Friday, March 7, 2014

Quick Takes - Blessings Version

Well, Lent is off to a bang, of course.  ;)   So far, so good, but there are definitely some stresses being thrown our way.  If I could ask for prayers for a special intention, I'd greatly appreciate them!  Thanks!

Joining up with Jen today, once again....


I thought it might be fun to rejoin the Quick Takes movement, for nothing else but to feature some of the blessings we'd found throughout the week.   I'm not always the most regular blogger these days (as I'm sure you've noticed!), so this is my way of "catching up."   Maybe it's cheating, maybe it's being resourceful.  I dunno.   It is what it is!

Some of you may have seen these earlier in the week on FB, but here are a few bits of photographic evidence for MY blessings....

On Wednesday, I came downstairs from the bedrooms to find the boys - on their own! - cleaning.  They each decided to clean their "cubbies" (by the door), and then went on to clean (and vacuum!) the playroom!  Way to go, boys!!


Some of the boys blessings from the blessing jar:

"Rascal #2 cleaned the playroom for me."  - Rascal #1


"Rascal #1 helped me build Legos."  - Rascal #2


"Rascal #2 made my bed for me as a surprise."  - Mommy


"Seeing Rascal #5!" - Daddy

(The perks of what Daddy does for a living - his office needed to decide between two different ultrasound machines because they are getting a new one.   They needed a pregnant patient to try them both out on.   *raises hand*  So, yesterday, we got to take a quick peek at our little girl, who we hadn't seen in a couple of months since our 20 week ultrasound.   She's chubbing up and so cute!)


What about you?  Are you keeping your eyes open for blessings this Lent?   It's hard, with the stress level around our house right now (please pray!), but I'm already feeling the effects of looking for the positive - the sun seems to be shining brighter, even if it is as cold as the North Pole out there still, the boys seem to be playing more nicely together and helping each other out more, and my faith and hope seems to be strengthening.  Even though there is a lot going on right now, and most of it is out of our control, I'm finding peace in these little moments.   God has not forgotten me, and will not do so now, even with what the world throws at us.   Can you join me in praising Him today for the blessings in your life?  Post them below in the comments!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Simply Lent

We're getting closer and closer to one of the most recognizable seasons of the Church's liturgical year:  Lent.   Purple cloth will soon be everywhere, gold vessels will be replaced with silver, and fish fry advertisements will start showing up in bulletins across the country.

Lent is one of those times of the year that I yearn for......and dread....all at the same time.   Every year, I come up with grand plans as to how I'm going to use the season to nurture my faith, both as an individual, and as a member of a family.   And every year, God throws me for a loop:  we'll spend the entire Lenten season potty training the child that finally decided he was ready, leaving my plans of starting our day with daily Mass behind, or we'll get 40 days of sicknesses that lead to interrupted plans of routine prayer, or...well, you get the idea.

This year, I think we've decided to focus on Lent in a different manner:  simply.   It kind of continues the theme of our past year, as we quiet down home life and professional life.   Instead of coming up with a huge list of sacrifices and prayer and almsgiving.....we're keeping it simple.   I'm hopeful that these small changes will lead to a great deepening of faith, both in my private faith and as an entire family.

So, how exactly does one DO a "Simply Lent" kind of Lent?    For us, it's going to be a combination of things that will hopefully mortify all of our senses.     Here's what it looks like, concentrating on the three "pillars" of Lent (Penance, Prayer, Almsgiving):


We typically each pick an individual penance, and then find something to "give up" as a family for Lent.   In addition to this, we used to do meatless Fridays.    However, we've pretty much switched to an almost all meatless diet over the past six months, thanks to my gall bladder and the fact that I'm the one who does the majority of the cooking, so meatless Fridays are going to have to be replaced by some other act of penance.    It was hard to come up with something that would be significant for the whole family on Fridays, but as I watched our day to day schedules and lives over the past few weeks, I realized something:  while we don't necessarily "give in" to the treat of meat anymore, we do give in to quite a few other treats.   One of them, I realized, had to do with the first thing I do on any given day:  I turn on the radio.

