Thanks, Julie … and Lisa … and Colleen!

Julie Davis (at “Happy Catholic”) posted her review of Raising Up Mommy … and a bonus review of one of my other books, Let Nothing Trouble You (about Teresa of Avila). Thanks, Julie, for making me such a “Happy Catholic” today!

Today Lisa Hendey also posted her interview with me on her “Catholic Moments” podcast. Thanks so much, Lisa, for a wonderful interview!

And for your daily dose of adoptive parenting inspiration, I’d like to alert you to this article about the Caviezel’s adoption — I hadn’t realized until reading the article that their two children had such extensive medical needs! I found the link to this article on Colleen Hammond’s blog … thanks Colleen!


Let There Be … ORDER!

Yesterday the kid switched rooms. I was grateful that, despite the fact that they had different shaped windows in each room, their curtains still “fit” (with a little fudging). Now Christopher has the “big boy” (queen-sized) bed and large room, and Sarah has a little hideaway closer to us.

There was a time in my life — right before I moved to Michigan, in fact — when nearly all my earthly possessions could be packed up and moved in the back of my Toyota Tercel. A few boxes of books and kitchen utensils, a suitcase full of clothes (I was living in California at the time so didn’t have all the bulky winter wear).
Now I couldn’t move either of my children with less than a pick-up. “YOUR son certainly takes after YOU!” I tease Craig not-so-pointedly when Christopher pulls yet another treasure that I have hidden away in the trash. Honestly, what on earth was he planning to do with the leg off a busted Buzz Lightyear? Bronze the thing, apparently.

So, this weekend (or so) has been dedicated to restoring order. I’ll let you know when I manage to shovel out … Gimme a month or two. It’ll take me that long to pry the computer magazines from my DH’s panicked grasp.

You ladies who sort and pare down to essentials without any perceptible interference, how I envy you! (Uh, oh … back to the “Envy” chapter in Raising Up Mommy, followed by a refresher in “Greed”!)

Mother Envy…

Yesterday as I waited for Christopher’s class to come back so I could take them to the cafeteria, I stood in the hallway and admired an international student showcase. Each student had recorded his family’s story about how they came to America. Flags from every continent on the globe were represented. (To order the flag stickers in this illustration for your next project, click here.)

I was particularly touched by the contribution of adopted twins. One child told the story of how they flew on a plane to meet their parents from Beijing … the other told the story of the ancestors of their “forever family.” It was clear that each of these stories were deeply rooted in the hearts of these children. Their faces were Chinese … but their hearts had fully embraced the Slavic and British roots of their parents.

Another parent was standing next to me, and I was just about to point out the twin’s posters when she spoke. “You know … this project was really too advanced for these kids. It required a LOT of parental help, and I’m not sure ours is good enough to go up there.”

This was coming from one of the more “visible” and active mothers at the school. She looked so anxious, and her comment so surprised me, that it took me a moment to respond intelligently. “Everybody has their particular talents … we just use them the best we can, right?”

That wasn’t right. She replied, “My father died, and we just got back from the funeral, and then we had to put THIS together … and …” Her voice broke.

The poor woman. Gently I patted her shoulder. “That’s so hard. I think that given your situation you can cut yourself some slack for six months or so. Sometimes we just have to shoot for ‘good enough,’ you know?”

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We “should” all over ourselves with long, sideways glances at how other moms are doing it. And somehow we always fall just a wee tad short.

It’s the ugly Envy Monster, my dear sisters. It feels awful, and it poisons the soul. Fortunately, each of us have a special antidote that God places inside us, dormant, waiting for release.

That gift is contentment. The distinctively feminine ability to assess a situation and offer ourselves the same grace we would naturally extend our best friend.

“Okay, God. It’s really tempting right now to get discouraged with all the things I am NOT getting done (like she seems to be). So today I choose to entrust my day to you. I’m going to offer every minute back to You, and trust that You will help me accomplish today exactly what I’m supposed to.”

Try it. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when our eyes are “on the prize.”

Do you struggle with envy, or one of the other seven little dwarves … I mean, deadly sins? Pick up a copy of Raising Up Mommy, and let’s fight it together!

Does Your Mommy Monster Need Taming?!

Drum roll, please!

Simon Peter Press has just released …

Moms everywhere will understand what I mean when I say that there are days when the monsters win. Those seven deadly habits — pride or envy, gluttony or sloth, greed or lust or (in my case) anger — eat away at the soul until the very fabric of family life begins to come apart at the seams.

Fortunately, as women we have also been blessed with extraordinary gifts, spiritual antidotes to these sinful inclinations. As we exercise ourselves in virtue — whether that spiritual “weight training” be for endurance or strength — we find the habits begin to fall away.

I should warn you: this book is not written from the perspective of one who has “arrived,” but someone who is still very much sweating in the trenches of motherhood. Some days, by God’s grace, I win. All too often, I don’t. And yet, I have known women who have perfected themselves in these graces, and share their stories along with my own.

In the near future, this “Women of Grace LifeGuide” will be released in group study format, with a facilitator’s guide and video, providing a next step for those who have been through the Women of Grace Foundational Study. For other, it may be your first exposure to the “Women of Grace” apostolate (in addition to “Canticle” magazine, I mean).

Either way, I hope you’ll write and let me know if it’s helped!

God bless you!