Thursday, March 28, 2013

Into the garden...

Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.

When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.”

After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” 

And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.

He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.

When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief.

He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”

Luke 22: 39-46


I've been reflecting on this Scripture passage for a few weeks now.  Earlier this Lent, I realized that God was calling me to join Him in the garden this year.   I mentioned it to a friend, completely and totally terrified out of my mind.   You see, I've never really had an experience like this before.   I've never, ever, had something come so clearly to me in prayer before.   

But this year has been different.   Every time that I went to Him in prayer.....every time I spent time in Adoration.....during every Mass......every time I contemplated on a Scripture or spiritual reading......Every single time, I heard Him calling me.   It was as clear as if He were sitting right next to me.    Over and over, He was inviting me into the garden.   Into the experience of His agony.  Into His sorrow.

And every single time, I sort of freaked out.   I refused to go.    Instead, I'd shake my head, and say, "No, no, no, You can't possibly mean me.   I can't go there with You."

And He kept calling, inviting me in.

When I finally mentioned it to this friend, she lovingly told me....."Go.   Trust Him."

I resisted some more, but this weekend....I finally said "Okay, God....if that's what You want from me....I'll try."

It's been slightly surreal.   I've felt physical pain that I never knew I could.  I've felt emotional anguish so deep that I'd start crying without even realizing it.   I felt sorrow that I never knew existed.

I'm not even really sure why I'm sitting here at the computer, blogging about it.   Maybe because I'm afraid and need to put words on that fear, in order to process it?   Maybe because of the deep sorrow I've felt for the past two days, and the fear of what I'm scared might come tonight and tomorrow?   Maybe it was in talking to a friend today about love?

In the past two days, I've watched a actual divide be created between my friends and family, which seems all too fitting, considering it's Holy Week.   I've seen people who have been life-long friends enter into arguments that end with cursing and condemnation (from both sides)......and a dissolution of that life-long friendship.   I've seen mothers and daughters become estranged.   I've seen families torn apart, friendships thrown away.  I've seen lifetimes of experiences and love, tossed aside like garbage.

It breaks my heart, and I can only imagine just how much it is breaking His.

I've spent hours, crying in front of my computer, watching people I love and cherish be hurt and ridiculed.   Mocked and tormented.  Condemned and vilified.

I don't think it is coincidental that all of this is happening during Holy Week.

I don't think it is coincidental that, during this season in which He has been calling me to enter into that agony in the garden with Him, I am watching dearly loved friends and family tear each other apart.

I don't think it is coincidental that, during the week that we Christians remember and celebrate Love.....the purest, most beautiful Love that could ever - and will ever - exist.....that these arguments and divides and hurt all comes down to love.   

I've refused to "take sides" on social media, refusing to replace my profile picture with the emblem of one side or another side.   This is not because of a lack of "courage" or "conviction"  - words that have been thrown around like confetti this week (again, on both sides).  I've refused to enter into the arguments (Social media isn't the place for this, I firmly believe) that both sides have tried to bait me into.

This has been deliberate.   I was hopeful, as I watched this phenomenon spread throughout social media, that my past actions and conversations with friends would have been witness enough to my beliefs, my desire to love, and my desire to live faithfully and compassionately.

I'm afraid, however, that it would not have been.   It wasn't enough for the family members and friends that I've seen turn on each other.  It wasn't enough to prevent the pain and agony that I've witnessed this week.

There isn't a graphic - no matter how well-done - that accurately displays the depth of truth and beauty found in love.   There isn't a graphic that can accurately display the entire truth of humanity and God's plan for us all.

Oh wait.......

There is.

This is Love.  

Thankful Thursdays....

....because THIS is what I want to remember when I'm 80:

- Rascal #2 happily practicing his guitar in the playroom

- Rascal #3 cuddling with the little dog on the couch

- Rascal #1 playing tug-of-war with the big dog in the living room

- Lion King Radio playing in the background on Pandora (currently Aladdin soundtrack)

- pancakes cooking on the griddle

- a cup of hot tea next to me

- a friend's house to head to after breakfast

- schoolwork that can wait until this afternoon

- giggles.  Lots of giggles.

