Friday, October 12, 2012

Preparing for Martyrdom...Are You Ready?

Grab your rosaries.

Yesterday in Argentina dozens of Catholics gathered to encircle their parish to protect it from desecration during a national feminist conference (traditionally known for its desecration of Catholic churches). The Catholics prayed the rosary out loud while a mob of angry feminists yelled at, spat on, and spray painted them as they proceeded to desecrate the church! It is a very hard video to watch. (Warning: some of the women are topless and 2 make out with each other in front of praying Catholics. That is only a small part of the video, but it is there, just so you're warned. Most of the video is the catholic people praying intently (the rosary) while the feminists scream at, poke, draw, and spat on them.)

Captured in the video is the spirit of martyrdom. It is a sobering call to the fact that this may very well be our country in the near future. The anger against Catholics (and all Christians!) is building rapidly in our country, and the persecution is subtly creeping in. For example: as you probably know, the HHS mandate REQUIRES Catholic organizations, colleges, agencies to provide insurance coverage for abortion and contraception (or pay a HUGE penalty cost), which is inherently against our Church teaching completely---it is completely unconstitutional for the government to force us to do something against our religion. And yet, it passed. This is how the hatred against ALL Christians begins to creeps in bit by bit. Before you know it, we're being spat on in the streets and beaten.

May the Lord have mercy on our world.

And I am left asking myself, "Am I ready?"

Pray. Pray hard. Make ready.

Click to watch (viewer discretion advised).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On Temptation (A Musical, by Yours Truly)

WARNING: Some may find this post may be extremely corny. I'm just putting it all out there- not holding back to save my vanity.

Daily late night discussion are becoming a norm with my eldest daughter. In preparation for her reception of 2 Sacraments this coming year, she has been learning about sin and temptation. Let me tell you, the wheels in her brain are a-turning! The Church isn't kidding when they call this the "Age of Reason!" Her questions and concerns give rise to more questions and concern, sometimes bringing up an angle that my husband and I perhaps have not considered in our own examinations of conscience. We've had to pull out our trusty Catechism of the Catholic Church and even seek clarification about a few things from a holy Priest. These late night chats, if you will, have hurled my husband and I into a deeper understanding of sin and temptation in our own lives.

This daughter is eager for Heaven and seeks every day to imitate Christ, Mary, and the saints in her quiet and humble service of others. Lately, she has been wrestling with the concept of thoughts and what thoughts are we accountable to, and what are just plain out of our control. We've explained that we cannot control the thoughts that pop into our heads, but we can control what we choose to do with them. If the sinful thought leads to sinful action (either concretely through physical action, or internally through a purposeful dwelling on the thought), then it is a sin. She found herself quite plagued by some thoughts that seemed to pop into her head, and this caused her much distress. For example, one night she was thoroughly distraught because after a long and tiring day of much activity at a Catholic convention, she sat in the Mass (which, by the way was 2 and 1/2 hours long) and tired as can be, found thoughts pop into her head such as "stupid Mass." Now she doesn't REALLY think Mass is stupid. In fact, she has a deep and profound understanding of the Mass and the Eucharist, and asks to go more often than we do (and we go a few days a week). But, it had been a REALLY long day, and she was tired, hungry, and having a really hard time sitting still (I was, too...the Mass WAS in fact 2 and 1/2 hours long!). That thought about Mass being "stupid" was a manifestation of her exhaustion. She actually cried most of that evening out of remorse, and "confessed" it to us later that night (let me also say that we have never asked her to confess to us). She was convinced that because that thought popped into her head at one moment during Mass that she must not really love God. She was thoroughly distraught! So, this led us to explain to her that those thoughts that pop into your head don't define who you are or what you believe. Its what you do with them that matters. She was so relieved! And of course we told her Jesus loves her and his mercy is endless.

Okay, so eventually we are foreseeing a conversation regarding scrupulosity...but that's for later in her formation.

My point in bringing all this up is that her own sensitivity to the moments she has hurt Jesus has witnessed to us in a profound and very real way. In fact, Matt and I have found ourselves strangely more aware of the subtle ways that satan is attempting to permeate our family.

Before you de-friend me forever, keep reading (did I really just use a facebook term on my blog?).

As instinct would have it, my first inclination is to try to blow up my bubble around my family a little keep the big bad world and all the people out. Maybe we could go live on the top of our very own mountain in the middle of no where? That would solve ALL our temptations, wouldn't it?

Last week I picked up my "Imitation of Christ," by Thomas A Kempis, for some quiet meditation, and just happened to open it to the one entitled "On Resisting Temptation" (coincidence? I think not!). Here are some excerpts I would like to highlight (the entire meditation is well worth reflection):

No one in this world is so perfect or holy as not to have temptations sometimes. We can never be entirely free of them. Sometimes these temptations can be very severe and troublesome, but if we resist them, they will be very useful to us; for by experiencing them we are humbled, cleansed. ALL the saints endured tribulations and temptations and profited by them.

There is no place so holy or so remote where you will not meet with temptation, nor is there anyone completely free from it in this life; for in our body we bear the wounds of sin.

As soon as one temptation or trial goes, another comes. We will ALWAYS have something to suffer.

Many try to fly away from temptations only to fall more deeply into them; for you cannot win a battle by mere flight. It is only by patience and humility that you will be strengthened against the enemy.

That was an excellent meditation, and encouraged me for about 4 more days, until one emotional night I apparently forgot all of it. My daughter had just told me some more of her "thoughts" (don't worry, nothing scandelous...but for her privacy I will keep them private). I was letting it get to me. That night, my husband and I had a heart to heart conversation. Actually, lets be honest, the conversation was more like me freaking out about "what a bad mom I am, and how I am failing my children if they are having temptations. What am I doing wrong? Am I praying too much with my kids? Am I taking them to too many Masses that they are going to become resentful? Maybe its the homeschooling. No, it must be the ballet class I signed her up for...even though we prayed about that decision in front of the Blessed Sacrament. But I thought I was an understanding mom, listening, nurturing...."

My husband put up his hands, "STOP RIGHT THERE!" I froze. My husband rarely gets that stern of a voice with me. Okay, he NEVER gets that stern of a voice with me.

"THAT'S WHAT he WANTS! Satan wants to cause division and doubt. He wants us to doubt what we're doing. He wants us to think we are failing. DO NOT LET HIM DO THAT! We can't let him win! EVERY single family is faced with these same situations, or very similar, that are a NORMAL part of a child's forming of their conscience. EVERY child has temptations and thoughts. The difference? We are seeking God's help and grace! We've always sensed God's grace was with this daughter. And that makes satan ANGRY! I WANT to make him angry! If he's trying to find sneaky ways to wiggle into our family, then it must be because we're doing something RIGHT. And he can BRING IT ON because he CAN'T KNOCK US DOWN to where the Lord can't help us up!!!!!!!!!"

Me: (blink, blink)

I sat, dumbfounded.

Then, I broke out into song. Fist microphone and all.


My husband: "Say what?"

I flipped open my new iphone and clicked "play" on the song I had JUST run to that morning.

Lets be honest, the words to this song are PERFECT! (Words in Italics are added to clarify the angle from which the words are meant).

Songwriters: Schwartz, Eddie;

Well you're the real tough cookie with a long history
Of breaking little hearts, like the one in me
That's okay let's see how you do it
Put up your dukes, let's get down to it

Hit me with your best shot
Why don't you hit me with your best shot?
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away

You come on with a come on, you don't fight fair
But that's okay, see if I care
Knock me down, it's all in vain (because my God is stronger than you!)
I'll get right back up on my feet again

Hit me with your best shot (because I have Faith, and God, and prayer, and Sacraments as my armor and there ain't nothin' you can do to make me say otherwise!)

After a good laugh together, we knelt in prayer before our crucifix and turned our parenting, and each of our children, over to the Lord once again, begging for His grace and guidance, and for His power to be made perfect through our weakness.

Then we entered the next week with new resolve. We decided to hit the prayer and sacrifice even harder than ever. We went to Mass 4 weekdays that week, an hour of adoration, made extra sacrifices, and prayed more fervently than ever. Because this is one race the devil isn't going to get us. We're striving for Heaven whether he likes it or not. And even if we "fail," we know through faith that if we truly gave it our all in prayer and sacrifice along the way, then all would be used for God's glory in some way or another!

Put up your dukes, lets get down to it.

St. Michael the Archangel, PRAY FOR US!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Welcoming Autumn

About 8 years ago this month, my husband and I went to our cousin's house for dinner. Nothing completely out of the ordinary there, we dined with them frequently back in those days when we both lived in the same state (as opposed to presently when we live 3 states apart). But that particular night was unique, and I always remember it because when I walked into their home I was met with an amazing aroma of pumpkin and apple! My cousin created an amazing spread, after which, per my request, she photocopied the recipes for me on the back of used purple paper (I know this because I still have those copies, stained and torn, but saved nonetheless). Out of that one night developed a tradition our family has come to anticipate each year about this time.

When the pool closes for the summer, the lightening bugs enter their hibernation, the school buses overtake the streets once again, pumpkin lattes are making a resurgence, and the nights grow cooler as we open our windows to feel the breeze in our slumber...our mouths begin to water. And we begin to crave what has become our traditional Autumn meal.

As this weekend was the first official weekend of Fall, and we happened to be having company over today, it seemed appropriate that we would make double our normal meal size and share its abundance.

Many have heard me talk favorably about this meal, and some have even had parts of it over the years, as I tend to carry left overs of it, and make it several times during the season. And so, it is for the benefit of all those interested in such a meal that I shall share the recipes here.

Allow me to preface this by reminding those of you who don't already know that I am Italian. That is an applicable and important piece of information for you to keep in mind, because true to my Italian blood, I am more likely to throw in a pinch of this and a pinch of that (and to douse everything in garlic) than I am to follow exact measurements. At first, I followed the recipes, but then the dishes improved when I detoured and made them my own. So I share the Italian chef version below. The exception to this is muffins- I'll post exact measurements for that:)

Apple Cider Chicken
Begin with a roast chicken.
Bring a large pot of apple cider (enough to cover the chicken). WITHOUT the chicken in it, bring the cider to a warm heat on the stove with the following ingredients:
a few shakes of Thyme (dried/powder/it doesn't matter), some allspice, some salt, about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, maybe come garlic. Whatever floats your boat for a good apple marinade.

After the spices and salt have dissolved, remove from heat and cool completely.

Then stick in 1 whole chicken (tonight we made 2). Cover. Refrigerate overnight. In morning turn the chicken and chill again until you're ready to cook it in the late afternoon.

Remove from the marinade and put in a roasting pan (we used a turkey roasting pan today), put some of the apple cider marinade in the bottom of the roasting pan. Set aside at least 2 cups of the marinade (to use for the gravy later). Dispose of the remaining marinade.

Stuff with onions, garlic, maybe some apple. Whatever you'd like to stuff the chicken with. Tie shut (or don't...I don't). Roast. Don't worry if the top of the roast starts to look burnt- that's the effect of the apple cider. If it seems to be getting too black, then cover lightly with foil across the top while roasting.

When the roast is done, let stand for 10 minutes before carving. In the meantime, take the drippings from the bottom of the pan and mix it with the 2 cups of marinade you set aside. Take a small amount aside and whisk in some corn starch or flour to make a paste, then add back with the rest of the liquid. Heat and whisk to make a yummy apple chicken gravy.

Curried Brown Rice
(here's where I go all Italian chef on you)
1 onion or so, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced or diced...whatever floats your boat
Olive oil
Sunflower seeds (raw)
Curry powder
2-3 cups cooked brown rice (simmered in water only, with some salt and olive oil)

In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onions in olive oil. When the onions become translucent, add:
A couple handfuls of raw sunflower seeds
A couple handfuls of raisens
Shake some salt
About 2 tsp curry powder. Start with 2 teaspoons. That's safe. Add more if you like curry! We always go all curry happy with the powder at this point.
Mix all together and continue to saute (turn down the heat).

Throw in your cooked brown rice (just cook the rice in water with some salt and a little olive oil).

Stir all together, add a little more salt (if needed) and curry powder (to turn all the rice orange!).

Pumpkin Muffins (make extra for afternoon snacks! Yum!)
2 Eggs
1 cup sugar (today we used organic cane sugar, but I have used honey or agave nectar in the past)
1 and 1/4 cup flour (today we used white flour, but whole wheat works for a heartier version)
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup oil (we've used canola, olive oil, or coconut oil- whatever we happen to have enough of at the time)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix wet ingredients first, whip well, then add mixed dry ingredients and stir well. No lumps! Put into muffin pans. Drop in the cream filling, if desired (see below). Top with crumble topping, if desired (see below). Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

If you'd like to make a cream filling, then you'll also need:
8 ounce package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
Whisk this all together well and drop 1 tsp in the middle of each pre-baked battered muffin.

Crumble topping:
cut butter into flour, cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top of each muffin.

Make a green vegetable of your choice, and voila! You have a delicious Autumn meal! Butternut or acorn squash also goes quite well with this menu.

For best results, follow the meal with a homemade apple crisp....

...and some good ol' family entertainment (which you don't even have to plan if you have a lot of kids - they will create the entertainment themselves!).

Praise the Lord for an abundant harvest, for good friends, precious children, and of course...for pumpkins (otherwise we wouldn't have pumpkin muffins!).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mediocrity does not lead to growth

A friend and I were speaking recently about a recent phenomenon that seems to have seeped into Catholic culture from the outside, caused by two ideals. The first: Our modern society is, unfortunately, largely relativistic. "What's right for you is right for you, but not for me" on moral matters. Explaining the many holes in this belief system is another post entirely.

The Second factor of influence is our society's aversion to work, to anything hard. People work for the sake of money, not work ethic. They work so they can go on vacation. They work because they have to, not because they recognize work as integral to our being. There was a time when work was expected, of all ages, in order to live. But we live in a society of convenience. We don't have to get up and milk a cow, feed it, clean its stall, because instead we can run down to the local store. We don't have to spend months growing wheat, patiently waiting for the right time to harvest, then carefully and methodically milling the wheat into flour, storing it, and using it throughout the year to bake bread. No, we can buy as many loaves as we want without ever putting the work, or the patience, into making it. We are a feel good society. Work is viewed as necessary, most of the time, but as a nuisance. We apparently LIVE for relaxing. For the 5:00 bell. For a break. For a chance to lay on the beach and "do nothing."

Both of these factors have influenced how a Catholic mom, eager to live her vocation to marriage and motherhood, encounters every day, and usually unknowingly. Being a mom of young children, especially multiple young children, is not easy! It does require work, patience, focus. There are no sick days for the mom, no vacations from being a mom. It IS who we are.

So often I hear a young mom (and to be honest, occasionally myself) complain that they simply "can't handle it all." "It's too much!" "The house is always a mess!" "The kids always need me!" "There's not enough time in the day!" "I just need to relax tonight and zone out in front of the TV." (yup, been there). I have to wonder, though, is the reason we find ourselves discontent with the level of work, or easily stressed, because an aversion to work has become ingrained in us because of the society we grew up in, and the couple generations before us?

Here I will insert a disclaimer: I am not speaking to a mom who is experiencing burn out, who is so overwhelmed she can't see her way out. I've been there. I think its safe to say every mom has at some point, or even multiple points. If anyone is reading this and feeling guilty at the state of their own life, I want to point out that I am not writing this judgementally, or in any way condesendingly. I am weak, imperfect, and small. If you were to walk into my house this very moment, you'd see that (I've been in a bad mood today, my house is a mess, I've been less than respectful to my husband today).

All that aside,I intend to examine WHY us moms fall into this all too often (this feeling overwhelmed by work)! I've found myself all too often "feeling guilty" because of various awesome-mom blog posts of these other moms doing awesome things with their children and their home. But through self-reflection, I've come to realize that if I feel guilty reading these posts, its because I am at fault in some way. No one can MAKE anyone feel guilty. Guilt comes from ones self, especially when our intended human nature (as created by God) has been violated in some way.

So I dove into reflecting on this. I was led to trying a little experiment. I took a day and noted exactly how much time it took me to do things. Everything was a part of this. How long did it take me to change a diaper? To put away the dishes? To throw in a load of laundry? And what did I do for the minutes between each of those tasks? Did I do anything productive?

Do you know what I discovered? That I waste an unbelievable amount of time! Where was most of my time wasted? On the phone and on the computer. And in the evenings- in front of the TV with my husband watching a movie (it doesn't matter if it was a wholesome saint-movie- there were still dishes in the sink!).

Then I came across this verse:
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

Whoa. That hit me across the face. I've heard it before, but this time it took on a whole new meaning. The Spirit was definitely working on me in this regard.

I printed the last verse and posted it in my kitchen. This would become my new mantra. This would help me remember to have a spirit of work in my home. The next step was for me to realize that I did not have a desire to home-make. Answer? Pray for the desire! I prayed hard, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, that the Lord would inspire in me a desire to better serve my family, a desire to say "good=bye" to idleness, a desire to put my big girl pants on and do the dirty dishes in the sink BEFORE relaxing. Praise God, he answered my prayer. I am on a mission here!

My house is NOT perfect by any means...please don't get me wrong! But I am putting prayer, my children, and laundry/kitchen above my time at the computer. Amazing what a difference that has made! It is helping me to make the most of each little moment. Yes I do still lay down and put my feet up to relax at some is important, too. But it is not the end. Jesus rested, yes. But he also set aside his own rest when the people needed him.

This is a very long round-a-bout introduction to the main purpose of this entry. I have found all too often when a mother mentions, for example, not being able to handle the laundry, she is met with responses such as "give yourself a break"..."having young children is a lot." "Don't worry about the laundry. It will get done," and "You deserve to take it easy! Go sit down, put your feet up!" Its as if the attitude from well-meaning fellow Catholics is "don't try to grow too much." This in turn, as I've noticed for myself, translates all too often into a self-absorbed excuse for me not to address my duties, and not to try to come up with a creative way to do something around the house, even if it doesn't all get done.

So I ask: in an effort to "support" one another on our path to holiness, are we encouraging each other in mediocrity rather than virtue?

On a case by case basis, yes, sometimes a mother really does need advice to "take it easy!" (This goes back to what I was saying about our society though, and our deep-seeded attitude that work is nuissance, and rest is golden). I just pulled through a post-partum period of 7 weeks. After giving birth, of course my ability to complete household tasks is greatly reduced (and it should be!). That's when its SO helpful to have a village of Christian friends who rally together to help in any way they can! But it does take a discerning heart, a constantly discerning heart, to know when "enough is enough," and when with a little push one can realistically, perhaps a little at a time, regain ownership over her duties.

I don't know about you, but the friend who responds to my cries with simple concrete ideas, applicable Bible verses to inspire, and genuine encouragement to collaboratively come up with a system that may help in a particular situation- that friend is helping me on my journey to holiness.

The friend who jumps right to "oh its OKAY! Don't worry about all that! This is a phase! Just let the house go! don't have such high expectations of yourself" while they mean well, the devil can easily use this to whisper excuses in my head in that moment when, lets be honest, chances are I could honestly and genuinely push myself, with God's grace, to get a task done in a matter of a couple minutes.

As friends on the same journey toward Heaven, shouldn't we be encouraging one another to grow WHERE ARE AT (one tiny step at a time)? Shouldn't we be inspiring one another in charity?

We must not settle for mediocrity. We can help each other. We can be Simon of Cyrene to each other in the little crosses of our daily life.

A perfect example of this is a transformation going on in my own home presently. My home isn't clutter central compared to some people's...but it has its definite trouble spots. And with 4 young kids, my husband all too often hears me say "WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!!! I FEEL BOGGED DOWN!" And I do feel bogged down. Physically and mentally, but even cluttered spiritually! How can I truly focus on prayer with God when I'm physically surrounded by a mess? How can I truly sit down and read to my kids when there are SO many tasks hanging over my head?

I went to Confession 2 weeks ago(without telling you my sins, lets just say it may have had something to do with an attachment to material things, and a laziness with my time). After completing my assigned penance, I was struck by the words in the Act of Contrition. If I was truly to avoid the near occasions of sin, and if I was firmly resolving to sin no more, than certain changes would HAVE to be put in place in the way I'm living! So I resolved in prayer to make July Decluttering and Organization month!

Not so coincidentally, we were set to have dinner at a friend's house later that day. This friend LOVES to organize. Its like a hobby to her. I had joked with her MONTHS ago that she should come organize my house. Well, it wasn't taken as a joke. That night, out of the blue, she said to me "I was thinking, this week my kids are at Faith camp, if you're free I can come over and give you organization tips and some help." Considering just that morning my resolution before the Lord was to declutter and organize, can I hear an AMEN!

What she has done so far with me has gone above and beyond what was imagined. She came over one day, took a tour of my house, noting my trouble spots, and giving me a few ideas. Then 2 days later, she called me and came over to tackle 1 room with me. We decluttered and organized 1 daughters room. She also lent me the book "Its all too much." 2 days later she came over again in an evening and tacked yet another room with me! She plans to come again later this week and has promised me that she will be with me every step of the way!

Now HERE is a friend who didn't encourage me in mediocrity. She is truly my Simon, helping me one tiny step at a time, to take care of my home, and to build healthy habits that will better serve God and my family!

What probably initiated this transformation (and this blog rant) is that I began to read "Large Family Logistics" just after the birth of my son 2 months ago. This book has inspired me to become better organized with my time. It has also inspired my husband and I to lay out clearer expectations of our children. For example, we found that we had been barking at them every morning "Go get dressed. Did you go potty? Did you brush your teeth?...etc." So we created these charts, laminated them, and called a family meeting.

Voila- morning and evening routines solved. For now anyway:) I'm sure I'll be revamping them sometime. We could say that the transformation I am experiencing is on 2 levels: Organization of space, and organization of my time. (Lord help me!).

