New Address for the Generic Mum

Hi everyone, especially to my loyal followers.

I’ve been quite busy, lately, setting up my two new blogs: 19th Century Life

and A Beautiful Home.

19th Century Life is about culture in the 19th Century (no surprises there!) and will soon feature a shop, where fine art prints from the 19th century can be purchased.

A Beautiful Home embodies all that I had intended for this blog, and more: beauty, family and faith.

They are both new, and like all of you, I never seem to have enough hours in the day in which to complete my tasks, but I hope they will eventually be sites that will inspire, satisfy and encourage you all.

Please drop by my new sites, so we can share ideas and conversations.

I hope you will continue to follow me on my new sites.

Blessings to you all,

Kathy.women's lives pic 2

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Home Essentials – Obedience

Note to self:

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The most important rule of a well-regulated family, of a family founded on love and unity, is that the children show an unbounded trust in and obedience to their parents. Jesus practiced this for thirty years in Nazareth for we hear nothing of Him but that ‘he was subject to them,’that is, He did what He was told.

from “The Joy in Loving” by Mother Teresa.

Another business update

319616It’s only a few days until I open my online business, and I’m a little apprehensive.

If anyone had told me how much work would be involved, I don’t think I would have ever begun.

There is so much to think about, and I have had so many technical difficulties, mostly due to my lack of skill in that department. I am easily overwhelmed by computers and internet that don’t work the way I need them to – you would laugh if you saw how slow I am at typing, how I shake my temperamental mouse, how impatient I am with this amazing technology that has made our lives so much easier.

One of the little ones jumped on my laptop last week and broke the screen. I didn’t even launch an investigation into finding the identity of the culprit – I just didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of “not me” or “I don’t know” or try and match up the various alibis – I am fairly sure that it was an under five who didn’t even know what they’d done. (Now – the lipstick episode is another matter entirely….)

So I have borrowed another laptop, which doesn’t run all of my programmes, but is a blessing because all of the keys are intact – one trademark of the twins is that they enjoy removing keyboard letters, a legacy they passed onto Danielle when she was old enough.

My babysitter gave me a great inspirational card – it says: “The task ahead of you is never as great as the power within you” and is based on Philippians 4:13 – ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’

This has really kept me going – I keep it on the fridge and refer to it when I pass. Reading these words makes me physically relax, and I feel that I am actually giving my work over to Jesus, Who gets things done so much better than me, anyway.

I am now in the position where I have to support my family. There, I actually mentioned it in my blog.
It’s not something I want. The business was going to be a little hobby, the first thing I had ever done ‘outside the home’, so to speak. (It’s obviously ‘inside the home’, as an online business.)

Now it has come to be so much more. This is going to be a big part of the future for me and my children.

I am going to try to type the next words – I am a single mum with ten children.
Hmmm. I don’t really like the sound of that.
Your will be done, Lord.

Mary didn’t understand everything when she said ‘yes’ to God, and I certainly don’t understand what’s happening now.

There’s a fearful irony at work here – in doing something I never planned to do, in circumstances I didn’t choose, I feel that I may become the person I was always meant to be.

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Here’s a nice reminiscence about the birth of my little boy, Emmanuel. (He’s 14 tomorrow.)

In 1998, our Archbishop celebrated Hobart’s first public Mass in honour of the Feast of the Divine Mercy, to which I have a great devotion. I was expecting my seventh child at the time, and was pleased to have the opportunity of venerating the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Unborn Child, which was displayed during that Mass. That was really the beginning of my interest in OLO Guadalupe.

Well, my due date drew near, the 12th of December came and went, but on the 13th I went into labour. It was one of those frustrating stop/start labours, but eventually progressed, and we went to the hospital. A friend, also devoted to the Divine Mercy, stayed with the children.

Things were still progressing rather slowly, until 3 o’clock precisely, when the midwife who was with us bumped a chair; the baby jumped inside me and engaged fully, and the labour began in earnest. The second stage lasted from 3 until 4 o’clock; the Hour of Mercy, and then our little Emmanuel came into the world. We later found out that our friend had said the Chaplet with the children at 3 o’clock.

The little baby is now almost 6 feet tall, has a very deep voice, and looks handsome in a suit!

(Does anyone know of a connection between Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Divine Mercy devotion? If you do, I would like to hear about it.)

Happy feast-day to you all.

The maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.On curds and honey he will feed until he knows how to refuse evil and choose good.

Road to Somewhere…

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I want to tell you about an experience I had with loneliness today.

My husband, Dave, has never really enjoyed attending Mass with the whole family – he says it is too hard to concentrate with all the children there, so we usually go to different Masses on Sunday. I would prefer that we all went together, but that’s the way it is for now. He was planning some chores and couldn’t watch the little ones for me, so I would be taking eight children, plus my married daughter and the new baby.

Well, you can imagine what preparing for Mass looks like at my home – and I don’t mean prayers and fasting! Some days we manage quite well, but today was not one of those days. Lost shoes, mismatching clothes, unwashed faces, funky socks-we had it all. I know the Lord doesn’t mind what we wear, or how we look, but I’ve always tried to make sure that my family doesn’t reinforce the negative stereotypes that people often have about large families, such as grinding poverty, poor hygiene, and a frazzled mother. (I certainly promoted that last one this morning…) And I felt quite abandoned by my spouse, although the task of preparing the children definitely falls within my job description!

So, we made it to Mass, ON TIME, somehow, settled ourselves with our prayers, and then….my two-year-old began to play up. Squirming, climbing, wriggling and ‘no-no-ing’, all the usual antics and more. We lasted until the first few lines of the homily, then I knew I had to beat it. The priest’s opening words had been about how the faithful always find God in the wilderness, so I took that with me to ponder outside the church, in the garden, that retreat of so many parents.

By this time, I was feeling even lonelier than ever – I was OUTSIDE that wonderful event that was taking place INSIDE the church. It’s not as though this has never happened to me in my long career as a mother, but I felt the isolation keenly this time. And it’s not as though the Trinity is trapped inside any human building, or that the graces of the Mass would fail to apply to me, but there was little consolation in these thoughts.

I sat and watched my toddler run and climb as she desperately tried to get my attention, when I began to realise what was happening to me. You might be a bit smarter than I am, and have worked it out already: of course, I was not alone. None of us are. Even if we are far from the Lord due to our sinfulness, He is not far from us, because He loves us. He simply wants us to need Him more than anything else.

And I realised why we have to experience the wilderness if we want to experience the Lord: It’s because we have to first know loneliness before God can assure us that we are not alone, or maybe we wouldn’t appreciate it, just as we had to feel the weight of our sins before we began to seek the Lord and beg Him to redeem us.

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