- homemade peanut butter and local maple syrup for the pancakes

How about you?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

More on being joyful....

I've been pondering this topic for probably at least a year now, but I've finally decided to sit down and type out my thoughts tonight.   Why tonight? you might wonder.....well, honestly it was because of this post that a friend shared.     Go ahead and read it..I'll wait.   (Warning:  there is some language, so if you're easily offended by that, just skip it).

Anywho, I noticed that so many comments made on the post itself (and on FB, when I saw it shared over and over again) were things along the line of:

"Yes. This. Weekend updates on Facebook are like bathing in lemon juice after you shave your legs, only much more irritating. It seems we have the same kinds of weekends, and the same kinds of kids. But don't we all? Some of us (coughcoughTHEMcough) need to lay off the BS and let friends know it's been another hard day and please can we get together over cookies and coffee and let the kids watch a DVD in the basement for 5 Godforsaken uninterrupted minutes?"

"Haha, so true!!"

"This.  All of this.  Yes."

You know how that post made me feel?  Nothing like those comments.

It made me sad.  Very, very sad.

I've been pondering this phenomenon ever since I attended my very first playdate as a new mommy with Rascal #1.    Now, there was no Facebook then, so this was all happening "in real life."   Pretty quickly after the playdate started, the gossiping began.  

"Did you hear what so-and-so said?   She thinks she's just soooooooo perfect."

"Did you hear her talking about her husband?  It's like a bad romance novel."

"Can't she just tell the truth?  It's like we're sitting next to Polly-freakin'-anna."

I was shocked.    I still kind of am, to be totally honest.

I noticed the same attitude while listening to moms complain about my son's favourite show, Caillou.  Now, I'll grant you that the voice used for the character of Caillou was a bit annoying....although pretty close to "real life," if you ask me.  I mean, come on, what four year old DOESN'T have a bit of a high-pitched, nasally voice?   But it wasn't the voice that the other moms complained about.  It was the "always happy parents,"  the "lack of 'real life',"   the "annoying perfect" family,  the parents who never yelled.....and so on.   

Then Facebook happened, and it got more and more pronounced.   We now have stuff like this:

you can even buy it on a shirt

I'll admit.  I didn't get it then, and I still don't get it today.   I have a theory as to why we do this, but it's just a theory.  You see, I've written about this before (I'd go find the post for you, but honestly, I'm trying to get this typed out before I have to start the bedtime routine):  we need to stop relying on the "experts" to tell us how to do something... anything, really.   We need to start trusting ourselves.  And I believe that this comes mostly to light when it comes to parenting.  We are so scared of failure and not being perfect that we have stopped, as a nation (In my opinion), listening to our own knowledge and instincts.   I'm not sure exactly why this is - maybe because everything we read has the "quick and easy secret" for success?   And then when the secret doesn't work in our own personal situation.....we feel like a failure, we feel imperfect?   I'm not sure.   All I know is that we are now so conditioned to feel inadequate in all aspects of our life that there seems to be an overwhelming cynicism or bitterness.

This reliance on experts and lack of self-confidance has backfired in the mommy world (and I'm assuming other places, too, but my experience has been in the mommy communities).   We  now don't believe that anything is really "true" when it is presented to us.   We seem to believe that everyone is a failure, deep down inside (because we have accepted it as truth that we are failures ourselves), and that anything that contradicts that is a lie.   

We have chosen to deny the gift of joy.  We have chosen to live without gratitude.  Instead, we have accepted a "gift" of bitterness, cynicism, and honestly, jealousy.

As I said above....this makes me sad.  Very sad.

When I first read the post that I linked to above, I cried.  I cried for all of the women who felt the same way.   I cried for myself, because I was "guilty" of those kinds of posts and it hurt to think of my friends "throwing up in their mouths a little" in response to my "Why I Love my Husband" posts.   But most especially, I cried for our children.

Can you imagine being 13 years old......and seeing your mother post some of those "truths" that the author talks about?   Can you imagine being the child of someone who wrote this (emphasis mine):

"We were on the third cycle of Beauty and the Beast when the internet went out. I started to shake. I couldn’t breathe. My window to the outside world was shuttered and locked.
“What about the internet on your phone?” you ask. Well, let me tell it to you. I live in the middle of nowhere. And my 3G network prefers chillin’ in cafes in Tel Aviv–sure, I understand–I’m the same way. But it still sucks.
Because–guess what? Now I have to actually spend my entire weekend with the kids actually with the kids."