We don't have a typical radio in our house, but what we do have is a TV that connects to Pandora.  Pretty much every single day, I ask one of the boys to "put music on" as I'm making breakfast.   This one simple action starts our day, and that noise continues on throughout the entire day.    We usually listen to Broadway show tunes, which are loud and fun and goofy (most of the time).    I realized that a simple change to this routine would drastically change how things worked around the house - and we'd all notice the difference.   Music is a constant in our house - and "giving it up"  would be quite the sacrifice for all of us.

Instead of going completely music-free in the house, we're going to try to keep it simple.   I just went through our Pandora account and deleted every single station option, except for a few:  a classical piano one, a Gregorian chant one, and a quiet Christian contemporary one.     On every day except Friday, we can still have music on in the house, but it must be one of these quiet, more prayerful stations.    On Fridays, we will have no music whatsoever.   I'm hopeful that this experience will allow us to "hear" God in the silence of our every day lives.....AND in the words we speak to each other.

In addition to this family penance, each of us will choose one individual penance to focus on throughout the season of Lent.  I haven't fully decided mine yet, but I have a few ideas of simple, yet extremely influential, things that I can remove from my daily life that will help me to remember the sacrifice on the Cross on a fairly regular basis.


This is a hard one for me.  For being such a routine-oriented person, I struggle with implementing a concrete prayer routine on a private basis.   I honestly think it's the nature of parenting:  it's hard to stick to a structured routine when there are so many variables involved, and variables are an inherent part of raising children (sickness, refereeing fighting children, someone's hungry, something got spilled, etc).    However, I recognize the need for it *and* more than anything else, I recognize the need in teaching my children the importance of deepening a personal prayer life.

For all the unpredictability of daily life, our schedule does often stay pretty much the same.   There really isn't any reason why I can't schedule in time to spend with God in private prayer.  I can make excuses until my face turns blue....but the truth is, they are just excuses.   For years now, I've tried to get up early before the kids and spend the first few minutes of my day in prayer.   Time and time again, it's proven to me just how incredibly impossible that MY daily life.   Our home schedule doesn't really work in that manner - but what it does do is give me other time during the day that I can spend in private prayer.    I have finally reached a point where I feel ready to accept that what works for other moms and people that I know (getting up before the kids), just doesn't work for me.   Between the dogs getting excited because Mom being awake = breakfast time, and the excited dogs waking up the kids who aren't quite ready for that wake up call and are then grumpy and just doesn't work.     And you know what?  That's okay.   What works for another mom doesn't have to work for me.

When I sat back and looked at our daily schedule, I realized something.   I *always* have a significant chunk of time after breakfast has been eaten and cleaned up and before we start school.   I typically spend that time wasting precious moments on Facebook or other sites, or catching up on other chores that need to be done.    The kids are always happily playing together, fully rested and fed, the dogs are back to their regular position of couch potato-ing after their tummies have been filled, and we haven't jumped into our lesson plan for the day yet.    I typically don't schedule appointments until after this point of the day, either, because I hate trying to get us out of the door quickly in the morning.    Instead of trying to fit my prayer life into someone else's schedule......what allowing God into my own daily schedule?    It only takes about 20 minutes to say a daily rosary, and I know that I waste that same amount of time (and then some) every morning on the computer.    Instead of sitting at the kitchen counter, staring at a glowing box.......I will spend that time in prayer.   As an added bonus, I'm hoping that the boys being awake to see me doing this will lead them to think about adding it into their own Lenten plans.

As a family, I've noticed that one of the things we're really good at doing is praying for intentions every night at bedtime.   We spend a lot of time in supplication:  asking God for blessings or to grant our intentions.   What we *don't* do a lot of is spending time in prayer praising God.    I'm hoping a family blessings jar will increase our prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude - and allow us to see God at work in our daily lives on a regular basis.

