Friday, July 28, 2017

Monthly Recap vol. 45 ~ July 2017 The Beach and some news!


It has been a hot July, though we've had a lot of beautiful blooming trees, thunderstorms, and cool nights perfect for catching fireflies.

Also, lately... a beach trip to Pensacola, Florida.  This is a great beach for us. It's only 6 hours away and a beautiful area.  So much fun to be had!!!!:)


The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

I thought it would be cliche to read the story of the famous Fixer Upper stars, but it turns out their story is fantastic.  Chip Gaines was sorta a hero around town, helping homeless, mentoring young kids, and generously employing college kids.  Turns out they do not only seem nice, they're legit Christian people with a really amazing story to tell. 5 stars!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I had extremely mixed feelings about this book. If the premise isn't a reflection of L.A. culture, I don't know what is.  A woman with seven husbands, who doesn't love a single one of them.  There are plot twists from the beginning, that continue to the end. She keeps the reader guessing. It's an easy read with plenty of drama. I didn't expect the emphasis on race, but that ended up being a highlight for me. :)  She brings to light the emptiness of spotlight culture, but it's deeper than that.

The reviews rave about this book being heartfelt, but that's not why I was interested in reading to the end. Rather, the drama and the star-worthy writing which reflects the shallow LA culture kept me interested. The let-down in this book, however, lies with her desire to be culturally relevant and instead hitting some really clangy desperate-to-be-politically-correct notes instead.

Wuthering Heights-- by Emily Bronte~  review to come!

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (reread!)


Young and Hungry

This is such a great example of how the marriage vows are a total joke in our culture. If you want to see what American culture gets **Wrong** check this show out (on Netflix).

The Office (American version)

I do recognize that the subject matter here is the problem with dirty jokes. I have to take what I can get.... and at least Steve Carell is actually funny.

Nine Lives

The kids have been into Tom and Jerry recently, so watching this cat movie as a family was a nice change. Starring Kevin Spacey and some others.

The Descendants 2

Apparently Disney is trying to show that you can fight evil with evil (the descendants of Disney's famous villains).  Hmm... not sure that's a valid premise, but the dancing in water scene was a hit with my girls.


For Years, I Felt Guilty For Not Liking the Hook-up Culture @ Verily

I am loving Oui Fresh, the newly updated (or is it new?) shop from A Beautiful Mess!  Check out this t-shirt!


I got very few hits this month, mainly because I have let link-ups go.

A Few (Some) Thoughts on Parenting

Why Covenant Theology Matters (And Why Catholics *Should* Take Note(s))

The Life-Changing Marriage Advice That Really Works 

"Am I mad? Else wise the world is mad and I the tortured same trapped within it."

I do have some very exciting news to share, though. I am going to be a regular contributor and book reviewer for Dappled Things, starting this Fall. I can't wait to update you on that.

Cheers and Cheerio!

linking up with Leigh Kramer

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Some Notes on Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

When I was little, my parents observed Sabbath rest. I remember *only once* my Dad asked me to clean a bookshelf on a Sunday afternoon. I said, "But Dad, I'm not supposed to do work on Sundays!" And he quipped, "You can do work on Sunday only if you didn't get done what you were supposed to do on Saturday."  It was one minor chore- I knew what he meant.

We all know that the national chain Chik-fil-a keeps it doors closed on Sundays, and guess what? It seems to be working. "They say our chicken tastes better on Mondays..."  Did you know that they make more per store than other fast food chains (except Dunkin Donuts!!), and they have stayed consistent with their policy in every new store opened, in every location?  Yum! Love me some CFA. :)

Recently, I have had on my mind the topic of the Sabbath.  I have had a hard time going to Mass every single Sunday this past year.  It is common practice for our entire family to go to Mass every week. Stephen hasn't missed a Sunday this year.  I have missed a few due to pregnancy sickness & exhaustion, as well as some 'mental health days.'  But you know what? God gives us Sabbath rest as a gift, because he knows that we humans need it! And it gives us grace! :) But the important thing to remember with all of this is that Sundays and Mass attendance should not be seen as miserable or a terrible duty.

