Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping things in my heart

There's a passage in the bible about Mary--how she kept 'all these things in her heart'.  (Paraphrased) As a mom, I can relate!

Each one of my kids has my entire heart, and I love them all with the ferocity of a mother lion.  I long to see them blossom into the fullness of who they are as humans, and as members of the Body of Christ.

Today we will celebrate, at a local eatery, our 3rd born child's high school graduation! 

I remember when I was pregnant with Tony, I wondered how John and I would juggle our kids now.  With two boys, we could 'tag team' them, and keep the upper hand.  With three little ones, how would we deal with that?  (Short of growing a few extra hands.)

I was still nursing Jacob when I discovered I was expecting, so the first order of business was to wean him.  I remember feeling so sorry for him the first night I refused to nurse him.  His big eyes stared up at me with expectancy. I kissed his little silky soft head, told him to go to sleep, then went to my own room and bawled.

Tony arrived on October 10th shortly before dawn.  I didn't have a name picked out.  John and I had tried to choose one, but weren't successful.  It took several hours to settle on Anthony Ryan.  We picked Anthony because during childbirth, we had a big scare, and turned to St. Anthony for assistance.  John had a rosary from St. Anthony's shrine in Italy (a gift from my friend, JoAnne) in his pocket.  He began to pray at my side during the crisis. 

Also, my mom's name is Antoinette, so we thought it would be nice for him to bear his grandma's name. 

Tony was, from the start, a very easy baby to love.  He had the largest brown eyes I ever saw, and even when he was happy, they had a 'sadness' to them.  John and I jokingly hummed the theme to the old tv show, 'My Three Son's' now.  Three boys!  We felt incredibly blessed by God.

As Tony grew, it was apparent that he had a special bond with Jacob, who was just two years older than he.  When he would stumble and fall, he would cry out, 'Deecob', then toddle to him.  Jacob has always had a compassionate personality, and he would wrap his tiny arms around his 'brudder', and soothe him. 

When Tony was about 11 months old, and teething, he began to use me as his teether.  I developed a breast infection!  Painful!!!  The doctor put me on an antibiotic and I decided it was time to wean him.  I really didn't want to until he was ready, but the pain had me reduced to tears each time he wanted to nurse.

Then I realized something.  I was 'late'.  I asked the pharmacist if the meds I was taking for the infection could affect my cycle, and he answered 'no.'  That's how I found out I was expecting Maria.

Being the 3rd born out of 6, I see that Tony has a good handle on life.  He's laid back in all things, doesn't stress out.  He thinks life should be enjoyed, is quite balanced in all things.  I admire that quality in him.  He isn't concerned with having all the latest gadgets, not that they don't interest him.  He just seems to have that quality known as temperance.

Tony is kind.  I don't believe I've ever known him to purposely hurt anyone.  In one of the plays he acted in, he had to shout angrily.  That is the first time I (or anyone he knows) has heard him raise his voice!  (With one exception--lol--Maria has actually provoked him to that point, but that's who SHE is.)

I love that Tony likes to cook.  When he was a tiny child, he wanted to own his own pizzeria.  Then he went through the phase where he wanted to be a farmer.  (He said he could not be one, however, because he 'didn't own any overalls'.)  He quickly moved onto more sophisticated interests.  His skill and talent with how things work always amazed me.  Any time he played with toys, he would  disassemble them and put them back together in ways that were unexpected.  He cut half the face off of an action figure and replaced it with the half off another one, creating a two faced monster.

He designed his own Halloween costumes and even sewed some of them himself.  Hallween is his favorite time of year, and he still loves to dress up. 

He taught himself how to make and edit movies...he is highly gifted in that area.  His movies are really creative!

When he was only 15 years old, he began to date Miranda.  I thought he might be a bit young, but here he is, three years later, and still with her.  He is very kind and good to her.  He likes to cook for her (pizza, pepperoni roll, fried rice, soups, eggs, chicken), and she has become like one of my own children.

I can see that Tony will make a heck of a daddy some day.  When Therese was a baby and toddler, he would always be willing to lend a hand.  I watched him soothe her when she had fallen, washing her wound, and covering it with dressing.  I often saw him getting her a drink or helping her reach something.  What a satisfying thing it is to see your little boy becoming a man.

Tony also has a wonderful sense of humor.  His best friend since grade school is Eddie 'Spaghetti'--how appropriate for someone with the moniker Tony 'Baloney'.  They're both gentle soft spoken young men with good hearts and intelligent minds. 

I'm so thankful for my Tony!  Now, he is enrolled at Penn State and will pursue his degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences (heavy on the arts).  Way to go, Tony!!!

