Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Week 4

Hi.  I haven't blogged in a while and actually decided a few months ago I was done with writing.  But my heart always nags me.  It also nags my children, my husband, my pastor, my friends.....

I might be seeing a pattern here.  But for the sake of preserving myself from brutal honesty, let's stick to my heart nagging me...on a daily basis... shall we?

It's been nagging me to write because writing is something I absolutely love to do and there has been so much on my heart lately.  So, in true Catholicmommaupnorth fashion, this is going to be all over the place.  Maybe if I wrote more regularly, I could stick to a topic...probably not.  Those of you who know me, know I can talk...and talk, and talk and talk........



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This is actually me talking to a friend...

So it's the start of the fourth week of Lent.  Is Lent as exciting for anyone else out there as it is for me?  I mean, I may look forward to Lent a little more than the average person and it could be considered odd at best.  Who looks forward to trying to plan six or seven meat free dishes for a family of ten?  Or trying to stick with Lenten sacrifices with said family of ten..... Or trying to just survive Lent with a family of ten....

I am seeing another pattern.  

I love my family of ten. 

I love Lent in a way that doesn't mean I look forward to denying myself and being all scrupulous (I might not even be using that technical term correctly, but what I mean is self torture or self loathing because I'm not worthy and I should be doing things to shame myself into being a better person...)

I love Lent because I need Lent.  I NEED that time of denial, self sacrifice.  Self control.  Slowing down.  Being at Church more.  Reading and really soaking in the word of God.  I have some really great women in my life, one of whom is my 19 year old daughter, who have created a little Lenten Lady's study and it's been a game changer.  We've of course perhaps bitten off more than we can chew each week, but the we all seem up for the challenge, minus the fact I've accidentally had two sweet sodas and a caramel latte from Panera the last week..... sorry ladies....

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The struggle is real...


But we are doing a number of challenges and it's been actually really good for my focus.  I tend to see about ten million squirrels a day and honestly, my phone has not helped me with that one bit.  I have a love/hate relationship with my phone because I would LOVE to turn it off for the day, but these pesky humans in my home sometimes need me and I have a fear of missing something important.  See my struggle?  It's real.  But this Lent has been somewhat different.  I haven't abolished the phone entirely, but I have new distractions that are good for me!  

First off, we are doing a book study on one of the best books I've ever read and quite honestly, it's a book I think everyone needs on their nightstand.  It's called, 'Searching for and Maintaining Peace,' by Fr. Jacques Philippe....


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Best book EVER...


My friends tend to get annoyed with my comment, "BEST BOOK EVER..."  Ok, I readily admit I'm a 'good Catholic book junkie...'  I wear that title with a tiara and sparkles because in this day and age, there are just some super amazing, inspired by the Holy Spirit writers who have answered the call and answered the call in a HUGE WAY.  Fr. Jacques Philippe is one of them.  This isn't a book you read cover to cover.  It's a book you read sections at a time and listen to the Abiding Together podcast, with Sister Miriam James (can I please bring her to Buffalo and have her speak at our conference?????), Michelle Benzinger, and Heather Khym.



Found on Ascension Presents blogs


They are on the fourth week of the book study and it's been life changing.  To read this book in the smaller sections and really sit and soak in how we let things steal our peace.  It's really opened my own eyes for how I let peace leave me, even sometimes while trying to do good things for God!!  I've really seen how God doesn't want that for me either!  He loves the people in my life more than I love them, so if I'm allowing my peace to be removed, or even stolen, I'm not loving them the way God loves them, or wants me to love them.... WOW.   Just WOW....

I've also been listening to Sonja Corbitt's latest study, Highway to Holiness. Listen, if you don't know who Sonja Corbitt is, I'll try to forgive you, but you need to learn her and her teachings because the woman is changing the way we look at the bible and she's doing it in a beautiful, former protestant turned ON FIRE Catholic way!!  The Holy Spirit is truly guiding her and she is open to where that may lead.  



biblestudyevangelista.com her current study!

I'm also reading her book "Fearless" which is also just jam packed with so much for us women to really take in and take to heart about how the evil one wants to also steal our peace!!



