Monday, November 17, 2014

A Moment of Grace



For so long I have struggled with a tape in my head. And when it would start I was completely set on believing it was just the way I thought, just something I had to get through, until recently. I was sitting up late and everyone else was asleep. And the old tape began. At first it started as a creepy feeling of guilt that I wasn't doing something I should be doing. I ignored it. It came back a bit stronger, this time I let the thought in. "You're not doing enough," the tape whispered. I started getting antsy. So I got up and started to clean. I thought about how maybe I should get online and look at other women's blogs and see what they were doing right so I could see what I obviously was not doing enough of.
But then another thought came to me. A quiet and calm thought. " Sit and read the Bible." That's it. The only thing to do was to sit down and read the Scriptures. So after a few minutes of fighting that thought, I sat down and looked at some versus pertaining to Freedom. At first the different scripture versus didn't create any emotion or happy feelings but I persevered.
And then a tormenting thought came in my head, that my life that I know now in Christ inst going to last and  it is going to go away and I will be left with the deep misery I had before from chasing after the world. That feeling of never being enough and always feeling like I could do better. The feeling that people only love you if you're doing something for them. It is an overwhelming and hurtful feeling and yet that tape had become so common place in my mind that I hadn't even recognized it for what it was: a lie from Satan.
But at that moment sitting in front of scripture I could recognize it plain as day. So I did what any crazy in love with Jesus person would do. I said " Jesus send Satan away from me. get him out of my thoughts and my mind and keep him away from my husbands and my children's thoughts too! In Jesus name I pray, AMEN!"
And you know what, POOF!!!! That evil lie and the devil it road in on were gone and the most lovely and beautiful gift remained! Sweet, wonderful, over the moon...GRACE!! I was about dancing! It was wonderful to finally be freed from that Tape that has run in my head for years. Thank You Jesus for leading me to scripture and thank You to a new friend that reminded me of all that God has to offer though Christ recently!!! God is good and loss is gain!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Each Child is a Blessing!




Today is one day closer to our due date of our fifth baby, fourth to be born (our first sweet little one is at the mercy of God through miscarriage). Our due date is this Saturday, August 9th! So so very close!!

August 9th has been this very important date that always seemed so far away! It carried excitement, nervous apprehension, mystery and blessings!

And now it is almost here!! We are very excited to be welcoming our third little boy into our arms and into the arms of our other three children's as well!

Our oldest son at the ripe old age of 6 is very excited! He has been washing and hanging up all the baby clothes and adding matching bibs to every outfit he can find! All the diapers are in the right places and all the cloth diapers are folded nicely thanks to our oldest son! The other day after helping me fold and hang laundry he ran out of the room and down the hall. I could hear him opening up the dishwasher and putting dishes away. He has entered into a new stage in life. He has become aware of his mothers needs and his fathers role. He is making connections between how helping me is adding something to him that will bless others when he's older. He has spoken to me about being married one day and helping his wife when she is in need. He recently told my husband that he is thankful for all his hard work and for bringing money home so we can have the things we need. Watching this little boy develop slowly into a somewhat older boy and seeing all that he is taking in and experiencing is again such a mystery and a joy! I feel very blessed to be able to be a part of this young boys life and get to hear his joys, fears and new understandings!

Now our second born is a little girl and what a mystery she is!! She is filled with awe and wonder of the world around her and the possibility of magic really existing! She is curious, intense, affectionate and at times fiercely aware of her will and how it must be respected. Her experience and understanding of a new little brother being born is so different than her big brothers! She is enamored with the idea of him recognizing her voice in the womb! She has been the one that is completely enthralled when the baby kicks. She runs over and places her little hand on my belly and her voice changes to a sweet motherly little voice "Hi baby...its me your big sister" At times the baby has rolled around when she begins talking. She becomes mesmerized by this interaction! She goes on and on about how she is going to help with the baby but with mischievous eyes and a cute little grin she always adds "but Im not going to help with changing diapers" followed by the sweetest giggle. :) Her four year old little feminine mind is filled with wonder of the world around her and her ever growing excitement about being a girl and being different from her brothers and being like her Mama, the other girl in the family. :)  Like I said...she is such a mystery and such a beautiful little soul!

