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.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

When the loneliness sets in deep...

A small disclaimer- I am ok.  Please do not contact the mental health officials.  I readily admit I struggle with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other forms of mental issues, but this writing is simply just me writing about my feelings right now....and I haven't had my morning coffee yet, so that hasn't helped....

So, with that said....

I'm going to be brutally honest here and ask that respect be shown for someone who writes down for all the world to see her vulnerabilities....It's not easy in this world to hold to any kind of value that contradicts the status quo and exposing ones vulnerabilities can open the door for rash judgments which also seems to be the new way to do things in this world.  God help our children for sure...

I shared with a friend via text a few days ago about my struggles.  She lives in another state and is who I'm certain God placed into my life this year for many reasons.  And apparently vice versa because her and I both have had so many conversations about the struggles of parenting, family with addictions, and so much more.  The term soul sister is really magnified in our relationship and for that I am so blessed.
But I was lamenting about my struggle as a mom right now.  But after our conversation, I delved deeper into what is wrong with me.
I struggle with depression.  Because it begins with sadness and because I know how I feel on medication, I have a fantastic support system in place for when I start to feel this way.  I have a few people in my life who I can confide in and check in to see if it's something more that needs intervention. I have discovered that for the most part, something hormonal triggers it.  And once it's triggered, I can manage it.  For the most part. For me, it's compounded by the fact that my almost 14 month old is still waking several times a night and still requiring many nursing sessions nightly and throughout the day.  Now, before my 'breast is best' crew chimes in, hear me out.  I have breastfed every single one of my children.  Almost a full year minus two of them who self weaned at 9 months.  That technically is almost EIGHT YEARS OF BREASTFEEDING.

I ain't anti-breast is best.  (i'm sorry to my big kids who read my blog- momma is laying it all out today).

But it's been a long 14+ months because as you know if you've been pregnant, you don't sleep much the last few months of pregnancy because you've got an almost 8 pound basketball in your belly that has 10 arms and legs and decides when it's quiet that it's the best time for a Jane Fonda exercise routine....not to mention the 84 times in an 8 hour period you can get up to go pee.  No joke.

So to say I'm exhausted is a serious understatement.  To say I am overwhelmed with my life is an understatement.

But life was supposed to get easier when my kids got older. They were supposed to be more helpful, willing to do things for me, babysit the littles, and eventually go away to college and create their own lives..... Don't tell my kids, but they didn't get the memo on this expectation.... ;)

I'm not saying I wanted my kids to take over.  And in the words of my 15 year old, I do not expect them to raise my babies.  Just help out.  Maybe I am living in the Little House era and today's world is past that sacrificial way of life.... I mean, don't get me wrong, it definitely is past that era and sacrificial way of life, but I raised my kids differently.

But sometimes, no matter what we do, no matter how we raise our kids, they have minds of their own and will do things differently.  And that's not entirely a bad thing, unless their choices are not healthy or good for them, because that's why we raise them, to go off and make lives for themselves.  I used to blame myself not homeschooling or making more sacrifices to send them to Catholic schools to help "protect" them from the 'real' world, but the older I got and my kids got and the more I saw from other places and people, I realized there's no way to protect them from the real world and to shield them from everything would be so very nice, but as my kids already tell me, I did shelter them as much as I could and even a few of them have admitted to appreciating it because they see where some of their friends who  have lived unabashedly are currently and it's not where they would ever want to be.

But even that is not the root cause of my loneliness completely, minus date nights with my husband being few and far between because they don't want to watch the younger siblings....oh and that darn baby who still nurses.....  I am struggling with being a mom right now....but it's more because of me.  I bring a lot of my pain on myself.

I am feeling deeply lonely.  I am feeling a pain in my heart that I can not describe.  I at first thought it was the announcement of the scandal in my own diocese back in August.  It seemed to coincide and who wouldn't be more depressed over accusations against priests whom you've trusted. It was logically the best explanation.

