Catholic Fatherhood, growing in geekiness, holiness and intelligence.

kc0lex (Matthew). Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Fears About Childbirth

My sister-in-law recently gave birth to my third nephew in what can be best described as a traumatic birth experience. She didn't have a long labor but my nephew was on the larger end of the spectrum. The delivery ended up involving the use of forceps leaving him bruised and he had trouble maintaining his blood sugar so he ended up in the NICU for several days.

His five days in the NICU wasn't easy but it was serious and required much more effort from my sister-in-law to start a breast-feeding relationship with him than if she had been in the same room for a couple days and then home. This whole situation has really gotten my wife thinking about priorities in the birth experience and what is really important.

3 of our 4 children have been born naturally and I have learned lots about childbirth through that time and feel that I am fairly knowledgeable about the subject. I must say though that my wife seems to have fairly easy and uncomplicated births. My wife has really started thinking about things and her fears with childbirth and what is important. She has told me that she believes the most important thing is to be able to take home a healthy baby. I agree that is more important than have the "birth experience" that you want to have.

Tonight my wife asked me about when she is pushing if I get "freaked out". She told me that she feels out of control and knows that I don't show it but she wondered if I was scared. I can honestly say that I haven't felt scared during the birth of any of my four beautiful daughters. Tonight I started thinking about the season of Advent we are in, it is a season of preparation for, guess what, a birth. That is the season I am in, sometime in the first half of March I am going to attend the birth of my next child.

What am I afraid of? As the father of the child I don't have to fear for myself but I do have things I am afraid of.

I am afraid of having to make a decision about my wife's medical care when she is not capable of doing so. If this was to happen it would be under pressure and I would have very little time to make the decision. That is alot of pressure for and on me. Do I allow a hysterectomy or have them try to save her fertility?

I also don't want to have to be in a place where I have to pick between my wife and my new child. If they are both in need of medical care or decisions I can't be in two places at once. This really scares me, this is my biggest fear, I know that if my wife is okay that I will simply stay with our baby but what if she needs me too?

Those are the things I fear about childbirth, I don't have to worry about finding a place to stay or wondering if their will be room at the inn. No, we know we are going to a hospital and we know which one it is, my fear is making the wrong decision or losing someone in the process, it scares the hell out of me. I know God will offer me the grace to deal with whatever may come my way. I just pray for another safe and uncomplicated birth.

I want to be with my wife supporting her, not making decisions that will impact the rest of our life. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can.

Under the mercy,

Matthew S

Practical Household Tips:3/4 a roll of Toilet paper in a Toilet Bowl

Ok, let's just say you are cleaning up the dishes after breakfast and the following HYPOTHETICAL situation happens:  You are informed by your wife who is getting ready to run errands that your 2 year old has put ALMOST an entire roll of super absorbent Toilet Paper in the toilet bowl and to complicate matters their is an important PILE of work on top of the Toilet Paper.   Your mission, and you have to accept it, is to unclog the toilet with what you have in the house.


First thing that I should point out is that I know the relative capacities of the tank on your toilet to the capacity of the toilet bowl itself.  This isn't very hard to figure out, put the plunger in the bottom of your toilet right now, before it gets clogged.  Ok, so you have your plunger in the bottom of your properly functioning toilet blocking the drain.  Flush your toilet and see how high the water goes up before it stops filling the bowl.  If it should happen to get within about 1/2 inch of the top, break the seal on the plunger and let the water drain.  You should find out that if your toilet has that normal amount of water in it you should be able to flush without overflow.

Ok, now that you have seen and hopefully calculated the "extra" volume space in your toilet you should know about how much leeway you have in toilet flushing when it is clogged.  The biggest thing to remember is that toilet paper disintegrates well when it gets wet.  If you don't know how this works simply take a cup and put a wad of toilet paper in it and then fill it about 2/3rds full with water and poke it with a fork right away, notice the toilet paper is pretty much a solid mass at this point.  Wait about five minutes, add water to return the water level back to about 2/3rds full.  The mass of toilet tissue should be softer each time you repeat this process.  If you start this about the time that you become aware of the problem in the toilet bowl and you keep adding water to both as needed then you should be able to determine when the toilet paper has broken down enough to basically fall apart under agitation.

Now that you know the toilet tissue is soft and disintegrating simply insert the plunger at an angle around the edges of the mass of toilet paper and articulate it like you were scrambling eggs but very slowly and gently so as to not splash and make a mess.  The best place to start is farthest from the drain towards the front of the bowl, break it up in the front working your way down and begin to flush, don't give it a full flush but a slow trickle effect to create some flow towards the drain.  Work your way to the full flush as you get most of the mass of toilet paper broken up and then say good by to the mess.   

Really, not a hard or time consuming process, just something that requires patience, planning and knowledge.

Matt

Monday, December 1, 2008

Childbirth and WCSS

My wife suggested that I share with everyone out on the interwebs what it is like to have me around as we approach the birth of our next child.  This is only particularly interesting in that I suffer from WCSS.  Most people have never heard of WCSS but it is a rare psychological disorder, Worst-Case Scenario Syndrome.  Put me in a situation and I can tell you exactly how the world is going to end because of it.  Normally it is easily managed and I won't think of anything worse than territorial destruction in any situation but when it comes to childbirth, LOOK OUT.  My wife will type out about 2-3 pages of a birth plan as the mother-to-be and I will add 14-15 pages of instructions/maps/phone numbers.  So, as we begin to prepare for the beginning of March, I am going to start preparing sections of the birth plan and publishing them online (some of the things will be done out of hilarity and some out of serious want to have the information with me).


Maybe I should be an emergency management consultant?

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How fast do Electrons move: Is Rick Astley still cool?

Amazing, within seconds of the stunt being finished twitter had posts about this event.  Posts on forums and blog entries in a matter of minutes and the video on youtube took a mere 13 minutes to get up.   147 comments after 50 minutes.


Get your Rick Roll on

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yep, 10 years,


I love my beautiful bride.  I didn't think she could be anymore beautiful but now I know she is more beautiful than I can conceive.  I love you Dawn.


Under the Mercy,

Matt


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Holy Resignation

No, this isn't enshrining McCain's concession speech.  This is something I have struggled with hard over the past 24 hours.  How do I face the next four years and all of the bad things that COULD happen.  I realized I wasn't dealing with what was happening.  I also wasn't keeping my mission in mind. 


Long story short, we are here about souls.  Check out the CatholicUnderground Life is Still Worth Living Podcast on Holy Resignation.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Little Rita


Little Rita
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
Yep, an apparently healthy Kangaroo rat in my house.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Teacher has her colored pencils out.

