7 Helpful Gifts for the Postpartum Mom

One of the sweetest things I can think of to do for a newly postpartum mom is to bring something for her.  So often, people bring something for the baby, which is lovely and generous, of course, but a gift for mom is a beautiful, tangible way to let her know that her job is important and that she’s remembered, too.  And usually baby is already well taken care of; it’s mom who needs a little TLC, right?

When we really look at it we can be honest and admit our postpartum culture in our wonderful country stinks.  It really does.  In most places around the world and throughout history a woman would have a whole community of women gathering around to help for at least six weeks.  She barely gets out of bed, doesn’t have to think about cooking or cleaning or tending her other children, and is able to focus her primary attention on nursing, bonding with her baby, and healing. 

but what we can do is think of small ways to show mom that she matters, too

Here?  We get maybe a week, two if we’re lucky, sometimes with a couple meals from lovely friends dropped off at the door (and often those friends have their own brood of little ones to tend to), and then we’re done and expected to be back to normal life again.  When a woman has a need to be cared for physically, mentally, and emotionally and when the community has the chance to truly show their support of new life, we kinda fail.  It doesn’t foster a culture of life and doesn’t breed well for healthy motherhood.  It’s no coincidence that our rate of PPD, postpartum physical issues, and nursing complications is higher.

We’re not going to change that overnight, especially when many of us are running our homes and raising little ones, but what we can do is think of small ways to show mom that she matters, too. And maybe in that way do our own little part to support a culture of life.

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Food

Always food.  A ready made dinner is wonderful or something frozen that she can easily take out on a rough day.  So is a batch of healthy muffins or an egg casserole for breakfast.  Or a bag of basic groceries.  One of the greatest way to help is to organize a meal schedule and pester people to sign up (and yes, sometimes you have to do a lot of pestering) so that at least that first month postpartum has a meal brought every other day.  Both Care Calendar and Take Them a Meal are super convenient (and free!) resources for online scheduling so people can pick a day that works for them.  A gracious mom would, of course, never snub any meal brought but a gracious giver also should take into account the family’s eating style, preferences, and (of course) allergies.

If a homemade meal is not doable, a gift certificate for any local restaurant that delivers so that she can pick the day she needs it most, is also a wonderful idea.

Nursing Basket
I sometimes like to give these at baby showers but they’re great for a postpartum gift as well.  Possible things to include:  a water bottle, some healthy granola bars or other snacks, a magazine or book, good breast pads, some Mother’s Milk tea, some nipple cream or lanolin, maybe a nursing cover (if you think she’d appreciate that).  I’ve even included a nursing tank at times if I think mom would use it.
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Certificate for Cleaning

Oh my, I would be thrilled to get something like this postpartum.  What a generous gift that would be!  Often you can find deals for housecleaning on sites like Groupon and the like and they’re not too unreasonable.  Why not go in on one with a group of friends?  Or, if you know she’s not the type of person that would feel guilty and can accept your help, maybe you could offer to come for a few hours yourself and scrub some bathrooms and vacuum while she rests and snuggles that little one?

Bath and Body Items

I’ve made homemade crunchy-type baskets full of personal gifts for the mom and baby but you could certainly do it with store-bought things as well.  I like to include some homemade herbal bath packs and bath salts to help with healing, some homemade salve, tea (either a breastfeeding tea or a red raspberry leaf tea would be a good choice to help her body recover), and maybe some calming essential oil blends.  If you know her favorite lotion or soap, you could put that in, too.  Earth Mama Angel Baby makes some wonderful natural products specifically for postpartum moms – balm, bath herbs, and bottom spray to name a few.

In-house Massage .

A few of our local massage therapists have just begun offering in-house postpartum services!  Wouldn’t that be lovely to give?  A gift certificate (again, maybe with a few friends if you can’t afford it on your own) for a half hour or hour massage where mom didn’t even have to pack up baby and leave her house?  Luxury.

Help with Any Older Children

Some moms are more comfortable if you come stay at the house and simply keep the kids busy and fed.  Others would love for you to come take the older kids away for a few hours so she can have a little bit of quiet and rest (especially if you have your own children that will need to be there).  Ask her which one she would prefer and respect her boundaries with what is allowed and not allowed with her children.  (And please don’t bring them back high on sugar or too overtired! ;)

A Spiritual Bouquet

One of the absolute best gifts I think you could give a mom is the gift of prayer.  You can do it yourself or, even better, arrange for a group of friends to offer their own Rosaries, Masses, sacrifices, and other prayers for her during this special yet often difficult time.  Let her know in a card or some other way the things that you are all doing to lift her up in prayer and support her.  Maybe attach a Blessed Mother, Saint Brigid (patroness of newborns), or Saint Monica (patroness of mothers) medal or prayer card along with it.