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Another BEST BOOK EVER...



I've been reading little bits here and there (remember I said we were taking on Lent like CHAMPS) but I sit with my journal bible and read a few pages and really let the Word soak in and see where I'm letting the demons control my fears and anxieties and call me by my weaknesses.  She's helped me unpack where I need to let go and trust GOD because he is all about love, not fear.  It's been transforming.  Almost as much as her Heal the Father Wounds series, which I highly recommend becoming a friend of the show just to hear that series and listen to it over, and over and over and over.  Because friends....we all have father wounds.  Perhaps caused by fathers, mothers, sisters, cousins, friends, someone in authority, but we all have them.  And we all struggle with our relationship with our mighty God because of those wounds... Alan Hunt wrote a book that was titled, "Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody..." He was right.  We all have wounds.... But I'm digressing....as usual... :) 


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A to the men my dears.....


But getting back to Sonja and her newest study, Highway to Holiness, which is a podcast about where we are as the Body of Christ, in His church, after all the scandal and let me tell you, she has been ON FIRE with this podcast.  The way she addresses where we need to go as a Church and how scandal has been around since the beginning is so helpful.  Especially here in Buffalo, where the scandal has been front and center and most of us cringe when we see a particular reporter and the words, 'Catholic Church,' mentioned on the news... I was struggling with being angry and frustrated but not knowing what to do with that unrest.  But wow has she, in just three podcasts, opened my eyes to what is going on....Plus, it didn't help that I was allowing my peace to be stolen by sending this podcast to everyone I know and actually DEMANDING they listen because it was so powerful and full of great nuggets we all as Catholics could benefit from, some things I've never heard of ever, and the response was......


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crickets.....


But God spoke to me in the 'Searching for and Maintaining Peace' book.  He told me to keep sending it to people if it didn't cause me to lose my peace, but that just like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink..... you can send fellow Catholics all the amazing Catholic material in the universe (and let me tell you, there is a PLETHORA of materials at our fingertips) but you can't make them read it, watch it, listen to it, buy it, like it, or even care about it.... you.just.can't.  

Well.... you know me.  I'm still gonna ask God, WHY???  I know, He's going to have a doosie of a time when I finally see Heaven and see why, but until then, I love my Jesus, I love my faith, I love my Catholic Church and my heart just breaks into 50 bazillion pieces when I see people not getting it or seeing it, or even wanting it.....

So..... that was a tangent.... I apologize.  No, I don't apologize.  I love Jesus too much to apologize.  We Catholics are pathetic when it comes to knowing our Bible.  For Heaven's sake, we put the darn thing together and we don't give it the time of day....minus Mass and so many people don't even attend Mass regularly, so they aren't even getting the bible once a week anymore....

I am super getting off topic..... Lent.... Lent..... repent..... turn back.....

So we have been having this Lenten Lady study and it's truly been such a blessing to me and my faith journey.  We also are taking some of the ideas from The Fasting Catholic....It's a GREAT website that has some pretty intense ideas about how to have to ultimate Lenten Experience.  Click on the Fasting Catholic to see it! 

Some of the ideas from there are fasting on Wednesdays from meat as well.  Taking shorter showers (I do love my super hot showers....), abstaining from sweets, desserts, soft drinks, alcohol, etc.  It's been TOUGH (hence the Panera Caramel latte....), but do you know what it's been more of?

Refreshing and reassuring.

I still can have mastery over my desires.  I LOVE LENT for this reason.  I was worried about some of the Lenten sacrifices we were being challenged to do.  I come from a history of addiction issues, and to worry whether or not I could 'survive' without some of my desires, gave me a pit in my stomach at first.  Well, minus the falling off the wagon over sugar and caramel lattes, I am relieved that I can discipline myself still after all these years.  It has been reassuring...and taking all of it to prayer and offering it all up for people in our lives has given it an even bigger meaning for me.  My super hero hubs and I both are doing some of the fasting/abstaining together as well and it's been a beautiful few weeks knowing he and I both are offering these 'first world problems' we think are so sometimes hard, for the sufferings of others.... God is so good....

