Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real and October Nesting

I posted yesterday on my thoughts about being asked twice in the past month if I wanted a tubal ligation after this pregnancy. I will be 38 weeks Saturday with baby #5, my fourth daughter.

I love this Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real link up because I think its a snapshot of the fullness and abundance of this vocation :) So...

I feel like Mrs. Autumn Woman and I am nesting like a champ here as I wait for this baby girl. Actually my nesting went to a new level as I managed to get rid of an ENTIRE 80's something wall unit. This gem was left with the house when we moved in (we asked for it to be and the people moving out didn't want it...gee I now know why). Its so huge and fits so nicely in the recessed space in the family room that it looks like when they were building our home, the wall unit was there on lot and the builders just...well..built around it.

See all the drawers and shelves. Well, I read a little post on a minimalist blog that said organizing is a sneaky word for hoarding. Ahhhhhh!

I mean...those drawers are FULL of homeschool stuff we MIGHT use someday. 

So...while my husband was underway...that's when I get these ideas...I just started emptying shelves and well...he got home and..." was thinking...."

And then my....


It is so cozy and I feel like its much more conducive to good conversation and reading aloud. We put the monstrosity on Craigslist for free and somebody wanted it the next day! YES! I need some art to put on the blank wall but I am overall very pleased.


A few days ago I let the girls have the run of the family room to play was a play that lasted a day and a half. Not sure if you can see ALL the different table set ups but they were EXTREMELY busy, I mean customer after customer, and it sounded like a successful endeavor.


My eldest made personal laptops for everyone in the family the other day...look at what mine had on it...

Like Mother Like Daughter! Woo hoo!


Never ever ever again...


These pictures seem harmless but I'm so emotionally scarred from doing this craft someone "passed along to me"...being the sucker I am for free stuff...I'm not going to even go on.

Just don't let these into your home ever.

Thank you for stopping by!!! Now stop by PHFR!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

All Is Well


Nearly three years ago, I started getting very serious about the content and direction this blog was going after a postpartum appointment I had with a midwife. Although I saw these types of pressing questions coming like an impending storm, this particular midwife's questions regarding birth control after my fourth child were rather irritating. Though I didn't outright profess my faith to her I was so inwardly peeved by what felt like, at the time, an attack...I was prompted to write out my thoughts here...for the whole world.

I guess you can say it was my way of "getting in the last word."

I am right. She is wrong. And write, write, write about it.

My rebuttal took the form of sharing my almost four year journey of how Justin and I have been called to living the Church's teaching of marriage and being open to life. It is all here...and I hope that my own children will read about this journey if their vocations happen to be marriage. I have a selfish hope they may learn from my mistakes because there was suffering...we don't really want our children to suffer right?

I became more and more confident as I shared my writing with others and I have admitted before I feel most comfortable with people who can validate me and affirm my beliefs (who doesn't?) is happening again...the whole birth control and medical professionals conundrum...

I have been asked twice in the past month, at two separate appointments, if I would like to have a tubal ligation done after I birth this baby girl.

My nurse said, "I know you don't believe in birth control, but have you thought of a tubal ligation?" She asked this while she was checking for my daughter's heartbeat...the sweet familiar sound that indicates all is well.

Getting linens and clothes washed and ready for her.
Perhaps it was my mood...or a ray of grace, but surprisingly I wasn't all fuming and irritated with my nurse. Honestly, this is a very serious question and is a reality for many women under so many different circumstances.

What were her concerns for me? What were her intentions? <---why should I care about the answers to these questions.

Part of me wished I could explain to her that its not that I don't believe in birth control...I use birth control...just a natural form of it. I wanted to explain the seasons of my marriage, the times when we are very conservative...the times when there is no good reason to really hinder God's plan. I wanted to give her my blog address! Ha!

I would want her to nod in agreement, and I would have had "the last word" and emerged triumphant.

To sum things up....there was a part of me that hoped this nurse, a mere acquaintance...would have a good opinion of me.

How beautiful though, to come out of reading St Therese' work and realize...that we don't have to lose our inner peace and we don't always have to go into battle.

We don't always have to have the last word.

So...I simply told her, with a smile, that we were not interested in that (a tubal ligation) either.

No blood pressure spike. No ranting.

Perhaps I am merely becoming tired of the questioning and more passive about it. Maybe it's the sheer number of times I have been asked in this pregnancy about if  we will have any more that has worn me out. I'm not sure. What I am sure about is...I love so much this very full vocation God has called me to. I am also sure, more convinced, that it is not my mission in life to convince everyone of what I believe is the truth. I find it is much more consuming to simply try to LIVE this truth.

Living this truth means serving my husband and children. They are my mission. Anticipating my family's needs and keeping a home for them is a full time 24/7 job and requires all my energy. I have so little to spare, especially right now with littles, that I have to be very careful of how much I let others consume. I am not saying "don't waste energy on others" Christians we must be mindful of our neighbor...but if people can't seem to understand your beliefs or have the necessary tact in approaching your family...think of YOUR family and be determined to save your energy for them.

As a very good friend and lifelong mentor has so lovingly reminded me time and again...concentrate on growing your baby in your womb.

A smile doesn't take too much energy just don't start drinking their juice. Politely refuse to sip.

This baby, though not even born, has already helped in ways I would have never anticipated.

She has given me a glimpse of a freedom that is mine to take. A freedom from THEM and a new desire to be free in following Him. I only get tastes but I find that when these moments come, my state of mind is liberating. I have hope I could actually live an entire lifetime in this freedom but I am finding this would be a miracle as it means I would need to conquer my rather stubborn temperament.

People will criticize the lifestyle you have and say it is only their "concern" for you. People will make judgments on your decisions, especially when it is something they wouldn't do themselves. People have different experiences from their past and approach relationships differently based on the relationships they have been hurt or nurtured by (we can learn a lot about these differences by reading time tested classical literature).

Reading... NOT football highlights...ha! I love them :)
I hold on to things when I haven't had the FINAL word only I have been enlightened by a saint recently and she says that its not about ME having the final word, its only about Him.

I have had some beautiful faith filled divine days and a share of some very dark days these past nine months but as Anthony De Mello gently reminds us...the great mystics say...
All is well.

God has given me a particular grace to walk in this vocation with Him and He has surely been calling you to LOVE Him in ways that only YOU can. Although there was a time I thought it was something I had worked toward and come to on my own, I can now humbly say...this is all Him.

I'm sure the questions won't stop, people are very predictable in that way. I'll have a smile ready...this is all Him. All is well.

Please pray for me as I approach the date of this baby's arrival. xxoo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Large Family Vision: The Martin Family

Last Wednesday the Church celebrated the feast of St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. We know her as St Therese of Lisieux. I reluctantly passed on Mass being 36 weeks along with the four other littles, but we did manage to go pray and visit her beautiful shrine here in Juneau.

We know that St Therese LOVED nature so we gave her tiny little presents around her statue...

When I took my youngest ones into the chapel to say hello to Jesus, there was a sweet thickness in the air. The Eucharist in the Tabernacle and the natural lighting and the whole feel of the Church seemed to hold the Mass that had been celebrated a few hours earlier. I can't quite figure out the words to describe it, but I felt it engulf me as soon as I opened the chapel door. Perhaps Heaven lingers a bit after it touches down at Holy was a dear gift and grace to be given.

St Therese has had an amazing presence in my life ever since I chose her as my confirmation saint in highschool. I didn't do much research on who she was, I knew she was known as "the Little Flower" and I really liked the way she spelled her name. So, I tend to think she chose me as I was so very careless in my way of choosing her.

When we received the call nearly six years ago from the Coast Guard detailer (think of the "All Powerful Oz") and were told our next tour was in Alaska, like any good Coastie wife I started researching online, specifically on the Diocese of Juneau. I discovered the Shrine of St Therese and not only that, I found out that St Therese is the patron saint of Alaska. I have felt she has been a constant guide in a beautiful motherly way, anticipating my needs on my journey here...specifically in this fifth pregnancy.

In fact, the Holy Spirit has once again filled a spiritual need in my life by gently prompting me to finally read her incredible autobiography. I have read at least two other books ABOUT St Therese all relying heavily on her own Story of a Soul, but let's be honest....we need to get to the heart of things. THE ESSENTIAL of St Therese is her story in her own words.

And I am writing this post under my Large Family Vision literary storehouse of tidbits to remember as I form the vision for my own family.

Apparently there is a whole book about the Martin family, but without having read that book, the small glimpses I have been afforded in St Therese' own words have been inspiring.

And now a peek into the Martin Home (much of which was written in the Prologue)...a home of five daughters who were brought up in the loving care of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin...

Family life held a privileged position. They were content only when together.

There reigned in the Martin family a solid faith that saw God in all life's events, 

paying Him a permanent homage: family prayers together, morning attendance at Mass, frequent reception of Holy Communion, Sunday vespers, retreats.

Their whole life revolved around the liturgical year,

Angel Hair pasta & Devil's Foodcake cupcakes on St Michael's Feast Day

We found these bird cupcakes in the discount bakery bin for St Francis' Feast Day!
 pilgrimages, a scrupulous regard for fasts and abstinences. Yet there was nothing stiff and bigoted in this family that was unacquainted with formality. They could be active and contemplative, feeding abandoned children, tramps and the aged.

"All my life God was pleased to surround me with love, and my first memories are imprinted with the most tender smiles and caresses!"

"Ah! how rapidly the sunny years of my early childhood passed by, what a sweet impression they left on my soul! Everything on earth smiled at me. 

I found flowers under each of my steps, and my happy disposition contributed also to making my life pleasing."

"What shall I say of the winter evenings at home, especially Sunday evenings? Ah! how I loved, after the game of checkers was over, to sit with Celine on Papa's knees. He used to sing, in his beautiful voice, airs that filled the soul with profound thoughts, or else, rocking us gently, he recited poems that taught the eternal truths."

They were such a PRAYERFUL, God centered people. Yes, I will happily reflect on the small glimpses into their home life.

Thank you for stopping by!

St Therese pray for us and our families! God Bless xxoo