Thursday, December 15, 2011

Everything Changes

except the talent of Marie Bellet! I purchased her newest CD as a birthday present for myself. What a wealth of wisdom for Catholic mothers.

If you are not familiar with her music, Marie Bellet is a Catholic mom of nine who lives in Nashville and writes her own music about being a mother and a wife. I am an addict. I have been to two concerts and own all four CDs. Her songs keenly share the joys and struggles of our vocation.

Her latest, titled Everything Changes, includes "This House Is the Place to Be" which ends with:

On the glider, on the front stoop with my tension tamer tea

and the very next song, the title track, begins with:

Whenever I think that I know what I'm doing, everything changes

But my very favorite words come in "How Do I Look to You?":

No I'm not qualified for my own life
Much less a mother and a wife
They all need more than I can give

It's all wonderful. Check out her music! Be inspired!

(I get nothing for my thoughts here from Marie Bellet, Elm Street Records, or any other entity or person)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Birthday Post Part 3

I began this list Monday...continued it yesterday...

And, so, for my 35th birthday, I rejoice in these 35 gifts from a generous God. My cup overflows.

  1. BCS Homeschoolers ~ The C & K families let me visit their homeschools and showed me how possible homeschooling is!
  1. AA Friends ~ While my husband was in law school, I relied on my fellow “law school widows” to get by. Their friendships, and others I found, were a source of support and inspiration during a time that greatly tested my faith and my marriage. Thanks especially to AD, KA, CP, CK, and latecomer LM!
  1. M Friends ~ Friends in another city helped me get through two of the darkest times in my personal and spiritual life. These are true friends who stick by you no matter what. Thanks CO, MP, TR, CB, and others!
  1. SA Friends ~ It was so easy to make friends here! I am blessed to be surrounded by positive, faith-filled women devoted to their families. Thank you for welcoming us with open arms!
  1. Holy Priests ~ The Body of Christ is amazing. In addition to always providing dear friends for me, every new city included the discovery of remarkable, holy priests to guide our family. Praise be to Jesus for the vocations of Frs. MS, DK, KG, JV, GG, OH, CM, JM and MoJ!
  1. My Organizational & Leadership Skills ~ These things come naturally to me, and they have opened up so many wonderful opportunities to work and serve in my life. It is through such experiences I have encountered wonderful friends and mentors.
  1. My Health & That of My Family’s ~ With the exception of my father’s miraculous perseverance through heart disease, everyone in my family has been remarkably healthy without serious health issues.
  1. Books ~ I truly enjoy good books. There is nothing better than these fonts of knowledge and inspiration. Whether fiction or nonfiction, I truly savor the opportunity to dive into a good book.
  1. Internet ~ The world wide web is certainly not without its challenges to virtuous living, but I love having information at my fingertips! I enjoy the opportunity to answer my children’s difficult questions (and my own) and connect with friends around the country.
  1. Chocolate ~ God is good. All the time!
  1. the Eucharist ~ Eucharisteo = Thanksgiving. I cannot imagine a gift more substantial than the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ available to us every day. The Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist has been a font of grace in my life, and I simply would not be who I am without it.
My prayer for the next howevermanyyears echoes Ann’s:

I speak it to God: I don’t really want more time; I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sign joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done – yesterday…I just want time to do my one life well.

That is my birthday wish.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Birthday Post Part 2

I began this list yesterday...

And, so, for my 35th birthday, I rejoice in these 35 gifts from a generous God. My cup overflows.

