Recently in Pansyiana Category

(well, besides being from the Western Hemisphere, having special names that begin with "P", and being baptized into the Mystical Body of Christ?)

A devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots!

Jorge Mario Bergoglio encountered the devotion in Augsburg, Germany and brought it to Argentina, where it's become very popular. An Argentine goldsmith is planning to give a chalice to Pope Francis depicting Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.

When I first posted about this devotion, I had thought that the knots represented the knots of sin and its consequences. But according to this Argentinean website, the image was originally commissioned to celebrate the healing of a troubled marriage. While praying for the couple, Father Jakob Rem raised the ribbon used in the marriage ceremony, "untying all the knots and smoothing it out." The ribbon became smooth and perfectly white. The couple reconciled, and the image was commissioned by their grandson.

Which is interesting, because when we first posted the novena here it was for Pansy's intentions - specifically, the healing of her marriage .

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, please pray for your son Francis as he works to undo the problems faced by the Church, and please pray for us.


15 Days From Today...

| | Comments (0)

I'm doing this:

Why? I wish I had a deep reason, but mostly because it looks like fun. It looks like fun. OK, it started back in April or March, I was in the kitchen with my former Marine brother and my husband and I said, "have you hear of Tough Mudder?" "No." I showed him the video and he became very animated, said he was going to get a bunch a Marine buddies, we were going to get a team together, do it, and get a beer. Wow, all that and a beer.

Let's backtrack. For years I have tried to cheat, get around, minimize, excuse the one plain fact: I need to exercise. I need to eat right. I had gestational diabetes three times, my parents both had high blood pressure, so I'm an at risk group.
The catalyst though is it has been a rough past year in my family. I've lost four family members. I have also started work as a CNA and was confronted with death on a pretty regular basis, where as before, my life was sanitized from it. as a matter of fact, I say most of us are sanitized from what it is to grow old, I mean really old or really sick. It's not pretty, but it's there and it's a part of life that's unavoidable. My father, before he became ill was a runner. When he developed cancer, the type of cancer he had caused constant microscopic bone fractures. He lost a good 3-5 inches in height before he passed. I know he wanted to get better and hoped he could go back to running and being active again.
Later in my work as a CNA, the generation I took care of was the smoking generation. I had so many residents hooked up to oxygen condensers, who couldn't walk a few feet without being out of breath or who went into fits of panic because they couldn't breathe.Like I said, I know that just like everyone else, I will depart this world. There are things that we know for a fact, if we do now, it will give us a better shot that our last years we can spend in the company with our grand and great grandchildren going on outings with them. No guarantees, but more of a chance. After all, our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit.

So back to my Dad, I knew he would've loved to lace up his shoes and just gone out to run. So I figured if Dad liked it so much, and he couldn't do it, I'll give it a shot. There isn't a cheaper work-out. I decided I couldn't stand one more Zumba class. I wanted to not just move, but become a bit more athletic.(I was also egged on by my son Ian, who is a runner as well. Every other day he would say "Mom, you should run a race. Mom you should run a race."). In June 2011 I started the Cool Runnings Couch to 5K running plan and in August 27 of that same year, I completed my first race in 30 minutes flat. Wow, that was a rush. I ran the whole thing, and I completed it without stopping. I didn't think it was possible.

Then winter came and my work-outs started slowing down, after I all, I did the race. I realized I needed new motivation. With my personality, and I think with many folks, I can't just say "I'm going to work out today to keep my heart healthy and lose a few pounds." I needed to set a goal, lock myself into a date with a deadline (as in pay $$ for the registration) and train. Again.Other things in life, especially a life involving care of seven children will push that out of sight and out of mind.I started to do a ten-week half-marathon training plan. That didn't go so well. It was too intense and I over trained. Also, the half-marathon I had in mind (which I picked simply based on date and location) was kind of ridiculous. It wasn't filling up despite a good price, and when we looked at the course,we understood why. It was all hills. Not a good choice for a first half-marathon. So I passed.

That brings me to standing in the kitchen with my brother. We signed up. Initially I started doing Cross Fit WODs. Then Josh and I started a 12 Week Training Plan that we just completed last week. We started eating clean. My brother has since bailed on me because he moved to Texas to go be with the love of his life, which I suppose I can forgive, but we picked up another couple who are old friends and as crazy as Josh and I.

