Pregnancy and Testing of Faith

This pregnancy has not been the easiest and it has tested my faith in many ways.  I’m not going to go into the details because that doesn’t matter.  Everyone has their faith tested at some point in their life, and if you’re lucky it will happen multiple times.

 

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  – James 1:2-4

 

My faith is stronger thanks to all the trials/tests that I have faced these past eight months.  I can breathe easier these days and I am at peace with many things that were troubling me.  My prayer life has come back stronger than ever and I no longer feel as if I am fighting a storm.  There have been several changes within my life during this time, and I am thankful for the emotional pain that went with many of these changes. I’ve learned who I can trust and depend on and who I cannot.  I’ve learned just how strong I am and that no matter how bad things get and it seems as if everyone flees from your side, those that love you most will always be there for you.

 

 In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.  – 1 Peter 1:6-9

 

I am now in the last days of this pregnancy and we are looking forward to the arrival of our new child.  My husband has been so very amazing throughout this tumultuous time and I am eternal grateful for his love, support, and compassion.  He is my rock and I am truly blessed to be his wife.

 

I’m Still Here

I never meant to go on this long of a hiatus from writing, and I really haven’t. Instead of posting my thoughts and whatnot on this little blog, I’ve been journaling. In the next few days I hope to be back on here posting at least twice a week. *fingers crossed*

The main reason I have been away is because I’m pregnant, and during these past several months I’ve experienced some incredibly strong nausea.  Thankfully, I seem to have turned the corner and am having more good days than bad. Baby number three is due in late May, and my other two children are very excited about having a new baby in the house. We greatly welcome all of your prayers for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

  

7 Quick Takes (Vol 2)

— 1 —

Knee rehab update:  The range of motion in my knee is almost back to normal; the pt said that they consider “normal” to be around 140°-145°.  While moving my leg on my own I’m at 118°.  Now I just have to work on getting my strength back up so I can start going to Zumba again.

— 2 —

So this happened:

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My camera doesn’t pick up purple very well so imagine the colour is a vibrant purple.  It took a few days to get used to it, but I have been enjoying it.  It’s fun to add a bit of colour now and then.

— 3 —

Last week I said that I was going to read  Lumen Fidei this past week.  So I have a bit of a confession.  I haven’t finished reading it, but I am in the process of reading it.  Granted I would be a lot further if I had printed it off before this morning.  So far I’ve read the first chapter and it is definitely something everyone should read.  I’ll share a few of my favourite quotes from it after I’ve digested what I’ve read.

— 4 —

With Mike back at work and my Mother-in-law back in Florida, this past week has been my first week back to full-time mom status.  And boy was it a tough week.  My knee isn’t back to 100% or even 75%, but my kids don’t get that.  They are your typical rambunctious 3 and 5 year olds who have enough energy to play from sun up to sun down without taking a break.  Yet, I am not able to chase after them. So unless we go to the tiny park at our Church that is fenced in, they are stuck indoors. It’s times like these I wish we had a fenced in back yard.  Also, this has been “let’s test mom” week.  This has to be my least favourite game to play, and they aren’t fans either.  One day they will learn that Mom always wins this game.

— 5 —

The munchkins don’t know this yet, but they are going to get to see Thomas the Tank Engine tomorrow.  My husband set this up months ago and we know that our kids will be excited, well at least the boy will be.

— 6 —

I never thought coming up with seven little snippets a week would be such hard work.  The only little thing I have is this:  I wish I were able to be at San Diego Comic Con!!!   But alas, I am not.  One of these years we will be brave and take the munchkins to Dragon*Con in Hotlanta and introduce them to the awesomeness!  In the meantime I will be over here dreaming up a costume to wear.  **Insert maniacal laugh**

— 7 —

It’s late and I’ve got nothing.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes (vol 1)

— 1 —

Welcome to my first ever Quick Takes Friday!!   I’ve decided to start this to help me write more often here, and to improve my writing style.

— 2 —

Yesterday was one month post op.  What a difference a month has made.  I went from feeling as if the surgery was the worst decision ever because of all the pain and lack of motion that I had (not to mention feeling as if I had to re-learn to walk), to feeling really positive about the outcome.  I am in very little pain now; my knee only hurts when I step on it wrong or I’ve been on it too long and it’s tired.  My range of motion is returning and everything is getting easier.  I need to add that I am very thankful for my Mother-in-law spending the past three weeks out here to help me around the house and with the kiddos.

— 3 —

While I am thankful and happy that Grandma came out to visit and help, I’m also happy that she is going back home tomorrow.  It’s always nice when family can come to visit, and while it can be sad to see them leave – it’s also so very nice to have your house back to yourself.  These past three weeks has been extra hard on my daughter because she has had to share her bed with Grandma and because she hasn’t been allowed to watch her two favourite shows — The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and The Aquabats Super Show.  And yes, I let my children watch shows like these.  They are fun and my husband and I enjoy watching shows we actually like with or children.

— 4 —

I have several books lying around that I want to read (many of them I’ve started but put down for one reason or another), and one that I am currently reading. I have enough books to last me for at least the summer, and yet there are so many more out there that I want to purchase and read. This is the curse of being a lover of books.  I’m constantly having to stop myself from heading over to Amazon to purchase another book; I’m constantly saying to myself, “Self, you need to read those other five or so books you have before you purchase another one.”  Having two small children at home really puts a damper on my reading – not to mention blogging.  These two little monsters that I have are my favourite distractions and I’m not upset or disappointed that they are my main distractions.

— 5 —

Unrelated to any other topic here:  I have tried once again to get into the cult sci-fi tv show Firefly once more.  This has been attempt number 5-ish.  All of my fellow nerdy friends are astonished that I have never enjoyed this show, and so every few years I give it another go. So, how did this last attempt go?  Well… I made it through the first two episodes. That’s two more episodes than I have ever finished before (minus the movie; I have watched all of Serenity.).  So now I have a decision.  Push on and potentially be bored through the rest of the series, or push on and watch the rest of the 14 episodes so I can say I did it and maybe, just maybe I’ll decide that it’s okay and not dreadful.

— 6 —

Last Friday (July 5th), Pope Francis published his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei.  Pope Benedict XVI started writing it and Francis finished it.  For those of us who don’t know Latin, Lumen Fidei translates as The Light of Faith.  No, I haven’t read the encyclical, but it is on my very short to read list.  And from all the awesomeness I’ve heard about it you should read it too.  You know what, I’m going to make it my goal to read through it this week.

— 7 —

I’m seriously disappointed in the USCCB and what they are doing to bloggers and others who are trying to spread the Good News, especially during this Year of Faith.  If you haven’t heard I highly recommend you take a time to read Brandon Vogt’s encounter with them.  Granted I do believe he should have asked them first before he converted and offered Lumen Fidei in all the formats he did, but the USCCB should also have seen the value in it.  And it isn’t just Vogt that they have hindered in spreading the Gospel and an understanding of Catholic doctrine.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

This Lenten Season

household cleaner with rubber gloves bucket and sponge..

During this Lenten season I am doing the one thing I detest doing more than anything else. I will be working my way through my house and giving it a deep cleaning, boxing up everything that we don’t use and/or need, and I will be doing it all with joy.  At least I will be attempting to do it with joy and thanksgiving.

It might take me the entire 40-ish days to get my house where it ought to be, but once I am finished I will be glad that I have my house looking clean and happy to know that I was able to give boxes upon boxes of clothing, kitchen paraphernalia, and what not to those who need them more than we do.  We don’t need most of the stuff in my house and I will be glad to live a much simpler life with out so much clutter.

I am also reading a devotional entitled, “Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families.”  It’s not overly deep – unlike the things I’ve read in the past few years during Lent, but I love how it has something to talk about with your children everyday and suggestions for things that they can give up and do for others every single day. And if I can get my children involved in a devotional and more prayer it’s a great thing.

Peace and blessings to all of you!

Children at Mass

childrenatmass

“At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.”  –Matthew 18:1-5

My parish is currently undergoing growing pains. Over the past several months I’ve watched the number of young families attending mass has grown exponentially.  When my husband and I became members of our parish, I would venture to guess that at least 75% of the parish would have fallen into the “senior citizen” category.  There were hardly any children to be seen.  Now when I look out I see more and more families with children ages ten and under scattered throughout.

While I find this to be uplifting (as do many others in our community) there are those who wish that the children would just *poof* disappear. Or perhaps they desire for us parents to duct tape our children’s mouths and duct tape them to the pews so they don’t wiggle. Since neither of these two ideas are going to happen they’ve decided on a different “solution.” My parish has what is called a “cry room” and the folks who desire that the children not only not be heard but to also not be seen want ALL families with children to use this room. It’s a tiny room that is off of the sanctuary with a window and some speakers. This room is a great resource for parents when their children are having either a meltdown or a tantrum. It is not a room that should be forced on families to sit in during the entire service. Besides, there isn’t enough room for all of the families to utilize this room at the same time.

“It is a sad sight in a church when nobody comes to the Lord’s Table but the older people, and the young men and the young women all turn away. But it is a sadder sight still when no children are to be seen in a church, except those who come to the Sunday School, and are often obliged to attend. Let none of this guilt lie at your doors. There are many boys and girls in every city, besides those who come to Sunday School, and you who are their parents and friends should see to it that they come with you to church.” –J.C. Ryle

For about four years I sat in this room with my children. It’s a horrible place to be. You feel as if you are a spectator peaking in the window and dreaming of one day being a part of the group. You get nothing out of the service. During those four years I heard not one homily unless my husband and kiddos were sick and I was able to come to mass sans children. My children didn’t even think we were at church. No, they thought this was a play group and they could hang out with their friends. The children cannot see out of the window to see what is going on inside the sanctuary and if they see no reason to be quiet and sit still they won’t.

A couple of months ago, my family and three other families decided that we were going to sit in the sanctuary. That it was way past time for us to introduce our children to the service and because we adults desired and needed to be a part of the rest of the congregation. Our children did an amazing job from day one. None of our kids ran around playing tag in the sanctuary, there was no screaming, no fights.  Sure they wiggled and moved and said a few things during the service, but they were never loud.  Our four families decided to sit together so that we could keep an eye on all of our kids collectively and so our children would be able to still be near their friends. It has been an amazing change in my children since we moved into the sanctuary.

“Parents are called to make their children discover the value and importance of the response to Christ’s invitation, who calls the whole Christian family to Sunday Mass.” –Pope Benedict XVI

Apparently not everyone in our parish agrees. A couple of weeks ago our parish priest reminded the congregation that we do have a “cry room” and that due to other members of the congregation who do have some difficulties hearing that those of us with small children should use it. What?!? Was he saying that children were no longer welcome in the service? I sincerely hope not.

Yet, this past Sunday a member from the choir came over to us as we were entering the pew to say, “Fr. X (X is not his name, but I don’t feel that it is necessary to put it out there) wanted me to remind you that children are to be in the cry room.” One family was so incensed at this that they were prepared to leave the church that very day and not look back. I had been helping with the RCIA program as I do every Sunday and saw them getting ready to leave. My husband had our children in the “cry room” by the time I arrived, and so I gathered my children and moved them back into the sanctuary. The same lady came up to me and said the above to me, to which I informed her that no I would not be using the “cry room” unless my children were misbehaving. There were other words said that don’t need to be reiterated here.

“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,”Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19: 13-14

The most hurtful thing about all of this is that this same lady did NOT go around the entire parish speaking to all the young families. No. Instead she focused on the group of families that sit together.  I felt as if we were being singled out by her and that she was doing her best to kick us out of the church. Also, upon talking to Father afterwards we discovered that he did not say any such thing and that all are welcome.

It’s a very good thing that I am strong in my faith. If I weren’t I just might leave not only the parish but my faith all together. I don’t know how the other three families will react to such an unloving, unwelcoming gesture from a prominent member of the parish. I for one am standing my ground. I will continue to attend Mass and I will continue to fill the pews, not the “cry room.” This Thursday we have a meeting with the priest at our parish to discuss this incident. My hope is that the meeting will go well and that I can still feel as if I am a wanted member of this community.

Here’s is an excellent article as to why children belong at Mass.

My Family

I don’t want this to become a blog focused on Catholic apologetics; I know that my previous posts are mostly on religious topics, but you must know that my faith is a major factor in my life. Three years ago, I was a “Cafeteria Catholic” meaning that I allowed myself to pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. If I disagreed with the Church on something I would just ignore it. But over the past three years I have picked up a lot of books on theology and Church history, some of them light reading others not so much. And it has transformed my life. Hence the major focus of my faith on this blog.

Let me take some time to introduce you to my beloved family that sometimes make me feel as if I’m going crazy. First is my husband, Mike. I was very lucky to be able to marry not only the love of my life but also my best friend. Just for putting up with me and all the garbage that my past life I feel as if I should shout, “Santo subito!!” (Sainthood now!!) whenever he’s around.

They agree! (Actually this picture is from the Vatican and for Bl. John Paul the Great)
My daughter, Sasha is an explosion of pink and she’s obsessed with all things princesses. Neither of which I am a huge fan of, especially the pink. She is going into Pre-K next year and let’s be  honest the school year can’t start soon enough, for her and for me. I love her to pieces; she has an über contagious laugh, she’s very smart, and lots of fun to be around.  Her little brother, Owen, is in the very early stages of potty training. That is, he’s starting to be interested in all things bathroom related, but I’m going to wait until after we get back from our vacation before I even think about really trying to get him started. He loves all things trains, trucks/cars, balls, rough housing, and playing dress up with Sasha.
And finally a little bit about me. I’m a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) who is horrible at keeping my house clean. There are several reasons for this: 1.) I’m lazy, 2.) I live with, quite possibly, the world’s messiest trio, and 3.) I can find a lot of things that I’d rather be doing other than cleaning.  I am a nerd/geek/dork who loves all things Doctor Who. There are some out there who would say I’m borderline obsessed with the show. *shrug* I love history and have read many biographies on people that I find fascinating (e.g. Mary Stuart, Eleanor of Aquitaine) as well as books on particular areas or past events. I am quite fascinated with the late Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. My B.A. in Anthropology is collecting dust and while I still have dreams and aspirations to one day be an archaeologist working in either Africa, at a museum, or at a University researching our past ancestors (Australopithecus Afarensis, Neanderthalensis, Archaic and Modern Homosapien sapiens, etc.) I know that they are just that…dreams. Even though I still dream big and oftentimes long to be working in the archaeological field in some capacity, I am currently more focused on getting into Grad school to earn a Masters in Theology. The key factor that is holding me back from going forward and enrolling is the tiny little problem of money. But I’m sure you know all about that problem as well. So until the time God blesses us with some additional funds and makes it feasible for me to go back to school I’ll  have to settle for reading some super awesome apologetic books.