Sunday, May 13, 2018

Wholeness of vision

I think in my social media circles, there have been a lot of recent book releases.  I am sure all of them are excellent books, why else would they be being published.  The one that has been sticking in my mind lately and my amazing husband snagged me a copy for Mother's Day is One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler.  I'm almost 80 pages in and I just started it in the quiet moments of today.  It's been a wonderful read so far and I anticipate good things to come.

One thing that has stood out to me in reading the book so far, that has made me think about just where I am in life is the concept of wholeness of vision.  It's something I realize I can struggle with immensely, especially in the hard day to day, where I am just trying to get a kid to finish their school work or get a meal on the table.  It would be nice to think about instead how perhaps in the bigger realm of things this work, though a struggle for the kid to do is something that is going to help them to learn discipline and perserverance, the meal that I am creating is helping me to see that I can nourish the people entrusted to me with good food.

A stumbling block I have been thinking about lately, since a return of fertility this last month, is in thinking about more children. I do know that currently I am still in a state where my baby, to me, is pretty small and I don't feel capable to take on another just yet. However, in less than my ideal timing for a baby, if God decided else wise or I blurred the lines of NFP, after grumbling a bit,  I would hope with grace I'd rise to the occasion of caring for another soul entrusted to me.

Perhaps that's part of who I am, the grumbling part.  The one that takes a while to accept a gift given to her. That needs to know where to put said gift into said spot of the timeline of life. That sometimes grumbles thinking about the struggles of the throbbing varicose veins, and swollen limbs that make it hard to walk, the extreme heartburn that makes it hard to eat or sleep, instead of seeing the gift in hand through it all. It's easy for me to get stuck looking at the trees instead of the forest, the wholeness of vision.

With Stella, I have seen a lot more of how those phases of difficulty with a baby are just phases and in some ways can be enjoyed more than dreaded.  Yes, there will be weeks with little sleep but there will also be moments with such great joy. Perhaps that makes me look at her and realize what a gift she is, but also that its okay to maybe someday have another baby, God willing. And in this moment, I also have learned more of how much every moment with a baby either inside or out is a gift and I can't control how long I get with whomever I'm given. I can only control me, and my approach to a situation.

Today on mother's day there was a calmness in the chaos, there was a point where Keith and I were both reading separate books post dinner and the children were playing all around the yard or in the house. I paused for a moment and the fullness of life astounded me. Each baby I brought into this world had some struggle, and the parenting of them hasn't always been easy.  But they are beautiful souls and beings and we are team Kurak and we can do this life thing together.

So maybe I am realizing that I do need to step back and see the forest for the trees more, a wholeness of vision may it be. With that peace there that Jesus is always sharing in my life with me every step of the way, perhaps, the next round of this some day won't be so bad.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

May flowers

The winter was so very long this year.  It was very cold almost until the end of April. My kids because of that still think the snow is going to come back. They are however,  thoroughly enjoying the 70 degree temperatures now that its been consistently warmer.

May makes me think of flowers and this year especially I have noticed the transformation.  We started out the month giving out May Day flowers,  because its my favorite under-celebrated holiday.  It's so much fun to bring a little cheer to your neighbors with a flower or two. 

And then we got to stand up as godparents for a dear little boy,  who if its parents had our way would be betrothed to Stella already.  I may have flashed the lady sitting diagonally in front of me while trying to nurse Stella in the pew with a light blanket over her,  when she totally wasn't having any bit of the cover.  But we got through it. And I remember the priest's footwear of Birkenstock sandals above most every thing else,  but it was a good day.  We even were abtable to do a quick trip to give flowers to our special ones graves at tge cemetery one the way back.

This week has been extra busy with activities.  Last week of teaching the high schoolers,  last week of Destination Imagination with extra practices,  a park date,  a end of school year part,  a museum field trip, a ladies paint night at the local coffee shop,  a soccer game,  two soccer practices and then our final DI play performance.  I cringed coming into this week because I knew it would be a lot.  I think the only thing getting me through this week is a whole lot of grace which is helping me to remember that each moment is a moment to be in and not to rush through or dread. 

My favorite moments have oddly been in the car with all the kids.  Either they have been arguing all together and I just smile at the chaos, or I introduce them to a silly song on an old album that I love and they love it too, or them cheering me on as we navigate heavy traffic. 

And so Saturday will be a little hard,  it's my 2 year loss date,  Sunday also a little hard because its mother's day.  But I know that the last two years have been filled with a lot of growing pains and I'm a bit more velveteen than I was before,  and I think that's okay.  And one day the reunion in heaven will be epic.  :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


A lot of time I think about writing things on here, a lot of them become too personal to share on the internet.  Post conversation over the Easter break with a friend I've been thinking about what I actually share on the internet.  At times it helps to share things to be authentic.  At times those things of authenticity can hurt another or are something that by sharing are just passive aggressive thoughts that by blasting them into cyberspace makes us feel better.  And I've done both of these things.  Other times they are those of self discovery or describing life's experiences, a way of journaling.

