Showing posts with label Catholic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic. Show all posts

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Catholic T's for Christmas 2016

Each year for Christmas we give our kids a Catholic T Shirt, a great way to show our love for our Faith.  When I regularly kept the blog going, I would share a post each year with the Catholic T's.  I decided to open this special place up to public view for a limited time in order to share the T'shirt choices for this year.  I always love seeing all the Christmas posts from other bloggers, and wanted to join in the fun with our own unique blend of Frat house life/Catholicism. (Amazon Affiliate links included in this post) Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and looking forward to a blessed now for the Catholic Shirts for 2016:

(I got 2 of the above, it is my favorite)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Practice the Pause

So this happened, by the skin of his teeth it happened, but happen it did and that is the working of the Holy Spirit.

We had come to the conclusion around New Years that this wouldn't be Ben's year for First Holy Communion.  You know that light bulb you see go off in your child's heart, the one that you look for that shows you that there is a true desire to understand and embrace the teachings of the Eucharist, the importance of it all.  We couldn't see that clarity, only a fuzzy question mark and we knew in our hearts that it wouldn't be right to go through this for the ceremony, that would only confuse Ben more when he did grasp it - and it is a hard concept to grasp for all of us.  This understanding of bread/body, mystery cloaked in ordinary, making it all so very extraordinary.  

Our family always attends the Easter Vigil, it is a tradition we began once we had everyone over the age of 5.  Well, if you are a child on the Spectrum, the Easter Vigil is more than hard.  Everything we love about it because it appeals to all our senses, make it agony for a little one who has their senses being pulled and jerked in every direction.  Ben and I tried to go sit in the Narthex, but that was even too much with so many little ones out there already, and parents doing their best to hush them, created a whole new frenzy of sensory overload.

We left.

Ben began to cry once I started the van to carry him home, true and real tears.  He did NOT want to leave, he just couldn't be in Mass with so much assaulting his senses..... and so began a conversation where I could feel that his heart and brain were connecting, a soft wax moment of complete clarity.  Pete and I knew afterwards that he was ready for First Communion, the prayers and everything else had long ago been learned.

We have been on a roller coaster ride with him this year, so much going on, so much hard, white knuckle hard, the kind of hard that you just want to curl up and shield him from everything- which isn't good for him at all, only easier for you.  Sometimes I just want easy.

I had planned to jump right back into blogging.  I have so much I want to share, I want to record for our own memories.  I find it difficult to sit down and share because there is a lot I don't want to remember, I want it to fade away and only leave the fond, good, special times but the reality is that we are in a whirlwind of assorted moments. Isn't that how it goes, the pain always gives way to birth the happiest.  

When all is said and done, every single day Ben forces me to be a better person, to reach to places I honestly didn't think existed within me and to be patient, to pause.  We, as a family, are learning to practice the pause, it is good for us and hard for us.  When we pause though, we have these moments with Ben that lead to good things, we are learning that the Holy Spirit is in the pause and I thank Ben for helping me realize this truth.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Loving & Laughing Together

April 20, 1991
Babies getting married.
I was 18, Pete was 20.

We'll call this babies having babies!
Noah was born in June of 1992
We took this in October of 1992 after a HUGE fight, I almost refused to get the picture done.
We were both so immature, it is funny to think about some of the things we fought about.
This is where I value the Sacrament of Marriage so much, that Grace carried us through 'us'. 
We grew up together, we really really did.

Isaac was 1 month old. 
 We somehow missed the family photo when Jonah was born in 1994.
We had this made in October 1995
Pete deployed right after this photo was taken, for 6 months.
I remained in Washington State, and while I wished I had family around
because it was SO HARD - I had the best circle of friends, we took care of one another
and I learned I was a lot stronger and more capable than I thought I was.
I think that resilience came from those friendships
 - what a beautiful group of ladies who pulled us into their circle.

October of 1997
Elijah was born in July.
We are a team at this point, probably because we were so completely outnumbered.
Also, because back to that whole Sacrament of Marriage thing.
Raising children demanded a selflessness that we neither one had on our own
but through the Grace of the Sacrament we worked together to figure it out.

We managed to use this back drop twice.
October of 1999.
Simon was born in June.  
I probably barely had makeup on much less something decent to wear.  
Which is why Pete and I are not in the photo.
I ache for a return to these years when they were all so young, so adorable, and
absolutely endearing...but, I was absolutely bone tired - ALL.THE.TIME.
Exhaustion was real.  I dreamed of getting sick enough to warrant a hospital stay.
(I know, sad)
Because maybe then I might get some sleep.
They used to stick their hands under the door of the bathroom and wave at me when I
needed just a few seconds to catch my breath.
It flew by, too too quickly.
I think I'd be tired again just to return to this time.
It was precious.
 Most of these years are sadly a blur and I appreciate the
pictures so much.

