Tuesday, April 17, 2007

For those who have lost....

Dear Lord,
We ask for your graciuos blessing
upon the families of all of the victims
of the Virginia Tech tradgedy.
May you comfort their sorrows and grant them
the strength and courage to carry on.
We pray also for the souls of those whose earthly lives were ended.
May your mercy be upon us always.
We place our hope in you.
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
Mary and Joseph,
Pray for us.
St. Monica,
Pray for us.

Friday, April 13, 2007


He is Risen.
He is Risen indeed.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Side Bar Review

Do you have several children? Are they all of the same sex? If you do, or even if you don't you'll love to visit Rachel and all the Balduccis over at Testosterhome. They are a house of mom (Rachel), dad (Paul), four growing boys and a new baby (sex not revealed until birth) due this summer.

Life is chaotic, fun and family-oriented in this home. And if you ever wonder how to hold back a son who wants to watch his brother's first confession because he "might want to be a priest" and would need to know what confession is like, there actually is an answer here.

Rachel is funny and poignant at the same time. Her writing style is very outgoing and conversational. When reading her work I feel as if she is telling me the story over a cup of coffee. I especially love when she shares some of her boys' artwork or notes.

Surf on over and check her out! I know you'll love her!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A couple of years ago, my mother and I were sharing lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Southport when we heard the news that John Paul II had passed on from his earthly life.

When Shelby was born last summer, I purchased a John Paul (or Juan Paolo II) candle for her in the ethnic foods aisle of a grocery store.

And now, we proudly share the loveliness of John Paul II for all to know the man that so many of us felt might be pope for quite a long time and was.

After his death, I read an interview with Billy Graham where he mourned the passing of JPII whom he considered a close friend despite doctrinal differences. He also felt that one of the pope's greatest gifts to humanity was showing us how to suffer and how to die. I remember this interview with great affection and think of how right Reverend Graham was. Of all the things the Pope taught, the acceptance of God's will at the end of life and the embrace of the "life of the world to come" was one of the most amazing.

Just Like Us

When my mom talks about the couple that purchased my parents' home, the same thought always goes through my head, "They're just like us."

Never in their wildest dreams did they think they would own a home like that, and when we go around looking at homes, we often feel the same way.

They have a toddler and are awaiting baby number two. Now, Shelby is not a toddler yet, but we know the anxiety of having an increasingly active child and another on his or her way.

They are young professionals who boworred to their limit and then some to make their dream come true. And I can hear in my parents' voices that they worry about that despite not trying to. Just like parents' everywhere do.

When the realtors told my parents to "sell the house as is," they meant don't fix the hole my brothers put in the wall almost 10 years ago or the ceiling leak from the shower that had been present as long as I could remember. My dad couldn't live with that because, "people like Kristen and Jeff" could get over a bad paint choice, but those repairs would appear too daunting. So the ceiling and wall were patched.

I'm not at all surprised my parents sold the house to a couple just like Jeff and I. And this couple is not that different from my parents in 1983 either. When a bidding war unexpectedly broke out over the house, God must have allowed that to happen in order to let this family move into our old family home and show my parents how much they wanted it for their own. And once that was done, I know my parents feel better knowing the people who were just like us, just wanting a better life for their children and hopefully trusting in God that it will happen.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot

If you loved the house so much, why'd you sell it? you ask.
Well I tried to put it in God's hands. I honestly didn't think anyone would want it.

When we moved in 23 years ago our little subdivision was surrounded by hundreds of acres of farmland and pine forest. There were hawks circling in the sky and covies of quail rustled through the yard. We awakened each morning to the coos of mourning doves. Those were the sounds. Occasionally a car drove by or a plane flew overhead, but for the most part, the only sounds were those made by the breath of nature.

For fifteen years, the changes were slow. When a grocery store popped up at the end of the road it seemed harmless enough despite the fact that it devoured 15 acres of trees. The farmland and pine forest sold. A school was built followed by hundreds of homes and townhomes.

The quail fled, the mourning doves left and the dominant sounds became those of cars and heat/air conditioning units. The 500 acres of pine forest across the street were burned to the ground from the inside out before local residents knew what was happening.

One sad morning when the forest was cleared, we observed two hawks atop one of our trees. They seemed shell shocked, and were reminiscent of the old commercial of the Indian with the tear in his eye.

Houses were piled one on top of the other. Walking my dog descending into that neighborhood the vision reminded me of the rooftops of London as seen by Peter Pan. The indigenous pine trees that bear sturdy deep roots were replaced by lovely ornamental trees that topple over at the slightest breeze and require four landscapers to ever so delicately restore and tie them into position.

What is the message here my dear friends?

ONLY GOD CAN GROW A TREE. They grow in His time according to His plan, not ours.

New people who move in do not feel the loss. They have no familiar knowledge of what once was. This is a good move for the family living in our old house. It will be a wonderful environment for their children and they will have more positive educational opportunities.

In letting go and moving on I am challenged and convicted to share the lessons to be learned.

I need not look far for God says it all in His Word:

"Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees" - Revelations 7:3

May the Grace and Peace of the Lord be with you.

Don't it always seem to go
that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
-Joni Mitchell