family

Interview with Working Mother Ashley Anderson

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Let’s meet working mother, Ashley Anderson!

 

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Ashley Anderson

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband, Paul, and I have been married for six and a half years.  We met my last year, his sophomore year, at Missouri State University and have been planting our roots here in Springfield, MO, ever since.  He’s a senior manager at Accenture and my understanding of this position is that his brain is so full with technical knowledge about computers and programming that they pay him to perpetuate his nerd status.  Don’t tell him I told you that though because I’m sure he would like to offer a more accurate depiction of his job. I taught high school English for six years but am currently at home with our three wild boys: Thomas (nearly 5) and identical twins, Alistair and Emerick (18 months).

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I’m home with the kids right now busy with lots of fun things.  I homeschool Thomas, tackle home maintenance stuff, feed all my guys as much good stuff as I can, and squeeze in freelance work in the margins.

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

My job here at home strips me of my selfishness.  Who doesn’t need more of that?

 

On a practical level, I teach my sons all day.  Almost all of the teaching is natural and prompted by the boys, but I’m also able to draw on my experiences as an educator to provide resources for my kids, and that part of my work at home is incredibly rewarding.

 

In addition, I do a bit of freelance work for the company where my husband works.  I’m contracted to essentially grade tests. It’s not a ton of work and the work is not steady income. However, I’m a firm believer that every little bit counts.  When I see the money I earn deposited into our account, I am joyful to have the opportunity to help us out with flex funds for things like extra traveling, big medical bills, or maybe a gift for someone.

 

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I taught for six years with three of those years as a mommy to my firstborn.  I’m grateful that we were blessed with six years of dual-income so that we could pay down debt and experience a great deal of financial freedom as well.

 

My freelance work, my “work away from work” (even if I’m doing it during naps and late nights), is a wonderful experience for me.  Transitioning to full time mom has been difficult for me.  My role feels overwhelming and at times, even invisible.  I’m working on my heart and my humility. In the meantime though, having a side job that I can feel really great about, that has parameters of work I can walk away from because it is “done” feels really gratifying.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

Now that there is primarily one breadwinner and one homemaker, the tension looks different than when my husband and I were both working.  When I feel overwhelmed at all there is to balance at home, some things turning over quickly like dishes and toys carried across the house by toddlers and other things very slowly like projects chipped away at day by day, I think of how overwhelmed by husband could feel being the one we are all relying on financially.  I try my best to first think of how I can show my husband appreciation for the big role he wakes up to each day.

 

I also have learned that it is extremely effective to privately, honestly, and calmly tell my husband what is on my heart.  There is nothing I have once brought to him that he has not responded to with gentleness and action.  But barking orders and complaining when everyone is searching for socks and trying to get out the door (which I’ve also been guilty of committing)–it just doesn’t work.

 

From what we’ve experienced with our different roles, it’s that tension sneaks up when we aren’t actively trusting each other.  Sometimes I just say:  “We both work hard.  We both are stressed. If we need something, we should say it and we should be eager to both help and accept help.”  I think that reminder cools our jets a bit.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

I have the most supportive family and friends. My cup is completely full when it comes to having a good network of people who I can be honest and real with about the joys and struggles of my life right now.

 

Maybe I can use this space as my opportunity to send out a bit of support to other moms:

 

Moms with full-time jobs: Please cut yourself some slack.  Buy semi-prepped food. Hire a house cleaner from time to time. Unfollow groups on Facebook or blogs that are advertising a lifestyle that is not part of your family culture and plan.  Rejoice in the gift that you have to provide for your family in the way that you do and rest in God’s provision and wild, unforeseen plans for your life!

 

Moms at home: It’s okay to pray for and seek out friendships.  That’s not a waste of time: it’s important.  Call out to Jesus in the messiness and close your eyes and think of Mary’s beautiful humility when you feel your invisible work begin to drain your joy.  Your work matters and maybe you should look in the mirror and say it.  It really does! Rejoice in the simple blessings as if you are harvesting fruit from the field and be joyful know that God has wild, unforeseen plans for your life!

 

Thank you, Ashley!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Lisa Delay

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, when we celebrate all the different directions from which Christians approach Jesus and gather together in His name.  What better day to interview one of my favorite Christian speakers and working mothers, Lisa DeLay?