I think that - despite those days when we are too sick to attend Mass- we need to think about Sabbath rest in terms of Mass attendance as first priority. It is a grave, nay even mortal sin, to miss Mass. It is spiritual food and it is the best way to stay healthy spiritually.  If you receive communion, you have a Sunday obligation to be at Mass. Let's think about putting the effort we normally put into work, instead into the act of going to Mass.

Channel the energy you would normally use for work, and put that energy into getting up, getting dressed, and driving to Mass.

Additionally, we also need to think about what it means to observe this Sabbath rest all day long on Sundays.

However, we take little allowances, we make excuses, we make compromises.

I'm pretty sure God doesn't see work on Sundays as glorifying the fourth commandment.

How could we observe the Sabbath without "doing the work I was supposed to do yesterday"?

I know that I always get the most done when I make a list.

Instead of making a to-do list, make a "my rest" list.  Write it down. Follow it to a t.

It might look like this:

-Attend Mass
-Practice drawing
-Go for a walk
-Take a nap
-Cook a good meal
-Play a family game
-Go for a drive/swim/bike ride
-Read a good book
-Listen to peaceful music

Write down some things you might find relaxing.  Other than Mass attendance, how would you be able to enjoy your day of rest, as well as giving glory to your Heavenly Father?

You might also make a "to-don't list" that might look like this:

-Don't cut the grass
-Don't do laundry
-Don't do the ironing
-Don't go shopping
-Don't check Facebook
-the dishes/sweeping are mandatory, but make it easy on yourself

Take a rest from your daily routine, and I guarantee you will feel mightily rested on Monday, and refreshed, and in my experience, you'll get even more done and be more productive on Monday-- because God rewards the righteous, as it says in the Proverbs, "The way of the lazy is a hedge of thorns, but the path of the righteous is made a highway."

A few tips:

-Let's say you find yourself sorting laundry out of habit on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe this will help: consider that the night before Sunday (Saturday after sundown) is also considered Sabbath.  That means once the sun goes down on Sunday, if you need to get your laundry done before Monday, you can do it then.
-Remember that with that, you shouldn't do work on Saturday night!
-If you are abstaining from something for religious reasons, remember that Sundays are a day of rest and a day of feasting (particularly, during the season of Lent)
-If you are using Sabbath rest to be lazy, consider that watching sports, avoiding dishes, and sleeping in do not count as Sabbath, because those things are not honoring to God! These things are done out of the desires of the flesh!:)
-Most importantly, make your priority: spirit over flesh. Live by the spirit, not by legalistic rules. Trust your conscience and try to live a holy life. Decisions will flow out from that first posture. :)
-Try to enjoy Sundays- they're a gift from God, not a miserable duty as some would have you believe!

May God bless you.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Weekly Minutiae vol. 23~ another bum week


I'm not going to lie.  Last week I was complaining about not being able to swim much. We did get to go swimming, in a real pool to boot! And yet this week that disappointment pales in comparison... it was another (big, hairy) disappointment to me.

First of all, the house stuff.

Here are some actual things Stephen said to me over the past few weeks:

"Let's go get that house!"

"The realtor is coming this week to take pictures of our house {so that we can put it on the market}!"

"We're going to be approved for a loan so we can make an offer on the house!"

All enthusiasm, all the time... for a week. And then... out of nowhere, he started dragging his feet, and then finally gave me the total let down with this comment, "We have to wait for the right house."

What happened?!?!  Well, we found out the current owners sold some of their land to someone else, meaning that part of the yard we were counting on for our kids' playtime is going to be a driveway. There will also be a house under construction right behind the house. (can I just say-- losers!-- to that-- who splits up a beautiful yard for a driveway?!) I know. I know. Be the bigger man.

