Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hard.


I was talking to a family member earlier about how badly I used to let other’s negative opinions of my family size get to me.  I told her that only recently have I woken up and realized what a waste of time it was to ever let it affect me at all…because the bottom line is that we’re happy.  We love our kids.  We know how blessed we are.  And the kids are happy too.

I told her that one of the arguments I’ve heard against us having a large family is that “it’s too hard.”  This always baffles me how this can be an argument against something.  Aren’t the best things in life “hard”?

Seriously.  If people gave up when something got hard, no one would finish school.  Run a marathon.  Start a business.  Get married.  This list could go on and on.  Personally, if I was afraid of “hard”, I would have never joined the Navy, and I would have missed out on so much.  As hard as it was to leave home at 19 to go to boot camp, it led to some of the absolute best times of my life. I gained friends that I will have forever and I learned lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

If I was afraid of “hard”, I would have never gotten married.  Anyone that knows anything about marriage knows that it can be hard sometimes.  But you work through the hard, and it leads to something that is better and better every time.  Yes, marriage is hard.  But it’s worth it.

Obviously, if I was afraid of “hard”, I wouldn’t have kids.  None at all.  Because any parent knows that even having just one child is hard.  I remember how tired I felt as a new mother to my first baby.  I felt like a zombie and I had no idea what I was doing.  My baby had colic and would cry for hours at night while I held her, pacing around the house.  It was so hard.  I was so exhausted.  And I would do it again in a second, because she has been so worth it all.

As have all of our children.  We are tired most of the time, and our house is always a mess.  It takes forever to go anywhere.  Sometimes they are sick and it gets even harder.  Sometimes they fight.  But….sometimes they dance around the living room for no reason at all.  They sing at dinner.  They take turns playing peek-a-boo with the youngest and all laugh.  They tell me “I love you” every single day.  When I’m really lucky one of them will fall asleep on me, and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.  Yes, it’s hard sometimes.  But it’s worth it.

If I was afraid of “hard”, I wouldn’t have written a book. I wouldn’t have continued to pursue having it published after all of the rejection letters I received.   I wouldn’t be writing my second book.  Yet I did finish a book, and am having it published.  And I am writing a second book.  And I will pursue publishing again.

It’s going to be hard.  But that doesn’t scare me.  I read somewhere that if you have two roads to take, you should choose the more difficult road, because it will yield the greatest reward.  I believe that to be true.

Until next time… 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A priest told me to write this.


Okay, so he didn’t come up to me personally and tell me to write a blog post tonight.  He did however speak this evening about John the Baptist telling people about Jesus being the Son of God, and how we as Christians are called to do the same.  Called to tell others of Jesus.  He even had us all read aloud the first line of the first reading today, “The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.”  Except we were to read it exchanging the word Israel with our own name.  Yep.  This had me thinking… am I doing my part?

This particular priest is named Father Uche, and I almost didn’t hear this homily today.  I didn’t think I would make it to church.  Not because I couldn’t, but because I didn’t want to get four children and myself ready to get out the door.  It was just one of those afternoons in which I was tired, and irritated with the kids, and I just wanted to have an easy day and stay home.  My husband works weekends every other month and he had to work today.  Sundays like these I get everyone ready and out the door, and meet my husband in the church parking lot so that we can attend mass as a family.  Today, as much as I thought I wanted to just stay home, I managed to get everyone dressed and at church on time. 

Something crazy happened and my children who had been misbehaving at home decided to be great at church.  I actually felt more relaxed there than I had felt at home all day.  I was so happy to be there.  Really, really happy to be there.  I seriously wanted to cry after communion.  And to think that I almost didn’t go, just because I didn’t want to bother with getting children ready.  The grace I felt just being there was overwhelming and I was grateful for all of it.

So.. this homily motivated me to be better about sharing my faith.  I am starting by simply sharing this story of going to church when I didn’t feel like it and how it completely turned my day around.  Before we left church, as I was putting jackets on kids, a woman came up to me and told me I have beautiful children.  It made me smile.  I gave a little to God by making it to mass today and He gave a lot more back to me.  Pretty cool, right?  I encourage anyone reading this to do the same.  Give just a little, and see what happens!

Now…back to the youngest of those beautiful children, who is not yet asleep.

Until next time…

 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Blogging to blog.


My first published book will be released in a little less than three months.  Not much is happening with it on my end at the moment.  I did finally send in acknowledgements for the book to my publisher.  They’re very short and simple.  And, while I wait for word for them on edits they would like for me to make, I read online about book marketing. 

There is a lot of advice out there.  “Use social media!”  Yes.  I have set up a Twitter Account, a Facebook Page and have a profile on GoodReads.  “Blog!” Okay.  I have this little blog set up that I actually showed to absolutely no one – seriously, no one – until I had a contract coming in for my book to be published.  I started the blog originally so that there was some proof out there somewhere that I had a desire to finish a book and an even bigger desire to have it published. Now, I am finding that I do want to share more, but this isn’t always easy for me.  This whole writing thing can be so very personal and I’ve just wanted to keep it hidden away to protect myself.  But I can’t do that if I actually want to sell my work.

