In our house, I’m the yard person. I cut the grass, trim the hedges, spruce and primp, and I’m unstoppable with a leaf blower. My childhood Saturdays were spent on the lawn in some way and in spite of how … Continue reading
______________________________ A goddess wants to be adored; but a humble wife reigns in her home, always pouring herself out adoring God through serving her husband and children.
My favorite bit of wisdom I’ve heard regarding income and being a housewife came from my sister: “Just as it is his role to bring in income, so it is my role to make living as inexpensive as possible.”
I was tossing and turning - wide awake much later than the usual bedtime. And I was trying to hit the sack early, too. Nothing was troubling me really; I just kept thinking of tasks for the next day, certain that I would forget each one. It shouldn’t have happened, but I tip-toed away from the warmth of my sleeping husband and down comforter to write a to-do list, the heaviest item at the bottom: ”Revamp budget.”
God has blessed us by allowing me to be a housewife/stay-at-home-mom, which means we’re a mostly-single-income family. Andrew is our bold & fearless bread-winner, and there are few efforts I manage here and there to bring something to the table, like being a columnist for the Catholic Connection, an amateur coupon-clipper, and paid chorister. While these little bits are blessings and they certainly add up, none of them have the steady rhythm and long-term job security that Andrew’s position has; and I guess they’re not really supposed to, either. If I signed up for steady and long-term, I might as well go back to the office.
The original intent, however, for all the extra pennies earned was Savings. Before Andrew and I tied the knot, my morality professor advised, “Learn to live on only Andrew’s salary and then when you have children and stay at home, you’ll be used to having just that income. It won’t be a financial crisis.” Rock solid advice and we took it to the bank. Yet lately we’ve grown comfortable with the extra monthly contributions, not saving as much as originally planned. Feeling like victims of our budget rather than taskmasters, we are re-addressing everything and, especially this month, tightening the cinch. Every last nickel is a blessing from God and it’s important to be excellent stewards of His gifts. We don’t want to take our extra income for granted or end up stunned in the event that it stops; so in light of this, we are “celebrating” Frugal February.
Not Spending Money can seem like a drag or it can be a game. On a related note, I’m a big believer in “every little bit helps” so if I can avoid spending $2 here or 50¢ there, our efforts toward Not Spending tend to snowball and it’s thrilling. For example:
- Coffee: Andrew and I are fancy-coffee-drinkers. We like it done-up and delicious like Starbucks – flavors, whipped cream, topped with caramel. But instead of paying $7 for a couple tall decaf cappuccinos, we put a pot on at home and then add some caramel topping and whipped cream from the store. Add a deck of cards to the scene and we’re all set.
- Coupons & Swag Bucks: I’m new to the whole coupon scene, but I know there’s an art to it worth pursuing. Stacking manufacturers’ coupons with store coupons (Target’s big into this) will save a BIG percentage on your grocery bill, especially if you combine it with weekly deals. Don’t throw those coupons out with the Sunday paper! Swag Bucks, too, are a recent thrill for me. It’s a website to earn points that add up to things like Target, Amazon, or Starbucks gift cards, electronics, movies, downloads, etc. You earn points by using the website as a search engine, answering a daily poll, entering codes, and other ways, too. Right now I’m shooting for Target and/or Amazon gift cards and really enjoying watching my points steadily stack up. Check it out/sign up at my referral link.
*The hyperlinks for Swag Bucks didn’t work in my original post,
so you can copy/paste the URL into your browser:
- Electricity: While small appliances like lamps and hair dryers don’t draw electricity when OFF, many larger appliances like TVs do. Unplugging your entertainment system each night and plugging it back in when in use can positively affect your electricity bill. Additionally, I try avoid turning on lights in the house during the day since every room has a window and natural light floods the house!
- Baby Stuff: Diapers. Liam will need them for a while longer and cloth diapers don’t work well with his super-sensitive skin. I use Amazon Mom and get 30% off (and free 2-day shipping) plus Parents Magazine often has 20% off coupon codes. Combine that with an Amazon gift card earned from Swagbucks, and you’ve got yourself a deal. Just yesterday I bought a box of 176 diapers for 44¢ total.