So Lent.  How's your Lent going to so far?  I think we're on day 18 so....still early, but hey- it's NEVER too early or too late to get back up on the horse.  If you've fallen and given in to your sacrifice, get back up.  If you've not prayed much, set that alarm for five minutes earlier and wake up and read the gospel readings.  We are doing a lot more with our Lenten Lady group- but I'll just leave you with this- no sacrifice is too small for God.  He can make good of everything if our hearts are in the right place and our intention is pure.  He loves us, He loves YOU, so much, He will gently lead you and wait patiently as you get back up, every.single.time.  Don't give up on Lent just yet.  It's really just getting going!!!  Let's knock out the next few weeks together, shall we??  :) 



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Together we can do it!















Monday, January 14, 2019

The de-humanizing of the American people...

We've all encountered them.  They hide behind their keyboards waiting to attack and embark on a mission to convince you and millions of other people that their opinions and thoughts are the be all end all.  They tirelessly debate without shame calling you names, resorting to swearing to bring their point across.  A tactic they learned in debate class?  Perhaps... I'm guessing if we could see them, they are probably drooling and slobbering over their angry position.
Winning people over to their ideals is their game.  Stopping at nothing to shame you is their plan.  They have an affectionate term we all know as:

Trolls.....
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I wish they were this cute...

I'll refrain from posting an ugly troll from The Hobbitt- so for now, we'll pretend they look this adorable.  It can save us from joining their ranks and desires....

Lately, the amount of trolling by my fellow Americans has been astounding.  I follow several news outlets and sites that I moderately pay attention to, I'm one of those old fashioned people that thinks hearing both sides of every story is important, because let's face it, media more and more spin stories in just such a way to stir the pot up and I believe contribute to the angry, hostile, viewpoints of these people.  

Today it's the government shut down that has been plaguing the country.  I and my family are deeply affected by this shutdown, because as you know, my superhero hubs works for the federal government.  And if I was to take the comments made by my fellow Americans to heart, which honestly has been very difficult as of late, I would probably decide this country is full of hateful, hurtful, self appointed government experts who would rather my husband go kill himself than offer any ounce of sympathy for the families of these employees who are still expected to pay the bills, the mortgage, car payments, car insurance, Christmas bills, etc. etc.  

I'm speaking truth when I say these people have zero sympathy for the agents and other employees who are still working and not receiving a paycheck.  Let me remind my small amount of readers who are affected:
FBI, DEA, ICE, Secret Service, Border Patrol agents, TSA, national weather service employees, I'm honestly googling all the agencies and offices affected and it's too much to type.  Google it and get the full list.  AND educate yourself on what being "furloughed" means.  My husband is considered an excepted employee. He HAS to show up at work and can't take any personal days off.  I can't imagine what would happen in the New York area alone if these agents were told to stay home until this shutdown ended.  They impact lives daily and most of the time, we have zero idea or an understanding of what that even means....
I don't even understand it most of the time.  But what I can share?  For the last almost 23 years (his 23rd anniversary is the end of May), he has served his country diligently, NO MATTER WHO WAS IN OFFICE, was on SWAT for a majority of that, has arrested countless criminals who have harmed others, stolen from others, and threatened the national security of our country.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Has arrested people who wanted to harm Americans simply for being Americans.  It's hard to arrest terrorists who haven't committed a terrorist act, but thankfully, many make mistakes and commit criminal acts prior, so these agents have to act quick and work.  A lot.  All hours of the day.  They are on call 24 hours.  Did you know that?  If we're at dinner, and he gets a call, he has to leave.  If we're at church and he gets a call, he has to leave.  He is expected to be available at a moments notice.  Did you know that?  
He's chased people on foot, in cars, in trucks.  He's followed suspects, ridden on garbage trucks, been out and in harms way on more occasions than I care to recall.  The Atlanta Olympic bomber?  He was  a part of that search.  A prison in Louisiana that was taken over by inmates?  He got to go and "help" with that.  One night, he was in a terrible car accident while attempting to get to a hospital to find a baby who had been taken from there by an estranged relative.  I was 9 months pregnant with our third baby.  He wrapped his car around a tree and by God's grace, survived, walking away with a few scratches, sore muscles and a bruised ego because he wasn't able to complete the mission.  There is nothing more terrifying than waking up in the morning to an empty side of the bed where he should be, but hasn't returned yet from a middle of the night mission.  Nothing quite compares to the fear of worrying about someone who knowingly puts themselves in harms way to save others and wondering if he's been shot, or hit by a car, or hurt.  I've felt that panic.  It's anxiety inducing. All because he LOVES HIS JOB.  He loves serving his country in this aspect.  He is one of the few people who knew what he wanted to be from the time he was in High School and stopped at nothing to obtain this position every single day until he left for Quantico that May weekend in 1996.  

