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Small things with great love.

Last year I randomly stumbled upon The Nester and joined the #31day writing challenge for the month of October. I think it was pretty successful – I wrote for a good amount of the 31 days and the whole process was quite healing for me as I wrote about letting go. (And that was before the Frozen phenomenon. Ha!)

This year I have been thinking about various topics I could write about for the challenge, but none of them seemed to be what I was looking for.

  • 31 days of cleaning Um, yeah right.
  • 31 days of mommy-daughter moments Too many to choose from…
  • 31 days of being intentional I’m still trying to figure out what this means and how it applies to my life.
  • 31 days of classroom shenanigans This could be interesting…
  • 31 days of inspiration Isn’t that already the purpose of my blog?

Just thinking about a topic began to overwhelm me, so much so that I nearly threw the idea out the door and was going to skip out on the challenge this year. (After all, do I really need another thing on my perpetual to-do list?) For some reason, this got me thinking about my own personal shortcomings and how I tend to have great huge bouts of inspiration that cause me to draw up large dreams that only begin to materialize, but never finish.

I have a problem finishing. I show up, but I don’t stay.

The reason for this, I think, is because as big as my dreams and aspirations are, it it challenging for me to take the necessary steps to accomplishing them. For example, I am always imagining my house as being super organized and clean. I can never bring myself to clean up because I feel like if I can’t get the entire house clean in one sitting, it’s not worth it. My eyes only see the end. The middle part, the how to get there is always missing.

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So I thought this year I would challenge myself to work on that middle part – accomplishing those small steps that will lead me closer to the end. If I practice being intentional with my time, and completing smaller, more manageable tasks with the bigger goal in mind, perhaps I will be more successful in drawing closer to making my dreams reality.

Small things with great love. I could apply this to every single area of my life – my work, my kids, my husband, my housework, my friends.  I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.

“We must do all that lies in our power; we must give without counting the cost; we must constantly renounce ourselves. In one word, we must prove our love by all the good works we can perform; but, since all that we can do is very little, it is of the greatest importance that we put our confidence in Him who alone sanctifies those works and that we recognize that we are indeed useless servants, hoping that the good Lord will give us through grace all that we desire.”

“Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.” (Counsels and Reminiscences, St. Therese of Liseux)

Picture 2Happy feast day, St. Therese.

Day 1: Small things with great love

Day 2: Detour

Day 3: Vegas 2010



Mass & Mochas

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetA while ago an old friend of mine contacted me to see if I’d be interested in joining a small faith-sharing group she wanted to start up. We would meet once a month for mass and then have coffee afterwards and chat about the readings, our lives, and anything else that we might want to bring to the table. I am someone that has to be intentional about stepping out of her comfort zone, so while this was something I was interested in, I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go or if I’d even feel comfortable meeting up with strangers and talking about…stuff. I put my anxieties aside and said yes, hoping that I could recruit a friend to go with me so that I wouldn’t have to be alone.

There were 5 of us present at this first meeting. We attended mass at the Santa Clara Mission. The church and campus are so beautiful that for a second I felt like going back to school, just so I could enjoy the scenery on a daily basis. During mass there was a point where I thought it was really amazing that I was attending mass with people who I don’t really know, yet are connected to through the Spirit.

Community. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Reaching across the aisles and breaking bread and embracing community.

After mass we went to Starbucks and chatted about the readings of the day. Our conversation focused on thinking about the ways the Spirit is tapping on our shoulder at this point in our lives. What are we being called to do? We shared some stories, had a few laughs, and made connections. I found myself feeling grateful to be able to share a small snippet of my journey with people who were open to listening.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a new adventure that I want to embark on and have had so many doubts and fears about starting. But in chatting with these women I realized fear is what has been preventing me from doing something I know that I am being called to do. And I was reminded, once again, how important building community is. When we build community, we are making much of God.

 



Grace

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Where you are, Lord, I am free

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My Miscarriage Story

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Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. We lit 3 candles to remember our 3 little angels in Heaven, along with the many other babies that God called back home to Him. I imagined all the families that participated in this day of remembrance and thought that Heaven must have enjoyed seeing the millions of candles lit from up above. What a sight it must have been.