And then theres are little wild boy!! Our two year old little guy that has the world to conquer and the mountains to climb! He is filled with an intense sense of his ability to move and pick up the things and people around him :) He growls, grunts and his new excitement is putting two different words such as "Hi...Mama" together! He knows there is a baby in Mamas tummy but past that Im not sure how much he quite understands :)

All three of our beautiful children have such amazing gifts to give to the world and to one another as siblings! I think it really is true that one of the best gifts you can be a part of giving to your child is a sibling if that is Gods call in your life. I am very excited about entering the four children life style! Im nervous but excited at what it will bring! Please pray for me as I come even closer to our due date!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crocheting Projects for our new baby!!

Hello all!!

I just had to share all the crocheting projects I have undertaken in the last week!! I am definitely nesting! My house may not be super clean but our new baby arriving in a few weeks will be warm and super cute in all his new items!!!


Above is his "wear home from the hospital" hat!! It was super fun to make and literally I was able to finish it in a few hours!! He'll be our little aviator!!

I love this one too!! Its small enough for a newborn so he'll probably be wearing this one during his first few weeks!!! Im just loving the rich greens and blues!!

Here are some fun items!! These are for sizes 3-6 months and will be for the cold months!! Alittle mouse hat with green instead of pink ears!! And little ankle booties!!



I am loving this blanket! The colors are just so HAPPY!! My 6 year old son was very excited! He called these Captain Americas blanket and boots! I might just have to make a hat to match this blanket in the coming days!!!





A monkey hat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Fire engine red cowboy boots!!!! These are for a 6 month old!!! I LOVE these!!
They were alot of work but worth it!!


     All of these items below were given to a friend at her baby shower!! What a fun day that was!!

A little girls hat and bracelet!! The hat looks kind of lopsided in the picture but when its on its evened out :)


This hat was so fun to make!!!

Made to match my friends baby's colors: pink and turquoise! And it matches the hat above!!!


So far these are all my crocheting projects in the last month or so!! Cant wait to make more!! Hope you enjoyed checking them out!! Id love to see your crafty projects too!!!







Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blessings of Fertility



I wanted to share our story. My husband I were civilly married young and people started saying things to me like "You need to be on something" speaking of a form of birth control, so I went and got on the depo shot. It made me super depressed and it just felt weird to not have a period for 2 years straight. Well, after about 2 years into our marriage I was invited to a Catholic Church and decided to give my life to Jesus and started going to RCIA(Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). I learned that for my husband and I to have our marriage blessed in the church that we had to take these NFP courses. I started learning about the Creighton method and the Church's teaching on contraception ( that we are not supposed to use birth control). We started taking the classes and a whole new world opened up for me. I never knew all the amazing things that were going on inside my body every month and I never knew that by using contraception my husband and I were sharing our lives together but we were guarding and keeping the gift of our fertility from one another. After charting my cycles for a few months my NFP counselor saw that I had low progesterone, a common sign of a women having been on the depo shot. A little while after that we saw that we did not have agrave reason to space and we were excited about our new life and being open to life! We found out we were pregnant soon after. But we had a miscarriage and I was completely devastated. My progesterone dropped very low and I fell into a DEEP depression and no one really understood except my NFP counselor. I continued to chart and saw that my cycles were very short and that my progesterone was very low. I saw first hand what the depo shot had done to my body. But because of the Creighton method and the information it offers through Pope Paul the VI institute we were able to use bio identical progesterone to help sustain my next pregnancy and 9 months later we had our first-born son! We went on to be blessed with our daughter, another little dear boy and now expecting our next little one, all through the grace of God and the gift of having the knowledge of the Creighton method and knowing that we needed progesterone. This is a topic that many people dont realize about the different NFP methods, that not only can it be used for spacing pregnancies for serious reasons but also it can be a beautiful gift for knowing when there is something that is not quite right. It has had huge success with helping couples who have been unable to conceive as well. God blessed our marriage in many ways but He crowned our marriage with the knowledge of the gift of our fertility. Now we can recommit our wedding vows every time we come together intimately by sharing every part of ourselves including our fertility...what a gift! A gift that was hidden from me and many others for so long.

http://www.creightonmodel.com/
http://www.popepaulvi.com/
May God bless you all with love of Christ

Couponing Binder

Here is a little addition to my last post. I wanted to include pictures from my home binder!

