Knowing My Worth

Have you ever read the book or seen the movie, The Joy Luck Club? I have not read the book but I am going to make it required summer reading for myself.

I saw the movie in another life time, back when I was young, when I knew I wouldn’t be hurt because I had chosen someone who really loved me. Back when in innocence and arrogance I thought I was loved and treasured. I can relate to too many of the sufferings now. I understand the depth of the pain being told. The movie has always stayed in my head, parts of it playing in my memory through out different events in my life or those I love. One of my favorite quotes in the movie was spoken by An-Mei:

“I tell you the story because I was raised the Chinese way. I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people’s misery, and to eat my own bitterness. And even though I taught my daughter the opposite, still she came out the same way. Maybe it is because she was born to me and she was born a girl, and I was born to my mother and I was born a girl, all of us like stairs, one step after another, going up, going down, but always going the same way. No, this cannot be, this not knowing what you’re worth, this not begin with you. My mother not know her worth until too late – too late for her, but not for me. Now we will see if not too late for you, hmm?”

It is not to late for me, tonight I remembered my worth.

Go watch or read or both…

Our Faith Washing Machines

The unknown filter in my washer featured a couple of posts ago got me thinking about faith and the things that we try to wash through it.

Our faith washer is used to make sense of our lives, to straighten things out, make them clean and wearable. We bring to it our load smelly and stinky and let faith wash us clean rinsing away all the junk we accumulated living life and following our own will.
laundrywomanUnfortunately, we often throw things into the machine that really should be tossed out. Of course the obvious red crayon makes a mess, but we recognize that and learn our lesson right away. But what about the smaller things, less colorful and noticeable? We assume that since those things seem to have come out clean with our laundry or were rinsed away easily enough it is okay to keep them in our pockets. Since the machine seemed to handle it we become lax in our sorting and more and more junk is thrown in the load and yet we still expect our laundry to come out clean.

What we don’t always understand is that there is a filter in the machine that is collecting the junk and after time those little things we assumed were washing away or coming out clean build up and our washers start to show evidence of the clogging effect even if we fail to recognize the association.

We notice the machine seems to be taking longer to give us what we want (clean soul laundry) and when the cycle completes the clothes just don’t look, feel, or smell as clean as we once remember. We become dissatisfied. We start to question the effectiveness of the machine in handling our load.

Eventually the machine finally can no longer function properly with all the junk we unknowingly built up in the internal filter. We now have several options.

1-   Trash it:  We can throw the machine out deciding it is pointless and we must have incorrectly remembered it as once working for us. We are then covered in our own filth but figure it is what life dealt us so we settle on a dirty life. At first we are even happy for it seems to lighten our load with nothing to have to wash anymore. We are indignant when it is suggested we may feel better if we tried using a machine again and accuse the washer user of unfairly judging us. After all we did give the washer a try it just didn’t work for us. Of course we need a new crowd to hang out with, other non washer users, this way we don’t have to notice how dirty we actually are becoming. This life wrought with disease eventually will destroy us.
washer_replacer-300x2612-  Replace it:  We can replace it. We seek out other washer replacers who support us as they too are wanting a new machine. We are thrilled with the capabilities of the new machine and convince ourselves our old one never worked this well. Since we don’t understand why the other machine stopped working and we still have the same laundry habits this new machine eventually doesn’t work for us either. From machine to machine we go never really understanding why none of them work well for us or last. We think we understand all about the machine for having tried it, but we really don’t know all the cool features or how the machine runs because we never open it up, we never studied it before moving on to the next one. We may even eventually opt for number one, trash it.

3-  Seek Solutions -Read the owner’s manual, research and/or call an expert:  The Bible manual may provide the answer as it explains about filters and what is acceptable to bring to the machine. Research may explain troubling aspects of the manual or give relatable examples of the problem to help us more clearly understand. If we struggle with the interpretation of the manual, and can’t seem to find clarity with research, we may call in help.
repairIf competant and if we give them full access to our machine and enough time the expert will point out the truth filter, explain its importance, and show us how to properly maintain the machine and clean the filter so that it continues to work well. We may even learn unrelated things like what detergent works best in our machine cleaning our laundry even better then before the filter clogged.

Caution:  Some self proclaimed experts may lead us astray and tell us it is a lost cause, replace it; or worse may have an agenda of their own and charge us more then we can afford for the repair. A second opinion won’t hurt unless we are really only searching for an excuse to do what we feel like trying; either option 1 or 2, so as to not have to put forth effort in the reading, research or maintenance work necessary in option 3.

