Friday, December 5, 2014

Evidence of Life

We were home in Beloit over Thanksgiving and my mother was discussing with me the gigantic task of keeping up her home especially without my father. The roof, the gutters, the siding, the lawn, the windows, etc., etc., all need attended to. I can understand why it is so overwhelming at times for her.  Although, while we were talking I couldn't help but think of how the maintenance of her home is giving her purpose and meaning to life.  It is so good for humans to take care of things.  You cannot help but love or learn to love something you take care of.

Probably one of the more frustrating obstacles that arises in life is uncompleted tasks.  Children certainly don't allow for much to be completed or stay completed.  I know I will never be caught up.  I don't think about that much ever anymore.  I have moments, but the vision of the what we are doing usually is in the forefront.  Raising a family is something that will always require maintenance and upkeep.  You don't just mow your lawn once and you are done.  It usually is a weekly task.  Those daily and weekly task give us purpose and meaning. 

I can look around at all of their beautiful signs of life around are home and can be brought to tears.   When I look at them I think, "I believe in something greater than myself."

Food.  One of the biggest daily necessities.  Their lives revolve around food.  I have many that ask first thing in the morning what we are having for dinner that night.  I have some that want to bake everyday.  Lunch is usually something that makes me pause.  We have been doing school and chores all morning and then we pause to look at each other.  I set out 9 lunch plates everyday.  At one time, I only set out 1 plate.  Funny.  These really are the times to remember.
I might be in the top weird percent of America, but I LOVE laundry.  I love washing their clothes, but more importantly I love folding their clothes.  When John and I were first engaged, I read an article in a magazine about a new book that was being released titled Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House.  I went right over to Barnes and Noble and bought it.  I poured over the laundry section.  I always have laundry to do.  I hope I have laundry to do for many years.  Their clothes remind me of the day.  They remind me of how chubby and tiny their little bodies are.  I smile at their favorite shirts.  I cringe at the certain pieces that I don't prefer, but THEY LOVE.  Even that though, makes me smile. 
His little shoes.  He walks with one foot a little turned in so we bought him special shoes to help a bit.  These clunkers will definitely go in his baby box.  I can hear him coming from a mile away. 

We have a good snow system down now.  The older five can get themselves ready and warm.  They also know where to hang everything after they have finished freezing outside.  Hours and Hours.  I treasure this view especially as the fun that was had in all those clothes is imprinted on my heart as I watched it all unfold from my kitchen sink window.

I dream of a home magically decorated for Christmas at every turn of the eye.  Every year without exception, they are so excited to be decorating the house for Christmas.  As we bring up the tubs of decor, their hands and mouths are going a mile a minute remembering each piece.  They have visions of where things should go.  Rose wanted to set up the village this year.  Dominic had his heart set on arranging our Nutcracker collection. Lillie looked through our tree ornaments over and over.  I let them all do it.  We have very few of these moments together in the perspective of life, so I just let them be.  Their versions are much better anyway. 
A full calendar.  My calendar use to be off-limits.  I wanted it neat and organized until I saw the beauty in all the important dates they took the time to note on the calendar.  It really is comical to look back and note what certain children were looking forward to indicated usually by their phonetic version of the event. 
Sign of a good meal.  Feet crossed under the high chair. 
I have written many times about their play.  Yesterday, they played Shark Tank for 4 hours straight.  They made offers, rejected offers, pretended to be Mr. Wonderful.  I never wanted it to end.  My only regret was John was at work.  He would have loved it. 
Inappropriate Advent Calendars in Aisle 5. 
I am not quite sure where she belongs in the whole Nativity scene.  Their special touches. 
I double dare you to find something more adorable than a one-year-old learning to use a fork.  The concentration, the aiming, the misfiring and more. 
A child learning to draw people. Once they learn, they can't stop.  I spot Clairvaux's handiwork all over the house.  I remember Dominic drawing on our lamp shade when he was two.  He drew a happy face because Elmo's lamp shade had a happy face.  I wish I still had that lamp shade.

Scribbled notes.  They have been baking up a storm and selling cookies around the neighborhood trying to raise money for their Kris Kringle.  It was freezing out one day, but they trudged on.  It was darling to see the row of ducklings following each other around celebrating each sale.  Sorry neighbors.  
Once again, the lunch plates and cups of water.  Evidence that life is beautiful.
Our good Bishop Conley encourages us always that beauty will save the Culture.  Beauty is everywhere each day.  As my mother always says, "Where would we be without children?"  They see it everywhere.


