2014 Curriculum Blog Fair

I’m linking up with Jessica for the Curriculum blog hop this year. I’ve wanted to do this, I think ever since she started hosting these. So, here goes:

Shipping will be a flat rate of $4.00 for 1-3 items (if they will fit in a padded envelope) and $7.00 for a box of any size, to help cover the cost of packaging and media rate postage in the United States.

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Usborne’s 1st Encyclopedia of Science $5, The Magic School Bus The Search for the Missing Bone $1, Healthy Me: Fun Ways to Develop Good Health and Safety Habits $3, Usborne’s Finding Out about Everyday Things $3, Usborne’s Starting Point Science Vol. 1 $3.

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Children’s Book of Virtues by William Bennett $5, People by Peter Spier $2

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Windmills literature text book (Grade 3?), $3 and Weathervanes literature text book (Grade 4?) $3.

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The Great Editing Adventure series (elementary) $2, Reading, Thinking Skills Level A $3

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My Jesus and I, $2, The Mass for Children $1, My Mass Book $1, Family Time Bible $2.

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Jesus Our Guide Faith and Life Grade 4 text $3, A Child’s Missal $3, God’s Wonderful World (Pauline Kids) $3.

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MODG Kindergarten syllabus, $5, MODG 2nd Grade syllabus (one, 2008, one, 2010) $5, MODG 5th Grade syllabus (2005) $3

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The Story of Me for ages 3-5 $3, Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler $3, Dover’s Aesops Fables coloring book $1

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Usborne’s Telling the Time $2.

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Usborne’s Story of Pirates $1, Better Homes and Gardens Snack Attack $3.

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Christmas in the Manger $1, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom .50

Please leave a comment or email me at mail4myuse at yahoo dot com.


Christmas Card 2011

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Just finished putting together our Christmas card on Shutterfly. I think it turned out pretty well.


On the Anniversary Pt. 3

So if you have stuck with me thus far, thank you. Nobody really wants to hear about pain and suffering without some kind of happy ending, right?
We don’t know the ending yet but I do know that recognizing the anger helped me to clear out the clutter in my brain and begin seeking the why. I won’t take you through the thought processes because, honestly, I doubt that WordPress has enough server space for that.
The end of the story is this. There’s theoretical learning and there’s experiential learning – I could watch Youtube videos about how to swim or I could take myself to a pool, find an instructor and get out there in the water. Which will actually teach me how to swim in water and be confident? My money is on the experiential.
Love of God has always been theoretical for me. I read about it, hear sermons about it, listen to music about it.
Then on December 3, 2010, I sit in an OR undergoing an emergency c-section because my blood pressure has skyrocketed. The threat of stroke looms, the death of my baby looms, my future a big old question mark, this is chaos. There should be fear, tears and wailing and FEAR (that’s the biggie). But, instead… PEACE. There is joy… that sense of hope that everything will be alright… the empathy from medical personnel I don’t even know… the caring, tender way they hold her body right when she is born and after she’s died… there is reverence. A sweet baby’s Baptism and Confirmation… the surety of her place in Heaven. PEACE not fear. Only God can do that.
The knowledge of that care from God, at the time, scared me, shocked me. Why would He do this for me? Lord, You know my past, You know me intimately, why would You do this for me? “He loves you so, so much Suzanne.” Lisa’s words come back to me. And, like Eve, I hide. This pure love and care for me after all I’ve ever done and not done, shames me. My debt to Our Lord stares me in the face and makes me turn away. My guilt. (As an aside, guilt is not a bad thing. It means you still have a conscience.)
I have experienced God’s love in a personal way and I fall away from it like it’s white-hot.
So, I take myself to Confession. The recognition of sin, the only thing you can do is get rid of it!
Through the tragic death of my child, I have experienced the love of God. Oh, so many times I have heard God can make good come from bad. Now, I can say yes, He can and does and will. I guess He knew I needed a little intercessor up there to pray me through it.
The love of God is and should be transforming. It should make us better people… more charitable, forgiving, humble. I hope that I come through this a better person. A tribute to Gianna.