I'm guessing someone out there is going to "throw up in their mouths a little" at this.  Heck, maybe even it will get back to the blog authour.    But I'm going to be completely honest here:   I can't imagine being that child and coming upon something like this written by my mother.   (Not because my mother is perfect, because no one is perfect...and definitely not because my mother is an eternal optimist, because no one in  my family is that much of an optimist).   No, I can't fathom the pain of coming upon something like that, no matter how "true" it may be.
Why?  Because I remember my childhood like an episode of Caillou.   Was it perfect?  No, not by any means.  There were ugly moments.  There were screaming matches.  I was a snotty teenager.  
But I think I could probably remember the details of maybe only a handful of those screaming matches.   Instead, the memories that have stuck with me have been the fun vacations.   The laughter.  The baking cookies with my mom at Christmas.  The traditions.
The things that would have been Facebook posts and pictures....if there was Facebook in the 80s.
My family has chosen to celebrate the joyful moments, and forget about the not-so-pretty ones.   I would guess that the not-so-pretty moments, if added up, would actually be higher in number than the joy-filled ones (isn't that how life actually "works" for most of us?), but the one thing that my parents taught me - even through the job losses, the multiple moves, the health issues, the deaths of family members, the no money times, and so on - was that we always have a choice.   We can choose to celebrate the positive.....or we can choose to wallow in the negative.
I've been told before - recently, actually - that I couldn't possibly understand what it was like for someone else whose life wasn't as "perfect as the life" that Mike and I have.   That comment hurt - it always hurts to be dismissed by someone who you consider to be a friend - but more than anything, it made me realize just how much we, as a society, seem to have forgotten this lesson I learned from my parents.
Joy IS a gift.  But, just like with any other gift we are given....we have to choose to accept it.

Someone would look at our Facebook accounts and probably assume that Mike and I are "fake-booking."   "Filtering" our posts, as the authour puts it, to show that we have our "shit together."   I'm sure there are people out there that do that - edit their posts or pictures to make it look perfect because they want the approval of everyone around them.  Facebook can definitely be an occasion of sin for someone who deals with pride or sensuality.   I completely understand that.

But maybe it's time we stop doubting ourselves.   Maybe it's time that we stop beating ourselves up for not being as "perfect" as the life someone else is presenting to the world.   Maybe it's time for us all to learn the lesson that my family taught me:  to choose to accept joy, as it is given to us.

Are Mike and I perfect?  Not by any means.  Is our life perfect?   Not at all.   I don't think anyone can look at a life filled with deaths, miscarriages, adoption struggles, extreme debt (that's a whole other post), crazy work hours and stressors, and relationship/friendship woes and call it perfect.    We've had our share of struggles (and still do).   Do we want to present it as perfect to the world?   Not at all.   

But we do want to choose joy.

We want to be grateful for the good things, instead of letting the bad things take over our entire lives.   We want to suffer those bad things with joy and love.

And you can't do that unless you choose to focus on the good stuff.

What's that saying?  If you look for the negative, you will find it, or something like that?

I firmly believe that the opposite is completely true.  If you look for the will find joy.   Or in other words:

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

If you go looking for those sun-kissed moments to take a picture of...if you are listening for the funny things your kids say....if you pay attention to the words or actions of love that are coming from your will find more and more of them every day.   

Today, my Facebook page was full of goofy pictures of the kids at a maple sugarhouse.   It was full of words of praise.  I posted pictures and quotes that showed natural beauty (the snow and sunshine), human beauty (my children), and words of laughter.     Today looked pretty darn perfect on Facebook, I'm sure, to anyone who was interested in what we were doing.

Was it perfect?  Not by any means.  Today was also the day that I had to yell at the boys for swordfighting with their blessed palms at Mass (along with every other Catholic mom out there, I'm assuming).  Today was the third day of a four day call stretch for Mike, so it was also the third day of single-parenting.   That yummy breakfast I raved about was only eaten after 30 minutes of standing in line in the cold Maine winter, five hours after our last meal.  The boys were hungry.  And antsy.   Today was also a day of four loads of laundry (my least favourite chore).  Oh, and I'm out of dishwasher detergent, so it was also a day where I've had to wash all of our dishes by hand.

