Monday, March 31, 2014

Dominic's 12th Birthday

What I wish I could tell a new mother! I wish I could tell you how fast it really goes. I wish I could tell you that the older they get, the faster it goes. You don't really get 18 years together. As God designed it, they start their preparations to jump from the nest earlier than 18 years of age. I wish I could tell you that you will never regret a day spent getting to know your children. I AM SO grateful I have spent the time getting to know you, Dominic. I have loved being your mother since I first saw you. Although, I have loved being your mother when I first knew you were even inside of me. Your father and I gave our childbearing decisions over to God before we were even married so the first month after our wedding that I wasn't expecting a baby, I cried. When the second month rolled around and I saw two lines on the pregnancy test, I am sure that the shock wave of my elation was felt around the world. We were overcome with so much joy.  We called the whole family immediately!
Our traditional Village Inn breakfast the morning of your birthday.  I told him that if he becomes a priest that I will take him out to Village Inn every morning after morning mass.  I don't tell him this as a bribe.  It is just a nod to our favorite breakfast eatery. I would take him out every morning even if he is married, but I am betting early that is sweet wife won't be to fond of the idea. 

You are everything I dreamed about when I envisioned our children before we were married.  Your goodness radiates to the world.  You have a million friends because you are a good friend.  I enjoy talking to you like I would a close friend.  I know I am not the only one.  You have been such a joy that I have found myself thinking to myself how much I wish I could go back and do it all again from the beginning.  I wouldn't change much besides letting you watercolor paint more when you were little.  You loved to paint and for some reason I always felt like it was such a big process to get everything set up.  Man.  I would whip out those paints anytime now and let you at it.  Dumb new mothering theories.  I am so grateful I walked you down to the goldfish lady when we lived in Tahlequah, OK every afternoon.  I really did watch you and was present.  I loved our drives when we would circle the town looking for back hoes for you to study so intently.  I loved how we drove by the house that burned down and I would slow down and wait until you checked out every corner of the house.  I loved how we would go to Wal-mart and you loved to study the cakes in the bakery.  I am so grateful I let you do that.  I am so grateful I knew this was special to you and to ME.  I loved how you desired to go the Christmas store and look at all the ornaments.  That was sure fun. 
Your father and I notice every good thing you do.  I see all the times you help out.  I see your perfect obedience.  I see you striving to grow in holiness and to get to heaven.  Thank you for being a peace maker in our home.  Thank you for your cheerful attitude about everything. 
I wish I could convey to you the joy it brings to my heart that you still wave to me from the football field during the game.  I sat in the Surburban yesterday during the game with Kapaun stretching my neck trying to watch every play and to catch your signature wave after each play.  I felt time yesterday.  I don't know how many more years you will be playing football let alone waving to us during the game so I tried to catch each one. 

Bilbo Baggins' journal.

As always, I couldn't love you more.  Thank you for being our son.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rose's First Holy Communion

Our beautiful Rose made her First Holy Communion on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at St. Teresa's Catholic Church. I will not be able to capture in the written word what our hearts experienced this glorious weekend. Rose has been preparing for months at home for her momentous day. We prayed the First Communion novena everyday together and I loved watching her pray intently and with intention. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, and over 30 of her cousins came to celebrate with her. What a very loved child.
The mass was supernatural.  The homily was spectacular.  The reverence was second to none.  Something was uniquely special about Rose's First Communion mass that I cannot put my finger upon.
I know she felt like the queen of England.  She waltzed through our home as though she was regal.  I plan to have all the girls wear the same dress, but each can pick out their own veil.  She chose one from Gloria Deo with roses on the headband.
I included this picture because of my hand.  I love my mother's hands.  With all the last minute details, it can often get a little hairy trying to get out the door on these big days.  There is the meal to be made, hair to be curled x6, white tights to be found x6, shoes to find x8, a baby to nurse, etc., etc., etc.  I felt rushed to do her hair, but took just small moment in prayer to ask to let me just savor the moment of being with her.  She didn't care how her hair looked.  She was just excited so I am grateful I just sat with her and answered her questions.  Thank you for that moment.

