Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Special Day on Tellnard Mountain

Our sweet Hannah FINALLY made her First Communion this past Sunday! I say finally because she has been longing for this day since she was 3 years old. Every now and then we would have to take out the paper and pencil and do the math right down to the week so that she could figure out how much longer she would have to wait to receive "her" Jesus. It was a beautiful day.

Hannah chose her dress and it was so "her". For a little girl who does not like being referred to as pretty, beautiful, etc. and NEVER wants to wear a dress, it was such a treat to see her feeling like a princess. She was downright bubbly when she stepped into the dress that morning.

And here's the whole "gang"! This is the only picture of all 7 of us together and I love that it is in church because that is where I feel closest to our Gabriel who is already with Jesus. Seems like it was only yesterday when Hannah was baptised in this same sanctuary...

Ok... I gotta give credit where it's due... Daddy took this gorgeous shot of Hannah's joy. And he took the first picture of her praying. AND... he took the following picture, which is his very favorite. You don't have to guess why! His two baby princesses in one gorgeous shot.... I may have to give up my day job and hand the camera over to him. He's got a good eye... His pictures remind me of his music... there is a "prayer" element in everything he does that allows him to capture something extra special.

"God Bless you, Sweet Hannah"
We Love You

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Love... Mike, Linda & Kids

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

I remember as a child thinking... are these folks nuts? Good Friday? Hey... I don't know much, but I've seen the movies. There are a lot of adjectives to use for this day, but GOOD?

As a child, my focus was all on the corporal, the material.... THIS world... Death. I remember thinking that I didn't even know why this all happened, but the one thing I was sure of was that it wasn't good that people hurt and killed Jesus.

As an adult, I can see things from a different perspective. I understand that it's not about what we did to Jesus, but about what HE did for us. As an adult, I can understand more fully that while Easter Sunday... The Resurrection, is the fullfillment of all of Jesus' promises, and the "punctuation mark" on the Great mystery of salvation, it is the Crucifixion which saves us. The gates of heaven were opened to us through Christ's suffering and death.

That is what makes it Good.

It was a Good Friday 23 years ago that began our conversion journey back to living the fullness of our faith. We were living in the Philippines. We woke up that morning feeling like we were in a twilight zone. Silence. Where were the people? The jeepnies? The animals? The market wagons? Every shop was closed. Even the bars were closed!

Now, you need to understand... this was a city built outside the gate of a Naval Base. This was a place where the purpose was to make money from the sailors who were seeking entertainment and recreation. Every building on the main strip had a bar of some kind. The country and western bar, the disco bar, the karoke bar, the rock-n-roll bar, the polynesian bar... it was endless. There were also shops, restaurants, money exchange booths, beggars, thieves, and prostitutes in every direction.

This was an impoverished people on the constant verge of martial law. A desperate people trying to survive. Most were hard working family people doing whatever job they could to send money back to their families who lived in more rural areas.

We were amazed when on Christmas day, the only difference in the hustle and bustle was that there was garland hanging in the bars. It felt like any other day.

But Good Friday... Everything stopped. Everything.

Mike and I just sat on our patio reflecting how different this was from back home in America. In America, the focus is always on the celebration. It took a deployment half way around the world for us to learn a deep reverence for Christ's sacrifice. That was the first time in our lives we stopped to truly meditate on what Jesus had done for us... and why. We became deeply aware of our own sins and the need to change our lives.

Of course, upon returning home, we discovered that there were many who already knew what we had learned and that it was our own lack of practicing our faith that had kept us from "seeing". But we also became deeply aware that our culture does not embrace sacrifice, does not understand self-giving love, and that it would indeed be a challenge to live "in" this world, but not be "of" it.

That Good Friday was the beginning of a journey with many twists and turns. The first of many conversion moments.

But we will always be thankful that God sent us away to bring us home...

Blessings... *Linda*

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Recently... well, ok... it was during Christmas vacation! But I just figured out how to download pics from our new camera... LOL! Mike decided to have a fun game night with the kids playing a Pirates Dice game. I was working at the computer while they played, but as you can see, I spent more time watching than working. It was certainly an evening worth capturing...

