Archive | December, 2008

Christmas Eve

25 Dec

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For the first time in our Anglican life, I went to the 5:00 family service instead of midnighht mass on Christmas Eve.  This is, obviously, because this is my first Christmas Eve as a mommy.  Though I had to miss my favorite service of the season, I feel far closer to the Lord and Mother Mary this year than any other.

Soon the Virgin will give birth.  It is but a little less than five months ago that I labored and delivered Adeline.  I labored in a warm, comfortable hospital room.  I had a birth plan that indicated if and what pain medications I may want, what positions I would like to labor in, who I wanted in the room, what liquids/foods I would wish to have.  I had nurses at the push of a call button, medical professionals with sterile instruments, and medical knowledge of what was happening to me.  So, at this hour when when Mary would be laboring with our Savior, I think about the conditions in which she brought him into this world. Suffering and surrounded by animals, most likely without proper sustenance, and definitely without a midwife or doctor.

I wonder if Mary knew the reward that would be the world’s because of her faithfulness.  I wonder if pushing was made easier by knowing that the son of God would soon emerge from her.  I wonder if she was worried that something may go wrong.As soon as she was born, I knew that Adeline was made in the image of our God and that she had been set a part by Him for His purposes…but how would it feel to know that your child IS God?  “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)  Man, I know that feeling!

As a new mommy, I must admit I feel a little bit of guilt and regret towards Mary.  I know that this day, as her Son, our Savior, is born, I have already sentenced him to death.  I have sinned against my neighbor, my Savior, and, in turn, His/Our Mother.  And yet, she intercedes for her Son’s murderers. Should someone (God, please forbid it) inflict pain on Adeline, would I be able to ask for his salvation in a court of law?  I cannot think that I would, nor would want to.  But the Blessed Virgin does so for me – and on a MUCH bigger level.

So as the clock nears 12:00 PM, I think of Mary and her labor and delivery more intently and knowingly than I ever have.  I pray that someday my daughter will feel closer to Mary simply by becoming a mother, and as such will feel closer to her Savior…because once He was a baby not so different than she is now.

The Magnificat (Song of Mary)

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
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“A hard begining maketh a good ending” – John Heywood

20 Dec

Well, let us hope so!  The Michaelmas term is (finally) over and I have a husband and Adeline has a father once again.  Honestly though, it really wasn’t that bad.  This semester Matthew did a fantastic job of balancing marriage, new-fatherhood, work duties, class, homework, and friends.   I’ve said it before, but I will say it again; I’ve never been prouder if him.  But this last week has been horrible!  I feel like I haven’t seen him in months!

Even staying on track, it is almost impossible to read and write everything you must.  The end was a crunch for (almost) everyone.  But my Matthew finished two days early!  Two days!  What an amazing man!

This semester has been more than work for the both of us.  It’s been about finding out what parenting is, how important we are to each other, and what is important to us.

For instance,   Matthew has fbecome slightly (or majorly) enamored love with the Desert Fathers.  He ponders ascetisicm and how he can logically and realistically achieve some form of it in his own life.  He is working on seeing all people as the likeness of God and treating them as such, which is difficult for all of us.  As advised by the seminary and diocese, he has found a spiritual advisor- Fr. Gregory an Anglican monk- and also speaks with Sister Mary Jude, an Anglican nun. 

 We ponder how to best parent Adeline.  Do we teach her Santa Claus or focus on the birth of our Savior?  (Savior wins here) Easter bunny or the Resurrection ?  (Savior wins again!)  Tooth Fairy? (Probably not…)  

I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how best to spend my time and to make friends FAST.  We joke that there is rest of the world time and Nashotah time.  Friends must be made quickly in order to survive the wilderness of Wisconsin!

These are the lives we lead these days.  Michalemas 2008 has been quite an education for the entire family.  We praise God, however, that we’ll never have to do our first semester again.  Matthew now knows how Fr. Holtzen would like papers done, how to properly exegete for Dr. Anderson’s class, and to never, ever fall behind in Greek.  Life should be good…or at least better!

One reward received for Matthew’s hard work during his first semester is that now he can wear clericals!  I leave you with a snapshot of him.  Note the black electrical tape stripe…this indicates that he’s not a priest, but a seminarian.  Don’t call him Father…yet.  We still have five more semesters to go.

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Advent reflections

9 Dec

Over the past seven and a half years most holidays have been bittersweet.  This holiday season is more intense on both ends of the spectrum.  How joyous an occasion it is to celebrate Advent and Christmas with our baby girl.  But how difficult it is to do it without my father. 

I remember saying that if I couldn’t enjoy marriage, parenthood, education, etc. without my father to celebrate with me, I didn’t want to experience it.  Luckily, God knows better than grieving seventeen year-olds and I have been blessed with the most amazing husband and daughter…and well, I’ll work on the education soon. 

