Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I must be doing something right

Today I feel like I got run over by a truck. I had a tough 90 minute workout yesterday and then spent the rest of the afternoon pulling weeds (aka, digging our side yard out of the jungle). I have no idea which soreness is related to which activity, but I suppose it hardly matters. I'm sore.

I mentioned being sore earlier today, but assured my 6-year old, David, that I would be fine. He's very sensitive and prone to worry; he tends to get concerned if I mention I'm not feeling well for some reason.

As we were eating lunch, the boys sitting in their usual spots at our kitchen island, and Miss I-can't-be-trusted-with-food-if-I'm-not-strapped-in sitting in her high chair, I stood, as I often do, in the kitchen to eat. My sweet little gentleman looked up at me and said,

"Mom, I can stand up and eat if you want. You can have my chair, since you're sore today."


I thanked him profusely for being so kind as to offer, but elected to let him continue eating his lunch in his seat. But, even a couple hours later, I'm still smiling from the effects of his generous offer.

I am not a perfect mother and I don't have perfect children. But once in a while, I get a glimpse of kindness in them, and I feel like I must be doing something right.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My prayer experiment - a week in

My experiment in prayer has been underway for a little over a week. After reading Matthew Kelly's, "Rediscovering Catholicism" (which I can't recommend enough!), I decided to try scheduling 10 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted prayer into each day. Enter the "classroom of silence" and spend some time with God. Lovely, yes?

It has been... bumpy. You'd think this would be simple. Find time each day to spend a quiet 10 minutes in prayer. Ten little minutes! How hard could that be?

The first couple of days were great. My plan is to carve out my 10 minutes after my daughter goes down for her nap, while my boys are getting their cartoon time. It's the best shot I have for uninterrupted quiet time that isn't at the very end of the day. I pray before bed anyway, but so often it's that falling asleep, not sure when I stopped praying and started sleeping prayer time. So I wanted another time during the day to spend in prayer. In any case, at first it was easy. I was motivated. I marched upstairs, pushed my bedroom door partway closed, sat in my computer chair, checked the time (because I am apparently that anal), turned my chair around (so I wouldn't be tempted to open Facebook) and prayed.

After that, things went downhill a little bit. I kept forgetting to start with my prayer time. I'd come upstairs after getting the boys settled, sit down at my desk, and hop on the internet. Ten or twenty minutes later, I'd realize with a gasp that I'd forgotten. So I'd swing my chair around and spend my 10 minutes of prayer then, before going on with what I'd been doing. It wasn't so bad - I didn't intentionally mess it up, and I still spent my 10 minutes, so at the end of the day, I'd accomplished what I wanted to do. Just not quite perfectly.

Weekends have been another story. Without the benefit of my usual routine, I get to the end of the day and realize I've barely said "hi" to God, let alone spent my 10 minutes in quiet prayer.

It's been a powerful lesson, actually. A lesson in how, no matter how good my intentions may be, I'm going to screw up. You hear that all the time - how we're born sinners and it's in our nature and we can't be perfect without God's help. That we can't be who we are supposed to be without God's help. I don't know that I've contemplated that concept very deeply until the last week or so. I can't do it on my own. I can't be who I was made to be. I can't even remember to stop and spend 10 measly minutes everyday in silent prayer. Ten little minutes, and I even screwed that up.

I'm not wallowing in self-deprecation here, but I think it's a good thing to contemplate one's shortcomings, especially as it relates to spiritual growth. This has been a very vivid reminder that I can't become who God plans for me to become without His help. In my shortcomings, I see the very thing I need to overcome my shortfalls. I see God.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blogger frustrations

I'm having trouble with blogger lately. I can't post comments on most blogs, even my own! As soon as I hit "comment", it acts as if I'm not signed in. When I try to sign in, I wind up in this endless circle of signing in, hitting enter, not being signed in, trying again, still not being signed in, and so forth. I can't even post comments as "anonymous" - they just don't post.

