St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Such a lovely post, ALL women must read, from the blog: knitting the wind

To the Beautiful Woman

Behold, I will do something new…

"Behold, I will do something new, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19


It’s not easy to see separations…breaking off of groups or friendships.  It’s something that very often ends badly, although with a lot of work and genuine Christian charity and concern, really doesn’t have to. 

Right now our local home school co-op, that we have been veterans of for the last 15+ years….is having such a break.  Disagreements in leadership and rules and just overall tension amongst many has led to much discord and many meetings.  It has been a painful event to watch unfold.  It has left it’s members in limbo for quite some time. Waiting. Wondering. Will we have classes, gym, anything?  Will I be teaching the classes I signed on to teach? Will my children be attending classes I signed them up for, or not at all? 

So many questions and anticipation.   

The co-op for us has become a place of therapy for my sons that need to be around groups of people; need to answer to others; need to become more coordinated, or practice their listening skills.  Things that I can’t always teach in a home setting with just us.  And it is in a setting that is maternal and protecting.  It’s not chaos, not usually.  It’s a bit relaxed, but then organized enough to be beneficial.  It is a near perfect situation for my son with autism and sensory difficulties as it puts him in a place where I can assist him and other caring people are present.

Before we began home schooling, when our oldest was just a toddler, we attended a presentation sponsored by this co-op group when they were but a couple years founded.  So, we joined within the first 5 years of their existence and they celebrated their 20th year anniversary a couple years ago with my daughter’s graduating senior class.  It was a wonderful remembrance.  They even did a lovely hardbound yearbook, as my daughter was on the yearbook committee.  Many hands make light work, and so it was with this group.  I even served as treasurer of the group for several years.



“Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them”….

Those were the good ole’ days.  And my daughter would say she and her friends were the last of the great classes to go through the co-op, and that now, it’s the end of a once fabulous era.  Seriously, she might be right!…

last day co-op1

But, even as this chasm began and seems to widen, and a new group elsewhere is beginning to form, I am so amazed at the Christian charity and respect these group members lend each other.  There have been some downright evil difficult hard issues.  But these women, are so Christian in their vision and approach, including this break from the original group.  The letter they sent is so well constructed and thoughtful, and full of Christian charity and concern.  These are moms at the heart of their families wanting the best for them and all the other families involved. 

Let’s face it, home schooling is no easy task.  And to feel truly supported and special while giving it all you have, is sometimes all the fuel you need to get you through the next day, and the next, and the next. Knowing that others genuinely care and want to spend time with you and your kids, teach them a little bit of something, show them how to play volleyball, provide them with a safe haven, an extra place to get together with peers and broaden their horizons a bit, helps lighten the load of an older home schooler.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been a full fledged co-op person. There were a few years I simply did nothing.  But then came my third child.  He showed me that he needed so much more than I was able to really just give at home alone.  So I am grateful for families who step forward and put it together for others to participate in.

This new off-shoot group, I’m told will be a little more relaxed, so maybe friends can come on occasion with us, or families whose parents have to work, and aren’t available to bring them, can still sign on and leave them under the care of another attending adult.  Something that couldn’t happen in the other group.  I’m sure there will be more options that weren’t available previously, (also reasons why the division occurred).

But let me say again, how impressive it is to see Christianity in practice by both sides of this divide.  The divine charity and respect, working out the difficulties with many, many families, those women who came forward as shepherds and voices for all, and all the meetings and working through issues they did – selfishly and admirably.  I am very grateful for the families who stand by Christian values during very difficult times and do the honorable thing.   I don’t nearly feel as worthy to work among them, but I am blessed all the same as they attempt to make things comfortable and a loving, thriving environment for our children to visit and learn within.

last day co-op4

"Behold, I will do something new, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ever changing life…

Things are changing dramatically so this new year.  I’m not sure why, but I’m trusting in God’s plan. 

