Monday, August 11, 2014

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover Lamb: a true story

Contributed by Jesse Ray 4-18-2011
I arrived on the scene with my gun and stoically loaded in some self-defense rounds (although I was clearly not in danger). I did not lavish the idea of slaughtering a lamb, but my friend, Pat, called and sheepishly asked for some help. I guess he thought I was qualified since I had butchered last year's deer with the help of my family.

It took a while for me to prepare the surroundings, I had never killed something so large, at such close range. During these few minutes I had time think about the gravity of what was about to happen.

Of course my mind took me back to the Jews and passover. Remember, the Bible is not just filled with stories, but with accounts of historical events. These events that we are familiar with actually happened. The Word of God prescribed, no dictated, the killing of a lamb. For the Jews, the lamb was not just dinner. The blood of the lamb was spread on the horizontal and vertical wood of the door frames (of course we recognize this as a foreshadowing of Christ's blood dripping from His wooden cross).

Exodus 12:21-22
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, "Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.

We all know that the consequence of sin is death, yet today we do not always see or feel that direct connection. Before Jesus, the Lamb of God, came as our final sacrifice, a cute, woolly lamb <baaa>, had to die in expiation for sins. The Jews symbolically placed their own sins on the head of the lamb before it was killed in Leviticus 1. The male sheep was chosen from the flock for its spotlessness, just as Christ, sinless and perfect, died for our sins.

We Catholics are blessed with the sacrament of confession, a very quick and clean way of cleansing sins from our soul. Well, let me tell you there was nothing quick or clean about killing a lamb. If we had to go through this every time we sinned I would expect people would either sin less, or would carry more sins around on their hearts.

I tell the following story, not for the sake of gore, but because it was a very raw and spiritual experience. You should stop here if the thought of blood makes you queezy.

I was compelled to pause, and say a prayer thanking God for this animal and for the gift of it's life. At first it all happened quite fast: The the gun popped, a red spot appeared on the lambs head, the lamb dropped. I was glad that was over with.

What happened next surprised me. All living things try to avoid death, and even after the lethal blow, the lamb was not going to die without a fight. I apologize, for the detail, but far more blood than I expected began pouring out of the sheep's mouth and nose. The famous painting "Adoration of the Lamb" by van Eyck flashed in my brain, (of course in the painting the sheep is standing, but the flow of blood is clearly key in the comparison).Adoration of the Lamb_van_Eyck_inset

My friend Pat, the instigator of this whole event, took action (and large knife) holding the sheep down with the full weight of his body and slit the throat. As more blood emerged it was clear that the bloody descriptions in the old testament will never be void of imagery for me anymore.

PETA people refuse to eat lambchops or wear sheepskin because of (I assume) the violence of slaughter. (or maybe they just need some cause to distract them from the evils of abortion and euthanasia that many support). Before any scriptural lessons, I think seeing that this tasty protein-source doesn't start out in a styrofoam package at Meijers is good to know.

But seriously, what kind of a "merciful" God would order His people to do something so violent and base? The answer points to the Eucharist, and is so deep that we need to understand God's plan of salvation is exposed in history and recorded in scripture. Now we just need to know where to look.

My dad, Steve Ray, teaches about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and its Biblical foundations. He can speak for hours about the beauty and reality. Enjoy this audio sample about the passover lamb from a talk he gave in Ohio, April 2011. The whole talk, titled, The Eucharist: Christ Present to Us, can be found here, and is really a great listen.

Pictures of the Lamb can be found here, They are of the actual event and not the sanitized american-children's version.

Happy Passion Week everybody. I pray that you will all draw closer to our Lord and find joy in His Cross and Resurrection.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Great Big Chapstick

Bella is great at taking off the tops of pens, bottles, chapstick and anything else that comes apart. We last night Bella found a glue stick...and to her it was a giant chapstick...and off came the top. Luckily her aim wasn't so good, it ended up all over her cheek, instead of her lips.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wilderness Camping

As we leave the Manistee National Forest to go home, I can't help but smile and thank God. Anna is an amazing partner in life, no matter where we are. She was cheerful the entire time. Even thriving in the sparse surroundings. No toilets, no running problem.