Reminder: If our washer is slowing down, not cleaning as well as we would like, or has just quit working for us, we should look deep into the machine. We may find a filter of truth catching those little habits, thoughts, baggage, sins,… that just don’t wash and need to be cleaned out and diligently sorted out of our life permanently to keep our faith running smooth and our laundry clean.

Warranty:  A misinterpretation of the manual or an incompetent expert may cause further damage to the machine, if this happens it isn’t too late to call the ultimate repair man, the author of the manual, the creator of all machines to help us get things fixed and washing well. No job to big or small. All parts covered.

Guarantee: If we chose option one or two and regret it that same repair guy
Untitled-6 will deep clean us if needed, teach us how the machine is built and set us up with our original machine now restored. We may even become repairmen ourselves. No limitations and but the guarantee expires upon death.

Rebate: The analogy works for marriage too.

The Father, the Prodigal, and the Second Son

-This interpretation is brought to you today by the pot of coffee foolishly consumed after the kids went to bed.

Often in marriage restoration ministries the term prodigal is applied to the spouse that wants out of, has left, or refuses to continue to work on the marriage. I have been thinking about the analogy lately and the role of the father and his two sons. I think many times the waiting spouse views themselves as the father. Letting “their prodigal” go until they finally “wake up” someplace they never thought they would be and more clearly see the goodness of home. It is a mistake to see it that way!

The waiting spouse is not the father. The father is God. God gives us everything. God let’s us choose what to do with it. When we wonder away God waits for us patiently to see how much He loves us. When we are repentant and ready to come home, He is waiting there with open arms and a robe to cover us in our vulnerable broken state while He restores us to His family.  If, as a spouse waiting and praying for the restoration of your marriage, you feel like the father you are not in the right place. You are not the most important person your spouse is off in the “far country” missing. You are not what your spouse needs or is longing for. You can not “restore” your spouse to their place within the family. You are not the person your spouse needs to first acknowledge their “baggage”, “weaknesses”, and/or “sins” to. It is erroneous even arrogant to think this way. That role belongs to God.

There is a third character, the brother in this story (and a fourth I will blog about someday too). Many people in the “left behind” spouse position can relate to the brother and the “he doesn’t deserve” attitude. It is the mentality of this brother that leads to “I could never forgive, trust, whatever again…”, or “I deserve someone better”, or “It’s too late” type thinking.  The return or the first coming of your spouse to God the Father should always be celebrated no matter the state of your relationship to your spouse. But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found. Luke 15:32 The brother was so focused on the perceived inequity of the situation and his own goodness (victimhood, martyrdom, loyalty, perfection,etc.), he lost sight on what really matters:  The relationship of every soul to their Creator and greatest Lover.

In addition to impeding forgiveness, the “I am the good one” attitude kills personal growth and responsibility. Are you saying, “But you don’t know what they did!”?  Even if (this is a big if) your marital challenges are 99.9% your spouse’s issue, you are still 100% responsible for your .1%. If you only spend time focusing on your spouse’s issues and how they wronged you then you may some day find that God helped your spouse deal with there 99.9% and your .1% is suddenly 100% of your relationship’s challenges.

How can you help your brother return to the Father from the far country? Since you are not responsible for your brother’s/spouse’s hypothetical 99.9% you also have no power to fix it. This is a very hard lesson for us fix it types to accept. We believe if only they just “read this”, or “talked to so and so”, or “heard that” our spouse would suddenly “see the light”.  We are sure if we just word things the right way or do just the right thing, or manipulate the situation for a specific outcome our spouses will finally “see it”.  If you are trying to “fix it” your way you will lose perspective on your handling of your own “portion” of His “substance” and be frustrated with the desire to remain in the far country. We are powerless and from our human perspective limited on just how much of the bigger picture we ourselves can not see.  However, as the other half of a “one flesh” union, thru prayer, fasting,  and perhaps with God’s grace even example by taking on our own issues, we can “stand the gap” Ezechiel 22:30 for our marriages maybe even be a hopeful light for our spouses.