I whispered in her ear that she is our favorite.  She smiled at me.  I tell each of them that and tell them not to tell the others.  I think they know the little game. 

Rose Boever, you are everything I hope to be when I grow up.

It is difficult to capture the exact moment each child receives Jesus for the first time.  This is the best we got, but none the less, Rose was glowing.

We have never participated in CCD before this year.  The Christ the King sisters teach CCD for the sacrament years and once Rose met Sr. Mary Caritas she was enamored by her spiritual beauty.  Sister invited Rose to come on every Wednesday and we couldn't turn down such a wonderful opportunity for her to be around such a powerful example.  I thoroughly enjoyed picking Rose up each week only to find her chatting happily away with Sister.  If Rose becomes a nun, I will attribute this short encounter with Sister as a seed planting moment in her life. 
Rose has a spiritual depth that would delight the heart of any parent.  She explained tonight in prayer that to love someone is to want the best for that person.  To want the best for that person is to want that person to be in heaven.  To want that person in heaven means you would never put that person's soul in the state of mortal sin.  You got it girl.  She thanked us tonight for all the small details that went into her First Communion weekend even down to the egg sandwiches we ate this evening and for making the effort to take everybody to Dominic's football game.

The essence of Rose.  She is all grace and beauty but she is as athletic as they come.

Good Uncle Joshua pitching to Rose.

First Base on her First Communion.

I couldn't capture in the photo how many kids were stuffed into the fort. 

When going to bed last night, I asked John what he will remember most about this day.  He said he will always remember Rose playing all day in her dress and veil running wildly with her cousins having the time of her life.
Rose went on her First Communion retreat the previous Wednesday.  She was so excited she couldn't sleep the night before.  We worked this past week on creating her banner.  In the past, we made one from scratch, but this year due to a time restraints I just bought the kit.  Man, I should have just bought the kit the past years.  She couldn't have had more fun decorating, gluing,  cutting, and arranging this banner.  After it was finished, she commented how she was sad that it was over and wished we could start over from the beginning.  Children are so awesomely simple!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thanking God for the fleas in your life.

The story of Corrie Ten Boom as told in The Hiding Place is one that has vastly influenced my continued quest to know and understand that resignation to God's holy will in ALL THINGS is the surest path to happiness, peace, and contentment.

The story is one that will move you to tears.  Corrie and Betsie ten Boom are middle-aged sisters working in their father's watchmaker shop in pre-WWII Holland. Their uneventful lives are disrupted with the coming of the Nazis. Suspected of hiding Jews & caught breaking rationing rules, they are sent to a concentration camp, where their Christian faith keeps them from despair and bitterness. Betsie eventually dies, but Corrie survives, and after the war, must learn to love and forgive her former captors. 

I loved this story so much, but ONE scene in particular spoke to me.  Corrie fought her emotions the whole story.  Betsie was much more resigned to the plan of God.  At one point in the story, Corrie was so understandably distraught over the fleas that ran rampant through the camp.

Taken from source:

"Corrie writes:
"Barracks 8 was in the quarantine compound. Next to us--perhaps as a deliberate warning to newcomers--were located the punishment barracks. From there, all day long and often into the night, came the sounds of hell itself. They were not the sounds of anger, or of any human emotion, but of a cruelty altogether detached: blows landing in regular rhythm, screams keeping pace. We would stand in our ten-deep ranks with our hands trembling at our sides, longing to jam them against our ears, to make the sounds stop.
"It grew harder and harder. Even within these four walls there was too much misery, too much seemingly pointless suffering. Every day something else failed to make sense, something else grew too heavy."
Yet, in the midst of the suffering, the women prisoners around Corrie and Betsie found comfort in the little Bible studies they held in the barracks. Corrie writes they gathered around the Bible "like waifs clustered around a blazing fire…The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the Word of God."

When they were moved to Barracks 28, Corrie was horrified by the fact that their reeking, straw-bed platforms swarmed with fleas. How could they live in such a place?

It was Betsie who discovered God's answer:
"'"Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus." That's it, Corrie! That's His answer. "Give thanks in all circumstances!" That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!'