For someone who never wilderness camped before she was right at home.
As we prepared to leave she dug a hole near a fallen log and said, "everyone go #2 in the woods so we don't have to use a gross rest-stop toilet on the way home." (that cracks me up, I love that we both find the outdoors cleaner than "civilized" toilets).

The kids did amazingly well, too! Eating all the camp-food cooked on our little stove. Maria even said she loved washing the dishes out in the woods with me as she cheerfully scrubbed and put away the dishes.

Bella loves being part of it all. She still scoots around on her bottom, which made the trip interesting, but the leafy ground was a fine place for her to scoot around and discover new sticks and things. Even though she can't say much she was the first to respond when I asked who liked camping in the woods, she said "ME!" and in the car she sits in her rear-facing car seat watching the kids behind her laughing at them.

Josh and Sam both loved the spears I made them from sharpened branches. (the spears are the only things we are bringing back with us, with daddy-sized spears duct taped to the roof racks). The pieces of moss and colorful leaves Josh collected kept his interest for hours. Sam loved the relative-safety of our cozy family tent, and being one of the first ones out of his sleeping bag even though it was frigid in the morning.

I like knowing that even as our young family grows, that we can take on challenging situations -- with all our kids -- that most people reserve for teens and adults alone. We can find and treat our drinking water, get through a thunderstorm in a tent, make it long hours on a car ride without movies or stopping for french fries.

We may be able to go without showers, toilets, other luxuries, but we can't go without each other, because we love being a family and going on adventures together.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Were you even listening?

Maria asked, "has anybody seen my blue marker."
Samuel said, "I don't know what color is it?"

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Where is my headband

Arabella was playing with Maria's headband at church this morning when we got into the car to go home Maria said in a fearful voice "mom where is my headband", I turned to look at her and it was on her head.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Joshua was afraid to go outside by himself because he thought there were coyotes, so Samuel said, "I'll go out with you I'm strong and brave... and violent."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Homemade Mango Ice Cream

After it was all done, Anna said it was her favorite (and that is a big deal if you know how muchshe loves chocolate ice cream).
Every now and again we make something in the kitchen that turns out wonderful. After buying a box of mangos, which were half price since they were ripe, we knew that somethings special was going to happen. Charlotte suggested icecream.

We used 3 large ripe mangos.
Blended them with about:
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice
and a bit of Blue Agave Sweetener (its kind of like honey except cooler)
After the blending we just poured it into the ice cream maker and waited for 30 minutes.
What came out of the bowl was pure delight.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Night owl, or early bird

This morning Maria told us that she is an Early Owl...because I sleep all night and get up early.

La la land (or Joshua doesn't listen)

An hour after we ate lunch Joshua came out of nowhere and asked what was for lunch. Anna said its sitting at your place and probably cold by now.
Joshua: "Why didn't you tell me."
Anna: "I asked you to go outside and tell Sam and Maria that lunch was ready, did you do that?"
Joshua: "Yes."
Anna: "Than why didn't you come back in with them and eat lunch with us?"
Joshua: "I don't know..."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter ("I feel Sick")

After the Easter vigil mass and lots of late night candy and treats the kids woke up with sore tummies. The first thing out of Maria's mouth was "It"s EASTER, I feel sick."
Sam ran to the bathroom complaining of a sore tummy... We asked if he was "throw up" sick and he said, "sick like the bottom of my tummy is full if sugar."

Joshua: "help, eee, Bella attacked one of my egs and is spilling out the candy!!!"
Mom (sarcastically): " yeah, Bella is so vicious."