  1. Lindsay, I so appreciate you taking the time to write this post and share it publicly. As a young Catholic mother on my own in nearly every way, you encourage and inspire me in my vocation more than anything else in my life. I am not exaggerating or just trying to flatter you. I believe you have a true gift from God to teach and help us fellows mothers to see the beauty and value in our vocation, in our children and home-making. I have been struggling so very much with trying to have everything together and it is EXHAUSTING. and at night, my heart is in torments with guilt and sadness that I wasn't able to spend more time with my children. I am trying to find the balance between being responsible with household chores (and not lazy) and knowing when to say stop and just be with them. I would just be with them all day if I could!

    If I may humbly suggest... I think you should write a book! I would buy it in an instant. Or perhaps some other avenue where you are writing posts like these and helping us other moms. Of course, whatever is God's will, perhaps you could just pray about it and discern.

    Every other blog I've ever read on mothering and especially,sadly, catholic mom blogs have a lot of negativity and complaining about children and treat them with rudeness and sarcastic behavior in their writings. It is very sad to me. The world is telling us enough that children are no good. Satan is saying it enough. How I wish more mom's wrote with your perspective or I should say in their own way but from a heavenly perspective.
    Forgive any of my rambles that don't make sense. Im going through a rough patch in my life and your words are like honey to my soul. I just wanted to let you know that what you write, matters so very much to me and you bring me closer to God and inspire me to be a saint in my mothering vocation. Thank you beyond words!

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful outlook of motherhood! It really is uplifting. I could come back again and again to re-read your true words, especially on the rough days.

  3. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  4. This was a very lovely reflection. Thank you for sharing this Lindsay!

  5. I only have 5, and I feel like all I do is feed people, constantly. If everything else in their day goes poorly, if they have a full belly, then it's ok. Something about the comfort of knowing they won't ever be truly hungry. I try to make sure they realize what a blessing that is. I love the assembly line pics of sandwiches!


    And, amen to what everyone else was saying!!!

  7. Lindsey, thank you. I carry your words with me throughout many days. I too believe that we should look more closely at the beauty around us in our children and that which they see through their eyes. Thank you for sharing your incredible wisdom with us. God bless you!

  8. I seldom if ever comment - but what the above commenter said - You are sooo positive. Personally, I struggle with the positive. It is so easy to not look at our blessings but our struggles. Thank you for pointing out the blessings in the every day. And, man, I wish I wish I loved laundry. It is the one part of my week that I view as complete drudgery. :-)

  9. Lindsey, you are a gift to all moms out there, but especially young Catholic moms of many. I have 6 8 and under, and your words manage to float around my head during the day while I'm caring for my children. Thank you for filling my head with positive thoughts that make me appreciate my children all the more.

    And, incidentally, just how do you get all of your kids to like/eat the same exact meals for lunch?! I'm pretty consistent with dinner --- everyone gets the same, but lunch is a pickier operation!! Kudos to you for running a tight ship ;)

  10. I love laundry too! You are so good at finding beauty in the mundane! Please write a book!!! :) I would love to read it. Thanks for keeping us mother's inspired!

  11. I agree with the others - thank you for being positive without painting a picture that your life is all happy-happy all the time. Your kids will TREASURE this blog when they are old enough to read it!! (I presume you are primarily writing for them, yes? What a TREASURY they will have! Your blog inspired me to create a journal for my own kids. Unfortunately since its on paper it doesn't have the fabulous pictures... but I had to be real about what I would actually stick with. Kids have "selective rememberings" and my own brother grew up only remembering the negative. I had to give him a "pep talk" as a grown up and remind him of all the FUN we had. His response, "Wow, I FORGOT about that! You're right!!" Well, yeah. So your blog is just fabulous - you will remind your kids of the love and the beauty. Its so easy to just remember the negative / things that bugged us. I know I already said it, but -- this blog is a GEM for your kids!!

  12. Your blog makes me want to be Catholic...and have more kids!

    1. Amen! Go for both :)

      I promise both are wonderful!

  13. I am re reading this post. It was that good. Please write a book. I am a calendar nazi too...maybe I should loosen up. You actually had not much on your calendar in relation to the number of people in your fam...impressive!

  14. God bless you! You encourage me in my vocation as mother. Your words feed the soul, and thank you for allowing our Lord to work through you for your family and your readers!

  15. Love, love, love!!! Thank you Lindsay, thank you!

  16. This is so beautiful! thanks for sharing these beautiful moments with your readers....

  17. Love this post! So practical, real, unusual! Congrats!!!!! Hope you will be sharing more "normal mum-of-a-big-family moments"!!

  18. Dear Lindsay, thank you for sharing your life with us. I look forward to every post you write. I have learned so much from you as a mom. I hope you are not totally devastated by your little girl's condition, I pray for this when your family comes to my mind. These Bible verses came to my mind when I was thinking of you, maybe they will encourage you a bit in this dark valley you are going through. "...I will be with him in trouble..." Psalm 91:15. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" Jeremiah 29:11. Love, Ivanka from Ukraine