Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hibernation: Proof

I really can't justify this post at except, that I wanted proof that I finally managed to clean and organize the family room.

There may or may not be a couple large piles of books to find homes for and papers to file still, but I'm calling it job well done.

..... someday it won't be Migraine Orange down there.

..... someday.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hibernation Daybook: Sounds

I still feel like I'm in hibernation mode (have I mentioned how much I actually adore January just for this reason), but I haven't been asleep.  Just doing all those fun indoor things with the family.

There's quite a lovely cacophony joining me most days, whether it's making dinner or keeping me company on long work days in the vault.

I love listening to my friends chitchat the day away so I've been making my way slowly through Haley and Christy's podcast.

I've discovered Bearheart recently on Noisetrade and have just been loving them.  Hoping a full length album is in the works!  I highly recommend "You".

My Love Good Music subscription has yet to disappoint.  I've been singing along to Drew Holcomb's latest (which we already have thanks to LGM and their digital file!)

Also thanks to Noisetrade I've heard there's a new The Vespers album on it's way and I just can't wait.

What lovely noises have been filling your house recently?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sheenazing Awards: Cultural Showcase

The 2015 Sheenazing Awards are over.  This year I came runner up in "Most Under Appreciated".... beaten by a sneak attack of lovely Canadian bloggers.

Anyways in case you were busy you might have missed the new segment of this years Sheenazing Awards.  The Cultural Showcase.  I know we're all so busy with our two dozen church ministries and three dozen children praying hourly rosaries while making liturgically appropriate dinner to hand out to the poor from your back door so I thought I'd highlight a few of the stand out contestants from this year.

Here we have Dwija from House Unseen, Life Unscripted sporting an amazing collection of things she's acquired from online second hand shopping.  Sources included Twice, ThredUp and Olivia's Instagram Feed.

Then we have Christy from Fountains of Home.  She's Canadian.

Mary from Better Than Eden decided to go with an all white theme.... to no one's surprise.

Kelly from This Ain't The Lyceum and Heather from Mama Knows, Honeychild were... well... unique as always.

Kendra from Catholic All Year made her lovely ensemble completely by hand, in three hours, while homeschooling, breastfeeding, and saving a bus full of orphans.  Simultaneously.

Read Kendra's paragraph without the Oxford Comma.... I dare you.

Haley from Carrots for Michalemas wore this wonderful piece grown in their front yard garden and sewn by hand by her husband Daniel.

Broccoli.... peacock.... mermaid?  It's probably 100% organic, too.

Nell from Whole Parenting, well... you just can't get more adorable can you?

Jenna from Blessed Is She would like fans to know that the design on her dress will be available as wallpaper background on the next email.


Oh, there were so many good entries this year in the Cultural Competition.

Good show, everyone.

Though, if anyone would love to clarify the idea behind Clan Donaldson's entry, I'd much appreciate it.

Is it a Walking Dead Reference?  I just don't know...

See you next year!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sheenazing Quotes

You know I love a good quote, and right now with the Sheenazing Awards going on I though it was a good opportunity to introduce you to a few of my favorites, because come on... we're talking about an amazing, miracle praying for guy here not just an (awesome) award.

Just so you know MMD is in the running for Most Inspiring, Smartest and Best Under-appreciated (3rd year running in this category, let's make my last!).

You can go here to vote for me, or who ever you want to over at A Knotted Life!  And while you're there reacquaint yourself with his cause for canonization!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Yoda, Smartphones and Good Reasons

First off I bet you're probably wondering what the hey Yoda has to do with any of this.  Let's just get this one over with.  I feel like wise little Yoda right now.  "Do or do not.  There is no try."  That basically sums up where we're at with this whole "trying to grow the family" thing.  It's not really trying, but it's definitely not avoiding.  It's just.... being.  Being open to whatever life throws at us.  There might be positive tests in a month or not for another six.  There might be good news at 8 weeks, there might not.  We're just open - ready to tackle the good and the bad.

But there's the rub.

A few months back I was looking at the light at the end of the tunnel concerning our healing time - a doctor agreed upon and recommended period of time for healing from Mary's passing and I was shocked that my first feelings were that of complete trepidation.

Doing what any regular woman does in this day and age I consulted my friends.  I was really concerned; physically we were about to get the green light and a big part of me didn't want to waste any precious window of time my peculiar body might give me.  But the thought of going ahead just filled me with dread, complete dread.  "Is this okay?"  I asked my friends.  "Does this count as a licit reason?" was also a big concern.  We didn't have any of the normal big red flags that typically denote a "licit reason" - money, health, etc. was all relatively okay, but my mind was screaming at me - "I'm not ready".

I've talked about it before.  Throughout the last two years I've realized that being open to life doesn't mean just being open to having more mouths to feed that you would ideally want, it also comes with the acceptance that those lives are fragile and precious and can come and go in an instance.  It equally means having more than most and having fewer or none at all.  It's definitely not easy to accept.

And here I was and my mind was racing and I would get anxious about even the possibility of more disappointing ultrasounds, more surgeries, more blood work, more feeling that I've let down my family and more loss.

Over and over again my friends were telling me, it's okay.  Listen to that feeling, it's legit and licit.  They gave me anecdotes from their own priests and their own journeys, but still I wasn't convinced.

Then I caved and got a smartphone.

Am I loosing you, yet?  It's okay just bare with me a little bit longer.

I got a smartphone at the end of December and one of the first things I downloaded (after Instagram) was the app Laudate.  It's an amazing little piece of smartphone technology, but I hadn't really looked through it until one day on my lunch break at work.  I discovered it's "confession" section and like a normal person on lunch break started it's examination of conscious.  It was all pretty cut and dry and familiar until I got about three-quarters of the way through and it pulled the rug out from under my feet.

"Have I respected my own life and person, taking reasonable care of my physical, emotional and spiritual needs?"

That's when it hit me.  My mental health, my mental well being, my ability to cope with whatever was going to be asked of my family was important.  If denying it was worthy of confession than it was very important.  This is what my friends were trying to tell me.

I think we're afraid to claim mental health as a licit reason for anything.  Technically I think it's because the idea and study of mental health is only about 150 years old (the term "mental health" less than 100); our understanding of it and how it affects our lives (voluntarily and involuntarily) is still in it's juvenile stages of development.  It just hasn't been around long enough to get properly worked into and worked through church teachings.  I think we're quick to say that since it hasn't been mentioned yet it can't possibly be worth noting.  I think we're quick dismiss a persons reasons of "mental health" because you can't see, feel or experience another person's mental health - you don't know how it affects their rationality or their judgement or even their physical body.

It is true that our strength can surprise us and that sometimes, if not often, we're capable of withstanding more than we'd ever dream.  Being under stress is one thing, but suffering from (or just knowing your triggers for) depression, anxiety and a number of other mental health issues is completely different.  It's a fine line and the newspaper are filled with so many stories of mental health pushed past the limit with horrible consequences from breakdowns to physical harm.  Mental health should not be ignored.

I'm here to say that our mental health matters.  Our mental health can be a licit reason and it is valid and worthy of attention and care.  We owe it to ourselves, our communities and our families to open up a further dialogue about family, openness to life, parenting and mental health.

If you are struggling right now, due to anything in your life that is making your mental health weak or precarious - you have my understanding and prayers.  I say right now, I do NOT judge you.  I support you in your journey, I support you in finding capable doctors, religious officials and friends who can guide you through this.  For those of us in the miscarriage and infertility circles I support you when you say you need a break;  I understand that it's not just our bodies that have to withstand this journey.  Your mind, your mental health, is important and your human dignity does not depend upon it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hibernation Daybook

It's quiet on the front here and honestly for no other reason than I seem to hibernating, and enjoying it.

I still have posts in my head, and pictures to share and all the regular stuff so don't despair - this isn't a "State of the End of the Blog" speech.  Just a "Right Now I'm Enjoying Lots of Other Things I'm Not Posting About" speech.

Reading:  I've been balancing heavy and light in my reading materials and after a long stretch of books that just couldn't hold my interest I think I've found a few good ones.

This is so good, but so dense.  I have to read a few pages at a time and digest it for a day or too.  Such a great book and it doesn't hurt that I'm an Esolen groupie.

I hadn't visited Avonlea since right before Henry was born, it was long past due.

A good solid, fantasy "beach read".  I like my books either dense and non-fictiony, deep and literature-like or rediculously escapist.  I have the second in the series on order.

This is apparently recommended by Diana Gabaldon herself for readers of her "Outlander" Series (which I unashamedly love),  Just started it today, it's moving quickly, but is solid so far - definitely reminds me of Clare and Jamie.

Making:  I can't wait to show you pictures, but there's been lots of stitching and knitting going on behind the scenes!  Some of it is going out to a special person or two in a little bit so I don't want to give anything away!

Watching:  All the BBC before it leaves Netflix.... I just..... this means I'll have to buy my own copy of North and South so that Richard Armitage can smolder at me while I make dinner.

And like good, loyal fans the final installment of "The Hobbit" has been watched, assessed and theoretically fixed during Sushi date night.  Maybe I'll subject you to my rant about "Strong Female Characters" someday if you're lucky.  ;)

So long time, no see .... what are you up to?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

{Postcards} New Year

Been enjoying the change in weather.  If you've been following along on FB or Instagram I rearranged my entire living room thanks to today -25 degree windchills though we did make it out for a little playing in the snow a few days ago.

We got the stars up on the mantel and have started taking down Christmas, enjoying the good things that winter brings - knitting and cuddling and lots of games of Cooties.

And if all sounds too idilic to be true.... this is what my kitchen looks like right now.  Complete with Christmas tree.

I also wanted to take a moment to say thank you for the wonderful support of my post from Sunday.  The response I've seen just blows me away and if you're new here - stay awhile, I'm glad you're here.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On Miscarriage and Mordor

Yesterday was my second child's first birthday, well it would have been his birthday except for the fact that he is in heaven.  He shares his due date with J.R.R. Tolkien, a small fact that I love and holds a bit of meaning to me.

It's hard to be in this position, even though I feel like I am at a place of acceptance and peace about our situation.  But the reality is that before summer begins I have another due date and would-have-been first birthday to celebrate.  In March we'll hit the two year mark of trying.  The reality is that I have to sit and watch pregnancy announcements, baptisms and all these wonderful milestones of earthly families larger than mine occur while those happen.  If yesterday was any sign, a lot of those things will correspond with those sad anniversaries.

The reason I find it comforting that my son shares a "birthday" with Professor Tolkien is that his works and words have brought me a lot of comfort over these last two years.  Tolkien writes about many topics in his works; he was a deeply devout man whose faith shines through as he talks about war and hope and death and life.  But the most powerful topic he's written on for me is that of coveting things we desire and what happens to us when those desires rule our life.

You see the them time and time again: Thorin, Boromir, Theodin, Denethor; all corrupted in some way by desire for things and in no character do you see this corruption so completely than in the sniveling, grasping creature Gollum.  A thing so corrupted and twisted by "his precious" that he becomes cut off from the rest of world and a twisted, pathetic shell of what he once was.

It is a metaphor that is hard to miss; if we let our desires rule our lives this is what we'll become.

In my foray through infertility, subfertility and miscarriage I've seen some wonderful things.  I've seen groups of people, family and friends band together to lead the barer of the troubles through their wilderness.  I've seen great love and sacrifice.  However, I've also seen an ugly side to it all.  I've seen women so consumed by the desire for a child that it consumes her every waking moment and begins to change her from the inside out.  I've seen lovely, caring women slowly turn harsh and angry towards anything that dares remind them of the child they do not posses.  I think it's apt that so many of Tolkien fallen characters hide themselves away from the sunlight;  Thorin in his mountain, Theodin and Denethor in their halls and Gollum in the shadows.  When we let these things consume us anything bright and lovely becomes painful to our sight.

The pain and trials of fertility problems are a journey through our own personal Mordor; it is a journey no one can make on their own, it is a journey that calls for people to stand by our side and in our weakest, smallest moments - to be carried.  But in the end it is our decision: what we'll do when confronted with that final moment.  Will we cast away the thing we desire most or will we fall with it, letting it consume us completely?

Those of us on this path cannot let our desires for a child consume and change us.  We cannot let it change our understanding of the precious nature of life, even when it is denied to us.  We cannot cast hateful eyes and hearts at every picture of a newborn or every stroller that crosses our path, because that is something evil using us for it's own devious purpose.

This is not to say that we can not be sad at the sad time or hurt by ill-timed actions or un-thought out words.  It doesn't mean that we cannot hope and pray for children to fill our lives.  But we need to remember that a child is not a thing to collect and covet; it is a person of it's own infinite worth and dignity.  It is something we should desire for it's own good and it's own worth - not the good it might do to us or the worth we assign it.  It is not something we should let rule our thoughts or our lives, because no good will ever come from dwelling indefinitely on what could be and never stepping into the light of what is.

Thank you Professor Tolkien for your beautiful words and your beautiful faith in all things good and bright.  Thank you for filling your world with characters who struggle, characters who defend and characters who fall.  Thank you for showing the world the strength and sacrifice necessary to do good in the world.

Thank you to everyone who continues to fight this fight and struggle with this weight on their shoulders.  Thank you to everyone who knows, as Sam did, that you can not carry this weight for us, but sometimes you can carry us.  Thank you to my own Fellowship of friends and family; without you I wouldn't be standing in the light today.

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