Small Success Thursday

Small-Success-Thursday-550x330A link-a-dink-a-doo for link-a-dink-a-you over at CatholicMom.com!

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I am crazy behind in letting the world know that I had an interview post last week (I know, LAST WEEK!) over at Our Hearts Are Restless. Thank you to the lovely hostess for having me over!

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The Working Mother Interview Project seems to have been a lovely success!  Thank you to all my interviewees for sharing their experiences.  I learned a lot from you: mostly that we are all united by a wish that someone would just help us with the housework.

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I’m making slow, painful headway with the sequel to Don’t You Forget About Me.  I have had to do some heavy reading for research.  I’ve gotten so scared about where the story line for this one is going that I’ve stopped myself from writing so many times along this way that I’ve lost count. See, let me tell you a story.  In August of 2001, I was drafting my first novel, Jane_E, Friendless Orphan: A Memoir.

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Not to spoil too much, but that August I wrote a chapter that included a side plot of bioterrorism.  Did you check the timeline there?  August 2001?  I am pretty sure I gave that chapter to my critique group in the first week of September 2001.  We met again around the time of the “Amerithrax Attacks.”  I was horrified that something had come out of my imagination that ended up being in the vein of others had actually done.  It’s one thing imagining The Bad Guys and their Evil Ways and putting them in a fictional world where they can be discovered, defeated, and everything turns out more or less okay–changed forever, but okay.

It’s something else to see it happen–only without the guaranteed Good Guys.

Rationally I know that I had nothing to do with Tom Brokaw needing a script for Cipro.  Rationally I know that there are not enough people reading my books that anyone is likely to get “ideas” from even the darkest thing I could possibly write.  On top of that, the people buying books like mine are probably not plotting plots or scheming schemes.

And I’m still scared that I imagine such things.  I imagine them in a world of good people who fight the bad, but I still imagine them.

You’re probably asking, “Okay, so what’s the success here?” I’m asking the same question.  I guess the success is that I (a) saw the thought-shattering humility in seeing that I am just as much a sinner as a terrorist, and that none of us is beyond God’s mercy, so that’s Good News, and (b) That reminder of my own frail humanity was enough to get me to reach out to three writers (two friends, one complete stranger from whom I expect to hear nothing, but that’s okay) asking for advice and prayers.

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In the midst of all this, I had occasion to look up the word “poop” in the thesaurus. God has a sense of humor.

Interview with Working Mother Amanda Lauer

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 we’re interviewing working mother Amanda Lauer!
What’s your name?
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Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband John and I have been married almost 34 years, we have three daughters and one son ranging in age from 23 to 29, we have a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law, and a precious 2-year-old grandson.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?
The short answer is that I have a career in journalism and a mission to spread the word about true health through living water. The longer answer is I am an author (my book A World Such as Heaven Intended came out October 29, 2014 and has been on the best-seller list for Amazon for its genre several times in the last two months), I write and shoot photos for the Green Bay Diocesan newspaper The Compass and The Business News, I proofread for Saint Norbert College, and I am an independent distributor for Enagic Corp/Kangen Water.
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
Every day I am challenged to learn and grow through both my career and my mission. I’m always trying to be a better version of myself and God has brought many extraordinary people and circumstances into my life that have helped me do just that.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
I would not be the person I am today without all of these experiences that have caused to me grow in my knowledge, communication skills and faith.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
Because I work from home, there is really no separation between home life and work life which can definitely be a challenge. Between my career and my mission it’s almost like having two full-time jobs. Each is equally important because they are a means of evangelizing for me so that does help assuage the guilt a bit. My goal is, when I step into my office or go to outside appointments, to completely focus on the work that needs to be done at that moment. When I close my office doors for the day, my goal is to focus on my husband and our time together and connecting with our kids, who all live out of state. It’s not always easy because the office is so close by and there’s always something I can be doing there. It’s a work in progress.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks on my plate, give me the time and the space to do what I need to do to get a handle on everything. If you can’t give me that, then give me chocolate.

Great suggestion!  Thank you, Amanda!  

Interview with Working Mother Emily Borman

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. Brigid of Ireland, so we’re interviewing another woman who finds herself having unexpected conversations in the name of Christ.  Let’s meet Emily Borman!

 

What’s your name?

