Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More about nursing...dear Lena

Hi Lena baby,

Your mama's been thinking more about nursing these days.  I actually read two books from La Leche League, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler and When Weaning Happens.  It's funny that before having children of my own I would have thought La Leche League to be full of useless hippies, and honestly I've never been to a meeting, Lena girl, but after reading these books my opinions are a little higher. They were some of the most gentle, most kind ways to approach subjects that as a nursing mother in American society can be hot topics.  A friend recommended them and I'm glad that she did, I may even purchase the first one though as of current they were loaned to me by the library.

But why did I love them so much, I think because for the first time ever it seemed that I finally had someone who took the pressure off of nursing but instead explained the woahs and the good too, the challenges and the benefits in a way that I really felt encouraged instead of discouraged.  I realize that what I am doing really isn't all that common.  If you surveyed folks about nursing, or even look up general nursing advice on the internet, it mostly stops at a year.

We went to visit folks for a holiday and I really had a hard time with some of the social expectations, mainly because I was the only currently nursing mother there. While I respect other ways of feeding babies, and have done at least pumping bottles for some of my children, it is still a hard place to be when your child is screaming about nursing all the time because she's scared about being in new situations and just really needs to be comforted by her mama, and her mama is stressed because she's going to have to nurse a very amazing verbal almost two year old in public or in front of folks that just didn't really nurse all that much and think you should be done with that nursing thing by now.  But we aren't, are we baby girl.

And don't get me wrong I love these people, with all their colorfulness, but I'm solo in this gig of toddler nursing here and sometimes mama just wants someone to talk to about these things. :)

However, I have realized that over time things have changed with my general company and nursing babies. First, when I started most people I know nursed for a year and that was that.  And while that can be fine for them and their family, weaning was particularly stressful for me, at least night weaning was. Eventually with your older brothers, weaning pushed itself along because of pregnancy and neither boy cared to nurse much past a year or 18 months anyway.  So for the social circles I was in, this was okay. It wasn't till you, my third baby, that a game changer came into play. You, baby girl, from the beginning have gotten her mama time by nursing, and your comfort in rough situations too.  And so oddly with you I also have made stronger friendships with women who have nursed multiple toddlers. It's so amazing to me to see how at ease with nursing these women are in their nursing, they aren't hung up in the over sexualization of breasts, (something I can struggle within relationship to the outside world) but are really nourishing their children with it and being there and  comforting them.

And so for me its neat to see how God had his hand in even this.  In something as simple as feeding a child, feeding you, God knew I needed more support and he knew more about me than I did. So, I am thankful, thankful for the people that God has put in my life to introduce me to the other, to the being at peace about things and not forcing them. To really try to be okay with a child weaning when they are ready. So one day, I hope you too will know its okay to nurse your baby longer than the outside would say to do so, to trust that your baby will wean on their own, to not push them to stop something they might not be ready to do.

Thanks for being you.

Your Mama

*For more Dear Lena posts, click here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

As we near the finish line of 2015

My word this year in 2015 was JOY.  A simple word though it may be, it was a good year to learn it, to envelope it, to live it, because it was a hard year and there was a lot of sadness, so how better to find joy except thru sadness.

Children got hurt badly, multiple times, expectations had to be lowered multiple times or given up completely. But it opened up the way to recognizing grace, and for that I'm thankful.  It helped me to recognize the complexity and the works in progress that we all are. It's been hard for sure, but somehow, I think I am one of those folks that needs to learn the hard way.  I'm too stubborn to learn else wise.

Children got sick badly, and letting go had to be done.  To realize that I wasn't able to fix my child but had to rely on someone else was a big lesson.  It made me think of how much my children aren't my own but are his, and his plans are bigger and greater than mine.  His family is bigger than my small unit of 5.  He is in control and I am not.

Strife happened, helping me to realize that the only thing that really can make me happy in this life is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, that not even family can fulfill that need, only God can. Only God can be my true Joy.

New adventures were embarked. Craziness ensued.  Hair pulling and yelling, questioning and thanking.  Reassurance and renewed spirits, affirmation and growth.  Learning happened!  So much of it, and probably most of it by me, because I had to learn to adapt.  To know that even though things were straightforward in my mind, they weren't to a five year old and they weren't to teenagers.  Instead we stepped back and filled in holes and tried other ways and decided to rest and not rush.  Rushing doesn't help one to learn, but only brings crossing off lists or making check marks.

Significance was realized more greatly, in that I am really worth it as a human, I am chosen.  I do have a God that loves me, and also in that I will suffer.  But I can and do have someone to unite that suffering with, Jesus. And no one can take that away.

Anxieties rollercoastered. As problems needed to be dealt with anxiety was higher, but also, new triggers were uncovered, and I learned to give myself more graces and tried to change things for more stability, and many prayers were said. The rosary became calming and for that I am thankful.

Not everything is figured out.  And since I am a work in progress, there is still more to uncover, and more to learn and more to grow in.  And that is okay.  I don't need to be a finished book, I am only 32 after all.

To next year , 2016, I give the word: HOPE.  To know that there is always hope.  It's not as bleak as the world and media make it out to be, but instead I can remember there is hope.  Hope in tomorrow, hope in new beginnings, hope in letting go of baggage, hope in Jesus.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Be Crazy...Really Just go For it

I went to a work function this evening with my husband.  It was a really neat kind of function, it was in an old vault for part of it, and they restored it and made it into a bar and then there was a dinner with really good food.  All and all it was a quality function and I'm glad I went.

Another reason I'm glad I went is because I've been doubting a lot lately.  I've been doubting if I am really supposed to be doing what I am doing.  If I am too stressed out to enjoy it and that I need to do something drastic to make it better.  But today I conversed with people who confirmed that taking care of children is the hardest thing ever.  Generally to be a parent is the hardest thing ever.

We had a day on Monday, one of those days were you don't want to relive it because your life has flashed before you in thinking that you have lost one your children and you just can't do this anymore.  But the thing is Tuesday came, and it was better.  I can't say it was much better, but it was better.  And then Wednesday and Thursday came and those were much better too.

And so when I answer the questions of what do I do. Why I homeschool.  Why I we took a crazy adventure to do the impossible. I think its simply because God meets me there every time.  Sometimes I recognize him and his grace and other times I don't.  But he is always there.

