Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Low temperatures this month have broken long standing records.  I've never seen such a cold winter in my life. 

Today the weather is so dangerously bitter that school has been cancelled, including college campuses. 

A phenomenon called 'snow rollers' has been occurring the past day or so.  Several of my Facebook friends have posted photos of these formations on their walls.  They look a bit like a giant white Hostess Ho Ho.

I've been periodically checking my yard to see if any have formed, but so far I have not seen any.

I am grateful to have a warm home.  The furnace has been running non stop for weeks.  I don't think it shuts off at all, and my skin is suffering for it.  Several times a day, I slather myself with cocoa butter or Udderly Smooth moisturizer.  I'm wearing out my tube of lip balm.  Still, just call me Mojave Mama or Sahara Sister!!!

On another note, I have been feeling a little down this week.  It's not related to the weather, but rather, it's all the things in my life that seem to be falling apart.

There are innumerable knots to be undone, and as I tackle one at a time, it's as if some unseen force is creating more knots.  It's kind of like trying to hold water in a sieve. 

When these things get me down, I find myself feeling way down.  It's a terrible feeling.

I know it will pass; the knots will still be there, but these despairing temptations will lessen.  I only know that because I've been down this road before.

Sometimes I see myself as this very broken person--like a cracked mirror.  There is just no way to fix me.  And yet, I realize that we are all in the same boat,  not cracked in all the same ways, but still--broken.

The weight of my misery is crushing.  What have I ever done in my life right?  Who haven't I harmed? 

But...still...a whisper comes from within...you must forge ahead...pick yourself up...try...forgive yourself...hope...trust...

Thank God for His grace.  When everything seems so twisted and ruined, He takes it all and turns it into a masterpiece of love. 

I'm so thankful for HIM.

Stay warm, my readers.  Stay safe.  God bless you.


Monday, January 20, 2014


I left my heart in...(San Francisco?)...no...Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

Yesterday afternoon, John, Therese, and I took the familiar Sunday trek to that little frozen tundra near the border of Erie to return Maria to her home away from home.

Just a short few months ago, the drive and surroundings were new to us.  Now, it has become comfortable, although the tweak of sadness always accompanies the trip.  

Those lingering hugs between mother and daughter, then between sister and sister, then between father and daughter always results in a thick lump in my throat.  As we watched her walk away, such a wisp of a girl, tiny and fragile looking, I was determined to keep the tears from falling.

I am too sentimental for my own good. 

Maria is doing so well in her new world.  I am happy about that!  I want her to fly--no--SOAR!  There's nothing sadder than an adult who never really learns to live a full life.  My hope for each of my kids is that they will come to see what gifts they have and how to use them to make the world better. 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Moon over My Annie

I am more sentimental than Granny's Bone China.
Here are a few images from my morning...

And this...
And these...tee hee...

That moon was the loveliest thing I've seen in awhile.  It felt like God set it there just for my delight.
My  Heavenly Daddy said, "I think I'll suspend the moon over Annie's neighborhood, so full and round, a jolly smiling 'face', just to remind her that I am here and that I love her.". 
 ...That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!...
These young people like up my morning, too, very much like Mr. Moon--

Every morning, we say a prayer called the morning offering.  Therese has been feigning annoyance with me lately when I imitate the current tween/teen slang. 
I began our prayer, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."  We rounded the corner.  I continued. "Oh My Jesus...  OH, Jesus is TOTES ADORBS!!!" 
A huge objection came from the back seat...  And a snort of laughter from the passenger seat ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Egg Salad

This past week, Therese turned twelve.  Her birthday meal request  was simple--egg salad sandwiches. 

Why do we fuss so much when it doesn't have to take fancy meals and expensive things to make us happy?  I think that's the cool thing about children; they remind us that joy comes from the simplest things.
Some things I love: 
peanut butter
bare feet
smiling eyes
& laughing to the point of crying
the smell of coffee
What are some things you treasure, the simple and uncomplicated things?  What is the egg salad in your life?
HUGSxxx Annie

Monday, January 13, 2014

The holidays are over now, my tree is still up, and I have a dozen things that need done yesterday...but...

I feel like writing--so I am writing.  My kids are on my mind today, and I want to write about them.  I also feel like writing about some recent blessings...

