Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Clover Angels & Flower Crowns: A Little Bit of Springtime

God is so good, and there have been some wonderful moments this spring! Before we suddenly find ourselves in summertime (because, with the way that times flies, I'm sure if I blink we'll be in July) I want to take a couple minutes to share a little bit of our life with all of you. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Significance of a Simple Crucifix

The crucifixes are covered. The statues, too. We have entered into Passiontide, and the Scriptures and prayers of the Liturgy are helping us intensely dive into Christ's Passion and death before we burst into the glorious celebrations of Easter. Surrounded by the purple cloth that is draped so calmly over the images that fill our church and home, I am filled with longing. Longing for pictures and statues of Christ and his saints to console my heart and capture my eyes when I pray. Longing to rejoice abundantly in Christ's glorious Resurrection.

Images of Christ, hanging battered and beaten on the cross, have encircled me since birth. Bundled under blankets, I was carried into the chapel as a newborn, where I rested under the San Damiano crucifix. Crucifixes of various sizes filled our home as a child, and my eyes grew accustomed to seeing this visible reminder of Christ's sacrifice. As I raise my own children in our home, I am blessed to observe the significance that a simple crucifix carries in their lives. My toddler gleefully carries it around. Sometimes above his head, as he processes across the living room; other times with a youthful sense of innocent fun, like that one time when he gave Jesus a ride in the rocking chair. Children crave stability as they grow, and the crucifix forms a steadfast sign on which my toddler can focus his eyes.

"Why did Jesus die on the cross for us?" I'll ask him.
"Why did Jesus get big owies?" he'll question in response, before answering: "Because he loves me SO MUCH!"

(If only we all could remember this simple catechesis day in and day out, how our perspectives would change in times of hardship!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

An Open Book: It's Springtime!

Another month has begun, which  means it's time to update all of you on my most recent reads! Even though March was a long month, I found that I didn't get quite as much reading in as usual, but the books I did read were pretty fascinating :)

Hop on over to Carolyn Astfalk's blog for more reviews at An Open Book!

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Microwave-Free Life: What I've learned, and what I love

Microwaves were always a normal part of my life. When I was a young kid, one of my favorite snacks was melted cheese on bread. I'd pile slices of cheese onto bread, pop it in the microwave, and stand nearby to watch through the window. When I'd see the cheese bubbling, I'd stop the microwave and enjoy the gooey, sharp deliciousness. Microwaves continued to be helpful over the years-if I needed to heat up water for coffee or tea, I'd put it in the microwave. Leftovers? Pop it in the microwave. Heating milk for a bread recipe? Microwave it! Microwaves graced our home growing up, and when I went to college, there were microwaves were in our dormitories and our student center. When my husband and I moved into our first apartment off-campus, there was a microwave for us to use. Our second apartment had one, too-and I used it often. 

However, when we moved into our house, we no longer had a microwave. While we could have purchased a microwave, I told my husband that I'd rather hold off for the time being. I wanted to see if a microwave was actually something that we needed. I wanted to experience life without the buzzing hum of a microwave at work. I wanted to have more counter space. We've been living for almost two years without a microwave, and honestly? I do not miss this kitchen appliance. There have been a couple times where not owning a microwave is a slight hassle, but for me, it's worth dealing with the little inconveniences. 

***Before I get into how life without a microwave works, I want to state that I DO NOT think that microwaves are evil. I'm sure there's research out there about whether or not microwaves are safe, but I don't care enough to research it-I personally choose to live without a microwave in an attempt to simplify life and have more counter space. When I go visit friends and family, I have no qualms about using their microwaves :) 

ANYWAYS, let's chat about the ups and downs of not owning a microwave: 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Tearfully Sowing, Reaping Joy

"Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy." (Ps 126:5). 

This is really the only way I can look at the past several days-really the month as a whole-and make sense of things. We have an incredibly good, loving, merciful God-and knowing that he is with us, caring for us-we can live with thanksgiving in the midst of sorrow. We can embrace deep joy (as opposed to mere happiness) in the midst of hardship. We can find our lives overwhelmed with his peace. 

When people have asked me lately "How are you doing?"  my automatic response has been something along the lines of I'm doing really, really well. But a man from church just died unexpectedly, so that's been hard/sad. And other friends have been going through difficult things that are weighing on my heart. There have been some awful things this month. But otherwise, I'm great!