But I think even worse than the driveway is the fact that Stephen and I had our hearts pretty much set on it, and then he went back with another realtor to view the home, and all of this information about the yard and driveway and new house came to light. I was shocked, but willing to put in a fence and just go for it. Stephen was shocked, and over time he just convinced himself to give up (Why, I'm not exactly sure!!!!) I was heartbroken. :( It makes me think of this Psalm of lament.
lunch/afternoon snack

I have no idea what is to become of this saga, but I could sure use some prayers for my demeanor and outlook during all of this!!! A different house? Not moving at all?! :( :(  I was literally skipping around the house when I thought we were going to be buying that house! Now, I'm just confused.

Second of all, the baptism.

I called the Church to schedule Conrad's baptism, got it in the books, bought him a blue bubble with a cute shirt to go under it, and then ... his godparents had a baby!  I'm super happy for them, of course, but... Conrad is 2 months old and I hate having to postpone the baptism again!! :(

Molly's "bookstagram" that I found later on my iPhone!  She's reading Percy Jackson (the series)

Third of all, VBS at our Church.

We wanted to put our kids in VBS, and the day I was going to sign up I just completely forgot. A friend in the nursery told me to go after Mass and put their names down. I ended up leaving and completely and utterly forgetting about it. Then I tried looking it up on our Church website, and somehow convinced myself we had already missed it. When I realized we hadn't missed it, I tried to get them in at the last minute, and it was full. :(  :(  :(  Sad. Day!

Last but not least, Anders got a pretty bad gash on his hand. As a dime would be to my hand, so the cut was on his finger. A glass broke while he was in the bath and he put his hand down on it to rest. A dime is to his hand as a quarter is to my hand... dime:quarter::hiswound:myhand

Let's move on to greener pastures, shall we? #cashinonthatmansion #liturgicalliving *liturgicaldating 

We ended up doing a couple of fun things this week. Molly had a playdate, so she went over to her best friend Madelynn's house. The girls got to hang out with my Mom and her babysitter, Josie. Finally, we celebrated Stephen's birthday poolside with a delicious meal, and we're making plans (packing up) to go to the beach -- next week!

I'm trying *hard* to focus on the silver lining, but truth be told, this has been a week full of bitter disappointment. If it were not for some things to look forward to, I would be a wreck. A serious wreck.

Now, in other news. Want to see something classy?

My Mom's maternal grandfather, Anders Holm

My Mom's Grandmother, and Great Uncle Conrad!

How happy does that make you/me?! :)

(I decided that I will change the design seasonally... 
consider yourself warned!:)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Life-Changing Marriage Advice That Really Works

You know what gets my goat more than anything else in marriage?

When I expect something and receive zero follow-through from someone else.

I know that is the 100% most hypocritical thing I do, and 100% what I do wrong on a regular basis. I expect certain things from others, yet let them down in the exact same ways.

Honey, why don't you... take me on a date here? Buy me roses every week? Give me beautiful presents?

Well, when was the last time I left a note on his car windshield, paid for his vacation, bought him a nice mug or other gift?

I expect so much, yet I'm apathetic in the same ways. But I can only see what *he* is doing wrong 95% of the time.

Someone (Namely, my counselor) recently told me that instead of fighting (when things don't go my way), instead I should affirm and encourage my husband. I know that for some of you, that's easy. It's obvious. You're lucky. #verylucky #moneyinthebank

For me, I have had to fight against negativity and my own big mouth for 4 years-- in counseling. Things haven't been particularly easy for us recently, but counseling is the best decision I have almost ever made. #almost

I decided to try this theory out.

Do you want to know what happened?


We didn't fight for three weeks straight.

It was life-changing. HUGE. MAJOR.

Sure, I know that being positive is important. In fact, you could probably say that's in my top 5 life mantras. Up there with "Do not worry about tomorrow" And "Lean not on your own understanding." But I didn't know that being positive toward my husband had the power to change our lives and give us the opportunity and even the option of living without fighting.  I didn't know that holding back a sermon and being a sermon in shoes instead would have the power to change my attitude completely.

I see it with my kids, and you'd think it would be so natural... if you encourage someone, they're more hopeful. I encourage my kids on a regular basis. Great job! Wow-- you did it! How did you do that so well?! How are you so cute?

But I can turn around and offer advice to my husband, try to fix him, and correct his weaknesses and mistakes.

Like he's a child.

Sometimes, you can- and have to!- establish boundaries in love. If someone is late for dinner, let's say they went shopping or grocery shopping or something-just put their plate in the fridge and eat. If that someone is late because they went grocery shopping, you can leave and go to the drugstore to get the tylenol they forgot.  They will hopefully get the hint that you're not going to sit around feeling bitter. You'll just establish boundaries so that you don't have to absorb the poison of bitterness.*

But sometimes, words and actions sting, and I have had to learn to hold my tongue, keep myself in check, stop wishing, and start doing.

Every time I'm tempted to correct mistakes, I mutter, "You're such a great Dad!" and run into the other room before I say something that has the power to let him down. I cheer him up, then run. Haha! It really works!

Marriage is a lot of hard work and boy howdy, it isn't a fairytale.  More to it, it takes dedication!

Yeah, faithfulness sucks sometimes, but affirmation and the commitment to let go of negativity will change your life.  No. joke. :)

I still have to go to counseling to work out what's going on and hash things out verbally. I still have to figure through a lot of things and let go of my preachy expectations somewhere. The poison has to melt off somewhere and my counselor is the fire to my wax.

So when I'm at home, I can to stop expecting so much from my husband, and instead focus on what I can do to make his life easier and better. I'm not perfect, but I'm going to worry about the ways that I do or do not express love for him. And most importantly, I'm going to affirm and encourage him before I'm tempted to criticize him. So simple, yet so life-changing.

One last thought: we desire connection more than anything else in marriage... the love languages are such a cliche (Seriously- stop) but it is true- we do desire connection.  Try this: Connect to God (both of you) and you will naturally be in step in order to connect to each other. His Spirit will be with you, he will help you to know how to love.  Without that magical link, you're basically nothing.

*These thoughts come straight out of the book by Cloud/Townsend, Boundaries in Marriage.

cross-posting with the ACWB

Friday, July 14, 2017

Weekly Minutiae vol. 22~ moving talk and staying positive

This week has been exciting but also really laid back. Exciting in the regard that we will likely be moving this Fall (and my macbook air is finally fixed! hooray!), Laid back in terms of our day-to-day routine. During the school year I keep the tots really busy, and we have a nearly set-in-stone standing date to the dollar store early every Friday morning to get <<one>> one dollar toy for Anders and Annabel.  It morphed into that after a few attempts to go whilst staving off tantrums and I came to the realization that one eraser was better than a major meltdown. Often the kids would play with their one toy all day long.  Once a week, one toy, not too much damage done. In fact the habit some could argue was good for them.

Well, once Summer rolled around you can imagine... all of the kids wanting something and requesting to go early Monday morning.  Honestly after a weekend of pure laziness, I couldn't muster much in the parenting department. Playground, too hot. Mall play area; a little too outgrown for the older two. So it became Monday afternoon ... we'd go to the dollar store if the kids were good.

Summer to me is swimming, playing outside, eating watermelon and popsicles, just general backyard fun or like a true Southerner, anything outside + wet... lakes, rivers, creeks, yeah. It isn't only hard because we do not live near a pool...  adjusting to life with six children has been getting my goat recently. Conrad became fussier this week because of a very small cold. While we are very blessed and almost spoiled with grandparents living nearby, it may come to a surprise to many of you that Stephen and I haven't been on a proper date in close to a year. *Long story- very very long story.*  I finally challenged him to take us "out" on a Friday night and he honestly dragged his feet. Marrying a person who balks at the idea of an evening family bike ride (really?!) has been a unique challenge for me. Actually really hard. Bug-hunting with your new bug-catcher has to suffice some days. Saturday and Sunday full of way too much screen time makes me feel like a sloth... Because Mama feels like exploding on Monday morning and I just ain't got much better dan dat.

But yeah.... my salvation and/or saving grace has been my Mom watching the kids so that I can clean and shop for groceries to cook meals with.  My girls would be addicted to screens if it were not for her. Seriously! She has had some help taking care of them- a friend who is 18 years old and has been homeschooled came from Kenya to live with my parents for a big part of the Summer. She loves our girls and they love her!  Friends, if you can get a babysitter to break up the Doooooog Days I highly recommend it! Ladies put your red lipstick on because we.have.a.babysitter!!! :)

We do have a splashpad at our disposal nearby. I try to do the creek a few times every Summer as well. We aren't members, but my parents bring us as guest to their pool. And my parents have a house on the river, so we swim there every chance we get during the Summer.

So yeah... Stephen went back to look at the same house with a different realtor. And bless his heart he is / has been patient with this whole process! ;) :) If we go through with everything, this will be our realtor for selling our house.  Our to-do lists are insane.  I made a list of things to get done before putting our house on the market, and things we will need and want to do once we move, and it was overwhelming, to say the least.  We have an old trash can with a hole that's filled with stuff we need to take to the dump. Stephen doesn't have a pick-up so we'll most likely have to wait until we move, or borrow a truck one weekend so that we can get it all done.

Let's talk about "being positive" for a minute.  Ok... you know how you make "pro's and con's" lists when you're considering something? Stephen and I are really good at that. However, I have noticed that Stephen's tendency is to rip something apart notice everything that's wrong with something, and I tend to see the good more often.  I feel like if you focus on what you like about *anything* in your life, you can make improvements and see the potential.  It's what you make of it... so if you're constantly berating someone or something, how can it ever be a source of joy?

I know for sure that if we move, that although it's a cute craftsman in the old 1920's style, it will be a fixer-upper for sure.

It's an old house with plenty of charm, but it doesn't necessarily tick off all of the boxes you would want for a new home.  I think it will be what we make of it, though. If we see it as a "daring adventure," a la Helen Keller, the things we love about it will be what we harness and improve upon.

If we stay in this house, I still think we could make something good and beautiful out of it.  But the projects that we would do in the new house have to happen *over time*. Sure it would be fun to take on every single project all at once, but then we'd be broke and super unhappy in the short term. The "daring adventure" thing.

The main clincher for moving (for me) is that I have a vision for the new home, and I no longer have a vision for this house. When we viewed it, I could imagine Christmas there, having family over, playing in the back yard, cooking on the porch, doing my devotions on the deck... and when we came back home, sure there were things that I would miss, but the vision just wasn't there. #goodvibes

So hopefully.... God will be faithful and this process will not take the maximum amount (which the owners of our house has set at 4 months).

Bookish talk...

Still listening to Wuthering Heights. I watched the PBS masterpiece theater version (A two-part miniseries), and I really, really enjoyed it. In fact, I can't recommend it highly enough. It has 5 stars on Amazon, so you know it's good stuff!

I'm reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as well as The Magnolia Story. #summerreading  Let's go with... a quick page-turner and an easy breezy beach read!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why Covenant Theology Matters (And Why Catholics *Should* Take Note)

If  we hold fast to the confession of our faith, we will be  outcasts.
In fact, if we're sell-outs, we're definitely doing something wrong.
We need to understand the *purpose* of faithfulness, or "empty" doctrine falls on our deaf ears and remains empty doctrine.

People won't go to Mass, and they don't go to Mass. Father Robert Barron has said that only 31% of American Catholics attend Mass every Sunday.  Faithfulness, as departing from the deadly sin of sloth, matters because I believe Heaven matters.

Right now, Christianity as it is known in most modern, popular circles is a dumbed down, watered down "love to all," with a vague notion of Jesus + a lot of false and horrible views on marriage, the Church, and authority...

Let's take marriage for starters.

Listen to the news. Pay attention to the lyrics in any popular song. Watch some of the new shows coming out on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

The marriage vows are a joke.
Homosexuality is something you condone because you're a nice person.
people walk the road to divorce faster than they eat a piece of pie.

Jesus is the founder of Christianity. If you believe in his teaching, call yourself a Christian.