Tobias joined the gang in September 2000
Oh my goodness, I knew I was blessed before but
Simon and Tobias were just a necessary addition.
They provided a yin and yang to Noah & Jonah's yin and yang.
Isaac and Elijah are the easy going guys.
I don't know how we made it before them, they belonged
and all the boys knew it.

*2nd time we used this backdrop*
At this point Pete and I quit taking ourselves too seriously, 
we'd had enough moments of total blunder that we relaxed - a lot.  
Sink or swim...we swam!
We took this in October 2006
Faith had joined us in 2004 and stopped the all boy streak we had going.
The Dr.'s teased me that they'd never seen so much pink  - I went over the top.
Go big or go home!
 The year she was born was a bit of an upheaval.
We didn't get any photos.
Faith was born in 2004 and Linus in 2005

November 2012
Benjamin was a 2007 baby, and it brought our baby days to a close.
I was sad for a long time to know I may not ever be able to have another.
Then, I began to realize our family is just the way it is supposed to be.
God knew we needed a Benjamin, and He knew Benjamin would need all of us.
We definitely ended with an exclamation mark.

The Sacrament of Marriage, and the vows Pete and I took meant we promised God we would remain faithful, through richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse as long as we both shall live.
We've seen richer, and poorer.
We've seen sickness and health.
We've seen our better moments and know each other's worse moments.
This has been a life worth living, with him.

We joke that there are not any Hallmark cards that say:
Your the only person I'd do this with because it is so dang hard.
Compromise, and consideration, selflessness, and listening can be easy when everything is going well..but it is when the going gets rough you need those qualities in your spouse.
Pete has given me that and more.
I think the real romance came when it was so bad we were ready to just cry

so instead we laughed, 
and through the laughter our love deepened.

He really is and always will be the love of my life.

April 20, 2015
24 years.

I pray we love & laugh together for 24 more!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Fun and Follies 2015

It was a long filled, and wonderful Easter Sunday.
We began the day enjoying breakfast with Grandma Truby & Papa Dave.
They brought donuts, so the kids were in Heaven.  I didn't get any photos of the Easter bunny search due to the poor lighting, but the kids enjoyed hunting through the house for their Easter fun.  

We headed to Grandma Barbara's and Grandpa's around noon for Easter lunch.  Oh my goodness the food...I think I pushed the natural boundaries of my capacity to, such good food!

My sweet little niece in her Easter dress, she was just adorable!

Grandma serving up all the pies and cheesecakes and the kids swarming.

Ben has a thing for custard, he is kind of obsessed with it.  So even though coconut is with it, as in Coconut Cream Pie...he can get over his texture issues to wolf the pie down!

It isn't a Scheibmeir family holiday until the poker games get rolling.  We play all kinds of games, but poker makes an appearance every time!

My boys had just gotten off work and arrived late, but we made them plates to enjoy.  I love the look on Isaac's face (really Mom, another picture).

Since it was a muddy mess outside, Grandma passed out silly string in lieu of having a big egg hunt (we did a small one inside for the little guys).  I just love my husband, he has thrown out his back and is in horrible pain but he still got in there and had fun with the kids.  

I love a day full of family and feasting and celebrating the Risen Lord!  We were just finishing up prayers when I noticed them all together and made them freeze, for yet another photo!

*I didn't get a family photo in our Easter attire, due to our going to the Easter Vigil.  The 'real' reason I avoid the family photo is that I just cannot accept not having my two oldest in the picture with us.  I know I need to get over this, but I just feel that despite the fact that they've moved out...our family just isn't whole without them.  If the weather will clear up, we have plans to take a family photo in the Texas Bluebonnets, Pete convinced me to do this so I will...but, I won't like not having Noah and Jonah with us*

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Holy Week & The Rosary

If the title of this post led you to believe I might be sharing some in depth thoughts on holiness, holiness as a family or how to achieve a beautiful Holy Week, I'm sorry because I'm just...we are just...
well, we have our focus fully on our son leaving and it has eclipsed pretty much everything else the last two weeks.
Our Lent was eclipsed by Benjamin beginning school.  
Lent has been eclipsed by trying to complete quarter tests for homeschool....
 and well, life has been going at full throttle despite my New Years Resolutions about slowing down etc..etc.. 
 I don't seem to know how to do it..
and that has tainted our Lenten walk...
which eclipsed are spiritual journey and spiritual health as a family.

