Tuesday, October 25, 2016


8:36 am seems to be when I can catch the light just right in the kitchen.  It's magnificent as it streams through the trees.  It's brilliant, truly brilliant, as it pours through the window.  Around 8:35 am, I scootched these 7 rocks (one of the each of us) from where they usually sit to capture this photo.  At the last second, before the sunlight hid behind some of the taller trees in the backyard, I placed the cross in the front of the stones.  

Click...and perfection.  
Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.
1 Cor 16: 13
Yesterday was anything but perfect.  After that painful reminder of what I saw in the police station, I was on the verge of tears through the early evening.  I didn't have time to be on the verge of tears as I drove down the highway to a volleyball game though.  I couldn't burst into tears like I wanted to while sitting in the stands cheering my daughter on.  I had to keep my emotions in check while chatting with other parents in between sets, too.  By the time we got back home hours later, I didn't have time to dwell on the day's events or straighten out my mixed emotions.  The day was quickly ending, and I had get ready for the next one.  

Today is a yet another busy day.  I've been in go mode since the moment I woke up and will likely stay busy until I crawl under the covers late tonight.  But today, like every new day, I get a fresh start.  I get to hit the reset button.  I get to try, try, try again. 

Of course, some things are still the same - our busy lives are still busy.  Our busy schedule is still very busy.  Our family's needs and Ronan's special needs are still very much exactly the same.  But one thing is different - it's a new day, and I can choose to live it with a new beginning and with a new attitude.  The minute I woke up today, I got to set the course for the day.  So I did just that.  

With faith first.  

With prayer first.  

With gratitude first.   

And with hope always.  

xo, Cat

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hit Hard

So, there I was minding my own business at our little police station (I had to drop off some stuff) when I find myself in the back of the station.  While waiting for the young police officer so I could give him some paperwork, I glance over and see this paper that I made for them a few years ago.  Hanging on their bulletin board, it's there because Ronan is considered a "person of interest".
My first response when I saw the paper and Ronan's picture was, "Hey! That's my kid!" and I'm all sorts of smiling.
In returns the young officer and I say, "Hey! That's my kid!" all sorts of proud.  Then, it hits me.
That's my kid.
And he's on the police bulletin board.
Because he's a person of interest.
He's no criminal, but they need to know who Ronan is.  They need to know what he can and what he can't do if ever there is any kind of emergency - medical or otherwise.
The officer said, "Yeah, I know him.  I remember my first encounter with your son... He needed help, and I was there to get him home."  I remember that day a how frustrating it was.  It was a bad, bad day.  But he was there, this young guy, and he was ready, willing and able to help because he who Ronan was and because he knew that Ronan needed help.
After taking care of the paperwork and thanking the guy for his help - not just today's assistance but for being on-call for those few 9-1-1 moments we've actually had, I get hit hard with the emotions.  I mean hard.  Can I just tell you how hard it was not to cry while making my way from the back the police station to the car?  It was SO hard.
Keeping myself from losing it in the parking lot, I start the car and turn on the radio.  As I'm about to pull away, this song came on.  And I lost it.
It's randomly played before after other really tough moments and usually brings on the waterworks.  Well, cue the tears.  Down they streamed over my cheeks.
Raising a child with special needs is so hard.  SO hard.  I try harder to find something positive or hopeful.  But when I can't see positive or remain even the tiniest bit hopeful, I can't help but cry.  Like I did today.  
I hope that tomorrow is a better day.  I really do.  

xo, Cat

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Soulful Sunday

These kids. They really know how to put a smile on my face.

Ronan did well at Mass last night, although he was on my back for most of it (piggy back - including when I received...and when he said nice and loudly YUM *as* I received).  It was touch and go for a few minutes before, but he made it through to the end which means we all made it to the end.  Taking Ronan to church can be tense.  But we smile, breathe a big sigh of relief, and remember to thank God for amazing church moments, like last tonight's, when they happen.
Other things made me smile last night, too.  The little girls brought a bag to Mass.  It had their church books in it.  And a barrel of monkeys.  I wish you could hear the happy giggles I giggled when I saw the monkeys at the bottom of the bag when we got home.  Why the monkeys?  For good measure?  To represent the monkey on my back?  Or because life is a barrel of laughs?  
Who knows, but oh, how they made me laugh.
Hee hee hee and ha ha ha.  I love these silly, little pickles so much.
xo, Cat

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Will It Minecraft?