But he has a "coosh government job" I'm told.  He's got amazing benefits.  He should of known what he was getting into before he signed up for the job.  AND, the real kicker, if he doesn't have enough money to survive a shut down, maybe he should evaluate his spending.  That one was probably the most annoying because I don't know TOO MANY PEOPLE who are more conservative in their spending than us.  And granted, we do have more children than the average of  two families combined (which is a choice we made because we had the means and the blessings), I have managed to never, I repeat, NEVER go into the red with our spending.  We pay cash for cars, cash for big purchases (just getting two bedrooms added to the basement this summer, we paid cash for all of it.).  We save money and we say no to our children a LOT.  We can't afford to spend money on all the ridiculous trendy crap we call 'toys' for our children and thank God we can't.  We pray about every aspect of our spending and trust that God will always provide.  We also make sure that we give to charities and Church from our daily budget, not from what is left over.  As much as it pained me this time, considering we had no paycheck last week, we both felt it was very important that we tithe at Church.  God has been so incredible to us even in bad times, we've seen His face and hand in everything in our lives, my amazing husband chided me and said, "Wait, aren't you the one who would get mad at me when I would say we're giving too much?" Touche my love...touche....We trust.  We put a lot of trust in a Higher Power and that never sits well with people who do not. 

But as my title suggests, our country, our world really, but since I see it first hand here in the United States, has really taken quite a shocking turn of character in regards to our fellow humans.  We are the first to attack someone for having a differing opinion.  To judge someone in their views of anything that differs from our own.  Quick to attack as if we are the internet police hired to bring about everyone to our way of thinking, as skewed or as good as it might be.  Our anger and attacks make one seriously want nothing to do with our 'values' whether good or bad.  
The government shutdown isn't the only thing people attack.  People will attack our character, our political choices, our Christian way of life (whether it jives with theirs or just in general being a fool to even consider being Christian, it doesn't matter). The topics of attack are endless.  We can find any subject or way of life attackable.  We have become an angry society that has stopped seeing us for what we are- humans.  In need of the same basic rights and comforts as everyone else.  Shelter, food, water, and most especially, love.  

It doesn't matter if we have religion, or don't, if we have a political stand or don't.  If we Support life or don't, or if we want to help with the immigration laws or don't....someone, somewhere, will hate on us and our thoughts and try with all their heart to destroy us publicly.  Shaming us is their number one way to really convince us of their intense desire to convert us......Change us.  Bring us to their desired way of thinking and some even try to convince us, THAT JESUS WANTS THIS TOO....

I'll tell you what Jesus wants.  He wants us to stop all this garbage and nonsense.  He would never approve of someone hiding behind their keyboard and berating another human being no matter how lost or astray one might think they are.  He would never want His followers to assume what anyone else ever thinks because that would be wrong.  We have no idea what is going on in another persons life no matter what they believe or think or communicate to help us assume we know their thoughts or beliefs.  Unless someone has stood in front of you face to face and opened up and shared their ideas and thoughts, NONE OF US have the right to be hate or be hateful, or unkind or uncharitable in discussing ANYTHING with anyone on the computer.  For Heaven's sake.  How low have we fallen as a nation that it's ok to not tolerate hate or unkindness from the group or groups we support but we absolutely unequivocally won't tolerate a differing opinion on anything else.  We can tell others how they aren't living their lives right, but heaven help if they offer a similar suggestion?  In charity?  We don't know what that word even means.  


