Showing posts with the label motherhood

Peering Into a Catholic Motherhood's Toolbox

Madeleine's pet gecko!
To motherhood belongs the distinguished commodity: our own special toolbox of learned skills, the intelligent planning, and the intuitive wisdom gained and increased with each passing year of motherhood tucked under our belt.  With this process of mother-becoming, an old self is shed like the skin of my daughter Madeleine's gecko.  The old skin (in my own sad case) is, sadly, the selfish hoarder (granted, who was but a young girl), ultimately a person in denial about her own self-worth, and she casts that insecurity onto her friends and spouse and other family members like a crystal reflecting a prism.  When the child bursts upon the scene, her heart explodes with a wild-animal kind of love.  The passive aggressive, the petty, the thief of joy-- her selfish insecure moth-like insect transforms.  A mother is like a gecko with a fresh new skin, or in my case, a mother butterfly with her own little swarm of caterpillars.

Every mother has her own biggest va…

The Dream

She was a young mother when she had the dream, just thirty, with four little boys between the ages of one and five.  She would not give birth to her fifth, and last, son for several years.

She was normally not a dreamer.  Always an exceptionally deep sleeper (the alarm had not yet been invented that would easily wake her--except, of course, for the middle-of-the-night cries and calls of her children), she rarely dreamed--and even when she did, she even more rarely remembered the details of her dreams, which would grow hazy as soon as she opened her eyes and then quickly evaporate, like a misty fog being chased off by the sun.  "I was having the strangest dream," she might tell her husband.  But when he asked her what it was about, she could almost never clearly recall the particulars.
This dream was different.
THIS one the heavy-sleeping young mother remembered vividly upon waking--every excruciatingly painful detail of it.
If you'd like to read the whole post, it's he…

Just A Mother: My Call, Vocation, and Witness

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Embracing an outdated lifestyle on a traditional, small, family farm has been a struggle through confusion, guilt, and even public condemnation. I finally reached the point where I can now shout loudly, “This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world!” Any modern woman whose heartfelt desire is to become a mother often feels dismissed and ridiculed for wanting to embrace this sacred, natural role. Even forty years ago, in the late seventies, becoming a mother was hardly seen as a worthwhile life ambition. I agreed with that sentiment as a young person and strove to be different than my stay at home mother. After converting to Catholicism, I wanted to make a difference in the world by studying for a meaningful career. I took a year of pre-med and then an English degree with an eye on teaching because I was struggling to figure out how to serve in some way, anyway I could. I did not e…

Motherhood as a Feminist Career Choice

Raising children is not a default chore for women who were not successful in the world of business, power, and wealth. However, the trend in the last few decades has been to delegate childcare to women who are often treated like second-class citizens. Society seems to dismiss and even ridicule women’s most sacred, natural role as nurturing mothers.

continue reading on CTS Catholic Compass

Letters to My Lord

Have you written a letter to God lately? Fr. Daniel Lord, SJ, will inspire you!

Join me at Praying with Gracefor some excerpts and inspiration.

A Call Which Confounds the Wise

A call which confounds the wise. A call which confounds the mentality of Western Society. I too was surprised to discover life and joy in the ordinary. Years ago, a mother to four little ones I was worried, actually frantic. Was I pregnant yet again? continue reading

​Elisa Lardani Marchi: Body Given for Love

A special and touching story shared by guest blogger, Michelle Arnold Paine:

In the evening of February 27, 2015, I received a text message from my dear brother in Christ Alessandro: his sister Elisa had delivered her baby, was in surgery and they were not sure she would survive. He was asking me to spread the request for prayer to our network of American friends, those who have been students or faculty for the Gordon College in Orvieto program over nearly 20 years. Quickly I emailed and called several faculty and former Orvieto students to ask for their prayers. A few hours later another text – the hemorrhage that had begun during the birthing process was continuing and she was fighting for her life.

Through the night I was up several times nursing my own five-week-old baby, and that night checked my phone frequently. The next day, Saturday, we found out... read more 

Making an Altar of Your Heart

St. Paul of the Cross lived in the 1700s. A time period presumably very different from our own. But it seems like wives and mothers of all ages have one thing in common: too much to do.  In 1760, a busy married woman wrote Paul of the Cross saying that she couldn’t find enough time to pray. Somehow, I think I, and probably many of you, could have written the same letter.

Continue reading at Eyes On Heaven.