Then all the Facebook attacks on people of my diocese began to seep out.  There were actually people accusing good and holy people for not doing anything.  It was depressing.  These were people I knew.  I was so disappointed and yet, knew Satan can make anyone turn against another.  I decided that perhaps I needed to delete my Facebook page for the time being until the dust settled.  Which after the debacle over the senate hearing of Judge Kavanaugh, I realized it was pertinent I get off social media until people stopped acting so juvenile and ugly behind their keyboards.  It was too much.  My loneliness grew deeper.

Of course, some of my pain was literally from the detox of being 'on' whenever I wanted.  I could get the latest news and information instantaneously.  It was great.  Until it wasn't there.  The detox lasted about four days.  I had urges to check my page for about three days.  Talk about an addiction!  I don't think people really truly realize how addicted we are to our devices.  Even if we claim we aren't on those sites.  We are truly addicted to the need to be connected.

Which didn't help my loneliness.

I tried to put together a bible study. To hopefully corral a few people together and 'force' us to gather as sisters and connect. And it went well the first week.  And then....well....life.  It just kept getting in the way of getting together.  Right now, just to give an idea of interruptions of life, I have literally gotten up about a dozen times to hand out snacks, get toys out of the stuck places, and change a stinky diaper.  My two that are home with me are literally playing so nicely together but the baby is a Ninja.  And she is honing in on her Ninja skills for when she appears on the "America Ninja Warrior" show in just a few years.... So protecting her from killing herself as she attempts to dive off the TV stand, climb onto the big chair, get on top of the play kitchen, or stand on the kitchen table are essential time outs for me....but it gets exhausting....

So as my weariness grew, and my feelings of being unsettled got worse, I really began to resent things.  Here's where my blog is going to delve into a dark place for a minute or 20.  Please don't judge me.

I began to question things.  Why did we move here?  What on earth was God's purpose in bringing us already displaced southerners to an area where most people work, people either know all about their faith or don't care about their faith, and where winters can literally last 945 days.... (I am not kidding.  last winter was b-r-u-t-a-l for this southern gal who spent 37 years in the south.)  Sure we had cold.  But it was always interspersed with warmth.  Lots o warmth.  10 months of warmth.  Mostly.

I began to ask questions that caught even me off guard.

Like, what would life have been like had we stopped with two children?  Why did we decide to have so many children?  Wasn't it embarrassing enough to go places with 3, then 4, then 5?  Why on earth did we decide to not just embrace "the worlds ideals of normal family life?"

Who asks those questions?  I love each one of my children fiercely.  And these last three that we've had as an older couple have actually been some of the best moments of our lives.  But that's where I've found myself the last few months.  Questioning my vocation, questioning where God wants me, worrying about developing a much worse depression and ending up a sad, lonely little old lady who yells at the kids who get in her yard.....you know who I'm talkin about!!  We've all had old crotchety neighbor ladies!

The final straw that had me sit down and type was this morning.  I had come downstairs and was getting breakfast and lunches made and packed and noticed no one swept the dining room.  Now, a little history for those who don't know this, my house is actually built on an ancient dinosaur time ant colony.  I have ants all over my home.  They like to switch it up and torture me each new season in a new and delightful spot so this summer, their location has been my dining room with my dining room table and chairs....no less than 9 billion ants have crossed the threshold of my dining room and nothing we are doing is working.  I have conceded to just poisoning my home just to get rid of them....but my husband doesn't want to put poison in our home since of course, we have little ones who crawl and are on the floor all day long.  I agree, but my sanity is waning over this....

But I was looking at the mess of ants and food not swept and the overwhelming emotion of loneliness crept into my heart and soul so deeply, I literally ran into the bathroom and sat down and began deep  sobs just begging God to please remove this loneliness.  I haven't seen many of my friends in months, some of them not since the beginning of summer or even last year.  I have been praying every day to meet a mom who lives near me who wants to do bible studies, drink coffee, laugh over silly ninja babies...and all of this came to a head at that moment this morning.  My sobs were so deep and painful that with each cry I cried more.  It was as if I was releasing a built up dam that had been holding up this wall of insecurity and sadness and it just busted open and was spilling out.  I cried out to God that I was tired of being lonely.  I told him I was tired of being that odd ball person with too many children that people stared at and thought wasn't 'normal...'  I lamented to Him that I couldn't even sit down to pray anymore, or write in my journal, or have any time for myself to do the things I enjoy doing for me....with each cry my sobs grew deeper and the tears flowed more freely and they were huge crocodile tears! I couldn't breath at one point because I was like a child who had just had the most epic temper tantrum and was doing that gasping breath in between sobs sound.  I literally cried my eyes out.  I begged God to please heal me.  To help me be a better mom because I knew my sadness was like a black cloud over my entire house.  My children know I'm not happy.  They know I'm not ok right now.  They tip toe around me so I don't explode on them over....my husband knows I'm not happy right now....he feels it, too.  He knows I'm exhausted and ready for things to slow down and settle...With each prayer to God my revealed to me my deep pain.  I just kept crying and calling out my prayers and begging God to just fix me....

