Norwex, Downton Abbey, and holy days.

Have I mentioned I love Norwex? If I wasn’t a consultant I would be just as much of an advocate because every time I clean with my cloths and use only water, I get this rewarding feeling knowing I am not breathing in or contributing additional toxins and chemicals into my body/our home/atmosphere. My sister asked me recently about the Norwex microfiber wondering how it disinfects, and I explained about the great effectivity of the microfiber and the microsilver that continues the job after you clean. Forgive the advertisement like speech in this next sentence but this is a better explanation of how it works that I am learning more and more about as I go along. In order for a cloth to be considered microfiber the fibers must be 1/20th the width of a human hair, but Norwex microfiber is 1/200th the width making the fibers that much more effective in picking up everything off the surface (99.95% of dirt, grime, bacteria, etc to be more accurate). Then, when finished cleaning, after rinsing out the cloth and hanging it to dry it continue its job with embedded microsilver that eats and kills the bacteria previously picked up. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty sweet. In fact, as I clean (cutting board, counters, windows, stovetops, all wood surfaces, raw chicken leftovers, etc.) I can not help but be in awe of this awesome technology God given intelligence has manifested. So cool. I also recently received my Norwex Cleaning Paste and am having a blast seeing all of the areas in our home that I can clean that I previously could not get stains out of. My darn sink is constantly getting scratched by my hard anodized pots and pans and they leave gray streaks across the white sink. It will not scrub clean with anything but clorox or bleach. I tried the Cleaning Paste and voila! clean! Just makes me feel good knowing this house is just a little cleaner than ever before because I’m actually motivated to do it finally (I know that probably grosses some of you out, but what can I say, I’m not a cleaner).

Have I mentioned I love Downton Abbey. My darling husband detests it, therefore I sneak it in when he needs to work late and get my DA fix! I am a naughty girl and I watch it illegitimately on a website. Ask me privately for this website if you wish to watch the series ahead of time (it is released earlier in the UK). Anyhoo, I indulge a bit in this fantastic show, not for the drama’s sake, but because they deal with all sorts of issues and I feel they do so very tastefully and though I never lived through that time period, they seem to be dealt with realistically as well. I just don’t even know what to say, this show is so good. If you don’t watch it, try it, if you don’t like it after the first episode, try one more. If you still don’t like it, it’s okay, you just were never meant to be a DA fan. Join my husband’s club. If you get hooked, you’re welcome. Well, probably best not to get too hooked ;-).

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Current fans, recognize these people? It’s fun to see their real modern selves.

Have I mentioned I love holy days? Also known as holidays. Sadly, we missed our holy day of obligation Mass, the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. OH so sad. We did not realize (silly us!) that all of the evening masses would be vigil masses on New Year’s Eve. By the time we woke up the next morning, 11 or so (Who knew staying up to watch the ball drop would be so exhausting? Well that and getting up with my baby a couple times in the night), all the masses had passed. We frantically searched and searched for an available mass and nothing was to be found. I love the Theotokos with all of my heart so of course it was very disappointing to miss celebrating her feast day. Sigh. Also, backtracking a bit, Christmas, the Incarnation! Ah, what a gift. It was probably my favorite Christmas yet. A peaceful and joyful morning in Fort Wayne with my husband and two babies (1 in utero) and then on our way to my hometown to celebrate with my family. It was a joy-filled holiday, as to be expected on the feast of that little Babe who changed our universe, our eternity. It was such a blessing and a gift to see all of my nieces and nephews, sisters, brothers, in-laws, mom and dad, and Grandma Straub (we even got to stay with Grandma for a bit!). I can not put into words how incredibly blessed I am to have the family I have – they are a real treasure.

On New Year’s Eve Cory, Henry, baby and I went to Casa’s on Jefferson Blvd. and enjoyed a delicious gluten free Italian feast. We went home very full and very pleased :-). Yum. Then we put little man to bed, I got my water, he got his white russian, and we counted down the last seconds of 2013 and welcomed 2014 with a toast and a kiss. This year has been good to me. Not free of struggle and hardship, but overflowing with blessings, new life, and many lessons. I’m so grateful. Gratitude is the theme of this new year, I’m going to try to keep my eyes open to all of the blessings in my life so as not to let this negative degree weather get me down and to embrace every bit of the life God has granted me.

I’m so grateful for all of my friends and my family here in Decatur too that have blessed us and helped us throughout 2013. I am a better person and we are a stronger family because of them.

Give thanks to God today.

Deo Gratias,

Marie

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Why life is so attractive.