We can not force, speed up, manipulate, or argue them home. After all, the prodigal’s father did not send his brother after him. He knew his second son was needed at home to tend to his portion of the Father’s “substance” Luke 15:12.  We must learn to care for our portion so that when our spouse returns and his portion restored our Father can teach us to work together for the betterment of His no longer divided substance. [For you analogy perfectionists: The Father is God (otherwise known as the Creator of all from nothing) so He can and will create, in order to restore, the “wasted” Luke 15:13 substance of the prodigal for His Glory!]

Two more thoughts: The point of marriage is to enable us to better know, love and serve God. Even if our spouses never “see the light” or choose to heal their percent, God will still use our faithfulness to our vows to enflame our hearts with His love and bring us peace, but only if we deal with our hypothetical .1%*.

There are three in marriages: husband, wife and God. If your spouse leaves, there are still two there to care for the garden where love (His substance) grows in the fertile soil of His Sacrament. He is the original Gardner. He doesn’t need you to keep pointing out your spouse’s weeds. Only He knows the best way for your spouse to remove them. He does need you to keep your weeds from killing the seeds He is planting in both your spouse’s heart and yours. Weed out your portion!

*Why “.1” you ask? For all those who’s pain or indignation has hardened their hearts and blinded their eyes, perhaps they may listen and be open to a larger percent if we let them believe it is such a small number for now. 🙂

Fall Days, Shooting Stars, and Talking With God

Yesterday I could not get enough of the outdoors. It was beautiful. The kids are sick including the baby so we couldn’t really go anywhere to enjoy the weather and nature, but God is so good, we live on our own sugar sand hill of beauty. Through out the day I kept going out to enjoy the fall transformation felt in the air and seen in the plant life surrounding us. Being surrounded by nature and quiet easily sends thoughts heavenward.

I have been struggling with letting go of some fears. It is difficult to explain the state of my heart. God has written a promise on it, but not how He plans on accomplishing it. Being still, trusting, and waiting on the Lord are the only instructions that have been clearly heard. Not knowing the “how” for a person who thrives in structure and is much more comfortable having solidified plans this opens a door to some very ingrained insecurities. Trusting without seeing the plan is a hard lesson for me. Then there is the issue of when a situation arises that requires a decision I don’t really know which way to go and find that I have to spend a lot more time praying then I use to. Maybe that is one of the many lessons that God has wanted me to learn: To pray more about the choices I make, turning to Him instead of just relying on my own thought process.

With God all things are possible yet I often find myself listening to the father of lies. Perhaps I am insane, but while I am confident in God’s promise to me I also hear the nagging little voice whispering doubt: “Why would He do this for you?” or “It is just your own desire; God didn’t really promise anything to you.” Not having any progress with shutting the lying voice out, I took it to God. Another perk to living out here in the middle of no where is you can talk to God out loud and no one hears you. 🙂 “Okay God how is it I can feel so certain and confident of Your promise and yet so weak that I keep allowing the voice to cause panic, pain, and fear in my heart.” What does our all merciful God answer? ”So you learn how to fight it.” I am certain I rolled my eyes. I know the face I must have given God because my kids give it to me all the time. I don’t want to have to work at this I wanted God to just zap the doubt away. The evil little voice giggled. I told it to shut up and went inside again.

Once the kids were in bed I snuck out again …okay I am lying, I told the kids to go to sleep and then quickly ran outside leaving Jason to handle bedtime. The air had a chill and without a moon, the stars were shining in abundance. I stared up in awe of God’s heavenly creation, watched a falling star and started to sing with joy and talk to God. “So I have to keep trying to tune out the voice till I learn what works for me, got it. I know that even though I shouldn’t doubt you and I need to learn to more fully trust you without signs you have given them anyway. I do thank you for all the blessings and reminders of Your promise you have undeservedly sent me. I am sorry that so soon after they are delivered I doubt again.” God let me know He made me and understands and just wants my thanks for the blessings and for me to continue to learn to trust.

“Now for issue two, God. What about the decision I need to make? I think I know what I should do, but I don’t want to. The “think things through plan and prepare” part of me says wait, but my heart says trust and jump!” God got really quiet. I got really desperate. One shooting star… “I want to sail threw the sky like the star!” Then in the dark of a star lit night the light of opportunity begins to glow. More talking to God. “Speak already!” Not really a respectful way to talk to God I know. A second shooting star… “Are you talking to me?” Okay one more and I jump! I start franticly searching the heavens. Nothing. More frantic searching. Nothing. Sadness begins to grow because I really want to jump, so I look once more. Odds favored another falling star would be seen, so to be honest I still don’t know if I just silenced God and followed my own will. Third star… Jumped! Okay I am in now. Evil whispering starts to murmur. My reply to it, “Thought I told you to shut up!” Fourth shooting star… woohoo, I love a bonus.

