Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Wilkersons and their user-friendly little people Triduum

Hey All! I was going to write this as a facebook post, but then I realized it would be a bit lengthy. I'm gonna tell you our plans for the next two days to live these holy moments.

There are all kinds of blogs who have way better ideas and certainly with waaaaaay more effort.  But, I've decided the best way to go about life with our family is to start with baby steps.  We'll only go up from here right?

Gosh, I used to love this time of year.  And in a lot of ways, I feel like God gave us an opportunity to uniquely walk with Christ this Holy Week in our domestic church.  Our family van was totaled, RSV hit our house and put Malia in the hospital for a couple days, etc... The Lord moved in my heart during those wee hours of the night on the pediatrics floor of the hospital and allowed me to understand Him deeper (between the irrational, exhausted evil text messages I sent my husband). I hope to share some of that with you guys in the days to come.

Though I am not able to sit through the long beautiful liturgies anymore (those of you who do it with young children, you are my heroes)... there are little things we can do to carry our family through this very holy time in our Church.

So, without further ado, here are the plans I have for today and tomorrow.  I haven't thought through Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday yet (beyond traditions we already do)- but if I think of something good, I'll let you know.  Most of these ideas were stolen from others, some are tweaked to meet a very young family's needs.

Today we will take a trek up to an International Market (Ishtar in West Bloomfield for local friends) and buy the best darn pita bread on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.  We will also buy some authentic, good hummus.

During the day, I will show the kids various little videos on the Last Supper and, in a particular, the foot washing. I am planning on just searching for these on 'the youtube'

At 5:30 pm, we will lay blankets on our floor in the family room and sit on pillows.  We will have a platter in the middle with the best.darn.pita, hummus, and apple slices.  We will talk about how Jesus ate and discuss the Last Supper/Eucharist (Note- this will NOT be a Seder Meal, which is apparently controversial, though I'm still not sure I agree).

After, Aaron and I will wash the feet of the children and invite the children to wash each other's feet.  I will think of some words we can say that are easy that the kids can say (perhaps, 'to serve others is to serve Christ').

The Children will go to bed.

1)  We will begin the day by 'shrouding' all the Holy Images in our House.  The crosses, the Crucifixes,and the Statues.  We will talk about Good Friday as the darkest day in our history.

2)  Thank you cards.  We will make Thank You cards with stickers, pictures and words (for little Aaron).  We will discuss our Thank You to Jesus for the gift of the cross.  We will then go to a local Church and drop them off at the foot of a crucifix.

3)  We will dress in black as a way to remind ourselves Good Friday is a day of complete mourning.

3)  This is cray, and some of you might be scandalized, but we are going to watch that Passion that was broadcast on Fox Sunday night. I know Lil' Aaron, Big Aaron and I will love it.  And I happen to think it was a super cool moment, in a really not super cool culture.  We are a musical loving family, and I like how it brought the Gospel alive.

Then... we will go to bed.

Those are our plans. I think they will work well with our four children who are 4 and under.  I always tend to bite off more than I can chew, but I think these are good, realistic ways to live the next couple days.  I'll let you know how it goes ;)

Friday, March 11, 2016

7 Quick Takes updates, unfollowing and more

Oh, my goodness.  Things have been busy around here ministry wise.  This has probably been the busiest stretch I've had since right after John Paul was born. And it's so.much.good.stuff.  I have loved speaking with wonderful groups of men/women.  I've grown from intentionally recognizing God's goodness in our lives.  I think I might have even got a job offer.
 "If you'd ever think about working here, we would seriously love to have you... no, seriously"
As per usual, it just makes that discernment of vocation so much more important.
So far though, I'm just taking it one 'yes' at a time.  We shall see what God wants to do.

I said it on "the facebook", but imma say it again...
Praise you Jesus for the 'unfollow' button on facebook.
I have unfollowed more people in the past 48 hours than I ever have before.
Whether people are 'feeling the bern',
or taking smug satisfaction in Trump being the front runner.
Whether people are inclined to imply Trump represents the racist/bigoted mindset of the right,
or pretend the follies of Ms. Clinton are insignificant.
My gosh- I've even started turning off the notifications on my own posts!

