It is a great paradox in my life that while I have never cleaned more often in my life, my house has never looked messier. If you had walked into my home ten years ago, you might look around and say that it was well-kept and clean, when in all actuality the floors had probably not been vacuumed in a week and a mop was something that collected dust in my closet, the toilets were probably deceivingly white despite the many weeks without a good scrubbing, and the pile of dirty dishes was just tucked neatly beneath a cutting board in the sink, keeping them out of sight, out of mind. Today if you walk in, you will likely leave your shoes on because the floor is sticky despite yesterday's vacuum and mopping, the tower of dishes that looms in the sink is likely too large to be hidden beneath anything (and is in fact, just today's dishes, which will be washed in the afternoon as yesterday's were), the bathroom will smell of urine from a little boy who can't get his aim right, and despite the fact that the toilets are sprayed and wiped down nearly every day. I have never cleaned more in my life, and my house has never looked as messy. Appearances can be deceiving.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
One week ago today we undertook our first camping trip with our three oldest boys to attend East 2 West, Canada's biggest Christian Music Festival. Our journey began back in the fall when a friend posted on facebook, "Who wants to go to this with me?" I had never heard of it before, but three of my favorite bands were the main acts each of the nights - Jeremy Camp, The Newsboys, and Third Day. We were given tickets to a Newsboys concert in our hometown a few years ago which we took the boys to, and it was our first shared concert experience with them. It was such a powerful experience to share with them, because contemporary music and worship was such a big part of my conversion, and something I don't often have an opportunity to engage in anymore. Being with the kids at a live event and seeing the way it really resonated with them as it did with us made us eager to attend East 2 West, since it was so close. And so in January, in order to get the early bird prices, we locked in our adventure and bought tickets.
It's so funny to me to look back and see that even when I only had three children, people were contstantly saying, "Wow, you must have your hands full!" And I did, I suppose. But now that the number of children has doubled and that life is so far removed from me, I can't even imagine what it was like now . Those days were so hard and yet, there was grace. I lived one day at a time because I didn't know anything else, and God blessed me richly. We just returned home from a vacation with just our three big boys, and it was such a gift to spend time with each of them without the little ones around. I love the little ones, but life can be consumed with them - which isn't a bad thing, but a little break every now and then helps you to realize that life won't always be this crazy. One day, there will be time to listen to a quiet middle child's story in its entirety, or to toss a frisbee at a beach because you don't need to be stuck to a toddler who might disappear in an instant in a busy crowd. One day there will be time to just be with older children and hear their thoughts, or watch their faces light up at the things that bring them joy. And as a friend whose youngest starts high school in the fall shared with me yesterday, one day too there will be loneliness. One day children will grow up, with go their seperate ways and begin their new lives, and I will find myself longing for the chaos and busyness, the joy that fills these crazy days. As I continue on this path, my prayer is that God sustains me through the trials, and helps me not to take for granted all the goodness that is in the midst of it all - all my children together, under one roof, growing together with me. Such blessed days, and I am truly grateful to be here with them.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Do we ever really have things figured out? This post makes me laugh, because I feel like I could have written it yesterday.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
If there's one thing I can't hear people say, it's this: "When I look around at Mass, all I see is grey hair." Because I will tell you something. The little parish that I live in has the strongest and most faithful community I have ever experienced. They are the kind of people who know the name of every person in that parish, who rejoice in new members and go out of their way to introduce themselves to new people. Who stop by your house and bring pie when you've just moved in. Who host after every single Mass a coffee and sweets social in the lobby by donation, and who consistently have regular, well-attended social events and fundraisers outside of Sunday Mass. And guess what? More than the majority have grey hair.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
This week's throwback post is something I still struggle with every day. Though we're not as sick now as we were in those days (we were really sick a lot then!) there are different things that cause me to reach the end of my rope. I'm coming to see those things as a true gift, because they don't allow me to coast along oblivious to my sin. They force me to deal with that real deep-rooted selfishness, which is still so real for me. This is why this life is so good, this is why these children are the greatest blessing to me. I pray that one day I can be the mother they truly deserve, and I know it's only by their help and guided by the loving hand of God that I even have a prayer.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
If you were to see us on the street, we would appear to be a family of eight. In fact up until a few weeks ago, we were a family of ten, with two little saints waiting for us in Heaven. John Paul Gerald, who was miscarried in March of 2005 at about 12 weeks, and Gabriel, our Advent baby, miscarried in December of 2011, also in the first trimester though we're not entirely sure on dates. We recently discovered that I had been blessed with a ninth pregnancy (Nine! Wow!), a baby who was also destined to live their whole life in Heaven. As a parent, there can be no greater joy than knowing a child has made it in Heaven. For the children living with us we do our best to point them in that direction, and pray that we would not do anything to hinder it (as I sure all too often we do). But for these three little souls, the battle is already won. Thanks be to God for His goodness!