belated is better than not at all, right?

Just found this in the drafts folder, written in October no doubt, I believe I walked away to go nurse a baby or kiss a wet head goodnight.  Anyway, it’s good, and I meant to finish and post it, so here it is.

 

We recently attended a required Confirmation parent meeting for our second child, Terese.  This is her last year of Confirmation 2 and I can’t wait to see this amazing young woman take that strong step into adulthood and make the committment to be a solider for Christ!

The meeting wasn’t particularly bad, our RE director was letting us know about the differences between raising boys and raising girls and had several activities for us to participate in to illustrate her point.  One such activity was meeting someone new to us and asking a series of questions of that person.  Innocent enough activity, right?  I answered questions about my personal life reluctantly, sheepishly.

“How many kids do you have?”

“oh, ummm, eight?  The oldest two are girls, then six boys”  (it’s here that the baby demands a cuddle, smart little one!)

The response was predictable “WOW, EIGHT??  Huh.  I have 3, and I am quite thankful this is my youngest and I’m finally done.  Eight, huh?  Wow.  huh.  Wow”

Then we went back to listening to more talk before the next questions were required.

I had to name a hobby I enjoyed.  I said “sewing”.  I like it!  It’s fun.  I’m not incredibly good at it, but I don’t suck either, it’s what I would do with my time if I had any.

I got a bit of an overwhelmed eye roll and a response of “well.  I just clean, it’s what I do.  I love it.”  (I gotta say I was a bit intimidated at this point, thinking THIS woman needs to never, ever step foot into my house!)

I started to feel a bit apologetic, as I usually do, at what God has blessed me with.  Somehow we got onto the subject of homes and I mentioned that we had 20 chickens.  Another exasperated eye twitch.  Then, as happens, the question of education came up.  Where do my children go to school.  “We homeschool” I mumbled, head hanging, slightly ashamed, mostly because I was so tired of hearing how “amazing” I must be, how perfect my family sounds, how I must be the best woman in the world to be able to do all that because no one else she knows could.  I was so ashamed of who I am and who God has called me to be.  She did roll her eyes, she did slap her legs in resignation and say “of course.  Why not.  AND you’ve got make up on”.  I sat, with my head nearly hanging, because without intending to, I have hurt a fellow mother.  Just by mothering my own.

Later, I realized how insane that is.  I shouldn’t be ashamed to be living out the life God has called me to.  I shouldn’t be afraid to shout from the mountains that we love our kids and would welcome more if it were God’s Will.  I shouldn’t be afraid of admitting that God has blessed our family so abundantly!  None of these blessing should bring heartache, or fear, they are on loan, straight from the Creator, Himself!  I do not stand in judgement over women who have fewer children, I don’t have time.  I don’t stand in judgement over women who don’t homeschool, how could I?  I can’t even find my school table right now!  I don’t stand in judgement over the state of your home (have you seen mine???).  I don’t judge you based on whether or not you work!  I’ve been there too, working mom of two kids trying to make it all work.  I don’t have time to judge.  Really, none of us do.  We need to stop the eye rolling and the heavy sighs and the comparing one to another.  We are all doing God’s work to the best of our ability within the means we’re given.  We need to start smiling at one another (and meaning it!) we need to love and encourage each other and we need to quit being intimidated by each other.  We all have strengths and gifts, every one of us.  We all have weaknesses, each and every one.  That doesn’t make us “less” it makes us His.

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pockets

I have a collector.  He collects things as he goes about his day, adding them to his pockets one by one.  He is usually pretty good an emptying them at the end of the day, leaving little (big!) piles of “treasures” where ever he stands when he decides it’s time to empty them.  Usually it’s things like sticks, lego people, nerf bullets, sticks, hotwheels, legos, bits of paper (often “tickets” for whatever game they’ve played throughout the day) rocks, and dinosaurs.  All in one pile, from one day, from one pocket.  (I told you he was a collector). 

Unfortunately, this last lot didn’t get emptied at day’s end.  Big brother found it while sorting laundry.  This pocket seems a bit hopeless for me, we’ll see how well I can get it done.  Seems he’s gotten hold of some sort of silly putty like substance, it’s coated the entire assortment of tiny little items and adhered them to the inside of the pocket, in it’s pink goo.  I’m sitting in my school room listening to spelling words practiced, big brother holding baby and working on math with “the collector” all while desperately trying to get this goo out of the pocket before I put it in the laundry.