I would like to say I felt better after that good deep cry.  I certainly felt as if the weight had been lifted slightly, but I'm still here.  Still feeling this deep loneliness.  I didn't hear God come down in His Darth Vader voice and tell me I'm ok.  I didn't feel His warm gently hug or even His hand on my shoulder.  I know that He's here.  I really do.  I know He hears my cry.  I can't explain how I know it. I just do.  God is holding me so close right now.  I know He is.  He has my babies I've lost.  He has my grandma, my grandfathers, my best friend from high school.  I know He does.  I've had things happen to me I can't explain that give me this comfort.

I would like to also say I feel like a new person after this deep consoling emotion, but I don't.  I still feel the same.  But God is here with me.  I take consolation in that.  I'm not as lonely as I feel, I am surrounded by angels and saints....I do hope He hears my plea for friendship... it's something I struggle with.

I am, however, going to keep plugging along.  I'm going to keep praying.  Doing my daily rosary.  Talking to God whenever I can.  I know I can't sit still for long periods and really sit in silence at this point in my life.  I am going to try to focus on what I'm grateful for.  I have good health.  My kids are healthy.  They are kind and generous souls.  My baby is super strong which is why she can Ninja climb.  I have a great house that has room for all of us.  I have generous people in my life who give us amazing hand me downs as I do load after load of laundry for my kiddos.  I am blessed to be able to buy groceries we need.  I am grateful for my amazing husband who loves me unconditionally and knows my love languages.  I am blessed his job enables me to not work and be here for my kids.

I am blessed and grateful for all I have been given.  I ask for your prayers.  Be assured of my prayers for you.  To God be the Glory.




Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pray, hope, and don't worry....it's hard, but it's going to be ok.....

I think if someone had told me 19 years ago when I discovered I was finally pregnant (it was a grueling two years of trying) with our first child that raising children in this day and age would bring gray to my hair faster than any gene mutation could dream, I might have been more afraid to bring more children into this world.

If I had known the culture would pull on them harder than I or my husband could hold on to, I might have been more afraid.

If I had known the "new" pressures to fit in would include devices I can't even hardly afford for myself as an adult, or clothing that looks like something I madly took scissors to and all that was left was shreds of material, I might have been more afraid.

If I had known how painful the roll of an eye, or the yell of  an 'I don't like you,' would cut deep into my soul, I might have been more afraid.

If I had known the trouble a boy could get into, the demands a teenage girl could place, the point blank lies told to my face or any of the other ten million struggles we've faced, I could easily see how having one or even no children, might have entertained my thoughts.

But I didn't know.  How grateful I am for that as well. 

Raising children in this day and age is anything but easy.  I have quite the age span.  A daughter graduating HS and a baby who intermittently decides sleep is ok enough to go a few hours in between feedings.  To say I'm exhausted is an understatement. 

But it's not just sleep exhaustion.  It's mental and emotional exhaustion. 

To cheerlead your children day in and day out only to be yelled at and told we are too strict. 

To have your children call you when they're done with after school activities and although we live a little over a mile away and the weather is usually spectacular for walking you pick them up (which is terrible wear and tear for a car mind you...) only to be told we don't let them do anything or have anything.  No one, and I mean NO ONE makes their kids buy their own cars, or pay for their own insurance....No one else's parents are like us, we are told.