I’m confident that helping and supporting and valuing postpartum mothers more is vital to building up a culture of life.  Got any other ideas of tangible ways we can support these moms?  Please share any ideas you have (or things you valued or would have loved to have had yourself) in the combox!

Mary Haseltine is a mom to four (and another currently in womb), a certified doula, and writer of things at www.betterthaneden.com where she blogs about babies, birth, her faith, marriage, homeschooling, and any other random ridiculousness that strikes her fancy.

 

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Church Tour: Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, FL

Today I am going to give you a tour of my church. My church is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, FL. It is America’s First Parish. The amount of history in this church is such a cool part of the parish.

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We are about to celebrate our 450th anniversary of the city and the parish in September. Because of that the church is actually closed until Palm Sunday to finish the renovations and therefore I was unable to get new/better photos.

I did however find this great video about the history of the church and the restorations currently in process. I didn’t even know all the information about the restoration before watching this video.

The church has hired liturgical artists (I didn’t even know that was a thing) who go around the country and restore churches. The artists have been repainting all the murals and matching the colors in our church by hand. It is amazing to watch. One of our priests was telling us one week in his homily how he goes into the cathedral just about everyday to watch them in action and sometimes asks them questions about how they got into liturgical painting and other questions about the job.

The entire Restoration process has been really interesting for the city as well. We’re constantly in the news for different things. A few months ago they moved the altar to restore the tile and they found a time capsule from the 1960s. They will be creating a new time capsule from 2015 before restoring the floor and placing the altar back in March. I think they should put an old iPhone or other electronic gadget inside.

This past week the news was downtown at the cathedral once again as the Marble from Italy arrived! I think it’s been really cool to see how the city reacts so positively to the Catholic History and how the news and been really positive. It really makes me appreciate our faith and the history of our churches.

One of the things I did get photos of before the church closed for renovations was before and after pictures of Mary. I know these pictures aren’t the best but in the after photo you can see how the gold is more prominent and restored.

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The ceiling images have also been restored nicely.

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One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to visit new churches. I always learn about new saints and art and the beauty that is the church when I visit a new church. I hope you have enjoyed this mini church tour of my parish and a little bit about church restorations. If you have any questions about anything I have explained feel free to leave me questions in the comments, and I will ask around until I find you the answer!

 

Keep in the know with updates from the Cathedral Basilica on Facebook!

 

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Beth Anne blogs at BethAnnesBest.com where you can enjoy her stories about her travels, being single, Lent Meals, and being Catholic. She believes everyone has a story that needs to be shared. She helps creative people with mundane tasks as a VA. She loves God, Disney World, and Chocolate.

How To Meal Plan Faster and Cheaper

I have found a system to plan meals that has been a much better fit with both our schedule and our wallet. So when Jenna asked for a guest post that was a “How To” I knew that if it helped even one person than I should share!

How To Meal Plan Faster and Cheaper (1)

Here are some details about us, and why this fits so well in our lifestyle

  • I am home most days and we try to eat at home as much as possible
  • We have a deep freeze and can stock up on meats and freezable foods
  • I like to cook (sometimes) and am fairly proficient at adapting recipes
  • I get bored of repetitive meals, quickly
  • We don’t have any allergies or sensitivities and eating healthy, balanced meals is important to us

My first trick – Buy meat only when it is on sale, and not just a little bit, but a good hefty discount. Walking in the store with things like “pork tenderloin” and “rump roast” on your list, and having to buy them whether they are full price or not can increase your spending tremendously. As I gradually came to learn what a good price for each kind and cut of meat is, now when I see it, I can stock up! The large box of frozen chicken breasts that I like to buy is full price $36.99 but goes on sale for $25! I also stock up (buy enough for 3 or 4 meals worth) on beans, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, and other canned or frozen goods that can last a long time when they are significantly on sale.