Anyway, not that I have a lot of readers or people wondering why I'm not posting comments or something...but I'm annoyed nonetheless.

And if anyone happens to read this and knows if there is something I can do about it - please let me know!

That is, if you can post comments... because I sure can't.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fitness Friday: The Body My Children Have Made

I'm going to jump in and start participating in the Fitness Friday posts that the wonderful Betty Beguiles is hosting. I debated whether to blog about fitness and weight loss here, since I started this blog as a way to write about and therefore ponder, matters of my faith. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how inextricably my faith is linked to the rest of my life - including my health, fitness, and weight. I know, that doesn't sound like that much of a realization, does it? Of course faith is an important part of every aspect of life! What can I say, my lightbulb moments have been many and this was one of them.

What has really occurred to me lately is the state my body is in after having children. I've lost a good 40lbs since my daughter (21 months) was born. Yay me! But my body is not the same, nor will it ever be. I used to have a tiny waist, but even 40lbs later I still carry more weight around my midsection than I did pre-kids. The girls (you know what I mean) don't sit up where they used to and it is only by the virtue of a good, sturdy and well-fitting bra that they look nice under my clothes. I have stretch marks where my belly swelled to the point of wanting to pop and my belly button looks odd. I have excess skin that won't ever go away no matter how thin I get. My very bones are likely pocked with the marks of my childrens' passage through my pelvis. I've only had three kids, but they have left marks on my body that no amount of dieting or working out could ever erase.

And I don't think I'd want to.

People get surgeries and procedures to erase the effect of time and experience on their bodies. They get breast-lifts and tummy tucks, and I'm not talking smack about people who chose to do so. But if I had the money, I honestly don't think I would go to such measures to try to change my body back to the way it was. I won't ever be "perfect" (not that I think there is such a thing, at least by society's definition). The way I look is a product of what I've done with my body. I am scarred, in a way, by the growing and passage of my children from my womb into the world. And I wouldn't change that for anything at all.

So I will continue to work out, challenge myself with fitness, eat well, and lose weight to get to a healthy weight for my body. I do so because I believe in cherishing and protecting the body God gave me, not to conform to society's distorted sense of what a woman should look like. I embrace my stretch marks and sags as a part of who I am, a part of who my children have made me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Misconceptions courtesy my Baptist friend

I got into a Facebook conversation with a Baptist friend of mine today. She has a page separate from her personal page on which she often posts topics for debate amongst her friends. Her topics typically come from things she reads on blogs and message boards (as well as the news), and I suspect a message board is where one of today's come from.

She posted the "overheard" comment, "All Christians are Catholic," and offered the statement up for discussion.

I almost didn't jump in on the conversation. This is the same friend who, on an old blog she used to write, posed essentially the opposite question, "Are Catholics really Christians?" and her argument was that they are not. So I was hesitant to dialogue with her, or others, again on a topic that sounded so similar. But as I started reading some of the responses, I couldn't help myself.

"Don't Catholics believe that Mary was holy and Jesus was 'just a great man'?"

"My in-laws are Catholic and when I've been to services there, it always seems like we're there to worship Mary."

"Don't Catholics believe everyone goes to limbo or something?"

Oh my...

Growing up, I had no idea there were so many misconceptions about Catholicism. I didn't realize there were as many differences between Catholic and protestant beliefs either. But it floors me to read and hear that people honestly believe the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was "just a great man." I get why people are confused about the Communion of Saints, and how to a person growing up in a faith community stripped of the traditions of the church, it could seem like idolatry or even polytheism from the outside. But I'm realizing that many people don't know anything about the history of Christianity, or they've learned some strange version of it where the Catholic Church is something other than the original Christian church that was instituted by Jesus. On my friend's old blog, someone actually lumped Catholics together with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, in terms of their "flawed doctrines." Of course, this person had absolutely no knowledge of what the Catholic Church actually teaches. If they did, I highly doubt they'd be making that comparison.

