St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Anticipation

One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to stay home and start the morning with me in the kitchen and the children watching the Macy’s Day Parade – 85 years strong – wow.  My husband preferred to not travel on Thanksgiving, or go to both parents’ home, because he drives SO MUCH all week and doesn’t have many days off at all for much of anything.  He works Saturdays at his regular job – and in retail in the evenings, and you know retail doesn’t take time off.

So on Thanksgiving we enjoy the entire day together as a family, and toward the end of the day, we begin to decorate for Christmas.  We opted for a small slimmer tree (it already has lights on it), and it is less fuss for the children to easily and successfully decorate with charm.  We have our nativity and Advent Wreath ready.  Tomorrow marks the first day of Advent, and we have a small purple taper candle waiting within the wreath to be lit. 

I am grateful for my church, Christ’s visual church on earth for all the spiritual helps it provides to improve our spirituality during this hard yet joyful journey.  I am not a shallow fleeting person in the least, and the more breadth and depth of spiritual enrichment and knowledge at my disposal, the better.  Christ himself was not shallow by any means, and he shows us in the gospels the deep spiritual and physical demands a soldier of Christ must take on. 

This Advent I anticipate and wait to honor the Christ who was born into a family first before accepting his ministry at large in the name of His Father.  Knowing Jesus was born a baby and into a family certainly makes our Lord less lofty and more accessible to any humble person. 

May God bless you richly this Advent Season!

Building the stairway to heaven

I guess I’m being a bit nostalgic these days.  November does that to me, as we anticipate the first Sunday of Advent (tomorrow), thoughts comes flooding back to me more so.  November is the month I moved into this house as a single person, 25 years ago.  November is the month we remember our beloved death and the hope of eternal life in Heaven.  For me, it is also the end of the year inventory; I tend to take count of the blessings and mishaps of the year and where I personally need to change or strengthen myself, as well as my family.  What more do I need to do to improve the state of our family, our life, and each child individually?…what more do we need to do as a family to ensure we are fulfilling our vocations God has led us to within our families and is continually forming us  for life beyond our families?
Yes, all these thoughts and heaven too……truly Heaven too as my devotions this morning included the hope of Heaven, our true home, Our Father’s house.
Perpetual Help madonna-and-child-2
Lately, if I remember just a few things, especially in the middle of the night when my son with anxiety awakens me, which he has done a lot lately…..then I can respond in a more loving and hoping way.  These things are simple, and somewhat essential for me at this time as I am run-down…burnt-out ….exhausted.  My blood work shows it, my swollen glands and chronically sore throat and achy body shows it.  No, I do not have a bad illness, I just have a lot of mental, emotional, and physical work here at home raising the last two children, while still being connected and guiding the older two.  One child is very challenging and taxes me the most. What has helped me recently (along with a good talk with my pastor) is to envision the corporal works of mercy and realize I am performing them, in regard to my family….and especially in regard to my special needs children.  One child alone fits “caring for the sick…..and visiting the imprisoned”…my son with anxiety (OCD) is ill and somewhat imprisoned.  I find myself calling upon the strength Mother Teresa had – the love,  the compassion, the endurance.  But alas, I am no Mother Teresa; I am being put through the crucible though, and I have come to accept and surrender to God what selfishness has been left in me.  When at this time in a woman’s life, her children are older, (or older ones are at home, that can help with the younger ones), and these woman are “out and about” able to have some freedom away from home awhile, I am not.  My son has had a set back this year that has been very difficult for everyone, but for me personally as it takes ME to deal with it – separation anxiety, and heightened driving issues.  If I believed in reincarnation, a mystic would probably say this child lost both his mother and his own life in a car accident – he is very needy for mother and fears and dreads driving (a phobia of his).  Even with anxiety medication and motion sickness medication, going longer than 40 minutes usually results in an uprising of panic attack and makes for  a stressful drive for all involved.  And of course this year has included a lot more driving…isn’t that the way it goes?  In caring for my youngest autistic son, we have weekly therapies now added to the plate – and because I can’t leave the anxiety ridden son with someone at this point, or alone, he must accompany us much to his dislike.  Much to my dislike also – I would like nothing more than to leave him safely behind.  Someday……I am hoping. 
I will admit a couple weeks ago, I gave up hope.  I really did.  Having someone ill with you, even an invisible illness  -  24 hours a day without much break except early in the morning when they are sleeping, or out to play – is draining.  But, I am doing what I can at home to help myself – little things – breaks within the home – I’ve even resorted to playing Angry Birds Smile  …and I stay connected with adult friends whom I need to talk with – by email or Facebook.   It helps me to feel connected to the larger outside world around me.
So, after a good spiritual direction session with my pastor, a good confession and re-evaluation of my very life and family, I can indeed determine I am building the stairway to heaven in my life one difficult step at a time.  Each step seems to represent some momentous conversion or shedding of selfish pursuits, or even just acceptance of the entirety of motherhood.  I didn’t accept my motherhood, part-time… fair is that for my brood or even my spouse?…I accept it full time – hook, line and sinker, with the sacrament of marriage and the promises and vows made therein.
So, I am soul searching, re-evaluating, re-thinking and locating my building materials….I’m remembering what is important and what isn’t important.  I am looking at each child individually and addressing what will help them best in education, Christian formation and developing their talents to prepare them for their lives.  I am also rekindling HOPE in my life with baby steps, but all the same, they are steps.  Hope is important for the journey and important to help us keep sight of the journey’s end, which will begin anew in Our Father’s House. …where there will be no more night, and all will be healed and whole…..and like Mother Teresa once said:….sleep…there will be time to sleep when we get to Heaven.   (Amen to that).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughtful Books for gifts

