A blessed Mother's Day to mothers everywhere.
From the moment of conception, we strive to make all the best choices to nurture our children's growth - what we eat, if we'll take medicine, what we will and won't drink...
Motherhood does not begin with the birth of a child. It begins the moment a woman opens her heart up to the possibility of life taking refuge in her heart.
So again, to all mothers out there... natural mothers, pregnant mothers, adoptive mothers, godmothers, grandmothers and mothers yearning to meet their little saints in Heaven...
Be blessed. May we be granted the grace to walk our paths with love through the intercession of our Most Holy Mother.
I'm sharing this with all of my readers in the hopes that these wonderful Sisters and the work that they do is not only helped along through your generous donations, but also your prayers!
Please keep these beautiful women and the cherished families they help in your daily intentions. We are blessed to count these brides of Christ among our own.
Dear Friends and Co-workers of Life,
'Emmanuel', God is with us. As we prepare to welcome the Christ child anew in our hearts this December, we are welcoming the new life around us in the women we serve. It is our desire that as they have courageously chosen life for their child, they may know the joy of Christ's presence and loving support, so often through the hearts of others. And that they may know truly, God is with us!
We are organizing our December 15, 2012 Christmas party for the women we serve and their children, and sending out some gift ideas for anyone who is interested. We have added websites for your convenience but you are certainly not limited to using them. Thank you always for your prayers and generosity!
Baby Boy / Girl Clothes
Snuggle Baby Carriers
Snap-on Baby Carriers
Five Languages of Love Book (Gary Chapman)
Diapers / Wipes
Other Gift Cards
Scented soaps / candles
Children's / Family Bibles
Veggie Tales for the kids
We need shopping bags! We always need big bags with handles to give to the women when they stop by. We fill them with maternity clothes and baby clothes, etc***
T-SHIRT BAG - PLASTIC- CLEAR - 90121 Store Supply Warehouse: Your Source for Retail Supplies and Store Displays 9801 Page Avenue | St Louis, Missouri 63132 | Phone: 800-823-8887
All gifts need to be delivered by Monday December 10th, 2012.
For shipping purposes this is our address:
Sisters of Life
257 East 71st Street
New York, NY 10021
Questions concerning drop offs contact: (212) 737-0221
Any other questions and concerns contact: (347) 843-8900
We are so grateful to you for all your sacrifices, big and small, for our mission of building a culture of life.
In Christ Our Life,
The Sisters of Life
This weekend was INSANE! I mean that in a really good way, but boy am I tired!!! On Friday night, I crammed about four days of cleaning into a few hours.
You see, with my new job starting on Tuesday, and all the plans I had for the weekend, I really wanted to have the house cleaned and all the laundry completed. Unfortunately, all those wonderful plans fell through when I found out that I'd lost my sitter for Saturday. Now that I would have Vincent, I couldn't do about ten of my "To-Do's" which meant we threw everything out the window and spent the entire weekend having fun.
Good thing I crammed my productivity into Friday night, huh?
Anyway, on Saturday I took Vincent to the farm. He went apple picking for the very first time, and while we were at it, we picked some corn, too! You only live once, kid, and you haven't truly lived until you get lost in row upon row of corn. :) I think he enjoyed the hay ride that ferried us between the various fields. He and another little boy kept grabbing fistfuls of hay to "rain down" onto the floor boards.
He was a little afraid of the stalks, but he liked shucking the corn!
After we picked the apples and corn, we found our way back to the market where we picked up peaches. These peaches were HUGE! They were the size of John's fists, and John's got some pretty huge hands. Vincent really enjoyed eating those. At first he refused because I was calling them "peaches," but as soon as I represented them as "apples" he went to town. He's definitely at that stage where trying new things is suspect. *Shakes head* Ah well. Now he eats them just fine... even if I call them by their proper name.
Super late Saturday night I drove down to meet up with my in-laws in Ocean City. Being the last weekend of the summer, I wanted to make sure Vince got at least one more "beach day" before we packed it in.
It was great because friends of the family were also down, and the kids in this family adore Vince. Vince adores them, too, so it worked out really well. They practically took over parenting duties for me the whole of Sunday. He absolutely gloried in their attention! It was so adorable to see them vying for his attention... it really was. :)
Riley, Vince and Shannon as we walked up to the boardwalk together.
Finally, Monday rolled around and it was a little bit of a bust. The weather was dreary, so we weren't able to do much outside. However, I wanted to take Vince up to get photos like we do every Labor Day weekend. John was away for a bachelor party he hosted, so he wasn't able to come with, but I wanted to keep the tradition going and surprise him with photos when we saw him that night.
