"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Regarding My Blog Break

I have taken long breaks from blogging this past year or so. It wasn’t an intentional decision. Upon reflection, it’s been a difficult year and a half, and I think part of me felt like a hypocrite every time I logged on and saw the above picture of my family looking so happy and the reminder that we are made for joy -- the reality I was experiencing was so far from the truth I believed.

The years of graduate school took a toll on us, both financially and, more devastatingly, in terms of family life. I had unrealistic expectations that once my husband had graduated and was working in his new career, life would magically be transformed -- we would own a house again; Daddy would be around more -- and everything else would just fall into place. I think I was able to deal with everything at the time because I knew it would end once the degree was in hand. But the degree has been in hand for two years already. And my dear hubby just finished his third school year in the new job. And life is still hard. We had to buy a home I don't like. And my husband is just as busy, if not busier, trying to get things going with a brand new job and a brand new program. And now there is no magical end in sight.

Graduate school was a choice we made together -- a choice I don’t regret in the least. The choices on how to spend our time and money that came along with that choice sometimes didn’t feel like choices, but they were. And now trying to undo the damage sometimes feels harder than I can bear. I am constantly hearing a voice in my head screaming, “Why does everything have to be so hard!?!” Being intentional is hard. And it makes me tired. And there is so much work to be done. It’s easy to get discouraged.

But I have learned in this year and a half that being self-focused has got to be one of the most miserable of human experiences. It is good to turn inward and reflect, but I have been so caught up in the imperfections of my life, I have been unable to see the good in a constant pursuit of the better. I have become a master of self-pity and complaining. I have not been pleasant to live with. I have not been a good wife, a good mother, a good friend. I have forgotten to be intentionally grateful -- gratitude isn’t something that comes naturally for me -- even though I am fully convinced that the holy joy for which I long is born of gratitude, even though I know I have so much for which to be grateful.

I am more convinced than ever that we are where we are supposed to be. There are wonderful things happening at the University and here in the Diocese. It’s exciting to be a part of it. And we’re taking baby steps to move toward where we want to be as a family. And I have to be content with that. We've created a family mission statement and are trying (over and over and over again) to make decisions based on that mission. We’ve created a budget for the first time in years. And while it feels so hard sometimes to make a grocery list and bring my calculator with me to the store, there’s also something very freeing about knowing I can only spend so much on this or that and I now have a criteria by which I can say no. My hubby and I are slowly this summer trying to re-prioritize and get our family life back to where we want it. I think the older kids were left to their own devices so often when Dad was in school and Mom was trying to hold down everything else, that now we’re not quite sure how to just be together. And that is painful to see. But we're aware, and that is a good place to start.

I am resolved to start blogging more regularly again -- not because life is easier than it has been, but because there is joy in every day and this is a place for me to recognize it. I share it with you, my readers, but I am doing it for me. So that I can see the good and be grateful.

I recently ran across the third chapter in Lamentations. It captures beautifully where I’ve been and where my hope lies. And I share it with you. Have a blessed weekend!


My life is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
My enduring hope, I said,
has perished before the LORD.
The thought of my wretched homelessness
is wormwood and poison;
Remembering it over and over,
my soul is downcast.
But this I will call to mind;
therefore I will hope:
The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,
his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning --
great is your faithfulness!
The LORD is my portion, I tell myself,
therefore I will hope in him.
Let us search and examine our ways,
and return to the LORD!
Let us lift up our hearts as well as our hands
toward God in heaven!
You drew near on the day I called you;
you said, “Do not fear!”
(Lamentations 3:17-24, 40-41, 57)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Fathers

One of the things I have been profoundly aware of and grateful for since moving to the Diocese of Bismarck is how many good and faithful priests we have here. Today six more were added to their number. Deo gratias!

 photo courtesy of Bismarck Diocese

Today I also remember in a special way another father for whom I am grateful ... Happy Birthday, Daddy! Ad multos annos!