On Saturday our family was asked to lead the Rosary for our Parish.
We've done this before.
We love participating in this prayer with our church family and we do so every week, but we lead it only every once in a while.
Our 'flying by the seat of our pants' lack of direction this Lent came to a full and screeching crescendo as we completely and utterly bombed the Rosary on Saturday.

I can't believe our Parish puts up with us sometimes because we can be loud, boisterous, full of energy and that is not even factoring in Autism.  
(I fervently prayed the prayer for Humility sometime back in the 90's and I've been given LOTS of opportunities to learn it ever since) (I was probably given opportunities before but in my young adult bliss of knowing everything, I didn't recognize it)

So as I left for the church at 3:20 so that we could arrive at 3:30 allowing a few of them time to have completed confession, in order to participate at the beginning of the Rosary which began at 3:45 I should have known we were jumping the shark, this was going to be a ride so buckle up.
At 3:20, not everyone was I loaded up the ones I could and off we went.
Once arriving at church the confession line was long...very long, unusually long.  

3:45 came and I began the Rosary with Ben, Faith and Linus in the pew with me.  
Which means that throughout the mysteries, as different children completed confession, they came into our pew and the seat shuffle would begin, again, and again, and again.
Linus wanted very much to help with the decades, so on the 2nd I nodded to him that he could take it.  He got stage fright, I tried to help him but we both stumbled, and fell... and got off on how many Hail Mary's, but luckily the dear lady who leads it most often helped us out...
*deep sigh, and thank you*

Then, a few more of us arrive at the church and begin to filter in the pew...while I'm praying the 3rd decade.
Benjamin gets disrupted and a big brother mistakenly thinks this would be a good time to distract the little ones with getting to light candles...
While We Are Leading The Rosary As A Family....which means we have 3 little ones jumping up wanting to light candles, asking for dollars, and a Benjamin unnerved by the commotion plus now completely fixated on lighting candles.

So, I got off on the 3rd decade too.

Isaac rescues me by praying the 4th decade...and I'm feeling every ounce of the sorrowful mystery of "Jesus picks up his cross" because I'm feeling like WE, we are His Cross right now.

Because it isn't that I really care that we show our failures and weaknesses right out there for everyone to see...
I care that I 'see' what God see's in this moment and it is a family that had this opportunity to lean on Him during this stress filled/worry filled time but instead we sort gripped our hands and soldiered through it on our own....

and that is not how Lent is done.

So the 5th decade came and the last of our family arrives and starts filing into the pew (which has now got Ben asking me questions and pulling my shirt as I focus on the prayer, not answering him immediately...which means there is going to be a back lash...
 and I can't even make it through the end, 
but luckily the chorus of voices praying with us take over and help us end the Rosary as a parish and on a note more suitable to the Rosary.

Lent is supposed to be  a time to lean more fully on Him and to sacrifice, so that when you reach Holy Week...when you reach Easter, there is great rejoicing, not some bedraggled, frustrated family patching together a disordered Easter.

How could I have better prepared, how could I have made this different?

I couldn't, at least not in a temporal sense. 

 I did all the things a mother does to make leading the Rosary successful.  Sometimes things just don't go as planned... and that's okay.

It is also okay to understand that when you plan everything accordingly, but don't prepare yourself spiritually, everything is likely to fall apart.

Pete and I had a long, long deep talk afterwards about re calibrating our expectations of one another, of our children, and of Benjamin.  We also feel God pulling us to Him and using this opportunity to reach our hearts and let us know He is there for us always, to remember and turn to Him instead of soldiering through, that is not how our Faith is done either.

So Lent has been a wash, but in the end I realize that despite not having a Holy, deliberate Lent like I envisioned, we learned a lot after all, and the message came loud and clear through the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  Blessed be to God! 

*I will be joining up with the Blessed Is She #BISsisterhood link up - Crosses on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Sugar Cookie Recipe can be found here:  Best Sugar Cookies

We are not Irish, Pete can claim a little, but our combined heritage is definitely German.  Does that keep us from celebrating St. Patrick's Day - no way...we are good Catholics after all!

The way I prepare Corned Beef and Cabbage for my large family is by using my roaster as if it was a crock pot.

Corned Beef and Cabbage:

2 large marinated corned beef cuts from Sams
2 large green cabbages
10 yukon gold potatoes cut in half length wise
2 large yellow onions chopped up in chunks
2 long neck beers - preferably a stout beer and of course Guiness if you have it.

