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Showing posts with the label mothering

A God Led Life of Joy

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Outwardly, my life is diametrically opposed  to anything I could have imagined as a teenager. Yet this strange life I find myself living has brought me more fulfilment and joy than I ever could have imagined.
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Sorry, Mom. No Pink for You.

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My family got together Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day. Just a small affair, you know, since only 22 of us could make it. I laughed when I saw the pile of Mother's Day cards stacked up on the gift table: every one of them came in a pink envelope.
Pink.
Pink is so sweet, innocent, and calming. I remember reading an article once that claimed pink walls reduce aggression and cause physical weakness.

I've never really liked pink. And it isn't the first color that comes to mind when I think of most moms, especially my own mom. My mom is active, clever, and fiercely loyal. I'm not sure what archetypal colors represent those qualities, but probably not pink.

In honor of moms everywhere, pink-lovers or not, I offer a re-post of an earlier story about my mom.
Read the whole story at Praying with Grace!

Sick Day

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I'm at work. The phone rings. The caller ID tells me it's school calling.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Mrs. Urbanski. This is the school nurse."

The upshot: my daughter Rose is sick, and won't I please come pick her up?

Absolutely. I finish up the task I was working on, say goodbye to my coworkers, and head out the door. It takes me longer than I expect to reach school; by the time I arrive, Rose is miserable.

See what happens next at Praying with Grace. . . .

Things That Seem Insignificant

Do you think your job as a mom is insignificant? I have wondered if all the little tasks that can overwhelm me are actually worth much to God. Here are my thoughts on the matter.
God bless,
Jen

Shattered and Renewed

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I was just thinking that I had not shared about my pain, struggle or suffering, only about the joy of mothering, the joy of living as a daughter of God. I friend also pointed out to me the other day that I never really talk about the long, dark periods in my life. I guess it is because joy always triumphs in the end in my life, I tend to forget about the painful years. The love of little people, strong tea, laughter and the Presence of God in the midst of chaos seems to crack anxiety and stress but yes, I have been shattered by the demands of mothering .

Yet God always manages to use those moments when I am shattered to crack my heart and soul open to more of His presence and healing. It is like childbirth, the pain is forgotten when I hold my newborn but on the other hand if there is no pain, there is no baby or new growth in the Spirit.

 For me God speaks through books as well as my spiritual director and the written word has often  changed my life, flipped an inner switched by bring…

Saying ‘Yes’ to the Unexpected with Mary

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I have experienced a bit of the shock and wonder that Mary must have gone through when the angel Gabriel announced that she would become a mother. I can only imagine her initial sense of bewilderment at the idea of becoming a virgin mother of God; just becoming an ordinary mother was dramatic enough for me. Moments after giving birth to my first child, still in the delivery room, I forgot my exhaustion and pain the moment I held my newborn. A surge of motherly love rose up in my heart combined with a sense of awe at the miracle of creation as I examined tiny, perfectly formed fingers and toes. There was something about my baby’s open, trusting gaze that literally drew love from me. My newborn could see clearly for about 8″, just far enough to focus intently on my face. It was almost as if the initiative to bond came from my son first, especially when I consider his fierce hand grip.To ensure that I fed him, he was born with a powerful rooting reflex and a cry that literally triggered…

“My God! How Did She Get Herself Into That Mess?”

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I am conundrum. A rather outmoded sort of woman, ridiculed by modern career women, vilified by the earth’s prophets of doom and sanctified by the religious right. I was the least likely candidate to have a lot of children.I mean, I had never even held a baby before my first born.You would think having nine children would have turned me into a frazzled wreck with a figure like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and a brain gone to mush, but I remain quite articulate, with a quirky sense of humour, standing at 5’1” and weighing in at 106 lbs. Not quite a rosy-cheeked, robust, matronly looking mother of a large brood.

When the words The Joy of Mothering popped into my head as a sub-title for my short stories, it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalize my experience living with little people. 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,…

My Annual Mani-Pedi and a Trip through Outer Space

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[part of the SmallSuccess link-up on CatholicMom.com]

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…

New Resource for Catholic Moms-to-be

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Sometimes pregnancy makes us glowingly happy and sometimes it makes us miserable. But no matter how it makes us feel, it will change us and the world around us irrevocably. If you want to know more about the physical and spiritual changes that pregnancy can bring, if you're looking for deeper meaning in the little aches and pains, read Sarah Reinhard's book A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Sarah's book offers pregnant moms a week-by-week journey in prayer with Our Lady through pregnancy, labor, birth, and beyond.

Each chapter of the opening section on pregnancy details the amazing physical developments the baby is undergoing. The chapters also lead us into meditation on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, helping us to imagine how Mary coped with the dizzying changes from the moment her motherhood was announced until the day she lost Jesus in the Temple and heard his radical declaration of departure from childho…

How Moms Can Get Help

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I never met a mom who thought she had enough help. So here's a few ideas to make your days a little easier. Some ideas come from me, and some from other moms, but they're all offered from someone who's been there, done that, and wants to pass on what she's learned.

1.Ask for it. Moms sometimes have trouble asking for help, either out of pride or because they don't want to burden those around them. "For me, the word ‘help’ stuck in my throat like a fishbone," admitted author  Serena Kirby. "When you don’t ask for help you don’t get support and research shows with decreased support comes increased isolation, anxiety, fatigue and depression," she continued. So, overcome your reluctance, and ask for the help you need!

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Mothers-in-Law

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I love Marie Barone in the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.

Sure she’s a bit meddlesome.

Admittedly she’s even a tad overbearing.

Maybe she’s even off-putting to some.

But her motivation is pure.

She’s committed to her family. She really never puts herself first—even if we are led to believe that she does. If we are really paying attention, her scheming is done to ensure that her family is safe and sound and well-fed.

No matter what, it is always important that they eat. As a mother of three sons, I get how my own feeling of peace is tied to the care and feeding of my boys—and so I instinctively understand why Marie is forever handing food to whomever walks through the door. “Are you hungry, dear?” she asks while handing over a plate—without any regard to the answer.

Now, as my own sons grow older and the prospects of one day becoming a mother-in-law myself become a real possibility, I take note of mothers-in-law in a new way. And Marie Barone is at the top of my list.

I’ve got to admit, I…

In Defense of the Large Family

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The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. When the words The Joy Of Mothering popped into my head as a title for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. However, it has been far from easy, rather it has been a long journey through confusion, guilt and public condemnation to reach the point where I can now shout loudly, "This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world." After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course we practised natural family planning …