August 13, 2014

Writing out my heart

Gosh you guys, there are so many things swirling through my mind right now and I don't know how to articulate any of it.

My heart feels a little achy but I don't know why. Should I try to write about it anyways? Yes? Oh good, I was going to.

This morning I was in bed with three kids with two pressed up against me. They couldn't get comfortable and as I laid there at 5:45 in the morning - in my non-family, queen sized bed - I was done. Totally touched out. I felt claustrophobic under the sheets and I needed to get. out. now. Touched out before 6 am is not a good thing. It's the beginning of a long day.

My baby is crying a lot right now. Low grade fever, molars just peeking through, I know he's not comfortable. He is at the "I'll cry if you hold me and I'll cry if you don't" stage and while he is the cutest, sweetest baby most of the time he is really wearing on me now.

Last Friday I had to call 911 and ride in an ambulance with JF because I fed him something he was allergic to. Did you know that he's like super deadly allergic to dairy? All this time I thought nuts were the worst but really, for him, it's dairy. Along with the nuts, eggs, wheat, soy, and tomatoes. I'm going to complain for a minute, okay? Each meal, each snack, each trip to the grocery store is almost exhausting. Reading the labels, substituting ingredients, trying to find food that will satisfy everyone and make no one complain.

And school. I love that my kids are able to attend Catholic school; I wish that I had some really strong friendships with other moms at our school. I also wish there was a group of moms who 1) had some middle school aged kids 2) where completely orthodox and followed the Church's teachings 3) joyfully loved being Catholic 4) were open to mentoring moms like me. I wish they would swoop in and invite me and other moms to afternoon tea and morning playdates, they and their husbands would chat with me and my husband, they'd make sure I knew - not the gossip - but all the ins and outs of what's going on at school. Making new friends is incredibly difficult as an adult, especially more so when I'm placed in a situation where we all should be on the same page but we're not and it's really hard figuring out where people are. (Updated to clarify that those moms probably are there, I just don't know them and I don't know how to find them. That's what I was getting at...)

I suppose right now I'm tired, though not really physically. I am not in a state of grace, I know that. It's really dark here, kinda muffled, not as joyful, and it makes connecting with God so hard, so exhausting. I'm scratching for peace but it's not mine for the taking right now.
poor Mary and her poor chipped halo

 I will be meeting with a priest on Friday afternoon for confession and a little bit of direction. I haven't had real spiritual direction in a long time and I know I need it. I'm hoping the meeting goes well and he's open to meeting again. We'll see. Will you pray? Will you please pray for me?

Also, I feel the urge to listen to some good, solid podcasts. What are your favorites?

Thanks for staying with me and letting me type it all out. Now to do some dishes, fold some laundry, and maybe bake a cake.


35 comments:

  1. Prayers. I can relate to so much of that. Go listen to some Fr. John Riccardo: http://frjohnriccardo.libsyn.com/ There's a ton there and it's all amazing.

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  2. Ahhh Bonnie, I'm sorry you're experiencing such mental exhaustion right now. I was like this last week which prompted my husband to take a week long summer vacation to give me a little break. I don't know if that's something your husband can do at this point but it has really helped me collect my thoughts. I wish I lived closer because I have the same issue with trying to find new friendships and maintain them. Does your parish have a young mom's group or anything? Hopefully you can get some rest and spiritual direction and confession will give you the strength you need.

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    1. My old parish has a great mom's group but I'm the only Catholic schooler. I wish St. Pat's had a moms' group with built in mentors, but to my knowledge it does not. If it does, well they're top secret! I have many great friends in the area but most if them are homeschoolers and it's the parish community I'm longing for. So yay for good friends but here's hoping for more.

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    2. If the kind of group you need doesn't exist... why not form one? It doesn't have to be a big deal but maybe just meet with a couple of ladies for lunch. When my babies were little there was a group of us who would drop off our kids at school and then meet at our friend Laura's house for coffee. Some days we were there for ten minutes, some days until lunch! There were about a half dozen of us who went routinely, dragging our non-school aged kids along for the fun. Half the time we were still in pjs. We also had a friend who ran a screen-printing business and we would randomly congregate there, especially in the spring when she was making shirts for all of the local ball teams. Some of us did screen printing... some answered the phone... I kept her office in order all while our littles played. I held weekly Bible Study sessions at the park so that our kids could play while we had deep, theological conversation. We also had a group of us who would get in line for school pick up a little early so we could visit. The point is life was WAY more social when my kids were little and it was WAY easier to make friends than it is as an empty nester! You're a neat person with a lot of interesting things to share... just get out there and make some intentional connections!

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  3. Lots of prayers for you. I felt so similar and then I found my people. My mentors, friends, kindred spirits, and generally amazing women. You will too. It will change your life and it will soothe your soul. I will pray for you and so will many others and you can have faith that it will be Good.

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  4. THANK YOU for being so open about your moments of struggle. I'm in a period where I'm "Mom'd out" and not seeing a relief in sight. I'm trying very hard to find joy and blessing in my day-to-day life right now but I can definitely tell I'm quicker to temper and not liking it. The fact that you sharing let's me know I'm not alone and that I can weather this storm in a better state of grace!

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  5. I'm sorry you are having such a hard time. It's so difficult to make friends sometimes.
    I've found for myself, that if I want friends, oftentimes I have to be the one to initiate things or I have to be the one to start a group. If it is at all possible, maybe think about starting a mom's book club or discussion group with your school. It might help you find other mom's who share some of your view's You could meet at your house or at a public place (like a coffee shop or Panera) and just have a discussion topic of discuss a book or something like that.

    As far as mentoring goes, it can be hard, but maybe just try to approach an "older" mom you know that you kinda 'click" with and try to make friends. Those of us with older kids are looking for friends just as much as those with younger kids. :)

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  6. Prayers and hugs Bonnie! And confession, confession is alway the remedy!! So much grace even if it's intangible and invisible. You are such a wonderful mother and navigating thoes eating hallenges for our son must be the most difficult thing and I admire you so much for persevering.

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  7. Praying that you find the community you are looking for!

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  8. I've been feeling like that lately...I know I need to go to confession soon! As for podcasts, I LOVE the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcasts. They haven't come out with a new one in awhile, but you could go through the archives. They always give me a laugh. For something a little more serious, I like Pat Gohn's Among Women podcasts.

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  9. Prayers! Are there families you see at school masses regularly? Invite them over for a cookout with their kids. If they're taking time out of the day for a school mass, it's likely they value it as much as you do.

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  10. I totally feel you on this. I have superficial friends, you know? But not really anyone who I share my heart with. It can be lonely. Even my husband who is amazing, isn't Catholic. So he tries but I crave someone to talk about faith with. It gets discouraging and I have a hard time praying. Anyways, I will pray for you!! It's funny, you are someone who I would think of as a mentor. We all struggle.

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  11. Audiosancto.org has some amazing Catholic talks on many subjects. Make simple acts of Faith in the hard times repeatedly. Complex prayer can be discouraging in harder times. A really good book is "Discernment of Spirits" (http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/making-good-decisions/discernment-of-spirits/). It sounds like you might have a bit of desolation and this book can help you decide the root of it and how to get through it. Prayers for you!

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  12. Aw, Bonnie. I totally understand this feeling. Or not so much understand it, but know the feeling. It's so hard and I wish there were easy solutions, but I feel that a lot living in isolation-ville. I often wonder if it's because my kids aren't in school, or if its because we live in such a small town and I seem to have nothing in common with other moms who live near me. But it is hard. I know confession and talking will help though, and I'll keep you in my prayers!

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  13. I really like the oldmomnewmom podcast. Two moms from Ohio talking in their kitchen. If you are looking for nonCatholic podcasts I really Like Go Fork Yourself with Andrew Zimmerman. He other chefs and it is so interesting to hear the challenges and triumphs people whose lives look nothing like mine are having.