Instead of foolishly feeling subject to the Almighty Dollar, you should be its delegator. Dave Ramsey points out that money isn’t inherently good or bad; it does what YOU tell it to do. And I intend to put it to work.
- Andrew and I are hooked on Farkle – an addictive game involving 6 dice. We played all Sunday morning over coffee and breakfast and as soon as one game was done, we started a new score sheet. What a great time! You can get it at the store OR you can scrounge up 6 dice from any other board games floating around the house and then search for the rules/point values online.
- Liam is sharp as a tack! I taught him this trick to help him get down from standing. It’s hilarious and darling.
I couldn’t think of any one topic I wanted to digest, so here are a bunch of little thoughts:
I have attained the discipline to become a daily-Masser. Andrew has been just wonderful in helping me achieve the motivation to counter any personal hesitation. On the days when I don’t have the virtue to get myself there, it’s enough knowing that I’m responsible for Liam’s exposure to all things Catholic; and more so, since Andrew has asked me to go each day, I do it out of spousal obedience as well. When we’re both prayerful and humble, our marriage is a million times better and we communicate beautifully.
In the News
I recently got a job as a copy writer for our diocesan magazine! My first article is being published TOMORROW and I can’t wait to see it in print! On the otherhand, I’m super nervous too because I know that my short blurb on being a Catholic wife is going to be in the mailboxes of everyone in our diocese – YIKES! God is so good to me. In addition to writing a few articles here and there, I’ll be doing a regular column called Domestic Church starting in July or August. I love marriage so much, my own especially, and God even more so – I can’t wait to be able to put my passion toward this kind of ministry.
For the kids or just for you! Check out kids-in-mind.com before you head to the theater or add a movie to your Netflix queue. It’s a great way to check a movie’s sexual, violent, or profane content before you see it and is far more effective than the current standard ratings. Think up a couple of movies that you think are acceptable, search for them on the site, and use that as a reference of severity per category. While some movies from the mid-nineties and back aren’t there, kids-in-mind.com covers most (if not all) movies from then to now. Andrew and I use it all the time and if a movie has ratings that are too high, we nix it from our list.
Purge Week & the NO BABY ZONE
- Two weeks ago, I declared a PURGE WEEK for my wardrobe and a few closets in the house. I got a full trashbag of give-aways from my closet and dresser and then I filtered through each load of laundry, setting aside at least two pieces of my own clothing. I can’t believe how many t-shirts I had [have] that I don’t wear. Some items weren’t fit to donate to GoodWill - holey high school t-shirts and a pair of old sweats, for example – so I took some scissors to them and made a small pile of rags to keep in the garage. I was so proud of my resourcefulness :)
- Our room has officially become a “NO BABY ZONE.” Liam’s stuff is all over our house: in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the family room, in the bathroom, a few little things in the guest room, and then he has his OWN room; so in an effort to truly make the master bedroom our sanctuary, I rid it of of any and all toys, socks, ointments, teething rings, etc. We do away with extra clutter, AND it makes the space a little more sacred. We still let Liam play with his toys in there, but as soon as he exits, so does his stuff without a moment’s delay. And a sanctuary it has become.
BONUS – In My Kitchen: [Almost] Guiltless Peanut Butter Pie
8 oz. lite Cool Whip
8 oz. lite cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1 c reduced fat PB (crunchy or creamy)
Whip it up in a large bowl and put into a ready-made graham cracker crust – freeze for a couple of hours to firm it up and baddabing! it’s done. The pie stands on its own feet, but I like to top mine with crushed pretzels and a swirl of cholate syrup. Savor this sweet recipe courtesy of my sister Jennifer!
A new post is overdue.
