Monday, October 5, 2015

On Helping Our Dad and That Child-Like Faith

A few of our littles lately have been allll about the helping.  It's a brilliant yet sometimes maddening stage.  Parents of toddlers, you know.  We encourage them to help while simultaneously biting back the frustration from our tongues.  And often the help when too overly enthusiastic ends up looking a whole lot like getting in the way or worse, of sometimes thwarting the efforts and undoing what's already been done.  And that's where yesterday's Gospel spoke to me.  The one that includes Christ's exhortation to accept like a child.  

There's a whole lot of ways that can be made manifest, I suppose.  The unwounded child trusts much, loves hard, and accepts with joy.  There is innocence and lack of over thinking in his heart.  The child knows his dependence and therein finds his peace and security.  All of that I think is true and what He may be talking about.  But this week as those words were read I realized just how much the little child yearns to help and be a part of what dad is doing.  And how our heavenly Father is very much like that patient dad letting His child work with Him on the tasks of the Kingdom.

Oh, how I want to help!  
A little girl I am, clamoring to be a part of the work, wanting to play a role in the story.  
Let me do it, Lord!  I wanna help!  Pleeease???  Can I help?!?
And oh, how endlessly patient my Father is with me!  Trying to guide my hand gently when I want to go in with a bang.  Helping me carefully measure out the ingredient before I dump.  (And me often dumping too soon, too much, or the wrong thing altogether.)  How very much He must hide a laugh at my initial enthusiasm.  How I must drag out His work sometimes in my own ignorance of the skill.  Oh, how I know He must sometimes work behind the scenes to mitigate the damage I might cause in my overzealousness.  So many a time have I been thrilled to be a part of the project and yet any wiser one could clearly see that the work was happening despite me not because of me.  How many times has He had to correct my mistakes or stop me when the work was too high above my skill level?  Sweetheart, I have to do this part now.  How many times has He watched me mess it all up?  Countless, I know.  

And yet His patience abounds.  He could do the work without me, no doubt.  Any of it.  All of it.  He would do it easier and faster and better in every way.  Yet He still asks if I'd like to tag along.  Like a loving dad He recognizes the worth of the work and how the more valuable goal is not necessarily getting the job done but teaching me how to be like Him.  For some reason, He chooses to have this little one play a part, despite the mistakes and despite the blind eye toward the overall end result.  He takes my feeble attempts, my overenthusiastic ideas and somehow turns them into work for Him.  Like the man in my home who lets these little ones work alongside him with the patience of a saint, so my Heavenly Father allows this little girl to be a part of His work, more often than not despite herself.

May I accept the kingdom, and whatever work He may have for me in it, like a little child.  May my hand learn to be pliant and my eyes focused as He guides me through the tasks.  May I hear His voice before I act and may His gentle mercy continue to correct the many mistakes I will undoubtedly make along the way.  

Lord, may this little child better learn from You how to be like You.

Helping to fix the washing machine.  Clearly.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The fall hit fast this week and it's a chilly rainy Saturday.  We did chores this morning, then Brian left to play football with friends and the baby took a great nap.  That meant that someone had a spontaneous spark of cozy domesticity and decided on a whim to make cookies.  WITH two of the kids.  The littlers have been ALL about helping me in the kitchen lately.  And believe it or not, it hasn't been horrible.  It's kind of fun, actually, and it's been a good way to connect with them.  I even broke my rule of only allowing one to help at a time (because fights and low patience) so both David and the Luke helped out with this batch.

  Let's be honest.  What I was really craving was chocolate chip cookie dough.  But alas, no chocolate chips and a baby who is slightly affected by my consumption of chocolate meant that I turned to my oatmeal raisin standby instead.  Which seems to fit the autumn-esque feel to our house today better anyway.  I thought I'd share my little recipe here today in case you happen to also be feeling the domestic vibe flowing.

1 c. softened butter
3/4 c. brown sugar (I often lower it to 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
(If I'm feeling crazy I might add some allspice or nutmeg or cloves.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy then add eggs and vanilla and beat some more.  In a separate bowl sift together Just kidding, I never do that but it's probably, I don't know, nice or something.  I just throw it all in the same bowl and trust that everything gets well integrated.  Their cookies not some intricate fragile masterpiece.  Anyway, go all daring and add the flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt right in that same bowl and mix until…mixed.  Then add the oats and raisins and mix again.  Drop 'em by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  
The end.  

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Praying to St. Brigid for Our Babies

Have you ever gotten that feeling like a saint is reaching out to you?  One that you've never really had any devotion to or even information about before?  That's where St. Brigid and I are right now.  For the last year, I've felt this with Brigid.  It's a pull…an invitation almost.  

