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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Thought

I heard a priest on KATH 910 AM radio talk about the joy of the priesthood. He mentioned how he had had bad days as a priest, but never a bad week.

That got me thinking. In my line of work, there have been bad days, sometimes weeks at a time, where I wondered if I would be more suited for driving a bus. In contrast, my vocation - that of a married man - is one which has given me great joy every day without exception.

Even on those days where the children are non-compliant, and my wife misunderstands me - even those days are full of a wonderful sense of peace and joy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Noisykid #11!

Noisykid #11 is named after these two priests, St. Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Miguel Pro. His name reminds me of how 'Catholic' our Faith truly is. Briefly, our children are named after saints ranging from Christ's Apostles to 20th century martyrs, from Roman soldiers to husbands and wives, from virgins to those in tremendous need of God's Mercy.
All of our children's patron saints are both examples of God's Grace working through men and women, and examples of the variety of vocations that can lead to sanctity in this world.
Noisykid #11 has already shown a flair for deep thoughts, such as this one, which I have used as a Lenten meditation:
"Remember man, you are dust, and I shall return."
Happy Birthday, Son!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Night Thoughts

Book Recommendation #1

I finished reading Life and Miracles of St. Benedict recently. This book is the second of the dialogues by Pope St. Gregory the Great. It tells some of the more commonly known stories of St. Benedict's life, along with commentary from Pope St. Gregory. One of his commentaries ties in with today's Gospel, which was the story of the Prodigal Son. St. Gregory comments that there are two ways to be carried out of ourselves. One is through sin, which pulled the Prodigal Son down below where he was meant to be. The other is through the grace of contemplation, where the mind is drawn up to higher things. He gave St. Peter as an example of this 'coming out of one's self' when he was freed from prison by an angel. In the case of the contemplative, coming out of great spiritual thoughts just brings one back down to the normal state.
Pope St. Gregory the Great said it a lot better than I did.

I strongly recommend this book. It was an easy read and full of good spiritual advice as well.

Stations of the Cross, ADHD-style.

Last Sunday, during Holy Hour, I decided to involve the youngest boys in a spiritual and physical exercise to keep them from rioting in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I decided to take them around to the Stations of the Cross and spend a few moments talking about the Station. I took the 7, 6, and 4-year old boys with me.

I was pleasantly surprised how all three of them could tell me the event for each Station. I couldn't talk much to them, because the boys tried to be the first to name the Station. As soon as I acknowledged each of them, the boys would genuflect, whisper the following prayer, and then dash off again:

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Stations of the Cross in about 7 minutes....

Book Recommendation #2

Last night we went to Mass followed by Stations of the Cross according to the method of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Latin. This was a great way to say the Stations when our pastor was in Dallas, because Latin was the unifying language for both the Gringos and the Hispanic parishioners. If anything, I got the impression that the Hispanic folk could say the prayers better than us Irish folk. Anyway, the prayers were very beautiful and always seem to stir my conscience.
My 6-year old insisted that we pray the Stations of the Cross in Latin from now on.

We did not take his suggestion, but we do have a way to keep the kids on their toes. The meditations are broken up with asterisks, and we assign each part to either the men or the women as we pray in the Great Room of our home. By doing this, everyone(myself included) has to follow along with the readings. If one kid misses out, we can tell right away. It also makes it seem as if we are chanting the prayers instead of mumbling them as fast as possible.

Another great book to read. I recommend this book as well, especially during Lent.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Special St. Valentine's Day Message...

...from my oldest daughter.

It came with the message: 'Thanks for fixing my teeth! I love you!'

She sent it to my wife, who promptly started crying. I cried too, considering that I basically have a car payment going into the mouth of my children in braces. Sigh. One down, eleven(hopefully more) to go.

The orthodontist said that after all the kids have been treated, it's my turn. I told him that by that time my teeth would either be in a jar or on display along with my skull in some physician's office.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Yearly Newsletter(2007)

Technically, this is not the latest letter we sent out. As was done last year, the names of various family members have been replaced with the term 'Noisykid' with the number indicating each child's order in the lineup.

