Na Zdrowie! The Kloska Family Blog
In 1962, Irv Kloska and Bonnie Kowrach stood in St. Adalbert's Basilica in Grand Rapids and pledged their lives to each other. More than 50 years and 13 children later, their family has grown to more than 80 members... and counting. With this blog we keep in touch and share our thoughts - much like we have always done around our kitchen table. But like our table, friends are always invited. Welcome!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Happy Birthday Theresa Thomas!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Another reason not to like Valentine's Day...
Yes, I won't let it die. I'm having too much fun V-bashing! Click on the headline to learn about the infamous "St. Valentine's Day Massacre." Did you guys know that Grandpa Kowrach was working at his uncle's bakery in Chicago when this happened. He was taking a break, sitting out on the stoop when he heard the sirens of police cars. He followed the commotion and saw the police scene in person.
Here is the villain of the story. His name is Al Capone:
I HATE Valentine's Day
Always have. In my opinion, its contrived, artificial and too comercialized. I resent the fact that Hallmark et al. co-opted a saint's feast day in order to sell cards and make a profit.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
It never fails to make me chuckle...
I often do work away from the office and then email myself the document as an attachment. I always make myself laugh when I open up the email the next day and read:
"Attached is the document you need. It is a pleasure working with someone as competent and talented as you. Have a great day!"
For some reason, it always seems like a real compliment. Wow, I guess I'm just easily manipulated...
Sunday, February 10, 2008
BK's Cancer Corner: Health, Home and Work
Wow, has life changed quickly in a short time. As recently as Thanksgiving we were worried about my continued survival. Today, I'm back into the swing of things and life is asking me to drive with the "pedal to the metal" so to speak. I'm being challenged in new and various ways - still trying to catch up with some accumulated responsibilities (a long "to-do" list with lots of stuff that has been on the list for 6-12 months!) while diving 100% into a new and ever changing life.
Health update: I am feeling fantastic and able to function at a pretty high level. I am still fighting the Graft vs. Host Disease which heightens and lessens in severity on a weekly basis. This past week, the GVHD was simply annoying and uncomfortable, but it did not prevent me from doing anything. Staying on top of taking my medicine properly, long and painful trips to the bathroom and the need to take frequent baths are really the only things I'm dealing with anymore - and this week they really weren't so bad. Last week I was very close to telling my doctors to hospitalize me and give me the high dose steroid treatment to attack it, but this week my symptoms have become much more manageable. We want to avoid the high dose steroids because of the side effects and complications that they could provoke. At this level, I can use my discomfort as a nice little Lenten penance, so in that regards its really good for my prayer life. I'll be back up in Chicago again this week, but it should be a routine visit.
Home update: I think I'm living the best days of my life right now. As much as the children challenge and frustrate us (I've blogged about this frequently), I can't help but view them as a priceless treasure entrusted to us for only a very short time. The daily joys and sorrows make me very grateful that God has given me the gift of Michael, Nicholas, Joseph, Monica and Meg. When I think about their current lives, their future on earth and their future in eternal life, I am overwhelmed by my responsibility to care for them and to love them each in the way they need to be loved.
Monica and Meg are no longer toddlers - they are little girls each with distinct personalities. I make sure to look into their eyes every day and tell them I love them. I'm also trying with all my might to be a presence when I am home, to really listen to them and respond to what they tell me. So even though they were driving me nuts yesterday as I painted our bedroom, I kept playing their favorite music and made room for them to dance. Interestingly, they didn't want to dance in another part of the house. They wanted to dance where I could see them. They wanted to hear me tell them over and over and over again that they were the best dancers in the dance contest. So if painting took a little longer and if I had to be on the constant lookout to prevent them from touching wet walls or knocking over a can of paint, so be it. I can't think of a better way to spend my time.
With the kids, I am very focused on how to help each one develop into a strong, independent person who doesn't need me anymore. I think that is the goal of parenthood - to equip one's children with all the skills they need to go out and live really good lives. As any parents, we have specific concerns about each of our children. They cause us a good deal of worry and anxiety. But what a joyful responsibility it is to work on these things. Right now, that means teaching Joseph how to tie his shoes, get ready for school on time, and snap out of his funks when he feels offended. Later on, this will mean holding him more accountable for his responsibilities and even entrusting him with greater responsibilities so he can learn by experience. But small steps first.
On this front, we've had some great success with Michael lately. Many people have been praying for him during my illness and I see great reason for hope. Due to his temperament, he's always going to be a very difficult kid to parent, but I think someday his current struggles with his emotions, self-control and self-esteem are going to become points of strength. Two little steps in his development still have me smiling. Last weekend, we had the inner workings of our toilet break. It was a simple fix, but we needed to go to Home Depot to buy the kit. When we got home I handed it to him and said, "Michael, go fix the toilet. Just try to figure it out and if you can't, I'll help you." Not surprising, he wanted to do it without any help from me. Now I know I could have done this more quickly than him, but I wanted to challenge him to look at a problem, analyse it, and figure out how to solve it. Well you should have seen his joy and excitement when he came bounding down the stairs and bursting into the kitchen, telling us that he got it to flush properly. Later that day, I secretly made a little adjustment, but he got the taste of success without any help. It was sweet.
Also this past week, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen visited St. Matt's 4th grade classes to read them some stories and emphasize the importance of reading. It was very satisfying for Michael because it was actually his idea which he proposed when he served on Student Council last year. It was gratfying for the kid to see his idea taken seriously by an adult other than his parent and then have the idea come to fruition.
Nicholas is growing too. We celebrated at the dinner table last week because he answered a difficult question correctly in class that led to a victory by his team in a competition. I could tell he was very excited so I really tried to make a big deal about it.
Every day, I'm privileged to hear of the playground exploits of my kids with every detail of their kickball and football prowess recounted with precision. On the weekends when they are allowed to play video games on the computer, I'm kept apprised of their every success and failure. Whenever I begin to feel fatigued by these accounts (which is often), I remind myself that the in 10 or 15 years I will long for these days and ardently wish to be able to taste just a little bit of them again. Life is picking up in pace - the older you get, the faster time goes by. Soon they will be grown and gone and probably raising families of their own or living out their vocation to religious life. Only by giving them all my energy and love right now, will I be able to live that part of my life without regret.
Work update: My new position at Holy Cross College has me more challenged than ever. I'm daunted by some of the tasks before me and on a natural level I'm swimming hard to keep my head above water. But I also take with me what I can only describe as a supernatural peace of mind and heart. I just have an overwhelming sense that this is God's plan for me and for Holy Cross College and that I'm up to the task. I'm very optimistic about the future of Holy Cross and I know that I'm growing personally and professionally. For what more could I ask? To be honest, I've been waiting for God to lead me into this stage of life for quite some time. Well, the time has arrived.
Life has rarely been more challenging, but life has never been so good. Today, I'm more grateful than ever for the gift of life. Whether I live three more years or thirty, you can bet I'm going to do it with everything I've got. The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!