Friday, December 28, 2012

An Ode to a Memorable Week

Twas the week before Christmas
and all through our house
No one was healthy (not even the mouse).

Amidst Christmas preparations, for a few days
the children did cough, sneeze and Cain raise

 When out of the sky

the snowflakes did fly
18 inches in 24 hour


the wet and heavy snow left us in the cold
for 2 days lacking heat and power

So four days before Christmas
like Nomads we were wandering
seeking lodging and heat, while pondering
the Holy Family's quest
as they sought some rest
to prepare for our Saviour's arrival

While looking for room at an "inn" we were grateful to find
welcome with friends who were quite kind

yet prayers we did request
and gratefully,
at their bequest
we were greeted with the return of electricity

With joy sincere,
thanks to the power company
we returned to our home triumphantly
to celebrate a birth like no other
One that gave us a heavenly brother
through Him we became adopted Sons
and gained a Holy Mother and Heavenly Father.
Merry 4th day of Christmas!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Original Christmas Song by Miriam

Merry Christmas Octave!

On Christmas Eve this year we followed our family tradition of dressing the children in their Christmas attire before putting them to bed so they'd be ready to go for Midnight Mass.


Before they settled in for the night, Miriam sang this Christmas Eve song that she made up (with some accompaniment from Luke and Thomas) and I just wanted to share it with you - enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Blesssed Week

This past week we celebrated two great Feast Days!  On Wednesday, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a pilgrimage to a local Marian Shrine - Our Lady of the Woods in Mio, MI.  This is a beautiful shrine to Our Lady built by a priest, Fr. Hubert Rakowski, O.F.M, with the help of the people of the Parish out of gratitude for Mary's help in increasing the size of his Parish.  It reminded us of the Rudolph Grotto in WI.   We look forward to visiting again in the Spring or Summer to see it in all it's glory.
William's Masterpiece
On our way to the Shrine
       That afternoon the children were able to visit the nursing home and help the residents with some simple crafts.  They also recited their Candy Cane poem for them.

Helping the "Grandma's" at the Nursing home
Luke was proud of his paper chain
 On Thursday, we celebrated St. Lucy's feast day for the first time.  Miriam was so excited!  We made a special St. Lucy day bread and adopted the beautiful Scandinavian tradition where the oldest daughter dresses as St. Lucy and goes to wake the other members of the family.  We cut the bread and Miriam then took it to Mass and we shared it with everyone at Mass.  It was a memorable day for her and is likely to become a family tradition!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Advent and Christmas Letter

Advent/ Christmas Letter 2012

A Theatrical Debut

Last night the Home School group we are part of here in Gaylord, MI put on a Christmas Regale with some great skits and a showcase of talent from our group. It was a great night and the kids did a great job! Thomas made his debut as baby Jesus. I don't think any of my other babies would have been content at that time of night in someone else's (or even my own) arms. Thomas was perfect.

The kids memorized this poem about "The Candy Cane" and did a great job!  I was so proud of them. 

Later that night as we were driving home William said, "I loved that stage - it was so cool."  He just loved being on the big stage - a far cry from when he wouldn't leave my side at Vacation Bible School a year and a half ago.  :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Advent!

 Happy Liturgical New Year!

We are getting ready for our Lord's coming!

Our Advent Wreath is ready.


The Jesse Tree is up.

And our stockings are hung for St. Nicholas day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

Praise God from whom all Blessings flow!

This past weekend I was given an amazing gift - an early Christmas gift from our soon-to-be born Saviour to help me prepare my heart for His coming.

I was blessed to be able to attend an Advent retreat with 169 other mothers/ women who are living their vocation either in marriage or single life with the AMAZING and beautiful Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

The theme running through the retreat was the Love of the Father for each of us as His Chosen and beloved daughter.  The structure was simple - a good mix of delicious food (prepared by the Sisters), fellowship with the Sisters and other mothers, reflective presentations (given by the Sisters, by a mother and a by beautiful and holy priest) and of course and most importantly - Prayer.

Fr. Aaron Kuhn (who preached the retreat) holding Thomas...he offered to hold him for me when he was a bit noisy during one of the talks given by the Sisters.

The retreat takes place in one of the Sister's schools in Ann Arbor, MI.  (The schools are filled with reminders of our beautiful Catholic faith and it is a joy to spend time there!) Those on retreat sleep on the floor of the classrooms and there are no showers and limited bathroom facilities.