A few years ago, I used this blog as part of my Lenten plan.  I posted a picture, on a daily basis, of a blessing that I'd received or noticed that day.  It was honestly one of my favourite Lenten seasons - I ended that forty day period confident in God's presence in our lives, even as we were dealing with various struggles.   I'm hoping to modify this experience a bit, and expand it to a family activity.....that maybe we'll continue with throughout the rest of the year.   I have two little boys that struggle especially with what I would nickname a "martyr complex."  Everyone and everything in the entire world is there to make their lives miserable - challenging them to find a silver lining or blessing is difficult.   Seeing as they're also my two readers/writers, this activity will hopefully work the best for them.

In the main room of our house, we have a small prayer table.  I typically change what is on it based on the current liturgical season.   Candles are the colour of the season, Advent wreaths are kept there before Christmas,  flowers are left there for Mary on feast days, and I usually really simplify it for Lent.   In addition to our typical purple candle this year, I'm going to add two large mason jars.  One I will explain in a minute, but the second jar will be labeled simply with a heart (symbolizing Love).  I'll have slips of paper and pencils on a nearby bookshelf.   Every time we experience a blessing that day (or an experience of God's Love), we'll write it down on a sheet of paper and place it in the jar.  On Easter morning - the day we are celebrating the Love that redeemed us - we will read the blessings as a family.  I plan on sharing some of my daily blessings here, too - hopefully inspiring others to see blessings in their own lives.


I will admit that we often do our family tithing without the boys really knowing what is going on.   We'll write a check or make a donation in the family's name....but the boys aren't really involved in the decision or aware that it has even happened.   That's something I hope to get better at doing on a regular basis, instead of just at Christmas with the giving tree, or random trips to the grocery store for a food bank.

Above, I mentioned that there would be two new mason jars on our prayer table, one of which will be our "blessings jar."   The second one will simply be labeled with a cross - the sign of the ultimate sacrifice.   Next to it will be a small dish of pennies.

Each time that we make a sacrifice (either the penance that we determined earlier, or an additional one, like helping a family member or letting someone else go first or have the last apple (a delicacy in this house, haha!)), we will add a penny to the mason jar.  On Easter Sunday, we'll change those pennies into dollar bills and let the boys add them to the collection basket at Mass.   I contemplated letting them choose another charity to donate to, but I really want them to recognize that our parish does provide quite a few services to our community and that it is up to us parishioners to make sure that those services continue.  


So, I think that's how the Circus will be observing Lent this year:  simplifying and trying to keep things meaningful without getting overwhelmed.   I have other ideas bouncing around in my head (as always), but I think that this Lent, God is really calling me to listen and let Him move in my life.   I can't do that if I push ahead with over-ambitious plans like I normally do during this season of renewal and repentance.  It's hard for me to slow down and allow Him the power to work in my life (because, I can do it all, you know!), but that's not what He wants from me.   Putting all those plans and ambitions between me and Him only shows my true prideful nature:  I can do it all on my own.   That's just not true:  I *need* Him and I need Him to be the one leading me to sanctification.    He will show me how to get to Heaven...if I just stop and listen to the directions!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What is a Strong Woman?

I mentioned in my last post that I'd spent a lot of time over the past six months thinking about and reflecting on just what it meant to be a wife and a mother.    My entire life, I'd felt called to do just that - all I ever wanted to be when I was growing up was "a mom."   I learned pretty quickly in life, though, that this answer wasn't good enough for the people around me.   I'd always had good grades and excelled in school, so it seemed to be the mission of everyone around me to make me see the error of my ways and motivate me to "live up to my potential."  (Oh, how I hate that phrase!)   I know they truly were looking out for what they thought were my best interests at the time, but over the past six months, I've thought a lot about those times and those conversations.