Without further ado, here is the 2007 newsletter:

“The novelty has worn off.”
- After three days working his first job at a restaurant, Noisykid #1 came to tell us that.

Christmas Season starts on Christmas Day, but one would not know that while driving around in North Texas. Dead evergreen trees with remnants of tinsel fluttering in the breeze lie rejected on the curbside. Limp bodies of inflatable Santas, snowmen, and reindeer are scattered over miles of front yards as I drive, looking like the victims of some type of biological holocaust. A lone Santa lies facedown and deflated except for his right hand, which points defiantly towards Heaven. On the night of December 25, Christmas is over in the eyes of the world, and inflatable symbols of the birth of Our Lord are relegated to the attic or, even worse, the garbage.

There is one exception to this rule - inflatable NASCAR displays.

That’s how I was planning to start the newsletter when I first sat at my desk a few days after Christmas. That was almost a month ago. Now most of the people reading this are looking forward to a Lent filled with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. So, what better way to start mortifying oneself than to read this newsletter? And what could be more sacrificial than one more Christmas song? This is sung to the tune of ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing:’

Hark! The Herald angels sing
Looks like another Christmas thing
Envelope and card are new
Perhaps it’s from a you-know-who?
Just for you, what could be better?
Warmer than a tacky Christmas sweater

Late for Christmas, our tradition
It’s the new you-know-who edition
News from missus, lies from me
You decide whom to believe
Don’t you wish in all our mess
We misplaced your address?

January 2007 started with the whole family going on a pilgrimage to Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana. We visited the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL – Mother Angelica’s cloistered nuns live there. It was a wonderful time, where we attended daily Mass, met with a dozen of the cloistered nuns, and even visited a Benedictine monastery in nearby Cullman. We visited Fr. Robert J. Fox, a priest I met at Christendom College in 1986. After a few days, we headed for St. Petersburg, FL, where we visited Nana and my brother P------ and his family. We attended daily Mass, went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, and I took some of the boys on a sailing excursion to look for dolphins. Too soon we headed for home, but not before stopping at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, AL. We made this visit to pray for God to bless us with more children, and then it was back on the road to Louisiana to visit the P----- family. It was two of the most wonderful weeks we spent together as a family, and it was providential that Wifeofdadwithnoisykids insisted that we travel rather than plant pecan trees on our property.

February started with me getting diagnosed with high blood pressure. Being a good doctor, I waited until I was having chest pain, dizziness and a massive headache before dealing with the problem. I had the dubious pleasure of walking into a hospital and saying, “Hello, I think I am having a heart attack!” I survived, and am on medications now, but it is still strange to be a children’s doctor with the disease of a grownup.

July brought a reminder to us that our oldest children are not so little anymore, as Noisykids #1 spent two weeks at a college’s summer program. He liked it so much that he applied and got accepted for matriculation in August, 2008. Noisykids #1 and #2 both got their licenses in September, and they both revel in the joy of running errands, picking up groceries, and using the cars to go to classes, work, and any other reason they can think to consume more fossil fuels.

In August, Wifeofdadwithnoisyids learned she was pregnant – the answer to so many of our prayers. Sadly, this child was not meant to be with us for long, and she suffered a miscarriage in October. We named our little child Therese Mary Catherine, and along with Anastasia, we pray for the repose of her soul.

The joys and blessings of 2007 far outweigh the sorrows that we experienced. We are still blessed to have twelve wonderful and beautiful children who daily remind us of the greatest gift God has given our marriage. Here we include a summary of 2007 as seen through the eyes of our own children:

“I want to go to confession.”
“Noisykid #11, you’re too young.”
“Okay, then. I’ll keep sinning and sinning and sinning and it’ll just keep getting bigger and bigger….”

Noisykid #1 (17) is finishing his teenaged years and preparing to become a Boring Adult. He is now a senior, and attends chemistry classes at a local community college. He attended a college summer program in July, and enjoyed it to no end, what with the dancing, visits to Washington, D.C., dabbling in college courses, deep philosophizing, and general hanging-out. The rumors that he intends to marry someone he met there are baseless. He still plays piano and reads books a lot, but has taken up running and guitar playing. He wishes y’all Happy New Year.

