Saturday, December 27, 2008

Difficulties in Mental Prayer

I am reading a book (title above), and I was very impressed with a portion of the preface:
"When Our Savior rose from the dead, He had taken on Himself, and triumphed over, every possible obstacle, in our past, in our future, in ourselves, or in our surroundings, which might interfere with our holiness. The agony that broke His Sacred Heart in the garden was the thought that, after He had done and suffered so much--far more than was ever necessary--for our holiness, we should render His Blood useless by our cowardice and by our failure to believe in Him and to trust in Him. The greatest value that we can set on Christ's sufferings is to believe that they can make holy even such as we are."
Wow, I have read this over so many times and I never get tired of it! I think sometimes I give up on myself becoming holy because it is too difficult. This quote helped me realize how painful that mentality is for Jesus. He has done so much, far more than necessary, for my holiness. I need to trust more in Him. He knows my failings and the areas I need to improve and he can help!

Right now I am on chapter 4. This chapter encourages spiritual reading and even goes so far to say that "to reduce the time for spiritual reading, without due cause, to less than three hours in the week, is to starve the soul, and will bring about the consequences of such starvation."

My soul has been starving, I really need to read more. I have already experienced fruit from reading this current book. Andrew and I just prayed the Rosary and my thoughts drifted to the bold quote above while meditating on the Agony in the Garden. Reading a spiritual book helps to give us something to pray about and focus on during prayer (instead of thinking about dinner, how tired you are, or other random items... as I often do!).


May you all have a Merry Christmas season! Peace to you all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter pictures

I've been playing around with the Mom & Dad Stockton's camera (Nikon D70), and was able to take some nice shots of the birds in the snow.  I don't know how these little birds manage to stay warm in these freezing temperatures, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves, and looked so beautiful in the snow.

Here's a look at the Sound with the snow clouds set in.  Believe it or not, the water is behind those trees.

Lindsey gave Dymphna a much needed bath.  Dymphna's favorite part of the bathing process is being blow dryed.

Change of plans...

As I mentioned in my last post, we have been debating going to Oregon for Christmas. That was the plan, but we decided yesterday that it was too risky. Boy am I glad we stayed around town. Yesterday, I went to the mall with my parents to do some last minute Christmas shopping. While we were there, it started to snow. We came home and Andrew and I threw our necessities into the car. We made the journeyed across town to my parents' home, where we plan to stay through Christmas. They live in a decommissioned fire station in Manette. The view from here is amazing! Below are some pictures Andrew took from the living room window. Last night, we went to Mass and picked my brother up. When we got home we all decorated the Christmas tree. Up to this point, my parents did not have a tree because of our plans to be out of town. But now we have one up and decorated.

Now we are all snuggled up in the fire station, watching the snow continue to fall. It is so nice to not have to travel. I am quite content with our decision to stay =)

The Manette Bridge

Decorating the tree

My honey =)

View of Bremerton

Stay safe everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow day = time to blog!

December is going by amazingly fast. I guess that is what happens when you are really busy. Today was supposed to be the last day of school, but it was canceled due to the snow from yesterday and the icy roads. It's kind of nice to have an extended break, but I'm a little sad about not being able to say goodbye to my students and have closure before the break. Oh well, I guess January will be here soon enough and I'll be back in school. So now I find myself with a lot of time on my hands (the whole day), and I thought it would be a good time to update the family blog!

At the beginning of the month, I came home from one of my night classes, and found my wonderful husband tidying up after hanging Christmas lights on our little house! I was so thrilled! He is very good to me. We had talked about putting lights up, but in the back of my mind, I doubted that we would get around to it. Coming home to this was delightful surprise and I have really been enjoying them all month long. I also bought a wreath for the door from one of my students doing a fundraiser. I think our house looks very Christmasy!

Last weekend, we went up to Bellingham to witness the wedding of our good friends, Lauren and John. Their wedding was really beautiful and holy! For me, attending a wedding after being married is a lot different than before being married. As an unmarried person, I would often think of how I longed to be married. Now I think I can enjoy weddings a lot more. They serve as a renewal of my own commitments and love for Andrew.

Lauren and John also had some great ideas for the reception. Here are a few I thought were particularly neat: Their favors were Christmas ornaments with their names on them. During the reception, they played Christmas music. The toast was done with hot cider spiked with rum (I couldn't have any, but I thought it was a cute idea). As they left the reception, all the guests got a jingle bell and we formed a jingly isle for the couple to run down. As they drove away in the car, the snow started to fall! It really was perfect. Lauren and John, we love you both and you will be in our prayers!

After the wedding, we went home to Mom and Dad St.Hilaire's and decorated the tree with them. We had cut it down together that morning, and when we got back it was up and ready to be trimmed! During our dating relationship, this was an event I participated in every year. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year. I also look forward to our children being able to help out in the coming years.

The tree-decorating crew!

Baby St.Hilaire is getting really big. Last Wednesday, after we had the ultrasound, Andrew felt him move for the first time. We were at our Holy Hour and it felt like the little guy was doing aerobics! I grabbed Andrew's hand and placed it where I was feeling the movement. He smiled and nodded his head (we were trying to keep quiet in the church). Since that day, I have felt him move more and more. Just this morning, I told Andrew that I seem to feel him now even when he is just being still. These milestones keep us in awe of God's creation. We are so honored to be parents and we love our son so much!

Here is the latest belly picture. After looking at it, I think I was slouching. But I was not trying to stick out my belly even more, I guess my posture is just going down hill!

