Sunday, May 21, 2017

Love them the way I loved the cross

Earlier this morning after Mass, we had an amazing opportunity to see Father in Confession. As I was sitting there, contemplating my own struggles as a mom, the things I face from the scrutiny of the world, or the challenges that seem overwhelming, the Lord spoke to me and said this. "Love them the way I loved the cross! When it hurts, remember this: the cross splintered Me, and I embraced it. The crown of thorns pushed into My Head and I said nothing, but prayed forgiveness upon them. They pierced My Heart and My Precious Blood of Mercy poured out upon their faces." 

I of course, got teary, Recalling how Christ chose His Cross out of love for ME. Nothing was going to deter Him from His Mission. And oh, how it sounds easier said than done for mommas to do this... But He kept telling me that I must trust Him. Especially with all those worries of my heart.  I entrust my kids to Him.  

I of course, was thinking where the cause is for all my downfall and sin in terms of motherhood. It's  a little of everything.  Marriage, kids, the world out there, the laundry in here, the list could go on.  So many responsibilities can just plain drain a momma out. Being a mom to the teenagers, and then babies at the same time is beginning to reveal a great divide for me. I remember my kids all being babies. Now I have spunky teenagers reminding me of what fun is at that age. And I'm stuck in the middle. I'm mom yes, but I'm also 35. I'm not even over the hill yet. My heart still wants to have fun too. Part of me also still needs to be mom- the romodel-rule-making-don't-look-at-me-like-that-mom.  And part of me wants to have babies, still.  

A momma has to keep a clean house. Even more so when she needs to be organized and able to pull off homeschooling at the same time. Chores have to be done everyday. And she has to be the one to pull her kids off their devices at times to do them. All of these things can be very productive ways to bring peace into the home- or the opposite.  It can start a whirlwind of complaining or fighting. This is where it's hard for every mom and dad. The strain of the kids pushing the boundaries and testing the waters makes for a tired momma.  When they don't let up and submit to your authority, is when  it's tougher than ever.  My struggles are my lack of patience with the Lord at times to work miracles and make me have perfect kids now, and not trusting Him long enough for me to remember to keep calm and know that they will eventually turn out just fine, as long as I persevere.  Getting flustered and angry is too simple a response that I end up needing to go to confession for because I had failed to be at peace.  Let's face it- we all struggle and we probably can all relate to this exact scenario.  The hurt that cuts when you have a child defying you and after everything you've done to bring him or her up properly. It's a setback momentarily. This is what I felt when the Lord said what He said to me. He also reminded me, "Trust Me. Pray for the Grace to trust Me and remain at peace."
He also said, "Pray that you respond to this grace to love your children in the midst of the chaos when they are making poor choices.  Bring them to Me. You want to embrace family prayer time? Teach them to pray the way you like to pray.  Give them what I gave YOU.  Your mission is to bring them to ME.  I gave you what you need to do this. If you would trust Me and listen to me..."  

Now you see why the tears, heh? What a flood of truth! He had revealed quite a bit more to me, but I think I'm meant to keep some things to myself, for now. All I know is He wanted me to share this.  He knows I forget easily if I don't write it down, and so I do write. 

My relationship with Christ is amazing and ever-evolving. He is my breath. He is my energy. He is my Hope. It's so interesting how the Mass's readings today reflect so well in the lives and off the lives the faithful. I'm just amazed that the Scriptures today spoke of Philip's actions and that Peter said to " ready to explain the reason for this hope of yours." The Holy Spirit is so powerful and can speak volumes into our heart. But we must first, listen. And then DO. And by God's grace, we can succeed. We have a reason to hope, and we can simply trust Him. JMJ 

Reading 1
Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
and they received the Holy Spirit.
Reading 2
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence,
keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned,
those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered for sins once,
the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,
that he might lead you to God.
Put to death in the flesh,
he was brought to life in the Spirit.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father, 
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

Monday, May 8, 2017

“Please excuse this mess; I am building my dream home.”

“Please excuse this mess; I am building my dream home.”

What is your first thought at these words? 

I’ve heard similar sayings before, but I have always been annoyed with not having a perfectly tidy house, believe or not.  I like things in their places, being organized, and having my work and play time separated in my day.  I find it hard to relax if there is something I know that has to be done.  I am a worker. Probably one for perfection.  And obviously, that just can’t be attained.  I’m often rushed, feeling cramped for time, running late or something or other always because I try to tackle so many chores and items on my list every day.  But, I was hit with a reality while I was vacuuming tonight.  I always like to enjoy resting and getting my break after I send the kids to bed, because, in all honesty, it’s the one time of day I can get all my cleaning done, and it stays that way…. Long enough for everyone to be sleeping. Ha!  See the irony?  Ahhhh… I have reached a point where I am getting tired.  Of cleaning.  All the time.  I don’t want my life to be spent keeping house the way a maid would.  I want to be MOM.  There are struggles as a perfectionist personality.  Believe me.  And so I am grateful to God for His Holy Spirit. Especially when I am vacuuming at 10:30 at night. 

It’s true: I have inherited the same tidiness from my mom.  I remember always cleaning.  It seemed like we always had to keep house, and I often wished mom would just JOIN us.  I don’t want to be like that where I feel I am always missing my down time with my kids.  I have to make a mental and conscious decision to begin building my dream home. It isn’t the dream home built with brand new materials. Or one being perfectly new and fresh and clean.  Or one where it appears I have all my “stuff together.”  This past year, a friend revealed to our group of ladies that she fears what others will think of her, her mothering/parenting, etc., if she had friends over because she can’t always have the house in perfect order.  What a truth bomb.  Don’t we all face the same pressure?  We worry so much about how we are viewed because of the state of the house.  My question is “Why?”  Why is that so easy a trap to fall into?
First, we are the catalysts for the hope of the future, aka The KIDS.  Why WOULDN’T the evil one want to tear us down?  Make us feel like it’s too hard to raise a family? And second, we live in a culture where materialism is at its finest.  We often without thinking about it even, have the inert push to become Stepford Wives.  We want to “appear” to have everything.  Some of us don’t have these pressures, but I know many moms, and have seen MANY different personalities, Type Bs are great friends to Type As.  Some of us are just natural-born organizer Type A women who have to have order to manage all the things we take on, like myself. And that leads to a stressful situation sometimes. 

Back to the opening title, what makes a dream home such? Is it the perfection, the nice, fresh house all the time? AS Christian mothers we must refocus our attention to one thing: raising our children to be happy and healthy.  I love the book A Mother’s Rule of Life. (I have it listed in my resource section.) We must designate a certain time for certain things each day, making the time with the kids and meals the priority:  even if we finish nothing else.  Be HAPPY AT HOME.  I recently shared a fantastic article from Above Rubies on loving to be home on my Facebook page (so be sure to read it if you haven’t!) And, so, we are left with leaving the house in shambles momentarily--- to have fun and quality time with our little ones (and teens too) ---and we can come back to the mess.
Isn’t a dream home a place simply where the food is cooking, the kids are playing, and you are happy? And when I say happy, I am not talking about having nice things.  I am talking about being able to read to the babies, and craft with the older kids, and enjoy life.  We barely have enough time in the day to imagine doing these things amongst the business, right?  Wrong.  It is our CHOICE of where to spend our TIME.  Just do it!  Can it be challenging, coming out of an old routine and attempting another one?  Yes. I get it.  I’ve been there. Lots of times.  You can make a master plan where you designate certain activities with your precious kids and NO MATTER WHAT, YOU STICK TO IT.  You will find that after some time, it will become what you ALL are looking forward to, and it became the priority for everyone.  
Build your dream home.  Leave the mess there.  Gather everyone around before bedtime to help reorder the house.  When you all go to bed, you will have peace and memories that you want to do again the next day.  And slowly, after some time, you will have built your dream home.  That place you call home where the cooking makes you happy.  Where the kids make you happier.  And where the mess isn’t such a big deal.   The house we wish to build is not of wood and nails, but of faith and virtues, hope and charity.

Remember, the catalogue picture of a dream home isn’t what makes it a dream.  It’s the peace and happiness inside that makes it all count.  Take a breath, and begin building.  <3

"Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation. It is not what we do, but how much love we put into it." ~ St. Theresa of Calcutta


Friday, February 10, 2017

We have an offical HOLY MOTHERHOOD BLOG!

