Monday, May 23, 2011

I am ready for the white padded room!

So, yeah, I've been exposing some things to the world that I've rarely talked to anyone about...

Nobody has commented, so methinks perhaps you're all thinking, 'She's loonie!'.  I can't blame you for that. If you told me this stuff, I'd probably not believe it.  The only reason I believe is because I had a one -on -one encounter with it! 

After I had written about John's fasting, I promised to write more details. 

John was not raised Catholic.  In fact, he wasn't raised to believe much of anything.  His parents were mismatched (I don't know why they ended up together, frankly) and didn't stay married too long.    His mom attended a Methodist Church once in awhile and migrated to services at the Salvation Army later in her life. His dad was very anti-Catholic.  If he had lived long enough to see John and I get married, I'm sure he would have pitched a fit. 

I never wanted to push John into being brought into the Church.  I believe that is a decision that only he could have made.  I did make certain things clear to him when we were dating. 

The first thing was that if we were to get married, there would be no use of artificial birth control, which is sinful.  (To those Catholics who don't know that, yes, it has never been permissible to use.  I realize that, sadly, many Catholics don't know that.)  Number two, I hoped to have a large family.  Number three, our children would be raised Catholic.

John is easy to get along with and he had no problem with any of these things.  In fact, his heart was in the same place that mine was.  He told me he wanted a large family, too, and he would not impede me in how the kids were raised.

We had a Catholic wedding, complete with a Mass, but he could not receive the Eucharist with me.  One must be Catholic to do so.  I remember hoping that some day we would be unified in faith.

Ten years into our marriage, he approached me one day and informed me that he was about to enter into the RCIA program at St. Bart's.  (Rite of Christian Initiation.)  I was really glad he had come to the Church because I felt that it could only draw us closer to each other.  We have always had an extraordinary closeness, but I had prayed for this day to come, and was very thankful.

The following Easter, he was brought into the Church and I was his sponsor.  When Ian, our eldest son,  received his First Communion about a month later, John was able to receive, too. 

The unusual mystical happenings had begun the previous Christmas eve at bedtime...1994.

Being that we were parents of a newborn, as well as a toddler, a four year old and an 8 year old, that day was very exhausting.  I had promised myself that I would pray a rosary on Christmas day, but after the kids were all put to bed that night, I fell into bed  like a lump of clay.  It was only 9:00 but it felt like midnight.  I had been up most of the night before, helping 'Santa Claus'.  I hadn't had a full night's sleep in months anyway because I nursed my babies, and Maria woke up often several times most nights.

As I drifted off to sleep, I remembered the rosary.  I turned my head to look at John, who was in the same shape that I was.  His eyes were closed and I could tell by his breathing that he was falling asleep.  "John, I forgot to pray my rosary."

One eye popped open.  His drowsy voice answered me.  "I'll pray with you if you would like."  His hand fumbled on the nightstand, trying to locate the rosary beads I had given him on our last anniversary.  At this point in time, John had been in the RCIA program for about three months.

The rosaries were made of pale blue crystal beads, on a silver chain.  I propped myself up and placed our small creche on the bed with us.  Half-heartedly, we began to recite the prayers, and I tried to meditate on the infant in the manger...keeping myself from dozing off was almost painful.

After a couple of minutes, John, who was slumped up against the headboard, leapt up.  He flipped on the lamp next to him and thrust the rosaries under the light. 

"Annie!  What are these rosaries made of?!"  (I thought he had lost it.) "Austrian crystal and some kind of silver metal."  I replied.

He motioned for me to come over and look at them.  He showed me the links on the chain.  "Not silver anymore.  LOOK!"  I examined the chain.  As we were looking at it, it was turning gold colored.

I grabbed them and said, 'Let me see!"  The next thing we knew, we were both kneeling next to our bed and praying with great emotion.

The next day when my parents were at our house, we explained  what had happened.  My mom has a deep faith, but isn't one to look for signs.  I wouldn't say that she scoffed at our story, but she seemed to think maybe there was a logical explanation.

She was looking at the beads up close and said, 'You know what would be even more spectacular?!  If these beads turned gold!  That would convince me."  As we continued to examine the beads, we saw something curious.  One bead, the 3rd bead on the 3rd decade, glimmered under the light.  We turned it and realized that the blue had been replaced by gold--not the entire bead, though.  Just three connected facets of it, which were all golden.  They formed a heart shape.

