2018! We’re here! Okay, okay, we’ll grant you that we’re now three Fridays (and three podcasts) into this new year, BUT this was originally planned for the Season 2 Premiere, so please share in our joy as we talk about our 2018 outlook!
Last week, we talked about how 2017 was a great and trying year for us. We’ve also written about how we want to be intentional this year, referencing our #GratefulThings2018 photo challenge and a special project we’ve cooked up for Lent. Today we’re really excited to go into a little more detail about all of these things!
Next week, our podcast expands on what our Lenten project is, so make sure you’re following all of our social media channels and subscribed to our mailing list (also check yesterday’s post for a teaser!).
Grab a snack and settle in for our chat.
Want more interaction? We’ve got the place for you! Join us on Facebook in the Hail Marry Hangout!
Kristi & Rachel
We just wanted to pop in and say that we’ve been working on an AMAZING project. More information is heading your way Friday, January 26, 2018, but for now we’ll leave you with this teaser video preview and a few links to old posts…
It’s an oft-mentioned word in our Catholic circles. It means our calling from God, and although there’s a ton of emphasis on the priesthood and religious life from the pulpit, in my home growing up, the vocation of marriage was definitely the assumed way I’d go.
But I wasn’t always so sure.
As a child, I was well-rounded. I enjoyed climbing trees and playing with roly polys, but also adored my dresses and bows. My favorite thing to do was play with my dolls and my kitchen set. I loved to play house. Sometimes, my dad would play the role of my baby, which always made me giggle. My mom had always wanted to be a wife and mother. In that game, I couldn’t wait to grow up and be a mommy, too. It was never something that I questioned; I simply knew that I was going to be one.
Fast-forward to 2000, and I met a woman named Angela Ausmus Gill. She was a young, on-fire youth minister who happened to be married to my also young, on-fire youth minister. I looked at them with admiration as a truly passionate Catholic couple who embodied what the vocation of marriage should be. She spoke of how her job was to get her husband to Heaven and to raise her children into saints.
I was then hit with a shocking statement from her.
She’d considered becoming a Carmelite nun and even went through formation before meeting her husband in a planning meeting. For whatever reason, I’d never considered this.
After that story, I thought, briefly, about how I wanted to serve God with my life. Possibilities included being a youth minister and being a nun initially. Then I realized that I wanted to be a wife and a mom one day. And that was it. That was me “discerning.” But discernment is much more than that. It isn’t about ME and what I want. It’s about what God is calling me to do; what has he written on my heart?
At that time, in high school, I was only playing with the idea of discernment.
Fast-forward eight years and I was a sometimes-Mass-attending Catholic who didn’t really participate in the sacraments, in a non-sacramental marriage with a baby on the way. As readers of this blog may know, this marriage was later annulled but I got a wonderful child in the person of Little Miss.
The next five years were a time of me trying to pick up the pieces and move on. I didn’t date. I was trying to get healthy and be the best mom I could be. I also discovered Catholic radio in this time period, and I began to delve into the catechesis and apologetics of it all. I was hooked on the Church.
Then, in those pre-annulment days, I prayed a lot. I prayed that God would bless my future husband as well as my ex-husband. And then it hit me that there might not be a future husband.
Although I felt called to be a mother to my daughter, and to become a wife and mother to more children, I knew that I needed to address my failed marriage with the Church. I didn’t want to start dating if the Church said that I wasn’t eligible to marry again. I went through the annulment process and was granted a decree of nullity.
I then met Rachel and joined Catholic Match. I “talked” to a few guys and then met my first post-mommy boyfriend. We dated for nine months and I was constantly praying and asking if this was the guy for me. I was asking for God to lead me and ultimately, I learned that he was not.
In the next two months, my prayers changed. I was then asking God “Am I called to be a wife? Obviously, I’m already a mother, but are you calling me to the vocation of being single?” It was difficult for me to hear his answer, which I thought might mean that he was saying yes. I worked on trying to be okay with that, and got to a point where I was willing to accept whatever calling, regardless of what that meant for me as a wife.
Then I met Superman.
The Vocation of Marriage, Take 2?
