Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let them love you

A couple things happened in the past few weeks that really made an impact on me.

 We got a chance to visit my folks - I just love visiting my childhood home! You are overcome with a sense of peace and joy. Like the a cozy blanket, being with my parents & family brings comfort. Yet, mixed in that experience hidden beneath the folds, I still have to fight off old habits. Old ways of thinking and living that I have been freed of, but through smells and sights, come to the forefront of my mind, attempting to lure me back into its grasp.

 My friends, that takes a lot of strength to fight off. If you remember from previous posts, I had a bout with anorexia in junior high and although the physical nature of it was overcome the mental games lingered on in my mind until last year. Was I good enough? Pretty enough? Thin enough? And once again I was bombarded by these thoughts after my trip home. 
   I know who I am and Whose I am. I am good enough. Yet it is so freeing to be reminded of it by others!

 Enter my darling children.

 Baby crawled up to me the other day when I was on the floor tired and frazzled and looking you know, not so hot. He started attempting to kiss my face, which really meant licking it! And at first I was going to take him away, because he was slobbering all over me! But then I saw the joy and love in his face. He loved me, his mama, with such a fierce joyful love that made him giggle! He "kissed" me and laughed and kissed me and laughed and hugged my head and kissed me again. I realized he wanted – and needed – to love me. As I let down my guard of "gross slobber need to clean", and just let him live on me - I changed...I was affirmed as someone worthy of such affection. And what an affirmation that is!

 The other night, it was one of those days and I desperately needed a shower, and I said something to my husband like "I know I'm gross but let's just sit down and eat dinner." To which he responded, "you're beautiful! You're not gross at all! You are so beautiful!" And then my oldest (10 year old son) chimed in, "listen to that song, mom. Then you'll know you're beautiful! You know the one that doesn't know it but she is." He meant of course "She don't know she's beautiful" by Sammy Kershaw. And again, my first thought was, he's just a kid what does he know and then I was able to push that wall aside and look at him. He believed it! He said it so matter of factly though as it was just a given "my mom's beautiful." And once again as I let him love me, I was affirmed as someone to be loved and once again it changed me... 

So my advice for you today, let them love you. It helps them, but it will transform you.

what love looks like :-)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Travels Recap - England Part 1: London

What a time we had in England! I would have updated sooner, but when I got back my husband had to go to DC for the March for Life and when he got back, we had two crazy weeks before we all went south to visit my folks in New Orleans for a week!

Phew! Now we have been back home for a week and finally finding that niche of our routine - that "new normal." I am delighted that my young men are happy and can be helpful. At this moment, they are "buddy" playing. Each older boy has a younger boy to play with or teach for half an hour.

To recap my trip, I would like to share some of the posts I shared on Facebook and then I will share another post with more reflections as I look back at the trip now a month later... It was most amazing - but I didn't anticipate how anxious I would feel traveling in a foreign country with an infant! I think I am enjoying looking back on the memories just as much if not more than experiencing them for that very reason!

January 12th log: "First impressions of London: do Anglo-Saxon UK citizens think themselves "too good" to work at the airport?? I was like what the---? I thought I was flying to England not India!
Once in town, the business attire is very classy - suit and ties - even for young men. And although people seem to be like your average busy city dwellers, whenever I had trouble with the stroller, a wonderful angel would help me! Young old, women and men - they actually acted like they saw you in need and not just rushed past you. One man ran across a street of cars to help me lift the stroller up to the hotel lobby! They aren't gushing with personality but after today, I'm convinced these are some of the kindest people on the planet! (Having a baby probably helps me get that extra attention though too! Everyone fussed over him - his blanket is falling - watch his hat - did he lose his shoes? - does he always smile? To that I can answer, Yes! Yes! He seems to be always smiling!)
Oh rush hour seems to be a 6:30pm... During the day it was barely busy on the "Underground", I was like where is everyone?? And then on our way home from dinner, it was extremely crowded. Oh - they were working!
Another thing, there aren't a lot of street venders around - tons of extra people trying to sell this or that and you having to tightly hold your purse just in case...that's how it was in Rome. Not London! At least not in the places we went tonight!
Okay - off to try to sleep!"
We visited the original Twinings Tea store!
They say Jane Austin would have bought her tea here!

Another January 12th log: "This lovely place is where I ate dinner our first night in London! It's Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub - oldest pub in London (1667) and a favorite hangout of G.K.Chesterton! And #‎wheninRome (or London), I had fish and chips! And Anthony loved trying to leave teeth marks on the old wooden furniture... "

Check out the notice: "Gentlemen only served in this bar"!

