Archive | June 2012

Father’s Day

I am blessed with the best of men for my father, father-in-law, husband, and brothers.  Thank You, Lord, for my family.

Today’s prayer:  To all the fathers who hold children in their arms, all the fathers who hold children in their hearts, all the fathers-in-waiting, all the fathers by actions instead of genetics, and all those who would give much to sit at the breakfast table with their dads one more time — Happy Father’s Day, and peace be with you.  May the Lord bless you with what your heart needs most today, and may He create in all those who children look to as father figures a loving and humble heart that leads those little ones closer to Him.

He’s my Baby Guy

Here’s the song reference.  One of my favorite mental exercises is to create new lyrics to songs that are fun to sing — and appropriate for tiny people.  My husband has referred to me as the Weird Al Yankovic of children’s music.

When Daddy came home last night, Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man bolted out the front door with their plastic buckets to join in the evening raspberry raid, leaving Baby Guy (with whom they had all been playing cars before they saw Daddy pull into our drive) crying on the living room floor.  Since Baby Guy is the happiest baby in the world (until he’s not), even I melt when he cries, especially when the reason for his sadness is so readily apparent, so I scooped him up and gave him some extra snuggles.

After he used my shoulder as a Kleenex, Baby Guy blew me a kiss.  This is a new habit he’s developed, and possibly his most charming one to date. Still making kissing sounds, he wrapped his chubby little arms around my shoulder and cuddled closer, rocking himself a little bit.  That rocking is how Baby Guy informs me he would like to dance, so I stood up to sway with him a little.  As I rose, I caught the strains of a certain song familiar to most children of the 80s playing on the classic rock station (aside:  when did my music become “classic?”) and picked up the beat in our sway.  Baby Guy smiled and giggled, cooed and started tapping my lips, saying, “Mamamamama” as he tapped.

In Baby Guy language, “Mamamamama” means one of three things:  mommy, milk, or music.  Since I was already holding him, and he had just hurled his milk to the floor, I assumed he wanted a song.  He chortled and bounced in my arms as I danced with him and edited the refrain in a way Warrant probably never imagined:  “He’s my Baby Guy, squishy little baby such a happy guy, smile so sweet brings a tear to your eye, he’s Baby Guy . . . he’s my Baby Guy, funny little fellow with the big brown eyes, snuggles everybody morning noon and night, sweet Baby Guy!”

He started laughing so hard he gave himself the hiccups, so I handed him his milk just as Daddy came in with the rest of the tribe and an enormous haul of raspberries (which I personally secured to avoid any repeats of the Tuesday night incident).  Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man were complaining about the abundance of mosquitoes by the thicket, and the sharpness of the thorns, and the lateness of the hour, but quickly perked up when given a bucket of raspberries to share.  Daddy, bless his heart, had also discovered the first ripe fig of the year on our tree, and brought it to me, unseen by any other little eyes.

Baby Guy just laughed and smiled, slurping knowingly on his milk.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You comfort the brokenhearted, and we follow You.  When Your blessings are downcast, let them see You in me as I comfort them, and please remind me that for a small child, a small hurt seems much larger than it would to an adult.  Please fill me with the grace I need to teach them perspective and humility, and the wisdom I need to teach them by example.  Thank You for music, Lord, and for raspberries in their season, and thank You for building us into a family that loves both.

You can feel it in your olfactory

Here’s the song reference.  The title of this post is an actual line from the song, which is funny and may stay in your head for a while.

Ordinarily, I cheer the end of the spring allergy season, as I genuinely enjoy breathing through my nose.  When a day begins as yesterday does, with the aromatic realization that one of our little blessings has managed to feed Smudgie his or her vegetables again (when they try this with Bo, he brings me the offending veggie and drops it on my foot), and the result of this sleight-of-hand awaits me by the back door, I rather miss the pollen.

Once I’d cleaned the utility room floor, I could smell the coffee waiting for me upstairs, and actually received the grace of being able to drink an entire cup while it was still hot, and without interruption from early risers.  Not long after I finished writing yesterday’s post, Bugaboo and Beanie stumbled out of their room, elbowing each other in the bathroom doorway.  A few moments later, I went looking for the bathroom cleaner, as the odor and the sounds coming from said bathroom indicated I’d be cleaning a couple of potties to start my workday.  Bugaboo emerged first, informing me, “Wow, that’s stinky.  Mommy, did you know that if you eat lots of berries, you get purple poop?”