*disclaimer: Relying on shooting stars is NOT a way to make decisions. While I want to believe my emotional jump timing was right it is one of those things only time will tell. Most things that I have done this past year have been clearer. The correctness of them was soon felt deep in my heart and usually followed with an unquestionable blessing. When wrong God’s gentle discipline could be felt and a lesson was learned and appreciated.

…I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief.
Mark 9:23

Waiting on a Homecoming

     God repeatedly has made it clear to me that He desires to take this time of darkness and bring forth something amazing, but the waiting is VERY hard. I have always needed to have everything planned and organized in order to function. Acts 1:7, 2 Peter 3:8-9 Complete dependence of God’s timing is a very difficult lesson to accept, but it has freed me in many ways too. It don’t have to feel as if it is all up to me to fix everything, God is already working on it. I don’t have to convince anyone of what is best for our children; the Holy Spirit will make the argument on their behalf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5,  I Corinthians 2:14-15 I don’t have to worry about being unloved, rejected, disrespected, etc. God wants goodness for us. Jeremias 29:11-13 What I get to do is just love and accept Jason where he is at and to learn what God expects of me as a wife and follower of Christ. Psalm 119:133-135

     My job right now is to continue to weed out my own soul and to care for my children in a manner that leaves no doubt in their minds of my commitment, love, and respect for their father. This sets an example of how they must handle difficulties they will face in their marriages. I hope to teach them that a spouse should always pray to God about perfecting their own faults and give praise to God for the goodness in their spouses. Philippians 4:8 In this manner they learn to change the things they can (themselves) and continue to direct their attention to what will bring them closer to their spouses instead of away. Nothing will tear apart a relationship more then to focus on our spouse’s faults and short comings instead of their strengths. Proverbs 4:23 Satan uses these thoughts to breed discontent, dissatisfaction and may even tempt us with people who appear to have the very quality we wish our spouses had and blind us to the reality that no one is perfect. No one is complete. If we expect our spouses to be perfect, or to be our main source of fulfillment and to satisfy our desire to feel whole, completely accepted, etc. we will be disappointed. Our spouses are imperfect human beings like us; we all will fail at times. It is only God who can perfectly and consistently fill those requirements.

     Every morning I wake up with the hope this will be the day he comes home. I am greeted with eight little people praying and hoping for the same day. Matthew 21:22 They pray rosaries, remind each other to offer things up for this intention and the younger ones even come up with some really scary plots on how to force the situation to happen sooner. Blinding dad so he can’t drive away is one still circulating their idea board or the more recent giving dad drugs to make him fall asleep, put him in our bed and when he wakes up tell him he has been really sick and asleep for a long time, but now he is better so he will think he never really left and will just stay. My children, like I, know that daddy has to come home someday. He loves us too much to be happy or at peace anywhere else.

     My sunshine has been a loving husband and father. It is not hard for anyone who knows him to know why I would never stop believing and waiting for his homecoming. Whatever good God will turn these dark days into is worth waiting for. Job 23:8-10 Jason has worked very hard at creating a beautiful family. He has a wife who loves him more then anything and children who think he is the greatest man in the world. Despair and darkness have blinded him to the beauty and truth of this product of his devotion and care and his vital role to its maintenance. For my part I will wait forever if need be. Hebrews 10:35-36

Acts 1:7
7 But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power:

2 Peter 3:8-9
8 But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, 5 And every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ;

I Corinthians 2:14-15
14 But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. 15 But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man.

 Jeremias 29:11-13
11 For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience. 12 And you shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.

Psalm 119:133-135
133 Direct my steps according to thy word: and let no iniquity have dominion over me. 134 Redeem me from the calumnies of men: that I may keep thy commandments. 135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: and teach me thy justifications.

Philippians 4:8
8 For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.

Proverbs 4:23
23 With all watchfulness keep thy heart, because life issueth out from it.

Matthew 21:22
22 And in all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

Job 23:8-10
8 But if I go to the east, he appeareth not; if to the west, I shall not understand him. 9 If to the left hand, what shall I do? I shall not take hold on him: if I turn myself to the right hand, I shall not see him. 10 But he knoweth my way, and has tried me as gold that passeth through the fire:

Hebrews 10:35-36
35 Do not therefore lose your confidence, which hath a great reward. 36 For patience is necessary for you; that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise.