I learned pretty quickly to change my answer from "a mom" to something a bit more, umm, impressive (?), when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.   People were satisfied when I answered "a veterinarian" (I held to that answer for a long time) or "a doctor" or....pretty much anything else that came to mind when I was put on the spot.   It seemed that anything that required a college education would satisfy those around me  - so, for a long time, I followed their plans.   I went to college.   Floundered a bit with choosing a major (because there isn't a degree in "motherhood," believe it or not), but eventually ended up graduating with honours, in about 3 years time.

College wasn't a huge loss, even if it wasn't a smart financial move on my part, because I met my husband there...pretty much right away.   We started dating shortly after beginning our freshman year, and a few months after graduating from undergrad, we were married.   Again, those same well meaning people around me often counseled me on being "too young" or not dating a couple different guys (at least, I guess) before settling down.  We never wavered in our decision to get married at just barely 22, but we did spend a lot of time talking about whether or not we were truly ready, so those conversations weren't in vain, in some ways.

The past six months, during which I was forced to slow down and simplify, allowed me to "take a step back," if you will.  At times, I felt as if I was watching my own life through a camera lens - a "The Life of Heidi" movie, I guess you could say.   I may have seemed distracted or flaky to those around me (sorry!), but I was living in a continual state of surprise and, well, learning.    I've never been one to "slow down."   Even my slow days were chaotic by the standards of most:  lots of field trips or running around, pushing myself to exhaustion every day with chores or projects or volunteer commitments.  A "slow" day was one with only two errands to run, in addition to homeschooling.    This pregnancy, and all that came with it, dictated otherwise.  

For the first time, ever, I dealt with morning sickness so severe that I could only eat apples and drink water, and spent many, many days as horizontal as possible, watching the boys learn and play.    I'd dictate homeschool lessons from a mostly-fully-reclined position on the couch, stopping every few minutes to run to the bathroom or lay down flat.   I'd fall asleep, watching the boys create movie sets out of boxes and videotaping their toy bugs attacking the cardboard cities.    I watched them just be themselves, with no expectations placed on their shoulders except for the expectation of staying healthy and alive.

I learned a lot about how the boys learn.   About their natural inclinations and interests.   That new information changed  how we homeschool (more on that at a later date).  But more than anything else, it changed ME.

I began to realize that until now, I'd only had one understanding of what it meant to be a "strong woman."   My understanding, shaped by 32 years of American culture, left me feeling completely weak and inadequate unless I pursued the impossible:  the magazine-worthy family.   The kids meeting every "your child should know" guideline published.   Extracurriculars coming out of our ears.   Hiring babysitter after babysitter so that I could never have to say "no" when asked to volunteer.    A full, homecooked meal on the dinner table every night (and breakfast table....and lunch table...).   Kids wearing matching outfits (without holes) and never with shaggy hair.   A clean car.   A clean house.

All of this because I could never live up to what I grew up learning was the ONLY strong woman option:   a prestigious career that followed a degree at a "good college," and only marrying after that career was established.   If I couldn't be a strong woman by those standards, I was going to have to be the only "strong" at-home mom I knew of:  the magazine mom.

(Now, before I go any further, please don't get me wrong:  I am NOT wanting to start a working mom vs stay-at-home-mom debate.   I do NOT mean to imply, in any way, that women who feel called to a career or work out of necessity are not strong women.  That is not, in any way, my point of view.)

What I *am* saying, however, is that I grew up believing that this kind of woman, the career-minded, professional woman, was the *only* kind of "strong woman."   It may not have been intended (and I don't believe it was intentional, truly), but all of the discussion about living up to my "potential," or the "But what do you *really* want to be when you grow up?" response to my truthful answer of wanting to be a mom, formed this idea in my head that the only way you could be a successful, strong woman was to have a career.

As I spent the past six months reflecting on what it meant to be a wife and mother, I realized that this image that I had formed in my head over all of those was completely wrong.     There is more than one way to be a "strong woman", and it would probably be a good idea for us to recognize the other women in our lives who model and witness to strength.   I'd guess that I wasn't the only one out there wearing herself to the bone to prove to the world (or herself) that she was strong.    Or more importantly, that she wasn't weak.   That she wasn't a failure.     Because, in all honesty, I'd be willing to bet that she doesn't believe that.

