Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Scribblings- Vocation Time

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word vocation as:
1 a :  a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially :  a divine call to the religious life
   b :  an entry into the priesthood or a religious order
a :  the work in which a person is employed :  occupation
   b :  the persons engaged in a particular occupation
  the special function of an individual or group
I've always thought of my vocation as a wife and mom especially since I think it falls under the "strong inclination to a particular state...". In the last 9 years, however, my vocation has grown to include the second part of the definition, "the work in which a person is employed". I hadn't thought a whole lot about my jobs as being vocational since many people work at jobs they don't necessarily feel they've been called to do. A few years ago, our executive director at SFC said something about my fencing instructor job being more than just that. She likened it to a vocation. After having thought about for a while, I realized she is absolutely correct.
What a joy it is for me to have a group of people (from age 7 to a lot older than that) who I get the privilege to teach the sport of fencing. As I start my tenth year of teaching this month, I can look back on some of the now-grown fencers who started in one of our musketeer classes when their weapons were almost taller than they were. We've celebrated achievements, both fencing and non-fencing with numerous folks who have passed through our club. We've seen graduations from high school and college, marriages and even a baby or two. I have been able to grow in friendship with so many people I probably wouldn't have gotten to ever know if it weren't for fencing. I can even quip, "some of my best friends are fencers" and actually mean it.
Now that I've been officially given the title of head instructor, I've made the commitment to staying at the club for another 10 years, God-willing (and the creek don't rise). It's made our lives here at home a little bit more crazy, but with Josh and David at school and my girls heading off in the next year, it is good timing. 
All this to say, I've also opened another chapter to my fencing vocation this week. I had gotten to attend a USFA referee seminar in September up in Vancouver, Washington at Northpointe Fencing Club with Justin Meehan. I had taken three of our teenage fencers with me, and we had a great time learning what it takes to be a USFA referee. 

Since then, we've all been studying the guides to be able to take the test in order to go on to the next step of being rated. I can happily say that between last night and this morning, I passed all the tests I could in order to take that step. They were online exams-a general knowledge plus weapon (foil, epee, sabre) specific. The funniest part for me was that my sabre test score was the highest out of all of them, and I don't really referee sabre! 
I guess I write this as encouragement to anyone out there who is wondering if what they are doing in their life could be considered a vocation. If you know you are doing what you have been called to do, then stick with it! If you are not where you think you should be, ask the Lord to direct you to what you should be doing for Him. Remember:
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.      
Colossians 3:17

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday Scribblings- Little Things

Sitting here on this sunny October day with a house cleaner than it was just a few hours ago, I am feeling very grateful for the moment of calm. The girls are off working today while the boys are entering their third month of school- one 20 minutes away at seminary and one on the other side of the country. Brian's back at school this week along with a pretty bad bout of allergies. These two together have hit him full force. The good part for right now I have quiet for a bit of time.

I took the morning to do something I haven't been able to get to due to my work schedule, I cleaned the house. It started with me thinking that I should pay myself for cleaning then all of the sudden, I remembered St. Therese's little way and realized this could be a small sacrifice I could do. With that in my mind, I was able to get through the bathroom, kitchen and rest of downstairs without complaining. How much faster it seemed to go with a good attitude.
I even found a couple of embroidered linen pieces to decorate the reading chair and the Our Lady of Fatima corner. Little things can make a difference in our homes too. 

So now with house cleaning and breakfast behind me, I am looking forward to spending some time working on my October blocks of the month from the Greenbaum's First Fridays class. Each block is a little part of a bigger thing, and now I'm thinking to whom I may give the finished quilt. I'm also enjoying listening to EWTN's radio show, The Good Fight with Barabra McGuigan. She always spurs me on to a stronger Catholic life.

This is why I am looking forward to attending not only Mass tomorrow, but also taking part in the life chain in Salem. It may only seem like a little thing, but sometimes that's all that we are called to do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Morning Brunchtime

This morning found me hosting five girlfriends for a going away brunch. My friend Michele and her family are moving northwards, so I thought a brunch sounded like a good idea. The group of us has gotten to know each other over the last few years, and it's hard to say goodbye. Knowing how well all is going for her family is helpful for the rest of us to be able to see her leave.

We talked a lot and enjoyed some delicious food and drink. A few egg dishes plus some yummy coffee cake and gluten free apple blondes- not to mention some extravagant and delicious mimosas- were on the menu. Everything was so tasty that no one went away without being well-sated. It's also at get togethers like this when I am so glad to have our "hot drink station".


Here's a quick recipe for the gluten and dairy free breakfast casserole that was my contribution to brunch.

Easy Brunch Casserole 

1 package Frozen O'Brien Potatoes 
1 dozen eggs, whisked lightly
1 lb. sausage links, cooked and cut into chunks
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
6 dashes green Tabasco 

Mix together all ingredients; pour mixture into 9x13 pan. Place in fridge overnight. Next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 60-65 minutes or until browned on top. May be served with salsa.

So, don't wait for the weekend to have a brunch. Keep it simple, invite some good friends and Mangia!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Parenting Journey Continues

                                      My girls- all grown up!

Sometimes it's hard to know whether or not you're doing okay as a parent. Especially nowadays when so much is written on how to properly parent, not to mention the whole thing of children's rights being taken out of context so often. 
That being said, it felt like a pretty good week for this mom as Brian and I were able to spend a morning up at Mt. Angel with Josh Friday plus get to FaceTime with David today. This is on top of getting to go to Mass with the girls and watching Doctor Who with them while enjoying our Sunday brunch. Talking, laughing, and just being together with my kids is such a gift to me- I sometimes forget how blessed I am in my vocation as a wife and mom.
Just when I thought things were going great in the mom department, Mary and I ended up talking about when she was a young teen. She confessed to me that when we were at Salem Alliance she would skip out of youth group on Sunday mornings and sneak to the library as she didn't really feel like she was getting anything out of it. She then said if we hadn't started attending St. Joseph's she would most likely stopped going to church. Since I know first hand what a great middle & high school program SAC has, the only person I can blame for this is me. It took me about 6 years to hear this from my youngest. And here I thought I had the whole communication thing down pat.
As GK Chesterton said, "When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.” 
I know numerous young families who are on the first part of the parenting journey. There are so many pieces of advice out there. I could go on and on- just ask my kids, but I will just say this: 
Your job as a parent is to help your children to become God-loving, responsible adults. I've always thought just teaching them to be responsible is enough, but as they've grown, I realize it's also a parent's job to be the one to share with them all about God. This means His love, His goodness, His omniscience, and His omnipresence. It means Bible stories and Veggie Tales when they're little. It means Adventures in Odyssey and getting them to Religious Ed classes when they get a little older. It means making sure they know about their faith enough to want to live it as adults.So I exhort you parents out there to do all you can to help your kids now only draw close to the Lord right now, but to continue as they grow. With the help of the Blessed Trinity, we will all live happily ever after.