But those aren't the things I want to remember when I'm eighty (God willing, I will live that long). I want to remember the giggles of the boys as they played with the three emergency Hot Wheels cars that I stashed in my purse as a "just in case"....even though they were in the mud and dirt in their only pair of dress pants.   I want to remember the joy on Rascal #3's face when we had our second meal of pancakes today (his favourite) and his excitement that the sugarhouse makes the "same kinds of eggs as you make, Mom!" (scrambled).    I want to remember hearing my favourite song on the drive home.   I want to remember the bliss of receiving communion today at Mass.  I want to remember the smiles from our priest as we left the basilica.   I want to remember the sunshine on my face as we stood in that line for breakfast.   I want to remember the giggles that Mike caused as he competed in a "staring contest" with the goose at the farm.

I want to choose to accept these bits of joy that I've been given today.   I want to be grateful for my blessings........not focused on the suffering.  And so I will choose to memorialize those few perfect moments.....the smiles, the laughter, the sunshine.    Not because I want to show everyone how perfect my life is.....but because I want to remind myself that I am blessed.  

I've already written too much on this topic, but there's one more thing I want to say.   If you're out there reading this and "throwing up in your mouth a little," I want to ask you "Why?"   

Why are you throwing up in your mouth a little?   Why do pictures and posts like mine make you feel sick?   Why do they frustrate (or anger) you?  

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose

joy & keep choosing it every day."

 - Henri Nouwen

Friday, March 22, 2013

Quick Takes

Sneaking in at the last minute to join up with Jen again today!

1.  I know, I know, I still haven't done my Five Things post.  I will, I promise.  When I get more than 5 seconds to sit down and type.   I have to be able to think to answer the questions!

2.  We spent the first half of this week hosting family from out of town...then mid-week was spent hunkering down in a snow storm and then recovering from out-of-town guests (hello, laundry!) and the snow storm....then the past two days were spent trying to get us back on our regular school and gymnastics routine.  Whew!  I'm pooped and thoroughly enjoying this glass of wine.

3.  Today, however, I made the executive decision that we were all a little too stir crazy from our self-imposed retreat this week, and I got us out of the house.   I couldn't handle the bickering between Rascal #1 and Rascal #2 anymore, so I threw them into the car, packed worksheets for them to work on while we were driving, and drove to the state capital.  Maine has an awesome state museum that's super cheap ($2 for adults, $1 for kids over age six - total cost of $4!!  Woot!).  I figured that since Rascal #1 is currently learning about the settlers in New England in colonial times......we might as well make a trip to see the exhibits about life in Maine 400 years ago.   They have awesome displays of how people used to survive (how they lived, what work they did, what they ate, etc), and so I thought this might be a fun way to help Rascal #1 actually be able to visualize what he's learning about.  We had a great time - it definitely made today a much happier day!  

4.  Of course, some pictures from today:

Racing into the museum

talking about fishermen

this sign still cracks me up.  We've been going to this museum for four years now, and I still giggle every time we get to this display.  I'm still in middle school, apparently.

5.  A day in the life of a circus homeschooler:

Playing around pre-school hours

Rascal #1 learning about ocean water - measuring out some table salt

dissolving it into water

Boiling off the water

measuring the salt left behind

comparing what we started with and what we ended with

writing a story

perfecting the story and illustrating it

Rascal #3's own experiment:  tracing a shoe from every family member and them putting them in order according to size

Taking a break:  HABEMUS PAPAM!

Creating their own board game out of Legos (okay, this one is technically from the NEXT day, but they had so much fun playing their homemade game that I had to include it!)

6.  No update on the doctor stuff yet.    My doctor got stuck in an airport during this last snowstorm, and had to reschedule my appointment.  It was rescheduled for today, but I was unable to find a sitter, so I had to reschedule it for next week.    Oddly enough, I've changed my diet some and am feeling a LOT better.  Not 100%, but probably 50% better.   I'm hopeful that means that I'm heading in the right direction.  

