challenge my spirit. (I enjoy blogs by Christians from other traditions too -- I'm always inspired by their love of Scripture.) I like "Mommy blogs" -- particularly those from young, enthusiastic moms who are excited to be mothering. (They motivate me to be a better mom myself.) I LOVE humorous blogs, because I need more laughter in my life, and reading them makes me feel funny. (Not funny weird, funny like I'm so amusing.)

I like lady-like blogs, because they inspire me to be more feminine. I like nostalgia, because who doesn't want to feel like a kid again? I like blogs that mentions good books, because words are my life. And I like blogs by men, because, well, I love men and how they think.

I like any blog that dwells on food, wine or chocolate, or that features beautiful art or photography.

I even like blogs with opinions different than my own.

So I'm a rather eclectic blog reader, but truthfully, I tend to flit around so much that I can't say I've committed to 15 blogs. So I'll just mention a couple of my favorites (they certainly exemplify the aforementioned values!) and pass this award on to them.

Kate Wicker because she's a kindred spirit
Laura at Catholic Teacher Musings because she makes me feel funny :)
Kelly at Soul Pockets because she's a beautiful mom and a real-life friend
Kelly's husband Dominic because he's smart
Mom to Five Minnies because she's an awesome photographer
Kim at Dog and Pony Show because she's SO sweet

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

because I know you need a laugh

I laughed out loud TWICE in the last two days due to these two commercials.


from the childhood shelf

Have you ever wanted to run away from home?

No, not now, because your spouse and kids are driving you crazy. I mean, when you were little, did you want to pack up a suitcase with the essentials (teddy bear, crackers, and Things With Which to Survive) and head off to somewhere "better?"

I used to dream of going someplace exotic like the seashore or better yet, a tree house. These fantasies were no doubt fueled by this book, one of my childhood favorites.

My boys have the day off from school today, and Luke just packed up a suitcase and announced he's "walking and swimming to Hawaii." I'm with ya, son.

It made me think of this book, which survived my many readings to land on my kids' shelf. How I love it.

"So we packed our bag with sweaters and socks
and scarlet leaves and gold
and a frog who was a particular friend
and precious stones that caught and held the sun."

Pure poetry.

Makes me want to pack a suitcase and go exploring.

Don't worry. I'll be back in time for dinner.

Monday, November 10, 2008

awe and wonder

I had one of those experiences today, the kind that will be locked forever in my heart.

I got the first glimpse of my grandbaby!

I've included a copy of the ultrasound pic, and though you may think it looks like an alien frog, I think it looks like the most beautiful baby ever.

All looks well, but please keep Rachel, her husband Chris, and our little Peanut in your prayers!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

just another prayer post

Are you sensing a theme?

If you believe in coincidence you could claim one now -- I happened upon this prayer kick-start that will get us all all praying a bit more in the month of November.

The pithy, quirky Ironic Catholic takes things seriously at NaPraGoMo -- a site dedicated to getting us to add 15 minutes a day to our prayer time. (NaPraGoMo? It's a spin on the popular NaNoWriMo, at which writers are encouraged to knock out a novel in a months' time. This time the crazy acronym stands for National Pray to God Month.)

The widget is on my sidebar for your clicking pleasure, but hey, why not visit there, sign up, and add it to your site?

The beautiful photographs and succinct meditations got me thinking about prayer and -- GASP -- actually praying.

Give the site a visit -- and don't forget to pray for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

prayer, part two

"I have a few very important things to tell you all now. First of all, I do not want any of you to feel your prayers have not been answered. God is always faithful, and He always gives us what is best for us...Do not despair! Please keep praying, about everything in your lives! God loves us so much...And your prayers have worked miracles..."

I suppose I needed to hear these words on prayer today. They kept coming to mind these last few days, and this morning I looked them up to verify that they did indeed contain the message I thought they did. Yep, there they were, plain as day, black and white, staring up at me from the pages of a very important book. Arguably the most important book in my life. Why? I wrote it.

The words on prayer are taken from an email I sent to those who were interceding on behalf of my daughter. When it became clear that she would not live much longer, I didn't want them to lose faith -- faith in the power of prayer.