    Good luck Bonnie. I will hold you in my prayers tonight.

    Kristen
    kristen2by2.com

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  14. Thank you for sharing this. Stay strong and keep carrying the Cross with Jesus...He's right there by Your side. He will not let you be crushed under the weight of the cross!

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  15. I just found a new catholic podcast I really like called Monday Morning Catholic - they talk about the readings from the past week and homilies they heard and other random church/tech stuff (most of the people work/volunteer in ministry in some form), I also really like Catholic Weekend and The Catholic Guy Show.

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  16. Many prayers for you Bonnie. Everything feels worse when it's all piled up like that, at least in my opinion. I hope life settles down a little and you find good support at your school. I'm nervous about this very thing, we are starting at our parish school this fall but most of my friends are homeschooling so I'm worried I'll be alone. You can be my school buddy from afar? ;)

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  17. Prayers your way Bonnie. I just started reading your blog along with several others because I've been so desperate to find some Catholic women friend companionship and I can't seem to find it in 'real life'. It's extremely difficult even if you aren't exhausted and juggling many difficult issues. I can barely restrain myself from ordering pizza every night--not sure how you manage with all those allergies. Prayers to you...

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  18. My son attended a local Catholic school for early ed and K the last 3 years. (We recently moved so we're taking a stab at the big H-school experiment for this upcoming one...new adventure.) The Catholic Mom amongst Catholic School Moms thing was a little hard to navigate. Instead of using the faith as the criterion, I tried to just find 1-on-1 mom convo here and there, when the mom and I seemed to have a connection on any level, but most likely general sanity, perpetual lateness, ridiculous homework, babies, or our child. I met some really wonderful people. Nonetheless, the navigating the parent crew as a whole was an intimidating and often discouraging experience, and I never really felt at home in the big-group parent settings. (There was also a lot of affluence at the school, so that played in big-time for me.) I had to continually refocus my energy on the individuals, and often I was repeatedly pleasantly surprised, over time, with the conversations I had. That said, I didn't really gain any close close personal friends, but my son made a couple in his class, and by biting the bullet and inviting them to bday parties, etc, I gradually really felt connected to their moms because we were all so happy our sons got along so well and had so much in common. We were all in different places, and the first few get-togethers were awkward, but in the end it panned out nicely. It took my timidity probably til the 3rd year to really embrace "what it was" that we were a part of, and keep speaking up to people I didn't necessarily know all that well, but in the end I took the "some is better than none" approach to our connection to the school and all in all it was good for all of us. Some days I still felt awkward and out of the loop and spiritually a little disappointed, but there was enough goodwill and enough true faith at the school to see that God was at work in the lives of the people there and that it was good to be there. I don't know if that's encouraging or relate-able at all, but in some way I get that it's a hard place to be. (And the driving.) I hope over time it bears out for you in a fruitful way, even if it's not what you expect. You never know who else out there is looking for a true connection with YOU :)

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  19. Your bit about school -- YES! I feel the same way -- mostly about this part:
    "Making new friends is incredibly difficult as an adult, especially more so when I'm placed in a situation where we all should be on the same page but we're not and it's really hard figuring out where people are."

    Our parish is known for being pretty heavy on the traditional/orthodox side. But, within the school, I remember finding out that many families and parents really aren't all that traditional/orthodox and actually, a family like mine kind of ticks them off (because we don't complain about our new communion rail and our pastor's love of using Sanctus and Agnus Dei in every Mass, and the fact that now that we have 2 priests, most of the time, no Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are needed....)

    I feel you. I wish we lived close to each other, Bonnie. I have my oldest in middle school (8th) and it's been a rough road in Catholic school (mostly socially -- academically and other has been fine). We could get together and figure out what's going on at school. :)

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  20. Oh, boy, do I know touched out. I absolutely know those feelings you're talking about. I'll pray that you find a good mentoring mom... seems like there *has* to be one somewhere... And also pray that you find some respite from the stress of teething and food allergies. Those are no small things. Hugs, sister.