7.   Could I ask for more prayers for us?   You can read up on our adoption journey here, but we're facing a bit of a fork in the road.  We've known for a long time that adopting Peter wasn't going to be the end of our adoption journey - we're going to adopt more children than just Peter.  However, we are at a point in the journey where we need to decide what to do.  Peter's adoption is stalled at the moment, and there's nothing we can do to speed up the process.   We have the opportunity to continue to wait for him, but move forward with adopting another child in the meantime.   We're praying on the decision, and will be for awhile, but we need to move either towards this other child, or continue to wait for Peter (for probably at least until next winter).   No matter what, we will continue to work towards bringing Peter home...we just need to decide if we're going to work towards bringing a second child home at the same time.   Thanks for praying for us.  

Okay, with that, I'm off to bed!  Rascal #3 has gymnastics bright and early in the morning...which means I need to get a household of non-morning people into the car by 8am.  Pray for us!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I love my husband.....

I know, I's not Monday, but I'm hanging out with Kaitlin today anyway!  

Today, this is why I love my husband:

I'm going to likely be home early, want an evening off??  I should be

able to take over the boys at like 4 or so, and then maybe you could

Wanna know what that was?

A random email I received this morning, unprompted.   I love this man!

(and yes, I left the house at 3:50 this afternoon and just got home after an hour spent in adoration, at 10:30pm.  It was fabulous!)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Quick Takes

Hanging out with Jen again today!  :)  Go see her for more fun quick takes!

1.   Have to be super quick today!  As soon as I hit "publish" I'll be walking out of the door to go pick up my inlaws at the airport!  Lots of family coming into town today........two grandmas, one grandpa, one great uncle, one great aunt, one aunt, and one uncle!  Whew!

2.  Why is everyone coming into town, you ask?   It's the final meet of the season - the state meet!  Woot!

3.  Hmmmm....what else can be super duper quick?   Let's see - entertaining on a Friday in Lent is a bit tricky!  I'm not a well experienced fish cook.....and we usually do super simple Friday meals to begin with.   Eek!   Sooooo....on the menu tonight:   spinach and artichoke soup,  smoky black bean stew,  lots of bread, and lots of salad.   Hope it goes over well!  

4.  NFP class went really well last week - thanks for the prayers!  We had fun, the couples actually participated and didn't seem *too* bored, and we've had a couple inquiries since then about them wanting to learn NFP.  Yay! Praise God!

5.   No updated on the doctor front yet...we have test to run.  Funnily enough, I'm feeling much better since the last quick takes post.   I've increased my iron intake, so maybe that's what it was all along?  I don't know.  Maybe it is a placebo effect from just mentioning it to someone?  I don't know, but I'm happy about it!

6.   I've been nominated to do one of those Five Things posts, so that will be forthcoming.....gotta think of things you guys don't know about me!  :)  Stay tuned and those of you out there with blogs, be very scared.......I have to nominate people to play along after I could be you!   (this is sooooooo a blogging version of a chain letter.....just sayin')

7.  HABEMUS PAPAM!   How could I forget?!?!  Mike and I have both already fallen in love with our new Holy Father.  Pope Francis.   I can't even begin to put into words how much I adore this man already.......I'll let Simcha do it for me.    Future patron saint of the socially awkward...LOVE IT.

Alright, with that, I'm off!  Be back later and have a great Friday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thankful Thursdays!

Stealing the idea from a friend, Donna. 


Tell me 10 things you are thankful for, right at this moment.   Leave it in the comments below!


1) a warm house
2) oil in the oil tank for the heater
3) sunshine and blue skies over white snow-covered fields
4) food in the pantry
5) healthy children
6) an awesome, hardworking husband
7) the boys' gym meet this weekend
8) friends and family coming to celebrate said gym meet with us
9) Pope Francis
10) the ability to homeschool - and to be able to spend the day discussing things that are important to our family (like Pope Francis!)

Ready?  Go!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Healing...

I've mentioned before that I'm a member of an awesome online Catholic Moms group.  This group is probably single-handedly responsible for both Mike and my "coming home" to the Catholic Church.   These women have supported and challenged me in ways that I cannot even begin to list here.   I love them all dearly.