You see, I've come to realize that strength isn't necessarily defined the way that we Americans define it.

Strength is not professional success.

Strength is not measured in financial income.

Strength is not independence.

Can it include those things?   Sure.   But it is not limited to these things.

Strength is sacrificial.   Strength is living with love and compassion.

So, I can be a strong woman.   Even in my pajamas for the third day in a row.   Even as I close the schoolbooks early to spend time reading with a kid on the couch instead.   Even as I forget to brush my teeth.   Even as I don't add income to the house.   Even as I say "no" to the volunteer requests.   Even as I rest on the couch during this pregnancy, with a sink full of dishes.

Every time I put someone else's needs ahead of my own, I'm allowing God to shape me through my vocation.   Every time I sit through another painful rendition of Dr Seuss (performed by my beginning reader), God is using my vocation to increase my virtue.    Every laundry load I carry up and down the stairs is a little mortification, fighting my root sin of sensuality.   Every middle-of-the-night wake up call is a chance to die to myself and sacrifice for someone else.

Strength is allowing God to change our hearts.   Allowing Him to sanctify us, a tiny bit more.    That's true strength.......and it can be done, no matter where you are.

Even if you're in your pajamas in a dirty bathroom, forgetting to brush your teeth.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's a beautiful life.....

It's been about six months now since I stopped blogging, and I've been feeling the urge to sit down at the computer once again.   Quite a bit recently, actually - there are so many thoughts and experiences percolating in my brain from the past six months, that I'm actually not sure where to begin.   Bear with me as I work my way through my muddled thoughts and promptings from my "sabbatical."

I spent a lot of time contemplating my life and vocation and just what God was calling me to as a Catholic wife and mother.    As an introvert (through-and-through melancholic, at that), it was as if I was on a refreshing (albeit difficult at times, but I don't think those two characteristics are exclusive) six-month long retreat.    I read.  A lot.   Spiritual books (mostly St Josemaria Escriva and Fulton Sheen).   Mommy books.  Catholic Mommy books.  Blogs.  Lots of blogs.   Apologetics books.  Good old Chesterton.  Pretty much anything I could get my  hands on that might help me grow deeper in my relationship with God and grow a better understanding of my vocation.   

It seems only fitting that the calling to start implementing some of the things that I learned over this time, as well as some of the ways I feel called to change, during the liturgical season of repentance and renewal of our Catholic faith.   God has a sense of humour, doesn't He?  ;)

It's been an interesting six months, physically as well as spiritually, for me.   Shortly after I wrote that last post back in August, we found out we were expecting a baby.   This is pregnancy #6 for me, and carrying a child after a loss (or multiple losses) sends a woman into a place of fear and anxiety that I would never wish upon even my worst enemy.   Looking back, I see my blogging sabbatical being just another way to cocoon myself from the outside world and nurture and protect this little one growing in my womb.   God was calling me to focus on family and motherhood, with Him at the center, and at the time I didn't realize just what direction that was going to take.   

In November, we discovered that I have a faulty gall bladder.   I was sicker than I'd ever been before, and went through pain that was worse than giving birth.   There was one night in particular that I honestly thought I was having a heart attack, and we went to the hospital.    Abdominal surgery isn't the prime treatment to have done during a pregnancy, and so we decided to try a more conservative therapy of diet and lifestyle first.   Again, God's calling to cocoon myself, to slow life down a bit, way back in August was preparing me for this experience.   I was forced - it was medically necessary to "de-stress" - to prioritize family life and remove any excesses.   I was forced to give up volunteer commitments and outside stressors, forced to simplify our family life - homeschooling became about the basics (no more weekly field trips), meals were simplified and we became a "whole food" kind of family (not the store, but the back-to-basics kind of whole food meals), our daily schedule was thinned out as much as possible.   Carpools were created to minimize my time each week running errands.   Family time became even more of a priority and we guarded it carefully.   Weekly time spent in Adoration became a priority, not just a desire/would-be-nice-kind-of-thing.   My days started and ended in prayer and reflection time.   Naps and "feet-off-the-floor" time became a regular occurrence.   