That one is easy, Emily Borman.Displaying CWW-15 proof web.jpg

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

I have been married for 27 years to my husband Bill and we have 3 children.  Our daughter is our oldest.  She just graduated from college in May and is pursuing a graduate degree in education while teaching 5th grade in FL.  Next, is our son who is a junior in college; away from home. Last is our youngest son who is a senior in high school living at home with us in VA.

 

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

I run a non-profit for Catholic women called Conversation with Women. Then depending on my company I would gage the look on their face and decide whether or not to continue.  If there was any interest at all I would continue with,

It is a ministry that centers around a blog that consists of anonymous stories submitted by women who have struggled with Catholic teaching in the area of marriage, sexuality, and fertility but ultimately have found peace and joy by following church teaching.

If the person hasn’t walked away yet I might follow with:

The idea behind the blog is to:

  1. provide support and conversation for women who might not have like-minded friends to confide in, or might not be comfortable confiding in their friends.

2.provide kindling for real life conversations.

  1. give encouragement to any woman trying to live the faith…yes it can be difficult but it can be done and is worth it.

And then also, I am a part time barista and baker at Trinity House Café. It is a really cool coffee house run by the John Paul II Fellowship to promote Christian community and culture in the public square.

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

Wow.  This is a deep question.  Conversation with Women has really required that I trust God.  There are so many things that I have learned to do with the blog that I didn’t know I could do….but there was no one else to do it so I prayed and tried. I have fund raised, written press releases, designed the visual appearance of the blog, edited the blog, spoken to groups of women and learned about using social media.  I need to start writing articles promoting the blog.  That is what is next on my list.  In all honesty I’m afraid that I might look foolish trying to write an article…but then I think of the parable of the talents and I think I better just try and do my best and leave the rest to God.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My work with Conversation with Women has always been flexible so at times it remains invisible from my family.  My job as a barista and baker has helped me set some healthy limits and boundaries with my family.  One example is that my son used to miss the bus 3 or 4 days a week.  When he knows that I am not home to take him, he doesn’t miss the bus at all…nada…zero!  I was so happy to see him step up to the plate like that…and also a little sheepish about realizing that I must be a push over to have been driving him to school so often.

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

I usually pray.  I’m never entirely confident that I am balancing responsibilities well.  I pray about my motives…Do I really need to run out to the grocery store tonight to get that last ingredient so that what I bake tomorrow will be amazing (forfeiting family time for pride)?  Or am I sincerely trying to do His will?  I pray for His will, not mine, and for His priorities, not mine.

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

I need to work on this.  The thing about part-time work is that you can arrange it so that the rest of your life does not change much.  Over Christmas I realized that I have done that to a fault.  I have added an 18 hour commitment to my life but I am still trying to do everything I used to do.  It’s not working.  I have been feeling the stress lately.  So I guess that I could use some help in figuring out what I need to drop from my list in order to be at peace.

Thank you, Emily!  

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 Jessica Roseborough

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 marks the start of the novena to St. Jerome Emiliani, patron saint of orphans.  In honor of St. Jerome, let’s meet working mother Jessica Roseborough!

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Jessica Roseborough

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband, Rob, and I have been married for 13 years.  We have 4 children, ages 11.5, 10, 8 and 5.  Our children are active, smart and fun.  They keep us very busy!! We have 2 dogs as well.  We own an adoption agency that we operate together, Rob has a full time job and I also work per diem hours in the ER as a social worker on the weekends.

 

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

My primary job is a mother to 4 active children between 5-12.  Professionally, I am a social worker.  I work in both child welfare and as an emergency/medical social worker.

 

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

That is a big question that could have a long answer.  In a nut shell, as a mother and a social worker I feel that I have an impact on lives every day, which is something that I believe God wants from me and gave me talents and endurance for.

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

I feel more fulfilled and can therefore be more engaged and present when I am with my children.  As part of our work with the adoption agency we foster newborn babies from time to time while the adoption details are worked out.  My children absolutely love this and have learned a lot about how families are built, how God works through us to help babies be where he wants them to be and in general how to make sacrifices in their own lives to help someone else.

