Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Family Road Trip

Our family is in the process of taking an epic roadtrip around the country, so there won't be many posts on here, but if you want to follow our adventures, visit our family blog at: http://justalittleplato.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Proclaiming from the Mountaintop

Every morning, I sit in my chair with a cup of coffee, say my morning prayers and then read the news while I wait for the girls to wake up.  Lately, I have been chasing our sweet little toddler boy who is now walking and into everything.  During these brief moments, when I have a chance to catch up on the greater world outside my little bubble, I am increasingly disturbed at what is going on in our world today.  Kidnapped girls being held hostage, teachers sexually abusing students, parents murdering their children, threats of war, and here, in my own state of Oregon, a federal judge overturned the ban on gay marriage, violating Oregon voters.  As a mother, it frightens me to think of the world my children and grandchildren are going to be living in.  Our future as a nation is bleak as we become more and more secularized and morally deadened.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fashion at the Mall

A few weeks ago, I ended up at the mall by myself, with four kids in tow.  I won't share all the details of how I ended up in this horrific place, with all four of my kids, but it had something to do with a desperate need for Easter/First Communion sandals, no babysitter, and a coupon that was going to expire. 

So here I was, baby loaded in the stroller, three girls hanging on, making a beeline for Payless Shoes, while I was futilely attempting to distract them from the giant airbrushed woman wearing nothing but a bra and too much makeup.  That's when we saw her.....a woman, shopping with her teenage daughter, dressed like her teenage daughter.  They were both wearing nothing more than long shirts (I don't think this can be qualified as a dress) - with nothing underneath them.  This was a normal-looking woman, she didn't look crazy or homeless, but if the slightest breeze were to come along, well, I would see much more than any stranger should see....  I couldn't help myself, but I stopped to stare.  Here was a 45 year old woman, with a teenage daughter, walking around in public, dressed like some sort of European coverlet.  I was brought out of my reverie by my three-year-old who said, "mama, why isn't that lady wearing pants?"  Umm.....I'm not sure dear.....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

An Extraordinary Day

Catholics around the world are anxiously awaiting the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII that will take place tomorrow in Rome.  The excitement can be felt all around, even in the non-Catholic world, as every major news source starts reporting on this unprecedented event.  As a new Catholic, I am enjoying taking it all in.  I confess, I don't have relationship with these Popes that many of our Catholic friends do, simply because I don't have the history, and haven't grown up knowing about these amazing men. I love listening to our dear friend Leonard talk about Pope John Paul II, the fondness and love apparent in his eyes.  Leonard can perfectly recall the day that Karol Józef Wojtyła was elected as Pope.  He remember where he was and how he felt.  I don't have those memories, but I can say, that today is still an extraordinary day.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Babies for Power?

Two days ago, a story broke that hit close to home.  It was about a power plant here in Oregon, near our old home, that was using "medical waste" to produce power.  That medical waste possibly/probably included the remains of aborted babies.  (Read the story here.)  Thankfully, the Marion County Commissioners called an emergency meeting the following day and immediately put a halt to this practice until an investigation could rule out the use of babies in the waste that is being used.  I am so thankful for these commissioners who took this seriously and were appalled by thought of using the corpses of babies to produce power here in Oregon. (Read about their reaction here.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Catholic, Three Years Later

At this time every year, I feel compelled to reflect upon our time of being Catholic.  We have
officially been Catholic for three years; it has been the hardest three years of my life, but also some of the best three years, where I have learned, grown, and experienced tremendous joy.