Life is never dull.  There is always a new challenge!  I love my boys!

dawn

This morning I had to drive my oldest (who has yet to get her license, stomach bug ravenged the house this week and she fell victim, soon though!) over twenty miles to get dropped off at her school for the kick off to robotics season.  In the predawn hours we didn’t say much, we were both quite tired.  The night before my wonderful husband and I came home from a date, the first since the youngest was born two months ago, to find that the main sewer line had, well, backed up.  Into the bathtubs.  Needless to say, we were up well past midnight working on that mess: unclogging the line and bleaching every surface in all of the bathrooms.  The drive, from our home, is several miles west and then about ten miles south.  We commented about the darkness, and how, where we live it’s so much darker than it is the closer you get to the city.  We even stated how much more we liked the comfort of the darkness over the starkness of the lights of the city.

I dropped off my girl and headed home, ten miles north and a few miles east.  As I was driving north I faced darkness, nearly midnight black.  I couldn’t see any indication, outside of the clock in the car,  it was closer to dawn.  I was tired and it was difficult to not fall asleep, completely surrounded by dark.  Then.  I turned east.  It’s funny how you only see what you’re facing, how you can’t see what’s on either side of you when  you are heading one way.  I could not see the sky splitting open and dawn spilling through until I turned to face it.  I was missing the soft yellows, the brilliant pinks, the purples and warm oranges.  I missed the sky on fire with light.  Because I was facing the darkness.  It was right beside me, it didn’t just happen as I turned.  I nearly missed the birth of a new day, a new beginning, because I was only facing the darkness of night.

Funny, as I turned north again on the way home, all of the sudden the darkness seemed to be breaking, the blackness was fading into a beautiful blue that I hadn’t seen before because I had been so focused on the dark.  Which way am I facing in my life?  Am I so intent on traveling the road I am on that I can not see the light just to my side?  Am I spending so much time focused on the darkness ahead that the brilliant light of dawn is lost on me?  What a gift, driving with my daughter, what a beautiful brilliant gift, to be forced out of bed, out of my comfort zone and into the light.

Praying you are gently nudged toward the dawn of Christ as well today!

So blessed!

We bought this house two years ago and have had little surprises over and over again along the way.  The septic tank wasn’t actually inspected.  We know this because it was not in the place the inspector indicated it was when he wrote out that it was all fine.  We need new lateral lines, these will work, for now, but we need new.  The master shower is not nearly as water tight as what was once thought, at all.   The guest bathtub has some serious issues.  The carpet is ugly, the tile is ugly.  (there is carpet in the BATHROOM, who does that???) There seems to be a leak in the walls of the play room, only when it rains of course.  We think we might have fixed it, but it’s dry season here so we can’t be sure.  The dryer won’t dry, it’s not vented properly evidently and the only way to fix that is to move it, out to the garage.  The stove top is on it’s very very last leg and the counters are cracking.  I could go on and on and on, but I realized something today.  I am so upset, beaten down, by how MUCH there is to do and how we will NEVER have enough money to do it that I am forgetting that it’s a house, a home, a roof!  We’re fine. It’s not perfect, but it’s functional and that’s all we need right now.

I’ve been so obsessed with the negative, what’s wrong in this home of mine that my life has been consumed with what’s wrong.  Not what’s good, and right and beautiful, but what is ugly and  used up and worn. 

You would think my life is horrid.  We’re living in a hole somewhere,

but we’re not.

We’ve got three beautiful acres that provide ample opportunities for my sons to go outside and learn to work and be strong and loving men.   We have air conditioning and a solid home.  We have an abundance of food and love at our table. 

My husband is such a blessing to our family, he works so hard to make sure our needs are met and thinks very little of his own needs.  He doesn’t have a dream car, he loves our fifteen passenger van.  He rejoices in each new life that comes along.  He leads Scouts and spends time with his kids because he wants them to know that he is there in every way and they are more important than anything else.  He takes such tender care of me when I am weak and tired or sick. 

My children, oh my children!!!  What an amazing blessing they are to myself and our family.  They serve each other lovingly and become so elated when there is an announcement of a new life coming into our family.  There will be arguments over who gets to help the most, the baby will inevitably be spoiled beyond belief, not knowing what it’s like to be put down, there will be no shortage of loving arms to envelope him.  Not only are they a blessing to myself, they serve others with the same enthusiasm and joy as they serve at home, they are often the first to be asked to help with a particular project or function.  My daughters give of themselves so fully and joyfully that most of the little ones at church know them well and love them.  I have never had to sit and listen as someone had to tell me about the disappointing challenges my children bring to them, instead I hear over and over again how their witness is encouraging others to love and serve Christ.  Their purity is inspiring, even to myself.