The weather is changing…..A welcome lovely cooler change.  I love it.  It makes me feel like school shopping!  I love planning school at this time and beginning to pack up reserves in the house for fall ahead.

I have begun my new job and I am working with families helping them with their home education plans and transcripts.  This has been a wonderful boost to me at this time in my life,  a reaffirmation of our own home education choices, hope and fuel for the journey ahead. God has truly blest me, where I have felt nothing but desert desolation for the last five years, due to my son’s acute OCD and anxiety, and then the diagnosis of Autism in my younger son.  For my anxiety ridden son, It has been such a battle, but a battle I have not given up because, of course, he’s my son, and I love him and will persist until he his well. The success of 5 years of mental health care therapy has slowly but surely been taking root in positive results.  I think we might be seeing some light at the end of this difficult and challenging tunnel.  Anyone who has such a child with this kind of disorder understands what I mean.  Keep fighting the fight, don’t give up, even though at times I know you feel like it.

So, this year, this son begins high school.  We pretty much have his entire high school years ahead figured out, and he already knows what he desires to do regarding college. He is so bright, so spiritual, so sensitive and caring, and so good at heart. He is such a good friend to have.  He will turn out to be such a great young man and likely husband to some lucky special girl someday.  We have a special plan for education and formation just for him. Oh how I love home education!   He will not follow the same path of college his older brother and sister have.   Some of what he wants to do will likely be during summer months (summer courses)  and sometimes as an elective during high school  through on line courses (or maybe when older high school, driving to a technical college for a course of two).  But computer graphic design, programming, animation and all that goes with it is what he is looking at.  He’s just going to need to cut to the chase on this one.  His brother and sister before him followed a full liberal arts degree program, but it’s both too overwhelming for him and not necessary for his major.  He is math, science and technologically minded, as well as artistic, so it’s easy to see his path.   And he needs to be VERY involved and active in his school work and activities, per his therapy.  If we learned one thing about OCD/anxiety ridden minds, it’s keep them busy!…not to the point of exhaustion as it will just make the disorder worsen, but to the point of a “full” schedule. 

Things are changing at church also,  all for the better I hope. 

Things are changing in our parish religious ed program, also for the better I hope.  In another week my husband and self will be attending some catechetical formation workshops in the adjacent diocese; I’m looking forward to that.  Our son will be in tow as he has an appointment in the area, so he will have to attend a workshop (one on technology/media use, so he won’t be bored!), and then we will treat him for dinner wherever he likes.  I’m looking forward to that outing.

Things are changing at our local co-op, as it is splintering into a second group to meet the needs of other families involved.

Things are changing in my heart. 

I’m going to be turning to more flesh and blood people.  Truly.  I love my internet friends I’ve met, the very special ones, and you know who you are. And you span the miles!   But I also need a flesh and blood reality, a body of people not  behind social media.  There is a place for it sure.  But I realize I am need spiritual food for the journey that sometimes you can only obtain through a group of physical people.  Yes, I’ve been pretty isolated and home bound for quite some time.  Michael and his therapist and I are working on it.

So, I may just be settling back into my blogging more and celebrating eight years or more on the internet as a casual blogger.    You can always contact me here :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

In Memory of….

Helen Adelaide Burg Reynolds 1908-1939

Grandma Adelaide was the grandmother I never knew.  She died long before I was born, in fact, 21 years before I was born.  You know, that doesn’t seem very long now that I think of it, having missed her by 21 years.

It was only recently, my Aunt Chris found a box, that had sat hidden in a basement corner for about 37 years….since they moved to that new home at the time.  In the box were some pictures she had not seen in ages…that I had never seen.  And a chronicle of how Grandma had passed away, leaving three young sons and husband, all too soon.  Sadly, if antibiotics had been available, she may have lived to see me, her first granddaughter, and been a wonderful mother-in-law to my mother, .

