Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye, 2011!

The year 2011 was the year of forgiveness and of trusting God.  This year...
I learned to see people as God sees them and to love them just as they are, faults and all.  I discovered I am braver and tougher than I thought I was.  I realized that if I want my children to be more obedient, I need to be obedient...and disciplined...and self-controlled.  I felt inspired.  I found my voice and found courage to share it.  I felt the miracle of another human life growing inside me and experienced God's grace and mercy in delivering him into the world.   I prayed.  I cried out to God.  I loved.  I laughed.  I wept.  I worshiped.  I let God be God.  I danced.  I sang.  I rejoiced.  I trusted God with my life.  I trusted Him with my heart.  I fell and God carried me.  I embraced My Lord's Mother as my own and fell in love with Jesus all over again.  I witnessed my earthly mother fall in love with Jesus all over again.  I hugged my children, a lot.

I forgave.  

I was forgiven.

I was loved. 

I have plans for this new year, but for now, here is a photo collage of this last day in 2011:
Posted by Picasa
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Did you miss me?  I have been itching to write for a while, but every time I have sat down to do so, a certain little man demanded my undivided attention:

 Who could resist those beautiful blue eyes?   Not this mama!

I will be writing again tomorrow, but for now, I am going to go snuggle with my little man and my other babies:

I hope you are all having a great Christmas!  May God bless you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Digging at the Duggars...again!

I am exhausted.  Today was not a good temper day for me.  I am never the best version of myself when I have had less than a certain number of hours of sleep.  It's my fault, I know.  I should not have stayed up, but there are Christmas letters to write and no time during the day in which to accomplish the task, so I stay up. I really should be in bed right now, but I read about the recent news on the Duggar Family and had to write.  A friend on the Catholic Sistas Blog posted on this back in November.  You may remember the uproar over the fact that this lady was pregnant for the twenty-first time (I think), with people saying and writing the most hateful things about a woman whom none of them had ever even met.  Words like overpopulation, walking uterus, and clown car were carelessly bandied about with no thought as to the humanity of not only Mrs. Duggar, but also her unborn child.  She was verbally assaulted with such vehemence that one would have thought she had committed some heinous crime.   And what would have been her crime?  She was guilty of treating her unborn child like the human person she was.  She trusted God and loved her child.  In our modern world, that is an unforgivable sin.

 According to various news sources, Michelle Duggar has miscarried her baby.  As a mother, my heart breaks for her.  Why is this news, you ask?  Maybe it's a slow news day and the media people are bleary-eyed with numb backsides as they try to flesh out the trickling of information out of Korea at dial-up-internet speed.  More probably, people are in awe that while many find it acceptable to abort a sixteen-week-old fetus, the Duggars are holding a memorial service to honor their daughter's life.  This little girl was never even born into this world before being born into heaven and she is loved.  Was it the memorial or the fact that the family passed out pictures of their child to those who attended that is so intolerable?  Both fly in the face of acceptable behavior nowadays.
You know, if I really think about it, of course people are upset.  Whenever a human person sins, the desire to hide it inevitably follows.  We know in our hearts that what we have done is wrong, and we don't want to be wrong, so we bury it - like Cain buried Abel in the field.  Or we rename it, hiding it behind the title of "Fairness", "Tolerance", or "Right".  We forget that calling something other than what it is does nothing to change its nature.  A rock is still a rock, even if you call it a sponge.  A bear is not a tree, and no matter how many times you call it that, it may still try to eat you.  Murder is murder.  One cannot erase one sin by committing another.  One cannot erase the value of a person by calling it a fetus or a clump of cells, because the reality remains that we cannot change the nature of something or someone.  We do not become human.  We are human.  From the very moment of conception when we are knit in our mother's womb,we are known by the Father who created us.  We are loved.  Just as Cain was unable to hide his sin, so are we unable to hide ours from a perfect God who desires our holiness.  So, you must ask yourself if the problem lies with the Duggars, or is it in the way we calculate the value of a human life?

We have blood on our hands.  The Good News is that Our Father gave us a way to clean it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday Sayings

Not posting on Sunday!  But here's a quote I really like:

"You have to respond to the will of God in the present moment. If God inspires you, you have to do it. Where most people go wrong is, they reason themselves out of what God wants, and they spoil what might have
been." - Mother Angelica

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't you know what causes that?

When my husband and I were married over nine years ago, we received quite a bit of advice.  A lot of that advice had to do with children - should we have them, when, and how many?  We were told that it was best that we wait a few years before we had children so we could enjoy our lives, as children would most certainly put a strain on our marriage and cause us hardship.  That seemed reasonable to us.  Of course we should wait to have children until we could afford them.  Until we had spent at least two years together as a couple.  Until we were really ready.  And then, those well-meaning loved ones (and strangers!) learned we were going to practice Natural Family Planning.  Suddenly, we weren't so wise.  Some people asked what it was.  They had heard of the Rhythm Method (not the same at all!), but not NFP.  We explained that we wanted to be obedient to God's will so we were not going to use any artificial means to prevent pregnancy.  They laughed, shook their heads, and sagely predicted we would be pregnant immediately.
They were wrong.  

