St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Daybook

Outside my window....

beautiful cooler breeze coming in

I am thankful for...

my family and over 100 friends who wished me Happy Birthday yesterday between my Facebook and email

I am thinking about...

a lot of ancestry – family tree stuff – mostly the German heritage

Learning all the time...

receiving and reading enlightening information from the past – a real eye opener.

From the kitchen....

I would just like another cup of hot coffee…going to do that next

I am creating...

a wonderful family tree – on line currently, but will transfer it to publication

I am working on...

several things (see above) and also VBS and home schooling organization

I am going...

with my family and mother to have church directory pictures taken this evening

I am hoping...

our finances see better days soon

I am reading...

nothing hefty, just ancestry notes and family stories right now

I am praying for...

healing for my father and mother’s family where it is needed – I see huge wounds that only God can address and bring peace

I am hearing...

some loud trucks from the Minerva dairy up and down our street

Around the house...

I am remembering all the years spent in this house, as a single person with only her dog, a newly married person, a new mother and a mother now for many years.  And how this house reminds me of my ancestors that have gone before me, living in similar houses throughout Wisconsin and Ohio, and it reminds me to stay frugal and not be too extravagant in my life, that simplicity is best.  If Grandma Burg could wake up to just a cup of coffee and toast and an egg, and sit in her rocker, and watch children all day, living a simple life….I can too, it’s in my blood!

One of my favorite things...

quiet evenings around the fire pit with my children telling me about the day’s events

A few plans for the rest of the week...

a Thursday appointment and two graduation parties!  One Friday evening and one Saturday afternoon

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


Louisa Heltz – my paternal great great grandmother

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

St. Josemaria Escriva and I…


…share a birthday and a feast day: June 26th

When I first began devotion to St. Josemaria Escriva and was drawn to his teachings, (“maxims”) primarily through The Way, it was about fifteen years ago.  In 2002 when this holy man was canonized I was thrilled his feast day was my birthday.  I took that as a confirmation that he was truly with me, guiding and inspiring me.

Back in 1975 when Josemaria Escriva died, I was merely fifteen years old.  I had just finished my freshman year at our Catholic high school in Utah.  I know I had strong devotion in my early childhood through grade school and high school to our Infant of Prague as it was a family tradition and all of my family had statues of the dear Infant and images throughout their homes.  I can recite by heart the special novena of our Infant of Prague to this day, and like my mother’s Slovakian family that came before me, I too have a statue in a place of honor and a beautiful framed image of our Infant facing our front door entry. 


My husband and I have primarily taught our children the devotion of the rosary and I can tell it has served them as we pray it together as a family and I can see my older children resorting to it on their own.  St. Josemaria Escriva had great devotion through our Blessed Mother and this comes across in his writings.

As I matured, and I mean became a wife and mother, my faith needed so much more nourishment and depth.  Especially since taking on the task of home education, I felt I needed a wise and mature guide to take me by the hand and lead me.  Someone, purely accidentally (so we think…!), I happened upon The Way, and began to read the maxims of Josemaria and meditate on them in my daily life and adoration hours.  Oh how they touched me and sunk in, and how I needed his wisdom.  This was before his canonization and I was well pleased this holy man was canonized.

You can read more about him and his life and teachings here:

Josemaria Escriva Info

You can find his books and excerpts at this site:

Escriva Works

You can purchase many of his writings at this site:

Scepter Publishing

If you have any questions about St. Escriva or his writings, please feel free to contact me, I’d be glad to help.

Have a blessed day!  St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for us!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meeting the Past…

I received a  note via email from a contact at St. Aemilian’s-Lakeside Center in Milwaukee today, indicating she had received my notarized letter requesting my father’s orphan records from the 40s.  They are in the mail….wow, I am both so excited and both so stricken with a little bit of grief.  To imagine my father in an orphanage at the tender age of 7, and which brothers were with him for certain..…the past is about to unfold in documentation.  I have only heard vague stories of his life there and both sides of the family trying to help it not to happen.  His father was living, but apparently not able to care for the boys as a widower from about 1941 through 1950. He remarried sometime in the early 50s, and went on to have six more children; having married a widow with four children.  So thirteen children in all for this blended family.  I recently found my father’s six half-siblings through an obituary.  I also found one of them on and wrote them a brief note.  They may not want to correspond, and I’m leaving that up to them.  I am perfectly satisfied just knowing who they are; it has brought me peace of mind. 