Noisykid #2 (16) Her favorite things to do are read, practice piano, sing, listen to music, spend time on the computer, and hanging out with her friends. She received a learner’s permit in February, and now has her driver’s license, which she got two days after her birthday. She is president of the home school youth group. She does not know how she is going to ”survive” when Noisykid #1 goes off to college; because after four days off him being gone in July she said “ok that’s it he just NEEDS to come home.”

Noisykid #3 (15) spends his time drawing airplanes, collecting military vehicles, and in general enjoying living in Texas. He still suffers from seizures, and we ask for your prayers for him.

I, Noisykid #4 (14) have had a good time this year. I haven’t done much. In January me and my family went to Alabama and then to Florida. I’ve had lots of fun in the youth group and I hope to run for some term. My favorite subjects are reading and arguing, and my least favorite is all the rest. I hope to start driving next year. This was written by Noisykid #4, the Ridiculous, Senseless, Na├»ve, and Virtuous boy.

Noisykid #5 (12) has made great strides in mastering humility: “This year we went to Florida. Also, I joined the Youth Group. My favorite subject is reading and I enjoy playing outside and grilling.”

Noisykid #6 (11) THE DUDE I like to play battleship  risk  Legos  end war especially when I win or die  and I like KNIGHTS KINGS and PRINCE Edward the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, end I am the eleventh PRINCE Edward I LIKE THE DUDE DRUM A LOT it is half made up that I am Noisykid #6 because I am PRINCE Edward or Dude Edward and I like Flags Id like to catch a snake I am waiting for a ether orange green blue or red moon but it will come in maybe April 66 if it comes YES a red moon tomorrow I be came a dude because moved to TEXAS then became a Dude  did you  laugh  at all I did not but you laugh hard .

Noisykid #7 (10): Sorry I have nothing to say. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I like to play with my siblings. I love Christmas because it is when Jesus was born. I want my mom to have twin babies (boys or girls). On December 16 was our piano recital. Christmas is so much fun. I like decorating cookies; it is fun. I like playing the piano, it is fun. On my birthday I had one of my friends over. I got one of the American Girl dolls. God bless.

Noisykid #8: (age 9): for my birthday, December 15, I got to go to the new American Girl doll store in Dallas. I got to eat lunch there and Nelli got her hair done. I had lots of fun. For my birthday I got Felicity. I play the piano and I enjoy it. I want to play another instrument like the violin. I used to like phonics but now I don’t because I went up a grade and now it’s harder, same with reading. Noisykid #1 went to college for two weeks and I really missed him. When he came back I gave him a big hug! My favorite thing to do is play with Noisykids #12 and #7. I want my mom to have twin baby girls. Please pray for her, too.

Noisykid #9 (7) enjoys shopping at Bass Pro Shop. He wants to go to Cabela’s some time. His favorite subject is reading. I like playing Uno Spin and plain Uno. I like my new cap gun. When I turn eight in August, I want to go to Bass Pro Shop and buy a Soft Air gun if Dad will let me. I want to get wood to build a fort and get more Legos.

Noisykid #10 (age 6) I don’t love school. I love my cars. I’m happy I have cones and signs to play with my construction cars. I like to dance for Our Lady of Guadalupe and I use a bucket and sticks for my drum. I like playing with my friends the D's, M's and J.B. I love playing with them best, but my best friend is Noisykid #11.

Noisykid #11 (age 4) recites the alphabet: “A, B, C, D…H, I...Q, R, S, T, U, V, WWW (DOT) COM Y, Z.” He continues, “I’m never never never gonna break stuff because that cost money. And I don’t like to waste money. I like to eat cookies and have Aunt G. come to our house. I wish we had nine more manger scenes, five fireplaces, and four Christmas trees. I’d like a pistol or a bow and arrow, a machine gun and a big gun like the D's. I like to do things outside and build forts.”

