Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real January Happenings

Linking up today with Like Mother, Like Daughter!



What is it with little boys in comfy sweaters that just brings a smile to my face!?!


These are more "fun" over "funny" but we had a blast sledding on Sunday.  My husband carved a sledding course through one of the campsites in the campground behind our home.  
The girls call it the "Avalanche Shoot."  


My eight and six year old are enjoying downhill home-school skiing lessons at Eaglecrest.  They are hooked!  Did you all know that the state of Alaska pays you $1700 per child per school year for lessons and curriculum for home-school? Reason 4890 that I love living here. We were able to find used skis and those are their bike helmets, but that's what I LOVE about the outdoor culture here in Juneau.  
Come as you are! Fancy gear not required! Come enjoy the mountain! 

Thanks for visiting! God Bless!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy New Year! 2014

Oh my dear readers, I am so happy to enter the new year and feel so grateful that this blog is still running (a new look for the new year, eh?).

I have so enjoyed writing down my thoughts about being open to life and the journey that God has placed before me.  I think Justin and I will be constantly on this NFP journey until I perhaps am no longer fertile...and then...I mean, there are just so many ways to BE open to life in all we do.  I kept thinking that maybe I would be able to quick finish up my reflections, and this "hurry" does not help me truly WRITE the essential things I want to write about with regard to openness to life.

What are you saying Stephanie?

Well, I am going to write beyond NFP and anyone who wants to can click over to the NFP journey as I labeled them, but I just want to write so I can work some things out. I like sharing and like feedback and I probably still won't be writing as OFTEN, but I feel this blog is a very "relational" type of outlet, I truly love the relationships I have here (aka...comment and send me messages...ha!).

I don't write often because I'm trying so hard for balance.

Note to self: Keep toddler away from shredded cheese.

So...happy new year! But guess what, I missed Mass on my son's birthday last week!

UGH! Disaster!  There is a new Wednesday morning 1000 am Mass that will be celebrated at the beautiful Shrine of St Therese.  As a homeschooling mama, the priest who was awesome enough to get this started was also thoughtful enough to find me after a Sunday morning Mass a couple weekends ago to proclaim this good news. Will you come? Will you bring your home-schooled children to Mass at the Shrine??

"Of COURSE!" I said enthusiastically.

"We could probably make it every week!" I said.

Oh....oh my my.  In my joy, I forgot that in this vocation, this MOTHERHOOD vocation, that I respond to the needs of my family and those needs change like the tides...Southeast Alaskan tides (which are dramatic!).  I might have a verbal response of a "yes" to others, but attached to each "yes" is a tiny...mustard seed tiny... asterisk that explains with an italicized footnote:

*Stephanie's yes is only an intention. All of Stephanie's yeses cannot be guaranteed to you at the time the yes is given, because, as a mother to said brood of four littles and a husband, Stephanie is bound by her vocation to say yes to aforementioned persons OVER the yes she gave you. So know that every yes is meant to always be followed through as a yes, unless it is trumped by her vocational yes. 

I will still be apologetic to the priest when I see him because as much as I want telepathy I could not communicate with him the miles from my house to the Shrine.  I will want desperately for him understand how a morning unravels the way it does...but I'm not sure this is understood by others unless they are home with littles.

I will pray for the GRACE to just be PRESENT to the needs of the people in front of me and to serve Jesus in those people.

I will say though....I have to say this...that I must make daily Mass more of a priority in the new year (this is a new year's post right?) I have some changes, some work that needs to be done on my heart, and I know the best Remedy.  I know where to go for this Remedy.  God was so good to show me this Remedy a few years ago as I was coming off of artificial contraception.

I worry about my children, the disruptions, the time away from school (ha! I tell myself I homeschool).   I want to live more purposefully, to focus on essential things. Well, how can I explain my way out of THE Essential.  The Church is less then ten minutes from my home!

Also, I know, without a doubt, with the toddler, that I will most likely not get to meditate on every prayer or mull the homily over in my mind a bit. But...I can grab that toddler boy, the one jumping off the pew, for two minutes...and I can get in a line with the wiggle worm...

and I can receive the Essential.

Our Lord  MUST have had young mothers with littles in mind when He instituted the Holy Eucharist. As He ministered through the land of Israel and knew women who nursed and cleaned up spit up and kept tabs on a gaggle of littles...He thought..."Yes, the Eucharist will be Perfect."

I am the Bread of Life

As much as the Mass is participatory, and we mothers want to be responding and praying and lifting up and FOCUSED...the Mass is still GIFT.

How wonderful that as mothers of littles we can totally be the little child coming to Jesus in the Eucharist saying, "Jesus, I am here for this one moment, can you enter fully into me.  I want the Gift now." Toddler is drooling, littles are bumping or clinging to your legs, but wow...

there He is. All for you.

There is no asterisk: You can only receive the Eucharist if you were in the sanctuary before the opening song, nevermind little Suzy took a nose dive in the parking lot because she wore her glitter slippers.

There is no asterisk: You can only receive the Eucharist if you listened to the homily today and could comprehend the message. Oh, little Freddy had to use the potty, well better luck next time.

I always have to remind myself that the Eucharist is not about how good and prepared and devout I am.  There was a time (sigh) when I really thought (and looked around at others as I thought) that I truly was a model Christian.  I LOVED playing the part of the cookie cutter, rule following Catholic...shudder.

Oh...oh...and then...mmm....humility. Yes...and merciful love. Yes...and true...honest...examinations...and wow...the realization that....we are not WORTHY.

And a peace in knowing that... the Eucharist is always Gift.

Janet and I made the people for the Presentation in the Temple.  Simeon and Anna were filled with JOY upon receiving the gift of Jesus! 

 You know what you say when you receive a Gift?

You say....THANK YOU!

So, before I call it a whole family besides the baby is practicing survival training in the sauna (no fire) the cold...before they move to a tent the next time...and then to no tent...

Reading Treasure Island

before I call it a night...lucky you, I am having a blog give away and I am giving these out for free


Put these free asterisks on the yeses you may have in the near future.  They will help you not beat yourself up when plans don't go your way...which they usually don't...and you know what...its all HOLY BEAUTIFUL! If we are saying yes to the people in our home, in our family, who God gave us to love and serve in only the way WE can love and serve them....then we are doing what we are supposed to be doing...and we are Participating spiritually in whatever we intended to do.

And Jesus, in the the Blessed the Holy Mass...made sure that on Sundays we participate FULLY.  He is so good and He knows a mama's heart.

2014 is going to be awesome.