October 25, 2011

Thank You, God, for an enjoyable and productive evening.

Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 9:56 PM  Leave a Comment  
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September 22, 23 & 24, 2011

Thank You, God, for helping me get through all of these crazy days in my schedule! I can’t believe the variety of activities I’ve done!

September 21, 2011

Thank You, God, for the huge cluster of HIDEOUS, PAINFUL, UGLY cold sores. They help me see just how EASY I have it MOST of the time!

Published in: on September 21, 2011 at 6:21 AM  Leave a Comment  
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September 15 & 16, 2011

Thank You, God, for getting me through the week. Though it’s been very busy, and quite challenging with this cold, it’s also been fruitful!

September 9, 10 & 11, 2011

Thank You, God, for a very busy, and hopefully fruitful, weekend. And, that I can finally sleep now. 🙂

August 7, 2011

Thank You, God, for friends who are willing to encourage and pray for me!

Published in: on August 7, 2011 at 8:31 PM  Leave a Comment  
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July 21, 2011

Thank You, God, for your healing mercy and forgiveness – always there – which washes away even our most horrible sins, and truly frees us!

May 23, 2011

Thank You, God, for a pretty productive day. It always feels better when the house is clean(er)! 🙂

Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 4:01 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Slow…Down…………….

 

I get an e-mail newsletter from The Confident Mom, and actually haven’t taken a lot of time to read it since I signed up for it, quite awhile ago.

A couple of the items on the sidebar caught my eye the other day, though. These were from blog entries:

“Confessions of a Crabby, Worn Out Mom”

“Are You Over-Committed?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about these issues lately…that maybe I have piled a little too much on my plate, here and there. Some days I feel that I have very few responsibilities, because after all, I’m basically a stay-at-home mom (minus teaching now and then.) But any empty slot in one’s schedule just begs to be filled, so there is always something going on in our lives, and there is always more that can be done. But, every time in the past, when I’ve taken on too much, I end up getting sick, and burning out. And, that was before I was in my current state in life.

I really felt a deep appreciation for the “Confessions…” blog entry from Susan; it made me feel so much more “normal.” I have realized one thing about myself over the past few years that if I try to fight, I cause insanity–in myself and in my family: I NEED time to myself, fairly regularly, to re-charge. I am a serious introvert, and if I don’t respect that fact about myself, things go awry every time.

There’s where the second article struck a chord for me. She asks, “Does today’s young mom see her busy schedule as badge of honor?” She relates it to pride, which I totally agree with. She says we like hearing “I don’t know how you do it all.” Sometimes this is definitely true. I’m not the kind of person that usually actually hears this, but I can relate to the pressure of HAVING to do it all, and the hope that we are pulling it off.

Most of the time, that “ALL” in “how you do it all” is helping others. Sometimes it’s just plain busy work. And sometimes, it is things we really need “To Do.” Sometimes it’s entire days like that–just crammed with “To Do’s.” But when I start seeing too many days that are nothing but one To Do after another, I know I’m starting to get into dangerous waters, and better come back in. And as the mom, that’s my responsibility. I absolutely have to tell myself over and over not to feel guilty about taking time to myself, and “feeding” myself, in ways other than just the physical.

I’m planning on trying something really radical, for me, this year. I don’t really know of officially designated “Spring Resolutions,” but it seems like a good time, and kind of like “Spring Cleaning,” it’s a good time to start over with a few things. Plus the penitential season of Lent gave me good time for pause in re-evaluating myself, but didn’t quite culminate in a battle plan; I think that’s where I’ve come to now, in the season of Easter. It all seems to make some sort of sense. (Or, maybe it’s just Spring Fever–at any rate, I’ll take it.) But back to the radical plan: I am thinking about trying a little time off scheduled in on a regular basis–now–even though I’m not actually burnt out, and am not feeling sick. In fact, I feel pretty good, and have really been getting a lot done lately; but it has this strange foreboding to it. Have I reached a point of maturity that I can admit I would be even more effective if I engaged in some purposeful leisure? I hope so.

That statement, in itself, brings up an ironic point: I’ve had the book Leisure: the Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper, on my Wish List since Christmas of 2008. A friend of mine had told me about the “classical” definition of leisure, and it was pretty intriguing. Especially since it dovetails nicely with my personality. Apparently the Ancients thought of leisure more as a time for quiet study and contemplation, generally in a solitary fashion. More like what we are doing when we are at Eucharistic Adoration.

Here are a few excerpts from product descriptions for the book: 1

Leisure is an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Pieper shows that the Greeks and medieval Europeans understood the great value and importance of leisure. He also points out that religion can be born only in leisure — a leisure that allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture…

He maintains that our bourgeois world of total labor has vanquished leisure, and issues a startling warning: Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity; unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture – and ourselves.

So the irony: What am I waiting for? Why haven’t I gotten this book yet?2 I sure can put plenty of other things on my To Do list…why am I not taking the time to do THIS–read a book on the necessity of leisure–for MYSELF?

Well, we stay-at-home moms are not immune to the “bourgeois world of total labor” either. In fact, as women, in general, we are naturally good at multi-tasking, so it seems like we tell ourselves that it only follows that we “should” try to do as much work as possible, (for the good of our families, right?) I think I am a prime example of the combination of the “total labor state” mentality, and the “good Catholic woman/mom” mentality. This makes for a really ugly, overtired, specimen of a guilt-ridden, perpetually driven, shadow of a human being.

What in the world am I pushing myself for? What am I trying so hard to accomplish? I think if I spent more time trying to examine my true purpose in life, I could probably accomplish it–and with greater efficiency! At any rate, as I said, if I don’t take some “time out,” for me now and then, the machine comes to a grinding halt, anyway. And then, it takes a lot longer to repair.

Awhile back, I “confessed” my guilty feelings to the friend I’d referred to above, about taking time out to read, (referring to my love of learning, and my looooong reading list,) even though I have tons of housework and plenty of other things to do. This is what he sent back: “Never feel guilty about the pure contemplation of truth–of course, in moderation according to your state in life. That guilt is not holy–these are temptations.”

It’s taken me awhile, but lately I’ve been trying to “sneak” in more time, in Adoration, meditation, contemplation, journaling, and of course, just plain reading/studying. Still feel that I am “sneaking” it, away from my duties to WORK, WORK, WORK; but I’m getting better. And what a difference it makes! Some days, I actually almost feel human, instead of simply like a (malfunctioning) machine.

I haven’t quite given up on my dream of somehow being made into a “hu-bot,” but I am getting closer and closer to accepting my humanity for what it is, with all its limitations. I’m also getting better at seeing past the limitations and more toward the joys of humanity…when I actually allow myself enough time to (re)discover them. And I am especially blessed: my 3½ year old son keeps me informed better than any other source ever could, of just how NEAT it is to be alive, to work our bodies, use our brains, and play–the way God intended us to do in our lives here on earth!

 

❦                                        ❦                                        ❦

 

 

1 There are three print versions of the book, an updated paperback printed in 2009, from Ignatius Press, one printed 1998, with an Introduction by Roger Scruton, by St. Augustine’s Press; and the 1999 hardcover reprint of the 1952 original, with Introduction by T. S. Eliot, by Liberty Fund Inc. Of course, they are also available on Amazon.com, and probably through many other sellers.

2 Actually, in my search for the book, I found a digital copy, free, and downloaded that, at the Internet Archive. (So, now I do have the book…)

 

❦                                        ❦                                        ❦

 

Loving Our Brothers

 

After a fair amount of thinking about how irritated I am that there seems to be a misunderstanding of what women are, in men’s minds, and relatively recently in many women’s as well, I finally came to one conclusion:

What has failed in the secular feminist movement, in the whole militant feminist ideology, is that it is based on hate.  I don’t believe that it is possible to change anyone’s views by hating.  There consistently seems to be one answer that comes to me, regardless of what I read, what I pray for, what I try to accomplish:  that the only way to change the world is through LOVE. I know it sounds sappy, but in the way I’m talking about it, it’s anything but.

In fact, it’s harder than hating.  As I see it, anyone can make a lot of noise and chaos, or even just sit around, hating their “enemies.” But that’s failed over and over; it’s not the answer.  Instead, I think the answer is to love men enough to insist they respect our dignity. Since we are (male AND female,) created in God’s image, accepting anything else from our men is allowing them to disrespect our Creator (and doing so ourselves, in the process.)

Is that easy?  Not in my book.  I personally find it a lot easier not to confront issues that make me uncomfortable.  And as women, we really have a lot of hesitation (on the whole) in speaking up for ourselves.  We’ve been rewarded throughout our lives for being passive, we’ve had aggressive behavior modeled for us (especially by the militant feminists;) but have we really been taught a loving assertiveness?  For most of us women, the answer is no.

But sometimes, a “tougher” love is the answer.  Our society seems to have become so obsessed with not offending anyone else that we are actually enabling others to destroy themselves.  But that is a mistaken idea of “respect for others,” to me.  I think that if we truly respected others, we would be trying (in a loving manner) to help them become the best person they could be, the person God created them to be.  We aren’t doing our loved ones any favors by not speaking out against evils we see them taking part in or exposing themselves to.

That’s not to say that letting someone make their own mistakes doesn’t have some merit.  But when those mistakes involve evil, it is our duty to help guide that person back to the right path.  And that’s where the idea of holding our men accountable comes into this picture.  We need to keep them on the path that will lead to their salvation, lovingly.  How?  By not letting them look at us as objects, by not letting them treat us as though they owned us.  By letting them see the true beauty of femininity, and of the female intellect.  By respecting ourselves enough to say NO when others are disrespecting us.

This sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  Why do we women have to do all this work?  I don’t know…I’m just starting to put this puzzle together.  But I do know, hating men and treating them in exactly the same way we resent them for treating us isn’t going to change anything.  So I’m hoping to try out a new tactic: truly respecting myself; and loving the men around me enough to show them why that is what they are called by God to do.

Dear Mary,

Pure and beautiful rose, please help me to discover, respect and remain true to my beautiful feminine nature, and hopefully to bring the men around me to a greater respect and love for women in the process.

Amen.

 

❦                                        ❦                                        ❦

 

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 8:42 PM  Leave a Comment  
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