Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Triage In The Confessional: How M.A.S.H. Helped Me to Relate to the Divine Physician

As a kid growing up in the seventies, I watched more than a few episodes of M.A.S.H. Still young and inexperienced, my understanding of the war it portrayed was minimal. But with only a dozen or so channels to choose from, I regularly settled in front of our little screen and watched the hit show (catching just a fraction of the jokes and thankfully even less of the innuendo).

I remember well the regular scenes announcing the incoming choppers. The sweet voice of Radar and the whirr of helicopter blades still resonate in my consciousness. The characters would exit their leisure scenes and make the frenzied dash to the OR. Next came the line-up of hospital gurneys, broken bodies and tension-breaking dialogue as the characters feigned the chore of putting men back together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thoughts on Michael Brown's Ferguson Legacy: How Our Time in a Wild West Town Shaped My Opinion

Pop, Pop, Pop. Three swift, consecutive pops rang out in the afternoon air. My boys, still little back then, were crouched around the TV watching something on Disney while I plugged away on the computer. Not immediately sure what we'd just heard, I grew suspicious when our dogs, who normally yapped at ev-er-y-thing, sat frozen in silence. I headed over to a window and pushed back the blinds. Like a scene from some action flick I watched a hooded figure, brandishing a handgun, hastily cut through my neighbor's yard.

In a panic, I ducked back and issued my confused kids away from our big, tall windows. We'd known that our neighborhood (the one that less than 50 years prior had been donned the Blue Blood section) was in a downward spiral, but not in my wildest imaginations had I ever conjured up a plan for dealing with gang warfare.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Easy-Peasy, Inexpensive, Homemade Christmas Gifts

Every year around this time I look for new inspirations for crafty, inexpensive gifts. There's just something appealing to me about handmade gifts. Yes, our budget dictates that we spend wisely, but more than that I like to pour my time and energy (which are generally in limited supply) into making something unique and personal for the ones I love. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Life In a Big Brood: 10 Problems with Living in a Family of 10

When we started out, just the two of us, my husband and I were clueless. He is an only child and my siblings didn't show up until I was 10 years old. We both were accustomed to the limelight, tranquility and praise, but we'd always longed for the joys of sibling companionship. My husband says he actually referred to himself as a lonely only when he was little.

Our heads in the clouds, we envisioned our own family would be a cross between the Von Trapps and the Bradys. Add twenty-two years and eight kids and our eyes have been opened. Oh, we wouldn't trade one of our lovelies for the world (most days), but we concede that our initial plans were unrealistic.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We've Gone Batty Part 2: Outdoor Decor, Party Food, Pippi hair & a Headless Horseman

Halloween decorations

Our annual family-friendly Halloween bash was last weekend and the big day looms ahead, so we're in full ghoulish mode around here. If you are just starting to pull together costumes or if you are looking for a few fresh ideas to add to your collection of haunted yard fun, we've got lots to share.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homosexuals Have Gifts to Offer: Why that Headline Isn't Newsworthy

On first read I couldn't quite figure out what it was about the headline that bothered me so much. Homosexuals Have Gifts and Qualities to Offer the Christian Community was the highlighted statement being used to draw readers into the newly released documents coming out of the Catholic Church's Synod on the Family. Of course, as one could imagine a firestorm has been lit on social media and I wasn't really planning to jump in. But once I recognized just what had me so unnerved by that title, I decided weighing in on the matter was worth the risk of getting singed.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

We've Gone Batty: Get Inspired for Halloween

halloween batsIt's that time of year when we here in Brelinskyville go batty for all things Halloween. Somewhere along the line we developed a ghoulish fascination with ghosts and goblins, creepies and crawlies. Maybe it's my fond childhood memories of scouting the neighborhood with a pillow case full of sweet loot or perhaps the home made haunted houses in my parents' basement were the catalyst for my 
family's love of Halloween fun.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

There's No Room for Envy in a Grateful Heart

The house was buzzing with the usual school morning routines. There was foot traffic up and down the stairs and hallway, dishes being banged and stacked, and water pouring through the faucets. The dog was rubbing against every available leg and a rooster was crowing in the distance as the clock clicked passed 8:30.

In an attempt to corral my students to their assigned seats around the table, I grabbed my wooden beads and began that familiar recitation of the rosary. Like the Pied Piper's entrancing tune, my rhythmic words drew my children forth one by one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Summertime Sonnet by Nikolai Brelinsky


This is an original work written by my 17yo son. With the end of summer fast approaching (too fast as far as I am concerned), I thought his sonnet was a perfect reminder to slow down and enjoy the last days of the season.

Sipping a glass of lemonade outside
The proud screen-door hinges standing open wide
Porch swing swaying lazily, doing its chore
A couple basks in the season they adore

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Little Reminder That Life is Good

When my older boys were little I made Halloween costumes (from sewing Buzz Lightyear to creating a bull out of a cardboard box), threw themed birthday parties (Veggie Tales and Sea Creatures), paper-mached a pinata (that turned out to be nearly indestructible), and baked birthday cakes (a school bus). Eight kiddos later and I sometimes feel a bit of guilt because my crafty skills are more often constrained by time.

Lately, I have to admit I feel downright aggravated with myself.

Monday, August 18, 2014

On Saturday's Chore List: Telling Lies; Exposing the Truth About the Anti-life Protesters

Imagine you are a scared teenager who has just discovered you are pregnant by a boyfriend who adamantly tells you he's not interested in raising his child. Maybe you're a single woman whose married boyfriend finally admits he has no intention of leaving his wife and helping raise his child. Perhaps, you are too poor to take care of the kids you already have and you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having another. Or you trusted your contraceptives to make your sex life sterile and now you're shocked to find out they didn't work.

You have cried, begged, bartered, and agonized. Your situation feels hopeless and all that you can think of is wanting it all to go away.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Morning At the Abortion Clinic

Hilarious” that's the adjective used to describe the pro-aborts' signs in front of a local abortion mill. A couple has made it their weekend chore to mock Christian pro-lifers and chronicle their efforts on a blog. Their dedication to confrontation merited them some viral exposure from a writer who found the couple's signs (that state things like “I like turtles” and 'Hail Santa”) to be side-achingly hysterical. The coverage inspired a fellow parishioner to post the article on facebook along with a call to offer a counter-balance to the situation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Super Simple, Shadow Box Baby Shower Gift

It's baby time around these parts for a number of my beautiful friends. So, it was an extra special treat to be invited to a baby shower recently. Of course, I wanted to find the perfect gift to honor the expectant little one. Then, I remembered the unique gift we received from my youngest child's godparents and I used that as my inspiration.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Life of Adoration - my guest post for Deacon Ian's blog

Pieter van Aelst, 16th century
A friend of mine, who just happens to be a deacon on his way to becoming a Catholic priest, began a blog to help his readers grow closer to Christ through prayer. His writings include a thorough explanation of a particular type of prayer called Lectio Divina (which I'd highly recommend learning more about). He asked some friends to share their personal prayer testimonies from the focus of how do you pray, what is your relationship with the Trinity and have you ever had an intense 
prayer experience

Here's my story:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why Our Family Never Misses A Meal (our favorite recipes included)

Please, pass the mashed potatoes and don't hog the gravy.”

Some of my best memories revolved around the dinner table. With nine (or more) of us gathered around, I learned the value of keeping your elbows off the table and your manners minded. Poor Aunt Amy, the only lefty in the crowd, always got assigned to the end seat to keep her from poking her neighbor. And it became the running joke to stick dear Aunt Kathy with the bum-chair (the one that was missing a few screws -that's the chair was missing screws, not the aunt!)
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