Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Being Open to Children...

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of parents themselves. God himself said, "It is not good that man should be alone," and "from the beginning [he] made them male and female" ; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: "Be fruitful and multipy." Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate vailiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1652.)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Today I held my youngest child as she fell asleep in my arms. What a gift to be able to hold her at such a peaceful and perfect moment in time and to realize what she and her siblings are to my husband and me - absolute gifts! Having little beings that love us unconditionally was not the motivation for bringing them into the world but what an awesome God we have that somehow deems us worthy of this blessed by product of a child's life...

Through parenthood I feel like I am learning how to better love and serve others through the gift of my children. God seems to use each child to chip away at our pride, shifting our focus from ourselves to others, and softening our view of ourselves and others. For today I am feeling that my moments of selfishness do not seem to run as wide or as deep as they once did...

So far having children has helped us to put aside thoughts such as, "What about me?" "What about my feelings?" "What about my needs?"

I used to tell my husband constantly, "This is what I need from you..." But thankfully this is changing as I grow in love for him, see that he is doing the best he can to meet all of our needs, and knowing his intentions are good and pure for our family. But it is also having little beings to intimately love and care for that helps shift the focus away from ourselves - praise God! Let us continue to ask God what it is that He is asking of us in our life as a family and thank Him for the glorious gifts of one another...

Prayer of Abandonment
Father, I abandon myself into your hands;do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,to surrender myself
into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,for you are my Father.
Charles de Foucauld

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Blessings of Children

Some ideas on what make children so good for families and societies from One More Soul:
-Children help keep marriages together.
...Marriages are hard work... It's very easy to just give up, just walk out on the whole situation. Once you've walked out on someone, it takes a lot of courage to go back and make things right...A child can give a couple the extra incentive they need to work through the rough spots, to keep on trying when nothing seems to work. No matter how much her mother is driving you nuts, there's still a little girl whose smile you can't bear to miss. No matter how upset you are with his father, there's still a little boy who can't go to sleep unless you tuck him in each night. I know that there are some marriages, especially those in which one partner is abusive, that can't be saved, but for many couples a child can mean the difference between divorce court and a deeper, stronger love they both fight for...
-Children make their parents better people.
...Suddenly there is this little person who needs everything. He can't feed himself or go to the bathroom by himself. If she's cold she doesn't know what to do to get warm. If he's in pain he can't do anything about it. New parents quickly learn the virtue of unselfishness. People who just months before had thought only about their spouses and themselves, now spend every other moment thinking about this child who needs so much. New parents also quickly begin to reevaluate their values and standards. The first time you hear your four-year-old repeat a cussword he learned from you, it's quite a wake up call. Trying to explain to your five-year-old why it's wrong to tell a lie makes you pay a lot more attention to your own honesty. It all adds up, and before you know it, you're a different, and much better person. Parents also quickly learn that they just can't do it all. If you spend two hours playing with your toddler, laundry doesn't get done. If you spend hours gardening so you'll have fresh vegetables for your family, dinner is late and the house is a wreck. It's a constant trade off. To preserve their sanity, parents learn what is really important. They learn to do what they can and leave the rest to God...
-Children benefit the economy.
...It costs a lot to raise a family...There probably aren't many couples who will tell you that their standard of living is higher because they chose to have a large family. Many couples, if they think about it a while, will tell you that children and their needs gave them the determination, ambition, and self-discipline to excel in their vocations and thus achieve a much higher standard of living than they had expected. A father more often than not works longer hours, and is a more stable and reliable worker, because he needs that paycheck to feed his family. The family buys large quantities of shoes, clothing, food, electricity, and hosts of other products, thus stimulating the economy. At the same time, the family is often quite concerned about saving money, which provides venture capital for new businesses, which employ more people, which stimulates the economy. Large families provide the next generation of workers. Someone is going to have to be working to support the parents as they grow older. Already our society is feeling a crunch caused by smaller and smaller families. With few young people in the work force, and growing numbers of people reaching retirement age, the Social Security system becomes increasingly precarious...
-Children help one another grow in love and sacrifice.
...Anytime you find a family with children over a wide age range, you will find an amazing phenomenon. The older children take care of the younger ones. Teenagers and pre-teens change diapers, baby-sit, cook meals, do laundry, clean, and take turns reading the endless stream of story books toddlers demand. Children in elementary school help do dishes, run errands, and make the countless trips upstairs and down for that one thing Mommy forgot. As soon as a child can walk, he or she can start helping. Often older children start teaching the younger siblings the skills necessary for life, like tying your own shoe laces, and drinking out of a cup. They also pass on moral lessons like honesty or the finer points of the definition of "sacrament." Fights between younger siblings get mediated by the older children, and any undesirable behavior on the part of one individual tends to be very quickly quashed by his or her brothers or sisters. They quickly develop a sense of fairness...
-Children make people settle down and become productive members of society.
...While single people can be wonder workers, it is families that are the building blocks of society. Children are the great motivators for a lot of the good works performed in our world. Parents work hard to build a strong economy, to clean up the environment, to make sure that our workplaces are safe, to get rid of poverty and hunger because they don't want their children to go cold and hungry, to get hurt on the job, or to be poisoned by pollution. Parents fight to stamp out sexual crimes against women and children because they don't want their daughter to be raped or sexually harassed. Parents fight crime because they don't want their son to get mugged. They want to leave their children a better world than the one they have today. Much of the progress that has been made against the great social evils of our day has come about because of concern for children. When children are not a priority, when their numbers are decreased as a result of contraception, sterilization, and abortion, there are fewer reasons for adults to cooperate toward solving community problems. Without this community focus, crime and immorality increase...
-Children are highly entertaining!
...Anyone who has watched a toddler trying earnestly to climb up on a chair, or push a button through its hole knows this. Little children are hilarious. Children see the whole world as something fresh, new, and incredibly exciting. Being privy to their highly original observations is one of the greatest pleasures available. They also live without the prejudices and preconceptions that have become part of us. Seeing something like a four year old trying to teach the cat to sit can keep you chuckling for months. In a large family, the best entertainment in the world is waiting for you every time you turn around...

Children, in short, draw us into the mainstream of life and put us in solid contact with the things that matter: honesty, commitment, generosity, self-giving. These are the virtues that make human life healing and delightful.

One More Soul (OMS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading the truth about the blessings of children and the harms of contraception:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Are You Done Yet?

In my state of life, these are the things I hear almost every time I venture out with my children:

"Are they all yours?"
"Don't you know what causes that?"
"How will you pay for college?"
"When do you make time for yourself?"
"Are you Catholic?"
"What will you do when they are all teenagers?"
"My, you've got your hands full!"

From the sounds of these questions and comments you'd think we have eighty-eight kids! We actually only have five and five seems like an awful lot to some folks these days...

And I saved my favorite one for last...

"Are you done yet?"

And the latter is the reason for this blog. To try and relay why we hopefully are not "done" yet. To share how our loving Father uses His babies to break us down and make us anew...And how coming to the realization that being open to the babies might be the secret to a lasting and loving marriage and a peace filled life...

Prayer to St. Gerard
O good St. Gerard powerful intercessor before God and wonder-worker of our day; I call upon thee and seek thy aid. Thou who on earth didst always fulfill God's design help me to do the Holy Will of God. Beseech the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceedeth to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life and heirs to the Kingdom of His glory in the world to come. Amen