So what can I say about this crazy training? First, I have suffered from various anxiety issues since the onset of motherhood. I don't know if I can contribute the benefits of feeling better to the clean diet or to exercise, but I tend to think both. This is the BEST anti-anxiety drug I have come into contact with. Now, I am not giving any advice or telling anybody what to do, but simply testifying to my own experience. Second, skin, hair (not including the greys)-just awesome. I have yet to come into contact with someone who can guess my age. Third, my husband had high blood pressure. He has horrible genes in regards to blood pressure, diabetes and all those fun 1st world disorders. We donated blood yesterday, his was 118/82 (mine was 92/62). His HA1C has dropped tremendously. Yay, Husband.We are also having a lot of fun training together. I want to say I lost a lot of weight-about 20 pounds. I'd like to lose more, but that scale doesn't like to move. However the tape measure tells a very different story. I'm a size 4, which I can't believe. I haven't been a 4 since high school. If I check the size charts, that's what it says, but I still couldn't comprehend that. A few days ago I purchased a pair of Size 4 skinny jeans to test it. I tried them on and they fit!

So, after 15 days from now, what's next? I plan to keep up the work and make eating clean and training a lifestyle, not just until an event, and then I'm done, but always. I have a couple of events lined up. On December 2, I'm doinga half marathon with a fellow blogger. In April, the game plan is to do my first marathon in Gettysburg with my crazy TM girlfriend who is also a history geek.

For a long time I would put taking care of myself on the back burner because I would associate it with simply being cosmetic as opposed to an important piece of a fulfilling life. Or more importantly, taking care of myself physically and mentally so I can better take care of others.

...written by her brother:

My Dad was a genius. He was very accomplished and highly educated with mutiple degrees. These included a BA from Brandeis in Psychology with a double major in Anthropology, a MA in Psychology from Columbia University, a PHD in Psychology from Stonybrook, and a MA in theology from St. Charles Borromeo. But he didn't care about any of that. He only cared about his family and his faith. He always let me know that in his life, first came God, then my mother and my siblings, and that loving God meant loving your family. He adored his grandchildren, and looked up to his brother. That's the type of person I want to be.

Pansy's father's wake is tonight. The Mass of Christian Burial is Friday morning.

Pansy's father entered eternal life early this morning, on the Feast of the Assumption.

Dad and Dani

1973, with baby Pansy

Deacon Dad
Deacon Dad, 2009

Good Morning World!

| | Comments (2)


It snowed. Again. This is the third time in recent weeks that I *thought* the piles of snow were dissipating, spring would be on it's way soon, snow days would be a thiong of the past. Yes, you know you have had it with winter when you've had it with snow days. The first ones are a much needed respite from the normal routine. After a while, all they are is a diversion of responsibilities that cannot be put off. Children, education, chores only work well with routines and too many breaks in the routine just set you back to the beginning. (Wow, I can't believe I'm saying this.)

It's nearly impossible to home school the little ones when they are so excited their big brother is home; and when he's home, the last thing on his mind is school work.

Last week I started taking classes to become a CNA. My husband juggled a lot around to work third shift so I can take the classes during the day, and the home schooling will not be interrupted.I was so burnt out. I was stressed. I woke up every morning at 4 dreading the everyday battle telling the boys to get out their school books and punishing them everyday when they refused. All day, every day. The kids and my husband combo seems to have breathed new life into homeschooling. I come home from class to hear "we did biology, handwriting, math..."


For a brief moment, gone are my daily fears of my eleven-year old spending his life on my sofa eating Hot Pockets and playing video games.

I am enjoying the class as well. My original plan (and still is) was to use this as a stepping stone to becoming an RN. Once I had employment at my local hospital and get into the education reimbursement program. Full time hospital employees who go to nursing school have their education costs covered as long as they promise to work for that establishment. Actually, I'm in a similar CNA program now. My schooling is covered if I work in one of the eight area hospitals or long-term-care homes in the area.

What I did not expect was how excited I would be to become a CNA. Everyday I learn more about the need for compassionate care for the elderly (and the lack of). I can make a small difference in the world.

The cons? My husband's hours are cut drastically while I'm doing this. If we can hang in there, it will all be so much better later, but in the mean time, I am praying for God to give us a helping hand. I know He will because each day I get another small sign this is what I should be doing.