“Pretty cool, eh?”  A thought occurred to me right about then.  “Bugaboo, did you guys eat the entire bucket of raspberries last night?”

“Uh-huh.  They were tasty.  Mr. Man and Baby Guy stole the bucket, though.  I think they ate about half.”

For those who do not have children, please allow me to explain.  The effect a pint of raspberries can have on the digestive tracts of a one-year old  two-year old boys is, to use a semi-polite expression, explosive.  The bucket of raspberries devoured by the tribe contained roughly a quart of berries (we have a raspberry thicket in our side yard).  As I considered whether the movie coroner’s trick of a dab of Vapo-Rub beneath the nostrils might actually work, I heard Mr. Man and Baby Guy over the monitor; the little guy was crying, the big guy was cheerfully announcing, “I stink!  I stink!”

I grabbed their milk and headed downstairs.  About three steps from the bottom of the staircase, I started praying that the smell was residual Smudgie mess.  Noooooo such luck.  I’ll mention, for brevity and decency’s sake, that the raspberry effect lasts a full 24 hours.  You may wish to mention this to any researchers in the field of green energy you may happen to know.

Mercifully, yesterday was also CSA pickup day, which provided a wonderful reason to leave the house and take a nice long drive with the van windows open.  We were singing and pointing out clusters of wildflowers, speculating on whether or not the ground would be dry enough at the farm to allow the tribe to have a nice romp there (it wasn’t, unfortunately), and trying to get Mr. Man to say the colors of passing cars, road signs, and traffic signals.  As we passed the last traffic signal before the miles of uninterrupted blacktop leading to the farm, I heard Mr. Man exclaim, “Ew!  Dat stinky!”

I cringed a little as I started thinking about whether it would be better to pull into a private drive and change the stinker on the van deck or just wait until we got to the farm, started to roll my eyes as Bugaboo and Beanie chorused from the back seat, “WHAT is that SMELL,” then burst out laughing as I realized that they were remarking on the singular aroma generated by frightened skunks.  It’s not that offensive to either my husband or myself, but since we generally use the climate control in the van when traveling with the tribe so we can hear each other talk, I’m not sure that they’re ever gotten a full blast of the smell before.

“That’s the smell skunks make, guys.  Remember how we read in your book that God gave some animals different ways to protect themselves, and He gave the skunks a stinky spray?  That’s what you’re smelling.  Sometimes skunks get too close to the road, or can’t cross it fast enough, and get run over by cars, and they make their stinky spray then, too.”

Bugaboo and Beanie considered this for a moment.  I could see them exchanging looks in the rear-view mirror.

“Mommy, I think the skunks should either stay away from the road or wait for their turn to cross it, so they don’t leave all that stink for everyone else.”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for making every living thing, each animal with its own special beauty and means of survival.  Thank You for Your little blessings, who are fascinated by Your works, and who are curious to learn what makes each one unique, and what some of them have in common.  Help me teach them to look for the miracle in each animal and plants, which ones are good to eat, and which are best left alone.  As I teach them to enjoy Your bounty, please help me also teach them that gluttony of any kind does not please You, and has some unpleasant physical side effects as well.  Please, Lord, grant me the grace to teach them continence in all things except love for You and for their neighbors.


Let the rain come down

Here’s the song reference.  I had Prince on the brain yesterday, thanks to a posting by an old friend.

The weather forecast yesterday was for rain, rain, and more rain, which didn’t exactly inspire me with confidence that we would have a joyful day.  One of the main ingredients for peace in our house is that the tiny people are able to get out of the house for a while every day, and, even with my wretched housekeeping skills, there’s only so much mud I can tolerate.  The Lord is merciful, however, and the morning was reasonably dry, so as soon as breakfasts had been bolted, Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man headed outside to play ball with Smudgie and invent all manner of games.  Now that the three of hem are big enough to use the teeter-totter without adult assistance, they spend a lot of time pretending to fly, although I’ve overheard them also pretending that each seat is a different pony.  Mr. Man takes a particular delight in rocking his sisters as hard as he can from a perch on the ground, which means my watchful eyes are frequently at the window.

