*Random Goodness

Palm Sunday Reflections

There is a petition floating around that is demanding church services be considered an “essential” so the churches can reopen. In Texas, the governor put a stay-at-home order in place, but he also decreed Church as an essential. However, many of the Bishops are still concerned and have said they want to continue to stream Mass through the month of April.

The petition reasons that a church could potentially hold 7 Masses on Sundays if allowing for all the current precautions and social distancing. I am finding myself personally torn by this! Priests will be worn out after such long days, even just once a week, and will become more susceptible to sickness. Even a sniffle is discouraged from leaving the house these days. Plus, most parishes only have 2 priests at most, and maybe 1 retired priest to help out. We are already facing a shortage of priests in America, what sort of damage would this do in our current status of the Church?

They say we still had Mass during the Spanish Flu, but look how long that flu lasted and how many thousands of people died in that time. I long for the physical participation in Divine Liturgy, but not at the expense of sickness, or even death. So many of the elderly would still not attend in fear of catching something, and the moms with 10 littles under 10 at home wouldn’t either in fear of even one of them, or herself, possibly catching COVID-19. Which brings me to a more reasonable petition that I think would allow for a lot more freedom from parish to parish to tend the needs of their flocks.

Ultimately, I respect the decisions being made by the Bishops, even though it stings a bit. We have still had pretty steady access to receiving The Eucharist and Reconciliation in addition to streaming Divine Liturgy. So perhaps the sting isn’t as painful for me as it is for others?

However you want to look at it, though, we are called to obedience. Always Obedience. We are permitted to disagree, but we are never permitted disobedience* nor are we ever permitted to speak unkindly of our local AND universal leader of The Church. To do so is to cause scandal and promote further slander to their name that travels far and wide, never being able to be “unsaid”

So, I beg you to listen to your priest, who is listening to his Bishop, who is your local head of Church. Remain faithful and obedient. We have countless opportunity to make a Spiritual Communion (something we could be doing all the time, COVID-19 or not). We can be building and enriching our domestic church that is our spouses and kids. We, the people, are the Church; the foundation of faith and salt of the earth. It doesn’t feel the same because we are actively participating in a different kind of normal which happens to very similarly resemble life of Christianity in the early days and in the Dark Ages. What a tremendous gift for us today that we can see Divine Liturgy and Mass live, from a distance, rather than nothing at all for days, weeks, or months at a time.

Remember God is in no way limited to a church building. He is not limited to what we know and understand based on where we are in our Faith Journey. We have the catechism to keep us in check. We have found The True Faith, we are bound to all we know and understand about it, and we are bound to continued growth in our knowledge and understanding. But! We are individually bound to that and must not condemn others for not being on the same plane as us, however we must encourage and help others grow by our example of love in the same way a teacher with an expensive college degree helps a kindergartener learn something as simple as what a letter is and the various sounds it can make.

We are still the church and we are still making a journey into Holy Week in preparation for Easter! Christ’s Resurrection is still upon us in this COVID crisis. Don’t get distracted by technicalities, but immerse yourself in further growth. Let’s treat this time as a renewal of our First Communion prep. Let the longing in our hearts burn deep! Let our desire of Him be so powerful we make our every minute a prayer of purification so when we enter the brick and mortar church again, and receive Him into our bodies, it will be as rich an experience as it was the first time, and every time after that. Let us never take for granted, ever again, the gift and honor we have in receiving our Holy, Mighty, and Immortal God in the gift of The Holy Eucharist!

*This is a really great article helping explain the fine line between conscience and obedience.

*In a Nut Shell

Blobs and Videos

Today is unofficial day 22 of self-imposed-turned-law of being at home. I have left my house 4 times for groceries and diabetes blood work. As I have said over on Instagram a time or two: go home, COVID, you’re drunk.

We completed our first whole week of distance schooling. It is going really well! The teachers record all the lessons via video and the kids watch them and do the assignments that follow. I have only had to “teach” Phillip as he is learning to count time and money, so that is tedious work no matter if you’re a parent and/or the teacher. I also have to sorta help them navigate where in the system they need to be in order to make sure they’re completing their tasks for each day.

On top of all these things, it is still The Great Fast. We have held on to about 98% of everything we set out to do for Lent this year, even during all this. The only thing I have caved a little more about has been on Saturday mornings, I’ve let them watch a movie. The first Saturday was Joan of Arc, and last week was The Song of Bernadette, but today is The Little Giants. I am not rising to the challenge set before me to “Be a Super Mom!” by doing a craft, building another puzzle, or playing yet another round of Hangman or Uno. Instead, I am hiding in my room typing while my kids giggle at other little kids playing football.

The truth is, when I woke up today, the second I opened my eyes and realized it was dark & raining, and I could feel it was even colder than yesterday, I knew I was already done. I’m just burnt out with this. So I decided as I made my bed that I am just letting anything go today. The sun isn’t gone, but it is hiding along with it’s springy warmth. I was set and ready for spring, even with all the pollen and horrific allergies my family suffers as a result. But, like Texas does at every season change, it is holding tight to the cold and has brought winter back with a freezing grasp! Or, maybe I had already thawed enough that it just feels super cold?

I decided today is a free pass because I can’t. I can’t not in the way someone who is depressed can’t. I still am motivated to participate, laugh, drink coffee, and be present. However, I can’t enforce the rules and regulations that keep us running smoothly. Tomorrow I will hate myself for whatever doesn’t happen today, but I won’t cry-in-the-closet hate myself. I will forgive myself and remember it was a free and much needed pass.

If this is you, too, don’t beat yourself up. Take a day, be a blob, and move on. Or whatever it is that is opposite of your normal. You aren’t a horrible human being. I promise.

Moving on!

It’s been an eventful week in the life of The Youngest of 7; Boyd turned 2 and got his cast off! George and Phillip have been working with Lowell in the shop and are learning to weld. Felicity recently was taught how to move the truck from one end of the yard to the other. There is no limit to the age at which someone can learn something around here! Karolina and Anastasia have been collecting and painting rocks. Buying paint was probably the smartest thing I did before this started! Some of their work is truly splendid, but most of it is done and redone and … colorful. Faith is really blossoming in her role as the oldest. She takes nothing from naughty siblings, puts them right back in their place, and is really helpful around the kitchen; dishes is her jam!

There has been a significant reduction in the number of squabbles and tattling. Thank You, Jesus! There are other annoyances they’ve come up with to replace those things, but it comes in the form of team work and positive sibling bonding, so I will take it!

Over all, things are going really well! Today is just off for me, but this too shall pass. My plan was to add some pictures, but I need to check my camera roll because I think I have mostly taken videos since my last real post.

Lowell rebuilt a bike, turned it to a trike for Boyd. These big kids have found more ways to have fun with it!
I told you winter was back… He loves his new ride!
They are so random, but their song made me laugh ;)

I am so surprised I am attaching videos right now! A development to my account??? I hope they post! Let’s find some more…

He is a “cycle man!”
We gave him this before his birthday because he wanted to ride bikes with the big kids so bad and we felt bad he had to miss out due to the technicality of “his birthday” not getting here fast enough. His little face!!
*In a Nut Shell


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We at The Lowell Schaper’s are beginning the great time of spring break from school. [Un]fortunately, this week is due to be wet, so we will have little need to mingle in public. However, our door is open and we are always up for our friends and family to visit, so long as they feel well enough to come by and we remain well enough to welcome them.

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Author & Co-Author of allthethings The Lowell Schaper’s




I couldn’t be the only person who doesn’t let you know how we are dealing with covid ;) I know everyone has been emailing you their protocols…

*In a Nut Shell · *Precious Moments, Snap!

Springtime in Texas

Spring is beginning to show it’s beautiful, blooming colors! The grass is green, the trees are budding and blossoming. All the baby birds are hatching and filling the air with their happy little songs. And, the sun is perfectly warm as the wind is still fighting to keep a chill in the air.