It sounds cheesy, but shortly after meeting Superman, I knew he was going to be my husband. It wasn’t the butterflies or the way he made me feel, either. It was how I saw God’s hand all over our relationship, in every aspect. This was God, finally answering my prayers after asking me to wait patiently in the silence.
This section is titled “The Vocation of Marriage, Take 2?” because my first marriage wasn’t a response to a vocation. It wasn’t a sacrament. I didn’t invite God into it. It was merely a civil contract, and I’m not sure that I’d even call it a marriage, because it was so far from what my vocation as a wife actually is.
This is my vocation here, right now. It’s the first shot at it, and it’s the only one, because Superman and I are 100% committed to it and our vows.
Being Superman’s wife IS my primary vocation. The two of us are called to work in partnership to help one another get to Heaven. That’s the goal. I am to submit (read: be under (sub) his mission for our family). We do this by actively speaking about our family goals, discussing them, and discerning. Kisses, housework (which is divided among all of our family members as a team), meal planning, cooking (which we also divide among us), time together, prayer…this is my vocation.
Sometimes it’s easier than others.
Some days, I don’t want to be home with housework while he’s staying late at work. But I do it. Because he’s staying late at work to provide for our family. And next week, the shoe might be on the other foot. And then he’ll do it, too. My vocation isn’t asking me to keep score. It’s asking me to share equally all of life’s ups and downs.
It isn’t asking me to compare him to the husbands of my friends, the husbands I see in church and assume things about, or the husbands on TV. I didn’t marry them. I married Superman. My vocation is asking me to show him a little grace when he’s a little grumpy rather than complain about him. I’m called to sacrifice for him, too, just as he’s called to do for me.
This is my vocation, in its beautiful, simple glory. And from this vocation, springs my role of mom. In that, I am called to care for Little Miss and Belle, as well as whoever else comes along. I hope to get them to Heaven as well. But this is not my primary vocation. It is a beautiful fruit of my primary vocation.
Sometimes, we get caught up in schedules and kids and work and neglect our husbands (I’ve been guilty of that, too!). This we need to fight against. This marriage is our vocation. It requires work every day; but anything worth having requires a little bit of effort.
Where are you on your journey? Have you discerned your own vocation? Are you in it and struggling? Leave us a comment below to let us know, as we’d love to pray for and encourage you in your vocation. Also, don’t forget to head over to the CWBN Sienna Sisters Blog Hop on Reconciled to You to read other Catholic bloggers’ insights into the topic of vocations.
The first year of my marriage was by far the roughest year. Trying to set up a home and make it feel like home, I felt that I was in a pressure cooker to make it perfect. The Scientist was very kind and gentle with handling the hurricane of my stress while I was killing my energy, budget, and peace of mind trying to provide that feeling of warmth. Finally, the day arrived when The Scientist came home and found me crying in the bathroom, all over mix-matched hand towels. We had a very long conversation about how we needed to make our home our heart. I had to come to the realization that my constant worrying, overwhelming emotions, and insane intense focus were the cause of my downfall.
That conversation was tough and it was a recurring one. We were both trying all different ideas on getting our house together. There was a ton of paper with to-do lists, budget forms, talking points, reminders…the list went on. The thought occurred to us that instead of trying to control and cater to our individual need, we needed to cater to God and his needs for our family. With that in mind, we stopped the madness and prayed.
God was there the entire time giving us the tools to make our home a place to welcome all of the people he sends our way. He revealed to us that our home was really our heart. When we received others into our home, we received him; which in my mind is huge. That thought made us both rethink our methods for homemaking and our vocations.
My husband, who is the head of our household, really led me to come up with this theory on homemaking.
Homemaking is not just cleaning; it is making your home your ministry. The Scientist encouraged me to really sit down and discern how I was serving God. When I did that, I concluded that I was not living or doing what God needed or wanted me to do.
Once I realized that, I started making a list of what I thought the priorities were in my home. I showed my hubby, who then suggested a system. Together, we came up with a five-step system for each room in the house. This system really helps me focus on my vocation as a wife—an everyday missionary, friend, sister, and daughter. Having these five steps for my home makes me better in every sense and I have more time to focus on God, my marriage, and all of my other relationships.
These five steps will be different for everyone because our needs in our own individual families are different. We have the system so each room can serve a purpose and bring peace and order to our home.
For example, our purpose for our kitchen is to provide nourishment to our family, but it also provides a neutral place for others to gather and hash out disagreements or emotions. We both noticed that our kitchen was perfect for our disagreements, because there was wine and really no place to shut each other out. We set up our kitchen to be functional to cook in as well as to have calmed discussions and be comfortable for long talks.
I suggest you think about what each room does for your family and then use these five steps to organize and make it a place of warmth, peace, comfort, stress-free zone for each member.
1. Assign each family member with a responsibility to contribute to the peaceful order to the home.
This is vital in making any plan/system work. You need to sit down with your family and really discuss what their responsibilities are and why it is vital to do them. I find that if you talk and get your family’s input, they are more likely to help with the system, especially when asking questions about how they would feel less stress or anxiety in the home.
I also stress that members of a family should invest in themselves by taking personal responsibility to pick up after themselves. It teaches self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment, which in turn will build their confidence in being independent. The more they invest with their input, the more they will care about making their house their heart.
2. Find a home for all material things in each room.
This is harder than you think. Every loose material that is in the room must have a home in that room. Keys, papers, toys—all of it. If you cannot find a home for it in that room, then it does not belong and you will have to find it a home in another room. If you still cannot find a place or a reason to keep it, then you need to release it to Goodwill, Craig’s List, Let Go, Facebook Marketplace, or the recycle bin. Get it out because it is likely to be causing you stress.
3. Is the room functional for our family?
Really think about the room and what you want its function to be. If you have a dining room, but you only use it once a year to eat in and use it for a schoolroom or office most often, then you need to transform and organize it as an office/school room. You will not get annoyed when there is a folder on the table or the laptop is charging in the corner because you changed the room to function properly for your family. This will cause you to have less stress and kiss that overwhelming feeling when trying to pick it up and clean goodbye. Do this with every room. Once the rooms function the way your family functions, then the freedom of time and peace will come.
4. Can we clean and pick up in 10-20 minutes?
This is a biggie for my hubby and me. We come from two different cleaning backgrounds. We decided that for the sake of our marriage (and for our downtime) we need to spend our time on people rather than having a museum for a house.
If I am spending an hour to two doing a basic clean up routine, then I have too much stuff or the room is not being utilized correctly. If your everyday cleaning routine in that room is taking more than 20 minutes, re-evaluate why it is taking that long.
I’m not talking deep cleaning like detailing baseboards or defrosting freezers. I am talking basic vacuuming, dusting, wiping, and picking up. We are firm believers if someone is going to stop by we can run through our home in about 20 minutes and have everything in tip-top shape. All of our loose material things are in their homes, the floors are easily vacuumed, steamed mop, or swept quickly, and surfaces are easily wiped down.
5. Do we have all the tools to clean and have fun with your family?
Each room in my house has a cleaning kit nearby to clean and sanitize. I also have all of my cleaning appliances and buckets in one place, so everyone knows where they are. If you hang chore lists, make sure they’re visible in the room so everyone can read them and complete their tasks.
Make sure in each room there is a fun element so it does make your family relax and have fun. As an example, I have books in my bathrooms for all those who need a little reading material while they relax and do their business. I try to have fun and thought-provoking material. Having that fun element will make memories for your family and help bring that warmth to your home.
There is so much more to homemaking but I believe this is the most important step to build that strong foundation in your home. Please leave us any questions or in the comments or email us. You can also join us on Facebook in the Hail Marry Hangout for freebies and fun conversation or hang out with us on social media.
We have some pintables to help your family come up with a system that will make your home your heart, including my five steps, two chore charts, a to-do list, and some labels for cleaning supplies, organization bins, or drawers. We hope that you can utilize them to make your home your heart. Click on the titles below to download.
If you listened to our Season 2 Premiere, then you know that we we’re supposed to give you a 2017 recap and a 2018 outlook. And then the post was eaten.
Therefore, we have an entire podcast devoted to our 2017 recap today and another one for our 2018 outlook (next up!).
We discuss things that we’ve previously discussed, previously blogged about, as well as some new tidbits we’ve yet to share. So grab a beverage and join in the conversation!
Want more interaction? We’ve got the place for you! Join us on Facebook in the Hail Marry Hangout!
Kristi & Rachel