So here I am, following advice, writing a new blog post.  Blogging for the sake of blogging. 

Another hindrance from updating my blog is time.  I have little time to myself.  This is because I have a four year old, three year old, two year old, and almost one year old.  My time to write begins when they are all down for the night.  I’m almost 16,000 words in to my second book, and when I have the time, I want to work on that.  Updating this blog takes away from my new book so I am reluctant to do it. I can be stubborn like that sometimes.  I have to let that go and dedicate some blogging time, maybe even just once a week so that I can keep this thing current. 

I really should also blog about my kids.  They are quite entertaining.  People look at my husband and I like we’re crazy for having so many little ones, all so close in age.  And it is crazy a lot of the time.  But it is so, so, so good.  So good.  I need to somehow find the words to describe just how good it is.  I’ve always been a writer.  Always.  Since I learned how to write.  I don’t know that I necessarily have a great talent for it, but I’ve had a desire to do it.  But mothering….that is what God put me here for.  It is my greatest privilege and not a day goes by in which I do not thank God for the children I’ve been given. 

For now... the itch to work on the new book is setting in.  I’m going to get to that now before I’m too tired to do anything else.

Until next time…

Friday, January 3, 2014

Some reflections on 2013


On this third day into the New Year I am reflecting on 2013 and some of the moments that really defined the year for me personally.  So, here they are.

1.        My Son’s Birth

February 22nd I gave birth to my fourth child and first little boy.  We had chosen not to find out his gender.  After he was born, my husband started laughing.  I hadn’t seen if I had just had a boy or a girl yet so I was asking him “what is it, what is it?” completely expecting his laughter to mean we just had our fourth daughter.  He said “It’s a boy!”  And the tears just started streaming down my face.  I was so happy to meet the baby I had felt moving around in my belly, and to experience having a son for the first time.  It was really wonderful and that little boy continues to be a joy every single day.

 

2.        Enrollment in the Brown Scapular

In September my husband and I were enrolled by our parish priest to the Brown Scapular.  A little background if this sounds foreign to you – way back in 1251 The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock, Superior General of the Carmelite Order.  She held the brown scapular in her hand and gave a promise: “Take this scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”  Wearing the scapular comes with a devotion to Mary, meaning a daily rosary.  When a sweet friend of mine first presented the idea of being enrolled in the scapular, I didn’t think I would do it.  My thought was a daily rosary? Ha! I don’t even have time for a daily shower!  So I did not plan on participating in this.  Really, I didn’t.  However, shortly after that, after a stressful day, I decided to pray the rosary with the hope it would make me feel a little better.  It did, so I repeated the next day.  And the next.  Before I knew it I was praying a daily rosary and hadn’t actually made a decision to do so.  It just happened.  I then knew that not only could I continue on and be enrolled in Brown Scapular, I was supposed to be.  My husband decided to participate with me, and now all I can say is that it’s been life changing.  I dare anyone who doesn’t already pray the rosary daily to try it out for a while.  You’ll see what I mean!

 

3.        The officer-involved-shooting

I had a call one evening from my husband about a half hour before he was due to get off work.  I thought maybe he was calling to tell me he had a late call, which often happens, and he wouldn’t be home on time.  All I heard from him was “I’m okay, but I’ve been involved in a shooting.  I will call again when I can.”  I know he said it, but all I could say was “You’re okay?” and he said it again “I’m okay, but have to go, I’ll call again when I can.”  I can’t exactly explain the way I felt after that call.  Luckily my girls had just been picked up from my mother-in-law, so I just had my son with me.  I began searching the internet for local news and was trying to find a television station with news on so I could find out what happened.  I called his mother right away to tell her about his call.  And I waited anxiously for him to call again. 

Without getting into what happened, I’ll just say that everything was okay.  My husband did exactly as he was trained to do. My husband wasn’t hurt in any way.  The man that was shot survived.  As far as officer-involved-shootings, you really couldn’t ask for a better outcome. 

It was the moment he drove up that night that I can’t forget.  He finally came home about eight hours after that first phone call.  I was waiting on the porch for him.  Seeing him get out of his truck, and hugging him, feeling his bullet proof vest under his uniform, I just felt so incredibly grateful.  It is common knowledge that cops are sometimes shot at and not all of them make it home.  I thanked God for bringing my husband home that night.   I have always known that my husband has a dangerous job, but before this I never allowed my mind to explore the possibilities that could occur on any of his work days.  Now, inevitably, I pray even harder for him.  I pray more for other first responders as well.  And I thank God for my husband.  Our fights and imperfections as a couple are a lot less significant now and my desire to be a good wife to him is greater.  Perspective is a funny thing.

 

Needless to say, 2013 was an eventful year.  I could write more about the year, because I also turned 30, and signed a contract for my first book deal.  However the above moments held more weight for me.

2014 will be another full year, I am sure of this.  I have so much to look forward to. 

 

Until next time….