two years

We started your second birthday at three this morning because I was restless with pregnancy aches and it woke you up. There was something special in the middle of the exhaustion about sitting in the armchair by the desk and locking eyes with you while you nursed, something that reminded me of the morning you were born and you slept with your head against my heart and I kept telling myself rest, get some sleep, but all I could do was stroke your back and feel how wonderful it was to hold you. 

We went back to bed this morning at five and when you woke up again the sun was out and you were snuggled between me and dada, and we kissed you and told you, "happy birthday, beautiful!" And I just hope that was a wonderful way for you to wake up today. 

Happy birthday, beautiful.


overcome by beauty

Being struck and overcome by the beauty of Christ is a more real, more profound knowledge than mere rational deduction. Of course we must not underrate the importance of theological reflection, of exact and precise theological thought; it remains absolutely necessary. But to move from here to disdain or to reject the impact produced by the response of the heart in the encounter with beauty as a true form of knowledge would impoverish us and dry up our faith and our theology. We must rediscover this form of knowledge; it is a pressing need of our time. 



We did a classic romantic thing the other night and went out together alone to watch the sun go down over the water. The scholar had known for awhile that I wanted to take photos during the quiet hour just before twilight, so he made it happen after an exhausting week.

And these are just ramblings, half-formed thoughts gathered by the waterside, things fully formed and understood in my heart but not always able to be articulated in words.

That dream of romance, of love and companionship... it's worth it. It can happen. It's a dream of a real thing.

But it's rather unexpected in its most powerful moments, I think.

I remember my single girl dreams of romance: something like this, what we had in this moment, walking together on a beach holding hands. Or other peaceful visions like that, of hours filled with just us being together and happy.

I don't mean to say that those things aren't beautiful, but it really is surprising how they pale in comparison to other things, things that at first glance sound just awful.

Like having a stomach bug a couple weeks ago, which really isn't what you want to be doing in your third trimester. And him holding you while you throw up, and staying up most of the night to help you, and bringing you glasses of water. I would rather be on the beach holding hands, for sure, but at the same time something like that was so much more powerful than all the picturesque romantic scenes in the world. Those pretty things fade away into the background of my memory.

But all the many times that I was tired and mad and frustrated and done, and he wasn't - when I scolded and cried and he loved me in response, and found a thousand little ways to make me smile again - I remember those clearly. When he saw me at my worst, stripped to all my vices and failings, and he couldn't find anything inside but love.

Or two weeks postpartum, bleeding and in pain and oh-so tired in all the ways you mothers will understand, and you finally fall asleep, and the baby blows her diaper out all over you, and you're just covered in filth of all kinds, and he gets up and sends you to a warm bath and takes the baby and all the mess and when you come back everything is clean and waiting for you to lie down again.

All the things we tend to gloss over in our minds when we envision marriage and parenthood, the less-than-pleasant-parts that we trust will be outweighed by the sweet romantic parts.

Except... there's so much beauty in power in the "scary" parts. Love shines through strongest in those times. When I try to my imagine my marriage full of all the sweet parts and devoid of the scary, it seems hollow to me, empty. It seems like so much of its strength would be missing.

I think that those times aren't going to be the times we try to forget, the inconvenient memories that make the picture less beautiful. I think that in the end those will be the times that knit us closely together, that bound our hearts in a way the sweetness never could, that make us strong and in love and never-failing.

So I guess I just want to say: don't be afraid of the mess. Don't feel like it's the inevitable drudgery that you're going to cover up with daydreams of the "better" times. Be willing to let deep beauty find you in the moments you'd never expect, and love to surprise you with its power.


things i tell myself

Never give up on beauty.

Never stop seeking the highest things.

Never do anything without love.

Always listen, always try to understand.

Always be unafraid to follow Him.

Always do everything with love.


in this moment

There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action. ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE

I found this book right when I needed it. My babies are my love and my life, my light and joy, and pregnancy is anything but. From the moment the morning sickness comes and through nine months of leg cramps and backaches and so much more even on a good day, I look forward to the end of it.

Pregnancy is rough, friends. That is part of the beauty, I suppose, the opportunity for deep sacrificial love, the Christ-like offering of the body, but I'm weak and tired and I want it to be over.

And then I begin this book and page after page is full of words like the above, words that go straight to my heart and tell me, this isn't just about the end, this is about the now.

Every single kick of this new one, every single smile on Rosamund's sweet sweet face, every single beautiful moment of our days, they are full of God.

I reach for Him in those moments, I see His face there, and hold on. But what about those other moments that make up no small portion of my day?

When Baby II kicks hard enough to wake me up when I've finally, finally fallen asleep after dealing with a fussy Rosamund at three in the morning? Or when her growing weight feels like it's going to break my back? Or when Rosamund practices her favorite new word, no, over and over and over again in screams just because she wants to? Or when we wrestle this night like every night to get her to brush her teeth? 

Little everyday burdens like that are struggle enough, let alone the big frightening things that shake me.

But the lesson Fr. Caussade is teaching me in his words, and life through giving me more than enough opportunity to practice, is that even in those moments, He is there.

Love is there. Beauty is there.

In my tears and pain and weariness. In all the things that make them. He is there.

Let me rest in all of these moments now, everything that shows me His face, and let me not be afraid embrace it even when He shows it to me battered and bruised. Let me not only die with Him, but have joy in it.

The life of faith is nothing less than the continued pursuit of God through all that disguises, disfigures, destroys, and so to say, annihilates Him.