Relationships
The first six months after our conversion were some of the most difficult times.  I felt the profound divide that had occurred between myself and almost everyone that I was close to.  My family was devastated, my friends thought it was strange, and my new Catholic family just didn't know the pain that I was experiencing.  I felt very alone.  Have our relationships improved?  Yes and no.  Most of our friends have accepted our decision, but it has caused a divide.  We have formed many new friendships and have started to feel a part of the Catholic community at large.  Things with our family are easier in the sense that there is an acceptance on both sides.  I no longer feel that I need to hide our faith: I know they don't like it, don't understand it, and it makes them feel uncomfortable, but there is an acceptance that wasn't there before.  Some of our family members enjoy discussing Catholicism with us, and with others, there is a sense of resignation.  There is and probably always will be a deep feeling of bitterness and betrayal, but we are learning to deal with that.  For those of you who are struggling through issues surrounding your conversion, it will get better!  There is a deep peace that comes with the grace of the Sacraments, a peace that will comfort wounded hearts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Four Children Later...

My baby turned one a few days ago, and as I lament time gone too fast, I have been compiling a list on what I have learned about life with four kids:

  1. When I was pregnant with number 4, people often commented that four was much easier than three.  It's not.  Nick and I are completely outnumbered, 2 to 1.  There are times when we just sit back and laugh with a giant, "Alright children!  You win!" 
  2. There isn't a quiet or dull moment.  Ever.
  3. I have been waiting for the day when I have all four children crying at the same time.  It has yet to come.  Three kids crying, yes, that is a regular occurrence.  But all four?  I don't know why, but the kids haven't orchestrated that one yet.
  4. Sitting down for a peaceful cup of coffee is a far off dream.  It is one of the laws of the universe that as soon as I sit down, someone will need something.  Every. Single. Time.
  5. There is a lot of love to go around.  One of my greatest joys has been to watch my children interact with each other.  There was a tiny part of me that wondered if my new baby would get enough love or be neglected with all of the other activity.  Nope.  This little guy is the most loved member of the family.  Every little milestone he reaches is celebrated and noted by his older siblings.  Love is lavished on him, and he spreads his own love as well.
  6. I don't need to exercise to burn calories.  Running around meeting the ever-constant needs of these kiddos is enough.
  7. Another law of the universe:  My entire house will never be clean.  I clean one room, move onto the next, and within 10 minutes, the kids will have moved into the first room and set up a fort.  Or a store.  Kids gravitate towards the cleanest area in the house.  And that is never their own room.  Ever.
  8. I have laughed more as a parent than ever before.  Who doesn't laugh when you look out the window and see your children stripped down to their underwear singing "London Bridge" and doing cartwheels?
  9. Third law of the universe:  There isn't a meal in the world that I can make that everyone will like.  The kid who liked it the night before will hate it the second night, and the kid who hated it the first night will loudly declare, "I love it!!"  the second time through.
  10.  Parenting four children is exhausting.  I have never worked harder, but I have never been more content.  There is nothing more fulfilling than being a parent.  The kids are my life and my joy.  Children ARE life.  They are a constant reminder that there is good left in this world.  They are a constant reminder that my life is not about me or my own comfort.  Life is about pouring yourself out for others.  And as my living room is currently being turned into a doll park, they remind me that this brief moment of writing is DONE!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Education is a Life

As I enter into the final stretch of our homeschooling year, (or the last minute panic of "hurry and get everything done before summer!!"), I begin the process of evaluating what we have covered this year and what is left to accomplish. This of course is met with a sinking feeling in my stomach as the doubts creep in, and I convince myself that my children are behind and I have completely messed up their education.  The irrationality subsides, and I go back to the basics and ask myself the important questions - why do I homeschool and what is education?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

After Some Quiet Reflection

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  I just took a huge, deep breath of relief, and it was refreshing, so very refreshing.  Taking this time off from blogging was just that - a huge relief.  I gained some perspective, and took away one more responsibility clouding my already overloaded brain.  Here I sit, six months later, my baby is almost one year old, and, dare I say it....I am getting regular sleep at night.  My brain has cleared, my body has healed, and I look forward entering a new chapter of writing.

