Sunday, July 29, 2012

forever blessings

I never wanted a lot of kids.  "A lot of kids" is a relative term, but four (soon to be five) children is a lot to me.  The first two were "planned", and the last three were surprises.  It's easy to let the busy-ness of life and the stress that comes with having little children dissuade me from having more.  I'm getting older, and so I probably won't "plan" any more children after #5 arrives.  But looking back, I wouldn't have planned #4, either (whose conception happened at a very difficult time in life).  And now that #4 is here, I can't imagine life without him.  He completes our family.  That's how it's been each time a new baby arrives.  And so now I know and understand that #5 will complete our family even more.  In fact, with each new addition - planned or unplanned - our family gets better.  Better than we would have ever been able to imagine.  

Life is amazing.  And the thing with life is this - it's forever.  Our family gets better on a permanent, forever basis.  What could possibly be more incredible than a blessing that lasts forever?  It's so easy to get stuck in the here and now and say we can't take on any more family members.  But when we look at the big scope of life, if God wants our family to be blessed with more tiny family members, it will always make our family better.  I'm not ignoring the reality of the struggles and trials of this life, but struggles and trials are temporary and will be there no matter if we have two kids or five.  The blessings of a child is forever.  

my forever blessings - Todd (7), Isaac (3), Peter (1) and Eli (5)
photo by Leslie Elder of Letography

peace and love,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

happy place: chocolate chip banana muffin

I found my happy place this morning....

I am without a babysitter today, so I tried to work from home.  I got up at 5:30 so that I could get some work done before the kiddos woke up.  No good.  My 3-year old woke up at 6:30.  This called for a change in plans, and sometimes I don't do well when my plans have to be changed all of the sudden.    (I almost felt like crying.  I mean, what's the use in waking up so early if I'm not going to be able to work?)  We don't have much food in the house, so I decided to throw together what we had and was able to make these chocolate chip banana muffins.  

Today is going to be a good day :)

Happy Thursday morning to you!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

truth wins

It seems to me that it would be common sense that a woman be informed of the possible medical side effects before undergoing a medical procedure.  I can't believe this stuff has to be fought in court.  But the good news is in this case - truth WINS!

Court Orders Planned Parenthood: Inform Women of Abortion-Suicide Link

Every victory counts.


Monday, July 16, 2012

it's a girl!

I went for my regular monthly appointment at 12 weeks.  They did an ultrasound, and the ultrasound technician said early into the ultrasound, "This baby is bigger than 12 weeks."  Shocker #1 for the day - I was actually 15 and a half weeks along instead of 12 weeks like I thought.  I asked her is she'd be able to tell what the sex was.  She replied pretty quickly she could, and it sounded like she got a good view as soon as I asked.  Then she stopped herself and asked me, "What a minute.  What do you have at home?"  I laughed and told her I have 4 boys (I laugh because it still sounds like a lot to me).  She said, "Well, then let me double check....yep, it's a girl!"  It was an early ultrasound, but she said she was 95% confident that we're having a girl this time.  We even saw the "three little lines".  No turtle there :)  Oh, and everything else looks perfect at this point.  We'll be going for another ultrasound to get a better look at her when she's bigger.

I was actually a little freaked out at first about the idea of having a girl.  Then I realized all of the extra stuff that goes into having a girl - hair bows, tights, bloomers (are they called bloomers still?) - and then I really had a minor moment of anxiety.  But this was 6 weeks ago that we found out, so now it's settled in.  And everyone is very excited.  I got a great deal on a crib purchased from someone on craigslist, and my husband bought a couple of sweet outfits for her while making a Target run last week.  My oldest son is 7 and a half now.  He tells everyone we run into when we're out that we're having a baby girl.  He is the most excited about this newest addition who is joining our family!

We are discussing names, and we keep going back to the same girl name we considered before we knew our first child was a boy.  My husband cannot commit on a name, yet, so I won't announce it until he commits.  

Oh, yes - and the due date has been moved from December 20th to November 24th.  She'll be a Thanksgiving baby instead of a Christmas baby!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

need something uplifting

Some troubles on my heart have left me searching for something uplifting today.  I need to be reminded of all of the wonder and goodness that comes from this life.  Sometimes I feel like life is just full of suffering.  But if this life on Earth is only for suffering, why would God make promises in His Word of a long life?  Who wants to have a long life of suffering?  

There is so much beauty and goodness in this life despite the struggles.  I just get my "blinders" on when I get down and only focus on the suffering.  I have to find the balance that reminds me of all of the wonderful things.