I place all in the roaster, pour the beer over top and place the heat at 250 and let it cook all day.  I check it on and off to turn the cabbage if it is drying out.  One hour prior to eating, I turn the heat up to 350.
This imparts the most tender corned beef ever, it practically falls apart.

Next day...

Reuben Sandwiches:

leftover corned beef sliced thin
Swiss cheese slices
Thousand Island dressing
Bubbies Saurkraut
Rye Bread

I heat the corned beef slices up by sauteing them in a pan with a little butter.  Once heated up, I cook the Reuben's they way you might make grilled cheese:

butter the rye bread, place it on the skillet
add corned beef
add sauerkraut
1 tbs of Thousand Island dressing
add Swiss cheese
place buttered rye bread on top
cook both sides until evenly browned

Serve with chips and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Parish Heroes

In our married life together, Pete and I have been a part of some truly wonderful church families.  We started out our lives together attending a small chapel on a Naval Base in Florida.  We then attended Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton, WA.  We had a brief pit stop back in Texas at St. Mary's and then got 12 beautiful and growth filled years at St. John the Baptist in Front Royal, Va.

It seems appropriate that God would bring us back to St. Mary's for the years we would need our family and our parish family the most.  This is where we started, where we married, baptized our first child and where one of our children in a time when he was delirious, took himself somehow, someway to this place because it is our home, our safe place.

Our church has grown and we now have Sunday Mass at St. Anne's, this beautiful building located right across the street from St. Mary's.   Perhaps it is the name of our patrons that evokes so much mothering and care towards our family, and I know other families have experienced this too.  Or perhaps it is just the way of Catholics because really, no matter where you go Catholics love to meet other Catholics, I mean when you see someone you didn't know was Catholic with ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday, it is like a solidarity bonds you when they see yours too - a secret handshake. 
We Catholics really do take care of one another.

A few years ago the business that Pete worked at closed its doors, without warning, without a pay check, without a thought towards their employees.
 It was like having the rug pulled right out from under us at a time we were already trying to get back on our feet from the economic downward spiral we had just been through.
 We had planned for our children to attend the parish school, but withdrew our application knowing that we could never afford it now.  When this news spread, we got a phone call and a scholarship application which we never expected. It worked out for us to attend - our pastor reached out to us and together we figured out a plan to allow our children to attend the school.
We didn't expect this, not at all.  It was a warm hug in a hard time.
I went to work, the school secretary, Karen worked with me to figure out all the details for after care for my children.
It was also in this time that Benjamin's uniqueness started to present itself more fully.  We knew he had a traumatic brain injury resulting from birth.  We had always known there was something a little different, a little scary...but I was in a deep, deep denial.
I truly believed that he just needed more time.
Karen was gentle with me and my mothers heart. She helped guide me into asking the right questions to find some answers.  I will always, always love her for being like a Mom to me, so much more than a school secretary, so much more than a high school friend's mother.  She took me into her heart and cared for Benjamin in such a way, I could tell she looked at him through my eyes - not as a pain, not as a problem, but as a child that needed more....but more of what we didn't know.

Benjamin had long days at school, and then after care.  He was so young for all this change.  I blamed a lot of his acting out on this.  Our family had never operated with my working and then Pete was gone, the job he began took him out of State full time.  During this Miss Tanya, Miss Virginia and Millie wrapped their hearts around my different child and helped buffer him from himself and from the hard edges of his reality.  I cannot even imagine how he could have gotten through this without all these Mama's.

Tony.  I could write a whole series of blog posts about Tony.  (we kind of love him)
The first time we met him, Ben was having a rough time in Mass, he was also not a baby - so taking him out and sitting in the Narthex (lobby) was sort of like a walk of shame for me - every.single.time.  
Tony came over to us and I could just feel that he was going to tell me I needed to go back into Mass but he didn't, he presented Ben with a little lamb beanie baby.  Ben who was very near a complete and total melt down, accepted this little gift and it calmed the storm for a bit.  Tony smiled at me and walked away.  I think he accepted 'something' was going on here.  Thank you Tony.

The next time we met him I was making the mistake of thinking I could visit after Mass.  Ben is ready to leave after Mass and we had not made room for this reality.  I'm social, I enjoy seeing my friends and catching up.  So there I was trying to keep a grip on Ben's hand and ignore the necessity of leaving.  Ben got away from me for a moment, and before I could blink my eye he was trying to climb up one of the pillars. 

Let me die now.

Tony came over before I could even say "stop" and told Benjamin to 'Get Down" and he meant it.  A very forthright, but kind approach.  It startled Ben and he got down.  He told Ben why he couldn't climb the pillars and when he sensed Ben was not 'there', he explained to me.  I was embarrassed, but Tony was kind.