January 13 log:
"So, today was so blessed but not without challenges! First, my sweet #‎brighteyes decided to leap off the bed and bonked his head. frown emoticon Then we bought entrance tickets to go in the Tower of London but had a special request to go to St. Thomas More's cell and crypt (which aren't open to the general public - except by special request). So Simon Dodd, the Tower guard and tour guide took us through all these private rooms and snuck us past barriers and through rooms where "only dignitaries go".
Tower of London's best guide, Simon Dodd!
He showed us the safe that the keys to the crowned jewels safe are kept - in a room that is marked as "a men's loo"! And St Thomas More's cell was so bare and just - struck your heart. Then we crossed more barriers went behind locked doors to go to the crypt where he is buried. Simon shared so many interesting things and was quite entertaining!
Palace guard in the Tower of London because this is officially one of the Queen's houses. Just to the right was the entrance were only dignitaries (& crazy Catholics who just HAVE to see St. Thomas More's cell!) enter!

St. Thomas More's prison cell.

St. Thomas More's grave - St. Thomas More, PRAY FOR US!!!

My little darling #Brighteyes was the BEST travel companion EVAH!

Here are just a few photos - we ate lunch at the "Kitchen" a family restaurant near "All Hallows" Anglican church.
Selfie fail ;-) Outside Tower of London

We then went to Shakespeare's The Globe. A theatre designed and built as an exact replica of the original! As someone who loves Shakespeare, it was amazing! Soaking in the history and what it must have been like for them! Walking through and standing in the "penny seats" area and then in the balcony seats - and darn it if all of those photos aren't on my camera and not this phone ... Oh well! Take my word for it, it was a moment back in time.

I was just in heaven in this theatre!!!

Made in the exact dimensions as Shakespeare's The Globe - what an exciting and inspiring experience for a literature lover!

We walked back to the other bank by taking the Millennium Bridge, which is a very space age looking walking bridge. Very cool. With great views of the city.
London folks were still very helpful! People don't brush by you without seeing you. They actually notice and offer to help. Very kind. Simon the tour guide told us they speak 300 language in London because of all the different nationalities of people who live there, but he also noted that if you go beyond London into the rest of England it is very different. And foreigners are much fewer.
Very interesting! But now my feet are sore and my little #‎brightseyes has fallen asleep so I should try to sleep as well! He has been so good - but after seeing his brothers on a FaceTime chat, he was whimpering a little and sad. He misses those sweet faces as do I!
One more day in London and then off to Maryvale on Friday!!!"

January 14 log:
"Our last full day in London - what a great day! We attended Mass at Wesminster Cathedral and it was so sweet because it just happened to be the one day that the school children of the parish attended the daily parish Mass. They sang "Salve Regina" after the intercessions and my little darling looked up at me with the biggest smile (you can see in the photo). He recognized the song (we sing almost every night at home) & was so excited!
Westminster Cathedral
We saw Big Ben and had a proper afternoon tea!

Jenny and I - Big Ben in the background!
I love tea time!
so does #brighteyes!
You can see #‎brighteyes was just as excited about tea time! & of course we had to see Buckingham Palace. Look at that sweet boy - world traveler! (The photo with him on the bridge shows the palace in the background.) and there were crazy squirrels that literally came up and begged for food!
It was cold and windy. So baby and I headed back after all that and relaxed at the Inn - he is so sweet - laughs and laughs. Doing some reading to prepare for school tomorrow!! grin emoticon
So blessed to be here - please say a prayer for us and my family back home! It's so hard to be apart!!"

Buckingham Palace in the background

at the Palace gates!
crazy squirrels!

January 16 log:
"Made it to school! What a wonderful environment and community there is at Maryvale! & Anthony loves everyone - you can see him playing peekaboo in the student commons room"

quick photo of a class - or at least those behind me! :-)
panoramic shot of school - also! It was the home of Cardinal Newman!

As I look back on all of this now, I am overwhelmed with how blessed I am! I am blessed to have such a great a mighty God who can bring about so many good things in my life! I am blessed by my husband who supports me and wants me to be all that I can be! I am blessed by my children who also rally around me just as we rally around them - so much love going around!

Look for Part 2 soon - with more detail about my studies! I love praying for others - please let me know (via facebook message or in the comments here!) if you have a prayer request I can pray for! I feel a deep passion to pray more for others - bring it on!

blessings to you all!

London from the millennium bridge