So Familiar

| | Comments (2)

How we made it through my husband's affair on Salon

I walked in the door of a brick building (ironically located in the same building as our marriage counselor) and began crying as soon as I gave the receptionist my name. Moments later a lovely woman at a wooden desk told me my options, explained the pricing, then left me with this advice: "You don't have to rush this. Make the decision when you're ready."

I left the building still sobbing into a wad of soggy Kleenex.

For the next several days, I took a one-day-at-a-time approach toward working through the hurricane that had made landfall on our marriage.

This was also a piece of advice I recieved over and over again in the beginning...and it was awesome advice.


Pansy's Seven Quick Takes

| | Comments (0)


1. I sewed 40 yarmulkes for my cousin's wedding! OK, not all this week, but I finished the order. I learned how as I went along. I found a tutorial, but it was little more than a pattern, so there was a lot of trial and error. Here is my Ian modeling the first one.
One hot kippah
The bride and groom have a love of New Orleans culture and the groom is a chef. They wanted a fabric to reflect their personal interests that as opposed to the standard black suede or velvet.

2. I got through another week of simultaneous football/tennis/cross country/karate. We did do McDonald's one day.

3. My husband and I want to thank you for all the kind responses to my update post . They were amazing and strengthening for both of us.

4. Uh oh, running out of quick takes...I think I folded 22 loads of laundry since Sunday? Can I include that even though it's standard???

5. Moving ahead in our home school. Since I put the older ones in school a few years back, the youngers have been lagging a bit at the "start". Totally my fault and my lack of organization skills. I have finally realized that the scenario I had that worked with my older ones does not work with the batch I'm teaching now, so I feel like I'm stating from scratch.

I also decided I can't continue home schooling anymore. I will continue with the ones now until they reach eighth grade, but the ones from here on out who start school will go into school. I'm getting too old.

6. Almost completely fell off the wagon with the diet and exercise routine, but came back again. I'm at the point where time after time, I go back to my old lazy ways, but I'm keeping up with it.

7. Um, I'm out of ideas. That laundry thing again? Mass amounts of dishes I wash?

Words Cannot Express My Gratitude

| | Comments (30)

It's been nearly one year since I posted this. I was thinking of waiting for the one year mark, mostly because I just didn't know what to say or how to say it. I also wasn't sure in my heart until pretty recently that it's all going to be alright, so I didn't want to jinx anything. Also, something about the whole St. Blog's Pantsapalooza Event of 2010 made me think here I am actually in possession of some knowledge I should perhaps pass on. In many of the comboxes, in between the yays and nays for pants, there would be talk here and there of not one, but of few couples someone might know, Catholics with large families, breaking up. I stumbled the other day on a statistic that only 1/3 of couples survive infidelity. I cannot even begin to understand why us. I have no idea, except God allowed, chose, helped...He did it. So I guess it was time to write...something. I hope it's not lame.

As of now, we are surviving, we are building a new marriage and our old marriage is dead and gone. It's is withered and decayed and the new one is bright and filled with hope. As of right now, I love my husband more than I ever have. We are not merely "riding it out". Everything is new again. I place the "blame" on you, Dear People. When this broke, my husband was very lost. He will tell you he was in the darkest place he has ever been. He was evil or surrounded by evil, not sure. He was depressed, he obviously wasn't thinking straight and the more he made bad choices, the worse he felt, and in turn would make more bad choices. He was just piling more "spiritual muck" onto himself. As Mark Shea says "sin makes you stupid". So many men I see who take the route my husband have become literally unreachable under all that muck. When you all reached out and prayed, my husband will tell you it was around that time he started to wake up and come out the fog. This wasn't an immediate process and at first, he fought it, but it was a way for God to grab him and take hold and slowly start clearing that muck away.

I cannot underestimate the practical help as well, the donations, the words of encouragement. I was...hysterical. I was scared, confused. At the time, the kind words I read and the support kept me going. I desperately needed it because while I was receiving support here, I was hearing, "non-supportive" words from some of the icky people my husband allowed to influence him. One of his family members told me it was my fault because I had so many kids. Seven is ridiculous, I should have stopped at three and my husband clearly didn't want any more but I refused to listen. I must have had those kids to keep him around. She, other family, the girlfriend all told me it was because I "was a bad wife". So yes, hearing encouraging words was necessary at that point because I didn't know what was right, what was happening, what was real and my self-esteem struck a huge blow so it was easy to believe I deserved it all for doing things like having children, and being a boring housewife.