  1. The Catholic Church ~ Without Her, I would be nothing. I give thanks to my parents for raising me in the Truth and…
  2. St. Mary’s Catholic Center ~ No time in my life was as influential as when I was a student at Texas A&M University and attended St. Mary’s. The people there taught me the faith and how to be open to God and then challenged me to use my talents and skills to glorify Him. I am especially grateful to NP for inviting me to Mass with her my freshman year after the They Might Be Giants concert!
  3. Pope Paul VI Institute ~ I simply cannot give thanks for my children without giving thanks to Dr. Hilgers and his staff. The treatment I received there for my infertility issues over the years has made me a healthier, happier, mommy!
  4. These United States of America ~ I am a patriot. I love this country and its foundation, and I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the world. And, since freedom is not free, I give thanks for our troops, as well.
  5. Texas ~ There is a bumper sticker that says, “I am not a Native Texan, but I got here as fast as I could!” Having lived in PA, IN, and CT as a child and MI and FL as an adult, I can truly say I hope to never leave this great state!
  6. WF my HS BFF ~ She is the only friend who has stuck with me since high school, and while our lives have been very different thus far, we still stay in touch and pray for one another!
  7. GM my College Roommate ~ She was truly my friend and not just my roommate. We had fun together and went to church together (at St. Mary’s, of course). She was an engineer, and I was an English major, but we loved each other just the same.
  8. TG my College BFF ~ We jokingly tell people that we were college roommates and are still best friends a dozen years later, but it is true! I am blessed to finally live in the same city with her after over ten years apart, and even more blessed that we can still count on each other for anything, despite how difficult it is for us to get together these days!
  9. That Sister Who Asked Me “Have you ever considered religious life?” ~ What a journey she initiated! My discernment that followed was so instrumental to my spiritual life and, of course, to finding my dear husband!
  10. KC Who Asked Me “Would you ever consider dating him?” about my future husband ~ While the thought had never crossed my mind before, her question started a great journey towards marriage to this man I barely knew.
  11. The Nun Run ~ 25 college girls visiting a dozen convents in 9 days sounds crazy, but we did it! That trip led me to such a greater understanding of both the vocations of religious life and marriage. God spoke clearly there, “Go home and marry that guy you barely know!” Now, that’s crazy faith!
  12. BCS Married Couples ~ C&L, Z&E, J&J, D&M, R&M, and more taught me how to have a successful marriage. Thanks for your friendships and your model of faith-filled married life!
  13. KISD & CSISD ~ The teaching positions I held in these districts were fun and challenging. These experiences convinced me of my love for learning and teaching and of my desire to stay home and teach my own children.
  14. Bethany House ~ My extraordinary opportunity to be an assistant to the director of a Catholic youth retreat center proved to be a grace-filled year of joy. I treasure the confidence and faith I gained that year, my last before-children year.
More tomorrow! Thanks for rejoicing with me.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Birthday Post Part 1

This weekend I turned 35. I am absolutely delighted! There is no time in my life I can recall being more in love with and at peace with my life.

Grateful does not even begin to describe how blessed I feel! The graces that God has poured out on my life are too many to count, and yet, as Ann Voskamp points out in her beautiful book, One Thousand Gifts:

If all these were gifts that God gives – then wasn’t my writing down the list like…receiving. Like taking with thanks.

And, so, for my 35th birthday, I rejoice in these 35 gifts from a generous God. My cup overflows.

  1. Jesus’s Love & Mercy ~ There is no other way to begin this list. I am entirely unworthy of my own life and yet because of His love, I am infinitely blessed.
  1. My husband ~ My beloved, my best friend ever has a heart of gold! We are an amazing team, the two of us become one, and the love and fun we share continues to surprise me. Of course, as he wrote about a year ago, the best part is still just being in the same room together!
  1. Mom ~ Her loving hands are tireless in care of me (and now my children), and I am only now beginning to understand the personal sacrifices she made to be such an extraordinarily gentle and encouraging mother. She is the epitome of unconditional love.
  1. Dad ~ He gave me my drive for life, and I am so grateful for his constant praise and unending support. His optimism in any situation has been a huge motivator to me to persevere through tough times, and in these most recent years his zeal for life sustains me.
  1. My only brother ~ While my brother and I are six and a half years apart, I treasure the bond we share despite our distinct personalities and seasons of life. We are family, and he always honors that with his heart of compassion!
  1. My firstborn daughter (9 yo) ~ She has changed my life and given me my vocation. Her passionate love for life reminds me daily to seize the moment, and her attention to detail challenges me to be faithful through and through!
  1. My firstborn son (6 yo) ~ He makes me smile just by being near. His energy and positive attitude are contagious, and he never fails to amaze me with his creativity. Bringing balance to our busy days, he challenges me to slow down and play ball!
  1. One in Heaven ~ Yes, I am grateful, too, for the loss of our little Anna and the suffering that followed. She gave me faith I did not know I could have.
  1. My baby (18 mo) ~ I simply delight in his life! He teaches me to love the little things and savor every stage of babyhood. His joy and loving heart engage me and challenge me to laugh more and hug more!
  1. My In-laws ~ It is a great blessing to have supportive in-laws and a relaxed, uncomplicated relationship with them!
More tomorrow! Thanks for rejoicing with me.