Once the rain started, they bolted back into the house to see what chaos might be caused indoors.  Since I was cleaning the kitchen counters and singing with Baby Guy, they decided that a snack and an episode of Spider-Man would be a grand way to pass the time until the terrific trio decided what else they’d like to do with their morning.  I finished my chore about halfway through the show (here’s the episode — Rhino sort of reminds me of Beanie and Mr. Man), by which time Baby Guy had wandered out into the living room to play with the marvelous toy, so I took a break and watched the show with the tribe, smiling and laughing as they shouted out helpful advice to their favorite superhero.

While there was a certain amount of complaining about the TV being turned off after the show, Beanie, Bugaboo, and Mr. Man were quickly mollified by my suggestion that since it was raining outside, it would be a perfect day to paint.  Three little streaks of lightning bolted into the kitchen, where they were quickly supplied with tempera, brushes, and paper.  I also showed them the old “put a blob or two of paint on the paper and fold it over to make a butterfly” trick, which they absolutely loved, and the overhang by the kitchen window was quickly adorned with scads of vivid artwork, fluttering in the breeze from the ceiling fan.  Beanie exclaimed, “Look, Mommy, our butterflies are flying even though their wings are wet!”

I could actually get to like rainy days.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your blessings, who delight in the simplest of pleasures, and who derive joy from creating images of Your beautiful creations.  Please grant me the grace to always see the opportunity to exult in grey skies, and to teach Your blessings that the most joyful days don’t have to involve going anywhere but our kitchen table, if we are grateful for the gift of the family You have built.  Kindle in us the wisdom to see Your unwarranted generosity in every event of every day, and to find the rainbows You set for us as a reminder.

Postscript:  After doing my morning reading, I added a link to a blog post about the grace of being grateful for the Lord’s essential gift of fulfilling our basic daily needs; click on “unwarranted generosity.”  SR’s post is well worth the read.  I’ll be considering today what the things are that enslave me, that keep me from joy.

Breaking the Law

Here’s the song reference.

Mondays tend to be a little trying at our house; the tribe really enjoys having Daddy home for the weekend, and visiting with Nonno and Deedaw on Sundays.  The extra attention and fun outings are grand; there are things that, given the ages of our children, are tough for me to do without another adult around, so we tend to pack those things into Saturday and Sunday.  When the first day of Daddy’s work week dawns, all four tiny people are a little glum, and more prone than usual to snarkiness — let’s make that screaminess and whininess.  I’ve tried outings, playdates, extra-super-special art projects, music, prayers, movies, chores that separate combatants, art projects that separate combatants, science projects, cooking, playing outside, bubbles, using the bathtub as a pool, letting them make phone calls, extended storytimes, naps, rational explanations, and about a thousand other strategies, and have finally come to the conclusion that, for the time being, Mondays will generally be replete with opportunities for me to offer up small sufferings to Christ.

Yesterday was, of course, a Monday.  The first sound I heard from each of the first three wakeful blessings was a scream.  Baby Guy gets a pass for his, because he was hungry; Bugaboo and Beanie were just screaming at each other.  There is apparently some deadly insult among little girls that involves referring to one’s sister as either a yak or a tree, and once that insult is offered, a full day of combat is required to restore the honor of the offended party.  I spent a great deal of time explaining the concept of forgiveness to our daughters yesterday, sometimes in less-than-dulcet tones.  Mr. Man helpfully followed me around, his hands waving, hollering at his sisters, “Not nice!  No throw!  No push button!”

Of course, he followed his admonitions by hurling blocks across the kitchen and resetting the cable box so the on-screen menus appeared in French.  Mondays.  It was at that point I decided that a run to the store for milk and eggs was in order, partly so that I could separate them all by strapping them into their car seats.  As I put it to a friend, it was the sort of day that causes me to frequently thank the Lord for children who have large vocabularies and no speech delays, and to recall that since the Lord will send what I ask him for in faith, causes me to pray for wisdom instead of patience.