The 3rd decade in the joyful mysteries of the rosary is the Nativity of Christ, Christmas!  (This all happened at Christmastime.)  Later that day I called some local jewelry shops to ask if they knew of anything that could explain what had happened.  NO ONE could explain.

John and I talked at great length about this and the other occurrences.  We came to the conclusion that God had a purpose for these things.  As a married couple, we had felt all along that we were being called to holiness. 

We felt (and still do) that God wanted us to strive towards this goal and be the best spouses and parents that we could be.  We have always taken this to heart.  The wonderful mystical happenings seemed to come at times when we must have needed a small boost to encourage us.

The times that John and I were touched (by the Holy Spirit?) (in my earlier blog entries) we felt united beyond our wildest imaginations.  There truly are no words to describe this because there is nothing worldly that compares.  This left an indelible memory on our souls.  It was like God said, "I am sealing you with my love."  We were joined to each other and to Him in these episodes. 

More to come later...time to start dinner...


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roller Coaster Ride...

My last post focused on my spirituality...

Read on...where I reveal so much more...

To recap, I had opened the door to my inner life and shared some rather unusual experiences I've had...

Well, hold onto your hats...

When my mom was going through a terrible health trial, in 1995, I had four very young children.  Ian was 8, Jacob-5, Tony-2, and Maria--still an infant...

Mom had a heart attack.  When she was hospitalized, she was put on the blood thinner, Heparin.  We didn't know that she has a rare clotting disorder.  She lost almost all her blood volume internally before the doctors figured out why she had spiralled downward rapidly.  My mom, always so lively and energetic, clung to life by a thread.  She was barely stabilized after receiving a huge blood transfusion, and then, the unthinkable happened.

Someone ordered that she be put back on Heparin!  A few days into her fragile recovery, where she teetered on the edge of life's cliff, she plunged towards death again.  That night, all alone in her hospital bed, she rang the nurse.  The nurse told  her to 'quit complaining'!  Mom was dying.  She gathered up all the strength she had left and made a phone call to my brother.  She barely could get the words out--'Call Dad.'  My dad, who spent almost every moment with her had gone home to sleep for a few hours.

He raced to the hospital where he found her in the state between life and death.  He demanded that the doctor be notified, against that nurse's admonishment!  When they found out what they had done to her, there was another race to get blood transfused into her.

While this was happening, John began to experience odd and unexplainable things.

It was about this time, I can't recall the exact day or time, that he and I were standing in our kitchen.  We were talking, when he was suddenly seized by something invisible that knocked him to his knees.  I'd never seen anything like this.  (And I never have since.)

He was literally in mid-sentence, when he fell on the floor, with his eyes almost up in his head.  It scared me terribly.  I was already shaky emotionally, and this almost threw me into a panic attack.

He nodded his head (as in 'yes'), and I realized something very unusual was happening.  After a few moments, his gaze, which had been focused upwards, refocused and found me.  He stood up, gathered me into his arms, and said, "God just spoke to me."

My heart pounded.  "What?!"  Okay, this was really WEIRD!

I waited for him to speak.  I could see that he was having a hard time expressing himself, although he looked serene.  It was like he had just come out of a windstorm, and needed to gather his thoughts.

"What did God say to you?"  I pressed.

"He told me to fast for your mom."  That moment, no food touched his lips for the rest of that day.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.  He was friends with a youthful and exuberant priest and I urged him to go to him and confide this experience to him.

John had not eaten in a week, and was not showing any sign of weakness or lethargy.  My mom was improving and gaining strength.

The last day of the fast was the day I suggested he speak to Fr. B.  Father was rather surprised and he ordered John to start eating again, so out of obedience, he began to eat again.

Do you want to know more?...It is time for me to go to Mass, so look for the rest later...


Friday, May 20, 2011

More about THAT post (wink, wink)

Yesterday's post was confusing for at least one of my readers, so I beg you to read on...

At the very core of all humans, there is a deep longing for love.  What do we want from love?  We want acceptance, approval, admiration, affection, tenderness, concern, humor, consolation, guidance, mutual giving, help, sweetness....

