LET LOVE BE SINCERE

LET LOVE BE SINCERE

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 Questions about #5

I feel like #5 takes you to the next level of big families. Over #7 levels you up even higher- but #5 puts you completely out of the normal range.

(*Disclaimer- we understand we have been incredibly lucky and even undeservedly blessed to be able to have one child, let alone five- we pray so very much for our friends and family who have struggled to conceive and I in no way want to be insensitive or flippant about the miracle it is to bring life into the world.  To our friends/family/readers of the ol' blog who are currently living through any type of infertility, know you are in our prayers)

So let's talk.
Here's five questions you didn't ask about #5

ONE
"WHOA. Was this pregnancy planned?"
Yup.  The ol' husband was open to a 5th as soon as the 4th was born. I have a really tough time with pregnancy though, so I was more hesitant than ever before. I remember saying to many people, "I can't imagine a world where I would willingly have another".
We talked a lot, put a plan in place (Team Wilkerson for the WIN), and decided we would be open to another.  The bottom line? I am NEVER going to like being pregnant.  There is nothing about it that I enjoy, except the point of it all, which is the ability to create LIFE with JESUS.  And I love being a mom. I love having a big family.  My doctor cleared us physically for a fifth, and we felt emotionally, spiritually and financially ready.  We were going to wait until the new year, but it took us several months to conceive Malia, so we decided to start a bit early.  It didn't take us several months this time :)  Part of the amazing thing about Natural Family Planning, is you get to know your body really well, whether avoiding or trying to conceive.

TWO
"Um, you complain a lot about the hardness of your life, so why add another element of hard?"
I've thought a lot about this one.  I think I need to do better, maybe particularly on social media, of balancing the truth of the hard, with the truth of the awesome.  Having four kids (now five) so close together is really difficult sometimes, for lots of reasons....But the awesome outweighs the hard so much more than I sometimes articulate.  Our lives have to look different because of the number of children (and their ages) that we have.  We can't do as much (we don't want to do as much), it's hard to make plans (6 people dictating reality vs. 3 or 4), it takes FOREVER to do something as simple as leave the house...BUT
The awesome is so much more than I could ever describe.  The awesome is the kids one by one sneaking into our bed on the weekend to snuggle. The awesome is my oldest two sleeping in the same bed every night because they are best friends.  The awesome is the way the three older boys adore their little sister.  The awesome is the endless snuggles, magical moments, laughter of our crazy lives.  The awesome happens all the time.
I try to be a person who 'keeps it real' on the interwebs, but also in real life.  But man, I'd hate to think for the sake of 'keeping it real' people in our lives are missing the reason we keep having all these babies....
IT'S BECAUSE IT'S AMAZING. And we've got really great kids. Loud and rambunctious kids... but really great kids.  And so long as God keeps allowing us to have them, and my doctor thinks it's safe, I can't imagine stopping the awesome that is occurring.

THREE
"I'm sorry, does that mean you might even have MORE?"
You guys...I think so.  I mean, I don't know so, because we take every pregnancy one at a time, but after my cesarean with Malia, my doctor said she would be open to five, or even six.  We trust our doctor like I can't even express.  I feel like God gave her to us as a gift. She is a skilled surgeon, and has always been completely honest with us. When we conceived the boys back to back (each were born 14 months apart) she told us we were being careless.  I am confident she will be honest with us after this newest Wilkerson if she doesn't think we should have another, but as long as we are good physically- I think we will be open to it.

FOUR
"I've been to your house...where are  you going to store all these tiny people"
This is Malia's room- gonna be a leeeeeetle bit tight adding another bed :)
This has been a hot topic of debate in our house for, um, years. We love our house, you guys, so much.  But sometimes it feels small. I think five kids in our 1,000 square foot house is going to REALLY start to push it.  BUT, as noted here before, we have an awesome finished basement, our game changer.  So, the kids can comfortably play, and I don't have to look at their toys all day long on the main floor.  Five kids in two tiny bedrooms is going to be tight, but I think we've decided, we are going to make it work.  If baby #5 is a boy, there will eventually be two sets of bunk beds in the boys room, and Malia's room will have their dressers.  If baby #5 is a girl, that's going to be a bit trickier. Malia's room is tight right now with a crib, bookshelf dresser, and rocking chair.  It's gonna stretch us to add a bed and a crib in her room. BUT, my sister suggested dressers in closets, and I think we can make it work.  When they get a bit older, we can turn a room in the basement into a bedroom by adding an egress window.... so we are gonna stay in our little house, at least for the foreseeable future.   Staying in this house allows for Catholic schools and travel- two things I am not willing to give up just yet.

