Friday, June 29, 2007Baby Benjamin
Emily B. gave birth to a healthy little boy Benjamin Gary on June 11th! We offer her and all the new mothers congratulations and prayers. Rest up and enjoy the little ones!
I suggest all you mamas with boys check out the trailer for this book that came out last month:
The Dangerous Book for Boys
I believe you can also pick it up at Costco...
Monday, June 25, 2007Amnesty and Abortion
I encourage everyone to write to Amnesty international: firstname.lastname@example.org The organization that has done so much good for human rights has stooped to supporting abortion... something entirely inconsistent with its premise of defending human rights. This is the e-mail I sent:
I used to really admire Amnesty. What great work your organization has done! How sad and pitiful that now you are simply nothing more than another abortion lobby group. And shame on you for calling a spade a heart! As if it's about women's rights?! What about pre-born women?! Where is their justice? Talk about the ultimate discrimination: "A child is only a child if conceived under desirable circumstances." Is a person conceived in an unjust act any less of a person? What lies you must tell yourselves in order to justify the grave wrongs you are promoting!
It's not about "theology." It's about the ultimate human right. And if Amnesty International can not support the single most fundamental right of any human being... than they have no business pretending they are out to protect human dignity.
I'm hereby withdrawing all support of this organization and will not be able to count me or my friends/family among your benefactors. Abortion is the epitome of injustice. Until you get that straight, you're not doing society any good at all.
Labels: in the news
Friday, June 22, 2007speaking of salt of the earth
Sia's last post reminded me of a point I just want to touch on. I keep going back to a book I've been reading off and on for about a year now: "Happy are you Poor: The simple life and spiritual freedom." My how convicting it is! But I'm still working on the log in my own eye, so I'm not going to digress on all the lessons it's teaching me.
Thursday, June 21, 20073 little thoughts
I haven't been feeling too inspired lately to post much. I feel that I don't have much to offer in ways of inspration. In ways of sharing and simple hellos, I simply haven't had the time. I wonder: how do you mothers out there with more than 2 children have any time to even read our site?? I don't do anything online anymore aside from stopping here and at my email a couple times a week... hmm. Anyhow, here are a few random things to throw out at you, totally unrelated to eachother but all recent thoughts I have been wanting to share.
We need to always remember that our homes are little flames of Christ's life on earth. We are the salt of the earth... but are we?? Let us not grow slack in what we are called to do! Think of the monasteries in the dark ages... This is similar to our homes in the world. These little homes of ours can become little sanctuaries of Love. My prayer is that our home, our family, will become an icon of God's Love, reflecting the love He shares with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, reflecting the love of the Holy Family.
We all have those bad days: when we are up to our necks in housework and out of patience for our little ones who can be so trying at times. On our bad days, it is good to recall the work that so many others do with children... some have to deal with 3rd world poverty and diseases and such... Our work is easy compared to some. Suck it up... just do the work....deal with the messy diaper... deal with the stubborn child... It's not that bad!
Something that is the most encouraging to me in times of frustration with my children (mainly my older one of almost 2 years) is the fact that he loves me so much. This reality, that he loves me, watches me, looks up to me and depends on me for every single thing, is what saves me from too much impatience or lazy mothering on my selfish days. He loves me-- adores me! Why? Because I am his mother! Simple, but profound and so incredibly inspiring. When I remember this, I usually give him a big hug and look into his eyes-- this gives me the strength to press on with renewed mental, spiritual and heartfelt strength through my day. Stop and smell the flowers! Mothering is delightful... it is sweet...
Though we are indeed in the second half of the month already, let us keep in our prayers the Holy Father's intentions for this month of June 2007:
General: That the Lord may protect sailors and all those involved in maritime activities.
Missionary: That the Church in North Africa may bear witness, with its presence and its action, to God's love for every individual and all people.
Labels: in the news
Tuesday, June 19, 2007Fanciful tales
I doubt I'd be sharing anything novel by digressing on how important imaginative play and stories are for children. So I'd just like to recommend a book that has been a tried and true treasure from my own childhood and that is still a proven gem with my own children: Told Under the Magic Umbrella. While it's out of print now, it's worth your time trying to locate it through a used online bookstore. The book is full of modern fairy tales (or "fanciful tales") which serve a distinct niche in the brain of a child. Probably most of kids books you find in the library are of this sort. But there is a HUGE difference between kiddy stories and children's literature. One is like cotton candy for the brain... not always BAD for kids, but certainly devoid of any nutrition... any real or significant meaning. And this is probably the majority of books currently on the market now. The other is the whole Easter feast; these types of stories "...show life from a new angle, like objects seen through a prism. It can open fresh ranges of vision and understanding, rouse the perceptions of beauty in hitherto disregarded things." Let me just share an excerpt from the Foreword of "Magic Umbrella" that explains this a bit more:
The modern fairy tale-- or fanciful tale, to make a useful distinction-- takes full account of this creative instinct. It differs from its long line of predecessors in concerning itself not so much with fantastic elembents outside the child's experience as with the more everyday things of his own world. It realizes that magic, like charity, begins best at home.
Labels: Books Music Culture
Saturday, June 16, 2007create your cenacle
So often I hear stay-at-home mothers talk in breaths of exhaustion about how they are longing for adult interaction. It's too bad really. Of course we are social creatures and getting together with friends every now and again is fine and healthy. But this longing to get out of the home sometimes stems from an unhealthy attitude with which we see 'home' in the first place. The home can be a prison cell if your mind isn't properly disposed to accepting and LOVING the vocation Christ has handpicked for us. Conversely, the home can also be a beautiful refuge to cultivate a unique, quiet path to sanctity if you are in the state of grace to accept and cherish the thorns.
These words come from St. Peter Julian Eymard, on the obligations of mothers:
She ought to love her home. In order to be happy in her home, a mother must look upon it as another Nazareth; she must delight in it, and love the solitude and seclusion of it which keeps the world's scandals at a distance and shelters her from its dangers; she ought to transform it into a cenacle of prayer and grace.
She must serve her family. Once penetrated with a deep esteem and love for her state, a mother must feel a strong impulse to serve her family. This service will become for her the form of her life, the substance and center of her virtues, the rule of piety set by God for her sanctification.
... a continuous act of self-denial.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007giving without reserve
As Catholics faithful to the Magesterium we probably pride ourselves on fully embracing the Church's teachings on human sexuality. We are blessed with the knowledge of how important and sacred and meaningful it is to give ourselves completely to our spouses... to withold no life-giving love by way of contraception. I wonder sometimes at how easy it is to isolate this teaching solely into the realm of sexuality. In truth, no Catholic teachings exist in a vacuum; all are part and parcel of a holistic understanding of our relationship with our Creator and the role of Faith in this life. Still, fallen as we are, it is so common to not think all the way through some Church teachings in order to see the greater Truth trying to surface in our secular-infected spirituality.
Are we just called to give ourselves completely to our spouses in marital relations? Not by a long shot. We are called to give ourselves completely in EVERY area of our life... in the example of our Savior. I heard a wise priest say something profound during a wedding homily a few weeks ago: Marriage isn't about the "50/50" compromise we hear about so often. It is 100/100.
And not just marriage, but how are we witholding in other areas of our lives? (If the metaphor wasn't so slimy, I'd say "How are you contracepting in other areas?") How about motherhood? God knows I am weak. What does it mean when I am distracted and annoyed and don't feel like I got anything 'done' or any 'me time' in my day, because I was fighting off children all day long. Heaven forgive me! Divine Mercy infuse me! Help me to see my purpose! Help me to die to self! To have a life-giving love in EVERY area of my life!
The long and short of the matter is that God called us to be wives and mothers. This IS HIS WILL. This is where HE wants us to put all of our efforts into glorifying HIM. His most Sacred Heart aches over lukewarm souls most of all. Oh Jesus, what pain I've caused Thee!
If I wake up and simply live with my children, work with my children, play with my children, be in the present with my children... this is all that I need to do. Errands come second. Computer comes second. Chatty phone calls come second. Scrubbing toilets comes second. You get the point. If we started viewing our days as simply moments to give ourselves to our children, I suspect that things would run much smoother. I'm not saying easier... because it's a thorn-filled road no doubt, but our mindsets would be properly disposed. We wouldn't be so prone to haste or anger or frustration when "they" interrupt us. If they are happily playing and are in no need of immediate attention (in fact, private play time is important I think; there is no need to hover)... take a moment to wipe down the counters, make a quick phone call, write a blog entry, process a load of laundry. But always remember what your day is about: loving and living with your children. It's easy to love kids. But sometimes it seems like parents fall into living THEIR OWN lives with their kids simply tagging along as accesories or annoyances.
It's not your life anymore. God is asking more of us. To give all the way. To be saints. Pick up the cross and find holiness the hard way. Indeed, there is no easy way... at least our hard way is littered with beautiful moments of consolation and joy... found in an early morning smile or an unsolicited hug or a hand-picked weed presented to you triumphantly. The Lord is kind in these moments of reprieve during our hard road. Find courage to stay the course.
...pray for us St. Anthony! Help us to love the poor as you did and to learn to deprive ourselves of some material comforts for the name of Jesus and love of neighbor.
Here is a prayer for the gift of children:
We salute and honour thee, O powerful helper, St. Anthony! The Christian world confidently turns to thee and experiences thy tender compassion and powerful assistance in so many necessities and sufferings, that we are encouraged in our need to seek thee also United in the bonds of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, we ask thee to obtain God's blessing in our union so that we may rejoice in the gift of children and bring them up in the fear and love of His holy name. We shall consecrate our little ones to thee, St. Anthony, and place them under thy protection, that thou mayest lead them along the paths of virtue to heaven. Amen.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007To all you mothers who have long desired this vocation
Friday, June 08, 2007"must be doing somethin' right"
On the ride home from a little picnic lunch we had, Leo announces: "I like home, Mama."
Tuesday, June 05, 2007a juicy contemplation
Another gem from Gunilla Norris in her book, "Being Home." (On a side note, I enjoy her introductions and prefaces much more than the actual prose in her books... but this is my personal taste. -Ellie)
Monday, June 04, 2007Could it be any more clear?
Getting back from a nice vacation that took us through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Oregon. We went from snow on the ground to 104 degree heat in just a couple days; we met with old friends and had interesting talks with new people. We were reminded of what a beautiful, diverse world we live in! Anyway a lot of reflection time through this has made a couple things quite obvious to me... most notably that I still have so much to learn.
I love getting knocked off my high horse. So often I think that I have it together... I'm such a well-read advocate of homeschooling, such a pusher of the "embrace your vocation" mantra, such a strong supporter and competent defender of life issues. Then something happens to clear up my rosy lenses: I open up another book or I have a conversation with one more sage than me, or I simply experience an unexpected crisis that teaches me how young my faith really is.
Praise God for doses of humility! I beg to know Him and I beg to go deeper, and I drag my feet and whine the whole time He strips me of my securities, knowledge and worldly ties for the very purpose of preparing my soul for HIS infusion. How can I ask to know, love or serve Him more when I am unwilling to be purged of things toxic to my spirituality?! The irony would be laughable if my salvation wasn't at stake. Placing our hope, confidence and trust in ANYTHING other than Him only disappoints. And isn't the evil one clever to make us think we are being holy and responsible in justifying certain things to us? Being obsessed with the impression you make on others with your important books, perfectly prayerful children, immaculate mini-van, articulate tirades against certain bishops, etc. Using these MEANS of the pilgrimage of life as ENDS. And we pray through tears of frustration to God that ours is a stale, dry spirituality... that we are sorry for going through the motions but don't know how to revive the deadened senses to the Supernatural. "What can I do, Lord?" "Make me thirsty again, Lord!"
But to be still. To do more than lip service. To live the Gospel message every hour of every day. To be gutted of our attachments, our 'noise'. To "sell what we have and give to the poor." To praise Him when people let us down. To be content with trials. To use annoyances and frustrations as another link that can draw us closer to the True Cross. To desire simplicity.
How many of us are willing to do that? How often do we see ourselves as He sees us and are willing to be gutted?
These are the things I'm still learning, and I thank Him for this tiny moment of awakening.
-Ellie, back in the much appreciated northwest corner of Washington.
Sunday, June 03, 2007new little babe!
Congratulations to Ursula, who was listed for expectant mothers in June! She has her new little girl in her arms already. She and her daughter are safe and healthy, as far as we know. Her daughter's name is Bernadette... at birth she was 8 lbs 6 oz, 20 " long. Please pray for Ursula's growing family, as they all learn to adapt to life with 3 children.