I think its easy to get caught up in the grass is always greener mentality, at least it is for me.  In doing so I can be paralyzed to live with joy too. If I think that something out there is better for me, then by golly I'm going to hate what I'm doing currently. But it shouldn't. While I should be striving to improve and be fully who God intended me to be, I also need to enjoy where I am at and let go of where I think I need to be or what I think I need to have, those preconceived expectations creeping in and killing my view of God's grace.

So the thing is, why not try that hard thing, that thing that really stretches you to love, to unite yourself with Jesus.  It might be fun, it might be hard, it might be crazy.  But if we don't ever step onto the playing field we can never win the game or even fight the good fight.  And so this parenting gig, homeschooling and all, being open to life, well its hard, there is no way around it.  But hard doesn't mean not good, in fact something that is hard can be the most amazing thing ever, so why not just go for it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nursing My Toddler

I've nursed two toddlers before this current one, and each one has been different.  Each has been his own story, his own personality, his own circumstance to come with it. Weaning is something that I think about with each of them.  The first time around it was systematic and it worked easily without much fuss. The second time around we took our time, he needed me a little longer, we had allergies and we were wee, and we just needed that mama comfort differently. But both times, weaning was led with the pretext that I was pregnant once again. This time I'm not, and not that we wouldn't welcome another baby, but we're not actively seeking one right this instance either.

So this toddler, this toddler has been a little different from the start.  First, I have enjoyed nursing her so much more from the start, at least on the good days where I am not about to pull out my hair from life. I never have had to be systematic with her, and honestly it was hard at first to do that, because there is always doubt and fear.  But grace was there to keep me going and keep my fears at bay, for I had a ~15lb baby at 4 months. There was no need to worry.  And I slept, and we co-slept and we nursed.  And I am not trying to bring out mommy wars of doing it differently, but this is what worked for us.  I tend to need sleep to function, I only get sleep if I don't have to be fully awake at night when doing things, co-sleeping and nursing allows both of these for me.

Back to this toddler of mine, she is so smart, and so helpful and so kind, but she also needs to pull in to rebalance and get her mama time with nursing.  I don't remember having that before. My boys nursed for a some comfort of course, but they also saw the world differently.  They barely could be bothered to stop to refocus, it all was so fascinating to them. They didn't need that recheck in the same way.

And so we actually still nurse at least 5-8 times during a 24 hour period. And some days it feels like a lot, it does, but others, its okay. Its hard to balance expectations with needs or wants of hers of mine of my husband of my other children, let alone the pressures of the world.  And sometimes she has to be told no, but we still nurse.  And sometimes that means we are out in public.  And while I am used to nursing a baby a ~year or less in public, its a whole other element when its a toddler.  I think sometimes that I've entered into a forbidden zone, but I still do it, because its a need that I can and need to fulfill. The one thing I've reverted back to is using a small cover at this age when out.  And it may just be that I'm not fully comfortable yet, and I think thats okay.  But honestly its more for the fact that toddlers tend to be crazy nursers and well I'm not up for full body exposure to total strangers, at least not just yet.  I still have a little bit of Puritan in me I have to get over. :)

The topic of weaning has been crossing my mind.  My husband knows this, because I've mentioned in passing a least a dozen times, in probably in a I'm going crazy way, but still it is there.  But maybe not right now.  I think at this point that the fight of not nursing in certain instances is too strong for it be be okay to let go. And maybe that's just me, and maybe I'm weak, but I don't think so.  Both of my weaning experiences before have never been harsh, and while this girl of mine is her own person, I think at the very least we need to approach weaning in a gentle way. And so I will, slowly and maybe this will take the pressure off myself, because the pressure is usually what ruins the experience for myself, and I don't need that.

So baby girl of 21.5 months and I will nurse, and I'm not sure when we will stop. Her need might be different than my want, and I will learn humility and patience, and at times we will hopefully be able to transfer that need into other ways of love and balance and centering. But that's just it, love isn't easy is it? But we are better to have loved than not, right?

Friday, November 20, 2015

How does it all come together?

*Disclaimer: I am not trying to add to the Mommy wars, but am simply trying to make sense of what is in my head.

I read a book for a book club I was part of until recently when I decided it wasn't for me, it was called "Everything I Never Told You" and it was about a biracial family in a time period when that would have been thought of as not okay and a lot problems that stemmed from that. But besides that it featured a woman who was trying to be a medical doctor because she strived to be everything different than her mother a home-ec teacher. She wanted to stand out and break the mold in a field dominated by men at the time. A very women's equality situation. But then she fell in love, got pregnant, married and never finished and it hung over her head every day. There was even a one liner about birth control being developed around the same time, eluding that maybe this woman's life would have been everything she wanted because her children were a burden and derailed her from her dream. But honestly there were deeper issues with the characters in the book that birth control would have just masked instead of solved.

I have to say that this book made me anxious for a while. I had to sort through a lot of insecurities of my own. One being that I chose to be a stay at home mom for the most part (I teach part time now). I went and got a doctorate and then stayed at home. Most people might wonder why I did this, or maybe they don't care and that's okay too, I can be a bit boring I admit. :) But one of the main things I remember is that my own mom was a stay and at home mom for most of my child hood and I liked her being home with us. I liked that she was available and that she was engaging with us. And granted the latter probably doesn't have to be associated with at home moms, but for me, most of my positive learning memories came from her interactions with us and it made me not only want to stay at home but to want to homeschool. And I know she thinks I'm a little crazy sometimes, and we don't have the perfect relationship, but this staying at home with us and being there and engaged, well that was big to me.

For most of childhood me, I wanted to always prove that I was better than the boys. I played on the boys soccer teams, I did science Olympiad and any kind of activity that proved that I could be equal to a guy. And there was some underlying issues there too, but what was interesting was that I wasn't the only girl doing this. In some ways girls dominated the higher sciences. The girls were the presidents of the science clubs and the pre meds and the highest achievers of the crews. It never occurred to us for it to be different or for science to be a man's thing, very different world from the novel mentioned previously.

Even in grad school, in chemistry, the amount of women equaled the amount of men and it didn't feel like much was that different .... until you wanted to have a life outside of school. Wanting to get married, have children, those, well those were not talked about within the department or dealt with. And while every so often you might have a family friendly advisor, it wasn't normally so. I remember going to a seminar on how you could potentially have a family and remain in academia. Certain times were listed as better than others for having babies, but the consensus was that a lot of advisors frowned upon it because, well, it meant that it would take away from your research. Research meant money potential, research was supposed to be your life, family was second not super healthy family environment.