It's no different during the time of the year that we Catholics call Lent - approximately the 40 days before Easter.  One of the moms presents us with a "daily Lenten resolution" for every day during this liturgical season.   I try my best to accomplish it, but this year I have been having a harder time than usual.  Maybe it's the exhaustion and the fact that my schedule just will not seem to slow down....or maybe it's a bit of laziness on my part.   I've read the challenge every day, but some just doesn't happen.

However, today's challenge really spoke to me.  You see, this was what I woke up to this morning:

The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Share some way in which the Lord has healed you. Share with your family, with on-line friends, co-workers, but share some way in which He has healed you.

Guys, I can do this one.  Maybe not totally coherently, but I'll give it my best shot.

You see.....I'm a totally different woman from the one I was even three short years ago.  

Three years ago, I would have described my life as:

not fulfiling

I was stuck in a rut, convinced that I was supposed to be making a difference somewhere - - anywhere -- but not at home with my children, which was where I was being "forced" to be due to our finances and Mike's career choice (he was a medical resident at the time, working at least 80 hours a week, leaving me no time to be "fulfilled" professionally).

We were practicing Catholics, having come home by this point, but I was still convinced that I was not where I was "supposed" to be.  I was restless, certain that I was missing my chance to "make a difference."   I researched different training/education programs and degrees, spending hours trying to find a way to work them into our budget and daily life.  I went on  interview after interview of different jobs that I just *knew* would fulfill me.

And none of it came to pass.  I was offered some of those jobs (all but one, if I remember correctly), but we just couldn't make them work financially or logistically with Mike's schedule.  I was bitter.  I was frustrated.  I was restless.

I was angry with God.  Very angry.  I could not understand why He wasn't letting me fulfill my role in life.   Why was He keeping me from doing what I was being called to do?

I begged Him.  I pleaded.   I bargained with Him.  I tried to bribe Him (give me this job and I'll make sure to tithe more!).  Hey, it works with kids....I apparently had no shame in trying to get it to "work" with Him.

I finally broke down one night.  It was another night of being on my own at home.....finally having gotten all three kids in bed after being the sole provider once again.  (I was pretty worn out by the end of the fourth year of didn't exactly make me a nice person).    I spent so much of that night sobbing, praying, journaling....asking Him what I was doing so wrong that He wouldn't give me this one thing.

And then it hit me:   I wasn't being denied my "calling."   He was still there, patiently calling me to a life that He had planned for me.....a life in which I could glorify Him and do His work, just like I had envisioned.   The call was still there......I just was ignoring it.   I wasn't listening to what He was actually saying.....just listening for what I *wanted* Him to be saying, and that wasn't coming.

At that moment, I felt like that picture of St. Paul being knocked off of his horse.  I finally was being blinded by Him and hearing His call......and my whole world dropped out from underneath me.

I realized, in a split second of clarity, that I was already physically answering His call.  I was a mother.  I was a wife.

I just wasn't there emotionally. 

He was calling me to glorify Him, to serve Him, as a mother and wife.  As a member of a family. And I hadn't been listening at all.

At that moment, I asked Him for forgiveness.  I asked Him for healing (and followed it up with a fantastic confession that I still remember every second of, to this day).   I asked Him to help me see Him through the everyday tasks and happenings in my life as a mom and wife.

I'd love to say that, at that moment, I was a changed woman.  But I wasn't.  I'm pretty darn stubborn (just ask Mike).  It took many moments of crying out to Him to be healed.  I still have moments when I have to remind myself to turn to Him, not myself.   More than I'd like to admit.   It's a hard struggle when the "outside world" is telling you that all that matters is your own physical happiness, at the cost of everyone (and everything) around you.   It's hard to remember what love really is when all you are being trained to do by your culture is love yourself.   

But He did heal me.   Through groups like that awesome moms' group.  Through blogs like this one.  And this one.  And this one.   And this one.  He healed me through the love and encouragement and laughter and friendship that I found through these brilliant, awe-inspiring, funny, smart Catholic women........and through them, I found the confidence to try to witness to my own faith through this blog, with "real life" friends, and in our family.  

