Caritas · Faith in Action

For my Children

vocationtag1.jpgThis is something I have been working on for quite some time in my head, but I am letting the cat out of the box today.

I feel a very strong call to help foster vocations as much as I can.  To help this I am starting a small endevour online as part of this blog.  Mother’s for Vocations.  It is my firm belief that, while God calls many young people to religious life a good number of them are diswaded from answering this call by their parents.   Sometime it isn’t even the parent’s intention, but it is the result of the way children are commonly raised to view their life goals as educational, family and career oriented… not based on the vocation that God has for them.   But I think many parents want to support their children in their vocation but are somewhat at a loss when it comes to how that should play out in their daily family life.

So here is my tiny offering for now.  I will be expanding this as time and my imagination and God’s will allows.

Mother’s for Vocations.

“Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us.”

A while back I posted on vocations and ways I feel that parents can encourage vocations for their children.  You can read those thoughts here.

Blogs I Know · Faith in Action · My world

Moms for Modesty

If you stumble into this older article please check out my “Heads up” update.

It seems that Moms for Modesty has sort of gone by the way-side.  Kind of a sad thing as it was a memorable little grassroots action that crossed a lot of boundaries.    Even though the founder wasn’t Catholic I know a lot of Catholic mom’s who really supported the work of making it known that as mothers we value modesty for our children, especially our daughters.

Here is the Mom’s for Modesty Mission Statement:

Moms for Modesty Mission Statement

As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.

I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.

I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.

I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.

I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls’ and young women?s clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.

But Everyday Mommy seems to be gone replaced by Everyday Design.  I wish Jules well in her new endeavor.

I found something in passing that really made me laugh, Amy Caroline, over at Knit Together in Love said, “Now I am off to church… Let’s hope I have the guts to wear my mantilla!”.  This is SO me.  I have been tumbling over the whole idea of covering my head at mass for over two years (yes, I know that is an obnoxiously long time to be dwelling on something) … needless to say I really identify with Amy in this.  It takes guts to take this on because it is such a statement.  It is much more a statement then putting a pro-life bumper sticker on your car or having a big crucifix dangling from your neck.  This is something that you are saying about yourself.  It is a statement that you are in some sense a Holy thing.  And that is a frightening  — how do you do that without being self conscious?  I haven’t figured it out yet.  I just don’t have the guts yet to say… “Yeah, I am sacred”!

Simplicity · Uncategorized

Well, life sort of took over

Two weeks ago I said I would get back to you with my organizing plan on Monday, it is now Saturday.

One of the rules of goal setting that I learned a long time ago was to break any large project down into small pieces.

There are a lot of reasons for doing this.  I am less likely to be overwhelmed, I am more likely to finish something when I can see the end of it, I like having little goals to reach, things I can check off.  I works for me.

So, my office is a terrible disaster at the moment it looks like a filing cabinet and two toy boxes took turns exploding their contents at one another.  Not exactly conducive to work, peace or even walking safely across the floor.

This is an odd room.  It is NOT a rectangle it is some other quadrilateral with a column and a protrusion into the room.   All in all sort of weird shaped.  We have two desks and one table that serves as a third desk/workspace and two book shelves.  There are also bookshelves built into the protrusion.  (you probably have no idea what the room looks like now) Once upon a time this was a back porch.  It is a great room for my office.  I can see the kitchen and living room, I can hear most the house and look out on the backyard.  Very easy to keep tabs on the children no matter where they are.

This room is used for the following things:

I use this room to work, to play computer games and to manage the household
the children use this room to play, to study and do art projects.
This room is an exit point to the backyard, coats and boots tend to end up here in the winter and swimsuits and flip flops in the summer.
I need to be able to store homeschooling things, art supplies, bookkeeping information and references material for work.  The computers and printers are in this room and it tends to be that place where things end up when they don’t have a home.

Other than the “don’t have a home” issue there isn’t anything that I want to move from this room.

Right now the “big problems” in this room are toys, books and papers. 

One thing I had missed before taking my little survey of this room was the fact that the children use it as a “launch” pad for the back yard.  I need to set up a convenient way for them to store coats and backyard shoes/boots so these things don’t end up littering the floor.  I can move one small bookcase, put in some hooks and shoe storages and that should fix the problem.

The paper problem is mostly one of the childrens’ endless drawings and scrapes ending up all over the floor.  I need to set up a box where they can put their “stuff”.  Junk mail is occasionally an issue.  This is just a process thing.

I am setting up two toy boxes in here to deal with the toys.   Some of the less used art supplies are being moved. 

 So that is the basic.  This is where I pull out my mantra, Simplicity.  What do I NEED to be in this room. 
For my work I need the computer and printer, my desk the reference books.  These are the absolutely have to haves.  I also need my office supplies.  For homeschooling I need the children’s books, their notebooks and supplies.  I also keep my files in here.   Everything else is on the “questionable list”. 

Mary Mary and Martha · Uncategorized

Contemplative Housework

Modern life can be very hostile to contemplation.  We are busy, the world is noisy, there is always something that must be attended too and more and more our occupations are mind-occupying far more than physically occupying.  It is bad for our health and bad for our souls.  Simple labor is often the catalyst to change things.  We are because we do. 

 I attended a Catholic women’s conference several years ago where one of the talks touched on decorating our homes in order to promote our faith.  The speaker encourage us to turn our kitchen window into a sort of holy space.  A mini-family alter where little reminders of the faith would speak to us as we went about the daily chores of cooking and cleaning.  Mary may have chosen the better part, but someone still has to do the dishes.  t is just a fact of life. 

