Happy Crappy Father’s Day! (When Life Gets All Screwed Up)

As usual, I’m a day late and a dollar short. Or several dollars short.

My sister-in-law texted me this picture this morning, and WOW! does it describe my life right now.

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Father’s Day was everything it wasn’t supposed to be for my husband. We were rushed, snapped at each other, and ended up just plain surviving. I felt terrible about it, but it seemed like the more I tried to fix it the more it got screwed up.

Mind you, nothing catastrophic has happened directly to our family. The biggest blessing of the day was that we all made it to mass together. Two kids were altar servers, one blessed us by singing in the choir, and the rest of the kids behaved well enough for us to actually listen to the readings and homily. As a family, we brought up the gifts to the altar, which filled my heart with happiness.

Life with the tenth baby coming any second is not always easy. Throw in a baby who tried to break his foot, never-ending house projects that can’t wait, a dance recital, a horse show, and three kids in baseball, and it feels like a whirlwind of survival. It seems like ever since my grandma’s funeral we have been running nonstop. Some close family members have been going through tough times, and all we have been able to do is pray nonstop for them. My body is worn out and tired of carrying this big baby around all the time. It seems like I am in early labor constantly, and Mike is dutifully picking up the slack.

I wish we could fast forward a few weeks to when the baby is here and we have adjusted. That’s ridiculous, though! I don’t want to wish one second of my life away! The hard, crazy times are when we lean on God. Nothing else can get us through it. The peace that we are left with is only the peace that can be Divinely given to us. For that we are grateful.

Here is what I had meant to tell Mike on Father’s Day—

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This picture of the Holy Family is how he makes me feel. Mike has always been our protector, just like St. Joseph. I know that places an enormous amount of pressure on him, but he handles it well.

I have no idea why God has entrusted us with ten precious souls to raise. Many couples struggle to have one or two children—why does He think we can do a good job with ten?

Maybe that’s the whole point. We can’t really do a good job of parenting without His help. St. Joseph is storming heaven with prayers for us. We’ve got this.

My prayer is that our sons can grow up to be just like their daddy, and our daughters will marry men just like him. All that crazy stuff in between? That’s the amazing life God has given us.

“Buckle up, baby, it’s a bumpy ride….” ~true words sung by Jon Bon Jovi 😉

Small Success Thursday: I’m Baaaaaaaaack. I think.

Wow, I have missed blogging!

I am linking up today with CatholicMom.com for Small Success Thursday. Counting my blessings, not just for a week, but for the past several weeks, to play catch up!

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I feel extremely blessed to be 32 weeks pregnant. The baby kicks and squirms constantly! Besides buying birth supplies for my home birth, I am completely ready for the baby to come. What does being “ready” for baby #10 mean? It means washing the newborn cloth diaper stash, having a few gender neutral onesies and swaddle blankets on hand, and just waiting. I know by now that babies really don’t need that much!

Life has been all over the place. We have been enjoying the crazy busyness of Spring!

We celebrated our second child’s Confirmation this past Sunday. What a blessing, praying the Rosary together and witnessing all those young people rejecting satan and following Christ!

The morning of Kelsey’s Confirmation, we learned that my grandma had passed away sometime during the night. She had been sick for some time, and I had been praying that she would die peacefully and without pain. As we are packing up to leave for the wake and funeral, many thoughts and memories are swirling around in my mind.

My grandma taught me to never give up on others, even when they continue to make poor choices. Love them and never give up! She was a living example of how to love like Christ does, unselfishly and without holding back.

I will never forget holidays at her house, sharing banana splits, the stinky home permanents she gave me, and our love of the Little House on the Prairie books. So many wonderful memories!

My grandma told me once that all she ever wanted was to have a family. Every baby I have (even #10 growing in my belly!), Grandma made sure to sew or buy a soft blanket for. Sometimes I feel like she was one of the few people to understand my large family! I picture her in Heaven, sitting on a porch swing with Grandpa and rocking my two babies that wait for me.

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Hug your family tight! Have a blessed week, enjoying every second you have in this crazy thing called life!

A Child’s Night Prayer

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I constantly find little snippets of prayers written in my 8-year-old’s notebooks. Britta is such a prayerful little girl. I hope she stays this way forever!

Here is a prayer she wrote that I found a few months ago:

Night Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

I thank you God for making me and now the day is done.

I hope that there’s no bad nights.

I thank you for this great day and the greatness of you God.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Wow. It doesn’t get much simpler (or truer!) than that.

Good night, and may you have only happy dreams with your Guardian Angel watching over you and protecting you. Amen.

Small Success Thursday: Yeah, So It’s Friday….

Perhaps the biggest success of my week was not starting World War III with one of my kids last night. It’s a long story, nothing worth sharing.

Just pretend you are reading this yesterday when it was actually Thursday!

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Linking up this evening with CatholicMom.com for Small Success Thursday. Sherry, who writes this linkup, is a mom of 10. I admire her faith and truly enjoy hearing the antics that take place in her large family. She is an inspiration to my amazing yet slightly dysfunctional clan of craziness.

Today, Sherry wrote that she complains to Mother Mary in the daily rosary to avoid complaining to others. That’s honestly something I’ve never thought of. I don’t like to complain, not because I want others to think I’m perfect (I rarely have it all together) but because I’m afraid they will respond, “Well, that’s whatcha get for having so many kids!”