Our sleeping space in front of the teacher's desk - Thomas loved the various Coat of Arms
The retreat is only 24 hours long but is amazingly powerful in its simplicity.  The heart of this retreat is the all night Eucharistic adoration.

The door of the 5th grade classroom where we slept had this beautiful stained glass window.
I personally spoke with women from Ohio, Virginia and Minnesota and the retreat itself was filled three weeks prior to the date because there was not enough floor space for more than 170 (and there was a waiting list). 

Among those 170 women were 12 nursing babies (ranging from 10 weeks to 10 months) and at least 9 infants in the womb and it was an Amazing retreat!  As Sister Joseph Andrew said, "Women desire to pray.".. and it is true - why else would so many women sleep on the floor, crowded into classrooms and take turns waking throughout the night to pray a holy hour with our Lord?  Because we desire that time with our Lord and Savior.  We long for that intimate time when we can open our hearts to the One for whom we are meant. 

At the beginning of the retreat each woman chose a title of Mary from an envelope stuffed with her different titles.  Throughout the retreat each woman kept this title to herself and pondered what this could mean in her life - what is it Mary was saying to each of closing the women were invited to come up and share their title and the fruits of their reflections and their stories were profound and moving.  We were each in awe of the Lord's work in the lives of each woman and His great love for each of us in our struggles, joys and sorrows!

 I had been blessed to attend a retreat with the Sisters 10 years ago and the format was very similar.  I had not recently reflected upon my "Title of Mary" from that retreat and in fact could not at first remember it...but now 10 years later, it came back to me.  And I could write a story on how this title of Mary was a true answer to my then discernment of my vocation!  The Title I had chosen was "Mary, Mother of the Eucharist" and though Jesus did not call me to be His spouse in religious life - it was in and through the Eucharist that I came to know my husband and vocation.  So now 10 years later as I drew my next title of Mary "Queen of Martyrs," it is with trepidation as I wonder what more she is calling me to!  And yet again this title speaks to the joys and sufferings, the call to witness and die to self these past months and year have been for Phil and me and I am grateful for the graces of this retreat!

"For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For it is God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you." (2 Cor. 4:5-12)

There is much more I could write about this amazing retreat and the many gifts I was given as well as the beautiful witness of the Sisters but alas, time is not on my side so I will post this little taste of heaven I was given and share it with all of you.

Sr. Maria Guadalupe who held Thomas for me while I went to confession and spent some time in adoration (he slept peacefully in her arms:-)
Know you are in my prayers this Advent season that Christ may truly transform your hearts as He comes to dwell in them this Christmas!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we approach celebrate Thanksgiving today and begin to prepare for Advent and the Coming of our Savior, I have been reflecting upon the many blessings God has given our family.  Though the past months have had their trials and difficulties our family has very much felt God's grace and mercy as we've faced the various challenges.

First and foremost, above all else, I am grateful for the One from Whom all good things come.  May God be praised for all His wonderful works and I thank Him for the many gifts He as showered upon us.  Today we were able to attend Mass at our Parish and to receive the Eucharist - the Sacrament of Thanksgiving.    I am so grateful for the gift of being able to participate in this bit of  heaven on earth - the opportunity to enter into Christ's saving work and to receive Him in the Eucharist.  Though so often I get distracted by my work as a mother and Mass seems like a challenge as I try to teach my children to pray or at least to sit quietly in the pew, I am so grateful for the strength and grace this Sacrament gives me!

Next, I am of grateful for the gift of my vocation as wife and mother.  How blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband and four beautiful children!  Marriage and family life is more wonderful than I ever envisioned before I entered into this joyful state and I can't imagine life without them.

Our greatest blessing this year is our little Thomas.  He just turned 2 months old yesterday and he is a very sweet and easy baby to care for.  We love his smiles and Phil has even almost made him laugh.  He loves to watch his brothers and sisters and no amount of noise will disturb his sleep since our house is rarely quiet.

Luke at age two and four months is a great gift to our family. He is the most verbal of the children, speaks in complete sentences and is pretty clear for a two-year old!  Today he was able to express his excitement for Mass by asking, "Is it over now?"  He loves Thomas the Train, takes his train everywhere and is often asking "Where's Thomas?", (we have to distinguish between baby Thomas and the Thomas the Train).  He joins right in with our home-schooling activities and loves to help hold the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance and Crucifix during morning prayers.  He also helps in any way he can and can often be seen coloring at his desk or spreading toys all over the floor for his siblings to clean up.