I posted some comments and my friend asked some questions and thankfully, it stayed very civil. However, once I started commenting, no one else spoke up, so I either made my point or everyone else simply decided to move on to other things in their day.

I have to admit, I have imaginary conversations in my head, where I debate the differences in Catholic and protestant doctrine with this friend. I've been so disturbed by some of the things she's said in the past about the Church and I'd love the opportunity to set her straight. Not so much with the intention of converting her; goodness knows it drives me nuts when other Christians set their sights on Catholics, determined to "save us." But I'd love to be able to educate her about the Catholic faith, because she has so many misconceptions. And I know she's more the norm amongst our protestant brothers and sisters.

Sigh. It gets me all riled up. I guess I should chalk it up to a learning opportunity for me, since conversations like this help me to explore my faith more deeply. She and I are getting together on Friday, so I'm wondering if any of this will come up in conversation. I can't quite decide if I want it to.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My not-friend

I'm perplexed by a woman at church. We often sit near her and her family; it seems that many of the families with young children gravitate toward the section nearest the choir, probably hopeful that the proximity to the music will both distract their restless children and drown out their voices if they get too loud. She has three boys, similar in ages to my kids, although I think her oldest is about second grade (mine is in kindergarten). I also see her at the YMCA once in a while, often as she's dropping off or picking up her youngest at the nursery while I'm doing the same.

Yesterday we sat next to her family at mass. Our kids had a little too much fun playing together (especially hers, but I'll refrain from judgmental-mom comments on her kids' usual behavior at mass), but overall nothing seemed amiss. Her husband is friendly and seems nice and we shared a few knowing glances as the volume of our kids' dinosaur roars got a little too loud, or when my daughter (she's about 20 months) started climbing on their pile of coats. But the wife - she wouldn't so much as look at me.

This isn't new. I see her at mass almost every week and we usually sit near them, and whenever I've tried to make eye contact or smile at her, she always looks away quickly. When I see her at they Y, she ignores me and you'd never know she and I have ever shaken hands and offered one another peace at mass (which has only happened once or twice, but I'll keep my paranoia to a minimum and not assume that she's avoiding that as well). I like meeting people at church, especially other moms, so I've made it a point to try to catch her eye and smile, if only to acknowledge that we go to the same church. But she never returns my smile. In fact, she looks away so quickly and so obviously, I can't help but feel that she purposefully ignores me.

Yesterday after mass, she was trying to take a quick picture of her boys, who were all dressed alike, but her youngest wasn't cooperating (he's probably about a year and a half). I was literally standing a foot away, so I stepped closer and tried to help. I made faces at her kids and got them to sit still for about .008 of a second, but I think it was enough time for her to get a picture. Still, she wouldn't so much as look in my direction.

My husband noticed it, and asked me about it later that afternoon. He jokingly asked me what I did to make her hate me so much. I laughed, but honestly, I'm baffled. I have no idea if I could have done something to make her not like me. I can't imagine what it could have been.

It's very likely that she doesn't think anything in particular about me and I'm making this up in my head (although in my defense, my husband noticed too!) At this point, I'm chosing to believe that she's shy and maybe a little socially awkward and that comes across as being standoffish. She's plenty friendly with two or three other families who often sit near as well, but perhaps she knows them well and is more comfortable.

I'm not hurt or offended at her behavior; rather, I'm confused and wonder if there's something I'm missing. I don't want to reach out to her and try to be friendly if she's not interested. But I'll be honest, I'm not used to not being liked. I don't mean that I'm such an amazing gal that everyone loves me; quite the contrary, I have plenty of faults and I'm sure there are things about me that others find annoying. I'm not friends with everyone I've ever met. But generally speaking, I'm friendly and most people receive that well. This woman won't so much as look in my direction. It's just... odd.

