Mary, Help Me: A Mother’s Prayer

A friend gave me this lovely little prayer book called: ” The Original”  Mother’s Manual by A. Francis Coomes, S.J. It has many wonderful prayers, but this one is definitely my favorite. I find myself praying it more often now, since bedtime by myself with a newborn and a 5 year old is really trying my patience. I know we’re just adjusting and things will get better, but more often than not I feel like I need to shout out to mother Mary for some help. Ironically after they finally fall asleep I can’t help but feel that I am so blessed. Look at these little faces..

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Mary, Help Me

Holy Queen, mother of mothers, consolation and protectress of all Christian motherhood, Mother Mary help me.

In all the trials and sorrows that come into my day, dear Mary, help me.

When I am tired with my labors and despondency is upon me, dear Mary help me.

When all looks dark and I find none to speak a consoling or cheering word, dear Mary, help me.

When I am wearied by the weight of countless vexing little things and my patience is sorely tried, dear Mary, help me.

In the impatience and rudeness of others, by the example of your mildness, dear Mary, help me.

When others speak sharply to me and I would speak harshly in return, that I may show the gentleness of your own kindly speech, dear Mary help me.

When my efforts seem to bear so little fruit and to be so little appreciated and I am discouraged, dear Mary, help me.

When a thousand worrisome distractions and annoyances come into my day and it seems so hard to keep my peace of heart, dear Mary help, me.

When all others seem to fail, then especially with the sweet support of your gentle aid, dear Mary, help me.

In all things, Mother, assist me! That I may, like you, with patience turn all my trials into spiritual treasures; that I may grow ever more like you, the cherished Queen of the most holy family, dear Mary, help me!

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The First Year of Homeschooling: What We Learned

I haven’t written in so long.  Not because I don’t want to, but the words haven’t been flowing.  There is so much in my tiny little brain that everything gets scrambled and I can barely write or talk.  So here is another attempt.  Everyone keeps asking for my final “report” on homeschooling.

In a nut shell, I LOVED IT!!  I feel like singing it from the mountain tops.  It seriously has been one of the best decisions of my life. I am kind of kicking myself for not listening to my gut sooner.  I have been contemplating homeschooling for years, but it never seemed like the right timing.  God has a timing all His own that is always perfect in the end.  This year, was the right timing.  When people ask me about the year and why it was so good, I am often at a loss for why it was so good.  I know I end up looking like a fool when I can’t explain it well.  I am sure so many have lumped me in the crazy homeschool person club.  I don’t care, but I really would like to articulate what has happened this year that has made it so joy.

I guess the only way to explain, is to know where we started and where we ended.  I was a crazy mom of 4 kids (I still am a crazy mom of 4 kids, but I am happier) with a large age range of children (1-12 years of age).  My oldest was going off to middle school and starting to develop all those middle school, pre-teen attitudes.  I never seemed to have enough hours in the day to connect with my children.  I was constantly frustrated with their school and the ways things were run (I don’t fault the teachers with their large class sizes.  I just don’t like the system).  Everyday became the same thing.  We would wake up by 6 am and quickly get ready for school. I was always hurrying my child up (hurry up get dressed, hurry up brush your teeth, hurry up eat, hurry up get your shoes on, etc…).  I was the biggest nag.  ThenI would drop him off for school and prepare for the afternoon/evening of nagging.  Once he came home from school,  the hurrying up game started all over again.  It was hurry up for snack, complete homework, get dressed for swim, eat your dinner, take a shower, and finally hurry up for bed.  There was no time to just be.  Yes, we had conversations in the car, but most of the time it was me nagging.  This was just with 1 of the 4 kids.  I was nagging the others just as much too.  The kids were fighting all the time.  My oldest was growing up learning to resent me and his siblings (he always thought they were getting more time with me since they didn’t attend school  yet).   We were all hurrying through life, but not really learning much from life.  We were more checking off boxes and making our way through lists.  As we were deciding upon which middle school to send our son to, it became very clear it was time to homeschool.  He is a very ambitious child who wanted to learn more than what was being taught in any school and wanted to do more activities then the days allowed.  Homeschooling became the compromise for him to achieve his goals. So our adventure began with homeschooling the oldest, sending the 2nd child to regular school and the 3rd child attending preschool 2 days/week.

Having my oldest home was amazing.  We were able to cover most of his subjects before traditional school was let out, and he had no homework to do in the evenings that interfered with family time.  Instantly, my son changed.  He started playing with his younger brothers more (1 and 3 years old).  He started smiling.  We began to laugh with each other and I can’t tell you how many deep meaningful conversations happened.  He always commented to me how much more he was learning at home versus regular school.  When he would meet up with his public school friends and hear about school and their life he would always come home thankful to be homeschooled.  The biggest thing that I removed from my son’s life was STRESS.  It was replaced with a safe environment to learn and make mistakes.  He no longer had social drama to worry about when he was trying to learn (oh the social drama we escaped this year).  We, I mean my son,  soon realized that there still wasn’t enough time to accomplish everything on his list, but he was ok with that.  For the first time in a long time he was content.

