While in college, I met Saint John Bosco. Back then he was assigned as reading and study for those of us in the theology/religious education track at school. I enjoyed learning about him and what his methods could teach us about evangelization and catechesis and ministry. But it wasn't until I entered my vocation as a wife and mother, now with five little boys of my own counting on me for their education and evangelization, that his words and method became so much more profound. I'm no great expert on his life and I certainly have a long way to go in applying his methods well but they teach me SO much about the type of mother I want to be and what to do to get there. His words are so practical and they are filled with love. When I read them I can't help but be convicted and inspired. Here's a few of my favorite quotes along with what I glean from them for my own mothering and teaching of these little people God's given me:
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Monday, January 30, 2017
I’ve had the feeling myself and I’ve heard it expressed among a lot of friends. “Where is the Church during …?” At the most difficult or the most profound moments of our lives, we want…something. Something official that shows that these huge and life-altering moments are recognized by the body of Christ. We want support, guidance, love, concern, and help and it makes sense that we expect the Church to provide that. Considering my own current state in life as a young(ish?) mom and a birth and bereavement doula, it makes sense that I most hear it in regard to the seasons of pregnancy or in regard to birth or miscarriage. Why doesn’t the Church do more for pregnant women? Does the Church care about me as I get ready to have this baby? Why aren’t there official resources to help women after a miscarriage? If the Church is so pro-life and claims she values every single human person, then how does she show it for these very real babies?
Sunday, January 29, 2017
I have a particular love for Saint John Bosco. I love his philosophies of rearing children and education. I love his practical, no-nonsense advice for life. I love his heart for teaching and training boys that the world thought were hopeless. God called this Italian priest in the 1800's to found a school for these boys and train them in a life of virtue. For that reason, he was claimed some years ago as patron of our little homeschool here and I feel like he has a special watch over our family. I think it's particularly neat that his birthday is the same day as our wedding anniversary.
His feast day is on January 31 and we'll be taking some time to honor our patron!
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
About five years ago, I became certified as a birth doula. It's a challenging, rewarding, difficult, and amazing gift to be able to do it. I wasn't sure when I first started the training where it would lead but I felt like God was leading me there so I stepped out and started. I've learned and changed so much since starting. Since then, I've been asked lots of times how I make the whole birth doula work when I'm a homeschooling mom of five little people, some just curious and some wondering if they could do it themselves. There is a huge need for all types of legit doulas (birth, postpartum, and bereavement), especially women of faith. I truly believe that building a culture of life includes real tangible support for mothers during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and through loss. I'd encourage any woman who's feeling a little nudge to pray and see if it would work for her and her family, even on a limited basis. If it truly is God's will, He'll work out the details.
First, I guess I should share a quick basic summary of the nuts and bolts I provide for official clients:
1 free interview, 2 prenatal meetings, 24/7 on call availability from 37 weeks on, email/phone support anytime during pregnancy, physical/emotional/informational/spiritual support from active labor until 1-2 hours after birth, 1 postpartum follow up meeting
So, how do I do that as a homeschooling, stay at home mom to 5 littles?
Monday, January 23, 2017
Our Ben is still bringing so much joy. Yesterday he turned 20 months and his spirit is just indescribable. I know I've said it before but the way he's changed our home is so beautiful and he has added so much that I didn't even know was missing. I was so scared when I was pregnant with him and that must've made God laugh a bit, with that all-knowing way of His of what was in store for us. I'm inclined to think that he is a gift just for our little family to really understand since I suspect to everyone else he just seems like a normal quirky one year old. But he has made our lives happier, more compassionate, more peaceful, and more loving. He genuinely makes me want to be a better person which sounds really dramatic but is completely true. There's just something about him. I was totally bracing myself as he entered the toddler stage (which is not where my motherhood and temperament are, ahem, naturally suited) but so far, even that's been pretty great. Brian and I are still in awe multiple times a day with just how amazing he is and his big brothers are all still pretty smitten, too. (WOW. That was a mom gush. But my blog so that's that.)
So, capturing some of Ben right now:
Good natured and happy nearly all the time. It's incredible. He has his moments, of course, but even those are so tame.
He loves to dance and definitely prefers faster music. We joked that because he came out feet first when he was born that he would be dancer and I think he's trying to live up to it. His signature latest move is tiptoeing in a circular walk-run with arms in either a slow flap or gospel praise position. It's the best. Whenever I put music on he gets visibly excited and waits to hear what it is and in between songs worries that it's over.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I've been thinking a LOT lately about accepting grace and allowing God to actually do what we ask of Him, and then? Then being free to acknowledge that He has. I'm not sure if this will make sense or not but this past year I've felt a change and saw some little tendencies where I have a hard time letting go of my ideas of who I am and what my struggles are. I see the same reflected in other women during conversations as well. I don't know whether it's just that there is a comfort in the familiarity (even the negative stuff) or if there is something that scares us about being better. Maybe it feels like pride to admit when we no longer struggle with something. Maybe it's that we have made this sin or wound or fault or weakness so much a part of our identity that we don't know how to let it go. I don't know, perhaps there is something different behind it. But I've been coming around in the last year to the idea that God is not honored by that. (And someone else, of course, would love for us to stay clinging to our dark and less than ideal parts.) Clutching the old - whether it is sin, sickness, wounds, ugly or destructive attitudes, or even just ideas about ourselves - that God has touched and brought healing and hope to (even if not completely) is...well, it's kinda rude.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Merry Christmas and happy new year!
Finally jumping on to record some of the beginning of our Christmas. It's been good...more relaxed than I expected. I overestimated how much we had planned to do so there's been much more downtime than I thought there would be. Which is...nice? But I totally admit that it leaves me feeling antsy. I do like playing games and puzzles and easy meals but I'm not as good with not knowing in the morning what the goals are for the day. Even if the goal is just to relax and have a cozy day with leftovers for dinner, it needs to be a part of The Plan or all day long I have that nagging feeling like I'm forgetting something. Anyone else? But on the very bright side, I think God's been giving me this unexpected extra time to work on a few big projects and I'm trying to use the time well. I also took a break from doulaing for a couple months and it's been a welcome break from being on call 24/7, especially over Christmas!