“Noisykid #12 is not spoiled. It's just that whatever she wants we give it to her.” - Noisykid #8

Noisykid #12 (2 years) is Our Little Princess. She has enjoyed good health and has advanced to the level of junior boss of the house. She is not afraid to tell anyone what they should be doing. She has grown enough hair that she needs a clip to keep her bangs out of her eyes. She and all of her siblings pray for all of you, and wish you a blessed new year, and a spiritually fruitful Lent.

Hair shirts are not needed if one can read a newsletter like this. Two things should strike you after reading this: one is that God has blessed us beyond measure – even our sorrows are handed to us on a bed of roses. The other is that we need your prayers far more than you need ours. So this Lent, remember us in your hours of prayer and sacrifice.

That is all for now, from the Dadwithnoisykids, Wifeofdadwithnoisykids, and the Noisykids

This newsletter was composed while listening to Stan Getz play the saxophone. I have to lie down now….

Friday, February 15, 2008

Deep thought from a shallow mind(mine, not his)

Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan(1928-2002):

I heard this on the radio a couple of days ago - KATH AM 910, Catholic radio in Dallas - about a Vietnamese bishop(later Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan) who spent 14 years in solitary confinement. He worried for a long time about not being able to help his people, until one day he had a thought.

Christ opened the gates of Heaven while nailed to a cross, when He was unable to do anything at all physically. In other words, at His weakest moment He was able to die for all of us.

This little thought was a source of great consolation to this bishop as he spent 14 YEARS in solitary confinement.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tidying Up Some Loose Ends

Blogging has been totally off the burner with all the things going on in the Noisykid household.


I give thanks to God for sparing my life last February 11. On that day, while at Mass, I turned to my wife and told her to take me to the hospital. I did not have a heart attack or a stroke, and by the Grace of God I have been allowed to keep on sinning for another year. Thank you for your prayers. If you want to know more about this phase of my life, start looking at my blog here. Read the posts that follow....


The newsletter is done. It is being distributed by snail mail and will be posted here later this week. Some names will be removed to protect the privacy of the Noisykids and friends.


What is the blessing I wrote about in my previous post?

The blessing of bringing 8 of our children to a funeral, driving 540 miles each way, goes beyond the graces which are received by attending Mass and praying for the dead. That would be enough, but in addition we met some of the other monks and exposed our children to the religious life. Regardless of what my children end up doing, they will have had multiple times to look at various religious orders to give them some idea of the religious life.

It is a blessing to have my children see good men and women happily living a religious vocation.


What some call the '123 Meme:'

1. Grab the closest book.
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Type in three sentences, starting with the fifth sentence.
4. Readers, see if you can guess what the book is.

Here goes:

At the Preface. "Behold your Mother." With these words, Jesus gives His Mother to be our mother. Thank your loving Savior for the glorious title of child of Mary, which gives you a claim to her motherly love and to all her goods and possessions.

Give up?
This is from Reflection On The Seven Last Words, by St. Peter Julian Eymard. This is found in the book Catholic Prayer Book with Meditations, by Father John A. Hardon, S.J. This meme came to me from Mile Hi Mama (scroll down to February 4th on her blog) who lives in South Carolina. Thanks Mile Hi Mama!!!

And last:

Goodnight for now. Here is a taste of Night Prayers, with a hat tip to a British doctor and returning blogger, Paulinus:

These are the end credits to the BBC series of John Le Carre's book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Weekend of Sorrow and Blessing

Father James Downey, O.S.B., died January 29, 2008 at St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, KS.

We decided at about 1230 last Thursday that we should take a road trip to the funeral Mass on Saturday. So we took the youngest 8 children with us and spent the weekend on a pilgrimage, praying for the repose of the soul of Fr. James.

Please pray for him.

While up there, our nephew/godson's wife had a miscarriage very early on in her pregnancy. Nephew's family was even closer to Fr. Downey than we were, and so I am sure it was a double blow for Nephew and his lovely wife.

I have a dream, and it is only that, that somewhere in Heaven Fr. James is sitting in a rocking chair, smoking a pipe, and holding this little child of Nephew's.

It's only a dream, and I insist on repeating that you all pray for him.

May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.

I shall put up a picture of Fr. Downey once I figure out what's wrong with the scanner....

I shall explain the 'blessing' part later.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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