Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Bead: Agony in the Garden

The Agony in the Garden is one of my favorite mysteries of the rosary.   The inner struggle between doing what's right vs. doing what's easy is pretty easy for me to relate to- every day.  Who doesn't struggle with that?  I feel closer to Jesus when I know he's been there- and decided to choose love- for me.

I'll admit, making this bead, based on the famous Betende Hände (Praying Hands) by Albrecht Dürer, was a bit out of my league. I don't have any formal art training besides pottery in high school where I mainly fooled around...and got out of serious subject matter like calculus (I know, I'm a shining example to my children and a product of public school).  But this bead has some serious shading going on and I was lost at many points, wishing I had training in painting and drawing.

I did my best with these fingers first:

but when it came time to do the rest of the hands, I drew a blank. It took me a good week and half to decide I needed to just jump in and do something- anything. After all, the bead would be a tenth of the size of the original by the end- no one will be able to see my mistakes!

The whole bead took all of January to complete, so don't think I'm super mom! I worked on it a little at a time when I would get an hour or 30 minutes here or there.  It was a nice repose from all my mothering duties.

By the end, the bead got too big (my husband says, "That's what you always say." but this time, it was really true) and it made things a little complicated as far as finding enough clay to fill it in and reducing the mammoth.   I need to be a little more accurate in scaling my beads.  Thankfully, it reduced all right.

 I added the moon and stars to the symbol to tell the story a bit (since the Agony was at night) and the three drops of blood to be a reminder of the of the blood that was sweat.  The hands of course, are for those intense moments of prayer and to remind us to take time to pray- especially when it's hard and we'd rather be sleeping like the apostles!

One cool thing- I think some of the beads look as if the hands are holding the moon and the stars or that the hands are creating the moon and the stars.  It reminds me of Psalm 8, "When I look at the heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have established, what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him little less than the angels, crowned him glory and honor...Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"

Please Consider

Many of you may have heard about the amazing ministry called Mary's Shelter.   What amazes me the most and continues to amaze me, is that this was started by some Catholic homeschooling moms and it continues to be run mostly by Catholic homeschooling moms! The shelter houses pregnant moms who have nowhere else to turn.  They help these women find jobs, get educated and back on their feet.   They not only house the women, they house all the women's other kids too.  The houses have gotten pretty full and now they have four houses (I believe) for all the women and children. 

The women come from all over- in the state and out of state because Mary's Shelter reputation has spread from all the life changing work they do.  

It's run on shoe string budget- really. I saw the numbers at the last soiree, and it's unbelievable what they do with so little. Go figure with all the Catholic homeschooling moms running it who are used to running large households on a shoe string budget!

Right now, they are having a matching funds campaign until February 14. It's called matching hearts and you can learn more about it on their web page.  Please consider donating- even a small amount for this special campaign. It's the first campaign they've had like this and it's important that they do well with it. Thank you!

Mom's Visit and Other Things

My mom came down from Minnesota to visit with us for a week. It was sure nice to have her help around the house!  My favorite part about her visit was watching her play with the kids and just enjoy their company and of course, hold the baby!

Playing "May Flowers" (leaving anonymous flowers and knocking on the door and running away is fun to do over and over and over again)
We had a little birthday party for Analee since Mom won't be here for her actual birthday
Other than mom's visit, we really haven't emerged into society. I think number four is putting me at my limit as far as mommy abilities go.  I laid awake one night after nursing Faustina, thinking about all the things left undone and feeling pretty cruddy about myself when a 'duh' moment came to me.  I have had 4 kids in six years.  The number seemed unbelievable at four in the morning and I had to rethink the calculations a few times.  But when I realized that this is in fact the truth, I was feeling much better about my greatest accomplishment.  four in six.  I've been reminding myself of this every time I have another "overwhelmed" moment.

Proof that homeschooling has gone on (with new (vintage) desks from a friend!):

Proof that we had snow (at least once) in Virginia:

Proof that aunts send the craziest little outfits in the mail (look at the first picture to see more of this zany little thing):
Analee loves it when her sister lies in her bed.
Update on Faustina: Everyone still adores her.  Really, that's all that's important. She's doing well, growing fine and has not had any health problems thus far.  I think she's starting to try to smile and coo. At least that's what I take for a grunt and a curve of the lip.  I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Yes, I Would Do It Again

Thank you for all the comments and love from the previous post! I'm experiencing my first 24 hours without my husband and I'm going a little crazy over here. I either need bedtime to happen right this minute or something to distract me.  Thank God for a good friend who brought dinner or the kids would have had whatever I could find at the bottom of my freezer.  The thought of taking all four kids to the grocery store is extremely frighting.  For now, we're at the mercy of friends and leftovers.

Some of you asked about my thoughts on my home birth and if I would do it again.  I would definitely do it again and I don't think my husband would have it any other way! (unless it was medically necessary).

The thing that I liked the best was having my best friend- my husband- the person who I love and trust more than any other on earth, be my birthing coach from the start of labor to the end.  When it was all over, I told him over and over, "I wouldn't have been able to do it without you." If you recall, it was just the two of us for 90% of the labor. The midwives came at the last hour to basically, deliver the baby and clean up. That's not ideal, but it was actually very nice for us to have that quiet time before they came to work together through the contractions alone and in the privacy of our bedroom.  I will cherish the memory of that part of the labor. I even wouldn't mind doing that again. If only the whole labor could have been so serene! This would never have been possible in the hospital with nurses coming in and out, doctors checking in, etc. It was nice without the distractions.

I know a lot of people have natural births in hospitals, but I don't know if I could have done it. It's so tempting to give in to the drugs when they are practically pushed on you. So for that reason, I also liked the home birth. The midwives encourage a natural birth and help you to achieve it.  I have yet to meet a nurse or even a doctor to that does this.  I'm sure they are out there...somewhere. 

Getting my husband over the "medical" part of home birth was the hardest part, but after he read, Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Bradley, he was convinced. And now that he has been spoiled rotten by the actual home birth, he's hooked.  He got to sleep in his own bed, eat out of his kitchen, put his kids to bed without driving to and from the hospital, and not have to deal with embarrassing middle of the night visits from nurses.  From the way he talks about it, you'd think the home birth was dream vacation! 

So, yes, home birth has my vote and I would do it again if I get the opportunity.  It was a cozy, intimate way to bring a baby into the world and a nice way to get away from all the annoyances of a hospital stay.  I realize there are certain risks to a home birth and many people cannot have them because of complications. But with a trusted midwife and good husband and no complications, it was a good option for us.