I’ll spare you the play-by-play.  By dinnertime, I was about at my wits’ end; once four tiny people were safely ensconced at the table with their meals, I grabbed my Kindle and headed out to the back porch to read and listen to a little Scott Joplin on my Kindle (click the link, listen to something beautiful), and tune out any noise that did not indicate a life-threatening emergency for a few minutes.  I decided to check Facebook as well; sometimes laughing at the silly pictures reminds me to be joyful.  Unfortunately, what I found was a terse and unresponsive response to an invitation to Beanie’s upcoming birthday party.  Sighing and composing responses of varying degrees of appropriateness in my head, I went back upstairs to investigate the source of the banging noise (potentially life-threatening, at our house).

Having ascertained that no one was in immediate danger, and having counseled Mr. Man that banging on the refrigerator with a spoon purloined from Bugaboo is not an acceptable method of music-making, I started making the rounds to see who wanted seconds of what dish.  Bugaboo scrutinized me for a moment, then inquired, “Nobody’s being very nice today, are they?”  I concurred with her assessment, and added that even people who weren’t at our house were being somewhat rude.   She considered that for a moment, then asked, “But we have to forgive them anyway, right?”

Yep.  “We do, honey.  Just like I forgive you, but still expect you to not keep doing it.  If you keep saying nasty things, or saying things in a nasty way, I’ll still forgive you, because God forgives me, but don’t be surprised if other people don’t want to be around you if you keep doing it.  We’re supposed to love each other, right?”


“Do we love each other by being snotty when someone didn’t do something exactly the way we wanted them to?”

Pause.  “No.”

“Right.  Do you want seconds of anything?”

“Is there more macaroni and cheese, please?”

“You betcha.”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, Your law tells us that we must forgive each other’s trespasses as many times as others trespass against us, because You forgive us infinitely more times than we forgive others.  Thank You for Your little blessings, at least one of whom already understands that.  Please help me teach them what love is, and what love is not, and that love is more readily shown in kind treatment of others than by ostentatious trappings and public declarations of one’s great love for and faith in You — and help me show it in my conduct on the days when they are trying to break the world record for the decibel level of screaming and whining.

And they call it kitty love

Here’s the song reference.

Beanie is something of a legend at our county’s parks and recreation department.  Last spring, when I was picking up the supplies for Bugaboo’s soccer team (Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man in tow, Sal practicing corner kicks in my belly), the nice gentleman leaned over to address our younger daughter and asked her, in the singsong voice some adults use with very young children, “And are you going to play soccer like your big sissy?”

I should mention here that Beanie is altogether disdainful of anything that remotely resembles condescension.  We have NO idea where she gets that.

At any rate, she looked up at the gent with a facial expression that suggested she was questioning his intelligence, then slowly replied, “Nooooo.  I want to play football.”

Continuing with the singsong tone, he cooed at her, “Aww, are you going to be a little kicker?”

She regarded him again and sighed with the mild exasperation she often expresses when she has to explain something that, to her, is patently obvious, before replying, “Noooo.  I want to WHAMMO somebody,” while punching one little fist into the opposite little palm.

I should point out that at the time, Beanie was two years and nine months old, about 31 inches tall, and about 28 pounds.

The poor man snorted, then literally fell to his knees, laughing until tears ran down his face.  Some minutes later, as he wiped his streaming cheeks, he blinked up at me and choked out, “Lady, you’ve got A LOT on your hands.”  I somewhat smugly replied, “Mister, you don’t know the half of it.”

I am relating this tale as background to the story of my morning yesterday.  Beanie shambled out of the girls’ room a little after 7:00, and, after a couple of failed attempts, managed to clamber up onto the sofa and snuggle in next to me.  As it happened, I was perusing the Internet looking for party supplies for her upcoming birthday bash.  You see, this tiny titan has decided that nothing in the world will do but that she has a Hello Kitty-themed birthday party, complete with a pinata.  There are, fortunately, quite a number of purveyors of such pinatas, and a wide array of Hello Kitty goodies with which to fill them.

Since Beanie is the honoree of this particular shindig, it seemed appropriate to seek her input on the question of the pinata.  I pulled up the Google page containing a dozen images of the different types of Hello Kitty pinatas, then explained to her that we needed to decide whether she wanted a pull-string version or a bash-it-with-a-stick version.  She looked at me with a genuinely horrified expression, then emphatically exclaimed, “We have to have the string kind!  I don’t want anyone to whack Hello Kitty with a bat!  Poor Hello Kitty!  Hello Kitty is nice!  I don’t want anyone to break Hello Kitty!”