It’s been a glorious couple of weeks to say it very simply.

The kids are all beginning to get spring fever because it is too warm to resist the great outdoors. Thankfully, next week is spring break so we will get an opportunity to soak in some relaxing days and hopefully we won’t have any rain so we can actually maximize all the available sun time.

I had a glorious draft from December that I intended to touch up and share, however I discovered this morning that it saved as an infinite number of 1’s! I can’t remember if I started it on my phone or on the computer, and I can’t remember if I left it open for a small child to click at and destroy. Oh well. I am going to post a bunch of pics to compensate for it, some of which have already made their way to Instagram, so I apologize in advance for the double spams in those cases of people who follow me over there ;).

Anastasia started taking ballet mini-sessions in October and has loved every minute of it! She was over the moon excited that Lowell came to her first recital; she stared at him with that face the entire time.

In November, my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. All of us who live out of state were able to surprise them and be there for the party! It was the first time in 6 years the #Schroeder15 were all together for a picture for our mom. It was pretty sweet to see my her burst into tears at any given time as the weekend went by. I am happy it worked out that we could pull it off!

November was a busy month! Lowell and I got a weekend away and got our picture taken at dinner as we kicked it off. I am always so grateful when someone takes our picture because we really never take one together-together; there is always a kid in there somewhere.

This was our Christmas picture and had it taken on Thanksgiving according to our little tradition.

I couldn’t resist this perfect photo op while we were shopping for our Chirstmas tree around St Nick’s feast day.

The boys dragged the Christmas tree across the yard and caught it on fire as soon as they got home from school. Look at all three of them. For anyone who may be wondering: yes, pyromania runs deep in their veins.

Because they are just as goofy as they are studious and helpful … and naughty for hacking my phone allthetime.

We had a beautiful snow day early in January. It was literally picture perfect! I only have video of the kids in it though.

My sister, Rachel, lives nearby and comes to hang out whenever she isn’t adventuring somewhere around the globe via her job as a flight attendant.

My cousin and her family recently got stationed at Ft Hood so we’ve been hanging out as time and availability allow. These were taken when we went down there Super Bowl weekend. The helicopter the crowd of us (5 adults, 21 kids) standing under was SO huge! The kids also got to sit in a helicopter and see all the bells & whistles involved with that.

Karolina is in Kindergarten and took off with reading shortly after Christmas. She sat down recently and read this entire little book in one sitting. She was so proud of herself and so was I! It is my favorite time watching my kids growing up, to see their little minds grow and all the little light bulbs go off when all those letters and phonograms actually work together to make words. She is reading well into first grade level now and asked me to take a picture of her with her “official big book that she read all on her own.” I am so glad I held on to all these books from when we home schooled. The stories are so sweet!

A little proof that spring is here and the main reason this post originated.
Like I said earlier, the wind is still pretty chilly, and March is always a windy month, but we take advantage of all the time we can spend outside in that glorious, warm sunshine. When the yard becomes more bloomed, maybe I will get some shots of all the kids playing out there so I can share here. Yes, Boyd has another broken arm. It is just so sad that this little guy is missing out on bike rides due to this set back. He also hasn’t been able to jump, or play tackle with George & Phillip, or run, or spin, or swing… just kidding! He has not slowed down a hot second! Little kids’ resiliency never ceases to amaze me! He has literally not missed a single beat and is having the time of his life with his built in weapon of power. I am not a helicopter mom, so my only job each day is to make sure he doesn’t jump from too high or find standing water in a bucket or wagon after a storm.

This was taken this weekend and is the second reason this post originated – ha!
We spent Saturday doing some vehicle maintenance, yard work, inside chores, and lots of tossing the football and riding bikes. The boys built a fire pit after I cleaned it out and reconstructed it a bit, and Lowell made us street tacos for dinner. It was perfectly amazing and was enjoyed in it’s fullness to the very last drop of twilight.

These are the things that make my heart go pitter-patter. God is so good, y’all, SO GOOD.