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant for the first time, we felt the way all first time parents-to-be would feel: extreme excitement, joy, and wonder at the miracle that had occurred. You don’t think about the “what ifs” your first time. You even start telling people, because you simply cannot contain your happiness. At 12 weeks we went to our first OB appointment. The nurses called us “mom” and “dad” and said their congratulations. The doctor wanted to listen for a heartbeat. She tried for some time and couldn’t find it, but that was ok because it was still early and sometimes it’s hard to detect a heartbeat through the doppler. She issued an ultrasound order and has us go to another office to get it done (they didn’t do it at that office). We had no worries at all going into the ultrasound.

When the ultrasound tech got quiet, I knew something must not be right. He just kept searching and searching and searching…for what? I didn’t know at the time, because he didn’t really explain anything to us. He just kept searching. Then he said he needed to get the doctor.

There’s no heartbeat.

There’s just an empty sac.

This is very common. 1 in 4 women miscarry.

I was told that my OB would call me and explain things more in detail as well as inform me of the next steps I needed to take. The only call I received was one telling me that I needed to schedule a D&C for the next day. I had no idea what that was or even what the heck was happening to me. It wasn’t until the next day, 5 minutes before I had to have this procedure done, did a doctor tell me what exactly was happening to my body, what happened to my baby, and why I needed to have a D&C. In hindsight, I would have asked more questions and perhaps even try to pursue other options. But, everything happens for a reason.

My next 2 pregnancies didn’t last as long as the first – I miscarried both at around 8 weeks or earlier. It still hurt the same.

My OB sent me to see an endocrinologist and they ran a whole bunch of tests to see if there could be something wrong with my reproductive system. They found nothing.

It took me a while to let go of the hurt I was feeling from each of these losses. My faith was weak, and so was my relationship with God. I could not understand what I ever did to deserve this. It was particularly difficult because no one I was close to had been through this before. I had no one to talk to, no one who could understand. People felt sorry for me, but they didn’t understand.

I actually turned to the internet for solace and searched for women who had stories similar to mine. I found so many. Just reading similar stories helped me to grieve and to finally heal. My relationship with God began to mend as I realized that all these women had found a purpose to their experience. I began to have hope that someday, I would, too.

Two years after our first miscarriage we became pregnant for the fourth time. At first, we braced ourselves to accept another loss. I was having lots of bleeding, and was almost certain I was miscarrying. I wasn’t even going to call the doctor, because I knew what was happening to my body. It was just like the others. I ended up calling just to make an appointment with the endocrinologist we had seen after our third miscarriage, to see if he could run some more tests. They asked me if I was miscarrying again, and when I said “yes” they told me to come in for testing.

And this time around, things were different. This time, my HCG levels rose instead of declined. This time, I let go and let God. I realized that things happen whether I want them to or not, independent of how much I prayed for something, how many good deeds I tried to do, or how I even lived my life. I was not in control. I had only been looking at my plan, without giving any thought to what God had planned for me. My heart was different this time around. And for some reason, this time, my baby made it.

Fourth time’s a charm.

I still get sad over the babies I lost. I think about them every day…I went so far as to have them tattooed on me forever. I’m happy to say that I did find the purpose to these trials, just like all the other women whose stories I read online.

God wanted me to let go. 

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trust

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Falling on my knees in worship, giving all I am to see your face. Lord, all I am is Yours.

I wasn’t sure when I started my job at my new school if the tattoo on my arm would be a problem. When I first got it, I wasn’t concerned about my employer at the time as I had already been working there for 4 years and had established myself as a teacher. Thankfully, my new principal was fine with it…especially after he heard the story behind it. 

A couple of my coworkers had already asked about the meaning behind the artwork, and I willingly shared my story about loss and wanting to remember my babies in a special way. The plumeria flower is a symbol of birth and life. Though my 3 babies never made it past 12 weeks, I truly believe that their lives began at the moment they were conceived. They were my babies, right from the beginning. A person’s a person, no matter how small. (That Dr. Seuss was a smart man.) And though they can’t share in the good life here on Earth, I know they are alive in Heaven. I can only imagine how much fun Mama Mary is having looking after them and all of the unborn up there. 

My principal had gotten wind of my story and asked me more about it one day. (I am learning that news around here travels fast!) In speaking to him about it, something dawned on me that I hadn’t really thought about before. 

It took 3 times for God to get his point across.

It took 3 times for me to listen to what He was telling me. 

It took 3 times for me to trust in His plan for me.

Trust.  A simple message, a complicated action. It’s something I have learned and am still learning as I live my life as a wife and first-time mom. But there is one thing I am sure of: God’s plans for me are always more beautiful than my own.

I called, you answered. And you came to my rescue and I wanna be where you are.