My dear sister, Danielle, shared this video with me on Facebook the other day. I laughed, eventually (after the 3rd time watching) I cried, and I reflected. This commercial captures a very paradoxical reality. The couple embarks on the exciting journey of parenthood (I remember this day oh so vividly – slightly nervous about the unknown, yet overwhelmed with joy and excitement about the, well, unknown.). Then they quickly come to realize nothing in their life could’ve prepared them for something so challenging, so exhausting, and yet so beautiful. In one article I read by Jeff Beer, he relates to the commercial writing, “Individually, these moments can appear terrible and make you wonder how and why humans have kept on making more humans.”  This made me wonder, how many people would watch this video and find themselves puzzled as to why the couple’s expression goes from overwhelmed and turns into complete elation after realizing number two was on the way at the very end.  As a single person, majority of the time I was mostly overly anxious to begin the adventures of parenthood, but there were a few moments when witnessing complete chaos that I thought, “Oh yeah, I could wait…” Perhaps at the time those thoughts were helpful because I obviously was not ready to embark on that journey (though no one ever really is).

The reality, however, is that I was never going to fully grasp the magnanimity of the joy of bringing life into the world without experiencing it first. This is probably an incredibly obvious statement, but you see, I think there are tons of people out there who look at those individual moments and think, “I am too selfish for that” or “I can not handle that much responsibility or chaos.” I think at different points in our lives most of us have had those thoughts once or twice. Maybe you are a parent and you still have those thoughts from time to time. However, the reason LIFE carries with it pure elation is because we know (as it is written on our hearts) that our true purpose is not to live for ourselves at all, but to live for the other. Complete selflessness.

This is the same path our Savior chose to take when He came to redeem us and He did it with perfect intentionality. Mary found out she was pregnant. I imagine she had a moment of fear or doubt of her ability, but then was overtaken with JOY. Joy overtakes us because laying down our lives for another is our path to holiness, sanctity, HEAVEN! I think this video captures that reality. We are called to lay down our lives and give life to others. This is parenthood. It is why it is such a HUGE undertaking, but the paradox lies in the fact that in giving of your life, you are given a greater life; a life full of purpose, meaning, and ultimately redemption.

Were Cory and I a little scared with the realization of our second child? Uh, YEUP! I mean, the two will only be 17 months apart people…but were we immediately overcome with pure elation when we realized how much more joy and life our home will have because of this HUGE gift?! HECKS YEAH! There was another statement by Beer that I feel adequately sums up the video, “After all the screams, stains, and sleeplessness, the spot also artfully illustrates how the cumulative effect of all this chaos is actually, and somewhat inexplicably, love and joy.”

Not sure how any of this has anything to do with Coca-Cola, but they certainly got my attention. To those of you who are fearful of the idea of children or MORE children, I get it. Who would knowingly make their lives uncomfortable, messy, and overwhelming?

Unless…

unless it meant experiencing the greatest gift God could ever bestow upon us all. LIFE.

Deo Gratias,

Marie

Lots of new adventures…

I kicked off my Norwex business last night with my launch party! I am actually quite pleased with how it went. Sure I didn’t have 100+ guests attend, but then again, I only have about 4 friends in this city (I’m working on that). I feel like it was a bit jumbled at times, but overrall I covered almost everything and best of all got to share one of my new passions, which is this company. One thing I did forget was to share the Norwex mission statement which is to improve the quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in the home and in personal care products. Pretty awesome. At the core of this company are great values and something I can really be proud to work for. I’m exciting to continue to share this new found passion and to meet new people along the way (pretty huge for an introvert).

My mom asked yesterday if I would be sharing some stories from the past, and I mentioned that a few might spill out from time to time. I was reflecting on the preciousness and fragility of life yesterday and realizing how incredibly blessed we are to be expecting a little one again. I am not one to take life for granted. There are far too many people in my life who would give anything to hold a child of their own, or to get back the one they lost. I am so incredibly grateful. *Sidenote, I really thought I wasn’t hormonal this pregnancy, but as I wrote that last line, I began to choke up a bit.* The fact that God give us this great GIFT of partaking in creating and bringing up new life is beyond me, I can not even contain how miraculous and amazing that is. I am just grateful and humbled, sooo humbled. I love my son, words can not express. Not only is he simply and not so simply a unique creation of God, and my and Cory’s DNA, but he is so unimaginably joyful. This child smiles with every part of his body. He is a reminder that there is always hope. Always.

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On top of the incredibly blessing of being this boy’s mom, we are now the proud parents of another completely unique life. Excuse me, my mind just exploded a bit. This is something I’ve always been pretty awestruck with, but when I became a parents (meaning the moment I found out I was carrying Henry in my womb) it hit me in a more profound way. It is something I live on a daily basis, but is truly miraculous…kind of like how Mass is celebrated every day, people receive Him into their bodies every day. If we were constantly aware of this existential reality, our minds would probably actually explode because I just don’t think we are equipped to contain that much joy, wonder, and awe. However, from time to time, my mind does capture a glimpse of the magnitude of the gift of motherhood and I am humbled.