From the Mouth of Babes

…who renderest the iniquity of the fathers to the children, and the grandchildren, unto the third and fourth generation. Exodus 34:7

…And Jesus said to them: Yea, have you never read: Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise?  Matthew 21:16

The baby in my womb has been a huge blessing. The miracle of another eternal life created in part by the love of Jason and I, is an incredible gift and reminder of what God is going to restore and strengthen.  Our family is His! 

He is going to use this trial to break the generational cycles with in our families caused by the “sins of the father” for our children. Yes our children our suffering, but if we cooperate with God they will also witness the greatness of God and the miracles He performs when we are faithful to His call and will, and stand firm in faith that He keeps His promises.

One of my greatest desires is to impart on my children a dependence on God that until now I did not really have. We must find our strength in God and always turn and trust Him to meet our needs.

My eldest daughter, age ten wrote two songs today which express this lesson on where we should go for comfort and strength. I hope as she grows older and the world offers her other outlets (drugs, sex, false religions or the arrogance of atheism, etc) that she remembers this time and Who it was that she once leaned on. God’s grace is flowing abundantly over us during this dark and difficult time even when we turn it away or fail to recognize it. He has not left our side.

I Need a Hug
by Amelia

Jesus I need a hug.
Jesus You love me.
Won’t You give me a hug?

I need a hug.
I would like to see You.

Jesus I need a hug.
Will You comfort me?
I need it.

I need a hug.
You are the only one who can help me now.

Jesus I need a hug.
Can I have one from You?

I need a hug.
I need it now.
I need it from You.

I Need You Now
by Amelia
(She mentioned it is short and is suppose to be repeated three times 🙂 )

I need You now for I am hungry, thirsty and lonely.
Won’t you help me now?

I need You now for Your Body, Blood, and comfort.

Prayer for My Hurting Family

My Beautiful Faithful God,

Thank you for comforting me during this time. Thank you for the people you have placed in our lives who are praying for our family, Your Body is beautiful. My emotions exist in a mystical paradox. While I suffer this great agony I feel the joy of Your Holy Spirit filling my heart. At times I laugh out loud for shear delight of this grace.

I am struggling to remain calm in a deadly storm. You have taken my greatest strength and used him to bring me to my knees. Please let this time on my knees lift him to You.

It is difficult to hold the course amid the waves and wind that toss and throw me. I am weak. Do not allow my weaknesses to continue to push him further away. Please Lord if it is within Your Will, end his suffering and return him to me now. My heart aches for him. Soften his heart toward me. Place forgiveness in his heart for the pain I have caused. Let him see only love and peace in me. Let me be a source of strength and comfort for him. How you must suffer when we reject Your love and comfort! Heal him so he can see me through eyes of charity and not resentment. Heal us so he can reach out to me without fear of rejection.

Lord in Your infinite mercy do not make my children bare this cross. I can endure this trial with Your strength as long as You will, but Lord please not my children too. Preserve their innocents, protect their hearts, and test not the strength of their faith. Do not let them suffer for our failings. Hear my cry O Lord! Have mercy! Have mercy! Have mercy!

I have done what you ask. I have given You my marriage so that he can find You and discover the man you are calling him to be. Then through You he may freely, joyfully and fully return to us a more beautiful person than he is now. When you told me to let him go it was so that I would understand that this is his journey. I can not travel it for him nor can I tell him how he must travel. You are asking me to give him time. God help him, guide him and don’t let him wonder too far. You have blessed me with the sound of your voice. He can not hear you. Please speak louder and clearer. Open his ears to your voice. Compassionate Physician; heal his hurt, anger, apathy, and hopelessness. Let him feel Your presence and know You are near. Like Your apostle Thomas let him see and touch Your wounds so that he might have faith.

You are asking me to be faithful, loving, and (most difficult for me) to be patient. Please hasten this trial so I do not sin against you by giving into despair. Use this time to mold me into the wife he needs, the wife you want him to have, the woman you want me to be and the mother my children deserve. Give me insight to know what I must change and the perseverance to replace old habits with new ones. Continue Lord to speak to me and send whispers to calm and reassure me that this will pass and something Heavenly will replace the darkness. Help us to use this trial to draw closer to you, build an indestructible foundation for our children, and provide hope to others.