So growing up I told myself that I wasn't going to get married or have children because I was going to do something, in some ways I reminded myself of one of the protagonists in earlier mentioned book. I was set on working for NASA, I loved everything about space and space travel. I also very much enjoyed my small stint at NASA and hoped to make it career worthy. But deep down, I had something in me that wanted something different, deep down I wanted to get married and perhaps have children some day.

And what do you know, I found this guy the first week in grad school that kind of turned my facade on its head and made me think about my true feelings. And I wanted him and this all to stick. But it was scary because for so long I had put up this front, I went after guys that I didn't have a chance of having anything lasting before. But this one I married him, and I don't regret it one bit. And those children we have, well, they are amazing and so  challenging and yet so beautiful.

But there were many obstacles to climb, because I did condition myself to think elsewise, and I didn't want to let anyone down that I had told elsewise, a fault of mind. I want confident in my decision. I felt like I was a disappointment. So much money and time was spent on me to succeed and I wanted to run the other way. I think the only person's words that stuck with me in a positive way, oddly said to me when I still had my façade about career versus children and I had just put down someone for choosing children over a career, were simply that she wasn't wasting her education on her children, but instead was truly using it, it just might not look that way. Those words stuck with me and made me say to myself it's okay to want this.

So it's interesting now when I think about the struggle of career and children. I think I chose the right path for me. It's not that it's been all smooth sailing. For me, being a stay at home mom has been harder than getting a PhD. I've spent about the same time on both now, and its feels so very true to me. And then I've chosen to homeschool, so I'm probably just clinically insane for all this. But this craziness, this is right for me for right now.

The thing is that I don't think there is a one right path for everyone, as in a one size fits all kind of measure. In our insecurities, we want to know that what we chose is best, but to enforce that on another? I'm not sure that's best. And the culture may promote one choice more than another, and it may make us feel inferior for choosing differently, but that's not truth or love. And maybe if we remember just that and try to be us, the person God created us to be, maybe this world will be okay.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

And there are good times too.

I have a personality that can easily be caught in the bad.  I have to remind myself that there are good things often or I get very whoa-is-me the world is ending or is hating me. So this post is to remind me of a few of those.

First, I've been enjoying lately all the kiddos crowded on my big bed reading bed time stories or telling bed time stories.  The kids have been into hearing stories about when they were littler, and I'm having to think how to make their lives into interesting stories for them to hear, and when I am able to do it well, they love it.

Next, its so good to have friends that you can talk to and don't mind listening and you in return don't mind listening to them.  Friends that understand that you are a sensitive soul and want to build you up instead of tear you down.  They are worth so much.

And despite the bad about the incident last week, I'm so thankful for good neighbors.  Ones that invite you into their home unannounced and share a peanut butter cup with you and let your children play freely with their own.  Ones that when you call them in a pickle they help you out of it by lending you a car seat so you can get to co-op and the doctor because your baby ended up with a double ear infection.  Or that the folks at the corner produce store know you well enough to feel comfortable giving you hand-me-down clothes for your children because they see you as a friend and they are watching your children grow right along with you.

And last, this.  The opportunity just to play and love.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

To the person trying to illy do good

At 9am yesterday, I had two unexpected visitors.  Two police officers showed up at the side door.  They had gotten a call about suspicious behavior of a man in a red car talking to my children.  A concerned citizen thought that this dangerous person was trying to lure my children away from me.  But they weren't, in actuality, it was just my husband leaving for work and my children interacting with him in doing so.

So you see someone made a judgement, and said this looks not right, and thus called the police to intervene.  And while that would have been nice if there truly was something wrong, there wasn't. And honestly I think at least 9 times out of 10 (probably more like 999 of 1000) this has got to be the scenario. And it sheds a light on our society a bit, that we live in fear. To me that is unfortunate.

First, I want to say I wish I knew this neighbor better, because then they would know which cars we drive and who my non-scary husband is. But unfortunately, our world does not allow these types of interactions.  Instead we hole up in our houses and call police over a kid saying goodbye to his dad. Please dear neighbor come out of your house and come talk to me, I would love to know your story. And I do think that I have gotten to know quite a bit of my neighbors, we live in a highly walkable neighborhood full of people who do just that, but apparently not enough to prevent this.

Second, this bugs me so much in the extent that I feel like it plays into several mentalities that are wrong with America.  One, we value our freedom, but we don't value our neighbors freedom.  We would rather hide behind walls, and call in the authority and over-legislate to get what agenda we desire to accomplish.  Two, we feel the need to instantly judge. We are a land of impulse people.  We don't know what it is to wait for things, to really be patient with something, we instead think: Act fast, act now! despite how illy formed our judgement may be. We see someone disciplining their child differently than we would, and out comes the camera to shame this person and make their life hell.  We see someone being awkward and we snap photos and blast them on the internet.  Really people, stop it already.  Remember we are all humans, we need mercy and kindness, not shame.

Last, stranger danger is overblown.  That one case in a million people, we think that will happen to us, and instead of saying I'm going to be confident and trust God, we instead live in fear and fear monger those around us. I mean there's a whole website that is supposed to be centered around neighborhood folk getting to know one another, but stems down to the latest house break-in or car theft. I mean by all means, don't be stupid, because yes there are desperate people out there, but do we act like everyone is bad and we can't chance getting to know them, or do we live in a way that we see the good in everyone and try to establish a community where we truly help one another. I would much rather that, that one where I feel like I can't venture out of my house or let my kids play in my yard without a police call, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

All the feels

I'm not sure if its a parent thing, or a me thing or what I interpreted my parents being growing thing, but a lot times I struggle with getting to the point where the tears can come.  Maybe I'm too prideful to cry, but I know I need it.  It's been self proven that a good cry does me wonders with my stress.

Today was stressful. I got a call this morning that we should take Ben to the ER, his numbers for dehydration were pretty bad and they thought he should be further evaluated/rehydrated. A mama heart knows when something isn't right.  Even though I made sure he always had water and was drinking it slowly, his body wasn't keeping up.  He was lethargic, sleeping all day and complaining of stomach pain. To me following this recommendation made sense even if it meant I had to forgo teaching that morning to my Algebra students. And honestly, I struggle with letting go that sense of commitment, so to do that meant that I believed that he really needed more care and I couldn't give it to him at home.