It must be close to time for school to begin.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thinking on Fatherhood

This is something I have been thinking about alot lately. What have I learned about what it means to be a Father. I have 5 daughters, 4 living and 1 that was miscarried watching over me in heaven, so I would think I might know something but at times I think I know very little.

One of the things that I have come to realize is that to be the best father I can be, I need to be the best husband I can be to my wife. For me, married to the mother of my children, I need to be all of who I am to be the best Father to my children.

I have heard it said that the Father in a family is the image of God the Father to the family. I am trying to put my heart around bringing that idea and the idea of that person being a husband at the same time. How does the image of God the Father also fit as that person being a husband? Or does it? Maybe that image is best in the Bride-Groom person of Jesus Christ? I don't know.

I do know, I need to be a better husband to my wife. She is an amazing person and I love her and I am growing in my work and love for her. Right now I am staying up studying different computers. I think I have found what will work best for us and fit her needs. Beware, this is a geek moment, but I think we may end up going Mac at this house. I still need to do alot of study but I think it will provide best what my wife needs.

Time for sleep, just been doing lots of thinking. How can I fill both roles as one to be who I am supposed to be? I heard about a biography of St. Thomas More today, I think I need to read it.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Sunday, June 15, 2008

God-Given Distraction to Prayer

Matt and Clara"For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. " -- Isaiah 56:7

This is a picture of me with my youngest daughter. She is one week and one day shy of 19 months old as of the taking of this picture in the back of Church during Mass. I am a shutterbug but I didn't bring my camera to Church, I decided to take it off my Camera phone as a way of reminding me of something that came to me as I was walking from the front of Church.

Yes, I was walking from the front of Church, during Mass, with a screaming and unhappy toddler (well, really she is still just a baby but technically a toddler) to the very back of Church and out into the foyer. We didn't go to our regular Church and the Cry Room is off to the side at this Church and I didn't want to distract the people peacefully worshipping God in the Cry Room during the end of the Eucharistic Prayer. Anyway, I digress.

So, as I am holding my crying, with tears, daughter and carrying her to the back of Church I am easily able to whisper along with Father the words of the prayer, directing my mind on the wonder of this little creation in my arms. This same little creation that was able to get into her mother's purse (a veritable treasure trove of messy fun, just think lipstick) at least 3 times, get loose change out of my pocket, perform gymnastics, practice her yoga and get into the aisle a couple times. Well, that is just a normal day with kids and going to Church.

They are doing their own thing with their 1 minute 32 second attention span. That is just how it works with kids. However, no matter how much of my attention they distract I have learned to pray with this distraction. It didn't come automatically and I had to work at it, learning not to get frustrated and remembering that your kids haven't gone through years of religious formation and aren't getting ready for their final proffessions at a religious order helps a bit.

Remebering that your children are a blessing from God and being willing to step out and hold them is always helpful. These children are my God-Given distraction to help with prayer. I have also gotten rid of broadcast television in my house because I have children (I have benefited a bit as well). The distractions that I used to have when I watched TV were amazing. I can listen to radio all day but TV has the ability to just stick into your lower level consciousness, well it does basically hypnotize you.

Anyway, digressing again. The signs on the doorway to the Church have the above Bible quote and below it asks, "Respectful Silence is Requested" or something to that effect to allow for prayer. The only thing is, is the distracted silence of most of us really respectful? When someone is staring at the people around them, picking their nose, chewing gum, texting in mass, and I could just keep going on the things I have seen when I am standing in the back corner of Church holding a toddler. I can only imagine how hard it is for Father to look past these distractions.

Wow, I am having trouble not digressing. Remebering that God is present when I stand in Church, silently or with a crying Child helps much and whispering the words in my Child's ears as I hold them in my lap. The biggest joys of parenthood are those days walking in the back of Church, holding a toddler and whispering the prayers into their mind even though it would be easier to just let them play.

Teaching by example. Hearts speaking to hearts as a friend of mine just took as his episcopal motto. Reach out to your children in Mass and remember that they are only little and in need of wrestling for a short period of time. Love every minute of that God given distraction and repeat every word under your breath and stand in awe of God's great love for you and be humbled by the creation in your arms.

Oh, and when the Priest says, "The Mass is ended, Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord." It is ok to emphatically acclaim, "Thanks BE TO GOD!!!"

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Prayer for Protection Against Storms: Pray this one today

They are talking about a huge weather outbreak in the midwest, let us pray.
Prayers Against Storms

Prayer or Blessing Against Storms
Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. † God became man, † and the Word was made flesh. † Christ was born of a Virgin. † Christ suffered. † Christ was crucified. † Christ died. † Christ rose from the dead. † Christ ascended into Heaven. † Christ conquers. † Christ reigns. † Christ orders. † May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning † Christ went through their midst in Peace, † and the word was made flesh. † Christ is with us with Mary. † Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Judah, the Root David, has won. † Holy God! † Holy Powerful God! † Holy Immortal God! † Have mercy on us. Amen!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Breaking News:Hailstorm


We had a decent Hailstorm today. The biggest Hailstone that I found was 2.5" diameter, don't worry, the garden survived. The storm came up very quickly and this was the beginning of it's track. Most of the larger hailstones looked like several smaller hailstones frozen together. Didn't even have any noticeable dents on my car.
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S



video


Garden Update: Bio-diversity?

OverviewTook these pictures yesterday. The large overview picture makes it hard to tell just how much everything has grown from the earlier picture but when you are standing or if you look at the picture under all sizes, original size you can tell how much bigger the pictures are getting.

The other thing that you can see is where I put in the mulch based path. This will allow us to get in and inspect the garden with kids in tow and not have up to 6 sets of mud covered feet to deal with. It was really a great visual indicator for me to plan out different blocks of the garden. Cucumber bedI had thought about having more paths but I consolidated down to a simple "L" shape. The path starts on grass and ends at the compost pile.


This is the west side of the mulch path, the cucumber bed. My goal is to vine these cucumbers over the top of each other providing for some shade and protection when August gets here and hopefully extending the harvest season. I haven't decided if I am going to get any trellis to let them climb onto or not or if I will just use the chain-link in the back.

