Thursday, April 30, 2009

2 things

Hey everyone who reads this, if you could please say a quick prayer for my family about 2 things:

1 - Travis just found out about a masters program at BU that is brand new and therefore tuition is being covered by grants. He's applying for it and we are very hopeful he'll be excepted into the program because it would mean so much to our family.

2 - We've been accepted as CCL NFP teachers. We just need to continue to pray about it and make sure we're supposed to be moving ahead with this commitment.

Thanks and God bless!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Figuring out what to do

I was recently told to think about what it means to me to be a wife and a mother. I know that it means I am to love and serve my husband and children and to help them get to Heaven. But as I've thought about it more the idea and the reality have become so big I cannot wrap my mind around them.

For me, this has been an exercise in looking at vocations and of doing what you're called to do right now. It seems that a lot of us live life a little too "fly by the seat of our pants" as we follow our guts, emotions, consciences or just the flow. But I think that maybe that can be dangerous. I think "going with the flow" is what leads to engagements that end in called off weddings or marriages that end in divorce (among other things).

I am learning that discernment is something to be greatly respected and not taken lightly. And to rightly discern we need to have a great respect for all vocations and to be able to differentiate between our gut feeling and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Example: While Travis and I were engaged there were a lot of issues that came to the surface. People thought we were being rash in our short courtship. We both struggled with tying up the loose ends of his previous relationship. There were times when we both wondered if we were supposed to get married or if we were at least supposed to get married so soon. We wondered if we were blinded by our excitement, love and happiness. Undoubtedly, this led to some tough conversations and lots of crying at Adoration. But in the end, we knew we were supposed to follow through with our original plans because in the quiet of our hearts there was a deep peace about our relationship, and that peace was strongest before the Blessed Sacrament.

Other examples come from friends who are in seminary or religious orders. All of them felt some fear at telling someone in their lives that they had discerned a different life than the one they had been living. One very good friend was pressured by her parents and siblings, made to feel like she was selfishly abandoning them. Another broke up with a long term girlfriend, breaking her heart because he knew that he was not being called to be her husband. One friend came very close to leaving the convent and another has discerned that he is not called to the priesthood. Having discerned God's will, both of these friends, despite all the hardships they went through, feel great joy and peace in their lives.

By remembering and reflecting on my own vocational discernment and those I have been privileged to have observed, I have seen that once one has found her vocation she does not stop discerning. I continued to discern God's will for my life throughout my engagement, and I continue to discern it now. How can I best show my love to Travis and Lydia? What is God calling me to do; who else is He calling me to reach out to? My vocation will always be to love and serve my family, but what that looks like will have to change. And those changes are what I will have to figure out through prayer.

At least, I think. :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thank you whoever you are!

To the person who mailed us a $100 gas gift card:


I will remember you at the Altar of the Lord.

And we will probably use it to visit Sr. Marie Noelle in Nashville. I haven't seen her in almost 3 years and while I was excited about making this trip, I was worried about the expense. Thank you so much for your generous gift.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lydia's Wish List

***** Disclaimer *****
I realize this may seem like a greedy, low-brow, rude thing to do. However, I would much rather people spend their money on things that will last, that I know my daughter will play with, that won't get sold on a garage sale or returned to the store, and that will encourage her to be creative and to learn.

Melissa & Doug Cutting Food 31-piece Set in a Wooden Storage Box: This is a collection of wooden toy food that velcros together and can be "cut" with a wooden toy knife. Some friends have these; Lydia has played with them and I know they're a toy she will use for years.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Food Groups Play Set: Not only are these super cute and have the same advantages as the Cutting Food Set, they also are healthy foods.

Take Along Tool Kit: Lydia loves taking things out of their container and putting them back in. She loves manipulating objects and the Tool Kit would give her all kinds of things to figure out and play with. Plus, she can use it to help her Daddy around the house.

Toy Instruments: a drum, maracas, tambourine, bells - anything that makes music (except a xylophone) because this girl loves music.

bumGenius 3.0 Diapers: One diaper costs $18, which seems like a lot of money, I know. BUT Lydia will be re-wearing that one diaper again and again and again. Then all her younger siblings will wear that diaper again and again and again. We love these diapers because they are economical, earth-friendly and super cute.

BabyLegs: One pair costs $12, which may seem pricey, I know. BUT, besides the cloth diapers, the only thing that Lydia got when she was a wee baby and still uses on a regular basis are BabyLegs. And she will continue to use them for years. But whichever ones you like, but really we need a pair of plain pink, purple, blue and green. I will say I also like the Union Jack, Heather Rainbow, Phinney, Polo and Royal Sport pairs. But I'm just sayin'...

