Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a potential little series

Folks, I must admit I struggle with this blogging thing.  Sometimes I love it; sometimes I hate it; sometimes I'm completely indifferent about the whole ordeal.  I'm inspired by the sheer honesty and beautiful insights of many of the blogs I read, but I must say that I've yet to figure out how much is too much in terms of divulging things that are personal...and I mean much more personal than random insights or photos of beautiful Steed babies.

Any of you share in that struggle?

I've mentioned before on here that perfectionism is an area that needs a great deal of "tending to" in my life.  A great deal (that's an intense understatement).  It interferes with nearly every facet, and it's time that I, along with the good Lord, address the situation.  I'm contemplating starting a little series of posts about this topic, primarily as a way to sort out my thoughts/struggles/revelations regarding all things perfect (oh wait, that's only possible in Heaven...I'm still living on earth, where nothing is perfect...shoot).  Well, if I stand even the most minute chance of making it through those pearly gates, I'd better get working on growing in virtue through this struggle.

I've made too many promises in the past about blogging X number of times per week or posting photos more frequently or things of that nature.  Well, I simply don't have a lot of blogging time right now.  Our lives are insane (I say that not for your pity or empathy, but simply to remind myself of the reality of the situation) as a doctoral studies-part time work-stay at home mom-two tiny children-very little income-very busy calendar-type of family.  And so, I'll post when I can.  I wish that blogging could be a bigger priority, and I often desire it to be so, but I'm just not there now.  I welcome your insights, your encouragement, your prayers (oh do I ever welcome those!) as I attempt to sift through this ordeal with perfection that, right now, is bringing about more vice than virtue.

Stay tuned!

Friday, April 29, 2011

i dare you...

not to fall in love with this little muffin. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a death He freely accepted

I've been Catholic for the entirety of my 26 years of life - and yet, Mother Church is so rich to the point that I will never be able to fully comprehend nor appreciate the vast beauty and truth that lies within Her.

Drake and I were at daily mass last week, and, in preparation for the Triduum, I tried to pay more careful attention (as much attention as I could muster with two small children). I found myself completely in awe of one small part of the Eucharistic prayer.  Never before had this struck me in such a profound way -- "Before He was given up to death, a death He freely accepted, He took bread and gave You thanks." 

I was honestly so taken aback that I focused on this phrase alone for the duration of mass and for days thereafter.  I don't claim to be a theologian by any means, nor do I ever do an adequate job of describing just how deeply and beautifully the Lord speaks to me and touches my inmost being.  But one especially obvious blessing for me during the latter half of the Lenten liturgical season was inspiration drawn from the agony in the garden in combination with this part of Eucharistic Prayer II.

Death can be such an intimidating event - most of us are frightened, intimidated, downright terrified at the thought of losing our own lives.  But the Lord implores us to lay down our lives for the sake of others and gave us the most poignant example of death to self.  He has conquered death!  Alleluia!

But, how willing was He to do this?

It honestly gives me a great deal of comfort that Jesus wasn't jumping up and down in a tizzy to undergo all that Calvary would have in store for Him.  I'm gladdened by the fact that He didn't give his Father a wink and a big thumbs up when God asked Him to endure the greatest physical pain known to humankind.  And I'm happy, perhaps in a selfish way, that Christ actually did plead with God to "let this cup pass from Me."  I can't help but think about the infinite number of times that I beg and plead with God to take away circumstances in my life that I know are sure to bring suffering.  It's a bit embarrassing how often I desire to do away with anything that's going to bring me discomfort (physical, mental, emotional, you name it).  I'm a big wimp.  But I'm a wimp who loves the Lord.  That's gotta count for something, right?

I'm inspired by the fact that Jesus did not allow his human desires to take precedence over what the Father asked of Him.  It almost seems to me as if Jesus wanted to be absolutely sure that God was truly asking Him to suffer and DIE for the sins committed by the human race.  It's not called the agony in the garden for nothing.  Jesus was truly distraught over the idea, but ultimately desired to do the will of His Father.  That took precedence over everything, and, in our "my-own-comfort-first" society today, suffering is seen as negative and something that should be eradicated, done away with, and all together avoided whenever possible.  Saying, "yes" to something that would likely bring about some type of suffering (or lots of types of suffering) is counter-cultural at best.

But Jesus freely accepted His death - freely accepted it!

