Family, Intentionality, Motherhood, Personal Reflection

The Waiting

The scent of warm pear bread – cinnamon and sweetness – hangs in the air of my kitchen. There are dishes to wash and a floor to sweep but they can wait. There is a to-do list beside this computer, its uncrossed items lifting off the page to remind me there is still much to be done. However, much can wait. Even as I assess whether these are real contractions I’m experiencing or simply more Braxton Hicks after a long, tiring day, I am pulled toward quiet thoughts. There simply haven’t been enough of them lately. They are stolen, pushed aside, stepped over, or buried under heaps of mental activity. They wait. They wait for me.

Do yours do likewise? Are the edges of your mind lined with subtle, patient, quiet thoughts? Wallflowers in the spinning ballroom of your head. Do they wait for you to sit out a dance?

Mine wait. Patiently, perseveringly, but not permanently. Eventually, they do go. They slip regretfully out the door like the party guest who will not intrude upon others’ conversations but could’ve been the highlight of the evening if anyone had taken a moment to look them in the eye and invite them into their circle.

During weeks of tiredness, my body longing for sleep by seven p.m yet not finding it until much later and then only intermittently, my brain is aching for energy. I get caught up in despondent reflections of ‘I used to write,’ and ‘I used to teach,’ and so on. Not that they last long. They are overrun by the joy I have at what my life has become. Wife, stepmother, and now mother. I feel my child turn over inside me and I imagine holding him in my arms. How can such regrets withstand it? The negativity is polished away by my blessed reality and what remains is only the root of the regrets. That I do still long to be a writer, a teacher, a thinker! That those should be woven into marriage and motherhood for as many days as I’m given. It’s the figuring out how that is the challenge. Challenge does not equal impossibility though. In fact, a challenge must be possible to achieve or it is merely nonsense and nothing else.

Yes, this is a genuine challenge. One that I will take up each day – sometimes setting it back down after only a moment and a sigh, certainly, but other times engaging it with strength and wit and success. It’s my belief that the engagement must begin with quiet thoughts: the ones waiting on me, eager but calm, ready to pull me deeper into truth, beauty, and holiness. Anything good must begin there.

Family, Motherhood, Personal Reflection, Writing

On The Way

“What is on the way?” you may be wondering. A baby! Well on his way, actually! A few months into our marriage, Matt and I were thrilled to discover we were expecting a child. Timothy Michael is due October 4th and I’m having trouble believing how quickly that day is approaching. I can hardly wait to hold my son in my arms. To touch his skin, hear his voice, stroke his hair, kiss his nose. He is in constant motion lately, a thrilling sensation of flips and kicks and stretches.

I’ve had a healthy, ordinary-in-the-best-way pregnancy. Predictable symptoms, expected progressions, and no scares. About the biggest complaints as this third trimester gets underway are hatred for humidity and a longing to be able to sleep on my back once in a while. And a wistful pining for a chilled glass of moscato, I suppose.

In the 10 months since I became a wife, I have frequently thought about getting back to blogging. Of course, it was usually a passing thought in between “what should I make for dinner” and “maybe I can get these last boxes unpacked this week.” (They’re still not unpacked.) Then came pregnancy and instead of there being one or two things I could more sensibly do instead of blogging, there were three or four or more.

Oh, silly me. Falling into that age old trap of practically every writer who ever lived. There are always things to do instead of write! Always! My first book didn’t get written because I had nothing else to do. It was written because I chose to write it. All my prior blog posts weren’t written out of boredom. They were written because I needed to transfer the words from my brain to the world.

So, I hope you’ve missed me. I’m back. Giant belly blocking the keyboard and all.

Personal Reflection

Welcome, Spring!

It’s Spring, it’s Spring, it’s Spring! I don’t know that “Spring” is supposed to be capitalized. I’ve never been too good at remembering rules like that. Now that I think about it, I habitually capitalize Spring and Fall, but not winter or summer. You’re welcome to analyze that if you wish. Spring, of all the seasons though, deserves capitalization. It deserves announcement and fanfare. Even with the mildness of our winter this year, there was enough dreariness to warrant this excitement at Spring’s arrival. It’s a season of dewy freshness. Even the mud seems friendly and encouraging this time of year. Now, I am in Wisconsin, which means that this series of sunny, warm days could very well be followed by new snowfall or a good ol’ freezing rain storm. Our temps could drop back down, forcing me to put that jacket and those gloves back on. Alas, there is no denying this fickleness of midwestern springtime. The sunshine is so damn wonderful though that even those lingering reaches of winter hold no sway. Windows demand opening, flowers demand blooming, birds demand feeding and fresh air demands deep breathing. I begrudge them none of their demands, for it is Spring and it is impossible not to feel generous toward all.