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

I don’t really feel guilty because I know that for me working outside the home is necessary to be fully engaged when I am home.  I would say my bigger struggle has been to create a lifestyle and set of professional responsibilities that can meet my needs as a person while not interfere with my needs as a mother.  For example, choosing to own and operate an agency allows me the freedom to have total control over my own schedule and that is worth the challenges it causes me because I would have a great deal of guilt if I missed birthdays or school shows (etc.) due to work.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

The children: put your shoes and clothes away!  I am lucky to feel very well supported and would say that the biggest struggle is feeling like there is not enough of me to go around.  I think the only thing that would make me feel more supported would be to hear “don’t worry about it” when I am stressing about not getting to the housework, laundry or home cooked meal because being a mother and social worker at the same time has to come before all of that.

 

Too true.  Thank you, Jessica!  

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 Melanie Weiler

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of a working I didn’t meet until I went searching for Dominican working moms:  Blessed Villana di’Botti.  Bl. Villana balanced her duties to husband and family along with a great love of and devotion to the poor and disadvantaged in her neighborhood.  I see the same balance in an old friend of mine, Melanie Weiler.

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Melanie Weiler

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband and I have been married for 23 years with two children. Our son is 15 and daughter is 13.

 

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

I tell people that I manage a small nonprofit in Kennett Square, [PA], which consists of a food pantry and emergency assistance program. We focus on providing quality nutrition and securing resources for our clients to increase their self-sustainability.

 

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

I will always feel compelled to strive to be the person He made me to be. Through my experiences, I have been shown compassion and kindness that I know is His love. Every day I am given the opportunity to pay that forward to our brothers and sisters that are struggling. I have found the voice that we all have to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves.

When I took on this ministry, I didn’t realize how many in the community want to help, but feel powerless to do so. Through helping others, we find our humanity. I feel honored to be able to deliver that opportunity to many people and wish I could do more.

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

The kids are at an age when our society sweeps them into a consumption-based system of values. At a time that friends and peers can easily influence their values, my children have grasped an understanding and appreciation for their blessings. They are well grounded.

I will never forget the surprise on my daughter’s face the first time she helped a person select groceries in the cupboard.  At first, she thought the person was another volunteer. She quickly learned that not only were they a client, but they were also experiencing homelessness.  Homelessness has a unfair stereotype that must be broken and at the age of 13, she understands and shares that with her peers.

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

After multiple attempts at being a stay-at-home parent, I realize that is just not in God’s plan for me. But I always felt that if I needed to be away from my family, the work needed to be meaningful. At this point in my career, I don’t feel particularly guilty. My husband and I have always managed a balance of housework and family time. Of course I couldn’t do my work without him.

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

Just to respect that I am compelled to do this work and to make allowances for that. And understand that my house may be a little dirty and know I don’t care as long as my family is happy.

 

Love it.  Thank you, Melanie!  

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 Tiffany, the Catholic Librarian

Catholic Librarian

Tiffany the Catholic Librarian

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 my Dominican patron, St. Thomas Aquinas.  In honor of this saint who spent plenty of time in the library (and whose work has sent several of us there), let’s meet working mother Tiffany, the Catholic Librarian!

What’s your name?

Tiffany, and I blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian. I write about my Catholic faith, my family, the liturgical year, librarianship, crafts, my love of Middle Eastern dancing (which I started studying as a once per week timeslot of pure “me time” to charge my batteries a bit), and generally amusing things that happen in my daily, and ordinary, life. J

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

This coming January 8th, I’ll have been married for 10 years to my adorable husband, Mike. The date sounds a bit unusual for a wedding anniversary, I know, but we enjoy winter and thus had a snowy wedding day! Our anniversary also falls during Christmas season, which is a liturgical fact I just couldn’t resist. J Mike is an adjunct professor of philosophy and mathematics at several local colleges, two of them Catholic and one a community college. We have two children. Our son, Henry, just turned 9, and our daughter Anne is 3. Henry attends a local Catholic school and is in 4th grade this year. He enjoys reading, crafts, Legos and video games, and recently joined the school wrestling team. He is a very gentle and reserved child, in fact his quiet personality reminds me so much of myself. Anne is *very* precocious and outgoing! She loves to have books read to her and to color, and is such a sweet, loving little girl. Mike is at home with her during the day while he is on semester breaks, and several mornings per week, and she stays with her grandparents while he is teaching and I am at work.

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

I am a librarian at a large state university, and I am a wife and mother. I do not see those things in that specific order in terms of their significance in my life, but when someone asks me that in such a setting, they are generally wondering if I work outside of the home, and if so, in what capacity.

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

I think that God uses my job to teach me things every day. Patience, perseverance, compassion, understanding, clear communication, all of those things and more. For the most part, I am helping students each day, and I think that we can learn a lot from each other.