Miriam, my only little girl, is relishing her role as a big sister.  Though she was hoping for a little sister, when Thomas was born she said "He's so cute" and daily/hourly asks to hold him.  She loves to be "Mommy's helper" and really is pretty helpful considering her young age.  Her artistic abilities have been developing and she loves to do crafts and projects and has been drawing some great pictures.  She can often be seen caring for her little "Rachael" who is her constant doll companion and playing with William.  Both children have very active imaginations and it is fun to listen to their role playing.  Though just in preschool, Miriam loves to do her school work and often keeps pace with the lessons that William is learning.

William, my first blessing of family life, at six and a half years old is just coming into his own.  He is a great help to me and is doing well in his schoolwork - it's a joy to see some of the "fruits" of homeschooling in his accomplishments!  His favorite activity is building with the various blocks and connecting toys and is daily coming up with new creations and variations - mostly of cars, trucks, jets and anything that "goes."  He is a very good big brother and I love to watch him play with his siblings.
God has certainly invited us to trust in His providence and have faith in His plan for our family over these past 5 months.  What would I do without my amazing husband?    Phil, though uprooted from his beloved Wisconsin, working at a job which is quite challenging in many ways, facing the uncertainties of our situation as we try to sell our home and live in a temporary home here and the many other challenges of having four young children has faced each challenge trust and prayer and I am grateful for his steady witness of  faith in God's guiding hand. 

I am grateful for all of my family (parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents...) but I am especially grateful for my Father's life this Thanksgiving.  In the early hours on Oct. 31st my father was rushed to the emergency room at mercy hospital close to death as all of his organs were failing due to a severe infection.  Thanks to the excellent care of the doctors at Mercy hospital and to the prayers of many, he is now at home awaiting a liver transplant though God-willing his liver may recover enough to make the transplant unnecessary.

There are many more things I could list but this blog entry is already long :-)  We are grateful for all God has given our family here in our new community of Gaylord and on this day of Thanksgiving we give thanks for every person who has touched our lives.  May God bless each of you! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Life on a Friday Afternoon

Little Thomas Ignatius Lawson decided to join us on Friday, September 21st at 2:32pm.  He was the first of his siblings to arrive during the daytime hours.  We were even all able to attend Mass on the day he was born.  Thomas is our third child born at home, we have been very blessed in the wonderful care provided by our midwives and are grateful that the children are able to see and hold their siblings soon after birth.  We are so grateful for this beautiful gift of new life! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September Family update

We are settling into our new life here in Gaylord, MI.  The summer flew by and we are eagerly awaiting the birth of baby Lawson #4 which could be any day now (due at the end of September).  Phil is beginning to feel like he has more of a handle on the new job and the kids are doing well in their school work.  A few highlights from our summer days are:

A trip to Ann Arbor, MI to spend time with Sr. Rose Anthony - we also got to see some of the Yamin family and have dinner with Aunt Reenie as well as to spend time with many of the beloved Dominican Sisters - it was a great day!:

 A visit from Walt and Lynn Rasmussen and our trip to The Cross in the Woods;

Some fun times at the Otsego County Fair
William and Miriam participated in the tractor pull

Miriam won 2nd place for her age group(Age 3-5)!
The kids had fun petting and feeding the animals
The kids got to help feed Anastasia Bragg's prize winning veal calf
The cake at the tea party
Miriam attended a princess tea party with Otsego county fair Queen and our friend Anastasia who was 1st Runner up

We finally have all of our belongings in Michigan and are pretty well settled into our new temporary home.  Phil and William went back to Wisconsin over the Labor day weekend to rent the largest moving van they have - a 26 footer.  We are so grateful for the many friends who showed up to help load the moving van - it only took 4 1/2 hours!  Phil's brother Matt and beautiful wife Stephanie graciously helped drive the moving truck out and then we had a great crew of friends here who helped empty the moving van into our storage unit in a super fast 37 minutes. 

The kids enjoy the ramp on the truck

The packing crew in WI did a great job - that truck was full!
There is only one more hurdle in our selling of our home in WI and we appreciate any and all prayers that all goes well with the buyers' financing contingency - we should know any day now...the closing is still scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 15th. 

Celebrating Our Blessed Mother's Birthday!

September 8th, 2012