The donations helped in more ways than the obvious as well. My husband left and came home in February. Yes, he did support us, but in his very "rational" state, he did not think about what it costs to support a family of 8 in one spot and the cost of supporting himself in the New York City area 3 hours away prior to leaving. The donations helped with practical matters, but it also gave me a great deal of confidence that some how, some way, if things go badly, I'll make it. I think it also sent a signal to him that despite surrounding himself with nitwits like the family members I described who had his ear, most people looked down on his actions to the point they were willing to donate money! (Incidentally, when this happened, I became adept at finding email accounts, decoding passwords and an ex girlfriend came out the woodwork who had been lurking on this blog to congratulate him on finally getting rid of the "old ball and chain", to tell him to contact her and to let him know "do you know she's asking for donations?" I deleted it.)

There has been talk that maybe people should not say bad things about Bud McFarlane Jr for leaving his wife in the comboxes lately. No. He should know that the general population looks down on such actions. Admonish the sinner. It's not simply for the sake of "siding" with Bai, but for the sake of his own soul. My husband, on his own accord went to confession, and spent an half hour bringing the priest up to speed. Mass that day, ended up starting late because of it. I'm not sure if that would have happened if things did not play out the way they did. Every piece of this had it's purpose.

So what happened? I cannot even begin to start, it would take a book. It was the hardest year of my life. I now have grey hair, crows feet. I have these permanent bags under my eyes from crying everyday (great product: ).

I can say that this was a spiritual battle for sure. At first our progress was teeny tiny baby steps and a lot of uncertainty. It wasn't until late June that I decided I would stay married to him. Before that, I don't think he was certain about staying married to me until February-when he decided he wanted the marriage, I was sick, fed up, done with him. Since June, the progress was slow and then started snowballing. Spiritually, each time we made a large step at progress, Satan was right there with a rebuttal. Every stinking time. This is still the case. It's almost immediate. We actually can see it for what it is and more and more it gives me the confidence that we are "meant to be". The only way things will continue to work from here on out is relying on prayer and the sacraments. Satan has a foothold in our lives. No way around that.

I want to share some things I learned for anyone going through this:
1. Pray, pray, pray. You have nothing else but God. I made the Novena to the 13 Blessed Souls a few times, the St. Rita I don't know how many times. Our Lady Undoer of Knots, St. Jude, St. Joseph the Flying Novena to the Infant of Prague in addtion to tons of rosaries, Chaplets of Divine Mercy, the Angelus everyday for months. I said a Magnificat every time it popped into my head. I don't even know how many novenas I made. I begged for prayers. I debated a lot between telling people and asking for prayers and keeping my dirty laundry to myself. It's a tough call because people who love you and see you suffer will not want you to reconcile with your spouse, which is 150% completely understandable. Still, I think the reason my husband turned around was the prayers.

There will be times when you will doubt if God even exists. Pray harder then.

2. Read Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson. And/or implement the "180" as soon as possible. This will keep your head on straight when you think you are loosing it, and may help get your marriage back-if that is what you wish.
On a side note: we Catholics do a good job in having a preliminary outline how to keep a marriage Godly. We do not have a lot of resources to turn to when things go bad. we have Retrouvaille, but that works only after both parties decide to work it out. There is nothing to stop a man (or woman) in stuck in "the fog" dead in his tracks and let him know what he's doing. We need something. Now. Maybe Greg can help us with that?

3. Take care of yourself. I did a little, but only after everyone else was tended to. I would only work-out as reward if I finished all my chores, which of course, were never finished. I figured once the kids were gown and out, I'd have "me" time again. Through all this I was tired, defeated, depressed. I started drinking. By most people's standards, not heavily, but I know I wasn't doing it "for the right reasons". So instead, I knew I needed an outlet and it would either be negative (drinking) or positive. I hit the gym, I started getting pedicure, I actually bought clothes for myself, I decided to try once a week and get to a restaurant if I could. Being cheated on is a huge self-esteem killer. People stopping you constantly and telling you how good you look, and then finding out you had seven kids, and in front of your husband...priceless!

4. Sacramentals. I said before this is a spiritual battles. Holy water, blessed oil, blessed salt. I mixed all three up and made crosses with it over every window, every doorway. I spiked my husband's food...