For now I guess I'll be as friendly as any situation warrants. But I'm morbidly curious to find out what this woman finds so distasteful about me; or if she's just shy and has a hard time around people she doesn't know. Perhaps time will tell.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time well spent

My husband and I are one of the couples that teaches Baptism prep classes at our parish. You want your baby baptized, you gotta go through us! Seriously though, it's a small thing we do, just a two class session a few times a year. We've really enjoyed it though and it has been a gateway to getting us involved in other things at church, which I do love.

Last Monday we had the second class for this particular group. One of the families is from Mexico and spoke some, but not much English. They brought their older daughter with them to help translate, and the godparents attended as well. We did our best to include them in the discussions, since we do a lot of sharing back and forth with the families, but they often didn't have too much to say. The godparents were very quiet. I wasn't sure if they were simply a little shy of talking due to their English skills, or if they weren't understanding much of what we said. It was hard to tell, but we did our best.

Afterward the class was over, the godfather from this group came up to us. He told us how he grew up in a small village in Mexico where they didn't have their own church. A priest would come a couple times a year to say mass, so they'd all drop what they were doing and run when they heard the bells ring because it meant mass was beginning. He said his family taught him what they could about God, but since they didn't have a church, he felt like he missed out on things. Then he told us how much he enjoyed the class and that he learned a lot. He went on to say that he'd been through baptism classes before, as he has six children of his own, but no one had ever explained the signs and symbols of the sacrament as well as we did. He said over and over that he was so happy to have learned new things, and that he'd sat through baptism classes before and felt like they were a waste of his time. But this was time well spent.

I was so touched and humbled. They way he spoke of his home was so sad and yet hopeful. And his enthusiasm for the time he'd spent in class was very touching. I always wonder if people feel like these classes are just something they have to put up with in order to get on with baptizing their child. But he was happy to have been there and that made me feel really good.

I don't share this to toot my own horn or brag about how great my class is. I've just been thinking about him all week and wanted to ponder our conversation a little. Far from making me feel some sort of puffed up pride in myself, I feel like in some small way, maybe the Holy Spirit is working through me. And that is nothing but humbling in the best possible way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My next adventure - VBS

I had a feeling it was coming.... I got recruited to help chair the VBS team this year :). When we started hearing announcements at church about VBS, I had a feeling I might wind up working it this year. I didn't jump right up and volunteer; I have to admit, I had reservations about getting involved. Not that I don't love what they do - my oldest, David, had a wonderful time last year. But I'll be honest, I had fun dropping him off and picking him up and not needing to do anything in between. Well, anything other than the usual taking care of the other kidlets, of course. I saw how hard everyone was working and I was definitely grateful, and kind of grateful I wasn't one of them.

A week or so ago I started thinking maybe I'd volunteer to help out. You know, be there to help pass out snacks or something easy like that. Nothing that might require too many meetings or coordination. Just show up and lend a hand. Right...

I'm co-chairing the whole thing.

See, they had me at "we need someone who isn't afraid to get up in front of people and talk." The woman I'll be working with is great - she's very organized, already has a lot done and is very enthusiastic. But she can't do everything on her own, and she's terrified of being in front of people - even a bunch of kids (or maybe especially a bunch of kids?). I have no such fears. Public speaking is actually something I'm not only pretty good at, but I genuinely like doing it. I'm weird like that.

So when our Pastoral Associate, who is also a friend, grabbed me last night when my husband and I were at church teaching a Baptism prep class (which we were recruited to do about a year and a half ago), I only hesitated for a second before agreeing. She told me the original VBS chair had to step down because of complications with her pregnancy (her seventh, no less, and her husband is currently deployed), and that the remaining chair was happy to keep going but did not want to do any of the "up in front of people" stuff - and something inside me said, "Ok!"

Last night I had bit of post-agreement remorse. Why did I agree to this? It's going to be so much work! I already have a lot going on! What am I doing?!

But then I started thinking about how I've been wanting to get more involved in our parish again and how I need something to keep me engaged. Heck, I blogged about it not long ago. This wasn't what I was envisioning, but the more I think about it, the more excited I get. I'm as excited to get to know more people in our parish as I am to put together the program for the kids. The other chair and I were having fun playing, "Do you know who I am," as we chatted on the phone this afternoon and realized we sat right across the aisle from each other at Mass on Sunday. Already I feel like I'm making a new friend.