“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don't agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ” 

Ahhh.  C.S. Lewis always has something to make me feel better.  

I am learning more about the redemption in suffering.  Before a few years ago, I never understood that our suffering could allow us to join in the Passion of Christ.  Paul says in Colossians 1:24 

"It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church"

And James 1:2-4

"My brothers, consider it a great joy when trials of many kinds come upon you, for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and perseverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way."

I needed something to give me hope to continue to fight the good fight.  Good will come from the suffering.  I will continue on.  I will pick some flowers and tickle my kids.  And there I will find the goodness in life fresh anew.

Thanks be to God.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

baby #5, oh my!

Surprise, surprise, baby #5 is on the way!  

One of these days I'm going to take a class on NFP (Natural Family Planning).  We were on course to take a class once my cycles started back after having our fourth son.  My cycle started in February, and the next NFP class after that was scheduled to start in April.  We couldn't make it to the class.  My fertility happened again.

We all grow up with pictures in our mind of what our lives might be like when we "grow up".  I never ever thought I'd have five kids.  I think I wanted a boy and a girl and that was it.  You know - the perfect little family.  HA!  Four boys later, we are surprised with another bundle of joy brewing in the oven.

I'd love to say I am always positive and when I get surprises like this my first thoughts are of the wonders and joys of children and how they are such a blessing.  No, not me.  I like to think of myself of a "planner".  I say I like to think of myself as a planner because lately it seems like nothing in my life is planned or goes as I've planned.  But internally, my instinct...the very makeup of who I am - I like to have things planned.  So when I discovered I was having another baby, my world started spinning.  How are we going to do this?  Where are we going to put another baby?  How am I going to handle two babies 17 months apart?  How will I ever feel happy about this baby?!

I kept the news quiet for a couple of weeks (except for sharing the news with my DH, of course).  I just needed to ponder things in my heart for a while before discussing it with other people.  During this time I thanked God for the new blessing and prayed for the baby to be healthy.  I also had my pity parties - I wondered why do I have to be so darn fertile?!  Then I'd remember the dear women who are suffering - deeply suffering - from infertility, and I'd repent and ask God for forgiveness for being so self-centered.  During this time I'd remember how sweet newborn babies are, and I'd get excited about getting to have another of my own in my arms.  Then I'd stress about only having three bedrooms in our house now and get down about not having room for another baby.  This was a time of working through many emotions.

I was nervous to tell people.  No one in any of my circles of friends, coworkers, or family (save a few) have 5 kids.  In my social circles it is socially weird to have 5 kids.  What will people say about this?  Even worse - what will they say behind my back?  (I tend to get a little over paranoid when it comes to caring what people think about me.  I'm working on it.)  

I eventually told everyone, and it's been fine.  Just fine.  Besides just shocking people (who has 5 kids nowadays anyways?), everyone has been supportive.  

I planned my life to be very nice and neat and perfect when I was younger.  The thing is - those were MY plans.  Giving control over to God is so incredibly hard, no matter what area it is in life.  Every time I am surprised by a pregnancy, my plans get blown away.  Then I find peace in aligning my plans with God's.  And every time one of my "unplanned" babies are born, my life becomes better.  I become better.  I become more complete.  God is funny that way.  His plans are always better than ours.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can't shake this sadness

My husband bought a new (new to us) car last month.  His new job requires him to travel a lot, and his 2000 Buick LeSabre with 210,000 miles was sucking through the gas and our pocketbooks.  When a car has 210,000 miles, there is just going to be more maintenance issues, too, and we had spent quite a bit of money maintaining it in the last few months.  Still, it ran good and was a decent car.  We were able to buy a zippy little fuel-efficient car for him to drive for work.

He had given a guy who worked at his office a ride home several times.  Chris would walk to and from work every day, and this was during the winter months.  When my DH saw him on the road, he'd always stop and pick Chris up and either take him into the office or take him home.  He didn't know Chris very well, but in the short stint of time they were in the car together, my DH gathered that Chris was separated from his wife and had a small child.  And he didn't have a car.  So it wasn't an easy time in Chris's life.

Chris had been looking for a car for when he got his tax refund.  He was very excited to find out we were selling the old Buick.  My DH gave him a good deal.  Chris let him know he wanted to buy it, but he wouldn't have the money for a couple of weeks.  While we weren't sure if Chris would follow through on the sale, my DH decided it was worth waiting on selling the car to help the guy out.