But, well, what a crappy world we live in! Oh joy, joy, joy! Let's sing Joyful Joyful, oh crap that was in my parents'/sister's/friend's wedding and now she's divorced.

um. ??? {scowling face emoji}

We're too bitter as a culture to value the purpose, nature, and provision of Covenant.

Covenant theology matters because we're a culture starving for faithfulness.

Stop reading for a second.

This breaks my heart. It has hit close to home and it hurts.  Like all of you, I have been impacted by the ravages of divorce and the heartbreak that ensues.

This word- faithfulness- is fallow in our culture.  The fruit of faithfulness lies dormant in so many lives, I'm sure the Catholic church has lost count.

It's "not your fault" but if we refuse the gesture of love freely given on Christ's cross when we deny the keys to the Kingdom lie in His one true Church.

As we learned from the Mosaic promise (Deuteronomy 11), we have to turn from sin in order to inherit the fruit of faithfulness.

I suppose that because of the New Covenant (in his blood), those who "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"- abide by the golden rule- most definitely have a chance at eternal life, despite cultural shackles. Yet we have to choose to live in harmony with God, and keep his commands.... not just that prettiest of commands, Love One Another.... because otherwise, without the cross, we choose sloth, living in a blind world with a hopeless outlook on life and the purpose for it.

So "love one another" should be met with not just the milk of the faith, but the meat.

We risk a very, very dangerous turnpike if we do not keep God's commands when little people are watching us.

The meaning of life could be summed up thusly from a faithful, practicing Catholic family:

-to be fruitful and multiply
-to show love and live in harmony with God and neighbor
-to believe and live according to the teachings of Jesus

Sure, we know the miracles of Jesus and the stories of the Bible. We might even not yawn when the pastor reads them.

But do the commands speak into our lives? Do they matter to the least of these - the children, the teens, and the young adults who are trapped by the evils of sin at a younger and younger age?  They should. Because Satan's tricks are terrifying.

I do not speak to those who do not have families. God has a mission for singles, priests, missionaries, and nuns, monks, and prophets.  He has a special purpose in mind for those categories.

But for families, God desires two things:


Without faithfulness to his teaching and to honor and love each other (in the family and our neighbors, too), we are lost, we are flailing, we are a sinking ship. We're drowning.

The only guiding force, without God's commands, is selfishness and the whims of the world through the means of popular culture.

My fellow Catholics, do we choose the quest after our own power/pride?

Or do we choose family/community?

The meaning of life, again, is to be fruitful, to live in harmoney with each other, and to believe the teachings of Jesus and live by them.

Is this how you practice your faith?

I hope so.:)

And I am not talking small potatoes if we follow the teaching and reverse the trend of fallow ground and fruitless toil. I'm talking "bringing in the sheaves" of the great harvest God has planned through the power of his work on the cross. It is finished! Insofar as we live by "Love one another, as I have loved you" and learn from the commands of Scripture and the doctrines of the Church.

How? How do we practice faithfulness to the commands (teachings) of The Church?

*Read your Bible
*Live in Community
*Receive absolution for sin
*Grow in grace
*Obey God's commands
*Live generously
*Learn the catechism

Let's start there. And when we start seeing a harvest, we'll know we're bringing up children who will follow God all the way to... Heaven.

Cross-posting with the ACWB

Friday, July 7, 2017

Weekly Minutiae vol. 21~ the 4th of July!

Welcome to Weekly Minutiae, vol. 21, the feature each week where I share updates from our week, cute stories and pictures of and about our kids, and just a fun round-up of bookish talk~~ or really, whatever is on my mind for that particular week! It's basically just like two friends catching up... except in this case you, reader are my friend. Fun!

Not gonna lie, I do have some sweet pics to share with you from the Fourth of July holiday, but first-- a little intellectualism for the readers among us! ha :)
mini happy planner... available wherever planners are sold (and I love mine!):)

I have recently been reading Madeleine L'Engle: Herself; Reflections on a Writing Life, which is simply a collection of quotations and selections from L'Engle's excellent body of work. Many thoughts and scribbles from her journal or published diaries.

