I'm writing to you from my satellite office known as my living room couch. I've recently moved here from my bed, where I've been laying supine since Thursday morning at 2:00 am. This effort to "stay off my feet" is the direct result of spending Wednesday evening in the Triage Room in the Labor/Delivery ward of the hospital.
I was there because I started having intense contractions--which have stopped--but were caused from of a bad case of dehydration and "doing too much".
(I hate that phrase "doing too much". Really? I do too much?
What exactly shall I cut out--feeding my family, the laundry, or schooling the children?
In any case, I've had five babies and the pain I experienced in my back on Wednesday evening far surpassed the back labor I had in the four unmedicated deliveries I've had.
The back labor, thank you, Jesus!, stopped and now that I've rested, I feel like a new person. I didn't realize how bad I felt until today, when I woke up and realized I'm a human being again.
During these unexpected challenges, I find I'm the recipient of such beautiful displays of love and friendship.
--My mom, when I called to let her know I had to go to the hospital, drove over two hours to the hospital to make sure I was OK.
--When she founded out we needed her quickly, our regular babysitter, Shannon, flew to get to our house so we could leave.
--My good friend, Karen, who we also phoned for help and potential back up, sent an email the homeschool group/school asking for prayers for our little Baby.
--My girlfriend, Katia, called me in the morning, picked up Patrick and Christopher for the day, fed them, and completed ALL of Patrick's school work with him.
--Karen brought me a lifetime supply of water and poweraide, which has been significantly helping with the Charlie Horses that strike in the middle of the night leaving me in a puddle of sweat and tears.
--Colleen, Shannon's younger sister, babysat the girls all of Thursday so I could sleep and drink. (Seriously, I was doing some major hydrating).
--And Cheryl, Shannon's mom, cooked an entire meal (with dessert) and brought it over for us so we didn't have to eat frozen pizza.
See? So kind and so loving. I hope I'm able to respond to others similarly one day.
I forgot to mention the baby was fine and strong and kicking wildly. He didn't like the monitors they strapped to me, though.
I also forgot to mention John took off work to help me out yesterday. He homeschooled a few of the kids. All I'm going to say is I've enjoyed watching the process.
Here are some pictures of our recent trip to Hershey Park, which the kids loved. It was a great day of family bonding.
When their book came out a few years ago, Small Steps For Moms, I had the opportunity to hear Elizabeth Foss speak. She gave a terrific talk but the thing I most appreciated was a quote she shared. Awhile back, I emailed Elizabeth and asked her to send it to me because I've never forgotten the impact those particular words had on me:
Devout people are, as a class, the least kind of all classes. This is a scandalous thing to say; but the scandal of the fact is so much greater than the scandal of acknowledging it, that I will brave this last, for the sake of a greater good. Religious people are an unkindly lot. Poor human nature cannot do everything; and kindness is too often left uncultivated, because men do not sufficiently understand its value. Men may be charitable, yet not kind; merciful, yet not kind; self-denying, yet not kind. If they would add a little common kindness to their uncommon graces, they would convert ten where they now only abate the prejudices of one.
There is a sort of spiritual selfishness in devotion, which is rather to be regretted than condemned. I should not like to think it is unavoidable. Certainly its interfering with kindness is not unavoidable. It is only a little difficult, and calls for watchfulness. Kindness, as a grace, is certainly not sufficiently cultivated, while the self-gravitating, self-contemplating, self-inspecting parts of the spiritual life are cultivated too exclusively.
Rightly considered, kindness is the grand cause of God in the world. Where it is natural, it must forthwith be supernaturalized. Where it is not natural, it must be supernaturally planted. What is our life? It is a mission to go into every corner it can reach, and reconquer for God's beatitude His unhappy world back to Him. It is a devotion of ourselves to the bliss of the Divine Life by the beautiful apostolate of kindness.--taken from Father Faber's Spiritual Conferences
I thought of this quote because Sarah Reinhard, fellow Catholic Mom and Integrated Catholic Life contributor, is hosting a Small Steps blog tour over at Catholic Mom and she gave me a shout out in her reflection on gratitude
(Hilarious that she thought of me for the virtue with a I'm always struggling to cultivate). You can still check out the thoughts the other cool blogging mama's have about the book. And while you are blog-hopping, don't forget to enter the Five Minutes Alone contest where the prize is a bundle of really cool books. (I'm coveting the Catholic Baby Names title in particular right now!)
(As an aside, Sarah has been so personally helpful to me. She's fielded tons of email questions from me about the book writing process, the Catholic Writer's Guild Conference, and how exactly she does everything she does. She claims her secret weapon is coffee and to that I say, "Amen." Anyway, she's great and I hope one day I get to meet her face to face.)