It used to be that I would catch myself on a daily basis remembering that he is gone.  It would feel as though he was taken from me all over again.  “No one ever told me grief felt so like fear,” said C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed, and I would repeat that daily while I walked through the halls of my high school.  Though I will not pretend that I know what it is like to lose a spouse (nor can I bear the thought for a moment), grief is grief is grief. There is something about it that feels so unholy about it, but that must be because of the selfishness we feel beneath it.  Jesus wept when Lazarus died.  The difference is that my feeling comes not from compassion or empathy, but from selfish desire to have my father here with me.

These days that grief does not catch me off guard.  I don’t find myself wanting to call him to tell him something important or to buy something for him that I know he would love (though who could on a seminary family’s budget?).  The grief falls intensely when I look at Adeline and see my father’s baby photos in her face.  It comes when I get to the ‘Grandparents’ section of her baby book.  And it comes on occasion, perhaps most deeply, when I give thanks to God for all that I have.  Perhaps it is because I wonder if Dad would be as proud of me as he would have if I had taken my intended path.  While I try to live in the manner that Christ intends for me to, I often question if Dad would be pleased with me.  Looking at my dear little family, I am most sure that he could want nothing more for me than Matthew and Adeline. If I do nothing else, they are what I am most proud of and what Dad would have been most proud of me for.

As we celebrate our first Advent as a family, I pray that you all find peace in the absence of those you love – for soon our advent wait is over and Christ our Saviour is born.

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail, the Son of Righteousness!

Light and Life to all He brings,

Ris’n with healing in His wings.

Mild He waives His glory by,

Born that man no more may die.

Born to raise the sons of earth.

Thank you Christ Church in Moline!

5 Dec

Wednesday was St. Nicholas day here at Nashotah House. One of the many ministries of the Diocese of Quincy is to provide presents to all of the children at the seminary on St. Nicholas day.  Christ Church provided presents for Adeline.  Thank-you to you all!  She adores them! 

Trying to open the first gift.

Trying to open the first gift.

 

With her gifts

With her gifts

I’m four months old!

3 Dec

Hello, everyone!  I turned four months old on Sunday and boy, am I changing fast!

These days I wake Mama up in the morning by yelling at my mobile.  It only seems to turn on when she’s in the room with me, so I figure it’s fair to wake her up.

Then I eat.  Mama gets pretty frustrated sometimes because I just can’t stop moving! Sometimes I try really hard not to move but I just get the wiggles!  I think it’s pretty funny though and I usually start smiling and talking to Mama.  Then I cry because I’m so hungry!

When Mama dresses me, I almost always cry.  Mama usually just puts me in a sleeper if I’m extra grouchy.  I hate having shirts put over my head!  After I’m dressed, Mama gets herself ready.  I get mad because she has to put me down and leave the room, but I always find a way to occupy myself .  This morning I rolled from my back to my front to my back to my front to my back and rolled all the way off my blanket. See!

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So then I go to Miss Ashley’s while Mama goes to work.  While I’m there, we sing songs, ready stories, and nap.  I usually eat 5 or 6 ounces there!  Well, a big girl that weights 11 pounds 8 ounces needs to eat! After Mama gets off work, she picks Margaret and me up and we go home.  We love to play.  We’re learning to do the same things at the same time.  When Margaret cries, I cry! 

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I was sick during my first snow, but I’m making up for it now!  Mama held me up while I looked outside for a long time today.

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I also spend lots of time talking!  Today I said “Ho! Ho! Ho!” even though I didn’t mean to.  I always talk to my Baby Einstein jumper when I go into my bed room.

Anyway, when Margaret goes home, I eat until Papa gets home.  When he gets home, he scoops  me up and doesn’t usually let me go until bath time!  I spit up on Papa lots!  I have great aim and I seem to try to save it all up for him.  I like to grab his beard though he says “Ouch!”  Papa makes the best Donald Duck voice and I think it is hilarious.  I giggle at him when he does it sometimes.

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At 7:00 I get a bath.  Then Papa goes to the library and studies hard!  He always kisses me bye-bye and says “I love you, Liners!” I love Papa, too and sometimes I try to tell him. 

Then it’s time to go to bed.  The other night, right before I turned 4 months old, I decided enough of the swaddling!  I woke up late at night and cried and cried.  Now I sleep in my big girl crib without a swaddler!  Sometimes I wake myself up or accidently turn over in the night, but I can put myself  back to sleep usually.

I’m sorry this is so long, but I do alls sorts of neat things now and I wanted to tell you all.  I’m a very busy girl!  I love you all and especially miss my Grandmas and Grandpa…oh and my aunts and uncles of course!  Goodnight!