And that's the first thing, there is such a tremendous feeling in our world to be in control of our children, and then things like this happen and you realize how much little control you really have.
Like despite your best efforts, bad things can still happen. And I want to say that's okay, but that seems harsh and not the right word. Instead right now it feels sort of sad, sad that you just have to watch sometimes and be patient.  I know that's God there, in control of it all, but still its just feels off somehow. Like despite my efforts to hydrate, he wad super dehydrated, and I couldn't do one thing about it except hand him over to people who could and pray that it would work out okay.

He's still there tonight, with his daddy.  And his daddy is the best person in the world for him to be with right now.  You see I was needed at home with the littler guys.  And my heart was pulled to let him go, but he's with my other half, the stronger one probably and he's going to be okay. I keep reminding myself of that.  And those little ones I had to leave, it breaks my heart every time I have do do so, I love them so, and yes, sometimes I need a break, but in circumstances like this, I want to hold on tight and never let them go.  So they get to sleep in mama's big bed tonight.  And I think they like that at least.

Sometimes, it feels like I can't catch up or catch a break.  It feels like we go from one medical issue to another, from broken bone, to anxiety, to dehydration. It's rough over in the Kurak household.  But maybe God is teaching me something.  Maybe he wants us as a collective family unit to just...slow...down. To come back together and just be with each other. Not plan a trip or entertain guests for a bit, but just be us together, enjoying the gifts of each other.  I love my friends, I do.  But we all need breaks sometimes and maybe God is just making this be our time for that. Maybe I just need to be more and do less. To not be a slave to the schedule. Order and structure are great, but to really know someone, I think we have to break it sometimes.

So when I spent a good amount of the day with my biggest guy, it was good just to sit and knit and talk.  I secretly love that he's been requesting to be read to while sick. It warms my heart so much, because its one thing I can do for him and I love it. But a lot of time the reading aloud it gets overlooked when there is too much going on, and I miss it when it does.

My hardest part of the day was watching the PIC line be put into him.  He writhed and hated it so much. It was really tough to see something so medical be done to my baby.  I keep returning to the thought that I haven't even had that done to me.  I've managed to never need it in giving birth and I'm grateful because I'm a wimp when it comes to these things. To anyone who has had a PIC line put in,  you all are amazing rock stars, every single one of you. I mean that because it was just awful to see someone so dear to me be in pain.  Though I guess, he has been in pain all along, but it felt forced, even if it had to be and the people doing it were super gracious.  It just was hard to witness.

And so tomorrow we will see what comes of his hospital overnight stay.  Will he go home?  We hope so, signs are pointing to yes.  But I'll still pray because God might have something else in mind.  So if you can pray too, I would love that. I hope my rambles weren't too much this evening. :)

Loving that there are Land Before Time DVDs

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Right now I am feeling sucker punched by anxiety. Things that were becoming easy no longer are. It sucks. I've started a novena and am trying to take time to rest but it's a slow process and I never like it.

You see we just had friends stay with us. They are awesome friends, we love them and they are super people who lift you up and not down so one would think that having them stay would be okay.

But somehow my body didn't like it. Instead the day after they left, I had a full blown panic attack like I never had before. My heart was racing with a pulse of 130-150 for at least a good half hour if not longer. I was completely aware and yet out of control of my body doing this. I did nothing to trigger it at that moment, instead I was gardening and about to peacefully walk home with the kids.

It was awful and I hated it so much because I was helpless. I called my brother and SIL for advice and all the while the baby is upset that I don't want her near me. We talk my brother who struggles also with anxiety tells me that's it's a panic attack and I don't understand, I just want it to be gone. Finally I give in to nursing the baby despite being out of sorts.

And you know what that little girl saved me, nursing her almost immediately calmed my heart rate. I am ever so thankful.

It's amazing how the thing we think causes the mess might actually be the saving grace. The child who we give so much to and we hardly feel like appreciates it, at least in our adult minds, can just be so good for us. To break us of our destruction of self. They do love us, so very much and yes sometimes we can see it, but in the taking so much from us and us giving so much it's hard to see it a lot of times. This one time, I don't think I'll ever forget. 

And so, having that experience has set on a whole new wave of anxiety and it sucks. I'm taking my steps to get it under control/figure out what to change and let go, but it takes time and is an uphill battle a bit. It's opened up some new wounds, or some pieces of me that I struggle with as we all do have our struggles. Through it I try to remind myself God is there and he won't let me down through this. And that will get me through another day.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


It's been a while since I've written on here.  New adventures with schooling and teaching have led the blog to be on the back burner for a while.  I'm currently stuck under a sleeping baby, which would normally constitute a nap, but I'm the worst at napping, so blogging it is.

There have been many things on my mind lately some of them being the notion of people as products in our society, reading and kindergarten, letting go of rigidness, and humility.  The last one is one that I thought I could share a few thoughts on today.

I am someone who loves praise, it makes me feel good.  At the same time I'm constantly praying for humility because well I know I shouldn't be wanting that praise from others but instead should be striving for it from God.  I think sometimes pride, that annoying root quality, gets the best of me in things and it makes me think I'm awesome and people should love me.

But the thing is while I am awesome because God made me, (and you are awesome too because God made you too), I shouldn't be thinking of others liking me as the end all be all that my head sometimes, or honestly a lot of the time plays games with me about. To esteem the approval of others means I'm only going to be unhappy when they let me down. And this is where humility comes in.

I think one of the reasons I am always trying to discern inclusion of social media in my life, or rather the getting rid of it, is that for me it can cause me to spiral down this path of questioning my worth. Its actually a good reminder for me on the days when people don't interact with me or like my stuff that I shouldn't be looking for approval from others. Instead I should be okay with and maybe even get to the point of uniting this feeling with Christ and grow with him. That would be the ultimate goal at least.

So, that's where I'm at today. Enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Land Before Time

Dear Lena,

I figured I'd write this post to you.  Your brothers have been obsessed with dinosaurs lately, first it was Dinosaur Train related.  Ephraim's casts has been full of dinosaurs from this show.

Then, I introduced them to the Land Before Time and it seems there has been no going back.  Sure they appreciate Dinosaur Train, and will watch it, but there is something that has captivated them with these characters from your mama's own childhood.  And honestly I'm okay with that, to me they were pretty great characters.  My favorite is Duckie, but Benjamin seems to like Little Foot and Ephraim likes Cera and Spike. In this obsession, we have been finding many dinosaurs around the house eating appropriately.

