“Your children are so well-behaved,” says the woman in the pew behind us. “We enjoy sitting near your family in Mass,” reports an older couple.
My husband and I hear these kinds of comments frequently. But before you judge me a braggart and quit reading, let me say that it has taken a lot of hard work (and maybe a bit of blood, sweat and tears) to make parenting look easy inside of the pew.
From the early morning battles to wake a sleepy head to the perpetually missing church shoe, we know first-hand the real life struggles (like loading 10 individuals into a maxi-van by 8am on Sunday morning). Additionally, there’s the antsy toddler and small-bladdered, elementary schooler to contend with during the gospel.
Truly, with 8 (strong) personalities in our care, you have to know that we fully understand the challenge of getting to and sitting in Mass every week.
Growing up as what you’d call a cradle Catholic, I lived in an area of the country where Catholic churches demarcated the boundaries within every town. In my hometown, there were three. Sacred Heart on the south-side, St. Thomas on the north-side and St. Valentine’s smack-dab in between. Each boasted a grammar school and your parish (as well as your allegiance) was dictated by your address.
Coming of age in that setting, I considered my faith a de facto component of who I was. Just like my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before me, in the line of my great-uncle the priest and eldest aunt the Sister, I was a Catholic.
On a Monday, my coworker pulled me aside. The company Christmas party was two days prior. My guess is that she’d spent those two days crafting the discussion we were about to have.
Though I’ve forgotten whether she opened the conversation with small talk or whether she went straight to her point, what she said has convicted me ever since.
Standing there in the aisle of Toys ‘R Us, my eyes darted left then right. It was such a hard decision; choosing how to spend my birthday money.
I can’t recall how many aisles we’d visited, but I do remember settling myself among the baby dolls. There were babies that cried and those that wet. There were molded-haired dolls and ones with blonde locks ready for brushing.
After a busy morning of wrangling my children followed by an afternoon manning a craft table at a children’s Christmas Craft Fair, I decided to appease the requests of my younger crew members (aka sons and daughter under 12yo) who’d been begging to visit Santa at the mall.
I had a few errands to run beforehand (think clothes shopping with 4 less-than-interested companions), so I figured that the promise of a stop-over to see St. Nick would be ample incentive to keep the whining at bay. Continue reading
With a wide range of ages in my household, I’m always looking for novel ways to include all of my children in the beautiful traditions of our Catholic faith.
During the season of Advent we try to keep the focus on anticipation and preparation. But it’s not always easy to keep those sugar-plum dreams of Christmas at bay for four weeks.
We’ve found that having a traditional Advent wreath can be a great help.
Hardly surprised that we were headed toward troubled waters again, I thought I knew enough to weather the storm (fairly) unscathed. After years of marriage, we’ve endured more than a few disagreements, but most of the time we’ve easily found our footing and resolved our differences.
Marriage is hard work for every couple, we knew that. Yet, when the winds of discord got stirred up this time, I almost abandoned ship. Continue reading
Our stockings are all hung by the chimney with care as we wait for the Christ Child soon to be here.
Take time out of your busy day to join
us in quiet anticipation. Draw close to the silence and make sure there is room at your “inn” to receive a little holy family and their expected Son.
Wishing you a very
Merry and Blessed Christmas
from all of us here in Brelinskyville!
I am not a paid advertiser for Samaritan Ministries and the opinions/experience
I put forth here are my own. If you choose to become a SM member and you offer
my name as a referral, my family will receive a credit that reduces one month’s share on our account.
About three years ago I was working hard to save my unborn baby. Part of that work required me to have a couple of ultrasounds performed during the first trimester. Since we had standard medical insurance at that time, I simply agreed to use the doctors’ referred sonographers.
The first exam was a great experience. The technician spent thirty minutes or more exploring my womb and the surrounding organs. She explained, as well as showed us, everything. The cost for that ultrasound rang in at just about $350.
My second time around came approximately five weeks later. I’d been forced to switch practices and the new physician sent me to a sonographer who worked in a large office that was associated with my local hospital. Aside from confirming that the baby was still alive, the technician did little else. She gave me less than fifteen minutes of her time and would not show me the screen. The bill for that totalled $1,000.