I have deeeeeeeeeeeeelighted in that little button in the upper right corner which allows me to pretend the world is a very different place than it actually might be.

Is that healthy?
perhaps not.
Does it allow social media to continue to be a place of happiness and joy for me?

you guys.
Having a daughter right?
Let me show you something if we are not facebook or insta friends...

Those eyes.
That smile.  She is always smiling!!!
And the pigtails. freaking pigtails!!!!
The things this little girl does to our hearts are hard to put into words.
I feel so much joy when I am around her.  She has completely and totally turned my world inside out with love.

I'm going to tell you a secret.
I am not a co-sleeper.
I am not an attachment-parenter
And yet, this little girl is still in a bassinet right next to my bed.
She is bursting out of it, literally, her little feet stick out of it when she stretches them.

It's because of her reflux.  But girlfriend is 6 months old. We are going to move her into her room next week. I am SO sad about it.
I have never felt SO sad about a kid growing up.
precious and few are these months my friends, precious and few.

I'd like to tell you about a conversation I had yesterday with my eldest son.
I was reflecting with him on what a blessing it has been that we haven't been sick in a few months.
and then, kid says this.
"Yes, but daddy is going out of town, and we always get sick when daddy goes out of town"

Can we do a little knocking on the wood it doesn't happen?
I'm not telling you when he is going so you don't come and murder me, but it's sometime in the next month and it would be such a bummer if we get sick prior to Disney.  But it is true, we always get sick when Daddy is out of town.

The same kid who reminded me 'we are always sick when daddy is out of town' shared something INTERESTING this morning.

I had to drop him off at school, with all the other kids.
This rarely happens because it is a huge pain that includes taking all the kids into a building, walking down a flight of stairs, signing lil' A in and then taking them all back into the car.
The buckling/unbuckling of seatbelts alone would take down a lesser person.
We were running a wee bit late and I was getting a wee bit stressed.
Little Aaron says,
"Oh, don't worry mommy, daddy and I are late all the time, he just signs me it at the front office"

Sorry, going back to the daughter thing.
I am buying an Easter dress, for my daughter, this weekend.

And, finally-
My brother, his wife, and their seven kids are LEGIT moving back to Michigan.
His four youngest match up quite well with the ages of my four.
Cousins! In state! How much fun is that going to be?
NOW, if we can just convince my husband to shell out the cash it will take to send them all to school together!
(Catholic school already be like, 'whoa' in terms of cost, but Catholic school at some Catholic schools be like, "Whaaaaaaaa? WHOA!")

Linking up with http://thisaintthelyceum.org/  for the quick takes.  Go check it out!  And have a great week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

7 Quick Takes of election, thank yous and adulting

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for the prayers you may have said for me when I was headed out to Peoria to present on Digital Media.  The day went great, despite some hiccups on the way out having to do with a winter storm and flight delays. I gotta tell you, you know how there are those people who travel regularly for work? I could not be one of those people.

But, the day was lovely.
And Sister Maria Christi was absolutely wonderful. Well, frankly, so were all the sisters I was able to spend time with.  The hospitality of the moms group was amazing, including a mom named Karen who has 8 sons! 8!!!
The presentations went really well, and I was blessed by the Community of St. Jude.  I told them, and the ol' husband, we might have to look for a transfer out that way so we be a part of the great things happening in that part of the world.
OH! And I got to lunch with a dear old friend, Father Adam Stimpson.
All and all, a really successful trip.

I can say a lot of things here, about the election.
But it's all been said.
Well, most of it anyway.
The thing is, where we are at right now, the political climate, it's all of our faults.
And Trump just might be the match that lights the gasoline that has been poured for the past 8 years.
But maybe not?
And even if he does, what's the worst thing that can happen?
Threaten Me with Heaven?
It's all they can do.

Do your children create collections?
Mine do.
Of all kinds of things.
You should see their 'Disney World' collections right now.
The piles and piles of stuff they gather together.
It's kind of cute, until they fight if someone touches their collection.  Then, it becomes really uncute really quick.

