30 June 2013

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic Carnival

I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely Sunday. Lately it seems our pastor's homilies were written just for me.  Obviously God wants to make sure I get the message. Here are my thoughts of the week:

Just Be
Indulge Me
Crafty Thursday
What Do You Do All Day?

Have a great week, and be sure to check out the full carnival at RAnn's.

28 June 2013

What Do You Do All Day?

If you're a stay-at-home-mum, chances are you've been asked what you do all day.  Well, here's a look at my typical day:

6ish wake and pray the Angelus before making breakfast for the kids and myself (and my husband if I'm nice, but he usually wakes later and isn't a breakfast person).  If by chance I get up before the kids, I actually get to shower. Put a load of laundry in to wash.
7.30ish sit down to eat breakfast because I've already had to change a couple of diapers and hold Charlotte who doesn't like mornings.  On a good morning I've been able to pray the morning office, but this hasn't been happening lately. 
8.00ish get everyone dressed and brush teeth. 
8.30 rush trying to find the shoes that are supposed to be in the shoe basket by the door so we can leave
8.45 pack everyone in the car and drive to Mass
9.00 Mass
9.30 play with other kids after Mass if they're there, followed by errands if needed then home; Rosary in the car if running errands or later at home
10.30 snack time if home; put wet clothes in dryer and get second load ready if needed; check email; knit or sew if I'm lucky (easier on One of the two days I allow the kids to watch a little something)
11.30-12.30 lunch
12.30-14.00 clean up from lunch, fold laundry (maybe), play/learn, make dough for any bread for dinner
14.00 afternoon snack for the kids, smoothie for me, little bit of down time
14.30-16.00 try to keep Charlotte awake, help Kieran practice violin
16.00 start prep work for dinner
17.30-18.30 dinner
18.30 clean up
19.00 help Kieran practice if we didn't get to it earlier, roughhouse with the kids, run second load of laundry if needed
19.30 baths
20.00 start winding down play time, fix snack for myself if time
20.30 get older two in pjs and send down to bed, do family prayers, put clothes in dryer
21.00 get Leo in pjs and eat snack if hungry
22.00 put Leo to bed
Rinse, repeat.

And then we add in:
Tuesdays 15.45-17.00 group violin lessons (on break until August)
Wednesdays 15.30-16.00 private violin lessons (on break until August)
Thursdays 9.30-12.00 play date
Fridays 10.00 library

And then we add in Leo's various doctor appointments (thankfully there have been fewer lately), helping Charlotte with he toilet, changing Leo or taking him to the toilet if I'm on top of things, reading to the kids, feeding the ducks and/or caterpillars, sweeping up after Leo's crumbs, etc, and it's a very full day. 

27 June 2013

Crafty Thursday

I finished the bodice of Charlotte's "Sprite" dress.  I really like the way it's looking thus far!

I did decide to go back to working on the monkey blanket for a bit, though. I haven't blocked these squares yet.

Indulge Me

After hearing it praised many times, I finally decided to read St Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul.  In it I found a beautiful story of her love for Jesus and His for her.  Something that really struck me was when she spoke of how God indulged her, even spoiled her at times. While I cannot claim to be as holy as St Therese, I can see how God has often indulged me (not always, of course).  Indeed, our God likes to indulge us, I think, though we must be willing to receive such attentions and the ways we are indulged or tried may not be outwardly obvious.

I was thinking of this when I visited the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche recently.  There is an indulgence for visiting the shrine (though I'd actually forgotten that when I decided to visit).  I hadn't thought before of the root for indulgence being indulge, as I'd only focused on the strict definition of an indulgence.  While it's good to know how the word indulgence is used by the Church, I can't help thinking now of how an indulgence really is another way in which God indulges us and draws us closer to Him if we allow it. Even at Mass this morning, as I was gazing at the Tabernacle, I couldn't help thinking of how He indulges us: the fact that I can go to Mass daily is indeed a way in which I am A bit spoiled, since many do not have that luxury.  I thank God for being so indulgent. 

25 June 2013

Just Be

Today was a special day at my parish, for our Bishop was coming to celebrate Mass in honour of Mary, Queen of Peace.  Before Mass, there was Adoration and Confession.  I definitely didn't want to miss those, and so I took Leo and went.  I always love Adoration and am frequently in tears as I kneel before Jesus.  Today, I came with a lot of things on my mind, a lot of worries, and I immediately launched into prayers of petition.  As I started that, I felt Jesus saying "Just be. Don't fret, just be with Me." I started to protest, only to feel Him say that again. So I slowed down, I just knelt there for a bit before bringing my petitions to Him.