Board Books: Especially ones by Eric Carle such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and From Head to Toe. Lydia also loves the rhythm of Sandra Boynton.

Clothes: Lydia's growing into a size 4 shoe. Because of her long body and big cloth diaper butt Carters onesies fit her best (size 12-18mo for summer). We've found that almost any other brand gets just a few wears but Carters go on and on. Pants/shorts should be size 18 mo. Shirts can be 12-18 mo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

to teach or not to teach

Travis and I just submitted the application to be NFP teachers for the Couple to Couple League in our Diocese. We're not 100% sure we're going to do it; I for one want to spend more time praying about it.

Reasons we should do it:
- there is a need in our Diocese for more teachers.
- we are firm believers in the goodness of NFP.
- to teach something you really need to know it, and we're excited to further study the theology and science behind natural family planning.
- we feel like we have some good experience; we used NFP to successfully delay and achieve pregnancy and we learned the valuable lesson that when you don't chart you get pregnant.
- it saddens us that our parishes are full of couples who contracept often times because they don't understand what NFP truly is nor the Church's teachings. If we can help change that we will.

Reasons we shouldn't do it:
- God has other things He wants us to do with our time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter oh Easter

There is nothing more beautiful than an Easter Vigil Mass done right. In fact, it is my favorite Mass of the year, especially at the Cathedral. Beginning in absoulte darkness, then the Easter candle, representing Christ our Light comes into the the church. All our individual candles are lit and then the Easter Proclamation is chanted with the cantor using only candle light to read the words. Three readings, all done in relative darkness, setting up the great salvation that is ours through Christ's victory over the grave.

I am glad Lent is over. Does anyone else find that being a kind, good, holy person is a lot harder during Lent when you are trying for Christ?

Lydia's first Easter was a success. Fun board books, bubbles, a pinwheel, a xylophone, a baby pool and 3 bumGenius diapers. Everyone's happy. :)

And finally, here's a little story to warm your heart: Msgr. Powell of Epiphany Parish in Normal donated his kidney to one of his parishioners. The recipient happens to be the mother of a friend; please keep the good monsignor, Mrs. D and her family in your prayers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Holy Week I've moved in with my parents and gone to the ER

This is my week since Saturday:

- "scrapbooking" the invitations to Lydia's 1st birthday party with crafty Katie, Lydia's godmother and expert scrapbooker, who let me use all her paper, ribbon and whatnot.

- Visiting a good friend in northern IL. We chatted, watched part of Wall-E (must see the rest of it) and had brunch with her wonderful parents after Palm Sunday Mass. Her mom was afraid I might lift all their Easter decorations. (See the Halloween Tree.)

- Staying at my parents' house so Travis can make a mess mudding, sanding and (hopefully) priming the walls without worrying about Lydia and I breathing fumes, etc.

- Napping! Thank God my mom doesn't mind watching Lydia while I nap. I love it!

- Going to Mass. Since it's Holy Week I want to attend every service. Today was the Chrism Mass, and it was the first one I'd ever attended. It was absolutely amazing to see all the priests, deacons, religious and seminarians. I was also very happy to see B, a former EC student who left Eureka to enter seminary. He has since discerned that God is not calling him to the priesthood but to marriage. B is a solid guy and I am so thankful that he was willing to actively discern a calling he thought he had. It can take a lot of courage to make such a counter-cultural decision and I am so proud of him for following where he was called.

- Making my second lifetime trip to the ER. Monday afternoon I awoke with a pain in the back of my knee. My whole lower right leg hurt and my foot felt like it was asleep. My midwife told me to go to the ER to make sure it wasn't a blood clot. Let me say, I was totally impressed with OSF Hospital. Everyone was super friendly: the parking attendant, nurses, doctor, sono tech, etc. Oh, and they did not find a blood clot and it seems I may just have a funky leg. Baby #3 and I are both okay.

Friday, April 3, 2009

This is my cute girl, with her cute smile and cute shoes.

This is what happens when an 11 month old plays with dental floss and a toy elephant.

For Travis' birthday I made up this onesie, cutting off the bottom part because it wouldn't fit with Lydia's cloth diaper. The bottom, though, made for a very stylish hat.

On Trav's bday Lydia and I took him lunch. We then stuck around for his last class (block schedule). The adorableness that is Lydia was a little distracting at times. :)