Obviously heres the cover:) It is just an old photo album







Then I started off with a plastic sheet cover that I can insert a paper into. I wrote some encouraging words about being a stay at home wife and mother to, well, encourage me! The writing is kind of hard to make out but it basically says how important my job is as a stay at home wife and mother! I also added some fun vines and flowers around the edge to brighten it up a bit!



The next page is on Morning Prayers. It has a bible verse and an exert from the Catechism. They really spoke to me especially in my vocation as a wife and mother so I included them.






Now at this point no laughing aloud :) This is my 10 week chore list. If it doesnt feel right I can always change something on it and honestly I dont follow it all the time but it is nice to have on hand on those days where I know I need to get things done but I just dont have the drive to figure something out. The imagery in the background is from one of my favorite visions in Revelations of the New Heaven and New Earth where God will be our Light and the river of life flowing through the city with the trees that bear healing fruits on either side. I just love this vision that John has and I thought it could be my background for my chore chart to encourage me and remind me of how my work can also be a prayer!






Now at this point I use dividers to  mark different sections. I like the colored ones because they are easier to find especially if some of your papers tend to be larger than the dividers. The color really stands out and I can find them faster.




This is an example of one of the sections that I use the dividers for. This one is marked BILLS. Here is a chart I rarely use but should use ALL THE TIME!! It is for bills. I can list the bills that come in, how much they are and when I paid them.



Now we can talk about my couponing section!!! I start off with some loose leaf paper and I go on Couponmom.com and check out what stores have sales that correspond with the coupons I have. I write down the deals that are either free or where Ill be saving atleast 80%. Then I pick and choose what stores to go to. For instance yesterday we went to Harris Teeter and Target and saved roughly 60% overall! I bought some planned items and then at Tearget I got some great deals with their clearance items! So below I have listed the different stores plus the price of the item before coupon- the price of the coupon and the end price. I write down how many coupons I have for this item and then I make sure to check that I have the coupons in my binder.


And here are just some pics of my coupons sitting so nicely in the baseball card protective sheets!I just pull out the ones I need and when I get new coupons I just insert them in the spots that   they belong, for example by category and expiration date. I love this method!










Well, I hope this was fun and informative!! And I hope that couponing doesnt seem so scary and daunting now...well at least a little easier that is!
 Happy couponing!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Couponing!!!


Today's couponing!
Total price before coupons and deals: $76
Total price after deals + coupons: $29
Savings: $47, 61 % saved



This is a very different post than the ones I usually write about but someone asked me to maybe post about how I coupon so I thought Id put a little something out there! First I must say I am no expert and I do not claim to even come close to an extreme couponer. But I do really enjoy couponing and I tend to save a nice little bundle on some great products.

The first thing I do is go out after Mass on Sunday to walmart. My husband drops me off and I run in and get some yummy donuts for the kids and my hunny and myself then I go over and pick up 2 Sunday newspapers. Yes, I buy 2, not 1, not 30 (like the extreme couponers do). Maybe one day Ill go up to 4 newspapers but for now 2 is good.

Next thing I do is hold on to old photo albums or binders that people have given me or ones Ive come across at goodwill or on sale I use baseball card protective sheets that I found at Staples for $3.99 for 9 sheets which is already alot. I got 2 packs to start off with. Make sure youre getting the ones for baseball cards. I heard someone say to get business card sheets because they were on sale but that was such a hassle trying to fold the coupons in crazy origami shapes just to fit them in those small slots...this actually turned me off couponing and I thought I could never do it. I also tried the little accordion  folder pocket book and this was stressful because I had to search through them all to see what I had. I then tried  photo album sheets which were great at first but then I realized that the sticky part started to teart the coupons if I wasnt careful. But now I use a my baseball card protective sheets and  I LOVE COUPONING!!!! Everything is laid out nice and smooth bright and pretty. I am very visual, so seeing the whole coupon is for some reason very important to me. I also include some loose leaf paper and some encouraging pretty papers with Bible scriptures, notes from the Catechism and pictures Ive drawn (I know I know Im totally a 5th grader). :) So its not just a couponing binder but my home organizer/journal. I am not a type A personality so when say "organizer" I mean it loosely.

