Category Archives: life

Things that I know

I may never have over 1000 twitter followers

I may never have over 1000 “likes” on my FaceBook page

I may never be invited to a big blogging conference

I may never be a popular “mommy blogger”

But I do know…

that for my husband, I am his Complement

that for two little girls, I am their first example of God’s love for mankind

that for my friends, I am as Christ to them and they are as Christ to me

that there is nothing wrong with having faith, in a world full of pain

that as a broken person, I am more than happy to lean on the crutch of Christ

And to steal from Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt, “…that may be all I need to know.”

(Image from Danyso.blogspot.com)

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Filed under Catholic, children, husband, life, marriage, Thursday

Words to live by, a farewell to Mom

A few people have asked me if I said any words at my mother’s funeral. If you know me well, you know that I did. What I had to say was short, sweet and not without a point. I think I drew a laugh when I walked up there with my iPad, but it’s so much easier than dealing with papers!  Without further ado:

On behalf of my mom and the rest of our family, thank you all for coming here today. You were all affected in one way or another by my mother and I know that she is glad for your being here.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my mother and I had an interesting conversation. It was a conversation about what she would like to happen in the event of her death. Up to that point, our family was no stranger to tragic events and while that was a very somber topic, it had it’s merits.

(A little history: My mother’s youngest brother was found murdered in his home around Thanksgiving. Her younger sister died from surgical complications around the holidays. My brothers lost both of their grandparents… around the holidays, and their father OD’d… can you guess?? Yup. Around the holidays.)

While the details may have changed, there was one point that always remained the same… that she wanted a true celebration of life. No mournful music, no wailing, no gnashing of the teeth. A true party, where people would exchange happy memories, look at old pictures, laugh and have a fun time.

(We ended up having mournful/ happy music. Somehow, the organist made the music mournful. Oh, well.)

She always said she’s prefer cremation over burial because she dreamed of having her ashes sprinkled among the elephants on the African plains. I told her that I’d take her to the Zoo and sprinkle her there and we’d call it even.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul reminds us to:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus.

We are not called to be overjoyed with my mom’s death but we are called to be grateful for all the ways she left her mark on our lives.

My mother and I had a bit of a strained relationship at times, but I will attest that the last few years have been nothing but joy, with a little exasperation mixed in for good measure.

Maybe 5 years ago, my mother became very interested in family history. She wanted to find out where everyone came from and how we came to be. I remember how excited she would be when a new lead would pop up on her ancestry.com site and she would either call, FaceBook or, her latest joy, text message me. She really missed the closeness of family that she experienced growing up and she began working on bringing the family closer, starting with reigniting family reunions. But, I think you will have to agree that this might be a drastic way to bring the family closer together.

If nothing else, please do not let my mother’s death be in vain. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans across all ethnicities and accounts for half of the deaths of American women. Heart Disease kills more women than breast cancer, but yet it’s danger is relatively unknown.

To often, we as women put ourselves 3rd, 4th, 7th, or just flat out last on the list but that helps no one. You were put on this Earth for a specific role- one that no one can fully fill. I am blessed to have loving aunts, a fantastic step-mother and a wonderful mother-n-law to lean on in tough times, but they will never fully fill the void my mom left behind. Visit your doctor for a yearly check up, know your numbers, be proactive and don’t become another statistic.

If you have been to a wedding in the last 2000 years or so, you know what St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; than I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My faith gives me the hope that I will see my mother again, united with He who is Love along with her little brother, little sister, parents and relations until the end of time.

So there you have it.

Little excitement heading my way… tomorrow I am quitting sugar COLD TURKEY. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow and why I am doing it (basically, I am tired, grumpy and tired of looking 5 months pregnant.) I am preparing my family for the evil beast that could result of sugar withdrawal symptoms. Stay tuned!
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Filed under family, life, wednesday

Welcome to the World, Cazimir Kolbe!

This past Sunday (Aug 7) I took part in what has to be the one of the most amazing moments of my life, and it totally changed the friendship that I have with one of my BFFs.

My friend’s husband is overseas for the time being and as a result wouldn’t be able to be here for the birth of their third child. Earlier this Spring, my friend called me and asked me if I would consider being her birth partner for this child’s birth. I didn’t have to think twice, of course I would! She and I have been friends since 2007, I met her at a La Leche League meeting right after I moved here to St. Louis. The Bear was almost 4 months old and she was expecting their first child that month. She helped our family find our Parish and she and I really hit it off right off the bat. Through the years, our friendship has been through highs and lows, through births, through moves and changes, but our friendship has only changed for the better.

Early Sunday morning (around 230a) she called me and told me that she was going to have the baby today. I dressed, grabbed some stuff and drove to her house. Her doula and I arrived at the same time and we helped her labor at home until 530a. We arrived at the hospital around 6a and this is where things got a little fun. (Just a little aside, the staff working in ERs really need to cut back on the caffeine! My friend’s water hadn’t broken yet, but she was having intense contractions… to the point where she had to stop walking and concentrate on the contraction. Labor was not imminent in the fact that the baby wasn’t going to fall out of her right then and there, but the staff added a little unneeded stress to the situation by basically chiding us for not getting to the hospital “sooner.” Anyway.) We get to Labor and Delivery and get my friend set up on a birthing ball. Now, she and I have the same OB/GYN, a fantastic man who is a great husband and a father of 7, but he was on-call at another hospital until 7a. If you have given birth, you know how particular one can be about “your” OB delivering the child. So, my friend labored and worked through her contractions all the while praying for Dr. G to get there.

My friend had made it clear to me and her doula and in her birth plan that she wanted to have a non-medicated birth, and that she would ask for pain meds when she wanted them. But here’s the funny thing about birth, if you are going natural, the moment you think you really want those meds means that you are probably closer to time to push than you think. So, she was checked and sure enough, she was 8cm and 80% effaced. After another 20 minutes of work, she asked for an epidural again and the orders were put through… at least they tried to put them through. The hospital had just switched over to electronic filing and there was a little issue getting the meds ordered. By the time the order had come through, her water had been broken (the sac was bulging, bulging but wouldn’t rupture) and she was feeling the urge to push.

She pushed through a couple contractions while on the ball and then decided to move to the bed. During the next contraction, the doula and I checked and sure enough… we saw hair! The doula pressed the call light for the nursing staff (another aside and a reason why I LOVE this particular hospital… if you are having a non-medicated birth, the nurses really do not come in much. They will come in to check fetal heart rates every so often but other than that, they are pretty hands off. I just wish they had birthing tubs) and Dr. G and the nurses came in. My friend pushed another 6 times or so and my godson, Cazimir Kolbe, was born! (For those trying to keep track, from the time we arrived at the hospital to when he was born was 2 hours.)

The Post-Birth-Happy-High set in pretty quickly for my friend (another upshot to the non-medicated birth is that the after birth endorphins aren’t blocked by pain meds) and she was so amazed at her body that she not only had a son but that she birthed her son without the aid of an epidural or pitocin! She couldn’t believe how great she felt and how “fast” it worked. I know that feeling because I felt that same way after birthing The Dragonfly. It seems as soon as they place that baby on your chest, you completely forget about the previous time that you are working and exhausted and that you thought you couldn’t do it anymore.

For me, the experience really enforced, in my mind, how childbirth should be. Childbirth is an event that can unite a couple, but even more so, it is an event that unites women across time. My friend is not kidding when she says that our friendship has changed because we have been to the edge and back together. I looked into her eyes and I saw the moment when she had to let everything go and trust her body and trust her support team to walk with her to the end.

And it was amazing.

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Pax Christi!

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Filed under family, life, mothering, Tuesday

Same thing every year

I am such a sap and I can finally admit it. Every year, when the school supplies start to roll out and I start seeing the adverts for “Back-To-School,” I get nostalgic and choked up. I miss teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughters. I love staying home with them. I feel so blessed that we, as a family, can afford to have me stay home with the girls, but that doesn’t make the memories of teaching go away.

It’s said that “those who can’t do, teach,” but I find that statement to be so wrong. Teaching is such an admirable occupation that people just take for granted. So, you might be thinking, “Well, CCM, if you love teaching so much, why don’t you just homeschool your kids?” Here’s the thing… I was a HIGH SCHOOL teacher. That was my niche, that was where I shined. I loved interacting with my students. I taught at a school in Chicago that had a lot going against it: high levels of immigrants/ refugees, poor reading skills, even poorer math skills, rough home lives, etc, etc. The area as a whole wasn’t too bad as far as crime went, but that’s not to say that there wasn’t gang presence. (Actually, one very memorable student from my first year teaching was a ‘high-ranking’ gang leader… and one of the sweetest, hard-working boys that you would have ever met. I often think about him and pray for him.) For those kids, like it or not, their teachers were the role-models that their parents might not have been. Could you imagine being a first-year teacher having that on your plate?

I just wish that I had the chance to teach a bit longer. We found out about the transfer to STL not long after having The Bear in Chicago and it seems as if I left the occupation before I really got it going. And it’s really funny, because teaching is such a volatile profession right now… if you aren’t providing the scores or the proof that you are an effective teacher, you are out of there. School districts are cutting classes left and right. More parents are turning to homeschooling options because they are losing faith in what schools can provide right now. I’ll admit that this is the liberal, hippie side of me coming out a bit here, but I just wonder what our country could be if we spent as much on education as we do on National Defense? But I guess National Defense affects the whole country and education… doesn’t?

So why don’t I go back to teaching right now? Because I am needed at home. I teach my children every day. Sure, it’s not complex chemical equations or estimating the trajectories of blood spatter but I am still a teacher. I teach language, grammar, math, reading, science, etc. Sure, I don’t get AS dressed up, nor do I have chalk and marker on my hands, but I am still a teacher. Right?

Oh, well. So, if you see me and I seem a bit melancholic, it’s just because of the new school year. And how I am watching from the sidelines. Ask me how I feel in October!

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Pax Christi!

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Filed under family, life, wednesday

Age ain’t nothin’ but a number… isn’t it?

Einstein taught that time is relative so as an extension, age must be as well. And if you think about it, it really is.

On any given day, I don’t perceive myself to be any older than the girl that I was when I was eighteen, or twenty-two, or even twenty-eight, but the signs of the slow deliberate march of time are undeniable. For me, it’s the little things, a little crinkle in the corner of my eyes from years of smiling; saddlebags, that despite meters and meters of side lunges and a fairly healthy diet just will not go away; graying hairs. But I have encountered two things recently that just make me feel old.

One, there is a new station here in St. Louis called “Gen X Radio,” and it plays songs made popular for and by Gen Xers. Now, as a kid growing up in Milwaukee, I remember WKLH always talking about playing the hits from the 60s, 70s and “today.” Now the music from “My Generation” (with a nod to The Who there) is on a totally separate radio station, separated from Top 40, and is a beast of its own. And you want to know what? I. Love. It. Now, I won’t listen to it when the girls are in the Swagger Wagon, only because… well, I’m that mom who really doesn’t want her daughters singing “If you wanna be my lovah.” (Spice Girls, there.) But if I am driving solo, you know that I am rockin’ out to No Doubt, , Everclear, Green Day, Color Me Badd, BBD, Madonna, Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, etc, etc.

Two, right now, DH is watching the Encore Mini-series “Moby Dick”. So, I am half-watching it. I tried reading Moby Dick a few times, but just couldn’t get into it. I do know that the retail chain “Starbucks” took it’s name from a character in the novel, Mr. Starbuck, though. But that’s not my point. Well, it kind of is, you see, Ethan Hawke plays “Mr. Starbuck,” and I remember as a kid thinking how cute Ethan Hawke was. Same thing would go for Christian Slater or Denzel. But now I noticed something different about Mr. Hawke and the ilk, and here’s the thing… they are still cute actors, but when you look at them, they look… old.

So does that mean that I soon will become that mom embarrassing her kids?

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Pax Christi!

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Don’t let appearances deceive you

Earlier this Spring I gave a lecture, along with another breastfeeding mom, to a series of high school classes. The class was on child development and the teacher was a breastfeeding advocate, but having no children herself, was having a difficult time answering some of their questions. So, she contacted the organization that I am a member of and we set up the talks.

I was super excited about the talks because it had been almost 4 years since I had left the classroom and while I love my life as an at-home-mom, there are days that I do miss teaching. Taking the opportunity to it’s fullest, I put on my best “teacher-like” outfit: pencil skirt, black twinset, nude calfskin platform pumps, and pearls. I even had my cutest two accessories with me: The Bear and The Dragonfly. (The teacher was 100% on board with us bringing our kids because she felt it could make a clear point about how mothering is 27/7/365 to the students. I, admittedly, was having trouble finding child care as the first class began at 730a and the school was about 45 minutes from my house.)

We walk in and start chatting with the students and one of the girls says to me: “Cute shoes!” I am a shoe lover and since I am a size 12, I don’t go hog-wild with purchases, but I tend to buy quality over quanity usually because there isn’t a large quanity of 12s out there, so I was very flattered that she noticed my shoes. I thanked her for her complement and she followed up with this comment:

“You guys don’t look like breastfeeders.”

Huh? “Look like breastfeeders?” My curiousity, of course, was piqued and I asked her what a breastfeeding mom looked like. She responded, “Well, kind of like a hippie.” At that point the bell rang and I made a mental note to come back to that, but I kind of forgot. For some reason this exchange popped into my head this weekend and I figured it would make a great blog post/ discussion.

Part of me wonders if some mothers have difficulty choosing to breastfeed because they feel that you have to bring all the rest with it. What is all the rest, you may ask? These are the things that I’ve heard from others, plus some of the things that I’ve incorporated into my own life:

Organic food

Gardening

Attachment parenting

bed sharing/ co-sleeping

homeschooling/ unschooling

cloth diapering

forgoing makeup

Gentle Discipline

not looking fashionable… just looking like a “mom”

smelling like patchouli (I am still not sure what that smells like.)

staying home with the kids

But do you really want to know what you need to make breastfeeding successful? A pair of lactating breasts, a baby and a support system. The rest is just details. While it’s true that breastfeeding and natural living and natural/ gentle parenting tend to go hand-in-hand-in-hand, breastfeeding is not dependent on your knowing what essential oils are best for what use, or where to find the best deals on amber necklaces. People may try to make you feel as if you are less of a mother if you are not breastfeeding AND making your children’s clothing AND tending a garden AND using the family bed AND homeschooling, etc, etc, etc, but one thing to remember is this:

every family is different

Each family makes the best choice for their particular situation and comparing what your family does to what your BFF’s or your WEF’s does (WEF= worst enemy forever) or what the Queen Bee at your kid’s school does will do nothing but keep you awake all night grinding your teeth in frustration. When in doubt, ask yourself these questions:

Am I happy?

Is my partner happy?

Are our kids happy?

Are we healthy?

Are we safe?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then there’s a good chance you are parenting just right. (So, I know that was kind of a trip down the rabbit trail, but it all kind of goes together.)

Back to breastfeeding appearances? A breastfeeding mom looks like any other mom out there, she just has fewer bottles to carry around.

And what does this breastfeeding mama look like?

Everyday Look (if I’m not at the gym)

I’ll admit it. I am all about makeup, doing something to my hair or wearing a fascinator (crafted by moi, of course!) For me, it’s the little accessories that make the outfit. And come July 11, I will have been breastfeeding for 4 years.

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What are your thoughts? Has the breastfeeding culture, without intention, alienated some moms or made breastfeeding more complicated by setting unspoken standards?

Pax Christi!

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Filed under breastfeeding, feminism, life, sunday

Guest Post: A Gender Neutral World

The following is a guest post written by a good friend of mine. Hope you enjoy!

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A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook the other day and it really got me thinking. These parents are trying to raise their 3 children, 2 boys and one child whose gender has not been announced to the world, in a gender neutral world. I, too, have chosen to raise my daughter, now 7, in a gender neutral world. But I also understand that a lot of what makes people male or female is engrained in us and I am not just talking about certain genitalia and hormones.

I have re-read the article multiple times and have decided that there are some similarities between myself and these parents.

  1. I, too, gave my daughter a gender neutral first name.
  2. I have also allowed my daughter the freedom to decide who she will choose to be. One day it will be a pretty, pretty princess and the next day it will be a hard rock/punk girl.
  3. My daughter can also pick out her own clothes from either department in the store. In fact, for Christmas 2010, her new pajamas and robe were straight from the traditionally “boys” department and featured skulls and candy cane shaped crossbones.
  4. I, too, hope that one day my daughter will live in a world where people can make the choice to be whoever they want to be and society will be fine with that choice.
  5. I also agree that children receive messages from society that encourage them to fit into existing societal boxes.

But that is about where the similarities end. My daughter knows she is a female as do all of my family and friends. I wanted to combat the pretty princess toys and pink “girlie” outfits. Well guess what? I lost and lost big time. As much as I didn’t want my daughter to be the girlie girl, she pretty much is. Don’t get me wrong, she loves to hang with the boys on our street and play superheroes, but give her the chance to wear a dress, a pretty hair bow and paint her nails…yes please!

I am all for raising kids in a gender neutral world…I was raised in one. There were no such things as girl specific toys or boy specific toys; I saw my dad cook dinner just as I saw my mom do yard work; and when I was little I had the primary colored room and my brother had the pastel colored room.

I wonder how the family and friends of these parents feel – I guess since no one else can change a diaper for fear of discovering the baby’s gender, they may not mind! I do have one major issue (okay more than one, but this is the one that I will touch on) with how these parents are raising their two older boys, it isn’t the fact that they have long hair and wear pink, but at 5 and 2, should they be responsible for explaining their parent’s choices to the outside world? Talk about undue pressure for little kids. Why should a child be the one to correct a person if said person gets their gender wrong? Maybe the parents could take responsibility for this, but then also add a caveat such as “Jazz and/or Kio are boys, but we leave it up to them to decide what they wear and how their hair is styled.” When people, especially over the phone, mistake my daughter for a boy, I don’t go, get her and make her explain that her name can be either a girl’s name or a boy’s name. I just very politely (and sometimes not so politely especially to people who should know that she is a girl, like the receptionist at her doctor’s office) say, “She is a girl.”

There were multiple occasions when I had to correct people on my daughter’s gender when she was younger, maybe they thought she was a boy because she didn’t have much hair until she was at least 2, but more likely it was because she was in dressed a fire truck outfit (her dad is a firefighter) or once when she had on khakis. My retort to the person after they asked why my baby daughter was in khakis was, “Well, don’t adult women wear khakis?” That quieted her quickly!

As a strong and independent feminist, did I balk when all my 4 yr old daughter wanted for Christmas was a Barbie? Yes I did. But did I march into Target and buy one for her? Yes I did. Okay so it took me about 30 minutes because I would pick it up and five minutes later go put it back down again. That cycle repeated itself multiple times. Why did I do it? Because it is what she wanted – my daughter knows why I am not pro-Barbie, but was so thrilled that Santa got her one that year. So it made my going against my feminist sensibilities okay.

But in my traditionally rebellious fashion, I will more likely buy the “boy” version of the toy before I buy the “girl” version of the same toy. Like this past Christmas, as I was wandering aimlessly around Toys R Us trying to locate the oh-so-coveted Zhu Zhu Pets, I was pointed in the correct direction by a salesperson, but before she told me where to go, she asked, “Is it for a boy or a girl?” My traditional answer came out, “Well it is for my daughter, but it doesn’t matter.” I proceeded to buy a “boy” one instead the overly girly pink or purple version. And FYI, the “boy” version was on sale and the “girl” version wasn’t – that also helped me to make my decision!

The same thing happens at McDonald’s when I, on the rare occasion, will treat my daughter to a Happy Meal. More often than not, my daughter would rather have the “boy” toy. But I always do ask her which one she would pefer. So when the person at McDonald’s asks, “Boy or girl?” I have learned not to say, “It doesn’t matter”, but instead, “Boy”. Because then my daughter will be happy with the toy. It has happened once or twice where I have had to exchange the toy because the cashier has taken it upon themselves to give us the “girl” toy.

But with me it doesn’t just end with toys and clothes, my daughter knows that men and women are equal and in a household (and in the workforce), the men and the women can and should do the exact same things in an equal fashion. Or at least divide the household chores in a way that makes both partners happy. Luckily, she has my parents to model this behavior for her.

It also extends to the societal norm that I probably despise the most…shaving my legs and underarms. Now I will do both, not on a regular basis and usually for a special occasion, but do I curse it every time? Yes. My daughter knows that she can choose to shave or to not shave and exactly why I feel the way that I do feel about shaving. It is because there is no equivalent societal norm that men are forced to follow. People will say…men have to shave their facial hair. Do I prefer a cleanly shaven man? Yes (mostly because the stubble can hurt when kissing!), but do I look down on a man because he chooses not to shave? No. Does society? No. But do they look down upon women who choose not to shave? Yes.  Remember the Julia Roberts hairy armpit incident?

The eldest boy, Jazz, was asked whether some choices that have been made for him upset him (because even though his parents truly feel that they are leaving all the choices up to him, they aren’t), he nodded his head yes. I hope that the parents are happy and okay with whatever choices their 2 boys and one as of yet unknown gendered child make as they grow up.

I am all for raising kids in a gender neutral world, but like everything else, do it in moderation! You want to have well balanced children and I wonder how balanced the children of these parents will truly be. It would be very interesting to come back to these children in 20 or so years and see how they have fared. To see if they are still keeping with the tenets that were taught to them by their parents or whether societal norms have crept in and overcome their childhood teachings. And to what degree both of these different and opposing teachings/norms have had on their lives.

Societal norms be darned as far as I am concerned, but I also know when to pick my battles and realize that some just can’t be fought!
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Hope you enjoyed this guest post. Feel free to leave any comments or feedback for the writer below!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under feminism, Guest Post, life, mothering, Tuesday

It’s OK, just not in public

These statements were part of a conversation I had recently:

“I could never do that in public.”

“That’s such a private act!”

“There are children around, what if they see and don’t understand?”

“Maybe keep that just in the home. Or maybe in church.”

“I’m fine if other people do it in public, but it does kind of make me feel weird.”

So, what am I talking about here… If you guessed breastfeeding in public, you would be… WRONG! (You can read some thoughts on breastfeeding in public here.) Actually, we were talking about PRAYER in public.

I don’t know why people get so weirded out about praying out loud in public. Maybe it’s the thought that faith is such a personal thing. Maybe it’s the fear of imposing one’s faith on another, one who may or may not want to be exposed to faith-matters. It could be said that the Bible even makes a case for keeping prayers between you and your Father:

Matthew 6:5-6 (New International Version)

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

But, to me, there is a difference in praying as we are called to pray and praying as the “hypocrites” pray. One major consideration is, to whom or for whom are you praying? Are you praying to impress those around you, or are you praying because you are moved to do so by the Spirit? At a restaurant, do you say a blessing before meals because you are truly thankful for the hands and the earth from which the food was received (and maybe for the prosperity to enjoy a meal out) or do you say a blessing to show others how much “better” you are than they?

My best friend was married this past weekend. She held her ceremony at Belmont Mansion in Nashville TN. As we (the bride and bridesmaids) were all in the balcony, listening to the pre-ceremony music, I felt this unmistakable urge to pray with them. We were all of different faith backgrounds (Catholic, Lutheran) but I really felt the Spirit telling me to do this. So, right before the first bridesmaid was to make her way down the Grand Staircase, I called all of us together and lead an impromptu prayer. It was short, sweet and really out of character for me but in that moment, I knew that it was not my words but His:

Matthew 10:19-20 (New King James Version)

19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

I don’t know about the other ladies, but I was sure filled with peace and grace for the rest of the ceremony! So, what’s my point? If the Spirit moves you, pray! Pray out loud, pray to yourself, either way, God hears those prayers.

I was recently asked to join my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group as their Prayers and Shares leader. Now, if you hadn’t guessed, I do enjoy public speaking and l love to have responsibilities but I will tell you, I feel so UNDERQUALIFIED to be a Prayers and Shares leader. Why? For one thing, my MOPS group is made up of women from differing faith traditions and in my mind, there are so many other women in our group that would so better fit that role. Women who know their Bibles and Bible verses inside and out (I have, like, six verses memorized and that’s mostly because of Christian music!) Women who can pray these amazing prayers of thanksgiving, of praise, of petition… all extemporaneously! Women who are so tightly bonded to Christ that I feel like I am missing something. And I’ll admit, I feel a little… ill-equipped. But you want to know what I read recently?

God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

And seriously, who am I to say “I think you picked the wrong gal” to my Father? So, to sum it up: I’m going to pull on the Big Girl Panties and Just Do It (with apologies to Nike!)

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Pax Christi!

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Filed under Catholic, family, life, monday

A Modern Day Princess

I’ll admit, I got all caught up in the Royal Wedding. There was no way I was going to get up sans children to watch the LIVE broadcast, so I DVR’d it so I could watch it at my leisure. I am glad that I did, because when I did get up (earlier, yesterday, to watch and to pack for a trip to the Zoo,) my little darlings both got up at the same time. Sigh.

I was able to catch snippets of the broadcast here and there but I was over the moon to see a few things:

Kate’s sister, Pippa, and the adorable Flower Girls!!

but more importantly, Catherine’s wedding dress. Swoon.

What do I love most about this dress? Everything. I love the lace. I love the A-line. I love the embroidery. I love the train. I love the veil. I love the tiara. Must most of all, I love how modest it is.

Think about it ladies and gents, instead of having Audrey or Katherine or Jackie or Grace to emulate, girls now have Snooki, Christina or Gaga. Stripper Pole Dance Classes are cast as group exercise and seven-year olds are hawked thongs and padded swimwear.

Who would you rather your daughter emulate? Other than you, of course!

Michelle Obama has turned the tide in First Lady dressing a bit and gone a bit more elegant and modern with her look but, sadly, many girls would look at her and see someone who is… old. You know, like their moms.

So, I want to say “Thank You!” to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge for showing us how modest dressing can look so classy and appropriate for young girls and for celebrating my favorite NEW-TO-ME accessory… the fascinator!

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Pax Christi!

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31 days to clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way

Won’t you consider joining me on this May challenge?

I am not a natural when it comes to cleaning. In fact, sometimes I think my DNA is allergic to it! However, I know that if I am to care for my home, and more importantly my family, I need to persevere in creating a clean, peaceful home environment (not a perfect one!).

31 Days to Clean is about the “why” and the vision and the heart for taking care of our domains. Each day I encourage you with some thoughts and ideas, and then we put those ideas to action.

After each days reading, you will be given two challenges:

The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

Friends, 31 Days to Clean is a faith journey towards ruling, subduing, and loving. We are forgoing perfection; we are choosing life.

You can read more about it and download the book for a nominal fee, here. It is even Kindle-friendly, but (sadly, for me, not Nook friendly. But you could get it to work on the Nook, you just have to manually transfer the files as it is a PDF.)

The challenge begins May 1! Ready, Set, Pray!


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Pax Christi!

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Filed under family, life, marriage, mothering, Thursday