5. Get support from people who have been through this. People who have been through this have a very unique perspective. It all seems very black and white, cut and dry until it happens to you.

7. Outside professional help. Get counseling/therapy. Find a priest or a few and talk to them. Appraise your medical doctors, midwives, pediatricians what's going on. My family practitioner knows everything. I have found myself in the emergency room a number of times this year and since my doctor knows what is happening in my life, diagnosing the problems was easy. Did anyone know that you could have panic attacks in your stomach? I didn't.

6. Some good books:
After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Abrahms Spring
Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson
Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
The Love Dare
Here's one I haven't read, but I want to read desperately:
Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennic C. Ortman
The Bible!!!! This is nothing new and it's nothing the good book didn't warn about. Read Proverbs 5

Marriage Builders
Surviving Infidelity
Four Stages of Grief (apparently, I'm at "anger" right now).

Lastly, I'm talking mostly about me here. I'm talking a lot about what my husband did wrong. I give a lot of credit for the prayers and help people gave me, but I have to also give credit to my husband. It takes a lot to totally admit you are wrong and to allow God to break you down and build you back up again into a new person. I have not made it easy. Yes I prayed, yes I tried to stay "right", but I haven't been a saint on this journey. I've been downright evil and wretched at times. The fact that he stayed when he was unsure if he should to begin with, when he was not raised with a background where people are married is simply amazing. The fact that not only did he decide to stay, but change, that he recognized his bad choices were not the key to happiness...many people can't or do not even know how to not exist in their lies.

7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance. ~Luke 15:7

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Welcome Catholic and Enjoying It! readers.
Welcome I Have to Sit Down readers!
Welcome New Advent readers!
Welcome Happy Catholic readers!
Welcome Creative Minority Report readers!

16 Years Ago Today...

| | Comments (1)


I know many of you prayed hard for us, and I can honestly said God is listening and has granted many, many graces.

This has been a difficult year and this story isn't over. Time and God will tell what's in store. I've learned a lot about myself, marriage and relationships, turning to God and humility. That part is a blessing, I do know that much.

At this point, I'm tired of thinking, tired of wondering, tired of worrying. I've just put it all in God's hands and asked Him to take the reigns.

I Have a New 'Puter

| | Comments (0)

Yay! I'm back!

I'm busy. I've reached a new level of parenting, the running around stage. I have found I needed to clone myself on a few occasions. We now have proms, SATs, ACTs, track, wrestling, PeeWee whatever, drama, newspaper, teen drama, orthodontia, ER visits, fundraisers, home schooling...the list goes on and on. No one warned me about this when I became a Mom.

I'm doing a lousy job of being on top of it all. Frankly, I'm not able to at all. Something always gives, whether it be the housecleaning, my prayers, good cooking. Each day I decide what I have to allow to slide.

When we started this blog, the idea of proms was so far into the future...

Halt the Donations!!

| | Comments (2)

God bless you all for your help! I do not want to say too much in this public forum or speak prematurely, but I think we have reached a point where I no longer need assistance in this area. I have to ask Peony the Tech Goddess to take the Paypal button down.

Prayers , however, are always appreciated and I think the only reason I am writing this is because so many people have prayed for us.

God bless you all.

Prayers for strength

| | Comments (4)

There are things I have to do, that I don't want to do, but I must do. The first part is just the practicality of getting them done. The second is dealing with the initial repercussions, but later, well, I haven't got much of a choice.


| | Comments (0)
1 Seeing the crowds, he went onto the mountain. And when he was seated his disciples came to him.
2 Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
3 How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 Blessed are the gentle: they shall have the earth as inheritance.
5 Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness: they shall have their fill.
7 Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 'Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.

~Matthew 5:3-12

Thank You

| | Comments (2)

I wanted to drop a note and say thank you for all your love, support and generosity...and PRAYERS! You cannot imagine how much it is helping me. There are times I just feel so. alone. going through all this and then I read your kind words...

I suppose I can't relay too many details, but the prayers are for discernment, strength and guidance and I still am not sure where I am supposed to be from one minute to the next. My family still keeps me just as busy as they did last week and that's always a given. There's more to come, that's for sure, but right here, right now, this second, I'm doing OK and that has a huge part to do with the kindness and support I have been shown. Not even exaggerating. Thank you.

Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
(Disclaimer: We aren't being compensated to like this stuff.
Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies