Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lenten Decisions

I LOVE Lent. It is such a beautiful season of renewal -- the process of being made new again. It is like a death, but more like a birth. A death of our sinful habits and the birth of virtue in our lives. But birth, even without death, is hard...painful...angonizing...beautiful!

There are parts of me, I'd like to find again.

  • I've become a "great planner" - out of necessisty. I miss being able to live in the moment like a child. Maybe I can find some of that again.
  • I've become very proficient in doing (blogs, presentations, spreadsheets, researching), but I've lost an ability to listen. The noise my children make are like an untuned rock band to my ears. I'd like to be able to listen to them without wishing I was doing something else.
I have pressing prayer requests I'd like to present before God with all solemnness and a pure heart
  • Divine revelation for Dave and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit as he guides our family.
  • The pain my cousin has been in.
  • Increased virtue for myself and my children
  • Some of my family and friends reversion and conversion to Christ in His fullness.
Dave has become an inspiration to me. The sacrifices he's making this lent are extreemely difficult for him. In honoring his sacrifice and participating in his pain with him, I have some habits (are they sins? probably.) that I've been holding back from God.

Some of the sacrifices I'm offering to Christ this Lent are small. Some are extreemely difficult. The fact that it's so painful to give them up shows me how much I need Lent. Thank you, Father for Lent. Thank you, Father, for Easter.

This process of allowing my heart to look forward to Christ's Resurrection at Easter (and my own) is good for me. It's a gift God has given to me.

***Lenten Sacrifices ***
  1. I'm giving up blogging for Lent -- no writing, no pictures. There are some of you that this is the only way we keep up with each other and I do feel a little guilty for denying you my children, my time. But Easter and resurrection is coming!
  2. I'm giving up blogs for Lent. Goodbye Elizabeth Foss. Goodbye friends. I'm aching for the loss of you, already.
  3. I'm giving up message boards for Lent. ohhh...this will be difficult.
  4. I'm giving up facebook for Lent. One less thing to complain about, one less thing to join, one more loss of connection to other people while I'm hoping to connect with my creator.
  5. I'm giving up sweets for Lent (I can have pancakes, but no syrup - I can have bagels, but no muffins.)
  6. I'm giving up in between meal snacks for Lent

those sacrifices are the hardest ones

***Lenten Acts of Charity***

  1. I will exercise (oh *blech* I think this one belongs up in the hard category) at least once a day. I'd love to commit to 30 minutes, but just committing is big enough -- I don't want to set myself up to fail or quit. Not everyone would consider this charity for others, but preserving my physical body will enable me to care for my family -- I'm not doing this for ME.
  2. I will still myself to listen to my children the way I still myself to listen to God. (uh...that one's a SUPER hard one - a doozy.)
  3. I will check my e-mail only once a day, at the end of the day when the kids are in bed to be more present in the moment to my family. (man, these are all tough.)
  4. I will invite people over at least once a week. As I close myself to easier, quicker forms of communication, I'll open myself to more intimate communication so God can work through me for others and I can be nurtured from Him by others.
  5. Fix-It Fridays - Last year, as a family, we gave up meat for all Fridays to try and remember what Christ sacrificed for us. So giving up meat on the Fridays of Lent is no big deal. I think I'll try and do something in addition - find something that's been neglected and make it right : clean a room or closet that's been needing it / visit a nursing home or relative that we haven't done lately, etc.

*** Lenten Prayer****

  1. Stations of the cross each Friday either at home or church. I'm really going to accomplish this one this year. Really (with God's help.)
  2. Believe you me, the above stuff will keep me in enough struggle, I'll already be in constant prayer.

***Lenten Almsgiving***

  1. As a family, we've already decided that we aren't going to go out to eat for all of Lent. Again, this may not sound like a big deal to another family, but it's one of our sources for entertainment to do as a family and it's something we'll all miss.

I'll see you on the other side of Easter and we'll have an Easter blog and facebook party! In the meantime I'll be waiting for Resurrection!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Moms need mentors, too!

I saw on Elizabeth Foss' blog a request of what your experience has been with having a mentor or being a mentor to other moms. I sent this in :

I'll be 42 this spring and have 5 children ages 14-2. We homeschool and I have begged God to send me a mentor in how to do this mom-thing. I have felt alone in accomplishing much of what I think is important. Our culture didn't have an image of how to find a loving Christian man to be the father to my yet-to-be children. There's no pictures of how to raise a family dedicated to Christ. It's been me and Jesus through most of my life and I ached and cried out to God for a mentor. Often, I'd find a book and now a blog to answer my questions. Sometimes an encouraging phone call, but never a woman to come alongside me and show me how it's done. Instead of answering my pleas directly, God has put a passion for assisting other women so they don't have to 'go it alone.'