I’m not sure how I am feeling about all of this, but I know God wants me to see the picture and to forgive where forgiveness is needed.  If anything my compassion meter went up way over 100 percent and I discovered each piece of information.  The contact person at the former orphanage, now a residential treatment center, was so kind and helpful and you can tell she enjoys finding the information in the archives and handing it over to loved ones.  I’m sure she knows it is a heart wrenching event mixed with many emotions. Part of you wants to know, another part fears what could be painful information.

I have long wondered what my father’s father was doing from 1941 through 1950, but because his obituary that I finally located in an archived newspaper,  states he was an  auditor for the state department of revenue, I will assume he used part of those years to further his education in order to obtain such a job. In the 1940 census he had completed four years of high school and was widowed, with three sons, and was working as a supervising clerk for a loan company.  Around 1941 my father was in the orphanage and later by age 11 placed in foster care with a farming family. By 1950 my father had joined the Marine Corps at age 17.  By 1956 he was a decorated 2nd Lieutenant and marrying my mother, also a Marine.

Adelaide wDan standing and Ned on lap

My father on his mother’s lap, with one older brother, (younger one not yet born; 1933)

A little on the facility my father was in orphan care at:

St. Aemilian’s-Lakeside, Inc.

Advancing foster care, education and mental health services throughout southeastern Wisconsin


St. Aemilian-Lakeside, Inc. provides innovative family-centered care and educational services that embrace diversity and empower children, families, and adults to improve the quality of their lives.

Company Overview

St. Aemilian-Lakeside works with children, families, and adults to help them achieve stable and productive lives.

From our origin as an orphanage for Milwaukee's earliest immigrants, St. Aemilian-Lakeside has evolved into a dynamic provider to advance foster care, education and mental health services for all of Southeast Wisconsin and beyond.  St. Aemilian-Lakeside, Inc. is non-profit and non-sectarian.

Basic Info


Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Daybook Entries…

Outside my window....

     bright beautiful sunshine

I am thankful for...

     being here with my family

I am thinking about...

     my father’s orphan records from St. Aemilian’s-Lakeside in Wisconsin where he lived in the orphanage in the early 40s.  I’ve requested the records.

Learning all the time...

     along with my children at the library programs; there is one today, as well as genealogy research which brings me closer to the truth of how my father lived the early years of his life orphaned.

From the kitchen....

     not sure what I’m doing for dinner tonight

I am creating...

     more memories for our family history as I add to it with valuable information

I am working on...


I am going...

     library program at noon

I am hoping

     for closure in regard to my father’s upbringing

I am reading...

     Jenny McCarthy & Dr. Jerry Kartzinel’s book on Autism

I am praying for...

     my oldest son right now, his talents, his motivation, his future career, but just his getting through his senior year of college this next school season.

I am hearing...

     birds outside the open window

Around the house...

     nothing much except remnants from a Wednesday birthday party – good times!

One of my favorite things...

     satisfaction.  To have been working on something and seeing it come together to completion.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

     celebrating Father’s Day and hopefully visiting my almost 90 yr old father in law this weekend

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

     the 1940 Federal Census for Wisconsin.  It is April 1940, 5 months after my father’s mother died, and he is 6 yrs old, living with his two brothers, 11 and 4, and his father, and his 75 yr old great aunt, who has moved in with them to help.  The following year would find him in a Milwaukee orphanage. They are the second family on the roster.

1940 United States Federal Census

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another beauty…

Just HAD to post this other gorgeous Claude Monet painting…love it Red heart


Camille Monet with a child, 1875

by Claude Monet

Self-Control Quotes

…these are good for not only ourselves but for those children in our homes that might need some constant reminders.  Borrowed these from a friend of mine who collects self-control quotes.


“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude
toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change
rather than allowing it to master you.” –Brian Tracy

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more
difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment –Benjamin Franklin

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.” –Seneca

“The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their
emotions by the application of reason.” -Mary Mannes

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no
law.” (Galatians 5:22)

What we do upon some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are; and what we are will be the result of previous years of
self-discipline –H.P. Liddon

“A person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls.”
-Proverbs 25:28

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
–Proverbs 15: 1

Monet’s Lilac Irises

I just had to post this one – it’s just so beautiful!