I’m a big project starter. I LOVE projects – in school I loved them and now I love them in my home; but when it comes to keeping up with a personal project, I’m typically a lit match: quick to flare up, quick to burn out. For years I’ve maintained the start-up motivation to keep a regular work-out schedule, journal daily, have a regular prayer time – you get the gist. And while I might have a good first week with my sparkling endeavors, my persistence lags and the goal dissolves with the newness. I have a difficult time getting over the slump of something once the freshness has faded – am I alone on this one? My goal list is beautifully written with great intentions and bright visions of how my life will be once I start running and praying a Rosary every day – but that life of Accomplished Katie isn’t fully realized.
I write this in an effort to somehow shield my blog from becoming a dusty old project from way back when. I’m resolved to conquer the slump of Worn Off Novelty and to persist in my reflections on being a Catholic wife. Writing my thoughts, whether they’re read or not, has furthered my endeavors toward happy holiness and servitude to God and Andrew, and now Liam too. Though through other projects I have waxed and waned and let ambition go, this an occasion when I vow to not disappoint myself. I love God and holy marriage and writing – what better way to combine the three?
The idea of New Year’s resolutions tempts me and most years I don’t make even one; so many people set themselves up for failure and disappointment in their quick-starts, and I’m certainly no exception. This year however, as I sit 45 minutes away from New Year’s Eve, I have discovered the key to success is recalling twofold advice: the first, from Socrates, “Know thyself” and the second from the Archangel Gabriel, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37). In knowing myself, I will be aware of my strenghts and weaknesses and so in establishing a New Year’s resolution based on these, I am really setting myself up for success instead of failure – ESPECIALLY if I submit all my goals to God.
So c’mon 2011 – hit me with your best shot.
It’s 9:30 the night before our trip to Omaha and I’m the only one awake. Andrew is fighting off a doozy of a cold and Liam has been asleep for a couple of hours by now; so here I sit in my own little vigil, eyeing a basket of whites to be folded, pining for the last few pages of Jane Eyre, and making a mental check list of snacks for the road.
Before any and all trips, I focus on cleaning the house. There is such delight in returning to a living room that needs no attention other than you stretching across the couch; a kitchen holding all sparkling dishes in the cabinets, and best of all, a bed already made and beckoning you to rest from the excursion. Traveling is stressful enough – who wants to arrive home to even more of it?
Though the pleasures of returning to a tidy living space are perfectly void of immediate duty, the pressure I used to apply to myself (I’m ashamed to admit, to Andrew as well) to have the house immaculate before travel was extreme. Even if we were going just for a couple of days, my irrational fixation would convince me that a later departure time was necessary or maybe we should just scrap the trip altogether. Add this to the tasks of packing and loading the car to make a wreck of a wife whose husband just wanted to have a getaway weekend. I look back on my former self and can’t help shaking my head at her – life is too short for such fits and fussing.
I’m thankful for God’s grace and my husband’s patience, the two things that steadily broke me of my fretting and furthered my efforts to do away with my perfectionism. Perfectionism is a dangerous thing, yet we who participate in it are delighted to do so! I love cleaning, but when it gets to the point that it’s no longer pleasant and it becomes an obsession, I have to check myself. I had a neighbor in high school who was constantly caring for his yard – blow, mow, edge, repeat – it seemed that his lawn couldn’t be perfect enough. Once acquainted with his family and having the opportunity to see inside his house, I found that this man’s need to have everything “just so” wasn’t limited to the grass. I couldn’t calculate the hours he spent outside perfecting his yard upon the time he must have spent inside as well. Here’s the kicker though: while his home was beautiful inside and out, it was apparent that he wasn’t a happy person. Now, perhaps his discontentment led him to pursue having the perfect property, but the point is that perfectionism is never successful. The very idea is self-refuting because it can never be achieved and therefore cannot make you happy; there is always one more thing to clean before the house is just right or one more leaf on the yard. Perfectionism is expressed in all sorts of ways, whether a person obsesses over an activity (athletics, cleaning) or people (trying to fix everyone else’s problems). It’s harmful not only because you can lose precious time washing your car in the rain, but also because you tend to find fault in others much more quickly and can then fall into bitterness. For more on this, read about Mary and Martha!
