Friday, March 29, 2013

Not Alone

We all have crosses. Some big, some little. Some completely unnecessary. And some not even ours - sometimes by choice, often not.

I think Satan gets a kick out of using those crosses against us, of making us feel alone in our troubles, among other things.

But guess what?

You are not alone. Ever.

Jesus suffered the ultimate cross - completely innocent yet dying a horrific death... just because of us sinners. He loved us so much that he accepted his cross - he did not want to, he prayed to God to let this cross pass him by - and still, he died for us. He knows what it is like to suffer, both mentally and physically. Turn to him. Lay your cross down at his feet.

Others may abandon you or be unable to help you or disappoint you. Love them anyway and place all your trust in the Lord. Let him help you carry your cross.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Look who's 8!

Eight years ago - almost - Skipper was born (5:26 pm exactly), just a little 8 and a half pound bundle. He had the fun adventure of being the first baby, and so I was utterly clueless, which was a very good thing in retrospect. His pregnancy was difficult on me. While my blood pressure did not rise continuously until the last weeks of pregnancy, I had long ago put myself on a limited bed rest because it was difficult to do much physically. Even a short walk around the block left me winded, contracting, and in a lot of pain. Eventually, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and put on bed rest for nearly two weeks before an induction was begun. Thankfully, labor was a short nine hours, and I can say with certainty that of all my children, his was the worst labor, and recovery.

But you know, we had a baby at the end, a baby who was so sweet... for the first hour anyway... and then came the crying, and the endless feedings, and all the other stuff that I thought came with motherhood - and most of it does - but I also have learned a thing or two and realize he actually was a tough baby initially. But God certainly graced me with a peacefulness and an endurance that I have rarely known, and I literally felt like I breezed through those months (after the initial few weeks anyway) despite my first 3 hour break coming close to 3 months.

Skipper grew into a happy, happy baby, always smiling and laughing. He loved to play with people, not toys, but as he grew older books and blocks became his next favorite thing behind people. He has such a sweet, gentle personality, with a natural nuturing and protective instinct, along with a touch of comedic relief. What a blessing he is. Where have the years gone?

Mom's Notes:

Favorites: mac-n-cheese, Sonic, summer, snow boots, audio and real books, playing Xbox and computer games, wearing pjs all day, his teddy.

Hates: haircuts (leave it long!), dressing in *real* clothes, eating fish, people sniffing.

He's on his way to reaching his daddy's height (of 6'8") at 54.75 inches tall, and I think he will prove just as skinny growing up. He is 63 pounds and all legs and arms.

His birthday is on a Friday during Lent this year so we will celebrate on Sunday with family and a Sonic cake (of course!).

A Parent's Prayer for Their Children

O God the Father of mankind, who hast given unto me these my children, and committed them to my charge to bring them up for Thee, and to prepare them for eternal life: help me with Thy heavenly grace, that I may be able to fulfill this most sacred duty and stewardship. Teach me both what to give and what to withhold; when to reprove and when to forbear; make me to be gentle, yet firm; considerate and watchful; and deliver me equally from the weakness of indulgence, and the excess of severity; and grant that, both by word and example, I may be careful to lead them in the ways of wisdom and true piety, so that at last I may, with them, be admitted to the unspeakable joys of our true home in heaven, in the company of the blessed Angels and Saints. Amen.

O Heavenly Father, I commend my children to Thy care. Be Thou their God and Father; and mercifully supply whatever is lacking in me through frailty or negligence. Strengthen them to overcome the corruptions of the world, whether from within or without; and deliver them from the secret snares of the enemy. Pour Thy grace into their hearts, and strengthen and multiply in them the gifts of Thy Holy Spirit, that they may daily grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and so, faithfully serving Thee here, may come to rejoice in Thy presence hereafter. Amen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Keeping the Spark

Good morning!

The other night I went to a homeschooling mom's night out. Once a month, this group of ladies come together for some fellowship and fun, with some kind of theme in mind. February's theme? Keeping the spark in your marriage while homeschooling (holding a job, amidst daily life, etc.). I was excited for this night because it just so happens that focusing on my husband and marriage is one of my Lenten projects this year.

So here is a random list of ideas for keeping that spark. Some items are what I do, and what I am focusing on. Some are other people's ideas. Sometimes all is hunky and dory in the world of marriage. Sometimes it isn't. I certainly am an utter failure at times in my marriage, but there are great moments too. The biggest thing is to keep on truckin', keep on trying. Hopefully these ideas spark a little fire on your side, whether it be a great big bonfire or a nice little cozy flame.