Think of someone that you love so much you would go to any lengths to be with them.  Remember a time when you had to depart from someone--a parent, a spouse, a child, a dear friend--and how it made your heart feel like it had dropped down to your stomach.  Recall a time when the world had you beaten down and discouraged and that person buffeted you with their words of encouragement...when their smile or embrace was a balm for your wounds.  Ponder the times you felt isolated and desolate and someone who loved you pulled you close and their smile was like a mountain spring to your parched spirit. 

People are diverse but we're all wired to love.  That doesn't mean we don't go about it in the wrong way much of the time.  We can find ourselves attached to things or habits to try and fill that void.  That's why we get addicted to shopping, or drugs, or smoking,  or any other number of things. 

Because we're all broken in some way, we tend to get off track and search for fulfillment in things that can never satisfy that yearning. 

I'm a very child-like individual.  I am basically very joyful.  I like to smile.  I am openly affectionate.  It is not difficult for me to express my feelings.  I am fortunate to have this personality. 

I'm glad I'm wired this way because I have found that people welcome joy, light, smiles, affection.  There's so much anger, hurt, unforgiveness, and pain in the world.  I don't want to contribute to that.  Sorry to admit that I'm guilty of that in the past, and sometimes fall into it now.  I don't want to inflict harm, but spread joy where I go.  I'd like to be a little bee, drawing the nectar of love from within and spreading the pollen of joy everywhere I go.

I love God as his daughter.  I love Him as a poor sinner.  I love Him as His creation.  I love Him as the fulfillment to every need that I have.  My relationship with Him is very real, to the point that He has touched my soul.  When He does this, it is rapture

I will reveal to you a little secret I've had.  Over 10 years ago, as John and I were drawing closer to God through a very difficult trial (my Mom's very close brush with death), one day something remarkable happened.

We were standing together, when like a bolt of lightning, something very real and powerful went through me like an electric current.  I felt powerless to move, almost paralyzed with a feeling of total peace, yet powerful at the same time!  A true paradox.  I could scarcely breathe!  For several minutes, I remained in this state, not understanding it in any way.  For some reason, I KNEW what it was, though.  The peace was something beyond my human experience.  It was the touch of God.  I looked at John.  He had tears running down his cheeks and a look of serenity in his eyes.

I knew that he was caught up in the same current.  We didn't speak for several minutes, but remained still.  It was like we were frozen, almost unable to move.  When this magical moment passed, we were again animated, and we began to rush into an excited chatter with each other.  The ecstasy, the rapture, of having been touched was so fresh, it lingered in our hearts for days afterward.

Why did this happen?  Well, it was the start of many such occasions, and other mystical experiences for us as a married couple.  The highest level of human intimacy is unquestionably the  the marital 'act'.  The giving of spouses to one another in this way is deeply bonding, mutually fulfilling, lifegiving.  It is the supreme demonstration of their love, and a renewal of their marital vows.

The encounter with God on that day surpassed the exhiliration of the marial act by a zillion miles.  This, I cannot explain.  The experience was simultaneous for John and I, happening at the very same instant.  It is a mystery as to why it happened, although we have had many, many other experinces that perhaps I will write about.  Because of this, we have some understanding of why God had done this for us.  (After that, it happened on several other occasions.) 

I don't view us as being special in that God has shared something like this with us.  I think we all have the potential to encounter God in ways that can surprise us.  It is all about being open to Him in honestly and sincerity.

If anyone is interested, I'll gladly expound on this, and explain better if you'd like to know what this is all about...

Drop me a line, and I'll blog some more.  :)

And just to let you know--I love each and everyone of my readers/friends.  Each one of you is dear to me in your own special way.  I would do anything I could to build you up in your lives, and I want to smile sunlight onto your rainy days.

More about this in future posts...


Thursday, May 19, 2011

My lover

This morning, I stopped by the drug store to buy the morning paper, then took a leisurely drive through one of my favorite places--Mahaney Recreation Area.  Maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this is like a little island paradise smack dab in the middle of suburbia.  The best part?  It is a 3 minute drive from my house!