I could go on and on, and frankly the list is endless and I'm tired and feeling extremely emotional already and just read this so far, and I sound kinda like Eeyore- but I think I've made my point.

Yesterday was probably the worst day of my life.  On record (even with nearly dying after the birth of my 7th child).  Yesterday was the point I realized that my children, despite my husband and I trying our very best to steer our children away from some of the harmful things they are sometimes (some of them ALL the time) attracted to,  they are going to be stubborn and insist on their own way regardless.  I often wonder if God didn't make teenagers this way on purpose- to be so openly disobedient, or defiant, because there is some purging that must be done by we the parents....

I've gone to bed the last two nights with my heart so heavy, and the tears so freely falling at where I possibly could have been a better mom.  I know my short temper is definitely a part of the problem.  How could these children even begin to want to consider what God wants for them when their own mother gets so angry at times.  I've not been the best Christian example by a long shot.

I know I've tried working on being less reactive and a more proactive parent.  I have caught myself on several occasions actually stopping, and talking.  Which is huge considering how I was raised.  But teenagers are excellent for pushing buttons and my instinct to react is sometimes a painful sword that I wish would just cut my mouth off.  Or tape it off to be less violent I suppose...

Perhaps we have been too overprotective.  I could blame my husband and his work.  He's seen children die at the hands of predators.  That affects a person deeply.  He has also arrested more than his share of people who probably could have made better decisions in their lives but because of free will and choice, they didn't.  He wants better for his kids.  As a teacher, I witnessed first hand the affects of 'hands off' parenting, and the results I saw at a young age left an indelible scar that I didn't want my kids to just 'do whatever they wanted.'

Unfortunately, but fortunately, we are a large family, so actually buying every whim each child dreams of is honestly just impractical for us.  We must be frugal with our purchases and really pray about what we are buying them for birthdays and Christmas.  Even with that said, I spend way more money than most do because I do try to fulfill at least one of their wishes....

Sadly, many children in this culture do not even understand the word sacrifice.  And see children like mine, who don't have iPad at 5 years old, or their own personal computers by 10 years old, as poor children.  Heck, a few times, I've actually had some of mine return from school once or twice and actually ask if we were poor because we didn't have the same things as their friends.  POOR?  Do our children even understand what that word means?  POOR? 

So let me get this straight- because we don't have ipads, tablets, ipods, computers for every human in our home, take fancy vacations every three months, buy every trendy gift that comes across the Amazon HOT Christmas toy list (Hatchables, FIDGET SPINNERS? WTHeck...) we are POOR?

I'm sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself because it just sounds so ridiculous.  But these are things my children question me about.  At least in the younger years.  Some of my older ones know better, but still question.  Some of them actually see the affects of children who are never denied and they don't like what they see.

But to get back to being poor and making a sacrifice.....

What ever happened to wanting something so badly you really worked for it?  What ever happened to seeing that Liz Claiborne purse in JC Penney's and working extra hours and spending your ENTIRE Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream check to buy it????  ($87.00 people....how insane is that one.....) Whatever happened to getting a job and saving up money to buy your first car because you knew mom and dad weren't buying it and you sure knew your friends were as dependable as the wind....although, I will admit, I had one friend who would drive to the moon and back for me and she did and I am forever indebted to her friendship and rides.... 

My children don't understand what poor really is because all their lives they've literally heard that what makes a person POOR is NOT HAVING MATERIAL THINGS.... and mind you, these "material things" are not NEEDS, but actually WANTS and DESIRES.... 

I digress.... I am preaching to the choir. 

There are things I certainly could have done to prevent this. 

Yes...I could have homeschooled.  But honestly, I've heard stories with homeschool families and their teenagers.   They don't seem immune to the pull. 

Yes....I could go back to work to send them to Catholic schools, but honestly,  I hear the SAME things from many parents who feel as I do and I'm not spending 10's of thousands of dollars (well, minus my property taxes up here in the great white north.....) for that education....dealing with the same yucks....

Honestly, I wish I had taught my kids the faith better.  I wish I had sat down with each one of them and really delved into religion with them.  Talked about the persecutions people who were just like them faced.  Now saints, these young people didn't stop believing or learning or trying to bring the light of Christ to others.....