I also feel like smiling--so I am smiling.

Many of you know that my eldest son was born with a syndrome that caused a myriad of health problems from the very start.  In addition to that, he is profoundly hearing impaired.  I could not have ever dreamt that the little boy I raised with so many physical obstacles could be doing the things he does now.

A month ago, he travelled alone to Europe.  Just about every week, he goes to Youngstown with friends to a nightclub that plays big band hits and he swing dances!  Ian loves life so much!  He has been planning a cross country hike for over a year now.  He plans to WALK across our country, starting in March.  (I can't lie and say I am not concerned about his safety!) He is a wonderful example of someone who will not allow life's challenges to stop him from living a full life.  I have learned a lot from him, and am a much better person because I am his mom.

Now, just because I have written all these things about Ian, I do not want to focus less on the other young people who call me 'Mom'. 

Some days I sit back and ponder how much God must love me to have given me these beautiful people--my children.  I think of what an honor it is to raise them and mentor them in this life.  It is an 'awe'some task.  There is nothing I take more seriously than being able to arrive before Him one day, and honestly tell Him that I did the best job I knew how.  I have made many mistakes, I have failed so many times.  I just hope that my kids know that I love them completely, with my entire being.  I hope they can forgive me for my shortcomings.

One of the things that makes me smile are that my kids are not all caught up in the worldly junk that swirls around them.  Jacob is in his early 20's and when he goes out with his gang of friends, guess what they do?  They play board games.  Yes, that's right!  I love that they know how to have fun without going off the deep end like so many others in their age group. 

There are many nights a week that our house is filled with young people, eating snacks, playing board games, and enjoying each other's company.  Tony and Jacob's friends overlap somewhat, and even Ian's do at times.  There has been a longstanding date among my oldest kids every Tuesday.  If you go to Eat N Park in the wee hours of the morning, you'll witness a huge gathering of mostly 20 somethings, eating and socializing, and playing cards or games.  They always tip generously, too!  Ian is almost always present for that, and Jake and Tony are, off and on.

My youngest boy, JohnPaul, is a very cool kid.  JP is very quiet, very reserved.  He has a wicked sense of humor, and so many wonderful qualities!  He's been working on an online comic strip for years--he has (I think) almost 800 strips done so far.  Before he did the online comic strip, he used to make comics on paper--he has a stack of these about three or four inches thick of the ones I managed to keep.  His schoolmates were always pushing to read his funny stories in Middle School.  JP is known in the neighborhood as Scooter Elliott.  He spends many hours on his scooter--it's his thinking time away from all the noise!

And...my two flowers...Maria and Therese...they are both petite with blue eyes (like their daddy) and have powerful opinions.  I always wished for a sister when I was a child, but God withheld that pleasure from me.  (I love both my brothers so much, it's just that I wanted a sister, too.)  When He sent me two little girls, I felt that lifelong desire for a sister was satisfied.  There is a deep need inside me to share female things with someone else, and I'm so happy I have been given the gift of daughters.  I treasured taking Maria to shop for dresses for school dances and watching her blossom into a young lady. 

 My 'baby', Therese, is still a little girl in many ways, but she's on the verge of her teenage years.  I am thankful that she still likes to cuddle with me, and that I can kiss her and baby her a little from time to time.

During the Christmas Season, we received many beautiful blessings.  Several relatives enrolled our family in what Catholics call 'Spiritual Bouquets'.  These are Masses (they can also be other prayers) which are said for our prayer intentions and for our souls.  There is no gift better than that.

One day, an envelope came in the mail with no return address.  Inside, we found a gift card to the local grocery store--no letter or greeting card, just that little anonymous gift card.  What a thoughtful and helpful gift to our family that was.  It came just as it was time to start our holiday grocery shopping! 

Our whole family spend some good times together, I got to visit with my brother and his wife a few times, and we had a family dinner on the Sunday after Christmas at Muscarella's.  My parents arranged it and paid for everyone--what a beautiful gift that was.

My wish for all my readers is that if you are feeling low and don't feel like smiling...maybe I can do something to help you...I hope you will experience love or an unexpected blessing, too.

HUGSxxx Annie