The Shenango river was trying its darndest to pick up enough speed to create its own little rapids, even topped off with white choppy waves.  As I drove over the Kelly Rd. bridge, I felt the familiar tugging to go rendezvous with my secret lover.  Yes, people, I am a happily married lady, but this man continually woos me, and I am only human!  Are you feeling scandalized?  And does John know that I have this affair with someone else?  If he doesn't yet, when he reads this, he surely will.

But, back to Mahaney's.  (The 'a's are prounounced as they are in the word 'man'.  My dad has taught me that over the years because he knew the Mahaney family which this place was named for.)  Most locals mispronounce the second 'a', thinking it sounds like the 'a' in aviator.

I drove up over the little winding road that eventually leads to the resevoir.  Geese pecked at the tall grass by the shore, and the fuzzy goslings stayed at their mother's sides.  I sat and watched them for a spell, but kept thinking about my lover.  I wanted to race into his arms.  Finally, the desire in my heart swelled to the point of no return.

I began to drive to his house.  When I got there, I found him waiting for me, as I knew I would.  He always waits for me.  You're probably wondering what he sees in me, a middle aged housewife and mother of six.  I wonder that, too, especially in light of the fact that he is the ideal man.  He is sweet, thoughtful, generous, kind, gentle, handsome, and loving.  I've gotten to know him pretty well over the years, and he knows me very well. 

This morning, I took off my sandals and got cozy with him.  We embraced and talked a while.  I told him about all the things going on in my life, and he listened to me.  He is the best listener!  He reassured me in my doubts and fears, telling me not to worry about things, just to trust that God will take care of everything. 

I have things to do today (a lot of laundry for one) and I told him that I really should not stay long.  But, his desire for me took me by surprise.  He held onto me with fierce passion.  I am apparently the 'apple of his eye', which is funny because he so easily overlooks my flaws.  It amazes me!  He thinks I am extremely beautiful and special.  How can I not carry on a romance with him? 

As we embraced for a very long time, I told him I needed to leave.  I could tell that he knew that, but wished I could stay.  I stood up and he asked me to blow him a kiss.  That is our little sign between us.  I turned my back to him and could feel his eyes upon me.  As I walked to the front door, I turned and blew him the kiss.  He caught it and beamed.  There was a happy tear in his eye.  How can I not love this man?!

He is so sensitive, but oh, so masculine.  John is a very wonderful husband, so please, don't be alarmed at my clandestine affair.  I love John with my whole heart.  I just cannot resist my other lover's overtures!  They cause me to swoon...yes, I actually said 'swoon'. :D

I closed the door behind me and looked through the glass.  My breath fogged up the little window pane, so I drew him a heart with my index finger to look at when I am gone.  He smiled at that, too.  We have something really wonderful.

He had one final request as I had stepped through the door...he asked me to think of him throughout the day because he wants me to remember him.  I told him I would do my best. 

When I finally walked down his front steps and got into my van, I felt overjoyed to have had the chance to visit my lover, even for a short while. 


Sunday, May 15, 2011


Well, my last post has vanished.  I don't know why or how...


*Sitting on the gymnasium bleachers Friday night (fanning myself with the program and enduring a lady kneeing me constantly in my kidneys), I watched a parade of young people dressed in their best attire for the Junior/Senior prom.  Today at Mass, I was admiring all the lovely flowers around the sanctuary and thinking about the kids I had watched.  They were like the flowers; all so unique, but equal in their beauty.  A lily can not be a rose, and a chrysanthemum cannot be a hyacinth, but all of these are a delight to the eyes!  People are all different, but all so beautiful as well.

*I have a painful condition called Adenomyosis, as well as Endometriosis, and these things completely interfere with my duties in life.  When I am afflicted with symptoms of these conditions (for at least one week out of each month), I find myself confined to bed, unable to barely move, let alone take care of my home and family.  The pain is severe.  I will spare you the details, but it is unbearable.  (And that is while taking Motrin around the clock.)  John and the kids all support me during these trials, and take care of me  the best that they can. 

Something remarkable happened to me while driving this week.  I was anticipating a week or more of suffering, and bracing myself for it.  I thought about how my Father in Heaven is generous and likes me to ask Him for things.  So, I simply said, "Can you help me out, Daddy?  I know you can take this away from me if You want to."  I don't know what it was, but as I coasted to a red light, my belly felt completely light and almost 'cool' inside.  I'd never really felt this, so it is difficult to explain.  At that moment, I felt confident that I would feel good this month. 