My comment on Facebook last night was, “I believe I may have to dress all of her siblings as Hello Kitty from now on.”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for little blessings who fill our days with laughter, and who derive joy from many different aspects of the world You have given us.  Please help me teach Your blessings to treat their siblings with the same tenderness they treat their imaginary friends and toys.  It is sometimes difficult for adults to treat gently with people who have given them offense, Lord, but please help me give them the right example of treating people more lovingly that we treat inanimate objects that cannot love us, or You, back.

And please, Lord, let me never lose the ability to laugh while I’m teaching, even if I have to do so silently.

All I want is a photograph

Here’s the song reference.

It has been a very long two weeks for all of us, complete with sick tiny people, two grandmothers landing in hospitals, and a promotion at work for Daddy which, while it will be very beneficial to our household budget in the long run, has resulted in the poor guy working a stretch of twelve-hour days trying to manage a mess that was left for him.  The kids have been troopers through Mommy being on the phone for hours and, in the boys’ case, Daddy leaving for work before they awaken and returning home after they are abed.

We’ve been working on changing all of their bedtimes, in large part because Bugaboo and Beanie are at a point where they really don’t need to sleep for twelve straight hours at night, and also because we’ve discovered that the boys sleep better if we put Baby Guy down about half an hour before Mr. Man.  Mr. Man is delighted with this turn of events, as that half-hour tends to be his special big guy storytime with Daddy.  Once he goes to bed, Beanie gets her own story or art time with Mommy and Bugaboo gets her storytime with Daddy.  It means Daddy and I eat dinner at 8:30 some nights, but the relaxation and joy we derive from the extra time with the tiny people makes a late dinner worthwhile.

Last night, Daddy was so late getting home that special storytimes were not possible, particularly since Mr. Man decided to play drums on the wall of the boys’ room instead of taking his nap.  He was a little put out by this, but he was so tired that he couldn’t keep himself from dissolving into fits of temper over things like the corner of his Cheez-It breaking off.  As I snuggled our hysterical older son and tried to kiss him goodnight, he spied a camera perched atop the toaster oven.

Mr. Man loves to push buttons, to the point that his second three-word phrase was, “I push button.”  His first three-word phrase was the classic, “No, that mine.”  Upon seeing the old Panasonic, he immediately set up a cry of, “I push button I push button I push button PEASE PEASE I want picture pease picture picture picture pease push button!”

While we are ordinarily inclined to keep breakable electronics as far away from the big guy’s clutches as possible, Daddy and I exchanged a glance, then a nod, and through a short series of questions managed to deduce that Mr. Man wished to photograph his father, then look at the picture on the viewscreen.  Daddy posed, Mr. Man pushed the button and managed to take a picture, and all was right with his world for thirty seconds or so.  It was still a wrestling match for my husband to get a tired two-year old down the steps and into his bed, where he wailed his objections to the sandman for another ten minutes, but his smile when he was allowed to push the button, succeeded in getting the camera to flash, and saw the picture he had taken of Daddy, was just fantastic to see after an hour’s worth of screaming and tears.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, sometimes the smallest, simplest attentions can bring happiness to Your blessings.  Please help me remember that sometimes, their upset is caused by having been told “no” too many times in a day over things that are really of no consequence, just because their desires are inconvenient at a particular moment.  Please grant me the wisdom to strike the proper balance between attentiveness and overindulgence, and stay me from compensating for having my attention elsewhere by overindulging them in material goods.  I would have them learn that time spent doing and teaching small kindnesses is more valuable, and more precious to You, than all the toys in the world that will keep them in a corner and quiet.  You sent me Your blessings to train up in Your ways; please grant me the wisdom to remember that while I am on the phone getting information about a family member in the hospital, it serves us all better to let them sit near me and color a picture for the afflicted than to shoo them away or hide myself behind a door.

The marvelous toy

Here’s the song reference.