As I knelt, I reflected how it seems I am rarely "just there" with God or others. There is always something to distract, something that needs doing.  Yet when I allow myself to "just be", with God or others, I never regret it and instead must tear myself away unwillingly.  I wanted to just stay there, to just "look at Him [while] He looks at me," but I had to get home to finish making dinner.  Of course, I can be present when doing household tasks as well, but those times when I'm just there, those are the ones where I can get a fleeting glimpse of eternity. 

22 June 2013

Say "Please"!

All too often I find myself telling Charlotte to do something, only for her to refuse.  All too often, I then find myself raising my voice and repeating the directions, this time as an order.  Often I am then chagrined as my eldest pipes up and says, "You should say 'please'. Maybe then she'll do it". 

Talk about a good lesson in humility! When Kieran says that, I can only agree, apologise for shouting, and continue in a better way.  While I certainly expect them to follow directions, I know this is much likelier (and more enjoyable for all) when I do so in a nice and/or playful way.  I also know that Charlotte often just needs my attention. It's true that I cannot always give her all the attention she wants when she wants it, but if I take the time to give that attention when I can, she will respond better.  Speaking politely in a softer voice, as I would want to addressed, also helps. 

I suppose I'm doing something right if my son can remind me of this. By the grace of God this is improving. I thank God for letting my son remind me to follow the things I expect of my children.  I wish I were perfect in this, but I trust in God's grace that I may improve.

13 June 2013

Crafty Thursday

On Saturday there was a Hawaiian-themed family dance at my parish.  Ever resourceful, I decided to make clothes for the kids for the event.  My dad was getting rid of some old Hawaiian shirts, and so I thought they were perfect to turn into dresses for Charlotte. I'd turned button-down shirts into dresses before, but I wanted to do something just a little different this time, and so I smocked the top. I'd never done smocking before, so that was an adventure, but it turned out to be easier than I expected.  And it turned out to be absolutely adorable.  I basically made the dress like a pillowcase dress after I smocked it.

My little brother had had a Hawaiian shirt that matched one of my dad's, but he'd outgrown it. So I cut it down for Kieran. The only fiddly part was the collar, really. I used the existing hem and button band and sleeve hem, and even the existing collar, just cut down a bit, but I definitely could've placed the collar better. As long as you aren't too near, it looks great.

9 June 2013

Sunday Snippets - a Catholic Carnival

I hope everyone had a lovely Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, and of the Immaculate Heart.  Check out >RAnn's for the full carnival. I've only had one post this week, about NFP, since my life right now seems to consist of doctors appointments for my baby and teaching NFP.

8 June 2013

The Misnomer of Family Planning

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "family planning"? Maybe you think of the WHO definition of it simply being a way to plan the number and spacing of children through contraceptive means or treating infertility.  I think most, though, focus on the first part and not the second, and never consider that it might include a woman who is fertile choosing to add to their family either through NFP or just by letting things happen.  

Now, of course there are times when a couple might decide that it is best if they postpone having a child for a time, and that certainly can be a part of family planning.  My objection is that, for most it seems, family planning denotes avoiding children and nothing else.  Even though the WHO includes treating infertility in their definition, the main page on family planning focused on limiting the number of children.  The local family planning website didn't mention help with conceiving at all, only stating that they provided pregnancy tests, contraceptives, and counseling.  Another health site described a typical visit at their family planning clinic and again only discussed contraceptives along with STD prevention.  So whatever the official definition, the connotation is one of preventing conception through contraceptives.

Unfortunately, this mindset then enters the view of NFP.  When people ask about NFP or want to learn about it, many do so meaning that they want to know how to avoid conception.  Some, of course, recognise that NFP is, at its core, about knowledge of one's reproductive health and potential and learn it for that reason, and some are seeking to conceive and learn for that.  Most of the couples who come to me, though, wish to avoid conceiving for a time. As an instructor, I find I have to be careful in how I talk about NFP, too, so I don't focus on that one aspect alone, so pervasive is this view. 

I don't know exactly what to do to combat this view and get people to start viewing "family planning" as truly talking about planning one's family.  I hope that talking about it and ensuring I use it in this way could help slowly change that view.  Sometimes I'm unsure how I feel about "family planning" as a term even then, since it inevitably implies that one should plan a family instead of taking things as they come.  That's not to say that planning is bad, for it isn't, but I think we sometimes obsess about planning for everything.  There is certainly a time when more rigid planning is needed, but I'm not convinced it should be the default or that it is bad if a couple chooses not to plan as such.  In fact, I'd lean towards the default being to do nothing, and then use NFP as needed. (Note: I differentiate between charting in order to know one's cycle for general health reasons and identifying a more accurate EDD and charting to avoid conceiving).

I suppose all I can do is be a witness through my own family, and watch how I talk about it when I'm teaching NFP. And maybe I'm just weird in even thinking about it like this. Even with my complaints I am glad my diocese requires NFP instruction during marriage preparation so couples can perhaps start thinking about this more.