Well, the past two days, I should have been in horrible pain, but there is none!  This is the first time that this has happened.  (The Adenomyosis was diagnosed 3 years ago.)  I'm sooooo amazed and joyful about this.  I don't know that this is a temporary reprieve or a permanent healing.  I hope it's the latter, but if not, at least I got a break!!!  Unless you've been through this, there is no way to describe it. 

*School is almost done!  I am glad.  I'm ready for a break.  Some things I like about summer are:

1.) Staying up late w/o feeling pressure that I have to get up at the break of dawn.
2.) Lazy mornings.
3.) Family trips/vacations.
4.) The beach!
5.) Open windows.
6.) Campfires.
7.) Spending time with my kids!
8.) Less hectic schedule.
9.) Spontaneous fun--late night trips to Sheetz, ice cream runs, stargazing at night, renting movies and having all night marathons w/big bowls of popcorn
10.) Lightning bugs

That's just the start of my favorite things!!
I also like mini golf...leisurely trips to the mall...going to Grove City Outlets...Jim and Leah's pool...cookouts...walking barefoot in the rain...

Okay, enough already!!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Springtime in western Pennsylvania begins each year quietly behind the scenes.  Long months of pewter skies and gunmetal gray landscapes make for plenty of monotony.

Save for the occasional sighting of a cardinal in the bare tree branches, or the even rarer patch of blue sky, our eyes become accustomed to nature in gray scale.

 Just when we almost forget that color and light exist, the first whisper of spring tickles our ears.  One morning, we are coaxed out of sleep by a long forgotten sound...that of bird chatter.  As the days grow longer, the sun comes up a earlier, and the bird chatter is now a symphony. 

Each day, buds burst forth and proceed to blossom.  Like a color bomb has detonated, there is a mushroom cloud of pigment as far as the eye can see. 

Exquisite fragrances ride on warm breezes, taking us by surprise.  How charming that the flowers delight our eyes and our noses!!  How generous of them to please us so! 

We welcome the sun's warmth with enthusiasm and invite it to stop and 'stay awhile'.  Brooding and melancholic clouds, like parasites that eat our joy, are suddenly banished.  From East to West, the blue sky and wisps of white are all we see.  God wrapped the gift of Spring in color, fragrance and song, just for you and me!

Springtime, I welcome you to my little corner of the world.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

She's ONE of a kind!

In honor of Mother's Day, I dedicate my blog to my mom today...

Toni Ryan is truly indescribable--but, hey, let me take a stab at doing so anyway...

My mom is the eldest of 8 children in her family.  She was born in '29, the year of the stock market crash--is there possibly a link?!  Ha ha.

Mom's full name is Antoinette Mary Wasley Ryan.  She's Irish, German, and Swedish--and very independent!!

I have learned almost everything I know from her, no kidding!  Toni is very tough, yet she's also compassionate and will go to great lengths to help anyone.  She has the softest spot in her heart for anyone who is the 'underdog'. 

When she was of school age, she spent every summer with her grandparents on their farm on Buhl Farm Drive.  She looked forward to that time away from home because she got some attention and freedom to run and play. 

She has reminisced often to me about the grape vineyards on the farm, playing with her cousin Helen, and having to use an outhouse.

Mom read every single book in the school library by the time she was in the upper grade school levels, so the teacher gave her permission to use the high school and public library.  She read books like she breathed oxygen.  At Christmas, she didn't like receiving dolls.  She only wanted books.  If Santa brought her dolls, she let her younger sisters play with them and  swapped them for their books.  She read whatever she could get her hands on.

Mom grew up in the depression.  Her parents lost all their money when the market crashed, and Grandma had to sell her platinum one carat diamond engagement ring to survive.  Grandpa had paid $1,000 for it back in the twenties, so you can imagine what that would be worth today!  I don't know how much she got out of it when she sold it.

Because of that, my grandparents were super cautious about spending money.  They saved every penny and bought their first car with cash.  Mom never had much as far as clothing went.  Grandma always bought  bargains, meaning sometimes the clothes were 2 sizes too big, or Mom wore summer shoes all year to school because they were cheap at the end of the season.