If you look to the right of the 2 wooden stakes that is the beginning of the area above the mulch path in the top picture. That part of the garden contains 7 bell peppers, 10 tomatoes and 3 eggplants. To the right you can see the onions that are coming up. I bought two bundles of Yellow Texas sweet sets. They are taking off, getting big and starting out new leaves of their own.Onions with herbs



Directly behind the onions you can see one of the two dill plants. This one has grown about 2 inches since i planted it just about 1 week ago. On the right hand sid of the picture you can see some of the other herbs growing but it is hard to see them clearly but they are getting bigger as well. As they get a bit bigger I am going to take some of the information from here and other stuff we have learned and try to highlight each one.



Intruder Alert Now, as to the whole question of bio-diversity that I mentioned in the title of the blog. Bio-diversity in a garden or a yard is nice way of saying that I have weeds. I am using my grass as mulch instead of putting it directly back onto the lawn or bagging it and throwing it away. The only problem is that my grass, Bermuda, isn't quite growing quick enough for me to have enough clippings to have most of the area in the garden that needs covering covered. The neighbor's maple tree also released thousands of those fun to play with helicopters and they ended up in my garden as well. So, every now and then I have to pull one up out of the ground.

Project: I didn't plant you hereIt isn't that I have something against trees because they are trees but because I don't want a tree in the middle of my garden. Everything has its place and we must tend to our gardens as we tend to our lives. If something in our lives is keeping our garden from growing, be it a weed, hobby, or the shift of our job we have to pluck it out and start anew. This is what St. Therese was talking about when she asked, "How does your garden grow?" I remember reading Story of a Soul and Voltaire's Candide and comparing their ideas in college. They both used the image of a garden.

The other person that talks about gardening alot in philosophy isEliminating bio-diversity Kiekegard. Right now in my life I am looking really closely at how my garden grows and the past week has been a blessing. I see a few weeds and maybe even a shade tree or two blocking the sun. I think some weeding or at least some pruning is in order.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Herb Garden Notes, harvesting and drying

Notes for the Herb portion of the garden.

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1612.html

Basil
Basil, French basil, or sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a popular, tender, annual herb. It is native to India and Asia. Basil is grown for its aromatic leaves which are used fresh or dried as a flavoring. Fresh basil leaves are used in tomato sauces and pesto sauces. Basil is also good with veal, lamb, fish, poultry, white beans, pasta, rice, tomatoes, cheese, and eggs. It can also be used in vinegar and tea.

Basil can be direct-seeded or transplanted to the garden in late spring, after all danger of frost is past. Basil seeds normally germinate in 8-14 days. Basil requires full sun and prefers moist and well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0. Typical spacing for basil is 12 inches between plants, and 24 to 36 inches between rows.

Basil grown for dried leaves or essential oil is cut just prior to the appearance of flowers. The foliage should be cut at least four to six leaves above the ground to allow for regrowth and a subsequent crop (Figure 2). Information on insects and diseases of basil is limited. Japanese beetle, Fusarium, and powdery mildew have been reported to attack basil. Refer to OSU Extension Fact Sheet HYG-1644-94 for additional information on basil.

Dill
Dill, Anethum graveolens, is native to the Mediterranean area and southern Russia. Dill is a hardy annual, and sometimes is grown as a biennial. Dill is commonly used as a seasoning for soups, fish, and pickles. Its aromatic leaves, seeds, flowers, and stems can be used to flavor cabbage, vinegars, butter, apple pie, butter, cakes, and bread. Dill should be direct-seeded in spring, at a 10-inch spacing. Since dill has long tap roots, it should not be transplanted. Fresh leaves should be harvested before flowering begins. Harvest seeds as soon as seed heads are brown and dry. Dill is a great plant in butterfly gardens since butterfly larvae feed on dill. Dill does not have any serious pest or disease problems. However, phoma blight, rusty root, and stem rot have been reported.

Oregano
Oregano, Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum also referred to as O. heracleoticum and O. hirtum, is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and central Asia. It is naturalized in the eastern United States. It is used in tomato sauce to add a hot and peppery taste. It adds dimension to yeast breads, marinated vegetables, roasted meats, and fish. Oregano is a perennial, and can be propagated by seeds. Direct seed in the garden and do not cover seeds since they need sunlight to germinate. Flavor can vary a lot among seed propagated plants. It is better to propagate by root divisions or cuttings from plants that are known to have strong flavor. Oregano reaches a height of 12-24 inches, and a width of 10-20 inches. It requires a site with full sun, and well-drained soil with a pH of 6.8. Sprigs of oregano can be cut off when the plant is at least 6 inches high. In June, vigorously grown plants can be cut back to the lowest set of leaves. Plants will generally leaf out after two weeks and can be cut back again in August. Some pest and disease problems for oregano include aphids, leafminers, spider mites, and root rot.

Rosemary
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, is a tender perennial, hardy to zones 8 to 10. It is native to the Mediterranean region, Portugal, and northeastern Spain. It is pungent, somewhat piny, and mintlike yet sweeter. Its flavor harmonizes with poultry, fish, lamb, beef, veal, pork, and game. Rosemary also enhances vegetables, cheese, and eggs. Rosemary can be started from seeds, but germination rates are very low. Use fresh seeds, preferably less than two weeks old. Packaged seeds are difficult to germinate. Start plants from cuttings or by layering from existing plants. Rosemary grows slowly from seeds, and eventually reaches a height of 72 inches and a width of 36-72 inches. Plant rosemary in a sunny location with well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Harvesting can be done throughout the year. Cut 4-inch pieces from the tips of the branches, being careful not to remove more than 20% of the growth at one time. Pest and disease problems of rosemary include aphids, spider mites, scale, mealybugs, root rot, and botrytis.

http://www.lesleycooks.com/herbs.htm

A=Annual B=Biennial P=Perennial TP=Tender perennial

Basil, Sweet-(A)- For fresh use, harvest the leaves as they mature-about 2 weeks after planting. For dry use, harvest leaves just before the plant blooms. Use: One of the most popular herbs, used mainly with tomato and egg dishes, stews, soups, and salads, but also with many vegetable, poultry, and meat dishes.

Dill-(A)- The fresh leaves can be harvested as needed and used as seasoning. Seed heads should be harvested then the seeds ripen to a light brown color. Uses: Leaves and seed heads are most commonly used in the making of dill pickles. The leaves also add a characteristic flavor to salads, cottage cheese, soups, fish dishes, omelets, sauces, and vegetable casseroles. Dill seeds are sometimes used in pastries, sauces, sauerkraut dishes, and for flavoring vinegar.

Oregano-(P)- Harvest and dry before flowering occurs. Uses: Oregano imparts a sharper flavor than Sweet Marjoram. It is used to season spaghetti sauces and tomato dishes. Its flowers are attractive in summer arrangements.

