St. Patrick, Drew Brees, and Adversity – Or, Engaging 5th Graders During CCE

https://cajuntexasmom.com/2017/11/04/st-patrick-drew-brees-and-adversity-or-getting-5th-grade-boys-to-pay-attention-in-cce
St. Patrick probably would’ve liked football. Drew Brees probably likes green beer. They’re practically bros.

I’ve taught Continuing Christian Education (CCE) for about 10 years, give or take a year. During that time, I’ve taught pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd-5th grades. Each grade level is special for different reasons, but three years ago I realized that 5th grade is my super-fave-favorite. They’re old enough to ask smart, intelligent questions about the Faith, but young enough that they are still (mostly) innocent and carefree. Junior high looms large  around the corner, but for now, these kids are filled with the confidence of being the eldest of their schools. They have a sense of their budding responsibility to be good examples to the younger kids, and they relish the opportunity to live up to the high expectations we set for them. Seriously. Fifth graders are the BEST age for teaching religious education. FIFTH GRADE IS MY JAM.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t connect, like, AT ALL, with the 5th grade boys. The girls and I get along well, because they’re more generally more mature and interested in spiritual ideas. Not necessarily so with the boys, though there have been a few notable exceptions. I have four brothers, so you wouldn’t think I would have trouble talking to these kids, and yet, I think I revert back to awkward-around-boys-5th grade Wendy and just fail miserably engaging and helping them understand how the study of Christ, the Scriptures, His Church, the Saints, etc., have any relevant connection to their lives. Until last Sunday. *mwahahahaha* Continue reading

Bold. Permanent. Indelible. – Harvey Makes His Mark

Mail
My mailbox on the 28th of August, 2017.

Funny thing about Sharpie markers. On their website, the product description offers its use for “paper, plastic, metal, and most other surfaces.” It’s that “most other surfaces” part that gets me. You know what surface I never dreamed I’d be using my trusty fine-tip Sharpie on?

My kids’ arms.

Turns out, Sharpie writes well on skin – even if your hand is shaking like a leaf. And it stays there after several days of baths and soapy scrubbings, as a bold, indelible reminder of a hurricane that still haunts my dreams, almost two months later.

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Boomers, We’re Listening. Love, Millennials

The more I experience life as a wife, mother, sister, friend, and professional, the more I realize I’m clueless. Really clueless. As in, everything I thought I knew – and I thought I knew a lot – is challenged on a daily basis and I rediscover, for the umpteenth time, that when it comes to life experience, I’m a noob.

Growing up, I was the kid that wanted to sit with the adults and talk while my cousins rolled down hillsides and played with bubbles outside. I’ve long preferred the company of older, wiser adults to the company of peers. Even as an adult, I gravitate towards reading blogs and following social media streams of wives and moms who are older than me and further along their paths of marriage and family. I love to see their challenges and learn how they have grown from them, emotionally and spiritually. To see how they have navigated life crises and struggles, and hopefully learn from them as I encounter similiar waters in the not-so-distant future.

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Restore. Renew. Revive.

I’m weary, y’all.

The last time I posted was December 11, a mere two weeks before Christmas, and five days after learning we {happily} are expecting our fifth kiddo.

During the past several weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed with liturgical celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, separation from family over holidays, a life-threatening incident with dear friends of ours, the beginning of a new college semester, tensions in my oil-industry employment, the prospect of an upcoming move, planning my sister’s wedding, a lingering cold, and of course, first-trimester wrapping all of the chaos in a cozy blanket.

So…yeah. Weary.

For the past two years during Lent, my internet friend Elizabeth Foss has offered an online workshop for weary women called “Restore.” With Danielle Bean, Elizabeth co-wrote my favorite devotional, Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Elizabeth’s writing is calm, peaceful, and sprinkled with the wisdom of a woman with nine children who has been mothering for almost 30 years. Her posts on family life helped saved my marriage when Superman and I struggled with reintegration following deployment.  I have wanted to participate in the Restore workshop each time it’s been offered, especially the year my hormones were abnormal and affecting every breath I took. I felt so completely oppressed. I watched longingly as other women on social media, most with far more crushing life circumstances than mine, commented and photographed their experiences with the program. Elizabeth integrates prayer, reflection, and daily creativity-stimulating activities to administer a healing balm to souls. I know the program works, because I saw friends like Bobbi find their way out of burned-out chaos into the beauty of New Life in the springtime of their souls. Elizabeth talks a bit more about the workshop here: Video from Elizabeth on Restore

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Stuck at Work for the Holidays

Have to work on a holiday

 

“Oh there’s noooooo place like wooooorrrrrrrk for the holidays…”

Wait.  That’s not how the song goes…

It can be difficult enough as a working mom to occasionally (or always!) deal with feelings of guilt and disappointment when dropping a child off at daycare or missing out on a poetry recitation at school, but these heart-wrenching emotions only intensify when that mom finds she is scheduled to work on a holiday or Holy Day.

Over the course of my working adult life, I’ve spent time in the retail and healthcare industries. Both are notorious for scheduling staff ’round the holiday clock. Granted, I think we all want there to be docs and nurses available if we have to rush a sick child to the ER on Christmas Day, but I’d be willing to bet a few of those folks are somewhat preoccupied by their waiting families at home – and with good reason. As for retail, REI made headlines this year when they announced they’d be closed on Black Friday. I’m not going to lie, this is a trend I hope will gather some major steam in the coming years. In the meantime, here are a few techniques I’ve picked up through working through the most special times of year – like that Good Friday four years ago where I spent the day at work fuming about missing the 3pm Veneration of the Cross. (I really identified that day with Christ’s lament, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do [by making me work today.]” I mayormaynot be paraphrasing.) Continue reading