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pew Preserves

At the Easter vigil when some people sat in the "Reserved" row right in front of us Josh asked, "do they know that pew is preserved?"

Friday, April 02, 2010

Sam can "rememberize"

Maria is learning to read, and she read all the titles of the stations of the cross today. When she got to station 13# she said "Jesus' body is taken down from the cross." But Sam, who was sitting behind us, corrected her..."removed from the cross", he said.
Me: "Sam can you read?"
Maria: "NO, he just rememberized it!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

This is an Abortion! - Warning Very Graphic - Video - Catholic Online

Dear God. I will pray for and end to abortion every day. I will never forget again after watching this video.
This is an Abortion! - Warning Very Graphic - Video - Catholic Online

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Wolf

Maria was telling Sam a story that he knew wasn't true.
He said "tell the truth or I won't believe what you say and a wolf will come out of the woods and eat you."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas treats

While eating a bear claw pastry Anna told the kids it has almond extract in it so it fasts a bit like marashino cherries.
Sam took a bite and said, "this doesn't taste like jalapeƱo cherries."

Thursday, December 17, 2009


All the kids were telling riddles around the dinner table with their cousins.
Damian: What do you call an X that just got out of the bath tub?
Answer: a Kleenex.

Sammy has trouble making the "L" sound, and he but he quickly formulated this riddle on his own...
Sam: what kind of Queen has no crown?
Answer: A Queenex (but it sounded just like Kleenex).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crossed over the 50 mile mark

I crossed over the 50 mile mark today, one day ahead of schedule!!
This feels good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maria the risk taker

Maria asked "why do we have to wear our seatbelts when we have never been in an accident?"
Anna: "if we did get in a car accident you would fly out the window."
Maria, banging on the side window: "but mom, I'm hitting the window and it doesn't break."

My dad invented that

Maria has lost both her front teeth and has been enjoying all the attention that comes from missing teeth before Christmas.
Tonight her Aunt Catherine sang the "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" song. Maria then said: "My dad invented that song."

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Emily was telling us that the father of one of her friends died recently, really sad. But as we were talking about Joshua asked, "Did he die of sudden instant death?"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Funny Updates

I was wrestling the kids this evening before bedtime.
Maria said: you can you can't hurt me because I'm five, and you're almost dead.
Me: I'm not that old.
Maria: Yes, you're almost to the age of your death.

The other day Maria asked if we could use some of the money that we earn to buy toys. We responded with something standard like: you already have toys, and there are other things to spend money on beside toys.
So Maria said: well yeah, we need to buy food too, we couldn't live if we just had toys, toys, TOYS!

Up before the sun to play in the snow

Everybody already know that our kids are crazy-awesome...but this confirms it. They woke up at 6:30 am, and were playing in the snow by 7:00 (long before the sun rose).

Then they made tiger, bird and dinosaur footprints in the snow.

Later when getting dressed for atrium Maria said, "this would be a lot easier if I was a paper doll."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

More stories

Maria was playing paper dolls with Anna and was naming all the dolls and giving them characteristics.
At one point she said, this one is named Maria, she pretends to be the mom and takes care of all the kids ...(pause) actually her mom died of cancer so she is the mom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Can you control your self

Maria has been a bit aggressive lately, especially when she is tired.
Today Anna asked her: "can you control your body?"
And Maria shouts "YES" and swings her arm hitting Anna in the head.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Who can you marry

Damian was talking about marrying Maria but we told him " you can't
marry someone in your family."
Maria added, "yeah, you can only marry someone you don't know."

(that's right, arranged marriages are back)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Almost a Compliment

In response to a suggestion I made, Joshua said "Wow mom, I would have never thought of that. You're almost smarter than me!"

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Already Famous

I overheard Joshua complimenting Sam on a picture he drew.
Joshua: "Sam, that is amazing, someday you are going to be a famous artist!"

Sam: "I already am a famous artist."

(infamous maybe, for not putting his art supplies away :-)