I think the thing I regret the most is not praying and trusting more.  Padre Pio is known for a quote that we see everywhere.   Pray, hope, don't worry.  I do the first two somewhat ok, but the third I don't do well at all.  As evidenced by last nights tear fest.  Worry brings fear. 

As I clutched my cord rosary (which I've discovered is the only painless rosary I can sleep with without hurting me or my husband), I just kept asking God to please help us.  I couldn't get the words to form into any prayer.  Just 'Please, Lord. Help us.'

We can't do this alone.  My kids can't do this alone.  Although, at this point in their lives they certainly think they can. 

I can't do this without my husband.  We can't do this without our God.  He has been showing us His love since the beginning of time.  He wants us unconditionally.  He loves us unconditionally.  He's been teaching us all about his love and all he wants is us to love HIM!  I guess that's all I want my children to do as well.  Love Him enough to really give Him their lives and trust He will guide them. 

And show them that life is not always going to be happy.  It's not always going to be about getting our way, or getting things, or being popular, or being wealthy, or having everything your heart desires.  Sometimes, life, when truly lived through Christ, is going to be HARD.  The right way to do things is going to sometimes be very unpopular.  The better choice is going to be the road less traveled on.  Living a life for God doesn't always smell like roses, but there are certainly roses along the way.  And as much as I want to protect my children from making the same stupid mistakes I made because I didn't have a cheerleader in my ear, I too, must learn that I have to let go and trust.  I want to protect them so badly.  No one warned me about my choices.  I wasn't discouraged to do things, I certainly was never told to bring it all to God and see what He wants from me. 

This life is hard.  Raising families is hard.  Raising large families is really hard.  Some days I just want to quit.  I literally just want to throw the covers over my head and pretend I am asleep....There are times when I truly convince myself that if I had "only prayed more, or gone to daily Mass more, or just been a more holy person," than my kids wouldn't make such dumb choices, or do things that make my head hurt, or just treat us so unkindly. 
If I had just gotten a hold of my temper, my anger, and really worked on the opposite virtue.  If I had just stopped being so scrupulous and blaming every single thing I didn't do right....

I could go on and on....but God doesn't want me to.  I know that.  Although, sitting here in my little pity party, I certainly could. 

I want my kids to have better than I did.  But not in things.  None of that stuff matters.  We can't take a U-Haul to Heaven.  It just.won't.go..... (I do have a teenager who might be slightly disappointed in this fact....)

What I want my children to have? 

1.  A firm and solid faith foundation.  

God is real.  God is really REALLY REALLY real.  I've had too many crazy, take my breath away, did anyone else see that, things happen to me to not believe it.  HE.IS.REAL.  Our amazing earth should prove that.  Nothing comes from nothing.  A great book is written by a great author.  A beautiful painting is painted by an amazing artist.  A masterfully built building is designed by a great architect.  A delicious meal doesn't just appear out of thin air, it is prepared by a great chef.  Same with us.  Same with our world.  We did NOT come from nothing... There IS a great designer...

2. God loves us so much He gave Himself to us in Jesus Christ His Son. 

Not only is God one in three, not only did He come to earth as a tiny cute little baby, but He DIED FOR US.  He was brutally beaten and practically dragged to His death on a cross.  We can't look at most crucifixes today and see that because they're all polished and shiny and clean, but His body was literally hanging skin and blood.   Bruised, swollen, dripping blood, dead.... He died so that we might not perish but have LIFE IN HIM....

3.  John Chapter 6 is not a symbolic gesture.

If we don't teach them anything else, I want my children to understand that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Catholic church under the species of bread and wine and that God Himself has been teaching and preparing people for it since Genesis.  Literally.  The only acceptable form of worship for God was an altar with a sacrifice.....a bloody sacrifice.  He taught them over time that it would be Jesus that would give us this one true form of Worship in the Eucharist.  HIS body, HIS blood.  We would be instructed on how to receive it, and the priests would be instructed on how to DO it.  It's all so completely fascinating. 