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Lisa DeLay

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

The DeLays (of Cressona) are typically an odd but tight bunch. Our family is marked by creative pursuits, family suppers together each night, the priority of a Christian walk of faith, mini vacations, cycling on rails-to-trails, a bit of sibling bickering, a love of quirky movies, and cleaning up after our dog, Luna.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

First, I might quip, “The best I can.” This is likely to followed by an awkward silence and the suspicion that I’m a hapless jerk. From there, I may proceed with a list (graphic designer, writer, artist, digital marketer, manager at a vineyard, volunteer at a federal prison, plus I’m a wife and mom to a special needs child and a gifted child) that either bores the listener or causes them to assume that I over-schedule my life–which is actually inaccurate…but whatever. Incidentally, I was asked this question at my son’s school one time. I was exhausted from my day, so I replied, “Oh, not much”–to which the man said (instructively) to his son, “Mrs DeLay is a ‘housewife’, Michael. That means she takes care of her home and that’s okay, too.” I didn’t bother trying to clear that up.

[Erin here.   Besides being a, and note the that’s-okay-too-quotation-marks, “housewife,” Lisa has authored and co-authored several books, including my favorite, Dog in the Gap, which I highly recommend.]  

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

Whatever it is that I’m working on I think that God gives me chances to share the gifts me gave me with others. In doing that I am found and I sense that I belong to a plan and a hope bigger than myself. Ideally, the struggles, whether at home or at work, can create Christ-likeness if I bear in mind a bigger picture.

 

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My children have to develop greater maturity, take on more responsibly, and contribute in useful ways to the family in meaningful ways–from doing chores and caring for the dog, to behaving themselves or getting snacks on their own when I’m not home from work yet. My husband shares in more household tasks too. If it weren’t by necessity, this may not happen as much. 

 

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

If those feelings ever arise I remind myself that I spent 7 years away from work outside the home to stay with them full-time and they are at an age to be challenged by the kind of independence my part-time work outside the home offers them.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

My friends and my spouse do a lot to support me (practically and emotionally).  To my children I’d say, “Ditch the complaining…you have it pretty darn good.”

 

Thank you, Lisa!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Colleen Gledhill

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us. Today is the Feast of St. John Neumann, the first saint out of Philadelphia.  It’s the perfect day to interview Philly Girl Colleen Gledhill!

 

What’s your name?

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Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband, Bill and I have been married for almost 27 years.  We have two children (who are now young men) and we have two beautiful grandchildren.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I would say that I am a wife, mother and a Legal Administrative Assistant.

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

In the job of “Mother”, I believe God shapes me through both challenges and tenderness.  Recently, my family has been challenged with experiences that we never thought we would ever face- not in a million years.  This required great faith, patience, forgiveness and acceptance.  Through it all, I definitely felt that I was being shaped and molded into the woman that God created and not the image that I was portraying on my own.  But God is gentle and merciful, which allows me to show kindness and tenderness in even the most disappointing of situations.  In the job of “Administrative Assistant”, God uses diversity to shape me.  I have worked with so many interesting, beautiful and different types of people.  It has really broadened my view of the world and helped me to think out of the self-imposed box that I often found myself in.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

One of the biggest benefits of working outside of the home that I’ve seen in my family is cooperation.  There is definitely a sense of community and helping each other out.  Each of us realizes that we all are working hard and we are a team, (most of the time:-)…Utopia does not exist in the Gledhill household- but mutual respect does.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

In full disclosure, I did not work outside of the home when my children were infants/babies.  I returned to work when they were pre-schoolers, but guilt was still present.  Guilt is a tough one.  I believe it is supposed to be a feeling that lasts only a moment or two when our conscience recognizes something that is contrary to God’s will.  It should be a spiritual nudge- not the gnawing torment that it can turn into at times.  The way I deal with it is through prayer and discussion.  I ask God to help me and my family to be balanced.  I have honest conversations with my family members which are important and helpful.  Time spent in the car driving to events, running errands and the kid’s activities usually prove to be enlightening and informative.  There is something about a car ride that makes it easier for children to open up.  Also, no matter what else is going on, we try to always have dinner together.  That is where much of the ‘guilt’ subsides.  We regroup, bond, debate, converse and laugh.  For years at dinnertime, we have asked each other “what was your high point today…what was your low point?”  This question helps you to remain in touch with your family, which in turn decreases any guilt that may build up from time spent apart.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

I know this probably sounds so cliche, but the one thing I ask the people in my life to do to support me more is to pray for me.  That is the honest truth.  Years ago, my husband began to say the Rosary on his way to work each morning, and there is no better means of support for our family than that of him praying to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother!  I firmly believe that his praying the Rosary has helped our family get through the toughest and most tragic of times.  When others are praying for me I feel very supported, which in turn gives me the ability to reciprocate that support to my family and friends.