Chris had to use some money from his 401(k) to buy the car in addition to his tax refund.  The day his 401(k) check came in the mail, my DH drove him to Chris's bank to cash the check.  Except they wouldn't cash the check.  They wanted Chris to deposit the check into his account and wait two business days in order to assure the bank that the funds were good.  But this was a Thursday, which meant he couldn't access the funds to buy our car until Monday.  He went to Plan B.  He called Wal-Mart, and they said they would cash the check for him.  So he had his bank reverse the deposit, and my DH drove him to Wal-Mart.  Except now Wal-Mart wouldn't cash the check because it had already been endorsed by Chris's bank.  So he went to the closest Check Cashing business.  It was now almost 5:30pm, and they said they would cash the check if they could verify funds.  But their bank closed at 5:00, so they wouldn't be able to cash the check today.  By the end of Thursday, the selling of our Buick did not take place.  My husband drove Chris to the check cashing business the next day, and they were able to complete the transaction.

That was two Fridays ago.  My DH saw Chris at work the next week, and Chris was very happy with the car.  I imagine it felt good to have his own transportation.  My DH was happy to have played some sort of small part in helping a guy down on his luck start to get back on his feet.

Saturday Chris died of an apparent drug overdose in the back seat of his car.  The fuel tank was completely empty and the battery was dead.  He was laying in vomit in the back seat, and his 2-year old was also found in the car - alive, thank God - dehydrated, but alive.

I didn't know Chris.  I had never met him.  My DH didn't know him very well, just through their conversations while they rode in the Buick together.  But I still can't seem to shake the sadness that I feel.  Addiction is such an ugly beast.  I feel deep sadness for Chris and his son.  I know his wife probably went through hell because of Chris's decisions.  But Chris is no longer here, and his son will need him.  His son will need his Daddy's hugs, but there will be none.  He will need a daddy to play with him, but his Daddy won't be there.  He will need so many contributions to his life that only his Daddy could have made.  But his son won't get anything else from his Daddy.  Chris seemed like a nice guy who loved his son.  A nice guy who had problems.  A guy who probably had some pain in his heart and chose drugs to deal with the pain.

It's a story too common.  It reminds me that there is pain and suffering in this world.  Great pain and great suffering.  And I feel helpless to it all.  All I can do is watch it happen around me.  Watch people suffer.  I can offer the peace and hope that is in my heart to those who will listen, and I can pray for those who have great pain in their hearts.  But there will always be pain and suffering.  It's won't go away altogether.  There will always be a "Chris" struggling with life, not able to be there for his innocent child because of the magnitude of his own pain.  It feels overwhelming, and I didn't even know him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

For Such a Time as This

Have I mentioned that I love being Catholic?  It's exactly where I know I'm supposed to be.

I grew up with a nominal Catholic foundation (one day I'll go into that more), so I became a Protestant at the age of 15 after meeting someone who showed me how much Jesus loved me.  For 18 years I was passionately in love with Christ as a Protestant.  Then I was called home by the lover of my soul.  Now I am passionately in love with Christ in the Church that Jesus gave us to guide us.  That's not to say the Church has been perfect, but it has been guided by the Holy Spirit amid any attacks from the gates of Hell.

I like to get the background out of the way so that you know where I'm coming from.

Being Catholic has been very difficult in so many ways.  I've had the chance to take a deeper look at myself (and while that's good, it certainly is ugly), and I've had to stand strong to people who oppose my move.  I haven't known very many passionately Catholic people in my life.  Honestly, most Catholics I know don't even seem to know what they believe or why they believe it.  And most Protestants I know have had the same experience with Catholics. They are baffled when they see someone who is a Bible-believing Jesus freak moves back to the Catholic Church.  They are speechless.  I can feel the speechlessness.

I constantly feel like I am fighting from the inside and from the outside.

But I didn't expect anything about my conversion (reversion) to be easy, so I'm OK with it.  I was prepared for it.  I have been silently letting the Holy Spirit build things in me that should have been built in me in the first 15 years of my life.  I've held these things close to my heart.

During the end of 2011, I felt God telling me it's time to speak up.  Time to stand up.  Time to be a light for His Church.  All for His glory, not mine.  All for His people, not for me.

This is the thing about me - I don't like to go against the crowd.  I don't like to stand out.  I don't like to speak up.  I don't like to be the odd one.  I've always stood firm in my convictions, but I've resisted being outspoken about them.  I like to stand in the corner and watch life from a safe place.  So I pondered what I kept hearing and tried to explain it away.  Surely that's not what God is telling me.