I guess you could say we started moving toward being simple Catholics (not any reference to any of the groups out there - I mean that we became simply Catholic.  Let me explain).    Our faith is so rich in traditions and beauty and Truth that we started moving toward focusing on a few simple ideas:

- we are called to become saints.  All of us.   Every single person we meet (and the ones that we never meet) are called to become saints, as they are also created in the image of God and He wants them in Heaven with Him just as much as He wants us there
- God has given us, personally,  a vocation of marriage and family life as a means to becoming the saints we were meant to be.  
- The "how to become a saint" has been revealed through the truths found within the Catholic Church, the church that Jesus founded

Everything in life can come back to one of these three ideas.   Every choice, every action we perform, every word we say or write, every aspect of our home and family life should point toward these ideas.   It's as simple as the "motto" of  a friend of mine:   "Get to Heaven, and bring your brother."  With every choice/decision, it became my first step in discerning what we should do:  does this reflect God, and therefore, help get me or someone else to Heaven?   (It's amazing how much this can carry over to everything you do:  what you choose to do with your actions, your words, your stewardship of your time, talents, and treasure, how you interact with the people and world around you.   Does it respect God and His Creation?).

God's call to simplify and contemplate and pray way back in August was an invitation to join Him on a journey.   A journey to sainthood.   A journey THROUGH the mountains and valleys of motherhood and marriage.   A journey full of suffering and joy, sorrow and love.

I have a lot more to share with you over the next few days, leading up to Lent.   I hope that you'll join me throughout the season of Lent, too.  I have a feeling that it will be a fruitful, exciting forty days.   So much has happened here at the Circus, and I'm bursting at the seams to share the blessings and graces that God has showered upon us, and continues to on a daily basis.   

I'm also looking forward to hearing from you.  Shoot me a message.  Leave a comment.  What have your last six months looked like?   Are you ready for the months ahead?

"On this Lenten journey, let us be attentive to welcoming Christ's invitation to follow him more decisively and coherently, renewing the grace and commitments of our Baptism, so as to ... clothe ourselves in Christ, thus reaching Easter renewed and being able to say with St. Paul 'it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me'"  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Poem 2013

The hard copies should be arriving in family mailboxes later this week!   To all of our friends, we're sorry we can't send out hard copies to everyone!!  Please accept the virtual version, and know that if we could possibly mail this to all of you, we would!!  

Much love from the Circus and Merry Christmas to all!

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the Tent,
The Circus was sleeping, as all were quite spent!
2013 had brought many changes, and as snow was beginning to fall,
the time had come for cuddling and early bedtimes for all.

Mike’s new job had brought them back home to good old Maine.
Though they missed Arizona, it was great to be in the Pine Tree State again!
He loved his new job, though, and the Circus settled in well.
Right back in their old New England home, with many desert stories to tell.

Heidi worked hard at home, as the head teacher to three little boys.
Their days were full of lessons, laughter, and lots of toys.
She loved her days, snuggled in the house in the trees,
Surrounded by four boys, two dogs, one hamster, seven chickens, and lots of leaves,

Believe it or not, Joseph has turned nine.
His favourite activities are reading and playing out in the yard of pine.
He’s a state champion gymnast, who loves flying high.
You’ll often find him twisting, turning, and flipping through the sky.

Graham is now seven, about to be eight.
He loves spending time in the kitchen with Mommy, and crafting a plate.
He, too, was on the state champion gymnastics team.
His focus, strength, and willpower make his teammates cheer and scream.

Nicholas is now five, and quite the little rascal.
He loves to cuddle and read, and cheers us all with an awesome cackle.
He’s quirky and fun, a true joy to behold.
We just can’t wait to see him grow up, and imagine the stories that will be told!