Our Father give us comfort while we are in this fire of refinement. You are giving us the chance to more fully reflect your image, but the process hurts. We thirst, give us drink least we are tempted to walk away before you have finished.

Jesus, my Lord and Savior, hold him tight for me. My Lord, do not abandon me.

Holy Spirit lead my husband to the same well of joy and peace You are providing to me. Fill him abundantly. Continue to infuse in me the infectious joy of Your Spirit.

Our Lady of Good Remedy, come to our aid and provide abundant graces from your treasury. Touch our hearts and guide us to “do whatever He says”. Care for my husband as the loving mother you are. Cradle him in your arms, assure him he is not alone and bring him to your Son. Help me be the mother our children need.

St. Joseph faithful husband to the Mother of God, be a shoulder of comfort and strength for my husband. Give aid to him to follow God’s call even during the times he doesn’t fully understand. Help him be the father our children need.

St. Michael the Archangel, You know how evil spirits prowl around lurking for vulnerable souls. Protect us while we are weak. Keep away anything that would hinder God’s plan and distance us from Him and each other.

St. Francis de Sales, you have helped so many discover God’s Will for their lives. Intercede on Jason’s behalf and pray that God’s Will is made known to him.

St. Faustina you have become the patron saint of our family. Pray for us so we may be a united family trusting in Jesus.

Starr as you gaze upon the splendor of our Heavenly Father pray for your son. May the same transforming Holy Spirit which enflamed your soul stir the embers in his and sustain him during this dark and lonely time.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

Life Sometimes Hurts

I debated a long time whether or not to say anything. As a catholic homeschooler their is a lot of pressure to only show the beauty in living out one’s faith and calling so as to encourage others. The reality is that having faith and enjoying one’s calling does not mean there won’t be serious challenges. I have always had a hard time with people who think if you practice your faith and pray hard life will only bring happy blessings. To them I say read Job!

God’s greatest graces and most beautiful blessings are born from pain and suffering.

I decided to in general way go public so that other hurting souls who may feel alone, ashamed or embarrassed to admit to being challenged will know they are not alone. Faith does not protect you from pain. Pain can destroy faith if we give into hopelessness and despair. It is a huge temptation. For anyone feeling themselves at the breaking point, God hears you! Fight, fight, fight, and when you have no more strength fall at the feet of God and surrender your pain to His will. Don’t move from there, don’t run, don’t think, don’t do anything. Just lay at his feet and cry, yell, be angry. He can handle all your emotions. He won’t take it personally and walk away. He wants you there so you can unburden yourself and let Him free you. I do it on a daily basis right now! He keeps welcoming me back. God will turn our pain into fertilizer for faith. For you non farmers, the original and best fertilizer is sh@!. Literally dung makes food grow! So that stinky stuff that has over taken your life and emotions right now is actually at work underground right now strengthening the your roots.

I won’t give into the pain and let the ugliness smoother me (though feel free to pray for me because I often am tempted). I am going to use it to till my field and let time show me the beautiful things that are growing!

November 3, 1994

anniversary_1994nov31-161x300Fourteen years ago today I married my sunshine!

After high school hopping for awhile Jason started at our school a couple of months into our senior year. On the first day he attended economics class the teacher told him he could sit at the end of my row. He instead sat in the empty desk in front of me. He later told me he did so because he thought I was pretty (awww so sweet). We shared a book during class since he often “forgot” his book in his locker. One day he wrote on the top of my page, “Will you marry me?” I told him not until he gave me an engagement ring. That Christmas I found a card from him on my door step with a gum machine plastic ring in it. We went on our first date that next weekend. We played pool, went back to his house to meet his dad, and climbed up on the roof to see the stars. He was a perfect gentleman. So many boys our age at the time thought making out on a first date was standard. It was wonderful to hang out with someone who never pressured me or made me uncomfortable about physical expectations. I still remember the feeling of his hand when he offered to help from the roof to the garden wall as we climbed down. His hands have always felt as if they were made to fit mine perfectly. I still love the feeling of holding his hand.

We exchanged notes often during school. One day he gave me a note with something scratched out on the top. Being a normal curious teen girl I carefully erased the scribble and was able to make out what had been erased. It was the lyrics to “You are my Sunshine”. I pretended not to know what it said and asked what he scribbled out. He would not say. The song was stuck in my head though and without thinking about it I later began to hum the song. When he heard me he was surprised and asked what made me think of that song. I confessed I had been able to read what was written and with a red face he admitted fearing to look too corny since we had just started dating. The song has been our song ever since.