I fell upon this book  by way of Pinterest where everyone is “pinning”, you know :)…….I love finding new thoughtful wise edifying (did I say inexpensive) and worthy gifts.  This seemed to be one, and I loved reading the “look at me” pages on line at Amazon.


Prudent Advice

lessons for my baby daughter

(a life list for every woman)

Try to know what is bubbling around in your heart

Don’t underestimate your father’s ability to understand you

Give lots of hugs to those you care for

Offer your seat to elderly and pregnant people

Whenever possible, take the train……

Appreciate the weather….

It goes on with description after each caption, all very sweet, beautiful and thoughtful.


By Jaime Morrison Curtis author/blogger of Prudent Baby (at

Monday, November 07, 2011

"Eleven Hints for Life"

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

4. It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don't go for looks, they can deceive. Don't go for wealth,even that fades away. Go for someone  who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other's shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you're the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

God isn’t finished yet…

…and this lovely and strong and insightful article by Elizabeth Foss gives hope to raising children and sending them out into the world….

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Touching the senses with happy memories…

Tempting products I love to smell and live with are popping up all over as the Christmas season is quickly approaching.  Some of the descriptions are so delicious and emotion-evoking.  I find this one particularly interesting (it’s a beautiful product if you’re looking for a special gift).

Snow Angel Shower Gel (Philosophy)

The product description reads:

What is it: The snow angel shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath is infused with a fresh snow scent that's created to bring you a sense of childhood joy during your shower or bath.
Why is it different: Feel like an angel amidst the snow as you lather from head to toe with snow angel shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath. This luxurious, moisturizing formula gently cleanses
and conditions skin and hair. The pearlized blue hue and fresh, clean scent capture the essence of a fresh snowfall and evoke the childhood joy in us all. <snip>

That…..”essence of a fresh snowfall and evoke the childhood joy in us all…”  I thought was interesting.  So I was briefly reflecting on childhood joy….I never grew up in the first decade of my life with “seasons”…having been born and raised in southern California in the 60s.  It wasn’t until we moved to SLC Utah in the 70s that I experienced first hand the first snow in my life.  And wow, what a snow!…A LOT of snow, as you can imagine – so true of that geographical location.  I remember loving the quaking Aspens and pines and the fresh mountain air so much, but being torn between the beautiful state of things where I lived, and yearning to be with my family who had relocated to my mom’s home state of Ohio in the late 80s.  And so it is I left that beauty behind and am now raising a family in Ohio (which by the way, has it’s copious amounts of snow). 

While these beautiful products from Philosophy (a company I love to love), have wonderful rich descriptions of their products, and the scents do live up to their names, I recall being happy taking a bath with Fuzzy Wuzzy soap in the 60s :)  Anyone remember that?