Rosemary-(TP)- Harvest the young, tender stems and leaves, but avoid taking off more than one-third of the plant at one time. For drying, harvest just before the plant flowers. Uses: A gourmet seasoning for meats, poultry dishes, and potatoes. Use either fresh or dried.

http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC3086.htm

Dehydrator Drying
Dehydrator drying is a fast and easy way to dry high quality herbs because temperature and air circulation can be controlled. Pre-heat dehydrator with the thermostat set to 95 °F to 115 °F. In areas with higher humidity, temperatures as high as 125 °F may be needed. After rinsing under cool, running water and shaking to remove excess moisture, place the herbs in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Drying times may vary from one to four hours. Check periodically. Herbs are dry when they crumble, and stems break when bent. Check your dehydrator instruction booklet for specific details.

Air Drying
Sturdy Herbs: Herbs such as sage, thyme, summer savory and parsley are the easiest to dry. They can be tied into small bundles and air-dried. Air-drying outdoors is often possible; however, better color and flavor retention usually results from drying indoors.
Tender-Leaf Herbs: Basil, tarragon, lemon balm and the mints have a high moisture content and will mold if not dried quickly. Try hanging the tender-leaf herbs or those with seeds inside paper bags to dry. Tear or punch holes in the sides of the bag. Suspend a small bunch (large amounts will mold) of herbs in a bag and close the top with a rubber band. Place where air currents will circulate through the bag. Any leaves and seeds that fall off will be caught in the bottom of the bag.

Oven Drying
Another method — especially nice for mint, sage or bay leaf — is to dry the leaves separately. In areas of high humidity, it will work better than air drying whole stems. Remove the best leaves from the stems. Lay the leaves on a paper towel, without allowing leaves to touch. Cover with another towel and layer of leaves. Five layers may be dried at one time using this method. Dry in a very cool oven. The oven light of an electric range or the pilot light of a gas range furnishes enough heat for overnight drying. Leaves dry flat and retain a good color.

Microwave Drying
Microwave ovens are a fast way to dry herbs when only small quantities are to be prepared. Follow the directions that come with your microwave oven.


This website has all kinds of stuff about Cuban Oregano, including a recipes.

Much more stuff from a scientific level on oregano.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Garden, It's Planted (Pictures)


It's Planted
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
Well, at least the veggie part of it. We still have to get some flowers in it (bug control) and the sunflower house in. If you click on the picture you can hover over the picture and see what all the different plants are.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Happy Birthday Lucia

A Little late but we love you just the same, you are turning out to be a real beautiful little girl!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Anna!


Happy Birthday Anna!
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
What a beautiful little girl you are. It wasn't long ago that I was calling for an ambulance and helping deliver you. How you have grown. I hope you enjoy your baritone ukelele, little guitar hero.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Daughters at the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Opera House

This is their first ever stage performance, very impromptu. One of the hands that supper heard about my daughters and had them sing for her in the gift shop, next thing I know they are on stage with one of the Prairie Rose Rangers. Small attack of stage fright but all went well. Daddy is so proud. Hmmm, my oldest wants violin lessons, wonder if she could just take fiddle lessons?

Here they are singing Happy Trails the song made famous by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who are incidentall my daughter's heroes. More pictures to come but I have to edit them.
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bird Feeder Visitor: This would be a boy Cardinal

I had my setting just a bit out of focus for the feeder but this is a new visitor to the feeder. Color edited for ease of viewing.

Bird Feeder Visitor: House Sparrow


House Sparrow
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
I am really going to work on getting pictures of all the different types of visitors to the bird feeder. Some are easier to catch on film than others. Here is what I believe a common house sparrow, I saw three of them at the same time but only caught two of them together. If I did my research right these are both males, I have seen one female coming and going.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Monday, April 28, 2008

Love the pajamas


Love the pajamas
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
Well, I thought my wife handed me a shirt and pants. So, I put the pants on and then realized it was a onesie and not a shirt. Well, the solution is simple, button the onesie on over the pant that you already have on.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Riddle me this. . .


How many . . .
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
How many older children does it take to carry a carseat to the car?

Well, according to this picture the answer is four!

Some friends of ours came over for dinner and this was just too cute. Good thing the shutterbug was onscene to capture the moment.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My 31st Birthday present

I love my wife. The little old 4 cup (remember a coffee cup is 5 oz) is now gone and I can make up to 12 cups at a time, it is very cool and brews well. THANK YOU DAWN.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Garden: I am really tired

I am not tired from gardening but from working extra long and Mary working/Lucia Playing #2hard at work with a computer conversion we are doing. I do have two cool pictures that I took showing how the outdoors is looking around here. Mary helped by picking up the roots, rocks and pieces of clay pipe that the rototiller found underground. Lucia on the other hand is playing and making herself "dizzy". My new Bird Feeder


The other really neat thing we are wanting to do, most of it next year, that I have set a little bit up is having lots of pretty birds outside our kitchen window. Well, we had our first documented visitor.


Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How I hope our garden grows!

Well, we have decided to make the plunge and have a vegetable garden this year. This isn't just a simple planting of plants. My wife and I haven't ever had a veggie garden together and we don't have a plot for it in our backyard.Prep So, basically I am working with the grass (and weeds, let us just say that the weed and feed didn't work the best this year). Not a terribly bad proposition, just break through some sod, cultivate the earth and circles and plant some plants. Well, it is going to take a bit more work than that. We have a decent amount of clay in the ground so we will probablyForeman visiting the project have to work in some soil amendments (translate as rotted cow poop/manure)into the ground as well.


However, thanks to my lovely wife we have a solid plan for what is going into the garden and basic layout from my wife and my experience working in heavy construction to stake and work the ground. After laying out the basic idea the foreman and her inspector came out to check what the project was going to look like and I received their approval to go ahead with construction. Originally, we planned on having the garden as an island surrounded by lawn but after discussions with a consultant (translate as my dad) we decided to expand the garden to both fences (translate as cutting down on grass to mow).

Just startingNow, time to bring the heavy equipment in for work. What we have here is a Honda front tined rototiller. The basic idea is to use the machinery to do the hard work of cutting into the ground through the grass, loosen and aerate the soil to make it so we can work it. This step also gives me a good idea of what type (or as it turned out type*S*) of soil to work with. So, off I go, fighting the tiller into the ground as it bucks and fights and just wants to walk across the top of the soil. After finally fighting it down into the ground and making slow headway as it wants to jump out of the ground every time it starts to move forward, hits a concrete chunk, root or piece of clay pipeline laying several inches under the ground. Okay, well, I can handle debrisDeceased friend. but it is slowing things down.