I was the first in our group of friends to get married, and planned our wedding alone. Now I always offer to help anyone I know plan their wedding.

We lost most of our social life when we got married as everything had been geared to singles and dating. Our interests changed and we weren't interested in the same activities. During my first pregnancy, we still hadn't made many inroads to finding a new social circle and I was very sick, and had to quit my job. We didn't have much support and as lay in the dark day after day, hour after hour trying not to throw up, I was very alone. When I find a young couple with a child or two, I invite them over for dinner with their children. It can be so hard to make that connection for a young mom who's exhausted and possibly overwhelmed with the changes in her life and lifestyle.

I was lonely during our first year of homeschooling and had a really hard time 'breaking in' to find friends for my daughter and myself. I didn't want others in my area to struggle with that kind of loneliness if I could help it. I thought a photo directory of all the members of our Catholic homeschool group would help, a website, and a weekly e-mail update of prayer requests, events, changes to schedules, items for sale, etc. I also help greet new homeschoolers and give them my home number to contact me for any questions. I give out my blog address so people can find resources without having to contact me if they'd rather not.

One of the most productive things I do to help young families is invite them into my messy home to see how we really live and answer questions about homeschooling. It can take hours out of our day to reassure someone on the phone or have someone over and it is a sacrifice to my children as well as myself at times. I feel that it's a gift God is calling us to make. The busy-ness of our lives is a gift - in particular when compared with the loneliness my daughter and I experienced when we started homeschooling. Homeschoolers have their own way of thinking and doing and coordinating efforts. The attitudes and resources vary by family and yet most are in complete contrast to our culture at large. It can take time to acclimate yourself and your child to this beautiful, unexplored world -- but it is so worth the journey.

God has given us a vision of what a family is -- not because I've seen it, but because I've dreamed it. I've longed for the sight of it and instead, God has lead us to live it. With all our faults and weaknesses, I'd like to show someone who longs to see it - the vision of what our families are meant to be can really exist, even in today's world which denies that family is important. From knowing how to quiet a fussy baby to feeding a family cheaply to working with a child's natural strengths in school to shore up their weaknesses; from ADHD to finding quiet in our lives and learning how to love and live with our spouses... the women of this generation have not been taught. I see the need to show them.
Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision Clearly upon the
tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its
time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for
it, it will surely come, it will not be late. Habakkuk 2:2-3

The loneliness I've felt has not gone unnoticed by God. He has allowed me to become something I wasn't before. The pain of becoming is like a birth. Through the pain and struggle, God allows you and me to become a new creation. I was squeezed and stretched until I felt like I'd break. I would cry out to God in the brokenness of many long wakeful nights with a sick baby. I would scream 'uncle' when faced with a perpetually defiant child. I'd choke on my tears as I sobbed when faced with my own weaknesses and failings. Where was this God who was supposed to bring comfort and joy? He wouldn't take my pain away. I couldn't understand a loving God leaving me in pain. I was sure that being pregnant while caring for a toddler was on the same range of torture as prison camp. Let alone the depression accompanying a difficult pregnancy.

Although I was lonely, He didn't leave me alone in my pain. Instead of putting me back together the way I was before, He'd mold me into someone more compassionate and sensitive to other people's pain. He took my pain and one by one is replacing my vices with virtue as I become.

There's also the Visitation. I know what I feel like in early pregnancy and Mary had just conceived when she made the difficult journey to Elizabeth. And Elizabeth was an elderly woman with her first pregnancy -- I'd think serious pain was involved. But they were there to comfort each other. Then they each went off and made their journey with God, strengthened from their visit with each other. There is something healing in sharing my pain -- and watching another mother's burden lighten over coffee, if even for an hour.

In addition to the work He's done (and is doing) in me, I had eyes that saw the world differently. I would go to the store and see it on a young mother's face - her frustration, her fear, her pain, her potential to become...become His. Pain in myself and others isn't something to be avoided. I don't seek an aspirin to mask the pain. I seek the Great Physician to heal me -- and make me healthier and stronger than I was before. He will help me, and you, become.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Superbowl 2010 pictures

"Run and catch the ball!! Go for a touchdown!"
"Show us what a MEAN football player you are."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Drew Brees with Son Super Bowl

Even though I was screaming and yelling about the Colts' loss and really disappointed -- this was such a beautiful moment. During all the celebrating...gaterade on the coach, the players grabbing the cheerleaders' pom poms, everyone screaming -- for a daddy and his little baby the whole world could go away and they share this most beautiful moment! THIS is what life is all about -- win or loose -- Drew Brees held his little boy as HIS form of celebration!

why big families might be easier

cute article :

Monday, February 01, 2010

You know they're growing up when...

you find a picture like this on your camera...
The first picture the two-year old ever took...awww