Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's Okay to Be Tired

I am so tired.

Maybe it's from nearly reaching the end of the marathon that has been grad school for this family. Having a husband on the verge of defending his doctoral dissertation is amazing and surreal. But mostly, it's just amazing.

I also had hoped and prayed I'd have a pregnancy announcement by now...but no such luck. Secondary infertility really stinks. I feel bad complaining because I have two incredibly beautiful children, but when you're surrounded by one pregnancy announcement after another, it's hard not to feel discouraged sometimes. I think this is especially the case when you go through nausea that's even worse than normal morning sickness...and you're not even pregnant. Thankfully, my nausea is no longer a constant thing, but there are stretches of time where it returns and it's awful. I feel like I could manage it if I knew that I was growing another child, but to have the awfulness of nausea and no new child to show for it? No, no fun.

I did recently receive a beautiful e-mail from a fellow hyperemesis gravidarum sufferer. On the days when I'm exhausted and just want to hang up my blogging hat, I get an e-mail like that and it makes me feel like soldiering on. I've taken it to prayer, too - although there are many of you I am by no means a big time blogger, and sometimes that's discouraging. BUT I've taken it to prayer, and I feel like God is nudging my heart to just connect with whoever I connect with and not worry about my readership numbers. That realization has given me tremendous peace.

To that dear mama with HG (and any other HG sufferers who read this)...please, please, PLEASE don't give up! You aren't alone, and I 110% promise that it will be worth it. I always tell first time HG sufferers that the first time is the hardest because you don't know what the end result is like. Although I my HG was worse my second pregnancy, I still think that pregnancy was waaaay easier, just because I was able to spend my days looking at the beautiful result of my first HG pregnancy. I'd imagine it will be the same the third time, whenever we are so blessed.

A priest friend recently shared with me a story about St. Therese, and about how she always said that God answered her prayers at the exact right time. Hearing that filled me with peace. If God wills for us to have another child - we will. If God wills us to have to move to a new place next year for a new job- it will be alright. All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well.

In the meantime, I pray daily for the grace of abundant patience. I realized recently that I was just asking God for the grace to survive each day and that I needed much more than mere survival. I feel like He has answered my prayer for patience (mainly directed at the smallest member of our family who is full-fledged two years old).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2015

What is the Results Don't Matter?

As a member of the millenial generation, I'm all too familiar with the "results" trap. I was thinking about this recently, as I've been working my way through Pioneer Girl, the recently published autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and have also been re-reading her original books. 

One of the things that strikes me is that - on the surface - Laura's family doesn't seem to be much of a success. Their results are often minimal, and even when they are successful, their results (a good garden, a snugly built cabin) are primarily only enjoyed by their family.
I wish I could find content in mere self-sufficiency, but I constantly fall prey to the same old insecurities. Am I successful? Am I doing enough? Is it enough that I just kept two small people alive today? Is it alright if my book proposal or article is rejected for publication? What do I have to accomplish to make my life "worth it?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Introduction to the World of Essential Oils

Ever since making it through two hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancies, and continuing to experience nausea intermittedly since that last pregnancy, I've been looking for solutions and remedies for HG in future pregnancies. 

One of the remedies I've been hearing a ton about but hadn't yet taken the plunge on was essential oils. To be honest, at first I thought they sounded too crunchy for my taste (they're not!), and then I just convinced myself I couldn't afford it (also not true...some are pricey by plenty -like my beloved lemon, that I mention below, are very affordable!).

But, when Jennifer reached out to me and offered to let me try some samples of various essential oils, I was excited to try them!!

I'm saving this one for Christmas, actually - therapeutic and liturgical!

I still feel like a total newbie when it comes to essential oils, and have a ton to learn. BUT I can say that if you want to try them out, I highly recommend Jennifer as a consultant (and I'm not just saying that because she sent me free samples!). She was very helpful, and answered a lot of questions that I had, and had some good suggestions!

Not pictured here is the lemon, and that was actually my favorite so far! I'm already planning on ordering some more. I used a diffuser and I was happily surprised by how gentle and refreshing the odor was. Diffusing a little lemon became a highlight of the day for me!

Really, I am just super intrigued by essential oils. I am a huge advocate for standard medical care, but if there's one thing my HG has taught me, it's that there are some conditions that modern medicine doesn't have answers for yet. It gives me hope knowing that there are more avenues to try, on my road to health (and hopefully, one day, another happy and healthy pregnancy!)

You can visit Jennifer's Young Living site here, and I know she'd be happy to answer any of your questions. You can also find her over on Facebook. Thanks again, Jennifer!

What has your experience been with essential oils? Any good suggestions for ones that might help during future pregnancies?

Disclaimer: My opinions are my own. I was given free samples of the essential oils and some complimentary consultation in exchange for my review. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

7 Quick Takes - I Went off the [Little House] Deep End

(Linking up with Kelly.)


Maybe it was the stress of making it through my very first 31 Day Writing Challenge, but this week I did two things: avoid this blog like the plague and completely immerse myself in the world of Little House on the Prairie. Okay, if I'm honest I'll say that the obsession started before this week, but I've fallen in love all over again.


I'm pretty sure Andrew thinks I've gone a tiny bit crazy. For example, a recent snack/lunch of mine might look like this:

What's that you see? Corn mush and molasses? Hold the side of the 21st century, please...


...except, don't! Because I don't know how many different things I've googled recently, in my attempt to know everything Little House. Last night it occurred to me, Why doesn't Laura ever write about outhouses??? What did they do during blizzards, when they had to go to the bathroom? One of the most satisfying and affirming feelings in the world must be when you do an internet search for something like that and realize that tons of other people have had the same thought. Vindicated.


But really I've just needed a healthy, relaxing way to escape at the end of the day. I've needed a safe and familiar place to escape to. And the world of Laura is exactly that for me. It's kind of like the feeling of walking back into your childhood home and realizing how much hasn't changed, and smelling the same familiar smells, and feeling safe and warm. That's Little House for me.


This has extended to our car rides, too. I am head over heels in love with the Little House audiobooks, read by Cherry Jones. I've been popping them on every time the girls and I hop into the car and it's been a huge gamechanger. My youngest is not a huge fan of the car, but even if she loses it, the world of Laura helps me stay a tad bit calmer. It's the same sort of balm for my soul as reading the books, except that I get to "read them" while doing something else! It really improves my mood.


But even though I read these books as a child, I feel like they really take on an entirely different meaning for me, as an adult. I can't stop admiring Caroline and Charles marriage - their respect for each other, and even the occasional traces of flirting. I love it. I hope that, years from now, my daughters can look back on our marriage with the same sort of fond memories.


We aren't going to roast any pig tails, though. I have to draw the fond memories line somewhere.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 31 - We Made It!

We made it! Today is the final day of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge. Hooray!

I didn't get to blog every day, but I managed almost every day. I almost gave up a number of times, but I'm glad that I stuck it out. I really hope you found some inspiration this month, and thanks to all those of you who left me comments or sent me e-mails this month - your words of encouragement mean so much to me!

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone! And happy Halloween/All Hallows Eve!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30 - Why Your Family Should Celebrate Halloween

Popular evangelical families typically share the same sentiment about Halloween, “We don’t practice it because of its origins.” When I first heard that, I began to worry and wonder what they were referring to. Should I not be celebrating Halloween? Should I not allow my children to celebrate the holiday?...

Read the rest over at Catholic Exchange.

We're going to a Halloween "Gaud" at the seminary tonight, and it should be fun! What does your family do to celebrate this time of year?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 29 - How To Leave Your Mark on the World

Last weekend, we had some family visiting, and so we decided to make the trek out to a world heritage site that was a reasonable drive from our house. It was my first time visiting there, and I really enjoyed their "interpretative center," where we had the opportunity to learn more about Native American culture.

Recently, I've been struggling a lot with trying to figure out how God is calling me to continue my ministry work, even as a full-time at home mother. Primarily, I've been feeling God directing me to use my writing to minister to others, but there have been some opportunities to parish ministry as well as some speaking opportunities that have fleshed things out a bit.

{funny, happy}

I feel really ashamed to admit it, but deep down, I just want to know that what I'm doing matters. I want people to tell me that I'm doing a good job. I want to have tons of readers visit my blog and read my articles. I want my book proposals to get accepted. But the reality is that that's often not what happens. My blog readership is strong, but hasn't grown exponentially. I've had a number of book proposals rejected. And the feedback I get from others isn't always positive. So, then...what's the point?

I've been praying a lot about this recently, and I feel like God is telling me, over and over again, to just keep doing what I'm doing and to leave the details to Him. I feel like He is calling me to worry less about how popular I am and more about how much I love. Obviously, the latter is much harder, and I still have a long ways to go.

But the bottom line is - sometimes I feel like a failure. I know that that sounds dumb to someone on the outside looking in - "But look at the things you have accomplished!" - but I can't control my feelings. And sometimes...I feel like what I'm doing doesn't matter. Sometimes I feel like what I'm doing isn't enough.


That leads me back to this Native American site we visited. The site we visited was once the location of one of the largest cities in the world, and now it is nothing but fields and mounds. You would never know there was a large civilization there, and we still don't know the names and accomplishments of all of its citizens.

What struck me most deeply about the exhibits in the museum were the dioramas. They had a series of displays, using mannequins that were acting out scenes from daily life. One of the scenes was of a family. The mother made their daily meal, the children played, the grandma played with the baby. I couldn't stop looking at that scene. Across the span of so many centuries, I felt connected. You didn't have to tell me that what the people were doing in this scene mattered. I knew it did...because it is a scene all too familiar to me. (Well, other than the grandma tending to the baby every day. I wish we had some live-in grandparents!) I know that the work of the mother matters, because I know what it's like to see my children well fed and happy. I know the work of the grandma matters, because I've spent the better part of the last five years tending to my babies, and I know how much (and how rewarding) that work is. 


It occurred to me that maybe I'm holding myself to the wrong standard. Here I am thinking that the things I do outside of my home are what will impact the world the most. I certainly hope that the talks that I give, the articles and books that I write, and the classes/workshops I teach touch people and draw them closer to God. But I also know that there were probably a lot of people in times gone by who hoped the same. I know that there were a lot of impressive artifacts at the site we visited...but no display impressed me as deeply as that family.

Maybe it is the ordinary work of family life that matters the most. Maybe it is our daily work, our daily rhythms, our daily commitment to trying to make our home a home, that matters the most. 

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