Today?  Jesus called on four of his Apostles to drop their nets and he would make them 'fishers of men.'   (oops, lest I offend those who think he merely meant men only, insert huge eye roll, he meant all of us....hint hint....)  Simon (Peter), his brother Andrew, and James and John.  Today starts the first day of Ordinary time in our Church.  The Gospel reading is Mark chapter 1 verses 14-20.  If you own a bible, pull it out and re read this selection.  If you don't, google the bible.  It's everywhere.

Today.  We all need to ask ourselves some really hard questions.  Questions that we can ask ourselves whether we have a belief in Jesus or not.  Whether we have a faith in something or not. 

Are we living our lives in such a way that will bring people closer to our way of thinking, or believing, or to Jesus?  Or are we living in such a way that will repel people to our way of thinking, or believing, or to Jesus?  

Our actions, our words, our lives.  Can change people.  But unfortunately, today, with the ease of hiding and spreading our own anger over things, we are too often tempted to just perpetuate that anger and pretend it's all in the name of 'changing minds and hearts....'  It's heartbreaking to see.

If we're serious about bringing people more to our ways of thinking, or believing, or even to the Jesus we feel is the Jesus we all need, we need to think about how we portray ourselves to others.  If anger or ugliness are a part of our mantra to change the world, are we really believing that will happen?   Rethink how Jesus got angry.  Yes, He cursed the fig tree and he turned the tables over in the synagogue, but his actions, didn't perpetuate more hate.  They either converted sinners, or they ran them off because people either saw His goodness and were moved by His love, or were so engrossed in their own sinful way of life they left....  We never see a whole lot of angry, ugly, disrespectful conversations going back and forth of people with Jesus trying to convince Him or vice versa...

That's something to consider as we travel down this path of de-humanizing people one hateful comment after another....

To God be the Glory forever.  And may all of us strive for that path of righteousness that only brings people closer to that same path.  Be the love the world is so starving for....one comment at a time.... 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

How do I do it?



.

As we speed almost recklessly closer and closer to Christmas, and my blood pressure slowly begins to rise to normal (I suffer from low blood pressure), my panic has set in and I realize I am not really sure I really enjoyed Advent like I anticipated doing.  I realize I also failed quite miserably on several occasions to remain the calm, cool and collected mother my children know me to be....

I'd like to insert a huge eye roll here....



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Perfect....

I keep hearing the words of people I know echoing in my ear during times like this...


HOW DO YOU DO IT?


To be perfectly honest, the question at times frustrates me.  What do they mean, How do I do it?
How do I function on little to no sleep?  How do I manage to cook meals for a freaking army?  How do I keep my house from not being condemned by the health department?  How do I afford gas in a 15 passenger gas guzzling machine?  How do I consistently win the prize for spending the most money at my local grocery store?  (Just kidding about that one, I know EXACTLY how I do that...)


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Money really DOES fall from the sky...

But the reason why it frustrates me, especially during this time of the year and beyond, is because it's the same answer every.single.time.

I don't do it. 

Not all of it. 

I have help.

Not just my husband. 

Not just my kids. (let's be brutally honest here- kids 'help' is like how the dog 'helps' clean the floor after dinner, K?)

I have Help with a capital H.

But that Help isn't what you might be thinking.

I get frustrated, mostly because it actually drives me bonkers when someone tries to tell me they couldn't do what I do.  I don't even really know how I do it, but what I do know is, I have to set limits for everything we do.  Everything.  

If you have two children, and you have your children in something, or more than one something, every single day of the year, I can totally see why you couldn't 'do it.'  I couldn't either!  I remember once a really good friend from back home lamented to me how she felt bad about not being able to do MORE with her children. This was when I 'just' had five, and she had a few less.  I remember thinking to myself before I spoke, "what exactly is it you're wanting your children to remember as children when they grow up???"  