After taking a small break (yes, cereal malt beverage) I came back to the garden and found a small surprise. I believe, if identified correctly, this is a deceased green snake. It appears that I either nicked it with the rototiller or one of the neighborhood birds pecked at it and it was left here for me to find. It was returned to the garden to be picked up by a bird or to be combined down into the soil. The other thing you can see in this shot is how beat up my hands were getting even though I had adopted wearing some leather palmed riding gloves. I was getting the soil turned, it was just turning out to be very tough gardening.

This also shows you the 3 passes that I was able to make for the day before dark rolled around. I didn't start at sunrise butSlow going. I worked until sunset. That was the majority of the work I did on Saturday. Sunday morning we went to Church and had lunch and then I was off to my brother's house to get the missing piece of the rototiller (the depth gauge!!!!). This wonderful little piece of metal was put into place and it pulled the rototiller down into the ground making pass after pass easier, no longer was the rototiller jumping out of the ground every time it hit something hard. It was also awesome that my brother came along to help for a little while cutting down on my time behind the rototiller I have affectionately named "Bouncy". Nice pretty dirtAt last the big moment came and all the soil had been turned.

Will all of this work done and so much more to go I can say that I am excited and still working hard on planning the next steps. I am going to try to work on a new graphic that will show this plot of ground (probably going to need a ladder) and I will overlayLeftovers our plans for cultivation and plants. I can tell you we are planning on having some compost heaps, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, watermelons, various herbs, onions, garlic and a sunflower house (will have to dedicate a post to this when we plant it) for our daughters and their friends to play in. The picture on the left shows some of the roots, clay pipe and chunks of concrete I pulled out and need to pick up. Going to work on getting some composted manure into the ground this week through the weekend. I also need to hand cultivate the front flower beds that have the bulbs coming up in them so that my wife can plant the pretty flowers she has planned in them.

Lastly, we will be staking out the individual beds for plants,laying out compost, placing a short border around this area, fencing this area off and putting plants into the ground. Oh, and I really need to break out the Weed-B-Gon and spray the lawn every 10 days for about a month to get these weeds under control and let the Bermuda perk up and pretty up.

My plan is to take pictures of the various activities we work on and things we plant. Then it will be a matter of keeping everyone posted on the things we do as we begin to harvest. We are starting to research several things about storing all of these things we grow. My dream is that we will be able to get to a point that we can grow enough to cut down our dependence on store bought vegetables so that we don't have to buy the ones that we grow for a large chunk of the year.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Looking up


Looking up
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
I went down after work as they were testing the "Ring Of Fire" at the Keeper of the Plains. This was a striking view of the Keeper that I found. It is interesting that none of the water is in the picture as the Keeper sits on the convergence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers.


Here is another view that has given me some more ideas and I am going to have to study astronomy a bit to make it happen.
Keeper below the Moon

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Mom's little helper


Mom's little helper
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
This was just too precious of a sight this evening. After a long day of moving furniture and doing things that were too big for her to really help with, Lucia found something just right after mom hoisted her on top of the stove and let her clean the microwave out.

She was so very proud of herself.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Friday, April 4, 2008

So thankful for what I have.

I went walking in a local park that has fountains last night to see if they were on so I could look at the possibility of doing some nighttime photos at that location. I took the long way to walk in and was scared when I found a homeless man sleeping on a bench next to where I was standing. After making sure he was breathing and just asleep and not dead I had a hard decision to make. Do I wake him up and make sure he is alright (other than the obvious lack of shelter) or let him sleep? I imagine it is hard to find a place to sleep and hard to get asleep, especially when on a hard bench in 40-45 degree farenheit weather and you are sleeping under an area light in a public park. I was also scared of how he might react to me standing over him waking him up at 11:30 P.M. He also appeared to be hispanic and I didn't know if he even spoke english.

You can see everything he had with him, his Wal-Mart bag to the right of him has what is probably all of his earthly possessions (no alcohol, I might add). We do have shelters in the area but I don't know if they would accept him (lack of room or maybe he is banned). We do have a program underway here in Wichita and Sedgwick County to end chronic homelessness. I am going to have to ask them some questions and see if I can find some resources that I could offer if I see him next time I go down.

I stood out by the edge of the river for a few minutes and said some prayers for this man in the cold. I would have just felt too quilty to go home and say them as I slid under the covers of my warm bed. Maybe I should go to the thrift store and buy some extra blankets every fall to pass out since if I am going to do urban nighttime photography.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Light Painting and other things photo.

This is a really fun photography technique and requires no photoshop, the effect is made as the picture is taken. You can click on the pictures to be taken to a larger version of it if you are having a hard time viewing it.

How many of my ghostly heads do you see?
Haunted park?

I also appear to be really spooky. Don't you think?
Ghost of me

I can also write a word or two. I only have 15 seconds on my current camera.
Fish!
The rest of the pictures that I took tonight can be found in this set on flickr. Most of the others are ambient/low-light photos of water fountains and reflections in water. These adventures and experiments in photography help me understand the mechanics of photography better and help me take better pictures of my kids. It is also a great creative outlet for me.
Enjoy!
Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Appreciating

I would like to just take this moment to say thank you. No, not to you the reader (you are important and I do thank you for reading) but to someone that is more important than any of you. Wait, she is a reader of this blog so I guess I am thanking a reader. Right now she is either shaking her head or giggling as she reads this (that would probably depend if the coffee has finished brewing and if any of the kids are up).

I love you, my beautiful camera shy photogenic wife, thank you for all you do.


IMG_3753


Davy, my dearling, my Dawn
Lovingly under the Mercy,
Your Sheldon,
Your Husband,
Matthew S

p.s. to all of those onlookers if about 1/2 of the above 5 lines doesn't make sense, run out to the library or a bookstore and read "A Severe Mercy" by Sheldon Vanauken.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Triple Threat (3 of me, no photoshop)


Triple Threat
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
On the left is the me that goes to work. In the middle is the me that does all the chores around the house and on the right is the me that rolls around and does the fun stuff with the family. Now, if I could just get them split apart and all working at the same time.

Well, I guess that isn't going to happen so I will have to be satisified with continuing to do the best I can all by myself without clones.

If you are wondering, this picture was taken with light painting. The long and the short of that is taking a picture in a dark place, long exposure, and a flashlight. You can move the object being taken, the camera, both or just the light source. You can write words in the air, highlight part of the photo or replicate part of the photo.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Sunday, March 30, 2008

St. Raffle, pray for us!?!