Thank you, Colleen!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Sarah Reinhard

It’s the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, one of my favorite working mother saints.  Join me in celebrating working mother Sarah Reinhard as we also celebrate the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.”

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What’s your name?

 Sarah Reinhard

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

4 kids, ages 9-almost-10, 7, 4, and in utero (due in March)

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

A little bit of all kinds of things (grin), including laundry, juggling, entertainment, writing, chauffeuring, personal shopping, anger management and conflict resolution, and much more.  Actually, I usually just tell people I’m a writer. It takes less effort than explaining I work from home and somehow manage more than anyone else thinks I should be able to.

(Erin here.   Sarah blogs for herself, for the National Catholic Register, is an editorial consultant at CatholicMom.com, and has a bunch of books on Amazon, and that’s just for starters).  

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

Well, it keeps me off the streets… It keeps me organized and focused on my priorities. I am constantly assessing why I work and whether I’m in line with God’s will. God and I have an ongoing conversation in which I say “How in the (colorful word omitted) am I supposed to DO ALL OF THIS?” and he answers with some miraculous person showing up to help or some circumstance falling into place or some clear realization on my part that it’s time to say No.  My job pays the bills, yes. But it also gives me a focus that I think I would lack otherwise. It’s how God wired me. (And I realize there’s room for a conversation here about how my kids and my husband should be my focus, and I don’t mean to ever imply that, at any moment, they ever aren’t. Because they are. At every instant.)

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I actually work from home, so I get the best and worst of both sides of this. I get to look at the unfolded laundry all day and feel guilty about whether I’m ignoring a kid while I try to meet a deadline. But I’m also here when someone’s sick, and I work with incredible people who understand that I’m a wife and mom FIRST.  I have flexibility, but I also have a never-ending to-do list. Literally. There is ALWAYS something that needs done, whether it’s dishes or laundry, a writing project or client project, homework help or sports carpooling.  My kids see, very clearly, that family comes first. Family is part and parcel of all of it: the housework, the outside work, the fun we have.

 

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

Confession and constant conversation with God. I’m always assessing whether why I’m working outside my home achieves God’s will, which requires always asking him for guidance. I also keep myself in check by listening to what those closest to me are saying — God so often speaks in the voices of my husband and my closest family and friends. 

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Coffee and chocolate, people, coffee and chocolate. 🙂

Thank you, Sarah!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Grace Mazza Urbanski

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, the titular feast of the Jesuits.  What better day to interview someone who works for God through the Society of Jesus?  Let’s meet Grace Mazza Urbanski!

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Grace Mazza Urbanski

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband, David, and I have five children. We married the week after I finished my undergraduate degree, and the first four children were born in the first five years of marriage. Exhausting! And thrilling. There’s roughly 18 months between each of the first four children, but a whole THREE years between the fourth and the fifth. The children insist that we’re missing someone who should have been born in that gap. They call that person the “Missing Urbanski,” and many of their friends regularly lobby to be adopted to fill the position.

By the end of this month, the children will be 18, 17, 15, 14, and 10. Things we enjoy both individually or corporately include languages, legos, movies, camping, music, theater, reading, faith, and lots and lots of company at our house.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I work at a Catholic (Jesuit) organization called the Apostleship of Prayer. I design prayer materials for children and travel across the country giving presentations to children and adults alike. I am able to do this now because my own five children are all in school, and they attend the school where my husband teaches Latin. They’re really good at working together to keep everything going when I need to be away.

[Erin here.  Grace also has a children’s ministry blog at PrayingWithGrace.org.]  

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

This job is a giant, delicious humble pie. If I write and teach about prayer, then guess what I need to be doing? Praying. I have a prideful, independent streak, and I would be the world’s biggest hypocrite if I indulged that while working in the Apostleship of Prayer. Being part of a family already helped me learn about being a team player and depending on God’s providence, but those lessons were more . . . private. I now stand on a scaffold in the public square while my sins flap in the breeze.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

See above. A more humble, prayerful mom makes the family better. That’s a benefit because of the nature of my work. The simple fact that I work has benefits too, because it explands my worldview. I tend to get deeply involved with volunteer activities whenever I am able. With my husband working at the school my children attend, though, too much of ME in that same mix could lead us to be myopic about our little community. When I have other communities’ visions on my mind, I tend to have a better perspective on our little corner of the world.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

My organization is extremely pro-family, so they understand when I need to make myself more available to my family at times. For example, I take the entire month of August off, just to share that sweet summer month at home. Even when people in the office tease me for that August “vacation” (it’s unpaid), I feel zero guilt. My family is my first and best work. If I neglect my family, my ministry will suffer.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