Fennel anyone?
The T-Rex is eating ants.
And with this obsession, my artist in me has come out and honestly I like it. I get to draw things and the boys enjoy painting them. 

Little Foot painted by Ben

Little Foot again
So what I think I learned from this all is that I am glad to rediscover my like of drawing.  I sometimes wonder Lena girl if as a teenager I let peers or mentors influence me too much. But also maybe the perfectionist came out and saw science as a safe way to get through school.  I was good a science, and I knew there were jobs in science.  It seemed less subjective than art or architecture, and so that's what I chose.  But Lena girl, I think that maybe what I want to teach you is that it is okay to take risks, it doesn't mean that you have to do so, but that it is okay to fail. Its in failing that we learn.  I need to remember that more often than not, because maybe just maybe I can try things and fail and it will be okay.  And for now, I'll keep drawing dinosaurs, and probably fail at this sometimes too. :)

Your Mama

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Each human

This evening I was watching a film on Netflix where the protagonist had an old soul as some would call it. One of the best lines was that he stated he wasn't going to miss out on something great just because it was hard.
This made me think about the dignity and value of each person. As you know I think a lot, probably annoyingly so. And as life has presented itself there have been some people in my life that have been particularly hard to deal with. I've spent countless hours praying and thinking about what to do with them, how I could love them because with them comes lots of heartache and its just sometimes so hard.
But in those moments when I just want to completely walk away something stops me. Something tells me that as completely impossible that this person is with all their baggage, they are also loveable, because they like me are made in the image of God.
And I don't condone abuse to any extent, walking away there out of self preservation is a necessity. But most relationships are messy in their own way.
We bring our brokenness with us everywhere, and I think sometimes we forget that everyone has this same yet different brokenness, and its okay. That brokenness is redeemed in Christ, and as messy and as unlovable as some people put on to be, there is a person in there shouting out the need for love.
So do we choose to love them in our own flawed and messy way? Hopefully yes. Because after all He loved us first, and He thinks each and everyone of us is worth it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More on Self Control

Since the last post, I've been pondering more on the subject of self control.  I've come to conclude that our society is one that runs on impulses.  And before you think I am high and mighty, I would say I give in to impulses probably just as much as the next guy.  I am routinely asking for chocolate cake or ice cream from the local ice cream shop just because I want it.

As I contemplate self-control though, its interesting seeing from a parent's view point.  First, it feels like we want our children to choose right from wrong, so we say no, no, no to the wrong but yes, yes, to the right.  But along those same respects there are so many things that given the situation can go either way. Things that in small amounts are good. Things that work for one situation or one child but don't for another. It becomes all kinds of complicated. Its probably another reason our society is what it is, one crazy bunch of impulse driven people. Consumerism is set up this way, every store has check out isle items, and there are always deals on this or that but only for one day. And then in our sexuality the culture just screams impulse, to think differently means you are backwards or judgmental.

So I'm wondering how does one really learn self control.  Is it through discipline?  Is it through understanding?  Do we naturally have self-control inside us, or is it only something we can learn through example? I don't know.

There are very limited pieces of art that display senses of self-control.  Last night, I actually ran across one of them on Netflix, and I was amazed at it.  The film was called Heart of the Country and in it, the other guy that usually wins, didn't. Instead their was fidelity and faithfulness, and it was refreshing to see, because it gives me hope that it can happen in this world, and that others do see it as a virtue to uphold.

Post watching that film, it reminded me of one my favorite books of all time, called Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon. Since I'm a hopeless romantic, its a love story of course, but of a different twist.  In it the girl meets the guy on a school bus, but she is 12 and he is closer to 18.  And instead of him taking advantage of her he waits, and in the oddest way.  He lets her live her life and she actually is engaged at one point but there is tragedy and well you will have to read it to see how it ends, but its good, so read it!  And again, there is self-control involved here in the story.

I think sometimes we get caught up in control issues in this life, it feels oddly easier to control someone or something else instead of ourselves. But I wonder if we ever are going to be able to have an impact on someone else by example unless we ourselves understand our own self-control. It has me thinking about situations as a parent, its so much easier to bark orders, but less easy to give true freedom and give understanding with loving direction so that someone can learn their own self-control as well.

Anyway, this is where I am at today.  Hope you are having a wonderful first week of August.

Spiderman to the rescue

Friday, July 31, 2015

Freedom Fridge

 Many days recently, I have found Helena in the fridge. She's exploring and while I used to have a lock on the fridge to keep the kids out and from doing this exact thing, I no longer do.  Now it might just be because the lock broke and I haven't had time to fix it, but its interesting.  It doesn't bug me that she gets into it anymore.  The first two times around it did, thus the lock. But now, maybe I'm softening up, or maybe her personality is different but I no longer need the control. 
This has made me think about how I view things that need limits with my children. People say that kids do need boundaries and rules, but I think sometimes when it comes about always having a rule, and never breaking the rule or relaxing the rule, how do we learn. Don't get me wrong, I believe fully in self-control.  I honestly think our society sucks at this concept in general, but I'm being to ponder why.  I'm honestly not sure what all leads to this, there are so many contributing factors probably.  

I do think we do have limits and in some things we do need rules, but I think in our society we no longer are allowed to think for ourselves or think differently.  As much as we value our freedom, it feels like we are step by step taking it away to make us only be aloud to talk and think and do things one way.  I'm not so sure this is what was intended for us. 

So I was thinking about something, my oldest son, I would deem him an artist, a builder. He loves to create.  I let him draw on the iPad, and usually I regulate the time, but I'm wondering about this.  Because yes, there is such a thing as indulging in something to excess, but the time that I didn't regulate his time, he was able to really create.  He didn't just watch tv shows even though he had full access to them. So maybe its just that I have more kids and with more kids, you loosen up on things, but I'm seeing that control I thought I needed isn't necessary anymore. 

So maybe I'm just rethinking things, or learning.  I'm sure there is another side to it all, but this is where I am at today. And to finish it off, the eldest saw that the littlest could do something, so he did it too, only he is too big to just fit inside the bottom fridge part, so the freezer came open too.

People Trees

While snuggling post bath, I asked Ephraim what he wanted to be when he grows up this evening.

In an Ephraim like fashion he answered, "I don't want to be anything. But I want to grow like a tree. Yes, I want to be an apple tree, with apples on me."