It was Halloween night. We had just taken our little giraffe around to a couple of neighboring houses to see what this “trick-or-treat” thing was all about. For the record, I’m not actually a fan of Halloween or trick-or-treating for that matter, but I grew up not celebrating it and so was curious what this experience was like with a child. As expected it was fun, and with a child who knew nothing of scary costumes surrounding him, and the weird decked out in cob webs car blasting scary music, we didn’t have much to worry about. We got “Henry” a few pieces of candy in the pouring rain and made our way back home. It dawned on me that it had been a few days since my monthly had come to visit (there’s just no pleasant way to put that), and I told Cory maybe we should take a test just to see. He said as he did the two months before, you always think you’re pregnant, I’m going to go broke on pregnancy tests! Or something to that effect ;-). We just so happened to have one more left so we decided to test. I was downstairs, Cory was upstairs putting Henry to bed, and I waited expecting to see the same one line (two is a positive) I had seen in the previous 20 tests I had taken before that month (we do practice NFP, but mentally I always hoped we would get pregnant anyway, lol). Then a faint little second line showed up, and I could not believe my eyes. You see we practice Creighton Method (look it up, pretty sweet), however that month we had thrown out our charts because we knew we were getting to a point where God was calling us to receive life again. We were actually “shooting” for getting pregnant this month. Well, there it was…a little stick informing me of a miracle taking place in my womb. Pretty awesome. I began to yell Cory’s name, he came to the top of the stairs thinking I was crazy to be yelling after just laying Henry down, but he figured out pretty quickly why I would do such a thing. We were both joyfully shocked. Still are really.

Cory really wanted to wait to tell others, longer than last time (I think I lasted like 3 days) at least. You see though, it is very hard for me to wait. Not because I want the attention or for people to constantly congratulate us. I can not wait because (oh boy, I feel the tears) I am so proud and so overjoyed about any life, no matter how long or how they come into our lives, from the very beginning and can not imagine NOT celebrating that life from beginning to end. I hear of couples who wait a good amount of time to announce their pregnancy, until they’re passed the riskier time for miscarriages. I can definitely understand where these couples are coming from, though I may not be able to directly relate. I just can not imagine that for us. I know I have never experienced that great loss, however, I don’t believe it would ever change how strongly I feel about this. To me, there is no difference in the celebration of Henry’s life now, as there is in our child in the womb, so why keep that news only for myself and Cory? This life is not just our own, he/she belongs first and foremost to God, and they are a gift to be given to others to bring others closer to Christ. I wouldn’t want my own pain to withhold the gift of their life or lives from blessing others. I hope that if you or someone close to you has experienced a loss like this that you don’t take this the wrong way, I mean no hurt or offense, however, I do feel very strongly about it. To me, it is the call to be truly pro-life. I know not everyone will see it this way, and that is okay. So when you find out our little one is not due to make an entrance until early July, you will know why we chose to let the world know so soon.

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Listen to what Mary says just after learning of the Child growing in her womb, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” (Luke 1:46-48) She rejoices because she actually contains JOY Himself. *BOOM*

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God bless you all.

Deo Gratias,

Marie

And so the blog venture begins…

Well here we go. I realize many mamas have their own blogs, and so I thought that could be good for me too. So why not? However, I did not want to just be in the mom box or the Catholic mom box for that matter, that is a huge part of my identity, but more so, I want a place to record my thoughts as a daughter of God. I’m a woman trying my best to live with a heart wide open to God. Pope francis recently said in an interview, “…it is important not to be restricted by a larger space, and it is important to be able to stay in restricted spaces. This virtue of the large and small is magnanimity. Thanks to magnanimity, we can always look at the horizon from the position where we are. That means being able to do the little things of every day with a big heart open to God and to others. That means being able to appreciate the small things inside large horizons, those of the kingdom of God.” And so this blog will follow my journey to live out these words from our dear Pope, this incredible father figure for all of us striving to reach that eternal goal.

In this blog you will find mommy topics, as I am a mother of one 9 month old boy named Henry and one baby in utero yet to be named. I am a wife to an incredible man, Cory. We met in college at Franciscan University and the rest is history. He’s an incredibly talented graphic designer/video producer who works mainly for the Catholic Church. I’m so proud of the man God has and is making him to be. Also, I am a recently employed Norwex consultant because I love these products, they have helped me to like cleaning just a little bit (a miracle), so I will share that journey on here. I also am a very passionate, striving to be faithful Catholic woman so a lot of my thoughts will flow from that perspective. I hope to encourage, inspire, commiserate, and maybe at least once or twice humor you along this journey with me. Thanks for following.

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Deo Gratias,

Marie

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