I joined a Catholic homeschool group.  At first it was for my son to make friends, but now it is my life line as well as his.  The families we have met are heaven sent.  If you have a question about anything, someone has been there and done that!  I always get sound advice.  People often comment that homeschool kids are “different”.  THEY ARE DIFFERENT!  I haven’t found it to be a negative, but the biggest positive.  I would love to invite everyone to watch one of our park playdates.  It is the most amazing thing I have every seen.  You will witness children from infant to 18 years old playing in a park.  Everyone plays with everyone at some part during the playdate.  The older kids help with the younger ones and there isn’t much complaining at all!!  My son even plays with his siblings at park playdates and isn’t embarrassed (he was very embarrassed a year ago).  Playing isn’t about how old you are or what you can or can’t do, its about relationship and these “homeschool” kids know the value of a person.  It’s the most beautiful thing.  Whenever I make comments about how cool it is, veteran homeschool moms laugh at me because it is just the norm here.

In this year, homeschooling has given us the gift of time and seeing the world differently.  So many moms, kids and family’s are stressed out just like I was.  They don’t know that there is a different way.  They feel trapped by so many things.  This year, I am happy to say I am not trapped anymore.  My son is not trapped either.  We are enjoying life with healthy relationships being reestablished in and outside our home.

Yes, there were plenty of trying, emotional days.  Yes, we missed many of our friends from public school.  However, what we gained in the end was priceless.  We gained the time to get to know each other better in the midst of teaching the 3 R’s (reading writing, and arithmetic).  So, not a bad first year at all!!  Can’t wait for next year.  We are adding our daughter, a 2nd grader, to the mix.  Can’t wait for the new adventure.

 

The Joy of Being a Mom

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I’m several weeks into being a mom to two little babes, and I have to say I’m enjoying it so much more this time around. When we had our first munchkin we were young newlyweds, starting out our professional careers, we had a high needs pre-term baby, and a cancer in our immediate family. To be honest, on top of evrything else, we were also selfish. I wrote about this many times on my other blog, complaining how hard motherhood was and listing everything I had to give up.

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I just want to say to all those new mothers out there, knee deep in diapers, laundry, tantrums and tears, that it gets better. The diapers and laundry keep on coming over the years, but you get stronger, wiser, more confident, your heart just gets bigger and bigger, and the love, oh the love, it just keeps on coming. There are still days when I’m reduced to tears or I want to pull my hair out in frustration, but now I can appreciate all the things I was too self involved to notice before. Whatever it was I used to complain about doesn’t matter anymore, now I bask in the smiles, coohs, the hilarious things my 4 yr old says  and imagines, stories before bed, the addictive baby smell, and the connection shared through breast feeding.

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I guess you could say I’ve finally stopped being a twenty-something girl playing house and grown into my true vocation: to be a woman, a mother who loves her own by serving them. I used to think that I had given up everything to be a mom, my career, my hopes, and dreams, all of that now came in 3rd or 4th place in matter of importance. I was wrong, boy was I wrong! All those things still matter, in fact they are very important, an unhappy and unfulfilled woman is an unhappy mother as well.  All those things are just not going to happen on the time line I had planned or the way that I envisioned them. They are now in God’s hands, like they should’ve been in the first place.

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Motherhood has also changed some of those hopes and dreams and has helped me discover who I truly am and given me an amazing purpose. We get to mold these little bundles into people! Can there be a job more important than that? Sometimes this can be daunting, to think that we can teach them so many good things but that we can also make mistakes, but don’t worry, that’s why we have mother Mary to help us along this adventure full of love, laughter, tears, and unexpected surprises.

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Maybe it’s just the new mom hormones, but I love being a mom right now! I hope you do too. If for some reason you don’t, remember God entrusted those little ones in your care for a reason. YOU are their mommy, enjoy their unconditional love. Not everyone knows what true love is.

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The Rising: A novel

With baby girl being only two months old I have not had time to do much, other than breastfeed and try to keep our 4 yr. old from destroying the house. I have, however, had time to read a lot! I recently  read a book that I have to tell you about. It’s called The Rising: A Novel by Robert Ovies.

This is the story of 9 yr. old CJ who has the power to heal and rise people from the dead, his dedicated single mom Lynn, his self-involved father Joe, and their family friend Father Mark. As soon as the family discovers CJ’s power they must face many challenges, and between trying to keep him safe, his dad trying to profit from the situation, and Fr. Mark who cannot seem to grasp what is going on, CJ’s future seems uncertain.

Throughout the book you will find yourself wondering whether you believe in miracles or could believe in them. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but I will tell you that this book is a thriller, but also a love story that will evoke powerful feelings about being a parent and what we are willing to do for our children.

