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By Rebecca Teti

Tuesday: Open Forum

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

This is the Open Forum Coffee Talk. That means ... anything goes. Ask a question, make a suggestion, share a story, offer some advice -- the floor is yours!

Rebecca Teti


  • Praying for all those affected & mourning the loss of loved ones.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 6:07 AM by Prayers for Boston

  • I'm having an issue with my husband that I don't know how to resolve. My husband has discovered that he has ADD, which has actually really helped our marriage since now both he and I are better at communicating (since I know now that he's not being rude, etc. when he's just unfocused). Regardless, we still have constant arguments about the location of his things. He never organizes or even puts things away, leaving his tools, paintbrushes, money, phone, etc. lying wherever he puts them down (counters, etc.). I try to keep the house clean, but all of his areas (outside the main house) are a disaster. He even had mold growing in a pile of detritus in his truck. I know he can't organize, he doesn't even know where to begin. Anyway, the cause of our disagreement is that I move the things he puts down (in the main house) and try to put them up out of reach of our kids or put them in one of his areas. And then they get lost, or I forget where I put them. Sometimes he moves them himself and blames me. Either way, whenever he can't find something (which is all the time!), he gets angry at me because he "knows" that I moved it (and often I did!). But I try to pick up after him and our three little kids (4 and under) all day long. I pick up literally hundreds of things every day, I can't keep track of everything. I'm not all that organized myself but I can't just let everything degenerate into chaos. I've tried making a basket to put all of his unidentified things in but he forgets about the basket and thinks it's ridiculous that I move his things at all. I know I should just let them alone, but he leaves them lying sometimes for months! Yesterday he was looking for a valve that he left on the kitchen counter months ago. When he said I moved it and asked me to look I didn't even know where to begin. He found it in the basket I made to keep his things in, but we had a terrible fight. I don't even know what to do, he doesn't understand why I should move his things, and I keep telling him to please find a place for them and put them away so these things don't happen! We can't even talk about it, because he gets angry, talks over me, and tries to make the conversation about all of my personal failings that he can think of! I'm already overwhelmed because the house is in chaos from the kids. I don't even have the emotional energy to devote to this, so I need some unbiased advice! Thanks to all, and sorry this is so long!

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 7:23 AM by Anon

  • My husband has a little bit of this problem. He is not organized and so loses stuff. What I did was put a plastic container in crucial spots in the house near where he tends to unload stuff - near the front door, in the bedroom, in the kitchen. etc. If he still leaves stuff lying around I just pop it in one of his containers. Now he is in the habit of going to the buckets to find his stuff. When the containers get full I ask him to spend some time with me going through it and between the two of us, finding the correct permanent places for the stuff (files, trash, coin jar, etc.) This is hard to get him to do and he does it only grudgingly but I tell him if he won't do it with me I will do it myself and will end up tossing out a lot of the stuff which he doesn't want. The main trick is to put his containers in convenient places for him so that it's just as easy to dump his stuff in them than on the counter or something.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 7:56 AM by Monica (momof2)

  • Prayers for Boston, As the wife of a marathon runner & one who has friends in Boston, I add my prayers to yours: O Master, Lord our God, in Your wisdom You have created man, and have honored him with Your Divine image, and do place in him the spirit of life, and lead him into this world, bestowing on him the hope of resurrection and life everlasting. After he had violated Your commandments, You, O Gracious lover of mankind, did descend to the earth that You might renew again the creation of Your hands. Therefore we pray You, O All-Holy Master, give rest to the souls of Your departed servants, in a place of light, joy, and peace; a place of repose. We ask forgiveness of their sins in thought, word, or deed. For You are a gracious God and You love mankind and unto You do we give Glory, together with Your eternal Father and Your All-Holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 9:07 AM by Patricia

  • Jeanne's back.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 10:02 AM by Monica (momof2)

  • Hi. We just had a miscarriage last Thursday at 20.5 weeks gestation. The baby was a boy. We named him and are going to have a Mass said. We have 3 children, our oldest is 5. I told them their little brother is close to Jesus and they can talk to him and ask him to talk to Jesus for them. I don't know if that is theologically correct. Anyone else who has experienced the same, what did you tell your children?

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 10:22 AM by Lourdes

  • So sorry about your loss, Lourdes. We've had two miscarriages and it sounds like what you've told your kids is great and right at their level. We add a "[names of babies], pray for us" to our bedtime prayers every day so that those children stay a part of our family in the kids' minds and so they know they do have siblings in heaven to help them out whenever they need it.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 10:47 AM by Anna

  • Anon, is there any way you and your husband could seek help from a couples counselor? It sounds like you're not only unsure of how to solve the issue of the disorganization, but you're also having trouble communicating about it. If you can't effectively communicate, there's no way for the two of you to work through things. Most family therapists are also trained to help those with ADD and similar medical conditions, so it's likely that in addition to helping the two of you improve communication, a therapist could help your husband come up with some strategies to keep his mind, and your home, organized. Counseling can be quite expensive, but in my experience, it's money well spent! Unknown, this forum is far from being public. Sometimes it's helpful to get opinions, ideas, and experience (and prayers!) of others, especially knowing that many people who post here share ideals and values. I wouldn't consider trying to find a solution to something causing stress in a marriage as "naggy" at all! Lourdes, my prayers are with your family and your beautiful baby boy. I don't have any experience, but I do remember hearing what one of my childhood friend's mothers told her about a miscarriage. My friend knew that her mom had miscarried a baby years prior, and gotten pregnant again shortly after. My friend had asked why she lost the baby, and her mom responded with something like "I don't know, but I trust that God knows what He's doing. I love and miss your brother (the miscarried baby was a boy, too) but I'm so thankful that so-and-so (sibling conceived after miscarriage) is a part of our family." We were 11 or 12 when she said that, but I think the "God's in charge and knows what He's doing" sentiment wouldn't be lost on a 5 year old. Again, my prayers are with you and your family.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 10:52 AM by DW

  • We prayed for Boston and all of those involved-it's so mindless to have this kind of destruction, and the loss of life is always a tragedy... I made a "landing strip" with a basket, phone charger and big flat space on top of our piano for my husband to unload his pockets. It doesn't look worthy of "House Beautiful" magazine photos, but has made a world of difference in My Husband's day that he know where his *stuff* is...hope that helps

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 11:11 AM by Donna L.

  • Patricia, that is a beautiful prayer! Thank you for sharing it with us--This seems small and petty to be asking for prayers and advice in the aftermath of yesterday in Boston, but I have been waiting for an open forum. I homeschool our kids and do a pretty good job--they seem to be thriving, are happy, get along with youth and adults and are helpful at home and at church, as well as helping some elderly neighbors once in a while. I can't seem to shake this feeling that they are "missing out" on all that high school has to offer in the social realm---prom, debate team, dances, pep rally football games etc. I had a wave of sadness wash over me yesterday when I was grabbing some shoes at the Mall-(we go to the mall maybe once a year) because there were so many references to "the big Dance" and I wonder if what I am doing is for the best...It's too late to turn back now, so I wonder if I could beg a bit of understanding and encouragement from you to stay the course? Have any of you schooling children to the later high school time? Beyond? How did they turn out? Thank you

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 11:20 AM by Lynnea

  • For Anon: I don't have any specific advice for you. All of the things that came to my mind (a basket, time together to put things away) seem to be things you have tried. I just want to encourage you to separate the disorganization from the way your husband treats you and talks to you when he is stressed about losing things. Lots of people are disorganized, but not everyone lashes out or has unreasonable expectations (expecting you to know where you put things away months after the fact). This isn't your fault and there is only so much you can do on your own about the disorganization or the negative response. It isn't unreasonable of you to try to clear your counters and floors and keep things out of your kids' way. If he is open to seeing a counselor, that would be great.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 12:15 PM by Andrea

  • Thanks for all the advice... it's just nice to know that I'm not being too unreasonable. I was thinking about writing him a short and tactful letter to explain how I feel, maybe that would help to keep the conversation from being sidetracked when we talk about it. Any more ideas would be appreciated, too! And Lourdes, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm also praying for Boston- thanks for the beautiful prayer, Patricia!

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 1:00 PM by Anon

  • Lourdes, I am so very sorry for your loss! I will pray for you & your family. We lost a baby to miscarriage 9 years ago & I still mourn the loss. Having our child buried & having a priest preside over a simple graveside service brought us great comfort. We also named our child, ask them to pray for us, & placed an icon with the child's patron saint in our prayer corner. Despite never knowing our child, we loved them in the womb & they are still a very real part of our family. I think what you shared with your other children is perfectly fine & appropriate. The Church in Her wisdom has not spoken definitively on the state of children who die before birth/baptism...but we trust in the goodness & mercy of God & find peace in knowing that He loves our child even more than us & desires the salvation of all. After our loss, I found that the quote below gave me a measure of comfort -- I hope that it does for you, too: “When God takes someone from us, it is always for a good reason. When the sheep have grazed and thinned the grass in the lower regions, the shepherd will take a little lamb in his arms, carry it up the mountain where the grass is green, lay it down, and soon the other sheep will follow. Every now and then Our Lord takes a lamb from the parched field of a family up to those Heavenly Green Pastures, that the rest of the family may keep their eyes on their true home and follow through.” ~ Simple Truths by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen May God bless you & grant you His peace!