I never said anything out loud.  I was already very vocal about the ridiculousness of having children's schedules so full there was no time for anyone to breathe, but I tucked it away in my heart.  And since then, added three more to the brood and that friend and I don't talk anymore, but she's always on my mind.  She had a few children less than me, but she went on to have a few more and the Christmas cards she sent always showed amazing vacations, unbelievable activity schedules of each child and at the end she would write, "your totally stressed out friend....hahahaha...."  

what?  Totally stressed out?  What???  But yet, you would lament about how it frustrated you that you couldn't do more?  How she looked at me and wondered how on earth I even managed to be in public with the number of humans in my own home (remember, only 5 at the time...) let alone have everyone dressed for Church at 9:30 every Sunday..... because that was NOT happening in her house....


HOLD UP....

You will put your children in 59,386 activities throughout the year, spend 2.1 million on tropical vacations to countries I can't pronounce and only dream of flying to...Have them meet some of the most well known humans in our world.... but you won't take them to CHURCH once a week for maybe an hour?

Well sister, here is the problem!!! 

Why Church?  Why would you ever want to torture yourself and your children by sitting still for almost an entire hour?  

I guess this is getting to be more and more common.  The less we talk about Jesus, the more He takes a backseat to most everything.  Sports, events, activities, vacation, life...basically.  

At first, I was really mad about this.  The more read, the more I talked to not just my girlfriend, but people in general, it seemed more common than ever that people were deciding church took a back seat.  Jesus, took a back seat.  I was upset!  Rightly so, I love Jesus so much and can't fathom my life without His nourishing Eucharist, and He's done SO MUCH for me in my life, above and beyond the awesome dying on a cross.....let's be real- if we really thought about the Via Dolorosa, (Way of the Cross), we probably wouldn't really miss Church much ever except if sick....

But as I was bombarded by the overwhelming numbers of people putting Mass or any sort of faith based religion on the back burner, I became increasingly more saddened.  Sad because I feel we've failed our fellow brothers and sisters in being the light of Christ to all we meet.  We are called at the end of Mass to go forth and proclaim the good news.  Basically, we are called to be missionaries and go out and bring people to Jesus and Jesus to the people.  We haven't done that very well.  In fact, I would say, if we truly believed that Catholicism started with Jesus, we don't even realize that He commissioned His disciples to go out and be missionaries!  I was just listening to a priest friend's interview on a podcast yesterday and he went into great detail about what we need to do to show people just how much Jesus loves them and how He longs for a relationship with them.  

We all need Jesus whether we realize it or not.  I think we all tend to have that longing for something that we can't quite put our finger on.  We are constantly searching and trying to fill that void with all kinds of niceties... We try to fill it with things.  We try to fill it with people.  We try to fill it with all kinds of distractions.  Social media, TV, movies, noise of any kind....but we are always left feeling slightly empty....

My friend, I felt, was searching for that same thing.  I think she thought her children must of felt the same way, because she was so afraid of letting her boys and girls ever feel that empty feeling, that she needed to fill every single moment with all of these life experiences so that when they grew up- perhaps they would feel satisfied that life as a child was filling and perfect... Am I sure that's why she did it?  Not really.  I believe some people don't even realize just what they're missing out on.  But I'm guessing, more than not, a lot of people are constantly trying to fill that void with something.  Some with addictions because that void is so deep and so painful that numbing the pain of it is the only way to cope....  Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, but maybe I'm not...

Because in all honesty, there is no other explanation as to how I do it, or why I do it, or even what I do, other than Jesus and my faith.  If I was not so in love with my Lord, I would never have been open to more children.  If my husband and I BOTH were not so in love with our faith and our Lord, we would never be open to the Church's teaching on anything, let alone the shocking audacity of letting Someone Else be in charge of our fertility...that's a very personal and private matter- how could we trust a 'higher power' and not our own voice of authority?

How can we even dream of trying to survive on one salary in a state that charges way.to.much.for.property.taxes...... Or how we'll pay for food to feed this army of humans?  How could we even sleep at night worrying about how to pay for 10 pairs of tennis shoes (not sneakers...) or heaven help us- 10 teeth cleaning without good dental insurance..... (insert shocked face...)