One year and a half later, we decided to have a baby and got pregnant right away.  The day I took the pregnancy test was the day after my godfather died.  There was immense joy in my family as in the midst of mourning for one life we were able to celebrate the beginning of another.  We welcomed our beautiful girl in November of that year.  I was sleep-deprived and sad a lot of the time for those first few months, but I cherished every second with my sweet little girl.  Two years passed and God blessed us with a son.  That was when the comments began, such as:

"You have two - one of each?  Oh, that is perfect.  Now you can stop!"

It bothered me a little that strangers were commenting on how many children I should have, but the comments seemed positive and they were said with a smile, so I just smiled back.  And then, I got pregnant with my third.

My husband and I were so happy to share our news, but we soon found that others weren't quite as happy.
Here are some of the comments we got:

"Are you crazy?"   Evidently

"Don't you know what causes that?"   No, please tell me.  

Ohhh, deployment baby (wink, wink)?    Excuse me?

"But you already have two!"    Well, math never was my strong suit. 

"Are you serious?!  When are you going to stop?"   When we get an ugly one.

"Oh, you poor little thing."   Ummm, thanks?    

"You just got thinner and now you are going to ruin your body again."   Gee thanks, Grandma. 

The only person in my family who was genuinely happy for us was my father.  So we gave our new beautiful girl his name as her middle name.
 After she was born, the comments only got worse.  People gave me pitying looks in the supermarket.  They would tell me, "You certainly have your hands full!"  I was continuously asked if I was "done" and when my husband was going to get "snipped".  I felt sad that most of the comments came from Christians.   I had come to realize that one is never truly "ready" for children.  That magical moment in which all stars align for the perfect time to have a child does not exist.  I ran into older people who told me that, knowing what they know now, they wished they had had "just one more".  I realized that people were afraid to trust God with their entire lives; I recognized that fear in myself.  What would happen if I lived as though I truly believed God's Word?  Could I trust God with Everything?  I decided to put it all in His hands, and on December 16 of last year, I knew in my heart I had been blessed again.  Our children rejoiced.  They could not wait to hold their new sibling.  We took a deep breath and told our families, though a part of me wanted to keep it a secret.  My heart broke over the fact that this precious child's life may not be as celebrated as my first.  But you know what?  It was.  God loved this child.  We and our other children loved and wanted this child.  That was all that mattered. 

So even though I hear "Are they all yours?" (No, I just love taking other people's kids to Walmart at the busiest time of day.) and "You sure have your hands full." (and my heart, too!) whenever I leave the house...even though strangers often stare wide-eyed at us (like when we went to Vegas) and occasionally look at us in disgust (Just smile back sweetly at them, children.)...even though my doctor at our first prenatal visit asked if I wanted my tubes tied when he delivered the baby because he was going to "be there anyway" (Only one of the many things wrong with him.  I fired his butt!)...even though I get asked "How do you do it?" on a daily basis (Lots of prayer and a little wine) and oftentimes am told "I couldn't do it" (Good thing it's not you, then, cupcake)...even though we have to hear "You're done, right?" (Only God knows.) over and over...even then, I adore my children.  God has entrusted me with precious lives and I feel the weight of that in every decision I make.  I know I am not so much raising them as allowing God to raise me through them.  God gave me each one of them for a purpose: to make me more like Jesus.  He is training my heart to not be full of fear, so that when my son looks around the table and says there are people missing because we have two empty chairs and only six people in our family and, therefore, we need two more babies...I can smile and tell him, "Pray about it, dear.  Trust God with your heart."  and not feel afraid of what God has in store for me.  

And for that (and many other things), I am truly thankful. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am, therefore I write.

I once heard a priest say, "You can't call yourself a golfer if you only golf once or twice a year."

He was talking about C&E Catholics, but his words have haunted me for another reason. You see, ever since I was old enough to write my name, I have known I am supposed to be a writer. For reasons I will later share, I never pursued that vocation. The hopeful longing in my heart became a just-before-weeping ache, which the years have only served to sharpen, not dull. I have referred to myself as an aspiring writer, but I cannot in all honesty call myself any kind of writer or even an aspiring one if I never write, can I?

So here I am, starting my own blog like thousands of others. The purpose for my blog is partly to help me in exercising my rusty instrument, partly to keep me accountable. It is much more difficult to make excuses when I am not the only one reading my work. And I do hope you read it. I hope you stick around to read it more than once, and not just because you may know me in real life, but because you may catch a glimpse of yourself in my writing. I will be writing from my heart: may it ever reach yours.

I may amuse you. I may make you feel uncomfortable. At times, my writing will be raw, as painful for you to read as it was for me to write. We will cry together. Bear with me and we will also laugh together.
One of my favorite quotes is by St. Catherine of Siena:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

May my story inspire you to be who God meant you to be.

Let us set the world on fire together.