The conversation about prayer has continued around here, and I find myself reevaluating some of what I said. It is indeed true that our prayers have purpose, and although I still contend that God doesn't always answer our requests as we'd like, He does say something: sometimes the answer is "Yes! Your request will fulfill my Holy Will." Sometimes it's "Yes, my child, but not just yet." And often the answer we hear may disappoint us, but it's the one we truly need: "No, my dear one. I have something better in mind."

I came across this video from Catholic Media House on 4marks, the Catholic networking site, and thought it shared some things about prayer that I've been trying to express. I hope you'll take the time to view it and tell me what you think.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm on the cover of the Rollin' Stone!

OK, not really.

How I love to punk my readers.

I AM on the cover of a really awesome magazine, though -- the November/December issue of Canticle, the wonderful mag for Catholic women produced by Johnette Benkovic of Living His Life Abundantly and Women of Grace.

Well, I'm not exactly on the cover, but my name certainly is, along with the title of my article that's contained within. I'm excited! It's my first piece for them (keep your eyes peeled for more to follow in the months to come!) and I'm so honored to be writing for such a great publication along with other Catholic bloggers like Kate Wicker and Elena Maria Vidal.

Not a subscriber? Why in the world not? Visit this site to sign up now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

stop whining and start praying (I think)

So it's all over but the whining.

Is anybody else as drained as I am? Not by the outcome of the election, but by the response to it? I am disappointed in the results (particularly that Proposal 2 failed in Michigan -- embryonic stem cell research got a big green light) but I will not give in to the urge to whine, complain, and/or move to a foreign country or neighboring planet.

As I mentioned in my last post, I intend to do my best with what I've got. Elections and politicians will come and go. Laws will change, statutes will evolve, and, while cultures and nations rise and fall, God will stay the same.

I felt sad yesterday, and when I talked to friends and family and popped around on the net I felt even sadder. Some of my loved ones are not just disappointed, they are bitterly angry. I'm praying that they will come to a sense of peace. President-Elect Obama is not in charge here...God is. We have to return to that fact again and again.

Speaking of prayer, I got into a very passionate discussion on the subject with the Big Man and our eldest son last night. I was sharing my thoughts on prayer, that I have felt lately that it is rather ridiculous to submit a request list to God and then feel let-down when my demands are not met. I can ask God to bless our nation with a president who respects life. But God is certainly not going to say, "OK, Cathy. You have said enough rosaries and prayed enough Holy Hours. You have met the prayer quota, so I'm going to place your candidate in the White House."

My experience, and I believe Catholic theology, tell me something quite different about prayer. Prayer is communication with God. We can offer praise, adoration, seek reconciliation, or complain. We can, of course, ask for things or situations, graces and blessings. But prayer does not change God. It changes us. And God will always respect our free will. He will not answer one man's prayer by forcing HIs will on another.

I admit that when I hear that Bob is ill and asking for prayer, I don't ask for a healing. I ask that Bob be blessed with the grace to bear his cross. I ask that God's will be done through Bob's sickness.

Some of this attitude certainly comes from the fact that I have seldom seen my prayers answered in the way I'd like. When I prayed for a bike when I was 12, I didn't get one. When I prayed for career successes, they didn't materialize. (At least not yet! :))

When I asked God to spare my daughter's life, she died.

I am not bitter, don't get me wrong. I consider myself a realist (my husband and son prefer pessimist) who accepts the truth that life, well, sucks. (Pardon the expression.) Since Adam and Eve chomped down on the apple it all went downhill. We are not promised happiness in this world (remember Our Lady's words to St. Bernadette?)

That is not to say that we will not experience genuinely happy moments this side of heaven. Most of us will have our share -- the birth of our children, the love of our spouses, good health, enough to eat, roofs over our heads. We have the beauty of nature and the blessings of creative, good people who try to serve others. But all the happiness in the world is just a shadow of the real happiness we'll experience in heaven if we stick it out here.

The conversation with my men did not end well. My husband muttered something about wanting to end it all after chatting with me, because my view of life is so depressing. My son kept his positive spirit, but was clearly disappointed in his Mom's belief that not much good will come our way here.

He had a few good questions for me. "Why do you write on your blog if you don't think anyone will read it or care? Why did you write your book? Don't you have hope that someone will hear what you have to say?"

I admit I do hold onto a shred of hope that some of my worldly dreams will come true. I just know that God is not Santa Claus and he won't automatically wrap up my requests and put them under the tree.