So here I go! I have no experience with VBS whatsoever, but I have a lot of enthusiasm so I hope that will be enough.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An experiment in prayer - the classroom of silence

At the Easter Sunday masses, my church handed out a copy of Matthew Kelly's book, "Rediscovering Catholicism," to each household. I just finished reading the book and I feel like I need to read it about five more times. It's very, very good and if anyone comes across this post, I highly recommend it - especially if you're Catholic, but even if you're not.

I'll probably comment on things I read that resonated often, but there was so much in the book that I need to process, I decided I'll start small. One of his suggestions for deepning your spiritual life is to make prayer a priority. He found that scheduling just 10 minutes of uninterrupted prayer time every single day was enormously important for him and he encourages his readers to do the same. Enter the "classroom of silence" and pray. I love that image, the classroom of silence. It conjures such a lovely image for me - peace, tranquility, a time of listening and communing with God. In stark contrast to much of the rest of my life, the classroom of silence sounds like a lovely respite from the chaos of caring for a family.

So my challenge to myself is to carve out 10 minutes a day to enter the classroom of silence. I've been pondering how to make it work for days now. Ten minutes doesn't sound like much - in fact, it is so little time, considering all the hours we really have in a day. How could I not find 10 minutes? But I'm not looking for any 10 minutes. I'm looking for 10 minutes of silence. Ten minutes where my kids aren't asking for a snack, where my brain isn't occupied with thirty other things. Not while I'm driving down the street, not while I'm fixing lunches, not while I'm showering. Ten minutes set aside for nothing else but to be silent and in prayer.

I make time to do all kinds of things during my day, even while caring for my children. I go to the gym almost every day, and that takes a heck of a lot more than 10 minutes. If I can make time for exercise, I can make time for 10 minutes of prayer. In fact, the answer is rather simple and requires little more than a bit of reorganizing of my afternoon and a healthy dose of discipline - the latter being the more difficult portion of this exercise.

Every weekday, I put my daughter down for a nap, let my boys watch a cartoon, and head upstairs to hop on my computer. It is my time to decompress a little, recharging my batteries for the afternoon. But if Facebooking, blog-reading, emailing and IM'ing with my husband at work are battery chargers for me - how much more will adding 10 minutes of silent, uninterrupted prayer time recharge me spiritually? I just have to have enough self control and self discipline to make that time first - before I sit down at my desk, before I open Facebook. Prayer first.

I'm working on this as the first good spiritual habit I want to create. I'm excited to put real effort into deepening my prayer life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


My heart hurts for my sister-in-law. Her boyfriend broke up with her a few days ago, and it's been rough. They hadn't been together very long, but she fell for him hard. Last weekend they were talking about eventual marriage, then suddenly he's ending it. She's devastated and I wish there was more I could do to help.

It hit me this afternoon that there's nothing I can do. I can, and will, pray for both of them. But I kept trying to think of what I could say, or who I could talk to that might influence what is going on. Could I send him a message on Facebook? Could I talk to his aunt, who I know well, and maybe she'd wind up passing on some of my obviously brilliant advice? I even started writing out some of my thoughts of what I might say to him if I had the chance, but before I got very far, something stopped me. Somehow I just know that I shouldn't. I'm not sure if it's because it wouldn't help anyway, or because I have it all wrong, or because even if he needs to hear what I would say, he doesn't need to hear it from me.

When it comes to things like this, I tend to come out swinging. My husband and I went through some uncertain times before we got married and honestly, there were times I wasn't sure if we would stay together. But I wanted to, I wanted him and I wanted to marry him. So I fought for it. She's so much more passive than I am, and right now she's gone straight into self-preservation mode. She's trying to stamp out any ounce of hope that things might change and they might get back together. She's trying desperately to tamp down her feelings for him and convince herself to move on. I'm having to hold back in what I say to her, and not simply project my own experience and my own feelings onto her situation. I want to tell her to go talk to him, tell him how she feels about all of it. But looking at it more objectively, I honestly don't feel that's the best advice. I don't think it would help, even if it is my first instinct.