….my daughter hates this word….it’s the one I use to describe the argumentative whiny self-centeredness of the preteen/teen bunch when they are “there” in it.  I sometimes wonder HOW my mother in particular survived me during that time. I remember it!  I remember being a pain and whiny and emotional and bored and irritated all at the same time!! ugh…and wow, it is almost like you don’t have control over it.  Like your body chemistry rules all and takes over.**

So I have a son now that is so there….it really tries my patience at times.  In many ways he has matured and grown past some of the more annoying behaviors, but he still doesn’t quite have a grip on the emotions.  He is my more sensitive one anyway, so this doesn’t help.  Just a word of warning, if you have a very sensitive child now, when they hit the near teen-teen stage…look out.  Be prepared.  I am grateful we got this one into therapy and on medication and undergo on going help with him, because I can not imagine how much worse it would be – I see a glimpse into on occasion.  I give him a little more slack because he does suffer from OCD/anxiety, thus his extremely more sensitive nature; and I applaud his progress as he has definitely made progress.  When I think back to the daily horror and stress we lived with while his disorder was not stabilized it makes my heart do a flip flop.  Such days as I would not like to remember….if only to chart the progress and productiveness and the quality of life we have now achieved for him.  Thank God.

**Back to my asterisk from above: “like your body chemistry takes over”…I do believe it is the case.  This is why support nutritionally and with supplements and may need to include doctors care – therapy/counseling, possibly medications….I think it needs to be addressed and not ignored when it’s ruling the house or you see serious signs of depression or other.  Not all issues like this are solved by “growing out of it”, so of these issues deepen and worsen as the person ages. 

Along with a good diet, supplements and help in the way of therapy if needed, I believe the spiritual life of these teens needs nourished and fostered; they need further accountability above the parent…when they offend the parent with their harsh words or badgering behaviors, they need a heirarchy they are accountable to;  somewhere in them is the strength and mind to know it is wrong and they need control.  They need to try harder and know it is never right to just do wrong and not be accountable…or to say I’m sorry.  “I’m sorry” was a monumental experience in our home when my son was getting help and it was a long time coming, but it happened; he NEVER said he was sorry after a horrific emotional gut wrenching episode…never.  The first time he did, I was shocked and melted at the same time.  I KNEW we had done the right thing for him getting him help.  He WANTED to feel good and have control, he didn’t want to be bitter and angry and irritated every day.  Spiritually he is more developed than many teens his age and always has been, so he does have a great structure of accountability in his formation and forefront of his mind.  He is really very very good.  His disorder mixed with teen age chemistry gets the best of him at times – but those times are now so limited.  Thank God again!  I’m not complaining…just pondering and journaling experiences and advice.

Pray for your troubled kids….evaluate them, help them in all ways possible.  Above all strive to be patient and realize it’s not them spouting off the hurtful words and behaviors, it’s something that is holding them hostage.  Try to free them with all the means you can, and you will be so washed over with joy inside when you see the fruits of that endeavor. 

Trust in prayer.  This makes a powerful novena said for 9 days with your prayer intention.  When we ask a special friend to pray for us, why not ask a friend closest to Jesus?  We believe Mary hears us and prays for us to Our Lord on our behalf, just as we pray for others on earth, those in heaven closest to God intercede for us.  We believe in life eternal, right?  So why then could not an eternal soul in God’s heavenly kingdom hear and pray for us?  They are not dead to us, they are very much alive …more alive than ever.  Believe. Trust. Pray.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Such a nice day today.  Mark was so excited when he woke up remembering he could go to the library program today.  He just seems so thrilled about it – I mean, I’m glad, but I never imagined it would be that big of a fun deal for him!  He loves that he gets to eat lunch at the program – a free lunch (and try new foods…just not like at home ya know).  And having some friends there is also pretty exciting! So, I’m very happy for him.  It is good for him to attend such things – rather therapeutic in many ways including sensory, social and behavioral.  And he does love books – his autistic super power being reading. So all in all, I’m glad that he’s glad for every Friday!

Right now I’m re-evaluating his diet.  Diet comes up a lot with autism.  It can be a very touchy subject, but one that needs to be addressed.  When we visited the neurologist nearly two years ago and got Mark evaluated and started on therapies, she mentioned diet.  And diet fads with autism.  She said, keep it real.  While some people do notice a marked difference in their children due to diet, she said, be sensible in a diet approach.  Do keep him on a healthy well balanced diet, and watch his weight.  He was already pretty chunky.  This does not alarm me because my last really chunky boy, is anything but chunky now.  Still, I do watch diet choices and try to make good low cal balanced choices.