The next week Ben went straight for the pillars as soon as we came in the door.  I was on him quickly and saw Tony coming our way.  When Tony caught on that I was teaching Ben not to climb them, he gave me a nod and a warm smile.

Week after week Tony would find Ben and I in the Narthex during Mass and week after week he would offer some form of kindness, even gave Ben a board book once.  

I eventually changed strategies on getting Ben to stay in Mass.  We began 1 hour before Mass by attending Confession, then the Rosary first.  We also situated ourselves in an area of the sanctuary that was less busy and near Mattie, his most favorite person in the world (and his cousin). 
 We started having success.  

Tony began high fiving Ben, saying "Good job Mom" to me and really cheered us on.  
It meant the world.

I do think the Holy Spirit led us to where we began sitting.  
Behind us sat Rudy.  A man who looks younger than his 90 + years.  He broke through Ben's barriers of  don't touch me, by tapping him on the shoulder or saying something to Ben about his hair, or glasses or anything - didn't matter, 
Rudy noticed Ben and showed it with a heaping helping of humor and genuine kindness.

Mary had met Ben at Vacation Bible School and had immediately taken to him.  While I fumbled at trying to explain he has some concerning behaviors, Mary just saw a little boy and she sincerely loved his uniqueness.

Mary and Rudy would often sit together, behind us and Mary would pass Ben her offering to put in the basket.  Sometimes Mary would give Ben a pen and paper to write on.  If she saw Ben starting to melt down, she would help distract him away by getting him to notice something else.  She prayed for us and with us.  Mary and Rudy were a team and my absolute saviors on many occasions when Mass would have just been too much.   
I was tired from working, going it alone while Pete was in another state (it wasn't easy for him either).  Pete and I were trying to figure out a lot, it was stressful time.  Our life looked nothing like it had a short year before and in the midst of this, the reality that our family could no longer absorb Ben's quirks and difficulties was becoming very VERY hard.  
Mary and Rudy helped absorb them during all those many services.

Mrs. D, our church pianist and organist, is a special kind of Saint. 
 Ben loves music, and will sit long periods of time at his Grandma Barbara's piano plucking out tunes.  When we approached Mrs. D about his possibly taking lessons I tried to explain him, which was difficult.  
She took him on despite his sometimes finger twisting, hand shaking, rocking and chewing his shirt ways.  
She just worked around his challenges and gave him the gift of music.  She also gets his attention during Mass and her patience knows no end.  At almost every Mass, while in the line for Communion he pulls her shirt or taps her on the back to let her know he is there, he says hi.  

She has never not once put him off.  

Her son directs the choir, we sit very near them.  So Ben also directs the choir, matching James in his hand and arm motions.  Luckily, Ben does not and has never tried to stand with James.  He just sits in his regular spot (because consistency matters a lot to Ben) and he directs away.  I've learned to just roll with this, he doesn't do it every time but he does it enough. 

James's wife is Anne.  Anne is the person I knew would help me create the sign.

The Scheibmeir family goes way back with their family and the friendship is deep and lasting. 
 Anne and I only got to know one another after we moved back to the area in 2010.  
Making this sign for me and really working hard at finding a way to make it affordable and paying attention to the details that mattered to me, has been an amazing gift of friendship.  I cannot thank her enough!

All of these people reached out before we had a diagnosis that would explain Benjamin, before the word Autism became a part of our reality. 

There are many more names I could mention and more stories than I could ever fit into a reasonable blog post.  Like the time Paula held Benjamin in the exact position he fell asleep in so that I could slip out of the pew and go up for the Eucharist or the countless times her husband Matt worked out a ride so that Simon could attend a basketball game that I couldn't bring Ben to because we were having a day that the noise would have been too much for him.  All the ushers who make sure Ben gets his bulletin. (this is Ben's most favorite moment of going to Mass, getting that's a big deal)
I could go on and on, our parish is full of heroes. 
 People who recognized a need and instead of distancing themselves they came near and found ways to help us, smoothing out the difficulties as best they could.  We became enveloped in their deep care and love.  

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I agree.

It takes a Parish to raise a family.  A parish can be a loving and powerful presence that transforms a church into more than a place of worship, but a safe haven, a home.  

Our family appreciates all the heroes, our family appreciates our parish and home.

*trust may not be mentioned within the context of this post, but it has everything to do with the trust we have in our parish community, so I'm joining it to the Blessed Is She Link up on Trust*
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