Ok...now...at this point I go to couponmom.com (which is free to sign up) to find out what deals are at what stores and which coupons correspond with those deals! This website was a coupon life saver for me. Now I dont just use it alone but it helped me get an idea of how  deals + coupons work together and the different stores coupon codes. I do not print out coupons, I only use coupons out of the newspaper and sometimes the coupons from the magazine subscription AllYou that my dear mom got for me for Christmas! But the magazine is not a necessity but it is fun!

It is also great to know the kinds of deals that your local stores have. For instance Harris Teeter has a great Buy 2 get 3 free deal when you have their VIC card which is free. The 2 that youre paying for are usually higher priced then other stores but theyre giving you 3 free items so when you average it out you are still saving and you can use coupons on those as well. Even if you only have 2 coupons it will average out less than if you didnt have any coupons at all. Thay also have lots of buy one get one free deals which are always great! They print Catalina coupons from their register after your purchase and they are usually related to what you usually buy so you can hold on to those and use them again!
Then there is Target!!! They have AWESOME clearance deals that you can couple with coupons and save BIG! For instance today I found a Maybeline nail polish on clearance for $1.48 which is usually around $2.99. I had a coupon for $1 off from the newspaper so I scored a roughly $3 nail polish for   $ .48 cents! Target also has store coupons that you can print off their website that you can souple with your manufacture (newspaper) coupon. And they have Catalina coupons!!

There are also lots of other things to know like coupling your newspaper coupns with the Catalina coupons from the store and printable coupns but honestly I like things to be as simple as possible untill I feel ready for the next step and I am not there yet and Im fine with that for now. But if you are then there are lots more ways to save.

Another thing couponing has helped me with is restlessness from the day to day, the sense of sometimes feeling overwhelmed as a stay at home mom and also it is an awesome hobby! I like to have a goal in mind like heading out to save on diapers and wipes and while Im at the store Ill give the kids (and myself) a donut and walk up and down the aisles and look for deals that maybe werent advertised that will couple with my coupons! That is fun for everyone. And then when your husband comes home its fun for him because your all fresh and excited and not grumpy and tired, well maybe a little ;) but theres an overall glow from saving money and finding some great deals!! And my kids have their own little couponing folders where they put pictures from the newspaper inserts that they cut out in. I also give them expired coupons and my daughter especially will sit for well over 1/2 an hour just organizing them the way she likes them. The kids enjoy cutting with safety scissors which is a great way for them to work on their fine motor skills, a hidden school lesson for the homeschooling moms out there :)

Well I hope this was somewhat enjoyable! Maybe next time Ill post pics of my home organizer and coupon binder!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Discipleship



Recently I was reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I came across an interesting part on discipleship.

2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God's family, to live in conformity with His way of life: "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother."

This really got me thinking. I started saying to myself "why did you become a disciple of Jesus Christ?"

The lingo of a Christian is so  over used today in movies, books and just with one another that some times great big important words like disciple can get passed over with out a second thought. But when I considered discipleship in the way that the first men and women followed Jesus suddenly I could not relate with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. It seemed so foreign, so important, so life changing. Did I really change when I became a disciple? Was I truly a disciple? It really got me thinking. So I headed back into my memories and tried to think of my first moments of discipleship.

When I was 10 years old I was baptized in a Baptist Church. I was baptized in the name of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so it was valid and in following of Sacred Scripture. And I remember going to my class to prepare and seeing a little picture of a man walking on a narrow road toward the sunset. I remember the Pastor being in the little room preparing for the service and praying with us and I felt so special. I remember being disappointed when the Assistant Pastor baptized me because I wanted the Head Pastor to do it. LOL. I remember seeing the Pastor at a Chinese restaurant after the service and being shocked that he left the church. I thought he must stay there all the time. I didnt know Holy men left the Holy building LOL...too funny! In my little 10 year old mind and heart I knew that I wanted Jesus to take away all the things I had done that were wrong in my life and I really believed he could do it. This was the beginning of my baby discipleship :) As I got older I became confused of who Jesus was and what He did because conflicting messages I got from different churches and people. I think my discipleship changed into wanting to be part of a community and having people think I was good and acceptable.  But I remember always feeling like a fraud around other Christians. I didnt quite have in my mind and heart what they seemed to have.