Adelaide&Charles1930 (2)

And so it that Adelaide, after having three young sons, ages 10, 6, and 3, passed away in Milwaukee County General Hospital at the young age of 31, due to the complications of a mastoidectomy.  A long painful 6 month ordeal, during that time, she was present at home just a couple times, for a couple weeks at a time. Admitted at first in May of 1939, and then in an emergency situation in November just a few days after her wedding anniversary for further emergency surgery, where she fell into a coma and died a day later.

I had so many questions growing up about this grandmother.  It took me to age 53, to even have any of this knowledge and see this wonderful front facial photo of her.  Oh how much my dad looked like his mother!  How sad she was lost to a massive spreading infection, that they did numerous surgeries on to eradicate.  And only a mere year or two later, penicillin was discovered! 

Her story was all too painful for my father, 6 at the time, to ever discuss, pretty much his whole life. God bless his pained soul as he didn’t want to even see any pictures of her.  He died a few days before his 71st birthday, with that hole still in his heart for his mother.  I know they are both at peace.

I know grandma is a great intercessor in heaven for us also.  She, like myself, had three sons, all of which have gone to spend eternity with her now.

There isn’t a day that doesn’t pass that I don’t fondly think of her, and of course my own father, with so much love and appreciation. 

REYNOLDSBOYS, 1938 Cropped(2)

With having found this box with photos and paper clippings, I also now know the name of the church and grade school my father attended, (Holy Assumption in West Allis WI), and the name of the grade school grandma Adelaide attended, St. Sebastians, in Milwaukee.  So many questions answered.  By just one box.

I wish for you such a box in your life.  God bless+

Blessed are….Matt 5: 3-16

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Matthew 5:3-11)

Aren’t  the Beatitudes comforting?  Did you ever notice that after our Lord states these he goes on to say: 

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

And then even this:

4 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

These passages from Matthew 5 are so comforting.  These passages make me yearn for a spiritual group of like-minded women that I can turn to and study with.  Although I know the local bible study at my parish is at quite a terrible time, I am considering it.  I am also considering joining a spiritual apostolate as I know deeply my heart needs such communion with others who are taking their spiritual journey seriously.

Please pray for me as I begin on a path of finding the right spiritual enrichment situation.  I adore Opus Dei, but the meetings are generally too far and too long in between, although I have every book St. Josemaria Escriva wrote.  I know I would like OD people.  I suppose I could start some kind of a group at our parish, but I lead so many things now, I feel I would rather something else bigger than I were in charge, and perhaps wasn’t at our church but elsewhere.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Daybook…This & That

It has been a wonderful but busy time in our household the last several weeks.  This, the week following VBS, we have a guest from New Jersey staying with us; a long time friend of our daughter’s, whom she’s known through Catholic Familyland for the last 8 years, so they met as youngsters.  This young man just graduated from his high school in NJ and is planning on attending college nearby where he lives (we tried to talk him into coming here to attend :)   His whole family came and visited with us a couple different times through the last five years here.  He flew in ahead of his family’s travels to Catholic Familyland, to spend time with my family before we take him to Bloomingdale, a hour or so drive from here, to meet up with his family for his week stay there.  It’s been nice to have him here.  They are a wonderful Catholic family.  I am so glad he wanted to come to visit us out of all the places he could have gone! He feels comfortable here and loves our little town. 

So many interesting things have happened in our lives lately.  One I am very proud of regarding my son with anxiety disorder.  He actually rode his bike across town to a friend’s house and went into the house and stayed for about 2 hours playing and visiting  -- WITHOUT ME!  THAT is monumental in his progress.  His therapist was SO THRILLED to hear this, as we have worked for so many years to get him to this kind of point. I hope this is a true breakthrough and he will continue to do something like this again.  We are hoping it will pave the way to my being able to leave him off places, without staying.   We discovered that IF HE is IN CONTROL of the situation himself…he does better.  That is both good and bad of course.  So, we will meet him where he’s at with this, and move on from there.  Overall, it was a very awesome event!!