4.  Our faith comes from Jesus.  

Too many people have left the Church because of what they 'thought' we believed.  I almost did.  But I didn't want to leave it until I had exhausted myself in finding the truth.  And what I found?  Was glorious.  The depth and beauty of our faith is beyond what I can adequately put into words.  The love I have felt from God after going to confession.  Or the love I have felt after sitting in Adoration.  Or the love I have felt by just sitting with my bible and soaking up His word.  It's all real.  We can trace every aspect of Catholicism back to the beginning.  It's truth.  Study it.  Learn it.  Lead by it..

5.  That while 'things' bring fleeting happiness, the love we have for our children is rooted in a deep, mystical connection with God.  

We prayed for each one of our children.  Whether they were planned by us, or by God.  Not one of our babies was a 'mistake' or an accident.  Life is hard.  Too many people are trying to make our time here on Earth as painless as possible and while in theory that sounds delightful (seriously, no pain at all??? Does that include all the pain of getting old and getting out of bed in the mornings???) it's actually a horrible idea.  Too many of us don't know how to handle tragedy or heartache or pain.  We want a 'quick fix' for illness, a pill to take to end lives of those we deem "suffering" and surgeries to remove those "mistakes in the womb."    Don't fall into the trap of needing life to be easy.  Struggle is good.  Heartache reminds us that in heaven there is none.  Tragedies teach us to appreciate all life all the time and love one another with an unconditional love because we know not the hour or the day when we will be called home.

6. We don't make decisions lightly.

We don't make decisions about our parenting lightly ever.  Despite how it might seem that you never get to do anything, we actually pray and discuss every decision made in our home.  Are there some things we absolutely unequivocally don't allow or don't say yes to?  Yes.  There are.  Are there decisions we mess up on?  Absolutely yes and that's why some decisions change (like phone issues and other electronics...) some are just not mature enough to handle the responsibility or some just have no self control...But we never decide on things merely to torture you or exude our power over you...we want the best for you and as you get older the decision making process does involve you and we take your thoughts about things into consideration, but that doesn't mean you get the final decision on things...we are still the parents and ultimately we have to answer to everything we do for or against you as well....

7.  It really does take a village to raise kids...

I used to laugh at that idea, but as my children grew, and my concerns for the worldly view on things grew, my 'village' my group of friends, became my source of consultation.  Bouncing ideas off of them and asking for advice.  Knowing if my kids were with my friends that not only would they be safe, but they would be corrected when wrong, too.  It's important that our friends/family work with us on raising kids.  My friends have helped us more times than I can count when it comes to making decisions involving our children and their lives.  Having another perspective is also important when you might be upset about something and can't really see clearly.  That other voice of reason can help calm your soul and help see a reasonable solution.  Parenting is not easy. 

8.  Parenting is not easy.

I can think of no harder job.  It's not just physical, but emotional, spiritual, mental, you name it.  Parenting is not for the faint hearted.  It's a full time job.  All hands on deck.  We've gone from playing man-to-man defense to just doing a zone defense and hoping for best at times.  It's a struggle and it's an all out war.  No one wants to destroy the family more than the evil one and he's going to pull out all the stops.....
You not busy enough?  Let's add another activity.  You only eating one meal as a family a week?  Let's throw in a private lesson or two.  It's never enough.  There has to be more more and more.  All in the name of passion.  Let kids find their passion. Let kids explore their world.  Let kids activities dictate if we attend church together as a family or eat a meal together even just once a week (even though studies after studies show the vast difference in children and the effects of attending a religious service of some kind and eating at least one family meal together a week).  We are playing right into those hands of conquer, divide and destroy.   Slowly but surely.

9.  We do need time to be husband and wife.

This is a tough one.  I've got kids who actually seem to be bothered by my husband and I spending time together.  I understand.  I love my kids.  I hate being apart from them.  But our relationship is first in this family and we must nurture that often.  Too many couples find after children leave the home they don't know each other anymore.  They have grown apart either with separate activities they do with others or just the wear and tear of the family over time.  I've seen it.  It's so sad.  Our time together is already so limited with his work and our afterschool activities that time together is sometimes literally grocery shopping.  And that's more of a "let's hurry and you get this, this, and this, and I'll get this, this, and that..."  But time together, alone, is essential to refuel our own relationship and discuss life and things we can not discuss in front of our children....