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I have no other explanation for how I do any of this.  I used to be a teacher in a former life....and even years ago, I saw the affects of so many activities on young people.  They were exhausted. Grouchy.  Some acted entitled.  Some acted out, period.  It was so hard to watch beautiful families spread themselves so thin that the husband and wife were on the verge of divorce and the children were perfect cast members for Mean Girls (don't get me wrong, I had plenty of boys for the sequel, Mean Boys!!!)....

I was blessed at a very young age before children, to rediscover my faith.  It was a long and sometimes painful journey.  I was doubly blessed that my husband was on board (after much prayer and sacrifice for his reversion).  It was natural to just bring our children to Mass every week.  Week after week.  Sometimes daily if I was feeling ever so brave.  But that's how they learned to "sit for an hour..."  And if anyone knows us, and has seen us at Mass, you know my younger ones do anything but 'sit' for an hour....my almost 6 year old still struggles with it.  But I see how it gives my husband and I the "power" to get through to the next week.  Power from Jesus.  Power from His unending love for us and His desire for us to be there receiving Him in the Eucharist.  

So, how do I do it?  How do I raise eight children in a world and culture that despises large families?  Sets us up for failure from the get go?  Discourages anyone for having more than one child by proclaiming that children cause brain damage??  (that is a seriously annoying New York Post article....)

I do it with the help of Jesus.  My husband.  My children.  My friends...  It's not easy.  It's never easy to do things that aren't always very popular.  It's never going to be easy to swim against the current. It's hard to do what I do.  I am usually the first to tell people that having lots of kids is not for everyone.  It's not for a lot of people.  You have to give up a lot.  

Sleep.  Nice clothes.  Fancy cars.  Nice trips.  Clean home.  The latest technology.  Friends. (who don't understand...) Sleep. Money.  Not doing 400 loads of laundry daily. (I know you dream of that...don't deny it...)  Only preparing food for a few people every night. Sleep.  and more sleep. 

Did I mention sleep..... We currently have a one year old who, unanimously voted, is the worst sleeper ever....

You give up a lot....but what do you gain?  It's eternal.

Co-creating a soul? Watching the older ones with the younger ones?  Seeing the fruit of your labor when your children grow up and thank you for "depriving" them of almost everything they ask for....  I have a few who have verbally spoken about how seeing kids who 'have it all' aren't the most enjoyable people to be around....that's huge for a mom who sometimes cries herself to sleep because her child has screamed at her and said I was ruining their life by not getting them a phone or a _______.....fill in latest greatest fad..... (and insert UBER eye roll....)


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Is this still ok???  Asking for a friend....

How do I do it?  I don't.  I don't do it very well at all.  I hope I've explained myself ok.  I'm not really mad at people who express that. I said I was annoyed or bothered by it, but I guess I'm more frustrated because God is never going to give anyone anything more than what they have.  My girlfriend doesn't have the energy or capacity to take care of 8 kids because, wait for it....

SHE DOESN'T HAVE EIGHT KIDS...........



We only have the capacity to care for what we have!  My heart isn't any larger than my neighbor with two kids.  It's just got to figure out how to multiply the love a little farther than my neighbor...It's not anymore complicated.  You build as you grow....and grow as you build....


So next time you see a really large family and the mom looks uber tired and probably has a fake smile lest you think anything less of her than you may have already accidentally thought, give her a big smile and a nod and tell her she's doing a great job.  In fact, tell all the moms you see with the fake smiles on trying to keep their heads above water because they might just pop if one more note comes home from school asking for another check or another order, or the dentist found a cavity in two kids, or the husband is on a year long tour in Iraq or another country and she's feeling very inadequate as a mother, they are doing a GREAT JOB.  Don't look and think, "how does she do it...."  Stop and say a prayer that God is helping her do it.  Because we all need Jesus.  And He's waiting patiently for each one of us to invite Him in and get to know Him better.  He loves us.  He loves YOU.  He loves you so much He will wait.  He won't push.  He will just stand beside you until you open the door.....

Invite Him in.