My kids have found a new archangel, in fact it is their favorite archangel. This archangel is St. Raffle, and is invoked exclusively at parish functions such as fun night. Fun night, that night of mystery, excitement, junk food and candy. The most exciting thing though has to be raffle tickets. These are small holy cards that are received after making a donations to the Church as a remembrance of your generosity in helping Church fundraiser.

The interesting thing is that as a sign of devotion you can go around to various displays around the community room and insert your St. Raffle holy card into a box and at the end of the night one card will be drawn. If your St. Raffle holy card is drawn, you are the winner of whatever is in the display.

My 3 oldest children went to fun night with Grandma and Grandpa and placed their St. Raffle holy cards in front of the slumber party fun altar, I mean table. This has to be every little girl's dream contained on this table: 2 pink sleeping bags, 2 pedicure kits, bag of makeup, box of makeup (with bath products and gel), 4 DVD's, Microwave popcorn, Jenga (GirlTalk edition), 4 piece purple luggage set (this is actually a really nice set), 2 purple fluffy pillows, memory board, candy, "Not Now" door hanger, Pink Cold Beverage Tub (I bet I will never be able to see if I can fit two cases of fine imported beer in that), a twelve pack of generic grape soda, Pink Embellished Bed Canopy, Purple Fuzzy MP3 speaker cube, and coupons for 12 personal cheese pizzas. I think that is all that was on this table of dreams. Of course my three daughters' cards ended up in this box not at the table with the John Deere collectibles, Hunting/Fishing Supplies, or the coveted Imported Beer collection.

Ok, so every little girl that was at the place did the same thing, I had only 3 chances in what must have been a metric ton of St. Raffle Holy Cards of having to deal with all of this stuff. I wasn't worried in the least. I was already having to deal with St. Raphael, setting up a small tank for the feeder goldfish my 2nd oldest had already won and lovingly named Teresa Avila. I was safe.

Then the call came. They won, I now have all of this stuff sitting in my house. I was just reading from the blog, June Cleaver after a Six Pack, because it plays great music while you listen and is fairly funny and right next to me is a purple speaker with Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield coming out of it. Some people spend money at Fun Night and just come home with a cake from the cake walk. I will have a reminder for years to come of the fun my children had with grandma and grandpa while my wife and I went out to eat.

St. Raffle, pity me!

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Tons of fun


Before you ask. . .
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
It was a great blast having friends from out of town take a trip back home. We were able to spend several hours visiting and eating pizza. Oh, and the first of what I am certain will be many, "Catholic-Midwest-I have my homeschool stuff with me-what are you doing this year-what are you thinking about doing next year-can i see your stuff-that is sooo cool" mini-homeschool conferences took place during this visit. I was also ecstatic that it only took 45 photos taken on the digital camera in continuous shoot mode to get 2 good photos of all the kids standing together. Well, that and Dawn holding Clara who wasn't the most happy in the world.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Dawn's crack dealer had a sale. . .

. . . and she got all of this for just 8 dollars, a mere $0.20 a book. My wife isn't addicted to drugs, she is addicted to books. I am proud of her, she went through and got all the books she was interested in and thinned it down until she had just 40. The really scary part is that she spent three hours going through just the kids books, she never made it to the adult books that were on sale. The bonus was that it was for a good cause, benefiting our children and the proceeds from the sale go to help our local library system.

The one book that I am really excited she got is Maria by Maria Von Trapp. It is the autobiography and the real story of The Sound of Music. I am looking forward to reading it if I can PRY it out of Dawn's hands.

Speaking of that, I think she used one of Charlton Hesston's lines, "Not but from out of my cold dead hands!" Just kidding, but she does love her books.

And I love her.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

You are planning on giving his Holiness what?

That's right, in the long standing tradition of finding things to give the Pope that will either be thrown in a closet (hopefully never to be seen again) or donated to someone in need we have now found out that the Pope will be receiving a skateboard when he comes to the United States.


Sigh, so many things I could say.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Silhouette

At times things we see aren't as they appear. Is this a shadow or a sillhoutte.

IMG_5155
It is easy to tell here because the water is rippled and the silhouette is smooth but other times it could be more trouble depending on perspective. Perspective is something that is the basis for the decisions we make, it can make alot of difference in the outcome of a situation. Different lighting in a picture can make a world of difference. Is this a duck or a goose in the picture above?


Giant almost 16 month old

How tall is little Clara? Makes a difference in how you look at it. We should all remember to be careful in how we look at situations, take the time to evaluate, look at things another way and see if we can plan out our course of action based on our values before we just react. It will make the world a better place.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I am done eating. . . .


I am done eating. . . .
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
At times as a father you just run across a special moment. One of those moments that you never want to forget. What you are seeing is something that is just adorable to me and very memorable.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Catholic Carnival #168 is up.

Well, it's time to head north of the border and visit "The DuctTape Guy" for Catholic Carnival. I haven't had a chance to listen to all of it yet, that's right, listen to it. This week's Carnival is not only a blog post but it is a podcast.

GO CHECK IT OUT!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter vigil is coming

Just waiting for the Sun to go down and the Son to come up.  


Hope everyone has a Blessed Easter.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy, Maundy

Tonight we went home to the parish my wife and I attended as a young couple. It is a very traditional/non-traditional parish in that their is a pipe organ, perpetual adoration, chant, more young people than old, it is a non-territorial parish, you can belong to this parish in addition to another and it is also the Catholic student union at Wichita State University here in town. The St. Paul Parish Newman Center is the Church that my wife entered the Church 9 years ago this coming fall. Here are two pictures from this evening, one of the main altar in the big chapel after it has been stripped at the conclusion of the Mass of Lord's Supper and the second is from inside the Adoration Chapel that had Adoration until midnight so we could all spend time with our Lord in the Garden and in His Agony. It was good to go home, it is only a trip across town but it was that I am glad we made tonight and we will make it again two more times in as many days.

(Last night after posting this I lay in bed thinking how lucky I was. Think about it, I was laying in bed and a long time ago Jesus stayed up all night last night getting hauled around Jerusalem, accused of all kinds of bad things. I wonder how the exact time line worked out through the night?)

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

p.s. for those who appreciate good (well, at times that is debatable) humor, take a look below the pictures.



Stripped Bare
IMG_5207




I hope the Mamas and the Papas will forgive me but I am baptizing their only number 1 hit on Billboard's Hot 100.

Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da

Maundy, Maundy, so good to me
Maundy mornin', it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Maundy mornin', Maundy mornin' couldn't guarantee
That Maundy evenin' you would still be here with me

Maundy, Maundy, can't trust that day
Maundy, Maundy, sometimes you just get betrayed
Oh Maundy mornin' you gave me no warnin' of what was to be
Oh Maundy, Maundy, how could you leave and not take me

Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the liturgucal year is fine, yeah
But whenever Maundy comes, but whenever Maundy comes
A-you can find me cryin' all of the time

Maundy, Maundy, so good to me
Maundy mornin', it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Maundy mornin', Maundy mornin' couldn't guarantee
That Maundy evenin' you would still be here with me

Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the liturgucal year is fine, yeah
But whenever Maundy comes, but whenever Maundy comes
A-you can find me cryin' all of the time

Maundy, Maundy, can't trust that day
Maundy, Maundy, sometimes you just get betrayed
Maundy, Maundy, won't go away
Monday, Monday, it's here to stay
Oh Maundy, Maundy
Oh Maundy, Maundy


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Catholic Carnival #164: Holy Week Edition

Is up and ready for the browsing, but no time for me to read now as I have to get to bed. Will take a closer look tommorow.

Head over to Aggie Catholics and take a read.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tractor pulls

At times parenting feels just like being in a tractor pull without the tractor. Sigh, have you ever tried to get a kid to do something they were bound and determined to do? My oldest can stubbornly refuse for hours to do something. At times I wonder how she can be so stubborn and then i realize that she is my daughter.



Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Something about this is just wrong

but just in case you were wondering. . . . .

33

Entry for Photo March Wichita Flickr Contest


FlickrMarch
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
You will need to click on it to get a good look at the picture but I thought it was an interesting way of showing "Vantage Point" that is this month's challenge.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ben Stein is Expelled

This is a new Ben Stein movie coming out....takes on Darwinism and the atheists out and about.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Closing time. . .

No, not for this blog, but just for the end of my day. It has been a long several weeks and many things have been racing through my mind at random. I am a father to 5 children. That is the thought that keeps coming back and forth into my mind. I have four beautiful daughters that I love dearly and get to see daily. I have one daughter (my wife and I's decision on gender) that was taken from us in an act of mercy. We don't know why we had the miscarriage but we do know the simple fact that we did.

It is not a mercy in the nice politically correct way of looking at things but more in the respect of Sheldon Vanauken's, "A Severe Mercy" or C.S. Lewis's "Shadowlands". The mercy is in the loss and the pain. My wife told me she was suprised that this miscarriage was something that affected me so much. She has told me that she thought it was something that women dealt with. However, I can't help but look on this miscarriage as the loss of my child that I swore to care for before her conception. Something that is part of my being as a man demands that I am a knight for my children, present and God-willing future. They are my charges, given to me from God.

This miscarriage has caused lots of different emotions and reactions to come into my heart and mind. Part of me is excited because I have a child that is a Saint in heaven. Another part of me struggles with feeling robbed. This is my child and I will never get to hold her, watch her first steps, teach her to ride a bike, give her away on her wedding day, watch her profess her vows in the convent, or any of the other things that are possible with my other four daughters.

However, I feel guilty for feeling robbed, this isn't about me, it is about my child. She is in a better place than I am. She is part of the Church triumphant and I am still on my sojourn. My children are a temporary gift for me to be a steward of during this short time here on earth. They are not something for me to control and possess. I am to raise, form and shape them to know, love and serve the Lord. They are not tools for my happiness but an extension of who I am in essence that will, God willing, lead to my ultimate fulfillment as a being.

My wife told me something she heard, I don't remember if it was from another blog or from a friend. It was a simple statement that is a good frame for all of us as parents. When dealing with your children and the seeming interruptions in your day remember, it isn't "Now I have to do _____" but instead it is "Now I get to _____". Total change of perspective on how I deal with my current children. My children being in my life is something that I can never take for granted. They are here as a gift for me. Not for me to own or possess but for my benefit, to make me into a better person.

I know that the raising of my oldest child is stretching me into a better person. I come from a household with just my brother and I. We both have our own personalities and my father does. My oldest daughter is not unlike me but she is also unique in her own special ways. She is requiring me to move out of how I was raised and my cookie-cutter mentality of how a child is to be raised and realize that it is more about connecting in a realtionship with our children.

If you think about it realtionship is the very basis and being of the parent-child relationship. Terms like father and daughter are realtional. You can't use those words without them automatically implying a relationship. That is the biggest thing that I have learned. I have five wonderful children to thank for that and a very beautiful wife as well. My heart is moved by all of them.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Only the state is good enough

Basically, that is what California is saying here when they basically limit schooling to state certified professionals. It is really disturbing to me that the State of California thinks that it is to be normative for the state to determine what children learn. The parents of a child are the ones that have that right naturally. We have a term for states that take control of private thought and natural rights away from people, they are called facists. Well, either that or just people who think it takes "The Village" to raise your kids, instead of taking a whole community.

I am just glad that Governor Schwarzenegger understands that this is a huge violation of the natural order and is standing up and fighting the good fight. God bless checks and balances.

I have been thinking alot about schooling versus homeschooling. If you think about it when we send kids off to school we basically take our kids out of the every day reality of the world and create an artificial reality filled with people that aren't mature enough to function in the real world. This is a potential recipe for danger. I like the fact that my kids are part of the community and have more interaction with adults than students in an institutional school setting.

I also like the fact that someone else doesn't control what they learn and know.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

When will it be warm again


IMG_4863
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
I can't wait for it to be warm again outside. Now that we have gotten through our major training and no one is sick anymore maybe, just mybe I can start exercising regularly after a month off. I just hope it is warm enough for rock climbing, oh, and I need to plan a camping trip or two.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Photography Challenge

I am on the photo sharing website Flickr for uploading my photos onto the internet. It has an element of Web 2.0 in groups with specialized interests. One of them that I participate in is the local Wichita group. This month's challenge involves the same subject for everyone, a statue in front of the local art museum, with the challenge being perspective. The thread with a variety of different pictures is found here. One of my enteries is here:
IMG 003

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My daughters love cowboys

That's right, they are big fans of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Gene Autry. They love their boots, saddles and riding down happy trails. My father bought them 20 hours of old Roy Rogers shows on DVD for them to watch. They are able to watch them on the computer and they love the old fashion fight scenes. Today they found out that one of the episodes is in color, they were stoked.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Monday, March 3, 2008

What are you eating?