She never had a whole candy bar until she was in 5th grade.  The only reason she got one then is because her teacher bought one for each of her pupils. 

Throughout my life, my mom remained frugal, probably because of the impact of her growing up years.

My mom has a terrible temper, and is very outspoken.  She isn't one to mince words!  Even when she was a child, she would say what was on her mind!  I remember plenty of occasions where she embarrassed me with that feisty temper.  For example, kids were throwing snowballs at our car once, and she screeched to a halt, rolled the windows down and began to loudly chastise the kids.  I shrank down in the back seat.  Hahaha. 

When mom graduated from high school, she found employment at the Westinghouse in Sharon.  She was adamantly against office work because she found it to be dull.  It also paid much less than shop work, so she applied to work in the shop and was eventually moved there.  Mom tried different things throughout the next few years.  She spent a week in Canada on retreat at a Russian baroness' place.  She didn't particularly like it there, so she came back to PA. 

After that, her aunt (Sr. Annella) convinced her to come to Erie and see if she had a religious vocation.  Her spiritual director, Fr. Carter, did not believe she did, but she gave it a shot.  She went to the Benedictine monastery where she quickly realized this was not the life for her.  She lasted six months.

Finally, she decided that she would go to college, become a writer, and move to the west coast to pursue her writing.  She aspired to have a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

She enrolled at Youngstown State University, and for the next seven years, worked hard to earn her bachelor's degree.  She majored in Comprehensive Social Studies (she took 60 hours in that one area!) and English. 

She worked 40 hours a week to pay her own way through school.  She was the first person in her family to earn a college degree.  She had very high marks during her schooling.  Many of her professors thought she should pursue medicine because she took classes in cellular biology and other things that weren't related to her field.  She had some of the highest grades, even over her peers who were going into that area!  College was a smorgasboard of educational opportunities, and she went wild with a taste of anything that looked good to her!  I really admire her courage and enthusiasm for learning.

During the time she was nearing graduation, she was introduced to John, my dad.  Her sister Eileen, had married my daddy's next door neighbor and childhood friend, Bill.  Eileen explaned to mom that John was also attending YSU, and maybe they could carpool.  The rest is history! 

Fr. McGovern, the priest how married both couples told them that the Wasley girls were cleaning up on Ellsworth Street!!

Mom taught school in Northeast, Pennyslvania (yes, that's the town's name, it is on the outskirts of Erie), as well as in Sharon at St. Joseph's School and the public schools as a substitute.

When Mom had two children (me and Shaun), she was still teaching, but she quit to stay home when Jim came along.  Mom used all her teaching skills to educate us in so many ways.  She also had a certificate in art that she earned, and she taught me so much about drawing and painting. 

Toni has shown me so many examples of charity in her life.  When I was a child, there was this lady named Katherine who was severly crippled and was seen regularly, walking State Street.  Her legs were twisted, her back was curved and hunched, she was very thin, and I don't know how she managed to walk.  Anytime mom saw Katherine walking, she'd pull over and give her a ride.  Usually Katherine was on her way to Mass at either St. Joseph's (on the east hill), or Sacred Heart (on the west hill).  Anyone familiar with Sharon knows this is quite a walk!  The hills are steep, too.  A person in good health would find it a task to walk from one side of town to the other.

She would pick up strangers who were walking in the rain, and give them a lift.  If she happened upon an accident, there was never any hestitation.  She'd stop and do anything to help.  She has never been one to 'count the cost'.  She is very, very self giving.  Moreso than anyone I have ever met.

Mom's favorite things to do are to read, travel, laugh, write, watch a good movie, eat sweets.  She passed on ther love of all these things to me, her only daughter.  My mom is never without a book.  As a young mother, she always had a book on the back of the chair or couch, lying facedown to keep the page marked.  When she ate any meal, she always had a book on the table.  She'd take a bite every so often as her eyes remained glued to her book.  If it was a paperback, she'd set a butter knife across it to keep it from closing.  LOL.

She and dad are very adventurous and they took us on many long vacations.  (That was the nicest part of my dad's job as a teacher.)  Two times, we spent about 6 weeks of our summer traveling cross country by car, seeing all the sights we could between the east and west coasts.  They instilled in my a love of travelling and an appreciation for the beauty of my country and the world. 