Hugs... *Linda*

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Prayer of The Children

There are moments... I'm sure every mom reading this knows them all too well. Those moments when our children whom we have just fed, dressed, cuddled with, read to, and allowed to watch their favorite morning program, and play a learning game online.... are bored. Those moments when our child who has just had a birthday party one month after opening way too many Christmas presents wants that latest plastic something-or-other and his response to you saying "we cannot have everything we want" is replied to with "THAT'S NOT FAIR". Those moments when a train could burst through the kitchen wall, but you wouldn't hear it over the bickering in the other room...

Ya... despite our efforts at pouring every ounce of love and living out a Christian life, our children still think the world revolves around them sometimes. No matter what logic or ethic we attempt to share to balance the moment, they just can't see beyond the immediate experience at times.

Those are the times when I break out my "children of the world" talk. We sit, and I tell them about little children, their ages who are suffering in this world. How their childhood has been stolen from them by war, hatred, abuse, poverty. I try to remind them how blessed they are, and how there are times when things may not always be fair, and it's in those times that we most need to practice what we believe and "step up to the plate" even more for all those in the world who have to live with what is unfair and unjust every day.

Sometimes after one of our talks, I just break down. I think of how any one of my children "could" have been sent to parents in a war torn country, in an abusive home, etc. And how any one of those suffering children "could" have been mine. My heart aches. I want to take them all into my arms and kiss their heads and keep them safe. And... there are twinges of "guilt", I think... that we go on with our lives day in and day out while they suffer...

But, the Lord, who is AWESOME reminds me gently that I cannot save the world, or it's children. Not all of them... I can do what I can by being as aware and as involved as possible. I surely can pray. But most importantly, I can keep caring with all of my heart for the children that He did send me. The best thing I can do for ALL the children is to raise my children to care.

My oldest daughter called me to her side at the computer this morning to share this U-Tube video. Pictures truly say a thousand words, but these words too are beautiful...

Some may think "what the heck does this have to do with Tellnard Mountain?" Everything. The faith, hope, and love we strive each day to fill our children with, is not to store in a treasure house here, but to send out into that big world, where the only difference between "us" and "them" is that divine providence "planted" us where we are. The only reason the "divide" will continue to exist is if we refuse to grow.

Hope you mommies have your tissues ready...

Please scroll down the side of our blog and pause the music playing here so that you can hear the words of this compelling video.

In case, the above widget doesn't operate, you can click here:
The Prayer of The Children

Peace & Love, *Linda*

Friday, March 7, 2008

Goodness, gracious... It sure has been a while since I've posted here. Shame on me. Linda*Pinda*Designs is where I do the bulk of my online business, so that blog gets a little more wear and tear, but... well... there's nothing like coming home, now is there?

Lent is a really busy time around here. Mike is super busy at work, as he is each year preparing all the music and leading all the rehearsals leading up to Holy Week and Easter. And this year is super crazy 'cause he's at a new church AND he's still helping our daughter Sarah with the rehearsals of the choir at our home parish where he worked 'til Christmas. To boot, our little Hannah is making her First Communion in a few weeks, so there are lots of extra retreats and meetings, etc. Did I mention that her birthday is also on Good Friday, and the kids' school is having a fundraising event for the American Heart Association, and our older daughter Sarah is part of a very special concert at her college this week?

And of course, the dog is overdue for her vet appointment, there is a squirrel making daily visits in my antique tin ceiling... (yes... we know... "he'll get to it"), almost the entire family is camping out in our living room while we attempt to make some changes to the bedrooms upstairs, my dad is away on vacation, I'm trying to build an online business, and Mike is attempting to record another CD (Yes... Sarah will be on this one... LOL!).

Other than that, not much is going on here.

hee hee

So, why am I visiting today? Well... between funerals, Stations of the Cross tonight, and planning all day, Mike's been away... so... I got some housework done and then decided to look for some special blogs on faith and family.

I have been through the gamit of emotions. Excitement, frustration, compassion, humor, joy, and sorrow. There are so many stories... so many journeys. I'm just feeling thankful to be a part of it all. I know there is a lot... A LOT of "junk" on the internet. But I am amazed at how the Lord uses even this for the good. I would never have met some really wonderful inspiring people if it were not for the internet and for the Lord's intervention in crossing paths that need crossin'.

