Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ora Pro Nobis

I had something going on that while not really serious wasn't completely trivial either and it seemed inevitable. I pass that St. Jude statue at SJV all the time and it always has flowers in front of it, so I figured why not. I prayed about it, I asked St. Jude to pray about it, mostly for the grace to deal with said inevitability.

Then the inevitable thing didn't happen.

I'm honestly overwhelmed at the moment about this, since I'm not a cradle Catholic and whole intercessory prayer of the Church Triumphant thing isn't something I'm used to. I say Hail Marys, we do litanies of saints sometimes, but it's more like something I wish could be true.

I know cynics would say that I'm assigning cause where there was none, Protestants might say that it was my prayer that was heard and St. Jude had nothing to do with it. I just can't help but feel that asking for his prayer to be said with my intentions had something to do with this. We ask our friends to pray for us all the time, so really I shouldn't be so surprised that someone already in the presence of God would be happy to pray for me, too. Maybe his status as patron saint of hopeless causes was just the grace I needed to remember that nothing is beyond grace, that I should offer prayers about whatever I'm going through.

Thanks, St. Jude, for praying for me. Thanks for helping me learn to trust in God's grace a little more. I've been Catholic for almost eight years and I'm still learning the basics.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Well, technically summer vacation doesn't end until Wednesday, when choirs of angels may well start singing when I drop the boys off for their first day of PreK & 2nd grade. They need the structure of school as much as I need a bit more time to restore structure to the house. Which leads me to how I spent my summer vacation. I thought that with the school routine and slightly older kids, I would finally be able to declutter the house. Ha. I did get rid of some things and some spaces are cleaner, but our den (which I optimistically named the sorting room at the beginning of the summer) is full of bins and boxes to be sorted. It's actually the master bedroom of our house, but we use it as living space. Well, did use it as living space. I'm just so thankful it has a door that locks so whenever someone comes over to play/eat/whatever I can lock the door and create the illusion of organization. Hooray!

One thing that's been incredibly difficult about the purging is that a huge part of the clutter is schoolwork and toys. I have a file folder box for each kid where I keep some key examples by year. I am very, very good at deciding which projects to keep. The kids, however, think that I must keep every worksheet and drawing they've ever done because they put their heart and soul into every single mark they make on paper. I've learned the hard way not to ever let them see me getting rid of their papers. "Oh, how did that get into the recycling? The cat must have knocked it in there! Let me get that out of there!" Once they go to school I can sort the papers and they'll never miss what goes.

And the toys. Oh, the toys. The boys have been big on video games this summer (it's really hot outside and I hate being hot, so send the parenting police on over, I will laugh in their faces) but they still do play Legos and Imaginext frequently. Everything else just sits around the house. If I suggest that maybe they could give those toys away to some kid who'd play with it they freak out. So again, there's going to be some culling done in a gradual fashion so they won't notice the toys leaving.

The clutter that is my fault: craft stash, books, magazines and clothing (fits now, will fit on the way up and down if I have another baby and full fledged maternity) is going to be harder to pare down. If anyone has any helpful solutions that aren't hiring someone to do it for me, please share!

The lesson learned from all of this -- just play with the kids and maintain the house over the summer. I will never again try to do any sort of house project when all three of them are home! For the record, we actually did all sorts of awesome things this summer, with Sea World and VBS and museums and tons of trips to the library.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Vigil, at home

Much like midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, Easter Vigil is something that has stopped being part of our liturgical life since we've had little kids. Long, crowded services lasting until hours past their bedtimes (and messing with their sleep for days to come) just don't seem like a good idea. Tonight I had a sort of a mom's Easter vigil. Clothes are set out and pressed, which never seems to happen on a normal Sunday. I have absolutely delicious cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, ready to bake in the morning. The kids did run up to bed all excited about the Easter bunny, but Pete did yell "Alleluia, Christ is risen!" before he settled down. So are they more excited about the candy and festivities? Sure, but I think that's all about conveying to them the pure joy that is Easter. As they grow they'll realize more and more the source of joy isn't the trappings of Easter, but the Resurrection itself. I like to think that Easter, with the crowds and bustle and sense-jarring brass music, is the closest glimpse we get of the splendor of Heaven. So will I be a little more tired that usual tomorrow because I've been getting all of this ready? Sure, but they'll have incredible Easter memories that will hopefully tie them to the faith as they grow.

Happy Easter vigil to all the parents out there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can't Someone Else Do It?

There's an old episode of the Simpsons called "Trash of the Titans" where Homer campaigns for sanitation commissioner by promising that you won't even need to put your trash in the garbage can -- someone will take it from your house for you. His campaign slogan is "Can't someone else do it?" Then he spends the entire budget for the year in a month and disaster ensues. Hopefully disaster won't ensue when I try the same tactic this coming year. I think I've been volunteering too much. I love helping. The little time commitments that seem so reasonable when I'm offering my help then add up to a lot. I'm left with a family who needs more from me. They need more clean laundry, a more organized home, a less frazzled mom. Of course they should be coming first!

My first step, oddly enough, was volunteering for the nominating committee for my mom's group, ensuring that I would be unable to run for next year's board. I'm going to have to tell our wonderful DRE that I can't be a CCE teacher next year. I am still going to volunteer at the kids' school for easy things where I get to see them (lunch bunch!) or would be there anyway (team mom) but not for bigger commitments.

The biggest step of all is that I'm putting Kate, tiny little thing that she is, into a two day a week Mother's Day Out program. She loves our church nursery already, so I'm sure she'll love a few hours at her new "school." With the few childless hours a week I hope to get all of the errands and cleaning done so that afternoons and weekends are more relaxed.

Christian always says that I'm the center of the family, which I usually think is an exaggeration. I'm starting to realize how much my mood sets the mood for the family. A less frazzled mom will hopefully lead to a calmer family next year.