This is definitely a good read. If you’re interested you can find this book on Amazon. Hopefully my next post will be something other than a book review, but for now,  I have to go back to feeding my little one:)

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Something Other Than God

something other than god fulwiler What Im trying to say is: MY BOOK COMES OUT ON TUESDAY!!!!

What does it take to write a book? I’m sure Jen Fulwiler would agree you need scorpion killing powers, a subscription to Netflix, massive multi-tasking skills, and a sense of humor.

Jen’s long awaited memoir, Something Other a Than God, is finally out in the world!! I bought it on Amazon the day it came out and couldn’t put it down. It is the story of an atheist woman in search of the truth, which leads her (to her surprise) to find God, and finally to realize that the Catholic Church is where she needed to be all along.

I have been following Jen’s blog, Conversion Diary, for some time now, in fact she was one of the bloggers that inspired Fran and I to start this blog. It is that same inspiration and candid honesty that she brings to this book, where she shares the details of her spiritual journey.

I guess I could tell you some of the details of the book, but really, you should go out and buy it!  However, I will tell you that Jen’s story really led me to reflect on whether I’m happy where I am in my life right now, and whether I am doing God’s will, or at least trying to do God’s will.   Sometimes it’s so easy to get carried away in our own needs and wants, that it takes somebody like Jen to remind us that we should always be asking ourselves, “Is this what God wants?”

When I finished the book all I could think of was how fortunate those of us who were raised Catholic  and are raising our own children Catholic are, because we do not have to fear death. As a child I too came to that realization that we would all die, and even though this made me sad I was never afraid. I couldn’t have told you then why, but now I know that it was because I believed in heaven. Not everyone has that reassurance.

We all have a different spiritual journey and God calls us all in different ways, but we are all searching for Him whether we know it or not. Which leads me to ask you: are YOU happy or are you still searching for something other than God?

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You can find Jen’s book, Something Other than God here,

The Power of Prayer

We’ve been home for about three weeks now and everything is going great. Baby girl is gaining weight, she weighs a whopping 5 lbs now!!

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We’ve settled into a newborn routine: feeding, sleeping, and diaper changing. My mom flew in from Mexico to help out, and boy did she save our butts. She is a true blessing in our lives.

Again I have to thank you for all of your prayers. It has never been more apparent to us how powerful prayer is and how fortunate we are for the Communion of Saints and our family, the Church. We have received so much support in the form of prayer, meals, visits to the hospital, and more. There really is such a thing as southern hospitality!

We are enjoying every minute with our little girl. Last night, I was doing a feeding at 3am and in my zombie like, sleep deprived state I suddenly realized that I have two kids, and I panicked. You see, my hubby works in the restaurant business and works incredibly long hours, nights, weekends, and holidays. This means that most of the time I parent alone. This of course is not news to me, and I knew this well before we decided to have another baby. Yet, now that show time is upon us, the task seems daunting, especially with summer coming up and our 4 yr old munchkin will be out of school.

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I was talking to my sweet mom about this and she said, ” Honey, you have two hands, one for each child. The time to worry about this is when you have three children and you’re out of hands.” Gotta love some mom wisdom!

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers. If you are in need of prayer, please leave a your requests in the comment section and we will put you on out prayer list.

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My Facebook Fast

So I gave up Facebook for Lent. Walking away from Facebook has been a breath of fresh air so needed at this time. Facebook is such a double edge sword for me. On one hand I love seeing what friends and family are doing, and on the other hand I hate seeing what friends and family are doing. Confused? So I am I!! I will try and explain.

I love pictures of friends and family on vacation having a great time. I love when people post their newborn pictures of their babies literally minutes after they are born. I love when parents post funny things their kids say. I love funny videos! I love when a tragedy happens we all go on Facebook praying and consoling one another. I love reading thought provoking blogs and news articles that people suggest. It is all really good stuff.

Yet, at the same time I hate everything I mentioned above because sometimes it leaves me feeling jealous of all the amazing things people are doing. It makes me even a little pompous as I pity other peoples lives. I compare my mothering to other mothers who I think are better than I am. I start to worry if my kids aren’t funny enough or curious enough to say cute things. As I read all theses blogs and news articles I am often left with confusion or anger because how could people believe such lies. Other times I am left feeling hopeless for this world.

Does all of that make sense? I love it and hate it. I have gained peace since I walked away because I am not comparing myself to anyone. I am not reading anyones suggested articles with their opinion as a filter. It is kind of refreshing not to hear everyones opinion on a subject. Am I hiding my head in the sand? Maybe a little bit. I am still reading the news, so I do know what is happening in the world. It is nice not being overloaded with information.

I don’t really have a plan for when Lent is over. I am sure I will go back to checking in on Facebook. I hope to do so with a different filter and perspective. I think I will limit my time so I don’t become as obsessed as I was. There is a lot of fluff to Facebook and I hope to filter out the junk.

What about you? Have you learned anything from your Lenten sacrifices? I would love to hear.