"I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room…"
They thanked God for the fact they were together. They thanked God they had a Bible. They even thanked God for the horrible crowds of prisoners, that more people would be able to hear God's Word. And then, Betsie thanked God for the fleas.
"The fleas! This was too much. 'Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.'
"'"Give thanks in all circumstances,"' she quoted. 'It doesn't say, "in pleasant circumstances."  Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.'

"And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong."
It turned out that Betsie was not wrong; the fleas were a nuisance, but a blessing after all. The women were able to have Bible studies in the barracks with a great deal of freedom, never bothered by supervisors coming in and harassing them. They finally discovered that it was the fleas that kept those supervisors out.

Through those fleas, God protected the women from abuse and harassment.  Dozens of desperate women were free to hear the comforting, hope-giving Word of God.  Through those fleas, God protected the women from much worse things and made sure they had their deepest, truest needs met. 

We all have "fleas" in our lives. We all have those things that we can see no use for, things that are obviously horrible, unpleasant, painful things that we want gone. No life is free of "fleas", but if Corrie and Betsie can be our examples, God can use even these nasty insects for our protection and blessing. Let us thank God for His constant care and provision, and for His hidden blessings that come in ways we can easily overlook. "

The thought came to my mind today as we were loading into the car.  The weather was extremely brisk and chilly.  I momentarily pined to live somewhere warm all year.  I envisioned endless dreams of our family happily enjoying each sunny day. No, Lindsay. God allows the dreary days to help you and save you.  The task that is before us is to see what we are currently dealing with  as the very precise thing that is going to help us in long run.  It may come in the form of crummy weather that has lasted way too long in our opinion, illness, money and job difficulties, or 1 million other issues that life presents to us.  I so easily get annoyed at the very thing that God has sent to help my soul.  The fleas saved their lives so why would my "fleas" not save my life. We must look past the apparent and search for the deeper meaning. 

If the fleas had not be present, many women would not have heard the Word of God. 

The Hiding Place is available in film or book.  It is well-worth your time.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I am so grateful I held them after their naps.

I have been extremely reflective this week due to Dominic turning 12 years old. I feel like I am trying to grab time and it is just slipping through my hands like sand. With that said, I am so utterly grateful for the "small things" that more and more are becoming the BIG THINGS. I am so glad that I am here everyday and I've been here everyday. I am so glad that I was that person on the other end of their diaper changes. I am so glad that I was the person who opened their door each morning and got to see their rested night face smiling back at me. I am so glad I bathed them each morning and was given the grace to know that it is not a job to check off, but a unique and special child to prepare for their big day ahead of being 2 years old. That is a big job, you know. I will look back at these mornings with much satisfaction. I am so glad I was the privileged person to listen to their tales, dreams, desires, and requests.  The life of each of our children is so hopeful to them.  They are making friends, learning new discoveries, experiencing the realities of life each day.  I am so glad I take the time to dream their dreams with them even though I know most will not come true, but who really cares if a person's dreams ever do come true.  I think the fun part is dreaming about it not the actuality of the dream.
I love a good nap, but I do know what it is like to wake up from a nap. The first thirty minutes make me question if the world is a good place or not.  So, I am so utterly grateful I am there to hold them after their naps. I want so much for someone to hold me after my nap so I can only imagine what it is like to crawl up onto the lap of your mother and wake up.  I don't think I realized this with my older children.  Lillie always woke up screaming which bothered me.  She was still throwing up at that point in her life so I usually got her up and she was covered in throw up.  I wish so much I could replay that part of her and my life.  I wish I would have held her after her nap. Poor baby.  
I was preparing to make dinner this particular day when she woke up from her nap.  She just needed me to sit and hold her for a while.  I am glad that I just sat down and held her.  She only needed five minutes.  I looked up at the ingredients on the counter and felt the baby in my arms.  Who would hold her if I wasn't there?   This is what God made me for!  My mission was so clear that day. 
Damaris may not remember me sitting on the kitchen floor holding her, but I remember.  I remember the essence of my vocation (Meaning: to call) being fulfilled in this moment.  These events are forming ME.  Please don't ever underestimate the value of your very presence in the home.  I am a firm believer that parenting is for the parent.  We are the ones actually being changed and formed.  We are the ones being chiseled away at.