I have been so beautifully and abundantly blessed with the vocation of motherhood, something I have always felt called to.  My sons are an amazing bunch of boys that bring joy and life to our home!  My daughters are a continuous blessing, filling my days with laughter and joy.  I am blessed to be carrying another soul for Christ within my womb, another son, by all counts.  He’s active and wiggling and stretching every day, growing and developing until the point this fall when we all get to meet him!

My house is not perfect, our lives are not without trial and difficulty, but we are so SO blessed.  There are far more things to rejoice over than to shed tears about.  Every day.  Every day, needs to be spent in Praise, at all times, for all things. 

We are so blessed!

He is Risen!!

Woohoo!!  We made it through Lent and into the most beautiful time of the year!!  Christ is Risen!!

 

Our Easter Sunday was wonderful!  Went to a beautiful Mass with the family (nearly forgot that we needed to be there SOOO early!  Thankfully we remembered just in time and actually got to sit down!), most of the littles were even well behaved!  Got home and made an amazing ham and all the fixings and stuffed ourselves silly.  The kids are still trying to recover from the sugar high they were on all day long on Sunday, but we’re getting there.

Now, it’s time to rest and relax and recover from the holiday.  I hope to get my act together and get Easter pics loaded, SOON!  (I really really drag my feet with this stuff, have you noticed?  Yeah, didn’t think so.)

 

Honesty

Honesty seems to be a fleeting and often unrecognizable virtue anymore.  It seems as if what is most important is some very odd and mistaken attempt at charity where no one is “wrong” and anything goes, as long as the message is sweet, or some other “good”.  We can tell stories of our lives, interactions or work and embellish at will, esp if it will aid in “getting the point across”.  There is an abundance of telling little “fibs” because it just doesn’t matter and, well, people will like us if we say x, y or z.  We fit in better.

I keep hearing women fill the heads of the people around them with saccharin flattery, not meant to truly compliment, only meant to make themselves seem holy, and kind, and charitable.  I have listened as children were told they needed to fix something that had not done correctly, only to be told in the very next breath, in answer to what it was that was wrong with what they did (they truly did not know) that there was nothing wrong it just wasn’t correct.  Because, evidently, it’s uncharitable to tell someone when they’ve done something wrong, it’s much kinder to let them know that they just can’t get anything right.

I am hearing people as they explain events, shaking my head, because I know so many of those details they’re sharing aren’t correct.  Either that or the version I know is the one with the lies.

I have been in situations where women stand up and insist they are done, backing away.  Tired.  Moving on.  Only to see those same women rip to shreds the people who walk into their shoes because they’re not doing it the way these women feel it should be done.  I have seen reputations and lives ruined over these types of situations.

What has happened to us?  Why can’t we be honest with ourselves?  Our community?  Our friends?  What has happened that we have lost the ability to see things as they are?  The thought that life is a competition where we have to out best our friends and acquaintances at everything, at all costs, without regard to consequences, all the while toting this attitude of holiness and beauty that is bleached and plastic and artificial is ludicrous.  The thought that honesty is unkind and uncharitable and unwelcome is disheartening.

What has happened to “let your yes mean yes and your no mean no”?  What happened to being authentically you, without judging the people around you for not being the “you” you so desperately want to be?  What happened to giving someone an honest answer to an honest question?  What happened to just shutting up if you can’t say something nice?  What has happened that we have to constantly read into what others are saying?

A great blessing we have received is to have a child on the spectrum.  He has taught us to be who we are.  He has taught us to take a situation for what it is, not what might be the intention.  He has taught us to authentically be the people God has created us to be.

He has reminded us, over and over and over again, that honest and genuine character will always be the right thing.  Always.

“hug?”

The baby is talking. 

A bunch. 

He’s so dang cute!  We’re also attempting to discipline him, at least a little bit.  After all, we can’t have a wild and crazy boy just running around and terrorizing the world (again).  This is becoming a very difficult task, however. 

You look at him and say “no no!  No hitting your brother” and his reply? “Hug?”

You say “NO!  Put that baseball bat DOWN”  another “hug?”

Silly boy.  TOTALLY knows how to melt  his mama’s heart!