20 weeks along

And finally, on to the snow! Yesterday, the snow came down, and down, and down. It snowed for almost 10 hours. I think we got a total of 4 inches at our house. We made a trip out to Safeway (a short walk from our house). I bought ingredients for some cookies I wanted to make. They all turned out delicious. I made Buckeye Balls (Andrew liked these the most), Chocolate Toffee Chrunchies (I liked these the most), and my mom's "Jingle-bell Fudge." This fudge is very easy to make and tastes oh-so-good! Just make sure you use condensed milk and not evaporated milk, like I did last night. Because of this mistake, the fudge did not harden. I put it in the freezer and that seemed to help. It turned out all right but could have been better, had I used the right ingredients. I really like cooking and baking, I just feel like I never have time and I don't have much experience. This cookie-baking day really put me in a good Christmas mood. After making cookies, Andrew and I watched Elf, one of our favorite Christmastime movies.

Now we are waiting to see how the driving conditions will be today and tomorrow. We were supposed to go down to Newport, Oregon, with my parents, for Christmas. They have a house down there on the coast. But we are a little weary of the weather and getting stuck somewhere. We shall see what happens. I was really looking forward to going down to Oregon, but my focus on Christmas is to celebrate the Christ-child's birth, to be with my family and be safe, so I will be happy if we stay here too.

Our house covered in snow!

Our little snowbird!

We hope everyone has a wonderful, holy, and safe Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby St.Hilaire's first video!

What an amazing experience to witness your child nestled in his or her (no mention of gender until you watch the video!) mother's womb. So fragile and delicate, yet unbelievably complex. As you'll see in the video, the heart has developed the chambers and valves, and has been beating since about 5 weeks (our baby is 17 weeks old), and as Lindsey pointed out to me today, will continue beating for the rest of his/her life! I was surprised even to realize the intricacy of the umbilical cord -- which comes from the baby, not the mother -- that has two arteries and a vein.

When in awe of the beauty and mystery of creation, we must give due credit to the Creator.

A funny aside: Poor Lindsey was told prior to the ultrasound that she needed to drink 64 oz of water. So our 15 minute drive to Silverdale was good practice for our run to the hospital come May 9thish, because Lindsey had to pee so bad it looked painful : ) When we got to the clinic, we went to check in at the front desk, and they didn't have Lindsey scheduled for an ultrasound appointment. We went through the whole spelling of our last name, which is notoriously tricky, and tried her maiden name as well, with no luck. Lindsey was about to wet herself.

Fortunately, the receptionists figured out the mix up and told us we were really supposed to be at another clinic just a minute away. Well, when we got to the right clinic, and the ultrasound technician began his measurements, it turned out Lindsey had too much to drink and her bladder was squishing the baby, so he made her go to the bathroom, but only "halfway." Supposedly this is really hard for women? : ) So she gets back, partially relieved, and she's still too full, and has to use the bathroom again.

About halfway through the video, you'll hear the technician asking if she'd like to go to the bathroom again, this time to let it all out! He insisted. So should you find yourself scheduled for an ultrasound and told to drink 64 oz of water beforehand, I'd recommend 20 to 30 oz instead.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stay tuned...

Tomorrow we will have some exciting news (hopefully)!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too much fun

During our visit in Bellingham, we took full advantage of the photo effects made possible by the Macbook I'm using for work. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did : )

Pictures from Thanksgiving

Bout time we got these up! We had a great couple of days in Bellingham with Mom & Dad St.Hilaire, which blew by.

We began Thanksgiving day by giving thanks to Our Lord for his outpouring of love on the cross, by going to Mass at Sacred Heart. As we say at Mass, "It is right to give Him thanks and praise."
At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us' (Catechism of the Catholic Church).
Eucharist, derived from the Greek word Eukharisteo means "to thank," or "thanksgiving."

We were so happy to see Fr. Qui-Thac again. After Mass, he came over to my parents house and visited. He's a man we are truly thankful for!

Per tradition, my parents had our honorary Grandmother, Francine Hoch, over:

Dad, using the electric knife my parents received for their wedding in 1967, cut the turkey, which was cooked to perfection. If only Lindsey knew what she was missing ; )

We also had another longtime family friend join us, Ken Koenig. Lou and Jenna were hoarding the stuffing:

Stockton Family Thanksgiving

Having gained 15 pounds in Bellingham, it was back to Bremerton for Thanksgiving and games with Mom, Dad & Aaron Stockton and Noah, who lives in one of the apartments at the Firehouse.

To work off some of the weight gained, Dad and I tried out the new ping-pong table he and Mom got half-off on Black Friday. Adjacent to the office where we work, the fire engine bay now happens to be the company gym:

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Orphan Ride

My friend Andrew and his brother Randall are about to embark on a remarkable journey around the world to raise money for a Catholic-run orphanage in Southern India. I met Andrew nearly a year ago when I was heading up the 40 Days for Life in Bellingham. He volunteered for a mind-boggling amount of hours, mainly in the wee-hours of night, which gave me more time to sleep, naturally making Andrew a good friend : )

I learned quickly that Andrew was an avid bicyclist when he asked if he could protest and pray at the abortion facility while using his bike trainer:

Today, I found out that he and his brother will be biking for 2+ years in 25+ countries, some 25 thousand miles across the world for the cause of Life in India. They're calling it The Orphan Ride. They will be donating two years of their time, money and God-given strength and giving 100% of the proceeds to the orphanage. Pretty cool.

Be sure to check out their website for more information, to follow their journey (beginning March 2009), and support their cause by donating, even if it's just a few dollars. Also, keep them in your prayers!