I have loved this book for a while, and you can often find it on my bedside.

Here are some fun quotes (she is so thoughtful, and I love her spiritual musings, especially):

"Take a sentence from the psalms, or one of the Gospels, and write a half-page journal entry about what this sentence means right now, in your own life. For instance, the first line of Psalm 11: "Blessed is the man who feareth the Lord; he hath great delight in his commandments."... Read the words with ourselves in mind: 'Blessed are we who fear the Lord; we will have great delight in God's commandments.' What kind of fear is the psalmist talking about? What kind of fear leads to delight? Not cringing, demeaning fear. Awe, perhaps. Amazement at the wonder of a star trembling into being in a darkening sky. Wonder at the greeting of a friend: 'Oh, it's you! I'm so glad to see you! Marvel at the love surrounding a dinner table as we hold hands for the blessing of the gathering and the food. That kind of 'fear' causes us to desire with our whole heart to keep God's commandments, for they are there for our delight."

"The Bible is not objective. Its stories are passionate, searching for truth (rather than fact), and searching most deeply in story. The story of David is one of the most complex and fascinating in the Bible, with its many prefigurings of Jesus. In working on Certain Women I discovered many more contradictions that I had remembered- two different ways of bringing David himself into the story, two different versions of Saul's death, for instance. But what the biblical narrator is trying to do is tell us the truth about King David, and the truth is more important than facts."

Here is another good one:

"Nothing makes a serious write of children's books hotter around the collar than the assumption that you write for children because it's easier or because you can't make it in the adult field. You write for children on significant topics if you're a serious writer because children are willing to accept theological and philosophical topics that the adult will not accept. Children are willing to go into this world of darkness that is on the other side of critical fact, with open minds. They're still brave. They still have courage."

Check this book out! << on Amazon, of course. :)

So, it was quite a busy week, but we went to hang out with family on the 4th of July, and had quite a fun time celebrating the day.  #all6kids #happyfourth

Did anyone else think all day on Wednesday that the day before was Saturday? I was super confused, admittedly. Especially at about 4pm on Tuesday. Then I got my sh*t together and worked it out! #fourthofjulyproblems

It was such a blessed day to be with family. We got to swim in the river, enjoy a huge, delicious cookout lunch, and catch up with various members of our family. (My cousin Micah and his family live in town, as well as my bro Evan and our dear friend Aunt Terry).

In other news, the girls have been obsessing over asking me if they can buy pink hair dye for several months now. I finally took them to Claire's and found it for $5 with the promise that it would wash out in ONE wash. So, I consented and even surprised myself.

They have been having a quite a time with that.  The bright side is that they MUST wash their hair thoroughly with shampoo, because otherwise it doesn't wash out. :) #cleanhair #hooray

Molly has had a few playdates now that she is in between camps, VBS, and Summer traveling. It's the perfect thing to distract the kids and keep them occupied during these long days.

I admit we have caved to the screen a little bit in our quest to stay busy and not crazy, and have you heard that quote:

"To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world,* the most difficult and the most intellectual."*
-Oscar Wilde

*For you will soon be kicking your sister on the couch or she shall soon scratch your neck, and she will pinch your forehead, leaving behind a scab

NOT that that has ever happened here!!!! #TMI #privacymattersfolks

We had quite a bit of rain over the past weekend. Stephen has taken the initiative to introduce our kids to a few kid-friendly video games- one is paintball and they're still fans of mario kart on the wii and the just dance wii game. I'm a fan of drinking coffee and reading long books, myself, but I guess sometimes you have to let the screens and the husbands win. ha, ha.  I suppose the shake-out is that I end up reading while they play Wii, so everyone wins. .I guess.

We did a little bit of house-hunting this week, as we have been needing BR's like nobody's business ~ and things got real when we went to a showing (an actual showing after months of searching online!)  We are praying about what the future may hold for us. We are looking at all that it entails to put our house on the market (again/another house!). God willing we'll be making a decision one way or another in the next few weeks.  *crosses fingers*

Thanks for joining me for another edition of Weekly Minutiae (and don't worry, I'm going to be redesigning the logo soon....)