FIVE 
"Now that the important stuff is out of the way, how are you feeling?"
Physically- I am tired. So tired.  I cried to Aaron this weekend, explaining that someone who has never been pregnant cannot possibly understand the exhaustion of the first trimester.  It's a type of tired that penetrates your very soul (how's that for dramatic?). BUT, I am not puking... yet. And that's a huge win.  I am going to try a few different things this time to avoid the dreaded sickness, maybe it will help? maybe not... but at least I can say I tried ;)

We are also feeling unworthy and humbled that God has chosen us to be parents once again.  With each kid, my understanding of the miracle deepens in a way. I cannot believe we've been blessed with another one, and I'm not just saying that. We are excited that Malia gets to be a big sister, the boys are freaking out pumped.  It's a crazy miraculous thing to make people- and I am sitting with that profound truth every day.


So there's the answers, in case you were wondering.

PS- It's weird, but I think some other big families can relate.  Because of our weird culture, it's almost embarrassing to tell people you are having another child.  We brace ourselves for reactions/judgments/etc...  I just wanted to say to my friends on social media, thanks so much for the joy and happiness you expressed with our announcement.  It truly meant the world to us!



Friday, November 18, 2016

7 Quick Takes on Synods, and leaves and NYC

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?


(one)
Let's do this.
These are gonna be real quick, because I am headed off to the Archdiocese of Detroit's Synod this morning.
I can't describe the excitement.
But prayer is necessary.
It's going to be a very intense and time-consuming three days.
Last night the kids slept terrible... like, off the charts, up every 30 minutes,type of sleep.
In between that, I had nightmares about the Synod.
Crazy right?
I think the devil might be a little nervous about all this #unleashingofthegospel

(two)
\Ministry has been good.
Ministry has been busy.
Back to back Confirmation Retreats last weekend.
They went well. I love to see the Lord work in the lives of young people.
We gave a presentation at a local Catholic grade school on Living Mercy Radically in Families.
It was good.
But the best was we got to be around the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
I am obsessed.
I told my cousin, they are everything good about Religious Life rolled into one order.
Their joy is tangible.
Let's all pray Malia has a vocation to the Religious Life and it leads her to them ;)

(three)
I put this on Social Media
You guys.
Mia's hair is off.the.hook. 
I am obsessed.

(four)
Joey is cute, but do you see the amount of leaves in the background?
Take that and times it by three and that's how many we have now.
You can't even see grass.
The old husband likes to wait until the last leaf falls to do fall clean up.
I don't.
It's a tension we live in.
About now is when I start to rage about it ;)
I am trying to calm my rage and thank God that it will be taken care of... in two weeks #jesustakeit

(five)
Aaron will be alone with the kids all weekend while I attend the Synod.
Jesus also gonna need to take the wheel regarding the state of my house on Sunday night.
Because I am nervous.
And my sister is coming to stay on Tuesday.
Let's just pray the Grace of the Synod trickles into accepting with joy the reality of a messy house after someone has to single parent all weekend. 

(six)
Can we talk about the fact that WE ARE GOING TO NYC IN TWO WEEKS?!?!?!?!
And we've been so busy we haven't even thought about it.
BUT WE ARE GOING IN TWO WEEKS.
And I'm staying in a fancy hotel.
And I'll be sleeping.
But I already warned Aaron he is not allowed to sleep the whole time.
We tend to just want to sleep when we get a break from our munchkins.
NYC at Christmas time is a bucket list for me, friends.
I am freaking.out.excited.

(seven)
Yesterday, we saw an airplane.
I said to the boys, "In two weeks mommy and daddy will be on one of those"
1/2 of my children started sobbing.
So, um, leaving should go well?

;)

Have a great week, don't forget to pray.



The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Too Soon?

GUYS.