I figure Jesus died on the cross for me and everything else is gravy.

Am I wrong? Or should I just pray a little harder for that new bike?

Monday, November 3, 2008

breaking news!

Have you heard?!?!?

It's unbelievable! John McCain is making such a strong showing in the states that have early voting that all the major networks are saying he will definitely win tomorrow! The experts say they have never seen anything like this!

This just announced as footage aired showing Barack Obama weeping as he confessed he and Joe Biden have been carrying on an affair for months.

Can you believe this?!?!?

I hope not, because none of it is true.

Please, please do not believe everything you read on the internet. Be a little leery about what you read in newspapers and magazines, too, and be cautious about what you heard from your best friend, neighbor, or Aunt Mildred. (Yes, even Aunt Mildred.)

And for heaven's sake have the good sense to check out what you read on this blog.

I'm so overwhelmed with information lately -- particularly about the election -- that I'm just completely ready for this to be over tomorrow. I'm drained by the stuff that's been filling my inbox. I'm standing here in my choir robe shaking my head. Enough already!

I know there are still plenty of undecided voters out there, but I'm guessing most of them are weighing economic issues and not moral ones. Those of us who are voting based primarily on life issues have come to our conclusions long ago. We don't need to be clobbered over the head with any more emails that feature Senator Obama's middle name all in caps.

I think it's time we realize that in a little over a day, we are going to have a new president, and some of us will be pleased, and some of us won't. With either candidate in the White House our responsiblities will not change much. Each of us will still need to pray for our leaders and work locally to make our communities better. Those of us who are prolife will need to give women who are contemplating abortions real reasons to choose life. We will need to show love and compassion to those with whom we disagree.

I've personally not been called to public office, but as a Christian I've certainly been called to charity and living a life that will attract others. I know that aside from casting my vote, there is little I can do to affect public policy. But I pray there is much I can do to form hearts, to help others heal, to witness to the truth.

I won't make much impact by sending anti-Obama emails to friends who might support him. (Yes, I have friends who don't agree with me! Isn't that outrageous?) I might, however, gain their ear (over time) if I show genuine interest in their views and love them even though I disagree.

Tonight I will see a friend of mine whom I'm sure is voting for Senator Obama. He lived in San Francisco in the '60s. Yes, he is gay. He is passionate about ending the war in Iraq. He is as liberal as they come, I suppose. A part of him died when George W. Bush was re-elected.

He's also a Christian who's very involved in his church. He loves children and treats them unequivocally with respect. He is kind and gentlemanly.

So when I see him tonight, what should I do? Tell him who to vote for? Do you think I can change his views -- change him -- with a single conversation?

Of course not. And nor should I. "Changing him" is up to God, if God sees the need. It's my job to love him. I can completely disagree with many, many of his choices, but I can still love him.

So that's what I'll do. I'll give him a warm hug, as I always do, and receive the same from him. He'll ask about my family, with authentic concern, and we'll talk about the interests we have in common. (Yes, we do have things in common.)

On Wednesday, one of us will be pleased with our new president, and the other will be disappointed. But both will be left with the task of living in this fallen world and doing the best we can with it.

For my part, I'm praying I can move on not with a spirit of victory or defeat, but with one of cooperation and hope. Because whoever is president, God is still God, and I am still His little child.

And that's the truth.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

dust to dust

Today, on the Feast of All Souls, I stood at my own graveside, but I didn't shed a tear.

I thought about my daughter, who awaits me there, and I remembered her life with awe and gratitude. I missed her with an ache that will never leave my bones, but my heart is not heavy. It soars to meet her.

I looked at the descriptions cast in stone: husband and father, baby girl, wife and mother. The roles that will define us for all eternity.

I suppose it is an excellent practice to ponder the fact that we will all be dust some day. As I stood on the very spot where I hope my grandchildren and their grandchildren will kneel someday, begging mercy on my soul, I realized the truth.

It will all be over in a flash.

From the cemetery we stopped at Starbucks for something hot and chocolately. From there I went to a community theater audition. I was cast in the role of Maxine, who has good hair and make-up and is learning to tap dance.

Life is short, but it's grand. Live it up, and do much good with it.

Eternal peace grant unto them O Lord, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.