Seems there are a lot of us in this great big world who have placed our lives in the great big palm of His hand.

You know... these are uncertain times, aren't they? Over at Ebay, all the groups are chatting about betrayal, injustice, and no prosperity. Some folks are checking out Etsy, some are joining group websites, some are opening their own sites. Then there's the evening news. Have you heard? We are not in a recession, but you may have to sell your firstborn into indentured service to pay your winter heating bill. And you won't be able to visit him because you can't afford the nearly $4.oo gallon for gas to make the trip. And you'd be too weak to travel anyway because no one can afford to buy enough groceries to sustain a family for a whole week. But the good news is that the choices for president are all pro-choice, so in no time there won't be enough Americans left to have to worry about an economy anyway. Did I just say that? yep... guess I did.

I guess this all paints a pretty dark picture, huh? But you know what? For those of us who've been walking on water all along... this doesn't seem like much of a challenge! My eyes are on the Lord and I'm just marching straight ahead.

We were blessed this past weekend to have a visiting priest at our parish who was giving a wonderful mission on "the journey". We weren't able to go every night, but a few things he shared in his homily on Sunday really stuck with me. He mentioned the fact that many... MANY times in the Bible, God called people to action in their faith life, but didn't give them a clear picture of the plan. He told Abraham to "Go". He told Noah to "Build". He told Moses to "lead".

One went, one built, and one led. Not one of them knew the next step of their journey. Not one of them knew the where, when or how. But they all had faith.

In this world of GPS systems and instant information, we are hesitant to begin any journey without knowing every last detail and having backup plans for all of the possible glitches.

But God calls us still. As He called Abraham, Noah, Moses, and so many others. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. We don't know the whole picture. But if we are very quiet, we can hear His voice and we can feel His "nudgings".

I remember a couple of years ago when I was at my emotional wit's end with doing in home daycare. I felt God urging me to just stop. I kept praying and praying... and PRAYING to know His will so that I could stop and know that everything would be ok. I could feel the Lord telling me that I needed to follow Him in faith. For some reason I just knew that it was the act of faith that the Lord wanted from me and that He would supply as each need arose. I remember telling my husband that I felt as though God wanted me to "step off of a cliff" and to trust that He would be there.

Silly me... Once again I was too stiffnecked to see that God didn't want me to fall and be caught... He wanted me to let go of what was weighing me down, and SOAR.

And you know... we are not rich, but we are still living miracle to miracle and I am building a whole new career that I am enjoying so much more than any work I have ever done before. I'm able to stay home with the children, use my creativity, and even work in my pjs sometimes, which is a real plus for those of us who are not exactly "morning people"!

I suppose this may all be a stumbling block for those who already are struggling to embrace their faith. You mean God wants us to "go", "do", but not know what comes next? Sometimes. It's what keeps us "needing" Him, seeking Him, living in His presence. And it's actually quite freeing.

I'm not the least bit worried about Ebay, Sales reports, recession, or even who becomes elected president. Don't mistake that for not caring. I care. And I am involved in the process. But I am not worried.

An awful lot of people are trying to dig us out of our misery by looking everywhere but UP. They are trying to find their way out of the darkness with everything buy LIGHT. They are fighting evil with anger instead of LOVE.

There will always be wars and rumors of wars. The poor will always be among us. These were/are the words of Jesus. Do we really think we can solve all the world's problems? We are not called to make the world light. We are called to "be a light to the world". We cannot change the world, but we can change ourselves.... and in that our journey begins...

Sorry I "went on" so much!!! Guess I should check in more often, huh?

Love & Blessings... *Linda*

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Free Vintage Image

This is a vintage photo from a postcard in our own Tellnard Mountain collection. The postdate stamped on the back of the card is 1909.

Feel free to snag it and use it however you would like, personal or commercial. I only ask that if you include it in any collections, you also allow it to be used without restriction.

Just click on the image and a window will open with a larger view. Right click on that image and click on "save picture as". Enjoy!