Come and visit us now at. . . .   THE HOLY MOTHERHOOD BLOG

I have had so much fun at this blogging site, I am going to keep everything that is here, here. But all the NEW stuff will be at the new place! Come stop on over and join us there!  :) 
(It's still under some construction there, but it will be finished soon!)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

My #prolife Testimony

This is my testimony. It is my perspective. I am not trying to force my opinion, beliefs, or values on anyone. If I can influence you to find commonality with them, then I've done my job. I only hope to help others find appreciation in this deep and intimate testimony for life.
This is my family. Yes, there are 9 children. 2 of them are special needs. One has Downs and one has severe Crohn's. Some people call me crazy. Some people say I'm nuts. Many say that We are blessed and they are beautiful. Some people assume we are either Catholic or close-to-Amish. I will tell them we are Catholic. Birth control by synthetic chemical hormones is an obvious NO. My husband would never ask me to mutilate or manipulate my body to avoid one of these blessings.

In honor of the week of the March for Life I want to give my testimony. Some of this information is personal.

I became a mom at 19. I made a "choice" to break some rules and wasn't easy for parents once upon a time. That "choice" lead to my Genevieve being conceived and born. I married. I was in college and my husband was working at the place only God would've known would pave the path  to where we are today.
I was working and going to school. We had moved into an apartment and were learning what it was like to pay our bills. We were on Medicaid. Thank God for that program because it helped us keep our feet on the ground. It wasn't shameful to be on it. We didn't use food stamps.  We chose to work hard and keep ourselves as independent as possible. Maynard worked for Firestone and eventually we began saving in a 401k. It was hard to see part of our paycheck going away into those savings because we could've used it..... to buy more stuff, probably. But, we kept saving.

Three months after Genevieve was born, Thaddaeus was on his way.  I didn't listen to the doctor when he warned me that if I don't use birth control, then I "better not get caught with [my]pants down." Nor did I listen to the advice from other people to get on birth control. It's not what Catholics do, because of our beliefs. I had a scary time being pregnant with Thad. I almost lost him 3 times, once being rushed 1.5 hours away to a special hospital for preemies. He was finally safely born at 37 weeks, while the nurse told me in the same time I was there, that I should at least use condoms with my husband.  I was in complete shock.

After our Camille was delivered by a doctor who "chose" to force my labor when I should've been sent home, and we were encouraged to consider a vasectomy for Maynard. And I was reassured tying my tubes would be great. Camille was born, and for 15 agonizing moments, I yearned to hold her for the first time. Nothing was wrong, the doctor just "chose" that she should have her keepsake cards made and shots and everything else first. Maynard didn't even get to cut her cord. In less than a week, this forced-birthed baby was in the hospital not breathing at times (apnea) with a serious case of jaundice that at was at brain damaging levels.  I had to take off from my college classes. My professors were so good to me that I was able to finish with a 4.0, and not be dropped. Through intense prayers Camille is fine today.

Nathan came along with my children around his birth. He was a wonderful baby. Unbeknownst to us, his healthy days would be numbered, for he would develop severe Crohn's disease at the age of 8. Nathan was the happiest baby, and melted my heart. We bought our own house just before and that was a huge accomplishment. We were still working hard, I was staying at home, and we still paid our own bills. We had some help at Christmastime once in a while. But we were a happy growing family.  Then I was hit with reproductive trouble.

Mary was my miracle baby in 2007.  I was somewhat reproductively compromised when I actually conceived her.  I was told by doctors to avoid pregnancy, but because of my Faith, I could only do what I could do, and she well, came along.  I began what looked like a miscarriage for several days as we waited for tests to show she was still hanging on. The specialist and my office could not say what was going on. She came through tough as nails and was born in the Feast of the Ascension, Maynard allowed to deliver her surrounded by our kids and my niece and sister in law.  She was a gift from God because we kept Him in charge. In Him all things are possible.

Peter was a little unplanned surprise.  It was the longest ever that I had not been pregnant again after a previous baby. God gave me his name a long time prior and I knew he was special. We were always afraid to mention our newest pregnancies because of the cronyism we always received. It was hard to be excited when many weren't. It was like you could see sometimes on people's faces a sheer annoyance that we kept having children. Maynard told me, "God has a plan for him! He is going to do something great!" Peters dream is to be a Priest like his Uncle and ride fast cars until he must become poor. 😇

Elizabeth Hope is our #prolife baby.  Her story is one I share to the only the closest of the close to me. I am not certain I will share completely-- on Facebook--, but I will enough info for the sake of the testimony. When I was searching the Holy Spirit for her name, I came up empty so many times. I didn't want to tell anyone I was pregnant. In fact, I dreaded it.  I was happy at first, but when the reality set it that I would have to tell someone who wouldn't be as happy for me, I felt sick. If I could just.... not have gotten pregnant. Yes. I felt so burdened by the worlds opinions by now that I didn't think I had the strength to deal with anymore criticism, birth control advice, and especially the disgusted look by many. I fell into a deep emotions depression. Turmoil. Complete and utter blankness. WHY did I have to get pregnant!? Maybe. Just maybe birth control wouldn't be so bad. But no. I didn't want that either. Deep inside, all I wanted was SUPPORT AND to share my JOY , which was being suppressed, with others. This was a turning point for me. This had to be the WORST pregnancy ever. Or so I thought.... until God spoke to me. Until the Blessed Mother came to me.