As I look back at some of my last posts, I find a common theme regarding being overwhelmed at the internet, this virtual reality we all place ourselves in. This criticism still remains.  As modern Americans, we have changed the way we interact with each other, our communication, our relationships, the way we think, and our reality.  Have we ever stopped to think just how our constant "connection" to our computers, tablets, and phones is literally changing who we are?  Technology has officially dominated our society.  What would life be like without Facebook, email, Instagram, Twitter, and our phones?  What on earth would we do?  Who would we talk to, and *gasp* what would we miss? 

When I think about my life without the internet, it is difficult to think about being without this luxury.  Daily, I communicate with my friends via the web, print off homeschooling resources, read the news, upload pictures, find dinner recipes, and literally waste up to two hours everyday updating myself on the lives of my friends.  What would I do?  I believe that we are addicted to the internet.  We are addicted to having instant access and information.  We are addicted to knowing real time news.  We are addicted to keeping up on the details of each others lives while posting the details of our own; it is changing who we are and how we think.  If I wasn't spending my quiet mornings surfing the internet, I would read a book, spend longer in prayer, and have a free lap to welcome a child who just woke up.  I don't have a Smartphone, I have chosen not to get one because I don't believe that I have the self-control to refrain from being on it too much.  When I go to the park, I want to be at the park, not on my phone.  Even though I don't have a phone, with all the time that I spend at home, I feel the pull to be on my laptop often.  A few quiet minutes?  Better check what is going on.  My leisure is comprised of scrolling through my favorite websites.  Stay-at-home moms, I think we are some of the biggest culprits of internet addiction.  Let's face it - long, lonely days at home with our children are tough.  I just want escape.  I want something exciting outside of the mundane of cleaning messes, changing diapers, and folding laundry.  I crave interaction with someone over the age of 7.  When (or if) I finally get 20 minutes of down time, I usually feel worse about myself and my day if I have wasted it all on Facebook or Pinterest.  There are better ways to spend our time.

With Lent coming, I think it is time for us to truly evaluate our internet usage.  Perhaps this Lent, it is time for a technology fast.  What would life look like without the internet?  What would happen if we only "checked in" for 20 minutes in the evening or every other day?  Would we survive?  Yes, I think we would; in fact, we would more than survive, I think we would thrive.  We would find peace for our souls.  We would find time for quiet contemplation.  We would read, walk, pray, and reflect more.  We would go back to the tangible reality of searching through a recipe book, looking at old photographs, reading a newspaper, or writing a letter.  My lap would hold children, not a computer.  I want my children to grow up discovering the wide world through books and nature, roaming free in wide open spaces, not confined to a virtual reality; shouldn't I desire the same for myself?  Lent is a time of discipline, prayer, fasting, and abstinence to help us along our path towards holiness.  May God bless you this Lenten season.

This video certainly gives us a picture of our technology addiction:



Friday, October 4, 2013

A Farewell

I have desired to write this for a long time.  It has been so long since my last post, and I wanted to thank all of you who have continually checked back here or have contacted me.  I appreciate this little internet world.

That being said, I have been doing a lot of reflecting about the internet and our Age of Information these last few months.  I am at a point in my life where I am too busy living life to stop and write about it.  I find the internet overwhelming, filled with articles, tips, opinions, and views into the lives of people I'll never meet.  Right now, it just seems to be noise in my soul.  Noise that I can do without.  Please know that I am not trying to condemn bloggers or anyone else, just right now for me, I am trying to live a life that is as free from technology as possible. I need peace.  Rest.  Reflection.

I started this blog as a place for me to share my journey into the Catholic Church.  It became a place where I enjoyed writing and posting thoughts.  I hope to come back to it someday.  I hope my story can encourage others.  We must all seek truth, and guard our minds from being lulled into apathy by our materialistic culture. 

If you would like to contact me, my email is kplato7@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!  I have "met" many wonderful people through this blog.  I am thankful for you all.  Check back, I may write more one day, but for now, I am reading a good book, at the park with my kids, or enjoying cup of coffee on the back patio.