I am a slight bit worried about my youngest (autistic) son’s health these days.  It’s just never been the same since he had the terrible bout with cryptosporodium.  He gets many colds and his digestion is off.  I don’t know, he seems to have declined and his health had been SO very good before that episode.  I’m still working on his diet and supplements.  Right now he has a croupy cough that no one has here.  I took him to be seen because it seemed to be getting out of hand.  He has a prescription waiting at the drug store.  I really want to get this little guy on a better health regimen and in better shape than this. 

Lastly, I am very much hoping our parish PSR program settles into a nice program this year.  I get the sense that some teachers don’t take it seriously, sadly :(  It needs to be taken seriously, and supported.  I won’t go into details, but there are just things I know that just sadden my heart.  It makes me more grateful for having gotten a recent job with our home school provider, that enables me to talk to serious Catholic families and listen to wonderful support in Christian values and morals, and know that we are absolutely doing the right thing home schooling ~ I am very grateful to have this gift opened up to me at this point in my life of both parish and home education tenure.  I needed a boost like this, and God definitely provided one.   It gets lonely going the unpopular route, but in the end it is so worth it.

Blessed be the name of the Lord+

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Project Update

That awesome project to the right of my blog----------------------------->>>>>

it is now fully funded, 100%+ more!!!  That was the sweetest news I woke up to this morning.  I am so excited for my friend and his son as he “does his art” and engages in something so meaningful and rewarding over the months ahead. 

Thanks to ALL who help support his special project. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Update for Saturday, post VBS

First, let me say I’m very excited regarding the status of the project to my right-------------->--------------------->------------------>---------------->--------------> see it there?  It is nearly at 100% !!!!  yay!!!  Please consider funding this great project for this autistic young man.  It is such a wonderful project and I’m thrilled to be part of it.

So, what HAVE I been doing the last 10 days since I last posted??  Well, better to ask what have NOT been doing?!  Yes, it’s been that busy.  Although plans for VBS began in April, It took two hard weeks of VBS prep (including the actual week) and we pulled it off.  It is always bittersweet to leave VBS the last day – both happy and sad.  Still, I must move because there is a lot of preparation ahead for the new PSR year, all the behind the scenes prep has been months in the making and will be presented at the PSR teacher meeting this week.  A few new programs, new dynamics and some new teachers on board.  I think it will be a delightful successful year.

I have also begun my job!…after all the training.  I actually still have a tad of training left to do.  But all is well.  It is a bit challenging, but I don’t do well at boring jobs anyway :)

So, I caught up with real life today – laundry, cleaning, groceries, errands…I’d love to kick back and relax and watch a movie.  We are expecting company from New Jersey this week, a friend of my daughter’s that she met one summer after another at Catholic Familyland.  This young man has now graduated from high school and is actually on his way to Catholic Familyland, but is coming here first for a couple days stay before heading there.  He just wanted to come back and visit!  I think that’s great – his father, mother and brother came (twice already,).  So, we will see “Pete” on Wednesday this week.

I think I’m going to do a fire pit tonight, and just relax outside and get some fresh air – now that the humidity is breaking a little.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grateful for those who have gone in the trenches before me….

This morning, as I sip my coffee and read over my email and social networks, and continue my training phases for my new job, I realize more than ever, that I am truly grateful for those brave men and women, moms and dads, friends and family, that have gone before me doing something unknown.  How I mean that is…..

Marriage.  When I first met my husband in our choir at our church, and we eventually became engaged, we attended the parish marriage classes with four other couples.  None of those couples are still married to each other.  Yes.  We are it…going on 25 years this fall.  We are profoundly grateful to our marriage sponsors and the classes they taught, and our parish pastor at the time for really bringing to light the SACRAMENT of marriage and the unselfishness involved in being husband and wife, and involving children. I don’t think we would have made it this far had it not been for actual classes and a network of support that was meaningful and full of substance – not shallow secular motives/materialisms and “me-isms”,  as you see so often today.  It doesn’t hurt that my husband’s family is enormously prolific and strong in the marriage and family departments and are devout Catholics, giving their lives to their parishes from here in Ohio to the pocket of them in California.  We have had excellent role models.