This sense of being in a community that I craved was something that I was born with; a DEEP need for others. I desired to know people to their deepest core. I couldnt have acquaintances...it just wasnt enough. I dont really remember having friendships growing up that ever felt deep enough for me. I was kind of weird LOL, because I was so overly expressive and borderline depressive that I had a very hard time relating with other people. The idea of knowing Jesus was confusing because He wasnt alive(or so I thought) and I wanted a living breathing someone who could know me and be known by them to the depths of their being. I was alittle intense and I didnt really understand myself as I do now since I was young.

When I was older and was invited  to  a Catholic Church. I was in AWE of everything in the church, the Holy water, the Baptismal font, the big cross with the sleepy hanging Jesus on it(ha), the statues, the big box(altar) up on the stage(sanctuary) with glowing candles every where...it was like a performers dream come true! And the Pastors had fancy robes with all kinds of hidden meanings on them! It was FANTASTIC! Not to mention the daily Masses in the small mystical Chapel where people would come so early in the morning while holding pretty sparkling beads and where beautiful smelling roses were placed all over! It was a joyful dream for a person like me with such a deep desire to know and be known. I felt like it was the ultimate expression of loving the people of the church and of adorning the home of this God they loved so much, the God that I had yet to really know and to love.

Time went by and I decided to become Catholic after attending 2 Masses and I learned more about God and the church but most of the information I received was "fluff" not very deep and very watered down. I still had yet to have that deep desire of love met. I searched the hearts of those around me and just felt a great lack in my ability to love others and the ability of others to love me. Its a hard feeling to express.

By the way, the love I am talking about is not Romantic comedy movie kind of love. I actually have never been a fan of these movies. The love in them always seemed so superficial. I always preferred a good action movie because atleast the characters fought to the death for one another and expressed great charity for their friends or companions. I remember the first time I saw The Last of the Mohicans; I was prepared for this amazing action romance with the most amazing love story ever, atleast this is what every woman I knew went on and on about especially with the main character  Hawkeye. Well as I watched the movie I kept waiting for this Hawkeye guy to be a love to last all ages but he kept falling flat on his face in my book. But then came the character that spoke so deeply to my heart... Major Duncan Heyward. He voluntarily is burned alive so the heroine can live. I just sat there as Hawkeye and Cora run away together as Major Heyward is hanging on a cross burning as a human sacrifice in place of Cora. I literally said outload..."Honey you picked the wrong guy." That was love. That was beyond this world kind of love. I had yet to know that deep love of Christ for me but it was imaged in a secular movie and my heart surged at this type of love. 

The Church in her long life as Christs bride was a love that I had yet to tap into but I could tell there was something mysterious and unfathomable about the Church. She was so open armed in love with her children and yet firm and unshakable in the convictions that Christ had laid down for her to follow. There was a romance there that was deep between Christ and His bride the Church. I felt like an outsider looking in. Everytime I went to confession, after becoming Catholic I felt like I was pretending. I wanted to dive in deeper into each sacrament but there was a wall inside myself that seemed to keep me captive. Other people couldnt really relate to me or they would say things like "you're so good" or "Ive never thought about it like that" when I would try to explain myself. I knew I wasnt good or that I was better than anyone but there was  a yearning that wouldnt leave me alone but that also wouldnt permit me to enter into this intimate place with Christ. I felt in some ways that I was having a relationship with Hawkeye, to go back to the Last of the Mohicans. It seemed exciting and fresh and somewhat adventurous but it didnt make the cut.I  was desiring the love that is defined in the Catechism:

1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment.96 By loving his own "to the end,"97 he makes manifest the Father's love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love." And again: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."98

I wanted that kind of love, to give and to receive. All the people I met were kind and polite but I wanted  the love described above. I wanted to love with the love that the Father loved the Son with. I would try to be in company with others and love them with this deep love but it just got awkward like I was barring my soul and they were just trying to find out what city I was born in. I wanted to know who they were in their soul and they were ready to share with me the names of their siblings and general information. It was so difficult to have relationships with others without having to just put on a front and be charitable with BOUNDARIES all over the place. 

