"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Recent Reads (June '17 edition)

For some reason, it feels like I have barely been able to read lately (I'm looking at you, fussy one-year old!!), but I managed to finish 6 books since my last book post. So, I don't know how that happened. Maybe because a few of these were so good I squeezed in 5 minutes of reading whenever I could! Oh, and a couple were kind of short I guess.

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables #2) by L.M. Montgomery

I'm making my way through these since I've never read them before! Should have included that in my confessions post. I just loved the friendship between Miss Lavendar, Paul Irving, and Anne. Kindred spirits!

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the World by Anthony Doerr

I listened to the audiobook for this (read by the author) since that's the only way it was available through our library. I'm a big fan of memoirs, and I'm fascinated by Rome, so I liked it. But if you're not a fan of random musings and his style of writing (he wrote All the Light You Cannot See, which was SO GOOD), you might not feel the same way.

Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Because this is an allegory, I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate. I loved it. It was the perfect read for me right now and I related to every bit of it. It was weird at first (my first allegory, I think), but I got used to it pretty quickly.

God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts! Making Peace with Difficult People by Dr. Gregory K. Popcak

This book was SO helpful. I had to get our library to borrow it from another library, but as soon as we can swing the $16 (*cringe*) I want to buy my own copy. Dr. Popcak gives a lot of good advice that's helpful in any relationship - not just difficult ones - and I love that he's Catholic and faithful to the Church's teachings. Two of my big takeaways were: Always assume a positive intention, and Never negotiate the what; always negotiate the how and when. (Dr. Popcak has a talk that's similar and available as an MP3 for only $2.50 here. I bought it but haven't finished listening yet!)

31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses by Kalyn Brooke

I read a lot of financial books and blog posts and all so a lot of this were things I'm already doing, but I did get a few new ideas. Easy read so I recommend it if you need a little help with your budget. (This was in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, FYI)

Raising Chaste Catholic Men: Practice Advice, Mom to Mom by Leila Miller

This made me realize even more what a huge responsibility it is to raise boys, which is slightly terrifying, but Leila gives you honest and strong advice on how to do it well. She is straightforward, practical, and encouraging. It was so helpful and I'll definitely be rereading as my boys get older. (I borrowed this ebook for free through the Prime Lending Library but the Kindle version is only $4.99 on Amazon, FYI)

What have y'all been reading?? I'm having trouble deciding what to read next!

Friday, June 23, 2017

The summer of craziness (7QT)

Whew, June. You've done lost your mind. We've had so much good, so much bad, and I'm just ready for a vacation from our supposedly summer of fun. Ha.

How's about an update on ALL THE THINGS? Okay, just 7 things. All good. Let's do this. Linking up with Kelly!

1. Summer fun

(pics at the bottom of this post because I've turned ultimate lazy blogger and didn't feel like moving them here)
Even though it has been a summer of craziness (and rain! so much rain!), we've still been crossing things off our summer bucket list. Splash pad, the movies, aquarium, among other things...but mostly just a lot of playing in our very own transformed backyard. It's become quite the fun place to be! Hopefully I'll share the details in a future post soon. (Still putting on the finishing touches and haven't been able to take pictures thanks to this tropical depression/storm pounding on us right now)

2. Five years old

Well, it's official. We have a 5-year old! He's becoming such a big helper around the house and it's just lovely.

3. Happy Anniversary to us!

We celebrated our 8-year wedding anniversary last week and I can hardly believe it's been that long...while at the same time it's felt like 50 years. If you had told me on that blissful day just how much Logan and I would endure together over the coming years, I don't think I would have believed you! But here we are, more in love than ever. Deo gratias! (Fun fact - we have those words engraved in our rings.) Logan surprised me by taking me to Painting with a Twist (painting + wine) which was so fun and relaxing.

4. Aaron is ONE

It's also official...this boy is a year old today! With his brothers, it felt like the first year FLEW by, but honestly, this time it felt like FOREVER. But of course, he is adorable and sweet and we are so thankful God gave him to us. (Insert other cliche things here, ha)

5. Middle child, last birthday...not fair

This dude is your typical toddler these days (whyyyy so many tantrums??) but has moments like these that make it all worth it. He said, "I luh you, Momma" and then blew me a kiss. So sweet. I feel bad though because I realized that not only is he our middle child, he has the last summer birthday among his brothers. But I guess he doesn't really know that right now...

6. Word of the year reminder

After such a crazy few weeks, God has gently been reminding me of my Word of the Year - PEACE. Seriously, I'm seeing it everywhere. We even had an awesome priest friend come over to hear our confessions and bless our house (highly recommend, by the way, especially when life is cray), and he talked so much about peace! So I've been trying to cultivate more peace in our home and in my heart and I'm just so thankful God knew exactly what I needed when he put the word "peace" in my heart way back in January.

7. Prom dress pic...you're welcome

Well, I guess I will end this with a picture of me in my senior prom dress...since I kind of said I would do it in this post. No shame! The boys thought I was a princess. Yep, it still fits, but I just have to say that I weighed more in high school than I did when I got married, since I was quite the athletic tomboy...so the true test would be if I still fit in my wedding dress! ;)

Summer fun pics I'm too lazy to move to the top of this post:

Backyard post coming soon I hope!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Pregnancy loss, the Rosary, and a book I wish I had years ago

I still vividly remember how hard it was to pray after we lost Levi. Every time I tried, I just ended up crying. For months, I had started my prayers thanking God for Logan and our baby, and once our baby was gone, it made it hard to say anything else after that.

It wasn't until almost 3 weeks after Levi died that I made myself pray the Rosary again. Logan and I had prayed it once together in those days between, but of course the day I was by myself happened to be a Monday. The Joyful Mysteries.

I remember it like it was yesterday - sitting on my bed in our little rental house, crying throughout all five decades. While meditating on the Annunciation, I kept thinking about how hard it had been to say "yes" to God's will with everything that happened, and that Mary seems to have done it so easily.

During the Visitation, when thinking about John kicking in Elizabeth's womb, I was reminded of how it felt when Levi kicked in my womb.
Apparently I took zero pictures of my baby bump with Levi except on our babymoon cruise to Cozumel...

Gosh, it made me miss that. It made me miss having him inside me, anticipating the day I would finally get to meet him. Seven and a half years later, I still remember him kicking me in utero - he was more active than his three brothers after him, keeping me up at night.

The next mystery was the Birth of Jesus, which reminded me of our [terrible] short stay in the hospital. The last two mysteries weren't much better. I just couldn't stop crying! Looking back, I feel guilty about all those crazy thoughts. Why couldn't I focus on the fact that Mary knew every single emotion I was feeling? She lost her first and only Son too! Why did I feel further from Jesus and Mary when I should have felt closer?

How I wish I had had something to help spiritually after such a hard loss. I had read a couple books on pregnancy loss that helped, but they weren't focused on prayer - something I was struggling with big time. Prayer had always come fairly naturally to me (thanks to my melancholic temperament), but in those first few weeks after Levi's death, prayer felt like the hardest thing.

Recently I was given the opportunity to read Heidi Indahl's new book, Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb: Rosary Reflections for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss. I loved it. It's going on my list of gifts for women who experience loss, as I know it would have benefited me greatly in those early days of grief.

For each mystery, there are the Scripture verses followed by a brief reflection and prayer intention for the decade. That prayer intention at the end is perfect - reminding us that we're not the only ones who've experienced loss and that we can use our suffering to help others. I know I could have used gentle reminders like that.

There's also plenty of space for you to journal after each reflection. I had the digital copy and didn't print it out, so I didn't utilize the journal space, but I know it would have been so helpful for me to do so back then. Heck, it would still be good to do now, over seven years later! I feel very blessed to have been healed in many ways from losing Levi, but there are still some days I struggle.

Be sure to check out Amazon to get a copy for yourself or a friend in need, and if you want to connect with Heidi, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog, Work and Play, Day by Day.

I received a free digital copy in exchange for this here blog post but all opinions are mine! I'm honest about what I think, you know me ;)


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