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 1:41 PM by Patricia

  • Lynnea, No prayer request is too small or petty! :) We also homeschool & our eldest (17) is about to graduate from high school (our other children are 15, 13, 10, 7 & 4). Stay the course..it sounds like you are raising kind, thoughtful & faith-filled children! I had anxieties about homeschooling during high school...more worrying about whether I was up to it versus our children missing out on something (in fact, I am so grateful that they are 'missing out' on some of the things that I was exposed to during high school). If anything, I feel like they have been able to experience more of the 'real world' than I did during my years in public school. Our children are a work in progress (as are we!), but it has been a real blessing & grace to see them develop into young adults without the teen drama, peer pressure, & issues that (sadly) most people see as normal during adolescence. There are a few families in our Catholic homeschool support group whose children are adults now (some in college, some married) & it has been really wonderful to watch them develop into young adults who are a real joy to be around. We all have these "what if..." days...this, too, shall pass. Praying that God graces you with an insight to the fruits of your labor through homeschooling! :) God bless--

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 2:03 PM by Patricia

  • Two questions: 1) Anyone ever have what looks like fertile mucus (lubricative and clear) when they were pregnant and if so is this "normal"? 2) What monetary gift, if any, do you give to the priest who baptizes the baby and is it a different amount if it's a deacon who does the baptism? Thanks!

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 2:26 PM by Jenny

  • Jenny; yes discharge is typical during pregnancy. Any questions, call you nurse. Yes, we've given a small monetary gift.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 2:46 PM by Lori

  • Lynnea, Yes, I've home schooled 6 children through high school (just passed my middle number ~ 5 more to go ;)...It is a challenge, each child's needs etc. but I feel very rewarded for all the time and work spent. I am so very proud of my oldest children, their gifts that they are sharing with the Church and the world. Their wonderful example and their love for their younger siblings and my husband and me. Don't fret, continue to do what is best for your family. God bless. Lourdes, I had 2 early miscarriages and also told my children about their siblings 'in heaven'. We celebrate our family members individual Saint's Feastdays, and celebrate each of our babies' feasts too ~ named 'Colette Maria' & 'Clare Grace'., as a way to remember. We also have 2 mini stockings for the Christmas Tree with their names inscribed.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 3:50 PM by Mary L.

  • I am just starting a moms group in my parish. We are not sure what we want to do with the group. We have a mix of moms with teens and moms with newborns. Someone gave me the name of a christian based series called moms to moms growing together. It has different chapters about the challenges(and joys) of motherhood. It has chapters about sibling rivalry, discipline etc with a biblical basis. I have not seeen it. Has anyone heard of this series? Does anyone have another series that is similar that they would recommend.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 4:59 PM by momof5

  • Anon- Even though my husband does not have ADD, I can sympathize a little with you. My husband is cluttered! He leaves stuff everywhere. When my twins were little, I felt like I was constantly nagging him about leaving money EVERYWHERE! I had a heart to heart with him about it. I asked him to tell me where he wanted me to put his things that I found that I considered dangerous to my kids (taking the conversation away from ME and to the protection of our children). I also gave him the power to choose how his stuff is moved. This made the transition a little easier. ( He still always blames me when he can't find something :) ) Also, I really gave up trying to keep a completely neat house. I just leave his little areas really messy unless they are a danger to the kids. Finally, have you checked out add.org. They have a lot of practical advice on managing ADD outside of medicine, on-line forums advice etc. Good luck!

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 10:48 PM by JM

  • Anon ~ I mean what I am about to say in all kindness, and am only trying to be very honest and (hopefully) helpful. But I feel no one else has pointed out that you, too, seem to forget where your husband's things are. I only say this because it may help your husband's feelings if you admit a little personal responsibility for the missing stuff. He is over the top to blame you for everything, but it sounds like *sometimes* you DO forget where you placed his things. So he is not all-wrong for thinking this is a possibility. And I'm sure it is humiliating for him to admit he has ADD - a real "illness" instead of just being a little scatterbrained sometimes like the rest of the world! So it sounds like the *both* of you need to go a little easier on the other one and cut each other some slack. You mentioned the buckets - are you always putting his stuff in there? If you forget sometimes, no reason why he can't. If you always remember, then his stuff should be in there somewhere. To address your feelings of overwhelmed-ness in the cleaning area, I recommend checking out FLYlady online (google the name). She has a program consisting of 15 minutes per day & achieving amazing organization and cleanliness in your house. It has transformed our home! Oh, and one other thing ~ I have heard of women who collect things their husband leaves in "common areas" and at the end of the day they dump it all on his spot on the bed - thereby NOT putting it away for him or getting it "lost" by moving it someplace else... but also not letting it clutter up the family's space. And it still honors the husband by letting him be the one to decide where all the stuff goes. And best of all, since its on the bed, it has to get put away before he can sleep in it!