What a concept, turning complaints into prayers! No doubt Mother Mary will soothe my frustrations and nudge me right to Jesus.

Here are my small successes for the week:

1. Joel made it to school with his completed 100th Day of School shirt. We hot glued 100 pieces of popcorn to a shirt last night, finishing just in the nick of time. Side note: Next time, I will wait till the littles are asleep before trying this—they kept eating the counted popcorn! Only one piece fell off during the day. I’d consider that a HUGE success!

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2. My husband and I (and the three littles) all made Parent Appreciation Day at my younger kids’ school. I was grateful to have Mike’s help, and we got to see all the kids get blue ribbons for making A honor roll. Super proud of their hard work!

3. My oldest is smack dab in the middle of The Little Mermaid rehearsals for her school musical. I have managed to coordinate picking her up along with taxi driving everyone else around. Big success.

4. My second oldest returned from the Prolife March in D.C. She ended up with a nasty cold/virus but is feeling much better. I am so thankful she got to go to this life-changing protest against abortion. Many in her generation truly understand the gift of life.

 “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”  Mother Teresa

I agree with Mother Teresa about the children, but many days I believe there CAN be too much laundry. Oops, better complain to Mary, not to you! Hail Mary, full of grace….

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Have a blessed weekend. Have any successes to share? Post them in the comments or go to CatholicMom.com and share them there! Believe me, I need the inspiration.

Worth Revisiting: God is like…a shoe?

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday, a link up with Elizabeth at Theology is a Verb and Allison at Reconciled to You. They encourage bloggers to share previously written posts! Thanks to Elizabeth and Allison for letting me join the fun.

I thought today I would share one of my favorites. This post is a great example of how God uses silly, every day moments with my kids to inspire me, even in the chaos! Today I am wearing my rubber boots as I wade through the mountains of dirty laundry.

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God is like…a shoe?

(originally posted October 23, 2014)

Kids do the funniest things. Here is a paper my kindergartener Joel proudly brought home from school:

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As Joel shoved the drawing into my hands, I stifled a giggle. I tried to get him to elaborate, but I didn’t get much out of him except that God is a rock and a shoe. I think he just wanted to go play Minecraft, the little stinker.

I get that God is a rock. But, a shoe? Hmmm….

What first sprang to my mind was a pair of steel-toed work boots. Unfortunately, some see God as a domineering, bossy, jealous, judge stomping around, sucking all the fun out of life. Even worse, some see disasters—both natural and man-made—as a punishment from God. God gives us what we deserve, right? Stomp, stomp, stomp.

Thank goodness I know better than that! I have a whole closet full of God shoes that I wear. Maybe you can relate?

When I joined the Catholic Church Easter of 2000, God seemed like a sparkly high-heeled shoe. Lots of bling and perhaps pinching my toes a bit. OK, maybe a lot. The Church, with all Her history and traditions, ancient prayers and Communion of Saints, incense and holy water, and the Eucharist—oh, how the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist was beautiful and sparkly to me! I didn’t quite “get” the Blessed Mother stuff yet, being a work in progress, so I felt a little like Cinderella’s step sister, trying to shove my big, ugly foot into a beautiful slipper. Over time, God molded me, making it fit.

As I learned more and experienced firsthand the beauty of the Catholic Church, my Lord became comfortable. Kind of like a comfy pair of tennis shoes. I felt loved, supported, strong, and ready to run the race, fighting the good fight.

I became so comfortable that I got a little lazy. Busy raising little ones, I left little time for myself to spend with Jesus. In hindsight, I kicked my God shoes off, choosing to go barefoot.

Of course, God didn’t really go anywhere, but He let me walk barefoot. Life continued. My two young sons regressed into autism. They were very, very sick. Trying to heal them, my bare feet became bruised and blistered, then cut and bleeding.

God told me it was going to be OK. He soothed and healed me, letting me put Him on like a warm pair of fuzzy socks. I was on my knees, not even needing shoes to walk anyway. This is when I feel closest to Jesus. This is why He lets me go barefoot.

Depending on the day and circumstance, God can be a different shoe for me now. My closet is full!

Sometimes He is a comfy pair of flip-flops. Oh, how I hate wearing shoes! They are confining and uncomfortable! Flip-flops let me wear just a little bit of God for the moment.

Many days He is a strappy pair of wedge sandals. I am called to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, so sandals are perfect! My middle-aged mommy feet can’t wear stilettos anymore, so this is as fancy as it gets. God is so glorious, so wonderful, so magnificent! I see God in everything—in nature, in my family, and especially during Confession and Holy Communion.

Good grief, the possibilities are endless! Sometimes He is a pair of high top toddler shoes with a bell tied in the shoelaces. Jingle, jingle! Don’t forget about Me, I’m still here as you teeter along!

How about a pair of rubber rain boots, keeping me dry as I slush through the muddy messes of life?

Most days, He is a cute pair of flats for me. Sturdy but attractive. Easy and comfortable. Supporting me as I do never-ending laundry and errands.

IMG_4566As silly as it sounded at first, my sweet Joel was right. God is like a shoe—protecting and supporting me all the time!

What kind of God shoes are in your closet?