How’s your week going? We have lots going on at the moment, including celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — Yippee! So, on to the Quick Takes:
Frater, Momento Mori
I’m happy to announce our power is back. We had great moments of bonding and family adventures — but thank God for electricity. It’s the best!
While the power was out, most of our days were filled with accomplishing the basics: preparing food, keeping heat going, and clean up. But now that it’s back, I have been left with the thought, “I have been given this free time back, now what will I do with it?”
The truth is, most of us living in the West have much more “free time” in our day than we realize.
And, yes — I am very busy with kids. And, no — there is nothing wrong with leisure, but maybe it’s time to re-evalute the legacy I want to leave behind after I have turned to dust.
It’s reminds me of the motto painted over the door of an ancient monastery I studied at in Austria: “Frater, Momento Mori”, translated, “Brother, Remember Your Death”. It’s a call to live your life as if this day could be the last.
How would remembering my death change the way I live today? Hmm….
I love this motto so much that I keep suggesting we paint it over the doorway in our dining room. It would be a great conversation starter when we have guests.
John thinks it’s a bit morbid for the dining room — but I’m determined to convince him in the end.
Just Trying Our Lousy Best
Yesterday I wrote about a very scary trip to the ER for my sweet four year old. Everything is getting back to normal and she is recovering as well as could be expected.
This incident has reminded me of the many human flaws that I possess. Honestly, our weakness can help us to grow in humility and be more merciful with the shortcoming of others — so they’re not necessarily bad things.
I’m not talking about sin here — I’m talking about those character flaws or weaknesses that make us feel like big dopes on a regular occasion.
Many of mine seem to be staring me in the face lately. For example, I am a klutz.
Even as a kid, my mother often referred to me as a “bull in a china shop”. She really wasn’t being mean; she was trying to help me to be more aware of my oblivious banging and smashing around the house.
Anyway, I mentioned that when I was trying to assess the damage to my daughters ear, I banged my husband in the head and then dropped a metal flashlight on my daughter’s leg.
What I didn’t mention was that at 3:30 in the morning when they finally came back from the ER, I was filled with such love and gratitude that I crawled over the piles of blankets and pillows to give her a kiss, and as I bent down to kiss her, I slipped and bumped straight into her bad ear!
She gave out a little cry and I just looked up to the heavens and said, “Lord I am an idiot”. And I am. But He loves me anyway and He knows I was trying to show my daughter how much I loved her — and I just missed the mark — literally. 🙁
I am consoled by the fact that if I make it to heaven one day, I will have reached the heights of perfect love. And maybe in heaven, my middle name will be Grace — but for now it shall remain Klutz. 🙁
But I remain convicted that we just have to keep moving forward, just trying our lousy best.
My husband recently underwent a hernia operation. He is recovering well — but John and I agree that this time has confirmed that I would be an awful nurse. Frankly, I’m not attentive enough for the average sick person to thrive under my care. 🙁
I can not tell you how many times in those first days I told John I’d go get him his medicine or juice or whatever — only to find myself in a room an hour later and realized that I forgot entirely!
And also, as already mentioned, I’m a bit of a klutz — I am always banging pots and pans and other things around. And to make matters worse, I am a loud-talker. It hardly makes for a peaceful environment in which to recover.
Maybe if I didn’t have a bunch of kids with their own individual needs, I’d be more on top of things — but I am not convinced of that. I think I would be that nurse who is lovingly trying to hear a dying man’s whispered words — only to realize he’s telling me I’m standing on his oxygen. 🙁
As an aside, we have also learned that my husband does not make for a good patient — so perhaps we deserve each other. Or just maybe, God put us together so that we could help each other grow into becoming better people than we once were? Hmm… something to think about.
At the end of the day, we usually manage to laugh about our shortcomings, so I guess it works for us. But I have decided that I need to work on trying to be more attentive. I may always be a bit absent-minded — but I’m still gonna try.
Know Thy Children
I also mentioned in yesterday’s post that our oldest son was assigned the task of keeping the fire going in the fireplace while John was in the ER with our daughter. These fires were our only source of heat — and with temps well below freezing outside — it was an important job.
I knew that this would be a tough one for my son. He has the gift of sleep — head hits pillow, and he’s out — so I knew that if he managed to get up even once during the night it would be a miracle.
A couple hours in, the fire started to go out and it was getting cold. I tried to whisper my son’s name, because I was nursing a baby and didn’t want to risk waking him. I raised my voice a little more with each attempt, but no luck waking him.
It was then that I knew my night would be spent alternating between nursing a baby and tending to the fire. Fortunately, I couldn’t sleep until my little girl returned home, so it worked out just fine.
But the point is, it’s much better to rely on your kids’ strengths and be more understanding of their weaknesses. No point in getting angry about things they have very little ability to change.
He’s usually very willing to help — so we gave him a pass. Of course, it didn’t stop us from having a good laugh about it at dinner the next day 🙂
We are preparing for another confirmation this year. When our oldest was confirmed, we invested in Chris Stefanicks “Chosen” program. It includes DVD’s and student and leader workbooks. It has been a great resource as we prepare our kids for this hugely important event in their lives.
Most of the episodes are child-friendly as well — though there are a few on theology of the body episodes that I would keep for the older ones.
If you happen to be preparing your kids or are part of religious education in your parish, this could be a worthwhile resource for you.
I really like everything that Jennifer Fulfiller and Hallie Lord are doing in the Catholic world, so naturally I wanted to attend the Edel 17 gathering in Austen this summer.
I was in the middle of a 10 step plan to convince my husband it would be a great idea to leave 6 kids in his care this August while I went to Austen for a great time with like-minded women at the Edel gathering.
I really thought I had him — until he dropped a bomb half-way through my plan. He suggested we take those funds and sky miles to help us to get over to Fatima for the 100th Anniversary. Well-played, John, well-played.
This is life. You just can’t do everything — so you have to make choices. I know this will probably be our last chance to get over on a big back-packing adventure as a family before we have to do the serious work of helping our oldest save up for college.
So alas, I won’t be able to make it to Edel this summer. 🙁 I’m really hoping that they will host another event and I can make it the next time. Timing is everything, and this just wasn’t my time.
Blessed Is She
I was sad about saying goodbye to the possibility of Edel 17, but it inspired me to try to get more involved with events going on locally. I had recently signed up for Blessed Is She alerts and noticed there was a brunch in our area.
I am not normally one to go to these events — because life is busy. Besides I am an introvert who tends to love to hide away in my little cocoon of a home with my peeps.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I know that I also need person-to-person contact with like-minded women. It’s such a valuable experience to spend time with other women who understand the challenges of motherhood — or just simply being a Catholic woman living in the modern world for that matter.
This life isn’t always easy, but connecting with others is a great way to stay motivated and remain joyful in the midst of the challenges. So, despite the fact that I don’t know anybody who is going to the brunch — darn it, I’m gonna go!
So this is an encouragement for all you introverts out there — we need community far more than we think — and maybe Lent is a time to stretch ourselves a little bit.
That’s all I got.
Have a good weekend.
Linking Up With Kelly.