Second trick – Shop the edges. When I get out to the grocery store, which is always super fun with a 2-year-old and 1-year-old, I try to make it in and out as fast as possible. I usually load them up in the double cart, and race around the peripheries of the store because the edges are where all the fresh stuff is – all the additives and preservatives live in the center aisles of most grocery stores. I load up the cart with any meats and freezable staples but only if they are on sale! Then, I grab the vegetables and fruit and dairy and other perishables that are needed for this weeks recipes, as well as any other must haves that are on the grocery list. Since veggies make up half our meals (more on that later), we go through a lot of them, so again, I buy a lot of what is on sale and in season, and have had to stretch myself to learn how to cook them in delicious ways (which is possible!)

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Third trick – Shop your freezer (and pantry).  Within a few weeks of buying meats on sale, my freezer usually has quite a few options. I use my handy freezer inventory (which, honestly, is normally in my head, but I wrote it out all pretty for this posts sake!) and pick a protein to base each days meals off, usually trying to rotate through beef, pork, chicken and fish (we try to have at least one meatless day each week too). This also gives me a chance to take into consideration what days a crock pot or a quick meal would be helpful. I don’t plan a left over night for every week, because I find with my husband taking leftovers to have for lunch at work and the kids and I eating other leftovers for our lunch some days, we usually take care of them pretty well.

Trick number 4 – A Balanced Meal. My meal philosophy (ever since we did a Whole30 this past August) has been trying to have our dinner plates look something like this:

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and in real life:

Meal Plan 5

Not that it is always laid out on the plate that pretty. Sometimes it is all stacked up, like in the “cottage pie” that I like to make, which has a base of half vegetables and half meat, covered with a mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Roughly the same proportions but as a one “pot” meal… less dishes! Other times it is baked chicken thighs, rice, a quick salad of whatever is on hand, and some steamed frozen veggies. But working vegetables into at least half the meal is important to me, and I try to do it as much as possible.

mealplan2

Trick 5 – Remember what you like! When I am trying to think of meals based off the frozen meats we have on hand, I sometimes use a list I keep (in the back of Kelly’s awesome planner!) of meals I know we love and I can make without too much trouble. You could easily keep this list as a Pinterest board, or in Evernote or however you like to organize, but it is helpful in moments when I am not too creative. Other times I look on Pinterest or Google for recipes centering around two or three of the main ingredients I am working with (try it… type in three random foods in Pinterest and almost always something delicious appears! This started out that way and turned into a fam fave!)

I like to use the Pocket app on my phone to save recipes people (like some of my favourite bloggers) share or that I see on Facebook. So sometimes I look there too.

Trick 6 – Leave some room for Spontaneity. Once I have picked 5 main dishes (I guess it’s still the main dish, although often it doesn’t take up the majority of our plates) I just work with what I have on hand for sides and vegetables. I also do not plan for the weekends, since our plans change a lot on Saturday and Sunday, and my husband also likes to have his ideas (and his hands) involved in the cooking those days. Since vegetables don’t normally require as much forethought and planning (read: defrosting) I often just add that part on the day of, and use whatever needs using up or seems to fit with the main dish. But other days it is more integral to the meal (like when it’s spaghetti squash and meatballs or a one pot meal…) so it all depends on the meal.

Last Trick up my sleeves – Know what motivates you. In the end, I am left with something like this:

mealplan 4

Having something organized and ecstatically pleasing to look at makes me excited to follow it, but I try not to feel trapped by my plan and allow myself to make last minute changes when life just gets in the way (and when I forget to defrost something).  Knowing I am capable of putting delicious and healthy plates of good food in front of my family is also a big motivator, and I try to remember that on the days when takeout sounds soo appealing.

Amy is the wife to Brian and mother to Clara (2 and a half) and Hugh (1), she enjoys organizing, planning, and crossing things off her to-do list whenever her two little bosses let her. She reads blogs and sometimes shares her own thoughts at www.AllForHeavensSake.WordPress.com because it is the best way for moms to share a whole thought without being interrupted.

Lent in the Time of a Newborn

There’s a saying that gets batted around every Lent: Sometimes you choose a sacrifice for Lent, but sometimes God chooses it for you. Never more is that true, for me at least, than during times of pregnancy or when I’m caring for a newborn. Whether it’s all-day nausea during early pregnancy, the constant backache of late pregnancy, or cracked nipples and extreme lack of sleep during the newborn weeks and months, Lent gives mothers plenty of opportunities to offer up our sufferings in unity with Christ in the desert.

But what exactly is expected of pregnant and nursing moms during Lent? And how can we have a meaningful Lent while still living out the vocation of motherhood? (No, we can’t run away to a mountaintop for 40 days in order to sleep, pray and avoid laundry, but we can still do something, right?)

First, the technicalities: pregnant and nursing moms are not required to fast, or even abstain from meat during Lent. Possibly more importantly, we shouldn’t waste precious time and energy feeling guilty for our needs during this time in life. It is what it is, and God understands your struggles more intimately than anyone else.

How should we celebrate Lent then? If your life is feeling off-kilter while adjusting (or readjusting if this isn’t your first) to the demanding presence of a newborn, let’s brainstorm Lenten practices that will clear the insanity, not add more.

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Mindfulness

I often think about how, with my older children, I didn’t have a smart phone or iPad. When I sat down to nurse, I spent most of my time gazing at them. Whatever book I was reading at the time, if it was handy, took second place. Now, I find that it’s an automatic reaction to grab my phone or iPad when I sit down to nurse the baby. I’ll just check my messages, I think. But it never really works out that way does it?

When did our mindfulness give way to busyness? I suppose every recent generation has asked that question, but it’s worth revisiting. Are we really bettering our lives by skimming the surface of other people’s lives? Would being present with the life God has given us give us more peace?

Lenten practices to try:

  • Put away your phone (and all devices) during a set time. When you sit down to nurse/bottle feed, or for a few hours in the afternoon, for example.
  • Restrict internet usage to certain hours of the day.
  • Set times during the day when you focus on just your child(ren). No housework, no lists, no devices. Just be with each other.

Prayerfulness

As much as I love Jesus, I find that quiet prayer time is the first thing to go during times of stress or change. A part of me knows that it’s okay to pray differently when my vocations is demanding different things of me. But another part of me knows that if I’m being honest, I’m not making proper time for prayer.

I need prayer like I need to breathe. (We all do, I think.) If I hold my breath too long, I’ll lose consciousness. If I go without praying for too long, I’ll lose the connection that matters most. But how, when I’m in the midst of upheaval during the newborn phase, should I make time to pray meaningfully?

Lenten practices to try:

  • Attach a Hail Mary (or a whole decade) to each nursing/bottle session. (Hey, you might be able to sneak in a whole rosary throughout the day!)
  • Say an Our Father plus a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving at each diaper change.
  • Keep a Lenten prayer journal near where you nurse/feed the most.

Joyful Acceptance

When all else fails, when the crazy piles of laundry and the baby weight have got you so befuddled you can hardly get yourself out of the house, much less to daily Mass, consider that Jesus knows your heart. He knows when you can do more and when you’re stretched to the breaking point. He wants us to find the balance of being with Him in prayer and service to our families as a part of our vocation.

Lenten practices to try:

  • Choose one thing you know you can do during Lent, and do it prayerfully. Even if it seems like a small thing compared to what you’ve done in the past, Jesus will know the sacrifice you made for Him.
  • Say “Jesus, I trust in you” as many times throughout the day as you can manage.
  • Ask your husband to help you get to Eucharistic Adoration once week. (An hour with Jesus does wonders for the tired and distraught mama.)

The One Thing I Wish Everyone Did During Lent

Listen, friends. God knows when we screw up, but He also loves us unconditionally. Picture this: God is the dad on the sidelines rooting for us to get up and finish the race, not the opposition mocking us while we’re down. You know who that is, right? The opposition? He’s a big old jerk, and not worth our time, okay? So if I could ask everyone to do just one thing this Lent, it would be this:

Make a commitment not to berate yourself mentally.

Here’s the thing: Lent is hard. It’s difficult when we’re young and single, and it’s difficult when we’re old-ish and have a houseful of kids. Get this: God is waiting for us at the end of this road, in the Resurrection. He’s not going to leave. So even if we stumble, getting up and making the trek is going to get us there. Not only is there no point in berating ourselves, it’s actually an awful distraction from the purpose of Lent, which is to bring us closer to Christ.

So to all you new mamas out there, I’ll be praying for you this Lent. I hope that you got some inspiration from this post, and maybe even an idea or two for Lent. And if not, well, you can always just give up chocolate. I won’t be offended.

What are your Lenten celebrations? Do you have any suggestions for new moms during Lent?

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Micaela is a homeschooler by day, a blogger by night, and a Catholic wife and mom 24/7. You can read more about her adventurous life at her blog, California to Korea (and back again).

Catholic 101: Purgatory

catholic 101

Where does the doctrine of Purgatory come from? Even before Christ, Jews believed God could forgive sins after death (2 Maccabees 12:46). Matthew 12:32, Luke 12:59, 1 Corinthians 3:15, and other passages may refer to Purgatory. Early Christians prayed for the dead.

Purgatory is not a second chance for those who reject Christ. It’s a place for those who follow Him to be purified of remaining sins or attachments so they can enter Heaven. If I steal, then repent, God forgives me, but I still must give back what I stole. If I hate my neighbor, I steal something from him too, and I must repay it, even after I repent—often in Purgatory.

We can avoid or reduce our time in Purgatory by going to confession often, performing acts of love for God or our neighbor, or—as St. Therese taught—having perfect trust in God.

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

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Connie Rossini gives whole families practical help to grow in holiness. She is the author of the just-released Trusting God with St. Therese and the free ebook Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life. She writes a spirituality column for The Prairie Catholic of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, and blogs at Contemplative Homeschool. She and her husband Dan have four young sons.

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

I am always so excited when Kelly comes to visit; I feel like I have a rock star over. And, today she is playing teacher by showing us how to make a spiritual bouquet. I may need one or 77 of these to make it through this first trimester.

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

I’m happy to be here at Jenna’s today with a craft idea that is totally doable for little hands, yet enjoyable for older kids too. Learning how to make a spiritual bouquet card becomes a great little gift for name days, baptisms and a slew of other Holy Days that deserve recognition but not necessarily a gift.

Although less common than they once were, spiritual bouquets have traditionally been given to commemorate a special occasion. Have you ever sent a Mass card? It’s the same idea, except instead of a gift of a Mass, you’re giving the gift of a rosary, a novena, or for young children individual Hail Marys, Our Fathers and other simple prayers for a specific person or his or her intentions.

This simple flower bouquet is something kids can say “I made it myself!” and proudly give, rather than just signing their name to the Hallmark card Mom picked out. And most importantly, learning how to make a spiritual bouquet can help teach basic prayers and instill early on the importance of performing spiritual works of mercy. Plus it’s cute! Who wouldn’t love a fist of these shoved in their face?

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Oh, apparently my own daughter. Please don’t let this deter you.

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

Supplies:
Construction paper
Flower Template from Lorine Mason Designs. Print at 200%
Scissors
Markers
Hole punch
Pipe Cleaners

If your children are young, you can pre-cut the flower shapes for them from colored construction paper, or let them color in petals and leaves cut from white paper. Another option is to take an existing drawing and cut the flower from it. (Seriously, you know you have more art than you know what to do with.)

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

Your prayers can be written on the petals of the flower, or on the leaf. Another idea is to give a bunch of small flowers with each color flower representing a specific prayers. (For example, ten blue flowers for the Hail Marys, one red Our Father and one yellow Glory Be for a decade of the rosary.)

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

For the stem, punch two holes into the center of the flower and weave a pipe cleaner through and fasten at the top, behind the flower. Cut two slits into the leaf and slide up from the bottom.

Viola! Easy peasey!

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

Older kids who want to ratchet up the wow factor, might prefer making more complex tissue paper flowers. Spoonful has a good basic tutorial. A small tag affixed to the flowers can list the prayers and, bonus! serve as a homeschool writing assignment (if you’re so inclined.)

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

Look at that. You learned how to make a spiritual bouquet. Finally a craft even young children can make on their own that makes a nice gift, without the use of ANY glitter. Bring on the next feast day or holiday! You’re welcome.

Kelly rode in on her valiant steed and saved this first trimester mom from posting something titled Watch Me Sleep: a vlog! I suppose maybe all y’all should thank her for teaching us how to make a spiritual bouquet because she saved us all from that horrible fate. Thanks, Kelly friend! You are truly a wonderful mother that I look up to.

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…and I told her I wanted to be Catholic.

Emily from Raising Barnes and I have been chit chit chattin’ as of late. She was so gracious to offer up her conversion story for us to read. What a gal! I love me a good conversion story.

My first real exposure to Catholicism came in the spring of 2007.  I was a senior in high school.  My best friend had convinced me to go with her on a weekend long retreat put on by two local parishes.  Since Krista was always the leader and I the follower, agreed instantly.  But, as the dates creeped closer and closer, I began to get more and more nervous; I wasn’t Catholic, so why did I ever agree to go on a Catholic retreat?  Despite my apprehension, I packed up my duffle and sleeping bag and boarded the bus.
Emily & Krista circa 2007.  Forgive our awkward high school selves.
At first, things were more than a little scary.  By nature, I am extremely shy.  I was suddenly in a situation with at least 70 other high schoolers, who all seemed to know one another; I felt like I was just the shy Lutheran girl, alone in the corner.  Thankfully it didn’t take long for a group to adopt me and I began to feel better. Some “Catholic” parts of the weekend still felt a bit awkward, but I left with a new demeanor and lots of new friends.

Coincidentally, it was also on this retreat that I met my husband.  He was a part of the drama team and spent most of his weekend covered in gold sparkly paint.  But, that is obviously another story.

After the retreat, I began going to the weekly LifeTeen gatherings at Krista’s parish with her.  I had found a new group of friends that I enjoyed spending quite a bit of time with. It was an environment where I felt accepted and no one seemed offended by my lack of Catholic knowledge or my questions about the faith.  Mostly, I think I was there for the social part of it all, but, looking back, God was working on something else entirely.

When the summer ended, I was headed to college.  I had committed early to Valparaiso University, one of the biggest and most well-known Lutheran Universities in the country.  I had fallen in the love with the campus on my first tour and was so excited to get involved with the many different faith-based organizations.

As I settled in to my college life, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing. I was going to church with a great group of friends every week, taking part in a bible study and exploring other groups as well.  Still, the nagging in the back of my head persisted.  I spent quite a bit of free time trying figure out what that things was; I read books of all types and perspectives, Googled random things and spent quite a bit of time staring into space in thought.  It wasn’t until I was home for spring break that year that it finally hit me.  I went to the return Mass for the teens who had been on the spring retreat; Krista’s little sister had gone and we went to welcome her back home.  During the Our Father, I realized that this is what I had been missing.  After Mass, I turned to Krista and I told her I wanted to be Catholic.  Being herself, she wasted no time and dragged me over to another friend of ours’ dad, who happened to be the RCIA director at her parish.

With his help, I found a parish in Valpo that was willing to help me through the RCIA process. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the two who ran that program.  They worked around my crazy college schedule, including making classes just for me when my night class got in the way of the regular meeting time. They made sure I always had a ride to Mass.  And, they even supported me when my grandmother became very ill.

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Freshly Catholic
On March 22, 2009, at the parish where God first planted the seed in my heart, I received my First Communion and was confirmed.  Krista, the one who started it all, was my sponsor.  The whole day is sort of a blur in my memory, but I will always remember the smell of the Chrism and the feeling of pure joy.

Since that day over 5 years ago, I have been able to celebrate marriage with my husband and the baptism of our first son.  Experiencing these sacraments, and even attending a normal weekend Mass, have all been a wonderful reminders of this gift I have been given.  I am so grateful for this gift of faith that has been entrusted to me.  And, I look forward to doing my very best to pass this gift on to our Simon, and any other children God may bless us with.

Wedding picture courtesy of Abbey Grim Photography
Baptism picture courtesy of Kati Q Photography

At the age of seventeen, when I first encountered Jesus in the Eucharist, I never would have dreamed of this life for myself.  God knew.  And I am grateful each day that this is the life he has given me.

St. Clare, pray for us.

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This Mother’s Day gift guide is better than that other one you read.

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Or maybe it’s not. But, I really do think you’ll enjoy it. Let me present my case:

1. Everything is pink.
2. So much pretty.
3. I love all of the items hard.
4. There is a giveaway and a discount code.
5. I don’t like even numbered lists.

So, head over to Raising Barnes and win yourself something nice. You deserve it.

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Anxiety Girl: St. Dymphna

If I had a super power, I would be able to answer any question that was ever asked. How many books have I read in my life? What is the closest connection I have to Jennifer Lawrence? Where is the nearest Sonic? But, instead of this cool power, I was given this one:

anxiety-girl

I’ve written a bit about my struggle with my anxiety, and a wonderful reader suggested something I had never thought of. Why didn’t I pray for St. Dymphna’s intercession? That was a good question. So, I started. Dymph and I became buddies. She is my go-to girl.

Come hear a bit more about why Dymph and I are BFFs forever and ever. I’m over at Footprints On My Heart today chatting about it alllllll.

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Dressing for Staying at Home – The Rule of 3

Ever since I started reading Laura’s series on Style & the SAHM, I’ve been inspired to get my act together, and by act, I mean my wardrobe. I have SO MANY clothes. But, you know what? I never wear them. It’s the same faves day in and day out. So, I set out to do two things:

1. Pare down my wardrobe so I only own things I will wear

2. Wear them!

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Let’s talk about the second part of that since Laura did a swell job with the first. I’m over at Fountains of Home with the rest of the deets that are sure to make you go hmm.

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