IMG_5078
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
"A bw-rown-ie"

I love you little Lucia.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

P.S. special thanks to the wonderful person that made those brownies for us.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Reason #568 Parenting Rocks: Projectile Vomiting

So, I went back to work yesterday after taking 2 days off due to my wife feeling nauesous and vomiting a few times. I got home last night and curled up in bed next to my beatiful bride only to hear some coughing and other odd noises coming from the direction of the middle two's bedroom. Dawn causally mentioned that she hoped it was *NOT* someone throwing up. I asked if I should go check on them (ironically, I already knew the answer to that question) and proceeded to do so finding vomit in hair, on dolls, sheets, blankets and the wall. It was a literal massacre involving vomit from a 3 year olds mouth.

Dawn and I were able to get several hours of sleep last night but our 3 year old ended up having to take 2 baths last night and I think we changed the sheets on beds 4 times. So final tally: 2 baths for a 3 year old, 4 changes of sheets, 2 vomiting kids, 6 hours of sleep and 8 loads of laundry.

I didn't mind any of it at all, the opportunity to care for them is a blessing. Last week I was taught that lesson a bit more deeply.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S.


Pray for me MGS

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Movie Review: The Day After Tommorow

The Day After Tommorow, I will realize that I wasted almost 2 hours The Day Before Yesterday. Ok, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, I did spend about half the time reading a book and the movie did have an ok human interest type story line that was predictable but slightly compelling. I did find some of the "science" a bit ridiculous along with the obligatory political commentary. The part about the pack of ravenous wolves being the only animals to escape from the zoo during the flooding and they magically surviving the initial part of the blizzard was a bit much but I guess it made raiding the super freighter more fun and exciting.

Their was some implied immoral activity that was briefly onscreen but quickly interrupted and never completed. It was completely gratuitous and had nothing to do with any of the main characters of the movie. The "kiss" between the two love interests was a bit much and probably could have been done a little bit more chastely and dramatically.

Well, it was ok movie and I am rambling, oh well.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

First my house then off to the CIA

Really, my kids are very capable of covert operations. Sneaking out at nap time, getting up after going to bed, getting into things in the kitchen before waking anyone else up in the morning, getting someone else's toys and just about anything else you can imagine. My kids are all capable of it...the CIA should send people to my house to train.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Pope Paul VI

“Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy.”
~ Pope Paul VI

Fr. Stan Fortuna returning to Wichita, Ks.

That's right, I first met him in 1995 and was blown away. Now he is coming back to Wichita, Ks. to lead a parish mission in the beginning of March at St. Francis of Assisi Church. All genres from sacred, rap, latin, rock and many more.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Another day gone. . .

. . .and still I won't get to hold Marjorie. I keep thinking that maybe I will wake up and this is all a bad dream but I know it is too real. The empty feeling in the pit of my heart says it all.

I thank everyone for their continued prayers and support as my family comes to terms with this loss. That is another thing I haven't really mentioned but weighs heavily on me. Watching my children go through the process of dealing with loss. They are so beautiful and innocent and I know this hurts them as well but at times they are so joyous. Just like when we told them the name of what we decided is their baby sister in heaven, Marjorie Guadalupe.

God bless.

Under a Severe Mercy,
Matthew S

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Running on Empty

Today is the fourth day. It has been four days since we found out we were having a miscarriage. I have gone through a wide variety of emotions and responses and I am going to share many of them here, right now everything is a little raw and still in need of sorting.

Basically, we have four beautiful daughters ages: 8, 5, 3 and 1. We just lost our fourth during the sixth weeks of pregnancy. We will probably not be able to see the tiny body as it passes and we won't be able to find out "why" this happened. What we do know is that we are blessed with several really good friends and we thank all of you. We are blest with a wonderful family. I will post a picture of my wife with her birthday present from us (her birthday was yesterday) as I think it is a tender mercy for her and I.

Our children have taken it well but also taken the loss of this sibling hard. I have a picture of what we have decided is their little sister and not a brother, drawn by my Eight year old. I feel as if I am being crucified, why does this have to happen to me, I am doing what I am supposed to. It is the basic question of why bad things happen to good people (though I will admit readily that I am far from perfect) and I have heard an answer. My hear has not been completely broken yet, it must be broken further and replaced with a new heart of flesh built for love.

Christ didn't say, "Ok, that's enough scourging, time to stop!" during His passion, death and ressurection. This is a passion for me and I will not yell for it to stop, but it will be a temptation. So many things to say.

Oh, we did pick a name out, Marjorie Guadalupe. Marjorie is the name of my grandmother that died from breast cancer 16, almost 17 years ago, it is her that my daughter will be hanging out for eternity while waiting for me to finish up with my just punishements. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the unborn and since our child will always be part of the unborn it fits well. Ironically, Marjorie was conceived around the past anniversary of Roe V. Wade (The NFP chart doesn't lie). May she always be our little prayer warrior in heaven and I look forward to that day that I can meet her face to face. Right now I am crying, thinking of missed opportunities and many other things I have had to cry threw. I will put some of this up here to share, it is part of who I am.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Friday, February 22, 2008

Loss.

I am sad today, we haven't medically confirmed it but it appears that we have lost our fifth child to a miscarriage. We will probably never know why this happened in this life but the fact is it simply has. I will blog more about this, as I am going through lots and sorting things out and dealing with emotions. I thank everyone for their prayers. I especially ask you to pray for my 4 daughters, the 4 older sisters. It is harder for them to understand, if you can understand, in some ways. Dawn and I have decided that it probably was a girl and are picking out a name.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Urgent Prayer Request

I just announced on this blog my wife and I's pregnancy. Now, I need all of you to pray because we just got up this morning and Dawn has some blood showing, please pray that the baby will be ok. Entrust my little one to the care of the Holy Angels and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Expectant Mother Prayer Intention Box

So that my family can remember to pray for those expectant mothers we know. The most important name in the box being my wife's. Number five coming to a blog near you this October. Deo gratias.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Monday, February 18, 2008

Deep Thoughts by a Catholic Father

The best time to be the parent you should be is when you don't want to be the parent you should be.

Under the Mercy,
Matthew S

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hours of entertainment, learning a lesson


Hours of entertainment
Originally uploaded by kc0lex (Matthew)
Saving is something very important. Being debt-free (except for a mortgage) is very important too. Dawn and I are almost done with the debt elimination baby step thanks to Dave Ramsey. Check him out of you haven't heard of him. It isn't every too late or early to learn.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

I am better than I deserve.

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