Ben in his literal way chimed in, "Ephraim, you know you can pretend to be a tree during the day." Because he was referring to this, 

which is a tree person I told them I saw while roaming the gardens of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

And so they are enthralled with the concept that you could really be a tree when you grow up.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Farm at Walnut Creek, definitely worth a visit!

I didn't know what to expect when we first pulled up to the Farm at Walnut Creek.  I had read some online about it being a zoo like experience in Amish Country, and I thought okay, why not try it it out.  My children love zoo animals, especially my middle guy. The best thing about the Farm at Walnut Creek was that it was so much more than just a zoo. And I think some of these pictures might just help you to see how amazing it was.

First we stopped off at the welcome post. And my boys loved trying out some of the unique toys that were placed around the store.  I almost have my MIL convinced to buy the horse drawn carriage toy for the boys for Christmas. The folks at the post were welcoming and there were very clean restrooms to refresh ourselves after our drive to out to the farm.

Next we made our drive over to the the wagon area so we could go to the animal encounters. To do this we chose to ride a wagon through the enclosed animal lands. You can take your care too, but we figured to get the whole experience and not have the hassle of driving along with viewing we thought the wagon would be best.  And I would highly recommend the wagon, it allowed you to be right next to the animals in an up close and personal way that I think a car might limit you in. But if you are a little animal shy a car would definitely keep you safe. But as they remind you, just don't hand feed the zebras! Here are some of the beautiful animals we were able to feed and observe on our adventure through the farm. 

I think it was a great reminder to us in the experience of just how gentle such large animals can be.  Even though they outsize us by a few hundred pounds, the animals were not scary at all but were just wanting to be our friends. My boys were a little timid of feeding the animals directly because they were so much bigger, but they could still get into the experience by throwing feed on the ground for the smaller animals or the more timid ones, or those beautiful but teethy zebras. 

The highlight for me of the wagon ride was definitely feeding the giraffes.  I had never been that close to a giraffe before and it was just so eye opening.  I loved it.  Though, just like us humans, they can drool too.  So watch out for some giraffe sized drool when feeding them. 

After the hour long wagon ride, we visited some of the smaller animals stationed nearby.  My kids favorite being turtle lovers were the tortoises of course.

We ended our experience with a stroll through the Amish model homes and just relaxed a bit while we ate our provided delicious cookie.

How cute is this small sized person chair?

Thank-you the Farm at Walnut Creek for a great first time experience!  We want to come back to visit again some time soon! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

No better

Sometimes I think we get just a little bit self righteous about our ideals being smashed into smithereens by other people.  And not that they are good ideals to uphold, but as a good friend told me today, you never can say what you would do in the same situation. And I think about this a lot because I think its great to uphold those ideals, its even better to give grace and mercy when we fail at them.

I say this because honestly, I screw up just as much as the next guy, if not more.  I am constantly saying the wrong thing to my children or getting angry or anxious about things outside of my control.  I mean just today I was ready to trade in my 3yo because he's been brutally mean to his baby sister the past few days. It was frustrating me that there was no voice of reason there in his actions, and I of course let him know that and probably not in the nicest of ways.  And here's the thing that right there, I was totally lacking self control and patience and understanding.  I failed at those virtues that are the same things that come into the bigger things, the things that come under attack in a bigger way for society.

I've been re-reading/listening to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, and in reading it this time it stuck out to me the three types of morality.  The first being to another person, the second being to oneself and that third to God.  Its an interesting viewpoint of it, especially in a society of today where we are struggle so much with the first type that I'm not even sure two and three have any chance at being explored anytime soon. Morality in to another simply means that we do everything in our power to not harm our neighbor.  And most people are probably stuck here, I know I am most the time. The next is morality to ourselves, so we have taking care of not harming others, but what about the damage we do to ourselves.  Sometimes, I'm not even sure I understand this one, except that I know that decisions that we make for ourselves even if no one else is involved can really form or break us. And the last in the morality to God.  In some ways it feels like this is connected to the first two, because well at least to me, they are relative to one another.  Anyway, before it get in over my head, its interesting to consider morality in this way. It feels much more dependent on God's standard than what our society makes it out to be.

But I think its important to remember in life, that no matter how together someone may seem, they still struggle just like you.  That a certain IQ or job title doesn't really put someone above making mistakes or acting out of character. We still all have to fight our concupiscence, and its good to remember that. It might just be a different battle to fight than your own. So be kind if you can, and if you screw up in judgement, well ask for forgiveness and keep pressing on. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

NYC Day 2

The second day of our NYC trip was spent in Manhattan.  We took our first subway ride that morning to Central Park.  I may have mentioned this before, but I actually like public transit, so riding the subway was fun to me, maybe this is why my boys like it too. Who knows, so we rode from Herald Square to the south west corner of Central Park, because there was a big playground there and better yet, there was an awesome rock left over from the Paleozoic Era, called Umpire Rock. It reminded me a little bit of Devil's Den in Gettysburg, one of my favorite places in this country, so I was an instant fan.  The kids spotted the playground adjacent to the rock area, so I got left with the stroller to cart around, but I got to hike on it again and actually helped out a sweet young guy that wanted to take a picture in the exact spot that his girlfriend did at an earlier time. So all in all, it worked out okay. The play ground was nice and it had water running through a decent amount of it so that was pretty sweet for the kiddos. Here are some shots from that.

Brother rock exploration
Water fun
To the playground thru the secret rock entrance
Stuck with a baby and a stroller
We then subwayed it up to a more northern part of the park to check out Belvedere Castle, which showed us some beautiful views of the city and other parts of Central Park, which is pretty huge for just a city park. My one beef about central park was there were always people about, despite being in nature you were always with people, but this may just be because its in Manhattan after all. It did have some awesome things in it, I think we could have spent a week just in the park itself. 

Well at least I'm looking at the camera
On top of the castle
View from the castle
We then took the bus back and went down the famous 5th avenue.  And then after we had a break we headed over to the High Line over in the Chelsea district of Manhattan.  Its a really cool park that was an old railroad that was repurposed.  It was beautiful despite the iffy weather. We oddly got the a wondering remark if we were from the USA because we were traveling with three small children, and the women didn't see that often.  She told us we were brave to do so, and maybe we were or maybe we are just crazy.  I'll go with the latter, but hopefully I'm a little bit brave too. But to validate her remark, it was extremely rare to see 3 closely spaced children in the city.  At least on the peninsula, I'm sure there are larger families in the other boroughs, but not so much in the center hub, and honestly when you look at most cities this is true.  But its just so drastically such there, because again so many people crammed into so little space. So here's the High Line.