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

I think that working outside of the home makes me a better mother. This is certainly not the case for everybody, but for me it is. When I was home on maternity leave with my son, I did not know any mothers who stayed at home with their children, and so I had no support system during the day. I found myself very depressed from the lack of adult interaction and it was a difficult time that I find painful to reflect back on. Now, I do have a few friends who are home with their children during the day, so that would be a huge help to be sure. But we do need my salary and benefits for our family finances, so that isn’t an option for me at this time. That aside, I do find that the social interactions and interesting challenges deal with each day at work stimulate me such that when I return home in the evenings, I am ready and able to spend that quality time with my children and husband.

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

This is the conundrum for all working mothers, yes? It is difficult, but has gotten easier over time. I know that I am doing what I have to do for the good of the entire family, and that certainly helps. I also think that I am setting a positive example for my kids in that women have options and prayerful choices available to them depending upon the needs of their family. It is obviously a beautiful and good thing for women to be at home with their children. That situation, however, is not possible for everyone, and so long as a woman has discerned her role in prayer and with her husband, other possibilities are good too.

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

I think that my family is very supportive of my working role. My husband, who works less hours than me due to his status as adjunct faculty rather than full-time, takes care of SO much around the house and for the kids, and my in-laws help out so much with childcare. I really do not think they could do more, truly. They are wonderful.

Thank you so much, Tiffany!  

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 Amy M. Bennett

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers.  What better day to interview one of my favorite authors?  Let’s meet Amy M. Bennett!

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Amy M. Bennett (born Amy Marie Romero, in El Paso, TX, ca. 1967)

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

I come from a family that had a SAHM… my mother never worked and was always there for me and my sister. I wanted the same when I married and had a family, but even though we only had my son, I had to work from the time he was three years old.

 

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

What DON’T I do??? I work full time as a cake decorator at Walmart (16 years slinging frosting!) and also part time at a winery. And I write, which is the job I’m most passionate about. But my real life’s work is my family—my husband, Paul, and son, Paul Michael, are my top priority and taking care of them and my home always comes first.

 

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

I think He uses it in ways that are kind of hard to see. I get asked all the time, “Where do you find the time to do everything you do?” The answer is, I MAKE the time to do what I want to do. We all have things we HAVE to do… time can be wasted or saved. It all depends on your priorities. I know a lot of people who are less busy than I am, but are always frustrated and grouchy because they never have time to do what they want to do. However, they never seem to miss an episode of the latest reality show! I think God makes sure I have to stay busy, especially now that my son is grown up, so I don’t lose my focus!

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

My son learned a lot of self-reliance, once he was old enough to stay home alone without supervision. When he was a teen and mom had to  be to work at 2 a.m. and Dad left for work at 6 a.m., he learned to get himself dressed and fed (he taught himself to cook!) and take care of the pets and other chores without supervision. And now that I’m a published author, it’s easy to see that I need that time out of the house to feed my creativity. And there’s a real spirit of teamwork in the family; we all work, we all pool our resources, we all take care of home and each other. There’s no “That’s my job” or “That’s your job”–I think it’s brought us closer together.

 

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

I made it a rule early on: home stays home, work stays at work. And Sundays are for God and family. If we HAVE to work on an occasional Sunday, we make it a rare occurrence and make sure that Mass is always a priority. I also have had to learn to be more forgiving of myself. So I had to dress out of the dryer this morning—at least the clothes are clean! It’s OKAY to call the spouse and say, “You know what, work’s been crazy today, let’s grab a pizza on the way home or stop at that little diner up the road and let someone else cook and clean tonight!” And maybe the hardest part was speaking up at work and saying, “No, I can’t stay late today; no, I can’t cover another Sunday shift.” My generation was trained to be responsible and put work first, even if it meant sacrificing family time and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. I had to realize that the company wasn’t going to close its doors if I left on time each day or if everything didn’t get done or (gasp!) if I called in sick or went on vacation once in a while!

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

Realize that I’m not you. I’m sure you have a million different ways of doing things that you believe are WAY better than the way I’m doing them, but understand that not everyone does things your way and there is no one right way to do anything. I’ve always said if you ask ten people to do the dishes, they’ll have ten different ways to do them… but in the end, the dishes are clean. That’s the point, right?

 

It sure is!  Thank you, Amy!  

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.”