Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Illusion of Control

Like many women, I like to be in control. I enjoy making lists, crossing items off those lists, keeping an orderly home, preparing the diaper bag for every possible scenario, occasionally getting a decent dinner on the table...and I will be the first to admit that I often measure my self-worth by how much gets accomplished in a given day. By the same token - and this realization resides somewhere in the back of my mind, popping up occasionally with surprising clarity - I assume I'm in control of what happens to my son and any future children in our family, when in fact I have very little say in the matter. 

Shortly before becoming pregnant with Ryan, I learned that an acquaintance had lost her young baby in a tragic accident. This sobering news not only broke my heart for that warm, faith-filled family, but also made it abundantly clear that our children truly are not our own. They are eternal souls that we have played a part in creating, but ultimately they still belong to God, for however long they're on this earth and for all eternity. It made me feel simultaneously terrified and liberated to have children. The fear, I realized, came from a lack of faith on my part. On some level, I am comforted to know that my child actually belongs to an almighty Lord who loves him far more than I ever could. But in the day-to-day, I want nothing more than to protect him and his happiness. This, I think, is the on-going challenge of parenthood. How can I hold something so incredibly precious with open hands?

With Lent just around the corner, I would like to commit to keeping perspective and remember that nothing is really "mine" for keeps, rather I am asked to be a steward of these great gifts on loan from the one true Father. I invite all control-seekers to join me in a quest for freedom and peace through letting go!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Earthly or heavenly?

"Set your minds on things above, not earthly things." - Colossians 3:2

Last week I started reading a devotional series called "Soul Detox" with the community of women at She Reads Truth. The daily reflections are very short, encouraging me to focus on one idea each day; it's very manageable. I got stuck on the verse above. How are we to follow Paul's exhortation when our lives as mothers are so full of "earthly things"? Where is the line between earthly and heavenly? It seems very blurry these days.

You've been up most of the night caring for a baby who always seems to need just a little bit more - a diaper change, a little more milk, a burp, a few minutes of cuddling - and she finally drifts into a deep, heavy sleep just as dawn starts to lighten the sky. earthly or heavenly?

Days of careful planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking have paid off, and a lovely dinner is on the table. There's even wine. The baby sits happily in her little seat on the floor and coos while you enjoy your meal and the first adult conversation you've had all day. earthly or heavenly?

The sun is shining brightly on a January afternoon, and though it's cold, you bundle up and head outside. You walk quickly down the street, soaking in the sunshine and fresh air, and breathe a prayer of thanks for the abundant blessings in your life. earthly or heavenly?

All week, you have looked forward to some quality time together with your husband, but on Saturday, you are both so tired that you take turns picking fights, and the resentment builds. Mid-afternoon, something happens that makes you both laugh and the tension fades away. earthly or heavenly?

At Mass on Sunday, you've been distracted. You couldn't say what the readings were about, and you missed the homily because you had to change a diaper. Kneeling during the Eucharistic prayers is out of the question, because if you stop moving - even for a second - the almost-asleep baby will wake right back up. Then you walk up and the priest offers you the Body of Christ, and you're reminded how small your sacrifices are, and how filled with grace. earthly or heavenly?

Maybe what St. Paul is hinting at is a change in attitude. A shift toward finding the good in everything. One of the most wonderful aspects of our faith is its sacramentality, its ability to use everyday objects and experiences to communicate spectacular grace. Through the lens of faith, earthly things are transformed, and God comes to meet us in the mundane.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Hello and welcome to our blog! I'm Kathleen, wife to Eric and mom to Ryan. Like Elizabeth, I am also very blessed to be married to my best friend, and our marriage is proof that sometimes opposites really do attract - which means never a dull moment on this journey of life! I'm excited to coauthor this blog for a couple of reasons:

           -I've missed having tangible projects to work on since Ryan's birth, especially ones involving writing. Being a mom is wonderful, but it's certainly easy to let more measurable endeavors go by the wayside without a concerted effort.

           -My hope is that this will be a place to continually explore the idea of vocation, and how it forms and shapes us on a daily basis. I realize that I am still far from perfect in my vocation, and am just grateful to have a place to hash it all out from within the framework of marriage and motherhood.

Even as I write this, there is an energetic 9-month-old trying to climb into my chair and crashing his Fisher Price Music Parade car into my ankles; I'm tempted to get frustrated and demand just one tiny moment of peace, but will instead choose to kiss his sweet head and try to experience his childlike wonder. Writing may not be the same anymore - but that's a good thing.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hi there!

A brand-new space! A new beginning! Is there anything better?

We're excited to jump right in and say hello, to start building what we hope will be a great community, a place for moms to share our struggles and triumphs, what we're learning and how we're growing, and the wisdom and weakness that we have in common. 

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9

I was raised in a wonderfully Christ-centered home, and God led me to the Catholic expression of this faith in 2005. In 2007, I graduated from the University of Michigan and moved to Chicago. I married my best friend in 2008, and in November 2012 our daughter Anne was born. I have always dreamed of being a mother, and the reality of it is even more wonderful than I thought it would be! This season of life is so rich, so full of growth and change and learning.

Kathleen and I met one Sunday just after Anne was born, and we have become fast friends. In the coming weeks and months, we hope to develop this space into one that is useful, encouraging, positive, and real. A place where we can come to explore the many ways in which we live out our vocations as Catholic moms. Here's to a new adventure!