Bascially, I'm just sad for her. I feel a little bit like I got dumped too. Not directly, but my heart hurts in a similar way. Obviously not nearly as much (not even close), but I've been in her shoes before and it's so, so hard.

I have no idea if anyone will see this, but if you do, please pray for my sister.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Speaking of discernment...

Just as I was thinking about discerning and doing God's will, and Leila at Little Catholic Bubble so graciously commented and directed me to her post on just this topic, I had something come up today that really brought it to mind again.

My sister in law, who is 23, has been dating someone for four or five months now and they seemed like a great couple. We knew him before and were so excited to see the two of them get together. Today he dropped a bombshell - he felt he had to end their relationship. It quite literally came out of nowhere and she is devastated. I spoke to her for a while on the phone and the whole thing has me scratching my head... and really got me thinking about Leila's post and discerning God's will.

Her boyfriend didn't break up with her because he doesn't like her, or was attracted to someone else or doesn't see a future with her. He felt that God is telling him to end the relationship. They are both Christians of what I'd call the "evangelical, non-denominational" persuasion and the difference in how they perceive discerning and doing God's will became starkly apparent today. He doesn't want to break up with her, but for some reason he feels that God is asking him to. And all I can think of is, why?

She told me he said that he's concerned that his walk with the Lord isn't on the right track; that he hasn't been spending enough time reading his Bible or in prayer and he feels like he's not living up to who she thinks he is, or who she deserves (and therein lies my theory about what's really going on here....). What I keep thinking is what Leila wrote about God respecting our free will, and when we are faced with different choices that are both moral options, we are free to make that choice. As Catholics, we aren't looking for God to tell us what to do at every turn. We turn to him for wisdom and guidance and we seek to do His will. But we're not expecting him to tell us what to do every step of the way.

I think they have both been raised to expect that kind of feedback. So when he starts having doubts about his ability to one day be a good husband and provider (which is what I think this really boils down to), he fears that it's the voice of God telling him to break off the relationship. And so he reacts out of fear.

I'm not one to point fingers at other Christians and say they're doing it wrong; I have enough of my evangelical friends who'd like to point their fingers at me for being Catholic and say the same thing. But I am learning more about the differences in not just Catholic teaching, but the Catholic way of life and I'm rather relieved and comforted by the wisdom of our church.

I hope for the best for my sister-in-law and her apparently now-ex-boyfriend. I would have loved to see that relationship last and perhaps they will come back together again at some point. And whether they do or don't, I hope they both are able at some point to look back on this and find peace with their decision. I just wish I could share the Catholic view of discerning God's will with them right now. And maybe if I have the chance, I will.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bittersweet Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a little difficult in our house. In November 1997 my husband's mother, Marilyn, was killed in a crab fishing accident. My then-boyfriend (and now husband) was almost killed that night as well. That part of the story is another post entirely, but suffice it to say, Mother's Day brings up all sorts of mixed feelings for my husband.

Before we had kids of our own, he used to hate Mother's Day. He didn't want to hate it. He wanted to be able to enjoy the day with my mom, call his step mom and feel fine about wishing her a Happy Mother's Day. But the loss of his mother left him with a hole in his heart that has never fully healed. I know he hoped that having our own children would shift the focus of this day from his loss, to honoring me as the mother of his children. And it has eased the sting, to a certain degree. But there's always a bit of a cloud overhead on Mother's Day, try as he might to focus on me.

This year I forgot all that, in a way. The day started nice enough, but he seemed a little harsh with our son when he woke me up instead of letting me sleep in. And later, we got into a number of silly arguments. I felt like he was being strangely critical of everything I was doing and I felt like, hey buddy, it's my day, what's with the drama? There was something off about him, and although I thought about Marilyn this morning, I didn't make the connection that this day is always hard on him.