10.  No matter what you believe, we will never, ever stop loving you.

I don't know how we haven't proved this to our children yet.  As a parent of kids whom the POLICE have called on, I can't really prove to them just how much I love them.  I prayed for them.  I carried them for almost 10 months (40 weeks - you do the math), I nursed them for the better part of a year, six months exclusively, I changed diapers, all kinds, I potty trained, I held when hurt.  I kissed booboos, I hugged, I helped with homework (when I could) I practiced spelling words, I cheered at sporting events and marching band and concerts.  I don't think I can express just how much we love each one of our kiddos.  Honestly, it's why the last two nights have been so painfully emotional for me.  I love them so much it makes my heart hurt.  Imagine how much more God loves them...His heart must hurt, too, when we do things to hurt Him....



I've rambled a lot here.  Probably more than I should.  But there is a whole lot on my mind.  I'm no theologian.  I've never claimed to be an expert at anything and certainly when people say, "oh you must know what you're doing by now..." I don't.  I feel dumber and dumber the older my kids get.  We certainly have learned that we make mistakes.  Lots of them.  We freely admit that.  We do dumb things.  We say we're sorry when we've lost our tempers.  We try to do our best and frankly, that's probably never going to be good enough for some, but we keep going. 

Parenting in this day and age is not for the faint hearted.  I've said it here several times and I'll say it the rest of my life.  There is so much against us.  So many forces pulling on our kids and trying to teach them the "right way."  Sometimes that ok, but lots of times, it's really not.  But it's also sometimes some of the most rewarding moments of our lives.  Truly.  To see a child discover his/her talents/gifts.  Hear about a great score on a test they were convinced they'd fail.  See them work hard and buy that first car and understand the effects of hard work and determination.  Seeing them fall, but not quit, get hurt, but keep fighting.  There are little grace moments I call them.  God gives my husband and I little nuggets that things are going to be ok.  That yes, this is really, REALLY, REEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYY hard, but here is a little taste of Heaven for you to see that He's got this.  He's got all of it. 

He's got our children.  And we must pray, hope, and not worry.  Even when all we really want to do is not pray, lose hope and worry.....

There is always hope.  Do not be afraid.   


Monday, April 23, 2018

Growing......OLD?

We have had four days in a row of beautiful sunshine...I can almost say I feel human again with the amount of natural vitamin D I've been able to get.  But my bebe is still testing the boundary of my sanity...I'm trying to pray more and through the night, I constantly have my cord rosary in hand and when I'm awake, I am either praying the rosary or the chaplet.  I am constantly calling on Jesus to help me be patient...

Well, the last few nights, I've had other thoughts and I tried really hard to remember what they were so I could write them here.  I don't know if anyone else thinks like me, sometimes, as I tell my friends, my mind is a scary place to venture alone in....

But last night, I distinctly remember the thoughts that popped into my head.  I was nursing Agnes right before we turned out the lights.  I noticed my fingers.  I have arthritis in my fingers.  I actually have arthritis in a lot of places, wrists, ankles, toes, knees, both my hips, my neck, you name it... I suppose I can thank my genetics for it...both my grandparents on my mom side had osteoarthritis and for some reason, I feel like my grandfather on my dad's side did as well.  I also carry the factors for rheumatoid arthritis.  Which means, my blood work fluctuates (as all of ours does I found out from my RA doc) and six months from now, I'll test again and it will show different factors.  Or the factors that were showing this time, will be normal and vice versa. It doesn't mean I'll get RA, but it does mean, I have a greater chance of getting RA. It's quite amazing.  Factors might be the wrong word, but I'm working on an average of 6 hours of sleep or less a night and I require much more than that on a good day.....

So, back to what I noticed.  My fingers.  All of the sudden, I had this horrible twinge of great sadness.  I could see my fingers bent up and wrinkled as if I had aged 20 years instantly.  It took my breath away and caught me so off guard I became a tad emotional.  My fingers are already showing signs of these cysts that rupture and form which eventually lead to the crooked/broken looking fingers you see on little old ladies...I wanted to run away and find the nearest fountain of youth and drink it up!!  How could I be getting........OLD???