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  21. Praying for you! All of the day to day can get really wearing, can't it?

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  22. The summer gets long and we get burned out. Sometimes I want a deep fix and keep thinking I'm not eating the right stuff, haven't been to confession, haven't been prioritizing my prayer life and on and on. When really, the solution was a simple as I needed a break! I needed someone to come and get my kids and take them away for hours. I needed to be alone in my house with no one else here. A break. Then, I was ALL better and worked on the rest! Praying for you!!

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  23. Sending prayers your way! I'm in such a funk these days too, so I feel ya with being all touched out before the day has even started. I'm really over cosleeping with our little one. Also, I wish it were easier to find good Catholics to befriend. It's hard though, and especially disheartening when places like a Catholic school and such leave you empty handed. Hopefully God surprises you with some great friends this school year!

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  24. I second Mary's suggestion of Fr. John Riccardo! He is wonderful! Bonnie, your heart is beautiful and desires such good things. I will be praying for you! Feeling touched out can happen so easily and out of no where! Especially praying you find some kindred spirits to share motherhood and faith with soon! I know my close friends really help during those "touched out" times. I vote you call up a friend and go have some margarita time filled with fun, smiles, and laughter. ;) *hugs*

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  25. Ha! The not-family sized queen sized bed is so us! It's amazing how small that bed gets once you start piling kids into it. And the touched out before you've even gotten out of bed? Yep. Btdt.

    I'll be praying for you, Bonnie. Pray that you meet some lovely school moms who are up for some friendship and continuing growth and learning in the Church. Hugs to you!!!

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  26. I her you , Bonnie! I've been in a dark dreary place myself lately:( I have 2 kids in my bed every night and my husband sleeps in another room with my 13 up autistic son who still has sleep issues so no one gets any sleep around here!
    My 13 to has food issues too...though his mess with his sensory system and keep him up at night and make him wacky but thy aren't life threatening! That's a lot of pressure! Most days, he eats a different meal than the rest of us bc it's hard to find food everyone likes that's gluten, dairy and yeast free! It takes a lot of joy out of cooking though:(
    As for the friends/mentoring....that's a tough one. Good schools don't equal parents on the same page for sure! I started a book club a year and a half ago at my house and invited a couple I close friends and a couple of women I kind of knew through the school/parish. It's grown a little, but we've all gotten closer and enjoyed being in the trenches of motherhood. We are all diverse in our motherhood and ages....but it works:) I wish you were closer and could join in! (I have had 9 children that range from 2 to 21!) Keep praying and bein open to where, and to who, God will lead you.

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  27. Bonnie, praying for you and a fruitful confession/direction experience. Catholic podcast I always listen to: Fr. Robert Barron's Word on Fire. Short reflection on Sunday Gospel, and gets me ready for Mass. Random podcasts I rarely miss: This American Life, Planet Money. Sometimes: The Moth (some of the stories can be too graphic and/or pretentious, but often good story-telling there), Focus on the Family (surprisingly good, sometimes), SciFri from NPR, Read-Aloud Revival I've only listened to a few but good interviews. More, but here's a start.

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  28. Lifting you up right now! I can't imagine how draining it is going shopping for all those allergies. I find it exhausting just shopping for gluten-free, real-food, and 7 people. Whew.

    I keep thinking about spiritual direction, but I'm too scared to ask our priest. :/

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  29. I'm not a "school mom" yet but I still feel the lack of practicing Catholic mom friends in my life (that live close-by.) If only we all lived near each other. Nick told me about an ad in our church bulletin: Rosary High School is looking for a full time Physics teacher. Nicks all "Let's tell Travis!" I thought.. If only Bonnie hated Chicago less and the Engstroms were willing to uproot their entire family up to the suburbs... I'm dreaming.. But it's a lovely dream! ;)

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