X – [e]xtreme

For the month of April I’m blogging alphabetically about quick, easy, and practical ways to relieve stress. To see the other posts in this series, click here.

balanceI have a tendency to take things to extremes. I think maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist. When I realize something is good and I decide I’m going to do it, I do it the very best I am able. But a lot of times that lands me in extreme territory. My husband is always reminding me, “Life is about balance, not extremes.” He’s so right.

At the risk of sounding extreme, I’m going to say that taking anything to its extreme is not a good thing. Good things, when pushed to their extreme, aren’t so good anymore. Healthy dichotomies (work and play; fast and slow; exciting and boring) are what makes life full and balanced and enjoyable. For example, in my world, chocolate is a good thing. A pound of chocolate in one sitting probably isn’t a good thing. A smaller serving of chocolate that just happens to be coating pretzels is a very good thing. Sweet and salty. It’s fuller. (more full?) Balanced. More enjoyable.

In all seriousness, sometimes I do a great injustice to the good things in my life by trying to take them to extremes. For example, I’m a neat person, but when I miss out on play time with my kiddos because I’m trying to make the house sparkle, I’ve gone to an extreme. A sparkling house isn’t a bad thing, but the extreme that caused me to miss out on something else good (playing with my kids) is. In the context of better managing my time, it is good for me to do volunteer work, but, when I volunteer to the point that I’m stressed out and running around like a chicken with my head cut off, it’s no longer a good for me or for my family. Whatever volunteer effort I’m engaged in is still a good thing with good results, but, when taken to an extreme, it’s no longer a good thing for me or my family.

My first priority has to be me, my marriage, and my children. Saying that sounds selfish to me, but it’s not because that is my vocation at this point in my life. When I overly extend myself in other directions, I am doing a disservice to my primary vocation. At the same time, when I become so obsessed with mothering and housekeeping and whatnot that I don’t take time for myself, I’m also doing a disservice to my vocation. (I have to take care of myself to be able to serve my family well.) Both scenarios cause stress. I’m going to have to start checking myself for balance, making sure my stress isn’t flowing from some good things taken to a not-so-good extreme. I’m not very good at that, but, luckily I have my husband to help me out in this area.

D is for Dress

Every day in April, I’m blogging about Adjusting to Life with Baby Number 5.

Click here to see all the posts in this series.

P1070745Last Saturday we had our sweet Sophia baptized. It was so beautiful and such and amazing day! Almost as beautiful as the rite itself was the GORGEOUS dress my sweet girl got to wear.

Her godmother bought her a gown and it is simply EXQUISITE! Seriously, it is prettier than my wedding gown. Her godmother found an amazing woman on etsy that made her dress by hand!

I’ve never seen a prettier dress in my whole life. It’s a traditional baptismal gown, so it’s incredibly long, and, with all the layers, it’s quite heavy. I joked that the gown is heavier than the baby. It really might be.

When her godmother brought the gown over to me, I was blown away. I knew she was getting a gown, and I knew it would be lovely, but I had no idea it would be this grand. I told her it was way too much, but Tammy said she wanted something heirloom quality. She said, “I wanted something she could pass on to her daughters. And if she has a religious vocation, we’ll just find a way to sew it into her habit.” I was all teary-eyed at the thought.

2014-04-03 20.15.24I’m going to take the dress back to Tammy and she’s going to stitch Sophie’s name and baptismal date into the gown. Then, if Sophie is blessed with daughters and granddaughters, they can be baptized in the same gown, and their names and dates can also be stitched in. What an amazing gift!

I didn’t get any great pictures of Sophie in her dress on her big day. I keep meaning to put it back on her and pose her for a few shots. Maybe I’ll finally get around to that today. These pictures don’t quite do it justice. You can tell it’s lovely, but it is simply breathtaking in person.

Obviously, the dress wasn’t the most important part of the day, but it did make the day a little more special. Especially when I thought about the possibility of seeing my grandbabies being baptized in that gown…or seeing my girl take vows, knowing there are pieces of her baptismal gown hiding under her habit.

Come Alive!

alive quote

 

 

set the world on fire

 

Listening for God’s Voice

This brief little conversation over dinner absolutely melted my heart. I am so thrilled to know that my sweet little ones are already seeking God’s plan for their lives.

Me: Hey, Jack, Andy thinks Ben would like to be a priest. Do you think Ben will be a priest?

Jack: Umm..no…probably not.

Me: Would you like to be a priest?

Jack: Well…I don’t know what God wants me to be because I can’t exactly hear his voice. It’s too quite. I think because Heaven is so far away…you know God is so way up high…I can’t exactly hear Him when I’m outside playing or in the house.

Me: That is wonderful that you’re listening for God’s voice. If you keep listening, you will hear what He wants you to be.

Andy: And, “alsoly”, Jack, Fr. Hart said that if you go in your room in the quiet without the tv or radio on, you will be able to hear God’s voice.

Me: That is exactly right! Fr. Hart did say that. (High five Andy)

Just a note: It’s was months ago when (now) Msgr. Hart gave that homily on vocations and being open to God’s plan for your life. I didn’t even realize that Andy was listening, let alone that Msgr’s words were still with him! It’s amazing what little ones pick up on!

Thank you, God, that my children are open to and seeking your will for their lives. Please grant that their hearts remain open as they grow, and that their wills will be perfectly conformed to yours. In Jesus name, Amen.