Same Sex Marriage Ignores the Dignity of the Human Person

What is the dignity of the human person? “Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God’s image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are.” 

Our dignity comes from who we are. It comes from our “being” rather than our “doing.” The very fact that a person has been willed into existence by God and imprinted with His image, gives them a dignity that cannot be taken from them. This fundamental dignity must be respected.
To read more, see The Sincere Gift

A Vocation Story

Only the best for God

I spent most of high school and college assuming I would never marry or have children. God had set
me on fire with faith, and I wanted to give him my absolute best. In Catholic terms, as far as I knew, that meant entering religious life.

For a couple of years I attended campus ministry meetings for wanna-be nuns and priests, and my weekends were often scheduled with "come and see" retreats at various religious communities.

And then I met a guy. . . .
This guy, David, was different from others I had dated. He loved life, he loved God, and he knew God wanted him to be a father.
Please join me for the rest at Praying with Grace.

I Was Going to Be the Perfect Mom

Did you get a load of this New York Post article? A New Yorker named Wednesday Martin just wrote a memoir called Primates of Park Avenue, due out June 2. The book chronicles her experience with Upper-East-Side women who wear motherhood like an assault rifle. According to Maureen Callahan's article about the book, these moms pay $400 an hour for play-date tutors, enroll 3-month-old infants in music classes, and time pregnancies so their children will be the oldest ones in class.

Loyola Press offers a rosary kit for children ages four and up. They sent me a kit and asked me to share my thoughts. So, I turned right around and shared the kit with some families (including one family with a son who has developmental delays), and asked what they thought.

Friday With St. Francis de Sales-Inspiration for Wives and Mothers

As wives and mothers, we often carry worries and anxiety about many things. If we're not careful these can often take hold of our heart and leave us in an even worse state than when our troubles began.  Here is St. Francis de Sales' advise concerning anxiety of mind and how to handle it from Introduction to the Devout Life. "Anxiety of mind is not so much an abstract temptation, as it is the source from where various temptations arise. Sadness, when defined, is the mental grief we feel because of our involuntary ailments;--whether the evil be exterior, such as poverty, sickness or contempt; or interior, such as ignorance, dryness, depression or temptation. When the soul is conscious of some such trouble, it is downcast, and so trouble sets in. Then we at once begin to try to get rid of it, and find means to shake it off; and so far rightly enough, for it is natural to us all to desire good, and shun that which we hold to be evil.  If any one strives to be delivered from …

Reflections on a Mother's Love: Milk, Cookies and a Carelessly Tossed Gym Bag

I snapped this photo this afternoon, shortly before leaving my parents' house after a brief overnight visit. The scene is a vivid reminder to me of what being a mother is all about.
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Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious By Pat Gohn - Reviewed by Nancy Ward

Pat Gohn, cancer survivor, celebrates womanhood by exploring a woman’s dignity, gifts and mission with exciting, personal stories. Discovering the gift of her womanhood brought her into a deeper relationship with God, her husband, family, and, to her surprise, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Her formation in life and the faith revolved around music. Garage band guitar music. When she gave her heart to Jesus Christ at a retreat, she realized God was inviting her to use her guitar playing and writing gifts for his purposes. In three words: Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious, she helps us discover who we are and what gifts we have that reflect our innate and eternal beauty. Blessed is a sublime dignity we did not earn. “God configures us to be like Christ, the beloved Son. We are beloved daughters not only like Jesus in identity, but also in action. We are called to behave like him, too. Like spiritual DNA, grace enables us to forgive, to reconcile, to heal, and ultimately love like Jesus. We. Were…

Tears During Mass

I often find myself in tears during Mass.  Not always, but sometimes.  And these tears come out of the blue, when I least expect them.  If I don't remember to tuck some tissues into my purse before I head out the door, chances are I'm going to be in trouble.  I'm going to be wiping my nose on my sleeve like a five-year-old.

Sometimes it's the lyrics of a particularly moving hymn that make me cry, or the stirring music combined with the unequaled beauty of a Catholic church's interior.  Sometimes it's just that in those particular surroundings, I feel closer to God, and that nearness hits me just so and goes right to my core--to my very soul.  And I am left feeling vulnerable and unworthy of His love, and yet profoundly loved by Him.