I've been absent, again, from blogging for some time, so this is what happens. All the ideas I have for different blog posts all verge together into one GIANT blog post!

Please pray for me on this journey. And please, if you see me, encourage me in growth. Encourage me to take those baby steps. Even if I whine about it. If you love me and want me to get to Heaven, please encourage me to walk when I don't feel like it! If you don't have the words, or don't know how to encourage me, or perhaps I'm really down in the dumps, then instead of feeding my aversion to work, or giving me more excuses to give into idleness (trust me, I come up with enough excuses myself, I don't need more), then stop and pray with me. We are the Body of Christ. And when one member is weak, another has to be strong for them.

Lets help each other on this exciting and adventurous path to Heaven!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Special Mary's Month this year

Every year our family has enjoyed practicing extra devotion to the Blessed Mother during the month of May. This year proved particularly special, and a quick overview will reveal why I haven't posted since April! On May 2, we commemorated the one year anniversary of our 2nd daughter's emergency surgery, and the day that Mary revealed her presence to us. We celebrated this special day with a procession to our backyard grotto, an abundance of flowers for Mary, a raising of our voices in "Hail Holy Queen" and a rosary gathered around our grotto. On Wednesday, May 9th, at 6:15 in the morning, after just 4 hours of labor we welcomed our first son into the world! He was born happily and safely at home in the water. His 3 big sisters were gathered around with smiles from ear to ear. This little guy literally has 3 little mamas for big sisters! One little peep from his lips and his sisters rush to his side in a split second from all areas of the house! He is our light and our joy, and is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
On Thursday, May 24, our 3rd daughter turned 2! She is dedicated to the child Mary.
Tomorrow, May 28, our 2nd daughter turns 4! She is dedicated to Mary Queen of Heaven. Tonight I reflect back on the night I labored with her inside, and how at her birth I feared for her life. It was after several Hail Mary's that she finally took her breath. She is also the one who remembers in detail how Mary "held her" during her surgeries last year. As I sit here tonight in my bed, with my little prince in a sleeping ball on my chest, and my 2 year old awaiting sleep nearby, I cannot help but reflect on the amazing gifts we have received this month in each of these blessings. Our family has grown with the addition of one more tiny person with tiny fingers and tiny toes, and therefore our hearts have also grown and expanded. Tonight my prayer is that I will never forget how very real Mary is for our family. How present she is. How true she is to her word. I do not deserve all these blessings: An amazing husband in whom I am growing more in awe and love with each day, and these 4 little people that fill my days with joy. I am unworthy of the honor of being entrusted with these souls that are on loan to me from the Creator. And yet, here they are, under my roof. And I remind myself that God's grace is sufficient. That with Him, in Him, and through Him, I can and will serve my family to the best of my ability, and He will take care of the rest.
Oh Blessed Mother, thank you for being my Mother every step along the way. With you by my side I walk a little straighter.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thank the Lord for Noisy Kids and Dirty Dishes!

I wish I had heard this song last week during one of my consecutive meltdowns! What beautiful words.

Renews a mother's perspective when she's focusing too much on the noise and the mess. And by "she" I mean "me."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

8 Years Ago today...

My Dear Husband,

Eight years ago today we made our vows before God and family.

My how we have grown (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) in just 8 years! 8 years doesn't sound like a lot, but then again, when I think about how much we've been through, how much we've grown and changed, and how much has happened in our life together, it seems like it should be more! Here we are, about to have our 4th child, in just 8 years of marriage. You joked the other day that you wonder if we'll double that in another 8 years. Only God knows! What I do know is that these have been the best 8 years of my life, and that whatever happens in the coming years we will face hand in hand, together with Christ, as we continue the adventure that is our life! Christ has always been the center of our marriage, and if we have him, we have everything we need.

This weekend, we stood before Jesus in the Tabernacle and repeated the words of our Pastor to renew our vows once again. This difference this time, from 8 years ago, is evident in the picture. What joy it was to look into your eyes and renew my commitment to you, with our 3 little children around our legs, and the 1 in my belly kicking away.

Thank you for 8 amazing and wonderful years. You are a strong support and your faith is an inspiration. You amaze me, the way you love like Christ. You continuously give of yourself to me and the children, and never seem to grow tired of it! I pray that I may only grow more and more into the wife that you need and deserve. I pray that I may take good care of your children and raise them well. And I praise the Lord that He somehow deemed me worthy of such an amazing man to guide me, love me, and help me on my journey to Heaven.

I love you!