I’m still astonished at the lack of respect women receive in the workplace, perhaps especially in ministry. For example, a team of four young Jesuits (one priest, three in formation) was going to run a retreat at a parish. Two of the Jesuits had to cancel, so my Jesuit co-worker asked me to step in and give some of the talks (which I have done before, am totally capable of, blah, blah, blah). Then my co-worker called the parish priest who was hosting the retreat. He told the priest that the retreat team experienced a change: instead of three (non-ordained) Jesuits in formation and one Jesuit priest, the retreat team would now consist of one Jesuit priest, one Jesuit in formation, and one laywoman. The parish priest canceled the retreat. We still have work to do before the gifts of women are valued as much as men’s gifts.

Thank you, Grace!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Laura Nelson

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Let’s meet working mother, Laura Nelson​!

 

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Laura Nelson

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

M​​other of three, ages ranging from 11-18 plus one small but mighty dog.

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I’m a preschool music and movement teacher but I’m also a blogger and speaker.

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

I believe that God gave me the gift for teaching others and that I can use those gifts with my preschoolers as well as with my readers and those that I speak to. By actively using those gifts, I think I become more of the person that God intended when He created me.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

Teaching has definitely made me a better parent.  I see examples of great parenting all the time through the parents at my school.  That coupled with the continuing education I complete yearly gived me a better understanding of the developing person at different stages of life.  Don’t tell my teens but preschoolers and teens aren’t very different.

My writing and speaking has deepened my spiritual life and made it more present in every part of my life.  As a mother, my attitudes and behaviors regarding my spiritual really affect my family.  It keeps the conversation going about our faith and how we live it.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

​This is something that every mother struggles with-even those who don’t work outside of the home.  As my children (and I) have gotten older, I’ve learned to make choices and be at peace with them. The most important thing is to recognize and accept the fact that you can’t do everything.  Once you do that, it’s a lot easier to prioritize your time.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

​ Be enthusiastic about what I do.  That enthusiasm shows me that you care about me beyond my role as “Mom” and that what I’m doing matters.

Thank you, Laura!   Readers, be sure to visit Laura at BOTH of her blogs: www.suburbansainthood.com and www.greenforgod.blogspot.com

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Ellen Gable Hrkach

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us. Today is the Feast of the Holy Family.  What better day for a book release and to meet my editor, working mother Ellen Gable Hrkach!

 

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Ellen Gable Hrkach

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

I’ve been married to James for 32 years and now work alongside him in our publishing company. We have five sons ages 15 to 27 (three sons are still at home) and we live in rural Pakenham, Ontario Canada.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I’m an author of five books and President of the Catholic Writers Guild.  That usually starts an interesting conversation either about what sort of books I write and/or the Guild.

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

The writing life is full of deadlines.  This helps me to get things done in a timely manner and forces me to prioritize.

 

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

This is a hard question to answer since I don’t work away from home. However, having a full-time writing job at home means that I have more freedom to plan my own schedule.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I do have occasional guilt sometimes when I have to finish a deadline because “housework” usually does not get done…or I don’t have as much time to help my teens with their homework.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Help with housework.

 

Thank you, Ellen!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

WORKING MOTHER AVAILABLE TOMORROW!

Please join me in celebrating Holy Family Sunday with the release of my 99 cent ebook, “Working Mother.”

Working Mother Final-1Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us! 

Many, many thanks to Ellen & James and all the team over at Full Quiver Publishing for all their hard work that went into this project.

7QT: It’s Never Too Late for a Hastily Written Post

7 Quick Takes Friday.  Write ’em. Post ’em.  Link ’em up and read ’em at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

… who is actually taking Friday in the Octave of Christmas off, but I’m here in spite of that.

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Merry Christmas!  Santa came!  Only to get torn limb from limb.

Poor Santa.

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My husband and I were reflecting on how smoothly Thanksgiving-to-Christmas seems to have gone, for the first time in years. Inwardly, I’d been congratulating myself for keeping my pledge (also inward) not to go crazy with getting junk for the kids to unwrap, with cookies to bake, with dishes to concoct, etc.  Then hubby pointed out that this was the first fall-to-winter in yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaars when I wasn’t down for 2-3 months with a viral-triggered asthma episode.  I’ve had cold after cold, but thankfully they’ve not required heavy doses of Prednisone, nebulized albuterol, and/or antibiotics that may or may not make things worse.  Was it the olive leaf extract, the kinder/gentler viruses that made the rounds this season, or just the way God is working things so completely out of my control?  I don’t know.  I am, however, grateful.