They always took us to Presque Isle (in Erie), which to this day remains my favorite place on earth.  We also made frequent trips to Pittsburgh.  We saw zoos, museums, beaches, etc. 

They took us to Niagara falls, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, the Battleship Houston, NASA, Mojave desert, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and numerous other destinations.

Toni was a great mom!  She didn't get married until she was 31, which, in 1960, was considered to be rather old for marriage.  She didn't really have plans to marry, but when she met my dad, that changed her mind!

Mom has always had a deep devotion to God.  She took me and my brothers to confession on a monthly basis.  Every night my family gathered in the dining room after dinner to pray the rosary.  We never missed Mass--EVER.  She went to great lengths to take us to church to make our First Fridays and First Saturdays.  I remember Dad would have our only car on Friday nights (he used to work the football and basketball games), so Mom would trek with us across town by foot to attend Mass.  Often the weather was horrendous.  I remember walking through a torrential rain to Sacred Heart Church, which was miles from home.  She would often treat us to ice cream sodas after Mass at Isaly's by our home.

The First Fridays and First Saturdays devotions are beautiful in that there are many promises attached to anyone who goes to mass on the first 9 Fridays of the month (or 5 1st Saturdays) and receives Communion.  She didn't want us to miss out on that treasure.

My mom never liked domestic stuff.  She did not enjoy cooking, yet she always made a healthy meal for dinner.  She laughed at her cooking mistakes, which there were many, but I have very fond memories of that stuff.

Once, she burned a pot holder that got too close to the stove top burner, and a friend of ours came to visit.  When he walked in the door, he said, 'MMMM MMM.  What is that delicious aroma?'  We all burst out laughing--"Mom burned a pot holder!".

I am having a dinner here tomorrow for Mom (and dad).  I always love and enjoy spending time with her.  She is truly the best mom God could have given me.  I think back to all the times she comforted me, took care of me, praised me, etc.  She has always been my biggest fan.  And I am hers.

Mom, I love you sooooooo much!!!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I want you all to see this! I've been scouring the internet for great ideas!!!

Vintage Swimsuit 50's...Soia & Kyo Houndstooth...
Yesterday I had made a FB comment reminding husbands that Mother's Day is Sunday...
That led to a humorous series of responses, so I decided to pick out some really cool and interesting ideas that would make excellent Mother's Day gifts!
Above, you see a vintage 1950's swimsuit!  I really love the styles from that era--the suits were not as revealing, and they looked pretty and classy.  When I am at the beach or pool, I am a SWIMMER!  I like a suit that is practical so I can dive and swim.  The houndstooth coat is so 'Audrey Hepburn', and I loved her style sense!!  I'd so love to get a pretty coat like this!
Ice Cream Sandwich Pillow
You'll never believe what these items are...they look like goodies, don't they?  The 'ice cream sandwich' is actually a large pillow, and the 'cupcakes' are soap!  So cool!!!Cupcake Soap scented Soft...
Chicken PurseOk, so this is kinda weird, but what 'chick' wouldn't like a chicken purse??   It's the perfect gift from a 'hen pecked husband'...LOL.
Solutions - Cosmetics...
The cosmetic center above is something I could really put to good use.  I have all my makeup in a plastic bin and I have to dig through it to find stuff.  It is maddening.  And, what do you all think of the retro stove?  It reminds me of my favorite TV show, I Love Lucy!  I could totally get into baking brownies in this baby.Retro Stove
Solar Powered Rainbow...
You're probably asking what that contraption is with all the is a solar powered 'rainbow maker'!  I  LOVE rainbows, so I'd adore having one of these little toys!  What a neat idea!Vintage Inspired First...
By now, I think you might see a trend...I absolutely think retro/vintage stuff is the best EVER.  This black dress would be something I would wear for sure.  The '50's look really flatters the 'feminine' and makes me feel a little glamorous.  This retro dinette set (diner style) is awesome.  I think it is really cute.Side Table Dinette Set...
Flower Kabuki Brush Set
Do you like these unique gift ideas?  The flower kubuki cosmetic brushes and the 'Shuellas'(shoe umbrellas), which fold to fit into your handbag, are something useful and fun.  Shuellas
Gerbera Daisy Umbrella
More pretty stuff!  Check out the floral umbrella, and the spa lights.  My bathroom is the world's ugliest.  I won't go into it, but let's say this: it needs a serious makeover.  These little lights float in the water and would make bathtime more fun for me!Spa Lights
Most Expensive Perfumes
Forzieri Hand Made Black...So, do you have about $250, 000 to soak into a Mother's Day gift?  If you do, this perfume is the most expensive in the entire world.  You have to go to Harrod's of London to buy it, but think of how royally special that would make your mom feel.  :)  This black rose ring is more reasonable, at $8, and I think it is peachy!  Or should I say 'rosy'?!  Something I've wanted since the first time I saw one is the cute little 'Mini Cooper'.  Imagine how thrilling it was for me to find out I could get one in PINK?!!
Here are two bling rings.  Aren't they gorgeous?  What mom wouldn't gush over one of these diamond rings?  Well, let me tell you something...pssst.  One is a diamond ring, one is CZ.  That means that one costs $15,000 and the other one is $50.  You try to figure it out.  Comment on which one is which and I'll reveal when all the comments are in.  We'll see who is fooled and who is not.  Either way, I think they're both beautiful, and would be happy to get the fifty dollar faux diamond.  I betcha your moms would be just as happy, too.