In reflecting on the countless occasions my perfectionism has gotten the best of me, I wonder at the time I spent focusing on what could not be achieved while I could have put my effort toward having high quality time with family or friends. Or maybe even relaxing! Lately, I’ve been recalling John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” A full, robust, quality life is one concerned with loving God and being with others; taking things slowly instead of fretting over nothing. Dearest Lord help me remember this over the holidays!
- The view from my window has suddenly brightened over the past couple of weeks! The Chaplet & Chat Moms group met last week and we had a great time. I’ve also been spending a lot more time with friends and making a point to leave the house more often with Liam, even if it’s just a quick trip out.
- There is nothing like the joy of two babies sleeping, a mug of honeyed tea in-hand, and a Very Thick Book to devour on a dreary November afternoon.
- HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Today we embark on a journey to Nebraska! Oh Nebraska – where your highs are in the 40s and you sweeten my soul with promises of snow!
Reading The Rule of St. Benedict and Mother Teresa’s Humility List has been a big wake-up call. Despite the fact that life has been movin’ right along, I have gotten myself into a bit of a rut of spiritual inaction; but, encountering the saints in this way has been manna for my hungry soul. The challenge in both St. Benedict’s and Mother Teresa’s guidance, however, has been the required further interpretation for married laity. While I’m glad to give it a shot, St. Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life offers direct instruction for the lifestyle.
Chapter 1 blew me away (can’t wait to read 2 & 3!). St. Francis discusses what true devotion is, and I have to confess that his clear definition was entirely fresh to me. I guess I previously thought devotion to be a step or two beyond feeling love for God or another person; much like being in love or knowing with unwavering certainty that you would die for the cause, so to speak. The definition as provided by St. Francis is remarkably simple, yet another challenge from the Church Triumphant:
But, in fact, all true and living devotion presupposes the love of God…for that Love one while shining on the soul we call grace, which makes us acceptable to His Divine Majesty;–when it strengthens us to do well, it is called Charity;–but when it attains its fullest perfection, in which it not only leads us to do well, but to act carefully, diligently, and promptly, then it is called Devotion. - Part 1, Chapter 1
And there it is. To speak more plainly, true devotion is the love of God in virtuous, unhesitating action. It’s consistent, quick to move, doesn’t think twice, yet makes a considered decision. With only this knowledge I was forced to an examination of conscience. How often I’ve driven for long periods of time and thought to myself, I could say a rosary right now or pray a chaplet. On my way home: I could stop by the adoration chapel. When I start my day: I could read Scripture and journal. But something gets in the way - I get in the way. There’s always the radio, something not-really pressing calling me home faster, or the morning Facebook check. When I was working, I believed all the excuses I made about being too busy or needing to do something else instead of pray; but now that I’m home with a low-maintenance little one, I can’t buy those false justifications anymore. It’s time that I have, and true devotion I lack.
Now for the chicken part:
St. Francis has this great analogy addressing the different types of souls. He says that ostriches don’t fly, chickens fly briefly and rarely, but eagles and swallows soar almost constantly. And so it is with souls – some people never get off the ground because they never focus on God; “well-meaning people” as St. Francis puts it, who haven’t developed true devotion, attempt flight by good actions, but it’s inconsistent and infrequent; and those who are truly devout fly to God swiftly and frequently.
I know I’m a chicken and in retrospect, I think I have been for a good portion of my life. The thing about being an ostrich, chicken, or eagle is that it’s not limited to your spiritual life; the behavior spreads to other areas too. What’s been so freeing, though, is that in coming across St. Francis de Sales’s Introduction and more specifically his definition of devotion, I feel capable of achieving new heights. Now that I know what it is, I can practice it in my relationship with God as well as my marriage. Humility, obedience, and devotion all work together so well. To be a truly devout Catholic or devoted wife, I should strive serve God, serve quickly, and without tooting my own horn.
- Two weeks after my surgery and I’m finally getting back to posting. The procedure went well and I’m relieved that life is returning to normal. I couldn’t lift anything for a couple of weeks, including Liam, so for a few days he was in the care of various local extended family and then my Mom flew in from Omaha to provide an extra set of hands, too. God has been so good to us – I don’t know how we would have managed without so much help and prayers from everyone!
- I’ve started Christmas shopping! I get such a thrill out of getting good deals and steals, especially on Black Friday. Though I don’t usually brave the die-hard, cut-throat crowds at the mall, I’ve vowed to my sister that I’ll go out with her at whatever early hour this year. I’ve celebrated Black Friday online in my pajamas at 10 a.m. but never 4. Life is about experiences! and I can’t wait!
- We’re still transitioning from living in an apartment to living in a house – we have so much wall space! I’ve been printing pictures to frame and hanging shelves in any tiny span of free time I get. I have come to understand and believe in the power of 5 minutes.
After going a few years without reading it, I picked up The Rule of St. Benedict again last week. I remembered that it has an entire chapter on humility and because I’ve felt so drawn to that particular virtue lately, I wanted to dive in for more. Chapter 7 of The Rule is on humility. Chapter 5, however, begins “The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience…” How perfect! In considering how to practice all of the steps of humility, especially in application to marriage, I wondered how to begin. Like humility, practicing holy obedience to God and spouse is more easily said than done.
Everyone understands obedience in a parent/child sense: “Katie, please clean your room.” “But WHY?” “Because I said so.”
And I would say that most understand what obedience to God is: “Thy will be done” and “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.”
But what about in marriage? When it comes to this context, I think the comprehension and mastery are not as common. Unfortunately, the secular understanding of obedience is dominated by the parent/child perspective. Try stirring this into your marriage and it’ll add such animosity and bitterness that you risk ruining the pot. Practicing true, holy obedience however, will add sweetness to your relationship and serenity to both your soul and your spouse’s. Holy obedience is dying to yourself – sacrificing the love of your own will for the love of your spouse. It’s certainly a tough way to express love, but when you do, no one can doubt it. Love gives. Love focuses on others and seeks their good, while sin focuses inward, often at the expense of others.
There is a feminist response to the idea of obeying one’s husband and it’s that a woman will become a doormat – a slave to her slacker husband who sits on the couch mumbling for another cold one. “Women nowadays are much too strong in mind and spirit to stoop to such a level. This isn’t the 1950s.” This sort of perspective is focused on oneself. Anyone more concerned with serving him/herself is bound to be disgusted by the idea making sacrifices for a spouse. “My husband’s a grown man. Let him make his own dinner.”
The Picture of Obedience: Obedience in marriage is service with an added twist of someone else’s wants and needs. If I want to check my Facebook and hang out online for while, but Andrew asks for help grading his tests or putting together music for a jam session at a coffee shop, I should assist him out of obedience. I love him more than my own will and know that in serving and obeying him, I invest myself in my vocation and in God.
But why practice obedience? Not only will this kind of humility bless your home, but in practicing it, you imitate the humility of Christ in a huge way! A Christian, by definition, is someone who subscribes to and imitates the actions of Christ. Jesus lived to do the will of the Father and sought to please the Father in everything he did. As Christian married people, we’re called to have this same enthusiasm and devotion toward honoring God through honoring spouse. Vocation.
When there is holy obedience in marriage, there’s no opportunity for a husband to walk all over his wife. When a woman’s obedience is grounded in love of God and her spouse, and a husband’s decisions are in union with the will of God, peace will wash over your home. The children in this house will respect their parents and themselves, too. What a blessing to your family!
A person might respond, “Sure – this’ll work. In a perfect world! My spouse isn’t the type to appreciate obedience” and therein lies the challenge: in order for all of this to work, a shift in mindset is necessary: you have to go all the way back to your wedding day. Holy obedience fits perfectly naturally in marriage. In fact, it’s already built-in to the marriage vows: “I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” And not only this, but it makes sense with why you married your spouse in the first place – didn’t you get married to THIS person because you were crazy about him/her? Take up every opportunity to demonstrate this! Marriage is not about one person or the other, it’s not even about two people, but rather three. “Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.” (Eccl. 4:12).