So, the kids think I'm nuts to share this.  For weeks they've said it's a bad idea.  Come on, kids, I have great ideas!  Really, I do!

Willem: Mom, no.  Please.  Don't.

Me:  Why not?

Willem:  Because.  It's...weird.  And you don't know anything about it.

Me:  True, I don't.  But it'll be fun.  Trust me!  

Willem:  Mommmmmmmm.


So, what's my great idea?  Let me tell you all about it.  It's called Will It Minecraft?  It's simple really. And actually, Willem started it.  

Will It Minecraft?
Let's find out!

Willem is my creative kiddo.  He loves to build.  He loves to play.  He loves to draw and be goofy.  He's got a heart of gold, too.  Before Minecraft got really popular, he and his Dad (pictured above) made a Minecraft "mask" for Halloween.  They made it well before costumes were available at the stores, so when it was time to trick or treat, all the neighborhood kids who saw the Minecraft creation were very impressed.  I was, too (even though, at the time, I didn't know much about the game except that it was super fun for my kids).  

I still don't know too much about the game (except that it remains super fun for the kids and that Willem's brother, Ronan - who is severely affected by autism, plays with the siblings on occasion).  It's a fun past time, and the siblings enjoy working to create worlds together.  I can tell that their love for the game is still strong, especially for Willem when I see him going "off-screen" with his Minecrafting abilities. Take this hunk of cheese, for example.  

As I scrolled through photos on my phone one day, I saw this:

How creative!  Here's another one.  

And another, this time with a cantaloupe.  

Will It Minecraft?  Yes, it will!  

Willem's tried other foods - a hard boiled egg, a tomato, and an apple - but those didn't work out so well.  I don't doubt that he'll let those disasters stop him.  He continues to create LEGO Minecraft scenes, draws them in his sketch book, and continues to come up with the neatest buildings while playing on-screen.  Being able to slice and dice fruits and veggies is just another creative, albeit messy, addition to one of his favorite games.

So, am I nuts to share a fun, little activity that I call Will It Minecraft?  Maybe.  Or maybe it'll be a new craze that all the kids will be trying next.  If you find yourself carving out a Minecraft creation in your food (get permission from your parents first!), snap a picture and share the fun.  I'll show the picture to Willem so he can see that his Mom is not nuts after all.  

xo, Cat

Friday, October 14, 2016

An Apple From Teacher

It took years to happen, but I finally got a chance to volunteer.  I got that chance two weeks ago.  It was only one day, but what a glorious day it was!  I helped in the lunchroom.  I helped at recess.  I helped during an Art class, too.  I haven't been back in the classroom in years, so being able to tip toe back into a school setting was fantastic.  I was tired by the time those two hours were over, but it was a good tired.  

For a long time now I've been wanting to find time to volunteer at my kids' schools.  Always thinking I'd be able to at least pop in at lunch to sit with one of my children, that hasn't worked out well at all.  Ronan's therapy schedule keeps me and him on our toes.  Plus, he's the least bit interested in going.  With the volume level on high from the moment we walk into the lunchroom to the moment we leave, Ronan would rather stay home where it's lots quieter.  

All that noise, all that commotion, all that sitting he'd have to do is uninviting.  The students are welcoming when they see Ronan come to school, which I'm always so grateful for, but the busyness of that lunch and recess hour, the loudness of the typical students' comings and goings - and the lack of interest Ronan has clearly displayed in the past - have kept me away from many volunteering opportunities.  Sure, I could give my time elsewhere, but I'd like to start closer to home and where some of my family is.  

Ronan needs me quite a bit, but so do my other children.  So when I was able to schedule our therapists to come during the middle of the day, and because I do not need to be present for their sessions, I made plans to be out of the house and out in the community.  

The minute I found out that I had more time for myself, I asked the school staff if I could please come help.  I could finally see his siblings in their setting.  This time, it was I who felt welcomed.  