That year, in the Mass, many of the readings while I was pregnant were about Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, and Mary.  Through this, it was revealed to me that this baby was going to be very special and God would be faithful to me through her. He showed me something that will forever strike me as deep, perceptive, intimate and overwhelming. I realized that the anxiety I was having was so intense that in these circumstances, these unsure and uncertain moments, these moments of fear and such lack of support and joy from others bring women to the deadly abortion table. I was so overcome with sorrow and hurt, emotional pain and agonizing helplessness for women like me at that moment that I could understand. I felt what they felt. I knew what they knew. And all we wanted was for someone to embrace us, the way Mary did with her cousin Elizabeth. I knew my argument was Shown by God in his creation that the UNBORN KNOW HIM. When St. John leaped in Elizabeth's womb at the sound of Mary's greeting, I knew TWO important things: Mary is the Mother of God, pure and holy, and that she was so important to God's plan He needed her. He needed her in such a way that He would not otherwise have come to us if it weren't for her womb and al that it entails. She literally fed and nurtured the God that saves us. And I knew that the unborn recognize the voice of Mary, and with her, the presence of Christ is with her. And that Christ is recognizable to the unborn. And for this reason, all life in the womb is sacred, and holy, and purposeful, and deliberate. I as long realized that there is such lack of joy for the life within the womb that we must do something to reassure women that THEY MATTER. And that their babies MATTER. And that in these moments of new life must not be swept away by the opinion of the world, or the lack of support for the world has lost its grasp on the gift of life.

I knew that Elizabeth Hope was God's message to me. Her middle name represents the Hope that is lost in the cases of so many women when an unplanned pregnancy hits them. Hope is what we have in Christ for all those who made a "choice" to be burdened by life enough to snuff it out, or who have forgotten the JOY that should replace heartache. Hope is the name of our Lady when she can bring us to Jesus, like she did with Elizabeth and John. Hope is what my daughter will bring sometime in her future calling. She is my #prolife baby. And she is the sweetest, most gentle, joyful, amazing child. I do not take for granted my children, or Elizabeth. I know have no more baby girls. My womb has not ever gone this long without a new baby girl. My heart feels for the barren, in a way. I long for another little girl. Elizabeth wishes she could have a baby sister. The greatest message I recieved from Elizabeth's coming was that the very children who make a difference are the ones who impact you the greatest. Other mothers who abort have no idea what difference this one child could make. They have no idea what they are throwing away. They have no idea that there is HOPE.

Sebastian came after I dreamed of losing a baby within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Somehow Saint Faustina played a roll in teaching me this. I don't know how, but, perhaps she was the intercessor here.  I had a VERY DETAILED dream that left in me in tears when I awoke.  I had been pregnant in my dream and miscarried. But somehow there was this hope that I could save the baby. I could see his legs, arms, fingers, etc.  I held his body in my hand, weeping terribly. I wept because I was wondering how he'd make me smile, or laugh, or what amazing talent he may have. I wept because I was missing his life within mine. At that time I realized what God telling me. Keeping God from creating life was going to prevent such gifts bestowed upon me or the world. I knew that if we had chosen to abstain at the time would cause me great sorrow when one day God would reveal to me the times I "chose" to control my own life, and what joy I'd missed because of it. I told my husband I felt we must listen and allow God to work if He so chose. I found out I was pregnant within the month. I was expecting it, but still in shock in a way because I was solely trusting in God and what I felt He communicated to me. It makes me tear up writing this now, because I see where He would expect the same from me after Sebastian was born.
Sebastian came after a healthy pregnancy, at 36.5 weeks. I had wondered if he was going to be healthy because I had a sense something didn't seem right. I never would have guessed that after a dream to cooperate with God, I'd give birth to a beautiful boy with Down Syndrome. And to this day, (tears!) I could never had imagined the sorrow Id feel to live without him. He showed me the gift of a child I'd long to save to be with me before He even created him. It was a perfect cooperation with God that brought a purely deliberate and intentional creation to me. This is how I know that God knew Sebastian before He created him within my womb. He was dedicated before He was with me. Another #prolife moment. Keep in mind: 9/10 of babies with Downs are aborted simply because they have the diagnosis of the extra chromosome.