So! How to carry it out:
- Pray and be willing to try it. A stubborn refusal to grow in virtue will yield ZERO good in any relationship.
- Seek opportunities to practice obedience cheerfully because “God loves a cheerful giver”: “…obedience, however, will be acceptable to God and agreeable to men only if compliance with what is commanded is… free from any grumbling or any reaction of unwillingness” (The Rule 5:14). What good is an offer of service is there isn’t any love behind it?
- Practicing obedience in this way is liberating, rather than enslaving. To serve others is to serve Christ. To serve Christ is certain joy.
I appreciate any other insight into this. I’m trying to learn and practice all of this myself!
- A great feature of WordPress is that I can write a post, then schedule it to be published at a certain time (do other sites have this too?). This post is scheduled for release at 8 am, Monday the 25th. By then, I’ll be a half hour into my surgery. Please pray that God blesses and guides the hands of my surgeon and the rest of my doctors.
- Because of my surgery, all my extended family in the area are helping with Liam and my mom is even flying in from Omaha this coming Saturday. I can’t wait. I’m blessed with such a generous family!
- Our electric bill was a whopping $30 cheaper this month than last! I relish in omitting the thermostat. While living frugally can be a chore or a depressing burden, it can be a great game. How many ways can I avoid using electricity for the sake of bringing our bill down? It’s like playing Don’t Spend a Penny.
- I started reading Jane Eyre for the first time. Just reading the first few pages was like taking a deep, refreshing breath. This is exactly the sort of book I’ve been seeking to read under our down comforter before bed.
All right – here goes the 2nd half of Mother Teresa’s Humility List as applied to married laity (For the first half, see my last post). Again, my thoughts aren’t by any means exhaustive and do not necessarily cover all situations, but I think generally there’s a good thing going here:
9. Accept insults and injuries.
No red lights on the morning commute. Someone comments as you walk by, “Hey, lookin’ good today!” The boss compliments your work. Good family dinner. Kids go down without a problem. That night you pray,”Thank you, Lord, for such a great day!” because you acknowledge that these good things were from him. Consider the opposite – someone cuts you off on the way to work, the boss is in a bad mood and is spreading it, and at the end of the day, you go home to Chaos Castle with sick or whiny kids. Do you thank God that the wreck of a day is over or do you thank him for it with the same joy as you did the day before? Mother Teresa noted, “We’ve accepted all the good things, we should accept [the bad] too.” My husband put it well, “God uses more than just sunshine and flowers to move in your soul.” Anything and everything can draw us closer to him with humility.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
A person’s value lies in God alone. SO hard to recall and recognize! When experiencing #10, my heart of glass shatters and in addition to being instantly forlorn, I become defensive and anxious; however, the confidence that comes with seeking to please God only is really great. When you place your value/dignity in other things (how cute your kids are, how organized you are, how many hits on your blog, etc.), then you allow it to be taken away when they fail. No wonder people are slighted when they’re disliked or ignored.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
There’s no sense in fighting fire with fire. Even the most tense disagreements Andrew and I have had have been settled in a spirit of charity and rationale – speaking from raw emotion does no good. Dr. Rioux at Benedictine once said in class, “My wife and I don’t look at disagreements as fights to be won by one side or the other, but rather as a rational attempt to arrive at the truth together.” And really, when you look at that way, that you and your spouse are a team fighting on the same side for what is good, you can’t go wrong.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
Serve others for the sake of serving others, not for the sake of being acknowledged. I just read on my friend Erin’s blog (Humble Handmaid) that “service done in the spirit of needing or expecting thanks isn’t the kind of service that makes healthy relationships, marriages, and families.” Of course, it’s very nice to be admired and loved, but let that come naturally instead of chasing after it.
