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In which I have an epiphany

Several weeks ago, I had what may be one of the most powerful epiphanies of my life. It came upon me suddenly, but since then, not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about it. I’m not sure I will ever not think about it again.

I am a worrier. I’ve also attributed this to my depression and anxiety. It has gotten better as I’ve treated those issues, but never entirely gone away. I worry. It’s what I do.

After an all-clear from my father, I took my daughters to see my grandfather for the first time in several months. It was a big deal. Suffering from leukemia, his guest list is strictly monitored and children under 18 had, until now, been forbidden. He was thrilled to see them. I was thrilled to see him see them.

But after I left, I couldn’t stop worrying. Though Jessica’s nose was dry, it had been running earlier. What if she got too close to him? What if he got sick and wasn’t strong enough to fight off the infection? What if…what if…what if…I couldn’t stop worrying.

So I brought the question to my sister. She reassured me and said all the right things.

Still, I worried.

So I asked my aunt. I confessed my worries and fears. She reassured me and said all the right things.

Still, I worried.

I called my husband. I poured my heart out to him. He reassured me and said all the right things.

Still, I worried.

I worried in spite of all those words that people spoke. I kept looking for someone else to take my worries to, convinced that they would be able to say something that would ease my worry. But nothing worked. No one said the right thing.

That’s when it occurred to me. There was only one person that I could bring this…any…worry to and get an answer that would take my worry away. There was only one person that I could speak to that could help me find peace. That person was God.

Those of you who know me know that though I consider myself a Catholic, and raise my children as such, I don’t often wear my religious heart on my sleeve, or think about the world from a spiritual perspective. So this epiphany…this was a very big deal for me.

I prayed. Instead of looking for someone to take my worries to, I took them to the Lord. And for the first time in my life, I felt peace.

It had little to do with His answer, I found. But my peace came from the telling. I turned to Him. I should always turn to Him.

Perhaps there’s something for you in this epiphany.

If nothing else, will you keep my Poppy in your thoughts and prayers? He…I…we…would all appreciate it.

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The Reason for the Season

My daughters attend a Catholic preschool this year, which was a nice transition home from the UK for us, especially this holiday season.  I hate the thought that once the girls are in public school, their religion will be something that is taboo to even mention.

But that’s another blog post, I suspect.

What I want to share are these pictures of my gorgeous daughters at their preschool Christmas concerts–concerts where they could sing about the reason we (along with over 85% of Americans) celebrate Christmas.  Samantha even got to play an angel in her class’ Nativity play (and if I do say so myself, her lines were the best performed of the bunch!).

Rehearsing...

...and performing!

Rehearsing...

...spotting mom and dad in the audience...

...and performing!

I can’t wait to share next year’s Christmas season with our new daughter, too!

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Little Ears

Marcus and I realized yesterday, for the first time, that our five year old has ears.  And that she uses them to listen to us when we don’t think she’s paying us any attention.

My grandfather has been ill recently, and we’ve been making extra trips to visit.  He’s at his home, in a hospital bed set up in the living room.  Though I was nervous about how the girls would do, they’ve done a great job.  They sing him Christmas songs (the other day he sang along and even danced a little!), talk to him and tell him about school, and bring him pictures.  They are quiet when we ask them to be, and our visits have been good ones.  It really lifts his spirits, and I am thankful for these precious memories with my grandfather and my children.

But when we left from our visit yesterday, I was a bit teary-eyed at the thought of my grandfather so sick.  I stood outside the car for a few minutes with Marcus before we got in.

When we got inside, Erica (3) said, “Mommy, are you sad because Granddaddy is sick and is going to die?”

Samantha (5) stepped in, “I just told her that, Mommy.  Is that right?”

I suspect her words were a combination of those little ears that we don’t think are listening and a recent conversation after we watched the movie Up.

Marcus was the one to respond, because her words were so innocent, and so sad, for me.  He is such an amazing father–I’m proud to call him my husband.

In the future, I suppose we’ll be more mindful of those little ears.

In the meantime, if any of you have an extra prayer to spare for my granddaddy, I know he and my family would all appreciate it.

Grandaddy, 2005

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Home

I’ve been back in America for two days. It’s only fair to offer you some deeply reflective post about our time overseas, our feelings about leaving, and our return home.

However, as I’m typing this on my new iPhone and preparing to run out the door for kiki’s bachelorette party, I’ll be brief.

Marcus, the girls, and I were truly blessed by the opportunity to live abroad. We grew as a family, in Christ, and as individuals because of our time overseas and the friends that became our family whole we loved there. There will never be the perfect words to express our love and thanks for that.

We return home, and it is just like coming home. But it’s us who’ve changed, and we know that we will carry the blessings of this experience with us always, ever changed by our time in England and our family there.

Whether you call it God’s will, providence, or karma, we know that this experience was in a bigger plan for our family and our future.

We’re home.

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Easter Weekend

Easter Weekend began on Friday and ran through Monday, with a plethora of activities and events.  Marcus and I couldn’t believe how excited the girls were about Easter this year.

We made it a point to try to explain Easter to the girls in simple terms–we don’t want them to get the impression that the holiday is secular, or about candy.  The conversation was basic–that Jesus died on Good Friday, but not to be sad, because He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday because He is God.  Of course, they wanted to know if Ross’ dog Gus would wake up, too, but I think they were able to understand that Jesus is the only one who could do it.  Miscommunications aside, it truly was a precious conversation to share with my daughters.

We spent Holy Saturday with our friends the Carbols, the Susaks, and the Hammonds for a Mexican Easter feast.  The children dyed Easter Eggs, played together, and we all enjoyed some good food and some good company.

Easter Sunday was a beautiful day here in Yorkshire, and we went to church and then to a church potluck Easter brunch.  The food was delicious and abundant, and the companionship was amazing, too.  The girls participated in their first “real” Easter Egg Hunt, and left with full baskets and full tummies.

Marcus had to head off to work on Easter Monday, but the girls and I had a super day.  We headed to Valley Gardens where we met Auntie Anne and Uncle Phil, Sue, and Bob for a picnic and some frolicking round.  The girls burned off plenty of sugar-induced energy, while the grown-ups knitted, laughed, and watched.  I suspect that a good time was had by all.

So, Easter weekend was a full and blessed one for our family.  It was a special day, and led into many good-byes that we know are coming in the next week.

I know that I have said it before, and that I’ll say it again, but we truly are blessed by the family we have made overseas, and the family we have become because of our time overseas.

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Blessed

Wishing you and yours a happy and blessed Easter season.

“He is risen; he is not here.”
Mark 16:6

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
John 11:25-26

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NIV


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A Post of Tweets

  • I’ve started to think in Tweets (less than 140 characters).  I thought a post full of them was appropriate.
  • My mom left today.  I’m feeling miraculously alright–after all, I’ll see her again in less than 6 weeks!
  • I have now finished three Malabrigo March projects, with another on the needles.  Whee!
  • Planning to spend the day tomorrow with some good friends–thanks to my good husband.
  • Tomorrow is my last time serving our parish with the Children’s Liturgy.  I am going to miss it.
  • I wonder how many days in a row I can wear my Opulent Raglan before people start looking (sniffing) at me.
  • Getting up before my kids, even though it seems counter intuitive, really does make for a better start to the day.
  • I am planning to wind some yarn and start knitting my Brilliance Pullover this week.
  • I’ve been blogging for a year now…a year!  How crazy is that?
  • I caved and placed a rather large order for yarn last week.  It should be here in time for my birthday!
  • Speaking of birthdays, I can’t stop listening to Tim McGraw’s (Phil Vassar’s) My Next Thirty Years.  Guess how old I’ll be on the 24th.
  • Erica is up and watching Spongebob Squarepants, while Marcus and Samantha snooze away.
  • I might go for a run today.  Then again, I might not.
  • I really do love my life.
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Prayers for Lent

I kicked off this Lenten season with a retreat at my church–the first such activity that I have ever done.

I won’t lie–I was incredibly nervous.  Especially when I read Anne Trufant’s bio and saw things about singing and guitar playing.  My friend Rachel insisted that Anne was a wonderful speaker and that it would be a blessed day, however, so I worked up the courage to step out of my comfort zone and attend.

I am so happy that I did.  The day was wonderful, and Anne really spoke to me on a personal level.  Though there were parts of the day that weren’t familiar to me, there were other parts of the day that I suspect I will carry with me always.  I never thought something like that was possible.

The theme for the day’s session was “The Eyes that See” and one thing we talked about was how when we pray, we are often wishy-washy.  But the blind man in the Bible knew just what he wanted–I want to see, Jesus.

It reminded me that I often flit about in my prayer.  God, help me be a good mother.  Help me be a better mother.  Help me learn to accept the mother that I am.  Help me do what’s right.  Help me stay cool and collected.  Help me…help me…help me.  I can’t find words for what I want from God.

I prayed on this over the past few days, and I’ve realized that what I want to pray to God for during this Lenten season, and perhaps always, is patience.  I see that through patience, I will be able to do and be a good mother, a better mother, and I will be able to have the patience for myself that means I’ll be able to accept the mother that I am.

So my daily prayer throughout Lent will be for patience–for myself, for my friends, for my family.

If you have the opportunity to see or hear Anne (I was even touched by her music, which was not, as Marcus joked, all of us sitting around singing Kumbaya) , I highly recommend it.  As a Catholic wife and mother, she really spoke to me.

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The Journey

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, we are here in America safe and sound and relatively unscathed by the transatlantic travels.  

Of course, there’s always the build up to the big trip, which this time, was riddled with holiday gatherings on Tuesday.  The girls had their toddler group Christmas party first thing Tuesday morning, including a stop in to see Santa, some face painting, and some playtime.

Erica, having her face painted

Erica, having her face painted

Sam and Kicka in the ball pit

Sam and Kicka in the ball pit

Then we headed to Moms and Tots Mass, where Father Apollo treated for pizza after mass, and the kids all made gingerbread houses.

Getting the Gingerbread Houses Just Right

Getting the Gingerbread Houses "Just Right"

They were exhausted by the time our travels arrived the next morning, and, in rare form, Marcus managed to read and watch three movies in flight, and I managed to knit, read, and watch some Sex in the City.  Woo-hoo.

I finished a pair of socks for a friend, too, which is always exciting.

Pom Pom Peds in Lornas Laces Solid

Pom Pom Peds in Lorna's Laces Solid

So, now the travels continue as we head down to North Carolina until Tuesday.  It should be a relaxing few days, thank goodness!  After all, we need it!

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Separation of Church and State

Sometimes, I’m happy that we are spending the girls’ preschool and nursery school years in the UK, where they don’t have the separation that is so doted on in the United States. Now, before anyone rails at me and reminds me of religious persecution and why we have the separation of church and state in America, realize that I’m talking about it because of this:

Kicka is the sheep in the back left, Sam is all the way on the right

Kicka is the sheep in the back left, Sam is all the way on the right

I mean, really, there is something to be said for a real Christmas nativity play. The fact that we don’t have to tiptoe around the reason that we have this beautiful (eta: spiritual) season. The fact that my children acted out the birth of Christ, and were able to talk about him in school.

My Angel

My Angel

Something to be said for recognizing that the majority of people (at least in the UK, and in America) do celebrate Christmas, and yet it’s the most taboo of the holidays to talk about in public school. Yet many schools highlight other holidays, faiths, and religions in the interest of education and diversity, but ignore the majority, which could be taught as educational, too.

Baah!

Baah!

If you don’t agree, I don’t mind. As long as you agree that this is the cutest angel and the cutest sheep you’ve ever seen, we’re still on the same page.