Here's a wallet for the mom who 'brings home the bacon!  It's actually a men's wallet, but I thought it was awfully darling.  And what mom wouldn't want to be pampered with a corndog flavored lip balm?  All through the year, she can reminisce about summertime fairs when she applies her lip protectant!
I just love the stuff below...Cupcake flavored toothpaste!  It almost seems sinful to have the taste of cupcakes when I'm cleaning my teeth, but no guilt involved!  No cavities!  Just sweet sugary confections!!  And, if there's one thing I have to have, it is the 'DRAMATIC CHIPMUNK' bag!  Every mom needs one!!
Image 1So, for the hoity toity 'wanna be's' here's some gum they'll want to show off at the country club.  Foie gras flavored gum!  If you don't know what that means, look it up!  Or check out the other side of the tin, and you will get a hint!  ;)  Sometimes moms need a break from cooking, why not give her this great gift?  An inflatable meatloaf!!!  I want one, kids!  It doubles as a beach toy.
Speaking of inflatable, here's an inflatable beehive wig.  Very useful for changing one's hairdo for a night without having to make a long term commitment.  Loads of fun, girls. 
And the giraffe mask?  Well, I believe my son JohnPaul would be interested in giving me one of those. 
Does your mom has SAD(seasonal affective disorder)?  Living in Pennsylvania can do that to you!  Between the snow and rain, sometimes I forget that the sun exists.  I could really benefit by having my very own inflatable window!  I could look out on dreary days to see that I actually have a tropical paradise right beyond the pane.
All right, I am a purse/handbag junkie.  I admit it.  I love all kinds, small, large, zipper, clutch, hobo, you name it.  Here's a few ideas I think most mothers would like to find wrapped up on Mother's Day.  I know I would!Coach Embossed Signature Patent Leather East West Gallery Business Tote Bag Handbag Crimson Red
Broad Minded Clothing Lookie Lookie Swing Dress! - photoAnd, a couple of other retro ideas, pretty pumps and a pretty polka dot dress.  I can picture myself in this 'haute couture'!!! 

Now, don't forget to guess which ring is the real deal, and which one is the impostor!  zebra & pink croc flower crystal handbag

And, now you have no excuse to say  you forgot about Mother's Day, 'cause I reminded you all.  Here are a few websites to get you started:

Enjoy shopping!  Remember this, really doesn't matter if you spend money on mom.  Just do something to make her feel special.  If your mom is no longer here, I am so sorry.  I suggest you express some feelings of love to your godmother, and aunt, a sister, or a neighbor, then.

Some truly beautiful things I would love this year on Mother's Day:

A hug from my children.  A prayer with and from them.  A picnic or barbecue.  A few hours alone with a good book.  A walk in the park or woods with my family.  Breakfast in bed is always a nice treat.  I'd also be thrilled if they all pitched in to keep the house in some king of order. And I want to spend time with my very own mother, who means the world to me. 

I can't really think of anything else that matters...