I have often reflected on the Martha and Mary story where Martha is cleaning and Mary is listening to Christ.  Martha gets herself offend.  I can honestly see this, almost feel it.  Martha clearing the table, Martha cleaning the dishes and Mary just sitting on her touchas listening to their visitor.  I can hear the grumbling in Martha’s mind… “her I am slaving day in and day out while she sits there and doesn’t lift a finger.  Surely the Master will have something to say about this, he can’t possible see me working so hard and approve her slouth.”  I am sure Christ’s response shocked her.  But the “better part”… was it the sitting and listening or was it the listening instead of the internal grumbling?

The dishes and cleaning could have waited.  In fact in Martha’s case they should have.  They had an honored guest in their home and here she was making busy instead of listening to him.  Martha might have chosen to clean up the mess and looked at it as a service and then instead of complaining about her sister she would have been grateful for the opportunity to serve.  It is all how one looks at the work.  But in either case the grumbling attitude that lead Martha to try to entice Christ into publicly reprimanding her sister was wrong.

Attitude is at the core of so many things when it comes to faith.   If we view our religious obligations as drudgery then they become burdens.  I have heard so many people say something like “I can’t stand going to church.  Who wants to give up an hour of their weekend to have someone tell them what they do all week is wrong.”  or “My parents forced me to go to church when I was a kid and I hated it!  I won’t make my kids go to church!”  What an odd thought.  Their parents probably made them eat vegetables and go to school too, but I seriously doubt they would use the same logic universally and allow their offspring to opt out of a balanced diet or an education.   But faith somehow found itself in the “optional” category.

Or maybe it is that parents aren’t completely comfortable teaching their children the faith anymore because they don’t feel that they own it themselves well enough to pass on.  Or it could just be that in our society that seems to prize “diversity” (where diversity is defined as anything other than traditional Western Cultural and Christian faith) they don’t want to seem out of touch or un-cool.  So faith becomes something pushed to the back burner.  You don’t talk much about it and you certainly don’t bring the trappings of your faith into your home decor.  But we should!

It doesn’t take a lot.  A picture here a small statue there can be the little relics of our faith that our children see everyday.  Those things that we see everyday.  Things we connect to and remind us as we go through our daily tasks that God is with us always and we should listen to him.

My world · Simplicity

Simplicity and functionality

There are things we need and things we want.  Telling the difference becomes difficult at times. 

Fall is a time where I like to refocus on “culling” the stuff.  Five children and two adults living in a home with a sixth child here a few times a month can produce a glut of stuff.   This was made very clear to me when I had my fourth and my mother in law stayed at our home with the children.   “You have too many clothes.”  I started out trying to disprove her so I went through and inventoried the clothing…. we had way to many clothes.  So I sat down and made a list of what each child really needed with our weather and activities in mind.  I based my list off of several I had found online and my own common sense.  It lists out everything that every child needs in a spread sheet, I go through the drawers and select the items to fill the quota and the rest go away. 

I have thought about applying this methodology to other areas in the home as well but I was always somewhat stuck on where to start… or more precisely where to stop.   I start by thinking of the rooms and areas in my home and asking “what do I do in this room;  what do I need to be in here?”  Some rooms have proven easy.  The bathroom is pretty simple.  Other rooms have proven problematic, my office and the kitchen most bothersome.    The bathroom is rather straight forward in its uses.  Bathing, toilet, grooming and first aid.  The kitchen is food storage and preparation…. but where do I stop with the needs?  Do I NEED a pasta maker, bread machine, coffee press, waffle iron and a wide assortment of baking pans?  Some of them are truely convient and others a deceptive.  They seem like a good idea, but are really just space takers that aren’t worth the effort to pull them out.  

My office has hands down been the worst.  It is a multi-use room that is used a lot so clutter and mess tend to build up at an alarming rate.   This weekend I am doing a serious planning phase for getting it under control.  I will report on my efforts on Monday.

My world

The community of saints

This weekend I was AFK.  I was traveling on business to Tulsa Ok, and I brought the baby girl with me.  She still nurses at night and is very much “momma’s baby” so I was glad that my work allows me the freedom to blend being a mommy so wonderfully with being a web developer. 

Traveling with a baby can actually be a lot of fun.  Baby girl is 20 months and really a pro now at the ins and outs of airports.  We get window seating so that she can look out at the clouds and we are usually very lucky in that we don’t sit right next to cranky people like the gentleman who sat behind us for our first leg and rather loudly (rudely) announced to his seat mates, “I HATE sitting on a plan with wailing babies”.  Idiot, like anyone enjoys sitting near a crying baby, most especially baby’s parents who are having to deal with their child’s discomfort and their own angst at knowing that the other passengers are not really enjoying their bundle of joy.  But… I digress.  Most people, and everyone I sat next to this trip, are really great to babies and the mom’s traveling with them. 

On the first leg of our trip home we happened to sit next to a young man.  We passed a few words about life, he has a baby daughter.   We talked about the work we do, he works in radio and somewhere mentioned “ministry” so I was thinking he worked for a Christian radio show.  He talked about some audio books he is working on and I asked about the author, “You probably haven’t heard of him,  G.K. Chesterton”.

“Really!” I said, “oh that is so cool!”  And so it was that one of the “passwords” was said and it was just a question or two from one or the other of us before we determined that we are both “members of the club”.  It was remarkable how much in common we had.   My companion didn’t find it that remarkable as we were both part of the community of saints.  And he is right, we are both part of the Body of Christ. 

All in all it was a wonderful trip.  Our meeting was fantastically productive, it was good to see some old friends again.  Now I am back feeling really energized and ready to work and write and continue becoming who I am.