I've been noticing that I am prone to jealousy or feeling left out. In reality it makes no sense, the fact that one can only interact with some many people in one's life, I should really be content with interacting with the people I really can interact with, versus the illusive person that is a friend of a friend on the internet.  At times though, I just want to know.  To know what another is up to, and be in the know. Maybe it stems from not being completely filled in my day to day relationships. Maybe its just me letting my human weakness dictate how I interact with others.

Whatever it is, it has me thinking. Am I sharing this to feel better about myself at the expense of another?  Is this something I should just talk to one person about? Am I lacking something right now that I need to fill up with time with reflecting with myself and God? These are things that I am pondering and realizing a lot of times I'm stuck in what to do. And maybe that's not the best place to be, stuck. Perhaps, I have to learn to still think for myself to really and truly own who I am. I want to be able to write something and not be worried that it will offend another or have it be me wanting to gain popularity.

I pray that I'll get better at this discernment as I recognized God's grace and grow along the way. Perhaps I should stick to what I know, but really I'm not sure if I know anything all that well. Am I really an expert?  I guess what I can do is offer my perspective of where I am at in life.  And this is it. This is where I am. I am a child of God. I am a married woman. I have 4 living children and two in heaven. I homeschool my kids and I teach a class on the side to high schoolers. I lead a Destination Imagination group for my kids and three other families. I take part in leading our local Blessed Is She group and try to maintain its Facebook page.  I knit sometimes and binge read a lot.  I enjoy food tv shows and those that highlight culture and I am a sucker for a good teenage Disney channel like show. I like happy endings and things that show the beauty of life. I enjoy being outside but am terrified of snakes and ticks. I like walking places and hate cars, using them only as a necessity.

I'm sure there is a lot more to me, but this what I know right now. I want to grow in who I am, to truly  be able to say this is me and mean it. Perhaps I won't be comfortable in my own shoes until heaven.  But I hope my journey towards heaven inches me closer. And I think I'll just leave it at that for today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A day

Today we started in a different state across the Ohio river in the bordering town of Covington,  KY. We were staying in a row house airbnb, and it was a fun old house with some modernized bits to it.  The children appreciated that it had two sets of stairs so they could make a stair loop.  Honestly,  child me loved any house with Butlers stairs because it just felt like you could explore more and pretend more with them.  And I'm pretty sure it was a slim amount of time I came into contact with them as a kid and yet they still made an impact on me,  so perhaps this rental was fulfilling my inner child as well. 

I noticed on the way in last night that we were within walking distance from a gorgeous cathedral, one I had wanted to visit when we had stayed in Cincinnati area last summer but it didn't work out.  So we looked up the daily mass time and went this morning.  The tabernacle alone was worth the early morning waking for mass.  I always have good intentions to be a more regular daily mass goer,  but rarely am.  I blame it on the kids,  but really I'm someone that likes to sleep in on a regular basis to 8am, and that means I miss most daily masses.  Today, though we made it,  all six of us.

We then traveled across the river and dropped the husband off to work and then went to the Firefighter museum. It was small but we were refreshed in our fire safety,  learned some history and the kids got to play in the cab of a modern day fire engine, so I'd call it a win for the $8.25 total for the admission of all of us.

After that we walked the three blocks to Washington park,  the kids remember this place super fondly so they played in the park playground for a bit and then we wandered over to get soft pretzels from Bretzel nearby. We then wandered back to our car and headed up to Findlay market for some more nutrient dense lunch.  The kids chose carrots,  pepperoni and cheese for lunch.  I had cashew chicken salad.  All was satisfying.

We then said goodbye to our favorite away from home city and started our drive home.  It was a long drive as we got stuck in Columbus with a wrong turn and some accidents of other drivers but we made it finally home.  And its good to be home,  on the complete opposite side of the state from where we started.  To be home, a glorious thing,  even if travel is good.  Its good to come home and know that its where you can be you faults and all. 

So with the children bathed and in bed,  I bid you goodnight.  Goodnight.  I hope the sense of home warms your soul tonight.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stella, you are one!

Dear Stella,

You are one baby girl. We made it through the first year together. I am still so glad you are here.  I love how you watch and explore quietly and have decided to do things in your own time. You have thrown me for a loop so many times in your first year, but I think that it's been good for me, God knew I needed a you.

You currently love to climb stairs and would do it all day long if you allowed.  Walking hasn't come yet, but that doesn't stop you from being super quick on your knees and palms. You are a bit of a daredevil at times and its probably something you have in common with your older brother Ephraim, who is extremely good at testing the limits on things for his advantage.