Part 3 another day.  Part one can be found here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A post New York City reflection day 1

Leading up to our NYC trip, I'm not sure exactly I was thinking. Maybe I was preoccupied with packing, but then the day before I came down with a sinus migraine which left me in a position to mope or to lower my expectations. I did a little of both. Nothing was really planned for our trip except we had a way in and out of the city and a place to stay while there. We knew we were going to use public transit while there and we had borrowed an awesome compact double stroller system for the kids, so we did. We had spent the better part of the year learning about cities, and so it just felt like we needed to go and be in the city of cities, at least as my kids know it.

Here we go, go, go on an adventure!
Was I nervous about bringing my little family to a an almost unfamiliar city? Of course. My number one fear was losing one of the little people. Which honestly made no sense because in Manhattan where the sidewalks are overcrowded, the kids automatically such close by in a stroller or a carrier. And probably part of that was Keith and I wanting them to do so. Our main rule of the city was to hold a hand or be in the stroller, the kids totally complied. But goodness does Manhattan have a lot of people! It made me think how much space we really have in Cleveland.

So we got to the city thru Penn station on Amtrak. It was a pretty fun trip, and probably the only time on land that I've gone 120mph. Coming out of Penn station, we were a bit lost. Arriving underground, we had no bearings and since it's Penn station, there were people everywhere, it made us a bit frazzled and so as soon as we did make it out and got our directions straight, I beelined the kids and Keith the luggage to the hotel. I think the initial lost feeling really screwed with my head for a bit, but at the hotel we regrouped and we actually had a very nice, very spacious hotel room for midtown Manhattan. If you ever stay in the city, I recommend The Herald Square Hotel. The staff was very accommodating and friendly.

That evening we went out and walked around our surrounding area, around the Empire State building, into a three story H&M to buy the kids socks. Because somehow in the packing, the children's socks were left behind. I had some great paella at a small street vendor in Herald Square, and then we walked up to Bryant park where they were setting up to have a movie on the lawn in front of the library. The boys rode a carousel and then we finished the night with ice cream in Koreatown. A good first day in the city.

The guy that does Humans of New York, does a pretty great job giving a portrait of the individuals there. There is so much humanity packed in the city, so many stories and we all matter. We are all made in the image of God, and I felt like in this city, the flare, the beauty of the individual came out. While I'm sure they have their own battles with trying try fit in, it seemed like there was less of that and more of people trying to stand out. And I wonder if that comes from there being so many people there, that one feels like you have to make your mark to be noticed or cared about. This may be true, but to me it emphasized how amazingly awesome God is to create humanity in such a way that we can all be so different in our expressions of self and yet we are all children of Him too. One big crazy, diverse family of humanity.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The wedding verse

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 14:4-7

If you go to a few weddings in your lifetime, you are likely to hear these verses read aloud. And while I could probably go into how this parallels marriage, I won't. Instead, I have something else I've been pondering with these verses in my head.

You see, I'm someone who takes it that each action in life is connected, and because of that, these verses have become to mean so much in the past few weeks. I took that pause from social media, and it helped to see that maybe I wasn't really living that out.

I could see that at times, it's easier to force something to happen than it is to be patient for it to come. I could see that I got angry because things weren't going my way. And that I was tired, tired because I wanted out, I wanted peace, but the peace I sought was not right kind of peace. The peace I wanted was to make it all better in my mind, instead I need to find peace that God is always here, to trust that because he is love, he can't give up on me and he won't.

But for now, it may just be a perspective change, to be at peace amongst the chaos and the crazy. To know that I am okay, loved and can have hope in Him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Unfortunate sell out

Two posts ago I did a tips post and I felt like a fake for doing it. Tips posts are not me. A nice woman approached me about doing a post reminding people about national safety month and I was excited to have someone approach me about blogging so I did. But I should have said no, because that's not why I blog. I blog what is on my heart, or on my mind or what my crazies have said that has stuck with me. That's what I'd authentically me. And I just wrote a post on this which apparently did not sink in or it didn't transfer off the page to my actions. Whatever it was, I screwed up. I made a mistake and did exactly what I didn't want to do.
And I wonder why I did it. I think there's a few reasons, one, I have trouble saying no. In my life I've recently recognized that I'm a rescuer, and that means I tend not to be honest and fail to say no to something as not offend. Some people would call this being polite, I've since learned that it's not really beneficial to healthy relationship and shouldn't be deemed as so.
The other reason is numbers. It feels good to me when people like me and interact with me and so I thought, hey why not do the cute tips post thing and gain viewers. But this is just wrong for me, it makes me crawl in my own skin, and its not why I should be blogging. Because if just want numbers, then I really don't want to be who God wants me to be, instead, I want to be who man wants me to be. Its just not okay for me to do that. And so I'm sorry, I'm sorry for selling out for a post, I'm sorry for falling into sin with this all.
As a result, I've reevaluated my social media presence, I've shut down my Facebook account, because once again the likes they play into my weakness of numbers. I'm still not sure what exactly to do with the blog and twitter, twitter isn't usually about numbers with me so it may be treated differently, but the numbers of the blog, the validation from others instead of God, that's got to go. And so I'm going to lay low for a bit. I need this time, my poor soul really needs this time. So bear with me, I will return.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lakewood Park

One of our favorite parks in Cleveland area is Lakewood Park.  Its full of wide open fields and water front views and a good playground too.  There is even a pool there, but we've never been to check it out just yet.  It looks great, so I am sure if we did check it out we would love this park even more.

Here are some shots from our adventures yesterday.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Safety tips for adventurous kids

Hi y'all!

Summer is here, well in a few days at least, and with summer comes different challenges and adventures. If your kids are like mine this means lots of outside time, whether that be at the pool, the backyard or a local park. My children love to explore and challenge me in these months and sometimes it's a little overwhelming but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Safety comes to mind. Because, in all the new adventures, I want to make sure my little ones can keep going. And I'm not perfect at it and we've had our share of ER trips and poison control calls through the years. But most of the time we manage to keep our heads at least afloat.

So here are five summer safety tips that have helped us out.

1. Know your environment. Look and see what the kids might try to explore and check and see if there are any red flags that should be of limits or at least only exlpored with and adult. Sometimes this can be in a house too, especially if it's an older house, lead paint fixtures and areas are definitely red flags to be avoided. We had this happen with a back porch of ours and since then, it's been an off the limits zone until the porch is sealed off from its toxins. 