I could share the message of what took place throughout the NICU with Sebastian, but that is for another post. This little angel's full name is Sebastian James. He was given to me by the powerful intercession of our Lady, the Immaculata. Again, for another post.  But, in the moment I realized I could not control things, and that God asked me to trust Him, (going back to my dream), He chose to do one more thing: speak to me yet again. 2 Cor. 4:17 says, "For this light, momentary affliction is preparingfor us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." Sebastian was born at 4:17. God spoke to me through his word, at my request to tell me something encouraging, thanks to my sister in law.

Cajetan John-Raphael is my last baby as of now. His name literally means, "Rejoice! God has shown favor and healed!"  His birth was a miracle. Something I could've never imagined ... I prayed my entire pregnancy that God would give me a joyful birth to replace the heartache I felt after Sebastian was born and the long NICU stay, which ailed my momma heart.... I prayed that the delivery would be "uneventful" and that I would be able to hold my baby for as long as I wanted and he wouldn't have to be rushed away without me. My heart wouldn't be able to bear that again. My labor was easy and my delivery miraculously beautiful! I was able to deliver him myself and it was complete. Conception to birth, I brought him forth to myself. And that boy wanted his momma. My heart was healed. Sebastian had been blessed with a sibling, ever worthy of one of a child deserved one. My children were elated.

My choices weren't always easy, and my family isn't mine because they were all MY CHOICES.  It is what is because of what GOD CHOSE.  Each one of these little blessings taught me something: that whether it was an opportune time to be pregnant, and the struggles with each, when there were some, helped me to appreciate another aspect of someone else's circumstance.  It taught me compassion. It taught me that God Has plans only He could know, and that what we view as a mistake He can use for a miracle. He taught me that I don't have to be in control in order to bring success and greatness into my life.  He taught me that my plans are not my own, but His to chose ultimately for me.  He taught me that when I let go, and give it to Him, and when I trust His voice, He will not fail me. Though there may be trials, I can count it all joy..... He is gracious to bless me (and us!) with perseverance and wisdom, strength and courage to take on the unknown, so that He might be glorified.  This is my #prolife testimony. If any of my children were snuffed out by abortion, I can guarantee it wouldn't be the same. I couldn't choose which ones I'd rather live without. Each of them teach me. Each of them teach me to love deeper.

CHOICE is a gift, sure. But there are poorly made choices, and choices made in faith. CHOICE can be wrong or right, good or bad, yielding to consequence or success. For those who know me, I know you would say you cannot imagine my choices being different. And I'd have to agree.     Please come to realize what importance your choices are. Choices have either a benefit or a loss. Choose wisely. You wouldn't want to be left wondering, "What if...?"

Each of my children are a part of my legacy that I will leave behind someday. It wasn't easy bringing them all into the world. I had several difficulties, and many which took some toll on me for a time.  I had risky deliveries, and risk of hemorrhage. But God made sure His plans for my children were kept. He kept me safe no matter what.  The saddest part is my children didn't all come easily, and I realize how different my life would be had things gone totally wrong, and I experienced my first miscarriage (fairly early) this past year.  I was so afraid to see my body having difficulties. I now have reached a point where I wonder if I could be blessed again. I do not take my pregnancies and births for granted.  I now wonder if it could ever again be within  reach.  I am not sure I am ready to see these moments gone just yet.

My prayer is that those women out there contemplating abortion, stop and think.... not about whether they will or will not get that degree on time (I chose to put my education in hold, and can now revisit that opportunity soon!), or think about that wedding date they cannot (but could) change, that job they think will be compromised if they kept that baby, but to think of the life awaiting if they'd  make a choice to see where life takes them for a change.... not where they take their life. Let the flower bloom. Everyday it gets more exciting.... there won't always be joy and happiness; sometimes there are tears. But life isn't set for easiness. It's set to be on fire with compassion, love, and life to the fullest. Give the unborn a chance to make a life for you. All you need to do is let them take the wheel, or the womb, actually. They have ways of changing your world; THIS WORLD.

Peace and hope be with you all. Thank you for reading. Please like and share! Spread the message of hope!