Monday, June 27, 2011

The Feast of Corpus Christi

 We were invited to spend Sunday, which happened to be the Feast of Corpus Christi ( The Body and Blood of Christ) at my sister and her husband's house. Two of their children were making their First Communion at Mass that morning.
Because of serving commitments at our own parish, we did not see the children receive and I didn't get a picture of them dressed up. However, we did arrive in time for a wonderful lunch! This is the view from their front window.
Many of our cousins were there- I counted 18 children and 9 adults. This is just a portion of our family. It had been too long since we last visited there and the kids were ready to have some fun together.
Everyone put on bathing suits and  listened attentively to Aunt Cecilia's discussion of the Pool Rules.
The little ones had a blast in this sturdy Lil'Tyles pool which is every bit of 15 years old and in perfect shape. I wish I had bought one of these when they first came out but they were an $85 investment at that time which seemed like a lot. Consequently, I have had to buy a plastic baby pool every year for 25 years because they are so flimsy that they last only one summer! That's almost $400 worth of leaky baby pools!
First, the Uncles got out on 4 wheelers and went trail riding all the way onto the next mountain! Then the younger guys got to take a turn on the many trails on their property.

My sister and her husband made a decision to get their family out of the city years ago and bought a great many acres in the country, conveniently located only 5 miles  from a terrific church. It has been very good for them.

When we came to this place where the trail splits, it immediately reminded me of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
and be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And  both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We thoroughly enjoyed our hike and seeing the kids have so much fun outdoors with their cousins!

 It was a great afternoon and a beautiful way to celebrate the First Communion of my niece and nephew on this most fitting day of Corpus Christi!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Ceiling Lift

In a photo, this crack in the ceiling may not be as obvious as it was every time we walked into our kitchen.
We were very fortunate to have had new insulation blown into the attic in December which we had been told we could use twelve years ago! It has made a world of difference in how warm the house felt this winter and even now it seems to be helping to keep it cooler by not letting the A/C escape through the roof.

For some reason, the ceiling was sagging and cracking at a noticeable rate of speed! We thought that the insulation might be too heavy but really, it is as light as a feather!
 This project required a dedicated Saturday Work Day immediately.
Greg, who put himself through college by working as a handy man, was the foreman for the job.
Our son-in-law, Jon, was his willing and able right-hand man. Measure twice, cut once!
The guys built a "T" out of lumber, which with the help of a jack, would be used to lift the ceiling.
Sambo helped with this project all day. This is how you learn to do a job and also, how to be a man.
 When the guys got the "T" in place, it was determined that we had a simple problem. The drywall of the ceiling was not attached to the wood above it. Years ago , they used nails for this job and those can slip out over time.We had been afraid that there was a structural problem with the roof above which was not the case.
Using a Walkie-Talkie system, Jon communicated with Sam who was up in the attic, and they lifted the drywall almost 4 inches.

 They soon realized that the ceiling was drooping over even more of the room! They had to build a second "T". Here's the funny part- They jacked the first "T" up with a Jeep jack, and because we have two Jeeps- they were able to use an identical jack for the second "T"!!!
By now it was lunchtime and seeing that my kitchen was out of commission, we treated this group of hard-working family members to some premium, hardwood- smoked Barbeque from our little neighborhood store.
It was delicious and an absolute treat!

 It was a lovely splurge that was enjoyed by all. If we had hired this job out- it would have cost us a great deal and you can never be sure that it would be done right. We were delighted to be able to sit down to this fantastic lunch with our family, including two of the married couples, who were spending their Saturday helping us.
The only one who didn't like her BBQ was this gal just in from the prairie. No problem, we ate hers, too.
By the end of things, Greg and Jon (who didn't need a ladder!), had put in close to 70 drywall screws along three trusses, the length of the kitchen.
The young men then applied mud plaster and smoothed it into place.The ceiling is about 4 inches higher and level. The whole room seems bigger and we don't have to be afraid of an imminent collapse with insulation snowing down upon us!
Larry and I are very grateful to these brothers by marriage who spent the whole day together helping him to get this project accomplished. He said there is no way he could have done it without them.They seemed to have enjoyed working together and I am sure that there will be many more home handy man projects for them and their other brothers to collaborate on in the future.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Free Tee-Shirt

While I was at the IHM Homeschool Conference, I noticed someone wearing this very eye-catching shirt. The blue is such a nice color and the bold white writing really stands out and can be read from a distance.

As the day went on, I noticed more and more of these shirts on people enjoying the conference and correctly deduced that one of the vendors there must be giving them out!
I lucked out and found the booth! Christendom College had a bunch that they were distributing for free, the only caveat being that the recipient would agree to wear it once a week. I brought one home and gave it to Natalie, who put it on to wear to the horse farm.
The funny thing is that while she was intent on giving her sister a riding lesson, this shirt was evangelizing like crazy.
In my opinion, the message is non-confrontational, but true. It leads to great food for thought without making people so angry that they quit listening.
By the way, this little girl can ride a pony!!! Dixie is very safe and Miss J. can walk and trot on her well.We are really blessed to have the opportunity to have her learn to ride on this nice pony for free because of the work that Natalie does on this farm. It is a fringe benefit and I'm not sure which sister enjoys it more!

One of the problems we face on the issue of Abortion is the thinking "If it's legal, well then it must be OK, right?" Although sadly, it is legal, more and more people are coming to realize that it is not OK. It's wrong. The fantastic news is that this sin, in a repentant heart, can be FORGIVEN by our Great and Gracious God, who IS Love and Mercy.
The Holy Spirit is changing one HEART at a time, which leads to the changing of one person's mind on this topic at a time...
Tee- Shirts like this can help. A lovely teen-age girl like Natalie catches eyes wherever she goes.Wearing a tee-shirt like this can be a very powerful force for good in making the pro-life message something that people will adopt for themselves. It might help folks to reconsider for a moment some old ideas that they may find no longer hold true.Some ideas, though perhaps sounding good in theory, don't always play out so well. This shirt speaks to that.
While simply enjoying a gorgeous morning on the farm, (playing King of the Hill here), this young lady was mostly unaware that her shirt was carrying a  strong but not rude, message of hope, truth, love and LIFE.
"Come, Holy Spirit,
Fill the Hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
Grant that by the same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise
And ever enjoy his consolations,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen."