Shower of Photos

We started our school week with a field trip to the science farm. It was geared to the older kids but it was enjoyed by all ages. It was our first visit to this educational farm and we have nothing but praise for it. Here are a few pictures from our visit. WARNING....there is a graphic picture that is not for the squeamish.
Scottish Highland Cattle raised by Benedictine Sisters.

This kid was born an hour prior to this picture. The mother was rejecting him.

WARNING!!!! The next picture is graphic.

Yes, this is a cow's head/skull. What can I say, it was science farm. The kids were able to inspect a cow's heart, liver and head. They were thrilled almost as much as they were disgusted.

Look at the birds...(Mt 6:26)

Today my DH took the kids to a field trip to see raptors.

Papa tagged along. The children were so thrilled to be outdoors despite the 95 degree weather. They were captivated by God’s awesome creation and could not stop talking about their talons. I enjoyed hearing of their greatness. Birds always help me to remember God’s loving providence and to seek Him first. Matt 6:26-34. Sparkles and Rose even told me in detail how to rescue a raptor in need of help. I assured them that they will NEVER have to rescue a raptor!
My husband is such a blessing to me and my children. He went on the field trip with NO sleep for the past 10 hours, was pooped on by Papi, took the kids to the park for lunch after the field trip, came home to tell about it, and played basketball in the evening. He is my inspiration! He can do all things through the One who strengthens him. Phil 4:13.

When everyone arrived home I was ready to greet them with cold watermelon. It’s their favorite. My husband was ready to crash but decided to eat his watermelon first. The kids cooled off with the watermelon but it didn’t last long. I decided to put together Papi’s gift from his last birthday, a water activity table.

It was long overdue. Rose was the foreman and directed me on what went where.

The little ones had a great time and I only had to hose them twice for getting too rambunctious.

Praise be to God for our JOYous day!

Holy Week & Easter Reflections

We started the Holy week with Mass as a family, assisting the elderly, removal of all outside activity (aside from Church) and limiting socialization. My DH and I were called to this practice of elimination and reflection a few years back. It was not an easy call to answer as we had to detach from those activities that were of interest to us but ultimately in the way of us honoring Christ. We continue to pray about this call every year before and during the Lenten season. At times, when we have begun to waiver but remain patient in prayer, His blessings are bestowed upon us. This Lenten season was no different. Our family has been brought closer to Our Lord as we attempt to put him first in all things no matter how inconvenient or radical. We want to live as though we’re in the 11th hour and be ready for Him at any moment.

You too must stand ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. – Lk 12:24

Sparkles reminded us of our Resurrection Eggs we created years ago. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find them in all the boxes (from our last move). Rose came to the rescue and knew exactly where to find them. She is such a help to us all. At Sparkles request, we mediated on the resurrection eggs and scripture every day. Sweetie can now tell the story of Christ from heart and Papi knows where all the items go, in order.

The TV (with video connection only for Holy movies) was unplugged for the week by our HOF. This always proves to be a powerful witness to the children. In the past, I must admit our family had been somewhat wrong ordered in the fact that I was attempting to lead. Yes, the children listened but their hearts were not convicted until recently when dad has taken his place as the head of our family (HOF) in all areas of our life. Many blessings have flowed from this act of surrender and trust in Our Lord.

Scripture was read daily as a family. This is always a goal of ours but we often allow life’s calls to pull us away. I’m renewed do my part to make our daily scripture reading as a family a top priory, after hearing Sparkles recite the Passion of Christ according to John, verbatim. We not only desire them to know scripture but to be nourished in His word as well as the bread of eternal life.

Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. – Mt 7:24

By the end of Holy Wednesday we had completed any preparing for the Triduum Sacrum and Easter. Well, not entirely. We didn’t complete our Lenten cleaning but had to offer that up. We do not leave the house during the Triduum Sacrum unless absolutely necessary and we don’t attend to any servile work. We try to emphasize to the children that we must keep our hearts on Him during this time of suffering. Their already limited schedules are brought to an end and all days are devoted to mourning Our Savior and preparing for His resurrection. In the past this meant resigning from any sports activities or social invitations such as birthdays or coffee dates. It hasn’t always been easy but we trust it is pleasing to Our Lord. We choose Him and hope to share Him with others. It has always amazed us just how many people, faithful and otherwise who have downplayed Easter and the significance of Good Friday. I don’t think nearly half of the people would carry on as normal on Good Friday if their immediate loved one had just died, let alone a death of true agony. He showed his love for us, could we not sacrifice on these days to show our love for Him and be a witness to others?