Joy and sorrow, mingling. Maybe it's just my temperament, that once I get in a good cry or talk with my husband about the hard things, I'm able to take a deep breath and rejoice in the good things that are happening. Is it odd to be in a good mood when so many terrible things have happened, when so many people are deep in grief? 

Monday, March 18, 2019

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Lent Now

Lent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons, yet as I sat in that front pew on Ash Wednesday, I wanted it to be over. A pit of dread weighed down my stomach. I had recently begun praying these six words, and lo and behold, God was making his will abundantly clear to me. First, at presenting an idea in my mind earlier that day, a nudge that I needed to do that one thing. Then, in the words of our deacon, who joyfully preached from the sanctuary, urging us to do something that was almost exactly that one thing that God had been urging me to do. 

I fidgeted, irritated-even a little mad-at God. Wondering if somehow, I could run from the season of Lent, from the challenge that God had presented me with. And, I realized, I could. I could simply ignore what God had been telling me. No one else would know, and I could happily continue on with my life. But, as I mulled this over in my mind, I knew that I didn't want to wallow in the hypocrisy of the Pharisees-I do that far more often than I should already. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How Elderly People are Teaching Me to Live Well

I love hanging out with old people, and I love hearing them speak. They are often fun, kindhearted, and have great stories to share about life in the days gone by. They offer a great perspective when hard times come (because hello, they lived through a World War and rationing, among other things), know the value of hard work, and they often make delicious food on top of that. 
Lately, I've been thinking about all of the lessons I've gathered from elderly people, particularly over the past year or so. I've been reflecting on how I can learn and grow from the wisdom that they share. This wisdom isn't them sitting down and spouting out adages, but it's mainly the wisdom I've gleaned from seeing how they live. They have taught me many things, but here are just a few: 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

An Open Book: In the dreary winter days

Wishing you all a joyful and peaceful Ash Wednesday! I hope you all have a great start to Lent :) So, I don't live in the Bitterly Cold North, but the skies down here have held a rather gray gloom on most days. So, it has been ideal "let's read books inside" weather! I told myself I would specifically read fiction for a month, and I did read some fiction-but I fell back into old habits of picking up nonfiction. So, if you want to see what I've been reading lately (and to peruse my lengthy rant about a modern P&P adaptation), then this is the post for you!

And make sure to head on over to Carolyn Astfalk's corner of the internet for more great book recommendations! 

Friday, March 1, 2019

The quiet days of February

It was a quiet month over here. 
We began the month of February with a fun family outing to celebrate the Presentation of the Lord, but then things slowed down. We had to cancel a game day with friends (twice) because they were sick, so even though we didn't get to see them, we wound up with unexpected quality family time. In fact, quality time with family and friends wound up being a major activity last month. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Living with a phone from the Stone Age

From time to time, I've noticed conversations on social media where people lament how dependent they are on smartphones. These people ask for advice as they wonder if it's possible to ditch the smartphone and use a plain ol' no-frills cell phone to call and text.

I really want to do this, but is it even possible? How do I live without a smarphone? is a common refrain I've seen.

As someone who has never owned a smartphone, I'd like to offer a little insight into the world of "dumb phones." If you've ever considered ditching the smartphone, I think it'd be good for you to know what you are getting yourself into.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Fighting for peace (Or: A view of my chaotic mind)

I sat in front of the brightly lit screen, the words in front of me colliding with various thoughts in my mind. Yet another millennial, another mother of young children ,had written a book. I was so excited to see a young woman-and a mother of little kids at that-pursuing her dreams and bringing her voice into the literary realm. However, even though I know that "comparison is the thief of joy," as they say, the old questions and doubts began firing away in my mind and heart. 

Why haven't I written as many freelance articles as I clearly could have by this point? 
Why haven't I written a book-or at the very least, written more than a page or two? (let's not count how many 1-2 page "books in progress" I have laying around...)
Why do I put most of my writing time towards my blog-which is "for fun," and a creative outlet-instead of working on "professional projects," earning money, and getting my name out there? 

But why can't I just let go of the urge to write professionally and be satisfied with scribbling on my blog while being a stay-at-home-mom? After all, kids grow quickly, and I will never get this time back with my little ones.