Omega-3 we are using Nature Sunshine’s Heroes for Kids brand:

I have added some recent supplements to Mark’s diet (and a few of the same to Michael’s).  Honestly, I don’t know if it’s just my imagination that Omega-3 seems to bring about clarity of mind, but once I started giving it to Mark, I noticed a difference.  He seemed more connected, more of the time. I also haven’t given him his Zrytec for a couple days – ran out actually and just haven’t replaced it.  But he seems to be doing okay in the allergy area – it’s calmed down at least.  But because he has such pronounced seasonal allergies, I’ll definitely be re-stocking his allergy meds today. 

I have also added a pro-biotic – the ones I have are a fruit flavored chew, from the Sustenex line; I am giving Mark the digestive and immune system one.  His bowels are not very regulated these days, I’m not sure what happened.  But it is important to target the intestines of the autistic, so I’m trying to help his body biology over all and this area can not be overlooked.  Good elimination is so important.  I am probably going to add some kind of  fiber and I have already added a digestive aid such as this one from Nature’s Sunshine Heroes line also as they seem agreeable enough to take.  I wish I could do more with wheat and whole grains, but in regard to autism, it’s kind of the no-no area.  It’s either the Specific-Carbohydrate diet, or Gluten-Free-Casein Free diet.  I’m leaning more towards the SCdiet as I think I could manage it better.  Michael’s the one that has to watch his gluten and milk!  Maybe Mark does too and it’s just creeping up on us.  At any rate, targeting a few areas is certainly worth trying and all it could lead to is better healthy eating and hopefully a clearer more connected mind and reactions.

And finally I am reading this book.  I downloaded it to my NOOK with a gift card I received and I’m so pleased I did.  It is a good start to unraveling much of the mystery of autism interventions.  Having the initial diagnosis, and going to therapies are a great start and then furthering the help by doing as much in the home as possible with more resources like this book.

Healing and Preventing Autism, a Complete Guide by Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Jerry Kartzinel

Simply So Good: Brick Compressed Sandwich

Simply So Good: Brick Compressed Sandwich: Utah FINALLY reached a temperature of above 80 degrees.  I don't think it's been that warm since last September...maybe even August.  I ju...

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Reduce Expenses!

There are MANY website available to help you get a handle on reducing expenses.  For the most part they ALL have good advice.  Here is a simple one I came across.  All I know is you really have to put something into place and try.  

Education–keeping it home–Part 1

Home schooling is still gaining popularity.  For the most part some skepticism still remains, but I have found it to be primarily from those who are uninformed as to how home school students are really doing in higher education and beyond.   We’ve been through a good 35+ years of homeschooling growth in this country, so there are a number of home school graduates out there in the work force and making their way with their own families and careers.

When I consider that I didn’t even know what home schooling was when my husband brought it to my attention, and I was able to teach my children far beyond my own liberal arts education (without having finished my college degree), then I’d say what the experts really know about home schooling is true and works.  They know that you do not need a college degree to home school; in most states of the USA your district just needs to know you have a high school diploma or GED.  One on one tutorship is so effective and used to remediate students at risk in schools and basically home education is based on that model. The ratio of student to teacher is greatly reduced.  It is not  the “institutionalized” model brought into the home, it is much more user friendly with user friendly textbooks and materials and flexible toward the student and teacher both.  What takes literally hours to achieve in a classroom for many weeks on end,  is accomplished in a home school in far less time, far less. For example, the 6 yr old son of a friend of mine said it took 8 months for her son to really learn to read through the classroom in his school, and he is a bright student.  In comparison, it took 3 months for my 4.7 yr old to learn to read with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and although we were still doing the lessons, we were already into kindergarten/1st grade readers outside the textbook.  Reading being paramount to all else at an early age in my opinion.  I find that teaching them to read early (barring any learning disabilities or disorders), is the best gift you can give your young child to not only encourage a love of reading and further their knowledge by leaps and bounds – it  also gives them something else to do in their home school environment while you are helping your other children during school hours. It enables them to become self-directed and involved in a positive and giving activity while you are busy. Fostering an interest in reading is part and parcel of a “learning” environment set up in the home.  Making fun and comfortable times to read, going to the library, making libraries at home…reading becomes intriguing and interesting.  I am not a believer in later is better; again barring any unknown disabilities at the time, I believe teaching children to read early and first, especially in regard to home school education. Not so much if one is heading to a regular school classroom.

My father, coming from a one-room school house environment in rural Wisconsin,  taught me to read before I got to Kindergarten, and while I LOVED reading the summer before I was really going to be taught to read, because I simply loved stories, it kind of set me up for disaster in the classroom situation.  Back in the 60s there wasn’t a lot that could be done with someone outside of the box.  Eventually I was put up a half grade – in a 3rd grade/4th grade combination room then moved on to fifth (basically a year a head now).  That served me much better as I was half bored most of the time with the grade level material and needed to be more challenged.  Eventually it all worked out although I graduated at a younger age than my peer-mates.  I still had a lot of growing up to do.  That’s another story :)

Even parents with special needs children, who do not mind them being home 24/7 and want to oversee their educational needs integrated with their therapies can achieve very high quality education with their children.  Once parents learn to access their child’s intellect beyond their disability or disorder (which likely will take some professional intervention-therapeutic measures), they can do wonders for their child as a student.  Parents KNOW their children best and really underestimate their ability to  bring them to the best ……I’m hear to say regardless of your own educational shortcomings, or impatience….YOU can do it.  Again and again, home education proves itself in the most challenging circumstances.  But, you must think out of the box, out of institutionalized models to see homeschooling’s true beauty and benefit.

Continued later…..

Friday, June 01, 2012

Another one bites the dust…?

I’ve boycotted everything from General Mills to shoes made in China and many things in between.  And even as much as I enjoy a cup of coffee from a Starbucks coffee bar in a Target store after a long stressful drive and therapy session for my son(s)  I’ve even boycotted Starbucks in the past due to its revenue  given to groups whose values I do not support, AND because I was so very upset when I saw Austin Powers (2nd movie) while staying in the hospital after having my third child.  Starbucks was featured in the movie and the entire plot of the movie was deplorable – I was horrified to realize children had seen this movie as it is really disgustingly all about immoral sex. I saw kids come to my door the Halloween before in Austin Powers costumes. Well, that whole thing turned me off to Starbucks for quite some time. I mean really, indoctrinating young people with that garbage.  It’s only been recently I lifted my ban somewhat on treating myself to a coffee again; I don’t do it much however.  This stigma is always in the back of  my mind…unfortunately.

So now Target (one of my favorite stores on the planet) is apparently selling (in at least one of their stores) t-shirts to benefit gay marriage rights.  See this link.  My first gut feeling is …dang…another one. Say it isn’t so!  I can’t tell you how many products and places I’ve stopped supporting through the years because of “agendas” and special interest groups.  And really, I just feel very committed to supporting traditional marriage as this nation and the world at large has known it.  I feel committed to support pro-life and organizations funding it, and I feel committed to not overdo it with all the go-green when jobs or other things like “humans” come first, not the spotted owl. Sorry…but I do believe in preservation but not when you can’t see the forest through the trees… pun intended. 

If I had just a husband and one child, or maybe two children, or the statistical 2.5 children…maybe I could afford to make purchases of Birkenstock shoes made in Germany and not in China where there is an anti-life one-child policy in place  ….maybe I could afford to spend a little more on clothes made in just America or another European country that respects human rights; maybe I could afford organic food and support smaller family owned stores and their own wares and meats and produces and bakery items ….but reality is that Christians who are open to life and have more children, are being very suppressed and persecuted not only in their value systems, but all the way into their wallets.  When resources we depend on like electricity and gas…and water/sewer are pricing us out of our budgets…it’s pretty horrible out there.  Nothing is family friendly, it seems, anymore.  Nothing.  Ok, maybe something is…somewhere..and I’m sure you could name a few things, places, restaurants…organizations. The Church is usually family friendly…to a point….ah, huh, to a point.  Who doesn’t get glared at for having above the statistical 2.5 children in this day and age?  …because why? we’re using up all the resources – because we are not sensible or good stewards of the resources that are being priced out of this world these days.  Mad Max Thunderdome isn’t seemingly too far off any more…..

Well, I could go on and on…my point is, where does it end?  I read other blogs of women using fair trade items, being very conscientious about where they make purchases, and raising a lot of their own foods. They are set up for that kind of life style.  I guess I am not at this point, so I do the best I can.  I think God would waive my needing to buy something to benefit my family’s well being if that something gives a percentage of money to something that isn’t a Christian value.  I know we Christians are called to be courageous, and heroic, and in these times we need to be for the fact of anti-values everywhere we turn, in the media, in our books, in our theaters, in our stores, in our products and clothing, our resources, and even in our healthcare. 

We have many tough choices to make and I know God is watching and blessing us and helping us make those choices the best we can given our circumstances.

Yale Student Marina Keegan's Essay Goes Viral

Yale Student Marina Keegan's Essay Goes Viral