**My top picks at the moment.**

Pray for your husband. I would say pray together if you can. My husband is not even close to that. So I do it quietly, whenever I can and however much I can and feel I should. Really, he needs prayers all day long. So do I. We all do.

Make time for your husband every night by being available. Does he watch tv? Sit next to him. Computer? Be by him. Want you to chit chat (uh-huh...) - do it. Read? Grab a book. Walk? Get your shoes on. You get the idea. My husband is a couch potato in the evenings so I have made it a point of sitting down next to him and rub his back, head as I know he likes that. I also try really, really hard not to think about all I should be doing. Oh, and I am watching A LOT of Star Trek which I have never seen before. My husband recently decided he needed to watch every single episode and movie that has ever been made.

No negativity. Do not speak to your husband or about your husband in a negative way. I try to be very conscious of this as his parents are quite negative to each other, and my husband absolutely hates it. Though I must admit, on really tough days, this is incredibly hard to do because just as your children love you so much and rant and rave with you, so sometimes I just need to get it all out. ;) By focusing on it, though, I do find it easier to stop myself and even turn it into a humorous situation if at all possible.

Reminding myself of what marriage is. Why did I get married? What does the Church say about marriage? What does it mean to live a Christian marriage? Find resources that help you with that. For me, right now, this is what I am looking at:

Casti Connubii: Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI on Christian Marriage - despite longish sounding title, it's been a nice read. I like that is in a numbered format so I can read a chunk here and there and meditate on it while I go about my day.

Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot - written by a mother to her daughter on her engagement/marriage. This is not Catholic but I find it very encouraging and uplifting in my own role as wife, and understanding my place in the marriage, and just my place as a woman, of not being afraid to be a woman. Isn't that a weird thing to say in our so-called "enlightened" era of freedom of being. Does anyone else feel that way? In this age, we are free to be anyone we want to be, but if I want to be a woman, I somehow feel like I picked the wrong choice? Anyone? (Except from my husband - he loves that I am a woman!!!)

Love Letters to My Husband by Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla - I just started this so I cannot say too much about it.

30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge - this is a little redundant day after day but it's a nice way to "wake up" and get going on staying positive for my husband.

Nice list of resources from the USCCB - I just found as a resource but have not read through all the resources listed.

On my wish list... The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur.

Other ideas that I have thought about, used at times, or someone shared (at our night out or elsewhere):

  • Realizing there are ups and downs in marriage - in life - and working extra hard during the downturns on MYSELF. I find I nitpick my husband to death when I am most dissatisfied with something about myself.
  • Being polite. Saying please and thank you. Using his name or an endearment. Does anyone else find themselves not using their husband's name at times, and one day come to that realization? Or using it in a loud kind of way versus a sweet way?
  • Do small things for him. What does he like? What can I do for him? What can I sacrifice to make his life better? You'll find that by making these sacrifices, he will in turn reciprocate. Maybe not the next day or even a month but your efforts will not go wasted. At the very least YOU will have changed - and for the better.
  • Keep myself healthy. Exercise. Eat right. This goes along with working on myself. Let's face it. If I take care of myself, I have more time (weird, right?), more energy, more peace, etc. for my husband.
  • A wife must step in as head of family if husband is unable or unwilling. So don't let this situation allow bitterness to fester.
  • Make it a point to say something nice at least once a day.
  • Greet him with a smile and/or quick kiss.
  • Give him time after work to decompress. Or whatever he needs to do. Maybe he likes you in his face after a long day. I don't know.
  • Keep a visible calendar of events and a list of what needs doing (just don't make it impossibly long). **My husband asked for this and still refuses to use the list so also practice patience when changing up routine.**
  • Laugh - a lot and often.
  • Let him know what you need. My husband is not a mind reader. Perhaps you are stressing about something that does not need stressing. Is there something you can relax about to make time for your husband? And turn it around, ask him what he needs.
  • Remind yourself of what marriage is and why we were married (see resources above).
  • Have special moments - from big, ole overnight stays to going out date nights to stay-in date nights to those itty bitty moments throughout the day. Send along a text, an email, give a kiss, a back rub, make sure his clothes are hung up and put away (I really am good about cleaning clothes, just not so much putting them away...), cook his favorite dinner, etc. I personally think all the little stuff adds up to more than one big night together. If I kept waiting for that "big night" our marriage would have fallen through the cracks long, long ago.

That's my own little list. I am still a newbie at marriage with not quite ten years of marriage under my belt. So I ask you, do you have anything to add?