I've been back a few times since receiving that note.  Some of the time I am scheduled to be on campus.  But other times, like today when I discovered that I had 30 free minutes to myself, I brought my lunch and sat with one of my kids.  

As odd as it sometimes feels, going from not being able to to being in the building as much as I have been able to lately, I try not to be the Mom who embarrassing her kids especially when they're surrounded by their peers (and especially when they ask me to dab!).  Thankfully, my kids, as well as other students, are getting used to seeing me at school.  

Hi, Mrs. Jameson!  You're back!  to which I happily reply, "Hey, kids!  I'm glad to be here."

Hey, you're Izzy's mom!  to which I proudly respond, "Yes, I am."

Can Ronan come with you next time?  to which I lovingly reply, "Oh, thanks for asking about him.  You kids are always so kind."

It's been refreshing and rewarding to go, to offer my time, and to be useful to others.  I'm happy to finally volunteer a few hours a week at school, and I think Ronan's siblings are happy that I can finally be there with them, too.  

xo, Cat 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shine Your Light

If I hadn't been running late, I wouldn't have captured this photo below.  The sun.  The brightness. The way it fit so perfectly in the angel's lantern.  It was mesmerizing, and it was perfect.  

It wasn't the easiest photo to take.  It was the tenth one I attempted.  But time (which I didn't have) and patience (which I'm constantly working on) paid off.  I've cropped out the drainboard (and the dishes) that sits below the shelf where those figurines stand.  I'll get to putting those dishes away later.  For now, I'm reflecting on that glorious sunrise and how I will shine my light for others today.  

...your light must shine before others, 
that they may see your good deeds 
and glorify your heavenly Father...
                                                                                            Mt. 5:16 

xo, Cat

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Daily Devotion

I used to get to daily Mass quite a bit a few years ago.  I wouldn't get there every morning, but a few days a week I'd quietly slip into church, say my prayers, and slip back out into the world feeling spiritually refreshed.  I haven't felt spiritually refreshed in awhile.  

I crave church.  

I crave the reverence.  

I crave the spiritual hug I feel as I enter the sanctuary.  

Maybe that's because that's where things are quieter (than my home and my children).  Maybe that because that's where things are more peaceful (than my home and some of my thoughts).  Maybe that's because that's where I finally stop and sit and reflect and feel like I can breathe again.  

Some people start their day praying or meditating in the comfort of their home.  I find myself rattling off a few prayers as I wake and continue them as I race out the door.  I know that's not the best way to pray.  My prayers are rushed.  They're squeezed in.  They're on repeat and not as holy and wholesome as I'd like them to be.  

I had the chance to get to daily Mass last week thanks to my parents.  With all how incredibly busy and stressful some of my days can be, it was exhilarating to be able to go to church with them on a Tuesday in the middle of the day.  And now that I know the Mass schedule, I can go every Tuesday.  I can go on Monday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, too!  I don't know if I will be able to go each day, but I am hoping and praying that I can get to daily Mass at least twice a week.  

Sitting quietly, reflecting on the daily readings, offering prayers for friends and relatives - I can do all of that from home (or in my car as I often do as I race out for the day).  But I don't like to do that.  I never have liked that, and now that Mass is an option, I won't have to rush through any reflections, readings, or prayers like I have been.  I know I won't get there each week day, but I can slow down a tad and remember to use a daily devotional prayer book to guide me through the day when I am unable to go.  

I don't know every prayer there is to know and say, so using a guide is a good idea.  I was reminded of prayer that I hadn't heard in a really long time when I was with my parents last week.  As daily Mass ended, we said the Angelus.  I've only known it to be said at noon, but traditionally, I read that it has also been said at 6am and 6pm.  It's a beautiful prayer and one that I know that I can add to my day. It's a reminder...

To be faithful as Mary was

To be humble as Mary was

And to say yes to God as Mary did

Being faithful (when life is overwhelming), being humble (when life is unkind), and saying yes (when it's easier to say no) - none of that is easy for me, but with God's help, and through Mary's intercession, I know that anything is possible. 

The Angelus 

xo, Cat