Let's get back to the good stuff...Advent is like, tomorrow.  Well, not really tomorrow, but two weeks right?  I am freaking out excited.

We LOVE the season of Advent, we love the Joy that defines Christmas, and we love making memories and traditions with our little people.  I wrote last year about some of the things we do during this season, but Imma refresh your memory.  We don't exactly play by all the Liturgical Rules and we embrace the heck out of the secular (but try to point it towards the Holy)... Maybe this will spark some ideas for your family.

It all begins this Friday.  The ol' husband hasn't totally agreed to it yet, but I plan on taking the kids to Campus Martius in Detroit for the annual tree lighting.  If you are local and haven't gone to Campus Martius during the Advent/Christmas season, you are making a HUGE mistake.  A massive Christmas tree, Christmas music, all the lights, an outdoor skating arena, concerts, contests, street performers... the list goes on and on with the awesome.  The tree lighting is a bit nuts, because of the crowds and our amount of little people, but to me it's 'hashtag worth it'

NEXT.
THANKSGIVING BREAK
For Thanksgiving lots o' family comes in.  My sister, Theresa, made it a tradition to stay at our house with her four little people.  The cousins have four days of insane play, my sister and I get to drink coffee in the morning, so relaxing, so lovely. We finished our basement a few years ago, it makes it really easy to host people in our little house.  I'm pumped.

You know how the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest bar night of the year?  I love to go out the day before Thanksgiving, but I'm getting older, we have kids, and it was starting to become more of a pain than a joy... UNTIL, our dear friend suggested we go out in the AFTERNOON!!! Best.Plan. Ever.  Drink specials, empty bars, lots of fun with friends, and home by six, in order to get a good night's sleep in to rest off our fun ;)  It's gonna be one of my favorite traditions I am sure.

Does this not look like the most fun ever?!?!
We try to set up our tree Thanksgiving weekend (I know, I know, Liturgical Police this pains you, but we can't help it).  The amount I love a twinkling Christmas tree and a dark family room cannot be overstated.  We began a 'Pizza Friday' tradition one Christmas season, and although now, every Friday is Pizza Friday... there is something super great about a Christmas tree, dark nights, pizza and a Christmas movie.  We will do that every Friday we are home during the season. I love it. So much. ***
.




FOR SOME HOLY...
Beginning the first Sunday of Advent, we pull out our Advent Candles and Jesse Tree. Each night we put on a different  Jesse Tree ornament (from a set my awesome sister made us), light the Advent candle in complete darkness (the boys love turning off the lights), do our prayers and sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The kids look forward to this every night during Advent.  It really builds the anticipation of the season.***




We also celebrate St. Nicholas day in our house.  The kids leave out their shoes.  This is perhaps the only part of the holidays that I am too tempted to go 'over the top' with. My plan is to scale it down this year.  Candy in shoes, maybe a book, or a small token... the last few years I just can't seem to help myself.  

THE FUN
For the last three years, we have celebrated with our friends during Christmas in what I title our 'FRAMILY Christmas party'.  The holiday season is so busy, we barely have time to get together, you know? I love this gathering with our friends who are like family, because it gives us a time to make sure we touch base.  Everybody brings a dish to pass, we do a small $10 white elephant gift exchange, and the last couple years, we've done one gift per kid. It's a really fun times, the kids play, the adults socialize (and drink delicious things like champagne punch), and we make memories together. I always leave this night with my heart feeling so full.
Most of the crew

We do Santa.  I love Santa. I will keep the magic of Santa for as long as I can in this house.  In our house, Santa is someone who works with Jesus because our God is SO Good, he gives US presents on HIS birthday.  The boys know this. They think it's so cool that Jesus would use Santa to give us gifts to celebrate HIS birthday.


Those are some of our Advent/Holiday traditions. I've got some specifics for Christmas I'll tell you about later, but my goodness...
HOW EXCITING IS THIS TIME OF YEAR?!?!?!

