Thursday, August 28, 2014

For the hard days...

I'm still chugging away here, trying to get things set-up, adjusting to Justin being gone for nearly 12 hours a day (plus working from home in the evenings).  I've had some other hard days, some other really good days, and I'm really looking forward to having my parents here to help us this weekend.

I wanted to share a few book quotes (part of my new "On My Bookshelf" tab).  I came to a certain point where I realized that I spend a lot of time reading books about management and sociology for my Bucknell degree, but no one was requiring me to read anything before embarking on this journey as a wife, mother, and homemaker.  I've since sought to read a lot on those subjects, wanting to absorb as much information as I can to help myself on the quest to be the best I can be.  I've come across a lot of great insights, and I want to share them and create a sort of catalog of resources in case anyone else is interested....(or just so I can remember the name of a book when I want to check it out again ;) )

If you're a frequent reader in the Catholic mom-blog sphere, you know that Jennifer and Hallie hosted the wildly successful Edel Gathering (conference for Catholic moms) last month.  I listened to the talks (available here) and read a lot of the recaps, which mentioned the idea of "building cathedrals" that was central to Jennifer's talk.  I was intrigued, and looked for the book that tells the story at our local library:

"The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees"  by Nicole Johnson

This is a short, quick read, but it contains a lot of wisdom and great reminders.  It is told as a story of a mother who feels invisible and unappreciated by her family.  A friend gifts her with a book about the building of the great cathedrals of Europe, structures that spanned the lifespan of multiple workers who never saw their project to completion.  And so, by comparison, the job of a mother:

"It was almost as if I heard God say [...] 'No act of kindness, no peanut butter sandwich made, no shoe selection is too small for me to notice and smile over. I see your tears of disappointment when you feel overlooked or when things don't go the way you want them to.  But you are building a great cathedral and you cannot possibly see right now what it will ultimately become.  It will not be finished in your lifetime, and you will never be able to live there, but if you build it well, I will.'" (p 50)

I write a lot about the trappings of home - the physical environment that I hope to create, but ultimately all of this is because I'm trying to great something far greater for our family.  I want them, first and foremost, to know love.  To feel comfortable and secure despite this crazy world.  To experience peace, joy, and laughter.

In college, my favorite quote was: "The secret to success is being like a duck - calm and serene on top, but paddling furiously on top."  I suppose that applies a bit to life nowadays, too.  I want to create a home where the calm and serene are visible, and the necessary work that creates it falls behind the scenes.  I write a lot here about the paddling - intended as encouragement for myself and my mom friends - but ultimately it's not the higher purpose.

Johnson's book sums it up well: "Next Thanksgiving I don't want my son to tell his friends, 'My mom gets up at four in the morning and bakes pies and hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.'  I don't want his attention to be called to the things that I do. [...]  I just want him to want to bring his friends home often, and maybe to say something like, 'You're gonna love it at my house.  It's a great place to be.'" (p 86).

If you're a mom out there (feeling appreciated or not), check out the book for a quick shot in the arm.  You know we all need it on those hard days.

And P.S., Mom, you got it.  All our friends know that your house is a great place to be.

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