When did this happen?

What happened to that 20 something red head who had just married her best friend in the world and was ready to tackle anything that came her way???  

An overwhelming amount of thoughts came flooding through my mind in those short moments of quiet nursing.  I am 45.  I am married to a man who is 48, will be 49 in just a few short months.  I'm closer to 50 and I guess the realization of that really hit me...  I know plenty of people who are in their 50's and doing fantastic.  I've no doubt I'll be just fine in my 50's and God willing in my 60's and 70's as well, but I guess my mortality really hit me hard last night.  

I have friends who are my age who are grandparents.  I have friends who are my age who are just starting their families.  There certainly is no "set" way of life for a person who is 45 and reflecting on her mortality.  It just really hit me in such a strange way last night.  I was looking at the bebe and her beautifully perfectly soft skin.  I was rubbing her sweet little cheeks as she nursed and caught myself wondering if my rough finger from years of dishes, making meals, cleaning, digging in the flower/vegetable gardens bothered her...I have a memory of my grandma Grace rubbing my arm and thinking how her fingers felt like sand paper.  I always thought it was something that happened when you were, you know, OLD.  Not 45.  

As I sat there, I realized other things, too.  My red hair that took me DECADES to appreciate was graying at a much more rapid pace than in the past....how much longer would I be a red head?  My husband loves my hair, but he has always said he'd love me no matter what, but the silly thought, 'what if he doesn't like my hair all gray' kept playing in my mind... 

'Is this a mid life crisis,' I kept saying to myself....Or just a woman who is extremely exhausted, tired of fighting the battle that is the world/culture on my family, and feeling a tad bit vulnerable sitting here in the dark with an 8 month old bebe who would rather stay away 24 hours a day and nurse 23 of those hours???

I quietly spoke to God and asked Him to please remove these vain thoughts that kept bombarding my brain.  I started to pray the Chaplet and asked Jesus to make these thoughts go away.

They certainly didn't go away, but this morning, while I was making breakfast for the two second youngest, I remembered a picture I wanted to write up and print off.  It really struck me this morning as I re-read it....my computer is being wonky (can't imagine why, when I have 5 children who do homework on it....) so I'm just going to have to type out what the picture said...

"Obedience is one of the virtues that we struggle with from our earliest years.  Strangely enough when we are placed in charge, it becomes something we demand in justice. 
Whether it be something we want to demand or whether it be something we are bound to, the fact remains that obedience is that bond that ties us to the will of God, and ultimately to the love of God. 
We can not do the will of God by doing that which we prefer, and we cannot show God our love by doing that which we prefer, and usually in direct proportion we turn away from God and how He wants us. 
The pain of not doing what you want is a passing pain - it barely lasts but a few moments.  However, the reward for doing what God wants you to do begins now, and lasts forever."



Isn't that beautiful?  I read this last night before my little "mid life crisis" but it didn't really connect.  This morning, while I was trying to collect my thoughts, God (because say what we will about coincidences, I find them Godly) was showing me there was an answer to how to approach this getting "old" thing.  I actually, for the first time in a long time, felt peace about something that was really bothering me.  

I am getting old.  My husband is getting old.  Technically, we started getting old the day we were born.  But there is something waiting for me if I but just obey God and stop worrying about things that are completely out of my control.  Like growing old.  Like wrinkles.  Like arthritis.  Like gray hair.  Like rough hands.... I can't stop it.  It's a natural part of aging.  I can certainly take care of myself, exercise, eat healthy, stay out of the sun (for too long), and get plenty of sleep (yes, Lord, I'm trying to be obedient to my state in life with sleep right now.....), but ultimately, I'm getting old.  I'm going to age.  I'm eventually going to die and I pray with all my heart, that God will look upon me and have mercy on all I did, and all I didn't do.  

So today, as the temperature actually soars to near 70 (has it even been that warm since last August?????), I shall give thanks and praise for my Creator.  I shall smile at that woman in the mirror who doesn't quite reflect the woman in my heart or mind, but is her still the same, and I shall do all I can to be the light of Christ to my little people He's put me in charge of....

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