2. Keep hydrated. I know it's been said a million times but we've been caught it with signs of heat exhaustion and having water nearby helped us tremendously. We usually pack a Nalgene bottle or two full of water, but have in the past or for more extreme outings have used Camelbaks. 

3. Minimize sun damage. We all know that we actually need to get some sun exposure for our bodies to soak up some vitamin D, but we don't need to be overexposed.  Too much sun leads to burns etc, and so one either chooses to cover up or put on sunscreen.  My sunscreen hating kids usually will choose to cover up with a hat and long sleeves over sunscreen, but in places like the beach or the pool sunscreen is a must and they withstand it for those kinds.  As for sun hats we like our wide rimmed boat hats like these from Sun Protection Zone.

4. Be smart with bike safety.  My boys enjoy riding their bikes so much, but we have a few rules for safety that they must follow when doing so.  First, they must have a helmet, and they must be wearing closed toed shoes.  We are fan of Safety Town programs or setups too, this helps a kid get acclimated to the rules of the road as a biker and helps them to be cautious when riding their bike around.

5. The only go up if you can get down rule.  My kids are climbers, but I really try to emphasize the prior concept to keep them safe.  If they can't get down from somewhere without help, then they probably shouldn't try to go up it.  I honestly think this keeps them safe and also builds confidence because if my child has gotten up somewhere I'm not apt to take them down, he has to figure it out himself. Granted if its a red flag zone in the first place, well, down they go and that's another issue all in itself.

Bonus safety tip: The patron Saint for Safety is St. Barbara, so if you want to have some extra help to keep your family safe, asking for the intercession of this lady is right up your alley.

Hope this helps you to have a safe and adventure filled summer!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ephraim sayings

Ephraim recently learned to ride a bike and he escaped one day to ride it down the block without supervision and I told him three years can't do that. I said maybe when you are seven, but you are three. He then replies, "I'm seven." If only, little guy is determined to be big.

At bedtime post prayers, Ephraim declares that in 20 days he will be seven.

At the drive thru I saw that the lemonade was diet, and so I changed it drink order. Ephraim then asks, "Do bad guys drink light lemonade?"

When asked why the lemonade pitcher was on the ground of the living room, something that wouldn't normally happen. Ephraim piped up, "Because I drink it without any cups."

"I don't like poop, because poop doesn't taste good." I'm not sure I want to know how he knows this.

I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. His response, "Ephraim, the big green frog." Rhyming for 20 with Clifford the big red dog anyone?

In noting that he was eating more than his share of garlic scares, "I'm going to eat all these mama because Ben doesn't like them."  Go right ahead little guy.

And last, "Mama, you need to sit beside me, because I like you."  Well, I like you too buddy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Influence and owning my choices

I've been working on the concept of owning my choices in my life. I unfortunately have been not good at this in the past and instead tend to fear judgment of someone not agreeing with me, how crazy is that? Probably not so much, but if it leads to a life of fear that's not good, not good at all.

Being Catholic for over 8 years now!!!, it's always interesting when I come into contact with someone from my past who doesn't know that, and then to actually know that maybe their example was a precursor to my Catholicism.

I went to a Southern Baptist college for my undergrad degree. They were very Baptist in many ways, and I thank them for that, but they also were shockingly open to having Catholics and more liturgically based denominations in their faculty. I grew up Presbyterian, and liturgy want foreign to me, but the Presbyterians were becoming less so and in my college years I was too. I joined the ranks of the non denom movement and enjoyed it but it left many questions and I didn't know that becoming Catholic would satisfy a great deal of those and open more avenues to truth but it did.

I feel like I'm digressing though, so to pull it back together, I need to tell you that I went to wedding of a good friend that I met during my college years. She is an amazing woman and I'm so happy that she was able to find an amazing guy to spend her life with in marriage. At this wedding, there were a few blasts from the past. One of them being a key player for me in my faith life. First I went to a small school so we had many encounters with professors families and their family life in a good way. This particular professor was the first person I encountered who was a providentialist and really open about his faith and acceptance of children. I had grown up one of four children and honestly 4 children seemed like such a huge number growing up because rarely anyone I knew had more than one sibling maybe two. But to be okay with 6+ children and be open to whatever God  gave you, that was radical. And honestly at the time I didn't get it, not one bit. But seeds, seeds of understanding were being planted despite of me.

This particular professor also was one of the first people to put science and religion together in a way that they were harmonious with each other. There were others who did this in little ways, but this particular person set the precedence for what came to be my understanding of natural law. That no longer did my love of science have to fight with my faith but they could go together, and I'm truly thankful for that.

So many times we wonder how God's grace is working in our lives and we question and we despair even maybe. But then things like this, they help, they help to see that you really aren't alone. That God does have your back every step of the way and for that I say thank-you. Thank-you, Jesus. And as for owning these things, well I want afraid to say to this person who I was now and what I did. This is progress, definitely progress.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Conference take ways

This past Saturday I attended the Catholic Women's Blogging Network conference for Ohio. It was amazing and uplifting. There were a little less than 20 women there and that number made it very personal and almost made you feel like you came home with that many new best friends. 

The common denominator of or blogging was that we were Catholic women, but there was so many different ways that we all went about our blogging and it reminded me of one of the beauties of being Catholic, the fact that there isn't just one way of living out our faith. I mean we all blog, but we do it in our own way and somehow it all comes back to Jesus and his wanting us to love others. 

The women that gave talks at the conference were amazing. One touched on making sure we are authentic to who we are and making sure in all things we understand we are given the responsibility of being teachers with our blogs. To know that God calls us to greatness in our blogging  and in all aspects of our lives really, in whatever way that may manifest itself. In the posts that are hard to write and in the projects that arise from blogging that our yes will be rewarded. To think about who we are serving in our blogging. To know that it's okay to make it more than a hobby if God calls us to do so. To know that the fruition of balance is never going to happen. To know you have limitations but to know that you can trust in God through those limitations, through the hard stuff. To simply find peace in your decision of blogging in whatever facet it may take.

This all challenged me and refreshed me and I am thankful for that. In thankful for amazing women to share my heart with and listen to them talk about their own.

In it all I realized I may be a tiny almost obscure blogger, and that's okay. I can still be great because I will try my best to be authentically me and being that I am made in His image, point readers to Christ.

Some of the great bloggers that were there.
Brooke of The Sacred Sink