On the Anniversary Pt. 2

So, I finally asked a question He wanted to hear. What is it You’d like to say Lord?
“Oh, something I’ve been saying to you all along. You just don’t want to hear it. This is not the way you wanted to hear it. You thought there was positively no way you could hear this during a time like this.”
“He loves you so, so much Suzanne.” My friend Lisa (who lost her sweet boy too early) whispered in my ear on that night a year ago. That’s not what I wanted to hear. Not now. This brings me back to the place of what kind of God would…. allow suffering, take an innocent baby, the list goes on. It’s been asked by millions of people throughout the centuries (but probably much more so during the last 2 centuries). I know the book answers… God allows suffering as a redemptive work, to make up for our sins and those of others. Do you see a pattern in my knowledge? It’s all book related, it’s all in my head… the knowledge had not traveled to my heart. So, when the suffering hit me… I crumbled. Sure, it looked like I held it together. People kept telling me how strong I was. I wanted to laugh. Or cry.
December 3, 2010 came and went. Her birth and death was the most peaceful experience I’ve ever had. Does that surprise you? It surprised me! I’m not sure what I expected but peaceful definitely wasn’t it. Though I had felt God’s presence in that operating room, been ministered to by my amazing doctor, nurses, anesthesiologist, felt comforted by friends and family, I turned away and forgot the question that I had asked.
I wasn’t in the mood to hear about love. Picture Oscar the Grouch. “Looooove…. bleh!”
Or the story that comes closer to it in my mind is the story of St. Theresa of Avila. I love this story and I love this saint. She’s just so real.
She was a Spanish nun in the 1500’s and she was going throughout Spain founding convents and working on reform. As she was traipsing across the wet Spanish countryside, she was thrown from her donkey into the mud. And she turns to the Lord and says,
“If this is the way You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few!” (or words to that effect)
I felt this way. I said it though with a snarl instead of with a touch of humor.
Life went on. It always does. That’s comforting… and annoying at the same time.
I have 3 other children. They keep me very busy. I missed her though. I used to be able to feel her move. Now I felt nothing. I was empty. This just made me draw further in.
I dragged myself through the Mass on Sundays. I went. But my heart wasn’t there. “I can’t hear You. Why aren’t You speaking to me?” Without realizing that I had been the one to turn away. He was ready to talk but He knew I wasn’t ready to hear.
One day, in the Fall of this year, Matt came home from work early so I could have a little church time. I went but he almost had to push me out the door.
I sat in the church. Waiting…. waiting to hear if He had decided to say something to me.
I finally cracked. “I’m angry!” I wailed inside my head because there were a few people in church and I didn’t want to disturb anyone. But I wanted to shout from a mountaintop. Finally, like a volcano bursting open and spewing red hot lava, I rocked back and forth and just told Him how angry I was.
And then I sat in the quiet and let the words sink in.
“There, I said it. Are You happy?” Spoiled child.
Sat a little longer and then a thought came.
You’re not angry at Him though, you’re angry with yourself.
Huh? Why would I be angry with myself? I could do nothing to prevent this. It happened. It wasn’t my fault.
But, yet, there it was and I couldn’t deny it. Yes, I was filled with self-hatred.