I'd always wanted to be a mom - it's one of the few things that I can say I always wanted to be "when I grew up."  The career would change (teacher, veterinarian, nurse, etc)....but motherhood always stayed the same.  

It took falling off of my horse and asking Him to pick me back up, but I eventually realized that my calling in life wasn't one of those careers.....but it was the ultimate career, the one I was created for:  motherhood.

I am grateful for His healing.  I'm not sure where I'd be today if it weren't for that.   I'm pretty sure I wouldn't still be married - my frustration and bitterness had caused that much of a struggle between Mike and I.   I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be as happy and content as I am at this moment, sitting in my favourite room of the house (our playroom).     I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be laughing as much as I do today - enjoying every moment, even the unplanned, messy ones.  

I thank God every day for healing my bitterness, my restlessness.   I thank God for allowing me to see His beauty in my calling as a wife and mother.   I thank God for the greatest gift of all:  the gift of joy.  

Joy abounds in my daily life as wife and mother - and I thank Him for healing my blindness to it.

""Men can heal the lustful. Angels can heal the malicious. Only God can heal the proud."  St. John Climacus

"An integral part of any celebration is joy. A celebration can be organized, joy cannot. It can only be offered as a gift; and in fact it has been given to us in abundance. For this we are grateful. Just as Paul describes joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so John in his Gospel closely links the Spirit to joy. The Holy Spirit gives us joy. And he is joy. Joy is the gift that sums up all the other gifts. It is the expression of happiness, of being in harmony with ourselves, which can only come from being in harmony with God and with his creation.
It is part of the nature of joy to spread, to be shared. The Church’s missionary spirit is nothing other than the drive to share the joy that has been given to us. May that joy always be alive in us, and thus shine forth upon our troubled world."  Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why I Love My Husband

Joining up with Kaitlin today!  :)

Today's reason for why I love Mike?  

These gross little buggers:


You see, the other night, I was sitting peacefully on the living room couch, much later than I probably should have been but Mike was on call and I was enjoying the quiet house.  Until I heard them.  Having a party in my wall, directly behind my head.  

Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.

I know we live in the woods.  And it's cold.  I know this.....but those little buggers are not allowed inside my house.  At all.

I told Mike about it and he took it upon himself to work on kicking them out.   The house perimeter was inspected.....traps were set.....and he waited for them to get caught.

So why is this my reason for loving him?   Because he doesn't expect me to do ANY of it.   I'm  a pretty independent girl but I tell you, I'm not at all a fan of mice.  Dead or alive.   So, he doesn't ask me to check the traps or empty them.  He doesn't ask me to crawl around the basement, looking for their little mouse doorway from the outside world.   He just does it.  Even when he's tired and post-call and has no desire to take care of it.  Without a mention to me or asking for help.

This boy's a keeper, y'all.

(and if you were curious, we caught a couple houseguests the first weekend the traps were out, but nothing in over a week, and there have been no more loud parties in our walls.   Fingers crossed we caught them in time!)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What I Wore Sunday - Kaleidoscope version

Hi all!

It's been a busy day here, but my favourite kind of busy:  Mass, lunch out with friends, a drive along the coast of Maine to enjoy the beautiful sunshine, and then home for a delicious dinner waiting for us in the crockpot.  

Hanging out again with the FLAP gang.  :)  

Business time! 

Alright, no further delays, here's the outfit:

don't mind the Wii mess behind me......I kind of forgot it was there, haha

The details:

I decided that it was 50ยบ outside, goshdarnit, and I was going to dress for spring.  Even if I froze a little on the way to and from the car.   We Mainers are crazy like that.   Anywho, I was fine at Mass, so it all worked out.   Spring dresses, here I come!

This dress is sleeveless, which I don't like to do during Mass, so had to dig out a little sweater to go with it...this was the first time I wore either the dress or the sweater, so it took a little bit of getting used to.   My only real complaint?  It is a linen/cotton blend and wrinkled REALLY easily.  Add that to the sitting/standing/kneeling stuff during Mass, and, backside was permanently wrinkled, even though I ironed it before we left, and it kinda bothered me.   I'll have to reserve this dress for "mostly standing" events, I think.