***If you've never thought about having a photographer swing by your house and capture you setting up Christmas, I HIGHLY suggest it.  I know a guy too!  For a couple hundred bucks, you can have the most precious moments caught on camera.  These are some of my very favorite pictures ever taken of our family! Treat Yo-self



Friday, November 11, 2016

7 Quick Takes, Enter at your own risk

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
I mean. here's the thing, ain't no way we are going to get through the Quick Takes without some election discussion... and probably some sass. If you are burned out,  I really suggest you don't read.  The last couple takes should be election free though, so you can just skip ahead to those (six and seven)

(one)
So, I'm not taking a break from facebook.
I totally understand those of you who are.  I REFUSE to let bullies who are unkind, radical, alarmists, and who post for shock value, bully me off of a form of community I happen to love.  I'll still be posting too many pictures of my kids, oversharing the day to day of our life, and occasionally posting things that challenge us to think with a Catholic world view, or a challenge us to consider the insanity and beauty of our culture.  When I post about the culture, I know I have the potential to make people mad. I spend more time in prayer now when I post things, considering what my motivation is, and if it is still worth posting. I promise you I will continue that discerning.

But I'm not leaving.

I have unfollowed a lot of people. Not because they disagree with me, but because they are mean.  I won't allow mean people, or bullies on my newsfeed.

But I'm not leaving.

On Tuesday, this guy I went to college with unfriended me.  I know exactly when it happened.  He posted a radically absurd status about the end of the world because of Trump.  Someone else I went to college with commented that he was surprised at the things being said.
This guy I went to college with?
His response was..
"F--- YOU, don't call me brother, and get off my wall"
It was amazing.
So I commented and said something to the effect of how absolutely insane the thread was.
So he unfriended me.
I keep trying to refriend him.
And liking his public stuff.
Because I sometimes have the maturity of a 12 year old, and it's funny.
You gotta laugh at how crazy people are.

Anyway. I'm not leaving.

(two)
\So many crazy people on the internets... am I right?
We aren't allowed to say they are crazy, or stupid, or dumb.
We are suppose to say every reaction is 'valid' and we just need to be with people in their hurt.
Jesus can continue to work on my heart when it comes to that.
Because some things aren't okay, and some emotions might be felt, but that doesn't make them valid.

Like the elementary teachers on my thread, who are saying they 'just don't know how they will explain this to their students'.
Um. How about you not?
How about you teach kids about the value of voting, and the process of the electoral college?  How about you tell your students that it's great to see people so passionately engaging in our political world, and what beauty is held in the diversity of believe?
HOW ABOUT YOU NOT FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR TELLING STUDENTS WHY THEIR PARENTS SHOULDN'T HAVE VOTED FOR TRUMP?!?!?

Because that's SUPER weird.
It's super weird, that multiple people on my newsfeed who are teachers or know teachers, felt like teachers needed to 'correct' the movement in America that nominated Trump.

There was a millage up in our county to increase funds for Public schools. It passed. I'm not going to tell you how I voted on it, but I am going to tell you that part of my hesitation for voting yes, is I think there is a huge irresponsibility in some of our schools right now and I'm not quite sure I should be financially adding to the problem.

The teachers, who are saying they just don't know how to explain to 1st graders that Trump became president... you're part of the problem.

(oh, HS teachers are a little different in my mind, I am strictly talking about elementary teachers.)


(three)
Other crazy.
Multiple people, and I mean MULTIPLE people (who are now, of course, unfollowed) are talking about how they won't be able to look at their relatives during the holidays, some will refuse to see them.  Because they voted for somebody different... somebody who won.
Seriously?
You people are crazy.

(four)
If you voted for HRC and you're still reading, I got one for you.
I was SO impressed with how she handled this.
And I was wrong.
 I didn't think she would handle it with grace, and I didn't think she would handle it with integrity.

LEMME MAKE THIS REAL CLEAR
There is zero way I can tell this for sure, but had HRC won...
The 'protests' and 'riots' we are seeing would have been WAY more out of control.
I don't think Trump would have conceded.
I think many Trump supporters would have lost their darn minds.
I haven't lost sight of that.

Also, and this is weird.
The last couple years, I lost almost all respect for the President.  Many of you know, the last ounces of respect went out the door during the situation in Ferguson.

but you know what?
He has been a stunning leader this week.
He has taught me a thing or two about working with the other side.
He acted responsibly,  with grace and as a true leader.
I have been crazy impressed.
Well played, Mr. President and thank you. I think your intentional play at unity this week will set a tone that can perhaps begin to heal the divisions we are experiencing. 

(five)
I am not African American.
But my husband is.
And my children are half black.
Through this entire election season (I am talking years) I have felt true sympathy for my husband.
He's gonna be mad at me for writing this, but he either won't read it, or he will let it slide.
*or, let's be honest he will ask me to and I'll delete it

To be an African American in the 2016 during election time is surreal. The amount of felt racism is so extreme, I still can't wrap my head around it.
People telling you how to vote due to the color of your skin.
People assuming you will vote a certain way due to the color of your skin.
People discussing 'the black vote' as though the color of one's skin erases your ability to think critically or individually.

And people are UNAPOLOGETIC about the racial pressure they put people under.
Because of their skin tone.
It's disgusting.

My husband is a smart man, so he shares his thoughts sometimes on social media.  I love his thoughts, so do a lot of other people.  The courage it takes for him to share those thoughts, when they don't fall in line with what black people are SUPPOSE to think?  Let me tell you friends, it's a courage I would not be able to have.

I can't handle the seemingly accepted by society,  subtle racism of so many, and you know what LEFT? I'm talking to you too. Maybe especially.


(six)
PHEW. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  I needed to.
Here's what you get for sticking around.
On Saturday, Aaron and I led a couple lessons during an Engaged Workshop. I told you about that right?
So, during the, "Sex and Relationships" talk, we started with this song, you need to give 'er a listen if you are marriaged.

It made everyone laugh, which was great and needed.
But the best part for me was watching my husband present.
He handled the, "BUT WE GET TO MAKE PEOPLE" part of the talk (also known as a brief explanation of procreation).
 I made a fancy slide where pictures of our kids came up, one by one..
When this picture came up...
Aaron stopped talking.
He put his hand to his mouth, I thought he was going to cough, or sneeze.

He didn't do either.
Much like our wedding, he said all of a sudden there was a brief smell of onion in the room.

 A man who gets emotional about the beauty of his children, in a room full of people, when talking about the miracle it is that God allows for us to make some (children) with Him...well, that's just the kind of man for me.



(seven)
Lots of presenting on tap this week... 2 confirmation retreats, a night on MERCY you are all invited to (if you live in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area) which will lead us straight into the Synod.  I'll tell you more about that next week.



The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, November 4, 2016

7 Quick Takes on double booking, loving the children and voting

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?

(one)
Do you ever do that thing where you book two things on one night, but don't realize it?
Isn't it the worst feeling?
All week, I knew I had our bi-monthly youth ministry meeting for our area on Thursday.
All week, I knew we had our dear friend coming in town on Thursday.
And I simultaneously planned both...without realizing they were the same night.
The gathering with the friend began earlier than the meeting and I still didn't realize what I had done.
While out to dinner, I received a text, 'are you coming to the meeting?'
It's such a gross feeling doing things like that isn't it?
So I missed the meeting.
I emailed my boss, explaining that I was sorry to have missed the meeting.
But man, I still feel weird this morning about it :(

(two)
The good news?  I got to hang out with my dear friend Mike.  He has almost become a mentor of sorts,and I was able to spend some time asking him very specific questions about the ever constant tension I feel between my primary vocation (family) and what I feel I have been called to (speaking on topics of faith).  We mixed some of that talk in with good catch up and lots of laughs...overall a really life-giving night.



(three)

Did you guys go to Jenna's Etsy Shop to get yourself a sugar skull remembrance frame? I wrote about it in a blog earlier this week, but we are really trying to be intentional about celebrating All Saints and Souls this month in our house.  These beautiful frames are so affordable, I was thinking it might be cool to have a collection of them to pull out during the month of November?  With all our faithful departed and their names?  Wouldn't that be a neat thing to do?  I have to talk it over with the ol' husband, but I'm thinking, for less than $100 we could have a remembrance display of sorts with all of our friends/family members who have passed.  I think that would be neat to pull out every November. 
(four)
Oh. My. Gosh. 
I am a little embarrassed about something.
I keep talking about 'Hamilton' and how much it rocks.  BUT, I hadn't listened to the whole thing yet. I enter into musicals VERY slowly.  So I listen one song at a time, listen to that song over and over, and then move on.
So I hadn't gotten to the song on Hamilton that is, um, VERY based on adult content.
I knew the soundtrack swore several times.  But this song, is pretty graphically sexual... and I just didn't know.
It doesn't make me like the soundtrack any less.  And, honestly, I don't think it's super poorly done when it comes to story telling, but it DEFINITELY would not be a song for children to listen to.

My friend Katie who blogs at Blessed with Full Hands  told me about in comments on my blog last week.
So now I know, and now you know, Hamiliton is not for children.  

(five)
Sometimes I have these moments, where my heart is just about to burst with love for my children.
They drive me crazy.Like, legit crazy.but man, I could just hold them forever and ever.
Last night, was one of those nights.  Aaron, Joey and I just snuggled in my bed, and it was the best.  Then I let them fall asleep in the big bed while Aaron and I caught up with a show in the family room. I'm aware, really, really aware that this is all really flying by.

(six)
Halloween was awesome... here's a little for you in case you aren't a facebook or instagram follower
I made that, you can be impressed

This girl is expressing joy more and more, I don't mind it one bit

I still can't believe it sometimes, what God has given

I love trick-or-treating in our little neighborhood
(seven)
T-4 days and I still have no idea what I am doing regarding voting for the President of the United States (or if I am even going to vote at all).
As we have seen in this election... a lot can happen in four days.
What.a.cluster.

That said, spoiler alert... Jesus Wins.
Have a great week!


The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Being Catholic on the Day of the Dead...

Guys, I’m not great at Liturgical Living.

I don’t always move my family through feast days like I should. I don’t always remember to take the beauty our faith holds within it, and transmit it in a developmentally appropriate way.  

But lemme tell you, yesterday, on all Saints Day… I ROCKED it out.  

After we went trick-or-treating, the kids and I sat in bed. We talked about how much fun we had, but then I talked to them about ‘Halloween’ and what it means.   The night before the ‘Holy Day’. The ‘Holy Day’ in which we celebrate saints, and as a friend pointed out, saints who do not necessarily have a feast day.  

I told the boys we would celebrate Uncle Paul on All Saints Day, because I firmly believe he is a saint in Heaven.  I asked them how we could celebrate…what we could do.  They know a lot about Uncle Paul, about his adventures, about how he loved Jesus… and how he loved candy.  Candy of all kinds.  I don’t think I ever stopped at a gas station with my dear friend without buying at least a couple bags of cheap candy.  So, to prepare them for this great feast day, I set up our dining room table with a blessed candle, our cross, Joseph and Mary, a picture of Paul, and skittles for them to eat in the morning.  I didn’t tell them I was doing it and when they woke up… 
...they were SO excited!  

“IT’S A FEAST DAY!!!” – They said.  
And they knew this day was different.  It’s so very important they know this.  And I feel so blessed that our faith proclaims that the Kingdom of God is composed of the Living and the Dead.  

Gosh. I love being Catholic.  I really do.

If you aren’t Catholic, you might not know the Church has readings that are to be proclaimed on any given day.  These universal readings help move our Church through the ‘Liturgical Year’. We also have feast days and an entire Church calendar to move us through seasons. 

Today’s feast day is the Feast of All Souls, also known as the ‘Day of the Dead’ or the Dia de Muertos.  A day when we remember those souls who are waiting to enter heaven. A day when we remember that death is not the end.  A day when we remember that Christ defeated death, which is  a message that gives us freedom, even in situations where there could be despair.

Today’s first reading is from Wisdom, and as I read it via ‘the email’ from ‘Blessed is She’, it stunned me in it’s beauty. 

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God,

and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself."


 If you’re like me you might have just skimmed the reading, go back and read it again.

No, seriously, I’ll wait.

“The souls are in the hand of God”

Our faith reminds us, those who have gone before us are at peace, that our God, in His infinite Mercy desires to be with each one of us for eternity.
Yesterday, I got a message from my friend Jenna.  Many of you know her, she blogs at ‘Call HerHappy’ and is an insanely talented artist.  She really understands blending art and ministry.  She messaged me and asked if she could make me a Dia de los Muertos frame for Paul. A frame we could have on display, through this month of November (the month in the Church where we remember the dead).  
This frame, with a hand stamped sugar skull in black ink and a customized hand-lettered and embroidered first name, will join the rest of the display I will have through the month of November, to remember those who have gone before us, and in a particular way our ‘Uncle Paul’… who taught us what it really practically means to be a saint.

Jenna has made it a mission of sorts, to have these frames be affordable, so many of us can display them in our homes on All Soul’s Day, throughout the month of November, and even throughout the year.  I want to share with you, some things about them, and highly encourage you to click THIS LINK, to get to her Etsy shop and order one for yourself, for a family member or friend who has experienced a loss for us, but a gain for Heaven.
These custom embroidered Dia de los Muertos frames are a perfect memento to gift to someone who has recently experienced a loss or for anyone who would like to remember a friend or family member in Heaven. They pair well with flowers or a heartfelt card.

These frames are designed to be a simple way to keep the names of those who have passed away in a place of honor. Their purpose is to keep the beloved deceaseds' names on display so you remember to pray for them while they are in Purgatory. November is the month dedicated to the Holy Souls, but you can keep this artwork up year round too.

Because this design is intended to be an affordable way to remember loved ones, I have created a simple design that keeps the focus on the name. If you would like something extra, charges will apply.

PRODUCT DETAILS
black plastic frame with clear plastic protector
hand-stamped sugar skull in black ink
customized hand-lettered and embroidered first name
Each piece is handmade, so there may be small variations in the actual design.

COST: $5 + shipping
GO TO HER SHOP, RIGHT NOW,  and get you one for yourself, or one for a friend/family member who has experienced a loss in recent years.  We remember our dead, we cherish our dead and we pray for our dead as they pray for us.

Our faith is so awesome because it teaches there is a strong link between the living and the dead.  Our faith reminds me that death DOES.NOT.WIN.  Our faith can make a skull a symbol of beauty because it reminds us of what Christ has conquered.  I hate so much that I won’t see Paul here on earth again. So much.  But I am so thankful to know he is interceding for so many of us up in heaven. I joke when I give presentations, that not many people can be pretty confident their best friend is chilling with Jesus and asking for things on their behalf … but I can.


Saint Paul… Pray for us J


Friday, October 28, 2016

7 Quick Takes, Hamilton, The Walking Dead, and a crying baby

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
I am starting my Quick Takes on Thursday... because I have SO much to tell you about.

(one)
I don't care how late to the party I am, I am going to talk about Hamilton as though opening night was yesterday.

So, maybe you don't follow pop culture at all, so you've never heard about Hamilton.
It's fine. I'll just tell you right now, it's the most popular musical in 2016.

I tried to listen to it maybe four months ago, and was like, 'meh' so I didn't listen again.
(and "tried to listen" means playing it downstairs while my kids run around and I can't really pay attention).

But then, Aaron recorded the PBS Special on it.  We watched it Tuesday night, and I have listened to nothing but the music from the Musical since.

I was a history major for a second.  Did you know that?  It was the drama of history I found so irresistible.  The drama of this musical is like nothing I have heard before.  I have never listened to a musical that drew me in so deeply and so emotionally, plus it's just really 'cool'.  The hip hop way of explaining historical events from a first person point of view... I can't say enough about how much this has captured me.

BUT THEN
After one full day of listening to songs. I got to a song called, "It's Quiet Uptown".
Guys. I have NEVER listened to a song like this in my life.
The song is about a husband and wife moving through the grief of losing their son, and moving back to each other after distrust and pain.
I stole this from Wikipedia,  but it's the perfect explanation...

."Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times said "No contemporary musical has touched grief in a song as profoundly as 'It's Quiet Uptown,' which I'll confess is impossible for me to listen to without tearing up"


You need to listen to it now, but have tissue close at hand.


no, seriously, listen to it. It's worth it.

Wait, if you didn't listen, at least read these lyrics.

"There are moments that words don't reach
There is a grace too powerful too name
We push away what we don't understand
We push away the unimaginable"

COME.ON.

Okay, here's the thing. I am going to NYC in 6 weeks, and somebody has got to know somebody who knows somebody who can get me tickets to this show right!?!?!  Like, I know it's an impossible request... but somebody! Please....

If not, I understand. But man, listen to this musical.  Seriously.

(two)
Wrote about this bad boy on "thefacebook" as well, but if you are not watching "This is Us" you should be.  It's so good.  So good.  What I love most, and hopefully this isn't a spoiler, but if you are sensitive to spoilers you shouldn't read...
What I love most is the way the show presents past events shaping our present selves.
And this week? With the painting?  I cried so hard I couldn't catch my breath at one point.

(three)
It's almost been a week, and I am still having a hard time framing the violence in The Walking Dead last Sunday.  There were good conversations about it on "thefacebook" and real life... but I'm only in for a couple more episodes and if the tides don't change, I think I'll stop watching.

(four)
I'm done talking about entertainment for a moment to talk about politics.
The stunning hypocrisy of our leadership continues to amaze me.
I read this week Jay Z was hosting a concert for HRC.
I thought of some Jay Z lyrics, and let's just say, many of his songs lack implied consent. Many of his songs are off the charts when it comes to the vulgarity and misogyny.
Gosh. The inconsistency of 2016 is AMAZING
...
And I'm still not voting for Trump, so don't get all riled up 
(unless Jesus tells me to last minute)

(five)
Ministry People 
We are at the point with BOLD Ministries where we speak at a lot of things.
I see ministry done in a bunch of ways.
On Tuesday night, at St. John Vianney Parish in Shelby Township, I saw the most profound Confirmation Rehearsal.
My good friend John is in charge.
His Confirmation class is huge.  He had candidates and sponsors attend the rehearsal (normal).
He began with announcements on the practicality of how the Sacrament was going to take place the following two days (normal).

Then the Script was flipped.

John explained the announcements were the least important part of the night.  After 20 minutes of announcements, the rehearsal became Spiritual Preparation for the Sacrament. 
1.5 hours of praise and worship, 10 (TEN!!!!) priests available for confession, and an unleashing of profound grace to prepare the candidates for the life-changing reality of the Sacrament.

If you run Confirmation Prep... you're gonna want to do something like what my friend John did.  The Spirit was so alive. The night was so different than anything I've ever seen.
I ran Confirmation for almost 10 years. I've never witnessed such an unleashing. 
An unleashing of the Gospel (good news) if you will ;)
(shout out to Synod 16) 

(six)
On Monday night little Aaron had another bad dream.  
He was crying in his bed and he woke me up.
"Mom, I had a dream I was mad at you"
he yelled from his room
"So I flushed you down the toilet, but then I wanted you to come back, and you couldn't"
funny. I know.
I did what I usually do, I told him to say some prayers for good dreams and go back to bed...
Then I fell back asleep.
About ten minutes later, I wake up to his tiny voice saying,
"Our...Father...who art in heaven"

YOU GUYS.
he had been laying in bed saying his prayers quietly so bad dreams would go away.
Needless to say I told him to run into my bed to snuggle. 

Gosh. Sometimes the moments of adorable are hard to take.

(seven)
Oh, I have to tell you this or Aaron will be mad at me because he is really proud of himself.
Last week, Aaron (husband) was making me SO.DARN.MAD.
The usual complaints...

Not doing enough around the house...
taking me for granted...
on his technology too much, etc...

One good thing about my husband, is when I need to vent, he understands, he doesn't get defensive if I call my sisters and explain the new reason I am annoyed with him ;)

SO.
I was on the phone with my sister downstairs complaining while folding clothes.  I MIGHT have been talking loudly so the ol' husband could hear.  I moved upstairs and continued.  Aaron was watching A Walking Dead special on tv.

As I was talking on the phone, a baby began to cry on TV. I figured it was from the show.
Aaron left the room and went in the bedroom.
My sister said, "Is that Malia, I hear a baby crying?"
I told her it was the television and kept complaining.

A few minutes later we heard a NEW baby crying. This time louder and more persistent.

"WHAT IS THAT?"
I said.
I walked into the family room.  
Aaron had put on a youtube video on our big tv with a baby crying.

To indicate I was being a baby and whining.

He has since done this several times, whenever I begin my lists of grievances. 

He thinks he's funny.
I think he's annoying (and really funny).

Have a Great week friends...
And LISTEN TO HAMILTON
(warning, there are some swear words)

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!