Catholicism, Faith, Personal Reflection

In the Shadow of the Cross


Last night I began a post on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. It was left unfinished and I expected to wrap it up today. The words were full of hopeful things… the mystery of God’s masterful ways, the beauty of Christ’s humility, the wonder of what God can do when we are faithful even in suffering, the rich abundance of living as victors in Christ. I meant to finish it for you, whomever you are, but I find that I can’t. Not today. Today has morphed into a Jonah day. The morning brought stress and tiredness and a wish to hide away. Then the afternoon arrived with news of a family friend’s very unexpected and difficult to fathom death. I’ve kept my head bowed low over my workspace to hide the tears that keep falling each time it creeps across my thoughts. And so I find I can’t wrap up last night’s thoughts on the Triumph of the Cross. And yet the Triumph of the Cross is the only thing that matters on a day like this one. The only thing.

 

Personal Reflection

Sleep Deprived

A series of much too late nights and I have reached Friday with dark circles under my eyes and yawns escaping at an all too frequent rate. I am tired. Tired, tired, tired. It is an effort simply to keep my head held up and my eyelids open. And so, I need to formally lodge some complaints… with myself….
1. Carrie Sue, it is time to recognize that you’re getting old. You cannot fully function on 6 hours or less sleep per night. In fact, you probably wouldn’t do well on less than 7 hours for more than one consecutive night. In exactly 2 months, you will be 30. Yes, 30. Since you have never been that 20-something girl who still parties like she’s a co-ed (nor did you do so when you were actually a co-ed), there is no reason to think your body has been properly trained for such minimal amounts of sleep even if it’s for the sake of watching The Big Bang Theory episodes on your boyfriend’s couch rather than getting wasted.
2. Why do you insist on sacrificing the essentials when you are crunched for time and/or energy? Prayer, exercise, reading – have you seriously not yet learned that these are not the things to be set aside when you’re having a week like this one? Oh, foolish, foolish Carrie Sue. You have spent oh so many years learning this lesson. You must have a remarkably thick skull.
3. Sleep deprivation = crankiness = you are not all that pleasant to be around. Do your loved ones a favor and get some rest.
Personal Reflection

Strange Days

A headache had me flat on the couch for hours this afternoon. Eventually I moved to my bed and prayed and cried a bit until I fell asleep. It was a heavy sleep that I didn’t rise from for three hours. Now I find myself awake when I should be readying for bed. Closing my eyes in the daylight and opening them in the dark, I feel off kilter and am desperately hoping I’ll be able to slip back into sleep sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I decided to turn on the television and watch a bit of the coverage on my DV-R of Blessed John Paul II’s beatification. With a little restless channel scrolling, I’m now flipping between this and the breaking news of Osama Bin Laden’s death at the hands of United States personnel. The combination, along with my shaky nerves from the headache, is rendering this the strangest day in recent memory.

The pain is returning to my head after some relief during my sleep. I haven’t eaten much today, which probably isn’t helping matters. As I’d awoken this morning with several ambitions for this rare day to be spent at home with no company, there’s no denying I was thoroughly disappointed by how things went. Now though, I’m filled with a gripping sense of the littleness of my sufferings. I am a member of this vast human society. It’s a society riddled with sickness and war, instability and death… trying to catch hold of peace but never certain of its finest course.

This is a terribly rambling message, I realize. So go my thoughts though. Blessed John Paul II, advocate of the true peace of Christ that passes beyond our understanding, pray for us.

Faith, Personal Reflection

Slowed

Oh, head cold, you have such a knack for slowing me down. Pressure and congestion and coughing… I am not a pretty sight this morning. As my sister put it after I was dressed for the day, “You look really nice, except for your face.” Throw together a handful of nights of too little sleep (and restless sleep, at that), some unexpected traveling and emotionally trying days and we have pitch perfect circumstances for getting under the weather.

One thing I will say about colds though, they are masters at making me settle down. I’ve wondered if anytime I catch a bad cold, God’s been trying to calm me down for a while but I miss His subtlty and so He allows for a more direct tactic. I wouldn’t put it past Him… or me. So, I’m giving in. Under a dizzy fog of Dayquil, I will lay low. I will rest. I will enjoy a few simple comforts – a favorite blanket, a mug of tea, a bowl of chicken soup. And I will wait.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s precisely the point the Lord is trying to make with me. Waiting: what I am not doing when I get ahead of myself, whether it be in actions taken or in mindsets and expectations; what I am not doing when I attempt to shape God’s will, letting Him know what He ought to be accomplishing in my life; what I may do better under duress of a head cold and a dosage of humility.