Friday, June 29, 2007

Baby 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!

one of us :: 8:00 AM :: 0 Comments

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How relevant!

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...

one of us :: 7:37 AM :: 0 Comments

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Amnesty and Abortion

I encourage everyone to write to Amnesty international: admin-us@aiusa.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:

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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.

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Ellie Peck :: 6:56 PM :: 2 Comments

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Friday, June 22, 2007

speaking 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.

One thing really struck me though: We are the salt of the earth, the spark in the pile of ash. We are Christ's ambassador's on earth. But do we look like it? Do we look or dress or decorate or talk any differently from the rest of the world? Can people tell that there is something about us? We are pilgrims in this world but do we act like it... keeping the eye on the Fatherland? Or do we "pitch our tents" here, try to get a mortgage paid up, make sure our insurance coverage is stellar, and invest like crazy "just in case?" Walking in your home, can someone really see the Gospel message being lived... aside from the Crucifix on the wall and maybe a holy picture or two? Or is there clutter? Electronics galore? An unneccesary vehicle in the driveway? Boutique brand names in the wardrobes?

Depressing isn't it? To think how far we still have to go. I know I do. But praise God for being patient! Praise Him for being merciful. Praise Him for helping me to SEE these barnacles that are weighing me down, as I journey to the Beatific Vision.

To be the salt of the earth... is to live the radical Gospel message every single day in every single detail of our lives. On this feast day of someone who was wealthy but humble and penitential and ALWAYS mindful of his FINAL HOME... we ask St. Thomas More to pray for us.
-Ellie

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one of us :: 11:33 AM :: 0 Comments

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

3 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...

Cheers!

~Sia

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one of us :: 12:35 AM :: 0 Comments

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Holy Father's intentions for the month of June 2007

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.

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one of us :: 12:30 AM :: 0 Comments

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fanciful 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:

Make-believe is a great resource of childhood. It is a child's first essay in imagination, his attempts to interpret a strange and confusing world in terms of his own liking. Explanations of the older mind are not always satisfactory; they take too much for granted, and the child mind, insatiably curious, often prefers to invent his own explanations. Young children are apt to have rather tidy minds; they dislike loose ends instinctively; they want to find a reason for everything, and where reason is not forthcoming they will promptly make one up for themselves, and more often than not their reasoning takes the form of a story. In a word, the are born creators of folklore, a folklore entirely their own and concerned with the things around them.

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.

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Ellie Peck :: 1:33 PM :: 2 Comments

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

create 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.

Ellie Peck :: 1:08 PM :: 1 Comments

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

giving 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.

-Ellie

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one of us :: 9:34 AM :: 3 Comments

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Patron saint of expectant mothers (among many other things)

...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.

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one of us :: 9:18 AM :: 2 Comments

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

To all you mothers who have long desired this vocation

I recently came across an old letter I had written to a friend (Apparently I never sent it!). It was written in the summer of 2004 before my husband and I were married in the fall. In it I expressed a deep peace and a deep joy in my life; that visions I had always had of my life were still beautiful images, but coming closer to becoming real. In my daydreams I would envision little naked babies outside in the sun, in water... laundry on clotheslines, pots of tea and good books, music, little feet and little voices... someone to love and to give my heart to every day. -Sounds corny, but it's all I truly ever wanted. And here I am, amidst that very life I envisioned for so long. Here I am, and the life is, indeed, beautiful! I came across this letter after a rather hectic day. -You know,m one of those days when you are up to your neck in diapers, laundry, tantrums, etc. On top of it all we are potty training our almost-2-yr.-old and so there are little puddles of pee throughout the house where he decided to just go on the floor instead of the potty. (Oh, the challenges of keeping a house fresh and sweet-smelling with a toddler in the house!)

I was so grateful for coming across this letter because it helped me to be grateful for the life I am living. For so long I desired it; now, here I am. May I every day remember the blessing I have been given of children and a husband to love and to to serve; for housework and trials... all which are my little paths to sanctity.
~sia

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one of us :: 10:09 AM :: 2 Comments

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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."

After a moment's contemplation, Xavier concurs, "I like home too."

My heart swelled with a surprised sort of love. I hope they always feel this way.

Let's all try to make our homes a place that our children (and husbands, for that matter) love to be.
-Ellie

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one of us :: 1:18 PM :: 2 Comments

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

a 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)





Prayer and housekeeping-- they go together. They have always gone together. We simply know that our daily round is how we live. When we clean and order our homes, we are somehow also cleaning and ordering ourselves. We know this by virtue of being human creatures. How we hold the simplest of our tasks speaks loudly about how we hold life itself. How then do we "come home" spiritually and dwell there? In my own life I have found no better way than to value and savor the sacredness of daily living, to rely on repetition, that humdrum rhythm, which heals and steadies. Increasingly it is for me a matter of being willing "to be in place," to enter into deeper communion with the objects and actions of a day and to allow them to commune with me.

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one of us :: 8:37 AM :: 1 Comments

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Could 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.

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one of us :: 5:08 PM :: 0 Comments

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

new 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.

one of us :: 10:07 PM :: 0 Comments

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