Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Strong THE

I love displaying the Christmas cards we get from family on the cabinets of my kitchen. I, like many of you, spend little bits of my day opening my cabinets to prepare meals and search desperately for snacks for my littles. It is nice to see the faces of friends and family before I grab goldfish!

I get excited to see the cards and see how God has helped a family grow in inches or by people. I like to read the newsletters and see what my friends want to highlight from their year. I like most to see a new "The" written.

When a child enters a couple's life by birth or by adoption, I get tickled that Stephanie and Justin, who are still Mr and Mrs. Forbes, become more than just Mr. and Mrs. but The Forbes Family. 

So I guess you could say I get excited to write "family" too at the end, but really it is the "the" that allows us to go plural.

The Bakers
The Olmsteads
The Grimes
The Monagles
The Smiths

The language changes when the little one joins.

Then you start having more and more little ones.

Now the "the" is even more crucial and in a way heavier.

I think about family units all the time because I'm constantly meditating about my own. It wasn't always like this, as in, my mind wasn't always on my family. Earlier in my marriage and when my family was little I always thought I was missing out and I would drag said family all over creation so that we wouldn't...you know...miss out on anything.

By the grace of God I can now stand on the outside of my home, even if its just a mental exercise, and be grateful for what is happening on the inside

...it is like...I don't want to miss out on something, especially during the holidays.

This was our Epiphany Celebration. We had Our Lady of Guadalupe out in support of the birth of our godson!
I hope in this new year to find more strong families throughout literature, that will help all of us with Family Vision. That will show us families with a strong "The"(s) at the front of them.

The Swiss Family Robinson
The Banks Family (once Mary Poppins set papa straight)

And one of my favorites...

The March Family

Many people admire the actor Christian Bale for his more famous roles like Batman, but for me he championed the character Laurie from Little Women. As Laurie grows older and is about to go off to college he is the woods leaning against a split rail fence with his bestie Jo March. He professes his love for her and how he wants to marry her. Jo at the time is so flustered and knows she is on the verge of something but she does not think it is a life with Laurie.

Desperate that he is losing her, he confesses another truth, not only that he loves Jo but that he knew he was always went to be part of the March family.


Not to be a spoiler or anything, he does eventually win the heart of the youngest March sister Amy and his dream of becoming part of the hug in the picture above is fulfilled, but I love this secret longing. I love that there is exclusion. I love that there is inclusion. I love that there is a boundary and I wonder about this boundary. I wonder about the boundaries in my own home. I wonder about what being "The Forbes Family" means...my thoughts always seem to go to...who will this include? 

Marriage makes the family expand and open to a new son or daughter. They are invited into the fold.  I am wondering that if a family isn't tight, if a family isn't strong, if a family doesn't share common time and leisure and worship together...and then I am thinking...but what if a family IS tight, strong and shares common time and leisure and worship together!

How blessed, how fun and beautiful and what peace of mind comes to the one entering! I am thinking of some newly engaged men who will get to be included in the beautiful loving families of their soon to be wives. Dakota and Trevor are very blessed to not only be engaged but to be born as sons into these families! 

I was also thinking that perhaps it is not necessarily the amount of physical bodies that is part of a family that makes the "THE" heavier but a weaving of time and shared experiences...both sad and joyful ones. The weight of your The is in knowing of the ones in heaven already. A shared knowing between you and your spouse and children. There are family members who are woven in and seem to be able to tighten the entire family, leaning them into one another even more, though to any outsider their presence may or may not be felt.

We just had a three day weekend and it was a full one. I am thinking about my vocation and how much influence I have on making our family close. The togetherness truly cannot be forced. You cannot force trust. It seems to me to be a slow work.

God Bless You in your week! Thank you for stopping by.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas Crumbs

Happy New Year from Virginia! It feels like spring outside here. We had a wonderful Christmas. There was a fullness about this Christmas with family members of both mine and Justin's that kept me on my toes. Kept me thinking about what I want my home to be and how I want to serve. 

I read an absolutely beautiful article that was linked to Like Mother Like Daughter that sums up so much of what I am trying to build, what the Norwegians call koselig.

I find great peace knowing a handful of mothers who have kindred spirits and can speak this koselig language with me. 

I received specific graces a few days before Christmas when my husband had surgery on his eye. I will guard our privacy here but I will say when his brother phoned me to say he was sitting up in bed eating Cheeze Its I started to cry. I felt showered by Christmas crumbs the whole season.

I have been reading about crumbs from the book A Tree Full of Angels given to me awhile ago. I am reading this right when I need to. I find the Holy Spirit seems to work that way in my life.

Macrina Wiederkehr, a Benedictine sister, writes:

"We stand in the midst of nourishment and we starve. We dwell in the land of plenty, yet we persist in going hungry."

"The reason we live life so dimly and with such divided hearts is that we have never really learned how to be present with quality to God, to self, to others, to experiences and events, to all created things."

"We have never learned to gather up the crumbs of whatever appears in our path at every moment. We meet all of these lovely gifts only half there. Presence is what we are all starving for. Real presence!"

"We are too busy to be present, too blind to see the nourishment and salvation in the crumbs of life, the experiences of each moment. Yet the secret of daily life is this:

There are no leftovers!"

"There is nothing - no thing, no person, no experience, no thought, no joy or pain - that cannot be harvested and used for nourishment on our journey to God."

"Your presence is an energy that you can choose to give or not give. Every experience, every thought, every word, every person in your life is a part of a larger picture of your growth. That's why I call them crumbs."

"They are not the whole loaf, but they can be nourishing if you give them your real presence."

"Let everything energize you."

"Let everything bless you."

I was hoping this year I could work on gathering crumbs here in Virginia. I guess you could say I felt like I had the loaf in Alaska. Alaska was my atrium, where I met Jesus as Good Shepherd, where I was finally able to become present to my husband and children.

The first seven months of being away from my atrium have been an incredible BIG WORK for me. Yet, I have found tremendous nourishment in what I now know to call crumbs.

I can subsist off crumbs and gather them up and feel a fullness here.

Yet, as Macrina says, I can only gather these crumbs if I am present with quality.

I am really looking forward to finding the crumbs everyday and getting my fill. My prayer is that you can as well.  I pray also that this blog will always be a source of good for you, a little crumb in the vast world wide web.

God Bless You!