I've talked before about how seeing my sons dressed in tuxes, standing on the altar in the role of groomsmen at one another's weddings, reduces me to tears.  But even when there isn't something particularly noteworthy go…

God’s Rx: Are you taking it as prescribed?

As a wife and mother of two children working outside of the home, I am always asked how I manage to find time to pray. Add flu season, quick jaunts to the doctor and pharmacist a couple of times a week, and it’s daunting.

Recently, my youngest, Gabriel, was sick with an ear infection. He gets these often enough to know the routine of the in-and-out visit and his favorite “bubble gum medicine” being magically sent to the pharmacist for pick up.

After a few days, Gabriel always ends up feeling better and our world goes back to the break-neck speed I can handle. This last time, I forgot a dose and mentioned it to him.

Gabriel assured me it was ok because he was feeling better and probably didn’t need it. I quickly explained the need to take medicine exactly as it’s prescribed by the doctor. “Just because we feel better, doesn’t mean we stop taking medicine, Gabriel”.  Can you see my finger wagging? He nodded like the little man he is (did I mention, he’s 6 years old?).
I realized in that…

Introducing Myself---Again

I cannot remember how long ago Melanie asked that we introduce or reintroduce ourselves, but at last I have put something together.  This is a reintroduction.

Some Things about Me that You Might Like to Know

Lifelong CatholicMarried 35 years and still going strongMother of oneMother-in-law of oneRetired since 2008Professed Lay CarmeliteBorn and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but now living in Northern California, after having lived in a few other places as wellEducated at Palmer School, St. Edward School, Sacred Heart Academy, Resurrection High School, DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University, Franciscan School of TheologyEmployment history: waitress, lab tech, school teacher, U.S.A.F sergeant, Chicago police officer, director of religious education, and moreLearning guitar and Spanish You can find more, if you like, at my blog, From the Pulpit of My Life, on the "Meet Ruth Ann" page.  I would enjoy hearing from you!

A Steal...

When All Things Girl first came on the scene there were a lot of mixed reviews. People said things like "it is terrible; it seems homemade" to "the best book EVER for young Catholic girls." Of course, once those books went out of production (there are new ones now in print), everyone clamored for them. I suppose that's how it always goes, right? We don't know what we have until it is gone.

We are now excited to say that the newest All Things Girl book is out! In the 2014 release of Truth for Teens you are going to find the same great open and honest talk that girls love (and moms and grandmas are so appreciative of) but with fresh, new, relevant voices!

Peggy Bowes (best-selling author of The Rosary Workout and popular speaker) writes about health and fitness. Heather Renshaw, mother of 5 youngsters, somehow found the time to write about vocations in general and motherhood in particular. Kayla Brandon, a journalism major with time in at Fox and other cool …

A Beautiful Tapestry of Inadequacies

This past year had been a challenge both professionally and personally. For reasons not all clear to me, feelings of inadequacies set in and clouded my year. I was troubled by the challenges that I felt were being propelled at me in seeking to live and understand my faith.
This past year brought us a Pope, who if nothing else, challenges us by word and example how to live a joyful and humble Christian life. Due in a great part to his words, I have begun to question what I am called to do and how I am meant to live. Time and again, I hear something our Pope has said (or done) that resonates deeply with my soul. I have been filled with a much deeper awareness of those who suffer only to find myself caught in the abyss of my doubts and fears, trying to determine how it is that I am called to action. My insecurities and feelings of inadequacies abound. ....

Click to read more of one mother's struggles and doubts in the face of challenges and trials. A Beautiful Tapestry of Inadequacie…

My Annual Mani-Pedi and a Trip through Outer Space

[part of the SmallSuccess link-up on]

The pedicurist recoiled in horror when she beheld the extent of my callouses. "Callous cream," she sternly recommended, and then proceeded to chatter excitedly in Korean to the pedicurist next to her, presumably describing my icky feet in gory detail. After rubbing the magic callous removal cream into my feet and scraping, scraping, scraping, the pedicurist triumphantly raised the scraper with the incontrovertible evidence of my appallingly negligent foot care. She must have thought I had been herding yak barefoot over the Russian steppes all last summer.

But, with six kids, I don't have time for weekly or even monthly visits to the nail salon. And I made a bargain with myself not to get that annual mani-pedi until my husband and I revised the proposal on our marriage advice book and sent it off to the publisher. As soon as I pressed the send button on the proposal, I hustled down to the local NAILS NAILS NAILS! for th…