A toddler named Theo will be our newest addition,
As soon as we’re called to send our obstetrician.
To the other side of the world, Daddy will fly,
Hopefully next February, to bring home our little guy.

Circus clown 5.0, we are happy to say,
Should be here to join us, sometime next May.
This little one is growing quite well, and seems to be strong.
We can’t wait to have him/her at the Circus, just where they belong.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for following along
With our silly little poem, or perhaps even a song.
Healthy and happy, we hope that you all are,
Please know that we love you and send Christmas wishes from afar!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I've been spending a lot of time recently wondering just why I've been feeling such a strong call to "unplug."  I've mentioned it here before, so it might sound familiar to some of you out there.   I've felt a nudge to limit my time online, not blog, and try to stay off of the computer and so on and so on.   I originally thought it was so that I could be focusing on the "here and now" - focusing on being present in my day to day life with family and friends.

It's been about four months now, and while those four months have been filled with beautiful moments, sorrow and joy, laughter and tears......I haven't really felt the urge to put those things into written word. I haven't really felt it necessary to put it all out there on the interwebz.

I've spent the last little bit of time wondering just why that is  (and yes, I recognize the inherent silliness of blogging about it now!).  I'm hesitant to even put it out there at this moment because of that silliness, but writing has always helped me to get my thoughts sorted writing is what I turn to now.

The past four months of not blogging or not sharing every last thought or contemplation on places like Facebook or CMOMC has actually had a side effect that I didn't really expect.   I went into this hibernation anticipating a more fruitful, more disciplined daily life and family life.  A more dedicated or committed observance of my primary vocation of wife and mother, if you will.   And while the past four months have been just that - a rededication to my vocation - they've turned out to be so much more than that.

You see, during the past four months, I've come to understand one very important lesson:

It's not about me.

Yes, my vocation is the path that God is calling me  - only me - to on my way to Heaven, but deep's not really about me.  Being a wife and mother should be helping me to look outside of myself - toward the world around me, and helping me to evangelize to that world......and ultimately drawing myself and those around me right back to Him.

It shouldn't be about me.   That's what I've come to realize over the past four months:  it should be all about Him.   Glorifying Him.....not me and my accomplishments or great ideas.   After all, none of that was my own doing.  It was all Him.

Being "quiet" the past four months has shown me just how important I thought I was....and how little importance I gave Him.  I'd convinced myself that I was using these different outlets as a way of witnessing to Him, but if I was going to be 100% honest with you.....I really wasn't.   I wanted the glory for myself.  The "What a great idea!"s and the "You're so right!"s and the "Your kids are so cute!"s that each posting garnered.   I wasn't really looking for any "Praise God!"s or "God is so good!"s or anything along those lines.   I'd convinced myself that I was doing it for Him....but at the same time, I was keeping all of the glory for myself.

Isn't that the way it works sometimes?   A good idea - a perfectly legitimate, moral idea - snowballs into something that's not-so-great.    Something as seemingly innocent as an online journal turns into non-stop chattering with the intention of stroking my own ego.   I didn't want to be challenged - I wanted to be affirmed.   I'd started talking and forgot to leave room for Him to do His thing, touching and changing hearts.

My self-imposed silence helped me to recognize that I'd strayed away from my original mission - witnessing to family and marriage - and had led me to a not-so-great mission:  witnessing to Heidi.   My Mothers Day breakdown (not going to link to it wasn't pretty) only solidified that realization for me.   While I firmly believe that my thoughts and feelings were appropriate that weekend (emotions are not a bad thing!) intention in sharing them here and other places was not.   I wanted - I craved - my own hurting pride to be comforted, and I refused to give Him the room to heal me.  I didn't trust Him.

I'd strayed too far from my vocation and made it all about reuniting me to myself....and not about reuniting myself to Him.