The Time Square ball dropped and 2012 was here.  I still wrestled with the message I felt like I was getting from God.  The message I felt like I was getting from Him to go and stand out for Him, which is an absolute paradox to my personality.

January 20, 2012.  Obama announces that he is not giving any religious exemption to his HHS mandate.  Catholic institutions will have to violate their consciences and pay for birth control and abortion-causing pills or suffer large fines.  The Bishops speak up.  They stand firm.  They stand for the teachings of the Church regarding contraception.  A teaching that many - including Catholic and Protestant Christians - feel is antiquated.  Religious liberty is threatened and the Bishops are not caving.  The drama begins.  Suddenly the Church and her 2,000 years of teaching on contraception is shoved into the limelight.  People start asking the question - why does the Catholic Church teach against contraception?  A teaching that was long considered old-fashioned and irrelevant is suddenly being discussed everywhere.

Something in me has changed.  Now I'm ready.  Time to stand up.  Time to speak up.

Am I the only one who feels like there's something happening?  I can't put my finger on it, but there is something in the air.  Israel and Iran (and China and Russia) are getting ready to go to war.  Religious liberty is being attacked by our government.  The Bishops are finally standing firm for something.  People are flocking back to the Catholic Church, spurred by a deep desire to get to firmer ground, beyond themselves and their own opinions about the Bible.  Deep, thoughtful Christians are making the move more and more.  Why?

I think a major reason is because God needs unity in His people.  Something is happening in the world, and Christians would be stronger against evil if  they were united.  Unity is also necessary to reach the lost in the world.  On the night before He died, Jesus prayed for all Christians to be in unity.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:20-23

This passage never meant anything to me before I started taking a closer look at the Catholic Church.  Now my heart echoes Jesus's heart when he prayed this.  He knows he's about to die, and he is praying for us to be united.  I feel like screaming, "Doesn't this mean anything to anyone?!"

It's time to reach the lost, and we cannot reach the masses without unity.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the why-i-hate-religion debate

No, no - I don't hate religion.  But this guy does.  And he gave a lot of people who had thought about getting back into church a good reason to keep sleeping in.

The Bad Catholic has a wonderful post on why the message in this video is very unbiblical (despite the guy in the video claiming he loves the Bible), and very contradictory to say the least.

Duh, it's in the Constitution

Apparently it takes the Supreme Court to get the point across to the Obama Administration.  Count it as a victory for religious liberty!  Oh, happy day!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


The new year is here, and everyone is working on their resolutions.  I have two this year.  

First, drink more water (note that I haven't made it too hard on myself - such as cutting out sweet tea all together).  I was reminded by someone that doing good things for your body is essential to your whole being, since we have this fleshly body that we're stuck with while on the Earth.  I used to have a love affair with water.  I never even drank soft drinks until I was a junior in high school.  I remember going to the mall in junior high and ordering water at the food court.  The guy taking my order was confused.  Water?  (This was before the bottled water trend ever surfaced.)  And now I am a sweet tea addict, with an occasional diversion of soft drinks.  I have to make myself drink water.  I have to tell myself over and over how good it is.  

My other resolution is to be more patient with my kids and husband.  For two entirely different reasons.  In the hustle and bustle of working full-time and taking care of 4 small kids, I lost sight of what I am actually doing here and the little blessing God has given me.  I long for time to myself to read or to blog or to watch a movie on TV.  And that desire for "me time" gets me more and more focused on myself.  And that takes me to an ugly place - me.  Don't get me wrong - I know I need some R&R sometimes.  But I have been throwing way too many pity parties for myself because I never have time for "me".  Pity parties give me a good reason to focus on all of the things I "miss out" on and therefore I lose focus on the good in my life.  And I have four little GOOD things in my life, and I only get them for a short time. It's easy to lose sight of all of that when I am running around trying to fix dinner while helping my son with his homework, quickly running to the bathroom to check my four-year old's "wipe job"AND nursing a baby all at the same time.  

Two different resolutions, but both the same in that I can't accomplish either goal without God's grace.  I can't do any of this on my own.  I can't have patience with the trials of being a mother without God's grace.  I can't force my flesh to choose water instead of running to McDonalds's for their GIANT sweet tea (and it's only $1!) without God's grace.  So when I crave that sweet tea, I pray for an extra dose of grace.  And when I feel like sending all of the kids up to their rooms so that I can get some peace and quiet, I pray for grace.