At first, Vincent was in rare form and didn't want to take them. So I walked all the way home with him and put him down for a nap. After the nap, I decided to try again in the hopes that he was in a more willing mood. I was not disappointed, and we ended up with quite the happy result!
Yes, I realize I allowed my son to get photographed holding a gun. When he was younger, I allowed him to be photographed with an empty bottle of Jack. Please save any and all comments of irritation or snark. My husband likes these photos, and I find them to be a fun compromise considering I refuse to allow guns into the house (whether they be toy or otherwise - no matter how much the husband begs, barters or pleads).
Anyway, it was a fun weekend, but I'm beat! Oh, and we also got Vince a haircut. It was his first time in the chair all by himself. I'm so happy he sat still!!!
Making faces in the mirror
So yes... even though I was unable to do the litany of things I wanted to check off my To-Do List before my 1st Day, I think I still did pretty well. Being able to spend time with Vincent doing fun and goofy things beats laundry, floor scrubbing and errand-running any day of the week. :)
As you can probably tell from the photo, I was a little overzealous in purchasing the potty for Vince at Christmas when he was only 15 months old.
Now that he's almost three, I'm glad I didn't wait. He got to mess with his potty for almost two whole years before I began to potty train him. He spent those two years getting to know his potty... playing with his potty... and using his potty as a ramp, step-stool and yes, even a seat.
Once I started to coax him into using it for its actual purpose, he wasn't really scared of it. From all the horror stories I've heard of parents trying to prove to their toddlers that monsters don't exist in their potties, or that the seat wouldn't swallow their bottoms, etc, I'm just really, really glad that Vince had a good, happy relationship with his special seat. No fear of the unknown for him, thank goodness!
However, trying to get him to figure out just what that "Uh oh, I gotta go!" sensation actually meant was an entirely different ballgame. As some of you may recall from my 1st foray into Potty Training, I was less than successful. In fact, I was pretty miserable and felt like an all-star failure.
I'd even accepted failure. Almost.
Instead, I didn't give up. John and I just altered our approach. Sure, Vince still had a few accidents over the last two weeks, but ya know what? He's only had a handful! That first weekend of hell really made him incredibly self-aware. Sure it took several hours of me scrubbing my carpets and floors. Sure it took several extra loads of laundry and a couple extra trips to shower, but in the end, I can see what it was all for.
I haven't bought any diapers this month!
Vincent requests to go to the potty now - frequently.
He's in big-boy underwear all day. He hasn't had an accident in three days. THREE DAYS!
And last night? Last night he woke up from his sleep just so he could ask to use the potty.
I think I've died and gone to Heaven.
My little boy... I'm so proud of him.
Several of my friends asked if we did a reward system to see results so fast. We haven't. We've just been very diligent about asking him - over and over again - if he needs to use the potty. Every time he does use the potty, we praise him like you wouldn't believe. In fact, I think we over-praise him.
Twice Vincent stopped playing while we were in Chick-Fil-A's playroom on Wednesday so he could run to the potty. He only went once, but he expected a huge round of applause both times.
Ah well - I'm just so proud of the progress he's making. So moral of the story - Don'T Give Up!
No child goes to high school in diapers. :)
When did my little baby boy go from this
So I made the decision to attempt potty training Vince this weekend. Up until this point, John and I haven't been very consistent with it. If we remembered to try him on the potty after his bath - woo hoo. If not, c'est la vie.
However, my laissez faire approach quickly choked on its bon-bon lovin' neglect after I read a note from his teachers reminding us that Vincent was developmentally ready for preschool. The only thing standing between Vincent and a more structured, educational setting was his diaper.
I immediately felt panicked, proud and frantic reading that letter. I'm so proud that my baby boy is ready for preschool. At the same time, I'm panicky over the fact that my baby boy isn't so much baby as boy now and is thus ready for the next stage of his educational development. That brings tears to my eyes for more than one reason.
Finally, I'm a little frantic because I realize I need to get on the ball with training him. He'll be 3 in September, and if he's to start preschool Sept. 1st, I've got my work cut out for me.
So instead of going down the shore this weekend (as was originally the plan), I spent the entire weekend home with him in anticipation of the many accidents that were waiting to happen.
Ugh - I wasn't disappointed!!!
I can't even tell you how many times this poor kid used my floors as a potty. Le sigh. On the plus side, leaving him run around naked (or in his big boy underwear) certainly made him a lot more aware of the "I gotta go!" sensation that precedes using the bathroom. He even surprised me by using the potty three times - once going number two! I really thought we were making headway.
Not so much.
And after a particularly messy melt-down (on the part of Mommy, not Vince), John calmly suggested that maybe I was trying to push Vince before he was ready. I knew he was right. It made logical sense to me. I think I knew even before I started that he wasn't ready. Trying to push it on him will only freak him out and make potty training that much more difficult.
So I deferred to Daddy on this one. Vince gets a potty training reprieve for now. We'll be more consistent with reminding Vince about the potty and asking him if he needs to go, but for now, we'll let him have his diapers... even if that means he waits a month or two to start preschool.
Two women received heartbreaking news today regarding the miscarriage of their unborn children. Please keep them (and their husbands) in your prayers.
Even though their beautiful children did not make it past the bonds of the womb, they made these women mothers. Their tiny heartbeats - their tiny feet - their very souls manifested a significant and unalterable mark on the hearts of these women. They are forever changed because once you become a mother, you remain a mother. Once you open yourself up to accepting a life hand-crafted by the Father, you ever carry a piece of that life within yourself.
May these two mothers find comfort in the fact that their blessed little saints are now acting as their personal intercessors before the Throne of God. May they enjoy the Beatific Vision from the lap of Our Lady, and may their parents feel the comforting embrace of Christ.
Motherhood, as Dymphna put it, is forever. Special thanks to her for sharing this artwork.Special thanks, too, go out to a woman named Dominique. She shared this reflection that I promptly fell in love with.
My Lord, the baby is dead!
Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?
“Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’? Well, I will tell you why.
You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”
I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool—forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity. -- Mother Angelica
This lil guy knows what's up!
So apparently Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere are all aflame because of Time's new cover
. It pictures an attractive, young blonde standing against her adorable and well-nourished 3 year old son. Both of them are staring straight into the camera with an almost "What are you gonna do about it?" look. The catch?The little boy is standing on a chair that sets him at the perfect level to have his lips clamped around Mommy's nipple in a suggestive manner. The suggestion? Breastfeeding.The giant, flame-inciting caption reads: ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH? ("Mom Enough" being bolded in red, of course, just to hit home the flame-factor). The subtext goes on with: Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes - and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.Apparently Time's been hurting for readership, because this is a blatant attempt to solicit a very venomous response from people from every angle of the issue.This image and caption immediately polarize Moms. Those who breastfeed, those who don't. Those who breastfeed for 6 months, those who breastfeed for 5 years. Those who recoil in horror at the thought of a child breastfeeding in public, those who think breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing in the world. Those who think breasts are nothing but sexual objects to be kept private, to those still looking to burn the bras of yesteryear and go topless around the world. Heck, you can even throw in those who CAN'T breastfeed into the mix, or those who choose to use breast milk, just not from the breast, in daily food (cereal and such).Seriously - there is NO other reason to choose to create an image like this. This is SPECIFICALLY for shock value and it serves its purpose well. Everyone and their mother is now talking about it.Unfortunately, they're also delving into the awful area of judging others for their parenting choices (and that never ends well).My Opinion / Experience I believe that breastfeeding is a wonderful, beautiful thing that gave both Vincent and myself a chance to bond in a way that nothing else could. Even though I had a rough start, it proved to be the most rewarding part of motherhood for me. In fact, courtesy of my dedication to breastfeeding, my risk for certain cancers has dropped, my risk for cardiovascular disease has dropped, and I my baby dropped weight faster than my non-breastfeeding friends. Seriously. I was fitting into my jeans within a month. But all the health benefits for Vince were great, too! Chance for higher IQ, stronger immune system, greater sense of security... all that fun stuff. Plus, all the money I saved on formula could be spent on things like a college fund, toys, diapers, or trips to the zoo. Win win for everyone, right? Now I realize that not all women are as blessed as I've been with breastfeeding. I had the time and ability to do it. I stayed at home with Vince for the entire first year. I produced milk - and a lot of it - without trouble. Sure Vince had trouble latching for the first few weeks, but thanks to a kind nurse, I was given a shield which helped him figure it out. I sometimes wonder if I'd've been able to nurse at all if it weren't for her giving me that little stepping stone of help.I was also lucky enough to have a willing breastfeeder for 2 years (a little over two years, actually). Vincent loved "the bobies" as he used to call them (BOB + EES was his pronunciation - ha). He was never more content than when he was in my arms nursing. However, when it came time to wean, he pretty much did it himself. He simply stopped asking when I stopped offering. He was much more interested in grapes or pork chops or pasta. Mommy's "bobies" didn't offer that, and his little body knew it was time to give up the comfort of nursing. For Vincent, that was the right time for him. I was shy for a while when people would ask me about how long Vince breastfed for. Even while I was still nursing, I'd get sideways looks from folks (especially because Vincent always looked about a year ahead of his actual age). I got some mean comments about being selfish... being a poor mother... being foolish because I'd screw up his idea of breasts because he'd remember nursing as he got older. I responded by keeping quiet. I would just do my best to hide the fact that I still breast-fed Vincent because I didn't want to deal with the negative judgements I'd get. However, I soon got over it. The people who scoffed at my nursing habits usually didn't have kids themselves. So what right did they have to belittle MY choices? I started responding to their negativity with Vincent himself."Do you see how happy Vincent is? Do you see how well-adjusted, secure and trusting he is? He is a direct result of my parenting choices. Obviously I know a little better than you do about raising my son."That has shut them up every single time. BTW, that works for the Negative Nancys who complain about the schedule I try to keep him on, too. When it comes to things like this, you'd think everyone knew how to parent your kid better than you do... *shakes head*Anyway, back to the article (and the frenzy it has caused). I'm not a fan of them choosing this picture to startle folks into reading about Dr. Sears. The woman and her child have little to NOTHING to do with him. Also, the 3 year old (while a product of long-term breastfeeding) isn't even the typical child Dr. Sears mentors on. So again, this was a very specific, underhanded PR move to sell print. That irritates the heck out of me, especially since it's now got people going for the jugular. Crazy! There are enough myths floating around about breastfeeding. Let's not add to the foolishness, k?So let's remember our heads in this one, ladies. Try not to be judgemental or overly-critical. We all try to do what's best for our own children. Let's be supportive and instead of turning our anger on each other, let's turn it on Time for stooping so low as to attempt this charade of a cover in order to sell magazines. Humpf!
I just found a beautiful blog entry through Facebook. It's entitled "Your Children Want YOU!" and it handles the all too familiar subject of us moms unwittingly comparing ourselves to the outside images of motherhood that we see (whether through TV, movies, or social media).
Heck, Vincent is at that stage in his life where all he wants is Daddy.
I feel like every morning when I go into his room to get him ready for his day, he revolts against me, crying for Daddy. And woe to me if I attempt to hug him when Daddy is in the room. Woe to me if I attempt to play with him while Daddy is around. There really are times when I feel as though he doesn't love me - or that I'm not good enough for him to hang out with.
I realize it's just a phase, but it's impossible not to feel hurt at times. It's impossible not to question your own worth when you're bombarded with images of perfection from every angle.Times like that I try to remember that even though Vince prefers Daddy during the day, I'm the one he wants at night. I'm the one he cries for when he wakes up at 2am, and I'm the one he snuggles against until it's time to start the day. I'm also the one he clings to when he's sick, or when we find ourselves in a new place. Remembering that while he's running me over to throw his arms around Daddy tends to help.
Anway, this entry was just the reminder I needed that though things aren't always as perfect as they seem elsewhere, they're perfect for me. As they say, there's no way to be a perfect mom, but there are a million ways to be a great one (even if your kid doesn't realize it for a couple decades).
My mom and I - we may not be perfect, but we're perfect for each other.
This sculpture is the first (and as yet only) piece of art that has ever made me weep. I came across it in my travels, and the reaction was instantaneous. The tears were coming before I even understood what it was I was looking at.
The tender love and comfort extending from the child as she reached out to touch her agonizing mother is intense. That flood of intensity was then made into a deluge of sadness as I realized the child was "invisible," the symbolic soul of a child this mother lost. Then, when I realized what the title of the sculpture actually was, I just about died of a broken heart.
Though this sculpture doesn't necessarily have to speak of the post-abortion grief many woman feel, that was what I took it for at first glance. Then I realized this grief could easily be felt by women who suffered miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, or even hysterectomies before fulfilling their vision of a family. This sculpture could also encapsulate the grief of a mother denied children through birth control, social pressures or infertility... maybe even a mother who lost her child to illness, violence or trauma.
Such ceaseless pain is perfectly juxtaposed with undescribable love. This ghost child is peaceful, seeking no solace for itself; she is only looking to comfort her stricken mother. The mother, overcome by her emotions, cannot feel the touch of this angel. She wants to... she yearns to... but she cannot.
Oh my heart. I'm actually writing this entry with my "window" scrolled up just enough that the image is not visible on my screen. I can do nothing but weep when I see it.
May the Lord grant us mercy for our transgressions against these innocent babes. May those who seek reconciliation find peace, and may the Holy Spirit alight in the hearts of those who don't understand that life begins at conception.
"The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation... What on God's good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?"
--Joszef Cardinal Mindszenty
Just came across this quote today and wanted to share it with all of you. God bless Cardinal Mindszenty for such inspired musings. Women truly are blessed to have been called upon to reflect God in so intimate a way. Oh, that women come to once more understand the blessing such a calling is!