The past few months have allowed me to find my way again.   They've allowed me the time to listen, instead of always looking for something to say.   They've allowed me a chance to breathe and let Him guide me, instead of barging on ahead without giving Him the chance to lead.   I've rediscovered my mission as wife and mother, and started to return to fulfilling my responsibility as a daughter of God.   I've started to focus again on sharing the love that He is so generously pouring onto me, through my words and actions and witness.

There is a path that He has chosen for me.  One that will lead me to Him someday in Heaven, if I keep up my end of the deal and remain faithful to Him.   My mission is directly tied to that path - He is calling me (and has been calling me, faithfully) to witness to His love, His plan, and His Church.

I can't do any of that if all I'm witnessing to is myself.

Over the next few weeks, this blog will change a bit.   Things will get cleaned up, the focus will be changing.  It's not about me, He reminded me tonight.

It's about Him.

He's there in my daily life - in my role as wife and mother.  

He's there in the good and the bad, the laughter and the tears, the beautiful and the ugly.

This will still be a witness to what it means to be a Catholic wife and mother in today's world.  After live as a Catholic is to live a life in response to His love.  

But I'm stepping back into the shadows and letting Him take center stage.

After's not about me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Late Quick Takes AND WIWS

Can I do it?  Can I really link to BOTH Jen and FLAP?!?!  I'm gonna try!

Alright, let's get started!


What I wore Sunday....

Nothing too exciting - it was a yucky day today and I didn't want to spend a ton of time on my hair or an outfit and then get caught in a downpour.    Here are the details:

From the ground up:

Shoes:  something from Younkers.   The insoles are worn out because I wear them ALL.OF.THE.TIME and I can't read the brand anymore.   I know they came from the clearance rack though and were less than $10.   I'm a cheapskate.
Skirt:  Target, in the maternity section.   (don't go making any wild assumptions.   It was just cute, and it made me feel good to pick out a size that was a size SMALLER than I normally wear.  Oh, and it was $20)
Cami:  J.Jill.   A standby for me.  I wear one pretty much every day, thanks to the nothing-on-front issue I inherited
Shirt:   Target.   My favourite.  I have one in just about every colour of the rainbow.

No special jewelry or hair today.   Again.....rain.  'Nuf said.

Rascal #2 joined me in the WIWS post.....because..........


This is what he actually wore to Mass today!  :)  My baby's growing up........altar serving for the first time today.   I'm a proud Mama.  


It was a super busy week.   We had a great Pentecost, with both Rascal #1 and Rascal #2 receiving their First Communion and Confirmation.    We had both sides of the family in attendance - two sets of grandparents and one cousin who came along for the ride.   

It was a beautiful day.


One set of grandparents (the one who had the stowaway cousin) stayed through this past week.    Grandma and Cousin spent most of their time playing with me and the rascals, while Papa helped Mike in our backyard.   I forgot to take a before picture, but here are a few after shots:

Obviously we still have some work to do - filling in the grass and actually planting the plants IN the raised bed, but, well..........rain.   Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, so our plan is to plant, plant, plant!


The reason we had kids:

slave labour



No, really.....I'm kidding.

(not really)


Things to celebrate = lots of cake in the Circus

I love making cakes.   Two boys celebrating meant I had to make TWO cakes, of course!   I actually just made small ones for each boy - they got their own 4x4inch cake, and then the rest of us got cupcakes.   Here are the finished products:

Rascal #1's

Rascal #2's


A funny to end the post - we went out for yummy Thai food the other night, and I looked over at Rascal #3 to see this:

He was making faces and checking out his reflection on his spoon.   It was hilarious.  Of course, as soon as I took the picture, he figured out that we were all watching him, and the funny business came to an end, but I'm so glad that I managed to sneak at least ONE picture!


And with that, my QT/WIWS post is over!   We're winding down from all of the company, so I'll hopefully be able to do a couple blog posts over the next little bit.   Got some homeschooling on the mind......some more musings about "doing God's Will"...... and lots of thoughts about family size and our society.   Stay tuned!