Jason left for the Marine Corp after high school and I went to college. We had talked about wanting to get married but were young. I wanted to finish school so I could be with him. I took classes year round to graduate in three years instead of four. In the beginning of my third year he got orders to Okinawa and we decided to elope. My sister was planning a wedding for the 12th of November. I knew she had a lot of work and expense involved, and well, we were doing things somewhat impulsively and there was no time before he would be on the other side of the world. We married during the week and since I am practical to the point of flaw we did not go on our honeymoon until that weekend because I had exams. My only regret is hurting our parents by not giving them the opportunity to share in our life changing day. We spent our first year apart while I finished school and he was overseas. When we finally got to live together we had already been married for over a year! [Just thought I would add… we tell our children mom and dad were foolish and they are not allowed to follow our example 🙂 !!! ]

anniversary_2000april301-182x300In May of 2000 we had our marriage convalidation in the Catholic Church. It was our public awknowledgement of wanting God in our marriage and to receive His sacramental grace.
Now we have eight beautiful children and are blessed with being able to fall asleep and wake up everyday together. Our life is so much more wonderful than I ever could have imagined fourteen years ago. I am looking forward to all the blessings, challenges, and quiet moments of what I pray will be a lifetime of growing old with my sunshine.

You are my Sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

My Man

While growing up, thanks to “modern feminism” men were the butt of jokes, things to put in their place, unnecessary nuisances to be tolerated, and servants of feminine whims yet oppressors… College was a bastion of men/masculine hatred. I even had a professor tell male students they were not welcomed in her issues in counseling women’s course, but she had to let them in! I was not immune to the propaganda and even felt it necessary to keep my maiden name when I married in order to “maintain my identity”. I have long since been cured of that stupidity and now proudly share a name with my husband.

I was very fortunate to have an outstanding role model on what a real man is in my father. If it were not for him I may have been completely brainwashed and become one the many angry, bitter, blame-it-on-a-man women out there. Many of the early problems adjusting to marriage had to do with my believing men are suppose to be like women and that he was responsible for my feeling happy. Thanks to my father, influential authors such as Dr. Laura, and continuing to learn more about my catholic faith, the years of gender education have eroded away and I am blessed to be able to see what an incredible man I married.

My man works hard at a job he hates (one of two jobs I might add), in the heat of a Florida summer for little pay while we try to start a company of our own. He comes home tired and stressed with the burden of trying to provide for a family of ten, yet he comes home with a happy greeting for me and all our loud children. He sits on the couch and gladly listens to all their stories about their day. He takes the time to make sure he listens to my day too and doesn’t burden me by complaining about his. When he works late he often comes home to babies demanding mom’s attention and has to make dinner for himself. He always makes sure to make enough for me to have a snack with him. He gets up early, makes me tea, and helps the children giving me the luxury of staying in bed and cuddling the baby a little longer. When he has off he doesn’t do the many things he would enjoy for himself but instead does things with the kids that they enjoy.

My man is willing to forgo having “man toys” (new computer, cool tools, ATV, boat, television reception/cable to watch football) in order for me to stay home and take care of our children. He never makes me feel as if I am not contributing to our family by not making a pay check, but rather he makes me feel as if I do more then him by taking care of the home and children.

My man is patient with my “feminine mood swings”, especially when I am pregnant. He is always willing to listen to me ramble on and on about nothing. He is affectionate and gentle. He is a strong man and his gentleness is all the more beautiful because of it. When I remember to silence my constant babbling he opens up to me and shares his thoughts and feeling. These are some intimate moments missed by women who treat their men as shallow and incapable of “real” emotion, or women too selfish to respect what they think.

My man is handsome, strong, reliable, responsible, loving, and fun! I enjoy spending time with him. He makes me feel beautiful, feminine, competent, needed, safe and happy. My man is more kind and patient with our children then me and is wiser in his discipline and guidance with our older children especially. I admire, depend on, desire and love my man!

Happy Father’s Day and Birthday My Man!!!

I think the following images are in chronological order… :0

High school and boot camp and dating.


Married before children (well at least before they left the womb)


A young family…


A growing family…


and growing (two more since this pic)…


For more recent pics you will have to scroll down and read old posts 🙂