For Beanie’s first Christmas, back in the brave year 2008, we gave her this odd little toy made by Playskool.  Since Beanie was not yet sitting independently well enough to play with it much, Bugaboo appropriated it for a couple of months; Beanie reclaimed it around Valentine’s day.  It’s something of a strange contraption; a tiny hand pushes on the ladybug, which starts both music and a small blower fan located inside the toy, which causes a ball to roll around in the center and causes any of the accompanying little toys to move.  The alligator clacks its teeth, the palm tree spins its crown, and the hippo, before Smudgie ate it, spun its ears.  It was Beanie’s absolute favorite plaything until she was about two years old; Mr. Man also fell in love with it for about six months, before he discovered MegaBloks.

Since we had a houseful of sick kids yesterday, I was looking for some quiet diversions, and thus dusted off what we have all come to call “the marvelous toy,” since Baby Guy is now of an age to appreciate it.  After a brief kerfuffle caused by an ownership dispute, I managed to convince Beanie that even though yet another baby is playing with her toy, once he’s outgrown it, I will take the batteries back out and put it in her keepsakes box so she will have it for her own babies to enjoy, and the fun began.  Mr. Man and Beanie teamed up to show Baby Guy all the fun things he could do with it, then Beanie retired to the couch with Bugaboo.  Each girl kept up a running commentary as the boys giggled, pointed, and experimented.  Beanie gave the play-by-play of what her little brothers were doing with the toy, while Bugaboo spun tales of what the monkey might do if he were ever able to escape from the confines of his palm tree.

Eventually, the three older kids decided it would be more fun to play outside (I am a firm believer that sending any child who is not too sick to walk outside play, if the weather is fair and warm — there’s an adage about sunshine being the best disinfectant for a reason, after all), leaving Baby Guy alone with his new object of fascination.  Towards the end of his attention span, I managed to get a short video (less than 1 minute) of a tiny guy having fun with something novel — and, of course, Smudgie’s ever-fascinating chew rope.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have blessed our house with all manner of things that delight Your blessings, from books of Your love letters to us,to music, to abundant food and drink, to gaily colored playthings.  Thank You for Your bounty, and for the unfettered laughter of tiny people, even when they are ill.  Help me teach Your blessings that to share their favorite material things with their siblings, friends, and strangers may cause plaything to wear out, but will store them up a greater treasure in Heaven.  Please help me remember that myself, when I am tempted to store away too many things that I think, at the moment, are precious, but are desperately needed by another.

Vomit comet

I fully intended to restart regular postings today; unfortunately, Beanie has come down with some sort of tummy bug, hopefully not of the same variety that put Deedaw in the hospital last week.  As the lovely author of Dear Friends put it yesterday, our family is my priority, and as many tales as I have to share, tending a sick preschooler (and keeping the bug from spreading to her three siblings) wins out over a long posting.

I do, however, have some photos to share.  Over the weekend, Daddy took Bugaboo and Beanie to visit family in Pittsburgh on the occasion of his uncle’s 70th birthday.  While there, they met their beautiful cousin Gabriel, whose mother was told to abort him, and their Great-Grandma, for whom Beanie is named.  Every life is precious, every life has beauty, and every life is of equal value in the eyes of Almighty God, no matter how great or small the units of time in which it can be measured.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You commanded us that the person who would be the greatest among us must be a servant of the least.  Help me teach Your blessings that there is a larger joy in striving to be the greatest in Your eyes than in the eyes of the world. Thank You for opening their eyes to the beauty of lives that are fragile and must be handled with extreme care; please grant me the wisdom to constantly teach them that such lives are not burdens, but blessings, as they teach us the joy we can find, and bring, by caring enough to cherish every moment of every life.  As I tend to a vomiting little blessing, please help me set an example of the genuinely happy heart with which You bless us when we humble ourselves to undertake the menial, and sometimes yucky, tasks of care.

Brief hiatus until 6/7 — Please post a link to your blog in the comments.

Friends, life is happening at a slightly faster pace than usual, so I am suspending the blog for a couple of days.  Everybody at our house is fine, but my attention needs to be elsewhere for a little while.  Thank you for understanding.

If you have a blog of your own, please post a link in the comments section.  I’d like to read what you’re writing, if I don’t already subscribe to you, and I’d like the people who read this to know each other.

Peace be with you.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, send your healing mercies to those who stand in most need of them. Help us teach Your blessings that no cry for help goes unanswered, and that even the most seemingly disastrous things are blessings from You.  Please give us Your eyes to see.