On the Anniversary

Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of the passing of our sweet Gianna Lucy Hilbert. Thoughts about what I’d like to say have been running through my head this last week. I’ve been reliving, going through each moment, seeing it again in my mind. It has been sad but it’s also been transforming.
Let me take you back oh, about 20 years ago, I was just coming back into the Church. This was after several years of not going, never even really thinking about it. My main issue was a Church issue. The moral issues of our day were my stumbling block. Then, I got my hands on a book called Covenant of Love by Fr. Richard Hogan and Fr. John LeVoir. This book explains beautifully and understandably, the teachings of Pope John Paul II on sexuality and marriage and family also called Theology of the Body. I read it, prayed through it, taught TOB to high school CCD classes and I got it. I understood it. I no longer had or have any issues with those moral stumbling blocks.
I said that was my main issue. Not really. My main issue went beyond religion, Church teachings, etc., my issue went to the very core. The Trinity. Specifically, God the Father. My entire life I’ve struggled with the notion of God as loving Father. I couldn’t understand how a loving Father could allow His Son to be crucified. My mind could not comprehend how a Father could do that. To me, God the Father was cold and uncaring. Oh yes, I understood (in my head) that He did it because He loves us. the big general us. But, Jesus was the One who went through it. I could understand the God the Son loves us, that’s obvious. But that Father of His…
Oh, and yes, I read my Bible. God is Love. For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son… just words. To me, they were just words.
Fast forward 19 years, I’m married, have 3 children and found out that my 4th isn’t going to be spending much time with us. This entire time I’ve been a good Church lady.
Mass………..check
Sacraments…..check
Eucharistic adoration……check
doing good for others…….check
sent kids to Catholic school or homeschooled, CCD, VBS………….check, check, check.
Got all my check marks, doing all the right things. In other words, going through the motions, being a good Church lady.
I hope I’m not shocking anyone here – this was me.
Then…. KABOOM……. 3 chambered heart, kidneys not working, unsure if the esophagus is connected………..my world blew up!
But, I was doing all the right things, saying all the right thing… why me?
I CAN’T DO THIS!
And I felt Him say, “Of course you can’t, that’s what I’m here for.”
Yes, that’s what I’ve been told, what I’ve read. Give it to God and let Him take it. But, how does one do that?
I’ve always questioned that in the past. With this situation, I couldn’t not give it to God. I was in a place that it was really quite simple.
She came from God and my job was to let her, peacefully, go back to Him.
My job was to be her hospice. I was to care for and comfort her, enjoy the kicks, stomps and rolls. I was no longer going through the motions.
My life as I had lived it for years came to a dead stop.
I felt like a stranger in a place that I had lived in most of my life.
Trips to the grocery store would bring questions, when’s the due date, is it a boy or girl, do you have others and what do they think?
Strangely, I could be strong on the outside, even comforting friends who had just found out the truth.
But, on the inside, I’m screaming….. My daughter’s dying…. does it really matter what I think of your dress/hair, where you should go to dinner, what the movie was all about, what that woman over there just said to you… get over it, there’s more important things in life! Yeah, a bit self-absorbed.
During this time whole time, I felt protected, felt held in His hands, bubble-wrapped. At the same time, stripped, raw, finally open, finally not pretending, finally listening.
You have my attention, what is it You want to say?


The Latest in 4 year old Fashion

We’ve been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia – the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian – on audio while driving various places and Nicholas has taken to wearing his costume of King Peter wherever we go… the gym, the grocery store, Petco… you name it.
We haven’t been able to find the pants to his King Peter costume so he’s now substituted his Peter Pan pants… All hail King Peter Pan!

(Please pay no attention to grimy little fingerprints on the fireplace and the vacuum standing in the middle of the room… on second thought, since I’ve called your attention to it, that’s real life 🙂 )


I think I’ll make this a family blog :)

I’ve been inspired by my sister-in-law Lisa to start back up with the blogging.
During the months that I blogged about Gianna, I discovered I truly like to write and it was a great release for me at the time. I’ve missed it and I think I’ll pick it back up again.
Though this blog will no longer be completely about Gianna, she will always be a part of it because she will always be a part of us.
I may make a little social, religious, political commentary here… if you prefer not to read that, then just enjoy the family pictures.
All families have blessings and challenges, ours is no different.

We dedicate our blog to our sweet Gianna and to our other sweet soul in Heaven we named Anthony Jude in September 2005. Till we meet again…