Home

Many a mom blogger shared this article recently about how Catholic Mom blogs are awesome and a beautiful way to participate in the New Evangelization.

The single most striking part of this article to me was this quote from Robert Farror Capon:

To be a Mother is to be the sacrament—the effective symbol—of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home: in the simple sense that we begin our days by long sojourn within the body of a woman; in the extended sense that she remains our center of gravity through the years. She is the very diagram of belonging, the where in whose vicinity we are fed and watered. She is geography incarnate, with her breasts and her womb, her relative immobility, and her hands reaching up to us the fruitfulness of the earth.

How amazing is this idea? We, as mothers are not simply homemakers we are simply home.

Suddenly I understood on a deeper level why Kateri only wanted to lay on my chest in the depths of sickness. I understood why when she falls down she wants me to pick her up. I understood why when she’s afraid, she prefers my arms to anyone else’s. I am her home. It doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we’re together.

I don't think I'll ever grow tired of being home to this little one.

I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of being home to this little one.

My husband and I are closing on our first house in June. We are very, very excited, but this quote is giving me pause. It may be true that our mothers are our first home, but as we grow, we necessarily shift this feeling of safety. The key is that our first home is a person, and it is a mistake  if we think that we can transfer this sentiment to a physical building. Our first home is a person, and our home must continue to be based on relationships.

Instead of focusing on creating a home in the new house that we are purchasing, we will focus on being a home – the three of us within our family and the family that extends out from us. Our goal is to make our house a comfortable place, for it will only be a home when the people we love are gathered there.

#5Favs Guilty Pleasures

Linking up with Jenna for #5Favs! Here are 5 things I just can’t quit…but probably should.

Image via Chick-Fil-A

1. The iced coffee at Chick-Fil-A Oh my goodness. This stuff is amazing. I love when it comes  not quite all the way mixed up with all the syrupy goodness settled to the bottom. It makes me want to just ask for the syrup by the spoonful. It tastes to me like there’s a mocha flavor to the Original, even though they claim there isn’t. I never ever ever put sugar in my coffee any other time- because it just can’t compare to how delicious this is and it’s not worth trying.

Image via Amazon

2. Any and all detective/psychological thrillers I am such a sucker for these. It doesn’t matter how terribly written – I will read it. If it happens to be a series, I will read every.single.one as quickly as possible. Hit me with your suggestions – I challenge you to find something I haven’t read!

Image via White Plum

3. White Plum tunics I was firmly in the “leggings are not pants” camp – until I got pregnant and understood the sweet, sweet, relief that is elastic waist bands and forgiving tops. While I still have a very strict no-see-through leggings and cover-the-butt combo rule, my favorite outfits are tunics from White Plum and fleece lined leggings. So comfy, half stylish? If I’m wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Image via Absolut

4. Absolut Grapevine  Oooh mamacita. When it’s too late in the day for Chick-Fil-A iced coffee or the little one really gives me  a rough day, a little bit of this mixed with some Fresca let’s me imagine I’m somewhere warm and far, far away.

Image via Culver’s

5. Culver’s concrete mixers  First of all, they use custard. Custard made in the restaurant. Second, the custard to add-in ratio is out of control – especially if you get it made with their Flavor of the Day. I’m a weirdo and will only eat ice cream if it has some sort of add-in in every bite. If there aren’t enough Reese’s/Oreos/other chocolatey goodness for all the ice cream, John gets the rest. He thinks it’s a sweet deal.

Finding God in the Waiting

Lately God has been calling me to do a lot of waiting. My husband and I have spent some time in the last year intentionally discerning a few things for our family, and truly believe we are hearing God call us to some things. What we didn’t count on was WHEN God would call us to those things.

We took time and discerned that we were being called to move to a certain community, buy a home, and put down roots. We found loads of homes in our price range that we liked when the timing wasn’t right, and now that (we think) the timing is right, there’s nothing on the market. Literally. There are 0 homes in our price range.

I would guess that there are so few houses on the market because everyone feels the way she does about the weather.

I would guess that there are so few houses on the market because everyone feels the way she does about the weather.

My patience has been running short. After more than 2 months of waiting for new homes to come on the market, I told my husband I was pretty sure we should look at a house that’s 350 square feet smaller than our current (small) apartment. He calmly told me that we had discerned that we were looking for a home because the extra space would be conducive to some future plans we have. Moving in to a smaller space defeated the purpose we had discerned for buying a new home, and told me I needed to pray for more patience. He was right. I still thought we should check out the house – you know, just in case.

God has used housing to teach me patience in the past, and by now I expect he’s surprised I haven’t learned my lesson. When we were a newly married couple, we lived in a great apartment right in the heart of our city. We paid way too much for rent, with the intention of living there for only one year – hopefully the only 9 months of our marriage when we were two and not three. When we began to hunt for something more practical for a family, we were striking out big time.

I went to my women’s bible study and asked the women to pray that we might find a space that was the size we were hoping for in our price range. The woman sitting next to me turned to me and said, “I think I have an idea.” Her and her husband were moving to Japan for a new military posting, and needed to rent their condo. They just wanted to cover the mortgage and needed someone they could trust to take care of the place with no landlord supervision. Needless to say, we signed up right away.

I can’t help but think that this season of waiting in my own life matches up perfectly to the liturgical season of Lent. As my husband and I wait for the new changes life will bring us, and work to trust God’s plan, the Church waits for Easter. We trust that Easter will come – bringing with it the hope and joy of the resurrection (and here in Wisconsin, hopefully some temperatures above freezing.)

Yesterday at mass, for the first time in my life, I was struck by the words of the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer.

For you have given your children a sacred time
for the renewing and purifying of their hearts,
that, freed from disordered affections,
they may so deal with the things of this passing world
as to hold rather to the things that eternally endure .

It reminded me that in asking us to wait for Easter, to carefully prepare and practice self-control, we learn to value what is important. The same lesson can be learned whether we’re waiting for Easter or waiting to find our new home. God is there in the waiting, teaching us to hold tight to Him.  To hold tight to Him, we have to let go of everything else.

So during this season of Lent, we’ll keep praying to ensure we’ve correctly discerned the what, praying for patience to accept God’s when, and (until my patience grows) checking Zillow 10 times a day.

Hopefully the warmer weather will encourage some folks to get their butts into motion and list their homes. It sure has encouraged this little lamb to get moving!

Hopefully the warmer weather will encourage some folks to get their butts into motion and list their homes. It sure has encouraged this little lamb to get moving!

I agree with Catholic Doors – the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer is a super underutilized resource for Catholics. I’ll be listening more closely to this piece of the mass in the future!

The Unseen Sacrifices

Travel. Prestige. Money. Lots of money. My first job out of college had it all. For three years I worked at an elite software company and had the opportunity to travel around the country working with executives from top healthcare organizations. I traveled about 75% of the time – many times to exotic locales such as Peoria, IL. (Travel always sounds exciting until you’re bouncing between Indianapolis and Peoria in the middle of January.)

IMG_0412

Shortly after I got married, however, I realized that being away from my husband 75% of the time was making it very difficult to actually, you know, build a marriage.

I decided to look for a new opportunity, and was lucky to find one quickly. The day before I was to put in my notice, my boss pulled me aside and told  me I was receiving a raise. This raise added another zero on to my salary. This raise pushed me into a yearly income that I had only ever dreamed about, and caused me to pause and think about what the heck I was doing.

The new job I had accepted represented a 70% pay cut.  It did not have the prestige, the travel, or the perks of my old position. It would require financial sacrifices, and sacrifices in the type of freedom to which I had grown accustomed. It would, however, allow me to build a life with my husband and to be a better wife.

Having a marriage that's this much fun? Worth all the money in the world.

Having a marriage that’s this much fun? Worth all the money in the world.

I left behind the money and took the new job. As I settled in to my new life, I worried about the financial security that I had sacrificed. I quickly realized, however, that in working at that job, at the company, I had already been  sacrificing.

I had sacrificed my body and my health as I suffered from the havoc caused by constant travel.

I had sacrificed relationships with those in my community, because I wasn’t around enough to truly offer others my friendship.

I sacrificed my mental health because I could never shut off the worries and stress caused by my position.

The life that I live now, the one I think that God is calling me to lead, still causes me to sacrifice daily.

I sacrifice new clothes and travel for the ability to stay home with my daughter.

I sacrificed my body to bring new life into the world.

I sacrifice the “security” of a big paycheck for the opportunity to learn trust in God’s ability to provide.

The difference between the sacrifices in the life I wanted to lead and the life God wanted me to lead was joy. God’s plan doesn’t always make me happy, content, healthy, or well rested, but following his plan always brings me a sense of true peace and joy.

What sacrifices am I already making because of my inability to give my fiat to God? My new prayer is simply to ask for the faith it takes to jump into God’s plan, because I know He always ensures that the sacrifices are worth it.

IMG_0806

She required us to hold her like this constantly for the first 3 months of her life. Another worthy sacrifice.

This post is a link-up with Blessed Is She. 

Perfectly Tara

I have ideas for many projects, but rarely start any. I let them grow and flourish in my mind, but can’t seem to bring them forth into reality.

It would be fruitful to start a prayer journal, but I can’t find just the right one.

I would love to learn to sew, but I need to pick just the right project.

I’d like to start a blog and connect with others, but I need just the right name.

I’m paralyzed by the idea that if I can’t do something perfectly, I shouldn’t do it at all.

As a new(ish) Mom, I need to learn to embrace imperfection. My house will not always be clean, but it’s worth making it a home. My days will never go as planned, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not worthwhile. I need to be accepting of imperfection in other, and in myself.

I know that God doesn’t call me to perfection. I know that He created me in an intentional way. He put me in a specific place, at a specific time, with specific people for a specific reason. I know these things, but I need to learn how to live them.

So this is me, learning to embrace my imperfections, and start saying yes to God’s plan for me: not to be perfect, but to be perfectly Tara.

P.S. After staring at this blog post for a week and fretting about the wording, the title, and the formatting, I finally published. I have a very, very long way to go.