13. Do no protect yourself behind your own dignity.
Christ, King of Kings, washed the feet of his disciples. So it goes without saying that, I, a small soul far beneath the heavenly throne, certainly must avail myself of any opportunity to serve others, especially my husband and child. When I went to camp as a kid (SO fun, Catholic, all girls, all week), one of the activities we did was give each other pedicures. As awkward tweens, we hated the idea of touching someone else’s feet, but the camp director, observing our hesitation, gently reminded us, “Your Lord and Savior did this ladies – it is not beneath you.”
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
It happens: a difference of strong opinions can lead to a battle of wills. So certain of your own correctness, you refuse to back down, determined to convince your opponent to agree with you. But with a dash of humility, you can let the situation lie because your happiness doesn’t rely on someone else knowing that you’re right. If you know you’re right and the other person refuses to believe it, you can simply state your point and if he/she is unwilling to hear it, say a prayer and move on. Sometimes you have to let it go and consider this: does convincing this person make you more correct than you already were? or more importantly, happier or more humble?
15. Choose always the more difficult task.
Maybe not when it comes down to hand-washing or letting the dishwasher take care of the dried-cereal bowls, but I think most agree that habitually taking the path of least resistance won’t lead one to much virtue. Habitually facing challenges, however, imparts more knowledge, experience, and humility.
In applying this list to my life, married laity, I’ve understood the truth that all things are fleeting. Everything in this life will end, even my marriage (til death do us part, right?). I want to make sure I’m putting stock in God – everlasting, omnipotent, all-loving. Humility is realizing that love of God is #1 and proper love for yourself, your spouse, children, friends, etc. will follow naturally.
Weekly Life Snapshot:
Andrew, Liam, and I had a family dance party to Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” on Saturday night – Liam was in his Johnny Jump Up and had a blast bouncing while Andrew and I showcased our best moves. I love having a family.
I’m having surgery on Wednesday. I have pregnancy-induced gall stones so I have to have my gall bladder out. I’ve heard good things about the procedure and recovery time, so I’m not too concerned. The downside is, though I’ll be able to hold Liam, I’m not permitted to pick him up for a couple of weeks. Local extended family are going to assist with that challenge AND my mom’s coming in, too. I can’t wait (until AFTER that is). Please pray for me – I’m a little nervous about going under.
Liam has learned how to give kisses!
I celebrated my weekly, Monday Bake Off on Saturday – making a batch of granola and some white-chocolate covered strawberries. The strawberries weren’t much to look at, but they were good anyway.
I’m sentimental. My appreciation for nostalgia is a balanced one now, but when I was a kid I kept everything because of the “meaning” behind it. Homework assignments, feathers from the backyard, stuffed animals I didn’t even like; my room was a mess of clutter and I was proud of everything I had that collected dust. In one of my several “memory drawers,” was a photo album stuffed with holy cards. I had a million for every occasion, most of which didn’t apply to a 7 year old – marriage, death of a child, ordination, lost causes. Sifting through my collection while packing up for college, I came upon a yellowed, laminated scrap of paper: Mother Teresa’s Humility List. I was 17 or so and thought a few of the items were over-the-top then, but now the blow of the challenge is HUGE.
Mother Teresa’s Humility List
1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do no protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult task.
What a challenge! The more I consider this list, the more questions I have. How do I avoid feeling hurt if the opportunity to practice #10 (accepting contempt, disregard) comes up? How do I apply #7 (accepting censures) or #14 (giving in even when right) without becoming a door mat, letting people walk all over me? Or is the idea to become one? Christ was not so I’m sure the answer to the latter is no. I suppose in order to practice these items devoutly, a person has to have a profoundly deep sense that his dignity lies in God alone. Why would I seek to be admired and loved by others if I need only to be loved by God – and I already am! so there!
Pride is a horse pill - hard to swallow. I’m so eager to work on this and develop my understanding of not only this list, but of humility on a grander scale. What are the best ways to practice humility as a wife and mother? As a friend? Sizing up the items on my scrap piece of paper makes me feel small and I can’t help but shake my head at my own soul and behavior. Bottoms up.
For more Humble Pie, try on the Litany of Humility.