Dress and sweater:  I picked them up at JC Penny's....have no clue what brand.  I forgot to look and the kids are heading to bed right now, so I don't want to be digging through my closet at the moment
Shoes:  good ol' Target again...

Mass grades:

Daylight savings time kind of did us in - the boys had to be woken up this morning (NEVER happens), and they were obnoxiously tired at Mass today.   I almost made them go apologize to Father for the obnoxious yawns and fidgeting from their place in the front pew.   Anywho, their grades:

Rascal #1:  B
Rascal #2:  B
Rascal #3:  C  (he insisted on sitting UNDER the pew for most of Mass, no matter how many times I pulled him out.  Sigh).

Now the fun part - I do a regular post here titled "Kaleidoscope."  Basically, just a compilation of random pictures that I want to share with friends and family....but have absolutely nothing to do with each other.   It's time for another one of those! :)  Enjoy!

From our drive today...somewhere along coastal Maine.  I love this state!

Rascal #2's latest bug poster

From our snow storm a few weeks ago - looking out our back door (heehee....totally singing CCR in my head right now)

The one and only picture I snapped on the silly carousel in our local mall before the carousel employee yelled at me because apparently photos and videos are not allowed.

Rascal #1 stole my phone

Boothbay Harbor - a stop on our drive today

an AWESOME house that's for sale that we found today - it's only $1million.  Who wants to go in on it with us?  ;)

The boys decorated their calendar for Good Friday.  <3

Alright, gotta run - have a great week, all!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quick Takes...

Once again, hanging out with Jen on this awesome Friday!

1.  I'm actually writing these on Thursday night (look at me, being all productive!) because we have a kind of crazy day ahead of us on Friday.   I need to get a full day of schooling into the rascals, then get to a doctor's appointment for myself in the early afternoon, and get the big two rascals to their gym practice mid-afternoon.   Oh, and all of those things are about 30 minutes of driving apart from each other.....

2.  I'm a little nervous about the doctor's appointment, so if you can remember, say a prayer for me around 1:45 EST.    I finally gave in and scheduled an appointment after dealing with a fun myriad of symptoms for the past couple of months.   All you charters out there - give me some ideas to mention to her when it comes to tests to run or things to look into.   My symptoms:  extreme fatigue, a severe shortening of my luteal phase (from about 14 days to consistently 9 now), irritability, always cold, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and having a hard time focusing/concentrating.    Thoughts?   My thinking is to test for thyroid issues and/or anemia, and possibly mention progesterone.  She's not an NFP doc (but is NFP friendly and a fabulous doctor, overall), so I'm thinking I might have to suggest some things.  Mike's given me some suggestions....throw out some of your personal experiences, too....

3.  It's only been up for about 12 hours, but I'm already overwhelmed by the nice notes and messages I've received from this post.  You guys are so good to me.   Thank you.  I can't help but wonder if this wasn't all part of His plan in allowing the miscarriage - the connections that I've made, the number of people who have come up to me and said, "Thank you for sharing, I didn't think anyone out there felt the same way I did" feels so out of my control, and I'm so grateful for it.

4.  My poor rascals all are coughing tonight.  Poor guys.  :(  I hope it's not that they're coming down with something.....maybe we won't have to go to gym practice tomorrow after all.....

5.   Mike and I are giving our first joint NFP presentation at a marriage prep this weekend - pray for us! We'll be talking about the awesomeness of the Church's teaching on sex and marriage and just how amazingly awesome NFP is.    It's also a quick biology course and touches on the horrible, not-talked-about side effects of birth control.   To be honest, that's the part that makes me nervous.  Birth control has such a glorified (unfortunately) status in our society, and I want to teach and enlighten.....not offend.    It's a hard line to walk - I want to show these couples the beauty of NFP and the dark side of contraception....without ticking them off.   Pray for us and for the couples who will be there!

6.  How about ending with a few pictures?   This one is proof that Rascal #3 can actually sit still for awhile.  AND be quiet  (I know, it's hard to believe).  But here he is, doing both!!

7.   This one I snapped the other evening.  I call it "Proof for my future daughter-in-law that I did teach my son how to wash his own dishes."   He calls it "Allowance."

Have a great weekend, y'all!