So, while I sit in bed blogging, nursing a fall cold and playing Angry Birds….I am also internet shopping for Christmas, looking ahead at my leisure from the comfort of my home.  One item I know for sure my children will remember, (besides SNOW!)… like I remember Fuzzy Wuzzy soap from my childhood …will be this comforting shower gel they use again and again….Gingerbread Man also from Philosophy.

This is the Super size, but it also can be purchased in some smaller cuter decanters!


Between Snow Angels and Gingerbread Men (and girls), and Sugar-Plums…and the snow I know will come…I’m already looking forward to creating warm and comforting memories with and for my family.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Pondering a different year..

This year as I’ve mentioned before has been very different and in many ways while seemingly freeing….difficult and challenging.  I suppose I have traded what appeared to be freedom (unSchooling), for a schedule that is rigorous and demanding.  Traveling to therapies and working on homework in regard to them has taken up a lot of our time.  My son with OCD/anxiety dreads the weekly trips…one of his phobias is driving, and having to drive 45 mins from here – sometimes 3 to 4 times a week – is his worst enemy faced. To say it has been very hard is an understatement.  My nerves have been frayed on most days, and I’m sure my stellar low pressure has been up.  There is also the pending fear of hearing:….I’m nervous! I’m nervous!…I want to go home…let’s go home…. (when we are but 5 mins from our destination).  I hear it weekly.  It’s hard to go into facilities with a son that is in tears and shaking terribly as if a ghost just snatched him up.  People look at us like…..what is that about??…..I feel like hiding….it’s quite an awful feeling but I have now been so embarrassed and humiliated by these scenes, I’m not sure there is much more to endure.  And so it goes…..


One thing that has kind of lightened the doom and gloom of these trips is we are closer to all the wonderful stores that we don’t have in our rural area.  So, on occasion we have been able to subject my poor mother to traveling with us and our odd behaviors (er ahem cough cough), and visit one of our favorite places TARGET.  I have enjoyed “getting out” although it is always stressful…..but yet, I do get to see what’s out there, buy some badly needed items like clothing for all members of the family, and household goods, and get away with a wonderful Starbucks coffee as we leave.  This TARGET store has a Starbucks in it…..lucky me.  So, I endure.

We are plugging along with school…rather slowly….but they are learning.  I guess this year, all I can ask is for some progress in academia…..but more progress in helping these boys beyond their disabilities and disorders.  Some days it’s more than I can bear, and yet, I am bearing it….not patiently some days, not gracefully…not happily…..I am not proud to admit many days I fail terribly at all of it.  I hear myself saying, I am not a nurse, I am not a maid…I am just a mother…I’m not cut out for this above and beyond the call of duty….and yet, it seems to be what God is calling me to do.  So the little things…like a brief moment of normalcy the suddenly appears…I appreciate and revel in greatly.  A beautiful sunset, a pleasant breeze, the golden colors of fall……and the smell of the coffee brewing in what seems to still be night…..are all much more appreciated in my corner of the world.

I have a few close mom friends who help me stand my ground and stay sane; I hope I give them some sanity on those crazier days too.  I just know we all understand one another.  Another area I am very grateful for – simple friendships that are honest and trusting.  These women know me…I mean really know me….pretty much inside and out at this point ….there is not much we intend to hide or leave concealed as we are all using every bit of our mom strength to overcome the afflictions and hardships that find us.  God must have known we would need each other and He found a way to cause our paths to cross and stay connected for a very long time now. 

Well, I’ve over stayed my blog time…….Time to sign off and get little folks to bed….Busy day again tomorrow….not needing to travel as far, but off to enjoy our home school co-op with other families.

God bless!

Judging a person

Magic Day please

Oh my…I think last week really tuckered me out…I have yet to recover from all it’s busy-ness.

So today my son Mark tells me…(as I yawn…) “ …Mom, just say the magical words of the Mickey Mouse clubhouse: Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!!!”

(Okay, so I’m trying this…..) :)  haha!

Well…..I think I might try some of this instead!!!!  Wish me luck!!

   Community Coffee Dark Roast