Congratulations to a wonderful young man.  I love you so much, Tony.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Murder Room

Like vitamins, books are part of my daily requirement for a healthy life.  I read every day, but only rarely does a book earn the 'Annie's WOW recommendation'.  The Murder Room, by Michael Capuzzo, has earned it.

I recommend it to those few individuals with a certain personality type--you must have a stomach for murder (and all its accompanying unpleasantness), you must enjoy unsolved mysteries, and you must love a good character or two...or three.

If you are put off by graphic forensic descriptions--WARNING!!!--do not read this book.  If you are put off by graphic psychological profiles (of extremely twisted minds)--WARNING!!!--do not read this book.

If you love to probe the workings of detectives and forensic psychologists; if you crave the satsifaction of a cold case finally solved...this book will satisfy!

The author is astonishing in all ways.  His research is exhaustive--from biographical, to the investigative, to the very last details (even down to the weather on any given date)--I am one impressed reader.  He has a delightful way with words, too..."The studio was very still.  Far off he heard a sound like the sea breaking, but it was only the ceaseless pounding of cars on the expressway."

I was introduced to three distinct real life characters--Bender, Fleisher, and Walter--the founding members of the Vidocq Society.  Their personalities came to life in the pages of The Murder Room in such a way that I found myself truly touched to 'know' them. 

What makes a person, such as myself, intrigued by this dark work?  Why am I so compelled to read and understand these things that should not exist? 

I'm not a CSI hanger-on.  It all started long ago, way before this modern trend of TV shows--Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds.  I was a child who loved to read Nancy Drew and other mysteries.  I quickly graduated to Mary Higgins Clark and any other whodunit that I could lay my hands on.  When I was 14, I borrowed a comprehensive study of Jack the Ripper from the school library.

The book, a hardbound text, was my introduction to the depravity of the psychopath.  My innocent soul was shocked by the gory serial murders.  I couldn't stop reading, though.  I felt this need to understand why a person would do such a ghastly thing.  Crude photographs of the crime scenes, and reprints of the local newspaper's articles from that time were clues that I set out to analyze.

Never mind that I wasn't the first person to do so.  The murders took place a hundred years before, and had been looked at countless times.  No one had solved these crimes.  No matter, I wanted to understand...

When I was a newly married woman of twenty one, my husband worked nights.  He left at 3:00 in the afternoon and didn't return until sometime after 3:00 in the morning.  I sat up most nights, reading about Ted Bundy or other serial killers.  Most nights, I kept the lamp burning until he walked in, and only then could I relax and fall asleep.  How stupid and silly I was, but I couldn't seem to help myself.  I can't say how many times I heard strange noises in the night, my heart pounding with fear that I would meet one of the maniacs I read about. 

Just lately I have discovered (and blogged about--see my earlier entries) that my great grandmother may have had a close encounter with H. H. Holmes, America's 'first' serial killer.  There is now evidence that Holmes and Jack the Ripper are one and the same.  A handwriting expert from London has verified that some of the Ripper's letters and Holmes' writing, through analysis, are one and the same.  (How oddly appropriate that is in relation to my ghoulish pasttime.)

In the tapestry of life, there are threads that weave all over, but are still one thread.   Imagine my surprise when one day several months ago, I began an online friendship with the great great grandson of H. H. Holmes.  Who needs fiction when you have real life?

(I assure all my readers--Jeff Mudgett has not inherited H. H. Holmes' taste for torture.  LOL.  He is a kind, honorable man, as well as an epilepsy advocate and published author.)


Friday, July 15, 2011

So much at stake...

Jesus is an honest to goodness flesh and blood man.  Scripture tells us He is like us in ALL ways, except sin.  He is also God.  That mystery has been studied, analyzed, meditated upon, and so much more for over 2000 years.  It will never be possible to completely wrap our minds around the mystery of the God/Man.

Did you ever wonder what would  have happened if He had (gasp!) sinned?  We wouldn't have been redeemed.  There would no longer be any chance that anyone could enter into Heaven. 

I've thought about that, but today, something else occurred to me.  If Jesus had sinned, what would have become of HIM?  He is God, but as a man, he would have deserved Hell with everyone else.  God is all HOLY, that means WHOLE.  He cannot be divided.  We know that, and Jesus proved it.  But, in his sufferings and temptations, Satan worked to divide God.  I don't know what would have happened if Satan had succeeded.  Isn't that a really strange thought?! 

I'm not sure if Satan fully knew who Jesus was, but I guess he might have suspected.  He must have pulled out all the stops in regards to temptations.  I've had some strong temptations in my life, so I shudder to think of what He put Jesus through.  My own struggles would be like a grain of sand in the Sahara desert in comparison.

When I think of that, I feel even more confident in Jesus' power to protect and shield me from evil.  He is the 'Triumphant One'. 

How could we not feel indebted to Him for this tremendous gift?  That which He did for you and for me?