God bless! Stay cool my friends!:)

 (pronounced min-oo-shuh)!
see you next week! :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Some Thoughts on Parenting

Parenting. It is such a hard subject, and one that I actually feel insecure writing about here on the blog.

Parenting can be so hard. I fail everyday. I mess up. I make mistakes. Maybe that's why it's difficult to open up about.

Honestly, though, I think that we are all good-enough parents. I really do! I think that if God bestows a person with a child, it's because he thinks that person can man-up and handle it.

I think, though that we all have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to parenting.

Some people are really good with early childhood development, such as talking to their kids, dealing with behavior issues, teaching them patiently to tie their shoes, or giving steady time-outs or increasing time-outs, on cue, to keep their kids in line.

Others may have mastered the acts of mercy-- giving water to the thirsty, helping the sick attentively, instructing the ignorant in the ways of God.

Still others may have teaching experience, or there again, experience with babies in a nursery. They have patience that comes from that experience on their resume, and they can competently address issues and complications that babies or children may face.

Each of these things brings light and grace into a parenting scenario. Thus, we all bring a different game face to parenting and we all get something different out of it, maybe. We should respect each others' strengths as fellow parents and seek to overlook weaknesses in our friends and in our spouse. The ultimate purpose for parenting, anyway, is to get these people to heaven. And that's definitely not the same thing as teaching them to tie their shoe patiently. Patience is part of holiness, it's a package deal. (fruit of the holy spirit, anyone?!)

I also think that we can't judge our parenting game during busy or stressful seasons of life.

No one is going to be at their best two weeks after surgery or the birth of a child. Don't waste your time analyzing your capabilities when stress is a mother-f-ing mountain. :) :D

When the girls were about to get out for the school year, so many things piled up on me, it would have been the most terrible time to judge my parenting abilities.  I was 9 months pregnant their last week of school, no lie. More things were draining me than were giving me life. I was drained by ballet responsibilities, recitals, fights with my Mom and Stephen, worrying about my stats on instagram, the hustle and busyness of end-of-the-year projects, Anders' and Annabels' tantrums, trying to find and line up babysitters and meals, preparing for the birth of a baby, attending Mass and confession.... and my spiritual obligations felt very laborious to me, on top of it all.

When Conrad was born, however, so many things were giving me life. The change in routine; getting to know a new, sweet baby; all of the help with meals and childcare that we received; having several weeks where Stephen and I barely fought even for a second; noticing beauty in the everyday and wonder at a little miracle. Despite a surge in hormones, I also felt it was life-giving having time to read while I nursed and write and reflect on all of it ... this gave me so much joy and I found pep in my parenting step. haha :)

I brought Conrad to church when he was only a few weeks old, and my friends surrounded me and oohed- and aah-ed over him.We received help and meals for 6 weeks straight, no lie. It's funny... but when Conrad was born I felt... forgiven. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. I wanted to do cartwheels in the backyard. I felt a freedom and the fresh grace of God. Why? Because he was such a gift, such a beautiful, precious undeserved gift.

It felt like the sacrament of confession.  It felt like I had gone to talk to a priest about my faults, and I had received absolution for my sins, a penance for the sake of learning to do right, and the lift of a huge burden from my conscience.

And that's the beauty of motherhood.

I'm a parent, not because I earned the right to be.

I'm a parent because God blessed me with a child.

I'm a good parent, not because I have skills.

I'm a good parent because God gives me the grace everyday to step up to the challenges of motherhood. 

A child is a gift from God-- nothing more, nothing less.

It's an undeserved bestowal of grace. If you've messed it up (and I have), remember that you have a new chance every morning, for his grace and mercy are new every morning, afresh. Everyday, the journey of parenthood challenges my selfishness, everyday, it is a call to the redemption of my sinful heart. Yet, I know I'm forgiven, I'm blessed, and I know that I can thank God for all of it.

"Rise and go, your faith has made you well."