We attended Mass on Holy Thursday. The girls presented their Lenten collection for the Bishop's Pregnancy Resource Center. Rose presented the family's flower offering for the Altar of Repose. It was a long evening for the children. Mass started at 6pm and ended at 9:30. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay for Adoration.

On Good Friday we attended Church and restricted our eating to one meal. The children removed snacks, treats, juice and other extras from their menu. Sweetie and I prepared our Good Friday soup that friends have made for us for the past 5 years, tomato bisque. As we made the soup Sweetie asked, “is this Jesus’ blood?!?!?” Although we never correlated the two, the soup and Christ’s blood he shed for us, it was a great connection. The soup was delicious and may be questionable for a sacrifice as we all anticipated it and savored every spoonful. We were sure to offer up its yumminess for His sufferings. We then watched our annual Good Friday film, Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ. Papi slept and Sparkles & Sweetie watched other Holy movies and colored Easter pictures.

Holy Spirit, take me in prayer to the foot of Jesus' cross. Reveal to me how I shared in crucifying Jesus through my sins. Crucify me to the ways of the world and the world to me (Gal 6:14). Crucify my flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). (- OBOB, This prayer is based on Pope John Paul II's encyclical on the Holy Spirit.)

On Holy Saturday we anticipated Christ’s resurrection. The children were anxious for His rising and….to see if all their sacrifices (which were being represented by beans in a jar) would turn into the promised jelly beans. I led Sparkles and Sweetie in making Resurrection Rolls. Making goodies has become their way of serving the family. They love to see everyone enjoy their yummy creations. The test tasting isn’t bad either. The rolls were a hit and proved to be a great foretelling of the Joy to come!

Lastly, on Easter Sunday Sparkles did her rounds. She is always the first to rise and is so pleasant. This morning, was no different. She greeted everyone with a Happy Easter. By now the children know that all treats must wait till after Mass. They know that they must first give to the Lord before they receive. It also helps them grow in the virtue of patience. The children chose their breakfast, cereal. Yes, this is a treat and their favorite, “smarshmellow “cereal. We don’t mind, it’s a time saver to our already busy morning. The children rise at 7am, Mass starts at 10:30, Rose need to be there 45 min early to sing and the drive takes us an hour (or more). Don’t forget, they still have to put on their Easter attire, brush teeth, style hair, pack snacks, and find the missing shoes. Rose helped me prepare the night before so everything ran smoothly. Praise be to God!

We arrived home after 1:30pm and were ready to eat! First the children reminded us of their Easter baskets. Sweetie even JOYously went to her timeout from a previous indiscretion. Shortly after, they went to town with their baskets.

Sweetie and Sparkles received Irish dance lessons and dance shoes. Rose also received dance lessons but her shoes are on order. I decided to make her a special personalized treat, a clipboard. I even included her motto: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG). Papi was happy with his bubbles and two new sippie cups for his yogurt juice.

I started cooking while they rummaged through the rest of their goodies.

Our Easter was planned to be a simple dinner for us only. My parents were out of town and my sister’s family took the opportunity to have their Easter dinner at their new home. We looked forward to a simple day with family. We decided to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for Easter. We though it fitting since we give thanksgiving for His dying and rising, and it’s the children’s favorite. Papi definitely broke his Lenten fast and had three servings. The rest of the children had a trouble slowing down. For desert we had a simple chocolate cake and jelly beans, at the children’s request. Rose’s pumpkin pie had to wait for Monday since we didn’t plan for its two hour set time. It was a Holy day celebrated with simplicity and the children’s requests.

Later we went outside for some fresh air. We had an exciting water gun demo for all the neighbors. My DH, as usual was the instigator. The children had such a JOYous time and reluctantly went in to warm up in the bath. Meanwhile, Rose locked her dad out of the side door where he went to ambush us from behind the


fence with the water hose. I left him there for a while. I thought it was a punishment fit for his crime, soaking his wife. I managed to get one picture of him in between Rose taunting him with the dessert he was missing out on. He then heckled back, “take a picture of you putting the kids to bed by yourself.” Yes, that’s my DH always a wise guy. I let him in shortly after and gave him the privilege of bathing the little ones. Praise be to God for our delicious food, family time, beautiful day, DH’s sense of humor, children’s smiles and Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ!!

We will continue to JOYously celebrate Eater for 50 days until Pentecost.

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