Image used with permission and available from Audrey Eclectic

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Daybook for the First of October

I'm here!  Been doing that thing I do where I want to write and yet I don't write and I get lazy/distracted/melancholic/analytical/busy and then just don't do the writing and then feel agitated/sad about it.  Soooo…how about a daybook?  Do people still do those?  Is that even a thing anymore?  Whatever.  It helps me with the thought gathering and the putting of fingers to the keyboard.   So that's that.  A daybook of randomness on this beautiful feast of my girl, Therese.

Outside my window
The sun is shining but it's a chilly windy fall day!  Can you believe it's October already?  September flew.

The hum of the monitor as the wee one naps and the rustle of Legos through the floor.  Our playroom is upstairs which is good and bad.  And piano lessons for John Paul and Michael that I'm supposed to be paying attention to.  Ahem.

Thankful for…
Today's feast of St. Therese.  My middle namesake.  All the little ways that her little way has helped me grow in motherhood.
The gift of overall health for my boys.  I don't feel like it's fair sometimes.
The pope's visit and all the fruit growing from it in visible and invisible ways.  And for all those who prayed with us!  I have no doubt that it made a difference.
A wonderful weekend away this past weekend.  It was such a God gift.

Thinking about…
My role in the blogging world.  What my goals are here and how to discern when and what to write.  It's been weighing on me a lot, actually.  I've grown concerned about sharing too much of my children and home life online and just don't know what is worth it and what is not.  As this blog has grown I've actually found it harder and harder to write because I can't pretend anymore that people aren't reading and then I feel naked and weirded out.  But this place has also been a huge blessing so I just keep praying for guidance on where to go with it.

We've been doing a pretty adequate job of keeping up with our main lessons and it hasn't been too bad with the littles.  Lists and routines WRITTEN OUT make all the difference.  The older three each have a schedule on the fridge of what they work on each day and (for the most part) they just do it.  It's funny but when it's all official-like on a list, they don't seem to argue (as much) about it or try to get out of it.  NOT to say that it's been all roses around here by any means but we're truckin' along and things are okay.  David is reading which is awesome and Luke has been wanting to learn more letters and showing interest in adding.

Struggling with…
Sleep.  I think the up at night nursing has finally caught up with me.  I was doing pretty great with that the first three months but the last few weeks I feel that sleep deprived crazy knocking at the door.  The one where I am edgy and broody and the melancholic side of me likes to come out and play a bit too much and makes me question all the things about life.

From the kitchen
Well.  I'm kinda proud of myself because tonight we're having chicken cordon bleu, French cut green beans, and baguette for the feast.  Feelin' fancy with all that.  And hungry.  For Michael and Benedict (Raphael)'s feast day the other night we had pan-fried breaded tilapia and our traditional devil's food cake for dessert (made with help from a very excited Michael).  But other than that things haven't been all that exciting in the kitchen world.  We're eating and have food so guess I can't complain.

Created to Relate by Kelly Wahlquist
Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

Hmmm…not all that much, really.  I need to pick up the knitting needles for a brand new nephew who was born last week and another who was born a few weeks before that!

Around the house
Our porch floor is finally getting replaced!  I was gone for the weekend and Brian and the boys got the wood cut and all nailed in while I was away!  (Thank you, dear, for sparing me that chaos.)  It still needs to be sanded, primed, painted, and the skirting fixed.  So we've still got lots more left.  But it's started.

I'm toying with the idea of replacing the countertops that I so meticulously painted.  There are work-heavy parts that aren't holding up well and those parts just look awful.  I wish I had sealed it better because the other parts look really great still.  Also running through my head are plans to put carpet in two rooms upstairs and paint the garage.
Oh, and yellow jackets and spiders are around the house, too.  Because we couldn't go one year without them, now could we?

For my sister and her little unborn baby girl
For the conversion of abortionists and those who work in the abortion industry.
For all those who are pregnant and scared.
For a friend's remission.
For joy and healing.

{phfr} picture thoughts to share
A week or two ago this was in our backyard one magnificent morning...

It was even a double!

The sole picture from my weekend away.  It was perfect.

An outing to the nature preserve for a Sunday picnic dinner.  We picked up sandwich fixings and ate by the pond.

I heart his post nap stretches <3

This one reading to his brother in the back yard

A dimly lit archangel dinner

Four months and sweet as ever.

Why yes, that IS an abandoned lawn mower hiding down there that someone decided to build a porch on top of.  Because people.  After six years of knowing it was under there (you could see it through a crack in the basement!) and it taunting me, it's finally gone!

Because when there's an empty classroom at the weekly learning center, you learn to take full advantage.

This.  Every time.
(But I tell myself realizing it is half the battle.)

Happy Thursday!

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