And so, I'm called (and you, too, but that's beside the point) to take up my own crosses.  I'm asked to trust in the Lord so completely that I would do anything to show my love for Him.  I'm asked to accept the pain and suffering that I encounter in this life.  Why?  Because the Lord knows my heart and desires that I draw closer to Him with each passing moment.  And He knows that the crosses chosen specifically for me are the ones that will lead directly to greater sanctification of myself and consequently my family and those with whom I interact.  Seems that I can learn a thing or two (or two thousand) from the Lord's example of faithfulness to His Father's will.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Now that sweet Maria is on a good schedule in terms of napping, Thomas and I find ourselves with the perfect opportunity to spend time one-on-one in the morning for an hour or so during her morning nap.  We've made some care packages for friends and family recently, a few of which have featured a favorite snack around here -- homemade granola bars!  We've experimented with lots of mix-ins like walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, peanuts, and chocolate chips.  We have yet to find a combination that we don't like!

You need to hear Thomas say "spatula" in person -- it's almost as cute as this picture.

Featured ingredients

Thomas' little collection of ingredients he sampled between bouts of mixing

Pure deliciousness

Hey lady, enough is enough with that camera!

Sleeping angel

Since both Drake and I have decided to forgo chocolate for Lent this year, granola bars have tended toward the fruit and nut variety.  Celebrating the Resurrection is sure to bring chocolate back into the snack rotation!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

need a good laugh?

I came across this tonight thanks to my dear friend, A. 

If you are a mom, have ever been around a mom, would like to know what you're getting yourself into once you become a mom, then read this.  Please.  You can thank me later.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

moments captured on the prairie path

Living only feet away from a tree-covered, naturally-lit, bustling prairie path is lovely.  It's one of the many blessings about living where we do.  It's especially nice now that the warm weather is contemplating a full return, so the kids and I have been outside on numerous occasions.

Here are some photos - I'm no photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm fully confident that you'll get the general idea of what's going on.

When did the little 5 pound baby grow up to be such a big boy?


*Sigh* Maybe he'll actually look at the camera on his wedding or ordination day.  One can only hope.

Well, hey there, pretty lady!

Thomas was quite pleased that this stick looked like a "T." I, for one, didn't have the heart to tell him that I thought it looked more like the symbol for pi.
Sticks, leaves, dirt, bugs, AND rocks?  Bliss!

Here's to many more warm-(ish) days to come!

As a side note, I'll be soon posting some reflections on my recent media fast.  I was just anxious to get up a few quick photos of these beautiful Steed children.  I can't help it - I'm in awe of them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ok, friends

I'm taking a long break from blogging.  And rather than just delete my blog all together, I'll explain myself.

I've decided that I need to get a lot of things in my life together, and, for me, that means I need to do some "tearing down" and work my way back up.  I need to be very intentional about the ways I spend my time, ensuring that it is spent in service to my vocation.  While I recognize that things like blogging, reading other blogs, being connected through social networks like Facebook, etc can, in a sense, be a way that moms in particular can more fully live out their vocation, I also know that these things have recently been having adverse effects on me personally.

When I choose to log in to my Facebook account, I'm bombarded by a world of status updates, relationship changes, newly uploaded photos, and I'm instantly sucked in.  Even though I haven't done much to foster true relationships with "friends," I am suddenly "in the know" (to some small extent) about their lives.  Once in a while I'll take time to comment or message or (much less frequently) pray for the person about whom I'm reading.  But let's face it, most of the time it turns me into a busy body and leaves me with a false sense of closeness with others. 

When I choose to read other blogs I can't help but feel inadequate about my own blogging (or lack thereof).  Right now, it doesn't even matter what the topic might be on someone's particular blog.  The fact that they were able to find time to blog in the first place makes me feel like I don't have my act together enough to dedicate time to writing, posting photos of the kids, reading and reflecting on various topics. 

I recognize that I'm putting a great deal of pressure on myself to be perfect in most (if not every) aspect of my life.  I could write a book (probably a whole series) about my struggles with perfectionism, so instead I'll simply ask you to pray for me in this specific regard.

I simply need to disconnect for a while - I need to spend more time in prayer, in self reflection, in taking time to truly listen to the Lord.  I'll still check my email at least once a day, and I'll have my phone around, too.  But I'm taking a much-needed media fast of sorts for an undetermined amount of time, and I'm praying that it might bear fruit in my own life and consequently in the life of my family and those around me.  I'll pray for you and for your intentions, friends!