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Speaking of Christmas, I have a post up on Catholic Mom today, “Christmas is Not Supposed to Be Like This.”

Weihnachtskrippe in der Sanoker Minoritenkirche courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I originally wrote it for this blog last year for Christmas Eve.  It all started because, as hinted at before, Christmas came and I hadn’t been able to mop the floor or bake a single cookie. This is perhaps one of my favorite things I’ve ever blogged, and the feedback I’ve gotten on how it’s helped people put things in perspective… anyway, I hope you like it and that God is pleased by the whole mess.  I’m grateful He came down into our mess and still does.  I’ll see you at the manger.

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Could you please pray for a special intention?  It was an intention I prayed for during this year’s St. Andrew Christmas Novena.  For last year’s, too, but last year’s answer was a BFN.  I’ll have God’s answer to this year’s in a few days.

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While we’re at it, could you also pray for the other intention I included in this year’s novena: for the success of the launch of “Working Mother,” my short fiction ebook piece about the Holy Family.

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“What if Mary had to get a job outside the home?”  Read to imagine one possibility.  It’s available for preorder now, if you’d like.  It should show up on your Kindle on Holy Family Sunday.

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Sigh.  Both intentions are related to doing everything possible to contribute to a desired outcome.  Over and over again.  And then getting disappointed.  Over and over again.  And it’s not like the desired outcomes are things that couldn’t possibly be within the realm of God’s will. That I could help support my family financially by writing stories that get people to consider our Heavenly Father in a more positive light then they may have done previously? To my feeble human brain, it doesn’t really seem like such a bad combo.  And the other thing… well, not sure if I feel comfortable going into all that again, not in public anyway.

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Either way, I know that God can do all things, and that no purpose of His can be hindered.  I know, too, he hears the cry of the woman who believed that just a touch of His garment can make a difference.

In hindsight, it looks like the 2004 Tsunami may have ended 30 years of armed conflict.  Analysis of the Columbine Massacre says of one of the shooters, “If he had lived to adulthood and developed his murderous skills for many more years, there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse.”

“God, why am I failing at doing good for you on earth?” is about as useful a question to ask as if Mary had said, “Why would You choose to be born in a stable?” God’s sight includes hindsight.  As much as we might want to know the “why” behind God’s “No,” it’s.  Just.  Not.  Our. Business.  Not right now, anyway.  Hindsight, I now see, does not have to be a painful curse.  It’s a gift–a gift of seeing, as God sees, outside of the nownownownowNOW!

Through whatever inscrutable pain the now might bring, it will pass away.  His Word, however, does not.  Cling to it.  I know I will need to in the coming days.

Advent Wreath Link-up for those without an Advent Wreath

ETA:  I’m going to include this in the CatholicMom.com Advent Wreath Link Up… for those of you who, like me, don’t actually have an Advent Wreath at the moment! Hence why you may be experiencing deja-vu, the extraordinary sensation that you’ve lived through something before.  But first, let’s explore the phenomenon of deja-vu, the extraordinary…

Advent Wreath Link-Up at CatholicMom.com

I turned 40 on St. Andrew’s Day, which meant that my husband whisked me away for an overnight. We got to see Catching Fire and eat a meal in peace at a table where someone else was serving, someone else was even cooking, and where I was only interrupted when asked if I wanted another cocktail.

Bliss.

What we didn’t get to do was find our beautiful Advent wreath in time for Advent. I thought it was in one place. Hubby thought it was in another. Turns out it was in neither of those places, and we are stymied. However, if improvisation is good enough for the Holy Family, then we really ought not turn up our noses at not having things where we want them when we want them. And thus, behold! The Advent, erm, Basket!

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We have a cup on the first candle so one child can hold it, lit, while another reads the night’s selection from Welcome, Baby Jesus by Sarah Reinhardt.  This is all done with supervision, of course.

We also didn’t have time to make our annual gingerbread “sacrifice manger,” so we made it out of construction paper.

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Second Shift filling the manger with yellow strips of paper she just cut for “hay.”

If Advent Calendars aren’t your thing, this might work for your family as well. The idea is that every time you do something nice for someone else or offer up something to Jesus, you put some “hay” (a piece of yellow paper) in the manger. By the time Christmas rolls around, we want to have a nice, soft manger full of “hay” to keep the Baby Jesus warm and comfortable.  You can make your manger out of craft sticks, gingerbread, an empty clementine orange box, or even construction paper.  This is our fourth or fifth year doing this, and it’s been a great way to keep our minds on preparing for our King all day long.

What does your family do to prepare to receive your King?