Next, I have learned by those quiet but helpful mentors in religious education.  I had a great catechetical team teacher I worked with over 20+ plus years ago now, who showed me how to really use the book to draw out the lesson, how to plan your yearly schedule, and how to really teach.  Had it not been for her, I doubt I would have been teaching the same 2nd grade class for the last 20 years.  I hope I can be that same role model-mentor for the next teacher.

Enter children. I can name a couple mothers just a few years older than myself, or my age, that helped lead and show me the way, whether through their generous giving faith and devotion to Saint Gerard, prayers for me personally before and during my pregnancies; breastfeeding help (even my pediatrician, said, “ignore everyone else and just do it!”, which became my philosophy also later with home schooling….)  those mothers really meant a difference in my life and the quality of what I would give to my children in the long run.

Home schooling…the unpopular thing.  Going against the norm of friends and family and doing the thing that was most unpopular, skeptical and under terrible scrutiny at the time…..I am  ever grateful for a small band of families that I listened to give testimony on the benefits of home schooling and the practical ways it could be done….back when my first born was only a year old.  I had NO CLUE what home schooling even was.   After a weak “yes”, I would consider it…in four more years……to my husband, in walked the first ever Catholic home schooling family I had met, and they not only brought the message of home schooling at the time but also of Natural Family Planning.  It was a double-blessing.  It gave me strength as a Catholic mother to embrace what God was putting right in our paths – accepting it and following through with it…..and now 18 years later, not one of our children so far has been anything other than home educated with the finest Catholic home study program.    So kudos and many thanks for one family that showed us a different and solid way to become a stronger and better family unit, and raise and educate strong, responsible Christian children.

I also must include the families that went before us in home schooling through high school right into college.  The ones closest  to me – who stuck by us, who I can name on one hand because it’s been one family.  Without their wisdom and help, without countless hours talking with this mother, which made that endeavor all the easier….I doubt it would have been such a seamless experience.  She also helped us to get our children driving, working, schooling at home and being responsible.  Such a good example.  I am very grateful for that mother’s courage in paving the way, leaving a good path for the rest of us.

And finally, AUTISM, and anxiety disorders; while I paved the way for others regarding the help and treatment of anxiety disorders/OCD amongst my peer mates, due to our own son and that experience, I  am grateful for those who are still carving out paths for others in the case of Autism – those creative and brave fathers and mothers helping their autistic children find a voice and a way in this life.  One such person is my alumni friend who lives in Thailand, Bangkok – whose son is more severely autistic than my own son, who is high functioning.  Spectrum disorders are funny business.  They are best diagnosed.  I am in awe and learning how my friend is helping his son with a project – art project – to give him a “place”, a responsibility, and a shared experience. …a network of support, backers and the capability of producing a product for the public, if not for the satisfaction of himself. It is a beautiful endeavor!  Such a sweet thing a father can do for his son. It gives me SUCH HOPE for the future of both my sons that have such invisible yet ever present disorders…… So, I leave you with that here – please watch this wonderful video presentation and consider a pledge toward the project.

 May God bless you with many who come before you, leading the way, making the path smoother and showing clear direction signs on how to get to where you are going….


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Help a young man with Autism through his Art Project

Autistic young adults have a difficult time finding a place of work and happiness in this world.  Please consider pledging toward this young man's Kickstarter initiative for his art project.  His father is a friend of mine and we share in common our sons' with autism.  This is so enjoyable to see how this young man is carving his own way.  God bless!

Also follow this link to the Kickstarter Home page for Alywin's Project: