Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Biggest accomplishments

I was laying in bed at the hospital the evening of the day my newest son was born thinking about-what else-motherhood. I find staying in the mother/baby unit of the hospital to be a unique time because although I'm tired from labor, I feel kind of pampered. With both of my kids, my experience has been that the only expectation upon me is just to be a mom; the nurses have encouraged me to sleep, eat, and kick out the visitors if I'm tired, recognizing that all any mom needs at this time is to take care of herself and her baby. I love how everything comes right to you- clean laundry, meals with desert, painkillers-even ice water and a straw are delivered into your hand.

And then you go home and things aren't so simple anymore. The rest of the world often seems to have the opposite expectation of mothers, telling them that just being a mom is a vacant way of life. (Frequently, the ones who disagree are mothers themselves.)

I feel like it's entirely appropriate to say that my children are my biggest accomplishments in life, and that's not because there's an absence of other things, it's because there's nothing else I could do that is so far-reaching as bringing another human being into the world. When I think of the things I could have chosen instead of having kids, the scope of potential accomplishments is so limited. Maybe I could have been wealthier and more accomplished, but would anyone else's life been impacted? By having my kids, my husband has become a father, my parents and his parents have become grandparents, my brother has become an uncle, my friends have become special in the eyes of a certain small person. There's a sweet little boy in existence (and now a newborn red head) whose attention is coveted by them--I can physically see how happy they make them, and I know how happy I am. I'm pretty sure that the lives of quite a few people are richer simply because they know my first son, and I know it will be the same as our new baby grows and ventures into the world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thanking God for...

Join me in thanking God for blessing our family with another sweet and beautiful baby boy, born Friday July 11th, 7 lbs 3 oz!

We seem to have already nicknamed him 'cuddle cub' (it matches with big brother 'booga bear'), and everything is going better than I expected.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quotable Monday

"I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."

-Arthur Hays Sulzberger (1891-1968), editor of the New York Times 1935-1961

Monday, July 7, 2008

Quotable Monday

"He became what we are that He might make us what He is."

-Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, 296-373

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I recently watched 'Reluctant Saint' on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, and predictably, it's got me probing the value of material comforts. (I know Saint Francis is one of the best-known saints, but I didn't realize what a hard life he committed himself to; utter poverty, disease, caring for lepers, eventually contracting leprosy himself.)

After watching the film, the question I feel convicted to ask myself is-- where do I derive satisfaction in life? I've decided to start evaluating my days by asking myself, where did I find ____(happiness/peace/joy) today? Reality is that things and experiences (like a vacation) bring pleasure, but not joy. I maintain only relationship with God and others can bring true joy. So if I rely on a trip to the mall, or a great meal with friends to bring me happiness, I'm selling myself short of the deeper joy that life with God offers, as well as ignoring God. These things are not bad in and of themselves-- after all, God created things like eating to be pleasurable, but there has to be balance. I need to be grounded in God on a daily basis, not just floating on the events that make up any given day. I think that largely, the American ideal of life has become to lead a pleasant one, and it takes some deliberate thought to recognize that this ideal pervades our lives. It's all too easy to run around satisfied with how well we are achieving our personal goals, or to look forward to the future because of a fun activity planned, but these things are not the life God offers us, nor do they allow us to offer life to others. How diminished the impact of people like St. Francis, or Mother Teresa would be if they had simply decided to live a pleasant, comfortable life.

I'll close with a quote from the late Fulton J. Sheen, Archbishop;

Joy is not the same as pleasure or happiness. A wicked and evil man may have pleasure, while any ordinary mortal is capable of being happy. Pleasure generally comes from things, and always through the senses; happiness comes from humans through fellowship. Joy comes from loving God and neighbor. Pleasure is quick and violent, like a flash of lightning. Joy is steady and abiding, like a fixed star. Pleasure depends on external circumstances, such as money, food, travel, etc. Joy is independent of them, for it comes from a good conscience and love of God.

-Fulton J. Sheen, "Guide to Contentment"