Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Budget, Happy Life: Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Where to Go From Here...

Happy Budget, Happy Life: Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Where to Go From Here...: First and foremost, let me say that the death of Michael Brown is a tragedy.  My prayers go out to his family for losing a child.  As a p...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Look at this.

Take a second and look at those three boys.
Look at the three I am blessed to be with every single day.
Their smiles.
Their unique characteristics, but created from the same two people.
And God. 
It had to be mostly God.
Because look at those three boys.

They drive me crazy.
At LEAST once a day I lose my temper-
I yell at them like an ACTUAL crazy person.
Their faces always looked shocked when I do it
but the bummer is they also look sad.
I hate that I do that to them.

I get tired being their mom sometimes
really tired.
It's so hard to clean up after them. 
The clean up never stops.
I mean, it never stops to the point that sometimes I am overwhelmed. 
Resentful that this has become my life.  moving from one mess to the next.
It's so hard.  So very hard.

And the laundry. I feel like I can't keep up with it.
In the washer, into the dryer, in baskets upstairs
Folding for EVER
put away in drawers
By the end of laundry day there is already a full basket waiting to be washed.
How does that happen?
And my gosh, it's never gone stop.
I can't think about that too much or I start to panic.
Will my life really revolve around a washer/dryer for the next twenty years?

Leaving the house is a FREAKING FIASCO.
When you have a 3, 2,  and 1 year old, it takes a half hour to get out of the house.
That's not an exaggeration.
If I have to leave the house at a certain time, I need a half hour to get out of the house.
Between the shoes, the coats, the potty, the diaper bag...
by the time we get in the car I am sweaty and furious.
I have said I need a fairy, who flies in to get my boys ready to leave...
I'd be happier with that fairy.

But you guys...
The one on the left talks my ear off.  The other day I took him to Old Navy, we got home and he was eating dinner. "I had SO much fun today mom"- he says.  His feet grow at this crazy rapid rate, and today, when I pulled him out of the bathtub, I almost started crying because he is getting so tall.

The middle one.  You guys, I am tearing up when I write this...he has taken to asking me every morning 'how'd you sleep?'.  He then asks what I dreamed about.  He is a goofy little dude.  He walks around the house with his 'pillow' which is actually his blankie and is trying to understand he can't use his PACEEEEFIRE anymore.  He wraps his little body around me all the time.  He has that perfect little squeaky voice.

That one on the right.  Oh my gosh. He is our joy.  We can't believe we got him, because we certainly didn't plan on him.  He waddles, not really a walk.  He gives me kisses now- basically just smacking his open mouth against my face.  He climbs and has always known to go directly for what he is not allowed to have.  Oh my gosh, how he loves his brothers.  He gives his big brother 'snuggles' every morning.  It's unbelievably cute.

I am so blessed.
Blessed beyond measure.
And yet so often,I forget. I get tired, bogged down, I feel like I am the silent martyr, serving in ways not noticed.
But  it's not like that.
I am actually the luckiest gal in the world.
I just need to remember.
I just need to look at this.

Friday, November 21, 2014

7 quick takes- the sassy and happy variety

So the President spoke yesterday.  About Immigration Reform.  I make it practice never to listen to our President speak (or any politician for the most part) because I don't enjoy being lied to in fancy ways.  But, the ol' husband feels differently and nothing else was on, so I couldn't justify not letting him watch.  It was terrifying. I used a lot of swear words, and not even about the Immigration Reform part of his talk.  I find him to be an incredibly powerful, incredibly dangerous, man. Would you like to know why?  Because of the way he speaks, intentionally, intent on creating and encouraging division.  As I said last night, he is the worst kind of leader.   That's all Imma say about that.
The last couple weeks have been a bit crazy 'round these parts.  If you've been following the employment history of my family, the the last couple of months have been a wild ride.  After a lot of discernment, conversation, concerns and excitement, Aaron has decided to take a new job.  He will be an IT Manager for a company called Cooper Standard.  I couldn't be happier for him and his hard work.  He'll have a large team of people under him and he will move into a new role of strategy and growth.   It's a really good thing for our family.  But, I am also terrified.

"Terrified?" you say, "Why would you be terrified?"

Well,  my friends, I have always said, I LEGIT don't understand how women, whose husbands travel, make life work.  And, for the first time in our married life, Aaron will be traveling, quarterly and out of the country.  monthly and in the country.  PANIC!!!!  I need advice.  How am I gonna make this work?  Those of you whose husbands travel...what do you do to make it work?  I told Aaron, in order to even be able to sleep in this house without him here, I'm gonna need a good alarm system, a gun or perhaps I will just stay with my parents when he is out of town.  AHHHHH I am freaking the freak over here.  Talk to me friends!

My eldest is potty trained. I very purposefully have not shared potty-training updates because, not that I am judging those of you that do, I just think it's gross.  But he is trained and we have survived.  
Let's talk about moving.  So, with the husband's new job, we decided we are gonna put the pause button on the move probably till the Fall, because, frankly, we are going to have a lot to adjust to.  BUT and this is a real interesting but, I am DESPERATELY trying to get Aaron to agree to move to a little known neighborhood called, 'Cherry Hill Village'.  For you locals, although I grew up in Canton, I very intentionally was not super psyched to raise a family there, EXCEPT Cherry Hill Village- which is honestly, like, the cutest neighborhood in all of southeast Michigan (so sayith me). If we moved there, we'd need to start the process in March. Anyway, I have been working on the old husband and he has been resisting.  So, here's my question- how do you force your spouse to agree with you on where to live when he doesn't?  j/k.  Kind of, okay no, it's a totally serious question- how can I manipulate this situation?  and...go!
The whole neighborhood looks like this!!!! Le sigh.

To celebrate Aaron's new job, we had ourselves a fancy 24 hours.  You know, I love me a fancy 24 hours.  For the first time in our marriage though, I was one who got to plan it.  Rumor is, I done good.  We went to the 'Gandy Dancer' in Ann Arbor for Brunch and I had myself my first Bellini.  Delicious.  Look- this is what happy Mary looks like, well rested with a Bellini.  Awesome-sause

K- I have discovered the best place to take under-5 children, at the suggestion of my good friend Erin (who actually needs to start blogging again).  It's a hike because it's downriver, but it is SO FANTASTIC.  It's not INSANELY expensive (if you stay there awhile) and the boys love it.  FUNTASTIC you're the place for me.  I'd take you over Jungle Java any day- twice on Sundays.

So Edel.  For those of you not in the know, it's a Catholic woman's blogging conference. I really wanted to go this year.  But, it doesn't make a lot of sense for me.  We thought of having it be a Aaron and I trip, but, honestly, I really rode the struggle bus leaving the kids this past summer and I don't think I'm up for a 'fly away from the children' trip again for a very.long.time.  Then I thought about just me going, but honestly it'd be a tremendous amount of cash flow to spend on yours truly when we are trying to get my dream house in Cherry Hill Village.  And so, I won't be going.  Jealousy is not an emotion I sport often (praise you Jesus) but this week I did my had my fair share of jealous thoughts.  Some of them included the tears of a bratty 34 year old, actin' like a 6 year old. So, that's that.

Have a great week.  If you wanna link to more takes, we are in a new place this week... Go Check IT OUT

And whilst checking that out, check out Aaron's blog and anxiously await his #fridays!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at  Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 7, 2014

7QT on elections, presentations and pregnancy tests....

So, you know how sometimes people are all like, “ahhhh three year olds are all sorts of not awesome!”  I completely disagree. I freaking love me some three year olds. I love the conversations we have.  I love the learning that goes down. I love the funny things that come out of their mouths, especially on a day of stress.  Lil’ A has been shortening and shortening his nap in the afternoon (which is sadder to me than I can even let on)- and he woke up early yesterday as I was doing my house clean.  He came in the kitchen and said, “Can I help?”  to which I responded “Ahhh, you can help by just sitting there and being the freaking cutest kid I have ever seen”.  He paused and said, “Being cute isn’t helping”.  I died.  By the way, any time I get overwhelmed with all the cute in the house, I say “I’m dying.”  Lil A says it all the time as well "I'm dying!".  Kids are awesome.  Now if, at any point, you wanna take my 15-20 month olds…they are all yours *that is a phase I could do without.
So you know all the election business. I try not to comment too much, because I try not to alienate people and I still like to live in the lie that my social media friends don’t know which end of the spectrum I am on (as if).  Anyway, the thing is, our president has REALLY done ticked me off a lot this year. To the point where I am like, ‘hey, um, this is America right?”  And that’s been stressful.  Then there’s my state.  And my state’s been doing really well lately financially, after a lot of really not well, even though sacrifices had to be made to get us there.  So, the thing is, the elections were really great.  That’s all I’m sayin’ (read into it what you’d like).  

I do some ministry (a lot) and I love it (a lot).  And next week, I have like, 4 major presentations/retreats.  That’s crazy land right?  But it’s good, because I love it. And, in a particular way, the presentations I am doing next week are really gonna be fun.  But I am also on a lot of committees, and I am also a mom.  I’ve been doing a lot of discernment  in terms of how my vocation should be playing out right now.  Kid #4 is on the table right now (not an announcement- just on the table) and if that comes to fruition, something has got to give.  So, anyway, if you pray, shout one out for me as I try to prioritize and figure out where God wants me.
I told you guys we are going to move right?  Probs in March.  And I’ve been looking at houses. And it’s hard.  Because I have this part of me that is very idealistic that’s like, ‘do we neeeeeeed’ this space, or do I just want it?  Should we be spending our max just because we can, or live more simply?  
And once again ‘idealistic Mary’ (who thought we’d live in this little house in Redford with 12 kids forever) is in a fight with ‘realistic Mary’ who has sold out and got bougie (I don' t think that's how you spell that word). 
But I really want a dining room. And I really want a bigger bathroom. And, frankly, I really want a better school system for the kids (om lowercase g, I have become THAT person).  Anyway, that’s my update. 
Aaron started a blog. It’s good and it’s funny, but kind of ugly. 

“But at this point it far exceeds mine.  I’m in awe of his awesomeness and creativity.  Just another reason why Aaron is just so amazing in more ways than one and I am humbled to be his wife.” (that sentence was added by Aaron of course).  

I’m gonna make it prettier, soon.  The content is hilarious and will be spot on.  He’s gonna write about lots of things, but probably mostly what we’ve learned financially.  Which is good stuff.  Anyway, you’d like it- so add it to the blogs you read.

So, do you think you know what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality?  Maybe you do, but maybe you don’t.  I do lots of presentations on this particular topic and I find that about 10% of engaged Catholics actually fully understand the Church’s teaching.  And, when it comes to society, I gotta say, like almost no one knows.  Anyway, tomorrow night, I am speaking at Theology on Tap on the topic.  That means you can come out, have a few beers and listen to a short presentation and what the Church ACTUALLY teaches (vs. what you think She teaches) and why She teaches it.  Maybe you totally get and love what you think the Church teaches.  Maybe you think you know what the teaching is, but you are not sure.  Maybe you are super offended by what the Church teaches.  Regardless, it could be fun for you to go.  As long as you don’t want to fight me.  I’m not gonna lie, I did this presentation one time, and this group of people came to fight me, and they ended up hugging me…so, you can come if you want to fight me, as long as you promise to hug me at the end (and you don’t fight me during the presentation, because that’s always awkward and happens almost every time….).  See you there!  RSVP on the facebook if you are coming.  Just search facebook, ‘November Theology on Tap’.

Yesterday I went into Target. I’m not, for the most part, allowed in Target, because I always spend a crud ton of money. I went to buy some pregnancy tests (I’m not pregnant, we are just getting ready for when I am) and some beer.  First, that’s an awkward combination at the check-out lane, and they don’t have a ‘do it yourself check out’ lane.  
So, that was weird. 
Especially because I was checking out with a 3, 2, and 1 year old….and, as a reminder, buying pregnancy tests and beer.  So anyway, she went to scan the pregnancy test and it didn’t scan, so then she had to study it, and I was legit embarrassed.  
But that’s not what the story is about.  By the time I checked out, it was $70.  That’s why I am not allowed at Target.  But, I bought the boys two sets of matching Christmas pajamas to get us through the season.  I had to.  It was a necessity because God gave us three boys quickly, and they are scrumptious in matching pajamas. I told Aaron the total and the unexpected purchase, half expecting I’d have to return it.  BUT, I didn’t it.  He let me keep them.  YAAAAY.  But I won’t be going to Target for awhile.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at  Conversion Diary!

Monday, November 3, 2014

On raising saints and realizing we are all sinners...

This weekend one of the alumni from my youth program was suppose to take pictures of my boys.  He couldn't because my John Paul got sick.  It was a bummer because his pictures are really beautiful and I need to get some done for the Fall, so I'll need to reschedule.

You didn't need to know that last part, but I didn't want you to worry that pictures wouldn't be taken.

Anyway, in our text message conversation he said, 'I can meet after 8:00 am church'.  And it made my heart happy.  Because he is still going to church.  He is fancy and becoming a doctor- and yet, he still goes to church at 8:00 am.  Isn't that cool?

The thing is, I have a LOT of alumni who aren't going to church.  Those who have rejected faith completely.  Social media is an amazing thing isn't it?  Maybe ten years ago, I wouldn't have noticed- but now, I keep in touch with a lot of the young people I have had the privilege to serve. I'm gonna break it down for you, a lot more have rejected faith than are living it.  It's just the truth.  And this bums me out more than I can possibly express.  There was this one, who posted on this page about how he explored Catholicism (his family's faith) and decided it wasn't for him.  He decided to convert to another religion, since being Catholic never made sense...and I'm all like, 'but homie, you never even talked to me'.  Then there are the young adults who are living lives contrary to the values/morals we talked about at 'youth group' every week.

And man. This bums me out.  SO MUCH. I cant even tell you how much.

doing my ministry thang
But then I hear the voices who remind me what my job was/is.  In ministry, we hopefully plant seeds, and sometimes they are watered and sometimes they are not.  The influences of society are so strong, so intense, to be a young Catholic takes so much perseverance, so much fortitude.  Honestly, if I didn't have the support structures in place that I did (family, faith community, friends, college of faith, etc...) I don't think I could have done it.  I know that I only had very limited exposure to the kids I worked with, but sometimes I am so stuck on the fact that I know I could have done more.

Then I think about my kids.  My three boys. And how desperately I want them to be saints in heaven one day.  When I do presentations with parents, and they come up to me, often with tears in their eyes, explaining how their children have rejected the truths of faith they tried to instill, I get so.scared.  When I see the social media pages of young men I have been blessed to serve and see how many of them have fallen prey to the messages of today, and how few of them are comfortable being men of faith.  It terrifies me. I worry about my children so much.  The futures they will have.  I worry about the decisions they will make during those key years (7th and 10th grade being the most important). I worry they won't find the right friends to encourage them. I worry they will be influenced by the wrong thing. I worry about how to expose them to the reality of our society while still keeping them sheltered from the terrible things that come with it.  I worry all the time... and I think my worry is intensified by watching the social media of the teens I have worked with in my 12 years of ministry.

I see that only a small number of them are living a faith of any kind, and only a handful or two are living lives of discipleship (I know, I know, I can't make that judgment....but you know, you know, we still do).

And om lowercase g...I get kind of overwhelmed.

I got to work with these girls at Mercy.
Now they be a campus and youth minister!
But then I think of that alumni who said, 'I'm going to church at 8 first'.  And the young adults who message me with questions of faith and experiences of living as adult Catholics. I think of the alumni who are volunteering with teens and oh my gosh, a couple of the kids who I once knew are now youth ministers!  Can you believe that?  There's a teen I worked with when I first started that's getting his PH freaking D in Jesus (well, not really in Jesus, but in Jesus things)I remind myself that faith is hard, but not impossible.  That living it is a tough life, but not so much that no one is choosing it.  I remind myself that my only job is to love and pray that love helps people of all kinds, including my children, see who the person of Christ is.

But jeez, that's tough too, the loving part.  I mean, it probably wasn't super loving when I told lil' A to stop touching me at 5:45 am (oh my gosh, fall backward sucks) this morning.  But then again, I followed it with, 'I'm just kidding, get over here and snuggle me...but take it down a notch'.

Anyway, there's no real point to this post except to say...

I thought being a church worker was tough in terms of the millstone around my neck, but that ain't got nothing on my responsibility to the three little dudes God has entrusted me with.

And it's just so hard to raise saints when I am such a sinner.

You feel me right?

Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, October 31, 2014











"Why I married the girl that gave me tens of thousands of dollars of debt"
"Why my wife is the best person in the world"
"Why my wife's job is harder than mine"
"How the millionaire CEO of Apple, is pretty much the same as Martin Luther King Jr"
"The ins and outs of white privilege"
"How my white wife pretty much perpetuates racism"
"Why I can't replace garbage bags when I bring out the trash"
"Why bringing out the trash is my one job and I just.can't.get.it.right" 

So many suggestions I will have!

(did you think the news was something else?  Not yet!)

7 Quick takes. With a little sass and a little stand up from my brother in law to end it!

Happy Halloween!  The Wilkerson boys will be trick-or-treating as homemade cars. I'm not gonna lie, as you may know I am NOT a crafter/decorator/etc... It's just not in my blood.  But, this year I got some inspiration, some baby wipe/baby diaper boxes and a roll of colored duct tape, then I made me some costumes.  We went to our little downtown Redford Halloween party (which was kind of a bust to be honest, way too much standing around for our little guys) and a LOT of people told us the costumes were awesome.  I felt real good about that.

You guys.  This pope stuff. I swear.  So much I could say, but I'm gonna say this.  People are genuinely surprised when they are finding out what the Church actually teaches.  While this could be total annoying (and frankly, kind of is) I like framing it as an opportunity to share with people.  Because if people are this surprised, it's because we have been doing a crud job of teaching.  And the good news is, those of us who are teachers have an awesome oppurtunity to teach.  I can't tell you how many non-Catholics have been asking me Catholic questions ever since Pope Francis became pope.  And that, my friends, ain't nothin' but awesome.

If you don't care about celebrities, you won't care about this next take.  If you follow celebrity gossip, you might care.  I saw a tweet a few weeks ago that really stuck with me.
If you cried about Robin Williams and you're laughing about Amanda Bynes, check yourself. Mental illness isn't a spectator sport.
Sorry, one more thing about Pope Francis.  Isn't it crazy how irresponsible media is?  I mean, I know we all know this, but it's still stunning sometimes.  Because like, really legit news organizations are just flat out lying about the Catholic Church.  Not being misleading, but lying (spoiler: we've always taught, in modern times, evolution is compatible with our faith).  It's crazy to me, because I don't know a lot of things well, but I know Catholicism pretty darn well, so I am very aware when media is lying about my Church.  It really has given me a pause as I think of the kazillion other things I probably take as truth, just because I don't know any better.  SCARY right?

Do you guys watch the show 'The Profit'?  No?  Okay, lemme give you a brief synopsis.  This guy, who's name I don't know, comes into companies that are in dire straights and invests in them if they clean up their businesses.  Anyway, this week, he tried to help out a family of crazy financially irresponsible people.  Their business was broke, in debt, and yet they had a boat and drove BMWs.  It was fascinating watching it, because they REALLY couldn't connect the problem.  The investor ended up walking because he felt they were being dishonest about their debt/spending/etc... but the thing is my heart really went out to them. I don't think they were trying to be dishonest. I really think they couldn't connect their spending to the fact that they were broke.  It really resonated with me because I remember being there. I remember being flat broke, avoiding phone calls from creditors who called all.the.time. I remember having constant knots in my stomach about my finances, losing sleep, paying the bill that was 3 months late, because once it went to 4 months, it could mean serious trouble.  At the same time, I drove a new car, went out to eat, smoked cigarettes and had at least a few 'bar nights' a month.  And I didn't connect the two.  Mr. Ramsey talks all the time about debt being 80% behavioral and 20 % about money.  He is so right.

That was a long story- thanks for sticking with it.

So, my sisters (with born children) all live out of state.  That really sucks for me. My kids have like 23 first cousins they rarely see.  I can't tell you how much this bums me out.  But guess what?  Tonight, my sister and her five children are in town...SO WE GET TO GO TRICK OR TREATING WITH THEM!  Wanna see the last time I went trick-or-treating with them?!?!
That was six or seven years ago and 9 kids ago.  I was single and hating it, but loving my nieces and nephews. Tonight should be great.

My brother in law is a stand up comedian and he is performing in Michigan this weekend?!?! WHAT?!?!?!  How awesome is that?  Wanna come?  It's $12 and lots of fun. Lemme know if you want to see him, but watch this to see how truly funny he is...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!