Driving up to have dinner with my mom, it hit me. He was driving, staring at the road, clearly lost in thought. I've known him for so long, I can read him well and I could tell he was feeling bad about something. His brow was slightly furrowed and his eyes were narrow. Suddenly I realized, it's Mother's Day and his mom is gone. Of course he's been snappy at me. Of course he's seemed off. He always does on this day, every year.

My heart softened and my selfishness dissipated. No longer was I stewing over the petty arguments we'd had earlier in the day. I don't know what it is like to not only lose your mother at 21, but to lose her under such horrible circumstances. It has been such a long road for him, to come to terms with what happened to him, and what happened to her. I can hardly blame him if Mother's Day is a sad reminder of what he lost. He tries not to let it color his mood, but it's difficult. He does his best, and I have to remember to appreciate his effort.

All I can do is what I've been doing since the night he almost died, the night he lost his mom. Love him through it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Change and doing God's will

My husband and our best friend run an IT company that works in the healthcare industry. They have a parent company, basically the medical campus where they work, but they are supposed to be a separate entity. They've been a separate company for five years now, and before that they worked as in-house employees for what is now their largest client.

Without going into all the drama, things are uncertain. Not worried-about-losing-his-job uncertain, but our future here is up in the air. This isn't the first time we've felt this anxiety, but the up and down road we've been on took a serious turn downward and we're not sure things are going to make it back up again.

We are so fortunate that his job itself isn't in jeopardy right now. I don't have to worry about whether he'll be employed next week or next month. But with the future here so uncertain, I'm feeling off kilter. He feels that this job, this company, this career path aren't taking him where he wants to go. There's no opportunity left. My husband is a doer, a creater, a mover. He can't sit still, literally and figuratively. Some things happened this last week that have severely damaged his trust with the managing partner of their parent company, and showed him that if he stays here long term, nothing is going to change for the better. And he can't live like that for long.

We took a big risk with this job. We moved to a place where there aren't nearly as many job opportunities available, so if this didn't work out, we'd probably have to either face a lengthy commute, or moving again. I was hesistant to move farther from family and some of our friends, but overall, this move has been amazing for us. I can't say I'd want to live in this town for the rest of my life, but I was sure hoping it would work to raise our children here. So much has changed for us, for the better, and much of it wouldn't have happened if we'd stayed where we were before. At the time, neither of us were doing much praying about anything, but in spite of ourselves, God led us here and it's made all the difference.

Now I don't know if our time here is coming to and end or not. I hope it isn't. There are still good options that could keep us living here, but there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding all of them. I just don't know.

But what I really am pondering isn't whether we'll be able to sell our house if we have to move, or where we'll go, or what job my husband will get. I'm consumed with a desire to understand God's will. I feel like it was truly God's will that we move here when we did, and we managed to get here without even really trying to listen to Him. Now I'm trying, really trying, to listen. And I'm scared I won't understand what He's trying to tell us.

I've experienced being on the other side of doing His will in the past. I've been able to look back and see His hand clearly guiding us, although I didn't realize it at the time. But we might have some major decisions facing us in the not too distant future and I'm scared that even though I'm trying to hear Him, trying to listen... that I'm going to get it wrong. Like somehow I've been showing up for these life pop quizzes and, not even realizing I was taking a test, I aced them. But now I know there's a big test coming up and I'm freaking out that I'm going to get all the answers wrong. I even have a study guide and notes and access to the professor.  But I haven't ever taken one of these big tests knowingly, and it's a little scary.

For all I know, something will happen at his job and suddenly our future here will be stable again, at least for a while. Or maybe something else will come up that will solve the problem for us. But I'm looking toward our future with new eyes; eyes that want to see God's will for us and be open to it. I just hope I can be quiet enough to listen... and hear.