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 11:12 PM by unknown

  • My dh doesn't have ADD but he does leave things all over. He's a very clean person and hates clutter...but at the same time he likes to be able to find something right where he left it. He would most definitely leave a valve on the kitchen counter to remind himself to use it. I've tried baskets, etc. too. The keyboard I am typing on right now has an old razor laying across the top - he's searching online for parts to fix it -it's been well over a month ;) I will move dangerous things (though thankfully he rarely leaves dangerous items out). One of my kids has recently been bitten by the organization bug. I find little baskets of stuff he cleaned off the island that I had put there for a reason. Now I am finding that I am much better able to understand my dh's frustration. I know I haven't given any advice....just wanted to let you know that it's not all that uncommon and maybe you can find a middle ground....Kitchen counters off limits because of all the cleaning that must be done in there, etc. Ask him if there is some place you could put dangerous items....I would think with the add that it's even harder for him to figure out how to organize. My dh simply gets frustrated because he's at work all day then comes home and can't find his stuff

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 11:33 PM by Jane

  • Lynnea, We've always homeschooled, our 18 yr old is in her first year of college. We have 7 more (15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 1). Our oldest attended some classes at a local community college her senior year and is now at a Catholic University. She really appreciates the grounded faith/education she received. In fact, she has CHOSEN to commute because she enjoys spending time with her family. She and her 15 yr old sister often go out together with friends. She and her 13 yr old sister will go shopping together, etc. She does have friends too! My point here is that they have a relationship with each other that, although can happen in any educational setting, is more likely because they spend so much time together. Depending on where you live...there are homeschool proms, dances, etc. I don't think they are necessary....but I don't think I'd stop my children from attending them either. Those dances and proms are blips in their lives....their relationship with their siblings will last forever and help form their character. As long as it's working well and you are happy with it....stay the course :) what they are gaining far outweighs what they are missing/.

    Posted on Apr 16th, 2013 at 11:44 PM by RealMom4Life

  • RealMom4Life: Your comment was beautiful & so true: "Those dances and proms are blips in their lives....their relationship with their siblings will last forever and help form their character." Thanks for sharing that! :)

    Posted on Apr 17th, 2013 at 7:07 AM by Patricia

  • Lynnea, I don't know where you live but in my area you can find most of the big things that high schools offer in a homeschool setting through the various co-ops and support groups.. We have homeschool prom, homeschool commencement, homeschool high school sports, homeschool plays and talent shows, etc. Granted sometimes one has to drive farther to do these things but they are available if you really want them.

    Posted on Apr 17th, 2013 at 8:36 AM by Monica (momof2)

  • Thank you Patricia, Mary L. and RealMom4Life for your kind and thoughtful responses. I feel very blessed that you wrote in with beautiful comments that share your life--I will stay the course and remember what is truly important...not just the blips...thank you again!

    Posted on Apr 17th, 2013 at 9:45 AM by Lynnea

  • Unknown, I think you have some good points. Maybe I'll try Flylady again, I've been meaning to! Jane, I love your story about the razor, and about your kid who's gotten the organization bug! I admit I would be very upset if the shoe was on the other foot! :)

    Posted on Apr 17th, 2013 at 10:13 PM by Anon

  • Thank you Blessed Virgin Mary for prayers answered. I want in this Prayer to Thank you for all things and confirm once again that I never want to be separated from you. Thank you for your Mercy toward me and mine. Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary Never known to fail. Blessed Mother of the son of God, Immaculate Virgin, Assist me in my necessity. Help me and show me Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth. I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity. There are none that can withstand your power. Show me herein you who are my mother. Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee (3x). Holy mother, I place this cause in your hands (3x). Holy spirit, you who solve all problems, light all roads so that I can attain my goal, you who gave me the divine gift to forgive and forget all evil against me, in all instances in my life you are with me, I want in this Prayer to Thank you for all things and confirm once again that I never want to be separated from you. Thank you for your Mercy toward me and mine. Say this Prayer three consecutive days after three days, the request will be granted. This Prayer must be published after the favor is granted.

    Posted on Feb 23rd, 2014 at 11:38 PM by myim family