You are loved deeply by your siblings.  One of my favorite things has been to see how your siblings love on you.  While they may get annoyed slightly here and there with you stealing their toy or messing with their game, they cheer you on in each new thing.  Every new ability is a cause for celebration and they just sing your praises to no end.  Baby girl, you are loved.

You love to be cuddled and have a mama right near. You are greatly weary of strangers if they try to hold you or pick you up. Sometimes you get scared if you are too far away from someone you trust and you still aren't the greatest fan of the car, but you tolerate it much more now and sometimes will even take a nap in it.

You love playing with cup and bowls and things that can go inside of cups and bowls.  You are excellent at tearing pages of books and unfortunately a few library books have fallen prey to your habits. You enjoy being held by your mama especially in the sling so you can safely look out on the world and experience things close to your life source.

You are calmed by walks and sometimes will only fall asleep when out on one.  You aren't the greatest of nappers some days but you seem to enjoy sleep at night as long as you are cuddled, and for that we are thankful. You are so sweet in so many ways and we can't wait to see what your second year has in store for you.

Happy Birthday, Stella girl!

Your Mama

Friday, March 9, 2018

A rug from my grandmother

I have this rug. It's one that my grandmother latch hooked for me. She had been trying to give it to me for months, when she first heard that I was pregnant with Noel, she sent a sweet card of congrats on the fourth baby and then sent a picture of a rug she had made hoping that I would like it and claim it as mine. You see then but not even a week later, Noel died. And then I just couldn't talk to anyone.  My grandmother called to apologize of what she wrote in the card, though I think it needed no apology. It was all done with love, it was simply telling me that four babies would be great and how she had such memories with her four own babies. That didn't need apologizing for, not one bit.  I didn't answer the phone and simply had a voicemail, but so it was. She called again a few weeks later and hoped that I was all better.  I don't think she meant any harm in saying that, though it wasn't receptive to my ears and still I wasn't answering the phone because I just still couldn't. This loss hit me the hardest of my two miscarriages I have had. And almost 2 years later, another baby in my arms there are still bits to process. There are still bits of graces unfolding from Noel's short womb life.

My dad called about the rug, perhaps my grandmother thought I'd surely talk to him, but again it was another voicemail as I still didn't answer the phone. We went on a trip to a few cities in the south and I bought a card for my grandmother to tell her that I did want the rug.  But I never wrote out the card and I never sent it.

A few later, my grandmother died unexpectedly from a blood clot that spread to her lungs. It wasn't caught by a foot doctor and it caught us all by surprise.  My first thought was that I didn't ever call or write her. I had wanted to, to say yes to this rug she had made with me in mind, but I just wasn't all there and I wasn't really handling life all that well.

This lady was precious to me and every time we would call for her birthday and the kids and I would sing for her and she would say that this was the best birthday greeting she had gotten all day.  And whether or not that was true, she knew how to make my heart smile.  She would send birthday greetings to all my kids and to me every year and she just knew how to say the right thing to cheer someone up in a rough situation.

Today, for some reason, I was compelled to pull this rug from its buried home in a corner of my bedroom and take it downstairs to use in the house and remember her.  Perhaps, I need more of her now. Perhaps, I've finally forgiven myself for never saying yes to her directly for the rug.  But here it is, I hope that it brings us warmth and softness and memories of love for years to come. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Nothing is Secular

After reading Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, I am finding myself pondering the idea of things considered to be secular. What is something that is secular really anyway?  Google says its "denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis." So, now we have a definition.  But then is really anything secular?  Is there anything completely void of God, if God is the creator of all? 

I'm reminded of a conversion story of an artist that found God through his paint.  I think by definition of the world, paint would not be religious and yet it led to God. And perhaps its because its a tool that it can be used for both things that bring us closer to God and things that perhaps distract us from him.  However, I think in all of it God is still in the paint.

On another point, I've often thought of the example of two priests coming upon a prostitute and one priest shielding his eyes from the occasion of sin and the other in abject weeping over the soul in the over sexualized get up.  Neither reaction is wrong. One simply is perhaps able to comprehend more, or perhaps is a little further along in his walk with Jesus to be able to look outside himself and see another hurting. 

I wonder if this how we are with things that are viewed as Christian versus those that are secular.  Perhaps there are times that we need the bubble and protection of the Christian cultured things.  Perhaps we are still learning to sit up right in our Christianity and we need to feel protected in it.  Outside it, the world seems scary. We can't make sense of it, and perhaps we just don't want to right now or just aren't able to do so.  

And then maybe someday we venture out and start to crawl a little bit and see God in our fallen humanity, and then we keep digging deeper and find God in the crevices that no one else wants to touch and find them redeemable and find that God doesn't just live inside the deemed Christian walls, but is in the low of the low in society's perception and wants them to be loved just the same as you or the pope.