Obligatory Malia Paul Take
Here's the thing. Maybe it's because she's a girl. Or maybe it's because appreciation grows with each kids. Or maybe she is just really special...but I am telling you, this girl takes my breath away.
Her smile, her intense eyes, dressing her in adorable outfits... I just can't handle her adorable.
She's wearing her first pair of jeans today, with this lovely little shirt 'Mommy's Sweet <3 and honestly...I cannot take it.
That is all.

I am giving a retreat for the Archdiocese of Detroit tomorrow to prepare pilgrims for World Youth Day in Krakow.  The content is mostly new, and I am excited to hang out with older young people and talk about my favorite church event.  In the next five days, I will be giving a retreat and two evenings of reflection on Mercy, using Pope Francis as the teacher.  We are so blessed to have this pope.

The Wilkersons are headed to Kentucky for Easter!
I am excited to see my sisters, my nephews and nieces and spend a drama-free holiday with the ones I love.  Also, can you imagine a better way to celebrate the Resurrection than Raising Canes?  Because I certainly cannot.

I find adulting really hard.
The big decisions.
We are constantly discussing whether or not to stay in our house or to move. I LOVE our house. I really do. It's about 1100 square feet of awesome.   But it doesn't have a dining room.  And it doesn't have a fireplace.  And I don't love our neighborhood. And Jesus might ask us to have another kid, which I think we are pretty open to (I KNOW RIGHT?!?!)- and 1,100 square feet might be a little small for 7 people.
But staying in our tiny house, in this neighborhood, allows us to do things I love. Like travel.  It allows us to do things like send our kids to Catholic schools.
So sometimes, I think we should just stay in this house forever.
And other days, I feel like we have to move RIGHT NOW.

Another tricky.
I love sending our kids to the Catholic school down the road.  And sometimes, I want to do it forever.  But then, we look at what it's going to cost, if we send all of our kids to Catholic schools for at least 9 years.  It's an overwhelming number of American Dollars.

We could move to a different house, in a different neighborhood, with a dining room and a fireplace.  We could put our kids in good Public Schools.  We couldn't travel as much, but we could still travel

I just don't know which path we should choose.
So, I told Aaron we should just take it one year at a time.  But then he reminded me, if we want to move, it's going to take planning- so we need to figure out what we need to do.

Guys- what should we do?!?!

Adulting is hard.

Linking up with http://thisaintthelyceum.org/  for the quick takes.  Go check it out!  And have a great week.

Friday, February 19, 2016

7 Quick Takes of deep reflection (I mean, kind of)

Sunday was St. Valentine's Day.
The husband Aaron didn't do anything for it. I mean he didn't do anything. No card, no flowers, nothing.
He offered to get me starbucks in the morning, but I'm on the 'weight watchers' so I declined.
And all day it made me madder and madder.  I thought of all the reasons I, as the mother of his FOUR CHILDREN (I always throw that in) deserved to celebrated on St. Valentine's day.  I got angry that he couldn't take two seconds, run to the store, buy a card and sign his name. I stewed. I prayed with it, but mostly I stewed.

On Tuesday, Aaron got up at 4:30 in the morning. He went to the gym to work out at 5:00 am.  He understands taking care of his health is important, but also understands we have four young children, so the luxury of working out isn't something we have time for.  Because of this understanding, he gets up at 4:30 am to go to the gym, in order to be home by 6:30 am, so he can help with the kids and I can sleep a little more.

After going to the gym, he got home and took care of work emails. Aaron's job is intense, but he is matching it with a work ethic difficult to describe.  While answering work emails, he ate a meal of rice and beans.  He is doing rice and beans this Lent- and ordering it towards the suffering of the world. He isn't taking Sunday's off. Not because he thinks we shouldn't, but because it is an exercise in solidarity.

After eating and answering work emails, he cooked the boneless skinless chicken breast he was marinating in the fridge for me to add to my lunch/dinner this week.  It helps me eat healthy and stay on track.

He kissed me before he left for work, and at 10:30 am sent an email declaring he had continued to figure out a couple of our trips this year. All with my preferences, because 'what baby wants, baby gets'.