Now I have to say when you have a personality like I do and a desire like I do it is a complete necessity to know about Original sin, the fallen world and concupiscence. I was trying to experience the world like it was the one before Adam and Eve ate the apple and let me tell you I got myself into all kinds of trouble without even knowing it. I couldn't figure out what the other desire I had was. I had of course the desire I explained above to love deeply but I also had this other desire to be a DEEP mess of a person. I had a desire for the depression I was prone to. I would wallow in it and play Fiona Apple songs and cry for an hour straight and not understand what was wrong with me. A thought would come into my head that was just evil in nature(we know where or should I say who that thought came from) and I would wonder for hours why I thought that, what that meant about me and who I was. 

This is where the love of my mother the Church came into play. Like a good mother, she told me the Truth. I learned about the fallen nature of the world and about concupiscence. I remember the first time I learned about concupiscence; I was overjoyed!It was so great to finally have a name for this feeling or way about myself that I could never quite explain before. 

Me, with all my desires to love, be loved and to be a mess didnt make any sense until it all started pointing to the sense of Another out there, a Someone that could fulfill these things in me. Someone to love me intensely, someone that I could love without boundaries and someone to take all of my mess and sculpt a master piece.

But how you may ask could I know this or understand that there was Another. There has to be a way to know past Church teaching, Sacred Scripture and Tradition...there just has to be something that speaks to our nature. It all points to the incarnation, when God became man, and how the incarnation affected every single person in all the world over all time. I had glimpses of this incarnational experience with others but could never define it or put a name to it. I could sense this specifically with my spouse, when he would love me past my mess ups  and not the fluffy love but the real deep love that stays with you and continues to have a life with you even when you arent enough all the time. My heart longed for this, my whole being knew that love couldnt stop, it couldnt have an end. But I always seemed to have an end whether it was my struggle with my past or my deep struggle with depression.

There was a point in my life where I was really low and struggling with alot of depression and just confusion about so many things and I attended a meeting. It was called School of Community or Communion and Liberation. I started going when a new friend invited me and honestly everything everyone said went way over my head and I literally couldnt even follow anything they said. I thought it was because the material was too intellectual but I know now that it was such an intense and almost unrecognizable experience that I just didnt even know where to place it in my mind and heart. I came back though again and again. And funny enough I would get angry when I went. These people were so real, so honest, they talked to you past all the polite banter and normal conversation, something that I had been craving for so long and yet it was painful to experience because it was one word ...AUTHENTIC. All the walls that I built up, all the wrong things about God and people I had learned started to get chipped away at and that can hurt even though its a good thing. I would go every week and end up in tears trying to explain myself and everytime I thought I had some concept of Christianity down they would break it open and desire to hear the heart of the issue I was talking about and not just the cliche words I was putting on it. There was one time in particular that I went to CL and again I was crying and feeling angry and I just couldnt get out what I was trying to say and they wouldnt give up on me. It was like they saw me. They saw me even more than I could see myself. I was in a room with Christ. The incarnation was affecting me in that moment. I was having an experience with the living God through the flesh of another. I was expereincing the love that I had desired. And they let me love them. They let me love them, the way Christ would let me love him, with humility and honest affection. This...this was the experience that the first disciples must have experienced with Christ...a knowing that this Man knew them to their core and loved them. He delighted in them. He changed them by being with them. I was changed in that moment. 


I am following a Man that is alive. I am following a Man that died yet lives now. I am following a God that permeates my very self with His acknowledgment that I exist, that I am a someone, that I am someone to delight in. This is where I have become His disciple...in His Divinity of course, but its in His humanity that He reaches me, in His humanity that He reaches me through another person. He tells me the Truth, He loves me and He lets me really REALLY love Him. Everything makes sense in Him, who I choose to follow because He reached out and loved me anf told me the Truth. 

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.