He worked all day, came home at 5:45 pm and helped with the boys until bedtime.

When I stopped to think about all he does, I was overwhelmed.
My point is, I guess the thing is choosing what we want to focus on.

I think I'm gonna stop complaining about days like St. Valentine's Day.  I got me a winner every day of the year, and that ain't a bad deal.

My sister Theresa is wise beyond her years.
She shared this in our Lent group on facebook, but if you aren't part of it, I'm gonna tell you what she is doing.
She called last night and told me every time she is annoyed with people for their annoying qualities, she is going to say a prayer that God allows her to live one of the annoying person's good qualities.

That's fine.
But there's more.
She said she is going to do that because she's sometimes a big old sinner.  But she believes Christ loves her, and focuses on her good qualities instead of her bad.

And if Christ loves us like that, shouldn't we at least attempt to love other's the same?

My sister Theresa is very wise.

I'm going to get a pedicure today with my friend Terri.
Because I am fancy.
And I am SO excited. To see Terri and to get a pedicure.
And talk ministry, because ministry is what we do.

Can you pray for me?
Next week I am going to speak at a school in Peoria on Digital Media and Discipleship.
I am excited.  I will be presenting to grade clusters during the day and parents at night.
But it's hard to leave town when you've got four kids.
I'm a wee bit stressed.

My Malia gives me smiles I cannot handle.
I seriously can't handle them.

Did you see this meme on facebook?
I am STILL praying about it's awesomeness.
I get scared about my kids growing up.  I get scared about what I can provide for them, and what I can't.  I wonder what it will be like when they make their own decisions and my job is to love, but no longer be in charge.

This meme helped me.

Plans for the weekend?
Confession (needed), party for our friend's kid (excited), sleeping (always) and catching up on laundry (ugh).
Oh, and outlines after outlines for new presentations I'll be doing in the next couple months.
Come Lord Jesus, Come ;)

Linking up with http://thisaintthelyceum.org/  for the quick takes.  Go check it out!  And have a great week.

Friday, February 12, 2016

7 Quick Takes in which I tell you a bit about lent and how I lie.

Can we get the takes done during nap time?  That is the the question and the first take.

Lent. Began.
Prayers happening. Sacrificing beginning.  Devil tryna work me.. it's all there :)
We started a facebook group for those doing 'The Best Lent Ever'.  It's been really awesome so far.  Lemme know if you want to join okay?  Men and Women welcome.  Married and non married. Kids and no kids...everybody is welcome!  It's about sharing together in faith.  I like it.

I tried to get a babysitter for St. Valentine's Day.  It's a very difficult thing to do. One of our favs said she was available after 7:00 pm. I ran it by Aaron.  He said, 'Um, the Walking Dead comes back on Sunday, I don't think we should go out."

You know Daryl (Norman Reedus) from The Walking Dead?  I have a soft spot for the character and a soft spot for the actor.  He was interviewed on that show, 'Inside the Actor's Studio" alongside other actors.  One of the last questions asked is "If you make it to heaven, what do you want God to say to you"
His answer, "Whoa, surprised to see you here....here are seven Rhianna's for you"
I'm sure he was kidding, but it made me sad for him. I am going to pray for him and his conversion.

Do you ever tell people you are praying for them, or you are going to pray for them, but you totally forget to? I do it all the time.  Sometimes, I say,
"And for all I forgot to pray for"
at the end of prayer to remember er'body.
I am really worried when I die, everyone is going to see what a liar I am because I say I will pray and then I don't.
And all these people in purgatory/heaven will be like, 'Whoa, you totally didn't pray for  me'... and they will shake their heads.

I get worried about that.

Anyway, Mary at Better Than Eden, wrote this AWESOME post about traditional prayers... and in it, she said that she prayers for people a lot with traditional prayers right away when they request prayers.  I have been doing this all week.
I REALLY like it.
It makes me less of a liar.
You should do it to.  The Hail Mary is my go-to.

I bought Aaron some gifts as a surprise for Sunday.  We usually don't buy gifts for Valentine's day.  BUT, I felt inspired. So I dragged all four children to a bike shop (just picture the potential for disaster), and I bought him some gifts. I was so excited to surprise him.

But then, he got home from work and lil' Aaron said,
'Dad, we got you surprises from the bike shop!!!'
I was flamin' mad
(not really, but good expression eh?).
Anyway. I am mad he ruined the surprise, but perhaps more mad that Big Aaron's response has been, "CRUD... does this mean I have to get you something?"

I did it. I completed the takes during nap. So I'll finish with this one.
My ministry partner Mike and I have a presentation tomorrow... "Mythbusters, Homosexuality".
I knew it was far away.  But Mike told me today it is 1 hour and forty minutes away.
That is REALLY far away.
In case you were wondering.

(a kid just woke up, so perfect timing)

Linking up with http://thisaintthelyceum.org/  for the quick takes.  Go check it out!  And have a great week.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Seven REALLY Quick Takes...

Bringin' back the ol' Quick Takes in an attempt to blog a bit more.  I have fifteen minutes...let's see what I can do.

Next Friday, I am taking all three boys on a special date to a 'Super Hero' dance.  Aaron got us tickets for Christmas. I am way more than way excited.

Someone..,maybe Jenny? suggested reading the bible (daily readings) on your phone before checking any other sites in the morning. I've been doing this and it's really great. It's wonderful to root my day in Scripture.  I haven't read the daily readings faithful in a loooooooooooong time.  It's good for the soul.  Also, I'm not a fan of King David. I'm not sure if I am allowed to write that, but it's true.  When we meet (if we meet in heaven) I'm gonna be like, 'dude! you were something else'- he will probably agree, and we will move on.

So, AnneMarie on her Blog mentioned book of letters between St. Theresa of the Little Flower's parents, now declared saints.  Saints that were married and raised a saint?  And their letters?  I am in.  The plan is to buy the book and use it through Lent with Aaron. We will read a letter thoughout the day and then discuss at night.  I've been looking for something cool to do during Lent and I think this will be it.

Malia is asleep in her swing. The swing that hasn't worked since we brought her home from the hospital so it's just kind of a seat.  Malia is awesome.

Um, so if I ever tell you I am going to an 'Open House' at my pre-k kid's school and bringing his brothers/sister... you have my permission to punch me in the face. Trying to keep the little boys from destroying lil' A's lovely classroom, while little A tried to excitedly show us all the neat things he does, was exasperating to say the least.  I left a sweaty, yelling mess.  And I kept talking about the boys 'atrocious' behavior at school.  It was NOT.GOOD.

Confirmation Retreat at one of my favorite places (the Solanus Casey Center) on tap tomorrow!  Super Bowl party on Sunday.  Pizza Friday tonight... life is looking good.

It took me seven minutes to write these.  In case you were wondering.  Now, I have to add links, link up and share on facebook. FIFTEEN MINUTES?!?!?  We good. (I wonder how many grammatical errors there are).

Linking up with http://thisaintthelyceum.org/  for the quick takes.  Go check it out!  And have a great week.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Today, I am linking up with my SIL Jen's blog to share with you a little bit about my life... as it's happening :)

Things have been quiet around this blog for lots of reasons, some of which I'll tell you about below.  But then my good friend Mary posted on 'thefacebook' a comment about my Alma Mater, Franciscan University's alumni Magazine, 'Franciscan Way'  doing a feature on blogs and this little ol' blog was mentioned in the sidebar (that there was an INSANE sentence).  As you know, I like anything that makes me pretty much famous, and so I decided to dust this blog off and give er'body a five point update.

Life is good. Really, really good. I wrote my Stay At Home Mom Lifehacks a few months ago. I have been sticking to them, and I feel more sane as a mother than ever before.  Life is still challenging with four people under the age of five, but I feel like it's manageable.  Part of keeping things really good is being realistic about what I can and can't do.  I took almost three full months off of speaking, which was actually awesome.  After John Paul, I really crammed my schedule, it made me resent the ministry, which is a recipe for disaster.  Having really good postpartum time with Malia was awesome.  It means I have cut back on a crud ton of stuff, almost all commitments, etc... but it's allowed us to really be at a good place as a family.  Learning my limits has been really good.

After taking almost three months off of speaking, I am back in full force.  My calendar is jam packed (for a stay at home mom) with cool opportunities to evangelize.  My ministry partner and I revamped our Confirmation Retreat and we are  loving how young people are connecting with it and Christ.  I continue to expand the speaking ministry when it comes to young adults and women.  I'm excited to be presenting in the upcoming months to a group of priests of Polish descent (I know right?!?!) on Homosexuality;  Emceeing the Michigan Catholic Young Adult Conference; and offering several different reflections on the year of Mercy.  Perhaps the coolest thing, and the one that took the most discernment, is I will be traveling a bit in the upcoming months.  One thing locked down for sure is a presentation at St. Jude school in Peoria.  I get to fly on an areo-plane for that one!  Last year, I presented at Spiritus Sanctus run by the Oprah Nuns (they have a technical name, The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist).  One Oprah nun told another Oprah nun, who's the principal of the school- and the rest is history.  

I'm excited about the ministry opportunities being put in my path, but I would be lying if I told you there isn't a battle.  The vocation to my little home, and the call to ministry is sometimes confusing for me- but I am just praying about each request as it comes along.  If you wanted to pray for me as I discern those things, I wouldn't mind.

The year of travel. Travel feeds my soul you guys, more than you can even imagine.  And, by some insane twist of fate, 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year of travel.  Are you ready? Hold on to your hats and I'll break it down for you.

Last month, I went to Nashville with my girlfriends to see Paul's wife and visit our dear friend's resting place. It was awesome, and beautiful, and sad, and healing. I had no idea how desperately I needed to grieve my friend with my college friends.  It was incredible.

On the horizon is Kentucky to visit my sisters in March, Disney in April (I KNOW!?!!?  I drank the koolaid and I can't stop #sorry #notsorry)), Minnesota in May/June, Myrtle Beach in July (family reunion), and then... wait for it...

I wrote about on thefacebook. Long story short, the husband came home with a flier and said, 'I think you and your mom should do this pilgrimage to Poland'. I cried and told him it was impractical.  I went to the information meeting, ran out in tears because (#firstworldproblems) it is apparent God is calling me on this trip, but I know that means leaving my children.  Going on a 10 day pilgrimage makes absolutely no sense in my current season of life.  But with the encouragement of my good friend Erin, it's obvious to me that God wants it- so I am going.
We decided to knock off a bucket list item and hit up NYC at Christmas time. We have been talking/planning for years. We even planned to do it a few times and then canceled.  But this time?  It's happening!  We are booking tickets in a few days.  Dude. tickets are cheap right now- just fyi.

My soul's need to travel will be fed this year, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

I'm trying to be less controversial on the interwebs when it comes to faith and politics.  I am constantly asking myself what my motivation is for writing/posting... if it is not to calmly and rationally point out my 'view' in order to bring about greater understanding, for the most part, I'm staying away from it.  It's hard. I delete a lot of things.  People unfriended me because of my sassy posts, and although all the sass is sometimes necessary, being unfriended weirdly REALLY hurts my feelings (when it comes to family especially).  I used to be like, 'ha! screw them, they can't HANDLE the truth'- Now, I'm trying to be like, 'mercy and stuff'.  #workinprogress

Lil' A's open house is tonight! We are so happy with how his school is going, I am so happy someone else is taking care of early learning (SOOOOOOOOOOO not my gift).  Next year, we've decided to keep him in the school for Kindergarten and add Joey for 1/2 day pre-k.  Just today lil' A told me he is 'going to miss me' when he goes to kindergarten.  UGH. If that doesn't just crush a mom's heart.  But it's the right thing for our family next year, we think.  HA! Who knows, we've got some time for God to change our minds on that, but that's the story I am sticking to.

And those are five things.
Five things telling you about my life as it's happening!  

Hope things are well, I've missed you and I am ready to begin virtual dialogue through this forum once again!